“Is this okay?” Jeongguk gently asked, hands tentatively rubbing up and down Taehyung’s arms, lips close to his ear. They were currently sitting together on Jeongguk’s hotel bed, Taehyung between his legs and back resting against his chest. It had been a day since… that, and needless to say, Taehyung was in some need of comfort and touch. And he sure as hell wasn’t going to get it from Jimin. He and Jeongguk had a lot of time together now, and they had already spent most of it talking. Taehyung still felt like he was in a dream.
“…Yeah, it’s okay.” He replied, cuddling himself further back into Jeongguk’s wide and sturdy chest. Taehyung could feel how the alpha was rubbing his nose against his neck and he closed his eyes.
“What are you thinking about, pup?”
Taehyung sighed and shook his head. “I don’t know. All of this… It feels so good but so strange. Like I shouldn’t be doing this. Like I shouldn’t be in your arms again. For five years, up until yesterday, I truly believed that you had abandoned me. I believed in everything that you said to me that morning you left… that all of it was fake. That our relationship was just some game to you unlike how it was to me. I suffered, I really did. I always wanted to deny that, especially with you, but now that everything is out I suppose I can say it. I was so desperate for you to come back at the beginning; I would have traded anything in the world to be in your arms again, even after all those things that happened. After a while, I gave up. I accepted that my mate had abandoned me forever. So, to find out all of that wasn’t real within minutes… It doesn’t feel real.”
“It’s like whiplash in a way. There’s also the fact that none of this would have happened had I just opened that first letter. Had Jimin not hidden them away for no known purpose, I would have been by your side by this point. Five years of wasted time, and for what? Jimin’s sick pleasure?” Taehyung whispered. He wasn’t sure what or how to feel about Jimin right now. Of course, there was the anger. Anger that Jimin, his best friend, would go behind his back and ruin his relationship like that. After the endless nights of crying over Jeongguk in Jimin’s shoulder, this seemed like the ultimate betrayal.
Taehyung turned his head around to face Jeongguk and the alpha could feel his heart shattering. The omega’s eyes were watering and on the verge of crying, looking as distraught as he did the other day. Jeongguk wanted to take all that pain away, but could he?
“I want to be your mate again, hell, we are mates, but maybe not in the emotional way right now. I… I don’t know how to explain it. I love you, but… it’s been so long. It’s been so long since I’ve been myself and been in your arms. I don’t know how to do it. I’m at the point where I don’t even feel like an omega anymore and I’m scared to go back to that. I’m… I’m scared that you’ll hurt me like last time, even though I know it wasn’t your fault. And I don’t know if I’m ready to just suddenly get back in such a devoted relationship after all of this… H-How… I don’t even know if I’m ready for a family!” His voice wobbled.
“And all of this… Who is to blame? Who am I to be angry at? My best friend? Am I supposed to go on forever hating the person who I’ve always adored? I can’t help but also feel angry towards myself… How could I have not have realized? How could I have given up on my mate so easily?”
Jeongguk pulled Taehyung into his chest before he could say another word. The alpha shushed him and comforted him at the same time, not wanting him to place any of this burden upon himself.
“Taehyung, no. None of this was your fault, okay? If anything, I had much more of a role in fault than you. I was the one who screwed up, not you. I never told you anything and couldn’t keep my cool when my father made all those threats. I should have told you more things and trusted in you. You are my mate, after all. So please, please, don’t put any blame on yourself. For the both of us.”
Jeongguk lifted Taehyung’s chin up with a finger and used his other hand to wipe a tear off his cheek. He gently smiled and allowed himself to release a soothing aroma to calm the omega down.
I’ll protect you now. You don’t have to worry anymore.
“And Taehyung, I don’t expect you or want you to jump back into this relationship just like that. I know that would be too much for anyone after everything that has happened. We don’t have to rush anything, this time there is no deadline or ending date. We have forever to be with each other. We can take things slow. Just start things off like we did back then. Little dates so we can learn about each other again, get used to the idea of being mates. We don’t have to even live with each other right now, not until you’re comfortable with it. And Taehyung, having pups can be an idea that we’ll worry about in the future, okay?” Jeongguk softly whispered, thumb still rubbing circles on the tender skin of Taehyung’s cheek.
Taehyung sniffed and buried his face into the crook of Jeongguk’s neck. Half of this was to get closer and the other half to breathe in some of Jeongguk’s comforting scent better. For the first time in many years, the mark on his neck bares him no pain or humiliation. It feels right and his heart beats once again.
“Were you angry? When you never received any letters back?” Taehyung asked. He couldn’t imagine the grief Jeongguk must have experienced back then. He must have felt so hopeless.
Jeongguk bites the inside of his cheek before opening his mouth to speak. “Not in the beginning, no. I was more distraught, pained over what I had done to you. I felt like a fool, a terrible fool who had made a mistake. The first letters I sent were ones begging you to forgive me and trying to explain the whole situation. I didn’t expect you to reply for a while because I knew you still needed to time to comprehend everything that had happened. But… after a couple of weeks I started to get worried. I had sent so many and yet you refused to send one back. I kept thinking to myself that you hated me and weren’t going to forgive me. There… there was the thought that maybe you had moved on but I tried to push that to the back of mind. There were times… when I would get frustrated. I couldn’t understand and that hurt me. And when I came over, and Jimin showed me that picture and had told me that lie, I was crushed. I really thought… I really thought you had abandoned me.”
The alpha lets out a deep breath before continuing. “But I’m sure that what I went through was nothing compared to you. You had no idea what was going on and you had to face everything as a mated omega on your own…”
Taehyung shook his head and whispered ‘no’s.
“Let’s not compare our griefs… we both suffered.” The omega said. It was somewhat comforting, knowing that he had not been alone all that time. His pain had not been solidarity.
He still had one question still on his mind, however.
“Do you… Do you think we can go back to what we were? We were so young back then, so much different.” He whispered.
The omega closes his eyes when Jeongguk places a kiss on the top of his head. “I believe we can. Five years is a long time, but not enough time to separate us.”
The passing days find them both a little more peace, and the two mates are able to take some time and fully realize that this was actually happening.
Taehyung hadn’t seen Jimin ever since and he wasn’t sure how to feel about that. The alpha hadn’t tried to get in contact with him ever since but Taehyung knew that this wasn’t out of spite or malicious nature. Jimin knew that what he had done was wrong, surely, and probably wasn’t going to try and speak with Taehyung until he had blown some steam off. He certainly had, but he still didn’t know how to approach Jimin about this.
He was still angry and heartbroken over Jimin’s actions but underneath it all, he still missed his best friend. He missed being over at their old apartment and laughing together with Yoongi. He missed going out with everyone in their friend group. They couldn’t even have that.
About everyone seemed to be pretty peeved with Jimin and Yoongi right now, and Taehyung couldn’t help but feel a bit guilty. Of course, he himself had done nothing wrong, and Jimin and Yoongi had done something quite terrible. However, there were still his friends. Taehyung didn’t want them to be so ostracized and outcasted. It just made him feel sad.
Jeongguk squeezed his hand and Taehyung looked up at him, pulled away from his thoughts. His alpha smiled at him, the sun shining light down on his face and making him seem as if he were glowing with warmth. Taehyung felt that he had never seen someone so beautiful in his entire life. He leant in a little closer so there wasn’t so much space in between them.
They were walking into town together to meet up with Namjoon and Hoseok for lunch. Hoseok had urged them to come, saying that he had something important to give them. Taehyung really had no idea what it could be, but he didn’t worry over it for too long.
“Can’t believe I’ve been accepted by your alpha posse.” Jeongguk joked, bumping his shoulder into Taehyung’s. “Never thought I’d see the day.”
Taehyung just rolled his eyes with a smile. “Whatever, they love you now. It’s hard not to.”
There was a cheeky grin growing on Jeongguk’s face and he wiggled his eyebrows. “Oh? Do you love me?”
A pink hue appeared on Taehyung’s cheeks and the omega turned his head to look at some buildings beside them. Jeongguk laughed and kept bumping into Taehyung in an endearing manner.
“Come onnn… Say it…” He cooed.
“I love you.” Taehyung mumbled, voice barely above a whisper.
“What? I couldn’t hear you!” Jeongguk said loudly. Taehyung’s face was as red as a beat now, though there was a tiny smile being formed by his lips. His alpha was truly something else.
He finally turned around to face Jeongguk who was looking mighty happy right now. “I love you!” Taehyung said louder, standing up on his toes to make his point very clear. Jeongguk’s eves turned into little crescents before the alpha jumped in to kiss Taehyung’s face, making sure to get every little spot.
Taehyung giggled and bit his bottom lip as Jeongguk placed on final kiss on his nose, making an exaggerated smooching sound.
The alpha pulled back. “I love you too.” He gently said.
Jeongguk leaned in again but Taehyung met him in the middle this time. Their lips fit like puzzle pieces and Taehyung felt as if he were melting. His mating mark tingled a bit and it made butterflies flutter in his stomach.
“Oh my god, everyone can fucking see you two basically making out in the middle of the street!” Someone yelled out, and the two looked around to see who it was. Hoseok was crossing his arms and shaking his head in mock disapproval, Namjoon sitting beside him and looking as if Hoseok had just embarrassed him beyond repair.
Taehyung didn’t feel embarrassment at all however, and he grabbed Jeongguk’s hand to walk them over to where his two other friends were. It was nice to finally have an alpha to go with his mating mark. It was odd to say, but, he couldn’t help the small feeling of pride that welled up in his chest when the locals in town would stare at him walking with Jeongguk on some of their dates. He had always been the pity case beforehand but not anymore.
Namjoon and Hoseok were sitting outside of the restaurant at a nice table with an umbrella out to hide them from the blazing sun. Taehyung and Jeongguk sat down across from them and the other two alphas didn’t fail to see how the couple scooted their chairs a little closer together.
“Oh… young love. How it makes this old heart feel again…” Hoseok cried out, holding a hand over his chest (the wrong side for his heart) and leaning back in his chair. Namjoon watched him and sighed.
“I’d hardly call it young love, but thanks for the sentiment.” Jeongguk chuckled, his foot and Taehyung’s just barely touching under the table.
Hoseok grinned and gave a look to Namjoon. “They’re cute, aren’t they?”
Namjoon finally nodded and looked over to Taehyung and Jeongguk. “Yeah, I haven’t seen Taehyung this happy in a while.”
Taehyung didn’t see how Jeongguk’s breathing stopped for just a second.
“You know what’s lame? Almost nobody else but Jimin and Yoongi got to see Jeongguk five years ago! Like, all that drama happened and I didn’t even really know what Jeongguk looked like!” Hoseok jumped in to complain. “Please say that you’re staying a little bit longer this time.”
Hoseok seemed to realize something as well and he jumped up in his chair. “Wait! You’re not planning to take Taehyung away to Seoul, are you? Because I will actually jump you if you’re trying to steal away my friend!”
Jeongguk laughed and shook his head. “No, Hoseok, I’m not going to steal Taehyung anywhere.” The alpha glanced at Taehyung. “We’ve actually been talking these past few days and I’m probably going to move over here. Of course, I’ll probably stay in a different apartment until some more time passes, but I still want to be over here. I really don’t want Taehyung or myself to be anywhere near my parents, ever. I can start a new law firm over here to maintain while simply owning the one over in Seoul.”
Taehyung nodded and he seemed to only be able to look at Jeongguk right now. The alpha was willing to move over here for him and start a new life. Taehyung hadn’t heard of any alpha who would make such accommodations for just an omega, to go so out of their way and be so patient. He wondered if it were fate that he was on that beach the same morning that Jeongguk decided to go out. Things would have been so different had one thing changed.
“Wow.” Namjoon stated, actually sounding pretty surprised. “So… this is serious.”
“Well, we are mates.” Taehyung said. “W-we’re taking things a bit slow right now since… well because of everything that has happened, but we’re still serious about all of this. Mates are supposed to stay together forever, right?”
Namjoon nodded and took a sip of his drink. “Yeah, absolutely. I’m just… I’m just really happy for you two.”
Jeongguk couldn’t stop smiling. He was happy as well and he glanced back over to Taehyung. He had no idea how he had lucked out and gotten someone as special as Taehyung. His alpha was pleased as well, finally at rest now that they were together again. Going slow like this was fine as well for him, which was surprising. He had been so impatient before, wanting more and more. But now, this seemed perfect. Taehyung’s happiness meant everything to him, after all.
“Oh, um… Hoseok. You said you had something important to give to me?” Taehyung finally asked when he remembered why they were here in the rest place.
That smile on Hoseok’s face faded just slightly and Namjoon looked a little bit nervous. “Oh, yeah. That.”
Taehyung looked a bit confused and he put his hands on the table. “What is it?”
Jeongguk leaned back into the chair, smelling that something was off here. That happy and carefree atmosphere from before was no longer.
“Do you remember the uh letter that brought Jeongguk here in the first place? The one with your handwriting and your scent on it, though you didn’t actually write it?”
“Well, yes, of course.” Taehyung answered, tilting his head to the side. He actually hadn’t thought about it in a long time with everything that had been going on. It had been such a mystery before but with all the things going on with Jeongguk and Jimin, it had been pushed to the side. It remained the only thing unsolved now, though it was probably one of the most important things. Jeongguk may have never had come back had it not been for that letter and whoever had sent it.
“Okay, well, I have to tell you something about it.” Hoseok slowly said, looking somewhat cautious.
“Oh my god, you were the one who sent it! I knew it!” Taehyung exclaimed, pointing a finger at Hoseok and looking somewhat excited.
“Wait, what? No! It wasn’t me!” Hoseok responded, putting his hands up defensively. “Definitely not me.”
Taehyung sat back down and frowned. “Oh. Sorry.”
That was a bit embarrassing and Jeongguk had to stop himself from smiling.
Namjoon couldn’t even smile and Hoseok took a deep breath before reaching down and pulling something out of his bag. It was a large envelope, probably a foot by six inches and it looked stuffed to the brim. Hoseok handed it over and Taehyung tentatively took it from him. It was pretty heavy and all of this was making the omega somewhat nervous.
He looked at Jeongguk one more time before opening it up and dropping its contents on the table. Papers flew out, some from notebooks, some post it notes, and some other normal envelopes. They smelled like Jimin.
“I mean… I wasn’t snooping around of anything but I happened to be in Jimin’s apartment trying to find something and… yeah. I maybe took them?” Hoseok nervously laughed.
Taehyung frowned and picked up one of the letters. A new suspicion started to rise in his chest and he didn’t like it. This wasn’t it. This wasn’t what happened. Jimin hated Jeongguk, he always had. That’s why he did all those terrible things.
He picked up one of the letters which was addressed to Jeongguk, and from Jimin. Taehyung’s hands shook as he opened it, and Jeongguk leant over so he could read as well. What was inside would change a great many things.
I know that I’m the last person you want to receive a letter from, especially after all the ones you sent specifically to Taehyung. You’re probably angry, hurt, and confused after all this time. You sent letters for an entire year to Taehyung, explaining why you had to leave and begging for his forgiveness. I know that you were heartbroken over the fact that he never responded. That’s why you came back to Jeju, after all.
I’m writing this letter to you to explain and apologize as well. The truth is that Taehyung would have responded to you, he would have fallen right back into his arms, had I not stolen your letters and hidden them. Taehyung soon left after your departure, heartbroken over his mate. I read your first letter and I knew that I should give your letter to him. Let him know that you still loved him and that everything was going to be okay. I should have told you the truth four years ago when you came back to Jeju. But I didn’t. I kept all of your letters and I still have them. I was so selfish and arrogant, I had my mate and my happiness but I denied the both of you the same. I even lied to you and said that Taehyung was with another alpha when he never was.
When I first saw you, I hated you. There was no really good reason but I did. I have always protected Taehyung, from childhood until now. In a way, I have been his alpha though we are not romantically together and never will be. I grew possessive over time and I didn’t want to see him become someone else’s omega. I didn’t want to lose him and I became the alpha that I used to despise. I didn’t give Taehyung the choice to decided things on his own. To be honest, I’m still scared to. I’m so scared to lose Taehyung and have him move off with another alpha and forget me. I don’t want to lose my best friend.
And yet, I hurt and betrayed him. I swore to myself to always protect him but I have been the most destructive person in his life. I saw you two and I knew that it was true love, I knew that Taehyung was already so bonded to you. I tried to deny it but the first night I saw you two, I knew in my heart that you would become mates. I feared that you would take him to Seoul and maybe do something to him that I couldn’t stop because I was so far away. That’s why I was always so cruel to you that week, trying to discourage and run you off.
Then, when Taehyung came sobbing into my arms, crying over how you had abandoned him… I felt relief. I was happy underneath it all because you had left. You had done something terrible to him and ditched him. I was right about you and I felt that now, more than ever, I had to protect Taehyung. But then I read your letter. You had made a mistake, but it wasn’t your fault. You still loved Taehyung and you wanted him back. I understood that if Taehyung got his hands on that letter, he would go back to you. He was still in love with you, after all.
I was a coward and I hid it. I didn’t want to be wrong and I didn’t want to lose Taehyung. I can’t express how guilty I feel through just words and you’ll never know how terrible I feel either. Even if we were face to face, I couldn’t express it. I couldn’t even explain to Yoongi.
I know that you’re probably ready to tear my head off right now, and I honestly deserve it. I don’t expect you to forgive me or ever me nice to me because a person like me doesn’t deserve such things. But please, I want you to know this.
Taehyung is unhappy without you. He may deny it because he is heartbroken, but you’re the love of his life and he will never be able to move on or find another person like you. You two are mates and mates are supposed to be together for life, not separated due to the actions of an awful best friend. If you were to come back, and he were to know the truth, he would forgive you. I know he would because he loves you.
Please, will you come back one more time? Taehyung is on summer break right now and won’t be travelling. It’s the perfect time for you to come back for your mate.
I hope that maybe in the next lifetime that I will be able to repay you for what I have done. I know that one lifetime is not enough. It’s hard to say, but, I hope to see you here soon. Win back Taehyung.
Taehyung stared at the letter and Jeongguk stared at it for even longer.
“I… I don’t understand. Jimin wrote this? Jimin wanted Jeongguk to come back? Why… Why didn’t he send this letter? Why did he make all of this so confusing with that other one?”
Hoseok shrugged and slided over the papers on the table so Taehyung and Jeongguk would look at them.
“I really have no idea about all of this other than the fact that he was guilty as hell over what he did to you guys. Look at this though.”
Taehyung looked at the other sheets of paper and picked some of them up. It looked as if Jimin were practicing his handwriting. No… he was practicing Taehyung’s handwriting. Lines and lines of perfecting every last detail of it, erasing and restarting. Taehyung couldn’t believe it.
“This doesn’t make sense though. If Jimin really felt that bad, then why didn’t he send his own letter? Why did he write a whole new one that looked like one from Taehyung? Why did he act like such a jerk when I came here? I mean… he was going off on me the day I got here. He’s writing as if he wants us to get back together immediately but he acted like he wanted me to die. This just doesn’t add up.” Jeongguk said, shaking his head and picking up some more of the papers.
“I think… I think he was still scared. He even said so in that one he wrote. That’s probably why he pretended to be Taehyung in that letter. He still wanted you to come back to Jeju and talk to Taehyung… but maybe he didn’t want you coming back knowing the entire truth. I don’t know… He may have wanted to test you and see how you acted and behaved after five years. I mean, five years is a long time. And who knows… maybe he was scared to send that letter to you as well.” Namjoon tried to explain.
Jeongguk rubbed a hand over his cheek and sighed. Once again, a lot of confusion and misunderstanding. This story just wasn’t going to play out smoothly all the way. There was always a new bump after every turn.
Taehyung put the letter down and placed his face in his hands. He didn’t know how to feel. Jimin was the reason why Jeongguk and himself weren’t together but was also the reason why they were together now. Why? Why couldn’t have Jimin just have done this earlier? Why did he feel the need to make everything so difficult? He felt a hand rubbing his shoulder.
“Tae… are you okay?” Jeongguk softly asked. All of this was surprising news to him but he was sure that this was more distressing for Taehyung. His omega had been through so much these past years and all he wanted to do was take away all the pain and confusion.
“I’m okay… I’m just… I don’t understand all of this. There’s still so many questions that come out of this answer.” Taehyung explained, finally removing his hands from his face and looking at the letter again.
“It makes me feel better that Jimin knew what he did was wrong but… I don’t know. Jimin is my best friend and I know that he’s been my protector for so long. He’s been so good to me, and I know that you may not see that after all of this, but he truly has. He loves me but has made a terrible decision. I’m mad but I… I don’t want to lose him.” Taehyung blinked. “I really don’t want to lose him either.”
Jeongguk hesitated for a second before nodding. Hoseok and Namjoon watched in mild shock.
“It’s okay. I understand. And you don’t have to lose him, Taehyung. Your feelings are valid and you don’t have to feel a certain way. I’ll support you, no matter what you choose to do. I’m not the biggest fan of Jimin personally, but I’m not going to force that on you.” He finally said, completely serious.
No, he really did not like Jimin at all. He had ruined five years of his life and was probably Jeongguk’s least favorite person on the entire planet. But, he could see that he and Taehyung were close. They loved each other. And sometimes, people made mistakes and did shitty things when love blinded them.
“… We all make mistakes and do things we regret. We’re humans, after all. And Jimin is included.”
Taehyung looked up at Jeongguk in astonishment. “But… but you hate Jimin, don’t you? After everything he’s done?”
Jeongguk laughed and put his hand over Taehyung’s. “Well, probably yes, but like I said, I’m not going to push that on you. I can see that you’re still angry but you’re also confused. Jimin did some really bad things to the both of us but that doesn’t mean that you need to ditch him. If you don’t want to, then don’t. If you do, then do it. Just do whatever makes you happy, Taehyung.”
Taehyung swallowed and nodded. “Okay… okay.”
“I think the best thing to do right now is to go talk with him. Just you and Jimin, nobody else. You can… talk about all of this and how you feel. Let him explain his side, and then you make your decision on whether or not you want to forgive him. And Taehyung?”
“When you do decide, don’t think about anyone else but yourself. Not me, not him. Do it for yourself. You deserve to make your own path after years and years of suffering due to other’s mistakes and decisions.”
Taehyung smiled and nodded again. It’s like he was falling in love with Jeongguk all over again.
“I will.” He softly said.
Hoseok just stared at them and shook his head. “You two honestly act like we don’t even exist at this table.”