“Looking pretty good out there, Kim.”
Taehyung cocks an eyebrow at him, grinning as he saunters over. He’s a little sweaty from the game, a streak of orange dirt on his pant leg from where he’d slid into home base during the seventh inning.
“Glad you think so,” he says. “Anything in particular catch your eye?”
Jeongguk gives him a very deliberate once over. There’s a camera trained on them, but he doesn’t care - this is standard practice by now, the only part of their relationship that they willingly share with the public.
“Yeah, you’re filling out those pants pretty nicely.”
Taehyung snorts, his grin widening. “I meant any plays, but I’ll never say no to a blatant come-on.”
“In that case, got any plans tonight?”
Something flashes across Taehyung’s face, so fast that Jeongguk can’t identify what it is. But then he’s laughing, rolling his eyes as he says: “Yeah, with you, loser.”
They’re doing an initial walkthrough tonight for a special they’ll be recording next week, a “Behind the Scenes at Oracle Park” feature where Taehyung and Yoongi will take Jeongguk on a tour of the closed, empty stadium. It’s Jeongguk’s first big solo story since he (along with Namjoon) left KRON7 for a larger network last year, and he’s getting pretty excited about it.
“Oh, that’s right,” Jeongguk says as if he’s only just remembering. “Lucky me.”
Taehyung shakes his head, but the expression on his face is fond. “Are you going to ask me any actual questions, or should I move along to a reporter who doesn’t constantly flirt with me?”
After three and a half years, Jeongguk knows it’s an empty threat, but he plays along anyway.
“Don’t you dare,” Jeongguk says sternly. “Now, about that run in the seventh inning…”
He does manage to fit in a few serious questions, since he’s a very serious professional, after all, and then he continues on his way to interview Yoongi and a few of the other players. Once the media coverage period is over and the team is gathering to return to their locker room, he finds Taehyung again, kissing him on the cheek as they say goodbye.
“I’ll see you at home?” he says questioningly. “Or are you just going to stay here until the walkthrough?”
Once again, Taehyung’s face does something strange, almost like he’s nervous. Jeongguk figures it must be related to the special, but it’s weird because he’s obviously used to being on TV by now.
“I’ll probably stay here, I told Yoongi I’d go over some stuff with him,” Taehyung explains. “I brought a change of clothes.”
“Okay,” Jeongguk nods, deciding not to push it. “I’ll see you in a few hours, then. Love you.”
He heads back to the office for a bit with Namjoon, reviewing some of the footage from today with the editors and catching up on a few emails. By the time he leaves, he has just enough time to stop home briefly to shower, change, and feed Yeontan. Even though Jeongguk had only moved in a year and a half ago, the house doesn’t feel like just Taehyung’s anymore - it feels like theirs. He feels far more at home here than he ever had in his own apartment.
The stadium is eerily quiet when he returns. He’s been here with Taehyung a few times when it’s been closed, and he always finds it so strange but also kind of breathtaking. Large, echoey hallways, rows and rows of empty seats, a place that was built to be filled to the brim completely devoid of people. It feels like a special treat to be here when it’s like this, a peak behind the curtain. It’s the kind of thing he wishes he could go back and share with his nine year-old self.
Namjoon is there already when he arrives, along with Yoongi and, to Jeongguk’s (not really) surprise, Seokjin and Hoseok. The two of them aren’t part of the special, but since it’s after hours and they’re all friends, he supposes it’s not unusual for them to tag along. He doesn’t see the camera people anywhere, but he doesn’t see Taehyung either, so he wonders if maybe they’re doing some test filming elsewhere in the stadium.
“Jeonggukkie!” Hoseok cries, the first in a series of warm greetings from the others. They’re all smiling very widely; Jeongguk didn’t expect them to be this excited about the special, but it’s nice that they are.
“Hey,” he replies. “Where’s Tae?”
“He’s out on the diamond with the camera crew,” Seokjin says, confirming Jeongguk’s suspicions. “They wanted to get a feel for the lighting out there.”
“Cool,” Jeongguk nods. “Should we head out there?”
“Yes!” Hoseok practically squeals, earning an elbow in the ribs from Yoongi. Jeongguk raises his eyebrows, confused.
When no one makes any move towards the hallway that leads to the diamond, Jeongguk takes a hesitant step in that direction himself. “Uh. I guess I’ll lead the way?”
“Yes, after you,” Seokjin says, the rest of them nodding enthusiastically. Jeongguk wonders what’s gotten into everyone tonight, but he steps into the hallway anyway, the others trailing a bit behind.
When he pushes open the door that leads to the diamond, he thinks for a second that there’s been a mistake. He doesn’t see any crew or camera equipment anywhere, doesn’t even see Taehyung at first until he catches sight of him standing alone over home plate. Jeongguk’s still sort of far away, but he can tell that Taehyung is wearing a suit, can tell that he’s fidgeting a bit as he looks back in Jeongguk’s direction.
There’s a prickling in Jeongguk’s consciousness as he starts to piece together what this might be, what is possibly happening here, and he thinks he might actually pass out because no, there’s no way, there’s no fucking way -
“Jeongguk,” Namjoon murmurs, nudging him forward from where he had completely frozen in place. “Go.”
As if on autopilot, his feet start to move, blood roaring in his ears as he steps onto the field and walks towards Taehyung. Walks towards home.
As a rule, Taehyung is not really someone who gets nervous. There are exceptions, of course, like when he met Jeongguk’s parents for the first time or before the final game of last year’s World Series, but generally he’s pretty composed. As a professional baseball player, he’s learned to keep his nerves in check even under high pressure situations, and as a public figure, he’s become a master of keeping his facial expressions neutral.
Today, though, he’s been practically shitting himself since the moment he woke up.
It’s stupid, because he has a plan, a good plan, and he’s like 99% sure that Jeongguk is going to say yes. They live together, and they’re really happy, and when they talk about the future it always involves the two of them as a pair. So rationally speaking, it’s not like he thinks Jeongguk is going to turn around and run screaming from him, but still. It’s not every day that you propose to your boyfriend, and Taehyung is freaking the fuck out.
The game is a good distraction, and then there’s Jeongguk himself, who, despite being the current source of Taehyung’s anxiety, also always manages to make him feel relaxed and happy. When Taehyung sees him in the club house after the game, he’s tempted to drag Jeongguk into a closet and propose to him right then, just so that he can get it over with and go back to feeling normal.
He doesn’t do that, though, because Jeongguk deserves better than that - he deserves the whole evening that Taehyung has planned, and dammit, Taehyung’s going to give it to him. Even if he literally shits himself in the process.
So he stays in the club house after the game, paces around the locker room and Yoongi’s office and, eventually, the empty hallways of the stadium. He practices his speech to Hoseok and to Jimin, who’d flown in from L.A. just for this, and allows Jimin to style his hair while Yoongi gives him a pep talk. Seokjin is off handling the last minute details of the after party, but he shows up with Namjoon in tow about 30 minutes before Jeongguk is due to arrive, just in time to give Taehyung another pep talk.
Then there’s nothing to do but wait, and Taehyung goes out to the baseball diamond alone to do that, wanting a few moments to himself.
After about a year of dating Jeongguk, he’d been pretty certain that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with him. The first few months after they went public with their relationship had been difficult, but the experience had also brought them closer. Rather than pushing him away, Jeongguk had leaned into him further, and together, they’d slowly adapted to a new normal. There had been challenges of course, paparazzi and cheating rumors and fights that had nothing to do with the publicity, just them learning to navigate their relationship. But even amidst all of that, the years they’ve been together have been the happiest of Taehyung’s life. He loves the life that he and Jeongguk have built together, and he knows Jeongguk does too.
He’d made up his mind to propose about six months ago, right after he and the team had won their first World Series together. It had been a moment of such pure, exhilarating bliss, and being able to share that with Jeongguk had made it even more special. It made him realize he wanted Jeongguk there with him for every major moment in his life, good or bad, and that he wanted to do the same for Jeongguk.
After that, it had just been a matter of planning and finding the right moment. He’d thought about doing it at home, just the two of them and Yeontan, and he liked the idea of something so simple and low-key. But Taehyung has always had an appreciation for the dramatic, the symbolic, and when the idea of doing it at the stadium occurred to him, he couldn’t shake it. Then Jeongguk told him about the behind the scenes special, and a walkthrough presented itself as the perfect cover story to get Jeongguk alone in the stadium at night.
So here Taehyung is, standing over home plate with a small, crushed velvet box tucked awkwardly into his pants pocket. The sky is a dark, navy blue above him, the harsh stadium lights illuminating the green of the field and the stark white lines drawn in the dirt. It’s the quietest Taehyung has ever known Oracle Park to be, the only sounds coming from the hum of city life on the other side of the walls.
It all feels a bit surreal, the empty stadium and the bright lights and the fact that he’s about to freaking propose -
There’s the distinct sound of a door opening, one of those heavy metallic ones, and Taehyung swears his heart drops straight out of his ass when his eyes land on Jeongguk. He’s standing stock still at one of the entrances to the field, seemingly staring at Taehyung even though it’s difficult to make out the exact expression on his face.
Please don’t freak out, Taehyung thinks to himself, his insecurities rearing their heads as Jeongguk remains motionless. Please come here, just come here -
Jeongguk stumbles forward a bit, Taehyung thinks someone might have pushed him, but then he’s walking forward, coming closer until Taehyung can see the stunned look on his absurdly handsome face. A little closer, and Taehyung is almost positive there are tears in his eyes - he just prays that they’re the good kind.
“Hi, Jeonggukkie,” he manages to say, his voice coming out a bit strangled.
“Tae,” Jeongguk replies, his eyes extra round as they search Taehyung’s face, slipping down to his suit and then back up again. “Tae, what - ”
Taehyung pulls the box out of his pocket and sinks down, one knee resting on home base. Jeongguk makes a strange sort of choking noise as he watches him, hand rising to cover his mouth.
“Jeonggukkie,” Taehyung begins. He’s shaking.
“Oh my god,” Jeongguk breathes.
“I really - I really didn’t know if this was in the cards for me, having a love like this,” Taehyung says. “When a cute, shy reporter stumbled into my life four years ago, I certainly wasn’t expecting him to turn into the love of my life. But he did, you did, and here we are, and I - I feel so, so lucky every single day that I get to be with you.”
He pauses to take a breath, notices that the tears in Jeongguk’s eyes are now streaming freely down his cheeks.
“You make me so happy, and I just - I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I want to spend the rest of my life loving you, and laughing with you, and kissing you.” He swallows, feeling overwhelmed by the strength of the emotion inside of him right now. “I want to make sure that you never feel lost or lonely again, because you’ll always have me.”
Jeongguk sinks to his knees in front of Taehyung, and he looks so stupidly adorable with his nose pink from crying that Taehyung almost forgets the rest of his speech. But then he remembers where they are, the very place their knees are currently resting, and he soldiers on.
“You’re my home, Jeongguk, and I want to be your home too.” With trembling hands, he opens the box, presenting the simple silver band to Jeongguk. Their initials are engraved on the inside. “I love you so, so much. Will you marry me?”
Jeongguk is nodding before Taehyung can even get the words out, pulling him in and kissing him until Taehyung’s cheeks are also wet with his tears. “Yes,” he says into Taehyung’s mouth, and Taehyung’s heart absolutely soars. “Yes, fuck yes, oh my god, I love you so much - ”
“Wait, wait, let me put the ring on you,” Taehyung says, crying and laughing and missing Jeongguk’s finger twice because he’s still shaking and his vision is a little blurry.
“I can’t believe you proposed to me over home plate in freaking Oracle Park,” Jeongguk says, looking around in amazement.
Taehyung grins sheepishly. “Too much?”
“No,” Jeongguk says vehemently, shaking his head. “Perfect.” He pauses, looking thoughtful. “Wait, so was everyone else in on - ”
As if on queue, Jimin, Hoseok, and Yoongi burst through the same door that Jeongguk had come from, whooping and cheering loudly. They crowd around Taehyung and Jeongguk in one giant group hug, ruffling their hair and shouting congratulations.
“I told you guys not to watch!” Taehyung chides them, although he’s really far too happy right now to care that much. He’s also not surprised.
“Did you really think we were going to miss out on this opportunity?” Jimin asks, eyebrows raised. “Please.”
“Seokjin and Namjoon went ahead,” Yoongi says. “I said we should go too but Hobi’s a sap and wanted to stay.”
Hoseok gives him a deeply unimpressed look. “Please, we all know who the real sap in this relationship is.”
Hoseok and Yoongi had finally gotten together the day after the Giants won the World Series the previous year. Hoseok had marched into Yoongi’s office and announced that with a championship under their belts, he was ready to move on from baseball. Yoongi had kissed him on the spot. So now they’re boyfriends, and they act… pretty much exactly the same as they had before they started dating, just with a bit less pining.
“Alright, well now we all need to go,” Taehyung says, shooing them along. “Come on. My fiancé and I will be right behind you.”
They all coo at the use of the word fiancé, but they do as Taehyung asks, giving him and Jeongguk a little space. When he turns back to Jeongguk, he finds him absolutely beaming.
“Fiancé,” he says, squeezing Taehyung’s hand. “I like the sound of that. Are you gonna tell me where we’re all supposedly going?”
“Surprise,” Taehyung replies mysteriously, tugging on his hand so that they can follow the others off the field and out of the stadium.
The surprise is a small celebration with their closest family and friends, hosted in the VIP room of the very bar where Taehyung had taken Jeongguk for a night cap the first time they really hung out. Everyone cheers when they walk in, Ella running forward and wrapping them both up in a bone-crushingly tight hug. Jeongguk looks both stunned and delighted to see her there; Taehyung suspects he’ll be even more excited when he hears she’ll be staying for another four days.
Jeongguk’s parents are there too, a bit more subdued in their reaction but still kind and supportive. And then there’s Taehyung’s family, who had insisted on making the trip despite the distance and the fact that Hyejin would have to miss a few days of school. He’d tried to tell them it wasn’t necessary, but in truth, he’s ecstatic that they’re here. This moment wouldn’t have felt complete without them.
It’s a joyous night, full of drinks and laughter and dancing. Taehyung pulls Jeongguk onto the makeshift dance floor and the others follow, Seokjin and Namjoon making each other laugh with their increasingly crazy dance moves, Jimin twirling Hyejin around the room. He sees Yoongi and Hoseok holding hands as they talk to Ella, sees his parents deep in conversation with Jeongguk’s, and he feels blown away with awe and love and gratitude.
“This is amazing, Tae,” Jeongguk says. One of his hands is clasped in Taehyung’s, the other curled around his shoulder. “I can’t believe you planned all of this.”
“I knew Ella would kill me if I didn’t have some sort of party,” he says, only half-joking. Jeongguk laughs. “But I thought it would be nice to celebrate with the people we love the most.”
Jeongguk nods. “It’s really nice. It makes it feel even more special.” He presses his cheek against Taehyung’s, the two of them swaying slowly on the spot. “Kinda looking forward to getting home and celebrating with you alone, though.”
Taehyung pulls back to look at him, wiggling his eyebrows suggestively. “Why, Jeon Jeongguk, that sounds like a proposition if I’ve ever heard one.”
Jeongguk scoffs, rolling his eyes. “Please, don’t insult my virtue like that,” he teases. “I’m still an unmarried man, after all.”
“Not for long,” Taehyung murmurs, pulling him in closer. He rests his chin on Jeongguk’s shoulder, eyes scanning the room around them. It holds a lot of memories. “Remember the first night we came here?”
“Vividly,” Jeongguk says. He shakes his head, huffing out a self-deprecating laugh. “I thought I was dreaming the whole time.”
Taehyung tuts, swatting him gently. He’s heard it enough by now to know that Jeongguk was kind of in awe of him when they first met, but it’s still strange to think about. In his mind, he was the lucky one to snag Jeongguk, to find someone who was willing to take on all the baggage of his celebrity.
Now, he knows they both lucked out in finding each other.
“I wanted to kiss you so badly when we were at the top of those stairs,” Taehyung tells him, speaking into Jeongguk’s ear. He says it quietly, like it’s some sort of admission.
He’s close enough to hear Jeongguk’s throat click when he swallows. “Me too,” he breathes.
Taehyung turns his head, nose brushing over Jeongguk’s cheek until Jeongguk gets the message and meets him for a kiss. It’s soft but lingering, both of them a bit caught up in the intensity of the moment, of the whole night.
“Good thing we’ve been able to make up for it a few times since then,” Taehyung hums when they break apart. Jeongguk grins.
“Is it bad if we’re the first ones to leave our own engagement party?” he asks, glancing around.
“No, I think it’s allowed,” Taehyung says, surveying the room. Their families had left a little while ago, but the party is still in full swing for their friends. Jimin and Ella appear to be ordering shots, a red-faced Seokjin insisting that he wants one too while Namjoon tries to talk him out of it. For a second, he thinks Hoseok and Yoongi might have snuck out too, but then he spots them in a booth in the back corner, Hoseok straddling Yoongi as they vigorously make out. “Besides, I think they’re all having too much fun to even notice if we left.”
“In that case, let’s go home,” Jeongguk says.
Taehyung puts on his best cheesy smile, grinning smarmily at Jeongguk. “I thought I told you, babe. Home is wherever I’m with you.”
Jeongguk blinks at him, thoroughly unimpressed. “You didn’t come up with that. That’s a song lyric.”
Taehyung pouts at him. “Is not.”
“It literally is.”
“Okay,” Taehyung frowns, considering. “How about this? With you, anywhere is home.”
And the thing is, yeah it’s cheesy as hell, but Taehyung also means every word. He’s had many physical homes - Daegu, Los Angeles, San Francisco. He’s loved them all in different ways, but he didn’t feel like his heart truly had a home until he met Jeongguk.
Jeongguk laughs, rolling his eyes fondly. “Just take me home, Tae.”
“That’s a song lyric, too. And a whole One Direction album,” Taehyung points out. “But I will, gladly.”
And he does.
Later that night, they’re lying side by side in bed, sleepy and content. The room is dark and quiet, but neither of them is asleep yet.
“Hey, Jeonggukkie,” Taehyung whispers, still buzzing from the night’s events. He feels filled to the brim with love and happiness, feels like it’s spilling out of him. “I really hit it out of the park with you.”
Jeongguk smacks him in the face with a pillow. Then he rolls over, cuddling up close to Taehyung and pressing his smile into his neck. “Yeah, same. Total home run.”