"Good morning boys! Welcome to Tangeum Lake Summer Camp. My name is Seokjin and I'll be one of your coordinators' assistant. I'm here to help them keep you in check but ,most importantly, I'm here to make sure you have a great time with us and help you in case you ever need anything!"
His smile was beaming, that was the first thing Taehyung noticed. It put him off in a way. Why would a good looking boy who was barely older than him willingly take care of a bunch of annoying teenagers?
"What's your name?"
Taehyung looked around. Great, he was talking to him now.
"Nice to meet you, Taehyung-ah. I hope I'll be able to turn that frown upside down by the end of the summer"
Once again he was flashed a bright smile. Taehyung really didn't want to be there.
He'd been sent there by his parents as correctional punishment after they'd found his small weed stash. It couldn't have been more than a gram, but his parents hadn't taken it well. His dad had already been drunk so instead of raising the bottle to his lips first, he directly started having his fun yelling about what a good for nothing disappointment his son was and reinforced the message with harsh blows to the boy's torso. Taehyung was still carrying purple bruises on his ribcage.
The first couple of days, he refused to talk to anyone. He sat alone for their meals and was always the first one to head to sleep, missing out on the bonfires. His only social interactions were limited to the group activities that they were forced into every day, but even then he never really spoke much. None of the other boys particularly cared, all of them already had their friends anyway. But Seokjin noticed and he didn't like the idea of the younger boy being alone. So, on the fifth night, he went to the cabin he was staying in to talk to him. He didn't think about knocking before he opened the door.
When he looked up from the handle he was met with a broad back of golden skin littered in dark spots of purple, black, and blue with some hints of yellow and green. He immediately rushed forward to check on the boy, but as soon as he reached out with his hand Taehyung closed his eyes and flinched. Seokjin stopped dead in his tracks. He just watched as Taehyung pulled a shirt over his head.
"What do you want?" he wasn't even looking at him. Was he ashamed?
"I just wanted to check in on you"
"Well, I'm fine. Can you leave now?"
Seokjin didn't move. Something inside him was yelling at him to stay and take care of the boy.
"Taehyung-ah" he took a step forward "do you wanna talk about it?"
"I-I don't know"
"It's okay, you don't have to tell me anything. Just-" Seokjin but his hand on Taehyung's "know that you can always talk to me, okay? About anything."
Taehyung looked up for the first time. He was teary eyed and nodded weakly.
After that Seokjin made sure to keep an eye on Taehyung. He'd slip little chocolate treats into his pocket at lunch and go to him when everyone else was at the bonfire. Little by little, Taehyung started talking more. First, it was little things about his life back in Daegu. His friends, school, his hobbies. Then, he started sharing more. He talked about how is father was an alcoholic and his mom never really said anything. He talked about the abuse and why he was sent to camp.
Seokjin's heart ached with every word they boy spoke, but he never let it show, trying to be professional. But that didn't last too long. One night, after all had been put out in the open, they decided to go for a walk. They were basking in the moonlight, the lake to their left and woods to the right. Technically they weren't supposed to be out of the camp's confines, but the elder knew his way around. They were just chatting and skipping stones when they saw a light pointing towards them. One of the tutors had been walking around to make sure that none of the boys were engaging in activities that were not allowed when he'd spotted two figures throwing rocks into the lake.
Seokjin to the younger's hand and dragged him into the woods. They ran and ran until the screaming faded into the distance. When they finally stopped they were both panting messes. They stood there, hands on their knees and breaths heavy and eyes fixed on the way the other's chest was rising and falling. When they could finally breathe properly they looked each other in the eye and just burst out laughing.
Taehyung's back was resting against a tree.
"Who would've thought that good 'ol Jinnie-hyung would help the youngster with a criminal record escape from camp security."
"Oh shut the fuck up, you brat. You don't have a criminal record, you were just dumb enough to keep your weed at home"
The laughter, too, subsided and they were left in silence.
The elder hummed.
Seokjin looked confused but walked towards the younger nonetheless.
When he was an arm's length away, Taehyung grabbed his wrist and pulled him forward. Next thing they knew, their lips were touching. It was slow but nowhere near long enough, but when they pulled away and Seokjin rested his forehead on the younger, they both smiled.
They were very aware that what they were doing was going to hurt them both in the end, but in that moment, it was everything.
They had two months left so they decided to make the most of them.
Every night they'd meet at the cabin right after dinner and find a good hideout to just make out or hold hands. Their relationship was mostly just soft touches and even softer kisses, nothing more. And they were content. More than either of them had been in their whole lives.
But everything comes to an end eventually. Summer couldn't last forever.
September came quicker than they'd anticipated and both of them had to go back to their lives. Daegu and Gwacheon were not that far, but they weren't close enough either.
The night before their departure Seokjin scribbled his phone number and home address on Taehyung's forearm.
"You're more stupid than I thought if you think I'm gonna let you go, TaeTae"
Everything went perfectly for the first few months. They texted and called every single day, sometimes even video chatted a couple of times a week.
But the world had never been kind to boys who fell in love with other boys, and it had never been kind to Kim Taehyung.
Timing was crucial in their relationship, both of them aware that the younger's dad was not a forgiving man and extremely set in his ways, and him finding out would've been dangerous.
They had scheduled times when they were free to talk around Taehyung's father shifts, and it didn't occur to them that one day he might get home earlier.
But, around a month after camp had ended, that day came. They were about to end their weekly video call when it happened.
"Okay so what are you gonna tell them?"
"That I'm spending the weekend at Yoongi-hyung's"
"Okay. Did you get your train tickets, sunshine?"
"Of course, Jinnie. I even have my bags packed already."
"Good, baby. I can't wait for Friday."
"Same. The weekend can't come fast enough."
Taehyung left out a soft sigh.
"I just wanna kiss you again"
"Just two more days and you'll be right here in my arms, TaeTae."
"Yeah, I know"
"I love you."
The younger's frown disappeared and was replaced with the wide, boxy grin that the elder loved.
"I love you too, hyungie"
Then, a crash. A beer bottle flew from a side of the room to the other and almost hit him in the head.
"What the fuck is this?"
"Who is this, huh? Is my son getting fucked liked a bitch now too? Weren't you satisfied with how much of a disappointment you were?"
Tears formed in his eyes, but he refused to let them spill.
"Sir, please don't hurt him. It's all my fault-"
Taehyung disconnected the call. He didn't want his Jinnie to get caught up in his mess.
After that night, Taehyung's constellation of bruises kept growing. He didn't have his phone anymore so he couldn't talk to his hyung, but he'd kept the elder's address.
He sent only one letter.
"I'll work it out, I promise.
I'll send another letter as soon as I have a plan just, please, don't forget about me.
I love you.
Seokjin knew better than to reply, so he just waited. He knew he could trust Taehyung.
In the meanwhile, Taehyung kept going to school and pretending to have forgotten all about the "boy who corrupted him".
It took two months for his father to trust him enough to let him leave the house for anything other than school. With this newfound freedom, Taehyung decided that he was gonna try his luck.
He sent the letter, bought the train tickets, packed his bags, and left a note.
"Gonna be at Yoongi-hyung's for the weekend, we have a project coming up."
His father didn't care enough to know that Yoongi wasn't even one of his classmates.
And he left.
When he got to Seokjin's house, he burst into tears. Their first night together was spent like that, rocking each other through the crying and exchanging soft kisses that were drenched in tears. The second one went better, they hung out the way they used to when they sneaked to the woods during camp. Just, this time around, they were a tangle of limbs on a soft mattress. In a house where they knew that their actions were not something to be ashamed of. Something that didn't hold any consequence. They thrived in the freedom, so much so that they drunk off of it. Shy touches became more firm and sure, soft kisses became hot and desperate. Their hands wandered and they studied each other's bodies as if they were sacred scriptures. Something holy and worth worshipping. And worship they did.
The last day was spent basking in the afterglow, trying desperately to stop counting the minutes until the younger's departure in the back of their minds.
Despite the heaviness in their hearts, they knew that this goodbye was surely going to be temporary. An unspoken promise of sorts that could be found in the way they looked at each other.
Sure, the world had never been kind to Kim Taehyung. But it had given him Seokjin, and Taehyung knew that there was nothing that could ever take his hyung away from him.