Taehyung placed his saxophone on it’s stand and quietly departed the stage for his break, taking a glass of water from the little set-up the catering services had generously provided the band. After taking a few sips, he slipped out of the hall through a side door to get some fresh air, while his mothers singing spilled through the speakers as her wedding band continued to play. Taehyung sighed for what felt like the millionth time. He hadn’t been able to get the melancholic and restless feeling off his chest, no matter what he did. He knew what it was, and usually he’d be fine and brush it off. But something felt different now.
He went back to the stage after hearing the song end, and looked out over the audience, seeing the groom talking to his family, sharing a loving hug with his beaming father and a familiar emptiness bloomed inside him, feeding his melancholic thoughts. When the night was over, his mother gave him a soft and concerned smile.
“I saw your face,” she said. “Want to talk about it?”
“No,” Taehyung shook his head. “It’s fine. I’ll get over it.”
“Tae, baby - ”
“I mean, I just - At these weddings I can see all these touching moments between the families and proud fathers with their sons, and I just can’t help thinking I’m never going to experience that.”
His mother looked at him with sadness and regret and Tae shook his head again, feeling a little guilty that he was making her feel bad.
“Don’t worry. It’ll pass.”
But it didn’t.
Taehyung went online and looked up his father, again. Lord Henry Lee, of the House of Lords. He stared at the picture of him with a thoughtful and troubled grimace. It was hard to see such similar features in the photo of the man he’d never met before. The only way he was going to sort out his feelings was to bite the bullet.
Over the next three weeks, Taehyung secretly organised himself, leaving his mother a video on her laptop that she’d see when she woke up and realised he was gone. Explaining why he had to go. He knew she’d be upset, but he also knew she’d understand. So Taehyung boarded the plane to London, and didn’t look back.
London was stunning.
Taehyung’s weariness from the flight subsided when the taxi let him out by Hyde Park and he spent the afternoon walking and exploring the area, walking through the greenery, resting on a park bench with a hot chocolate and observing the people as they passed by walking their dogs or jogging and going about their business. By the time it was midday, he was beginning to tire. So he shouldered his bag and headed to the hotel he’d booked. When he arrived, he realised that it was less a hotel and more a cross between a hostel and a hotel, judging by the amount of young people in the apparently shared common space of the small but comfortable feeling lobby.
He faintly heard the sound of a guitar and singing and looked towards it to see a man sitting on the reception desk, playing and singing softly, eyes closed and a smile on his lips. Taehyung moved towards him, drawn in by the sweet sound and need to check into his room. He clapped when the song ended and the guy blinked in surprise and then grinned at him, looking him up and down with a curious gaze.
“Flattery won’t get you a free room, but I appreciate the compliment,” he said with a hint of amusement in his eyes.
Taehyung was surprised and then chuckled.
“You should. Your voice is incredible.”
There was a faint blush on his cheeks as the guy held out his hand.
“American, huh? I’m Jimin.”
Taehyung reached out to shake his hand.
“Taehyung,” he introduced himself.
Jimin smiled and looked down at the book in front of him, finger sliding down the page until he reached a point and then looked up.
“Taehyung Kim?” He asked.
Tae nodded. “That’s me.”
“Welcome to the Grand,” Jimin grinned. “I’ll show you around.”
Jimin walked out from behind his desk and pointed to one side of the room.
“That’s the kitchen. We’ve got some pots and pans and other things in there, but it’s B.Y.O food and the rules are no open fires and clean up after yourself. We’ve got camera’s on, so no stealing the cutlery and you’ll be fined for your mess.”
“Cutlery?” Taehyung frowned in confusion.
Jimin chuckled. “Knives and forks.”
“Ah,” Taehyung was slightly embarrassed.
“Over here’s the lounge. That’s the stage. We have open-mic nights on Thursday’s and Friday’s until 8, and then my brothers band plays when they don’t have a gig. You play? Sing?” Jimin raised an eyebrow.
Taehyung rubbed the back of his neck shyly.
“A bit,” he murmured in response.
“I could tell,” Jimin gave him a wink. “You’ve got that kind of vibe. Right. The loo’s down there, the elevator’s on the fritz so you’ll have to take the stairs to your room - ” Jimin stopped when he saw the confusion on Taehyung’s face again and laughed. “You’re gonna have to learn some of the slang around here if you wanna keep up. The toilet is over there, and the elevator is broken.”
“I totally knew that,” Taehyung replied.
“Sure you did, Taehyung Kim.”
“Just Tae is fine.”
Jimin smiled happily and handed over the key to his room.
“Are you hungry?” Jimin asked.
“Great. Come back down when you’re ready and I’ll take you to this great place I know,” Jimin clapped his arm enthusiastically and Taehyung felt all the way into his bones like he’d just met his new best friend.
Jimin was as easy to talk to as Taehyung had assumed he would be, and they clicked instantly bonding over their shared love of music that devolved into conversations about everything and nothing and eventually why Tae was in London.
“To find my father,” he answered.
“Find him?” Jimin asked. “Is he lost?”
Taehyung scoffed a laughed.
“No. No. I mean, I know who he is and where he is, I just… haven’t met him before. So that’s why I’m here.”
Jimin nodded in understanding.
“Family is complicated, I get that,” he replied, and Taehyung had a feeling he really did get it. “So who is your father then? Like what do you know about him? If you want to tell me, of course, it’s fine if you don’t. We can talk about music and get to know each other more.”
Taehyung wondered if he should say and then he shrugged, trusting Jimin, though he didn’t know why since he was still basically a stranger but there was still that instant connection Taehyung had felt and he trusted his instincts.
“Um. Lord Henry Lee?”
Jimin’s eyes almost bugged out of his head. He scrambled for his phone and brought up a picture of his father and put it next to his head.
“Oh, holy shit. Yeah, I can definitely see that!” Jimin exclaimed. He whistled and put his phone away. “Family is complicated,” he repeated, more meaningfully this time, drawing out the syllables of the word complicated.
“Yeah, I’m kind of scared? I guess. I mean, I feel like this is going to backfire, hard,” Taehyung fidgeted with his hands nervously.
Jimin shook his head, pursing his lips thoughtfully.
“Lord Lee is a good man from what I remember. Besides, you look just like him, and you came all this way and you’re going to turn tail and run? Nah, I didn’t take you for a coward.”
“Woah, harsh,” Taehyung winced.
Jimin smiled encouragingly.
“What do you have to lose? If he doesn’t accept it, you can always come hang out with me and my brother and our friends. We’re pretty cool guys, you know? And hey, who knows, maybe we’ll need a saxophone player one day too.”
With Jimin’s help, Taehyung found the best route to take to get to the gigantic mansion that his father lived in. With a nervous heart, he walked to the massive iron gates, and peered inside. A security guard dressed in proper livery that Taehyung had only ever seen in the movies, approached and asked what he wanted.
Taehyung opened his mouth to answer, and then closed it, smiling.
“No. I’m just passing by, thank you.”
The guard gave him a look and Taehyung glanced at the house once more before turning away, adjusting his bag over his shoulder and strolling off down the street, and around the block, and finding a nice plant-covered wall to climb over and into the yard.
He threw his bag over the wall first and then, with less grace than he’d have liked, he climbed and then fell off the wall, landing on his back with a groan. But, he quickly got up and winced as he jogged around the yard, amazed by the statues and the beautiful gardens and tried to find a way to the front door. He passed by a window and froze for a moment, catching the shocked eye of a girl sitting at a dining table, who suddenly screamed and pointed at him.
So Taehyung bolted, freaking out and realising what a big, big mistake it was until he turned the corner and pulled up just short of the man he’d come searching for. His heart stuttered, his eye’s widened and he saw the man - his father’s - look of confusion, before he gripped Taehyung’s arm tightly and pulled him in, suddenly ranting about the press. Tae found himself inside a large room that wasn’t even a room, just an entryway, and was almost roughly pushed into a chair that had seemed to appear out of no where.
“So what paper do you work for?” Henry Lee demanded.
Taehyung blinked in confusion.
“What? I don’t work for a paper,” he answered.
Henry Lee looked at him for a moment.
“Who are you?” He asked, seeming less annoyed then before, more curious.
Taehyung swallowed and reached for his bag, taking out the two pieces of evidence he had and passed them over.
“I - I’m Taehyung. I’m your son.”
Henry seemed to freeze. He stared at the photograph of Tae’s mother and him from before Taehyung was born, and then his eyes moved to the birth certificate. Taehyung swallowed, and they met eyes for a brief moment before -
“Henry! Henry, what’s happening?”
There was a sudden rush of people and Taehyung, nervous again, held his bag tightly to him and stood. Everyone was looking at him. There was a girl a little younger than him with blonde hair and blue eyes, and a woman he assumed was her mother with darker hair. An old man dressed in a suit and an old woman in quite nice clothing, who was staring at him with an odd look in her eyes.
“I told you I wasn’t imagining things,” the girl huffed, looking Taehyung up and down.
The woman snatched the birth certificate from him and read it with wide and frantic eyes.
“Olivia Kim? The woman from your misspent youth?” The woman sounded scandalised. “Henry, darling, you can’t believe this is real, can you?”
Taehyung, now thoroughly uncomfortable and upset, put his bag on his shoulder.
“I’m sorry, I’ll just - I’ve been looking forward to meeting you my whole life, but this - it was a mistake, I see that now,” he turned to leave.
“Wait a moment, dear.”
The old woman’s voice froze Taehyung in his tracks and his mind faintly wondered if this was his grandmother.
“Did you just say your whole life?” Henry questioned, seeming flustered.
“And your mother didn’t think to tell me?”
Taehyung didn’t know how to respond to that, so he said nothing. He saw the old woman looking at him and then she turned to Henry.
“Henry, you can’t just let the boy go. He’s come a long way to find you.”
Taehyung turned, hope blooming in his heart.
“Should I call a hotel?” The old man - a butler? - asked in a polite tone.
“A hotel? And tell them what?” The woman asked in a voice as shrill as her daughter. “That one of the members of the House of Lords is booking a hotel room for a young boy. Good Lord, the press would have a field day if it ever came out.”
Taehyung cleared his throat, about to say that he had a room and he was very much looking forward to escaping to it and crumbling to pieces with Jimin about what a terrible mistake all of this had been.
“Glennis is absolutely right, dear," the old woman said.
“Thank God someone is thinking straight around here,” Glennis grumbled.
“He must stay here,” the old woman continued.
Everyone looked shocked.
“At least until we sort all of this out.” She gave Taehyung a kind smile. “Come with me, dearie. I’ll show you to your room.”
In a kind of daze, Taehyung was led up the stairs with the woman, leaving behind an equally dazed father, shocked Glennis, quietly amused butler, and glaring young girl.
“I’m sorry, are you - are you my - “
Taehyung’s question was cut short by the old woman’s response.
“I am Henry’s mother, Georgina. So yes, I am your grandmother. You may call me Lady Lee,” she replied easily, leading him through the high-ceiling hallway to a door as big as the one at the entrance at his old high school. “Ah, here we are.”
She opened the door while Taehyung was still absorbing the whole grandmother thing and then he was blindsided again by the magnificent room she showed him into. It was literally golden. The walls were - he wasn’t sure exactly but it looked like fabric wallpaper, with a huge chandelier and a wonderfully canopied bed, huge windows with so much light that Taehyung wanted to cry and paint all at once.
“This is bigger than our entire apartment back in New York,” Taehyung whispered.
“It’s quite nice, yes,” Georgina replied.
Taehyung glanced at her.
“You - believe me?” He had to ask.
She raised an eyebrow.
“Even if you didn’t have a birth certificate, you look just like my Henry did when he was your age.”
“I’m Taehyung. I’m 19,” he said, suddenly sticking out his hand. “I’m your grandson.”
There was a flash of emotion in the woman’s eyes. She gently took his hand.
“I would like some information from you, if you don’t mind,” she said.
“Anything,” Taehyung replied eagerly.
“Your mother’s phone number, to begin with,” Georgina said. “It would be prudent to call her and have her speak with Henry.”
Taehyung nodded and reached into his bag and pulled out his journal, he quickly jotted down his mothers phone number and tore out the page.
“I thought all young people used those infernal screens,” Georgina commented.
“I do! Just not all the time.”
He was glad she seemed mildly impressed. Taehyung cleared his throat.
“Um. I was staying at a hostel and my stuff is still there. Can I go and get it later on? I should close the bill there too.”
“Take some time to familiarise yourself with the room and a moment to collect your thoughts. I’ll organise a driver for an hours time.”
Taehyung nodded and looked around, amazed and shocked and delighted, and then went for a hug before Georgina quickly put up a hand.
“No hugs,” she said sternly. “I’m British. We don’t hug.”
Taehyung pulled back for a moment, but then he reached for her again and wrapped her in a gentle but strong hug.
“Thank you,” he breathed.
He felt her stiffen and then relax and then his heart soared when he felt her gently pat his back, as much a return of the embrace as an indication to get off, and left him alone to explore the giant room and get himself together.
Henry Lee sat alone in his office, staring at the picture Taehyung had given him, and then at the birth certificate. Thankfully Glennis and Clarissa had both left him alone, likely to complain about the entire situation in another part of the house.
There was a soft knock at the door and his mother appeared.
“I’ve set him up in the Glendfall Room,” she told him. “He’ll be going to retrieve his belongings from a hostel in an hour, so you can gather your thoughts to have a clear-headed discussion when he returns later on.”
She handed him a piece of paper.
“What’s this?” Henry asked.
“Her phone number,” his mother replied.
Henry let out a long breath.
“Gather your courage, Henry,” she said quietly and then she left him alone.
Henry stared at the number with conflict and then he dialled it.
The answer was immediate, her voice familiar and frantic.
“Tae? Taehyung, baby? Is that you?”
He heard her let out a breath.
“Henry. Is he there? Is he with you? Is he safe?”
“Yes, yes, he’s here,” Henry replied. “Mother’s settling him in.”
“Oh, thank god,” she sighed.
“Olivia, how could you not tell me I’d fathered a child?” Henry asked, his voice trembling with betrayal and hurt and confusion. “You let him show up on my doorstep almost twenty years later, unannounced — ”
“And what?” She challenged. “Put a dent in your public image? Afraid of what the press might think?”
“No, that’s not what - ”
“If you’re afraid of a scandal just send him back,” Olivia said, sounding tired.
“This isn’t about any scandal, this is about finding out I had a son more than half my life - ” Henry raised his voice and suddenly cut off, filled with overwhelming emotion and had to take the phone away from his ear and recover for a moment.
They were silent, both emotional at the first communication between them for twenty years.
“Olivia.” Henry said her name, calling her back to the conversation, begging for some kind of explanation, but he didn’t know what to ask.
“I wanted to protect him. I didn’t want him to get hurt,” she said, sounding emotional.
“What is that supposed to mean?” Henry asked.
“Why don't you ask some of the people a little closer to home.”
Then she hung up and Henry only heard the dial tone, until he hung up the phone as well and sighed heavily, deeply, and ran his hands through his hair, needing time to think and sort through all his emotions.
Taehyung looked at Georgina with shock as he noticed she was already seated in the car when the butler - Percy, he learned his name was - closed the door on him.
“You’re coming with me?” He was perplexed.
“We all need to breathe different air at times, Taehyung,” was her response.
Taehyung was restless in the car, humming to himself since he wasn’t sure what to talk about. The hostel wasn’t that far away, and he was overjoyed to see Jimin out the front, guitar in it’s case on in hand. He looked up and frowned at the black sedan with tinted windows.
“That’s Jimin,” Taehyung pointed at him. “He’s my friend. He runs the hostel.”
“Very well,” Georgina said. “Off you go, then.”
Taehyung smiled and nodded, bounding out of the car. Jimin’s expression changed to one of surprise when he saw Taehyung.
“You’re back,” he smiled. “Looks like you found your dad.”
Taehyung nodded and Jimin clapped his back.
“Good for you. I’m assuming you’re here for your stuff?”
“Yeah. They want me to stay at the house.”
“Understandable. They probably want to keep you close to avoid any scandal,” Jimin replied.
“You know, I didn’t say anything before, but it seems like you know about this Lord and Lady stuff more than regular people might,” Taehyung commented, following Jimin back inside.
Jimin placed his guitar by the front door.
“Like I said, family is complicated.” He waved to the guy behind the reception. “Help him out, he’s a friend all right, Joonie?”
“Sure thing. See you later, Jimin!” He called back.
“What are you doing later?” Taehyung asked.
Jimin nodded at his guitar.
“My brother’s band has a gig. Oh. Before you go, give me your phone number, all right? I’ll let you know when the next gig is, okay?”
They exchanged numbers and Taehyung waved to Jimin as he left, and then retrieved his things from upstairs and paid off the bill with Joonie - or Namjoon, as he found out.
“So you're Taehyung,” Namjoon’s eyes lit up with recognition.
Taehyung was slightly confused. “You know me?”
“Jimin told us he’d met his new best friend yesterday. Told us you played the sax too.”
“Ah, yeah, I do,” Taehyung murmured, feeling a little shy.
“Any good?” Namjoon asked.
“Yeah. Yeah, I’m decent,” Taehyung replied.
“Maybe we will give you that call if we ever need a sax in our songs.”
“Uh, I left it in New York though.”
Namjoon chuckled, dimples deepening as he did and Taehyung thought he looked like he was a nice guy.
“You know, we have music stores here too. Anyway, it was nice to meet you, Taehyung.”
“You too, Namjoon. Good luck for your gig.”
Taehyung heaved his bag out to the car waiting for him and the driver opened the trunk and took the bag to put it in.
“Your friend with the guitar seemed quite pleased to see you,” Georgina remarked when they were driving back to the house.
“Yeah. He’s a good person. I mean, I only met him yesterday, but I have pretty good instincts for those things.”
Georgina’s next words were so quiet he almost didn’t hear them.
“May they prove true.”
Life in the Lee Manor was, in a word, amazing. Taehyung had never imagined that he would enjoy it as much as he did, but the house was so huge he actually did get lost in it, and the staff were so nice and amused by him that it was fun, and it was absolutely stunning - plus, there was an entire room just dedicated to musical instruments with a piano, guitar, violin, and a harp just hanging out and waiting to be played.
The only thing Taehyung didn’t like was Glennis and Clarissa. Everyone, including Henry, had accepted that he was in fact, the ‘lovechild’ of Henry and Olivia, but that didn’t stop the snide remarks and glares from the two of them. He felt odd about them. Glennis was engaged to Henry, Clarissa was going to be his step-sister. He really didn’t want to have a bad relationship with either of them but he was finding it extremely difficult to like them. Lady Lee, however, was a different story. His grandmother was such an interesting woman that Taehyung was finding himself constantly drawn to her, listening to her stories about about her life was fascinating.
Henry was harder. Taehyung found himself wondering how he could get closer to him without trying to force anything. His break came about a week into staying at the house, when he was feeling a little homesick and a little restless, and went down to the kitchen for a midnight snack.
He was sitting at the refrigerator, using the light of the open door to pour some milk into a cup, when he heard faint footfalls coming towards the kitchen. He popped his head out to see, much to his surprise, Henry in a dressing gown and slippers making his way directly to the cabinet. Taehyung watched with some amusement, unsure if he should say anything to announce his presence, when Henry pulled out a container of chocolate cereal and turned, noticed him, and yelped in fright.
“Good heavens, you scared the heck out of me.”
Tae ducked his head and grinned apologetically.
Henry glanced at the milk in his hand and then turned on the light, illuminating the kitchen far better than the fridge door could. Taehyung hopped off his stool and moved to the counter, putting the milk bottle out for Henry to use. There was a moment’s hesitation before Henry asked if he wanted some cereal, and Taehyung said he definitely did.
“I had you down as an All-Bran man,” Taehyung commented.
Henry gave a small smile. “Glennis makes me eat that cardboard every morning. If I had it my way, it’d be chocolate cereal everyday.”
Taehyung smiled happily.
“Well, I love this cereal. I used to have it every morning before school. Maybe you should you eat it, if that’s what you want.”
Henry gave a wry smile.
“Indeed. So what are you doing up so late?” He questioned.
Tae shrugged. “I was restless. Not really used to the time-difference yet.”
“Ah, I see,” Henry replied. There was a moment’s silence. “And you - you’re enjoying yourself here?”
He was trying, and that made Taehyung happier than he could express.
“I am. The house is incredible. I mean, I knew you were a Lord and all that, I just wasn’t expecting,” he gestured wildly, “so much grandeur. It’s pretty different from our little flat.”
“I would imagine so. Is there anything you need?” He asked.
Taehyung was going to say no, but then he remembered.
“Is there a shop for art supplies around here?” He asked. “Paints and brushes and canvases, things like that?”
Henry looked surprised.
“Sometimes,” Taehyung replied. “There’s such beautiful lighting in my room, I thought it would be nice…” he trailed off. “Oh. Only if that’s all right with you. I mean, this is your house. Sorry.”
Henry was quiet for a moment.
“Perhaps it would be better not to paint in your room,” he said, and Taehyung felt a little disheartened, but perked up when Henry continued. “There’s plenty of rooms in the house that are rarely used. Why don’t you take Percy around tomorrow and find one with the lighting you like best and you can use that as a studio. I’d much prefer you not being overcome by fumes from your supplies in your bedroom.”
Taehyung’s chest did a flip.
“Thank you, Henry,” he beamed.
Henry smiled back. “Of course.” He ate the final spoon of his cereal and then cleared his throat. “Well. I’ll be going off to bed now. You should too. I hope your… sleeping arrangements are satisfactory.”
“You know, you can just wish me sweet dreams and say good night,” Taehyung told him.
Henry nodded. “Right. Well. Good night, Taehyung.”
“Good night, Henry.”
After picking a room and discussing the need for old sheets to protect the floors with Percy, Taehyung called Jimin.
“It’s been a while, Tae. How are you?” Jimin answered the phone cheerily.
“Hey, sorry. I should have called earlier,” Taehyung apologised.
“Don’t worry about it. Are you doing all right?” Jimin asked.
“Great, actually,” Taehyung answered honestly. “I was wondering if you wanted to go out and grab some lunch?”
“I’m starved, so yes please,” Jimin replied. “I know a great place near your house. I’ll meet you out there, all right? Oh, Tae. You better let one of the staff know I’m coming so the security will let me in, okay?”
“Oh. Yeah. Right. I’ll do that.”
“See you soon, Tae.”
Taehyung stepped out of his room, now dressed in tight black jeans, a red and grey block-patterned satin shirt, with a black coat, scarf and beret, and a black bag. He saw Clarissa leaning on her door and staring at him.
“Hello,” he said to her, politely despite her disdainful glare.
“Who do you think you are? Some kind of model?” She scoffed, looking him up and down.
Taehyung knew she was trying to insult him, but it didn’t work. She was young, only sixteen and it was obvious she threatened by him.
“Oh. So you think I look good then?” He smiled. She blinked in shock. “Thank you."
“What - no,” she stammered.
In her surprise she didn’t even register that Taehyung had moved over to her and patted her head.
“You’ll looker cuter if you stop scowling all the time,” he said pleasantly, leaving her in a state of shock as he went out to meet Jimin.
Jimin had shown up on his motorbike, which Taehyung thought was the most epic thing ever. He’d never had a friend with a motorbike before, which made Jimin laugh when he told him. Jimin put his helmet on his handles and left the bike there in front of the house and walked to get their food.
“You dyed your hair,” Taehyung exclaimed. “Blonde looks good on you.”
“Thanks,” Jimin said. He looked Taehyung up and down. “You’re really pulling off that artist aesthetic. I like it.”
“God, are we going to be those friends who compliment the heck out of each other all day long.”
Jimin laughed. “Probably, yeah.”
“Good,” Taehyung grinned. “So where are we going?”
“For a proper British pub meal,” Jimin told him. “My friend’s are meeting us there too.”
The pub was packed, and it was lucky that Jimin’s friend had gotten there early, otherwise they wouldn’t have found a table. Jimin introduced him to Jungkook and Yoongi. Jungkook was still in high school and Yoongi was a school friend and bandmate.
“Where’s Jin?” Jimin asked.
“Late,” Yoongi replied, grumpily. “He said his shoot is running long. He might not make it.”
“Whose Jin?” Taehyung asked.
“We were all in school together,” Jimin replied. “And he’s… well, I think you ought to meet him.”
Taehyung didn’t miss the look exchanged by Jimin and Yoongi, but he didn’t say anything about it. Instead he asked Jungkook how he knew them.
“Oh. I grew up next door to Joonie,” he said, happy to have some attention. “And I take photos and videos for the band.”
“And he sings, and he dances, he draws, and he has a black belt in tae kwon do, and he boxes,” Jimin numbered off all Jungkook’s apparent skills on his fingers.
“Wow, that’s impressive,” Taehyung nodded.
Jungkook flushed with embarrassment which Tae found adorable.
“I have a lot of hobbies,” he mumbled shyly.
“Just apparently not school,” Yoongi said dryly.
“Well, he’s got to be bad at something,” Jimin laughed.
Taehyung smiled, feeling the warmth and affection between the three of them. He was nervous to meet new people, but discovered quickly that he had no need to worry at all. Yoongi was dry, a little wary, but unable to hide his soft side for Jungkook and Jimin. It was sweet. J ungkook was young and shy, but he quickly opened up when Tae told him he was also into art and photography and they started discussing the more technical aspects of the craft, which left out Jimin and Yoongi, who complained loudly over their beers.
“Jin’s coming!” Jimin suddenly burst out, staring at his phone.
Ten minutes later, Jin announced his presence with a call for a round of drinks and dumping his bag on Jungkook’s head.
“The party is here. I am the party.”
Yoongi scoffed and rolled his eyes, and Jimin laughed, while Jungkook dropped Jin’s bag on the floor.
“You’re so annoying,” Jungkook huffed, but he was smiling.
“Listen, kid, respect me. I’m older and richer and more handsome,” Jin said, pulling a stool over to the table and collecting his bag from the floor.
Jungkook rolled his eyes, and then Jimin introduced Taehyung. Jin looked at him, and Taehyung had an odd feeling about the way they all quietened.
“Well, shit, Jimin,” Jin exclaimed. “You didn’t tell me he was fucking model material. No wonder we’re related.”
“Well that was subtle,” Yoongi mumbled.
Taehyung was confused, who was related? Jin grinned and held out his hand.
“Nice to meet you, Taehyung. I’m Jin, your cousin and new best friend.”
“Uh. No you’re not. I’m the new best friend,” Jimin cut in.
“I think you broke Taehyung, Jin,” Jungkook whispered.
Taehyung blinked, once, twice, three times and then Jin waved his hand in front of his face.
“You alive in there?” He asked, frowning in concern.
“Uh, yeah. Just surprised. Sorry,” Taehyung said, coming back to his senses.
“By my handsome face and the fact you have the privilege to be related to me? I know, it is a lot to handle all at once,” Jin said.
“You’re such a modest soul,” Jimin scoffed.
“To be fair, he is very handsome,” Taehyung said, smiling just a touch at the openness of Jin.
Jin smiled and Yoongi groaned.
“Don’t encourage him.”
“I think we’re going to get along, Taehyung.”
They did get along. Jimin and Jin walked with Taehyung back to the house, and they explained a little more about Jin’s relations with Taehyung.
“Our Grandmother’s are sisters,” Jin said. “So we’re like, second or third cousins? I don’t know, I hate math. Either way, we’re still cousins.”
“Right,” Taehyung nodded. “Cool. This is… I just came here to meet my dad. I didn’t even think of extended family.”
“Yeah. Well, you’ll have to get used to meeting people who pretend to care but don’t. Your dad’s a Lord, so you will be in the newspapers once the media catch wind of this, which they will. But don’t worry, that’s why I’m here.”
Taehyung gave him a thoughtful glance.
“You just met me. Why are you so helpful?”
Jin pumped an eyebrow at him and smirked.
“You think I want something from you?” Taehyung didn’t know how to respond, and Jin laughed. “Don’t worry, Tae. I’m plenty famous and happy on my own. I really don’t need shit from you at all. Jimin said you’re a good guy, Yoongi likes you - I could tell - and he never likes anyone, and you were nice to Kookie. So, yeah, I’ve got this hunch we’re going to be great friends.”
“He always has hunches about things and he’s always right,” Jimin added. “And he’s right about Yoongi, too.”
“Exactly,” Jin said as they walked through the gate the security guard opened and closed behind him.
“Well. I guess I don’t have much of a choice but to trust you,” Taehyung frowned.
“Tae, you can trust us. I promise,” Jimin said, stopping. “I know we just met, and this is pretty overwhelming for you, but I’m being a hundred percent honest when I tell you that I feel like I’ve known you my whole life. I already consider you a close friend.”
Taehyung looked at Jimin and saw the sincerity in his face.
“Me too,” he replied.
“That was the cutest shit I’ve ever seen,” Jin cooed.
“Shut up, Jin.” He linked his arm through Taehyung’s. “I haven’t told you this yet, but my mother grew up in a house like this too, and then she married someone ‘below her’ - ” both Jin and Jimin rolled their eyes “ - and was cast out. But my grandparents decided to try and make me into the new heir to the throne and I went to all the schools and learned about how to live in this world, and decided it wasn’t for me. So Jin, and me, and Yoongi, we can all help you figure out what you want to do and who you want to be here.”
“I feel like I’m in a movie right now. You’re freaking me out with all this serious talk,” Taehyung chuckled, nervous and joking.
“Aw, Tae, sorry. Let’s meet up again in a few days when you’ve had time to digest,” Jimin apologised.
They arrived at his parked bike, and he put his helmet on.
“Need a ride, Jin?”
“Yeah, Chimmy. Give me ten minutes, I’ll be back in a second.”
Taehyung watched Jin walk inside as if he owned the place and turned back to Jimin.
“Is he always like that? So… ”
“Confident?” Jimin suggested. Taehyung nodded. “Sure. Most of the time. He’s pretty incredible, even if he is annoying.”
“He’s older than us, right?”
“Two years older than me and you, one year older than Yoongi. I was raised a year in school, so I graduated early. That’s why I’m close with them both.”
“Oh, right. So you’re like a genius then?”
“No way. I just studied my ass off,” Jimin answered. “Anyway, sorry for worrying you before. I just don’t want you to get blindsided. The press can be brutal, but I hope it won’t be bad.”
“It’s fine. It’s different, a really different world, but I think I’m okay. I just feel… I don’t know, I just want to find the place that I belong, and so far I feel good about being here.”
Jimin gave him a warm smile.
“I’m glad you came.”
Jin came out again a moment later and patted Taehyung on the shoulder.
“See you in a few, yeah? We’re going to the Royal Dress Show, and you're going to dress to impress if you want to stand next to me.”
Taehyung watched Jin and Jimin leave, kicking up dust and stones along the driveway. He felt like he’d just been blown out of a whirlwind, but that the same time he was glad about it. He meant what he said to Jimin. So far, he was feeling great. He’d made a little breakthrough with his father, he’d met good people. He hoped it lasted.