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Hold Me

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Taehyung couldn’t remember the last time he was truly happy.

His lips would stretch into a smile and some semblance of chuckles would come out of his throat. In an effort to make it more believable, he would crinkle his eyes and slightly raise up his shoulders. That was his default state of fake happiness and laughter.

Everything was a lie.

Like today.

Hoseok and Jimin were beautiful in their well adjusted and brand new suits in front of the wedding officiant. Their love for each other emanated in waves from them. Taehyung, being Jimin’s witness, could feel it crawl over his skin and make him sick. Bile went up his throat when they said their vows, his breath stopped when they kissed and he nearly broke down when they walked down the aisle, happy and lovely smiles on their faces. Everyone congratulated them, teased them about their future. Where were they going for their honeymoon? Were they already thinking about adopting children? They all wanted to know everything so very badly.

Taehyung stayed behind, eyes closed and his brow furrowed. The jealousy consumed him. As horrible as it was, his hope was finally reduced to nothing. Gone were his dreams of whispering sweet nothings in his ears, of kissing his soft looking lips and of being the very object of his affections. Hoseok was forever Jimin’s and Jimin was forever Hoseok’s. Truly, he felt stupid. Why was he still in love with his best friend’s lover, also one of his very good friend?

As many before probably said, it wasn’t like that at first. Taehyung went to university hoping for a new beginning. He was finally away from the pain of his little hometown in Daegu. Free to forget everything that ever happened, free to be him without any restrictions. No more whispered words said in his back, no more pity, no more anger, no more nothing. Just him in a crowd of overtired and sleepless university students.

He met Jimin on Orientation Day, being just lost as he was on the campus and trying desperately to find his way. They became good friends, best friends, or as Jimin liked to say platonic soulmates attached at the hips. They also didn’t hesitate to ask for a room to share on campus and they made it work well. They would both wake up early for their classes and come back late, Jimin working on a choreopgraphy and Taehyung learning exhaustedly for his anatomy classes. Nothing really changed over their first and second years. But then, Taehyung truly fell in love for the first time of his life.

Hoseok became his partner for one of his extra classes: photography. His dance moves captivated him, telling stories, making him feel emotions he never felt before. Be it during lunch, dinner or out on the weekends, Taehyung spoke expensively about him to Jimin but never went out of his way to own up to his feelings. He was hurt before and didn’t want to be again. He was scared. But Hoseok became that friend who liked to baby him and take care of him, being so scandalised in face of his everyday meals. At that time, he could only afford ramyeon, rice, eggs and some vegetables with his scholarship and his part-time job as a high school tutor. Jimin was just as bad and nearly fainted multiple times in class.

Hoseok came over often, bearing multiple shopping bags, and tried to cook what he could. They would chat endlessly and laughed and smiled and sang and teased and watched stupid tv shows and then…

And then Hoseok was kissing Jimin that one day he came home late.

“Taehyung, you okay?” Namjoon asked, his hand on Taehyung’s shoulder. “You seem down.”

Taehyung gave him a weepy, fake smile.

“Just a bit melancholic. Everything went by so fast. They’re married now...”

Namjoon’s arm went over his shoulders in a half hug.

“Hey, it’s life! Nothing will really change. They’re just very official in front of the law now and have one more anniversary to celebrate. Knowing them, they will still bother everyone to come over and eat whatever they cook up that day.”

Kim Namjoon was the brother he couldn’t have. Nice, overprotective and very unable to take of himself and of his boyfriend Yoongi, he had a tendency to break every object that he touched and couldn’t drive for his life. He was a graduate student well on his way to get his degree by the end of the school year. Yoongi was a music producer, surviving by doing numerous part-time jobs at the same time. They were Hoseok’s best friends. Also his and Jimin’s friends for years. He always knew the right things to say. In this case, it kind of hurt a lot.

“I know. It’s still a bit strange though… Do you think they’re going to be even more sappy now?”

Namjoon laughed and let him go.

“I think so! It’s going to be worse after today and their honeymoon.”

Ah yes, their honeymoon… Hawaii and the sun, Hawaii and the sea, Hawaii and the beaches, and Hawaii and everything nook and cranny they would have to discover. Jimin couldn’t stop talking about their honeymoon these last few months. A honeymoon of his dreams, he said with a dreamy smile. Taehyung cried himself to sleep that night.

“Are you and Yoongi Hyung going to be same after celebrating your wedding?” Taehyung teased while they walked towards the exit, still feeling depressed but keeping up a good facade.

“As if I would marry that idiot!”

Speak of Yoongi and he would appear in silence, ready to make you jump.

“He still bothers me when I’m trying to sleep. Can’t bear not being held when sleeping...” Yoongi grumbled, his hands in his pockets. “The day he is able to live without me I will marry him.”

“So never then?” Taehyung asked. “That’s sad for you Namjoonie hyung.”

Was Namjoon being ridiculous after hearing Yoongi say he will never marry him? Yes, to the point he clinged on to him with all of his weight and nearly toppled him to the ground. Still, Yoongi wouldn’t say no to Namjoon. Knowing them, they could actually propose at the same time with the same ring. Being together since high school, Taehyung wondered why they didn’t marry before Hoseok and Jimin. But now was not the time to think about it, he promised Jimin to take some photos of his wedding today… Taehyung took a big breathe. It was okay. It was okay.

But what could be worse than having to be the witness and photographer of your best friend and the man that you loved’s wedding? Having to drive them to the airport for their honeymoon.

“Thank you Tae Tae! You’re saving us. Yoongi really ditched us at the last minute. He didn’t even tell us why and Namjoon isn’t saying anything either.”

Taehyung loved Hoseok’s smile. It made butterflies fly around his stomach. It also made him want to throw up very badly.

“It’s nothing Hyung.” said Taehyung. “Happy to help Jimin and you. I can’t have my soulmate missing the honeymoon of his dreams.”

The words burnt his mouth like scorching fire. He digusted himself and Jimin hugged him with all his strength saying thank you again and again. Of course he had to stay until they passed border control to make sure they would not miss their flight. Enjoy your honeymoon… and when you come back, Taehyung thought watching them go, I probably won’t be here anymore. This simple idea was a relief.

____________________________________________

It wasn’t of his own initiative. Really. It was actually vastly different from his initial project and never something he thought he could do. But one of his professor gave him a good recommendation and after an interview, he miraculously got the job. So here he was in a suit, ready to sign his very first and serious contract.

“Mr. Kim? Could you follow me please?”

The secretary was kind of intimidating and the people moving around, minding their own business, were even more so. He recognized one or two celebrities and gaped slightly. They stopped at a closed door and his nerves were certainly acting up.

“They’re waiting for you inside.”

“Okay, thank you.”

Nervous, his hand raised slowly to turn the door’s handle. He finally went inside the room, the secretary staying behind.

“Ah, Mr. Kim Taehyung right?”

Taehyung froze like a deer in headlights.

“Please, sit down with us.”

The room wasn’t an official meeting room, but it was certainly the office of someone important. Two blue and comfortable sofas around a coffee table, a desk, a computer, a chair and lines and lines of various artists’ CDs as decoration on the wall. Taehyung could recognize a number of them but that wasn’t the most impressive. No. The impressive thing was Jeon Jeongguk in the flesh, watching him with a curious look on his face. Quickly and nearly tripping over his own feet, Taehyung went to sit on the sofa facing Mr. Bang and Jeon Jeongguk and next to someone who was probable another very important person.

“Would you like some tea? Or coffee maybe?” Mr. Bang asked.

“Ah, no, I’m okay. Thank you.”

“Very well. So, you are signing your contract today Mr. Kim. But before that, there are some things we need to talk about.”

Sitting with a straight back and his fingers laced together on his tights, Taehyung listened to Mr. Bang attentively. It was a good way to forget the existence of the superstar famous worldwide in front of him.

“As stated in the job offer, you are to be a physiotherapist contracted directly to our label and with a first task that will take you overseas for some months. We actually called your previous employers to make sure of the quality of your work when you were working as a substitute for their physiotherapists. You also a good recommendation from several of your professors when we contacted your university. Thus we are not worried about your skills. However, we want to make you sign a confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement.”

Oh, Taehyung thought, he could understand why they wanted that. Not only was Jeon Jeongguk under Big Hit, the enterprise of Mr. Bang, but so were other famous singers and groups. Working with not only them, but also the dancers, he could be private to numerous confidential conversations.

“Yes, yes, of course!” Taehyung agreed. “I can understant why.”

He still didn’t understand why the famous singer needed to be here.

“Good! Here is your contract and the agreement, please keep the copies with you after signing them.” Mr. Bang explained while he put the papers on the coffee table and showed him where to sign.

It was with a trembling hand that Taehyung signed everything, keeping the copies for him on his side of the table.

“Now as to the reason why Jeongguk and his manager Sejin are here. If you could, Sejin please.”

Ah, the man next to him was Jeon Jeongguk’s manager then. Taehyung risked a quick glance to the man who smiled to him.

“One month ago, Jeongguk dislocated his left shoulder during dance practice.” Mr. Sejin explained with a pained face.

Taehyung winced, dislocated bones were never fun.

“Fortunately, it was during his break and he was able to recover after immobilizing his arm and shoulder during three weeks. However he still needs to go through physical therapy.”

He nodded. Yes, that was the usual treatment: three weeks of immobilization (more if bones were broken) and then months of physiotherapy.

“And Jeongguk is unfortunately very stubborn and doesn’t want to cancel his world tour.”

Well, Taehyung could admire his dertermination. But moving and singing as Jeon Jeongguk did on his stage, his recovery announced itself to be difficult.
“That’s why I’m working overseas during my first months of work. To make sure he recovers even during his tour… And to make sure he doesn’t dislocated his shoulder again. Because you know that can happen again right?”

Gone were his nervousness and stress, Taehyung could only see a very foolish, albeit cute, patient in front of him and didn’t hesitate one second to talk to him. Jeon Jeongguk smiled at him. It was the bunny smile, the one his fans went crazy over.

“I know. I’m going to be careful and you will be here right?”

“Yes, but you will need to be strict in your training.” Taehyung said with a stern face and voice. “I won’t go easy on you.”

The singer laughed, seemingly very happy.

“He is perfect!” The star exclaimed, looking at his manager and the president of Big Hit. “Please, call me Jeongguk. We’re going to work closely together after all.”

Jeongguk held out his hand to shake. Well, Taehyung thought while shaking the hand of the singer, this new job certainly won’t be boring.

Chapter Text

Taehyung’s new workplace certainly knew how to treat their employees. His office was three times bigger than the meager room of his last job and contained all the necessary amenities for physiotherapy. Training gears, a massage table and massage creams and oils of the pricest brand. And not only was the treatment space separated by a pretty divider screen, he also had a desk, a very comfortable looking chair, two sofas and a little fridge on the side for eventuals snacks or drinks. Taehyung couldn’t thank enough the professor who recommended him and planned to gift him an expensive fruits basket or bottle of alcohol.

He didn’t have the chance to interact with any celebrities under the label for now, but most of the dancers and choreographers already greeted him and it was only his very first day. Some members of the administration did the same, trying to see if he could help with any back pain. Luckily when Taehyung was a university student, he was crazy enough to study physiotherapy and osteopathy at the same time with his extra photography classes. Hoseok and Jimin were always happy to get free sessions when their bodies hurt… So hopefully, he should be able to help as soon as he came back to Korea.

During the afternoon, Taehyung finally analysed Jeongguk’s x-ray and the singer was definitely lucky when he put his shoulder back in place by himself.

“You were very, very lucky. There are usually some broken bones around that part.” Taehyung explained while circling a part of Jeongguk’s shoulder on the black and white image.

They were sitting on one of the sofas for their first session, Jeongguk sitting closely next to him to have a better view of his x-ray.

“That’s what my doctor told me. He at least showed me how to do it correctly now.”

Taehyung nodded.

“That’s very good. Do you feel a lot of pain when you’re trying some movements?”

The singer suddenly looked a bit nervous, side eyeing him.

“Well, when I’m dancing...”

Taehyung sighed. He wasn’t necessarily upset. After all, Mr. Sejin warned him about Jeongguk worrying tendency to practice even when he was hurt. His hand ran through his brown locks.

“Jeongguk… Who gave you the authorisation to practice again?”

“… No one? But I need to get ready for my tour!” Jeongguk exclaimed, his brow furrowed. “I didn’t do anything that would put too much pressure on my shoulder and I stopped doing some movements once I felt a tiny bit of pain. It’s okay right?”

Taehyung stood up. Truly, he understood the worries of the singer. He wanted to put on a good show for all of his fans but he wouldn’t be able to do that if he hurt himself again.

“You need to reinforce your shoulder first. It could go wrong very fast and your shoulder could be dislocated again and that’s something that no one wants. I need to examine you first. So up you go please.”
At least Jeongguk was earnest in his desire to get better and wasn’t protesting too much in the way he was treated. Some of his previous patients were difficult to deal with, crying out about the pain of their exercices.

“I need you to sit down on the massage table and to remove your shirt please.”

A mischevious smile suddenly appeared on Jeongguk’s face.

“You move fast, Doctor. We didn’t even go on our first date yet!”

Maybe someone else would have found that funny? Taehyung didn’t know.

“I am not a doctor, Jeongguk. I am also not interested in you like that.”

Seeing Taehyung’s closed off face, Jeongguk realised his mistake and obediently went to sit. He removed his shirt swiftly and folded his shirt, leaving the piece of clothe on his lap. Rubbing his hands together for them not be cold, Taehyung went next to him.

“Tell me if it hurts and do not lie, it won’t be beneficient to your recovery.”

Placing carefully his hands on Jeongguk’s shoulder, Taehyung made the singer’s let arm do different movements. Up and down, left and right, in front and behind. He paid attention to all of the winces and grimaces of Jeongguk, making sure to stabilise the articulation for it to not dislocate again.

“Your shoulder is quite loose.”

“And it’s… not a good thing.” Jeongguk said with a worried face.

Taehyung hmmed, removing his hands from the singer’s warm skin.

“It’s not, but it should be okay if you exercise correctly and don’t jump right away in your more strenuous dance routines. The more you reinforce your shoulder, the more you should be able to do.”

“...Okay.”

Coming to stand in front of Jeongguk, Taehyung looked at him straight in the eyes.

“Hey, it’s going to be okay. We’re going to work on it together. Your choreographer also passed by this morning and told me you were working to find some dance moves that won’t be too demanding of your shoulder.”

Jeongguk smiled at him.

“You’re really kind.”

Taehyung blinked. He was kind?

“I mean, I had this image of you being very serious and strict. I heard some of the feedback from your previous employers. They said that you were good, but could be kind of… unsympathetic?”

“Ah.”

He exactly knew who had that kind of opinion about him. Hei-ran, his previous employer, didn’t like him being insensitive to her high standing patients and their fake cries, whines and exhaustion.

“If you try to get out of physiotherapy by whining about how tired you already are five minutes in, I may seem a bit unsympathetic I guess. And you’re clearly worried about your future performances, I don’t like putting down people. Should we start with some exercices?”

Jeongguk nodded, still smiling. He put his shirt on the massage table and stood up.

“Yeah, what should I do?”

“Okay. Arms at your sides, squeeze your shoulder blades together. I need you to hold for six seconds. It’s going to be one serie of fifteen of these shoulder blades squeeze, then we will do something else.”

The singer did as instructed while Taehyung went around the table to observe his shoulders.

“Ah, stop.”

Taehyung went in front of Jeongguk again and put his hands on the singer’s shoulders.

“Try to not raise your shoulders at the same time, alright? Okay, one, two...”

--------------------------------------

All in all, it was a great day. Jeongguk was serious in his physiotherapy treatment and Taehyung felt confident in his new job. Now, if Namjoon and Yoongi could stop looking at him like that…

“Why are you looking at me like that?”

Yoongi scoffed.

“I think we can be a bit surprised, Taehyung. Anyone would have been surprised at you coming out of the Big Hit building with a name tag of the company. We thought we were just picking you up from a place close by.”

Taehyung sighed and played a little bit with his food. If he knew his Hyungs were going to react like that, he wouldn’t have ask them to come eat something at a restaurant to celebrate his new job.

“You’re a physiotherapist. Why are you even working for an entertainment company?”

Taehyung bristled.

“I work there because they need a physiotherapist.” Taehyung declared with slight irritation. “It’s as simple as that.”

Seeing Taehyung slowly becoming irrited and Yoongi being dubitative, Namjoon stepped in.

“What is Yoongi trying to say.” Namjoon said with a slight glare at his boyfriend. “Is that you never told us you had an interview with Big Hit. We were a bit surprised when we saw you come out of the building. That’s all.”

He stayed silent for a minute. True, he didn’t tell anyone of the interview. Mainly because he wasn’t sure of the results and partly because of the traveling overseas part of the job. Wouldn’t it be too much of a coincidence if he were to go at approximatively the same time as Hoseok and Jimin? He was anxious about his feelings being discovered.

“...My professor recommended me for the job.” Taehyung explained slowly, not meeting the eyes of his friends. “I didn’t want to hope too much, that’s why I didn’t say anything. But they contacted me at the end of last week and told me I got the job. I can’t really say what’s happening inside the building though.”

“I see. Thank you for telling us, Taehyung.” His tallest friend said. “Yoongi is happy too, right?”

Yoongi just looked at his boyfriend and drank some of his beer.

“I guess I am. However, you don’t usually ask us out unless it is to ask us a favor.”

Ah, busted.

“What do you mean, Hyung? I never do that.” Taehyung denied, still not looking at them.

“Really, brat? What about that one time you asked us to drive you all the way to Busan becausre there was very exclusive massage oil you wanted to get? Or that one time with Park Bogum and our freaking car...”

Taehyung hissed, blushing.

“You promised not to talk about that anymore and I said I was sorry.”

“I still can’t drive without being digusted.”

“I said I was sorry.” Taehyung repeated with urgency.

Yoongi and his bad habits of airing Taehyung’s dirty laundry in public… And Namjoon was laughing at him and eating as if they were a stupid variety show.

“It’s not funny, Joonie Hyung!” Taehyung whined. “You promised not to talk about it anymore!”

“You mean, Namjoon promised to not talk about it anymore. I certainly didn’t, I still believed you owe us a new car but I won’t ask until you're months into your new contract. Pretty sure Big Hit must be paying big numbers for being their one and only physiotherapist...”

Taehyung looked at Yoongi with alarm.

“No, no, no, it’s a normal salary! You can’t ask me to buy you a new car like that!”

Yoongi smirked at him, slowly eating his japchae.

“We will see about that. For now, just tell us what you want Taehyung.”

Namjoon nodded at him, an encouraging smile full of dimples on his face.

“I...” Taehyung hesitated, clearing his throat. “I need to go overseas for some months because of my job. Do you think you could take care of Tannie for me?”

His little dog was his baby after all and his friends were the only ones he trusted to take care of him.

“… You’re going overseas?” Namjoon asked, a bit surprised. “For your job?”

Taehyung nodded.

“I guess it’s going to be something like three months? Maybe less. I don’t know yet.”

“Well, yeah, of course we can take of the little fluff ball. Hopefully, our new roommate won’t mind too much.”

This bit of information surprised him. Since when did Namjoon and Yoongi had a roommate?

“You have a roommate?”

“Don’t look at us like that, brat.” Yoongi said with a frown. “He is an old friend of mine and he needs a place to stay.”

“An… old friend.” Taehyung repeated slowly. “Okay. Do, do you think he has some allergies or…?”

He wasn’t cruel enough to have Tannie in a place with a person allergic to dogs. A dog pension could be nice too…

“No, he is not!” Namjoon answered. “He... actually has a little brother who has a dog and he was telling us about how much he couldn’t wait to meet up with him again and play with his dog.”

Namjoon seemed particularly nervous now that he finished talking. He swallowed multiple times and looked at Yoongi, a bit distressed.

“Anyway.” Yoongi said. “When do you need us to pick up Tannie?”

Strangely, at the same time, Namjoon hissed in pain while eating his food and nearly choked.

“Ugh, it’s, it’s a bit spicy.” His friend explained with tears coming out of his eyes and coughing a little bit.

“Hum, tonight?” Taehyung answered while looking a bit concerned at Namjoon. “I’m actually leaving the day after tomorrow so...”

“What do you mean tonight, brat?”

Taehyung put his hands in front of him, trying to placate Yoongi.

“ I already have all of his food, his favorite toys and bed prepared! I even told him about how you were going to take such good care of him!”

“I swear, brat. If Namjoon didn’t love you as much as he did I would have hurt you a long time ago.”

“Sorry Hyung...”

“Yeah, better be sorry. I still won’t forget about my brand new car in three months.”

“Oh come on, Hyung!” Taehyung whined.

Taehyung loved Namjoon and Yoongi, even if the first one was still strange sometimes and the second one scared him a little bit.

Chapter Text

Two smiles. Two cocktails. Two hands interlaced. The sunset. A beautiful picture of the man he loved and of his best friend. What a great way to start the day, Taehyung thought bitterly. He was already in the company car, luggage loaded and belt fastened, ready to go for at least two months of travel. He was a bit comforted by the picture of Tannie sent by Yoongi and Namjoon.

“Is that your dog?”

Taehyung nearly jumped. As deep in his thoughts as he was, he didn’t notice Jeongguk coming into the car, nor sitting next to him and looking curiously at the picture of his dog. Manager Sejin was also here, talking animatedly on the phone and nearly red with… was it anger?

“Sorry.” Jeongguk apologized. “I shouldn’t look at your phone like that but I tried talking to you and you weren’t responding at all.”

At least it wasn’t that picture of Hoseok and Jimin, he wouldn’t be able to find a reason for his jealous stare.

“… That’s my dog, yes. His name is Yeontan. Or Tannie. He is cute, right?” Taehyung boasted a little bit.

He took good care of Tannie after all and his little dog always tried his best to answer his orders. He couldn’t also forget all the wonderful cuddles they shared.

“Very!” Jeongguk agreed with a smile. “I always dreamt of having one, but it’s impossible with my schedule and I can’t have my parents taking care of them while I’m away. I really want my dog to be my responsability.”

That’s cute, Taehyung thought.

“Well, maybe you can’t have one now but I can share videos of Yeontan with you? I adopted him five months ago, he was still a little fluffball then.”

His fingers deftly opened the folder full of Tannie’s pictures and videos on his phone before clicking on one random video.

“He was so small!” Jeongguk cooed.

“Right? He liked to hide in my hoodie’s pocket but he is a bit too big for that now. But he can be a little menace sometimes, stealing all of my socks.”

Without losing a minute, Taehyung searched picture of Tannie in particular. His dog was hiding away in the bottom part of his closet, sleeping on all the socks he stole.

“He is a socks stealer then.” Jeongguk laughed. “Did you have to buy a lot of socks?”

Taehyung sighed.

“I think I bought at least thirty pairs in the last month. But I can’t get angry at him, he is just looking at me with those pitiful eyes and I want to hug him so badly.”
Strangely, the singer looked at him with a fond smile. Taehyung felt his ears become a bit red, embarassed by the attention.

“You seem in a better mood now.” Manager Sejin said, this time furiously taping on his screen.

“What?”

Jeongguk patted his arm.

“Hyung also tried to talk to you but you were… so out of it. You okay now?”

Was I that out of it? Taehyung wondered. He took up this job mainly because it was good way to forget about Hoseok and Jimin for a bit and for the salary. But it wasn’t even one week and he was already mixing up his personal life and his work. Taehyung tried to smile, his face contorting into a strange grimace.

“Yes, I’m okay.” He answered, lying through his teeth. “Just thinking about the months to come. I haven’t been overseas in years.”

Slowly putting an arm around Taehyung’s shoulders, Jeongguk chuckled.

“First you have to survive the airport, Hyung.”

The singer pointed at the scenery. A crowd of paparazzi and fans were waiting for his arrival, ready to take the perfect picture to post on social media. Taehyung’s eyes opened wide. He forgot about that! Nervousness overcame him and his heart went a bit quicker. He wouldn’t be the center of the attention anyway, but he was still a new face of the staff. Th car slowly came to a stop. Taehyung nearly stopped breathing, he wasn’t ready!

“Don’t worry” Manager Sejin reassured. “Just follow closely behing us. No one should bother you.”

Taehyung nodded, trying to take deep breaths to calm himself. Manager Sejin and the driver went out first to make sure that everything for Jeongguk’s security was in place.

“Hyung”

Goosebumps went all over his body. Did, did Jeongguk just whisper into his ears? Why? They were the only two left in the car!

“Would you like a mask?” The singer asked. “I always have more than two with me?”

“Y-yes, please.”

“Alright!”

Jeongguk didn’t hesitate rummage through the inside of his black bag, put neatly in front of his legs in the car. It was with a triumphal sound that he found what he was searching for.

“Here you go, Hyung.”

The mask was the same kind that the singer was wearing under his chin. Taehyung tried to thank him when the car’s door opened.

“Okay Jeongguk, Taehyung” Manager Sejin said. “We need to go. Out you go.”

Jeongguk jumped out of the car, bag in hand. Screams and shutter sounds deafened him momentarily. He certainly never thought to be a part of this one day.

“Taehyung?”

Taking a deep breath and putting the black mask on, Taehyung finally went out. Taking their plane during the day was a good idea, he would have been blinded by the lights of the cameras’ flashes. Without hesitation, Taehyung followed closely Manager Sejin and tried to forget the crowd around him. He didn’t understand why he couldn’t travel with the staff in the shadows. Jeongguk’s shoulder didn’t need care all day, only during his physiotherapy and practice sessions… It wasn’t without relief that he passed through the security, leaving behind the screams and mutters of the fans, paparazzi and bystanders.

_____________

Taehyung felt out of place in his expensive seat, sitting next to an international singer. Why wasn’t he in economy class? He was scared of drinking the… champagne they served Jeongguk and him in delicate looking glasses. He was scared of touching anything around him.

“I… should be with the others.”

Slowly drinking his champagne, Jeongguk looked at him.

“What are you saying, Hyung? I need you to be in great shape to help me with my physiotherapy as soon as we arrive.”

“What about the dancers? And the staff? They also need to be well rested...”

Sitting in the aisle on their right, Manager Sejin laughed.

“You won’t make him change his mind. He wanted you in first class with him.”

“What?” Taehyung exclaimed, incredulous. “Why?”

The singer suddenly looked shy, fiddling with the aux cable of his very expensive headphone pair.

“I want to be friends with you? It may not be fair, but I’m not all that closed to anyone apart from Sejin Hyung and my choreographer. The dancers are nice, but I don’t know what to talk about with them. Same the staff, I feel awkward around them. You’re also the only one talking to me normally. I would rather travel with someone like you, than anyone else.”

Everything was said very fast and in a voice so small that Taehyung had to listen very carefully to make sure he got everything.

“But… Haven’t you been working with some of those people for years?” Taehyung asked a bit incredulous.

“I have.” Jeongguk said quietly. “But I’m not as extroverted and open as you may think. And former members of my staff didn’t hesitate to give private info on me in exchange of money. I’m more careful now.”

Taehyung looked at the singer with a worried frown.

“I could be the same, you know.” He remarked.

Jeongguk drank a bit more of his champagne.

“You could be. But you don’t seem the type and you’re used to dealing with clients who have money or who are kind of famous.”

That was true. Hei-ran only wanted the best of the best for her office, patients included.

“So I think I can trust you. For now. We will have to see how it will be on tour.”

Taehyung didn’t feel particularly nervous about that. However, he felt a bit sad for Jeongguk who trusted the only people he could have only to end up betrayed.

“Now, enough of that depressive talk. I need to take a picture for my fans! Sejin Hyung, help me?”

The manager groaned in his seat.

“Your fans have already seen enough of my face for today. Just take a picture of yourself!”

“No!” Jeongguk whined. “They all love you. Come on take a picture with me before we depart, Hyung!”

Leaving the singer and his manager to their talk, Taehyung quickly checked his phone. It vibrated some time ago from new messages he didn’t have the time to check yet.

From: Joonie Hyung – 8:45 am

Have a good flight Taehyungie!
Tannie is in good hands, so don’t worry about him and concentrate on work.
Just update us from time to time okay?
Or I will be worried.

To: Joonie Hyung – 10:25 am

It’s a promise Hyung!
Take good care of yourself.
Love you.

He wasn’t even surprised that Yoongi sent him a message. His friend liked to act as if he didn’t care but he had a heart of gold. You could see it in the way he looked at Namjoon with such loving and soft eyes. And in the way he would scold him for hurting himself or breaking things…

From: Tiny Hyung – 7:55 am

Here have a picture of my new son before you take off.
Take of yourself brat and don’t do anything stupid.
Meaning don’t drink and don’t go out alone.
Stay with the others employees and send us some of your best pictures, alright?
You haven’t been taking any for months now, and Hoseok and Jimin’s wedding pictures don’t count. Enjoy yourself and be careful out there.

Soft. Yoongi could be so soft. That picture of him with Tannie in his arms warmed his heart.

To: Tiny Hyung – 10:30 am

Tannie is still my son Hyung!
Please don’t take him away from me.
Seeing how old you are, he can be your grandson if you want.
I will try not to get into too much trouble and I actually packed my camera.
I’m going to send you so many pictures that you will get sick of it.
Love you Hyung.

However he didn’t expect to receive a message from a number he deleted a long time ago but could still remember. What did his father want with him now after so many years? With trembling fingers, Taehyung opened the message.

From: 070XXXXXXX – 10:00 am

You.
What are you doing on the news?
You promised me to keep a low profile when I sent you to Seoul for that ridiculous university of yours, and now I can see media outlets trying to find out who you are because you were seen with a singer.
I swear if this affects any of my affairs…or your brother’s affairs, you’re going to regret it.

Kim Kwangsu in all his glory. Taehyung swallowed nervously, flashbacks of his atrocious childhood coming back to his mind. His father hated his very existence. He was a stain on the perfect family picture he was trying to make the world believe in. A thing that should never be seen or be heard.

“Taehyung!”

The sudden arm around his shoulders and the face close to his own made him closed the message from his father very quickly.

“I got Sejin Hyung to take a picture with me! Wanna see the answers on Twitter? Most of them are pretty interesting!” Jeongguk laughed. “I feel like my fans are more Sejin Hyung’s fans than mine. Oh! We should also take one together!”

Taehyung froze.

“...I’m not against it.”

Refusing a simple picture would be weird right? Jeongguk had been nothing but extremely nice to him, acting like a friend.

“You’re not going to post it anywhere right?” He asked nervously. “I… like being anonymous.”
Anonymous. Discreet. Unseen. What his father wanted him to be.

“Yeah, don’t worry! I know it can be a bit overwhelming. Not going to post that picture online if you don’t want to. I’m just sharing it with you.”

Taehyung breathed deeply. He didn’t need to be scared or nervous.

“Okay. Let’s take that picture then. Do you want me to take it?”

“Oh, why not!”

Jeongguk took away his arm from his shoulders to make victory sign. From his phone screen, Taehyung could see his smile and how close they were to each other. He still couldn’t grin naturally. A stony face was better than a grimacing one at least.

“You’re not smiling!” Jeongguk complained. “Another one?”

“No, I don’t like taking pictures of myself.”

“Come on Taehyung! I’m going to be sad.”

Puppy eyes…? Was the singer trying to soften him with puppy eyes? It didn’t work. He was only weak against Jimin’s ones and… Hoseok’s.

“Jeongguk, leave Taehyung alone.”Sejin Hyung said, ready to take a nap in his seat. “We’re going to depart soon anyway. Settle down and watch a movie or sleep.”

As if on cue, the plane’s pilot made an announcement. Taehyung buckled his belt and sighed. Everything was going to be okay. He just needed to be careful.

Chapter Text

EATJIN’S HEADQUARTERS MOVING TO SEOUL

By Lee Insoon

Kim Seokjin, president of EatJin, announced his plans to move his company’s headquarters to Seoul very soon. EatJin, a restaurant chain company becoming famous lately for the prices and quality of its food, was first established in Daegu by its young president. The popularity of the company made it possible for several branches to be created all over the country. Overseas branches, notably in Japan, are right now still under discussion...

JEON JEONGGUK AS POPULAR AS EVER

By Choi Changmin

Famous all over the world, Jeon Jeongguk’s tour began one week ago. Fans have been eager to show their love to their favorite singer by planning different events to welcome the singer in their respective countries. However rumors of the young star being hurt have been spreading all over the internet. Indeed, choreographies of various songs have been greatly simplified and qualified as less taxing on the body by several fans. Nothing has been announced by the label of the singer as of yet…

“We may need to announce it now, Jeongguk. It is actually something that should have been said before we left Korea.”

Taehyung was fascinated. For the first time, Jeongguk was not smiling and laughing. Instead a frown appeared on his handsome face.

“I don’t want to make my fans worried.”

It was also the first time the singer and his manager were truly arguing.

“I know that and we have been respecting your wishes. However, your fans are not blind, Jeongguk. They need to know. If not, we may not know the consequences for your tour, but also for the company.”

He was also wondering what he was doing here. True, he had been eating his lunch with the singer when Sejin entered the star’s bedroom with a somber face. Jeongguk claimed to be lonely and Taehyung didn’t have the heart to leave him alone, especially after his concert last night. He remembered red eyes and tears streaming down the face of the singer. Dissastisfied with his performance, Jeongguk had been upset but forced a smile on his lips for his fans. He completely broke down at the end of the concert and nearly hurt his shoulder again by doing the full choreography of his last song. Taehyung hadn’t been happy. Sejin and the choreographer of the singer were downright furious.

“Your fans are understanding, Jeongguk. They may even ask you to cancel the tour for your health, which I know you will not do. You need to stop being so stubborn. No one will think less of you if you admit to being hurt.”

Taehyung tried to concentrate on the news on his phone. He didn’t know what to do, the door was looking more and more appealing. Maybe he could grab lunch on his way down to the hotel’s buffet? He still needed to make Jeongguk go through his exercices of the day and to massage him before he went back to the stadium to repeat for the show tonight.

“I still wanted to make them see the best I can do...” Jeongguk whispered. “They have been with me for so long...”

Taehyung’s heart clenched. His hand nearly took hold of the singer’s arm in comfort when his phone rang. And what a familiar tune it was. He gulped with difficulty, watching the caller id flashed on the screen.

“You’re not picking up, Taehyung?” Sejin Hyung asked.

The manager stood next to Jeongguk a calming hand on his shoulder.

“Yes, I’m sorry.”

Taehyung stood up and went to the door with his phone still ringing. He only picked up once out of the singer’s room.

“Taetae! What took you so long!”

Jimin’s voice, laced with happinness and contentment, rang in his ears.

“Hey Chim, sorry.”

His best friend sighed clearly exasperated but still fond.

“I have been trying to contact you for a week. A week. It’s like an eternity for me, Taehyung. I may be with my husband, but I still miss you. I’m used to talking with you at least once a day.”

He may be with his husband… Taehyung’s stomach lurched. Lunch wasn’t looking so appealing now.

“Have you been busy? I know that you were still searching for a new job when we left.”

Busy? Yes, he had been busy with his new work. Busy ignoring his bestfriend’s calls. Busy crying over every lovey dovey pictures sent in their groupchat while Namjoon gushed over everything.

“Actually… Promise not to get angry?”

Taehyung began to slowly walk towards his own room. Luckily it was on the same floor as Jeongguk’s.

“It depends on what you’re going to say.”

He winced.

“I got a new job a few days after you both went on your honeymoon?”

“What! Taehyung!”

Ouch. He forgot how loud his best friend could scream.

“… And I’m overseas right now for work?”

“Taehyung.”

Jimin was angry, or maybe just disappointed?

“Wait, what kind of work make you go overseas as a physiotherapist?”

Taehyung sighed. He was lucky enough that Namjoon and Yoongi didn’t see him on tv or all over the internet as The Mysterious New Staff Member. Anyone who knew him could easily recognise him, even while wearing a mask.

“Very important work? I may be working for an entertainment company right now...”

Jimin was silent for long, long minutes to the point of Taehyung checking his phone multiple times to make sure the line didn’t go dead.

“Say, Taehyung...” Jimin whispered with a weak voice. “You know I’m still here for you, right? Nothing changed. Hobi and I, we only got married. Everything is still the same. You know that right? I still want to talk to you about the men you find handsome, I still want to get drunk with you and complain about our jobs. I love you, you know that, right?

Oh. It was like a punch to his gut. He knew. Of course, he knew that. Jimin was his best friend, his brother. He loved him and hearing his platonic soulmate being so heartbroken hurt him. Lost in his feelings for Hoseok as he was, he tended to forget how important Jimin was to him.

“Of course I know that, idiot.” Taehyung answered, his voice rough and tears brimming at the corners of his eyes. “I just had a lot going on lately. I didn’t want to bother you on your honeymoon, Minnie. You shouldn’t have anything to worry about.”

Jimin laughed, trying to stop his sobs. But Taehyung could still hear them clearly, guilt eating at him.

“Jimin, why are you crying?”

Here was Hoseok’s voice on the other end, clearly worried.

“I’m just talking to a big idiot, Hobi. Don’t worry about me.”

“I’m not an idiot, Jimin.” Taehyung complained faintly.

“Yes, you are.” His best friend declared vehemently. “You are my family, Taehyung. My parents love you. I love you. If something happens to you, I want to know immediately. I don’t care if I’m on my honeymoon or having sex. I want to know.”

“Ew, that’s too much information even for me, Jimin.”

“I don’t care. It’s your fault. Now, I’m going to make out with my husband, then we will go out for a bit. But I want to hear from you, Taetae. If only by messages, please.”

“Alright, okay.”

“Good, I love you Taetae. Talk to you soon.”

“I love you too Chim.”

And Jimin hanged up. Taehyung sighed looking bleakly at his room’s door.

“...Are you okay?”

He nearly jumped out of his skin, hearing Jeongguk’s voice like that. And here the singer was, standing behind him and sandwiches in his hands…?

“Ah, are you surprised? I just thought that my talk with Sejin Hyung made you too incomfortable to eat lunch.”

That was nice of him.

“Thank you. But I’m not very hungry right now...”

Jeongguk suddenly looked worried and came closer.

“You cried…?”

His hand went quickly over his face to wipe away the few tears still clinging at his lashes.

“It’s nothing. I just go a bit emotional talking over the phone.”

The singer frowned.

“Was it your girlfriend? Sorry, boyfriend? I don’t want to assume.”

Taehyung grimaced faintly.

“You’re assuming a lot of things right now. That could have been my sister, my brother or a friend.”

One of Jeongguk’s hand scratched his neck.

“Sorry! Please don’t be angry. I’m just worried.”

The singer looked anxiously at him.

“That was my best friend.” Taehyung sighed. “Angry at me because I was difficult to contact lately and reassuring me that I was still important to him even though he got married to the love of his life two weeks ago. I don’t really have anyone worrying about me apart from a few friends.”

Jeongguk seemed… strangely relieved at that and a bit sad? Taehyung didn’t know anymore, too tired emotionally and mentally to care.

“Well, you can count me in too!” Jeongguk said. “ And that begins with making you eat lunch. Sejin Hyung will be disappointed and sad to hear you didn’t eat anything because you saw us arguing.”

Taehyung startled. That wasn’t the case at all! What was the singer saying?

“That’s not true!”

Jeongguk smirked and held the sandwiches in front of him.

“But that’s exactly what I’m going to say. And you don’t want to be the target of one of his lectures. He can go on and on. He is very serious about everyone’s health.”

Taehyung grumbled, giving him the stink eye.

“Alright.”

“Can I come into you room too? We planned to watch a movie together today before going to the stadium.”

Sighing, Taehyung opened his door in silence and waited for the singer to come in.

____________________________________________

The screams, the fanchants, the joy. Taehyung didn’t think he could get used to it, the stadium was literally vibrating under the love Jeongguk’s fans had for him.

“They’re all incredible right?”

Taehyung hummed, concentrating on taping Jeongguk’s shoulder after massaging him for a bit.

“I’m always humbled by all the love they’re giving me. That’s why I want to give my one hundred percent.”

He looked carefully at his work.

“That’s great – could you rotate your shoulder a little bit for me? - But it also means knowing when to be careful.”

Jeongguk nodded, slowly rotating his shoulder and trying not to wince too much.

“That’s why I made an announcement on Twitter.”

Taehyung blinked.

“You did?”

“Yeah, I thought about it. It’s better to be honest and they won’t be too disappointed when they don’t see my usual moves. So you won’t be the Mysterious New Staff Member for very long. I did say that my physiotherapist is with me on tour and you’re the only new face. But no picture and no name. Is that okay?”

It was more than okay. He was safe as long as his identity and his face weren’t all over social media or on the news.

“Yeah. It’s a good thing you told them. You can stand up now.”

Jeongguk didn’t waste a minute and stood up, putting on a black silk dress shirt.

“Say, Taehyung, I wanted to ask you something.” Jeongguk said suddenly a bit shy.

“Go on” He replied while putting away the massage cream.

“Would you like to go somewhere with me tomorrow? I’m usually filming videos during my tours or when I’m going around and Sejin Hyung is the one going with me. But I think that having a different person with me can change my perspective a little bit. What do you say?”

Oh.

“Will you be okay with me taking pictures?” Taehyung asked a bit shy. “I promise my friends I would send them some.”

Jeongguk beamed.

“Of course! And if you let me see your pictures, I will let you be the first person to watch my videos.”

“Deal.” Taehyung said.

That night Jeongguk displayed a lot of energy and happinness. Taehyung simply assumed that he was happy to perform in front of his fans without lying to them about his injury. Jeongguk’s fans, however, wondered why he was smiling and goofing around more than usual.

Chapter Text

Was Taehyung nervous? Yes, more than anything. It wasn’t everyday that anyone could accompany a world renowned star during a secret trip. Apart from him, no one seemed to be particularly unsettled in the hotel room. Sejin Hyung was checking once again over Jeongguk and his itinerary and talking to their body guard, Jeongguk was looking through his backpack to make sure that everything was there. However, a part of him was still excited at the idea. Taking pictures in a foreign country wasn’t a daily occurrence to Taehyung and he was itching to take his camera out.

“Okay” Sejin Hyung said, nodding to the bodyguard. “I checked everything and you shouldn’t have any problems. Joowon will watch over you and intervene if anything happens, which will hopefully not be the case. You have the whole day free, but please come back before midnight at the latest.”

“Of course, Hyung!” Jeongguk answered, his backpack finally secured on his shoulders. “Wouldn’t dream of coming back any later than that.”

“I hope so. Taehyung, you know him, Jeongguk gets too immersed in what he likes to do sometimes. Don’t hesitate to stop him if you need to come back to the hotel. I said the same to Joowon. Gang up on Jeongguk if you need to.”

“Ah, yes, okay...”

The singer suddenly clinged on to him after he agreed to his manager’s request, making Taehyung’s legs nearly buckle under him.

“What? Come on, Taehyung! Don’t agree to that! I thought you were on my side!” Jeongguk whined playfully, still clinging on to him. “Sejin Hyung and Joowon always gang up on me during these trips and I always have to come back early.”

“… I’m on the side that put your health and your well being first? You know, the side that you’re not on usually?”

Jeongguk didn’t say anything for a moment, just looking at him with wide eyes before smiling that bunny smile of his.

“Well, I’m happy that you care about me then!”

The singer even squeezed him a little bit in his arms.

“Now, let’s go before Sejin Hyung decide to not le me go out today.”

Arm around his shoulders, Jeongguk dragged him out of the hotel room, not even sparing a glance to his manager and clearly intending to reach the elevators as soon as possible. Joowon walked closely behind them.

“Do you want a new mask? I have tons of those and I know you didn’t pack any.”

Taehyung would nearly get offended if it wasn’t the truth.

“How do you even know that?” Taehyung asked with an eyebrow raised.

Jeongguk laughed.

“You’ve been using the one I gave you for days now! Anyone would notice that! So, do you want a new one?”

Taehyung sighed.

“...Please.”

“Ah! Called it!”

Much to Taehyung’s irritation, Jeongguk acted smug during the whole elevator trip and until they reached the car they were assigned for today.

“Oh, just in case, should we exchange our Kakaotalk’s ids if we ever get separated?” Jeongguk asked while opening the car’s door and inviting him to enter with a sign of his hand. “I forgot to ask you before we began the tour.”

“I guess we should..?” Taehyung answered.

He sat conformtably in the back of the car and was soon joined by the singer who closed the door behind him. Joowon was already behind the wheel, waiting for them to buckle their belts. It was a good thing that his new company provided all of their employees prepaid sim card for each country of the tour. Taehyung was using his for the first time today. Opening his app, he showed his id to Jeongguk.

“Your username is TaeTae?”

T aehyung blushed. TaeTae wasn’t that...childish right? But all traces of shame disappeared when he saw Jeongguk’s own username.

“Yours is Kookie! You can’t say anything about my username!”

“I didn’t say anything! I just thought that it’s cute, that’s all.”

It was cute…? Taehyung blushed again, maybe changing his username would be a good thing? But that was his favorite nickname…

“Oh! Help me choose a good selfie for my twitter?”

“Is this going to be another of “your selfie in the car” post?”

Jeongguk’s smile became suddenly brighter.

“You follow my twitter account?”

“I mean… I should know what you’re up to?” Taehyung said, looking purposefully outside the window on his left. “In case you do something stupid and hurt your shoulder again.”

The singer suddenly became sulky.

“I’m not that reckless! But I’m happy you’re following me. Can I know the name of your twitter account?”
Taehyung’s eyes went big. No, that was a bad idea! If Jeongguk were to see his twitter account, he would see him gush… just a little bit about his songs and how pretty he was. Jimin would join him sometimes, Hoseok being a little bit jealous in the background. He could say bye bye to his professionnal façade.

“No way! Just my KakaoTalk is enough.”

Jeongguk’s smile lost of a bit of his brightness. Taehyung immediately felt sorry about being this defensive. The singer didn’t do anything bad…

“I’m sorry, I… Just...”

Taehyung took a big breath.

“I will be embarassed if you were ever to see my twitter account… And it’s not that interesting! I...also tweet sometimes about your songs.”

Did Jeongguk perk up? Yes. Taehyung blushed, feeling extremely embarassed.

“I work for you! I need to make sure that you’re still popular for a long time, so I can still have work. If it takes tweeting about it, I will do it.”

Jeongguk laughed, his eyes crinkling and his nose crunching.

“Ok, ok! Help choose a photo now?”

Taehyung sighed.

“Ok.”

They spent the remaining of their ride debating about which photo would make Jeongguk’s fans happy and reacting to some of the comments afterwards. Taehyung nearly got surprised when the car finally stopped. They were still in the middle of the city. Wasn’t Jeongguk scared of getting recognized?

“We’re still in the city?” Taehyung asked.

“Ah yeah! There is a park nearby that I wanted to go to.”

“You’re not scared? What if someone recognized you?”

“Hum?”

Jeongguk smiled at him again. Apart from Hoseok, Taehyung couldn’t recall anyone who smiled as much as the singer.

“That’s why we have Joowon with us! Don’t worry, it’s going to be okay! I’m used to this, remember?”

“Okay...”

White mask on his face, Taehyung went out after Jeongguk, who already had his camera out filming around him. The sun was shining and Taehyung could see how happy the singer was. They slowly made their way to the park, Joowon making himself discreet but still reassuring in the way he was following them. Taehyung was still scared of something suddenly happening but he relaxed quite a bit once they were among the trees and the grass. Jeongguk went a bit hyper, running around to get images of the animals. Taehyung slowly took out his camera and closed his eyes for a bit, trying to feel everything around him, before taking pictures there and here. Sometimes he couldn’t resist and took pictures of Jeongguk enjoying himself.

“Having fun?” Jeongguk asked at some point with a big smile.

“Surprisingly I am.”

Jeongguk made a fake offended face.

“I’m wounded” He declared firmly. “And here I am, sharing with you one of my favorite times on tour. Isn’t that unfair?”

The singer turned to his bodyguard, who was looking meticuslouly around them.

“Isn’t that unfair Jowoon?”

The bodyguard looked briefly at him.

“… Do I have to answer that?”

Taehyung snorted before laughing.

“Seems like no one is on your side, Kookie.” Taehyung teased. “But, still, thank you for sharing that with me.”

Jeongguk wrapped an arm around his shoulders.

“You’re welcome, TaeTae. And now I need your opinion on some things.”

And Taehyung was dragged by the singer all over the park, discussing angles and possible edits. They went back to the car late in the day and Taehyung thought they were done for the day until one sentence of Jeongguk.

“ I say, let’s go get dinner!”

“Dinner?”

“You’re not angry after all that walking, picture taking and filming trip? I’m so angry I could die right now”

Well, true, his stomach was rambling a little bit. But was it really okay? Didn’t they need to clear a place or something like that for Jeongguk to eat peacefully wthout the fear of getting mobbed?

“Is… is that okay?” Taehyung asked the bodyguard.

Joowon sighed.
“It’s okay. We just need to need to call in advance and have them reserve a table in the far back or in a room. Hopefully, there won’t be too many people.”

Jeongguk cheered.

“I want lamb skewers! And kimchi!”

“We only left Korea a few days ago and you’re already craving korean food? You don’t want to try anything else?” Taehyung asked, a bit bewildered.

“Nah, korean food will always be my favorite. Especially lamb skewers!”

“Which restaurant should we call?”

Jeongguk patted him on the shoulder while Joowon finally got the car moving.

“I already texted Sejin Hyung and we’re going to the usual place, Joowon!”

“Alright.”

The usual place turned out to be a little korean restaurant completely reserved for them tonight. Seated in the far back to not be too close to the windows and any eventual paparazzi or fans who could recognize Jeongguk, they were slowly enjoying their dinner. Joowon decided to seat at another table. The reason? He was around the singer everyday, he wanted to have dinner on his own. Jeongguk just laughed at that but something in his demeanor was off.

“Are you okay?” Taehyung whispered.

Jeongguk sighed.

“It’s nothing. And it’s a bit ridiculous.”

Taehyung frowned.

“Nothing is ridiculous if it makes you feel sad, Jeongguk.”

The singer tried to smile at him.

“It’s just...”

He looked at his bodyguard sitting a few tables over.

“I thought I was finally becoming close with Joowon Hyung. But he doesn’t seem to appreciate being around me or… I don’t know I guess.”

Taehyung’s eyebrows raised in surprise.

“Joowon was joking a little bit with you during the day you know. But he also had to keep an eye around to make sure you were safe and able to enjoy your day out. And him sitting at another table? He is able to see what’s happening around the restaurant. I’m pretty sure he would accept to be your friend if you ask him.”

The singer played around with food on his plate.

“Do you think so?”

“You will never know if you don’t say anything.”

The singer took a big breath.

“I guess you’re right. I will ask him when we go back!”

Jeongguk smiled at him. And maybe it was the lightning around them? The atmosphere? It made Taehyung feel warm and happy, his heart beating a little bit more. Jeongguk was becoming a dear friend.

“But before that, you have to tell me why you’re not trying any of the spicy dishes. They’re really, really good! You have to try them!”

Oh, he did have to explain that didn’t he? He discovered the reason a few months ago and didn’t even say anything about it to his friends.

“I… have a condition.” Taehyung explained slowly.

Jeongguk’s eyes went big with worry.

“A condition?”

“When my body gets too hot because of stress or… spicy food, I get itchy all over. It’s the same with alcohol. But it’s not as bad for me as it could be for other people.”

Jeongguk shook his head.

“I will have to tell Sejin Hyung to be careful when he asks for food.”

“What, no, it’s okay. It’s in my files.”

“No, he needs to be reminded once in a while about everyone’s condition.”

“...Thank you?”

Jeonnguk grinned.

“You’re welcome! Oh, would you be up for gaming afterwards? I won so many times against Sejin Hyung, I need someone new to beat.”

Oh, was that a challenge? He was quite good at them.

“You may be surprised. You could be the one to lose.”

“Ooh, down for Overwatch then?”

“Are you kidding? It’s one of my favorites. Of course, I’m down!”

Chapter Text

Taehyung made good on his promise with Jimin. They were talking once a week and exchanging pictures of anything interesting : that weird pizza Taehyung ate with Jeongguk (minus the singer on the picture of course), the cute dogs that Jimin couldn’t cooing over, Hobi’s new addiction to a particularly fruity and colofurl drink. He was also a bit more active in the groupchat with his friends and couldn’t stop showing any new photos of Yeontan with Jeongguk and Sejin Hyung, gushing over his baby and missing him terribly. Three weeks after leaving Korea, Taehyung was finally comfortable with his colleagues but incredibly exhausted. Managing the physical condition of not only Jeongguk, but also his dancers wasn’t an easy task. It was rewarding, but tiring. After a long day of massages and exercices, his hands and back would hurt a little bit, like tonight.

Sitting against the heardboard of Jeongguk’s double bed, Taehyung couldn’t stop stretching his fingers to relieve a bit of his soreness. Tonight was their official weekly movie night and Jeongguk’s attention was entirely on the tv. The singer would gasp and murmur under his breath at some parts. Taehyung found it cute and admitted to himself that Jeongguk was more entertaining than the movie.

“Tae?”

Taehyung blinked. He was on a particularly painful stretch when Jeongguk called for him.

“You okay?”

Big, doe eyes closely looked at him. Actually, they were much closer than he expected. Taehyung blinked again and realized that Jeongguk’s face was in front of him, their noses practically touching. Taehyung abruptally went back, his head knocking against the headboard.

“Wow! Hey, you okay?”

Taehyung groaned, eyes closed. It definetly hurt.

“I didn’t mean to surprise you. I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay… The pain will go away in a bit.”

Or at least, he hoped so. His hands touched tentatively his head and he could already feel a large bump forming. He sighed. Well, another thing to add to his sore body.

“What about your hands?”

“What?” Taehyung asked, surprised.

Jeongguk looked at him with a tiny smile. He was sitting cross-legged in front of him, the movie still playing in the background.

“Your hands hurt right?”

Oh. True, he had been stretching for quite a while now. But with Jeongguk as immersed in the movie as he was, Taehyung didn’t think the singer would pay any attention to him.

“It’s okay. Don’t mind me.”

Jeongguk frowned.

“Of course, I’m going to mind! You’re my friend, Tae. Let me worry about you, please?” Jeongguk asked in a small voice.

And here it is, Taehyung groaned mentally. The unfair tactic that Jeongguk had been using the past few weeks against him. A tiny smile, the singer looking at him through his bangs with a shy look. Taehyung was weak, so weak. Yoongi Hyung would laugh at him and Namjoon Hyung would pat his back. Not only was he weak for Hoseok’s and Jimin’s puppy look, but he was also now incredibly weak for Jeongguk’s shy look. And the singer was completely using it at his advantage ever since he discovered his weakness! And coupled with that new nickname, Taehyung was simply done for.

“Alright.” He sighed. “You win.”

“Great!” Jeongguk exclaimed as he sat back next to him on the bed. “Give me your hands?”

“What?”

“Give me your hands?” Jeongguk repeated, that ever present smile of his stretching his lips.

Taehyung slowly laid his hands in Jeongguk’s waiting ones. Warm. They were so warm against his cold hands.

“Great! Now, I just need to...”

Clutching Taehyung’s hands in one hand for a minute, Jeongguk rewinded their movie before letting it play again. And slowly, so very slowly, Jeongguk began to massage his hands. It was almost… tender, soft. Taehyung blushed, his heartbeat loud in his ears, and took a small breath. When was the last time someone took care of him like that? Namjoon Hyung and Yoongi Hyung weren’t very tactile, hugging him here and there but never for very long. And it was rare for them to hold his hands. Hoseok and Jimin were the opposite. They loved hugs, holding hands, kissing but they had been so busy with their wedding these past few months…He missed it.

“...Thank you, Kookie.” Taehyung whispered, not able to meet his friend’s eyes.

“Of course, Tae.”

He was thankful and grateful for making such a precious friend.

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Jeongguk @jeongguk_twt

Surprise! Guess who is going to Hawaii?

Bea @jeongguk_gcf
YESSS.
Wait… does this mean G.C.F in Hawaii?!
@babygguk94 ?!

mELmEL @babygguk94
I HOPE SO.
WE MISS YOUR G.C.F GUKKIE!!!!

SpiderGukks @spidergukks
Have a good flight! Hope you will have fun!!

JJKgang @gukkigang
Is that Jeongguk’s physiotherapist in the background? Looks cute!

Eupholie @jjkeuphoria2
Is your shoulder better now?
Have a good flight!

Scrolling through the answers of Jeongguk’s tweet, Taehyung sighed. He wasn’t happy about the picture but he couldn’t say anything. He wore his mask properly and the fans could only see his side profile. Hopefully, his father wouldn’t send him any angry messages. He also wasn’t happy about going to Hawaii. Hoseok and Jimin were still there for a few days. He didn’t hear about it until one day before their flight, Jeongguk was adamant that their stay at Hawaii was part of their itinerary. Looking once again at his information pamphlet for the tour, Taehyung discovered that Jeongguk was right. Taehyung didn’t actually bother to read everything through, he just thought they wouldn’t go there. But the company planned to film a small show for Jeongguk’s fans. It was also a good way for the singer to rest and not stress about his shoulder or his next concert.

Yoonie
So you’re going to Hawaii and you didn’t even know about it?

Taetae
I was busy with work…

Minie
Does this mean we can meet up Taetae?! I miss you!

Hobi
We can take you to that one bar we always go to!

Taetae
I shouldn’t bother you two on your honeymoon Chim.

Minie
No way, Taetae! Come on!

Monie
Going to take any pictures over here? Also Yoon, we need to go shopping…
He went on a cooking spree again. Said he was stressed.

Yoonie
Again?!

Hobi
When are you going to tell us the name of your mysterious new roommate or show us, @Yoonie Hyung?
You always seem to go crazy because of him.

Yoonie
That’s because he drives me crazy. We still have food from last week in the freezer.
I don’t even know what we’re going with what he cooked today.

Taehyung sighed again. At least, they were all in a good mood.

“You don’t seem happy.” Jeongguk said next to him.

He was editing videos on his laptop, waiting for the plane to depart.

“My friends want to meet up with me, once we arrived in Hawaii...”

“You don’t want to? Everyone will have some free time. Should be okay?”

“It’s their honeymoon! They should be all sappy and lovey dovey with each other. And...”

“You don’t really want to be the third wheel?” Jeongguk cut Taehyung off, sideyeing him. “Wouldn’t just one dinner or lunch okay? If they really want to meet up with you?”

“I guess so...” Taehyung answered a bit morose. “It wouldn’t...hurt.”

Lie. Lie. Lie… Taehyung could already feel the pain of seeing them together. He didn’t want to go. He really didn’t want to go...