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hopeless fountain kingdom

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They lived in a place where love meant nothing, yet they yearned for it. They ached to be touched, to be held, to be needed and cherished. Together, they found a place where love conquered all, tangled in each other and lost to the feeling.

They found that hopeless wasn’t their city or their gangs or their rules. Hopeless was the people, the ideologies and made-up laws keeping them apart.

During the night, they could be together. They could feel alive, shed their skins and the lingering hopelessness and the stigma.

But they were told to never trust the moon, for she is fickle and short-lived.

Night never lasts, and day is about to break.



“You see him?” Yoongi’s voice carried through Jeongguk’s phone. Jeongguk was peeking out from behind a wall, eyes scanning the crowds of people behind the shadowed lens of his sunglasses.

“No,” Jeongguk snapped, annoyance clear in his tone. “I was told that he would be here. My job isn’t to find him, it’s to kill him.”

“I’m aware of that, you brat. It’s not my fault he isn’t following his own schedule,” Yoongi retorted. Jeongguk rolled his eyes, pushing himself away from the wall and running his free hand through his dark hair. He was done with this shitty neighbourhood and wanted nothing more than to go the fuck home.

“So, now what?” he asked, smoothing down his white dress coat. He could hear Yoongi groan.

“Now you find him, idiot. Your father will be pissed if you come back empty handed,” he said. Jeongguk sighed, chewing on the inside of his cheek. His father’s wrath was something he avoided at all costs, years of fear building up inside of his stomach.

“Fine,” he grumbled, hanging up and shoving his phone into the pocket of his dark slacks. Jeongguk scanned the crowd one more time, hoping to spot Kim Taehyung, but to no avail- there was no sign of the boy.

Jeongguk rubbed a hand over his face, the pale, lineart bumblebee tattoo standing out. The branding had been given to him on the day he turned sixteen, a painful work of art to forever remind him of his gang. Rich and powerful, Jeongguk grew up under the gang’s leader, getting almost anything he’d ever wanted. Now, he was Cheonsa’s second-in-command, going to take his father’s place one day with a full-scale angel wing tattoo coating his back. And, unfortunately, being in such a powerful position meant that Jeongguk was given some of the more taxing jobs- such as killing Kim Taehyung.

If the Cheonsa represented angels, a gang of cold and beautiful people dressed all in white, then the Agma represented demons, uncontrollable and tempting, getting into trouble and causing fights. The two gangs have been at each other’s throats for years, a rivalry so infamous that even the police wouldn’t involve themselves in it. The Agma were the exact opposite of the Cheonsa; they were rowdy, poor and always getting in trouble with the police, unlike the Cheonsa, who were rich enough to pay the cops off.

Jeongguk was in Agma territory, making a statement with his clothing and evidently on a mission. The area disgusted him; homeless people lined the streets, overflowing shelters and food banks getting broken into constantly, police always monitoring the area for criminals. Everybody was so dirty that it repulsed Jeongguk.

Being in such a crowded area, Jeongguk was clueless as to where Kim Taehyung would be. He knew that he didn’t blend in- he was wearing Cheonsa’s clothing, white on white, monochromatic, pristine collared shirts and high-end brands, but he was too proud to wear anything less.

He could predict what Taehyung would be wearing, too. Ripped jeans, a ratty shirt, probably a worn-down leather jacket, a mixture of reds and oranges and blacks. He’d only seen a few blurry pictures of the boy, making identification slightly difficult for Jeongguk, but he wasn’t worried. Hunting people was what he did.

“Oi, watch it,” some man scoffed after bumping into Jeongguk. The man looked him up and down, and Jeongguk took great amusement in watching the man’s face light up in realization and, immediately after, fear. The man stuttered out apologies, holding his hands up in peace and backing away. Jeongguk rolled his eyes and kept walking, unphased by the reaction. People had treated him in such a way since he was young; he had never made friends in school due to his father’s status. Jeongguk didn’t mind, though. His father would tell him, “the more friends you have, the more people there are who could betray you.” Jeongguk lived by those words, believing that loving someone was the same as killing yourself. He followed them closely, never letting himself become attached, especially when his job was involved.

His phone rang, startling Jeongguk out of his remenicient thoughts.

“What do you need?” Jeongguk answered, tone uninterested. Namjoon snorted on the other end, the clicking of keyboard keys heard in the background.

“I heard you need help?” Namjoon asked. Jeongguk clenched his jaw.

“I don’t need help, because it wasn’t my job to track the kid,” Jeongguk snapped, making Namjoon laugh heartily.

“Taehyung’s older than you,” Namjoon supplied, rather unhelpfully.

“Irrelevant,” he retorted. “I don’t need to know his age, I need to know where he is.” There was a moment of quiet as Namjoon typed something else. Just as Jeongguk was about to pitch in again, Namjoon spoke up.

“Veterinary clinic, straight down the road you’re already on. See, I knew I wasn’t wrong. Yoongi’ll get into his phone and hook it up to yours, you’ll be able to hear everything that he does,” Namjoon said finally.

“The fuck is an Agma doing at a vet clinic?” Jeongguk snapped, disdain lacing his voice.

“That’s what you’re gonna find out,” Namjoon clapped back. “Have fun, don’t fuck up.” Jeongguk huffed something close to a thank you before hanging up, his phone immediately getting a bunch of Taehyung’s notifications. He hooked his earphones into his phone and began to listen on his walk. There was no noise aside from some shuffling, and for awhile Jeongguk thought that Namjoon had messed up somehow, until a shrill bark rang in Jeongguk’s ears and he scrambled to turn down the volume.

“Soonshimmie, hush,” a deep voice scolded lightly. Jeongguk knew, somehow, that it was Taehyung. Automatically, rage swelled in Jeongguk’s gut, a sense of rivalry growing. There was more dog noises, a bit more rustling, and by the time Jeongguk got to the vet, Taehyung was speaking again.

“Stop being difficult, please,” he said, most likely talking to the dog. Jeongguk was settling himself down on a bench near the vet, peeking through the huge glass windows in the front. He spotted Taehyung almost right away and wasn’t shocked at his appearance. Flaming red hair contrasting honeyed skin, piercings littering his ears and over his eyebrow, dark and ripped clothing fitting over a lean body. A blue bandana was wrapped around his neck, contrasting the warm hues. His physical appearance didn’t take Jeongguk by surprise at all, but the way he was acting did.

“H-Hey, stop!” he heard Taehyung through his earphones, voice smooth as he laughed at the dog. Jeongguk’s throat was dry at the sight, watching in awe as Taehyung rubbed his nose against the dog’s head softly, giggling in an airy tone and trying to clip its fur. He seemed to have finished, placing the scissors down and brushing off his hands.

“You’re all done, pup!” he told the animal, scratching behind its ears affectionately. The dog seemed pleased, wagging its tail and licking at Taehyung’s chin. Jeongguk clucked his tongue, giving in and calling Yoongi again.

“What do you want?” Yoongi answered tensely. Jeongguk felt his annoyance grow at his elder’s tone.

“Are you sure I have the right kid? He doesn’t seem like an Agma,” Jeongguk questioned impatiently. There was some rustling before Yoongi started listing traits blandly.

“Red hair?”

“Yes.”

“Three ear piercings and an eyebrow one?”

“Yes.”

“Tall?”

“Yes.”

“Slim?”

“Yes.”

“That’s him, kid. Son of Kim Chul, heir to Agma. Kill him, tell me where the body is, come home. What’s the problem,” Yoongi sighed. Jeongguk crossed his legs neatly.

“He’s- He’s cuddling with a dog, Yoongi. I expected him to be, I don’t know, robbing a corner store or painting on a wall or something,” Jeongguk ranted. “What the fuck is this kid doing?”

“I don’t know his life story,” Yoongi snapped. “Just kill him and your job is done. Who cares if he has a dog?”

“But- shit, he’s moving, I gotta go,” Jeongguk said, hanging up again before Yoongi could get a word in. Jeongguk got up subtly, trailing behind Taehyung as he waved goodbye to somebody in the vet and bent over to kiss the dog farewell.

“I’ll be back tomorrow to help some more, but I have to go for now!” Taehyung’s deep voice called out, once again startling Jeongguk into lowering his volume. The man in the store was too distant to be heard clearly, but Jeongguk did heard Taehyung chuckle in response. Carefully, Jeongguk observed as Taehyung stretched his arms over his head leisurely before tucking his hands in his pockets, humming a tune softly like he was in a fucking movie and furthering Jeongguk’s confusion.

“Hello, ma’am! Do you need help?” Taehyung asked an older woman holding two grocery bags, making Jeongguk physically want to puke. The woman cooed at Taehyung, letting him carry the bags over to her car. Taehyung did it with a smile, listening to the woman talk about whatever she wanted to talk about, cheerfully putting the bags in the trunk and pitching into the conversation whenever necessary.

“What the fuck,” Jeongguk muttered to himself, continuing to follow the boy, forgetting that he was supposed to be trying to kill him. Taehyung walked for about ten more minutes, finding his way into the more rich area of town. Jeongguk felt more at ease in his home area, but also more on edge because Taehyung had purposely went this route.

Taehyung dove into the busy crowd, sticking out like a sore thumb and making Jeongguk’s job easy. Jeongguk heard him hitch his breath and bump into a man over half his size, his expert eyes catching the way Taehyung’s slender fingers slipped into the man’s suit pocket and pulled out a wallet. Jeongguk’s lips curled into a smirk.

“I’m so sorry, sir!” Taehyung gasped, blinking his eyelashes up at the man he just secretly stole from. The man waved him off and continued walking, obviously not caring.

An immense feeling of satisfaction and relief coursed through Jeongguk’s veins at the sight of Taehyung actually doing something bad. He needed convincing that killing Taehyung wasn’t like killing an actual saint, and this, he thought, was good enough.

Until Taehyung crouched down beside an evidently homeless woman and handed her all of the cash out of the leather wallet.

“Jesus fucking- ” Jeongguk cursed, resisting the urge to throw his hands in the air and scream.

“Make sure you’re eating, okay? Your kids ate already, I promise. Jimin brought them food earlier,” Taehyung told the woman. She had tears brewing in her eyes, nodding at Taehyung and holding his hands. Jeongguk felt violently nauseous as he watched Taehyung begin walking again. He followed, as he was supposed to, but called Yoongi once more.

“The fuck, Jeongguk. The kid should be dead already. What the fuck is your problem,” he snapped as soon he picked up the call.

“The kid’s a saint, you don’t understand. He just stole from the rich to give to the poor. He’s actually goddamn Robin Hood. The fu-” Jeongguk complained. Yoongi let out a mean laugh, obviously fed up with Jeongguk.

“Kill. Him. Who the fuck cares if he’s nice ? Not my problem, not your problem. Get it over with already,” Yoongi growled. Jeongguk pushed down the sick feeling, taking a steadying breath and opening his mouth to say something. Yoongi cut him off.

“I’m hanging up so you can’t argue with me anymore. Kill him, now,” Yoongi demanded and ended the call. Jeongguk ran a hand through his hair aggressively, moving slightly faster to catch up to Taehyung. He scanned the area, noting that Taehyung was turning down an alley. Jeongguk, seeing an opportunity, sped up to get him.

But when he turned down the alley, Taehyung wasn’t there.

“What the-” Jeongguk said but was cut off by a foot kicking the back of his knee. He fell with a yelp, spinning around as quickly as he could only to be met with a kick to the jaw. It stunned him long enough for his attacker to straddle him, effectively cutting off all movement to his legs. Jeongguk brought his hands up to push the attacker off, but they grabbed his wrists and twisted them in a tight hold. Jeongguk was paralyzed, eyes coming into focus.

“Why are you following me?” Taehyung demanded, voice cold and angry, completely unlike how he was talking not even ten minutes ago. Jeongguk was gaping stupidly, the close proximity amplifying Taehyung’s beauty but also Jeongguk’s annoyance.

“Take a wild guess,” Jeongguk snorted, tugging on his wrists again. Taehyung’s grip tightened painfully, sending Jeongguk’s stomachs into knots.

“Oh, I know who you are. You’re Jeon Jeongguk,” Taehyung gasped, moving his face back a little to blink owlishly before a disgusted look drifted over his face. “You’re Cheonsa.”

“Brilliant observation, Kim Taehyung,” Jeongguk snapped. Taehyung pouted.

“As expected, you’re rude. Anyways, what do you want? I’ve got things to do,” Taehyung sighed, pushing off of Jeongguk and standing up. Jeongguk felt more in control now that Taehyung was further away, though he was confused as to why Taehyung would let him go.

“I was sent here to kill you, idiot. Why’d you let me go?” Jeongguk asked. Taehyung pushed his hair back casually, as if his sworn enemy wasn’t in very close proximity.

“If you wanted to kill me, you would have by now. I’m not sure why you haven’t yet, to be honest,” Taehyung admitted. Jeongguk felt a blush rising to his cheeks.

“That’s none of your-”

“You think I’m hot, don’t you?” Taehyung realized suddenly. “You’re blushing, oh my god, I didn't even know Cheonsa could do that.”

“Of course we can- I don’t- You’re not-” Jeongguk stammered, mouth opening and closing unattractively. Taehyung laughed, throwing his hair back and smiling a boxy smile Jeongguk’s way.

“Cute,” he said shamelessly, throwing Jeongguk into a further confusion. Taehyung smacked his lips together in contemplation before looking at Jeongguk again.

“So, can my assassination wait until after I eat something? ‘Cause I didn’t get to eat my lunch and I’m starving. You can come and supervise,” Taehyung offered, raising an inquisitive eyebrow. Jeongguk was frozen, utterly shocked and unsure of what to say.

“Well, you can follow me if you want to, then,” Taehyung sighed, turning his back to Jeongguk and starting to wander off.

Kill him now. Just kill him now, Jeongguk thought, hand resting on his gun. Yet, no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t bring himself to take out the weapon. Instead, he took after Taehyung with a frustrated groan.

“How dumb are you? I could have killed you just now-” Jeongguk ranted. Taehyung waved a hand at him, squinting his eyes at the street signs.

“I don’t know what I’m craving today. Maybe burgers?” Taehyung hummed.

“We’re not even supposed to be talking, we’re enemies! What are you doing? What are we doing?” Jeongguk continued. Taehyung stopped suddenly.

“Ooh, let’s eat here! The food’s cheap but good, I think I have enough for it,” Taehyung decided. Jeongguk resisted the urge to hit him as they walked in and drew the attention of every person in the diner.

“Taehyung, we really shouldn’t be-” Jeongguk tried, clenching his jaw tightly when he was interrupted once more.

“What’re you so scared of, mighty Cheonsa prince?” Taehyung taunted, sitting himself down in a booth. Jeongguk sat down across from him, tense and uncertain. They made eye contact, neither of them willing to back down, and Jeongguk found himself admiring Taehyung once again. His collarbones were visible and very enticing, making Jeongguk’s palms sweaty.

“I should’ve killed you in the alley,” Jeongguk growled, knowing full well that he wouldn’t be able to kill him now. Taehyung laughed, leaning his head on his hand and observing Jeongguk.

“I’m just far too charismatic, right?” Taehyung joked, winking at Jeongguk, whose body decided to betray him by blushing again.

“I don’t understand you,” Jeongguk blurted. Taehyung raised an eyebrow, hands playing with the salt shaker on the table.

“Oh?” Taehyung said simply, a cue for Jeongguk to elaborate.

“We literally just met, we’re sworn enemies, and yet you’re sitting down for dinner with me,” Jeongguk explained. “I was sent to murder you. Like, kill. Dead. Murder.”

“I know what murder means, but thank you for the synonyms. Really appreciate it,” Taehyung snickered, making Jeongguk groan.

“See what I mean? Joking as if we’re old friends and not rivals,” Jeongguk said. Taehyung sat back in his seat, crossing his arms over his chest and watching Jeongguk carefully.

“And what, exactly, makes us rivals, if we’ve never met?” Taehyung asked. Jeongguk narrowed his eyes.

“We’re part of two different gangs. I think that explains enough,” Jeongguk said blandly. Taehyung made a noise.

“I’m aware. I know your gang. But I don’t know you, Jeon Jeongguk. It just so happens that you’re quite handsome, and just my type. So, why wouldn’t I invite you to dinner?” Taehyung argued. Jeongguk was speechless again, a common occurrence lately. There was another lapse of quiet as the waitress drifted over and took their orders. Jeongguk ordered only a coffee while Taehyung selected a meal.

“So, you’re gay then?” Jeongguk said casually. Taehyung snickered.

“Yeah, you are too,” Taehyung told him. Jeongguk frowned, trying his best to seem indifferent. Taehyung saw right through it, though.

“You’re wrong,” Jeongguk argued weakly. Taehyung just laughed again, spilling some salt onto the table.

“Really? I don’t think I am, but whatever,” Taehyung hummed. “Have you ever done cocaine?”

“What?” Jeongguk gaped, watching Taehyung’s slender fingers line up the salt as if he was going to snort it.

“Coke? Heroin? Drugs of any kind?” Taehyung pressed, looking unsurprised at Jeongguk’s shake of his head.

“Of course not,” he scoffed. Taehyung nodded.

“Okay, well. I’m gonna do some, because addiction is a hell of a thing,” Taehyung said. “I wouldn't be surprised if you left while I was gone. Unless you’re still set on killing me. In that case, be right back.” With that, the boy left with a wave, making his way towards the bathroom. Jeongguk leaned back in his seat, lacing his hands at the back of his head and trying to force down a smile.

As much as he hated to admit it, this was the most alive he’d ever felt.

 

“So, tell me more about you,” Taehyung said as they walked. Jeongguk pursed his lips, shoving his hands in his pockets.

“I’ve told you just about everything,” Jeongguk admitted. Over the course of three hours, he and Taehyung have become shockingly comfortable around each other. Jeongguk was still wary, still unsure about what he was doing, but there was a thrum in his pulse when he was around Taehyung that he was slowly learning to like.

“No offense, Jeon Jeongguk,” Taehyung sighed, “but you’re pretty boring.” Jeongguk raised an eyebrow, scoffing.

“Yet here you are,” he countered. Taehyung snorted, leading Jeongguk into a junkyard-looking area.

“Touche,” he giggled, jumping onto an old truck tire and spinning around. Jeongguk watched him, wondering how somebody can act this carefree around a sworn enemy.

“Why didn’t you kill me?” Taehyung asked him suddenly. Jeongguk hopped onto an abandoned washing machine, crossing his legs.

“I’m still wondering that myself, to be honest,” Jeongguk admitted. Taehyung grinned, jumping off the tire and moving on to a new obstacle, tugging the bandana around his neck gently.

“Am I just that charming? Not what you thought an Agma would be like?” Taehyung teased, wiggling his fingers at Jeongguk, who rolled his eyes.

“No, not quite. You’re just… not like most Agma I’ve encountered,” Jeongguk decided. Taehyung snickered, tilting his head to the side to study Jeongguk.

“Really? I don’t think I’m anything special,” Taehyung sighed. He sat on the ground, stretching out his long legs and staring up at the dimming sky. Jeongguk admired his side profile discreetly; he really was dangerously beautiful.

“You’re not what I expected,” Jeongguk admitted. Taehyung smirked.

“I’m glad,” he said quietly. He leaned back and laid down, hair fanning around him. Jeongguk hopped down from his perch and sat timidly on the ground. Taehyung let out a sudden laugh, a hand covering his mouth.

“What?” Jeongguk whined, blushing. Taehyung shook his head.

“I can’t believe you actually just sat on the ground,” Taehyung giggled. “I’ve never seen a Cheonsa do that before.”

“Yeah, well, I think I’ve stopped caring about what I’m supposed to do,” Jeongguk admitted. Taehyung sat up, their faces suddenly close.

“I bet this is the most rebellious thing you’ve ever done,” Taehyung said, his breath drifting across Jeongguk’s cheeks and setting fire to his skin.

“I… Yeah,” Jeongguk sighed, averting his eyes from Taehyung’s to inspect the dirt bleeding into the fabric of his white clothing.

“Don’t you get sick of it? Of just, like, acting how we’re supposed to, without question?” Taehyung asked. Jeongguk shrugged, letting his hand press into the soil gently.

“All the time,” Jeongguk said. “I.... I think about the childhood I never had, the experiences I never got to have, things like that.”

“You just don’t feel like a person, right? You don’t feel alive?” Taehyung prompted. Jeongguk hummed in agreement.

“It’s tiring,” he admitted. Taehyung perked up, grinning rectangularly at Jeongguk.

“That’s why you’ve gotta do something to prove you’re alive, right? Something wild, something fun ,” he said. Jeongguk made a face.

“I feel like your definition of fun is very different than mine,” Jeongguk said warily. Taehyung was already laughing, pulling at Jeongguk’s hand.

 

“We’re going to get in so much shit,” Jeongguk said, glancing behind him as Taehyung climbed the fence.

“Don’t worry,” Taehyung huffed, finally maneuvering over the top and jumping down. Jeongguk flinched as he hit the ground; his posture wasn’t right and the fall was sloppy.

“I don’t know if-” Jeongguk protested, taking a step back. Taehyung tsked at him.

“You’re not backing out now, are you?” he tainted. Jeongguk puffed up his chest, beginning to climb the fence after Taehyung.

“Of course not,” he huffed, his fingers aching from gripping the wires. Taehyung laughed, watching Jeongguk climb with amusement.

“You have such a stiffness about you, it’s funny to watch,” he said. Jeongguk frowned, finally getting over the top and jumping down. Once he was standing again, he dusted off his clothes and punched Taehyung lightly on the shoulder.

“Was that stiff?” he asked.

“Yes,” Taehyung answered, without hesitation. Jeongguk snorted out a laugh, a hand coming up to cover his mouth. Taehyung grinned messily.

“See, that wasn’t,” he told Jeongguk, who looked away. His father told him once that his smile made him look soft like a bunny. He then told Jeongguk to stop doing it.

“Whatever. How are we gonna do this,” Jeongguk huffed. Taehyung started strolling through the park, cracking his fingers and looking around.

“Well, if we don’t want anyone to notice than we’re gonna have to do this one at a time,” Taehyung explained. “Each ride has a control panel. We just do whatever we want and nobody should notice.”

Jeongguk looked around, taking in the cheap games and rides. Taehyung was staring at him with a tilted head.

“Have you never been to a fair before?” he asked, beginning to lead the way. Jeongguk watched the ground.

“No. I never had time,” he admitted. Taehyung snorted.

“That’s fucked,” he told Jeongguk, stopping in front of a small booth. “Do you know what this game is?”

“I’ve seen it in kdramas,” Jeongguk deadpanned. It was one of those basic balloon-popping games, the kind that are usually rigged. Taehyung snorted out a laugh.

“Oh, Gukkie, win me the teddy bear!” Taehyung said in a shrill voice. Jeongguk raised a brow, reaching over the counter. Taehyung’s hand slapped his away quickly.

“No, you have to win it! It’s part of the experience,” Taehyung scolded. Jeongguk sighed, picking up some of the darts from behind the counter and judging their weight with his hand.

“So, what are the rules then?” Jeongguk wondered, looking at the balloons with a raised eyebrow. Taehyung pursed his lips, decisive, before his eyes lit up and he jumped over the counter. He stood in front of the balloons and grinned.

“If you pop all the balloons around my head, you win,” he decided. Jeongguk snorted out a laugh.

“Are you asking to lose an eye?” he quipped, getting into a throwing stance anyways. Taehyung grinned wildly, something dangerous in his eyes.

“I trust you, Guk,” he said softly, right as Jeongguk threw the first dart. Jeongguk’s throw was slightly wonky due to his surprise but, thankfully, still popped the first balloon, right beside Taehyung’s left ear.

“You hardly know me,” Jeongguk protested, throwing another dart. Taehyung didn’t even flinch as it popped right beside his head.

“I think I know you better than most people do,” he observed, and Jeongguk felt his body tense. Taehyung was a level of observant that chilled Jeongguk to the bone. He didn’t reply to Taehyung’s comment, popping the balloon right above his head. Taehyung looked up and smiled.

“Halfway there and I’m not blind,” he commented. Jeongguk made a face and threw another dart.

Finally, Taehyung’s outline was all popped, and the boy clapped his hands gleefully.

“Colour me impressed!” Taehyung cheered, holding out his hands to accept the bear that Jeongguk was offering. Jeongguk smiled somewhat proudly, shrugging a little and hiding the blush that rose to his cheeks.

“Stop smiling like that,” Jeongguk sighed, and Taehyung’s smile dimmed. He looked away quickly, making Jeongguk want to suck the words back inside of his mouth.

“My father always told me that my smile gave away too much,” Taehyung said quietly, voice small. “That it wasn’t a smile of an Agma.”

“It’s not,” Jeongguk said. Taehyung looked away, the smile completely gone. Jeongguk didn’t know how to get the words he wanted to say out of his mouth properly.

(His smile wasn’t an Agma’s smile because it wasn’t sinister or cunning or deceiving, it was genuine and bright and undeniably Taehyung.)

“...It’s pretty, though,” Jeongguk mumbled. Taehyung’s head snapped up quickly.

“What?” he asked, eyes wide, as if he was doubting the words.

“Your smile. It’s not an Agma smile, but it’s… pretty,” Jeongguk repeated. And, like clockwork, Taehyung’s eyes scrunched up and his lips stretched wide until the grin was back in place, exactly where it was supposed to be.

“Thanks, Gukkie,” Taehyung laughed, yanking open the panel. Jeongguk looked up at the ferris wheel, shaking his head slightly.

“Everybody is going to see this thing turned on,” he scolded. Taehyung ignored him, flicking on all the switches until the fairgrounds were lit up with whites and blues and pinks from the large wheel. The lights shone over the water to the opposite side of them, reflecting so that the lights were even visible in the dark sky. Jeongguk was looking in awe, the colours and flashing lights mesmerizing.

“Are you coming?” Taehyung called after him, already near the entrance. Jeongguk ran after him, a little surprised at how his heart pounded in anticipation.

“Are you sure we should-” Jeongguk asked, but he didn’t get a chance to finish his protest because Taehyung was yanking his hand and pulling him onto the moving cart. Their little bucket swayed and both boys struggled to regain their balance for a moment. Once sturdy, they managed to get seated, pressed together in the small bench offered in the cart. Jeongguk let out a sigh, looking over at Taehyung only to find that the other boy was enamoured by the scene below them. Jeongguk peeked over his edge of the cart, letting out a small, distressed whine at the height.

“Holy shit, we’re like… way up here,” Jeongguk pointed out. Taehyung snorted out a laugh, leaning over his side a little.

“This is your first time on a ferris wheel, too, right?” Taehyung assumed correctly. Jeongguk let out another small noise, this one just as distressed as the first. Taehyung glanced over at him, a hand raising to settle over Jeongguk’s own.

“It’s okay, I’m here,” he soothed, calming Jeongguk’s nerves. “Just look how pretty it is!” Jeongguk took the chance to look past Taehyung, over the water, able to see the whole city over the lake.

“Woah,” he gasped, his hand grabbing Taehyung’s and lacing their fingers together.

“It’s nice to live a little, isn’t it?” Taehyung laughed. Jeongguk grinned, tearing his eyes away from the scenery to land on Taehyung instead; the boy’s honeydew skin was even darker in the lighting, his eyes like shining stones and his cheeks dusted a radiating pink from the sharp wind.

“...Thank you,” Jeongguk uttered out, still watching Taehyung’s face. Said boy looked surprised for a moment before his expression melted into something softer.

“Anytime, Jeon Jeongguk,” he laughed. Jeongguk felt himself weakening.

The two sat together in silence for awhile, Taehyung with his legs pulled up to his chest, eyes closed, and Jeongguk  observing him subtly. The serenity was unbelievable for the two boys, a complete change from their usual atmospheres. Jeongguk decided that then, with the wind tousling their hair and the muffled roar of the water, he felt most at peace. It was almost unnerving that he felt more calm now, with a dangerous boy from a rival gang sitting right next to him.

“Taehyung,” Jeongguk said, making said boy jump slightly and open his eyes. “I-”

“This is the police! You are on private property, we’re going to have to ask you to exit the ride safely and-” A blaring voice rang out over a megaphone. Jeongguk paled, looking at Taehyung frantically, but the redheaded boy was merely laughing.

“Shit, Tae, we-” Jeongguk gasped. The wheel was approaching its peak and they were trapped. Taehyung stood up, stretching his arms above his head and rolling his head towards Jeongguk. There was something new in his eyes that Jeongguk had only seen once, when they first met.

“This is the fun part, Guk!” he laughed, untying the blue bandana that he wore around his neck and pushing back his hair with it. Jeongguk almost asked about the sickening scar running across Taehyung’s neck, but decided to save that question for later. He also wanted to tell Taehyung to wear the bandana more often, because the shape of his eyebrows and smooth skin of his forehead were now on full display, jumbling Jeongguk’s thoughts.

“Taehyung, if we get arrested and this gets to my dad-” Jeongguk growled, watching the way Taehyung’s body was coiled in the corner of the bucket. It was starting to rain, the fat droplets landing soundly on Jeongguk’s face and rolling down his neck.

“Trust me, nobody will know that an Agma and a Cheonsa were together,” Taehyung reassured. The ride was almost done a full circle, nearing the cops. Jeongguk could see that there were only two of them, standing near the car with hands on their hips.

“How can you be sure?” Jeongguk asked, regretting the question as soon as it left his mouth.

“Oh, baby, they can’t talk if they’re dead, can they?” Taehyung told him, winking quickly before jumping out of the cart and hitting the ground gracefully. Jeongguk groaned, following after him almost dutifully.

“Kim Taehyung, what a surprise,” one of the officers groaned, obviously very well acquainted with the Agma boy. Taehyung let out a chiming giggle, walking right up to the officer without hesitation and, much to Jeongguk’s surprise, planting a kiss on his cheek.

“Officer Kwon! Didn’t you miss me?” Taehyung drawled. The officer pushed Taehyung off, rolling his eyes and opening the backdoor of the squad car. The rain was starting to pick up by then, to the point where Jeongguk could feel the cold and wet seeping through his clothes.

“No. Get in,” he sighed. Taehyung made a face.

“Don’t you want my friend to come, too?” Taehyung grinned, motioning with his hand towards where Jeongguk was standing. Officer Kwon opened his mouth as if to say something but froze when he got a look at Jeongguk, his mind obviously trying to connect the dots.

“Wait, what-” Officer Kwon began, his partner stepping towards Jeongguk, but Taehyung was already a step ahead, his leg flying out and kicking the officer so hard that he stumbled back. Jeongguk flew into action, grabbing the partner by his outstretched arm and bending it before bringing it downwards with a snap. Jeongguk could see Taehyung still fighting with Officer Kwon, the younger boy obviously at an advantage; his speed and agility were giving him the upper hand over the bigger man. Jeongguk was positive that Taehyung had it under control until Officer Kwon got the chance to remove the baton from his belt, slashing it out so quickly that Taehyung didn’t have time to get out of the way.

“Tae!” Jeongguk tried to warn him, but it was too late- the baton hit Taehyung’s jaw with sickening force, sending him sprawling to the ground. Officer Kwon didn’t let up for a second, bringing down the baton again and again on Taehyung’s body. Jeongguk made a move to help, but apparently, Taehyung didn’t need it; one second, he was being beaten bloody, and the next, he was pulling Officer Kwon down with his legs and straddling him, the baton falling to the ground.

The officer under Jeongguk was up again, his own baton in hand. Jeongguk deflected a blow with his arm and was shocked by the force of it. Being a Cheonsa, he didn’t often fight with the police. They were usually on his side, paid off by his father or allies of the gang. Now, he was surprised by their ability to fight.

Jeongguk managed to pry the baton from his hands and knock him in the skull with the end of it, efficiently making the officer’s knees crumple. A cry made Jeongguk look up, mouth dropping open at the sight of Taehyung standing over Officer Kwon. He had the baton raised above his head like an ancient sword, the rain making his clothes stick to his skin and the blood from his injuries run down his face. A flash of lightning illuminated the area just as Taehyung brought his weapon down, hitting Officer Kwon straight on his temple with a sickening crack. The attack was repeated again and again, Taehyung’s movements getting quicker and quicker with each slam to Officer Kwon’s mess of a head, the skin a bloody mess and his eyes rolled back into his head.

Finally, Taehyung stopped, throwing the baton to the side and heaving in breaths, his chest rising and falling in the most compelling way, hair matted flat to his head. Officer Kwon was lying dead under him, a pool of blood collecting under his body.

“They can’t talk if they’re dead,” Taehyung laughed, stumbling to his feet and walking towards Jeongguk. The other officer was back to kneeling, holding his hands up as Taehyung stalked towards them.

“N-No! Please, I won’t-” he pleaded, voice hardly audible over the pounding of the rain. Jeongguk stayed where he was, arms crossed, watching unphased as Taehyung reached down to grab the abandoned baton and swing wildly. The brunt of the force hit the officer across the cheek, sending him to the ground with blood spraying from his mouth. Taehyung didn’t give him any time to recover, stomping his boot on the officer’s neck and applying pressure.

“P-P-Ple-” The officer choked out, voice hardly above a whisper, his windpipe being crushed by Taehyung’s weight. It didn’t take long for the officer to lose consciousness, but Taehyung kept his boot pressed down anyways, obviously out to kill.

“I could have just bribed them, you know,” Jeongguk said after a moment, glaring at Taehyung with something different than annoyance. Taehyung glanced over, some wet hair flopped over his bandana and handing in his face.

“Yeah, you probably could’ve,” he agreed, finally taking his boot off of the dead officer. “But I know them. They weren’t good people. They deserved this.”

“Deserved death? Really?” Jeongguk said, voice skeptical. Taehyung raised an eyebrow, letting out a tiny laugh.

“I don’t wanna get into it, but I’ll just say that they used their privileges as officers in terrible ways,” Taehyung disclosed, clenching his jaw afterwards in a way that made Jeongguk ache.

“I’m sorry,” Jeongguk said softly, but loud enough that Taehyung could hear it.

“For what?” he asked, crouching down to sift through the pockets of the dead officer. Jeongguk noticed the way Taehyung wasn’t looking at him.

“That you had to live like this,” Jeongguk admitted. “You deserve better.”

“I thought we hardly knew each other, Jeon Jeongguk,” Taehyung quipped, standing up again and moving to lean against the front of the car. One side of Jeongguk’s mouth lifted in a smirk, amused at the use of his own words against him.

“I don’t think I give a shit, Kim Taehyung,” Jeongguk said, moving forward to grab Taehyung’s face. To his credit, Taehyung didn’t look surprised in the slightest, his eyes falling shut and his face meeting Jeongguk’s halfway. Their lips crashed together with so much force that Jeongguk felt his lip hurt, but he expected nothing less from Taehyung- he kissed the way he lived, wild and reckless and refreshing in a way that had Jeongguk spinning. The rain made Taehyung’s skin feel slick under his fingers, but he could tell that it was smooth and that his lips were soft, and that he never wanted to feel anything else as long as he lived.

They didn’t kiss for long, breaking it off after a moment and pressing their foreheads together. Taehyung let out a breathy chuckle that Jeongguk felt fan across his face.

“What happened to not being gay?” Taehyung said. Jeongguk let out a loud laugh, his hand falling from Taehyung’s face and pulling him closer by the hip instead.

“Oh my god, shut the fuck up,” he giggled, moving in to kiss Taehyung again.

They ended up stealing the security footage from the cop car, as a “souvenir.”

 

They kept meeting up after that day. They never exchanged numbers; that would be far too dangerous. Instead, they left each other signs, small things that could be deciphered easily as a message to meet at their junkyard.

Their secret meetings were peaceful, having the secrecy of the night to themselves. There were times when they met during the day, but those instances usually were brief and unpleasant.

“Fucking look at them,” Yoongi snarled in disgust, glaring out the window at the Agma motorcycles skidding to a stop in front of the building. Jeongguk stayed silent, watching as Taehyung hopped off one of the bikes while they were still in motion, landing with ease and swinging a bat around until it rested across his shoulders. He was dressed in layers, reds and blacks and oranges all shredded and ripped. His blue bandana was around his neck like always, his eyebrow ring reflecting the light. His friends were swarming around him, obviously noticing the Chensa vehicle parked outside as well.

A short pink-haired boy with glitter splattered across his face said something to Taehyung who lit up in a boxy smile, pushing him into another orange-haired boy.  

“Shit, that’s Jung Hoseok,” Namjoon said quietly. “He’s a legend. ” Yoongi was staring intently, watching Hoseok’s every move.

“I know,” was all he said, making Jeongguk frown.

“But what are they doing?” Jeongguk asked, his confusion growing as he watched them light up a joint and each take a puff. Namjoon seemed to clue in before the rest of them did.

“Fuck, they’re gonna-” he yelped right at the moment Taehyung swung the bat off his shoulders and smashed the window of the car. Jeongguk stayed where he was, watching silently while Namjoon and Yoongi took off. The pink haired one jumped on top of the car, stomping and laughing while the orange haired one dragged a knife across the side. Taehyung kept swinging, denting the expensive car with every solid whack. Yoongi and Namjoon finally made it outside, screaming bloody murder, and the three got back on their bikes, Hoseok riding alone and Taehyung driving with the pink haired one behind him. He stuck out his tongue and winked at Yoongi and Hoseok while Taehyung looked up and made eye contact with Jeongguk, blowing a kiss his way before they drove out of sight.

 

There were many instances like that, with the two of them pretending like they hated each other by day and meeting in secluded places by night.

They rarely met on Jeongguk’s side of town, simply because it was easier to sneak around in Agma territory. It was usually Jeongguk who went to Taehyung first, which is why Jeongguk was so shocked when there was tapping at his window.

He grabbed the gun sitting on his bedside table, clicking the safety off as he pulled the curtain back.

“Taehyung?” he whispered, opening the window slightly. Taehyung opened it the rest of the way, climbing inside quickly and pacing the room, agitated. Jeongguk could clearly see bruising forming across his cheekbone.

“I can’t fucking believe I have to deal with this shit, today , and everybody was too fucking scared to do jack shit about it, because they’re all fucking cowards and can’t fucking-” Taehyung was ranting, voice quiet but still too loud for the silence of his house. He knew his family wasn’t home but he couldn’t tell when somebody from the gang would show up.

“Hey, hey, stop,” Jeongguk said softly, taking Taehyung’s wrist in one hand and his face in the other, thumb rubbing gently over the injury.

“He’s such a fucking asshole, they’re all- they-” Taehyung stuttered. His breaths were coming quickly, the words falling from his lips like they were bursting free. Jeongguk could see unshed tears in his eyes, obviously being kept back by sheer willpower.

“Slow down, baby, tell me what happened,” Jeongguk urged, sitting Taehyung down on the bed. The boy was shaking his head, hands trembling.

“It’s- today, it’s- I-” he stumbled, the words only seeming to make him panic more. Jeongguk rubbed a slow hand over his back, making soothing noises and helping Taehyung relax before he tried to speak again.

“It’s the anniversary of my mom’s death,” Taehyung finally managed to say. Jeongguk froze, mouth opening and closing like a fish. He let Taehyung take a moment to continue. “He just. He never acknowledged it. He never said anything or even went to her fucking grave.

“And I finally snapped. I asked him why he didn’t go. He told me that there was no point in going to her grave because her body wasn’t even there. We never found her body, you know? Eight years and we still have no idea where her body is. But that’s not the point, is it? It’s a fucking respect thing. I bet the fucker forgot that it was today.” Jeongguk was completely still, trying to piece together what Taehyung was saying. He had known that Taehyung’s mother wasn’t around, but the boy had never elaborated so Jeongguk never asked.

“I still remember it, still have nightmares about it. I was seventeen, you know? I wasn’t old enough to deal with that shit. But apparently, I was supposed to save her! Three days locked in a dark room, but I was somehow supposed to fuckin’ save her. I didn’t. I didn’t save her, Jeongguk, I should’ve but I fuckin’ didn’t,” Taehyung was rambling, tears finally beginning to fall from his eyes, rolling down his cheeks slowly and landing on his shaking hands. Jeongguk got up to kneel in front of him, taking Taehyung’s face in his hands.

“Who said you should’ve saved her?” Jeongguk asked. Taehyung let out a bitter laugh.

“My dad. How ironic, huh? He’s the reason we were fuckin’ captured, but it somehow ended up being my fault when they- they-” Taehyung choked. Jeongguk could feel him trembling under his fingertips.

“Who’s they, baby? What happened?” Jeongguk pried further. He knew that Taehyung would feel better if he let everything loose; he just had to push to make it happen.

Taehyung looked up then, a bitter smile stretching his lips in a way that unnerved Jeongguk.

“Your father,” he said flatly. “Under your father’s orders, my mom and I were taken from our home and tortured. And when we were finally, finally being rescued, your dad made sure to kill my mom, and tried to kill me.” Taehyung ripped his bandana off his neck harshly, the rough scar in full view again. It was evidently old yet still looked sickening, a stark white against Taehyung’s honeyed skin, puffed up and jagged.

“My- My dad? He… he did that?” Jeongguk stammered, hand falling off Taehyung’s face to run over the scar.

“I got lucky; Jin got there quick enough to save me. My mom, though, she died in the room right beside mine. I heard her scream, and gurgle, and collapse and die, I heard her die,” Taehyung hiccuped. “I still hear it at night, when it’s dark, and I’m seventeen and in that fuckin’ room all alone again and I can hear what they were doing to her- she didn’t want it, but they did it, they were laughing about it,and then they’d come to my room and they took their time, they knew how young I was, I couldn’t- they-”

“Shh, Tae, it’s okay,” Jeongguk murmured, pulling him close to hide his own tears. Jeongguk didn’t know why he was so shocked. For awhile, he was so blissfully engulfed in the relationship that he forgot that they were enemies. He forgot about their family’s feud, forgot how horrible and horrific their pasts were. But this- the fact that Jeongguk’s family had done these things to Taehyung, that the boy was dealing with all of this, but still managed to care for Jeongguk- it was baffling.

He stayed with Taehyung that night, letting the boy sleep with him in his bed, deciding on sticking a chair under the door handle to prevent anybody from entering. When he woke up the next morning, Taehyung’s flaming hair in his face, he felt an unnerving sense of tranquility.

“Mmm, too bright,” Taehyung grumbled, rubbing his face into Jeongguk’s chest. He laughed, bringing a hand up to pet Taehyung’s hair.

“Good morning,” he muttered. Taehyung blinked his eyes open, chin resting so that he could look at Jeongguk owlishly.

“Wait, I stayed over here?” Taehyung asked, becoming more and more conscious. Jeongguk nodded, tracing a hand down his cheek.

“Yep, you’re lucky my family isn’t home,” he admitted. Taehyung giggled.

“You still live with your family?” he teased. He was sitting up now, moving around so that he was almost stradling Jeongguk, rubbing his eyes with the palm of his hand.

“Well, yeah. Gang shit, you know?” Jeongguk explained weakly. Taehyung hummed, biting his lip. Jeongguk tugged at the hem of his shirt until Taehyung was leaning down, pressing his lips firmly to Jeongguk’s and making them both sigh in content.

“What should we do today?” Jeongguk asked casually once they’d broken apart. Taehyung laughed, reaching up as if to instinctively adjust his bandana before remembering that he wasn’t wearing it.

“In broad daylight?” Taehyung retorted, rolling his eyes. “Yeah, okay, sure.”

“No, really. What’s something that makes you happy?” Jeongguk wondered.

“You,” Taehyung answered, without hesitation. Jeongguk blushed, flicking Taehyung’s forehead.

“No, something else,” he snorted, ignoring the warm feeling in his chest. Taehyung pursed his lips, thinking for awhile, before he gasped.

“My puppies,” he declared, grinning widely. Jeongguk frowned.

“What?” he asked, slightly afraid of Taehyung’s answer. There was a look of fondness in Taehyung’s eyes that made Jeongguk pleased.

“The kennel, near my house? I basically run it, and I train all the puppies there and take care of them,” he explained. Jeongguk remembered the day he first saw Taehyung, at the veterinary clinic, and it all pieced together.

“Okay then, we’re gonna go visit them,” Jeongguk decided. Taehyung snorted, giving Jeongguk a once over.

“Yeah, okay, what a great idea,” he laughed. Jeongguk frowned.

“We can just dress me up, you know, to look more… uh, less… you know,” Jeongguk said, making vague motions with his hands, as if that would help Taehyung decipher what he was trying to say. The boy laughed, making Jeongguk laugh with him.

“Yeah, okay,” Taehyung giggled. “Let’s do that.”

“We have a problem, though,” Jeongguk pointed out. Taehyung’s face dropped a little.

“What?” he asked, looking puzzled. Jeongguk made a face, trying not to laugh.

“We still have to get back to your place,” he said. Taehyung made an ‘o’ shape with his mouth, nodding slowly.

“Good point. Well, c’mon, hurry up then,” Taehyung told him.

“We have another problem,” Jeongguk interrupted, making Taehyung heave a sigh.

“What this time?” he growled, obviously teasing.

“You’re laying on me,” Jeongguk pointed out. Taehyung looked down at Jeongguk’s body, back up at his face, and down to his body again.

“Again, good point,” he laughed, getting up finally and holding a hand out to help Jeongguk. Together, they snuck out of the house through back alleys and side streets, keeping their distance from one another and staying silent as possible.

Eventually, Taehyung lead him to a shabby-looking house, wiggling under a hole in the fence.

“Stay put for a second,” Taehyung told him, creeping into his house. It was silent for awhile, Jeongguk staying hidden and waiting until he heard a slam.

“You can’t keep running away from me, boy,” a deep voice laughed. Taehyung appeared in the doorway again, almost running out, but a menacing figure grabbed his arm and pulled him back.

“Let me go,” Taehyung said lowly, hardly audible to Jeongguk. The man said something back, too quiet for Jeongguk to hear, and Taehyung spit in his face, yanking his arm back and stalking away.

“I’m trying to help you!” the man groaned in frustration. Taehyung laughed bitterly.

“You’re doing a shitty job,” he deadpanned. The man crossed his arms, shaking his head.

“Whatever, Taehyung. Don’t come crying to me when you fuck up and lose your place,” he said as a final statement. Taehyung just kept walking, a duffel bag in hand, the other flipping the man off. Taehyung shimmied his way back under the fence to where Jeongguk was waiting, tossing the bag towards him.

“What was that about?” Jeongguk asked, an eyebrow raised.

“My dad’s an asshole,” Taehyung replied simply. “There’s clothes in there, they’ll make you look a little less, you know. Prissy.” Jeongguk mocked offense, holding a hand over his heart.

“I’m hurt,” he gasped, stripping off his shirt anyways, pulling out the offensive orange shirt from the bag.

“This is hideous,” Jeongguk sighed, poking a finger through one of the many holes in it. Taehyung’s jaw dropped.

“First of all, fuck you,” Taehyung said. “Second of all, fuck you.” Jeongguk rolled his eyes, pulling on a pair of sweatpants that actually didn’t have holes. The shirt was way too tight, clinging to his chest, and the pants were barely big enough to fit Jeongguk’s thighs.

“I look stupid,” Jeongguk pouted, shoving his (admittedly expensive) jeans and sweater into the bag. Taehyung gave him an appreciative once-over.

“I would argue that,” he hummed, running a hand firmly over Jeongguk’s chest. He bit his lip, looking pensive.

“What,” Jeongguk groaned. Taehyung squinted.

“Something’s missing,” he muttered. Jeongguk sat and waited for a moment.

“Oh,” Taehyung gasped, reaching forwards and aggressively rustling Jeongguk’s hair.

“What the fu-” Jeongguk started, but Taehyung interrupted before he could yell.

“Even your hair just like… screams Cheonsa. I just messed it up and it’s literally falling back into place,”  Taehyung huffed, holding a few strands and rubbing them together so they stuck up.

“Hey! Tae, I swear to god,” Jeongguk snapped, poking Taehyung’s tummy. The boy was laughing, leaning away from Jeongguk’s hands.

“Yeah, it’s good enough. C’mon, my fur babies are waiting,” Taehyung sang, skipping off. Jeongguk made a face.

“You’re disgusting.”

“My children, Jeongguk. My hairy, four-legged children.”

 

“This entire place smells bad,” Jeongguk sighed as they stepped into the building where Jeongguk had first seen Taehyung. The redhead pouted, unlocking a door with a heavy set of keys.

“It smells like happiness,” he argued.

“And shit,” Jeongguk pitched in. Taehyung laughed, pushing the door open. Right away, a wave of barking assaulted Jeongguk’s ears, making him wince. Most of the dogs were in big cages, nothing like the kennel Jeongguk was expecting. They all had plush beds and litterbox-type structures in the corner, bowls full with water and food, collections of toys and bones piled up. One of the dogs were roaming around freely, running right up to Taehyung and pouncing on him, a pile of white fluff latching onto his legs.

“Hey, Soonshimmie, calm down,” Taehyung laughed, squatting down to let the dog lick at his face. Jeongguk was unknowingly making a face at the slobber. The dog, it seemed, had just noticed Jeongguk’s presence, and started a low growl, stepping over Taehyung slightly so that he was under the dog.

“No,” Taehyung said firmly. “He’s okay. Guk, hold out your hand for him.” Jeongguk froze, realizing that Taehyung wanted him to actually interact with the dog.

“Uh, okay, I guess,” Jeongguk muttered, holding out a hand stiffly. Soonshim leaned forwards and sniffed it, going for a lick, but Jeongguk jerked his hand back before the slimy tongue could make contact with his skin.

Taehyung, who was already up and letting the other dogs free from their cages, didn’t notice Jeongguk’s inner turmoil.

“Tae, maybe-” Jeongguk tried, heart hammering in his chest. Taehyung was giggling as the puppies ran by, trying to pet them all, unaware of Jeongguk’s slight panic.

One of the dogs was sniffing Jeongguk’s ankle, a low growl noise starting from low in its throat.

“Hush,” Taehyung scolded, and the dog stopped right away. Jeongguk let out a shaky breath, watching the large animal plop down beside his feet.

“Taehyung I- Can you- It-” Jeongguk was squeaking, yelping when another dog started licking his hand. Taehyung blinked a few times at him, watching the way he held his hands close to his chest.

“Are you…” Taehyung asked, slowly, a tiny grin forming on his face.

“I’m not scared of dogs,” Jeongguk snapped back, quickly. “I just don’t like the way they slobber. And bark. And have big teeth. I just- I don’t like them.”

“Aw, you big baby, why didn’t you just tell me you were afraid of dogs? We didn’t have to come here,” Taehyung cooed, walking over to Jeongguk and squishing his face in his hands. Jeongguk pouted, ignoring the fact that Taehyung now was convinced that he had a fear of the animals.

(In reality, he denied that it was a fear. Yes, he got nervous whenever a dog was around, and yes, he would much, much rather ignore them and pretend they didn’t exist, but he was not afraid.)

“I just, I dunno. You seemed excited,” Jeongguk mumbled, making a face and refusing to look at Taehyung. If he were looking, he would have seen Taehyung’s head jerk back in surprise, would have seen his mouth fall open slightly before tilting into a soft, affectionate smile, would have seen his eyes soften and his expression melt into raw adoration. Instead, Jeongguk only saw Taehyung’s lips reaching in to connect softly with his own. It wasn’t burning and desperate like most of their encounters went; this was soft, appreciative, gentle. Jeongguk, somewhat in shock, let himself slide out of his Cheonsa facade, the emotionless slate he was supposed to be fading away in between gentle breaths from Taehyung’s mouth.   

“Thank you,” Taehyung sighed once they’d broken apart, his hands sliding down Jeongguk’s neck to rest at the base of his shoulders. “Really, Guk. That was sweet.”

“Y-Yeah, whatever,” he stuttered, blushing bright red at the way Taehyung laughed into his chest, hugging him close.

Soonshim, apparently fed up with the display of affection, decided to nudge her way in between the two of them, making Jeongguk jerk back at lightning speed.

“Woah, there, relax. Soonshimmie’s a sweetie, I promise,” Taehyung reassured. Jeongguk let out a disbelieving laugh, accepting Taehyung’s hand being held out for him for comfort.

“Taehyung, this dog has killed people,” Jeongguk reminded him, squeezing his hand when the dog started forwards again. Taehyung sat down on the floor, prompting Jeongguk to sit down with him.

“That’s only on my command. Trust me, she’s just a big cuddly bear,” Taehyung persuaded. He motioned for the dog to sit right in front of Jeongguk, who was suppressing a scream.

“Hold out your hand,” Taehyung urged. Jeongguk paled.

“I’d like to keep it attached to my body,” he quipped, leaning back when the dog leaned forwards. Taehyung sighed, standing up once more.

“Give me one minute, I’m gonna take you somewhere a little more your speed,” he said. Jeongguk sat there, watching Taehyung lead all the dogs back to their cages, giving each and every one a kiss.

“I’m never kissing you again,” Jeongguk remarked, frowning as Taehyung laughed and wiped off his mouth.

“Not even now?” he asked, leaning close to Jeongguk’s face. The Cheonsa boy gulped, shaking his head slowly.

“No,” he muttered. Taehyung’s tongue darted out to wet his lips, dragging across them slowly, obviously teasing.

“Are you sure?” Taehyung asked again, leaning even closer so that his lip barely brushed Jeongguk’s own as he spoke. Caving in, Jeongguk connected their mouths quickly.

“Fuck you,” he remarked, wiping off his mouth and rubbing it on Taehyung’s shoulder. They were both laughing, Jeongguk’s arm wound around Taehyung’s waist as they walked towards a new room.

“I’m a little nervous,” Jeongguk admitted. Taehyung giggled, opening a door similar to the first one.

“Don’t be,” he said, pushing open the door and skittering inside. Jeongguk followed, lost in the dark room.

“Babies!” Taehyung sang, flipping on the light switch to reveal… puppies. At least ten of them and one grown dog, all waking up slowly. The puppies began to get excited, wagging their little tails and skittering towards Taehyung, who was already crouched and ready to embrace them. The force of ten small dogs sent Taehyung falling on his butt, the puppies crawling over him, licking and nipping and barking. Subtly, Jeongguk snapped a few pictures, heart feeling warm and soft.

“See, these precious babies can’t scare you,” Taehyung told him, motioning for him to sit as well. Jeongguk did, not very scared around the tiny balls of fluff. Three of them pried off Taehyung and stumbled over to Jeongguk, crawling in his lap and licking at his chin. Jeongguk laughed, the sensation tickling his skin. Taehyung was grinning fondly at him, trying to keep the puppies from crawling over his head.

“Honestly, you’d think-” Taehyung began, choking when he heard another voice interrupt.

“Tae? Are you here?” a voice called from the other room. Taehyung and Jeongguk made panicked eye contact, jumping apart and untwining their hands. Act natural, Taehyung mouthed, placing the puppies back on the floor.

“In here, Chim,” Taehyung yelled back. The door creaked open, the boy with the pastel pink hair poking his head in.

“How’d I know it was you,” he deadpanned, slipping through the door so none of the puppies would escape. The boy was unbelievably pretty in a fairy-esque way, septum piercing and glitter sprinkled under his lined eyes. He wore tight red pants and a black mesh shirt, his lithe body on full display, thick black choker around his neck.

“I need to provide for my family,” Taehyung answered simply, giving his friend a hug.

(Jeongguk ignored the ugly feeling in his gut when Taehyung’s attractive friend smiled into his collarbones.)

“Hey, who’s that?” The boy asked, nodding his head towards where Jeongguk still sat on the floor.

“Oh, Jimin, this is... Guk. Guk, this is Jimin,” Taehyung introduced. Jimin raised an eyebrow.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen you around before,” Jimin said warily. Jeongguk stood, instinctively holding out a hand for Jimin to shake.

“Yeah, I’m-” Jeongguk started, but Jimin’s gasp cut him off.

“You’re Cheonsa!” he yelled, stumbling back. Jeongguk sucked in a breath, looking down at the branding on his wrist, completely visible.

“Shit,” Taehyung said quietly. Jimin was still going off.

“What the fuck is he doing here- wait. Guk. As in, Jeongguk ? Are you fucking kidding me?” he screeched. Taehyung flinched, grabbing Jeongguk’s wrist and pulling him half behind Taehyung's body, as if he could shield Jeongguk from Jimin’s wrath. Jimin looked at the way Jeongguk wrapped his hand in Taehyung’s, the way Jeongguk instinctively rubbed soothing circles into his wrist.

“Fuck, Taehyung, you idiot, ” Jimin groaned. “Get him out. We need to talk.” Jeongguk ducked his head.

“Nice to meet you, Jimin. I’m… I’m sorry,” he mumbled. As he was going to leave, Taehyung tugged his hand back, planting a kiss right on his lips, with Jimin standing not even a meter away from them. Jeongguk paled, jerking his head back.

“Relax. It’ll be fine, okay? I’ll see you later. Get home safe,” Taehyung murmured, smiling gently at him, but Jeongguk could see the nerves hidden within it. Nodding, Jeongguk slipped out the door, going to walk away but hesitating by the door. He pressed his ear to it gently, hearing Jimin’s screechy voice.

“You gotta be fuckin’ kidding, Tae, this is- this is by far the most stupid thing you’ve ever done, and that’s saying a lot,” he was scolding.

“You’re supposed to be my friend, Jimin. Please, just- can’t you keep this a secret? For me?” Taehyung pleaded. Jeongguk could imagine the look on his face.

“How the fuck can you ask that of me? You’re- you’re running around with the Cheonsa prince! That’s treason! I could get killed for even-” Jimin was shouting. Taehyung’s voice was getting louder as well, both their pitches raising.

“If nobody finds out, I won’t get killed, and neither will you,” Taehyung was reasoning. Jimin scoffed, loud enough for Jeongguk to hear through the door.

“Somebody’s going to find out, you idiot. I can’t believe you’d ever be dumb enough to think this would work. Is he really worth it, Taehyung? Is he worth-”

“He’s worth it! I just- I need you to be there for me, this won’t work on our own,” Taehyung pleaded, voice oozing desperate passion.

“No, no, this is so irrational, he’s Cheonsa-”

“Jimin, you don’t understand-”

“I understand that you’re fooling around with the enemy and-”

“I love him!” Taehyung screamed finally, effectively shutting Jimin up. There was silence, the only sound being the thundering of Jeongguk’s pulse in his own ears, forceful enough to make his hands shake and his breaths stagger.

I love him. I love him. I love him.

“I fucking love him, okay?” Taehyung repeated, quieter this time. There was a soft gasp-like noise that Jeongguk knew was Taehyung. It was so raw and painful that Jeongguk wanted nothing more than to go back in there and hold him.

“Please,” Taehyung whimpered, crackly, the last letter being emphasized by a quiet sob.

“Okay,” Jimin soothed, their voices becoming too quiet for Jeongguk to hear.

I love him. I love him. I love him.

I love you too.



“This is stupid,” Jeongguk sighed, watching Taehyung dip a sewing needle in some boiling water. Taehyung frowned, shaking the droplets at Jeongguk.

“You’re stupid,” he countered, continuing his task with a tongue peeking out from his lips. He was wrapping a thread around the needle carefully, securing it with tape and smiling at the finished product. The room was dark, lit only by scattered candles and a blue light that Taehyung insisted was necessary. Of course he didn’t have a regular light in his room, because that would be practical, and Taehyung was a stranger to practicality.

“Trust me, I’ve done this before, yeah? It’s fine, it’s no different than a regular tattoo.”

“I’m going to get blood poisoning,” Jeongguk decided. Taehyung huffed out a sigh.

“You will if you think so negatively,” he countered, pouring some ink into a little bowl. Jeongguk laughed at his logic, pulling off his shirt and laying down despite his arguments.

“That’s not how blood poisoning works, Tae,” Jeongguk tried, but Taehyung was already holding the makeshift needle over Jeongguk’s ribs.

“Have you had blood poisoning before? Huh?” Taehyung pressed. Jeongguk shook his head, wincing as Taehyung made the first poke. “Exactly. Hush up.”

Jeongguk stayed quiet as Taehyung worked, letting the uncomfortable feeling of the tattoo keep him awake. He was no virgin to tattoos; the angel wings on his back had taken three sessions to complete.

“I’m almost done,” Taehyung told him after awhile, using a cotton ball to dab at some blood from where he’d pressed too deep. Jeongguk hummed in response, watching Taehyung work with appreciation. He sat up, grinning widely.

“Finished!” he declared, dropping the needle into the garbage. Jeongguk made his way off the bed, getting close to his mirror to see the small “k.t.h” inked in his skin. It wasn’t particularly well done or beautiful, but it was Taehyung’s name in Taehyung’s writing and Jeongguk loved it.

“My turn,” he grinned evilly. Taehyung pouted, laying down in Jeongguk’s previous position.

“I’m kinda scared,” Taehyung said as he watched Jeongguk craft his own needle. Jeongguk raised an eyebrow, looking over Taehyung’s many tattoos, including a very poorly done stick and poke on his hipbone matching Jimin that read, eloquently, ‘homies.’

Jeongguk had become well acquainted with Jimin over the past while. Once the boy had witnessed them together, he decided that he would help keep their secret. Jeongguk found himself becoming friends with the pink-haired boy, much to his own surprise.

“You’ll be fine, you big baby,” Jeongguk laughed. Taehyung pouted, sitting up.

“I think I need motivation,”  Taehyung grinned, glancing up at Jeongguk through his long lashes. There was a pause, Taehyung grinning slyly, before Jeongguk sighed loudly in fake exasperation.

“C’mere, you wimp,” he laughed, grabbing Taehyung’s face and pulling it close. Taehyung was smiling into their kiss, making a content humming noise.

“See? I’m prepared now, do your worst,” Taehyung gasped, falling backwards and looking away. Jeongguk laughed at him, wiping a spot on his other hipbone and beginning to dip the needle in the ink. Taehyung hissed a little at the first few jabs, but quickly began to get used to the sting and relaxed under Jeongguk’s free hand rubbing circles on his skin.

“Wow, you’re like halfway done,” Taehyung observed, craning his neck up to look.

“Stop moving or I’ll fuck it up,” Jeongguk muttered, focusing intently. Taehyung giggled, leaning back down with a small “yes, sir.”

Eventually, Jeongguk threw the needle down with a gasp of, “I’m done!” Taehyung looked at the initials on his skin with a fond smile, the “j.j.k” branding him.

“Now we’re official,” Taehyung announced, nodding his head as if agreeing with his own statement. Jeongguk leaned over to kiss his forehead gently, smiling in only a way that Taehyung could make him smile. Taehyung grinned back at him, the full rectangular grin that made Jeongguk’s stomach tighten. In the dim lighting of the bedroom, the scent of vodka and incense almost suffocating, Jeongguk felt more intensely content than he thought he was capable of. Jeongguk crawled forwards so he and Taehyung were cuddling, Taehyung’s head nestled under Jeongguk’s chin, feet tangled together. He rubbed Taehyung’s back the way he knew Taehyung liked, hearing the other boy hum softly.

Serenity, he decided, was something he could get used to.

 

Jeongguk thought it was truly a shame that serenity never lasts.

He stood tall, panting, knuckles a mosaic of red and blues as his friends cheered around him. They were taunting, urging him on as he tried to step back, forcing him into something he didn't want to do. He didn't want to do it, he didn’t want to be there, but he had to. He had to do this. For the gang.

“What, you don’t wanna hurt the little Agma bitch?” Namjoon taunted. “Are you going soft?”

Of course he was going soft. He was going soft as Jimin looked up at him, face bruised and bloody, wide eyes screaming “It’s okay, I’m not mad at you,” even as Jeongguk kept kicking. He felt like crying, like screaming, like grabbing Jimin and dragging him out of there because he didn’t deserve this.

“Stay out of our territory,” Jeongguk snapped, a noticeable lack of edge to his voice. Jimin wasn’t looking at him, gasping in wet breaths as blood dripped from his mouth onto the pavement. “Next time we catch you, you’re fucking dead, hear me?”

“No, you’re not letting him go,” Namjoon interrupted, leaning forwards and grabbing a handful of Jimin’s hair.

“We-” Jeongguk tried, but Namjoon wasn’t having it.

“This fag broke the rules. We’re not going to let him go, are we?” Namjoon taunted. The group around them cheered, the noise deafening to Jeongguk. He didn’t move a muscle as Namjoon pushed Jimin away roughly. He was trying to think of something, anything he could do, but his mind was blank.

“You idiot,” Yoongi’s voice broke through the yelling. “Are you really trying to start a full fledged war, dipshit? You think the boss would be happy about that?”

“No, bit-” Namjoon argued. Yoongi cut him off again.

“You don’t decide who lives or dies. Beat the kid up all you want, but he better stay alive, for all of our sakes, yeah? Don’t be stupid,” Yoongi scolded. Namjoon rolled his eyes, giving Jimin a final kick before walking away.

“C’mon, guys. Let’s go,” he sighed, leading the crowd of Cheonsa away. Jeongguk followed automatically, his mind begging him to turn back and help Jimin, to make sure he didn’t bleed out on the pavement alone, but he knew that he couldn’t.

A few hours later, Jeongguk found himself pacing the junkyard, checking his watch over and over again. Taehyung finally showed up, arms crossed, bandana tied securely around his neck.

“Tae, is Jimin-” Jeongguk began frantically, heart in his throat. Taehyung didn’t stop walking until he was right in front of Jeongguk, throwing a fist in his face hard enough to send him staggering.

“Yeah, he’s fuckin’ fine, we patched him up after he dragged his fuckin’ broken body back to us half dead,” Taehyung yelled. Jeongguk flinched, holding his cheek where Taehyung’s fist had hit him.

“I’m so sorry, but I had to, they-”

“I know, you fuckin’ had to, huh? ‘Cause you’re too fuckin’ whipped by your dumb ass gang to do the right thing for once,” Taehyung ranted, pushing at Jeongguk’s chest. Jeongguk felt himself getting mad as well, pushing back at Taehyung’s hands.

“What did you expect me to do? Just say ‘hey guys, I’m actually friends with the enemy?’ I’m sure that would have gone great ,” Jeongguk argued. Taehyung laughed, the sound loud and bitter.

“How about not beat the shit out of my best friend? How about stand up to them? How about fuckin’ rebel for once in your miserable life?” he spat, running a hand through his hair in a frustrated way. “You could have at least made sure he got home. He could have died , Jeongguk, I-” Taehyung cut off when his voice cracked. For a second, Jeongguk saw a weariness in his eyes that he’d never seen before. Dully, he realized that Taehyung was Agma. He didn’t have high-tech phones with tracking devices, didn’t have high-grade medical equipment or fancy cars. He was probably used to people just not returning at all.

“I- I’m sorry, Tae,” Jeongguk choked out. Taehyung shook his head.

“Maybe this won’t work. Maybe we were just fuckin’ stupid for trying,” he muttered, almost to himself. Jeongguk froze, shaking his head.

“No, Tae, I-”

“I’ll… I’ll see you later, Guk,” he said, turning around and walking away. Jeongguk took a few steps towards him, his name on the tip of his tongue, but decided against it. Maybe Taehyung was right. Maybe they were too good to last.

 

He found himself wandering the streets alone, letting himself get lost in the winding streets, listening to the noises of nightlife.

It wasn’t until a few hours later that Jeongguk got a phone call from Yoongi.

“You should come to my house as soon as possible,” Yoongi said flatly. Jeongguk, confused, asked what he was talking about, only to get a curt, “just come,” in response. Jeongguk sped up his pace, getting to Yoongi’s house in a mere ten minutes, not bothering to knock on the door.

“What-” Jeongguk called out, cutting off when he saw Taehyung sitting on the floor. He felt dread freeze the blood in his veins, his jaw falling open.

“I’ve known for awhile, dumbass, don’t worry about me flipping shit on you,” Yoongi sighed from the couch where he was sitting.

“G-Guk, I- I came t-to-” Taehyung started, voice slurred and almost indistinguishable.

“He’s fucking smashed,” Yoongi explained curtly. “High and drunk, I think. High on the bad shit, too, not weed or anything. He’s got needle marks.”

“I-I didn’t mean ta get high, Guk, I jus- I was sad,” Taehyung explained, nodding, as if his reasoning was valid.

“Jesus, Tae,” Jeongguk sighed, rubbing his forehead. Taehyung’s lower lip wobbled.

“P-Please don’ be mad, Gukkie, ‘m sorry, I really am,” he pleaded, sounding so helpless and small that Jeongguk couldn’t help sitting down beside him, letting Taehyung lurch into his arms.

“I found him wandering around, looking for your place. He’s, uh. He’s not wearing the bandana, either. Anybody would have known who he was right away,” Yoongi said. Jeongguk buried his face in Taehyung’s hair, squeezing his eyes shut.

“You’re an idiot,” he scolded quietly, holding Taehyung tightly. Taehyung made a choked sob noise.

“‘M sorry, p-please don’t be m-mad,” he rambled. “D-Don’ leave me, ‘m sorry.” Jeongguk frowned, tracing patterns on Taehyung’s back.

“I wouldn’t leave you, baby,” he soothed, kissing Taehyung’s temple gently. The boy sobbed harder, gripping the front of Jeongguk’s shirt.

“T-Thas what Mom said, too,” Taehyung stuttered. Jeongguk pulled back slightly in surprise. “B-But she did, she left, ‘n I’m gonna make you l-leave me too, and I’ll b-be alone again.”

“Oh, baby, I’m not gonna leave,” Jeongguk tried to reassure him, voice cracking. Jeongguk looked up to Yoongi.

“I’m not gonna tell anybody, kid. I’m also not gonna tell you what or what not to do. But I am gonna tell you to be fucking careful, okay? This could end both of you,” he sighed. Jeongguk felt a tear fall from his eye, the first tear in so long that he’d let himself cry.

“I know it’s stupid. We’re stupid. We’re so incredibly stupid, Yoongi, but I can’t- I can’t get away from him. Yoongi, I- I-” Jeongguk struggled, holding Taehyung’s now-unconscious body close.

“I get it, kid,” Yoongi reassured. Jeongguk shook his head.

“I love him,” Jeongguk whispered. Yoongi’s eyes widened in surprise, knowing how heavy those words really were. His posture softened and he gave Jeongguk a sympathetic smile.

“Only love could make you do something this dangerous,” he said.

Yoongi let them stay in the house for the night. Jeongguk tucked Taehyung in, squeezing in the spare bed together.

“Gukkie,” Taehyung muttered softly.

“Yeah, Tae,” Jeongguk responded.

“I’m scared,” he muttered. Jeongguk kissed his cheek gently.

“Why, baby?”

“‘Cause you… you make me feel something other than pain. Well, ‘is pain still, in a way. Good pain. Happy pain,” Taehyung explained. Jeongguk bit his lip.

“I’m sorry,” he said, unsure of what else to do. Taehyung shook his head.

“‘S okay. We’re jus’ like… Romeo and Juliet. But with more guns, and drugs,” he tried explaining. Jeongguk laughed quietly.

“Go to sleep now, okay?”

“Yeah.”

“Goodnight, Tae,”

“‘Night, Gukkie. I’m glad you didn’t leave me.”



Jeongguk’s eyes blinked open slowly, his sleep-ridden brain struggling to process why he was awake. The sounds of distant yells and laughs registered in his mind and he groaned, rolling over and shoving his face in his pillow. Loud noise was unusual at this time of night; Jeongguk lay there, debating whether to get up and investigate. Slowly, he realized he was in Yoongi’s house. As the shouts got louder, he sat up with a groan and looked around. A small note from Taehyung was on the bedside table.

Sorry again abt last night. I’ll meet you at the spot tonight. We can talk. -k.t.h. Jeongguk, now slightly worried, made his way outside.

“Take that, you filth!” he heard someone screaming, laughs and cheers following. A small crowd was formed outside, huddled around a figure on the ground.

“Hey, what’s-” Jeongguk called out, only to be interrupted by Namjoon.

“Look what we found on our property,” he laughed, moving to the side. Jeongguk froze at the sight of a bloody Taehyung on the ground, struggling to his knees with a hand clutching his side and blood running down his face.

“I don’t know what the fuck he thought he was doing here, but he’s ours now,” One of the other boys laughed, moving forwards to kick Taehyung’s jaw, sending him sprawling onto the concrete again. “Looks like he’s not your problem anymore.”

“This is just so perfect. Your dad’s going to be thrilled,” Namjoon said. Jeongguk’s heart was thundering, his body too stunned to move as the boy grabbed Taehyung by his hair and pulled him up, punching him again and again. Taehyung didn’t make any noises aside from little gasps of pain as he was hit and kicked over and over. Jeongguk didn’t know what to do, how to help him, and he felt every hit that Taehyung took.

“Guys,” Jeongguk tried to scream, but his voice came out as a hoarse whisper. He didn’t know how to get out of this, how to save Taehyung.

He really started to panic when Namjoon pulled out a knife.

“Do you think the boss would mind if we fucked him up a bit? He’s already dirty, might as well make it worse,” Namjoon hummed. The knife pressed against Taehyung’s skin hard enough to collect beads of blood. Taehyung was heaving breaths, looking at the floor and not saying anything.

“Don’t you have any fight in you, mutt? I thought the Agma would be a little more feisty,” the boy taunted. A few onlookers laughed, urging the boy on even further. Taehyung looked up then, eyes cold and uninterested, unlike Jeongguk had ever seen them.

“Do anything you want, prissy bitch. I’ve had worse than anything you could do,” he said flatly, a wicked grin spreading onto his face as his hand came up to grab the knife. Namjoon startled, pushing harder, but Taehyung let the knife cut his hand, blood streaming down his wrist.

“You Cheonsa are all the same, yeah?” he laughed, finally looking Jeongguk in the eyes. “All of you.”

Jeongguk’s knees almost gave out, the words carving themselves into his heart.

All of you. All of you. All of you.

“Yeah, shut up,” Namjoon snapped, pulling the knife back and slashing at Taehyung’s side. Taehyung let out a small cry, curling up on the ground, looking smaller than Jeongguk had ever seen him. Jeongguk stepped forwards, eyes not leaving Taehyung’s body. (The body that he’d memorized, the body that he cherished and held and loved, the body that was now bleeding out on the pavement right in front of him.)

“Guys, we should-” Jeongguk tried, hiding the emotion lacing his voice. Namjoon turned around, holding the knife out as an offering, lips upturned in a twisted grin. His smile, a smile that Jeongguk had grown up with and used to love, now seemed evil and sinister and wrong.

“You want a turn?” he interrupted. Jeongguk could see the blood staining his otherwise pristine white sleeve. Taehyung’s blood. On the ground, on the knife, on their clothes, puddling under Taehyung.

“Yeah,” Jeongguk said flatly. Taehyung’s head snapped up, tears finally falling from his eyes and streaking the matted blood on his cheeks. Jeongguk watched as he wiped them away quickly, shuffling onto his knees proudly, a hand trying to hold in the crimson spilling from his side.

Taehyung didn’t say anything as Jeongguk stepped closer, just kept staring, eyes not wavering. Jeongguk gave Taehyung a look, hoping to convey everything he felt with a stare. Taking in a deep breath, Jeongguk drew the knife back, and brought it halfway to Taehyung’s chest before stopping.

“Oh shit, he’s got a gun!” Jeongguk yelled, stumbling backwards and dropping the knife. Taehyung froze, looking confused, before realizing Jeongguk’s plan.

“Scatter!” Yoongi yelled, appearing behind them and obviously catching on as well. Jeongguk didn’t move as the Cheonsa all ran to take cover. Taehyung was running as fast as his pummeled body would let him, stumbling over his own feet and trying to find the quickest way to escape. Jeongguk watched him as he left without looking back.

“Did he actually have a gun?” Namjoon asked, slinking out from where he’d taken cover. “Why didn’t he use it sooner?”

“I think it was a gun, I can’t be sure. Maybe he was waiting for me, because of my position and all,” Jeongguk lied, anxious to go after Taehyung. Yoongi put a hand on his shoulder.

“I didn’t see shit,” the boy said with eyes narrowed. Jeongguk shrugged, putting on a bored facade.

“Whatever. I’ll make sure he’s gone,” Jeongguk told them, starting off in the direction Taehyung went.

“Yeah, like you were supposed to months ago?” Namjoon called after him. Jeongguk just responded by holding up the finger, heartbeat threatening to send him into cardiac arrest. The amount of worry he was feeling was making him physically nauseous.

He followed in the direction of Agma territory, the taste of iron in his mouth and crescent moon shaped marks on his palms. His only clues were muscle memory and small droplets of blood here and there, evidently fresh.

He rounded an alley into Agma territory only to be met by a harsh, inhuman snarl. Jeongguk jumped back, hand snapping to the gun in his belt, before Taehyung’s voice interrupted.

“Soonshim, down,” he rasped. The dog turned around right away, trotting to Taehyung’s slumped form and licking at his hand. Jeongguk took a shaky step forward, mouth open, but Taehyung interrupted. “Just don’t.”

“Tae, I- Are you-” Jeongguk stuttered, a compressing weight on his chest cutting off all the words he wanted to scream.

“I’m fine, just. I don’t know, go away,” Taehyung said, his voice monotone and dull in a way that Jeongguk hadn’t heard from him in a long time. He watched helplessly as Taehyung stumbled and struggled to his feet, swaying once he stood and closing his eyes.

“Let me help you,” Jeongguk pleaded, reaching an arm out for Taehyung to hold on to. The injured boy just stepped back, shaking his head and baring his teeth.

“I don’t need your help, Jeongguk. This is stupid, I was stupid, I’ll deal with it,” he rambled, seeming to be talking to himself as well.

(Jeongguk, once again, found himself in the position where there were so many words trying to claw their way out of his throat that they all got stuck. He couldn’t say what he wanted to. Couldn’t scream, you dipshit, I want to help you deal with it because it’s my fault that you’re hurt and I never want to see you in pain, or yell, I’m so stupidly in love with you that though it’s irrational, I just betrayed everyone I grew up with to keep you safe.)

Jeongguk huffed out a breath, reaching to pull on Taehyung’s hand. Taehyung offered little resistance, letting himself be wrapped in the security of Jeongguk’s arms.

“What were you doing?” Jeongguk asked, worry seeping through the edges of his lips and bleeding into his words. Taehyunggs breath hitched, minorly, inaudible but for Taehyung’s lips tucked near Jeongguk’s ear and their lungs pressed together.

“Well, I wanted to g-get home, ‘cause I got a… a text...” Taehyung was mumbling, and Jeongguk could feel more and more of his weight getting dropped into Jeongguk’s arms. Jeongguk swooped Taehyung up easily, the boy’s lithe body weighing little. Soonshim let out a warning growl that Jeongguk ignored. Taehyung mumbled something else weakly, and Jeongguk felt panic growing in his chest at his slurred words.

“Louder, baby, I can’t hear you,” Jeongguk said, trying his hardest to keep Taehyung conscious.

“They s-sent me the letter. ‘M gonna go ‘t college,” he said. “A… a scholarship.” Jeongguk’s arms tightened, holding onto Taehyung a little bit closer.

“Holy shit, Tae!” Jeongguk laughed. Taehyung smiled weakly, lopsided and close-lipped.

“‘N I want ya to come with me,” he offered. Jeongguk’s quick stride stopped. He had to remind himself to keep moving, Soonshim following him closely.

“Baby, I…” Jeongguk trailed off, unable to find any words.

“‘Cause none of it matters, you know? Only you. Only you matter,” Taehyung mumbled sleepily. Jeongguk’s throat closed up, the feeling of Taehyung’s blood on his hands making him want to give up and cry.

“Sure, Tae. That sounds great,” he managed to utter out, Taehyung’s little satisfied smile doing nothing to ease his inner pain. Taehyung’s eyes were fluttering, evidently struggling to stay open.

“Hey, tell me more about the school,” Jeongguk tried, voice borderline desperate. Taehyung made a dismissive sound.

“Nuh uh, gonna sleep,” he said. His pace quickened, the sight of Agma territory fuelling him with both hope and anxiety. Suddenly, an idea struck him. Ducking into a corner, Jeongguk fished around in Taehyung’s pants until he found his phone, pulling it out and unlocking it easily. He scrolled through Taehyung’s contacts with frustration until he found what he was looking for.

“Tae? Where are you?” Jimin’s voice asked over the phone. Jeongguk took a shaky breath, a hand placed on Taehyung’s neck to monitor his pulse.

“It’s Jeongguk. Please, Jimin, I need you, he-” Jeongguk started.

“Where the fuck is Taehyung?” Jimin asked, voice changed drastically. Jeongguk felt himself worrying even more, Taehyung’s pulse starting to slow.

“He’s here, he’s hurt, I need- I need help, fast, please,” Jeongguk was pleading. Jimin let out a frustrated voice.

“Fine. I’m- I’m bringing Jin, leave Tae where he is and go-”

“No! I’m not leaving him. You can’t make me. PLus, you're- you’re hurt,” Jeongguk argued. He was running a hand through Taehyung’s hair, hoping that he could feel it. Jeongguk heard the noise of a car starting.

“You’re a fucking idiot, you know that? Tell me where you are,” Jimin snapped, and Jeongguk glanced around.

“I’m, uh, in an alley? I see a little jeweler's shop, and- um- a restaurant, and a tattoo parlour?” Jeongguk offered. Jimin made a noise.

“I know where you are. Just- don’t move. I’m on my way,” he sighed, hanging up the call before Jeongguk could say anything else.

Placing down his phone, Jeongguk sucked in a sharp breath as he glanced down at his lover. The bruising on his face was starting to show, ugly mosaics of blue and purple and red ruining the pristine canvas of Taehyung’s face. The colours were taunting Jeongguk, a screaming reminder of what his friends did, of what Jeongguk didn’t do.

Taehyung’s eyelids were fluttering, his breaths sharp and quick, and Jeongguk felt sick with worry. He’d dealt with injured people before, had been hurt himself countless times, but for some reason it felt different with Taehyung.

(He ignored the voice in the back of his head screaming that it was because he loved Taehyung in a way he’d never loved anybody before, that Taehyung mattered the most to him, that Taehyung’s life was more important than his own.)

Screeching tires brought Jeongguk back to reality. An old, beat up car slammed on the breaks right in front of the alley, a frazzled-looking Jimin hopping out of the driver’s seat. Jeongguk heaved Taehyung into his arms, starting towards the car with confident steps, the sight of Jimin’s usually-handsome face covered in bruises hurting his heart.

“No. This is as far as you go,” Jimin snapped, his eyes not on Jeongguk but scanning Taehyung’s body instead, assessing the damage. Jeongguk’s grip tightened, staring down the smaller boy with determination.

“I need to make sure he’s okay,” he said, voice quiet. Jimin was finally looking at Jeongguk, taking in his frantic eyes and tense posture. With something like a frustrated growl, he ran a hand through his hair and glanced at the sky in exasperation.

“Fine! Fine, just get in the car,” he sighed, opening the back door for Jeongguk to slide in with Taehyung. Before Jeongguk even had the door fully shut, Jimin was speeding off, the shitty car reaching speeds that weren’t legal.

“We want to make it there alive, you know,” Jeongguk snapped, cradling Taehyung’s head in his lap. Jimin didn’t respond, already dialling a number on his phone.

“...Yeah, Jin? We’re almost there… Please just, make sure nobody else is around? You’ll see, I’ll explain it all. I know, I- No, Jin, you don’t understand, just make sure we’ll be alone,” Jimin was saying, talking frantically as he sped by other cars. Jeongguk was holding Taehyung’s head gently, caressing the sides of his face.

“Listen, I’m so, so sor-” Jeongguk started, but Jimin cut him off.

“Save it. I’m not mad at you for hurting me. I’m mad that Taehyung’s hurt,” he explained. Jeongguk stayed quiet, unable to argue with that.

Not much time passed before Jimin was skidding to a stop, getting out and looking around before ushering Jeongguk inside with Taehyung in his arms.

Jin was waiting for them in the doorway, arms crossed. Jeongguk watched as he assessed Tae quickly before taking in Jeongguk.

“Shit, Jimin, what have you-” Jin snapped, pulling out a weapon.

“Stop, wait, don’t hurt him! I’ll fill you in later, it doesn’t fucking matter, you need to help Taehyung first,” Jimin yelled back, pushing past Jin and motioning for Jeongguk to follow. They laid Taehyung down on the table Jin had cleared, making sure his head was resting comfortably.

“It doesn’t matter ? How do I know that he’s not gonna turn on us? How does-” Jin was protesting, digging around a small medical box as he spoke.

“I wouldn’t hurt any of you unless you tried to hurt me first,” Jeongguk said in a low voice. “You think I like this, either? I’m here for Taehyung. I just want to make sure he’s okay, then I’ll go.”

Jin stopped what he was doing for a moment to look over at Jeongguk. He rubbed a hand over his forehead, letting out a bitter laugh.

“You’re Cheonsa. Excuse me if I’m a little confused,” Jin growled threateningly. Jeongguk stood up straighter, hands balling into fists in a way that Jin took notice of.

“Like I said, I’m here for Taehyung. It doesn’t concern you,” Jeongguk hissed. Jin took a step forward.

“Oh, it doesn’t concern me? Me, the one who practically raised him? You have the nerve to come into Agma territory-”

“Guys, stop-” Jimin tried interrupting, but Jin wasn’t done.

“-and threaten me? Pretend like you’re entitled to be here?” Jin snapped, face close to Jeongguk’s. Jeongguk didn’t back down, pushing Jin back with one hand.

“You don’t know anything,” he retorted. Jin was fuming, pushing Jeongguk back even harder.

“You fucking Cheonsa prick! I don’t care why you’re here-”

“I love him!” Jeongguk screamed finally, efficiently shutting him down. “I fucking love him, okay?”

Jin was completely silent, jaw dropped at the revelation. Jeongguk could see the gears in his head turning as he put the puzzle pieces together.

“Jesus, Tae, what have you done?” Jin said quietly, speaking more to himself to anyone else. Jeongguk’s jaw clenched, ignoring the heat in the pit of his stomach. There was another short moment of silence before Jin shook his head, turning back to his medical box and setting to work on Taehyung.

“I need to know what happened,” Jin said quietly. Jeongguk stood by the table, taking Taehyung’s hand and holding it tightly.

“He came to see me, and got caught,” he explained, voice tight. Jin shook his head.

“No, I need to know everything. From the beginning,” he clarified. Jeongguk took a deep breath and told them everything, from their first meeting to their most recent. Jin and Jimin listened quietly as they worked, letting Jeongguk spill everything.

“How long has it been?” Jin asked quietly, bandaging a wound on Taehyung’s stomach. Jeongguk looked down.

“Maybe… three months?” Jeongguk revealed. “And I know it’s not a long time but Taehyung, he… he’s made me actually feel like life is more than just surviving, you know? He showed me that there were ways that I could actually be happy. That I deserve to be happy. That we can be happy together.”

Jimin looked to Seokjin.

“Jinnie, Tae is the best I’ve ever seen him. He’s clean, he’s sober, he’s living his life. He- he told me about Jeongguk awhile ago, and I got mad, but I could just… tell, you know? I could tell it was real,” Jimin interjected. Jin backed up from Taehyung, wiping his forehead with his hand.

“All this is gonna do is cause trouble, you know that?” he sighed. Jeongguk didn’t look at him, a mantra of I know, I know, I know playing in his head but unable to leave his lips.

“I’m sorry,” was what he managed to choke out instead. Jin’s expression didn’t change. The silence was choking Jeongguk, forcing air out of his lungs with steady, unwavering pressure.

“You two are getting far away from here,” Jin decided finally. “You’re going to get as much money as you can, and go to the university Taehyung was accepted to. You’re going to get a job and stay far away from here. Got it?”

“Yes,” Jeongguk gasped out, reaching forwards to grab Jin’s hand. “Yes, thank you-”

“Don’t thank me yet. You still have to make this work,” Jin argued. Jeongguk smiled, shaking his head.

“It’ll work,” he said firmly. “It has to.”

 

Jeongguk stayed by Taehyung’s side until he regained consciousness, pushing his hair back from his forehead, worrying over the warm temperature.

“How’re you feeling, baby?” Jeongguk asked quietly. Taehyung groaned, rubbing his head into Jeongguk’s hand.

“Like shit,” he admitted, voice gravelly. Jeongguk kissed his forehead, his cheek, his chin, showering him with affection. He opened his mouth to speak, only to find that no words would come out. Taehyung, being the angel that he was, seemed to understand.

“It’s okay, Gukkie. I’m not mad at you,” Taehyung cooed, cupping Jeongguk’s cheek with his hand. Jeongguk tried to smile down at him but all he saw was the cut on his lip and the swelling on his face and the stutter in his chest when he tried to take in a deep breath.

“I’m so sick of this,” he sniffled, tracing Taehyung’s jawline with his fingertips. “All of it, I’m just so fucking tired-”

“I know, baby. But we can get out,” Taehyung told him, struggling to sit up. Jeongguk helped him, positioning his body so that he rested gently on the headboard of the bed, with Jeongguk almost straddling his legs.

“Tae, I-”

“We can get away. I got a full scholarship, Gukkie. And I- I have money, saved up. Jimin said he’d help, too, so we can at least afford a place until you get a job,” Taehyung explained. Jeongguk was gaping, amazed at Taehyung.

“When did you…” Jeongguk gaped. Taehyung smiled shyly.

“I… A little before I met you, I applied. And, with my grades, they offered a full ride,” Taehyung muttered. Jeongguk laughed, holding his face and planting a sloppy kiss on his lips.

“You’re amazing,” Jeongguk breathed, grinning like an idiot. Taehyung laughed, the two of them elated at the possibility of escape.

“Do you think we can do it?” Taehyung asked, voice soft and slightly nervous. Jeongguk thought about it for a moment, thought about how they could walk around together, how he could wake up every morning with Taehyung by his side.

“Yeah,” Jeongguk laughed. “Yeah, we can.”

With that, a plan was made. With a little help from Jin and Jimin, the two boys got ahold of bus tickets, and a date was set. Jeongguk went home, acting as if everything was normal, talking to Yoongi as if he wasn’t about to leave and never come back.

“Yoongi, you know I… I’m really thankful, for you. For how you’ve treated me all these years,” Jeongguk said gently. Yoongi narrowed his eyes, patting Jeongguk’s shoulder.

“Of course, kid. But why-” Yoongi started. Jeongguk shook his head, smiling sadly.

“Nothing. Just- Just, thank you,” Jeongguk repeated. Yoongi nodded, eyes somehow knowing.

“Yeah, sure thing.”

The days passed unbelievably slow, the thought of their escape being the only motivation Jeongguk had to complete his mundane daily tasks. His team could tell he was distracted, not paying attention during runs.

Jeongguk didn’t care that they were frustrated with him. They could be mad all they wanted; Jeongguk wasn’t going to have to deal with them ever again.

 

Eventually, the day came. Jeongguk was buzzing with excitement as he packed a light duffel bag, was elated as he left the empty manor for the final time.

It begins today, he thought, to himself. It all begins today.

The route to their junkyard was routine by then. It was a chilly day, Jeongguk’s white t-shirt not doing much to warm him. The closer he got to the rusty silver gates, the more carefree he felt. He was walking on air the whole way, suppressing a goofy grin. His phone vibrated in his pocket, prompting him to glance at the message.

I’m waiting, was all it said, the number he knew as Taehyung’s making him grin.

Good, Jeongguk wrote back, the butterflies in his stomach refusing to calm down.

The closer he got, the quicker the butterflies flew around, excited and high on love.

Finally, finally , he approached the junkyard.

And every butterfly dropped dead.

Jeongguk felt his heart lodged deep in his throat as he rounded the corner. The vision he’d had of Taehyung waiting for him was shattered, replaced instead by the morbid reality that his eyes refused to believe.

His dad, standing with a gun to the back of Taehyung’s head.

To be fair, Taehyung had the pride to keep up his facade. He didn’t look afraid despite the horrifying resemblance of the scene from eight years ago.

“So, you were leaving, then?” his father said lowly, watching the way Jeongguk’s backpack dropped from his shoulders in defeat. He couldn’t think, couldn’t breathe, couldn’t absorb the fact that everything they’d worked so hard to achieve was being pulled back right before they could even touch it.

“Please,” was all Jeongguk managed to utter, his eyes unable to leave Taehyung. He staggered a few more steps forwards, but his father clicked the safety off as soon as he got close, tightening his gold around Taehyung’s neck.

“Don’t move. For some reason, you care about this piece of shit, so I’d insist you listen to me,” his father said. Jeongguk clenched his jaw, obeying his father almost out of habit. “You have two choices. Either you kill him and come home with me, or you stay with him and die.”

“P-Please-” Jeongguk repeated, choking, words trying to claw from his withered throat and failing miserably, getting stuck in all of the panic.

“Stop it. You’re embarrassing, honestly. Make your pick and this can be over,” his father encouraged. Jeongguk looked over to where Yoongi was standing, pleading for any sort of help he could get. Yoongi wasn’t looking at him, too busy staring at his shoes, posture smaller than Jeongguk had ever seen it. Namjoon was standing just beside his father, shoulders tall and a smirk on his face, and somehow, Jeongguk knew that it was Namjoon who had ruined it all.

“Fine,” Jeongguk muttered, voice hoarse. “Fine.” Jeongguk’s dad smiled, removing the gun from Taehyung’s head to instead toss it over to Jeongguk.

“Good boy. Here-” he paused to kick in Taehyung’s knees, sending him sprawling on the dirt. “You can finish this, and then we can go back home and pretend this incident never happened.”

Jeongguk held the gun in one of his shaking hands, pointing it downwards. Taehyung looked up at him finally, eyes wide and lively and unafraid in a way that made Jeongguk’s hand steady.

“It’s okay,” he said quietly, only for Jeongguk’s ears. “It’s alright, Guk.”

Permission. Taehyung was granting him permission. Jeongguk wanted to laugh, wanted to scream at him for always trying to be a martyr, but he knew that they were stuck in a corner. There wasn’t an escape for them this time.

“I’m sorry,” Jeongguk muttered back. Taehyung smiled, wide and rectangular and tearful, as if dying by Jeongguk’s hand wouldn’t be a bad thing.

“I love you,” Taehyung said quietly, letting his eyelids fall shut, leaning his head forwards and letting the nozzle of the gun rest against it. Jeongguk made a choked noise, struggling to breathe.

“I l-love you too-” he tried to say back, his voice choppy. He was sweating, his mind whirring.

“Jesus, Jeongguk, if you don’t-”

“Watch out!” Namjoon’s voice screamed suddenly. Everything happened fast, then; a deafening bang sounded, signalling a gunshot, but Jeongguk didn’t feel any pain and he definitely didn’t pull the trigger. He fell to his knees, body instinctively covering Taehyung’s, hearing his father grunt in pain and fall. With his arms wrapped around Taehyung, he turned around, gun held towards where his father was now crouched in the dirt.

To his complete shock, Yoongi was panting, eyes wide and holding a pistol raised at his father. Jeongguk made eye contact with him briefly, mouth wide open, before he heard his father getting up.

“You fucking-” he grunted, yanking a knife out of his belt and throwing it. Jeongguk screamed, reaching an arm out as if that would somehow miraculously change the path of his father’s weapon.

Yoongi made a strangled gasp as the knife found home in his neck. He fell instantly, hands desperately clawing at the intruding object, pulling in rigid gasps as he struggled to breathe. Nobody moved, watching as Yoongi’s gasps slowed down and he eventually stopped moving all together. Taehyung was crying, holding on to Jeongguk’s wrist like his life depended on it. Jeongguk couldn’t tear his eyes away from Yoongi, from the silver fucking knife buried deep in his throat, his skin already turning a sickening grey. His mind wasn’t keeping up, wasn’t processing what Yoongi had just done.

You’re so fucking stupid, Jeongguk thought. Why would you die for me? For Taehyung? Why would you give everything up for us?

“Anybody else want to take his side?” his father snapped, holding onto his graze mark from the bullet and prying the gun from Yoongi’s hands. Jeongguk and Taehyung stood up slowly, noticing that the gang was fixated on Yoongi’s body. He started to push Taehyung backwards, praying that maybe, maybe, they could use Yoongi’s bravery to get away-

“I don’t fucking think so,” his dad laughed bitterly, pointing his newfound weapon at Jeongguk. “This is your last goddamn chance. Make your choice.”

Jeongguk could feel Taehyung’s rapid heartbeat from behind him, pressed against his back, the two of them perfectly in sync. He knew what his choice was. He’d made his choice on the night of the ferris wheel and it had been the same ever since.

“I choose him,” Jeongguk said, firmly, wrapping Taehyung’s hand in his own, pulling him to his side and holding his pistol high. He pulled the trigger, closing his eyes and feeling the weapon kick back in his hands.

But, to his dismay, he didn’t feel the bullet fly. Snapping his eyes open, he made a distressed noise, gaze flickering between his father, laughing maniacally, and the gun, seemingly empty.

“I fucking knew you’d betray me, boy. You think I’d give you a loaded gun, after hearing what I’ve been told?” he laughed. Before Jeongguk could get a word in, the sound of vehicles were heard near the entrance of the junkyard.

“It’s the Agma!” Namjoon declared, pulling his own weapon from his belt. Jeongguk’s dad rolled his eyes, and before Jeongguk had time to react, his father lifted his own gun and fired off three shots. Beside him, Taehyung made an oomf sound, stumbling a few steps back before collapsing.

“No,” Jeongguk said, flatly, looking down at Taehyung’s panicked eyes. “No. No, please, no, no!

“G-G-Guk-” Taehyung was gasping, his hand still connected with Jeongguk’s. Everything else was white noise around him, the sounds of the Agma vehicles pulling up sounding far away, but Taehyung’s small, wet gasps were deafening.

Three wounds. Jeongguk had heard three shots, and now he saw three wounds, all sunken into Taehyung’s chest. Each one was spilling crimson blood over his hands as he tried desperately to close them, putting as much pressure on them as possible, but he only had two hands, and there were three wounds.

The screaming around them rose as the Agma began piling out of their vehicles. Jeongguk caught glimpses of the fight beginning, his father and Taehyung’s father and Jimin and Jin being seen briefly in the madness. He wondered, subtly, if they knew that Taehyung was laying in Jeongguk’s arms right then.

“Hey, baby, look at me. That’s it, eyes open,” Jeongguk encouraged, trying to sound as normal as possible, but that was incredibly hard to do when his entire world was crumbling to ashes in the span of a few minutes, when tears were dripping from his chin and running down Taehyung’s neck, when the person who hung the moon and the stars for him was wilting and making them wilt with him.

Taehyung tried to speak, making an incoherent gurgle, blood bubbling over his lips and splaying over Jeongguk’s face.

“You’re doing great, just- just hold on- just-” Jeongguk stuttered, but it was no use; Taehyung’s eyes were fading, his gasps slowing, and it sunk in that Jeongguk was watching him die. Taehyung was dying. He was dying right in Jeongguk’s arms, as their family and friends fought and screamed around them, as Yoongi’s body lay not a meter away.

Taehyung’s chest rattled, fell, and stopped moving.

Jeongguk’s hands slid off his chest slowly.

He sat, between the two bodies of his two most loved ones, covered in blood that wasn’t his own, listening to the pain and anger around him.

Dully, he thought about how it was always too good to be true. Because why, in this world, would anything ever go right? If there was a God, why would he let things like this happen?

His mind stopped thinking after that. He forgot about God, forgot about gangs and death and tragedy.

He glanced to his left, blinking a few times before reaching out and grabbing the gun somebody must have dropped.

He wound his fingers around Taehyung’s limp ones, raising his hand to press a chaste kiss to the skin of his knuckles.

He didn’t think anymore. He just pulled the trigger.

And died holding the hand of the one he could never have.