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Just Pancakes and You

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Taehyung wakes up to the sweet smell of pancakes, stretching and squinting disapprovingly at the sunlight streaming in through the window. His roommate must have opened the curtains when he woke up. He grumbles inaudibly and climbs out of bed, following the buttery sweet scent.

"You're finally up," Seokjin greets him brightly while flipping pancakes on the stove.

"Can't you just leave the curtains drawn?" Taehyung mutters, running a hand through his messy bed hair. He sits down at one of the bar stools at the kitchen counter.

"And leave you to sleep for the rest of the day? Of course not," Seokjin says, scooping up the pancakes and stacking them on a large serving plate. "You're supposed to accompany me for shopping today anyway." He pauses and narrows his eyes at Taehyung. "Did you forget about it?"

Taehyung holds his hands up in front of him in surrender. "I remember, I really do. For your brother's birthday present right?" He has it noted down on his phone calendar, which is what he usually does for outings with Seokjin.

Seokjin breaks into a smile as he hands a plate over to Taehyung. "You remembered."

"Of course," Taehyung takes a pancake and drizzles some maple syrup on it. "What's the special occasion?" He grins knowingly and points at the fluffy pancake stack with his fork. They usually had rice or toast for breakfast, but Taehyung loves pancakes. In fact, once in a while, he pesters Seokjin to make them for him, since Seokjin makes the best pancakes. It has been quite a while since he last made them though, probably because he has been busy with work.

"Haven't you been whining about having pancakes since like weeks ago? I woke up early today so I thought I would put a stop to that incessant noise." Seokjin shrugs nonchalantly.

"I absolutely did not whine," Taehyung protests. "I merely submitted a proposal for you to make pancakes for breakfast."

"Right," Seokjin shakes his head with a laugh. He looks on as Taehyung takes a big bite of his pancake. "How is it?"

"What do you mean? You cook better pancakes than anyone I know. You cook best, period." Taehyung nods in approval, mouth full of pancake, and Seokjin looks pleased, ears turning a faint shade of red at the compliment. Taehyung turns to look in the direction of the room next to his and Seokjin's. "Where's Namjoon and Hoseok?"

"Still in bed," Seokjin crinkles his nose slightly and Taehyung smiles at how cute he looks. "You slept like a log last night but I swear I almost went over to ask them to shut up. Must be mating season."

Taehyung snorts into his pancake. Namjoon and Hoseok are lovers as well as roommates living in the same apartment as them, and this fact equates to Seokjin and Taehyung being woken up by certain sounds of love at night. "Thank God I was totally knocked out. All of that overtime helps." Taehyung is part of the marketing team at a video game company, and he has been working overtime due to an upcoming game release.

"At this rate I'm going to turn into a panda," Seokjin sighs dramatically. "Thankfully I have no more shoots this week." Seokjin's main job is modelling, but he also works part-time as a barista at a cafe a couple of blocks down whenever he is available. He stuffs a chunk of pancake into his mouth and Taehyung watches it move to his cheeks, ballooning them. It reminds him of a hamster. A very handsome one.

When they're done, Taehyung washes the dishes while Seokjin tells him about a customer who has been dropping by the cafe for coffee almost daily, trying to hit on him. Taehyung just listens and nods. He always feels kind of detached whenever Seokjin mentions his boyfriends or love interests, but has been brushing it off since forever. He reckons it's just him being worried about Seokjin--the guys Seokjin has been with so far are legit assholes. On the other hand, he hardly talks to Seokjin about his boyfriends, even though they should really count as flings instead. Taehyung doesn't exactly see the need for a boyfriend; he spends most of his free time with Seokjin anyway.

They set aside the remaining pancakes for Namjoon and Hoseok and get ready to head out.

 

***

 

Taehyung likes hanging out with Seokjin. It's something he looks forward to after a week of overtime work, something that he enjoys even though they started living together since last year, and something that he hasn't gotten bored of even after six years of friendship, which is saying something, because Taehyung is extremely fickle and gets tired of things fast. One time he wanted to learn the piano after listening to Yiruma and his parents got him one, but he barely touched it after mastering Canon in D in two weeks. Another time he joined the art club at school because he was interested after looking at Van Gogh's works, but quit within a week after he got sick of painting. The same theory applies to all of his past relationships, which have never lasted beyond six months. Having just ended one last month, Taehyung is currently relishing his single lifestyle until he gets sick of it, which he guesses will take two months at the most.

At this point, he is aware that the only two things that have captured his interest for the longest are pancakes and Seokjin. He does have other friends like Jimin, Namjoon and Hoseok, but it just doesn't feel the same. There's something about Seokjin that reels him in. Sometimes, he gets amazed thinking about it and trying to find a reason, but it's still a mystery.

"How about this?" Seokjin is pointing at a silver chain bracelet with a lock pendant. They are in a jewelry store, deciding what to get Seokjin's brother.

"Looks fine to me," Taehyung nods, but he is distracted by a thinner, dainty-looking bracelet at the corner of the display with a whale fluke pendant. It reminds him of Seokjin, who loves whales. He takes note of it mentally. A potential gift for his birthday. Or something.

Seokjin is tugging on his arm. "What about this--"

"Good to see you again, Jin."

Taehyung lifts up his head at the unpleasantly familiar voice--Lee Seungwoo. Seokjin's ex and also the HR manager at his modelling agency. They had gotten together a year ago and had just broken up nearly two months back. Taehyung had almost popped a bottle of champagne when he heard the news, because Seungwoo had cheated on Seokjin at least twice. He should count his blessings that Taehyung is not shoving punches onto his face right now.

"What are you doing here?" Seokjin frowns.

Seungwoo laughs airily, and while Taehyung has to agree that he is good-looking, he still wants to punch his nose in. "Just browsing," he pauses and looks at Taehyung with a smirk. "Oh, hi, Taehyung. Still hanging around Jin like a little puppy?"

Taehyung clenches his fists at his sides. Puppy, huh?

"Seungwoo--" Seokjin starts to say but Taehyung cuts him off.

"Of course," Taehyung tells him, smiling with such confidence that makes Seokjin turn to glance at him suspiciously. "Why wouldn't I be around my boyfriend?"

He can feel Seokjin become stiff next to him, but he goes ahead to hold Seokjin's hand, interlacing their fingers. From the corner of his eye, he can see that Seokjin is looking quite shocked, but he doesn't back down.

"You two are together?" Seungwoo arches an eyebrow doubtfully. His eyes are darting between Taehyung and Seokjin.

"I decided not to let my Jinnie date anymore assholes," Taehyung turns to smile sweetly at Seokjin, who is attempting but failing to hide his confusion, mouth opening and closing without saying anything. He looks so adorable that Taehyung can't even fault him.

Seungwoo narrows his eyes, considering them for a while. "How wonderful," he smiles, but it does not reach his eyes. He walks towards the store’s exit. "I guess I'll be seeing you very soon again."

Taehyung is about to tell him that it'll be in his dreams when Seokjin's fingers suddenly tighten around his grip. He settles for an obviously fake smile instead.

After Seungwoo is out of sight, Seokjin spins to him, evidently in disbelief at what had just ensued. Their hands are still interlaced.

"Why did you lie?"

"I..." Taehyung can't seem to find the words to explain himself. He tries to dismiss it casually. "Didn't you see that asshole's face? I'm just giving him what he deserves."

"I don't know," Seokjin considers him for a moment. "I'm just not sure if that will come back to bite us in the ass."

Taehyung frowns. "Why would that happen?"

Seokjin throws him an apologetic look. "I actually have a company dinner this weekend."

"Oh." Taehyung blinks in realization. That's why Seungwoo told him that he'll be seeing him very soon. He's expecting Seokjin to bring Taehyung along.

"It's totally fine, Tae," Seokjin says quickly. "You don't have to come, I'll just say that you have--"

"I'll go." Even Taehyung is surprised at his own readiness, and Seokjin's face reflects the same. Well, he just wants to make sure that Seungwoo doesn't harass Seokjin.

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah," Taehyung shrugs, hand still holding onto Seokjin's. It's warm and he doesn't want to let go yet. It should be fine to hold on to it for a while longer. "It's just dinner. How hard can it be?"

 

***

 

The night of the company dinner, they arrive in Taehyung's car, slightly late, because Seokjin couldn't decide what to wear. He ended up in a teal blue silk shirt paired with ripped black jeans, while Taehyung had gone with a classic all black look--a sleek black button-down shirt and fitting black trousers.

"That's a lot of people," Taehyung half-whispers as they step into the function room that is buzzing with people. The room is ridiculously huge, with carpeted flooring, a grandiose stage at the front, a uselessly high ceiling and dangling chandeliers. "Fancy."

"They did not say anything about the dress code being formal. I shouldn't have worn these jeans," Seokjin mutters, and Taehyung shoots a quick glance at one of the large rips on Seokjin's right thigh.

"You look good," Taehyung assures him. He spots someone in a feathered hat walking past them. "These people are just seriously overdressed."

"Probably trying to make an impression," Seokjin nods knowingly as they reach their designated round table. Taehyung has to hide a scowl when he sees Seungwoo seated at the same table, this time with another young guy by his side, probably a rookie model, both dressed in tailored suits.

"You made it," Seungwoo greets them, tone patronizing. "You look..." His wolf-like eyes are scanning Seokjin from top to toe. "Good."

Taehyung has to grit his teeth to stop himself from flaring up. "Great to see you again," he declares in an overly enthusiastic manner, while Seokjin just gives a curt smile as they settle down in their seats.

The food is served soon after, saving them the trouble of staring awkwardly at each other. Taehyung soon gets acquainted with one of Seokjin's colleagues, Jinyoung, who is seated next to him. They end up talking animatedly about one of the games from Taehyung's company, not paying attention to the ongoing lottery event on stage.

"I'm going to the washroom," Seokjin leans over to Taehyung and whispers, the tip of his nose accidentally brushing against Taehyung's ear. Taehyung nods briefly, still engaged in conversation with Jinyoung. Then, from the corner of his eye, Taehyung sees Seungwoo getting up from his seat, and an odd feeling settles in his gut. He shifts uncomfortably in his seat and debates internally for maybe five minutes or so, until he can't stand it anymore and puts on his sweetest apologetic smile and tells Jinyoung that he needs to head to the washroom. He's quite certain that Seungwoo is not up to anything good.

When he reaches the secluded short corridor outside of the function room, he sees Seokjin and Seungwoo standing at the other end of it, near the washrooms. He listens in on their conversation as he walks towards them quietly, neither of them spotting him yet.

"--don't understand."

"You don't have to lie, Jin. Both you and I know that you are not really with Taehyung."

"He… He's my boyfriend now. It doesn't matter whether you believe it or not."

"I've been thinking of you a lot," Seungwoo steps closer to Seokjin, voice now low. "You don't need to pretend to be with that puppy to make me jealous."

"You're being really ridiculous right now," Seokjin shakes his head, brows furrowed. "You think I still care about you?"

Seungwoo smirks, hand reaching out to hold Seokjin's chin. "You look so pretty even when you're angry. Don't you miss me? Those nights--"

"I don't miss you at all," Seokjin cuts him off and swats his hand away. "I told you I'm with Taehyung now."

As soon as Seokjin finishes his sentence, they notice Taehyung, who pulls a startled Seokjin backwards right away, making him stand behind him. He narrows his eyes at Seungwoo. "If I didn't already tell you to fuck off, fuck off."

Seungwoo's smirk is wiped off his face, and he is now glowering at Taehyung. "There's no way I'm going to believe you two are together. Believe me, I will get Jin again."

Taehyung bristles at his words, anger boiling in him. How dare he try to claim Seokjin? Seokjin is… Okay, Seokjin isn't really Taehyung's but since they're pretending and they need to convince this asshole, Seokjin is his for now. "Watch."

Without thinking twice, Taehyung reaches his hand to the back of Seokjin's head and draws him in to press their lips together. Seokjin immediately freezes under his touch, but Taehyung wastes no time in deepening the kiss, using his tongue urgently, and somehow, Seokjin reciprocates, parting his lips and kissing him back shortly after. He can taste the cocktail that Seokjin just had--it's sweet and makes him yearn for more. More of those lips. More of that tongue. More of Seokjin. Only when he has thoroughly savoured the addictive taste of the cocktail in Seokjin's mouth does he pull away, breathless. An equally breathless Seokjin is blinking back at him, eyes slightly dazed, cheeks tinted pink, lips plump and red, and realization sinks into Taehyung.

He likes Seokjin. More than a friend.

 

***

 

They are silent inside the car as Taehyung drives them back home. Seokjin is looking outside the window, and Taehyung is keeping his eyes on the road, fingers gripping the steering wheel tightly. He doesn't even dare to put on any music.

Taehyung decides that he should first apologize. "Sorry about earlier. I… Umm..."

"It's fine," Seokjin replies simply, not moving his gaze. "He was pushing it."

"Yeah, did you see his face?" Taehyung asks, trying to lighten up the conversation with a small chuckle. "He looked like he was half-pissed and half-turned on. Disgusting."

Seokjin laughs at the window, but it is subdued as compared to his usual high-pitched, bubbly ones.

Silence fills the car again and Taehyung swallows, wondering if Seokjin is upset at him for forcing the kiss on him. He should be angry, of course. Who would spring a kiss on a friend like that? Taehyung is about to apologize again, but Seokjin breaks the silence this time.

"You're a good kisser, though." He says it so softly, like he's talking to himself, and Taehyung almost thinks that he misheard it. He risks a glance over at Seokjin to seek confirmation, but Seokjin is still looking out of the window.

"I am?" His voice breaks and he clears his throat to hide his embarrassment. "I mean, yeah, of course I am."

Seokjin lets out a tiny snort. "Show-off."

Taehyung turns to grin at the back of Seokjin's head. "My ex-boyfriends did say that I have a wicked tongue."

The moment the words come out his mouth, Taehyung cringes. Fuck, what is he saying? He wants to slap himself.

There is a short pause before Seokjin responds, with the same subdued laughter, eyes never leaving the passing scenery outside. "Can't argue with that."

 

***

 

Over the next few days, Taehyung tasks himself to sort out his feelings. He doesn't get far though, because his mind automatically shuts off each time he reaches the thought of losing Seokjin as a friend if he confesses and gets rejected. So he opts to work even longer hours at the office in hopes of occupying his mind with work and conveniently putting off the need to face the problem, and also because the probability of Seokjin being asleep when he reaches home late is higher.

For some reason, his strategy seems to be working. He hasn't actually spoken to Seokjin much since the kiss--he either sees Seokjin asleep in bed at night or heading out when he wakes up in the morning. The longest conversation they had was when Taehyung stepped out of their room to see Seokjin rushing out of the door at seven in the morning on Wednesday with "I made pancakes!", which doesn't really count as an actual conversation since Taehyung's sleepy response of "thanks" was to the closed door.

But when he comes home earlier than expected on a Friday night due to a cancelled company dinner and sees Seokjin in bed at eight, he has a sudden dreadful thought that Seokjin could be avoiding him too. He must be feeling awkward about the kiss, Taehyung thinks. He kind of regrets kissing Seokjin and getting into this messy situation, but the vivid memory of those soft lips makes his heart pound in his chest and he tells himself that he has to be crazy to regret it.

He switches on the small star-shaped night light by his own bed (it's a set with Seokjin's crescent moon-shaped one), puts his bag down and shrugs out of his coat, careful not to wake up Seokjin, who is a light sleeper. He is about to tiptoe out of the room when Seokjin lets out a feeble cough. Sensing something wrong, he walks over to Seokjin's bed and bends down to look at him. Seokjin is curled up in his blanket, eyebrows drawn, lips pale, with droplets of sweat on his forehead.

"Jin?" Taehyung pats the top of the blanket lightly, frowning. When he doesn't get a response, he puts a hand on Seokjin's forehead instinctively. It's hot to the touch. "Fuck, you're burning up."

"Taehyung?" Seokjin opens his eyes a little, sounding weak. He curls into the blanket even more. "It's cold."

"You're running a fever," Taehyung tells him, panicking inside.

"I... took some medicine," Seokjin mumbles, eyes fluttering back shut.

"Okay, good," Taehyung replies, but he's feeling anything but good. He rushes out to Namjoon and Hoseok's room, but they're not at home yet. "Fuck." He pulls off his tie and unbuttons the top of his white shirt anxiously. What did his mom always do when he had a fever? Cold compress. Right. He dashes to the kitchen, grabs a large serving bowl from the dishrack and fills it with tap water. When it's almost full, he carries it to the room, trying his best not to spill it on the way. After he places it on the side table next to Seokjin's bed, he quickly digs into his wardrobe for a small towel and starts to sponge Seokjin's forehead and neck carefully.

Because Seokjin hardly ever falls sick, Taehyung finds himself being overwhelmed with worry just looking at his pale sleeping face. Even during the rare blue moon when he does get sick, it's usually just a very minor cough or cold. It's the first time Taehyung is seeing him in such a vulnerable state.

He reaches over to peel the blanket off Seokjin but is met with weak resistance and whining.

"You'll overheat," Taehyung tells him gently, putting a hand on his arm to soothe him.

Seokjin is now mumbling something incomprehensible, but Taehyung just placates him with repeated "okay"s as he lowers the blanket to Seokjin's stomach so that he is not bundled up too much.

When Seokjin seems to have drifted back to sleep, Taehyung pulls his chair from his work desk over to sit beside the bed, and continues sponging Seokjin's forehead.

He spends the time in between the refreshing of the towel gazing at a sleeping Seokjin, heart slightly heavy at the thought that Seokjin could really have been avoiding him because of the kiss. He resists the urge to run his fingers through Seokjin's hair, deciding that he can't let his selfish feelings ruin their friendship.

 

***

 

When Taehyung wakes up in the morning to an aching back and a stiff neck, he can feel someone ruffling his hair lightly. He blinks his eyes open and sees Seokjin looking at him with a small smile on his pale lips, still lying in bed. He had fallen asleep at the edge of Seokjin's bed, his upper body bent over on it with his head resting on his arms.

"Good morning," Seokjin greets him, voice soft. He removes his hand from Taehyung's head.

Taehyung lifts himself up to a seated position, groaning like an old man as he does so. "Are you feeling better?" He reaches out to touch Seokjin's forehead. It's no longer hot.

Seokjin nods. He looks so small and delicate, unlike his usual self, that Taehyung just wants to hug him. "Thanks for taking care of me."

"It's nothing," Taehyung manages a grin. Seokjin doesn't have to know that Taehyung almost had a heart attack last night after realizing that he was down with a fever. "It's rare to see you fall sick though. Did you overwork yourself or something?"

Seokjin looks away uneasily and doesn't respond.

"You've been up so early the whole week. I hardly saw you," Taehyung points out, although he knows that he had a part to play as well by trying to avoid Seokjin. It's now clear to Taehyung that they were both avoiding each other, but he still tries to push for an answer, hoping that Seokjin will prove him wrong. "Why are you overworking yourself?"

"I'm not. I'm fine."

"Look at you being all stubborn again," Taehyung sighs, heart aching a little, knowing that Seokjin's uncommitted response affirms his inner thoughts. "If you're going to be like this, I'm going to call the cafe and tell them you're not available for the next two months."

Seokjin sticks out his tongue like a kid. "I'll have to survive on your wallet for the next two months then."

Taehyung can't help but laugh. He would actually allow Seokjin to do that, he thinks. "Rest well today, okay? I'll cook some congee for you."

Seokjin's eyes grow wide and he attempts to sit up in bed. "No it's okay, I can cook for myself--"

Taehyung shakes his head and pushes Seokjin back down onto his pillow disapprovingly. "I promise it will be edible," he pauses and adds, "...I hope."

"Please just don't get Namjoon to help you," Seokjin laughs mildly and coughs.

"I won't," Taehyung reassures him, chuckling. "I'll get some water for you first."

He heads out to the kitchen, where both Namjoon and Hoseok are having toast for breakfast. He tells them about Seokjin being sick as he pours some warm water into Seokjin's mug. Hoseok offers to help with the congee and Taehyung happily accepts.

Despite the pain in his neck and back, Taehyung is in the best mood since the start of this week--nothing beats the feeling of finally being able to talk to Seokjin normally. What matters is that they're no longer avoiding each other. Taehyung can get over his feelings, he's almost sure of it.

 

***

 

The week after, Taehyung's work for the upcoming game release finally comes to a close. He sends a text to their group chat, asking if they want to have a drink and celebrate the (temporary) end of Taehyung's overtime. He drops by the convenience store to get some snacks after he ends work, naturally grabbing a box of Seokjin's favourite chocolate ice-cream bar as well, because Seokjin had complained about Namjoon finishing the last bar in the freezer yesterday.

When he checks his phone on the way home, he sees texts from Namjoon and Hoseok: Namjoon is stuck at the school as one of the teachers in charge for student orientation camp and Hoseok is attending a family dinner tonight in GwangJu. Which means that both of them would not be at home until tomorrow at least. He freezes at the thought in the lift up to their apartment, then dismisses it immediately. Seokjin and him are roommates, and they had even gone for a hanok homestay together a couple of years back. Now is not any different just because he is aware of his own feelings, he tells himself. They are only friends. Everything is fine.

"Just friends," he mutters under his breath and opens the door to the apartment. He gives out a shout as soon as he does, crashing into Seokjin who is back-facing him and distracted by his phone in the midst of removing his shoes at the entrance. Seokjin almost falls forward in surprise, but Taehyung catches him, reflex kicking into action. His hand wraps around Seokjin's waist, pulling him back upright, until his back is pressed to Taehyung's chest. Taehyung hopes that Seokjin can't feel the way his heart is racing right now.

"T-Thanks," Seokjin shifts out of Taehyung's space looking apologetic, and Taehyung retracts his hand. He notices that Seokjin is still in his barista uniform. "I literally just got home a minute before you."

Taehyung glances at his watch. "This late?"

Seokjin pauses, then finishes removing his shoes and walks into the living room. "Yeah."

Taehyung blinks. Is Seokjin being awkward with him again? He thought they were over it after Seokjin's fever incident. His thoughts must have been written all over his face, because Seokjin looks at him and clarifies with a faint smile.

"It's nothing to worry about," he heads towards their room. "We're still drinking, right? Let me go change first."

"Okay," Taehyung steps into the kitchen, relieved, then turns to Seokjin's retreating back. "I got your chocolate ice-cream, by the way."

Seokjin spins to face him at the entrance to their room. "Really?" He is beaming. "Thanks, Taehyung."

Taehyung grins back before tossing the box of ice-cream bars in the freezer.

When Seokjin is back in a loose white t-shirt and a pair of black jogger pants, Taehyung is already sitting on the couch and pouring some red wine he found in the kitchen into their glasses, not bothering to change out of his work attire yet, although he has taken off his tie and unbuttoned the collar of his grey shirt.

"Wine today?" Seokjin notes, plopping himself down next to Taehyung. "I see you're in a fancy mood."

"Maybe," Taehyung leans back into the couch. "I'm just glad this work hurdle is over for now. The past couple of weeks were terrible." The truth is, they weren't exactly terrible because he had kissed Seokjin during that time, but he isn't going to tell Seokjin that.

Seokjin does, however, fall silent, for some reason. He grabs a bag of chips from the table but does not eat any, while Taehyung begins to ramble about work. Only when Taehyung notices that Seokjin is looking tipsy, he realizes that the wine bottle is almost empty.

"Wait," Taehyung drags the wine bottle on the coffee table away from Seokjin. "Did you even have dinner?" He had some light bites at the office just before he left so he's just filling himself with snacks, but now that he has thought about it, it doesn't seem like Seokjin had any time to eat.

Seokjin shakes his head, cheeks a faint shade of pink from the alcohol. Before Taehyung can nag at him for drinking on an empty stomach and feed him some chips, he starts talking.

"I'm sorry for making your week terrible," he mumbles, rubbing at his eyes with the back of his hand with a pout.

Taehyung is momentarily endeared by the action yet confused by his words. "Why are you sorry--"

"Remember the guy who was hitting on me?" Seokjin continues mumbling like he didn't hear Taehyung.

Taehyung gives a small nod, unsure if he would be alright listening about Seokjin's love life since he's no longer clueless about his own feelings for Seokjin.

"He wouldn't leave the cafe until I gave him my number," Seokjin's words are now slurred so Taehyung has to concentrate harder. "So there was a bit of a situation earlier."

"Is that why you reached home late?" Taehyung frowns.

Seokjin nods, resting his head back against the couch, eyes closed. Taehyung diverts his eyes from the smooth skin of Seokjin's exposed neck. "I gave him my number."

"Huh?"

Seokjin turns to look at him, gaze unsteady. "The customer. I… gave him my number."

"Okay. So does that mean that you're interested?" Taehyung asks, trying his best to sound neutral, but he is anything but neutral. He's now in the mood to drink away his sorrows instead of celebrating.

"Doesn't hurt to give it a try."

Taehyung is miserable and annoyed at the same time. Miserable because he doesn't exactly have the right to argue, annoyed because Seokjin is just going for someone who hit on him randomly. What if that person turns out to be another asshole?

"I guess," Seokjin murmurs like he's talking to himself. "I just wanted to move on."

Taehyung takes a huge gulp of wine from his glass. Did Seokjin still have feelings for Seungwoo? It had seemed otherwise from the way he spoke to him during their company dinner. Although he has already decided to keep quiet about his feelings, Taehyung can't help but feel irritated. When he sets his glass back down on the table, he finds Seokjin peering at him. His eyes are hazy and his lips are forming a curious pout.

"Are you angry?"

"I'm not," Taehyung lies, avoiding his eyes.

"You look like you are," Seokjin insists and chews on his lower lip. "Taehyung is angry."

Taehyung bites back a chuckle. Seokjin explodes with cuteness whenever he hits a certain alcohol threshold. "I'm not angry."

Seokjin moves closer to him, blinking slowly at his face, like he's trying to analyze it. "Taehyung is lying."

Taehyung has to slide back further into the couch because Seokjin's face is inching closer to his, making his thoughts run wild. "I'm not," he pushes Seokjin's cheek away with his finger lightly. "And you're too close."

"Seokjin wants to look at Taehyung," he pouts even harder with his full, red lips, cheek stubbornly pushing against Taehyung's finger.

"You'll get cross-eyed looking at me so closely," Taehyung protests feebly, but he is having difficulty himself trying to tear his eyes away from Seokjin, who looks so enchanting with his dreamy gaze, flushed cheeks and lips that are now parted slightly.

Seokjin closes his palm around Taehyung's finger and brings it down from his cheek. Taehyung watches as Seokjin's eyes flicker down to his lips.

"Even if it's terrible," Seokjin mumbles again, edging even closer. "Seokjin wants to kiss Taehyung."

Before Taehyung can react, Seokjin closes the distance between them, pressing his lips to Taehyung's. Startled, Taehyung pushes Seokjin away immediately.

"Y-You're drunk," Taehyung says, throat running dry, trying to ignore the blossoming of hope in his chest. He has to stop Seokjin before Seokjin regrets it later, before they can't even be friends anymore.

"I'm not," Seokjin shoots back softly, and for a moment, it does look like he's sober, except for the fact that his cheeks are pink.

Taehyung is about to fake a laugh and dismiss it when Seokjin leans in to kiss him again. This time, it's cautious and brief, as if Seokjin is afraid that Taehyung will reject him again. When Seokjin pulls away, Taehyung is not sure if he is imagining the woeful longing in his eyes. If it isn't his imagination, does it mean that Seokjin feels the same as him? Taehyung could go with the flow. He could choose their temporary gratification, but he's also juggling the consequence of having their friendship permanently ruined.

Then Seokjin breaks off their eye contact. "Sorry you're right," he starts to shift backwards, and something snaps inside Taehyung. "Sorry, I'm… I'm just drunk--"

Taehyung brings a hand up to cup Seokjin's cheek instinctively, cutting him off, guiding him back to face him, unable to let him move away like this. Maybe he should go with his heart instead of his mind. Maybe he should risk it. Maybe Seokjin feels the same as him. He looks into Seokjin's confused eyes and says in a hushed tone, "I want to kiss you too."

Seokjin blinks, eyes wide as Taehyung pulls him in to let their lips meet gently. So gently, because Taehyung is not yet entirely sure if he should be doing this, and also to give Seokjin the chance to reject him.

But instead of rejecting him, Seokjin's arms are coming up to curl around his neck, closing the distance between them, deepening their kiss. Taehyung finds himself being led by Seokjin, and he tilts his head to take in more of those soft, plump lips tinted with red wine. He allows himself to be absorbed as their pace picks up, temporarily erasing all uncertainty from his mind. When he darts his tongue across Seokjin's lower lip, it acts like a trigger for them both--a muffled moan escapes Seokjin as Taehyung starts to explore his mouth hungrily, hands now sliding underneath his t-shirt, roaming across his abs all the way to his back. Seokjin responds by moving to straddle Taehyung, grinding down on his lap. Taehyung growls into their kiss, desire now overpowering his fears.

He pulls up Seokjin's t-shirt, removes it over his head and throws it down onto the floor, before drawing him back urgently, crashing their lips together once more.

His fingers trace Seokjin's collarbones to the expanse of his shoulders and down to his chest, caressing his nipples, and Seokjin whimpers softly against his lips, contributing to the hardening arousal in Taehyung's pants. Their kisses soon become messy, with Seokjin fumbling with the buttons on Taehyung's shirt while their lips are still connected, and Taehyung trying to help him do so. When they succeed in peeling off Taehyung's shirt, Seokjin breaks the kiss and dives down to nuzzle and nibble at Taehyung's neck and chest.

"Jin," Taehyung rolls his head back, grunting at a particularly hard bite somewhere on his chest, which he is pretty sure will leave a bruise.

Seokjin pauses at the call of his name and lifts his head to glance at Taehyung, gaze now faltering, like he's almost scared. Like he's suddenly on brakes, wondering if he's doing the right thing.

It makes Taehyung hesitate as well, but when he takes in the way Seokjin's dark locks fall in place over his eyebrows, nearly getting into his uncertain blinking eyes, the way his cheeks are perfectly flushed, the way his full lips are swollen and tinged red, and the way his body curves down to a slim waist from his broad shoulders and deep collarbones, Taehyung feels the heat rising inside him. God, how can someone look so, so beautiful? How did he take so long to realize that the right one is next to him all the while? All he knows is that he can't possibly stop now.

He takes Seokjin's chin with his fingers, thumb brushing across his lower lip. "I just want to take you apart so badly." He whispers, watching intently as Seokjin becomes flustered--his eyes grow huge and he turns away, flushing to a deep shade of red. It's intriguing to Taehyung how he has never seen Seokjin like this before. Captivated at the sight, his eyes are now drawn to Seokjin's sharp jawline.

He takes the opportunity to lick across said jawline, tracing a line to Seokjin's earlobe with his tongue, earning a shiver from the other. When he moves to lick into his ear, Seokjin whimpers, squirming in Taehyung's arms. Taehyung then shifts and lets the both of them fall back on the couch gently, with Seokjin on his back and Taehyung hovering above him. He starts planting kisses on Seokjin's neck, taking in the lingering notes of his fig-scented perfume. He bites down and sucks on the skin, marking him, and Seokjin moans, this time with a bit less restraint. Only when Taehyung is satisfied at the blooming marks on the lush skin, he moves downwards, tongue flicking lightly at Seokjin's nipple, teasing.

Seokjin whines, arching his hips up towards Taehyung's needily, making their erections rub against each other under the fabric of their pants.

Taehyung responds by pushing his hips down against Seokjin's, pressing their clothed cocks together. He sucks hard on his nipple, eyes fixed on Seokjin, watching him gasp and throw his head back. When Seokjin looks back down at him, panting, eyes now dark with desire, he pulls Taehyung up for a heated kiss. Taehyung involuntarily lets out a strangled moan when Seokjin's hand lands on the outline of his hard cock, massaging through the fabric.

"You're really asking for it," Taehyung breathes against Seokjin's lips.

Seokjin gives a breathless giggle and moves to slide his thin fingers in, under the waistband of Taehyung's pants and underwear, tapping on his throbbing cock playfully. "I am."

Taehyung gives a low growl in response and moves downwards, causing Seokjin's fingers to slip out of his pants. He tugs at Seokjin's joggers, removing it together with his boxers, leaving him completely naked. He takes in the delicious view, tongue wetting his lips in anticipation before leaning down to lick against the underside of Seokjin's hard cock up to the head slowly, watching it leak pre-cum. Then he takes it in his mouth at one go, catching Seokjin by surprise and eliciting a high-pitched cry from him. Seokjin's fingers thread through his hair and tighten on the strands as he works on taking Seokjin's cock even deeper in his throat. The sounds coming out of Seokjin's mouth are so needy and filthy that Taehyung thinks he could cum just by listening.

"Fuck me," Seokjin pleads, eyes squeezed shut and voice slightly hoarse. "Please."

It's all Taehyung needs to hear before he pulls away from Seokjin's cock and gets up, wiping at his lips with the back of his hand. He bends down to give Seokjin a quick peck on his forehead.

"Wait for me."

He returns with a bottle of lube and a condom from his cupboard in no time. As he steps out of his work pants and underwear, Seokjin looks on, but Taehyung can tell that his eyelids are getting heavy, since Seokjin usually gets knocked out shortly after getting drunk.

After he puts on the condom, he gets back on the couch, coats his fingers with lube and hovers one around Seokjin's hole. He applies a bit of pressure at the opening before inserting the finger slowly, and Seokjin hisses.

"You're so tight," Taehyung murmurs.

He circles around a bit more before he slips in another finger, and Seokjin pushes against him impatiently, making his fingers go deeper. When Seokjin cries out, Taehyung smirks and presses down, knowing that he found Seokjin's prostate.

"Tae--" Seokjin calls out, trembling and putting a hand over his own mouth, muffling his cries. Taehyung reaches over with his spare hand to pull Seokjin's hand away.

"I want to hear you," he tells Seokjin, voice husky and tone demanding. Seokjin nods hesitantly, chest heaving up and down in line with his panting.

When he has loosened up Seokjin enough, Taehyung pulls out his fingers and pushes his cock in gingerly. He doesn't want to force his way in and hurt Seokjin. He keeps his eyes on Seokjin as he works his way in, deeper and deeper, feeling the warmth of Seokjin's ass, until Seokjin whimpers.

"You okay?"

Seokjin nods, eyes shut, and Taehyung gradually starts to rock his hips back and forth. Seokjin mutters something incoherent that Taehyung doesn't catch, so he leans over Seokjin, hands on either side of his head, and asks softly, "You alright?"

"--arder," Seokjin opens his eyes, half-lidded, the effect of alcohol clearly kicking in and making him drowsy. He mumbles again. "Fuck me harder."

Taehyung breaks into a light chuckle, relief washing over him. Maybe he was worried about hurting Seokjin for nothing. "Don't regret it."

He shifts to grip the back of Seokjin's thighs, holding them down firmly, and begins to pick up his pace, pounding into him. Seokjin lets out a loud yelp, taken aback, fingers clutching onto the couch fabric tightly as Taehyung thrusts into him roughly. Once again, the unrestrained, desperate moans from Seokjin gets Taehyung so turned on that he can already feel himself nearing climax.

"Jin, you sound so fucking good," he pants. His hand finds Seokjin's cock, fingers wrapping around it as he strokes and pumps, listening to Seokjin moaning his name in return. "Fuck," he groans thickly. "I'm close."

Taehyung hears Seokjin murmur something that sounds vaguely like a "me too" and he comes right after. Seokjin does too, a few seconds later, all over his own stomach and Taehyung's hand. Taehyung slides out of Seokjin carefully, admiring how he looks like an alluring mess. He resists the urge to kiss him and grabs the packet of wet tissues on the coffee table instead, wiping away the mess on Seokjin's stomach and his own hand. Only when they are both considerably clean and free of cum, does he lie down next to Seokjin and hold him in his arms. Seokjin's eyes are now closed, his breathing slowed, in the midst of drifting to sleep.

Taehyung glances down at the marks on Seokjin's neck and chest, fingertips tracing over them tenderly. He'll let Seokjin sleep for now, although they will probably need to have a proper conversation tomorrow.

He carries Seokjin into their room, princess style, dresses him in his alpaca pajamas before tucking him into bed. Seokjin hardly stirs, evidently knocked out from both alcohol and sex. He plants a chaste kiss on Seokjin's lips, before retreating to his own bed, helplessly hoping that tomorrow will give him the answer he wants to hear.

 

***

 

Taehyung jumps up in his bed the next day, rudely awakened by a very convincing dream of him having sex with Seokjin. He sits there, half-hard, staring into space for a moment, before realizing that it really happened last night. The first thing he does is to look at Seokjin's bed, but it's empty. He heads out of the room, heartbeat quickening.

"Jin?" He calls out hesitantly, but silence fills the apartment.

He shuffles back to sit on his bed, pushing his messy hair out of his eyes. Did Seokjin have work today? He grabs his phone from the side table, contemplating about texting Seokjin when he hears the front door open. He dashes out of the room without thinking and sees Namjoon stepping in, looking like a wreck, probably not having slept a wink last night.

"Hey," Taehyung says. "You look..."

"Like a zombie," Namjoon finishes for him, stepping out of his shoes and throwing his bag down on the floor at the entrance defeatedly. "I know. Those kids and their never-ending energy."

Taehyung chuckles as Namjoon shuffles past him towards the direction of his room.

"I seriously don't know why I chose to be a teacher," Namjoon mutters, shoulders slumped.

"You said you love children and hope to make a difference in their lives," Taehyung reminds him helpfully.

"Right. Absolutely right," Namjoon replies monotonously. "Now, please do not wake me up even if the world is ending."

Taehyung gives him a thumbs-up as Namjoon nods and shuts his room door. Once his conversation with Namjoon ends, Taehyung goes back to thinking about Seokjin. He glances at the time on his phone: it's ten minutes to three in the afternoon. Taking a deep breath, he sends a text to Seokjin, hoping that it sounds casual enough.

 

Are you at the cafe?

 

He paces around the house while waiting, until his phone vibrates in his hand.

 

Yes.

 

Taehyung's heart sinks at the short response, although his question indeed only warranted a yes or no answer. He panics a little. Is Seokjin angry? At him? Because they fucked? Because Taehyung had fucked up? Because Seokjin doesn't actually share his feelings?

He stares at his screen for a while before heading to the bathroom to wash up. He needs to talk to Seokjin. Right now.

 

***

 

Taehyung paces outside the cafe Seokjin is working at, worrying on his lower lip. He has been here since more than an hour ago, and his calves are starting to ache from the non-stop walking. He had made his way here on impulse, and realized that it isn't exactly a good idea to barge into Seokjin's workplace talking about them having sex. Also, he is totally clueless as to what to say to Seokjin, hence the back and forth pacing. He doesn't even know when Seokjin's shift will end, but is hoping that it's not too soon because he's still not prepared.

Just as the thought comes to mind, the cafe door opens and Seokjin steps out in a long-sleeved offwhite turtleneck and jeans, already changed out of his barista uniform. Something clenches in Taehyung's heart as he thinks about how perfect Seokjin looks.

"Hey," Taehyung stops in his tracks and gives him a small, tentative smile.

"Hey," Seokjin echoes, stepping next to him slowly. He avoids Taehyung's eyes. "You were waiting for me?"

"No, I, uh, just reached," Taehyung decides to lie so that Seokjin doesn't have to feel burdened about it.

Seokjin blinks at him, then a laugh escapes from his mouth like a bubble. Taehyung instantly feels like he can breathe better. "You know I can see you from inside right?" He points at the cafe's glass shopfront.

"Oh. Oh. Right." Taehyung kind of wants to hide his face.

Seokjin bites the corner of his lower lip, and Taehyung can't tell if he's feeling uneasy or if he's trying to suppress another laugh. He starts walking back home, so Taehyung follows.

"I, uh, just wanted to talk," Taehyung says after a while. The sun is setting and the sky is fading to a mix of orange and blue. The street leading from the cafe back home is rather quiet despite it being a weekend, and it makes Taehyung feel oddly melancholic. Everything that he had on his mind to tell Seokjin slips away from him and he doesn't know how to bring up the subject.

"The sky's so pretty today," Seokjin glances up at the sky. You're prettier, Taehyung thinks.

"Yeah," he says instead.

Silence fills them as they continue walking down the path. Taehyung is about to force himself to say something when Seokjin speaks first, eyes on the ground, following the movement of his feet.

"You don't need to worry."

Taehyung turns to him, blinking.

"I know we were just both really wasted last night," Seokjin continues quietly. "I'm... I'm sorry for initiating it. You don't need to read much into it. Accidents happen. I just hope we are still friends."

Taehyung's head is spinning as he attempts to grasp the situation. Accidents. Friends. Taehyung had allowed last night to happen based on the assumption that their feelings are mutual. Having Seokjin brush it off like this is worse than what he had imagined. "Last night was an accident?"

Seokjin lifts his head to give Taehyung an acknowledging look, but doesn't say anything else.

"How is it a fucking accident?" Taehyung is in disbelief.

Seokjin knits his eyebrows together, looking apprehensive. He opens his mouth but Taehyung goes on.

"How can it be an accident when I was perfectly sober?"

Seokjin's eyes grow large in response, colour flooding to his cheeks. "...W-What are you saying?"

"I'm saying that it's not an accident and I don't want it to be an accident." Taehyung enunciates firmly. At this point, all he wants is for Seokjin to understand how he feels instead of dismissing them having sex as an accident. He's also hanging onto the hope that Seokjin feels the same, based on his actions last night.

Seokjin appears slightly confused. His eyes flicker from Taehyung to the ground and back to Taehyung again. "I... I thought you were drunk. I thought you were surely regretting it and worrying if I had read too much into it."

Taehyung shakes his head, gaping. "I don't regret it at all, Jin. The only possibility of me regretting it is only if you say that you don't feel the same as I do." Seokjin looks like he is still having difficulty processing the information. Taehyung swallows. It's all or nothing. "If anything, I want to do it again. And again. And again. With you. Only you."

Seokjin blinks rapidly, cheeks turning even redder, a possible indication that he finally understands what Taehyung means. He lowers his gaze back to his feet. "You're crazy," is the only thing he mumbles.

"Yes, I am," Taehyung shouts out, exasperated. Seokjin understands... right? He can't be sure. "I'm crazy for you."

Seokjin looks back up in alarm. "Why are you shouting?" He glances around the street anxiously. There are only a few people near them, but because it's quiet, Taehyung's voice rings through the evening air clearly.

"I said, I'm fucking crazy for you," Taehyung increases his volume on purpose, ignoring Seokjin's protest. He doesn't know how and when he fell so deep into those soft brown eyes, but he knows he can't get out now. He has never felt like this before and he doesn't even care about how he looks like a desperate idiot right now. "Fucking cra--"

Seokjin covers Taehyung's mouth urgently with his hand, looking thoroughly shocked. "There are people around--"

Taehyung pulls down Seokjin's hand and spots a group of girls a short distance away, whispering to each other. "I'm in love with him!" He points to Seokjin. "We just fucked lastmmm--"

Seokjin practically jumps in agitation, bringing both of his hands over Taehyung's mouth, muffling his declaration. "Fuck," he hisses, cheeks still red. "I got it. I got it, Kim Taehyung."

Taehyung nods against his hands, satisfied at Seokjin's acknowledgement for now. Seokjin gives him another warning look before removing his hands and starts pulling him towards the direction of their shared apartment. The group of girls are giggling as Taehyung turns to give them a victory sign, letting Seokjin drag him along.

 

***

 

As soon as they enter the apartment and the front door closes, Taehyung presses Seokjin against the door, claiming his lips with his own. Caught by surprise, Seokjin tries to resist, but Taehyung pins his wrists down firmly against the door, next to each side of his head, and flushes their bodies tight together.

When Seokjin recovers in a beat and kisses him back, Taehyung's heart is so full that he smiles into their kiss. He pulls back slightly, lips hovering near Seokjin's.

"Promise me you'll never say last night was an accident again."

Seokjin's lips curve into a shy smile before they meet Taehyung's again. They kiss until they are out of breath and have to pull away from each other.

"I don't know how I survived six years without realizing," Taehyung breathes heavily. "It was you all along."

Seokjin holds his gaze, eyes filled with wonder. "I don't know how I survived six years, because I actually knew it was you for me all along."

Taehyung almost thinks he's dreaming, melting inside from the cheesiness of it all, but then the sound of whooping and clapping behind them makes them jerk apart to find the source of the noise. Namjoon and Hoseok are cheering them on from the hallway, both looking extremely amused. Namjoon is faking a gagging action in jest.

Fuck, Taehyung thinks. He forgot that they would be home. He glances sideways at Seokjin, who is mirroring his horrified expression.

"Umm," Taehyung begins, running a nervous hand through his hair.

Seokjin lets out a shaky cough. "Were you guys standing there all along?"

Namjoon gives a cheeky grin despite his tired eyes, evidently woken up by Hoseok earlier. "I would say that we had front row seats--ow!" He is cut off by Hoseok elbowing his side.

"I think this calls for a celebration," Hoseok proclaims, grinning so widely that his eyes form crescents and his mouth becomes heart-shaped.

"But--"

"Me and Namjoon will go get some food and drinks," Hoseok tugs at a confused Namjoon, guiding him towards the door. Taehyung and Seokjin move out of the way as Hoseok gently pushes Namjoon out and turns back to them with a wink. "We'll take a while, maybe an hour or so?" Then he shuts the door, leaving Taehyung and Seokjin to stare at each other awkwardly.

"Well, this solves the problem of how to break the news to them," Taehyung laughs weakly, scratching his head.

Seokjin glances at him hesitantly. "You mean..."

Taehyung pulls out a dainty-looking box from his pocket and hands it to Seokjin, who accepts the box, still looking uncertain. "I wanted to give you this if it went well."

"Can I open it?"

Taehyung nods nervously as Seokjin opens the box to reveal a thin silver bracelet with a whale fluke pendant inside.

"It's beautiful," Seokjin looks like he's at a loss for words, just admiring the bracelet.

"I know it's sudden, but I'm just so fucking stupid for letting those six years pass by," Taehyung's heart is pounding so hard, he can hardly hear himself. It's his first time feeling so anxious about someone else. "Will you let me make it up to you? Will you please be my boyfriend?"

Seokjin's eyes are shining. "Can you put this on for me?"

"Is that a yes?"

Seokjin lets out a high-pitched laugh and leans forward to hug him tightly. He mumbles into Taehyung's shoulder, "I'll be fucking stupid to say no."

They laugh. They kiss again. They cuddle on the couch, talking about how silly they had been, until Namjoon and Hoseok return with too much food and drinks.

 

***

 

The next morning, Taehyung wakes up to the sweet, inviting smell of pancakes. The curtains are opened for the sunlight to hit him in the face as usual, but this time, he's on Seokjin's bed, in one of Seokjin's baggy t-shirts. Just as he is about to pinch himself in case it's a dream, Seokjin walks into the room, wearing Taehyung's brown sweater, and bends down to kiss him on the lips.

"Good morning."

Taehyung just smiles and pulls him back down for another kiss, deeper this time.

It's not a dream, Taehyung thinks. With Seokjin and pancakes, he's pretty sure that he's the luckiest guy in the world right now.