Taehyung returns to his home like every other weekday, yells down the hallway, “I’m home,” as he toes off his shoes and slips into fuzzy slippers. There's one dim light on in the living room, so Seokjin's most definitely home.
He gets a loud snort in response from Seokjin, who's knocked cold on the couch in his loosened tie and wrinkled suit, looking every bit the corporate slave he is. When Taehyung moves closer, he spots the wet patch of drool on his ghibli cushions.
“Jinnie, you fucker,” he mutters, but makes sure to pull the thin blanket draped on the couch over Seokjin's form before he leaves to wash up.
He's almost about to leave when Seokjin's voice, groggy and hoarse from his nap, calls out to him. “Tae.”
“Did I wake you up?” he drops back onto the couch, landing on Seokjin's thighs.
Seokjin rubs at his eyes, pouts in response. “What time is it?” he asks, trying to blink away the rest of his fading sleep.
Taehyung looks at his watch. “A little over 9. Fuck, I'm famished. Had dinner?”
“Not yet,” Seokjin says and sits up. “Too tired to cook. Ramen or takeout?”
Taehyung hums thoughtfully. “Takeout is too much effort. I'll boil the water.”
Seokjin nods in agreement, slumping back into the couch. Then, he jumps up in realization and swiftly trails after. “Wait, didn't you have a date today?”
“Yeah, funny story.” He fills the kettle up and sets it on the stove. Seokjin props himself up on the countertop, staring at him curiously.
“We were talking generally, I was telling him about us just in case, and then he had this whole epiphany that he was in love with his best friend and then he ran out on me to go and confess before I could order the appetizers. Kinda lost my appetite after that, so came back home.”
“That sucks,” Seokjin frowns. “Should I be apologizing to you?”
“What for?” Taehyung says, smiling as he leans down and pushes Seokjin’s legs apart to open the cupboard.
“You know,” Seokjin says awkwardly, like he always does. He doesn't elaborate further, and Taehyung's amused smile grows wider.
“I know,” Taehyung replies and stands up, gently knocking Seokjin's knee with the cups in hand.
Seokjin smiles back, following Taehyung around with his gaze. “What?” Taehyung says without looking as he pulls out chopsticks from the drawer.
“You ever wonder how it would be if we dated?”
He says it all too easily, in the same tone he'd ask if Taehyung had seen his glasses. Taehyung considers it for a moment. “Why, all of a sudden?”
“A friend at work brought it up,” he says. “He said all our dates flop because we're too tuned in to each other to try and tune in with anyone else.”
“And he said we had two options if we wanted to have a successful love life. Either distance ourselves from each other-”
“I'd rather die,” Taehyung cuts in. Seokjin blinks in surprise, maybe because of how sincere he sounded.
“Me too,” he says, swinging a leg to softly strike Taehyung's butt. To Taehyung, being blunt about his attachment to Seokjin comes as naturally as it doesn't for Seokjin. Seokjin's way is this, so playful that to an outsider it wouldn't even make sense.
“And the other was to date each other?” Taehyung asks. The kettle goes off furiously in the background like a warning bell, but Taehyung's not one for universal signs.
“For a week,” Seokjin says quickly. “Like a trial, to see if we work just as well as a couple.”
“And if we don't?”
“Then we go back to the usual routine,” Seokjin says, reaching past him to turn off the stove.
Taehyung raises an eyebrow in question. “You're sure it won't be awkward after?”
Seokjin hooks his foot around Taehyung's calf and drags him closer. “I know it'll never be awkward when it comes to you, buffoon.”
There's an uneasy blush that creeps up Taehyung's cheeks. “Ugh, I hate when you get all sappy.”
“Fuck off,” Seokjin punches his chest sleepily. “Listen, I can't say I haven't thought about it “
“I mean,” Seokjin blanches, looking down. “We got through high school with girlfriends, but in college, before you had Jungkook... they kept teasing us, and when we switched roommates to get each other they kept saying we should be married by now….it would be easy, is what I am saying. We know each other too damn well.”
“Very easy,” Taehyung nods. Same neighborhood, same school, same university - they were with each other in the trifecta of growing up memories. “Especially for me: I've never had another best friend.”
Seokjin looks up, offended. “Hey, neither have I!”
“Lies,” Taehyung jumps, giggling through his accusation. “Your mum told me all about you and Sana from Tokyo.”
“I was 4 back then, we weren't even in the same country!” Seokjin exclaims. When Taehyung waves off the excuse, he whines. “I didn't even know what a best friend was. She used to share her food with me, so I hung out with her.”
Taehyung chuckles. “Seemingly, all your best friendships start with someone sharing food with you.”
“I don't even know where she is,” Seokjin mumbles. “You're the only best friend I remember.”
“Okay you big baby,” Taehyung says, pinching Seokjin's cheeks with all his might. “I'm your first and only best friend. Better?”
Seokjin pulls away and makes a face. “So should we try? Do you want to think about it a little? Or just a flat no? I'm okay with anything, just so you know.”
Taehyung, unlike Seokjin, hasn't ever given it a thought, never had the chance to. He had a string of girlfriends since he began dating, and then he had Jungkook throughout college, and 2 years after that as well. Seokjin's….just Seokjin. His best friend, yes but not just. He's never been able to put it in words, not in his head, not in speech.
“Hungry,” Seokjin says, hopping off towards the abandoned ramen cups.
“You promise nothing will change? No matter what?”
Seokjin peels off the lids. “Duh. That's the whole point. We're going to be the same...just, dating.”
“You mean, physical stuff?”
“We don't have to,” Seokjin says, pouring water into the cups. “Just treat me like you treated Jungkook while you were dating, and I'll do the same.”
“So you're going to slap my neck every time you see me.”
“You're being difficult,” Seokjin says and spins around. “I don't know how different things will be, Tae. It won't be completely normal by our standards, but it won't be awkward as well. I won't let it, and you won't let it happen.”
Taehyung bites his smile in. Seokjin looks frazzled, but somewhat hopeful. Eh, he has nothing to lose.
“Okay, let's start tomorrow. That way we'll end on Christmas.” he says. “You want to watch a movie?
Seokjin shrugs, turns around. “As long as it's not The Incredibles.”
“Then no, thanks.”
When Taehyung trudges out of bed, out of his room and into the kitchen, Seokjin's already breaking his third egg into the pan. It's so routine that Taehyung almost forgets.
“Good morning Tae,” he says, reaching out for the sugar.
“Good morning…..” Taehyung trails off. “.... honey?”
“God no,” Seokjin says in disgust.
Taehyung cackles and drags his feet to the counter. “Darling? Sweetheart? Honeybun? I don't know, I'm just trying a term of affection.”
“We have terms of affection for each other.” He points the spatula in hand at himself, then Taehyung. “Jinnie and Taetae.”
“You let Hoseok call you ‘babe’ when you guys were dating.”
“That's different,” Seokjin says. “You can call me 'babe’ if you want though.”
Taehyung shakes his head, spinning around on the barstool. “Nah, I'll stick to ‘Jinnie’.”
“Right choice,” he says, flipping the eggs. He falls silent, staring at the pan as Taehyung stares at him. Yesterday had been severely awkward as they tried to discuss over popcorn how they'd go about the week. They'd given up halfway through, deciding to eat in silence and quietly retreating to their rooms afterwards, citing sleepiness Taehyung knew neither of them had.
“Jinnie, I stayed up doing some research yesterday night.”
“Okay?” Seokjin says, looking up curiously. “What kind of research?”
“On how to date your best friend.”
Seokjin stifles a smile and nods. “And what does research suggest?”
“There was a whole list of do’s and don'ts, but it was pretty useless otherwise.”
Seokjin nods again, slowly this time. “You're pretty useless,” he grumbles under his breath, practically inaudible but Taehyung catches it.
“I'm just trying to make this less awkward, okay!”
“ You're the one making it awkward at all in the first place!” Seokjin protests. “I called you to cuddle last night and you looked at me like I was planning to deflower you. When have you ever refused a cuddle?”
“I wanted to research this !” Taehyung retorts. He looks down guiltily, regretting it. “Sorry.”
“Nah, it's cool.” Seokjin says softly, takes the done plate of eggs and slides it in front of him. “Let's not restrict ourselves from doing things we always did, is all.”
“Mmhmm,” Taehyung says. “Thanks for breakfast. You're not eating?”
“Going for a jog, I have time today. You wanna come? You know what they say, ‘Boyfriends who jog together, stay together.’ ”
Taehyung waves him off with a yawn. “Never worked out, not going to start now. Plus, I have to reach work early today. Nasty client is back.”
Seokjin purses his lips in understanding. “I sympathize. Bye then.”
Taehyung waves him goodbye lazily, but Seokjin's still hovering at the door, looking back and forth between the door and him.
“Fuck it,” he says, crosses the distance between them in two long strides and pecks Taehyung's cheek in the softest of kisses.
Taehyung stares blankly, the spot on his cheek where Seokjin's lips had grazed tingling.
“Apparently tradition dictates that new couples should kiss their partner goodbye before they leave for work. Never really tried it with anyone though…..anyway, I'll see you at night?”
Taehyung's face breaks out into a teasing grin. “You did research, didn't you, you cheeky little shit?”
Seokjin doesn't reply, turning his back and walking out just as swiftly as he had come.
“What a fucking hypocrite!” Taehyung yells after him. He turns to the breakfast awaiting him.
“Bye babe,” Taehyung responds with his mouth full of egg.
“Oh fuck off,” Seokjin says, shutting the door behind him.
Taehyung touches his cheek, the spot still tingling and decides he quite likes kisses on the cheek when they're from Seokjin.
“So, I'm sorry the date didn't work out yesterday,” Jimin, friend, colleague and matchmaker extraordinaire says warily as he dumps his tray and sits across from Taehyung.
“Oh, no problem,” Taehyung says. He'd completely forgotten about it, but then again he hasn't been able to remember much else since Seokjin's dumb cheek kiss.
Jimin does a double take. “Really?”
“Yeah. I came back home after he ran off. Seokjin and I were talking last night, and we ended up deciding on dating each other on a trial basis.”
“Seokjin? Your roommate Seokjin?”
“Your first and only best friend Seokjin?”
“That's the one.”
Jimin gapes at Taehyung for a long moment. “What the hell's a trial dating?”
Taehyung takes a swig of his coke and shrugs. “Like we're gonna try being a couple for 7 days, and assess how it went at the end of it.”
“I always knew you liked him,” Jimin says. “Always talking about him anyway.”
“ I didn't even know I liked him,” Taehyung says. He’s not even sure now, but he won't let Jimin know that. “We're trying not to make it awkward.”
“Relax, you were made for each other.”
Taehyung smiles coyly into his plate. He's heard it more than enough from acquaintances and friends and family, brushed it off and groaned at it and changed the topic swiftly.
Today, it still sounds weird but also strangely reassuring.
“Anyway, will you be interested in a double date with Me and Namjoon tomorrow? There's a new Italian place down the street that we wanted to try.”
“I'll have to ask my boyfriend,” Taehyung says, almost laughs out loud when he does.
Taehyung reaches home at 10 pm, completely drained of all mental strength. He smells pasta right when he enters and Seokjin's browsing lazily through business news channels on the couch with his feet tucked in.
“Sup,” Seokjin says, saluting him with the remote in hand.
Taehyung salutes back with his stinky sock. “Jimin-ie wants us to go on a double date with him and his husband to the new italian place. You free tomorrow?”
Seokjin bites his lip in thought. “I am….but is our first real date going to be a double date?”
“Wow, you're taking this really seriously, huh?”
Seokjin's eyes widen in alarm. “I was just kidding, I don't actually care, everything's chill-”
“Jinnie, breathe.” Taehyung beams at him. Flustered Seokjin is a madly cute sight to see; then, now and forever. “You want to go on a real date first? I can always reschedule with Jimin.”
“Yeah,” Seokjin breathes. “Yeah, okay. Tomorrow night then? I'll take you out?”
“And I'll take you out on 21st. Cool?”
“Cool,” Seokjin smiles. “Go eat, I couldn't wait for you.”
“What a terrible boyfriend,” Taehyung mumbles as he walks away, barely hiding the mirth in his tone. He doesn't miss the coy smile on Seokjin's face.
Taehyung's not used to being picked up from work, but especially not used to his colleagues ogling his ride.
He walks out the studio building with his team, a slight skip in his step, and Seokjin's waiting for him in his sharpest suit, leaning against his car as he checks his watch. If Taehyung's smile grows wider at the sight, no one mentions it.
“Fuck, that guy is hot,” Heeyeon says sultrily, and Taehyung fluffs up his chest with pride.
“God, what a fine specimen.” another voice agrees behind her. When he looks around, everyone has their eyes trained on Seokjin.
Tae leaves them behind and jogs confidently over to the car. “Can you believe I dressed up for you-” Seokjin starts.
“Put your arms around me,” Taehyung interrupts.
“Okay,” Seokjin says suspiciously, snaking his arms around Taehyung's waist and tugging him closer. “Showing me off to your colleagues?”
“This is the only time your looks have been useful to me,” Taehyung says. “Let me milk them for their worth.”
Seokjin gasps. “I feel used.”
“You'll live,” Taehyung rolls his eyes.
“Sunbaenim!” the 2 month old intern(whose name Taehyung always forgets) calls out and Taehyung turns around in his arms. “Is this your boyfriend?”
“Taehyung-ie, I am so sorry, ” Heeyeon says, head low in apology.
“Ah, it's alright. Guys, this is Seokjin.”
“Ohhh,” Everyone choruses. Seokjin looks entertained as he waits for an explanation.
“We should've known,” Hyungwon cackles. “He talks about you 24/7.”
“Nice,” Seokjin tells Taehyung. “But it's probably because I'm the only one who has stuck by his annoying ass since….20 years now?”
Taehyung sticks his tongue out. “No, you just followed me wherever I went.”
Hyosung sighs dreamily. “You're lucky, sunbaenim. He's…..perfect.”
Perfect, his ass. Seokjin's smug smile is hard to wipe off in the car, even when he plays New Face for the 20th time.
“Heard your esteemed colleagues? I'm perfect,” Seokjin says, tapping his fingers to the beat on the wheel. It's unbelievable that he hasn't torn off his hair at this point.
“Perfectly annoying,” Taehyung says as Seokjin cockily pushes his hair back. You look good. Really, mind-blowingly good. “I hope you had a terrible day at work.”
“Work was amazing, thank you. You up for French?” Seokjin's hand quietly takes his across the stick, interlacing Taehyung's fingers with his.
“Up for anything,” Taehyung says, bouncing their joined hands together on his lap. “Work was a bitch.”
“Oh yeah?” Seokjin squeezes his hand. “Tell me more.”
Dinner is….lovely. It's the usual, Taehyung wants to say, but it isn't. They talk, eat and steal off each other's plates silently, as always. But the air's different, new and exciting. Taehyung pays more attention to Seokjin than the food for once, and when they play footsie under the table Seokjin drags a sly toe up Taehyung's leg, not too far up but slow enough to make him jump in his seat; unfair play, if someone asked him.
He dozes off somewhere on the way home, and Seokjin lifts him up and out of the seat, bridal style. He tries to ignore how he usually gets jerked, slapped and kicked awake, and keeps his eyes shut.
“If you're just pretending to sleep, I'll have you know you're breaking my arms and if I see you so much as open half an eye I'll drop you right here.”
Taehyung opens them both, stares right back into Seokjin's in a silent dare. Drop me.
A tired sigh, and Seokjin shifts Taehyung in his arms till he's comfortable. “One day I will. You have the keys, right?”
“Yeah,” says Taehyung, fishing in his pocket. He should probably remind Seokjin to put him down, but there's a girl enviously glaring at them in the lobby and he'll shamelessly enjoy the attention for as long as he can.
When they reach the apartment, Seokjin starts moving in the direction of his room. He tugs at Seokjin's collar to grab his attention. “Let's go to yours.”
Seokjin looks down, evident surprise on his face. “You sure?”
“Mmhmm,” he replies. “I need a cuddle. It's been a long day.”
He expects it, waits for it, but when Seokjin breaks into song he still laughs heartily, throwing his head back. “It's been a long day, without you my friend, and I'll tell you all about it when I see you again.”
Seokjin's shoulders shake along with his, laughing as he continues singing. “Stop, I'm literally bouncing in your arms,” Taehyung says, but he doesn't really want it to stop. He likes when Seokjin's laughing so hard, his laugh lines pop out and crow feet appear at the corner of his eyes.
He dumps Taehyung on the bed with a flourish, crawling next to him like a cat. The thing is, Taehyung doesn't know how this should be different from his other partners, just knows it should. Seokjin's almost a part of him now; he doesn't even laugh it off when his parents joke over the phone about how they're always with each other, they might just fuse into one. Because Taehyung feels it. Feels Seokjin's rare absence pinch his guts, feels himself always seeking out Seokjin's opinion, Seokjin’s approval, Seokjin's happiness, Seokjin, Seokjin, Seokjin. It's an emotion categorized and reserved only for him, has always been since he was all of 5.
And yet, they've just always been...best friends. Just that and nothing more.
“Penny for your thoughts?” Seokjin asks softly, sliding closer to tuck Taehyung under his cheek.
Taehyung ponders for a moment, then shifts up so he's face to face with Seokjin. He loops an arm around his waist, hooks a leg around his hips and inches closer. “I want to see you,” is all he offers in way of explanation to Seokjin's puzzled look. “It's been really long since we cuddled.”
Seokjin nods distractedly, eyes flitting over Taehyung's face. “Almost too long. Was the last time...2 years ago?”
“Yeah, when I broke up with Jungkook. We almost cuddled after you and Hoseok, no? Last month?”
Seokjin smiles sheepishly. “Yeah, before I threw up.” He pauses, expression turning unreadable as he says, “Do you wonder why we automatically didn't cuddle when we had significant others? I mean, I know we could always go to them for cuddles, but when we couldn't? When they were miles away and we were barely meters away?”
Taehyung wonders. There had been nights, he can recall, that he'd wanted to. Just go right into Seokjin's room and tuck his head under Seokjin's cheek and be held.
His silent thought is far too long a pause, and Seokjin answers for them both: “Did you maybe...feel it would be cheating?”
Taehyung did. Now that he thinks about it, he did feel it would be unfair to Jungkook, who'd always been comfortable with their friendship, never once doubted them. He'd call up Jungkook immediately after shedding the thought away, talk to him for hours and remind him how much he loved and missed his man.
“We probably knew,” says Seokjin. “That this was too intimate.”
It is. Especially like this, when Taehyung can actually see Seokjin's face inches away from his, notice his plush, marshmallow-soft lips(that he's actually applied lip balm on, how has he never noticed) that arouses a kind of prepubescent curiosity in him.
He brings his hand up to Seokjin's face. “I know you hate having your face touched, but I'm going for something here.”
“It's fine,” Seokjin says, biting his lip nervously and it's driving an already confused Taehyung just a little crazy. “Should we kiss?”
“If you want to,” Taehyung says, going for nonchalant but knows he came off far more eager. “Close your eyes.”
Seokjin's eyes flutter shut, and Taehyung puckers up his lips. Moves forward a minuscule amount, a little more, a little more, then stops. He wants to, so badly wants to and yet.
“Get on with it,” Seokjin says, looking slightly irritated as he waits.
“Can't,” he says in a small voice, shutting his own eyes before he can catch the disappointment on Seokjin's face. “I'm scared.”
“Me too!” Seokjin whines loudly and sits up on his knees, startling him. “It's like, we had this invisible romantic barrier between us that none of us bothered to pay attention to, and this kiss is going to shatter it into pieces.”
“Right?” Taehyung springs up. “We can't really turn back from here. I'll know how your lips feel.”
“We should wait,” Seokjin says decisively. “Till we're a little more sure. We have 5 more days. If it's gonna be our first kiss, it should be….. special.” He sounds pretty embarrassed saying it, like his sentiment won't be returned.
“Yeah, we have time,” Taehyung nods fervently. “Sleep?”
“Sleep,” Seokjin echoes, falling back and dragging him down by the hand. Taehyung shuffles down till he's face first into Seokjin's chest, and after a silent moment of contemplation says, “I wanted to, though. Was excited...before I chickened out. Just so you know.”
“Me too,” Seokjin mumbles against his hair, and Taehyung's tight chest relaxes in relief. “Excited.”
Taehyung doesn't do double dates. He's had proper one on one dates, and then he's had three person dates where either he or Seokjin usually ended up being the third wheel. Double dates always felt too suburban-married-couples for his liking, and Seokjin agrees. Apart from a couples bowling event which was probably more than a double date, this is his first.
The new Italian bistro is way too fancy for Seokjin's taste, and just the right amount of fancy for Taehyung's. Jimin and Namjoon are sitting by the window, still oblivious to their arrival. They stand outside the doors, just a minute to breathe before they go in.
“Jimin hasn't told his husband about us,” Taehyung informs, smoothing out a stray strand of hair on Seokjin's head that had been poking out. “This is like an exam of sorts. See how we fare is a couple in civilized society.”
“It's not like we have to fake anything.” Seokjin fixes Taehyung's collars, steps back to take a look. “Fine. You look fi- good. You look good.”
Taehyung feels himself go pink, unsure of how to take a compliment so direct from Seokjin. “You too…..look good. Sharp. Ready to go in?”
“Yeah,” says Seokjin, letting out a steadying breath. He holds onto Taehyung's shoulder and leans in, plants a slightly wet kiss on his cheek and pulls back with a bright smile, that Taehyung can't help mirror. “Let's go in.”
“Gross, you got saliva on my cheek.” he follows Seokjin through the doors.
Seokjin turns back and smirks cheekily, but there's a happy glint in his eyes that almost makes him crack and give up his fake anger. “Don't see you wiping it off, though.”
No, he doesn't.
Namjoon, it turns out, is Seokjin's ex-client, and also a poor victim of the friendzone.
“He rejected me outright,” Namjoon says over his glass of wine. “But it turned out well, because I went to drown my sorrows in the same bar that my husband did.”
Jimin gleams at the mention of the word, his post-wedding glow shining brighter than ever. “Thank you, Seokjin-ssi,” he jokes, resting his head on Namjoon's wide shoulder. Seokjin buries his own head into Taehyung's shoulder, groaning with embarrassment. If he tries, he can almost imagine how it would look to a stranger. Married.
“You guys are so fucking cute,” Jimin whispers to him when Namjoon and Seokjin have tapped into their own conversation, ‘letting the art designers whine about work’.
Taehyung doesn't know how to react. He knows they're cute together, has heard this too among the barrage of playful taunts they always received. He settles on a quiet, unusually coy 'Thanks’ that has Jimin giggling uncontrollably.
“I've never seen you like this,” he intones. “Blushing bridegroom.”
“Bridegroom?” he sputters, setting down his glass before he spills any more. “It's been two whole days.”
“We'll see,” Jimin says with an annoying smile as Seokjin turns his attention to Taehyung, rubbing his back worriedly. Taehyung makes sure he stabs Jimin's foot with his own before he slides out the booth and excuses himself to the washroom. He doesn't really notice Seokjin eyeing him warily, mind turning into jelly as it runs through Jimin's words over and over.
He locks himself into a vestibule, breathing deeply like his yoga instructor from that one workshop he'd taken on a whim had taught him. His phone chimes dutifully within seconds.
Fuck. He's not sure if Seokjin heard them or just made a guess from his disturbed expression, but fuck.
just a little, i’ll be ok
He waits restlessly for a reply, but it takes a good tense minute to come.
i feel u
this is so domestic
Taehyung's fingers hover over the reply, typing and deleting and rephrasing till he doesn't know what he intended originally. Has he spent more than the appropriate time in the washroom? He's contemplating not replying at all, when Seokjin just fucking calls up.
“Don't worry, I came outside. You're my 'business call’ “.
Taehyung smiles despite the gloomy pit in his stomach. “Hey. Sorry I left you out there alone.”
“Nah, we're good. What were you and Jimin talking about that got you all flustered?”
“Just…” Taehyung tries to word it better, not freak him out as well. “...the future. Shit about us in the future. I don't want to talk about it really, it wasn't too serious. I'm just on edge.”
“Tae.” A quiet pause, longer than comfortable. “Do you...maybe want to stop? I don't want you worrying over this any more, that's not what this is supposed to make you feel-”
“I don't,” Taehyung finds himself saying firmly. He finds when he thinks back, that he quite likes the meaningful holding of hands and cheek kisses and face to face cuddles and calling Seokjin 'boyfriend’. He's not ready to stop yet. “Not at all.”
“Okay,” Seokjin replies shakily. “Come out quick then, we're with company. I'll just tell them you're taking a particularly large dump.”
“Oh, suck a dick.”
“Only if it's yours,” Seokjin says sweetly. It's a generic response, Taehyung knows it is, but they both go awkwardly silent at it. Taehyung's most definitely not imagining it, so he clears his throat and says, “I'll be right out.”
“Yeah, you do that.”
He catches Seokjin waiting for him with 'help-me-I-am-out-of-my-depth-here’ eyes. “What did I miss?” Taehyung asks as he slides back in, knocking his knee against Seokjin's in silent assurance.
“We were discussing how Seokjin friendzoned another friend of mine,” says Jimin, giggling away to glory. Taehyung joins him and gets flipped off under the table by Seokjin.
The uneasy pit fills itself immediately.
By the time dinner is done and goodbyes are said at the footpath, Taehyung's more than a little tipsy from the wine and clinging onto Seokjin's neck with one hand as he waves goodbye with the other. It's only 9, but towards the end Jimin had gotten handsy in his newlywed haze, and it was hard to pretend to not notice Namjoon squirming in his seat as Jimin's hand refused to reappear on the table. If Taehyung weren't inebriated, he’d worry about how he's going to look Jimin in the eye tomorrow.
“They're gonna fuck,” Taehyung says to Seokjin like it's newly discovered gossip. “In fact they were almost fucking at dinner.”
“Obviously. It's their literal honeymoon phase.”
Their building is at walking distance from here, but Seokjin's pulling him in the opposite direction for some odd reason. Or maybe he's just too gone to identify the right way.
“Seeeeokjiiin,” he sings. “Where are we off to?”
“You'll know soon enough.” he tugs off his tie, holding it out tentatively before him. “You don't have issues being blindfolded right?”
“Too soon for the kinky shit, isn't it?” Taehyung laughs, a sad little chuckle at his own joke. “No, I am not. Ooo, do you have a surprise for me or what?”
Seokjin rolls his eyes and hauls a cab. “No, I'm gonna gag you with this till we reach.”
“Even better,” Taehyung waggles his brows in response. He's feeling more flirty than usual, in the mood to feel up Seokjin's toned arm repeatedly and wink exaggeratedly till he gets the point and just fucking kisses him already.
“Wow you're gone,” Seokjin says with a fond yet exasperated sigh. He pulls out his phone and turns away from Taehyung, letting Taehyung's hand slip away from his neck but catching hold of it just before it falls to his side.
He speaks softly, something about rescheduling for tomorrow and apologizing to some Seungwan for the inconvenience. Taehyung can’t place her name anywhere.
“Maybe another time,” he says when the call’s done, hanging his tie back onto his neck. “Home?”
“Home,” Taehyung nods happily. Seokjin's cheeks are baby pink from the cold, just a bit swollen from the heavy dinner and calling out to his dizzy, amorously charged mind. He lunges forward, pressing his face to the left one for a little too long, and pulls away with a smacking sound.
“What was that for?” asks Seokjin, and the flush on his cheeks deepens. Good to know he isn't alone.
Taehyung offers him a shrug, jumps onto his back and lets himself be hauled up. “Too drunk to kiss you properly; had to make do with this,” he murmurs in Seokjin’s ear, right before the exhaustion of the day wins over his consciousness.
“You're kidding me.”
“Yeah totally,” Seokjin says, voice dripping with sarcasm. “This is actually a Mario store.”
“Have you ever stepped into a art gallery in your life?” Taehyung asks. He stares at the paintings with wide eyes, but his awe is for a completely different reason today.
“You know I haven't.” he picks up a glass of champagne from the waiter passing by and takes a swift sip. “But someone else has, she practically lives here.”
Seungwan, the curator is another one of Seokjin's clients, a gorgeous woman who's more than happy to escort Taehyung around and talk art with him, also knowing when to step back when she senses that Taehyung just needs a quiet moment alone to appreciate the works. He catches Seokjin eyeing her with barely hidden envy more than a few times, the worst when she and Taehyung simultaneously get excited and discuss Van Gogh with an enthusiasm he knows Seokjin won't ever be able to muster on this subject. He ends up draining 2 glasses of champagne by the end of it just to cool himself down, and damn if Taehyung doesn't find it just a little hot.
“I learnt a lot,” he tries when they're out the doors, wrapped in thick scarves as they head out for Christmas shopping. “Very informative.”
“You were bored out of your mind,” Taehyung says plainly. Shouldn't be contemplating at this stage, but he still does before he just lets himself go and loops his arm around Seokjin's. It's unbelievably cozy, and Taehyung decides he's never going to think twice from now on. “It's fine, you are allowed to be.”
“I just don't understand the hype,” he reasons. “But it's good seeing you excited about stuff.”
“There's very less I'm not excited by,” Taehyung assures. “Next time you could choose something we're both excited by. Not saying I didn't have a good time, though. It's a lovely gallery and Seungwan was lovely too.”
“She is, isn't she?” it's not genuine at all, but Taehyung lets it slide. Green's a good color on Seokjin.
“We're not buying another tree, for fuck’s sake.” They're staring at an upgraded, denser version of their fake, detachable christmas tree. It looks a 100 times more realistic, and Taehyung feels a silly stubbornness to buy it.
“We'll just donate the old one,” he pleads. “Put your fat bonus check to good use, man.” As a last resort, he pulls out of his bag of persuading tricks his best puppy face - his big, shiny eyes and cute little pout.
Seokjin deadpans at him. “No. Moving on,” he walks towards the baubles and ornaments rack, pausing near the the fancy, customized character ones.
“Dare you buy those ugly Star Wars baubles,” Taehyung wags a finger at him. “I'm not tainting my Christmas tree with that ugly Darth Vader shit.”
Seokjin squints at him like he's crazy. “Did you not see how cool it looked last year at Joohyun’s party last year?”
“Did you not see how much her girlfriend kept staring at it like she was going to topple the whole thing? And don't think I don't see you sneaking it into the cart, asshole.”
Seokjin whimpers, but reluctantly places it back from where it came. “Such a tasteless fool,” he remarks with a sigh. “I'm not buying the basic ones though, they're hideous.”
“They're literally just colorful shiny thingamabobs, how can you go wrong with them?”
“They are overused and a sore sight to the eyes,” Seokjin says. “It’s not going on my tree.”
“ Our tree, ” Taehyung corrects. “Why did you have to sit on the bloody decorations? Hadn't we fought enough over this bullshit last year?”
“Who the fuck puts the box behind giant ass cushions?” Seokjin yells back, voice almost disappearing at places. Taehyung wants to defend himself, even opens his mouth to do so; but he's slowly realizing that this right now is their first fight as a couple, and it strikes him as so silly, the bickering spirit just leaves his soul.
“We're fighting over baubles. Our first fight….is over Christmas baubles.”
Seokjin's face eases into a sheepish smile. “At least it's not over who clogged the toilet.”
“For the millionth time, it wasn't me-” he thinks better of it and stops before he can restart the never-ending argument. “Choose something that doesn't hurt my eyes.”
They end up compromising over snowflake themed decorations, and Seokjin dangles a bauble from Taehyung's ear and laughs for 5 minutes over how stupid it looks. He takes 10 blurry pictures of it despite Taehyung's protests and attempts to cover himself up, and Taehyung swears he'd wear that bauble as earrings everyday if it got Seokjin to laugh that uninhibitedly.
Afterward, they go get christmas themed drinks from the cafe nearby; Seokjin takes both his gloved hands in his own as they talk about nothing and everything, and the kids at the next table point at their tangled legs and call them ‘gross’ quite indiscreetly. Seokjin stares them down intimidatingly but he's not even mad (neither is Taehyung, to be honest). It's so familiar and yet so not that Taehyung falls just a little bit in love with this content, satisfied feeling he's experiencing.
As they walk down the streets and Seokjin takes a final sip of his drink, milk foam sticking to his upper lip, Taehyung knows the warmth inside him isn't really the doing of his drink.
Taehyung hates cooking with a flaming passion, and doesn't understand why he's so miserably terrible at a skill so necessary for survival. Today though, he's determined to show Seokjin the time of his life with the breakfast he's making. He wakes up at the crack of dawn, reads the recipe he'd picked out last night thrice - it's just blueberry pancakes with a dusting of icing sugar, but then again he's never gone beyond cracking the eggs without dropping shells in - and on top of that, shuffles around the kitchen quietly in an effort to keep it a surprise.
Unfortunately, Taehyung’s abysmal skills don’t seem to have magically improved overnight.
“Do I smell something burning?” Seokjin questions sleepily from his room. It’s the godforsaken batter, and Taehyung doesn’t know what he did to make it so sticky that it refuses to leave the pan.
He pauses in his frantic salvaging operation, afraid to make a sound. Seokjin’s door creaks open; he hears the heavy footsteps approaching him and doesn’t turn around, legitimately afraid he has ruined Seokjin’s pan and that he’s about to bear the man’s ferocious wrath.
Instead, a pair of arms wrap snugly around him, and Seokjin digs his chin into his shoulder. “What are you upto?” it’s a drowsy little question, and Taehyung rests easy in that moment. Revels in the domesticity of their position and state, and foolishly thinks Seokjin is too.
“Why on earth,” says Seokjin angrily, hands stiffening around him and then Taehyung realises that silent moment he had mistaken for domestic bliss was actually Seokjin assessing the situation.
Seokjin lifts him like a feather and dumps him away from the counter, hurriedly picking up the spatula and scraping away. “What did you even put in this?”
“Huh?” Taehyung asks distractedly, because he’s busy staring at Seokjin’s bare naked back. He’s seen the guy shirtless countless times before, this really shouldn’t be such a big deal. It shouldn’t, but it is because Taehyung’s mind works funnily now and he can’t take his eyes off what once used to be a common, lackluster sight. He just wants Seokjin to get over the damaged pan so he can rest his head on that pacific ocean back and breathe in peace.
“I was going for pancakes,” he says hesitantly as Seokjin continues scraping. “Should’ve gone for scrambled flour and eggs.”
“You forgot to grease the pan,” Seokjin says defeatedly, shoulders sagging as he dumps the last of the scrambled, half cooked batter on a spare plate and puts the pan into the sink. “I should be mad.”
“But you’re not?”
“Not as much as I should be, no.” Seokjin’s lips quirk upward into a reluctant smile. “I mean, you tried to cook for me. That’s very sweet. Such a romantic, Kim Taehyung.”
“It is,” Taehyung asserts confidently. “and I am.”
“Don’t get too cocky, you still fucked up royally.” He’s still smiling as he says it, so Taehyung doesn’t take it seriously. “No but seriously, please don’t try it again, or wait for me to assist you in the very least.”
“Will remember,” Taehyung says. ”Can you put a shirt on now?”
Seokjin makes a face at it, irritated and confused at once. “What’s the big deal, you’ve seen it like 9 billion times.”
“It's winter, you're gonna fall sick.”
“Keep me warm then,” Seokjin says cheekily, leaning onto his elbows to arch his body ahead. Taehyung's stuck between wanting to groan from the shameless cheese and wanting to act on the implication itself and just become his personal blanket. But he doesn't do both.
“Go put a shirt on, dumbass,” He repeats, untying and tossing his apron at him.
“Good to know you're also a Kim Seokjin body appreciator,” Seokjin calls after him.
“You make it sound like a creepy cult,” says Taehyung before slamming his door shut, but he can't lie to himself - he's totally, 100%, beyond doubt a Kim Seokjin body appreciator.
He's at lunch with his team at a Samgyeopsal place when Seokjin rings him. Someone across the table catches the caller ID and the rest of them automatically get riled up, begging to get him on video call instead. He pulls away from them and picks it up, not before gratuitously throwing them the 'are-you-guys-kids’ look.
“Dude, did you get Joohyun's message for tonight?”
“I didn't check,” Taehyung says, turning back to find his co-workers smiling at him stupidly. It's lowkey annoying, because even he hadn't elicited such a reaction from the others when they'd first met which now feels a little insulting to his beauty.
“Doesn't matter because I checked and I'll be bringing you as plus one anyway. But you know who'll be coming right?”
“The entire university?” Taehyung tries generalizing.
“Yes, but not just.” his voice drops to a whisper. “Did you tell Jungkook about us?”
And then the realization dawns him.
“I haven't,” he says. “Have you told Jungkook-ie about us?”
There’s a moment of silence before Seokjin's reply, and Taehyung figures he might have just been nodding to himself, forgetting he's on voice call. “Nope. He was busy with work, and I just decided to wait till he wasn't. But he's coming tonight, he texted on the group.”
“Shit. Okay.” It's most definitely not okay, but his panic feels misplaced right now. “What do you want to do? Do you want to tell him at the party? Do you want to hide it?”
“Hide it,” repeats Seokjin. “Oh my god, all those assholes who bet money on us getting together are going to be there. Do you just want to pretend we're not going out? Won't be too hard, you know.”
“True,” Taehyung concedes. “If we take out the handholding in public part of it we're almost the same as we were. But…..” he doesn't want to voice it out, feels almost like a infatuated teenager when he plays it in his head…. I want to show us off.
“Yeah….but.” Seokjin says, and Taehyung can hear the smile in his voice. “I agree."
“We'll tell him casually,” says Taehyung. “Insert it in conversation when he least expects it and just be done with it.”
“Yeah. Yeah, yeah.” he doesn't sound convinced. “We're not doing anything wrong.”
“Hell no,” Taehyung adds. “Jinnie, if you're worried about him doubting you-”
“-he wouldn't,” He cuts in softly. “Jungkook knew what we were. I don't think he's going to take it delightfully, but don't think he's going to start pointing fingers either.”
Even though Jungkook had always been close to them, He'd had this conversation with the guy about how his friendship with Seokjin was just that, two weeks into Jungkook's shy confession that he'd been crushing on the other since he was 13. Seokjin had spurred it on apparently, told him to go for it because none of them were kids anymore and life was too short and all that jazz. So Jungkook never really had reason to doubt him, despite their unprecedented closeness that most people mistook for a relationship.
Well. Not anymore.
Joohyun's Christmas Eve Eve party is a larger-than-life extravaganza, always elaborately planned around a theme and always so, so full of people that it's practically an alumni reunion. Today, the crowd’s spilling into the lobby outside the apartment, and Taehyung and Seokjin stand right outside in their matching santa-hats and Hufflepuff scarves, considering holding hands before they enter.
Seokjin’s arm jiggles nervously next to his. “Don't think too much, let's just do it.”
“Then why aren't you grabbing my hand?” Taehyung bites back, and Seokjin’s confidence deflates just a little. He sighs and stuffs his hand back into his coat pockets. Taehyung can't say he's not disappointed, a little at Seokjin but mostly at himself for not having initiated it.
“He's going to be an hour late, stuck in traffic. We have time. Let's just enjoy ourselves while we're here, get some firewhiskey or something.”
Inside, Joohyun's girlfriend Seulgi is handing out plastic Harry Potter frames and drawing lightning bolts on the foreheads of whoever's allowing her to. Their ornaments are elf themed (a few socks hanging as well) and Joohyun's calling them dobbles as a dumb joke.
They both know her from different classes and group projects, Taehyung from Art History and Seokjin from economics, and at one point Seokjin had this nasty crush on her that he'd cry about to Taehyung every Friday he saw her.
“Tae, Seok-ie!” she says excitedly when they find her near the tree, boasting about her bobble pun to the 5th person. “It's been so long, dummies! Are you finally fucking?”
Taehyung stiffens, glancing uncomfortably at Seokjin. He looks unpeturbed, rolls his eyes like he always did to deflect. “Kiss your gift goodbye, Joohyunie.”
“As if,” Joohyun laughs, pulling the bag out of Seokjin's hands and dumping it recklessly onto the growing pile under the tree. There's fine china inside, but serves her right for insinuating.
Seokjin's almost as much a social butterfly as himself, and they flutter around and different directions to catch up with old friends and cordial acquaintances, crossing paths infrequently. By the time they're done with a lap of the room, every single surface capable of being sat on has been occupied, and Taehyung's feet are killing him. This wasn't a good day to break into new shoes.
“It's like a lamer version of musical chairs,” Seokjin whispers to him as they stand close to the couch, hoping someone’ll get up so they can snatch the space.
“I’m almost feeling claustrophobic now,” says Taehyung, narrowly avoiding being knocked off by a passing guest. The butterbeer in his hand sloshes around dangerously, and he realizes it was also a bad day to wear white. “Why are there so many people?”
“ Because Joohyun's this tiny, sexy ball of sunshine and happiness that likes everyone and gets everyone to like her back,” he replies dreamily. “Still can't deny how amazing she is.”
“She's okay ,” Taehyung squeaks, and if it sounds petty to Seokjin, he's okay with it. They're both allowed their moments of silent possessiveness. “Nothing so great about her. Have you forgotten how she eats like a baby with no hand eye coordination?”
“I think it's adorable,” Seokjin tilts his head, lips curving fondly. “The way sauce sticks to her chin and she's always so clueless about it…”
“Ah there's a seat,” Taehyung interrupts, jumping into the spot that had fallen vacant. He's eternally grateful to the occupant for the perfect timing, because Seokjin loses his train of thought and all but pounces onto Taehyung's lap. Taehyung wraps his arms around the man and rests his butterbeer on the other’s lap, enjoying the weight on his aching thighs.
And because life is funny, Jungkook chooses that exact moment to enter and spots them quite immediately.
“Hyungs,” he waves to them, and Seokjin freezes in his lap.
“Get off, Get off,” Taehyung says through his gritted teeth. Jungkook's still maneuvering through the crowd, and they can barely see his arm right now.
“That would be odder,” Seokjin counters. “Just act natural, and if he asks there was no space and my legs were hurting from walking around the room.”
“Right, right.” It’s one of those moments that occur once in a while, when it hits him that Seokjin's mature in ways Taehyung definitely isn't.
Jungkook finally crawls out towards them, huffing and puffing. “How goes?” he says, pushing up the round lensless frames up his nose. Taehyung's mind slips into slow panic, none of the three thousand excuses he had prepared throughout the day coming to him right now. He's counting on Seokjin to handle this.
“We're dating,” Seokjin blurts out. “It's been 4 days.”
So much for maturity.
His expression turns unreadable, and Taehyung waits with bated breath as Jungkook registers Seokjin's words. At first, he clenches his fists and his face looks like the anger's just boiling at the surface.
“Kookie?” Seokjin asks warily, and Jungkook sighs in heavy disappointment. Taehyung wants to melt away into this couch and never resurface.
Then, he smiles cheekily like he'd been fucking with them all along. “About time,” he says, clicking his tongue.
Seokjin turns around to exchange a befuddled look with him. “What do you mean 'about time’?’
Jungkook rolls his eyes. “I mean, about time you both got your heads out of your asses.”
“We haven't had our heads in our asses,” Seokjin says, sounding horrified. “This isn't a serious thing.”
“It's not not serious either,” Taehyung jumps in. “We're doing a trial thing for 7 days, to see if we….can date.”
Jungkook shrugs like he couldn't care less, and Taehyung's a little offended right now.
“Weird, but I don't judge. Get your heads out of your asses on the 8th day then.” He plops right onto Seokjin's lap and narrowly misses butting the mug resting on it, groaning in relief as he does.
“We didn't have….feelings for each other when you guys were-”
“Yeah, I know,” Jungkook says. “I also know that I've never seen two idiots so perfect for each other, and I still asked hyung out because I thought, 'maybe they’ll just never realize’.”
Seokjin hugs him tight at that, and Taehyung reaches out for his hand. “Jungkook-ie, you know I love you right? Still do, even if it's in a different way, but ...there was no one else, back then.”
“ I know,” Jungkook whines, borderline annoyed. “Do you think I'm that petty? Seokjin hyung sent me this picture of you lying lifelessly on the couch a week after the breakup, with cheetos in your hair and that broken, dead look on your face. I knew what we were, hyung. We were amazing. So amazing that it almost killed me to give it up. But you and hyung are going to be a different level of amazing, I know it.”
Seokjin ruffles his hair endearingly, making fond noises at him at the end of it and Jungkook jumps five feet away. “Nope. I'm not going ro be your adoptive child now, excuse me.”
The weight on his thighs eases, but not more than the weight on his heart.
The party goes generally stress free after that, and at the end of it there are just a few good friends who stayed behind, playing a heated game of Cluedo. No one really guesses the murderer correctly and it turns out, Seokjin had scammed them all by lying about a card.
Jungkook, true to himself, flips the board in rage and the game's over just like that. Joohyun wows she won't invite him to her parties today onwards, and Seokjin very easily, carelessly says, “That's okay, Taetae’ll get me as his plus one anyway.”
While Taehyung goes pale with anxiety, gauging the expressions around him, the rest don't even bother looking up from where they are. It's probably a given for them as well, that he and Seokjin come in a package, though unbeknownst to them the ribbons tying the package have changed dramatically.
Only Seokjin seems to catch his blanched face. He doesn't rush to correct himself, but says in passing, a good few seconds later: “Or Jungkook-ie, provided he's single.”
He knows he's supposed to be relieved, but Seokjin's words work a completely different charm on him.
“I'll bring you though, why ask Jungkook-ie?” he says pettily, but no one's listening. A few people are busy on their phones, head lolling from side to side. Joohyun and Seulgi are cuddling on the rug and a few others lie across the wooden floor like scattered skeletons.
The rest promptly pass out one by one on the floor, and with Joohyun's eyes fluttering shut he knows it's time to go home.
“Think we should leave,” he taps Seokjin gently. “It's 1 a.m.” They're squished on the couch even though it's empty, with their thighs pressing against each other.
Seokjin stirs awake, doing that cute thing where he blinks hard and slow to drive the sleep out of his eyes. It takes all his determination to not coo at it.
“Can't we just sleep here?” he paws at Taehyung drowsily till he's snug, planting his face into Taehyung's chest.
“There’s a lot to do, though. We need to set up the tree and lights, it’s officially Christmas eve. We don’t even have gifts to put under the tree.”
“Hmmmm,” Seokjin exhales, body leaning away from him and ready to stand. Taehyung has to haul him up, guide his sleep-ridden self towards the door across sleeping bodies and abandoned bottles of beer.
They’re almost out the door when Seulgi very suddenly yells “Mistletoe!”, startling the sleep out of Seokjin. No one else reacts to it, including Seulgi who just goes back to sleep in Joohyun’s arms. True to word, the holly’s hanging ominously above them, challenging them; Taehyung eyes his best friend nervously, licking his lips in anticipation. It’s a risk, that if fails would ruin their friendship forever, no matter how hard they try to convince themselves otherwise.
“For tradition,” Seokjin shrugs, but it’s impossible to miss the nervous glance he subjects Taehyung’s mouth to. His tongue laps at the corners of his mouth, crusty from the impromptu nap; he’s wide awake now, the unfinished sleep that had been weighing on his eyes disappearing altogether. “Can’t break tradition.”
“The blasphemy,” Taehyung mockingly shakes his head, cracking immediately into a brilliant smile. It’s a risk, but it doesn’t scare him anymore like it had that night in Seokjin’s bed. There’s a nervous energy bubbling inside him, and he doesn’t think he can wait any longer.
So Taehyung wastes no time thinking and grabs Seokjin’s face, so violently that Seokjin jerks back and forth before steadying himself using his shoulders. “Woah,” he chuckles, warm breath fanning over Taehyung’s face, and if there was a tiny nagging thought nipping at his brain that he should rethink this, it vanishes into thin air.
He looks Seokjin in the eye. “You cool?”
Seokjin nods eagerly against his forehead, and it’s all he needs before he closes whatever negligible distance there was between them, seals every confused, infatuated, affectionate emotion in a press of lips against lips.
It’s not exactly gentle, but not overtly passionate too. There’s no way he can explain it, because he’s never experienced this before, doesn’t know if he should concentrate on who he’s kissing or how he’s kissing. Seokjin’s lips are unbelievable, but it doesn’t stop that initial queasy feeling in his stomach that comes with facing something entirely unimaginable before. It almost scares him again but he pushes the feeling under the rush of kissing Seokjin, and when Seokjin pushes for more - more lip, more tongue, more him- he forgets all about it and just lets himself drown.
It’s a sensory overload, and he can’t feel a bone in his body when Seokjin pulls away and runs a thumb across his lip, rubbing soothingly where he’d sucked particularly hard. He feels utterly greedy in this moment - he wants more of this, more of what had happened just before, more of what hasn’t even happened yet. He wants to dive in again and again, and never resurface.
“I think we missed seeing this when we entered,” Seokjin mumbles against his mouth, turning him into putty in Seokjin’s hands; thankfully, Seokjin’s grip on him is firm. “Should we compensate for that?”
“Shut up and fucking kiss me,” says Taehyung, and this time around there’s really no second-guessing or queasiness, just a blinding thirst for more. Seokjin’s hands travel cautiously, but in a million places at once as his lips work their magic, and the low groan that he emits at one point sends Tae’s brain into overdrive. It’s really insanity that they had gone all these years of their life missing out on this. It doesn’t even feel like a kiss after a while, it feels like the meeting of yin and yang, like harmony, like completion.
“Stop stop stop,” Seokjin says through half-kisses, catching his breath before Taehyung blindly pulls him back. “Taetae, if we don’t stop now…. it’ll be hard for me to stop at all.”
Taehyung pulls back at that, heaving as he falls back onto the doorframe. He knows there’s a dopey smile on his face that if Jimin saw would hold it over his head for a lifetime. But Seokjin’s hands are still a reassuring weight on his waist, and the matching dopey smile across for him is more than enough for him to conclude: it was totally worth the risk.
“Wake up,” Taehyung shakes Seokjin at noon, though he’s not completely up for getting out of bed either, “Jinnie wake up, it’s like lunch time now.”
Seokjin’s right next to him in bed, tucked under the same blanket, leg draped haphazardly over Taehyung’s. If Taehyung woke up early, it was only because he was too excited to sleep. Turned out to be a boon, because he’d found some quiet time to just let himself stare in disbelief at his sleeping beauty of a best friend, who he’d kissed for the first time merely hours ago.
“Too bright. Headache.” The blanket goes past their faces.
“It's officially Christmas Eve,” Taehyung tells him. “We need to get each other gifts. I was thinking, since we just give each other the most useless and irrelevant gifts, we’ll give each other a wishlist, tell each other our preferences so we can actually utilize what we get.”
“That’s some elaborate planning for something so unimportant. Do you have a list now?”
Taehyung sits up at the indirect approval, grabbing the pen and notepad on Seokjin’s nightstand. He scribbles ‘What I Want For Christmas’ on two pages and tears one off for Seokjin to use.
“This won’t take too much time,” says Seokjin, snatching the pen from his hands before it can touch his sheet. He angles his body away from Taehyung to hide it.
“I’ll have to see it in a minute anyway,” Taehyung reminds him.
“Wait till then,” responds Seokjin, and it’s only when he’s told to wait that he can’t at all.
“Are you making plans to drain my savings?”
Seokjin shakes his head. “Not your savings, maybe your sense of humor. I am done, here you go.”
The sheet falls onto Taehyung's lap, and now he gets what Seokjin meant.
What All I Want For Christmas
- you ;)
“Fuck,” Taehyung groans. “Fuck, this is just…..so lame, Kim Seokjin. You’re so…..just so….” cute. hilarious. kissable.
Seokjin doesn't wait for the sentence to be completed and slides out of bed quite happily. “Aw babe, always a pleasure to see my cheesiness render you speechless.”
The ‘fuck you’ sits on the tip of his tongue, but it dissolves at the sound of the low, gravelly 'babe’ that Seokjin uses to address him.
It's a brilliant morning.
“What do you mean you're at granny's?"
The decorations are finally done by evening, tree fixed and stockings hung, when Taehyung gets a call from home. Seokjin bites his nails and stares at him from the floor while he answers it.
“You can get Seokjin along if you want,” his mother coaxes gently. “You know we love him.”
“Granny hates him for no good reason at all. It's not his fault I fell from his treehouse a million years back, but she has to hold it against him like he's still trying to drop me down from branches.”
“Tae, granny wants to spend Christmas together. She had a dream she's passing away so she dragged us back home from Osaka to celebrate one last Christmas, and she can't do it without you.”
“ She has 50 of those dreams a year,” Taehyung whines petulantly, and Seokjin can't keep in his laughter anymore. “I promised him, mum. We had plans. I can't abandon him here when his family's out, especially after I told him I wouldn't.Plus, this is so short notice. We're barely getting a day together. And Jinnie, from where is he going to make different plans-”
“Taetae, you should go.”
Taehyung glances at Seokjin. He blinks reassuringly, waving him on to speak. “Tell her yes, it's fine.”
Taehyung looks at him helplessly, almost in refusal to do his bidding. Seokjin pins him with a stern look, a silent 'do it or else’.
“Fine, I'll be there as soon as I can.”
He throws the phone aside and crawls towards Seokjin, frowning all the way.
“I've never felt like this,” he says as he bundles up in Seokjin's lap. “I've never refused to meet my family. What are you doing to me?”
“.... sorry?” Seokjin tries an empty apology as he rubs Taehyung's back.
“I should be saying that,” Taehyung says. “I honestly didn't know. Do you want to come?”
“Not as long as your grandma's there,” Seokjin says warily, placing a soft kiss on his temple to soften the blow. “I'm good at home. I'll probably go hang out with Jungkook, open your gift, make plum cake and mulled wine, watch Christmas specials on TV. Go enjoy yourself.”
“It's the last day tomorrow.”
“It is,” Seokjin nods. “We could just facetime after lunch and dinner, not like we don't already but-”
“Seokjin,” Taehyung interrupts with determination. “I don't want the trial anymore. I want the whole thing.”
“You do?” Seokjin asks, hopeful as he searches Taehyung's eyes.
“I do. For more than a week, or a month, or even forever. I don't know. I need to tell you if I'm going. I want to be your best friend and your boyfriend. I want nothing to change. When I come back I want you to pick me up in your car and let me barf about family antics and gifts and chickens and apples. I want you to kiss me on the cheek in the mornings and hold my hands on the street like cheesy couples do. I want you to teach me how to cook and tell me it sucked when I try to make you breakfast that turns out inedible. I- I want a lot, Jinnie...but it's all with you.”
Seokjin explodes into a grin, his eyes going through a thousand emotions of their own. “That was smooth,” he acknowledges, cupping Taehyung's warm cheeks with ice cold hands. Taehyung can't even bother being annoyed, because the Seokjin he sees looks so smitten and lovingly fond - a sight Taehyung has seen too often on the man; except this time he knows the person in question is himself.
“Are you….?” Taehyung shuts his eyes and waits expectantly, and gets a boop on the nose for all his anticipation. But before Taehyung can crib about it, Seokjin knocks him down and kisses him soundly, the warmth of it spreading to the tips of his fingers and toes.
He pulls away with a last little peck on his cold nose, leaving Taehyung breathless on the carpet. “Come back soon, idiot.”
Geochang is nostalgia. It's relatively clean air and lesser people and heavy satoori and the sense of home; when Taehyung gets fed up of his job and imagines retirement plans, nothing sounds sweeter than a job on his grandma's apple farm.
“You never told me you wanted to farm too.” The network in this old bedroom doesn't allow more than a low quality Seokjin on his phone screen, but he'll take what he can get.
“Yeah, remember me going to my uncle's strawberry farm back in school? I'd made up my mind back then.” He's sitting in Taehyung's office space and swivel chair, apparently having cleaned up Taehyung's pigsty of a room before he went to bed last night.
“Maybe we could grow old and just farm together.”
“Maybe,” he smiles wistfully. “Farming's cool. How's the day going?”
“Sister burnt a stocking and dropped it in the fireplace, granny constantly talks about death and my dad's watching a prerecorded soccer match since we woke up. Mum keeps looking at me strangely, but I don't think she has a clue.”
“Sounds like a blast. Gifts?”
“I got us a new pan,” Taehyung says, pointing towards the unwrapped gift on the bed. “Be proud of me.”
“I know this was your mum,” Seokjin says. Taehyung's siblings barge into the room in a heated game of ‘run and chase’, and his parents follow closely behind.
Taehyung points the phone towards them. “Mum, Dad, say hi.”
Taehyung’s mother pushes her hair back with renewed interest. “Hi Seokjin baby! Are you eating well?”
“Asking me of all the people?” he says with a squeaky laugh. “Hi, Uncle!”
Taehyung almost contemplates just telling her in passing: Mum, you were right about us. You're talking to my boyfriend. But it's as much Seokjin's secret as it is his.
By the time the room has been cleared of all nosey family, Seokjin's cup of wine is empty. “You should go spend time with them, we meet everyday.”
“Yeah, but not as boyfriends. Not until today.”
Seokjin smiles in disbelief. “Not in that capacity, no. You're happy with it, right?”
He finds himself nodding genuinely. “Extremely, truly, madly, deeply. And you?”
“Same,” he beams at them. “I always loved you a lot Taetae, but now….now I like you as well.”
Taehyung thinks he understands. “Mmhmm. I'll be back soon, and we can start where we left off. After all, all you want for Christmas is me, right?”
“I'm only accepting you back in if you walk in wearing nothing but a ribbon and wrapping paper.”
When they sit down for dinner, Taehyung's parents look at him like they know, and his siblings hide smug smiles behind their joined hands. His mom clears her throat, says a quiet prayer of thanks and starts eating, and it's not until dessert till she goes:
“I told you so.”
He's never been more happy being proven wrong.