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Answer: Love Myself

Chapter Text

Jimin

 

12:55pm, another draining Thursday afternoon and the summer heat wasn’t making it pass any quicker. Park Jimin sat at his desk, laptop humming behind him and a file resting in front that dark eyes kept glancing over. Soft music played from his phone where it was plugged in to his speaker as he scanned over the questionnaires stapled together. His next appointment was in the lobby waiting and he wanted to be sure he had as much information in the forefront of his mind before meeting them.

 

The male heard his stomach rumble while he jotted down a couple notes and cursed inwardly at himself for turning down Jin’s offer for lunch - instead staying at their office to finish up case notes so that he wouldn’t end up spending another late night surrounded by paperwork. Jimin wished he had his hyung’s organizational skills, the elder always seemed to have his treatment plans done and documents turned in by five, making the younger envious both of that and Jin’s blossoming relationship with their new colleague. Jimin was almost positive that was also why he’d been asked to lunch with his hyung and Dr. Kim Namjoon (the Psychiatrist just hired at their office) - to discuss his nonexistent love life yet again.

 

Lost in his thoughts, Jimin squeaked when he heard the buzz from reception and the crackle of Jiwoo’s voice letting him know it was now 1pm. Running his fingers through his blonde hair, he thanked her and removed the glasses precariously balanced on his nose before standing up with a brief stretch of his arms. He only had two more sessions and then planned to finalize a few more things before the day ended, hoping he could retire home to another night of red wine and Netflix with his cat. The extroverted male had recently become more of a homebody after his breakup, it had been three months since he’d walked in the front door of his house to find Minseok’s stuff packed and a note simply saying "I can’t do this anymore." It didn’t sting any less and he appreciated his hyung trying to get him out more, but he was content focusing on work for the time being...he needed to.

 

Adjusting his blazer, Jimin strode out to the lobby where his next clients were waiting and immediately froze. Sitting by the vending machine, long legs crossed almost delicately over one another and large hands fidgeting in his lap, was the most beautiful man Jimin had ever seen (no offense to Jin hyung) and he honestly thought he’d forgotten how to breathe. The male had a square jaw and his features were like something out of a runway catalogue, almost inhumanly attractive with teal locks framing the honey skin of his face and an awkward but endearing box smile forming when his eyes locked with Jimin’s. Dressed impeccable, a paisley button-up and white slacks fit snug against his figure and what looked like Gucci sandals tapped the air. It made him self-conscious, Jimin was by no means unattractive but he definitely regretted slapping on the black dress shoes he’d picked up at the local discount outlet in a hurry this morning. He was also very much aware now that his entire suit looked half-the price of Mr. Gorgeous as Fuck’s casual ensemble.

 

Clearing his throat, Jimin swallowed quickly and glanced around the room at the other people waiting. He wondered if the stunning man was there to see Jin, although he wasn’t sure why someone who looked like him would ever be in need of the services a Sex Therapist offered. For the first time, Park Jimin regretted becoming a therapist for couples (ironic given his own failed relationship), if it meant he wouldn’t at least get to spend an hour staring at whoever the handsome stranger was. Flashing a brief smile towards the other’s direction, Jimin spoke out hoping to catch the interest of the couple he was seeing. "Taehyung and Eunha?" Searching through those present, Jimin felt his heart sink when he noticed that the male he’d been in awe of was in fact, Kim Taehyung - slender frame standing slowly and that’s when the blonde noticed the female who’d been sitting next to him, a severe case of Resting Bitch Face in her expression and acrylic nails gripping her iPhone tersely while a black Chanel bag hung from her arm.

 

The couple looked as if they couldn’t stand to even be near each other, and Park Jimin was the therapist they had sought to fix it.

 


 

Jimin’s hands were clasped tightly in his lap and his notepad was full of scribbles, expression neutral but mind focused entirely on how he’d just asked Eunha to lower her voice for the fifth time. Her eyebrows were raised in agitation and her fingers were clutching the arm of the chair as if to refrain from hitting something, which she seemed on the verge of. It had been a simple question, "What do you feel the flaws in your relationship are that have brought you here?" But it was like a fuse had been lit and Jimin almost wanted to reach out in comfort, because Taehyung was sitting almost opposite of his girlfriend in a separate chair looking positively terrified while she spat out every single thing wrong with him. Each word from her red lips dripped with venom, and though Jimin prided himself on being a professional with incredible control of his reactions, it was taking a lot for him not to call her a bitch. It was clear one of the issues that landed the two in his office was the domineering woman berating her partner with no remorse. 

 

"Eunha, I am not going to say it again. I understand your frustrations and this is a safe space to voice them, but do so with regards to Taehyung and other clients in the building." Jimin offered one of his signature warm smiles, keeping his tone level and personable, before shifting his eyes to where the cowering Taehyung had exhaled a sigh of (relief?) before relaxing back in to his seat. It saddened Jimin, to see someone so afraid of and defeated by their significant other, and the anxiety written on the younger’s face made the therapist wonder if there weren’t more concerning matters he’d need to get to the bottom of. Writing a reminder to himself to schedule individual sessions with them, Jimin set his notepad aside and leaned forward, his body language open but conveying some hesitancy - more so out of avoiding setting Eunha off on another tirade. "We have ten minutes left, so I want one answer from both of you. What do you hope to gain from our sessions?" Holding his hand up the moment the raven-haired female opened her mouth, Jimin shook his head and gestured to Taehyung. 

Blinking almost comically, the male sat up in his chair and looked to the elder as if for permission to speak - white teeth gnawing anxiously at his bottom lip. With an encouraging nod from Jimin, and a slow inhale of breath, Taehyung spoke for the first time in the hour they’d been there. "I guess ... well, I know I would like to be better. I want to make Eunha happy, and hopefully that will make me happy ... if she loves me." Glistening eyes met Jimin’s and it broke the elder’s heart, how absolutely fragile the other sounded. There was so much more to their relationship and Kim Taehyung - that much was evident. Jimin offered a supportive nod and then turned to Eunha, bracing himself before asking her the same question. The anger was gone from her voice, but replaced with sharp contempt. "I want him to man up and start pulling his weight before I finally decide to marry him instead of his moping around the house or spending every single day painting." Holding back a sigh, Jimin stood up and grabbed his calendar from his desk, flipping it to the coming week. "I’d like to schedule separate sessions with you both, to get to know you better and gather some more insight as to why you two may be clashing. Is that alright?" Receiving acknowledgement, he scheduled Taehyung for Tuesday afternoon and Eunha for Thursday morning, setting the calendar down in its original place before walking with them back out front to settle payment with reception.

 

Collapsing back in to one of the armchairs, Jimin ran his hands over his face and groaned. He’s had attractive clients in the past, he’s not blind and can admit that without it meaning anything. But something about Taehyung, the gentle nature and innocence radiating from the younger male, it struck a chord. He was the epitome of a pure soul and to see him terrified like he’d been, let alone of someone he may spend his life with, it made Jimin physically ill. The therapist had his work cut out for him and he couldn’t help the nagging in the back of his mind that there were more pieces to the puzzle that he dreaded discovering. Hearing an almost obnoxious tapping at his door, Jimin looked up to find none other than self-proclaimed Worldwide Handsome, Dr. Kim Seokjin. "You look like you need about five drinks after that. I had my door closed and even I could hear how shitty she sounded-" Smirk on his perfect face, Jimin couldn’t help but laugh at his hyung and the blatant attempt to make the younger feel better. "I’m actually going to take you up on those drinks, because I’m fucked and you’re going to help unfuck the situation."

Chapter Text

Taehyung

 

Peering out the window of their car, Taehyung felt his stomach sinking further the longer Eunha went on and on about how she was positive this therapist could "fix him." His chin rested in the palm of his hand, body language exuding tension while his girlfriend rambled. He had hated the idea of going to counseling in the first place, just another person to side with her, were his thoughts. But he’d been pleasantly surprised, Dr. Park having been much warmer than expected. Taehyung couldn’t help the rush of gratitude either when the male had silenced Eunha, letting him voice his thoughts and for once he felt actually safe to do so. Eunha did most of the talking wherever they went and whomever they spoke with, Taehyung usually off to the side and curled in on himself trying to be as unnoticed as possible. But in therapy, he was actually looking forward to saying more - especially in his upcoming individual session. Taehyung was excited for it, the longer he contemplated sitting across from the doctor and getting an hour of just being able to express everything he’s bottled up. More than that, though, he couldn’t wait to see Park Jimin again.

 

Pulled from thoughts of blonde hair and cherubic cheeks, Taehyung sighed in exasperation when the car finally stopped outside the palatial estate belonging to Eunha’s parents. He’d forgotten they were heading there after therapy, likely so she could regale the two with tales of how it would ensure Taehyung’s transition to "perfect husband material." Rolling his eyes, and with one quick run of his fingers through teal strands, Taehyung climbed out of the backseat and thanked the driver as he shut the door. Eunha was ranting now about how she’d have to move her meeting with some editor to accommodate her individual session and soon launched in to a soul-crushing tirade about the new talent she’d hired. Being the head of a modeling agency, Eunha was the nightmare of every aspiring young woman. She didn’t hold back and she broke you down, but she also made you known across the globe - literal definition of 'Deal with the Devil'. Even now, her features were scrunched in utter disgust as she recounted an incident in which one of the new girls cried because Eunha slapped an apple out of her hand before making her stand in front of her reflection for an hour.

 

Walking up the front steps to the double-doors, Taehyung muttered an almost inaudible "Wench" before plastering his now staple faux smile across his face as Eunha’s father appeared in the entryway. The man was a weasel, horrendous toupee decorating his head and smoking jacket fit way too tight across his gut. Mr. Choi always looked bored out of his mind and smelled like moth balls, making it near impossible for Taehyung to stand around him longer than a few minutes at a time. Mrs. Choi popped up behind him, a little more tolerable than her husband in physical presence but definitely a carbon copy of Eunha - icy demeanor and all. "Sweetheart, I see you and Taehyung arrived punctual as ever." Mrs. Choi’s tone somehow managed to cut even with the simplest of pleasantries, judgemental gaze roaming over Taehyung’s hair before stepping back to allow them inside. Crossing the threshold, Taehyung bit his tongue when he felt the heavy hand of Mr. Choi slap at his shoulder, nearly knocking the younger man over. "Blue hair? Next he’s gonna start wearing leather pants. These artist types, huh? Amazing he didn’t turn out a fag!"

 

Steeling himself for a couple hours of Hell, Taehyung laughed emptily and followed everyone in to the sitting room, dread filling every fibre of his being at the conversations he knew would likely occur.

 


 

"They said what!?" Hoseok’s loud voice echoed across the coffee shop, a near-screech as the male looked at Taehyung in complete shock. "Baby, please calm down for fuck’s sake.." Yoongi’s hushed whisper sounded beside the redhead practically bouncing in the booth at their table. Taehyung was sat across from the two, squeezed in next to Jungkook who was holding back a laugh as he sipped his banana milk. "Hyung, please stop screaming -" Taehyung’s voice begged with urgency, his face reddened with shame as he ducked his head down, nose practically buried in his caramel macchiato. Hoseok took a deep breath and dramatically waved his hand over his face before settling down in his seat. Taehyung loved the elder, but sometimes he was ridiculous in his antics and it was almost comical how complete polar opposite he was Yoongi in moments like this. Jung Hoseok, owner of Hope on the Street dance studio and instructor, literal ball of sunshine with a smile for everyone he met. Min Yoongi, up and coming hip-hop producer in Seoul, already lauded for his achievements as well as the new album he was about to release. The latter was a picture perfect image of unbothered though as he watched his boyfriend finally calm, black coffee in one hand and the other snaking around Hoseok’s waist.

 

Taehyung envied them, how at ease they always were with one another, as if pieces of a puzzle. He’d never seen them during a fight (unless you count when Hoseok broke a pair of speakers in Yoongi’s studio) but he was positive the two were what one would consider the perfect couple. They balanced each other, complimenting energies and it was magical being in their presence - true love if ever there was an actual example. Taehyung sat back up and shifted so that his head was now resting on Jungkook’s shoulder, playfully sneaking a peek at the text alert on the maknae’s phone. "Another Thursday night hook-up, Jeon?" He teased, reaching to open the notification before the device was quickly snatched up. "I’ll have you know, I’m not always chasing ass. And she’s just coming over to study, hyung." A collective eye-roll around the table told the youngest how much everyone believed him and he mumbled a "Fuck off" under his breath as he texted back. Jeon Jungkook was the baby of their friend group, but you wouldn’t believe it if you saw him. Innocent yet handsome face and bunny teeth with a physique that most men spent years training to get, he was a walking contradiction. The boy was well-known for his frequent hookups, a "pussy connoisseur," as he liked to call himself with the utmost seriousness.

 

"Earth to TaeTae, answer my question right now. " Attention pulled back to Hoseok, Taehyung hummed im remembrance of what he’d been asked before responding - the dismayed look on the elder’s face breaking his heart. "Yeah, they said I have six months in therapy to prove I’m not a complete failure of a man like the homos I surround myself with. At which point, they will decide whether to give their blessing or revoke their funding of the gallery." The words felt heavy on his tongue as he recounted them, the slurs he’d had to sit through for four hours and the implication that he’d be engaged to Eunha in six months making Taehyung want to scream his lungs out. "Okay but, you’re fucking gay? You just going to magically like pussy at the end of six months too?" Yoongi deadpanned, not caring who might overhear and annoyance clear in the way his eyebrows furrowed together. "Yah! Hyung, please be more discreet. One of her friends could be here!" Taehyung quickly flitted his eyes across the shop as if to ensure this was not the case, paranoia growing and regret clouding his thoughts at choosing a place to meet that was near their penthouse.

 

The day he’d come out to his friends, he’d been petrified of how they’d react - unnecessary given that he’d known Hoseok and Yoongi for years since high school when they had first started dating. They gave him a look that told him they were fully aware while Jungkook simply shrugged and asked if him being gay had any bearing on lunch, making Taehyung sob in relief. None of his colleagues or other friends knew, and his parents tragically passed away in a car accident while Taehyung was finishing his first year at Art School. But he knew in his heart they would have accepted him, his mother bought him his first set of paints and was always telling him to never hide while his father bragged to everyone that his son was going to be known for his masterpieces - proudly displaying any artwork Taehyung brought home on visits. He missed them, even though it’d been a few years, every single day was just as hard as the one before when he considered how different things would be were they still alive. Would he have agreed to an arranged marriage when he was suffering from grief? Would his parents let him live a lie and shun his identity?

 

Leaning his head back against the tattered leather of the booth, Taehyung closed his eyes and huffed, the other three throwing him looks of sympathy. They hated seeing him unhappy, but as he owed Eunha’s parents everything, he was pretty much screwed and nothing they said or did was going to change his mind.

Chapter Text

Jimin

 

Three Months Ago . . .

He was incredibly fucking late and he felt horrible, having planned to make up for missing their anniversary. They’d been together two years and somehow, Jimin had let it slip from his mind last month. His caseload was overwhelming him, there was an annual review at his practice, and the boy was stressed. Jimin had spent days begging Minseok to forgive him, promising he’d manage his work better and stop letting it affect them. Minseok worked from home, an author who had just published his final entry in a series and was currently enjoying time off after a lengthy book tour. He didn’t have worries like Jimin did, who sometimes had up to eight therapy sessions daily on top of unexpected emergencies. At first the elder didn’t mind, he loved that Jimin helped people and was the reason so many couples were still together. But it began to take a toll when Jimin would bring home paperwork or received calls in the middle of the night from the office. Minseok eventually began to resent that their home was no longer a place to relax or forget everything in the outside world - Jimin was prioritizing everyone else’s problems and neglecting theirs. The male had stopped trying to wait up for Jimin, no longer asking if he wanted to catch lunch or go do things together, and they hadn’t had sex in weeks. But Jimin was determined to make it right and he assured Minseok that it would get better. He worked with couples daily, surely he could save his own relationship?

 

So, Jimin knew Minseok would likely be pissed as he arrived outside their duplex and shut off the ignition of his Mini Cooper. Tonight was the Date Night they had scheduled right after the epic fight that had consumed much of the past month and the other made Jimin swear he’d keep his day cleared. The younger couldn’t help that a crisis came up, and he had fought to get it resolved so he wouldn’t be running too behind. Currently 7pm, Jimin was supposed to be home three hours ago, having sent a flurry of texts to his boyfriend letting him know what was happening. His mind was frazzled and expression visibly flustered as he hurriedly bounded up the steps to jam his keys in the lock of the front door. Nudging it open with his shoulder, he kneeled down to pick up the mail on the doormat - shuffling it without lifting his gaze. The male moved around the hallway, dropping his messenger bag and heading in to their kitchen for a glass of water as he called out to his boyfriend. "Babe! I’m so damn sorry, a client had a crisis and I was the only one in the office still to take the call and-" words catching in his throat, Jimin had finally looked around and noticed Minseok’s house keys sitting on the marble counter of the bar with a folded note. Fingers shaking, Jimin set the mail down and reached for the piece of paper. Opening it hesitantly, he felt a hot tear roll down his cheek before landing on the white page - the words "I can’t do this anymore," smearing from the ink getting wet. Sinking to the floor, his trembling hands clutched it tight to his chest and Jimin could swear he heard his heart shatter in to a million pieces as he curled in to a ball on the hardwood, choked cries sounding in the emptiness of now only his home between whispers of "Don’t leave me."

 

It was three days before Jin found himself pounding on the door to Jimin’s duplex. All reception had told him was that the the younger called in ill and had cleared his schedule for the remainder of the week. The man decided he was fed up with his best friend ignoring the countless calls and frantic texts he’d sent, so he drove over since he didn’t have any afternoon appointments - wearing a determined scowl with takeout in the passenger seat as he pulled up to Jimin’s place. "Park Jimin! If you don’t open this door, so help me-" Jin’s voice bordered on shrill and he readied his fist to bang again, the bag of takeout on the ground by his feet, instead inhaling in shock when the door finally creaked open. There stood a shell of what was once his colleague, the person he’d known for almost ten years and opened a practice with. Eyes red-rimmed and face puffy, Jimin looked as if he hadn’t bathed in days, normally bright complexion now dull and expression sullen while his blonde hair was in disarray. "Oh sweetheart, come to hyung..." Jin opened his arms and felt the younger collapse in to them, both men kneeling to the ground as Jimin finally felt himself break completely. The taller male held him close, whispering soothing words and rubbing his hands gently along Jimin’s back, feeling his own tears begin to well at how anguished the other sounded. All he could make out between broken sobs were "Minseok" and "Gone" but that was all he needed for it to click, Jin understanding that the man in question was not around. Peering in past where they were huddled, he indeed noticed that Minseok’s shoes were no longer in the hallway and his heart ached for his best friend. In his head, he replayed how only just the week before, Jimin had described his plans to propose to the other after their Date Night (the ring had been so beautiful that the elder briefly pondered snatching it). It was with that thought, Jin found himself beginning to cry as well.

 


 

Now . . .

Jimin should have known better than to think Jin would have anything substantial to offer in terms of his attraction to Kim Taehyung. The elder immediately suggested a blind date while they were out for drinks, listing every ex of his that he believed was a match for Jimin. The younger listened with growing agitation, finally snapping at his best friend after the tenth name. "Hyung, if it’s all the same to you, I’d rather not date someone you’ve been with. My self-esteem can only handle so much-" he huffed before taking a small sip of his cocktail, chuckling to himself when he heard Jin mutter "Aish, so sensitive." The elder had taken an amusingly extra swig of his soju, Namjoon eyeing him cautiously as he cleared his own throat. "Jimin, I think what my tactless boyfriend here is trying to say is that maybe you just need to try dating again - in general - and these feelings about your client are simply a projection of that need." A slurred agreement from Jin resulted in the psychiatrist sending one of his dimpled smiles at the elder, fondness in his eyes even as he subtly moved Jin’s drink away from him. Jimin felt his own smile forming at the sight of the two lovebirds, his best friend still as stunning as ever even with his glassy eyes and flushed cheeks while Namjoon looked down at him as if the elder were the only thing in existence. Jimin sighed and finished the remainder of his mojito, emptying the glass then turning to the pair. "Alright hyung, set me up, but please not someone you slept with. I don’t thing my ego could handle being compared to a sex therapist."

 

It was the Saturday after he’d first met Kim Taehyung, and Jimin found himself seated at one of the nicest Italian restaurants he’d ever been in waiting for an ex of Jin’s that the elder was adamant would make the younger swoon. Thanking the server when she refilled his water, Jimin read over the menu again when he heard someone cough, eyes immediately shooting up to see a man who looked as if he’d just stepped out of a magazine. "Park Jimin? I’m Kwon Hanbin, pleasure to meet you." The blonde was at a loss, forgetting his manners and hating that Jin hadn’t told him he was setting the boy up with an actual God. "Uh-" the male felt his cheeks warm with embarrassment and he stood up with a speed that almost sent their table flying over, sheepishly reaching out his hand. "Yeah! Yes! I’m Park Jimin.." Smiling, Hanbin shook Jimin’s hand and took his seat across from him, seeming to take stock of the other. Jimin himself did a quick check and he thought the male was incredibly attractive - toned but not overtly muscular, ash locks that fell just over his baby blue eyes (most likely contacts), defined cheekbones with a sculpted jaw, and he was dressed in designer labels. Jimin felt self-conscious, dressed himself in heeled boots and black jeans with a powder blue silk blouse partially tucked in while a black bomber jacket was resting on the back of his chair. He’d styled his blonde hair in to loose waves and was wearing a bit of shadow with kohl on the bottom of his eyelids, a light tint of peach lip balm finishing it off. "So, how do you know Jinnie?" Hanbin asked with that sugary-sweet voice hiding the underlying affectionate tone, yanking the other out of his self-critique and making Jimin’s shoulders drop as he watched his date scrutinize the wine list. It was going to be a long night, he could already tell.

 

The date had gone decent, if you disregard the fact that Hanbin had spent all of it singing the praises of Kim Seokjin and all the times he’d tried to talk his "sex on legs" ex-boyfriend to ditch listening to other people’s issues in order to come model with him. Jimin had even hoped multiple times throughout the evening he’d receive a crisis call, nodding along and offering indications that he was paying attention for the most part but really figuring out how to kick his hyung’s ass on Monday. He had no idea why Jin thought this guy would be a perfect match for him, especially after he told the server she’d look prettier if she actually spent time on her hair and then handed over a business card. It was a dreadful two hours that ended with Hanbin asking if Jimin wanted to come over and look at portfolio shots. It took all of Jimin’s training to politely decline, explaining he had to be up early the next day as he was going out of town. Honbin looked dejected and for a moment, the blonde felt bad but that quickly disappeared when his date mentioned something about having wanted to "Netflix and Chill." His jacket in one hand and car keys in the other, Jimin thanked him for dinner and promptly turned around to speed walk where he was parked, regretting agreeing to Jin’s plan in the first place. Driving home, Jimin tapped his fingers on the steering wheel while his Spotify played over Bluetooth, trying to convince himself that he’d be fine and he shouldn’t be this worked over someone he’s literally met one time. "Get a fucking grip, Park. You’re a professional, he’s a client. He’s cute, that’s all."

 

That was what he kept telling himself, all of Sunday and Monday, even when he went over the date with Jin and the elder profusely apologized because he hadn’t meant to set Jimin up with "that ex!" He was fine, and he felt ready for his individual session with Kim Taehyung - confident he was over the brief crush, until Tuesday came and said male was seated across from him in his office with tears streaming down his face.

Chapter Text

Taehyung

 

It had never crossed his mind, that Eunha could get worse than she already was. How awful can someone truly be, surely there is a limit? Taehyung knew his girlfriend wasn’t the best person, but deep down - he hoped that there was still a chance for her, some good in the shell of human being she was. Which is why when she reminded him of the dinner party her parents were throwing that weekend after their first therapy session, the male blanched because he’d completely forgotten. Taehyung was getting ready to head to a party that Yoongi and Hoseok were throwing to celebrate the release of his hyung’s new album, the younger excited to spend time with his friends as he rarely ever got to with the schedule Eunha kept him on. His teal locks sitting atop his head in fluffy curls, Taehyung had done his makeup so that his eyes were lined and a hint of gloss made his peach lips shine - dark brown dusting his lids and accentuating his piercing stare. His clothing was simple yet screamed sex appeal, a black fitted tee under a distressed denim jacket and black leather pants hugging his hips, finished off with a pair of his favorite combat boots. It was enchanting, how Taehyung’s features contrasted so well with his attire, further emphasizing the enigma that was the painter. The male was adjusting his belt when Eunha came in to the bedroom, scowl evident when she took in his appearance.

 

"I know that is not what your ass is planning to wear to the dinner party..." her voice was controlled, making it even more frightening the hint of danger behind her tone while her sharp eyes focused on Taehyung’s as she waited for his response. Sitting on the bed, he looked up at her confused before it clicked with him what she meant and panic began to settle in his stomach. "Eunha, I’m so sorry - really! But tonight is Yoongi hyung’s release party and I want to be there for him. Please, I swear I will make it up to you?" Taehyung’s voice was practically shaking after the last words, terrified of angering Eunha and what he’d have to do for this to be forgiven. To most, it was a simple dinner party, meaningless even as high society was always throwing them. However, to the Choi family, this was a matter of appearance. An opportunity to show off the crown jewel of their empire - Eunha and her eventual fiancé. Slinking over to the mirror, Eunha straightened her evening gown and pushed a stray hair back in to her regal updo before turning around, seeming to calculate something in her head. Taehyung thought he was going to faint, wondering when he grew so afraid of someone he was supposed to be in love with. He prepared himself for the onslaught of verbal abuse he knew she was going to begin screaming at him, taking a deep breath though his palms were beginning to sweat.

 

The sound echoed in the silence of their bedroom, and Taehyung thought he’d imagined it for a minute. But once the shock wore off, he realized it really had happened. His face was on fire, pain radiating through his jaw and up to his eye, tears already having formed from the sheer force with which he was hit. Blinking rapidly, Taehyung reached his hand up to cup his cheek and winced - a visible bruise already beginning to blossom where Eunha had struck. "What ... the fuck ..." he choked on the question, every nerve in his face throbbing and he thought he was going to throw up. His girlfriend, the woman he had spent years with and would marry one day, had actually struck him. "You can make it up to me by getting dressed and meeting me outside in ten minutes. Are we clear?" She looked as if she was speaking to one of the housekeepers, picking at her manicure and blank expression on her face as if she hadn’t just slapped Taehyung. Turning without so much as another glance, she walked out of the bedroom and down the hall, the sound of the front door closing soon after. Sitting in stunned silence, Taehyung let himself cry as he dropped his face in his hands, unsure of what just happened or what to do. He was never known for being violent, hating even to raise his voice and grew up in a home where conflict was resolved through respectful discussion. He’d never seen his parents yell at or lift a finger to one another, which was how he was - Taehyung either talked it out with someone when there was an issue or gave himself space until he was ready. Never did he dream that he’d be at the receiving end of anything like this, not him, not ever.

 


 

"W-What-" the blonde stuttered, clearing his throat before continuing. "Taehyung, what did you do after?" Jimin asked the shaking male, tears staining his cheeks when wide eyes finally looked back up. Taehyung was sitting in therapy, across from one Dr. Park Jimin for his individual session and trembling as if Eunha was still seated next to him. He’d just finished recounting the incident, his skin visibly bruised even under the layers of makeup he’d put on to conceal it. "I covered it and went to the dinner party. I texted hyung and told him I wasn’t feeling well, which he said he’d understood. I hated lying but ... it was the right choice." The younger caught the flash of sadness on the other’s face before it was gone, and he hated that he’d made his own therapist upset. He felt truly worthless, everything Eunha tells him daily, clearly right and it made him hate himself even more. None of this would have happened had he not realized he was gay, he could still pretend he loved his girlfriend and do everything her parents wanted and live his life blissfully ignorant of the potential happiness he was now craving. Eunha was right to hit him, maybe if she did it enough - he’d finally learn his place. Taehyung could hear the scribble of the other’s pen on his notepad, probably writing what a lost cause he was, and he felt his throat tightening at the thought that the elder had any negative thoughts about him.

 

Sniffling, Taehyung curled in on himself some more, not containing the surprised noise he let out when his therapist came over to sit next to him on the sofa. Handing him a box of tissues, Jimin waited for the male to clean up and offered a comforting smile as he did. There was something about him, Taehyung couldn’t quite place - but the man always made him feel warm and as if the sun was in the room with them. It was nice, a presence unlike any Taehyung had known before. Tossing the used Kleenex in the bin, he turned to look at the other with his own weak smile. "Tell me about your family, Taehyung. You speak frequently of Eunha’s but never of yours." Jimin had spoken softly, as if coaxing a small child, eyes curious but completely void of anything other than sincerity. For the first time, a genuine light seemed to fill Taehyung’s expression and the male was almost a completely different person as he began to describe his parents. "My mom was lovely, what I think people mean when they say someone is pure of heart! She was beautiful, inside and out, always with a kind word and warm meal. She bought me my first set of paints and would sit in the garden reading while I tried to recreate her favorite flowers! And my dad was amazing, he was such a funny guy and would bring home books about different artists or really anything related to art that he thought I’d like when he traveled for business. He would tell all of his friends that one day my work was going to fill museums and that his son would be who they taught about in schools along the greats like Picasso and Van Gogh!" Taehyung didn’t stop for air, excitement clear in his voice as he continued telling Jimin all about his parents and how much he loved them. It was only when he paused to take a sip of water that the therapist noticed something.

 

"Taehyung, you speak of your parents in a past tense. Do you mind sharing where they are now?" the elder asked as gently as possible, not wanting to upset Taehyung again after how much happier he appeared to be. "They passed away a few years ago, some drunk ran a red light when they were coming home from dinner and hit their car head on." Sighing, Taehyung stood up and walked over to the window in Jimin’s office - it faced a courtyard and the park wasn’t too far off in the distance. It was peaceful, calm even, and he stared for a moment at the trees shifting in the breeze as Jimin gave him space. "It was my fault, really. I told them to go out, they’d both been working so hard to cover the funds for my tuition at Art School, I pushed them because they deserved a night for themselves. They invited me too but I said it was their time, and I went to the movies with my hyung’s instead. When I got the call ... I passed out in the theatre lobby. Hobi hyung says he’ll never forget the scream I let out or how pale I was-" Taehyung’s voice cracked and he stepped away from the window, sitting back down next to Jimin with a distant expression and glassy eyes. "Taehyung, I can’t force you to report Eunha or to leave her, you have to make that decision for yourself. But you do not deserve this. Your parents sound like wonderful people and if they were here, don’t you think they’d agree?" Taehyung watched as the smaller male stood up and walked over to his desk, grabbing something out of his drawer and returning to the sofa. Handing it over, Taehyung examined it and realized it was one of those cheap prepaid phones that could only call or text. Confused, he went to ask what it was for but was silenced by Jimin. "I give these to my clients most in need, I have one as well. My number is the only one programmed in to yours and it’s for emergencies. If something happens again ... anything ... do not hesitate to contact me and I will get you help."

 

Taehyung sat in the back of the town car that retrieved him from therapy, replaying the last words Jimin said to him as they parted outside the elder’s office - "You are always safe here, with me." Turning the phone over in his hands, Taehyung felt calm, knowing that the therapist meant every word.

Chapter Text

Hey guys - not a chapter but just an update and apology! I’ve been slammed with work as well as sick with the flu and so I am extremely sorry there hasn’t been an update, but Wednesday and Thursday are clear of anything so expect not one - not two - BUT THREE NEW CHAPTERS! WOOHOO! One is also Halloween-centered so :)

Thank you for sticking with me so far and enjoying the story, I have so much planned for our boys. As always — you are welcome to come chat with me on Twitter and share your thoughts or scream at me about Eunha!

Twitter —> @GotJimJams

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