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Heavy Heart

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Jeongguk knew it was a mistake accepting the invitation but looking down at the embellished card with the cursive hand-written names staring him right in the face, like a huge joke, he knew he couldn’t pretend he hadn’t seen it and go on with his life – he had to RSVP back.

He filled in the blanks on the RSVP card – Jeon Jeongguk accepts with pleasure – and skipped the part about plus ones entirely before sending it off and marking down the date on his calendar in bright red pen. He planned which day he’d fly out to the venue and booked the tickets with a heavy heart. The date was weeks away but Jeongguk wasted no time fishing through his closet and finding the perfect ensemble, hanging it up behind his bedroom door as a constant reminder of the day to come.

Day by day Jeongguk crossed off more and more dates on his calendar, the day he was dreading approaching fast. With each day Jeongguk’s anxiety grew more and more, each day the urge to pick up his phone and call that number he hadn’t called in a while just to make up some half-hearted excuse of why he couldn’t attend. But each day he fought off that urge, reminding himself of why he was attending in the first place.

They had spent most of their life together, had practically grown up together, and even though they didn’t talk much (or rather at all) anymore the least he could do was attend and celebrate the happy day. Clearly, his presence was wanted, and he’d made a promise all those years ago – he wasn’t about to disappoint.

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Jeongguk arrived a week and a half before the date, knowing he needed the time to prepare himself. It was still weird to not see any cameras flashing when he walked in an airport, or to not see any fans standing there waiting to greet him. Things had slowly quietened down in his life after that day. Jeongguk missed the past, missed that big part of his life that made him so incredibly happy. Yes, the fame had been nice and yes, the pay had also been more than nice, but he missed his hyungs more than he missed anything else, even more so than his passion for singing and performing. After that day he realised how much he couldn’t live without them.

The weather in Mauritius was warm and humid, the sun shone brightly, and the skies were clear. Jeongguk smiled to himself as he took a taxi to the resort he had booked – Taehyung had always wanted a beach wedding and Mauritius had been a place he had talked about back then, constantly mentioning it to Jeongguk after seeing it on a tv show.

Jeongguk never thought those dreams, those long talks at weird hours of the night, would come to fruition and never once did he imagine a day would come around where Taehyung would actually be getting married.

It was funny how life worked out that way.

Jeongguk had also had his own plans for the future but they had never involved marriage, at least that was until he had seen how passionate Taehyung was about it. Even so, marriage had never been in the cards for Jeongguk and neither had been a stable relationship.

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What were the chances of running into any of them a week before the actual wedding?

Jeongguk had asked himself this question when booking a room at the resort that was the venue for the wedding. When making the booking Jeongguk had thought the chances were very slim. Maybe that was him just being hopeful, but he really hadn’t thought of the probability thoroughly enough because right there next to him also checking into his room was Yoongi.

Jeongguk had known he’d see his former group members at some point or the other during the wedding, it was inevitable, but he had been hoping to limit the interaction to just at the wedding and not outside the wedding. It wasn’t that Jeongguk didn’t want to see them – in fact, he was overjoyed at the idea of seeing them again – it was just the thought of having a conversation after so long that was killing him.

They had all kept in touch right after they had disbanded - there was no way they were going to just walk away from each other after all they had gone through together. The first few months they all had time for each other, and they were all messaging each other like crazy. But soon they all had their own things to go off to. Namjoon and Yoongi had their jobs as music producers to worry about, Hoseok and Jimin both went off to focus on dance, Jin had started his own business owning a string of restaurants and cafes and Taehyung had taken to modeling.

Jeongguk, well Jeongguk didn’t really know what to do for a long time. It had seemed like his hyungs all knew what they wanted to do once they had disbanded but Jeongguk had no clue. He’d tried a string of jobs, modeling for a while as well, but in the end, he had gotten himself a job as an editor while in his spare time he made YouTube videos.

Life found a way to keep them all busy. They messaged each other less and less until the messages came in once every month, sometimes even less, and they were usually just short conversations – attempts to catch up with each other but never fully making it into proper updates on each of their lives. They had stopped meeting up altogether, never finding the time – there was either a dance class to teach, a song to write, a problem at one of the restaurants or a modeling job in New York.

Jeongguk, on the other hand, had all the free time, working from home, and maybe that’s what made it lonelier for him, being the only one with the time to meet yet no one else having the time to meet. Jeongguk didn’t blame any of his hyungs though – life just had a funny way of separating even the closest of people.

Standing at the check-in desk, Jeongguk prayed Yoongi didn’t notice him. He had been wearing a hoodie on the plane and so he used the hood to hide the side of his face from Yoongi. Mauritius was a humid country, no one in their right mind would have been wearing a hoodie in such weather and Jeongguk garnered some weird looks but thankfully Yoongi never noticed – he was preoccupied with arguing with the manager at the desk. Jeongguk eavesdropped for a minute, making sure Yoongi was distracted, before approaching the other worker at the desk.

Jeongguk hoped for the exchange to be as brief as possible, he would give his name, some other details and then get his key card and sprint to his room. Unfortunately, the worker had to initiate a conversation – why couldn’t he just be normal and get the stuff over and done with?

Spotting the garment bag Jeongguk had draped over his arm the receptionist asked for his name then asked, “Are you attending a special event, sir?”

“Last name, Jeon. First name, Jeongguk.” The receptionist nodded typing away. “And yeah I’m attending a wedding.” Jeongguk was sweating while speaking, some of it from nerves although most of it from the fact that his hoodie was beginning to slowly roast him in the humid weather. Jeongguk fanned himself, huffing before giving the receptionist more details. While the receptionist continued to type, he asked more questions.

“Who’s wedding is it?”

“An old friend’s wedding.” Jeongguk kept his answers short, Yoongi was still arguing with the manager and Jeongguk did not want to get noticed.

“Are you looking forward to it, sir?” Jeongguk thought the receptionist was being awfully nosy with all the questions.

“Yeah, I am…,” Jeongguk trailed off, his thoughts crowding his head. Jeongguk wasn’t really looking forward to it. In fact, he was dreading it. He had been dreading the day for a long time – long before he had gotten that invitation. When they had been sitting together drunk one day talking about the future, talking about their plans in life outside of being BTS. It was then that Jeongguk had realised how much getting married one day meant to Taehyung and Jeongguk began to dread it, he felt sick every time Taehyung would bring it up. He knew that that day would be the day Taehyung would finally be with someone he loved and that someone wouldn’t be him.

“Where’s the wedding being held?”

“Huh?” the receptionist's incessant questions drew Jeongguk from his thoughts. “Oh here. The wedding is going to be on the beach, but the reception will be here at the resort I think.”

“Oh, sounds like it’s going to be a beautiful wedding. Did you want to upgrade on your room to have a sea view?”

“Sure, why not?” Jeongguk thought he might as well make the most of his time in Mauritius while he could. He wasn’t going to come back to Mauritius any other time. “Could you also extend my stay by a week as well?”

“Sure sir,” the receptionist smiled and typed away a few things on the computer before finally handing him a key card with an additional card and a leaflet. “Here is your key card for your room, this is the card you show to have access to the breakfast buffet, and this is a leaflet advertising all the activities available here at the resort. I recommend shark diving and the spa.” Jeongguk nodded as he took the stuff from the worker. “Your room is 3490 and breakfast is from 7 to 11 on weekdays and from 8 to 12 on weekends. If you need anything else don’t hesitate to call reception. Please enjoy your stay!” Jeongguk smiled and thanked the receptionist. He turned to leave and the one thing he was hoping to avoid happened.

“Jeongguk? Jeon Jeongguk is that you?” Jeongguk froze, closed his eyes and cursed himself. When he opened his eyes Yoongi was looking at him with a huge smile on his face and Jeongguk’s heart swelled. It had been so long since he’d seen his hyung. Yoongi had barely aged – Jeongguk wasn’t surprised it had only been three years, but it had felt like so much longer to him.

“Yoongi hyung…fancy seeing you here,” Jeongguk joked, tears forming in his eyes. Yoongi gave him that familiar gummy smile and pulled Jeongguk in for a hug.

“I guess you’ve been invited then?” Yoongi asked after he released Jeongguk from his hug. Jeongguk shook his head slightly, getting rid of the tears that kept threatening to fall, before answering.

“Yeah, can you believe it?” Yoongi shook his head. At least Jeongguk wasn’t the only one shocked about the situation. “So, uh, how have you been?” Jeongguk suddenly felt very awkward talking to Yoongi hyung, the initial overwhelming feeling of seeing him in the flesh after such a long time dying down. He wasn’t sure how he was going to overcome the awkward questions – they had once been so close they could identify each other by their sighs. Yoongi also seemed to sense the slight awkwardness.

“Could we skip over the awkwardness? We’ve known each other for years, I’ve watched you grow up for god’s sake!” He chuckled then clapped his hands like he had a revelation. “We can catch up over some drinks! So, let’s get a drink together later today? At 8?” Yoongi was dead set on making sure it wasn’t awkward and Jeongguk was relieved. He could do without the awkward conversation.

“Sure, I’ll meet you at the resort bar at 8 then?” Yoongi nodded and with that Jeongguk walked away to his room – maybe there was one thing not to dread about this trip.

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Jeongguk was glad he’d upgraded to a room with a sea view. It was beautiful – the clear almost green water stark against the white sand and the picturesque palm trees stood tall, the greenery was absolutely breath-taking. It was truly an amazing place to have a wedding.

The wedding.

Jeongguk didn’t know if he could watch it. Just getting that invitation had brought up feelings he’d thought he’d buried all those years ago, but undeniably they were still there. Was it even possible to love someone that much that the feelings stay with you even after being away from them for so long?

He knew he had to go to that wedding for Taehyung’s sake – even if he wasn’t the best man, he would still attend the wedding. Jeongguk was actually relieved he wasn’t the best man, that would have been too much for him – too much for his heart. He could survive the wedding, he could push down his feelings as he’d done for years, he could pretend he wasn’t utterly and hopelessly in love for a little while longer. He just had to believe he could do it.

Jeongguk jumped onto his bed, the jet lag catching up with him. There was no escaping the wedding and there was no escaping seeing his hyungs again for the first time in what felt like forever. Seeing his hyungs again was the only thing he was really looking forward to at the wedding – Jeongguk couldn’t remember the last time they had all been together.

Well, that was a lie. Jeongguk remembered it well. Back then none of them would have thought that they would never have time to meet up again and so that meet up had gone like any other. It was a simple meal and drinks – they’d talked and talked, everyone had an exciting prospect to share or a funny story to relay. Oh, the things he would do to have another moment like that.

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Eight o’clock came around faster than Jeongguk had expected. He’d drifted off to sleep after laying in bed and when he’d woken up it was half seven and he knew he was going to be late. He’d jumped out of bed and straight into the shower then he’d thrown together a casual outfit before grabbing his phone, wallet and key card. He styled his hair in the elevator, thankful the elevator had mirrors and checked his phone. 8:05. He was late.

He practically ran to the resort bar. It was a little way away, past the spa and near the outdoor pool, and when Jeongguk arrived Yoongi was already there with someone else. Jeongguk couldn’t see who it was as their back was towards him but Yoongi seemed to be laughing at something they had said, and the back of that head looked suspiciously familiar.

He took a moment to compose himself and take in his surroundings. He straightened out his clothes and made sure his hair was okay. Then looked at the resort bar properly. It was amazing. It led out to the beach – Jeongguk hadn’t realised the beach was so close – and there was a fire pit. Jeongguk could hear the water lapping against the beach and it was a great atmosphere. Yoongi was sitting at a table that had been placed in the sand. Jeongguk wasn’t sure whether he should walk up and interrupt the conversation Yoongi was having with whoever it was sitting with him – it seemed to be an interesting one as well – but Yoongi noticed Jeongguk before he had to decide.

“Jeongguk,” Yoongi called out, waving at him to come to sit down. The person turned around to see who Yoongi was calling for and Jeongguk almost stopped breathing. It was Jimin. Jeongguk walked over to the table with a smile of his face and Jimin’s face mirrored his.

“Jimin hyung! You’re here too?” Jeongguk quickly hugged him before sitting down. Jimin laughed, Jeongguk had missed that laugh.

“Of course, I’m here. I wouldn’t miss my best friend’s wedding,” Jimin replied, his voice a little sad when he spoke about the wedding.

“So, you knew about this wedding beforehand?” Jimin shook his head with a sad smile. Jeongguk was slightly surprised, he would’ve thought Taehyung would tell Jimin – he thought they had stayed in touch. Jeongguk frowned and looked at the glasses of wine on the table. “Why are there so many glasses of wine? Are you expecting others?” Jeongguk counted three extra glasses of wine as he grabbed his.

“As a matter of fact, yes. Here they come now,” Yoongi looked over his head and waved. Jeongguk turned to look and almost spat out the wine he had in his mouth. Walking towards them was Jin, Hoseok, and Namjoon in the flesh.

“You guys are here too?” Jeongguk asked bewildered. It was a dumb question. Of course, they’d be here. They would have been invited to the wedding as well. Jeongguk was just shocked to have seen them so soon. He would have thought that he’d only see them all together at the wedding not there at the resort bar, laughing at his bewildered face and talking to him. They all sat down after hugging, each of them grabbing their glass of wine and sitting down.

“So, the only one missing is the groom to be huh?” Jin asked, with an eyebrow raised, when the table went quiet.

“Hmm, yeah it seems so.” Hoseok mused, sipping his wine. Jimin sighed.

“I tried to message him. It would have been so nice to have the seven of us together again like old times, but he never answered. I assume it must be last minute wedding stuff to sort out.”

“Ah well, I guess that makes sense.” Jeongguk cleared his throat before continuing to speak. “Either way, it's great to see you guys again. It’s been like two years since we were together like this?” they all hummed in agreement.

“Remember when we used to go out for drinks like this all the time? Jeongguk would always bait us into playing some dumb drinking game and Hoseok would get so sleepy from drinking too much that we would have to practically carry him home. Namjoon would always end up stumbling over his own feet and falling, somehow always taking someone else down with him. And he was always so damn loud, he never knew where to focus his energy,” Jin laughed, remembering the mess they used to get into when they drank.

“You weren’t any better. You also always got so loud when you were drunk, and you always told the worst jokes. Some of them never even made sense!” Namjoon spoke up in defense and Jeongguk couldn’t help but laugh.

“At least I wasn’t falling over my own feet like you!” Jin quipped and this time everyone laughed – they had all missed this. The small argument continued – suddenly everyone was making fun of each other about how they were when they were drunk - and Jeongguk stared at his hyungs as if the moment wasn’t real.

“Jeongguk? You haven’t said much,” Hoseok looked at Jeongguk, head tilted. “Are you okay?”
Jeongguk smiled, his heart warm, “I’m more than fine. I’m great. I’ve just missed this. Missed all of us together like this.”

Everyone at the table gave him a warm smile before all chiming in about how much they all missed each other. It suddenly broke out into who missed who more and it was just like old times as if they hadn’t not seen each other in two whole years. Everything fit into place and there wasn’t a single bit of awkwardness. Yoongi suddenly called a toast in the middle of the chaos and they all put their glasses together in the middle of the table.

“To always staying the same and always loving each other no matter what!” they all clinked their glasses together and took a sip of their wine.

“It would have been better if Taehyung had come,” Jimin said, it was a quiet comment but since the whole table was silent, they all heard it and nodded in agreement.

“Was anyone else shocked when they got the invitation?” Namjoon asked, a little hesitant, unsure of what everyone else would say.

“I was.” Yoongi raised his hand and then so did Jin, Hoseok, Jimin, and Jeongguk in order. Namjoon breathed a sigh of relief.

“I thought I was the only one. I can’t believe it. I didn’t even know he was engaged or with someone at all.”

“Same, it was so sudden and out of nowhere. Like don’t get me wrong I’m happy he’s getting married…” Jin trailed off, cautious of what he wanted to say next.

“You were just upset that you weren’t contacted about it beforehand?” Jeongguk finished the sentence for Jin bitterly, downing the rest of his wine. Jin nodded but didn’t want to say anything more. As much as they loved Taehyung, they were all slightly disappointed he hadn’t contacted any of them beforehand. After everything they’d been through together, they would have thought it was something he’d share with them.

“Weren’t you supposed to be the best man?” Hoseok asked Jeongguk and Namjoon elbowed him, giving him a look. Hoseok shut his mouth. Long ago, Taehyung and Jeongguk had made a promise – Taehyung would only ask Jeongguk to be his best man and Jeongguk would only be Taehyung’s best man. It had been a drunken promise at the time but later on, they’d made it sober – Jimin had been so upset he didn’t talk to either of them for a week and Jeongguk can’t remember how they even got Jimin to stop sulking about it.

“Yeah, I was. But he’s probably forgotten about that silly promise anyway, so I’m not upset,” Jeongguk said with a deep frown and no one was convinced he wasn’t upset. “I guess promises don’t mean as much as you get older huh?” Jeongguk’s voice was bitter and his hyungs went silent, no one knew what to say to make it better. There was really nothing to say to make it better.
It dawned on them just how much they’d all changed. They all still looked the same, but they had all matured and grown as time went on. Two years wasn’t a long time in the context of life, but it was enough to change a person. Jeongguk stared at his empty wine glass, making a sign of disapproval.

“Yoongi hyung since when did you order only single glasses of wine?” Jeongguk raised his hand and called over the waiter. “I say we get a whole bottle of wine and some food to go along with it. Who else is hungry?” Jeongguk spoke with vigour, all sadness seemingly gone.

The hyungs glanced at each other as Jeongguk ordered a bottle of wine, as well as shots before ordering some food. It was tense and silent for a minute, no one wanted to ask whether Jeongguk was really okay, before Namjoon started talking and the feeling dissipated. Everyone fell back into the conversation, joking around with each other, and maybe it wasn’t like old times but the six of them together was the closest they were going to get to how it used to be.

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The next morning, Jeongguk sat with his six hyungs at breakfast, nursing the worst hangover ever. He had drunk more than his hyungs last night – his hyungs had stopped drinking after the shots and bottle of wine but he had ordered more drinks. He deeply regretted his decision to order more drinks. No one at the breakfast table took into consideration his horrible hangover, all of them speaking too loud and everything just being too much to process.

As soon as everyone was sat at the table with their breakfasts, Hoseok immediately jumped into telling them about the choreography he was coming up with. Jeongguk ate in silence, too tired to talk and also just happy to listen. Jin’s restaurants and cafes were doing well and he invited them all to the grand opening of his first dog café. Jimin was teaching dance at a dance studio and he was also going to be part of a play that he invited them all too as well. Namjoon and Yoongi were both still producing music, they even decided then and there that they would do a collab together.

“Guk, what about you?” Jimin suddenly asked as Jeongguk took a bite of French toast. He chewed as quickly as he could and gulped. Jeongguk took a sip of his coffee, hoping it would wake him up.

“What about me?”

“What’s going on in your life?” Jeongguk didn’t really have much going on in his life compared to his hyungs.

“Uh, well I edit videos for people and uhhhh also have a YouTube channel,” that was really all Jeongguk thought he could say, that was all that was going on in his life – it really wasn’t much.

“You post the occasional gaming video and you’ve still continued with GCF’s, right?!?” Hoseok asked excitedly. Jeongguk looked at him shocked, his brain couldn’t comprehend.

“H-how did you know?” he stuttered and Hoseok laughed.

“I watch your videos. They’re really good. Your editing has improved so much!” Jeongguk blushed at all the compliments. He was slightly overwhelmed, it was good to know his hyungs watched his videos.

“You should film a GCF here,” Yoongi piped up and the rest of the table agreed. “I saw you brought your camera equipment when I saw you in the lobby. Come on, film a GCF. It’ll be fun, I promise. We’ll do all sorts of crazy stuff for your GCF.” Jeongguk mused on the idea and smirked as he got an idea.

“Would you go shark diving with me?” Yoongi looked at him like he was crazy. “You said you’d do all sorts of crazy stuff for me! I’ve got a waterproof camera I’m dying to try out, besides we’d be in a cage for the shark diving,” Yoongi still looked hesitant, as did the rest of the table. “We can also go to the spa and shopping together. It’ll be fun!”

No one said anything but Jeongguk could see that they were contemplating it and finally he got them to say yes, even Hoseok who still did not like the idea of shark diving. With a promise to meet in an hour, Jeongguk beamed as he left breakfast to go book the shark diving experience. Jeongguk was almost starting to forget about the wedding.

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Over the next few days, Jeongguk dragged his hyungs all over the place. After the shark diving experience which was amazing (Hoseok screamed on the boat for a while frustrating the captain but besides that everyone had loved it), in the evening Jeongguk took his hyungs out for an amazing dinner. Then the next day they went to a spa, then the next day Jimin wanted to go shopping, then Jin wanted to visit specific restaurants and Namjoon wanted to spend some time on the beach. It really felt like how it used to be and Jeongguk was happy (even though each day he had to nurse a hangover from the night before – he found some inventive ways to cure it). He’d almost forgotten about the wedding but his suit in his room always reminded him.

Between all the activities they did, all the food they ate and all the relaxing they did none of them realised that they hadn’t seen Taehyung once. It wasn’t until the night before the wedding day while they were sitting at dinner waiting for their food that Jin brought it up,” Has anyone seen Taehyung?”

They shook their heads – no. It was odd. Taehyung should have been staying at the same place they were, after all, it was where he was having his reception.

“Not even once?” Jin’s voice was a pitch higher, surprised.

“Do you think he’s y’know?” Hoseok used weird hand gestures as he asked. No one understood what he was on about. “Y’know!” Hoseok gestured some more but they weren’t clear at all. Jeongguk suspected he knew what he was on about.

“Avoiding us?” Jeongguk tried to stop himself from saying it but he couldn’t. The thought had crossed his mind a few times, but he had always willed it to go away. There was no way Taehyung would be avoiding them.

“Yeah,” Hoseok sadly said and the rest of the group was silent. Jeongguk knew they had probably thought it too. The resort was big, but they had seen a lot of people that they knew through Taehyung at places like the beach or at breakfast. It just didn’t make sense that they hadn’t once seen Taehyung.

“Maybe he is avoiding us but why?” Jimin asked a frown etched onto his face. “I mean he’s going to see us on the wedding day, he invited us, he can’t avoid us forever.” Jimin added a beat later, “If he is avoiding us.”

“Yeah, maybe we’re thinking into this too much? He must also be really busy with all the wedding stuff and that’s why we haven't seen him?” Namjoon added but he didn’t seem that convinced by himself. The table was quiet for a minute, everyone thinking about Taehyung before a waiter arrived with their food and soon the table was filled with the sound of eating, the thought of Taehyung gone while everyone enjoyed the moment.

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Jeongguk woke up with a sick feeling in his stomach and for once it was not because he drank too much. He had held back on the drinks the night before because he didn’t want to attend the wedding feeling even more shit than he knew he was going to be feeling. He stumbled out of bed, still half asleep, and planted himself in front of the toilet. This wedding would be the first-time seeing Taehyung in 2 years, and he’ll be spending the time watching Taehyung get married off to someone else. Jeongguk could feel his stomach churn and he dry heaved into the toilet. He spent a good ten minutes sitting there, hugging the toilet, as he waited for the sick feeling to go away. It took a while but Jeongguk managed to calm the feeling in his stomach enough to get up and dress in some sweats, so he could go down for breakfast.

“Are you okay?” Yoongi asked as soon as Jeongguk walked to the table, with coffee in one hand and a plate filled with toast in the other. “You look like shit.”

“Why thank you. Just what I want to hear to boost my self-esteem,” Jeongguk rolled his eyes as he sat down.

“Wow, okay, someone is not in a good mood today,” Jin raised his eyebrows surprised at Jeongguk’s attitude. Jeongguk sighed.

“Sorry, I just- I’m not feeling that good today.” Namjoon and Jin exchanged a look as they stared at Jeongguk looking dejected.

“Well you should probably try to improve your mood before the wedding,” Hoseok spoke between bites of food. Jimin nodded along.

“Yeah, I’ll be fine by then. It’s later today right? In the afternoon?” Jeongguk spoke through a mouthful of toast, crumbs falling out his mouth.

“Chew with your mouth closed.” Jeongguk automatically started chewing with his mouth closed at the reminder from Jin. “Yeah, just before sunset.”

“Do you think it will be awkward with Taehyung?” Jimin piped up, bringing up a question no one wanted to address. There was a pregnant pause.

“I think that’s something that we’ll have to address when it comes up at the wedding,” Jimin gave Namjoon a questioning look.

“That’ll be even more awkward,” Jeongguk muttered to himself. “I think at this point one of us needs to find which room he’s staying at and confront him.”

“That…doesn’t seem like a good idea,” Namjoon frowned and the others nodded. Jeongguk didn’t understand why they weren’t on board with his plan.

“Look, I am not going to wait till the reception to have some awkward conversation. I am not going to sit through a wedding ceremony and like probably ten speeches and then the meals till after the first dance to talk about whether he’s been purposefully avoiding us. I’m just not. Maybe you guys can do it, but I don’t have the willpower!” Jeongguk stood up with force, his legs hitting against the table as he stood shaking the table and spilling beverages. He was going to find out where Taehyung was staying, and he was going to have this talk. He was owed an explanation.

Jeongguk turned to leave, taking one step forward, when he heard, “Jeongguk wait!” It was Hoseok and when Jeongguk turned back around it seemed like Hoseok wished he hadn’t called out for him. The hyungs were also shooting glares at Hoseok as if just by calling Jeongguk back they’d landed themselves in something they didn’t want. “Look we know,” Hoseok said, looking at him as if he was supposed to know what that meant. They knew what?

“What?” Jeongguk looked at them, perplexed. There was silence among the table, everyone looking at each other to see who would talk first and no one wanting to look at Jeongguk.

“You’re in love with him,” Jimin spoke slowly, letting the words settle upon Jeongguk. Jeongguk just looked blank as if the information was too much to handle and he’d malfunctioned.

“Who?” Jeongguk feigned cluelessness. It was dumb. He knew who they were on about, there was only one person they could be on about. He didn’t want it to be said out loud, didn’t want to admit it out loud – that made it real and final. His hyungs looked at him and he could see the sympathy in their eyes. He didn’t want that sympathy.

“Taehyung.” Jeongguk didn’t know who said it but it didn’t matter. They had said it. They knew. But, stupidly, he still felt the urge to deny it.

“I- I don’t love Taehyung,” Jeongguk answered way too quickly and all his hyungs just looked at him, incredulous. Jeongguk was good at lying but never good at lying to his hyungs, not that there were many times he’d attempted to lie to them.

“You don’t have to lie, Jeongguk. We’ve known for ages,” Namjoon spoke softly, sympathy was still plastered all over their faces and it just made Jeongguk feel worse. It would have been so much easier if he’d gone about his life not knowing that they knew. Jeongguk sat back down at the table, defeated. He sighed, closed his eyes and held his head in his hands.

“How long?” he whispered.

“What?”

“How long have you known?” Jeongguk spoke up, louder this time. He raised his head from his hands to look at his hyungs again.

“Well…uhm you weren’t subtle and we’ve kinda known for like 4 years now,” Jin kept looking at Jeongguk, gauging his reaction while he spoke.

“You guys knew a whole year before we disbanded?? Why did none of you say anything??”

“None of us knew how to approach it. I mean it was a sensitive topic and none of us really wanted to open that can of worms while we were still a group and after we disbanded we just assumed you’d move on. We all went our separate ways and for two years we never saw each other. I know I definitely assumed you were over him when I saw you in the lobby seemingly happy to attend the wedding, but you haven’t been handling it well the past week,” Yoongi couldn’t look at Jeongguk while he spoke. They had all been jumping around the subject of their disbandment, no one wanting to really talk about it, everyone preferring to just remember old times. Yoongi had brought it up in less than a minute and along with the topic of Jeongguk’s complicated feelings and behaviour, the atmosphere around the table got awkward and tense quickly.

“I’ve been handling it just fine,” Jeongguk was stubborn – he was adamant on keeping the façade that he was totally fine.

“No, you haven’t been. You can’t drink your feelings away,” his hyungs looked at him with sadness in their eyes.

“It helps me forget for a little while, but I understand that it’s not a permanent fix which is why I need to talk to him. I need to tell him I love him, I won’t be able to attend this wedding if I don’t,” Jeongguk stood up again and this time his hyungs all stood up with him, panicked.

“No! Are you crazy? He loves someone else. It’s his wedding day today! The wedding is later today! If you tell him you’ll mess with his head and potentially ruin a perfectly good wedding.” Hoseok frantically tried to explain, keeping a firm grip on Jeongguk’s arm to stop him from walking off.

“Fine! If I don’t tell him now when will I tell him, huh?” There was silence. “If I tell him any time after the wedding I’d still be messing with his head and this time potentially ruining a marriage. Would you prefer I be a home wrecker or a wedding wrecker?” There really wasn’t a good time for this anymore. A good time would have been three years ago when they disbanded but Jeongguk had been too scared to say anything back then. Now was a good time as any and he needed it. He needed to tell Taehyung, to finally get it off his chest so he could move on.

“You’re being selfish. It’s his wedding day for god’s sake!” Jeongguk was quiet. He knew he was being selfish - he knew he was doing it just for himself. There was no justifying it and he had come to terms with that.

“You think I don’t know that? Do you think I don’t know that what I’m going to do is so self-serving and that there’s absolutely no justification on my part? I know. I know what my actions will do and I’m still willing to carry them out. So, you can all stop telling me things I already know. I’m going to tell him and there isn’t anything you can do to stop me,” Jeongguk yanked his arm from Hoseok’s grasp, tears forming and threatening to fall as he stormed off. He could hear his hyungs calling for him, telling him to stop, and it made him want to cry more – indirectly he knew he was hurting them by letting them see him like this. He drowned out their shouts, took a deep breath and prepared himself for what he wanted to do.

Chapter Text

Jeongguk stood in front of the brown door, his fist hovering over it. He’d been able to get the information from the receptionist way too easily and he’d gone all the way up to the room with confidence but standing in front of the door Jeongguk wasn’t feeling as confident.

Was he ready to face Taehyung after two years? Frankly, Jeongguk knew the answer was no. He wasn’t ready at all to be confronted by that all so familiar beautiful face – he wondered if Taehyung had changed in appearance much – and he definitely was not ready to be confronted by that personality he had fallen in love with.

He took in a deep breath – he had been doing that a lot lately, yet it never really helped – and tentatively knocked on the door. He didn’t like the way his knuckles sounded on the wood, it was almost hollow and way too loud, or at least in his head, it sounded really loud. Jeongguk could hear movement behind the door and his heartbeat quickened. He drew in a sharp breath when he heard the handle being moved and the door swing open slightly.

It was like time had stopped as Jeongguk stared at Taehyung. Jeongguk almost couldn’t believe his eyes. Taehyung still looked exactly the same way he did when he last saw him, minus the now blonde instead of brown hair. He had those same mesmerising eyes and that damn smile that always had Jeongguk breathless. Jeongguk knew he had a look of admiration on his face, a stark contrast from the very, very shocked look on Taehyungs – it was almost dismay.

“J-Jeongguk?” Taehyung stuttered and Jeongguk could tell that he hadn’t been expecting to see him anywhere other than at the wedding – especially not at the door of his hotel room. Jeongguk didn’t know if he could answer without totally embarrassing himself. He took a deep breath before giving a timid smile.

“Surprise!” he intoned the word sarcastically and gave small jazz hands. There he went embarrassing himself – why did he think jazz hands were a good idea? Taehyung gave a strained smile in return. Jeongguk knew he shouldn’t have done the jazz hands.

“What are you doing here?” Taehyung stood in the doorway, not bothering to invite him in.

“What am I doing here?” Jeongguk repeated back the question as if the answer was obvious. “I’m here to, uh, talk to you?” he hadn’t meant to phrase it as a question, but it had somehow come out that way. He mentally cursed himself. He just knew how the conversation would go from then on. “Are you not going to let me in?” Jeongguk peered over Taehyung’s shoulder, attempting to get rid of the awkward silence that hung in the air after every time Jeongguk spoke. Taehyung just nodded, engulfing them both in that awkward silence again. Jeongguk was beginning to get the feeling that he didn’t want to talk at all.

Taehyungs hotel room was a mess. The bed as unmade with the duvet completely messed up as if he had fought someone in his sleep, shoes were strewn across the floor, a suitcase was flipped open on the floor showcasing a pile of clothes and the desk was cluttered with plates from what seemed to be a room service breakfast. The bathroom door was open and Jeongguk could see a range of makeup strewn across the washstand, a hairdryer plugged into a socket, a pile of towels in the corner and a grey suit hung up next to the shower with a garment steamer close by.

It was chaotic which didn’t surprise Jeongguk who assumed this was what weddings entailed. Taehyung didn’t move to clean any of the mess up like he usually would if a guest came into his room – this was a direct result of having spent so many years living together, they were just comfortable letting each other see their room in a mess. Jeongguk tiptoed over the shoes and sat on the edge of the unmade bed, turning his attention away from the room and onto Taehyung again.

He seemed nervous or at least just fidgety, avoiding any eye contact. Jeongguk wasn’t sure whether that was the wedding nerves or just from not wanting to talk to Jeongguk which was becoming more obvious by the second.

“So, you excited for the wedding?” Jeongguk attempted a casual conversation to break the ice. It seemed to work like a charm for a second because Taehyung actually smiled and answered.

“More nervous than excited. It’s funny. I’ve practiced my vows so many times I could say them in my sleep, I’ve even taken classical dance lessons and we’ve practiced the whole shebang once before, but I still feel like I’m going to be sick. It’s exactly the feeling I used to get when performing a song for the first time – remember that feeling?” Jeongguk could just see Taehyung returning to the Taehyung he used to know while talking about the wedding but as soon as he realised what question he had asked he seemed to just switch off as if talking about their time together as a group was a painful memory. Jeongguk smiled a melancholic smile, it saddened him to see Taehyung so cold and out of character.

“Yeah, I remember that feeling. It’s a horrible feeling but do you remember the feeling you’d have after the performance though? I was actually talking to the hyungs about that exact feeling the other night. Did you know they were here? Well, of course, you knew they were here you invited them, but I guess you couldn’t have known they were staying at this exact resort?” the silence on Taehyungs part confirmed the thoughts he had, and he really wished his fear hadn’t been confirmed. Even so, Jeongguk continued to talk. He didn’t know why but a part of him wanted to make Taehyung feel guilty for avoiding them. “Ah well, it doesn’t matter. You’ll get to see them tonight, then we can all catch up. They’ve barely changed. Can you believe th- “

“Jeongguk, is there a reason why you’re here?” Jeongguk faltered and looked at Taehyung who wasn’t even looking at him as he asked. He was almost at a loss for words – who was this guy standing in front of him?

“I told you I wanted to talk,” it didn’t come out as a question this time but Jeongguk’s soft voice made it sound a little pathetic. Taehyung huffed, a harsh short sound, and turned to look at Jeongguk this time. His eyes were hard and Jeongguk shied away from them, looking away.

“Is there a specific reason for why you’re here? If not, can we skip the talking? Because I’ve got a wedding to get ready for and I’d really rather not talk about the past.” Jeongguk ignored the sharp pain in his chest – now was not the time to let that feeling overcome him. He had to get out what he wanted to say.

“No, we’ve skipped the talking the past two years so no we will not skip the talking. You’re getting married and I- we didn’t even get a heads up? We all had to find out through the wedding invitation? We’ve known each other for years Taehyung, years. You can’t just throw away years of memories and you don’t get to just ignore and avoid us like we’re acquaintances and not best friends.” Jeongguk’s voice gradually raised higher and higher with every word until he was shouting at Taehyung.

Taehyung didn’t react at all, as if the words didn’t mean anything to him. And Jeongguk didn’t know what to say anymore – he was speechless and breathing heavily from the shouting. Taehyung waited for a second for Jeongguk to catch his breath before he crossed his arms and opened his mouth to speak.

“Are you done?” it was a crass question that had Jeongguk ready to start shouting all over again, but he was so angry no words were coming to his head, so he stood mouth opening and closing like a fish. “We haven’t talked in two years, Jeongguk. Two years. I had no idea what was going on in your life, just like you had no idea what was going on in mine. We aren’t best friends anymore. We may have been in the past but here, now, we’re just two people who used to know each other. We didn’t speak for two years and that’s why I never bothered to tell any of you. Just because we were best friends in the past, it doesn’t mean I owe you guys anything.”

Jeongguk didn’t know where all of this was coming from and he refused to believe that the Taehyung in front of him was the same Taehyung who laughed with him all those years ago. Taehyung’s words brought tears to his eyes, Taehyung treated the years they had together and the memories they all shared together as if it were nothing. Sadness ate at him, threatening to swallow him whole.

“You know, you’re right Taehyung. I don’t even know who you are anymore. You really are just a person I used to know, and we definitely aren’t best friends anymore because my best friend wouldn’t disregard everything we’ve been through together just because we haven’t talked in two years.” He hoped his words would guilt trip Taehyung into saying something else or that maybe they would bring the old Taehyung back, but the cold, expressionless Taehyung continued to just stare at him. His words never seemed to make a single dent.

“Some people change, and others don’t. I was one of those people who changed and look where I am now. I have a successful modeling career and I’m getting married today. I chose to forget my past and focus on my future.” The words accusing Jeongguk of not changing and continuing to focus on the past hung in the air over their heads like a guillotine. It was a low insult.

Jeongguk inwardly scoffed. So, what if he focused on the past? The past held the best memories he ever had and so what was so bad about holding onto them? Jeongguk understood the message loud and clear. He wanted to forget their past and start anew with his new career and new wife. It was sickening.

“I can’t believe I even thought you wanted me here at this wedding. God, I can’t believe I thought that! I should have known you didn’t really want me here. I am so dumb. I can’t believe I still held on to that promise we made all those years ago,” Jeongguk scoffed, shaking his head. He should have known. He had been dumb enough to think he was wanted, and he came all that way just to get told he wasn’t wanted by the one person that meant the world to him. It was a punch to the gut that left him breathless and speechless.

“We haven’t talked in two years, what made you think we’d still both keep that promise?” Taehyung’s voice softened and Jeongguk saw him wince at his own words. It was a little hope – a little hope that he still cared. It was silent for a while after that – Jeongguk unsure of what to say and Taehyung hesitant to say anything else.

“I was going to keep that promise,” his voice was barely a whisper, more like a breath, and Taehyung almost didn’t catch what Jeongguk had said. “I was going to keep that promise,” Jeongguk spoke up louder this time, that way there was no way Taehyung could pretend he didn’t hear it if he wanted to do that. Taehyung’s face was unreadable, a poker face, but his eyes told a different story. They were murky, stormy – a swirl of emotions.

“You were going to keep the promise? But why?”

“Because we were best friends because it was a promise because you wanted me to be your best man,” the words because I love you were left unspoken but Jeongguk was so close to blurting it out. But he just couldn’t. He couldn’t tell Taehyung now. Not when he had just found out Taehyung wanted to move forward with his life and as selfish as Jeongguk thought Taehyung was being he loved him too much to hold him back from it. Besides his hyungs were right, it would be wrong for him to potentially ruin a wedding – not that Jeongguk thought he’d be doing any ruining, Taehyung seemed to be pretty adamant on stating that he had moved on from being his best friend and there was no way Jeongguk could even hope that maybe Taehyung loved him back.

Taehyung just stared at him, speechless. The expressionless face was gone, replaced with a look of bewilderment – like he couldn’t understand why Jeongguk would still want to keep the silly promise they made so long ago. Was it really that hard to comprehend? That someone who was your best friend would still want to keep a promise that meant something (to Jeongguk at least) made all those years ago? Jeongguk couldn’t bear to think about anymore. He knew it would slowly kill him – it would eat away at his insides until he was nothing but a hollow shell of skin and bone – and that scared him.

Jeongguk cleared his throat and pretended to look at an imaginary watch on his wrist, “Oh, would you look at the time? You have a wedding to get ready for and I also have to get ready for said wedding.” Jeongguk hurriedly walked to the door, being careful not to trip on the mess on the floor.

Taehyung followed closely behind him and Jeongguk assumed he was just going to show him out. But at the door, Taehyung made no move to open the door and say bye, he just stood there looking at him as if he wanted to say something, but his lips were sealed shut. Jeongguk didn’t think he could handle Taehyung saying anything else, no, he knew he couldn’t handle Taehyung saying anything else.

“So, I’ll see you at the wedding?” Jeongguk phrased it as a question but immediately regretted phrasing it as a question. Of course, he would be at his own wedding. It was a stupid question. But even so, Taehyung didn’t react and just kept on staring. Jeongguk opened the door himself and stepped out. He stood in the hallway for a second, staring at Taehyung. He felt like he needed to say bye or something but nothing he could think of sounded right.

In the end, he just sighed, “I’ll see you at the wedding and I know you are dead set on focussing on the future and forgetting the past, but could you just pretend like you still care about the past with the hyungs? It would mean a lot to me and I know we’re not best friends anymore, but could you just do that for me?” Taehyung had an unsure look on his face and Jeongguk had a feeling he was going to refuse so he cut him off. “It would mean a lot to me so just please think about it.” With that Jeongguk walked down the hall quickly, avoiding anything Taehyung was going to say and leaving a now very confused Taehyung standing at his hotel room door.

Chapter Text

Once Jeongguk was out of the hallway where Taehyung’s room had been he practically ran towards his room – well it was less of a run and more like long, hurried strides in an attempt to not draw attention to himself. He avoided taking the short cut through the lobby in case he ran into any of his friends, opting for the longer route that snaked behind the lobby and past the gym and indoor swimming pool.

It was an awkward route to take and was significantly longer, leaving him out of breath by the time he got to the elevators. But as soon as he was in the elevator, alone, the heavy feeling he had been holding back descended upon him.

He couldn’t do it, he didn’t do it. There was no way he could have said I love you and walked out of there with his heart intact. At least this way he could leave with his heart barely held together but fixable with time. He knew it could be fixed with time and he just needed to remind himself that Taehyung had moved on – he was happier without him. But as many times as he repeated that phrase in his head it wasn’t working.

Chapter Text

Jeongguk was numb as he got ready for the wedding. Jeongguk had always been confident with his outfit choices but standing there looking in the mirror at the reflection of himself wearing the formal black suit with the black and white floral bow, he felt unsure and downright pitiful. It was definitely not the look he was going for – how was he supposed to show Taehyung that he didn’t care about anything he had said, that he could be indifferent about the situation?

He was most definitely not feeling that way and in fact, he didn’t know if he would be able to make it through the ceremony without throwing up. Hell, he could barely make it through doing his make up without throwing up. Ironically, the way he felt translated perfectly onto the outfit. Makeup took longer than Jeongguk had anticipated, mostly due to the fact that nausea didn’t help when trying to apply eyeliner which was already hard for him to do on a normal day.

From leaving his room to taking the elevator to making it down to the lobby, Jeongguk was totally fine. He was controlling his breathing, practicing his smile in the mirror in the elevator, checking his pockets for his phone and wallet and managing to quell the nerves he could feel in his stomach.

Standing in the lobby of the resort Jeongguk managed to keep swallowing down the huge bundle of nerves in his stomach that kept forcing their way back up until he physically couldn’t anymore. He ended up puking in a large plant close to him.

A few guests noticed his retching and gave him either worried or disgusted looks but surprisingly the staff did not notice. This was a relief because he would have hated to be dubbed at the guy who puked in that plant even though in a few people’s minds he was already that person - he would just prefer if it were a small number of people rather than the whole resort making a joke out of him.

Standing up straight and wiping the corners of his mouth, Jeongguk mentally reminded himself that he would reimburse the resort for the plant he hurled up in because he was pretty sure it would die soon. It was not a dignified moment, but he was relieved no one he knew saw him hurl in a plant like some teenager who had spent a wild night at a club. That would have been truly embarrassing.

Jeongguk had promised he would wait for the rest of the hyungs in the lobby but standing there on the open floor plan watching guests walk and in and out and lounge around on the couches was making him antsy. He began to pace back and forth, unable to keep still. It was suddenly as if everything was going in fast forward, but he was stuck at a regular time and he needed to catch up with the fast forward.

Restless, he kept looking at his watch willing time to go by faster. It wasn’t working. The more he watched the seconds go by the slower time got and what should have only been ten minutes felt like an entire hour. Jeongguk was so relieved to see Yoongi and Jimin step out of the elevator.

“Where have you guys been? Why did you take so long?” Yoongi and Jimin both looked at him with surprise, clearly taken off guard by Jeongguk’s demeanour. Jimin composed himself first and answered.

“We were getting ready for the wedding and we didn’t take long, we’re right on time,” Jimin looked at his phone to quickly check and gave a small nod of satisfaction when he saw he was on time. “What’s wrong with you? You seem a bit on edge. How did your talk with Taehyung go?”

“Nothing’s wrong with me. I’m all good. Totally fine. My talk with Taehyung was…okay? I don’t know.” Jeongguk looked down as he spoke. He couldn’t look them in the eyes as he lied, it seemed wrong. Yoongi and Jimin both exchanged a look of suspicion at his behaviour and their eyes also argued over who was going to address the elephant in the room. Jimin had won and Yoongi was stuck having to ask the awkward question.

“Did you…?” he couldn’t even finish the question and Jimin gave him a firm look – a look very close to a glare. Jeongguk gave a small bitter laugh.

“Did I tell him I loved him?” Jeongguk finished the question for them and they both sympathetically nodded, slightly shameful for even asking but it needed to be addressed. Jeongguk looked down and his feet kicked imaginary rocks. “I’m sure you’ll be relieved to know I didn’t. No, we talked about other things,” his voice was bitter, filled with a hint of anger that didn’t go unnoticed by Yoongi and Jimin who gave each other a worried look. “Even if I had the right words to tell him, I don’t think I’d be able to. You guys were right.”

“We didn’t like being right on this one Jeongguk. I’m sorry,” Yoongi put a hand of Jeongguk’s shoulder just as Namjoon, Jin, and Hoseok joined them. Jin opened his mouth to say something but the Yoongi shook his head at him, silencing him before he could even utter a word. They all looked towards Jeongguk who just smiled a smile that didn’t reach his eyes.

“It’s fine. I know you guys were just looking out for me like you always did,” this time he gave a warm smile and then gestured towards the door. “Now let’s go to this dumb wedding before I start crying.”

Chapter Text

Jeongguk had secretly hoped the wedding would be ugly but no of course not - it had to be beautiful.

From the entrance, all the way up to the alter it was absolutely breathtaking. They ditched their shoes at the entrance going barefoot down the steps and onto the beach. The railings to the stairs were entwined in fairy lights which gave off a soft light that, even though the sun hadn’t begun to set yet, looked pretty. A pathway of candles led them further down the beach until they reached the area where the wedding ceremony was going to be held. Lattices of flowers intertwined with fairy lights boxed off the sides of the seating area and alter and more fairy lights hung over the seating area. White and pink flowers lined the aisles and alter while white ribbon adorned the chairs and alter. This was all set against the backdrop of the calm waves of the blue sea and the sunset.

By the time they walked down to the seating the sun had begun to set and the fairy lights and candles were finally put to good use, bathing everyone in warm light. Guests had already begun sitting down in their seats and Taehyung was already standing up by the altar with a group of men Jeongguk did not recognise.

While his hyungs argued about where they wanted to sit (Hoseok wanted to sit in the back but Namjoon wanted to sit in the middle) Jeongguk watched Taehyung. He was smiling and laughing with the men who Jeongguk assumed were his groomsmen and Jeongguk assumed one of them was his best man. Jeongguk was still a little (read: a lot) jealous and couldn’t look away from the group.

When the arguing between Namjoon and Hoseok got a little louder than needed, Taehyung turned around to look towards the sound. His eyes caught Jeongguk’s and Jeongguk almost stopped breathing when he realised that Taehyung was walking towards them. He didn’t know what to do so he turned to his hyungs in a panic, “Taehyung’s coming over here!” It was a low hiss in panic, but they all heard and stopped arguing amongst themselves.

He gestured for them to look over his shoulder and sure enough they saw Taehyung strolling towards them. They all turned to look at him with wide eyes, all unsure what to do. “Just act normal,” Jeongguk hissed under his breath before he turned to meet Taehyung with a smile. Thankfully, his hyungs all got the message, straightened up and also turned to do the same.

“Hey, if you guys are wondering where to sit I saved space for you up front,” Taehyung had a totally different demeanour than he had had in his hotel room and Jeongguk was relieved to see he had decided to follow his request.

“Isn’t the front usually for family?” Hoseok asked, perplexed, and Taehyung smiled.

“It is. You guys count as family, so you get a seat up front. It’s th- “Before Taehyung could finish his sentence one of his groomsmen called his name. “Oh! Looks like duty calls. You guys just take a seat up front and I’ll see you after the wedding.” It wasn’t a question, but they all nodded as they watched Taehyung walk away.

“What the hell was that?” Namjoon broke the silence that had fallen over them as they had taken their seats at the front like Taehyung instructed.

“I…I don’t actually know but it wasn’t bad,” Jimin admitted sheepishly after a few seconds and everyone else just dumbly nodded.

It was a short interaction, but it had left them befuddled. Why had Taehyung who they suspected to be avoiding them suddenly come up to them and treat them like he’d never been doing that in the first place? Jeongguk felt bad staring at their faces, all of them deep in thought. He couldn’t just blurt out that he had told Taehyung to act this way, but the knowledge was beginning to suffocate him.

He chose to swap places with Jin, so he was sat at the end of the row in case he needed to get up and leave. The forceful feeling of needing to leave refused to leave his stomach and the feeling only grew stronger and stronger as he sat in his chair. He couldn’t stop shaking his leg in an attempt to focus and ground himself much to the annoyance of Jimin who was sat next to him and kept telling him to stop but he couldn’t.

Soon all the seating was full. Most of the seats were filled with faces of people he didn’t recognise which just reminded Jeongguk of how Taehyung had said he had moved onto a different part of his life. It annoyed Jeongguk that he couldn’t bring himself to blame Taehyung for moving on. He just couldn’t – it was a normal part of life. Trying to forget his past though, that was something Jeongguk could bring himself to be angry about and blame Taehyung for it.

Jeongguk had greeted Taehyung’s family who sat in the row in front of them and had also greeted a few people he recognised from back in the day, back when he used to be an idol, while he continued to fidget in his seat. The waiting was driving him crazy. It was already dark and even the warm lighting and sound of the waves couldn’t calm him down.

Just when he was about to get up from his seat and leave, the sound of a piano started up and suddenly everyone was turning to look behind. There were small gasps from men and women at what they saw but Jeongguk refused to turn until Jimin had nudged him and forced him to look.

Again, Jeongguk had hoped she would be ugly and would be wearing something ugly but of course not that was too much to ask for. He had turned and she was beautiful wearing a fitted sweetheart neckline dress embroidered with lace and diamonds all over with a thin layer of chiffon attached to the dress by a diamond encrusted belt creating the effect of a high low dress. Jeongguk was pretty sure a gasp escaped him too.

Jeongguk could only look for a second before he turned to look at Taehyung’s expression even though he knew it would break him even more. The moment he looked Jeongguk wished he hadn’t. Taehyung had a look of pure admiration and awe on his face with a soft smile – the kind of smile he used to receive. It hurt to no longer be the one receiving that smile. It hurt a lot.

Jeongguk drowned out the ceremony from that moment on. It was like the ceremony was playing on a tv as background noise while he was sat on a couch doing something else. Jeongguk thought he registered Jimin whispering something to him, but he couldn’t focus on it – it was all just background noise. Instead, it felt like he was being suffocated.

From the moment he talked to Taehyung up till the ceremony, he had felt like he was holding his breath underwater but as soon as the ceremony started he desperately felt the need to take a breath in because his lungs were on fire and his whole body was telling him he needed to breathe. And so, he did. But his body had forgotten it was underwater – there was no air only water. He was inhaling water, replacing the air in his lungs with water until he was suffocating. He knew he needed to stop inhaling the water and fight his way to the surface, but his body was taking its own time deciding he needed to swim to the surface.

Jeongguk thought he heard his name being said. It was muffled and distant, like background noise, with the water but he was fighting his way to the surface now. The closer he got to the surface the louder the voice got.

“Jeongguk. Jeongguk.” Jimin whispered in his ear and finally, he was at the surface, desperately gasping for breath. “Are you okay?” Jimin whispered in his ear again and this time Jeongguk turned to look at him and Jimin knew something was wrong.

“I need some air,” his voice sounded as if he were gasping for air and he tugged at his collar. Jimin looked at him confused.

“We’re already outside, Jeongguk. There’s enough air around here. Just calm down.” Jimin is still whispering and trying to stop Jeongguk from tugging at his collar even more. The ceremony was still going on but Jimin’s whispering and Jeongguk’s behaviour did not go unnoticed by some of the guests who gave them dirty looks. Jeongguk gave Jimin an exasperated look.

“You don’t understand. I. Need. Air.” Without warning, Jeongguk stood up and everyone gasped and looked at him. He knew his face was red and he looked a little out of it but that didn’t warrant gasps and everyone staring at him. He felt Jimin grabbing his hand and tugging, trying to drag him back down into his seat, but he really needed to get out of the wedding. He was about to leave when the priest addressed him.

“Young man, do you have a reason why this couple should not be married?”

Jeongguk almost didn’t understand the question. But then suddenly he was reminded of what Donkey had said in Shrek and he understood that he had just stood up at the ‘If any person can show just cause why this couple may not be joined together, let them speak now or forever hold their peace’ part and he wanted to curse.

Jeongguk had assumed they were farther along in the ceremony when he stood up so either the priest gave a really long opening speech, or he hadn’t been freaking out for as long as he thought he had in his head. Either way, he was royally screwed.

He looked to the other guests staring at him with mouths agape, then down at his hyungs who were all shaking their heads as if they thought he was actually going to object and then at Taehyung and his wife-to-be granted Jeongguk hadn’t just messed up the wedding.

Taehyung was looking at him, shock on his face but also another emotion he couldn’t quite place in the moment. His wife-to-be, on the other hand, looked livid about the fact that someone was ruining her wedding. Jeongguk knew he had to say something, and he hoped he didn’t say anything stupid.

“Uh…I- uhm- I think there’s been a huge misunderstanding. I mean, I love the guy…as a friend but I wouldn’t…” Jeongguk gulped – he had almost confessed in the most inappropriate way ever.

“I- uh just wanted to get some air,” Jeongguk realised how dumb that sounded considering they were already outside. He wanted to facepalm himself and when he looked at his hyungs he realised they were feeling the same way.

“I mean…well…,” Jeongguk realised he was completely messing this whole thing up and just whispered “fuck it” to himself. He might as well be slightly honest.

“Look, I’m going to be honest I didn’t really want to watch the wedding, so I got up to leave. I was distracted so I didn’t realise you guys were asking whether anyone was objecting…I- I- well I don’t have any reason to object to this wedding or whatever. I’m just going to leave,” he gestured that he was going to leave, clambering from his seat and into the aisle almost knocking over a flower.

“Uh, sorry have a great wedding.” Jeongguk closed his eyes for a second, hating himself for the way he acted before opening them again and quickly striding out of the wedding. It wasn’t much striding because there was only so much striding one could do in the sand but Jeongguk made sure he got out of there fast because everyone’s eyes were on him.

He wanted to bang his head against a wall. He had made a fool out of himself in front of all those people and he’d almost confessed his feelings and ruined a wedding all in one go. He just knew people were going to be talking about him.

What was he going to do?

Chapter Text

After his embarrassment at the wedding Jeongguk had immediately ran to the solace of the bar. Drinking didn’t help one bit but the atmosphere at the bar was nice. It felt as if he were in a different place, as if he weren’t in Mauritius and as if he didn’t just walk out of Taehyungs wedding. It was peaceful at least up until a group came in celebrating a birthday. He was still not finished with his second drink but Jeongguk left right when they began to sing happy birthday and resigned back to his room.

Back at his room, Jeongguk stripped out of his suit leaving it in a corner of his room on the floor. He could hear his phone buzzing from notifications, most likely messages from his hyungs, but he silenced it and left the phone on the nightstand. He had a feeling he knew what all the messages were about, and he just couldn’t deal with all of that right after the event had just gone down. He wanted – needed - to close this chapter of his life but more than that he just wanted to climb into bed and sleep and that was exactly what he did.

Jeongguk awoke groggily to the sound of incessant knocking at his door. He groaned and his hand fumbled around on his night stand for his phone to check the time, but he couldn’t feel it. It was either late night or early morning – why would anyone be awake as this time? Jeongguk groaned again as he heaved his body up from the comfort of the inviting mattress. The knocking refused to stop, and it was beginning to bug him a lot.

“I’m coming!” he called out irritated, stumbling as he stood up. His eyes were still closed, refusing to open. It wasn’t practical but it was working well enough.

He managed to fumble around, feeling the walls, and found the door. He leant against the wall before swinging the door open, still not bothering to open his eyes.

“What do you want?” Jeongguk asked or at least that what he thought he said. It came out sounding something like ‘whaddayaumph’. Jeongguk didn’t hear an answer from whoever was at the door and the hallway felt too warm for his liking, so he tried to close the door.

Tried.

Jeongguk had tried to push himself off the wall and attempted to grab the door handle with his eyes closed again but the moment he pushed himself off the wall he felt himself falling. He was too asleep for anything and just accepted that he was going to hit the ground, not fully understand the repercussions to that. But his body never touched to floor instead he was caught by someone’s arm.

“Be careful, you idiot.” It was a soft, timid voice and Jeongguk barely registered it, but he hummed softly in response. Whoever it was felt comfy, not comfy like his bed but a familiar comfy – a comfy he hadn’t felt in a while.

“You always did struggle to wake up when you needed to,” the voice chuckled – it sounded familiar. He was guided back to his bed and made to lay down.

As soon as his body hit the bed he snuggled into the bed like a kitten. Jeongguk felt the duvet being placed over him and the bed dip slightly. Jeongguk attempted to mumble something to whoever it was but he was just so sleepy, and the bed was so soft, and the world was slowly disappearing around him.

“Shhh, don’t try to talk. We can talk in the morning.” Jeongguk felt a hand on his head, then the dip in the bed was gone, so was that comfy feeling but Jeongguk was enveloped by the comfy feeling of the bed and sleep claimed him again.

Chapter Text

Jeongguk groaned at the sound of his phone ringing on the nightstand next to him. Who was calling him and why? Did they think he was made of money? Mobile roaming bills were atrocious. He fumbled around on the nightstand for a while before he felt his phone. He turned over in bed, so he was on his back and held the phone up to his face.

The light immediately blinded him, and he squinted as he started at the screen, barely seeing anything. Jeongguk yawned then groaned in pain when he accidentally dropped the phone on his face. That woke him up and he sat up and looked at the phone properly this time.

He had missed the call but when he looked at the call log he had multiple miscalls from his hyungs as well as many, many, many messages from them. That was odd. Jeongguk thought that maybe they were just worried about him but when he opened the messages they were not what he was expecting.

Seokjinnie: JEONGGUK!!!!!
Seokjinnie: why aren’t you answering my calls????
Seokjinnie: jeongguk????????

Joonie hyung: jeongguk answer my calls
Joonie hyung: this is important! answer.

Hobiii: YOU WILL NOT BELIEVE WHAT JUST HAPPENED
Hobiii: jeongguk I swear you shouldn’t have left
Hobiii: i think you’re asleep or smth but you seriously need to call one of us when you wake up

Jiminie: why aren’t you answering your door?
Jiminie: i saw Tae leave your room???
Jiminie: did he tell you???
Jiminie: jeongguk?????
Jiminie: guk??

Yoongi hyung: answer your phone guk
Yoongi hyung: id prefer to tell you this in person but you aren’t answering anyone
Yoongi hyung: so
Yoongi hyung: tae didn’t get married

Jeongguk stopped breathing. He couldn’t believe what he was reading. There was no way Taehyung didn’t get married. He had seen Taehyung looking at his bride to-be last night and there was no way. There was just no way. But then why would everyone be acting this way and why the hell would Yoongi be telling him Taehyung didn’t get married. And Taehyung had been in his room??? When??? Nothing made sense. He needed to talk to them face to face.

Jeongguk barely took a shower, threw on whatever clothes he could find, texted Yoongi a quick get everyone together downstairs I need to talk, grabbed his key card and left his room without even tying his shoelaces. He almost tripped walking down the hallway before deciding to tie his shoelaces. He was in the elevator going down when the realisation of what was going to happen hit him and he had to slap his cheeks a little to remind himself this was real.

The elevator dinged, signalling him reaching the ground floor, and he was surprised to already see his friends waiting for him, still dressed in their suits – had they not slept, or did they sleep in their suits? Then Jeongguk looked at his phone and realised the time was 2am. The ceremony had started at 7, right after the sun had set, and he had left at half 7 and he had apparently slept from 8pm till 2am.

Jeongguk approached his friends who all looked at him expectantly as if he had all the answers to all the questions they had ever had. What were the waiting for him to say? He really didn’t have anything to say, even though he had said he wanted to talk, he really just wanted to know what the hell was going on.

“So…?” Seokjin trailed off, looking at Jeongguk.

“So…I don’t really understand what’s going on,” Jeongguk spoke sheepishly. He wished he understood what was going on, but he just couldn’t understand. Maybe this was all an elaborate joke they had set up but the looks his friends were giving him told him otherwise – they weren’t that great actors, the actor had always been Taehyung.

“Okay, we’ll tell you about what happened,” Yoongi spoke slowly, eyeing the lobby a little suspiciously. It was oddly busy for 2am but Jeongguk didn’t get why Yoongi was acting that way. “But first we have to get you somewhere where you won’t be spotted by anyone,” without warning Yoongi pulled Jeongguk’s hood over his head and started leading him away from the lobby. The others followed, corralling around Jeongguk as if to block people from seeing him.

“What’s going on?” Jeongguk hissed as he was forcefully seated on a sun lounger next to the pool. The whole pool area was empty and the lighting from the pool reflected by the water bathed everything in an eerie blue light.

“You aren’t exactly a fan favourite right now with a certain group of people,” Hoseok vaguely explained which just made Jeongguk more confused.

“What?”

“The brides family hates you.” Seokjin spoke bluntly but Jeongguk just looked more perplexed.

“Why would they hate me? Look, if this is about me walking out the wedding they have no right to be angry at me or whatever. It isn’t like I stopped the wedding,” Jeongguk ranted and his friends just looked at him, slightly unimpressed at how slow he was being.

“You didn’t stop the wedding directly. No, that was Taehyung who did that. You were just the reason he stopped called off the wedding,” Yoongi explained and Jeongguk malfunctioned.

“Wha- wha- I- what?”

“Wait don’t confuse him. Namjoon you should explain from the beginning,” Jimin spoke up. Namjoon nodded, face serious as he faced Jeongguk.

“After you left, Taehyung looked kind of troubled and distracted- “

“It was kind of funny because he kept messing up the vows.” Hoseok interjected and Namjoon gave him a pointed look. Hoseok held his hands up in surrender - a promise not to interrupt again.

“Anyway, yes he was very distracted, and you could tell he wasn’t really paying attention to the wedding and thinking of something else. He looked kind of conflicted and then when it was the yes I do part he just froze, and it looked like he was fighting himself in his head. It was crazy. Everyone was on the edge of their seat because it just looked like he was going to say no and that’s exactly what he did. He said no, he said he was sorry and that he just couldn’t go through with the wedding- “Namjoon was about to continue talking when Jeongguk suddenly spoke.

“Did he say why?”

“Why what?”

“Did he say why he stopped the wedding?” Jeongguk looked at his friends, eyes wide and slightly hopeful.

“Uhm no he didn’t but it wasn’t really hard to tell why,” Namjoon watched as it looked like Jeongguk was having a crisis.

Taehyung had stopped his wedding. Taehyung had stopped his wedding possibly because of Jeongguk. Jeongguk may have been the reason Taehyung stopped his wedding. Jeongguk couldn’t get his thoughts in order.

“So…what you’re telling me…is that Taehyung didn’t specifically say he stopped the wedding because of me?” Jeongguk spoke slowly, still processing everything. It felt like his mind was melting or at least overheating.

“Well that is what we’re telling you but…” Hoseok trailed off, unsure of how to word his next words in a way that Jeongguk would be able to digest.

Thankfully, Jimin saved him.

“But this happened right after you left, and he also went to visit you in your room, so it seems pretty obvious he did it because of you. So, I’m not saying he stopped his wedding because of you but he stopped his wedding because of you.”

“I don’t remember him coming to my room. I think I’d remember him coming to my room,” Jeongguk didn’t want to believe anything that was being said to him because he knew what it entailed. It entailed feelings he had just decided he wanted to bury permanently, it entailed having to face the one person that had hurt him so deeply and it entailed speaking those words out loud even though he no longer wanted to.

“Jeongguk he was there. I saw him exiting your room with a dumb smile on his face and unless he has a key card to your room, you’re the only one who could have let him in,” Jimin was insistent and Jeongguk racked his mind trying to recall his groggy sleep memories.

“He was in my room! At least I think it was him. I don’t remember who it was, but I know someone was knocking on my door, it woke me up, I answered half-asleep and ended up falling? I think. I don’t remember hitting the ground, I only remember being back in bed,” Jeongguk practically shouted this realisation before lowering his voice as he remembered what time it was and the fact that he had a mob of angry people after him apparently.

“It must have been him. It definitely wasn’t me. I was knocking at your door for literally 20 minutes, but you never answered. God, you sleep like a log,” Jimin mused as he stared at the water. Everyone else was being oddly quiet as the conversation went on and it made Jeongguk feel even more on edge. He looked at them and searched their faces silently for answers, but they all looked too wrapped in their own thoughts to let any answers slip through.

“What am I supposed to do?” Jeongguk sighed and laid back on the sun lounger, staring up at the starry night. Everyone was silent again. It was weird. Jeongguk thought that at least one of them would have an idea of what he was supposed to do. But then again none of them had been in this situation before. It was like something out of a drama – none of it felt real. Maybe it was a dream. Jeongguk yelped as he felt Jin pinch his arm hard.

“This isn’t a dream dummy,” Jin chuckled and Jeongguk turned his head to look at him.

“It feels like one though. Seriously what am I supposed to do?” Jin smiled softly at his frustrated tone. “What?” Jeongguk huffed – why was Jin smiling? Was his frustration funny?

“Nothing,” Jin stopped looking at Jeongguk and instead looked up at the dark sky. “I just think you already know what to do,” he turned his attention back to Jeongguk, who sighed deeply once more.

“I do. I don’t want to do it, but I know I have to,” Jeongguk dreaded what he had to do – hated it to his very core. He wasn’t even sure if he could go through with it. But when he sat up and looked towards his hyungs who were all staring at him encouragingly, he found strength from them as he had many times before and he knew he would be able to do what he knew he had to do.