“Hurry up, we can’t be late.”
“Late? The museum doesn’t close for hours.”
“All I’m hearing are excuses.”
“Whatever you say, Jeongguk.”
It’s been their routine for the last four weeks. Jeongguk wakes up insanely early on Saturday, heads to the gym on campus, then returns to the apartment they share off campus to wake Taehyung. By the time he’s out of the shower, Taehyung has managed to drag himself out of bed, and soon they’re heading to the subway to get to the art museum.
Taehyung had gone to the art museum plenty. When he was younger and visited the city, when he moved for university, and every now and again if they got a limited exhibit that interested him. Never before this month had Taehyung seen Jeongguk so excited about going to a museum. While Jeongguk enjoyed art- he was in several art courses, after all- he’d always said he could just look up famous art pieces online and that would be the same as seeing them in person.
It took Taehyung maybe fifteen minutes to realize what really drew Jeongguk to the museum.
It’s what greets them today, Namjoon standing at the welcome counter explaining something to the tourists standing in front of him. Jeongguk squeezes Taehyung’s elbow tightly enough to bruise.
Namjoon spots them after finishing with the family, switching languages effortlessly. “Hey, Jeongguk. Taehyung. Good to see you guys.”
“Hi, Namjoon-ssi.” Jeongguk’s voice goes high and he might actually be attempting to hide behind Taehyung. Ridiculous.
“Another tour?” Namjoon asks, handing them a pamphlet each. He already knows the answer. Jeongguk has a stack of museum pamphlets a foot high on his side table.
“If you’re free,” Taehyung says, when it becomes obvious that Jeongguk won’t reply.
Namjoon rounds the corner of the desk, gathering the materials he needs in order to give a good tour. From the handful of times Taehyung has attended his tours, he knows that Namjoon basically has all the information memorized, but he still brings supplies in case someone has a question, or there’s a specific date that he needs. Some days, Namjoon gives the English tours, but today is one entirely in Korean. A few more people join their little group before Namjoon nods, and begins his introduction.
Taehyung eventually manages to shake off Jeongguk’s hold once they get to the second exhibit area. It’s taking longer than usual, this group asking Namjoon a ton of questions about almost everything. Jeongguk stands to Taehyung’s side, eyes wide as he hangs off Namjoon’s every word.
After the first visit, Taehyung thought Jeongguk wouldn't need him around anymore, but to his immense dissatisfaction, Jeongguk routinely woke him up. Taehyung could practically recount the entire tour and answer any questions himself, so he spends the time of the tour zoning out. Jeongguk will pull him along if he gets too distracted.
Namjoon’s answer to a question elicits another question and then another, Taehyung moving off from the group to look at one of the paintings he’d always liked. His interest in art had begun when he was a kid, and from the time he was a young adult, he’d likely spent hundreds of hours researching painters, pieces, different types of art, and had painted his own fair share of bad art. The ones he liked best were still at his parent’s house in Daegu, while some of his most recent ones were hung up on the walls of their apartment.
“Do you have any questions about this piece?”
Taehyung rolls his eyes. If he had any questions he’d ask Namjoon. Plus, it wasn’t like he’d spent hours researching this artist before, nope.
Taehyung turns to tell off this stranger about how he knows more about art than every single dossier in this museum combined, but stops when he gets a good look. The guy is just barely taller than him, broad shoulders hidden by the same maroon vest that Namjoon wears. Taehyung doesn’t think he’s ever seen a face so symmetrical, or lips so plump (Jimin would kill him for thinking that,) or collarbones so deep. The nametag on his chest says, hi! I’m Seokjin, ask me anything!
“I’m okay,” Taehyung chokes out.
Seokjin’s lips quirk. “Can I offer you some fun facts about the piece?”
Seokjin stands by his side, their shoulders brushing. “This piece was painted at sunset while the artist was high off a gram and listening to Ariana Grande. That’s why the brushstrokes are so complicated, because they match the lyrics.”
This has to be some kind of joke, Taehyung decides. Maybe the guy stole someone’s jacket and was having fun running around the museum making shit up. Ariana Grande wasn’t even alive while this artist lived. Taehyung knew every fun fact about this piece and this artist, and he tried to subtly move away from the dossier.
“Right,” Taehyung says with a laugh. “Can I tell you how it was really painted?”
“Was it something like this?”
Seokjin explains the artist’s life, his motivations for painting, his influence for the piece, how the piece was almost lost forever after he died and how his daughter was the one to find the piece and donate it.
Taehyung’s jaw drops.
“Working here is so fucking boring,” Seokjin explains. Someone calls him, another museum employee from the other side of the room, and Seokjin salutes Taehyung with two fingers. “See you around.”
Jeongguk calls out his name, waving Taehyung to the next room. He gives Taehyung an odd look as he jogs to catch up with them, the slant of his brow letting Taehyung know he’d have to explain his absence once they were back home.
The tour ends up taking almost an hour longer than normal due to all the questions. Taehyung spends the entire time thinking about Seokjin, if that was really his name. Taehyung hadn’t seen him at the museum before today, and though he was able to explain that one painting, anyone could look up all the info ahead of time to pull that kind of shit. Taehyung tries to catch sight of Seokjin again as the tour winds down, but it’s as if the guy just disappeared.
“I don’t know how you do it,” Taehyung says, standing next to Namjoon as the group disperses through the gift shop. “I swear they asked the same question ten times. And you answered each of them with a grin.”
Namjoon shrugs. “I guess the right motivation was there.”
Namjoon claps him on the shoulder. “Same time next week?”
“Unless the sweet release of death finally comes.”
“Hyung.” Jeongguk bounces over, a snow globe in hand. “Buy this for me?”
“I’m not your dad.”
“What about that time I called you da-”
Taehyung slaps his hand over Jeongguk’s mouth, taking the snow globe with his free hand. “Not another peep.”
Jeongguk snickers, following Taehyung to the register and attempting to kiss Taehyung’s cheeks even as Taehyung pushes him away. The gift shop is getting more crowded as more tours come to an end, so they make their way out of the crowd to head to the exit.
“Aren’t you going to say goodbye to Namjoon?” Taehyung asks, gesturing behind himself with the hand holding Jeongguk’s gift bag.
“No, he looks busy.”
Namjoon stood alone at the front desk, typing out something on the computer.
Taehyung gives Jeongguk a Look. “Have I told you lately how much I hate you?”
“Every night when you lose at Mario Kart. Let’s get some lunch.”
“Bro, will you bail me out of jail?”
“Always, bro. What for this time?”
“I’m gonna kill Jeongguk.” Taehyung lifts himself in another pull-up, holding himself there. “I’m tired of him.”
“First of all, mood,” Jimin says. From the other side of the gym they can hear Jeongguk’s shout of indignation. “How’re you gonna do it, bro?”
“Not sure.” Taehyung does another two pull-ups. “Definitely in a way that won’t get him on Buzzfeed Unsolved.”
“Bro,” Jimin says. “Yoongi will kill you if you kill him.”
“Two stones, one bird.”
“That’s not.” Jimin laughs, leaning against the wall next to where Taehyung does his pull-ups. “What did he do this time?”
Taehyung hangs from the bar, his hands aching. “Namjoon said something about wishing he had someone to eat lunch with on his break and Jeongguk said ‘same’. Then he walked away.”
“Bro,” Jimin whistles. “How did we raise such a bad gay?”
“I can hear you guys!”
“No, you can’t!” Jimin shouts back. “I thought you were going to lock them in a room together.”
“I haven’t got a key to anywhere in the museum yet.”
“Shove it.” Taehyung drops to his feet, letting Jimin take his place at the bar. It brings him great joy to help Jimin jump up to reach the bar, but he doesn’t say that. The first time he did, Jimin punched his arm so hard Yoongi genuinely thought he’d gotten mugged. “I’d like to see you try and get Guk’s head out of his ass.”
“I could do it in five minutes.”
“Speaking of things in asses.” Taehyung takes a long drink from his water bottle. “How are things going Yoongi and Hoseok?”
“Fucked Yoongi,” Jimin does double the number of pull-ups that Taehyung did and keeps going. “Hoseok still thinks our romantic dinners are bro dates.”
“Press F to pay respects.”
“Who are we respecting?” Jeongguk makes his way over from one of the leg machines he’d been using. He’d lost his shirt sometime during the last hour, but they were the only ones in the gym this late at night.
“Definitely not you,” Jimin pants.
“Just once I’d like to be appreciated for my presence.”
“Go grovel to Yoongi then.”
“I’ve slept with him more than you,” Jeongguk pouts.
Jimin drops to his feet. “You’ve slept in the same bed as him more than I have,” Jimin corrects. “I’ve had my dick in him more than you.”
“Ew, gross. I don’t want to think about Yoongi having sex.”
“Then I guess you don’t want to hear about what he did with his tongue-”
Jeongguk sticks his sweaty towel in Jimin’s mouth.
Taehyung grabs his and Jimin’s gym bags, figuring they’re done for the night as Jimin chases Jeongguk out of the room and threatens to kick his ass. Taehyung waves to the student on the late shift for the gym, who gives him a tired nod in return.
Despite another two weeks passing, Jeongguk hadn’t made any progress with Namjoon. Each week, like clockwork, he wakes Taehyung up far too early for a Saturday and talks the entire subway ride into the city so Taehyung can’t fall back asleep. Taehyung had seen Seokjin again both times, but only from the opposite side of the room or in passing between exhibits.
He’d told Jimin about Seokjin, the strange guy who came up with better random painting stories than Taehyung does. Jimin suggested sucking his dick. Taehyung sat on him for twenty minutes after that.
Taehyung finds them in the parking lot, Jimin trying to stuff the same sweaty towel down Jeongguk’s throat. Taehyung wraps his arm around Jeongguk’s neck to pull him away. “I want food,” Taehyung says.
“Oh, yeah. I’m down for food,” Jimin agrees, falling into step.
“Can I come?” Jeongguk asks.
“When I finally summon my demon he’s burning you two first.”
Jimin pats Jeongguk’s head. “Sure thing.”
The three of them settle on some stools at a convenience store on the way back to Taehyung and Jeongguk’s apartment. Despite being in grad school, Jimin had gotten fucked with housing and ended up in the freshman dorms. He spent most of his nights either sprawled on Taehyung’s bed, or staying with Hoseok or Yoongi. Sometimes Jeongguk will join their movie nights, but they relegate him to the floor as soon as he starts ranting about Namjoon’s eyes.
Jimin still threatens to kick Jeongguk’s ass once they get back to the apartment, but he’s placated when Jeongguk offers him first shower.
“You’re just gonna go shower at Yoongi’s, aren’t you?” Taehyung asks, as he unties his own shoes and notices Jeongguk hasn’t started.
“Hell yeah, he bought my favorite ice cream.” Jeongguk grins, tossing his gym bag somewhere into the living room. “Don’t wait up.”
Taehyung flops onto his back in the entryway, staring at the ceiling until Jimin takes his wrist and drags him into the bathroom to shower.
“See that vase there?”
“Dude’s dog provided the design.”
Taehyung hides his smile behind his palm. “Oh, did he?”
“Yep.” Seokjin has his arms crossed over his chest. “It’s truly a marvel, historians believe the dog would possess the artist at night so he could finish painting it.”
“I want to get possessed by a dog.”
“You know what? Same.” Seokjin looks at him. “I’m Seokjin, by the way.”
“You’re here every weekend,” Seokjin says. Taehyung tries not to grimace. How many other people had noticed him here all the time, and thought him to be odd for it? “Do you have a school project, or something?”
“Yeah,” Taehyung agrees, looking to where Jeongguk stands at the back of today’s group because he’d accidentally made eye contact with Namjoon and now couldn’t stand close to him. “Something like that.”
Seokjin walks with him through the exhibit, both of them following the group of tourists. Namjoon was giving the tour in English today, but Taehyung swore he had the whole thing memorized in both languages thanks to Jeongguk. (Jeongguk had spent a week translating the brochure so even if they ended up on an English tour he could still understand Namjoon, and Taehyung had been the unlucky friend to join him.)
“I could always help with your assignment,” Seokjin says. “I’m very knowledgeable about the arts.”
“Yeah?” Taehyung snickers, thinking about Seokjin’s lengthy explanation about how one of the most famous pieces in the entire museum was actually done using the guy’s toes. “I’ll be sure to bring the papers next time.”
The tour moves quickly this time, not many people asking questions. Taehyung wonders how Jeongguk can’t be bored out of his mind after so many tours, but he still stares, enraptured, at every single piece of artwork that Namjoon stops to talk about.
When the tour ends, Jeongguk quickly turns to find Taehyung, missing the way Namjoon looks at him with hope in his eyes. These poor boys, Taehyung thinks. Could have been holding each other’s dicks all along if one of them just made the first move.
Jeongguk looks at Seokjin. “You must be the new guy.”
“Actually, I died fifteen years ago,” Seokjin replies. “I’m just here to freak out the tourists.”
“That doesn’t make any sense.”
“And yet, you can’t prove I’m lying.” Seokjin winks at Taehyung. “See you guys next week.”
Jeongguk pouts. “He’s weird.”
“You just went through an entire tour given in a language you don’t understand all while hiding behind a stranger just so you could stare at your crush.”
“Damn, you don’t have to be so loud about it.”
“Let’s go,” Taehyung turns on his heel, dragging out his phone. “Jimin needs backup at the roller rink. Hoseok hyung still doesn’t realize it’s a date.”
“He’s so clueless.”
Taehyung wants to bash his head against the wall, but that’s usually frowned upon in a building with so many fragile artifacts. Jeongguk has the brochure in hand, flipping through it like he has a hundred times before. There’s a phone number written on the back page, to which Jeongguk says, “Oh, man someone shot their shot in a museum. How lame.”
How love can make someone so positively blind, Taehyung will never understand.
“I don’t think you can wear that shirt in here.”
“Show me the sign saying I can’t.”
“The guards are giving you weird looks.”
“So I’ll suck their dicks. Next.”
Taehyung can’t help the laugh that tumbles from his lips. He’d wandered off from the tour today- there was a white woman in the group who was constantly speaking over Namjoon and trying to correct his facts and if Taehyung stayed there any longer he might scream. In one of the exhibits he’d found Seokjin sitting on one of the plush chairs in the center of the room, typing on his phone, his vest unbuttoned to reveal a shirt saying I eat oil paintings when security isn’t looking .
“Don’t you have a dress code to adhere to?”
Seokjin buttons the middle button of his vest, effectively hiding the text. “There. Hope you’re happy, Taehyung. Thanks to you, the capitalists won.”
Taehyung laughs. He sounds like Yoongi, but it’s a nice reprieve from the absolute disaster of a tour he’d just left. Taehyung gestures to one of the paintings in front of them. “Tell me about this one.”
“Ah, this one.” Seokjin slips his phone into his pocket. “This one was painted during the American Revolutionary War by a young man who’d been looking to get to Canada but got lost. He rented out the basement of DaVinci’s house and splattered paint on a canvas all day. He got so high off the fumes of the paint, that he blacked out. When he awoke, he’d painted this and was being charged by the American government for balling too hard. He was sentenced to death for having a massive schlong, and eventually someone donated the painting. The end.”
“Fascinating,” Taehyung says.
“Yeah, art history sure is amazing. Did you know The Starry Night and Nintendo were painted and founded in the same year? Time is fake.”
“Time is fake,” Taehyung agrees. He can bullshit a conversation like this with ease. Anytime Yoongi gets remotely tipsy he goes on a rant about how time being linear is just another way to keep people complacent. “What’s your favorite painting?”
“Uh, I guess the one with the lilies. Or something.” Seokjin shrugs. “What about you?”
“I don’t have a favorite.”
“How edgy.” Seokjin laughs, and Taehyung can’t help but follow suit.
The museum is quiet today, not many people are walking around, but it was getting colder out so Taehyung figured there would be a lull in tourism and outdoor adventures until the holidays.
An alarm on Seokjin’s phone sounds. He sighs. “That’s my break. I’ve got to get back.” He pauses. “Speaking of getting back, shouldn’t you be keeping an eye on your friend? Where is he, anyway?”
“Probably crying over one of Namjoon’s moles,” Taehyung says. He’s joking but it’s happened before.
“Right on time,” Seokjin laughs. “See you around, Taehyung.”
Jeongguk takes both of Taehyung’s hands to haul him to his feet. “Okay, let’s go.”
“What’s the hurry?” Taehyung makes sure to walk extra slowly, so either Jeongguk has to forcibly drag him and cause a scene, or walk slowly and risk seeing Namjoon again outside their weekly tour. “Maybe I wanted to stay and smell some sculptures.”
“Namjoon’s going on his break,” Jeongguk explains. “So we need to leave.”
“Actually, I’m suddenly incredibly hungry. Let's stop at the cafe to eat.”
Jeongguk stares at him as though Taehyung had just broken their sacred pinky swear (it was a promise when they were teenagers about not sharing each other’s embarrassing fictional character crushes) and tries to quite literally carry Taehyung. But Taehyung’s been working out and he’s not going to miss this chance, so he wraps a hand around Jeongguk’s wrist and pulls him away from the front door.
There’s a small cafe inside the museum, the entrance just to the right of the front doors. With a few tables and chairs, it’s mostly just a nice place to sit and drink a coffee or order a small lunch when fatigue from walking around the museum sets in. Taehyung drags Jeongguk to the line and orders for both of them, pushing Jeongguk into the seat adjacent to where Namjoon sits before he drags over another one.
“Oh, hey.” Namjoon looks surprised to see them. “I thought you guys left already.”
“Change of plans,” Taehyung says.
Taehyung and Namjoon do most of the talking during lunch, laughing about annoying people in the group and talking about upcoming exhibitions. Despite Taehyung’s best efforts, Jeongguk doesn’t speak much, just focuses on his food and clams up every time Namjoon directs a question at him. It was adorable the first few times, but now Taehyung is getting tired of it.
“I’ll see you next week?” Namjoon asks, looking at Jeongguk as his break comes to an end and they clean up their trash.
Taehyung elbows Jeongguk.
“Ye-Yeah, hyung.” Jeongguk says, offering a timid smile until Namjoon disappears through an employee door, and then he glares at Taehyung with all the fury he can muster. “I hate you.”
“Cry about it.”
“Jimin hyung please move. I need to kill Taehyung.”
“Well, Tae. We had a great run. I’ll visit your grave.”
“Why are you killing Taehyung?” Yoongi asks, looking on in concern as Jimin moves to the other end of the couch, leaving an upside down Taehyung vulnerable to Jeongguk sitting on him.
“He’s stealing Namjoon from me.”
“Oh, not cool, Tae.” Hoseok says, sipping from his beer.
Their schedules had all finally lined up, so after classes and visits to the gym, Taehyung, Jimin, and Jeongguk had made their way to Yoongi’s apartment. Hoseok showed up sometime later with the food and the alcohol, and after a few drinks they’d started a rather brutal Mario Kart competition. Loser had to do the dishes sitting in Hoseok’s sink.
Taehyung, lying with his head hanging off the couch and his feet hanging off the back, wheezes as Jeongguk sits on him. He’s in third place, so long as Jeongguk doesn’t steal the controller. “I’m not stealing Namjoon from him.”
“You were talking with him all lunch!”
“Because you weren’t saying a word.”
“I pretend I do not see it.”
“Jeongguk-ah, come sit with hyung.” Yoongi tugs on Jeongguk’s arm. “Breaking Taehyung won’t make you feel better.”
“That’s what you think,” Jeongguk mutters. A little more coaxing and Jeongguk slips off of Taehyung- but not without pinching his nipple hard enough to make Taehyung yelp, drop his controller, and effectively lose the race.
“Jeongguk.” Jimin, drunk off four spiked seltzers and the rest of Taehyung’s hard lemonade, kneels in front of the couch to take Jeongguk’s face in his hands. “It has been months. All of us have money riding on this. Just talk to Namjoon.”
“Hey, it’s cheating to tell him what to do,” Hoseok objects.
Jimin flips him off. “Just ask him out for coffee, or something.”
“Namjoon doesn’t like me like that,” Jeongguk says sadly. He gently pushes Jimin’s hands away and slumps against Yoongi’s side. “I’m just a customer to him.”
“You’re always looking away,” Taehyung says. “So you don’t see the way that he looks at you during those tours. Plus, he’s an idiot if he doesn’t like someone as neat as you.”
“Shove it.” Jeongguk hides his face in Yoongi’s neck, and they all let the point drop. It may be obvious to the rest of them, but Jeongguk had only been in a few short-term relationships, and to Taehyung’s knowledge he’s never had a crush this strong before. They were all rooting for him, even if it might take a little while to get there.
Besides, there was always Hoseok not realizing that Yoongi and Jimin were completely in love with him. Made for great stories on the days when a few of them would get absolutely hammered together.
“What about you?” Jeongguk asks sometime later.
Taehyung cocks his head, accepting the pocky that Jimin feeds him. “What about me?”
“You ask Seokjin out and maybe I’ll talk to Namjoon.”
Snorting, Taehyung says, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Please.” Jeongguk rolls his eyes. “I’ve seen you two. You sit alone in the exhibitions laughing over paintings. It’s obvious you have feelings for him.”
“You’ve been reading too many fiction stories again,” Taehyung deadpans. “I don’t have feelings for Seokjin. I need something to do while you’re trailing after Namjoon like a lost puppy, and Seokjin is an expert at killing time.”
“Whatever you say, hyung.”
“Taehyungie’s got a crush?” Hoseok perks up, all but crawling over Jimin to get closer to the couch. “Is he hot?”
“I don’t have a crush.” Taehyung takes the controller that Jimin hands him, going through the motions of setting up his cart and his character upside down. “Love is fake and I have no time for it.”
Hoseok boos. “Love is great. I want to be in love.”
Jimin crushes his can with his bare hand.
“You okay, Jimin-ah?” Hoseok asks, while everyone looks on with varying expressions of pity and amusement.
Jimin pops open another drink. “I’m great, thanks for asking.”
Hoseok shrugs, becoming immersed in a conversation with Jeongguk about whether or not strategic flowers with a note not signed by Jeongguk could work to get Namjoon to fall in love with him.
Halfway through another drink, Jimin sits by Taehyung’s head. “Will you make sure I don’t die tonight?”
“Of course, bro.”
“Great. Yoongi hyung, where’s your whiskey?”
Taehyung stands in front of a sign advertising a new portrait to be shown soon in the museum, his head tilted to the side. He’s entirely certain the dog he doesn’t own yet could have painted something better than this, which gives him a moment of hope for his own future attempts at getting art displayed.
“I’ll never understand this guy’s style.”
“Honestly?” Taehyung nods in greeting to Namjoon. “Same.”
Taehyung doesn’t miss the way Namjoon looks around, or the subtle change in his expression when he doesn’t see Jeongguk. “He’s not here?”
“Sorry,” Taehyung shakes his head. “He has a huge project due tonight. It’s Jimin’s turn to guard him to make sure he doesn’t sneak out.”
“Ah.” Namjoon sighs, but collects himself quickly. “You want a tour?”
“Then why are you here?” There’s no malice in Namjoon’s voice, only genuine confusion. It hadn’t occurred to Taehyung over the last couple months how many other people would notice that Taehyung was only here for his disaster of a best friend. “We don’t have any new pieces until the end of the month.”
“I’m desperately in love with you.”
Namjoon rolls his eyes. “Well, sorry to say that I’m already into someone else.”
“He’s here to help me paint over some of the old paintings in the back,” a new voice says. Seokjin wraps an arm around Namjoon’s shoulders, grinning at Taehyung over Namjoon’s head.
“Then we’re going to eat oil paintings,” Taehyung agrees.
Namjoon elbows his way out from Seokjin’s hold. “You can’t keep saying that. Management still doesn’t trust you alone with the statues.”
“As they shouldn’t,” Seokjin says. “I’ll show Michelangelo a thing or two.”
Seokjin waits until Namjoon makes his way back to the front desk, a group of people waiting for their tour through the museum. He looks at Taehyung, hands in his pockets and hair slicked back. “Didn’t think you’d come without the lovesick one.”
“It’s like my body was on autopilot,” Taehyung whines. “I even woke up early. Stupid Jeongguk.”
“Pavlov would be proud. You gonna leave?”
Taehyung pauses. He’s already awake this early. Either he’ll go back to the apartment and take his turn keeping Jeongguk on task, or he’ll wander around the city until he gets bored enough to want a nap. He looks at Seokjin again.
“Well… I am interested to know how you’d one-up Michelangelo.”
Seokjin grins, his eyes shining. “Excellent, follow me.”
The museum didn’t even have any pieces by Michelangelo, but that doesn’t stop Seokjin from explaining that he’d simply hit the marble better, chip it more accurately, and simply finish an entire marble statue in one day because he wasn’t a slacker.
Taehyung spends the entire pseudo-tour laughing.
“Isn’t this how people get killed in horror movies?”
“Man, I hope so.” Seokjin leads Taehyung away from the tour group, through one of the exhibitions and into an area that was closed. “Just thought you’re probably as bored as I am.”
“I can recite this entire tour in three languages,” Taehyung says dryly.
“I do not envy you.”
Jeongguk would probably give Taehyung another bruise for abandoning him again, but Taehyung was so incredibly tired of looking at the same art again and again, he’d take the bruise and buy Jeongguk an ice cream.
The room they walk through is dark, the only light coming from the windows, and Taehyung can see that the walls were bare of any art. The new installation was likely to be put here soon, but Taehyung doesn’t pay much attention, following Seokjin up a flight of stairs.
“I’ve never been up here before,” Taehyung says.
Seokjin leans his forearms on the bannister. Taehyung does the same, a small gasp leaving his lips. The landing they stood on overlooked the first floor of the museum, a huge stained glass window on the wall opposite them. Taehyung could see Jeongguk in the tour group, looking around quickly before pulling his phone out to furiously type something out. A second later, Taehyung’s phone vibrates.
“It’s always been here, but they never had an exhibition they thought would work on two levels,” Seokjin explains. “I think they should just put those glow in the dark stars on the ceiling and charge people to stare at them.”
Taehyung snorts. “I don’t know why management doesn’t use all your ideas.”
“Right?” Seokjin laughs. “We’re supposedly getting a very famous painting in a couple months, so I think they’ll put it up here.”
“Should you be telling me that?”
“What are you going to do? Steal it?”
“Too late, I already ate it.”
“Damn, you really do like your oil paints.”
“I like you, Taehyung.” The words punch Taehyung’s gut, his smile falling quickly. But Seokjin is grinning, staring at the people below them and not at Taehyung. “Most people who come to museums are so stuck up. I told a mom of three that I licked the paintings before they get hung and she told Namjoon that I needed to be fired.”
“That’s stupid,” Taehyung says. “Art is all about expression. You’re expressing yourself.”
“That’s why I like when you’re here.” Seokjin turns around, resting lightly against the bannister. Taehyung copies his movements. “You’re not a snob.”
“My friend Jimin has full permission to kick my ass if I turn into an art snob.”
Seokjin chuckles. “He sounds cool.” Seokjin’s watch chimes. “Ah, that would be the tour. We better get back before Jiwoo noona realizes I’m gone.”
Jeongguk spots them as they re-enter the main entrance of the museum, his glare something fierce. He grabs Taehyung’s arm and hisses, “How could you leave me? Don’t you see what he’s wearing?”
Taehyung glances at Namjoon. “Um. Khakis?”
“No! He’s wearing glasses!”
“Don’t give me that look. We need to leave.”
“Please just go hold his hand.”
“I can’t.” Jeongguk frowns on the steps outside the museum, and he just looks so sad that it breaks Taehyung’s heart. “I just can’t, hyung. Okay? Drop it.”
Taehyung wraps his arms around Jeongguk from behind, refusing to let go as Jeongguk tries to free himself.
“Are you…” Taehyung hides his smile behind his palm. “Posing?”
“Someone’s gotta show these statues how it’s done,” Seokjin answers.
Taehyung wakes up and immediately knows that something is wrong.
For starters, he’d woken up on his own, without the aid of someone with more muscles than he knows what to do with. Another thing, he could already tell that he’d slept in, and a glance at his phone confirms that it was just after noon.. They’d missed their tour by almost three hours.
Frowning, Taehyung kicks off his covers and leaves his room, thinking maybe Jeongguk had gone without him, but the apartment shows no signs of someone having moved through it during the morning. The lights are off in Jeongguk’s room when Taehyung opens the door, but Jeongguk is awake and scrolling through his phone.
“Go away, I’m sleeping.”
Not knowing what else to say, Taehyung states the obvious. “We missed the tour.”
“Jeongguk.” Taehyung sits on the edge of Jeongguk’s bed. Jeongguk sighs, shutting off his phone and tossing it to the edge of his bed. “You didn’t go to the gym, either. Are you feeling sick?”
“I’m fine.” Jeongguk bats away Taehyung’s hand as he attempts to check Jeongguk’s temperature. “Just go back to sleep.”
“Not until you tell me what’s wrong?”
“Nothing’s wrong! I’m just an idiot, okay?”
Taehyung pinches his bicep. “You absolutely are not an idiot. Did someone say something?”
Sighing, Jeongguk flops onto his back, the bedsheets twisting around his body. “It’s been more than three months, hyung. I can’t just keep showing up at Namjoon’s tours like a loser. I’ll get over him eventually.”
“Jeongguk, no.” Taehyung wants to say how Namjoon is absolutely just as smitten with Jeongguk as Jeongguk is with him, but he doesn’t. He doesn’t want Jeongguk to think he’s just saying what Jeongguk wants to hear. “If nothing else, you two are definitely friends by now. I’m sure he looks forward to these tours as much as you do.”
“He’s only doing his job.”
“You don’t know that.”
“Why do you even care?” Jeongguk asks, looking sharply at Taehyung. His hair sticks up in several directions, bags under his eyes from a week of long assignments and late night visits to the gym. “You know more about every piece of art in that museum than anyone else. You’ve studied all of it in class. You complain every weekend. You should be happy.”
“I’m never happy to see you upset,” Taehyung says.
“Give me a week, I’ll get over it.”
Taehyung strokes his hand through Jeongguk’s hair. “You really love him, huh?”
“It’s gross, I know.”
Laughing softly, Taehyung pulls back Jeongguk’s covers so he can climb into the bed with him, sitting up against the wall as Jeongguk lies between his legs. Head on Taehyung’s thigh, Taehyung continues playing with his hair.
“Love is gross,” Taehyung agrees. “But it’s also beautiful. When you meet someone you enjoy spending time with, and maybe want to be closer to, there’s nothing wrong with that.”
“Can we just get married?”
“I already have that pact with Jimin, sorry.”
“He deserves two husbands.”
“Tell that to Hoseok,” Taehyung laughs.
“Thanks for coming with me every week,” Jeongguk mumbles against Taehyung’s leg. “Even if you don’t enjoy it.”
Taehyung finds Jeongguk’s laptop on his side table and sets it up with one of Jeongguk’s favorite movies.
To: soupmate [12:27pm]
From: soupmate [12:27pm]
who am I killing
To: soupmate [12:31pm]
From: soupmate [12:34pm]
cookie dough, cheap beer, and yoongi hyung for cuddles got it
give me 10
They relocate to the couch once Jimin and Yoongi get there, the latter stumbling a little as he rubs the sleep from his eyes. Jeongguk lies heavily against Yoongi on the couch, eyes focused on the TV as he drinks the beer and eats the takeout that Jimin brought.
Taehyung sits on his other side, squished between Jeongguk and Jimin, and can’t help but think about what Jeongguk said earlier. Why did he care? If anything, Taehyung should be happy about this development. If Jeongguk didn’t want to go to the museum every weekend, then Taehyung could sleep in and do something other than stare at the same paintings and artifacts week after week.
But Jeongguk’s reasoning for not wanting to go anymore was that Namjoon didn’t like him back, a fact which Taehyung knew to be false. Taehyung didn’t want to see Jeongguk unhappy, and he knew that Namjoon made him happy. And, if he’s being honest, he’s really enjoyed the last couple months of tours.
Seokjin’s face flashes to the front of Taehyung’s thoughts, startling him as he munches on some cookie dough. He’d be lying if he said Seokjin didn’t make the museum a lot more fun, but was a few jokes and made up stories about artists and a pretty face and broad shoulders and a sense of humor that drove Taehyung wild enough to keep Taehyung visiting the museum?
Yeah, Taehyung thinks, realizing the feeling in his stomach was longing. Yeah, it was.
After a lot of convincing, Jeongguk agrees to go to the museum before it closes. He makes no promise of saying anything to Namjoon, but Taehyung took it as a win.
What he did not take as a win, however, was Jimin, Yoongi, and Hoseok joining them.
“I want to see the cute boys,” Jimin had said as an explanation. “Whoever’s got you all wound up must be extra sexy.”
“I’m not wound up.”
“I know you, Tae.” Jimin pats his cheek. They keep getting odd looks from other people on the subway, but none of them pay it any mind. “I know what you look like when you’re infatuated.”
Taehyung groans, letting his forehead hit Jimin’s shoulder with a thunk . “I hate feelings. I hate feelings so much.”
“Don’t we all. I’m about five minutes away from kicking Hoseok’s ass.”
“I don’t know if that will make him love you.”
“Worth a shot.”
The museum is busy as they arrive, dozens of families moving through the exhibitions, several tours running in different languages, and people standing for long moments in front of the art. Taehyung had never seen it this busy before, but he’d never been here so close to closing time before.
Jeongguk stands at his side, hands in the pockets of his winter jacket. “He’s not here. Let’s go.”
Taehyung loops their arms together to pull Jeongguk into the museum. A tour nearby comes to an end, and as everyone disperses they see Namjoon walking from the front of the group to the welcome desk.
A beat passes, and Namjoon’s entire face lights up as he spots Jeongguk. Taehyung gives Jeongguk a little shove, everyone moving closer to the welcome desk as Namjoon says, “I didn’t think you were coming.”
“We had a late morning,” Taehyung says. “Is Seokjin around?”
“He’s doing a tour,” Namjoon says, a knowing smile on his lips. “Should be done soon.”
Jimin sticks to Taehyung’s side as Namjoon manages to drag some conversation out of Jeongguk. “Which one is my future brother in law?”
“You’re so annoying.”
“Hey, if you don’t want him, pass him over to me.”
“Absolutely not.” Taehyung leads Jimin over to one of his favorite paintings in the main room. “You’re insufferable enough with only two boyfriends.”
“Just wait until I actually get to suck Hoseok’s dick. You’ll know all the details as it happens.”
“Is this supposed to mean something?” Jimin tilts his head at the painting, an abstract piece with a field and a couple people.
Taehyung shrugs. “Kinda means whatever you want it to mean.”
Jimin pulls out his phone, effectively giving up on the art. “Now I know why you only come here for a boy.”
“Speaking of.” Taehyung notices a tour coming through the last exhibition, Seokjin bringing up the rear. He doesn’t have nearly the amount of papers and note cards that Namjoon takes on his tours, and that makes Taehyung grin. Jimin perks up, trying to catch a glimpse. “Please be normal.”
“I’m always normal.”
“What about when Jeongguk was crushing on Yugyeom and you wore that hula skirt that spelled-”
“Okay! I get it! No hula skirts around your crush.”
Taehyung hisses. “It’s not a-”
“Took you long enough.” Seokjin stands on Jimin’s other side. “I thought I’d have to eat all the oil paintings on my own.”
“I hope you saved me some realism,” Taehyung says with a grin.
“Only the best for you.”
“Seokjin hyung, this is Jimin.” Taehyung gestures between them. “One of the worst people I’ve ever befriended.”
Jimin elbows him. “I will cut holes in all your tank tops a la Mean Girls. ”
Seokjin laughs, a squeaking sound that Taehyung immediately melts over. “Oh, I like this one already. Does he eat paintings, too?”
“Only when he’s dieting.”
“Good call.” A bell chimes throughout the room, an announcement over the PA system stating that the museum is now closed and everyone should make their way out the front doors. Seokjin frowns, then looks at Taehyung. “Namjoon and I are getting drinks at the bar across the street once we’ve locked up here. You should come.”
“We’ll be there,” Jimin agrees.
Seokjin winks. “Cool.”
They find Jeongguk laughing at a video that Namjoon shows him, Yoongi and Hoseok watching with fond smiles on their faces. Namjoon extends the same offer to meet them for drinks and Jeongguk, with the biggest blush Taehyung has ever seen, agrees.
The bar is crowded when they arrive, but they’re able to secure a table and order drinks without too much trouble. Jimin sits between Hoseok and Yoongi, staring at Hoseok with the kind of intensity of a cartoon character trying to project their thoughts into someone else’s head.
Taehyung uses his straw to stir his ice. He’s never particularly liked drinking, never really managing to drink more than one or two before his stomach begs him to stop. Now, his stomach is swimming but he’s hardly drank half his glass. The anticipation of seeing Seokjin again- seeing Seokjin outside of the museum for the first time- pulls knots out of Taehyung’s intestines. What if Seokjin doesn’t like him outside of the museum? What if Seokjin thinks he’s lame, or he talks too much? Or that he loses all his charm when he’s not making jokes about art?
Squaring his shoulders, Taehyung tries to shake the thoughts from his head. Who cares if Seokjin doesn’t like him? It would make getting rid of the feelings Taehyung doesn’t feel like naming a whole lot easier.
“Hey, sorry. One of the managers wouldn’t stop talking.” Seokjin slips into the booth next to Taehyung, a pink drink in his hand. “Why do old people talk so much?”
“They’ve got nothing else to do,” Taehyung replies without missing a beat. He watches Namjoon ask to sit next to Jeongguk, and Jeongguk nods excitedly. “How’d you get roped into doing a tour today?”
Seokjin groans. “Jiwoo noona was sick today, and Namjoon was already giving an extra tour so I was the only person left.”
“Did you eat any art in front of them?”
“Never got the chance. This annoying little kid wouldn’t stop asking stupid questions.”
“Sucks to be you.”
“Don’t you know it.” Seokjin takes a long sip of his drink, and Taehyung does the same. “You’re in university?”
“Grad school,” Taehyung nods. “I’ve got a year left. What about you?”
“Finished school a couple years ago.” Seokjin shrugs. “My dad wanted me to work at his company, but it bored the shit out of me.”
“Even more boring than the museum?”
“So much worse.”
Jimin comes back from the bathroom with a round of shots, his buzz sitting as a blush high in his cheeks. Jeongguk and Jimin try to one up each other with embarrassing stories, Jeongguk swaying against Namjoon’s side when he laughs, not shying away from the brief touch of skin the more he drinks. Seokjin and Namjoon share stories of the worst tourists they’ve had to deal with at the museum and the strangest places patrons thought they could get away with having sex in the museum.
As the night drags on, another round of shots and Seokjin buying everyone a second drink, a DJ starts playing awful club mixes of songs, and the bar fills up. Seokjin puts his hand on Taehyung’s thigh.
“Is this okay?” Seokjin whispers, when Taehyung tenses.
Taehyung puts his own hand on Seokjin’s thigh, catching his gaze in the dim light of the bar. “Is this?”
Neither of them pay much attention to the stories and laughter being shared around the booth, both of them inching their hands up each other’s thighs. It’s a game, Taehyung knows. To see who will break first and end the contact. His stomach swirls, anticipation and arousal warm him as Seokjin moves his hand up and closer to Taehyung’s inner thigh. The fear of being caught sets a lump in his throat, but he doesn’t stop.
Seokjin’s lip tilts in a smirk, his gaze on Jeongguk as he pretends to be engrossed in whatever story Jeongguk tells. Beneath the table, he squeezes Taehyung’s thigh.
Taehyung shivers as Seokjin’s hand moves higher, closer and closer-
“It’s getting late,” Namjoon says, leaning over the table to be heard. “We should probably head out.”
Taehyung tries not to curse as Seokjin’s hand disappears from his thigh, only realizing his breathing was labored when the pressure was gone. Seokjin winks at him as everyone makes their way out of the booth, fighting through the throng of people to leave the bar. Seokjin invites them to his place nearby for a couple more drinks.
Taehyung is nowhere near drunk, but he can’t stop sneaking glances at Seokjin. Can’t stop brushing his fingers against Seokjin’s as they walk the streets. Stomach in knots and thoughts moving a mile a minute, Taehyung follows Seokjin to his room when Seokjin says he has something to show Taehyung.
As soon as the door closes, Seokjin curls a hand on Taehyung’s hip and gently presses their lips together.
The touch is gone before Taehyung can fully register it, Seokjin pulling away with pink cheeks. “Sorry,” Seokjin says. “Sorry, I should have asked. I’ve wanted to do that for so long, but if you don’t-”
Taehyung twists his hand in the front of Seokjin’s shirt and pulls him into a fierce kiss.
Seokjin recovers quickly, his arms wrapping around Taehyung’s waist as he deepens the kiss. Taehyung’s back hits the door, a small gasp leaving his lips. Seokjin’s tongue slips between his lips, their hands grappling for any hold, pulling close and tugging hard as they kiss.
When they break apart for breath, Taehyung says, “I’ve wanted that for the longest time.”
Seokjin nips at Taehyung’s jaw, one hand on the side of Taehyung’s neck to guide his head back. “Thought you didn’t, well. I wasn’t sure.”
“You’re sexy as fuck and eat oil paintings.” Taehyung brushes his lips over Seokjin’s thumb. “Why wouldn’t I want you?”
Heat flashes through Seokjin’s eyes and they meet again for a hungry kiss. Taehyung fumbles with Seokjin’s shirt, yanking the fabric over his head and running his palms over the warm, toned skin. He dips his fingers beneath the waistband of Seokjin’s slacks, earning a sharp bite on his collarbone in return.
Taehyung takes the opportunity with a brief pause in the kiss to Seokjin back onto his bed, tugging off his own long sleeve before he settles between Seokjin’s legs. Seokjin draws him into another kiss, and Taehyung would be lying if he said he wasn’t a little addicted to the taste of Seokjin’s lips, the touch of his hands, the way he shudders as Taehyung scrapes his nails down Seokjin’s chest.
Seokjin pauses, his fingers on Taehyung’s belt. “Is this okay?” He asks, whispered against Taehyung’s lips.
In lieu of an answer, Taehyung kicks his own pants off before trailing his lips over Seokjin’s neck, working his teeth over one spot as Seokjin struggles out of his slacks. Satisfied with the beginnings of a bruise on Seokjin’s neck, Taehyung drags his lips back to Seokjin’s.
Seokjin flips them with ease, settling his weight on Taehyung and sending burning arousal through Taehyung’s veins. He kisses Taehyung hard, one hand squeezing Taehyung’s side.
“Lube?” Taehyung asks, a hand on Seokjin’s chest to push him back just enough to get the word out.
Seokjin appraises him for a moment, his eyes burning bright. “You want to?”
Letting his hands explore the broad expanse of Seokjin’s shoulders, Taehyung nods. He’s not used to being with guys who can make him feel small, and Taehyung feels dizzy knowing Seokjin could envelop him, could press him into the mattress and make him see stars. “I want to.”
Seokjin nearly tumbles off the bed in his rush to grab his lube, and after a brief moment to figure out who’s fingers would go where, Taehyung lies back on the bed with his legs spread, Seokjin’s hand on his cock, and his slick fingers gently brushing over his hole.
He hardens in Seokjin’s touch, back arching as Seokjin pushes in the first finger. Seokjin kisses the moan from his mouth, and they both know they don’t have the time to go slow. Their friends were just outside the room, and as much as Taehyung would love to drag this out and get to witness Seokjin’s breaking point, he understands why Seokjin doesn’t wait to give him a second finger.
“Sh,” Seokjin murmurs, his lips on Taehyung’s neck. He squeezes the base of Taehyung’s cock. “Don’t want the others to hear, do we?”
“It’s not really my thing.” Taehyung agrees, his hands in Seokjin’s hair.
“What about you?”
“Not really my thing, either.”
Taehyung laughs quietly, moving his hips down on Seokjin’s three fingers. He’s torn between thrusting up into the hold Seokjin has on his cock or grinding down on his fingers, but before he can go too crazy, Seokjin pulls out his fingers and digs through his side table to find a condom.
Taehyung takes it, hooking his leg around Seokjin’s waist to switch their positions. Seokjin’s grin is easy, as Taehyung settles on his lap, and Taehyung wonders if he’s enjoying the push and pull just as much as Taehyung.
After rolling the condom over Seokjin’s length, Taehyung pours some lube into his palm, slicking up Seokjin’s cock. Seokjin’s grip is tight on Taehyung’s hips as Taehyung slowly sinks onto him, both of them groaning quietly. He’s big, could maybe give Taehyung a run for his money, and it takes Taehyung a few minutes to adjust before he lifts himself up, slamming his hips down to the sound of Seokjin’s moan.
Taehyung builds to a rough pace, wanting nothing more than to test their limits with each other. Seokjin’s hands are big and soft where they trace over Taehyung’s back and thighs, his lidded gaze focused only on Taehyung. It drives Taehyung crazy thinking of everything he wants to do, the things he wants to ask Seokjin to do. But they’re crunched for time- and still strangers when it comes to what they like in bed- so Taehyung settles for clenching as he grinds down.
“Fuck,” Seokjin gasps, his nails digging into the skin of Taehyung’s back. “Shit, fuck.”
Grinning, Taehyung dips his head to kiss Seokjin again. “We gotta be quiet, hyung.”
“You’re so fucking-”
Whatever he meant to say gets lost in another moan, Taehyung kissing him to muffle the sound. Taehyung shivers as he shifts his hips, Seokjin’s cock hitting his prostate with every thrust. Seokjin’s hand is tight on Taehyung’s cock, stroking him off in time with Taehyung’s hurried movements.
He’s not going to last. Taehyung has a weakness for big pretty boys who know how to use their hands, and Seokjin’s hand on Taehyung’s ass, his fingers running over where they’re joined, makes Taehyung choke. He tries to hold on, but Seokjin’s wicked with his hands, thrusting up into Taehyung with enough force to make Taehyung cry out.
His orgasm catches him by surprise, white spilling over Seokjin’s fingers and stomach as Taehyung rides him. Seokjin works him through it, hands on Taehyung’s hip to guide his movements as Taehyung comes. Taehyung fists his hands on Seokjin’s chest as he struggles to catch his breath, sweaty hair brushing his eyes.
When he moves slightly, he realizes Seokjin was still hard inside of him.
“You don’t have to,” Seokjin says quickly, catching onto Taehyung’s thoughts. “It’s okay-”
“It’s your house,” Taehyung grins. “What kind of a guest would I be if I didn’t make you come?”
Seokjin laughs, squeezing Taehyung’s hips as Taehyung rolls his hips. The sensitivity hits him hard, making Taehyung hiss as he hunches over Seokjin’s body, but he’s nothing if he’s not incredibly determined and stubborn. So he grinds on Seokjin, lifts himself up and slams his hips back down as Seokjin thrusts into him, putting on some of his best moves (and earning very awed looks from Seokjin and the bite of nails on his skin for his efforts) and ignoring the sting of pain until Seokjin tenses, his eyes falling shut and a groan slipping from his lips as he comes deep in the condom.
For a few minutes, neither of them move, catching their break with unhurried kisses and soft movements. Eventually, Taehyung is too uncomfortable, and he carefully lifts off Seokjin’s softening cock.
Seokjin tosses him a shirt off the floor, and Taehyung cleans between his thighs, watching as Seokjin cleans his own stomach and cock. They dress quickly, and when Taehyung needs his eyes again, he wants to eliminate the distance between them and kiss Seokjin until it’s all he knows how to do.
Someone knocks on the door.
Seokjin shoves the condom under some tissues in the trash, grimacing as Jimin opens the door. “Sorry. Jeongguk’s at his limit. We should get him home.”
“Right.” Taehyung doesn’t even bother with an excuse. For all the times Jimin may have caught Taehyung in a sexcapade, Taehyung has caught Jimin in more. “How bad is it?”
“He’s doing his impressions.”
“How are you not dead?” Seokjin asks, looking at Jimin with scrutiny. Taehyung can relate. Jimin’s tolerance was something that needed to be seen to be believed.
Jimin answers, “Spite.”
Taehyung snorts, following Jimin out of the room. In the living room, Jeongguk is sitting on the loveseat with Namjoon and trying to do impressions of famous actresses. Hoseok is clearly still drunk from his first beer at the bar, but he lets Yoongi help him into his shoes and jacket as Taehyung hauls Jeongguk to his feet.
Jeongguk whines the entire time, leaning most of his weight on Taehyung as everyone makes their way to the front door. He doesn’t get a chance to say goodbye to Seokjin in the chaos, but he catches sight of Seokjin over Jeongguk’s head, saluting him with a grin as the door closes.
They lose Hoseok and Yoongi at the first subway stop, Taehyung assuming that Yoongi was spending the night at Hoseok’s. Together with Jimin, he gets Jeongguk out of his shoes and his jeans, bringing Jeongguk a glass of water before he knocks out for the night.
Jimin is waiting in Taehyung’s bed once Taehyung finishes with his nighttime routine. “How was he?” Jimin asks, without looking up from his phone.
“Go back to your dorm.”
“That good, huh?”
Taehyung accidentally knees Jimin in the groin as he climbs into bed, pulling the covers over his head and screaming as Jimin laughs above him.
Taehyung brushes snowflakes from his hair as he follows Jeongguk into the museum, both of them breathing a sigh of relief at the rush of warm air that greets them inside of the doors. The museum had a new piece displayed, and Taehyung actually wanted to see this one. With no sight of Namjoon at the welcome desk, they head to the exhibition.
The line is pretty long to get into the room, the same one that was taped off a few weeks ago that Seokjin led him through. A warm shiver rushes down Taehyung’s spine at the thought. When they get into the room, Taehyung pulls one of his art books from his backpack and flips through it to find the chapter on this painting. It was one of his absolute favorites, created by an American artist who died too young, and his book has much more information on the piece than the tiny explanation on the wall next to the piece.
“Hyung, I’ll be right back. Need the bathroom.” Jeongguk squeezes his elbow, and Taehyung hums his acknowledgement.
Taehyung looks up from his book and spots Seokjin across the room.
Seokjin notices him right away, his conversation with a tourist trailing off. Taehyung can’t help the smile that passes his lips, watching as Seokjin says something to the guy in front of him before he makes his way to where Taehyung stands.
“Hey,” Seokjin says, a little breathless.
“Is this your favorite painting?”
“What makes you ask?”
Seokjin looks between the painting and Taehyung. “You’re wearing a shirt with the painting on it. And your backpack has several pins with different pieces and the name of the artist.”
“Yeah, he’s my favorite. I’m an art student.”
“You’re-” Seokjin groans, bringing his hands up to cover his face. “And you let me tell you all those bullshit art stories?”
Laughing, Taehyung gently takes Seokjin’s hands to pull them away from his face. “They were funny! I thought about your one with the spiders during an exam last week and laughed so hard my professor nearly kicked me from out.”
Seokjin links their fingers. “I didn’t think you’d come back.”
“We moved so fast,” Seokjin says quietly. “Thought you wouldn’t want… well. I thought you wouldn’t want anything else.”
Taehyung squeezes his hand, warm in his own. “We can go slow next time.”
“You mean that?”
Humming, Taehyung tucks the book beneath his arm so he can brush the hair away from Seokjin’s face. “I think feelings are stupid.”
“God, same. Namjoon spent all of this last week writing a song for Jeongguk. Who the fuck wants to feel those emotions?”
Taehyung bites his lip. “Dinner? Tonight?”
“Tonight.” Seokjin agrees, a blush burning on his cheeks. “Can I kiss you?”
“Not in front of the art.”
Seokjin laughs, that high-pitched squeaking sound that sends butterflies erupting in Taehyung’s belly. He leans in close, pressing a soft kiss to Taehyung’s lips that doesn’t last nearly long enough, but Taehyung knows if the kiss lasted any longer, he’d get banned from another museum. (The first time wasn’t even his fault, it was Jimin’s but Taehyung still wasn’t allowed back.)
Seokjin gestures to the book, reading through the description that Taehyung had been looking over. Taehyung sees Jeongguk on the other side of the room, holding a small child to help him see a painting better.
“Now if only we could get Namjoon and Jeongguk to stop dancing around each other,” Taehyung sighs.
“I don’t know why you haven’t just shoved their faces together,” Seokjin says. “You’ve had enough opportunities on those boring tours.”
“Yoongi would kill me,” Taehyung says. “He claims he has no favorites but he’s always buying Jeongguk lamb skewers so I think he’s a liar. Jimin told me to lock them in a room together.”
Seokjin makes a surprised noise. “Why didn’t you say so?” His eyes flash with mischief as he hands back the book, procuring a key from the pocket of his slacks. “Joon’s in the break room. Get Jeongguk to the coat room by the welcome desk in five minutes.”
“Is it too early to say I would die for you?”
Snickering, Seokjin squeezes his hand again before disappearing through the room.
It’s easy enough to convince Jeongguk to follow him, claiming he wants to check his coat so he doesn’t have to carry it around.
“There’s no one in here to check coats,” Jeongguk says, frowning.
Taehyung looks over his shoulder to see Seokjin pushing Namjoon to the door, and with one final shove both Namjoon and Jeongguk are in the closet. The last thing Taehyung sees before Seokjin closes the door is Jeongguk’s murderous glare.
“If they’re not expecting twins by the time this is done, I give up.” Seokjin says, pocketing the key.
“Oh come on,” Taehyung says. “At least let me plan a wedding first.”
Five minutes pass.
“Should we be hearing something?” Seokjin asks.
“Not if one of their mouths is full.”
Another five minutes finds both of them sitting on the floor.
“Shouldn’t you get back to work?”
“I’ve been trying to get fired for three weeks.”
Ten more minutes, and they’ve earned several concerned looks from people walking past. Seokjin drags out his phone, and they play a game of cards against each other.
Five more minutes.
“Okay, there’s no way Namjoon lasts this long. Either they’re dead or not talking.”
“I hope they’re not dead.” Taehyung extends a hand to help Seokjin off the floor. “Yoongi will kill me if Jeongguk is dead.”
Seokjin opens the door, revealing Namjoon and Jeongguk sitting squished together on the floor and giggling at a video on Namjoon’s phone. The distinct lack of disheveled clothes and clean smell of the small room makes Taehyung think they failed.
“So, no head?”
Jeongguk flips Seokjin off, leaning his head on Namjoon’s shoulder and, oh. Oh yeah.
“When’s the first date?” Taehyung asks, grinning wide.
“Tomorrow,” Jeongguk answers. His cheeks burn a bright pink. “Joonie hyung’s taking me to one of his favorite spots by the river.”
Namjoon punches Seokjin’s shoulder as they leave the room. “I was going to confess to him tonight.”
“You’ve been saying that for two months. Just thank me and go.” Jeongguk follows Namjoon from the room. When they’ve walked away, Seokjin curls his hands on Taehyung’s hips and pulls him close in the doorway of the closet. “Damn, we should be matchmakers.”
Jeongguk calls over his shoulder, “No, you shouldn’t!”
They both laugh, Taehyung pulling Seokjin behind the coats to kiss him. They stay like that, Seokjin growing bold with his hands, until Namjoon and Jeongguk realize they’re still there and forcibly drag them to opposite sides of the museum.
“I hate this.”
“It’s not so bad.”
“You’re absolutely right. It’s worse than I could have ever imagined.”
“Jimin,” Hoseok laughs, leaning back in his chair. “I think it’s cute.”
“You think this -” Jimin gestures to his right, where Taehyung has his legs thrown over Seokjin’s lap while they attempt to suck each other’s souls through their mouths; and to his left, where Namjoon and Jeongguk are sitting together on the couch sharing the chocolate strawberries Namjoon had brought him, giggling and kissing the extra chocolate from each other’s lips. “-Is cute? This is blasphemy. Yoongi come here and let me suck your dick.”
“In a minute.” Yoongi replies without looking up from his computer.
“I think Tae has his hands down Seokjin’s pants.” A quick glance confirms that, yeah. Damn, Jimin knew they had that pact not to judge but Taehyung’s bedroom was literally down the hall. “This is the worst day of my life.”
“I think it’s sweet,” Hoseok says. Seokjin bites Taehyung’s bottom lip to the tune of an obscene groan. Hoseok grimaces. “Well, most of it. I want to be in a relationship. You’ve all got boyfriends except for me. It’s sick.”
“Then fucking date me,” Jimin mutters. Except he doesn’t mutter it, and it’s relatively quiet in the room, and Hoseok hears him perfectly.
Hoseok looks at him. “Very funny, Jimin. You already have a boyfriend.”
No going back now. “I deserve two boyfriends.”
“You-” Hoseok glances between Jimin and Yoongi, his lips parted in surprise. “Is this just a threesome thing?”
“I like you, Hoseok.” Jimin says, picking at his nail. “A lot.”
Yoongi looks over the top of his laptop. “You know I like you. Jimin and I have talked about it before, but we understand if you don’t feel the same way.”
“No, I-” Hoseok pauses, wringing his hands as he collects his thoughts. “I like you. Both of you. I thought you wouldn’t feel the same-”
Jimin stands from the couch, grabbing Hoseok’s hand to lead him to where Yoongi sits at the table. Their shared kisses earn loud applause and whistles from their friends.
“Took you long enough,” Jeongguk says.
“You’re one to talk,” Jimin replies.
“Yoomfi hyung, Jimin’s being mean to me.”
“Jimin, don’t be mean to Jeongguk.”
“I hate it here.”
“Damn, love is gross.” Taehyung says, tilting his head back as Seokjin peppers kisses along his skin.
“It really is,” Seokjin agrees.
Taehyung has no idea who throws the first pillow, but soon their friends start an all out pillow attack as Taehyung and Seokjin just laugh, trying to hide behind the other.