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Blow a kiss, fire up the heart (We all need someone to feed on)

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-

It's just too late for this, Jeongguk thinks to himself, shooting yet another crumpled paper-ball into the trash. 
Yes, the morning was too early, the afternoon too noisy, evening too forced and now it's just too late, so what? 
Songwriting is more than just skill, there's timing too, and today, he decides, just isn't the right time for mind-crafting.
This, of course, sounds like a reasonable excuse, if looked at individually. But Jeongguk is very well-aware of the disastrous excuse-chain he has been sporting around his neck all week.
Wasn't it wrong timing yesterday too? Thursday just wasn't a day for writing either and Wednesday was way too sunny for a ballad.
Day after a day he kept quitting, switching from his laptop to pen and paper, from his desk to the bedroom floor, pretending that tomorrow the drive will come.
But what we call "due-dates" exists in all of its glory, and it's only because of Jeongguk's boss' unexplainable faith in his talent that he gets to push and pull it, month after a month. 
So two days before the August one, it's regrettably happening again.

"Jeongguk, no, don't even try this time! I promised them a demo on the 1st and it's-"

"But, listen to me, hyung," Jeongguk almost pleads into the phone, cutting Hoseok off abruptly.

"No! Jeongguk, don't start. I know what you've been and haven't been up to these days, so just don't."

"I know, I know, I've been doing nothing but-"

"Nothing?! Nothing! I wish!"  - Now Hoseok is almost yelling - "Don't bullshit through this. If you've been doing nothing then maybe I'd pin some weak-ass "lack of motivation" shit to your lazy ass or whatever all of y’all artsy kids try to sell me all the god damn time. But we hang out around similar places boy, you know that."

And yes, indeed he knows it. With only three years of an age difference between them - he runs into Hoseok way more than he'd like (or tolerate) it. And it's not that Jeongguk dislikes his boss, quite the opposite really. Off work they're good friends, very close even. But the situations he's gotten himself into, right under Hoseok's judging squint, haven't been quite rep-building.
Like last month when he had somehow gotten into a fist fight with a middle aged security guard that wouldn't let him into a 21+ bar, at which Hoseok was, of course, spending his evening.
Or last week, when Jeongguk ended up participating in what they call a whiskey marathon, chugging shot after a shot of Jack Daniel’s down until he puked. He competed against senior citizens, mostly, one of which ended up being Hoseok's uncle - whom Hoseok came to pick up at 6 in the morning on a work day, giving Jeongguk the shady eye.
Or, finally, just two days ago, when he was seen taking a girl home, both of her shoes missing and Jeongguk's jacket being the only barrier preventing her from flashing the entire city. Hoseok was just driving back home after a busy night at the studio, catching the trashed couple at the stop light, only rolling his eyes at the sight.

But that was just the way Jeongguk spent his nights, and Hoseok knew it from the moment he first met him.
In fact, they've first ran into each other on a similar occasion.

In short, Hoseok desperately needed a lyricist for his label and drunk and dizzy he thought the boy swaying in the bar stool next to him sounded quite poetic at five am. (All of his philosophical theories about the duality of a modern man included.)
He still hasn't decided if hiring Jeongguk was the best or the worst decision he has ever made in his twenty two years of modest living.
But Jeongguk knew the answer.

"Two days! Okay!? Two extra days and not a second, no, not a moment later! Do you hear me? Jeon Jeongguk, you hear me? Wednesday, 23:59, and not a-"

"Second later, yes, got it! Thanks, hyung, you're the best!"
Yet again reassured about his potential, Jeongguk hangs up before Hoseok ever gets a chance to reply.

Out of sheer respect, he plays the completed beat once more, pretending to ponder on whether or not he's going to try and match some words to it this evening. But when the last note fades away completely - he jumps out of his seat, deciding on a shift to his night plans. Or, at least, he pretends there's a twist, when really, he was planning on it all along.
He's about to get fucked (up).

The getting ready process is almost a routine at this point. Some hairspray, perfume, tightest clean pair of pants he can find in his closet and whichever plain v-neck t-shirt he gets under his hold, this time white. Simplicity is great, he thinks, and being a fan of it saves him quite a lot of time. Buckling up the belt on his black Levis jeans, ripped at the knees, ends up the whole procedure, and within 10 minutes he's out of his studio apartment and fishing for a cab. 
Experience gets you expediency, he proudly thinks to himself, and that is, respectively, the last actual thought he has for the night.

-

Club-streets are always so faultless. Maybe it's because on weekends - you can't really hear anything but the overwhelming sound of disgustingly loud music, no matter what you do; or attempt to do.
Conversations become muffled side-sounds and even your own thoughts get lost in layered beats and drops. Jeongguk walks down his absolute favorite street two times, carefully deciding on where to barge in, considering every single one of the clubs, pubs, bars, everything
It must be cool to be given an opportunity to choose between an R 'n' B club and a techno bangers one, if you care about what you're about to dance to, he thinks.
But truth be told - he doesn't give a fuck. What he's really considering is the people lining up, trying to see if there's someone catching his attention already. The attraction doesn't really happen so he jumps onto the where's-the-shortest-queue  reasoning , and ends up in one of those strictly electro-house remixes type of venues.
It's of an average size, a few booths, a nice square-shaped dance floor, a huge bar all around it and just enough crowd for him to get lost in it, but still be able to hold his drink in the midst of it all and not have it spilled on anyone. More than enough to meet up with his standards.

Walking in used to be a craft he cared about. He'd put a charismatic expression on, one hand in his pocket, the other running through his black locks, slowly swaying under the spotlights, eyeing everyone around. But those kind of over-dramatic exhibitions stopped being his thing right after he realized that - one - he doesn't really care, and two - doesn't really need it either.

Jeongguk knows he looks good, he's well aware. His physique was always manly enough for girls to freak out over and his laid back attitude audibly growling "I don't care about anything" gave the green light to the guys as well, obviously showing that he has no preference.
It wasn't tactics, it was natural, and once he became fully sensible of the fact, he just stopped trying.

Yes, Jeongguk stopped trying.
But it was way worse than just clubbing outfits and flirting.
Worse than mixing drinks and postponing due dates.
And definitely worse than dropping from "only dating 10s" to "fucking everything on the scale".
It was all of it together and more.
He used to not accept defeat, ever since he first lost a flash-game match to his brother, but now, he decides, he just outgrew it. Everything about him was just so old (or so it felt), he saw no point in putting extra effort in.
Getting by is good enough; and that - he's doing just fine.

-

Vodka tastes like water tonight and he gulps it down as if alleviating thirst. 
One is nothing, two - barely sensible. Three is just a buzz, but four glasses gets him dancing. 
It's thrilling and heated, whatever it is that's jumping up and down in his chest, exemplary to the beat. 
Loud and tingling and warm and wonderful and, finally, it is a feeling
It isn’t new but he still doesn't know or care about what it really is, rather, he just lets it be;
Saturday after a blacked-out-Saturday.
It's suddenly in his veins, the well known rush. Vibrating under his skin and forcing a smile to his face.
It's endorphin firing him up and reality getting burnt.

Life can be great, he thinks, as the personal space around him closes up and eventually he's lost in all the bumping and grinding against nameless bodies, the harsh bass moving him in all directions, but also none.

-

Songs come and go, people come and go too. 
Some kiss him, some touch him, and some pay for his drinks.
Some look at him with lust, some with disgust, but it all feels the same. Wonderful.

Not caring is only great when you can fully ignore the consequences of such a mindset - and drunk, you can ignore anything.
So Jeongguk ignores how he won't have enough cash for a cab ride home, or how his shirt is drenched in sweat and his shoelaces are untied. Any moment now he's about to trip over his own two feet. He ignores all the work he's left undone and the lack of food in his fridge. He ignores all the responsibilities of his 19 years worth of good-for-nothing life.

When the alcohol wears off a little, Jeongguk can't handle it, not for a second. 
As soon as he's not ecstatic - he panics and runs back to the bar, asking for whatever's the strongest, filling himself up and going back to the craze. 
The morning might be close, but it's not yet here, and Diplo's Dirty vibe sounds so good all of the sudden, too good to not be sore from dancing to it.

But at that moment, something unordinary happens. As Jeongguk casually walks back to the dance floor, the color of its tiles changing in rapid speed underneath his steps, fitting the beat perfectly, he suddenly feels out of place.
And it's not your usual identity crisis type of discomfort, or anything related to his thoughts and principles really.
Just a nudging feeling of something being out of balance, a hint of danger, an anxious poke.
But it's not bad, it's perfect, it's tickling him in more ways than one and it takes him time to figure it out.
The song is now playing from within him, but the heat is coming from the outside, and he has no idea why everything's reversed.
He thinks that maybe one of his new acquaintances dropped something trippy in his drink or maybe he finally went bonkers. But the thought chain breaks in half as soon as he realizes that an eerie boy is staring at him from the other side of the room.
It's frightening, or, it would be to a sober mind.

Jeongguk is way past the point of acknowledging details and way too trashed to even make out features of this unusual fellow, but he's observant enough to see that the club has been emptying out, so it must be close to dawn already.
The boy is now walking over, or almost running, precisely.
Confused but curious, Jeongguk stays in place, anticipating whatever is about to happen.

The boy somehow appears behind Jeongguk's back and Jeongguk only realizes it when an unknown baritone almost sings into his ear.
"Dance."

And he does, in a flash
Drunken, he feels as if the command is crucial, and with no further thought he breaks into jumping and swaying and looking around for whoever this was.
He finds him easily, there's only a couple of people still left on their feet at this hour, most of them only swinging tiredly, completely off the beat, until they're too beat themselves.
But not this boy, not him.
This guy is an earthquake, running around, making a mess with all the unexplainable energy attached.
He's one with the music but somehow louder than it with just his bare presence and Jeongguk wonders if he's purposely putting up the scene.
But he plays along, sliding the volume-up on his own moves, the two of them now stealing focused stares from whoever was still in the venue.
Jeongguk feels them, but can't bother to mind. He's eyeing the dude as closely as he can for his ongoing state, and what he notices are excessive details that he think describe the stranger well.
Almost carbon blue sneakers, all stars, jean shorts barely reaching half of his thighs and a black long sleeved shirt, with cuts at most random places, all around his neck and some on the sleeves, at what Jeongguk raises an eyebrow (mentally).
He's sporting a blue beanie too, but once he gets into head banging and leaping around - he throws it into Jeongguk's direction.
What's left is a messy hairdo, a completely ruined fringe, dark, but Jeongguk can't make the color out under all the lights.
And it's ridiculous how the two of them aren't dancing together at all, there's half a room between them at all times, but at the same time they unquestionably are. Because Jeongguk's eyes are fixed on this drifter, wherever the next beat takes him - Jeongguk's blurry glance follows right after.
And though the boy isn't paying such close attention to Jeongguk - every now and then a devilish smile curves into his direction, provocative, chancy, troubling.
Poisoned, Jeongguk feels heavily indisposed and slightly hypnotized. 

And when the game continues, it only gets freakier. The boy starts circling around the dance floor, Jeongguk following right after, the two of them looking like they both see a prey in the other. Steps measured, body stiff.
And it's absolutely out of mind, it feels like a heavy drug has beaten them both to insanity, at least to Jeongguk it does.
But his new acquaintance doesn't seem all that confused, stealing half-finished drinks off the tables on the go, losing a battle to gravity more than once, but never minding. He's a sight, alright, making growling faces, spinning around, getting into every last one of the remaining guests’ faces, sticking his tongue out and firing finger-guns at whoever is close.

It's bewildering, Jeongguk thinks, the desire he feels for this boy who's clearly deranged, when he still hasn't even seen his face properly. He's always too far.
And though Jeongguk could easily cross the room and get close, it's almost a scary thought.
Instead he motions for him to come over, pulling an imaginary rope towards himself with a wicked smile.

And it seems to him that the desire is not one sided when the boy does exactly what he intended to –
sways all the way over, stopping only when there's barely two inches between them, head oscillating in slow-motioned circles, his chin up and lips bruised.
 Jeongguk can see everything now and the low baritone, almost bass, seems like a huge mismatch at the moment, but it's undeniably charming. 

"Let's make a mess." The boy proposes, smiling, with yet again alarming disturbance pinned to his behavior.
"Name"- Jeongguk barely breathes out, hungry for the information - "Your name, what is it?"
"Taehyung.” the boy answers in a heartbeat, as if rushing it to make a better point “Let's make a mess now."
"Taehyung." Jeongguk tests it over his tongue, unintentionally ignoring the latter. 
The boy – Taehyung - doesn't wait for Jeongguk to answer anymore, instead pulls him by his wrist, running into the booth hall. There's still some people occupying a few of them, but he (very clearly) doesn't give a damn, sprinting beside all of them one by one, slamming a fist into each and every table, maniacally laughing.
And Jeongguk can't think of a single reason why it's endearing, but it is.

The sound of leftover glass bottles bumping into each other as it all jumps in the air under Taehyung's pounding, then lands back onto the metal table, often spilling or rolling off to the floor - breaking, it all gives off a vibe of having to run out of here (fast) before someone charges them for all of it.
But instead, Jeongguk just wants to stay here forever and only when they reach the last booth in the row does he realize he's been laughing so hard all along, he's now out of breath.
There, Taehyung lets go of his arm and now pounces into the last table with both of his palms, harder and harder, louder and louder, making police siren noises all along. The remaining guests of the club are long gone, and probably scared for life, but Jeongguk finds that funny too. He finds everything humorous and only slightly wonders just how drunk can a man be, laughing hysterically at everything Taehyung does.
"More mess, let’s make more mess!" Taehyung shouts over the music and when he looks into Jeongguk's eyes, it's all shine and sparkle, apparent need for disaster beaming through. Jeongguk can’t decide if the excitement translates to happiness too, but hopes to find out.
So he just nods on command but when they start moving, forgetting about the shattered glass all around, Taehyung suddenly weeps in a tone so high; Jeongguk can hardly believe it's coming from him.

"Wait, wait, waaaiit!!" he pleads.
“What?”
“What’s your name?” Taehyung tilts his head in anticipation, yelling over the music with eyes closed shut as if squeezing them gives more volume to his voice and more hearing ability to his ears.
“It’s Jeongguk.  Jeon Jeongguk.”
“Hmm,” he ponders like a little kid, eyes suddenly wide “I’m not sure I like that.”
“My name?” Jeongguk seemingly asks for confirmation, but in fact only impulsively reacts to the surprise.
“Yeah, I guess. Or just how you said it. Anyway-“ Taehyung ends the small talk like it’s completely irrelevant, jumping over chairs and tables in an attempt to avoid stepping on broken bottles, motioning Jeongguk to come along.
Jeongguk isn’t oh so sure about the percentage of alcohol fueling his body and whether or not it’d be smart to follow through, but he does so anyway.
Still, he’s trying to be careful; therefore Taehyung reaches the end of the hall way sooner, laughing whole heartedly at his new friend’s efforts.
“Come on, Jeongguk, the sun’s gon’ beat you.” Taehyung teases, emphasizing when he reaches his name.
“Oh hey!” – he continues right away, discovery lightning up his voice – “I do like it! Jeon! Jeon! gguk! Yes I love it!” Taehyung splits the name harshly, skipping around in delight, swaying occasionally when he’d forget about planetary motion, but still clapping excitedly to his new uncovering.
Jeongguk just observes it all, both intrigued - stunned, and absolutely perplexed.
Never was he ever more befuddled by a person before, he thinks to himself.

-

The hurly-burly feeling doesn’t last for long; by the time they reach the opposite side of the discotheque Jeongguk is almost entirely comfortable with this arrangement:
the settlement with the idea of sneaking through the main dance room without the bartender seeing and scheming their way into the hall on the opposite side, one they imagine to be just the toilets and staff-only rooms.
Sure Taehyung is outright ridiculous, but his untamed spirit doesn't make Jeongguk feel inferior no more. 
It's nothing he hasn't been doing himself, in one way or another.
He basically lives in this street and the only hesitancy falls to the fact which claims they've never ran into each other before. Or have they?
He doesn't recall. But Taehyung wants to leave mess behind and Jeongguk wants to be a part of it.
 
Part of making the mess or part of the mess itself, no one yet really knows.

-

It’s easy to reach the atrium-like part on the other side, and as soon as they go past the corner Jeongguk feels another wave of haze rushing over him, the effect of the last few glasses of whatever it was served to him, arriving finally.
“Oh my god.” He hisses, leaning his back onto the wall, eyes shut.
“Are you okay? Need to barf it out?” Taehyung’s voice is so quiet in his head;
muffled, suppressed, almost swathed.
When Jeongguk says nothing, only a grin slowly spreading over his face, Taehyung gives up the worrying and instead comes as close to him as the first time he approached, their intoxicated breaths mixing in the process.
“I’m awesome.” Jeongguk lazily strews the words over his tongue, and it feels like they’re tangling up in his mouth, proper pronunciation becoming impossible.
Taehyung clicks his tongue at the aroma overpowering his senses “Scotch. Not my favorite.”

When Jeongguk opens his eyes Taehyung is so close he doesn’t see anything but a bleary image of his
features, somehow still prominent even through all the fog (which feels like miasma at times).
“You don’t like anything about me.” Jeongguk notices through lethargic laughter, eyes apathetic.
“And you like everything about me?” Taehyung asks in all earnestness.
“Maybe I do.”
“And you should.”

-

The staff room is stuffed with everything and anything clutter-making and the two of them don’t care about choosing just one or two things for the go. Instead they wedge their pockets with whatever fits them, cramming them up with bottle openers, corkscrews, label-markers, muddlers, and a few pairs of ice thongs, just in case.  Taehyung finds some money in the draws too, shooting a question to Jeongguk right away.
“How virtuous are you?”
Jeongguk glances over the bills in Taehyung’s hold, eyeing the amount thoroughly.
“I mean, there’s stolen bartending supplies poking my crotch as you ask so-“
“Got it.” Taehyung laughs melodically, loading Jeongguk’s back pockets with the cash, missing the hem of it more than five times; thanks to his drunken dimness.
Jeongguk can’t stop laughing whenever he feels Taehyung’s fingers slipping away, his chest jumping up and down to the rhythm of it.
“If you wanted a feel-up you could have - could have just asked” He mutters in between guffaw-attacks.
Taehyung exaggeratedly gasps at the remark, far gone scandalized.
“Would I have to ask though?” He chuckles, lightly slapping Jeongguk’s thigh; and with that they both run out of the storage room, loudly exploding in hilarity.

-

At this point – the club is probably all cleared out and soon the staff is going to invest into a cleanup, undoubtedly finding them shuffling around their supplies.  But Jeongguk and Taehyung aren’t rational enough to consider the side-effects of their adventure so they just intrude the very next room, one that ends up being the ladies’ restroom. Taehyung is quick to unload one of the product-labeling markers out of his shorts, scribbling everything and anything over the mirrors in impressive speed.
“Write about me.” Jeongguk demands.
“What?” Taehyung throws ambiguity over his shoulder; turning around only to see Jeongguk sitting on the floor trailing line-art around his palm pressed to the tiles.
“Me,” Jeongguk looks up with a mischievous smile dancing waywardly on his face “Write something about me.”

“Okay.” Taehyung shrieks in amusement.

Jumbled, vicious the mirror reads, font not comprehensible enough for Jeongguk to read from the ground.

He walks over, the weight of his body seeming inexistent; then reads the words, ostensibly overwhelmed.

Taehyung watches closely as the expressions on the tall boy change gradually until he finally grabs the marker from his hold, scribbling all over it.

“You ruined your chance,” Jeongguk starts indifferently “Here.”

“Nice ass?”  Taehyung bursts out in an upbeat mirth, wavering so much to the cadence of his own cheerfulness that he almost falls right onto his own tail.

“You really are something, Jeon Jeongguk.”
“Do you like me better now?” Jeongguk coquets with his timbre, eyeing the other boy precisely.
“The best.” Taehyung squelches the words into a fireball, leaving Jeongguk naked in his qualm yet again.

It doesn’t matter
, he tells himself, we’re drunk and hasty, he won’t turn me down.

But as soon as Jeongguk decides to finally make a proper move on his new companion there’s shouts from down the hall and they both know they’re, simply stated – fucked.

-

Taehyung’s frame is by some means engaging, as he runs sloppily in front of Jeongguk. 
Somehow they’ve managed to dodge all three of the security guards trying to interrogate them about why they were found in the ladies’ room, as if that was the biggest controversy of the night.
Right now they’re simply running for the thrill of it, Taehyung often screaming and howling into the quiet dawn.  Jeongguk is right behind him, all the ecstasy still imploding.

“I love Saturdays!”  Taehyung yells into the azure sky, skipping and skimming alongside the curvature of the sidewalk.

“It’s Sunday!”  Jeongguk yells back, detonating in deafening laughter, almost manic in its volume. 

“It’s Sunday! That’s right! And I love Sundays!! Sundays are g-reat!”  Taehyung cuts the word in half, holding onto one of the street lights, spinning around it with agility of a practiced pole dancer.

Jeongguk notices his disorganized thought-process, something about it being undeniably charming.
But with so much running and laughing he feels himself getting out of breath, and more importantly - sobering up. 


"I need to, we need to get something else to drink if we're gonna-"
"If we're gonna what?"  Taehyung almost sings, walking backwards in a tempo that still leaves him feet ahead of Jeongguk.
"Anything. Or I, I can't."  Jeongguk loudly exhales, coming off as a sigh. 
"But what, what  can't you do? Fuck me?" Taehyung drapes over the question with laughter so black that it's more spite than cheerfulness.
"I didn't originally mean that."
"But that too?"  He melodically hums and turns around again, skipping like a little kid.
"Yeah that too, yes, everything.  Look there's a liquor shop right there let's just-"
"No-pe” Taehyung pops the p in the word, glaring over his shoulder just to blink in an exaggerating manner.
"You don't get it, you have your hype glued to you it's you but I need-"
"The thrill!"  Taehyung suddenly stops to dramatically yell this out in a sing-song tone, a theatrical gasp following right after.
"Yeah."
"Well let's do something thrilling for you then."

"Like? Buy me a bottle of vodka?"
"Like - actual thrill. Let's go get my car."

-

Jeongguk knows for fact that Taehyung is still a little drunk, he must be, but he lets himself be stuffed into the front seat regardless. 
Taehyung doesn't care to buckle up and when he hits that gas - he hits it hard.
The two of them are more flying than driving through the streets and Jeongguk can only thank the heavens about the traffic shortage in the early dawn.
He still remains relaxed (as relaxed as you can be with a drunk, border-insane stranger - speeding through the main streets of a metropolis) and fairly excited if he were to be honest.
At least he assumes the feeling that's clawing up his throat is excitement, originating deep in his chest and boiling through his air canals.

"Never thought you'd be an alcoholic, wow"  Taehyung announces, mirth back in his voice tone.
"I'm not."
"But you're an addict."
"I'm not an addict."
"You aree, you areee." Taehyung serenades, fingers tapping on the wheel.
"I'm not addicted." Jeongguk shrugs, genuinely disagreeing.
"Oh aren't you?"
"Nah."
"But you are. You can't go off, you can't go without."
"But I can, I just need it to-"
"You just need it." Taehyung mockingly emphasizes.
Jeongguk doesn't argue anymore.

Eventually Taehyung adds - "But that's okay."
"What is?"
"The addiction. We're all addicted to something that adds colors to our monochrome."

-

When Taehyung stops the car Jeongguk has no idea where they are. The surroundings are painfully unfamiliar, corn fields on both side of the dusty old road, all of it belonging to the outskirts of the town, apparently. 
"Get out." Taehyung's voice rings in the back of Jeongguk's mind, so far that he thinks he made it up.
"Sorry?"
"Out. Out of the car and then we'll talk."
"What? You can't just throw me out in the middle of nowhere!" Now Jeongguk is fuming, more out of shock than actual rage, only mad that he can't follow or understand the other boy’s intentions.
"I can and I am, chop-chop!"

So Jeongguk does.
Eyes widening and jaw dropping, fingers hesitating on the door handle. But he gets out - mind blank.
He stares at Taehyung's villainous smirk wondering if this is it, the one final time he gets to see it.
He'd be okay with that. Not very happy, but okay, maybe.

But Taehyung doesn't look very farewell-oriented, instead he rolls the window down, then: "Get in the front. In front of the car."
"What, you're gonna run me over?"
"I might."
And Taehyung laughs to his own remark, eyes tinted with so many things Jeongguk can't even begin to understand.
But just like the first time he let his mind untangle into pure obedience upon hearing Taehyung's command, he immediately does as he's told.
Slowly, he walks towards the front, looking over the shoulder instinctively, only to find Taehyung happily grinning behind the windshield.

-

Running, to Jeongguk, is like music; capable of inexhaustible variations of mood.
He wished he was disciplined enough to wake up early here and there and taste it under the morning sun, but the reality usually led him into the midnight runs, lonely, quiet and dark.
This time, extraordinarily, he is pushed into the day-breaking rush, no questions asked.

Taehyung is right behind him and maybe he’d forget about it if the sound of the car engine raging wasn’t so unpleasant to the ear. And maybe there’s some distastefulness in the bare fact stating that he’s not running for his own individual pleasure but rather running away from a vehicle – possibly on a quest to end his life.
But Taehyung  isn’t pressing hard enough on that gas paddle and Jeongguk knows this isn’t a run for survival.
Still it feels quite vital.

Running can be about freedom of movement, it can be about the discipline, maybe even competition.
But when Jeongguk swings his creaky hips to the beat of nothing but a seething motor it’s all about the basic process of just being.
The narrow sandy road seems like bright, broad land and with dust rising up from his restless feet he can pretend to get lost in its smog.
Everything about it is ridiculous but everything about it is beautiful.

Jeongguk knows he doesn’t have to wait for Taehyung to stop the car, if needed - he could just jump sideways into the field, rest for as long as he needs to. He knows that it isn’t about what he must do but rather what he wishes to.
And Taehyung can see all of it, even with his mind in a haze and Jeongguk with his back turned.
He knows that his propositions are always crazy but he also knows they work.
At some point, he rolls the window down, yelling:  “Nice ass, sprinter!”
He’s not sure if Jeongguk can hear him, his feet leading him far, far away from Taehyung’s car, though Taehyung never really slowed down.

He can hear, and he laughs. A laugh so candid - it feels fabricated, so authentic - it has to be spurious.
But it isn’t – it’s convincing and genuine, and maybe he feels on top of the entire world as his energy intensifies with every next step.
Self-Transcendence could be the right description of what he feels in his veins when he finally freezes, long after Taehyung has stopped the automobile.
He knows his intoxicated stomach is going to take revenge on him - big time, but somehow, the nausea isn’t coming just yet.

But Taehyung is, all bright and glistening, running towards him from where he parked.

Jeongguk can only stand still, his feet glued to the ground, chest heaving, mind full of everything and nothing, busy but deserted. His eyes are on Taehyung  the entire time and he can clearly see that the other boy is shouting in amusement, but the words don’t get to him, not at all.
It’s like they lose its meaning and general sense on their way to him and he feels so bare, almost like a newborn exposed to everything and anything, all at once.

But when Taehyung is close enough it all crashes down on him and he’s so overwhelmed that the numbness soon transforms into pure vigor.
The last few steps between them are conquered in a second, as Jeongguk literally leaps towards Taehyung, hands groping at his shirt, heartbeat infuriated.

 Whatever Taehyung was shouting about gets cut off in a split second as Jeongguk closes the very last gap between them with his lips.
There’s nothing particularly romantic about it, nothing poetic or visually pleasing.
For Jeongguk it’s an alternative to a scream caged in between his ribs and for Taehyung it’s simple obeying.

So Jeongguk kisses like he’s roaring, breath short and ignited, tongue ferocious.
And Taehyung kisses back as if embracing it, giving in, smiling whenever given the chance.

The two of them stand there, in the middle of nothing, every life (but their own) utterly extinct.
Kissing, breathing each other in like a long needed gasp they’ve been holding back on.

For Jeongguk – it’s not about Taehyung. It’s about everything Taehyung  was tonight and probably never will be again. Not for Jeongguk, that is.
And for Taehyung – it’s not about Jeongguk either. It’s about giving, offering, letting go, making a mess.

And that’s what Jeongguk is when they finally pull away, a mess of plain disorientation.

“You know that the car isn’t really mine, right?” Taehyung breathes out, not easing out on the perplexity.

“Oh my god.” Is all Jeongguk manages to throw back, fists still wrapped around the fabric around Taehyung’s neck.

 

-

 

It seems that Jeongguk was still fairly drunk back at the city after all, because when Taehyung says he wired through the lock right before his eyes – it’s anything but believable.
Still, Jeongguk doesn’t question it – he doesn’t remember anything about proper car-starting either and now that he thinks of it – would Taehyung really be a Lexus driver? Not a chance.

“I could very well be a Lexus driver!” he protests on their way back.
“Maybe like a 2002 SUV one, yeah.” Jeongguk jokes with fake seriousness to his tone at what Taehyung only snorts.
“The dude’s gon’ be late for work if we don’t get it back in time, I’ll show you my ’02 skills, you great comedian.”
“You mean we’re taking it back?”
“What did you think buttercup, early birthday gift?”
“No, I mean..” he lets the sentence fade away, not really knowing what he meant.
“Of course we’re taking it back. I mean if this was one of this year’s sports models I’d consider it but I’m way too skittish for this gray old piece of metal.”
“But it’s not.” Jeongguk notices the obvious.
“But it’s not.”

When Taehyung speeds up this time it doesn’t take Jeongguk by surprise.
Still, he wishes he would slow down, the road being unimportant as he finds the infamous thrill infesting his taste buds.

-

The ride back is different from the first one. The atmosphere almost friendly; rather than buzzed.

“So what are you, a college drop out of some sort, a neglected only-child, a ran-away-from-home rebellious teen, tell me?” Taehyung tries his luck out.
“None of those. Are you?”
“Not a chance.”
“So what do you do?”
“This.”
“What do you mean?” Jeongguk furrows his brows in confusion.
“I have fun.”
“You have fun?”
“Absolutely. And you?”
“I write lyrics for other people.”
“Interesting.” Taehyung replies, his tone not really reeking of interest – which Jeongguk notices right away.
“You’re right, it’s not.”
“No it is. I mean, it would be.”
“If what?”
“If you thought it was.”

Jeongguk doesn’t say much after this. He really wishes for this encounter with Taehyung to repeat itself but he doesn’t think he could ever bring himself to ask for it.
Still the mixture of hot and cold, the unordinary blend of careless and tactful, absurd and brilliant that Taehyung is – has him pushing on his own limits.
It seems to him like Taehyung is sickness and health all together but the positive is just so new to his life that he can’t let it go.  So he defeats himself.

“I want to see you again.”
“And you will.” Taehyung answers so quickly all the time, so ready and blunt.
“When?”
“You let me worry about that, testy boy, and you put those concerns of yours in some kick ass song.”

Jeongguk settles at this. It’s chancy and indefinite, and the probability of it happening is close to being nullified, but it’s not a no and that’s enough. 
Until they reach the city he also learns that Taehyung is two years older than him, a pepperoni pizza enthusiast and lives alone at a studio apartment – just like he does. He finds himself secretly wishing he was invited in it rather than getting a description of the wall coloring.

Jeongguk isn’t sure if Taehyung is trustworthy. On one hand it all seems like skillful lying but on another -  it’s way too vivid to not be true. Either way - he can’t bring himself to care, honesty being the least of his priorities.

Still, he’s completely forthright about himself and when Taehyung asks where he wants to be dropped off – he gives him his own address.

“You can come in if you want to.” Jeongguk brushes off, aware that it’s very unlikely to happen.
“So you do fuck sober, huh?” Taehyung laughs, his gaze so sharp even with his eyes reshaping into half moons.
“I don’t,” Jeongguk mumbles “I mean I could…but we don’t, we don’t have to, I mean it’s okay if we don’t …it’s not why I, well, partially but-“
“Go home Jeongguk.” Taehyung warmly stops him in his stuttering, his hand gently placed on Jeongguk’s knee for reassurance.
Jeongguk just closes his eyes in embarrassment, lips inward.
“It’s okay, it’s great that we don’t have to.”
“Is it?”
“Yeah because I gotta get this car back.” Taehyung chuckles, his hand tapping on Jeongguk’s thigh a few times.
“Oh right, okay. See you around then.” Jeongguk tries to say it as coolly as possible.
“See ya, young Cobain.”
And when Jeongguk is already out of the car he adds “Do write about me!”

-

Cobain? That’s the best Taehyung think he could do? Okay, Bob Dylan would be a reach but he could at least have given him Lennon. 

Instead of going to bed Jeongguk turns his laptop on and makes some coffee, coal black.
I’ll show you nirvana, in all of your smart-ass wittiness – he thinks to himself, confidence rising in his solitude.

-

When he finally decides on the appropriate bridge, leaving only the chorus for tomorrow, he concludes that it’s finally time for rest.
But strangely – he feels like he needs it less than ever, even with all the overnight exertion.

Instead, his thoughts run back and forth from the way Taehyung’s fist hammered into tables, via the way in which it wrapped around the wheel, to how it, finally, bundled at the hair above Jeongguk’s neck.
He can’t decide on a favorite.

But what he sees so clearly now is the color of Taehyung’s hair, once hidden under the lights, now so vividly chocolate-shaded in Jeongguk’s mind.
In fact, Taehyung’s eyes are also not far from the chocolate chroma, but Jeongguk feels himself melting at the thought instead.

It’s dangerous, he thinks, finding enjoyment in someone so inadequate. Someone so hungry for the wallop of adventure. Starved.
Regardless, he lets himself revel in it, for Taehyung is as close to his own unruly void as he could imagine someone be.

“Let’s make a mess.” He almost hears Taehyung whisper in his ear, hint of his deep-tone tinted voice present.
Jeongguk wonders if Taehyung purposely makes mess out of humans too, and if so, how far from the first one is he.
With that as his last though - he finally drifts off.

-

[11:02 AM] I hope you started on the song nitwit.

[11:04 AM] You better have a verse already or I swear to god Jeon Jeongguk.

[11:10 AM] Why aren’t you replying??? ><

[11:15 AM] You’re sleeping aren’t you?? @.@

[11:24 AM] You got trashed again, right??!??!

[12:04 PM] I’m coming over.  

Jeongguk only reads the texts when Hoseok, indeed, comes over, pushing the phone into his face.

“Read! Read up! Come on! I’m not here for nothing!!”
“And why are you here, exactly?” Jeongguk asks, voice still burning of sleepiness.
“What?!” Hoseok gasps “You dare ask me such an entirely scarce, completely deficient, absolutely faulty question right to my perplexed face as I stand here, utterly aghast-“
“I get it, I get it! You know big words!” Jeongguk sits up lazily; cracking his neck “You write the lyrics then, don’t waste the eloquence.”
“Ha! Where did you learn to be so clever all of the sudden?”
“So? Why are you in my apartment hyung?”
“The song pinhead, you better have more than the title.”
“I do.”
“You do?” Hoseok is evidently surprised.
“At least pretend to be poised.”
You making progress is more shocking than the ending of the last season of Game of Thrones.”
“What a shitty ending it was...”
Hoseok theatrically huffs:
“We agreed to not discuss this, not ever!”
“Hyung, with all due respect to your nerdy self, I’d gladly go back to sleep now.”
“Suit yourself but first let me see it.”
“See what?”
“The song! Or I’m not leaving.”
“No way. You know I only send in completed works.”
“Well I can’t trust your hung-over ass!” Hoseok reaches for the laptop on Jeongguk’s desk but Jeongguk is quick to slap his hand.
“Well you better! I only have the chorus to touch up on.”

“You onl-“ Hoseok dramatically pauses to breathe in and out in frustration “the chorus, as in the main part of the song, the hook that’s what makes a song good, the part everyone’s either be humming to every second of the day or-“
“Yes hyung, the heart and the soul of every good tune, we’ve been through this already.”
“Well you better make that chorus good Jeongguk, I can’t continue squinting at your fuck-ups forever, you know that.”
“Good night hyung.”
“Good 1:20 PM Jeongguk!”

-

Jeongguk doesn’t know why he keeps turning the screen of his phone on and off throughout the rest of the evening or why he expects for the bell to ring any second.
He doesn’t know why facebook couldn’t find a Lee, Kwon, Oh, Park, Min (or any other surname)-Taehyung who looked anything remotely like his companion of the night and he lets it openly frustrate him for hours.
It’s so stupid, he thinks; didn’t they have a good time last night? Who wouldn’t want to do that again?

Taehyung apparently, because the microwave beep is not a door bell, the jingle on the radio isn’t his ringtone and when his laptop overheats – it’s not the text alert vibration; none of it is Taehyung. Jeongguk forgets to reason and acknowledge that Taehyung doesn’t, in fact, have his phone or apartment number.
 
After he’s been fooled and embarrassed in front of his own self a considerate amount of times – he decides to give up. Put it to rest. Maybe he’d run into him somewhere and maybe they’d have some gladdening time together again – but that’s it. What else could there be, anyway? He doesn’t expect this Taehyung to really be knocking on his door just for amusement’s sake. (Though, if he could reach out for him instead - he definitely would.)

That’s why he doesn’t jump at the car horn raving in intervals right under his first-story window.
The first, the second, or the third time.
Only when a significantly known voice sing-songs his name in three different keys – he stumbles over his sheets to open up the window and give it a look.

And it’s him of course, standing outside a black BMW, clapping eagerly when Jeongguk makes his appearance.

“I thought you’d fuck me over champ!” Taehyung yells.
“First floor, apartment 24!”
“Thanks, but no thanks, what about a ride to some place cooler!”
“I have work to do!”
“You also have 6 and a half minutes, starting-“ he rolls the sleeve of what seems to be a denim jacket up to look at his watch “noooow!”
 
And Jeongguk runs to get ready, adrenaline firing him up.  (Timberland’s in the summer are really a trade mark of his so he quickly pairs them with some all black attire and sprints out.)

-

Jeongguk tries to think of how to greet Taehyung all the way down the stairs.
“Hello.  HeyHi.” He tests his intonation, voice either cracking or going incredibly high.  When he reaches the final gate he just stops for a second to hand-iron his shirt a little and take a breath or two before going out.

It doesn’t really help.

Taehyung looks like he’s trying to be dashing; back leaning against the window frame, legs leisurely thrown one over the other, eyebrows furrowing at whatever appears on his phone that he’s seemingly scrolling through.
The pants he’s wearing are tight, black and a bit too long – bundling around his ankles(And tight and tight and tight); his shirt plain white, coated with the light-blue denim jacket which Jeongguk already noticed from upstairs and his left wrist accessorized with a Casio watch, one out of the digital collection – Jeongguk’s favorite. (Or it is now.) Jeongguk now notices that Taehyung’s ears are also pierced which sends a single shiver down his spine for no apparent reason.

Not knowing how to greet him if he’d walk over – Jeongguk decides to avoid it, instead approaching the other side of the car, conversing over it.

“Hey.” He manages to say quite indifferently. It gets Taehyung by surprise as he didn’t notice Jeongguk coming; so he jerks a little at the greeting.

“Oh hey!!” he turns around instantly, grinning so brightly that Jeongguk makes a mental memo to make an ophthalmologist appointment. (Is that what “eye-doctors” are called? He has no idea anymore.)

“You didn’t wanna come over? Give me a lil’ kiss and all.” Taehyung teases, pouting his lips with his eyes shut at what Jeongguk only gulps.
“I um…where are we going?”
Taehyung laughs a little at Jeongguk’s obvious discomfort.
“Get in the car.”

As soon as he gets the engine going Taehyung starts talking:
“So I guess it really does take moonshine to get your fireworks going.”
“I told you.”
“Why is that?”
“Why is what?”
“Why can’t you get loose just like that?”
“Because I’m not a loose person, I guess.”
“But a bit of ethanol-methanol and there you are!”
“Yeah.”
“That’s okay.”
“What’s okay?”
“Everything is.”
-

Jeongguk takes notice on how Taehyung often justifies things and stores it for further wondering.
Still, he does ask a similar question:


“Why do you drink so much then?”
“So much? I don’t drink that much.”
“Why do you drink at all?”
“For fun! What else?”
“You just do everything for fun?”
“Of course.”

He lets this sink in throughout the rest of the drive.

Taehyung, of course, takes him to a club. This time it is a hip hop one, flashy, loud and over-blinged.
Jeongguk quite likes it.

And even though he swore to himself that nothing Taehyung does could take him by surprise, the most trivial thing does.

“Yo, Jimin!” Taehyung yells few feet away from the bar, jumping over the bar desk with practiced dexterity.
Jeongguk finds himself feeling a bit out of place, as Taehyung exchanges a series of very intimate hugs with the red haired guy, their bartender for the night as it seems.
“Tae! You’re kind of late aren’t you!”
“It’s like half past eleven dude!”
“Yo don’t give me the pretend-talk, we all know you’re here fishing for free refills from 10:00 on my every shift.”
“Don’t embarrass me in front of friends dude.” Taehyung finally moves away, filling his own glass with what appears to be Smirnoff vodka, using his free hand to point at Jeongguk.
“Since when do you have friends?” Jimin laughs, reaching out for a handshake.
“Hey! I still haven’t kicked you to the curb, prankster.”
 “He’s the one who needs me.” Jimin speaks to Jeongguk now, giving him a quick wink as he squeezes his hand.
“That I believe.” Jeongguk laughs; he thinks he quite likes this guy if he were to be honest.
“So, your poison of choice? Taehyung’s friends are my friends too so don’t hesitate to go flashy!”
“It’s on the house is what he’s trying to say.” Taehyung chips in.
“Vodka is fine.”
“Simple and striking. It suits you.” Jimin decides, filling his glass up in what seems like barely a second.
“Don’t pay too much attention to him.” Taehyung starts, looking around for the guards before he jumps back to the bar stools side of the counter. “He thinks alcohol choices are like zodiac or something.”
“Hey!” Jimin protests “Zodiac signs can only define you to some degree. Your own preference is faultless.”
“Told you.” Taehyung stops to take a sip, his hand tugging on the hem of Jeongguk’s t shirt “He’s not in his right mind.”
 “Believing whatever this guy says wouldn’t be in anyone’s right mind,” Jimin swings the rag that was hanging over his shoulder, just enough to mess up Taehyung’s hair and leave him squealing. “Now I gotta run to the other counter, so behave. Both of you.”
Jokingly he pulls the I’m-watching-you motion as he walks backwards, but when he stumbles and almost falls he just swears light heartedly and runs off.

“Well that’s Jimin.”
“I like him.”
“Everyone does. It’s because he gives us free drinks all the time.”
“No, I mean, as a person. He’s cool.”
Taehyung laughs.
“Cool? That’s the first time he gets the adjective, I’ll make sure he hears it.”
“You know him from here, or?”
“Jims? Nah…The two of us go a long, long way. That’s why he puts up with my shit.”
“What shit?”
“All of it.”

Jeongguk doesn’t dare to question further. He doesn’t know why he doesn’t have the courage to ask Taehyung more whenever he cuts the conversation off, but somehow he’s scared to do so.  Scared of the reaction or the answer, he’s not yet entirely sure. 

But Taehyung doesn’t do it on purpose. In fact, Jeongguk learns that Taehyung doesn’t really shut up once he gets into a story:
“And then she told me ‘Taehyung, your name is as dumb as you are’ can you believe it? Just because I approached her with a pickup line? My name is Taehyung but you can call me tonight, is it that bad? Honestly, to this day I haven’t stepped foot into that bar..”
“And then he pulls me away and is like ‘Uh dude, that’s my girlfriend you’re dancing with.’ And I didn’t really get it, like, sure, but she’s dancing with me..”
“And then I’m like, sure let’s take this outside but what does the loser do? Calls the security! Just because I broke a bottle or two at his feet, he knows it wasn’t on purpose!”
“And Jimin is all like ‘No dude, don’t’ but I’m not listening and I gulp the whole bottle down! At once! It was brilliant…”

And Jeongguk can’t help but laugh at each little story presented, not when Taehyung puts his best acting skills on the line, changing his voice to frequencies he didn’t know existed, impersonating every single character described. The Jimin one even sounds quite on point, so it amuses Jeongguk even further.
Suddenly he thinks he can understand what “All the shit” Jimin’s been putting up with really is.

Jeongguk’s storytelling skills aren’t as exciting but on his fifth glass he starts talking anyway.
So he tells Taehyung about all the times his boss has caught him pulling irresponsible crap on work days and all the ups and downs of his own nightlife experience.
“And I swear, she has like, no shoes on-“
“Like not even one??” Taehyung almost hiccups as he explodes in laughter.
“Not even one! Like if you could have a minus one shoe – she’s, she’d have minus one.”
“Oh my god!!”
“I know! And I can’t really walk but she can’t e-either and I know I have to do something.”
“So what do you do!”
“I offer a restroom fuck.”
“A restroom fu- Jeongguk!”
“What else could I do? I mean I liked her but she couldn’t even walk?”
“What was your plan then, b-bending her over?”
“I don’t, I don’t remember but she was so drunk and s-sh-she just took her shirt off and-“
“In the middle of the club?!?!?”
“In the middle! Well hmmph..not the middle but like the upper right corner maybe.”
“J-jeongguk.” Taehyung is heaving for air at this point.
“I’m serious. But the moral kicked in then and I decided to take her ho-home so I clothe her in my jacket and we take off.”
“Her being barefoot and all?”
“Bible-kissed!!”

  The two of them don’t move from the bar for hours, breaking out in uncontrollable shrieks every now and then, downing bottles one ridiculous story at a time.
And Jeongguk enjoys it, everything about it. The companionship, the laughter, the burning toxin in his stomach.
He likes all of it, indeed, but what he loves the most is the way Taehyung is more than just mystery and wild adventure, he’s also great humor (with some bad puns) and laid back time-killing.
(fingers brushing through his fringe, eyes glistening, lips reshaping into boxy grins and unexplainably long eyelashes batting – but Jeongguk chooses to ignore this part.)
  And most of the time he just wants to lean in and kiss him, kiss him for hours or just a second, it doesn’t really matter; because the fusion still leaves him baffled – how can someone be so distant but so approachable all at once?

Once they agree that they’re drunk enough to dominate the dance floor – they get up and almost run towards it.
Taehyung loses his jacket in the process and Jeongguk is now met with the tanned skin of Taehyung’s arms, hoping he’s not really salivating.
  
This time is different from the last, Taehyung wastes none of it. There’s no circling around, no mingling, no game. There’s no pretending that they’re friends who came to look for other people, no patience or class.
As soon as they step on the led floor he pulls Jeongguk to the middle of the crowd, arms wrapping around his waist, hips colliding. But yet again, Jeongguk is the one who initiates the kiss, hands swaddling around Taehyung’s neck, pulling him in.
The music is just a background noise as they play around with each other, drunk enough to try any route, explore anything their mind thinks of in the moment;
The dancing isn’t forgotten, but they seem to take it a bit differently than an average person; Taehyung breaking the kiss to turn around, unlinking Jeongguk’s hands and putting them lower, lower, around his hips, throwing his head back over Jeongguk’s shoulder, mischievous smirk curving up.
And Jeongguk can’t take it so close, he can’t ignore it when Taehyung’s completely leaning in on him, lips parted, eyes closed; So he lets him do all the swaying and beat-riding and instead digs his teeth into the older boy’s neck, no warning.
Taehyung’s reaction is provoking, he barely twitches at the surprise-attack but only encourages Jeongguk’s quest, one hand tangling up in Jeongguk’s hair, the other one trying to keep the balance up, holding onto Jeongguk’s embrace around his hips.
Jeongguk’s last coherent thought of this night wraps around the scene and he wonders if it’s really this easy.
He realizes that Taehyung only ever gives in, almost surrenders to arousal, but questionably whose?

He can’t quite pin point it to Taehyung’s leader-like personality but he enjoys the twist nevertheless.
When he bites a bit harder right in between Taehyung’s neck and shoulder, the response is audible and he knows that with the music raging, only he can hear it.
The thinking stops here.

-

The ride home is a fight for survival. Taehyung insists on driving and Jeongguk doesn’t find it in himself to argue. The turns they take are life-threatening and around a dozen of cars almost get hit on the way.
It doesn’t help that both of them are experiencing a peak of lust right then and there and when Taehyung decides that he just can’t make it any further,  he aggressively turns into an alley of some sort, hitting the break so off-beat that the car almost has a seizure, if that was theoretically possible.

“What are you- O-oh my god” Jeongguk’s original question is cut in half when Taehyung just jumps over to his seat, straddling him in a second.
“I’d usually be considerate and ask you how you like it, but we don’t have any real choices here, yeah?” Taehyung’s voice is breathy as he makes himself more comfortable on Jeongguk’s lap, fingers trailing along the curvature of his jaw line.
“Uh...no...No choices-es” Jeongguk gives his best to make an intelligible reply but Taehyung is vicious and already grinding down on him, a nefarious smile dancing on his lips.
“You can do better than that, come on, no stuttering. What don’t we have?”
“We…don’t,”
“Yeah? Tell me?” Taehyung moans the words out, strewing and scattering them on purpose, as he rubs up and down yet again, lips brushing over Jeongguk’s earlobe.
“H-have.”
“Have what baby?”
The whispered pet name is almost enough alone to send Jeongguk off the edge but he pulls it together until he voices all of it out;
“Choices.”

As if rewarding him for the accomplished inquiry, Taehyung cries out loudly, and it’s more than electrifying;
A wave of pleasure shakes down on Jeongguk and, by some kind of reflex, he pulls on as much of Taehyung’s hair that he can sloppily fit in his fist, inconsiderately tugging on it, yanking Taehyung’s whole neck back.
 “Jesus,” Taehyung hisses, but it’s not disapproving; if anything, it seems to be a favor because Jeongguk manages to trigger him in the best way, both of them only riding out towards the highlight now.

“I don’t, ah, I don’t think I’ve managed to do this since I was like fourteen, like with just, just like that”
“Shut up Taehyung.” Jeongguk whines, pulling harder on his hair to shut him up, but instead of silence he is gifted with yet another slow sob, sending a pulsating ball of excitement down both of their abdomens.
“Ohh, baby,” Taehyung tries as his voice melts off, nails clawing at Jeongguk’s upper arms, but just two words alone end it for both of them;
 Jeongguk pulling Taehyung down, close, closer, not close enough, kissing wherever he reaches.

And even when they’re long past the peak, they continue kissing with such intensity that it doesn’t even make sense. Taehyung is more attentive this time, feeding on as much Jeongguk as Jeongguk is feeding on him.
It’s almost abstract, the way they both feel the intractable need to almost absorb each other fully.
It’s all but insane, nothing seems to be near enough, and even with their chest completely end to end, they’re both gripping at whichever piece of clothing they can reach, pulling the other even closer.

Neither one could say how much time has passed when they finally grow tired of all the frolicking, but at some point they do untangle from each other, breathing heavily for the next few minutes, at least.

“You’re a good kisser Jeon Jeongguk.”
“I’ve gotten “great kisser” before, Taehyung..?”
“Kim. Kim Taehyung.”
“Kim Taehyung, then. Your compliment is an understatement.”
“Modesty is good for people, they say.”
“Lying isn’t.”
Taehyung chuckles at this
“Just when I thought you didn’t have it in you…”

They find a pack of Marlboro Gold’s in whoever’s vehicle this was, both lighting up with windows rolled down.
“So an alcoholic and a smoker? A winning combination”
“At least I don’t have ‘thief’ written on top of all of it.”
 “You wish, Jeonggukie. You fucking wish.”


What Jeongguk wishes for, instead, is for time to stop moving.
The daylight is on its way already and he knows his play time will be over in a heartbeat. (He does desperately need a shower, though.)

 

-

Their next interaction happens over text and Jeongguk feels like he’s in high school again.
Unfortunately for him, he was never too good at it;


[10:25 PM] What’s up?

[10:25 PM] nm, hbu

[10:26 PM] Same, how’s the song going

[10:27 PM] not bad, almost done

[10:28 PM] cool, what is it about

[10:29 PM] you know, hook ups and stuff

[10:30 PM] my favorite

[10:31 PM] my favorite too

[10:35 PM] wanna hang out tonight

[10:37 PM] I do but I have to hand this in by tomorrow sry

[10:38 PM] Can’t I just keep you company we don’t have to go out

[10:39 PM] while I polish the song??

[10:39 PM] yh!!

[10:40 PM] like here?

[10:40 PM] we don’t have to

[10:41 PM] no!! Come over!

-

Jeongguk drops the phone immediately, cleaning whatever he gets his hands on first.
He collects all the clothes recklessly thrown over the bed, chair, floor, everywhere and stuffs it all into the laundry basket, then rushes over to the kitchen counter, swooping whatever he finds on it in the trash.
Fuck, he needs a shower too.
He jumps into his favorite pair of gray sweats and throws a plain black t shirt on, trying to towel-dry his hair, just as his phone vibrates again.

[11:15 PM] 1st floor, apt. 24?

But before he types out a single word a door bell is heard and he jumps in surprise.
Fuck. He mumbles under his breath, steps hasty towards the door.

When he sees Taehyung, he immediately drops the towel to the ground;
“Oh dear!” Taehyung exaggerates with a gasp “Was this the courtesy of...me?”
Jeongguk reaches down for the discarded item, flipping Taehyung off in the process.
“Ooh, feisty!” Taehyung chuckles, letting himself in, jumping right onto Jeongguk’s bed.

“Do come in.” Jeongguk flatly says to the abandoned doorframe and Taehyung only snorts from behind.
“Sorry I’m not very mannered.”
“Yeah. Want something to drink?”
“I do.” Taehyung claps, standing up and making his way over to the kitchen.
“Do help yourself…” Jeongguk repeats the flat sarcasm but he’s only really playing it cool.
When Taehyung starts fumbling around the room Jeongguk can’t help but stare, never imagining he could be engulfed by someone’s body frame this much.
This time, Taehyung is dressed leisurely as well – he’s sporting a casual red long-sleeved shirt and another pair of jean shorts, these he’s sure are different from their first meet-up ones, shoes inconspicuous – Vans, black slip-ons.
Somehow he makes all of it runway material regardless, and Jeongguk doesn’t find it in him to look away.

When Taehyung walks over, finally, Jeongguk sits at his desk, leaving the bed for him, glaring suspiciously at Taehyung’s hold.
“Uh?”
“I learned a thing or two from Jims down at the club, don’t mind me.”

And Jeongguk doesn’t mind him one bit but he wishes he understood how exactly tomato juice and Tabasco sauce match up to vodka, and why is Taehyung pouring salt and pepper over it? There’s lemons too and he completely gives up on understanding, letting Taehyung mix and match what seems to be all the ingredients from his fridge into a dangerous batter.

“I was thinking like, care for a diet coke and stuff,”
“Hey! As far as I know - getting a bit tipsy increases the creative productivity!”
“As experienced as I am in this field, I’m not sure that I can agree.”
“Less talking, more drinking and then I’ll help you out.”
Taehyung now smiles in a way Jeongguk finds quite endearing; it happens whenever he has a proposition or is completely aware of being quite ridiculous, he lifts his chin up, his lips going inwards a bit, curving more down than up, slight dimples appearing.
“Cheers,” Jeongguk gives in, taking a glass from Taehyung’s hold.

When Taehyung goes for a “tour” (Jeongguk’s place only has one room and a kitchen, it’s practically a dorm)
he pretends to type things out on his computer, only really keysmashing-deleting over and over again.
He’s puzzled at how this series of events ever occurred and how is the “border-insane” guy that almost ran him over few nights ago in his apartment sipping on what is apparently a bloody mary.
He finds the over-thinking tiresome so instead he just downs the cocktail in barely three mouthfuls.

“Easy there!” Taehyung chants, jumping back on the bed. “Weren’t you the one protesting at alcohol?”
“Yeah well. I’m a fast drinker.”
“That you are. So, when can I see what you got so far?”
“The song?”
“Yeah!”
“Sorry, I don’t really like criticism until it’s fully done. And I’m almost there, it’s just that some parts sound slightly out of place when I imagine a singer perform it.”
“Are you writing for a chick or a dude?”
“A guy. Some upcoming pop star I think.”
“You can let me sing it for you if you want?”
“What?”
Taehyung doesn’t wait for an answer instead he grabs another chair in a heartbeat, sitting right besides Jeongguk.
Jeongguk is quick to delete the ‘’sdhgfgsdfghsdg’’ written as the last line and Taehyung pretends he never noticed.
“You can sing?”
“Chill I’m not like an actual singer I just like to do it and stuff. I’m not entirely bad either so maybe I could help.”
“Okay, uh, sure, let me play the beat for you first.”

The way Taehyung listens to the track leaves Jeongguk with actual troubles concentrating; it is absolutely staggering.
Taehyung folds his arms on the table, chin resting over them, eyes closed and one feet drumming at the ground at every next bass sound while the other kicks the rim of Jeongguk’s desk whenever the treble comes on.
It’s engaging to say at least, music seems to occupy him entirely and Jeongguk almost envies him on the submission.

When the song comes to an end Taehyung easily goes out of his slumber, nodding approvingly.
“I like it, yeah!”
“Good, yeah, good.” Jeongguk’s wording is slightly off, a bit too emphasized. “Now I’ll show you what I’ve got so far and you can match it up.”
“Sure, but you’re gonna show me first?”
“The lyrics? Yeah I just-“
“No, I mean, how to sing it?”
“Oh, no, nooo.” Jeongguk exaggerates his laughter “I don’t do that, I just hand it in and they arrange it.”
“That’s silly!”
“How is it silly?”
“Well you obviously have an arrangement in mind? You said so! So why let them tweak it into something else?”
“Because that’s my job! The words. I’m no singer.”
“It doesn’t take a singer to deliver a general idea, how foolish!”
“It might be, but that’s how it is.”
“Not this time, come on, let’s make a demo.”
“With what, my laptop mic?” Jeongguk uses every opportunity to disregard the idea.
“Yup! Let’s go!” and Taehyung presses the start button again, maximizing Jeongguk’s word file before the other boy even flinches.
“Uh, you start right after the intro.” Jeongguk nervously instructs.
“Count the last eight tones for me, yeah?”
“Five, six, seven and eight-“
And Taehyung sings the first line just like that, he drags the words a bit too much for what Jeongguk had in mind but it fits in quite flawlessly and Jeongguk can’t believe that Taehyung is really singing.
He’s not humming or reciting, not caroling. He’s singing, all the diaphragm breathing and shoulders-back stature included.

When the chorus comes on, he stumbles over the words a little and Jeongguk accidentally hums the next line, getting Taehyung back on track.

The outro sounds a bit too dramatic the way Taehyung executes it but the rest is so close to what Jeongguk envisioned that it's all but unreal.

 

"You...can sing." Jeongguk stops the music right after Taehyung ends the last line.

"A little."
"A lot. You can sing. Really sing. Like. Singing, you can do it." Jeongguk almost shouts, eyes widening, making him look years younger than he is. Taehyung giggles in a way that rejuvenates him as well.
"No, not really. I mean I'm not tone-deaf but it's nothing-"
"No it's-, what the fuck? You sing."
"Leave that aside now dude, you can write!"
"Yeah but I'm a lyricist and you-"
"No but it's really good!"
"Cobain-good?"
"Cobain-good. “
“As long as I don’t end up like him.”
Taehyung laughs in an ariose manner;
 “So did you figure it out, what's tilting?"
"Um." Jeongguk won't admit that he never really paid attention to his actual work and only really concentrated on Taehyung’s vocals.

"Uh yeah I think, I'm, uh not sure, maybe if you could-"
"Sing it again?"
"Yeah."
"No problem!"

Jeongguk catches himself shivering at every tempo change, every medium switch, every minor transition.
Taehyung doesn't sing well, his singing is affecting.
Because Jeongguk’s song was formerly about inebriated haze and grabbing whoever’s next to you, but Taehyung’s inflection makes it sound idyllic.

Jeongguk doesn’t know what his song is about anymore, but he’s willing to listen to Taehyung explain it with his peculiar tonality forever.
He isn’t an expert on singing techniques but he can clearly see that what Taehyung’s doing isn’t coming from ear training lessons or regular vocal warm-ups; when he pauses for breath it’s nowhere near where it’s supposed to be and he puts emphasis on all the wrong fragments, line after a line.
It’s the live version of flaws becoming fine points and Jeongguk could hang on these words endlessly.
He takes notice on how brittle Taehyung’s notes become near the end and promises himself that whoever ends up getting copyrights on this piece is going to recreate this atmosphere exactly; he’ll take care of it personally.

It’s crucial.

-


They end up recording until three in the morning, ditching Taehyung’s cocktailing skills for some cheap red wine, adding auto tune in heavy layers just for fun or playing with the pitch of Taehyung’s voice until it’s unrecognizable. It’s laughter and fun until the neighbors are all pounding on their walls against the loud noise; but they don’t find it a deal-breaker.

“Oh fu-fuck, is that someone banging on our ceiling?” Taehyung bursts out laughing again.
“That’s five out of five!” Jeongguk joins in, counting the walls whilst squealing.
“Maybe we should greet back!” Taehyung is quick on his feet, grabbing a broom from the kitchen in two seconds, ready to salute the second floor friends.
“No, are you crazy!” Jeongguk jumps instantly, almost stumbling over his own two feet, then bursting into another guffaw attack.
“I might be!” Taehyung uses the chance to run away and somehow it turns out to be a game of tag; Jeongguk chasing after Taehyung all over the apartment with the other boy throwing pillows, moving the coffee table or pushing the chairs into Jeongguk’s direction as obstacles. The joshing and jollying goes on for a while, both of them screaming and laughing like children until Jeongguk, eventually, jumps over the kitchen counter with impressive agility for a drunken teenager, hands steady on the broom handle.
“Gotcha!” He announces proudly, breathing as if he just finished a marathon.
 
They pretend-pull the broom back and forth, having less and less energy with each tug, heartbeats steadying from all the running, laughter fading away until both of them are too beat to wield with it and it just falls flat on the ground; escaping both of their holds.
Their eyes meet each other instantly and Jeongguk feels the strangest kind of pressure in his ears as the room spins slightly.

And then there it is, the feeling gets him for the third time. It’s like he’s only ever allowed to do it when he’s numb and woozy, need striking up his bloodstream; he does it again.
Hands quick to wrap around Taehyung’s neck, thumbs brushing over his jaw; he pulls him in for a kiss.

There’s no procrastination, no overture and if either one of them was sober maybe they’d realize what an exception they are – falling into the perfect rhythm from the very first second.
The motion of their lips is perfectly synced, sloppy but never clumsy. They detect each other’s cues when all the air escapes their lungs, switching to bites and hasty pecks to catch their breath if needed;
Taehyung tugging on Jeongguk’s shirt, holding onto wherever he grabs, pulling on it harder whenever Jeongguk would lick at the sides of his tongue fluently, earning a purr of pleasure each time.
Taehyung is incredibly receptive and sensible, Jeongguk learns, reacting to every little trick and trap Jeongguk has under his sleeve.  

Maybe, just maybe, Taehyung's general behavior can swoop him off his feet sometimes, but when it's game on he's no weakling. As usual, Taehyung's giving himself in, embracing and receiving whatever Jeongguk sends his way, nibbles, bites, smooches. And maybe Jeongguk gets too comfortable leading the play-date because Taehyung gets him off guard; He drops the hold on Jeongguk's collar and switches it for the hem of his shirt, cold fingertips finding their way underneath.

They stumble as Jeongguk loses his pace, Taehyung taking advantage and pushing him backwards a step further; Jeongguk's back hitting the wall.
His hands never go lower than Taehyung’s neck, and when the older boy progresses into palming the bare sides of Jeongguk's torso - he wraps them tighter around it, almost too tight.
But it's not, according to Taehyung's reaction; he digs his nails right where Jeongguk's ribs start and gasps with pleasure, testing the breathing barrier.

Jeongguk doesn't insist on the breath play but as soon as he releases the hold around Taehyung's throat he gets a whine of protest in return.
"Ahh, don't, I love it." Taehyung breathes out, hands gripping hard at Jeongguk's waist. 
Jeongguk isn't too good with self-control so he still drops the dominance, instead making hickeys all around Taehyung's Adam's apple, fingers tangling up in his hair.

It doesn't go on for long until they find their way to Jeongguk's bed, Jeongguk climbing over Taehyung clumsily, mind still in a haze.
Jeongguk lets Taehyung pull his shirt off but when he reaches for his own - the younger boy protests.

"Me." he mumbles, straddling Taehyung in only his sweats, then reaching down for an aggressive tongue battle until Taehyung's shirt is up to his neck and they have to pull away for Jeongguk to get him out of it.

They're both driven with pure desire, lust poisoning their minds, twisting and turning clarity into fog.

"You're," Jeongguk pauses in between shoulder kisses "okay with," then chest pecks "this arrangement?"

Taehyung doesn't find it in him to verbalize the answer, not when Jeongguk is kitten-licking right behind his ear, so he only moans approvingly, hoping to deliver the permission.

"Good" Jeongguk agrees, quick to unzip Taehyung's shorts and slide them off with a single tug, boxers flying off right after.

"I have, uh, in the desk drawer-"
"No."
"No?"
"I don't need, just, just, uh, come on,"

And Jeongguk would be a fool to argue, his own arousal is already too present - drawing this out for any longer might make him come undone.

But lubrication or not he's still not too needy to completely skip on preps, letting Taehyung suck on his fingers before he puts them to work.

"I'll be quick."

"I'll be, I'll be quick too."

Jeongguk doesn't know if it's because he's drunk or not but it's smooth and effortless and Taehyung barely grimaces at any movement, only breathing heavily.

"Does it-" Jeongguk starts but isn't sure how to finish;
"Uh?"
"Hurt. Does it-"
"No, you can do it now."

And Jeongguk can't help the shock, he's been with many and god damn it he played both roles, Taehyung must be crazy if he thinks he's so ready.

"Be patient, you shouldn't-"
"Do it, Jeongguk!"

Taehyung jerks at Jeongguk's sweatpants, sloppily pulling them down with his underwear attached; legs instantly wrapping around Jeongguk's bare hips.

And just like that Jeongguk obliges, but it's not for naught.
Maybe Taehyung doesn't voice against the way Jeongguk slides in all at once or how he progresses in his hardness with every passing second. But when Jeongguk really fucks into him for the first time, pounding with no mercy attached, Taehyung cries the pain out in waves.

His hands instantly go down to ease and distract his own self from the ache but Jeongguk is quick to catch him and pin his wrists above his head.

"This is how you wanted it."
"Jeongguk-"
"No cheating."

 "Oh god, oh god.." Taehyung whines at the pace and Jeongguk just isn't stopping for a second, pounding into Taehyung in ridiculous speed, the bed in danger of foundering.

Like that, he gets close to his peak fast, Taehyung weeping in panicked satisfaction from under him, calling for him over and over again; hands escaping Jeongguk’s grip to claw across his back;
And when he strews Jeongguk’s name once more, Jeongguk is almost done in a flash.

"I'm gonna-"
"Don't, don’t pull out."

And he doesn't, but Taehyung whimpers again:

"I can't, I, I'm there but I-"
"I know, it's the alcohol, just relax."

Jeongguk's climax could happen right then and there, but with Taehyung's concerns it gets delayed; he doesn’t know since when he actually cares for the other party’s happy ending but he decides he wants to be helpful -
"Just. It’s the booze. It- Uh, here."

Taehyung is kind of losing it with the trapped arousal, but Jeongguk's met up with it before.
Alcohol just numbs you down. 

"It's-"
"Shhh," Jeongguk whispers right on his lips before he kisses him.
His hand goes right where Taehyung likes it, snaking its way around his neck then depriving Taehyung of air for a few seconds. It gets his own hard on to a peak but he ignores it until Taehyung's a mess of whiny gasps and arched back, fumbling to pull Jeongguk in for another kiss.

"There you go," Jeongguk growls, pace getting back to how he started off, teeth grazing into the skin around Taehyung’s collar bone. And it seems like Taehyung reacts best to slight pain and being under control, because as soon as Jeongguk gives him this kind of attention he's a mess.

"I'm-"
"Yeah,"

-

When Jeongguk wakes up any memory of last night’s activities is misty.
There are glasses and bottles and all kinds of kitchen supplies all over his room, there’s clothes on the floor and a note from the landlord warning him about the noise coming from his apartment.
There’s a missed call from Hoseok and few texts from some girl he brought home weeks ago, but there’s no Taehyung. If it wasn’t for the mess around him – he’d doubt he was ever there.

First thing first, Jeongguk opens up his laptop, fingers quick to write an email to Hoseok, attaching the finished lyrics. He hesitates on whether or not to attach something else, mind racing back to their recording hours.
He figures he has nothing to lose and with both files uploaded he clicks send.
Hoseok calls him minutes after.

“Yes hyung?”
“Who is that?”
“Who is who?”
“Fuck off Jeon, who’s the singer?”
“A friend.”
“You know we already have someone else in mind right, I can’t just-“
“Hyung! It’s okay, I know. He’s not really a singer, he just helped me.”
“He just helped you, wait, what do you mean he’s not really a singer?!”
“He’s not.”
“Are you trying to sell some underground artist to me I swear to god-“
“Hyung! He has nothing to do with this, I just wanted to suggest the arrangement.”
“It’s a good arrangement.”
“I know.”
“And a good singer.”
“I know.”
“You should take him to the studio some time, I think they’d like him. Once the debut season tires off.”
“I’m not sure if he’d be interested. Or if I’m gonna see him again, actually.”
“Oh my god, don’t tell me he’s one of your-“
“Bye hyung! Have a nice day!”

-

Jeongguk thinks about it as he makes late lunch: Is he going to see Taehyung again? Their ties only ever led to the moment they’d fuck each other’s brains out, the teenage-movie-like grinding not really coming into count.
“Don’t tell me he’s one of your-“ – he wonders what Hoseok would say. One night stands? It wasn’t really it either.
It’s discouraging for Jeongguk to admit it but he really has a crush on this dynamite boy. So much, even, that he almost regrets the roughness he treated him with. Even if he knows Taehyung didn’t exactly mind.

His day goes on quite habitually, he cleans up around the apartment (again), does the laundry, downloads another season of The Walking Dead  and goes for some emergency grocery shopping.
His mom calls to check up on him, courtesy of every Wednesday and he gets a new assignment from Hoseok in the evening. All the while hoping for a call, a text, anything from Taehyung.
As he imagines it being – it doesn’t come.
Too bad, he thinks, but doesn’t let himself mourn over it. Instead, he texts back the girl who hit him up earlier, not planning on being alone tonight.

She says she’ll be at his place at ten but he decides he wants to take her out tonight.
Meet me in front of that hip hop place at 10 instead – he writes;

Got it. – the answer comes instantly and Jeongguk is almost excited.

-

Tonight, Jeongguk feels like dressing up; not every day is a leather pants occasion, but today, he decides, it absolutely is. He doesn’t, after all, give up on the usual all-black appearance, pairing them up with a t shirt of the same color ( yes, he knows it’s actually a shade), the only real color being the print in the front, an art work of some kind, and the red Nike Air Force that he got for himself after his first paycheck.
He’s satisfied when he looks at the mirror and maybe, just maybe, he hopes Taehyung gets to see him in this attire tonight, whether they ever engage in any contact or not.
Just then his phone buzzes.

[9:30 PM] Free tonight tiger?

No, he absolutely is not, but it’s Taehyung and Jeongguk almost can’t believe it.

[9:31 PM] Got a thing, sry, tomorrow maybe?
[9:32 PM] sure, what’s the thing? work?
[9:33 PM] nah, they digged your voice btw. It’s some girl
[9:34 PM] glad to help.  k then don’t let me stand in the way. Ttyl
[9:36 PM] ur not. I’ll be at jimin’s club
[9:37 PM] me 2 lol. Maybe he’d like her


Jeongguk is already on his way when this text comes. He’s not sure he’s reading it properly.

[9:38 PM] jimin?
[9:39 PM] do you like her
[9:40 PM] shes qt ig but not really
[9:41 PM] then we match them up and go have fun

Jeongguk shouldn’t be on board with this, but he is. Throughout the whole cab ride Taehyung and him make plans on how to execute it and at one point it gets so ridiculous that he laughs out loud, earning judging glances from the driver. 

When he gets there, the girl is already at the gate and they go straight to the bar.
His partner in crime isn’t yet here but Jeongguk takes the chance to introduce the girl to Jimin and he really hopes Taehyung already let him in on the plan.
It doesn’t really matter because, somehow, the two of them click right away and Jeongguk almost feels insulted because of her obvious flirting with the bartender while she’s supposedly on a date with him.
Almost, but not quite, because when Taehyung walks in few minutes later, Jeongguk is everything but aggrieved.
Looks like both of them felt like dolling up tonight because Taehyung’s rocking a denim button up, black pants with some leathery embellishments at the knees (How appropriate,  Jeongguk thinks), and  simple Jimmy Choo sneakers, perfectly in harmony with the rest of the outfit. He doesn’t quite get what’s the thing that makes Taehyung look different than every other time he’s seen him, not until he takes a better look, seeing that he pushed all of his hair back under a snapback, revealing his forehead.

Taehyung walks in casually, lopsided smile curving up;
“Who do we have here?” He brightly shouts over the loud music even before he really reaches them.
“Yo, Tae, looks like your friend has quite the taste in girls.” Jimin answers, fist-bumping his friend and winking at the girl.
“Also looks like Jimin has quite the interest.” Jeongguk adds.
“Oh no, a love triangle.”  Taehyung jokes, offering the same casual greeting to Jeongguk. It feels kind of off.
The girl only giggles at whatever affection Jimin provides which gets Jeongguk rolling his eyes and motioning jokingly as if he’s about to puke.
“Thankfully, I’ve arrived,” Taehyung starts, offering a handshake to the girl “I’m Taehyung by the way.” then walking over to Jeongguk, throwing an arm over his shoulder “And we can double date instead!”
“Yeah?” he places a peck on Jeongguk’s cheek nonchalantly.
“Great idea!” Jimin exclaims “Except our date is going to happen right here. And your date out of my club.”
The girl continues to say nothing, only chuckling when Jimin blows her a kiss.
“Well, since my date obviously isn’t happening the way I intended it to, I might as well leave.” Jeongguk puts his best acting skills on the line. “Let’s go Taehyung.”

-

“Dude, and I thought this would take effort. I don’t think she really likes you dude.” Taehyung laughs as soon as they hit the street.
“Yeah, no shit.”
“Dude she was soooo all over Jimin, did you see when he-“
“I saw Taehyung. I was there before you came.”
“Oh you poor baby.” Taehyung stops to pinch Jeongguk’s cheek, earning a slap on the hand.
“Girls are horrible.” Jeongguk mumbles.
“Only the ones that don’t really like you.”
“For your information we had a great time last time.”
“So great she took the first chance to ditch you.”
“Hey! She texted me this morning.”
“I bet she just wanted to ask if you had any cute friends.”
“You know what-“
“I’m kidding, chill! You didn’t like her in the first place, did you?”
“I little.”
“Well, you like me better, so, “

The walk shifts into a pleasant atmosphere not long after, Taehyung skipping to keep up with Jeongguk’s big steps, talking about some mishap he had on the way over, his impersonating skills kicking in yet again.
They discuss irrelevant topics, ones that don’t require a lot of thinking which leaves space for Jeongguk to examine Taehyung’s appearance a little. (A lot.)
Not-drunk Jeongguk suddenly notices a whole bunch of stuff drunk-Jeongguk couldn’t, his eyes, for example, being stuck on Taehyung’s nose, and that insanely high nose bridge. There’s also a freckle on its tip and Jeongguk finds himself endeared. Taehyung’s eyebrows, now visible, are dark and slightly curved, his eyelashes long and full. The shape of his face is rather unusual, a v line jaw, but a big forehead and a wide face, still with features so in sync – he seems animated.
Jeongguk decides that Taehyung really is beautiful, far more than he already knew.
There’s unexplainable delicacy in the way Taehyung gesticulates, Jeongguk think it must be his unbelievable thin wrists. Or maybe it’s the long, lean fingers of Taehyung’s, always accessorized with at least a few rings, that he remembers.
But when he goes further into it, he finds that everything about Taehyung is kind of delicate, his entire body frame carries a certain elegance with it, even his rigid moves come off as graceful.

Lost in thought, Jeongguk drifts off a little.
“Uh earth to Jeongguk? Meep meep?”
“Huh? Oh, sorry.. I, um, got lost in thought.”
“It’s fine! I was just asking if you might want to go grab some food instead of, you know. The usual.”
Jeongguk can’t hide the surprise. Grab some food? That’s practically hanging out. He can’t imagine Taehyung not planning on an actual hook up.
“Uh, sure?”
“Oh did you have something else in mind? That’s fine too, we can go to your place or whatever.”
Taehyung is quick to sidetrack and Jeongguk isn’t sure of what he really wants anymore. He goes with his own preference.
“Let’s get food.”


-

When they settle for a pizza place near the centre Taehyung insists on ordering for both of them.
It’s not surprising that he chooses pepperoni, he already gave his favorite out last time, and Jeongguk already knew his fate. The place is completely full so they order it for take away, deciding to go sit by the river few blocks away.

Few bites in and Jeongguk decides to break the small talk.
“Can I ask you something?”
“Sure,”
“Tell me something about yourself. But not like the sixth grade bullshit, something real.”
He’s quite hesitant in the way he speaks, careful about his wording, always on pins and needles.
“Something about myself, hmm” Taehyung says with his mouth half full, chewing as he thinks about it.
“Well. I’m not sure what to say.”
“Anything. I feel like…” Jeongguk gives up on his remark.
“Like what?”
“Nothing, I’d just feel better if I knew something.”
“Why is that?”
“Because I…I quite like you, you know? It’s. I don’t even know why. I should know something about you at least.”
“Okay, I’ll tell you something.”
“Okay.”
“I like you too.”

Jeongguk doesn’t respond to that. For a while they just eat and look at the water passing by.
It feels ridiculous and Jeongguk doesn’t know if he likes any of this.  When Taehyung smiles at him softly, ketchup tinting the corner of his lips, Jeongguk reaches for it with his thumb, carefully getting it off.

No, he doesn’t like any of this.

-

They decide to part ways few hours later, after a thorough discussion on whether today’s modern age brought more improvements or setbacks when it comes to the overall wellbeing of the human mind.
And just like when Taehyung fist-bumped him at the club, the farewell greeting is as nerve wrecking.

“You haven’t kissed me the whole night.” Taehyung notices casually.
“You make it sound like it’s my job.”
“It isn’t. But you should do it now.”
“Maybe you should do it instead.”
“Split it fifty-fifty?” Taehyung chuckles, the atmosphere resembling one of high school kids on a first date.

The kiss is as innocent as its intro, lips barely moving, only slightly pressed.

Taehyung pulls away first, suppressing a giggle;
“Damn, who’d think that you’re the reason I can’t even sit on my ass today.”

“I swear to god,”
 

-

Taehyung decides to walk Jeongguk home “to complete the teenage rom-com vibe” after all, and this time Jeongguk gets the question he asked earlier.

“Something about myself? I think you already know everything.”
“Oh come on. We met like, what, three times? There’s got to be more.”
“Not really. I’m originally from a small town nearby, came here to make money. At first I worked shifts at a coffee shop and then they fired me for coming hung-over to work. Fuck them. Thankfully, soon enough I met Hoseok hyung, uh, my boss.”
“Why don’t you call me hyung, I see you do have the manners.”
“Did you think I don’t? I don’t know, you don’t seem that older than me.”
“We’ll definitely discuss this later! Now go on.”
“Uh yeah, I met him at some pub or something. He was desperate for anyone to write some shitty lyrics for him or his partner at the firm would drop him. He was that fucked that he took me in for the job and apparently I did well, the song made money. So I stayed. Pays well. Other than that I don’t really do much. Eat. Sleep. Go out. Drop by at the studio when I’m bored. Watch shows, listen to music. The usual.”
“Get fucked over on dates by random bartenders.” Taehyung adds in an enumeration manner.
“Taehyung, I swear.”
“Taehyung hyung for you!” Taehyung jokes, dodging a kick.
“Anyway, that’s kind of it. Happy?”
“Kind of, but you don’t seem so.”
So what?”
“Happy.”
“Uh, I get by.”
“Clearly. But it’s not that exciting.”
“Hey! It’s not bland either I guess. I go out, I do some dancing, some drinking, some good time with whoever. It’s fine.”
“Blah blah, I don’t care about anything, blah blah, I accept whatever..” Taehyung flatly mocks.
“That’s kind of rude of you to say to someone who you don’t even know in the first place.”
“Didn’t you just say that that’s all there is to know.”
“Yeah but-“
“Truth can’t be rude. That’s all.”

That’s the last thing Taehyung says before they reach Jeongguk’s building, silently parting ways right after.
He doesn’t appreciate this, as he sees it, discourtesy – free of charge.

Jeongguk, indeed, doesn’t like any of this.

-

 

As soon as Jeongguk unlocks the door to his apartment he reaches for the bottle. He doesn’t care which but it ends up being whiskey and he remembers Taehyung saying he doesn’t like it. Perfect, here’s something else for you to hate on. Jeongguk is aware of his own childish behavior, but that’s the way he is, he gets hurt too easily by the most trivial remarks, and even if truth ‘can’t be rude’ it still can be hurtful. And that is rude, he decides. Hurting him is rude.

In fact, it’s easy for Taehyung to judge, when he lays absolutely nothing on the table.
That ‘I like you too’ bullshit doesn’t even sound truthful and he’s just so sick of it.
A mouthful, two, three, and there he is regretting ever meeting Taehyung. That ‘boring’ life of his was just fine without someone to criticize it right into his face. He has Hoseok for that already.

And yet he likes him, he likes him, he likes him. He just wants to shut him up with kisses, god damn it, Jeongguk just doesn’t want him to speak so much.
He reaches for his phone, and even intoxicated – he knows it’s a bad idea.

[3:15 AM] youre reall y shit
[3:15 AM] you have mo respect for anything do u
[3:16 AM] u can,tjudge m
[3:17 AM] ur no better

[3:17 AM] already drunk? That’s impressive even for you

[3:18 AM]what do u Evendo? Have fun>.,>? Wht kind of bs is that
[3:19 AM] u scred to eventell
[3:19 AM] scared(*

[3:20 AM] what do you want from me Jeongguk

[3:21 AM] com,e over

[3:22 AM] now??

[3:23 AM] no w


-

He does; and it’s the same thing again, the hasty kisses and the impatient hands, but Taehyung stops Jeongguk midway, catching his wrists and whispering into his lips;
“Even if you smell of scotch so fucking badly, I so would, but after last night I just, no way.”
“Just kiss me.” Jeongguk’s voice is throaty as he exhales.
This time it’s Taehyung who climbs over Jeongguk on his bed, kissing him for minutes, hours, decades, kissing everywhere he can reach; his cheeks, the tip of his nose, the corners of his eyelids, and Jeongguk is so confused even through all the haze.
Does Taehyung care or does he not? Is he only doing this to cover up for not being able to fuck tonight, does he feel like he has to? That’s highly unlikely. Or is he playing games like he always is, giving Jeongguk what he wants, getting him hooked.

Because he is. He’s hooked and unwell and he knows that what Taehyung talked about is correct.
There’s nothing to his everyday life that gets him going, but now there’s Taehyung to stir that up and he’s more afraid of chaos than he is of backwater.
And when Taehyung’s lips leave his own to leave pecks all over Jeongguk's jaw - he tells him that, he tells him everything.

“You’re right. You’re always right. I don’t enjoy my job I don’t enjoy my outings I don’t care about things and-“
“It’s okay, Jeongguk it’s okay.” Taehyung whispers in his ear
“No! it’s not. You always say that but it’s not.”
“Shh it’s fine,”
“It’s not fine, you, you scare me so much. What are you trying to do.”
“Jeongguk, baby, what are you talking about, you’re so drunk.”

At this Jeongguk sits up, Taehyung nestled between his legs.
“I’m, yeah, I ma-might be. But it’s true. You terrify me.”
“How do I terrify you, what are you saying?”
“I don’t understand you. I don’t like that.”
“What don’t you understand?”
“A-anything?! Anything! You don’t want me to know anything and you say you like me but do you? Do you just want to fuck every day and y-you’re trying to secure that. We don’t have to eat pizza and record songs and go fucking corn-field conquering for that you know? I don’t understand. Yeah my life’s pretty bland but you’re way over-seasoning it.”
“What do you want me to say?”
“See! That, that’s it. Can’t you ever answer?? I don’t know what I want you to say but say anything? Don’t twist everything and, and, everything.”
Taehyung doesn’t look away from Jeongguk’s face, not even for a second, seemingly thinking through his possibilities;
“I guess that, yeah, I wouldn’t mind fucking every day but I also don’t mind an occasional hangout. I don’t know what else to say, it’s pretty simple if you ask me.”
“Why are you, why are you here now then. You knew I was just drunk and ridiculous and that I’d be doing this and why did you come? Huh?”
Taehyung just casually turns around, leaning into Jeongguk, the back of his head resting on Jeongguk’s shoulder, he sighs.
“Jeon Jeongguk, you’re way too complicated.”
“How’s that?”
“People should just do what they want to do, you know?”
“Can you really live like that though?”
“Of course you can.”
“I don’t think I can.”
“You just called me over at three in the morning. How’s that for rationality?”
“You have to give me s-something.” Jeongguk barely breathes out, the room already starting to whirl.
“I’m sorry Jeongguk. I don’t do promises.”

-

The next morning is painful. Jeongguk’s head is threatening to explode and he just wants to go back to bed. It’s impossible.
He vaguely remembers when Taehyung left, a faint ‘talk to you soon’ abandoned in the air.
He curses himself for falling for someone so irregular, unpredictable, indecipherable; He curses himself for calling him over even more.
 
Still he can’t help but wonder – what does he want to do?

 

-

A call comes in. It’s Taehyung.

“Hello?”
“How are you?”
“I’m fine, thanks.”
“No headache?”
“A huge one.”
“How about you come to my place today?”
“Tonight?”
“No, now.”
“Now?”
“For some coffee and a movie day, yeah? Detox.”
“Uh, sure. Where?”
“I’ll text you the address. Get some milk on the way will you? For the coffee.”
“You drink coffee with milk?”
“You don’t?” (Taehyung is in genuine shock.)
“No, I don’t consider myself to be a spineless wimp, thanks.”
“Ouch! “
“Be there soon.”
“See ya.”

Taehyung doesn’t live far and Jeongguk thinks he quite likes his little place. It’s around the same size as his, not very furnished but still not empty. Taehyung managed to fill it in with small plants (some of them half-dead but the aesthetics are undeniable) or colorful artworks, bright, almost child-like works framed. There’s a little orange rug in the middle of the room, matching up to the tangerine-shaded bed covers. Everything’s loud and radiant, quite fitting.

“So! What genre?”
“Uh I don’t know, horror?”
“Who watches horror films with a headache??”
“I like horror films.” Jeongguk casually shrugs his shoulders.
“I hate them. But okay, how about that new abnormal activity something?”
“Paranormal.”
“Uh?”
“Paranormal activity.”
“Yeah..that.”
“It doesn’t come out until October, but I haven’t watched the last one anyway, if you’re down for it.”
“Sure. I’m kind of terrified of it though.”
“You’ll be fine.”


Taehyung isn’t exactly fine. Minutes into the movie and he’s already freaking out without anything even happening.
They’re both seated up on Taehyung’s bed, his laptop in Jeongguk’s lap, because as Taehyung explained it – “If I jump at a fucking ghost or something I don’t want my computer to die too. You hold it.”
Except Taehyung isn’t really jumping, all he’s doing is pulling on Jeongguk’s sleeve and burying his face in Jeongguk’s shoulder.  Jeongguk can’t stop laughing because nothing scary really even happens on the screen, but every time the camera pans to another room Taehyung is already whimpering.
It goes on until the end of the film, at which Taehyung seriously almost gets a heart attack, entirely wrapping around Jeongguk when the other boy puts the computer down.

“This was literally the worst thing we could do, like of all the possible activities in the world.” He mumbles into Jeongguk’s chest, arms completely wrapped around his torso.
“I thought you were like, all aloof and stuff.”
“Shut up and hug me.” Taehyung whines.
And it’s kind of cute, Jeongguk thinks, almost makes them even after his own need-detonation last night; so he puts his arms around  Taehyung, for the first time feeling influential.
“I was really fucking scared.” Taehyung repeats, grudge tinting his tone.
“I know.”
“I hate this movie.”
“I know.”
“I really despise it.”
“I know.”

For a while they just stay snuggled up in silence but then Taehyung shivers a little in Jeongguk’s hold; “Jeongguk?”
“Yeah?”
“I think I’m still a little scared.”
Jeongguk gingerly chuckles before planting a little peck right into Taehyung’s hair;
“I know.” 
-

The rest of the day passes in jokes and light-weight atmosphere. When Taehyung is upset he apparently likes making food and Jeongguk takes note on the fact. He also, however, notes that Taehyung isn’t very good at the said activity, in fact, he’s quite terrible. Jeongguk is far from a master chef himself so the two of them combined really are no good. It takes them half an hour online, two pans and a hell a lot of flour to start understanding how making pancakes works (and at least twenty failed attempts to get a satisfactory result). But it’s fine, because they jokingly end up blaming each other for every little thing, blowing flour into each other’s faces or fighting for the pan. Even when they finally start eating - it’s just a mess of getting as much jam on the other one’s face as possible, Taehyung quick to bite on Jeongguk’s finger more often than not.
When they decide to clean up it’s not much different, Taehyung just uses the opportunity to make bubbles with the detergent bottle and Jeongguk spills more things on the floor in the process than he actually cleans.
It takes a while but they get there, both collapsing on the (now crystal-clear) floor.

“Taehyung?” Jeongguk suddenly remembers, sprawled over the tiles.
“Yeah.”
“I didn’t really tell you but Hoseok asked me to call you over to the studio.”
“Me? Like, to sing?”
“Yeah. Not until this season’s over and stuff, but soon.”
“Uh that’s really flattering but I don’t think so.”
“Why not?”
“I guess I’m just not interested in singing like that.”
“Like what?”
“For anything other than good fun, you know.”
“Getting paid for your vocals is quite fun in my opinion.”
“Yeah but then there’s more to it. It’s not just a hobby, it’s work. Tell him I’m grateful but uninterested.”
“Whatever you say.”

For a while they just rest, until Taehyung remembers that there’s a quiz show that he likes airing in a few minutes so they go back to cuddling up on the bed, Taehyung’s eyes on the TV and Jeongguk’s on Taehyung.
He finds himself fascinated yet again; just how is this boy so contradictory in his own traits?
Jeongguk can’t quite grasp it – the contrast of Taehyung’s bright, playful personality and then all of those setbacks he has with divulging.
It’s beyond his logic. He doesn’t question it anymore, he just remains unsettled.
It is, after all, what makes him this interesting, Jeongguk decides. Taehyung can tell him off anytime, but he can also ask for comfort without a problem, it’s a winning combination.
Jeongguk wishes he was more like him, it seems to him like Taehyung’s, after all, way more stable than he is, even if he’s secretive.

“You’ve been looking at me strangely for probably centuries. Did I age well?”
“I was thinking.”
“About the process of waning happening in front of your very eyes?”
“Spot on.”

-

When the night finally comes Jeongguk isn’t sure if he’s supposed to leave now. He doesn’t really want to but if he were to follow Taehyung’s example he probably should. The two of them end up just watching television for hours; dumb movies, dumb talk shows, dumb TLC “documentaries”; and Taehyung, leaned in on Jeongguk’s shoulder, drifts off in the process. When Jeongguk is sure that he’s asleep - he carefully tries to replace himself with a pillow but as soon as he squirms a little Taehyung wraps an arm around him;
“Mmdon’ go” he sleepily mumbles, getting Jeongguk by surprise.
“It’s late.”
“Don’t go.” Taehyung repeats.
They fall into silence for a while before Jeongguk decides to listen to Taehyung’s recent advising and only do what he wants to. So even if he doesn’t think it’s very smart he decides to stay;
“Alright.” He finally answers, “Let’s get a bit comfier then.”
He pulls Taehyung back into his embrace as soon as he lies down, his hand finding its way into Taehyung’s hair, brushing through it until he falls asleep too.

-

This morning hurts as well. But it has nothing to do with hangovers or mixed drinks. It has a lot to do with the fact stating that Taehyung isn’t besides him when he wakes up; he’s missing even when it’s his own apartment.

Jeongguk checks his phone and finds a simple text:

I won’t come back until afternoon probs. If you leave, the key’s under the door mat xx

He does leave; in fact, he leaves right away, his phone ringing as he hops down the stairs. It’s Hoseok.

“Yeah?”
“What do you mean yeah, where are you?”
“Uh, out of the house. You need anything?”
“Not right now but I dropped by your place yesterday, in fact, two times as I passed by it and you weren’t there so I wondered.”
“Oh, um, I was at…uh, this guy’s place.”
“No details!!” Hoseok shrieks.
“Jesus. Nothing like that.”
“Precaution measures.”
“Fair. Anyway, that dude you asked about. Isn’t interested.”
“Isn’t interested? He knows about the label and everything?”
“Yeah he’s aware. Doesn’t want to do it.”
“Sucks. I think Yoongi was kind of digging him too.”
“Yoongi hyung?”
“Yeah, we met up to fix the deets on the demo so he heard your friend too.”
“And he liked him?”
“A lot I think. Oh right! Yoongi wanted to talk to you one of these days as well! Told me yesterday.”
“Oh I’ll give him a call then.”
“Or better yet, drop by. He’s here all month, you know him. Day and night when it’s due dates.”
“Got it. See ya hyung.”
“Yeah.”

The conversation leaves Jeongguk wondering. Because Yoongi is that partner of Hoseok’s who almost dropped him earlier in their career. He’s the main producer and the head of the entire company, not only business vise but also when it comes to the music itself, and Jeongguk couldn’t imagine a topic Yoongi would want to discuss with him; It’s always Hoseok who deals with employees.

The fact that he liked Taehyung also leaves him in awe because he knows well of the preferences Yoongi has when it comes to recording artists and Taehyung doesn’t fall into any category. Everything about it is weird.

-

The upcoming days, or better yet weeks, are just as weird.
Taehyung and him meet up often, Taehyung’s place or his, bars, pizza places, arcade rooms.
He trusts the whole process of ‘not complicating’ and just goes with the flow. When Taehyung doesn’t call for days, he’s fine with that too. When he leaves almost every night, saying he has things to do in the morning, but never explains it, Jeongguk tolerates it. It’s what comes with him, Jeongguk guesses, and he can’t insist on changing it. Just how he can’t affect Taehyung’s constant need to do something even when Jeongguk would rather call him over for some evening television and popcorn, or how he insists on keeping their whole relationship a game.
He only wants to fuck if it’s public restrooms and changing rooms because “If it’s supposed to be fun why make it boring?” and always kisses him in most public places, such as busy crossroads and crowded elevators; Jeongguk learns to eventually let go of any intimacy by Taehyung’s side.
They drink in the morning, afternoon and night and sleep only when they feel like they have to, few times on the public transport, few in the park. Taehyung is always full of life and Jeongguk learns to absorb it, gradually. The only time he turns his brain back on is when Taehyung goes MIA and he uses it as opportunity to get his work done. It’s easy, it’s finally easy. He has things to retell and jokes to make and inspiration just seems to be creeping behind every corner, words flowing in thousands.
Taehyung, apparently, is artistic himself, even when he goofs around. Because when Jeongguk texts him about missing the last line in a bridge Taehyung replies in the matter of seconds and whatever he spits out as a joke, somehow fits right in the song. Beside it, Jeongguk, however, doesn’t learn much about Taehyung. He’s an animal lover, that’s for sure, Jeongguk figures it at the park when Taehyung pays more attention to every passing dog than him, or when they were at the pet friendly café next door, where Taehyung almost kidnapped someone’s kitten, in all seriousness. He also learns that Taehyung likes games on screen too, comedy shows and fashion. Whenever he discovers a new interest of Taehyung’s – Jeongguk feels the need to write it down, store it somewhere with a lock and examine it later, because it just seems so extraordinary.
When they have conversations it never makes a lot of sense. Drunk, they don’t choose their words and with the stars being their only witness they just candidly speak.
It’s always abstract and Jeongguk is sure that even if he remembered it fully the next day – he still wouldn’t entirely get it. Taehyung talks in codes, light-weight phrases that always seem irrelevant at first but layered when you give them some thought. He smokes when he feels like it and Jeongguk finds entertainment in the way Taehyung huffs the smoke out of his mouth, sometimes right into his own. It’s always new and exciting and though Jeongguk has been living here for years now – Taehyung always has some place else to take him.

It’s fulfilling, but there’s no romance to it, even when they hold each other’s hand, or collapse on top of each other’s chest at five in the morning. No, not even when they kiss.
It seems to him like Taehyung kisses him – not because he decides to do so, but rather because he searches for something to take, steal off of Jeongguk’s lips. Like the air in Jeongguk’s lungs is his to collect, and he’s only picking up his belongings.
Or maybe that’s just what it’s really like but ownership is a tremendous topic that isn’t to be discussed.


Jeongguk isn’t sure if Taehyung goes around fucking other people but he sure as hell isn’t fucking him enough, even if it does happen almost every other day. Maybe he gets jealous, a little, when he imagines someone else getting their hands all over him, but he gets more frustrated at the thought of him not doing the same every minute of the day, because it seems to get better in the matter of hyped up heartbeats. Taehyung is a lot of things but one of the prioritized ones is great sex and Jeongguk thinks about it one of those days as he goes over to the studio to finally find Yoongi, late to show up even if he got the invite long ago;

The studio is quiet and when Jeongguk makes sure that there’s no one in the recording booth he comes in the room. Yoongi is going over some tracks on the computer, headphones on, so he knocks as hard as he can on the opened door. It takes around ten knocks to get Yoongi out of his hypnosis.

“Oh Jeongguk! Come in!” Yoongi shouts with his headphones still on, only realizing that he’s practically screaming when Jeongguk grimaces at the volume.
“Oh, sorry.”
“No worries.” Jeongguk grabs a chair.
“How have you been doing, our fresh meat lyricist?”
“Not bad I guess, thanks. How about you hyung?”
“Tired, been better. That’s life I guess. Constantly tires you out.”
“Uh, yeah.” Jeongguk chokes down a small giggle “So Hoseok hyung told me you wanted to talk?”
“Oh yeah! Yeah! The demo you sent in. Could you possibly match me up with the guy.”
“Oh. Um. I thought hyung would have told you by now. He’s not interested.”
“I would imagine. But I’m asking for a talk, not a contract.”
“A talk?”
“A talk Jeongguk. A conversation? A chat? Confabulation? An exchange of words-“
“Alright! I see how you and Hoseok hyung are friends.” Jeongguk exhales snippily.
“He’s a copy cat.”
“Sure. Either way may I ask why’d you want to talk to Taehyung?”
“So it is him!” Yoongi suddenly shouts, making Jeongguk jump in his seat: ”Taehyung! Kim Taehyung right?”
“Huh? You know Taehyung?”
“Faintly. I used to, I guess. Recognized him from the second line, no kidding.”
“Jesus, how do you know him?”
Jeongguk feels like he has a blood rush, craving answers like they’re vital-value.
“The academy down town. Music department. I teach production, mixing and mastering. One of these years they pulled me out to be part of the entrance exam commission. It was last year, in fact. That’s where we met.”
“Taehyung was trying out?”
“Yup. Sang his heart out to some trendy pop song. Jessie J, was it? Ah, I don’t know but we all loved him. All but the singing teacher. And since she had the upper hand -he ended up not making it. We all thought it was tragic, the chick who teaches modern music and I tried to pull all strings and get back to him. Turns out the kid deactivated all the contact info he gave in his application.”
 Jeongguk only stays silent.
“I take it as you find it surprising? You’re not close or anything? Because I really need to reach out to him.”
“Oh, uh, we’re in contact. But I’m not sure what to tell him?”
“How’s this; Tell him that you let us know he’s not interested and one of the producers insisted on a meeting anyway.”
“I’ll try.”
“Trying is not good enough. Get him here.”
“I’ll do my best.”

-

Jeongguk plans on talking about it with Taehyung that same night but he’s beaten to it by a phone call.
The ID is unknown but as soon as he picks it up he deciphers the voice.

“Jimin?”
“Jeongguk? That’s you right?”
“Yeah, what’s up?”
“Could you possibly come to the club, I’m working and Taehyung is…”
“What?”
“Really fucked up.”
“Isn’t he like five days of the week.”
“Witty. But I mean it. I really can’t take care of it now.”
“Uh I guess-“
“I had no idea who else to call, yeah? Please?”
Jeongguk pauses for a second. He’s not sure if he wants to play this role;
“I’m on my way.” He finally mumbles.

-

When Jeongguk reaches the club, Jimin just motions to the bathroom from afar.
There he finds Taehyung on the cork floor, comically leaned over the toilet, trying to force himself to puke, or so he guesses.
“You’re doing it all wrong, Jesus.” Jeongguk hisses, lifting Taehyung up a little, tactically by wrapping his hands around Taehyung’s stomach, instantly getting it out of him.
“And there you go. And also, gross, what the fuck have you been drinking.”
“E-“ Taehyung coughs for ostensibly a full minute “Everything.”
“I wouldn’t believe any other answer.”

After a while Taehyung feels good enough to get up and wash up, Jeongguk following right after.
“I thought you ‘didn’t have to drink much’ and stuff.”
“Shouldn’t you be a bit more sympathetic.”
“To you?”
“To my situation.”
“Not really, no.”

Yeah, Jeongguk drinks a lot himself, but did he ever get into a state of needing anyone’s help? Never. In fact, he finds it quite repulsive.

“You can go, did Jimin call you?” Taehyung asks in between little coughs.
“I’m already here, so. Let me get you home.”
“You can go. Really.”
“Don’t be stubborn Taehyung.”

They step out of the club and Taehyung instantly shivers, he’s far too underdressed with the outfit he has on, as revealing as imaginable. Jeongguk strips out of his Levi’s jacket and drapes it over Taehyung. This he accepts without protest.
Jeongguk is quite torn on whether he feels bad or not; his feelings mix in incomprehensible ways.
With what Yoongi told him today he was so set on talking it out tonight, but clearly, that’s not happening;
“So…my place or yours?”
“I can’t go anywhere yet. Gotta walk it out or I’ll be nauseas.”
“You look like you’re freezing, though.”
“I am. It’s okay.”
“Where do you want to go?”
“To the river again? The air is least toxic there.”
“Okay.”

They walk in silence, discomfort obvious. Taehyung clearly didn’t have his fuck buddy in mind when he overdid the drinks and Jeongguk obviously isn’t fond on babysitting him either. They both, somehow, blame Jimin in their mind.
Real life situations and real life problems aren’t their duet’s forte, very evidently out of their comfort zone.

When they get to the river Taehyung insist on going down to the actual beach. Jeongguk isn’t that much of a fan of the idea but he lets half-drunk, half-hung-over Taehyung call the shots on it this time.

“I just love it here.”
“Yeah.” Jeongguk indifferently comments.
“You know, Jeongguk, you’ve been talking with awfully a lot of grudge today. I told you, you can just go home.”
“That’s not true.”
“Isn’t it?”
“I’m just not in a good mood.”

When they sit down on the pebble Taehyung gives him a deep, long glance.
He’s completely messed up; Eyes red, lips bruised, hair tangled. He still looks absolutely out of this world, Jeongguk thinks, letting Taehyung’s overwhelming beauty warm his attitude up a little.
Scrunched under his denim jacket, at least three sizes bigger than what Taehyung would normally wear, he looks charming even, and Jeongguk can barely believe it.
“You’re an idiot, you know that.”
“I know.”
“I can’t believe I’m dealing with alcohol issues that aren’t even mine.”
“Do you regret it? We can do a quickie right here right now if you wish so it’s not wasted time for you.”
“I think I’d rather make you soup than do that right now. In fact I’m pretty sure I’d do anything else rather than take you on that offer.”
 “Whoa! Way to make a guy feel wanted!”
Jeongguk leans in for  a light kiss.
“Better luck next time.” He adds.

But in no time, Taehyung is jumping up, throwing Jeongguk’s jacket off of him, a well known smile with an oh-oh written all over it appearing.
Jeongguk can see the menace in his eyes.
“I don’t take luck into count.”

And just like that Taehyung runs away, not in any other direction but the most ridiculous one – into the river. Jeongguk can’t even process it quickly enough and Taehyung is already screaming and howling from the water, calling Jeongguk to join in.
“What the actual fuck?? Are you insane?”
“I might be!”
“Get your ass out of there, it must be ice cold!”
“It is and it’s perfect, come on!”
“Taehyung don’t be ridiculous-“
“What! You think you’re the only one with issues! Try me!”
And with that Taehyung disappears under the water and Jeongguk is still only reacting to his last remark;
“Issues? What issues? Your only issue is that you’re a fucking idiot!”
But he’s able to yell the whole sentence out twice and Taehyung still isn’t coming up from the water.
“Taehyung?”
“Taehyung?!”
“God fucking damn it!”
Jeongguk sprints into the river, only by memory trying to remember where exactly Taehyung decided to go on a diving adventure, not wanting to believe that there’s actual reason for him to jump in, but not wanting to risk it.
In the pitch dark night he has no idea where he really is; Not leaving anything on the beach to orient around – he’s only lucky that he literally bumps into Taehyung underwater as he walks in.
With no hesitancy and hell a lot of force he pulls out the other boy, who is now heaving for air in his arms.
“What the actual fuck were you trying to do???;
Answer me Taehyung, what the fuck?!”;
Oh my god I’m going to literally beat you up, what the fuck??”
And Taehyung can’t answer even if he wanted to, Jeongguk’s constant shaking only making it more difficult to get the air into his system. He isn’t quite sure of what he was trying to do either, but he just couldn’t interrupt it.
“Oh my fucking god.” Jeongguk yells again, shrieks precisely. “You’re not fucking drowning on my fucking watch!”
“I w-w-wasn’t-“ Taehyung tries to reply but when Jeongguk sees his lips shaking he only imagines the color of Taehyung’s skin right now, as he can’t make a judgment in the dark.
“Shut up, just, shut up.” Jeongguk whimpers as he lifts Taehyung up, getting them both out of the water.
“Look at this, I ran in completely reckless, all the money and my fucking phone are ruined now. How are we getting home? Could we possibly walk in this state? Oh my god you’re such an idiot.”
And Jeongguk is mad but his tone is mellow, even cuddly.
“You’re such an idiot, Taehyung, what the fuck?” He continues talking to himself, mostly; wrapping Taehyung up in the jacket, the only item that survived.
It takes ten minutes of Jeongguk's freaking out and constant rubbing up and down Taehyung's torso to get him to stop shaking from the shock. But it takes Jeongguk a while longer to realize that his own freaking out isn’t really helping.
Taehyung, visibly in a state of jolt, isn’t saying a single word only blinking with his face completely expressionless, quavering fingers tugging on the sleeve hems; Jeongguk wants to hug him into time reversal but he holds out on the idea.

He isn't even resentful anymore, he's terrified. He can't even text anyone for help when his phone is dead so he picks Taehyung up without a previous notice, piggyback-ing him to his own apartment, the closer one.

It's not far but with Taehyung on his back it takes him around fifteen minutes, and he can only thank god that he left his keys in the jacket or else he wouldn't even be able to get in.

Even if it's still basically summer, he turns the heater on, carrying Taehyung right into the shower.
"Never in a million years would I think I'd get myself into this kind of a situation." Jeongguk mumbles, mostly to himself.

He throws all the wet clothes off of Taehyung, forgetting about his own, sitting him down in the tub, hot water pouring from the shower head. Jeongguk takes it out of the wall hold, bathing the distraught boy carefully, his other hand rubbing sympathetically at Taehyung’s skin, sometimes more caressing than anything else.

And Taehyung doesn't really do anything but sits still with his eyes closed, sometimes cuddling his face into Jeongguk's hands wistfully.
Only when his chest twitches does Jeongguk notice Taehyung sniffling, tears not obvious under the water.

"Oh no! No, shhh, no!" Jeongguk winces right away, turning off the water and reaching for a towel. Wrapping it around him he presses Taehyung's entire torso into a tight hold, leaving small soothing kisses all over.
"It's good. It's okay. Everything's okay." He’s suddenly in a condition of pure stampeded adoration;
"It's not."
"It is, Taehyung, shhh,"
"No you're right, I always say that but it's not. C-come on. Yell at me again." Taehyung’s voice is barely recognizable; usually aggravating,  jeering, sometimes strong and youthful, now it turns into apologetic and guttural.
"But this time it is. You're fine, we have some nice chicken soup and a lot of blankets. Everything's fine. I’m not going to yell at you."
"I don't know what I was-"
"No, no talking until morning, okay?"
"Okay."

While Jeongguk takes a shower himself, Taehyung changes into his pair of sweats and one of his plain Ts, both of it huge on him - undeniably adorable.

Jeongguk takes him to bed by his hand, the two of them lying on their sides, facing each other.
Taehyung soon scrunches up completely, digging his face into Jeongguk's chest, as if wanting to hide out of sight.

Jeongguk realizes that maybe his judgment about Taehyung’s stability wasn’t entirely correct. That's how they fall asleep.

-

Precisely, that’s how Taehyung falls asleep. Jeongguk only falls in and out of short lasting slumbers, twitching back into awareness every now and then. But Taehyung is still there, hair damp and lips pouted, hands huddled against Jeongguk’s chest. Like that, he seems so little, especially when the sleeves of Jeongguk’s shirt are reaching past his elbows and his whole body gets lost under all the oversized clothing and multiple covers. Jeongguk wishes he could understand him better.

Around noon, Jeongguk sneaks out of the bed, indeed making that soup he’s been talking about, mind constantly wrapped around the fact which claims that Taehyung is, for the first time, sleeping over at his place and even in such circumstances it makes Jeongguk a fluttering mess.
Taehyung wakes up when Jeongguk suddenly drops a mug into the sink.
“Shit!”
“What happened?” Taehyung shooks, voice still half-asleep.
“Nothing, shit, god damn it, I just broke another mug. You can go back to sleep, sorry.”
“What time is it?”
“Like, around noon.”
“Noon?!” Taehyung jumps out of the bed in shock.
“Hey! Hey, hey, nope.” Jeongguk almost runs to Taehyung when he sees him fumbling for his clothes.
“No way in hell. You’re not going anywhere yet.”
“Jeongguk I, I have things to do, it’s late, I’m late-“
“Late for what? Huh? You’re going nowhere.”
“I have to call, oh god, my phone,”
“Use the home phone.”
“Right. Okay.”

There’s no “other room” for Taehyung to go and privately make the call so Jeongguk offers to go take a walk. Scared that Taehyung would leave in the meantime – he leaves the stove on, putting Taehyung in charge of keeping the eye on everything.

When he’s back, Taehyung is still there;
“You don’t have any milk left.”
“Huh? I think I got it just yesterday.”
“Anymore. I mean.”
“Oh! Then cheers.” Jeongguk puts some groceries he got on the way on the kitchen counter.
Taehyung walks over and gives him a kiss. It’s nice, a bit caring.

And Jeongguk knows he should ask Taehyung now, confront him. Listen what he has to say about last night and tell him he knows about his audition and that Yoongi wants him to come speak to him, he should lay it down right away but it seems so, so impossible. Instead he does what he thinks is a priority and sits Taehyung down at his teak table for a meal.

“Do you want to talk about yesterday night?” Taehyung is first to propose.
“Only if you want to.”
“Yeah.” Taehyung nods as he puts his spoon down.
“Okay.”
“I got really drunk.”
“I’ve seen.”
“That’s…pretty much it.”
“Okay.”
“Okay?”
“Yeah, it’s okay.”
“And that’s it?”
“Is it?” Jeongguk asks, as aloof as he can pull it off.
“I don’t know.”
“Why did you get that drunk then, good fun and all?”
“I guess so…I was a bit upset and…I do that sometimes.”
“Drink?”
“Yeah. And other stupid stuff.”
Jeongguk only lowers his eyes to the table.
“You know that I was just acting up, right?” Taehyung asks in a tone less calm than how it was seconds ago.
“No, I don’t actually.”
“But it’s true. I wasn’t trying to like. Do anything. I was just too drunk for judgment.”
“Judgment?” Jeongguk ironically snorts “On whether to fucking drown or not?” his words are now rushed and messy but he still forces a flat tone over it.
“Jesus!” Taehyung hisses, eyes squinting. “It wasn’t like that!”
“Then how was it?”
“Bad judgment, I told you! I was playing around and misjudged my limits, as a matter of fact – I wasn’t, like, dying or anything.”
“Well, I don’t really know what playing around means to you but putting your life in danger isn’t much fun for the observers, let me tell you that much!”
“God, okay, I’m sorry! Okay, will you let me say it? I’m sorry I caused trouble!”
“But that’s not it at all, you really have no sense.”
Jeongguk stands up from the table, unable to sit still. He puts his hands behind his head walking in circles as silence drapes over them.
“You know, I thought you were the put together one, that you were just enthusiastic and a bit reckless but if there was one thing I’d pin to you it was cleverness. Now look at you.”
“I’m not clever at all.”
“You’re just playing dumb.” Jeongguk mumbles, sitting back down.
“I didn’t mean to push any responsibilities onto you. Nothing like this will happen again, it wouldn’t ever if Jimin didn’t call you in the first place.” Taehyung exclaims with spite tinting his tone.
Jeongguk decides to say nothing for a while, lost in his own thoughts and inquiries.
Then he goes to get Taehyung’s clothes, dropping them into his lap;
“A thank you would have been enough.”
Taehyung goes to change quickly, coming back in seconds, or so it seems to Jeongguk who can’t decide if he wants to tell him everything or not;

“The producer from my label insisted on seeing you.” He tries to be casual as Taehyung walks out.
“Huh? Did you tell them I won’t do it?”
“Yup. He says he just needs to speak to you.”
“Speak to me? I told you there’s no point, I don’t aspire to be a singer, I never have.”
“Oh really?” Jeongguk lifts an eyebrow, tone sarcastic, a bit infuriated.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“It means that the producer knows you. Has heard you sing before I brought the track in. What do you think it means?”
“Jeongguk, what the fuck?” Taehyung is visibly shaken up.
“Yeah, what the fuck Taehyung? What the fuck? I’ve learned to be fine with whatever you decide to not say, which is pretty much everything, but at least don’t lie to me.”
“I literally have no idea what you’re speaking about and I really don’t want to be here right now.” Taehyung practically storms towards the door, but Jeongguk steps in front of him.
“Let me leave, I’m not having this conversation.”
“Why? Is this the issue you mentioned earlier? A single fail? Is it that disheartening Taehyung? Is it that bad? Should I have started this conversation while you were drunk then, you seem more honest that way.”
“Don’t speak about what you think you know! Just don’t, okay, just let me go home.”
But Jeongguk surprises even his own self with the amount of rage that suddenly bubbles up in him, seemingly kept down for ages;
“Oh let me tell you what I do know then. You play this cool exterior, yeah, you tell me I’m faking the whole ‘I don’t care’ motto, but look at you! Crumbling in my bathtub, avoiding conversation, sweating at something as trivial as one failed audition!”
“One-, oh my god, absolutely not, I’m not discussing this, this is none of your business. Move!”
Taehyung is looking right into his eyes as he orders and Jeongguk is a bit scared of what he finds there.
His whole attitude was only supposed to get Taehyung going but he’s not sure if he got him going into the direction he intended.
“Fine. Don’t do anything. Don’t say anything. Go, have fun, make mess, whatever you do that works so well that you gotta puke it out. You’re right; it’s none of my business except music is my business.  Like, literally. But whatever, go.”
“You know what Jeongguk. You’re letting yourself go a bit too far. What do you think this is?” Taehyung speaks right into his face, hands trembling as he gesticulates “What do you think we are? Some kind of a give-and-take couple? Do I need to pay you back now that you housed me for the night? Why does my life matter to you? You’re not that big of a part of it.”
He then goes around Jeongguk, only stopping at the doorframe to throw him an indifferent ‘I’ll send money for your phone.’ before he leaves.

When Jeongguk asks “What are we then?” it’s way too quiet and ever too late.
 
He isn’t sure of how much time has passed when he finally moves from the spot Taehyung left him in.
He knew he shouldn’t have said anything from the start and now it burns like summer sun except there are no tan lines, because his whole body aches from it, no exception.
It’s not surprising and he knows he’s the one in the wrong. He was never a part of whatever Taehyung’s life is made out of; it’s only his fault that he couldn’t follow through. That he let Taehyung become important. Let himself care.

He realizes then that danger isn’t what he saw in Taehyung’s eyes or what the river flow threatens with.
Danger is thinking that you have something worth losing, but realizing that you never had it in the first place, once it’s out the door.  And it’s not exciting; it just pretty much sucks.

-

 A phone call from Jimin comes way too early. Jeongguk picks it up nevertheless.
“I can’t believe I’m calling your home phone, what is this, Stone Age?”
“Thank your friend for that.”
“Huh?”
“Never mind, what’s up.”
“Nothing just checking up! Was everything okay, is he okay?”
“He’s fine.” Jeongguk barely answers.
“Is he there, can I speak to him?”
“He’s not.”
“Where is he then?”
“How should I know?!” He’s now clearly annoyed.
“How should you kn-, wasn’t he with you??”
“Well he’s not anymore, so tough luck. Now if you’ll excuse me-“
“Wait! Did something happen?”
“You know what Jimin, yeah. A lot happened. And since that friend of yours always keeps his mouth shut on actual happenings, here, let me fill you in!” Jeongguk can feel his neck veins popping as his blood pressure rises, but he continues talking with the same intensity, tightly grabbing onto the phone:
 “What happened is that Taehyung is the biggest wimp I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing and that he couldn’t handle a single reality check, not a single one!”
“Hey that’s-“
“And when I asked about one thing, a thing that shouldn’t even come as surprise, he did what? Raged up on me, told me I have no place in his life! Yeah, how’s that! Maybe you thought calling me was a good idea, and maybe I thought I’m close enough to be that emergency contact but not him, oh no, he says that’s none of my business. But it kind of is my business, when people from my actual business, meaning workplace are asking me about him! But alas-“
“Your colleagues? Where the fuck do you work at?”
“Does it matter? A music entertainment company.”
“Christ! Don’t tell me that-, oh fuck. Fuck, Jeongguk, you shouldn’t have, ah, god damn it! Listen, I have to go, thanks for yesterday but-“
“Wait! What do you mean I shouldn’t have? I shouldn’t have what, you don’t even know the story!”
“It doesn’t matter. You dug up on his academy try outs, yeah? What else can it be?”
“So you do know! Well apparently that’s entirely taboo and just mentioning it is some kind of a crime, like failing auditions is some kind of a big deal,”
“Hey, listen! Don’t belittle what you don’t know. It is a big deal and you shouldn’t have snaked around it, period.”
“Whoa! Perfect, you can yell at me too! Poor Taehyung, he can be an asshole to everyone now because, boohoo, one professor failed him at some sing-a-song try outs!”
“Some professor? Guess again Jeongguk. Try bloodline!”
“Try wh-“
“His mother, big mouth. So much for consideration. Now I gotta hang up and go find my mess of a friend. See ya around.”

Amazing, Jeongguk thinks to himself. Truly amazing. Is he supposed to feel sympathy now?
Is he supposed to feel bad, guilty? He isn’t sure.
How is this in any way a justification? Isn’t it even worse? Running after mom’s approval, rebelling around because he can’t find it. It fills Jeongguk’s mouth with disgust.
How can he have feelings for an actual brat?

He should have told Jimin everything, retold the whole night. He doesn’t know why he didn’t.

-

The bitterness doesn’t wash off of his tongue.

And Jeongguk knows he shouldn’t, not after the rejection he faced, but only few days later he texts Taehyung, enraged, only hoping he renewed his old number:

-ur mom?? Srsly?! I almost felt bad for prying but now ur just a joke momma’s boy

A reply comes in in the matter of seconds:

-Fuck u Jeongguk

-but not anymore huh!! Because I got onto your Oedipus complex??

-let me rephrase : go fuck urself

But Jeongguk just won’t put it to rest. He refuses to. He doesn’t care if he’s nothing to Taehyung he’s not letting him treat him with the disrespect such as not even explaining himself. So he dials the number;

“What?!”
“I’m not letting you do this, are we clear? Kick me to the curb, I don’t care, but you’re going to explain this to me. What the fuck is up with this?!” He barks into his phone snippily.
“Jeongguk, just let it be, god, I told you I am not having this conversation.”
“Oh yes you are! You owe it to me, you owe me an explanation, what was it that I triggered to deserve this kind of behavior from you? I barely raised my voice at you, so why?? Speak up for once.”
“I’m done trying to explain myself to anyone. Not when people only see and hear what they want to, everyone has their own perception.”
“How fucking philosophical! How about this one – life’s not a walk in the fucking park, bad things fucking happen and you can’t just pretend they don’t!”
“You know what, smartass! “ Taehyung now almost hisses, impatience overflowing “Since you think you know everything let me explain, yeah, I’ll do it. Meet me at the garage at 10. Sharpen your fucking blade, come on. See if you like it when I speak up.”
“Fine!”
“Fine.”

-

Jeongguk is there ten minutes earlier and Taehyung is ten minutes late. The usual.
“Speak, ask your questions, go!” Taehyung yells from meters away, walking up with his hands in his pockets.
Jeongguk isn’t sure if he must or mustn’t look away but Taehyung’s face is free of any expression and he finds himself almost intimidated by it. Almost, but not quite;

“So here’s the deal, Taehyung.” He starts out, testing his voice for endurance “I didn’t care that you never told me about your aspirations, I never told you mine either. Even when I first proposed that you go to the studio and you said no, never once mentioning that you, in fact, did want to school for the exact same career, that’s fine too. A secret’s a secret. But finally when you put it to words, when you bluntly said that you never had the ambition to sing, well, that was a brusque lie. But even so, I was just upset at that time. But was I really deserving of your treatment, what did I say, that you’re sweating at one failed audition? Is it not true? Did I get something wrong! And then, oh my god, Jimin going all - have consideration it’s his mother? How is that relevant? In my eyes it’s even pettier. Is your whole lifestyle just a take out on your mom? Proving some kind of a point, grudge? Malice? Spite? Is it? Oh mom, look at me! I can do things without your approval and be all wild and free, look at me, give me attention! Yeah, that’s how I see it. So, since you’re so heavy on weighing in, go on!”

Taehyung only looks at Jeongguk for a while, now only few feet away. He seems to think about how to answer him but soon enough speaks up;
“Well, since you had so much to say, I won’t keep it succinct either. First of all, addressing that ‘one audition’ reasoning, Jeongguk, how old am I?”
“Huh?”
“How old am I?” He repeats melodically;
“Twenty one?”
“Twenty two this year. You know how many auditions that is? Four.”
No one says anything for a while, Taehyung yet again thinking about how to continue this;
“Yeah. That’s four auditions, each one I failed for the very same reason. My mother. But if that isn’t shitty enough of a feeling, try to guess why!”
“Falsetto? Vibrato? How the fuck should I know!”
“I wish, nitwit. Rather ‘cause I put your dick in my mouth, that’s why. How about that? Because one day she found one of you pretty boys in my room, seated right here on my lap.” Taehyung pats his thighs two times for the conjuring up effect, stepping nearer;
“And guess what else crook! Both my brother and my sister have been under her wing for years now! Yup, artists in the making. Meanwhile I can’t even tell a falsetto from that vibrato you speak of, she cut my classes right there and then, I was barely thirteen, only starting vocal lessons at the time. But that’s not even relevant; everyone else said I’m good. Everyone else said I don’t need it. But she won’t even look at me. So that’s it! That’s the story! Are you amused yet! Do you like that family beef? Was this what I was supposed to tell you, that I’m tailing up to my mom each year because there’s nothing else I can do? That I know that I can only set myself free when I’m good enough for me, myself, but I won’t ever be until she says so?”

Taehyung isn’t spitting the words with fire anymore and Jeongguk can see his eyes watering. He can see his hands forming into fists in his pockets and the way he bites the insides of his cheeks when he pauses for a second.

“Nothing to add now? Is it sad? Moving? It shouldn’t be. It’s pathetic. But it’s the way it is. I try every day to fill in the void between where I’m standing right now and where I’d like to be at some point. It’s not working, as you can imagine! Because most days I just wonder if she ever regrets it. And on the days that I don’t – I wonder why I’m still wondering. That’s the cycle. And believe it or not, it’s not even about her. It’s about the music. The education. That I can’t have. My dream, have you had one of those? I still have it. I just don’t talk about it anymore.”

“Taehyung-“

“No. We’re not making this into a conversation. You said I mistreated you and that’s true, now I’ve told you whatever you wanted to know, no one knows this, there you go, VIP membership to the club of angsty youth, congrats. Now, move on.”
“But have you not heard it before? When you feel like you need to prove yourself to someone – that’s the moment when you need to walk away for good?”
“Yeah. Isn’t that what I’m doing now? Proving my worth to you, justifying myself endlessly. I’m not going to continue doing that, I’m walking away.”
“From me?”
“From you.”
Jeongguk isn’t sure of what’s happening in his mind right now but his chest is a mess of breath shortages and unsteady heartbeats and it seems like he can’t think of anything clever to say;

“I know your intentions are good. But it’s useless. It turns out that I like you way more than I originally planned. That can’t be. I called you here because we should go separate ways in settlement, I don’t want you being mad at me.”
“I wasn’t until you said that, just now.”
Taehyung doesn’t know what to say either so he just generalizes to break the silence;
“Life is…tough.”
“You should be tougher.”
“Listen, I can’t keep tripping over things and people, I have to put them, you, in the background.”
Jeongguk only exhales at this, adding a bit of irony into a hum;
“It’s no good when you’re tripping over what’s behind you anyway. Goodbye Taehyung.”

-

So that’s how it ends.
No fireworks, no farewell comforting. It’s what they say about summer love, after all. No matter how and for what reason, they all finish in a flash.
And when you like someone more than they like you, there’s really nothing poetic about it. You don’t become tougher from the experience nor do you find it knowledgeable. It’s just frustrating and distressing, always in the back of your head. It seems endless and it’s irritating, and even if Jeongguk loved Taehyung just a little, it still aches very, very much.

What Jeongguk learns, though, is that there’s only so many things that can control a human being, one being infatuation, the other scare; and he wishes Taehyung and him could switch for a day.

-

Except this is not how it ends at all;

Days pass like years, it seems like time itself is protesting against whatever has happened to Jeongguk’s life.
He tries to clog himself up in work but what is he supposed to write songs about? If he could define what he’s feeling maybe he’d write it down, but making it into words is far from possible.

Jeongguk knows he’s missing something, he’s not sure if it’s Taehyung or the feeling of having him around, but there’s holes where holes should never be and he can’t seem to find appropriate plugs to gag them;
What Jeongguk knows, though, is that there’s only two options of dealing with an issue – letting it out or letting it eat you. He should probably settle for the first.

So for starters, he calls Hoseok over. (“Don’t show up without pizza and liquor, though!”)

“I literally can’t believe you called me over as a friend, this hasn’t happened in like. Years, probably.” – is the first thing Hoseok says, barely coming through the door.
“Don’t exaggerate.” Jeongguk throws back coolly, immediately opening the pizza.
“So what’s up? Some family issues? You need a loan? Did one of your pets die, what’s up?” Hoseok jumps on Jeongguk’s bed, way too excited.
“Family’s fine. I got cash. I never had pets, what the fuck?”
“Okay, okay, I have no idea! What’s the ‘problem’ you speak of then?”
“Can we eat and drink first, also do you have any cigarettes on you perhaps?”
“Whoa, since when do you-“
“Give it.”
“Fine. This better be worth it.”

It doesn’t take Jeongguk long to finish the meal and get drunk. He finds it to be his field of expertise by now. Hoseok needs way less drinks but gets just as trashed and now their gravity senses are undulating and their head are oscillating, and Jeongguk finally feels like talking;

“So you know what the worst part is, hyung??”
“Worst part of wha-what?”
“Doesn’t matter. Everything. Just the worst part.”
“No, tell me! Tell me!”
“The worst part is. It’s that I really liked him. All of it, you know?”
“Who?” Hoseok points at the laptop, Candy Shop blasting from the speaker “Fifty? Yeah he was way better in his old days. I prefer just a little bit over this but still-“
Nooo, no hyung, not fifty cent, Tae-taehyung. Kim Taehyung.”
“Kim who? Wa-wait, that kid on your track right, Yoongi mentioned. Him, is it?”
“Yes him. Do you know how much I hate him. It’s so. Like so much.”
“Didn’t you just say that you liked him, all of him, are we, are we still talking about the same person?”
“Yes!! And I have, I do. But he’s sooooo horrible. Hyung, he’s so horrible. It’s horrible.”
“What were you guys even? How do you even know him?”
“We were…something. I guess. We fucked in elevators and ZARA’s dressing room and-“
“Oh my god, don’t, do not answer that question, please,”
“No, okay, we, we did that, yes and talked about the universe and named stars and spheres after fictional characters when we’d get drunk, and, and he, he taught me how to burgle into cars and, well, I don’t know, I beat him in pool like three times but he was better at darts which was so frustrating, honestly-“
“Wait! Car burgling, Jeongguk-“
“Uh yeah, when we met he, um, we took this Lexus and he almost ran me over and I had to run and run and run and there was wah-wind and dust everywhere I was like, like in a movie, but he didn’t run me over and we, I, kissed him and,”
“Oh my god, I thought I was too drunk, but I’m, I’m like way too sober for this story!”
“No, it’s. It’s fine. He’s gone, he got mad because I got mad and then no one was mad anymore but he, uh issues. Family. Confidence. Things. It’s so horrible.”
“Listen, Jeongguk, my boy, my son, well, not my son that’d be weird but, my friend who is like a son to a future old-enough-to-have-a-son me. Listen. Break ups are only invented so there’d be make ups. Tr-trust me! It is the truth!”
“But, but we didn’t break up! We just hung around and that’s it until he said move on and now I’m. I’m moving on.”
“I can see that.” Hoseok mocks in a playful manner;
“It’s pretty noticeable isn’t it?”
“Yeah!! You’re doing great. It’s classy, it’s very chic.”
“But hyung. There’s more. I can’t write I can’t do it do you understand.”
“Well in any other setting I’d fuck you up but the season’s over. You can slack a bit! A bit! But go settle those issues, things, issues. With the Kim guy. Do it.”
“I’m just going to drink him off. Off and away. Bye-bye. Bye.”
“Bye-bye!” Hoseok taps his glass against Jeongguk’s one last time until he drifts off completely, falling asleep right on his bed.

But Jeongguk doesn’t stop there. In fact he drinks until he can barely even move anymore, his last somewhat rational thoughts being – he’s gonna get out of this by tomorrow.

-

He doesn’t really.
He especially doesn’t get out of a throbbing headache that’s coming for him in the morning or Hoseok’s hung-over nagging about ‘how the fuck did you let me drink this much on a work day??’

He decides that, no matter what, he’s at least going to move in the right direction.

Well maybe not entirely righteous, but appropriate for his individual issue.
And that just means going back to what was always comfortable. Finding new people to fool around with.

Clubbing is entirely a routine by now and Jeongguk doesn’t have to put thoughts into anything but choosing the right venue. Tempted to go get served by Jimin, taking all possibilities into count, he contemplates for a while. Not tonight. He’s not about all that yet.

And there’s not much to tell, or retell. (Jeongguk rarely remembers it well.)
Monday brings home a petite blondie, minimal clothing and minimal effort.
Tuesday ends up being about some foreign boy on an exchange program and his showcase of overseas skills at the club’s men’s room.
Wednesday is a day for girls again, Jeongguk counts three but isn’t sure about the forth one.
Thursday is a complete blackout, Friday some sort of a group get along. Saturday he meets an old friend ready to catch up and finally, Sunday, he just takes the bartender home. (He always had a thing for uniformed men, he supposes.)

And it’s so damn easy, it’s almost a joke.
It’s easy to live like this, wake up in the afternoon, get some food, get ready, go out, drink, dance, fool around, go home in the morning, sleep, repeat.
It requires no trying, no hair-pulling (of his own).
It also isn’t particularly accomplishing, nor does Jeongguk really feel better after or during it. It’s almost worse if he really thinks about it. He’s wasting time and it isn’t looking up.

Next week he decides to change the pace. He turns day and night back around, spending whole afternoons trying to be productive with work or going around the town catching shows, movies, gallery openings, even.
This plan works until the night comes around and he’s left alone with a head full of whirling thoughts and distressing questions.
And they don’t involve modern retakes on Van Gogh or the production quality of The Maze Runner, not even the news on Kingdom Hearts 2.8.
The biggest one is always the same – Why is Taehyung even on his mind?

But he is, and it’s always something else, if not his candid laughter, head thrown back in mirth, then the way he plays with the ring on his thumb or one of the two piercings on his left ear. Sometimes it’s as frivolous as the curvature of his knuckles or the way he sits casually with his feet turned out. Jeongguk knows he’s screwed and it’s terrible because he finds more things to like about him now than when they still hung out together. Sometimes he wonders if he’s making all of it out in his head.

-


When he first bumps into Taehyung he realizes that that’s not the case.
He’s back to going out, if nothing, to ease his nerves into slumbers, so when his eyes first fall on Taehyung – he isn’t sure if it’s really who he thinks it is. Still, when the feeling of déjà vu creeps under his skin, with the way he’s just sitting at the bar while the other boy’s swaying around firing finger-guns at everything and everyone, jumping up and down to every bass boost, the acknowledgment settles right in. It’s Taehyung alright.
And a month ago he’d just walk over and kiss him until his face feels numb but this time it’s his whole body that’s immobile and he takes another shot before he walks out. He’d rather leave elsewhere than watch Taehyung grope someone right before his eyes.
He still looks good, Jeongguk decides. Better, even. If possible.

That night he wonders if he really caught far-reaching feelings or just some kind of a virus, because it definitely feels like one. He even questions if it’s possible that he feels a tad bit lonely, wondering if it’s conceivable to really consider something a ‘missing piece’ if it only ever appeared as recently as he did.
But as he lays in his bed, whole body in some kind of a strange discomfort, he realizes that he can only relate to a drug-addict forced into a rehab and he can’t decide if he’s furthering the sickness or getting better.
_

When he sees Taehyung for the second time it’s almost the same. Except Taehyung’s tongue is already down some girl’s throat and her hands are in his hair. It’s categorically disgusting.
Jeongguk walks out once more, perfectly to the beat of some happy ending love song.

The third time is an improvement, Jeongguk doesn’t run away. He spends the whole night tracing Taehyung’s trail though, never once looking away. Taehyung doesn’t notice.

But the fourth time is completely different. The setting is the same but it’s been a while and Jeongguk is almost sure that he doesn’t care as much anymore. In fact he’s almost ready to see Taehyung do whatever, for all he cares he can strip right there in the crowd or have whoever do it for him; Jeongguk is prepared.
Still when Taehyung’s eyes meet his across the room he feels his vision going blurry for a few seconds, apparently forgetful of eye contact being a possibility.  

He can’t forget the clarity of Taehyung’s gaze though, nor the way in which his eyes light up in colors of a gilded shell.

And it goes on throughout the night; Jeongguk almost leaves more than once, but keeps it together all the while, somehow.
He dances with everyone, drinks everything and roams around everywhere, here and there checking on whatever Taehyung is doing. It’s not surprising that he’s basically following up, having fun in the exact same manner, occasionally looking over to Jeongguk the same way Jeongguk is throwing glances to him.
And Jeongguk is way past the point of lucidity, but he can almost swear he sees Taehyung smirk a little whenever their eyes meet and he finds it endlessly insulting.
What, am I supposed to weep over you having a dance partner? I’ve had hundreds just over these past five days, who the fuck cares?
But Jeongguk cares, and it takes him everything not to march over and throw a slap or two across that pretty face.
When he finally goes home that night, he figures he should just move to another city or something equally drastic, because anything else won’t really do.

-

But it ends up being fine for a while.
A change in his routine is evident, he notices becoming sensible to everything, he writes again, and even if it’s completely dyed in animosity and spitefulness – it’s still words and he keeps them flowing.
When he closes his eyes at night he wonders if this is how it always was – was he ever this aware of his own basic being, of sounds surrounding him, whether they’re as bothersome as the fridge cooling off in the middle of the night or as irregular as the blinds kicking into the edge of his half-opened window.
Taehyung is just a pique in the back of his mind but it’s really not bad until one night it, kind of, is.
‘Kind of’ meaning really, really bad, and ‘really, really bad’ meaning tragic:

[3:04 AM] Do you know that I can’t find any new feelings to like… replace my old ones with?

And Jeongguk isn’t drunk nor high, he isn’t particularly emotional that night either. He’s just clogged up and can’t seem to stand it. He doesn’t expect an answer ever coming so he puts the phone under his pillow, but it buzzes almost instantly;

[3:05 AM] Don’t you hate me
[3:06 AM] what for?
[3:07 AM] clouded feelings
[3:08 AM] No


 It falls silent for a while and Jeongguk can’t imagine a conversation happening so he lets himself falls asleep.
A simple ‘good’ comes an hour later and Jeongguk sees it first thing when he wakes up. It’s clouded, yeah, but it might be a closure. He isn’t sure if it is.

He especially falls into confusion when Jimin calls him for a meet up, only days after. They agree to meet for a cup of coffee, Jeongguk too curious by nature to miss out on what he feels he definitely should;

“You have to tell me what you know.  And I’ll tell you some of what I know. Deal?”
“What kind of a trade is this, Jimin? Do you think I’m still interested in Taehyung’s personal life?”
“Aren’t you?”
“Not really, no.”
“Well, even better then, just tell me your part of the story and we’re done here.”
“What story?”
Jimin pauses to audibly take a sip of his mocha latte.
“What did you hear about his background?”
“Not much, just the audition part. He tried, everyone liked him, one professor failed him. They tried to contact him, all of them, but he cut off all contact, that’s it. Yoongi hyung still wanted him but he freaked out at the mention and that’s that. We met later and he chipped in with the family story, that’s the end.”
“Cut off contact, huh?” Jimin raises an eyebrow in suspicion.
“Yeah, I guess, deactivated emails, phone numbers, that kind of stuff from the application forms.”
“I’d know if he did, that’s…very unlikely?”
“I really don’t know anything about it Jimin, sorry.” Jeongguk shrugs it off, ready to leave already, squirming in his seat.
“No, I mean, that witch must have done that too so other producers couldn’t have him. Jesus.”
“His mother?”
“Who else? I swear if there’s someone in this world I’d gladly erase permanently – it’s her. Anyway, you said you work with music, what kind of stuff?”
“Song writing, lyrics, occasional touch ups on the arrangement.”
“Ooh, a songwriter and a singer. What a match.”
“A mismatch.” Jeongguk looks away, nowhere in particular.
“Don’t be foolish. Things change. They often change back too.”
“Sure.”
“Anyway, Taehyung’s at our place now, I told him I’d get to the kids before five so he can go but I’m late already, so-“
“The kids?”
“Yeah, the kindergarteners?”
“Uh?”
“Did he not tell you?”
“Don’t tell me he has kids, at this point that’s the only remaining thing that’d shock me.”
“God!” Jimin grimaces in disgust,
“No, my mom home-schools a group of five year olds, Taehyung looks after them on some days, gets him some cash, some priceless artworks, have you ever seen his room? He hangs them everywhere. The dude just loves kids. I hate them. Can’t stand to be around them for more than half an hour. He’s great help to my mom.” Jimin then stands up, Jeongguk following right after;
“Anyway, I should get going. Take care Jeongguk. Hope the two of you go back on good terms, I quite like you.”
“I…yeah. Take care, Jimin.”

-

Jeongguk wonders if this is even possible as he falls further into his cove of despair.
Kids, really? All of this feels like a hidden camera prank, where they lure people into doing something harmful to a stranger then the stranger ends up being a total saint, and the victim of the joke feels terrible about it ‘till the day they die.

-

But, not exactly.

In reality, Jeongguk gets rid of the guilt already next weekend as he accidentally runs into Taehyung yet again. And Taehyung is nowhere near holy as he walks out of a pharmacy with a black eye and a cut on his lip. It takes everything for Jeongguk not to throw a snarky remark at him, more out of pure need to say anything at all than anything else. But he doesn’t. He passes him in silence and hopes he doesn’t regret it.

He doesn’t understand. He never has.
Isn’t it disheartening? Jeongguk is almost repelled by it. And maybe it doesn’t make much sense, he could see his own self getting into a troublesome situation just like that, but regardless he can barely stand not going off at Taehyung right then and there.
Because it is different; the difference exists.
Taehyung should be role modeling those little people in the making; he’s supposed to have it together. Jeongguk isn’t.
But Taehyung definitely should, Jeongguk thinks – at least to the point of being able to pretend that everything’s fine.
Taehyung doesn’t look up to Jeongguk even when they’re feet apart.
Just like that they continue going into opposite directions (physically too).

-

Jeongguk dreams about Taehyung that same night.

They’re sitting under a bridge, just talking. He notices the way the breeze kisses Taehyung’s skin and wonders if he should tell him. He does, he tells him just like that, and Taehyung smiles at him – one of his soft, serene smirks, absolutely mesmerizing. Jeongguk tells him that too, that his smile is the most beautiful feature of his face and Taehyung only grins at the remark, staring at him, eyes lit up with all kinds of diamond powder.
Then he speaks, or rather whispers, as if terrified:
“I have to learn the hard way.”
Jeongguk doesn’t understand, but somehow it’s scary and panic explodes within him.
An eerie feeling comes over him and he holds Taehyung’s hand tightly, as if afraid he’ll evaporate any second.
And he does. Right before his eyes, Taehyung disappears in the matter of racing heartbeats.

-

When Jeongguk wakes up he’s anxious and moody and doesn’t really feel like doing anything today.
He sits his own self down and decides he needs to clear his mind out; he needs to be absolutely sure of how he’s going to take this whole ‘situation’ on.
Taking his own benefit into count he decides that this is it, all that ever will be. He’s going to bump into Taehyung here and there, maybe have a thought or too, reminisce, but he shouldn’t delude himself into thinking about possibilities and outcomes that are, very clearly, impossible.
Here’s where he’s going to really take the advice and move on, if possible, forget everything.
Force himself into a state of indifference, shouldn’t his stock of emotions be exhausted by now anyway?
 What could they ever even be? Nothing but tragic.
In fact, when he goes into it a bit deeper he realizes that all the good fun only came from both of their need for some rush, some blood pumping, not each other.
Jeongguk sure hopes he can find it with someone else.

-

It works, this time it really does. Jeongguk realizes that absolute freedom from everything and everyone isn’t that bad at all, he finds himself enjoying it, all of it, the time, the space, the lack of responsibilities.
Sometimes he isn’t sure if he’s only imagining it but that’s fine too. Even if it came down to convincing – he’s doing a pretty good job.

He starts hanging out with Hoseok more, few times with Yoongi too. He doesn’t say a word about Taehyung.
He even gets a ‘whats up’ text from Jimin one day, he replies casually. They don’t say a word about Taehyung.
When he accidentally thinks about Taehyung, he doesn’t say a word about him either.
(Not that it really happens, or anything.)

-

What (also) happens isn’t any better.
This time it’s Taehyung who texts:

-Do you miss anything?

Jeongguk stares at the text for a while. He examines it for a long time, reading every word carefully as if there’s multiple meanings to each of them. It takes him ten full minutes until he replies:

-Should I?

-No

Jeongguk knows Taehyung’s right;


-Then no

-Would be a waste, that’s it

-of time? Yeah

-of yourself

-?

Taehyung never replies.


It’s not fair. It’s savage.
Jeongguk wanted to believe Taehyung never even thinks of him, it was easier, effortless.
He wanted to believe freedom was great when really it meant nothing but yearning, missing him.
It really is a waste.
He realizes that the world isn’t going to just drop Zen into your life; you have to find it yourself.
So far, he’s doing a terrible job.
The anxiety rushes over him and he swears, in his mind, it looks just like Taehyung when sunlight shines over him on a September day.
Jeongguk can’t even get mad.
-

He can get mad the very next evening, though; one he planned to spend rewatching old The Simpsons episodes in his PJs. His plans get impeded as his phone buzzes, the name Jimin written over the screen.

And he knows what’ll happen if he picks up, he imagines it to be the same scenery, a messed up Taehyung in need of taking care of, Jimin unable to play his babysitter tonight. It’s way too late for it to be anything else.
Jeongguk decides to pass on it this time, letting the tune of his ringtone ring until it’s plain annoying.

But the phone keeps buzzing. Once. Twice. Thrice.
It’s unsettling, but not unbearable.
Not until a text comes too;

its me not jimin.. come 

He doesn’t notice when the breathing stops.
Jeongguk ignores this too. His chest won’t stop quivering, but he ignores it.

He concentrates on some amateur meditation (or what he imagines it being) until, after a while, he decides that he’s really, really mad. Why can’t he walk out on this already, he’s stepping forward but things keep persistently pulling him back.
He’s mostly mad at Jimin for allowing this and all of the sudden he has the strongest, undisciplined need to go give him his two cents.

It’s very impolite to be ruining someone’s perfect evening in this way, at this time, he decides;
It’s Jimin’s fault and he’s going to stuff that phone down his throat.

_

It takes minutes for him to rush down the stairs, find a cab and run into the venue. It all seems like a flash, his rage leads him through time in lightning-speed;
When he sees Jimin, it’s as if it fast forwards even more, he’s right in front of him, leaning over that well-known bar counter in what seems like half a second:

“So remember when I told you I wanted nothing to do with Taehyung or his personal life anymore?! Did you note that or did it just fly through your head?” Jeongguk shouts, eyes widening to complement his anger.

Jimin doesn’t even look up for a while, stacking bottles in an orderly manner;
“Jeongguk!” he fakes excitement “What can I get for you tonight?”

“What can you-, you know what, Jimin? Get me a free pass to hit you with a bat right between your legs, how’s that?”

“Ah-ouch!” Jimin laughs, completely unmoved. “Not sure what you’re mad at me for, your culprit’s right over there.” He motions towards the corner of the room, Jeongguk's eyes following impulsively.

When he sees Taehyung he un-looks instantly, turning back to Jimin right away.
“What is your phone doing in his hands then? After this I’m never answering a single call from you, I swear to God.”

“Sure. Now that you’re here, go talk to him. Don’t let it be for naught.” Jimin winks indifferently, his lips forming into a slight mischievous curve before he takes a bottle out and hands Jeongguk a glass.
“Also, chill a little. You’ll get gray hairs before you’re even twenty.”

Jeongguk takes a shot (maybe two or three), and eventually decides that, yes, it’s never going to end unless he ends it himself.

When he walks over to Taehyung, he observes him a little; eye’s rapidly going over his outfit choice, a plain black sweatshirt and skinny jeans of the same shade, matching to his own all-charcoal appearance.
He hasn’t moved from that very corner ever since Jimin pointed him out and when Jeongguk approaches him - he’s met with a dazed, smiling Taehyung, swaying a little under influence of whatever it is that’s ruining his liver this night;

“So you came?” he asks pretty fluently;

“I came to tell you to fuck off, actually.”

“Okay.” Taehyung nods, frowning mockingly, “Can it wait until I tell you something else, though?”

Jeongguk is a bit disoriented, way under-prepared for this;
“Only if you make it short.”

He’s amazed with his own aloofness, as he feels everything but indifference in this very moment. It’s overwhelming; it’s everything, good and bad, healthful, poisonous, absolutely all of it. It’s the last few weeks mixed into a bowl and poured in his throat through a funnel.

“I can try.”

When Jeongguk doesn’t say anything, Taehyung motions towards the restroom, saving them from shouting over the music;
Once they come in Jeongguk suddenly remembers the first time they hung around one of those, Taehyung scribbling over the mirror, Jeongguk watching him, beguiled.

“You know, Jeongguk.” Taehyung starts, swaying as he walks in circles, his eyes going pretty much everywhere, racing unnaturally.
Jeongguk feels a shiver from the way Taehyung says his name, he always had this reaction but he couldn’t imagine it being permanent.

“I do all this. You know, mess things up. Go on and off, play around too much. Then this-“ He points at his, still partially unhealed, bruised face, “I do all that just because I frankly can. I can, and it’d be sad not to try everything while you still can. Yeah?”

Jeongguk doesn’t say anything, staying still in the corner, watching Taehyung theatrically explain whatever he’s talking about, frowning a little at the way Taehyung seemingly lost all soberness but at the same time speaks with such determination;

“And youth, you know, is just like that. I want someone to just. To just take a hammer. Well, metaphorically. And break all of my ribs, all at once. And then when I crack, just crack like that, they can stab me with anything, words, knives, anything, inside out. It’s like, like a need, something essential, it makes my innards twinge and it’s perfect like that. Because, you never know Jeongguk. You never know where the end is. And all that you want to have and see and be, you have to do it now. In just one night.”

 Then Taehyung finally looks at Jeongguk, for the first time paying attention to him, acknowledging him as a listener. He steps a bit closer to him.

“Just one. One breath. One little pulse of the heart. It’s like that. That’s what’s beautiful about this. About all this mess. You can’t feed your hunger any other way.”

Jeongguk gets lost. Completely. He loses all the feelings he was clinging onto all this time, he loses rationality, he loses his sense. He gets lost in Taehyung’s talking, his voice, his words, his intonation. He can’t find a way out, not even a hint that’d let him say something. Anything. He’s way to absorbed in this abstract speech, as typical for Taehyung as it kind of isn’t. Always so contrasting;

“You know, whatever I do, I overdo it. Whether it’s just acting up, as you say, or, or the number of glasses I’ll have in a night, even, even you, your hips ramming into me, I’m always going to have an urge to yell ‘hit me with your best shot! make it so I can’t get up!’.” And Taehyung does yell, giving into his dramatic monologue, “Always, I just crave that, wreckage. You know that, I know. I know, you know all this. But you don’t know that you’re not just caught up in it by chance, I, I know it seems that way but it’s not. I can’t stop thinking about how it was and how I felt and whenever we were together I just wanted to ask if we can just, I don’t know, fly away? And if I, if I kept up with it, what would happen then?”

Jeongguk, for the first time, finds his voice, hit right where he hates being touched, the ‘what if’;

“What would happen? That’s not something you can know unless you actually let it happen. Which you didn’t do.”

“But I do know. You’d be my sweetest, candy-coated sin, worst out of them all. I couldn’t let you do that.”

“You’re talking like I can’t handle you, like you’re some kind of venom, a deadly threat for the poor, weak me.” And Jeongguk says it with confidence, but he remembers his own self comparing Taehyung to a virus not too long ago.

“I’m not, I, I get up. But then I fall back down and then I know where my end is. But with you, I, the problem is right here with me; because with you I feel infinite. Even now I feel so. It’s not good, it’s like I’m seeing possibilities that don’t exist and I can’t let myself do that.”

And Taehyung isn’t speaking clearly anymore; in fact, Jeongguk can see that he’s sweating, that his eyes can’t stay focused and that his words are starting to sound a bit blurry. He isn’t sure he understands his chain of thoughts anymore either. 

After a while Taehyng starts laughing at nothing in particular and it’s absolutely manic, his laugh is loud and long-lasting, his arms waving up and down as he continues going around the room, the sound of his hilarity echoing against the ceramic tiles.
Jeongguk feels like he’s watching a show of some sort, like this act is just a ridiculous filler, one where they just throw in a slightly mad-headed guy to do whatever;
But Taehyung seems even crazier, suddenly completely freezing, eyes widening and staring at Jeongguk in some kind of an unexplainable fear. Jeongguk feels the creeps crawling under his skin.

“Jeongguk!” Taehyung now yells, “Say something! I hate this sound, I hate it, I hate it, I hate it!
He covers his ears with hands, eyes shutting and head shaking as he exclaims.

Jeongguk is suddenly absolutely terrified, his own eyes widening in surprise as he tries to fight muteness.
“What sound Taehyung, there’s no one here but us, what are you talking about?”

Then Taehyung suddenly screams.
It’s a shriek that sounds endless and Jeongguk can feel his heart thumping in dread.

That sound, that! Silence! I hate that sound!” Taehyung yells, stepping so close to Jeongguk their chest are almost touching now.

“Taehyung, what the fuck have you been drinking, holy fuck.” Jeongguk almost whispers slowly, watching Taehyung make all kinds of faces at him from only inches away.

He breaks into another laughing explosion right into Jeongguk’s face;
And Jeongguk can only smell beer in his  breath, clearly and unmistakably it’s beer and he knows it can’t be the reason for Taehyung’s berserk behavior.

“Beer. You drank beer. What else?”

“Nothing!” Taehyung laughs loudly, “I drank nothing else. Just a few cans of beer. Nothing else.”

“Taehyung. Don’t fuck around what kind of a mix did you do, do you even see yourself.”

“Nothing! I’m not a liar!” Taehyung now exaggerates feeling insulted, jaw dropping for a silent few seconds before he twirls in a way that was supposed to resemble a pirouette.

And it takes Jeongguk a while but he’s seen way too many teen shows during his long unoccupied days to not stumble over one particular thought;
And he blinks a few times trying to reason with his own self and find any argument that’d completely exclude the possibility, but it’s hopeless.
“Taehyung?”
Taehyung doesn’t answer, instead he just sits on the floor, lifelessly drops down from where he was standing, shutting his eyes as if he’s in great discomfort from all the spinning around.
“Taehyung?! Why is this such a fucking déjà vu, Taehyung, god fucking damn it just tell me, just tell me you took no other shit like coke, pills, did you take anything like that?”
And Jeongguk is now kneeling right beside him, holding his chin up in hysteria, he isn’t even sure he’s pronouncing simple words right, all he can hear is his own heart thumping, feeling his pulse right in his throat;
“What?” Taehyung asks in absolute confusion, head swaying to the side as his eyes half-close.
“Taehyung, think, think okay? Did you take anything tonight?”
“Anything tonight?” He just repeats in a sing-song mumble;
“Jesus fucking Christ!!” Now Jeongguk is almost straddling him on the floor, holding Taehyung’s face in between his palms as he yells right into it;
“Answer the god damn question!” He barks, jerking Taehyung’s face upwards. Jeongguk doesn’t fear many things but stimulants make his blood freeze.
“I don’t, ah, umm, I..” Taehyung’s voice fades out in such a horrid way that Jeongguk impulsively slaps him, fearing the worst;
“Pills! Did you take any pills!?”
“I, I sometimes do…”
“Oh my god. Oh my god, fucking  really? Jesus, really? When?”
Taehyung just takes a deep breath, eyes still closed, and Jeongguk can now see it in detail, the way his energy is experiencing a downfall way to sudden to be overlooked.
“When!  Taehyung! And how much!”
“Uh, some, now, th-there, when you didn’t come.”

There’s no real point in dragging the questioning any further, Jeongguk checks Taehyung’s pulse instantly as if he has any fucking idea what he’s doing but still feels a tad bit calmer when his breathing  and other vitals are fully normal, as it seems.
But Taehyung looks dizzy and sleepy and Jeongguk knows that one thing he can’t let him do is fall asleep;
So he yells for help and gets the first responsive person to get Jimin, meanwhile shaking Taehyung occasionally, making him give answers to most random questions, urging any kind of reaction out of him.
When Jimin runs in he’s way calmer than Jeongguk is (even with Jeongguk’s non-stop nudging), he’s rational and he searches Taehyung’s pockets right away, finding a pack of what seems to be sleeping pills, opening it with impressive swiftness,
“Oh thank god,” Jimin mumbles.
“What?! Thank god for what?” Jeongguk yells in panic.
“That it’s a box. If it was a bottle we could never tell.”
“Tell what?! Jimin?! Do I call the fucking ambulance already?”
“Hold on.”
Jimin takes out both sheets, finding that one is completely full and other not even half way emptied out;
“No, don’t call anyone, okay, but don’t let him sleep, I’ll be right back.”
“Okay, shit, alright!”
Jimin runs off and Jeongguk almost crawls back to Taehyung, taking his face back into his own hands,
“Why,” Taehyung starts flimsily,
“Why what?” Jeongguk almost chokes on his own words,
“You’re crying.” Taehyung breathes out, causing Jeongguk to acknowledge it;
Is he really? He sure is now, suppressing a sob creeping in the back of his throat.
“I’m not.” He lies, finger-brushing the hair above Taehyung’s ears,
“Don’t cry.”
“Okay.”
But he can’t stop the tears streaming down, and he doesn’t know if he’s relieved or dying of worry but Taehyung manages to lift his limp arms up and wrap them loosely around Jeongguk’s waist, a hint of a smile appearing;
Jeongguk leans his forehead onto Taehyung’s, clenching his teeth to stop himself from further havoc;
“Nothing is. Nothing is going to happen.” Taehyung weakly whispers right onto his lips and if Jeongguk wasn’t freaking out over the possibility of Taehyung’s breathing disheveling he’d kiss him, he’d kiss him so, so much.
“It better not. So I can beat you up tomorrow until you- you’re the one crying.”
Taehyung manages to wrap his arms tighter around Jeongguk, brushing his lips over the corner of Jeongguk’s.
“Deal.”
When Jimin comes back he moves Jeongguk out the way instantly, taking Taehyung by his collar,
“Taehyung. I just checked our texts you took two pills before sleep like two days ago. Four are missing. You took only two tonight as well, yes?”
“I think…yeah...”
“Okay, so here’s what’s happening. You’re falling asleep but it isn’t real. It’s a state that isn’t actual sleep and we’re going to try to overcome it. We had dinner together and you took it on a full stomach so you should be fine.”
“Oh-kay,”
“Regardless, you’re going to go with Jeongguk to your own place, I have a paramedic in a cab heading there right now, he’s going to help you on the down low. Can you do that, stay awake until then.”
“I, yes..”
“Okay, now, Jeongguk.”
“Yeah?” Jeongguk almost jumps, visibly admiring Jimin’s character;
“Check up on his vitals all the time, if he does fall asleep put him on his side, but don’t let it happen. Give him room, Jesus Christ, you’ll make up when he isn’t half-dead. Now go, the car’s outside.”
 And Jeongguk feels like a little kid under Jimin’s authority but he picks Taehyung up in a second, carrying him out faster than he thought was possible.
In the car he makes Taehyung do the most negligible things such as look out the window or count the seconds at the stoplight, until they’re finally there, picking up the doctor at the parking lot;

When they’re in Jeongguk has no idea what’s really going on, Taehyung is getting a shot up his vein of some kind and he thinks that the guy explains its vitamin-like nature pretty well but he doesn’t remember any of it, all he keeps asking is if Taehyung’s going to be okay or not, even if he gets the positive answer every time.
In the end, the doctor gives Jeongguk a pill as well ‘to calm his nerves’ and before he leaves he concludes that everything’s going to be fine and he should just let Taehyung sleep now, but stay up and keep an eye on him until morning.

Jimin calls soon after;

“Everything okay?”
“I think, I think so.”
“Are you okay?” Jimin changes the tone of his voice.
“Yes. Jimin how are you so calm, he just-“
“Don’t. Nothing happened.”
“But-“
“Hey, I work at a club. All kind of things happen here.”
“But, Jimin-“
“Listen, alcohol and pills, it’s the oldest trick in the book, as long as you don’t overdo - it puts you on a high. But he picked everything in the worst way possible and it just, yeah, it’s okay, he isn’t that dumb,”
“So you think that he didn’t, like,”
“Jesus, no, it was an accident.”
“But, last month he, we, we were at the beach and he, oh my god,”
“What?”
“He just stood underwater for, for a while and,”
“Listen,” Jimin doesn’t even want to hear it “Taehyung has obvious issues, he does, but he’s not, it’s not like that.”
“Okay. Okay. I hope, yes, okay.”
“You sound terrible. Eat something. And call me in the morning.”
-

The night seems never ending and Jeongguk spends it checking on Taehyung’s breathing every second of every minute, or pinching random parts of his body to see if he’ll react to it;
When the morning finally comes round, every hour seems ‘too late’ and why isn’t Taehyung waking up already.

Around noon, he finally does, one eye opening to the image of Jeongguk’s white-as-snow face, staring at him worriedly;
“Oh fuck, thank god,” Jeongguk is seated on the floor right next to the bed and he throws his head back in relief, mumbling to the ceiling;
Taehyung sits up, rubbing his eyes.
“Jeongguk?”
“You’re okay, right, you feel fine?”
“Yes, just, could you get me a glass of water please?”
“Water, yes, coming.”
Taehyung gulps it down in the matter of seconds, putting the glass down as he raises an eyebrow at Jeongguk.
“I. I don’t know what happened but you’re here and…I guess it was pretty bad?”
“You mean, you don’t remember anything?”
“No, I, I remember you came, you came to the club and we started talking, but nothing else.”
Taehyung squints a little apologetically and Jeongguk isn’t exactly sure how to lead this conversation.
“Well. It doesn’t matter anyway. Thankfully everything’s fine.”
He then stands up, rubbing his own eyes tiredly.
“You, you haven’t slept at all?”
“No. I think, I should probably go now.”
“Oh.” Is all Taehyung says, curling up under the blanket.
Jeongguk really wants to cry and he could, he could if only he let himself. But he doesn’t.
However, as he fumbles around to pick his belongings up, Taehyung doesn’t stay mute after all;
“Or not.”
“Or not?”
“Yeah.”
“Taehyung, you said some pretty illogical and incomprehensible things yesterday night, but I think I’ve figured the main point. You don’t want to be around me.”
“That’s not…I couldn’t have said that.”
“You heavily implied it.”
“Jeongguk,” Taehyung slowly breaks his name into syllables “would you please stay here for a while?”
He makes the tone of his voice official yet genuinely pleading.
“Uh,”
“Listen, I’m not, it’s not that I’m stupid about this I…I just have to learn the hard way.”
And Jeongguk has a flashback to his nightmare from the other night, his chest aching in the strangest way.
He has an actual need to grab his heart and squeeze it with his own two hands, do anything to shut this rush of adrenaline up, silence it in any way possible.
He can’t.
Instead he sits right onto Taehyung’s bed, taking his hand into a tight hold, just like he did in his dream.
“Don’t disappear.”
“I won’t.”

-

When they kiss for the first time, they never really stop.
And Jeongguk can’t help but be careful, fearing that even the slightest hint of urgency could break Taehyung apart. Taehyung, as usual, has no worry; for the first time ever he leads everything, definite want showcased in his every move. He doesn’t oblige to the kiss, he rather suggests every shift, every little modification, his hands never once moving from Jeongguk’s cheeks, holding him tightly, as if he’s the one afraid of the other boy vanishing.
In between littlest meager breath-pauses Taehyung whispers sweet coos onto Jeongguk’s lips, muttering barely audibly ‘don’t go’ or simply ‘stay’, and Jeongguk only answers with shutting him up, taking Taehyung’s lips between his own, over and over and over again.

Instead of on top of each other, they end up in a long hug, Taehyung nuzzling between Jeongguk’s neck and shoulder, hands gripping at the back of Jeongguk’s shirt.
And Taehyung doesn’t have to talk about it, but Jeongguk knows he’s full of turmoil and dismay, and he only presses him closer, even when there’s no way to further bring him any nearer.  
The warmth of Taehyung’s body is almost unbearable, causing Jeongguk to fall further down the spiral of disarranged feelings.

When they pull away from each other neither one seems pleased, but Taehyung offers to go make tea then sits them down at the table to have a ‘normal’ conversation.
Jeongguk agrees.

“You know, there was a time when Jimin and I joked about my unorderly sex life and he came up with my catch phrase ‘if you can taste them, you replace them.’ Doesn’t that sound dumb?”
“Yeah.”
“But it was true, honestly, when I’d get even so much as a tiny sample of a person I’d sign them off and it went on. And on. And on.”
“Sounds like you, doesn’t it.”
“Well not really anymore, no. While we, you and I, still like, you know, got together, I never really…yeah. Got around doing it with anyone else.”
“Huh?”
“Yeah.”
“That’s…barely believable.” Jeongguk admits.
“Isn’t it.”
“Hmm..”
“Even after. I, I mean I hooked up with a few, but you know. It wouldn’t do the trick.”
“Well, look at that.”
“What?”
“I just, I’d never tell.”
“I told you I liked you before, like four times probably.” Taehyung frowns a bit, exaggerating displeasure.
“Three.”
“There you go.” He now claps happily, as if a great point was made. Jeongguk smiles without realizing, then comments:
“But still. It’s difficult to trust someone like you.”
“Fair.”
“It made sense to me tough. Somehow. Even if it didn’t really, I guess I just wanted to believe it.”
“I hoped you would.”
“It’s…yeah.” Jeongguk looks away, stopping in the middle of his sentence.
“No, tell me! What is it.”
“Uh, like this, yeah, sometimes when I say something or, or when we’d go out, have fun, your eyes would do a thing, a nice thing, and I’d think to myself – hey, it has to do something with my presence.”
“Really?”
“Yeah.”
“Well I don’t know about what my eyes look like, but I can tell you that, along with all of my other sensible body parts, they’re certainly enjoying you.”
“I’ll take that as a compliment, since I doubt I’ll get a better one from you.”
“It’s the best one.”

It takes a while until Jeongguk is ready to tackle the subject he rather never would, but he finds it to be essential;
“So, could you now explain. You know. Whatever the fuck it is that you’ve been doing.”
“Yeah.”
“Yeah?”
“I can try but please don’t, don’t misunderstand or jump to conclusions because, it’s really not…it’s not like that.”
“I have no conclusions what so ever if that makes you more comfortable. Honestly I’m puzzled, but I’ll believe whatever you say don’t worry, you have no reasons to be defensive.”
“Okay well, starting from the time at the beach; that’s, uh, something I can’t really understand myself, I just felt mad all of the sudden, mad at you for not joining me, mad at myself for getting you into that whole episode, mad about the lack of discipline I have over myself and  it all just shouted at me from everywhere and I don’t know why but I felt like if I dive in it’s all going to stop and I can just put my mind to rest for a little while. And it did help - and I just. I didn’t want to go up, enjoying the serenity I had no idea, I didn’t feel that time is passing and that…yeah.” Taehyung fumbles with his fingers while he speaks but once he’s done he searches for acceptance in Jeongguk’s expression.
“I can’t believe that it actually sounds reasonable.” Jeongguk snorts, finding his own self ridiculous.
“Does it?”
“To some degree.”
“To some degree it only really is, yeah.”

Then they go silent for a while, both lost in their own thoughts, but this time Taehyung breaks it.
“I’m trying to think of something to say about yesterday but I really don’t know what.”
“How about clearing your intentions up?”
“Yeah…I didn’t really have any. I just sometimes do that, mix some medicine with light alcohol, it used to work but...I ran out of everything else and just grabbed those tranquilizers and, it backfired and it-“
“Backfired? Taehyung that wasn’t an accidental outcome, it’s the only rational one.”
“Jeongguk-“
“No, how about you listen to me now, would you do that?”
“Okay…” Taehyung lowers his head as if anticipating a lecture from an angry parent.
“We really don’t need to discuss this nor do I want to role play your shrink and ask you stuff like – do you imagine your funeral when you close your eyes or whatever ridiculous thing you get on those psycho tests. I really don’t want to think that any of these mishaps have anything to do with you wanting to end it, but you don’t have to explain it, you just need to say it.”
“But I’m saying it.”
“It’s not good enough. I know, you told me, you don’t do promises. But make an exception for me, I’ve made plenty for you.”
“Okay, but-”
“No ‘okay but’, no intro, no outro. Just tell me.”
Taehyung sighs.
“I promise. I promise you that everything stupid that I’ve been doing only comes from uncalculated, intoxicated thinking and lack of consideration and care. It doesn’t come from anything lethal. I promise.”
Taehyung finds Jeongguk’s hand as he says it, gripping on it as if afraid that Jeongguk is about to walk away if he doesn’t hold him down.
“Okay. That’s it. We never have to mention it again.”
“Thank you.” Taehyung mumbles.
“We have to talk about something else though.”
“What is that.”
“Yeah, ‘what is that’. That’s what I was going to ask about the relationship between you and me.”
“Well-“
“I don’t need you to like, label it or whatever. Just tell me if it’s ongoing, if it’s an on and off thing, if it’s decomposing. Everything’s fine but I need to know.”
“Jeongguk, you know, that’s like…I can’t decide on that.”
“Well, I’m afraid that you’ll have to, or we-“
“No, I mean, shouldn’t we figure that out together?”
“Yeah, well, I’m not sure if you have any memory of it but you were the one deciding on it so far.”
“I…yeah. I’m sorry.”
“Don’t apologize, I appreciate that you finally counted me in.” Jeongguk chuckles;
“I think, we’re really not that different, you know. It’s just that I’m fucking up more often.” Taehyung pulls Jeongguk’s hand in his lap, as they’re sitting vis-à-vis, playing with it as he continues:
“I remember, one of these days I was thinking about it, we could be as similar as two drops of water really, but mine just sallied over some nasty things, picking them on its way. It’s like it rolled down a window shield of some dirty old truck while yours maybe picked up some salt on the way, if even.”
Jeongguk laughs, raising his eyebrows in wonderment.
“You know for an alcoholic, a drug addict, a smoker and a thief with terrible family problems and deadly adrenaline dependence – you’ve got quite an imagination.”
“Hey, I can’t imagine that being a compliment.”
“Oh you can’t? I thought your fantasies have no end.”
Taehyung only exhales in defeat, biting his tongue on the side.
“You know,” Jeongguk starts, “I really wonder about something.”
“What is that?”
“Where exactly did I fuck up with this whole thing, I, I know that if you fist around something it’s only going to slip from your hold, so I tried to keep it all in my two opened palms, and yet, it jumped out of my reach, all of it,”
“I don’t think that you fucked up anywhere, Jeongguk, and frankly, I don’t think I did either. Nothing is fucked up, really.”
“Except, like, both of us.” Jeongguk laughs.
“Yeah, well.” Taehyung joins in with a chuckle, then adds: “You shouldn’t treat it-, treat me like that, though.”
“Like what?”
“Careful. I won’t slip away; if anything, I appreciate the tight hold.”
“I don’t want to keep you in place anymore Taehyung. I don’t want to hold you down so you’d be around.”
“I don’t really know, I don’t know if-“
“If what? If gravity is enough to keep you on the spot? If it isn’t then that’s fine. We just can’t be and that’s it.”
“Don’t say that. I mean, I don’t understand really. I don’t think I-“ Taehyung keeps stuttering over his words as if afraid to say something wrong, he lets go of Jeongguk’s hand and hides his own in his sleeve.
“Listen, I don’t want to desecrate but, like, we fucked on a metro station’s bathroom sink. I think we should be past the point of holding back.”
They both laugh a little at Jeongguk’s snarky remark, Taehyung breathing out before he starts again;
“I just don’t deserve it, that’s what I was going to say. There.”
“Deserve what, Taehyung?”
“All of it, you know, attention, burdening others - you, this type of salvation, care. You know not everyone deserves, uh…”
“What? Love?” Jeongguk says it like it’s no big deal and when Taehyung twitches his face up by impulse, he finds Jeongguk’s eyes waiting for his own, ready, calm. Jeongguk laughs a little at Taehyung’s surprise.
“Come on, don’t freak out. We might not be there but that’s what you fear, yeah?”
“No, I. I didn’t think that…Oh, god.”
“You’re like, clearly freaking out.”
“I wasn’t going to assume that, I wasn’t, sorry-”
“What are you sorry for? You’re the one who has a problem with it.”
“Okay. Okay let’s, let’s put it that way then. Not everyone deserves it, only those who give it.”
“Yeah. That might be true. But then you didn’t really deserve my texts at three am or being carried to my place - wet like a dog after a downpour. And here we are, yeah?”
“I don’t know what to say, really.”
“You have to say something, though. You really have to.”
“Yes I, I’m kind of confused you know. I thought what happened between us was just, just really good chemistry, passion, you know?”
“Wasn’t it?”
“Well, yes, but what’s with everything else. What do I do with all-night-long conversations and that time I buzzed you at like five am to get me Mc Donald’s, and when we rode that bus, remember, and we were like who’s going to do more pull-ups on the handrail and you pretended to drop out after like ten but I knew you could do a hundred-“
“Well, I’m not sure about a hundred but,”
“Okay but yeah, what do I do with that, and then with that day we ended up falling asleep at the train station and rain started in the middle of the night and we were like, what to do, and we-“
“Taehyung,” Jeongguk laughs full heartedly, entertained with Taehyung’s utter confusion,
“No, Jeongguk, what do I do with all that then? What does it qualify as? And one day, oh my god, I remember I kept thinking about how the color of your hair is exactly the same as the shade of raven’s wings, and I was going to tell you but, but I never told you that.”
“Taehyung!” Jeongguk interrupts, grabbing Taehyung by the shoulders, now giving into a genuine chuckle, the thought of Taehyung thinking of him warming him up entirely;
“What, what’s funny?”
“You can’t be serious?”
“I’m serious!” Taehyung frowns childishly, looking as young as ever.
“This shouldn’t be that complicated, you know. That’s just. Just friendship.”
Taehyung blinks blankly, then repeats “Just friendship?”
“Yeah. Breathe please.”
“But, it’s not just friendship. There’s that part you mentioned earlier, you know, with the sink and all.”
“You know, for someone who loves making points and feeling almighty you’re awfully immature about this topic. Especially when you were the one who told me to stop looking into things and just do what I want to do.”
“I said that, yes.”
“Yes.”
“Okay.” Taehyung now nods a few times, more for his own confirmation than anything else.
Jeongguk can’t keep his laughter down, and even when he leans in to kiss Taehyung nonchalantly it bursts out of him and he starts shaking through a chuckle until Taehyung responds with a bite on his lower lip, a merciless one.
“Stop laughing punk. Aren’t you like five years younger than me.”
“Two. You act twelve though so it doesn’t matter.”
They continue with teasing bites and smooches for a while until Taehyung announces that he needs a shower as he feels “as limp as a noodle that someone sucked in then spat out”, earning a grimace of disgust from Jeongguk.
“Your descriptive skills are honestly-”
“Hey! I might be an alcoholic, a smoker a-whatever but,”
“Don’t forget thief!”
“A thief, yes! But I’ve got a songwriter for a boyfriend. That’s gotta count for some creativity points.”
Taehyung throws the last part over his back, late to see how Jeongguk’s face changes into a state of outright bewilderment, late to see him following right into the bathroom.

_

“Whoa!” Taehyung laughs through a shout, “Where did you come from?”
Jeongguk closes the door behind him, spinning Taehyung around and pushing him against it.
“Some kind of a night-time fantasy, I hope.” Jeongguk breathes out before he finds Taehyung’s lips again, hungry, greedy for what he couldn’t have in way too long.
“Uh-huh,” Taehyung confirms as Jeongguk pins his wrists against the doorframe, tongue dancing over the curvature of his jaw, nowhere near sheepishly.
“Fuck, god, I’ve, I missed this,” Taehyung groans, squirming and arching his back as Jeongguk kisses down his neck and then back up, nibbling on his earlobe in the exact same way he remembers Taehyung liking it; it’s so familiar that when Taehyung throws his head back it feels like no time has ever even passed.
Jeongguk uses the chance to works his way to the little hollow at the base of Taehyung’s throat, dipping his tongue in, earning a whimper right away. He repeats it again and a few more times until Taehyung’s practically breathing out moans after every inhaled breath.
And Jeongguk’s stomach knots the tightest when Taehyung speaks in this way, wrecked, rattled, interrupted. His tone drops to unimaginable lows, resembling a growl more than anything else, even thinking about it can fill Jeongguk up fast, too fast.
Intending to hurry the prelude for the both of them, he lets go of Taehyung’s wrists, one hand sneaking its way to his inner tie, which gets the other boy to actually twitch, almost jump under his touch.
“Damn, it must have been a while,” Jeongguk laughs in between kisses.
“T-told you, it didn’t work out.” Taehyung reminds him, and Jeongguk pulls away for a second.
“Wait, you mean like,”
“Yeah. No one at all.”
“Like, all this time?”
“Yeah.” Taehyung smiles a bit timidly and it’s so painfully alluring, Jeongguk wonders if he ever saw something as seductive.
He’s not sure why, but the thought of no one having Taehyung after him makes him determined to drag it out as much as he can, get Taehyung  going to the point of factual madness before he sends him over the line. And it seems to be working out pretty well, Taehyung has always been sensitive to everything, but today it seems exceptional. The part where they lose all the clothes other than their underwear isn’t really notable when Jeongguk effortlessly moves Taehyung away from the door right to the mirror, getting a better idea once they stumble over the room;
He turns Taehyung away from himself, causing him to meet his own reflection. But it’s a knife with two blades because Jeongguk is just as aroused from the sight before him;
Taehyung bending a little over the sink to rest his hand on the cheval glass, staring right back at Jeongguk through the mirror, smiling sloppily and acting absolutely drugged on the rush.
Jeongguk can’t take too much of it, moving his eyes away and kissing Taehyung’s back as distraction, hands sliding down Taehyung’s ribs at what both of them shiver. It takes Jeongguk a sly route of practiced fingertips down Taehyung’s stomach and another look at the reflection before them and he’s absolutely shattered;
the image of Taehyung desperately trying to stay composed, eyes shut and lips falling slightly apart gets him in a haze.  
But Jeongguk doesn’t want to touch Taehyung where he needs it most, careful to refrain from any friction for his own arousal too. This could end way too quickly and he really doesn’t want a rushed finish.
Instead Jeongguk presses at the dimples at Taehyung’s back, kissing his shoulder all the while, focusing on every echoed exhale of his lover’s.
Not long after his hands travel lower, pulling Taehyung’s boxers down, thumbs pressing into the flesh of the curves;
And before Taehyung knows it, one of Jeongguk’s hands is gently pushed between.

Jeongguk rests his chin on Taehyung’s shoulder, letting his own breath tickle Taehyung’s ear, sometimes ghosting over the other boy’s neck with his lips or slightly biting into it, but Taehyung is quick to turn his head just enough so their lips are barely touching and they’re breathing each other’s air - which makes them both lightly dizzy.
Jeongguk doesn’t want to skip on anything today, mentions of rushed, pain-pleasure-mixed thrill being left out for another occasion. And as soon as his fingers brush over Taehyung’s rim again, Taehyung realizes the intention.
“You know that I, I can take it,” He howls.
“No, shh, not today.”
“Right behind you then.”
And Jeongguk shuffles for the bottle, mind absolutely dimmed out, but he finds it soon enough;
Wrapping one arm around Taehyung’s lower abdomen he proceeds to continue what he started off, having Taehyung startling at the cold. Jeongguk doesn’t speed through it, he only presses his fingers a little, barely moving them up and down, only really doing it in a soothing way, although Taehyung wouldn’t agree;
“Lord, you’re, you’re going to drive me insane,” he growls, hands sliding down the glass until he desperately moves them back up.
“That’d be great,” Jeongguk admits, forcing Taehyung’s chin back up so he’d look at the mirror again.
Lightning bolts shoot up Taehyung’s spine when Jeongguk finally starts stretching him, gentle flares of both ache and delight waving down on him. And his first reflex is to shut his eyes tight, but only for Jeongguk - he keeps them open, gasping at his own reflection.
When the younger boy adds another digit, Taehyung arches his back a little, teeth clenching at the discomfort; Jeongguk reminds himself of what Taehyung told him and goes even slower on his own command.
A broken little “Jeon-gguk” comes out of Taehyung’s mouth and it’s possibly Jeongguk’s most favorite sound.
“Tell me?”
“I’m, I’m going to kill you if, if you don’t speed this up.” He barely breathes the whole sentence out.
“Can’t wait,” Jeongguk chuckles, his own erection bothering him to the point of insanity, but he hides it well enough. And soon, soon enough, Jeongguk finds the preparation to be sufficient, turning Taehyung over for a deep kiss, feeling him melt in his arms. He doesn’t ease out on the tease though, reaching back down to rub at Taehyung’s perineum, something he hasn’t really tried before, and something that gets the older boy mewling and purring incomprehensible mumbles. The swell of Taehyung’s erection takes Jeongguk by surprise but he tries to ignore it, pulling Taehyung’s hips away when he instinctively arches them up for some grazing.
“Oh, come o-on,” Taehyung whines, protesting at Jeongguk’s dodging, only grinding down on the black haired boy’s hand, the only touch he’s been granted.
And frankly, Jeongguk is done with all the foreplay, he’s done with it or he’ll be done himself.

He doesn’t notice when Taehyung’s fingers wrap around the hem of his underwear but now they’re both out of any undergarment and Taehyung almost literally jumps at Jeongguk, stuffing him into the shower cabin.
He also obediently turns around, hands resting on the sheer glass and much sooner than later, Jeongguk is fully surrounded by Taehyung’s familiar warmth; slowly, agonizingly he presses himself in.
And Taehyung does good, he does perfect, it starts with a choked little yell, then his hands fisting up against the surface, until he finally strews a long groan out.
“S’alright?” Jeongguk asks carefully, aware of the mentioned wait and possible disquiet.
“Oh, God,” Taehyung grunts when the other boy finds him rhythm, plunging in deeper every time, “Yes, Jeongguk, fuck, you have no idea.”
But he has an idea, a faint one at least, because pleasure is shooting up his stomach in electrifying ways and Taehyung’s whimpering and rasped moaning isn’t really setting Jeongguk back (and neither is the way his lover arches his back to help him drive in farther, nudging his hips back to meet him).
Jeongguk’s thrusts, each going in farther than the preceding one, finally angle up in the right way and when Taehyung feels it – he lets it be known.
“Oh fuck, oh, Jesus, fuck yes, there,” he abuses the lord’s name in vain, curving his back more whenever Jeongguk goes back in, muscles clenching around Jeongguk's whole length.
And he can see that Taehyung is summoning all the self-control he has to build up pleasure, not touch himself until it’s unbearable; but Jeongguk wants Taehyung’s erection in his own hold, so much that it’s almost an urgency, one he cannot refrain from.
Sudden double pleasure settling in: Taehyung can only cry it out, not knowing whether to grind down on Jeongguk or fuck into his hand, or simply just endure the overwhelming sensation, but it’s so much.
“I – lord, uh fuck, that’s-“ he desperately tries to somehow get the satisfaction out, there’s too much of it and any second now it’s going to ruin him.
“What, Taehyung?”
“Oh, Jesus, fuck, please,” Taehyung begs for nothing in particular, he’s just needy and too intoxicated to make proper sense, but Jeongguk loves it, the sound of his hoarse muttering, way too irresistible to not seek it any chance he gets. That’s why he pulls out completely, only leaving the tip in, the hand wrapped around Taehyung’s shaft - only limply left there.
“Wh-what are you doing, Jeonguuk, no,” Taehyung panics, pounding at the glass before him.
“You said please, please what?”
“Oh, god, Jeongguk don’t stop now, not now,” he tries to thrust his hips back, but it’s helpless, the torture engulfs him.
“Mm,” Jeongguk nuzzles at the nape of Taehyung’s neck lazily “Not now?”
“Please, Jeongguk, fuck, don’t stop now, please,”
“That’s better.” Jeongguk approves, slowly filling Taehyung back up, and now this time it's so difficult to hold back, hold himself together until he gets Taehyung there, keeping the pace as slow as possible to dodge the lethal peak; that is - until Taehyung asks for the opposite.
Oh baby, there, there it is, oh f-fuck,”
“Are you-“
Ah, shit, go harder Jeongguk, fuck, yes it’s-“
And Jeongguk doesn’t know if he could possibly go any harder, but he gives it his all. In all the mess he focuses on stealing open-mouthed kisses, only really using it as a cover up for wanting to hear Taehyung as closely and as loudly as possible.
“Mm, God, Jeongguk, Jeongguk,” Taehyung suddenly cries out, repeating the other boys name time after time, and Jeongguk knows it’s just a pre-notice;
“I know,” Jeongguk exhales, pumping faster at Taehyung’s cock, kissing him affectionately wherever he reaches.
Taehyung’s skin, one of Jeongguk’s favorite traits of the other boy’s - a lovely beige color with a cool, jewel undertone - causes Jeongguk to leave pecks all over his back, and it’s so sloppy, but so sweet.
“-I’m, oh my God, Oh fuck, yes, Jeongguk, Christ!“ Taehyung practically screams his high out, his world stuttering on its axes, and Jeongguk finds it in himself to only let go at this very moment, groaning in satisfaction.

Taehyung doesn’t stop purring whilst Jeongguk rides his own trails of fire, everything around them cutting to white noise; Both of them end up being a chaos of gasps and air-deprived lungs, but it doesn’t stop them from finding each other’s lips right away, catching the much-needed oxygen in between butterfly smooches.
Taehyung’s legs are trembling a little; hence Jeongguk keeps his hips in place.
Without a word Jeongguk fumbles to turn the water on, continuing the greeting of Taehyung’s lips with his own, the warm stream getting them back to their senses.

“Was it always this good?” Taehyung asks when they pull away, hands finding their way into Jeongguk’s soaking wet hair, pulling it away from his face.
“It would be if you called me your boyfriend sooner.” Jeongguk answers gingerly, leaving a teasing peck on the tip of Taehyung’s nose. And Jeongguk’s boyfriend now stays in awe for a while, taking time to realize what Jeongguk’s talking about before a wide smile drapes over his face.
“God damn it, I should of have!”
-

Jeongguk knows that at the age that they’re at, they’re just exploding hormones and lack of self-control, it’s true; but this nirvana isn’t just it.
A high so good can only come from the intensity of what they feel towards each other, there’s no other option and Jeongguk loves every part of it because he can finally believe it.

-

 Now that they’re not fighting, drinking their asses off or saving each other’s lives, Jeongguk realizes that Taehyung is way more foolish than he already knew. It’s beyond risky ideas and irrational horror film phobias; he’s just childish in many, many ways.
He tells Jeongguk about countless number of things that night, some serious ones, some not so much. (Although Taehyung finds macaroni art quite meaningful!)
But what Jeongguk has on his mind all the while, Taehyung doesn’t even mention. Jeongguk has to.
“I know I wasted my promise-veto but would you please, please, please, go to the studio with me tomorrow?”
“Jeongguk…”
“What! What is your reason, I really want to understand?”
“I told you my reason, I didn’t lie about that. I just don’t see myself doing commercial music.”
“Why would it be commercial?”
“I know a few things about the label’s artists, I really don’t care for such a reach.”
“Taehyung…”
“Nah, bedazzled jackets and lyrics about sunrises and twinkly stars, count me out.”
“You’re forgetting something though!”
“Yeah? What’s that?”
“Me! I work there. I write the lyrics now. I have my own freedom just like you would. Trust me, Taehyung, they love you.”
“Ah…” Taehyung whines but he evidently contemplates.
“See! There’s no reason not to go for a talk at least.”
“Okay… Okay, I’ll go for you.”

That’s where all the serious talking stops for the night, the only bigotry left around their self-made competition in who’s going to kiss the other one more until they fall asleep. (Taehyung wins)

-

On their way to the studio next morning Taehyung continues talking about himself. He tells Jeongguk about his dad, how his parents divorced when he was just a kid and now his place, his ‘allowance’, his every income aside from the occasional good will of Ms. Park, is just his dad’s guilt-pay off. (Which he appreciates very much.)
He tells him about his siblings too, about how he sees them almost every weekend, taking them to all the fun places around, promising to bring Jeongguk with next week; It slips off of his tongue that he had already mentioned Jeongguk to his little sister when she asked if he’s ever going to introduce her to a handsome friend ‘that isn’t like two and a half feet tall’ (Ouch for Jimin!)
Taehyung also retells the story of meeting Jimin when he was barely five years old, choosing him for his football team at gym class, even though everyone knew that Jimin was beyond terrible at it. (Taehyung doesn’t miss on the opportunity to brag about being good at every sport, though ‘while Jimin couldn’t hold a ball in place even if it had Pamela Anderson’s boobs drawn on it’. Jeongguk isn’t sure that he understands Taehyung’s comparisons at times.)

-


The ‘talk’ with Yoongi only consists of a greeting and a short and sharp ‘sing this for me.’, the rest of the meeting only revolving around Taehyung, well, singing.
Behind the recording booth’s glass, Jeongguk lets himself surrender to the colorful span that Taehyung’s voice is – remembering how he first felt listening to it in great detail.
 “Why are you even testing him?” Jeongguk asks Yoongi, seated next to him.
“What do you mean why, it’s the procedure?”
“Yeah, hyung, but we’ve both heard him before. “
“Hey! Preference is preference but there still needs to be evaluation.”
“Hyung your eyes are literally glistening, you’re going to take him in.”
“Yeah, so what? For this poignancy of yours he’s even gonna have a bigger paycheck than you, smart ass.”
“Oh, hey!” Jeongguk protests while Yoongi motions for Taehyung to get back in, laughing proudly at his own little revenge.



And like that, things weirdly fall into place.
It’s not like Jeongguk or Taehyung really experience enlightenment, a catharsis of any sort, they just take it easy from here on out. They still don’t really resist getting drunk every other night or robbing a vending machine or two when they spend all the money in a game room. In that sense, nothing really changes.
They hang out with Jimin, they hang out with Hoseok, sometimes all four, or five if Yoongi joins in;
but friends around or no friends around, what changes is the trust they develop for each other, and trust they put in their own selves.
Jeongguk entrusts the responsibility of keeping an eye on Taehyung’s recklessness to himself and Taehyung is crazy enough to believe that he can do this without fear.

They learn to work together too, Taehyung teaches Jeongguk about the beauty of the moment and lectures him on how to catch it in his lyrics:
“Saying that the grass is green isn’t going to make anyone believe it. You need to show that you know it well, tell me how it smells and what it feels like on your shoes, you know. How quickly does the morning dew slide down it and how fresh does it seem to your amateur eye.
When you tell me that much, then I’ll believe that you’ve seen it, and that the color of it, indeed, is green.”
And sometimes Jeongguk thinks that Taehyung should be the lyricist, not him, at what Taehyung only ever shrugs: “I’d rather make you rewrite things for me a hundred times.” (Jeongguk snorts, but hearing Taehyung re-sing it for a hundred times is really only a reward.)

The dynamics of their relationship are rather unexplainable, one second a leader the other a follower – Taehyung switches roles in an untraceable pace and Jeongguk can play both.
It makes sense too, because there are things that Taehyung knows a lot about and Jeongguk just wants to absorb his mind processing whenever they tackle the mentioned topics, but there are also things he’s completely clueless on and Jeongguk never minds overtaking. What’s important is that it works.

When they do stupid things (and, oh boy! do they do them) it’s easier because they fuck up together. Whether they cause a minor fire at Jeongguk’s place or break a political party’s promotional banner in the middle of the main city street, they run away from it as a duo.

Jeongguk would lie though, if he said that he didn’t worry at times. Whenever they wouldn’t spend a night together, to be precise. He’d worry about all things possible, about Taehyung doing something stupid, about Taehyung doing something stupid to himself, about Taehyung growing tired of the tandem.
But luckily, Taehyung was sensible of the fact, never missing out on sending Jeongguk a goodnight text (way over accessorized with kissy-face emojis).
It meant a lot.

-

“Do you believe in God?” Taehyung asks Jeongguk casually, one of these days, as they’re sitting on the ground of some unused garage, sipping on cans of dark beer, Taehyung’s favorite.
“I do, I think. Not in the biblical sense though. Just a force that keeps us on the right track, it could be called God. Or anything else.”
“Hmm,” Taehyung hums, getting lost in thought as he usually would.
“Do you?” Jeongguk asks.
“I do, in some way. But there can’t be just one, that’s impossible.”
“How come?”
“Didn’t you just say it, though. A force that keeps you well.”
“Yeah?”
“Who else than you, then? Who else than me? We’re all our own Gods, I believe.”

Jeongguk thinks about it for a long time.

-

On another occasion, Jeongguk ends up being the one with all the questions, one of them being curiosity about the worst and the best moment of Taehyung’s life;
“You know, you’d think I’d have something to say, but I don’t really know what the worst one could be. It was all pretty bearable.” Taehyung laughs.
“That’s impressive.” Jeongguk admits, keeping up with Taehyung’s pace as they walk around the town in the early dawn, the bright orange patches of the fired-up sky standing out against the grey clouds, all of it resembling Taehyung way too much.
“Is it really? I think I’m just indecisive.”
“Depends on the perception.” Jeongguk shrugs, kicking a small rock with every step, until Taehyung beats him to it, hammering it into the manhole in the road, grinning apologetically, Jeongguk's favorite rebellious smile.
“What about the best one then?”
“Best moment of my life?” Taehyung sings the question, spinning around his own axis once.
“Yeah.”
“You know, you should have asked me last night so I could think it through!”
“No, but that’s the trick. It’s sudden.” Jeongguk leisurely comments, but it has Taehyung freezing in place,
“Sudden, okay.” Taehyung repeats, earning a curious over-the-shoulder look from Jeongguk.
“Jeongguk,”
“Yeah?”
“I love you.”
“You-, what?” Jeongguk completely suspends any movement.
“How’s that for sudden? I love you, and this is the best moment of my life.” Taehyung claims nervously, stepping up to give Jeongguk a hasty brush on the lips.
“Oh my god.” Is all Jeongguk says for a while, staring back at his boyfriend’s gleaming eyes.
“I-, fuck, I love you too.” He stutters, pulling Taehyung in swiftly, kissing him with all kinds of overthrown emotions. (Palpable happiness overshadowing the rest.)

“Fuck, thank god!” Taehyung laughs as they pull away a little, foreheads still touching.
“Now,” He starts vibrantly, taking Jeongguk by his hand, intertwining their fingers like he always does,

But before he finishes his thought, a glint of white splashes in front of both of their eyes, sudden and completely disorienting;
Love sure is deafening as much as it is blinding, shielding you in most terrible ways;

They never hear the car horn raging, they never acknowledge the tires struggling to stop in time or the scream of the panicked driver. They're too in love and it doesn't seem real until it's over. And it's over way too soon.

The last thing engraved in both of their memories is the tight hold of reassurance on Jeongguk’s wrist, kept loosely around his hand until there’s nothing to hold onto, and the last words that ever weakly escaped Taehyung’s trembling lips, finishing what he wanted to say, or else it wouldn’t be Taehyung in all of his grit:

“Jeongguk, let’s make a mess.”
 
-
-
-

‘’And youth, you know, is just like that. I want someone to just. To just take a hammer. Well, metaphorically. And break all of my ribs, all at once. And then when I crack, just crack like that, they can stab me with anything, words, knives, anything, inside out. It’s like, like a need, something essential, it makes my innards twinge and it’s perfect like that. Because, you never know Jeongguk. You never know where the end is. And all that you want to have and see and be, you have to do it now. In just one night.”

“You can’t feed your hunger any other way.”