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Taehyung's friends are assholes

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Everyone knows that Taehyung absolutely hates Halloween.

 

Usually, he’s pretty great at hiding his fear, but not when his friends decide to drag him to Lotte World after sundown for the zombie special. Seriously, who’s idea was this? Do they want him to die prematurely?

 

“Guys, are you kidding me right now?” Taehyung sputters, distant screams and crazed laughter penetrating through their car, even though they’re still far from the actual theme park.

 

Of course, he should have suspected something like this, considering the fact that Jimin and Hoseok are terrified of all things horror as well. He should have suspected, especially with what happened last Halloween.

 

It’s a thought he doesn’t want to revisit without wanting to murder his friends - only memories of Yoongi, Namjoon, and Seokjin dressed up in masks and scaring him, Hoseok and Jimin throughout the day.

 

He shivers at the thought, nerves swirling in his stomach. He should have known, and now he’s going to die of a heart attack and it’ll be their fault, god dammit.

 

“It’s not that scary,” Yoongi comments, grinning, Hoseok already plastered to his side as they pile out of the car.

 

He’s doing that fake comforting thing, where in reality he’s laughing at them on the inside. That asshole. Taehyung bets he planned this entire thing. Asshole. He won’t curse him out to his face, not unless he wants to face Yoongi’s wrath, but he’s perfectly content with doing it in his head.

 

Jimin immediately glues himself to Namjoon, and he scowls. Of course, the only people who understand his pain at a time like this are latched onto the ones who specifically wanted to scare them. Traitors, traitors everywhere.

 

But whatever. Taehyung can fucking handle this. After all, there’s nothing scarier than handing in an assignment late with a half-assed grin to a pissed off professor, swirling thoughts of a failing grade sending ice-cold panic through him.

 

Taehyung has seen scary, alright.

 

“You don’t want to hang onto hyung?” Seokjin pouts, eyes wide and doe-like, and Taehyung scoffs, kicking at the dirt as they make their way out of the parking lot and into the lobby of the theme park to get their tickets.

 

If he’s being honest, he really wants to, especially when he spots someone dressed as a zombie passing a little too close to them, but fuck all if he’s going to tell them that. He has too much pride for that.

 

“Fuck you. After I’ve fed your bodies to the zombies, I’ll be sure to burn them and dance on your ashes,” Taehyung snaps, and he hears Namjoon bark out a laugh towards the front of the group, cackling.

 

“Go for it,” Seokjin winks, and Taehyung huffs, arms crossed to make it very clear how pissed he is.

 

In reality, he’s just trying to mask how scared he is right now. It’s not working very well considering Seokjin’s knowing smile.

 

He wonders how normal people can enjoy shit like this – paying hard earned money to get scared, Jesus, what has this world come to? He feels comforted seeing Jimin and Hoseok just as scared as him, though. Taehyung just holds it in better. He doesn’t have the title best poker face around campus for no reason.

 

Or so he thinks.

 

Two hands clap down over his shoulders, a loud shouting noise cutting into his ears and slicing through the quiet lobby, and Taehyung screeches at the top of his lungs, immediately covering his ears with two hands.

 

“So much for not being scared,” Yoongi chokes out from behind him, laughing so hard he goes silent, gums on full display, and Taehyung growls, swinging a fist at him to cover up the way moisture pricked at his eyes, heart hammering in his chest, blood roaring in his ears.

 

He’s not sure he can say something without having his voice tremble, so he chooses to keep quiet, stewing in his anger and fear and frustration. He knows his friends mean well, but they’re still assholes that are gonna get what’s coming to them later.

 

“I hate you guys,” Taehyung says weakly, and Yoongi snorts, patting his flushed cheek as he passes.

 

Their group manages to get their tickets and are let onto the walkway leading to the park, and the first thing Taehyung notices is how eerily silent it is. It’s dark, foggy and creepy, and the distant screeching of scared, unfortunate victims sends a chill down his spine.

 

“Let’s go,” Namjoon suggests, but even he sounds a little apprehensive.

 

They stick close together, and somehow Taehyung ends up at the back of the group with Yoongi and Hoseok. They’re glued together, and Taehyung frowns, crossing his arms and puffing his chest out, hoping to look somewhat intimidating.

 

But who’s he kidding? He’s scrawny and weak, his diet consisting of too many burgers and fries to have it look like he works out regularly, but he knows he’s got the best bitch face. He could honestly kill someone with his face, and he snorts quietly to himself when he remembers the last time he shot that look at Jimin.

 

He had keeled over, clutching at his chest as he pretended to die, laughing on his way down. It’s a running joke of all of theirs. If Taehyung pulls his bitch face, you know you royally fucked up.

 

“Anybody know where to go?” Hoseok croaks, jumping when they hear someone shout in the distance, a little too close to them.

 

They’re on some sort of pavement walkway, not quite in the park just yet, but he can see the lights and rides up ahead, the smell of greasy food wafting in his senses. He might be terrified right now, but unhealthy food is the way to his heart.

 

“Just straight ahead,” Namjoon mutters, and they finally make it off of that walkway, sighs of relief escaping them.

 

He has no idea what that was, and he doesn’t shake the feeling of being watched until they venture further into the park, swallowed up by the crowds.

 

He’s suspicious of how Namjoon suddenly knows exactly where to go, leading them with precision through the crowds, and Taehyung pretends like he doesn’t jump and let out shouts that sound suspiciously high pitches when workers dressed as bloody zombies pop out in front of him.

 

The makeup is terrifying, so real looking that it’s unnerving, but he keeps his eyes straight ahead, praying with all his might that Namjoon is leading them to safety, somewhere that they can find Taehyung an actual chainsaw so that he feels a little safer.

 

Yet again, he should have known.

 

“Assholes,” Taehyung snarls when they approach a line for the infamous haunted house, the one that everyone recounts stories about on campus, stories about how it lasts fucking forever and is the scariest haunted house in the country. “Have I mentioned how much I hate you guys?”

 

Hoseok jumps and buries his neck in Yoongi’s shoulder when a zombie comes by to scare them, Yoongi’s smile wide, clearly enjoying himself. At least somebody is appreciating this - this hell.

 

“You might have said it a few times,” Namjoon’s shoulders lift, lips curled, and he huffs, following them into the line. There’s no way he’s bitching out, especially when he spent his money on a ticket just to get in here.

 

It goes by too fast. Too soon and they’re at the front of the line, a worker checking their tickets with a scanner, and Taehyung is shaking now. He can’t calm down, heart hammering in his chest and head pounding, and the lady gives him a sympathetic smile when they meet eyes like she knows how bad it is, and oh my god, Taehyung is going to die.

 

Somehow, Taehyung ends up at the back of their group. Everyone knows that you’re virtually fucked if you end up in the back, but Taehyung swallows down his angry comments and grips Yoongi’s hoodie in front of him, just so that he doesn’t get lost.

 

“Wow, fuck this,” He flinches when someone jumps out at him, hunching in on himself. He can’t even enjoy Jimin and Hoseok’s fearful cries, too terrified to do much of anything except for keeping his eyes focused straight ahead, hand clutching Yoongi’s hoodie in a death grip.

 

It’s dark and stifling, the different rooms they pass through getting increasingly gory and terrible. The last room they passed through was a gory hospital room with frightening clowns jumping out at them, mouths full of jagged teeth.

 

“You okay, Tae?” Yoongi shouts over the loud sound effects and distant screams from further in the haunted house, and he jerks his head up and down before he remembers that Yoongi can’t see him.

 

“I’m fine,” He chokes out, and he feels Yoongi’s warm hand reach around blindly to pat his cheek again, a comforting gesture.

 

Yoongi might be an asshole ninety-nine percent of the time, but he can always sense when things go a little too far.

 

He’s thankful for it because the next room they enter is completely fogged up. The fog is so thick, completely grey, that he can’t even see his hands in front of his face. He’s still holding onto Yoongi’s hoodie, but he can’t see shit and it’s scaring the hell out of him.

 

He doesn’t know if anyone will jump out of the fog when none of them can see, and right on time someone starts up a chainsaw right next to them, and the commotion too close to them scatters their group apart, Yoongi’s hoodie ripping out of his grasp.

 

He tries to run forward, calling out, but he can’t see or hear anything and he doesn’t hear his friends anymore, his breath quickening, heart pounding in his chest. He trembles, throat tightening, standing still in the middle of the fog.

 

He has no idea what to do.

 

“Fuck,” He whispers to himself, trying to walk forward, but his limbs are weak and shaky, and he trips over something that feels suspiciously like a body, crashing into the floor, shoulder banging into something that feels like a wall.

 

“Oh my god, I’m going to die,” He moans, curling into a ball, pressing his forehead into his knees to try and control his hyperventilating. It doesn’t matter that he has absolutely zero clue of where he’s going – he just needs to focus on not having a panic attack in the middle of the haunted house.

 

He can’t seem to control the way his breath whooshes in and out of his lungs, shaking, vision blurring and heart pounding in his throat. He feels sick to his stomach, and oh god, the workers probably can’t see him either.

 

He’s going to get stuck here, and no one will find him because no one can even see him, and he chokes on a low sob.

 

Tears blur his vision, and he bites down on his lip, face twisting from the effort it takes not to cry, but eventually he gives in, stomach muscles clenching every time a sob wracks his body.

 

God, he’s so fucking hopeless. He’s in the middle of a haunted house, he’s 21 years old and he’s curled up into a ball having a panic attack because he doesn’t know where anyone is and he can’t see anything.

 

“Hey,” A voice calls, but he barely registers it, curling in on himself even more, sniffling so that his nose doesn’t run. “Hey, man, I can smell y– I mean, I can hear you crying.”

 

His head lifts, squinting through the fog to try and see, but he can’t see and it just sends another wave of panic and fear through him, a wet sob escaping his lips. “W-what?”

 

“Where are you, buddy?” The voice says again, and he shakes his head before remembering that they can’t see him either, wiping at his tear stained face with the sleeve of his sweater, hiccupping.

 

“Here,” He whimpers, and the guy sighs.

 

“Keep talking to me. I can follow your voice, yeah? Just tell me about your day,” The guy soothes, and he sniffles, wracking his brain for something to say.

 

“U-uhm. Well, I had Chinese this morning, and I’m kinda surprised I haven’t thrown it up yet,” The guy lets out a short laugh, and Taehyung’s mouth wobbles. “I had a good morning. I went to see my mom and she told me I was too old to go trick or treating, what a shitty thing to say, and then my friends dragged me here and I tried to act like I wasn’t scared but now I’m really fucking scared and I can’t see anything and I feel like I can’t breathe and I don't know where I’m going but I lost my friends because someone scared us-”

 

The fog breaks, a figure breaking through the thick smoke as he walks towards him, and he cowers in fear before the guy’s hands raise, wrists up and bared for him to see, almost like he’s trying to say he doesn’t mean any harm by showing a vulnerable part of his body.

 

“Found you,” He grins, crouching down before Taehyung. The fog is still thick, but he can see the male’s face well enough, somehow. It’s almost like he repels the fog, eyes glowing red and sharp, and Taehyung blinks in surprise.

 

“Nice contacts,” Taehyung croaks, wiping at the tear tracks on his cheeks, and the male’s head ducks, an almost shy expression on his face.

 

“Thanks, buddy. Think you can stand?” He asks, and Taehyung thinks for a moment before nodding, standing slowly, legs still weak and trembling.

 

Now that he can take a closer look, the male’s face is breathtaking. His eyes glow, cutting straight through the fog alone, skin milky and smooth, mouth stretched into a comforting smile.

 

“I’m Jeongguk, by the way,” Jeongguk says, holding out a hand, palm up, and Taehyung stares at it in confusion.

 

“Taehyung,” He responds, and Jeongguk huffs in slight impatience.

 

“You can hold my hand if you’re still scared, dude. I won’t judge,” Jeongguk points out, and Taehyung’s lips pull up at the corners.

 

He takes Jeongguk’s hand, warm and strong and comforting, and Jeongguk begins to guide them through the fog like he can see right through it. Maybe he can, and maybe it was just Taehyung’s imagination that had the fog nearly suffocating him, but either way, they make it out of the foggy room and into the next.

 

It’s still scary, the gore turning his stomach, but Jeongguk squeezes his hand, arranging them so that Taehyung is walking first and Jeongguk is behind him. He feels much better knowing that someone is watching his back, and his shoulders sag with relief, no longer nearly as afraid to walk forward with Jeongguk looming behind him.

 

“Guy’s gonna pop out on your left,” Jeongguk murmurs into his ear, right as someone comes out and yells, trying to scare them, but he hears Jeongguk chuckle behind him and he smiles as well.

 

It definitely helps that Jeongguk holds his hand the whole way through and informs him every time someone is about to jump out. How Jeongguk knows before it happens is strange, but he’s too thankful to be bothered by it. He’s probably a worker here or something.

 

They make it through the haunted house with no trouble, but it’s when they reach the end that Jeongguk doesn’t warn him when someone jumps out, a chainsaw roaring loud in his ears, and he stumbles back, ducking his head and squeezing his eyes shut.

 

He hears a loud snarl, the sound animalistic and intimidating, sending chills down his spine from the pure authority ringing in the tone.

 

Taehyung’s glances up to see Jeongguk in front of him, arms stretched out like he’s trying to protect him, and the guy with the chainsaw snarls out a noise, eyes flashing an icy blue in the darkness.

 

He backs off; blending back into the shadows, and Jeongguk pulls him directly into his side this time, a strong arm thrown over his shoulders as he leads them out into the open air.

 

Those snarls were probably just sound effects, he’s sure of it. Maybe that guy was wearing contacts, just like Jeongguk’s, but blue. It’s easy to convince himself what he saw and heard were just a part of the attraction, and he relaxes.

 

“Jesus, I can breathe again,” Taehyung chokes out, and Jeongguk snorts.

 

“You made it out alive,” Jeongguk smiles, but he doesn’t pull away from Taehyung, keeping an arm around his shoulders. “Where’re your friends? I can walk you to them.”

 

“Oh, no, you’ve already done enough, man. You can just-”

 

“Do you really think I’m letting you walk around like this by yourself?” Jeongguk stresses, chin jerking in the direction of the zombies still roaming around, looking for people to scare.

 

Taehyung tenses up when a zombie stalks by them, a little too close for comfort, and he lets out a shaky sigh. “Listen, thanks for saving me back there and keeping me from having a panic attack, but I can get back on my own, okay? I’m not as helpless as what it might have seemed like back there.”

 

“Taehyung,” Jeongguk pulls away enough to look at him, face serious and lips parted, something sharp glinting in the moon in his mouth. It must be fake fangs or something. “I know you’re not helpless. I’m offering to walk you because this park is huge, and I want to help you so you don’t get scared like you did before, okay?”

 

Taehyung frowns, still feeling guilty. Jeongguk sighs. “Listen, if it really makes you feel bad, just take me out to get a coffee or something after this.”

 

His head perks up, eyes widening comically. Of course, it’s just a coffee and he’s paying Jeongguk back for his heroic deed, but still. He must realize the implications of his words. Jeongguk has to be straight, there’s no way he likes dudes, especially when he looks like that.

 

“Uhm,” Taehyung mutters, heart thumping in his ears, and Jeongguk’s lips quirk up into a smirk.

 

“Or food, that works too. I’m a sucker for the chocolate chip waffles at Waffle House,” Jeongguk admits, grinning, and Taehyung lets out a short laugh.

 

“Yeah, man, whatever you want,” He sighs, letting Jeongguk pull him back against his side.

 

He has no time to wonder how un-bro-like this probably is, Taehyung clinging onto Jeongguk’s waist, Jeongguk’s arm around his shoulders. They most definitely look like a couple, but he has no idea how to react to that knowledge in a situation like this.

 

He’s just secretly glad Jeongguk is muscular as fuck and looks intimidating with that glare on his face, red eyes sweeping over the crowds. Not that he would know, of course. But c’mon, Jeongguk is literally pressed up against his side.

 

It’s not like his fingers wandered around Jeongguk’s waist a little, secretly reveling in the contact, but if Jeongguk noticed he didn’t say anything.

 

“Chocolate waffles, though? Are you trying to get holes in your teeth?” He feels Jeongguk’s chest rumble with laughter, and his lips quirk up, focusing on the contact of their bodies instead of the people running around them and screaming, zombies running around them and giving them a wide berth, avoiding them like the plague.

 

He wonders if it’s Jeongguk keeping them at bay, but whatever mojo he’s using must be working because nobody comes up and tries to scare them. He’s really glad he didn’t try to shoo Jeongguk away too early.

 

“I eat healthy 360 days out of the year, alright? There are certain days when I let myself indulge,” Jeongguk defends playfully, and Taehyung lets out a snort.

 

“What about the other five days, huh?” Taehyung teases. “I mean, when you’re built like this I would think you would eat healthily.”

 

Jeongguk’s face pulls into a pleased smile at the comment. “The other five days I eat all the shit I want. And it’s Halloween, which means I’m going to eat my weight in candy corn and chocolate.”

 

“Candy corn, dude?” Taehyung huffs, and Jeongguk laughs, squeezing his shoulder when another zombie passes by. “You’re gonna eat candy corn when I can buy you chocolate chip waffles?”

 

“You’re really gonna buy me some?” He can’t ignore the childlike excitement in Jeongguk’s voice, and he lets out a small laugh.

 

“I mean, you’re basically warding off all the zombies for me. It’s the least I could do,” Taehyung says. Jeongguk squeezes his shoulder again, warm and comforting.

 

“You’re the best, man,” Jeongguk groans, and he laughs, all of his teeth on full display. “Seriously, those waffles are the way to my heart.”

 

“Good thing I know what makes you weak, then,” Taehyung comments, and he feels Jeongguk’s silent laughter rumble through him rather than hears it.

 

They make it through a good portion of the park without having any trouble, walking in comfortable silence. He’s surprised by how comfortable he feels with Jeongguk, his vibe easy-going and relaxed that it soothes Taehyung.

 

Plus, it definitely helps that nobody tries to scare them. He doesn’t know what shit Jeongguk is using, but whatever it is, he’s beyond grateful.

 

Somehow, Jeongguk manages to pull them along until they find his group of friends mingling by a food stand, twin expressions of worry on all of their faces.

 

“Those your guys?” Jeongguk questions, and he smiles, nodding.

 

“How’d you know, man?”

 

“I can sme– I mean, they look like they’re looking for someone,” Jeongguk says, coughing weakly.

 

Taehyung hums, Yoongi spotting them first. His eyes widen when he catches sight of Taehyung, alerting everyone else, but shock flutters over his features when he sees Jeongguk with his arm slung protectively over Taehyung’s shoulders.

 

“Taehyung! Shit, where the hell did you go?” Jimin jogs up to them, worried, and Taehyung lets out a nervous laugh.

 

“Uh, I got lost. And I almost had a panic attack in the middle of the haunted house, but this guy found me,” Taehyung nudges Jeongguk, a cue for him to introduce himself. When he doesn’t say anything, he nudges him harder, and Jeongguk jolts in surprise.

 

“Oh, hey, I’m Jeongguk,” He grins, dipping his head in greeting, and Taehyung slowly, unwillingly untangles their bodies, but they stick close together like Jeongguk is afraid that someone will jump out and scare Taehyung still.

 

“Those contacts look real as fuck,” Namjoon grins, coming up to them as well, studying Jeongguk closely.

 

Jeongguk flushes, scratching at the back of his neck. “Uhm. Thanks, dude.”

 

“Are those fangs, too?” Hoseok peers a little closer, and Jeongguk shuts his lips quickly, eyes widening. “They literally look like your teeth.”

 

Jeongguk lets out a short laugh. “Yeah, man. It’s Halloween.”

 

“So you’re a vampire?” Seokjin’s head cocks and Jeongguk shakes his head quickly, something like annoyance flashing across his face.

 

“A werewolf,” Jeongguk mutters, voice low. “You know, like the shift before a werewolf goes full on dog mode? That in-between state.”

 

“Right,” Yoongi drawls. “Okay. Can you howl like one, too?”

 

Jeongguk’s eyes glow brighter, if possible, blood red, and Taehyung feels a little chill zip down his spine. Whoever made those contacts did a damn good job.

 

“Of course,” Jeongguk says with pride in his voice, and Yoongi raises a brow.

 

“Cool. Show us,” Namjoon simpers, and Jeongguk jolts like he’s been shocked.

 

After a few tense beats of silence, tension thick in the air, he lets out a weak, normal howl, raising his head to the sky for effect, and they all laugh, tension dissipating.

 

“So you found Taehyung?” Hoseok questions, still plastered to Yoongi’s side, curious. He’s suddenly reminded of when him and Jeongguk were in that position, and he won’t admit that he misses the contact.

 

Apparently, Jeongguk isn’t shy at all about physical contact, because he grins wide and pulls Taehyung right back against his side. Their eyes widen comically, but Jeongguk doesn’t seem to catch onto their surprise right away.

 

“Yep. Found him all curled up in a ball, saying something about not being able to see. I could sme– I mean, u-uhm, I could hear him… Crying. Yeah, he was crying pretty loud.” Jeongguk finishes weakly, and Jimin laughs.

 

“Sounds like Tae. Hey man, thanks for finding him. We were super worried when we got out and he wasn’t behind us. We thought he was playing a joke on us,” Jimin explains, slapping Jeongguk on the shoulder.

 

He’s still hyper aware of Jeongguk’s arm around his shoulder, radiating heat in the cool air, penetrating through his sweater. His friends don’t look bothered, but he sees the shit-eating grin on Yoongi and Jimin’s faces. He scowls.

 

“Yeah, don’t worry about it. I thought he was dying or something, what with the way he was crying,” Jeongguk grins, and he laughs, dodging the swing Taehyung aims for his midsection.

 

“Hey, we were gonna head out and go get something to eat. You could always come with us,” Seokjin offers, and Jeongguk’s face lights up.

 

“Sure! Yeah, that sounds awesome,” Jeongguk nods, and they begin the trek back to the front of the park, Jeongguk still plastered to his side.

 

It’s a little weird, but weird in a good way. Weird as in strangers don’t do this shit, but it feels awesome and he never wants it to stop.

 

The rest of their group bickers over where to eat, arguing about what place has the best deals and food on Halloween. Jeongguk and Taehyung share knowing grins.

 

“Namjoon.”

 

“Yo.”

 

“Waffle House?” Taehyung asks in his soft, sweet voice, the one that everyone is completely weak for, and he feels Jeongguk tense up beside him.

 

“That actually sounds really good right now,” Yoongi mutters, and Hoseok shoots Taehyung a wide grin.

 

“You still owe me waffles,” Jeongguk says quietly, and Taehyung rolls his eyes.

 

“Slow down, your highness. We’re going there now,” He laughs, and Jeongguk glances at him, red eyes wide and surprisingly vulnerable.

 

“And your number. Uh, just in case you get scared again. You know, if a zombie jumps out at you again or something. In the future. Yeah,” Jeongguk lets out a short, nervous laugh, and Taehyung feels his heart squeeze.

 

For all those muscles and intimidating eyes and bro talk, Jeongguk just really seems like a sweetheart.

 

“Yeah, I’ll give you my number,” Taehyung smiles. “In case a zombie jumps out. I mean, that happens all the time in December, Jesus.”

 

“Really?” Jeongguk looks surprised, eyes flashing, and Taehyung snorts.

 

“No, you dork,” Taehyung rolls his eyes, and Jeongguk relaxes like he was genuinely worried for a second. “But I’ll call you anyways.”

 

He hears someone gag in their group, the rest of them snickering, and he shoots them all a deep, threatening scowl. Jeongguk doesn’t seem bothered at all by it, almost oblivious, and instead bumps their shoulders together.

 

If he notices the fangs that seem to double in length, Jeongguk’s eyes crinkling as he smiles, he doesn’t say anything, chalking it up as a trick of the light as he lets himself be pulled along in the direction of their car, fear completely forgotten.

 

A thought pricks at the back of his mind. “Hey, Jeongguk. Aren’t you working?”

 

Jeongguk frowns. “I’m not a worker here. What made you think that?”

 

Taehyung’s brows furrow in confusion. “Uh, I don’t know. You knew when everyone was going to jump out at us,” He says slowly, and something like panic flashes through Jeongguk’s eyes before it fades just as quick.

 

“O-oh, yeah, right. I mean, I already went through it before, so I knew when people were jumping out.” Jeongguk explains, face smooth and calm.

 

“But you weren’t with a group,” Taehyung says, confused, and Jeongguk jolts.

 

“Er. I mean, I kind of got lost too. My group fell behind me,” Jeongguk mutters, shrugging. Taehyung nods, not quite buying the story. He’s not sure why he doesn’t completely believe Jeongguk, but what else could it be if Jeongguk wasn’t telling the truth?

 

“Cool. I’m glad you found me,” Taehyung smiles, and Jeongguk grins back, red eyes glittering, reflecting the moon.

 

“Me too.”

 

Everybody knows Taehyung hates Halloween, but let’s just say, this year was a little more interesting than most.

 

 

Chapter Text

“Can anyone explain why there’s dog hair in my bed?” Taehyung groans, still exhausted from the terror of Halloween last night, rubbing at his face with both hands.

 

He’s only just transferred here a few weeks ago to be with his friends and get his degree officially started out of community college, but it would have been a little nice to have a warning that his friends own a goddamn dog.

 

“We don’t own a dog,” Jimin snorts, coming down the staircase of their house. The six of them managed to rent out a house just off of campus, which is incredibly convenient considering the fact that Taehyung needs his own room.

 

You know, privacy. Which is really just him wanting to be able to jerk off when he wants to. 

 

“This is what, like my third week here? And I’m just now noticing all the dog hair all over my sheets? Jesus, Jimin, I’m allergic,” Taehyung whines, sniffling and bending over the counter to rest his forehead on the cool table of their moderately sized kitchen.

 

Exactly what he wanted to wake up to the night after Halloween. They didn’t come home until close to 4 in the morning, and parting from Jeongguk took more than he thought it would. He did manage to get Jeongguk’s number, though, and that’s enough to brighten his mood just enough.

 

“Take some medicine you shit,” He grins, smacking him on the back of the head on his way to the fridge.

 

Everyone else is still sleeping, he knows, because it’s 8 in the goddamn morning and Jimin is inhumane for waking up willingly at a time like this. Taehyung is only up because he can’t sleep when he’s sneezing constantly, nearly choking on snot and other disgusting shit.

 

“I’m sick,” Taehyung complains. “Take care of me. Make me soup.”

 

“Get that Jeongguk kid to make you soup. God, you’re such a sad shit when you’re sick,” Jimin rolls his eyes, and Taehyung jolts in place at the name. “I mean, I’m surprised he didn't jump you by the end of the night-”

 

“That’s,” Taehyung cuts him off, “Not something we’re going to talk about.”

 

Jimin snorts, pulling out the carton of eggs. “Whatever, dude. He was cute. Cute and awkward, but also hot as fuck. How does someone manage to pull that off?”

 

“I don’t know, man,” Taehyung moans, rubbing at his red-rimmed eyes. “I want to take care of him, he’s so awkward, but I also want him to bend me over a table, you feel?”

 

It’s true, though. How someone can be a stuttering awkward mess but still look like that is completely beyond him. Whatever god blessed him should definitely have a long talk with Taehyung.

 

“Jesus christ,” Jimin mutters. “It’s 8 in the morning you insufferable fuck.”

 

“Listen, just keep that dog or whatever-the-fuck out of my room, okay?” Taehyung makes his way over to the medicine cabinet, fumbling around for the allergy pills. “I really don’t care if you guys have a dog, but I’d like to not die in my sleep suffocating on dog hairs. Thanks.”

 

“Whatever, Tae. We don’t have a dog,” Jimin calls after him, and he just waves a hand, making his way up the stairs so that he can promptly pass out and never wake up again.

 

He does wake up a few hours later, Yoongi stopping in to check up on him. He set down a cup of tea and some crackers, and when Taehyung woke up, he mumbled something about it helping with allergies as he left the room, not meeting Taehyung’s eyes.

 

He’s still trying to get used to the new campus and faces. It’s a small university, so most people know each other, but Taehyung has his friends, so it makes his life a little easier. He could have transferred to a better university, but all of his friends are here, and he likes the idea of being surrounded by nature and forests.

 

It’s comforting, refreshing. A small college town that is warm and welcoming. He’s still getting used to the stares, though. Naturally people are going to look when everyone has grown up together here and you’re a complete outsider, but still.

 

It’s nice. He wonders how old Jeongguk is, though, and if he goes to school anywhere around here.

 

Somehow he pulls himself out of bed and makes it to a few of his classes. He’s still drowsy from the medicine, and the moment he gets home he’s stripping his sheets and sitting down with his friends to have a long talk about honesty and dogs on his bed.

 

It passes as quickly as it came, though. The dog hairs magically disappear as the days go by, and Taehyung is thankful for clear sinuses and the ability to breathe through his nose without choking on snot.

 

Honestly, Taehyung hasn’t really had the chance to get to know this small college town. It’s very homey – a little strange, what with the way people still stare, but his best friends are here, and he wouldn’t rather be anywhere else.

 

“You should check out the forests if you’re curious,” Hoseok suggests, the both of them sitting side by side on the couch playing Mario Kart, even though they have the entire couch to sit. It’s just more comfortable to be close together.

 

“There’s some really creepy history in this town, though. Nobody goes in the forests because apparently witches were hunted through them in the past. People stopped going, but they used to talk about seeing some creepy, satanic ritual stuff.”

 

Hoseok shudders after recounting the information, elbowing him in the side when Taehyung kills him on screen.

 

“Remind me why you guys wanted to go to school here?” He groans, rubbing a hand over his face.

 

Hoseok snorts, a happy grin on his face. “It’s the only place we could all be together, remember?”

 

And he’s right. Originally, Taehyung went to community college in his hometown, but his friends had all moved away from their own homes to go to this one little college that wasn’t too incredibly far for any of them to make the distance, even though they all lived in different towns, having met online playing League.

 

It’s nice knowing Yoongi has a little piece of Taehyung’s home in his accent every time he speaks, so he doesn’t miss it as much as he thought. Plus, he’s with his best friends. What could get better than that?

 

“Also, you love us. And you were jealous that we all lived together without you,” Hoseok giggles when Taehyung smacks him on the arm, rolling his eyes but not denying it.

 

“Whatever. Be careful what you say to me, hyung,” Taehyung simpers. “I might just call on those witches to unleash hell on you.”

 

“I know you’re joking, and I was joking when I mentioned it, but seriously. Don’t go out there,” Hoseok warns, tone stern and heavy with meaning.

 

“Yeah, yeah. I’m not stupid enough to do something like that,” Taehyung waves him off, but he can’t shake the thought out of his head.

 

You can’t just tell him not to do something and expect him not to. His brain just doesn’t work that way. But Taehyung is still way, way too afraid to do something that dumb on his own.

 

He gets home from class a few days later, clothes and hair slightly damp from the rain. It’s supposed to storm tonight, so he wanted to get home early before it really started to pour, which was really just an excuse for him to leave class early.

 

He walks into his room with a cheery step until he sees a big, black hulking mound of fur in the center of his bed, head placed between paws and chocolate brown eyes staring straight at him.

 

To say he screams is an understatement.

 

He falls back on his ass, and the mound of fur immediately tenses, nose sniffing the air. The first word that comes to mind is wolf, but that doesn’t make sense. There are no wolves here, or at least he hopes, so his brain chalks it up to being a massive dog in the center of his fucking bed in his fucking room.

 

“Jimin, this is definitely a fucking dog!” He shouts, scrambling back out of the room.

 

It could be a dog, but the sheer size of it is fucking massive. He’s never seen a dog that big, and he’s left wondering if it’s maybe a coyote, but coyotes aren’t that big either, right? What the fuck is animal anatomy, honestly.

 

He feels someone standing next to him, still sprawled out on the floor by the open door of his bedroom, and he scrambles to stand up, trying to grab the remaining pieces of his dignity and composure.

 

“He isn’t ours, though,” Seokjin shrugs, gazing at the dog with warm eyes like this is normal. How can a dog be that big? “I mean, we leave the back door open sometimes when it rains. He comes in when he wants, I guess, and since your room has been mostly vacant, he would sleep in there.”

 

“And you didn’t think to tell me? Dude, I’m allergic,” He whines for the second time that day, and Seokjin’s face pulls into a frown.

 

“Well, your bed is pretty comfortable.”

 

“Really?” Taehyung cries, hands thrown up in the air, and the dog watches on with an almost innocent expression. “Seriously? I switch schools just for this? Isn’t it feral? What if it has rabies, dude?”

 

The longer he stares at the dog, the more a sense of familiarity arises. He feels like he’s seen this dog before, but his logical mind says he’s never seen this dog before in his life.

 

“It’s raining,” Seokjin snaps, and Taehyung shuts up quickly, head swiveling to stare at him in surprise. “I don’t think you’d like it very much if you were stuck out in the rain when you spend the night in the woods every day.”

 

He doesn't say anything more, leaving Taehyung and the dog in his room.

 

“What the actual fuck is going on,” He whispers, rubbing at his eyes to try and see if the dog will disappear, but it’s face almost looks smug. He can’t believe dogs grow to be that big now, and is this dog really staring at him like that on his bed? How rude.

 

“What the hell is its name, at least?” Taehyung calls and he hears Seokjin snort.

 

“Kookie. We call him Kookie.”

 

Taehyung sighs, glancing over at the dog. “Well, Kookie. Looks like we’ll be sharing my bed if you decide to stay. I hope you don’t mind my sleep kicking and snoring. Oh, and not to mention the occasional morning wood.”

 

The dog huffs, hopping off of his bed, claws ticking on the hardwood floor on the way out of Taehyung's room. He shrugs, throwing his hands up again.

 

“Whatever. Your loss, buddy,” Taehyung mutters, making his way over to his bed to strip down the muddy, wet sheets. He has to admit, his sleep kicking is a nightmare, so he can’t blame the dog.

 

The rain pounds down harder, and he hears voices downstairs before the back door shuts, and Taehyung sighs, heading downstairs to throw his sheets in the wash.

 

“Where’d Kook go?” Yoongi calls from across the house, and he can’t make out what Seokjin says back. A moment after he shuts the wash and turns it on, Yoongi’s head peeks into the laundry room.

 

“Seokjin said he’s in your room.” Yoongi frowns, and Taehyung shakes his head, leaning against the edge of the machine.

 

“Nope,” He pops his lips. “He left my room a little while ago.”

 

“Did you kick him out?” Yoongi questions, head craning back to check the weather outside, frown growing even more.

 

“No! All I said is we’ll have to share the bed and he left,” Taehyung shakes his head. “And I might have mentioned morning wood. Am I the only one who doesn’t think this is completely normal?”

 

Is he going crazy? It seems like everyone’s agreed that this is a normal occurrence and that Taehyung is the one who is acting strange. But maybe he is. It’s just a dog, after all. Right?

 

Yoongi leaves without another word, and for some reason, he feels guilt swirling in his stomach. Did he say something that made Kookie want to leave? It’s raining pretty hard right now, and that would suck – having to spend the night out in the woods when it’s storming this bad.

 

Is he seriously worried right now that he offended a dog? What the fuck?

 

He walks over to the living room, spotting Seokjin and Yoongi speaking in hushed tones, Yoongi’s worried eyes flickering over towards the back door. Yoongi’s holding an umbrella, and they quickly quiet down when Taehyung shows up, though, and he scowls.

 

“Seriously, guys, does anyone want to enlighten me on what the hell is going on?” Taehyung says, crossing his arms over his chest.

 

“There’s nothing going on. We’re just wondering where Kookie went when it’s storming this bad,” Seokjin explains in a patient tone. “He’s usually pretty scared of storms…”

 

“Jesus, now I feel like a complete asshole,” Taehyung sighs, rubbing at his eyes with his fingers, shrugging. “Look, I’ll go look for him if it really bothers you guys that much.”

 

“In this weather? You really don’t have to-”

 

“Here,” Yoongi thrusts the umbrella in his hands. “Find a raincoat and figure out where the hell Kookie went.”

 

Seokjin looks sheepish, like he wanted to say the same thing, and he sighs. He’s had a long fucking day.

 

“Whatever,” Taehyung shrugs, “I get it, guys. Suddenly a dog is more important than me. Makes sense.”

 

He’s mostly joking, but he’s still a little annoyed how much concern this dog is getting. If the dog survived in the woods all these years without them, then he’s sure it can’t be that big of a deal.

 

He heads out anyways, lingering around the forest edges behind their house, calling out for the dog. The umbrella isn’t doing much to help him in this weather, and he knows it would be more manageable in the forest where the trees can catch the rain, but he remembers what Hoseok told him earlier about the forests, chills running down his spine.

 

But Kookie’s scared of storms, and now Taehyung is starting to feel really bad. What if he’s scared of the forests too, and that’s why he started spending more time in Taehyung’s room before he moved in?

 

Whatever the reason is, Taehyung lets the guilty feelings swirling inside him lead him forward and into the forest, still calling out for Kookie. His phone buzzes in his pocket, and he scrambles around to pull it out.

 

It’s a message from Jeongguk, reading: Hey. What are you doing right now?

 

He frowns, gazing up at the tall trees with something like dread. oh, you know. just trying to find a dog that my friends let sleep in my bed for a year before I moved here because I might have upset him, and now I’m trying to find him in the forests that are supposedly haunted. no biggie.

 

He erases that message as quickly as he typed it up. nooothing. why, whats up?

 

He refrains from adding emojis like he wants to because he knows how much Jimin complains about him being a serial emoji user. Is that even a thing? All he knows is he really likes the one that looks like a pile of shit. And the unicorn, obviously.

 

Meet me at the Waffle House by Yonsei University?

 

Taehyung sighs, debating on whether or not he should go see Jeongguk or keep looking for the dog. He’s also surprised that Jeongguk knows the Waffle House by his University – the one that isn’t very far from his house. He didn’t think Jeongguk lived out around here as well, but the surprise is pleasant.

 

He can’t deny how creeped out he is by these forests, though, and he almost jumps at the opportunity to leave. But if his friends spot him without the dog, will they be upset that he doesn’t have him?

 

He’s sure if they leave the back door open it’ll be fine. Plus, the Waffle House is a super short walk from here. It doesn’t take much convincing to get him to start the tread to the diner.

 

He makes it quicker than expected, but it’s raining hard now and his sneakers are starting to soak through from the rainwater. But whatever predicament he’s in is nothing compared to when he walks in and sees Jeongguk sitting in a booth in the corner of the diner.

 

“Dude, you’re drenched,” Taehyung hisses in alarm, and Jeongguk’s eyes meet his. He’s almost surprised that he doesn’t see red eyes, but that would be ridiculous. Those were just contacts, Taehyung, get it together. “You’ll get sick.”

 

“Nah, I’ll be fine,” Jeongguk smiles, and he’s slightly annoyed at how Jeongguk’s shirt sticks to him, revealing ridges and muscles and an incredibly toned stomach that should never be shown with a baby face like that.

 

He takes off his raincoat and hoodie, handing the warm, virtually dry hoodie to Jeongguk, and he grins in thanks, doing something like burying his face in it before he puts it on.

 

“What’re you doing out in the middle of a storm?” Taehyung questions, frowning, and Jeongguk’s eyebrow rises, ruffling his wet hair with nimble fingers.

 

“I could ask you the same thing,” Jeongguk retorts, leaning forward to place his elbows on the table, gazing at Taehyung with something like concern.

 

“What do you mean?” Taehyung says slowly, shrinking in a bit on himself. It’s fucking cold and his pants are damp and his shoes are soaked, but he’s infinitely better off than Jeongguk. “I only came out to see you.”

 

Jeongguk’s eyebrow twitches, crossing his arms on the table. “Oh, really?”

 

“Yeah, really,” Taehyung purses his lips, staring Jeongguk down. “Why, did you think I was doing something else?”

 

Jeongguk’s lips twitch. “I don’t know, I can’t help but notice your shoes. Did you walk here or something?”

 

Yeah, I walked here. It’s not like anything is far apart around here. Which reminds me,” He leans forward as well, placing his chin on the palm of his hand. “What the hell are you doing out here?”

 

“I live here,” Jeongguk’s mouth threatens to twitch into a smile, but he presses his lips together. “I’ve lived here for years, buddy.”

 

“Wait,” Taehyung frowns, confused. “So you go to school at Yonsei? How come I’ve never seen you before?”

 

“Because you just moved here. Right?” Jeongguk looks smug, but Taehyung’s eye twitches in annoyance. Jeongguk looks like he’s going to start laughing any second, though, which is annoying. Is he missing something here? Is this entire town keeping something from him or something?

 

“I mean, yeah, but I don’t know how you know that,” Taehyung shoots back. “Have you been following me around or something?”

 

“Dude,” Jeongguk lets out a small laugh. “No offense, but I wouldn’t really want to stalk you.”

 

“Why not? I’m pretty cute,” Taehyung winks, tossing his imaginary long hair over his shoulder, and Jeongguk lets out a small giggle.

 

“Well, yeah, but I’ve been going to school at Yonsei for a year now,” Jeongguk’s eyes crinkle, and Taehyung smashes down the urge to coo at him. “It’s kinda hard to ignore everyone talking about a new kid with blonde hair from out of town. And your friends were the hot topic before you were. Nobody really moves here voluntarily unless you were raised here.”

 

“Because of the forests?” Taehyung blurts, and Jeongguk looks surprised for a moment, shock flittering in his eyes.

 

“Y-yeah, I guess. What do you know about that?” Jeongguk asks, almost guarded now, and Taehyung hums.

 

“Not much. Just that the forests are haunted by dead witches or something,” Taehyung says. Jeongguk snorts, rolling his eyes.

 

“Who the hell told you that?” Jeongguk leans closer, chocolate brown eyes piercing into his soul, and Taehyung gulps.

 

“Uhm. My friends?” He squeaks, and Jeongguk laughs.

 

“No wonder. Your friends are pretty misinformed,” Jeongguk accuses playfully, and Taehyung pouts.

 

“Well, it’s not like we grew up here,” Taehyung murmurs, Jeongguk’s smile growing. “What, are there big bad wolves in the forest or something?”

 

Jeongguk jolts, eyes widening, the smile slipping right off of his face. “W-what? Why would you think something like that?”

 

“What?” Taehyung leans back, surprised. “It was just a joke. What, am I right or something?”

 

No,” Jeongguk says quickly, blinking and readjusting Taehyung’s hoodie that’s now probably soaked through as well. “No, you aren’t right at all. Just – just don’t go in them, okay? It’s not a good idea.”

 

Jeongguk stands quickly, gathering his phone and shoving it in his pocket, eyes flittering around the diner as if someone heard them.

 

“Listen, I gotta go, okay? I’ll see you on campus?” Jeongguk is already walking backward towards the door, something strange flashing in his eyes, and Taehyung watches on with an open mouth.

 

“Uhm. I guess?” He croaks, and Jeongguk waves shortly before he’s out the door, the storm still raging on outside.

 

There’s nothing that says Jeongguk was sitting in front of him other than the damp booth where he sat, and small indented marks that look like nails imprinted in the wood of the table. 

 

 

The next time it rains, Taehyung comes home to muddy sheets and the same dog from before on his bed, an almost guilty expression on his face.

 

“Nice to see you again,” Taehyung sighs, throwing his bag and coat in the corner of the room. He really means it, but it’s still sarcastic and he’s still annoyed as hell because of his destroyed sheets.

 

The dog watches him move around the room, one lethal looking paw coming up to cover his nose, and Taehyung snorts. “I’m not upset if you’re wondering. Yoongi hyung nearly had my head when I came home without you, though.”

 

The dog huffs, probably getting snot on his bed, and Taehyung places his hands on his hips, cocking a brow.

 

“Alright, up,” He motions and Kookie surprisingly understands and listens to him, hopping off of the bed so Taehyung can strip his bed of the sheets. “Listen, buddy. If you’re coming in my room all muddy like this, at least wait for me to get home before getting on my bed and ruining my sheets. ‘Kay?”

 

Kookie watches him strip the bed, and Taehyung mentally slaps himself. “What the hell am I doing? Talking to a dog as if it’s a person. Jesus, Taehyung, get it together.”

 

The dog snorts, and he jolts, glancing over at the mound of fur in the middle of his room, but he only stares at Taehyung as if nothing happened, ears flicking in his direction.

 

“Don’t look at me like that. You think you’re gonna get away with walking around the house all muddy like that?” Taehyung questions, an eyebrow raised, and the dog deliberately turns his head away.

 

“Oh, don’t think you can ignore me,” He accuses, dropping his sheets on the bed so that he can stalk over to Kookie, but he resolutely looks at the wall. This dog will be the death of him, seriously.

 

“C’mon. You’re not staying unless you have a bath,” Taehyung jerks his head towards the open door, and the dog finally looks at him for a long, long moment, his eyes expressing how done he is with Taehyung right now. “Let’s go, bud.”

 

Kookie huffs, claws ticking on the hardwood floor on his way out the door, and Taehyung lets a triumphant grin take over his face. Man, he must be some sort of dog whisperer or something. That or Kookie is just an extremely smart dog.

 

Taehyung leads the way to the bathroom, whistling cheerily, passing Seokjin on the way. He presses his lips together like he’s trying not to laugh, reaching out a hand to pet Kookie, but he snaps at his hand before he can pet him, Seokjin jerking back before letting out a dejected sigh.

 

“In you go, boy,” Taehyung gestures to the tub, and Kookie hops in with ease. He’s still surprised with how well Kookie follows commands, almost as if he hears and understands every word that Taehyung says.

 

Kookie has mud caked all in his fur, deep and matted in his coat, and Taehyung sighs heavily. This will probably take a lot longer than he has the energy for, but he’s not letting Kookie walk around the house getting mud and god knows what everywhere – especially not on his bed.

 

He starts up the shower, detaching the showerhead to spray the warm water closer to Kookie’s fur, crouching down by the rub, running his fingers through the coarse fur. It’s surprisingly thick, matted with mud and stray leaves, the water running brown down the drain.

 

Kookie stays relatively still, surprisingly docile, and Taehyung smiles happily. “Good boy. See? It’s not so bad, right?”

 

Kookie touches his wet nose to Taehyung’s cheek, and he giggles, patting him on the head, reaching around for the shampoo to wash him. His arms are already sore, though, and he realizes that he’s going to have to get in the tub so that his arms don’t fall off in the process. 

 

He’d prefer not to be reminded how weak he is and how much he doesn’t work out, but his mind helpfully reminds him what a weak noodle he is when his arms begin to cramp up from the awkward angle.

 

“I’m getting in, Kook. Make room,” He says, and Kookie scoots back as much as he can in the small space, but the tub is small and Kookie is fucking massive, so it’s a little more difficult than he thought to squeeze in.

 

Somewhere along the way, he takes off his jeans – at least this way he’ll only get his boxers and shirt wet, and he’s sure Kookie doesn’t mind. It’s not like he’s naked or anything, jeez.

 

It’s some time later after he’s washed a good portion of Kookie and probably chattered off his ear that he notices the water turning crimson, mixing in with the otherwise foamy suds.

 

“Woah, woah, bud. Are you hurt somewhere that I don’t know about?” Taehyung asks, alarmed, doing a body check over Kookie, but he can’t spot any injuries.

 

It isn’t until his fingers brush lower over Kookie’s back right leg that he lets out a low whimper in pain, and Taehyung jolts back like he’s been shocked, Kookie’s head dipping low.

 

“Oh, no,” He whispers, trying to be gentle as he parts the fur to see a large bite mark right over his hind leg, the bite deep and coated with crimson. He gasps, fingers accidentally pressing down on the wound when Kookie tries to jerk back in shock and pain.

 

Kookie yelps, catching Taehyung’s wrist in between his jaws reflexively - sharp, strong teeth nearly cutting open the flesh with how hard he bites down. Kookie immediately releases his wrist, though, tongue lapping at the bite marks he left in Taehyung’s skin, low whining noises rumbling in the back of his throat.

 

“Hey, woah, woah, it’s okay,” Taehyung says, trying to soothe Kookie. Really, Kookie’s reaction only startled him with how fast he reacted, but he didn’t bite deep enough to hurt him or anything, and he didn’t even pierce the skin.

 

Kookie knocks him back into the edge of the tub anyways, placing his head on Taehyung’s chest like he’s trying to apologize, and Taehyung lets out a little laugh, running his fingers through his coarse fur.

 

“Hey, I said it was okay, didn’t I?” Taehyung murmurs, raising his wrist to show Kookie that no damage was done. There’s only red marks where he bit down, but that’s all. “See? No harm done. I’m not the one hurt, Kookie, it’s you we should be worried about.”

 

Kookie huffs, nose digging into his neck, and he giggles at the ticklish sensation. “I can’t finish washing you and check out your wound if you’re laying on me like this. No offense, but you weigh, like, a ton, man."

 

Kookie continues to lay halfway on his chest defiantly, pressing his nose into Taehyung’s wrist, sniffing like he has to be sure he didn’t hurt Taehyung before he finally leans back, head lowered guiltily.

 

“Don’t look so sad, Kook,” Taehyung smiles, ruffling his fur and patting him on the head. “I’m fine. God, you’re such a worry wart.”

 

Kookie eventually lets him finish washing him, and Taehyung does look at the wound much more carefully this time. It’s deep, possibly infected, so he’s sure to finish washing Kookie quickly, towel drying him so that his fur sticks up in odd directions.

 

He giggles when Kookie makes a grumbling noise like he’s protesting, and pulls out the first aid kit to get to work on his leg, sitting cross-legged on the bathroom floor in front of him.

 

Jimin passes by the open door before back peddling just as quick. “Do I even want to know?” He sighs, leaning on the doorframe of the bathroom, arms crossed.

 

He wonders how they look right now – Taehyung with a wide grin on his face in his soaked boxers and shirt and Kookie’s fur sticking up in every direction.

 

“Nope,” He pops his lips, cleaning Kookie’s wound with precision. It took him years of falling off his bike and somehow getting hurt on nights out to master the art of the first aid kit. To say he could get his black belt in the art of cleaning wounds is an understatement. 

 

Yoongi even gifted him a large one decorated with One Piece stickers for his birthday a year after they all first met, and it’s still a common understanding that Taehyung is a dumbass that gets hurt all the time for no apparent reason.

 

“Alright then,” Jimin shrugs, and when he goes to pet Kookie he jerks his head away, baring his teeth at Jimin.

 

He’s surprised – Kookie lets him pet all over him without complaint. Does he just not like Jimin or something? To be fair, Jimin does smell on his days back from the gym. But he didn’t let Seokjin pet him, either.

 

“He doesn’t let you pet him?” Taehyung cocks his head in confusion, and Jimin sighs.

 

“Nah, it’s been a year and he still doesn’t let any of us touch him,” Jimin pouts, and Kookie dips his head when Taehyung finishes wrapping his leg with gauze. “I almost got him once, and nearly got my hand bitten off in the process.”

 

Taehyung meets eyes with Jimin, a smug expression on his face. Jimin’s eyebrows raise, confusion swirling in his eyes before Taehyung reaches out for Kookie, patting him not once, but three times on the head of good measure.

 

Jimin’s face twists into a scowl, and he cackles, feeling triumphant and special at the same time, grinning wildly. His heart soars when Kookie leans into the touch, letting Taehyung pet him fully.

 

“Fuck you,” Jimin growls out, and he laughs harder, tears collecting in his eyes, Jimin turning on his heel to exit the bathroom.

 

“You’re so jealous, dude,” He calls after Jimin, and he hears a door slam in the distance, wiping at the moisture collecting in his eyes with one last laugh.

 

“What, am I just special or something?” He directs at Kookie, grin still plastered on his face. “Have I got the magic touch?”

 

Kookie huffs right in his face, ruffling his hair, and he snorts. “I say it’s time for a nap. What do you think, buddy?”

 

Kookie perks up, tail wagging for the first time since they've met, and Taehyung grins. “I might let you sleep on the bed with me this time if you don’t mind my sleep kicking. What do you say, huh?”

 

Kookie jumps up, and he laughs, standing and wincing when he remembers he’s still in soaking wet clothes.

 

He could really get used to having Kookie around, honestly. It’s nice having a little buddy that follows him around, something to take care of and communicate with without much effort. Well, more like a massive buddy that weighs a ton, but still.

 

At least, that’s what he says now, but he won’t be saying that when he wakes up with dog fur up his nose and his sinuses clogged up again. But maybe this time, it’ll be worth it.

 

Chapter Text

On second thought, waking up with clogged sinuses is something that he still can’t get used to.

 

He woke to an empty bed and the back door wide open with a slight pang in his chest, the absence of the giant, hulking dog making him a bit sad, but he would never admit that. So instead he sulks around the house as he gets ready for class, sniffling and shoving food into his face.

 

He ignores the knowing gazes he gets from his friends and stomps his way out of the house and to class, unaware of his hair sticking up in odd directions and the untied shoelaces until he trips over one and stumbles straight into a warm body.

 

“Woah, you okay there, buddy?” The warm body asks, and Taehyung jolts back, a familiar tone in the voice that has him perking up.

 

“Jeongguk?” He smiles, the storm clouds over his head clearing, and Jeongguk smiles back, kind with a slight crinkle to his warm brown eyes.

 

“Hey there,” Jeongguk greets him, angling his head in the direction he was walking. “Which class you heading to?”

 

“Psychology,” Taehyung grumbles, none to pleased about his first class of the day. He loves psychology, but his professor is an absolute shit head, so there goes his love of the subject. “What about you, huh? Junior, right?”

 

“Sophomore,” Jeongguk corrects, a smug glint in his eyes and Taehyung’s eyebrows rise as he follows Jeongguk to his class, not exactly wanting to go to his just yet and face his dick head of a professor. “Actually, I should be a freshman, but I skipped ahead a year.”

 

If he wasn’t surprised before, he’s definitely surprised now. “Seriously? Wow, I feel like a dumbass now. And old,” He pouts, and Jeongguk lets out a little snort, grabbing his wrist and guiding him when he begins to wander off, lost on this part of campus.

 

He’s still pretty new to this school, and he doesn’t miss the stares thrown in their direction, especially with Jeongguk by his side. He also doesn’t miss that the vast majority of the people staring greet Jeongguk with familiarity, and him with hesitance.

 

It’s weird, honestly, how it’s like everyone here knows each other. But Jeongguk makes him feel included, and he’s pretty thankful for that.

 

“Also, you literally dwarf me and you’re that young?” Taehyung tries to ignore the whiny tone to his voice, but how is that even fair? Jeongguk must have been blessed with insanely good genes to look like that as a supposed-to-be freshman.

 

“I’m not much taller than you,” Jeongguk points out, tugging him along through the sea of people in the unfamiliar halls, and he has no idea which building this is – the halls old and cracking with age. “If you worked out a little, you could gain some muscle too, you know.”

 

“And lose my rolls? No thanks, these were very hard earned,” Taehyung pats his stomach, and Jeongguk laughs, the sound soft and rich in his ears. “And I just started-”

 

He cuts off, a few sneezes cutting off what he was about to say, and Jeongguk’s lips wobble like he’s trying not to laugh.

 

“Allergies, I’m guessing?” Jeongguk asks, and Taehyung sniffles, eyes watering and his old irritation coming back. He can’t believe Kookie up and left him. Doesn’t he know how attached Taehyung is already? He’s hopeless at this point.

 

“Something like that,” Taehyung mumbles, lips pulling down. “I’ve got this dog that stops by my house, and he’s the cutest thing in the world, but he’s massive, and I’m insanely allergic,” He explains, and he just now registers that Jeongguk and him have stopped, Jeongguk’s back pressed up against the wall next to the door of his classroom, listening to him intently.

 

“He just kinda comes and goes, and honestly, I’m cool with sneezing all the time if he would just stick around, you know? I’m a little worried, I guess,” Taehyung admits, and Jeongguk’s eyes shine with mirth and something soft.

 

“Worried, huh?” Jeongguk asks, quiet, and Taehyung nods quickly. “Well, if he’s a big boy like you say, then I’m sure he can take care of himself.”

 

“But he’s scared of storms, and I’m afraid he’ll get caught in one and get hurt again,” Taehyung says earnestly, and shock flashes through Jeongguk’s eyes. He must be surprised at how much emotion is in Taehyung’s voice or something.

 

“Well, if he’s a stray, and he’s used to being a-alone,” Jeongguk clears his throat, looking away, “Then he’ll find a way to deal with it.”

 

“I guess you’re right,” Taehyung sighs, gazing at Jeongguk’s conflicted expression and tense jaw. “Maybe you should meet him sometime.”

 

Jeongguk breaks out into weak coughs, waving Taehyung off when he takes a worried step forward. “U-uh, I’m not much of a… Dog person.”

 

“I can understand that. But you know what’s crazy?” Taehyung asks, not minding the people passing them and heading into Jeongguk’s classroom. “This dog, he literally looks like a wolf-

 

Jeongguk reacts so fast he barely registers it, grabbing his upper arm and tugging him away from the open door of the classroom and dragging him towards a quiet corner, eyes alert and alarmed.

 

“J-jeongguk?” He asks, and he just barely catches sight of the wide eyes staring at him from the entrance of the classroom until Jeongguk steps in front of his line of sight, smiling like he didn’t just drag Taehyung halfway across the building.

 

“Yeah? Sorry, it was a little drafty over there, don’t you think?” Jeongguk’s eyes are sharp, alert, but he makes no move to step out of his line of sight.

 

“Uhm. I guess?” He says, confusion muddling his brain, and he jolts when he catches sight of the clock, only a few minutes left for him to make it across campus to his class.

 

“Hey, uh – I gotta go, okay, hyung?” Jeongguk says, glancing over his shoulder quickly. “I’ll see you after class? We can go get a coffee if you’re free.”

 

“Sure,” He agrees, still confused over what just happened, but Jeongguk is already walking away from him, slinging his bag higher over his shoulder. “Hey, I never asked. What class are you taking?”

 

He only managed a glimpse of the classroom, and the mixture of lab coats and old, spindly books in front of each desk was strange. Maybe it was some kind of history class?

 

“Uh, it’s just a, uhm,” Jeongguk fumbles, nearly tripping over his own feet. “Like a science class, I guess? See you around!”

 

Jeongguk disappears into the classroom in the next instant, and Taehyung wonders if something weird is going to happen every time he sees Jeongguk.

 

 

“Oh, so you’re back?” Taehyung purses his lips, gazing at Kookie with his head dipped towards the floor, tail tucked. “You could’ve waited until I woke up, you know.”

 

Kookie head rises to gaze at him, warm brown eyes soft and sad, and Taehyung sighs in defeat. “You can’t look at me like that, Jesus. It makes me feel like I’ve kicked you or something.”

 

Kookie brightens slightly when he comes closer, and when Taehyung opens his arms Kookie comes bounding forward, tackling him to the floor and licking all over his face and neck, tail wagging so hard that he swears he’s going to have bruises.

 

“Okay, okay!” He laughs, fingers scrambling in his fur to try and pull him back, but Kookie is sitting back on his haunches, mouth stretched in something that looks like a smile, tongue lolling out. “I missed you too, buddy. Where’d you go?”

 

Kookie barks, and it sounds loud in the quiet house, sharp and surprisingly strong. For some reason, the sound doesn’t sound like a normal dog bark, but instead much more aggressive, even though he knows the bark was just Kookie trying to talk to him.

 

“Yeah? Sounds fun,” Taehyung grins, nodding along, and Kookie wags his tail, the force slapping against his leg when Kookie gets closer, the force nearly bruising. “Christ, Kook, your tail is gonna beat the shit out of me.”

 

Kookie yips, biting down gently on his wrist, and Taehyung laughs softly, shaking his head at the gentle pressure of teeth against his pulse, Kookie tugging him towards the kitchen.

 

“What is it, huh, bud?” Taehyung grins, letting Kookie guide him into the kitchen, and he nearly jolts at the sight of Kookie’s sharp teeth, but he’s being so gentle with him that the sight doesn’t bother him. “You hungry or something?”

 

Kookie barks again, and honestly, the sound can’t be described as a bark and more of a short growling noise that raises the hairs on his arms. Kookie nudges his nose against the fridge, and he laughs, still not over how intelligent the dog is.

 

If he could be a dog and also be that goddamn smart, Taehyung would never want to be a human. Fuck having shitty emotions and a mind that overthinks everything, honestly.

 

He pulls open the fridge, and Kookie sits obediently in front of the fridge as Taehyung rummages around for some sort of meat, making a triumphant noise when he finds a small package of lunchmeat.

 

“How’s this? Figured you would want some meat-”

 

He cuts off, eyes widening in surprise when Kookie noses his way into the fridge, sniffing around until he finds the raw beef Seokjin put in the fridge to defrost, pulling the package out of the fridge and tearing the plastic wrap apart with his teeth to reach the meat.

 

Kookie scarfs the raw meat down like he’s been starving for weeks, tearing at the meat, crimson staining his muzzle and the floor in front of the fridge. Taehyung stares on in absolute shock, stomach turning at the sight, and he doesn’t bother trying to reprimand him – right now, he’s focused on not being sick.

 

“Gross,” Taehyung whines, covering the lower portion of his face with his hand, turning away to avoid the sight.

 

Can dogs even eat raw meat? Isn’t that… Unsanitary? But it’s not like Kookie could find dog food when he lives and wanders around the woods – he probably has to hunt for his own meat.

 

“That was our dinner,” He mourns, mostly fearful of Seokjin’s wrath when he finds out their dinner for the night was demolished on the kitchen floor by none other than Kookie.

 

Kookie barks and he tries to ignore the stench of raw meat, sighing deeply through his nose as he begins to clean up the mess the dog left.

 

For the next few days, Kookie doesn’t skip out on stopping by the house and making a mess, and outside of the house on campus, he runs into Jeongguk more often than not. It’s nice to see the kid out and about, and every time he sees Jeongguk his eyes look a little brighter, his smile a little more genuine and open, demeanor a little softer and vulnerable.

 

It’s impossible to ignore the stares they get, and he has no idea why – Jeongguk doesn’t offer an explanation, and Taehyung doesn’t ask for one. It’s weird, but it’s especially cute when Jeongguk invites him to visit him in one of the dance studios.

 

He had no idea Jeongguk danced, but Jeongguk’s natural grace and comfort in his body definitely makes sense with the way he moves when he dances like this is easier than breathing for him.

 

“C’mere,” Jeongguk offers a hand, panting, sweat beading along his hairline and running down his jaw, his neck, and Taehyung forces himself to look up, face hot.

 

“Why?” He pouts, yelping when Jeongguk grabs his bicep and tugs him up, placing him in the center of the dance studio, the bass of the song heavy and pulsing, embarrassment lighting a fire in his body. “I’m shit at dancing, you should really spare yourself the misery of watching-”

 

“Hey,” Jeongguk cuts him off, smiling, walking around to stand in front of him, so close Taehyung can feel the heat radiating from his body, “Nobody is shit at dancing, okay? Give yourself some more credit.”

 

“Yeah, well, you haven’t seen me dance yet,” Taehyung grumbles, raising an eyebrow at Jeongguk when he doesn’t move. “So what do I do?”

 

“Whatever you feel like,” Jeongguk shrugs, mirth dancing in his eyes, and he lets out a small giggle when Taehyung pouts again. “Ever heard of freestyling?”

 

“No,” Taehyung mutters, and Jeongguk laughs again. Of course he’s heard of freestyling, but if he admits he knows what it is then Jeongguk won’t let him out of this. “Maybe you should show me a demonstration.”

 

It’s Jeongguk’s turn to raise a brow, lips curling. “I’ve been dancing for the past half hour.”

 

So,” Taehyung huffs, crossing his arms, and Jeongguk lets out a quiet giggle again, barely heard over the music, but the sound warms his chest.

 

“How about following my lead?”

 

Following Jeongguk’s lead is nearly impossible, in reality.

 

“How the fuck do you move your body like that?” Taehyung says, in awe, and Jeongguk grins, puffing out his chest slightly.

 

“Practice and my wo- Uhm, you know. Being born with it, I guess?” Jeongguk scratches at the nape of his neck, cheeks glowing, and Taehyung squashes down the urge to coo at him.

 

He can’t coo at grown men, god, don’t be gross, Taehyung. But seriously, it’s hard when Jeongguk is this confident and graceful one moment, and bumbling and awkward the next.

 

“Well, I definitely am not born with it,” Taehyung smiles softly, and Jeongguk smiles back, rounding around the back of him and coming close, their eyes meeting in the mirror.

 

“Oh, I know that,” Jeongguk grins, playful, placing a hand on his shoulder from behind, and Taehyung jumps slightly, his palm hot and strong on his shoulder. “Let me show you.”

 

“S-sure,” Taehyung nods quickly, tensing up when Jeongguk steps closer, their bodies perfectly aligned, a hair of a breath between them.

 

“Your control center is right here,” Jeongguk murmurs, voice low as his hand snakes down to press over Taehyung’s abdomen. “Everything extends outwards.”

 

“Okay,” He chokes out, breath quickening when Jeongguk’s nails scrape over his shirt, right over his stomach, before he steps back to show Taehyung the moves again, but coming close to correct him when he misses a move.

 

He hopes Jeongguk doesn’t notice the hot flush over his cheeks and ears, but when he glances over, the small, triumphant smirk on his face just makes his face even hotter.

 

Spending time with Jeongguk comes easy, and they meet up after class often to get a coffee and talk or hang out in the dance studio, mostly goofing around and laughing when they get shushed from the neighboring dance studios. It’s comfortable, and the warm, pulsing feeling in his chest is really, really nice.

 

Taehyung avoids the conversation of inviting Jeongguk over again because of what happened last time, even though he really does want Jeongguk to meet Kookie. Especially because Kookie has been coming over more than ever and even sleeping in the bed with him, and he feels like the best goddamn dog owner in the history of dog owners.

 

He even let Jimin pet him once before he growled for Jimin to get away. That’s some improvement if he’s ever seen it, and he makes sure to tackle Kookie and hug and squeeze him as a reward.

 

But surprisingly, Jeongguk is the first to bring it up again one day when Taehyung and him are out getting coffee, albeit nervously.

 

“Hey, uh, Tae?” Jeongguk murmurs after a lull in their conversation, the silence comfortable and easy. They’re sitting in a quiet corner of the coffee shop, the window revealing another gloomy, rainy day outside.

 

“Hmm?” He hums, busy gazing out the window, and he turns when Jeongguk doesn’t say anything right away. “What’s up?”

 

“Uh, do you remember how you said you wanted me to come over?” Jeongguk begins, not meeting his eyes, and Taehyung nods quickly, leaning forward.

 

“Yeah, of course. What, have you changed your mind or something?” Taehyung smiles, gently nudging his leg under the table with the toe of his sneaker, and Jeongguk pouts a little.

 

It’s definitely a pout, but if he mentioned that, he knows Jeongguk would deny it like hell, maybe even hit him for saying something like that. It’s so hard, though, especially when Jeongguk is so, infuriatingly cute without even trying.

 

“Y-yeah, I mean, it would be nice to meet your dog,” Jeongguk offers, shrugging, a small smile tugging at his lips. “Even though I don’t like dogs.”

 

“Remind me why you don’t like them again?” Taehyung teases, placing his chin in the palm of his hand, and Jeongguk looks around their little corner, something like a blush passing over his cheeks.

 

A small, pleased noise escapes his lips at the sight, and he’s glad that Jeongguk doesn’t seem to notice, scratching at the nape of his neck with his index finger. “More like they don’t like me, actually. It’s a long story.”

 

Taehyung offers for them to go over now, and Jeongguk nods, agreeing easily, but nervously. It’s quick and comfortable to pack up their belongings and begin the trek to Taehyung’s shared house, Jeongguk walking close enough that their shoulders bump every few steps, hands brushing occasionally.

 

He resists the urge to grab Jeongguk’s hand and squeeze, certain that that would probably be weird as fuck, Taehyung, control yourself, but the way Jeongguk keeps his head down like he’s shy is the cutest thing in the world.

 

He’s unsure as to why Jeongguk is acting like this – maybe he’s thinking of hidden implications and is getting shy about it? It’s not like Taehyung plans on bringing him home just to fuck him, even though that is in the plans, eventually.

 

He’s more of a wine and dine kind of guy, to be honest. But his chest swells and warms at the sight of Jeongguk, biting down on his lower lip like he wants to say something but keeps stopping himself.

 

Plus, Jeongguk is too precious for a one-night stand. He’s funny, agile and smart, cute and clumsy and sweet, but still so awkward and Jeongguk that it’s endearing. He’s too precious for Taehyung, but now that Taehyung is getting to know all sides of him more, he knows there’s no way in hell he’s going to let Jeongguk go.

 

“Here?” Jeongguk mumbles, and Taehyung nods, trying to make Jeongguk smile by shoving him slightly ahead on the path to the door, latching onto his shoulders and squeezing.

 

“I don’t want to go first,” Jeongguk whines, and Taehyung rolls his eyes.

 

“Just go, you big baby,” Taehyung grins, laughing when Jeongguk begins walking, slow and cautious, “Kookie isn’t going to jump out and attack you.”

 

“I know that,” Jeongguk defends weakly, and when they make it up and to the door, Taehyung reaching around his broad frame to open the door, Jeongguk visibly tenses even further.

 

Taehyung doesn’t bother saying anything, choosing to push him ahead and shut the door behind them. He calls out for Kookie, hoping the dog is somewhere around, but he doesn’t hear the familiar sound of claws ticking on the hardwood floor.

 

“Huh. Guess he’s not in today,” Taehyung frowns, toeing off his shoes with Jeongguk before they head into the living area.

 

He doesn’t think any of his friends are home, either, which is good, because Jeongguk is always awkward around them in the cutest way, like he wants to leave a good impression.

 

“That’s okay,” Jeongguk says, eyes sweeping over the area, catching on the back door that’s slightly ajar.

 

“Kook usually comes in and out from there,” Taehyung explains, throwing his bag on the floor and plopping down onto the couch. Jeongguk joins him, putting space between their bodies.

 

He would have preferred to sit directly next to Jeongguk, but he doesn’t want to make him uncomfortable in any way, even though they usually sit pretty close together.

 

“I actually, uh – I need to tell you something,” Jeongguk admits, eyes glued to the floor, chewing his lower lip to death.

 

“Uh oh,” Taehyung says, sitting up and reaching out to place his hand on top of Jeongguk’s. “What is it? Is something wrong?”

 

“Not really, I mean – I just need to tell you something about me,” Jeongguk’s voice is practically a whisper now, and he inches closer to try and hear better, but really he’s hoping that him being close can comfort Jeongguk in some way.

 

“Whatever it is, I’m sure I’ll accept you no matter what,” Taehyung says, and Jeongguk looks up sharply, eyes wide and sparkling and hopeful.

 

By the end of Jeongguk’s word vomit, stuttering and blushing wildly, nails digging into the couch cushion and leaning forward earnestly, Taehyung is wondering if he’s been dreaming this whole time.

 

“So let me get this straight,” Taehyung begins, and Jeongguk nods quickly, “You’re the dog that’s been stopping by this house every – no, wait, wolf – that’s been hanging out with me. You’re a fucking werewolf.”

 

Jeongguk’s shoulder lifts, sheepish. “That’s one way to put it.”

 

His head spins, disbelief bubbling up in him until he lets out a laugh, turning into a fit of giggles. “Okay, sure. Makes total sense. I definitely believe you. No wonder you were so fucking smart.

 

Jeongguk rolls his eyes at the sarcasm in his voice. “I can show you if you’d like.”

 

“Show me?” He squeaks, tensing when Jeongguk moves around, “Woah, wait, oh god, don't get naked on me-”

 

“I’m not,” Jeongguk grins, flicking his hair out of his eyes. “I’m just gonna show you my half phase, like the in between state before I fully wolf out.”

 

“Okay,” Taehyung says, but it comes out high and unsure, something like adrenaline pumping in his veins.

 

“I can hear your heart racing, you know,” Jeongguk adds before he shuts his eyes, face smoothing out peacefully.

 

“You can hear my heart racing, cool, great,” Taehyung laughs, running a hand through his locks. “Wait, you saw me naked when I was changing the other day! Dude, I can’t believe this lack of privacy-”

 

“Hey, I was trying to tell you not to change! I literally attacked you, and besides, I grew up in a pack of naked people, okay?”

 

Taehyung lets out a weak groan, flopping back against the couch. “We haven’t even gotten serious yet. I wanted to take you out officially before you saw me naked, Jesus, talk about jumping the gun-”

 

“You’re the one who changed in front of me! Who the hell does that?” Jeongguk argues weakly, throwing his hands up. “Besides, I even looked away – Wait,” Jeongguk pauses, eyes widening comically. “You wanted to take me out?”

 

“I mean, yeah, you’re like – I mean, you’re you, and I kind of die every time we’re together, so I figured I would take you out eventually,” Taehyung mumbles, confidence dying under Jeongguk’s wide, prying gaze, lips spread into a smile.

 

“I hope that’s a good thing,” Jeongguk laughs, face growing serious. “You mean – I just told you I’m a werewolf, and you still want to go out with me? Are you crazy?”

 

Taehyung laughs loudly, keeling over at the ironic statement. He can’t believe Jeongguk is asking him that question like he’s grown a second head. “Shouldn’t you be supporting me in this decision? Is it wrong to want to date the fuck out of a werewolf, even though you occasionally turn into a fluffy, cute wolf that’s completely harmless? The wolf that protects me when I sleep?”

 

He hasn’t missed the way Kookie – or actually, Jeongguk - would stay up some nights in his wolf form, gazing at the window and head turning to look at the door, ears perked up, something protective in the actions that warmed his chest.

 

Jeongguk purses his lips. “I hope you know I’m only like that with you,” He mutters, glancing away, and something giddy and happy washes over Taehyung.

 

“Only me, huh?” Taehyung grins and Jeongguk scoffs, warmth dusting over the tops of his cheekbones, “And why is that?”

 

“No reason,” Jeongguk shoots back, puffing out his chest like he’s trying to gain back his dignity, but Taehyung is too smitten at this point. “Aren’t I supposed to be showing you my half phase?”

 

“Sure, of course,” Taehyung relents easily, much more comfortable now, and Jeongguk huffs out a breath. “Go right ahead.”

 

The shift is fast, shockingly so, Jeongguk’s jaw dropping open as if he’s surprised, but it’s only because fangs begin to grow from the tops and bottom of his teeth, eyes glowing red and nails sharpening.

 

Jeongguk blinks prettily at him, and the scary effect is broken when Taehyung laughs again, unable to resist the urge to coo at him, reaching over and pinching a cheek.

 

“Most people cower in fear, you know,” Jeongguk grumbles, nipping at his thumb playfully when he pulls back, and Taehyung is definitely not afraid, but he is curious.

 

He leans closer to gaze into Jeongguk’s bright eyes, completely blood red, and he hums out a thoughtful noise. “You know, this looks strangely like that night on Halloween.”

 

Jeongguk smiles, sheepish. “It’s the only night I can walk around more like myself around places outside of town and not be afraid that I’ll be killed.”

 

“God, that’s shitty,” Taehyung breathes, chest aching with sympathy. “You’re so harmless, though.”

 

“With most people, I am,” Jeongguk mumbles, relaxing into the couch when Taehyung places his hand over the top of Jeongguk’s knee, hoping that it’s comforting. “But when me or my pack are threatened, I can get pretty scary.”

 

“You have a pack?” Taehyung’s eyebrows lift in surprise, curious. “I mean, I’ve read enough Harry Potter fan fiction to know the whole alpha omega shit, but is that really accurate?”

 

Jeongguk hums, “I do have a pack, yes. And as for dynamics, it’s a little more… Complicated than that. Not that I’ve read fan fiction or anything,” He stutters, cheeks burning, and Taehyung giggles, something fond and warm growing in him, swallowing him up.

 

“Cutie,” Taehyung coos, and Jeongguk pouts.

 

“Shut up,” He mutters, and Taehyung laughs again, squeezing the top of Jeongguk’s thigh. “But when I said complicated, I just meant… Well, let me explain, I guess.”

 

Apparently, alphas, betas, and omegas exist, and the dynamics that Taehyung is used to aren't wrong at all. Alphas are more dominant, omegas are more submissive, and betas fall somewhere in between, but the dynamics in a pack situation are completely opposite.

 

There is no difference between the dynamics because everyone is treated as an equal. Humans and other supernatural can also be a part of a wolf’s pack, but they’re typically either an alpha or an omega in the pack.

 

Alphas are the backbone of a pack, but they’re by no means fit for leading because of their hardheaded, hot-blooded nature. Omegas are just as important because of their caring, attentive ways. They’re highly respected in all regards, and they can fight just as good as any other pack member one moment, and be loving and caring the next.

 

Betas, though, are considered natural born leaders because of their ability to see both sides. They’re a perfect balance of being caring yet assertive, and they can put aside their emotions easily to make pack-wise decisions.

 

Red eyes for betas, blue for omegas, and yellow for alphas.

 

“So, you must be a beta then?” Taehyung questions, head cocked curiously, and Jeongguk nods in confirmation. The new information is super interesting, and not at all what he would think, but he’s really curious now that Jeongguk is speaking about it more comfortably.

 

“Yep, leader of my pack,” Jeongguk smiles, proud, and Taehyung feels proud for him. “This might seem a little crazy, but my pack is – well, my pack is the entire town.”

 

What?” Taehyung chokes, coughing, and Jeongguk smiles, reaching out to rub his back as the coughing fit passes.

 

He didn’t realize how close they’ve moved towards each other until this moment, Jeongguk’s leg practically thrown over his own, his hand on Jeongguk’s thigh. It’s comfortable, and he smiles at the realization.

 

“Yeah, well – I’m sure you’ve noticed all the stares we’ve been getting,” Jeongguk says, shrugging. “I protect the entire town, and they do the same for me. I make a lot of the decisions, and in turn, we can live peacefully.”

 

Jeongguk pauses for a moment, gaze dropping, smile fading. “It used to be my parents before me, but they passed away in a fire a long time ago. Hunters snuffed them out. I was eight.”

 

Taehyung lets out a soft, sympathetic noise, reaching out to grip Jeongguk’s hand, their fingers intertwining like it’s the most natural thing in the world. He can’t stand to see Jeongguk’s eyes so dull and sad, lips pulling down.

 

“I’m so sorry, Jeongguk,” Taehyung whispers, completely earnest. He can’t imagine what it would be like to lose the people you love at such a young age, and Jeongguk’s lips pull up faintly.

 

“It’s not your fault, hyung,” Jeongguk murmurs, rubbing circles into the skin of his hand with his thumb.

 

“I know, but I wish something like that didn’t have to happen to you,” Taehyung responds, throat tightening.

 

“It’s made me who I am. My pack has made me who I am,” Jeongguk smiles, soft.

 

“But does that mean, everyone knows about werewolves in this town?” Taehyung questions, eyes blown, Jeongguk’s eyes an even deeper red now, pools of crimson red that glow in the light of the sun setting, the sadness passing.

 

“Of course. Not just werewolves, though - faeries and vampires, witches and shapeshifters. You know,” Jeongguk shrugs, “Your usual supernatural shit.”

 

“What the fuck? More exist? Jesus christ,” Taehyung slaps a hand to his forehead, and Jeongguk grins, poking him in the side.

 

At the same time, all of it makes sense. No wonder no outsiders come to this little town – probably because nobody is even allowed, not if Jeongguk makes all the big decisions here. Even the supposedly haunted forest makes sense. And people talk. If they were planning on kicking him and his friends out, they would have done it a long time ago.

 

“So, why did you let me and my friends stay, then?” Taehyung questions, toying with a loose strand in Jeongguk’s jeans. “Everyone knows about this except for us. It could have been dangerous, right? We could have run yelling and screaming about a town filled with supernatural people.”

 

Jeongguk has the decency to look guilty, eyebrows pulling together. “I can’t exactly say right now, but soon, I promise. There are people here who aren’t supposed to be here, and I thought it would be safest to keep you out of it.”

 

Taehyung frowns, but he doesn’t push. If Jeongguk thinks it’s best for him not to know right now, then he trusts him with that, even though he’s taken to this supernatural stuff pretty easily.

 

Despite him pestering Jeongguk for him to shift, he doesn't, promising that he will another day, mentioning something about being tired. Honestly, werewolves have been something that Taehyung has secretly always wanted to exist.

 

Isn’t that, like, the coolest thing? To be able to turn into a hulking, massive wolf that could either be a fluff monster or something very intimidating? He tells Jeongguk this earnestly, and the tinkering laugh he gets in response is the cutest thing he’s ever heard.

 

His friends do end up coming home eventually, and if they’re curious about the sight of Jeongguk and Taehyung’s legs thrown over one another’s, hands still intertwined, they don’t say anything.

 

“Hey, did you guys know about this town?” Taehyung questions, curious, and Seokjin tenses up on his way to the kitchen, the rest of them plopping down on the other couches and seats in the living area.

 

“Know what?” Jimin tilts his head, but he can see out of the corner of his eye the way Yoongi turns away, mouth twitching.

 

Jimin plops down on Taehyung’s right, and Jeongguk stiffens, but he doesn’t move from his position to his relief.

 

“You know what. I can see you smiling, hyung,” He directs at Yoongi, and Hoseok snorts out a laugh.

 

“Are you asking about the supernatural thing? Of course we know,” Namjoon says like it’s the most natural thing in the world, and Taehyung’s mouth flops open in shock, stuttering.

 

Jimin grins, “Catching flies there?” He closes Taehyung’s mouth with his thumb, and he doesn’t miss the way Jeongguk bares his teeth at Jimin, fangs still out. Jimin puts his hands up in surrender, sinking back into the cushions with a triumphant smirk.

 

“You knew this whole time?” Taehyung practically screeches, and Namjoon shrugs. “And you didn’t think to tell me?”

 

“Well, we were under town rules not to tell you. It’s strictly forbidden,” Namjoon frowns, and Taehyung growls out a frustrated noise.

 

“And let me guess. You put those rules into order,” Taehyung says, glaring at Jeongguk.

 

He can’t even be angry with him for more than two seconds, not when he has those big puppy eyes like he’s just been kicked. “S-sorry, I didn’t mean to yell.”

 

“It’s okay,” Jeongguk smiles. “I just – I mean, I have those rules in place for a reason. And I wanted to be able to tell you on my own, without you figuring it out. I wanted to wait because I wanted to initiate all of you into the pack.”

 

“Is that why you’ve been hanging around the house? In wolf form?” Taehyung wonders, eyes widening, and Jeongguk nods in confirmation.

 

“Not the only reason, but yeah, the biggest one,” Jeongguk looks away, warmth dusting over the tops of his cheekbones, and Jimin coos playfully, something like a growl vibrating in Jeongguk’s chest.

 

“And you guys weren’t allowed to tell me,” Taehyung deadpans, their heads bobbing in agreement.

 

“To be fair, we didn’t actually know about the pack thing until about three seconds ago,” Yoongi chimes in, and Seokjin finally joins them, plopping down next to Namjoon.

 

Jeongguk winces, suddenly looking nervous again. “Y-yeah, I wanted to ask all of you together. I’m not asking now, I’m just – letting you guys know, you know?”

 

“Yeah, we know,” Namjoon’s lips quirk up, and Jeongguk visibly relaxes, sinking closer to Taehyung until they’re completely pressed up against one another.

 

“There’s a lot that goes into being a part of a pack, and I would never force anything on you guys, I just – I spent a lot of time here to be sure you would all be a good fit. And I’m definitely sure of that now,” Jeongguk’s voice chimes with dominance, previous nerves completely gone.

 

It’s clear to anyone looking at him that he is a natural born leader, someone who can see both sides.

 

“You all always have free will. I didn’t want to tell you so soon, but I’ll let you think about it before you make any kind of decision. There are customs and rules, traditions, and everyone looks after one another like their own. It’s not easy to get used to,” Jeongguk looks down at him and Taehyung’s clasped, hands, eyes flittering over to meet Taehyung’s eyes.

 

“But you couldn’t be a more perfect fit.”

 

Something warm and hot washes over him, ears heating up, and Jimin coughs, raising his hand.

 

“Uh, was that directed to Taehyung or all of us?” Jimin laughs when Jeongguk throws a pillow at him, stuttering out something, previous confidence lost, and Taehyung grins widely, stomach flopping,

 

Jeongguk promises to tell them everything about being in a pack another day, mostly to give Taehyung time to adjust to the new knowledge about the world. Jeongguk looks reluctant to leave when the sun sets, but Taehyung knows what will get him to stay.

 

“You can stay, you know. There’s room in my bed,” Taehyung’s mouth tugs into a small smile, hoping it’s comforting, and it’s worth it to see the way Jeongguk’s eyes light up, lips stretching into a wide, happy grin.

 

“I can change into my wolf form, I know it might be uncomfortable for you if I-”

 

“You don't – you don’t have to do that, Jeongguk. I like you either way,” Taehyung says softly, and Jeongguk clams up, eyes on the floor, smile still in place.

 

It’s interesting to wash up with Jeongguk in the bathroom instead of plopping down in bed with what he now knows to be a giant wolf. It’s surprisingly domestic, and the wonder in Jeongguk’s gaze when he glances at all the different face and hair products is adorable.

 

“I just use soap,” Jeongguk explains when Taehyung asks, toothpaste on his lower lip, and Taehyung wipes it away with his thumb, washing it away in the sink. He doesn’t miss the way Jeongguk turns away, trying to hide his soft, happy smile.

 

It’s strange to see Jeongguk in his clothes, his pajamas, but the sight sends something possessive squeezing at his chest. He tells himself to calm the fuck down, and he does, the both of them crawling into bed. It’s different to sleep next to someone who was one a dog – well, wolf, and is now a human.

 

But he knows both sides of Jeongguk, the two opposing beings, and he accepts both of them fully. He can’t help the loud cackle he lets out when he rolls over late into the night, hand making contact with a soft mound of fur.

 

If he mentions it tomorrow to Jeongguk, he knows the other would resolutely deny it, so for now, he cuddles up against Jeongguk’s wolf form, the other pressing his nose into Taehyung’s hair, huffing out a noise.

 

“Night to you too, Jeonggukie.”