“Jesus fucking CHRIST I told you to stop doing that, you stubborn brat!” Jin roared.
Jungkook, who was sitting at the kitchen island with his chin resting on his hand, just sighed mournfully. He knew that he wasn’t supposed to show up without warning, but honestly he didn’t care today. He was at the end of his tether.
“Jin hyung, I’m so tired, and confused, and lost. Did I mention tired? I’m tired. I need help.”
Jin clutched the kitchen countertop, eyes closed and chest heaving, probably trying to calm his heart rate down. “Still having trouble with Gureum, I take it? The vet I recommended to you didn’t help? He helped Jjangu.”
Jungkook groaned. “Nooo. He did everything that every other vet had done, did a physical and played around with him and checked everything, and it was all fine. And charged a bomb for it too, hyung,” Jungkook whined. “I can’t take it anymore, I honestly can’t. I’ve covered in bites. I don’t own any accent cushions anymore, and you know how much I love those.”
Jungkook rolled over listlessly, and sprawled over the island, feeling like a limp noodle. “Hyung, he’s never behaved like this, even when he was a pup! What do I do now, hyung? I’ve been to every vet in town, and no one can figure out what’s wrong.” Jungkook suddenly jerked up, eyes wide in consternation. “They all think I’m a bad dog dad, hyung! I’m not a bad dog dad!”
Jin ran his hand over the nape of Jungkook’s neck gently over and over, and Jungkook could feel the anxiety leaving his body as he slumped back in his chair. “You’re not a bad dog dad, JK.”
There was silence for a few moments, punctuated by the methodical strokes of Jin’s hand on his neck.
“JK,” Jin began, and Jungkook grunted from where his head was laying on table, cushioned by his arms. “Do you trust me?”
“Yeah,” Jungkook calls out in a muffled voice.
“You really wanna fix whatever’s going on with Gureum?”
Jungkook lifted his head and looked at Jin balefully. “Jin hyung, at this point I’m willing to do anything. Except something illegal.” After a beat, “Maybe. Probably.”
Jin sighed. “Okay, so I know a guy.” Jungkook perked up. “He’s…not super orthodox, or certified, but he’s good at what he does, and I know for a fact he’ll be able to figure out what’s going on with Gureum.” Jin pointed a threatening finger at Jungkook, so close to his nose that he went cross-eyed trying to look at it. “Visit him normally. Tell him beforehand you’re coming, like a normal person.”
Jungkook just ignored him and leant over the table, stuck his face in front of Jin’s face and gripped it. “Hyung. Tell me.”
Safely back in his house, Jungkook looked at the business card that Jin hyung gave him. Kim Taehyung, Dog Whisperer. The card was covered in little cartoon dogs on the back. Jungkook honestly thought it looked like a fake card designed by a middle-schooler.
He looked over at Gureum, who was alternating between chewing on his fifth cushion and barking his head off.
This had to work.
He took the number on the card, and dialled it with bated breath. A cheery voice picked up after a few rings. “Hi, how can I help you?”
“Uh, is this Kim Taehyung?”
“Yes, what can I do you for?”
Jungkook blinked. “My dog has been giving me some trouble these past few weeks, and I-“
“Say no more. I’m guessing it’s not a health issue, more a behavioural one?”
“Yeah, how did you know?”
“It’s my job, silly. Now, let me check my schedule.” Jungkook could faintly hear the sound of pages being ruffled. “Hm, I’m free on Saturday morning, does that work for you?”
“Yes! That’s perfect! I don’t have work on the weekends anyways so it’s perfect.”
“Oh shit, right, sorry, I’m Jungkook.”
“…Jungkook-ssi, I will see you and your doggo on Saturday, say at 11. Sounds good?”
“Great, I’ll see you then!”
Jungkook cut the call and slumped down on his couch. He looked over at Gureum who refused to look in his direction. “He called you a doggo. We’re in trouble.”
It’s Saturday, and Jungkook is standing in front of a house. He’s not sure what he expected, but it certainly wasn’t this. He was thinking maybe something clinical and minimalistic looking, like a vet’s office, but just a normal house, with a cute little wooden sign boasting Kim Taehyung, Dog Whisperer. Jungkook usually would walk around with Gureum with a simple leash, but he was so prone to running off these days that he had to carry him around in a carrier. Thank god he was a small dog, he couldn’t imagine having to deal with a dog like a St. Bernard or a Great Dane.
Jungkook took a deep breath, and knocked on the door.
A few seconds later, the door opened, and Jungkook was standing face to face with the prettiest boy he had ever seen. He had dark curly hair framing his face softly, complemented with sharp defined features and honey golden skin. Tall and lithe, he looked like he was around Jungkook’s age.
Jungkook had spoken to the guy himself on the phone, but the shitty phone speaker hadn’t done any justice to the boy’s sweet voice, deep and thick flowing like syrupy molasses. He just stood there dumbly, waiting for his brain cells to kick into gear and help him put words together. At the back of his mind he could tell he was having a literal gay panic, and he could almost hear Jin laughing at his plight.
The boy-Taehyung, he assumed, tilted his head with a confused smile. “You are Jungkook, right?” He looked down at his watch. “You’re a little early, but that’s-“
Taehyung blinked at the sudden outburst.
“Sorry, yes, I’m Jeon Jungkook, and this,” Jungkook lifted the carrier slightly, “is Jeon Gureum.”
Taehyung broke out into a shining smile. “I’m Taehyung. From the sign.” He points at the sign cheerfully. “Come in, the two of you. Let’s have a chat.”
Jungkook took off his shoes at the door, and padded over to the living room, where he waited for Taehyung to come. Taehyung sat down on one of the couches and gestured to Jungkook to sit down as well.
“Before I talk to your doggo-oh wait, are they a boy or a girl?”
“Gureum, he’s a boy.” Jungkook is desperately trying to ignore Taehyung’s continued usage of the word ‘doggo’, like an internet meme fanatic. Jungkook definitely dabbled, but this was some old school stuff.
Taehyung clapped his hands. “Ah, right, Gureum. So, I’d like to speak to him, but first, I wanted to ask you a couple of questions.”
Jungkook looked at Taehyung sceptically. “Speak…to him?”
Taehyung stretched, and Jungkook saw a strip of golden skin. Shit. “Yeah, speak to him, what else did you think I was going to do?”
“Honestly, I have no idea, Taehyung-ssi. My hyung recommended you to me, and you’re my last hope. He didn’t tell me anything except that you would be able to help me.”
Taehyung waved a large hand. “Please, call me hyung. Can I ask, who is your hyung?”
“Oh, uh, Jin hyung?” Jungkook said softly.
Taehyung’s eyes lit up. “Oh Jin hyung! He’s dating my brother! He’s really nice, he feeds us a lot, and that’s great because Joonie hyung can’t cook to save his life,” Taehyung giggled with crinkled eyes.
Jungkook’s eyes widened. “You’re…Namjoon hyung’s brother? The hyung whose gift is he can play any instrument just by touching it, that hyung? Wow, small world,” he breathed.
“So, now that we’re basically family, let’s meet the patient.” Rolling up his non-existent sleeves, he announced in a grandiose voice, “release him, good sir!”
Jungkook chuckled as he opened up Gureum’s carrier to let him out. He was so enamoured by Taehyung that for a second he forgot how much Gureum hated his carrier, and fully expected him to run around this new place causing havoc. To Jungkook’s utter shock, Gureum calmly stepped out and trotted over to Taehyung’s outstretched arms. He looked at Gureum sitting contentedly in Taehyung’s arms, and he swore Gureum blinked at him smugly, the little traitor.
(He wondered who he was more envious of, Taehyung or Gureum. He didn’t let himself think about it.)
Taehyung dropped a little kiss on Gureum furry head, before gathering him up and holding his head securely between his palms, and looking directly at him. “Hello Gureum, it’s nice to meet you.”
Jungkook couldn’t believe it. If he wasn’t sitting there and watching it happen in front of him, he would have thought it was fake. But this person was actually talking to his dog.
“WOAH. Is that your gift then? That you can talk to dogs?”
“Huh,” said Taehyung, “you really didn’t know what you were coming for. Yeah, I can talk to dogs, or the better way of saying that is I talk with dogs, seeing as they talk back to me. Isn’t that right, Gureum-ah?” Taehyung ruffled Gureum’s head, who promptly let out a yip in reply. “I guess anyone can talk to dogs, but I can understand them?”
Jungkook just sat shell shocked, as the let the whirlwind that was Taehyung just wash over him. He was barely paying attention to Taehyung’s innocent ramblings. How could someone be so cute? Taehyung’s eyes, Taehyung’s hands, Taehyung’s face, Taehyung’s voice, Taehyung’s smile, Taehyung Taehyung Taehyung was floating around in his mind, filling up his every thought so much that he almost didn’t realise that he was being asked a question.
“Huh?” Jungkook asked eloquently.
“I asked, Jungkookie, what is your gift?” Taehyung said with a soft smile. Jungkook screamed internally at the pet name.
“Oh, um, teleportation.”
Taehyung’s eyes widened like saucers. “Wow, that’s so cool! Bet you’re never late to anything, huh?”
“You’d be surprised,” Jungkook replied embarrassedly, redness rapidly rising to his cheeks and ears.
Either Taehyung didn’t notice him blushing, or he kindly ignored it, which Jungkook was so thankful for. He’d already embarrassed himself enough today in front of the beautiful boy. “Alright, so let me have a little chat with Gureum,” Taehyung said with a clap. He resumed his previous position, with Gureum’s head held firmly within his palms, the two of them staring at each other.
After a few seconds, “Gureum, are you happy?”
“Hm. Are you hurt?”
“Okay. So then what’s wrong?”
Bark bark bark bark bark.
“That’s not very nice, Gureum-ah. Why are you doing that?” Taehyung giggled.
Taehyung’s brows furrowed. For a second he looked over at Jungkook, who was sitting shell-shocked, mouth agape at the interaction. “Huh. Are you happy, with Jungkook-ah?”
Bark. Bark bark.
Taehyung’s face smoothed out. “What would make you happier?”
Bark bark bark.
Taehyung nodded solemnly. “Right, right. And that will make things better? You’ll stop being naughty?”
Taehyung took a deep breath with his eyes closed, mumbled some words under his breath as he ran his hands down Gureum’s spine, before slowly opening his eyes and facing Jungkook again. Jungkook thought it was like someone coming out of a trance, like he had been meditating. Taehyung was back to scratching Gureum behind his ears absentmindedly, loosely sitting back in his chair. Jungkook could feel his gaze boring into him, and considered running or hiding somewhere just to escape. It was a feeling that he hadn’t had in years, like when his teacher looked at him in school and just knew that he hadn’t done his homework, even before asking him. Wait, had Jungkook not done his homework?
Was he actually a bad dog dad?
He quickly ran a mental checklist of all the things he does with Gureum – food, water, bed, walks, toys, regular grooming, treats, the works. He did everything correctly, as he had been for years. So why was Taehyung looking at him like he was going to ground him?
“Jungkookie.” Jungkook gulped. “You came here telling me that your sweet boy was misbehaving. But he’s saying that you’re the bad boy. Now why would he say that?” Taehyung asked simply. He didn’t even sound accusatory or mean, just mildly curious. That didn’t stop Jungkook from feeling offended.
“Excuse me? I’ve done nothing, I have no idea what you’re talking about! He’s the one who’s been tearing my cushions to shreds, running away from me without his leash, barking all the time, and he’s never behaved like this before! And you think it’s my fault?!” Jungkook slowly turned redder and his voice became louder as he spoke.
“No need to get so defensive,” Taehyung said calmly, “I just asked a question. Dogs don’t lie, so before I tell you what Gureum told me, I wanted to hear it first from the horse’s mouth, so to speak,” he said with a giggle at the end.
Jungkook sighed at the pun. The guy was really like a kid. (And he still liked him, even if he was accusing him of negligence or whatever.)
“I have absolutely NO what you’re talking about.”
“Oh, but Gureum does.” Taehyung’s eyes twinkled.
Taehyung cleared his throat, and this time started talking like he was a lawyer making a statement in a court drama. “Jeon Jungkook, where do you work?”
“Uh, at a music store downtown.”
“Uh-huh, and have you recently picked up a second job?”
Jungkook narrowed his eyes. “Yes? I don’t see why that’s-”
Taehyung tutted and smooshed his finger against Jungkook’s lips, who was so shocked that he abruptly stopped talking and went cross-eyed trying to look at the offending limb.
You’re loving the fact that he’s touching you, aren’t you, his mind supplied unhelpfully.
Jungkook brushed the other’s hand aside. “Don’t-“
“And between these two jobs of yours, how much time do you get to spend at home?”
Jungkook furrowed his eyebrows. “Not a lot, I come back at night, and I’m there on the weekends. Why?”
Taehyung straightened his face and sat back, resuming his petting of Gureum, who had one piercing eye locked on Jungkook. “Has it ever occurred to you that since you’re never at home, Gureum is bored?” He asked seriously.
Jungkook was speechless.
“He misses you, Jungkook. He’s acting out because he wants your attention, he wants to spend time with you.”
Jungkook couldn’t believe it. Now that he thought about it, he had started his part-time job about a month ago, and Gureum only started misbehaving a little while after that. In the 5 years that he’d had Gureum, from the time he’d gotten him as a puppy, he had never left him alone for this long. He remembered that on the nights when he’d come back from his second job, he’d be so tired that he barely had enough energy to feed Gureum before falling asleep, not playing with him at all. No wonder he was so upset, Jungkook marvelled, if it were him he’d be pretty bad too.
Jungkook knelt down in front of the couch where Gureum was sat, his eye still fixed on him. “Gureum-ah, you miss me? Wanna play with me more? Is that it?” His voice cracked on the last word, echoing how his heart was breaking inside.
Jungkook didn’t need a translator for that one. Tears welled up in his eyes as he scooped Gureum in his arms and snuggled him. “I’m sorry, big boy, I promise to do better. I’ll take out more time for you every day, I promise,” Jungkook said, face pressed into Gureum’s fur. If Gureum was a cat, he would have been purring.
After a few minutes of crying and snuggling, which Gureum took surprisingly well, Jungkook lifted his face up and found a tissue dangling in front of his face. He took it with a sniff, and mumbled out a ‘thanks’.
“You’re welcome,” Taehyung replied jovially. He had a cheeky knowing smile on his face, watching Jungkook hold Gureum like he was his child.
“So, you still have to pay me for my services.”
Jungkook paused in the middle of wiping his tear streaks. “Oh shit, yeah, I almost forgot, let me just-”
“Why don’t you just pay me by taking me out on a date?” Taehyung winked.
Jungkook blushed. “Why?”
“Because I think you’re cute,” Taehyung said simply. “And as good as I am at reading dogs, I’m pretty good at reading people too. You’ve been looking at me the whole session, which means I think you like me back. You’re not that slick, you know,” he added with a soft laugh.
He couldn’t believe that the cute boy in front of him saw through him so easily. “Uh, sure,” he replied sheepishly.
“That way, I can check up on how you’re doing with this beautiful boy,” he reached out for Gureum who happily went back to him, “and he can also get a play date. Oh, it’ll have to be a double date, though.”
Jungkook’s eyes widened. “What do you mean, double date?”
Taehyung rolled his eyes and whistled. A few moments later, a tiny burnt bread loaf came trotting daintily into the room. It licked Taehyung’s hand before unhesitatingly making its way to Jungkook, jumping up on to the couch and turning in his lap a few times before plopping down. Jungkook didn’t know what to do except start petting this dog, although there was so much fur he could only guess it was a dog because of its pink tongue and bold eyebrows.
“This is Yeontan, my pup. He’s a huge brat, so I know he and Gureum are gonna be great friends.”
(“We should go on a sextuple date!”
“A sex What now?”
“You know, 6 people. Or well, 3 people and 3 dogs.”
“A hyung back from my hometown, he can bring his dog Holly, you should see him he’s so cute-”
“Who, the dog or the hyung?”
“The dog, idiot. He’s a miniature chocolate poodle. Oh! I should tell Yoongi hyung to bring his boyfriends, the dancers. And maybe I’ll tell Joonie hyung to bring JIn hyung and Jjangu too, wait so that’s, let’s see, how many people, 7 people, 4 dogs, that’s 11, so that’s-”
“Babe, hyung, babe-hyung, it doesn’t matter how many people, we don’t have to give the date a name, just invite them to hang out, it’s not a date anyways.”
“HOW DARE YOU JEON JUNGKOOK!”)