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The Winner Takes It All

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“I saw the letter you wrote.” Taehyung quietly said, barely above a whisper. He was looking straight down at his hands to avoid having to share eye contact with the alpha sitting on the other side of his orange couch in his living room. Taehyung nervously picked at his fingernails and acted as if he were inspecting them in some way. The tension was dreadful and even a complete stranger who had no context of what was happening could figure out that something was very awkward about all of this. “Not the one you sent pretending to be me. The one you never sent, that you had addressed to Jeongguk in your name. The one you were too afraid to send, I guess.”

 

Taehyung could almost see Jimin tensing up, shoulders raising and tongue swiping over his chapped lips. He didn’t have to look over at the alpha to know what small motions he was making. Jimin was his best friend after all, he knew him better than the back of his own hand.

 

“I… I figured. Hoseok didn’t do a very good job of hiding that giant envelope under his shirt when he ran out.” Jimin finally said. His voice was a bit raspy and it was deeper, closer to Taehyung’s deeper voice. It sounded as if he were sick, or perhaps choked up. Taehyung figured that it was the latter.

 

“You didn’t try to stop him?” Taehyung asked. His breaths were shorter and he tried to lengthen them, tried to calm himself down. He had promised that he wouldn’t get emotional during this conversation, he didn’t want this to be like the other times. The last couple of days… had been quite traumatic and Taehyung was sick and tired of crying and resting his head in other alpha’s shoulders. There weren’t any tears left in him and he took a deep breath, closing his eyes and composing himself.

 

“I thought about it but you and Jeongguk deserved to know. Besides, you two would have found out sooner or later about all of it. The others are prying as well and I couldn’t stop them.” Jimin sighed. “At least everything is out now. No more secrets. You deserve only the truth now.”

 

Taehyung finally found the nerve to turn his head around and face Jimin. His heart shook when he saw the alpha’s glossy eyes, just barely holding back from letting tears fall freely down his cheeks. The omega felt mixed emotions. He didn’t want to see his friend cry but at the same time it seemed like tears weren’t enough.

 

“I would have asked why. Why you had done all of those things to me and Jeongguk, why you had betrayed your own best friend, why you would even have the thoughts of doing such a thing. But, it seems like you beat me to the punch with that letter. You explained everything quite well, though I suppose you did leave some things out. All that’s left now is figuring out how we could ever go back to what we were.”

 

Jimin looked down, lips parting as if he were about to say something. Taehyung swallowed and bit his lip. This wasn’t going to be easy.

 

“Jimin, do you love me?”

 

The alpha’s head snapped up at that and his eyes narrowed as if he were confused. Taehyung could tell though from a single glance that the confusion wasn’t really the case.

 

“Taehyung…”

 

“I know that you love Yoongi now, you wouldn’t be his mate if you didn’t. I don’t think you ever felt for me what you feel for him… but I do know that there was something akin to that affection before Jeongguk. I never addressed it before because we were best friends and maybe because I was afraid for things to change in a bad way. I brushed off the thought and ignored the way you would gaze at me for just a second too long, the way you’d brush your lips against my hair when you thought that I was asleep. When you met Yoongi, all of that stopped and I know that’s because you loved him and that I no longer held that position in your heart. But, I’m guessing that you still felt something for me… as your best friend and as your past love. That reasoning would fill in the blanks for why you did what you did. Of course, it doesn’t excuse it but it gives you a motive. I don’t… I’m not sure if you thought about those feelings for me when you did such things… but I do believe that they had a part to play, whether you were aware of it or not.”

 

The omega watched carefully as Jimin reacted to what he said. Jimin shut his mouth, lips pouting out and Taehyung could see that he was trying not to cry. The first tear fell down onto his cheek, rolling down until the next one came. It was like a dam breaking and Jimin’s shoulders sunk, the rest of his body falling after them and he didn’t seem so strong anymore. Those tears now fell, thick and wet down his face. His cheeks were flushed red and it looked like he was about to burst. He was still holding his lips tightly together, forced to breathe out of his nose. The problem with that however was that his nose was clogged from the tears and welled up emotions, and it sounded as if he were about to pass out from oxygen loss. It wasn’t a pretty image and Taehyung gazed at him with eyes filled with an indescribable emotion.

 

Jimin finally opened his mouth to breathe and the sob that escaped his lips had Taehyung closing his eyes for just a second. When he opened them again, Jimin was hiding his face in his hands, opening crying aloud in heart wrenching wails. Taehyung’s arm felt as if it were in pain, not being able to reach out and pull Jimin into an embrace. The omega did scooch a little closer on the orange couch, to cut some of that distance that had been separating them.

 

“I- I didn’t… I didn’t realize why I… Why are you, w-why are you even t-talking to me… After w-what I did to you… You shouldn’t… You shouldn’t want to t-talk to me… You should be with J-J-Jeongguk! I took five… five years from you, didn’t I?! Why are you… taking the time to talk with me… when I took five years of your h-happiness?!” Jimin wept.

 

The alpha removed his hands and they looked soaked in tears, snot running down his nose and face looking an utter mess. Taehyung tried to say something but Jimin kept ranting on.

“I’m so… pathetic. I-I held onto you for s-so long and let my feelings get in the w-way of your relationships and love. I a-already had Yoongi… My mate and love of my life… and yet I denied you the same experience… A-And for what?! Nostalgia for how I used to feel about you? Because I was s-some possessive alpha who couldn’t quite see you with somebody who w-wasn’t me? You were never mine… and you never will be…” Jimin hiccupped and his hands clenched onto his hair, tugging at it and turning away to hide his face again. “I’m disgusting.” He moaned, almost incomprehensibly.

 

“Y-You know I always… I always preached to you about how dangerous alphas were… About how you needed to be cautious because t-they would hurt you… use you for their own… How fucking ironic. The only alpha you needed to be w-weary of was m-me. H-How could I have…”  

 

“Jimin…” Taehyung said, eyes a bit more sympathetic now.

 

“No… I don’t d-deserve you… Not a-after what I did. I’m not your best friend anymore because you don’t deserve one who h-hurt you like I did. I know you’ll never forgive me and I’m glad because y-you shouldn’t have to live with me.” Jimin suddenly put his hands atop of Taehyung’s, holding them tightly and surprising the omega just a bit. “But Taehyung… I want you to know… before we… if we never do talk or have some form of friendship… That I do care about you. I-I did terrible things to you but… I do still care. And t-that I’m sorry for ruining e-everything.”

 

Taehyung’s eyes widened when he saw that Jimin was about to get back up, letting go of his hands and beginning to stand. Jimin kept shaking his head, thick tears still rolling down his cheeks.

 

“I’m sorry, Taehyung. I-“ The alpha choked out, backing away and ignoring how Taehyung was blinking up at him. “I shouldn’t be here.”

 

Jimin started to turn away but was halted when Taehyung reached out and grabbed his wrist in a firm hold. The omega tugged Jimin back onto the orange couch with quiet a strong arm and had a serious expression.

 

“Jimin, stop. You can’t just say all those things and then run away and isolate yourself from the world because of what you did. You did something bad, something really bad. But, don’t run away from that. You have to confront what you did and face the consequences.” Taehyung sighed and ran a hand through his hair. This was just a mess.

 

“I’m not… I’m not here to shout and scream at you about what you did. I’m not trying to humiliate you and just keep shoving what happened into your face. I think it’s quite obvious that you understand what you did and how wrong it was.”

 

Jimin sniffed and kept wiping his continuous tears away.

 

“I know that you realized what you did a while ago. You wouldn’t have written all those… things to Jeongguk had you not. Like I said before, I don’t have any why questions. I know why you did what you did. I’m just… here to talk.”

 

“Why? Why aren’t you angry at me? Why are you even bothering to listen to what I have to say?” Jimin questioned, body tight as if he were trying to make himself smaller.

 

Taehyung scoffed and crossed his arms. “Oh, trust me. I’m angry.”

 

Jimin seemed to curl in on himself even more.

 

“I’m angry, but I’m also confused, hurt, sad. And not just because of what happened. Of course, all of this stems from how you lied to both me and Jeongguk but I’m also worried about you.”

 

The alpha’s eyes looked up at Taehyung in surprise. “I’m mad but I don’t… I don’t want you to just disappear out of my life like that. I don’t want to just end what we had without even speaking to each other about what happened. I know it’s hard, and trust me, I know. I’m suffering and I have been suffering for a long time. But, I don’t want to lose you either. I want to be with my mate, I want to be by Jeongguk’s side for the rest of my life and enjoy the time we have together. I want to experience that love and feel what I haven’t felt in five long years. However…” Taehyung swallowed and he closed his eyes.

 

“I’m not sure if I can go on in perfect happiness knowing that I just lost you. If I made the choice to not even give you the chance to regain my trust. And I know that nothing will be the same for you either if I were to do that. I’m sure there’s a lot of people who would think that I’m foolish, that I’m too forgiving or that I don’t have a backbone. But, I don’t care about what they think. This is my life, my relationships, and my choice. I’m going to do what makes me happy for once, not what will make others happy or what they think is right.”

 

Taehyung looks at Jimin with determined eyes, no tears or pain in sight now. He looked confident and sure.

 

“Listen, Jimin. I’m not ready for forgiveness right now, not when the wounds are so fresh. The thing I do want though, is to move on into the future bearing no hate. I’m tired. I’m so tired of feeling so down, so dejected, and unhappy. I’m sick of it and I’m not going to subject myself to it any further when I can change it. Yes, I’m still hurt, but I want to leave that pain in the past. I want to walk forward, hand in hand, with you, Jeongguk, and everyone else. Over time, things will get better and I will be able to forgive you. But for now, let’s just worry about moving forward and getting all of this shit behind us. Okay?” He asked, the slightest hint of a smile growing on his lips at the end of his statement.

 

 Jimin just stared at him in shock for a good couple of seconds, unable to believe what Taehyung had just proposed. Then, per usual, the alpha started crying even harder, sobs shaking his entire body until he couldn’t even speak.

 

Taehyung blinked and scooted over to put his hands on Jimin’s shoulders. “Jimin? What’s wrong? Is that not good?”

 

The alpha just shook his head and fell into Taehyung’s chest. Taehyung held him and let Jimin cry against him. A great weight that had been on his shoulders fell away and Taehyung was finally able to breathe for the first time in days. He had been so worried before, about what others would think if he had forgiven Jimin. He was afraid that others would think that he was weak, unable to stand up for himself, or perhaps that what Jimin did was so unforgiveable and that he should never even associate himself with the alpha. But, none of that would have made him happy in the end. What, he was supposed to be bitter and hateful towards a person who had brought him so much happiness in the past? He was supposed to make a choice that would end in the both of them being upset just because it was seen as more appropriate? No. Taehyung was sick of it. He was going to be making his future from now own. And he wanted Jimin to be in his future. Taehyung could work with conversations, apologies, and working through things better than broken friendships and grudges.

 

Having Jimin in his arms like this, it reminded Taehyung of all the times that Jimin had comforted him. When Taehyung had first presented as an omega and faced discrimination by his family and old friends. It was Jimin who had protected him and told off all of those who had made snide or demeaning remarks to him. It was Jimin who had helped him study and maybe given him answers when he had taken the test in first period. It was Jimin who had come back to the apartment with bloody knuckles and a black eye when he had caught word that a group of alphas had pushed Taehyung around with roaming hands. And now it was Taehyung who was holding Jimin in his arms after he had made a mistake.

 

He felt like things were finally going to be okay and he let out a deep exhale. Taehyung squeezed Jimin a little tighter.

 

When they finally walked out of Taehyung’s apartment after another hour of conversations and apologies, Jimin’s cheeks were still a bit tearstained and Taehyung walked with a new sense of self. He felt better now. He had a loving mate, the love of his life, Jeongguk, and a best friend, foolish as he may be, Jimin.

 

The day is still bright outside and the sun shines down onto Taehyung’s golden skin. The future seems bright and there’s still an entire summer to waste. He does stop though a few steps out from his apartment building and he frowns as he turns to the bush beside them.

 

“You guys act like I don’t have a nose and can’t smell all of you hiding.”

 

He could already hear Hoseok laughing and he rolled his eyes as the other five all stood up from where they were crouching, dirt on their knees and leaves in their hair. Jeongguk was there as well, with a cheeky grin of feigned innocence.

 

“Exactly how long have you guys been hiding there?”

 

“Like, the entire hour and a half that you guys were in there. Hoseok and Jeongguk wouldn’t let us leave.” Namjoon complained, Jin chuckling as he helped his mate up. Taehyung sighed and simply shook his head. Why was he stuck with the nosiest friends in the entire universe?

 

Everybody probably knew that things had worked out based on their knowing smiles and gleaming eyes. It had been a stressful few days for everyone, not knowing if their friend dynamic was going to be ripped apart forever.

 

They all came together, Hoseok making sure that the air was comfortable and not awkward in any way. His voice covered the silence when Yoongi put a hand on Taehyung’s shoulder, and Taehyung pulling the beta into a hug.

 

Somehow, all of seven of their bodies had gotten a lot closer before Jeongguk had shouted out a ‘Group hug!’, surprising everyone by putting an arm around Jimin and pulling them all in. Jin made a mock crying noise while everyone else but Jimin laughed and pulled in closer. Jimin still seemed to look frozen with shock with Jeongguk actually making a nice notion but he soon relaxed and gave a gentle smile when Hoseok started to rock their giant huddle back and forth.

 

“Beach, beach, beach!” Hoseok started to shout in excitement. Everyone else seemed to agree with that sentiment and soon they all started walking down towards the sandy beaches. The sun still shone brightly and Jeongguk’s hand soon found Taehyung’s.

 

The two mates shared a secret look and their lips soon found each other. The others walked ahead of them, just a few paces, which allowed the two to chare some private words.

 

“Everything work out okay?” Jeongguk whispered, gazing at Taehyung as if he were the entire world.

 

Taehyung squeezed Jeongguk’s hand and nodded. “Yeah, everything is going to be okay between us. What about you though? I know that you and Jimin don’t exactly love each other and especially after what he did-“

 

“Tae.” Jeongguk softly reassured. “It’s going to be okay as long as you’re happy. Your happiness is my happiness. What really matters here is your relationship with Jimin. I’m not the one who’s best friends with him, after all. Jimin and I will figure things out over time, just not fully yet. I’m going to be pleasant though when we’re together, so don’t worry about that. We can settle our disagreements in private.”

 

The omega looked up at Jeongguk for a few seconds before jumping up to kiss his cheek. His cheeks very dusted with pink as he smiled. “I don’t know how someone like me ended up with someone as wonderful as you, Gukkie.”

 

Jeongguk just laughed and pulled Taehyung in a little closer. “Trust me, I ask myself how I got such a perfect mate about every day now as well.”

 

It was only a couple minutes before they were walking on sand, the crashing waves giving the scene a peaceful aura. Hoseok and Yoongi were already in full sprint, throwing off their shirts and waving their arms around as if they hadn’t a single care in the entire world. Hoseok tripped as soon as he got into the water and it was quite the funny sight. The rest of them followed suit and soon they were all in the water, splashing and running about like they were children once again. Nothing seemed to matter but the fact that all seven of them were there together now. Something felt complete. Taehyung had never noticed it until Jeongguk had come back, but there was something missing when their group was only six. It was as if Jeongguk was always supposed to have a place here. They were meant to be seven.

 

Taehyung felt happier than he had in years as everyone played together, Jeongguk always right by his side. All those years of pain and confusion were beginning to melt away and he wondered how it could have been any different. They stayed out there for a long while until the sun started to set and Jin started to complain about how hungry he was.

 

After a while, everybody except for Jeongguk and Taehyung had left. The two sat on the sand, the soft water just coming up to wash over their feet. They were silent for a while, simply enjoying the view and the company of each other. Nobody else was on the beach right now and it felt as if they were the only ones in the world right then.

 

Taehyung was leaning his head on Jeongguk’s shoulder, and the alpha pressed a kiss against the top of his head.

 

“Gukkie?”

 

“Yes, pup?”

 

“Do you believe in parallel universes?” He softy asked.

 

Jeongguk smiled and looked down at Taehyung. “You mean like there being infinite universes with infinite possibilities? Like a universe where I’m an alien and you’re a cowboy? Or I’m some mafia boss and you’re my sweet literature professor lover?”

 

Taehyung laughed and nodded his head. “Well, yeah. I meant more in terms of smaller things, though. Like maybe a universe where Jimin never sent you that letter and you never came back thinking that I had been the one who had written it. One where we… just never met again. We just drifted and lived out the rest of our lives alone and without each other.”

 

A seagull cried out as it passed overhead and the two took a second to gaze upwards at the flying creature as it flew into the distance. Jeongguk blinked and smiled.

 

“Yeah, I suppose that there is a universe where we never met again. One where nothing turned out well and we both suffered for the rest of our lives. But, there’s also a universe where there was nothing holding us back and we have been sharing our love for years now. Infinite universes where we are together. But… If there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s that I’m sure damn glad that I was born in this universe with this particular version of you.”

 

Taehyung smiled and kissed Jeongguk once again. The alpha’s lips were soft, a juxtaposition to his hardened hands that came up to cup Taehyung’s cheeks as they fell into each other. Butterflies flew in the omega’s stomach and he had no idea what else could make him feel like this.

 

Now that he was off the suppressants, everything with Jeongguk felt so different. Every touch had him shivering, every breath a tremble. Taehyung wondered if Jeongguk felt the same way. Perhaps it was a different feeling since Jeongguk was an alpha. Taehyung simply wanted to be held by Jeongguk, be protected and cared for. Seen as important, worthy, loved. Never before had he felt such an urge to please somebody, make somebody proud. And all of those desires were validated when Jeongguk touched him in the way that he did, looked at him with those gleaming crescent eyes.

 

Jeongguk pulled Taehyung in closer and smiled against the omega’s lips when Taehyung gasped. He pulled back for just a second and Taehyung felt as if he were about to melt. His lips were just parted, wet with saliva, and cheeks a beautiful hue contrasted against his golden skin.

 

‘You’re the most beautiful person I’ve ever laid eyes on, Taehyung. I’m not sure if I can ever look away.”

 

Taehyung softly laughed as if he didn’t believe the compliment, looking down nervously as his heart did summersaults. To be loved by someone, to be seen as the entire world, it was something akin to indescribable.

 

Jeongguk placed a curled finger under Taehyung’s chin to lift his head back up so they were looking at each other again.  

 

“You sure know how to make an omega feel special, Guk.” Taehyung whispered.

 

“Not just any omega, only you.”

 

Taehyung could only smile as he buried his face into the space between Jeongguk’s neck and shoulder. His face was red now and he wasn’t sure how much of this sweet talk he could take before becoming a puddle.

 

There was something warm on his neck and Taehyung briefly wondered what it was. It only took a couple of seconds before he realized that it was his mating mark. The pink, scarred skin there was no longer a source of shame for him. He could be like other omegas now who proudly showed off their marks, showing that they belonged to someone and that another was theirs as well.

 

His mark had become lighter over the five years of Jeongguk’s absence. Sometimes that would happen if mates had been parted for a long period of time or if one had died. Back then, Taehyung had wanted it lighter but now things had changed. Jeongguk was back and everything was solved. He knew that they should be moving slow but this was one thing that he wanted to do now.

 

“Gukkie?” He said, finally pulling away and pulling his shirt down just slightly so his mark was more visible. Taehyung didn’t fail to notice how Jeongguk’s eyes lingered there for a second.

 

“Yeah?”

 

“Will… Will you remark me?” He asked, tilting his head just a bit to the side so his neck was exposed.

 

Jeongguk blinked and looked a bit surprised. “Right now?”

 

“Yeah, I’m ready. I… It feels right to do it. Now that everything has been figured out, I want to do this. Rekindle our bond in every way possible.”

 

The alpha swallowed and nodded after a second. His heart was beating quickly now and he tried to reposition himself to get in a better spot. Taehyung tilted his head over more and his mark was fully exposed, pink and a bit faded.

 

The sun was creeping lower down the horizon and the sky filled with a magnificent purple hue as the waves brushed up against their bodies over and over again.

 

Jeongguk could feel his teeth start to sharpen and he loomed over Taehyung’s neck, hands finding place on the omega’s hips. He licked his lips and glanced over to Taehyung’s face one last time.

 

“Are you sure? You can still back out if you’re not okay with this.” He asked, not wanting Taehyung to feel pressured to do anything he didn’t want to do.

 

“I’m ready. Do it.” Taehyung whispered before closing his eyes.

 

Jeongguk nodded and took a deep breath before sinking his teeth deep into the marking glands of Taehyung’s neck. Blood oozed from the wound as he bit further in, hands holding Taehyung in place as he squirmed about.

 

It wasn’t that Taehyung was actually trying to get away or stop Jeongguk. It was a natural omega instinct to flail about when bitten, as natural as someone’s leg kicking out when their knee was hit.

 

When he was done, Jeongguk licked at the new scar forming, pulling in his omega so there wasn’t an inch of them not touching.

 

Taehyung was gasping for air, still on his high and feeling as if he were one of the stars right now. The pain of the bite was now replaced by immeasurable pleasure and he felt his bond with Jeongguk strengthen even more, if that was even possible.

 

Now, a fresh and red mark lay on his neck. Taehyung smiled as Jeongguk kept licking at it, even after it had fully healed. He allowed Jeongguk to do this, and instead chose to pull the alpha closer and face his head up towards the stars.

 

It was a beautiful night.