“Okay so, are you in college?”
Taehyung is charming. He’s been told that he’s charming since he was old enough to talk, and while charm in and of itself is kind of worthless, he’s also sincere, and that’s gotten Taehyung pretty far in life.
It’s a little harder to charm the person holding you hostage, but Taehyung doesn’t have anything better to do.
The other boy, probably a year or two younger than Taehyung, looks at him incredulously. “Are you serious?” He’s wearing a white mask and a beanie pulled low on his forehead, so Taehyung can’t really see his exact facial expression but he’s pretty sure it’s judgemental.
“What?” Taehyung frowns. There’s not a lot to do here except stare at the walls and count the stains on the ugly green couch nestled in the corner. He’s going to die of boredom, and doesn’t that defeat the purpose of holding someone hostage? “Can’t a guy ask a simple question?”
“You’re handcuffed to a radiator.”
Taehyung scoffs. “I don’t see why that should mean anything.”
The boy looks at him, unimpressed. “I am literally helping a supervillain hold you hostage. That puts a bit of a damper on our relationship.”
“I can see past your henchman..ship. Your being a henchman.” He reaches out towards the other boy with his free hand. “Don’t let society’s lack of understanding come between us.”
Despite Taehyung’s best efforts, his captor is not swayed. “The only thing that’s coming between us is about ten feet and a pair of handcuffs.” He goes back to reading the book he has open on the table where he’s sitting. It looks like the boring kind of book that people only read for school.
The boy continues to ignore him.
Taehyung considers the distance between them. “You could move your chair closer.”
“No.” The boy squints down at him, fingers holding his page. “You’re awfully chatty for a hostage.”
Taehyung shrugs. The handcuffs on his wrist clang against the metal of the radiator, a reminder of his imprisonment. What a massive inconvenience. “The first like...two or three times I was quieter, but honestly, there are very few things more boring than hostage situations.”
The other boy’s eyebrows shoot up into his beanie. Taehyung is oddly proud to have his complete and total attention. “Two or three...what number is this?”
“Uh.” Taehyung looks up at the ceiling, his lips moving slightly as he counts under his breath. He loses count sometimes. He keeps a tally in his phone but his phone has been confiscated. “Thirty…”
“Seven…” Taehyung finishes slowly, watches as his guard’s eyes nearly pop out of his head.
“Thirty-seven?” he asks in disbelief. “You’ve been kidnapped thirty-seven times.”
“Yep.” Taehyung grins, cocking his head cutely to the side. “I’m a professional hostage now. Or I would be, if I got paid.” He frowns. “But the point is, it’s my area of expertise.”
The other boy snorts. “Beautiful.” He peers at him, brow furrowed. His hair is flattened under his beanie so the tips of the strands brush the tops of his eyelids. He needs a haircut. “Is there a reason for that?”
Of course there’s a reason for it. Taehyung scoffs, mock-offended. “You don’t even know?”
He makes a face. “I’m just a henchman, what do I care? I know your name and that’s enough.”
“What if I was dangerous?”
“I could be!”
The guard runs a critical eye over Taehyung, up and down. “I doubt it.”
Taehyung pouts. “Why else would they kidnap me then, huh?”
“You’re a hostage, not just kidnapped,” the boy says pointedly, “which probably means you’re important to someone who matters.”
He’s not wrong, but in Taehyung’s opinion Jeon Jungkook isn’t someone who matters so much as he is a flashy bastard. As a superhero, Jungkook is a godsend but as a best friend, he’s a pain in the ass. It’s not Taehyung’s fault that he, the loyal sidekick, is constantly getting dragged into things. Well, sometimes it’s his fault, like that time he tried to spy on the bad guys using his little sister’s stolen binoculars, but that was just a bad judgement call and he’s learned from his mistakes.
Taehyung sucks on his teeth unhappily. “I could be dangerous,” he mutters under his breath.
The boy still hears him. “They wouldn’t have assigned me to you if you were dangerous.”
“Aren’t you dangerous?” Taehyung does a quick scan of the other boy.
The other guy doesn’t seem too bothered. “I’m too busy to be dangerous.” As if to prove his point, he goes back to reading his book.
He isn’t armed, as far as Taehyung can see, but he’s not very good at spotting guns when they’re well-concealed, and it’s a little harder when the person in question is sitting down at a table and wearing loose clothing, but no visible guns make Taehyung feel at least a little bit better.
Even if this guy isn’t dangerous, Taehyung does glean something of note.
Taehyung thinks this is a good compliment, but the boy just says, “Thanks,” and continues reading.
This is not a satisfying reaction.
He tries again. “Your hands are cute, too.” They are, actually. Very small and innocent looking. What a cute henchman.
“Kim Taehyung, are you trying to woo me?” His eyes flicker up from his book and Taehyung considers that a success.
Honestly, yes, Taehyung is, but he’s really bored and deserves not to be judged. “If I were trying to woo you, you’d know,” he answers cryptically.
“Mhmm.” Taehyung’s nose itches, and it’s not until he reaches to scratch it that he realizes he’s still handcuffed. It’s starting to turn his wrist red, all the chafing. He hopes he’s rescued soon. He can keep flirting in the meantime. “How do you feel about giraffe facts?”
The boy at the table blinks. “Giraffe facts.”
“Is this you trying to woo me? Is that what you’re doing now?”
“See?” Taehyung beams. “You knew.”
He laughs and closes his book, sitting back in his chair, finally giving Taehyung all of his attention. “I’m pro-giraffe facts.”
“We couldn’t be friends if you weren’t.”
The henchman rolls his eyes. “There are a lot of reasons why we can’t be friends.”
“Yes, but we can cross you not being fond of giraffes off of the list.”
Behind the mask, Taehyung thinks the boy might be grinning. “That’s fair.” His small, chubby fingers smooth over the cover of his book. “Tell me about giraffes.”
“With pleasure.” He says the first one that comes to mind. “Did you know that giraffes can’t vomit?” Which, admittedly, is not the most charming giraffe fact, but it’s still a fact that Taehyung feels like people should know.
“That makes sense,” says the boy, nodding. “Their necks are so long.”
“They have really good noses to compensate. To smell for bad fruit and shit.”
His guard frowns. “What happens if they do end up eating something bad? What happens?”
“They...don’t? That’s what their noses are for?”
“What if you like, force-fed them?”
Taehyung gasps. “That’s animal cruelty.”
“I’m not saying I would do it!”
Taehyung doesn’t look convinced.
“Just because I’m a henchman doesn’t mean I’m a bad person,” he says, picking up his book and acting like he’s going to use it as a projectile weapon. “Henchmen are people, too.”
“If you throw that book at me, that’s abuse!” Taehyung squawks, bringing his free arm up to his face to protect himself. “That’s not what a good person would do.”
The guy laughs, bright and high even through the fabric of his face mask. “I never said I was a good person. I’m just not a bad one.” He tilts his head. “Definitely not one that would force-feed a giraffe bad fruit for science.”
Taehyung pauses, scratching his head. “You’re right...there is a distinction. I will give you that.”
Across the room, his captor sets his book back down on the table and Taehyung swears his face is smug.
Taehyung’s got to know. “Tell me your name.”
Taehyung had been expecting at least a little bit of thought put into it. “Why not?”
The boy raises his eyebrow. “Do you think I’m an amateur? Telling you my name.” He scoffs. “What kind of henchman would I be?"
Honestly, Taehyung is really put out, because here he is trying to woo a guy and he can’t even get his name. Seokjin would be so disappointed in him. He picks petulantly at the inner seam of his jeans and mutters something under his breath.
“What was that?”
How good is this guy’s hearing? Another inconvenience.
Taehyung looks up at him. “Other henchmen have told me their names,” he says frankly. “And I bet they’re even better henchmen than you are,” he adds, just to be a brat.
The other guy leans back in his chair. “Who?”
“I can’t tell you,” Taehyung says, because duh? “That would be a breach of trust.”
“I know all of their names,” he points out. “I work with them.”
Taehyung pauses for a moment, mildly confused. “Don’t you just work for this guy?”
He makes a vague gesture to the general surroundings.
“Oh.” The boy plays with the sleeves of his shirt, his small fingers tugging at fabric and string, but his eyes don’t leave Taehyung’s face. “I’m uh...freelance.”
“There are freelance henchman?” This is new information.
“Well.” He scratches his head under his beanie, one little ear popping out. It’s cute. “My family has a lot of connections but I’m too busy to really be tied down to one thing, you know? My schedule is crazy.”
Taehyung hums. “Hashtag college life.”
“Right? Like, I have homework to do? I can’t work regular hours, and some of these supervillains.” He whistles. “They’re completely unreasonable.”
“I know,” Taehyung agrees with a sigh. “They have no respect for students.” One time, Taehyung had asked a villain to postpone his kidnapping for a week so that he could study for midterm. That had ended rather poorly.
And by “poorly,” he means it ended with a kidnapping and an abysmal test grade.
The guy just shakes his head. “It’s hard being in college and even doing this stuff part time…” He sighs heavily. His fingers trail lightly over the cover of the massive book he left on the table in front of him. He grimaces. “I’ve gotta do homework while I’m working more often than not.”
Homework. “I’ve got homework, too.” He looks at his backpack.
With a small noise, the boy shakes his head again. “I’m sorry. I’ll get in trouble.”
Taehyung groans and bangs his head lightly on the radiator. “It’s okay,” he says dejectedly. “What are the chances of me getting out of here before ass o’ clock? I’ve got a paper due tomorrow.”
“Hmm.” The boy clicks his tongue and checks the time on his phone. “What are the chances of you being rescued soon?”
“Who said I was getting rescued?”
“You’ve been kidnapped 37 times, Taehyung, something tells me you’re going to get rescued,” is the flat answer.
Okay. That’s fair. “What day is it?” Taehyung says tiredly.
He thinks for a moment. “Chances are very slim that I will be rescued before ass o’ clock.”
“Why is that?”
“He has class until 8.”
“Fuck,” the henchman says sympathetically. “I hate night classes.”
“Same, which is why he should have been like me and not scheduled one.”
The other boy snorts. “Doesn’t he know that he has a Taehyung to save?”
“Exactly.” Taehyung throws up both hands, ignoring the way the handcuffs jerk at his wrist. “An outrage.” He squints. “I still need to know your name.”
“Come on!” He pouts. “You know mine! Fair is fair!”
“Of course I know yours?” He laughs. It’s a nice laugh.
“Stop laughing, you’re distracting!”
The henchman’s mouth snaps shut with a click but his eyes are still scrunched up so that it’s obvious he’s grinning.
Taehyung slumps against the radiator, melting down until he’s almost lying down on the floor and his chiropractor would cry at the state of his spine but suck it, chiropractor, because Taehyung needs to be dramatic right now. “I just want to woo you,” he whines.
“Do you make a habit of wooing all of your kidnappers?” the boy asks, resting his chin on the heel of his hand and looking teasingly at Taehyung.
“Only you,” Taehyung sings, batting his eyelashes.
“Hmm.” The henchman coos. “Funny, because you mentioned knowing plenty of henchmen’s names earlier.”
“I didn’t woo them though!” Taehyung protests.
The boy at the table just shrugs. “How am I supposed to know that?”
“We’re just friends!” Taehyung insists, mildly distressed. “I have never shared my giraffe facts with anyone but you.”
He taps his fingers on the table. “Promise?”
Taehyung holds out his hand, pinky extended.
The boy squints at him, just for a moment, and then he’s standing up and walking over and squatting down and their pinkies are linked and Taehyung could count his eyelashes if he wanted to. “My name starts with a J.”
Taehyung is distracted by the eyelashes. The pinky that’s tied up with his is small and impossibly cute. Distracting. “Jerry?”
Jerry laughs. “Sure.”
Jerry is wearing ripped skinny jeans that show his knees and some of his thighs, and there is a lot of skin right there that Taehyung had not been anticipating, so all Taehyung can say is, “nice thighs.”
“You said that already.”
“I thought it twice and found it worth note.”
Jerry stands up. Jerry also has a nice ass.
A really, really nice ass.
Taehyung somehow manages to keep his mouth shut, but wow.
He wants to touch it.
Handcuffs. The Biggest Inconvenience, yet again.
Actually, the biggest inconvenience is probably social constructs because it’s not polite to touch someone’s ass without asking first. “Can I touch your ass?”
“You denying me is starting to become a habit,” Taehyung notes.
Jerry blows him a kiss. “I don’t let people touch my ass unless they’ve either bought me a meal or I’m drunk.” He shrugs.
Fair. “I would buy you a meal.” He really would. Honestly, he wants to.
The corner’s of Jerry’s eyes crinkle, and Taehyung thinks he might be smiling. “I don’t accept rain checks and you’re probably gonna die here, so.”
“Only until 8!” Taehyung corrects. “A little after 8, for travel time.”
“Wow.” The boy tuts sadly. “You’ll never touch my ass at this rate.”
“Okay but if he gets here at 8:30 and I’m out of here at 9?” He looks at the other boy with pleading eyes. “That’s definitely enough time for a late dinner!”
“Who the hell eats dinner at 9 o’ clock at night?”
Jerry can’t deny that. “Okay.”
“Okay?” Taehyung looks up at him. “Okay, you’ll let me buy you a meal?”
For a moment, it seems like Taehyung’s shitty day is going to get really good really fast, because as much as he wants to touch Jerry’s ass, taking a cute henchman out to dinner seems like a dream.
But nothing good can stay.
If you wanna be my lover, you gotta hang with my friends. Make it last forever. Friendship never ends.
Neither of them move.
There are many responses Taehyung might have expected to his question but the poppy, iconic vocals of the Spice Girls is not one of them.
Slowly, ever so slowly, Taehyung leans to the right, looking past Jerry’s legs to where his backpack lays dejectedly on the table. His phone is turned on really loudly and there is no escape.
He leans back up and stares Jerry right in the face. “Please answer it.”
Jerry is trying so hard not to laugh that he looks constipated. What he definitely manages not to do is answer Taehyung’s phone and end his suffering.
He reaches out pleadingly for the henchman’s legs. “Jerry, please.”
“What if I want to listen to the Spice Girls, Taehyung?” Jerry asks, casually taking a step back out of Taehyung’s reach.
Someone bangs on the locked door aggressively. “Who’s playing the Spice Girls?”
Jerry looks over his shoulder. “Taehyung.”
There’s a thoughtful sound. “I should have known. Taehyung always has the best taste in music.”
Taehyung snickers into his shoulder as he hears the henchman outside walk away.
“You know Baekhyun?” Jerry asks.
Taehyung nods. “Met him during kidnapping 14 and then again during the 23rd and the 31st.”
Jerry whistles. “Baekhyun gets around.”
“I’m assuming he’s freelance, too?”
“He usually works for Junmyeon I think.” Jerry taps a finger against his lip as he thinks. Spice Girls is still playing in the background. “He picks up extra jobs though, here and there. He’s kind of jittery. He likes to keep busy. Also his roommate plays the drums really loudly all day and he tries to stay out of their apartment as much as possible."
“Can you please answer that?” Taehyung asks, looking pointedly at the backpack. “Or at least tell them I’m busy? I don’t want to be rude.”
He isn’t expecting Jerry to actually do it, so he’s pleasantly surprised when the other boy turns and makes his way back to the table. “Which pocket?”
“Front baby pocket.”
Jerry finds his phone with ease, pulling it out. It looks a lot bigger. Jerry is really small. Small hands. Short. Taehyung knows that clearly now that he can see him without the obstruction of the table. Muscular, though. Taehyung also sees that the way Jerry’s thighs fill out his clothes carries over to the boy’s shoulders and chest and arms and back.
He sees that very well.
“What’s your password?”
This is not something Taehyung had thought about and suddenly everything is a mistake. He clears his throat. “Dick.”
Jerry pauses, Taehyung’s phone held loosely in his hands. He looks at Taehyung through his bangs and Taehyung feels the judgement. “Excuse me?”
The sound Taehyung makes is barely human. His free hand comes up to cover his eyes, and he leans his head back against the radiator. “They told me to make it something I like.”
And then the other boy asks, all attention on the phone, “Big D or little D?”
Taehyung’s head snaps up and he looks at Jerry with wide eyes. “Big D!” he says, offended, before he flushes bright red and looks anywhere else. “I don’t think we’re close enough to have this conversation.”
He hears a snort, a loud one, and when he looks again he sees Jerry dangling the phone from his fingers with a raised eyebrow and probably a smirk under that damned mask.
“Oh.” Taehyung wants to melt into the floor. “Little D.”
Jerry laughs as he plugs in the password. “Little D dick.”
He’s still laughing. “It was your mom who called.” He raises an eyebrow. “Your mom’s ringtone is Spice Girls?”
“She likes Victoria Beckham.” Taehyung groans. “Tell her I’m doing homework with Seokjin and I’ll call her back tonight.”
“It’ll be pretty late,” Jerry sings. “You have to buy me a meal for ass touching privileges.”
“Could we postpone the ass-touching?” Taehyung asks. “Not the meal, just the ass-touching.”
“A second meeting?” Jerry smiles at him like they’re sharing a secret. “That would mean you’d need my number.”
“Hmm.” Taehyung smiles back at him. “I guess I would.”
“I have your phone unlocked right here in my hands, funnily enough.” He looks back at the screen. “Oh look, I’m opening up contacts.”
Taehyung squints at him. “Are you gonna put in your real name or just Jerry? Like, am I finally gonna know?”
“Not until 8 when you get your phone back. Ah, excuse me—8:30.”
“For travel,” Taehyung agrees.
Jerry taps his chin with the phone, and Taehyung thinks he might be grinning. He looks rather coy. “Any chance you could convince your superfriend to skip?”
For a moment, he considers it. “He’ll fail English.” Jungkook, cockblocking him even at a distance. Some friend.
“That’s rough, buddy.” Jerry walks over. “Gotta take a selfie for the ID. Smile.” He squats down and throws an arm around Taehyung’s shoulders, angling the phone so he can get in Taehyung’s handcuffed wrist for the memory.
Taehyung pouts. “Mask off.”
“My secret identity is at risk.”
“I have your phone number.”
With a laugh, Jerry unhooks one side of his mask, and when the white fabric swings down and reveals his face Taehyung swears he sees stars, that smile is so bright. “Wow.” So soft the other boy can’t even hear.
“Smile,” the other boy says again, and Taehyung does, but the picture is taken before Taehyung gets the chance to tear his eyes away and look at the camera. “Cute,” Jerry says, when he looks at it and sets it as his display picture in Taehyung’s phone.
In the picture Taehyung looks smitten.
It’s probably an accurate representation of Taehyung’s feelings right now.
“Hey, sailor,” Taehyung asks, turning to look at Jerry, and their faces are a little too close when the other boy looks over at him. “Ever think of rescuing me yourself?”
Jerry blinks. “What.”
“I could buy you an early dinner?” It’s an offer. He’s not sure if it’s a good one.
“I’m a henchman,” Jerry points out. “I can’t go saving people willy nilly! No one will hire me. My mom will be pissed.”
“Why?” Taehyung squints at him. “Does she really care that much about your henchmanship?”
Jerry sits back against the radiator, and if Taehyung weren’t handcuffed to it he’d be in the perfect position to put his arm around Jerry’s shoulders. “It’s a family business...not that I’m, like, super into it or anything, but it’s my uncle who kidnapped you! How am I supposed to tell her I busted out my own uncle’s hostage for free food?”
Taehyung blinks. “And good company.”
“And good company.” He thinks for a moment. “What are we talking for a meal?”
There is some mental math to be done. Taehyung remembers his payday, thinks about the balance in his checking account. “I can splurge on some meat.”
Jerry perks up. “Meat?”
“That’s what I usually get after kidnappings, honestly,” he admits. “Gotta keep up the morale.”
“If you buy me meat I really will rescue you right now,” is the answering proposal. “I’ve been starving for hours.”
“Are you even…” Taehyung looks at Jerry where he’s sprawled out beside him. “Are you even capable of rescuing me?”
Jerry scoffs. “Um, yes?” He’s offended.
“Didn’t you say earlier that you weren’t dangerous?” He corrects himself before Jerry can even take a breath. “Excuse me, that if I were dangerous they wouldn’t have assigned me to you, thus implying that you yourself are not dangerous.”
“I keep my dangerous...ness…?” Jerry frowns. “Is there a word for that?”
Taehyung has to think. “I think that is the word?”
“Dangerousness?” He grimaces. “Gross. Anyway, I keep it on the dl.”
“Because if they don’t know I’ve got superpowers then I get jobs like this where I can do my homework.” Which is funny, because the book lies forgotten on the table, decidedly unread, but Taehyung isn’t going to point that out because Jerry is going to rescue him and that’s a pretty romantic first date.
“I’m not sure I believe you,” he teases instead.
Jerry rolls his eyes. “It’s not like I even have to fight anyone.”
Taehyung frowns. That’s no fun. “Why not?”
“I mean...might have to get a little creative with the way we get out of the building...but no one’s going to fight me or anything? That’s rude.”
It’s a good point.
Casually, Jerry takes a small key out of his pocket and presses it into Taehyung’s free hand before getting up and putting Taehyung’s phone back in the backpack where he found it. The mask is still hanging off of one ear. He hooks it back over his ear, and Taehyung already misses that smile and those cheeks and wow, his profile is really sharp and Taehyung misses that jawline, too.
Taehyung misses it so much that Jerry has swung Taehyung’s bag over his shoulder and is at the door before Taehyung has even stuck the tiny key into the lock on the handcuffs. “Hurry up,” Jerry prompts. “If we leave right now they should still be on their water break.”
“Five o’ clock is prime water cooler time. Everyone’s a gossip.” He rolls his eyes. “Now come on.”
Taehyung jams the key into the lock and jumps up a little too fast. Jerry is at his side before he even registers he’s wobbling from the head rush. “I’ve been sitting for so long,” Taehyung whines. “My butt’s asleep.”
“I’m not carrying you.”
He sighs. “One day, someone will."
“Maybe after you buy me two meals.”
“I’m not made of money.”
The other boy grabs Taehyung’s wrist, slightly cool palms pressed firmly against Taehyung’s bare skin, and he opens the door, pulling Taehyung with him into the hallway. “Ready for me to show you my awesome powers?”
The laugh is muffled this time. “My name is Jimin.” He’s not even bothering to keep his voice down, dragging Taehyung down the brick hallway.
“Jimin.” A good name. Taehyung presses it into his memory. “I like Jerry better.”
“I don’t go on dates with men who call me Jerry.”
“Is this a date?”
He looks over his shoulder. “Could be. Kind of romantic, huh? Me throwing away my villainous ways?”
“Romantic.” Taehyung grins. “The best origin story.”
Jimin’s smile is blinding. “I guess heroes have to start somewhere.”