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On My Life (I Swear)

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Hoseok was starving.

 

He was so ready to go eat, kinda feeling like eating some street food. He quickly made his way to where he knew some of the best food stalls were. When he gets there, he locates his favorite food stall, delicious and cheap, waiting for his turn to eat some of the street food. There were a lot of people out at this time of day, prime dinner time, but when Hoseok walks up there was only the ahjumma who ran the cart and a young man standing at the food stall. Hoseok wasn't paying any attention but he glances up a few times when he hears the ahjumma laughing at something the boy says. The boy smiles at her too and Hoseok vaguely registers it before he goes back to his food. He was hungry today. He was about to lift his food to his mouth when it happened.

 

Nobody expects it when suddenly there's a gasp in the crowd and another young boy comes running through. He snatches the purse right from the ahjumma's arms and runs right off, bumping into people, pushing and shoving to get away as fast as possible. Adrenaline barely kicks into Hoseok's system by the time he realizes that the tall boy at the stall had already taken off into a sprint after the guy.

 

Concern sprouts in his stomach like a plant popping up from a seed and Hoseok feels his legs moving along after them before he registers it in his head. He follows the path the robber and the food stand boy had made and pretty soon the crowd breaks and he was following behind the boy's barely visible body in the distance. The robber turns into an alley and moves to hop over a gate. The boy jumps on a few nearby garbage cans and manages to propel himself over the gate as well, but Hoseok knows where these alleys lead. It was all just one big giant maze in these areas, with one alley leading into another one and Hoseok knew that if he tried to go after them like this he would fall way behind. He was fast, but not that fast. The burglar and the boy running after him were both fast as hell. Hoseok wasn't a damn cheetah and he couldn't leap over gates like that, so he loops back around, knowing exactly where the alleys would lead him in order to run head-first into the two giving chase.

 

He ducks to his side, spriting as fast as he could, ducking into another alley before turning left and circling back around. He sees the alleyway entrance coming up. Just beyond there would be an open street. Once the burglar got through there it would be almost impossible for the boy or Hoseok to catch up to him. They needed to stop him before he reached the opening. 

 

It seemed Hoseok wasn't the only one hot on the guy's tail for right when he comes into the clearing, the boy almost had his hand right to the back of the burglar's collar until--

 

Hoseok runs right smack into the both of them, subsequent grunts of pain coming out with screams of shock. He tackles the burglar down and throwing them into a roll. Hoseok twists his body the way he always learned how to take down an opponents. In the end, he ends up on top, the burglar kid with his front facing the hard gravel and his arms locked behind his back where Hoseok had him pinned down. Hoseok's knee was jammed hard into the boy's spinal cord and he jerked once. Hoseok grabbed the ahjumma's purse from his arm and throws it back to where he figured the other boy would be.

 

"Let me go! Let me go!" the burglar screams at him from beneath him.

 

"Shut up," Hoseok mutters with a grunt, "You're just a kid. You should be in school."

 

The boy shudders and gasps, suddenly starting to cry at being caught. Damn it. These pickpocketers were getting younger and younger. Hoseok stands the boy up and yanks him forward, "Don't ever go snatching ahjumma's purses again or I will turn you into the police. Got it?"

 

The boy nods frantically.

 

"Good." He lets go of the boys collar and the boy sprints as fast as he can out of the alleys. Jesus. Kids these days.

 

Turning around to the other boy, Hoseok finds that he was picking himself up off the ground with a pained groan. "Fuck...that hurt like a bitch."

 

Hoseok walks up to the boy and offers him a hand up, "Sorry about that, these alleys are looped together and I figured if I--"

 

The boy ignores Hoseok's outstretched hand and picks himself up, dusting off his pants and his jacket before adjusting the beanie on his head. "Yeah, yeah, whatever. Nice going, hero, you let the guy get away."

 

"He was a kid!" Hoseok exclaims, shocked that this guy in front of him was suddenly getting mad at him.

 

"He was still a robber," the boy says, his face barely concealing disdain and--what was that? Disappointment?

 

The boy turns around, picks up the purse and marches off back towards the food stand. Hoseok scoffs internally, following after him.  "Look, man, I didn't mean to steal your thunder or anything. I was just trying to get the purse back--"

 

"And you did. So good job. Bye." The boy's sarcastic words were biting and if Hoseok was a bit more sensitive, he might've been offended. But Hoseok had a thick skin. They finally make it back to the food stand where the ahjumma was waiting with an anxious face. When she spots them her face lights up.

 

"Oh my goodness, I can't believe this just happened!" she says, her voice loud, hugging the boy who hands her her purse back, "Thank you so much. You didn't have to do that, but you did anyway and--oh goodness, I don't know how I could ever repay you! I--"

 

"It's okay, ahjumma," the tone in the boy's voice changes so fast, it gives Hoseok whiplash. He actually sounded...sweet?! "Just keep serving your delicious ddeokbeokki and I'll be happy."

 

"Aigooo," she coos again. The boy turns to walk away, when Hoseok starts after him.

 

Hoseok grabs onto his shoulder, effectively managing to surprise the boy who turns around. Hoseok hurridly drops his hand, "Uh...I'm sorry about that."

 

The boy looks confused, "Sorry about what?"

 

"For hurting you when I tackled you both like that," Hoseok says, an embarrassed chuckle on his lips. The boy looks him up and down, as if sizing him up to see if he was actually being genuine or if he was being a sarcastic dick.

 

"It's cool," the boy says, waving it off, "As long as ahjumma got her purse back, I don't really care if I got hurt."

 

That wasn't good enough for Hoseok. "Okay, but how about I buy you a meal? To say sorry at least?"

 

"I already told you, it's fine--"

 

"Alcohol's on me?" Hoseok offers. The kid look old enough to drink at least. That seems to get the boy's attention. His eyebrow lifts in interest, before his face twists into something devious.

 

"Haven't you ever heard of stranger danger?" the guy asks, "How do I know you're not gonna kidnap me and rape me or something?"

 

Okay, now Hoseok was genuinely offended. "I am not a--!"

 

The boy laughs, throwing his head back, "That's exactly what a kidnapper would say!"

 

"If I was a kidnapper, wouldn't I have offered you candy or something? Or asked you to help me find my dog or--"

 

"Alright, alright!" The boy snaps, his nose wrinkling in such a way that tells Hoseok that he was actually amused rather than genuinely irritated. "Fine. Let's go eat. But I want meat."

 

"Okay, deal!" Hoseok agrees, "Meat. I can do that. It's a date."

 

"So you were trying to get into my pants!" the boy whips around, pointing at him. 

 

"No! I'm not--" Hoseok splutters, but the hilarity on the boy's face told him that he was joking again.  

 

This punk ass little--

 

********

 

"So," the man asks, putting another slice of meat onto his bowl, "I never got to ask your name."

 

Jungkooks snorts, "Maybe I wasn't trying to give it to you."

 

"You wound me," the man fake cries, pretending to sob into his rice. "I'm Hoseok, by the way, in case you were wondering who your kidnapper was."

 

Jungkook actually laughs at that. "Nice to meet you, kidnapper. Do you have a business card with that? I'm not sure that I believe this is a legitimate practice."

 

"Unfortunately, I don't give my card out to people whose names I don't know," the man named Hoseok tells him, with a greasy little wink, "stranger danger and all that."

 

Jungkook leans back with a chuckle. Okay, he had to give it to the guy. He knew how to hand Jungkook his ass in a box with a pretty pink bow tied on top. 

 

"Jungkook," is all he tells him. Hoseok looks up at him, distracted from his food.

 

"Nice to meet you, Jungkook," Hoseok says before going back to his food. He flips another piece of meat over before picking up another and depositing it in Jungkook's bowl again.

 

"How old are you?" Jungkook finds himself asking. 

 

"25. You?" 

 

"Age is but a number," Jungkook answers suavely. 

 

"Wow," Hoseok says, drama flairing in his voice as he places his chopsticks down on the table, "If I had known you were gonna be such a smart ass I probably wouldn't have offered to buy you food."

 

"Yeah, but you owe me," Jungkook tells him.

 

"More like you owe me, I caught the burglar," Hoseok says.

 

"And you let him go," Jungkook says back. "Therefore, you're a dumbass."

 

"And you're a punk ass little--"

 

"Waiter!" Jungkook calls out, "Can we get the bill!"

 

Hoseok coughs indignantly. "So rude. How can a person like this exist? Speaking casually and everything," he mutters to himself.

 

Jungkook smiles wide. He was not about to tell Hoseok how old he was. He wasn't about to start speaking formally with him. He'd had enough of the whole 'hyung-dongsaeng' bullshit to last him a lifetime. It'd been a while since he actually made a friend. Regardless of age.

 

It was getting pretty late and Jungkook knew he was supposed to be getting back, but he didn't exactly want to leave yet.

 

"Do you have anywhere you need to be?" Hoseok asks him as they walk out of the restaurant.

 

"No. Why? Trying to get into my pants again?" Jungkook teases. It was funny watching Hoseok's face twist from one of surprise to annoyance to grumbly acceptance. He was a really expressive person. Reacting to every thing, not hiding a single emotion on his face. It was refreshing to say the least.

 

"Keep it up, you might give someone the wrong idea," Hoseok says, his voice suddenly taking on a deeper tone, raising an eyebrow at Jungkook. It causes Jungkook to stop in place. Whoa, okay. Yeah, that was freaky.

 

"The only one with ideas here is you," Jungkook says, gulping. If Hoseok notices he doesn't say anything.

 

"You're right," Hoseok says. Holy--what now?

 

"And my idea is that I could really use a drink," Hoseok says, "After chasing after a burglar and then being forced to pay for an ungrateful son of a--"

 

"Get to the point."

 

"As I was saying," Hoseok continues, "After all of that, I promised I would buy you alcohol. You up for hitting a bar?"

 

"Not a club?" Jungkook asks. Didn't all the younger people in this area usually go to clubs to get drinks? Hoseok shrugs it off.

 

"Clubs are too loud and I don't actually feel like dancing right now. Why, did you want to go to a club?" Hoseok asks.

 

Jungkook shakes his head, "Nah, not really."

 

"Cool," Hoseok says, taking ahold of his arm and leading him in the other direction, "then let's go. But I swear to god if you get black out drunk, I am not--"

 

"I won't, sheesh, gimme some credit!"

 

"How can I give credit to a guy who interrupts my every sentence?" Hoseok snarks back, "and besides you still haven't told me how old you are."

 

"That's for me to know and you to maybe never find out," Jungkook says.

 

Hoseok snorts, "I figured, to be honest. You seem like the problematic type."

 

"And you seem like the--"

 

"We're here!" Hoseok leads him into a walk-up bar, taking the stairs and settling inside. The interior was, to put it simply, not what Jungkook was expecting. He didn't know what he was expecting really, maybe some music and a semi-packed bar filled up with drunk college students. What he hadn't expected was actually a rather quiet place, only some low hip hop coming out through the speakers and a few patrons, some couples, a few loners off to the side. Hoseok takes them right up to the bar where a man with grey hair was cleaning the counter.

 

When he looks up, the man gives Hoseok a smile, "Hey, Hobi, who's your new friend?"

 

"I just met him today, actually," Hoseok tells the man, "Yoongi hyung, this is Jungkook. Jungkook, this is Yoongi hyung. We caught a burglar together today."

 

The man named Yoongi raises a disbeliving eyebrow, "Wow, Hobi, wasn't expecting you to use your powers for such a noble cause."

 

Hoseok snorts.

 

"Powers?" Jungkook speaks up.

 

Yoongi quirks a lopsided smile, "Hoseok here's a straight up ninja."

 

Hoseok smacks the man in the arm, "Don't lie to him, Yoongi, jeez. I just have a third degree black belt. No big."

 

Jungkook's jaw drops. "No big? What--so that's how you managed to take that guy down so easily."

 

"It's not anything really," Hoseok tries to deny.

 

"In undergrad, Hoseok once took a guy down three times his size and knocked him out so hard that he--"

 

"Okay, Yoongi, fuck, now you're just purposely trying to scare the guy. Stop already." Hoseok says with a half amused, half serious face.

 

Jungkook laughs, more impressed than intimidated, "Damn. Remind me not to fuck with you then."

 

"You've literally been fucking with me all evening--"

 

"I have not--"

 

"Okay, here's your drinks," Yoongi sets down two beers in front of them, "You can shut up now."

 

And with that, Yoongi walks away to tend to his other patrons and leaves Jungkook and Hoseok to drink their beers.

 

"So..." Jungkook says, "Mr. Ninja, what is it you do?"

 

"Do?"

 

"Yeah, like your job." Jungkook clarifies, "Unless your job is to go around tackling burglars and knocking random pedestrians out."

 

Hoseok fails miserably to stifle a laugh, accidentally snorting into his drink. "I'm actually...in between jobs right now."

 

"Oh."

 

"Yeah." Hoseok says, "What about you? Got a job? Or are you in school?"

 

"I'm...." Jungkook racks his brain, "I'm also between jobs right now."

 

Hoseok seems to accept it well enough. Either Jungkook was a great actor or Hoseok was a gullible doof. 

 

"What do you do for fun then?" Hoseok asks, "Other than flirting with ahjumma's and accusing kind samaritans of kidnapping you."

 

Jungkook lets out a laugh that most definitely was not a giggle.

 

"Hmmm...." Jungkook actually has to think about that, "Well...I like to write. I draw sometimes...I also dabble a bit in the ancient lost art of parkour, perhaps you've heard of it?"

 

Hoseok throws his head back into a loud laugh, a free sound that echoes off the walls and bouces back into Jungkook's ears. Jungkook doesn't even realize it when he ends up smiling along with him. 

 

"You are something else, man." Hoseok ends up telling him. Jungkook tries not to let it go to his head.

 

He fails.

 

"Indeed. I am the shit," he says.

 

"Yeah," Hoseok agrees, "you are a piece of shit."

 

"Such shade," Jungkook winces, "Tough talk coming from you."

 

"Even though you won't tell me your age, I'm still like 87% sure I'm older than you," Hoseok says.

 

"You will never ever win the lottery," Jungkook tells him. Quite a shame.

 

"Fuck," Hoseok curses, "There goes my dream of owning a yacht. Guess I'm gonna have to go back to my day job as a daytime hooker."

 

Jungkook laughs again, enjoying hanging out with this guy he met earlier today. It startles him slightly when his phone beeps in his pocket. He takes it out, sparing a single glance at the time before opening the text message.

 

From: Jimin

Jeon Jungkook, you get your ass back home right this minute or you can expect your Dad to send the cavarly out to drag you back home by your hair.

 

"Shit," Jungkook mutters. He stands up quickly. Hoseok's eyes turn towards him.

 

"What's wrong?"

 

"Uh, sorry, but I gotta get back home. Like now," Jungkook tells him, pocketing his phone and taking one last large gulp of his beer. He was gonna need the alcohol to numb the pain of having his head chopped off later. "Thanks for dinner and the drinks, I--"

 

"Hey, Jungkook, are you okay?" Hoseok stands up, looking at him with concern.

 

"Y-Yeah, I just--" Jungkook quickly bends over the bar, snatching up a pen. He grabs Hoseok's arm and scribbles his number on there, "Here's my number. We'll hang out again soon, okay? Yeah! Bye!"

 

"Wait--"

 

Jungkook zooms out of the bar as fast as he could, rushing until he reaches the main street. He hops in a cab and hightails it out of there. His dad was not gonna be happy that he ditched his guard and snuck out. 

 

Maybe if he was lucky, the guard would get fired.