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i'd rather be black and blue (than accept that you withdrew)

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KTH ;; Florida 2000

"Eomma! Eomma, look at my hand, it burns! Why is it being this way?" A five year old cried to his mother, rubbing his eyes and putting out his right hand.

His mother crouched down with a fond smile on her face. It had been two weeks after his fifth birthday. 'it is about time.' She thought to herself. His mother lightly blew on the wrist that was forming a light burn like scar.

"I know it hurts Taehyung-ah, but trust me, it’s only for a few seconds." Taehyung whimpered, but within five minutes, the pain reseeded.

"What is this?" Taehyung asked rubbing his eyes. His mother smiled warmly and wiped his tears.

"You see these words on my wrist Taehyung?" His mother asked putting forward her own right hand, for the young boy to see a single word in Hangul, inked in black, on her wrist. Taehyung nodded.

"It's a tattoo for Appa."

His mother laughed, "That’s right. It's a soul mate mark."

"What's that?" The young boy asked curiously.

"This mark Taehyung-ah, will lead you to your soul mate. When you finally meet them, the person who will forever be by your side, it will turn black, like a tattoo."

"When will I meet them?" Taehyung asked his mouth forming an ‘o’ shape.

"When destiny leads you to them." She replied, brushing his fringe out of his eyes. "I will tell you another thing, Taehyung-ah, pay attention to this okay?" Taehyung nodded eagerly, wanting to know more about this ‘soul mate’ that his mother talked about.

"When you turn into a big boy and you and your soul mate will be 18 years old," Taehyung's eyes widened because 18? That's a BIG age! "Your bond with each other will grow stronger. And this bond, wherever you both will be, it will let you to feel each other's pain. That way, you know that they are out there. So you have to promise eomma that you won't let yourself get hurt, because if you hurt yourself, your soul mate will be in pain too. You don't want that do you?"

Taehyung shook his head vigorously. "What if they hurt themselves?"

"Then you will feel their pain. Not as bad as them, but you will. Don't worry though; once you meet them, nothing can hurt you, when you'll meet them, nothing in the world can bring you both down, because that’s how great it feels when your heartstrings conncet. But till then, you need to take care of yourself. Because that way you'll be taking care and protecting them too. You'll do that won't you love?"

Taehyung nodded happily, the pain of the soul mate mark long forgotten.

"I will!"

"Promise?" His mother asked, bringing out her pinky. Taehyung linked their fingers and gave a bright smile.

"I promise!"

*

Ohio 2015

Taehyung's legs trembled as he first dipped his legs one at a time into the cold bath, something clutched tightly in his right hand. He did not bother taking off his boxers.

His body was littered in bruises. He looked down at himself. His sides now had purple-red fresh bruises made by all the kicks he received from his classmates who had jumped him while he was walking back from his part time job. He touched his lip, busted from the punch his father had thrown him.

He sat down in the bath. The door was shut and he knew there wouldn't be any disturbances. He could peacefully end this all. He held the blade between his thumb and index finger. He looked at his soul mate mark, yet to turn black. He felt tears run down his cheeks.

"I am sorry Eomma," he choked out. "I am so sorry, I couldn't protect them." He thought of how much his soul mate would have had to suffer because of him. But this would be the end. They wouldn't have to feel his pain anymore. They wouldn't have to be tortured with him even if the pain wasn't as much.

Taehyung pressed the sharp end of the blade onto his wrist, making sure to press hard enough for the vein to cut open, right above his other scars. He began to draw down the blade vertically down his forearm. He bit down on his hurt lower lip, trying not to let out any sound. He watched the blood ooze out of the slit he had made. It had missed his soul mate mark with mere inches. Taehyung clenched his eyes shut, not because it stung so badly as he had after all cut his vein open, but because he wanted it to be over, as soon as possible. After all, Taehyung was no stranger to pain.

He looked at his slightly bloody feet in the water. His classmates had torn the clothes off him, stripping him down to his boxers after beating him up in the cold winter, leaving him to walk home in that state. On the way, he had stepped on a slightly sharp rock that had hurt his foot.

Taehyung sunk lower into the bathtub till the water was up till his neck. He left his hand limply hanging from the edge of the tub as his head started feeling woozy. He glanced up to see the blood dripping down to the tiles.

All of a sudden, he felt a strong pressure on his hand. He sat up with a dizzy hand to see hand prints forming on his bloody hand, as if someone was clenching on his wrist. A fresh wave of tears welled in his eyes.

“I’m so sorry.” He whispered to himself, hoping that his soul mate would forgive him. It shouldn’t be a big deal, he had convinced himself, more than 40% of the people on earth never got to meet their soul mates. So, it shouldn’t be a big deal. That’s what he had said to himself, all the days when he considered taking such a drastic step. But today, he had had enough. He realized what a pathetic life he was living. He couldn’t find a reason anymore, to keep breathing.

His head felt way lighter than before and he could hear the water dripping from the tap. He felt his eyes getting heavier and soon enough, it was all dark.

-+-

JJK ;; Florida 2015, same night

Jeongguk could feel the dull ache all over his body. He had told his mother that he felt sick to the stomach and came home early from school. The aching had stopped after a while, but he could see the red bruises that were painted along his sides.

Once evening fell, Jeongguk had been rudely awoken by the same dull ache, but this time all over his body. His held tightly on to his stomach, and groaned.

At that very moment his mother had decided to come into the room.

“Jeongguk-ah, are you okay?”

She looked deeply concerned, but he did not want to worry his mother by telling her that his soul mate was probably in danger. He himself felt very afraid. But it seemed like his soul mate got beaten up a lot, because this was not the first time he had felt this kind of pain from the other.

“Yeah, I think the burrito I ate yesterday was bad.” Jeongguk said with a grimace.

His mother nodded and said, “At least come down and have some soup. Don’t go to bed with an empty stomach.”

With that she left the room, closing the door behind her. Jeongguk sat up on bed and stretched his arms above his head, trying to get rid of this pain. It wasn’t anything he couldn’t handle. After all, every afternoon after school ended he felt blows to his sides and stomach from his soul mate. And once in a while, he felt them at night. He was lucky that the bruises didn’t form anywhere where it was visible.

He narrowed it down to two things. Either his soul mate was some sort of a fighter or he was bullied. He hoped with all his heart for it to be the first one. But there was nothing than imagine the other’s situation since he had not met them yet. He promised himself that once he found his soul mate, he would protect them with all he had. If he met them.

Jeongguk gets off the bed and walks downstairs to the dining area. His parents were already eating, in a deep conversation about the upcoming elections.

“Thank you for the meal.” He said, before picking up the spoon and dipping it into the warm soup.

As Jeongguk was about to put his spoon into his mouth, he felt a stinging pain on his jaw. His spoon clattered down on the ground as it slipped from his hand.

He hissed, clutching the jaw. He had not received any sort blows of pain at night from his soul mate in the last two months since he turned eighteen.

“Are you okay son?” His father asked. “Oh, there’s blood on your lip!”

Jeongguk touched his lip to find it bleeding. For some strange reason he felt his heart racing faster. What was his soul mate doing?

“Ah, I think my soul mate might have gotten into some kind of a fight!” Jeongguk said casually, tutting.

“Oh no, I hope it is not too serious.” His mother said, her eyebrows furrowing. His parents had always been worried about him because while growing up he had not been the healthiest child. So he knew that he could not let his parents know about his soul mate’s possible condition.

“It’s okay, it doesn’t hurt that much.”

“Of course it would not.” His father chuckled. “But it would hurt quite a bit for your soul mate. Come to think of it, they may be male.”

Jeongguk had thought of this before. He was not trying to be sexist, but he just had an inkling that his soul mate would be a guy. He had always been more interested in boys than girls.

“I thought so too. I’ll go get another spoon.”

For the rest of the mealtime, Jeongguk did not feel any pain. He silently thanked God and hoped that his soul mate was not too injured.

He manages to eat a bowl of rice as well. He chewed slowly, with many muddled thoughts in his mind, unable to think clearly.

He stood up and began clearing the table, which was his alternative-day chore…to clear the plates after dinner and put the dishes into the dishwasher.

He scraped the food remains from the plates and loads the dishwasher. He started walking up the stairs to his room, but all of a sudden, he felt his heart race and felt his body going weak. He collapsed on his feet at the bottom of the stairs, holding on to the railing. He feels a sharp, stinging pain, unlike any before on his left hand. He felt himself panicking. He looked down on his hand to see a deep red cut forming on his forearm. He breathed deeply.

“No, no, no” He muttered. “Please, god, no.”

His mother heard the commotion and entered the hallway.

“What is it- Jeongguk! Oh my god, what happened?” She exclaimed, running to her son, who was staring down at his hand. When she went closer, she saw that he was staring at the blood dripping down from his left hand in a vertical cut.

“What-“ Her eyes widened as it hit her. His soul mate.

“Ma, ma what is this, make it stop!” Jeongguk said in a desperate voice looking up at her. It made her think back at the time when he was five and had got his soul mate mark for the first time.

Jeongguk clenched onto his forearm to make the blood stop, he couldn’t wrap his mind around it, what was happening?
His ears were ringing and his head felt lighter by the second.

“Why is he doing this?” He croaked out, before he felt his head hitting the soft carpet on the floor. He felt his mother’s warm yet panicked hands on his face and the last thing he heard before passing out is his mother calling out to his father.

*

When Jeongguk opened his eyes, he was on a hospital bed. His mother who had been sitting beside his bed immediately stands up, letting out a shriek of relief. She kissed his forehead and went out to let his father and the doctor know.

He looked down on his hand, which now had a long red mark down his forearm, he really wished this wasn’t what he was thinking it to be. He felt a strange deadweight in his stomach, he did not want to be negative but his mind kept on repeating the same thing over and over.

Did he really try to kill himself? Did he die?

Soon enough his thoughts were interrupted when the room was entered by his father and a tall man in the white doctor’s coat.

“Good evening Jeongguk, how are you feeling?”

“A little strange.” He mumbled, sitting up.

“That’s bound to be so. Do you remember what happened?” The doctor asked. He looked at his mother and father, both of them had wary looks on their faces which made him nervous.

“My soul mate…” He started. The doctor gave him a sad smile.

“What is it? Did he die? But I didn’t feel the tormenting pain that you are supposed to feel. He didn’t die, right?” Jeongguk let the desperation leak into his voice.

“We can’t tell for sure. Before you could feel any sort of pain other than that of the cut that appeared on your left hand, your body passed out from shock of the whole situation. There is a 75% chance that your soul mate might have passed away. It looks like suicide." The doctor replied.

“But there is still a 25% chance for him to be alive, right?” Jeongguk asked in a cracked voice, he felt tears wet his cheeks. He didn’t want to believe this.

Why was this happening to him?

“Cases like these are not rare, but the chances for the soul mate to be alive… they are very less. I am sorry.”

The doctor left the room with his father who went to pay the bills, after ruffling his hair, sadly.

Jeongguk sat still on the bed, tears rolled down his cheeks, unable to make a sound. His mother put a soothing hand on his shoulder.

“We can get through this, Jeongguk-ah.” She said, in a shaky voice. He turned towards his mother, whose eyes were glossy.

“He died, Ma.” He choked out, sobs finally erupting in his chest. “He died!” He wailed, as she took her miserable son into her arms.

“It’s fate, Jeongguk. Maybe it’s for the best.” She whispered sadly.

Jeongguk just hugged her, and let his sorrow overtake him.

From the day he got his soul mate mark, he had been looking forward to meet his other half, whether it would be romantic or platonic, he hadn’t cared, he just really wanted to meet them. But being told, that his soul mate had done what was not only selfish but which also left a void in Jeongguk’s chest, it made his heart break into a million pieces, which could never possibly be put together.

Chapter Text

KTH ;; Washington DC 2016

‘Hey darling.’ The all too familiar man in front of him said, the one he had wished to never see again. He had a smile on his face, which only meant bad news. His eyes glinting with something dark…

‘What are you doing here?’ Taehyung asked, panicked.

‘You thought you could run away from me?’ The man laughed. ‘Think again!’

‘Taehyung…’ A second voice of a male, called out in a broken voice. It seemed familiar; even though it was the first time he had heard it. ‘Taehyung, make it stop.’ The voice said, this time sounding as if they were in deep pain.

‘Oh, look at that.’ The man said with a laugh, which sounded anything but happy.

‘What are you doing?’ Taehyung shouted. He looked past the man’s shoulder. Only to see a guy, around his age lying on the floor, his left hand bleeding, his face was blurry but for some reason he could make out the tear streaks on his face.

‘Oh, look what you did Tae-tae. Look what you did to him.’ The man said.

‘Why?’ The guy asked, his voice full of sorrow. ‘Why, did you do this?’

Taehyung moved closer to him, his heart raced faster. ‘I’m sorry,’ He did not know what he was apologising for but he did anyway.

‘I am so sorry!’ He cried.

‘Nothing can be done now.’ The man said, taking Taehyung by surprise, by piercing something sharp, possibly a knife, behind his back.

Taehyung yelled out in pain, the guy in front of him echoed his cry of pain. Taehyung collapsed on the floor beside the guy.

‘I am so sorry…’ Taehyung mumbled as his eyes closed, and he saw darkness.

Taehyung shot up from the bed, covered in sweat. He had unshed tears in his eyes. Taehyung took a deep breath, trying to calm his palpitating heart.

“Just a dream,” he told himself. “It’s just a dream. He can’t get to you anymore.”

He looked at himself and realises that he had sweated through his shirt. He let out a deep sigh.

He got up from the bed and skipped into the shower before his aunt or cousin could catch him. He did not want them to worry. Once he was through with that, he changes into a long sleeved shirt with a t-shirt underneath and jeans. He takes his trolley bag with his things that hadn’t been already sent over.

“Taehyung-ah, you’re awake! Why did you carry that yourself, you should have called Yoongi.”

“It’s okay auntie, I am much more stronger than him.” Taehyung laughed.

“I am sitting right here.” Yoongi grumbled.

“I wish you didn’t have to leave Taehyung, you could just live with me.” His aunt said with a childish pout.

Taehyung laughed. “I don’t want to make you drive me around if I joined a university here just because I am too scared to get a license! Also Yoongi hyung will be there and he lives in the dorms too so it will fine.”

“I think the only relieving thing for me is knowing that Jiminnie is your roommate. What consolation is Yoongi.” His aunt teased.

Said Jiminnie, was Yoongi’s soul mate who Taehyung was yet to meet.

“Again, Eomma, I am sitting right here.” Yoongi was a third year student and after doing his first year course online and getting top marks, he enrolled into NYU with creative writing as his major. He had always gotten good marks throughout his school years –one of the reasons he got bullied- so getting in was not a problem.

“You better take care of your brother, okay?” His mother chided.

“I will, I have already told Jimin about him and he’s waiting to meet him.” Yoongi replied. He got up from where he was eating his cereal and walked to Taehyung and put a hand around his shoulder. “I only have one brother after all.”

“Don’t let your other cousins hear that.” Taehyung chuckled.

Yoongi’s mother laughed out loud.

“Yeah, yeah. I don’t even remember seeing any of them ever. Anyway, you all set?” Yoongi said.

“Yeah, let’s go.” Taehyung said, inhaling deeply.

“Alright then. It’s almost time, we should get to the train station soon.” Yoongi said looking at the clock in the kitchen. I’m going to wait outside he said, giving his mother a look. He carried the duffle bag and went outside, possibly to call for a cab.

“Alright then. You take care okay? Taehyung-ah, if you have any trouble, make sure to let me know. Whatever it is, you can share your problems with me, you need to know that okay?” His aunt said, placing her hands on his shoulders.

“Yes auntie, I know.” Taehyung replied with a smile.

“I know, I was not there for you for the longest time,” She started with glossy eyes. “but I am here now, you’re just like my son Taehyung-ah, okay? I love you a lot. I am sure your mother curses me from above for not taking for of an effort to see how you were doing.”

She wiped her eyes, not wanting her tears to shed.

Taehyung smiled sadly. “It’s okay, auntie. I love you too. Nothing was your fault. After all, every time you called I told you I was well.”

“Things will be better now, okay? Call me if you need anything at all.” His aunt said, brushing his fringe aside.

“Alright auntie, you take care of yourself too.” Taehyung said, lifting his trolley bag, his other things had already been sent over to the dorms.
They both went out of the door where Yoongi was leaning against the cab.

“Yah, Min Yoongi,” His aunt called out not bothering to say her son’s name the Westernised way “you better not fall sick again. And instead of sleeping all day when you have holidays, go out with your poor soul mate.” She said in Korean.
“Damn you Jimin Park.” Yoongi muttered under his breathe, making Taehyung laugh. “Eomma, please, you talk to him way more than you talk to me.”

“Only because you are too busy to call me. I need someone to tell me what has been going on with your life. And it’s not as if I am bothering him by calling! He calls me every other day by himself. You should learn something from him.” His mother said, crossing her hands across her chest.

“Okay, okay. You win.” Yoongi sighed. “You take care of yourself Eomma, tell Appa not to work too hard. Let’s go, Taehyung.”

“See you in a few months darlings! Love you boys!” Yoongi’s mother called out.

“Love you too.” The boys said in unison, waving at the woman whose eyes were slightly glistening, watching the boys get into the cab and leave.

few hours later ;; New York 2016

“I feel so tired.” Yoongi groaned.

“Hyung, you slept through the entire train ride.” Taehyung stated.

“What’s your point?” Yoongi asked, mid yawn.

“What are we waiting for? Isn’t it just a fifteen minute cab drive to the university?” Taehyung asked, feeling an excited kind of fluttering in this stomach.

Yoongi took out his phone. “Jimin is coming to pick us up. Why is he not here,” Yoongi turned his head to look around for his soul mate.

“Yoongi!” An excited voice called out from the crowd. Taehyung noticed a boy with orange hair making his way to them with a bright smile on his face. He had a very warm to look to him, like he was someone you would trust blindly.

Taehyung turned to see a fond smile form on Yoongi’s face. For a second, he felt a dull ache in his stomach. He wondered what the feeling would be like, being reunited with your soul mate after two weeks of not seeing them, the joy Yoongi must have been feeling, watching Jimin walk towards him.

“Hi, you must be Taehyung.” Jimin said, when he finally reached them.

“And you must be Jimin.” Taehyung said, returning the smile he got. “I heard quite a bit from you from auntie.”

“Auntie?” Jimin looked a little confused, when Taehyung opened his mouth, Jimin’s face immediately lit up with recognition. “Yoongi’s mother! Oh, good things I hope.”

“My mother loves you more than she loves me. There is no way she would say anything remotely bad about you.” Yoongi snorted.

“Hey, love.” Jimin said, turning to his soul mate with a grin.

Yoongi smiled at the younger male and pulled him into a hug, pressing his nose to the orange haired male’s neck.

“I missed you too.” Taehyung heard Jimin mutter. He took his eyes away from the couple, feeling out of place for a second. He felt a sting of pain, thinking of his own soul mate. He absentmindedly brushed at his soul mate mark which was just centimetres away from the proof of the day -almost a year and a half back- when he tried to take his own life. His soul mate probably resented him.

“Taehyung? Taehyung!” His cousin shook him away from his thoughts.

“Sorry, did you say something?” Taehyung asked.

“I said, let’s get going.”

“Oh, okay, sorry about that.” He said sheepishly, making Jimin laugh.

Once they were in the car with Jimin at the driver’s seat, Taehyung let himself feel excited. This was all a new beginning for him…a fresh start.

“So Taehyung, what major have you taken?” Jimin asked.

“Creative writing. With what about you?” Taehyung asked.

“Boring old business and finance. But I am minoring in dance.” Jimin said happily. “I played safe with my major since I didn’t want to be jobless by the end of it.”

Taehyung laughs. “My minor is digital art and media.”

“Sounds good. I hope we become good friends Taehyung, we will be spending quite some time together.” Jimin said, looking at Taehyung from overview mirror.

Taehyung nodded his head in agreement with a smile. “I hope so too.”

“Auntie told me you moved with them a year back, from Ohio right?” Jimin asked, keeping his eyes on the road.

“Yeah, it’s been more than a year actually.”

“Where did you study for a year?”

“I took an online course.” Taehyung replied, hoping he wouldn’t have to explain why.

“Were you brought up there? In Ohio?” Jimin questioned. “한국말 할 줄 아니?” (Can you speak Korean?)

“Yeah, I can.” Taehyung replied with a smile. “I stayed in Florida till I was sixteen. Then my father and I moved to Ohio because he branched out his company. My father is half Korean, half American. Eomma immigrated here after meeting father.” It had been a while since Taehyung talked about his parents. Especially his father. He had stopped calling his ‘appa’ since a year after his mother passed. Talking about him, made him feel slightly sick to his stomach. Yoongi turned around discreetly and gave him a look. But Taehyung did not show his discomfort to his face.

“What about you, Jimin?”

“I actually just moved from Korea a year back for university.” Jimin said.

“Really? I couldn’t tell! I mean not trying to be racist but-” Taehyung said, surprised.

“My English?” Jimin laughed, as he entered the campus gates. “I was sent to an international school. My parents own- ”

“His parents are rich.” Yoongi cut in with a teasing lilt.

“Yah!” Jimin whined. “With the way you talk, it feels as if I am chaebol or something.

“Close enough. His dad owns a few restaurants over Korea. Jimin, I’m telling you I am just going to be a house husband.” Yoongi joked, putting his hands behind his head.

Taehyung glanced at Jimin whose ears were tinted red, probably at the mention of his soul mate talking about him being his husband, he deduced.

Jimin parked the car and all of them got out.

“Hoseok had asked to meet me as soon as I reach, so I need to get going. It’s something about your upcoming dance performance?” Yoongi said, when they got out.

“Hoseok…?” Taehyung asked.

“It’s his roommate and best friend.” Jimin answered. “All right, come over later for dinner.”

Yoongi hugged Jimin goodbye –for the time being, and waved at Taehyung. He took his bag with him as he power walked towards his dorm building.

Taehyung took out his bag from the car trunk and Jimin closed the car doors once Taehyung was done.

“Your stuff came yesterday and is all kept on your side. I promise I didn’t snoop.” Jimin said with a smile.

Taehyung laughed and thanked Jimin.

“So, are you nervous?” Jimin asked.

“I am, a little. It’s been a while since I went to a class.” Taehyung replied taking a deep breath.

“Can I ask, why you decided to do a year of online courses?” Jimin asked, slightly hesitant.

Taehyung bit his lower lip. “I had to deal with a few things before I was ready to go back.”

Jimin nodded, not asking any further questions.

As they walked towards their dorm building, all of a sudden Taehyung felt a sharp sting on his shoulder. He groaned out slightly and clutched his shoulder.

“Are you okay?” Jimin asked, pausing his steps. For a millisecond he looked worried, but then a small smile came on his face. “That must be your soul mate.”

Taehyung’s eyes widened slightly, the familiar deadweight settling in his stomach. It had been a while since his soul mate had hurt himself…almost a month or so.

“Yeah, I guess so.” Taehyung said, trying his best not to appear too affected. But Jimin had a sharp eye.

“Are you okay?” He asked, worried.

“Yeah! Yeah, I am okay!” Taehyung said, shaking his head and trying to not to go down the alley of memories his mind was leading him down to.

“I just hope they aren’t too hurt.” He tried to cover up. Jimin didn’t look a 100% convinced but he let it go.

“I am sure they will be fine.”

Taehyung and Jimin finally reached the dorms and Taehyung met with the in charge of the place and signed some papers and got the basic rules down. He then went to his shared room and collapsed on the bed that certainly wasn’t as soft as the one he had back in Florida but it was not too hard either.

“Long day, huh?” Jimin asked, as he moved to the kitchen.

"Kind of, but it's not a big deal. Do you want some help in there?" Taehyung asked which Jimin declined.

Jimin brought out a folding table followed by two big bowls of ramen in his hands, followed by some side dishes,

“It’s like you read my mind! I was really hungry!” Taehyung exclaimed with a grin, as he moved to sit on the carpeted floor. He kept the food on the table in front of Taehyung with a grin and sat down himself.

They began eating and talked about Jimin’s life back in Korea, his siblings, their newly discovered shared love for sports animes and anything else they could think of. They realized that they had a lot in common than they thought and would get along well. Taehyung was glad that he had already made a friend.

Jimin took their bowls and washed them despite Taehyung’s insistence that he could do it.

“Don’t worry, you’ll have a lot of opportunities to do chores around here.” Jimin said with a wink, making the younger male laugh.

The moment Jimin finished washing the dishes, his phone began to ring.

“Hyung! It’s already 10 - oh. Oh, alright. That’s okay.” Jimin said, slightly solemn suddenly. “I know, I’ll see you, it’s really fine. I love you too, goodnight.”

“Is everything okay?” Taehyung asked when Jimin sat own on his bed with a huff.

“Oh it’s nothing. Yoongi hyung said he’s too tired now, and will meet me later. No biggie.” Jimin said, his face expressing completely different emotions.

Taehyung wasn’t sure what to say to make him feel better. “He’s an idiot.” He said.

Jimin laughed. “Kinda. But it’s okay. I am sure he’s tired. Aren’t you?”

“A little.” Taehyung replied, yawning.

“You’ll start in a day! Maybe you should have an early night in. I am sure you’ll like it here. We actually have quite a few Asian students here. I’ll introduce you to some tomorrow.” Jimin said as he gabbed his nightclothes to change into.

“Yeah, okay.” Jimin swiftly changed in the room, not bothering covering himself from his new roommate.

“Hey Jimin? I’m not trying to being creepy, but you have a nice body.” Taehyung complimented after seeing a glimpse of Jimin’s abs.

“Thanks.” Jimin grins. “It’s the result of hours of dancing and spending time in the gym. You should come sometime.”

“To gym?’ Taehyung asked, looking slightly scared, making Jimin laugh.

“No, to the dance practice, just to see. Whenever you have free time. If you want. No pressure.” Jimin said.

“Yeah, I’d like that.” Taehyung replied with a smile.

Taehyung changed into his pajamas, which was a long sleeved t-shirt and a pair of shorts. It was not cold but the last thing he wanted was to get questions about the long scar running down his left hand.

“Who knows,” Jimin said, as he settled on his bed. “you might meet your soul mate somewhere around!”

“Y-yeah.” Taehyung replied, his heart racing like a tiger running after its prey. “Who knows…”

How could Taehyung tell Jimin that that was probably the last thing he wanted to do? Taehyung was convinced that he would be rejected the moment he meets with them. Because there was no way that his soul mate would want to have anything to do with him after everything he had put him through.

Taehyung wished Jimin good night as he turned off the lights and when he sleeps this time, he dreams of a faceless boy with warm hands and soft touches.

Chapter Text

JJK ;; New York 2016, same night

Jeongguk had just finished his time at the gym. He had spent an extra three hours, till the trainer had to throw him out because 1) it was closing time 2) ‘you have been here for the whole evening, you’ll collapse or something!’ Jackson always had a habit of nagging him, saying that he worked himself too much and that he should go out to a club or something rather than spending most of his free time there in the gym or dance studio.

But they failed to understand that it was better than picking fights with people on the streets. He didn’t expect them to though, what would he get other than looks of pity and empty apologies for something they had no control over? That frustrated Jeongguk the most. He didn’t want people to not talk about their own soul mates or treat him like he was fragile or something just because... just because his soul mate decided it was alright to leave him before he even had a chance to meet him.

Today, when he had walked into his dorm room which he shared with his roommate Jaebum Im, the way he shot up from his bed where he was cuddling with his soul mate, looking almost guilty, made him feel sick. Jeongguk had controlled his emotions and simply smiled and left to give them some privacy after taking his gym bag. Why people couldn’t just treat him normally, bothered him. From his friends to his parents, everybody’s treatment towards him had softened after that night. Jeongguk had grown quieter after that, more reserved, that was true. But the behaviour they showed, only wanted him to keep to himself even more.

Jeongguk ran a hand through his wet hair. He had taken a shower at the gym showers itself so he could just hit his bed once he went back to his room.

He took out his phone, it was a little over 10 pm according to it. He was about to shoot a text to his best friend, Jimin about tomorrow’s dance practice. But he just few seconds before pressing ‘send’ he remembered that his friend had been up early morning, excited about picking up his soul mate and his cousin from the train station. He vaguely remembered Jimin saying something about a new roommate.

He must be tired and gone to bed early. Best to just call him tomorrow Jeongguk thought.

He had gotten some Snapchat notifications from Namjoon and Jimin, which he ignored. He had been walking with his eyes stuck on his phone, and a few minutes walking like that, he bumped into someone. Jeongguk’s phone almost slipped from his hands and he let out a grunt of annoyance.

“Hey, can’t you watch where you’re going?” A male voice demanded laced with irritation, before Jeongguk himself could say anything.

“Sorry.” Jeongguk replied, since he knew that it was his fault for not watching his way. The guy was wearing a snapback and the streets weren’t lit brightly enough for Jeongguk to make out his face. The one thing he noticed was that, this guy, he was maybe a feet or two shorter than him.

“Asshole.” The stranger muttered and walked past Jeongguk, bumping into his shoulder on purpose. Since he was in no mood to start a fight, Jeongguk let it go. He pocketed his phone and walked back to his room.

*

 

"Yah, Jeongguk! Jeongguk! Jeon Jeongguk!" Jeongguk took off his earphones and turned around, slightly confused. It had been a while since someone called his name, in the Korean way. But when he saw the person who had done so, he wasn't surprised.

"Jimin. Sup?" Jimin walked towards him and caught him in a chokehold.

"I have been calling after you from the moment you stepped out of that library! You're just hearing me just now?" Jimin asked, pressing his fist onto Jeongguk's hair.

"Hey! Hey, let me go you crazy person! People are watching!" Jeongguk protested, getting out of the elder's hold.

"Aish, this kid." Jimin tutted.

"What do you want hyung?"

"Now you're talking. Where were you going?" Jimin questioned with a grin.

"Just to the coffee shop or something." Jeongguk replied.

"Great, let's go together." Jimin said, holding onto Jeongguk's right wrist and pulling him to walk together.

"I want you to meet a person." Jimin said.

"God Jimin, is this one of those blind dates again? Because I told you I wouldn't go to another." Jeongguk said.

"What, no! I wouldn't do that to you!" Jimin replied. Even though many people did find soul mates, many did not have romantic ones and there were no lack of people who did not find their soul mates at all, so Jeongguk had gone on a date or two but they all had ended up badly, that's why he mostly kept to one night stands.

"This guy, he just moved here for his second year. He is Yoongi's cousin and my new roommate." Jimin said.

"Ah, I remember you mentioning something about that. What's he like?" Jeongguk asked as they finally reached the coffee shop and he opened the door for the two of them.

"He's a nice guy. It has just been a week since he has been here but he is very friendly and we have a lot in common."

"Good." Jeongguk said looking over the menu. "Glad you don't have to deal with that Colin guy as your roommate anymore."

"God, don't remind me. He was so quiet and borderline creepy." Jimin laughed. "You're paying right?" He said putting on his sweetest smile.

Jeongguk hummed. "I will but you're taking me for Korean barbecue, you owe me for lying to Hoseok for missing dance practice five days back."

"Ugh fine! But in my defence, Yoongi was finally free and I wanted to spend some time with him."

"Spare me the details of your sex life Jimin." Jeongguk said pulling a face.

"And what a good sex it was." Jimin sighed wistfully.

Jeongguk rolled his eyes and went up to order the drinks they always had.

Jimin was one of the only people he was comfortable with. He did not treat Jeongguk differently just because of what had happened with him and nor did he walk around eggshells around him. Somehow in the last year, when they both were freshmen, he had broken past most of his walls and become a very good friend, even a best friend if he dared to put it that way.

"Here you go." He said handing Jimin his Machiatto and taking a sip from his Iced Americano.

"I don't understand how you and Yoongi can drink that." Jimin said making a face. "Me and Tae were talking about this yesterday itself, how this Americano just ruins the taste in my mouth-"

"Tae?" Jeongguk asked cutting Jimin off.

"Yeah, the guy I told you about. That's his name Kim-"

"You mean so-and-so Kim." Jeongguk interrupted. "When will you get used to the romanisation of Korean names?" He teased.

"Never." Jimin said poking out his tongue at Jeongguk. "Anyway, like I was saying before I got rudely interrupted, Yoongi's cousin, Taeh-"

A shrill ringing of Jimin's phone, blasting out Gee by Girls Generation interrupted him once again.

Jimin smiled at him apologetically and picked up his call. "Hello? Yeah? Oh really? Aish, that sucks. Really? Ah, I suppose you guys can meet later! Okay, okay. See you."

He hung up and smiled sheepishly at Jeongguk. "Taehyung said he can't make it. He needs to get some paperwork done with the university office."

"Taehyung?" Jeongguk said out loud, the name feeling strange yet comfortable around his tongue. As if he knew it from before.

"That's his name. I guess you'll just have to meet later." Jimin replied, drinking his coffee.

"I guess so." Jeongguk dismissed the unfamiliar feeling at the pit of his stomach as a result too much coffee and too less food and goes back to listening to Jimin ramble about a new movie, not giving much attention to the name Taehyung Kim which had settled at the back of his mind.

Chapter Text

KTH ;; New York 2016

Taehyung was walking to his morning class when he heard an eerily familiar voice shout out to someone behind him. For a second he felt his heartbeat stop, he felt his palms get clammy.

‘No it can’t be. It’s not him. Stop being stupid.’

He told himself to take a deep breath…he was a second away from a panic attack, but before he could pass out from holding his breath for too long, he felt a warm and familiar touch on his shoulder. Taehyung turned out, and took a breath in relief when he found Jimin.

“You okay?” Jimin asked concernedly. “Aren’t you getting late for class? What are you doing standing here?”

“I-I don’t know. I think I forgot the way for a second or something.” Taehyung lied, not wanting to get into the details of his random almost breakdown with Jimin. He didn’t want to scare him off so soon.

“Oh that can happen. After all it has just been over three weeks since you joined.” Jimin said with a smile. “You are already ten minutes late. How do you feel about skipping?”

*

Taehyung sat at a diner opposite to Yoongi and Jimin, recalling his memories as a ten year old, spending his vacations with Yoongi back in Korea at their grandmother’s house.

“She totally loved you more.” Yoongi grumbled.

“It’s because I would always go to her and cling to her. You were too busy being a ‘big boy’” Taehyung laughed.

“You both are really close huh?” Jimin smiled. “I guess Yoongi is bad at feelings with you too, Taehyung. His actions wouldn’t give away how much you both know each other.”

Yoongi’s cheeks reddened slightly. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“I am used to it. I remember when I was five and I got my birthday, auntie asked hyung to give me a hug and wish my happy birthday…His embrace was so tight that I started crying! Poor hyung looked so shocked!”

“Hey! That’s exactly why! That incident traumatised me.” Yoongi sniffled.

Jimin cooed pinching his soul mate’s cheeks. “We all know you’re just a big softie on the inside, jagi .”

Yoongi crossed his arms across his chest but Taehyung noticed how his cousin leaned into the younger’s touch.

“Okay, stop it with both of your harassment!” Yoongi complained. “Change the topic!”

“Alright, alright.” Jimin chuckled. “So, Taehyung...how come you moved to live with Yoongi? You lived in Ohio before, right?”

Taehyung felt a knot form in his stomach. He knew questions about his past were inevitable, he had managed to dodge them so far… but he knew he had to face them someday.

He saw Yoongi open his mouth, but he beat him to it.

“My eomma passed away when I was sixteen, after that we shifted from Florida to Ohio. My father and I didn’t get along very well, also I barely had any friends at school since I just focused on my studies after her death. I needed a change of scene and auntie was more than happy for me to move in.”

Taehyung did not lie, not technically. He just chose to not tell Jimin about how his father turned abusive after his mother’s death and how he was constantly bullied in school, to the point that he made sure he hid from a few of his classmates in the rooftop during free periods so they wouldn’t find him.

Taehyung saw the shock appear on Jimin’s face that slowly twisted into a face filled with sadness.

“I am so sorry, I had no idea.”

“It’s alright, no need to apologise. I am at peace with it now.” Taehyung replied, picking at his full-sleeved shirt. “It was a car accident, if you were wondering. She died on the spot.”

Taehyung did not want Jimin to walk around eggshells around him, nor did he want his pity. He knew that he was pre-assuming Jimin’s behavior but he did not want to make any more mistakes in his life. So he decided not to elaborate, about how he was in the car with her and how only he survived.

“Must be really hard for you. Were you really close to her?” Jimin asked.

“He and his mother were attached at the hip.” Yoongi sighed. “As a child, he never left her side.”

Taehyung smiled fondly. His memories with his mother were something he always cherished closely with all his heart and soul. “I really didn’t, I would hang on her arm wherever she went and sit in the kitchen while she cooked…my parents were soul mates, actually.” He said.

Jimin’s eyes widened. “Really? That’s lucky! Mine aren’t. My father’s soul mate passed away when he was a child and my mother’s soul mate was platonic.”

Taehyung’s stomach twisted when Jimin mentioned about his father’s soul mate being dead. He did his best to not dwell on it.

“But them finding each other, that’s also fate’s work.” Taehyung said with a smile, which Jimin returned brightly.

“It really was, because they are very happy with each other. My folks were ecstatic when I told them I found Yoongi and that we decided to date.”

“I know that even auntie was very happy as well, she’s told me about it.” Taehyung grinned at his cousin who had a fond smile on his face.

“What about you Tae? Do you think you’ll ever find your soul mate?” Jimin asked suddenly.

Taehyung’s grinning mouth froze in a second and his mouth felt completely dry. Taehyung opened his mouth, but he had no idea what to say. He saw Jimin looking at him expectantly he also saw his cousin’s wide eyes.

“I-“

“Oh! Look, Taehyung, it’s our order number!” Yoongi said pointing to the screen on the counter.

“Ruh-right!” Taehyung said, snapping out.

“Oh, I’ll go get it!” Jimin said, beginning to stand up.

“Nuh-No! Jimin, you sit here. I’ll go get it.” Taehyung said, quickly getting out of the seat before the older male could stop him.

Taehyung finally took a deep breath when he went to the counter. He really did not know what he would have replied to Jimin. Would he meet his soul mate? He wondered that himself. That was a day he was very anxious about because he knew that his soul mate would resent him. Taehyung took the order and thanked the waiter.

He walked towards their table and the next few minutes of his life are the ones wished he could take back.

When Taehyung put down their trays, he did not realize his shirt-sleeve riding up and he did not realize Jimin’s eyes falling onto his left arm. It was too late for Yoongi to react because is soul mate’s eyes had already widened and were staring at the long scar on Taehyung’s hand, which was half still covered by his shirt.

“Wha-What is that?”

Taehyung looked down to notice Jimin’s eyes on his hand and he immediately withdrew it from the tray like it had caught fire. He grabbed his wrist, and found himself with a dry mouth and sweaty palms for a second time in the day.

“I-”

“It’s from the accident.” Yoongi blurted out.

“What?” Jimin asked, his eyes not leaving Taehyung’s now pale face.

“He was with there with his mother in the car accident when it happened.” Yoongi continued, knowing that Taehyung did not want to reveal the complete truth to Jimin but not lying himself either.

Jimin turned to the older male who looked at Jimin with a look that said ‘please don’t ask more questions.’

“Oh. Sorry Taehyung, I didn’t realize.” Jimin said, not looking completely convinced but letting go of it. Taehyung smiled weakly at the other, grateful that he wasn’t asking anymore questions.

“It’s alright.”

After a moment of awkward silence and silent eating, Jimin began talking about some new music video, easing the tensed air. Yoongi shot Taehyung a look which questioned ‘you okay?’ to which Taehyung simply smiled letting the elder know that he would be fine. The rest of the dinner was thankfully –for Taehyung- did not involve talking about soul mates or himself.

*
The three of them were walking back to their dorms when Jimin stopped in his tracks making the other two stop as well.

“What happened?” Yoongi asked.

“I forgot that I needed to buy ramen. The ones in our room is all over.” Jimin replied.

“Oh yeah, still sorry about eating your last packet.” Taehyung said sheepishly.

Jimin waved his hand dismissively. “It’s alright, can we go to the A-Mart nearby? It’s like my go-to place when I feel homesick. They sell a lot of east asian things.”

“I actually have a class in twenty minutes.” Yoongi said looking at his phone. “Why don’t you both go?”

“Oh yeah, I should know where this place is anyways. Just in case I feel like having Korean stuff or something.” Taehyung said.

Jimin put his arm around Taehyung’s shoulder, surprising him a little. “Alrighty then! 가자!”(let’s go) He said giving Taehyung a bright smile, ceasing any tension between them that was left from before.

The younger males bid their goodbyes to Yoongi and walked to the grocery store, talking about their classes and how Jimin really did not like business professor.

“Hey, remember my friend I wanted you to meet? He actually works here.” Jimin said as he pushed the door open to the store.

“Oh yeah! Junghyun? Was it?” Taehyung said as his nostrils were filled with the smell of fried sausages and variety of other things.

“Yeah, he usually has night shifts though. Also, not Junghyun, his name is actually…”

Taehyung failed to listen to Jimin as he was too busy looking through the wide range of Japanese candies they had.

“I’m sorry what?” Taehyung asked. “I got distracted.”

Jimin chuckled at Taehyung’s adorable, almost-guilty expression. “Nothing much, just said that the friend has night shifts.”

“Oh. Okay, but look at this Jimin, these candies are wasabi flavoured. Who would actually eat that?” Taehyung said staring at the green candies, they did not even look edible to him.

“Crazy frat boys is who. Don’t even get me started on what these guys do as dares.” Jimin said shaking his head. “Now how about you grab a trolley and help me stock up some stuff for our kitchen?”

-+-

JJK ;; New York 2016, a week and a half later

Jeongguk checked out the young man’s groceries a little irritated at how bluntly she was staring at his arm. The stupid owner of this store would not let him where anything but the uniform which was a half sleeved shirt and today was a rather warm day, so Jeongguk for some reason - like the idiot he was - forgot his long sleeved undershirt. The moment he reached work, he knew he was going to get a lot of stares.

Why?

Jeongguk sported a tattoo along the length of his forearm, right above his scar that his soul mate had left him.

Why people were staring at it was because, it was very uncommon for people to get tattoos before there soul mate mark had set. And that only happened after you met your soul mate. Getting a tattoo when your wrist was bare, was usually done by people who were either against the soul mate system or didn’t expect to meet their soul mate at all. So the looks he got were either of pity or of annoyance.

Though Jeongguk felt that he was a part of the second category, to Jeongguk it was simply a reminder. To be strong, protect himself and keep moving forward in life. He didn’t care what others thought.

He gave the man a dirty look and handed him the grocery packets. He looked slightly flustered to find that he had caught staring at the other. The customer grabbed his grocery and quickly walked away.

It was almost nearing midnight and his shift would come to an end in half an hour. He worked in the store on Wednesdays and Saturdays for five hours. It wasn’t the most fun, but it gave him a little extra cash and kept him occupied. His shoulders ached because he had fallen down yesterday attempting a back flip and he had a nasty fall. If it had been a year and a half back in time, he would have immediately felt sorry for his soul mate, but this time he had simply shook it off and continued dancing, ignoring the pain.

The store was completely empty so he sat down and took out his phone. Since it was a 24x7 store, located near the college campus, it was not unsafe. His boss would be coming to switch places with him in some time for the remaining part of the night. He was 50-year-old man who was always pissed off. He almost reminded him of Jimin’s boyfriend. (Not that he would ever mention it to him!) Nobody would want to steal from him anyways.

Jeongguk’s attention diverted to his phone that tinged, making him aware of a message. He opened his Facebook messenger that showed a link to a ‘cute puppy video’ to make your constant bitch face smile!! which Jimin had sent him. He chuckled and started the video.

He heard the door to the store open and glanced to see blonde hair. He dismissed it as some student and kept his eyes on his phone that played the clip of a 5-month-old Poodle puppy doing some tricks. He felt warm from the inside and a smile came on his face. A part of him wondered why he felt so happy, the video was not all that amusing. He put his phone away but the feeling did not leave his chest. He saw the blonde head moving about on aisle 7. His chest filled with some kind of warmth and his stomach felt giddy with butterflies. He felt confused. He put a hand on his abdomen. What the fuck was happening?

He looked up, and all of a sudden he felt something click in his mind, he had read when people felt this way, he knew what these signs meant!

His heart raced faster. No, there was no way. There was no fucking way that was going to happen. Don’t be stupid Jeon. Don’t be fucking stupid. Do not do this to yourself.

He moved his hand away and clenched his jaw. He told himself that he was just being silly and tried to push the feeling away…but,

“Good eveni-”

The words never got completed because Jeongguk turned towards his left the moment he heard footsteps. The stranger’s words got cut off by himself immediately when he made eye contact with Jeongguk.

Jeongguk felt his breath get knocked out in his lungs. He felt as if in that moment, time fucking stopped. He did not care about being dramatic, because the vision he saw, made warmth encompass his entire being, it made him feel invincible, his heart fluttered in his chest and all he wanted to do was take the beautiful, stunning man into his arms, who stood in front of him, and made words die out of his mouth and left it hanging open.

He felt a burning on his wrist, one he never thought he would experience again after the tragic day. The initials that had faded a year back now were being etched onto his skin, right beside the head of his arrow tattoo. His soul mate mark, the initials of his other half turned black. Finally. After a year of thinking this would never ever happen. The pain felt almost sweet to him.

Jeongguk blinked away the tears that had welled up in his eyes and looked up too see the other man looking down at his left hand in shock, stuck to his place, the packets of something - Jeongguk did not pay much attention to anything else to notice -fallen out of his hands.

Jeongguk came out from his place behind the small counter and walked towards the other man slowly with hushed steps. His eyes widened when he saw Jeongguk walk towards him. His face filled with too many emotions, hard for Jeongguk to comprehend. But shock was one emotion that was very evident. He was clearly overwhelmed, just like him.

“Huh-Hello.” Jeongguk finally said, when he was standing right in front of the male, face to face. As the words left his mouth, tear drops fell from the brown orbs of the man in front of him, onto his cheeks.

“I never thought I would meet you,” Jeongguk said, his voice shaking, full of emotion “my soul mate.”

Chapter Text

KTH ;; New York 2016, same night

Taehyung moved his head side to side. His shoulders had been aching slightly. He deduced it to be the result of sitting with a bad posture in front of the laptop for the past few hours. He had been finishing up on his assignment paper when all of a sudden he felt a peculiar craving for kimbap. He tried his best to ignore it and continue on writing but his head wouldn’t let him concentrate. He looked at the time and it was way past 11 pm and he was in no mood to go to the convenience store. But his cravings proved to be stronger than his laziness. Jimin was knocked out sleeping after a long day of classes, so he decided not to bother the poor guy and simply go to the store that Jimin had shown him the other day and come back quickly. Taehyung put on an oversized sweater and slipped on his sneakers. It was a little chilly at night. He walked to the store, which was not very far away. He was slightly on guard since he was not used to walking out alone at night, but once he entered the store, he felt a peaceful feeling being settled within him. He smiled to himself as he entered the aisle with the Korean food items. The happy, warm feeling did not leave him, instead it felt as if it was being spread throughout his body.

Must be because it reminds me of Eomma and auntie. He concluded. He grabbed three packets of the kimbap and thought of buying some yakult but decided against it when he remembered that Jimin had stocked up on them. He hummed an old trot song under his breath that his mother used to sing. The place for some reason, Taehyung got a very secure feeling from the place. Something he didn’t feel very easily.

Taehyung didn’t waste any time looking at the other treats that were lined up -he had a paper to finish after all! - and he walked towards the counter, up front. Looking at the different aisles that were labeled for different Asian countries. He really wanted to try some instant Thai noodles. But purposely he had not brought much money with him, so he simply walked past it.

“Good even-”

It was first the burning in his wrist that caught him off guard. Immediately the packets of kimbap slipped from his hold. He clutched his left hand and looked up.

Then it was the way his heart soared when he saw the person standing in front of him, with his mouth agape.

Taehyung looked back to his wrist, the initials that were right beside his scar, becoming visible, etched on his skin in dark black.

‘JJK’ It said.

Taehyung looked back up, with an open mouth, he saw the male walking towards him with small steps. And finally it hit him.

He had found his soul mate. His heart was racing. A part of him felt so happy…but at the same time he wanted to run away. He wanted to turn back and never come back here because how could he possibly face him?

But for some reason, his worries were quieted down the moment the other male stood right in front of him, with his glistening obsidian orbs. He was beautiful, Taehyung noticed. With dark brown hair, doe like eyes and a sharp jawline.

“Huh-Hello,” Tears that he didn’t know where in his eyes, managed to escape and rolled down his cheeks.

“I never thought I would meet you…my soul mate.” His voice was shaking and Taehyung felt short of breath.

“I-” Taehyung started in a very shaky voice. He shook his head and went to take a step back, fear still managing to get the best of him.

“Please don’t!” The male said, when he saw Taehyung’s action. “Please don’t leave!” His voice was choked and pleading.

Taehyung widened his eyes, not expecting such a reaction. Doesn’t he hate me?

The male took a deep breath. “I thought you had died.” He said, making an involuntary sob erupt from Taehyung’s lips.

“I-I’m so sorry.” He finally choked out.

This time tears welled up in his soul mate’s eyes as well.

“You’re here now.” He sniffled. “That’s what matters.”

Taehyung couldn't believe his ears. He felt shocked hearing those words. What he expected was resentment, rejection, harsh words. But the man in front of him looked at him with such warmth that it made his heart flutter.

“Can I hug you?” He asked. Taehyung bit down his lower lip, unsure but he nodded his head because a part of him was screaming for him to.

The moment he does, the other male takes another step forward and brings Taehyung close with a hand around his waist and the other cradling his head. Taehyung’s eyes for the nth time that evening, widened. But in no way did he feel uncomfortable. Instead, the fear in him vanished and was replaced by ease that he had felt when he first entered the store. So slowly, Taehyung raised his arms from his sides and hugged the man back. The satisfaction he felt was indescribable. It felt familiar. He felt the safety he once had in his mother’s embrace. Tears flowed down his cheeks silently but he smiled through them. They were almost the same height, but the other had a stronger built with strong arms and a broad chest.

After a minute of just standing like that, they let each other go.

“My name is Jeongguk Jeon.” The other finally says.

“Taehyung Kim.” He replied.

Jeongguk’s doe eyes widened and his mouth went agape once again.

“No way…”

“Is there a problem?” Taehyung asked, nibbling on his lower lip.

“Are you Jimin’s roommate, by any chance?”

“I-I am! How did you know?” Taehyung asked, surprised, but it clicked him in a second. Jimin had mentioned about his friend working here. “Wait, you’re his friend who works here!”

“Yeah! He has told me about you!” Jeongguk chuckled lightly “This is crazy.”

“Yeah…”

“You were going to buy something?” Jeongguk asked, pointing to his hand.

“Huh? Oh! Yeah.” Taehyung bends down to pick up the fallen packets and hand them to Jeongguk who goes over to the counter and checks it out. Taehyung follows him and reaches in his pocket to give him the money.

“Don’t. It’s on me.” Jeongguk says with a small smile.

“But-”

“Seriously. I’ve never been happier before to be working in this store.” He puts the packets in a small paper bag and gives it to Taehyung.

Taehyung’s eyes fell on Jeongguk’s left arm. He had a tattoo running across his arm’s length. He knew what that meant. it was on the same place where Taehyung had probably left him a scar. The slight dull ache emerged in his stomach but he quickly averted his gaze.

“Thank you.” He said softly

“Can I have your number, Taehyung?” His soul mate asked, before he could turn to leave. Hearing his name coming from the other’s mouth made him feel slightly giddy.

Taehyung nodded and took Jeongguk’s phone when he handed it over to him. He put in his number and gave it back to Jeongguk who smiled and typed something into it. Probably my name, Taehyung thought.

“I’ll see you then?” Jeongguk said, his voice gentle and hopeful.

“Yeah.” Taehyung replied with a small smile.

Taehyung gave him a small wave and turned around to walk out and towards his dorm.

He couldn’t believe it. He just met his soul mate. And he did not shove him away with hatred. He didn’t even show any ounce of anger. Taehyung was very surprised. He was feeling overwhelmed. He felt happy, but at the same time he also felt worried and a little confused. He had not seen this coming. But nevertheless the warmth he felt was slightly more overpowering than his negativity. Maybe this is what Yoongi had meant, when he said that he felt heat flow through his body, when he saw Jimin for the first time.

He finally reached his dorm and saw that Jimin was still very much asleep. He thought of waking him up and telling him the news, he knew Jimin would be extremely overjoyed. But he looked very content sleeping. So he decides to tell Jimin and everyone else tomorrow.

He sits down and tries his best to finish his paper and once he is done and he sends it to his professor’s email. He rests his head against the pillow and shuts his eyes, finally getting a face to all the dreams and nightmares he had had before.

Chapter Text

JJK ;; New York 2016

Jeongguk woke up feeling at peace for once. Most of the times when his head hit the bed, his visions consisted of that of blood, and scars and for some reason, he always saw a person drowning. But this time, his dreams were serene and did not make him wake up in the middle of the night, sweating.

For a second he just lay in his bed, wondering if it all was just a dream. And if today, when he got out of bed, the warmth that he had felt would never be sensed by him again.

Jeongguk, without looking, moved his hand to his left wrist, there he felt a slight bump where his soul mate mark would be. He brought up his hand and looked at the alphabets that were impressed into his skin.

No, it wasn’t a dream after all.

A small smile made its way on to the young man’s face. Jeongguk got up from his bed, he had morning dance practice since it was weekend. He grabbed his phone, thinking about calling his parents and telling them about how he had finally found his other half. But immediately he thought how vulnerable Taehyung had looked, at first, with his almost frightened expression. He probably wouldn’t want to go through something like that so soon. He thought, because knowing his parents, he knows that they would want to meet Taehyung and probably would bombard his soul mate with their interrogations. Jeongguk himself had many questions, but he knew that he would need to be patient and let Taehyung get comfortable around him before he even thought of probing him. As of now, he was just content with the fact that he had finally found him.

Jeongguk finally got up from bed and made his way to the shower to get ready for the day.

*
While walking to the dance studio, Jeongguk suddenly remembered, Jimin! Jimin was the only friend that Jeongguk had bared himself open to. He did not know if Taehyung had told anything to the older male, but once Jeongguk would tell Jimin that he had found his soul mate, he would know. Whether Taehyung would have alrady revealed about himself or not. That got the brunette thinking if he should tell his fried right away or not. He knew Jimin was not a judgmental person, but he had to think of Taehyung’s point of view as well.

Jeongguk entered the studio absent mindedly, the noise of the chatter of his friends, filling his ears.

“Yah, Jeongguk-ah, look who I brought with me, it’s -” Before hearing Jimin, say his name, the skipping of his heart, made him feel it. Taehyung.

Jeongguk’s eyes were fixed on the blonde who was dressed in a pair of skinnies with a white shirt topped with a loose cardigan. Taehyung’s large eyes were blinking right at him, with his lips forming an ‘o’ shape. Jeongguk was pleasantly shocked, seeing him here. Nonetheless it made him happy.

“Taehyung” Jeongguk said out loud, before he could stop himself.

“Oh, you both know each other?” Jimin asked surprised, his attention falling completely on the younger male.

Jeongguk moved his eyes to Taehyung who opened his mouth, but the younger beat him to it. “We met at the convenience store,”

Jimin ‘oh’-ed in understanding but when Jeongguk glanced at Taehyung, he saw the blonde looking down at his feet, as if disappointed, so going with his impulse, Jeongguk added, “he- Taehyung’s my soul mate.”

Taehyung’s eyes left the ground and met Jeongguk’s. They were swimming with an emotion that was not yet familiar with Jeongguk. But it seemed like a mixture of shock and something else. A moment of silence went in the room before Hoseok –their team captain- let out a loud hoot.

“Jeongguk Jeon! Finally! And here we all were thinking you would die alone, now aren’t you lucky! Finding your friggin’ soul mate at such a beautiful age!”

“Hoseok, you’re talking as if you’re an eighty year old.” Taemin, a senior tsked.

Jeongguk’s eyes met Jimin’s, they were widened but Jeongguk shot him a reassuring smile, trying to convey to him that everything was alright.

“Okay then guys, let’s begin alright? Taehyung you’re very welcome to stay and watch, that’s what you came here for after all!”

Everybody started getting into their places and Jeongguk quickly dropped his bag to the side where Taehyung was sitting down on the wooden floor. Before getting into position, Jeongguk bent down, pretending to take something from his bag.

“Are you okay?” He asked Taehyung, who looked as if he was trying to not meet the younger’s gaze. But while being talked to, he turned his face to meet Jeongguk’s.

“Y-yeah. I’m fine. How are you?”

“I’m good.” Jeongguk said, trying to give the older the warmest possible smiles he could muster. “It’s okay right? That I told them?”

Taehyung looked hesitant for a minute but then he smiled back and nodded, he opened his mouth but before he could get any words out, they were interrupted by Hoseok.

“Jeonggukie, I know you must have a lot to talk about, but then again you have your whole lives for it but out showcase only has three weeks, eh?” He had a teasing grin on his face but Taehyung was beet red.

“Yeah, yeah Hoseok.” Jeongguk said rolling his eyes. “Want to go for coffee? After this?” He asked Taehyung.

“You should go, before they call you again.” Taehyung said timidly, not meeting the younger’s gaze.

Jeongguk smiled nevertheless and got into his position in the center behind Yugyeom and Hoseok.

The practice went on for about an hour and half without any hindrance. But many a times, Jeongguk caught Taehyung looking at him with what seemed like awe in the mirror. And the two times Taehyung saw Jeongguk looking right back at him, he had quickly averted his eyes with a blush adorning his face. It had made Jeongguk’s heart flutter in his chest.

After practicing their routine two more times, and the protests of stopping from the members, from Hoseok had finally called it a day. Jeongguk saw Jimin casually talking to Taehyung and that made his mind feel at ease, knowing Jimin wouldn’t treat his soul mate differently.

“Hey,” Jeongguk said interrupting the two.

“Aish this punk, shouldn’t you have called me first thing when you found him? Also you Taehyung! You should have woken me up, when you found this idiot!” Jimin said, nudging the blonde lightly. Taehyung let out a small laugh and muttered an apology.

“Everyone knows once you come back from practice at nights, you go out like a light. Even if Taehyung had tried to awaken you, it wouldn’t have worked.” Jeongguk teased the older male, making him rather excitedly.

“Have you told Yoongi?” Jimin asked, his eyes softening when they looked at Taehyung, who had stayed silent while him and Jeongguk had bickered.

“I wanted to tell him in person. We were going to meet after this but um…” Taehyung pursed his lips and looked towards Jeongguk with his brown eyes.

“Oh, we could meet later if you want.” Jeongguk said, feeling slightly disappointed.

“No, that’s not what I meant!” Taehyung said shaking his head. “I mean, it’s alright, I can meet hyung later.” He added immediately.

Jeongguk nodded his head then, the dead weight in his stomach, feeling more at relieved.

“If you’re sure.” He said, with a small smile. “Give me five minutes, I’ll go take a shower.”

Taehyung agrees to wait so Jeongguk rushed to the showers with Jimin. When Jeongguk opens his mouth to speak once they are both open, Jimin shakes his head.

“It’s okay. Tell me later.” Jeongguk smiles at that and nodded.

Once they are done with the shower, they go outside to where Taehyung was leaning against the wall with his eyes on the phone.

“Call me!” Jimin said, patting the younger male’s shoulder. “See you later, Tae.” With that, he grabbed his bag, put the wet towel inside and made his way to a different direction.

Taehyung and Jeongguk walked in a comfortable silence towards a coffee shop that the older of the two had suggested.

“So, what is your major?” Jeongguk asked, breaking the quiet.

“Creative writing. What about you?”

“Business. I’m guessing you write?”

“Sometimes. But mostly these days, all I write are assignments.”

Jeongguk let out a laugh at that. “Sounds fun.”

They entered the café with Taehyung opening the door for both of them, making Jeongguk smile to himself. The get seated on opposite sides of a cozy booth and Taehyung orders their drinks this time, saying that he wanted to since Jeongguk paid for his kimbap yesterday.

He comes back with an iced Americano and a Caramel Macchiato in his hands.

“So, where are you from?” Jeongguk asked once Taehyung sat back down. “I mean, in USA?”

“I was born in Florida then stayed in Ohio for about three years.” Taehyung replied.

“What? No way, I am from Florida too!” Jeongguk said with wide eyes, he felt his heart flutter in his chest. “I lived in Miami, where did you stay?”

“Tallahassee! This is pleasantly surprising.” Taehyung said with a chuckle.

“When did you move to Ohio?”

“When I was sixteen, after my mom passed away.”

“Oh god, I am sorry-”

“No, it’s alright. I am at terms with it now.” Taehyung said, shaking his head.

“Must have been hard for you..If you don’t mind me asking… what happened?”

“It was a car accident.”

Jeongguk nodded in understanding, his heart ached a little, thinking the misery Taehyung must have had to go through, losing his mother at the prime time of his teens.

“Do you have any siblings?” Jeongguk asked.

Taehyung shook his head.

“Me neither.”

They continued talking about different things, they realized that they had quite a bit in common, like their interest in hip hop music and love for anime. They talked for over two hours before Taehyung said that he had a class within the next fifteen minutes.

“I could walk you? Till your class I mean.” Jeongguk offered but Taehyung declined with a soft smile.

“It’s alright, it’s just a few more meters. I can go by myself.”

“Okay, if you insist.” Jeongguk said as they stood outside the Literature building.

“Okay then, have a good class?” Jeongguk said it like a question, and curses himself for being so tongue tied. What the fuck Jeon? Good class?? .

“Yeah.” Taehyung replied with a chuckle. Just as Taehyung turned away to walk towards the direction of his class, a sudden impulse made Jeongguk grab onto to Taehyung’s wrist, stopping him.

Taehyung turned around in surprise, about to ask what was wrong but Jeongguk pulls him into a hug. Not a suffocating, tight one but he cradled Taehyung’s head with one of his hands and put the other across his shoulders.

“I really had fun, spending time with you.” Jeongguk said softly.

When he gets no reply from Taehyung he almost lets go because dammit Jeongguk, why did you have to startle him like this? But his worries are pushed aside when he feels Taehyung pat his hand on his back.

“Me too, Jeongguk.” Taehyung said with an undecipherable emotion in his voice. Jeongguk slowly lets the other male go and saw Taehyung had a small smile on his face.

“See you later?” Jeongguk asked, scratching the back of his head.

“Yeah.” Taehyung said, turning around with a wave.

Jeongguk stands there, till he sees Taehyung disappear around the corner and then he walks back to his dorm with the warmth in his chest bubbling and his heart fluttering.

*

It’s the evening time and Jeongguk had just finished his last two hour long class. He was at the convenience store after his grocery shopping and was standing in line to get his stuff checked out. It had been a long line and his turn was finally coming up. He gets distracted with his phone while messaging Jimin and telling him about his coffee date with Taehyung. Thinking about his soul mate, made a smile grace his lips despite being tired.

He looked up when he hears something falling on the ground and sees a boy, probably around his age, shoving away the items of some teenager and put a six-pack beer, a fifth of some vodka and some snacks on the counter, demanding for the cashier to check it out. Jeongguk immediately feels annoyed at the sight.
He had been patiently standing in the queue waiting for his turn but some random impatient asshole had to disrupt it. He sees the cashier asking him to stand in line but the boy simply put his fist down heavily at the counter, scaring her. Jeongguk exhales, infuriated.

“Excuse me?” Jeongguk called out to the boy, trying his best to be civil about it. “Can’t you see that there in a line?”

The boy, who was wearing a Hollister hoodie with baggy khaki shorts and a snapback, looked like the perfect example of a frat boy. He ignored Jeongguk’s question and simply continued to argue with the cashier girl.

“Dude, are you deaf as well as blind?” Jeongguk asked with irritation slipping in his words. When the boy showed no signs of understanding Jeongguk he sighed and goes up to the front, grabbing the male’s arm.

“Stand in line.” Jeongguk said. The boy was a few centimeters shorter than him but well built with a long, slightly pointed nose and double eyelids.

“Fuck off.” The boy hissed.

“Look, we have all been standing here for quite some time now, so stop being an ass and get in line.” Jeongguk tried his best to not be a jerk or swear but when the guy simply rolled his eyes and started to move back to the counter, Jeongguk kind of loses his shit. He grabbed him by his blue hoodie and pulled him back.

The guy turned angrily and gave a harsh push to Jeongguk’s shoulders, making him stumble back a little. He raised a hand to sock a punch to Jeongguk but he is quick to catch the guys arm and twist it back, the years of Taekwondo and a year of picking up fights coming to use once again. He hears people mutter around him and the guy shouts out obscenities at him but out of anger, Jeongguk doesn’t let him go.

Before Jeongguk can do anything more a man in a button down shirt and pants came running to the scene to break up the fight.

“You know what, fuck you!” The guy said out loud, he turned and glared at Jeongguk with dark eyes before leaving the store. “Fuck you.”

For some reason, Jeongguk felt that that wouldn’t be the last he saw of him.

Chapter Text

KTH ;; New York 2016

Taehyung decided to finally meet up with his brother and tell him in full detail, about his meeting with Jeongguk. Yoongi had been busy the whole week so he could not do in personally like he had wanted to and had ended up just telling him over phone. But today, a week after spending time with Jeongguk, he was going to hang out with his brother. He walked to the Yoongi’s flat as the elder had suggested they met there because the older claimed to still be a little tired from all the work he had done the past week. Also he promised to buy Taehyung Thai food because the older male was apparently craving some Tom Yum Goong. The elder’s dorm was a small walk from his own.

He knocked on his cousin’s flat after ten minutes of walking, looking at the Google maps. Taehyung heard some shuffling from the other side and within thirty seconds, the door opened to reveal Yoongi still in his pyjamas and dishevelled hair. The older gave Taehyung a side hug and welcomed him inside, muttering something about his flatmate being at his girlfriend’s.

“It feels like I haven’t seen you a while.” Taehyung said, taking a seat on the bright orange couch in the living room. ‘It was Hoseok’s choice, don’t look at me!’ Yoongi had said.

“It has, kid. How do you liking uni so far?”

“It’s good. Much better than I expected, people are friendlier too.”

“That’s good to hear. I have been too busy with this assignment. Barely even got to sleep. But it’s finally over and now I have some free time.” Yoongi sighed.

“You should hang out with Jimin. I saw him sulking at his phone day before.” Taehyung chuckled.

“I know, he doesn’t say anything to me, but I am sure he feels bad when I can’t call back or reply on time. But he understands.” Yoongi said with a fond smile. Taehyung smiled at the elder’s expression.

“Yeah. He’s pretty nice.”

“Why don’t we give our orders now? Pick anything you want. My treat.” Yoongi said, handing Taehyung the flyer of the menu.

“Wow hyung, so generous of you.” Taehyung grinned going through the flyer.

Yoongi called and ordered their dishes which were promised to arrive within half an hour. They had a little more small talk before Yoongi took a long sip from his iced tea and met Taehyung’s eye when he put it down. “Now, tell me about your soul mate.”

Taehyung immediately felt his heart tighten and his soul mate mark tickle a bit. “It’s Jeongguk Jeon. From Jimin’s-”

“Dance class, of course, you told me that much.”

“Yeah… you know, strangely, I am dealing with this with much more ease than I had thought I would have. I am just very surprised that I didn’t run away the moment I felt that burning feeling on my wrist.” Taehyung laughed, awkwardly. “The-the even stranger part was the aura of comfort I constantly get from him. He-he’s really nice to me hyung. That confuses me a little because I kinda put h-him through a lot.”

Yoongi did not interrupt his cousin and let the younger male continue talking. His hands were tightly clasped together in his lap and he was constantly biting on his lower lip. A bad habit developed through his anxiety. The older male nodded, encouraging him to speak on as he knew that he needed to let his feelings out.

“The joy and surpise? Yeah, surprise that I had seen on his face that night when he met me. Th-there was no hate, just pure surprise. How does one feel that way hyung? I mean, I expected him to-to” There were tears welling up in Taehyung’s eyes as he tried to not sob in front of his cousin. Yoongi should not have to deal with that. But instead, he felt the older male’s warm hand patting his back, comforting him.

“It’s okay Taehyung-ah, don’t force yourself.”

“No, n-no hyung. It’s fine. I just- he’s so kind. And he actually wants to get to know me. He didn’t even try to ask me ab-about anything. I know he deserves and explanation a-and I will give him one. B-but it’s shocking how he is always focusing on how to make me feel at ease! How c-can one be so selfless?” There were tears flowing down his cheeks now and Yoongi’s heart twisted in pain, seeing how his brother considered such simple acts to be ones of greatness. It pained him to think how poorly he had been treated in his past.

“I understand, Taehyung.”

“How does he not hate me hyung? Why does he not hate me?” Taehyung sobbed, his head falling on to Yoongi’s shoulder. Yoongi continue letting the younger male let his tears out, wetting his shirt, simply caressing the back of his head. This was not the first time Taehyung was crying on his shoulder after all.

“How could one possibly hate you Taehyung-ah?”

“H-hyung, you don’t understand. The pain I put him through, all the beating and on top of tha-”

“You were in a very bad point in your life Taehyung. You were not responsible for everything the assholes in your life put you through. It was not your fault. You did not ask for it, not did you deserve that pathetic treatment. Yes, he must have felt all the pain you went through, but you felt it five times more. He is not the one who suffered its blow first hand and I am sure he understands that. He is a nice kid, so he understands.”

Taehyung sniffled silently on Yoongi’s shoulder still shaking a little.

“Taehyung-ah, don’t take me wrong way when I say this, but there are things that a soul mate or a boyfriend should do. And making you feel at ease is one of those major ones. It is very nice of Jeongguk to try and take care of you, but make sure you don’t hold him on a pedestal too high, where if something were to happen, you feel to let down. Now, I am not saying something will happen, I am just asking you to be careful. You feel me?”

Taehyung moved his head from the elder’s shoulder and nodded his head, rubbing stray tears away.

“It’s very easy to forget all that sometimes. Those things…all those things I had to hear. Once in a while they resound in my head. Not like before, of course but just sometimes. A-also, the other day for some reason my mind started to think about h-him. I don’t know, but I thought I heard a voice similar to his the other day. It really just made my heart stop in my chest for a second. But that can’t be, r-right?”

Yoongi’s eyes widened. “I-yeah, I don’t see any reason how he would end up here. Don’t worry Taehyung, nothing will happen. You’re safe now.”

“Thanks for saying that, hyung.”

“You know I am always here for you right? No matter what.” Yoongi said, flushing just a little. He was not one for getting emotional. Taehyung smiled softly at his hyung,
“Of course Yoongi hyung. And I am eternally thankful to you. If it weren’t for you and auntie, I wouldn’t have made it.” Taehyung replied, thinking of all the nights Yoongi had sat through with him, talking him through every panic attack and nightmare.

“Yah! Don’t say that.” Yoongi said with a small frown. Taehyung simply laughed and shook his head.

“Now, don’t feel too pressured to tell Jeongguk everything. I am sure he understands how everything must have been for you. Take your time.” Yoongi said, looking serious.

Taehyung sighed, thinking about how messy telling his soul mate everything was going to be. “Yes hyung.”

“Now!” Yoongi exclaimed breaking the tension. “Why the hell isn’t the food here yet?”

*

Taehyung was seated on the floor beside his bed, working on a recent assignment when he heard someone knock their door.

“I’ll get it!” Jimin said, as he moved towards the door with a small smile on his face.

Taehyung shot the elder male a grateful smile and continued with his work.

“Oh, Jeongguk!” Taehyung heard Jimin say from the doorway. Immediately he felt warmth spread in his chest, he saw the younger male walk into their dorm with a sheepish smile. All of a sudden, Taehyung felt very conscious of the shorts he was wearing with his extra-large, collar-bones exposing sweater.

Taehyung didn’t know if it was light or whatever, but he could almost swear that he sees a light flush appear on Jeongguk’s face.

“S-sorry, Jimin said you wouldn’t be here. He wanted me to talk about th-the practice. We can discuss somewhere else if yo-” Jeongguk rambled, honestly, Taehyung found it a little endearing.

“No! No, I don’t mind at all. Stay. I m-mean, you guys can stay here and talk or…yeah.”

Jimin looked between the two soulmates amused, at the now matching embarrassed, shy smiles that each of them had adorning their faces.

“It’s settled then. We will stay here and talk.” Jimin said, breaking the awkwardness.

Jeongguk and Jimin shuffled to the table kept in the kitchen to not disturb Taehyung with his assignment but Taehyung couldn’t stop trying to glimpse at Jeongguk every other second. The younger looked gorgeous in his complete black attire; excluding the navy jacket he was wearing when he had come. He had also noticed that the younger male’s bangs were a little wavier than before.

After a good half an hour, Taehyung stretches from his spot after having finished his essay and moves to the kitchen to grab a glass of water. Jimin and Jeongguk seemed to be arguing about something, but the moment Jimin see’s Taehyung, his face lightens up.

“Taehyung!” Jimin exclaimed.

“Jimin, don’t-”

“Shut up Guk, so Tae, there is a party tomorrow at this club,” Jimin started, looking at Taehyung expectantly “it’s Jackson, from our common elective who is hosting it. Everyone is invited, would you like to come?”

Taehyung had never been to a party…though he was not a very social person, nor did he like crowds very much, he remembered that it was college and time to get out of his comfort zone a little.

“You don’t have to, Taehyung. Don’t force yourself.” Jeongguk said, looking at Taehyung reassuringly, in case the older male felt pressured.

“I don’t mind. I have never been to a real party.” Taehyung said.

“Never? Not even I high school?” Jimin asked. Taehyung stiffened for a minute, thinking about that horrible time in his life, and he sees that Jeongguk noticed it. But he pushes away those thoughts and shook his head.

“Nope.”

“Okay, it is settled then. We shall go tomorrow and have a wonderful time.” Taehyung smiled back at the grin Jimin was giving him. He saw Jeongguk eyeing his warily but he sent a shy smile Jeongguk’s way, trying to let him know that he would be fine. Jeongguk smiled back nevertheless with a sigh.

“Whatever you guys want…”

Chapter Text

JJK ;; New York 2016

Jeongguk stood in front of his messed up wardrobe, with a hand on his chin. He did not know what he could possibly wear to look good enough to grab his soulmate’s attention. Though if someone asked, yeah, he was just dressing up for himself and after all it is a party right?

“What are you doing?” Jeongguk’s stare-down with his pile of clothes was broken by Jimin’s voice.

“Hm? What do you mean?”

“I mean, you have been just looking into that cupboard of yours for a good ten minutes now. Is there something wrong?” Jimin asked, looking amused.

“It’s nothing. I was just- just thinking what to wear tonight.” Jeongguk admitted sheepishly.

“Look at you, dressing to impress and all that.” Jimin cooed.

“Shut up, it’s nothing like that. I dress-”

for myself, I know, I know. But there is nothing wrong in wanting to impress Taehyung.” Jimin replied, but Jeongguk just ignored it.

“How about this?” Jeongguk asked, turning to Jimin holding up a white button down and a bomber jacket. Jimin hummed and muttered a looks good.

“You didn’t even look!” Jeongguk complained. Jimin let out a chuckle and turned to the younger male. “It looks good Jeongguk, wear it.”

Jeongguk huffed and went to his bathroom to change while Jimin typed out a message to his boyfriend who was going to meet them both at the outside Jeongguk’s place with Taehyung. The mentioned male had stayed over at Yoongi’s for some quality brotherly bonding, as Taehyung had said before packing his duffel bag, but not before doing the same thing Jeongguk had done, stare at his wardrobe with a hand on his hip and ask Jimin at least five times what looked better. Jimin laughed fondly, thinking about how the couple (almost couple?) were making an effort to impress each other but were also trying really hard to be subtle about it.

Jeongguk came out of the bathroom dressed up. “Okay, let’s go. Are they here yet?”

Just then Jimin got a missed call from Yoongi. “Yeah.” Jimin said, looking up from his phone only to witness Jeongguk take in a deep breath.

“Are you that nervous?”

“Just a little. I haven’t really gone out with Taehyung other than having lunch together thrice a week and going on coffee dates. We have known each other for a little more than two weeks and we have such a long way to go…but I really like him. And I don’t know if that is the whole soulmate bond and even if it is, I don’t care because ah, he’s great Jimin. He really is.” Jeongguk said, scratching the back of his head. “Also this is the first time I am meeting Yoongi after Taehyung and I became soulmates. I am not sure how to act around him.”

Jimin laughed out loud. “Well, he can look scary but on the inside he’s a softie. He is a tad bit protective over him.”

“Well he has no reason to be a softie with me!” Jeongguk chuckled while he pocketed his phone and slipped on his shoes.

“Don’t worry, I am sure everything will be okay.” Jimin said, patting his back.

They got down the elevator and down to the driveway where the other two men were waiting for them. Jeongguk’s eyes went straight to Taehyung, the older male looking absolutely beautiful, blowing his soulmate’s breath away. He was dressed in stripped sweater with a slit each on either side of his shoulder, starting from the shoulder top till his collarbone. He was wearing jeans that were ripped on his knees and hugged his slim, shapely legs very well along with other areas with black ankle boots.

“H-hi,” Jeongguk said, all of a sudden feeling extremely shy. Taehyung was staring at him with a wide eyed gaze and he was broken out of that stupor when Jeongguk greeted him. Jeongguk loved seeing the pink that coloured Taehyung’s cheeks under the streetlamps.

“Hi, you look nice.” Taehyung said, smiling shyly. The words immediately made a smile appear on the younger male’s face, feeling extreme satisfaction with the way he had dressed.

“You too.” He replied. “I like your shoes.”

“They are actually Yoongi’s.” Taehyung smiled.

“Oh…” Jeongguk said, just looking at Taehyung for a second.

“Uh hello guys, we are here too.” Jimin teased, dragging their attention back from each other to the other two men. Jimin was wearing a knowing smile while Yoongi adorned a very amused look.

“Hi Yoongi, long time.” Jeongguk said, bringing a hand forward for handshake. Yoongi gave him a firm handshake and a small smile, almost as if he was trying to convey some sort of a warning to him. It was probably a ‘don’t hurt my precious brother’ that he didn’t want to directly say out loud.

“Yeah Jeongguk, long time.” Yoongi replied, nodding at Jeongguk. The younger male was not scared of Yoongi nor was he weirded out. He knew that Taehyung had a hard past, he had felt it, it was quite normal for Yoongi to be protective of the other male.

They all made their way to the nearby club in an XL cab Yoongi had called. Jeongguk sat next to Taehyung who was fiddling with his fingers. Jeongguk had the sudden urge to hold his hand. And it was almost as if Taehyung had felt it too because he had stopped fiddling and his hand was just kept there tapping against his own lap. Jeongguk had not held Taehyung’s hand even once. Unless the numerous times they brushed hands against each other during their coffee meetings counted and oh god did Jeongguk want to hold the other male’s hand, but he did not want to pressure Taehyung into anything he did not want to do, so he waited for the older male to make a move instead. Before Jeongguk could think about whether to make a move or not for the third time in the car, Jimin announced their arrival and Jeongguk sighed. They all shuffled out of the cab and into the club after a round of checking of IDs.

The music was loud and there were quite a few people. Jeongguk spotted familiar faces from his classes and around the campus. There were hardly any people from outside. Jeongguk noticed Taehyung bobbing his head lightly to the music, almost unnoticeable. Yoongi and Jimin were walking together up front, Jimin leading the older male straight to the dance floor. Yoongi shot the other two a look and Taehyung gave him a thumb up, probably asking him to go ahead. Jeongguk decided that maybe he could go ahead and hold Taehyung’s hand now, considering you know, the crowd and all. He didn’t want to get separated from the other male with all the people there.
“Taehyung,” Jeongguk called out to the male who was walking a few steps ahead of him. The male turned around and Jeongguk swears he felt his heart skip a beat. Every time Taehyung looked at him, he felt that tug towards him. He knew that he wanted to keep this man beside him.

“Jeongguk, are you okay?” Jeongguk quickly snapped out of his trance with a light blush, Taehyung looked a little shy. “Were you going to ask something?”

“Do you want to get a drink?”

“I don’t really hold my alcohol well, so not really, but you can go ahead.”

“Oh no, that’s alright. Then, would you like to dance?” Jeongguk said, bringing his hand forward for Taehyung to take. Taehyung shifted on his feet but he put his hand into Jeongguk’s. The older male’s hand felt warm and a little sweaty in his, but Jeongguk welcomed it. He cherished the feeling of their hands locked together. Jeongguk began to take Taehyung and follow their friends but Taehyung pulled him back and Jeongguk tilted his head in question.

“I- I have never really danced.” Taehyung said, looking at his feet.

“Oh…never? Jeongguk asked, he should have danced sometime in his life, right? Jeongguk thought.

“Maybe once or twice in elementary. But after that I never got the chance to.” Taehyung said looking up with an apologetic look on his face.

Jeongguk felt that familiar tug in his chest again. “That’s alright. You can just move to the music, whatever way you want to. If you want to. Nobody is going to judge you.”

Taehyung looked hesitant for a second but then he smiled and nodded. Jeongguk lead them to the dance floor, and they stood in a spot which wasn’t too crowded.

Jeongguk began moving to the music. It came very naturally to him, he had been dancing since he was a five years old. He felt the music and just went along with the beats.
Jeongguk smiled encouragingly at Taehyung, who was moving a little awkwardly. Jeongguk brought his hands forward and held Taehyung’s in his.

“Is this okay?” Jeongguk asked. Taehyung nodded shyly. Jeongguk moved Taehyung along with him holding his hand and soon enough both of them were swaying to the beat. Jeongguk was surprised to see how gracefully Taehyung was moving with the music.

“You dance well! You’re a natural!” Jeongguk grinned, trying to speak even with the loud music. Taehyung shyly smiles at that and though Jeongguk barely gets to hear it, he sees the older male say ‘thank you’.

They dance a little more till Jeongguk suggests for them to grab a drink. Jeongguk held Taehyung’s hand in his, pulling him through the crowd till they reach the bar. On their way someone harshly bumps into Jeongguk’s shoulder.

“Ouch,” Jeongguk said rubbing at his shoulder when they reached the bar.

“Someone hit your shoulder?” Taehyung asks, pressing lightly onto his own.

“Ah, I’m sorry, I didn’t really-”

“No, no. Don’t worry about it. It didn’t hurt as such.” Taehyung replied, a kind of sorrow flashing in his eyes. Jeongguk wondered if he was thinking about the past.
“It’s alright.” Jeongguk said with a smile. And it may have seemed out of context but Taehyung seemed to have understood what the younger male meant. He smiled at him appreciatively.

“You said you had a big assignment due, how did that go?” Taehyung asked.

“It was okay. I think I might manage an above average score.” Jeongguk laughed. He ordered a cocktail while Taehyung settled with a soda.

“When did you find out you were a lightweight?” Jeongguk asked, taking a sip from his drink.

“Yoongi hyung offered me a drink about two weeks before coming to uni. He took me for Korean barbecue and we had soju. I had like three shots and Yoongi hyung had to carry me all the way to the parking lot.” Taehyung replied, chuckling at the memory.

“Hey, three shots of soju are not too bad! I can’t call you a lightweight then!” Jeongguk said, Taehyung laughed shaking his head.

“I don’t know. I haven’t tried anything else other than that…”

“Do you want to?” Jeongguk asked, offering his drink. Taehyung’s eyes fell on Jeongguk’s tattoo that was poking from his jacket sleeve but he quickly averted his eyes. Jeongguk knew Taehyung might have also seen the light scar that ran underneath it, considering he was sure Taehyung had a similar one. He had never seen Taehyung’s scar because the older always mostly wore full sleeved shirts and tops.

“Maybe some other time.” Taehyung smiled. Jeongguk felt the sudden tension in the air. He wanted to tell the older male that no, the tattoo was not meant to hurt Taehyung. He never even thought he would meet Taehyung! It was only a reminder for him to be strong. He really wished the tattoo did not hurt Taehyung, though he knew that was not completely possible. But he knew that if he brought up the topic, there would many many more things that would be brought up along with it. And he did not know if Taehyung was ready for that yet.

Before the tension could fester, Yoongi and Jimin joined them looking slightly sweaty , Jeongguk made a face when he thought what they could have been possibly doing.

“Are you enjoying yourself Tae?” Jimin asked.

“Yeah, it’s kind of fun. I danced, Yoongi hyung.” Taehyung said, turning to his brother. Yoongi looked surprised.

“Wow Taehyung, I didn’t think I would ever hear you say that.”

“He’s a natural.” Jeongguk said, a little proudly. Jimin looked at him with a glint in his eye.

“Maybe you should dance with us too sometime, Taehyung!” Jimin said.

“Us, as in you and hyung?” Taehyung asked, confused.

“I meant the dance crew!” Jimin grinned. Taehyung looked slightly scandalised, making the other three laugh. “Oh god Tae, it’s almost as if I suggested you give us a strip tease! Chill, don’t worry. Yu don’t have to do anything you don’t want to!”

Taehyung blushed at Jimin’s words and looked away abashedly. Jeongguk observed Taehyung. His jaw was a very well defined one, along with his wide eyes and plump lips. Jeongguk couldn’t deny that he hadn’t thought of kissing him. But he knew they were taking things slow. It was a silent agreement between them.

Taehyung suddenly turned towards Jeongguk, catching him in between of his admiring-Taehyung’s-beauty session, making both of them blush.

“I was thinking,” Jeongguk asked, suddenly feeling a surge of confidence. He didn’t know if it was the little alcohol he had consumed or the atmosphere in the club “if you would like to go on a date with me. Like a proper one.”

Taehyung’s eyes widened and immediately he smiled right after. “Tha-that sounds nice. I would like that.”

“Okay. Do you like amusement parks?” Jeongguk asked, really hoping the older male didn’t say no, but much to his joy, Taehyung’s eyes lit up.

“I love them. I haven’t been to one in forever!”

“Okay then. Let’s go on Sunday.” Jeongguk smiled. Taehyung nodded eagerly. They stood their talking about general things when Jimin went to the washroom.

“Do you want a refill for that?” Jeongguk asked motioning towards Taehyung’s almost empty glass of soda.

“Not really,” Taehyung replied, “in fact, I think I might have to go to the washroom as well.”

“Do you want me to come along with you or something?” Jeongguk asked.

Taehyung laughed and shook his head. “Don’t worry. I think I know where the washroom is. I saw Jimin go that direction.”

Jeongguk smiled and watched Taehyung make his way to the washroom. He saw a few heads turn the other male’s way and tried his best to control the churning in his stomach. He took out his phone to see a few unanswered text messages. While he was replying to those messages -two of them from his mother- he lifted his head up when he heard Jimin’s voice.

“Oh, where’s Taehyung?”

“Yeah, he just entered the washroom when I was leaving. He asked me to go ahead, so I did.” Jimin shrugged.

Jeongguk nodded his head and went back to texting. It had been a little more than a week since he had talked to his parents. He had talked to his father after meeting Taehyung but had not told him about Taehyung. He did not want his parents to jump at him and his newly found soul mate with requests for meetings and a million questions even they had not asked each other. Now, he knew his parents were good people, and they would probably not ask any insensitive questions. But Jeongguk did not want to scare Taehyung. Jeongguk wondered about Taehyung’s relationship with his parents. He had talked often of his late mother, but he seemed to have a very strained relationship with his father. Often tensing up while mentioning him, even in passing. What he knew for certain was that Taehyung had a difficult past. But he really, truly hoped it was not as dark as his mind would make it out to be while thinking too much sometimes.

Jeongguk felt a strange kind of tension. He felt that uneasy churning in his stomach once again.

He looked around the club, not seeing his soul mate anywhere. He chewed on his lower lip in worry. He knew that there was nothing to be worried about. He had just gone to the washroom. He was literally a few meters away. He was just being strange-

Jeongguk felt a little too tight squeeze on his right wrist. He looked down on it, feeling a painful grip. Jeongguk’s eyes shot up in panic. What happened to Taehyung?
Jeongguk shot up from his seat, the panic setting full into his body, going in a fight mode. There was a similar kind of pain on his other wrist too now. He really hoped whatever it was he was thinking, was not happening.

He rushed to the direction of the washroom. He thought he heard one of his friends call after him, but that was the last thing on his mind.

No, no, no, please god, no. Jeongguk was praying that he was being delusional. When he reached the door of the washroom, he felt the pain in his wrists vanish completely. That did not in any way settle the uneasiness in the pit of his stomach though. He entered the washroom to see it completely empty. He felt the uneasiness reducing. He was confused. What was that feeling just now? Where was Taehyung? It had been a good fifteen minutes. Did he get lost? Jeongguk thought, running a hand through his styled hair. He gritted his teeth and sighed.

He is just about to leave because maybe Taehyung already came out! Jeongguk felt a slight pain in his jaw. Almost like…almost like someone was pressing up against it. With that, he heard the sound of shuffling of feet.

Jeongguk tried to be as quiet as he could. He opened the door and let it shut, in a pretense of leaving. Now, he couldn’t be sure if he was overthinking this situation. For all knew, Jimin pinched Taehyung’s cheek a little too tight. With his heart beating a little too loud, Jeongguk quietly made his way in front of the closed stalls. He peered down. The first three stalls were empty. The sting in his jaw got a little more painful. He gulped silently and that’s when two pairs of shoes caught his eyes from the little gap under the stalls.
Jeongguk couldn’t explain what he felt at that moment. They were Taehyung’s boots. The one he complimented before arriving here.

Jeongguk thought he couldn’t feel more scared and angry at the same time. What the fuck was happening. He ignored the pain that suddenly came on his wrists and moved forward taking quick but silent steps.

The shuffling was silent now. The only sound Jeongguk could hear were the muffled sounds of music from outside and the sound of his own heart beating in his ears.

He took a deep breath, trying to contain all the emotions he felt and started banging on the door.

Chapter Text

KTH ;; New York 2016

After having a tall glass of soda, Taehyung’s bladder had started protesting. Usually he would be able to hold the need to use the washroom quite easily, but for some reason in the current situation where Taehyung was also very nervous, nothing was working. Jeongguk’s presence helped a lot, but there was an underlying anxiety that he couldn’t figure out the source of. He signed it off as uneasiness of being in a completely new environment and let it be. But other than that, he was enjoying himself. The place was a little crowded but with Jeongguk, Yoongi and Jimin with him, he didn’t feel as uncomfortable as he thought he might. Jeongguk had stuck with him throughout the night too, which he was very grateful for. They had danced together and he had even asked him for a date. His heart had actually fluttered when Jeongguk asked him out. They had met up multiple times, but he didn’t know if he could call them dates, so this was something he was very much looking forward to.

He excused himself, telling Jeongguk that he was going to go to the washroom.

“Do you want me to come along with you or something?” Jeongguk asked.

Taehyung’s laughed and shook his head. “Don’t worry. I think I know where the washroom is. I saw Jimin go that direction.”

Jeongguk nodded with a smile and Taehyung started walking towards the direction he had seen Jimin disappearing to. He had to squeeze and slide through people, which was not the most pleasant thing to do, but he managed to find the washroom pretty quickly. Right when he was about to open the door, someone opened it from inside, giving him a scare. Taehyung laughed out loud when he saw it was Jimin with an equally surprised look.

“Hey, need to pee?” Jimin asked, sheepishly.

Taehyung nodded, trying not to laugh again.

“Want me to wait for you?”

“No, no. I won’t take too long.” Taehyung said, as he went inside the washroom. It was a fairly clean space. Taehyung saw that there were two open urinals, and three stalls. For some reason, he never felt safe peeing in open, like most men did. So he went inside a stall and closed the door behind him. Once he was done relieving himself, he went outside and washed his hands. He looked into the mirror, the little eyeliner that Yoongi had helped him put was still on. He gave himself a small smile, it had taken him a long time to be able to look into the mirror and not hate the reflection he saw. He had come a long way.

Taehyung wiped his hands on his jeans and began to walk towards the door. He heard the stall behind him open. Suddenly, it felt like someone was shooting daggers at the back of his head. He felt goose bumps all over his body. Before he could even wonder, why the hell he had reacted that way, he felt a startlingly tight grip on his wrist which was all too familiar. He felt his heart drop to his stomach as he turned around, praying to all the gods that existed that this was some kind of a twisted dream.

“Taehyung Kim. I knew it.” All colour left Taehyung’s face. He discreetly pinched his thigh. The grip on his hand didn’t loosen nor did he wake up in cold sweat like he had in the past.

The smirk on the man’s face was one that called for disaster. It was the same face from his nightmares. Taehyung’s heart was beating against his chest, he felt nauseated.

“H-Hanbin. L-let me go.” Taehyung tried to pull his hand away, but like always, he was too weak against the other male.

“Why TaeTae? I just found you!” Hanbin, the name itself made him sick. Seeing him here, after so many months, he knew he had to be the world’s unluckiest person. Gods must have hated him to give him such fate. “Aren’t you happy to see me?”

“Please don’t do this, please!” Taehyung had no idea what he was going to do. But he was terrified. Even the thought of the other male had sent shivers down his spine, but now that he was here in front of him, he felt his legs tremble.

Hanbin did not listen to a word he said, which was very expected. Instead he let out a chuckle, and pulled Taehyung against him, holding his other wrist in his hand as well. Taehyung tried to shake him off, tried his best to at least get him to loosen his hold. But it seemed like he had gotten much stronger than when they were students.

Taehyung’s ears perked up when he heard someone opening the door. But before he could scream out or feel relieved, Hanbin’s hand was over his mouth and he was being dragged into the stall he came out from.

“You better stay quiet. You don’t want a repeat of what happened the last time we met, right?” Hanbin whispered into his ear. It made him sick. Thinking about what had happened- no. No, he could not think about that now. He needed to escape from this situation, somehow. Jeongguk would be waiting for him.

Taehyung felt tears welling up in his eyes as he heard someone outside. Hanbin’s hands pressed against his jaw tighter. He was sure Jeongguk would be able to feel his pain by now. Their link had weakened, but it had started to get better since they met. He prayed to god, someone would find him. The tears flowed down his face when he heard the door close, all hopes being shattered.

“Nobody is going to come help you TaeTae.” Hanbin whispered in his ear. His voice was cruel and Taehyung had no idea what to make out of the face the other male was making. It was twisted into a sick form of happiness and disgust, much to his horror.

“I have a soulmate, H-Hanbin, please let me go.” Hanbin’s eyes narrowed, one of his hand’s loosened, not enough to break free but just enough for him to peek at Taehyung’s inked wrist.

Hanbin let out a low snort. “I’ll pretend I didn’t see it.” He was way too close now. Taehyung felt like he wanted to rip his skin out when he felt Hanbin’s breath on his neck.

He hated this. He hated this so much.

Taehyung closed his eyes, he knew he wasn’t weak, but he could not bring himself to stop shaking in that moment. He didn’t know how to get himself out of this situation.

But-

There was a loud banging against their door. It was as if oxygen was pumped into him and he could breathe again. The bangs became more frantic and the grip on his wrists got tighter. But he was struggling against them now. Someone was here, someone was going to help him!

“Hey! Open up! Taehyung? Tae, are you inside?”

He could recognise that voice anywhere. Jeongguk! It was Jeongguk!

“Taehyung! What is happening? Tae! Open the door!”

Taehyung tried to remember all the nights when Yoongi had held him and assured him that he was strong, he could protect himself. All the self defense classes he had taken, should not go to waste. The fear was receding in him, as he felt Jeongguk’s presence. With all the might Taehyung could gather at that moment, he brought up his leg and with the force he could gather, he aimed for Hanbin’s crotch.

“You little-” Right when Hanbin’s arms loosened on his wrists, Taehyung pushed him with great force, making him collide against the commode. Right in that moment, he opened the door, falling into the arms of his soulmate.

“Taehyung! Oh my god, Tae, are you okay?”

Taehyung let himself bury his head in Jeongguk’s chest. He was shaking. He had managed to push Hanbin away. He had done it.

“You fucking bitch, get back here-”

Taehyung felt a yank on his shirt, but he was immediately pulled back. Jeongguk then pushed the older male behind himself. Taehyung leaned against the counter and tried to even out his breathing.

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” He had never heard so much anger in Jeongguk’s voice.

“Get away man, you don’t know anything.” Hanbin sneered right back at him.

“All I need to know is that you are fucking abusing my soulmate.” Jeongguk said through clenched teeth, harshly tugging Hanbin’s collar.

“Get the fuck off me! Soulmate? Yeah, right!” Hanbin brought back his hand and went right at Jeongguk’s face with his fist. Taehyung lurched forward as Jeongguk staggered back. The last thing he wanted was for Jeongguk to get hurt while trying to protect him. But before he could ask Jeongguk to stop, the other male was throwing a punch at Hanbin, and pushing him to the floor. It was only a matter of seconds that Hanbin was under Jeongguk and was getting punched again and again and again. Taehyung could feel the hate radiate off of Jeongguk. He stood there in shock. He understood that Jeongguk must had realised who Hanbin was.

“Jeongguk, stop it! Stop it!” Taehyung said, pulling the younger male off of Hanbin who was coughing blood.

Jeongguk let himself be pulled back, perhaps relieved that the other male would be unable to attack them anymore.

“You fucking stay away from Taehyung!” Jeongguk shouted eyes dark.

“Let’s leave, please, let’s go.” Taehyung whispered.

“Just, let me call the security.” Jeongguk said. He led the two of them outside the washroom, hugging Taehyung close to himself. He took out his phone and said something to it but Taehyung wasn’t paying attention. He could not focus on anything properly. He just didn’t want to end up having a panic attack. His face was pressed against Jeongguk’s shoulder as he tried to focus on his breathing and Jeongguk’s calming hands rubbing his back.

Before he realised, Yoongi and Jimin were beside him and they were out of the club. The security had called the police who were waiting in a distance as Jeongguk explained to them what happened.

“Taehyung, oh my god, are you o-okay?” Jimin asked, once he was in Yoongi’s hold. Yoongi had his arm around his shoulders. The older male looked very angry, clenching his teeth as he saw the security drag Hanbin out of the club. He was spitting and resisting their hold.

Taehyung sent a small smile towards Jimin. “I-I’m fine.”

“I didn’t even know that asshole was in this state!” Yoongi muttered, full of anger.

“It’s okay. I-It’s not your fault.” Taehyung said, breathing out. He was still a little shaken, but much better than ten minutes ago.

Once Hanbin was safely locked inside the police car, Jeongguk walked towards them. Taehyung smiled at his soulmate as the younger male shot him a worried look.

“Thank you, Guk.” Taehyung said, as he went to hug Jeongguk. Jeongguk took Taehyung into his arms, putting his arms around his waist.

“I hardly did anything Tae.” Jeongguk whispered against the older male’s hair.

“You did. You saved me.” Taehyung replied, pulling back and smiling at his soulmate.

“I think we should call it a night. Let me drop you guys.” Yoongi said. “Do you want to sleepover at mine today, Tae?”

“Actually Yoongi, if you didn’t mind Jeongguk, I’d like to stay with Jeongguk a little longer.” Taehyung said, biting his lip. He knew he had a lot of explaining to do. He had delayed it enough. “If you are okay with that, Jeongguk.”

“Of course, you can even sleepover at mine if you want.” Jeongguk said, holding Taehyung’s hand.

“You sure?” Yoongi asked. Taehyung knew that Yoongi too had gotten a scare today. His brother already looked after him so much; he needed a little break sometimes.

“Yes, hyung.” Taehyung said in Korean, full of affection. Yoongi smiled at Taehyung and patted his cheek.

“If you need anything, call me.” Yoongi said.

“You’ll be okay, right?” Jimin asked, sounding slightly choked.

“Yeah Jimin.” Taehyung replied, feeling touched at how much Jimin cared about him. Jimin hugged him tightly before he and Yoongi had got into their cab and left. The other two soulmates too, got into their own cab.

They didn’t talk on their way to Jeongguk’s apartment but the younger male had taken Taehyung’s hand in his own and was rubbing it soothingly. Taehyung leaned against the window and watched the blurry lights, still feeling a little weak. He closed his eyes.