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You take my breath away

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Kim Seokjin is a diligent employee, always finishes his work on time without fail. He’s currently holding a regular spot as a soul reaper in afterlife, together with Min Yoongi and Kim Namjoon as his supervisor. What they basically do is collect dead souls and put them where they belong. Heaven, hell, or purgatory. It’s their job.

Kim Seokjin is a soul reaper who prefers to finish his job as fast as possible. He encounters different souls who begs him to give them more time, maybe to say goodbye to their loved ones or to finish unfinished businesses but he kindly refuses them, saying he’s just doing his job.

He likes to finish his work on time and he never gets himself into trouble, well, until a file for a person with the name Kim Taehyung was dropped on his desk by Namjoon two years ago.

It was two years ago when he first held the document for a certain Kim Taehyung that contains his information, time of death, date of death, and the cause of death.

It’s been two years since he was assigned to take Taehyung’s soul and for those two years, the boy manages to cheat him.

“Seriously? You’re not done with him yet?” Yoongi asks him one morning after they went out together to finish their task for the week.

Seokjin pulls out a stamp and checks the document on his hand and back to a girl on a hospital bed. He shrugs as Yoongi hovers his hand over the girl’s mouth to take the soul and Seokjin stamps the document ‘claimed: to process’.

“He’s literally cheating me. He’s cheating death.”

“Two years.”

“Yes, two years.”

“And I could tell Namjoon isn’t exactly happy with it.”

“Oh you wouldn’t want to hear him talk about that.

 “What’s the kid doing anyway?”

“I don’t know what he does to avoid death. His document says that he’s supposed to die because of an illness, it wasn’t specified what illness so I have no idea how to do it.”

Yoongi hums, “That sounds sketchy, cause of death are supposed to be specific. Like that one guy who has this ‘gets shot by a toy gun and dies due to shock’.”

Seokjin nods his head in agreement and closes the folder to signal that it’s the end of their shift for the day.

Seokjin has been bothered by this for two years already. He followed Taehyung on the date of his death but nothing happened. He talked to Namjoon about it and said it must be a typographical error so Seokjin went to the head office to check on it. It wasn’t a typographical error.

“Hoseok I’m not too sure about this case anymore. I’m tired of following him around, he does get sick a lot but it’s only fever and headache then he’s okay the following day.” He tells Hoseok, the person in charge of assigning souls to the soul reapers.

“Can you watch him a bit longer, hyung?” Hoseok’s tone sounds close to begging. Probably in the thin line of begging and desperation.

“How much longer do I need to watch him?”

“Well, he’s a special case. I’m not too sure about that. I have an idea though, but we need Namjoon’s approval on this.”

Seokjin could hear himself groaning, “That doesn’t sound good coming from you.”

“Trust me, hyung.”

-x-

Seokjin finds himself in front of room 1295 in a university dormitory with a suitcase in his left hand. Apparently, Hoseok’s idea was to turn him into a human, pretend to be a college student, room with Taehyung (because his previous roommate, Park Jimin, moved to another university to Busan), and watch him for a month. Namjoon was eighty-five percent against the idea but agrees when Hoseok tells him that it’s just going to be for a month. If Taehyung doesn’t die then Seokjin will have to use violence (Seokjin hopes he wouldn’t do it, how desperate can they get?).

The thing is, Seokjin is way too familiar with the younger boy now. Having to watch over him for two years, the soul reaper has been accustomed to his habits and routines. Like how he unconsciously sticks his tongue out when he’s concentrating on something, what time he takes a bath every day, what he eats for lunch, his weird ritual of dancing some kind of a weird dance (that Seokjin assumes is some kind of a mating dance) a night before major exams, and many more that anyone would find weird if they know that Seokjin knows them.

Before he can even force himself to knock, the door opens and Seokjin takes a step back.

“Oh.” Taehyung stares at him. He’s wearing those green pajamas. Definitely his favorite pair.

“Hi.” Seokjin waves his free hand.

“You must be Kim Seokjin?”

“Yes…that’s me.” Seokjin rubs the back of his neck, sending Taehyung an awkward smile.

“Cool. You’re hot.”

“Excuse me?”

“Come in.” The younger grins as he steps to the side to let the older in.

Seokjin steps in. He’s been in this room countless times already to watch Taehyung (without the latter knowing, of course. Humans can’t see them after all) but he pretends to look like it’s his first time stepping in the dorm. With mouth wide open and eyes full of curiosity. Seokjin is a convincing actor.

“This place is nice.”

“Thanks. I always have a hard time keeping this place clean, I hope you’re not a clean freak.”

I know. Seokjin thought but he nods his head anyway, as if that was a brand new information.

“Anyway…” Taehyung smiled, he took Seokjin’s suitcase, “This is all you got or do you have more outside?”

“No. That’s all I have.” Seokjin says and he silently wishes he brought a box with him or something more convincing because Taehyung is currently giving him that blank look and Seokjin hates that look, “For now. I mean, my brother would be bringing my other things here next week.” He adds. He smiles through the lie.

He needs to ask Namjoon later.

“Sure.” Taehyung leads him to Jimin’s room, “This will be your room now. Don’t worry I changed the bed sheet.”

“Thanks.” Seokjin says, sitting on the edge of the way too familiar room of a certain Park Jimin. He can recall watching the two have pillow fights here.

“And we also have a kitchen here, no one really uses it though. I heard you’re a culinary major so…”

Because neither of you and Jimin can cook. Seokjin thought.

Seokjin nods his head again and Taehyung leaves him there to fix his things. One month. Seokjin convinces himself. One month and you’ll be reunited by your alpaca plush toy.

-x-

Turns out, Taehyung is a boy who can’t last a day without cuddling anyone. Seokjin is aware of his cuddling habits but he didn’t know he would do it to anyone. Even to Seokjin that he just met three days ago.

“Hyung! You’re an angel from heaven.” He says as he attacks Seokjin with hugs, “The food the you make are the best! I can’t imagine my life without them now.” He fakes a sob.

Seokjin wants to push the younger away but he stays still anyway, he lets him do whatever he wants. It’s not like it would hurt, right? He’s just being a reasonable human being even though he isn’t exactly one.

“Eating nothing but fast food isn’t exactly healthy.” Seokjin rolls his eyes.

Was he concerned about Taehyung’s health? Really, now? He’s literally waiting for Taehyung to die so he could move on with his job but here he is, babysitting him and making sure he’s eating properly. Really nice.

“Ah, don’t worry about that! Jimin can fry eggs. We eat that a lot. He’s a sunny side up expert.”

“Jimin?” Park Jimin. Seokjin thought. Kim Taehyung’s childhood friend.

“Ah yeah, he was my roommate before.” Taehyung says, Seokjin notices that his voice dropped.

He probably misses his friend. Seokjin blinked. He bites his lower lip when he thinks about Jimin. How would he react once Taehyung dies?

He almost feels bad for the younger and was close to considering that he should just leave Taehyung be. Drop the file at the bottom of his cabinet and forget about it.

“You’re cold.” Taehyung says.

Seokjin panics, yes he is cold because he isn’t human. He doesn’t have a heartbeat either but it’s not like Taehyung will suspect anything. Really, what’s the point?

“I’ve been always like this. It’s inconvenient that’s why I don’t really do skinship that much.” 

“Too bad.” The younger lets him go, “You’re missing a lot.”

“Yeah. Too bad.” Seokjin turns his head away when Taehyung’s attention moves to his book in his bag. He says something about having to do an analysis report for tomorrow.

When Seokjin excuses himself for the night, he throws himself to the bed. He takes a deep breath. Calm down. You can do this. He tells himself. You’ll finish your job in a month and you can go back to normal. You don’t have to feel bad about him, Kim Seokjin. It’s your job.

And Seokjin falls asleep convincing himself. With the sound of Taehyung’s laptop from the other room playing a familiar song that Seokjin knows is from his favorite band.

-x-

Taehyung gets sick on the first week mark of the month. It was high fever and Seokjin doesn’t know what to do.

He doesn’t know how to deal with fevers since they don’t have it back where he came from.

So Seokjin searches the net and find out he needs to make soup or anything warm that is easy to swallow. He also finds out that he needs to put a damp towel on Taehyung’s forehead and give him medicines.

“You’re so cute, hyung.” Taehyung laughs weakly, “Getting worried like that. It’s okay I’m not going to die. I get sick a lot, I’m used to it.”

Seokjin grips on the hem of his sweater a bit too hard. That’s the point. You’re supposed to die from it. Seokjin thought. He feels frustrated and sad just by thinking about it.

Seokjin is a diligent worker. He does his job without fail but Kim Taehyung is a special case and for some reason (he’ll be damned), he doesn’t want the younger to die. So he stays in Taehyung’s room for the whole night to watch him. He doesn’t sleep until the morning, when Taehyung feels a lot better.

“Thanks.” He says.

Seokjin just nods his head, giving a small smile back.

He couldn’t say no to him.

He met up with Namjoon later that afternoon.

“You did what?!”

Seokjin rubs his temple, “I can’t help it, alright? He looked like he was in pain and I can’t just leave him!”

“Hyung, are you serious? You’re supposed to let…what…nature do its thing. Natural selection. He’ll die, he’s supposed to die. Hell, he was supposed to die two years ago! We sent you here to finish the job and all you did was to babysit him and make sure he’s eating properly? Seriously?”

Seokjin buries his face on his hands, he lets out a frustrated cry.

“Oh god. I’m sorry. I don’t know what I was doing.”

He hears Namjoon sigh, “It’s fine. You’ve done it already. Just make sure you finish the job, I know you can do it. Also, I think you’re getting attached to him. That’s the thing that we want to avoid at all cost so stay away from him.”

“Yeah.” Seokjin says, “I got it.”

He couldn’t stay away from him by the end of the day. He ends up cooking dinner for Taehyung with the recipes he found online for the healthiest but delicious food. Seokjin mentally curses himself, there’s something in Taehyung that pulls him like a metal to a magnet and he hates it. He’s not supposed to feel any emotions but here he is, cooking a healthy meal for him because he’s worried about his physical health for fuck’s sake. Kim Seokjin, get your grip together.

 All the frustrations and confusions was swept under the bed when Taehyung comes back home with a grin on his face because he can smell the delicious food.

Seokjin forgets all about the things that has been bothering him when Taehyung starts to eat the dinner with his grin permanently glued to his face and Seokjin finds himself smiling back. He couldn’t stop the emotions that’s flowing through his body so he lets it happen. For now.

When Taehyung walks back to his room to get his sleep, he stops and decides to head to Seokjin who is in his room. Taehyung peeks from the small crack in the door and says his good night before heading back to his own room.

And Seokjin almost forgot the reason why he’s even here in the first place.

-x-

On the second week, Seokjin meets a boy called Jeon Jungkook. Taehyung says it’s his cousin and Seokjin doesn’t know him.

The young boy sits on the couch with his phone, he asks for Taehyung’s WiFi password before the latter says that he needs to go out and meet a friend. Jungkook shrugs and says he’ll wait and Seokjin nods his head.

He watches the young boy sprawled on the couch, watching YouTube videos. Seokjin isn’t exactly a social butterfly and it looks like Jungkook isn’t one either so the air between them is covered in awkwardness. With Seokjin casually sniffing and coughing.

“I haven’t seen you before.” Jungkook says and puts down his phone.

“I just got here this month.”

He eyes the older male suspiciously, “No. I mean, I never saw you before here. In the campus. Are you a transfer student?”

Seokjin frowns, “Yes.”

“I see. Isn’t hyung a pain in the ass though?”

“A what?”

“A pain in the ass. He’s weird and he always gets sick.”

“He’s kind of…weird. And yes, he just got sick recently. Was he always like that? When he was young?”

“He wasn’t like that before.” He says as he picks up his phone from the coffee table to check his notifications. He scrolls down a bit more for a few seconds before he continues, “Did you know that he jumped off a bridge to a lake three years ago?”

“Really?”

“Yeah. We thought he drowned because he was gone for like, an hour and he wasn’t even breathing. Then after that he just starts getting randomly sick.”

Seokjin stares at Jungkook. He got Taehyung’s file two years ago and he’s aware that he’s always getting sick though there were no other reasons why and how it even started. The cause of death wasn’t specific too. The whole case is just weird and different. Normally, they will get some background information about the person in the file but Taehyung was different. There was nothing. Just his basic information.

The older male thinks about it. Maybe this is a huge misunderstanding in the head office and someone made an error about Taehyung. Everything just doesn’t make sense and the fact that Seokjin has been following the younger for two years in attempt to collect his soul doesn’t make sense. One cannot cheat death. It’s an unspoken law that humans and soul reapers has in between.

Taehyung couldn’t be cheating death. There’s no way it’s possible. He thinks he should inform Hoseok, he can definitely help. He needs to figure out what’s going on (though he tries so hard to convince himself that he’s doing this not because he cares for Taehyung).

When Taehyung returns that night, he tells Jungkook to go home much to the younger’s dismay.

“Auntie called me earlier and was asking me where you were. Did you even ask her permission that you’ll visit me?”

“She doesn’t need to know.”

Taehyung grins and ruffles Jungkook’s hair, “Want me to take you home or can you do it yourself?”

Jungkook slapped Taehyung’s hand away, “I can go home myself. Thank you very much.”

“Alright.” He follows the younger out of the door, “Take care. Tell auntie I miss her cookies.”

“Fine.” Jungkook rolls his eyes, he leans in to the older male to say something, “I don’t trust your roommate.”

The older male laughed, “You don’t trust anyone.”

“I’m serious.”

“Okay, sure. Just go home now.”

Seokjin stands there awkwardly, he can perfectly hear their conversation from where he is. He bites his lower lip as the guilt starts to build up in his stomach. Of course he couldn’t be trusted, he’s here to take Taehyung’s soul. He shouldn’t be getting attached to Taehyung in the first place. Goodness, Namjoon will be angry if he finds out.

Focus on your job, Seokjin. Focus. Forget feelings. Forget how cute Taehyung is when he smiles. Just take his soul and get over with it already.

“Sorry about him.” Taehyung says and Seokjin freezes, “He always say weird stuff like that. I guess it runs in the family.”

“Oh no. It’s totally okay, I’m not offended or anything. I know where he’s coming from.”

Taehyung grins and closes the door behind him, “Can I sleep with you tonight?”

Did Seokjin hear that right? He what?

“Pardon?”

“I said, can I sleep with you tonight?”

Saying that Seokjin is surprised is an understatement. A few moments ago, he was convincing himself to focus on his job and distance himself from Taehyung and now the latter is asking him to sleep with him?

“Why?” This isn’t helping at all.

“Because you’re always cold.” And as if to prove his point, he takes Seokjin’s hand, “See? Icy cold. You feel like death itself.” 

Seokjin swallows hard.

“So…” The younger continues, “I’ll sleep with you and share my body warmth! Cool, right?”

Seokjin can’t refuse. His cheeks feel warm and holy crap his cheeks feel warm. God, this boy is taking his breath away and he doesn’t like it.  

-x-

He feels frustrated, angry, annoyed, and betrayed. He walks to a coffee shop near the campus to grab himself a cup of cold coffee and meet Hoseok.

It was the third week of the month and he isn’t making any progress at all. If anything, the only progress he has been making is getting closer to Taehyung. It’s frustrating and he feels sexually frustrated at this point. Though he wouldn’t admit that out loud.

A cup of iced coffee in his hand, he sees Hoseok near the lake where people can feed ducks and since it’s a weekday, no one is really around. No one can see Hoseok other than Seokjin and it will look weird if people saw him talking alone.

“Hyung, how’s it going? Namjoon is getting impatient, you know?” He greets the older male with a smile.

“Hoseok, I want you to tell me everything that you know and I don’t care even if it’s something you’re not allowed to say.”

“Yeah?”

“Taehyung’s case is just, I don’t know…unusual, weird. There’s something wrong. You should know something, you assigned him to me and I’m sure you would have seen the lack of information in his file and will fix it before giving it to me. Right?”

Hoseok looks at him as if he was insane, and he probably is. He’s worried about someone that he shouldn’t even care about.

“Hoseok. Please, I can’t do anything to Taehyung if I’m confused.”

“Hyung, you never questioned anything when you do your job before.” He swallows thickly, “Number one rule in the handbook, never get attached to a human—“

“I know but fuck it. Tell me what’s going on.”

“I…Please, don’t tell Namjoon.”

Seokjin raises his eyebrow. So Hoseok knows something, “I promise.”

“Okay.” Hoseok scans the area, making sure no one is around to hear them, “I…may have forged Taehyung’s file.”

“You what?!” Seokjin could feel his non-existent blood boiling right at this moment.

“Calm down! Listen to me for a bit, please?”

“Fine. Go.” Seokjin huffs.

“Okay so that was three years ago, before I worked for the head office. I was assigned to take a soul of a boy named Kim Taehyung.”

Seokjin frowns but he lets the younger continue.

Hoseok takes a deep breath, “His original file says he’s supposed to die from drowning. So I watched him jump from a bridge—“

“—near a lake. He was dead for an hour.” Seokjin continues and Hoseok stares at him, “His cousin told me. Continue.”  

“And well, I know you know this but he really has his way to charm people. So you know, maybe I didn’t want him to die and stuff?”

“Are you fucking serious—“

“I’m not done yet! Alright, so I forged his document, replaced the date to the following year because hey I’m nice I could give him another year and he’s a really nice kid. Loves his mother, cares for his siblings, protects his family because he doesn’t have his father around, he doesn’t deserve to die. I also made sure the cause of death isn’t specific so fate will be confused up there randomly making him sick without actually killing him because his actual cause of death is unknown. He’s a nice kid.” Hoseok starts to sob at this point.

Oh my god. Seokjin mentally slapped himself. Namjoon will kill both of them. Not only he broke a rule of getting attached to a human, Hoseok also made an offense that could get him punished. No wonder why he was sent to work at the head office instead of doing an actual field work, he’s too soft. 

“I’m sorry, hyung. I also gave the case to you because you do your job really well. I didn’t expect you’ll end up falling for him.”

“I’m not—“

“Shhhh. It’s okay, hyung. Your cheeks are red by the way.”

Seokjin shakes his head, “We need to fix this, edit his document again. Set a date by the last day of the month.”

Hoseok looks like he wants to say no.

-x-

Seokjin knows when Taehyung is tired, so when he sees the younger on the couch singing to himself, he approaches him.

“Are you alright?” He asks.

Taehyung’s eyes look tired like he hasn’t been sleeping properly and Seokjin feels his chest ache. He sits next to him and the boy plays with his phone on his hand.

“Taehyung?” Seokjin says. He can tell the Hoseok already changed the document for Taehyung, it’s the fourth week of the month and Taehyung is already showing signs of being weak. This is evident to people who will die soon, they usually stare at a distance, lost in their own world. Seokjin knows this. He has seen this almost every day and it never made him sad until now. Seeing Taehyung like this, he doesn’t deserve any of this at a young age.

Taehyung is a boy with a bright boxy grin and Seokjin always finds himself smiling back and it made him feel warm. He never felt anything like this before because they’re not supposed to feel anything like this, or else it will be a hindrance to their job. But Taehyung managed to break the walls the Seokjin has built upon himself.

“Hyung.” He says, his voice sounding husky, “There’s this lake that I always visited when I was young. Can we go there?”

And Seokjin couldn’t say no.

-x-

The air was cold against Seokjin’s skin but he can feel nothing but numbness as he watches Taehyung take two steps at a time, heading to a tall bridge.

The younger points at a spot where the bridge ends, “That part is the deepest. It’s really, really deep.”

Seokjin tries to look surprised. Tries, “How did you know?”

“I jumped there, before.”

He swallows thickly and pretends he doesn’t know it, he thinks if he’s doing a good job because he’s too sad and frustrated to even bother to pull off a convincing act. His voice cracked when he says his next words, “Why did you jump?”

“Because I stabbed my father to death. I wanted to clean myself.”

“I see.”

“Hyung?”

He stares at Taehyung and he feels something painful tugging his chest, “What is it?”

The younger takes his hand, “Cold. You’re really cold.” A pause, “Thank you for taking me here.”

“I can’t say no to you.”

He grins, “I wasn’t kidding when I called you hot when we first met. Though it turns out you were literally cold.

Seokjin finds himself laughing softly, “I know I look good.”

“Great.” His smile softens, “I love you.”

Seokjin’s breath hitched, “Taehyung…”

“It’s okay if you don’t”

“I love you too.”

“Great, let’s go on an official date tomorrow. Where do you wanna go?”

“Somewhere nice.”

“Yeah. Somewhere nice sounds good. Perfect. By the way, there’s an ice cream shop here. Can you get me a strawberry flavoured one? I’ll pay you back.”

Seokjin couldn’t say no.

“Alright, wait for me here.”

“Thanks. And when you get back, take me home, call Jungkook and tell him he can have my PS4.”

Seokjin nods and turns around to search for that shop. Out of anything that Taehyung could ask him, it has to be a strawberry ice cream.

Seokjin ignores the pain in his chest.

He saw the shop few minutes away from where he left Taehyung. He buys a strawberry ice cream cone.

Taehyung wasn’t there when he returned, though he saw a pair of shoes that belongs to the younger near the bridge. So he takes a seat next to it and finishes the melting ice cream. No, he can’t cry. Not now, he has a job to finish. He needs to move on after this, he can’t expect himself to carry this after hundred more years. He has a job to fulfil after all.

He calls Jungkook and tells him he can have Taehyung’s PS4. The younger was obviously confused and when he asked why, Seokjin couldn’t stop himself and cried. He cried for the first time in the years of his existence. In the hundreds of years that he has done his job, he cried for the first time. His chest hurts, his vision is blurry, and he can’t breathe.

He doesn’t like it.

But he couldn’t say no, especially to Taehyung so he cried more.

-x-

Kim Taehyung’s file has been marked as claimed and Namjoon let out a sigh of relief, “Finally after two years of chasing.”

Hoseok coughs beside Seokjin.

“Good job.” Namjoon says but he notices the look on Seokjin’s face, “I warned you about getting attached. There’s a reason why it’s in the handbook. I should ask the head office next time to emphasize that rule next time. Maybe make the font ten times bigger.”

“You don’t have to. It’s my own responsibility.” Seokjin says.

“Whatever. Cheer up, you can’t expect yourself to sulk for eternity right? You still have a job to do after all. You exist to take souls and that’s it.”

It sounds bitter. Existing just to take souls. He really didn’t mind it before but Taehyung made an impact to him and suddenly he doesn’t want to do his job anymore. He doesn’t like it anymore.

Namjoon continues when he notices that Seokjin isn’t going to answer anytime soon, “Well, you’ve been a really good employee. I could give you something as a reward.”

That catches Seokjin’s attention, he stares at Namjoon with curious eyes.

“Hoseok, call Yoongi-hyung. He’s waiting outside this room, tell him to bring him here.”

Hoseok looks confused but did what he was told.

Seokjin follows Hoseok with his gaze. Namjoon cleared his throat to get Seokjin’s attention again.

“He’ll be under your care, he’s a new trainee.”

Before Seokjin can process what Namjoon just said, Yoongi steps in the room with a familiar boy behind him.

Seokjin almost stops breathing.

Namjoon sighs, “Control yourself, he doesn’t remember anything.”

The boy’s gaze lands on Seokjin. He grins, “Kim Taehyung at your service! I’ll work really hard!”