“Thanks, kid. See you next week,” the man muttered, doing up his fly and patting Taehyung’s head. Taehyung winked at him as he left, still in the act, lying on the bed with his long legs stretched out. He closed his eyes, sweat drying on his skin and the musky scent of the room clogging up his nose. Not even two minutes after the man left, Jimin was squirming inside the room, nose crinkled up.
“He’s so creepy, ugh,” Jimin complained, strolling over to where Taehyung still lay. He went to sit down when Taehyung laughed.
“Uh, do you really wanna sit here?” Taehyung reminded him. Jimin’s face paled and he jumped up, making gagging noises, as if he didn't do the exact same job that Taehyung did.
“Oh my God, I almost just- oh my God. I need so much sleep,” he cried, letting out a sigh. Taehyung scoffed, rolling onto his stomach and sighing in exhaustion.
“Then sleep, it’s not like you have much work here anyways,” Taehyung quipped, grinning at his best friend, then paused. "Haha, get it? 'Cause people don't wanna fuck you."
“Listen here, you little shit,” Jimin growled, leaning over to smack Taehyung’s ass. Taehyung yelped, scampering off the bed.
“So rude,” he sighed, throwing on some clothes off the floor. “I’m leaving now.”
“Love you,” Jimin sang, following him out the door. "Except I also hate you a little bit."
Kim Taehyung saw loads of different people in a night.
He saw lonely women and angry men, some shameful and some not, some mean and some shy. He saw the worst sides of everyone, but also the most vulnerable. He saw them in their weakest, most private state.
But he’d never seen somebody like Jeon Jeongguk.
Jeongguk was rich. Famous. A prodigy child, with a talent in singing and dancing and acting and athletics and business. He was on reality shows and dramas, was in the news and on interview shows, was always doing something with someone for someone .
Taehyung was like Jeongguk’s opposite; he was poor and deperate and barely surviving. He would do anything for money.
And Jeon Jeongguk, the Jeon Jeongguk, had a lot of it. So when he sauntered into the humid, sweaty basement of Taehyung’s workplace, all eyes were on him; his expensive suit, his leather shoes, his mask covering half his face and his name-brand sunglasses covering the rest.
He’d strolled right up to Jimin, looking like he owned the place, and said “I’d like a night with your most expensive boy.”
Jimin, of course, had raised his eyebrows.
“Sure, but I’d like to know what someone like you is doing in a place like this,” he’d inquired, slightly defensive. Jeongguk had stared him in the eyes, gaze unwavering.
“Is that really any of your business to be asking?” Jeongguk snapped back. Jimin’s hackles practically raised and Taehyung thought he was going to have to intervene.
“If I’m giving one of my boys with you, then I’d like to know that they’re going to be safe,” he snarled. Jeongguk had raised his arms defensively, a smirk rising to his lips.
“Fair enough. I’m just bored, is all,” Jeongguk admitted. This seemed to satisfy Jimin enough.
“Taehyung,” he called. “Fetch Seokjin. He’s probably our most… talented.”
“Yes, sir,” Taehyung said with a small wave, sensing the tense atmosphere.
So Taehyung had scampered off to find Seokjin, had briefly explained the situation and watched as Jeon Jeongguk took a room with Kim Seokjin.
It hadn’t phased him. In the time the two took, Taehyung had worked with his own client.
He’d been lounging around on one of the couches when Jeongguk went to leave. Jimin raised an eyebrow, obviously looking for some sort of praise. Instead, Jeongguk put his mask and sunglasses back on and shrugged.
“It was alright, I guess. Next time, I expect better,” he muttered, plopping his payment on the counter and sauntering away.
That had floored everyone.
Jeongguk didn’t even meet Taehyung’s eyes before he was gone.
“Tae, go check on Jin, yeah?” Jimin ordered with a smile, though Taehyung noticed how strained it was.
Taehyung had found Jin sitting on the bed, face in his hands.
“What happened? Are you okay?” he asked softly, sitting beside the elder. Jin was biting the inside of his lip.
“I’m alright, Tae, don’t worry,” Jin said in a small voice. Taehyung frowned, sensing something off.
“Did he do anything weird?” Taehyung pried, voice oozing concern. Jin shook his head, paused, then nodded.
“He- He didn’t- He didn’t want me,” Jin whispered. Taehyung frowned deeper.
“He just… after a bit, he stopped, and told me I wasn’t his type,” Jin explained weakly. Taehyung was completely lost. Nobody turned Jin down; the man was the humanization of a god, with blond hair that rolled softly over his forehead and dark, alluring eyes.
“I… How is that possible?” Taehyung joked, partially serious. Jin laughed, thankfully, the mood lightening as Jin stretched his slender legs out and rested his head on Taehyung’s shoulder.
“I could write a list,” Jin sighed. Taehyung felt an intense anger build in his stomach; how dare Jeongguk make beautiful, lovely Jin feel this way?
“Oi, stop that. Don’t worry about it, yeah? He’s just… just… a snob. A selfish prick, you hear me?” Taehyung growled. Jin let out a sobbing laugh.
“Yeah,” he croaked, leaning into Taehyung, who supported the elder.
Taehyung swore that next time he saw Jeon Jeongguk, he’d make sure to not let him leave as pretty.
That statement, it turns out, did not hold true.
The next time Jeon Jeongguk swaggered into the basement club, it was an off day, and the only ones who were technically working were Jimin and Hoseok. Taehyung was only there to escape his own house, dressed in tiny pajama shorts and a big, ripped sweater, his lilac hair messier than usual. The three of them were playing cards, laughing and slightly tipsy, a joint being passed between them. Taehyung had forgotten about Jeon Jeongguk. He had moved on, other issues far more pressing.
Until said boy walked in.
“The prince has returned!” Jimin sang, raising two fingers in a salute. “Unfortunately, your highness, we’re the only ones working today. I doubt any of us will fit your exquisite taste.”
Taehyung giggled at Jimin’s humour, gathering up all the cards and re-shuffling them neatly. While the others were distracted, he slid three cards up his sleeves, always a minx.
When he looked up, he saw Jeongguk’s eyes on him, a smirk tugging at his lips.
“Can I have him?” he asked lowly. Jimin shook his head.
“TaeTae’s off business today, sorry pal. You’d probably just be unsatisfied, anyways,” Hoseok interrupted, shifting slightly so that Taehyung was half behind him. Before Taehyung could protest, a playful ‘hey, fuck you,’ on his lips, Jeongguk was shrugging, his gaze switching over to Hoseok.
“I’ll have you, then,” he decided. Hoseok snorted.
Half an hour later, Jeongguk was leaving again, his gaze heavy on the back of Taehyung’s head.
Hoseok walked out after him, his posture stiff, and Taehyung knew that Jeongguk had rejected Hoseok as well.
“Hey!” Taehyung snapped, half from anger and half from the booze. Jeongguk turned around, eyebrows raised.
“Why do you keep coming here if you’re just gonna treat us like shit?” Taehyung hissed, absolutely seething. Jeongguk made a face as if Taehyung was speaking another language.
“I’m paying you, aren’t I? Isn't that all you need?” he said, voice honestly confused. Taehyung let out a harsh laugh.
“Are you kidding? We’re people , asshole. Apologize or don’t come back,” he demanded boldly. Jeongguk was taken aback, eyes wide, staring down at the fluffy lilac-haired boy. He was shorter and skinnier than Jeongguk was, but his face was set in determination and Jeongguk felt interest (and slight admiration) flare inside of him.
“What happened to ‘the customer comes first’?” Jeongguk pushed, seeing how far he could poke at the other boy.
“Taehyung,” Jimin warned from behind them, voice equally as enraged. Taehyung didn’t break away from Jeongguk’s gaze.
“Have a nice day, sir , don’t come back until you decide that we’re worthy of decency,” Taehyung snarled, turning away. Jeongguk grabbed his wrist, pulling him back with the same smirk on his face.
“Okay,” he decided. “I’ll say sorry.”
“Really?” Taehyung said aloud, the rage in his voice gone. Jeongguk felt himself actually tempted to laugh .
“Really,” he echoed. Taehyung regained his composure, pushing the surprise away.
“I mean, yeah! You better!” He huffed, snatching his wrist back and crossing his arms, feeling a bit ridiculous in his socked feet and pjs while Jeongguk stood in front of him like a Greek god, all sculpted and in a suit. Taehyung was a bit annoyed, to be honest; it felt more like Jeongguk was the hooker.
“...On one condition,” Jeongguk finished, making Taehyung groan. He’d heard this before.
“No, you’re not getting a freebie,” he sighed. Jeongguk shook his head, once again feeling the somewhat foreign urge to chuckle.
“Oh, no, I was planning on paying,” Jeongguk chided. Taehyung blinked a few times.
“I… I guess? Just apologize, first,” he ordered. Jeongguk’s gaze drifted over to Hoseok.
“I would like to formally apologize for offending you in any way,” Jeongguk said. “The other one, Jin, as well. Please pass this along to him.”
Jimin, Hoseok and Taehyung all gaped, somewhat lost.
“Um, okay, I-” Taehyung began, but Jeongguk cut him off.
“Care to accompany me?” Jeongguk offered, holding his arm out. Taehyung took a step back.
“Woah, woah, I’m off duty right now, remember?” he objected weakly. Jimin decided to cut in then as well.
“Plus, we’re not escorts. We work here, that’s it,” Jimin growled. Both Hoseok and Jimin had taken to hovering beside Taehyung protectively. Jeongguk raised a brow, about to object when his phone interrupted. He checked it quickly, a scowl on his face.
“I’ll be back, then,” he promised, leaving without so much as a goodbye.
(Taehyung didn’t curiously watch his ass as he climbed up the stairs out of the underground club. Nope. Not a chance.)
“What a dickwad!” Jimin screeched the moment the door clanged shut. “Honestly, that fucking rude ass, greasy son of a cock, I am fuming .”
“He’s lowkey hot as fuck though,” Hoseok interrupted.
“I never said he was ugly, I said he was an actual piece of pretentious trash that gets off by, apparently, walking all over people. What the fuck. Who does that,” Jimin continued, mumbling as he tidied up garbage, stomping around. “Moldy croissant-ass bitch, tryin’ to take my lil TaeTae away…”
“So, next time he comes, are you actually gonna fuck him?” Hoseok inquired, snatching one of Jimin’s cards while he was raging about. Taehyung shrugged, letting his own cards out of his sleeves while Hoseok was distracted.
“Doubt he’ll even like me that much,” he sighed. Hoseok snorted.
“I doubt he likes anyone that much, to be honest. That kid is so far up his own ass I’m surprised he even needed to come to a place like this,” Hoseok quipped. Taehyung nodded, patting Jimin’s butt when he walked by.
“Are you playing still?” he asked. Jimin shook his head.
“Hoseok probably took my good cards, anyways,” he grumbled. Hoseok blinked a few times, feigning innocence.
“Me? Why would you ever-”
“No, fuck you, I’m taking a nap. Wake me up if we get a customer,” Jimin huffed. Hoseok pouted while Taehyung giggled.
And, once again, the thought of Jeon Jeongguk was pushed out of Taehyung’s mind.
About a week passed, a very bad week. Taehyung’s rent was late, he hadn’t eaten a proper meal in days, and a customer had walked out on him because apparently Taehyung was too fat. To top it all off, he had a hell of a black eye; his dealer hadn’t taken kindly to Taehyung’s lack of payment for some low-grade weed.
Friday night rolled around, and Taehyung found himself trying to button up a pair of ridiculously tight jeans once again. The T.V was playing idly in the background, Taehyung not paying attention to it until a name caught his ear.
“...superstar Jeon Jeongguk has been fired from a lead role in an upcoming action film. The main actress, Park Chaeyoung, also Jeongguk’s ex, has started allegations that he verbally abused the cast and crew. We…”
Taehyung didn’t listen to the rest, turning the T.V off and starting the long walk to work.
Somehow, he knew that Jeongguk would visit today. People usually saw Taehyung to wind down, to have a good time, to forget about their worries for a few hours. Even people like Jeon Jeongguk needed a break.
“Hoseok! I’m here!” Taehyung called out once he entered the dim lighting. Jimin was the first one by his side, frowning and grabbing Taehyung’s face in his hand.
“What’s this? You’re terrible at makeup, Tae,” Jimin scolded. Taehyung sighed, sticking his tongue out and licking Jimin’s hand.
“I’m fine, ‘s nothing,” Taehyung asked, making Jimin scowl.
“Is it Minho again? I told you to stay away from that creep-”
“I haven’t seen Minho since… last time. Don’t worry. Where’s Hobi?” Taehyung changed the subject easily, Jimin narrowing his eyes but taking the bait.
“With a client, I think. C’mere, let me fix your face, you’ve got someone waiting for you,” Jimin hissed. Taehyung bit his lip, already knowing who.
Jimin lead him further into the room and just as Taehyung expected, Jeongguk sat on one of the plush couches, looking out of place in a crisp foreign suit and shoes worth more than Taehyung’s apartment.
“How long has he been here?” Taehyung muttered to Jimin, who simply patted Taehyung on the shoulder.
“Like, two hours, dude. He really wants to stick his dick in you, apparently,” Jimin murmured back. Taehyung snorted out a laugh, plopping into the seat Jimin was standing near.
“Knowing him, he’s gonna bail after a few minutes. Decide I’m not worthy or whatever,” Taehyung laughed. Jimin clicked his tongue.
“No, no, he’ll stay with you to prove a point,” Jimin decided. “Just wait.”
A few minutes later and Jimin deemed Taehyung to be pretty enough. He waved towards where Jeongguk was on his phone, obviously sneaking glances upwards.
“Good luck,” Jimin giggled before turning serious. “Come gets me if he starts being a dick, okay?”
“Thanks, ChimChim,” Taehyung cooed, ruffling his fluffy hair affectionately. Jimin swatted his hand away, marching towards the front of the room again. Taehyung took a steadying breath and started towards Jeon Jeongguk.
Before he could even say anything, Jeongguk held up a hand.
“One second, I have to deal with this,” Jeongguk dismissed. Taehyung’s mouth fell open, offended. Jeongguk brought the phone to his ear, starting up some sort of business conversation, smug smile on his face.
Taehyung ran his tongue over his teeth, trying to keep his mouth shut and wait patiently. After about a minute, he became impatient.
Feeling bold, Taehyung stepped forward, settling himself down on Jeongguk’s lap. Jeongguk just kept talking, raising a silent eyebrow at Taehyung, who was grinning. Gently, he plucked Jeongguk’s phone out of his hand, ending the call.
“Oops,” Taehyung giggled. “Sorry.” Avoiding Jeongguk’s indecipherable eyes, Taehyung tucked his head into the younger’s neck, leaving open-mouthed kisses.
“I’m on a tight schedule,” he murmured against Jeongguk’s skin, relishing in the goosebumps that rose. Jeongguk chuckled quietly, his now-empty hands settling firmly on Taehyung’s waist.
“Are you sure you’re not just impatient?” he rasped into Taehyung’s ear. Tae hummed, his hands rising to card through Jeongguk’s hair. His head lifted as well, brushing his nose against the younger’s.
“Could be that, too,” Taehyung breathed, letting his breath fan over Jeongguk’s face and his hips roll forwards.
This, apparently, seemed to be enough for Jeongguk, because he stood suddenly, lifting Taehyung with him, carrying the lilac-haired boy to his designated room. Jeongguk threw him onto the bed roughly, crossing his arms and staring. Taehyung raised an eyebrow, biting his lip, letting it bounce back into place.
“Are you waiting for something?” Taehyung prompted, leaning on his elbows. Jeongguk shook his head, starting to undo his tie, and Taehyung cursed his sexiness. He was so stupid, honestly.
“Don’t we discuss beforehand? Rules, safewords?” Jeongguk asked, voice curious. Taehyung shrugged, running a hand through his own hair.
“Do whatever you’d like,” Taehyung insisted. “I’m here to please.” Jeongguk frowned at that, whipping off his belt, and Taehyung froze for a second, relaxing when he simply tossed it with his tie. He didn’t particularly enjoy being hit.
“Is that what you say to everyone? You just let them use you?” Jeongguk pushed further, making Taehyung squirm.
“It’s what I’m here for,” Taehyung admitted, voice conveying his confusion. “I’m a hooker, you know. People only want me for my body. They don’t care about my wellbeing. If I’m really against something, I’ll stop.”
Jeongguk opened his mouth, as if he was about to say something else, but he shook his head instead.
“Strip,” he commanded after a moment, making Taehyung grin.
“Lights off first,” Taehyung shot back. Jeongguk frowned.
“Is that a rule? I’d rather not,” he argued. Taehyung shook his head, keeping his playful facade, though his heart was racing. He’d had people walk out at the request before.
“It’s a rule, sorry. No lights,” Taehyung ordered once more. Jeongguk leaned over, body draping over Taehyung, face getting close.
“What if I said I wanted to see you? Your body?” Jeongguk tried, voice low and husky. Taehyung laughed, arching his back so that his long-sleeved mesh shirt rubbed against Jeongguk’s front.
“I’d say that you still have to turn the lights off,” Taehyung sighed. Jeongguk rolled his eyes, getting up and shutting off the lights, basking them both in the blue glow provided in the room. Jeongguk crawled back over Taehyung again, sliding their bodies together deliciously. Taehyung let out a quiet noise that transformed into a chuckle.
I wonder how long this’ll last.
Taehyung fell forwards onto the bed, out of breath, throat raw. Jeongguk collapsed next to him, just as breathless, both of them spent.
“Why the fuck did you get off with me but not Seokjin?” Taehyung laughed once his breath returned. “Seriously, what the fuck.”
“Damn,” was all Jeongguk muttered, an arm thrown over his eyes. Taehyung sat up, quickly putting his clothes back on and returning the dim lights. On the way to the light switch, his legs wobbled, hips still hurting. Jeongguk noticed, snorting out a laugh. He let himself drink in Jeongguk’s naked body for a moment, admiring his muscular frame.
“Hey, that’s not fair,” he huffed, sitting up. Taehyung tilted his head curiously.
“You can see me naked, but I can’t see you,” Jeongguk complained. Taehyung laughed, the noise rough. Jeongguk frowned. “Are you alright?”
Confused again, Taehyung muttered, “yes? Why wouldn’t I be? You’re so strange.” Jeongguk sat up, pulling his dress pants back on slowly. Taehyung sat back down on the bed, stretching out, letting his hips pop and settle back into place. Jeongguk was eyeing him, button of his pants still undone. Taehyung smirked, letting his hand lazily trace patterns on his stomach, his shirt riding up.
“How much do I owe you?” Jeongguk sighed, tearing his eyes away. Taehyung shrugged, wincing as he rubbed his neck.
“This one’s on the house,” Taehyung replied with a wink. Jeongguk laughed, tilting his head.
“I know you’ve had a shit day. Figured I’d be kind,” Taehyung giggled, rolling onto his stomach and staring at Jeongguk with his head in his hands, feet swinging around in the air like a child. Jeongguk shook his head, ruffling his hair to try and organize it.
“You don’t have to do that, Taehyung, I have more than enough money. You could use it more than I could,” Jeongguk declined. Taehyung pushed his lips into a pout, offended.
“Dickwad,” he muttered, making Jeongguk roll his eyes.
“That wasn’t meant to be offensive, I’m just saying. I doubt you’d be working here if you had the money,” he argued, making Taehyung pout further.
“I’m just trying to cheer you up, sheesh,” he grumbled again, rolling onto his back this time, now watching Jeongguk upside down.
“Why?” Jeongguk questioned again. Taehyung heaved out a loud whine.
“Because I’m a decent human being? You may be an asshole, like, a grade-A, rich, snobby asshole, but I doubt you’re the type of person to ruin your pristine rep by yelling at your cast,” Taehyung explained. Jeongguk was staring at him, eyebrows furrowed like Taehyung just explained some rocket science. “What? Is there something on my face?”
“No, no, just- I have to go,” Jeongguk muttered hurriedly. Taehyung sat up, legs still wobbly, making Jeongguk worry again. Taehyung just laughed, putting his whole head into his dramatic eyeroll.
“Jesus, I’m fine, I’ve taken bigger dicks than yours, pal,” Taehyung teased. Jeongguk scoffed, leaving the room without a goodbye. Taehyung followed him out, slower, watching as he paid a bristling Jimin. He just sort of handed over a wad of money, not bothering to even hear the total from Jimin.
“It’s all for Taehyung,” Jeongguk demanded, leaving before Jimin could respond. He left, face mask and sunglasses back on, looking just as professional and flawless as when he entered. Jimin and Taehyung stared at eachother for a minute before Jimin walked over, placing his hands on Taehyung’s shoulders.
“What the fuck,” he whispered.
“What the fuck?” Taehyung repeated.
“What the fuck ,” Jimin yelled, startling Taehyung.
“What the fuck what,” Hoseok pitched in, jogging over to where the two flabbergasted boys stood.
“Taehyung fucked Jeongguk,” Jimin explained shortly. Hoseok’s jaw dropped.
“What the fuck,” Hoseok choked out.
“Language, oh my god!” Jin hollered from the back room. The three of them stood for another moment in silence.
“Was it good?” Hoseok decided to ask, Jimin nodding enthusiastically, eagerly awaiting Taehyung’s response.
“Yes? I mean, yes, like, really good,” Taehyung cried, a hand rising to cover his mouth. “And he was nice? I mean, nice for him? Like, he was concerned. For me. A hooker.”
“That’s not what I wanted to hear, Tae! Tell me he has a sad tiny dick and lasted two minutes and cried after,” Jimin whined. Taehyung shook his head, pulling Jimin close and patting his fluffy hair.
“I’m sorry, Chim, but he is, in fact, a god,” Taehyung admitted. Hoseok huffed, crossing his arms.
“How much money did he give you?” Hoseok asked, curiously peeking at the counter. Jimin struggled away from Taehyung’s hold, taking the elastic off the wad of cash. He let out a strangled noise, handing it to Taehyung, who nearly dropped it. Hoseok started choking when he saw that Jeongguk had paid far over the regular amount.
“What the fuck,” they said in unison.
The next time Jeongguk visited was much less enjoyable (emotionally, at least). He stormed in, brooding and silent, refusing to give more than one-word answers.
Soon enough, he was getting ready to leave again, tying up his tie in the mirror.
“Are you gonna tell me what crawled up your ass and died?” Taehyung sighed, throwing on a long-sleeved shirt big enough to be used as a dress. Jeongguk didn’t answer.
“ ‘Wow, Taehyung, thank you for being so kind and letting me enter you to relieve my own internal angst. You did a great job. Keep up the great work. Proud of you,’ ” Taehyung mocked in a higher-pitched voice. Then, in his own deep rumble, he muttered, “thanks, Jeongguk. It means a lot, really.”
“Do you ever shut up?” Jeongguk growled. Taehyung shrugged.
“Not really, it’d probably be easier for you to just tell me what’s going on with you,” he teased. Jeongguk was gritting his teeth, the tie not tying properly.
“And why do you think I’d ever tell you anything? You’re a fucking hooker , not a therapist. Quit sticking your nose where it doesn’t belong,” Jeongguk snapped. Taehyung flinched, staring at Jeongguk with wide eyes for a moment before letting out a laugh.
“Yeah, you’re right. Sorry. I’ll go. Feel better, Jeongguk,” Taehyung murmured, letting himself out. Jeongguk sat down on the bed, head in his hands, feeling like an asshole.
“Shit,” he sighed, biting on his tongue. Intent on apologizing, he followed after where Taehyung disappeared, tie still askew. He found the small boy with the chubby cheeks instead.
“Where did Taehyung go?” Jeongguk asked. The boy glared.
“Why should I tell you? My precious cinnamon roll looked upset, and I’d like to know why,” he growled.
“I- I was a dick, and I wanted to apologize,” Jeongguk admitted, scratching at his neck. The boy narrowed his eyes.
“I want to know why you like Taehyung so much,” he demanded, crossing his arms and pouting. “Cause Tae’s had a bad experience with fancy rich guys. He doesn’t need to relive it with you .”
Jeongguk tipped his head back, heaving out an annoyed sigh. He couldn’t tell the truth in this situation, about how Taehyung looked like purity in this fucked up world, how Jeongguk had seen him before, smiling gently at a bar at three a.m, back when Jeongguk wasn’t famous, after a bad breakup. Taehyung had cheered him up, gave him a few free drinks. He wondered, idly, how Taehyung had ended up working as a hooker in those few years, someone so kind and gentle and utterly pure. Seeing him again, after all that time, made Jeongguk simply curious. Taehyung’s charms and attitude had piqued his interest.
“He has a nice ass,” Jeongguk chose to respond.
“Ugh, oh my God, you’re horrible. Go find him yourself, he’s probably out back,” Jimin groaned, something else grabbing his attention. Jeongguk smirked, continuing on his way.
Quiet sniffles lead him to where Taehyung hid in the dim alleyway behind the building, the older man shivering in his thin shirt and newly-put-on shorts. He was crouched down, arms wrapped around his knees, head turned towards the ground.
“You’re going to get sick,” Jeongguk sighed, making Taehyung jump. He wiped at his face, putting on a weak smile.
“O-Oh, what are you-”
“I’m a dick. Sorry,” Jeongguk said curtly, not a fan of apologies. Taehyung shook his head.
“No, I pried. I get it, I do that a lot, and it wasn’t my place. I’m sorry. You came here for my body, not for me to nag at you-” Taehyung rambled, not looking at Jeongguk.
“Hey, no, don’t say that. I-” Jeongguk groaned, crouching down beside Taehyung. “I got rejected from another movie, okay? Directors won’t hire me because of, like, the rumours or whatever.”
“Oh,” Taehyung said again, obviously unsure of what to do. Jeongguk wasn’t looking at him anymore, rubbing his hands together to warm them.
“That’s bull,” Taehyung said suddenly, prompting Jeongguk’s eyes back to his face. “Is that something to mope about? You’re Jeon Jeongguk . Eventually you’ll get a part, since you’re honestly so stupidly famous that people’ll be at your feet in no time.” Jeongguk blinked a few times, opening and closing his mouth twice.
“Oh,” was all he managed to say, stealing Taehyung’s line.
“Yeah,” Taehyung responded awkwardly. There was some more loud silence before Taehyung stood up, grinning lopsidedly and wiping the remaining sweat from his forehead. Jeongguk didn’t know how he was still sweaty, considering the crisp air blowing their hair around, yet there he was, looking like a post-sex god, practically glowing.
“I need a shower. Care to join me for round two?”
They had somewhat of a ritual, after five long months.
Whenever Jeongguk was bored or upset or simply lonely, he’d go see Taehyung. They’d fuck, obviously, and then they’d talk, and Jeongguk found himself actually enjoying his time with Taehyung. He learned more about Taehyung than he would ever hope to know. He never brought up that night when Taehyung was a bartender, too afraid to come off as a stalker.
About halfway through the sixth month of really knowing each other, Jeongguk began to feel warmth running through his veins, began to smile whenever he saw Taehyung’s dumb lilac hair.
(Which, he wouldn’t ever admit, obviously.)
Everything changed, though, when he walked in one day to find Jimin angrily pacing.
“You! Tae’s not here and we don’t know where he is, I’m booked in like ten minutes, everyone’s busy, you’re going to his house,” Jimin declared. Jeongguk snorted.
“Yeah, okay, why me?” Jeongguk asked, crossing his arms and watching as the small boy stomped around, ringing phone still to his ear. Faintly, Jeongguk could hear Taehyung’s answering machine on the other end. Jimin slammed the phone down angrily before realizing that it was his cell phone and picking it back up.
“Cause you like him and also you’re, sadly, one of the less creepy people who come here. And Taehyung could be dying. I haven’t spoken to him in like twenty two hours, and that boy craves attention,” Jimin explained. “Here, this is my phone number. Text me when you’re at his place so I know that he isn’t dead.”
“What if he is dead?” Jeongguk asked. Jimin whacked him on the arm.
“Don’t even say that, you undercooked meatball. Go. Away with you,” Jimin hissed. Jeongguk sighed, retreating back out the way he came.
Jeongguk shoved his hands into his suit pocket angrily, huffing out a breath as he began his walk.
The entire way there, the same questions were nagging at him. Why the fuck was he doing this? Taehyung was a hooker . He didn’t mean anything to Jeongguk, never would. He was just a pretty face. A pretty face with a sweet mouth that sounded like it cared, a sweet laugh and a sweet smile, a quiet side behind his boisterous self.
(Jeongguk didn’t like to admit that Taehyung was more than that; he was Jeongguk’s only real connection outside of business, he was the only one Jeongguk could confide in. He was everything.)
“Taehyung?” Jeongguk called out timidly, voice not conveying his slight worry. Instead, he just sounded bored and dull. There was no response.
“Yo, Taehyung, open up,” Jeongguk tried again, voice slightly louder. This time, he was met with a loud thump and a low groan. Jeongguk’s heart dropped slightly, a crease appearing between his eyebrows.
“Tae? Seriously, I’m a little worried,” Jeongguk tried, voice trying to be light but coming out serious once again. There was another quiet whimper before the door handle was wobbling, jerking open to reveal Taehyung.
“I-I’m okay,” Taehyung said automatically, interrupting Jeongguk’s protests. Taehyung was not okay; his hair was matted down to his forehead from the sweat coating his body, his normally bronze skin pale and sickly, his whole body trembling. His plump lips were tinted an unnerving blue colour, eyes hazy and unfocused, breaths sharp and shallow.
“Would you like some coffee? Come in, I-I’ll make some,” Taehyung managed, voice weak and crackling. Jeongguk stepped inside wearily, eyes never leaving Taehyung as the two of them walked inside.
The apartment was a mess, ridiculously small and dingy. Jeongguk had known that Taehyung wasn’t very well off financially, but he didn’t think it was this bad.
Said boy was stumbling to his tiny kitchen, supporting himself on the counters as he started to boil water and dump instant coffee into chipped mugs.
“Taehyung, are you-”
“Y-Yes! I’m okay, really, just s-sick, tell Jimin I have a cold. Y-You can, uh….” Taehyung trailed off, eyes unfocusing. He snapped back after a second, shaking his head blearily, the movement seeming to cause him pain. “S-Sorry for being a bother, you can g-go whenever.”
Jeongguk felt genuine fear growing in his chest. He knew something was so off, so wrong, but he couldn’t place what.
“Bullshit,” Jeongguk argued. “Did you hit your head? Is it a concussion?”
“N-No! I-I’m…” he stopped again, as if he forgot what he was trying to say. The sudden screaming of the kettle brought him back, his face scrunching up in pain at the sharp noise.
“Hey, just-” Jeongguk interjected again, but Taehyung wasn’t listening, pouring the hot water into the mugs.
“I-It’s okay,” he whispered, sounding so far from okay that Jeongguk wanted to cry. It’s been so long since he’d ever felt this kind of crushing anxiety over someone else, a feeling that was pushing his heart into overdrive and making tears want to gather in his eyes.
“Can I at least help-” Jeongguk offered. Taehyung shook his head, slower this time.
“N-No, I-” he began, sentence cutting off once more. He swallowed thickly and coughed, whole body shaking from the action. Taehyung lifted the mug and made it about half a step before his arm wobbled, the mug slipping from his fingers as if they simply weren’t strong enough to hold it. The porcelain shattered over the floor, the hot liquid spilling.
“Oh,” was all Taehyung gasped before his legs gave out too. He crashed into the mess of coffee and shards, eyes rolling up into his head. Jeongguk had lurched forward the moment he noticed but he was too late; Taehyung’s head hit off the floor with a sickening crunch, his limp body crumpled.
“Taehyung, oh God, hey,” Jeongguk cried, lifting the boy out of the mess easily, rushing to the couch. He laid him down gently, resisting the urge to sob.
Taehyung’s breaths were still quick, sweating and panting and blue-lipped and trembling in a way that almost paralyzed Jeongguk. He dialled the only number he could think of, free hand fluttering uselessly.
“Hello?” Namjoon’s groggy voice answered, somewhat grouchy. Jeongguk took a sharp breath, trying to compose himself.
“J-Joonie, I’m with Taehyung and he- he just fucking- fuck, I don’t know what happened, he just fucking fell, and he’s pale and shaking and unconscious and I don’t know what the fuck to do,” Jeongguk spat out, voice wavering. Namjoon was already rustling around.
“Okay, it’s okay. What’s the address?” he asked, voice calm and steady, the opposite of how Jeongguk felt. As Namjoon drove, he kept instructing Jeongguk on what to do, what to look for.
“So… he was disoriented? Kind of spacing out?” Namjoon clarified.
“Yes, yes, and he- he’s breathing really quick, and his heartbeat’s really fucking fast,” Jeongguk explained. Namjoon hummed, seeming to consider it.
“Look at his arms,” Namjoon instructed. Confused and agitated, Jeongguk did so, rolling up his sleeves delicately.
His skin was marred with scars, burns and cuts and bruises, small red dots littering his inner elbow. Jeongguk choked, a tear finally escaping, rolling down his cheek slowly.
“There’s- He- I-” Jeongguk stammered. Thankfully, Namjoon seemed to already have known.
“He’s overdosing. Okay, turn him onto his side. Make sure he doesn’t choke, okay? I’m almost there,” Namjoon reassured. Jeongguk swallowed thickly, slowly getting Taehyung onto his side and placing the phone down.
“Please be okay,” he muttered, pressing his forehead to Taehyung’s clammy one. “Please.”
Namjoon arrived not soon after, bursting through the door, briefcase of medicine in one hand.
“Watch out,” he commanded quietly, beginning to work. Jeongguk watched silently, holding Taehyung’s hand the whole time. The elder looked in so much pain, eyebrows furrowed, weak body shaking pathetically.
“Woah, what’s that?” Jeongguk interjected defensively, staring warily at the needle in Namjoon’s hand. The doctor rolled his eyes, gently prying Taehyung’s hand from Jeongguk’s iron grip.
“Naloxone,” Namjoon explained. “It’ll help, trust me, kid.”
Taehyung, much to Jeongguk’s disappointment, didn’t wake up right after the medicine was injected.
“Why isn’t he-”
“He’ll wake up whenever he wakes up,” Namjoon sighed. He continued doing things to Taehyung, checking this and that. Eventually, he leaned back, pulling off his rubber gloves with a sigh.
“My diagnosis? Heroin overdose, mixed with exhaustion, mixed with an unhealthy diet. He’s pretty fucked up, Jeongguk. I mean, have you seen the scars on him?” Namjoon groaned, picking up Taehyung’s arm. Jeongguk didn’t look at them, busying himself with staring at Taehyung’s face.
“What do I do?” Jeongguk asked, voice quiet. He sensed more than saw Namjoon looking at him, an indecipherable look on his face.
“Well, someone’s just gotta watch him for a few days. He’ll be in pain, going through withdrawls, so he definitely can’t be alon-”
“I’ll do it,” Jeongguk said immediately. Namjoon still had the same look on his face, as if he knew something Jeongguk didn’t. The two were quiet for another moment, Namjoon idly bandaging Taehyung’s arms up.
“Jeongguk…” Namjoon started. Jeongguk cut him off.
“Don’t start. He’s nothing, yeah? Nothing,” Jeongguk growled. Namjoon chuckled, shaking his head.
“You don’t get this worked up over nothing, kid. Just… don’t get in too deep, yeah? If the public finds out-”
“They won’t, Jeongguk snapped. “This means nothing to me.”
Namjoon left a short while later, leaving Jeongguk with some measly instructions and his work phone number.
Jeongguk transferred Taehyung from the couch to his bed, his heart crashing at the way Taehyung’s body shook.
When Jeongguk realized how stiff and uncomfortable Taehyung’s mattress was, he sighed, chewing the inside of his lip.
“Why do I care so much?” he groaned out loud, as if Taehyung could hear him. “I shouldn’t. I mean, I don't .” Taehyung didn’t respond, but his face scrunched up in pain, and Jeongguk groaned again, pulling out his phone and dialling Yoongi.
“So you’re telling me that he means nothing to you,” Yoongi sighed, rubbing his forehead and staring at Taehyung. Jeongguk grit his teeth, also watching the boy lying in his bed, surrounded by plush pillows. Yoongi had somehow managed to get ahold of proper equipment, hooking Taehyung up so that they could monitor his health. Taehyung looked so small, lying in Jeongguk’s bed, still slightly dirty and so unlike the beautiful, brave boy he’d become infatuated with. He’d observed Taehyung throughout the whole ride to his house, ignoring Yoongi’s questions.
“He’s just… He’s…” Jeongguk stammered, not really knowing what Taehyung was to him. Yoongi rolled his eyes, sitting down on the chair in the corner of the room.
“Are you gonna tell me what happened to him?” Yoongi questioned, voice impatient. Jeongguk sat down beside Taehyung’s legs, hand resting on one of his knees.
“He… overdosed. I didn’t even know he… I didn’t think… That’s why I called you, you...” Jeongguk trailed off again. Yoongi’s face softened, a bit from Jeongguk’s confession about Taehyung and a bit from Jeongguk’s tired state. The rush of adrenaline and panic that came with seeing Taehyung so hurt was passing, leaving him exhausted and worried. A big part of him didn’t want to leave Taehyung, and the other part was asking why he was actually concerned. Yoongi, thankfully, interrupted Jeongguk’s thoughts.
“Sleep, yeah? I’ll watch over him, make sure he doesn’t die,” Yoongi reassured. Jeongguk nodded, not even changing before he was flopping into his bed and dozing off.
Taehyung felt like he’d been hit by a bus.
He woke up at first to another person sitting in the room. Confused and in pain, he tried to speak, only for it to come out as a croak. The person happened to notice and helped him drink some water, mumbling to themselves quietly.
“T-Thank you,” Taehyung managed to choke out before going back into his unconscious state.
When he woke again, the person was still there.
“Jeongguk?” Taehyung whispered, the small noise making his head throb. Taehyung shrunk into himself, a hand coming up weakly to push at his temple.
“Hey, no, don’t do that,” a gruff voice scolded, moving Taehyung’s hand away.
“Hurts, Guk,” Taehyung whined, tearing up. The person started running their hand through Taehyung’s hair soothingly.
“Jeez, kid, don’t do that. I don’t even know you, stop making me sad,” the voice sighed. Taehyung whined again, leaning into their touch.
“‘M sorry,” he choked out. The voice didn’t say anything back.
The next time he woke up, he was in more pain, sweating and shaking, heart beating far too fast.
“J-Jimin,” he cried, gasping for breath through the pain. It felt like his stomach was twisting, like somebody was shifting all his insides.
“Hey, baby, shh,” Jeongguk’s voice soothed, though Taehyung couldn’t see him; everything was blurry, odd shapes and bright colours.
“Guk,” Taehyung corrected, hand grasping weakly for his. Jeongguk entwined their fingers easily, a thumb stroking over Taehyung’s knuckles.
“It’s okay, I’m here now,” Jeongguk soothed. Taehyung just cried, curling towards Jeongguk’s warmth, muttering his name over and over again.
When Taehyung woke up fully, it was because of a nightmare.
He sprang up, a scream on the tip of his tongue, chest heaving.
“Woah, there,” the gruff voice said, a black-haired man coming into Taehyung’s view.
“W-Where am I? I need to- I need to go, Jimin, he- I had to- Jeongguk,” Taehyung stammered, scrambling to get out of the bed, head pounding.
“No, no, that’s a bad idea, kid. C’mon, just listen to me, yeah?” the black-haired man tried. Taehyung sat back slightly, still shaking. The black-haired man plopped back into his seat.
“I’m Jeongguk’s friend, Yoongi. You overdosed awhile ago, and Jeongguk brought you here, got you all healed up. Your Jimin friend knows, Jeongguk made sure to tell him everything,” Yoongi explained. Some of the tension in Taehyung’s body relaxed.
“O-Oh,” he gasped out, a hand raising to rub the bridge of his nose. He took a minute to process everything, to realize how much of a burden he must have been.
“I-I’m so, so sorry, for everything- oh, God, this is so fucking embarrassing, shit,” Taehyung groaned, slipping off the bed onto his knees, bowing his head. “I can’t- I’m so- Fuck, fuck, I’m sorry.”
Yoongi could hear the hoarse tone in Taehyung’s voice, could tell that he was on the brink of crying. Yoongi awkwardly leaned forward to pat his back.
“Ya, it’s cool. You seem like a good guy, I don’t blame you,” Yoongi comforted. Taehyung laughed, the noise only slightly forced.
“You sound hella uncomfortable,” Taehyung said, prompting a chuckle from Yoongi.
“Listen here, I just watched your unconscious body for three days, I’m allowed to be a little bit shaken at finally hearing you talk,” Yoongi teased back. Taehyung’s smile dropped again.
“Three days?! Shit, shit, I missed so much work! I have bills, I-” Taehyung panicked again. Yoongi put a soothing hand on his head.
“Jeongguk paid your bills for this month, don’t worry. You’re gonna stay here till you’re nice and drug free, yeah?” Yoongi told him. Taehyung froze.
“Yeah, you can,” Yoongi interrupted, sensing what Taehyung was going to say. “I’ve been where you are, Taehyung. I think that’s why Jeongguk chose to call me. I was stuck on angel dust for a long ass time.”
“Do you think I… I can? It’s been- God, it’s been so long , I-”
“Trust me. I can help you, if you let me,” Yoongi said, making Taehyung clench his jaw to hold back tears. He nodded, unable of saying anything. Yoongi smiled at him, almost proudly. Almost as an afterthought, he added, “Jeongguk can help, too.”
“I-I wouldn’t want to bother you guys, I-” Taehyung worried, biting his lip. Yoongi shook his head.
“Jeongguk and I are rich out of our minds, kid. We could use something interesting in our lives. Plus, little Jeonggukie has taken quite a liking to you,” Yoongi teased. Taehyung blushed, about to retort, when his stomach growled. Embarrassed, he blushed even redder.
“C’mon, let’s feed you something,” Yoongi laughed quietly, leading Taehyung to the kitchen.
Jeongguk awoke to the smell of burning.
Groaning, he rolled over and stood up, wincing at the pain in his neck.
“Yoongi? The fuck’re you doing?” he called out, scratching the back of his head. He froze when he saw Taehyung, sitting on the counter in one of Jeongguk’s sweaters, laughing at something Yoongi had said. His breath literally left his body, staring at the elder with wide eyes.
“You’re awake,” he whispered, eyes drinking in every small feature. His tousled hair, his glowing skin that was returning to its original colour, his fading eye bags and his rectangular smile. Taehyung noticed Jeongguk, the smile fading into a sheepish, embarrassed smirk.
“Hey,” Taehyung said, hopping off the counter onto wobbly legs. Jeongguk rushed forwards, gathering Taehyung’s small frame into his arms, breathing in his scent and basking in his laugh.
Yoongi cleared his throat before saying, awkwardly, “I’m gonna… go to my room.”
Jeongguk ignored him, laughing into Taehyung’s hair. The elder was shifting in his arms, choking down his own laughter.
“Jeongguk- Jeongguk, you’re suffocating me,” he giggled. Jeongguk pulled back, cupping Taehyung’s face (far too domestically) and grinning.
“I’m so happy you’re awake,” he said, voice oozing honesty. Taehyung blushed.
“Yeah, me too,” Taehyung laughed before going serious. “Jeongguk, I’m- I’m so- I’m so sorry, you shouldn’t have had to…”
“Don’t worry about it, yeah?” Jeongguk reassured instantly. Taehyung was looking at him with disbelief in his eyes.
“No, you- you shouldn’t have had to deal with that, it’s not what you paid for,” Taehyung sighed. Jeongguk pulled his chin up, staring at him, smiling still.
“I don’t mind, baby. I just wanna help you get better now, yeah? Namjoon said it’s gonna be a hard few days,” he told Taehyung. He snorted, resting his forehead against Jeongguk’s.
“You must have been really worried, to be talking to your hooker like this,” Taehyung laughed, trying to lighten the mood, but his insecurities shone through, making his voice wobble.
“You wouldn’t believe how scared I was,” Jeongguk admitted, voice soft, too soft for it to not mean anything. Taehyung was looking at him oddly, gripping the collar of his shirt tightly.
“Don’t play with me, Jeongguk,” Taehyung warned, voice more sad than intimidating. “It’s fine if I don’t mean shit, but just… don’t play with me.”
“I won’t. I just… thought about it. A lot. And I wanna take you out places, get to know you somewhere other than that shitty fucking sex hole. I want to know you,” he said. Taehyung laughed, the sound one that Jeongguk would never tire of.
“But I’m… lower class,” Taehyung argued still, waving his hand at Jeongguk. “You’re like, above high class.”
“So? Who gives a fuck? Taehyung, you’re so- so interesting, unlike anyone I’ve ever met,” Jeongguk admitted. You saved me , he thought. You saved my life that night, all those years ago.
“I have a lot of… baggage,” Taehyung admitted solemnly. “Obviously.”
“I want to help you get better,” Jeongguk said. And, finally, he let himself admit that it was true . He wasn’t a particularly caring or kind person, but he wanted to be, for Taehyung, he wanted to be the best person he could be.
“I can’t… I can’t believe this?” Taehyung laughed, the statement sounding like a question. Jeongguk laughed too, letting his thumbs trace over the curves of Taehyung’s cheeks, down to his full bottom lip.
“Can’t believe what?” Jeongguk asked, smiling still, distracted by running his hands down Taehyung’s neck.
“That somebody gives a shit about me,” he muttered, looking up when he felt Jeongguk’s hands stopped. “Not that I expected you to hate me, or anything, but I- I’m disposable, you know? You could have thousands of me, and I’m just a dirty person who does dirty things to survive, I have since I was fourteen- ”
Jeongguk’s heart stopped. “F-Fourteen? Christ, Taehyung-”
“I know, it’s- I didn’t… choose to, but it- it happened, and here I am, living in a shit apartment with no family and scarce income and a fucking heroin addiction,” Taehyung spat, his voice so livid with self hatred that Jeongguk didn’t know how to react.
“Do you want to quit?” Jeongguk questioned. Taehyung nodded, his laugh sounding like a sob.
“Of fucking course I do,” he hissed. Jeongguk brought his face close, watching his reaction.
“Then quit. I’ll support you, I’ll get you a proper job,” Jeongguk blurted, his nose brushing against Taehyung’s gently. Taehyung shook his head, sighing softly.
“No, Jeonggukie. I can’t leave Jimin and Hoseok like that, can’t take a free pass out. It’s not fair,” Taehyung argued. Jeongguk groaned, breath tickling Taehyung’s cheeks. The boy suddenly grit his teeth, face scrunching up in pain. Jeongguk was worrying at his side, leading him to sit on the counter once more.
“I’m okay, I promise, I just-” he broke off with a small, pained haaah noise. “This isn’t new, I’m used to it.” Jeongguk frowned, brushing his hair off his forehead.
“How many times-”
“Too many,” he answered curtly. Jeongguk blinked a few times, waiting for an explanation. Taehyung stared back at him, unwilling.
“Can you tell me how it started?” Jeongguk asked, to which Taehyung snorted.
“Why does it matter?” Taehyung sighed. Jeongguk shrugged, playing with one of his hands gently.
“I want to know you,” he pleaded, looking up at Taehyung with a soft smile. Taehyung huffed out a breath, looking to the side.
“My ex, Minho, he… he was older, and controlling, and he got me started when I was a teenager. He had issues, and was… abusive, I guess. It wasn’t- wasn’t horrible, but he guilted me and made me do things for him and it wasn’t… good. His shitty apartment, you know the one on Main? Yeah, he lives there, and we’d just get fucking high and fuck and he made me feel so good . And after my- my mom- he kind of, took me in, sorta, made me spend my money on useless shit. And- yeah, I guess I’ve been addicted ever since,” Taehyung explained. Jeongguk nodded, smiling again. They were quiet for awhile, Jeongguk simply watching Taehyung’s face as he blinked wearily.
“Do you wanna sleep again?”
Recovery wasn’t easy, or romantic, or beautiful. Jeongguk watched as Taehyung threw up everything he ate, cried and yelled and shook with the urge to get high, got dizzy spells and headaches and coughing fits.
There was a point where Jeongguk was tempted to just give in. Taehyung was lying on the bathroom floor, one hand clutching his stomach, the other over his eyes, tiny hiccups and sobs escaping his lips.
“Please, Jeongguk, I’m- I- I can’t, it hurts, I don’t-” he’d stuttered, and Jeongguk’s will had swayed. Yoongi, on the other hand, was firm, simply making Taehyung drink more water and ignoring his cries.
Back when Jeongguk had just met Yoongi, after his parents died, Jeongguk had been lost. He was at a party, barely eighteen, looking to forget about the plane crash, about the news articles and reporters. Yoongi had been there, a friend of his parent’s friend, and had recognized Jeongguk. When he was drunk off his ass, walking home, two guys had tried to mug him. Yoongi had stepped in, beating them to a pulp and making sure Jeongguk got home safely.
Yoongi had gone clean shortly after he met Jeongguk, swayed by Jeongguk’s promise to pay for his mixtape to be produced. Since then, Yoongi had blown up, and he and Jeongguk were inseparable.
Yoongi knew what it was like, so when Taehyung would cry, or yell, or beg, he’d deal with it. Jeongguk was moral support, but really, he was clueless in how to help Taehyung beat this ugly drug.
Two more days later, Taehyung was up and about, smiling more often and doing everyday activities.
Four days, Jeongguk was returning to work, leaving Taehyung and Yoongi.
Six, and Taehyung was preparing his meals, lunches and dinners and breakfasts, cleaning the house and doing his laundry.
On the nights he came home late, dinner would be in the fridge for him, Taehyung asleep on the couch with an anime playing on the T.V. It was so domestic, so loving and homey that Jeongguk found himself forgetting how he used to treat Taehyung. They still snapped sarcastic comments, but it was done as a friendly banter rather than a cold comeback.
Jeongguk wasn’t used to sleeping beside someone else so constantly, so often, waking up to the same face every day. He didn’t mind it, per say, but it was just unusual; Taehyung would be curled into his side, mouth agape, eyes fluttering as he dreamt.
Jeongguk found himself admiring Taehyung, even when the elder was doing the simplest of things. He noticed Taehyung cutting holes into the sleeves of his sweaters, telling Jeongguk it was “artistic” and “unique.” He would watch Taehyung as the boy prepared homemade dog treats for the homeless dogs behind Jeongguk’s apartment, cooing at them and gaining their love.
(He’d had to say no to Taehyung many times, unable to take care of a dog with their busy schedules.)
He admired Taehyung’s compassion, despite his own horrible situation. He’d been through so much, dealt with so many terrible people in so many different terrible scenarios, yet still saw the good in everybody.
At some point, Taehyung began packing Jeongguk and Yoongi lunches, leaving them small little notes and sandwiches. Jeongguk’s cast members laughed at him, asking if his mom was visiting, which Jeongguk brushed off easily, ignoring the warm feeling in his chest.
Yoongi started noticing Jeongguk’s happier mood, warily glancing at the couple whenever they were snuggling on the couch. At one point, he encountered Jeongguk, the two of them drinking a beer together.
“You seem more lively, lately,” Yoongi observed, taking a sip and not looking at Jeongguk. The younger nodded, scratching his head gently.
“Well, yeah, I’ve been… good,” he admitted. Yoongi nodded. They were both nodding a lot.
“So…” Yoongi began awkwardly. Jeongguk sighed.
“What’s on your mind?” he asked.
“Taehyung,” Yoongi admitted. “Do you, y’know… love him?”
Jeongguk’s initial reaction was yes, yes, I love him so much , but he suppressed those thoughts, offering Yoongi a mild shrug.
“Well, you just… you’re… ah, shit, alright. He’s a prostitute. And you’re famous,” Yoongi blurted. Jeongguk narrowed his eyes, opening his mouth, but Yoongi stopped him by holding up a hand.
“Don’t start, I know- I know Taehyung, I know he’s great and more than just a hooker, yeah yeah. What I’m saying is, are you really okay with pushing a relationship like this? The scandal that’ll revolve around it, the hate you’ll get for even being gay, let alone dating somebody lesser than you-”
“And then, to top it all off, the media will start chasing Taehyung around, then his whole joint’ll probably get shut down, and all those people’ll be out of jobs. Plus, can Taehyung handle fame like that? He’d get hate, too, maybe even more than you would,” Yoongi continued. Jeongguk frowned.
“I… I wasn’t planning on going public with it,” Jeongguk said. Yoongi sighed.
“So, what? It’s just for fun?” Yoongi questioned. Jeongguk shrugged.
“Just… don’t break the poor kid’s heart, yeah?” Yoongi groaned. Jeongguk didn’t reply.
Jeongguk had an interview, a big one that was premiering on three different stations. He was nervous, so incredibly so that Taehyung noticed. Taehyung led him to the bathroom and ran a hot bath, the two of them silently basking in the hot water, Taehyung massaging gentle, soapy circles into Jeongguk’s hair and kissing his neck soothingly. Jeongguk found himself actually relaxing, letting his anxious mind and tense body melt into Taehyung’s touch.
“You’re going to do fine,” Taehyung whispered into his collarbone, settled on Jeongguk’s lap after their bath. Jeongguk let out a distressed noise, burying his face in Taehyung’s damp hair. Taehyung pulled him away by the jaw, locking eyes with him and smiling in a way that made Jeongguk dizzy.
“Listen to me, yeah?” Taehyung grinned. “You’re Jeon fucking Jeongguk. You’re gonna kill it. And I’ll be listening, okay? I’ll support you from here.”
“You’re…” Jeongguk choked, suddenly urged to say so many things at once. Taehyung’s smile softened, his eyes crinkling warmly at the corners and Jeongguk couldn’t resist kissing him.
Hours later, when he was at the building, makeup being painted onto his face, he thought of Taehyung, of his words of encouragement. He thought of Taehyung as he as introduced to the interviewer, as the show was explained and as he walked on stage, smiling for the crowd.
The interviewer got straight to the point, addressing the rumours that Jeongguk had been dreading. He denied them all swiftly, said that he would never treat his crew poorly and made some jokes. It was very smooth sailing for the most part, Jeongguk breathing out a silent sigh of relief when he noticed that there was only a few minutes left.
“So, Jeongguk, before we end the show, I wanted to ask you one final, important question,” the interviewer said dramatically. Jeongguk leaned forwards, pretending to be interested.
“How’s your love life?” the interviewer asked. Jeongguk laughed, the mock-tense aura of the situation dissipating.
“Well, you know me. I’m a very busy man,” Jeongguk admitted. The interviewer let out a gasp of disappointment.
“So, there’s nobody that you’re interested in right now?” the interviewer whined. Jeongguk shook his head before pausing.
“Well…” Jeongguk sighed, looking away. The interview pretended to looked shocked at the audience.
“Well?! Spill!” he laughed. Jeongguk smiled, leaning in once more as if he was about to tell a secret.
“You know… there is someone I really like,” Jeongguk told him. “You know, they’re not who you’d suspect.”
“The suspense!” the interviewer yelled, making the audience laugh.
“Okay, okay, it’s… don’t judge me, alright? Nobody knows this yet. I didn’t want to come public with it, but… Ahn Hyojin, the one I co-starred with last year. She’s simply stunning,” Jeongguk cooed, breathing out lies. The interviewer and audience ate it up, all of them clapping enthusiastically.
“We knew it! Will there be a scandal in the near future, Jeongguk?” the interviewer prompted. Jeongguk just plastered on a fake smirk and shrugged, even though he knew that there would never be a scandal.
Taehyung should have known that he didn’t mean anything. He was a hooker, after all. Why should mighty Jeon Jeongguk give a fuck about him? He was nothing. He meant nothing. He would never be anything compared to beautiful famous girls. The interview had just proved that.
That’s how he found himself at Minho’s dingy apartment. He knew he shouldn’t be there. Minho was dangerous, Minho was possessive and unpredictable. He hadn’t seen Minho in four months. Why go back now? Jeongguk wasn’t worth it.
But Minho had drugs. And Minho loved Taehyung.
Taehyung needed love. He craved it almost more than he craved the bite of a needle on his skin.
“Taehyung?” Minho said, confused, letting Taehyung inside without hesitation. Taehyung smiled weakly, kicking off his shoes.
“Are you busy?” Taehyung asked, knowing full well that he wasn’t. Minho shrugged.
“Depends on what you want,” he retorted, making Taehyung grin and shrug back.
“Depends on what you have,” Taehyung shot back. The two of them laughed, though Taehyung felt fake. Minho lead him into the cramped bedroom, pulling up a backpack from under the bed.
“Anything in particular you’re looking for?” Minho asked, knowing fully what Taehyung liked.
“I want to get fucked up,” was all he said, and they did .
Taehyung felt a strange mixture of euphoria and dirtiness, felt like he was floating but also like he’d just betrayed Jeongguk and Yoongi and Jimin, everyone who was rooting for him to stay clean.
Minho had to go “out,” whatever that meant, so Taehyung found himself kicked out, not knowing what to do.
He didn’t go home; instead, he walked to Jeongguk’s house, lavish and high-end. Taehyung sat down at the gate, burying his head in his hands and letting out a harsh breath. Stupid Jeongguk. Stupid Jeongguk and his money and his beautiful co-stars who would be much better for him than Taehyung ever would be.
“Taehyung?” Jeongguk’s voice called out. Taehyung had forgotten about the motion sensors at the front of his gate. Stupid rich Jeongguk.
“Sorry, I was just leaving,” Taehyung yelled back, scrambling away from the opening gate. His words slurred together, wavering, his body swaying as he got up. Jeongguk was standing in front of him, dressed in a hoodie and pajama pants, as if he didn’t just completely fucking shatter Taehyung a few hours ago.
“Woah, Tae, are- are you high?” Jeongguk asked, something in his voice almost deceiving Taehyung into thinking that he cared. Taehyung wiped at his eyes, still trying to walk backwards, away from Jeongguk.
“Yeah, what does it matter?” Taehyung slurred, trying his best to sound angry. In all honesty, he just sounded pathetic, needy and broken.
“Tae… why?” Jeongguk choked out, finally close enough to see Taehyung’s face. Jeongguk was scared, scared that Taehyung was going to collapse again, that this time Namjoon wouldn’t get there in time and Taehyung wouldn’t wake up.
“What do you care? I’m a fucking hooker, Jeongguk! I- The only reason you’re with me is- I’m just- I’m a quick fuck. That’s all I am. A quick, meaningless fuck. You’re… You’re Jeon Jeongguk, you’re famous and put together and you don’t… you don’t need me. You’ve got Hyojin, yeah? Pretty and rich. You don’ need me, you don’...” Taehyung blurted, heart beating rapidly. “I’m broken. I’m fucking broken .”
Jeongguk didn’t say anything, staring at Taehyung with wide eyes. He’s right, Jeongguk thought, he’s just supposed to be a meaningless fuck. He was supposed to be a fun little relationship.
“You’re not,” he said instead, his heart speaking what his mind couldn’t even think. Taehyung laughed bitterly, a disturbing smile on his face. He looked so wrecked, eyes red-rimmed, bare arms still beading blood. Jeongguk took his wrist gently, staring at the upraised scars, the old needle marks and the new ones.
“Do you even know what those are from? I tried to kill myself. After I found my mom dead in the bathroom, I tried to kill myself, just like she did. You know why?” Taehyung asked, voice shaking. “I didn’t want to have to live alone with my dad.”
“Taehyung-” Jeongguk tried, completely shaken, but Taehyung kept going.
“‘Cause he’d sell me to his friends, make me cooperate, beat me when I didn’t listen. He made my life a living fucking hell. ‘ You gotta do your share, Tae. Pay your part. ’ The worst thing is that I kept doing it. Still do. I remember his fucking face every time he’d hit me. But my mom had it worse, and that's why- why she- she left me-” Taehyung sobbed, his knees giving out. Jeongguk tried to hold him up, but Taehyung fell too quickly, the two of them falling together.
“I’m sorry,” Jeongguk whispered, pulling the distressed boy into his arms. Taehyung didn’t bother resisting, hitting Jeongguk’s chest weakly.
“You’ll l-leave me too,” he cried, voice so quiet Jeongguk had to strain his ears. “You’re not interested in love. I’m an i-idiot. Go have a s-scandal with Hyojin instead.”
Jeongguk’s heart stopped, remembering the interview from earlier that day. I’ll be listening .
“I won’t leave you. I’m not going to leave unless you want me to, Taehyung, I swear,” Jeongguk promised. Taehyung only sobbed harder, shivering into Jeongguk’s arms.
When Jeongguk went to stand, Taehyung panicked, pulling Jeongguk in even closer, sobs getting louder.
“No! Nonono don’t let me go please,” Taehyung rambled, breaking Jeongguk’s heart. Gently, he lifted Taehyung, bringing him inside. Yoongi was there still, sitting at the kitchen table, but he stood when he saw Taehyung.
“He’s… he got high again. I’m taking him to my room to sleep it off,” Jeongguk explained shortly, his point emphasized by a sob from Taehyung, buried in Jeongguk’s shoulder. Yoongi nodded, face falling slightly at the news. Even Min Yoongi had been rooting for him.
Taehyung was crying softly when Jeongguk finally laid him in bed, the sobs died down to quiet whimpers and sniffles.
“I’m sorry,” he muttered again, already half asleep. Jeongguk swallowed harshly, not saying anything. Taehyung whined again, a choked noise escaping. “S-Stay with me? Please, please, I don’t care if- if you d-don’t love me, just… pretend, please , pretend.”
“Tae-” Jeongguk tried to say, but the words got stuck as a tear finally fell. Taehyung had quieted, his breathing mellowing out as his high faded and sleep took him. Jeongguk lay awake, the broken boy in his arms, and realized that he was so in love with Kim Taehyung, he didn’t know what to do.
“I love you,” he whispered, burying his face into Taehyung’s hair gently. “I love you, Taehyung, I love you so much.”
That’s why he had to leave. Jeongguk loved him too much.
Taehyung woke up alone, head hazy and stomach lurching.
Yoongi was in the room with him, holding a glass of water.
“I heard you waking up. Here,” he said coldly, handing over the glass. Taehyung downed it gratefully, shame burning his cheeks. There was a moment of silence Yoongi stared at Taehyung, and Taehyung couldn’t help but feel like he’d disappointed a parent. Taehyung opened his mouth to say something but Yoongi beat him to it.
“Why?” was all he said, voice quiet but filled with emotion. Taehyung looked away, running a shaking hand through his hair.
“I… I thought he loved me,” Taehyung admitted. “I let myself think that I meant something. And I know it’s my fault, cause he was never in it for what I’m wanting-”
“You’re a fucking idiot,” Yoongi sighed. Taehyung frowned.
“I know,” he muttered. Yoongi shook his head.
“No, you don’t. I’ve rarely ever seen Jeongguk care about someone like he cares about you. He’s- He’s really not good with emotions, his parents ruined his views on love, so the kid doesn’t even know how he feels,” Yoongi explained. Taehyung stared up at him with wide eyes.
“But he’s… he’s beautiful and rich and famous, and I’m… I’m…” Taehyung couldn’t seem to find the right word. Yoongi sat down beside him, gruffly pulling Taehyung in for an awkward hug. Taehyung wasn’t sure how to react, confused at the random burst of affection.
“Listen. You’re strong. And like actual fucking sunshine. So quit saying that shit, okay? There’s obviously a reason Jeongguk feels the way he does. Stop doubting him and stop doubting yourself ,” Yoongi scolded.
“How do I know that he won’t leave me?” Taehyung whispered. Yoongi squeezed his shoulder a bit tighter.
“He might leave you. He might shatter your heart into a million pieces. But he might not, and you never know what’ll happen unless you try,” Yoongi said. He made a gruff noise and mumbled, “I sound like Namjoon, jesus fuck.”
Taehyung laughed, the sound real for once. “Thank you, Yoongi.”
“Yah, shut up. Now call Jeongguk, tell him to come talk to you.”
Taehyung followed Yoongi’s advice, calling Jeongguk up when he knew the younger was on break, but ended up not getting an answer.
“Uh, hey Guk, it’s me. I’m an idiot, and I just… wanted to talk? I’m sorry, um. See you tonight? I hope,” Taehyung sighed, ending the message.
With hours left to kill and an urge to use again crawling through his skin, Taehyung ended up deep-cleaning the house, his fingers raw and red from all of the chemicals. Yoongi had gone out to promote his new album, leaving Taehyung home alone, anxious and pacing.
Once the house was immaculate, Taehyung needed to find something else to do, since boredom would just remind him of how shitty he felt.
He ended up attempting a very complex homemade dinner, far fancier than any dinner he’d ever attempted before. Once it was made, with only one burn on his hand, Taehyung was once again left taskless.
He set up candles at Jeongguk’s fancy table, dimming the lighting and putting on a nice outfit, one of Jeongguk’s big sweaters and tight dark jeans, and even put on makeup.
He was setting out dishes when the front door opened. Taehyung’s heart jumped into his chest right away, nerves actually making him freeze.
“Taehyung?” Jeongguk called out.
“K-Kitchen!” Taehyung stammered. Jeongguk poked his head into the room, obviously perplexed at the tidiness and dimness of his house. He took in the romantic setting and Taehyung’s weak smile.
“What’s all this?” he asked Taehyung shrugged sheepishly.
“An apology?” Taehyung said, his tone questioning. Jeongguk smiled slightly before pushing his face back into an expressionless frown.
“Are we gonna talk about what happened?” Jeongguk sighed. Taehyung made a face.
“I was hoping to forget about it and give you a hella good blowjob instead,” he teased. Taehyung slumped when he saw that Jeongguk wasn’t amused. “I know I fucked up, okay? A lot. And trust me, I feel like shit about it, but I- I talked to Yoongi, and-”
“Shut up,” Jeongguk growled, suddenly lurching forward and tugging Taehyung to him. He crashed their lips together, not particularly gentle or soothing.
They didn’t end up eating their dinner.
“We should go out! Do something together,” Taehyung suggested excitedly. Jeongguk raised an eyebrow.
“Like a date?”
“No, I, uh, but, you know, like. Casual?” Taehyung stammered, his face going red. Jeongguk laughed, ruffling his hair as he went out the door.
“Sure, Tae, sounds good. Tonight, then? How about we just go out for dinner? There’s this nice place-” Jeongguk offered. Taehyung’s mouth gaped.
“I mean, I. Don’t do fancy places. Like. I don’t even own a suit, Guk,” Taehyung whined . Jeonguk laughed, leaning down to kiss his neck gently, the contrast between them almost comical; Jeongguk, dressed to go to work in a sophisticated suit, hair parted and gelled nicely, compared with Taehyung, lavender hair tousled and wearing an old, cut up band t-shirt.
“That’s okay, we can go wherever you like,” Jeongguk hummed. Taehyung giggled, squirming when Jeongguk’s fingers ghosted over his ribcage.
“My places are not… ah… not very… fuck, they’re shit,” Taehyung snorted. Jeongguk made a soft noise.
“If you like it, then I like it,” Jeongguk decided. He pulled back, smiling so tenderly that Taehyung’s heart fluttered uncomfortably.
“Bullshit, but okay,” Taehyung laughed. Jeongguk chuckled as well, pulling away from Taehyung.
“I’m going to love it, okay? Make reservations for tonight,” Jeongguk said. Taehyung burst out laughing. Jeonguk stared in confusion.
“I was talking about going to the diner Jimin works at, babe. You don’t need reservations,” he giggled. Jeongguk blinked a few times.
“Oh, well. Okay. I’ll see you later,” Jeongguk smiled, kissing Taehyung’s forehead one last time before leaving.
Thankfully, he didn’t have to work late, so at 5 sharp Jeongguk was returning home. Dressed in a suit.
“Guk, oh my god, you can just wear normal clothes,” Taehyung laughed. Jeongguk frowned. Taehyung stared at him. “Please tell me you own something other than suits.”
“Of course I do!” Jeongguk huffed, twirling around to get changed. Taehyung slapped his butt playfully, laughing again at the squeak Jeongguk made.
Ten minutes later they were heading out, Jeongguk dressed much more casually, hands clasped together gently. Jeongguk was obviously worried, looking over his shoulder almost constantly. Taehyung tried his best to distract him, chatting animatedly and pointing out things in his area that Jeongguk hardly ever stopped to look at.
“See that laundromat? There’s an old lady named Elma who lives upstairs. She has five cats, Jeongguk. Five. I aspire to be like Elma. Running her own business, five cats to keep her company,” Taehyung sighed. “She forgets my name every time I go there, though.” Jeongguk was smiling down at him, watching his hair bounce with every step, eyes flickering from place to place quicker than Jeongguk could keep up.
Eventually, they made their way to the diner, cheeks rosy.
“Jimin!” Taehyung sang as they walked in. Jimin smiled at them, eyes crinkling into crescents. The smile fell from his face the minute his eyes found Jeongguk, and a frown replaced it when he saw their clasped hands. Ignoring Jeongguk completely, Jimin plastered another smile onto his face for Taehyung, leading them to a table while the two of them discussed random things.
“How’s Hoseok? And Jin? I haven’t seen you guys in awhile,” Taehyung whined. Jimin made a quiet noise.
“Business is rough, Tae. Did you know that someone called me chubby again? I’m already on a diet, I don’t know what-” Jimin started. Taehyung took his hand out of Jeongguk’s in order to squish Jimin’s cheeks angrily.
“Oh, hush. I will beat you up,” he threatened, face serious, making Jeongguk chuckle; it reminded him of when he and Taehyung first got to know each other, Taehyung somewhat drunk and defending his friends. The thought made Jeongguk’s heart flutter uncomfortably. Dully, as they sat down, Jimin and Taehyung still bickering, Jeongguk considered the possibility that he was really in love with Taehyung. Everything the other boy did seemed to intrigue Jeongguk. It wasn’t his appearance, since Jeongguk had seen people near flawless, but it was something else that Jeongguk couldn’t place.
“So, what do you want to eat?” Jimin interrupted. Jeongguk panicked, looking at Taehyung for help.
“He’ll have the same as me,” Taehyung cut in. Jeongguk sent him a grateful look.
“Okay, cool. I’ll be back with your food,” Jimin smiled before turning to Jeongguk. “I’ll be right over there. In the kitchen. Where I can see you.”
“Bye, Jimin,” Taehyung said loudly, waving a hand obnoxiously. Jimin stuck his tongue out before walking away.
“So, this is a regular place to eat, huh,” Jeongguk muttered, looking around wonderingly. He’d never been able to go out like this before Taehyung, fear of being seen and mobbed too much. Taehyung laughed. Jeongguk let himself bask in the noise.
“It’s no 5-star, but it’s pretty good and cheap,” Taehyung admitted. Jeongguk looked back to Taehyung, the fondness in his eyes unable to be hidden.
“I like it,” Jeongguk grinned, taking Taehyung’s hand under the table. Taehyung blushed, squeezing Jeongguk’s hand gently.
“This is so weird,” Taehyung sighed, making Jeongguk tilt his head curiously.
“This. Us. I never thought that you’d take an interest in me, let alone be like… this ,” Taehyung admitted. “I thought you’d just always be so many levels above, you know? So… untouchable. You didn’t want Jin, and he’s so much more-”
“Taehyung,” Jeongguk interrupted. Taehyung looked over from where his eyes had wandered. “It is weird, I could have never predicted it either. But now I’m glad it happened. I want you, only you.”
Taehyung was beaming, absolutely glowing, and Jeongguk wanted to cry. Jeongguk opened his mouth, words on the tip of his tongue.
“Food!” Jimin interrupted, slamming Jeongguk’s plate in front of him and then gently placing Taehyung’s down. Taehyung smacked Jimin’s arm gently, a scolding look on his face. Jimin simply shrugged, patting Taehyung’s head before drifting off again.
“I’m totally breaking my diet for this,” Jeongguk murmured as he looked at the pile of fries in front of him. Taehyung laughed, pointing a fry at him.
“You don’t need to diet, you’re like, ripped,” Taehyung said. Jeongguk shrugged.
“I need to stay ripped.”
“I’m gonna make you fat,” Taehyung decided. Jeongguk spluttered.
“Wha- No, why?”
“So I can feel better about my chub,” Taehyung said between bites of fry. Jeongguk frowned.
“I like your tummy,” he muttered. “It’s soft, and nice.”
Taehyung was staring at him, eyes wide.
“Gukkie, oh my god, you’re adorable,” he laughed. Jeongguk blushed, flicking part of his fry at Taehyung's open mouth. Taehyung managed to catch the fry, chewing it with a grin.
They ate, Taehyung keeping up slow conversation. Jeongguk felt so happy, happier than he’d felt in awhile. The place was hardly busy, few customers trickling in, nobody even glancing twice at Jeongguk. They could be freely “gross and domestic,” as Taehyung called it.
“This is just an excuse for you to feed me,” Jeongguk grumbled, blushing as me hunched on another fry. Taehyung grinned, poking his lips with another fry.
“Well. Yeah,” he admitted shamelessly.
Eventually, Jimin shuffled back to their table, flopping down beside Taehyung, glaring across at Jeongguk.
“I expect you were well behaved?” he grumbled. Jeongguk sighed, choosing not to answer. Jimin turned to Taehyung.
“We’re closing in, like, ten minutes. I can give you our leftover desserts from today but then you’ve gotta scram,” he offered. Taehyung beamed, clasping Jimin’s tiny hands.
“I love you, ChimChim!” Taehyung sang. Jimin practically purred.
“Yeah, yeah, I know,” he sighed, pouting towards Jeongguk.
When he came back with dessert, Taehyung was given two slices of a pie. Jeongguk was given a few burnt cookies.
Taehyung took pity on him, sharing his pie with quiet giggles. Jeongguk was frowning still.
“Why does Jimin hate me?” he whined. Taehyung shrugged.
“He doesn’t, really. He just… he worries for me, I think. Cause I don’t have great experience in this type of shit,” Taehyung admitted. Jeongguk hummed back a response, getting out of his side of the booth in order to slip in beside Taehyung.
“What are you doing,” he deadpanned. Jeongguk smirked.
“To share the pie, yeah?”
“You’re sinister,” Taehyung sighed. Jeongguk chuckled, intending on just giving Taehyung a small peck, but it didn’t really turn out that way- Taehyung nipped at his lower lip teasingly, the kiss deepening when Jeongguk’s hand trailed up Taehyung’s neck and tilted his head back, feeling his smooth skin and letting his tongue sneak past Taehyung plush lips-
“Ew, what the fuck, I’m forever scarred,” Jimin shrieked, covering his eyes. Taehyung laughed, purposely kissing Jeongguk again, slowly. Jimin groaned.
“Go home you fucking teenagers,” he growled. Taehyung patted his shoulder as they walked by, ignoring his grumbles. “Didn’t even eat your damn pie.”
“So, your place or mine?” Taehyung asked as soon as they got outside. Jeongguk grinned, leaning forward to mutter directly into Taehyung’s ear.
“Yours is closer,” he whispered. “I don’t think I can wait too long.”
Taehyung woke up alone, Jeongguk gone to work. He smiled to himself, feeling all the pleasant aches in his body, opening his phone with a yawn as he got up.
Walking around the bedroom looking for clothes, Taehyung frowned. Jeongguk’s clothes were gone. Not even a trace of him was left.
Taehyung peeked his head in the bathroom, noticing that his usual toothbrush wasn’t there either. Worried, Taehyung opened his phone to four messages from Yoongi.
Shit, kid, don’t talk to Jeongguk right now.
Fuck fuck kid you guys are fucked.
Whatever he says, he doesn’t mean it.
The last message was a link to an article. Taehyung opened it up and nearly dropped his phone at the headline.
Superstar Jeon Jeongguk Spotted On Date With A Man.
As Taehyung read on, dread began to pool in his stomach. The article was harsh, the comments even more so, crude jabs at Taehyung and snide remarks about Jeongguk. The picture was from last night, Taehyung leaning over to feed Jeongguk a fry, their faces too close to be considered friendly. There was also a blurry video of them walking back to Taehyung’s house, bumping shoulders and leaning in for kisses occasionally. Taehyung felt dizzy, like he was about to puke, hands trembling as he started calling the familiar number, one that had found the top place on his phone.
“Jeongguk? I saw the-” Taehyung began, voice trembling and an apology on his lips. He was expecting a soft reassurance from Jeongguk, maybe a light scolding for taking him to a public place.
“Good. So you’re aware that we can’t speak anymore?” Jeongguk said coldly. Taehyung froze, breath catching in his throat uncomfortably.
“What?” he choked, unbelieving. He thought back to every time Jeongguk had held him, had helped him heal. They’d had such a nice time last night, Taehyung was still blissed out. “I thought-”
“Yeah, well, you’re an idiot,” Jeongguk snapped. Taehyung was too shocked to feel anything other than anger. He laughed bitterly, borderline hysterically, cutting off Jeongguk when he tried to speak again.
“So the whole thing was a lie, huh? Fucking figures, you’re too high end for me, right?” Taehyung asked, voice dripping menace. Jeongguk snorted, voice equally as harsh.
“Wow, you caught on! You may be naive as shit, but you’ve got a great body. I was fucking thrilled when you started letting me use it for free,” Jeongguk snarled. Taehyung’s heart had stopped, at that point, the anger fizzling away to bitter disappointment as Jeongguk went on. “Goddamn, I was planning on cutting this short soon anyways.”
“I thought you were different, Guk,” he whispered, voice shaking. There was silence on the other end, as if Jeongguk noticed his change in voice. “I thought you…”
“You thought I was in love with you? I’m fucking famous, Taehyung. You’re nobody,” Jeongguk sneered. Taehyung didn’t say anything, afraid his voice would break as much as his heart was.
“Delete my number,” Jeongguk muttered, hanging up the call and leaving Taehyung alone.
Alone. That’s what he was. Alone, alone, alone.
He knew somewhere he wasn’t alone. Where someone loved him, where he could find relief.
“Taehyung. You’re back,” Minho smirked, pulling Taehyung inside.
It didn’t take long for Taehyung to get high, professionally injecting the drug and sighing in release. Minho was already off his head, clinging onto Taehyung’s side and laughing. The two of them sat on the couch, Taehyung with his head tilted back, eyes closed.
“So, you broke up with that other guy?” Minho asked. Taehyung didn’t respond, the subject still a painful one. Minho took that as an invitation to kiss up Taehyung’s neck gently, up to the shell of his ear.
“I missed you, TaeTae,” Minho cooed, “I wish I would’ve treated you better. I still can, yeah? I can treat you better than him-”
“Stop,” Taehyung ordered weakly, voice quiet. Minho kept going, hands wandering.
“You’re mine, baby boy. I can be so good to you, just trust me,” Minho purred. Taehyung tried to shake him off, eyes fluttering open again when Minho crashed his mouth onto his. All Taehyung could think was wrong, wrong, wrong , warning signals flashing in his mind.
“Minho,” Taehyung warned, but apparently it sounded like encouragement; Minho leaned over Taehyung, caging him in, hands drifting further down. Taehyung snapped, struggling fully, panic taking over the haze of the drugs.
“Stop struggling!” Minho yelled, pulling back for a second, and Taehyung took that opportunity to knee him in the stomach. Minho stumbled off the couch, leaving Taehyung sitting on his own.
“Why won’t you fucking listen to me?!” Minho screamed, running a hand through his hair frantically. Taehyung was cornered, no way of getting out, trapped on the couch. The front door was in sight, just slightly out of his reach, Minho blocking the way. Taehyung took in a deep breath, watching Minho angrily throw an empty vodka bottle. It shattered against the wall near Taehyung, the shards raining over him, some of them nipping at his skin. A broken sob was ripped free from his throat the severity of the situation finally becoming clear.
“Tae, I love you,” Minho said, voice suddenly soft. Taehyung was shaking his head, eyes darting to where his phone lay discarded. Minho caught his gaze, growling again, stalking towards him.
“I-I’m sorry, M-Minho, I-”
“Shut up! Just shut up , Taehyung,” Minho screamed. Taehyung closed his eyes, hearing Minho moving around, and decided what to do.
Quickly, Taehyung sprang to his feet. He pushed Minho away, desperately putting all of his strength into the movement.
Things became blurred after that.
Minho hardly moved, pushing back at Taehyung so that he fell to his knees. Taehyung was getting up again when a smashing sound rang out, and then as he finally made it to his feet, he looked up in time to meet Minho’s eyes as a red-hot pain bloomed in his stomach.
Taehyung stumbled backwards, eyes wide, gaze drifting from Minho’s face to observe the jagged piece of glass shoved into his stomach. The clear shard was quickly tinting red, Taehyung’s shirt becoming sticky and wet as blood dribbled out steadily.
“Oh, God,” Minho gasped. Taehyung looked up, saw Minho’s shocked expression. He felt numb, felt nothing but the sickeningly warm blood running down his body.
“H-Help-” Taehyung managed, taking a step forward.
He wasn’t numb after that.
The pain hit him full force, making his knees give out and bringing tears to his eyes. Faintly, he heard Minho scurrying away, leaving Taehyung in the apartment.
Taehyung forced himself to army crawl to the table, red-stained hand feeling around the table before finally grabbing his phone. With trembling fingers, Taehyung dialled Jimin’s number, holding the phone up to his ear.
“Tae? Are you okay? I saw the-” Jimin began, voice worried. Taehyung cut him off gently, trying to ekep his voice as steady as possible.
“ChimChim? L-Listen, I- I need to… to say sorry,” Taehyung gasped, voice wet and hoarse at the same time. Jimin went silent, obviously sensing that something was wrong.
“Are… are you okay?” Jimin asked gently. Taehyung laughed, the sound raspy and sad.
“I-I don’t think so,” Taehyung admitted. “I’m s-sorry for being so horrible to you, and I- I just- thank you so much f-for being… for being with me. T-Tell Hoseok and Jin that I l-love them too, I’m s-sorry for h-hurting you guys, I’m so sorry.”
Jimin was shuffling on the other end, saying undecipherable words to people.
“Tae, can you tell me where you are? And what happened?” Jimin said calmly. Taehyung tried taking a deep breath but ended up choking, coughing up blood into his free hand.
“C-Can’t, no time. ‘M sorry, I g-got high again. Love you, so much,” Taehyung cried, the reality of the situation finally hitting him.
He was dying. He was going to die. He was going to die, here, alone, he was going to die.
“I-I’m scared,” Taehyung sobbed, each breath he took in sending shocks of pain down his side. “I don’ wanna d-die, please.”
“Taehyung,” Jimin cried, hurting Taehyung even more. He hated hearing Jimin cry, hated thinking of his best friend being sad.
“Don’ cry, Jiminie, please,” Taehyung pleaded. His voice was coming out softer and he knew he didn’t have much time left.
“Stay on the line, please, I’m on my way, Hoseok called for an ambulance, okay? You’re gonna be alright, I’ll-” Jimin was saying, but Taehyung cut him off again.
“No t-time. Gotta… call Guk, gotta s-say… say sorry,” Taehyung stammered. He mumbled a few more loving words to Jimin before hanging up with nearly limp fingers, barely managing to dial Jeongguk’s number. With an arm that felt like lead, Taehyung held the phone up to his ear, his mind a mantra of pick up, please, just this once, please .
“You’ve reached Jeon Jeongguk, leave a message, ” the phone said in Jeongguk’s voice. Taehyung was mid-sob when the beep sounded, alerting Taehyung that a message was being recorded.
“Guk, i-it’s Tae. I’m s-sor-sorry, I l-love you,” Taehyung rasped. Another coughing fit shook his core, a pained whine leaving his throat.
“I d-don… blame you, okay? Love you, lots. D-Don’ forget me, Gukkie,” Taehyung managed. He wanted to say more, wanted to scream into the phone, to yell fuck you and also I love you at the same time, but he suddenly couldn’t remember how to use his voice. His arm fell to the floor, hitting the ground with a thump. The phone slid slightly out of his grasp and no matter how hard Taehyung reached for it, his fingers wouldn’t listen to his mind. He had so much more to say, so much more to do with his life. He wanted to grow old with Jeongguk, to adopt some children and a pet, to eventually be able to afford a nice Christmas present for Jimin and Hoseok and Jin, to be able to thank them for everything. He wanted to buy Yoongi his own fancy recording studio, to watch his album win awards and for everything to go perfectly.
He didn’t want to die like this, alone and seizing on a dirty apartment floor.
But when had Taehyung ever gotten what he wanted?
Yoongi was staring at Jeongguk with a look, the kind of look that made him feel guilty. The two of them stared at Jeongguk’s cell phone, at the notification indicating that he had missed a call from Taehyung.
“You need to listen to the message,” Yoongi scolded. Jeongguk flinched.
“Yoongi…” Jeongguk complained. He felt such an intense mix of self hatred and loneliness that he thought simply hearing Taehyung’s voice would break him.
“You don’t have to call him back, but at least listen to him,” Yoongi growled. Jeongguk sighed, picking up the phone timidly and bringing it to his ear.
He nearly dropped it when he heard Taehyung’s sob on the other end.
At first, he thought it must have been because of the breakup. Jeongguk didn’t notice anything off until Taehyung spoke, voice unsteady and weak.
“ Guk, I-It’s Tae. I’m s-sor-sorry, I l-love you ,” Taehyung’s voice muttered, followed by hideous coughing and a pathetic whine of pain. Jeongguk’s mind was racing, his body going into shock. Jeongguk didn’t bother listening to the rest, dropping the phone and slipping his shoes on before bolting out the door, ignoring Yoongi’s cries.
He drove to Minho’s apartment way over the speed limit, body stiff and composed. He kept thinking that it wasn’t real; that Taehyung had just used again, that Jeongguk would get there and Taehyung would be fine, he’d be smiling that stupid fucking grin that melted Jeongguk’s heart, holding some weird drink he wanted Jeongguk to try and laughing. A deeper part of his mind was screaming that it wasn’t going to be alright, Taehyung wasn’t going to be there, that he’d show up dead in a ditch some days later, body already starting to decompose.
Jeongguk wasn’t expecting to pull up to chaos.
Ambulances and police cars were swarming the building, the red and blue lights nearly blinding. Jeongguk parked hastily and ran to the front of the building, heart hammering in his chest.
A familiar head of orange hair caught his eye. Jimin was slouched on the front lawn, head in his hands, full-body sobs shaking him to the core. Two other men were kneeling with him, both of them crying too, not looking towards the building.
“Why h-him? Why did it h-have to be him?” Jimin was sobbing, his fingers grasping his hair so tightly that strands were ripping out.
The doors of the building suddenly opened, a grim group of paramedics holding open the doors.
“No,” Jeongguk whispered, frozen on the spot, standing in the front of a forming group. Jeongguk started stumbling forwards, past the police officers telling him to stop.
“No, it can’t- it’s not- please, please,” Jeongguk cried, watching as a stretcher was wheeled out of the building. A white sheet covered the body.
“Please, who- who- who was-” Jeongguk stuttered, eyes glued to that white sheet covering a familiar face shape.
“Sir, do you think you know the victim?” one of the paramedics asked. Jeongguk nodded frantically, unable to form words.
“Can… Can I-” Jeongguk tried, voice hardly audible. One of the paramedics in the front slowly pulled the sheet back, revealing the thing that Jeongguk was dreading most.
Taehyung’s golden bronze skin was starting to pale, tear streaks painting his now-dull cheeks. Blood was crusting on the sides of his face and his neck, matted in his hair and soaking through the sheet. His beautiful eyes were wide open, a grey film starting to form on them as they stared up at nothing, eyelashes just as long and luscious as before. Some features were so fucking normal, like the slope of his nose and his fluffy hair and his full lips, but it was so eerily off, so haunting. Jeongguk sobbed, full-force cries that hurt his throat and made his gut feel queasy.
Jeongguk’s words from earlier were replaying in his head, over and over and over, fucking harsh and rude and so mean. He would never be able to take them back, because Taehyung was gone. He was dead. He died alone, hurting, heartbroken.
“Did you know the victim, sir? Can you identify him?” the paramedic was asking. Jeongguk forced himself to stare at Taehyung, to take in every feature for as long as he could.
“Yes,” Jeongguk whispered. “He was Kim Taehyung.”
There was a pause.
“He was the love of my life.”
After that, Jeon Jeongguk listened to Taehyung’s final message daily. He quit acting and refused to leave his house.
He listened to that fucking message every day and made himself remember every feature about Kim Taehyung.
After about a month, Jeongguk began to forget the sound of Taehyung’s voice.
Then, the pitch of his laughter.
The timbre of his morning voice, the soothing way he’d mutter Jeongguk’s name.
After that, he forgot the tint of pink that his lips were. The curve of his eyebrows, the exact shade of his eyes.
Jeongguk was forgetting.
“ D-Don’ forget me, Gukkie ,” Taehyung’s voice would remind him every time he replayed the message.
Don’t forget me. Don’t forget me. Don’t forget me.
Jeongguk was forgetting him.
Three months after the death of Kim Taehyung, Jeon Jeongguk shot himself.