Angels aren't allowed to love, especially something as sinful as humans.
Yet, Taehyung finds himself falling for one, heart fighting against the ingrained disdain for what are considered the most vile of all the living creatures in the universe.
They meet at Taehyung's favorite hiding spot. It's a secluded house a bit off the beaten path, enclosed by greenery and away from any other buildings or people. A blind, old woman lived there before she died several years back, and Taehyung would sit on the roof to watch the part of the universe only visible on Earth.
After two years of not hearing the old woman puttering around, two years of uncomfortable silence, someone new moves in.
Taehyung doesn't like the new noises at first. The other hums as he cooks, sings in the shower, laughs out loud at random moments, and even talks to the flowers blooming on the front yard as he tends to them. Even at night, the other is restless, shifting constantly in bed and getting up for breaths of fresh air on the porch.
Taehyung's attention is always pulled towards the other and the area's relaxing qualities melt away when all he can concentrate on is the human.
Then, the noises stop. Taehyung arrives at the house one day, and everything seems back to how it was before the new owner arrived. Taehyung is relieved, glad he can truly relax again.
He leaves without hearing or seeing any sign of the human. The atmosphere remains unchanged during Taehyung's next two visits.
His peace is short-lived. Suddenly, he's thinking of what happened with the other, why he left or if he... Taehyung shakes his head. Why should he care? There's no point, but still, Taehyung's curiosity gets the better of him, and he drops down from the roof to the front door.
Trailing his hand along the wooden frame, Taehyung realizes he's never been inside the house before. The knob twists easily with its lack of locks, revealing a modest living room, the kitchen on the right, separated by a large island. A door on the left is ajar, and Taehyung enters it.
The room isn't bare, like Taehyung expected; instead it's full of clothing and photo of the man, and Taehyung is taken aback.
Where is the human, if not here? Taehyung picks up a photo frame, a still of the man and the old woman together, smiling. He sighs, gaze focusing on the man. There's much that he never knew about both owners, despite his almost bi-monthly visits.
Taehyung is so fixed on the photo that he doesn't realize someone has entered the house until the front door is slammed shut. He barely has any time to turn to face the door before it's thrown open.
The man looks at him with wide eyes and Taehyung mentally chides himself. "Who are you? Why are you in my house?" The other's eyes trail down Taehyung's frame, gaze falling on Taehyung's chest. "Oh god," he jolts back, quickly pulling forward to pick up a blanket neatly folded at the edge of his bed. "You must be freezing." He drapes the material over Taehyung's shoulders.
Taehyung almost flinches away, but he remembers he's not fit - for human standards, at least - for the snowy weather outside: shirtless, threadbare white pants, and barefoot. Taehyung doesn't speak, just looks at the other curiously.
"Were you looking for shelter? I know my cabin's the only one for miles, but-" he runs a hand through his hair, "but you can't enter someone's house like this. You could get arrested or even killed!"
Taehyung almost laughs at how conflicted the human looks but instead opts to adjust the blanket on his shoulders. The material is a bit stiff on his skin, heavier than the finer, silky duvets he usually associates with humans.
The man sighs, eyeing Taehyung with a mix of emotions. "What were you doing in my room, anyway?" He sighs again at Taehyung's lack of verbal response, watching as Taehyung's shoulders rise and fall in a shrug. "Well, I'm Seokjin. Are you expecting to stay here? I don't think I have enough of... well, anything here."
Taehyung laughs out loud and Seokjin startles, flinching slightly. "Call me V."
"V?" Seokjin scoffs. "You don't even have the decency to tell me your real name, even after you broke into my house." He shakes his head, turning and gesturing with his hand for Taehyung to follow him. "Come, I'll make you some tea."
As the kettle heats up on the stove, Seokjin observes Taehyung as he moves around the room. He suddenly jumps up from his seat, catching the angel's attention, pulling it away from the broken grandfather clock standing tall in the living room.
"Clothes, right," Seokjin says, Taehyung following him back into the bedroom. Seokjin pulls open the divider to his closet, Taehyung looking over his shoulder. He plucks out a black knitted sweater and loose corduroy pants, holding them out to Taehyung. The kettle whistles, and Seokjin turns toward the noise.
"I'll check on the tea, change into these clothes." He leaves with a grin. Taehyung eyes the clothes wearily. Letting the blanket drop unceremoniously onto the floor, Taehyung pulls on the sweater first. The material is itchy and thick, making the wings neatly folded into his back feel suffocated. The pants are much better, much more room for his legs and only pooling at his ankles a little bit.
Taehyung steps out of the room, pulling at the hem of the sweater. As Seokjin walks up, placing a mug of hot tea into his hands, Taehyung wonders why he's indulging in the human so much.
"Careful, it's-" The angel takes a tentative gulp, eyebrows scrunching at the questionable flavor, "-hot."
Seokjin looks at Taehyung curiously. "Do you not feel... different temperatures or something? Are you cold-blooded?" he jokes. He clears his throat at the lack of response, walking over to sit at the island. Taehyung follows, standing on the opposite side.
"Why do you have a broken clock?" He points to emphasize his question.
"Oh, it's my grandmother's. It wasn't working when I moved in, but I had so many childhood memories with the old clock that I couldn't bring myself to trash it. I could get it fixed, but..." Seokjin trails off, shrugging.
The room fills with silence and Taehyung observes Seokjin closely. Brown, silky hair frames the human's face and wide eyes that flit from object to object, mostly resting on the mug in his hands. Seokjin's fingers are long and bony, half-covered by the sleeves of his sweatshirt. Taehyung's gaze travels back up to Seokjin's mouth, pink, plush lips. His eyes trail down the length of Seokjin's neck, his hand unconsciously coming up to touch his Adam's apple when Seokjin's bobs.
"You should drink your tea before it gets cold," Seokjin speaks up, and Taehyung's eyes meet his for a moment before Seokjin looks away, scratching the back of his neck. Taehyung notices a soft red color dusting over the human's neck and face, and he tilts his head curiously. Seokjin clears his throat and Taehyung takes another sip of the drink, frowning at the taste.
"So, V, tell me a bit about yourself. How did you happen across a little old cabin like mine?"
"I come here often to clear my mind. I've been here before you have."
Seokjin sits up, a faint look of surprise on his face before he tightens his grip on the mug. "How old are you?"
Taehyung shrugs. "I don't know," he answers truthfully. "I haven't kept track."
"You know, my grandma always told me stories about the boy that would stay at her home for hours at a time and then not come back for months. I thought she was just trying to scare me; she's blind, so she wouldn't have seen you." Seokjin looks at Taehyung curiously. "Was that you?"
"I wouldn't know. This is my first time entering the house."
Seokjin bites his lip, looking as if he was going to say something but decided against it. He stares down at his mug, asking, "So, how long do you plan to stay here? It's evening already so I guess you could stay for the night." Seokjin rubs the back of his neck. "I'll make the couch into a makeshift bed." He gets up, Taehyung mirroring his action. Seokjin grabs both of their mugs, throwing over his shoulder a quick, "You can wash up in the bathroom."
Taehyung enters the only other door in the house besides the bedroom. White tiled floors, a sink to the left, a toilet in the right corner, and an open shower at the opposite corner. He sheds the sweater, rolling his shoulders and letting his wings unfurl. Feathers brush against the door and he partially folds his wings back. He runs a hand through his pitch black hair, staring at his reflection in the mirror stretching across the wall.
Turning a knob, Taehyung watches as water flows into the sink. He places his hand under the water, the slow trickle filling his palm before it spills out in rivulets. A knock on the door breaks him out of his trance and he twists the knob again, the water cutting off.
"You okay in there?" Seokjin asks from the other side. "I set some blankets on the couch for you."
Taehyung slips back on the black sweater and exits, almost running into an unsuspecting Seokjin. They stare at each other for a moment, Taehyung noting that Seokjin is taller than him, before the latter steps back with a smile.
Seokjin places a space heater near a leg of the coffee table as Taehyung lies flat on the couch, shifting from the uncomfortable pressure on his wings. He scrunches his nose at the burning metallic smell emanating from the heater.
"I guess I'll see you in the morning," Seokjin says, rubbing the back of his neck. When the door to Seokjin's bedroom clicks shut, Taehyung sits up, pulling off the black sweater. He waits for almost an hour, listening for Seokjin's breathing to even out.
Taehyung gets up to leave, but something within him urges him to open the door to Seokjin's bedroom, peeking in. Seokjin sleeps on his left side, facing the door, and Taehyung enters, silent. Walking over, he bends down to be face-level with the human.
His hand reaches out and runs through Seokjin's hair. Taehyung quickly retreats his hand, brows furrowing as he wonders why he just did that. He fumbles back, unsure of why he had entered Seokjin's bedroom in the first place. Taehyung leaves the cabin quickly, stretching out his wings and rolling his shoulders before taking off.
"Where have you been?" Jimin asks, his white wings spread behind him. "Jungkookie and I are always so curious as to where you go."
Taehyung shrugs. Jungkook taps his knee. "Where'd you get these pants? They're kind of thick."
"Oh!" Jimin's eyes light up. "These are from Earth, right? Is that where you're always going?"
Jungkook scoffs. "Earth? The planet that gave birth to those vile creatures?" Jimin shoots the other a look and Jungkook stops, still keeping his frown.
"I think they're pretty interesting," Taehyung speaks up, and he immediately regrets it when even Jimin's face looks worried.
"You're not doing anything you're not supposed to, right Taehyungie? You understand there are consequences of- of loving something, right?"
"Of course I understand!" Taehyung snaps, and Jimin flinches. "I'm not in love with a human, I just believe not all of them are as evil as we were taught."
"Taehyung," Jungkook breaks in, uncharacteristically quiet on the subject of humans, "look at your hair."
Heartbeat suddenly thudding loudly in his ears, an audible gasp coming from Jimin as his gaze shifted up, Taehyung pulls himself up to walk up to the mirror on his white, pristine wall.
"I didn't see it before, but when the light hit your hair..." Jungkook trails off, biting his lip.
"Please," Jimin begs from Taehyung's side, "don't go back to Earth."
Taehyung's hair, under the shining, warm sun, is a soft hazel brown.
("Miss, why are we learning about hair colors? Aren't our wings an indication of our strength, not our hair?"
"Oh, no no, you're mixing them up! Wings indicate how much an angel has sinned, and how severe of a sin it is. Hair color, on the other hand, is based on your strength. The lighter one's hair, the weaker the angel."
Jimin raises his hand, and the teacher nods her head in his direction with a smile. "So, how can an angel become weak? It's not the same as sinning, is it?"
"Correct, they aren't the same. An angel can become weak from a variety of reasons, like from a major injury or from falling in love.")
Taehyung doesn't listen.
It takes longer for him to come back to the cabin, but he eventually does after several months.
He's got Seokjin's corduroy pants draped over his shoulder when he knocks on the door. It's late summer on Earth, the purple gloxinias in full bloom, sitting along the edge of the house.
Seokjin opens the door, taking in a gasp when he sees Taehyung.
"I came back to return your pants." Not the whole truth; Taehyung hopes that doesn't count as lying, or else it'll show on his wings.
"I thought you died," Seokjin blurts out, face reddening as he covers it with his hands. "I couldn't stop thinking that you died in the winter snow in the middle of nowhere." He laughs embarrassedly, looking up. "You're wearing more than when we first met."
Taehyung consciously runs a hand over the front of the thin, white shirt he decided to put on. "Is that bad?"
Seokjin clears his throat, turning away. "Uh, come inside, please." He steps back, and Taehyung follows him inside.
The human takes the pants into the bedroom while Taehyung sits on the couch, in disbelief that something pulled him here despite how dangerous this is.
Seokjin returns, sitting on the couch, feet pulled up under him, facing Taehyung. "Where'd you go?"
Taehyung shifts. "I went home."
Seokjin bites his lip. "Why'd you come back?"
"I-" might be falling in love with you. "I don't want to tell you."
"V," Seokjin says, exasperated, and Taehyung flinches. Hearing that name, his true name, is a splash of cold reality. He doesn't ever know what possessed him to give Seokjin his birth name, of all names. Taehyung stands up.
"I have to go."
Seokjin reaches out, grabbing Taehyung's wrist. "No, wait, Taehyung-" They both freeze.
"What did you just call me?"
Seokjin shakes his head, his grip on Taehyung loosening. "I- I don't know. I was- I just panicked." He sits back, hand falling from the angel's wrist. "Taehyung was the name of my childhood friend. I-" Seokjin looks down at his lap, fingers twisting together. "I cared a lot about him. He died when we were just kids. It just slipped out, sorry."
Taehyung can hear his heart beat loudly in his ears. This can't be anything but a mere coincidence, right? There's no way the name Taehyung had chosen for himself two decades ago is related to some human boy on Earth. Taehyung shakes his head. Impossible.
"I haven't thought of him in years," Seokjin continues when Taehyung doesn't reply immediately. He looks mildly guilty. "I guess you just reminded me of him."
The rest of the day plays along like when they first met, and too soon, the sun sinks under the horizon.
"Are you going to leave again?" Seokjin isn't looking at Taehyung, busy clearing up the empty mugs. When he does glance over, he's biting his lip, almost as if he wanted to say more.
Taehyung waits for a moment before answering simply, "Yes."
"Ah," Seokjin rubs the back of his neck, "are you gonna wait until I go to sleep?" he tries to joke, but Taehyung nods seriously.
"I... guess I'll go off to bed then?" Seokjin says awkwardly, voice lilting up to sound like a question.
As Seokjin goes into his bedroom, listening to the human shift restlessly on the sheets, Taehyung rolls his shoulders, pressing a comforting hand on the skin between the two slits holding his wings.
He's not quite sure why he's keeping it from Seokjin that he's an angel. Humans have known about them for several decades; as their technology advanced, so did their knowledge of intelligent beings living on other planets or galaxies. Taehyung could easily show Seokjin his wings and that would be it.
But... Taehyung sits up in his spot on the couch, tugging on his hair to see what color it is. But there's the deeply ingrained animosity between the two species, the stereotypes, and the scrutiny. Taehyung shakes his head. No; it's easier this way.
The bedroom door creaks open and the angel looks over. Seokjin steps out abashedly, a blanket wrapped around his shoulders.
"Ah, you're still here?" He looks relieved, but also confused as to why he feels that way. "I couldn't fall asleep."
Seokjin sits down on the couch next to Taehyung, leaving a respectable distance between them. "I usually sit outside for a bit when I can't sleep. It's been quite a while since I've done that."
They sit in silence for a while, the quiet hum of electricity filling the air. "Hey," Seokjin speaks up, catching Taehyung's attention, "wanna see something?"
Seokjin stands, adjusting his blanket, and holds a hand out for Taehyung to take. The angel places his hand in the human's and the latter smiles, pulling up Taehyung and leading him out the front door. When they're outside, the cabin's porch behind them, Taehyung looks up, the corner of his mouth turned up at the familiar expanse of stars. He wonders if Jimin's realized he's left, if Jungkook is calming him down. Seokjin tugs on his hand, tugging along his focus.
"You're looking the wrong way," Seokjin laughs. He points ahead. "This is what I wanted to show you."
It's a tall, dense bed of white flowers, the petals white and flat, giving them an almost circular look. Seokjin plucks one, turning to place it behind Taehyung's ear, his fingers trailing behind the sensitive skin and grazing the angel's jaw. He pulls away slowly, smiling uncertainly when their eyes meet.
"They're moonflowers; they started growing a few months after you left. I didn't notice at first, because they only bloom at night, but when I first saw them... I thought of you."
"They're beautiful," Taehyung replies, his gaze unwavering on Seokjin.
Seokjin's smile widens, cheeks pushing up and the corners of his eyes crinkling. "You know, under the moonlight, your hair looks a lot lighter, kind of like caramel." He reaches up to run his hand through Taehyung's hair and the angel's heart races. "I like it."
They make their way back to the cabin, but when Seokjin steps onto the porch, Taehyung doesn't follow. Seokjin turns when he reaches the doorframe.
"So, is this goodbye?"
Taehyung nods his head, glancing at his bare feet before looking back up at the human.
Seokjin sighs. "Will I see you again?" he muses.
"I can't promise anything," Taehyung replies, even if he knows there's a definite answer to that question screaming in his head.
"Well, do you want to see me again?"
"Yes," comes out before Taehyung can stop himself. He sucks in a breath when he realizes his means it.
Seokjin bites his lip. "Well, I guess all I can do is wait. Don't take so long to come back, okay?"
"You went back to see the human again, didn't you?" Jimin asks sadly, fingers brushing through Taehyung's copper hair. Jungkook is on his right, jaw clenched and arms crossed over his chest, unspoken words splayed on his face.
Jimin sighs at Taehyung's lack of response, already knowing the answer. "Do you know what you're doing anymore?"
Taehyung almost says yes, but the word gets stuck in the back of his throat, the lie unwilling to be spoken.
The angel finds his way back to the human just one month later. He doesn't even knock this time, just immediately enters and sits next to the surprised Seokjin on the couch, taking his hand and facing him.
"My name is Taehyung," he blurts out, hurriedly, almost desperately.
"What? Seokjin weakly tries to pull his hand from Taehyung's strong grip. "Don't mess around with me like that. Taehyung means a lot to me, even if he isn't alive anymore."
"My name is Taehyung," he repeats, and something in the angel's gaze makes Seokjin pause.
He stands, gently prying Taehyung's hand from his. "Wait here, I want to get something first." Seokjin goes to enter his bedroom.
When he comes back, he sits right beside Taehyung, thighs pressed together, a thick scrapbook on his lap. Seokjin hesitates before opening it, surveying Taehyung's expression. Flipping through several pages of photos, he finally finds the ones he was looking for, resting a hand over the page.
"That," and Seokjin points at a boy in a photo, frozen smile gracing his features, "is Taehyung."
And then Seokjin laughs, soulless and short. "Wow, you two even look alike."
Although the boy in the photo is much younger, Taehyung can see the resemblance; the same wide eyes, nose, and boxy smile. A shiver runs down his spine.
"That- that's normal, right?" Seokjin asks, almost panicked. "It's just a coincidence, right?"
Taehyung shakes his head. "I don't know."
"You know, I never really believed in that type of stuff," Seokjin speaks up later. "Reincarnation, I mean. Is that what this is?"
"I don't get it. Why you?" Taehyung looks over to Seokjin, confusion written all over his face. "Why are you so special?"
Seokjin leans away from Taehyung, taken aback. "Well, sorry for having the universe-"
"Why am I so drawn to you?" Taehyung continues, ignoring what Seokjin said. "Why do you mean so much to me?"
The human leans back, almost unconsciously resting his hand on the angel's thigh. "Taehyung..."
"I don't understand," Taehyung stresses, hand moving through his hair until he looks up and rips his hand away like he was burned. He covers his face with his hands, tucking himself closer to his knees.
"Taehyung," Seokjin shakes the other's shoulder, but there's no response. The angel is muttering quietly to himself, and Seokjin tries again futilely to get his attention. "Taehyung!" Seokjin repeats louder, tugging the angel up to face him. Taehyung's eyes are wide, his face flushed from the rush of blood. "I feel the same way."
"What?" the angel breathes out.
"I- I feel drawn to you for some reason I can't explain. After you first visited, I couldn't stop thinking about you, even though I barely knew who you were, still barely know who you are. There must be something in the universe that's pulling us together, time and time again."
"What are we going to do?" Taehyung whispers, a hint of vulnerability staining his voice.
"Well," Seokjin moves the scrapbook over to the empty seat on his side, taking Taehyung's shaking hand in his, "who are we to go against the will of the universe?"
The angel begins to visit Earth almost weekly, his stays becoming longer and longer. In return, he becomes weaker and weaker.
After a particularly long visit, Taehyung rests fitfully, head on Jimin's lap, sweat beading his forehead and exhaustion bleeding through his muscles. Jimin runs a hand through the dirty blonde hair, a frown on his face.
"It's getting worse," Jimin mumbles, looking up at Jungkook. "We should do something."
Jungkook shakes his head. "That would only make everything worse, and you know it."
"Then what are we supposed to do?" Jimin snaps, and Taehyung shifts on his lap. He lowers his voice, rubbing a hand along Taehyung's arm, saying quietly, "He's dying."
Taehyung stumbles through Seokjin's front door, almost collapsing onto the floor before the human rushes toward and catches him.
"Taehyung, are you okay?" Seokjin leads the angel over to the couch, laying him prostrate.
I'm just- just tired," Taehyung answers in a whisper, tilting his head toward the seat. "I'm not as strong as I used to be."
"Please rest," Seokjin almost pleads, taking Taehyung's hand in his right.
Stay with me?" Seokjin nods, watching as the angel drifts off, chest rising up and down at a steady pace. The human runs his free hand through Taehyung's strawberry blonde hair, trailing down to cradle his cheek.
Taehyung wakes up with a warm weight on his side, and when we looks down, Seokjin is resting on his chest, head on his stomach, left hand over his heart. Their hands are still together, shifted to be entwined, pressed into the couch by the weight of Seokjin.
The angel reaches out, running his fingers through Seokjin's black hair. The grip on his other hand tightens before the human's head rises, and Taehyung's hand slips down to rest on Seokjin's neck.
"My neck really hurts," Seokjin laughs, and Taehyung unconsciously rubs his thumb in small circles over the sensitive skin behind the human's ear. His expression softens into a smile. "Are you feeling better?"
"A bit." Seokjin's left hand shifts on Taehyung's chest and he can feel under his fingertips the angel's steady heartbeat. "I don't think I can go back home anymore. I'm just not strong enough."
Seokjin makes a small noise at the back of his throat, and Taehyung's fingers twitch over the vibrations from his neck. "Where's your home?"
"Very, very far away."
Seokjin's hand moves to grip Taehyung's wrist. "And yet you still go out of your way to come here again and again."
Taehyung lets out a breath of laughter, and Seokjin grins. "I just can't seem to stay away from you."
"Well," Seokjin makes to stand up, wobbling slightly, a teasing grin on his face, "sadly we have to part while I go to the bathroom." He whines as he rises, their hands still entwined after all of this time. "My legs are numb."
Swaying, Seokjin leans forward to grip the top of the couch, resting his weight on it.
"Just sit down," Taehyung says, sounding a bit exasperated. He sits up, turning Seokjin around, their joined hands shifting so Taehyung's arm rests around the human's waist. He pulls Seokjin down to sit on his lap, his other hand looping around Seokjin's back. The angel rests his chin on Seokjin's shoulder, sighing deeply. "Better."
Seokjin laughs. "When were you this clingy?"
Taehyung hums, saying quietly, "It feels better when I'm closer to you."
A beat of silence follows. Seokjin untangles their hands and Taehyung's falls lazily to curl around the human's hip. A shift, then a hand is gently pulling Taehyung's head off of Seokjin's shoulder. Taehyung instinctively jerks back slightly when he notices their proximity and Seokjin huffs out a bit of laughter as he wraps his hand around the back of Taehyung's neck and pulls him closer, tilting his chin up until their foreheads meet.
Taehyung looks up at Seokjin with wide eyes, flirting over smooth eyelids and subtle curls at the corners of full lips.
"Better?" Seokjin asks quietly.
"Almost," Taehyung murmurs, leaning forward, his lips ghosting over Seokjin's. Seokjin pulls back quickly, eyes shooting open and his face aflame.
Taehyung chuckles low in his throat, unwinding his arms around Seokjin and lying back down, hands behind his head. "You needed to get cleaned up, right?"
The angel grins cheekily and Seokjin huffs, mock annoyed, the red falling into a soft blush. Seokjin gets up to leave, and Taehyung sits up too, getting to his feet.
On his way to the kitchen, Taehyung pauses in front of the mirror hanging in the living room. He runs a hand through his blonde hair, a resolute look on his face.
His attention shifts to the broken clock he noticed when he first met Seokjin. Walking up to it, he observes the intricate wooden designs and gently glistening cogs. Taehyung rests his palm flat on the front, and the distinctive tick of a clock sounds as the minute hand moves backwards once. Shocked, he pulls his hand away, heart thudding wildly. The angel tentatively places his hand back on the clock, fingers hesitantly spreading over the wood.
A flash of an image before Taehyung is pulling away again. Taking in a calming breath, he repeats his actions. The same image, but clearer this time. It's of two young boys running around in a playground. It takes a second for Taehyung to recognize the children as Seokjin and the human Taehyung. He gasps but forces himself to not pull away, clenching his free hand into a fist.
Another image appears, along with the distinctive tick. They stand huddled together at the corner of a secluded hallway, Seokjin's head tucked into the crook of Taehyung's neck. Taehyung's arms are protectively wrapped around the taller's waist.
Another tick, another image. They're holding hands this time, wide smiles on as they face a large crowd, microphones in hand.
A tick again. This time, they're sharing a kiss, hands entwined, standing under the spotlight of a grand ballroom filled with people. Their pristine, white royal garb and accessories glint under the chandelier light. Their crowns sit proudly on their heads.
Another image flashes, faster this time. Half of Seokjin's body is submerged in water, and he's leaning on a rock. Navy blue scales shimmer in the sunlight, trailing down Seokjin's body to form a tail instead of two legs. Taehyung sits on a small rowboat beside him, eyes lit up in wonder.
A sixth tick, and Seokjin and Taehyung are lying in an empty field, looking up at the night sky. Taehyung is curled up to Seokjin's right, and the image flashes away before he can take in any more.
Tick. Taehyung can only catch the shine of armor. Tick. Someone's bare back. Tick. A rushed kiss. Tick. Tick. Tick. The images start flashing by so quickly that Taehyung can't focus on any one. He pulls his hand away quickly, almost as if he were burned. Head spinning, he stumbles back, startling when a hand rests on his shoulder.
"Whoa, Taehyung, are you okay? I've been calling your name for the past minute."
"I- I think so."
Are you sure? Cause-" Seokjin's focus shifts, and he looks mildly surprised. "Hey, the clock's on a different time. Did you change it?"
Taehyung shakes his head. His heart is still thudding loudly in his chest, but there's a strange sense of peace and acceptance that's taking precedent.
He knows that no matter what, no matter the lifetime or time period, he'll always find his way to Seokjin.
With that thought, Taehyung takes Seokjin's hand in his and tugs the human closer, reaching up to place his free hand on his cheek. Seokjin's breath catches in his throat and his eyelashes flutter, but he doesn't pull away; instead, he leans into the touch, gaze flickering to Taehyung's mouth.
Taehyung closes the gap slowly, slowly; Seokjin's eyes slip shut. The angel can only revel in the soft slide of Seokjin's lips for a moment before a burst of excruciating pain blooms from his back.
He pulls away with a gasp, tears suddenly springing from his eyes. Confused, Seokjin reaches up to wipe the tears away, worriedly asking if he's okay, but he can't even answer, breaths coming in sharply and too rapidly. Seokjin moves his hand as if to give Taehyung a comforting hug, but he freezes midway. Pulling back his hand, Seokjin's pulse thunders in his ears when he catches sight of the crimson blood on his fingertips.
"Oh my god, Taehyung," Seokjin hurriedly pulls Taehyung to his chest, looking over the other's shoulder to see the blood dyeing two dark lines down the back of his shirt. "What-" He glances around and his eyes lock onto the giant wing imprint almost burnt onto the wall and clock behind the angel. "Oh. Oh no."
Taehyung pushes Seokjin back, placing a hand on the human's jaw. "I'm sorry," he gasps out, "I- I should've told you s-sooner."
Taehyung's legs give out from under him, and Seokjin gently sits both of them down onto their knees. Seokjin shakes his head, eyes stinging and throat tightening. He mirrors Taehyung's position, voice breaking as he says, "You- you shouldn't have kissed me, you idiot! I- you-"
Taehyung coughs, blood droplets splattering on Seokjin's shirt. "It wouldn't have mattered. I- I would still love you, no matter what."
"Tae, no," Tears slip down Seokjin's cheeks, dripping off his chin when he leans toward Taehyung. "Please, I love you too, this isn't fair." He sobs when Taehyung smiles weakly, running a hand through his hair and resting it on his nape. "This isn't fair."
"I- I just wanted you to know, Seokjin, that- that I'm happy the universe decided to bind me to you. And that, no matter what, I- I will always find you."
Seokjin forces out a harsh laugh, sounding more like a sob than anything else. "What kind of sick game is fate playing, having me lose you twice in one lifetime?"
Taehyung's eyes threaten to close and Seokjin panickedly shakes him awake. The angel jolts upright, wincing at the fresh wave of pain that accompanies the rapid movement. "There must be something we can do."
Taehyung shakes his head. "Angels aren't a-allowed to love, or else they're s-stripped of their wings and- and left to just-," a shaky intake of breath, "-die."
Seokjin presses his lips to Taehyung's, and the angel desperately kisses back. Taehyung's hand grips the nape of the other's neck and Seokjin gently rests a hand on his back. Still, Taehyung flinches, and Seokjin swipes his tongue along the angel's bottom lip, presses in a little closer as an apology.
They stay there like that, drinking each other in, pressing lips to cheeks, jaws, necks. Taehyung reaches up to cradle Seokjin's cheek, rubbing his thumb along the dried tear tracks. His grip is weak and the lump in Seokjin's throat grows.
"Stay with me?" the angel asks, voice hoarse.
The human nods, replying, "Forever."
(When Jimin and Jungkook arrive, Seokjin's moved Taehyung onto his lap, slowly running his hand through the angel's white hair. The blood surrounding them is already dried up, eternally staining the floor and the human's clothing. Seokjin has long since stopped crying, now just staring blankly at Taehyung's pale, serene face and unconsciously stroking his hair.
When Jimin reaches out to touch his shoulder, Seokjin doesn't even flinch. His ministrations stop, though, but he doesn't look away from Taehyung when he asks, "Where will you take him?"
"We have a burial ceremony and ground prepared on our planet," Jungkook answers curtly.
Jimin tries to comfort Seokjin with a smile, but it falters when his gaze lands on the charred wing print on the wall.
"Did you know Taehyung?"
"We were close; went to school together," Jimin speaks up, gently pulling Seokjin's hands from the body.
"Oh, this must be much worse for you than for me." Seokjin blinks, clenches his hand at the feel of the sticky dried blood.
Jimin shrugs, offers another smile. "Death is normal for us. Of course, angels usually live longer than Taehyung had, but..." he shrugs, trailing off. "He'd known this was coming long before, yet still kept coming back to you. His death may be a surprise to you, but we all knew he was dying."
"But you were close to him."
Jimin picks Taehyung off of Seokjin's lap, an arm around his shoulders and another behind his knees. "But you are in love with him.")