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take the money and run

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Taeyong woke up cold.

In all honesty, Taeyong considered the possibility that he was dead. It wasn’t exactly far off, seeing that he had to have lost entire gallons of blood during the period of time in which he had gotten shot and where Matthew had quite literally pummeled the life out of him. It scared him, the cold. Was this really what he had been given as an afterlife? 

But then he heard some rustling not too far from him. He forced his eyes open to see that he was surrounded by trees, looking down at the leaves that crunched underneath him with each movement. He moved a little too fast and winced loudly at the pain that shot up his side. What the fuck? Were you supposed to feel things in the afterlife? What bullshit was that?

“Taeyong?” Taeyong suddenly heard. “Taeyong!”

And, oh. He wasn’t dead. He was far from it, actually, if Johnny was any indication that he had survived. Taeyong isn’t sure where Johnny had come from but welcomed the sight of him, smiling deliriously at him. Johnny bent down and pulled him in for a tight hug, mumbling something that Taeyong couldn’t make out because of how much his head was spinning. Johnny holding him so closely was definitely a little painful but Taeyong didn’t say anything, both too tired and too out of it to even begin to think about pushing him away. 

“You scared me so fucking much,” Johnny breathed, shaking his head. “I thought I had lost you.”

Taeyong was starting to come more and more into consciousness and the feeling of Johnny holding him around his middle was becoming a bit more apparent than he could handle. He moaned quietly and pushed him away, shivering a little as the cold assaulted his bare skin. 

“I hurt,” Taeyong muttered. He looked around. It seemed like they were in the middle of some forest which was definitely strange. What about Matthew and his crew? The last thing he remembered was collapsing right outside of Yukhei’s truck, still soaked in Matthew’s blood. He lifted an arm to see the dark fluid dried into his skin. Gross, but it meant that he definitely wasn’t in some kind of dream. “Where are we?”

Johnny pulled up and looked around. He opened his mouth to speak but was interrupted by the sound of loud yelling. Taeyong flinched almost immediately, one hand braced on the tree behind him to begin to push himself up onto his feet. He knew that yelling all too well, had heard it the day that the police had shown up to his apartment in Seoul with a warrant for his arrest. They were close. 

“It’s okay,” Johnny reassured him quietly, lifting a finger up to his mouth. Taeyong blinked at him in obvious confusion. “They have no clue that we’re over here.”

No clue? How did that make sense? Wouldn’t the first place the police would look for two dangerous murderers be the surrounding area? Taeyong was still leaning up against the tree but hadn’t moved, unsure of what to do. Running seemed like the best option at this time but he knew that he didn’t have enough energy in him for it. Plus, if Johnny had been sitting stationary in the same position for however long he had been out, didn’t that mean that he trusted in whatever he had done to make the police think that they left the area?

“How do they —?” Taeyong interrupted himself with a small cough. “How do you know they won’t check over here?”

“Mark helped out,” Johnny explained, walking over to coerce Taeyong back onto the ground in which Taeyong didn’t fight, ultimately giving into his exhaustion. “These guys are just here to figure out the crime scene but most of them are out looking for us back in Jeonju.”

Mark helped. Mark had helped. Taeyong couldn’t bring himself to ask how in fear that it might involve Mark possibly getting himself into trouble and bringing even more guilt onto himself than what he already felt but Mark had helped. He knew that Mark hadn’t done it for him, had definitely only done it for Johnny’s wellbeing and safety but still appreciated. After all he had done to Mark, the way that he had treated him, and Mark was the only reason why he wasn’t in the back of a police car or shot by a cop’s stray bullet.

Speaking of being shot, Taeyong had no fucking clue how he was still alive. He had bled out in Johnny’s arms, felt the life leave his body. The fact that he was still breathing, let alone speaking to Johnny right now, able to be fearful of being detained by the police should have been impossible. Taeyong could distantly remember the distant taste of blood on his tongue before the world had gone black. The thought crossed his mind for a moment but—no, it couldn’t have been. That didn’t make any sense for either of them. Johnny wouldn’t have done that.

Once on the floor with Johnny above him, Taeyong reached up a hand. Johnny was too far away for him to touch at first grasp but seemed to understand why Taeyong wanted him, leaning down in order to make it easier for him. Taeyong felt along the left side of his neck to feel nothing. His hand crept over until his fingers made contact with something harsh and rough on the right side, still obviously raw and nowhere near the point of healing. Johnny hissed and recoiled slightly at Taeyong’s touch.

“You,” Taeyong started, moving his hand back down to see that his fingers were dotted with blood, Johnny’s blood, the scene remnant of the moment he had come to the realization that Johnny had mated him. He couldn’t find the words, couldn’t bring himself to say it out loud. “Johnny.”

“I’m sorry,” Johnny breathed, shaking his head. “It’s just—I mean, you were dying, Taeyong. I couldn’t let that happen.”

And it wasn’t that Taeyong was mad, he wasn’t, wasn’t anything close that emotion. He was fucking shocked that Johnny had done something so selfless to save his life and even more shocked that it had worked. He had never seen a case of that actually fucking working, had never heard of anyone actually attempting it. From the moment that Taeyong had heard of the concept of true mates having more than one life when it came to their partner, he had thought it nothing more than an urban legend. After all, why wouldn’t it be? They didn’t live in some fairytale world, people didn’t come back to the dead with a kiss or, in their case, a bite. It just didn’t happen.

Except that it had. And he was living proof of that. 

The fact that Johnny had done it while knowing that Taeyong still seemed so determined to get as far away from him as possible and still adamantly rejected the idea of being with him romantically like Johnny had the fucking plague. Johnny knew what would happen to him the second that Taeyong left him, how the rest of his life would be fucking ruined because of the fact that he was permanently mated to someone who didn’t want him. It was weird. All Taeyong could think about was the very plain fact that there hadn’t been a single person in his life who would have even thought about doing that for him other than possibly Yuta.

“Um,” Taeyong said softly. He opened his mouth to say something before closing it upon realizing that he couldn’t think of a single thing to say to Johnny that would measure up to what he had done for him. Johnny blinked back at him, his eyebrows furrowed, clearly ready for Taeyong to scream at him, to call him an asshole, to tell him that he had no right, something. And that was what made Taeyong feel the worst about it all. How Johnny was expecting him to be horrible to him after he had literally saved his life. 

Taeyong isn’t quite sure what sparked it. Maybe it had been the fact that he had literally almost just died. Maybe it was because he was in extreme pain and despite how Johnny had tried to patch him up with some more gauze and alcohol and those shit bandages from the pharmacy. Maybe it was how he had basically broken down in front of Johnny and revealed all of that shit about himself that he had never said out loud before in his entire fucking life. He didn’t know. He was almost feverish from everything that had happened less than an hour ago and out of his mind and really, really just wanted to sleep in a warm bed that wasn’t covered in dust. That was all he wanted.

“Hey,” Johnny muttered, shaking his head as he went to pull Taeyong in close once again. “I’m so sorry, Taeyong, I am, I’m so, so fucking selfish.”

“Oh, Jesus,” Taeyong cursed through his tears, pushing Johnny away from him. “I’m not—I’m not looking for an—an apology from you, Johnny!”

“Then why are you mad at me?” Johnny asked, sounding genuinely confused.

“I–I’m not mad, I’m just—!” Taeyong stopped himself in the middle of his sentence, sniffling softly. God, this was so him. “I can’t believe you’d do that, Johnny.”

“Why?” Johnny questioned, frowning. 

“Because I’m not a good person,” Taeyong answered simply. “And I don’t deserve to be alive right now.”

There was a pause. Johnny didn’t say anything for a moment. Taeyong hadn’t been expecting for him to. This whole trip had brought out something in him that he had always known was there but had kept hidden deep down inside. It sucked—mostly for Johnny—that Taeyong had to discover this about himself in such an inappropriate situation but where else would he have? Maybe this was good for him. Maybe this was what the universe had planned.

“Taeyong,” Johnny finally spoke up. “You’re not a bad person.”

“There’s no point in lying,” Taeyong muttered, picking a stick from beside him and tossing it away from him where it landed not too far behind Johnny.

“I’m not lying,” Johnny continued seriously. “I mean, are you one of the bitchiest, most irritable people I’ve ever met in my entire fucking life? Absolutely, dude. The first week that I had to be around you, I thought I was going to throttle the life out of you. You have this, like, talent of rubbing people the wrong way and it’s so impressive yet so, so fucking frustrating.” 

“Gee,” Taeyong said sarcastically, snorting while wiping some spare moisture from underneath his eyes. “Thanks.”

“Just let me finish, okay?” Johnny asked and Taeyong hesitated a moment before giving in with a small nod. “I feel like you put up this, this way to stop yourself from getting hurt because someone fucked you over in the past and you’re afraid of that happening again so you snap at people and let them know that you’re not interested in anything they’ve got to say before they can even think of anything negative about you. And once they do, who cares, right? You already let them know that you don’t give a shit. What’s it matter?”

Taeyong only stared at him, not giving Johnny any indication that what he was saying had a fair amount of truth to it. It seemed that Johnny already knew that he was right anyway, if the sense of blatant confidence in his voice was any indication.

“But at the end of the day, you’re not a bad person,” Johnny said with a small sigh. “You’re scared and you’re expecting people to be shitty to you because that’s what they’ve done to you your whole life. Obviously what you did wasn’t right but I know you wouldn’t have done if you hadn’t been backed into a corner.”

Was that true? Taeyong didn’t know if he could take that. Sure, Seongwoo had recruited him at a very young age into doing organized crime when he had no kind of support system around him and done so in a way where he convinced him into continuing, in which ultimately killed any chance of him ever having a real job but hadn’t he ultimately made that decision on his own? Hadn’t he chosen to continue stealing from people and ruining their lives long after Seongwoo had gone?

“I don’t know who did this to you, Taeyong, and I’m sorry that they did but you have to stop blaming yourself for it,” Johnny said. “You deserve to love yourself. You’re a strong, , fearless fucking person and I really wish you could see that, Taeyong. I fucking hated having to sit there and degrade yourself and say that you didn’t deserve to be alive because you deserve so much better and the fact that you were going to die thinking that, I—Jesus, Taeyong, I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t fucking stand that.”

Taeyong remained silent. He looked at the bruise on Johnny’s neck and wondered how he had even had enough strength to get himself to sink his teeth so deep into Johnny’s skin that it was painful to the touch. It was such an off–topic thing for him to be thinking about while Johnny was telling him all of this but Taeyong couldn’t help it, not when his chest was feeling as tight as it was.

“I need you to think of yourself as more, Taeyong,” Johnny sighed, running a hand through his hair. “I know you’re broken and I wanna be the one to fix you so badly but I need you to realize that your life is worth saving before we try for this last time, okay? We won’t stand a chance if you don’t.”

“Why do you wanna escape so bad?” Taeyong asked quietly, his voice barely audible over the commotion happening the restaurant not too far away from them. “What’s out there for you?”

“You,” Johnny answered honestly. “I know how corny it might sound and I know you may not believe me but all of this has been for you.” He snorted out a soft laugh and shook his head, glancing behind Taeyong for a moment at the distant lights coming in through the trees. “Granted this whole thing between us started because of my overwhelming need to take down my brother once and for all and therefore probably shouldn’t count but still,” Johnny said, looking back at Taeyong with a small shrug and a sheepish smile. “I want to try to have a normal life with you, Taeyong. And I can’t promise that I won’t hurt you or piss you off or even make you regret ever running into me from time to time but I can promise that I’ll always try for you. I just need for you to let me.”

And that’s, like. It’s a lot. It’s a lot for Taeyong to handle because no one had ever said anything like that to him before and he isn’t used to it, isn’t used to the idea of someone doing so much just to be with him. It didn’t feel weird. Johnny was right—what he had said was so, so corny and if Taeyong had heard anyone else get told the same, he would have laughed but it wasn’t and Johnny had been trying for him for so long it seemed. He wanted him, he wanted to be with him and while Taeyong didn’t understand it, he could appreciate it immensely.

It was time for Taeyong to start being honest with himself. The thought of being with Johnny didn’t disgust him and honestly hadn’t for awhile. The full truth was that Johnny made him feel like a different person when they were together, like less of that blunt, abrasive asshole that everyone expected him to be. He made him feel safe and like he was worth all the trouble and baggage that came with him. And while it wasn’t love that he felt for Johnny, it was something, and that was more than he could say for anyone over the past couple of years of his life.

And he did want to get away. He did want to try. Liking himself sounded really fucking hard but there wasn’t any other option if he wanted to get out of this alive. It was a necessity, something that he needed to do. After all that Johnny had done for him, how selfless and kind and so, so fucking frustrating but this weird, gangly, 6’4 wall of support all at the same time, this was the least Taeyong could do for him, the least that he could do for the both of them. 

“I need time,” Taeyong admittedly quietly. “If we make it out of this I need a lot of time. And it’s not that I don’t trust you, it’s just—I don’t know, Johnny. I can’t just dive into this like you did.”

“I know you can’t,” Johnny said and he sounded genuine.

“And you can’t get mad at me and fucking leave me in the middle of nowhere ever again,” Taeyong said because that had truly fucking terrified him, being alone in that seemingly never–ending patch of wilderness with no sense of direction. “No matter how irritating I am because I can’t, I can’t just change my personality like that, Johnny. It’s gonna take time. A really, really long time.”

“Okay,” Johnny nodded.

“And the second we get into Fukuoka you have to dye my hair back to brown,” Taeyong finished, reaching up to tug at the long strands of his unruly bangs. He took a moment to think about it. “No, you have to take me somewhere to get my hair dyed. I don’t want you touching my hair anymore.”

Johnny laughed and nodded. “Got it,” he said, his eyes scrunching up with his smile. 

“I need help getting up,” Taeyong finally mumbled and Johnny was quick to stand up, moving to help Taeyong up onto his feet.

Once standing, Taeyong took a moment to look at Johnny. It was weird—how Johnny had described him as beautiful even with his bruise –mottled face and blood–soaked body, his hair unruly, skin pale, eyes exhausted. He was almost certain that he didn’t look beautiful and to be brutally honest, Johnny himself had definitely seen better days. He couldn’t stop himself from breaking out into a small smile. 

“It’s so weird,” Johnny almost immediately said and Taeyong raised a brow in question. “Seeing you smile. For a really long time I thought you were, like, completely incapable of smiling.”

“Shut up,” Taeyong muttered, finally coming to the decision to lean up onto his tiptoes and press a kiss to Johnny’s lips.

It was so inappropriate for them to kissing right in the middle of that very dangerous forest with the police less than ten feet away from them, almost definitely listening in for any sign of anyone possibly still lingering near the crime scene despite being under the impression that the two fugitives weren’t anywhere nearby but it felt so, so good. Taeyong smiled softly against Johnny’s lips, wrapping his arms around his neck, suddenly completely unaware of the searing pain in his side and how his skin had basically screamed when his shirt rode up against his waist and exposed him to the freezing cold air of the night. For a couple of moments, it was peaceful, like nothing bad stood a chance at happening to the both of them. Taeyong liked it. It wasn’t harsh and relentless like how they usually kissed, more soft and languid and slow like how it had been back at the motel. 

Johnny pulled away first, reaching down to tuck some of Taeyong’s hair behind his ear. Taeyong opened his mouth to say something but was interrupted by a light suddenly shining straight on his face. Johnny was quick to move the both of them out of view. The lack of panicked shouting let Taeyong know that whoever had shone the light hadn’t noticed him but it did still mean that they were on their way further into the forest and it wouldn’t be too long until they did unless him and Johnny got a move on. 

“Where are we gonna go?” Taeyong asked, blinking up at Johnny.

“Japan, like you said,” Johnny said easily. 

“How?” Taeyong frowned, scrunching up his nose. “We don’t have a car.”

“We don’t but we’re about three hours away from the pier on foot,” Johnny explained, glancing behind Taeyong again. “If we just keep on in this direction we’ll eventually hit it.”

“What if we get caught?” Taeyong challenged because three hours was a really long journey and anyone could stumble upon them at anytime whether they were in the forest or not. They needed to think strategically. 

“Then we get caught,” Johnny muttered. “But that hasn’t happened yet and we don’t need to think about it unless it does.” He reached out a hand for Taeyong to take as the lights started to grow a bit closer. Taeyong took it, letting Johnny envelope his small hand in his much larger one. “Right now we need to go, okay?”

Taeyong hesitated a moment. He looked down at his (or Matthew’s) blood that had soaked into the oak of the tree he had been leaned against. If whoever was on their way moved in any closer and happened to shine their flashlight on that specific spot, they would know for certain that him and Johnny were somewhere nearby and that the tip called in on them was fake. It was a scary thought, the idea of what was easily more than ten people closing in on them, their weapons poised and ready to shoot.

He turned back to Johnny and forced himself to nod, giving Johnny’s hand a gentle squeeze. “Okay,” Taeyong said, nodding. 

And with that, they ran.

 


 

Taeyong didn’t know how long it had been but his side is screaming for him to stop walking immediately and he really, really fucking wished that he could have lost consciousness after successfully hotwiring Yukhei’s truck. He knew that if he had, the police probably would have caught them already considering that they had to have known something about the disappearance of Yukhei’s vehicle and what he had to do with it by now and that it was definitely best for the two of them to be walking but this was fucking painful. How had it not already been three hours yet?

Not only that, but Taeyong was terrified out of his mind. About an hour ago, it became obvious that the two of them had entered an area where civilization was extremely close. The sun had just started to rise and Taeyong could hear people on their way to work or school, either on foot or in some type of a vehicle. He couldn’t help but be anxious about the possibility of someone taking one wrong turn and running into them, two of Korea’s most wanted people. It was dangerous.

He was starting to feel a bit delirious again. Every so often, his vision would become a bit blurry and he would have to blink hard to get it back to normal and all of those black spots out from where they had started dancing before him. It didn’t take long for Johnny to notice and at one point, he moved in close and kept one arm curled around Taeyong’s waist to make sure that he would have some type of support in case he happened to stumble or fall. At times, the pressure of his arm would cause Taeyong to whine in pain and Johnny would immediately recoil in fear of having hurt him but Taeyong would always coerce him back over, silently letting him know that he needed him, no matter how much it was hurting him because they had to keep going. 

But Taeyong was tired. He was really, really fucking tired and didn’t see any signs of any pier in sight, only mountains and grasslands and the occasional skyline of Busan over the horizon. How long was it going to take for them to get there? More importantly, how long would it take for the police to catch them?

“I’m picking you up,” Johnny announced out of nowhere and Taeyong looked up at him, huffing quietly. 

“No, you’re not,” Taeyong scoffed because Omega or not, very much injured or not, he would be damned if he walked around in Johnny’s arms like some kind of baby. 

“Yes, I am,” Johnny said back, his stubbornness always so, so very apparent. “You’re slowing us down and we’re almost there.”

And it was extremely stupid and borderline childish for Taeyong to get defensive over the fact that Johnny had said that he was slowing the both of them down, especially when he knew that it was nothing but the truth but Taeyong couldn’t help it.

“Fuck you,” Taeyong snarled, his face burning with humiliation because whether he wanted to admit it or not, he didn’t like having to be dependant on someone else for something as simple as walking. 

“Don’t be a brat about it, Yong,” Johnny muttered and it was very clear that they were going back to their usual fussing and fighting that made their relationship them. 

“Not being a brat,” Taeyong mumbled, frowning. “I can walk by myself.”

“Are you seriously gonna make me beg you to let me pick you up for the sake of both of us?” Johnny asked bluntly. 

It was dumb for Taeyong to keep fighting this. He wanted to stop walking more than he didn’t want to be caught by the police and at this point, if they weren’t too far off from the piers, Johnny carrying him the rest of the way seemed like the best idea. He would just have to swallow his pride.

“Fine,” Taeyong caved, stopping. Johnny slipped his arm out from where it had been tucked around his waist. He moved to pick up Taeyong underneath his ass but Taeyong quickly stopped him, shaking his head. “On your back.”

Johnny scoffed quietly but bent down nonetheless, reaching behind him to help Taeyong climb onto his back. Taeyong made the mistake of moving too far up and ended up somewhere on Johnny’s shoulders, making it a total of two seconds before a branch was smacking him dead in his face. He sputtered and Johnny snorted before moving him further down his back, gesturing for Taeyong to wrap his legs around his middle which Taeyong did. 

“It’s not fucking funny,” Taeyong murmured once steady on top of Johnny, referring to how Johnny had laughed at him being attacked by the spare branch. 

“It is,” Johnny said before continuing to walk, not seeming at all affected by Taeyong’s weight on his back.

As it turned out, making the trek didn’t seem to take nearly as long once propped up on Johnny’s back. Before Taeyong could even really begin to enjoy himself, Johnny had stepped out of the thick coverage of the forest and Taeyong was being assaulted with the smell of nearby ocean water. Johnny placed him back down onto his feet carefully, sighing quietly. The pier wasn’t too crowded but there were still a fair amount of people around, people that would notice Taeyong being quite literally soaked in blood.

“So what’s the plan now?” Taeyong asked dryly. “Two fugitives walk onto a ferry to Japan?”

“That sounds like the setup to a bad joke,” Johnny responded and Taeyong glared up at him because what he had asked was a serious question and definitely nothing for Johnny to be joking about. Johnny quickly noticed his irritation and huffed, reaching up a hand to scratch at the back of his neck. He looked down at Taeyong for a long moment. “Turn it inside out.”

Taeyong looked down at himself, frowning a little. It seemed like such a simple idea, almost too simple for it to work. Still, he found himself stepping back into the foliage behind him and pulling off his sweatshirt, folding it inside out before slipping it back over his head. With how dark the fabric was, it only looked like the sweatshirt was suffering from a couple of stains, not completely soaked in blood. Taeyong looked up at Johnny. 

“The back of your neck and your hair is still pretty gross,” Johnny muttered, stepping into the foliage with him. He began to pull off his hoodie, handing it over to Taeyong who was starting to become very much aware of the fact that if anyone happened to look their direction, they would be exposed to the sight of two half–naked men. Taeyong took it from him quickly and slipped out the sweatshirt, giving it over to Johnny. 

Once dressed with the hoodie pulled over his head and tied closely under his chin, Taeyong waited for Johnny to say something. Johnny was silent for a long moment before a long sigh finally escaped him. 

“You’re gonna be pissed,” Johnny said.

“What?” Taeyong asked, laughing a bit dryly because he could just feel that he definitely wasn’t going to be up for whatever Johnny had planned. 

“There’s dried blood on your face,” Johnny mumbled and Taeyong scoffed almost immediately, shaking his head.

“You’re out of your fucking mind, Johnny Suh,” Taeyong said, lifting a hand to push his thumb into his mouth. Johnny watched him, the small hint of a smile playing on his lips. 

“Right underneath your bottom lip to the left,” Johnny instructed and Taeyong wiped up the blood to the best of his ability, looking to Johnny to see if he had gotten it. “Um,” Johnny said, shaking his head. “I meant your right.”

Taeyong groaned but did as he was asked, cringing at the taste of blood in his mouth when he stuck his thumb back inside. When he scrubbed at his skin again, he blinked over at Johnny for some kind of gesture that would tell him he had gotten it. Nothing came. 

“Are you fucking kidding me?” Taeyong snapped, frowning. Johnny shrugged helplessly. “Where the hell is it then?”

“Um,” Johnny said again. “I can’t —?”

“—Jesus Christ, fucking fine,” Taeyong sighed angrily, moving in closer to Johnny, giving him permission to do as he needed. 

He did his best not to cringe away as Johnny sucked his thumb into his mouth and went to drag it across the skin underneath his lower lip. Johnny laughed a little before pulling back, cocking his head to the side as he observed Taeyong closely.

“Got it,” Johnny chuckled before reaching into his back pocket, pulling out a face mask for both him and Taeyong that he must have kept with him from his backpack which was now gone. Taeyong blinked down at them for a long moment before snatching one from Johnny’s hands, causing him to laugh even louder.

“You’re not fucking funny,” Taeyong muttered under his breath, loosening the hood around his head to tuck each loop of the face mask around his ears, glaring up at Johnny as he did the same.

“I’m a little funny,” Johnny said and Taeyong had to resist the urge to punch him again. He waited for Taeyong to slip his hood back on before speaking again. “You ready?”

Was Taeyong ready to face the possibility of being caught trying to board a ferry to Fukuoka? Not particularly but again, this was their last and only bet against spending the rest of their adult lives in prison.

“Yeah,” Taeyong nodded slowly, stuffing both his hands into the pocket of the hoodie. 

And with that, they were on their way. Johnny stayed close to him in case he ended up losing his balance again. Once in the crowd of people at the front of the station, Taeyong realized that the two of them blended in well with everyone else. It was a cold day and almost everyone was bundled up with masks, beanies and thick jackets. They didn’t at all look suspicious. If anyone took a closer look at them, well, that was a different story but for now they were fine and that was all that mattered at the moment. 

“Let me do all the talking, alright?” Johnny muttered to him as they reached the desk, reaching in his back pocket for the wad of money that Taeyong knew he was still carrying with him. Suddenly, Taeyong was filled with this sense of fear. This all felt too easy. How were the two of them going to get away with waltzing onto a ferry to another country? Didn’t they need passports? They didn’t have fucking passports. They were going to get caught. Shit. They were definitely going to be caught. “Taeyong, calm down,” Johnny said, having sensed how anxious Taeyong had gotten in a matter of seconds. “It’ll be okay.”

Taeyong didn’t believe that but knew that they were only a few feet from the front desk and him being visibly nervous could draw more attention onto the both of them than they needed. He forced himself to exhale and nod, falling back two of three steps behind Johnny to let him do all the talking.

The woman behind the desk was very obviously older and couldn’t see well, if the way she was squinting behind her thick bifocals were any indication. Taeyong couldn’t hear her and Johnny’s conversation over the sound of his heart pounding in his ears but thought that it was going well, seeing that Johnny seemed to be talking to her pretty calmly. He looked around at the people surrounding them, some waiting around patiently, some boarding the ferry already.

Suddenly, his eyes landed on a girl not too far away from him. Her hair was long and dark and pulled up into a high ponytail. Her mouth and nose were covered by a mask but Taeyong could see how her sharp eyes were focused in on him closely. He turned around, making sure that there was no possibility that she was looking at someone who just so happened to be behind him but came up short. Taeyong looked back at her, his heartbeat starting to race even faster in his chest. Why was she staring at him so intently? Did she recognize him? She had to have recognized him. There was no other explanation as to why she was looking at him, staring at him like she knew him. Taeyong felt like he was about to throw up.

He almost nearly jumped right out of his skin at the feeling of someone touching his shoulder. He whirled around to see Johnny standing behind him, holding up the tickets. It had worked. Johnny had gotten them. They were halfway to being home –free. Except for one thing.

Taeyong turned back around to see that the girl had disappeared. He looked around the pier frantically, looking everywhere to see where she could have gone that quickly. She was nowhere in sight. Had he just imagined her? There was no way. He could still feel her piercing gaze melding his skin like a fucking hot knife. She had been there and now suddenly, she wasn’t. This wasn’t good. Taeyong could feel that it wasn’t good.

“Johnny, there was someone,” Taeyong breathed, whirling back around to face Johnny. He could barely find to words to express his panic, to express how fucking terrified he was about this. “She —She was fucking staring at me and—and—.”

“—Let’s go,” Johnny only interrupted quietly, glancing behind Taeyong at something Taeyong couldn’t see before ushering him along to the line to enter the ferry. On their way there, Taeyong couldn’t help but to continue looking over his shoulder, scared that he’d see the girl again.

They made it onto the ferry without any trouble but Taeyong was still overwhelmed by the overwhelming fear of that look of recognition in that girl’s eyes. She knew who he was. Where had she gone? Why had she left so quickly? Soon, him and Johnny were in their seats at the very back of the ferry, luckily given their own little veil of privacy with the first couple of seats ahead of them completely empty. Taeyong didn’t have any room to be grateful for that. He was too worried. 

“Johnny, someone fucking recognized me,” Taeyong said once they were seated, most people already settled onto the ferry. 

“I know,” Johnny mumbled. “The lady at the front recognized me too.”

This was worse than Taeyong had originally thought. Not only had he been recognized, but Johnny had been noticed too. Didn’t that mean that they had to have called the police or some kind of authority? Taeyong looked out the window, expecting to see someone bounding towards the ferry but saw no one. He looked back over at Johnny. 

“What the fuck are we gonna do?” Taeyong muttered, slinking down further into his seat as an attendant walked by them, beginning to close all the doors. 

“Enjoy the ride,” Johnny said back, as calm as ever. “And whatever happens happens.”

With that, Johnny reached over and took Taeyong’s hand in his, squeezing it like he had done to Johnny earlier. Taeyong looked up at him and Johnny offered him a small smile, leaning down to press a kiss to the top of his head.

In that moment, Taeyong realized that Johnny was right. Him panicking would ultimately prove to change nothing. It wouldn’t stop those women from having recognized the both of them. It wouldn’t stop whatever was going to happen to them from happening in the end. The only thing that him panicking would do was ruin what very easily might be his last free experience on the outside world. He couldn’t control what was going to happen to him. All he could do was live in the moment. 

“Okay,” Taeyong mumbled, moving in closer to Johnny, forcing himself to nod. 

The ferry pulled off without any trouble. If Taeyong saw the ominous colors that he had been doing his best to avoid over the past month out of the corner of his eye the moment that the boat had traveled at least over a meter from the dock, he did his best to ignore it. 

The ride would only take a couple of hours. At one point, an attendant came over to the both of them and asked if they wanted anything to drink. Taeyong asked for a water. Johnny thanked the woman and said that he was good with nothing. It was quiet between the both of them for awhile. Taeyong drank his water, holding the cup carefully with both hands. Looking out the window, all he could see was the ocean. It was kind of scary but kind of soothing at the same time. He liked it. 

“What do you think is gonna happen to us?” Taeyong asked, looking up at Johnny who had been peering out the window along with him. 

“We’ll get sent to prison,” Johnny said calmly. “They’ll pin Matthew’s murder on the both of us.” He paused a moment, looking down at Taeyong with a small frown. “You can tell them that I did that. You don’t deserve to go down for it.”

“We both did it,” Taeyong told him because they had. If Taeyong had never pulled Matthew down, Johnny wouldn’t have been able to scramble for the gun and shoot him. It was a team effort between the both of them. He wouldn’t let Johnny take the fall by himself.

“I’m the one who shot him,” Johnny reminded and Taeyong couldn’t help but roll his eyes. 

“Stop trying to play hero, Johnny. You’ve already done enough of that,” Taeyong said, glancing back out the window again. “Plus, you can’t control me once we’re separated.”

Johnny went quiet after that. Taeyong watched the ocean’s waves ripple, taking another sip of his water that had gone slightly lukewarm since the moment the attendant had handed it to him. He didn’t bother trying to figure out how long it had been since then. 

“You think we’re gonna be separated?” Johnny asked quietly.

Last Taeyong had checked—and he had checked, had done his research on all of the correctional institutions in South Korea—there were thirty–seven prisons in the country currently. The chance of them being placed in the same one, especially when the authorities were well aware that the two of them had ran off together, were slim to none.  

“Probably,” Taeyong said honestly and Johnny sighed. 

“That’s gonna suck,” he said, Taeyong nodding in agreement because it was. Them being separated from one another would be a whole new punishment in addition to the one that they were sure to be given soon enough.

It went silent again. Taeyong put down his cup of water in the holder embedded into his seat and reached for Johnny’s hand again, Johnny taking it without hesitation. For some odd reason, the feeling of Johnny rubbing his thumb over the back of his hand was more soothing than Taeyong had been expecting. He sighed quietly and moved to put his head on Johnny’s shoulder, closing his eyes. 

“I don’t think I regret anything,” Taeyong admitted. 

“Really?” Johnny asked and Taeyong hummed in response. “I don’t think I regret anything either.”

“Think for yourself much?” Taeyong said dryly and Johnny snorted. 

“Shut the fuck up,” Johnny said. Taeyong laughed and cuddled in closer to Johnny’s side. He took a moment to think about it before speaking up again. 

“I think you’re gonna miss my cunt the most,” Taeyong teased, smiling softly, his eyes still closed. 

“Wow, we’re about to be arrested and you’re thinking of having sex?” Johnny questioned, causing Taeyong to laugh quietly again. “You’re a fucking heathen.”

“I know,” Taeyong said, spreading his legs a little in his seat. “So do me a favor and touch me before I’m forced in a fucking jail cell for the rest of my life, yeah?”

Johnny scoffed quietly but moved his hand to the inside of Taeyong’s right leg regardless, moving teasingly up his thin thigh before unbuttoning his jeans slowly, pausing when an attendant passed by on her way to the front of the shuttle. Taeyong made an impatient noise in the back of his throat when Johnny didn’t start moving again fast enough, slumping down further into his seat.

“Chill out,” Johnny muttered, moving in close to begin mouthing at the side of his neck, right where the he had marked him. The pleasure was almost immediate and Taeyong gasped shakily, letting Johnny unzip his jeans and slip his hand down the front as discreetly as possible.

It seemed like the last thing the two of them should be doing, not only because it wasn’t appropriate for them to be having sex in the back of a very public ferry but because it could have easily been the last bit of time they were going to have together. Yet and still, it kind of seemed like they should have been doing exactly that considering that they were going to be yanked apart within a matter of some mere hours. 

“Fuck,” Taeyong breathed softly as Johnny pushed a hand into his panties, rubbing two of his fingers through his slick–soaked cunt, feeling more start to gush out of him with the simple motion. He heard Johnny chuckle lowly against his neck, dragging his tongue against his bond mark.

Another attendant walked past and Johnny pulled up immediately, repositioning himself so that his body was blocking Taeyong’s from view. Once she was gone, Johnny leaned forward and pressed a lingering kiss against Taeyong’s lips. Taeyong smiled softly against Johnny’s mouth, parting his lips slightly to allow Johnny to push his tongue inside. They kissed slowly and steadily, completely uncaring of the fact that anyone could call them out at any given moment. 

“Fuck me,” Taeyong mumbled into Johnny’s mouth, rolling his hips down against Johnny’s awaiting hand. “Please.”

“Can’t fuck you right here, Yong,” Johnny muttered back, dipping those two fingers into Taeyong’s leaking cunt before immediately pulling out, causing Taeyong to whine frustratedly. 

“Don’t be mean to me,” Taeyong said desperately, shaking his head. “Not right now.”

Johnny chuckled again and pulled back, biting his lower lip as he watched Taeyong writhe in his seat, all worked up even though he had barely been touched yet. He glanced behind him to find that there was no one nearby and slipped his hand underneath Taeyong’s panties again, catching his slick on his fingertips. He pulled them back out and pushed them into Taeyong’s mouth, Taeyong accepting them obediently, moaning quietly as he sucked on Johnny’s two digits like his life depended on it.

“My pretty baby,” Johnny breathed, slipping his fingers out of Taeyong’s mouth, dragging them out slowly until the thin string of saliva that connected his fingers to Taeyong’s pretty lips snapped. Taeyong opened his legs even wider than before, giving Johnny room to push his hand back into his panties. “The prettiest,” Johnny continued, dragging his fingers against Taeyong’s stiff clit, causing the other to mewl quietly at the shock that ran up his spine with the simple touch.

Johnny started to roll his clit in small circles with his two fingers, leaning up to kiss the tip of Taeyong’s nose as he kept moaning, forcing himself to stay quiet so that he could enjoy his moment as long as possible without anyone intervening. Johnny moved up to kiss his forehead all while pinching his clit and Taeyong is unable to stop himself from gasping loudly, his body seizing up with the sensation. Johnny’s head snapped to see if anyone had possibly noticed, settling down a little upon seeing that no one had stirred.

“Be quiet for me, baby,” Johnny whispered to him, kissing Taeyong on the mouth again and Taeyong nodded frantically, wanting to be the best for Johnny one last time. “Good boy.”

And it was so fucking hard for Taeyong to keep quiet as Johnny finally slipped his fingers inside, scissoring them into his hole, stretching him out beautifully. It felt so, so fucking good that Taeyong almost couldn’t stand it, biting at his lip to stop himself from making any noise as he felt more of his slick leak out around Johnny’s thick fingers, soaking into the fabric of his jeans.

“You’re so pretty, Taeyong,” Johnny reminded him softly, his face so gentle compared to how roughly he was fucking him with his fingers, his wrist rubbing against his hard clit with each uptake. “So, so pretty for me.”

“You’re so fucking good at this,” Taeyong whined, humping down against Johnny’s hand, not wanting it all to end so quickly but so fucking desperate to come all over Johnny and the seat underneath him. “Always so good at this.”

“Yeah?” Johnny asked darkly, pulling his fingers back out to start toying with Taeyong’s clit again. “You’re mine, okay? No matter what happens, you belong to me, Yong. No one else, only me.”

“Only you,” Taeyong breathed, his face burning at the sound of his pussy squelching when Johnny pushed his fingers back inside, fucking his slick into his hole.

“Don’t be stingy,” Johnny muttered. “Touch me too.”

The way he had said it was so dirty, so fucking filthy that it made Taeyong wish that the two of them could have some alone time where Johnny could fuck the absolute shit out of him and he could make as much noise as he wanted, letting Johnny fucking ruin him with his thick cock like he had done back at Mark’s house. He nodded again and reached his hand over into Johnny’s lap, shakily unzipping Johnny’s pants as quickly as possible.

Johnny let out the prettiest moan as Taeyong took him into his hand, his thumb sliding over the head of his cock as Johnny continued to fuck his pussy absolutely stupid, bringing tears to Taeyong’s eyes with how good it felt. He pulled back, raising his hand up to his mouth to spit into his palm, moaning as Johnny found that spot inside of him, fucking his fingers up against it relentlessly.

“Wish I could fuck you so bad,” Johnny mumbled as Taeyong took him back into his hand again, slowly starting to jerk him off. And Taeyong wanted that so bad too, wanted Johnny to fucking ruin him one last time but knew that they couldn’t. He pressed his two fingers hard against that spot, not letting up for even a second, slick spilling out of Taeyong like a fucking faucet.

One hard thrust made Taeyong squeal out noisily, causing Johnny to immediately slap a hand against Taeyong’s mouth to ensure that it wouldn’t happen again. A couple of people turned around at the sound of it but didn’t care enough to actually actively search for the source. Johnny started fucking into him even harder, his hand clamped tight around his mouth, muffling any noise that would dare to come out.

And Taeyong knew that he wasn’t going to make it much longer, not with the way that his cunt had started to clench around Johnny’s fingers, throbbing with the need to come. Johnny’s wrist kept hitting his clit, rubbing against it and Taeyong can’t take it, trying to close his legs around Johnny’s arm only for Johnny to force them back open, moving his fingers in and out even harder. Drool dripped out into the palm of Johnny’s hand and Taeyong’s eyes rolled back as he came, squirting hard around Johnny’s thick fingers with a breathless mewl, followed by a series of overwhelmed whines as Johnny continued to fuck him through his orgasm, letting him mess himself right there in front of what had to be about thirty different people. 

Johnny dropped his hand from Taeyong’s mouth as he started to come down from his orgasm, breathing heavily through his mouth. His cunt was gripped onto Johnny’s fingers one last time before Johnny pulled out, Taeyong gasping quietly as he clenched around nothing. He let Johnny push those same fingers into his mouth, sucking them gently, smiling deliriously at the taste of himself. He really didn’t want to leave Johnny, not now, not ever.

“Hey, what are you doing?” Johnny asked quietly as Taeyong pushed some of his hair out of his face before spitting Johnny’s fingers out, sitting up a bit in his seat to see if anyone had zeroed in on them. When he came to the conclusion that no one had, he moved down where his face was a mere few inches away from Johnny’s cock, wrapping his hand around it teasingly.

“Returning the favor,” Taeyong breathed before taking the head of Johnny’s cock into his mouth, hollowing out his cheeks. Johnny groaned softly, his hands flying up to curl into Taeyong’s soft hair.

“Yong, I—,” Johnny started, interrupting himself with a low groan as Taeyong swallowed even more of him down, taking him all the way to the very base of his cock. His fingers dug in even tighter against Taeyong’s scalp, gripping his hair roughly as Taeyong’s throat flexed around him beautifully before the younger was pulling up to take a breath, spit dripping down his chin. “Fuck,” Johnny said, using his free hand to lift Taeyong’s head up by his chin, leaning down for a lingering kiss against Taeyong’s spit–slicked lips. “You’re so fucking pretty.”

“You can’t be with anyone else either, okay?” Taeyong mumbled into Johnny’s mouth, his hand still steadily moving up and down Johnny’s cock. “If I’m yours, you’re mine.”

“S–Shit, I—Okay, baby, yeah,” Johnny nodded and Taeyong smiled a bit before sucking Johnny’s cock back down his throat.

Johnny only made it a couple more seconds before he was coming down Taeyong’s throat in thick streaks, causing the younger to choke a little. He swallowed around Johnny’s sensitive cock, keeping his throat open for the rest of his come that leaked out against his tongue, causing him to moan quietly at the taste. Once sure that Johnny was finished, Taeyong pulled off and swallowed around, squeezing the last few drops out come out of the head of Johnny’s cock, letting it drip against his tongue.

“Fuck,” Johnny said quietly, running a hand through his hair. “How come you’ve never done that for me before?”

“We didn’t really have a lot of time for me to suck your dick, did we?” Taeyong answered sarcastically, watching as Johnny tucked himself back into his pants, still reeling from how fucking amazing Johnny had tasted on his tongue.

“Shit,” Johnny muttered, looking down at the dark stain in Taeyong’s lap. “That’s—That’s a little unfortunate.”

Taeyong looked down at himself and snorted quietly, shrugging. “A little,” Taeyong confirmed and Johnny laughed, pulling him in for another kiss. They were only able to stay in each other’s embrace for a little while, as another attendant came strolling by right as Taeyong went to deepen it. 

It went quiet after that. Taeyong looked out the window to see that they had started to approach a nearby island. Not too long after that, the intercom crackled to life from above him. 

“Hello, we are now approaching Hakata Port,” the calm, female voice informed them.

Taeyong blinked over at Johnny who had already been looking down at him. “Have you ever been to Japan?” he asked.

“Only once,” Johnny answered. “Me and my family took a trip over here during our first year of living in Korea.”

“Do you know any Japanese?” Taeyong questioned and Johnny took a moment to think about it before saying something in Japanese that Taeyong couldn’t understand. A small beat of silence passed before Taeyong was laughing quietly, shaking his head. “I have no fucking clue what that means.”

“Me either,” Johnny admitted and Taeyong laughed even louder at that, burying his face into Johnny’s chest. 

“Christ, I’m never gonna be able to dye my hair back to normal,” Taeyong mumbled into Johnny’s shirt, groaning lightly. 

“It’ll fade,” Johnny reassured him, rubbing at his back. Taeyong knew that was true but still didn’t exactly want to have to deal with the waiting period that would ultimately come with it. 

It went quiet for some more time between them. Taeyong went to lift up his head from Johnny’s chest to look out the window only for Johnny to push him back down before he could sit up completely. It didn’t take a genius to figure out why he had done it and Taeyong felt his heartbeat start to pick up again at the thought.

“I don’t wanna get up,” Taeyong muttered because he didn’t, he didn’t want to face all those people out there, all those people waiting for him. He could hear people murmuring in confusion at the sight collected outside on the pier, all worried that something might have happened that would ruin their day trip to Fukuoka.

“We can’t just stay here,” Johnny told him softly, slowly slipping the hood off of Taeyong’s head to card his fingers gently through his hair. “They’ll come get us eventually. Might as well face them, you know.”

“We can’t run?” Taeyong asked and Johnny shrugged.

“Unless you know some secret way to get out of here with them noticing us I don’t think that we can,” Johnny answered and Taeyong sighed quietly. This was really the end for the both of them. 

People got up to start filing off of the ferry only to be stopped by a stern voice telling them to sit back down. Taeyong felt like he was about to throw up. The police were starting to fill the small area and the hushed murmuring of the people aboard started to get louder at the sight of them. Like always, Johnny sensed his fear and pulled him closer against his chest, calming him with his scent.

“It’ll be alright,” Johnny reassured him gently, still running his fingers through Taeyong’s hair. “Just stay calm, alright? Don’t give them any reason to hurt you.”

“I’m scared,” Taeyong admitted because he was. He didn’t want to be separated from Johnny and didn’t want to have to face a trial, didn’t want to be forced back in the media and asked by all these random men and women who ultimately didn’t care about him why he had done what he had done, didn’t want to have to spend the rest of his life in a jail cell. He realized that there was probably no other outcome for him though. If he had gotten in that car to the airport, he would be dead and he didn’t think that there was any other thing he and Johnny could have done to prevent them from being where they were now. 

“I know,” Johnny muttered as the voices started to come closer, as they checked and looked and didn’t find who they were looking for in the rows further up. “Stay calm.”

Taeyong pulled his head up from Johnny’s chest and looked up at him, unable to stop the tears from welling in his eyes. “I’m really fucking sorry for the way I treated you, okay?” Taeyong said, shaking his head. “I’ve never said that out loud and I’m so sorry and we probably could have had more time with each other if I hadn’t been such a fucking—.”

Before he could finish, Johnny interrupted him with a kiss. He wiped the tears from where they had leaked out onto Taeyong’s cheeks before pulling back, smiling down at Taeyong softly.

“Remember when I was breaking down back in Busan and you told me to suck it up and snap out of it?” Johnny asked and Taeyong hesitated for a moment before nodding. “Well, it’s time for you to take your own advice.” He bent down to kiss Taeyong again. “Plus, if they see you crying out there, they’ll think you’re weak and I think you’ve done way too much to keep up that image, haven’t you?”

Taeyong glared up at Johnny with that for a long moment before breathing out a wet laugh. He shook his head as Johnny’s thumb swiped across his cheek again, sniffling quietly. 

“Thank you for all of this,” Taeyong ultimately decided to say. Johnny smiled and ran his hand through Taeyong’s hair one last time, opening his mouth to say something, to respond to what Taeyong had told him, only to be interrupted by someone snatching him up out of his seat. He cursed loudly and Taeyong watched as some officer twisted Johnny’s arms behind his back, slamming him face –first into a nearby seat. Taeyong backed himself against the window behind him, doing his best to avoid whoever was sure to come for him next. 

Unfortunately, the man who grabbed him was much, much stronger than him, easily able to wrestle him out of his seat despite all of his struggling. He screamed and shouted for the man to let him go but only ended up with his face smacked down against one of the seats in front of him. He looked up to see Johnny in front of him, wincing at how tightly the man behind him was handling him. He felt something start to dribble down his lip as Johnny’s eyes met his, lingering there for just a moment before Johnny broke out into a big smile, much too big for his soft, stupidly–attractive face. 

“Your nose is bleeding again,” Johnny breathed out, a pained groan following shortly thereafter. Taeyong grinned along with him, watching as the dark fluid started to drip down from Johnny’s nose too. 

“So is yours,” Taeyong giggled, only to be immediately told to shut the fuck up by the man above him. The two of them started laughing almost hysterically and Taeyong had honestly never felt so light–headed with fondness for another person before in his life. 

They take Johnny away first and Taeyong watched as he was forced out of the ferry, met with more officers towards the front of the car. He could hear the commotion coming from outside, the photographers and journalists and officers and people who had just happened to be passing by ready to bombard them with questions and relentless stares. It all felt so surreal.

“Get up, bitch,” the man behind him demanded, forcing him upright. Taeyong cried out in pain, wanting so badly to let this guy know that he was wounded but so, so aware that he probably couldn’t give a single shit otherwise. He felt the blood from his nose leak down his lip and into his mouth, flooding him with the harsh taste of copper. 

And honestly, as he was taken out into the cold air of Japan, immediately overwhelmed with yelling and flashes from every other side of him, Taeyong couldn’t bring himself to regret what all had happened. Everything had happened for a reason. As he was shoved into the police car very carelessly, his vision going black with the unbearable pain that shot up his side with his collision with the unforgiving cushion of the backseat, Taeyong thought of something his mother had told him that night he had showed up in her bedroom, sobbing as he tried his hardest to understand his first heat and why it was happening. 

“Here’s the thing, baby,” she had said, cuddling Taeyong close to her on the bed, his father’s side empty due to him working a late shift at work that night. She pet through Taeyong’s short hair, rocking him slowly as he kept whining into her chest in pain, gasping at each shock that ran up his spine with each passing second. “The universe is gonna work the way that it works and the only thing that we can do is go along with it.”

Taeyong hadn’t realized how true what she had said was until now.