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bustin' rhymes

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     Taehyung isn’t quite sure when he started singing limericks every time he felt a little too happy or a little too sad or a little too angry. Maybe it was that one time when the tall girl from third grade who screamed at his best friend Jimin told his little six year old self she liked him. That liking had ended just as quickly as it began. She wasn’t appreciative when he honestly (against his will) began to sing:

 

Jisoo is tall,

I am small,

She yelled at my Jiminie,

And she’s a meanie,

And I don’t like her at all.

 

   Okay, cut him some slack. He was six. Nevertheless, the ‘curse’, as those he knew called it, stayed the same for the rest of his life. Sometimes it was funny, a little quirk people he met laughed at and never really took seriously. Most people thought he was kidding and just made up limericks as he went to continue his joke. Taehyung wished. Instead, he invited them to see how it felt to have your tongue out of control and your words spinning everywhere and then having to face the consequences your mind had caused. Saying whatever your mind thought meant saying the truth. All. The. Time. Fuck the truth, if you asked him.

 

    His work as a barista in the little cafe Brew-tiful (named after the owner Jin, of course) had led to some small disasters before. There was that one time he had sang a small diss track style limerick to a rude customer which Namjoon, Jin’s partner and rapper extraordinaire, had given him a thumbs up for. Taehyung himself had been completely mortified after calling the man a tasteless ratatouille but his brother Yoongi had later in the evening commented, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

 

   Taehyung wished he could say his control had gotten better over the years, but that wasn’t true and the truth was exactly what he was cursed with. That’s why this was a curse and not some weird habit or quirk. Because no matter how much he tried, words just never cooperated with him and it got him into some sticky situations. He still felt like crying when he thought of the time a woman had caught him bent down and whispering to her fierce doberman:

 

I know you’re secretly fluffy,

Even though you look toughie,

Don’t give me that growl,

Don’t give me that scowl,

Just let me rub your tummy.

 

  Okay, this time he had no excuses. He was a fully grown man and his rhyming and poetry after years of practice was still highly questionable. The woman had given him a weird look and taken her dog away (Taehyung hadn’t even been able to get the tummy rub) and then avoided him for the rest of his life. Except that woman was his neighbour and had actually told his mom as politely as she could that her son might be insane. Though Taehyung had moved away, the woman still avoided their home whenever he went to visit.

 

   Taehyung’s little curse, in conclusion, was a devious thing that had managed to ruin many of his relationships and many, many friendships. Not everyone was comfortable with the fact that he blurted out whatever was on his mind- Taehyung hadn’t realised until he was an adult just how many lies close relationships were built on so often.

 

    So the curse had managed to ensure that every boyfriend he ever had high tailed out of his life sooner or later- but he had Jimin and Yoongi (who had gotten together after Taehyung’s frustration with their pining had brimmed in a low quality rhyme of can you just suck his dick/I'm gonna be sick). He had Hoseok from his fashion tech classes and even Namjoon and Jin had become like friends to him. They had all heard less than pleasant things from him occasionally, but they all knew better than to resent him for it. And so his little world, messy and musical as it was, was more than enough for him.

 

 

...

 

 

    Everything went to shit a few days into February. Or, perhaps, alternatively the best thing in his entire life happened to him a few days into February. But it hadn’t felt like that when it happened. Instead, it felt like one of those times he hated his curse the worst.

 

   The morning was normal; a little cold because of the remnants of winter, so Yoongi had made him wear one of his fluffy hoodies. (Taehyung didn’t mind, because he loved his big brother’s hoodies- they always smelled like too strong coffee and the strawberry shampoo he thought Jimin didn’t know he stole. Jimin did know but hush, that was a Best Friend Secret™.)

 

   He had a Sunday early morning shift, which was his favorite of all. It sounded horrific, but he had always been a morning person and Sundays meant no grumpy people with somewhere to be and marks on their face from where they had accidently fallen asleep on their textbooks. Jin let him open up on Sunday mornings since it was Namjoon’s only day off from his high profile job at a tech company, and they liked to sleep in.

 

    Taehyung was just singing quietly (out of his own volition) and dancing a bit while setting up everything for the rest of the day when he heard the bell at the door tinkle. He was a little surprised to see someone out so early on a Sunday morning, but he figured it was better than the dozens there would be come Monday.

 

   The man who walked in wore a giant black hoodie that covered most of their face. Hmm, Taehyung mused, mysterious. He put on his brightest smile. (Boyfriend #3 told him it looked like a megawatt bulb. Taehyung wasn’t sure if that was an insult, but he hadn’t had a chance to ask him while he was running away after he accidently sang that the boy had a bald spot.)

 

   “Hello, welcome to Brew-ti- oh my god.” Taehyung froze mid speech as he realised who was standing in front of him, wide eyed and slightly panicked. He could already feel the curse taking effect, his raised heart rate building the compulsive need to sing. He felt terrible because the boy already looked nervous at being recognised and Taehyung would no doubt hate himself later but it was not like he could-

 

 

Holy fuck, you’re Jeon Jungkook,

Your black hoodie is such a look,

You’re so cute IRL,

I don’t know if you can tell,

But you’ve got me jungshook.

 

 

   Jeongguk blinked at him. Taehyung slapped a hand over his mouth. “I’m so sorry!”he cried, voice muffled by his palm. He removed it, then tried again. “God, I’m so sorry!”

 

   The idol said nothing even as Taehyung sputtered, and tried to apologise and explain and cringed at the fact that he had just said IRL in a verbal conversation. He blamed Hoseok, and his inability to use full words while texting. Finally, when Taehyung started crying a little the younger boy spoke up, eyes wide.

 

   “Don’t cry!” Jeongguk exclaimed, voice a little higher pitched in real life (or IRL, as his stupid, stupid mind would call it.) It was so cute, Taehyung felt himself wanting to cry a little more. “Believe it or not, this is not the weirdest greeting I’ve gotten! And you said you’re... cursed? So you can’t stop it- it’s okay!”

 

   Even though Taehyung was supposed to be the server, Jeongguk was the one who handed him tissues and patted his back as he wiped his face. He nodded sagely as Taehyung sang to him that he thought his shredded up jeans in his first music video had been a mistake, but his knees were cute and he had an elephant on his thigh so it was okay. Jeongguk also did not run away when Taehyung admitted he had looked at close-ups of his thighs but not for sexy stuff, okay? I like elephants a lot and I have one too.

 

   He then showed Jeongguk the elephant on his arm and sang the Jungle Book song he remembered even though that had been about a bear and made no sense. By the end of this entire experience, Taehyung had almost entirely forgotten that this was the person he had a file dedicated to on his phone and a phonecase of. Instead, it felt like Jeon Jeongguk knew far too much about him but he didn’t mind that at all because he now knew that Jeongguk was scared of butterflies and thought that men’s deodorant companies had a secret conspiracy against his rhinitis.

 

   Taehyung didn’t feel that sad when Jeongguk left (nearly two hours later). This was because he had a new contact on his phone that said Jeonggukie and a promise that the idol would come and visit again soon. And if he had a limerick to sing about that boy’s cute little bunny smile, he grinned while singing it to the empty cafe like the weirdo he was.

 

 

 

...

 

    Taehyung started dating Jeongguk on the fourth of July, which was American independence day and an excuse for all the Americans in Seoul to explode fireworks to commemorate the country they came from. He wasn’t annoyed by them because of it- obviously they would want to celebrate their home- he was happy that all those people setting off the bright explosions in the sky were having fun. But Taehyung was a little scared of loud noises- he didn’t like jump scares in movies, thunder in storms or the screeches that accompanied the beautiful color bombs outside his window.

 

   Most of the time, his Jiminie or his brother would stay with him on nights like this, but they were away for a ‘romantic vacation’. The good part was, Gukkie was coming over! The bad part was, the idol’s schedule was so jam-packed Jeongguk never knew when he would be busy or free, though Taehyung knew he always tried his best. So he bundled himself into his favorite Totoro blanket and tried to block out the noises outside.

 

   He heard the knock on the door through this din somehow- maybe just because he was waiting for it so eagerly. Taehyung walked to open it, smiling at the rumpled, tired boy with his blankie still wrapped around his shoulders. He must not have been as convincing as he thought, because Jeongguk instantly frowned a little. “What’s wrong Taetae?” he asked, wrapping an extra layer of protection over his blanket with his long arms. Taehyung rested his head on the younger’s shoulder, before quietly sighing:

 

I’m feeling a little wary,

These fireworks are scary,

My blankie is snug,

But I kind of want a hug,

From my favourite Gukkie.

 

   Jeongguk indeed hugged him that night- he cuddled Taehyung tight and didn’t let go until the fireworks faded and the loud noises stopped dancing around in his head uncomfortably. Then he wiped the tears he hadn’t known he was crying and stroked his face while telling him about the way an idol he knew had accidently colored his hair neon green until Taehyung’s laughter burst out of him.

 

   That was also the first time Taehyung kissed Jeongguk, his heart a little nervous that the other didn’t feel the same way. He knew the younger cared about him, cared about him a lot. But he wasn’t quite sure if he had come to adore him the way Taehyung had. He got his answer when the idol and pressed him back onto his sheets and kissed him back, softly but fiercely. That had led to a very satisfying make-out session that had only paused once so Taehyung could move his Totoro blanket because it was too innocent for the way Jeongguk was licking up his neck.

 

   (They hadn’t done anything else. Only kissed, all night. When they settled down from their tiredness, Taehyung whispered a quiet limerick into his neck that was a little less funny and a little more loving and if he could control it, he knows he would have said the same thing anyway.)

 

 

...

 

 

   Jimin didn’t believe Taehyung was dating the number one king of his heart the first time he told him. Believe it or not, his best friend had indeed sang ballads to Jeongguk’s thighs and bunny smile before knowing him, too. So he just patted Taehyung on the back and said things like yes, Tae, Jeon Jeongguk is your boyfriend and I’m sure he loves all his fans a lot, don’t cry.

 

    Then one night Jimin walked into his best friend’s house only to find him lying down on the floor singing a sexy Big Bang song while in his giant tiger onesie with Jeon Jeongguk himself doing push ups and kissing him quiet every time he came down. It was so ridiculous that Jimin had to check whether that the stain from where Namjoon had dropped icing all over his t-shirt that day was still there to believe it. It was still there, and indeed Kim Taehyung- chaotic, limerick-singing Kim Taehyung- had managed to nab the country’s sweetheart. Still, Jimin was sure Jeongguk was the real lucky one.

 

    (That night, Jimin wondered to Yoongi whether Jeongguk could introduce him to Taeyang and they could move to L.A. and get married and have a kid named Younger Bæ. But Yoongi wasn’t very pleased with this idea.)

 

 

...

 

 

    Their life continued this way. In the blink of an eye, it was a year later and Taehyung and Jeongguk were still together and happy. It wasn’t the easiest, with Jeongguk’s busy schedule and constantly needing to stay incognito, but they made it work. Taehyung had never had anyone love him for so long- love him despite the fact that he couldn’t help but say things like those pants make your ass flat/you shouldn’t waste it like that. One day, while looking for Jeongguk’s nose drops for when his boyfriend’s rhinitis made him stuffy, he found a little notebook labelled Taehyung in the idol’s cupboard. When he opened it up, Taehyung felt like he could compose a ballad himself because of how violently in love he felt.

 

 

6th  February, 2019

 

I met a boy today. He was beautiful, and he sang me a stupid little song when he saw me, so I’m writing it here so I don’t forget. (He said he’s cursed, I hope he’s not one on the crazy ones.)

 

 

    And then it had Taehyung’s stupid little song written down, IRL and all. The pages after that were full of little scribbled limericks he had sang, with Jeongguk’s little notes alongside. He loved this boy so, so much.

 

 

12th February, 2019

 

I met him again! This time he didn’t sing when he saw me. But then he saw a little poodle wearing a dinosaur costume and he couldn’t help it. Maybe he really is cursed. But then why is his poetry so bad?

 

You little fluffy bean,

The cutest thing I’ve ever seen,

You can dress like a dinosaur,

But I know the baby you are,

Though I admit you look good in green.

 

 

4th July, 2019

 

He kissed me today. I’m already so in love with him. AND HE’S SO CUTE. HE’S SCARED OF STORMS AND HE HAS A TOTORO BLANKET. I FEEL ATTACKED.

 

 

8th August, 2019

 

We had our first fight today. I don’t like that Bogum guy, he keeps looking at Tae funny. I was kind of an asshole though. But it was a little hard to stay serious after he said this:

 

Jeon Jeongguk, stop being a prick,

This isn’t a chick flick,

Bogum hyung is just a friend,

This conversation better end,

Or I’m never again sucking your dick.

 

 

3rd March, 2020

 

   Taehyung was surprised to see that one. That was just yesterday, but he didn’t remember singing anything at all.

 

Tae didn’t sing anything today. But I’m leaving for tour tomorrow and I’m going to miss him so much.

 

 

...

 

 

    There were pitfalls of dating an idol, too. It meant that even though they had been dating so long, they couldn’t move in together. It meant long months talking to Jeongguk over facetime instead of seeing his adorable face up close and near. But that was stuff they could work with, stuff they could work around.

 

    But when reporters caught sight of Taehyung around Jeongguk, they grabbed on like a vice and refused to let him go. Suddenly, everywhere he went there were loud reporters shoving at him and flashing lights at him and Taehyung knew it made his boyfriend furious when he felt nervous and shaky because he had been followed into the bathroom or into his college yet again. There were fans who sent him mean messages and letters, and this was all while they thought the pair were friends. Taehyung couldn’t imagine how much harsher the media and fans would be if they found out they were lovers. They had talked about it- they both wanted to be out in the open someday. That day just hadn’t happened yet for Jeongguk. And Taehyung would do anything for him.

 

   But that didn’t mean it wasn’t hard sometimes. One day, it got a little harder than most.

 

   He was just on his way to Jeongguk’s apartment, tired out after a long day at university. He just wanted a nice cuddle with his boyfriend and maybe some slow sex on the fluffy couch in the living room. He sighed mentally, that sounds like heaven. But then some random reported appeared in front of him and asked one of the usual questions. “How close are you with Jeongguk?”

 

   See, usually, Taehyung heard these questions among a loud clamour of voices, and couldn’t focus on any. But having it directly asked with no distractions? He felt a song compulsively itch his throat. No, Taehyung, he told himself, You’re not doing this Jeongguk. You’re not forcing the person you love out of the closet. Taehyung dug his fingernails into his palm, hard enough to break the skin. “No comment,” he feebly said, shaking his head at the reporter’s further questions, “No comment.”

 

   There were tears stinging his eyes from the pain on his palms and the denied song making his chest ache by the time Jeongguk opened the door for him. The idol’s smile faded instantly, and he hugged Taehyung close, asking soft what happened’s and I’m here now, you’re safe now. He kissed his palms as he taped over the small crescent marks with band-aids, as Taehyung sniffed pathetically.

 

   “He asked me... what we are. Or something. And I almost- but I didn’t Gukkie. I promise. I stopped myself.”

 

   Jeongguk shook his head. “Don’t ever do this, Tae. Don’t hurt yourself to save me. Not ever again.”He softened when Taehyung rubbed his red nose onto the soft skin of his neck. “It’s okay now, baby, you can tell me now. It’s safe now.”

 

   And so Taehyung told him, and it felt as good to laugh with Jeongguk as it always did- near disaster forgotten.

 

 

...

 

 

   Taehyung stood watching from backstage as Jeongguk finished up his concert. He didn’t do this often, but sometimes the inner fanboy in him awakened and he couldn’t help but want to watch his talented lover perform. The heavy base of Begin tingled deep in his throat, and he danced along excitedly (though not very well) as Jeongguk performed his newest hit as his finale. The dancing was hard on him, Taehyung knew, and he told himself to give his boyfriend a nice massage when they got back home.

 

   Finally, the song ended and the crowd roared, waving their Golden Closet lightsticks in a beautiful wave of appreciation for their idol. Taehyung’s heart swelled; it was always so beautiful. He stood ready with a towel, ready to clear the sweat off his boyfriend’s face quickly so it wouldn’t sting his eyes. But then Jeongguk paused. Walked back to the mike.

 

   “I- actually have something else to say. To sing?” Jeongguk voice was nervous. Taehyung heard him take a deep breath, and then heard his own stupid, stupid poetry he had stopped himself from saying that day spill out his boyfriend’s lips, with some minor adjustments:

 

 

 

Kim Taehyung is my bæ,

And we’re super gay,

The love my life,

But he ain’t my wife,

And that’s all I have to say.

 

 

-fin-