[A click. Sound pours into the recorder’s microphone.]
“—nything off the record, you must state so before answering or asking questions.”
“Oh. Do I get to ask questions?”
“This is a conversation. So, yes.”
“Thought it was an interview.”
“Do I look like a cop, only asking questions?”
“Thankfully, you don’t.”
“Glad we cleared that out.”
[A pause. Pages are turned, dry paper rustling. The scribbling of a gel pen, a throat being cleared.]
“Today is the third of May, time is—eight PM. Min Yoongi, interviewing V. We may start now. First of all, thank you for allowing me this interview, especially when—”
“Nothing. Just—I find it interesting that you thanked me only after you made it official that the interview has begun.”
“Have I offended you?”
“I’m very hard to offend. So, no. I just found it interesting. Most things about you are interesting, Min Yoongi-ssi.”
“—As I was saying, thank you for allowing me this interview. I know you’re not too fond of journalists. Or, well, to give your time to people in general.”
“You’re not just people.”
“What do you mean?”
“I’d give a lot of my time to you.”
“You just don’t let me.”
“So, anyway— let’s start with the basics, shall we? V, you appeared in Seoul two years ago. Your first appearance into the public eye was when you saved the Mayor’s son from a group of kidnappers. Then, you kept on making yourself known. So my first question for you is this: why did you decide to become a vigilante?”
[A deep hum, the tapping of leather-gloved fingers over a wooden table.]
“Maybe to save cute boys like you from psychotic villains?”
[A pen falls on the ground, bounces quickly for a few moments, then stills. A forced cough muffled into a fist, the drag of a chair. Rustling.]
“Please, be serious.”
“Who says I wasn’t?”
“Alright. You were serious. I get it, now.”
“— you do?”
“Mmh.” [The pen scribbles on paper] “So you have a hero and God complex, got it.”
“Wait, no, that’s not—”
“No? Then what is it?”
“Wah, Yoongi-ssi… you’re kind of scary like that.”
“I don’t like wasting my time.”
“Mmh. Neither do I. Alright, then. Why did I choose to become a vigilante?”
[A deep laugh]
“It was love. I did it for love.”
Namjoon has a new clock in his office.
Yoongi isn’t sure why he notices, but he does. It is kind of his job to notice things, though, so maybe he shouldn’t question it too much.
So, yeah. New clock.
“I liked your old clock better,” Yoongi mutters.
Namjoon doesn’t dignify him with a response. He only closes his eyes for a few moments, takes in a deep breath, then keeps on reading Yoongi’s new article.
It’s a good piece. Yoongi is proud of it. Has finesse to it. If Namjoon tries to edit anything out, then Yoongi will edit Namjoon’s dick out of the equation.
Yoongi leans back in the chair and swirls it around, gazes lazily at the spectacle just outside of Namjoon’s very neat, very organized, very quiet office. Yoongi guesses most people think that the main offices of Seoul’s most beloved newspaper, BigHit’s News, is a place of pure intellectualism. Clear-headed individuals who take their jobs as news reporters very seriously.
If only they knew that right this instant, Kim Seokjin, Managing Editor and part-time food critic, is currently fighting (and losing) a battle with the printing machine, and Jung Hoseok, creative director, is only pretending to work and instead is watching a Red Velvet ’s live show on his office computer as staff run around with piles of paper precariously balanced on their arms, greedily gulping down amounts of coffee that no human being should ever get close to. Yes. If only they knew.
Yoongi rolls the chair around again and faces Namjoon with a rehearsed smile. “Yes?”
Namjoon takes off his glasses and carefully places them on his desk. He doesn’t even need the damn things. It’s for the aesthetic or something like that. “It’s good.”
“Anyway. Good piece. Might wanna cut down that bit where—”
“Once again, no.”
“Right,” Namjoon sighs. Usually, he puts up more of a fight but maybe he’s tired. “It’s good and I’ll take it. Thanks for, y’know, sticking to the deadline this time.”
“Am I being subtly and passive-aggressively reprimanded?”
“Thanks, I hate it.” Yoongi makes to stand up. “Well, then I’ll see you in two weeks. Or before, if you want brunch.”
But Namjoon holds up a finger. One, single finger. “But I have one more question for you.”
Yoongi holds back a sign and settles back in the chair. “What?”
“What the fuck is this?” Namjoon grabs the computer’s screen and turns it around so that Yoongi can see it.
“Namjoon—” Yoongi frowns at him. “Maybe you do need the glasses after all. Those are photos.”
Again, Namjoon has a lot of patience. Yoongi is aware of that, and it is his life mission to take advantage of that and push and push and push some more until finally, one day, Namjoon will snap and slap him in the face.
“I can see they’re photos,” Namjoon grits out. “How the hell did you take them?”
“With my camera. You might not know of them, technology is crazy these days, but if you have one and press this button you can—”
“Min Yoongi. How did you manage to take photos of Seoul’s most sought after vigilante?”
Yoongi would like to rectify that V is Seoul’s only vigilante, but he digresses. He glances at the screen, where a photo of said vigilante takes up most of the space: V looks to be strangling a notorious serial killer that had been spreading terror for the past six months. Not to death, he’s above that apparently. Just a little strangling. As a treat.
“Y’know, Namjoon, I think I’m very lucky these days.” Yoongi nods to himself. “I was on my way back home from the laundromat—my fucking washing machine broke, so Itook a shortcut, and V was just… kind of there. Beating a serial killer to a pulp. So I just watched, took some pictures.”
“ Some pictures?” Namjoon blinks at him then gestures wildly at the screen before he starts scrolling through the attached files. “Hyung, you took twenty!”
“You never know, some may come out blurry.”
“That’s not the point!” Namjoon stares at him like a crazed creature. “Hyung, everyone has been trying to take a photo of V! Up until now we only had shitty videos taken by civilians, but you just so happened to be able to take twenty perfectly good shots of the guy?”
Yoongi hums. “As I said, I’m just very lucky these days.”
“He’s fucking posing in one!” Namjoon shrieks. “Look!”
Yoongi doesn’t need to look.
It just so happened that, after maybe six or seven shots, V noticed him. Carefully, he turned towards him, stared and stared, leather-gloved hand still tightly clasped around the killer’s throat, and then, very slowly, he raised his free hand and made a victory sign next to his eye.
“Yeah,” Yoongi muses. “Maybe cut that one out.”
Namjoon’s hand twitches, eyes closing again. It’s a healthy coping mechanism, Yoongi thinks.
“God, I need coffee,” Namjoon mutters. “Where’s the damn coffee-boy when I need him?”
Yoongi grimaces. “Shit, you have a coffee-boy now?”
“Seokjin’s cousin. He’s an intern.”
“And you make him buy coffee?”
“Amongst other things.” Namjoon rubs at his temple. “He’s not really here to start a career in journalism. Kid’s an art student of all things. He just needs money and he’s the only one who knows how to make the printer work.”
“Oh, I get it. He’s your charity case for this year.”
Namjoon glares at him. “Hyung, has anyone told you that with each passing day you become more of an asshole?”
“Yes, more times than I can count.” Yoongi grins and stands up. “I’ll see you in two weeks.”
“I mean, it’s an exclusive.” Yoongi pouts at Namjoon. “Pictures so clear and a first-hand account… I work for two more newspapers, y’know? They would pay a lot more for—”
“Fucking fine, you’ll have an extra.” Namjoon shakes his head, then his eyes widen. A wave of relief floods over his features. “Oh, thank God.”
God is, apparently, appearing in the form of the coffee-boy.
He shoulders his way into Namjoon’s pretentious, glass walls cliché of an office with four styrofoam cups of coffee balanced in his hands, perfectly steady, and immediately starts rambling.
“Before hyung says anything, I swear I didn’t stop to pet a dog this time. There was an old lady in front of me at the coffee shop who was ordering enough jasmine tea to quench the thirst of an army.” He walks to Namjoon’s desk and, once one of the cups has disappeared from his hands, he continues, “And then I stopped to pet a dog.”
“Give me a second to drink this and get my brain cells working again, then I’ll scold you.” Namjoon takes a sip of the scorching hot coffee as if it were a cool glass of water.
“Bold of you to assume you have any brain cells left,” Yoongi says. Namjoon is too taken by the coffee to register the insult.
As Yoongi makes it to leave, his eyes catch the coffee-boy’s face and he promptly decides that maybe he can allow himself a few more seconds in this office.
Coffee-boy is pretty. No. No, not just pretty. Just—looks like the kind of man Michelangelo would have sculpted out of pure thirst. The kind of face Yoongi thinks about when days go wrong. Kind of body he thinks about when he’s in bed alone and tired and very desperate.
But that’s not the most shocking part of it all.
The one bit that’s really going to fuck with his self-esteem is that this miracle of a boy is checking him out too.
Or… well, ogling would be the more correct word for this. He’s all wide eyes under the tips of his unruly, wavy hair, a flush sitting so nicely on his cheekbones, full lips parted slightly as he stares and stares and stares at Yoongi like with each second that goes by there’s something new to look at.
Yoongi is just lucky these days.
“Hey,” he says.
Coffee-boy almost drops all the cups. “Hi. Yes. Hello. Good morning.”
“It’s five in the afternoon.”
“Ah.” Coffee-boy blinks. “Do you— want a coffee?”
Namjoon emerges from behind his cup. “Isn’t one for Seokjin, the others for the staff?”
“Seokjin doesn’t want it anymore,” coffee-boy replies immediately.
“Well, then sure. I’ll have coffee.” Yoongi goes to grab it himself, given that the boy’s hands are busy. But, immediately, the kid hands it to him. Yoongi looks at him for a moment, decides to be an asshole, and brushes his fingers over the boy’s knuckles on purpose. The reaction is worth it. Yoongi didn’t know a flush could spread so fast on someone’s face. “Thanks.”
Coffee-boy just nods, stares at him some more.
“By the way, hyung.” Namjoon clears his voice and puts down the cup. He opens a drawer of his desk and gets a neat, thin pile of papers that he very carefully slides over the table. “Are you in the right mood to consider this today?”
Ah, yes. This happens at least once a month.
Yoongi takes a sip of his coffee and then leans over the exclusive contract that Namjoon tries to make him sign whenever he gets a chance. He hums. “Oh, this one’s new.”
“You’re offering me more money.”
“Nice.” Yoongi nods, then he takes the lid off his cup and gently pours coffee over the brand new contract. “Oh no, looks like it’s stained. Can’t sign a stained contract, can I?”
Namjoon just stares at the mess on his desk. Slowly, he looks up to Yoongi. “You’re the devil incarnate.”
“Maybe so.” Yoongi grins and puts the lid back on the cup, then turns around. “Have a good one, Joon-ah.”
Before he can reach the door, coffee-boy has already opened it for him. Yep, his ego is going to have a blast with this one.
As he walks into the chaotic office, he waves at Hoseok, who smiles at him widely and sends him finger guns, because Hoseok is just that kind of person.
“ L00NA just had a comeback,” Yoongi says. “Go stream that.”
“On it,” Hoseok replies and starts typing.
Yoongi tries to say hi to Seokjin but he’s too busy kicking at the printer and letting out a stream of very elaborate curses to notice Yoongi, so Yoongi just heads to the elevator. Then, he realizes that any Renaissance artist’s wet dream is following him.
“Thank you again for the coffee.” Yoongi holds up the cup before he presses the call button for the elevator. “Namjoon told me you’re an intern.”
The kid blinks, seemingly elated that Yoongi is talking to him. He wonders if maybe this handsome, perfect boy has very low expectations in men. “Oh. I mean, I’m just the coffee-boy. But, like, by choice.”
“I can respect that. Name?”
“Can’t call you coffee-boy for the rest of my life, can I?”
“Oh! Taehyung! I’m Taehyung.”
The elevator doors open and Yoongi slides inside. “Alright. I’ll see you around, Taehyung.”
As the doors start to close, with Taehyung just staring at him with this awestruck expression on his face, Yoongi hears Seokjin exclaim, “Hey, where’s my coffee?”
Yoongi stares at the colorful array of instant ramen packages on the shelf and hums, deep in thought. The kimchi one looks promising, but he wouldn’t mind the shrimp one, either. The spicy beef one is good too, Yoongi bought it last time but he’d eat it again.
“Ah, fuck it.” Yoongi starts throwing all of the packages into his basket, including the vegetarian option and the cheese one that he doesn’t even particularly like.
Once he’s satisfied, Yoongi heads to the cash register. Behind it, Jungkook is seemingly very focused on something on his phone, jaw working as he chews on a watermelon flavored bubble gum that smells so strong that Yoongi grimaces.
Jungkook looks up from the phone and grins widely. “Hyung! It’s been a while.”
“I know.” Jungkook grabs his basket, empties it and starts scanning the items. “I was just reading your article on V. It’s really good.”
“I love the photos.” Jungkook glances at him. “I saved them all on my phone.”
Maybe Jungkook has a tiny crush on the vigilante. Maybe Yoongi has been internally judging him for that since it started.
Jungkook is all kinds of "lovely boy in a big city". Pays his studies with too many part-time jobs, plays too much Overwatch whenever he gets a chance. Yoongi isn’t sure how they became friends—it just happened.
And, yes, some may argue that becoming friends with the guy you met at a club and then proceeded to fuck in your bed for an entire night isn’t the best idea, but it worked with them and Yoongi doesn’t like questioning life.
“If I see him again I’ll get those photos autographed for you.”
Jungkook almost drops the package of ramen and he stares at Yoongi with stars in his eyes. “Wait, really?”
“You’re the meanest person I know. How dare you give me hope?”
“Yes, yes, hyung is cruel and an asshole, how tragic. How much do I gotta pay for my sodium levels to be fucked up?”
Jungkook rolls his eyes and finishes scanning his ramen.
Usually, Yoongi cooks his food from scratch.
Usually, Yoongi doesn’t have a deadline looming over his head and laughing at him very loudly.
Truth be told, he’s not exactly inspired for this one. Something about the alleged shady deals a politician is having behind the scenes for approval and signatures. Yoongi doesn’t like politics. Especially hates writing about them, but he has bills to pay and, most importantly, hobbies and expensive taste. Which is all kinds of unfortunate when you’re a freelance journalist who refuses to accept the very stable and generous offer Namjoon has on the ready for you.
Yoongi checks the time on his phone and clicks his tongue. It’s late, and he’s hungry, and he still has more than half of an article to write so he decides to quicken his steps and then, last second, takes the very deliberate choice of turning left and taking a shortcut.
The very shady shortcut no one uses. The one where there’s maybe two barely functioning streetlamps.
It’s fine, Yoongi thinks as he walks in the narrow alley, What’s the worst that could happen? Getting mugged? I have only ramen on me.
A minute or so later, Yoongi finds out what the worst that could happen is.
Near the middle of the alley, not even two feet away from Yoongi, there are four men. One looks young around his twenties, whilst the other three stand close to the wall and seem older, not exactly trustworthy. They have sunglasses on. It’s almost midnight.
Yoongi blinks, tries to catch what they’re saying but they’re talking too quietly. If he were a normal human with a normal brain, he would have already turned around, went back to the main road, and took the long way back home.
But Yoongi is a journalist first, human second, as Hoseok always tells him, so he doesn’t move and keeps staring at them.
One of the three men takes a thick, full manila envelope out of the inner pocket of the jacket, the younger man gets a stack of cash from his own and just like that, the deal is done and the exchange follows suit.
Yoongi holds his breath and suddenly remembers about the new jigsaw Seoul’s police have been trying to solve for the past two months: there’s a new drug circulating these days. Something synthetic and dangerous, terribly addictive, words on the streets say that it can cost up to ninety-six thousand Won per gram, they call it Danica Powder . Police can’t seem to find any track that would lead to the group spreading the drug, so it must be regulated and controlled by someone big, someone who knows how to stay and remain invisible.
Very fascinating stuff.
Yoongi slowly turns around and tries to go back from where he came.
“ Don’t fucking move and turn around!”
Yoongi groans and holds up his hands because he can just feel that he’s being held at gunpoint and—yes, there’s definitely a gun aimed at him.
The kid got his drugs so he’s quick to run the hell away from here which, yeah, Yoongi wishes that was him.
“I saw nothing,” Yoongi says. “Know nothing. I’m deaf, blind, and mute.”
There’s a stretch of silence that follows and, well, he’s not exactly panicking, the looming deadline scares him a bit more, but he’s close to that stage given the circumstances.
And for a moment, he thinks he can get away with it.
But then one of the three men suddenly exclaims, “Wait, I know him! He’s a journalist.”
Seokjin’s voice rings in Yoongi’s head, If it isn’t the consequences of your own, damn job.
“Shit.” The guy with the gun puts his finger over the trigger. “Can’t have a journalist as a witness.”
You’re wearing sunglasses, I can’t even see your faces!, Yoongi wants to scream but the panic has started settling and his voice doesn’t come out, his lips don’t even move.
He’s going to die here. He can already imagine how damn hard Jungkook will cry at his funeral—the kid is like a fountain.
And to think he considered himself lucky up until five minutes ago.
In the split moment that it takes to pull the trigger of a gun, a dark figure appears, descends as crows do, wings wide, talons extended to grab at a prey.
Yoongi doesn’t even need to think to know that it’s V.
V falls right in front of the man with the gun, grabs him by the wrist, and twists it until he groans and has to let go of the weapon, which V swiftly grabs before it hits the ground and then slams against the man’s jaw so hard Yoongi hears the jarring noise it makes when it dislocates. The man falls down on the ground with a groan, a hand trembling just over his jawline, his mouth opened in an almost comical way.
Yoongi slowly lowers his arms as he admires the way V takes them one after one, kicks a gun out of the second man’s hand as soon as he reaches for it, dodges the next punch with a simple, smooth step to the side, his movements too fast for Yoongi to truly catch them. Next thing Yoongi knows, the other two men are on the ground too, passed out. The first one has taken advantage of the confusion to run away in the middle of the fight, his legs unsteady, so that by the time V is done, he’s already disappeared into the darkness. The vigilante looks like he’s entertaining the idea of following him but, in the end, just sighs and turns around to Yoongi.
They look at each other for a few moments, then V smooths down the creases of his black coat with the palms of his hands. “Are you alright?”
In any other instance, Yoongi would swoon. Genuinely. He might be dead inside, but not enough to ignore the cliché of being saved by a mysterious vigilante with a voice as deep as the Mariana Trench. He’s basic like that.
“You fight crime dressed like that?”
V stiffens slightly.
Yoongi never really sat down and thought about it, but V doesn’t exactly follow the typical aesthetic of a vigilante. No ridiculous latex suit to be found. V’s face is covered, of course it is, an eye mask hides the top of his face, and Yoongi can see he has also painted black all the area around his eyes. The lower part of his face is hidden by a stiff-looking mouth mask. That all sounds fine and regular.
Then there’s the dark, wide-brimmed hat on top of his head, the double-breasted black coat that snugly hugs his sides, leather boots, fitted trousers.
Just— not exactly convenient for a crime-fighting vigilante.
V clears his throat. “Just because I fight crime it doesn’t mean I have to look like I have no style.”
“I—” Yoongi frowns. “Are those Gucci boots?”
A pause. “Maybe.”
“You’re kicking guns out of people’s hands with boots that cost more than a million Won ?”
“Min Yoongi-ssi,” V suddenly sighs. “I really don’t see how my aesthetic matters right now.”
“Oh God, you think your vigilante costume is your aesthetic.”
“This isn’t a costume, it’s—”
“You said my name.” Yoongi tilts his head to the side, curiosity slowly rising. “How do you know my name?”
V brings his hands behind his back, steps over one of the unconscious men, and makes his way towards Yoongi. Slowly. Looks like he really cares about this whole predator aesthetic he’s got going on.
“Of course I know you,” V replies smoothly, oozes confidence in a way that makes Yoongi think it might be staged. Just a little. “I read your articles.”
Yoongi hums. Remembers that he’s wearing slippers and stained sweatpants as he walks back home with way too much instant ramen and kind of wants to disappear. “I didn’t know I was famous but you’re the second one who recognizes me.”
It’s hard to catch any shift in V’s expression with the way he’s covered, but Yoongi has a feeling the vigilante is smiling. “I like how you write about me. You’re one of the few journalists who doesn’t write about me like I’m just another criminal who thinks himself untouchable.” V stops walking, less than an arm away from Yoongi. “Plus, you took nice pictures of me last time.”
Yoongi arches an eyebrow. “You posed last time.”
“I’m a natural model.”
“I think you’re a narcissist.”
“And a smug son of a bitch.”
V lets out this small laugh then, shoulders rising just slightly, looking almost sheepish and— if Yoongi’s heart kicks at this, that's his own issue to deal with later.
“Anyway.” V steps back and goes back to the two men on the ground. From a pocket of the elegant coat, he takes out a band of cable plastic ties and starts tying up the drug dealers’ hands and feet. “As much as I’d love to keep talking to you, I’ve got to call the police and go.”
Yoongi hums and he’s already making it to leave, he kind of really wants to go home, but then V solemnly proclaims, “But don’t worry. I’ll be on the roof, to make sure the one who got away doesn’t get near you.”
Yoongi blinks. “Right. Wasn’t going to ask you to do that too, but—thank you?”
“Why is it a question?”
“No, it’s just—” Yoongi tries to bite off a chuckle, kind of fails. “You’re just a lot weirder than I thought you’d be.”
“Oh!” Yes, V is definitely smiling under that mask. “Does that mean you think about me?”
Yoongi isn’t sure if V is being serious or just playing around. If it’s the first case, then Yoongi can’t answer honestly or he thinks this guy’s feelings would get crushed. So, instead, he replies, “Well, if I have to write articles about you, it’s kind of impossible not to.”
V nods, hums, seemingly very pleased. Yeah, he was serious.
“I guess I’ll have to write about this, too.” Yoongi looks behind himself. “I should probably take the long way back home.”
“Yes, you should.” V looks at him and, even though he has a mask on, Yoongi can see he must be smirking. “Can’t wait to read your next article, Yoongi-ssi.”
Yoongi scoffs, rolling his eyes. But when he looks back to where V was, he finds no one except the two drug dealers.
“Fucking show off,” Yoongi murmurs to himself before turning around and going back to the main street, heading home.
[A finger taps on top of the table. In the distance, the sound of an ambulance siren can be heard.]
“So, you did it for love.”
“Sometimes justice doesn’t care about justice.”
“You decided to take matters in your own hands.”
“My friend needed help. He deserved help. No one believed him because the person tormenting him was a famous celebrity. So I made it impossible for people to not believe him.”
“Mmh. I remember that scandal. It was pretty huge. What I didn’t know is that the one who leaked photo and video evidence of the actor stalking your friend was you.”
“It was the first time I did anything of the sort.”
“Was it also the first time you threatened people into confessing to something?”
[A pause, then a low laugh, the microphone barely catches it.]
“Yoongi-ssi, do you believe in it? Justice?”
“This interview isn’t about me.”
“Off the record then.”
“—No. No, I don’t.”
“I believe in my justice. And my justice is black and white. Something is either right or wrong. But the way you get to that justice, that one is made of all kinds of shades of grey.”
“And are you?”
“Grey? Yes. I don’t blame people for not trusting me. I can’t be trusted. That’s the point. People don’t need to trust me, people only need to have the truth presented to them, with evidence to back it up. This isn’t about me.”
“This is about justice.”
“Mmh. Nothing but justice.”
“But the first time, it was personal.”
“Then it stopped being personal. When you became V. It became about justice.”
“So if you started out of love, why did you continue?”
“Because once you see that things aren’t just or fair, you can’t stop seeing it. You can pretend, sure, but I’m not good at that.”
“So now it’s all about justice. Just pure, untouched, justice.”
“Mmh. It used to be for a while. I think now it’s starting to be out of love again.”
“Oh. Is a friend in need of help again?”
“Something like that.”
“Are you going to be this cryptic through the whole thing or—?”
“Oh, do you want me to be very honest about this one? Alright. Lately, a certain journalist keeps getting in trouble wherever he goes—”
“So it’s up to me to make sure he doesn’t get murdered or taken as a hostage. Again.”
[A pause. Silence. Then, a soft sigh.]
“You are impossible.”
“I’ve been told, Yoongi-ssi, but reminders are always good.”
“—We’re gonna cut that out.”
“Sounds like a wise idea.”
“Next, I want to talk about—”
“Are you hungry?”
“It’s late. Did you have dinner?”
“I… I haven’t, but—”
“Let’s order food. On me. Do you like Chinese food? I know a good place that does delivery.”
“It’s a date.”
“No, it isn’t. And we’re cutting this one out too.”
[A click, the sound cuts off.]
[Click. Sounds pour into the microphone: the rustling of paper, pages being turned.]
“Those were some mean spring rolls.”
“Sorry about having to eat with my back turned to you, by the way. You know, the mask and everything.”
“It’s alright, don’t mention it. Let’s continue with the interview, I want to ask you about your identity.”
“Whenever someone asks me about it I just reply with random nationalities. Sometimes people do that. They see me and try to take videos of me, being funny. They don’t mean any harm, so I play along.”
“That’s—creative. But not what I was going to ask. What I want to know is, aren’t you scared?”
“You’re going to have to be more specific. I’m a scaredy-cat. Always have to ask my friends over if there’s a spider so that they get rid of it. Can’t watch horror movies by myself.”
“Aren’t you scared someone might find out who you are?”
“But you’re here anyway. You’re out there every day anyway.”
“Stopping what I do simply because of my fear wouldn’t be fair.”
“It wouldn’t be fair to who? Do you owe anything to this city? Or its people? Police treat you as if you were on the same level as the people you go after. Some politicians built half of their campaigns around bringing to light who hides behind your mask, probably because their hands are dirtier than the bottom of the Han River and are scared of you unveiling their shit. So why would it be unfair to stop? You don’t owe them. If anything, this city owes you.”
“Sorry.” [A cough, then a peal of strained laughter.] “I don’t know why I—”
“Off the record—”
“Off the record, I’d like to say that despite everything wrong with this city, there are certain people in it who are worth saving. And who are worth everything I have to give.”
[Wind blows lightly. From a building nearby, muffled music can be heard. Then, a sigh.]
“Alright. Moving on—”
“Wait, Yoongi-ssi, I have a feeling I was being too vague.”
“No, you were not.”
“Let me specify.”
“I would save you from a burning building with my bare hands.”
“I would rather jump into the flames than being saved by you once again.”
[Suddenly, laughter, deep and genuine, a hand slaps against the table.]
“You are so funny!”
“God, this interview will be the death of me. Let’s talk about something. Anything.”
“We could talk about you.”
“What’s your favorite color?”
“Jesus fucking— let’s talk about the Industrial Bank of Korea robbery.”
Yoongi isn’t so sure about his luck anymore.
This morning, after standing in line for an excessive amount of time just so he could get his first hit of caffeine, his card had been declined. No amounts of, " Can you try again?" was going to prepare him for the utter shame of not only holding a line, but also having a kid fresh out of highschool tell him, “ Sir, I think that your card might have some issues. Do you have any cash on you?”
The answer to that was no. Who the fuck uses cash in Seoul anymore? Yoongi can’t remember the last time he paid for something with actual money.
So here he is now, standing in another ridiculously long line at his bank, with no caffeine in his system and a senior citizen talking his ear off about how banks these days just want to rob you of money, let me tell you kid, these cards can’t be trusted, who says that my money is not being moved around? No one, that’s who.
Yoongi hums and nods along. He stopped listening around five minutes ago and resorted to staring at a random spot of the wall behind the old man’s face.
He should be in Namjoon’s office right now, tormenting him. Playing around with Namjoon is his favorite part of his Tuesdays. Not to mention that he’d get to see coffee-boy again. Yoongi wouldn’t mind that one bit. He would never admit it out loud, because he still has some dignity left, but maybe he thought about Taehyung’s face a lot. And his shoulders. And his hands, and—
Someone starts screaming.
Yoongi frowns, turning around to find the source of the noise, and then he groans.
“Everyone on the ground!”
A fucking robbery.
Yeah, he’s not lucky. Just, in a general state of being, he really isn’t and he wants to kick himself in the face for ever thinking he was.
Yoongi gets on his knees quickly, raising his hands over his head, then grimaces and grabs the old man’s arm and pulls him down too, since it’s clear the poor guy is too shocked to do it himself.
All around is chaos, people screaming and crying as they throw themselves on the ground, sobbing when rifles and handguns are aimed at them. Yoongi does a quick headcount: there are five robbers and they look like they’re on their way to fight a war instead of robbing one of the smallest branches of the bank in all of Seoul.
They move quickly, passing large sports bags to one another, and two head directly towards the counters, which the staff have quickly hidden behind. One of them has probably already pressed an emergency button, and the police will be on its way. Which, given the state of the Gangnam Police department, Yoongi isn’t exactly being too optimistic about.
The other three stay in the middle of the room, yelling orders and threats left and right. They’re working.
Still, this shouldn’t be too bad. Once they’ll get their money from the cash registers, the robbers should be on their way. After all, this is a small bank. Yoongi highly doubts there’s a secret caveau or anything like that. They’ll want to be quick so that they can get away before the police arrive.
Except that that’s not what happens.
“Alright, listen up!” One of the robbers exclaims, probably the head of the group. “If everyone does as I say, nothing will happen. You will all stay down and won’t try any funny business. We will release most of you as soon as the police are here, so just stay still.”
Why would they only release a few of them? Not to mention, they already got all the money the staff had to give them. They should already be out of here, getting out of the way. Why are they staying?
Maybe a minute or so passes before Police sirens can be heard, and Yoongi sees some people breathing out in relief. The rest are too busy praying. Panic does that to people.
Yoongi doesn’t have time to pray. He knows how things like this work: police will try to negotiate because there are hostages, robbers will set conditions, then everyone will be on their merry way.
Except that these people had all the time in the world to leave with their money, they don’t need to stay. Unless they’re after something else.
Yoongi stays silent during the negotiation, listens carefully to the terms the robbers set, voices amplificated by a megaphone, rolls his eyes at the way the negotiator’s weak attempts of getting all hostages out at once, and isn’t surprised when, in the end, the robbers get the end of the deal.
In total, there are thirty-five civilians. They will release thirty of them in one hour. They’ll keep five until the end, for a second hour.
Once that’s settled, the robbers get to work again. The same two who took care of the counters approach the group of staff members and one of them asks, “Which one of you has access to the caveau?”
Yoongi curses under his breath, considers banging his forehead against the floor for a couple of seconds. Alright, so maybe the very small branch of this fucking bank has a caveau. If he thinks about it, Yoongi might even find it smart, hiding a caveau in such a small venue would definitely deter robbers from attacking it.
That being said, this does complicate things.
The members of the staff stay quiet for a few seconds, immediately start talking when a rifle is aimed at them.
“I have it!” One of them exclaims, trembling hands raised over his head. He must be the head manager of this bank. “It’s in—in the offices. There’s a special security card that—”
“Less talking, more action.” One of the two robbers grab the manager by the arm and they drag him away with them, walking behind the counters and then disappearing behind a door.
In the meantime, the old man kneeling beside Yoongi has decided to connect to his faith again and is busy praying, words mumbled and frantic.
Yoongi decides to remain lucid and to think. That’s his job after all.
So, they decided to buy themselves two hours. Yoongi doubts it will actually take them two hours to finish the job; they have direct access to the caveau, they don’t have to break in or anything. They’ll spend an hour cleaning it out completely if they’re not only after money, but the documents of wealthy customers, too. Then, they’ll take maybe twenty to thirty minutes to bring all the bags of stolen goods to their van, because they must have a van, probably parked right in front of an emergency exit, or a private one usually reserved for staff.
They might bind the remaining five hostages so that they can’t get out before the two hours are done, or might simply threaten them into obeying. That way, they’ll buy themselves an extra thirty-forty minutes to safely drive away whilst the police are too busy holding their ground.
Yoongi would compliment the robbers on their tactics if he wasn’t one of the hostages in question.
“ At least I’ll have a decent ice breaker for dinner parties,” he thinks.
He’s probably not giving off a great impression right now. Most of the people held captive are terrified out of their minds, whilst Yoongi looks like he’s just relaxing. He’s not. Relaxed, that is. But he thinks it’s his job’s fault if he’s been brainwashed into remaining rational and very cold right about anything that might happen. Working in the news has desensitized him.
“My therapist will have a field trip with this one.”
But in the end, an hour goes by relatively fast when you’re being held hostage by a cartoonish group of robbers. The three who remained to keep guard in the main area of the bank check their watches and start going through the hostages to choose those who get to leave. Yoongi guesses most of the bank’s staff will stay, which sucks, but it’s how it usually goes.
People who have been chosen start being huddled in the center of the room, held at bay by one of the armed men, whilst the other two go round the room, grabbing people left and right and pushing them towards the rest of the group. The old man kneeling by Yoongi’s side gets chosen too, which has Yoongi silently sighing in relief, then it’s his turn.
“You too,” the robber says. Only a pair of piercing black eyes can be seen, the rest of his face hidden by a scarf.
Yoongi stands up before the guy can grab him but, immediately, the second man holds up a hand and walks closer to them.
“Why do I feel like I know his face?”
“No fucking way,” he chuckles then. “Nah, this one stays. He’s a journalist.”
Yoongi takes a deep breath, his eyelids fluttering closed for a second. He’s not gonna lie, this is getting frustrating.
Is he even that famous? Sure, he works for a lot of journals, but since when is his face plastered around Seoul for every criminal to recognize it?
Still, he’s quickly pushed down on his knees again.
A very original, impressive string of internal curses take over Yoongi’s mind as the final group of thirty hostages is chosen. Before they get to leave, the five who are remaining get their hands quickly tied behind their backs, cable ties tight enough to dig in Yoongi’s wrists, then instructions are given to the thirty people before they open the doors and, slowly, get out of the bank, hands raised, relieved cries filling the air and mixing with policemen yelling orders from outside. Just like that, the doors close again and it’s silent.
“Ladies.” The leader of the group proclaims, his rifle hanging loosely over his chest, held up by a strap. “Gentlemen. Let’s make the most out of the time we have left together.”
“Do you think they’ll kill us?”
Yoongi keeps his eyes closed. The voice belongs to Seonghyun, a guy around twenty years old, scared shitless and not trying to hide it.
“No, they won’t,” one of the staff members replies, and she sounds very done with this entire situation.
Yoongi can’t blame her.
“How do you know?” Seonghyun whines. “What if they do?”
“They're robbers, not murderers.”
“They’re still criminals!”
They get shushed by one of the three men keeping guard then, and silence falls once more. Yoongi is glad for it. He can feel a headache building and the lights inside the bank are white LEDs, the kind that makes Yoongi’s eyes burn and droop.
“We could get killed,” Seonghyun whispers then and Yoongi sighs. “If-if the police try to break in we might get caught in the crossfire.”
“Police won’t break in,” Yoongi murmurs and he twists his aching wrists, then opens his eyes to look at Seonghyun. “They negotiated terms. This isn’t a long-term robbery, time is almost out. The police are just waiting for them to try and run away so they can catch them. Probably blocked all the roads so the robbers get stuck.”
Seonghyun whines some more, clearly not satisfied with Yoongi’s answer. Which, Yoongi won’t lie, kind of stings.
He and the rest of the hostages have been huddled close to the counters, Yoongi sitting by the last one to the left. The robbers aren’t paying much attention to them. If Yoongi was brave and idiotic, he’d probably sneak behind the counters to find some scissors, try to break free of his cable ties.
But Yoongi isn’t brave, and definitely not an idiot. He’s a journalist. So he stays still and tries to ignore Seonghyun as much as he can.
The robbers really took his profession to heart, though. They decided to write down on a sheet of paper that they have a journalist with them, wrote down his name wrong at first, then attached the piece of paper to one of the windows with tape. Not their finest work, but still. There was an attempt.
Yoongi closes his eyes again, leans his head against the surface of the counter, and decides he’ll spend the rest of his time trapped in here pretending this is not happening.
“ Hey, handsome.”
Yoongi startles then turns his head to the side and almost scoffs out loud.
V is here. Hiding just by the counter’s side, face so close to Yoongi’s he could count his eyelashes. He’s not going to, but—well, he could.
“Seriously?” Yoongi whispers.
From just above V’s eye-mask, an eyebrow rises. “Do you come here often?”
“Oh, you mean if I often come to the bank to be used as a hostage? Why, no, I’d say I don’t.”
“Oh my God, me neither, we have so much in common.” V’s eyes flicker to the three men standing close to the door, too busy gloating in their success to notice anything wrong. “Hey, I know a place, do you wanna get out of here?”
Yoongi glances towards the three robbers, then back to V. His lashes are long. This isn’t the smartest thing to notice given the circumstances, but Yoongi’s brain is an asshole. “What do you have in mind?”
V’s eyes curve the slightest, and Yoongi imagines he must be smiling under his mask. He tips the brim of his black hat up and replies, “Distract one for me, will you?”
Before Yoongi can ask how, V has already disappeared behind the counter, his steps soundless.
Smooth son of a bitch, Yoongi thinks as he rolls his eyes, Smug fucker with his stupid long lashes.
Yoongi isn’t an actor. At his kindergarten's play, he was one of the trees. Seokjin would be a lot more fitted for this role.
But, Seokjin isn’t here and if there’s one thing Yoongi has learned after binging Netflix movies, is that clichés work for a reason.
Yoongi groans loudly and doubles over, forehead pressed to the floor, and he lets out another pained sound. Doesn’t sound very realistic to his own ears, but it will have to do.
He hears steps approaching and he starts squirming.
“What’s wrong with you?”
Yoongi swallows. “I don’t—don’t feel good.”
Yoongi groans again, more out of frustration than anything, but that seems to do the trick. Probably because it sounded genuine. He sees the tips of combat boots in front of his face, then knees. He’s crouched.
“What, you need to throw up?”
Yoongi mutters something nonsensical under his breath, forces his body to squirm some more, and goes as far as pretending he’s gagging.
Then, a shout, gunshots going off, and a body hitting the ground.
Yoongi looks up, the man who was checking on him kneeling in front of him, rifle braced in his arms as he follows the movements of a black-clothed figure. Yoongi doesn’t waste too much time thinking and straightens up before kicking his leg forward and hitting the robber in his back. The man groans, falling down and he loses the grip on his rifle, the weapon sliding along the floor.
V has taken one of the robbers down already and he’s currently facing the second one, ducking as soon as that one raises his weapon, slides down the floor and then surges up once he’s close enough to grab at the robber’s arm, twisting it until he’s the one holding the rifle. He uses the buttstock of the gun to hit at the robber’s chest, then his throat, and Yoongi isn’t sure exactly what kind of move that is, but it’s pretty damn impressive and looks like it’s straight out of a Nolan film. All of this with his hat not moving a damn inch from his head. Another enemy down.
Then, the guy Yoongi kicked out rushes forward, almost dragging himself on the ground and he grabs his rifle again. Yoongi watches as V points his own gun at him but then hesitates.
Yoongi can only stare at the muzzle of the rifle aimed at his own face.
“Don’t fucking move.” The robber stands up, legs unsteady for a second, still holding the rifle backward, facing Yoongi. He starts stepping back. “I’ll shoot him, I fucking swear it.”
If Yoongi wasn’t panicking earlier, he might be entertaining the possibility right now.
V stares at the scene, unmoving, his gun still aimed at the robber, but his gloved finger isn’t near the trigger. “Your companions are already down, including your getaway driver. You’re not getting out of here.”
“Try me, asshole.” He stands by Yoongi’s side and presses the muzzle right against Yoongi’s temple. “One wrong move, I blow his brains out.”
This is all very cliché. Very trope-y. Straight out of a bad episode of Arrow .
Still, Yoongi’s sweating. His hands are trembling.
The rest of the hostages aren’t much help either, considering they decided to cower when they’re not even the ones being held at gunpoint.
V is still not moving. Yoongi can see his eyes flickering from his face to the muzzle pressed against it, his body rigid. After a moment or so, he lowers the rifle. “Alright. Leave, then.”
The robber suddenly grabs Yoongi’s hair and, despite his best efforts, Yoongi grunts at the feeling as he’s pulled up to his feet, scalp burning. The hand then slides down to his neck, holds him in place as the robber hides behind him. Very honorable of him.
V doesn’t seem pleased. “I wouldn’t do that.”
The rifle gets pressed against his nape so hard that Yoongi’s head gets pushed down.
“Don’t move!” The robber screams, voice a screechy, terrified thing. The muzzle is trembling where it’s pressed at Yoongi’s nape. “Fucking psycho! If you think I’d give my back to you without a safety net you’re not just a sadist, you’re also an idiot!”
Yoongi tries to raise his head, but it’s immediately pressed back down. There’s a step’s noise, the grip on Yoongi’s wrist tightens, and he’s dragged back as the muzzle of the rifle awkwardly points beneath his chin.
V’s head tilts to the side the slightest bit, eyes pitch black behind the mask. “I don’t know about sadistic, but I won’t be happy if you hurt him.”
The robber starts walking backward, dragging Yoongi along. He wants to try and run from the staff exit.
And this situation is getting ridiculous. It has been since the start, but Yoongi could deal with it. Being used as a human shield though? Yoongi hates this. He hates the feeling of metal bumping against his chin, the hands around his bound wrists, the sheer panic that has his knees so weak and his heart too heavy.
Hates, even more, the genuine discomfort in V’s eyes, but that will be an issue for later.
The issue at hand is this: he’s panicking but the robber is terrified, and a rifle isn’t the best choice of weapon to hold someone captive so close to your own body.
Yoongi breathes in and hopes this won’t be the end of him. He pushes his torso forward, the cane of the rifle pressing against his throat, muzzle out of the way, then throws his head back as hard as he can.
Yoongi hears a crack, a groan, the hand around his wrists loosens. Immediately, Yoongi throws himself out of the way, lands on the hard, smooth flooring, shoulder aching at the impact. When he looks up, V is already pressing the trigger.
The robber falls down and there’s this split second when Yoongi can’t breathe, is convinced V just killed a man in cold blood, just like that, just because he could. Then, the robber starts screaming and clutches at his shin, blood thick and trickling between his fingers. Yoongi breathes out, eyes closing for a second before he straightens up, leans his back against the wall.
V walks towards the robber, kicks away the rifle on the ground, and decides that that’s all the attention he has to give to the man before turning around and hurrying to Yoongi.
“You’re okay?” V kneels down in front of him, eyes wide behind the mask.
Yoongi blinks at him. “Do I look like I’m okay, you absolute—”
V grabs him by the arm, spins him around as if Yoongi was a very small, pestering dog. “I’m asking if you’re hurt anywhere.”
“No,” Yoongi replies, frowns when there’s a gloved hand holding his wrists again. After a few moments, the cable ties snap open and Yoongi’s arms ache with relief, muscles finally relaxing.
“That was such a reckless fucking move.” V stares at him, a rivulet of sweat slides down his cheekbone.
“It worked, didn’t it?” Yoongi rolls his shoulders and tries to take a look at his skin but V is quicker, grabs his hands in his own and glares at the state of Yoongi’s wrists.
“You’re impossible,” V grumbles under his breath, gloved thumbs stroking gentle circles on Yoongi’s bruised, reddened skin. “Who does that with a rifle at their face? Also, what kind of luck do you have, Yoongi-ssi? This is the second time in less than a month, if this becomes a recurring event then we might as well just—”
Yoongi looks at V’s hands cradling his wrists ever-so-gently, barely applying any pressure. “You do know there are other hostages, right?”
V blinks at him, eyes huge. Yoongi thinks he looks a lot younger all of a sudden. Slowly, V turns around until he spots the other four hostages all huddled together in a corner of the room, staring back with different degrees of confusion written all over their faces.
“Right.” V stands up stiffly. “Yes, I knew that. Of course I did.”
“If I say I knew then I knew.”
“I didn’t forget about them.”
“I didn’t even imply that, but please do speak your mind.”
V looks like he wants to defend himself for all but one second. He gives up on that quickly and decides to go and free the rest of the hostages instead.
It’s safe to say that he doesn’t stop to cradle their wrists or check if they’re injured.
If Yoongi wasn’t on the verge of passing out from sheer exhaustion, he might be smug about it.
As soon as he’s free, Seonghyun starts sobbing and wailing before sprinting into a graceless run and pushing the bank doors open, falling down on his knees with his hands raised. The rest of the hostages follow his example quickly, everyone eager to get out of there.
Yoongi turns to look for V, but he’s already gone.
“ Then what happened?”
“I single-handedly defeated every robber. Barehanded. Mano y mano.”
Silence from the other side of the phone. Then, Hoseok asks, “ Wait, did you actually?”
Yoongi takes a deep breath, finger tapping on the back of the cellphone. “Do I look like Chuck Norris to you?”
“ You’re the one who said—!”
“Sometimes I have to ask my neighbor’s help to open jars of mayo. Of course the fucking vigilante did all the work.”
There’s a scoff. It sounds like Namjoon. Seokjin takes hold of the phone next. “ Jesus, Yoongi, are you alright? ”
Yoongi hums. He’s dragging his steps a little. Has no real strength left in his body, not after sitting through a police interview that lasted almost four hours. “I’m fine. Just want to get home.”
“Do you want me to drive you? Where are you now, I’ll come to get you. ”
For all the shit Seokjin likes to put them through on a daily basis, he’s still the oldest. Still likes to treat them like kids straight out of high school, make sure they get enough sleep, that they eat something healthy for once in their lives.
Yoongi smiles to himself, glad that Seokjin isn’t here to see it. “No need, I’m almost there.”
“ Hyung .” Namjoon fights for the phone’s possession for a handful of seconds. “ You come to my office tomorrow morning and we talk about business.”
“ Kim Namjoon!”
“ Don’t you fucking dare sell this story to another journal, Yoongi-hyung, I will—Jin-hyung, stop yelling at me—I will pay double for this, just name a price.”
Yoongi hums. “Then pay me triple.”
“We have a deal.”
“I’ll see you guys tomorrow then.” Yoongi rubs at his neck. “Jin-hyung, stop worrying, I’m fine. Hoseok, please stop believing whatever I say. Namjoon, get the money ready.”
Yoongi ends the call and pockets his phone once he passes by a closed gas station, neon blue LED sign painting the sidewalk a cold hue.
Saying he’s fine might be a stretch. He’s tired, weak, feels jumpy. That’s the worst part. He keeps thinking there’s someone following him. Can still feel the way panic tastes.
Yoongi startles, a hand quickly pressing on his chest, groaning when he spots V just above him, safely crouched on top of the gas station’s roof.
Yoongi stares at him for a few moments. “What’s up with the perching?”
“You perch a lot. Like a bird.”
V fixes the black hat on his head. “I know. It’s on purpose.”
“For the aesthetic again?”
“Mmh. Always for the aesthetic.”
Yoongi arches an eyebrow. “You look like a fucking pigeon.”
“Excuse me!” V’s eyes widen and he stands up straight, stomps his feet like a damn toddler. “It’s a crow!”
Yoongi grins, which seems to infuriate V even more. “Uh-huh. So are you following me now?”
At this, the vigilante crosses his arms over his chest, eyes mirthful. “Crows do like shiny things.”
“That’s—” Yoongi grimaces, ignoring the heat on his cheeks. “You’re terrible at this, y’know?”
“This? This what?”
He’s awful at it. Too full of himself this one, probably rehearses his pick up lines at home in front of a mirror before putting on that stupid hat. But the thing is, if Yoongi tells him this, then he’s admitting that they’re flirting.
Both of them.
Flirting like this usually goes both ways and Yoongi is too gay and tired to really filter himself. So instead, he does what he’s best at: changing the subject. “I mean it, what are you doing here?”
V must be feeling generous tonight since he goes along with him. “I just wanted to see you before you went home. And last time we met you were close-by, so I assumed you’d walk by again. Your wrists?”
“Can I ask you a question?”
“My favorite food is the egg sandwich my mom makes me.”
Yoongi sighs, eyelids fluttering. “What?”
“It’s delightful. Really.”
“That’s not what I was gonna ask.”
V’s cheekbones raise, eyes curving. He’s smiling under that mask, the little shit. “I know.”
“You’re— anyway. You usually don’t intervene during robberies. Not ones that are small like the one from today.”
V hums. “I don’t.”
“Then why did you today?”
“Isn’t it obvious?”
“No, I don’t think it is.”
“It’s because you were there.”
“I—” Something in Yoongi’s chest tugs. “What?”
In a voice far too goddamn bashful for the kind of person he is, V replies, “When it went public that you were held hostage, then I decided to intervene.”
Tugs. Pulls and kicks, throws a whole tantrum. “Why?”
“Mmh. Why indeed.” V claps his hands together once. “That’s for you to figure out.”
“You wrote an article on Kim Woonpin, didn’t you?”
Looks like Yoongi isn’t the only one who’s good at jumping from one subject to the other. But, since V was gracious enough to let him get away with this before, Yoongi guesses he has to do the same. “The politician? I did. Why?”
V’s eyes narrow slightly. “And from what I’ve heard, you’re writing another one.”
Yoongi scoffs, eyes widening. “How the hell do you know?”
“I suggest you let it go. The Kim Woonpin case.” V crouches again, elbows braced over bent knees. “You already exposed some of his deals, I don’t think it’s smart to dig in deeper.”
Something clicks in Yoongi’s brain and he steps forward, neck craning to try and get a better view of V’s face, at least his eyes. “Why? What do you know?”
“Not much, for now,” V replies after hesitating for a moment. “But, there’s more to him than what meets the eye. And if I were you, I’d stop here.” A sigh. “But it also looks like you have a penchant for trouble, so I don’t think you’ll listen to me.”
“You have something on him,” Yoongi says and his job has shaped him into a hungry, greedy creature when it comes to information. “Something big.”
V looks at him for a few seconds. The dark paint he uses around his eyes has started to fade, reveals patches of smooth skin. “Maybe. Maybe not.”
Yoongi clicks his tongue. “Why do you always have to be so damn cryptic?”
“Aesthetic, Yoongi-ssi.” V stands up then and he bows faintly. “Now, please be careful on your way home. And put some bandages on those wrists.”
V turns around and starts running. Yoongi hears him when he lands from the gas station rooftop onto the one of the 7Eleven’s just behind and knows that trying to follow would end up just being a waste of time.
“Smug fucker,” Yoongi murmurs to himself before starting to walk again.
He won’t ever admit it, but his legs don’t feel like they’re made of cement anymore.
The next morning, at Namjoon’s office, things go smoothly. They settle on a deadline whilst, just outside those stupid glass walls, Seokjin and Hoseok get on a very passionate argument about which Red Velvet’s track is the superior song. Seokjin is hellbent on Kingdom Come, whilst Hoseok is ready to fight for Automatic ’s honor.
Yoongi actually agrees with Hoseok, but he still decides to stop between their desks to cause some more chaos and says, “You’re both wrong, it’s Sunny Side Up .”
As soon as Seokjin shrieks at him to go and acquire some taste, whilst Hoseok throws a balled-up paper sheet at him, Yoongi leaves satisfied, a trail of havoc left behind his steps.
Then, just as he’s about to step out of the building, Yoongi runs into Taehyung.
It isn’t a very graceful meeting, especially considering the dangerous amount of coffee cups Taehyung has somewhat managed to balance on top of a thin tray. By some miracle though, none of them fall, Taehyung succeeds in catching one just as it tips over.
“You have weirdly good reflexes,” Yoongi says.
“Yoongi-ssi!” Taehyung exclaims, round glasses sliding down his nose slowly. “It’s—my reflexes? Yes. They’re decent. How are you?”
“Do you want coffee?”
“No, thank you, I was just about to—”
Yoongi blinks. “Well, considering I was about to walk out the door, yes.”
Taehyung’s cheeks pick up an impressive shade of pink and he forces out a laugh. “Right. That was a silly question.”
This guy uses the word silly unironically. Yoongi shouldn’t find it sweet, but—
Well, there is a great deal of many things Yoongi shouldn’t like, but that doesn’t really stop him.
“Have you had lunch yet?” Yoongi asks him then.
“Mh. Wanna have some more?”
Taehyung’s eyes widen a bit. “Excuse me?”
“Lunch. If you want more lunch, you can join me.” Yoongi shrugs. “I was about to go eat something anyway. I’ll pay.”
Taehyung’s lips stretch into this fucking miracle of a smile, but it’s shortlived. It falters quickly and then disappointment clouds his face. “I can’t.”
“I want to!” Taehyung grimaces. “I just—I kind of already had my lunch break and I’m already late for the coffee ‘cause there was this old man who needed help with groceries, so I stopped by to help.”
“Of course you did.”
“Then I found these stray cats so I also bought them something to eat.”
“ Of course you did.”
“Namjoon-hyung is really nice and usually doesn’t mind me being late, but I’m still working. Can’t have a second lunch break.”
“It’s alright.” Yoongi pats his shoulder. “Next time, mh?”
Taehyung nods, a little bashful, way too pretty, and says, “Thank you, Yoongi-ssi. Next time.”
“You know, just—” Yoongi flicks a hand at him. “I’m not really comfortable with things being too formal. You can call me hyung, ‘s not a problem.”
“Oh.” Taehyung stares at him and then, quieter, “ Oh.”
Yoongi bites off a pleased smile. “Yeah. Oh. Until next time, Taehyung-ah.”
As he walks away, he hears Taehyung saying, “Thank you, Yoongi-hyung!” and holy shit, his ego is getting massive these days, he needs to tone it down.
It’s not until he gets home that he realizes Taehyung’s voice seems familiar. Like he’s heard it before, somewhere else, in a different context.
But for the life of him, he can’t remember when.
[The microphone catches a faraway noise.]
“There’s something that’s always interested me.”
“How do you get your info?”
“You’ll have to be more specific, Yoongi-ssi.”
“I mean, how do you know the wheres, the whens, the whos? How do you manage to get to a crime scene before the Police do? And how do you have intel on things that aren’t public in any way?”
[A pause. Fingers tapping, but the sound is softer, muted like there’s fabric between the fingers and table. Thick leather.]
“If you can’t reply that’s alright—”
“For most of the things you asked, there’s one answer: I have access to the Police database and I’ve long been intercepting their radios.”
“You hacked in the police database?”
“But I have access to it.”
“—is it alright for you to tell me?”
“What if once this article comes out, they make it so it’s impossible to have access to it anymore.”
“Oh, it’s fine. They know.”
“They know. They’ve been trying to strengthen their security for a while now, but it’s not going to work. My hacker is too good. Theirs is… there, I guess. As for the rest, I have informants. Eyes and ears where they matter. But that’s all I’ll say about that.”
“No, don’t apologize. But there’s something I’m curious about. You said you have access to the database, but that you weren’t the one who hacked into it.”
“Then who did?”
“Someone I trust.”
“More than anyone in the world.”
“—Does this person know your identity?”
“And that doesn’t scare you.”
“He’d rather watch the world burn than ever disclose it.”
“Does anyone else know?”
“No. Only him.”
“Would you ever tell someone else, then? If you trusted them enough?”
[Several seconds of silence, the microphone catches wind, a car driving by, a child’s voice from the building down the street.]
“There’s one person I want to tell. One day. But it’s scary.”
“Do you think they wouldn’t understand?”
“—I don’t want them in danger. That’s the whole dilemma, isn’t it? The big grey area. You don’t tell that person who you really are and just like that you’re built on a lie. But what if you put them in danger by telling them? What if that person pushes you away? You trust them, yes, but do they trust you? The real you? What if you love them?”
“What if I love them? What do I do then?”
[A pen scratches on paper. Someone sighs.]
“I’ll cut that out.”
“Yoongi-ssi, it’s alright.”
“Why would you cut it when—”
“Because you look uncomfortable.”
“—Sometimes I think I understand you and then you completely turn that upside down, Yoongi-hy—”
“Nothing. You’re just a complicated person, Yoongi-ssi.”
“Say the one wearing a mask and a pretentious hat.”
“You love my hat.”
Yoongi’s neighbor, who occasionally opens jars of mayo for him, has dinner with Yoongi every Friday night. A testament to how fucking lame they are.
“You’re overcooking the ramen.”
“You overcooked my patience.”
And he’s not wrong.
Park Jimin is a delight. When he’s in a good mood.
Otherwise, he is a spoiled, tiny little shit that gets under Yoongi’s skin so quickly it should be concerning. Yoongi loves him to bits.
They started like most of Yoongi’s friendships began which, again, should be concerning.
Jimin moved into the apartment next to Yoongi’s around two years ago. Yoongi was coming back home from Namjoon’s office when he had seen him struggling with boxes taller than both of them and so decided to lend a helping hand. Two hours later, they were fucking on the bare floor, hands too desperate, clothes still half on, cardboard boxes laying all around them.
It took them ten minutes of post-orgasm bliss to realize they wouldn’t have worked as a couple. So instead, they became friends.
Yoongi’s therapist keeps telling him that the way he seeks comfort through sex but refuses to then accept a possible romantic outcome is a sign of something deeper going on. Yoongi thinks he’s just a horny bastard.
Still, they work like this.
Friday cheesy-ramen nights as they watch the worst Netflix has to offer became a thing quickly and Yoongi always ends up looking forward to them. There’s something about Jimin’s flat that always puts him at ease, makes Yoongi forget about the city outside these walls, the half-written articles waiting in his laptop. Jimin’s living room is all soft pinks and oranges, with pretty stained-glass lamps casting colorful hues on the walls, on the white, warm carpet they sit on.
They end up choosing a horror movie for the night. Or at least, it’s supposed to be a horror. Even the actors in it aren’t believing this is scary.
Yoongi chews slowly around a mouthful of (overcooked) noodles and savory cheese and says, “I think the coffee-boy at Namjoon’s office has a crush on me.” Jimin chokes on his own food. Yoongi frowns at him and pats his back, slightly worried. “You good?”
“Wait—” Jimin finally swallows, blinks quickly. “The coffee-boy as in Taehyung?”
Why does everyone in this damn city seem to know things and people except for Yoongi? “You know him?”
“If I know… he’s my best friend,” Jimin replies, voice dripping with pride. “Soulmate. My better half. Know him since we were in diapers.”
“Huh.” Yoongi shrugs, starts scooping more ramen in his cup from the shared pot. “Well, he has a crush on me.”
“God.” Jimin scoffs, shakes his head. “He is so out of your league.”
Yoongi arches an eyebrow at him. “That’s fucking rich coming from you, Mister Please Let Me Suck Your Dick. ”
Jimin waves a dismissive hand at him, accidentally flicks his nose in the process. “That was one time.”
“Also, you’re basically saying you’re in my league if Taehyung isn’t.”
Jimin stares at him for a moment before he lets out this dramatic, fake laughter. “ Oh , honey... I am out of everyone’s league. Sometimes I just like to lower my standards.” He grins, looks prettier than ever. “As a treat.”
Someone on screen dies a painful death, Yoongi clicks his tongue. “What you said when I fucked you was very different.”
Jimin pretends to gag, grimaces. “Can you not bring that up when I’m eating such fine cuisine, you ass?”
“You’re so disrespectful. I paid for that ramen.”
“Oh, shut up.” Jimin stocks an impressive amount of cheesy noodles in his mouth, spicy broth staining his lips red. He looks at the film for a while, then his eyes flicker back to Yoongi. “So—you think he has a crush on you.”
“I mean, he’s not exactly subtle about it.”
“‘s that so?” Jimin hums then, and there’s this curious little grin dancing over his lips.“Such a heartbreaker you are, hyung.”
“I’m a fucking flower.”
“Sure you are.”
“If I’m so unbearable then why are you here with me?”
“You came to my door, prick. I’m not the one who didn’t want to eat alone.”
“Oh, please, as if you had anything better to do.”
Jimin arches an eyebrow. “You know, hyung, I don’t wanna hear it from a guy whose closest friends are all dudes he has slept with at least once.”
Yoongi presses his lips together, looks away. Jimin seems very pleased with this victory. They play this game too much, and Jimin is always in the lead, knows Yoongi too well. “You might wanna look into that.”
“You and my therapist would get along great.”
Jimin snorts. They eat in silence for a while, a blonde girl on-screen gets axed in the head.
“So? What are you gonna do about Taehyung?”
Yoongi puts the cup down next to the pot on the coffee table and leans back, shoulders pressed against the bottom of the sofa. “I don’t know.”
“Do you like him?”
“I’m not blind.”
“I mean past his looks.”
“He’s nice,” Yoongi replies under a few moments. “Seems like the sweetest motherfucker. Pets random dogs.”
Jimin smiles. “Mmh, he does that, yeah.”
“Not really looking for relationships at the moment.” Yoongi grimaces as a brutal, but smartly censored, dick-cutting scene is proudly displayed on the screen. “Or sweet guys.”
Jimin tuts. “Must be nice, not looking for relationships but still having guys drool over you.”
Yoongi rolls his eyes, knocks at Jimin’s ankle with his foot. “I’ve been trying to hook you up with Jungkook but you always say no.”
Jimin stares at him, incredulous.“That kid has anime figurines in his room. I don’t want him.”
“He’s harmless and has a huge fucking heart.”
“Plus, I don’t want your sloppy seconds.”
“Bold of you to assume I have any to offer.”
Jimin decides he’s had enough food and puts away his cup as well before scooting closer to Yoongi. Jimin drops his head on Yoongi’s shoulder, taking a deep breath when Yoongi wraps an arm around his shoulders in response.
Jimin doesn’t leave his house much. Won’t say why. Maybe he doesn’t need to.
Yoongi sees how Jimin sometimes looks out the window like he’s scared someone will be standing behind it. How his entire body becomes a stone when the phone rings.
Jimin needs the Fridays. Yoongi is glad to give them to him.
“I didn’t mean it.”
Yoongi blinks, looks down at Jimin’s face. “Mh?”
“He’s not out of your league,” Jimin replies softly, eyes on the screen. “No one is.”
He’s dangerous. Jimin. Has too much kindness in his bones and gives it away too easily.
“Hyung, you deserve someone good.” Jimin’s hand finds Yoongi’s, their fingers lacing together. “Taehyung is that and so much more. So maybe give it a go?”
Yoongi doesn’t reply.
In his head, all he sees are broad shoulders clad in a black coat.
Yoongi’s arms are about to fall off and he’s starting to regret not bringing a tripod. Then again, tripods are heavy and they take space, and if he were to be found out because of it, then Yoongi would probably regret losing his life more. Sore arms it is.
From the rooftop where he’s hiding, he has a clear view of the docks where the drop is taking place. Yoongi squints his eyes, counts heads from the viewfinder of the camera, 800mm lens heavy in his palm as he zooms out: seven people. He takes a shot, then another, shutter noiseless.
He shouldn’t be here and that’s the big truth of it all, but Namjoon can be damn persuasive, especially when he has enough money to fund this investigation.
The spread of Danica Powder had a spike in the last month. A kid died three weeks ago, overdosed on it. Eighteen years old, an entire life ahead of him, and a girlfriend he’d been dating for three years who had decided to put aside her grief in favor of anger. Her eyes were dry when Yoongi went to interview her, mouth white when she gave him the name of the dealer who sold the drug to them, where the deal took place, what he looks like. Tracing back to him was easy enough, following him to the docks easier still.
So, Yoongi shouldn’t be here, but he wants to be.
His legs are numb after having been knelt for the past hour or so, eyes stinging with the lack of sleep. It’s getting close to four in the morning, but they’re finally here and Yoongi isn’t going to miss this chance.
He takes shot after shot of the men dropping boxes in inconspicuous looking warehouses, Yoongi will have to find out under what fake name they’re registered, what fake reason has been given for their existence. He moves the camera slowly, zooms on all seven men’s faces, darkness heavy around him but not where the drop is taking place, the streetlamps casting yellow cones of light around every single one of them.
There are two cars, too. Darkened windows. One person came out of one and then disappeared inside the other, but he’d been smart, covering most of his face with an umbrella. Whoever’s in those cars, they’re the ones pulling the reins. Yoongi doesn’t think he’ll be able to take a shot of their faces, but maybe if he’s lucky enough he can get a license plate.
Another hour goes by, more boxes pulled out of a boat, and shuffled into the warehouse. Once that’s done, everyone starts leaving without saying a word, each of the seven lackeys heading into different directions. Yoongi waits. The car door opens, the same man as before walks out, umbrella already opened, covering his face.
“Fucker,” Yoongi whispers, takes more shots of him anyway.
Umbrella-man walks back inside the second car, drives away. Yoongi has a perfect view of the license plate and he immediately takes a long string of photos as the car goes away. It might be fake, but that’s a problem for later, with enough digging and enough bribing he can find out who has provided the fake number. He tries to do the same with the other car, but they’ve been smarter and covered the license plate.
Then, the docks are empty and silent.
Yoongi sighs and finally lowers the camera, muscles throbbing in relief. He starts taking care of his equipment, takes off the lenses and puts them away in their own protective case, before he has a quick look at the picture of the license plate from the camera’s screen: 123JO0689.
Yoongi frowns. “Why do I know this?”
“ What’s a pretty thing like you doing in a place like this?”
Yoongi jumps, ends up almost dropping his camera and his own fucking dignity at the same time. He turns around, a hand over his chest, heart beating like a hammer in between his ribs, with V’s masked face a few inches away from his.
“This is a nice spot,” V says.
Yoongi groans, seven years of his lifespan lost just like this. “Jesus fucking—”
“You can’t fucking creep up on people like that! And what are you doing here?”
V shrugs. His coat is pristine. Not a crease in sight. Yoongi is starting to wonder if he has several, identical coats to use, one for each day of the week. “Same thing you are, apparently. Keeping tails on whoever’s distributing that drug. The real question is, why are you ?”
Yoongi sighs and grabs for his bag, putting the camera in it. “What do you mean why?”
“Since when are you an investigative journalist?”
“Since always, actually.” Yoongi zips the bag closed and then glances at V. “But investigative journalism is dying and not many people have the balls or a clean enough record to fund it.”
V hums, eyes unrealistically dark with the black paint around them. “Clearly, Namjoon does.”
Yoongi takes in a very deep, very deliberate breath. “Now how the fuck do you know—”
“At this point, you should just not be surprised anymore.”
“Right.” Yoongi shakes his head, grabs the bag, and fixes the strap over his chest.
V looks at him for a few moments before he clicks his tongue. “Ah, this isn’t good.”
“You, investigating this.”
Yoongi’s eyebrow arches. “Crossing the street is dangerous. Eating peanuts too fast is dangerous.”
“This is serious.”
“Okay. Alright, look.” Yoongi stands up and V does the same, which isn’t a very generous move of him considering he has too much height on his side. “I get that you’re a brooding vigilante with, probably, a very dark backstory, but you also sound and seem fucking young. I’ve been doing this job fresh out of high school even before getting my degree. I know what I’m doing. I don’t need a Batman copycat to remind me that my job is dangerous.”
V remains silent for a while. Yoongi has half a thought of just ripping that stupid mouth-mask off of him just so he can get a look at his expression, because talking to a pair of pretty eyes can get frustrating real damn quick.
Then, V sighs and steps back, gives him space. “I didn’t mean to demean you. I’m sorry.”
There’s a little whine caught in his voice, something a child would do when he gets caught red-handed stealing candies from their grandma’s purse. Yoongi suddenly feels like giving this dangerous, morally ambiguous vigilante a pat on the shoulder and a warm glass of milk.“No, it’s fine, it’s—”
“I just worry.”
There it goes again, his chest being tugged and punched. Treacherous little shit.
It’s just that V is way too fucking earnest. His voice does this thing at the end, where it trembles just a little, goes deeper, like he lost control of it for a moment.
Most of him is an act, Yoongi knows this. The ridiculous outfit, the attitude, the lame pick-up lines. Yet, V is honest. Startlingly so. And his eyes are too big, too dark. Yoongi hates that, for a while now, he keeps dreaming about them, and wants to kick himself in the face for not being able to look away.
For a moment, V’s gloved fingers twitch. Something cracks between them, in the small negative space between their bodies, and Yoongi steps back, suddenly terrified of what he could do.
“You know—” Yoongi clears his throat. “As much as I appreciate that, I can’t exactly stop doing my job because you get worried.”
Under that mask, there’s a smile for sure. “Yeah. I know.”
“You’re really weird.”
“I am.” In a warm voice, then, “But you kind of like it.”
Yoongi scoffs, points an accusatory finger. “You need to stop doing that.”
V’s cheekbones rise even higher. Like fucking bread dough. “Doing what?”
“You know what.”
“I don’t think I do.”
“For fuck— flirting .”
“Oh?” This damn guy really can’t hide his emotions well, it’s way too clear that he’s ecstatic right now. “Is that what we’re doing?”
“You. It’s what you are doing.”
V nods, slowly, almost like he’s trying to pacify a child. “See, I’d stop doing that if it wasn’t that I know you like it.”
“I—” What? He what? He doesn’t like it? That’s a damn lie. Yoongi lets out a resigned sigh. “I hate you.”
“Not at all.”
Yoongi looks at him for a few moments. Considers the pros and cons, does a whole mental bullet-list with those. Then, he says, “Grant me an interview.”
V’s eyes widen, jaw going slack. “Excuse me?”
“If you wanna keep flirting with me then let me interview you. I won’t try to uncover your identity or anything like that, and whatever question will make you uncomfortable you can simply not answer.”
Hoseok is right. Yoongi is indeed a journalist first and a human second, because this is a new low even for him. It’s not even out of malice—he’s just being selfish. If he gets an interview, then he’ll be the first journalist to score one with Seoul’s vigilante. It must count for something in a resume. Plus, he gets to enjoy more of V’s attention. More of that deliciously painful tugging at his chest.
This is just another thing that will drive Yoongi’s therapist insane.
But, V seems hesitant. He looks at Yoongi in a way he can’t pinpoint, eyes unfamiliarly lidded, posture slightly stiff.
“Well,” Yoongi shrugs and grabs the case with his lense, stuffs it in his bag. “It was worth a shot. Until next time I get used as a hostage, V.”
“I’ll do it.”
Yoongi stops dead in his tracks. “What?”
“The interview. I’ll do it.”
“Where and when?”
Yoongi blinks. “Are you doing it because you genuinely want to or just because you want to flirt more?”
And V, full-time smug asshole, part-time vigilante, stares at Yoongi with a look that might just make him do unspeakable things on this rooftop and replies, “I think you know the answer. So. My place or yours?”
It ends up being Yoongi’s place.
His condo is the only one with a private balcony, so Yoongi sets up an IKEA table there, grabs two chairs from his kitchen, and for a second he entertains the idea of making tea. Just so that he can sip on it like a cartoon villain when V arrives.
He decides against it because V doesn’t deserve his tea.
Yoongi checks his clock, there’s still a few minutes before V will be here. Yoongi still doesn’t know from where exactly V is gonna arrive. He highly doubts he’d ring the doorbell. And now that he thinks about it, isn’t it slightly worrying that now the vigilante knows his address?
Whatever, Yoongi thinks, What’s the worst that could happen? I already almost got killed twice in less than three months.
So he sits back, fingers tapping next to his recorder and notepad. When Yoongi called Namjoon yesterday and told him, “So hypothetically, how much would you pay for an exclusive interview with V?”, Namjoon had promptly passed out. Yoongi had to stay at the phone for ten minutes whilst Hoseok and Seokjin tried to wake him up, first by gently shaking him, then by aggressively slapping him. As soon as Namjoon came to, he had grabbed his phone and replied, “ Name a goddamn price.”
Always nice making business with Namjoon.
Now, Yoongi sits on his balcony, May has just begun and showed itself as a warm, windy blessing all around him, evening quiet, and he decides that this might be a good time to do some self-reflection. His therapist always tells him he’s decent at that.
So, he’s been almost killed twice. Used as a hostage once. The common denominator seems to be V. The guy he invited to his house. The guy he wouldn’t mind pressing down on his bed. The guy he wouldn’t mind getting railed by either. And Yoongi is far too familiar with his little problem regarding sex and his inability to turn it into something a bit more romantic. So where does this take him?
“To Hell,” Yoongi replies to himself and nods, satisfied. Good job on self-reflection. He should do this more often.
“Who’s going to Hell?”
Yoongi startles, almost falls off the chair, and then whips around, groaning at how V is happily perched on top of the rooftop’s edge.
“How did you even get there?”
“With a lot of patience and prayers.” V jumps off, lands almost soundlessly next to Yoongi, knees bending to bare the impact. “May I say, Yoongi-ssi, you look absolutely gorgeous tonight.”
“You may not say. Now, please sit over there.”
“Is that an order?”
“Let’s see where patience and prayers get you when I kick you off this balcony.”
“Is that a threat or an offer?”
Yoongi takes a deep breath. This is going to be a long night. And no, he’s not flustered. “I see you really took it to heart when I told you you could keep on flirting.”
“Yes.” V does sit down on the other chair eventually, chin on his gloved palm, cheekbones high. He looks way too happy. “I mean, I would hold back if only you didn’t like it.”
Yoongi hums, arms crossed over his chest. “What if it made me uncomfortable?”
“ If it did.”
“I’d stop.” V’s eyes curve up, shine just a little. “But you like it.”
“I hate that you’re right.”
“You’ll find out I’m always right.”
“Uh-huh.” Yoongi opens his notepad, grabs the gel-pen. His questions are already written down, some notes here and there for reminders. “Anyway, we should start—”
“Your house looks nice.” V leans a bit to the side so he can look into the flat from the balcony’s window. “You should give me a tour.”
Yoongi frowns. “My house is very boring.”
“Nothing about you could be boring.”
“Jesus— fine , I’ll give you a tour.” Yoongi takes off the pen’s lid. “After we’re done.”
V hums and really, that mask is kind of useless because it’s so obvious he’s grinning ear to ear. “Alright. Let’s start then.”
Yoongi breathes in and leans forward, reaching for the recorder. “As I told you if anything makes you uncomfortable, then tell me. And if you want to say—” He turns on the microphone. “—anything off the record, you must state so before answering or asking questions .”
[Silence stretches on for three, four, five seconds. A pen’s tip taps onto paper.]
“ Would you die for it?”
“ For what?”
“ Your justice.”
“ No. Even that isn’t worthy of my life.”
“ You put yourself in danger more than once, though.”
“ For people.”
“ I’m not sure I follow.”
“I put myself in danger for people. If there’s a life I can save, I’ll try to save it.”
“ Then would you die for them? For the people?”
“ That’s—” [A nervous laughter, silence.] “No. No, I guess not. I’m not that heroic.”
“ I think you’re doing just fine without needing to die for strangers. Off the record.”
“ Mh. Then, also off the record: for some people, I would.”
“ My family. My friend. For them, I’d die. For someone I love.”
“They wouldn’t let you.”
“ Good luck trying to stop me.”
“ Of course.”
“ Would you?”
“ Would I what?”
“ Stop me.”
“ You’re such a—”
“ Humour a man, Yoongi-ssi.”
“ You wouldn’t die for me, so the problem doesn’t subsist.”
“ Who says I wouldn’t?”
“ Don’t be ridiculous.”
“ You know, Yoongi-ssi, I think there’s something you’re not understanding.”
“ Please, enlighten me.”
“ You matter.”
“ In the grand scheme of things, everything matters. Ants matter. Bees.”
“ You matter to me .”
[A gasp. It’s quiet, but the microphone drinks it in.]
“ Why do you look so surprised? I thought it was pretty clear.”
“ You—what the fuck?”
“ This wasn’t really the reaction I was expecting.”
“ Why? Why the fuck would I matter to you? You met me not even three months ago. You don’t know me.”
“ I’d like to.”
“ Oh my God. Stop giving me that look, it doesn’t suit you.”
“ I feel like I’m being rejected.”
“ I’m not—that’s not the point here.”
“ It’s alright. I just wanted to make it clear. Because, y’know, given your track record, you might just get into some other kind of ridiculous trouble. And when that happens, I’ll be there. On the line. For you.”
“ So, yeah. You matter to me. A lot.”
“— Okay. Okay, got it.”
“ Let’s—” [Pages rustling.] “Let’s move on. I have one last question for you.”
Yoongi shouldn’t be here.
There are no excuses, there’s no way of getting around this: Yoongi just shouldn’t be here.
He will blame Hoseok for this entirely. He’s the one who put the idea in Yoongi’s head last week when he had complained about the stump he met in the investigation on Kim Woonpin. That license plate he had found had given Yoongi no results, either it was fake or it had been wiped out from any existing record, which made no sense because Yoongi remembered it. That’s when Hoseok had the brilliant idea of saying, “ Y’know, the private offices of Kim Woonpin have a shitty security system. You can’t get in once they close, but if you—hypothetically—get locked inside then it’s fine. No alarm will ring. Just saying. Just putting it out there. ”
It’s midnight and Yoongi is locked inside Kim Woonpin’s offices. A huge stupid thing of a building, seven floors, and for what? Sure, he’s a businessman and executive manager of a huge pharmaceutical company and a politician, but are seven floors necessary? The elevators are obviously not working since the whole place is closed, and Yoongi has to climb up so many stairs that once he finally reaches Woonpin’s private office, at the very top of the building, his legs are so sore and numb he stumbles through his steps.
Yoongi stands in front of the door to the office for a moment before he hesitantly reaches for the doorknob. He might have to break it open. Surely Kim Woonpin can’t be so idiotic to leave the door open when—
“This fucker is stupid,” Yoongi murmurs as the door opens without a hitch.
Inside, the place is as inconspicuous as any other rich man’s office. The walls are covered with framed pieces of paper, whatever degrees the guy has, awards he’s received, photos of him on a boat with a dead fish held in his hand. Suddenly, he misses Namjoon’s wall clock.
Yoongi closes the door behind him and heads to the desk, steps careful as he navigates the dark room, his phone’s flashlight the only thing not making him stumble into a glass coffee table. He aims for the laptop first, doubts he will get anything from it anyway, there must be a password protecting it. Turns out he’s right.
Yoongi sighs and sits down on Kim Woonpin’s chair, looking around the desk. Pictures of his family. Lots of them. Especially his daughter. Her name is Eunwa.
“Surely not,” Yoongi whispers, gloved fingers typing his daughter’s name into the laptop. The screen clears up. “Holy shit, he’s actually stupid.”
Yoongi reads through the various files’ names—most look like the company’s yearly records, documents, contracts. Yoongi doesn’t have time to read through them all and will just assume they’re not encrypted; at this point, he highly doubts Kim Woonpin even knows what an encrypted file is. He grabs the USB key from his pocket, fits in the computer, and starts copying all the files. It’s going to take a while, so Yoongi starts going through the desk’s drawers. Most of it might be junk, but he still takes photos of every sheet of paper, a video as he scrolls through Kim Woonpin’s personal agenda, one eye on the closed door.
This is going well. Too well.
Maybe he is still lucky. Sure, he got used as a hostage once, but whose life doesn’t meet some hiccups?
“I still got it,” Yoongi says just as the sound of approaching steps reaches his ears. “Or not.”
Quickly, Yoongi hides under the desk, brings the chair closer so he can stay covered, doesn’t even have time to think about turning off the computer: the door opens.
This is Hoseok’s fault.
Nah, fuck it, it’s his fault for even listening to Hoseok. Who the hell does that?
He can’t wait to receive Seokjin’s happy birthday card once he’s in jail. He can already imagine it, in Seokjin’s perfect hand-writing: Congrats on being a fool for listening to Hoseok, happy birthday, go fuck yourself.
Whoever came inside the office walks slowly, steps muffled by the carpeted floor. They walk around the room, then to the desk, stopping just behind the chair. Might be a security guard. Hoseok didn’t tell him about them but, well, fuck Hoseok.
Slowly, the chair gets dragged back and Yoongi holds his breath, thinks that this really is it, that he’s not made for jail, he’s too spoiled, then he notices a pair of spotless Gucci boots and he curses out loud.
“Hey, handsome.” V crouches down, eyes tingling with mirth. “What’s a doll like you doing here?”
Yoongi blinks at him, a hand over his hammering heart. “Collecting evidence against a corrupt politician who may be involved in a drug scandal. Now get out of the way.”
V’s brows furrow together. He might be pouting. “Yoongi-ssi, you were supposed to say 'waiting for you', or something.”
Yoongi rolls his eyes, and gets out of the desk, straightening up and pretending he didn’t just have the scare of a lifetime.
“So—” V glances at the computer’s screen. “Found anything?”
“No, not good.”
“It is good. The less you know the better.”
Yoongi frowns at him. “Why does that sound like you know a lot about him?”
V shrugs and then points at him. “Love the mask and gloves.”
“Were you inspired by my aesthetic?”
“More like I didn’t want the cameras to catch my face. Or to leave fingerprints.”
V waves a dismissive hand in front of his face. “Don’t worry about the cameras, I hacked into the security system, they’re all frozen.”
“What do you mean why?”
“Were you planning on coming here?”
V scoffs. “Not until you decided to.”
Yoongi lets a few moments go by, brain registering V’s words. “How did you know I was going to come here?”
V stiffens. Probably the first time since Yoongi met him that one of his reactions is so obvious. “You know, Yoongi-ssi, sometimes you ask really inconvenient questions.”
“Part of my job. Now answer.”
V breathes in deeply, crosses his arms over his chest. “You’re not interviewing me anymore, I don’t have to answer a damn thing.”
“Files are all transferred, by the way.”
Yoongi looks at the computer’s screen and sighs before ejecting the USB key and stuffing it back in his pocket.
“Great!” V exclaims with a strained voice. “Since we’re done here, let’s go.”
“Give me a second.”
“One second has gone by, now let’s—”
Yoongi grabs a sheet of papers that he had overlooked earlier: it’s a logbook from a garage in Nowon-Gu . For a moment, the list of numbers and letters is so overwhelming that Yoongi can’t make sense of it until he spots a familiar combination.
“ 123JO0689,” Yoongi murmurs as realization settles. “These are all license plates. This fucker has been using and switching up fake license plates for months.” By his side, V lets out a long, suffering sigh. “I knew it, I fucking knew I saw that license plate before.”
“Could be a coincidence.”
“He’s involved in the circulation of that drug.” Yoongi starts snapping photos of the logbook with his phone before he puts it back inside the drawer.
“You know, there’s this new place that opened not so far from here, aren’t you hungry? I’m hungry, we should go eat.”
“He’s probably been covering it by masking it as one of the meds his company sells. The second I start digging in his papers I’ll find something, I know I’ll—” The rest of his sentence drops somewhere in the back of his throat when V grabs him by the shoulders and twists him around.
“Yoongi!” V nearly shouts and it's the first time Yoongi ever hears him raise his voice. “Look, I know we talked about boundaries and me not butting into your job and, well, now that you found out about this there’s not much I can do about it. But here’s how things are going to go: you are going to follow me and we’re going to get out of this fucking place because trained, heavily armed, private guards are about to storm inside in three minutes. Give or take.”
Yoongi stares at him for a moment, his mind helpfully noticing that V’s hands are very large around his shoulders, and then frowns. “Well, why didn’t you just say that instead of asking me out?!”
V’s grip on him loosens. “You thought I was asking you out?”
“Would you say yes if I did?”
“Focus. Heavily armed guards.”
“Right, let’s go.”
All in all, Yoongi thinks they’ve got this. V is fast and knows the building’s layout better than him, guiding Yoongi through the maze of offices and conference rooms, down the stairs two steps at a time, and before he knows it they’ve already reached the fourth floor.
V turns to the left, Yoongi follows after him, then he’s pushed down to the ground, V’s body heavy on his. Not a second after, gunshots ring across the empty building.
“Fucksake!” V grabs Yoongi by the arm, pulls him up and starts running, dragging him along before he pushes a finger over his ear. “You said three minutes!”
Earpiece. He must be in contact with someone from outside, maybe his hacker. V pulls Yoongi inside an empty conference room, the door closing behind them, and they both kneel down.
“Oh.” V blinks. “Three minutes have gone by, you’re right.”
So maybe they do not “ got this .”
Yoongi pushes back his hair, feels his forehead damp with cold sweat. “You don’t happen to have guns on you, I assume.”
V shakes his head. “I don’t use fire weapons.”
“How very fucking noble of you.”
“I don’t like them.”
“You didn’t seem to have that kind of problem when you shot a guy in the leg!”
“You were involved, it’s different.”
Yoongi stares at him, eyes widening. “Are you flirting right now?!”
“I’m always flirting! Shit !”
More gunshots, slowly but surely getting closer to their hiding spot. V grabs him by the wrist and they rush out of the empty room, heading to one of the emergency exits, and then they’re running up the stairs to the fifth floor.
“Minnie, electric doors, lock them! Fifth floor!”
Behind him, Yoongi hears the magnetic locks clicking. They run through lines of private booths, office desks empty, and then reach a line of elevators. V pushes him down on his knees again before he crouches as well, chest rising and falling fast.
“Elevators, get them moving—then try faster!” V fixes his hat, because of course he does, then rolls his eyes. “Now’s not the time to get sulky, I’m not mad at you, I’m under some fucking stress! No, I’m not saying that you aren’t!”
God, Yoongi is going to die here. He pulls down his mouth-mask, lungs burning after running for so long. “Can you—can you two stop acting like an old married couple and just do your thing?!”
“Now you even made Yoongi mad!”
“I’m not mad, I’m trying to stay alive!”
V stays silent for a few moments, then turns to face Yoongi. “Minnie said, then next time don’t break into a politician’s office .”
“Great, now I’m getting scolded by a hacker that goes by Minnie.” Yoongi wipes a hand over his face. “How do they even know we broke in? You said you froze the cameras.”
V shakes his head, eyes nervously darting to the left. “Hell if I know.”
Suddenly, a loud ding goes off and the elevator doors slide open. Before Yoongi can even get up on his feet by his own will, V has him already pushed inside, pressed against one of the walls.
“Which floors are free? Oh, well, that’s very convenient.” V presses the button for the first floor, releases a long breath when the doors close and the elevator starts moving.
Maybe it’s the fear, the tension, but Yoongi feels like this thing moves particularly slowly.
Or maybe it’s the fact that he’s caged against a wall by two strong arms, and large shoulders, and fuck , adrenaline is one hell of a drug. Moments of pure silence go by, Yoongi trying very hard to not think about how nicely V’s chest feels pressed flush against his, or how easy it would be to pull down that ridiculous mask and do something very stupid. Then, V suddenly mutters a curse, forehead bumping on Yoongi’s shoulder.
“Are you okay?” Yoongi asks, chest tight. “What’s wrong with you?”
“This isn’t good.”
A deep breath. “I am having a lot of thoughts right now.”
Yoongi groans, eyes rolling, cheeks aflame. “Oh, you must be fucking kidding me.”
“Can you blame me?” V asks as he lifts his head, all huge, pleading eyes and, no doubt, a pout hiding behind that mask.
“As a matter of fact, yes I can. We could be shot. Now’s not the time to think about—I don’t even wanna say it.”
V stares at him for a moment, then his eyes flicker down, to where Yoongi’s mouth is, gaze heavy. “You’re not exactly pushing me away though.”
Yoongi, despite all his best efforts, shivers at how goddamn deep this guy’s voice can get. “And you’re not moving away either.”
“Do you want me to?”
Yoongi’s hand grabs onto the hem of V’s coat, keeps him there, still, against him. “You’re insufferable.”
“Oh, this is the best day of my life.”
“If they don’t pop a bullet in your left asscheek then I will.”
“Uh, slow down with the dirty-talk, the elevator fantasy is already doing its numbers on me and—” V blinks, brows furrowed. “Jesus, Minnie, stop yelling in my ear, just mute us, I’m trying something here.”
“Oh, thank God,” Yoongi mutters as the elevator doors open.
V sighs before he finally steps back from Yoongi, holding up one hand as he peaks out of the elevator. After a few moments, he flicks his fingers, signaling that the floor is free, and they both walk out.
They’re in what looks like the building’s cafeteria: rows and rows of tables and chairs, neatly arranged, empty food displayers pressed to one side. V walks in large strides towards the windows and looks outside. After a moment, he hums and turns around.
“Seems safe enough.” He says whilst grabbing a chair.
With dread settling nice and low in his stomach, Yoongi feels like he knows where this is going.
“You want us to fucking jump.”
V bashes the metal chair against the window once, then twice, then once more, until the glass begins cracking. He throws the chair away then kicks at the glass, finally breaking the window. “It’s really not as high of a fall as it seems.”
“Yeah, for you, maybe!”
V sighs and starts walking towards him. “Yoongi-ssi.”
Yoongi lets out a burst of incredulous laughter, shaking his head. “I’m going to die if—”
“No, you’ll die if you stay here. You might just break an arm if you jump. Or a leg.”
“You’re not exactly helping your case here.”
V’s gaze hardens and in two steps he’s in front of Yoongi, gloved hands cradling his cheeks.
“Listen to me,” V murmurs, his voice faintly strained. “I need to make one thing very straight ‘cause I’m not sure you’re on my same track. If you die here, if anything happens to you, I will murder every single person who stands in my way. And then I’ll go look for Kim Woonpin, and I’ll kill him too. And I’m not one for murder. I don’t want to be a murderer. So please, please.” He heaves a deep sigh, fingers trembling over Yoongi’s skin. “Don’t make me into one and just jump off this window with me.”
Yoongi thinks this is just a very unfair way of putting things into perspective. But, at the same time, V is right; if Yoongi stays here he’ll die. Jail seemed to be the worst-case scenario up until a few minutes ago, but things change fairly quickly. And V—he could die too, it’s not like the guy is immortal. The only reason he’s even here at all is because Yoongi decided to break into the office.
So, in the end, this is his fault.
“Fine.” Yoongi swallows and he grabs V’s hand, squeezes it. “Alright, we jump.”
Under the mask, V seems to be smiling. “The Thelma to my Louise.”
“I hope you break your skull when you fall.”
Suddenly, gunshots. Yoongi doesn’t hesitate and he starts running, V standing behind him, arms abruptly wrapping around Yoongi’s waist as bullets start flying around them, one so close that Yoongi’s ear rings, and then they’re jumping, V’s body almost curling around Yoongi’s as they all.
And it is as high as it looked.
The landing is harsh, punches the air right out of Yoongi’s lungs, turns his limbs into numb, useless things for more seconds than he can count. He doesn’t even want to imagine how harsher it could have been had it not been for V’s body taking most of the grunt, still holding onto him even as they lay on the ground.
Yoongi blinks, shakes his head to try and get rid of the dizziness, then forces himself up on unsteady legs, hands weak as they grab V and pull him up.
“We need to fucking go,” Yoongi hisses.
After a second of hesitation, V dashes forward and Yoongi follows after him.
They run into the dark, streets empty, and V seems to be familiar with every nook and alley of this area, guides them through narrow streets Yoongi didn’t know existed, in between closed coffee shops and stores, down a round of stairs that lead them into a dark, deserted alley.
They both collapse on their knees as soon as they stop running, their breathing ragged and shallow. V drags himself towards a brick wall, leans against it, eyes closed, a hand clutching on his right arm. Yoongi doesn’t even have the strength to do that, just kneels down on the ground, hands pressed against the rough asphalt, with his lungs threatening to explode right here and now.
“Fuck.” Yoongi swallows, mouth dry. “Worst—worst fucking experience of my life. Never doing this again.”
V chuckles weakly. “That actually reassures me, yes. Please don’t do this again.”
“Right.” Yoongi glances at him. “Thank you. Y’know, just—for everything. ”
V hums, nods slowly. “Don’t mention it. Now, you should go.”
“I can’t move my legs.”
“That’s a problem. I’d really appreciate it if you left now.”
Yoongi glares at him. One would think that almost getting killed in each other’s arms would strengthen a bond, instead he’s getting kicked out of—the very shady alley they’re hiding in. “I don’t wanna be here either, thanks. As soon as my fucking legs decide to work again, I’ll leave you alone.”
V looks at him for a few seconds, eyes unreadable. Then, he breathes out, shoulders slumped. “Ah, damn it,” he mutters. “This will ruin my cool, badass persona.”
“Just—” V hesitates before slowly letting go of his arm. Even in the darkness, with only a very weak, flickering streetlamp to light the space, Yoongi can see V’s glove is wet.
“Shit.” Yoongi starts moving towards him, legs still not working properly. “You’re bleeding.”
“Wow, Yoongi-ssi, nothing goes past your journalist senses.”
“Did you get shot?”
“Most likely. It’s nothing.”
“ It’s nothing? ” Yoongi stares at him, concern and fear so goddamn solid in his stomach he thinks he’s going to throw up. “What if you fucking bleed out?!”
“I won’t, the bullet didn’t hit me, it’s just a scratch.”
“Get up.” Yoongi forces himself up, staggers for a moment. “You’re coming to my place.”
V shakes his head. “I’ll be fine, just—”
“Listen, you fucking brat.” Yoongi leans down, looks at him in the eyes. “You told me I matter a lot, didn’t you?”
V breathes in. “I did.”
“Well, newsflash, maybe the feeling is mutual.” Well, there he goes. He said it. Probably a dumb fucking move, but near-death experiences do that to a man. “So now you’re going to get up, you’ll come with me and you’ll let me patch you up before I leave your sorry ass here to bleed to death.”
V looks at him, eyes widening by the second. Then, with a voice thick with glee, he says, “Oh God, Minnie, did you hear that? Mark the date, mark the fucking— ”
“This is the worst day of my life.”
It takes them almost two hours to reach Yoongi’s house, since taking a cab or the subway with Seoul’s vigilante is out of the equation.
As soon as Yoongi opens the door, V aims for the couch and drops onto it as if his bones were made of stones, head thrown back on the headrest. Yoongi doesn’t waste time and locks the door behind him before he rushes to the bathroom. His first aid kit is a bit miserable, but at least the bottle of hydrogen peroxide is only half-empty, and there are clean bandages. Yoongi grabs his sewing kit as well and heads back to the living room.
“Get that stupid hat off.”
V blinks at him. “Why?”
“Because I might have to close a wound with a needle, and your stupid hat is very distracting.”
“You raise a compelling argument.” V takes the hat off with, throws it to the side without care before pulling back his hair, damp with sweat.
Yoongi stares. Just a bit. As a treat. “Huh.”
Yoongi shrugs and sits on the armrest. “Your hair is longer than I thought.”
“I can cut it if you don’t like—”
Jesus, this kid…
Yoongi opens the first aid kit. “I like it so please shut up.”
“Y’know, Yoongi-ssi,” V begins saying. “I kinda love it when you boss me around.”
This will be a long night. “Needle and thread, brat.”
“Right, got it.”
Carefully, V starts taking off his coat and—
There’s just a lot of skin on display. And a very tight black t-shirt. And V has the kind of chest Yoongi would probably lose an entire night of sleep over, his arms are bigger than he thought, and— there’s just a lot of skin . Yoongi had gotten so used to seeing V covered from head to toe that now he’s not exactly sure how to behave.
Still, after getting a hang of himself, he starts disinfecting V’s wound, which thankfully is more of a deep scratch, skin angry red. As Yoongi dabs cotton over the wound, V stiffens only for a moment at the burn, relaxing soon after, his eyes fluttering closed behind the mask. Maybe he’s used to this: getting patched up. Is his hacker, Minnie, the one who usually takes care of this? Or does V clean his own wounds by himself?
A nasty, uncomfortable knot ties around Yoongi’s ribs, tries to squeeze the bones together.
“Oh.” V suddenly takes a deep breath. “This is also giving me many thoughts.”
Yoongi feels like punching him for a second. “Stop thinking then.”
V snorts, shoulders shaking in a silent laugh. “You’re so fucking funny.”
“Thanks.” Yoongi throws the red-stained cotton on the floor, too tired to drag himself to the trashcan in the kitchen. “Well, good news—the wound isn’t that deep, I won’t have to close it. I’ll just wrap it with bandages. You still might wanna get that checked out, though.”
V hums. “No more needle and thread?”
“Does that mean I can talk about my many nurse-related fantasies?”
“God, this fucking—” Abruptly, V reaches for his eye mask. He fiddles with it for a few moments before he finally manages to get it off his face, dropping it next to the hat and then heaving a deep sigh. “Sorry. Paint gets itchy when I sweat under it, it was driving me insane.”
Yoongi thinks he’s the one who might go insane. He grabs the bandages with stiff hands, eyes unsure of where to focus.
“You—” Yoongi clears his voice, starts wrapping the bandage around V’s arm. “You sure that’s a smart move?”
V lets out a weak scoff. “I highly doubt you’ll be able to recognize me just from this.”
“Mh. Yeah, you’re right.”
That is not the point.
The point is—
What? That he’s gorgeous? That this is too much all at once because Yoongi was ready to accept that all he was ever going to see of V was the cut of his eyes, the bridge of his nose? That there’s something impossibly attractive about the shape of V’s eyes, or how he somehow has pretty eyebrows? That without the eye-mask, his lashes look even longer? That one of V’s eyelids is different from the other and Yoongi wants to press his lips there? All of the above?
Yoongi ignores the kicking and tugging at his chest and keeps doing his job, secures the bandage safely around V’s arm, and calls it a day.
“Stay for a minute.” Yoongi closes the first-aid kit and musters some strength to stand up, heading to the kitchen to drop everything there. “Don’t go jumping from roof to roof when you can barely walk.”
When he walks back to the couch, Yoongi expects V to refuse and start an unnecessarily long speech about how dangerous that is, and how they have to be smart about this, it’s all vigilante business and etiquette.
Instead, V just looks at him, eyes huge and pleading, skin still pale, something tight pulling his brows together.
“Yeah, can I—” V squirms on the couch. “Can I stay?”
It hits Yoongi again that V is a kid. Can’t be older than twenty-three. Seoul’s vigilante, who goes out in the night to chase after criminals and goes out of his way to rescue journalists from being held hostages is a college kid.
“Yeah. Yeah, you can,” Yoongi sighs. “Do you want anything? Water, food? I’ll look away if you need to take the mask off, so—”
“Could you—” V hesitates. “Nothing.”
“Could you sit here?” V pats the empty spot on the couch next to him. “With me?”
Yoongi wonders if this is just the beginning of a long series of requests he won’t be able to say no to. Without a word, Yoongi sits down next to V, takes a deep breath as his muscles finally loosen up, limbs suddenly very heavy. They’re exhausted, both of them, to the point that no one speaks for several minutes, the room quiet and strangely warm. Safe.
Yoongi stares at the ceiling for a while, then his gaze drops to the space between them. V’s gloved hand is right next to Yoongi’s thigh, palm up.
“Are you okay?” Yoongi asks.
V holds his breath. “No.”
“Wanna talk about it?”
“About why your hands are shaking like that.”
V’s trembling fingers close into a fist, the leather of his gloves taut over the knuckles. In a small voice, almost a whisper, V says “I hate doing this.”
“I hate this life. Being a vigilante, or whatever they call it. I hate it. I only realized lately how much I hate it.”
Yoongi thinks about reaching for V’s hand, squeezing it, and offering some sort of comfort. He doesn’t. Realizes it might scare V away. “What about it do you hate?”
“Everything?” V sighs, eyes closed. “I—there’s so much I’m missing out on because of this. I hate this persona, it’s not me, this isn’t me . I’m different. And I hate that I get to be like this only with a mask on, it feels like a fraud. I’m a fraud.”
“I hate not being able to sleep at night without fearing that someone followed me and found out who I really am. I hate the perching. Jumping off rooftops, I’m actually scared of heights.” He scoffs, wipes a hand over his face, hesitates just above the mouth-mask. “I hate that I have to hide my name. I hate that I have to fear for my life, but even more—” V swallows harshly, tilts his head to the side, looks at Yoongi. “Even more, I hate that I have to fear for yours.”
And there it goes again, that cruel pull at Yoongi’s chest, the knot tightening around his ribs, breath choked out of his lungs.
“You wanna know why my hands are shaking? Because this is the third time someone aimed a gun at you. Because it’s the third time you almost died in front of me.”
“Jesus,” Yoongi hisses, feeling overwhelmed. “V, you—”
“And this is what I hate the most.” V’s voice changes, something in his tone dips. “That you don’t know my name now. That, in these moments, I don’t get to hear you say it. It’s going to drive me fucking insane.” He’s closer now, Yoongi hadn’t even noticed how close they got, doesn’t know who moved first. “You drive me insane. You’re goddamn reckless. A magnet for trouble. And the worst part of it is that I kind of really fucking like it.”
“You—” Yoongi’s mouth feels dry and without thinking about it he wets his lips, shivers pleasantly when V’s eyes catch the movement.
“I hate that your voice sounds like that, because it’s so attractive I feel like sooner or later I won’t be able to stop myself and I’ll do something I’ll regret, and you’ll push me away, and— fuck, Yoongi, stop looking at me like that or I’ll genuinely—”
“Get that stupid mask off and kiss me.”
It all happens so quickly that Yoongi’s brain doesn’t have the time to register his own words. V makes this quiet sound, pressing a hand over Yoongi’s eyes, and then he’s being kissed. Deeply. Yoongi wasn’t expecting this to be so intense so immediately, a part of him was convinced V was going to hesitate—but he doesn’t, not when he pries Yoongi’s lips open with his tongue, not when his free hand clutches at Yoongi’s shirt, tries to pull him closer.
Yoongi reasons it’s the adrenaline still lingering in their systems that makes them so desperate so soon. The danger they experienced. The fact that Yoongi has been fantasizing about getting his hands on V has nothing to do with how quickly he climbs over V’s lap, thighs pressing tight around his hips. V’s hand is still held over his eyes, a gentle pressure, but it stays there, and if that’s what he needs to feel safe, then Yoongi won’t push him.
Instead, he kisses V deeply, spreads his fingers over V’s chest and there’s something awfully pleasing about the way V turns suddenly pliant, softer. A shudder runs down Yoongi’s spine at the strained sound V makes when he bites his bottom lip, V’s breath hitching as Yoongi presses himself flush against him, fingers threading through soft, long hair, tugging gently at it, then—
V’s hand over Yoongi’s eyes pushes him back. It’s not harshly, far from it, but Yoongi still lets go of him immediately.
“What’s wrong?” V doesn’t answer immediately. Yoongi can only hear his fast breaths, can only feel how V’s body is becoming stiffer under him. “Want to stop?”
V groans and drops his forehead over Yoongi’s shoulder. “It’s just—we shouldn’t. I shouldn’t.”
“You shouldn’t or you don’t want to ?”
“Don’t be fucking ridiculous, of course I want to.” V sighs deeply and, in a small voice, adds, “We just shouldn’t.”
And it’s not like Yoongi doesn’t agree with him. There’s a whole list of reasons as to why this isn’t their smartest move, a whole lot of ethical dilemmas to consider, that big grey area they seem to be dancing into ever since they met.
“Should I stop?”
Still, Yoongi wants him.
V’s fingers tighten around Yoongi’s hip, body taut, breath held. Yoongi remains still, holding off a gasp when he feels V’s lips brush against his.
“Keep your eyes closed.” A moment passes, two, then V slowly pulls his hand away from Yoongi’s eyes before murmuring, “Please, don’t stop.”
Maybe he’s just imagining things, but Yoongi feels like this kiss is different from the first one.
It’s still as desperate, still a messy meeting of lips, and tongue, teeth dragging over soft, warm skin, but— it just feels different.
Yoongi tugs lightly at V’s hair, feels him gasping against Yoongi’s mouth, large hands holding him tighter, clutching at Yoongi’s shirt as if he’s trying to rip it off. Yoongi keeps his eyes closed as he leans down until he finds V’s jawline, teeth dragging over it, lips pressed over warm skin. V trails his hands lower, down to Yoongi’s thighs, fingers digging into the flesh, moving upwards, then, closer his hips, and Yoongi feels himself hardening, heat coiling, spreading.
Before he can think against it, Yoongi grinds his hips down. V’s next breath comes out strained, his hands suddenly grabbing at Yoongi’s ass. “God,” V groans, pushes Yoongi’s hips down on him again. “I wish you could fuck me.”
Yoongi shudders, grinds down harder, drags against the bulge in V’s pants. “That’s going to be a challenge if I can’t see you.”
“Maybe you should fuck me instead.”
V moans this deep, greedy little sound, and Yoongi kisses him again, tries to swallow it down, feel it on his tongue.
“Fate is a bitch though,” Yoongi adds then. “I have nothing here. No lube, no nothing.”
“That’s terrible news.”
“I guess you don’t have some either in that stupid coat of yours.”
“Y’know, you have a lot to say about my clothes, it’s starting to get— fuck.”
Yoongi grins to himself, hips rolling in slow circles, V’s cock hard and twitching against him. “You were saying?”
“You’re fucking unbearable. Why do I like that?”
“I just think you have very bad taste in men.”
V mutters something under his breath but Yoongi shushes him with another kiss, feels the way V gets lost in it and falls along with him, bodies moving together, easily, like they were supposed to be this close since the beginning.
The truth is, V kisses like he has something to prove. Like this is his only chance of showing Yoongi how it could feel, always, if only he’d let him.
For a split second, Yoongi thinks about his own issues with sex, and love. How he seems to be so good at discarding relationships as soon as he gets a taste of them and realizes that, this time, it scares him.
So Yoongi kisses V back like he’s got everything to lose, swallows down his deep moans until he can taste them on his tongue, feel their weight on his swollen lips. He shivers at the slow, agonizing pleasure that builds with each grind and press of V’s fingers on his legs, relishes in the way V’s body fits against his when his back arches, legs spreading further so he can feel more of Yoongi.
When V breaks the kiss, it’s only to press his mouth on Yoongi’s neck, to guide his hips down with more care, teeth pressing light pink on Yoongi’s throat, on the tender skin over his collarbones. He murmurs something about Yoongi’s voice, that he sounds good like this, and then moans quietly when Yoongi spreads his fingers over his chest, rubbing at his nipples through the shirt.
And it goes on, pleasure dragging and building until their hands are shaking, until moans turn into breathless, chasing noises, skin sensitive to the lightest touch, bodies greedy for something more that aches and sates at the same time. Suddenly, V’s body pulls taut, mouth falling slack over Yoongi’s neck, a moan rushing out like he tried to hold it in but failed, then he’s shuddering, holding Yoongi tighter.
Yoongi, eyes still closed, flinches when he’s being kissed again, so desperately it hurts, gasps when V’s hand palms at his cock over the jeans, fingers pressing harshly, teeth biting down his bottom lip, then he’s shaking too, head lolling back, a moan loud enough it will embarrass him when he wakes up tomorrow. But, for now, he lets himself swim through the rush of pleasure, basks in the warm attention of Taehyung’s embrace as he holds him upright and then pulls him closer, against him.
Yoongi hums quietly when V’s face presses in the crook of his neck, arms wrapped tightly around his waist. Yoongi buries his fingers in V’s hair, presses them to his scalp and cards them through long strands, his eyes finally opening since V’s face is hidden away again.
As he stares at the wall, vision slightly blurry, Yoongi murmurs, “We did something stupid, didn’t we?”
“Yeah,” V replies after a moment. “Yeah, Yoongi-ssi.”
“Are you regretting it?”
V’s arms tighten around him and something in Yoongi’s chest gets squeezed too. “Unfortunately not.”
Yoongi smiles, presses a kiss to the crown of V’s head. “That’s good, ‘cause if you give me ten minutes I might want to suck you off.”
V snorts, shoulders shaking in silent laughter. “Are you going to find my cock with your eyes closed?”
“I’m very talented, you’d be surprised. You can blindfold me for all I care.”
“ Oh ,” V groans, then lets out a deep breath. “You’re going to kill me.”
Namjoon has had this pinched, thoughtful expression on his face for the past twenty minutes.
Yoongi is just glad that the new clock is warming up to him, he doesn’t like holding grudges against inanimate objects. Outside Namjoon’s office, Hoseok has thrown himself into a very passionate debate about why EXID might be one of the most incredible things to come out of their music scene, whilst Seokjin just stares at him in disbelief.
Suddenly, Namjoon breathes in deeply and looks away from the computer’s screen. “If this goes public, he’s done for.”
Yoongi nods, sending a quick glance to the long, organized list of evidence he has collected against Kim Woonpin that proudly shines from Namjoon’s computer. “Then we make it go public.”
“How much time would it take you to write an entire article?”
“Two weeks.” Yoongi shrugs. “Maybe less if I don’t sleep.”
“Then don’t sleep.” Namjoon fixes his glasses over the bridge of his nose. “Can I ask you something?”
“You told me you were almost shot and that you had to jump off a window.” He arches an eyebrow. “So why do you look like you reached enlightenment?”
The doors to Namjoon’s office open behind Yoongi just as he replies, “Well, as a matter of fact, I got to suck some stellar dick yesterday.”
Taehyung, carrying a tray with five cups of coffee, almost trips on his own feet and barely manages not to drop boiling liquid over Namjoon’s desk.
“Oh.” Yoongi blinks at him. “Hey.”
“Hello! Yes!” Taehyung clears his voice, carefully places the tray on the desk then claps once, cheeks flushed. “Coffee! That I brought here myself!”
“Yes,” Namjoon sighs. “We can see that.”
Yoongi gets up and rolls his shoulders. “I’ll go now. I slept for, like, an hour.”
“Damn, hyung.” Namjoon snorts. “Who did you fuck that kept you that busy?”
“I wish he had kept me busier, to be honest.”
Taehyung’s knees buckle. Just like that.
And Yoongi might be slightly enamored with a masked vigilante, but that doesn’t mean he can’t enjoy the cuteness of it all.
“Anyway,” he adds before he turns around and makes it to leave the office. “I’ll keep you updated.”
“And that is why EXID’s Velvet is a sapphic anthem,” Hoseok proclaims, arms crossed over his chest, expression solemn.
Seokjin looks at him for a few moments. “Please tell me again why I bother listening to you at all?”
“Hoseok is right,” Yoongi says. “That song is very much not straight.”
Hoseok snaps his fingers together. “Exactly.”
“One could even argue that eighty percent of EXID’s songs are gay.”
“Hyung, this is why I like you better than Seokjin.”
“The fucking nerve you two fuckers have.” Seokjin shakes his head. “I raised you on my back.”
“We met five years ago, what the fuck are you talking about?”
“Hoseok, just don’t talk to me. From now on, you and I are strangers.”
Yoongi hums, proud of the chaos he helped create, then walks to the elevator. He wants nothing more than a shower, then maybe to sleep for twelve hours straight. He presses the call button when Taehyung taps on his shoulder.
“Hey, Tae.” Yoongi turns to him, eyeing the extra cup of coffee in Taehyung’s hand.
“Hyung, listen.” Taehyung clears his voice, round specs slowly sliding down his nose. He presses his lips together. “Look, yesterday you—”
Yoongi waits for Taehyung to continue but, as the seconds go by, it’s clear that something is making him hesitate. “Yesterday, I—?”
“No. No, nothing,” Taehyung mutters, then smiles wide, looks a bit forced. “Want coffee?” “Oh, sure. Thank you.”
Taehyung nods and makes it to hand Yoongi the cup. As soon as he lifts his arm, though, he drops it again, a groan slipping out of his lips, mouth twisting in a grimace, fingers twitching to the point he almost drops the cup.
“Woah, there.” Yoongi takes the cup from Taehyung’s hand before it falls. “Hey, are you alright?”
“Yes!” Taehyung exclaims, eyes wide and face just a bit paler than before. “Yes, no, I’m fine!”
“You sure?” Yoongi looks at him, fingers tightening around the styrofoam cup. “Is your arm hurt?”
“No! I mean, yes, but—” Taehyung blinks. “Pilates!”
“Rough pilates session yesterday. Just a bit sore.”
“Oh.” Yoongi nods, brings the cup to his mouth. “Well, then be careful. Might wanna lay low with the pilates.”
“Yes, hyung, I’ll lay low.”
“Good.” The elevator doors open and Yoongi steps inside. “Thanks for the coffee, Tae. Next time I drop by, hyung will get you lunch.”
As the doors slide closed, Yoongi stares at the lovely, warm smile Taehyung gives him, eyes curving ever so slightly.
But then he’s alone.
Yoongi’s back hits the elevator’s wall and his knees feel weak, weak enough to make him slide down to the ground. His hands are shaking, heart so goddamn heavy Yoongi fears it might sink down so hard his ribs won’t be able to hot it in.
It would be easy to ignore this. He could pretend he didn’t see through it, that his mind hasn’t already started connecting dots, formulating theories. But the thing is, Yoongi is a journalist first. Human second.
And Taehyung is V.
“Hyung?” Jimin frowns, standing on the threshold, a hand keeping the door opened, hair mussed and eyes puffy with sleep. “What are you—”
“Hey, hi, yes,” Yoongi nods frantically, then pushes his way inside Jimin’s house. “Let me in?”
“I mean, it’s a bit too late to ask for permission,” Jimin closes the door with a sigh. “But by all means, make yourself comfortable.”
Yoongi walks deeper into the flat and starts pacing around the living room. Jimin stares at him for a few moments before, carefully, sitting on the sofa’s armrest. “I don’t want to, like, freak you out but—well, you’re basically vibrating, hyung.”
Yoongi hums, a finger pressed to his mouth, head reeling. He stops in the middle of the living room and Jimin’s eyes widen slightly as they stare at something behind Yoongi.
“So.” Yoongi clears his voice. “So, hypothetically.”
“Uh-huh.” Jimin swallows.
“So, okay. Okay, what if—remember this is very hypothetical—what if you had a crush on someone.”
Jimin frowns, glances at Yoongi, then back to whatever there is behind him. “Okay?”
“And that someone is a vigilante.”
“Oh God,” Jimin whispers. “Oh… oh no.”
“And then you find out that the coffee-boy who has a crush on you is the afore-mentioned vigilante?”
Jimin’s body locks, his gaze slowly turning to Yoongi once again. “What did you just say?”
“Jimin, darling.” Yoongi breathes in deeply. “I’m pretty sure your best friend is V.”
The silence stretches on and on, Jimin’s expression remaining worryingly neutral for the longest time. Then, so out of the blue that Yoongi startles, Jimin starts laughing. Loudly. A bit too loudly, and his mouth is barely curved up, his eyes wide.
It must be shock, Yoongi reasons.
“Now, that’s—” Jimin laughs a bit more, still very forced, even goes as far as clapping his hands together. “Oh boy! That is ridiculous! ”
Yoongi shakes his head. “No, it’s really not.”
“Taehyung? A vigilante? Please.” Jimin sniffs, sends another nervous glance behind Yoongi. “The guy can barely hurt a fly. Pets stray dogs. Is scared of heights.”
“Yeah,” Yoongi hums. “So is V.”
“I—look, hyung, I’m pretty sure you’re wrong on this one.”
“No, think about it!” Yoongi starts pacing again and Jimin’s face blanches. “It would make sense! How he always has info on everyone, on what I’m about to write? He works at the newspaper, Jimin! Of course he would know, he’d have first-hand intel on almost everything and—okay, seriously, what’s so interesting behind me?”
Yoongi twists around, ignoring the shriek Jimin makes, and stares at the laptop perched on top of a coffee table. Yoongi stares at it for a few moments, trying to make sense of the black screen and green mix of letters and numbers.
“What the fuck, Jimin?” Yoongi scoffs. “Are you trying to hack into a Nasa’s satellite or—”
Jimin looks at him, face hard, and then seems to just let go of all oxygen, shoulders deflating. “This is not good.”
“You’re the hacker. His friend. It’s you. Fucking Minnie .”
Jimin gets up, takes a step forward. “Yoongi-hyung, listen to me—”
“Oh, God,” Yoongi groans before slapping a hand over his own face. “You heard us flirting.”
“I wish that was the only thing I heard.”
“What the fuck? I thought he turned the mic off!”
“We are literally neighbors and the walls are thin.”
“Oh, this is terrible.”
“Hyung, look at me.” Jimin pinches the bridge of his nose. “You can’t tell anyone.”
“Yeah, no shit—”
“You can’t tell Taehyung either.”
Yoongi looks at him, shakes his head. “What does it matter if—”
“It matters! A lot!” Jimin walks closer to him, grabs Yoongi’s shoulders. “God, you matter a lot!”
Yoongi shakes Jimin’s hands off and steps back, face flushing, chest tight. “You know, I keep hearing that, and I might still not be entirely sure of what that fucking entails, but if I mattered that much then maybe he could have just told me about this yesterday whilst I had his dick in my mouth!”
“Oh, damn it, hyung! It's not that simple! Plus, you shouldn't have sucked his dick in the first place, why would you even—“
“Why don't you take a fucking guess?!”
Jimin’s eyes widen at how loud Yoongi’s voice gets, and then realization seems to wash over him. “Hyung, are you in love with him?”
That’s a dumb question. A very difficult one, too. How does one measure love anyway? How do you know it’s love—is there a way to figure it out? Does one just wake up one day, think back on their experiences with someone, and decide that yes, that’s love, no doubts about it? Twice were right, just what is love? God, his therapist will hate him for this.
“I don't know. Maybe. No, I—“ Yoongi closes his eyes, heaving a deep sigh, cheeks flushing. “I think I'm falling for him.”
“Oh,” Jimin stumbles back until he finally drops down on the sofa once more. “God, this is a mess.”
“Okay, your reaction is throwing me off. Weren't you the one who was basically pushing me in Taehyung's arms up until two weeks ago?”
Jimin makes a sudden, strained noise, hands thrown ahead of him as if he wants to just get up and strangle Yoongi.
“That's right, Taehyung.” Jimin hisses. “ Not V, not the vigilante who jumps off rooftops!”
“They're the same person, though!”
Jimin blinks and whatever great rage that was held within that small body of his fades away with his next sigh as he slumps on the couch.
“Are they?” Jimin asks, lips curving into a small smile. “Sometimes, when I'm working with Tae, I don't recognize him. Taehyung is a soft person, you know? He likes reading poems and watching very slow, very long films. Has named each of his cacti. When he’s V, he—” Jimin hesitates. “Hyung, you know he's different as V. You saw how different.”
Yoongi doesn’t reply. He thinks about what— Taehyung —told him just last night: his fears and his anger at the persona he created himself, how he thinks he’s nothing but a fraud. Maybe Taehyung himself doesn’t know who’s the real person anymore, the vigilante or the coffee-boy?
Yoongi walks to the couch and sits down next to Jimin. “Different, sure. But still the same person. Same fears. Same values. Just because he has a mask on it doesn’t mean the face behind it belongs to someone else.”
Jimin stays quiet for a few seconds, then lets out a long sigh. Slowly, he leans his head on Yoongi’s shoulder. “Yeah. Yeah, I guess you're right.”
“I’m always right.”
Jimin looks at him. “You can't tell him, you know. Not now. He's too close to finishing this mess with Kim Woonpin. A mess that, by the way, you made a lot more difficult with your brilliant idea yesterday.”
Yoongi hums. “And after that?”
“After that,” Jimin begins replying, but then hesitates. Yoongi sees him nibbling nervously on his bottom lip before he inhales sharply. “After that, just don't break his heart. Or I'll break your fucking fingers one by one.”
“You're terrifying sometimes and I hate that.”
“Hyung, today’s groceries are just worrisome.”
Yoongi looks up from his basket and stares at Jungkook. “What, are you going to judge me for what I buy?”
Jungkook arches an eyebrow before he grabs the bottle of soju Yoongi just placed on the counter. “Soju, seven beer cans, every single available option of kimbap, two bags of honey-dipped corn hips and—” Jungkook frowns and reaches inside Yoongi’s basket. “ Five cartons of strawberry milk? What the fuck?”
“Listen, I have an article to write before the week ends.” Yoongi pulls the strawberry milk out of the basket. “Also, I really just want to get disgustingly drunk and then cure my hangover with chemically-flavored fruit drinks.”
Jungkook doesn’t seem very convinced, but he starts scanning Yoongi’s items anyway. For a fitness junkie like him, it must be a nightmare to take care of Yoongi’s groceries whenever he walks inside this 7Eleven.
“By the way, hyung.” Jungkook grins at him. “I loved the interview with V.”
“Ah.” Yoongi forces a smile. “Thanks.”
“I bought two copies of the paper. One to read, the other for collection purposes.”
“God, you’re so weird.”
“Also—” Jungkook’s cheeks go a bit pink and he quickly scans through the remaining items. “Your friend stopped by.”
Jungkook glances at him. “The—the pretty one.”
“Jimin?” Yoongi asks and Jungkook nods. “Huh. Well, fuck me, I’m a goddamn Cupid.”
“Nothing. Just… just tell me how much I gotta pay for this poison and if you go on a date with him refrain from talking his ears off about your JoJo action figures.”
“But they’re a special collector edition!”
“Fine. On the second date?”
“If you’re lucky enough to score one, then sure.”
Once he has his groceries safely packed, Yoongi starts heading home. He should try getting rid of his habit of going to buy junk food when it’s so late at night, though. Just in case he doesn’t get robbed or held at gunpoint for the fourth time in an embarrassingly short amount of time.
He walks past the short way, that nasty little alley, thinking to himself, you’re not gonna catch me this time! I’m smarter than that! I learn from my mistakes, I will take the long way home.
Five minutes later, when he’s almost arrived, he realizes he should have taken the alley. A black car is parked right under his house, darkened windows and a very familiar license plate.
“Ah, fuck,” Yoongi murmurs, legs frozen. “ Fuck .”
From behind, someone grabs him, an arm wrapped around his neck. Yoongi’s mouth opens instinctively to scream, but a damp cloth is immediately pressed over his nose and lips. Panic takes over, makes his legs kick and thrash, body fighting against whoever is restraining him. Yoongi’s nose starts burning, a sickly-sweet scent filling his lungs, the cloth pressed to his face making it even harder to breathe normally. He tries to get out of the hold around his neck but his legs are starting to become weak, heady dizzy. Adrenaline and fear are keeping him going, but he knows he’s going to blackout. Yoongi lets go of the bag, beer cans making a metallic noise as they drop on the floor and roll around, and starts scratching at the arm around his neck, reaching behind and over his head to try and find the person’s eyes, but it’s useless.
He blinks, feels himself being dragged towards the car. His legs aren’t working right, his lungs are too tight with lack of air, the chloroform’s scent so strong it makes him want to gag. It’s weird, in shows and movies they always show people fainting almost immediately when they inhale this thing, but in reality it takes longer. Makes it even more terrifying, to the point Yoongi wishes he could just fall unconscious. He’s pushed inside the car, still held by his kidnapper, the cloth presses even harder on his face and Yoongi’s arms are starting to feel numb too.
He hears voices, fails to understand any word, can’t even look around to see how many people are inside with him, then the car starts moving.
Yoongi thinks that Taehyung was right: he should have probably stayed out of Kim Woonpin’s business.
There’s no way Taehyung will stay out of this.
There’s no way he—
When he comes to, Yoongi’s first aware of how sensitive his eyes are to the flickering, weak white ceiling lights. He groans, eyes squeezing shut. He’s laying on damp, hard ground, muscles sore and weak. Still, Yoongi tries pushing himself upright, only to find out his arms are bound behind his back, shackles tight around his wrists.
“You must be fucking—” He rolls on his stomach, forces himself on his knees. “—kidding. Unbelievable. Fourth time. Must be a record.”
Once he’s finally sitting straight, Yoongi’s stomach decides to churn and for a moment he thinks he’s going to throw up. He breathes in deeply, grimacing at how stale and humid the air feels, and looks around himself: they brought him to what seems to be an abandoned, underground parking lot. Which, well, is very cliché. A rooftop would have been more dramatic. But, fine, parking lot.
Yoongi drags himself towards one of the many columns that stand in lines over the wide space, legs still too numb for him to even think about standing up, and leans his back against it. He does a quick mental check of his pros and cons, the options at his disposal, and comes up with a single answer: he’s neck-deep in shit.
Then, approaching footsteps begin echoing, bouncing off walls and spreading across the empty space. Yoongi looks to his right and sighs once he sees Kim Woonpin approaching in fast strides. Behind him are seven men, his goons probably. They stare down at him with arrogance once they stand in front of him, grins twisting their mouths.
“You’re up,” Kim Woonpin says, sounding mighty proud of himself. “Good.”
One of the seven men steps forward, standing next to Woonpin. He’s chewing gum loudly, his left eyebrow cut in half by a small scar. It doesn’t take a genius to understand that this new man must be a gangster, probably the boss of whatever mob group has been handling the spreading of the Danica Powder.
To think Yoongi considered himself lucky not even three months ago…
“Ah, Min Yoongi.” Kim Woonpin clicks his tongue. “You're making our lives really difficult.”
He’s shorter in person, Yoongi thinks. A head full of hair and a youthful face despite his years, eyes a light brown, lips thin.
Woonpin starts pacing, circling around the column Yoongi is laying against.
“First you try to expose how I bought votes. Then you start digging around things that don't concern you. And finally, you break into my office? Hack into my computer?”
There’s this drawling quality to Woonpin’s voice that kind of gets on Yoongi’s nerves. A silence follows once Woonpin stands in front of him again, looking like he’s expecting an answer from Yoongi.
“I mean—” Yoongi clears his voice. “Your security system sucks and your office wasn't even locked, so I'm not sure it can be considered breaking in.”
Woonpin frowns. “What?”
“Also, I didn't hack into your computer. I just guessed the password.” Yoongi shrugs. “It's a very stupid password.”
The slap doesn’t exactly surprise him, Yoongi knows he’s acting like a smartass, but it still makes his cheek sting.
“You’re truly something else.” Woonpin starts walking again. Yoongi realizes the man must think he’s looking very solemn as he does this. “I knew you were going to be trouble the second you walked into two of Kiha’s men in that alley.”
Ah, so the mobster’s name is Kiha.
“The moment you published the first article on our Danica Powder, I knew you were going to be a fucking nuisance. Then, the article exposing my votes. You made a lot of people mad that day.” Woonpin shakes his head, keeps on pacing. “And still, you weren’t satisfied. You decided to dig deeper, for whatever damn reason. But here’s what you’re not understanding, Min Yoongi.” He stops walking once he’s in front of Yoongi again. “This is bigger than just me, my company, or Kiha’s group. The Danica Powder has shown the potential to become even bigger than cocaine. It has spread to Seoul, and it will spread all over this country. It’s not only me. Powerful men who stand on top of this city all have a cut in it. And, soon, thanks to one of those men, it will also spread to Japan.”
Yoongi hums, nodding slowly. So, the Foreign Minister also has something to do with this. They most likely have some links with a yakuza family as well, otherwise they wouldn’t be able to even think about stepping foot in Japan with the drug.
“To think that you, of all people, have to make it so hard for us,” Woonpin continues, tone full of disdain. “We had everything under control, everyone working in our favor as soon as we started spreading Danica.”
Yoongi had an inkling that Woonpin had managed to bribe some high-name at the Gangnam Police department and—well, since Woonpin decided to spill every single detail during his villain speech, Yoongi guesses his instinct was right.
And then Woonpin just—keeps going. For a while. Makes it very clear that he has three very famous actors as clients, that there’s a foreign investor from America, how he has some shady things over the current mayor of Seoul so that he keeps out of his business.
Yoongi just listens, his head noting everything down, whilst Kiha looks less and less impressed the more Woonpin talks.
Then, finally, after maybe fifteen or twenty minutes, Woonpink stops talking and just stares at Yoongi with his chest puffed, pride oozing out of him.
“Alright.” Yoongi nods. “That was... enlightening. Now, what do you plan on doing with me?”
“Well, it depends. Maybe if you decided to play nice, maybe even in our favor, we could let you go.” Woonpin smirks, eyes narrowing. “Otherwise, well, I'm afraid that—“
“Alright, I'll play nice.”
Silence. Woonpin’s smile falters. “Wait, what?”
“What do I need to do? Not publish the article anymore?” Yoongi sniffs. “That's fine. Stop looking into your business? Works for me.”
“I'm—” Woonpin frowns, glances at Kiha. “I’m not sure I understand.”
“Well, this might come as a shock but, to put it frankly, I don't exactly wanna die. So, yeah, sure I'm sold.” Yoongi pulls at his shackles. “Can I go now?”
Kiha scoffs and then speaks for the first time. “You're bluffing.”
“Oh, I am really not.”
“Of course you are. Journalists, the whole lot of you, loyal to the bones to their morals. Their truth. Justice. As soon as you'll be out of here, you'll run to your little newspaper and tell everyone.”
“See, I think you’re putting me on a very high moral pedestal. I'm, like, the worst kind of journalist. I have absolutely zero morals. I saw nothing, heard nothing. Hell, I dreamed this, it didn't even happen.”
It might be a stretch, but Yoongi wasn’t lying about not writing the article anymore if that’s what it takes to get out of this alive. He might be a journalist first, human second, but he still has some survival instinct inside of him. Has hobbies. Friends. He’s supposed to go out for lamb skewers with Jungkook next Thursday—that kid would be heartbroken if Yoongi won’t show up.
And he also has a guy he’s kind of falling in love with and wouldn’t mind seeing again.
“So, yeah!” Yoongi smiles at the very dangerous people in front of him. “You guys got yourselves a deal. So, let’s get this show on the road, off with the shackles, and call me a cab maybe?”
Kiha snorts then nods at his goons. “Kill him.”
“Oh, for fuck's sake.”
Yoongi doesn't even have time to think about his impending doom, can only stare as one of the goons steps forward, gun aimed at him—
And then, a dark figure descends from above and Yoongi could almost picture him, perching on the ceiling's railings, looming above them as he waits for the right time to make his very dramatic entrance.
Because of course, he's here. V.
He lands on the floor almost with no noise, knees bending to soften the fall, then twists, leg raised, the heel of his stupidly expensive boot kicking the gun off the man's hand, then swiping low, at the goon's ankles, sending him sprawled on the ground.
Yoongi hears Kim Woonpin shrieking something as he backs away, the rest of the mobsters swarming around Taehyung like a pack of wolves, only to receive blow after blow, guns kicked or stolen from them as soon as they grab for them, Taehyung looking like a blur of dark fabric as he moves in between them.
For a second, Yoongi thinks they might make it. That Taehyung, the coffee boy who barely manages to form one coherent sentence in front of him, is just that damn awesome.
That is until Yoongi realizes he can't see Kiha anymore and, with cold dread, he feels the hard metal of a gun's muzzle pressing at his nape.
Taehyung turns around sharply at Kiha's voice, eyes narrowing behind the mask as he spots him standing behind Yoongi, body stiffening at the sight of the gun.
Kiha breathes deeply and Yoongi hears the gun cocking, shivers. "On your knees."
Taehyung doesn't move, only glares at the man as if that alone could get them out of this situation. It obviously doesn't.
Kiha kicks at Yoongi's stomach with enough force to make him double over, ribs aching painfully where the tip of the man's foot collided, bile and pain rising over in a wave of nausea and Yoongi gags, almost vomits, sight blurry at the edges.
"I said—" Kiha hisses, pushes the gun down on Yoongi's head again. "On your fucking knees."
This time, Taehyung obeys. He drops on his knees heavily, and his arms are seized immediately by three men, two dragging him towards one of the metal poles, the other one getting a pair of handcuffs from the pocket of his leather jacket. Taehyung's arms get pulled behind him, handcuffs locked tight around his wrists and they tie him to the pole.
So, yeah, maybe the element of surprise ended up not helping them that much.
Yoongi swallows thickly, stomach still churning as sharp pain dulls into an insistent throb, and Kim Woonpin chooses this moment to come back from wherever he was hiding, gloating like he did anything at all.
He crouches down next to Yoongi and grabs his hair harshly, pulling his head higher. “See, Min Yoongi, this is why we captured you.” Woonpin licks at his lips, stretched into an arrogant grin. “Because wherever you are , he will be , too.”
So, he was used.
All Yoongi was, from the start, was bait.
As Woonpin lets go of him and rises, Yoongi feels a boiling, blinding anger simmering low in his body. Had they been simply out to get to him because of his articles, Yoongi would get it, and he'd also expect Taehyung to show up to try and save the day. But knowing that the only reason he was even captured was just so they could get to Taehyung—scared-of-heights Taehyung, stops-to-pet-random-dogs Taehyung, hates-the-weight-of-that-mask-more-than-he'll-ever-care-to-admit Taehyung, his Taehyung—has Yoongi's mind reeling.
Before he even realizes he's moving, Yoongi kicks out his leg. His foot hits Woonpin's ankle hard and the man falls to his knees with a groan, gracelessly slapping his palms on the dirty concrete in an attempt to keep his balance.
Woonpin stares at the floor for a moment before lifting his gaze to Yoongi, eyes wide, pupils small with anger.
And Yoongi doesn't know what he was expecting, but it certainly wasn't for Woonpin to reach for his neck and close his fingers around it. The way oxygen gets cut so abruptly affects Yoongi in a way he didn't think was possible, panic seizing him immediately, making his arms strain against the handcuffs, his legs thrashing uselessly. All he sees is the twisted, yet awfully steady, expression on Woonpin's face as the fingers around his neck tighten, thumbs pressing viciously over his windpipe. He thinks he can hear Taehyung screaming, but he can't make out all the words, sounds muffled by the awful noise of blood rushing to his head, making his ears ring. Taehyung's voice comes louder but even more nonsensical, thick with a desperate edge that has Yoongi's heart aching, his eyes burn.
Then, he's breathing again.
Yoongi chokes on it, the air. His lungs greedily try to take more in but his throat hurts so goddamn badly he keeps suffocating even though there are no hands around his neck anymore, and he curls on the floor, body shaken with spasms he can't get to stop.
"—fucking kill you!" He hears Taehyung shout. "You hear me?! I'll kill you! "
Woonpin straightens his coat, fixes his hair. The pacing begins once more and, slowly, Yoongi starts breathing more evenly, the spasm quieting to a faint trembling. He doesn't get up, isn't sure he can, but at least he doesn't feel like he's about to die.
Which might very well still happen, but at least it's not happening in the immediate future.
"Here's the problem," Woonpin says then, once he stops walking in circles. "You're both dangerous in your own ways. On your own, you can both cause me so much trouble that I wouldn't even know where to begin." Woonpin turns to Yoongi and smiles. "It’s obvious to see that you hold some sort of power over him. I'm starting to wonder what would happen if we kept you here with us. What would he do, then, to keep you safe?”
Woonpin then nods at Kiha and they walk away, the rest of the men following after them. Yoongi watches as they disappear behind an old, creaking metal door, heading probably to a different sector of the parking lot. Then, just like that, they're alone.
Yoongi groans and rolls on his back, taking in a deep breath and grimacing when that still proves to be painful.
"Yoongi?" Taehyung calls, voice impossibly small. "Yoongi, are you—?”
“No, I'm not doing too peachy. Everything kind of hurts, give me a moment.”
“This is my fault. It's my fault, I—I should have known." Taehyung makes a strained sound, head pressed against the pole he's bound to. "I should have—should have stayed with you, kept an eye on you. I should've—“
“This is no one's fault but mine," Yoongi replies, cutting him off. "Stop blaming yourself to add to your very brooding vigilante persona.”
“Okay, how—" Yoongi straightens up, not without some difficulty, and manages to sit back against the pillar once more. "How about we drop the honorifics? I've had your dick in my mouth, it just feels weird.”
“I—“ Taehyung clears his voice, blinks. “Right.”
Is he fucking blushing? For God's sake, they're being held captive by a psychotic, crooked politician and a gang of mobsters and this guy has the time to blush.
The worst part is that Yoongi likes it. Finds it endearing. So what does that say about his priorities?
Yoongi sighs. “Well?”
“Do we have a plan?”
Taehyung hesitates. “Something like that.”
“That's reassuring. Is it going to work?”
More hesitation. Taehyung clears his voice. “Well...”
“Not as reassuring. Alright, let's fucking do it." Yoongi glances at Taehyung. "And then we can go on a date.”
Silence. Taehyung stares at him for a handful of seconds, eyes widening as each one goes by. Then, he finally croaks, “What?”
Yoongi's priorities are definitely fucked up. He'll blame it on getting strangled not even ten minutes ago. “We'll go on a date. An actual one. I'll even pay and everything, 'cause I'm older than you. I'm that cool and attractive.”
Tae doesn't say anything for a moment or so, and then starts laughing. The sound echoes briefly across the space and Yoongi smiles, feeling a bit stupid, a lot enamored.
Taehyung sobers up, then says, “You are cool and attractive.”
“Mmh, that's right." Yoongi rolls his shoulders once. "Okay. Alright, so, first step of the plan?”
Yoongi waits for an answer. Instead, what comes next is a noise so abrupt and fucking eerie that his stomach twists again. “What the fuck was that?”
Taehyung, oddly stiff, takes a deep, long breath before replying, “That was my thumb dislocating.”
This fucking guy.
“Your what?!” Yoongi hisses. "Are you out of your goddamn—"
The metal door creaks loudly as it opens. Kim Woonpin and the others walk towards them once more in measured steps. Yoongi looks at them, taking note of the prideful way Woonpin carries himself, the sudden, pleased smirk on Kiha's face—he’d been expressionless before, blank, but now…
The air suddenly gets heavier.
“See, my colleague and I talked about it,” Woonpin says once he stops in front of Yoongi. Kiha walks to Taehyung. “And we realized we don't need V to work for us. Or for you to stop writing articles. We don't need you two to do anything, really. We just need you two to die.”
Kiha reaches for the gun tucked in his belt, cocks it, and aims it at Taehyung's face.
Yoongi feels cold suddenly, an awful weight sinks down his chest, plummets to his stomach, ties it in knots.
“Wait—“ he murmurs dumbly, eyes fixed on Taehyung. " Wait."
“You're next, so don't look so heartbroken," Woonpin drawls on, hands stuffed in the coat's pockets. "You'll meet him again soon enough. Yah, Kiha, don’t shoot him in the face. Wanna see what he looks like without the mask once he’s dead.”
Yoongi can't do anything, only look as Kiha's smirk widens, turns into a wicked thing, and Taehyung just—just stares at the gun aimed at him. Doesn't try to do anything. Only stares with a gaze as hard as steel, like death doesn't scare him when Yoongi knows it does.
Yoongi knows he won't be able to look away from this, that he will have to watch as Taehyung dies, they'll kill him in front of him and he will be gone.
The man he loves will be gone when Yoongi has only just learned his name. So before his heart can break and swallow him down, he screams,
Time dilates. Taehyung looks at him, eyes wide, gaze struck with an emotion Yoongi can’t name, the silence that hangs amongst them unbearable, breaths held. At that moment, they’re both stripped bare of their secrets.
Then, the parking lot explodes with the loud noises of Police sirens. The sound is so loud and strong that Yoongi startles, sees Kiha lowering the gun in shock as a faraway voice can be heard shouting orders.
Taehyung doesn’t waste time: he slides his left hand out of the handcuff and steals Kiha’s gun, knocks him with it at the temple before aiming the gun towards Woonpin and firing. The bullet pierces through Woonpin’s foot, who falls on the ground with a scream, calling for Kiha’s help. The mobster, though, doesn’t seem to care much; as soon as he manages to shake off the dizziness caused by Taehyung’s blow, he’s running away, followed by the rest of his men. Taehyung aims the gun once more, this time at Kiha’s retreating figure, follows his movements for a second or so, and then drops the weapon, almost smug.
The sirens are still blasting loudly but Taehyung pays them no mind as he walks towards Woonpin’s cowering form. He crouches next to the man, gets the usual cable ties out of the coat’s pocket and ties Woonpin’s arms behind his back.
“You think you can get away with this?” Woonpin shrieks, face wet with cold sweat. “I’ll ruin your life, I’ll find a way, I’ll—”
Taehyung reaches for the breast pocket of Woonpin’s suit jacket and balls up a silk napkin before stuffing it in the man’s mouth. “You’re too fucking loud.”
Woonpin screams some sort of profanity, impossible to comprehend with the napkin stuffed inside between his teeth, and Taehyung leaves him there before hurrying to Yoongi. He kneels next to him and takes a crooked, wobbly, thin piece of metal from his coat’s pocket, before he starts picking at Yoongi’s handcuffs.
“You—” Yoongi blinks, ears ringing still with the loud sirens. “You need to go, police will be here in—”
“It’s fake,” Taehyung replies, mumbles a curse when the handcuffs won’t give in. “Minnie is playing it through this place’s speakers.”
“Oh.” Yoongi frowns, slowly processing Taehyung’s words. “Wait, that was your plan? The one we bet our damn lives on? 'Cause it’s a shitty plan. I don’t get how I even still trust you, each time your plans are either awful or include jumping off buildings. Not to mention—”
Finally, one of the handcuffs’ locks clicks open and Yoongi sighs in relief as he brings his arms forward. He tries standing up, then finds himself awfully still once Taehyung wraps his arms around him, face pressed against Yoongi’s chest.
He doesn’t speak, doesn’t ask him if he’s alright. Just holds him too tightly with his arms shaking just enough for Yoongi to notice.
This guy, Yoongi thinks as he brings his hand to Taehyung’s nape, stares at a gun without even blinking and then can’t even hold me properly.
“It’s alright,” Yoongi says quietly, stroking Taehyung’s hair. “We’re alright. You did well, Tae.”
Taehyung makes a small, almost wounded sound, and hugs Yoongi tighter, making himself smaller. Then, Woonpin starts shrieking again.
“You shut the fuck up!” Yoongi groans, still mindlessly stroking Taehyung’s hair. “Should have shot you in the mouth so you’d keep quiet!”
That has Taehyung snorting and, finally, easing his grip. He straightens his shoulders, stands up, helping Yoongi do the same before walking to Woonpin. From an inside pocket of the black coat, Taehyung pulls out a small recorder and presses play before placing it on Woonpin’s chest.
“— published the first article on our Danica Powder, I knew you were going to be a fucking nuisance. Then, the article exposing my votes. You made a lot of people mad that day. And still, you weren’t satisfied. You decided to dig deeper, for whatever damn reason—”
Taehyung recorded Woonpin’s entire villain speech.
“For when the actual police arrive.” Taehyung pats Woonpin’s chest. “Thank you for spilling out all your crimes. Makes it a lot easier.”
Woonpin tries shouting something and Taehyung turns around and back to Yoongi, grabbing him by the arm and guiding him to the same rusty door Kiha and the others used.
“I already left a tracker on Kiha,” Taehyung explains. “Minnie is already sending a very generous, anonymous tip to Gangnam’s central, including his actual location. I need to wait for the policemen to arrive, and make sure they get the recorder and that no one comes back for Woonpin. You, on the other hand, need to get away from here.” Taehyung opens the door. “Go down the corridor. There’s an emergency exit to the left.”
Yoongi peers down the hallway. “Quick question, where the fuck even are we?”
“Great, I’m only on the complete opposite side of Seoul. You don’t happen to have a car, do you?”
“Hyung, I don’t even have a license.”
“This taxi ride will cost me a fortune.”
“That’s what you’re worried about?”
“Come to my house once you’re done.”
Taehyung’s eyes widen slightly behind the mask. Yoongi notices only now but, somehow, that fucking hat managed to stay in place over his head.
“I don’t care how late it is,” Yoongi continues saying. “Come over once you’re done.”
“Are you sure?” Taehyung asks. “I mean, if you want—”
“I want you.” Yoongi blinks. “ To. I want you to. And also want you, but—what the fuck am I saying?”
“Please stop talking or I’ll do something very reckless in the middle of this parking lot.”
“You gotta learn to control your impulses.”
“Okay, I’m going.” Yoongi stands still, then glances at Taehyung’s hand, still holding his arm very firmly. “I mean, I would like to go, but—”
“Shit, right.” Taehyung lets him go once he catches up, and steps back. “Okay. I’ll—see you later?”
Yoongi hums, starts walking back into the hallway, eyes not leaving Taehyung’s. “Close the door?”
“I’m not sure I want to.”
“That’s very sweet, not exactly appropriate given our situation.”
“Have we ever been appropriate?”
“A fair point.”
Woonpin decides to start shrieking once more at that moment, and Yoongi sees Taehyung rolling his eyes before muttering, “I’ll go kick him in the balls. You just go.”
Then the door closes and Yoongi is alone.
He finds his way out of the parking lot easily enough; the real issue arises when he’s outside and standing in a deserted area of a district he’s particularly unfamiliar with. Taehyung should really invest in some sort of vigilante-mobile, because this is quite anti-climatic.
In the end, Yoongi does manage to reach a more awake part of the district, with clubs and bars still open and, by proxy, a good number of taxis waiting for drunk passengers to bring home. Yoongi hops on the first free one he finds and, just as he tells the driver his address, police cars rush by them.
It does end up being his most expensive taxi ride yet. Yoongi has half the idea of asking Taehyung for a refund, then remembers that the kid’s only source of income comes from an internship at a newspaper, so he quickly gets rid of that possibility.
When Yoongi reaches his floor, Jimin is already waiting for him in front of his apartment’s door, hair a tangled mess, almost as if he pulled at it in stress.
Once Yoongi is close enough, Jimin sighs and hugs him. Yoongi smiles to himself, holds him back. “This must be my lucky day. Two hugs.”
“ You —” Jimin groans. “You’re probably the unluckiest person I’ve ever met, hyung.”
Jimin somehow manages to force Yoongi into bed, eat a very rushed and slightly under-seasoned ramen, and then drink more water than any human is supposed to drink in under an hour.
“I’m fine,” Yoongi keeps saying, but Jimin just brushes him off with a pinched expression.
“You were drugged, ” he retorts, already filling him another glass of water. “You should actually make sure you’re alright, go to the hospital tomorrow.”
“Right. How am I going to explain that I just happened to inhale a lot of chloroform, mh?”
“Then stop complaining and drink your damn water.”
Jimin finally leaves only when Yoongi promises he’ll take it easy tonight and stay in bed.
Once alone, Yoongi finds out that even if he wanted to, he doesn’t have the energy to get off his mattress anyway. Now that the adrenaline has worn off, his body is heavier than ever, his eyes heavy with exhaustion. Still, he doesn’t sleep. Yoongi busies himself with staring at his ceiling, then he begins counting all the scented candles that he owns and has scattered around the bedroom, then realizes that he has a lot more fruity scents than herbal ones and should go buy some new ones. Yoongi has half the idea of grabbing the laptop and just order a bunch of new candles when he hears a light knock from the balcony’s window.
In a second, he’s off the bed, only to then lightly sway on his legs, head spinning.
“I need to calm the fuck down,” he mutters to himself once the room stops moving around him and, carefully, heads to the living room.
Taehyung, still dressed as V, is standing just outside, staring at his hands as he fidgets with the hems of his sleeves. Yoongi opens the window and steps aside, gesturing at him to come in.
“Yoongi-hyung, how are you—”
“I’m fine, Jimin made me drink so much water that I’m now half narwal.” Yoongi closes the window. “Come with me.”
They walk back to Yoongi’s bedroom; Yoongi sits on the bed again, pats the free space in front of him as he crosses his legs. Taehyung hesitates for a couple of moments, then follows Yoongi’s directions and sits in front of him.
“You have—” Taehyung frowns. “A lot of candles.”
“I like nice scents.”
“Once I licked a bath bomb ‘cause it smelled nice.”
“I know.” Yoongi looks at him. “So?”
Taehyung clears his voice, doesn’t meet his eyes. “How did you find out?”
Yoongi arches an eyebrow. “Taehyung, you used pilates as an excuse to justify a gun wound.”
“Alright, that wasn’t my brightest moment.”
“Can I touch you?”
Taehyung finally lifts his gaze from the blanket. He looks at Yoongi for several long, heavy seconds before releasing a small sigh and nodding.
Slowly, Yoongi starts undoing the black coat and then slides it off Taehyung’s arms. He puts the hat away and fixes Taehyung’s hair. Then, Yoongi unties the eye mask and doesn’t miss the way Taehyung holds his breath.
“I won’t do it if you don’t want to just yet,” Yoongi says, so quietly it’s almost a murmur. His fingers rest just an inch away from the black mouth mask. “This can stay for as long as you need it to.”
“You already know my face anyway, so—”
“Yeah, but it’s not the same, is it?”
Taehyung just stares at him, wordlessly, for so long that holding his gaze starts becoming hard for Yoongi. Then, suddenly, Taehyung reaches for Yoongi’s wrists, holds them softly, doesn’t move. “Take it off.”
So, Yoongi does. The mask comes off easily, a smile already stretching Yoongi’s lips at the small secret hidden beneath it. Yoongi peels that away as well and then, just like that, it’s Taehyung.
“There you are,” Yoongi sighs, thumb tracing the shape of his cupid bow. “Hi.”
Taehyung draws in a sharp breath, cheeks flushed in a way Yoongi decides he will never get enough of, gaze startlingly soft, hands still holding onto Yoongi’s wrists. “You’re so unfair sometimes.”
“I think I’m a delight,” Yoongi replies, leaning forward.
“You’re not supposed to be so sweet to me. You’re supposed to be a snarky smartass.”
“Oh, I can be both just fine.”
“You were especially unfair today, calling my name like that. I thought it was going to be the last time I ever heard you say it.”
Yoongi’s eyes flicker from Taehyung’s mouth to his eyes when he says, “ Taehyung. ”
“Unfair,” Taehyung whines, even has the audacity to pout. “This is exactly what I mean, you’re such a—”
“Can I kiss you or do you wanna call me names some more?”
Taehyung surges forward, closes the small distance between them and kisses him. Maybe a bit too hard, maybe a bit too earnestly, but Yoongi doesn’t mind. He doesn’t mind at all.
It’s not the first time they’ve done this, and yet it feels like it should be. Yoongi doesn’t have to keep his eyes closed, Taehyung doesn’t have to be afraid he’ll open them. They’re bare now, no secrets to cover them.
And somehow, Yoongi doesn’t know why, but the kisses aren’t the desperate, greedy things they were last time. Even when they lay down, when Taehyung hovers above Yoongi, the kisses stays slow, their lips soft. Taehyung’s hands hold him by the hips very gently, Yoongi’s blunt fingers threading through Taehyung’s hair without tugging.
Just as slowly, just as carefully, the kiss ends. Taehyung lays down next to him, his head on Yoongi’s chest, eyes closing and a sigh slipping out of his mouth when Yoongi keeps playing with his hair. He asks, “Can I stay?”
“I’d tell you I can make you breakfast tomorrow, but I’m not very good at cooking.”
“I’ll make breakfast. What would you like?”
A pause. “Will you kick me off the bed if I say you?”
“Alright.” Yoongi frowns. “Why do I feel like I wanna dote on you?”
Taehyung snorts lightly. “You do?”
“It’s really weird. It’s just—” Yoongi looks down at their bodies. “You keep making yourself really small.”
“Well, maybe I like it that way.”
“I know, it’s—” Yoongi grimaces. “I can’t believe I’m saying it, but it’s cute.”
“I am very cute.”
“Of course you are. Quick question, is your thumb still dislocated?”
Taehyung groans, his words sound slurred when he speaks again, like he’s trying to stay awake. “Had to fix it myself. It hurt lots.”
Yoongi has the strongest urge to reach for Taehyung’s hand and kiss at his thumb. What the fuck is happening to him?
Instead, he just holds Taehyung a bit tighter, strokes his hair slower, until he hears his breathing evening out into a soft, deep rhythm.
Quietly, Yoongi asks, “Are you tired, little one?”
Taehyung doesn’t reply immediately, but he does press himself even closer to Yoongi, fingers clutching the fabric of Yoongi’s shirt.
And then, “I’m so in love with you.”
[Wind picks up suddenly, the microphone hums. Then, silence for a second, the tip of a gel-pen tapping on paper]
“ What time is it?”
“ Around two in the morning.”
“ Yoongi-ssi, you shouldn’t keep a boy up for so long.”
“ Well, it’s a good thing the interview is over, then.”
“— Why do you look disappointed?”
“ If I could stop time and trap us in this moment forever—”
“ Please don’t finish that sentence.”
“You make my life really hard like this, how am I supposed to swoon you if you won’t give me the chance?”
“ I’ll pretend I didn’t hear that.”
“ Thank you for your time, V. For agreeing to the interview and letting me do this. Thank you. I mean it.”
“ Mmh. It was a pleasure, Yoongi-ssi. If you need anything else from me, please don’t hesitate to ask.”
“ I mean anything. ”
“ You can’t open a jar? Just call for me. Spider in your shower? Groceries are too heavy? Just call my name and I’ll be there.”
“ Right. Sure. Well, before you go, I have one last question for you.”
“ Which is?”
“ Will you take off your mask in front of me?”
“ I mean, sure.”
“ Yoongi-ssi, if you wanted to see my face so badly you should have just asked from the start.”
“ What the—hey! What do you think you’re doing, I was just joking, don’t actually—oh. Oh my God.”
“ It’s a good thing I always wear two masks!”
“ I fucking hate you. I absolutely despise you.”
“ One of my favorite tricks, the double mask. Always gets a lot of laughs.”
“ You are the worst vigilante I have ever seen. The single worst fucking vigilante out of the bunch, I cannot believe you—”
[A click. The recording ends.]