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and for you, i'd paint the stars gold

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Taehyung lived in a world of vibrancy.

Everything was bright and cheerful, optimistic to the end. He’d never known any different. And Taehyung was golden, inside and out. Even as he declared an art major right at the beginning of his freshman year (parents not so impressed), he was content. To him, money held little value. What mattered was the heart, the soul, the very way in which the mind worked. It was all so beautiful to Taehyung.

He'd spent the better part of his entrance year covering general education requirements, slaving away over even the simplest of chemical reactions. The result was always so breathtaking and worthy of its own portrait, but the process was much too big of a struggle for Taehyung to enroll in a second class. Biology was more fun, but he found that he really just enjoyed drawing diagrams.

When he'd signed up for an introductory psychology class – to become an expert on the human mind, of course – his heart raced in excitement, especially once the floor had opened for discussion on the inner workings of the brain. Taehyung had finally found his home. That is, until the class progressed into the "how it all happens" unit, in which Taehyung's dread for science came back in full force. Who needed to understand synapses and firing rates anyway? Taehyung liked to think that even his brain worked solely on pure impulse and gut feeling alone.

Summer came quickly that year, given the fact that Taehyung had spent his entire freshman year in the library, crying to his friend Jimin about how, "introductory chemistry is probably the hardest class ever," to which Jimin just laughs and helps him through the titration calculations. Taehyung is thankful for Jimin, his best friend who Taehyung promised to steal funds from when he was a poor, starving artist, and Jimin was a rich pharmacist.

As a form of payment to Jimin, Taehyung was assigned grocery duty. Every time. But Taehyung didn't mind one bit, especially in the hot summer months, when the flowers were in full bloom. He always took the opportunity to appreciate all of the colors and commit every sight to memory. He would have to document this on canvas for sure.

The one downfall of Taehyung on shopping duty was his pickiness. With a critical eye for colors and appearances, it always took hours for him to pick out just the right fruits and vegetables. He was currently standing amidst the bins of fruit, an apple in each hand. He must have looked thoroughly lost, because even the store clerk had ventured out from behind the register to assist him.

"Excuse me, did you uh, need some help?"

Taehyung never lifted his eyes from the two ripe fruit in his palms. "No, I'm fine. Well... Yeah, actually. Which one of these looks better to you? I can't decide."

Silence. The clock in the corner can be heard ticking. "They both kinda look the same to me."

Taehyung frowns, clearly not satisfied by the answer. "Okay but! I mean they're both pretty ripe, but this one has this weird patch of color here. I think it's bruised. But then the other one has this weird blemish on the skin! And look at this–"

His words are cut off as he finally lifts his head to properly speak to the worker. He's met with warm, round eyes, a tall nose, and a carefully constructed mess of hair. And oh, that jawline.

Taehyung is in awe.

His name is Jeongguk, as stated by the navy blue name tag pinned to the front of his crisp, white shirt. He appeared to be quite young as well, around his own age. And now he's inspecting Taehyung with an even more confused look. Great. He'd already managed to make a bad first impression. Taehyung would have to say goodbye to those dreams of a fruitful marriage with their three dogs.

Giving a quick shake of the head to clear his thoughts, Taehyung places both apples in his basket, quickly making his way up to the register to pay after throwing in some milk. He checks out in relative silence, keeping his head down to avoid Jeongguk's gaze. He'd almost made it out in the clear, too, had it not been for Jeongguk's cheerful voice ringing from behind. "Enjoy your apples!" he says brightly, and Taehyung only rushes out faster to conceal the flush in his cheeks, regrettably chirping out a, "thanks, you too!" in response. Rookie mistake.

When he'd returned home, Taehyung sobbed to his roommate about how much of an embarrassment he had been. Jimin could only laugh and wish that he'd been there to witness it himself.

The rest of the summer followed a similar pattern. Jimin refused to take over on the shopping, so Taehyung had no choice but to visit Jeongguk on a weekly basis. But, despite seeing each other so often, Taehyung barely spoke a word, not wanting to humiliate himself again in front of who was quite possibly the hottest guy he's ever seen.

And with summer coming to a close, Taehyung breathed a sigh of relief. He could finally forget about this little crush of his. There was no way he could marry a guy who worked at a convenience store.

But Taehyung would be lying if he said he wasn't going to miss him (a secret he would take with him to the grave).

Autumn rolled in quickly, catching Taehyung off guard. He'd barely remembered to register for classes before the cutoff, and luckily, still made it into some of his top choices. Color Design and Theory, Watercolor, and, regrettably, Calculus.

His first class of the day was color theory. Finally in his second year, having gotten rid of the majority of his irrelevant classes, Taehyung could now focus on what he really loved: art. He had woken up bright and early for the first day of class, though he made sure to at least show up second; he wasn't that much of a teacher's pet. Plopping himself down in one of the middle seats, he patiently waited for the start of class.

The class had quite a large enrollment, surprisingly enough, the room filled with many new faces and future friends. And when Taehyung's eyes landed on a familiar face, he swore his heart just stopped. There he was, in all his glory. Jeongguk of the Convenience Store. Taehyung's worst nightmare come to fruition.

From that point onward, Taehyung kept his head turned down, eyes glued to the syllabus, committing every word to memory. He barely follows along with the professor's words, almost missing the mention of their semester-long project. Now that has him excited.

The assignment was to be worth 20% of the final grade, a portfolio of any various works (original or otherwise) which displayed a student-chosen theme. The only requirements were to include at least 25 pieces, and how they relate to a certain color palette and its theory. Sounded easy enough. Taehyung was beyond excited, his mind already running wild with ideas.

"Excuse me, professor, but I have a bit of an issue with the project..."

That voice. Taehyung knows it well. He knew it in the form of, "welcome!" and, "have a nice day!" and, "apples came in fresh this morning!"

"If you're going to complain because it's too much work, then you might well drop the class," the instructor says with a satisfied look on his face. Ouch, harsh.

"No, it's not that, sir..." Jeongguk's voice trails off, rolling his lower lip between front teeth. "I'm uh, colorblind? Like, completely. Black and white. Like the old movies. 1900's. Fifty shades of grey and then some."

It hit Taehyung like a brick wall. Everything made sense now. Of course Jeongguk wouldn't have been able to help him decide which apple looked fresher. Like he'd said, they both looked the same. Taehyung mentally smacks himself upside the head.

"Well, if you're colorblind, why are you taking a color theory class?" The professor seems dumbstruck.

A simple shrug of the shoulders. Nonchalant. Laidback. Taehyung snickers at the sight of it all (and he swears he catches the glint in Jeongguk's eyes, gazes meeting for a split second).

"I needed a humanities credit. And this was the only open one that fit in my schedule."

"Very well then," the instructor begins, "we'll have to make special arrangements for you. What was your name again?"

"Jeon Jeongguk. Freshman. Law major." Taehyung swoons and nearly melts on the spot.

"Alright, Jeon Jeongguk. Freshman. Law major. You're lucky this is a partner project. We can discuss this some more after class, but does anybody–"

"–I can help him!"

Taehyung is suddenly blurting out his words, hand raised high into the air. Even Jeongguk looks shocked.

The professor clears his throat, pausing for a moment before speaking again. "It seems as though we have a volunteer... But we will need to make sure you don't end up doing the whole thing for him."

"I know, it won't be! I can just help him out. Partner project, right?" A quick glance over to Jeongguk has Taehyung's stomach doing somersaults. Jeongguk gives their teacher a reassuring glance.

Everything seems to work out just perfectly, except for the fact that Jeongguk actually walks over to Taehyung's desk after they had been dismissed. "Hey, partner, thanks for volunteering your life away for me."

In a heartbeat, my beautiful prince charming. "Oh, no problem. I don't mind, I love group work."

"Cool. Where are you headed next? Do you have class?" Oh, he sure knows how to get the heart racing.

Jeongguk walks him to his next class; his own was only a couple doors down. They exchange phone mumbers, Jeongguk promising to message him as soon as he got off work. Taehyung can hardly focus, and he's thankful that it is only syllabus day, otherwise his hands would be a shaking mess on canvas.




When he returns home, Taehyung disturbs a napping Jimin with a recount of his day (and makes it up to him by cooking dinner), to which Jimin can only nod sleepily and yawn.

It wasn't until Taehyung was all settled into bed that he heard the familiar notification tone from his phone. Damn. He'd finally started dozing off just now, too. Whoever texted him at this time would be sorry. And if it was Jimin, then so help him god–

Jeon Jeongguk.

Taehyung almost throws his phone in response, screeching loudly from the pure shock of that name displayed on his phone's screen, muttering an apology to Jimin who had thrown a bundled up sock at him from across the room.

[sms: jeon jeongguk ♡]
sorry for texting so late, but i made a promise to text you when i got off of work!!
had to close up shop today.... i'm on the verge of death

Taehyung can almost picture a sleepy Jeongguk shuffling back home after a long shift at work. Deathly cute, in his opinion.

no worries! did you really get off work this late???
oh my poor jeonggukie working so hard ㅠㅠㅠㅠㅠ

Taehyung regrets that last one, but it's too late, for the little bubble shows up to indicate that Jeongguk was already replying.

[sms: jeon jeongguk ♡]
yes, poor jeongguk indeed!
he needs lots of love n caring
and a pay raise

you mean you're NOT a millionaire?
wow, consider this friendship over

[sms: jeon jeongguk ♡]
hey now, i'll be a millionaire some day
pls don't leave me yet
i'll make it up to u
u like dogs? i'll get you twenty

Oh, now he had definitely found his soulmate.

They spent the rest of the night like that, texting and flirting until the sun was threatening to break through the clouds. If Taehyung had more confidence and an ounce less of roommate-courtesy, he very well might have dialed in Jeongguk's number to speak over the phone instead.

Taehyung doesn't know if he'll make it through the day, already dozing off in his first class of the day, though he perks right up again when a body drops itself down into the desk to his left.

And there he was, in all of his beauty. Even dark circles and eye bags looked good on him, it really wasn't fair.

"Hey." Simple. Classic. What a heartthrob. "Are you busy this weekend? Wanna get started on that project?"

I wanna get started on you, is what he thinks. "Sure," is what he says.

They get along perfectly, like two halves of a soul reunited. Jeongguk comes over quite often, even though the dorms were in the opposite direction from his own room in the on-campus dorm buildings. Even Jimin has taken a liking to the boy, often studying together at the kitchen table.

They decide that the best way to go about this project was to split up the work to play into their respective strengths. That, and Taehyung wasn't the biggest fan of the whole writing process, always rambling on and speaking from his heart; the essays he'd written had been far from formal. And Jeongguk, bless his soul, was quite good with words, plus the whole color-blindness put him at a disadvantage in doing Taehyung's part.

A perfect match, settled by the heavens.

Settled across from each other at the coffee table, Taehyung has a printout of a color wheel, though to Jeongguk, they were just various shades of grey. He stares at the thing like it's a demonic artifact, but Taehyung only has hearts for eyes. Jeongguk laughs and finds it endearing how Taehyung eats his apples in slices and sips at his carton of banana milk.

“Jeon Jeongguk. I am about to educate you on an entire world you’ve never seen before. You ready?” Taehyung lays his palms flat on the tabletop, grinning from ear to ear when Jeongguk whips out a notebook, pen in hand.

“Let’s start with the universal favorite: blue. It’s a beautiful color, really. It stands for trust, honesty, loyalty. Security. It reduces stress, and I’ve actually heard that looking at it can lower your metabolism as well! I don’t know if that has any scientific research behind it, but if that gives me an excuse to watch the sky, then I’m all for it.” Taehyung sighs dreamily, cheeks cupped in the palms of his hands. “I wish you could see it. It’s so refreshing.”

Jeongguk gives a gentle smile, finishing up the last line of his notes before looking up towards Taehyung. “Well, I may not be able to see it but, now when I look up at the sky, I can at least pretend," he says with a laugh. "Everything you tell me, I'll remember."

Taehyung keeps that in mind as he moves on to the next color, excitedly moving his hands around to emphasize his words, painting Jeongguk's thoughts with a beautiful and rich forest, emerald leaves a sign of health and vitality.

"You know, trees and plants and stuff."

"Even cactuses?"

"Yes, Jeongguk. Even cactuses."

Two is all they have time for today, Jeongguk jolting out of his seat when he checks the time.

"Shit. I'm gonna be late for work," he mutters as he haphazardly collects his belongings. He's already halfway out the door, and before he can get a word in, the other is calling out across the room. "See you in class, Taehyung!"

With Jeongguk gone, Taehyung doesn't need to mask the frown that had appeared on his face.




"Yellow reminds me of you," Jeongguk blurts out in the middle of Taehyung's lecture one day, after spending a few moments just staring at his notes. Taehyung is caught off guard, to say the least.

“Uh. Pardon?”

“Yellow reminds me of you.” he says again, his round eyes lifting to lock gazes with Taehyung, who only stares back with a furrowed brow, confusion painted on his face. “Well, were you even listening to how you described it? Optimistic, cheerful, bright, happy, like warm rays of sunshine on a hot summer’s day. That’s you, isn’t it?”

Taehyung visibly blushes, clearing his throat and scratching at his nose in an effort to hide the fact. Jeongguk may not be able to see the way his ears and cheeks reddened, but that grin on his face said it all. Caught.

“Anyway…” he tries to start up again, coughing into his fist and rearranging his papers six different times. “The yellow uh, it can also stand for challenge and confidence… and…” Taehyung is spared the embarrassment of having to explain further once Jeongguk is laughing again.

“Yellow is you, Taehyung.”

He prays that in some non-colorblind alternate universe, Jeongguk’s favorite color is yellow.




Jeongguk started to make his way into Taehyung’s current friend group, even managing to befriend Min Yoongi, his intimidating math tutor, and the ever friendly Jung Hoseok. But Taehyung welcomed it all, the newfound friendships bringing Jeongguk even further into his life.

He’d become especially close to his roommate Jimin, bonding an inexplicable amount after he’d been recruited onto their school’s elite volleyball team. Jimin was practically dating the sport, even being named their region’s top rated libero. Apparently his small size had paid off in the form of dexterity and flexibility (though if Taehyung was to be completely honest, Jimin really was the ace of the team, saving them from a number of fatal spikes).

“He’s from Busan too, Taetae! How come you never told me!” Jimin chirps to him happily one day, his cheeks round and absolutely glowing even under the poor fluorescent lights of the hallway. “We even almost went to the same high school; can you believe it?”

He could believe it, he had to, with how often Jimin liked to bring the topic up. “He was the powerful outside hitter from a few schools over that we’d always heard about! I always heard his serves are lethal, but now I know. I swear he almost gave me a concussion one day at practice. He’s too competitive for his own good.”

Jimin would often times come home after a long practice, belly aching with laughter over the latest antics of the one and only Jeon Jeongguk. Taehyung always laughed at the little stories, though he could feel the black of his stomach, jealous that he could never witness it firsthand.

It was no secret that Taehyung was crushing, and crushing hard. Jimin teased him daily, asking things like, “how’d the date go?” and, “have you guys made out yet?”

Unfortunately, no.

They’d only really known each other for about a month now. Him and Jeongguk didn’t really know that much about each other yet. All they ever seemed to talk about was school and work and colors and everything that Jeongguk couldn’t see. The more he thought about it, though, the more peculiar it seemed. Maybe they weren’t really friends, like Taehyung had thought. They seemed to be more like just simple classmates, partners assigned to work together, and nothing more. The thought has Taehyung’s lips pursing into a tight frown; was he just being irrational?

Who was he to think that he’d even stand a chance landing a spot in Jeongguk’s heart?




That question remains at the back of Taehyung’s mind with every passing day. It was nothing more than a schoolgirl crush, no real substance to it at all. He floods his thoughts with beautiful sunsets and wide beaches, wanting to rid his heart of all things Jeon Jeongguk. They were just classmates, barely friends at this point, but there he was, always finding his way into Taehyung’s daydreams. He held out his hand, and Taehyung took it, following him out towards the shore, their toes digging into the wet sand. Their fingers laced together, cheeks rounded as a result of wide grins, laughter playing at the tips of their tongues. Jeongguk playfully shoves Taehyung towards the water, freezing his ankles and bringing a shock to his system. The younger apologizes, holding Taehyung’s two hands in his own, those warm, chocolatey eyes gazing into his own…

“Taehyung,” he begins, voice barely a whisper. “Taehyung–”

“Taehyung! Are you even listening?”

He’s instantly pulled back to reality, plucked right out of his dream-like state. Jimin is snapping his stubby fingers in front of his face, and Taehyung has to physically shake his head to rid himself of that particular daydream.

“Sorry, what?” he mumbles, unconvincingly awake.

“I said that I’m going to be away tonight. Volleyball practice. Gukkie and I have to work on our digs and receives.”

Gukkie. Taehyung feels the jealousy gripping at his heart, his chest feeling tight. He has to rub at his temples and remind himself that Gukkie did not belong to him; he had no right to be jealous.

"Yeah, that's fine, I have midterms coming up anyway. I'll eat leftovers."

And he does. They’re not quite warm enough but he can’t bring himself to microwave them for a third time, settling for coagulated macaroni and cheese.

Taehyung doesn’t know when meetings with vivid and rich conversations on the color of those horrible curtains in the library, turned into brief notes sent through text, barely a “thank you,” to be heard. Jimin wasn’t much of a support either, always absent at his practice with Gukkie. Taehyung knew that he was being childish, especially when he lay at bed in an empty apartment, kicking his feet at the blankets that were failing to keep him warm.




It isn’t until two weeks after midterms that Taehyung and Jeongguk meet up again outside of class. Taehyung is adding the final touches to his abstract painting a landscape, finally setting his detail brush down with a triumphant exhale. “Done!”

Jeongguk only stares at the canvas quizzically, the image looking like an oil spill to his eyes. “Taehyung, no offense but… what is that?”

Luckily, Taehyung does not take offense, giggling in a manner that can only be described as cute.

“It’s a sunset, Jeonggukie! I love them the most, because they’re a mix of all these warm colors, each one bright and vibrant and just stunning.” He sighs dreamily. “Reds and oranges and pinks… sometimes there’s even purple!”

Jeongguk smiles warmly and turns his attention back to the still-drying acrylics (still Taehyung’s favorite medium, even after excelling in his watercolor class). Despite there being a lack of pigment, just the gradient of the evening sky provides a calming effect.

"See right here? Towards the top and furthest from the sun? That one's purple. Purple isn't a primary color, which means it comes as a result of a mixture of those main ones. It's a mix of the reds of the sunset and the blue of the sky," Taehyung explains this excitedly, as if he was capable of painting the colors over Jeongguk's eyes.

"It symbolizes creativity, individuality. It doesn't occur in nature too often, so when you do see it, you know it's something special." Taehyung stretches his arms up and over his head, before letting his palms settle on the mess of his own hair.

"That's why recently I've dyed my hair to it! Well, it's more of that dusty greyish lavender kind if a color, because muted colors are my aesthetic and all – though I guess to you, I'm always in that aesthetic."

Taehyung laughs. Jeongguk laughs too.

He doesn't feel afraid to joke around with Jeongguk, who appears to be confident enough in himself to remain unaffected by the older boy's gentle teasing. At least, with Jeongguk's inability to see color, that would be one less person nagging him about his hair falling out some day.

It might have been the bleach that had finally gotten to his brain, making his mind spin and go off in the opposite direction if what he wanted. It was the only reasonable explanation for what Taehyung is blurting out in the next second.

"Do you maybe wanna go outside and watch the actual sunset with me? It's really pretty – even in black and white – and the weather isn't too bad and it's not too late, plus it's the weekend and I promise I won't keep you out too late since you have work–"

"Taehyung." Had he finally done it? Had he finally pushed the limit too far? Was Jeongguk overwhelmed. It was Taehyung's worst nightmare, to have any of his emotions go unreciprocated.

"We can go watch the sunset."

And there it is. That gentle smile had graced Jeongguk's features once more, and Taehyung found himself falling all over again.

His whole face lights up, cheeks turning beet red when Jeongguk points out how he seems to be glowing now.

They head out, Jeongguk throwing his jacket over his shoulders while Taehyung settled for a blanket, wrapping it tight around his body. The pair ventured out down the street, steps in sync until they'd reached their destination point.

It was a lovely little park, one that both Taehyung and Jimin visited often. Though small, there was a nice open area perfect for evenings like this, trees almost parting to show a beautiful horizon. Already, the sky was darkening, the lavenders in the sky matching Taehyung's freshly dyed hair.

Here, out in the open, without the dull thrum of the refrigerator or Jimin's music playing softly from behind a closed door, the silence was deeper than ever. Taehyung was hyperaware of his own breaths, hoping that they didn't sound nearly as monstrous to Jeongguk at his side.

"What transitions the purple and blue with the sun?" Jeongguk questions in a low voice. There was something soft, delicate even, about the way his words became hushed in this new environment, unlike his usual confident self. Taehyung understood. The sunset was Jeongguk's comfort, the world approaching that dark night where there were no colors to miss, nothing for him to miss out on. The starry blanket that was the night sky came as a sense of safety to many.

For Taehyung, it was the opposite. He feared the night, the way the darkness and chills would envelop his body. It was mysterious and impenetrable, full of secrets to never be told. He much preferred the beauty of a fresh and dewy morning, everything coming back to life after a long winter's night. For him, it was all about rebirth. He'd often times pondered the thought of reincarnation; he likes to think that he was a puppy in his past life.

Jeongguk's voice is snapping him back to reality with a simple, "Tae?"

He's embarrassed, hoping that he hadn't been in his thoughts for too long, though, by the look on Jeongguk's face, he surely has.

"Right! Sorry. Sometimes there's pink alongside the purple, especially when there's clouds. The two are a bit harder to distinguish though." Taehyung explains while reaching an arm out to point to the shapes in the sky, then turning to the younger male.

"And the meaning! It's not my favorite color but, it makes me feel happy when I see it," he starts, letting out a dreamy little sigh. "Pink is the color of infatuation. Sweet and sugary, like floating on clouds with hearts in your eyes."

Taehyung was feeling pink, but he was glad for once that Jeongguk couldnt see the dusty shade rising in his cheeks.

Their eyes meet, and the flush deepens. Taehyung clears his throat and faces forward again.

"Uh, you remember yellow, right? The Taehyung color, as you called it. That's the sun. That big, bright ball of light dropping on the horizon. Fading out from there is orange. Not really my favorite color, but in the realm of sunsets, it really pulls the two together. Without orange, that gradient from yellow to red would just be... choppy." A bridge connecting the two, it seemed so effortless. Taehyung doubts he could ever cross bridges of his own.

"Orange is like... Super out there. It takes a lot of confidence to be able to pull off the color orange, y'know!" Taehyung's chest bellows with laughter, recalling a time when he himself had tried to work the color orange. "I dyed my hair bright orange one time, Jeongguk. Bright orange."

Jeongguk snorts, chokes a little when he pictures Taehyung taking Halloween to the extreme. "Yeah? Did you rock it though?"

"People said they liked it! Said it actually suited me. Can you believe it?" Taehyung doesn't catch the glint in his eyes that says, Yes, Taehyung, I can.

"Jiminnie said that it really complimented my skin tone, and that, surprisingly enough, seemed like a perfect fit for me. So strange. I got rid of it quickly, though. Took it back down to some kind of coppery blonde. I always thought that the softer colors looked best on me."

"You're pretty confident to be dyeing your hair at all though, in my opinion," Jeongguk finally speaks. It was usually like this, where he'd let Taehyung ramble on about anything as he sat back and listened, taking it all in, ears attentive like his life depended on it. This routine took a lot of reassurance on Jeongguk's part, who insisted that it was perfectly fine with him, despite Taehyung near tears about how they should share talking time.

"I could never do it. I did like... brown once. That was enough of a shock. I think I prefer the way darks look on me. Keeps me all ominous and stuff. Why do you think I wear all black?" His voice comes out behind a breathy chuckle, and Taehyung watches as his Adam's apple bobs.

"Are those the only colors? Aren't you missing one?" Jeongguk is teasing. Taehyung can tell, because he's got that sly smirk on his face, eyes almost twinkling. Fair enough. So he'd forgotten. But Taehyung never liked to be wrong, so he scowls and playfully nudges at Jeongguk's side with an elbow.

"Hey, I didn't forget, I just got distracted," he mumbles, though Jeongguk doesn't seem convinced. Taehyung is offended. "There's nothing wrong with making conversation anyway!"

Taehyung's shoulders slump, lips forming a small pout until Jeongguk apologized (though not without another bout of laughter).

"Red. Red is the color of action. It's full of strength and power, something driven and ready to conquer the world. It's exciting, energized, and determined. I think you would like the color red, Jeongguk."

Jeongguk is beaming, though Taehyung can't figure out the reason this time. The male is pleased about something that he just can't quite put his finger on.

"You think so? Maybe I should start wearing all red from now on."

It's a joke, but Taehyung almost drools at the image.

"It's not just about physical prowess, though! There are strong emotional ties, you've probably heard all about it though."

"Please, enlighten me, oh master of the arts."

Taehyung swallows at the lump in his throat, tugging the blanket closer to his shivering self.

"Red is warm, hot, fiery, intense, passionate. Full-bodied, uncontrollable feeling. It can be associated with negative traits, but call me old-fashioned. The positives always trump the negatives in my eyes." His throat starts to close up, a signal, maybe, a sign from a higher power to stop talking and keep his mouth shut. "Red is love."

Taehyung's shaky gaze lifts from his lap, searching until he'd locked eyes with the other male. The being of his affections. Perhaps Jeongguk's love for the nighttime was the source of his mind's cloudiness.

"Red is what I feel towards you."

A dead man is what he was. Dead. He'd just confessed his feelings to Jeon Jeongguk. The simple boy, but boy of his dreams nonetheless. He has to be dreaming, because there is absolutely no way that he, Kim Taehyung, had just done this out of his own accord. He was like a puppy, Jeongguk the alpha of the pack, a natural leader, and somebody way out of his league.

His heart has stopped. They stared at each other for far too long, the rotation of the earth around the sun put on pause just so that they could share this moment longer.

“Taehyung…” His voice trails off, body visibly tense even in the hazy dusk.

Is that all Jeongguk can say at a time like this? Anything, say anything, Jeongguk. Taehyung pleads in his mind. Maybe a, “I’m in love with you too, Taehyung.”

But Jeongguk says no such thing, instead just staring right through Taehyung’s entire existence, brow in a tight furrow. The older of the two finds himself panicking, holding his breath to keep himself from gasping for air. But he was strong. He had built himself up to this point, gathered up all of the courage in the world to make his confession. His grandmother had taught him to never leave room for regret, and to always speak your mind, even in tense situations.

“Jeongguk, I… I really like you a lot. Call it cliché, call me a sap and a love-struck fool, but it won’t change a thing. I want to be with you. More than just in your company, but I want to be yours.”

Nothing. Nothing but that same, blank stare. He would have almost preferred that Jeongguk looked shocked, in disbelief, disgusted, even. Any reaction would be better than no reaction at all.

Taehyung locked eyes with the other male, a hint of uneasiness in his eyes, hidden behind a strong and challenging stare. Anything, Jeongguk.

“I… Taehyung.”

Was this it? Was he finally going to do it?

“I like Jimin.”

Oh. Scratch that. Scratch all of that. Taehyung had a million regrets now, and this was one of them. Never again would he voice his thoughts, no. Never. If this is what he got for speaking up and being honest, then surely this was the world’s way of telling him to stop immediately. Time to put on the devil’s mask.

Because Jeongguk likes Jimin. His roommate, his best friend in the world. Jimin. Somewhere along the way, between early morning coffee runs and late night practices, Jeongguk had fallen in love.

He was joking, right?

He couldn’t be, not with how Jeongguk was finally returning the hard stare, face more serious than ever.

“I’m sorry–” Jeongguk begins, almost looking panicked himself at the way Taehyung’s face became drained of energy.

“No, don’t be! Haha, that’s great, I’m so happy for you!” Taehyung laughed nervously, uncontrollable. “What a good joke, right? Wow, you should’ve seen the look on your face, hahaha!”

Jeongguk’s mouth opens, closes, repeats this a few times, as if there were unspoken words he wanted to share, but his voice never came out. He moves closer to the other, the action almost going unnoticed, with the way that Taehyung begins backing up, scrambling up onto his feet with that same weak, fake grin on his face.
“I… I just remembered that I have a chemistry lab tomorrow! I have to finish my pre-lab or I am screwed. I don’t think my lab partners will like it very much, if I need to copy from them for the sixth time in a row.”

Taehyung can no longer sit still, the blanket held impossibly tight around his shoulders. "I'll see you later, Jeongguk, yeah?"

Jeongguk has no choice but to watch as Taehyung fled the scene, biting his tongue as his figure faded off into the distance. He chose to ignore the fact that he knew Taehyung wasn't even taking chemistry this semester.




Taehyung ran as fast as his legs could take him, blaming the sting in his eyes on the chilly wind of the night. Stupid heart, stupid brain, stupid Jeongguk. Sure, it was wrong of him to blame innocent Jeongguk, but Taehyung couldn't stand blaming himself, despite knowing deep down that it was no one's fault but his own.

A look of distaste found its way onto Taehyung's face when his gaze falls upon the mess of Jeongguk's work spread out over the kitchen table. He leaves a quick note for Jimin to deliver it all to him at their practice the following morning.

He throws himself down on his bed, curling up into a little, protective ball. He wanted to be alone, where his memories would comfort him more than any other could. Taehyung was feeling positively red.

Red is warm, hot, fiery, intense, passionate. But red is not love. Not anymore. Red is anger and upset, full of danger and warning. Red is the weakest of the flames. To Taehyung, Jeongguk is red.

When Jimin comes home after one of his study sessions, Taehyung pretends to be asleep and hopes that his body, racked with sobs and tiny sniffles could be passed off as a bout of night time shivering.




Jimin nearly files a missing person’s report before he finds Taehyung locked away in the furthest corner of the library, stealing one of the study rooms for himself (he looked miserable, but Jimin wasn’t about to pour salt in the wound).

“Tae, where have you been? I heard you didn’t even go to classes today?” Jimin asks as he stands in the doorway, panting and gasping for breath, presumably from having searched the entire campus just to find his friend.

“Uh. Sick day. Out late in the cold last night. Plus, like, perfect opportunity to skip and cram for my math test this week.” Taehyung mumbles from behind a sleeve, his whole body slouched over the desk. His papers were scattered everywhere, and it really did appear as though Taehyung was at least trying to study for math, though his blank workbook was a clear indication that nothing had really gotten done, for however long the male had been there.

“Okay, well Jeongguk came to me all panicked at practice today. He said you weren’t at your art conspiracy class–”

“It’s color theory.”

“Right. So he said you weren’t at your color theory class, and you never skip that class. Even I don’t know what classes you do or don’t go to, but I assumed you were such a goody-two-shoes and wouldn’t skip even if you were dying. But I guess Jeongguk noticed, and said he didn’t see you around at your next class.”

Oh, so now he cares? Taehyung scoffs, quickly having to pass it off as a cough when Jimin looks at him with questioning eyes.

“Well, you’ve found me, Jimin. Can you leave now? I have a lot to catch up on.”

Jimin’s shoulders lift before he heaves a sigh. Clearly, there was something bothering Taehyung, but he knew better than anybody than to press too far. “Sure, I’ll see you back at the apartment.”

It wasn’t Jimin’s fault that Jeongguk hadn’t returned his feelings. It wasn’t even Jeongguk’s fault. Taehyung couldn’t be so greedy as to keep Jeongguk all to himself. He was a human being, with real emotions and feelings; Taehyung had no control over what Jeongguk felt towards him and towards the lucky other.

Taehyung only blamed himself for becoming so attached.




He’d returned home later that evening, when his stomach began to growl and, regrettably, his wallet was empty. Taehyung expected to come home to an empty apartment, lights turned off, and nothing but a note from Jimin saying, “out for the night, ramen for dinner, I’ll make it up to you next time!” He’d almost thrown his phone at the figure spread out over their couch, pausing only because he looked suspiciously like his roommate.

“Jimin? Is that you?” Taehyung questions, one hand clenched into a protective fist while the other still held tightly at his cellphone. He had never felt more relieved in his entire life once the figure turned toward him, Jimin’s face devoid of emotion.

“Yes, Taehyung. It’s me. Park Jimin. Roommate for life. Were you expecting somebody else in our own apartment?” he deadpans, before shuffling and settling himself back against the cushions.

Taehyung sighs and flops himself down on the other side of the sofa, legs draping over Jimin's lap. “To be honest, I thought you were a burglar, mooching off of at our wi-fi and cable.”

Jimin laughs, and Taehyung feels his heart lift for the first time since the night before.

"Practice end early?" Taehyung asks, body relaxed with the comfort of their old sofa.

"Yeah, we got a game coming up so coach let us off at our normal time for the night so that we could finish up all our other stuff, and focus on practice the rest of the week." Jimin stretches out his legs, letting out a groan from the stiffness of his muscles. "Jeongguk wanted to come over."

Taehyung froze. Jeongguk wanted to come over? Even after what he had done to him? That was like adding fuel to the flame. So he'd wanted to come over, make out with Jimin here on this couch, right in front of him? Cruel, filthy, disgusting. His blood ran green with envy, greed overwhelming his very existence, nothing but crushed hopes and dreams.

Taehyung could only wish it was him that Jeongguk was lusting over instead. He'd been sexiled by Jimin enough to last a lifetime, and he'd love to get his payback, though it only seemed as though Jimin would add to his count within the near future.

"He really wanted to come hang out but I told him you weren't feeling well, so it'd have to be put off 'til next time. I offered to go to his place but he didn't seem interested."

Well that meant nothing. Maybe Jeongguk just hadn't done his laundry for the week, didn't want to make a bad impression on his love interest. Taehyung mutters a small thank you, the pair of them falling into silence as they caught up on the latest television affairs.

Taehyung sleeps early that night, unable to shake the thought of Jeongguk visiting. It had to be for Jimin, it only made sense (and he'd have to remember to avoid his own apartment for fear of what kind of close interactions he might come across). But something about it, something deep in Taehyung's gut, was telling him different. He couldn't quite explain it, just on the verge of discovery before he'd passed out for the night.




The same string of events happens in the following days; Jimin checks up on him between classes, eats dinner with him, and sends him off to bed early. It's quite strange, for somebody who is absolutely adored by another, to be spending his night eating instant ramen and binge watching One Piece.

Taehyung eyes him from the other side of the table, picking at his own food and eating each individual slice of green onion.

"Tae, I know we've talked about how we're like, platonic soulmates and all that, but do you have to keep staring at me like that?" Jimin finally speaks up, mouth half full of noodles. Taehyung gives an apologetic look.

"Sorry. Just wanted to make sure you were real, that's all."

"As opposed to me being not real?"

"Well yeah, I mean, what if you were just a figment of my imagination this whole time?"


"Like maybe I've seen you once before, but the you that's here right now is the fake, and the real you is probably out enjoying a nice dinner with his romantic soulmate."

"Taehyung, are you feeling okay?" Jimin places his chopsticks down on the edge of his bowl, brow furrowing in concern.

"I'm fine–" Taehyung starts, though he can tell that Jimin sees right through his bluff. Platonic soulmates for real. "It's just... something dumb. Not a big deal."

"Taehyung, you're drinking water instead of banana milk, and you didn't even put an egg in your ramen, this is obviously bothering you a lot." Bingo. Bullseye. Jimin knew him well. If he hadn't been feeling so down, Taehyung would have leaned over and given him a big smooch.

“Alright, I’ve been caught. It’s bothering me a lot but, I can’t burden you! You’re pre-pharm, Jimin, you’ve got enough on your plate.” Taehyung says with a small smile, which would have passed off as even half-convincing had it not been for Jimin’s intelligence.

“Yeah right, fess up, Kim Taehyung.”

"It's nothing, seriously–"

"If you don't tell me I swear to god..."

"It's nothing!"

"Kim Taehyung."

They went back and forth for what seemed like an eternity, voices raising and tones growing more tense with each exchange.

"Don't you have anything better to do, Jimin?" Taehyung shouts suddenly, palms slamming down against the surface of the table. "Studying? Practice? Don't you have a game coming up? Or a date, maybe? Don't you have about a million and one dates to be going on, Jimin?"

His breaths were ragged, knuckles turning white from how tightly his fists were clenched. Jimin stared with his mouth agape, in a state of shock.

"I– Taehyung?"

"Because you're so perfect and smart and talented, and of course everybody is head over heels in love with you! Don't you think it's a little unfair of you to be so good at everything? Don't you want to share the wealth?" He's shaking, lip quivering as he fought back the tears which threatened to fall.

Jimin looked more concerned than offended, though he still stood there, shocked at the sudden outburst. "Taehyung... what is this really about?"

Taehyung is more upset than he'd started out, his eyes watering and hands shaking. Now, he'd only disappointed himself, immediately regretting lashing out at his friend, innocent Jimin who had done no wrong. "It's you, Jimin, he chose you. I never even stood a chance."

Jimin didn't even need a second to understand what was bothering Taehyung. "What are you talking about? He's totally into you, you're oblivious, Tae."

"No! If he was into me then he would have said so! He would have said, 'I really like you too, Taehyung,' instead of 'I'm sorry, Taehyung,' and things wouldn't be like how they are now. We would have been together. Things would have been different." The tears are falling now, and he doesn't even push Jimin away when he feels his arms wrap securely around his own body. His nose burns and his vision is blurred by his own tears, voice soft and fragile. "He didn't choose me, Jimin, it's over. I messed up."

And Taehyung lets Jimin hold him, slipping underneath blankets and cramming themselves onto Taehyung's single bed. Jimin is comforting, rubbing at his back and whispering sweet words into his hair, as Taehyung's body is racked with muffled sobs and desperate whines, tears soaking through the fabric of Jimin's t-shirt.

Taehyung feels so vulnerable, skin flushed pink from extensive crying, his heart beaten and exposed. He only falls asleep in the late of the night, after he'd calmed down, Jimin's slow and steady breaths keeping him grounded.




The following morning, both of their bodies ache from the tight space of the bed they shared, necks all cramped up. They don't talk about the night before, but the way that Jimin stays so close by keeps Taehyung feeling supported.

They head out for the library, in a desperate attempt to get Taehyung to memorize his derivatives before his upcoming exam. There's a big grin on his face, as Jimin recounts the time he'd fallen flat on his face trying to save a ball from going out during a big home match. Taehyung laughs out loud, quickly bringing a hand up to his mouth to mask the snort that he'd made. He's sure that in some alternate universe or world of reincarnation, Jimin is his other half.

The library is coming into view, and a large group of people seemed to be just leaving. They all looked so smart and put-together. Even as college students, he could tell they were men of business. Score. If Jimin and Taehyung have any bit of luck, they'll be able to snag one of the conference rooms for themselves.

But when his eyes meet with those of one of the students in that group, Taehyung's face drops. Jeon Jeongguk. His face pales, and he freezes in place. Jimin gives him a quick glance, mouth opening to ask what was wrong, but following Taehyung's gaze, he understood it all.

Jeongguk looks equally mortified, confronted with the two other counterparts of his love triangle. At the same time. Such is the beauty of college.

When Jimin finally turns back to Taehyung, the boy is already making his escape, about twenty feet back in the direction of their apartment. Jimin shoots Jeongguk a quick glare before chasing after Taehyung, walking with his arm around a shoulder when he finally catches up.

Jeongguk is left to reflect and regret his every decision.




Taehyung's world is blue. He sounds blue, sees blue, feels blue. He doesn't remember December ever being this cold. Wasn't the world in a crisis of global warming? He briefly wonders if it would be better to freeze or burn to death. He would take either at this point; he wasn't feeling all too picky.

As his brush glides over fresh canvas, he feels shivers run through his body. This piece, so frigid and unmoving, leaves a different impression on Taehyung. He isn't blind to the way his art has changed as of late, all so cold and lonely and full of sadness, and he knows exactly why. He has studied enough artists to recognize this within himself, the way that his work transforms to match the way his heart tugs at the thought of Jeongguk. The piece is only half-finished, but he has no motivation, setting it aside for another day (Jimin later finds the piece in the trash).




Jimin keeps quiet, for the most part, only waking up Taehyung after he falls asleep studying, or reminding him that he hasn't eaten a thing all day. He knows the topic of Jeongguk is delicate territory, deciding it best to not push Taehyung to speak.

He takes over on grocery duty, not wanting to force Taehyung to meet his heartbreaker face to face. Jimin likes to go in the morning, bright and early on Saturday mornings, whereas Taehyung always went on Friday nights.

When the basket is set onto the countertop, Jeongguk feels his heart skip. Fresh apples and banana milk set neatly atop the other groceries. The cartons are a bright yellow (he knows this from the fifteen-minute rant Taehyung went on about how good and magical banana milk was), although Jeongguk feels anything but cheerful, especially with the way that Jimin's glare is like daggers to the chest.

"You are unbelievable." Jimin says with a stern expression, and Jeongguk finds himself cowering under his gaze, despite being physically larger than him.

"I seriously cannot believe you. How could you do this to him? I know for a fact that you don't have feelings for me." He doesn't let Jeongguk speak for a second, only continuing to talk in his place. "You can't just use me as a scapegoat because you're scared of your own emotions, Jeongguk."

He quietly scans the items for checkout, unable to find the right words to say. Jeongguk knows that he had done wrong, knows that it was all his fault that they were all hurting in some way or another, but he couldn't find the strength to make things right again.

"Get it together, alright? I'm not going to stand by and watch you ruin my best friend."

When he finally looks up to meet Jimin's eyes, he can see the fire within them. If you don't fix things, you're fucked, Jeon Jeongguk. He gives a weak smile and a small nod, reassuring a skeptical Jimin that everything will be okay.





He doesn't gather up the courage to call Taehyung for another week. The phone rings, and rings, and Jeongguk is stuck with voicemail. He wished that Taehyung had set up one of his own, just so that he could hear his voice again, but he has nothing but this monotonous, generic message.

He sighs and hangs up; he knows that Taehyung wouldn't even listen to anything he had to say. By text, he'd be more likely to at least read what he sent (his fingers type in Taehyung's name a little too quickly).

it's me
we still need to finish our project, can we meet up? i'm off work, game isn't until six.

Jeongguk sets his phone down, though he can't stop himself from glancing over at the screen with every passing second. The triple text was risky, and the longer it takes to hear back from Taehyung, the more regret he feels. When the screen finally does light up, he pounces, scrambling to unlock his phone to open the messaging app.

[sms: tae]
already finished most of it, emailed my parts to you. if you want to see the portfolio pieces, they're in prof's office, thanks.

It's cold, and Jeongguk feels his heart drop. Gone were the little emoticons and improper capitalization, now replaced with short phrases and the ominous period. He types in a few words, backspacing each time.

That night, every single one of Jeongguk’s spikes gets blocked, and the team loses their first game of the season.





It’s two weeks before finals, and neither Jeongguk nor Taehyung have spoken a word to one another. Taehyung had finally started to show up to classes again about a week and a half after their fallout, though he sat far away from the younger, close to the door, for easy escape. And his plan would have worked, if only Jeongguk were less observational, dumber, less athletic…

He catches Taehyung by the wrist, grip firm, but not overwhelming. He pleads with his eyes, whispering a soft, “please,” before loosening his grip some; an invitation to escape. Taehyung jerks his hand away, seemingly disgusted to be touched by somebody so absolutely, irrevocably foul. But he doesn’t run. He stays, standing in the middle of the courtyard with Jeongguk, in a world of their own. And even with Jeongguk’s inability to see color, he notices how Taehyung’s face has grown dull, no longer radiating warmth and happiness through pigmented skin.

“Taehyung, please, just hear me out.”

“Why should I?” His tone is sharp, and it leaves Jeongguk feeling pained.

“Taehyung, listen. I– I know I fucked up. Majorly fucked up. I’m not going to beg for forgiveness. Hell, I’m not even expecting it. But I just… I want to explain things. Explain myself.”

Taehyung puts a physical barrier between the two, folding his arms over his chest. He gives a quirk of the brow, granting nonverbal permission to continue on.

“I know you hate me now. I know that, after today, you’ll probably never want to see me again. And it was wrong of me, to… lead you on like that, get your hopes up and then totally shoot you down like it was nothing.”

“You’re not making this any better, Jeongguk.”

“Sorry– I just… I wanted to say that I’m sorry. I’m sorry for being an awful human being, and for breaking your heart.”

“Cool. Can I leave now?”

Jeongguk frowns, wanting to reach out to hold at Taehyung’s hands, but not wanting to push his luck.

“Taehyung,” he continues on, choosing to ignore that pointed question. “I’m asking for a second chance.”

Second chance at what? Breaking my heart again? He doesn’t speak, but the words are clear on Taehyung’s face.

“I want this. I want us. Kim Taehyung, it’s you. It was always you.” Jeongguk’s words are confident, despite the way his heart was beating at a million miles per hour. “Will you give me one more chance? Would you be mine?”

He can see as Taehyung’s face turns another shade entirely, heart clenching when the boy squints his eyes, even more so when he takes a step backward.

“What, so you want me to like you now, after you’ve lied to me?” Taehyung seems offended. “Are you for real, Jeongguk?”


“And what makes you think that I’m going to fall for a liar, who used me to get a good grade, who used my best friend as a means of escape? What gives you the right to–”

Then, before he can even raise his tone and tell Jeongguk off, their lips are connected. Warm hands cup at his cheeks, holding him so gently and delicately. Taehyung would be lying if he said he didn’t melt into the touch, lips moving on their own accord to meet Jeongguk’s. His lips are soft, moving slow and tender, all of their unspoken words communicated via kiss. His own hands slide up and around the male’s strong shoulders, tugging their bodies closer and closing the gap between them both.

There had been a wide ocean separating them, as they stood on each side, longing for one another. So close, yet held back by inner conflict and personal obstacles. They had built a bridge with their lips locked in a fiery kiss, hands holding each other so tight, claiming one another as their own. Somewhere, between study dates and sunsets, they had fallen in love.





Jeongguk’s place is closer, he remembers. Just on the west end of campus. It’s a good thing, too, because there was no time to waste. Half their clothes are lost before they even make it to the living room, Jeongguk’s body falling on top of Taehyung’s once they reach his bedroom. Jeongguk’s lips are hot against his skin, mouthing wet bruises across the expanse of his neck and shoulder.

He takes Taehyung like this, caged between his arms with his back pressed against the bedsheets. He’s gentle, peppering kisses all along Taehyung’s unmarked skin, muttering promises and little words of adoration into his body. Jeongguk presses deep, and Taehyung keens into the touch, his body lit aflame, the grip at his hips bruising but not unwelcomed. He finds his release only after Jeongguk’s whispers of encouragement, face tucked into the junction of Taehyung’s neck and shoulder. Jeongguk follows soon after, their bodies growing limp and tired, laying together on the bed soaked in their own sweat.

“I think I can get used to this.” Taehyung is the first to speak up, head rolling on its side to look at the other. Jeongguk’s eyes crinkle up into a smile, fingers soothing away the aches in Taehyung’s muscles before he laces their fingers together. His lips press loving kisses at the back of Taehyung’s hand, eyelashes fluttering against his knuckles.





“You know, when I said that I wouldn’t let you ruin my best friend, I definitely meant it in this way, too,” Jimin calls out from behind the palms that were blocking his vision. Walking in on a very much naked Kim Taehyung hoisted up onto their kitchen table, thighs wrapped around Jeongguk’s waist, was not high on his bucket list (and he vowed to never eat there again).

“Why,” he whines out, when the two are finally clothed. Jeongguk gives a nonchalant shrug of the shoulders, while Taehyung giggles from behind, his boyfriend leaning in to peck at his lips.

“You guys are so gross. And it’s not even just because I walked in on you two… doing… god knows what. But you guys are sickeningly sweet, I should have never interfered. I would have been safe from this hell. What did I do wrong in a past life to deserve this…” Jimin laments, dragging himself to the sink to splash some water in his eyes.

“What do you say, baby, should we give our poor Jimin a break?” Jeongguk asks, slipping his arms around Taehyung’s waist to pull their bodies together.

“Mm, might be a good idea. We’ve already done it in every room in this apartment, anyway.” Jimin could have gone his whole life without hearing that.

“Cool. So, my place?” Jeongguk smirks, and Taehyung's face lights up.

Jimin’s wails of misery could be heard as the two left through the front door.





“Don’t look, don’t look!”

“Taehyung, you blindfolded me.”

“I know but, don’t look!”

Taehyung takes his hands and spreads them open, palms facing upward, before placing a cool object onto his skin and dragging the sleeping mask away from his eyes.

“Ta-dah! A gift. For you. To celebrate uh… I dunno. Two for one ddeokbokki.”

Jeongguk lets his gaze drop, immediately confused by the small box in his hands. When he glances back up to Taehyung, he can’t help but to open it up, with the way that the other was bouncing up and down in excitement.

He picks up the item, squinting at them with his brow furrowed tight. “Tae, you… got me sunglasses?”

Taehyung lets out a little sound of excitement, grabbing them from Jeongguk’s grip before giving Jeongguk’s cheek a gentle pat. “Close your eyes again, babe.”

Jeongguk is obedient, doing exactly as Taehyung said (because otherwise, Taehyung woud just pout until he got his way). But it’s all worth the wait, for when he opens his eyes again, he’s met with a wonderful new world, one that is bright and full of vibrancy, his old greys and washed out colors restored to normalcy.

He’s emotional, no lie, as he stands and walks over to the windowsill, toying with the leaves of their houseplant. “Is this… green? And what is that?!” His fingertips brush against the fabric of the blanket folded neatly over the back of the couch, amazed at its beauty.

“That’s blue, baby.” Taehyung says with a soft chuckle, sitting atop the arm of the sofa while swinging his feet back and forth. Jeongguk’s head snaps upward, and immediately is surging himself forward to hold Taehyung’s face in the palms of his hands.

“Oh my god. You’re beautiful, Tae… so beautiful.” Jeongguk whispers in a breathy tone.

Taehyung blushes, and for the first time, Jeongguk catches the flush. The grin is uncontrollable, white teeth flashing in the sunlight. He leans in for a quick peck, before fingers trail upward, twirling at strands of Taehyung’s hair.

“Your hair, baby. Didn’t you say your hair was dyed lavender? Is this what purple looks like? It’s so… bright.” Jeongguk is in awe, but Taehyung smiles warmly and shakes his head.

“It’s a new color! Freshly dyed. This one’s red, Jeonggukie. You remember what red means, right?”

Jeongguk smiles and nods, reaching to interlock his fingers with Taehyung's. "I could never forget." He gives his answer in the form of kisses to his hand and a knowing sparkle in the eyes.

They are connected by the red strings of fate. Everything in their world is red. Red is forever, they are forever.

Warm, hot, fiery, intense. Passionate and full-bodied. Uncontrollable. I love you.