"So, what brings you here this afternoon," The counsellor across them asked, leaning back in his chair and folding his hands in his lap.
There was a gold nameplate on his desk that read Mr Choi. He seemed like a nice man, late thirties, early forties at the least. Taehyung wondered if he was married. Did marriage counsellors use their own tips and tricks in their own private life?
"Well," Taehyung spoke at the same time as Jimin did, and they both turned their heads to look at each other. Jimin gestured with one hand for Taehyung to go ahead before dropping it back into his lap and looking back at Mr Choi.
Taehyung held back a sigh at Jimin’s frosty exterior. Over these past few years, Taehyung thought he would have gotten used to the lack of conversation and the lack of affection but he hadn’t. It still made his heart ache to have to sit in a heavy silence day in and day out.
Taehyung cleared his throat. "Well, we don't really need to be here," He began and the counsellor raised his eyebrows, clearly disbelieving. Taehyung knew how he felt. "What I mean is, our marriage isn't bad. This is more of a check-up, you know, just to iron out any kinks so we can get back to being us, Kim Taehyung and Park Jimin."
"Right," Mr Choi said, taking the cap off of his pen and pressing the nib to the paper in front of him. "How long have you been married?"
"Five years," Taehyung said, sitting up in his seat.
"Six." Taehyung turned to look at Jimin, but Jimin still wasn't looking in his direction. "It's been six years."
"Five or six years," Taehyung nodded, eyes following the movement of the counsellors pen across the page. He inwardly sighed. He wondered what the old man was writing down. Kim Taehyung can't even remember how many years he's been married, maybe? This was already going badly and they hadn't even been in the room for ten minutes.
"And how happy, on a scale of one to ten, would you say you are?" Mr Choi looked at them both.
"One being not happy, ten being super happy?" Taehyung questioned, trying to ignore the daggers he could feel Jimin shooting at him. He just wanted to be sure. He didn’t want to fuck up any further than he already had.
"Just go with your gut feeling. After three, one, two, three-"
"Eight." The both of them spoke in unison again.
Taehyung watched Mr Choi continue to make notes. He felt restless in the office, it was too dull and empty. It felt like he was back at school and this was the head teachers office, he and Jimin were the naughty children who wouldn't stop having spats on the playground. If only things could be resolved as quickly as a childish argument, then Taehyung's life would be so much easier.
"Do you have sex often?" Mr Choi asked, placing his pen down on the paper.
"Do you ask all your clients this?" Jimin asked. His tone was steely and Taehyung couldn't help but let out a small smile. That was the Jimin he knew. He was still there somewhere.
"It's procedure," Mr Choi said, but he moved on when neither Taehyung or Jimin spoke up. "Tell me about when you first met."
"Well, it was five, no six," Taehyung looked over at Jimin as he corrected himself, "six years ago. We were in Italy."
"Rome," Jimin added. There was a distant look in his eye, a small smile on his lips.
"Yeah," Taehyung nodded. "We were in Rome..."
Five or six years ago, Rome, Italy
It was too early to be drinking whisky but Taehyung was drinking it anyway. He was done with work for the day – he’d followed a mark around the town until he'd walked into the trap laid out by the other members of Taehyung's team who had been lying in wake, waiting - and he had a few days to kill before he had to head home, back to Seoul. Seoul's forecast was cloudy, with an eighty percent chance of rain, so Taehyung thought he'd make the most of the little holiday he'd been granted and soak up the sun whilst he could. Italy was lovely. He’d have to put in a request to come back if anything popped up on this side of the globe.
Taehyung was considering ordering another drink when the doors to the hotel were flung open. He swirled on his seat at the bar, watching as men dressed in police uniforms marched in, hands resting on the weapons at their waists.
"What's going on?" He turned to the bartender and gestured towards the police men. His Italian was rough and they were speaking too fast for him to catch everything - he heard a bank, suspect and an alone, but that was all.
"There was a robbery," The man said as he wiped down the bar. "They're looking for people who are travelling alone, they think their suspect was just one man."
"Thank you," Taehyung said, downing the last drop of his drink and placing his glass down on the bar. His second drink would have to wait. He stepped down off of his stool and made sure that the gun in the holster around his waist was hidden under his shirt.
"Sir," A police officer stepped towards him as he made to leave and head back to his room. "Sir are you travelling alone?"
"I'm sorry," Taehyung put on his best confused face and frowned. "I can't quite understand you."
"Are you alone?" The officer repeated, only this time in English.
Taehyung opened his mouth to answer when there was another commotion at the entrance to the hotel. That was when he saw him - dark hair, plump lips and white button up shirt opened wide at the collar to reveal sun kissed skin. They made eye contact across the room and the other man made his way towards Taehyung.
There was a police officer on his tail, but the other man shook his head and pointed in Taehyung's direction. The officer followed his finger and nodded, and the tanned stranger walked over to Taehyung, slipping a hand into his own.
"Hey honey," The stranger said, smiling brightly up at him. "I was looking for you everywhere." He then turned his dazzling smile on the police officer who had been hounding Taehyung, switching to Italian. "It's okay, he's with me."
The officer nodded before walking off and leaving the two of them alone.
"Do you have a room here?" The stranger asked Taehyung, this time in Korean.
"Yeah, follow me," Taehyung responded, pulling the man into the corridor and up a flight of stairs.
Taehyung unlocked his hotel room and the two slid inside, shutting the wooden door behind them and leaning against it. Taehyung could hear the police officers move through the hotel on the other side, continuing their search.
"I'm Jimin," The stranger said, breaking the silence and looking over at him.
"Taehyung," He responded, offering his hand for Jimin to shake.
Jimin glanced down at his palm before reaching out to shake it, his hands soft in Taehyung’s own.
"Hey, you want to get dinner?" Jimin asked as their hands dropped back to their sides. "As a thanks, I mean. You didn't have to play along back there."
"Sure," Taehyung responded. "As long as you’re paying."
Jimin laughed, the sound sweet and heavenly to Taehyung's ears. If dinner meant he was spending more time in the presence of such a radiant being, Taehyung was all for it. "It's a deal."
The hotel they were staying at had a restaurant out on the stone patio of the gardens. From their table, Taehyung could see the river that ran alongside the hotel, its path lit up by little red lanterns. In the corner of the patio on a small stage there was a man playing a flute. It was very atmospheric, and he told Jimin so.
"It is, isn't it?" Jimin said with a smile as he picked at the bread they had been given. "The lanterns are a nice touch."
"Do you think the flute player knows any faster songs? I have to admit; he’s making me feel a little sleepy." Taehyung said and Jimin reached out, making to hit Taehyung’s arm with a quiet laugh. It had only been a few hours but Jimin’s laugh was fast becoming one of Taehyung’s favourite sounds.
"Stop it, it's nice."
The musician soon stopped much to Jimin's disappointment (although Taehyung inwardly jumped for joy), bowing at the round of applause the audience offered him, and soon the air was filled with the sound of a woman's smooth voice, singing about love and promises.
"Do you dance?" Jimin asked, tilting his head to the side as he watched other couples from the surrounding tables get up and move to the stone floor.
Taehyung snorted. "No. I have many talents but dancing definitely isn’t one of them."
"Aw, come on," Jimin finished his glass of wine - his third one that night - and stood up, holding out his hand for Taehyung to take. "Dance with me."
Taehyung looked from Jimin's palm, his fingers small and thicker than Taehyung's slender digits, to Jimin's face, his eyes were twinkling and there was a teasing smile on his face. With a sigh, Taehyung pushed back the wicker chair he had been sat on and took Jimin's hand into his own.
As soon as they were in the midst of the other couples, Jimin began to sway his hips to the beat, pulling Taehyung in closer so that he could wind his arms around Taehyung’s neck. Taehyung’s arms went to Jimin’s waist, Jimin's shirt so thin that Taehyung could feel the warmth of his skin radiating through it.
They were pressed close together, and Taehyung couldn’t take his eyes off Jimin. He was hypnotising, the hazel of his eyes sparkling under the lantern light, his lips looking so much more pink and soft when he was up close. They were moving slowly in a simple rhythm, but it was still so intimate. One of Jimin’s hands went up to touch the hairs at the nape of Taehyung’s neck, and Taehyung shivered, tongue slipping out to wet his lips, a movement Jimin’s eyes traced. Whether it'd been because of nerves or arousal, he didn’t know, didn’t care. When they were wrapped up in each other like this, Taehyung was able to forget about everything else, even if it was only for a little while.
There had been clouds in the sky all night and it was then that the heavens decided to open, the rain pouring down on them just as Taehyung took the leap and moved forward, pressing his lips against Jimin’s. Jimin pressed back immediately and he sighed into Taehyung’s mouth, the hand at the back of Taehyung’s head gripping onto his hair a little tighter. Taehyung felt like he was drowning – drowning in the heat of Jimin’s skin, his soft touch. He tugged on Jimin’s lower lip, eyes flickering open and pulling away, albeit reluctantly.
"Want to come back to my room?" Taehyung asked, and Jimin smiled at him, his wet hair brushing against Taehyung’s forehead as he reached up to press a quick kiss to Taehyung’s lips.
"Lead the way."
Taehyung would be damned if Jimin wasn't the most beautiful person he'd ever laid eyes on. They were wandering through the streets of Hongdae, stopping every so often to wander into shops and buying food from street stalls whenever they wanted a snack.
They'd kept in touch after their holiday excursion was over, and Taehyung was pleasantly surprised to find out that they both resided in Seoul.
"That's good," He'd told Jimin, just before he departed for the airport. "Because I want to see you again."
Jimin had flushed under Taehyung's heavy gaze and Taehyung had grinned, leaning forward to kiss him quickly one last time before he got into his taxi.
Now here they were, two months later, relishing in each other's company as they walked through the city streets.
"Is that a fair?" Jimin asked, standing on his tiptoes to look over the crowd.
"Looks like it," Taehyung said, just able to make out what looked like a coconut shy in the distance.
"Let's go," Jimin said, slipping out from under Taehyung's arm and tangling their fingers together. He leaned forward, pulling Taehyung down so that their lips met. "If you win me something I'll pay for dinner tonight."
"Sounds good to me," Taehyung said, allowing Jimin to pull him through the crowds.
They ended up in the queue for a game where you had to knock over cans with a ball. Taehyung had his arm thrown over Jimin's shoulder as they watched the others in front of them try and fail to knock down more than two or three cans.
"Do you think you can get the prize?" Taehyung asked. "Don't they normally rig these?"
"I've got a decent aim," Jimin shrugged, snuggling into the warmth of Taehyung’s body. “I’ll give it my best shot.”
They were next up, so Taehyung dropped his arm to take the balls from the stall owner, passing three to Jimin and keeping three for himself. He went first and he was pretty sure that he’d be able to knock them down, he was a damn good shot after all. He decided to play down his skills a little though, so not to arouse suspicion and he managed to knock down three out of six cans.
"Do I win anything?" He asked, and the stall owner shook his head.
"Damn," Taehyung pouted and looked over to Jimin. "Sorry babe."
Jimin patted his arm and stepped up to the mark. He tossed one of the balls into the air as he looked at the cans laid out in front of him, before lifting his arm and throwing it. Jimin knocked the top can down with his first shot, the two below it wobbling from the force of his throw. Jimin didn't waste any time, pelting his second ball at the cans and sending the bottom middle can flying, four others tumbling down with it. Jimin's final throw was gentler, almost mocking because he knew he had won. Even after what he’d just seen, Taehyung was still surprised when Jimin hit the final can with his third ball, knocking it down and turning to the stall owner with a smug smile and pointing at the large Kumamon teddy in the back corner.
"Can I have that one please?" He asked and the stall owner nodded slowly, reaching over to grab it before passing it over to Jimin.
"What the fuck, where did you learn to throw like that?" Taehyung asked as they walked away, sliding his arm back around Jimin's shoulder's whilst his boyfriend cuddled the teddy to his chest.
"I played sports in school," Jimin said nonchalantly, smiling at Taehyung. "I was top of my class."
"Damn," Taehyung let out a whistle and Jimin laughed.
"So I said I would pay for dinner if you won," Jimin said, looking up at Taehyung. "And that didn't happen, so are you paying for dinner now?"
"Was that your plan all along? To give me false hope and then snatch it away from right under my nose?" Taehyung clutched at his shirt with his free hand. "You've hurt me."
"Stop it," Jimin hit Taehyung's chest lightly and grinned. "You still did well."
"Not as well as you though," Taehyung pressed his lips against the crown of Jimin's head and murmured, "How about we skip dinner and I reward you instead?"
Jimin inhaled sharply and Taehyung smiled to himself. "Yeah," Jimin nodded. "We could do that."
Jimin didn't know how many times he had run up and down the training room. It didn't matter, the focus of the session was speed anyway. It wasn’t exactly easy to concentrate though, not when you had Min Yoongi on your back hounding you about your personal life.
"What do you mean you're going to move in with him?" Yoongi demanded, clutching a stopwatch in one hand. "Fifteen point seven."
"I like him," Jimin responded, touching his fingers to the wall before he turned and ran back to the other end of the hall.
"It's been two months," Yoongi said, shaking his head in disbelief. "Who moves in with someone after two months? Fifteen point twelve."
"Well, I do clearly," Jimin was sweating through his shirt and his throat was dry. "Can I get a break if you're going to continue to give me the third degree, hyung?"
"Fine," Yoongi said, dropping the stopwatch so that it swung back and forth from the string around his neck. "Are you sure you're not moving too quickly? I'm not trying to get you to change your mind, I'm just genuinely curious. I don't think I've ever seen you fall for somebody this quick."
Jimin stopped, bending down and resting his palms on his knees as he got his breath back. "There's a first time for everything hyung."
Yoongi snorted and Jimin sat down on the floor, looking up at him. "Trust me, I've thought about this. I want to move in with him. I really like him."
"Does 'really like him' translate to 'love him'?" Yoongi asked, letting out a laugh when Jimin gave him the finger.
"I say go for it," Hyejin walked over from where she had been doing sit ups just across the room. "He looks cute, he seems nice, what could go wrong?"
"Well everything now that you've said that," Yoongi said, crossing his arms. "Do you watch horror movies? Those are the words that some idiot says right before things go to shit."
Hyejin waved him off and crouched down next to Jimin. "Go get him tiger. Follow your heart."
"I don't get it," Jungkook said, leaning against the wall as he watched Taehyung tighten the straps of the gloves around his wrists.
"Get what," Taehyung asked.
Jungkook has been following him round and shooting him odd looks all day. Taehyung had just left him to it, knowing that he'd talk about whatever it was that was on his mind eventually. It was just typical that he’d chosen to bring it up when Taehyung was about to start training and not in the hour lunch break they’d just had.
"You and this guy-" Jungkook began.
"Jimin," Taehyung interrupted.
"Right, you and Jimin. You've known each other two months and you've told each other you love each other and you're moving in together?" Jungkook questioned.
"Yup," Taehyung said, throwing a fist at the punching bag in front of him.
"It took me months before I told Hoseok I loved him, and we didn't move in together until last year," Jungkook frowned.
"Every couple is different Jungkook, every couple is different." Taehyung responded, throwing another punch.
"Yeah, I know it's just... Are you sure you’re not moving too fast? I don't want to see you get hurt, hyung." Jungkook said and Taehyung turned to look at him.
"I appreciate you worrying about me but really, you don't have to Jungkookie. Jimin and I, we're good. We both agreed we want to do this." Taehyung told him with a small smile. "If I wasn't sure about it I wouldn't have done it."
"Okay," Jungkook sighed, unfolding his arms. "If you say so. I won’t bother you about it anymore."
"I'm guessing if I told you I’ve bought a ring and I’m thinking about proposing soon you’d just start worrying again wouldn’t you?” Taehyung looked up just in time to see Jungkook choke on his water, his eyes looking like they were about to bulge out of his head.
"What?" Jungkook spluttered. “Are you serious?”
Taehyung just smiled at him and Jungkook brought his hands up to hide his face. There was a tap on Taehyung's shoulder and he turned to see Namjoon stood behind him. "Do you man, just do you."
"Thanks hyung," Taehyung said with a grin, and Namjoon nodded before walking away again whilst Jungkook watched on, shaking his head in disbelief.
“So, what do you think about Mr Choi?” Jimin asked.
“He seemed nice,” Taehyung answered as he rifled through his side of their joint wardrobe in search for a shirt. “What about you?”
Jimin was quiet and Taehyung turned to see him leaning against the wall, watching him. Jimin was still in his bathrobe, the white fluffy thing one of the wedding gifts they’d gotten all those years ago. It was from someone Jimin knew, Seokjin? Taehyung had to admit, the guy knew his fabrics. The bathrobes were a good quality; they were so soft and there had been several occasions where he’d been so cosy that he’d fallen asleep whilst wearing his. Years ago, Jimin would have accidentally woken him up as he tried to peel the robe off of him, giggling at Taehyung’s dazed and sleepy state. Now though, Taehyung would wake himself up, kicking off the covers and taking off the robe whilst Jimin was curled up asleep next to him.
“Did you not like him?” Taehyung asked when Jimin didn’t speak up. “We can change counsellor if you’d like.”
“No,” Jimin said. “He’s fine.”
Jimin moved then, walking past Taehyung to go into their shared bathroom. The separate sinks had been a cute touch at first, but now Taehyung was glad they were there. It meant they could avoid awkward elbow touches in the morning whilst they were brushing their teeth.
Taehyung sighed, pulling on his shirt and buttoning it up. Taehyung had lied at the counsellor’s appointment. This was bad. Was it even possible that Mr Choi could fix this? He really hoped so. Taehyung picked up his coat and grabbed his bag from the floor, tossing it over his shoulder.
“I’m heading out now,” Taehyung called and Jimin stuck his head out of the bathroom, toothbrush hanging out of his mouth.
His and Jimin’s relationship definitely wasn’t what it used to be, but Taehyung really didn’t want to give this up. He loved Jimin. He loved moments like this, when Jimin was looking at him barefaced and beautiful and everything almost seemed normal. Even now, Jimin was still able to send Taehyung’s heart racing.
“Okay,” Jimin said around the toothbrush. “Dinner’s at seven, don’t be late.”
“I’ll be there,” Taehyung nodded, turning to leave the bedroom. “Bye.”
“See you later,” Jimin’s voice followed him down the hallway and Taehyung sighed once again.
Jimin was in the kitchen when Taehyung got home. He watched from the window as his husband’s car pulled into the driveway. He could see Taehyung’s fingers tapping the steering wheel and Jimin wondered what he was listening to. Back when they first moved in together, the two of them made sure to clear their weekends so that they could just drive around and visit different places. Taehyung would always be blasting new music from the stereo, recommendations from someone at his workplace. It used to be so loud – if it wasn’t the music it was them, singing, talking, laughing. There was nothing like that now, only a heavy silence that made Jimin’s chest ache.
Jimin picked a knife from the rack and began to slice the vegetables as Taehyung stepped through the door. Taehyung walked towards him, peering over Jimin’s shoulder and resting a palm ever so lightly on his back.
“Smells good,” He said, pressing a quick kiss to Jimin’s cheek.
It was just a brush of Taehyung’s lips but Jimin gripped the knife in his hand tighter. He really hoped they could fix this – that this marriage counselling could at least get them talking about what it was that had gone wrong. Jimin craved more affection, more of Taehyung’s love. He didn’t want pecks on the cheek or on the lips, he wanted proper kisses, ones that sent a tingle down his spine and made him moan.
“You’re home early,” Jimin said as Taehyung moved away.
“Yeah, not much manual work to do today,” Taehyung told him, pouring himself a glass of water. “Spent most of my time filing paper work.”
Jimin hummed as he put the vegetables into the pot. “Dinner’s nearly done. Would you set the table please?”
“Sure babe,” Taehyung said, walking past him to collect the cutlery and take it into the dining room.
Jimin rested his palms on the kitchen work surface and let out an unsteady breath.
“Headed somewhere?” Jimin looked up as he left the bathroom to see Taehyung lounging on their bed.
“Just got called in to the office, they want me to check over a transaction quickly before they send it off,” Jimin murmured, grabbing his favourite cologne (one Taehyung had brought him for his birthday a few years back) and spraying it at the base of his neck. “I shouldn’t be too long.”
“We said we’d go over to the Kwon’s tonight, it’s their engagement party,” Taehyung said and Jimin turned to look at him with a small smile.
“I know,” Jimin assured him. “I’ll be back at about nine.”
Taehyung rolled off of the bed, landing on his feet and nodding his head. “Okay. I’ll just see you there then?”
“Sure,” Jimin said, grabbing his car keys from his bedside table.
“You look nice,” Taehyung called after him as he turned to leave, and Jimin paused in the doorway.
“Thank you,” Jimin said softly, before turning on his heel and leaving the room, his heart heavy.
Jimin’s taxi pulled up outside a hotel about thirty minutes from his home. He paid the driver and got out, heading towards the front desk.
“Park Jimin, I’m here to see Mr Lee,” He said to the receptionist, who nodded and gestured for him to go on.
“Room 101,” The man said.
Jimin nodded his head and walked towards the lift, pressing the button for the top floor. He’d quickly read over the man’s profile in the car. Mr Lee was in his fifties, balding and had illegally sold weapons to an ever-growing gang that was making its way up the ranks. Mr Lee also happened to have very particular tastes in the bedroom. Jimin peeled off his gloves and put them into his coat pocket as the lift doors opened and he stepped out only to be welcomed by two burly bodyguards.
“Name?” One asked.
“Park Jimin,” He answered, holding his arms out as the first man nodded and gestured for the second to move forward and do a body search.
When the second man deemed him clean, the first bodyguard knocked on the room door and opened it up. “You have a visitor, sir.”
“Send them in,” Came the voice from inside, and Jimin slipped past the bodyguard, stepping inside and locking the door behind him.
Mr Lee was holding a bottle of wine when Jimin entered. He took one look at Jimin and raised an eyebrow, putting the wine bottle down in the bucket of ice that had been provided and he took a step towards him.
“Good evening,” He said, and Jimin had to stop himself from inwardly shuddering.
“Evening,” Jimin responded. “I was told that you were interested in having a little fun before you left the city?”
The old man nodded his head and Jimin smiled – although it felt more like a grimace to him. Jimin slipped out of his shoes and shrugged off his jacket, depositing it on the back of a nearby chair. Lee’s eyes followed his every movement.
Jimin began to unbuckle his belt, dropping it on the floor next to his shoes and he slowly unbuttoned his trousers until they fell down to his ankles. If Jimin wasn’t in the middle of a job and on a time limit, he would have taken a picture of the old man’s face. Honestly, it was priceless, his draw dropped as soon as he saw the lingerie Jimin had slipped on before he left the house. He was silently thankful for the multitude of things that he and Taehyung had kept tucked away in the back of their wardrobe, even if none of it was in use anymore. The pants were satin and pink, and Jimin quite liked the feel of the material on his skin.
Jimin moved to the bed, resting his head down on one of the plush pillows and gesturing for the old man to come and join him. He practically scampered over whilst rushing to drop his own trousers. Lee settled in between Jimin’s legs and Jimin put on his best smile, wrapping his legs around Lee’s neck to keep him steady and pulling him in close. Just as Lee looked as though he were about to touch Jimin, Jimin moved his arms, gripping Lee’s neck and twisting. With a snap, Lee’s eyes rolled back in his head and he fell still.
Jimin pushed the dead body off of him, jumping off of the bed to pull on his trousers, slip his feet into his shoes and slide on his coat. He shoved his belt into his pocket and walked swiftly towards the window, picking up the bottle of wine from the table before he left. There was a fire escape just outside, and Jimin opened the window, stepping out onto the ledge and then jumping down. There was a clang as his feet hit the metal and he winced, knowing it wouldn’t be long now before the bodyguards broke into the room and found their boss lying dead in his underwear. Jimin jogged down the fire escape quickly and ran into the crowd when he hit the street, hailing a taxi to take him back home.
Taehyung recognised the symbol on the door, a triangle with three vertical lines going through it, from the blurred picture Wheein had sent him earlier. He pulled open the door and stepped inside the pub, scanning his surroundings. It was mostly empty, a couple of middle aged men watching sports on the TV, elderly men scattered around the place, chatting to each other. Taehyung walked up to the bar and settled down in an empty seat, asking the bartender for a beer when he walked in his direction.
Taehyung continued to survey the room as he sipped his drink. From where he was sat, he could see a corridor and, thanks to Wheein, he knew that at the end there were two doors - one leading to the bathroom, the other the staff room. As time went on, the pub began to fill up and Taehyung slipped off his chair, leaving behind his half-finished drink on the bar and making his way down the corridor. He turned at the last minute, ruffling his hair and cracking his wrists before he pushed open the staff only door and staggered inside.
There were four men sat around a small table in the staff room, a bottle of unopened whisky on the table in front of them. They all looked up when Taehyung entered, one moving to his feet and standing in front of the one furthest away from Taehyung. Interesting.
"Shit, sorry, I was looking for the toilets," Taehyung was really dragging the act out, slurring his voice in order to appear more drunk. "This isn't the toilet is it?"
"No," One of the men answered, looking at Taehyung cautiously. "They're through the other door."
"Damn," Taehyung said, reaching his hand behind his back to pull out the gun hidden in his waistband. "Well, I best get going."
Taehyung turned as though he was about to leave the room and the paused, quickly pulling his gun out and shooting at the bodyguard closest to him. He didn't bother to check where he'd hit the man, moving his gun to quickly send bullets flying towards the other three men in the room. One of the guards pulled out a gun of his own and Taehyung jumped to the side in order to dodge the bullets that came spiralling in his direction. Three more rounds and all four of them were down. Taehyung walked forward and reached into the leader’s jacket pocket, feeling around until his fingers came into contact with what he was looking for.
"Aha," He murmured in triumph, pulling out the memory stick and sliding it into the inside pocket of his leather jacket.
He took one last look at the bodies scattered on the floor before grabbing the unopened bottle of whiskey from the table and yanking open the back door to the pub. A quick glance at his watch told him it was half eight. Job done and he still had time to spare. Excellent.
Jimin could see Taehyung stood at the gate leading to the Kwon's apartment as he hopped out of his taxi. He handed cash over to the driver and picked up the bottle of wine from where it lay on the seat next to him.
"You didn't have to wait outside for me," Jimin said as he walked over to his husband.
"I think we'll give a better impression if we turn up together, won't we? We'll have the neighbours gossiping about us otherwise," Taehyung said, opening the gate and gesturing for Jimin to walk ahead.
Taehyung had a point. They lived in a neighbourhood full of nosey old people and young newlyweds. Gossip was what kept their neighbourhood functions exciting, they could always rely on someone to keep them up to date on the latest scandals to hit their street.
Kwon Hyunwoo opened the door with a smile when Jimin rang the doorbell, shaking Jimin’s hand first before he moved on to Taehyung, grinning as they offered him their congratulations along with Jimin’s bottle of wine and a bottle of whiskey that Taehyung had brought along. They were shuffled into the living room with the rest of the guests, family members, friends and neighbours alike.
"There's Mrs Han," Taehyung said, leaning down to whisper in Jimin's ear as they made themselves comfy by the back wall. "I thought she was abroad."
"So did I," Jimin responded, looking at the old lady who lived two doors down from them. "She said she was visiting family."
"Visiting family or visiting that young man she's supposed to be seeing?" Taehyung wiggled his eyebrows.
"Who said that?" Jimin asked with a frown.
"Bogum told me about it the other week. Mrs Han stopped by at his and Joohyun's and she wouldn't stop talking about this nice young man she was going to visit in Spain."
Jimin looked over at Mrs Han again and waved as she looked in their direction. "Well good for her."
Taehyung walked off then to go and get them drinks and Jimin continued to survey the room. He recognised quite a few people and he made a mental note to go and say hello to those that he hadn’t seen in a while. He was just about to go and search for Bogum and Joohyun, they were bound to be around somewhere, when an old woman rushed past him, dropping her purse on the ground at his feet.
"Um, excuse me," Jimin called after her, reaching down to pick it up.
The woman turned just as he moved to stand up and pass the purse over to her. Her eyes weren’t focused on her purse but elsewhere and Jimin frowned as he followed her gaze. He gasped quietly when he realised his shirt had risen up, a strip of pink satin was on show. Jimin flushed, pulling down his shirt and cursing the fact he had neglected to put his belt on before he left the hotel room earlier.
The woman looked over at him, slowly talking her purse from his hand and watching as Taehyung came back, passing Jimin a drink. The lady smiled knowingly at him and Jimin inwardly cringed.
"Have a good night," She said, and Jimin could feel his face get hotter with the implications of her words.
"We will, thank you!" Taehyung grinned and Jimin almost groaned out loud as the woman's smile got wider, a twinkle in her eyes as she walked off.
By the time Taehyung finished getting ready, Jimin was still in bed. With one arm above his head and the other resting above the covers, Jimin looked peaceful. There was no crease in his forehead, no cold look in his eyes. It was the weekend, so Taehyung continued to let him sleep, seeing no point in waking Jimin up before he left. Taehyung sighed as he picked up his bag, cursing work for calling him in at the last minute. He never got to have a lie in anymore and he slept six hours at most each night, but it was something that came with the job and he’d gotten used to it.
He bent down to press a gentle kiss to Jimin's brow before standing up and walking out of the bedroom, his shoes clicking against the wooden floorboards. Taehyung grabbed his car keys from where he'd left them the night before, ditching his bag in his car before heading out to the shed. Taehyung’s shed had become one of his favourite places in the house. It sent a thrill running through his veins, that he was keeping all of these weapons locked up underneath it and Jimin didn’t have the faintest idea.
Taehyung lifted aside the light switch panel so he could key in his password - 951013. It was cliché and he knew it, but it was easy to remember. One of the floor panels began to move and when the metal ladder appeared, Taehyung climbed down and into his storage unit. He picked up a new round of bullets to replace the ones he had lost at the pub the other night and selected a second gun to take along with him. Taehyung climbed back up the ladder and keyed in his password again, before replacing the panel on the light switch and heading towards his car.
"Morning hyung," Jungkook said as soon as Taehyung walked into the building, coffee holder in one hand and phone in the other. "Namjoon hyung wants to see you."
Taehyung took the coffee cup Jungkook offered him and smiled. "Thanks Jungkookie. I'll catch you later."
"Yup, later hyung," Jungkook waved his hand, swiping his thumb across his phone screen and lifting it to his ear as it began to vibrate.
Taehyung stepped into the lift and pressed the button for the third floor. BTS' HQ was inside an old warehouse belonging to the ‘construction company’ that they ran. Namjoon was leader of their small branch, the ‘disposal unit’ as Taehyung liked to call them, but Jungkook always wrinkled his nose at that, even if it was the truth.
Taehyung shuddered as he entered Namjoon’s office. It was always freezing in there and it was a nightmare in the winter. Taehyung was going to have to send someone to check the heating, it had been like this for months and he really didn’t want to walk in one day only to find Namjoon half frozen to death.
"Hey hyung what's up?" He asked, rubbing his hands together in order to warm them up.
"Got a job for you," Namjoon said as he shifted through the documents lying on his desk. “I need to you dispose of this agent, codename Joy.”
Taehyung reached forward to take the file from Namjoon’s hand, looking at the grainy photograph that he’d been given to work with. ‘Joy’, real name Park Sooyoung, was only a year younger than him and she was a computer hacker. From what Taehyung could see, she didn’t look very joyful.
“We don’t have much time and she’s heavily guarded by her agency.” Namjoon said. “We’ve got one opportunity and that’s it. There a window of time tomorrow morning, between seven and eight, when they’ll be driving through Gyeongju. There’s a stretch of road in the countryside they’ll be driving down and it’s virtually empty at that time in the morning. Get in and out of there quickly, we’ll send a clean-up team in after you.”
“Right,” Taehyung said, moving to stand. “I’ll see you tomorrow evening then.”
Namjoon nodded, pushing his glasses up his nose. “Remember Taehyung, one opportunity.”
“Got it boss,” Taehyung said over his shoulder as he left the room, heading straight for the basement, where Taehyung had no doubt Sungjae would be waiting to show off his new weapons shipment. It was time to stock up on the goods.
Jimin needed to clear his head. He’d been called into work this morning, to be assigned a new mission most likely, but all he could think about was the gentle kiss that Taehyung had pressed to his forehead that morning. He could still feel it, the soft brush of his lips. They had another counselling appointment coming up soon and Jimin was so worried that Mr Choi wouldn’t be able to do anything to help fix them. He supposed it wasn’t really up to the counsellor – he was just there to spark the conversation. It was Jimin and Taehyung that needed to talk about what had gone wrong, they were the only ones who could truly fix this mess they had gotten themselves in. Jimin sighed as he stepped into the lift, pressing the button for the top floor – floor eighteen – and rubbed at his forehead. He needed to clear his mind, he couldn’t go into a mission this distracted. He ran into Byulyi when he stepped out of the lift and if the look on her face was anything to go by, he must have been looking a little worse for wear.
“Something on your mind?” She asked, with a raised eyebrow and Jimin smiled weakly at her.
“When isn’t there something on my mind?” Jimin responded and she let out a quiet laugh.
“True,” She nodded. “Seokjin wants to see you, he’s in the drawing room.”
“Got it, thanks noona,” Jimin said and Byulyi waved him off as she continued on her way, probably to pester Yongsun-noona.
Seokjin was sat at the head of the table when Jimin entered in the drawing room, and he looked up with a small smile.
“Morning Jimin,” Seokjin said.
“Morning hyung,” Jimin responded. “You’ve got a mission for me?”
“Yes,” Seokjin said, opening up a file and sliding a handful of papers across the table towards Jimin as he sat down. “The target’s name is Park Sooyoung, aka Joy. You’ll be sent to Gyeongju to dispose at her. There’s only a small window of time so you need to be quick.”
“Okay,” Jimin said, picking up the papers and beginning to read the information he’d been given. “Should I head over to Yoongi-hyung?”
“Yes, he’s got some new toys he’s been dying to test out, he’s been telling me about them all week. I’m sure if you ask nicely he’ll let you play with them,” Seokjin said with a smile. “Report back to me when you’re done.”
“Will do.” Jimin stood and left the room, searching the office until he came across Yoongi tucked away in his messy work station.
“Hey, hyung,” Jimin leant against the wall and watched as Yoongi glanced up and turned on his chair to look at Jimin. “Seokjin-hyung said you have some new weapons to test out. I’ve got a mission tomorrow morning; I need a bomb.”
“You have to be more specific Jiminie,” Yoongi said, standing with a grin and leaving his station, gesturing for Jimin to follow him. They walked through a door and into a room that Jimin was all too familiar with, the walls lined from floor to ceiling with all sorts of weapons. “What sort of bomb are you looking for?”
“Why don’t you show me what you’ve got?” Jimin said and Yoongi smiled, walking further into the room.
Jimin had taken up residence in an old barn, the second level giving him a perfect vantage point to look down and out at his surroundings. If Jimin’s estimate was right, the car carrying the target would be coming over the hill and down this stretch of the road in approximately twenty minutes. He’d already set up trackers around the perimeter and set bombs in the soil, so now all he had to do was wait.
Five minutes passed and he sighed. This was always the worst part, the waiting. Jimin preferred to dive right into the action and get the job done. This job was quite the opposite – it required patience and a watchful eye. In the time between now and the target’s arrival, he had to ensure that no-one else came down the road and set off the trackers and in turn, the countdown for the bombs. Jimin was just about to drop his binoculars to his chest when he did a double take, catching glimpse of a car that was driving across the grass and heading straight for the trackers.
“What the fuck is this idiot doing,” He murmured, switching on the comms device in his ear. “Are you seeing this hyung?”
“Oh, I’m seeing it alright. Who the fuck is that?” Yoongi’s voice was gruff and Jimin had no doubt that the elder man wished he was still in bed.
“I’ll be damned if I know,” Jimin responded. “It doesn’t matter, as long as they don’t hit the-”
Jimin stopped as the car knocked into one of the trackers, closing his eyes for a moment with a quiet sigh.
“You were saying Jiminie?” Came Yoongi’s voice.
“Shut up hyung,” Jimin muttered, pulling up his laptop and typing quickly, stopping the countdown from initiating. “Fuck, now I need to reconfigure the trackers.”
“I’m on it,” Yoongi responded. “You deal with the guy; I’ll deal with this.”
Jimin lifted his binoculars again, watching as the car stopped behind a hedge of bushes. The driver got out, a black hat pulled over their hair and a black mask over their mouth. They were dressed all in black too and Jimin narrowed his eyes as the driver reached into the car only to pull out a large black object.
Jimin almost dropped his binoculars. “Hyung, he’s got a bazooka.”
“What the fuck?” Yoongi’s voice was coloured with surprise.
Seokjin’s voice came on the line then. “Looks like there’s been a double booking Jiminie. If you’ve got time, get this guy out of the way first, then go for the target.”
“Okay,” Jimin said, running over to the table where he’d left his gun earlier. “I’ve got time.”
Jimin walked back to the barn window and lifted the gun, watching the target move around for a moment. The shot wasn’t going to be perfect, he knew that. He had prepared himself for virtually every situation that could have occurred today, but he hadn’t prepared himself for this. A flesh wound was better than nothing though, so he took aim and fired.
The guy’s head snapped up and Jimin ducked to the side, peering out to see him fall flat on his back. Jimin couldn’t help but let out a laugh.
“You get him?” Yoongi asked. “I rewired your trackers, it should be fine.”
“Yeah, I got him, thanks hyung,” Jimin lifted his binoculars and watched as the man struggled on the floor.
He looked in the other direction and frowned. “Incoming,” He said. “The target is early.”
There were three black cars headed down the dirt road and straight for Jimin’s trap. The guy he’d shot was lying just out of the way, so when the bombs went off he probably wouldn’t get too injured, maybe just winded by the force of the explosion. Jimin watched as the cars drove down the road, getting closer and closer to the trackers.
“Hyung I – “ He broke off as he saw the man on the ground pointing his bazooka right in Jimin’s direction. “Fuck, the guy’s standing. I’ve got to go.”
“Jimin, what are you talking about?” Yoongi asked.
Jimin darted away from the window, running down the steps to the bottom of the barn and through the doors just as the bazooka hit the barn. The impact sent Jimin flying into the grass and he coughed as he raised his hands above his head to try and protect himself from the flying bits of debris. He pulled out the comms device in his ear, wincing as it started to emit a high pitch sound. When Jimin was certain it was over, he rolled over and coughed again, groaning as he got to his feet. His t-shirt was torn and he winced as he raised his hand to his injured shoulder, pressing at it lightly. It wasn’t too deep of a cut, it’d be fine with a few stiches, but right now he had to go. Jimin raced through the grass until he found where he had left his motorbike earlier, pulling the black helmet over his head and jumping on, driving off down the road. He had one opportunity to do this and he’d royally fucked it up. Seokjin was going to kick his ass when he got back to headquarters.
Taehyung grinned as he watched the barn explode. Good riddance. It had taken him a minute to collect himself after he’d been shot, but thankfully he’d been wearing a bulletproof vest so there hadn’t been any permanent damage.
Taehyung looked up the road to where the black cars were retreating. He sighed and looked back at the barn. Namjoon was probably going to kill him, but at least he eliminated the opposition, right?
He walked over to the remains of the barn, kicking away the fallen slats of wood to see if there was anything that would help him identify his shooter. There was no body and Taehyung frowned as he rummaged. Had they gotten away? He spotted a pair of binoculars and a gun, but not much else until he came across the shattered remains of a laptop in the hay.
“Aha,” He said, crouching down to brush off the dirt. “I think I’ll keep you. Maybe you can help me find out a little bit about whoever it was that just shot me in the chest.”
Taehyung picked it up and stood, walking back to his car and ditching it on the passenger seat, starting up the engine and speeding back across the grass. Now he had to phone Namjoon and give him the bad news. Great.
Namjoon didn’t say anything to him when he got back to HQ, taking one look at his dirty clothes and the hole in his t-shirt and gesturing for Taehyung to follow him. They didn’t go up to Namjoon’s office like he was expecting, instead they stayed on the first floor of the warehouse and walked into the cafeteria. Taehyung spotted Jungkook sat at a table near the back of the room, talking on his phone, but then again, when wasn’t he? Jungkook had an incoming call near enough every five minutes, but Taehyung supposed that was the price Jungkook paid for being Namjoon’s assistant.
Jungkook looked up as they approached and offered Taehyung a small smile. Taehyung smiled back, sliding into the seat across from him and dropping the battered laptop on the seat beside him. Namjoon sat down next to Jungkook and picked up the cafeteria menu, surveying it like he wasn’t about to order the same cup of coffee and muffin that he did every day. He still hadn’t spoken and Taehyung was starting to wonder whether Namjoon was giving him the silent treatment.
“So,” Taehyung said, clasping his hands together and ignoring the look of pity Jungkook was giving him from across the table. “I fucked that up.”
“No way,” Namjoon deadpanned and Taehyung slouched in his seat.
“I got their laptop,” Taehyung said, lifting it up. “I was going to give it to Jinyoung to see if he can get anything from the database.”
“Hyung, you do realise what this means right? The bosses are only going to give you like forty-eight hours to track down whoever this was and eliminate them.” Jungkook said. “And you know what will happen if you don’t, right?”
“Yeah, I know Jungkookie,” Taehyung sighed. “I know. So I’d appreciate it if you stopped giving me the silent treatment Namjoon-hyung, we need to come up with a plan. You’re making me nervous.”
It was then that a waitress came over to take their order, Namjoon ordering the coffee and muffin, just like Taehyung predicted he would, Jungkook sticking to tea and Taehyung just asking for water.
“Take the laptop to Jinyoung,” Namjoon said after the waitress left. “Like you said, he should be able to find something on the database. Then you have to find them and you have to kill them.”
“Okay,” Taehyung said. “I’ll head up in a minute. Thank you hyung.”
They sat in silence until the waitress brought over their beverages and Jungkook’s phone went off again. He picked it up, turning his head to the side as he answered.
“Look Taehyung, I’m not mad at you,” Namjoon said, breaking his muffin in half and offering one part to Taehyung. “You’re not just one of my best agents, you’re one of my best friends. I don’t want this to go south for you.”
Taehyung accepted the muffin and bit into it. It tasted like cardboard in his mouth, but Taehyung couldn’t tell whether that was because he was thinking about all the different ways the next forty-eight hours could end or whether the muffin was actually that shit.
“I don’t want it to go wrong either hyung,” Taehyung said, finishing his food and gulping down his water. He stood, tucking the laptop under his arm. “That’s why I’m going to try and do everything to make sure that it doesn’t.”
Jinyoung was in his office when Taehyung knocked the door. Jinyoung looked up at him with a smile, putting down whatever it was that he was tinkering with and brushing his hands on his trousers.
“What can I do for you Taehyung?” Jinyoung questioned.
“Is there any way you can figure out who owns this laptop?” Taehyung asked, depositing the broken machine onto Jinyoung’s crowded desk.
“Let me have a look,” Jinyoung said, turning the laptop upside down and picking up a screwdriver to take off the bottom. “There’s a chance the hard drive might be salvageable, but if you picked this up whilst you were on a job, I have no doubt there’s going to be a whole load of firewalls to get through.”
“Anything you can tell me about whoever owns the thing is fine,” Taehyung said. “It’s a start, after all.”
Jinyoung hummed in agreement, picking out something from the laptop. “I might have something.”
“That was quick,” Taehyung said, surprised. “I’ll love you forever if this leads somewhere.”
Jinyoung snorted. “Please keep your love away from me, I don’t need your husband to give me any flack for stealing your attention.”
“Huh,” Taehyung’s response was weak. He was pretty sure Jimin wouldn’t care, but he wasn’t about to tell Jinyoung that. Marriage issues were kept out of the workplace.
“Whoever’s laptop this is, they put in another memory module. If I can do some digging, I might just be able to find out a delivery address from the number on this chip.”
“Great,” Taehyung said, sticking his hands in his trouser pockets as he watched Jinyoung type away on his computer. “Should I just go and you can call me back later, whenever you have it?”
“Give me three minutes,” Jinyoung said and Taehyung raised his eyebrows, but nodded, taking a seat on one of the few chairs in the room that wasn’t covered by equipment.
Taehyung counted the seconds and tried not to tap his foot against the floor, because knowing Jinyoung, he’d probably throw something at Taehyung and an injury wasn’t really what he needed right now, not when he was less than forty-eight hours away from what could be the end of his life.
Jinyoung spoke again after two minutes and thirty-four seconds. “Got it. Delivery address is in Seongdong, one of the skyscrapers judging by the postcode. Do you know the area?”
Jimin worked in Seongdong. “Yeah, I know it,” Taehyung said, watching as Jinyoung scrawled down an address.
Jinyoung handed the piece of paper over to him. “There you go. Have fun doing whatever it is you’re doing.”
Taehyung frowned at the paper in his hand. Floor eighteen. Taehyung was sure that was where Jimin’s office was based, he had a vague recollection of seeing delivery boxes with that number at the back of their garage. Taehyung turned and jogged down the staircase and out of the warehouse, rushing over to his car and climbing inside. It looked like he had a bit of digging to do.
Jimin was furious. Byulyi had been chasing him around the office for the past twenty minutes as he paced up and down, watching the monitors as Yoongi tapped away and tried to get a clearer image from the video footage that had been live streamed to Seongdong from the binoculars. It was grainy though, and it didn't help that the mystery shooter was dressed from head to toe in black.
"Jimin stay still," Byulyi scolded as she wiped at the blood on his shoulder. "I know you're frustrated but at least let me patch you up before you start chasing down this other guy."
"Sorry noona," He murmured.
Jimin leant against a table as Byulyi tended to his arm, his eyes fixed on the large screen in front of him as they played the clip of the shooter getting out of his car over and over again. He narrowed his eyes. There was something familiar about him but Jimin just couldn't place it.
"All done," Byulyi said, patting Jimin's non injured arm. "You can pace to your hearts content now."
"Thanks noona," Jimin said, walking over to stand behind Yoongi.
"There's not much else I can do for you Jimin, the clip is all we've got," Yoongi told him with a sigh. "I can't see the plates so I can't trace the car but even then I doubt it's his own."
"Would you give me a minute?" Jimin asked and Yoongi shrugged, vacating his chair.
"Remember what Seokjin said," Yoongi reminded him, like Jimin was about to forget the warning he had been given.
Seokjin had sighed when he saw Jimin, ushering him into the drawing room and telling him that the higher ups weren't best pleased.
"They want you to take out this other shooter or else they'll be coming for you instead," Seokjin told him. "They won't risk the chance of whoever it was identifying you. You need to get rid of them."
"I will hyung, don't worry," Jimin had responded, jaw clenched.
And now here he was watching the same clip on loop, desperate for something to leap out at him. Jimin enhanced the image and watched it again, narrowing his eyes and leaning closer to the screen. Those eyebrows looked incredibly familiar.
A phone rang at the other side of the office.
"Jimin!" Hyejin called. "Your husband is on the phone, he wants to know what time dinner is."
Jimin's jaw fell open. Holy fucking hell. Hyejin walked closer then, frowning at him when he didn't respond.
"Jimin? Are you alright?" She asked and Jimin turned to face her.
"Tell him dinner is at seven," Jimin said slowly and Hyejin nodded, walking away again.
Jimin watched the clip again and hit pause when the shooter turned to look in the direction of the barn. He was sure he was right. Those eyebrows were unmistakable.
"Kim Taehyung," Jimin murmured under his breath, standing up from his seat with such a force he sent the chair rolling away. "Just you wait until I get home."
Taehyung slipped his phone back into his pocket, taking one last glance at the board of names hanging on the wall in front of him.
Park Jimin - Floor Eighteen.
Dinner was going to be interesting.
Taehyung was wary as he stepped into the house. His heart was racing in his chest. He liked to think that if his suspicions were correct, that Jimin really was the shooter from earlier, then Jimin would bide his time and wouldn't shoot Taehyung as soon as he stepped in the front door. But then again, the clock was ticking. They probably both only had about forty hours left now, neither of them had any time to waste.
Taehyung opened the kitchen door and jumped as he saw Jimin stood in the middle of the room, a bottle of wine in hand. He was halfway through pouring it into a wine glass and he looked up when Taehyung walked in.
"Evening," Jimin said, moving on to pour the wine into a second glass.
Taehyung didn't respond, only watched as Jimin picked up one of the glasses and handed it over to him. Taehyung took it, raising it to his lips cautiously. Would Jimin try to poison him? But he had watched him pour the drink, so it wasn't possible, right? But he didn't actually see Jimin open the bottle-
Jimin took a sip from his glass and smiled sweetly. "Good day at work?"
Screw it. Taehyung took a sip of his drink. "It was fine, we ran into a little bit of trouble this morning, but I'm working on fixing it."
Jimin raised an eyebrow. "Oh? Me too," He said, walking into the dining room. "What a coincidence."
"What a coincidence indeed," Taehyung murmured, following him into the room and setting down his wine glass on the table before taking his seat.
Jimin broke apart his chopsticks and started to eat, all the while watching Taehyung. It was a little eerie, Taehyung hadn't received this much attention from Jimin in months, yet here he was, looking right at him with an expression that Taehyung couldn't quite decipher. Taehyung broke his own chopsticks and began to eat.
There was silence in the dining room for the most part, the only real noise the clicking of wood against plates and the clinking of their wine glasses against the table. Taehyung noticed that Jimin had finished his drink and he stood, grabbing the half empty wine bottle that Jimin had brought in with him earlier from the cabinet.
"Refill?" Taehyung asked, pouring more wine into his own glass before walking over to Jimin's end of the table to top up his drink.
"Please," Jimin said, and Taehyung began to pour.
He was too busy focused on watching Jimin eat that when he went to place the bottle down, he didn't notice that it was perched on the edge of the table. When he let go, it wobbled and tilted, falling to the floor.
But not quite.
Not quite because before it could get there, Jimin's hand had shot out to stop it. Everything seemed to stop as they made eye contact. No one had reflexes as fast as that, not unless they were trained to be that quick. Taehyung's suspicions had just been confirmed. This morning, he'd been shot by his own husband.
Jimin seemed to make the connection at the same time as he did and he let the wine bottle slip through his fingers. It hit the floor and shattered, the dark liquid spilling everywhere.
"Jimin," Taehyung started, but Jimin was already moving, running out of the dining room and through the back door.
Taehyung chased after him but it was too late - Jimin was already in his car and speeding out of the open garage when Taehyung reached the back door. By the time Taehyung got into his own car and pulled out of the driveway, Jimin's car was nowhere to be seen.
Taehyung hesitated, foot above the acceleration peddle as he took a final glance at his and Jimin's lit up house. He had to get away. Taehyung pressed down on the accelerator and drove off.
Jungkook almost didn't look surprised when Taehyung showed up at his door. He blinked sleepily, clearly having just woken up from a nap, and opened the door wider, allowing Taehyung to step inside.
"Taehyung?" Another voice questioned and oh, right. Taehyung kept forgetting Hoseok and Jungkook had moved in together, it had been so long since he'd visited them outside of work. If he survived this whole thing, he’d have to make an effort to visit his friends more often.
"Hey hyung," Taehyung said, following them into the living room.
Hoseok and Jungkook sat down on the sofa opposite to Taehyung, Jungkook immediately curling into Hoseok, his head resting on his boyfriend's shoulder. It was such a simple, domestic moment, but it made Taehyung’s chest ache. Would he ever be able to do that with Jimin again?
"What happened?" Jungkook asked.
"It was Jimin," Taehyung said and Jungkook frowned.
"What was Jimin?" Jungkook asked. "Be a little more specific, hyung."
"Jimin was the other shooter this morning. Jimin was the one who shot me in the chest. Park Jimin, my husband, is a fucking assassin. We've been living under the same roof for six goddamn years and neither of us knew about each other.” Taehyung groaned.
"Holy fuck," Jungkook said sitting up, suddenly more awake. "Hyung what are you going to do, they want you to kill the other shooter."
"I know, Jungkook, I know," Taehyung leaned forward, burying his face in his palms. "The fuck am I going to do?"
"Is there no way you can avoid killing Jimin?" Hoseok spoke up. “Is there anything at all you can do to get out of this?”
Taehyung shook his head, lifting it to look up at the pair. "I'm pretty sure Jimin's trying to kill me, so if I don't get him, he's only going to get me first."
"Hyung, if you can't do it then I doubt he can either," Jungkook reasoned.
Taehyung shook his head. "Things haven't been going smoothly for us lately Jungkookie, I'm not sure he even cares anymore."
Jungkook and Hoseok fell silent and Taehyung looked into the fireplace, watching as the flames danced around.
"Are you stopping on the couch tonight?" Jungkook asked.
"Please," Taehyung said. "I can't... I can't go back."
Hoseok got up and left the room, Taehyung could hear the floorboards creaking as he moved around. Jungkook stood and walked over to Taehyung, crouching down beside him. He placed a hand on Taehyung’s shoulder and squeezed lightly.
"We’ll figure it out in the morning, okay?" Jungkook's voice was gentle, as though he was afraid Taehyung was about to begin crying in front of him. He wasn’t entirely wrong; Taehyung was very close to his breaking point. "Try and get some sleep."
Hoseok walked back in with a thick patterned duvet and a bunch of pillows, arranging them on the end of the sofa that Taehyung was seated. When he was done, he turned and gave Taehyung a small smile. "See you in the morning."
"Yeah," Taehyung felt as though his throat was closing up on him. "Thank you both for letting me stay."
"It's no problem," Jungkook said, rubbing Taehyung's shoulder before he stepped back and walked over to Hoseok. Taehyung saw them tangle their fingers together and he looked down at his feet. "Night hyung."
"Night," Taehyung responded, taking off his jacket and throwing it over the arm of the sofa.
He waited until Jungkook and Hoseok left the room before he switched off the light and lay down on the sofa, pulling the duvet right up to his neck. When he closed his eyes, all he saw was Jimin and he let out a shaky sigh.
Jimin tapped his foot against the welcome mat underneath Yoongi's front door.
"Come on, come on, come on," He whispered under his breath. It wasn't that late - surely Yoongi hadn't gone to bed already.
Jimin reached out to press the doorbell again but stopped as he heard the sound of the keys moving in the lock. Yoongi opened the door and scowled at him, expression softening when he saw the look of desperation on Jimin's face.
"What happened?" He asked, as Jimin walked inside of his house, Yoongi locking the door behind them. "Why aren't you at home?"
"Taehyung was the guy with the bazooka," Jimin said and Yoongi's jaw dropped.
"What the fuck," He said and Jimin rubbed a hand over his face. He was radiating nervous energy; his entire body was buzzing.
"I know, I can't believe it earlier," Jimin said. "My entire marriage has been a lie."
"Taehyung..." Yoongi shook his head. "What the fuck."
"What do I do hyung?" Jimin could feel his eyes begin to water and he looked up at the ceiling as he tried to blink the tears away.
"I have no idea Jimin," Yoongi said honestly, shaking his head. "This is... You're going to have to tell Seokjin."
"I know, I just..." Jimin sighed and Yoongi stepped forwards, pulling Jimin into a hug.
"I know," Yoongi said, rubbing Jimin's back. "I know. Now come on, I have some clothes you can change into. You can sleep in the spare room, we’ll sort this out in the morning."
Yoongi let Jimin go and began to walk up the stairs, Jimin slowly following after him, wiping at his face.
Jimin was wearing sunglasses. He was trying to hide his red eyes, but if anything, the sunglasses probably made it more obvious that there was something wrong. He kept them on though, ignoring the looks of pity he received from some of the agents on the team, and soldiered forward.
The house looked different in broad daylight. Jimin didn't know whether it was because of last night’s revelations or because he was rarely at home during the day, it just looked different. He sighed as he walked past the agents standing on his front lawn and walked through the front door.
Yoongi had phoned Seokjin before Jimin had even woken up, something which Jimin was grateful for. He wasn’t really up to having to repeat himself over and over again, it was painful enough just to think about what had happened. Seokjin had pulled up to Yoongi’s house whilst Jimin was staring miserably at a bowl of untouched cereal and pulled Jimin to his feet, packing him into the backseat of his car and driving the three of them down to Jimin’s house. Seokjin informed them he’d already sent a team down to begin extracting anything from the house that could be used as evidence and Jimin just stared out of the window.
Hyejin had pulled him into a hug as soon as he stepped out of Seokjin’s car and Byulyi had thrown her arm around Jimin’s shoulders, holding him close for a moment before she patted his back and let him go.
It was odd, seeing so many people in his house. In all the years he and Taehyung had lived there, they’d never had too many people over. Jimin wandered around, not quite sure what to do with himself. Seokjin didn’t want him involved in the cleaning process, just in case he saw something of sentimental value and kept it to himself. Jimin knew how serious this was, no matter how much he was hurting he wouldn’t tamper with evidence like that, but Seokjin had just shook his head when Jimin had protested and ushered him out of the way.
Jimin walked from room to room, looking at everything in a new light. He wondered where Taehyung had kept his weapons. Jimin had gone six years without even stumbling across a gun, wherever it was it had to be well hidden. Jimin made his way upstairs, catching Hyejin in the hallway shooing members of the extraction team out of Jimin’s bedroom with a frown.
"What were they doing in there?" Jimin asked, stepping forward.
"See for yourself," She said, pointing at the TV screen which hung on the wall opposite their bed.
Years ago, he and Taehyung would spend their evenings lying in bed, curled up next to each other with a film on the widescreen. Jimin would lie his head on Taehyung’s chest and they’d tangle their legs together. They’d been so happy. Right now, Jimin could see his younger self on the TV, grinning in his tux and bouncing on the balls of his feet.
Jimin could recall their wedding day clearly. To this day, it was one of the best days of his life. Both he and Taehyung were only twenty-two when they got married, both had been dressed in dark tuxes with different coloured handkerchiefs. They hadn’t been able to stop smiling at each other all day, sneaking kisses and laughing at everything.
On the screen, the younger version of himself was in the middle of reaching up to wind his arms around Taehyung’s neck, pulling him down for a kiss. The sound was muted but Jimin could still hear the claps and cheers of the few guests they had invited. Jimin picked up the remote and turned off the video.
Jimin was back at the office when his phone started ringing. It was an unknown number. He exchanged a look with Seokjin before answering the call.
“Hello?” Jimin answered.
“Jimin,” The voice – Taehyung’s voice – responded and Jimin turned to Seokjin who gestured for him to put the call on loudspeaker.
“Calling from unknown numbers now are we?” Jimin asked.
“Well I’m assuming you’re tracing my mobile, am I right?” Taehyung asked and he let out a quiet laugh when Jimin didn’t answer. “Thought so.”
“What do you want Taehyung?” Jimin sighed.
“Your little friends cleared out my weapons stock,” Taehyung said. “That’s not very nice. So I thought I’d return the favour.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Jimin asked.
“It means I’m in the building right now,” Taehyung said and Jimin inhaled sharply.
Seokjin turned, whispering to Yoongi who immediately began typing away at his keyboard. Jimin turned to watch the screen, clutching his phone tightly in his hand.
“What are you planning to do?” Jimin asked Taehyung.
“Well you’ll just have to wait and see, won’t you?” Taehyung replied and Jimin rolled his eyes. “You know Jiminie, we haven’t actually had time to talk about this.”
“We’ll we’re not talking about it right now,” Jimin scowled.
“He’s in the ventilation system,” Yoongi murmured to Seokjin.
“Keep him on the phone,” Seokjin mouthed to Jimin, before walking off.
“Then when should we talk Jiminie? It’s not exactly going to be possible if one of us is dead in twenty-four hours.”
“Don’t,” Jimin said. “Just don’t.”
Jimin watched as Seokjin pressed a button on a wall at the far end of the room. A loud alarm started blaring, red lights flashing. Immediately everyone was on their feet, packing up everything important and stowing it away.
Jimin could hear clanging at the other end of the line. “Oh come on,” Taehyung groaned.
“Having a little trouble Tae?” Jimin asked, watching as the rest of the room began to evacuate down the emergency staircase.
“Just a little bit,” Came the muffled response. “Bit hard to try and unscrew these panels and talk on the phone at the same time.”
“You were never a multi-tasker Tae,” Jimin said with a shake of his head.
“Yeah,” Taehyung’s voice sounded wistful. “That was always you.”
“We need to move Jimin,” Yoongi said, a backpack thrown over his shoulder.
The room was virtually empty now, only Seokjin and a few others remained.
“You shouldn’t have come here Taehyungie,” Jimin said, letting Yoongi pull him to the other side of the room and towards the staircase. “It was a wasted journey.”
There was a loud banging and Jimin flinched, arm slipping out of Yoongi’s grip as he spun on his heel. A metal plate had fallen from the ceiling and Taehyung dropped down just after it, pushing his brown hair from his face.
“Going so soon Jiminie?” He called across the room. “Such a shame.”
“Come on Jimin,” Yoongi said, pulling at Jimin’s arm, but Jimin was still, his eyes locked with Taehyung’s.
“Bye Taehyung,” Jimin choked out, turning on his heel and jogging towards the door.
Jimin didn’t know who it was, whether it was Seokjin or Yoongi or another member of the team who hadn’t yet left, but he turned just in time to see the grenade roll across the floor towards Taehyung. Jimin gasped, Yoongi still yanking him along into the stairwell and pulling the door shut tightly behind them as the grenade exploded.
Jimin dropped to the floor, back pressed against the wall. “Is he dead?” He asked, hesitantly.
“I can’t tell,” Seokjin responded, crouching down next to him. “But we have to go Jimin, we can’t stay here, not now.”
“I know,” Jimin said, allowing himself to be pulled back to his feet, Seokjin and Yoongi on either side as they began to make their way down the staircase. He had to go but he wanted to stay.
Jimin thought it was fitting to go back to the start when the end was nigh. It was why he decided to go back to the restaurant that Taehyung had taken him to on their first date after they’d got back from Italy, and then, months later, the place that he had proposed. It was a fancy restaurant, filled to the brim with people in tuxes and elegant dresses. Jimin was dressed up too, a black tie tight around his neck, gold cufflinks on his sleeves. In front of him sat a glass of wine, untouched.
He sighed as he watched people take the dance floor. Six years ago that was him.
“Reminiscing?” Came a voice from behind him and Jimin froze.
He didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when Taehyung moved, taking the seat opposite and stealing a sip from Jimin’s untouched wine.
“Something like that,” Jimin murmured, looking down and clearing his throat.
“You glad to see me?” Taehyung asked and Jimin looked back up at his husband only to see the sadness in his eyes. “Look at us Jimin. Look at what we’ve become.”
Jimin gave Taehyung a weak smile.
“How about we have one final dance?” Taehyung said, standing and readjusting his shirt. “Go out with a bang.”
“A bang huh,” Jimin murmured, looking at Taehyung’s outstretched hand for a moment before accepting it. “That wasn’t me today that set off that grenade.”
“I know,” Taehyung said, wrapping his arms around Jimin’s waist.
Jimin couldn’t even remember the last time they’d been this close – this intimate. Jimin rested his forehead on Taehyung’s chest and sighed.
“I just wanted you to know,” He said and Taehyung hummed. “Did you get hurt?”
“Isn’t the aim of the game for us to hurt each other?” Taehyung asked with a chuckle, wincing when Jimin lifted his head to scowl at him and slapped at his chest. “Ow, okay. No, I didn’t get hurt.”
Good, Jimin wanted to say, I’m glad. “So this is it,” He said instead, his hands resting on Taehyung’s chest.
Taehyung looked down at him, a sad smile on his face. “It’s been a good run.”
“Except for the part when we ignored each other for the best part of four years,” Jimin said and Taehyung laughed.
“Touché,” Taehyung grinned down at him. “That was a bit of a bummer, but we’ve come together in these final moments, right?”
“I can’t do this,” Jimin said, stepping back, and Taehyung’s smile dropped. “We literally only have about twelve hours before one of us, hell, maybe both of us die. I have to go.”
Taehyung called out to him but Jimin turned on his heel and ran. He felt cowardly and childish but he didn’t know what to do. His head was telling him to get out of there, to defend himself and to prepare for the oncoming fight but his heart told him to stay with Taehyung, to wait out these last few hours with his husband, that if they went down, they went down together.
Jimin flagged down a taxi and reeled off his address as he clambered into the backseat. What was he doing? He ran a hand through his hair and looked as his phone as it began to vibrate in his hand. It was an unknown number but Jimin was pretty sure he knew who it was anyway.
“Where are you headed?” Taehyung asked when Jimin picked up.
“Guess,” Jimin said, looking out of the window.
“Home?” Taehyung asked and Jimin hummed. “I’ll see you there then.”
“I’ll see you at home Jimin,” Taehyung said and Jimin squeezed his eyes shut tight.
Jimin was sat in the living room when Taehyung opened the front door. It was odd, seeing their apartment so empty, and Taehyung wondered whether they’d stored everything at Jimin’s headquarters, whether there was any chance they’d be able to retrieve it if they happened to make it out of this alive. Assuming Jimin would decide to side with Taehyung and not turn against him. So far Taehyung couldn’t quite tell what Jimin was planning to do, but after seeing the horror in his face when the grenade blew up in his office, seeing the relief in his eyes when Taehyung showed up in front of him this evening, Taehyung had hope.
Taehyung shut the door behind him with a click, locked it and dropped his house keys into bowl in the hallway. He walked down the hallway slowly, eyes trained on Jimin and the gun in his lap. Taehyung leaned against the doorway and Jimin looked up at him.
“Hey,” Taehyung said.
“Hey,” Jimin replied.
“So,” Taehyung began, shrugging off his blazer and loosening his tie. “Are you going to shoot me?”
“What?” Jimin looked shocked, and he stood, the gun falling to the floor and clattering against the wood.
“You had a gun in your lap, what was I supposed to expect?” Taehyung asked.
“What if you’d come in guns blazing?” Jimin shot back. “I was just preparing myself for the worst.”
“Did you really think I was going to do that?” Taehyung took a step forward.
Jimin paused. “No. No, I didn’t think you would.” Jimin took a step closer then too. “I fucked up, I’m sorry.”
Taehyung opened his arms and Jimin walked right into them, wrapping his arms around Taehyung’s waist and gripping onto the back of his shirt as he buried his face in Taehyung’s chest. “It’s okay,” Taehyung said quietly. He could feel Jimin’s tears seeping through his shirt.
“No, it really isn’t. I nearly gave up on this, gave up on us and for what? Years of heartbreak if I killed you? If I let them kill you?” Jimin lifted his head, shaking it in anger.
“But you didn’t,” Taehyung said, bringing a hand to Jimin’s cheek. “You didn’t Jimin.”
“I’m so sorry,” Jimin’s eyes were watering. “I’m sorry and I love you and I’m sorry that I haven’t told you that for years.”
Taehyung let out a quiet laugh. “I love you too. It’s okay, really.”
They were silent for a moment, just drinking each other in. Taehyung supposed it was like they had gone back to the beginning, like this was a fresh start for them and the past few years were just distant memories of the past.
“What do we do now?” Jimin asked and Taehyung smiled, leaning down to kiss Jimin on each of his cheeks, then his nose and then finally his lips.
Jimin sighed, one of his hands moving up Taehyung’s chest and to the back of his neck so that he could pull Taehyung closer. It really was like they had gone back to the beginning, like they were reliving their first kiss back on the stone plaza of that hotel in Italy.
“We fight back. Whatever they throw at us, we can do it.” Taehyung said. “We’re a team, right?”
“Right,” Jimin smiled up at Taehyung. “We’re a team.”
Whatever was coming for them, they’d take it down together.