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after all, all this time

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“So.” Taehyung links his arm with Jungkook’s so he doesn’t drift too far away. “Who are all these people?” He motions around them, at the people decked out in all forms of fancy clothing, glittering under the bright lights.

“Label execs, managers, producers, artists,” Jungkook lists with a grin. “Oh, and then folks who worked on the visuals or the music videos or whatever. There are some real talented people in this room.”

“Like you.” Taehyung squeezes Jungkook’s arm. 

Jungkook tilts his head, bashful. “Ha. I guess.”

Jungkook likes to downplay his talent, but being chosen fresh out of college to work on the music video cinematography for a pretty big company is no small feat. 

“Shut up or I will start talking about how awesome the music videos are because Jeon Jungkook worked on them. Don’t test me, I will do it. Loudly.” Taehyung knows nothing about the music scene or the artist this release party is for, but since he’s here, he will defend Jungkook’s talent until his dying breath.

Jungkook grimaces and holds up his hands in defeat. “Alright, hyung.”

“Good.” Taehyung gives Jungkook a stern look. “What was the artist’s name again? Tomorrow—something? Is it a solo artist or a group?” He’s merely tagging along as Jungkook’s plus-one, so the details are a bit fuzzy, and Jungkook has been working with a lot of different artists lately.

“It’s a new group, debuted just eight months ago. Tomorrow by Together, or TXT for short. There’s five of them.” Jungkook gestures ahead, where a collage of photographs has been artfully tacked on the back wall. “Let’s go see their photo wall.”

The five boys in the photos seem like a lively group, the pictures showing them in various different photoshoots as well as at some award shows, with candid shots and selfies littered in between. Taehyung smiles at a photo where the boys are dressed in animal onesies and piled up on a couch with video game controllers clutched in their hands. “Cute.” 

Taehyung moves down the wall, gaze flitting over the photos, when an official-looking picture catches his eye. It’s the group surrounded by a bunch of people, possibly label executives since they’re all in suits. He glosses over the photo, then takes a second look and leans closer—because one of the faces in the frame looks very familiar.

“Kookie,” Taehyung calls. 

Jungkook comes back from where he’s wandered along the wall. He slings an arm around Taehyung’s shoulder. “Yeah, hyung?”

“Who’s that?” Taehyung points a finger at the dark-haired man in the photo.

Jungkook squints at the picture. “Oh, that’s one of the main producers of the album. PD Suga-nim, as the boys call him. His real name is—”

“Min Yoongi,” Taehyung finishes for him, eyes fixed on the smiling face. The hair is dark instead of platinum blond, but Taehyung knows those eyes—knows that smile, has seen it from up close enough times for it to have etched a permanent imprint in his memory.

Jungkook’s gaze flashes to him. “You know Min Yoongi?”

“Yeah.” A slight squeezing sense of anxiety makes itself known in Taehyung’s stomach, a remnant of days long past. But it’s fine. It’s been years. “Yeah, I know him. He’s my ex-boyfriend.”

Jungkook’s eyes widen, then flit back and forth between Taehyung’s face and the face in the photo. “Wait what, really?”

“Yeah. It’s ancient history, though. It was in college, before you and I became friends.” Taehyung glances around as if Yoongi would suddenly materialize beside him, summoned by the ripple in space-time as Taehyung starts digging up matters older than his friendship with Jungkook. 

Jungkook looks curious. “How come you’ve never mentioned him before?”

“I have,” Taehyung says. “Just not by name.” He’s talked about Yoongi the same way he’s talked about his other exes, referring to him as this one dude I used to date, or my ex-boyfriend from way back. “Let’s go sit down somewhere, and I’ll tell you?” 

Taehyung walks down the photo wall and snatches a glass of sparkling wine for himself and another one for Jungkook. They make their way through the crowd, while Taehyung keeps a keen eye on his surroundings, lest Yoongi appear out of thin air to listen to him recite this tale as old as time. 

They find an empty table in a corner, tucked away behind a pillar—a semblance of peace and privacy in the ocean of party noises. Taehyung twirls his glass by the stem and watches the bubbles dance as they bounce toward the surface. He takes a sip, grimaces and swallows. Sparkling wine is still just as bad as the last time he had it at Jimin’s birthday party. He sets the glass on the table and taps his chin. “So, Min Yoongi. It was my first year in college. His third. We didn’t seem to have anything in common but we just—we just clicked.” 

In the campus landscape, they were both very visible, just in different ways. Yoongi was part of the underground rap scene, in his ripped jeans, oversized hoodies and snapbacks, with chains around his neck and his platinum-blond hair styled in a messy undercut. Taehyung was a bird of an entirely different set of feathers—soft pastel hair, fuzzy sweaters and an affinity for painting and photography. Eyebrows all around campus went sky-high when they started dating.

“The way we met was that he bumped into me, like literally bumped into me at the campus coffee shop. Stepped on my toes, too.” Taehyung smiles fondly at the memory. “So there I’m standing, and this blond guy turns around, looking like he’s about to snap at me for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but instead he just looks up and down my body like this—” Taehyung demonstrates an exaggerated once-over, “—raises his eyebrows and goes, ‘sorry, gorgeous, can I buy you a coffee for my clumsiness?’”

“Min Yoongi said that?” Jungkook sounds delighted in a disbelieving way. “I mean, I’ve always just known him as this slightly-elusive musical genius who’s very soft-spoken and kind to everyone, and now you’re telling me that in college he was considered a bad boy and that he flirted like one hell of a smooth player?”

Taehyung laughs. “Yeah.” So Yoongi is known to be soft-spoken and kind these days? It doesn’t surprise Taehyung much, because even if Yoongi had a reputation of being a bit snarky during his college days, that didn't exclude the fact that he had a softer side. Perhaps he’s just grown even more into it over the years. “So anyway, I told him I don’t drink coffee, and he heaved out this exasperated sigh and said something along the lines of, ‘well I guess I knew true perfection doesn’t exist—what are you having, then?’”

Back then, Yoongi drank unsweetened iced americanos and jokingly called Taehyung’s hot chocolate an insult to human taste buds. Still, from day one he remembered exactly how Taehyung liked his hot chocolate, and he always had one for Taehyung when they met near the coffee shop.

“We dated for a bit over a year,” Taehyung says. “We were very different on the surface, which I guess initially pulled us to each other, but we were also similar, like deep down, you know? But as time passed, I guess the differences kind of started feeling big in comparison to the similarities, and every little thing was sort of blown way out of proportion.” He stares into the distance. His relationship with Yoongi wasn’t awful by any means, but they were both passionate in their own way, and that complicated things.

Taehyung told Yoongi he loved him after three months of dating. Yoongi said it back two weeks later, looking a bit wide-eyed in a way Taehyung hadn’t seen him before. However, even after the words were out in the open Yoongi rarely said it, whereas Taehyung couldn’t go a day without shouting his love from the rooftops. It was one of those small differences that over time started feeling like open wounds that festered and grew into sore spots neither of them knew how to heal. Toward the end of their relationship, Taehyung felt like Yoongi didn’t love him; he felt alone and insecure, not sure where they were headed, and at the same time Yoongi was gearing up for graduation and life after college. It felt like Taehyung didn’t have a place in whatever was coming next.

Taehyung understood afterwards that not constantly declaring his undying love didn’t mean Yoongi felt any less than he did. It was merely that the way Yoongi expressed his love was different from Taehyung’s.

Of course, by then the damage had already been done—they’d broken up and Yoongi had graduated college and left. 

“When we broke up, it wasn’t a big blowup,” Taehyung explains to Jungkook. “It was more like—I don’t know, many small things that clashed, causing bickering here and there, and over time it grew into this big issue. But we separated on pretty decent terms, all things considered.”

Jungkook nods. “Okay good, so if you run into each other tonight I don’t have to step in to prevent a fistfight?”

Taehyung sputters out a laugh. “Please. You know me, and if Yoongi is anything like he was in college he’s going to try to negotiate his way out of the seventh circle of hell before he’d try to hit anyone.” Yoongi may have run his mouth when he was rapping and on occasion when someone irritated him enough, but Taehyung never heard of him raising his voice, let alone resorting to violence of any kind.

Jungkook grins. “Yeah, that sounds about right.”

Taehyung grabs his sparkling wine and takes another sip. It’s flat, the bubbles almost gone by now, and the taste isn’t any better for it. He wonders if they serve hot chocolate at this party, smiling at the memory of Yoongi’s disgusted face that one time when he mistakenly took a sip from Taehyung’s cup. The memories bubbling to the surface have a soft golden sheen to them, like faded photographs that have been stored at the back of his mind for all these years.

Their relationship was tumultuous at times, but there were a lot of good sides to it, too.

Yoongi liked to cook, and even though they were on a student budget, he could conjure up some pretty amazing dinners. He also made sure the food wasn’t too spicy even if the recipe called for it, because he knew Taehyung didn’t like spicy food. Paying attention to details such as that was one of the ways he showed he cared, even though Taehyung didn’t realize it at the time.

Taehyung liked art in all its forms, and Yoongi claimed he didn’t understand art, but somehow he still managed to take the most amazing photographs when he borrowed Taehyung’s camera. They often went on walks and took photos of the surroundings and each other, and they talked about photography and everything else under the sun. 

Taehyung misses the conversations he used to have with Yoongi. Their conversations were never boring—they talked about music, history, books, art, whatever came to mind, and since they had different views on most things it was refreshing to go back and forth talking about everything. They both liked music, but different kinds of music, so they spent a lot of time trying to convert each other to classical or rap or jazz or whatever, their good-humored banter often melting into laughter and kisses while the music played in the background. 

Another aspect Taehyung sometimes misses is the easy connection they shared in the bedroom. Yoongi seemed to be able to read Taehyung’s mood with such ease, knew when to give it to Taehyung just on the right side of rough, fucking into him until Taehyung was gasping and arching up to meet him—or when to go torturously soft and slow, breathing against Taehyung’s skin until they were both shivering and Taehyung’s insides felt like molten lava. Sometimes Yoongi would tease Taehyung in public—subtle and cunning until Taehyung was tight as a bowstring ready to snap—only to then drag him home where he got to watch Yoongi spread himself on the bed, gorgeous and supple in a way that made Taehyung’s blood boil with want; made him groan low and raw in his throat as he eased into Yoongi.

Taehyung swirls his sparkling wine in his hand, side-glances at Jungkook with a shrug and a faint smile. “So yeah. No hard feelings on either side, at least I don’t think so. It was years ago, we were young and, you know. Sometimes relationships just don’t work out. It’s all good.” 

Still, the prospect of possibly running into Yoongi after all these years makes Taehyung mildly anxious, because there was a time when Taehyung loved him, and there’s a part of him that will always feel that slight tug in the pit of his stomach when he thinks of Yoongi. He wonders where Yoongi lives these days, if he has a partner, or a family, how he got from the underground rap scene to being a producer for a major label. 

It seems Taehyung is not going to get answers to his questions, because the evening goes on and he doesn’t spot Yoongi anywhere.

“From what I’ve gathered he sometimes stops by at release parties and then leaves almost immediately,” Jungkook tells him. “Like I said, he’s a bit elusive.”

Taehyung doesn’t know if he’s disappointed or relieved. 

Whatever the feeling, it’s short-lived, because when he walks into the restroom not five minutes later, he finds himself making eye contact with Yoongi through the mirror while Yoongi washes his hands.

Taehyung freezes in the doorway and Yoongi’s hands stop moving underneath the stream of water. Yoongi pulls his hands back and the automated tap stops running, leaving them in complete silence aside from the bass line of the party music thumping through the door from the outside.

“Taehyung?” Yoongi’s eyes widen in surprise, but his voice is the same as it used to be—low and pleasant, a bit raspy.

Taehyung manages to find his own voice. “Yoongi-hyung, hey.” The words slip out and he freezes a bit. Is it okay to call Yoongi hyung, or should he have been more formal? What’s the protocol here?

Yoongi doesn’t seem to mind one bit that Taehyung called him hyung, because he smiles through the reflection. “Hey yourself.” He reaches for paper towels and pats his hands dry, turning around to face Taehyung. He looks up and down Taehyung’s body like he can’t quite believe what he’s seeing. “Wow, I didn’t expect to run into you. How are you? What are you doing here?”

“I’m good, I’m tagging along as a plus-one for one of the guys who works on the group’s music videos,” Taehyung explains, making a vague gesture over his shoulder. “He told me you’re a producer for the label—but I don’t know if you know him personally. His name’s Jeon Jungkook?”

A smile spreads on Yoongi’s lips, and it’s achingly familiar, but also a bit unfamiliar, like a shadow of a memory that’s started to fade from Taehyung’s consciousness. “We’ve met a few times in passing, yeah. He seems like a nice guy. Really good with camera angles, too.”

The remark about Jungkook’s niceness makes Taehyung blink a few times in confusion, until he realizes that Yoongi probably assumed he and Jungkook are a couple. He wants to correct the assumption, but then again he can’t be sure if that’s what Yoongi meant, so it would be awkward if he blurted out he’s not dating Jungkook. “Yeah, me and JK have been friends since college,” he clarifies instead. “We met when he was in some photography classes with me—after you graduated, you know.”

Taehyung then realizes that referencing Yoongi’s graduation also indirectly references their breakup, so he snaps his mouth shut.

Yoongi doesn’t seem bothered by the reminder. “Oh, that’s cool.” He tosses the paper towels in the trash and smiles again. “Hey, so do you maybe wanna catch up somewhere that’s not the bathroom?”

Taehyung chuckles. “Oh, yeah, of course. I just gotta—” He points at the stalls.

Yoongi motions at the door. “I’ll wait outside?”

“Yeah, sure.”

In the bathroom stall, Taehyung stares at the wall and forces himself to inhale and exhale calmly a few times—deep, controlled breaths to ground himself. When he exits the stall, he stares at himself in the mirror as he washes his hands. He can’t help the reflexive scrutiny of his face and hair to see how he looks, even though he’s not trying to make an impression on Yoongi. Still, he fixes an errant strand of hair that’s sticking out and puts on some lip balm, just because.

When Taehyung steps out of the bathroom, he spots Yoongi typing away on his phone a few meters away. Taehyung tries not to measure Yoongi’s appearance, but he can’t help but notice how good Yoongi looks. Well, Yoongi has always been damn attractive, and the years have only added to that. His clothing is a whole different world from the ripped jeans and hoodies of his college days. He’s wearing dress pants and a black dress shirt, and small hoop earrings dangle from his earlobes. His hair is in its natural state—the color a dark velvety brown that looks almost black until light hits it in a certain way, revealing hidden shades of deep auburn. The hair is smooth but tousled just enough to make it look a bit more casual, a bit like someone ran their hands through his hair while kissing him. It’s a good look on him. 

Taehyung licks his lips and steps closer. “So,” he says.

Yoongi looks up from his phone and smiles. “Sorry, I have to deal with some business emails. Cons of this line of work, it doesn’t always follow office hours. I’ll be done in a minute.”

“Don’t worry about it.” Taehyung pulls out his own phone, just so he doesn’t end up staring at Yoongi the entire time that he’s going through his email. He pokes around a bit and then texts Jungkook to let him know he ran into Yoongi and he might be a while.

Jungkook sends him an ok hand emoji, followed by a selfie of Jungkook posing with some guy who’s beaming like the sun. Look who I found! says the caption, so Taehyung probably should recognize the guy, but he has no idea who he is. Probably some musician Jungkook has been drooling over. Either way, it looks like Jungkook has company so Taehyung doesn’t feel bad for ditching him to go catch up with his ex.

Yoongi puts his phone away. “Anyway, I’m just about done with this party, you want to go somewhere more quiet for a drink or two?” He smiles. “Or do you still loathe alcohol with the burning heat of a thousand suns?”

Taehyung laughs. “Only with the burning heat of a hundred suns at this point, I think—I’ve gotten a bit more used to it over the years.” He gestures at his phone. “I’m just gonna let JK know I’m leaving.”

Jungkook replies to his announcement with another ok hand emoji, and then Taehyung finds himself escorted out of the building with Yoongi walking beside him. 

“Did you grow taller, or have I just shrunk over the years?” Yoongi asks, and he sounds a bit whiny about it. “You’re not wearing heels to cheat, are you?” He cranes his neck to check Taehyung’s footwear.

Taehyung grins and resists the urge to pat Yoongi’s head. “Ah hyung, no heels. You’ve just always been tiny,” he says instead.

“Oh fuck off,” Yoongi replies with no heat. 

Taehyung smiles to himself. They seem to naturally fall into their old habit of teasing and joking around, even after time and distance have wedged them apart. Being in Yoongi’s company is like the comfort of a book Taehyung has read so many times that parts of it are always lingering at the edges of his mind, but he hasn’t touched the book in so many years that the details are starting to get fuzzy. 

They exit the hotel where the party is hosted and walk down the street, eventually ducking into a small bistro nearby. Sitting across the table from Yoongi is like a flashback to their dinner dates. Yoongi may have looked like he survived on coffee and spite during his college days, but he loved food, so they went out to try new restaurants as often as their budget allowed.

They get drinks—whiskey for Yoongi and a fruity cocktail for Taehyung—and then spend a few minutes recounting what has happened over the years since Yoongi graduated and left. The conversation starts a bit haltingly but pretty soon it begins to flow easily, like it used to.

Apparently Yoongi released some music that got the attention of the label he now works for, and he looks a bit begrudging in an amused way when he says he had to swap the ripped jeans for dress pants and button-ups, at least for more formal occasions.

“And since work is keeping me busy, my out-of-office clothes are, like, sweatpants for lounging on the couch at home,” Yoongi says, the corners of his eyes crinkling as he smiles. He recites some details about his work, and it sounds like a very different world than the underground rap scene he used to occupy.

“Yeah,” Yoongi says when Taehyung mentions it. “I still keep in touch with people from the scene, like Namjoon—you remember him, right?”

Taehyung nods. “Yeah, of course.” Who could forget Namjoon, who was equal parts a nature-loving genius and a rapper spitting angry verses about the government’s failures.

“Namjoon works in a botanical garden these days.” Yoongi’s smile is warm. “He says playing rap music for the plants helps them grow.”

Taehyung laughs. “That sounds like Namjoon alright.”

Yoongi nurses his whiskey and asks what Taehyung has been up to since college. Taehyung tells him about his job in the editing team of a small online fashion magazine, and how he got a dog soon after graduation, as a gift to himself. “His name is Yeontan,” Taehyung says, scrolling through his camera roll and extending his phone across the table to show the highlights of his life as a proud dog parent. 

“Cute.” Yoongi’s smile is radiant. “He’s, what, a pomeranian?”

“Yeah.” 

Taehyung marvels how easy it is to talk to Yoongi. After they’ve shed the initial awkwardness, it’s like no time has passed at all—even though they can both clearly see the changes in each other’s appearance and demeanor as they watch each other, measuring the differences and similarities. 

“I like the dark hair,” Taehyung says, leaning his chin against his hand and tilting his head as he looks at Yoongi. “It looks good on you.”

Yoongi smiles in that same bashful way he used to do when someone complimented him, tilting his head down to veil his expression. “Uh, thanks. I didn’t have time to upkeep the platinum blond, and honestly by the end of that particular road my hair was fried to hell and back again.” He looks up, the ghost of his shy smile still lingering on his features. He looks gorgeous. “Your hair looks great too. Is that like a perm or something?”

Taehyung instinctively runs his fingers through the messy curls. “Yeah.”

Yoongi looks at him affectionately. “I remember you had pastel pink hair when we started dating. Then blue, and then it faded into that funny shade of teal.”

Taehyung groans. “Oh yeah, the teal disaster—it made me look like I was sick or perpetually hungover.”

Yoongi laughs and gulps down the remnants of his whiskey. “Mm, maybe a little.”

“Hey, you’re not supposed to agree with me when I say I looked horrible,” Taehyung whines, and it’s almost like it used to be. Almost, except it’s been four years and a lot of new experiences and growing for both of them, so it’s not exactly the same anymore. 

“Oh, sorry, my bad.” Yoongi lowers his glass on the table with a faint grin. “Although since we’re not dating anymore, I feel like I’m not obligated to indulge you.” He winks, a bit teasing and a lot fond, and it sends a spike of warmth through Taehyung’s insides.

Taehyung bites his lip and tilts his head, studying Yoongi’s features. “Do you ever miss—you know, us? What we had?”

Yoongi’s eyes land on him, sharp, but the look in them softens almost immediately. He huffs out a small laugh. “Yeah, sometimes.”

Taehyung looks down and traces his finger around the rim of his glass. “I mean, it wasn’t perfect. But it wasn’t awful either?” He looks up from the drink, meets Yoongi’s eyes.

Yoongi’s lips spread out to form a soft upward curve. “No, definitely not awful.” A distant look crosses his face for a second. “We had fun, it was good.”

“Yeah.” Taehyung swallows, his eyes mapping the contours and angles of Yoongi’s face. A flush of warmth expands in his chest, when he thinks about the countless times his lips have moved over those very features, the times when his fingertips have caressed Yoongi’s skin. 

“It’s nice to get to catch up with you. I’m glad we bumped into each other tonight,” Yoongi murmurs. 

“At least it was figuratively this time, and you didn’t step on my toes,” Taehyung jokes.

Yoongi raises his eyebrows, deadpan, and glances at his wristwatch. “Oh, there’s still time for me to stomp on your feet. We could get another drink, if you want?”

Taehyung nods. He still has a bit of his previous drink left in the glass, but that goes down in a swift gulp.

Yoongi giggles, and it’s the same cute little giggle as it used to be. “I didn’t mean that you need to down the rest of your drink in one go, but okay. Do you want another one of those—” He crinkles his nose, “—whatever that thing was called? Appletini?”

“Appletini,” Taehyung confirms. 

“Some booze and a shitload of sugar, yes.” Yoongi looks at him teasingly. “No, I’ll get it,” he says, gesturing at Taehyung to remain seated while he saunters over to the bar to order their drinks.

Taehyung watches him go, and okay, Yoongi has definitely been working out or something, with the way the dress pants hug his ass. Taehyung stares for longer than is perhaps acceptable, but whatever. Not like he hasn’t seen that ass in all states of dress and undress before—but it was years ago and he has no claims on it anymore. He looks away before he gets caught ogling.

Yoongi comes back with another appletini and a whiskey. He sets the drinks on the table and slides back into his seat. 

The appletini spreads warmth in Taehyung’s veins and makes his cheeks burn a bit hotter than usual, and they keep talking about anything and everything, reminiscing about things that happened in college, about things that happened when they were together, and telling each other about everything that has happened between that and the present moment. At some point, Taehyung accidentally kicks Yoongi’s ankle under the table, then spends several moments apologizing, only to feel the subtle slide of Yoongi’s leg against his immediately after, teasing and deliberate. Taehyung stumbles over the sentence he was trying to form, and across the table, Yoongi’s eyes are warm and amused.

It’s not exactly flirting, more like reigniting some of the closeness they used to share.

Still, when they separate outside the bistro three drinks later, Taehyung can feel all the small touches like burn marks on his skin—where their legs brushed, where Yoongi’s hand closed over his on the table as they were talking, where Yoongi’s body pressed against him in a brief hug before Yoongi climbed into a taxi and rode off into the night.

Taehyung stares after the taxi for a long while, then texts Jungkook to ask what’s up. 

He ends up grabbing a ride home alone, because apparently Jungkook got lucky with the guy who smiles like the sun.

Back home, Taehyung slides his finger across the screen of his phone to reveal the newly created contact, with a photo of Yoongi smiling from the other side of the table at the bistro.

Taehyung feels warm and giddy, but he tries to rein in the excitement that’s set up camp somewhere in the pit of his stomach. He and Yoongi agreed to keep in touch as friends, because that kind of connection still seems to come easy for them, but that’s it. 

However, Taehyung is at least 98% sure that not all of the touches and looks were strictly platonic from Yoongi’s side either—like perhaps he also remembers how their easy connection was not only good for conversations, but extended all the way to the bedroom.



-



Taehyung grins when he enters the room that’s Yoongi’s combined studio and office. The door is open, so he steps over the threshold and raps his knuckles on the doorframe. 

Yoongi turns around in his chair and drops his headphones around his neck, smiling. “Hey.”

“Genius Lab?” Taehyung asks, pointing at the text on the door. “Such modesty.”

“I figured it was time to quit being too modest.” Yoongi makes an exaggerated shrugging motion.

Taehyung exhales a chuckle. “Fair enough.” He leans on the doorframe. “How’s it going?”

“It’s going,” Yoongi says, stretching his arms over his head and yawning. He’s not wearing fancy party clothes today. Instead he’s in plain black jeans and a white t-shirt. An oversized white button-up shirt hangs off his shoulders, open at the front so the red text logo on his t-shirt is visible. He looks just as good in this set of clothing as he did in dress pants. 

Yoongi removes the headphones from around his neck and sets them on the desk. “So, there are a few good lunch places around here, did you have anything specific in mind?” 

It’s been four days since the party, and they agreed to meet for lunch.  They’ve been texting each other in a constant stream of emojis, memes and photos, and it’s almost the same as Taehyung’s chat with Jimin or Jungkook, but there’s sometimes a flirtatious edge that he doesn’t quite know how to interpret. Or at least he thinks it’s flirtatious, but it’s hard to tell with text-based communication, and he refuses to flat-out ask if Yoongi is flirting with him—because what if he isn’t, and everything will be awkward afterwards?

Still, there’s no going around the fact that they used to date, that they’ve seen each other naked in almost all humanly possible positions, so of course there are going to be references to their past. Taehyung just doesn’t know what to make of it.

“Oh,” Taehyung says, realizing that Yoongi is expecting him to answer the question about where they should eat. “No, I’m fine with whatever. I trust your taste, you can choose.”

“Well, my taste has led me astray before,” Yoongi says, looking up and down Taehyung’s body. 

Taehyung clicks his tongue in mock-annoyance and rolls his eyes. “Funny.” He feels a bit hot under Yoongi’s scrutinizing gaze, a bit exposed even though he’s covered in several layers of clothing.

Yoongi grins. “Sorry. Let’s go, then?” He gets up from the chair.

Taehyung detaches from the doorframe and steps outside, waiting for Yoongi to lock up before they walk down to the elevators. Taehyung can feel Yoongi’s eyes on him the entire elevator ride down, and he’s suddenly reminded of the time when he pushed Yoongi against the wall in an elevator and kissed him until Yoongi was half-hard in his pants and moaning into Taehyung’s mouth.

He wonders if Yoongi remembers it too. Taehyung side-glances at Yoongi and finds him staring back, and they get stuck in the lingering eye contact. It’s very quiet in the containment of the elevator, only their breathing filling the space.

The elevator dings and the doors slide open, startling Taehyung. They exit the label’s headquarters, and Yoongi leads them down to a small restaurant that serves stir fry noodles and gimbap. They eat and talk, and it’s weird how they have so much to talk about even though they spent five hours talking at the bistro just a few days ago. Taehyung talks a bit about his ex-boyfriend after Yoongi, and at first it feels a bit weird to talk about his ex to his other ex, but Yoongi merely laughs when Taehyung recites an incident that included a birthday surprise and a really bad case of lockjaw, and then it doesn’t feel as weird anymore. Yoongi also mentions dating someone soon after graduating, fondly calling it a bandaid relationship that was doomed from the beginning.

“Ah hyung, did you need a bandaid to get over me?” Taehyung teases, winking.

Yoongi’s eyes flash with something painful and serious for a fleeting second, but then he grins and says airily, “Well, you do tend to leave an impression, Kim Taehyung,” and then their conversation trails back to topics not related to exes or lockjaw.

On occasion Yoongi’s hand will find Taehyung’s on the table, grab it for a brief moment, or Taehyung’s leg will brush Yoongi’s under the table, or Yoongi stares at Taehyung’s mouth with a strange look in his eyes that to Taehyung seems like hunger.

Afterwards they walk for a bit to allow their stomachs to settle, then Yoongi suggests a pit stop at a coffee shop before he has to head back to work. He still remembers Taehyung’s hot chocolate order—whole milk with an extra pump of chocolate syrup and just a pinch of cinnamon sprinkled on top—and Taehyung feels like he’s in college again when Yoongi hands him the takeaway cup. Their fingers brush, and the touch feels electric.

Taehyung decides maybe it’s time to talk about it. After all, that’s what adults do, that’s what friends do, and they’re both adults and friends, tentatively at least.

“So, um,” Taehyung begins intelligently when they sit down on a bench outside the label headquarters and sip their beverages.

Yoongi swallows a mouthful of coffee. “Hm?”

“So, we’re like—friends now, or trying to be at least?” Taehyung looks at Yoongi from between strands of hair. Yoongi looks like a whole fucking meal, basking in the sunny afternoon sunlight in his black-and-white ensemble, with his dark hair swept to the side, revealing a part of his forehead and one of his eyebrows.

“Yeah?” Yoongi raises his eyes to meet Taehyung’s gaze, a fleeting second of eye contact before turning to stare across the street. He looks a bit awkward, like maybe he can guess where this is going.

Taehyung decides bluntness is the way to go. “But you feel it too, right? This, uh, tension between us. I’m not imagining this whole ‘sparks flying’ situation, am I?”

Yoongi hangs his cup of iced americano from his fingers and heaves out a long sigh. When he looks at Taehyung again his eyes are very dark. “No, you’re not.”

Taehyung licks his lips. “So, what should we do about it?” He hopes Yoongi doesn’t suggest they stop hanging out, because despite all their baggage, Taehyung actually enjoys spending time with Yoongi. Even though they’ve only hung out twice, they have fun together—they have interesting conversations, they get along. Like friends do.

But this tension building up between them is going to cause problems sooner or later.

“Well.” Yoongi sucks his straw in his mouth, and his eyes are focused on Taehyung’s mouth as he swallows. “We could—do something about it.” His eyes slide up to meet Taehyung’s. “We could fuck. Not like we haven’t before.”

Taehyung’s throat constricts just the tiniest bit. “Like… friends with benefits kind of a situation?”

“Why not? We’re both single, and from what I gathered, willing.”

“Yeah,” Taehyung breathes out. “Yeah, that’s true.”

That’s the end of their conversation, but from the way Yoongi looks at him before vanishing inside the label headquarters, Taehyung has a feeling they’re not done with the topic. They might be done talking about it, but the tension is still unreleased. Maybe next time, Taehyung thinks when he starts down the street to catch a subway back to work. The thought makes him a bit nervous and a lot giddy.



-



“What?” Jimin stops typing on his laptop and casts an incredulous look at Taehyung when he mentions the idea of having sex with Yoongi. “Are you sure it’s a good idea?”

Taehyung purses his lips and scratches the side of his neck, looking at his desk, at Jimin’s desk, then around the office like the walls would give him answers. Instead of insight, the walls only offer him Vogue posters and framed photos from their own small-scale photoshoots. “No,” he finally says. It’s probably not a good idea to start fooling around with his ex, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want it. He does. Very much so.

Jimin pushes his chair back from his desk and stretches his arms up. “So. You know it’s not a good idea, but you’re gonna do it anyway.” It’s not a question.  

“Yeah, I mean—it’s just sex.” Taehyung shrugs. “We’ve had sex before.” Extremely good sex, too.

“Hm.” Jimin lowers his arms and rolls his shoulders back, wincing. His muscles are probably stiff from sitting at his desk trying to meet the wave of deadlines crashing down on them. “It could get real messy.”

Taehyung nods, hesitant. “I know that. But I figured, if it does get messy then we just have to stop doing it and go our separate ways. We’ve done that before, too.” 

Jimin runs his hand through his hair. “From my—well, admittedly pretty limited experience on friends-with-benefits situations—”

“Meaning, you’ve never been in a situation like that.” Taehyung grins.

“Ah—well, yeah, but still.” Jimin looks at him sternly. “From what I’ve gathered, it’s fine as long as it’s just sex. But you know, if one of you catches feelings, it’s gonna get messy.”

Taehyung bats his lashes at Jimin. “Feelings are the STD of the fuckbuddies situation, don’t catch ‘em, got it.”

Jimin makes a face. “I’m gonna pretend you didn’t say that.” 

Taehyung grins. “Fair enough.”

Jimin gets up and goes to the coffee machine sitting on the side desk, pouring himself a mug of something that moves with the consistency of tar. Taehyung doesn’t want to know how long the coffee has been sitting in the pot. Jimin takes a sip, grimaces and then dumps three sugars in the mug. “I think you have to be extra careful here, because you two already have a history. A history of feelings, not just fucking. So it could get, like, twice as messy.” Jimin wasn’t there to witness the lifecycle of Taehyung and Yoongi’s relationship, but he’s heard a lot about it, during those late nights when they’ve shared wine and secrets.

“I know.” Taehyung stands from his chair and leans against his desk, pushing his hands into his pockets. “But I think it shows we’re a lot more mature than we were back in college, because we talked about this, whatever this is, you know—” Taehyung gestures at the ceiling, “—before actually doing anything. We didn’t just, you know, jump each other without a preceding discussion.”

“Mm.” Jimin sips his coffee again, and Taehyung isn’t sure if his grimace is aimed at the beverage or Taehyung’s less-than-ideal hookup situation. Well, a hookup situation that isn’t really a hookup situation yet, because nothing has happened, aside from some hand-touching and foot-grazing—and okay, some prolonged eye contact that has left Taehyung flustered, his heart not quite knowing what to do with it.

Maybe this is better for them than being in a relationship was—get all the benefits and none of that pesky shit that drove them apart last time.

Maybe they’re mature enough to handle whatever is to come.

Maybe Taehyung is just bullshitting himself and this will all end in a disaster, but oh well. At least he’s gonna get some orgasms out of it?



-



Next weekend, Yoongi comes over to Taehyung’s apartment on Saturday afternoon. They didn’t talk about what the visit entails, but Yoongi expressed a dire need to meet Taehyung’s dog, so here they are.

Yeontan is, unsurprisingly, overly excited when Yoongi comes over and spends fifteen minutes sitting cross-legged on the floor and playing with him. 

Taehyung lies sprawled on his side on the couch and watches them play tug-of-war with one of Yeontan’s toys. Cute, he thinks, and he’s not sure if it’s aimed at Yeontan, Yoongi, or both. Yoongi is wearing gray sweatpants and a hoodie, with a black snapback on backwards, and the relaxed ensemble shouldn’t really look as cute or as hot as it does. Taehyung looks away to avoid getting stuck staring at the way Yoongi’s shoulders look broad and inviting. To do something, he checks his work email on his phone—he’s waiting for Jimin to send him a tentative layout of the article they’re working on so he can decide which photo from the shoot should go where on the page, but so far there’s nothing.

Taehyung looks up from the phone when a shadow falls across the couch. “Hey.”

Yoongi looks down at him with a crooked smile. “Hey.” 

Yeontan whines and bumps against Yoongi’s legs, begging for attention, but Yoongi pays him no mind.

“So, I’ve kind of wanted to jump you ever since I walked in,” Yoongi says in a tone that would be casually conversational if it wasn’t for the rough edge in it. His gaze flits to Taehyung’s mouth, then back to his eyes. “Can I kiss you?”

Taehyung’s breath stutters in his throat as he sets his phone aside. Oh, so that’s the way this is going to go. “Uh. Yeah, sure.”

He wonders if he should sit up or get off the couch entirely, but before he has a chance to move, Yoongi’s fingers curl around his hip, nudging him to lie on his back. Taehyung follows the guidance of Yoongi’s hands, breaths falling shallow as he watches Yoongi toss his snapback somewhere over his shoulder, run his hand through his hair once, and then Yoongi lowers himself on top of him. Taehyung automatically parts his legs to allow Yoongi between them, watches as Yoongi braces himself with his elbows on both sides of Taehyung’s ribcage. 

Yoongi stays propped on his elbows for a moment, the hood of his shirt bunched up against the back of his neck and his hair falling over his forehead, silky-smooth. He watches Taehyung with dark eyes and then whispers, “I almost forgot how damn hot you are,” before dipping in to kiss Taehyung.

Like everything else about getting reacquainted with Yoongi, kissing him is a strange whiplash of new and known. Yoongi’s mouth is soft and warm, slightly wet against Taehyung’s, familiar but not quite. It’s awkward for a few seconds as they try to recall the way their lips used to slant together when they kissed—it’s like sinking into an easily-recognizable sensation, but there’s a new edge to it, because over the years they have been kissing other people, and they’ve learned some new things and forgotten some old things, and rediscovering how a kiss between the two of them works is both awkward and exhilarating. 

They find a common tune after a moment of fumbling, trading soft kisses between them. Then, in a matter of seconds, it escalates from a gentle movement of their closed lips to tentative open-mouthed kisses, and Taehyung slips his tongue between Yoongi’s lips, teasing. 

Yoongi lets out a low moan, breathy and barely there, but it’s enough to send a spike of heat traveling down Taehyung’s spine. Yoongi pulls back for a breathless second, his pupils blown and his lips just a shade redder than before, and looks at Taehyung as if measuring his reaction. Taehyung has no idea what Yoongi deciphers from his expression, but apparently he’s convinced by what he sees—because he leans in again, and then they’re full-on kissing, nipping at each other’s lips, tongues meeting and tangling, the wet slide of their mouths burning like a shot of alcohol on an empty stomach.

Taehyung is a bit unsure what to do with his hands, but he’s had an irresistible urge to touch Yoongi’s hair ever since he first saw it in its natural state, so he decides to indulge himself, sliding his fingers up Yoongi’s neck to the back of his head, combing through the strands. The hair is like silk under his touch, no products in it, and just a tiny bit damp like Yoongi showered right before coming over and his hair didn’t quite have the time to dry properly.

Yoongi’s hand appears to caress Taehyung’s cheek, thumb dipping beneath his jawline to tilt his head back, and the kiss deepens. Taehyung relaxes into it, sinking into the sensation of their mouths moving together, sloppy and wet. Yoongi tastes sweet and fruity, like chewing gum. Taehyung wants to drink him up, lick a stripe down the column of his throat, taste the salt on his skin.

Taehyung disentangles his hands from Yoongi’s hair and slides them down Yoongi’s back, ends up with his fingers curling around Yoongi’s hips through his hoodie. Yoongi responds to the touch by grinding down against Taehyung and swallowing the groan it drags out of him. Yoongi rolls his hips down again, eliciting another noise that rumbles deep in Taehyung’s chest. Taehyung’s body is warm all over—warm and tingly, blood rushing in his veins, his cock twitching between his legs. It’s almost embarrassing how easily Yoongi can get him all worked up, his body responding to Yoongi’s touch like he’s suddenly twenty again.

Just as Taehyung is about to slide his hands down to cup Yoongi’s ass, a sharp bark from the floor interrupts them.

Yoongi pulls back from the kiss with a chuckle, and Taehyung groans in frustration.

“Ah, Yeontan.”

Yeontan sits on the floor and wags his tail when Taehyung cranes his neck to look at him. Yeontan looks at them with curious beady eyes, and as soon as Taehyung’s attention is on him, he jumps against the couch, front paws just short of reaching the edge. After another similarly failed attempt, he sits back down, whining and wagging his tail as he expects Taehyung to help him up.

“Aww, he can’t jump on the couch?” Yoongi says from somewhere near Taehyung’s ear. He sounds impossibly fond.

“No, he kind of fails at jumping,” Taehyung says. “Sorry, boy, you can’t come on the couch right now. It’s a bit crowded.”

Yeontan whines, then barks sharply again.

Taehyung sighs. It figures his dog will try to cock-block him. “Maybe we should—”

The rest of his sentence melts into a moan, because Yoongi dips his head down again, this time going for the side of Taehyung’s neck. His lips latch onto the pulse point beneath Taehyung’s jawline, sucking and nibbling, tongue sliding on Taehyung’s skin, and Taehyung can’t help the way his hips lift off the couch and seek friction from Yoongi. Yoongi exhales a grunt from where his mouth is moving along Taehyung’s neck.

“Bedroom?” Taehyung manages in between small gasps and wailing moans as Yoongi nips his way down to the base of his throat and stretches the neckline of his shirt out of the way so he can get to Taehyung’s collarbone. 

Taehyung’s cock is getting uncomfortably hard where it’s trapped in his pants. “Seriously, Yoongi—ah, bedroom? My pants are murdering me, and—”

Yeontan whines again, a sad wailing noise like he’s been horribly wronged.

“—And that.” Taehyung nods toward the floor. 

Yoongi laughs into Taehyung’s collarbone, a damp huff of air against his skin. “Okay, yeah.”

He climbs off Taehyung, and Taehyung’s eyes immediately focus on the way Yoongi’s sweatpants hide absolutely nothing, making it plenty clear that Taehyung is not the only one who’s getting hard here.

Taehyung gets up from the couch, adjusting his cock in his pants, and Yoongi’s eyes follow the movement of his hand with a starving look. 

Yeontan is briefly under the illusion that his ploy worked and he’s now getting attention, so he barks in excitement and looks up at Taehyung with hopeful eyes.

“Not now, Tannie,” Taehyung says, distracted, his eyes landing on Yoongi’s mouth. It’s red from kissing, the skin around his lips a bit raw from Taehyung’s afternoon stubble. There’s a flush creeping down Yoongi’s neck, and Taehyung knows from experience just how far down his chest it goes, but he still wants to tear Yoongi’s hoodie off and rediscover it all over again.

“Bedroom.” Taehyung says for the third time. “Unless you want to stop this and play with my dog instead.”

Yoongi glances down at Yeontan. “I love dogs, but right now, I’m definitely leaning towards taking this to the bedroom.”

Yeontan follows them to the bedroom door and whines pitifully when Taehyung tells him to stay outside.

“He’ll get over it,” Taehyung says when Yeontan’s sad noises carry through the door. “He’s always like this when I have company.”

Yoongi’s eyes are dark. “Do you often have company in here?”

Taehyung smirks. “Wouldn’t you like to know?”

Yoongi steps close and tugs Taehyung down into a kiss, like maybe he’s done talking about other people who have visited Taehyung’s bedroom, or maybe he’s trying to erase their memory from the room. He pushes his tongue in Taehyung’s mouth, and Taehyung takes a step toward the bed, then another. He navigates the distance blindly, guiding Yoongi ahead of him without detaching from his mouth, and Yoongi allows himself to be walked backwards until the backs of his knees hit the edge of the bed. He sways a bit, and Taehyung steadies him with a hand on his hip. 

Taehyung then uses his grip to pull Yoongi flush against him, and the hardness pressing into his thigh sends a heady rush of warmth from his core to his extremities. Fuck, he’s missed Yoongi’s cock on more than one occasion over the years—the heavy slide of it in him, the way it feels in his hand when he’s jerking Yoongi off, the way it tastes in his mouth.

Yoongi’s hands tug the hem of Taehyung’s shirt up, impatient, and okay, Taehyung can take a hint. He detaches from Yoongi long enough to pull his t-shirt over his head, while Yoongi does the same to his hoodie. 

The familiar flush is spreading down Yoongi’s chest, and Taehyung would like to trace a finger around the line where pink blush meets pale skin, but Yoongi doesn’t give him a chance. He grabs Taehyung’s shoulders and pulls, and they go tumbling down on the mattress, with Taehyung landing between Yoongi’s spread thighs. He moves up so he can kiss Yoongi again, and the slight adjustment in his position makes their clothed cocks rub together, the teasing friction enough to pull hitched groans out of both of them. 

Taehyung props himself on his elbows and grinds down again with purpose, watching Yoongi’s reaction. Yoongi moans at the sensation, head falling back against the mattress and his eyes slipping shut. He looks so gorgeous it makes Taehyung’s dick pulse with want. 

Yoongi’s exposed neck gives Taehyung an excellent opportunity to repay for the ministrations Yoongi performed on the couch, and he ducks his head down and buries his face in the crook of Yoongi’s neck. His mouth traces Yoongi’s throat, kissing and sucking on the skin, and when Yoongi moans again, Taehyung feels the vibrations against his lips. Yoongi wraps his legs around Taehyung’s waist, and the drag of their cocks against each other grows more urgent.

They’re like teenagers, rutting against each other and sucking bruises in each other’s necks, but it’s so good—Yoongi is so good, Yoongi’s cock is so good, everything just feels so good.

Then Yoongi swings his legs to the side, and since Taehyung is still trapped between them he goes along with the movement, ending up on his back in turn, with Yoongi hovering over him. Yoongi holds eye contact as he realigns his hips, sliding between Taehyung’s legs and rocking down against him. Fuck, it feels so good that it makes Taehyung’s head swim a bit. Taehyung looks between their bodies, where their cocks slide against each other, the shapes of them visible even through the fabric of their pants. Then his gaze slides up Yoongi’s body, focusing on the dents by his hip bones, the soft curve of his stomach, the lean muscles of his chest and shoulders. 

Taehyung’s eyes travel over Yoongi, mapping out the details, taking in the changes and similarities. The basics of Yoongi are the same—the shape of his body and the expanse of his ribcage and the length of his arms—but he’s more defined, grown out of the boyish features he had back in college. 

Lastly Taehyung’s eyes flit to a red mark where he nibbled on Yoongi’s neck, a tiny blooming bruise in the shape of Taehyung’s mouth, and he wants to press his mouth on Yoongi again, lick over the mark and make another, one that doesn’t fade away in a day or two.

When Taehyung’s gaze gets to Yoongi’s face, Yoongi is watching him with dark eyes. His mouth is obscenely red and cracked open, a breathy sound dropping from his lips as he rolls his hips, adding pressure and friction, tantalizing both of them. 

Taehyung wants to drink the sounds that fall from Yoongi’s mouth, wants to have Yoongi’s hands all over him, rekindling the memories of the previous times when his touches have mapped Taehyung’s skin. He wants everything, anything, wants Yoongi’s mouth on his, Yoongi’s hands on him, wants Yoongi’s teeth grazing his skin.

When Yoongi leans down and mouths at the side of Taehyung’s jaw, Taehyung whispers, “Please, bite me,”—and then groans when Yoongi dips down lower and goes for the side of his throat without hesitation. It’s the perfect amount of pressure, a rough graze of teeth, just the way Taehyung likes it, and it’s been so long since anyone has bitten him like this—bitten into him without him having to explain where or how hard or any other pesky details. But of course, Yoongi knows. Yoongi’s done it before, his teeth have been all over Taehyung’s body so many times that Taehyung thinks his skin must bear invisible imprints like ghosts of Yoongi’s marks, even after all these years.

Taehyung bucks up from the mattress, seeking friction, and Yoongi’s teeth detach from his neck, just to sink in again, higher, almost at his jawline. Yoongi bites and sucks below his jaw, and Taehyung throws his head back and blinks at the ceiling, the throb of his cock growing almost unbearable in his pants as Yoongi presses him into the mattress and bites into his skin. 

The growing discomfort of his pants finally pushes Taehyung past his limit. He groans and shoves Yoongi off with a palm flat on his chest, and Yoongi lifts up from his neck with a questioning look, and then collapses to the side when he sees Taehyung going for the buttons of his pants. Yoongi watches as Taehyung pops the buttons open and then shimmies out of his pants, dragging his boxers down with them. He kicks the pants to the floor and then glances to his side to find Yoongi’s eyes fixated on his cock, hard and twitching against his stomach like it can feel the gaze.

As soon as Taehyung’s pants are out of the picture, Yoongi’s hand immediately slides over Taehyung’s stomach and to his cock, his index finger tracing the vein on the underside, teasing.

“Oh no, nuh-uh,” Taehyung says, nudging Yoongi’s hand away. “Your turn to get naked.” He pushes Yoongi flat on his back and sits up, hooking his fingers under the waistband of Yoongi’s sweatpants. He pulls the sweatpants and boxers down in one go, watches as Yoongi’s cock springs free and—

—Taehyung promptly chokes on his own spit and forgets how breathing works for several seconds—because Yoongi’s dick is pierced, a curved barbell extending from the tip to the underside, with metal balls on each end. 

“Fuck,” Taehyung finally hisses, slapping Yoongi’s thigh and glaring up at him. “Fucking warn a guy, will you?”

Yoongi props himself up on his elbows and chuckles, somewhere between bashful and smug. “You like?”

A clear drop of precum beads around the small silver ball at the tip. Taehyung has never wanted to taste anything so bad in his life.

He licks his lips and looks up, finds Yoongi staring back at him with half-lidded eyes. “Can I blow you?” Taehyung asks, his voice rough. “Please?”

Yoongi’s cock twitches as if in reply at the same time as he nods, and Taehyung smiles at the eager movement. He tugs Yoongi’s pants and boxers all the way down, grabbing Yoongi’s ankles to pull the pantlegs off and to remove his socks, and then Yoongi is lying there, on Taehyung’s bed, gloriously naked and propped on his elbows, watching Taehyung with hungry eyes. His cock stands erect against his stomach, the twin metal balls at the tip like a homing beacon for Taehyung’s gaze. 

Fuck, he looks delicious. 

Taehyung sits astride Yoongi's thighs and grabs a hold of the base of his cock. It pulses in his hand, and somewhere above Yoongi moans weakly and drops from his elbows onto his back. When Taehyung glances up, Yoongi is watching him with eyes so dark and hungry that it’s enough to make Taehyung’s own cock twitch in reply. Well, they can deal with that later— right now he just wants to touch and taste Yoongi, so he turns his attention back to Yoongi’s cock. He slides his fist up the shaft once, just to get a feel of it, his thumb softly brushing against the metal ball on the underside. 

Yoongi’s entire body shudders at the touch, and he groans, the sound rumbling from somewhere deep in his chest.

“Is it sensitive?” Taehyung asks, curious.

“Yeah.” Yoongi’s mouth is slightly open and his chest moves along with heavy breaths. “Yeah, it is. Feels— ah, feels good.” 

Taehyung slides his fist down to the base at the same time as he bends down. For a second, he hovers just above the tip of Yoongi’s cock, glancing up at Yoongi through his lashes.

Yoongi looks like he’s either about to faint or to snap at Taehyung for being a tease.

Taehyung smirks, then pokes his tongue out and licks tentatively over the tip. The first impression is warm metal, smooth skin and a burst of saltiness from precum.

“Fuck,” Yoongi says, and he sounds wrecked. “Taehyung, you—”

The rest of his sentence is drowned in a guttural moan when Taehyung closes his lips around the crown and sucks, twirls his tongue around the piercing, toying with it. The hardness of the metal is strange against his tongue, but Taehyung feels warmth pooling in him as he thinks about the possibility of Yoongi fucking into him with his pierced dick, the delicious drag of metal deep inside him.

Taehyung hollows his cheeks and pushes his tongue flat against the ball on the underside, and Yoongi lets out a noise that sounds like someone punched it out of him. For a moment, Taehyung is worried that he did something wrong, but then Yoongi’s hands fly to grip his hair, fingers trembling as they tangle in the strands. “Again, fuck, Taehyung, do that again.”

So Taehyung presses the tip of his tongue against the metal on the underside again, and Yoongi wails out a string of curses. More precum leaks out around the top end of the barbell, and Taehyung slides his tongue around the tip, savoring the taste of Yoongi, salty and slightly bitter. He takes Yoongi’s dick in deeper, slicking the shaft with saliva, then bobs back up and starts moving his hand along with his mouth. Up and down, torturously slowly, tonguing the metal balls of the piercing every time he comes back up. 

He’s fascinated by the movement of the barbell as it slides back and forth, wonders how it feels like to Yoongi when the metal bar glides inside the tip, what it feels like when Taehyung’s tongue adds pressure against the ends. He keeps going down deeper, slicking the shaft and moving his hand along with his mouth, sucking on the crown and teasing the piercing with his tongue.

Yoongi’s grip in his hair tightens, not enough to be painful, but enough to convince Taehyung that he must be doing something right. Yoongi is not cursing anymore, but he’s continuously moaning and gasping, small broken noises that sound like something in him is shattering in the best possible way.

Taehyung’s own cock is painfully hard, jutting against his stomach, and he kind of wants to close his free hand around his cock and jerk himself off, but more than that he wants to focus all his attention on Yoongi. He lifts up from the bed just enough to wedge a knee between Yoongi’s thighs, nudging them apart. Yoongi parts his legs easily for him, and Taehyung slips his free hand between Yoongi’s legs and cups his balls gently, toying with them. He then slides two fingers behind them, pressing up gently. He recalls Yoongi used to like it, two fingers massaging right behind his balls while Taehyung was sucking him off.

It seems that Yoongi still likes it, because he jolts and damn near howls, his thighs trembling and his grip in Taehyung’s hair getting borderline painful. 

“Fuck, so good, Tae— Tae, seriously, if you keep doing that, I’m gonna—”

Taehyung might be feeling a bit mischievous. Okay, partially it’s just that he wants to experience it, if it’s different when Yoongi comes in his mouth with the piercing. But he’s also mischievous. He wants to wreck Yoongi, wants to witness him come undone, wants to taste him on his tongue.

So he keeps at it, keeps moving his hand up and down on Yoongi’s length, keeps sucking at the crown and twirling his tongue around the piercing, keeps repeatedly massaging behind Yoongi’s balls until Yoongi goes silent and still, before heaving out a ragged, guttural noise and arching up from the bed. Another broken gasp, and Taehyung feels the way Yoongi’s balls pull up tight, feels the gentle tremble preceding the explosion, and then Yoongi comes with a shudder and a cry, a burst of salt on Taehyung’s tongue, cock pulsating as he shoots his load in Taehyung’s mouth. 

One last gentle press of fingers behind Yoongi’s balls, dragging the orgasm out just that one second longer, and then Taehyung pulls his hand away. He sucks on the crown of Yoongi’s cock, licking over the tip to clean off any residual come, while Yoongi thrashes and shudders through the aftershocks.

When Taehyung pulls back and swallows, Yoongi lets out a weak whine. Taehyung uncurls his fingers from around Yoongi’s cock, and Yoongi winces when it plops down against his stomach, spent and sensitive.

“Well, that was fun,” Taehyung says, sitting back on his heels and wiping his mouth.

“Mm.” Yoongi’s eyes are dazed, his lips bitten raw and there’s a dark blush high up on his cheeks, outdoing the pink flush of his chest. “Come here, you fucking—oh my god, what the hell was that?” Yoongi opens his arms, and Taehyung marvels at how every part of Yoongi is trembling. He feels a bit smug, but maybe he has a right to be a bit smug. 

“What was that, huh?” Taehyung slides down beside Yoongi, moaning softly when his rock-hard dick comes in contact with the bedspread. “I think they call it a blow job?” he suggests innocently.

Yoongi’s arm was about to curl around Taehyung’s shoulders, which gives him a perfect opportunity to smack the back of Taehyung’s head. “Smartass.”

“Well, you’re the one who neglected to mention that you got a piercing, how can you expect me to not want to play with it when I pull your pants down and it’s just suddenly there, hmm?” Taehyung dips his face in the crook of Yoongi’s neck, kisses the flushed skin, licks a bead of sweat off the column of his throat. Yoongi whines, like he’s hypersensitive to any kind of touch right now.

“You have to give me like, two minutes for my brain to reboot, and then I’m gonna return the favor,” Yoongi promises. 

Taehyung rubs his cock against the side of Yoongi’s thigh. “I could probably get off on just rutting against you,” he mutters. He’s so wired up from blowing Yoongi he has no doubts about it. 

Yoongi chuckles weakly. “One minute,” he says. “Also, kiss me.”

Taehyung is more than happy to obey. Yoongi licks into his mouth with fervor, like he wants to taste himself on Taehyung’s tongue. Taehyung can’t help but grind against Yoongi, seeking that sweet friction, moaning into his mouth while Yoongi sucks on his tongue. 

Eventually, Yoongi pushes him away, asks where Taehyung keeps his lube, and then proceeds to suck Taehyung off, first with one and then with two fingers in his ass, until Taehyung is writhing and moaning, fucking himself against Yoongi’s hand. Yoongi always had a magical superpower of finding his prostate on the first try, and now he keeps brushing his fingertips against it, hollowing his cheeks as he takes Taehyung in all the way, nose pressing into the coarse hair at the base of Taehyung’s cock. 

“I’d forgotten how good you are at this,” Taehyung gasps.

Yoongi bobs up, makes brief eye contact with Taehyung, sultry and sexy as hell, and then sinks back down and hums around Taehyung’s cock, while his fingers keep teasing Taehyung’s prostate, relentless. 

It doesn’t take very long until the tension in Taehyung’s body starts gathering, muscles winding up, his cock throbbing painfully in Yoongi’s mouth. He feels like his entire body is gearing up for an explosion, warmth coiling in his core until he’s shuddering and moaning brokenly, everything pulling tight tight tight and then releasing all at once when he comes into Yoongi’s mouth, eyes falling shut and mouth opened to a soundless gasp.

Taehyung whines when Yoongi pulls his fingers out a few seconds later. He feels kind of empty, but satisfied on a level he hasn’t been in a while. That strange sense of familiarity mixed with novelty swirls deep in his gut—the perfect storm of sensations, because it was Yoongi, and they’ve always been good together like this, but now there was a new aspect of them getting reacquainted, and Yoongi having a dick piercing and all. Fuck, the damn piercing. Taehyung shivers at the thought of it.

Yoongi wipes his fingers on tissues he finds on Taehyung’s nightstand, then slides next to Taehyung on the bed.

“Next time you’re gonna have to stick your dick in me,” Taehyung rasps.

Yoongi smooths a few sweaty strands of hair off Taehyung’s face. “Next time, huh?”

Taehyung glances at him. “I’m hoping there will be a next time?” he says, a question lingering in his voice. “I’ve never been fucked by anyone with a pierced dick before.”

“Well, we’re friends now, right, and friends help each other out.” Yoongi’s smile is teasing. “So sure, next time.”

“I like this friendship,” Taehyung says, and then promptly falls asleep, with Yoongi’s hand stroking his hair.

Taehyung wakes up an hour and a half later, disoriented and groggy, when outside the bedroom door Yeontan lets him know very loudly that he needs to go out. Taehyung sits up, blinking tiredly, then looks at the closed door.

Yoongi isn’t there anymore.

For a moment, a chilling sensation spreads in Taehyung’s stomach, but he shoves it away. Of course Yoongi isn’t there. Why would he be? This is just fucking, no strings attached. There is no reason for Yoongi to stick around after the deed is done, and he probably had better things to do with his time than watch Taehyung snore in post-coital bliss.

Taehyung clambers up from the bed, then goes to find some clothes so he can walk Yeontan.  He’s connecting his headphones to his phone while Yeontan barks at him to open the door already, when he notices he has a message from Yoongi. It’s simple, just three words.

YG: i had fun ;)

Taehyung smiles and types in a quick reply.

TH: me too. :)

He wants to add a question about when they’re going to see each other again, but Jimin’s warnings about catching feelings ring clear in his head. He knows how easy it would be to fall in love with Yoongi—after all, he’s done it before. So now he needs to focus on avoiding that particular pitfall, while enjoying their newly-discovered friendship, with some fucking on the side.

His phone dings with another message.

YG: i see your habit of going out like a light after sex hasn’t changed haha

TH: -_-

YG: it’s cute

Taehyung looks up from his phone, blinking. Cute, huh? Before he has time to come up with a witty response, another message alert makes him turn back to the screen.

YG: we could do coffee sometime next week, yeah? or lunch? or hang out?

TH: sure :) 

Yeontan barks sharply, clearly fed up with Taehyung making him stand by the closed door. 

“Okay, boy, I heard you. Let’s go.” Taehyung opens the door and Yeontan zooms out, whining as Taehyung is too slow to keep up. He takes Yeontan to the nearby dog park, and when they come back home Taehyung sits down to start planning a photoshoot that’s going to be in the next issue of their magazine.

When Taehyung goes to sleep, there’s a lingering faint scent on the sheets, right on the spot where Yoongi lied on his back earlier. It’s probably Yoongi’s body wash or something, and it makes Taehyung feel like the bed is a little bit less his.

The thought is not as unsettling as it perhaps should be.



-



On Tuesday after work, Taehyung takes the subway to meet Yoongi at a café that’s kind of halfway between their workplaces—a compromise, since neither of them wanted to drag their asses all the way across town.

They happen to arrive at the same time, with Yoongi jogging diagonally across the street to Taehyung just as he’s about to step inside the café, but they don’t kiss upon meeting.

Of course not. That’s not what friends do. 

What they do instead is greet each other casually like Yoongi’s dick wasn’t in Taehyung’s mouth three days ago. 

Yoongi is wearing black slacks and a white button-up shirt with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows, and his hair is a wind-tousled mess. He licks his lips and then smiles, and Taehyung would very much like to press a kiss square on his mouth, taste the residual wetness of Yoongi’s tongue on his bottom lip—but instead he nods and holds the door open for Yoongi to walk in ahead of him.

It’s possible he steals a glance of Yoongi’s ass in the process. Taehyung is nothing if not an opportunist. 

When they find a table near the back, Yoongi immediately slumps down in his chair and takes a huge gulp of his coffee.

Taehyung sits down in a more orderly manner and lowers his mug of tea on the table. Yoongi looked shocked when Taehyung didn’t order his usual sugar bomb of a hot chocolate, and then laughed when Taehyung looked him dead in the eye while dumping four sugars into the tea.

“Rough day at work?” Taehyung asks when Yoongi sets his mug on the table and rubs his temples. “I guess being a genius music producer takes its toll?”

Yoongi glares small daggers at him, but his mouth twitches in amusement at the remark. “Well, I had the most boring meeting with some of the execs, and then a few of the TXT babies were in the studio to record initial vocals for some new demos.”

Taehyung laughs. “Babies, huh?”

“Well, Huening Kai is like, sixteen. So yes, babies.” Yoongi grins. “They’re awesome kids but they’re just so—” he gestures frantically, “—so damn energetic, you know?”

Taehyung smiles and sips his tea. “Exhaustingly energetic?”

“A bit, yeah.” Yoongi looks impossibly affectionate, so Taehyung is fairly sure he let the babies run wild in his studio without having the heart to scold them.

“Ah hyung, you’ve become a softie, haven’t you?” Taehyung plants his elbows on the table and cups his chin in his hands, batting his lashes at Yoongi.

“Fuck off,” Yoongi says as if on autopilot. Then he smiles, that fond smile of his, and looks down at his lap. “You know, I’ve missed that.”

Taehyung blinks. “Missed what?”

“The way you say ‘ah hyung’.” Yoongi’s eyes rise and meet Taehyung’s, and he has that same tender look on his face as when he was talking about the TXT members in his studio. “It brings back memories.”

Taehyung swallows, and with his hands beneath his chin he can feel the movement of his throat. His ears are getting hot, with the way Yoongi looks at him. “So my suspicions were correct, then,” he mutters. “You have become a softie.”

Yoongi’s expression is nonchalant. “Oh, but I’ve always been a softie and you know it.”

“You were better at hiding it in college.” Taehyung leans back in his chair and grins. 

Yoongi purses his lips, contemplative. “Hm. I guess hiding under a tough shell seemed like the best way to keep my head above at the time.” 

Taehyung hums softly under his breath, agreeing. They were in a different place back then, and they looked at the world through a different lens.

Yoongi continues drinking coffee and talking about his work in the studio. Meanwhile, Taehyung watches Yoongi gesturing with his hands, watches the miniscule alterations in his expressions—and sure, he’s looking at Yoongi, but it’s a slightly altered Yoongi. He’s the same person he’s always been, but a more introspective, more mature version of himself. 

Taehyung guesses the same must be true for him as well. He’s still him, but a grown version of what he used to be. He’s more sure of himself. During his college days he may have seemed very happy-go-lucky and uncaring of what others thought of him or his whimsical behavior, but he often felt like he didn’t belong, like he didn’t quite fit in the college campus landscape, and he was scared that people would see through his bubbly exterior.

Yoongi did, but for some reason it didn’t bother Taehyung at all.

They fall into a comfortable silence, both sipping their drinks and thinking—well, Taehyung has no idea what Yoongi is currently thinking, but whatever it is it makes him smile in that soft way of his. 

It’s a bit difficult to wrap his brain around the push and pull between them, but after Taehyung reconfigures his thought processes, hanging out at the café with Yoongi is pretty much the same as getting coffee with Jimin or Jungkook. 

Well, aside from the fact that now Taehyung can’t allow his gaze to wander anywhere near Yoongi’s belt, because then his brain immediately supplies, excitedly, that it knows exactly what’s hidden behind the zipper of Yoongi’s pants. It takes a lot of brain power to suppress that excited voice, but once he does, things go a lot more smoothly.

They talk about anything and everything, just like they used to. Yoongi complains dryly about things that don’t actually bother him, and he smiles his wide smile when Taehyung shows him a video of Yeontan spotting a rabbit in the park and essentially turning into a dog statue out of pure unadulterated fear. The last fifteen seconds of the video is a closeup of Yeontan’s fur as Taehyung hugs him and tells him that the evil scary rabbit is not going to come eat him.

It’s good to have you back in my life, Taehyung thinks as they separate at the street corner three blocks from the café. It’s strange, because there’s all this history between them, and the current unknown thing between them, but there’s also comfort in it, because Taehyung doesn’t feel the need to try to impress or be on his best behavior like he would if this were a fling with someone completely new. Yoongi knows him, has seen the best of him as well as the worst of him—that connection already exists between them.

Still, this is uncharted territory, and Taehyung feels a bit like a voyager of some earlier century, turning his boat toward the unknown.



-



Late Friday night finds Taehyung sitting on his couch with his laptop resting on his thighs and chatting about next week’s schedule with Jimin.

Jimin scored an interview with an up-and-coming fashion designer for their Rising Stars section, and Taehyung is going to visit the designer's studio next week and take photos of her and her creations, while Jimin is doing an interview with her the day after. 

Taehyung also sends a DM to Jungkook to ask if he has time to help with some graphic design issues on their website and maybe give some tips on video editing at some point. Taehyung and Jimin’s small corner of the fashion world is entirely online-based, so Taehyung has been wanting to do video articles for a while now to expand their reach, but he’s never gotten around to planning it because he doesn’t even know where to start.

Next to his thigh, his phone buzzes with a message.

YG: do you have time tomorrow, you could come hang out at my place for dinner?

Taehyung stares at the message and ruthlessly silences the voice in his head declaring that this sounds a whole lot like a date proposition. It’s not. It’s an invitation to hang out at Yoongi’s place for dinner, that’s it.

TH: you cooking? sweet, i’m in.

YG: ah, yeah remind me to not make it too spicy, heh ;)

TH: are you bullying me :(

YG: yes you big wuss. come over at four?

TH: alright, you bully

YG: wuss

TH: i hate u

YG: :(

TH: ok i don’t hate you but you’re still a bully

YG: i’ll make it up to you ;)

The message is followed by a selfie of Yoongi looking at the camera with half-lidded eyes. He’s doing that thing with his tongue where it peeks out from one corner of his mouth just a little bit, the slightest teasing hint of pink visible between his lips. Taehyung stares at the photo and swallows. Yoongi is flirting with him. Which is fine. Taehyung will get a dinner and a fuck, and he gets to hang out with Yoongi. It’s like a triple win at this point.

So why does it feel like something is gnawing at his insides—something very small, almost unnoticeable but constantly lurking in the pit of his stomach?



-



Yoongi opens the door wearing loose-fitting sweatpants and a t-shirt. His hair is wet, and a towel hangs around his neck.

Taehyung sucks in a breath and ignores the way his body wants to grab a hold of the damp strands of hair and kiss Yoongi into the nearest wall.

“Hey, come in.” Yoongi raises the towel and ruffles his hair with it. “You can leave your shoes over there.” He nods at a rack by the wall and then disappears through a doorway into what Taehyung assumes is the bathroom.

Taehyung toes off his shoes and goes to take a look around. The front door opens to a short hallway, followed by a living room that blends seamlessly into a kitchen, with only a kitchen island creating a semblance of division in the open space. He walks around, taking in the black-and-white photo posters on the walls and the sleek lines of the furniture. Yoongi has always liked his furniture sharp and angular, and the combination of blue-gray tones and straight lines creates a kind of a geometric feel that still looks surprisingly cozy.

When Yoongi comes out of the bathroom, Taehyung is in the living room looking through the books Yoongi has in his bookshelf. Some of the books are ones Taehyung has seen in Yoongi’s shelf before, like the rather rough-looking copy of the Architecture of Happiness, but there are new additions, like a book on impressionist art that Taehyung has actually thought about buying himself, but hasn’t gotten around to getting.

He’s skimming through the art book when Yoongi appears in his field of vision. “Have you read this?” Taehyung holds up the book. 

Yoongi scrunches his nose. “I skimmed like a few dozen pages of it.”

“Is it any good? I’ve been thinking about getting it myself.”

Yoongi scratches the side of his neck. “You’d probably be a better judge of that. I don’t know that much about art.”

“Can I borrow it?” Taehyung asks. “I promise not to spill anything on it.”

Yoongi is quiet for a few seconds. “You can keep it.” He chuckles. “Not like I’m actually going to read it.”

Taehyung gives him a look. “This book is like crazy expensive.” He’s been checking the price online every now and then, out of curiosity when he’s remembered its existence, but the price seems to remain at a level he hasn’t quite been able to justify for a book he doesn’t really need.

“I know, I bought it.” Yoongi looks a bit awkward. “So hey, as for dinner, I was thinking about making something with beef and rice, does that sound okay?”

“Sounds good.” Taehyung closes the art book and holds it for a moment, unsure where to put it. In the end he shoves it back to its spot on the shelf. “Can I help with cooking? Or like, chopping, I don’t know.”

Yoongi allows him to chop onions and laughs when it makes Taehyung’s eyes well up with tears like he’s a character in an anime movie. Taehyung sniffles dramatically through the ordeal, then moves on to vegetables that don’t make him cry. He stands by the kitchen island and chops away, while Yoongi is at the stove behind his back. Everything about the situation is so domestic—the sizzle of the onions in the pan, the sound of the knife against the cutting board, Yoongi humming under his breath every now and then. It’s easy, familiar, the way they work around each other in the kitchen. It’s another thing on the list of things that are almost like they used to be, except now when Taehyung glances over his shoulder, he’s met with a tousle of dark hair instead of platinum blond, and Yoongi’s shoulders are broader than they were back in the day.

After Taehyung is done with chopping Yoongi tells him to relax and sit down. Taehyung pulls a barstool from beneath the kitchen island and sits down, watching Yoongi as he works. 

Yoongi turns around, holding up a wooden spatula. “Here. Is this okay?” He steps closer, wedging himself between Taehyung’s legs, and offers him a chunk of beef. 

Taehyung obediently opens his mouth when the spatula comes close. He tastes tender beef, some onion and the tiniest hint of spices. A smile spreads on his face as he chews and then swallows the bite. “You really decided to take note of my aversion to spicy food, huh?”

Yoongi watches him with a fond smile. “Yes, you wuss.” He doesn’t look at the spatula as he drops it on the kitchen island.

No, his eyes are on Taehyung’s mouth.

Taehyung licks his lips, tasting soy sauce and sesame, and then Yoongi reaches up to cup his face, dragging him into a kiss that almost makes Taehyung tumble down from the barstool. Yoongi’s tongue slips into his mouth, first quickly and then again slower, a lingering slide of their mouths, lips slotting against each other.

Yoongi pulls back and raises his eyebrows. “Mm. I suppose it tastes fine.” His hands drop from Taehyung’s face to his thighs, the touch warm even through the fabric of his pants.

“Not exactly a standard way to taste food, but okay,” Taehyung says, amused and a bit breathless.

Then again, what about this situation is standard anyway?

Taehyung is fairly sure that lingering kisses while cooking dinner are not supposed to happen in a friends-with-benefits situation. It’s supposed to be about being friends with some sex on the side, but this thing here? It’s starting to look like something else entirely. 

Yoongi gives Taehyung a teasing smile, squeezes his thighs briefly and then grabs the spatula and goes back to the stove to stir the beef. “Oh hey, can you check how the rice is doing? It should be done right about now.”

Taehyung makes an agreeing noise in the back of his throat and slides down from the barstool to go check on the rice cooker sitting at the far end of the counter. “Yup, it’s done.”

Yoongi goes over to a cupboard and grabs two bowls, handing one over to Taehyung. He motions at the rice and the pan sitting on the stove. “After you.”

They eat in the living room, sitting on the floor by the coffee table, because Yoongi mutters something about remembering Taehyung’s tendency to drop pieces of food if he’s watching something while he eats. “I’m protecting my couch,” Yoongi says, patting the light-gray fabric.

Taehyung pokes his tongue out at Yoongi—very mature, but whatever—and then almost proves Yoongi right by fumbling with a piece of beef and nearly dropping it on the floor. Yoongi remains diplomatically quiet, but he gives Taehyung a meaningful look.

After dinner, when they’re sitting on the couch with some random netflix show in the background, Yoongi mutters, “You know, I bought the book for you.”

“What?”

“The art book.” Yoongi points his thumb toward the bookshelf. “It was supposed to be a gift for our one-and-a-half-year anniversary, but, you know. We broke up before that.”

Several thoughts cross through Taehyung’s mind all at once. Yoongi bought that expensive-as-fuck book while he was on a tight student budget, just because he had probably heard Taehyung mention it in passing? And not only that, he kept it around even after they broke up, and he’s offering to let Taehyung have it—so now, Taehyung is technically getting their anniversary gift four years after they went their separate ways.

“Oh,” Taehyung whispers, a surprised exhale of a sound. “Oh wow.” He’s overwhelmed, overcome with a flood of thoughts he has no way of categorizing, so he does the only thing he can think of to express himself: he leans across the distance between them and kisses Yoongi. Somewhere at the back of his mind a small voice pipes up that it’s probably not the wisest move, but at the moment Taehyung doesn’t really care. 

Yoongi responds to the kiss readily, grabbing Taehyung’s shirt to pull him closer, then keeps tugging until Taehyung gets the hint and climbs to straddle his thighs. Yoongi’s hands slide down and settle on Taehyung’s hips, adjusting his position on his lap while their mouths never detach from each other. Yoongi’s tongue is in Taehyung’s mouth, hot and insistent, and he pulls Taehyung down while grinding his hips up, and a small groan escapes Taehyung’s lips, muffled into the kiss between them. Sparks of pleasure start gathering, like beads of quicksilver traveling toward his core and combining to form a pool of warmth between his legs.

When Yoongi bucks up again, pressing against Taehyung’s ass, Taehyung has to detach from the kiss and bury his face in Yoongi’s neck, moaning. He can feel Yoongi getting hard against him, and he’s not far behind, but he’s wearing jeans that are better suited for hiding the fact. He latches onto the side of Yoongi’s neck, and the responding gasp from Yoongi vibrates against his mouth.

“Want you,” Taehyung says mindlessly, licking and sucking on Yoongi’s neck. Yoongi smells clean and shower-fresh, and his skin feels amazing under Taehyung’s lips. “Want you to fuck me,” he gasps, pressing down against the bulge in Yoongi’s pants. He imagines Yoongi pushing in, the burn enhanced by the drag of metal, and the thought makes his cock grow fully hard, pressing uncomfortably against the fly of his jeans.

Yoongi pushes him back, and for a moment Taehyung is afraid he’s going to put a stop to wherever this thing is going, but Yoongi uses the slight distance between them to grab a hold of a handful of hair at the nape of Taehyung’s neck, tilts his head to the side and then his mouth is on Taehyung’s throat.

Taehyung lets his head fall back, rutting against Yoongi, a groan ripping out of him as Yoongi licks down his neck and bites into his collarbone. Taehyung’s fingers slide up to the nape of Yoongi’s neck, holding him firmly in place, drowning in the sensation of Yoongi’s lips and tongue on his skin.

Then, as suddenly as it started, the movement ceases. Everything falls quiet aside from their breathing, and the murmur of the long-forgotten netflix show in the background.

“I just realized something,” Yoongi says into Taehyung’s skin.

Taehyung’s hand slides from Yoongi’s neck to his shoulder. He pulls back and looks at Yoongi, worried. “What?”

Yoongi smiles. “I didn’t give you a grand tour of the apartment. How rude of me.” He licks his lips and his eyes gleam, mischievous. “Would you like to see the bedroom?” 

Taehyung exhales a relieved rush of air and pinches Yoongi’s shoulder lightly. “Ass.”

“Ass?” Yoongi’s hands slide to Taehyung’s ass, squeezing. “Found it. Do I get a prize?”

Taehyung presses his hips down on Yoongi’s cock, and Yoongi groans, eyes slipping halfway shut. 

“I don’t know,” Taehyung murmurs. “Maybe if you show me the bedroom, we can negotiate about it.”

Yoongi huffs out a laugh and pushes him off, gently, and Taehyung clambers to his feet, then pulls Yoongi up from the couch. 

“Gotta love those sweatpants,” Taehyung says, looking down. “They hide absolutely nothing.”

The outline of Yoongi’s cock is clearly visible through the fabric, and Taehyung thinks he can spy at least one of the metal balls of the piercing as well. The thought of the piercing makes his cock jerk in his pants.

“They might do a better job at hiding things if I had some boxers on.” Yoongi shrugs. “But I don’t, so.”

“Oh, you’re shameless.” Taehyung tugs Yoongi by the wrist. “I’m assuming that’s the bedroom?” He points toward a closed door. 

“I don’t know, is it?” Yoongi raises his eyebrows. “Let’s go see.”

Taehyung rolls his eyes and then lets Yoongi lead the way and open the door for him. Taehyung pauses at the door to take in the space in front of him. Yoongi’s bedroom is minimalistic like the rest of his apartment. A neatly made king-sized bed with a nightstand on one side, and an over-the-top stereo and speaker system on the opposite wall.

Taehyung quirks an eyebrow at the speakers. “So, what’s on the Min Yoongi sex soundtrack these days?”

He recalls how Yoongi used to seduce him to the sensual melodic rhythms of RnB, followed by jagged beats for hard fucking, or something teasing and sultry for those times when they’d go at it slow and intense, until they were both shivering and sticking to the sheets and gasping into each other’s skin.

Yoongi snorts. “I guess you’ll find out if you get naked.” He goes over to the nightstand and grabs a remote, pointing it toward the stereo. “Well?”

A surprised laugh tumbles out of Taehyung’s mouth. “Alright.” He pulls off his sweater and t-shirt, then unbuttons his jeans and discards them on the floor along with his boxers.

The speakers come to life, the first notes of a song spilling out of them. The song is slow, with a low booming bass frequency that vibrates through the air. Taehyung bends to take off his socks, then looks up when Yoongi’s feet appear in front of him. 

Yoongi reaches to pull Taehyung upright and steps closer so they stand almost toe-to-toe. He’s gotten rid of his shirt, but the sweatpants are still on, the bulge in them even more visible now. Yoongi’s hands move up along Taehyung’s arms, palms sliding over his biceps and coming to rest on his shoulders. The music surrounds them, swelling into the bridge and the chorus, and Yoongi drags Taehyung down to a kiss just as the song hits peak intensity. 

Taehyung’s hands find a resting spot on Yoongi’s hips, his fingers digging into the warm skin right above the waistband of his sweatpants. He pulls Yoongi flush against him, sinking into the kiss and the way Yoongi feels against his body, the slow drag of their movements along with the music. It’s almost like a dance, their movements not quite synchronized but everything falling into place nonetheless. 

Taehyung hooks his thumbs under Yoongi’s waistband and pulls downward, and the sweatpants slide over the curve of Yoongi’s ass and then fall to the floor. Yoongi shuffles out of them, then grabs Taehyung’s wrist to pull him to the bed. In the background, the music fades and blends into another song. 

Yoongi ushers Taehyung to lie on his back, then crawls to hover above him, kissing him unhurried and intimate until Taehyung is whining, his cock leaking and his hips desperately grinding up to seek friction. Yoongi meets him on occasion, allows him a few brief moments of bliss, their cocks rubbing against each other, but most of the time he’s propped up on his elbows and knees, teasing until Taehyung feels like he’s losing his mind because the only place where their bodies are touching is the connection between their lips, and it’s not enough, it’s torture, it’s—

Then Yoongi drops down, his full weight suddenly pinning Taehyung in place, hips aligning with Taehyung’s, finally giving him something to move against.

Taehyung’s hips lift off the mattress, rutting against Yoongi, and it’s so good, the way their cocks slide between their bodies.

Yoongi pulls back from the kiss, and Taehyung looks up at him, dazed. The music has changed into something a bit faster, needier—and above him, Yoongi is fucking beautiful, with his face flushed, his mouth raw from kissing and his dark hair framing his face in messy strands. Yoongi looks him dead in the eye when he rotates his hips against Taehyung’s, once, slowly. Taehyung’s eyes fall shut and he gasps, the sharp intake of air followed by a moan that resonates deep in his chest.

When he opens his eyes again, Yoongi is watching him with unreadable eyes, hips moving in torturous little circles. Taehyung pulls him in for another kiss, keeps him flush against his chest, kisses him until he feels like he’s going to explode. 

He is so fucked, and he hasn’t even been fucked yet. 

Eventually Yoongi detaches from Taehyung to reach into the nightstand drawer. He returns with lube and condoms, laughing softly when Taehyung pulls his knees up and apart without prompting.

“You can start with two,” Taehyung says when Yoongi pops the lube open.

Yoongi’s eyes land on him, curious, and Taehyung’s cheeks heat up with a rush of blood. 

Okay, so maybe he fingered himself in the shower before coming over, because he felt so wired up about the prospect of Yoongi fucking him later. Maybe he teased his prostate a bit, and it’s possible he jerked off, too, to take off the worst edge.

When Taehyung mentions fingering himself before coming over, Yoongi’s eyes darken. He drops the lube on the mattress, nudges Taehyung’s knee up and looks down, as if assessing the situation. Then Yoongi cranes his neck, presses a kiss on the inside of Taehyung’s thigh, then another, lower, and Taehyung shivers.

“Okay?” Yoongi glances up.

“Yeah.” Taehyung’s voice is rough. His heart rate picks up, accelerating into a rapid-fire thumping that almost matches the beat of the current song on the playlist.

Back in college, Yoongi used to rap about his superior tongue technology. While those lyrics may have seemed like exaggerated boasting, Taehyung knows from experience that they actually have a firm basis in reality.

Yoongi kisses his way along Taehyung’s thigh, sinking his teeth in the skin every now and then, licking over the small red marks he leaves behind. He takes his time, riling Taehyung up as he advances toward the junction of Taehyung’s legs at a glacial pace. When he arrives at his destination, Yoongi glances up one last time with a question in his eyes. Taehyung nods in confirmation, pulling his knees up against his chest, and Yoongi dips down, his tongue lapping over Taehyung’s hole.

Taehyung groans at the sensation of wet heat on him, moving up and down over his hole in broad strokes and teasing flicks—and then gasps out a curse when Yoongi applies pressure. Yoongi’s hands grip the back of Taehyung’s thighs, pushing his knees closer to his chest for better access, and Taehyung loses himself in the sensation of Yoongi’s tongue on him, teasing him until he’s wet and loose and shivering—and then Yoongi finally, finally pushes in, the tip of his tongue sliding in, then out, then in again. It’s like every touch receptor in Taehyung’s body has migrated to that one spot, concentrated on the warm pressure and wetness that’s shaking him to his core. 

Taehyung’s head rings with purepleasure white noise as Yoongi wrecks him with his tongue, and he realizes he’s repeatedly gasping out small ah noises only when Yoongi stops and pulls back, looking at him with blazing eyes.

“Fucking hell, you sound like I’m killing you.” Yoongi grins and wipes his mouth on the back of his hand.

Taehyung swallows, and his throat clicks dry. “In a good way,” he rasps out, lowering his feet back to the bed. “Can you just—please—” He makes an impatient gesture at Yoongi’s dick.

Yoongi’s grin widens, and he looks around in search of the lube he discarded earlier. When he finds it, he nudges Taehyung to turn on his stomach and shoves a pillow under his hips. Taehyung buries his face in his arms and groans when Yoongi’s hand appears on his ass cheek, spreading him open. Yoongi’s lube-covered fingers are cool when they circle Taehyung’s hole, but they soon warm up as Yoongi rubs them against the ring of muscle, teasing, always teasing until suddenly he’s not teasing anymore. Taehyung inhales sharply when Yoongi pushes in, starting with two fingers like Taehyung requested.

Taehyung closes his eyes, moaning at the stretch. It’s not too bad after his shower escapades, so pretty soon he starts meeting Yoongi’s exploring fingers as they slide deeper, fucking himself against Yoongi’s hand, wanting more.

Taehyung loves how Yoongi is able to decipher his mood without words, because Yoongi immediately gets the hint, adding a generous amount of lube, followed by a third finger. The burn of the stretch is delicious, and Taehyung shifts against the mattress and the pillow under his hips. Yoongi’s movements are controlled, but jagged in a way that lets Taehyung know he’s not the only one who’s getting impatient. He twists his hand and grazes Taehyung’s prostate with his fingertips, and a small starburst of technicolor sizzles across Taehyung’s field of vision. His cock twitches, trapped between his stomach and the bed, and Taehyung can’t help the roll of his hips first back against Yoongi’s hand and then forward into the mattress.

“Oh, fuck, there,” Taehyung gasps against his forearm. “Ah, Yoongi, hyung—please—need you in me—” 

Yoongi shifts behind him, and Taehyung feels a kiss dropped on the small of his back. “I’m just gonna stretch you a bit more. I don’t want your pretty ass to destroy my piercing.”

“Ha.” Taehyung huffs out a laugh. “Fair—enough, I guess.”

Yoongi continues working him open, and Taehyung is torn between wanting to push himself back onto Yoongi’s fingers or getting some sweet friction from the mattress. He doesn’t have to suffer for long, because soon Yoongi pulls his fingers out. Taehyung reflexively clenches around nothing and whines at the sudden emptiness, craning his neck to look over his shoulder.

Yoongi is kneeling on the bed behind him, rolling a condom on and slicking himself. Taehyung’s breath stutters when he sees the hard ridges of metal protruding through the condom, and his dick pulses against his stomach.

“Ready?” Yoongi nudges Taehyung’s thigh, and Taehyung spreads wider to give him better access. 

Taehyung buries his face in his arms, every touch receptor alert and waiting as Yoongi lines himself behind him and starts pushing in. He can feel the metal ball on the underside when it breaches through the ring muscle, the delicious drag and pressure of it, but the sensation isn’t as overwhelming once Yoongi goes in deeper. 

Yoongi seems to know this, because once Taehyung has adjusted, he pulls out almost completely, then slams back in with a groan. The sensation from the piercing alternates between overwhelming and not much like anything at all, and Taehyung soon gives up on trying to make sense of it and just enjoys being stretched open by the hard slide of Yoongi’s cock in him.

Yoongi lowers himself until he’s all but draped over Taehyung’s back, mouthing at the skin between Taehyung’s shoulder blades as he does a few experimental back-and-forth movements with his hips, first slowly, but picking up in pace after a few thrusts. The angle of his cock changes, and—

“Wow, fuck,” Taehyung curses when he feels it—the drag of Yoongi’s cock against his prostate, the sensation heightened by the metal ball on the underside of the tip. 

“There?” Yoongi asks against Taehyung’s skin, even though he must know the answer.

“Yeah, fuck, there, oh my—” Words flee Taehyung’s consciousness. He doesn’t know anything about anything anymore, he just knows he suddenly feels so fucking good, so good with Yoongi fucking into him, brushing his prostate with every thrust, and that fucking piercing, holy shit. Taehyung is pretty sure he’s been ruined for the rest of his life. He’s rock-hard and writhing against the mattress, and the friction is almost enough to make him come, because even if his dick isn’t getting much action, his ass sure as hell is.

In the background, the music has changed into a fast rap, the kind that would indicate this is not going to be one of those slow and sensual fucks.

They move as if trying to keep up with the music, even though Taehyung is not sure if the music is ushering them on or if it’s just the urgency of it all, the overwhelming sensation of having Yoongi here, on him, in him, pressing open-mouthed kisses on whatever skin his mouth encounters—on Taehyung’s shoulders, on the nape of his neck, down his spine between his shoulder blades, like small droplets of touch punctuating the movements of his hips as he keeps fucking Taehyung.

“Fuck.” Yoongi exhales a breathless chuckle in between thrusts. “This is gonna go fast.”

Taehyung moans in agreement. He lifts his hips enough to sneak a hand underneath and grab his cock. There’s not enough room to jerk himself off, but every time Yoongi slams into him, the movement slides Taehyung’s cock into the circle of his fingers, resulting in a similar effect. He nearly sobs when Yoongi manages a very accurate thrust directly into his prostate, while he fists his cock, trapped between his body and the mattress. He’s gasping into the sheets, his cheek rubbing against them when Yoongi rocks into him, pleasure pooling somewhere deep inside, spreading like a warm glow and red-hot sparks, in waves that keep getting bigger, and soon they’ll drag him under.

The world has shrunk to two distinct points—the connection between their bodies, the slide of Yoongi’s cock in him, sending jolts of electricity up Taehyung’s spine, and another hotspot between his body and the mattress, where he’s helplessly fucking into his own hand, groaning every time Yoongi slams into him with a bit more force. The movements of Yoongi’s hips are starting to lose focus and coordination, meaning Taehyung is not drowning alone.

“Up, up, come here,” Yoongi mutters, lifting off Taehyung’s back. Taehyung props himself up on his elbows, trying to get up on all fours, but Yoongi has something else in mind. He wraps one arm around Taehyung’s chest and pulls him upright and to his lap. “Lean back, yeah, like that—sit on me.”

Yoongi’s cock slips out in the process, and Taehyung scrambles to follow Yoongi’s instruction so he can get the cock back in him, like he’s aching from the sudden emptiness. He moves with the guidance of Yoongi’s hands until Yoongi slides into him again and his back is flush against Yoongi’s chest. When he settles down, wiggling a bit, he bites back a groan when it causes Yoongi’s dick to slide in deeper.

Yoongi’s thighs tremble beneath him, a hot breath flutters against the side of his neck and Yoongi presses a rough kiss in the juncture of his neck and shoulder, sucking on the skin until Taehyung moans. He slides an arm around Taehyung’s chest, nudges Taehyung’s hip with one hand as an indication to bounce up, then down, and if the previous angle was good, this might be even better, because seated on Yoongi’s lap. Taehyung can set the pace, fuck himself on Yoongi’s cock any way he pleases.

Yoongi’s teeth sink into Taehyung’s shoulder with a bit more force when he moves up, then slides down as far as he can go, the pinpricks of pleasure jolting through him every time Yoongi’s cock brushes his prostate. He hazily registers that Yoongi’s hand slides down his chest, fingers rubbing over his nipple on their way down, over his stomach and— 

Taehyung nearly howls with bliss when Yoongi’s hand fists his cock, thumb rubbing over the head, slick with precum. Everything around him is Yoongi—all his senses filled with Yoongi’s touch, Yoongi’s scent, Yoongi’s little noises in his ears, and somewhere in the background, the music swells through the bridge to a chorus.

Yoongi gasps, a searing hot puff of air against Taehyung’s neck. “You’re so good, so fucking— Tae, fuck, Tae, you feel so—”

He must be close, because he’s getting so talkative. That’s how Yoongi operates—first he gets talkative, and then he goes really quiet right before he comes. Taehyung is also heading in the same direction, more rapidly now that he hears Yoongi’s wrecked voice, low and almost pleading. It’s another kind of a turn-on that’s thrown into the mix—Yoongi’s bedroom voice, that low rasp of his, the way he gasps the words into Taehyung’s skin—Taehyung is powerless against that voice.

So when Yoongi asks him to come, in a growl against the shell of his ear, Taehyung screws his eyes tightly shut, clenches hard around Yoongi’s cock and lets the waves of pleasure wash over him. He groans, eyes slipping shut against the force of it as he comes, spilling all over Yoongi’s hand and making a mess of the sheets.

Yoongi keeps fucking him through it, and after a handful of sharp, ungraceful thrusts, Yoongi lets out a small, punched-out moan, buries his face in the crook of Taehyung’s shoulder and kisses his sweat-sticky skin while his cock pulses inside Taehyung.

Taehyung returns to his body a few seconds later, taking note of Yoongi’s forehead resting on his shoulder, of the subtle pulsing of Yoongi’s cock in him, of Yoongi’s sticky hand on his thigh and Yoongi’s slightly trembling arm squeezing Taehyung to his chest.

“Whoa,” Yoongi whispers into Taehyung’s back. He’s breathing heavily, in harsh ragged bursts of air against Taehyung’s skin.

“Mm,” Taehyung agrees. He turns his head to the side to place a haphazard kiss on Yoongi’s hair. He leans back into Yoongi, every muscle in his body relaxed in post-orgasm haze. 

“I don’t mean to offend,” Yoongi says after a few seconds. “But you’re getting heavy.”

“Pfft, fuck you.” Taehyung chuckles, flicking Yoongi’s hand on his thigh. He groans when he lifts his ass and Yoongi’s cock slips out. Taehyung collapses on his side on the mattress, barely avoiding the wet stain decorating the sheets.

“Fuck me? Maybe tomorrow,” Yoongi counters as if on autopilot. Then he pauses. “Or, I mean, do you have to leave?”

Taehyung blinks his eyes open and watches Yoongi tie off the condom and drop it on the floor. Yoongi then points the remote at the stereo and the music dies, leaving them in silence. 

“No, Jimin is dog-sitting Yeontan.” Taehyung swallows and meets Yoongi’s eyes. “So I can stay if you want.”

“Sounds good.” Yoongi stretches, groaning, and then collapses on the bed beside Taehyung. “I guess we have to change the sheets though, we made a mess.”

Taehyung grins and closes his eyes. “Sorry about the mess.” He feels droopy, like a wilted flower.

“Hey, no sleeping yet, the sheets need to be dealt with.” Yoongi pokes him in the side. “Up.”

Taehyung whines, but obediently rolls to his back and sits up, moving to the edge of the bed. The slickness of the lube between his asscheeks is getting uncomfortable. “Can I use the shower real quick?”

“Of course. There’s clean towels on the shelf in the bathroom. Oh, and a toothbrush in the drawer if you want to brush your teeth.”

Taehyung makes his way to Yoongi’s bathroom and stops in front of the mirror. He digs out a packaged toothbrush and mechanically brushes his teeth while watching himself in the reflection. He looks exactly like he feels: thoroughly fucked, a bit tired and a lot conflicted. 

After brushing his teeth, Taehyung steps in the shower cubicle, turning the water to a near-scalding temperature. He looks down as the warm stream of water cleanses him of sweat and lube, until only the bite marks on his inner thighs remain, like a red-tinted dotted path from his knees to his groin. The heat from the water is relaxing, and he feels tired and sated—but also a bit agitated, thinking about tonight.

When Taehyung dropped Yeontan off at Jimin’s place earlier, Jimin’s face was laced with disapproval. “So you’re gonna fuck him and stay the night.”

Taehyung fidgeted. “No, I’m gonna fuck him, but I don’t know if I’ll stay the night. This is just in case.”

“This is all too well planned to be ‘just in case’,” Jimin muttered, but then bent down to pat Yeontan. “Okay buddy, we’re gonna have fun tonight, just the two of us, while your daddy goes and gets the D.”

“Jimin, eww.” 

“Am I lying?” Jimin’s eyes were mischievous as he looked up. “Use protection. Don’t catch any STDs.”

He wasn’t talking about actual STDs, and they both knew it.

Taehyung sighs and turns the water off, shaking his head to rid his hair of excess water. He steps out on the fluffy gray carpet outside the cubicle, then reaches to grab a towel from the shelf. Without the heat of the water, his skin starts rippling with goosebumps, and Taehyung hastily towels himself dry and then leaves the towel hanging off a hook by the door.

The race to the bedroom is quick, because Taehyung is naked and cold and wants nothing as much as to crawl under the blankets and pass out.

The bed is made with fresh sheets, and Yoongi quirks an eyebrow when Taehyung immediately dives in. 

“Make yourself at home,” Yoongi mutters, sarcastic, and Taehyung pulls the blanket off his face and pokes his tongue out. Yoongi chuckles, stops to gather the dirty sheets in his arms and goes to the door. “I’m gonna grab a quick shower too.”

“Mmh.” Taehyung buries his face in the pillow. The laundry detergent Yoongi uses smells fresh and soothing, lavender with a hint of vanilla, and he inhales the scent like he’s trying to get acquainted with it. He thinks about Yoongi’s remark about making himself at home, and yeah, he wouldn’t be so casual with someone he’s known for such a short time, but with Yoongi it’s different. Even if their current situation is new, they’ve known each other for a long time, discounting the gap of four years in between.

He’s almost asleep when the bed dips beside him and Yoongi slides under the blanket. Yoongi’s skin is cool but it quickly warms up when he drapes himself around Taehyung, and Taehyung drifts to sleep with Yoongi’s arm slung over his body and Yoongi’s toes brushing against the bone of his ankle.



-



Yoongi looks so beautiful in his sleep, Taehyung thinks groggily when he wakes up and the first thing he encounters is the sight of Yoongi, snuffling peacefully next to him while the morning light filters through the curtains, giving the room a hazy glow. 

With Yoongi sleeping, Taehyung finally has a chance to stare for as long as he wants without having to worry about time constraints or making things awkward. 

Yoongi is lying on his side, one hand on the pillow next to his face and the other somewhere under the blanket. It’s probably between his knees, because Yoongi used to sleep curled up on his side, with either one or both of his hands wedged between his thighs. 

Strands of black hair fall over Yoongi’s eyebrows, his lashes a dark smear fanned over his cheeks, his eyelids twitching feather-light as he dreams. His lips are dry from kissing, a bit chapped but still the softest shade of pink, forming a slight pout even when he’s asleep. He looks the same as he did four years ago, perhaps a bit less youthful, more angular and mature—even though the relaxation of deep sleep chips away at the effect, making him seem younger than when he’s awake.

He’s so gorgeous it makes Taehyung’s lungs ache. 

Yoongi sighs and wrinkles his nose, then rubs his face before relaxing again. A tight feeling constricts Taehyung’s chest, and he has to forcefully resist an urge to brush a strand of hair off Yoongi’s forehead, to slide his fingertips over Yoongi’s cheek, to lace his fingers with Yoongi’s and watch him when he wakes up.

He wants to do that, but all of that is a thing of the past—it belongs in the days when they were dating.

In the present moment, Taehyung is supposed to be Yoongi’s friend who just so happened to have his cock up his ass the previous night, so instead of snuggling close he gets up from the bed without touching Yoongi and pads silently to the bathroom. He uses the toilet and brushes his teeth, then goes to fetch his clothes from the bedroom, pausing to spare a brief glance in the direction of the bed. Yoongi lies with his back toward the door, and Taehyung fleetingly imagines crawling back in bed and hugging Yoongi to his chest, nuzzling his hair and waking him up with kisses on the nape of his neck.

He shakes his head to banish the thought and grabs his clothes, sitting in a neat pile by the closet door. Taehyung very clearly recalls discarding them haphazardly on the floor, so Yoongi must have folded them when he was changing the sheets.

Taehyung dumps his clothing on the couch and pulls on his boxers and his t-shirt. He sits down and reaches for his phone, checking it to find a message from Jimin, sent late last night. It’s a short video clip of Jimin holding Yeontan and using his paw to wave at the camera. Hope you had a good dicking session! Yeontan says goodnight, the caption reads.

Taehyung rolls his eyes.

TH: ‘dicking session’, ugh. good morning to Yeontan only.

JM: :((

JM: oh, what time are you picking him up?

TH: do you need to be somewhere? i can come right away

JM: no rush, i was actually thinking abt taking him to the dog park and we might be a while

JM: in fact, i might steal him. You’re never getting him back

TH: you’re not allowed to steal the love of my life

JM: rude, i thought i was the love of your life

TH: like i said, good morning to Yeontan only. i’ll see you in a couple of hours, or in the afternoon idk

JM: oh i see, the dicking session is still ongoing then?

TH: fuck u

JM: save that for Yoongi ;)

Taehyung doesn’t have a witty comeback for that, especially since he’s kind of sort of maybe hoping that might actually happen before he leaves. He drops his phone on the couch and closes his eyes for a second. He’s missed fucking Yoongi, the way Yoongi’s body molds into his, the way Yoongi is tight and hot around him. The thought is enough to make his cock stir in his boxers, and Taehyung gives it an absent flick with his fingers, silently scolding it for being the most trigger-happy dick in existence.

The thing is, it’s really not. But that seems to be the case around Yoongi.

Noise from the bedroom makes Taehyung blink his eyes open just as Yoongi appears in the doorway, yawning and squinting against the harsh light flooding through the living room window.

“Oh hey, I thought you left,” Yoongi mutters.

Taehyung tries not to stare at Yoongi, dressed in what appears to be an oversized t-shirt with nothing underneath it, the hem of the shirt skimming his thighs and riding up as he stretches.

“I, uh.” Taehyung swallows and glances at his clothes piled on the couch. “I can go if you’re busy.”

“No, no.” Yoongi shakes his head, then ruffles his hair tiredly. “Let me just use the bathroom real quick and then we can talk about breakfast.”

What was supposed to be hanging out at Yoongi’s place for dinner seems to have turned into hanging out at Yoongi’s for dinner and a fuck, sleeping over and then having breakfast together. 

It shouldn’t be that weird, because Taehyung has pulled similar weekend hangouts with Jimin and Jungkook many times. Well, minus the fucking, and the fact that neither of them is Taehyung’s ex, so perhaps there’s a reason why this feels weird. 

Taehyung stares in the direction of the bathroom, trying to figure out what to make of this all, when Yoongi comes back and stops all thought processes dead in their tracks by climbing on the couch and seating himself on Taehyung’s lap with his arms around Taehyung’s neck—and yeah, Taehyung was correct about Yoongi not wearing anything underneath the shirt. 

Yoongi tastes of toothpaste when he kisses Taehyung, and he smirks against Taehyung’s lips when Taehyung’s cock immediately twitches between them. 

“Is this your idea of talking about breakfast?” Taehyung asks breathlessly when Yoongi’s mouth slides off his, crosses the angle of his jawline and latches onto the side of his neck.

“Mm.” Yoongi detaches from his neck. “Well, if you’re hungry, we can stop.”

“Not hungry,” Taehyung decides in a rush. “Not for food at least.” This extracts a soft chuckle from Yoongi, a warm puff of air against Taehyung’s collarbone. Taehyung slides his hands up the sides of Yoongi’s thighs, cupping his ass to pull him closer, to get some friction on his suddenly very alert dick. Yoongi surfaces from where he’s been nibbling at Taehyung’s skin, and the tiny bloom of pain at the juncture of Taehyung’s neck and shoulder indicates Yoongi has left behind another red mark.

When Yoongi kisses him again, Taehyung slides his hands up his sides, over the expanse of his ribcage until he finds Yoongi’s nipples, making Yoongi gasp into his mouth. Yoongi’s oversized t-shirt is now bunched-up between them, and Yoongi makes a frustrated noise and pulls back long enough to take it off and discard it behind him.

So here Taehyung is, sitting on Yoongi’s couch in his underwear, with a very naked Yoongi on his lap, all lean muscle and soft curves and sharp angles, fair and flushed and pretty.

“Ah, hyung,” Taehyung groans, his fingers finding Yoongi’s nipples again. They’re pink and gorgeous, and Taehyung runs his thumbs over them, eliciting a hitched gasp. 

When he looks up, Yoongi is biting his lip, watching Taehyung with half-lidded eyes. 

“You’re so pretty,” Taehyung continues. “So fucking pretty.” He slips a hand behind Yoongi’s back, pulls him closer and then leans in to flick his tongue over Yoongi’s right nipple, then the left one.

Yoongi gasps again, mouth falling open and eyes slipping shut. Taehyung runs a thumb over the left nipple, wet and hard in the wake of his tongue, then pulls Yoongi closer again so he can put his mouth on the right one, sucking and teasing it with his tongue until Yoongi’s chest is heaving with ragged breaths and Yoongi’s fingers are in his hair, twisting the strands almost painfully.

Taehyung pulls back, looking up at Yoongi. Yoongi’s mouth is open, his lower lip spit-slick and bitten, a blush spreading high over his cheekbones. His eyes are gleaming, hungry as he watches Taehyung move closer, kiss his way to the left nipple and give it the same treatment as the right one—it’s only fair, isn’t it?

By the time he’s done, Yoongi is writhing in his lap, his nipples red and puffy, clearly sensitive when Taehyung runs his fingers playfully over them. Yoongi’s cock is fully hard against Taehyung’s stomach, a smear of precum dotting Taehyung’s t-shirt.

“You should take off this shirt,” Yoongi says when Taehyung finally stops teasing his nipples. “Before I fucking ruin it.”

Taehyung bucks his hips up, grinding against Yoongi’s ass. “Better yet, how about I take all my clothes off and ruin you instead?”

“That’s a cheesy line,” Yoongi comments. “But yes, we should do that.” He climbs off Taehyung’s lap and holds out a hand for Taehyung to grasp.

Taehyung follows when Yoongi tugs him to the bedroom. Once there, he shoves Yoongi on the messy bed and strips his clothes before lowering himself on top of Yoongi. Yoongi wraps his legs around Taehyung’s waist and ruts against him as they kiss, and kiss, and kiss some more, breathless and unhurried. Taehyung detaches from Yoongi’s mouth to lick down the column of his throat, stopping to leave a tiny mark on Yoongi’s collarbone, while Yoongi lets out these delicious small noises—first pleased but getting increasingly frustrated, until Taehyung grabs the lube and condoms from the nightstand drawer and starts stretching Yoongi open.

Yoongi moans when Taehyung crooks his fingers just right, and a shiver ripples through Yoongi’s body. Yoongi throws his arm over his eyes and bites his lower lip, shifting his hips to meet Taehyung’s hand. “Missed your fingers,” Yoongi mumbles. “So good—so damn good, Taehyung-ah—”

Taehyung could watch him all day—watch the way Yoongi’s body responds to each touch, how he arches off the bed and moans needily—but Yoongi soon grows restless, the way he does when he’s done with prepping and wants Taehyung to get on with the program. Taehyung pulls his fingers out and reaches for a condom, and Yoongi lifts his arm off his face to look at him as he slicks himself with lube.

Yoongi watches him with half-lidded eyes when Taehyung pushes in, sinking into the tight heat of Yoongi’s body with a shuddery exhale. Yoongi feels amazing, and Taehyung pauses for a second, looks down where their bodies are connected, looks at Yoongi’s cock where it’s hard and flushed against his stomach, the metal of his piercing gleaming and a drop of precum smeared at the tip. His dick twitches, and Yoongi clenches at the sensation, and Taehyung closes his eyes and keeps moving until he’s all the way in and Yoongi drags him down for a kiss.

This time there’s no music, only their gasped words and hitched moans, exhaled against skin and into each other’s mouths as Taehyung fucks into Yoongi, slow and intense and torturous until he can’t hold back anymore—and then it’s fast and dirty, harsh thrusts with his hand around Yoongi’s cock. Yoongi moans and curses when Taehyung thumbs the barbell on each upstroke, his entire body pulling taut the closer he gets to coming.

Taehyung comes first, muffling his groan into Yoongi’s mouth, twitching through it. He stays inside Yoongi, kissing him and jerking him off until Yoongi clenches around him—so tight it’s borderline painful—and comes, hot and sticky between them.

Afterwards, it’s quiet in the room aside from their breathing, slowly calming down to a normal rate. Taehyung keeps his face buried in Yoongi’s neck, doesn’t want to move, doesn’t want the moment to end, but eventually Yoongi starts grumbling and fidgeting underneath him, so Taehyung pulls out and moves to sit down on the edge of the bed to get rid of the condom.

They shower separately and then Yoongi makes breakfast omelettes, adding chopped fresh chili to his while Taehyung scrunches his nose and makes sure his omelette stays chili-free.

They eat and talk about random things, like a musician Yoongi is working with, who apparently is a health freak who carries around green smoothies and smells like he’s eaten a truckload of garlic every time he comes in the studio.

“Seriously, even if I forgot I made an appointment with him, I’d smell him coming.” Yoongi shudders. “So I’ve cut back on using garlic in cooking these days.”

Taehyung smiles around a mouthful of omelette.

Yoongi’s phone dings on the table, and he reaches to check the message, quickly typing something in reply. Taehyung’s eyes slide to Yoongi’s neck, where a small red bruise is forming right above the neckline of his shirt. He knows there are several more underneath Yoongi’s clothes, and the thought makes an odd warm but tight sensation settle in his chest.

“I have to leave soon, I’m meeting a friend.” Yoongi looks up from the phone. 

“Oh, okay, I’ll be out of your hair as soon as I’ve finished eating.” Taehyung motions at the omelette. “This is really good, by the way.”

“Not too spicy?” Yoongi smiles, crooked.

Taehyung rolls his eyes. “You’re never going to stop bullying me about that, are you?”

“Nope.” Yoongi’s eyes are soft. “Okay, finish your omelette, but no rush. I have to go find some clothes that aren’t sweatpants.” He quickly slurps down the rest of his coffee and goes to the bedroom. Taehyung sits at the kitchen island and stares at his plate while he hastily shovels down the rest of his food. He rinses the dishes and puts them in the dishwasher, then wipes the kitchen island with a dishrag.

When he turns around, he finds Yoongi standing in the bedroom doorway and watching him. Yoongi is dressed in black jeans and a forest-green turtleneck sweater, and he looks so good Taehyung pauses to stare for a second. 

Yoongi takes a step closer. “You didn’t have to clean up.”

Taehyung snaps out of his trance and turns to hang the dishrag off the tap. “It’s no problem.” Doing chores is something they used to share, and it’s so easy to fall into that pattern again, despite the years of separation in between. “You made breakfast, it’s only fair I help with the cleaning.”

Yoongi smiles faintly. “Hmm, okay I guess. Thank you.”

Taehyung starts shuffling toward the front door, and Yoongi stands leaning on the wall while Taehyung pulls on his shoes. 

“So, this was fun.” Yoongi sounds a bit hesitant.

Taehyung hums in agreement and straightens up, adjusting his sweater sleeves.

“We should hang out more often,” Yoongi says, emphasizing the words hang out. He then makes a small noise and mutters, “Oh, I almost forgot.” He goes to the living room and returns with the art book. “Here.”

“Oh, right.” Taehyung looks at the book in his hands. “Thanks.”

Yoongi rubs the side of his neck. “Yeah. So, see you?”

Taehyung looks up and catches Yoongi’s faint smile. He smiles back. “Yeah. Text me when you have time to hang out.”

And that’s that. 

When Taehyung walks down the hallway and to the elevator, the book in his arms seems heavier than it was last night.



-



Jimin takes one look at Taehyung and promptly shuffles back into his apartment, still holding Yeontan in his arms. He squeezes tighter when Taehyung reaches to grab Yeontan from him.  “Oh no, you’re not getting him back yet. I’m holding him hostage until we’ve had some tea.”

Taehyung sighs. “You mean we’re drinking tea or spilling some?”

Jimin’s smile is crooked, if a bit worried. “Both. Now c’mon.” He nods toward the kitchen.

Jimin makes tea while Taehyung sits at the kitchen table and cuddles Yeontan. “Did he behave himself?” Taehyung asks, pulling his hand away from Yeontan’s playfully nipping teeth.

“He was a model citizen, aside from one lapse around three in the morning when he decided to fight me over the ownership of the pillow I was sleeping on.” Jimin fake-glares at Yeontan.

“Yeontan won?” Taehyung guesses.

“Who allowed him to be so cute anyway?” Jimin pouts. “Thankfully I have several pillows.”

“Who’s a spoiled prince?” Taehyung asks Yeontan, rubbing his nose against the top of Yeontan’s head. “You are.”

“So anyway, enough of the furry pillow-thief,” Jimin says as he comes over and sets two steaming mugs on the table. “What’s up with you appearing behind my door looking like you’re carrying the entire world on your shoulders?”

Taehyung lowers Yeontan on the floor and wraps his fingers loosely around his tea mug, sighing. Yeontan whines for a second but then curls up next to Taehyung’s toes, snuffling against his ankle as Taehyung recites the story of the art book that kind of initiated their dicking session, and how Yoongi gave the book to him when he left, and how it felt more like a thanks-for-a-nice-fuck present than anything else and he doesn’t know what to think about it.

“What else would you want it to be, then?” Jimin asks in a tone that’s sharp but gentle.

Taehyung shrugs. “I don’t know. I don’t know anything about anything anymore.” He rubs his temple and casts Jimin a tired look. “Maybe this was a bad idea. The whole friends-with-benefits thing.”

Jimin hums under his breath but doesn’t say anything, as if he’s waiting for Taehyung to continue.

Taehyung stares into his tea mug, because he doesn’t know how to put into words the mess inside his head. He knew what he was getting into, that’s not the issue. He also knew there was a real possibility of catching some feelings in the process, because there’s a history between him and Yoongi. What he didn’t expect was the speed and magnitude of those feelings, crashing into him like a freight train—the sinking sense of dread when he walked away from Yoongi’s door, clutching the art book to his chest.

Taehyung looks up from his tea and meets Jimin’s worried eyes. “I don’t know what to do. Clearly this can’t go on as it is, but I don’t want to kick him out of my life either.” He sighs. “I mean, I can survive cutting ties with him if I have to, but I don’t want to. So that probably means I have feelings for him now. Or again I guess.”

Jimin purses his lips. “Yeah, sounds like feelings to me,” he mutters, swirling his spoon in his mug. “Have you talked to him about this?”

Taehyung shakes his head. Talking to Yoongi would be the adult thing to do, it’s what he should do, but he doesn’t know how to address it. “What if he doesn’t want to continue this arrangement? Like, if he freaks out and—” He motions with his hand. “You know.”

“Tae, you don’t want to continue this arrangement either.” Jimin’s tone is even in a stating-a-fact, no room for arguments kind of way.

Taehyung furrows his brow. “I don’t?”

“Not as it is anyway. Didn’t you just say that?”

Taehyung bites his lip, then releases it with a sigh. “I guess?”

Jimin takes a sip of tea. “So, what are your options? One, go on as it is and be miserable. Two, talk to him and risk not having him in your life at any capacity anymore. Three, talk to him and maybe come up with another kind of arrangement.”

“What kind of an arrangement?”

Jimin spreads his hands wide. “I don’t know, I’m not like a friends-with-benefits guru or anything. Maybe stop fucking and just be friends? Or ask him if he wants to try to date you?”

Taehyung scrunches his nose. “I don’t know about dating. It didn’t work out so well last time.”

“So you don’t want to date him?”

Taehyung makes a frustrated noise. “I don’t know, okay? It’s all just—up in the air.” He waves his hand toward the ceiling, where Jimin’s purple lampshade with dangly beads hangs above the kitchen table. “I guess I’ll just have to take it one day at a time, see what happens. I’ll put a stop to it if it gets too much.”

Jimin makes a noise that says he doesn’t believe that for one second, but he doesn’t offer further advice. Instead, he flashes a small smile. “Well. If you need to talk about it, you know where to find me.” 

It’s one of the things that Taehyung loves about Jimin—he’s always there but never judging. Okay, maybe judging a little bit, but for the most part he’s just there when Taehyung needs him. Definitely one of the best people Taehyung has ever met in his life. “I don’t deserve you,” Taehyung says.

“Agreed.” Jimin’s eyes crinkle with laughter. “You can start deserving me by editing that batch of photos that was supposed to be done by today.”

Taehyung grimaces. “Aw, shit, yeah. I’ll send them to you by tonight.”

Taehyung finishes his tea, grabs Yeontan’s stuff and goes home. Even though he showered at Yoongi’s, he still takes another shower just to clear his head, as well as rinse away the lingering scent of Yoongi’s body wash. Afterwards, he curls up on the couch with Yeontan and spends the rest of the day editing photos and adding final touches to a feature that’s going to come out next week.

The art book sits on the coffee table, and Taehyung can’t help but feel like the inanimate object is mocking him. In the end he goes to stuff the book in his closet, under a pile of shirts he never uses, but he can feel its presence through two walls and a closet door.



-



Taehyung can’t help but feel just a tiny bit wistful when Jungkook walks over to him, hand in hand with that guy he hooked up with at the release party. Jungkook timidly introduces the guy as my boyfriend Hoseok, and Hoseok smiles like the sun as he shakes Taehyung’s hand. Then he and Jungkook exchange a lingering kiss before Hoseok waves his hand and leaves for practice. 

Jungkook stares after him as he walks down the street, and the utter look of devotion on his face is disgustingly cute.

Taehyung tells him that, in those exact words, and Jungkook flushes pink and looks down at his feet to hide the hopelessly lovestruck smile playing on his lips.

Taehyung is not jealous, not really, but the familiar painful sensation in his chest aches just a fraction more, like a steel band around his ribcage that’s slowly being screwed tighter.

“So that’s the musician you found at the release party, huh?” Taehyung nudges Jungkook with his elbow. “He seems nice.”

“He is.” Jungkook chuckles. “But I’m still surprised he agreed to go out on a date after his first impression of me.”

“Which was?”

“Oh I don’t know, stuttering and stumbling over my sentences like an idiot. I think my first words to him were something along the lines, oh my god I love your new music video, and he laughed and asked if I just liked the music video or the song as well, so then I spent the next two minutes listing all his songs starting from the first album and telling him how much I love them.” Jungkook scratches the side of his neck and scrunches his nose. 

Taehyung rolls his eyes and smiles. “You’re lucky you’re so cute.”

“That’s almost exactly what he said,” Jungkook mutters, grinning stupidly. “Right before he kissed me for the first time.”

Taehyung shoves him. “Ew, you’re so syrupy I’m gonna get diabetes by proxy.”

Jungkook laughs.

“Should we get going?” Taehyung motions over his shoulder.

“Mm, sure.” Jungkook nods, and they start down the sidewalk. “Oh, so how did it go after the release party with Suga-nim—I mean, Yoongi?” 

Taehyung drags in a long breath and then releases it slowly. “Well, uh.”

“That bad?” Jungkook glances at him, worried.

Taehyung makes a vague motion with his hands. “No, not at all. The night of the party, we talked for a long time, and then we kind of started hanging out as friends after that. It’s just, like, a bit complicated, since there’s a history and—”

“You guys are fucking.” Jungkook’s tone is certain.

Taehyung wrinkles his nose, annoyed. “Is it that obvious?”

“Hyung, your ears are like, firetruck-red right now.” Jungkook reaches to tap the shell of Taehyung’s ear. “It’s not exactly rocket science to figure out there’s something going on beyond just hanging out with him as a friend.”

“Oh fuck off.” Taehyung shoves Jungkook again.

Jungkook cackles. “Be polite, hyung, otherwise I might take back my offer for a free lesson, hm?”

Taehyung half-playfully glares at Jungkook and snaps his mouth shut. He doesn’t for one second believe Jungkook would actually cancel on him, but he figures their conversation about Yoongi is not going to go anywhere anyway, so better to just let it fade away than risk having Jungkook pester him for details of what’s going on. Especially since Taehyung himself is a bit uncertain about that.

They head for Jungkook’s office at the label’s headquarters for the lesson in video editing that Taehyung requested. As they approach the label’s building, Taehyung can’t help the reflexive glance up at the shiny glass wall, as if that would help him decipher if Yoongi is still up in his Genius Lab. When they step out of the elevator two floors below the one where Yoongi’s studio is,  Taehyung glances at the ceiling and wonders if Yoongi is up there right now. It’s pretty late in the afternoon, so he may have already left.

Jungkook punches in the code at his office door and motions Taehyung to walk in. “Welcome to my editing cave.” 

It’s a decent-sized office room with a desk drowning in computer screens, and cameras and other video-related equipment are neatly arranged on shelves and tucked away in corners. Jungkook pulls a chair for Taehyung from the corner, and Taehyung digs out his laptop so he can use his own software to execute the tips he gets from Jungkook. 

Jungkook sits down in his comfy-looking gaming chair by the desk and glances at Taehyung’s laptop screen. “You’re using that?” He makes a face when he sees the free software open on Taehyung’s laptop. 

“Look, not all of us work for a filthy-rich record label. Gotta make do with what I got.” Taehyung shrugs. “This hasn’t exactly been a priority expense in our budget.”

“Ugh.” Jungkook pushes his chair away from the desk. “I’m gonna go rummage through the storage room drawers—like two days ago when I was looking for post-its, I’m sure I saw a pile of unused license codes for the software we use.”

“So you can just give me one?” Taehyung raises his eyebrows. “Won’t you get in trouble?”

“Nah, we have plenty of those. We got a way bigger batch of licenses than we actually need, so no one’s gonna miss one.” Jungkook gets up. “Wait here, I’ll be right back.”

Taehyung paces around Jungkook’s office while he waits. After a moment’s contemplation, he snaps a photo of Jungkook’s desk, with a computer unit and three big screens flashing with screensavers, and sends it to Yoongi. 

TH: guess where I am? :) 

YG: in an office? 

TH: yeah but where

YG: how should i know :D

TH: i’m two floors below your genius lab, haha

There’s a momentary pause in the replies.

YG: Jeon Jungkook’s office, right?

TH: bingo. did you check your intra for who’s on this floor? ;)

YG: ...maybe. what are you doing in my building anyway? :)

TH: your building, ha, modest

TH: and I’m here because JK’s giving me a lesson in video editing

TH: for those video articles i wanna try making, i think i mentioned that?

YG: ah, alright. have a good lesson. come see me when you’re done?

TH: you’re still at work?

YG: yeah, looks like it’s gonna be a long night. 

TH: alright, it might take a few hours though, so i’ll text you when i’m done to see if you’re still in?

YG: ok :)

The door swings open and Jungkook enters the room, holding up a software license key printed on a credit-card sized piece of plastic. “Here we go. Let me just set this up on your laptop.”

An hour and a half later Taehyung’s head is buzzing with new terminology and he has three pages of messy handwritten notes related to video editing, but he feels like he’s got the basics down, enough to start attempting things on his own.

He’s just packing away his laptop when someone knocks on the door.

“Come in,” Jungkook calls, and the door cracks open.

“Hey,” Yoongi says from the doorway. “Am I interrupting?”

Taehyung looks up from his laptop bag. “No, we were just finishing.” He nods at Jungkook. “I believe you two have met. I mean, you work for the same company and all.”

“It’s a big company, but yeah, we’ve seen each other a few times in passing.” Yoongi smiles and steps over the threshold. “Hello.”

Jungkook gets up, bowing his head slightly. “Good to see you again, Yoongi-ssi.”

Yoongi nods and waves his hand, dismissive. “Please, call me hyung.”

Jungkook beams. “Okay, hyung.”

Yoongi focuses his gaze on Taehyung. “So, I just came to tell you I’m leaving, but since it looks like you’re also leaving, wanna get food with me? I haven’t eaten since lunch and I’m starving.”

Taehyung looks down at his stomach as if to assess the situation. There’s an emptiness that he’s fairly sure is related to lack of nourishment, so that decides it. “Food? Yeah, sure, sounds good.” 

“You’re welcome to join us,” Yoongi says to Jungkook. From the small shift in his tone Taehyung can tell he doesn’t necessarily want Jungkook to tag along, but he’s asking to be polite.

“Oh no, I have plans, but thanks anyway.” Jungkook glances at his phone. “Yeah, I actually have to go in a few minutes.”

Taehyung swings his bag over his shoulder and goes to give Jungkook a hug. “Thanks for the lesson.”

Jungkook clings to him for a moment. “Of course, hyung. Call me if you have trouble with anything.” As they separate from the hug, Jungkook glances from Taehyung to Yoongi and back again, and Taehyung is pretty sure the offer was extended not just for video editing tips, but for his messy situation with Yoongi as well. Jungkook’s hand lingers on Taehyung’s shoulder, giving it a reassuring squeeze.

“Thanks, Jungkookie, you’re the best.” Taehyung smiles.

Jungkook winks. “Anytime. See you around. You too, Yoongi-hyung.”

Yoongi shifts his weight from one foot to the other. He flashes a small smile. “Yeah. See you.” 

Yoongi waits for Taehyung to get to the door, and then Taehyung’s breath stutters to a halt for a second as he feels Yoongi’s hand on the small of his back, a gentle touch guiding him out of the room.

When Taehyung looks over his shoulder, Jungkook’s eyebrow wiggle lets him know Jungkook saw the gesture as well. 

Yoongi’s hand detaches from Taehyung’s back when they step in the elevator. “So, where do you want to go?”

“Again, you know the restaurants around these parts better than I do, so I’m game for anything.” Taehyung’s stomach makes a small rumbly noise at the thought of food. “Although I’m more partial to fast food than fine dining, mostly because that way I can get food in me, well, faster.”

Yoongi breathes out a chuckle. “Fair enough. Let’s save the fine dining for another time, then.”

“Mm.” Taehyung swallows at the hinted possibility of a fine-dining type of dinner, because that sounds an awful lot like a date proposition, and he doesn’t want to allow his mind to go there. His discussion with Jimin floats to the surface of his mind, and for a brief moment he considers blurting out something along the lines of, it looks like I’ve caught feelings, whoops, how about that, just to get it out in the open—but what if Yoongi will retreat? He used to do that when he was confronted—not necessarily physically, but he’d curl up inside his own head and go to a place where Taehyung couldn’t follow, a million kilometers away even though he was sitting right next to Taehyung.

Taehyung decides they should get food first, and perhaps he can try to open the discussion about what all this means to both of them after they’ve gotten something to eat. He’s aware that he’s stalling and postponing the talk, because he’s a coward, and he doesn’t want to ruin or lose the connection they’ve formed over the short period of time they’ve been back in each other’s lives. So sue him.

“So you said you’ve known Jungkook for how long again?” Yoongi asks when they’re seated at the table in a barbeque restaurant, browsing the menu on a tablet attached to the side of their booth. 

Taehyung looks up from the menu screen. “We had a photography class together, I think it was the fall semester after your graduation.” 

“Ah, okay.” Yoongi nods, staring at the menu as if deep in thought, then pokes his finger on the screen. “I’m gonna order that.” He adds it in the basket. “And some water. What do you want?”

“Get me the bulgogi,” Taehyung says. “It looked good, and you can’t really go wrong with that. Oh, and a soda.”

Yoongi adds Taehyung’s order, then sends it to the kitchen with the push of a button. “Oh, you can pay on this too. Gotta love technology.” He glances around. The restaurant is very private, with tall dividers between tables so they don’t see any other customers, although occasionally they can hear people talking around them. “This place is perfect for today. I’ve had to deal with too many people already, it’s a relief I don’t have to deal with any while I eat.” 

Taehyung pouts. “What, I don’t count as a person?”

Yoongi snorts. “Well, not one that would irritate me?” His eyes soften. “I like hanging out with you.”

A warm sensation spreads in Taehyung’s chest, and the invisible steel band around his ribcage loosens just a fraction. He smiles. “I like hanging out with you too.”

They stare at each other for a moment, and Taehyung is about to bring up the subject of These Unplanned Feelings That I Have, when a waiter swings by their table to drop off their drinks, and the moment shatters.

“So much for not having to deal with people,” Taehyung says, reaching to take a sip from his soda.

“Hm?”

“Nothing.”

Their food arrives quickly, and then for a moment they sit in silence, both scrolling on their phones while they stuff their faces. At some point, Taehyung extends his chopsticks across the table to steal a piece of pork from Yoongi’s bowl, and Yoongi raises his eyes from his phone to give him a look, but he doesn’t say anything. Taehyung grins as he puts the pork in his mouth, and then immediately regrets everything because of course Yoongi would order something that’s way too hot for his taste buds. 

Yoongi smirks when Taehyung makes a choking sound and reaches for his soda. “Too hot to handle?”

Taehyung gulps down several mouthfuls. “Shut up,” he says once he’s finally gotten the burning sensation on his tongue to settle a bit. 

Yoongi leans his elbows on the table and cups his chin in his hands. “Your complete intolerance for anything spicy continues to be hilarious and adorable.”

Taehyung snaps his teeth in Yoongi’s direction. “Bully.”

Yoongi tilts his head and raises his eyebrows in fake shock. “What, I called you adorable—that’s considered bullying now?”

Taehyung pouts. “Yes.”

“You want ice cream to ease the burn?” Yoongi smiles playfully.

This is flirting. This is definitely flirting, not something friends would do. Taehyung watches as Yoongi punches in the order for ice cream, and when the ice cream portion arrives mere minutes later, he takes a spoonful of ice cream and holds it out in Taehyung’s direction with a teasing smile on his face.

Taehyung huffs. Fine. Two can play this game. 

He leans in, holding eye contact with Yoongi as he takes the spoon in his mouth.

Yoongi blinks, the teasing look fading from his face, turning into something that looks like hunger that’s decidedly not related to food. Taehyung pulls back slowly and licks his lips with a grin. “Mm, that’s better.” He then goes back to eating his bulgogi like nothing happened, giddy as Yoongi blinks at the sudden change in mood.

Yoongi sticks the spoon back into the ice cream portion, and then they both finish their food. The ice cream is half-melted by the time they get back to it, but that doesn’t matter because Taehyung manages to smear some of it on the tip of Yoongi’s nose, only to receive an indignant huff and some ice cream smudged over his cheek. By the end of it they’re both a bit sticky from ice cream, the table is covered in used napkins and Taehyung is definitely glad the other patrons in the restaurant can’t see them, because this is bound to look like two high-schoolers on their second date.

“You’re such a kid,” Yoongi says, grinning as he wipes his hands. 

“You’re one to talk.” Taehyung pokes his tongue out, which probably doesn’t help to diminish the childish aura, but he doesn’t care.

“Okay, maybe we should go before there’s ice cream on the ceiling.” Yoongi digs out a credit card, and before Taehyung can even realize it, he’s paid for both their meals through the tablet app.

“Ah hyung, you paid last time, and you made me food at your place, it was supposed to be my turn to pay,” Taehyung whines.

“Where in the contract did it say that?” Yoongi raises his eyebrows and pockets his card with a smile. “The one I got said that hyung should pay for food.”

“You’re hilarious.” Taehyung purses his lips and reaches across the table to flick Yoongi’s wrist.

Yoongi catches his hand before he can retreat, closing Taehyung’s fingers gently between his palms. Yoongi’s eyes are warm as he looks at Taehyung. “Hey, if you really want to, you can pay next time, okay?”

Taehyung escapes the burning gaze by looking down at their hands. It’s kind of scary how much he loves seeing his hand in Yoongi’s like that, and how much he loves the reassuring thought that there will be a next time. “Okay.”

They separate with a hug at the restaurant door, and Taehyung walks a few steps backwards to watch Yoongi go. Yoongi glances over his shoulder once, and Taehyung waves at him.

Yoongi waves back, and Taehyung spies a smile spreading on his face when he looks away again.

Taehyung is halfway home before he realizes he didn’t bring up the subject of feelings like he was supposed to—and today’s ice-cream laden mess of a dinner certainly didn’t help with suppressing those feelings.



-



Taehyung loves spring mornings teetering on the cusp of summer, when it’s getting warm but the weather isn’t unbearably hot and humid yet. It’s amazing to go outside for a walk when everything is golden and a bit hazy and the scent of night air hangs low over the city. He doesn’t get to experience it very often these days, due to his inability to actually drag himself out of bed so early during his days off. 

Back in college he used to wake up in the dark of the night to catch the blue hour right before dawn, so he could photograph dewdrops dangling from flower petals and watch the world slowly awaken to a new day. A few times he even dragged an easel and a canvas to the park right outside campus and painted for a few hours, but usually he preferred his camera for the ease and versatility of the shots.

Sometimes Yoongi came with him on these early photography journeys, sipping coffee and grumbling about the ungodly hour, in that way he grumbled about small annoyances that didn’t really bother him. He usually followed Taehyung around for a while and then sat somewhere under a tree, writing lyrics into his notebook while Taehyung rummaged around the bushes with his camera. Taehyung still has a few candid shots of Yoongi sitting beneath a tree, surrounded by dewdrop-dotted grass and looking gorgeous in the pale morning light.

This time, however, Taehyung isn’t out early in the morning on the weekend because he wants to capture nature waking up.

No, he’s out because he couldn’t sleep, and walking around with his camera in the quiet hours of the morning brings a sense of serenity.

Well, it’s serene until the moment Yeontan spots a squirrel and starts making a racket, barking and tugging at his leash.

“I’m pretty sure the squirrel would win this fight,” Taehyung says.

Yeontan barks louder, and the squirrel glances at them with beady eyes and then scurries up a tree trunk. Yeontan looks forlorn, and Taehyung walks closer to the tree so Yeontan can watch the squirrel as it hangs out on a branch and gives them a suspicious glare. The squirrel seems to know Yeontan can’t get to it, because it doesn’t make a move to climb higher even when Yeontan barks up at it in apparent fury.

“I’m still pretty sure the squirrel could take you,” Taehyung tells Yeontan. “Also pretty sure it’s teasing you.” He manages to snap a photo of the squirrel’s face peering down at them from the branch above, and sure enough, the creature looks smug.

The commotion with the squirrel is a welcome distraction, but as soon as they move on, the thoughts come circling back like vultures, pecking at Taehyung’s mind, taunting him.

He still hasn’t come up with a way to casually mention his feelings veering towards something more than just friendship. Yoongi hasn’t said anything about their little arrangement turning more and more domestic or romantic each time they hang out together, but Taehyung is sure he is aware of it—aware of the small touches and looks and soft kisses and playful teasing that don’t fit in the category of friends with some fucking on the side. Yoongi is many things, but stupid is not one of them.

Taehyung knows he should probably step away from this, but at the same time he doesn’t think he can. He’s drawn to Yoongi like a moth to a flame, drawn to the way they fit together in so many ways, even after all these years. They have fun together, they talk about everything and anything and they joke around. They have mind-blowing sex. In short, they have all the ingredients for a really awesome relationship, and Taehyung can no longer deny wanting it.

Fuck, he wants it. He wants to do all that coupley shit with Yoongi again, the hand-holding and the kissing in public and introducing Yoongi as his boyfriend. He wants to call Yoongi his, and he wants to be Yoongi’s in turn.

At the same time, he’s afraid. Afraid that Yoongi doesn’t want the same. Afraid that he does, but then the things that drove them apart before will do so again—that the small annoyances grow bigger over time and make this whole scenario impossible. It feels like a ticking time bomb with no visible timer, so Taehyung walks on eggshells—knowing it’s all going to explode in his face one way or another—but not knowing how or when.



-



After several busy days for both of them, Yoongi comes over on Thursday. They haven’t really seen each other for a week, and during that time Taehyung has discovered a thousand new things he misses about Yoongi, and every time his phone dings with a message from Yoongi his heart does a weird jumpy thing in his chest. He deduces that it means he’s not getting over his stupid feelings anytime soon.

Taehyung can’t help the knee-jerk reaction of hugging Yoongi upon letting him in, and Yoongi returns the hug, warm and steady like always, and Taehyung wants to stay in the circle of his arms for the rest of the night, inhaling his scent and listening to Yoongi’s even breaths as they fall somewhere near his ear. Unfortunately, he has to let go, because there’s an acceptable time frame for the duration of a friendly hug, and Taehyung is definitely pushing the limits to the max here.

Yoongi is slow to let go, like he doesn’t want to detach from the embrace either. Taehyung steps back and bends to scoop up Yeontan from where he’s nosing at their feet, just to hide the spark of longing that must be visible on his face right now.

They planned on going out for a long walk with Yeontan, but it looks like it’s going to rain any second, so they opt for a quick walk in the nearby park and then stay inside for the rest of the night. Yoongi plays with Yeontan until Yeontan is practically falling over from exhaustion, and Taehyung watches them fondly from a small distance away where he sits cross-legged on the floor and edits photos on his laptop. Eventually Yeontan shuffles over to him, shoves his way between Taehyung and the laptop and promptly falls asleep on his lap. Taehyung sighs and pushes the laptop to the floor. 

Yoongi also scoots closer, and Taehyung puts on some random music and talks about the upcoming video article he wants to put out on their website, while outside raindrops start pattering against the windowpane. The conversation then shifts to a new track Yoongi is working on, and then Yoongi mentions a barbeque one of his friends is hosting during the weekend.

“So, I was wondering if you wanted to come.” Yoongi scratches the side of his neck and glances at Taehyung. “It’s very informal, just hanging out and barbecuing some food on Seokjin’s patio. Namjoon’s gonna be there as well. You can bring a friend too if you like so you don’t feel all alone—do you think Jungkook would like to come?”

“I’m not sure Jungkook is ready to detach from the permanent and very disgusting liplock he’s in with his boyfriend all the time, so maybe not?” Taehyung laughs. “But perhaps Jimin wants to come.”

Yoongi blinks. “Oh, Jungkook has a boyfriend?”

Taehyung nods. “Oh yeah, you might have heard of him, since he’s a musician. Hoseok—I don’t remember his last name, but I think his stage name is J-Hope?”

Yoongi’s mouth drops open. “No way. Hobi’s dating someone and didn’t tell me? Since when?”

“Uhh, they met at the TXT release party where we also—reconnected.” Taehyung motions between them. “I think they’ve been going out ever since. It’s been, what, almost four weeks now?” 

“Oh, I’m gonna strangle him with his own Hopeworld brand suspenders.” Yoongi squints at the opposite wall and purses his lips. “Yeah. Okay, so what we’re going to do is you’re going to bring Jungkook and, what was your coworker friend’s name again?”

“Jimin.”

“—and Jimin, and I will bring Hoseok and ask him why he’s been disgustingly liplocked with someone for weeks without telling me.”

It’s apparent that Yoongi and Hoseok are good friends, and Taehyung can’t help but wonder if there’s a history like his and Yoongi’s history, or if they’re just friends. He shoves the thought aside. It doesn’t matter.

“So who’s Seokjin, then?” Taehyung asks, recalling the host’s name. “I don’t remember you having a friend called Seokjin back in college.”

“Met him after graduation.” Yoongi shrugs and reaches out to scratch Yeontan where he lies curled up on Taehyung’s lap and snores. “He was my roommate for a bit after college. He cooks amazing food, which is the only reason why I go to his barbeques.” He grins. “I’m kidding, he’s also nice to hang out with.”

“Alright.” Taehyung says, trying to ignore the way Yoongi’s hand casually lingers on his knee after he’s done petting Yeontan. “I’ll ask Jimin and Jungkook if they wanna come. But you know, Jungkook and Hoseok probably—hopefully?—communicate with each other, so they’re probably going to realize they’re gonna be in the same place even if they’re arriving separately?” He pauses. “Although it’s Jungkook. You never know.”

Yoongi laughs and removes his hand from where it was rubbing Taehyung’s thigh. “Well, I do hope they communicate, because making out is hardly grounds for a lasting relationship.”

“Depends on what kind of a relationship you’re going for,” Taehyung says airily.

Yoongi gives him a look that clearly says something, but Taehyung can’t decipher exactly what. “Anyways. So the barbeque’s on Saturday, at six.”

“Okay, sounds good.”

They agree on the final details, and then Yoongi shifts and glances at his phone. “Damn, I should go.”

“Ah hyung, really?” Taehyung pauses the music that’s playing in the background and pushes Yeontan off his lap because he’s getting too hot. Yeontan gives him an indignant whine and pads over to his dog bed by the couch, plopping down to continue his dreams.

Yoongi chews on his lip for a second. “Yeah. I mean, it’s getting late, and I have to go into the studio pretty early tomorrow.”

Outside, the droplets start falling more heavy, drumming against the windowpane. “It’s still raining, though.”

“Mm, yeah.” Yoongi looks over his shoulder at the window and scrunches his nose.

“You don’t have to go out there and get all wet. You can—” Taehyung pauses to swallow. “You can stay here for the night.”

“Are you sure?” Yoongi’s eyes are dark.

“Yeah, I’m—I’m sure. It’s no problem.” Taehyung flashes a faint smile. As if to reinforce his idea, the rain redoubles its efforts, whipping against the window while the wind rattles the frames. He gestures at the mayhem outside. “C’mon, look at that. The sky is practically telling you to stay.”

“And here I thought it was you, telling me to stay.” Yoongi’s voice is teasing and a bit of something else that Taehyung can’t quite grasp.

“I’m not opposed to the suggestion that the sky is making, you know.” Taehyung flashes a grin. 

Yoongi breathes in deep and looks like he’s calculating his options. “Yeah, okay,” he finally says slowly. “I have to be up at ass o’clock in the morning, but if it doesn’t bother you—”

Taehyung shakes his head. “It’s fine. Kick me up when you leave, maybe I can finally get to the office before Jimin. That’s never happened and I wanna see his face when he walks in.”

Yoongi snorts. “Alright.”

Yoongi borrows pajama pants from Taehyung, and Taehyung looks away with a heavy sensation in his chest when Yoongi has to roll up the pantlegs to keep them from dragging on the floor. Taehyung also hands Yoongi a threadbare t-shirt, and even though it’s not that big, Yoongi still looks like he’s drowning in it, and it makes the steel band sensation around Taehyung’s ribs squeeze tighter than before.

Falling asleep in the same bed after having sex is a solid fuckbuddy thing, but Taehyung isn’t sure if getting ready for bed and going to sleep without any kind of preceding fucking falls under the same category. The lines between what’s game and what’s not are getting blurry.

After the light switches off, the air in the bedroom is heavy with awkward tension, both of them on their respective sides of the bed, breathing quietly. Taehyung stays absolutely still and listens to Yoongi shifting around.

Then Yoongi whispers, “Taehyung-ah?”

“Hm?”

“Can I—can we, like, not sleep like there’s a wall between us?” Yoongi sounds hesitant.

Taehyung smiles under the veil of darkness. “You want to cuddle?”

Yoongi sighs. “Please.”

“I’m always up for cuddles.” Taehyung scoots over, wraps his arm around Yoongi and nuzzles the side of his neck. “Goodnight, hyung.”

Yoongi combs his fingers through Taehyung’s hair and relaxes into the embrace, hand sliding down to Taehyung’s back. “Goodnight, Taehyung-ah.”

Falling asleep without any prior touching, and now with added cuddling?

Definitely not a fuckbuddy thing, but Taehyung can’t bring himself to care, because Yoongi is warm and solid in his arms, and his scent, mixed with Taehyung’s own laundry detergent—well, it’s a heady combination. Taehyung presses his nose against Yoongi’s neck and drifts to sleep with Yoongi’s hand rubbing circles on his back. The movement gradually slows down like Yoongi is falling asleep as well, but Taehyung is too far gone to register the moment when it stops altogether.

Taehyung wakes up early in the morning when Yoongi sits down on the edge of the bed and gently shakes his shoulder.

“Taehyung-ah? I’m gonna go soon.”

Taehyung grumbles into the pillow.

“C’mon, Tae, you said you wanted to be at the office before Jimin.”

“Ugh.” Taehyung rolls over to his back and blinks at the ceiling. “What time is it?”

“A few minutes past six.” Yoongi sounds amused. 

“Ew.” Taehyung yawns and stretches his arms above his head. “Okay, I’m up, I’m up.”

“You’re still lying in bed,” Yoongi points out.

Taehyung turns to squint at Yoongi, who is already dressed and looks annoyingly alert for the early hour. “Mm. Well I’m at least quarter of the way there. Did you sleep okay?”

Yoongi smiles. “Yeah. It was good.” His eyes measure Taehyung’s face. “How about you?”

“I feel like I passed out in minutes after we got to bed and this is the first time I’m regaining consciousness, so sleep must have been pretty decent.” Taehyung finally manages to hoist himself to a sitting position and tosses the blankets aside. “Oh, did you want coffee by the way?”

Yoongi raises his eyebrows. “I was gonna get some on the way—I didn’t even know you had a coffee machine?”

Taehyung clicks his tongue, annoyed. “I occasionally have coffee-drinking guests and I’m not some savage who makes them drink instant coffee, so yeah. It’s in the kitchen cupboard in the corner, on the topmost shelf.” He hesitates, then gets up from the bed, stretching. “Actually, let me come grab it for you.”

“Jabs at my height first thing in the morning, nice,” Yoongi says dryly, but he follows Taehyung to the kitchen and accepts the coffee machine pieces Taehyung fishes out of the cupboard, assembling them on the counter. Taehyung hands over an unopened package of coffee and leaves Yoongi to make himself a cup while he uses the bathroom.

When he comes back, Yoongi stands with one hip against the kitchen counter and waits for the coffee to drip. “Do you have single-use cups? I don’t have time to drink this here so I was thinking about taking it on the go.”

“No, but you can borrow my reusable takeaway cup.” Taehyung picks up the mug from the drying rack and hands it over, then grabs his kettle to make some tea for himself.

Yoongi squints at the side of the soft-purple colored insulated mug. “Is that a bear?”

“Yeah, Jimin got it for me on my birthday.” Taehyung smiles. “So I expect to get it back, okay?”

“I’ll take good care of your bear,” Yoongi promises and glances at his phone. “Shoot, now I really have to go.” He hastily tosses the coffee grounds in the trash, then pours the bear mug full of coffee and starts screwing the lid on. “Okay, so see you at the barbeque tomorrow? I’ll meet you at the station closest to Seokjin’s house like we agreed, right?”

Taehyung nods, leaning against the counter and scraping the bottom of his package of loose tea. He can probably get another mug out of the remains, but he really needs to remember to buy more of that particular tea.

Yoongi walks up to him, tightening the lid of the takeaway cup and looking distracted. He glances up, reaching one hand to cup Taehyung’s chin and planting a quick kiss on his lips—just a soft peck, like he used to do before leaving for class.

For a second, the world freezes. Taehyung blinks, lips parting in surprise.

Yoongi’s eyes widen. “Whoa. Totally didn’t mean to—force of habit I guess, um. I’m gonna go now. Bye. See you at the barbeque.”

With that he scurries out of Taehyung’s kitchen, clutching the bear mug in his hands, leaving behind Taehyung with his heart rate that just accelerated to near-lethal numbers.

When the door closes after Yoongi, Taehyung drops the empty package of tea on the counter and looks around the kitchen that all of a sudden seems alien to him. His lips tingle, like the kiss is lingering on them, slowly fading from his touch receptors.

He’s had Yoongi’s mouth on almost every part of his body since they started fucking each other a few weeks ago, but not like this. Never like this, in a completely non-sexual, domestic type of way.

Taehyung spends the day agonizing over the kiss, alternating between extreme conclusions about what it means. It could be just a random kiss among the many they’ve exchanged, a force of habit like Yoongi said. Or it could mean that Yoongi’s mindset is not so different from his.

In the end Taehyung realizes the fact that there’s no way of knowing without actually talking about it with Yoongi, so he decides to suppress it for now.



-



When Taehyung and Jimin meet Yoongi at the station, Yoongi glances at Taehyung awkwardly a few times but neither of them mentions the kiss. Well, that might be more due to Jimin being there, with his wide smile and measuring eyes as he shakes hands with Yoongi and then starts bombarding him with questions like Yoongi is in a job interview or meeting Taehyung’s parents.

They start walking toward Seokjin’s house. Yoongi looks a bit uncomfortable under Jimin’s scrutinizing gaze, and Taehyung almost kicks Jimin in the shin to stop him from doing the whole third degree. That’s reserved for prospective boyfriends, and Yoongi is not his boyfriend.

“Jungkook couldn’t come?” Yoongi asks when Jimin finally ceases questioning him.

Taehyung laughs. “Oh, it turns out he and Hoseok actually do talk with each other. He’s with Hoseok, and they’re already at Seokjin’s.”

“Ah. So much for confronting Hobi without him knowing. Watch him hide behind Jungkook when we get there.” Yoongi laughs softly.

“Why is Jungkook’s boyfriend hiding from you?” Jimin inquires.

Yoongi huffs, amused. “He violated the sacred friendship code by not telling me he’s been dating someone for the past few weeks.” 

Jimin tilts his head. “Ah, I see. And have you told him that you’re bringing your ex to the party?” he then asks sweetly, nodding in Taehyung’s direction.

Yoongi opens his mouth, then snaps it shut. “No,” he finally says, defeated. “But that’s a whole different thing.” He doesn’t elaborate how that’s a whole different thing.

Jimin claps his hands together, lips curled to a wicked smile. “Oh, this is gonna be good, I can already tell.” He links his arm with Taehyung’s. “We can sit back and drink wine, watch them bicker like we’re in a drama series that’s been dragged on way past its lifecycle.”

Yoongi links his arm with Taehyung’s on the other side. “If I’m going down, I’m taking you with me.”

Somehow, it doesn’t sound as much like a threat in Taehyung’s ears as Yoongi probably intended. They walk down the street with their arms linked, and for a blessed moment everything feels like it’s supposed to feel—like Taehyung is just out with his friends, and he tries to hold onto that mindset as they approach their destination.

Seokjin’s house is kind of massive, and Jimin whistles under his breath as they stop at the front door to ring the bell. 

As first impressions go, Seokjin truly seems like a nice guy. He’s also easily one of the most handsome men Taehyung has ever met in his life, which throws Taehyung for a loop especially when Seokjin greets Yoongi with warmth and familiarity that Taehyung isn’t used to seeing from people who are interacting with Yoongi. Taehyung watches them hug each other in greeting, and then Seokjin plants a playfully loud kiss on Yoongi’s cheek and slaps him on the ass.

“Hyung,” Yoongi whines, rubbing his ass after the harsh treatment. “Do you always have to be so extra?” He grimaces and wipes his cheek on the back of his hand.

Seokjin laughs and winks. “It’s one of my most charming qualities and you know it.” He greets Jimin in a more civilized manner, then turns to Taehyung. “Hi, Kim Seokjin, nice to meet you. Yoongi has talked about you a lot.”

“Oh, he has?” Taehyung side-glances at Yoongi, who looks mildly exasperated at this revelation. “Kim Taehyung, nice to meet you, Seokjin-ssi.” Taehyung bows his head.

“Ugh, please, call me hyung, no need for formalities in my house.” Seokjin waves his hand with a flourish. “Come on in. Make yourselves at home. Although please don’t get as cozy as Namjoon that one time when we had a barbeque.” He turns to lead them inside.

It’s a nice house, with lots of windows and a spacious feel. It looks expensive, but then again Yoongi said Seokjin’s acting job pays pretty well, which explains the pricey look of the place.

“So, what did Namjoon do?” Taehyung whispers as they follow Seokjin across the house and to the patio at the back.

Yoongi chuckles. “He got drunk and made close acquaintance with some shrubbery in the garden. Seokjin-hyung says his poor flowers never recovered from being vomited on. Namjoon said daisies usually grow in harsh conditions and he was practically doing them a favor by acclimating them to something other than the tender care of Seokjin’s gardener.”

Taehyung laughs softly. “I see.”

As they step outside, they’re greeted with a chorus of hellos. Hoseok stands at the edge of the patio talking to Namjoon, while Jungkook hovers next to them with a subtle hand placed on Hoseok’s hip. Hoseok grins when Yoongi points a finger at him and threatens to have a serious talk with him sometime soon, probably over some snacks and beers, and Jimin looks a bit disappointed at the obvious lack of any real drama.

After another round of introductions and greetings, Jimin goes to Jungkook and starts pestering Hoseok the way he pestered Yoongi earlier, giving a whole dramatic monologue on how Hoseok needs to take good care of Jimin’s beloved dongsaeng. Meanwhile, Taehyung finds himself standing next to Namjoon with a wine glass in his hand. They go over the usual list of topics people tend to cover when they haven’t seen each other in years. Like Yoongi mentioned, Namjoon works in a botanical garden and still occasionally posts music on soundcloud, and then it’s Taehyung’s turn to go over his own journey from college to the current moment. 

They trail to other topics, and Taehyung hums under his breath and puts in some commentary to keep the conversation with Namjoon going, but his eyes follow Yoongi and Seokjin, who have taken over the grill and the small table beside it, prepping produce and roasting meat. The way they work around each other has a familiar feel to it, their movements synchronized in a way that takes closeness and practice.

Of course, they were roommates and they both like to cook, so they’ve probably cooked together quite a lot.

However, the way Seokjin puts his hand on Yoongi’s hip to ease past him with a plate of vegetables, and the way they behave with each other—well, it signals something other than just roommates. Taehyung recalls Yoongi mentioning something about a bandaid relationship after their breakup, one that was doomed to fail from the beginning. Yoongi also mentioned he lived with Seokjin for a while after college. Then there was the way Seokjin greeted Yoongi at the door.

Together, these various puzzle pieces are starting to form a picture, and Taehyung is not sure if he likes what he sees in it.

To shake it off, Taehyung turns back to Namjoon and asks about his music, and Namjoon digs around on his phone and puts on a song he says is finished but hasn’t been posted yet. Upon hearing the first beats, Hoseok trails closer, followed by Jungkook and Jimin, and they stand in a circle, bobbing their heads to the song.

“I love it,” Taehyung says, then startles when Yoongi appears, setting his chin on Taehyung’s shoulder to peer into their circle.

“What are you listening—oh, is that the new track, Joon? It’s all done now?” 

Taehyung stands still,  unsure how to react to the fact that Yoongi is now effectively pressed against his back, chin resting on his shoulder.

“Yeah,” Namjoon says. “I just finished it today, gonna post it tomorrow. Are you going to give me clout?”

Yoongi laughs, and Taehyung feels the vibration of it against his shoulder blade. “I might give you a retweet.”

Jimin notices Taehyung’s state of frozen uncertainty and reaches out a hand. “Come with me to look for the bathroom?”

Taehyung detaches from Yoongi’s warmth and grabs Jimin’s hand. “Yeah.” He drains his wine glass and glances around to see the bottle on the patio table. “I’m just gonna get a refill.”

“So, what’s up?” Jimin asks when they wander into the house in search of the bathroom. “You looked like you swallowed a steel rod the second Yoongi came within a meter’s radius of you out there.”

Taehyung looks around. The living room is impeccable in design, all sleek modern furniture and soft shades of matching colors. Then he looks over his shoulder, where he can see most of the patio through the big windows. “I think Seokjin is also Yoongi’s ex.”

“What?” Jimin stops dead and turns to stare toward the patio. “Are you—”

He cuts himself off, because they can both see that Yoongi has made his way back to the grill, and Seokjin is in the process of feeding him a piece of meat from the skewers he’s been roasting.

Taehyung swallows a gulp of wine. “Yeah. He said he was in a relationship soon after our breakup, then another time he said he and Seokjin were roommates after he graduated, and there’s the way they behave around each other. It all seems to coincide a bit too well, don’t you think?”

“Yeah…” Jimin purses his lips at the scene unfolding on the patio. “But even if he is Yoongi’s ex, that doesn’t mean they’re still—you know. It’s possible they’re just friends. I mean, I feed you off my plate all the time.”

Taehyung sighs. “True. I just think it’s a bit weird Yoongi didn’t tell me about this beforehand. Seokjin seemed to know perfectly well who I was, and from what he said I can conclude he’s at least somewhat aware of what’s going on between me and Yoongi right now. It just seems odd.”

He doesn’t care if Yoongi and Seokjin used to date, that’s fine. But he can’t shake the question gnawing at his insides like a swarm of nasty insects.

If Yoongi can have a friends-with-benefits arrangement with one ex, what prevents him from having a similar arrangement with another ex?

Rationally he knows it shouldn’t matter, because there’s no exclusivity clause to what he and Yoongi are doing. But the thought bugs him nonetheless. It adds weight to the steel band tightening around his ribcage—it makes breathing just that extra fraction harder.

“Well,” Jimin says. “You should talk to Yoongi about it. In fact, you should talk to Yoongi about all of this.”

“I know.” Taehyung watches Yoongi walk across the patio and clink his glass against Namjoon’s beer bottle. “I will.”

“When?”

Taehyung shrugs. “Soon. Not tonight though, because I’m not going to make a scene here. I’m just gonna treat this as a barbeque thing between friends. As in, we’re all just friends here. Well, aside from those two.” He nods toward the far end of the patio, where Hoseok has crowded Jungkook against the railing and is kissing him while Jungkook pulls him closer with both hands on his hips. “Those two kind of ruin the image.”

Jimin laughs. “Well that’s true. They’re cute though.” He smiles at the sight of them, but then grows serious and gives Taehyung a look. “Are you going to be okay?”

“Yeah, I—” Taehyung cuts himself off when Seokjin pokes his head in through the doorway. 

“Hey guys, the bathroom is just down the hall, to the left.”

“Okay, thanks.” Taehyung smiles, in a way that feels a bit forced. Seokjin nods and vanishes back to the grill. “It’s gonna be fine. We’re just gonna have fun and not think about the very messy relationship patterns that are going on beneath the surface.”

“Today, in our drama series…” Jimin trails off with a wink and starts toward the bathroom. “See you outside.”

Taehyung spends a moment composing himself by walking around the living room. He glances through the book titles in the bookshelves, then looks at the collage of photos artistically splayed across the wall. Some of them show Seokjin at some red-carpet events, others are clearly scenes from shows or movies. Looks like he’s done quite a few different roles over the years.

When Taehyung steps outside, he spots Yoongi looking at him from where he’s sprinkling sesame seeds on skewered chunks of beef. Yoongi motions him to come over, and Taehyung clutches the stem of his wine glass as he makes his way to the grill.

“Hey, you need help with anything?” Taehyung twirls the wine in his glass, glancing up at Yoongi. 

“No.” Yoongi shakes his head. “How do you like it so far?” 

Taehyung looks around. “It’s a nice house, and Seokjin seems nice.” The words sound unnatural in his ears, so he continues, “Don’t know about the food yet since I haven’t had any, but since you’re cooking I believe I’m in good hands.”

Yoongi smiles, glancing down at the skewers. “You never know, I may have hidden chili in it.”

Taehyung gasps. “You wouldn’t.”

“Surprise chili bomb, just for you.” Yoongi bats his lashes.

“I’d like to file a complaint,” Taehyung declares. “I’m being bullied.”

“Yoongi-chi, no bullying allowed here.” Seokjin appears, lowering a bowl of salad on the table.

Taehyung smiles a bit tightly. He then forcefully unclenches his jaw and excuses himself to go to Jungkook, who stands staring at his phone while Namjoon and Hoseok talk about something next to him.

“Hey, so quite a surprise that Hoseok, Yoongi and Namjoon all know each other,” Taehyung says. 

Jungkook looks up from his phone and grins. “Music circles, they’re smaller than you’d expect.” He pockets the phone. “It’s fun though, because now we get to hang out in the same group, right?”

Taehyung glances to his side where Yoongi is placing utensils and a basket filled with small bread rolls on the patio table where they’re going to eat. “Right.”

Jungkook leans closer. “Everything alright?”

Taehyung manages a smile and a nod. Not the time or place to get into any of this. “Yeah.” He sips some more wine, then drags Jungkook with him to help set the table, and soon they’re all gathered around it to eat.

Taehyung sits between Jimin and Yoongi, painfully aware of each time when Yoongi’s leg brushes against his under the table. A few times Yoongi lowers a hand on Taehyung’s arm as they talk or when he asks Taehyung to pass something, the connection between them like sparks of electricity on Taehyung’s skin. They’re brief touches, probably unnoticeable or insignificant to anyone else, but they wreak havoc on Taehyung’s ability to push aside his Yoongi-related problems.

Thankfully he doesn’t have to put much of an effort into making conversation, because Jimin and Hoseok get into a friendly argument over their taste in music styles, which then broadens into a full-on debate about all forms of art, and in the middle of the rapid-fire remarks no one notices that Taehyung barely puts half a sentence in. 

Well, no one aside from Jimin, but that’s almost a given because Jimin’s ability to detect when Taehyung is going through something borders on supernatural. Taehyung smiles when Jimin nudges him, his eyebrows set in an expression of worry, and shakes his head in response in an almost indistinguishable movement. Jimin lets it go and rejoins the conversation, and Taehyung sits back and listens to the loud commentary and bursts of laughter from around the table. He might have conflicting thoughts and feelings splashing around in his head, but all things considered he’s enjoying himself as much as he can.

After they’ve finished eating and Seokjin has poured drink refills for everyone, Taehyung busies himself with gathering an armful of dishes and going inside to dump them in the kitchen. He wants to help clean up, but he also needs to get away from everyone to breathe for a moment. 

Once he’s unloaded the dishes from his arms, he grips the edge of the kitchen counter and hangs his head, closing his eyes and heaving out a long sigh. It’s not that he’s not having fun. He is. But somehow everything right now feels like play-pretend, a glossy filter on top of what’s really going on in the picture.

“Hey,” Yoongi says from behind him. “Everything okay?”

Taehyung startles and turns. Yoongi steps closer with a worried look in his eyes. 

“You seem a bit off.” Yoongi tilts his head.

“I’m fine, just—trying to figure out my place in this group. You know, it’s always a bit different when you hang out with a mixed group of friends like this for the first time. Like, knowing some of them really well, some of them a bit and some not at all.” It sounds like a halfway-convincing excuse at least.

Yoongi nods slowly. “Yeah, I get it. Are you having fun at least?”

“Yeah, I am. This is really nice,” Taehyung says. “And Seokjin is nice.”

“Yeah, he is.”

“You didn’t say he was also your ex.” As soon as the words leave his mouth, Taehyung winces, because what happened to not bringing this shit up here? Clearly his brain-to-mouth filter has been dampened by the three or four glasses of wine he’s had.

Yoongi gives him a cautious look. “Did he tell you that?”

Taehyung shakes his head. “No one did. You mentioned a bandaid relationship after we broke up, and you said you lived with Seokjin for a while after graduating, and then I saw the way you behave around each other,” he lists. “It wasn’t that hard to do the math.” He tilts his head and swallows. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

Yoongi fidgets with his glass and sets it on the counter. “I don’t know. I didn’t think—that it would be an issue, or that you’d need to know.”

That’s right, because they’re not dating, and Taehyung should have no qualms about who Yoongi used to date or fuck—or even who he’s currently fucking. 

Taehyung shrugs. “Still, it would have been nice to know before walking in here.”

“Would you have come if you knew?”

“Yes! No? I don’t know.” Taehyung huffs. “It just makes the situation a bit weird for me, and I wish I’d gotten a chance to give informed consent.”

Yoongi sighs. “I know, I’m sorry. Look, my relationship with Seokjin was very short-lived. We figured out pretty early on that we were better off as friends. For the most part when we lived together, we really were just roommates and friends.”

“He knows I’m your ex, but you didn’t tell me he’s your ex.” Saying it out loud stings a bit, like Yoongi has been hiding something from him, either because he didn’t want Taehyung to know or because he doesn’t trust Taehyung enough to tell him these kinds of things. Either way, the sentiment hurts.

“He knows because I’ve talked about you. When we started dating, I told him I’d just gotten out of a serious relationship.” Yoongi sighs. “And then I mentioned we reconnected at the label’s party, and that we’ve been… hanging out. He’s one of my closest friends, I talk to him about a lot of things.”

Taehyung shifts his gaze so he’s staring at the wall behind Yoongi. So according to Yoongi, their relationship in college was serious. He chews on his lip, considering the implication. Back then he thought Yoongi stopped loving him, and here Yoongi is, telling him he considered their relationship serious. How serious? Like, marriage levels of serious?

Okay, that’s irrelevant and completely beside the point.

Taehyung shakes his head to jostle his thoughts back on track. “Okay,” he says, instead of saying anything of substance—because it’s easier, and he shouldn’t have gotten into this right now in the first place, and it’s not like he hasn’t spilled the beans about him and Yoongi to Jimin on several occasions. “Let’s just go back outside.”

“Alright.” Yoongi fixes him a look. “But maybe we should talk about this later?”

“Yeah, of course,” Taehyung agrees. “Later.”

Seokjin passes by with a pile of empty plates as they make their way across the house to the back. “Oh, I thought you were making out in my kitchen and I’d have to pry you apart with a crowbar or something.”

Under the current circumstances, the remark stings a bit.

“So tactful, hyung,” Yoongi mutters, and Taehyung hurries outside ahead of him.

The rest of the evening goes without any more surprise revelations, and Taehyung notices Yoongi’s behavior around Seokjin is a little less intimate since their conversation in the kitchen. He doesn’t know what it means, but it makes him feel less anxious.



-



They both end up at Taehyung’s place after the barbeque. 

Taehyung isn’t exactly clear on how it happens, but it may have something to do with the fact that they are the last two people in the taxi driving them all home, and Taehyung’s place is closer, and also the fact that by the time they get to Taehyung’s address Yoongi’s hand is on his thigh and they’ve been staring at each other across the backseat with hungry eyes for at least four minutes.

What’s one more bad decision on top of the ones Taehyung has already made? He mentally adds it to the pile of shit he needs to deal with later, like an unpaid bill on top of other unpaid bills. Undoubtedly it will all come back to bite him in the ass sooner or later, but right now he just wants to kiss Yoongi until he can’t think and then make Yoongi writhe and beg, because that’s always fun. Perhaps it’s not the healthiest mindset to have, but he can’t bring himself to care, because Yoongi is here, with him, and didn’t stay over at Seokjin’s luxury house even though Taehyung heard Seokjin offer Yoongi the guest bedroom. The fact that Yoongi said no to that has to mean something, right?

Upon entering the apartment, Taehyung’s first thought is to push Yoongi against the door and kiss him until his shoulder blades bruise, but as soon as the door closes behind them Yeontan arrives like a furry storm of abandoned vengeance, demanding attention and wanting to go out.

Taehyung sighs and shelves the idea of kissing Yoongi for the time being. He grabs Yeontan’s leash from the hook by the door. “I need to walk Yeontan. You wanna come with us or stay here?”

Yoongi shrugs out of his jacket. “I’m gonna stay here if it’s okay with you?” 

“Yeah, of course. We won’t be long.” Taehyung turns to open the door again.

Walking Yeontan is good, because it helps to clear his head a bit. It also makes Taehyung second-guess the decision to bring Yoongi over to his apartment for the night, because he’s pretty sure that after the smouldering gazes they exchanged in the taxi, talking is going to be the last thing they end up doing, even though they decidedly should talk about things.

Whatever, he then decides. Just another unpaid bill he can deal with tomorrow.

When they come back, the bedroom door is ajar and the light is on, indicating Yoongi’s current location. Taehyung feeds Yeontan and swaps fresh water into his bowl, then goes into the bathroom.

Yoongi has showered, because the tiles are wet and there’s an extra towel hanging next to Taehyung’s. The domesticity of it all hits Taehyung like a punch in the gut—Yoongi showering at his place and then waiting for him in the bedroom. The thought of Yoongi waiting in his bed makes heat coil low in Taehyung’s stomach, and he’s slightly tipsy in that horny way that makes him want to forget thinking exists and just do all kinds of filthy things to Yoongi. 

Taehyung strips his clothes and steps in the shower, quickly rinsing himself of sweat and barbeque smoke and whatever other scents that have latched onto his skin during the night. After drying himself he brushes his teeth, then considers wrapping the towel around his hips for modesty’s sake but in the end he just hangs it off the hook next to Yoongi’s. 

Not like Yoongi hasn’t seen him naked before.

In the bedroom, Yoongi lies propped against the pillows in Taehyung’s bed. He’s shirtless and has pulled up the blanket so it barely covers his hips, making it immediately clear that he’s not wearing any clothes either. When Taehyung steps in and closes the door to Yeontan’s whiny protests, Yoongi looks up from his phone. His eyes slide down from Taehyung’s face to hip level, and he carelessly tosses the phone aside.

“I used your shower, hope that’s okay?” Yoongi shifts so the blanket slips ever-so-slightly lower on his hips.

“Yeah, no problem.” Taehyung looks at Yoongi splayed on the bed like that, all soft and delicious in the warm glow of the nightstand light. His cock twitches with interest, and Yoongi licks his lips in response. 

Taehyung steps closer, pauses at the foot of the bed and grins as he grabs the corner of the blanket and starts pulling it down.

Yoongi makes no move to stop the blanket from retreating. He watches Taehyung with dark eyes as the pink head of his cock comes to view, standing hard against his stomach.

Taehyung’s mouth goes dry and his dick pulses, growing harder as more of Yoongi’s cock is revealed. He drags the rest of the blanket down, exposing Yoongi’s thighs and legs, and then dives down on the bed, propping himself on one elbow next to Yoongi and leaning in to kiss him.

They haven’t kissed properly since that time when Taehyung spent the night at Yoongi’s and left with the art book under his arm, and the sensation of Yoongi’s lips on his is intoxicating, familiar in an achy kind of way. Taehyung licks into his mouth, and Yoongi responds eagerly, sucking on Taehyung’s tongue and tangling his own tongue into the mix. 

Taehyung lets his fingers wander on Yoongi’s body—skating down Yoongi’s chest and stomach, skirting around his cock and tracing back to circle his nipples but not quite touching. Yoongi squirms and gasps into the kiss, strung up like a tightrope under Taehyung’s caress.

Taehyung runs his fingertips over Yoongi’s nipple, feather-light and teasing, smiling when Yoongi whines into the kiss. He does the same to the other nipple, and feels goosebumps rippling in the wake of his touch. On the next pass, Yoongi’s nipples harden under his soft caressing fingers, and Yoongi retaliates by sinking his teeth into Taehyung’s lower lip, biting and sucking until Taehyung groans, pulling away from his mouth. He begins descending along Yoongi’s neck toward his collarbone, teasing Yoongi’s nipples with small touches, fleeting points of contact that make Yoongi curse and writhe.

Yoongi whimpers when Taehyung nibbles his way to the junction of his neck and shoulder, pausing to suck on the soft skin, long enough to leave a small blooming mark in his wake. 

Taehyung hates how much he loves marking Yoongi up like that, with small hidden imprints on his fair skin; something that says Taehyung was here, like a stamp he’s left behind. He licks over the small bruise, then moves down, one slow centimeter at a time, until his lips close softly around Yoongi’s left nipple, sucking on it until it fully hardens into a small nub. He laps his tongue over it, eliciting a breathy moan from above, and Yoongi’s fingers fly to grab Taehyung’s hair.

“Shh, stay still for me, alright? Keep your hands to the sides.” Taehyung looks up to see Yoongi swallow at the suggestion, lust clearly visible in his eyes as he nods and lets his hand drop to the side. “Good.”

Taehyung goes back to the abandoned nipple, cool and wet as he puts his mouth on it. Meanwhile, his fingers keep tracing lines into Yoongi’s skin, occasionally flitting over the right nipple, taunting until Yoongi is tense as a board, cursing and arching off the bed. “Fuck, Tae, you’re such a fucking—ohh, fuck—tease—” 

Taehyung glances up at him and smirks, then moves so he can latch onto the right nipple in turn. His hand trails down, over Yoongi’s stomach where the muscles beneath his touch shift as Yoongi tenses in anticipation.

By the time Taehyung gets to Yoongi’s cock, it’s rock hard, a slick bridge of precum connecting the tip to his stomach. Taehyung slides his finger over the tip, smearing the precum over it and tracing the metal balls of the piercing. He glances down from where he’s mouthing at Yoongi’s chest, occasionally teasing his nipples with his tongue.

Yoongi’s cock is pretty, flushed pink and straining, and it jerks in response when Taehyung runs his palm down the length and grabs a hold of it, giving it an experimental tug.

“Please, Taehyung-ah—” Yoongi gasps from above, and Taehyung pauses both his ministrations on Yoongi’s nipples and the slight movement of his hand, going up for a slow, lingering kiss instead.

“Patience,” Taehyung whispers against Yoongi’s mouth. “Do you trust me?”

Yoongi makes a noise that sounds like desperate agreement. 

Taehyung kisses him again, torturously slow. “Say if you want me to stop.” Then he dives down again, sucking Yoongi’s nipple in his mouth as he starts moving his hand up and down Yoongi’s cock, catching the piercing lightly with his finger on every upstroke.

Yoongi responds to each touch like it’s a live wire on his skin, gasping and moaning and cursing. He digs his heels in the mattress and arches up to meet Taehyung’s hand to fuck himself in the circle of Taehyung’s fingers.

Taehyung sucks another mark on Yoongi’s skin, right above the lower reaches of his ribcage, and then goes back to his nipples, puffy and dark pink, clearly sensitive from all the touching because Yoongi lets out a strangled sound when Taehyung licks over them again.

Taehyung listens carefully to the sounds Yoongi lets out, watches the way his body pulls taut, and when Yoongi falls quiet in the way that precedes an orgasm, Taehyung slows down.

Yoongi groans. “Fuck, no way, Tae—”

Taehyung stops all movement and lifts his head to look at Yoongi. “You want me to stop?”

“No, you ass, I want to come,” Yoongi snaps, but despite the frustration in his tone his hands stay at the sides, curled into loose fists, indicating he’s not as averse to Taehyung’s agenda as his words seem to imply. His eyes are half-lidded, pupils blown—he looks so far gone that Taehyung’s neglected cock twitches at the sight.

“But you’re so pretty, hyung,” Taehyung whispers, running his thumb over Yoongi’s nipple, watching as the touch startles Yoongi like a jolt of electricity. “So pretty, and I’m gonna make you feel so good if you’re patient, okay?” He reaches to kiss Yoongi, and Yoongi licks into his mouth, moaning weakly when Taehyung starts moving his hand up and down over his length again.

Taehyung detaches from the kiss to go back to Yoongi’s nipples, getting on his knees so he can use his free hand on one while his mouth teases the other. Yoongi shudders on the bed, hands now gripping the sheets in an attempt to not move, his cock leaking as Taehyung builds up pace and pressure.

He brings Yoongi so close to coming that Yoongi heaves out a noise that sounds like a sob when Taehyung once again slows down, stalling until Yoongi whimpers, his chest flushed pink and his nipples raw, his cock jerking against Taehyung’s palm. He’s so fucking gorgeous that Taehyung’s heart flips when he watches Yoongi bite his lower lip, muscles straining as his body seeks the release Taehyung is keeping from him. 

“You’re so good hyung, I promise it’s going to be worth it, it’s gonna be so good, just a little bit more—” Taehyung murmurs praise into Yoongi’s skin, waits until he relaxes a bit and then starts again.

Each time when Yoongi gets close, he gets more desperate, until finally he snaps and untangles his fingers from the sheets to bring his hand to squeeze Taehyung’s shoulder.

“Please, Tae, please—I need to come, please—” Yoongi sounds wrecked, his voice raspy and low. His eyes are unfocused, like he’s slipping under, barely holding on, and fuck if it isn’t the most beautiful thing Taehyung has ever seen.

Taehyung pulls away from the nipple he was teasing and goes to kiss Yoongi, deep and bordering on desperate, like they’re both drowning in a burst of all that pent-up energy. “Okay,” Taehyung says, mouthing at Yoongi’s jawline, then his throat, licking his way back to the previously abandoned nipple while his hand grips Yoongi’s length tighter. “I’m gonna take care of you, I’ll take such good care of you.” He moves down, pressing kisses on the flushed skin on his way, enjoying the way Yoongi writhes at the touch.

When Taehyung’s mouth closes around the swollen head of Yoongi’s cock, Yoongi whines, eyes tightly shut and his mouth open, lips bitten raw. His chest heaves, like his lungs don’t know which way their movement is supposed to go, and when Taehyung hollows his cheeks and sucks on the tip, twirling his tongue around the piercing, Yoongi cries out so loudly that Taehyung can feel the vibrations all the way to where he is.

Taehyung reaches one hand up until he finds a nipple, then pinches and rolls it gently between his fingers while his mouth sinks down on Yoongi’s length.

Yoongi howls. It’s the only word that adequately describes the sound that escapes his throat—a whining howl, body thrashing with overstimulation, hips bucking up until Taehyung almost gags and chokes. He steadies Yoongi with one hand on his hip, keeps sucking him at a steadily increasing pace, fingers of his free hand toying with Yoongi’s nipples. Yoongi moans and curses, until he stops to gulp in air like he’s forgotten how to breathe—then stops breathing altogether for a few seconds, mouth falling open to a soundless moan. It’s enough of a warning, even if Taehyung didn’t feel all the muscles in Yoongi’s body tensing up at once, so Taehyung speeds up, finally allowing Yoongi to tumble over that edge he’s been close to so many times already.

Yoongi lets out the tiniest hitching noise that sounds like he hit a wall at full speed, then comes so hard that Taehyung chokes a bit, Yoongi’s cock pulsing for several seconds as he spills into Taehyung’s mouth.

When Yoongi falls limp, Taehyung pulls off and swallows, sitting back on his heels to admire his handiwork. Yoongi is flushed pink all the way down to his navel, a darker tint of red spread high on his cheeks, matching the raw shade of his lips and his nipples. His thighs tremble and his cock rests against his stomach, softening and occasionally twitching weakly through an aftershock. 

“Ah hyung, so fucking pretty,” Taehyung whispers.

Yoongi whines, eyes still tightly closed.

Taehyung knows what it’s like to come down from the treatment he just gave Yoongi, so he goes to fetch a bottle of water, then curls up against Yoongi’s side, holding him close and stroking his hair, murmuring soft words against his temple until Yoongi blinks his eyes open and looks around like he’s seeing the room for the first time.

“Welcome back,” Taehyung whispers. 

Yoongi swallows, his throat clicking dry. “Taehyung-ah,” he rasps.

Taehyung hands him the water bottle. “I’m here.”

Yoongi manages a shaky gulp of water. “Fucking hell,” he says, his hand trembling when he gives the bottle back. “I think I died and came back to life.”

Taehyung smiles against his hair. I love you, he thinks, then realizes he can’t think that. 

That doesn’t change the trajectory of his thought, though. Taehyung sighs and closes his eyes, wants to escape to the far reaches of the universe, so he doesn’t have to look Yoongi in the eye and think about how he loves him but is unable to say it. 

Oddly enough, the thought of loving Yoongi doesn’t shock him—it’s like he’s known for a while, perhaps since the day when he left Yoongi’s apartment with the art book—but trying to keep it from surfacing is the difficult part.

After a moment, Yoongi starts squirming in Taehyung’s arms. “Tae-yah? You want me to return the favor?” He pauses. “Well, in a way where I actually let you come on the first time because I’m fucking exhausted, but still.”

Taehyung inhales deep. “You don’t have to.” He’s still hard, his body wired up from edging Yoongi, but his mind has traveled to other dimensions.

“I want to.” Yoongi nuzzles his neck, mouthing his way along Taehyung’s jawline and up until their lips connect. “Want to make you feel good.”

In the end, they make out while Yoongi jerks Taehyung off, and it’s way less intense this time around, but so good, the way Yoongi’s fingers tighten around his length, just on the right side of rough. The kiss from Taehyung’s viewpoint tastes like desperation and longing, as if he’s trying to let the movement of his lips and tongue tell Yoongi what his words have failed to.

When Taehyung comes, the physical release of it knocks the wind out of him.

But he doesn’t feel good.

Instead, he feels… hollow.

Taehyung falls asleep in Yoongi’s arms, clinging perhaps a bit tighter than he should. Somehow, it feels like saying goodbye.



-



They sit at the kitchen table sipping their preferred choice of breakfast beverage when Taehyung decides it’s time. He fidgets with his tea mug, trying to come up with a smooth way of bringing it up.

There isn’t a smooth way to bring it up, for any of this.

So Taehyung swallows, looks up at Yoongi and blurts out, “Maybe we shouldn’t do this anymore.”

“What?” Yoongi’s eyes widen and he turns to stare at Taehyung. 

“This—you know, this friends with benefits arrangement.”

“Okay,” Yoongi says slowly. “Of course, if that’s what you want. Something wrong?”

Taehyung shrugs. “I just don’t know how I feel about this anymore.” He’s a big fat liar—he knows exactly how he feels, and that’s the problem here.

Yoongi blinks a few times, his eyes studying Taehyung’s expression. “Is this because I didn’t tell you that Seokjin is my ex?”

“No.” Taehyung shakes his head, then hesitates and shrugs. “I don’t know, maybe that’s part of it.” He knows seeing Yoongi with Seokjin made his stomach twist in a painful way that means he can’t really continue fucking Yoongi no-strings-attached and see him around Seokjin at the same time. There’s just something about the combination that makes him nauseous. “Yeah, I wish you would have told me about that, just for honesty’s sake, you know? But either way, I feel like our arrangement happened because we agreed to be friends, but then also had all this—” He waves his hand in a vague gesture, “—this pent-up tension thing going on. Maybe it’s run its course now.”

Taehyung’s ability to tolerate the situation has run its course. The tension between them really hasn’t, because even now, while Taehyung feels like he’s chopping his own heart to pieces, he finds Yoongi so attractive that he wants to fling himself across the table and kiss Yoongi until this conversation doesn’t exist anymore.

Yoongi swallows and looks into his coffee mug, his hair falling over his downcast eyes. “Like, all of it? Meaning you don’t want to be my friend either?”

“Oh, no!” Taehyung hurries to say. “I do. We have so much fun together. I definitely want to keep you as my friend.” Even if it’s going to hurt for a while, it's better to have Yoongi as a friend than not have him at all. “It’s just, this thing we have, it’s a difficult combination to juggle.”

He knows he should mention the feelings, but it’s such a scary concept to bring up. Taehyung recalls with painful accuracy how Yoongi looked the last time when he confronted him about feelings, mere weeks before their breakup. Yoongi was sitting there, participating in the conversation, but his face looked like someone pulled the shutters closed, nothing of his thoughts getting out.

Yoongi sighs. “I guess it is.”

“It’s been really good,” Taehyung says. “Like, really good. But I think I need to reconfigure a few things in my head. Try to look into the future.”

Yoongi hums under his breath, taking a sip from his coffee. He huffs out a laugh. “Yeah, this is kind of like living in the past, isn’t it?”

The conversation feels off, like they’re reciting lines from the wrong script, but Taehyung doesn’t know how to bring it back on track. It’s like watching a trainwreck happening in slow motion. Screeching brakes, bellowing horns, and nothing he can do to stop it.

Yoongi finally looks up, and there’s that shuttered look in his eyes, familiar and painful to see. Any thoughts of confessing his feelings fly right out the window, because when Yoongi looks like that, Taehyung is probably not going to get the response he wants, if he gets a response at all.

Yoongi smiles—a sad, tight-lipped smile. “Okay. So just friends from now on?”

Taehyung bites his lip, maps Yoongi’s features with a sinking feeling. “Yeah. I think it’s best—at least for the time being.”

Collision. A thundering crash, pieces of metal flying across the air, electrical circuits frying up and exploding.

Nothing left but smoking ruins.




-



Taehyung feels like a ghost when he walks into the office on Monday. He’s early again, not because he woke up early, but because it’s entirely possible he didn’t sleep at all. He is sitting at his laptop, staring with bleary eyes at the tasks he’s supposed to complete today, when Jimin walks in and startles.

“Is this going to be a recurring thing now, you coming in before me?” Jimin asks, amused. Then Taehyung turns to fully face him and he instantly grows serious. “Taehyung-ah, what’s wrong?”

“I don’t think I slept at all last night—so why not come in early since I’m awake anyway?” Taehyung shrugs. “And as for why I didn’t sleep, it probably has something to do with the fact that I ended the thing with Yoongi yesterday.” He huffs at his own choice of words. The thing. All that Yoongi ever was to him, all he ever was to Yoongi, reduced to a nondescript definition that says absolutely nothing. He’s sure there’s irony in there somewhere, but his sleep-deprived brain fails to connect enough circuits to understand it. His head throbs with lack of sleep and muddled thoughts, and he bends over his thighs, planting his elbows on his knees as he buries his face in his hands and heaves out a long sigh.

“Ended the thing—?” Jimin comes over and crouches by Taehyung’s chair. “Like, all of it?”

“No, I—I said we should just be friends, without the fucking.”

Jimin gently pries Taehyung’s hands off his face and holds them, looking up at Taehyung. “Did you tell him how you felt, about him and the situation?”

“No.”

Jimin purses his lips. “Why not?”

Taehyung swallows. There’s a bitter taste in his mouth that doesn’t seem to go down. “I—look, you should have seen his face when I said that maybe we shouldn’t keep doing this. He looked the same as he did before we broke up, like all shut in on himself.”

Jimin sighs. “Well, that doesn’t sound promising.”

“Yeah.” Taehyung pulls one of his hands out of Jimin’s grasp and combs his fingers through his hair. “Anyway, I think I need some time to get over this, and then I can maybe try being just friends with Yoongi.” The thing is, he’s never been just friends with Yoongi. He has no idea how that works.

“I’m sure everything will work out, one way or another,” Jimin says, squeezing Taehyung’s hand. “I’m kind of surprised, though.” He shrugs at Taehyung’s questioning look. “I mean, have you seen the way Yoongi looks at you?”

Taehyung shakes his head slowly.

“Well, I did, at the barbeque.” Jimin sounds certain. “So I’m surprised he didn’t try to fight you on the decision to end it.”

“Yoongi, fighting?” Taehyung chuckles. “That’ll be the day.”

“Okay, badly worded.” Jimin sighs. “I didn’t mean fight you, I meant fight for you.”

Taehyung makes a small disbelieving noise and shrinks into himself. “Must be a reason he didn’t.”

“Well, his loss.” Jimin pulls his hand away from Taehyung’s and stands up. “Okay. Let’s get you on the couch. Take a nap, see if you feel better afterwards.”

Jimin allows Taehyung to wallow and doze off on their office couch until lunch and then sends him home. Since their tiny business only consists of the two of them and occasional freelancers, fixed office hours are not religiously followed anyway, and Taehyung can get most of the stuff done from home. They could probably do without an office space altogether, but when they sat down and started throwing around ideas for their joint business endeavour, Jimin liked the idea of having a separate space for work so it’s not staring him in the face around the clock at home—and knowing Jimin’s meticulous nature Taehyung agreed that the expense is worth both their mental health. In contrast to Jimin’s usual routine, Taehyung completes most of his work at home and during ungodly hours, but since this seems to work for both of them just fine he sees no reason to change it. 

Taehyung goes home, takes Yeontan out for a midday walk and gets lunch from the corner store. Upon returning home he strips the sheets off his bed and does laundry to get rid of the last remnants of Yoongi’s cologne lingering on his pillowcase.

With his apartment cleansed of Yoongi’s essence, Taehyung sets out to take care of the to-do list that Jimin sends to his email, with all of the tasks in chronological order by deadline.

Park Jimin is an angel and Taehyung doesn’t deserve him.



-



The week trudges on. Taehyung and Yoongi still text each other, but it doesn’t quite feel the same as it did before. On Tuesday, Yoongi texts to ask Taehyung how he’s doing, and Taehyung answers in a roundabout manner that’s uncomfortably close to acquaintance-level small talk. The messages on both sides come across as too neatly planned and thought out, almost clinical. The relaxed ease that used to be present when they were texting is now missing from their communication.

Taehyung sighs as he drops his phone on his kitchen table on Thursday morning, with Yoongi’s latest message open but unanswered on the screen. Taehyung just doesn’t know what to say, because the conversation seems to go around in circles. Was their texting really just 90% of flirting and sexual innuendos? Because now that that’s out of the equation, it’s superficial chit-chat Taehyung could have with any random person.

Perhaps it takes a while to reconfigure their dynamics to fit the new pattern—after all, they’ve never been in this situation before, where they try to be friends with nothing sexual between them. But if things continue like they are now, Taehyung gives their attempt at friendship a lifespan of three weeks max, and then it will dry out, fade and vanish in the stream of time.

Maybe it would be the easiest way to move on, but the thought of losing Yoongi altogether re-invokes the steel band sensation around Taehyung’s ribs, so he picks up the phone and snaps a photo of his morning tea, sending it to Yoongi.

TH: just woke up and having breakfast: tea with a side of… well, tea, because i forgot to go grocery shopping

TH: adulting is hard

There. That actually seems a whole lot better than any of his previous attempts, like he’s finally getting the hang of how to uphold a conversation as Yoongi’s friend.

YG: :D

YG: oh, that reminds me, I still have your bear mug

TH: is he okay? :( 

In response, Yoongi sends a photo of Taehyung’s purple takeaway cup sitting on his dish rack, followed a moment later by another one where the mug is chilling on his windowsill next to a cactus, then a third photo of the mug tucked under the blanket in Yoongi’s bed.

YG: i’m giving him the royal treatment, a garden with a view and fresh sheets and all

Taehyung can’t help but laugh at the trio of pictures—it’s hilarious to imagine Yoongi running around his apartment to place the bear mug in different spots for photos. Joking about the takeaway cup seems like such a small thing, but it makes him think that maybe, just maybe, they have a shot at this friendship thing.

TH: hahahahah that’s awesome, i’m glad you’re treating him right

Then Taehyung comes to think of something. It’s nearing nine in the morning, which is usually when Taehyung wakes up so he can get to the office around ten, but to his knowledge Yoongi goes to work earlier. Of course, a music producer’s schedule doesn’t always follow office hours, but Yoongi has a tendency to stick to a routine that at least resembles those hours.

TH: shouldn’t you be at work btw?

YG: i’m working from home this week, as much as i can anyway

TH: everything alright?

YG: yeah, just needed some time for myself

Taehyung lowers the phone on the table and takes a sip of tea. He wonders if Yoongi is okay, but before he can mull over the hidden meanings of Yoongi’s message, his phone buzzes again.

YG: i can come drop off Mr Bear tonight or tomorrow. what time’s good for you?

TH: tonight works for me, i’ll text you when i leave work

He ignores the fluttery sensation in his stomach at the prospect of seeing Yoongi again. Yoongi is just going to drop off his takeaway cup, that’s all.

Still, he’s nervous when he starts getting ready for work, and he continues being nervous throughout the day.

Taehyung gets home well before Yoongi comes over, so he has plenty of time to pace anxiously around the apartment, to the point where Yeontan grows tired of following him and sits down, tilting his head to the side and watching with curious eyes as Taehyung wears a dent in the floor.

Taehyung doesn’t know why he’s so skittish. Maybe it’s because the last expression he saw from Yoongi was a veiled mask of no-emotion, and even though they’ve been texting and the icy atmosphere seems to have thawed out since, it’s hard to shake the impression of their previous face-to-face meeting.

He’s expecting Yoongi, but the doorbell still almost startles him out of his skin. Yeontan barks sharply and bolts to the door, and Taehyung follows suit. 

He pulls the door open, crouching to hold Yeontan back so he doesn’t zoom out to the hallway to greet Yoongi. “Hey, come in.”

“Hey.” Yoongi steps over the threshold and closes the door after himself. He’s holding an iced americano in one hand while he balances Taehyung’s purple bear mug cautiously under his arm. He’s dressed in his usual sweatpants-and-a-hoodie combination, his hair a bit messy and his eyes tired.

He still looks fucking beautiful.

“Careful,” Yoongi says when Taehyung straightens up and reaches for the mug. “There might be hot chocolate in it.”

Taehyung blinks. “You—brought me hot chocolate?”

Yoongi shrugs. “I figured it was the least I could do after stealing your mug for almost a week.”

Taehyung wraps his fingers around the mug. “Thank you,” he whispers. “You, uh, wanna come sit down while we drink these?” He nods at the americano in Yoongi’s hand.

The air between them is uncomfortable. Taehyung’s limbs are suddenly dysfunctional as fuck and he doesn’t know what to do with his tongue, because it certainly doesn’t fit in his mouth like it used to. He nods at Yoongi to follow him into the kitchen, and they sit at the table and stare around awkwardly, looking away every time their eyes meet. The poignant aversion is the complete opposite of the teasing and smouldering gazes they were trading just last week.

“You said you’ve been working from home this week?” Taehyung finally asks to say something. 

Yoongi snorts. “It might be an exaggeration to use the word working, but yeah. I had some personal stuff, and I needed to take a breather.”

Taehyung nods. “I hope everything is alright.” He takes a sip from his hot chocolate.

“Yeah, it will be. No worries.” Yoongi doesn’t elaborate on his workweek or his personal issues, and since Taehyung doesn’t really feel like owning up to the fact that he’s slept like shit every night ever since he told Yoongi they need to stop having sex, the conversation then fades into silence.

Yeah, despite managing to send each other a few joking text messages, things are still weird.

Yoongi reaches down to scratch Yeontan who keeps bumping into his legs and whining in search of attention. Talking about Yeontan is a guaranteed safe, non-awkward topic, so Taehyung tells Yoongi about the battle of wills he had with Yeontan, a comb and some scissors after he found a chewing gum stuck to Yeontan’s fur the other day, and the story helps to melt the ice a bit.

“Look, there on his belly, a small patch where I had to cut off a chunk of fur.” Taehyung beckons Yeontan closer and picks him up, showing his belly. “I mean, I could practically be a hairdresser with these mad scissor skills.”

Yoongi raises his eyebrows. “Well, you’re not cutting my hair with those mad scissor skills.”

“Hmph.” Taehyung pouts.

A slow smile spreads on Yoongi’s face, and for a moment it’s easy, comfortable.

Then Yoongi sips down the last of his americano and glances at his phone. “Anyway. I should probably get going.”

This time there’s no rain, or any other excuse either to ask Yoongi to stay and endure the level of awkwardness that now exists between them. Taehyung wants to blurt out something, anything to make this tension between them melt away, but he comes out empty-handed.

Taehyung swallows, nods his head once. “Thanks for bringing my mug back, and for the hot chocolate.” He’s barely touched the hot chocolate, because right now the mere thought of drinking it makes him nauseous. “Seriously, why is this so awkward?” he mutters.

The corners of Yoongi’s mouth pull up to a ghost of a smile. “Mm, I think it’s gonna be awkward for a bit, trying to reconfigure stuff.” 

“Yeah. Almost feels like we broke up a second time,” Taehyung says half-jokingly, trying to address the elephant in the room.

It doesn’t really help.

Yoongi’s eyes flash to him, a brief glance before he gets up and discards his single-use takeaway cup in the trash. “Yeah. So I’m gonna—” He points toward the front door.

Taehyung sets Yeontan on the floor and stands up, following Yoongi with his hands in his pockets. He watches as Yoongi puts on his shoes, then straightens up. Their eyes meet, for a fleeting second, and then Yoongi nods. “I guess some day it’s gonna be less awkward. See you.”

“Yeah,” Taehyung mumbles. “See you.”

Watching Yoongi turn away shatters Taehyung’s heart into tiny crystalline shards that poke into his lungs and make breathing difficult. When Yoongi reaches for the door handle, Taehyung inhales deep and blurts out the most pressing thought on the surface of his mind. 

“I had to put an end to what we were doing because I could no longer keep pretending that I don’t have feelings for you.” 

There. He said what he needed to say.

Yoongi stops dead in his tracks, hand hovering over the door handle, then turns around slowly. “What?”

Taehyung huffs out a desperate laugh. “I violated the one rule that comes with friends-with-benefits situations—the one that says don’t catch feelings.” He looks down at his bare feet. “Well, I did.” 

It’s quiet, so quiet, that Taehyung has to look up to see how his message is received.

Yoongi’s mouth opens, but for a second nothing comes out. He licks his lips, then mutters, “Why didn’t you say anything before?” His eyes are unreadable.

“I was afraid of your reaction. I remember, back when—” Taehyung swallows. “You used to retreat inside your own head a lot, when things got difficult.”

Yoongi sighs. “Taehyung-ah, that was four years ago. I think we’ve both grown up a lot since then.” 

“Oh please, when I told you I wanted to stop fucking I got war flashbacks from the look on your face. Like, you’re there but you’re not there, if you know what I mean?” Taehyung grimaces when he realizes how accusatory he sounds. “I don’t mean to put the blame on you—of course I should have stopped being such a coward and just say what was on my mind, but I was worried you’d freak out and disappear from my life altogether. The situation we had going on wasn’t ideal, but I didn’t want to risk losing everything. Losing you. I tried to put a stop to it before it got too bad, but I think I made things worse.” His eyes burn with a prickling sensation that feels all too much like tears waiting to break free. He shakes his head. “No matter. I’m glad we can at least try to be friends, you know?”

Yoongi steps closer. “Taehyung-ah. Can we please sit down to talk about this? This doesn’t seem like a front-door conversation.”

Taehyung inhales shakily. “I just had to tell you how I feel. We don’t need to talk about it.” He doesn’t want to be sat down like he’s in a job interview where he knows he’s not going to get the job.

“I think we do.” Yoongi’s voice is serious, but his eyes are soft. “Please?” He kicks off his shoes, and this might be the first time he doesn’t bother to straighten them so they sit neatly on the shoe rack, but instead leaves them as they land.

Taehyung shrugs, and they go into the living room and sit down at the exact opposite ends of the couch, with a vast emptiness between them. Taehyung scoops Yeontan on his lap like a shield, hugging him to his chest until Yeontan protests and squirms away—only to go to the other end of the couch and curl up on Yoongi’s lap instead. The furry little traitor.

Yoongi scratches Yeontan’s ears absently, and the sight is enough to make Taehyung sniffle, the burning sensation behind his eyelids growing stronger. He likes seeing Yoongi with Yeontan. Yoongi is so soft and playful around Yeontan, and Yeontan adores Yoongi—and he’s usually pretty picky about who he tolerates. Taehyung looks away and blinks, trying to banish the tears before they spill over.

“Taehyung-ah.”

Yoongi sounds so fond, so soft, so warm, so caring— 

The pain of wanting what he can’t have suddenly reaches critical mass, and Taehyung buries his face in his hands, tears escaping and flowing down his cheeks.

Yoongi moves. There’s the sound of Yeontan protesting as he’s lowered from the couch, his nails clacking against the floor, followed by an indignant bark.

Then Yoongi shuffles closer, his arms coming around Taehyung to pull him into an embrace. Taehyung stays huddled into himself but allows Yoongi to tug him close, because friends can comfort and hug each other, right? He can still have this tiny bit of comfort.

Yoongi hugs him tightly, his breath ghosting warm against Taehyung’s neck, arms wrapped around Taehyung’s frame. Eventually Yoongi pulls away from the embrace, but instead of retreating altogether, he pulls Taehyung’s hands from his face, lacing their fingers together on Taehyung’s lap. Taehyung squeezes the hands clasping his—another form of comfort he allows himself. He looks up, blinking away tears, and gets stuck in the way Yoongi looks at him.

Yoongi’s eyes are wide like he’s nervous, but his gaze holds steady. “Four years ago, I realized too late that we didn’t quite understand each other. I loved you so much—”

Taehyung heaves out a sob at the past tense. “Please—”

Yoongi’s hands grip Taehyung’s tightly, fingers warm against Taehyung’s skin. “Shh, please let me finish.”

The tears won’t stop sliding down Taehyung’s face, and Yoongi detaches one of his hands from Taehyung’s grasp to wipe his cheek, where a wet trail has escaped all the way beneath his jawline. Yoongi’s hand lingers, fingertips skating softly over Taehyung’s cheekbone.

“Back then—” Yoongi continues. “Back then, I felt so much, but I didn’t know how to express it in a way that would get through to you. I understood only afterwards that we got to the point where we broke up because of miscommunication. It was like we spoke about the same things but in different languages, yeah?” His eyes are serious, pleading. “So if we’re to try again, we have to communicate about things, while also respecting each other’s different ways of trying to get the message across.”

Taehyung swallows another sob. He looks down to his lap, where one of Yoongi’s hands is still clutching his. Then the words register. “Wait—? Does that mean you want to—try, again?” He doesn’t dare to look at Yoongi.

Yoongi pulls his hand away from Taehyung’s, and for a moment every cell in Taehyung’s body panics, but then both of Yoongi’s hands appear to cup his face, nudging him to look up. Taehyung swallows and blinks a few times, following the guidance of Yoongi’s hands—up, up, until he meets Yoongi’s gaze.

Yoongi stares at him for a few seconds, unspeaking before he begins, the words coming out a bit stiff but his tone genuine. “Taehyung. I thought you wanted to end the thing we had because you noticed I was falling for you, and you didn’t want to get into that mess.”

Taehyung breathes out, then in, slow and shaky. “What?”

Yoongi lets out a wet-sounding chuckle. “You said you caught feelings, well, you weren’t the only one.” He pauses. “I know I wasn’t the best at verbalizing my emotions in college. Hell, I’m still not good at it, even though I’ve tried to get better.” 

Yoongi sighs and turns to look past Taehyung’s shoulder. “I hope you don’t expect me to be perfect at expressing my feelings, because I still have a long way to go. But know this.” His mouth opens, then closes slowly. He swallows and cracks open his mouth again like he’s trying to force out words that refuse to cooperate. His eyes refocus on Taehyung, dark and soft and serious, and Taehyung’s stomach makes several different kinds of somersaulting motions as he waits for Yoongi to finish what he wants to say. 

Yoongi draws in a shuddery breath, and his gentle hold of Taehyung’s face tightens just a fraction when he says, “Know this: I have never loved anyone the way I love you, Kim Taehyung, and not for lack of trying.”

It takes a moment for the words to register, but when they do, Taehyung’s head starts spinning.

Love.

Yoongi said love, as in present tense. Not loved, sometime in the past. Love. As in right now.

Taehyung’s body moves before his brain can catch up—he launches himself into Yoongi’s arms with enough force to make Yoongi stagger and fall sideways to the couch, but neither of them cares as they lie in a heap, clinging to each other, hugging so tightly that it starts to hurt, but then hugging even tighter. Taehyung’s tears dot the neckline of Yoongi’s shirt, and Yoongi keeps pressing soft kisses into Taehyung’s skin wherever he encounters it—on his neck, on his jaw, on his cheek, on his ear—soft, fluttery touches that make Taehyung’s insides feel equally as soft and fluttery.

When Taehyung finally struggles to pull back from the embrace, he only retreats as much as is needed to look Yoongi in the eye when he whispers, “I love you. I love you I love you I love you. Fuck, I love you.”

Yoongi’s smile grows wider with each repeated confession, and then Taehyung gets dragged back in for a kiss that’s calm and soothing but paradoxically also bordering on desperate. 

They kiss until Taehyung’s arm muscles are sore from supporting himself over Yoongi, until his lips are raw and chapped and until they’re both out of breath.

When they clamber up to a sitting position again, Taehyung seeks Yoongi’s hand and doesn’t let go.

Yoongi swallows and glances at their entwined fingers before turning to look at Taehyung. “I will try to be as clear about this as I can. I love you. I might not say it in those exact words every day, but that doesn’t change the fact. I should have said it more, back when we were together, and I’m sorry I made you doubt how much I cared about you. I know it’s futile to worry about things we should have done differently in the past, but we need to remember those mistakes, and learn from them. That’s the only way we can grow.” 

Taehyung hiccups out a small giggle. “Ah hyung, so profound. I see all those self-help books you hoard haven’t gone to waste.”

Yoongi’s wide-eyed expression immediately gets laced with a heavy dose of exasperation. “Really, Taehyung?”

“I love you and your self-help books?” Taehyung offers innocently.

Yoongi narrows his eyes, playful. “I’ll let this one slide, but you can’t wiggle your way out of everything with those three words.”

Taehyung beams. “I can try.” He sniffles and wipes his nose with the back of his free hand. “You know, I think you’re right about the thing where you said we were talking about the same things but in different languages. I didn’t realize it until I met both Jungkook and Jimin, because I’d never had two friends with such an extreme difference between how they express affection. Jimin is like the embodiment of verbal and tactile affection, he will talk about his feelings often and loudly and he hugs everyone after knowing them for like an hour.”

“He hugged me when we left Seokjin’s,” Yoongi says, sounding a bit mortified.

“Yeah. You kind of looked like a statue for a second there.” Taehyung laughs. “And then there’s Jungkook, who I think is a lot like you in that aspect. He doesn’t really verbalize his feelings, but his actions speak about how he feels, and he’s also very cuddly but it takes him a long time to warm up to people before he’s comfortable with physical affection.” He pauses. “Where was I going with this? Oh, right, after observing those two especially in the beginning when all three of us started hanging out, I realized that in our relationship, I was the one who was vocal and you were more subdued, but you showed your love with actions rather than words, right?” Taehyung looks at Yoongi, waiting for him to confirm.

“Oh yeah, I agree.”

“Looking back, that was one of the bigger issues we had, and I don’t want that to tear us apart again.” Taehyung realizes his voice has gone down in volume and he sounds small and scared.

“Taehyung-ah.” Yoongi’s voice is warm and reassuring. “It won’t. We’re smarter this time around, and even if we don’t speak about all things using the same language, the fact that we acknowledge it is a huge advantage—we can talk about how we don’t always talk about things in the same manner.”

“Meta level conversations about love. Who says romance is dead?” Taehyung teases.

Yeontan chooses this moment to rise on his hind legs against the couch, whining like he’s been ignored for decades instead of minutes. Taehyung detaches his hand from Yoongi’s for long enough to lift Yeontan on his lap, then immediately seeks Yoongi’s fingers again like he would disappear lest Taehyung tether him to this couch.

Yeontan shuffles across their laps, bouncing excitedly as they both reach to pet him at the same time.

Yoongi winces. “Those are my balls under your paw,” he tells Yeontan. “Do you mind?”

Taehyung laughs and pulls Yeontan to his lap. “C’mon boy, we don’t want to scare away the love of my life by stepping on his balls.”

He doesn’t miss how Yoongi turns red at the proclaimed title, but Yoongi doesn’t contest it.

“So, I’m curious. How long did it take for you to realize you had a crush on me?” Taehyung asks once he’s gotten Yeontan to settle beside him. “Because I think I was pretty much gone after the time when you first came over to my apartment and I sucked your dick.” He flashes a grin.

Yoongi laughs. “Charming. Was it the piercing that did it for you?”

Taehyung presses against Yoongi’s side and drops his head on Yoongi’s shoulder, watching their entwined fingers on his thigh. “No, I think it was because when I went to bed that night, my sheets smelled of you and I realized how much I liked it.”

Yoongi makes a small noise of acknowledgement and turns his head, burying his nose in Taehyung’s hair.

“You didn’t answer my question,” Taehyung says, playing with Yoongi’s thumb, smoothing his own thumb over the knuckle and the fingernail. In a way it is such a novel thing, to sit here holding hands, but it’s also familiar. Yoongi’s nails look better cared for than in the past, but it’s the same hand—the same bony knuckles and the same long fingers. “When did you realize?”

“At the bistro,” Yoongi replies. “Or maybe before that. Maybe I realized it during that second it took me to turn around when I saw you appearing behind me in the mirror, when we met in the hotel bathroom.”

Taehyung looks up at Yoongi’s face. His ears are a bit red, but like before, his gaze holds steady when Taehyung seeks eye contact. “Wow, hyung. That fast?”

Yoongi bites his lower lip, then releases it and smiles shyly. “Well, I told you that you tend to leave an impression, didn’t I?”

Taehyung brings the back of Yoongi’s hand to his lips and kisses it, marveling how he is allowed to touch Yoongi like this, that it’s welcome and wanted. Tension melts away from his shoulders, and he turns to look up at Yoongi again. “I’m gonna kiss you now. And tomorrow. And the day after that.”

Before Taehyung can carry out his plan, Yoongi stops him with a finger placed softly over his mouth. “What about the day after that?”

Taehyung kisses the fingertip lingering on his lips. “On that day as well. And all the days after that.”

“Good.” Yoongi looks thoughtful as he pulls his finger away. “What about nights though?”

“Nights are for sleeping.” Taehyung pauses, then smirks. “And for all kinds of nasty and unspeakable things I’m gonna do to you.”



-



“Look,” Seokjin says in a tone that’s both wildly exasperated and a lot amused. “I’m glad you guys sorted your shit out, I really am, but this is the third time I walk into my kitchen and find you violating my countertops.”

Taehyung laughs softly and buries his face in Yoongi’s neck. Yoongi sits on the edge of the counter with his legs wrapped around Taehyung’s waist, but instead of letting Taehyung go after Seokjin’s words, his hold only grows tighter. Yoongi plants his chin on Taehyung’s shoulder, probably to bat his lashes and grin at Seokjin—because that’s what he did last time Seokjin caught them making out in the kitchen when they were supposed to be getting refills for drinks.

Behind Taehyung, Seokjin opens the fridge. “Seriously, Yoongi-yah, get your ass off my counter—I make food there.”

Yoongi’s legs remain where they are, squeezing Taehyung’s waist, so Taehyung can’t detach from the counter. As a solution, he hugs Yoongi to his chest, so when he takes a step back, Yoongi is forced to follow along. Yoongi slides off the countertop with an undignified squeak but continues to cling to him like a baby koala.

“Cute,” Taehyung murmurs into his neck.

Taehyung knows the reason why Yoongi doesn’t want to detach from him, and Seokjin seems to know it just as well as he does. He turns to look at them with a sigh. “Okay, that’s it. You guys are disgusting, and I’m declaring the kitchen a no-boner zone.” He points a finger toward the living room. “Out.”

Taehyung giggles and carries Yoongi to the living room, where Yoongi finally unwraps his legs from around Taehyung and slides to the floor.

“We’re the worst,” Taehyung whispers, holding Yoongi in the circle of his arms and nuzzling his cheek.

“Oh yeah, definitely.”

Their second barbeque at Seokjin’s is better than the first one, because now they all know each other, and this time Taehyung isn’t harboring nauseating suspicions about Yoongi and Seokjin being involved with each other.

“Are you kidding me?” Seokjin says when Taehyung, after two glasses of wine, confesses he thought they were fucking. “With the way he was giving you heart-eyes last time?”

“I might be a bit obtuse when it comes to subtle hints,” Taehyung mutters. “I like to have all my emotion-related information in verbal form, simple short sentences, no room for misunderstandings.”

Seokjin raises his eyebrows. “And how’s that working out for you and Mr. I Never Voice My Emotions Out Loud So I’ll Just Stare At You Longingly And Hope You Get The Hint?”

Taehyung laughs. “I don’t know, you tell me.” He turns in his chair and spots Yoongi talking to Namjoon by the patio railing. “Hey, Yoongi-hyung! I love you!”

Yoongi turns to squint at him. “Huh? I love you too.” He blinks a few times, as if waiting to see if Taehyung has anything else to say, and when he doesn’t, Yoongi turns back to Namjoon, muttering something that sounds like, “I—What just happened?”

Taehyung turns back to Seokjin. “I’d say it’s working out pretty well.”

Across the table, Hoseok and Jungkook make a synchronized gagging noise. “I cannot believe they turned out to be more disgusting than we are,” Hoseok says, looking at Jungkook with a deadpan expression. His serious face holds for all of two seconds, before it dissolves into his usual bright smile.

“I think they’re cute,” Jimin coos from where he’s leaning against Taehyung’s side. “Oh hey, since you kept glaring at me last time and preventing me from doing it, can I now give him The Talk?”

“If it makes you happy,” Taehyung says, grinning as Jimin immediately gets up and skips over to Yoongi and Namjoon. Jimin clings to Yoongi’s shoulders, and to Yoongi’s credit he manages to look less like a statue than the first time when Jimin hugged him. Taehyung hears enough to deduce that if Yoongi ever does anything to hurt Taehyung, Jimin will put on his scary pants and come find him.

People usually laugh when Jimin uses the term scary pants, but Taehyung has seen how Jimin gets when he’s angry, and it’s no laughing matter. Thankfully Yoongi receives Jimin’s warning with a polite nod, and then glances over his shoulder at Taehyung like he isn’t sure if he should actually be scared or not. Taehyung makes a cutting motion in front of his throat, and Yoongi seems to understand his meaning because he turns his wide-eyed attention back to Jimin.

Later during the night, they gather in Seokjin’s living room and lounge on the three massive couches, with the TV screen playing random late-night show reruns in the background. Taehyung lies on top of Yoongi, head resting against Yoongi’s chest and Yoongi’s fingers combing through his hair, so gentle and slow that it almost lulls Taehyung to sleep.

Jungkook and Hoseok form another cuddle pile on the next couch over, with Jimin curled up next to their sock-covered feet and occasionally poking a finger at their toes to see what kind of reaction noises he can coax out. Eventually Jungkook rises from the couch like a looming figure of impending doom and tickles Jimin into submission, while Hoseok laughs and participates whenever Jimin exposes too much of his side during his struggle with Jungkook.

Seokjin and Namjoon sit on the last remaining couch with glasses of wine in hand and watch them like a pair of disapproving parents. Their heads turn in unison to follow as Jimin bounces over the backrest of the couch, followed by Jungkook chasing after him and Hoseok not far behind. They vanish into the kitchen, and soon Jimin’s laughter rings through the doorway to the living room.

“Damn kids,” Seokjin mutters.

“That’s going to get interesting sometime soon,” Namjoon muses, sipping his wine.

Seokjin nods. “It’s already interesting to us, it’s going to get more interesting once they realize what’s going on.” 

Taehyung smiles into the fabric of Yoongi’s shirt, then pulls one of Yoongi’s hands to his lips, kissing his knuckles softly. “You wanna come to my place for the night?”

Yoongi’s lips find the top of Taehyung’s head and press a kiss on his hair. “Mm. Are we gonna do a repeat performance of what happened last time we left Seokjin’s? Because yes to that, but no to what happened the following morning.” 

Taehyung grins lazily. “Yeah, I figured you’d be partial to the—”

“You know what, I definitely do not want to know,” Seokjin says loudly. “First you ruin the pristine image of my kitchen, and now you lie on my couch and talk about how you’re going to get down and dirty when you get home.” He sighs dramatically. “My life is just endless suffering.”

“Maybe we should leave Seokjin to his endless suffering, don’t you think?” Yoongi asks. “And go get, what was the grandpa term he used—ah, down and dirty?”

“Yah! You’re only like three months younger than I am!” Seokjin huffs, while beside him, Namjoon is shaking with barely-contained laughter.

Taehyung clambers up from the couch with a laugh and holds out a hand to pull Yoongi along. “Alright, let’s go. One round of down and dirty without a side of next-morning angst, coming right up.”



-



It’s been roughly six weeks since Taehyung told Yoongi they need to stop fucking, and five weeks since they realized they were both head over heels for each other and started fucking again, this time with added feelings. 

They are in Taehyung’s living room, both trying to get some work done in the late hours of the afternoon. Taehyung sits cross-legged on the floor, working on his laptop, while Yoongi lies on the couch with his old-fashioned pen-and-notebook combination, mostly staring at walls but occasionally jotting down lyrics or chord progressions.

“Taehyungie,” Yoongi says.

“Yeah?” Taehyung looks up from his keyboard and sees Yoongi staring at his bookshelf with furrowed brows.

“What happened to the art book I gave you?”

Taehyung breathes out a laugh. “Oh, it’s in my closet, under a pile of shirts I rarely use.”

Yoongi blinks. “Why is it in your closet, under a pile of shirts?”

“Because when I got home after you gave it to me, the book felt more like a thanks for a nice fuck present than anything else, and at the time I was so heartbroken that I couldn’t stand looking at it.” Taehyung doesn’t feel ashamed to admit how bad off he was when it happened. It’s amazing how easily he can express his feelings now that he knows they’ll be received with love and tender care.

Also with a healthy dose of playful teasing, because Yoongi’s mouth definitely twitches like he’s trying not to smile. “Oh. Can I go get it from your closet?”

“Of course. It’s on the second shelf, behind the pile of shirts that I actually use.” Taehyung turns back to the laptop. He’s vaguely aware of Yoongi walking past him into the bedroom and returning a moment later with the book under his arm.

“Are you looking for impressionist inspiration for your lyrics?” Taehyung asks after a minute, glancing up. He then turns to do a double take, because Yoongi is writing something down, but his notebook sits beside him on the couch.

He’s writing on the first page of the book.

When Yoongi closes the book and sets it on the coffee table, Taehyung casts a suspicious glance at him before shoving his laptop aside, crawling over and reaching for the book. Yoongi’s face is a blank mask, but he’s radiating fond amusement at levels that would make a geiger counter explode. Taehyung flips the cover open to read what Yoongi scribbled down.

He is greeted with Yoongi’s messy scrawl, forming two short sentences:

Thanks for a nice fuck. I love you.



-



The art book dedication becomes a running joke between them, written on everything from birthday cards to holiday presents, takeaway napkins and flower bouquets.

That is, until two years later, Yoongi gifts Taehyung another art book. It’s not a special occasion, but Yoongi looks nervous, so Taehyung glances at him curiously before flipping the book open on the first page.

There it is, their own inside joke turned into a message of devotion, except… 

There’s another sentence.

Thanks for a nice fuck. I love you. 

Marry me?