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Two women settle at a nearby cocktail table just on the outskirts of the dance floor. Both are adorned with precious stones and outfitted in figure hugging designer dresses. Taehyung leans on the wall behind them only just out of view. He watches as the women call for more champagne. Each move they make is painfully calculated as to best catch the most light from the crystal chandeliers above.

 

Watching the whole charade is exhausting to Taehyung.

 

The man had purposely chosen the back wall of the ballroom in an effort to avoid exactly what was standing just feet before him. People so obsessed with their own wealth they only noticed people more wealthy. Irritated Taehyung pushes off the wall. There was nothing else for him to do but find another spot to sulk in.

 

“Kim Seokjin looks absolutely edible in that suit.”

 

Taehyung takes his time smoothing out his stoned lapel, stalling in order to hear more of their conversation. It wasn’t often he was able to directly listen to gossip about his family, let alone about his older brother.

 

“Weren’t you just telling me that you didn’t have any interest in him? I seem to remember you saying something about him being made of stone?”

 

Nothing they said was new information to Taehyung. His brother’s public reputation was in stark contrast to the one he knew. He was Jin to all those close to him and to outsiders the untouchable heir of HwaYangYeonHwa group.

 

“Oh, please, you’re telling me you would pass up being married to a man about to be worth billions just because he’s a little cold?” The woman cocked an eyebrow at her companion and tilted back her champagne flute.

 

“I heard that HYYH group’s precious heir is-,” The woman lowers her voice and Taehyung has to lean forward to hear her whisper. “Gay. I guess the family won’t be getting any of the grandchildren they so desire.”

 

Their laughter dies the moment Taehyung saunters into view. He’s a man who knows how to use his natural charisma to suck the life out of a room. The women are frozen in front of him and Taehyung holds back a snicker at their terrified expressions.

 

“Enjoying the night, I see.” Taehyung crowds their table with his upper body and leans all his weight forward. Auburn bangs fall over his eyes hiding his anger. He uses one arm to secure the table while the other is positioned like a crane over the rim of a forgotten champagne glass. The flute is half full and Taehyung tips it dangerously close to the edge of the table. The women both flinch until finally he sets the glass down.

 

“Getting drunk at a charity gala? Classy. But be careful,”  Taehyung turns his face upwards flashing them a menacing smile. “You never know what you might slip up and say.” The garbled mess of an apology he gets only irks him further. He waves them off and they scurry away quickly.

 

The lights of the glittering ballroom bear down on Taehyung much like the attention now turned his way. He knows this looks bad. The second son of HYYH group bullying two women just because he can. Because he had the power to get away with it. They’ll start new rumors about his temper. Wonder what new mess he’s brought to his brother’s feet this time. Pity his poor widowed mother for having such a fuck up for a son.

 

Not one to let alcohol go to waste, Taehyung drinks the remaining champagne left on the table. His eyes close as the bubbly substance slips through him offering nothing to relieve his lingering resentment. This was exactly why he hated attending these events.  Sighing, he flags down a cocktail waiter and snags a fresh wine glass.

 

Taehyung idly swirls the glass, thoughts shifting to the easiest way to escape the party. Tonight his favorite rap group Triptych was having a launch party to celebrate the drop of their first album. The location was set to be revealed in the next couple of hours.

 

Taehyung’s eyes flit from the main entrance to the various emergency exits until he lands on something that makes him roll his eyes.

 

There's a woman hanging off his brother’s arm who he’s only heard the worst rumors about. Krystal Jung is dainty in all the right ways as she stands beside Jin. Her long, wavy brown hair looks exquisite against her pale skin and her red floor length gown pairs beautifully with his brother’s créme suit. Unlike Taehyung, Krystal thrives off the attention her social antics create.

 

Taehyung groans as he watches his brother miss the delivery of a joke yielding an awkward laugh from the woman beside him. He downs the rest of his wine and signals for another to the wait staff.

 

Taehyung could tell that Seokjin was trying his best to hide his growing discomfort from the throng of party goers surrounding him. His serene venere was slowly devolving into irritation and Taehyung knew it was only a matter of time before he snapped.

 

Thankfully no one else was really paying attention. Everyone was too wrapped up in sharing air with a billionaire to notice the tightness of Seokjin’s posture or how stiffly he spoke. They all were far too concerned with being seen with Jin than actually seeing him.

 

Refilled wine glass in hand, Taehyung cards his hands through his hair in exasperation and elbows his way through the crowd toward his brother. He was definitely going to miss out on going to the album launch party.

 

As he nears him, Taehyung sees Seokjin conversing with an older couple. His smile is tight as he gestures to a long table of ordouvers and when the couple turns to walk away his face drops. Krystal is attempting to whisper in Seokjin’s ear when Taehyung finally reaches them.

“Am I interrupting?” The woman’s grip flexes possessively on Seokjin's arm as Taehyung approaches. Jin’s shoulders visibly relax at the sight of his younger brother.

 

“Of course not,” Seokjin starts, easing into a small, but genuine smile. “I thought you would've left by now, honestly.” Remembering the woman still clutching at his arm, Jin gestures toward Krystal.

 

“I doubt you two have meet before. Tae, this is Krystal Jung. Krystal, this is my younger brother, Taehyung.” Neither of the two move for a beat longer than politely acceptable. Taehyung concedes first, tilting his head toward Krystal in silent acknowledgement.

 

“It’s not everyday I get to meet someone as powerful as the Krystal Jung.” Taehyung says slyly. “Aren’t you the woman who brought down HK group with one picture?”

 

Taehyung could feel the disapproving glare coming from his brother’s direction. Jin would probably lecture him later about when and where to pick his battles. He had always been the diplomatic one. Knowing exactly what to say and when to say it.

 

“Likewise, although I must say I’m surprised to see you at a charity event. Who would have thought the Kim Taehyung would be seen anywhere without paparazzi.” Krystal’s lips curve into a scornful smile.

 

Taehyung can’t help the bubble of laughter that escapes him. The woman was a failed actress, only appearing in films backed by money she secured by blackmail or seduction. Now she had the nerve to try and insult him. There was only so much more of this he would take. The soft din of conversation surrounding the trio drops. Krystal flips her hair over her shoulder, preening at the attention. Completely unaware of the sudden change in the man beside her. Taehyung was trained on his brother’s face watching anxiously as the tell tale signs of irritation morphed into unfiltered anger.   

 

The brother’s eyes lock, an unspoken exchange passing between them. In the same instance Seokjin’s anger is cleaned from his face and neatly tucked behind a picture perfect smile.

 

“I have an adoring public I need to keep happy. What can I say?” Taehyung responds winking at Krystal over the top of his wine glass. Jin coughs into his hand not quite covering his laugh at his brother’s snarky comment.

 

“You mind giving us brothers a moment alone?” Without waiting for a response, Taehyung grabs his brother's unoccupied arm and tugs. Krystal’s hands stay in the air dumbly where she was previously clutching onto Jin and Taehyung gently places his wine glass in her empty hands.

 

“For safekeeping.”

 

Taehyung cackles while watching the woman’s tiny fingers angrily clench around the stem of his wine glass. Her sour expression follows the two men to the outskirts of the grand ballroom.

 

“I really don't like her,” Seokjin tuts. The man’s overall mood is markedly different now that less eyes are watching his every move. “Krystal doesn't take hints well.”

 

His pout has Taehyung chuckling despite himself. Seokjin was always so graceful and tactful that Taehyung forgot how childish his brother could sometimes be.

 

“I can handle her for you if you want,” Taehyung suggests casually his face carefully blank. He knew Seokjin would never ask him out right for help. Though it wasn’t unusual for Taehyung to offer help, he had a feeling it would hurt Jin’s pride if he knew how often his brother intervened without his permission.

 

“You sound like you're going to take her out mafia style.”

 

“I can make that happen too,” Taehyung drawls without missing a beat. “If that’s what you want.”

 

Seokjin’s scandalized expression has him cracking up and he claps a hand on his brother’s shoulder.

 

“I mean really, what's casual murder between bros?" Taehyung can’t help but to break into a huge, boxy smile while watching his older brother completely devolve into laughter. The handsome man was doubled over, using only the wall beside him for support. Seokjin’s windshield wiper laugh was loud enough that some guests near them turned to find the source.

 

“Kidding,” Taehyung murmurs, smiling sheepishly while rubbing the back of his neck. “But really, I can keep her busy tonight if you want.”

 

“Don't feel like you have to for my sake, Tae.” Seokjin’s laughter fades slightly as he regains his composure. Taehyung watches wistfully as his brother’s wide smile slowly disappears. It was in moments like this that he longed for a different destiny. One where Kim Seokjin was just his brother and not the face of a multibillion dollar company. One where they never had to worry about what other people thought of them.

 

Taehyung waves off the thought dismissively, “Don't worry about it, hyung. Just keep mingling with big wigs and I'll keep her distracted.”

 

Seokjin squeezes his shoulder in thanks and heads back into the crowd. Once his brother was a good distance away, Taehyung exhales heavily.

 

Now, to find Krystal.

 

He walks into the crowd after his brother and a passing waiter offers him a champagne glass. Taehyung takes it without thinking, all the while his eyes scanning the crowd for any sign of his target. From what Taehyung knew about the woman the rest of his night was going to be exhausting. Krystal had a reputation for being ruthless with her pursuits. Taehyung emptied the glass of champagne having finally spotted her and made his way across the ballroom.

 

Krystal was standing alone at the bar nursing a brown liquor. She scoffed into her glass as she saw him approaching. Taehyung couldn’t help but notice the four empty glasses the bartender cleared away from behind the woman as he neared. He ordered another drink and settled in for the night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a child, Taehyung knew just by the way his family looked at Seokjin that his brother was special. They treated him like he was made of glass, so fragile even the wind could break him. The family even refused to let Seokjin go to most of primary school, deciding that homeschooling him would be safer. When he was finally allowed to go to the private high school Taehyung attended, he became an instant novelty.

 

Friends Taehyung had known for years became strangers at the very sight of his brother. Even teachers would bend over backwards to just make Seokjin happy. It was an early lesson for Taehyung in what real power was and what it meant to wield it. Taehyung knew Jin never once asked for any of the attention he received, but sometimes he couldn’t help but feel resentful.

 

What made things worse was that Seokjin could never seem to tell the difference between friend and foe. And so, Taehyung took it upon himself to quietly take care of the people who only wanted to use his brother.

The first time it happened he was thirteen. His brother had recently received a watch as a birthday present. It was a family heirloom passed down from generation to generation. One day Jin came home without the watch, asking Taehyung to cover for him in front of the elders. He swore that his friend had only borrowed it from him.

 

The student in question ended up transferring schools after a vicious rumor Tae started about him. It had been one of the handful of times that he received acknowledgement from his family. He hadn’t been able to speak to Seokjin for a month after, unable to tell his brother he was the reason his ‘friend’ had transferred schools. These incidences seemed to happen more often that and each time Taehyung could feel himself slowly become more numb.

 

As an adult, the only way to keep himself on the family payroll was to continue to protect Seokjin. His public image was marred by scandal and typical rich party boy antics because of it. The twenty-two year old’s name was a constant hot trending topic on social media and all of his rumored flings became instant celebrities overnight. Infamy became a tool he used to keep people at an arm's length. And for the most part it worked.

 

Up until last night, Taehyung had succeeded in keeping hookups out of his personal apartment. The night’s only variables were Krystal and copious amounts of alcohol. Groaning from a pounding headache, Taehyung cursed the tiny woman’s alcohol tolerance.

 

He couldn’t even remember leaving the event venue with the brunette and now she was wrapped around him completely naked. Krystal was nuzzling into Taehyung’s chest as she slowly began to wake up. His body ran cold at the feeling of her fingers tracing tight circles into his hip.

“Taehyung, you were so good to me,” she said, tone sultry as she ghosts kisses along his neck.

 

Every kiss Krystal places on him makes Taehyung’s stomach turn with disgust. Her hands drift lower and lower down his thigh, his body involuntarily shivering at the touch.  

 

“Can’t say I feel the same.” Taehyung replies tightly. His big hands easily engulf hers as he tugs them away from his crotch. Shocked still by the sudden movement, Krystal’s eyes narrow as she watches him swing his lanky body fluidly out of bed.

 

Taehyung could still feel her eyes on him as he makes his way to the bathroom, picking up and sliding into a pair of briefs. A warm shower would help him wash away the rest of his hangover. Hopefully by then he would remember how he ended up in this situation.

 

“Taehyung,” she chides, clearly irritated. The brunette was propped up now and wrapped in white bed sheets. Her hair framed her flushed cheeks prettily as she spoke. “Don't be like this. Let’s grab brunch and see where the day takes us.”  

 

Brunch sounded innocent enough, nice even. Truthfully, it had been ages since Taehyung was with a woman and now he couldn’t even enjoy the memory.

 

If things were different they could have enjoyed the rest of the day together, but Tae knows better. People like Krystal always have a motive. Taehyung could already predict the next tabloid headline speculating their relationship.

 

“Krystal, when I get out of the shower, you need to be gone.”

He slams the bathroom door shut and locks it for good measure. If things had gone according to plan last night, this interaction would never have needed to happen.

 

Taehyung scans his body in the wide mirror of the bathroom. Littered all over his chest and down his torso are angry red hickeys. Repulsed, Taehyung hurriedly steps into the shower.

 

The hot water helps ease his tense shoulders. The more he begins to relax the easier it is for him to remember pieces of the previous night.

 

The original plan had just been to divert Krystal’s attention. As the night progressed, she became more and more determined to leave with Seokjin, not him.

 

Taehyung sinks down to the shower floor in frustration.

 

The water eventually goes lukewarm around him as he curls into himself willing away the cold feelings of disappointment and disgust. More than six hours of his memory was lost and for what? An angry gold digger in his bed.

 

He stays curled up on the shower floor like that for what seems like hours until the icy water becomes unbearable. Slowly he stands wrapping a towel around himself and willing away the numbness in his legs. When he enters his bedroom again Krystal is nowhere to be found.

 

But she hasn’t left quietly.

 

Taehyung’s bedroom was in shambles. Trash was strewn everywhere, some of his clothes were destroyed, and his pillows were slashed. Krystal even had time to leave him a note.

 

I promise you’ll regret this.

 

The message was scrawled in red lipstick on a full length mirror hanging in the room. Taehyung can’t find enough energy to be angry. The tall man flops face down on his  messy bed and waits for sleep to take him.

 

After some time, Taehyung finds the energy to change from his towel into the few unruined clothes he had left. Under the mess he finds his dead cellphone. Thankfully, Krystal hadn’t thought of destroying it too. He plugs it into the wall and is instantly bombarded with missed notifications.

 

Jungkook

01:28 pm

hyung are you home?  

 

Jungkook

01:28 pm

this is important we need to talk

 

Jungkook

01:32 pm

hyung?

 

Jungkook

01:34 pm

hyung seriously

 

Jungkook

01:36 pm

answer me!!

 

Jungkook

01:39 pm

bro wtf

 

Jungkook

01:42 pm

whatever i’m on my way you better be home

 

The texts were all the warning Taehyung got before hearing his front door open. Jungkook was one of the few people who had a key to his apartment. Taehyung regretted giving it to him as his younger friend barged into his bedroom.

 

“Hyung, why is your-,” Jungkook tore off the mask that was covering most of his face leaving his glasses slightly skew as he surveyed the mess before him. “What the fuck happened in here?”  

 

Taehyung noticed that Jungkook’s light brown hair was still damp and some of the buttons on his shirt were still open. A thin black choker slid over his adam's apple as he swallowed down his surprise. The Jungkook he knew was meticulous about his appearance.

 

Something was off.

 

Jeon Jungkook was an extremely popular idol who worked with the entertainment side of HYYH group. They met a few years ago at a company event and bonded over their hatred of the pretentious people who had almost complete control of their lives. With the amount of popularity Jungkook had, being in public with just anything on risked harsh criticism.

 

“Jungkook. Hi. It’s nice to see you, too, after, what, like three whole months? You could’ve at least knocked, you bastard.” Taehyung turned away from his friend avoiding the question he didn’t quite know how to answer. What exactly was he supposed to say? ‘ Oh, don’t worry about it Jungkook. I just slept with a notorious gold digger for shits and giggles. Then she decided to trash my place.’ Instead, he began picking up the pieces of clothing strewn around his room.

 

“It’s called a world tour. Your brother was the one to suggest it, remember?” Jungkook said warily. “I just landed a few hours ago. I tried calling you multiple times.”

 

Taehyung checked his phone again at the mention of his brother and sure enough he had 18 missed calls. Seven of which were from Jungkook. The other eleven were from Jin. Tae’s heart dropped to his stomach.

 

“Hyung, I came over like this because no one could get in touch with you.” Jungkook took Taehyung’s shoulders in his hands turning him as he spoke.

 

“Your dick is the number one trending topic on Twitter right now.”

Chapter Text

Taehyung was about to slowly murder Jeon Jungkook.

 

The younger man was standing with his back to Taehyung, taking his time cleaning off lipstick stains from his mirror. Taehyung sat cross legged on his bed, quietly seething as he watched Jungkook polish tiny circles in the same spot.

 

Hours had passed by like this. Jungkook meticulously cleaning each room of Taehyung’s apartment just so he could avoid him. Taehyung peppering Jungkook with anything and everything that came to mind all in an effort to get him to talk. Taehyung had finally cornered Jungkook in his room, ground zero of the destruction.

 

In the midst of his cleaning frenzy, Jungkook had confiscated not only Taehyung’s phone but everything that connected to the internet. No matter how many times Taehyung asked his friend to let him see the pictures for himself, Jungkook adamantly refused.

 

So, here they were in Taehyung’s room surrounded by shredded pillows and lipstick stains waiting for the other to say something. To say anything to break the awkward silence that had fallen between them.

 

If Taehyung was being honest with himself, he wasn’t really angry with Jungkook. The reality was, Taehyung could hardly remember any details of the previous night. Now, whatever had happened was all over the internet and the anxiety of not knowing was eating at his sanity.

 

It wasn’t like this was Taehyung’s first scandal. The difference was he had always been ahead of the spin, always had all the information, and always knew what to do next. This time all he had were snippets of second hand information from Jungkook and bits of his alcohol tinged memory.

 

Taehyung studied the ceiling searching his mind for something to help him keep his anxiety at bay. He knew that the longer he went without answers he would be more susceptible to making reactionary decisions. He fell heavily back on his bed and watched serenely as scattered pillow feathers exploded around him. The soft sound of cloth on glass stops for a moment and Taehyung wonders aloud if Jungkook is finally ready to talk. The mattress dips and Jungkook exhales heavily. It’s all the confirmation Taehyung needs.

 

“So, to recap, my junk is all over Twitter.” Taehyung starts carefully. He’s propped himself up on his forearms now. Jungkook’s back tenses slightly, but he nods carefully anyway.

 

Taehyung catches the way Jungkook carefully puts his glasses frames aside to directly press his fingers into the bridge of his nose. He clicks his tongue annoyed Jungkook still won’t look at him.

 

“And it’s trending.”

 

Another nod. This time Jungkook chances a look over his shoulder at Taehyung. His lips are held in a tight line until finally he just lets everything go. Jungkook still isn’t looking at Taehyung, but he leans the palms of his hands back on the mattress. He lolls his head back visibly more relaxed.

 

“And it's been trending for hours now?”

 

Jungkook grunts an affirmation and Taehyung sits up further, scratching at the nape of his neck.

 

“So, how exactly do we know it’s my real dick? Like, what-”

 

“It’s your real dick, Tae.”

 

“Okay, alright,” Taehyung says, hands raising up in defense. “That’s literally the most you’ve said to me since you went nuclear and started cleaning my house.” Jungkook reluctantly turns to face Taehyung his front teeth nervously pull at his lip, his eyes turned down.

 

“We talking full dick out or...?”

 

“Yes, your whole dick! Your whole naked penis on your whole naked body!”

 

“Oh,” Taehyung says dumbly. “That's a new one.”

 

Jungkook scoffs making Taehyung cock an eyebrow at him. He tosses the rag he’d been twisting up into a laundry basket nearby and Taehyung nudges his side with his foot.

 

“I shouldn’t have even told you,” Jungkook says quietly, “Yoongi hyung texted me right when I landed and he didn’t want you to know about it until it was handled, but I-”

 

“Wait,” Taehyung interrupts, nudging Jungkook again. When Jungkook finally looks at him, Taehyung levels him with a look of annoyance. “So that’s why you’ve been acting like this?”

 

“Well, yeah!” Exasperated still, Jungkook flails his hands as he talks, “Yoongi made it clear I wasn’t supposed to say anything, but then I walked in and saw you and I- well, it just sort of slipped out.” He says softly a blush high on his cheeks.

 

“I was worried! Hyung, you know you’re not the most level headed when things go left,” Jungkook’s voice grows even softer as he eyes Taehyung. “No one wants a repeat of last year.”

 

It takes a moment for Taehyung to process Jungkook’s words, his mind running through the events after his father’s death and his own subsequent mental breakdown. It still hurt to think about how quickly his father’s health had declined. His mother had signed divorce documents just hours after doctors had revealed how quickly the illness would take her husband to an early grave. His father, the soft hearted man that he was willingly gave in to her requests and a divorce was granted. Taehyung would never forgive the chairman for abandoning his father just to secure her spot in HYYH group.

 

“No matter how hard I try I’ll never be able to make you guys stop worrying about me. Yoongi hyung is overreacting and so are you Kook.”

 

Jungkook nods slowly, still looking flustered. Taehyung smiles fondly at his friend, scooting over to pull the man to his chest. He smells like lemon disinfectant and outside, but it’s okay for now. Taehyung feels his anxiety simmer low in his gut, finally starting to ease up.

 

“My Kookie was worried about his favorite hyung,” he coos into the crown of Jungkook’s hair as he squeezes the boy tighter. “A dick pic isn’t gonna kill me. I’ve been through worse.”

 

Jungkook thumps his head back on Taehyung’s chest groaning at his babying tone. “Who said you’re my favorite hyung?” He mutters and Taehyung can’t help but laugh.

 

“Yah, who else would it be, brat?!” Taehyung yanks Jungkook back laughing as his legs and arms flail. He rolls them around, initiating a play wrestling match using Jungkook’s initial shock to his advantage to start tickling him.

 

Jungkook gasps, eyes closed tight as he tries to wiggle away from his friend. When Taehyung’s fingers find their way under Jungkook’s shirt, his squeaks for mercy are pitched high between breathy laughter.

 

Taehyung laughs, boxy smile and all as he finally lets go of his friend. He plops down close to Jungkook’s side, splaying out over his large bed as the younger man catches his breath.

 

When Jungkook seems to have his breathing under control, Taehyung pats the top of his head to get his attention.

 

“So,” he starts, smile still in place, “how big did my dick look?”

 

Jungkook immediately grabs for a pillow. “Die.”

 

Taehyung cackles as Jungkook tries to smother him under a half shredded pillow. Relief washes over him now that Jungkook is finally acting like himself.

 

“By the way,” Taehyung snatches back the pillow from Jungkook laughing and the two take a moment to catch their breath. “When am I going to get my phone back?”

 

Jungkook worries at his bottom lip again while placing his glasses back on his nose, contemplating. Abruptly, he hops off the bed and out of the room. Taehyung scrambles up behind him, following him into the living room. When he finds him, Jungkook is sitting on the carpeted floor, hunched over, rummaging through a black duffle bag between his legs.

 

Thoughts of Jungkook rushing over straight from the airport pop into Taehyung’s head. He had almost forgotten that Jungkook’s tour had literally just ended. Taehyung plops down on the couch behind Jungkook, smiling while rubbing tight circles into his shoulders. Jungkook hums in appreciation and continues searching.

 

Finally, Jungkook straightens his back and twists towards Taehyung, slipping a phone into his hands.

 

“Why am I holding a pink flip phone?”

 

Jungkook whips his head away from Taehyung, his chin ducking down. Taehyung studies the back of his reddening ears with a smirk.

 

“Long story short, I lost my phone too many times on tour and my manager stuck me with this.”

 

“Wow, 2007 called, they want their flip phone back,” Taehyung taunts playfully.

 

“Shut up,” Jungkook pouts, elbowing back at Taehyung’s knee. “I’ll have you know it's a Razr and it was a top selling phone at one point!”

 

“So the pink and the rhinestones are just an added bonus to your preteen aesthetic or?”

 

“Oh my God, fuck you.” Jungkook is laughing as he throws another pillow at Taehyung’s face. His cheeks are pink and his smile is blown wide across his face.

 

Taehyung dodges it narrowly and sends a flailing kick at Jungkook’s side in playful retaliation. They wrestle for control of the pillow, until Jungkook finally captures it and throws it aside. Taehyung, still a bit winded from laughter turns the pink phone over in his hands and flips it open. Seokjin’s face stares brightly back at him.

 

“Anyway asshole, my manager said something about it being a liability? You know, because I lost it so much? He was worried that a tabloid might get a hold of it or something. And I guess I did keep audio files on it so-”

 

Taehyung cocks an eyebrow and taps the phone on Jungkook’s shoulder, making the man jump slightly. Jungkook’s eyes widen behind the small screen and in seconds long fingers deftly snatch the phone away from Taehyung. Moments later the phone is back in Taehyung’s hands, Jin’s face replaced with a contact list.

 

“Audio files?” Taehyung taunts, wiggling his eyebrows suggestively.

 

“Listen, the last thing you need right now is to read shitty comments about your dick. It doesn’t have internet so just call or text whoever.”  Jungkook coughed nervously, his neck and ears were still flushed as he focused on re-packing his bag. Smiling to himself Taehyung clicked through Jungkook’s contacts.

 

 

 

Jungkook

10:06 pm

Hyung its Tae  

 

Jungkook

10:06 pm

I know about the dic pic

 

Jungkook

10:11 pm

Whats the next move

 

Jungkook

10:11 pm

Im betting you already know it was krystal

 

Jungkook

10:19 pm

Hyung wtf say something

 

Jungkook

10:22 pm

???

 

Taehyung tightly closed his eyes and lolled his head to rest on back of the couch. Worry crept back to sit at the bottom of his stomach as thoughts of what his brother might do to protect him flooded his thoughts. Seokjin had more to lose by helping Taehyung than either of them would admit.

 

“Curiosity killed the cat.” Jungkook says leaning his back on Taehyung’s legs. Jungkook’s hair splays out on the tops of Taehyung’s knees as he cranes his neck back to stick his tongue out at him. Taehyung playfully jostles his legs behind his friend while continuously refreshing the messages.

 

“And satisfaction brought it back. Kook, how do you even know if this thing works?”

 

“Shut up!” Jungkook says indignantly. Suddenly, the phone pings with a notification. Taehyung completely fumbles the flip phone and promptly drops it on Jungkook’s face.

 

“Here butterfingers,” Jungkook rubs his forehead and shoves the phone back into Taehyung’s hands. “It’s Yoongi hyung. I thought you would have texted Jin hyung.”

 

“I did,” Taehyung says absentmindedly as he opens the text.

 

 

small and strong

10:27 pm

Tell Tae Jin says to lay low for the next day or two.

 

small and strong

10:27 pm

Don’t do any stupid shit.

 

Taehyung purses his lips as he stares at the small screen. Jungkook shuffles off the floor to sit next to Taehyung on the couch, leaning his head on his friend to read over his shoulder.

 

“Why is Yoongi hyung texting you then? Shouldn’t Jin hyung just…?” Jungkook waves his hands around in lieu of finishing his sentence. Taehyung pays him no mind.

Min Yoongi was an extremely close friend of Seokjin’s. The three of them met in high school after Yoongi transferred from a public school to their private academy on a scholarship for gifted youth. He was one of the few people Taehyung knew he could trust around his brother. Yoongi was also the person who had discovered Jungkook. After college he ran a successful club, became a highly sought after producer in the music industry, and was quickly making a name for himself in the underground rap scene.

 

Unlike his older brother, Yoongi was direct almost to a fault. He always had been. It was one of the reasons why Taehyung looked up to him. Yoongi never let anything dictate what he decided to do, not even life. Taehyung couldn’t help but to love him for it.

 

Only, these texts gave him pause. Why would Yoongi be texting him back in the first place? And what was up with the vague responses? How bad was the picture that Taehyung needed to lay low for a couple days? He knew that it was no use texting Yoongi back for answers. The only person Taehyung had ever known him to answer to was Jin.

 

“They must be together.” Taehyung says mostly to himself. He pushes the thin, pink phone back into Jungkook’s hands. The only place Taehyung could think Yoongi would be was-

 

“Kook, how about we celebrate the end of your first successful world tour?

 

Jungkook’s face scrunches up in disapproval. “Hyung literally just texted you to lay low.”

 

“If you come with me, I’ll give you a picture of Jin hyung’s back while he cooks.”

 

Jungkook pulls Taehyung up from the couch and yanks him toward the door like a ragdoll.

 

“Why didn’t you say that earlier!” Taehyung laughs and lets Jungkook pull him out of his apartment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was closer to midnight when the two left from getting ready at Jungkook’s place.

 

Jungkook was dressed in a blue, satin button down shirt paired with a black and blue loose tie. Taehyung had forced him into some skin tight leather pants to complete the look last minute. Even though Jungkook grumbled and fought him, Taehyung had caught him checking himself out in the mirror more than once. For his own outfit, Taehyung layered a deep v-neck under a leather jacket. He wore black, ripped skinny jeans and a silver bandana to keep his hair out of his face.

 

When they arrive at Yoongi’s club, Purpose, they skip the line and the doorman easily nods them through. Jungkook’s presence only causes a small scene at the door. He handles the incessant camera flashes and overly excited fans with a quick smile before they enter.  Jungkook’s ability to turn on his celebrity persona at the flip of a hat never fails to take Taehyung by surprise.

Taehyung catches a few of the people in line watching him as well, so he waves and flashes a quick smile. The attention isn’t quite the same as the screams for Jungkook, but he chalks it up to the idol’s very recent return to Korea.

 

They hit the dance floor first, maneuvering through the crowd towards the bar. Taehyung had always loved the setup of Purpose. Elevated VIP booths hung over a DJ station to the back of the dancefloor. The booths were perfect for celebrities who wanted to be seen, but secluded enough to be comfortable.

 

Anyone could access the dance floor, but few could get into the booths hanging over it. Celebrities were able to enjoy a night out and the public were still able to feel like they were partying with their favorite idols.

 

Just to the right of the DJ booth is the bar, housing three bartenders working quickly to mix drinks. Jungkook’s attempts to grab the bartender’s attention fail once someone recognizes him. A small mob of fans surround them soon after and Taehyung barely slips away with his shirt intact.

 

Walking through the club is a feat in itself. Between the dancers and the people lined up at the bar, it’s hard to move even inches forward. Instead of going to sit in their usual booth, Taehyung lets the crowd push him onto the dance floor. He doesn’t recognize the song the DJ is playing, but the beat is familiar, bass vibrating through his body as he moves fluidly with it. It doesn’t take long for him to completely lose himself in the music.

 

The song changes smoothly and Taehyung smiles to himself, appreciating the DJ’s skill. The transition is seamless as the tempo slows down and the key changes. And even though more people join the dance floor, bumping shoulders and stepping on toes, Taehyung feels like he’s dancing alone.

 

Taehyung maneuvers himself closer to the DJ station, wanting to be closer to the source of the bass. As he passes through the crowd, both men and women attempt to entice him to dance. The attention is heady and for the first time in awhile he doesn't have to worry about dealing with ulterior motives.

 

Even as close as he is to the DJ station, Taehyung still can’t make out exactly who’s in the booth. It’s definitely not one of the regular Friday night DJs, the music is too good. The man in the booth is dressed simply enough for a hip-hop club. He’s bent over the turntables dressed in a camo jacket. His shoulders move with the beat of his mix and Taehyung notices a thin silver chain around his neck. The man looks up then, catching Taehyung openly staring at him.

 

He flicks his purple hair out of his eyes and shoots Taehyung a dimpled smirk. The heat in his eyes is enough to make Taehyung break eye contact first. The instant attraction he feels towards a random DJ has Taehyung reeling. Even as he turns away, Taehyung feels the man’s eyes following him. A slight shiver runs down his spine.

 

Eventually, Taehyung makes it to the edges of the dance floor. Unsurprisingly, Jungkook is still trapped at the bar surrounded by adoring fans. Taehyung all but drags him away.

 

“Tell me you got more than your ass kissed the whole time you were at the bar.” Taehyung says as he slumps down into their regular booth. Jungkook slides in beside Taehyung as he begins to open a drink from the bottle service tray at their table.

 

“Better than eye fucking the DJ.” Jungkook plucks the bottle from Taehyung’s hands, “Hennessey? I thought you only drank that-”

 

“I wasn’t eye fucking him.” Taehyung indignantly snatches the bottle back flicking off Jungkook once he’s finished pouring himself a shot. “I will be fucking him though.”

 

“Somehow, I feel like that’s not the best thing to do. Considering that your dick is probably still trending from your last sexcapade.”

 

“Fuck you. Who even says ‘sexcapades’.” Taehyung pours Jungkook a shot and they clink glasses. He doesn’t want to put too much thought into why he’s attracted to the DJ or anything else for that matter. They drink two more shots before Jungkook speaks again.

 

“The bartenders’ said that Yoongi hasn’t been here all night. One of his friends agreed to cover him tonight.”

 

“Fucking. Excellent.”

 

Taehyung bites back another shot before standing unsteadily. Jungkook grabs his arm only to have Taehyung fling it off again. He’s focused on the purple mess of hair behind the turntables below them. The bird’s eye view from the booth is so much better than the angle he had on the floor. The man was tall and as he worked, sweat dripping off him, his smile was bright. Taehyung’s world spun as he turned, almost tripping over his feet, to leave the booth.

 

“Hyung, where are you going? I just said Yoongi hyung isn’t here.” Taehyung’s bangs swish wildly as he shakes his head and he puts a finger to Jungkook’s mouth silencing him.

 

“Just pour me another shot, I’m gonna go out there and I’m gonna find out what the DJ’s name is and I’m gonna totally fuck his brains out and-”

 

“Yeah, no I’m cutting you off. Give me the Hennessy bottle. You only drink this when you don’t want to remember your shitty decisions.” Jungkook forces Taehyung back down in his seat by his shoulders and moves the alcohol out of his reach.

 

In the back of his mind Taehyung knows Jungkook is probably right. The worst thing he could do right now was make another mess for his brother to clean up. But, he couldn’t remember ever feeling such a strong attraction to someone before. Taehyung’s chest hurt just watching the DJ smile and that electric feeling was the only thing keeping him afloat.

 

“Can you really blame me for not wanting to remember? Sometimes I read things about myself and have to pray they aren’t true. Sometimes I wake up having forgotten that he’s gone and-.” Taehyung catches his breath and fights back the tremble in his voice as he speaks.

 

“I just need to feel something good right now ok? I thought I could come here and Yoongi would have answers for me. He’s not. So just give me the-” Taehyung leans over Jungkook’s lap to reach the bottle, using his body weight to push the stronger man back against the booth.

 

“Um, excuse me?”

 

A group of girls stand in the entryway of their booth. Jungkook and Taehyung both freeze, startled by the sudden intrusion. Jungkook recovers first, standing and bowing politely to the women. They smile shyly and ask for pictures with Jungkook, who immediately welcomes them into their booth.

 

Moments later, Jungkook is calling after him as Taehyung all but sprints out of their booth. Wanting to put as much space between himself and Jungkook as he can, Taehyung heads for the bathrooms on the other side of the club. He hits the line to the women’s bathroom first as it snakes out into the dance floor.

 

That’s when the memory hits him.

 

Taehyung is watching the ceiling, engrossed with how the light catches the stones on his lapel. He realizes belatedly that he’s been staring directly into the harsh fluorescent lights over head. There are white splotches in his vision when he looks away and he blinks, struggling to clear them. Every move he makes is sluggish and his senses feel muted. No matter how hard he tries, his body won’t move the way he tells it to. Deep in the back of his mind, Taehyung wonders where he is and how he ended up here.

 

“Just sit back, stop trying to stand up.”

 

The voice cuts through the fog in his mind like a knife. It takes a good bit of his energy to raise his head up to find the source. The syrupy sweet tone is familiar somehow, but Taehyung can’t remember why.

 

“Who are you? Where am I?”

 

His voice comes out in a garbled mess, sounding more like nonsense than actual words. The voice giggles and Taehyung feels hands run down his chest, nails digging into his skin possessively. He arches into the touch and a moan escapes him.

 

“Stop,” he tries to say, but his voice is too soft, his throat sticking around the words. He feels the hand fiddle with his pants and tries one more time to speak, but it's no use. Taehyung’s pleas are trapped in the muddled recesses of his mind as his body betrays him.

 

When he opens his eyes, a small group of people surround him. Someone is helping him up and it takes a few shakes of his head to clearly hear what they’re saying to him.

 

“...I said are you okay?” Manicured nails dig into his arm as the woman steadying him yells in his ear.

 

“Let go.”

 

The feeling of her nails is jarringly close to his memory and Taehyung rips out of her hold. He stumbles a few feet away from her, his body finally feeling the effects of the cognac.

 

The woman grabs his arm again pulling him back to face her. She’s only just shorter than him and Taehyung wonders how much of a scene he’s made for a stranger to act this concerned about him.

 

“Look, I know it’s probably not my place to say this, but it’s just-,” She drops her hand from him as she hesitates. “I can’t imagine how you’re feeling after the whole world watched what happened to you.”

 

“I drank too much, I passed out end of story. Do you want an award for helping me or something?!” Taehyung can’t distinguish the stranger’s expressions under the neon club lights. Her hands fly into her purse and she takes out her phone scrolling until turning the screen to face him.

 

A video begins to play and at first all he can see are black dress shoes. The camera slowly pans up following nails running up bare legs sitting on a toilet seat. The hand stops, resting on a thigh and the camera pans further up. Taehyung snatches the phone from the stranger’s hands as the video zooms in.

 

It’s his face only, he’s never seen himself look so out of it.

 

His cheek is resting limply on his shoulder and his breathing is labored. Taehyung watches as the hand grips his slack jaw. Nails dig into the sides of his cheeks as the person filming shakes his head slowly from left to right. The camera leaves his face and travels back down his chest, the hand unbuttoning buttons as it goes. Nails drag down the waistband of his black briefs before pulling out his half hard dick.

 

Taehyung pushes away the phone having seen enough. This time, he doesn’t look back when he stumbles away. Only the dull pulse of the music fills his ears as his feet take him to the end of the bar.

 

“I can’t imagine how you’re feeling after the whole world watched what happened to you.”

 

His hand shakes and tears threaten at the corners of his eyes. Coughing to cover his emotions, Taehyung calls for a drink. He pressed his forehead to the bar, hoping to look drunk rather than like he was falling apart. The club sounds around him recede as he tries to make sense of things. The constant anxiety he felt throughout the day. Why he couldn’t remember the night before. Jin ignoring his texts, Jungkook avoiding him, Yoongi’s cryptic messages. All the little things he’d brushed off before were pointing him to the truth.

 

 

And it was all because of the video.

 

 

Taehyung knows he’s well past his limit, but the alcohol is the only thing keeping his pain at bay. He hears the bartender set down the drink and he wonders how he got through the party the night before with such low proof alcohol.

 

She drugged me.

 

Slowly, he lifts his head from the bar letting his tears fall freely as the realization hits him hard in the chest. Champagne and wine were the only things he had that night, yet somehow he still got blackout drunk. It just wasn’t possible with his tolerance level.

 

Taehyung couldn’t be bothered anymore by what he looked like. What use was there in protecting an image that he couldn’t even recognize as himself anymore?

 

Taehyung’s grip tightened around his glass as he empties it. Between the pain and the anger, it was all too much. The lights of the club were beginning to blur together and viciously swirl around his head.  

 

Numb was all Taehyung wanted to feel anymore.

 

“I’m cutting you off after this.”

 

The bartender closest to Taehyung pushes another glass in front of him. Before he can speak, the woman flicks her head back towards the other end of the bar.

 

“The guy in the red suit jacket sent it for you.”

 

Taehyung stares into the bottom of the glass, trailing his finger around the rim before downing the liquid. A rush of warmth sinks through him and he wipes away the tear tracks on his face.

 

Fuck it, I’ll beat myself up about sleeping with him in the morning.  

 

The man in question made his way to sit next to Taehyung. The color of his suit jacket was a nice contrast with the silver shine of his hair. There was something about his smile that would’ve put Taehyung on edge any other night. But, tonight he couldn’t find it in himself to care.

 

“Thought you’d like some company. I’m Baekhyun.” Taehyung took Baekhyun’s outstretched hand and placed it on his thigh, laughing at the man’s surprised expression.

 

“Kim Taehyung. Thanks for the drink.” Taehyung says, leaning forward to press his lips closely to the stranger’s ear. He began to pull back pleased with how quickly he’d managed to make his companion’s breath catch, only to be roughly yanked forward again.

 

“I know exactly who you are,” The stranger’s friendly smile had changed into something more sinister as he whispered to Taehyung. “How are you still so shameless even after that video leaked?”

 

Taehyung’s mouth hung open, stunned silent by the man’s words. Baekhyun’s hand roamed up his thigh, squeezing close to his crotch. Taehyung groans softly, his head falling forward onto Baekhyun’s shoulder. The pressure was dizzying, between that and how tipsy he was Taehyung wondered how much longer he’d be conscious.

 

“Is this all it takes to get you in the palm of my hand? A drink? I haven’t even-”

 

And then all at once, the pressure from Baekhyun’s hand is gone. Taehyung let his body fall forward completely succumbing into a drunken haze. Wiry arms caught him and rested his head back on the bar. Fingertips ghosted gently across his face resting on his cheek for a second before retracting.

 

Taehyung couldn’t understand the words that were being said between the newcomer and Baekhyun. Eventually, Baekhyun left and the newcomer turned and crouched down by Taehyung.

 

“You really should be more careful about who you accept drinks from.” Purple hair comes into view and Taehyung instinctively reaches out to card his fingers through it.

 

“It’s you! You’re that hot DJ from earlier,” Taehyung pouts when the man takes his hands from his hair. “Wait, I’m not done! Let me-!” He reaches out too quickly and tumbles forward into the man’s chest. They fall back together, Taehyung’s landing softened by the taller man’s chest.

 

“Let’s get you out of here, Taehyung.”

Chapter Text

Hey everyone. 

 

I just wanted to say that after being away from this for months I've finally been able to get some inspiration back. For a minute there I was really wanting to delete this... but then I've been getting messages and a few kudos here and there which surprised me! I guess really what I shouldve been doing instead of asking other people who I admired for their work what they thought about paperhearts I shouldve just reread the nice things yall have said. Anyway, not to get sappy I just wanted to let you know this fic is going through some changes, but Paper Hearts will be back!

 

-Nimitta