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hold me like i'm hope

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It’s early. Like, seven thirty in the morning early. Shop doesn’t open till around ten, but Jeongguk always gets there much earlier to set everything up—he dislikes mornings but dislikes running late more.

He shoves his hands deeper into his pockets and tries making himself smaller to protect from the cold. It’s not really working, which isn’t exactly helping ease his morning grumpiness.

It's the kind of cold that creeps up on you and tries to choke you real slow—you step out the door and it seems fine, but before you know it you're freezing to the bone and you don't know where it came from, but it's happening, and you’re stuck in a daydream filled with sunshine.

He turns around a corner and—

He honestly barely registers what’s going on, but he’s sturdy so he remains on his feet and doesn’t fall or drop anything, and he quickly grabs the handlebars on the bike that’s crashing into him.

“Nice save,” a deep voice says, and Jeongguk looks up from where his own hands are clasped on top of someone else’s. He’s met with a smile and a pair of strong eyebrows that quickly furrows as their owner realises what’s happening. “Wait, fuck, I’m so sorry,” he starts rambling. “I didn’t see you, holy shit, and you just—like, wow, what kind of killer reflexes? Sorry, I’m really sorry, I–”

“It’s fine,” Jeongguk breathes out, still kind of taken aback by how beautiful the face in front of him is. He has really nice eyes and his lips are all red in the cold, and his voice is a nice pitch as well, all deep and soothing. “I promise, it’s fine.” He tries for a smile, but he’s pretty sure it ends up coming off more as a grimace.

They look at each other for a second and then the other guy quirks his lips in a tiny smile. “I don’t usually hold hands with strangers,” he says, looking down on the handlebars where Jeongguk’s hands are still on top of his own.

Jeongguk suddenly comes to his senses and snatches his hands back, looking down at the ground in embarrassment. “Ah, sorry,” he says, anxiously bringing his hand to scratch his neck. “Sorry.”

“No, I’m joking,” Cute Bike Boy says, grinning at Jeongguk. “It’s fine. Though I guess I should get going.”

“Yeah, of course,” Jeongguk says dazedly. “Me too.”

“I’m Taehyung,” he says, smiling again and saluting.

“I’m Jeongguk,” Jeongguk says, still just staring dumbly at Taehyung.

“Good morning Jeongguk-ssi,” he says. “Thanks for saving me. Have a nice day.”

“Any time,” Jeongguk says. “Have a nice day.”

✖︎ ✖︎ ✖︎

The little bell above the door rings and Jeongguk looks up to see who’s entering. There’s nothing scheduled right now so he has no idea who it can be and it takes him by complete surprise when he sees it’s Taehyung. The cute boy on the bike. Holy shit.

He’s looking around the place, taking in the walls with all the writings and everything else. The parlour isn’t big, or anything special, but Jeongguk likes it all the same. Loves it, really, if he’s being honest—it’s his own, he built it up from scratch. The walls started out white but throughout time they’ve been filled with writings and little notes from customers and Jeongguk thinks it gives the place a unique and personal feel.

He doesn’t say anything for a while, just lets Taehyung look around and do things at his own pace. Which also buys him time to really take in Taehyung’s appearance, and he really is very handsome. It’d been dark and cold and early the last time, but in the light of the shop and the day Jeongguk can really see how pretty he is. He looks like a model—with a figure like that he certainly could be one, and his face is a whole other story.

A couple of moments later, Taehyung looks away from the walls and at Jeongguk. “Oh man,” he says, and his face twists into an expression of recognition and surprise. “You’re the one I almost ran down on my bike the other day, I’m so sorry. Jeongguk, was it?”

Jeongguk nods, smiles at him. “It’s fine,” he says. “Don’t worry about it. Taehyung?”

“That’s me,” he says, smiling easily back at Jeongguk.

“So this is the guy you’ve–” Hoseok says, his mischievous smile quickly disappearing as Jeongguk looks over at him in horror and punches his shoulder.

“Pretty sure that’s a violation of workers’ rights,” Taehyung says, but he’s smiling to show he’s in on the joke. “You can’t just hit him.”

“Don’t worry,” Jeongguk says, looking back at Taehyung and plastering on a huge smile. “He’s used to it.”

“Aw, so you’re like Yoongi hyung,” Taehyung says, smiling fondly. “Cute.”

Jeongguk has no idea who Yoongi hyung is, but apparently he’s ‘cute’ and Taehyung compared him to Jeongguk. Which would by extension make him ‘cute’.

He’s not sure what to think of that.

Hoseok is looking at him like that, smirking. He punches him again.

“Ouch,” he says. “What did I do now? Show some respect, brat.”

Jeongguk just looks at him and rolls his eyes. “Uh,” he says eloquently, looking back at Taehyung. “Do you, like, want something?”

“Nah, I’m just popping in,” Taehyung says, looking around the place again.

Jeongguk stares at him in confusion. “Wh–” he starts to ask when he’s interrupted by Taehyung grinning at him. “Yeah, I’d like to schedule a time to get a tattoo.”

“Of course he wants a fucking tattoo, dumbass, why do you think he’s here?” It’s Hoseok, and honestly that warrants another punch to the shoulder, but Jeongguk decides to play it nice. He’s a good boy.

“Oh,” he says. “Yeah, that’s–that’s definitely something we can figure out.”

“Awesome,” Taehyung says. “I want a half sleeve. Flowers. Lots of ‘em.”

“Cool,” Jeongguk says, and he can feel the wheels in his brain already beginning to spin, drawing out possible designs and patterns, trying to mentally map out what would look good. “That’s a pretty big project, we’ll have to do multiple sessions.”

“Of course,” Taehyung says. “When’s your soonest time?”

Jeongguk opens up the calendar and starts scanning the dates. It’s a small shop, just him and Hoseok, and business varies a lot. Sometimes they’re packed full and other times they’ve plenty free spots. He picks out a couple of time slots for Taehyung to pick between, and then he gets his full name and number.

“Kim Taehyung,” he says. “With a K.”

“Thanks,” Jeongguk says dryly. “Really troubling, that one.”

Taehyung winks at him. “Thank you, Jeongguk,” he says, smiling easily. “I’ll see you soon.”

“I will see you soon, Kim Taehyung.”

Taehyung moves to the door and waves at him, calling out a final ‘bye’ before leaving the shop.

Well that, Jeongguk thinks. Was definitely something.

✖︎ ✖︎ ✖︎

A week later the door opens just as the clock strikes ten.

“Hi,” a deep voice booms energetically when Jeongguk looks up to smile at Taehyung in welcome. “Taehyung,” he says back. “Hey.”

“You ready to stab needles into me for hours?” Taehyung laughs. “Consider it payback for me driving into you.”

Jeongguk smiles at him, unsure what to say. He's never been good at this kind of thing; call it small talk, call it socialising, call it whatever you want—it's not, which many people wrongfully seem to think, that he thinks he's above it, as if he's on another level and he doesn't find anyone worthy of his time. Really, he just never knows what to say and subsequently he always ends up stammering out something completely wrong, heart hammering away as his hands grow sweaty. Or he stays quiet, because maybe silence after all is better than self-humiliation.

He wishes he was better at it, he really does. Especially right now and in situations like it: a cute boy standing in front of him, smiling expectantly for Jeongguk to reply to whatever he just said. Flirting, Hoseok calls it. You gotta know how to flirt, Guk-ah.  

Jeongguk doesn't know shit about flirting.

And now he’s doing it again; getting lost in thoughts and zoning out from reality, ending up staring dumbfoundedly at Taehyung and being the worst person ever.

“Hello, earth to Jeongguk,” Taehyung says, waving his hand in front of Jeongguk’s face.

“Sorry,” Jeongguk stutters, shaking his head to focus again. You're just very pretty, he almost says, but he bites his tongue in the last second to stop himself. That's fucking creepy, dude, he reminds himself. “Sorry, lost in thoughts. You ready?”

“Yeah!” Taehyung says, smiling widely at Jeongguk. It's large and boxy, the smile, and Jeongguk thinks he's seen an angel. He's religious, suddenly.

Jeongguk moves them further into the shop and onto where they need to be. He gets out his papers filled with drawings and designs and when Taehyung sees them, his face lights up. “Did you draw these?” he says, instantly reaching out to trail his fingers along the lines.

Jeongguk flushes slightly at the praise, nodding. “I did,” he says. “Kinda part of the job title.”

“These are beautiful,” Taehyung says, looking back up from the papers and over at Jeongguk. “I’m so excited to have them on my body.”

Jeongguk grins at him, stupidly and unprofessionally, and nods again. “I take it you like them, then? You have any suggestions? Things you want done differently? It's gonna be on you forever, you need to be sure.”

Taehyung looks back at the papers as Jeongguk talks and slowly inspects them further. “They're perfect,” he says almost reverently. He looks back up at Jeongguk. “They're perfect. Do your thing, tattoo boy.”

Jeongguk flushes at the stupid name, then pulls himself together because he's a professional if nothing else. And he's got a job to do.

He starts instructing Taehyung on everything's that's about to happen. “Is it your first tattoo?” he asks.

Taehyung quirks his lips in some way and looks away. “No,” he says, but doesn’t go into further detail.

He nods once, hoping he gives of an understanding, apologetic vibe. “So you’ve got some idea of what's about to happen,” he says, and continues talking as he gets out all his gear and starts sterilising Taehyung’s skin.

“Sit still,” he mutters, trying to get his hands to stop shaking.

“I am,” Taehyung says. “I’m not moving.”

Jeongguk doesn't say anything to that, just keeps doing his thing, focuses on the lines and the golden skin and soon he has the tattoo machine out, ready.

He doesn't say it might hurt a little, because that's what doctors tell kids when something is gonna hurt a lot. He’s not evil; he’s not a liar. He’s about to puncture Taehyung’s skin about two thousand times per minute, and he's going to keep at it for hours—shit’s gonna hurt.

(That's part of the beauty of it, though, Jeongguk thinks: how people decide it's worth it to go through that temporary pain to get the art they want, be it their favourite Disney star, the name of a loved one passed away, or a plethora of flowers. And that's going to be with them forever—like a scar, showing you survived and lived, but prettier. Worth looking at in a different way.)

“Okay,” he says. “Ready?”

“Let’s go,” Taehyung says.

The machine whirrs gently and Jeongguk starts drawing over the outline of the tattoo.

He rarely talks while working, focusing all his attention on the machine, but some customers do. Taehyung turns out to be one of them, but Jeongguk doesn't really mind. He never really minds; everyone deals with pain differently, and some like to talk to focus on something else. And some people just generally like to talk, and are good at talking, and Jeongguk kind of envies them.

“That one’s a hydrangea,” Taehyung explains, pointing at the flower Jeongguk is outlining. “It means to create your own destiny. Sounds kind of fake deep, right?” He chuckles, and Jeongguk smiles at him.

“I think it's kind of beautiful, though. And that one -” he points at another “- is a hyacinth. Means forgiveness and compassion, and letting the past be the past. Letting go of it and not having it weigh you down.”

Jeongguk listens intently while still keeping an intense focus on his work as Taehyung keeps talking about all the flowers and their meanings.

“How do you know all this?” he asks, looking up at Taehyung as he cleans the outline with soap and water.

“Oh, I didn't tell you?” He scrunches his eyebrows in confusion, then shakes his head lightly. “I’m a florist.” He flashes another winning smile and Jeongguk smiles back.

“Makes sense,” he says.

“I was on my way to work the other day,” he says. “I have a shop with my two best friends. It’s called Florist Gump - you like it?”

Jeongguk snorts and rolls his eyes. “That's a dumbass name,” he says. “Who came up with that?”

“I did.” Taehyung smiles proudly at him. “Who came up with yours? ‘Tats R Us’?”

Jeongguk is quiet in the way that clearly screams ‘I did.’ “Listen, I’m bad at naming things,” he starts explaining, but Taehyung interrupts him. “No, it's cute. I like it.”

Jeongguk blushes a little, then looks down and starts installing the thicker needles needed for the shading.

“Wanna know why I became a florist?” Taehyung asks.

“Sure,” Jeongguk says.

“Fuck, is it okay I talk so much? It’s not, like, a distraction or anything? You really don't have to listen, it’s kinda just what I do. I can keep quiet, though, I’m sor-”

“It's fine,” Jeongguk says, looking at Taehyung again. He hopes his face seems reassuring. “It’s not distracting, it's nice. You've got a nice voice. Talk as much as you want.”

“Oh, great,” Taehyung sighs in relief. “Okay, so florist origin story.”

Jeongguk gets to work and Taehyung keeps talking.

“It’s kind of silly, just a heads up. When I was nine I fell on my skateboard right outside a flower shop and I scraped my knee. So the owner comes running out, asking if I’m okay, and she not only gives me the coolest bandaid with dinosaurs on it, she also gives me a lilac. She saved my day—next year in school we had a ‘dress up as your heroes’ day and I dressed like her. So I decided to become a florist myself.”

Jeongguk looks up. “That's so-”

“Stupid,” Taehyung says.

“Cute,” Jeongguk finishes. “A bit silly, yeah, but cute.”

“Thanks,” Taehyung laughs. “And what's your origin story then? Why’d you become a tattoo artist?”

Jeongguk keeps working and starts answering slowly. “I’ve always liked art,” he says, which sounds lame but is the truth. “And I like making people happy. I like—I like being able to give them this thing that means something to them and they cherish, you know?” He chuckles lightly. “Yeah, I don’t know. I like art.”

“Aw,” Taehyung says. “You’re so soft. Like a marshmallow.”

“I’m not a marshmallow,” Jeongguk says. “They don’t even taste nice.”

“I like marshmallows,” Taehyung says. “I can’t believe you don’t like marshmallows. You probably don’t like flowers either. Or dogs.”

“I like dogs,” Jeongguk argues, and honestly implying he doesn’t is insulting on Taehyung’s behalf. “Flowers, too.”

“Cool,” Taehyung says. “What’s your favourite?”

“Flower or dog?”

“Both,” Taehyung says.

“Uh…” Jeongguk hesitates, squinting at the shading on Taehyung’s skin and wiping at it. “I don’t know. Pretty ones? What’s yours?”

“Sunflowers,” Taehyung smiles. “They’re so pretty. And they symbolise positivity and strength and, like, overall good vibes, which is pretty cool. For dogs, I like every dog. I text my friend Jimin pictures of dogs I want and he’s always like ‘you want every dog.’ Which is true. Even the blue sky is not as vast as my love for dogs.”

Taehyung keeps chatting away about everything between heaven and earth and Jeongguk occasionally replies or simply hums, but otherwise he keeps quiet as he continues the tattoo. Taehyung doesn’t seem to mind, content being the one to do most of the talking.

Then suddenly—and much too early for Jeongguk’s liking, working with Taehyung has been nice—his work is done for the day.

“There,” he says, cleaning up the last bits and smiling at Taehyung. “One part down, two to go.”

He explains how Taehyung needs to take care of and clean it and Taehyung nods along in understanding.

“Awesome,” Taehyung grins when he’s done, jumping up and going to look in the mirror. He twists his arm around and tries to look at it from all angles, admiring Jeongguk’s fine work. “This is so, so cool.”

Jeongguk looks down at his hands. “I’m glad you like it,” he says.

Like it?” Taehyung says exasperatedly. “Dumbass, I love it.”

“Did you just call me dumbass?”

Taehyung’s eyes widen in horror. “I’m so sorry,” he says. “I’m being so informal, it’s–”

“No, it’s fine,” Jeongguk says, grinning at Taehyung. “Informal is—is fine.”

“How old are you?” Taehyung asks, furrowing his eyebrows.

“23.”

“Hah!” Taehyung laughs victoriously and sticks his tongue out. “I’m 25. You’ll have to call me hyung.”

Jeongguk rolls his eyes. “Uh, so are we gonna—here, uh -” he gets out a pen and quickly scribbles down a couple digits, then hands it to Taehyung “- that’s my number, in case—you know, the tattoo gets infected or something happens or—you know. Hyung.”

“I already have the shop’s number,” Taehyung says, smirking at Jeongguk.

“Yeah, but you know—” Jeongguk says, cursing at himself. That was a stupid idea. Why did he do that? Taehyung doesn’t need his number. Taehyung doesn’t want to be friends with him. He’s just here because he wants a fucking tattoo, dumbass.

“You’re right,” Taehyung says. “Thank you. For all of this, I’m super happy and it’s super awesome and I’m super excited for the next session. I’ll see you soon!”

“Yes,” Jeongguk says, nodding stupidly. “I’ll see you, hyung.” He easily tags on the honorific and Taehyung grins at him and gives him two thumbs up. “See you.”

✖︎ ✖︎ ✖︎

from: unknown number

> [1 attached image]

> this smoothie is berry good

> hahah :D

Jeongguk looks at his phone in confusion, staring at the picture of the strawberry smoothie. He has no idea who’s texting him. Could it be—could it be Taehyung? He’s the only person he’s given his number to recently, and, based on the short time they’ve spent together, this could seem like something he’d send, couldn’t it?

to: unknown number

> taehyung?

from: unknown number

> the one and only ;)

to: taehyung

> that was terrible

> both the pun and the winky emoji

from: taehyung

> ofc u wouldnt appreciate puns u don’t like marshmallows

> do u not like sex either

Jeongguk splutters and Hoseok looks over at him. He tilts his head to the side and looks at him in confusion, opening his mouth in a silent ‘what?’

“Um, nothing,” Jeongguk mutters, looking down at his phone. “Nothing, just—uh, laughing at a meme.”

“Dumbass,” Hoseok mutters, turning his attention back to his screen.

from: taehyung

> omg r u blushing in embarrassment right now

> u probably r

> that’s cute

to: taehyung

> i’m not fuck off

from: taehyung

> sure ;)

to: taehyung

> u text like a fuckboy but work as a florist how does that work

from: taehyung

> i’m a man of many mysteries

> anyway duty calls yoongles hyung will kill me if i’m late again

to: taehyung

> good luck!

from: taehyung

> you too :D

✖︎ ✖︎ ✖︎

“And we meet again,” Taehyung grins as he enters the tattoo parlour for their next session. He has flowers in his hands, and as soon as he gets closer to Jeongguk he hands them to him. “For you,” he says. “In thanks.”

They’re very pretty; white, ruffled petals with pink tips.

“Wh–” Jeongguk begins, accepting the bouquet without thinking about it. He looks down at them, then back at Taehyung.

“In thanks,” Taehyung repeats. “It’s lisianthus.”

“Thank you,” Jeongguk replies stupidly.

“Don’t worry, I’m not expecting a discount on the tat or anything.” He smiles awkwardly, looking down. “Just thought you might like them. They express gratitude and show appreciation.”

If Jeongguk had been Hoseok, he would probably have smiled widely, then said something flirtatious. But Jeongguk is not Hoseok and as much as he’d wanna flirt with Taehyung, he’s got no idea how to do that. He’s awkward. He’s a baby. He keeps just smiling stupidly at Taehyung, then starts mumbling about if he can find a vase somewhere and starts looking for one.

“Got it,” he grins triumphantly a couple of moments later. He pours water in it and puts the flowers in. “There! Beautiful. Thank you so much.”

“No, thank you,” Taehyung says. “All right, you ready to stab me some more?”

“Sure hyung,” Jeongguk says. “Come on over.”

“You wanna know what my favourite thing about flowers is?” Taehyung asks when they're sitting down and Jeongguk is tracing the pattern onto Taehyung’s skin. “It’s super duper fake deep, fair warning.”

Jeongguk looks up at him and finds him grinning widely.  “Of course,” he says, looking back down. “Give it to me.”

“Okay, so even through concrete, through the sidewalks and streets and everything, they still grow, you know? Like, all these obstacles—fucking rocks, dude—and they just continue growing. Continue reaching for the sun and spreading out their petals and bringing joy and being beautiful and all that. I think it’s fucking sick.”

“You’re right,” Jeongguk murmurs.

“This sounds so wacky,” Taehyung says. “But I try to, like, live as a flower. Oh my God, I don’t try to live as a flower, that sounded so stupid. What the fuck am I saying.”

“No, no, I get it,” Jeongguk says, looking up again to smile at Taehyung. “It makes sense. It’s—I don’t know, beautiful?”

“Thanks,” Taehyung says. “It’s really lame.”

Jeongguk just smiles softly and keeps his focus on the tattoo machine and covering Taehyung’s arm in flowers.

✖︎ ✖︎ ✖︎

from: taehyung

> hey have u ever thought abt if u take the first letter of my name and then hyung im T-hyung and that’s kind of like T-rex

to: taehyung

> no can’t say i have

> why r u even thinking about this

from: taehyung

> i don’t remember but it’s pretty cool right?

to: taehyung

> i guess ?

from: taehyung

> rawr means i love you in dinosaur xD

to: taehyung

> i will literally block your phone number

from: taehyung

> that’s mean :(

to: taehyung

> i am mean

from: taehyung

> no ur not ur a marshmallow

to: taehyung

> i’m not a marshmallow they don’t taste NICE

from: taehyung

> r u saying u taste nice

> ;)

to: taehyung

> fuckboy is back i see

from: taehyung

> never left lol got nudes ;)

to: taehyung

> oh my god…

from: taehyung

> IM JOKING STOP !!!!

> i’m a good boy my mom raised me well

to: taehyung

> whatever you say

from: taehyung

> :(

to: taehyung

> :)

✖︎ ✖︎ ✖︎

from: taehyung

> hey tattoo boy i’m redoing all my contacts name and i can’t decide for urs

to: taehyung

> what’s the options

from: taehyung

> 1) the guy u pay to stab u

> 2) ask for nudes elsewhere

> 3) soft marshmallow boy

> 4) damndelion

> honestly i could go on but these r the best i think

to: taehyung

> these are all fucking terrible

from: taehyung

> all right that settles it ur now named ‘asshole that doesn’t appreciate ur comedic genius’

to: taehyung

> fantastic

from: taehyung

> thanks i know

> what’s ur contact name for me

to: taehyung

> uh… it’s just taehyung

from: taehyung

> BORING !!!!!

> change it

> want some options

to: taehyung

> im gonna regret this but hit me

from: taehyung

> dinosaur hyung

to: flower power

> just stop right there

> i changed it to flower power r u happy

from: flower power

> never been happier !!!!! :D

✖︎ ✖︎ ✖︎

Aloe there,” Taehyung grins, swinging open the door of the tattoo parlour.

“Oh, hey hyung,” Jeongguk says absentmindedly, quickly turning his attention back to Hoseok.

“I just need some flowers,” Hoseok carries on. “I’ve got everything else, I’m taking her to her favourite restaurant for lunch!”

“You need flowers?” Taehyung asks, quickly coming closer to them. “My time has come. Hello, my name’s Kim Taehyung, we’ve met before briefly, and I am a florist. Coincidentally, here’s a bouquet of flowers I’ve brought to your glorious coworker and boss, Jeon Jeongguk, in thanks for this beautiful tattoo he’s graced my body with. Look, isn’t it lovely?” He hands over the flowers to Jeongguk and shows off his upper arm, grinning widely at Hoseok.

“Very,” Hoseok says, looking over and grinning at Jeongguk. “Hello Taehyung. You’re the guy that almost crashed into Guk-ah, right? I’m Jung Hoseok.” He reaches out his hand and Taehyung grips it easily, giving it a firm shake.

“That’s me,” he says. “A perpetual mess, but a quite cute one, I’ve been told.” He winks. Hoseok laughs.

“Who do you need flowers for, if I may be so forward?”

“My mama,” Hoseok says. “It’s her birthday.”

“That’s so lovely,” Taehyung beams. “Do you have time now, do you wanna go to my shop? I’ll help you out, get you the perfect thing, get you a discount too ‘cause you’re a friend of a friend.”

“That doesn’t seem like a smart way of doing business,” Jeongguk muses.

“I know,” Taehyung agrees. “Yoongi hyung says so all the time.”

Jeongguk laughs softly and shakes his head. “You’re a mess.”

“That’s right,” Taehyung says. “Quite cute though, right?”

“Very cute,” Hoseok smiles. “Yeah, I have time now. Are you sure it’s no trouble, though? Like you came here to visit Jeongguk, right?”

“Who cares about Jeongguk-ah?” Taehyung says, rolling his eyes, and Jeongguk splutters out, “excuse me.”

Taehyung just grins at him and pats his shoulder.

“I’d love to help,” Taehyung says, looking at Hoseok again. “Come on.”

✖︎

“Hey hyung.” Taehyung waves at Yoongi, who’s doing some arrangement, when he swings open the door and enters the shop, Hoseok following after him.

“Welcome,” Taehyung says, turning back at Hoseok. “You like it?”

Hoseok looks around the place, gaze stopping when he sees Yoongi. Yoongi looks up and Hoseok smiles brightly at him. “Hello there.”

Yoongi drops the flowers he’s holding and casts his eyes down in embarrassment. “For fucks sake,” he mutters under his breath, squatting down to tidy up the mess.

Hoseok looks back at Taehyung. “It’s cool,” he says. “You own it?”

“Yeah,” Taehyung says, nodding enthusiastically. “With my two best friends. Yoongi hyung over there—the dude that just made a fool of himself, probably because he thinks you’re cute -” Taehyung looks over at Yoongi, who flips him off before quickly hurrying out in the backroom “- and Jiminie. He’s not here right now, or he’s out in the back.”

“What’s wrong, hyung?” a voice asks out in the back and Hoseok looks out there.

“The sun smiled at me.”

Hoseok’s face breaks into a smile and he laughs loudly. He shakes his head, then focuses his attention back on Taehyung. “That’s cool,” he says. “You come up with the name?”

“Yes, isn’t it great?”

“Love it.”

“So, how does your mama feel about chrysanthemums? They’re super pretty, in my opinion, they’re sometimes just called ‘mums,’ which is cute. They symbolise a bunch of things, support from family and also cheerfulness. Or carnation? That’s what you think of when you think of Mother’s Day of course, and they symbolise love as well. Marigolds? Warmth, fierceness, devotion. Ah, there are so many options!”

“This is your area of expertise, not mine,” Hoseok laughs. “I trust your judgement. Work your magic, flower boy.”

“Okay, I will,” Taehyung says, then spins around and gets to work.

Hoseok decides to walk around the shop while Taehyung makes the bouquet. The shop really is quite nice, very homey and cute, and it smells so lovely—like flower shops do. He smiles again at Yoongi when he comes back in, but all he gets in return is a quick nod and a strange half-smile.

“Ta-da!” Taehyung beams, holding up a beautiful bouquet in both his hands. “What do you think?”

Hoseok moves closer to really look at it, carefully taking in how the flowers work together and create something magical. “It’s beautiful,” he says. “My mama will love it.”

“I hope so,” Taehyung says. “All right, on the house.”

No,” Hoseok says. “You can’t do that.”

“I own the place, I can do what I want. Besides, you made Yoongi humiliate himself, which is something I’m always a fan of. I owe you.”

Hoseok shakes his head at Taehyung. “Thank you so much, Taehyung,” he says, accepting the bouquet. “This is beautiful, you’re an artist.”

“Thank you,” Taehyung says. “Now go, don’t be late for your mama’s birthday lunch.”

“Thank you so much,” Hoseok repeats. “I’ll see you around. Here, have my number.” He grabs Taehyung’s wrist and scribbles down his digits on his palm.

“Thanks,” Taehyung says. “Have a nice evening. I’ll see you around.”

“I’m going to strangle you,” Yoongi says very slowly and very coldly the second Hoseok is out the door. “I am going to very slowly and meticulously strangle you.”

“Aw, kinky,” Taehyung grins, batting his eyelashes at Yoongi and giving his shoulder a shove. “You can’t reach my neck though.”

“Who is that guy anyway?” Yoongi asks.

“Jung Hoseok, tattoo artist,” Taehyung says. “Works in Jeongguk-ah’s shop, the guy who did my sleeve. Only just met him properly today but he seems pretty cool. Totally your type.”

“Fuck you, I don’t have a type.”

“All right,” Taehyung says. “Tell that to all those flowers you just dropped, Mr ‘The Sun Smiled At Me.’”

“Piss off.”

✖︎ ✖︎ ✖︎

“How’s it growing?” Hoseok grins, waving animatedly as he enters the flower shop. He looks around the place, searching for Taehyung, but he doesn’t seem to be there.

Who is there, however, behind the counter, is the cute, mint-haired man from the day before along with another man. He must be the third owner and best friend Taehyung was talking about.

They both look up at Hoseok and the man that’s not Yoongi—Jimin?—smiles, says ‘hello there,’ then shoots Yoongi a look, and leaves the shop.

Hoseok moves closer till he’s standing in front of the counter. “Yoongi, was it?” he asks.

Yoongi nods but his face is still stony and indecipherable. “Wh– what can I do for you?” he asks, sounding a little bit bored and a lotta bit better than everyone else.

“Just came in to thank for the flowers Taehyung fixed me yesterday,” Hoseok explains, bouncing on his feet because he’s never been good at standing still. “My mama loved them. Said she’d never seen flowers so beautiful and was so amazed by how well they all worked together.”

“Taehyung’s not here,” Yoongi says slowly, as if he’s carefully deciding each word. “He’s out delivering.”

“Ah,” Hoseok says, nodding. “Yeah, I didn’t see him– well, you can tell him they were perfect and made her super happy. Looks like he’s really found his calling, huh?”

Yoongi doesn’t say anything.

“Anyway, if any of you ever need a tattoo, or something like that, you know who to call. You have any tats?”

It takes a second before Yoongi shakes his head. “No,” he says. “Wait, yes. Yes, I’ve– I have one.”

Hoseok nods appreciatively, eyeing Yoongi up and down. So he’s checking him out, sue him. He’s good-looking; toeing the line between cute and walking wet dream so beautifully it’s almost upsetting. “Me too,” Hoseok says. “I mean, I’ve got more than one.” He laughs quietly, and Yoongi smiles at him.

“I have an, uh, small elephant,” Yoongi says, and his voice is nice.

“Why do you have an elephant?” Hoseok asks.

“Why not?” Yoongi says, flashing what could be described as a smile. Potentially.  “How many do you have?”

“Ah, I’ve lost count,” Hoseok says, furrowing his eyebrows and trying to mentally count them. “Twenty? More?”

Yoongi’s eyes widen and he swallows. He nods. “Okay.”

Hoseok grins at him. “Yeah, well,” he says. “Tell Taehyung thanks for the flowers. And it was nice to meet you, Yoongi. If you want more ink, you know where to find me.”

Yoongi nods at him. “If you want more flowers, you know where to find me. Hoseok.” He tacks on the name, almost as an afterthought and to try it out—and Hoseok doesn’t even recall mentioning it, but he likes the sound of it on Yoongi’s tongue.

He smiles, then turns around to leave the shop.

✖︎

“Taetae,” Jimin says, jumping up on his feet and running to hug him as Taehyung enters the shop. “Guess who was just here!”

“Hoseok hyung,” Taehyung says, smiling as he hugs Jimin back. “Just said hi to him outside. Said his mama loved the flowers.”

Exactly,” Jimin says, and he’s grinning in that way of his that means he’s up to something.

Taehyung looks up from him and around the shop, his eyes landing on Yoongi. His mouth slowly stretches into a grin as he realises what’s up and he looks back at Jimin.

“I went out back,” Jimin says. “Giving Yoongles hyung and ‘the sun’ some privacy.”

“Jiminie, you absolute cad,” Taehyung grins, fistbumping him. “How’d it go hyung? Did you ask him out?”

“No, you fucking dumbass,” Yoongi says coldly. “I don’t even know the guy. He could be a murderer for all we know.”

“He could be the love of your life,” Taehyung argues.

Yoongi groans. “Why are you like this?” He looks away. “He’s probably not even interested anyway.”

“Hyung, come on,” Jimin says. “He was totally checking you out. And you were totally making a fool of yourself stumbling over your words, man, how cute.”

“Shut up,” Yoongi says. “Get back to work, assholes. I’m not going to ask him out, I don’t know the guy.”

“But you want to,” Taehyung says. “And what better way to get to know him?”

“Shut up,” Yoongi says, but he’s blushing, and both Tae and Jimin thinks it’s hilarious. “Just shut up.”

✖︎ ✖︎ ✖︎

hey hyung. i have this dance thing coming up and i was wondering if u wanted to come.

Jeongguk stares at the words on his screen. He's trying to phrase it the right way—without sounding like it's a date , because it's not, it's just a platonic hangout. He's aiming for casual, but still not so casual that Taehyung is going to say no. He wants him to come—because Taehyung is a friend, and he wants to share pieces of his life with him, as a friend. He likes his company.

heyo hyung! hobi hyung and i are having this dance thing soon and i’m rly excited about it. do you wanna come?

Hmm…

All right, fuck it. The more he types and retypes it, editing it mindlessly in a pointless quest for The Perfect Text the more frustrated he gets. And the more it starts seeming like he's asking him out.

He hits send, then locks his phone and puts it on the table. He doesn't bother putting it away in his pocket because Taehyung always responds quickly. Less than a minute passes before his phone vibrates.

from: flower power

> that sounds so cool i’d love to!!! hobi hyung should totally ask yoongi hyung too btw?? ;D

> give me deets i'll put it in my calendar asap !!!

“Hyung,” Jeongguk calls into the room and Hoseok looks up. “What's up?”

“Have you asked Yoongi hyung to come to the dance performance on Saturday?”

“No,” Hoseok says, tilting his head to the right. “Why?”

“I’m asking Tae and he said you totally should.”

“Um,” Hoseok says. “Okay? I’ll shoot him a text. Ask Jiminie if he wants to come too.”

“Yeah, I was thinking that too,” Jeongguk nods. “I’ll text him.”

“Cool.” Hoseok grins at him before looking back on his papers.

to: flower power

> it's saturday at 3 o’clock. does jimin want to come too?

from: flower power

> sick!!! can't wait dude :D

> what're u up to anyway?

to: flower power

> doing some designs, a customer wants marge simpson on her hipbone

> how about u?

from: flower power

> fucking cool send me pics i love ur art

> i am sorting this bag of m&ms into colours

> what's ur fav m&m

> i’m here counting on u not being some fucking barbarian raised in a barn that doesn't like m&ms on TOP of not liking marshmallows

to: flower power

> shut up i like m&ms it's just chocolate

> i like the red ones best

from: flower power

> see this is why i keep u around

> yoongles boongles said they all taste of the same what kind of disrespect

to: flower power

> that's wrong the blue r repulsive

> what's ur fav?

from: flower power

> red obviously

> wasn't raised in a barn

to: flower power

> ur so stupid

> [2 attached images]

> which one do u like the best??

from: flower power

> JEONGGUK THESE R SICK!

> hmm i like both but 2 i think?

to: flower power

> yeah i think 2 is best as well! we’ll see what the customer has to say

from: flower power

> cool :D

> would u dump me if i got a bart tat on my ass

to: flower power

> most definitely. i’d never speak 2 u again

from: flower power

> hmm… how abt lisa then?

> lisa knows whats up

> THE WHOLE DAMN SYSTEM IS WRONG!

to: flower power

> haha ur right

from: flower power

> so youd still be friends if i got her inked on my left ass cheek

to: flower power

> i mean technically that doesn’t rly affect our friendship does it?

from: flower power

> check ur calendar tattoo boy whens ur soonest time ;D

to: flower power

> I TAKE IT BACK

> I’M NOT TATTOOING UR ASS

from: flower power

> HAHAHAH I’M JUST KIDDING

> i wish i could’ve seen ur face tho haha :D

to: flower power

> ur the worst hyung square up i wanna fight u

from: flower power

> hahaha i’d like to see u try

to: flower power

> shut up u know i could beat ur ass in .5 seconds if i wanted

from: flower power

> keyword COULD tattoo boy

> we both know you’d never try i’m just too cute :p

to: flower power

> sighs… ur right. ur lucky ur cute

from: flower power

> :D

> get back 2 work !!!! earn that $$$

to: flower power

> ur wish is my command haha

✖︎ ✖︎ ✖︎

“I’m so excited about this,” Jimin grins, clapping his small hands together.

“Me too,” Taehyung smiles. “I’ve never seen Jeongguk-ah dance before.”

“Shocking,” Yoongi says. “I thought he’d gotten up to seduce you with a smooth waltz right in the tattoo parlour.”

“Shut up, I’ve been to his place,” Taehyung says. “He has a parakeet. Screamed ‘hey fuckhead’ as soon as I entered.”

“Why does this not surprise me?”

“It’s named Captain Morgan.”

“That’s the kind of name you’d come up with, Taetae.” Jimin is smiling his eyesmile, clinging to Taehyung and squeezing him.

“It’s a good name,” Taehyung nods.

More and more people start entering the small room, sitting down wherever there’s a free spot. Soon the room is more or less filled and before long, the performance begins. Taehyung keeps his eyes glued to the scene as dancer after dancer enter, moving effortlessly to the beat of the music, twisting their bodies in ways Taehyung could never even imagine pulling off.

“Yoongi hyung,” Jimin whispers, elbowing Yoongi in the side. Hoseok is dancing and Yoongi is openly gawking. “Close your mouth.”

“Huh,” Yoongi says, tearing his gaze away from Hoseok and looking at Jimin with wide eyes. “What?”

“I said,” Jimin repeats. “Close your mouth.”

Yoongi flushes, then looks back at the performance. “My mouth’s not open,” he mumbles, already transfixed on Hoseok’s movements again. “He’s talented. Look at the way he rolls his hips.”

Taehyung laughs under his breath and claps Yoongi’s shoulder. “He is,” he grins. “Very talented.”

✖︎

“That was–” Taehyung and Jimin say simultaneously, then look at each and start laughing. The show is over and most people have left, leaving just a couple other dancers and their family and friends along with Jeongguk and Hoseok, Jimin, Taehyung, and Yoongi in the room.

“That was so sick,” Taehyung says, still smiling widely.

“That was beautiful,” Jimin says. “The way you moved, the—it was so effortless and graceful, I’m—? Wow.”

“Thank you so much,” Hoseok says, moving closer and holding out his arms. “Can I hug you?”

In lieu of answering Jimin simply wraps his arms around Hoseok and squeezes tightly. “Yeah,” he smiles into his shoulder. “I like hugs.”

“That was really great,” Taehyung says, clapping Jeongguk’s shoulder and pulling him into a hug. “You never told me you were some kind of dance god.”

“Shh shut up,” Jeongguk groans in embarrassment, pushing Taehyung away. “I’m not. Hobi hyung, though.”

“Hey, this city is big enough for two dance gods,” Hoseok grins. “Do you all have plans now or are you free to hang? I know this awesome nachos place downtown, you wanna come?”

“I’m free,” Yoongi says, and his cheeks are a faint red. Probably due to the heat.

“Fantastic,” Hoseok says, smiling warmly at Yoongi. “What about the rest of you? Guk-ah, you don’t have a choice.”

Jeongguk rolls his eyes. “Are you paying?”

“You think I’m made of money, brat,” Hoseok says. “Gimme a raise and we’ll talk.”

Jeongguk sighs.

“Nachos sound awesome,” Taehyung says, giving Hoseok two thumbs up.

“I agree,” Jimin says, smiling softly.

“Let’s go,” Hoseok says, clapping his hands together.

✖︎

“This place is— so cool,” Jimin says, looking around in awe. It’s dimly lit and the walls are covered with neon sayings and framed drawings of historical figures. None of the furniture match and it gives off a chaotic vibe, but it works. It looks so cool.

“I know, right?” Hoseok agrees, smiling at Jimin who’s still standing.

They order a massive amount of nachos and Jeongguk and Taehyung bicker about which drinks to get. “Are you telling me you’re a Pepsi over Fanta kind of guy?” Taehyung asks. “And here I was, thinking you were pretty cool.”

“Of course I’m a fucking Pepsi over Fanta kind of guy,” Jeongguk says. “Have you ever actually had Fanta?”

Yes,” Taehyung says. “It’s a Fanta sea. Tastes like a dream.”

“More like a nightmare,” Jeongguk says, rolling his eyes.

“These are great,” Jimin says, dipping another nacho in salsa and stuffing it in his mouth.

“They’re amazing,” Jeongguk agrees, diving in and stuffing his face full. “I love nachos.”

“They’re okay,” Yoongi says. “It’s just chips with cheese.”

“It’s nachos,” Hoseok says. He looks at Yoongi in shock. “This is such a deal breaker.”

“No, I like them,” Yoongi says. “It’s just… chips with cheese. These are really good, though.”

“These are the best in the world,” Hoseok agrees. “Love them a lot. I know the owners, they’re really nice.”

“Cool,” Jimin says, taking a sip from his drink.

“When’d you guys decide to get a flower shop?” Hoseok asks. He leans back in his chair and looks at Jimin curiously.

“Tae hasn’t told?”

“No.”

“Okay, you need to story from the beginning. Has he told how we even became friends?” He smiles as he looks from Jeongguk to Hoseok.

“No,” Hoseok laughs. “Tell me the story.”

Jimin grins. “Okay so, it’s the second grade. I’m just sitting quietly playing by myself in the sand, I’m humming a song, the sun is shining and I’m happy and I’m super focused on building the perfect sand castle. Then -” he pauses for dramatic effect “- this monster idiot of a boy with legs too long for his body and bangs falling into his eyes runs into my castle and it’s ruined and he doesn’t even say sorry, he just keeps running.”

“I was playing tag,” Taehyung interrupts. “With Yoongi hyung.”

Hoseok looks from Taehyung to Yoongi and grins at him.

Jimin clears his throat. “So as I was saying,” he begins. “My castle is ruined, and I start screaming. I’d worked so hard on that and now it’s all destroyed thanks to this dirt monster. But then the dirt monster hears my wails and he turns around and he starts apologising–”

“I almost start crying too,” Taehyung says. “Out of guilt. I ruined his castle.”

“He gets all formal,” Jimin continues. “He sticks out his sticky, nasty hand and introduces himself. He’s sniffling so it’s all muffled, ‘I’m really sorry about your castle. I’m Kim Taehyung but you can call me idiot or dumbass or moron. Can I help you build a new one?’”

“Then Yoongi hyung stomps over,” Taehyung adds, and he doesn’t miss how Hoseok looks over at him, or the way Yoongi looks down. “And he’s like, ‘what did he do?’ all scary, right?”

“I almost burst into tears again, I was so scared of him.” Jimin shakes his head and chuckles lightly.

Taehyung looks Yoongi up and down. “Can’t relate,” he says. “Anyway, I’m like ‘no, no, no, he didn’t do anything! I did! I ruined his castle!’”

“Yoongi hyung squinted at me and then looked at Taetae and was like ‘what kind of monster are you?’” Jimin looks over at Yoongi and smiles widely.

“Taehyung-ah said he was an awful one,” Yoongi says, finally joining in in telling the story. “Said he deserved to do extra maths but when I asked him to do mine he said it was too hard. I don’t think he ever did any extra maths.”

“Shut up, I’ve helped you with maths millions of times.”

“I’ve always had to bribe you with chocolate.”

“If you’re good at something, never do it for free.”

“You literally refused to accept payment for the flowers for my mama,” Hoseok says.

“I thought you were on my side,” Taehyung says, looking every bit mock offended. “This betrayal.”

“That was before I knew what kind of dirt monster you are,” Hoseok says and his voice is filled with just as much feeling and melodrama as Taehyung’s. “I thought I knew you.”

Jimin grins, shooting fingers gun at Taehyung. “Ha!”

“When did you then all decide you wanted a flower shop?” Hoseok asks.

“It’s because in fifth grade Tae and I had this really wonderful teacher who always smelled of sunflowers.”

Jeongguk looks at Jimin and squints his eyes.

“No,” Yoongi sighs. “It’s because when I was in the third grade, we all had to bring a rose for Valentine’s Day and in the flower shop I bought mine, they were playing my favourite song.”

Jeongguk looks to Yoongi and the furrow between his eyebrows deepens. “Hyung,” he says, looking at Taehyung. “I thought you became a florist because of that florist that was your childhood hero after giving you a dinosaur bandaid and a lilac?”

“That’s absurd, tattoo boy, don’t be silly.” Taehyung winks at him and Jeongguk is so confused.

“I became a florist because when I was five years old I watched this movie that took place in a flower shop, and it really just stuck with me, you know? It was a romcom, about this woman who spent her life making everyone happy with her glorious arrangements and I just thought— man , that’s the kind of life I wanna have. I wanna make people happy.”

Jimin groans and Yoongi rolls his eyes. “As you can maybe understand,” Yoongi says, looking at Hoseok. “We’re not actually sure why or when we decided this was what we wanted but—at some point it just became the dream and the goal and we just stuck with it. It’s pretty neat, though. I like it.”

“It’s awesome,” Jimin grins. “10/10, would recommend. Why’d you become a tattoo artist?”

“Hmm, not sure, really,” Hoseok says, leaning back in his seat. “One day I just thought of it and thought it sounded pretty great. And here I am, working for a shit wage for a shit brat.” He grins at Jeongguk.

“Hey,” Jeongguk says, pushing Hoseok’s shoulder. “Be nice to me.”

Hoseok just grins at him, picking up another nacho and making a show of putting it in his mouth. “Mmm,” he murmurs. “They’re so good.”

“Do people ever request really odd tattoos?” Yoongi asks. “What’s the weirdest you’ve ever been asked to do?”

“Hmm,” Hoseok hesitates.

“There was this woman that wanted a large uterus on her back under the phrase ‘my vagina is beautiful.’ Very unique, I must say.”

Jimin chokes on his drink and looks at Hoseok in horror. “That’s…uh, very unique yes.”

Hoseok snorts and eats another nacho. Then he leans over and whispers something in Yoongi’s ear, and Yoongi’s cheeks turn a faint red.

“Did you tell him–?” Jeongguk asks, catching Hoseok’s eyes.

Hoseok just nods at him and Jeongguk shakes his head in disbelief. “You don’t wanna know,” he says, looking at Taehyung and Jimin. “You really— really don’t.”

✖︎

to: flower power

> last night was super great thank u all for coming along

from: flower power

> i know i had so much fun !!!! and ur dancing was so cool man ur hips dont lie :D

to: flower power

> oh my god…

from: flower power

> ;)

> anyway jiminie n i have been talking and hobi hyung and yoongi hyung?? wouldnt it be funny if we set them up

to: flower power

> PLEASE

> hobi hyung keeps talking abt how handsome he is

from: flower power

> yoongi hyung keeps talking abt how he wants hoseok hyung to dom him

to: flower power

> oh

from: flower power

> i know

to: flower power

> that’s

from: flower power

> i know

to: flower power

> i mean

from: flower power

> honestly ive said worse like i don’t judge

to: flower power

> oh my god tae

from: flower power

> ;)

to: flower power

> ur the worst

from: flower power

> no actually you’ll find i’m the best

> everyone i’ve fucked has said so

to: flower power

> ur so full of urself

from: flower power

> u could be full of me ;)

to: flower power

> I DON’T WANT TO HAVE THIS CONVERSATION

✖︎

“Hello,” Jeongguk says happily, closing the door of Florist Gump behind him.

“Hello there, tattoo boy.” Jimin grins at him from behind the counter.

“Hey, Gukkie, what’s up?”

Jeongguk looks at Taehyung and his eyes widen as he wonders where that name came from. “What’re you guys up to?” he asks.

“Uh,” Jimin says, squinting his eyebrows. “Working? What are you up to?”

“I’m working on an arrangement,” Taehyung explains. “I want it to look like the one I passed when I was 12—it really was so beautiful, you should’ve seen it; seeing it was the reason I decided to become a florist myself.”

“You’re such a nerd ass mess,” Jeongguk says, shaking his head in disbelief as he smiles softly at Taehyung’s antics.

“Tell him,” Jimin laughs, moving over to poke Taehyung’s shoulder. “Nerd ass.”

“Hey, my ass may be a nerd but it’s a good one.”

Jimin raises his eyebrow.

“Of course, it’s not on your level,” Taehyung says, moving his gaze to rest on Jimin’s ass. He winks appreciatively. “Best ass in the world.”

“Stupid,” Jimin says, blushing faintly as he shoves Taehyung at the shoulder. “You’re stupid.”

“I feel like I’m witnessing some strange kind of mating ritual,” Jeongguk says dazedly, looking from Jimin to Taehyung to Jimin. “You guys are so weird.”

“You want in?” Taehyung says, winking at Jeongguk. “Been told my dick game is bomb.”

“Oh my God,” Jeongguk says, flushing and looking at the ground.

“I don’t know you,” Jimin says, rolling his eyes at Taehyung.

“No, really I’m here because Taehyung said how you’d talked about Hoseok hyung and Yoongi hyung.”

“Oh yeah.” Jimin gives a smile clearly meaning ‘go on.’

“It’s really weird because Hobi hyung has never been one to not just—go for it and give it a try, you know? I’ve told him to ask Yoongi hyung out but for some reason he—won’t? He doesn’t think he’s interested so he says it’s not worth it.”

“Are you joking?” Jimin says. “Yoongi hyung won’t stop talking about how he wants him to dom him, are you kidding me? Not interested?”

“Your conversation topics really are…something.”

“Tell me about it,” Jimin says. “It’s like that week Tae got a new dil–” He closes his mouth when he sees how quickly Jeongguk turns red. He looks over at Taehyung who’s just smirking. Classic.

“Well, anyway,” Jimin says, as Taehyung winks at Jeongguk. “I think it’s safe to say that Yoongles hyung, indeed, is what would be described as ‘interested.’”

“We need a plan,” Taehyung says. “Give me a second, I’m the best at plans.”

“Shut up, you’re not.”

“Name one bad plan, the fuck.”

“There was that time in eight grade you convinced me to dress up as Mario for picture day. They used those photos for the yearbook.”

“That was a sick plan,” Taehyung argues. “You fucking loved that costume, don’t lie.”

“No, I wanted to be princess Peach.”

“I was Luigi,” Taehyung says. “We were supposed to match.”

“Well, you could’ve been Mario then. We could match romantically.”

“This is…” Jeongguk starts, looking at them in awe. “The best thing I’ve ever witnessed. Hyung can I see your yearbook.”

“Sure,” Taehyung says. “I’ll look for it when I get home.”

“I hate my life,” Jimin says.

“Shut up, you’re so fake,” Taehyung says. “You love me and your life and having me be part of your life.”

Jimin tsks. “Sure.”

“Truth or dare,” Taehyung says, and Jimin looks at him in confusion.

“Truth,” Jeongguk says and Taehyung looks at him, raising an eyebrow. “No, dude, what the fuck, I’m telling you the plan.”

“Oh,” Jeongguk says. “Makes sense.”

“No,” Jimin says. “It actually doesn’t. Elaborate?”

“Let’s throw a pizza party or something and then we play truth and dare and it ends with Hoseok hyung and Yoongi hyung making out. 10/10, perfect, solid plan, I am the best.”

“Dude, we’re 25,” Jimin says. “Not 12.”

“See, that’s exactly what Yoongi hyung is going to say. ‘I’m not playing Truth or Dare,’” he mimics in a voice much too high-pitched to resemble Yoongi’s. “And I’m going to say, ‘My man, my dude, my friend, but you are, or I’ll send you a video of me jerking off, do you want that?’”

“Would you really do that?” Jeongguk asks.

“Not actually sure,” Taehyung says. “But the point is Yoongi hyung is going to relent and we’ll get to set him up with Hobi hyung. So let me repeat: I am the best at plans.”

Jimin rolls his eyes and mumbles something. “All right,” he says. “Let’s do it.”

“YES!” Taehyung grins, fist-bumping himself.

“We can be at my place,” Jeongguk suggests, shyly adding, “it’s not the biggest, but you know.”

“Cool!” Taehyung says, smiling at him brightly. “I love pizza, I can’t wait.

✖︎

from: flower power

> [4 attached images]

> as promised, fetus jiminie and me dressed as the mario brothers

to: flower power

> oh

> oh wow

from: flower power

> i know i know

> 10/10 would bang on the floor of bowser’s castle

to: flower power

> isn’t that made of literal lava and there’s constantly these giant pointy rocks falling from the ceiling who would have SEX THERE TAEHYUNG

from: flower power

> welcome to the sex dungeon

to: flower power

> i wonder often why we’re friends

from: flower power

> shh i make ur life better

to: flower power

> as much as it pains me to admit it… yeah u do

from: flower power

> AW CUTE

> u make my life better too bro i’m glad i get 2 know u :D

✖︎ ✖︎ ✖︎

“You’re not seriously telling me,” Yoongi says, eyes wide as he looks at Hoseok. “That you put pineapple on your pizza?”

Hoseok grins sheepishly at Yoongi as he takes a huge bite of his pizza slice—ham and pineapple, to Yoongi’s great disgust and Taehyung’s great delight. He chews around the bite and swallows before grinning widely, “it’s fantastic.”

“No?” Yoongi says. “It’s not?”

“It’s like a little piece of sunshine,” Hoseok says. “On your pizza. It’s amazing, you should try, here -” he holds out the pizza but Yoongi is steadfast and doesn’t open his mouth. “No thank you,” he says, shoving Hoseok away.  “I can’t believe you. Both of you.” He glares at Taehyung.

“Hobi hyung is right,” Taehyung says, shooting finger guns at Yoongi. “It’s like a little piece of sunshine on your pizza. Don’t you like sunshine, hyung?” He glances at Hoseok, then grins at Yoongi.

“We have this discussion every time we get pizza,” Jimin says, rolling his eyes but still smiling.

“Yes,” Yoongi agrees. “Because Taehyungie’s absolute stupidity and wrongness on this topic will never cease to amaze me.”

“Hey,” Hoseok says. “What do you mean with ‘Taehyungie’s absolute stupidity?’ Taehyung is right.”

Yoongi shakes his head, smiling softly. “You’re all so lame.”

“Let’s play Truth or Dare,” Taehyung suggests, jumping in his seat in excitement.

Yoongi stares at him like that’s the worst idea he’s heard in months, which is probably exactly what he’s thinking. “I’m a 28 year old grown ass man, I’m not playing Truth or Dare with you.”

Taehyung shares a look with Jimin and Jeongguk, then looks back at Yoongi and gives his thigh a gentle pad. “Oh, but that’s where you’re wrong,” he says. “You’re playing Truth or Dare with us or I’ll send you a video of me jerking off, do you want that?”

“I would rather die than see that,” Yoongi says coldly. “But I wouldn’t put it past you to actually send it, so.” He sighs long-sufferingly. “I guess we’re playing Truth or Dare like a bunch of high school girls.”

“That’s the spirit, big man,” Taehyung grins.

Yoongi rolls his eyes and puts his glass to his lips. “Youngest first,” he says, gesturing at Jeongguk.

“Uh, okay,” Jeongguk says, fidgeting with the sleeve of his shirt and looking around the room. “Hobi hyung. Truth or Dare.”

“Truth.”

“Okay, uh…” Jeongguk hesitates, furrowing his eyebrows as he thinks. “Do you have a crush on anyone?”

Yoongi groans and mutters, “what is this, fucking fifth grade?”

Taehyung thinks it’s kind of cute and shoots a smile Jeongguk’s way.

“Yeah, I guess,” Hoseok says, looking at Yoongi. Disgusting, Taehyung thinks.

“All right,” Taehyung says. “Yoongi hyung, truth or dare.”

Yoongi, remembering last time they did this and very much wanting to avoid having to demonstrate his blowjob skills on another beer bottle, says, “Truth.”

“Well, since this isn’t the fucking fifth grade,” Taehyung says, because he’s an asshole. “Is there anyone in this room you want to fuck you? In the backseat of a car .”

Yoongi looks at him and sends him that smile Taehyung knows so well, the one meaning ‘I am going to murder you Kim, you are dead.’ Taehyung grins at him in response.

“I guess so,” Yoongi says, smiling in an obviously forced way. “As a former boy scout, I was taught to always be curious and open to experiments.” He takes a massive gulp of his drink.

“Oh, that’s interesting,” Taehyung says, winking at Yoongi before looking over at Hoseok. He finds Hoseok always staring Yoongi’s way, eyes focused on his lips.

Hoseok licks his lips, then picks up his pizza slice and takes another bite.

“Jeongguk-ah,” Jimin says, clapping his hands together. “Do you have a crush on anyone?”

“This is so fucking lame,” Yoongi mutters as Jeongguk scrunches up his eyebrows. “I–” he starts. “Uh, I don’t think so?”

Jimin looks at him in confusion, then shrugs. “Okay,” he says. “I choose dare.”

Taehyung wolf-whistles and claps his hands together in excitement. “Heck yeah,” he grins. “What’re we gonna make him do?”

“Make out with Taehyung,” Yoongi says.

“Please.” Taehyung rolls his eyes.

“Do Crayon Pop’s Doo Doom Chit choreo.”

Jimin looks at Hoseok and his eyes widen in shock. “What the–” he says.

“YES!” Taehyung yells. “That’s iconic. Go on, Jiminie. Up, up, there you go.”

“I could’ve just chosen Truth,” Jimin groans. “Said I don’t have a crush on anyone. Why do I love public humiliation?”

“We don’t know but we are going to enjoy it,” Taehyung says, smirking at Jimin.

“Hang on,” Hoseok grins, getting out his phone and putting on the song. “All right, there you go.”

Jimin curses under his breath but he gets up and starts moving, keeping his eyes on the wall as everyone else starts cheering and clapping. Taehyung whistles and screams about how ‘Jiminie is doing great.’

Hoseok gets up and joins in, dancing alongside Jimin, and Yoongi’s jaw drops as he stares at his easy and effortless movements in awe.

Hyung,” Jeongguk screams, clapping his hands and grinning widely at Hoseok and Jimin. “Dance god.”

“Come on,” Hoseok grins, pointing at Jeongguk. “Show us what you’re made of.”

Jeongguk rolls his eyes but gets up, then winks at Hoseok before dropping down. Hoseok claps his hands and laughs as he continues the dancing.

Despite having no skill whatsoever when it comes to dancing, Taehyung jumps up to join in as well. He’s a man of many things but shame isn’t one of them and he has never truly been able to care when it came to embarrassing himself—if it makes other people smile, it’s all a win in his book. He grins widely at Jimin before turning around to shake his ass at him—and Jimin is used to this, so he just laughs vibrantly as he smacks Taehyung’s butt.

The song has changed and Jimin’s dare is long forgotten; now they’re just dancing for the hell of it, jumping around stupidly in the living room—Taehyung randomly throws his arms around Jeongguk and squeezes him in a hug, then quickly moves on to pull Yoongi up by the wrist. “Come on hyung,” he grins. “Show me what you’re made of.”

It’s funny. It’s easy in a way things rarely are—kind and without pretenses. They’re just hanging out, eating the now semi-cold pizza and taking sips of their drinks, dancing around like fools and not caring about how they look. It’s good, nice. They all feel stupidly lucky this is suddenly happening and suddenly real.

Friendship is magical.

✖︎ ✖︎ ✖︎

The door to Florist Gump opens quietly and in comes a very confused-looking man. On the surface he looks very put together in his denim overalls and striped jumper but his eyes are wide and almost panicked.

“Hi there,” Taehyung says, smiling his biggest and brightest boxy smile.

“Hello,” the man says, narrowing his eyes in on Taehyung and moving closer to the counter. “I need a bouquet that means—that means I’m sorry I ruined our date, dropped the candles on the floor, ruined the table, and barely avoided setting the house and myself on fire.”

In the background Yoongi sighs deeply and mutters “Jesus fucking Christ” but Taehyung just keeps smiling at the man. “I’ve got this.”

He gets to work. Hyacinth blossoms, sincere apology—perfect. Violet ones—asking for forgiveness—and aqua-blue: sincerity. Or he could go with tulips—mix pink and white ones, asking for sincere forgiveness from a loved one (which Taehyung humbly assumes the receiver must be), plus the added symbolism of rebirth and hope for the future. Hmm… This is the thing about flowers, another of Taehyung’s favourite parts: there are so many options, so many things to choose between, and the quest of making the right choice, creating the perfect bouquet for the situation never gets old, or boring. Every day is a new quest and Taehyung loves it.

“There you go,” he smiles, holding up the finished bouquet for the customer to look at. “How do you like it?”

“It’s beautiful,” he says, nodding appreciatively and already looking more at ease. “Thank you. Thank you. You might just have saved my life there. I hope he likes it and—well, you know, gets that I’m sorry.”

“Sounds like you had a wild night,” Taehyung says, typing in the total on the machine and telling the man what it'll be.

“You could say that,” he says, shaking his head at himself. “I can get a bit clumsy.”

“Oh man, tell me about it,” Taehyung says, gesticulating wildly with his arms. “A couple of months ago I crashed my bike directly into someone.”

The man looks up at him and smiles, handing over the total in cash. “Thank you again,” he says. “Have a nice day.”

“You too,” Taehyung smiles, waving as the man leaves the shop.

“Holy shit,” Yoongi says. “That’s the weirdest thing that's happened in a while.”

“I want his jumper,” Jimin muses aloud. “Matched the window arrangement perfectly.”

✖︎

24 hours later, almost to the dot, the man is back in the shop.

“Hi again,” Taehyung says. “How’d he like the flowers?”

“Uh,” the man mutters, looking at the ground. “I need a bouquet that says I’m sorry I ruined our date, dropped the candles on the floor, ruined the table, and barely avoided setting the house and myself on fire then gave you an apology flower that you turned out to be allergic to causing you to have an allergy attack in which you couldn't breathe for a minute, please don't dump me.”

“Oh my God,” Yoongi says under a breath.

“I am so sorry,” Taehyung says, his mouth dropping open when the man’s words hit him and he realises what's happened. “Oh my God, I’m so sorry, this one is on the house. I’m so sorry.”

“Don't be sorry,” he says. “I’m sorry.”

“This is so messy,” Yoongi says, shaking his head in disbelief.

“Life is messy.”

“I really—really am so sorry,” Taehyung repeats. “Tell me about the lucky guy—and what's your name? I’m Kim Taehyung, but you can call me ‘fucking moron that gave me flowers that almost killed my boyfriend.’”

“I’m Namjoon,” he says, looking at Taehyung in amusement. “And my boyfriend’s name is Seokjin. He’s—boy, he's really something. As you've probably gathered, I’m quite the mess. He’s not—he's very out of my league in every way. God, I hope he doesn't dump me. Please. Kim Taehyung, help me.”

“I’ve got this,” Taehyung says. “I promise, this time I’ve really got it. And he sounds wonderful—how'd you guys meet?”

“I teach philosophy at college,” Namjoon starts explaining. “Hyung does psychology, we met—well, incidentally I made a fool of myself by entering the cafeteria and falling flat on my ass. At first he couldn't stop laughing, but then he asked if I was okay and helped clean up.”

“You could say you fell for him,” Taehyung says, grinning at his own joke.

Namjoon chuckles, smiling warmly at Taehyung. “You could say I did.”

“That's so lovely, though,” Taehyung smiles, finishing up the bouquet. “I swear this won't go wrong, he's going to love this.”

“Thank you,” Namjoon says, getting out his wallet. “And I’m sorry for the trouble.”

“Are you kidding,” Taehyung says like he can't believe what he's hearing. “I almost killed your boyfriend. I’m sorry. And you're not paying for this.”

“You can't do that,” Namjoon says.

“I can do what I want,” Taehyung says. Why do people always tell him what he can and cannot do when it comes to giving away free flowers? He owns the place for God’s sake. “Give Seokjin-ssi my deepest apologies. Tell him it's all my fault and I’m voting he doesn't dump you.”

Namjoon flushes red and looks at the floor in embarrassment. “Well, thank you,” he repeats. “Again. Thank you.”

“Have a nice day, Namjoon-ssi,” Taehyung says.

“You too,” Namjoon says. “You too.”

✖︎ ✖︎ ✖︎

“Can I get a bouquet of sunflowers,” Hoseok asks, smiling kindly at Yoongi.

Yoongi is lost in thought for a second, just staring dumbly at Hoseok’s warm smile and nice eyes—he really is the fucking sun. And apropos sun, he's asking for sunflowers. Min Yoongi, pull yourself together. “Of course,” he says, smiling in return before pirouetting around to get to the sunflowers. He picks out a bunch and gathers them up in a nice bouquet, wrapping a yellow silk bow around the stems to keep them together. It looks nice, he thinks. Very summery.

“Here you go,” he says, handing them over to Hoseok.

Hoseok accepts the flowers and Yoongi is expecting him to say something—a thank you or ask for the price, but he's quiet for a moment. He just looks at Yoongi.

“I was wondering,” he says then, clearing his throat. He holds the flowers out in front of him, handing them back to Yoongi and Yoongi furrows his eyebrows in confusion as he accepts them.

“If you’d wanna go out with me?” Hoseok asks, smiling even bigger and warmer than before.

Yoongi loses his breath and looks dumbfoundedly at the flowers in his hands. A moment passes of him trying to figure out if he's even awake, then Hoseok coughs. “I mean, if you don't that's fine, of course.”

“No,” Yoongi says. “I wanna go out with you. Where are we going?”

Hoseok’s face lights up. “Do you like strawberries?” he asks. “Because I do, and I have champagne, and the park is really beautiful this time of the year.”

“I like strawberries,” Yoongi says dazedly, grinning stupidly at Hoseok. “That sounds—nice.”

Hoseok smiles at him. Yoongi smiles back.

“How much are the flowers, by the way?”

“What?”

“The sunflowers. I haven't paid yet.”

“You don't have to pay, dumbass,” Yoongi says, smiling fondly as he rolls his eyes. “I own the place.”

Hoseok laughs heartily, shaking his head. “You're incredible,” he says. “Saturday? I’ll pick you up?”

“Saturday’s perfect,” Yoongi says.

✖︎

“Hobi asked me out,” Yoongi says, failing miserably at hiding the massive smile on his face. “He–”

Did he?” Jimin says, mouth stretching into a matching happy smile. “When? How? Spill!”

“This morning, he–” Yoongi looks down at his hands. “He came into the shop—he asked for sunflowers and when I gave them to him, he just handed them back to me. And asked if I wanted to go out.”

“What’d you say?” Taehyung asks, smiling coyly.

“Yes,” Yoongi says, too happy to even be sarcastic. “I said yes, of course I said yes. We're going out Saturday.”

“That's so great,” Jimin grins. “I’m so happy.”

“Took you long enough.”

“Fuck off, Tae. Why don't you focus on your own tattoo parlour love interest?”

Taehyung narrows his eyes and stares at Yoongi in confusion. “What do you mean by that? Do you mean Jeongguk? Why are you calling Jeongguk my love interest, I don't–”

Yoongi and Jimin look at each other and they both sigh deeply as they roll their eyes. “Kids these days,” Jimin says and Yoongi nods in agreement.  

“What do you guys mean?” Taehyung mutters. “What the–”

✖︎ ✖︎ ✖︎

Jeongguk is staring emptily out the shop’s window, quietly humming along to the song playing while lost in thoughts. He’s not really thinking about anything in particular, he’s just staring at the street and the people passing by.

Then, someone on a pastel green bike with a basket in front enters the frame and he does a double take when he realises it’s Taehyung. It’s Taehyung on the bike, and the basket is filled with a ton of flowers.

He parks the bike outside the shop, jumps off of it and looks through the window and waves animatedly at Jeongguk.

Jeongguk is kind of starstruck by the whole sight and how incredibly cute Taehyung looks on that bike, glowing in the light and surrounded by flowers.

He watches as Taehyung picks up the flowers from the basket, somehow managing to balance all of them, and moves towards the door of the parlour. The little bell rings as he enters and he greets them with a vibrant ‘hey there.’

“Hey, hyung,” Jeongguk says, smiling back at him.

“So,” Taehyung begins. “Someone cancelled a huge order so now I have all these flowers so I was wondering if you’d want them? They’d look really cute in here.”

Jeongguk looks around the place, thinking what and where, but he’s still so caught up in how cute Taehyung looked on that bike that the thing that comes out of his mouth is, “Sure. They’re lovely.”

“I think so too.” He puts them all down on the counter and starts wandering around the place. “See, a couple here would be really great, and then some over there -” He points towards another corner of the parlour. “Thank you so much. Would be a shame to just throw them away.”

“No, thank you,” Jeongguk says, smiling dumbly. “They’re pretty.” Like you. You’re pretty.

Taehyung’s smile blinds him and something inside his chest moves, freeing a realisation that slowly hits him at the back of his head. Oh, he thinks, swallowing and grinding his teeth. Oh.

Taehyung does up the place, making it look all pretty and flowery, and Jeongguk looks at him in amazement as he works. Oh.

✖︎ ✖︎ ✖︎

“Hyung,” Jeongguk says, looking down at his hands clasped together in his lap. He scrunches his eyebrows and tries to even his breathing as he gathers the courage to say this.

“Yeah?” Hoseok says, looking at him with all the soft fondness in the world. “What’s up?”

“Um, I think—I mean, do you think–” Inhale. Exhale. “Do you, like–do you think I like Taehyung?”

Hoseok pats his shoulder and smiles at him. “Do you think you like Taehyung?”

Jeongguk lets out a shaky laugh. “I feel like I’m fifteen all over again,” he says, rolling his eyes at himself and twisting his hands around. “I mean… maybe? Yeah? He’s really—he’s really great, he’s funny and really silly and stupid but also really smart and, you know, cute. Wait, is that word reserved for fifteen-year-olds?”

Hoseok grins at him. “Nah, you can say cute,” he says. “He is pretty cute.”

“Yeah,” Jeongguk says, trailing off. “So, you think—like, you think I like him? Like like him?”

“I don’t think that’s up for me to figure out,” Hoseok says, and curse him for being so smart and kind or whatever all of a sudden. “But if you figure out that you do like him—you should ask him out.”

“You mean, like, on a date?”

“Like on a date.”

“I can’t,” Jeongguk groans. “That’s a dumbass idea, I can’t ask Taehyung on a date.”

“Why not?” Hoseok asks, and curse him double for having the audacity to look genuinely confused at this.

“Uh, first of all, I wouldn’t physically know how to actually go about asking that.” He twists his hands again. “Secondly, it’s pointless, so. Whatever. Guess I’ll just come to the conclusion that I don’t like Taehyung, haha, why did I even ask this—totally stupid idea! Why would I like Taehyung, completely weird and strange notion. Cool now that’s settled I’ll move on quietly and pretend I never thought about this. Goodbye.” He randomly gets up and starts putting on his jacket.

“Where are you going?” Hoseok asks, concern seeping into his eyes.

“For a walk,” Jeongguk says. He turns around and grabs the door handle, pressing it down. Just before he’s completely out he hears Hoseok quietly tell him, ‘hey, it’s not pointless, Gukkie. Or weird or strange. You’re fine’ but he doesn’t turn around to give any response.

Instead, he lets the door slam shut behind him and he starts walking down the sidewalk, lost in thought.

To be completely real, Jeongguk should have known the first time he met Taehyung. He should’ve known this would be how it’d end—should’ve known from how bright and blinding his smile was, should’ve known from his stupid puns, should’ve known from how he just walked into the tattoo parlour and started talking about flowers, carving a place into Jeongguk’s life and heart as if he’d always been there, always belonged there; he really, really should have known that—that he’d fall stupidly, hopelessly in love with him.

Maybe he did know, really, and his subconscious just decided to ignore it. Repress it. He’s very good at repressing things, he’s found out. His first thought was, he recalls, something about wishing he knew how to flirt so he could flirt with the beautiful man in front of him.

So did he know, then? Maybe he did. Maybe he didn’t. The point is, he should’ve called it from the first second, and then he should’ve been smart enough to stay away. Should’ve been smart enough to keep it all business, ink Taehyung up, and then leave it at that. He shouldn’t have given him his fucking phone number, of all things.

In an ideal world, of course, Taehyung would be crushing on Jeongguk as well and say yes if Jeongguk mustered up the courage to ask him out, but this isn’t an ideal world—this is the real world, and Taehyung is beautiful and Taehyung is amazing and Taehyung shines brighter than the fucking sun and Jeongguk is—well, Jeongguk is Jeongguk.

But Taehyung is all that, so it’s not all bad Jeongguk gave him his phone number—if he’d called it quits back then, then he’d never have gotten to know Taehyung. And honestly, that probably sounds much worse than having to deal with all these feelings and finding some way to swallow it down, move on.

He can manage having a crush on his—best friend? Is Taehyung his best friend? Fuck, Taehyung is his best friend. This is so cliché. Of course he’d fall for his best friend.

But he can manage that. He can deal.

✖︎ ✖︎ ✖︎

“Jiminie,” Taehyung grins cheerily—too cheerily—as he throws his arm around Jimin’s shoulder.

Jimin squints at him in suspicion. “What's up?” he asks.

Taehyung takes a step back and his features melt into more serious ones; he looks at the ground for a moment, then back at Jimin. “Remember what Yoongi hyung said about Jeongguk-ah,” he starts. “The love interest thing.”

“Yeah,” Jimin says slowly, catching on as to where this is probably heading.

“I’ve been thinking about that.”

Jimin expects some kind of continuation but none comes. “And…?” he says, urging Taehyung to go on.

“What'd he mean?” Taehyung says, and he does look at a loss—eyes wide in confusion, mouth twisted into something hopeless.

“Uh,” Jimin hesitates because he thought it had been obvious. Really, it is fucking obvious—the way Taehyung and Jeongguk are acting around each other, how they look at one another, the way Taehyung always finds some way to bring him up in conversation—“Jeongguk once said something about this, this is just like that time Jeongguk-ah, this reminds me of Guk.”

It’s surprising they haven't realised themselves, but maybe it shouldn't be—they're right smack in the middle of it, just taking one day at a time. Jimin isn't even sure when exactly Taehyung’s behaviour around Jeongguk seemed to shift from mere friendship to something different, so why would he expect any different from Taehyung himself?

He’s not sure what to say. He doesn't feel it's his place to spill it; he's sure Taehyung will come to a realisation himself when the time is right. “Uh,” he repeats. “I don't know. You and Jeongguk hang out a lot, you seem pretty tight. Probably just teasing you, Taetae.”

“Oh,” Taehyung says, and his face does something Jimin can't quite put into words—it's like it closes in on itself. Like something is hitting him, but not what he wanted to. “I guess we are pretty close. He's a good friend.”

“Yeah,” Jimin says. “Definitely. He's good.”

“Well, okay,” Taehyung says, nodding to signal that topic of conversation is over. “Thank you. I’ll get back to work then.”

“Good plan,” Jimin agrees. “Are you gonna put some music on?”

“Yeah,” Taehyung says, though he seems lost in thought. “I’m in the mood for some smooth jazz.”

“Cool,” Jimin says, not touching on how that's possibly one of the lamest thing Taehyung has ever said. He’ll let it slide, just this once. “Let's get to work, friend.”

✖︎ ✖︎ ✖︎

to: flower power

> this advertisement for milk is the stupidest thing i've ever seen it reminds of u

✖︎

to: flower power

> im so tired but shop closes so late today i won't be home till it's dark :( why is life so unfair

✖︎

to: flower power

> hey tae r u ok

> tae what's up?

✖︎

to: flower power:

> wanna go for smoothies again soon? it was great last time. or star trek marathon @ mine?

✖︎

to: flower power

> tae pls im worried r u ok?

Maybe if it had been someone else, worry wouldn't have been eating away at Jeongguk so quickly—but it's Taehyung, and Taehyung never takes more than a couple of hours to reply, at tops. But it's been three days, and he hasn't replied to any of Jeongguk’s texts.

Which is weird. His phone could've died somehow—he could've dropped it in a puddle while biking, but if that had been the case, Jeongguk is sure he would've popped into the parlour to tell him. He would've told.

His body is suddenly too small for him and he feels like clawing at his own skin; he doesn't know what to do. He doesn't know if Taehyung is okay—he tries to calm himself down, says of course he's okay, it's only been three days, this isn't cause for alarm—but it's not working.

He grabs his jacket and hurries to the flower shop, pushing open the door and staring frantically around the place. He's not there either, but Yoongi is. Yoongi is there, looking at Jeongguk like he's expecting some kind of explanation to him barging in like that.

“Is he okay?” is what comes out Jeongguk’s mouth when he finally opens it and tries to talk. “Taehyung. Taehyung, is he okay? He's not responding to my texts, I know it's only been a couple days, but—but he's always texting me, he never goes days without replying or sending me a meme or some stupid pun or -” he laughs hysterically, gesticulating hopelessly with his arms “- and I went to his place but he didn't open and—and hyung, what's happening?”

Yoongi looks at him in silence for a moment, taking in everything. “He’s–” he begins, then gestures for Jeongguk to come closer. Something changes on his face and he seems to make his mind up about something. “Let’s go.”

Jeongguk looks at him in confusion, but remains quiet. He follows Yoongi as he slips out from behind the counter and goes to pull out the ‘CLOSED’ sign, locking the door, and moving to exit through the backdoor.

Jeongguk, still brimming with anxiety, is filled with countless questions he wants to ask, but he still remains quiet. He just follows Yoongi as he navigates them through the streets of the familiar route towards Taehyung’s place.

“Taehyungie,” Yoongi calls softly as he knocks on his door. “I’m coming in.” He gets out a key and unlocks the door. Before entering, he turns around and looks solemnly at Jeongguk. “He’s safe,” he says quietly. “You can calm down, nothing bad has happened. He's having a hard time, but he's safe. And he knows we're here for him.”

Jeongguk swallows dryly and nods at Yoongi. “Okay,” he says. “Okay.”

Yoongi opens the door and leads Jeongguk inside. Taehyung is sitting in bed; the lights are on and he’s staring emptily at the wall.

“Oh God, you’re here,” Jeongguk lets out under his breath, rushing forward and kneeling down by the bedside. It feels like a weight has just been lifted from his chest—Taehyung is here. He’s safe. “God, I was worried about you.”

“I’m gonna go,” Yoongi says quietly, smiling at both of them before backing out of the room.

“You don’t have to—to say anything,” Jeongguk stutters, twisting his hands. “But, you know, I’m here. If it is. I care about you.”

Taehyung stares at him blankly for a moment, then he turns around in bed and pulls down the blanket, twisting around and pulls at his sweatpants. He clears his throat, and Jeongguk looks at the small tattoo on his hipbone.

“Candy corn?” he asks quietly, looking curiously at Taehyung.

“Was my brother’s favourite,” Taehyung explains, his voice sounding hoarse and unused. He coughs and lets go of the elastic band. He pulls his legs up under him before padding the free space on the bed, telling Jeongguk he can sit there if he wants.

“He’s dead.” He sounds so hollow when he says it Jeongguk’s chest carves in on itself. He’s never seen Taehyung like this, so—so defeated. And so careless about it, too.

“I’m sorry,” Jeongguk says, reaching over to take Taehyung’s hand in his and squeeze it. He looks at him and hopes his gaze conveys tenderness.

“It’s been six years,” Taehyung elaborates. “It’s–uh, it’s the anniversary. I feel—not good.” His mouth stretches into a forced smile and he chuckles dryly. “I feel so fucking bad and guilty, Guk-ah, and I feel bad about feeling bad because I’m not supposed to, I’m supposed to be happy and cheerful and, like, live as that fucking dandelion. And I’m not, I’m not—I’m just. I don’t know, everything is just my fault and I know it’s not, but it is, and I don’t–” Finally, he breaks, and he heaves out a sob.

Jeongguk doesn’t know what to do or say, but this is killing him. Seeing Taehyung like this—he’d do everything for him to never feel like this, never feel like everything wrong in the world was somehow his fault. “It’s not your fault,” he says, gently running his thumb over Taehyung’s palm. “Can I–” he says, gesturing around the bed to silently ask if they can reposition.

Taehyung nods and Jeongguk gets up, moving them around so he’s sitting cross-legged before pulling Taehyung into his lap. He slowly puts his hand on his head and starts running his fingers through his hair while still holding the other. “Do you wanna talk about him?” he asks. “Your brother?”

“His name was Jeonggyu,” Taehyung says after a moment of silence and his voice is more even now. “I don’t wanna– about how he–” He inhales slowly and closes his eyes. “He really liked animals, and he collected rocks—whenever we went anywhere he always had to bring home a rock, it was–” Another inhale, exhale. He squeezes Jeongguk’s hand. “He was a good kid.”

Jeongguk smiles at him, softly and reassuring, and he continues gingerly running his fingers through his hair.

“We used to talk about space,” Taehyung continues. “And flowers, of course, me and my damn flowers. You kind of remind me of him, sometimes—he was shy too, kept a little to himself, had the most beautiful laugh when there was something he found really, genuinely funny. I loved making him laugh.” He smiles softly up at Jeongguk.

“He sounds amazing,” Jeongguk says, smiling back and giving his hand another squeeze.

“He would’ve loved you,” Taehyung says, blinking away tears. “I kinda—I kinda float away sometimes, I get so excited about everything and being alive I need something to hold me down. Ground me. He always told me I needed to find someone that could—like, hold my hand when I get a little too frenzied.” He gives Jeongguk’s hand a squeeze. “I think you’re good for me.”

Jeongguk just smiles at him, curling a strand of his hair around his finger and lightly massaging his scalp.

“Sometimes people see the tattoo and ask what it means,” Taehyung says, smiling to himself. “I always say it’s because I love candy corn, but really—really, I haven’t—I haven’t–” he gives up and inhales slowly to steady his breathing.

Jeongguk nods at him in understanding. “You haven’t eaten it since he passed away.”

“No,” Taehyung says, trembling as tears roll down his cheeks. “I cry just seeing it, I don’t– I don’t know how to stop the guilt, Guk-ah. I don’t know how to stop the guilt.”

“Hey, come here,” Jeongguk says, pulling Taehyung up wrapping his arms around him in a tight hug. “I’m here. It’s not your fault. You’re safe, you’re good. You’re so good.”

“I don’t—I don’t feel good.” His voice is tiny and it keeps cracking.

“But you are,” Jeongguk whispers into his shoulder. “You’re so good. You make so many people happy. I’m so sorry about your brother. It wasn’t your fault. You’re good.”

Taehyung doesn’t say anything more, just keeps his arms wrapped around Jeongguk as he quietly cries into his shoulder, wearing himself out. “I’m sorry,” he whispers when he untangles himself from Jeongguk’s hold. “You’re– Sorry you had to—to deal with this, and–”

“Don’t be,” Jeongguk says softly. “I’m sorry you’re feeling bad but you don’t have to go through it alone. I’m here. We’re all here. You’ll feel better again and until you do—I’ll be here. It’s not– I’m bad with words, but you’re not bothering any of us. We love you.”

“I love you too,” Taehyung whispers, lying back down in bed. “I’m tired. Stay?”

“Of course,” Jeongguk says, smiling softly at him.

✖︎ ✖︎ ✖︎

from: flower power

> if u don’t have plans friday u should come to mine when ur off work and tell hobi hyung to come as well. there’ll be ice cream and video games and m&ms we can colour code or whatever. jiminie and yoongi hyung will be here too. hugs, tae :)

Jeongguk smiles at his phone for a moment before typing out his reply. Taehyung is doing better, seems happier, which makes him happy.

to: flower power

> that sounds rly great i can’t wait! i’ll bring hyung i hope him and yoongi hyung don’t get too pda tho :/

from: flower power

> hahaha i guess we’d just have to one up them ;)

to: flower power

> shut up i’m not kissing u

from: flower power

> come on…

> don’t u think we should put our tulips together

> ;)

to: flower power

> ur the WORST

from: flower power

> but we make such a great pear :(

to: flower power

> i’ll block ur number

from: flower power

> come on guk-ah it takes two to mango

to: flower power

> stop

from: flower power

> u make my heart beet ur one in a melon

> i’m bananas for u

> ur such a fine-apple

to: flower power

> hyung…

from: flower power

> orange u glad to know me ;)

to: flower power

> i fucking hate my life

✖︎

Hoseok knocks on Taehyung’s door and two seconds don’t pass before it’s ripped open and Taehyung is standing in front of them, wearing a huge grin. “Come in.”

Inside, Jimin is splayed out on the couch and Yoongi is sitting cross-legged on the floor. They’re both holding Wii controllers in their hands and neither of them look up at the intrusion, keeping their attention on the screen in front of them. Yoongi is playing as Wario and he looks to be winning.

“Hello hello,” Hoseok grins, jumping down next to Yoongi, but he keeps his arms and lips to himself, knowing Yoongi will probably cut his limbs off if he causes him to lose this. Or then again, maybe he won’t, since it’s Hoseok. Who can really tell?

Jeongguk tears his gaze away from the screen and looks back at Taehyung. “How’re you doing?”

“Fine,” he says, pulling him into a quick hug. “Better. How’re you?”

“Good,” Jeongguk says, squeezing Taehyung tightly before letting go of him again. “I’m excited to beat your ass in every single video game you own. Again.”

“Um,” Taehyung says, looking at Jeongguk in exaggerated confusion. “You’ve never beat me in any video game. Ever. Like, ever. It has never happened.”

“Step one: denial.”

“Shut up, I have literally beat you every time. Every time.”

“Can you two stop acting like a married couple for one fucking second,” Yoongi groans. “Come on, Jeonggukie, grab that controller, I wanna fucking destroy you.”

“I’d like to see you try, hyung.” Jeongguk slings himself on the ground and grabs the controller Jimin is offering him. He chooses Toad – “lame fucking choice,” Yoongi scoffs – and then he hits play. “Let’s fucking go hyung.”

“If Jeongguk beats Yoongi hyung I’m suing,” Jimin says, not elaborating on who or what exactly it is he’ll be suing.

“He won’t,” Yoongi says, and he would have rolled his eyes if his gaze wasn’t so focused on the screen.

“Fucking suck it!” Jeongguk screams a couple of minutes later, throwing the controller on the couch and raising his arms in victory. He punches Yoongi’s shoulder and gets up to pirouette around himself as some kind of Triumph Dance.

“I’m suing,” Jimin says matter-of-factly.

“I let him win,” Yoongi says. “Knew he’d sulk otherwise.”

“Of course you did,” Hoseok says, looking at Yoongi knowingly and Yoongi reaches out to shove his shoulder. “Shut up, I did.”

“That’s what I’m saying,” Hoseok laughs.

“I hate you.” He leans closer to Hoseok.

“Sure you do.”

“If they kiss, I’m throwing up,” Taehyung says. “Just FYI. A little heads-up. Just putting it out there.”

“I guess we have to now,” Hoseok whispers, closing the distance between them and softly pressing his lips to Yoongi’s.

Yoongi hums into the kiss, then pulls away slightly. “Hey,” he says with closed eyes before leaning in to kiss him again.

“All right that’s it,” Taehyung groans. “Move away. I’m about to beat Jeongguk-ah’s ass in Mario Kart and I can’t have you losers blocking the view.” He looks over at Jeongguk. “Ready?”

“Bring it.”

Taehyung hits play and unlike everyone that has played so far, he’s not a quiet player. He lets his mouth run and he lets out curses whenever he drives into a banana or is hit by a blue shell and screams of excitements whenever he gets the star or Jeongguk drives off the road.

He wins, of course he does. He shoves Jeongguk’s shoulder and laughs in his face. “Fucking suck it,” he laughs, mirroring Jeongguk’s words back at him. “I guess I’m just too good to be beaten. Can you believe I’m the whole package? I’m smart, I’m beautiful, I’m funny, I’m good at Mario Kart, I’m a great cook–”

“You can barely cook rice,” Jimin interrupts. “Last time you tried making cup noodles, you fucked it up. You poured half the boiling water over your hand.”

“As I was saying, I am an excellent cook,” Taehyung continues, ignoring Jimin. “I’m good in bed, I’m loyal, never gonna give you up, never gonna le–”

Jimin surges forward and covers Taehyung’s mouth with his hands. “Thanks,” he says. “We get the picture.”

The night goes on like that. They play Mario Kart, then they get out Taehyung’s old Wii tennis game and Hoseok makes a fool of himself, trying to hit the ball.

Taehyung had bought enough ice cream to feed a small army and they get it all out along with sprinkles, caramel sauces, waffles, and everything else they can find in his kitchen. “Hey Jeongguk,” Taehyung says, smirking around his spoon in a way that shows he’s up to absolutely no good. “Lick me till ice cream.

Jeongguk splutters and stares at Taehyung in horror. “That’s–” he tries, gives up and just stares at him.

Yoongi comes to his help and finishes the sentence. “That’s easily the worst thing you’ve ever said, and you say something stupid every day.”

“Come on,” Taehyung says. “That was funny. I’m hilarious.”

“It was, to be honest.”

Yoongi stares at Hoseok and lets his mouth drop open. “I cannot believe you,” he mutters under his breath.

“Babe, come on,” Hoseok says, elbowing him in the side. “I make you melt.”

Taehyung cheers loudly and holds his hand up for Hoseok to give him a high-five. “I love you, hyung,” he grins. “Keep it up.”

It’s soft, this. Life is, generally, messy—they’re all well into their 20s and they still have no idea what’s going on and they haven’t really figured anything out yet. But it’s okay. Finally, it’s okay. It’s safe and soft and home—it’s a small family, it’s secure. They’ve got each other, and life might be a bit—or very—messy and seem meaningless at times, but it’s okay. Maybe there is no real meaning, but it’s up to yourself to decide. Maybe it doesn’t matter much if you never get to The Top, whatever that means, but it’s rather about finding that something that makes you wanna stick around—and when you first find that, everything else stops mattering so much. Messy becomes okay, you learn to live with the uncertainty and not knowing.

You get to decide the meaning yourself, and maybe the meaning just is to be here, along for the ride, experiencing everything good and bad life throws at you, and surrounding yourself with people you feel safe with, people you feel good with. Nothing is as they imagined it’d be when they were younger, but it’s fine. The whole point is, it’s fine, and it’s going to be fine. It’s going to be fine.

Taehyung looks around and his eyes land on Jeongguk, who is arm wrestling with Jimin. They’re on their fifth round of the day and Jimin has yet to win.

He’s smiling, really smiling. He seems happy. Taehyung thinks of how reassuring he’d been the other day—how he’d simply been there, with no expectations, he’d just opened his arms and let Taehyung talk and cry. Stupid, beautiful Jeongguk and his stupid kindness and sincerity and his stupid smile and stupid, stupid, stupid Taehyung for falling in love with him. Because he is, he’s realising. All these last months they’ve spent hanging out and all the time they spent setting up Hoseok and Yoongi – whoops, he accidentally caught feelings himself.

Looks like he really has got his own tattoo parlour love interest. He wants to scream.

✖︎ ✖︎ ✖︎

from: flower power

> smoothies tmrw after work?

to: flower power

> sure thing!

from: flower power

> awesome :D i’ll meet u @ smootheory around 2?

to: flower power

> see u there

Jeongguk stares dumbly at his screen for a moment as he has to remind himself that this isn’t a date, no matter how much he’d like it to be. They’re just friends, and they’re just hanging out as friends.

✖︎

“I’ll have a ‘Sex Me Up,’ please,” Taehyung smiles at the cashier.

She smiles back at him. “Can I get your name?”

“Taehyung.”

“One ‘Sex Me Up’ coming up for Taehyung. And what can I do for you?”

“Uh, I’d like an ‘Easy There Tiger,’” Jeongguk says. “Jeongguk.”

“And one ‘Easy There Tiger’ for Jeongguk.”

Taehyung slips his card into the machine and pays for both drinks, and they move to find a table.

“What’d the honeydew say when the watermelon asked it to marry it?”

Jeongguk sighs. “I don’t know, hyung.”

“I’m sorry, but I cantaloupe.” Taehyung smiles in self-satisfaction.

“That’s awful.”

“You have to have more passion,” he continues, holding up his smoothie which Jeongguk knows consists of passionfruit. He rolls his eyes again.

“Come on, that was fruitastic.”

“No, it was lame.”

“I’m sorry, I’m bad at pickup limes.” He smirks at Jeongguk and Jeongguk remembers the first text Taehyung ever sent him—‘this smoothie is berry good.’ It suddenly hits him how long it’s been—it feels like it was just yesterday Taehyung crashed into him, but it’s been months, and it’s wild how far they’ve come—how close they’ve become and how Jeongguk can no longer imagine his life without Taehyung in it. Time is fucking strange—everything is fucking strange, but also cool. Also wild and cool and great, and he’s so happy Taehyung is now part of his life—even if he won’t shut the fuck up with his dumbass puns.

“I’m disappointed but not surprised that you don’t appreciate my comedic genius.”

“How can I appreciate something that’s non-existent?”

“Excuse me,” Taehyung begins, taking a slurp from his straw. “I’m cherry-fic.”

✖︎ ✖︎ ✖︎

“I think I like Jeongguk.”

“Water is wet,” Yoongi says dryly. “The sun is hot. The earth is round.”

“Shut up.”

“Oh, but I thought we were stating obvious things and I’m just getting started. The unive-”

“Shut up,” Taehyung repeats. “I’m trying to have a conversation here.”

“About what?” Yoongi says. “You’re totally in love with Jeongguk. Jeongguk’s totally in love with you. Go out, have sex, live happily ever after.”

“Why are you like this?” Taehyung groans, hiding his face in his hands. “Let’s do this over. I’m gonna say ‘hi Yoongi hyung’ and then you’re gonna say ‘hi Taehyungie, what’s up?’ Okay? Hi Yoongi hyung.”

“Hi Taehyungie, what’s up?” Yoongi mocks in a high-pitched voice. Taehyung ignores it.

“I think I like Jeongguk.”

Yoongi looks at him expectantly. “What do you want me to say now?”

“I don’t know,” Taehyung whines. “Give me some advice, tell me I’m not a fucking dumbass idiot or whatever. Something.”

Yoongi sighs, then leans back in his chair. “Okay. I’m listening.”

Taehyung starts over. “I–” he says, drawing out the sound of it to last multiple seconds. “Think I like Jeon Jeongguk. As in, I might, possibly, perhaps, be kind of in love with him. Maybe.”

Yoongi raises an eyebrow at him.

“Hyung, please, I don’t know what to do.”

“All right. I’m not going to pretend I’m some kinda love expert,” Yoongi says slowly. “Because I’m not. But–”

“But?”

“But Jeongguk is as hopelessly in love with you as one can possibly be.”

Taehyung squints at him, trying to figure out whether to trust what Yoongi is saying.

“Look.” Yoongi folds his hands. “You make fun of me about the way I look at Hobi-yah, right?”

“Obviously,” Taehyung agrees. “It’s disgusting. You’re so in love.”

“Yeah,” Yoongi says. “Well, that’s how Jeongguk looks at you. And you at him, for that matter.”

“Do you mean–?”

“Yes.”

“Are you s–”

“I’m fucking sure, all right. If you wanna be emotionally constipated and repress this, be my guest. Go ahead and continue pining away stupidly, it’s your life. But if you asked him out, I promise he’d say yes. I promise you.”

“...I haven’t been pining.”

“Whatever you say Taehyungie,” Yoongi smiles, shaking his head slowly. “Whatever you say.”

“Listen, it’s not like you’re any better,” Taehyung argues. “Min ‘I Want Jung Hoseok To Dom Me’ Yoongi.”

“See?” Yoongi grins. “You find me obtuse. Don’t be like me then.”

“By the way, about that,” Taehyung trails off, winking at Yoongi.

“I’m not telling you about my sex life.”

“Oh, come on,” Taehyung says. “I’m the reason you and Hobi hyung even met.”

“Why do you even wanna know about my sex life?”

“I just wanna know if he’s good enough for you hyung,” Taehyung says, smiling innocently and batting his eyelashes. “If he treats you well enough. Otherwise I’ll fight him. I will.”

Yoongi rolls his eyes at Taehyung. “He treats me just right,” he says. “He’s good.”

“In bed?”

“In general, asshat.” Yoongi smacks Taehyung over the head. “And in bed,” he adds in a much quieter voice, smiling at Taehyung knowingly.

“Hah, I knew it,” Taehyung grins, clapping his hands together. “Get that dick.”

“Oh God,” Yoongi groans in mortification. “Why are we friends again?”

“Without me you’d be dead and you know it.”

✖︎ ✖︎ ✖︎

Taehyung enters the parlour and Jeongguk looks at him in confusion. He’s just sitting, working on some designs. “Hi?”

“Hi.” Taehyung is smiling warmly and he steps forward. When he’s right in front of the counter, he brings his hands out from behind his back and hands Jeongguk a single pink daisy.

“Thank you,” Jeongguk says, still looking at Taehyung in confusion.

“Wanna go to the park with me?” Taehyung is looking hopefully at him.

“Of course.” Jeongguk smiles at Taehyung. “I don’t have more appointments today anyway. Let’s go.” He gets his jacket and lets Taehyung lead the way out before locking the door.

Taehyung is smiling fondly at him and something inside Jeongguk’s chest flutters. “Hi,” he says stupidly, walking beside him on the sidewalk.

“Hi,” Taehyung replies, grinning at him. “How was your day?”

“It was okay, just got better.” He smiles again, then looks away. “Not very busy. I’m working on this design for a sleeve supposed to be very mythology inspired.”

“That sounds really cool. How’s it going?”

“Pretty okay, I think,” Jeongguk says. “How was your day?”

“Very good,” Taehyung grins. “I’m trying to arrange this thing with a kindergarten. I’m kinda not sure yet what exactly it should entail, but I’m thinking something with fairy tales and the kids get to, like, I don’t know, do flower arrangements inspired by fairy tales? Or something? It’s still up in the air, but you know. It could be pretty cool, right?”

“That sounds so cool,” Jeongguk agrees. “They’d probably make masterpieces.”

“I know,” Taehyung grins. “Imagine Ariel made out of flowers. Red roses forming the hair and purple chrysanthemums as the shell-bra. I don’t know, it sounded fun in my head.”

“It sounds fun. I hope it works out.”

“Me too,” Taehyung nods.

They’ve made their way to the park and Taehyung points out a bench for them to sit down on. “I’ve brought bread,” he says, holding up a paper bag. “So we can feed the birds.”

“That’s so–” Jeongguk says, shaking his head. “Cute.”

“I’m very cute,” Taehyung agrees. “What’s your favourite bird?”

“Parakeets, obviously,” Jeongguk hums.

“I can’t believe you own a parakeet whose favourite word is ‘fuckhead.’” Taehyung is laughing loudly, his eyes becoming tiny lines.

“In my defense,” Jeongguk grins. “Hobi hyung taught her that word.”

“So wild,” Taehyung says. “Feels like you’re a main character in some weird romcom.”

“Hey, I thought you wanted to live a romcom life,” Jeongguk grins, pushing Taehyung’s shoulder. “Wasn’t that why you became a florist? ‘Cause you watched that romcom with the flower shop lady.”

“Touché,” Taehyung says. “We’re very cliché.”

Jeongguk’s stomach is doing triple backflips but he’s trying to play it cool. This all feels like flirting. He’s pretty sure this is flirting. Maybe. No big deal. He’s fine. He hums softly and looks back out in the park, looking at some kids playing tag on the playground.

“Why do you even remember that?”

“I remember everything you say,” Jeongguk replies before thinking about it. When realising what he just said, he blushes and looks at his hands.

“Aw,” Taehyung coos, smiling at him. He picks up another piece of bread and throws it to the birds. “Didn’t think I was that interesting.”

“What’s your favourite fairytale?” Jeongguk asks, changing the subject back to that of earlier.

“There’s this Hans Christian Andersen one called ‘The Wild Swans,’” Taehyung says. “Do you know it?”

“No,” Jeongguk admits. “What’s it about?”

“There’s a king whose wife has died,” Taehyung begins. “He has twelve kids, eleven boys and a girl. He decides to remarry, but his new wife is terrible and curses the boys to become swans and sends the girl—Elisa—away.

“The queen of the fairies tell Elisa a way she can save her brothers. In the graveyard, she has to gather stinging nettles, which she has to knit into sweaters. The sweaters will turn her brothers back to their human form. She can’t say anything while doing all of this, though, or her brothers will die.

“A king comes by and falls in love with her and she moves in in his castle. She continues knitting and she doesn’t say a word. The archbishop, though, isn’t happy by the proposal because he thinks Elisa is a witch. Uh, then one day she runs out of stinging nettles so she has to get new ones—and the archbishop sees her in the graveyard.”

“Oh,” Jeongguk says, engaged in the story.

“Yeah,” Taehyung agrees. “He tells the king and she’s put on trial for witchcraft. She can’t say anything to defend herself so she’s sentenced to be burned on the stake.”

“This is awful,” Jeongguk says. “This is your favourite?”

“Yeah, just let me finish.” Taehyung smiles at him. “She keeps knitting even on her way to the stake, which makes everyone angry and they almost rip the shirts away from her.

“Then her brothers come—in their swan form, of course—and they rescue her. She throws the shirts over them and they become human again. Except the youngest, he still has one swan wing because she never got to finish the last sleeve.

“Then Elisa is so exhausted she just collapses and her brothers start explaining everything. As they talk, all the firewood turns into red roses. Topmost there’s a white flower described to shine like a star, and the king plucks it and it ends with Elisa and him getting married.”

“Wow,” Jeongguk says, letting it all sink in.

“Yeah,” Taehyung says again. “I really like it. Family, and flowers, and, like, love, I guess. Maybe it all ties back in with blossoming through the concrete. Maybe it’s just dumb.”

“No, it’s really– It’s really sad, I think. Tragic.”

“I know,” Taehyung says. “But it ends happy. They get their happy ending after all of it.”

“You believe in happy endings?”

“I do,” Taehyung says. “I have to. I have to believe in happy endings.”

Jeongguk nods in understanding, looking back out over the park. “You’ll get your happy ending, hyung,” he says quietly. “We all will.”

There’s silence for a while where they just look at the people in the park.

“Hey…” Taehyung says quietly then and Jeongguk looks over at him.

“Do you, uh, do you like someone?” He bites his lower lip but keeps his gaze on Jeongguk.

Oh, fuck me, Jeongguk thinks. I do. I like someone—someone funny and kind and caring and good and beautiful, someone that fights every day to make people happy and be good, someone like you. I like you. How is he supposed to tell Taehyung that? He can’t admit to that and make everything really, really weird. He swallows hard and looks away out at the park. “No.” His voice doesn’t shake too much.

“Oh,” Taehyung trails off, sounding… hurt? Sounding something, definitely. “I see.”

Jeongguk doesn’t say anything, just keeps his eyes on the trees and tries not to feel bad for lying and bad for falling for Taehyung in the first place.

“It’s getting late,” Taehyung says, sounding decided. “We should probably be heading back.”

“Yeah,” Jeongguk says, finally looking back at Taehyung and offering a small smile. “Yeah, we probably should.”

He wants to take his hand in his and hold it all the way back, but he doesn’t.

✖︎ ✖︎ ✖︎

It’s a quiet day in Florist Gump. There have only been a couple of customers so Yoongi, Jimin, and Taehyung are all just pottering about, humming along to the music quietly playing.

“Appreciate you two getting my hopes up,” Taehyung says suddenly, keeping his focus on the flower in front of him. “But Jeongguk does, in fact, not like anyone.” His smile doesn’t reach his eyes as he looks at Jimin and Yoongi. “I asked him and he said no.”

Jimin and Yoongi look at each other for a moment before looking back at Taehyung. “What exactly did you ask him?” Jimin asks.

“If he liked someone. And he said no.”

Yoongi groans. “What’d you expect him to say?”

“If Jeongguk had asked you if you liked someone,” Jimin begins. “What would you have said?”

“Would depend on the mood,” Taehyung says. “If he asked in a way that heavily implied that he liked me, I’d probably have said yes.”

“And I’m taking you asked in a way that ‘heavily implied you liked him,’” Yoongi asks mockingly.

“Yes,” Taehyung says. “I did. It’s chill, though. I’m good. Don’t worry about it.”

Jimin sighs. “Fucking morons.”

Yoongi looks at him knowingly. “Fucking morons.”

“You are, yes,” Taehyung agrees.

✖︎ ✖︎ ✖︎

“Hoseokie,” Yoongi cheers upon entering the tattoo parlour. “I brought Chinese.”

“Oh, you are a lifesaver.” Hoseok jumps up from his seat and jumps to hug his boyfriend. He smacks his lips against Yoongi’s cheek. “Come here.”

Yoongi grips Hoseok’s hand and follows him further into the shop, putting the take-out boxes on the table and sitting down on one of the chairs. “How’s your day going?”

“Great!” Hoseok smiles excitedly at him, sitting down as well. “Jeongguk’s been in a shit mood but I’m surviving. We’ve been listening to lots of trashy 80s pop.”

“Sounds fun,” Yoongi smiles. “What’s up with Jeongguk-ah?”

“Don’t know,” Hoseok shrugs. “Won’t tell me. Probably some teen angst.”

“Shut up,” Jeongguk groans, sitting down on the chair next to Hoseok and reaching out for the food. “Thanks for bringing food, hyung.”

“No problem,” Yoongi says.

Jeongguk picks up the chopsticks and dives in, munching happily on his food.

“So, tattoo boy,” Yoongi says, looking at Jeongguk and toying with his chopsticks. “When are you gonna ask Taehyungie out?”

Jeongguk looks at Hoseok in betrayal. “Did you tell him?”

“I have eyes.” To illustrate his point, Yoongi points at them and lets them roll far back in his skull. “It’s getting tedious,” he continues. “Watching you act all in love around him and him act all in love around you and neither of you doing jack shit about it.”

“Um, I haven’t been–”

“You’ve been acting in love,” Hoseok says. “Don’t even try.”

“Shut up,” Jeongguk mutters, looking down at the chopsticks in his hand. He wishes he’d eaten slower so he had some food left to pop in his mouth to avoid where this conversation is heading. “So what if I have? Taehyung’s cute.”

“Very cute, yes,” Yoongi agrees. “So when are you planning to ask him out?”

“I don’t know about you, but personally I’m not super into humiliating myself and asking people I know will reject me out. Just a personal preference, though.”

“Taehyung likes you,” Yoongi and Hoseok say simultaneously.

Jeongguk’s eyebrows knit together and he looks at Yoongi with wide eyes. “What?”

“Are you fucking serious?”

“Babe,” Hoseok begins, reaching out to take Yoongi’s hand in his own.

“No, is he fucking serious?” Yoongi asks, looking to Hoseok in exasperation.

“Taehyung doesn’t like me,” Jeongguk says, more to himself than anyone else. “Taehyung can’t like me. Taehyung is—Taehyung is the sun. He’s a flower. He’s– Hyung, you’re wrong.”

Yoongi groans. “Kid. I’m not fucking wrong.”

“Well, he hasn’t–” Jeongguk says. “Hypothetically, assuming he does like me, he hasn’t—you know, he hasn’t shown it. Or anything.”

“Are you kidding?”

“Taehyung flirts with you all the time,” Hoseok says.

“Taehyung doesn’t flirt with me,” Jeongguk asks. “Look, you think I wouldn’t have noticed if the guy I like was flirting with me?”

“Well, coincidentally, the evidence would suggest so.”

“Do you even know what flirting is?” Hoseok asks.

“Yes, I’m bad at it.”

“No, for real,” Hoseok prods. “Do you know what flirting is, Guk-ah? Because Taehyung really, really, is flirting with you all the time.”

“Stop. I know what flirting is.”

“Give me an example.”

“Um, like–” Jeongguk begins, looking away. He doesn’t want to be having this conversation. Why can’t they just leave him and his embarrassing and pathetic crush alone?

“Taehyung texts you all the time, compliments you, won’t shut the fuck up about you -” Yoongi starts and Hoseok continues. “- he comes in all the time just to say hi, he brings you flowers—fucking flowers, Gukkie—and don’t even start with all his stupid puns like ‘lick me till ice cream’ and–”

Jeongguk’s cheeks are red and he feels stupid. He feels stupid and blind and he can’t believe the things Hoseok and Yoongi are saying. “That’s just–” he tries, still looking at the table. “That’s just how Tae is.”

“All right,” Yoongi says. “I’ll give you that. Taehyung is very affectionate and a loving person and he does have a tendency to flirt a lot. But -” Jeongguk looks up at him and he continues. “- it’s different with you.”

“He’s never brought me flowers,” Hoseok says. “He doesn’t text me every hour to hear how it’s going and tell me something that reminded me of him. It’s different with you. He’s flirting with you and I can’t believe you’re so blind you haven’t caught it.”

“I’m–” Jeongguk says quietly, swallowing hard. “I’m trying my best.”

“You’re stupid,” Yoongi says, reaching over and ruffling his hair. “So I’m asking again, when are you gonna ask him out?”

“Oh fuck,” Jeongguk says, remembering last night. “Oh fuck. I told him yesterday I don’t like anyone, how– Oh my God, what am I supposed to do? I fucked up.”

“So that’s why you’ve been so moody all day,” Hoseok says, nodding to himself. “Knew it was some teen angst.”

“Shut up,” Jeongguk says. “What should I do?”

“Ask him out,” Yoongi says for the umpteenth time. “I even brought you a sunflower you can give him.”

“Sunflowers are his favourite,” Jeongguk muses. “They symbolise good vibes. He wanna be like that, it’s cute.”

“Oh my God, how are you not dating yet?”

“To be real, they kind of are,” Hoseok says. “As the only ones they just haven’t realised yet.”

“Okay, I’m gonna—ask him out,” Jeongguk says. “What should I say?”

“I can’t believe you set Hobi and me up but you can’t even help your own love life.”

Jeongguk looks away at Yoongi’s comment. “Well, that’s different,” he argues. “You two were obvious.”

Yoongi sighs. “You said yesterday you didn’t like anyone, right?”

Jeongguk nods, keeping his eyes on Yoongi.

“And why’d you say that?”

“Well, because—you know, I liked someone. Jesus, I sound 12.” He sighs and rolls his eyes at himself. “Anyway, didn’t think Taehyung liked me back and I didn’t wanna make things weird by telling him I liked him.”

“Tell him that, Yoongi says. “Tell him you do like someone and it’s him and you lied because you were scared of making things weird.”

“What made me change my mind?” Jeongguk says. “About telling him. Should I just tell him you talked to me or what?”

“You realised you might be letting something that could be really good go because of that fear. And you don’t want to be afraid. You want him.”

“That’s sappy.”

Yoongi and Hoseok both stare him down. “You’re the biggest sap I know,” Hoseok says and Jeongguk blushes a little. “Okay,” he says. “Okay.”

“Thank God,” Yoongi says, finally leaning back in his seat and dragging his hand through his hair. “Thank Lord almighty, I hope they can stop acting lovesick and pining now.”

“Don’t even start,” Jeongguk says. “We suffered through you and Hobi hyung’s acting lovesick and pining. You’ll deal.”

✖︎

to: flower power

> hey can we talk i fucked up

from: flower power

> ofc what's up

Jeongguk doesn't know how he’s supposed to proceed.

to: flower power

> can i maybe…meet u somewhere

from: flower power

> guk it's 3am ?

Right again, Taehyung is. It is 3am. Jeongguk’s been psyching himself up for hours and trying to figure out how to go about this. And now it’s the middle of the night so the time really doesn’t get better. He could never ask him out in the daytime, he wouldn’t have the guts. Sometimes you get a little braver after midnight. He’s hoping that’s the case today.

from: flower power

> but yeah come over!!!

> r u ok?

to: flower power

> i’m fine dw

> i’ll b there soon. thanks

He pulls on his jacket and hurries out his flat, opting for just walking to Taehyung’s place. The cold night air will do him good—clear his thoughts and prepare him.

“Hey,” Taehyung says as soon as he opens the door, pulling Jeongguk into a tight hug. “You okay?”

“Yeah,” Jeongguk says. “Yeah, I’m good, just–” He scratches his neck and focuses on evening out his breathing.

“Come in,” Taehyung says, stepping to the side and letting Jeongguk enter beside him. “Want tea or something? Pepsi?”

“Tea sounds good,” Jeongguk says, smiling softly at Taehyung.

“I’ll make tea.” They both go into the small kitchen and Taehyung puts on the kettle before picking out cups from the cupboard. All Taehyung’s cups are colourful and different—the two he’s taking now are animal-patterned: one is a giraffe with the handle as its neck, and the other is a dolphin. They’re cute.

The water is boiling and Taehyung pours it in the cups, handing the dolphin to Jeongguk. “Here you go.”

“Thank you,” Jeongguk says, smiling at Taehyung over the rim of his cup.

They move to the living room and plop down on the couch. “So,” Taehyung says. “What’s up?”

“Um,” Jeongguk says, breathing in shakily. “Yesterday in the park.”

“Yeah…?”

“Wait, the day before yesterday, technically?” Jeongguk rambles, so he closes his mouth for a second. “Anyway. You asked me if I liked someone and I said no and that was a lie. Because I do like someone but I was scared to tell you because I was afraid it’d make everything weird or bad or—or, I don’t know. I was scared.”

Taehyung hums and looks at Jeongguk attentively. “You don’t have to be scared with me.”

“I know,” Jeongguk says, exhaling again and chuckling a little. “Well, the thing is—I mean, the thing is—the thing is —that, uh, I like someone. And he’s really great. Like, really great, totally out of my league, like a human flower or sunshine or something like that, I’m convinced he could never like me back because he’s just that great. So great.”

Taehyung doesn’t say anything as Jeongguk rambles.

“I really like him, have for a while actually. Months, probably. I don’t know. We kinda met by accident ‘cause he crashed his bike into me and I looked up and I just see this beautiful man in front of me and I hear his voice—he’s like ‘nice save’—and I’m just– Wow.”

“Go on,” Taehyung says, grinning so widely his face must hurt. Jeongguk looks at him and he can’t help but smile as well, a soft contentedness rolling over him and relaxing him. Things are going to be okay.

“He won’t stop telling bad puns,” Jeongguk says. “It’s terrible and I pretend to find it terrible but really it’s kind of cute. He’s really cute. He always smells of flowers and he’s so smart, and he makes everyone happy, he’s so kind and warmhearted and– oh Christ, Taehyung, do you wanna go out with me?”

“Yes,” Taehyung says. “Yes, yes, yes, I thought you’d never ask.”

“I thought so too,” Jeongguk admits, smiling widely at Taehyung.

“I have a confession.”

“What?” Jeongguk asks, scrunching up his eyebrows. Oh fuck, is Taehyung about to say he doesn’t actually like him back? That’d be awful. Oh fuck.

“You know in the park,” he starts. “When I asked if you liked someone? I wanted to ask you out there. But then you said no, so it was like—you know.”

“Oh my God,” Jeongguk says. “No. I’m so stupid.”

“Kind of,” Taehyung says. “So am I. Still cute though.”

Jeongguk can’t stop smiling at him. Taehyung said yes to go out with him. How did he manage to get in this situation? He must be dreaming. “So,” he says. “Are you free Saturday?”

“I’m always free for you,” Taehyung grins. “Saturday sounds good. Where are we going?”

“The amusement park,” Jeongguk suggests, shyly looking down. “If you want to.”

“Yes!” Taehyung beams in excitement. “That sounds ideal. That’s so cute. I can’t wait.”

“Me neither,” Jeongguk admits. “Fuck, I’m going on a—a date with you. Hyung, fuck.”

Taehyung laughs heartily, throwing himself at Jeongguk. “You are,” he says. “You’re going on a date with me. I’m going on a date with you.”

✖︎

to: dance god AND nachos anti

> he said yes !!!! we’re going out saturday !!!!!

from: dance god

> THAT’S GREAT GUKKIE I’M SO HAPPY !!! CONGRATULATIONS !!!

from: nachos anti

> finally

> you know my paypal if u wanna thank me for making this happen

to: dance god AND nachos anti

> shut up THANK U !!!

> can u believe he said YES !!!

from: dance god

> yes

from: nachos anti

> yes

to: dance god AND nachos anti

> i cant but im HAPPY !!! :D

✖︎ ✖︎ ✖︎

Jeongguk knocks on Taehyung’s door a little after noon. He’d stressed out about what to wear and how to style his hair; he wanted to get it all right and look good and make Taehyung think he looked good. Maybe he was still a little afraid Taehyung had said yes to this by accident and he wanted to prove to him it wasn’t like that—prove he was worth it, or something.

The door flies open and Taehyung smiles easily at him. Jeongguk looks him up and down, taking in the sight of him, and he has to focus on not letting his mouth drop open stupidly. Taehyung looks good . In tight-fitting black jeans and a white jumper hugging his broad frame perfectly, skin glowing and hair looking as soft and fluffy as ever.

Jeongguk swallows.

“Hi,” Taehyung grins excitedly, stepping out and locking the door behind him. He takes Jeongguk’s hand in his and smiles at him. “Ready?”

“Yes,” Jeongguk breathes out, still in awe of how good Taehyung looks. He’s so fucking beautiful, it’s mind-blowing. “You could be a model.” He doesn’t mean to say it, and the second he hears the words leave his mouth his face turns red in embarrassment.

Taehyung laughs at him. “I know,” he says, pushing Jeongguk’s shoulder.

“Cocky,” Jeongguk mutters.

“I’ve something to have it in.” He winks at Jeongguk, then tugs at his hand and leads him out of the building.

They walk to the amusement park, hand in hand. Taehyung’s hand is nice—warm and soft, a bit calloused. Jeongguk finds it fits perfectly with his own. It’s a nice day, the sun is out, but it’s not so overwhelmingly warm you can’t exist in your own body. It’s perfect for a day in the amusement park. Jeongguk thinks this must be a sign from the gods that him and Taehyung are a good match.

“Let’s go to the games first,” Taehyung grins in expectation, tugging at Jeongguk’s hand.

There are lots of different ones—from dime pitch and the rubber duck pond to a classic tombola and the games where you have to hit a target. They walk up to the balloon and dart game and Jeongguk pays.

Taehyung gives him two thumbs up and smiles at him in encouragement. “I believe in you!”

Jeongguk smiles back at him, then turns around. He picks up the dart and aims at a pink balloon. He throws, and hits.

“Woo!” Taehyung cheers beside him and claps his hands together. “Look at you.”

Jeongguk smiles and picks up the next dart. He throws it easily and hits a green balloon. Taehyung continues cheering on him as he throws the remaining three, hitting a balloon every time.

“Wow,” the assistant says. “You really had that down. You can freely choose from all the toys.”

“Thank you,” Jeongguk says. He looks over at Taehyung. “Uh, do you—which one do you want?”

Taehyung beams at him, lacing their fingers together easily. “The puppy,” he says. “It looks so cute. I’m gonna name it Marigold.”

The clerk takes down the puppy plushie and hands it over to Taehyung. “Have a nice day, you two,” he says, smiling at them. “Thanks for playing.”

“Thank you,” Taehyung says, letting go of Jeongguk’s hand to hold the toy up with both his hands. “Isn’t it cute?”

“Very,” Jeongguk says, smiling softly at Taehyung.

“Thank you so much! I can’t believe you won me a plushie.”

“You did call us very cliché.” Jeongguk doesn’t know what to do with himself.

“That I did,” Taehyung smiles, gripping Jeongguk’s hand again and walking further into the park. “I will cherish this puppy till the day I die. Thank you, Guk-ah. You’re very lovely.”

Jeongguk blushes and looks away.

“I wanna try the ferris wheel,” Taehyung muses. “I love them. You wanna go?”

Jeongguk swallows hard and looks at the ground for a second. Truth is, he’s not very good with heights. He’s flown twice and he was terrified out of his mind, just going to the rooftop is daunting. He looks at Taehyung and sees how brightly he’s smiling and how pretty he looks, and he realises he could probably never say no to him. Not that he feels pressured in any way—he knows Taehyung would be completely fine with not going if Jeongguk didn’t want to, but the thing is, he kind of wants to because Taehyung does. He’s still scared, and his heart is already beginning to beat a little faster, but he wants to take a trip round with the ferris wheel with Taehyung. “Sure,” he says, trying to smile confidently.

“We don’t have to,” Taehyung says, looking at Jeongguk a little unsure. “Sorry I’m just dragging you around.”

“No, I want to.” Jeongguk clears his throat and tugs at Taehyung’s hand. “Let’s go.”

It’s not hard to find their way to the ferris wheel, and when they get there, they’re lucky to find out there’s not a very long line. They only have to stand for about five minutes, then they’re let into a booth.

Without saying anything or even looking at Jeongguk, Taehyung takes his hand in his and squeezes it tight. “Hold on,” he says. “Here we go.”

Jeongguk’s stomach flips over and he feels nauseous the second the wheel starts moving; it creaks and cracks as well, which really is not helping. He focuses on his breathing—slowly in, slowly out—and grounds himself by squeezing Taehyung’s hand tight.

“Look,” Taehyung whispers reverently when they’re right on top with the greatest possible view. “Isn’t the view so pretty up here?”

Jeongguk doesn’t look away from Taehyung. “Yes, it is,” he says. “So pretty.”

Taehyung is still staring out at everything he can see and he squeezes Jeongguk’s hand tight. “This is so amazing. Thanks for going with me.”

Jeongguk is brave and looks away from Taehyung and out from the booth. He’s shocked by the view—it’s lovely, everything looks miniscule and huge at the same time. The wind feels different up here; colder. Realer. It’s very peaceful—below people are stressing and moving quickly, but from up here they look to be moving at a snail’s pace, and Jeongguk himself can’t move at all. His heart is still beating rapidly and he’s scared out of his mind, but he’s also able to find the beauty in it. He looks back at Taehyung and smiles at him, squeezing his hand again.

Taehyung looks over at him and gives him a soft smile before turning his attention back to the outside world.

Down on secure ground again, Jeongguk’s legs slowly stop shaking and his breathing evens out. Taehyung keeps their hands laced together and asks if he wants to go get cotton candy. Jeongguk smiles at him, tugging him along towards the small kiosks. They buy a large, pink one and Taehyung holds it in his hand as if it’s something holy as they settle down on a bench. He keeps his eyes on Jeongguk as he tears a piece off of it and puts in his mouth, licking his fingers clean of sugar. “Mmm.”

Jeongguk’s throat is dry, and in an attempt to hide it, he leans over to tear off a piece for himself as well. He wraps his lips around his fingers and closes his eyes as he licks them clean.

“I was afraid you didn’t like cotton candy,” Taehyung says, taking another strand.

“It’s just sugar,” Jeongguk says, looking at Taehyung in confusion. “And air.”

“Marshmallows are just sugar,” Taehyung argues, shrugging. “You never know with you.”

“Are you ever gonna let that go?” Jeongguk asks, chuckling and shaking his head slowly.

“Don’t think so.” Taehyung grins at him and laces his free hand together with Jeongguk’s. “How can you not like marshmallows?”

“They don’t… taste good? They’re like… chewy. In a bad way. No thanks.”

“You’re so weird.”

“You’re weird.”

“Jeon Jeongguk,” Taehyung says. “Are you flirting with me?”

Jeongguk blushes but he manages to keep his eyes on Taehyung’s, cocking his head to the side and arching his eyebrows. “So what if I am?”

Taehyung’s face screws up in a bubbly laugh and he rips off another strand of cotton candy and pops in his mouth. “I’ve been flirting with you for months, dumbass.”

“Haven’t been really good at it,” Jeongguk scoffs, looking Taehyung straight in the eye. “Since I didn’t even realise.”

“Do not try to make this about my flirting skills,” Taehyung says, smiling as he raises his finger and points it at Jeongguk. “There’s absolutely nothing wrong with those. This is about your observation skills.”

“I beg the differ. I’m quite observational.”

Taehyung laughs like he’s never heard anything as absurd. “And water isn’t wet.”

“Fuck off,” Jeongguk says, shoving Taehyung’s shoulder. “Don’t bully me.”

“But you make it so easy ,” Taehyung laughs, putting another strand of cotton candy in his mouth and licking his fingers attentively. “Do you like the wild rides?”

“Yeah,” Jeongguk says, and it’s true. His fear of heights doesn’t apply to the fast rides in the same way—in those everything is about the speed, he doesn’t have time to think about how long the way down is. “Love ‘em. You scared of them? Need me to hold your hand?”

“Nah, just thought you might be.” Taehyung winks at Jeongguk and sticks out his tongue.

“Nothing scares me,” Jeongguk says. “I’m the night. I have no fears and no weak spots.”

“Dumbass,” Taehyung grins. “Let’s go then.”

He throws the empty cotton candy stick in the bin next to the bench, then grabs Jeongguk’s hand and starts running towards one of the wilder rides. They get there, out of breath and smiling widely at each other. The ticket controller lets them in and once seated, they grin at each other again, asking if the other is ready. Before they can say anything more, the ride starts and it goes up, up, up—till it goes down very quickly, surging through the air, people screaming around them. Taehyung raises his hands in the air.

The next couple of hours they spend trying different rides and games and they buy churros which they eat while people-watching. Kids throwing tantrums because they’re not tall enough to try the wildest rides, couples holding hands, teenagers walking around with their phones out to catch pokémon.

Much too soon it’s getting late and it nears the park’s closing time. They walk slowly towards the exits, hand in hand and Taehyung holding the plushie in his free hand.

Neither of them say a lot on the way back through the city, instead just enjoying each other’s presence and the evening air.

Then, they’re in front of Taehyung’s apartment complex. They look each other in the eye for a moment, still holding hands. “Today was really nice,” Taehyung says quietly, breaking the silence.

“It was.” Jeongguk smiles at him.

“Can I kiss you?” Taehyung asks. He smiles softly at Jeongguk and Jeongguk’s cheeks turn red instantly. He nods slowly, and Taehyung leans in and pecks his cheek softly. “There,” he says, smiling at him. “Today was really— really nice, Guk-ah.”

“I think so too,” Jeongguk breathes out. “Thank you so much.”

“Thank you,” Taehyung says, then smiles cheekily. “Can I kiss you again?”

Jeongguk leans in this time and softly presses his lips against Taehyung’s. It’s soft, sweet. He pulls away and leans his forehead against Taehyung’s, eyes still closed.

✖︎ ✖︎ ✖︎

from: flower power

> last night was so so great tysm again !!!!

> we should have a sequel sometime soon ;)

to: flower power

> it was !!! i had so much fun thank u

> if ur trying 2 get in my pants u should dump the winky faces moron

from: flower power

> :(

> sighs

> jeon jeongguk i think ur rly cute n vry funny n SUPER hot and i had a great time yesterday do you wanna go out with me again sometime soon? check one: [ ] yes [ ] no  LOVE FROM TAE <3

to: flower power

> [x] yes :*

from: flower power

> [catches the kiss and sends one back] :*

“Are you guys sexting or why are you that red?” Hoseok asks, staring at Jeongguk.

Jeongguk blushes even more and looks down at the table. He bites his lip. “No,” he mumbles. “He sent me a kiss emoji.”

“Oh my fucking God, Gukkie .” Hoseok throws his head back in disbelieving laughter. “Are you twelve ?”

“Stop,” Jeongguk mutters, not daring to look at Hoseok. “It’s cute.”

“Yeah,” Hoseok says after a moment of silence. “It is.”

from: flower power

> when r u free? what do u wanna do?? do u wanna go out go out or come to my place

> netlix and chill ;) haha

> NO IM SORRY U DIDNT SEE THE WINKY FACE !!!

to: flower power

> ur such a nerd

> whatever u want !!!

from: flower power

> ok tbh then we’ll just do smth chill n watch movies n u can give me a lap dance ;)

to: flower power

> hyung

from: flower power

> haha just kidding

> not abt the movies tho lets have a movie marathon we can build a blanket fort and bake pancakes and itll be MAD cute :D

If Jeongguk for a very brief second thinks about giving Taehyung a lap dance inside a blanket fort, that’s just for him to know.

to: flower power

> sounds rly great!!

from: flower power

> this weekend? come over friday?

to: flower power

> i cant wait

> <3

from: flower power

> <3

> this is so cute it’s like we’re holding hands thru the phone haha gay

to: flower power

> taehyung i am gay

from: flower power

> yeah i know HAHAH

> ur cute i kinda wanna kiss u

“Oh my God, what’s he saying now?”

Jeongguk looks at Hoseok and bites his lip, trying hard to ignore how red he knows he is. “Uh,” he says. “Nothing.”

“You’re such a bad liar. This is so cute. I feel like a proud mother.”

“Please stop.”

to: flower power

> i kinda want u to kiss me

from: flower power

> :*

“Stop sexting your boyfriend, I’m literally paying for this lunch.”

“One second,” Jeongguk says absentmindedly, fingers quickly typing away. “And he’s not my boyfriend.”

to: flower power

> ok i gotta go hobi hyung is telling me to stop sexting

> his words not mine

from: flower power

> hahaha :D

> say hi 2 him from me !!! have a nice lunch <3

to: flower power

> <3

“Tae says hi,” Jeongguk says, finally putting his phone away and turning his attention back to Hoseok. “It was so great last night, hyung.”

Hoseok is looking at him fondly and smiling brightly. He picks up his glass and takes a long drink through the straw. “Tell me everything.”

✖︎ ✖︎ ✖︎

to: flower power

> hey u ready??

from: flower power

> born ready !! come over i miss u

to: flower power

> stop being so gay

from: flower power

> 404 error i can’t :-|

to: flower power

> ur such a NERD

> i’m coming over now

from: flower power

> hurry

Jeongguk quickly sends a couple of heart emojis Taehyung’s way, then stuffs his phone back in his pocket, grabs his keys, and hurries out the door.

He’s smiling to himself all the way to Taehyung’s place, and even when knocking on the door the smile stays on his face. It’s his second date with Taehyung—they’re just going to hang out and watch stupid films or whatever else; it’s going to be exactly like it always is, except this time he’ll probably get to kiss him and hold his hand. Which is pretty exciting, Jeongguk thinks. There are butterflies in his stomach and he doesn’t even feel particularly embarrassed about it—he’s entitled to it. He can be happy about this.

“Hyung.” He smiles even brighter when Taehyung opens up the door and leans in easily to hug him. “How are you?”

“I’m great,” Taehyung says, wrapping his arms around Jeongguk and squeezing him in a tight hug. “Come in, come in.”

Jeongguk closes the door behind him and steps out of his shoes as Taehyung keeps talking.

“I have searched high and low and every blanket and pillow I own are now laid out on the couch. All ready and set to build the coolest blanket fort in the world.”

“Cool,” Jeongguk says, grinning at Taehyung and trailing after him into the living room. Rightly so, on the couch are stacks of blankets—some old-looking and worn, some bright coloured, and others again different shades of beige and grey.

“You ready for this?”

“So ready for this.”

They get to work and in the process, they both end up tangled into the blankets and almost falling over while trying to get free again, stumbling into each other and the couch whilst trying to hang up a blanket in some kind of structure that could resemble a roof. It ends up looking a mess—a mismatch of different patterns, but quite cute—Taehyung somehow found a string of fairy lights and they tied it up with clothespins which makes it look all kinds of cozy.

“This is so nice.” Jeongguk grins dazedly at Taehyung as they make themselves comfortable on top of all the pillows inside.

Taehyung has propped up his laptop and it’s open on Netflix. “Let’s watch some romcom,” he says, navigating easily into that category.

Jeongguk rolls his eyes even though he does have a (secret) soft spot for that genre. “Sure. Which one?”

“Dunno,” Taehyung says. “Let’s see if there are any gay ones.”

Jeongguk smiles at him as Taehyung scrolls down the feed, searching to see if there’s something worth watching. “We could also watch cartoons, I don’t care.”

“What’s your favourite cartoon?” Jeongguk asks.

“Avatar, duh.”

“You’re right,” Jeongguk agrees. “Okay, I wanna watch Avatar. Put it on.”

Taehyung types it in quickly. “You wanna start from the beginning or skip into where it gets good?”

“Beginning,” Jeongguk says and Taehyung hits play on episode one.

It starts playing and Taehyung leans back away from the screen, then wraps his arm loosely around Jeongguk and pulls them closer. Jeongguk doesn’t blush, obviously, because he’s a grown man and he’s above that kind of behaviour—no, he keeps a completely straight face as he snuggles closer to Taehyung.

It’s nice. They’ve both watched all of Avatar multiple times and can even quote a couple of scenes and they reenact them dramatically with wide gestures and heartfelt dialogue. Jeongguk laughs as Taehyung belts out another of Aang’s one-liners and Taehyung grins at him, proudly and fondly.

An hour or so in, Taehyung decides he’s hungry and asks if Jeongguk wants pancakes.

“Sure,” Jeongguk agrees, reaching out to pause the episode. He squints his eyes slightly. “You’re a terrible cook, though.”

“First of all, I’m an excellent good so fuck you. Second of all, I make the best pancakes on the planet so if I were you, I’d stop being so mean in case I decide you don’t deserve to taste them.”

Jeongguk rolls his eyes at Taehyung’s melodramatic antics. “Come on then. Show me you’re not all talk.”

They get to the kitchen and Taehyung pulls out two bowls and a whisk, then starts getting the ingredients. “Can you get the milk?” he asks, and Jeongguk easily makes his way to the fridge and gets it out.

“Dry ingredients first,” Taehyung instructs as he starts measuring flour and pouring it in the first bowl. “Eggs and some of the milk in the other.” He whisks it together effortlessly, then pours everything from bowl one into bowl two. “Mix it with the rest of the milk aaand we’re set to move to the stove.”

“You ever dream of having your own cooking show?” Jeongguk asks, grinning at Taehyung as he sits there on the kitchen counter, swinging his legs.

“Wouldn't that be fantastic?”

“Fantastically catastrophic, yeah.”

“Watch your mouth, brat,” Taehyung says, pushing Jeongguk’s shoulder before getting out a pan. “I’m about to change your life with these pancakes. Be nice.”

“Whatever you say, hyung.”

Taehyung pours a bit of oil on the pan and waits till it's hot, then pours out some of the pancake dough. There are spluttering sounds and the nice smell of it instantly starts filling up the room. He flips it easily and when it's all baked on both sides, he flips it in the air as well.

“Show-off,” Jeongguk mutters.

Taehyung winks at him and puts the pancake on a plate, then pours more dough on the pan.

They continue bickering fondly as Taehyung makes the rest of the pancakes, building up a little stack on the plate.

“Ready to have your mind blown?” he asks when they're back in the blanket fort, sitting cross legged on the floor with the pancakes and syrup between them. “Ready to swoon and offer me your firstborn?”

“You talk so much shit,” Jeongguk says, rolling his eyes whilst pouring syrup on his pancake. He rolls it together and upon taking the fist bite, he can't hold the moan in. He tries to, he really does, because he doesn't want to give Taehyung the satisfaction of this—but he can't. They really are that good.

Taehyung laughs wickedly in front of him, shooting finger guns before taking a bite of his own. “Told you,” he grins, chewing around pancake.

“I hate you,” Jeongguk mutters, absorbed in his own food and quite stunned at how nice it tastes. “Hyung, these are really good?”

“Why do you sound so surprised, dickhead? I told you: I make the world’s best pancakes.”

“Well, you were right.” Jeongguk takes another bite and moans softly, bringing his fingers to his lips to lick off the syrup that has run onto them. “They're so good.”

“If you stay the night, I’ll make them in the morning.” He winks at Jeongguk who blushes faintly, looking down at his food. “Well, maybe I will then. You know, for the pancakes.”

“Yeah, I know. For the pancakes.”

✖︎

“Do you wanna–” Jeongguk starts, fidgeting with the hem of Taehyung’s shirt. Both pancakes and Avatar are long forgotten; they've been making out for the better part of an hour—Jeongguk in Taehyung’s lap, out of breath. “You mentioned a lap dance…” He trails off, dropping his gaze to the floor.

“Holy shit,” Taehyung whispers, running his hands up and down Jeongguk’s back. “Are you– really?”

“I mean–” Jeongguk looks up at Taehyung again, trying to look more seductive than shy. “If you wanna?”

“Holy shit,” Taehyung repeats. “Please, if you’re– yeah, put on a show, baby.”

Jeongguk flushes at the pet name, then leans over to slip his phone out from his pocket. He opens up his music library and finds a playlist he definitely hadn’t made with this exact purpose in mind. He hits play, then puts it aside on the couch.

The song starts out slow and he lowers himself down on Taehyung’s lap, rolling his hips experimentally. He smirks, revelling in the way Taehyung’s eyes are already blown wide and the way he bites his lips.

He’s never done this before, not properly, but he knows how it’s supposed to work—and he’s a dancer. He works his hips easily and gasps slightly when Taehyung lifts his hands, smoothing them up and down Jeongguk’s back.

He leans closer and starts kissing Taehyung’s neck. It’s noisy and wet and Taehyung’s groans above him only have him deepening the kisses, making them even messier, sucking marks into his neck before moving on and kissing a trail up his jaw.

He pulls away and looks at Taehyung intently as he grinds down again, rolling his hips expertly. He can feel Taehyung getting hard and smirks in satisfaction, leaning in to press his lips against Taehyung’s as he rolls his hips again.

He was planning to kiss Taehyung for a while, make it deep and slow, but he changes his mind after a small peck and gets up from his lap. Taehyung’s mouth drops open and he lets out a confused sound, but stops in his track when Jeongguk grips his shirt by the hem and starts slowly lifting it, exposing his abdomen.

“Hng,” Taehyung says, reaching forward and smoothing his fingers over Jeongguk’s stomach. “Holy shit.”

Jeongguk flushes, then swats Taehyung’s hands away. He lifts his shirt off agonizingly slowly, grinning at the look on Taehyung’s face, the mixture of awe and desire and promise. He throws the shirt behind him, then straddles Taehyung’s thighs and grinds down slowly again. He hums softly to the beat of the song. “What’re you thinking?”

“You’re so hot,” Taehyung says, pressing at the small of Jeongguk’s back and leaning in to capture his lips between his own. He pecks small kisses against Jeongguk’s lips before keeping the pressure steady, licking softly into his mouth. “You’re so good.”

Jeongguk whines and mouths clumsily against Taehyung’s lips. He rolls his hips again, and his eyes roll back a little as he feels Taehyung’s hard-on against him.

“Can I,” he gets out, mouthing against Taehyung’s lips, “can I blow you?” He bites his lip.

“Fuck.” Taehyung’s eyes roll back and he lets out a groan. “Yes. Yes, fuck.”

“Thank you.” Jeongguk gets off his lap and sits down, settling between Taehyung’s legs.

“Why are you thanking me?” Taehyung huffs out a quiet laugh, lifting his hips to help Jeongguk slide off his pants.

Jeongguk doesn’t reply, instead starts slowly palming Taehyung through the fabric of his underwear. He bites his lip again as he pulls down at Taehyung’s boxers, Taehyung lifting his hips again to help get them out of the way.

His cock springs free and Jeongguk takes it in his hand, pumping languidly. He wraps his lips around the tip and sucks gently before swallowing down deeper, taking it in his mouth gradually.

He’s no expert, but whatever he might lack in finesse he makes up for with sheer enthusiasm, licking and sucking and peppering kisses all over Taehyung’s hard cock, as Taehyung gently tugs at his hair and praises him. “You’re so good,” he says, which just has Jeongguk taking him deeper, doing better —Taehyung praising him more and softly bucking his hips up, fucking into Jeongguk’s mouth.

Jeongguk pulls away, breathing heavily as he mouths at Taehyung’s dick. “I can’t deepthroat,” he says, voice hoarse and broken. “Sorry. I wish–”

Taehyung laughs heartily and trails his index finger down Jeongguk’s jaw. “You’re doing great,” he says a little out of breath, tangling his fingers in Jeongguk’s hair again. “Come up here, I wanna kiss you.”

Jeongguk obeys easily, planting himself in Taehyung’s lap and leaning in to press their mouths together. Taehyung can probably taste himself on Jeongguk’s tongue, which is kind of hot and has Jeongguk whining lowly. “Do you wanna–” he asks, his eyes rolling back as he rests his head against Taehyung’s shoulder.

“Do I want what?” Taehyung asks, fucking tease—he knows what Jeongguk is going to ask, but of course he’s going to make him say it. “Use your words.”

“Do you wanna–” Jeongguk tries again, words coming out muffled against the fabric of Taehyung’s shirt. “Hng, can you–”

Taehyung smooths his hands up Jeongguk’s back, then pulls him by the hair and presses a soft kiss to his lips. “Talk to me.”

“Do you wanna fuck me?” Jeongguk asks, flushing and feeling embarrassed. He’s just had Taehyung’s dick in his mouth, but saying it feels different. Feels like more.

Taehyung groans and pulls Jeongguk in for another kiss. “I would love to,” he says. “If you’ll let me. If you want me to.”

“I want you to,” Jeongguk whispers against Taehyung’s lips before locking them together again, licking into Taehyung’s mouth.

They make out for a while, Taehyung pressing Jeongguk closer by the small of his back and licking into his mouth hotly. Jeongguk feels himself get light-headed and he messily grinds against Taehyung’s crotch, feeling constrained in his pants. “Pants,” he gasps out, standing up again on shaking legs and starts ripping at them.

Jeongguk’s hands are shaking, but Taehyung’s are steady, and he reaches out to help him get his pants and boxers off.

“Your shirt,” Jeongguk says, gesturing at it. “Off, please.”

Taehyung smiles at him and easily lifts his shirt up and gets out of it. “Happy?”

“Yes.” Jeongguk smiles at Taehyung, straddling his thighs and planting himself in his lap again. “Very.”

He kisses him again, slow and burning. Taehyung’s hands are warm against his back and his tongue is hot in his mouth, and Jeongguk gasps audibly when he pulls away to trail kisses in between whispered compliments down his jaw. “So good,” he says. “Wanna fuck you so good.”

“Please,” Jeongguk whines, letting his forehead drop against Taehyung’s and closing his eyes. “Please, please–”

“Let’s go to the bedroom,” Taehyung suggests. “Gonna make you feel so good.”

Jeongguk trusts him. Jeongguk knows he’s not lying. He really is going to make him feel good, feel all loved and taken care of—he’s not going to hurt him. “Please,” he repeats, like some kind of broken record, and stumbles out of Taehyung’s lap. He grabs his hand like he had in the amusement park, and it feels strangely intimate in the middle of this.

Taehyung smiles at him and gets up as well, dragging Jeongguk with him to his bedroom. In there, he pushes him down on his back on the bed and straddles him. He leans down and kisses him slow, deep—but pulls away quickly and starts kissing down his chest. The kisses quickly become open-mouthed and wet, leaving Jeongguk writhing in the sheets, whining out small pleas of Taehyung’s name.

Taehyung circles his tongue around Jeongguk’s nipple and Jeongguk gasps into the room. “Please,” he whines, and Taehyung smirks as he continues playing his tongue around Jeongguk’s chest.

“Fucking tease.”

“T-hyung, tease-hyung,” Taehyung grins, pulling away and moving back up to look Jeongguk in the eye. He smirks at him, then quickly pecks his lips, and moves back down.

The kisses get even sloppier as they near Jeongguk’s cock—and they’re so close now, so close, but Taehyung keeps circling his mouth around and leaving kisses all over his abdomen, not actually touching where Jeongguk most wants him to.

“Come on,” he says, twisting his hands into the sheets, his knuckles going white.

Taehyung just hums, low in his throat, and moves up to play with Jeongguk’s nipples again. “Wanna hear you,” he whispers against his chest. “What do you want?”

You,” Jeongguk says exasperatedly, rolling his eyes far back in his skull. “You. Your cock. Your mouth. Whatever, just fucking–”

“Hmm,” Taehyung says again, as if this has him thinking deeply. “Don't know...”

“Please,” Jeongguk repeats, grinding his hips in some hopeless search for friction. A lost cause, obviously. “Please, hyung. I’ve been good. Touch me.”

Finally, Taehyung takes mercy on him and wraps his hand firmly around the base of his cock. “You have,” he murmurs. “You’ve been so good.”

He gives his dick a couple of pumps and coos at how Jeongguk whimpers, then he leans over and scrambles through his bedside table to get lube and condoms. “I’ve got you,” he whispers, lacing his fingers with Jeongguk’s and squeezing his hand.

Jeongguk lets his legs drop open, and he feels himself flush a little in embarrassment, but it’s all gone soon when Taehyung is back and kneading and kissing his thighs. “You’re so pretty,” he whispers, uncapping the bottle and pouring lube over his fingers. He rubs them together to warm it up, then his index finger is finally where Jeongguk really wants it.

“Please.” Jeongguk’s mouth drops open as Taehyung presses the first finger in, his body easily swallowing it down to the knuckle. “Ahh.”

Taehyung leans down and presses a kiss to Jeongguk’s hipbone, slowly starting moving his finger in and out.

“Thank you,” Jeongguk whispers, scrunching his eyes shut tight as Taehyung pumps in and out, easily adding another and starting stretching him out. “Thank you.”

“Look at you,” Taehyung praises, kissing the tip of his dick—Jeongguk flushes in embarrassment. “You take this so prettily. You’re so good.“

“Ahh,” Jeongguk whimpers again, grinding down on Taehyung’s fingers. “More, please–”

Taehyung obliges, adding a third finger—and the burn of it is sweet, Jeongguk feels it in his whole body, toes already curling a bit. His grip on the sheets tightens and he grinds down on Taehyung’s fingers. “Please, thank you–” he sobs.

“So pretty,” Taehyung repeats, and the slide of his fingers is easy now. He tries different angles, searching for Jeongguk’s prostate, and when he finally finds it Jeongguk trashes in the bed. “Thank you,” he gasps. “There, tha–thank y–you.”

Taehyung presses another kiss to Jeongguk’s hip bone. “You ready for more?”

“Please,” Jeongguk begs quietly. “Please fuck me.”

“How could I say no to that?” Taehyung smiles, slowly removing his fingers and wrapping his hand tightly around his cock. Jeongguk’s hole clenches around nothing and he whines at the emptiness, but Taehyung is quick to put on the condom and lube himself up—then he's pressing the tip of his cock against Jeongguk’s hole, and Jeongguk breathes in deeply in anticipation.

This is what he hasn’t wanted to let himself think of for months. This is what he’s been dreaming of for months anyway. “I’m ready.”

Taehyung pushes in in one deep thrust and pauses when he’s all buried inside, giving Jeongguk the time to breathe and adjust. He tangles their fingers together and presses a soft kiss to his forehead. “You’re doing so well,” he whispers. “So well, Guk-ah. So good for me.”

Jeongguk whimpers at the praise, mouth falling open at how full and perfect he feels. “Move.”

Taehyung does. Slow at first, bottoming all the way out and slamming in again, punching the air right out of Jeongguk’s lungs. He lets out a whine so high-pitched and needy he flushes and squeezes his eyes shut. “Oh.”

“Fuck,” Taehyung grunts, snapping his hips. “You’re so tight. Feel so good around me, baby.”

“Please,” Jeongguk whines, trying to grind down on Taehyung’s cock but barely having the energy to move. “Please, please, plea–”

“You’re so good,” Taehyung repeats, squeezing Jeongguk’s hand and pressing another soft kiss to his lips. Jeongguk’s mouth falls open but he’s too hazy to kiss back properly, just breathing and mouthing against Taehyung’s mouth.

“Thank you,” he repeats in a whisper, spasming all over again when Taehyung hits his prostate again. His mouth drops open and Taehyung is fucking the knowledge of how to close it again right out of him, so he lets it hang open as Taehyung drives into him again, over and over, mindless praise spilling from his lips.

“Such a good boy,” he whispers, and Jeongguk’s eyes roll back in his head. “So good for me. Take my cock so well, baby. So needy for it, yah? How do you feel?”

Jeongguk’s mouth moves but no sound comes out—he’s trying to remember how to string words together, but it’s getting hard, mind getting hazier and hazier by the second.

“Talk to me,” Taehyung says, wrapping his hand around the base of Jeongguk’s cock. “Tell me how you feel.”

“Good,” is the first word Jeongguk manages to get out. “I—I feel—I feel good, you– you’re– am I good? Good for you, wan–wanna be–”

Taehyung groans at Jeongguk’s word, bottoming all the way out slowly and slamming in at full speed and staying there. “Baby,” he groans. “You're so good. So good. So good for me.”

“Thank you,” Jeongguk whispers, clenching around Taehyung’s cock. Taehyung is so good to him—making him feel so taken care of, full and perfect—he wants to be good for him, too. Wants to make him feel good, too.

“Thank you,” Taehyung says, leaning down and capturing Jeongguk’s lips with his own. “You’re perfect, Guk-ah. So perfect.”

Somehow, Jeongguk musters up the ability to get a final, coherent sentence out. “Tell me when I can come.”

Taehyung groans again and begins snapping his hips faster, angling so he hits Jeongguk’s prostate almost every time. Jeongguk writhes in the sheet and grinds hopelessly down on Taehyung’s cock, gasping loudly when Taehyung starts jerking him off.

“You can come,” he says, slamming hard into him. “You’ve been so good.”

It takes a few more strokes of Taehyung’s hand before Jeongguk shatters apart, whining high-pitchedly as he paints their chests white with cum. He breathes heavily and whimpers in oversensitivity as Taehyung keeps fucking into him, hard and fast, chasing his own orgasm.

He clenches around Taehyung’s dick and soon he feels it pulsing, filling the condom up. Jeongguk would’ve loved to be able to feel it fill him up, wet and full—one day. One day, definitely. “Ahh,” he whines and clenches around the emptiness as Taehyung pulls out.

Taehyung pulls off the condom and ties it, throws it to the side, then flops down next to Jeongguk. They stare into each other’s eyes as they try to even out their breathing.

Jeongguk is the first to break the silence. “Thank you,” he says, leaning over and pecking a quick kiss to the tip of Taehyung’s nose. “That was–”

“So good,” Taehyung breathes out, kissing Jeongguk softly and lacing their fingers together again. “Holy shit.”

“So good,” Jeongguk agrees, humming quietly and tracing patterns on Taehyung’s skin. “Thank you.”

“Thank you.” Taehyung stares deeply into Jeongguk’s eyes, and it feels intimate and soft: Jeongguk’s stomach is fluttering and he’s sure he must be blushing quite terribly.

“I really like you, hyung.” He closes his eyes softly, not daring to look Taehyung in the eye after the confession.

“I really like you too, Jeongguk-ah.” Taehyung leans over and kisses him again, slow and soft and perfect.

Jeongguk thinks he could get used to this. Jeongguk thinks he would like to get used to this.

✖︎ ✖︎ ✖︎

“I still can’t believe you’re getting this,” Jeongguk mutters, sterilising the skin on Taehyung’s right hipbone. “This is so lame.”

Taehyung just grins at him, waiting in quiet expectation and excitement for Jeongguk to start tattooing again.

He picks up the machine and looks at Taehyung. “Ready?”

“Ready.”

Taehyung sucks in a breath when the needle breaks his skin for the first time, but other than that he’s quiet as Jeongguk outlines the piece and starts filling it in. It doesn’t take very long and soon he’s wiping away the excess and wrapping it up.

“There you go,” Jeongguk says. “One fucking Sex Me Up strawberry smoothie for Taehyung. Plastic cup, red straw, and all.”

Taehyung grins at him.

“This is so fucking lame, babe.”

“No, it’s cute,” Taehyung argues. “Reminds me of my berry good boyfriend.” He winks at Jeongguk and grins like he just won the lottery.

“You’re so stupid,” Jeongguk says, rolling his eyes before leaning in to softly peck Taehyung on the lips. “But I honeydew love you.”

Jeongguk looks at Taehyung with wide, expecting eyes.

Taehyung’s face breaks into a wide smile and he leans in to press his lips to Jeongguk’s in what is more sound than kiss. “I fucking love you. From my head tomatoes.”