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Desire: The Truth Untold

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black & white "book cover" graphic created by me. thank you luna for the BEAUTIFUL au character posters!

 

Parthenon

Taehyung ✧ Jeongguk ✧ JiminYoongiHoseokSeokjinNamjoon

 

Desire: The Truth Untold Playlist


 

10:00 PM –– Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea

 

Raindrops battered down mercilessly as the temperature outside continued to drop. The deafening roar of heavy water droplets making contact with the aluminum vehicle body of a pitch black Audi A8 was enough to convince Kim Taehyung that he was anything but alone with his thoughts. He shifted in the leather driver’s seat, resting with his car idle in the parking lot of a very familiar place. A large, stone building with Greek-influenced architecture loomed overhead, emanating an eerie feeling in the gloomy September weather. He had been here hundreds of times –– but each time felt more like a first time than the last. Biting the inside of his cheek, Taehyung wondered why it felt that way. The wool of the dark Bottega Veneta overcoat wrapped around his frame suddenly felt itchy. Was it hot in here? Glancing down at the display, he checked the time. 10:14 P.M. It was still early – the valet wasn’t even attending yet. Sucking his teeth, he pulled his coat taught around his front before turning off his car. The vehicle ceased its purring without a hitch, and Taehyung cursed under his breath. Who’s idea was it to open a club without the valet for the first three hours? The rain wasn’t letting up anytime soon, and Taehyung knew it. He’d have to bring it up to Yoongi later. Cursing still, he grabbed an umbrella from behind his passenger seat, threw open his door, and stepped out onto the soaked asphalt, making a beeline for the stone stairs that led to the entrance of the building. Half of him prayed that maybe he’d slip on the way up – at least maybe he’d get his money’s worth back, and then some.

 

The Parthenon was a modern take on a structure true to its name. The building was quite massive, and situated on an incline accessible by a vast stone staircase leading up to its entrance. Several large, dusted white stone pillars designated the front of the building, fitting the structure’s neoclassical architecture. If you didn’t know any better, you’d never guess what was waiting inside. Taehyung, reaching the top of the steps, passed through the looming pillars and side–eyed the valet booth, void of attendance. Shaking his umbrella, he looked upward at the large, extravagant double doors that towered in front of him. He could turn around, and get in his car, and drive away. It’s not like he paid for valet. A second later, a smirk cut across his face and he stepped forward. It wouldn’t be much fun if he left now, would it? 

 

Upon entering the building, most would be taken aback. True to its outward appearance, The Parthenon’s interior is nothing short of beautiful. Taehyung, though a frequent patron, admires the interior every time. The ceilings stretched infinitely high; and the walls were neatly adorned with classic artwork, mostly renaissance. Taehyung had always appreciated the artwork. He took pleasure in the fact it rotated every so often, and every piece was original and well taken care of. In every crevice of The Parthenon, there was always something beautiful to look at. The place is overwhelmingly extravagant and exquisite – it’s almost too much. Almost like there is a lot of effort gone into every detail. Almost like there is something to hide. 

 

“Good evening, Mr. Kim. It’s a pleasure to have you.” 

 

A warm, pleasant female voice echoed in front of him, coming from the reception desk to his front. Taehyung, snapping out of momentarily being lost in his thoughts, smiled and nodded toward the woman, cracking a polite smile and stepping forward on the lush red carpet that led from the entrance to reception. The woman circled around the desk, approaching Taehyung. 

 

“Please allow me to attend you, sir.” She reached forward, bowing deeply at the waist. Taehyung nodded, bowing slightly in return. He handed her his umbrella and shrugged off his overcoat, which she took delicately off of his body. Brushing himself off, Taehyung hadn’t realized how much his skin was burning up. It was cold outside, but he still felt his body running anxious with heat. Adjusting the Patek on his wrist, he chuckled. 

 

“It’s a bit of a shame with no valet,” he said, glancing at the hostess and then avoiding eye contact. His eyes roamed lazily. “With this weather and all.” He added. Long eyelashes blinked away the stray droplets that had formed on the tips of his dark, curly hair that hung in his face. He’d just gotten a perm recently – bad timing. His jaw clenched slightly.

 

The hostess’ face flushed with shame and apology. She bowed once again, deeply and at the waist. “I understand. I’m incredibly sorry, Mr. K–“

 

“Taehyung!” A man’s voice rang out from the hallway to the left of the reception desk. Taehyung followed the trail of the voice, and smiled in acknowledgment of a friendly face emerging from the darkness of the large corridor. 

 

“Hoseok,” Taehyung greeted him warmly, “How’s it going?”

 

Hoseok beamed a bright smile. “It’s better now that you’re here! How are you?” He blinked, looking down at his watch. “You’re early, but late for you.” He peered up at Taehyung, pursing his lips. “Anything new?”

 

Taehyung chuckled. “I would have been here earlier, but the rain is bad, and seeing as there’s no valet…” He trailed off, purposely making eye contact to get his point across to Hoseok. 

 

Hoseok’s face brightened and he laughed, throwing an arm over Taehyung’s shoulders. “You already know the rules! No valet before midnight.” He led Taehyung into the corridor, and Taehyung obediently walked with him into the darkness. “Yoongi’s rule. Maybe we should take it up with him.” 

 

The calm, museum–like feeling of the front gallery was a stark contrast to the rest of the building where Taehyung was going. After walking with Hoseok down a dimly lit corridor, Taehyung could feel an anxious rush begin to bubble in the pit of his stomach. He admired the paintings that adorned the corridor, much like the ones in the front lobby. He swore he could hear the bass of club music through the walls, but he couldn’t tell whether he could actually hear it or just because he expected it. Moments later, the pair circled to a set of large doors with carved stone handles. Hoseok opened the door for him, and a cold blast of air hit Taehyung’s face. Along with it, the crisp scents of liquor, cologne, crisp bills, and the noise of club music hit him. 

 

The fucking Parthenon. 

 

Where else would he be on a Friday night?

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What looked like a grand museum or even a library on the outside, fooled its visitors quite easily when you ventured into The Parthenon far enough. The lobby was deceiving – intentionally so. But if you knew where to go, you’d find what you were looking for – if you were looking for it. 

 

A bar stretched out to Taehyung’s right; to his immediate left, a small round stage with a sleek, silver pole adorning the center. He made his way to the bar. Behind it stood a fresh face – new bartender, Taehyung guessed – and a familiar one. He smiled and nodded his head in acknowledgment. His greeting was simply a pleasant, “Yoongi.”

 

Yoongi, taking his eyes off the display screen in front of him, looked up at Taehyung. His face cracked into a smile, revealing his pink gums and small white teeth. “Kim Taehyung.” He said in return, then his smile disappeared a moment later. “You’re late.” He returned to looking at the display screen in front of him, touching it with the bartender watching intently. 

 

Taehyung chuckled, taking a seat at the bar. He made eye contact with Hoseok as he saw him crossing behind the bar and approaching Yoongi. “Should I tell him or will you?” Taehyung asked, receiving a panicked look from Hoseok.

 

Yoongi’s eyes narrowed and he looked up at Taehyung, then at Hoseok. “Tell me what?” He stood up straight, adjusting his suit jacket and looking expectantly at Hoseok.

 

Hoseok’s eyes grew wide and he shook his head, looking from Taehyung to Yoongi quickly, “Well, the, I– I mean, Taehyung– the v-valet,” He started, but was interrupted by Taehyung’s chuckle.

 

“You really should consider valet at open, Yoongi.” Taehyung said. Hoseok gave him an apologetic and thankful look. “I know it’s a rule, but it’s in the best interest of the customer.” He smirked. “I’d be a lot earlier if that’s what it took.”

 

The look on Yoongi’s face was one of sheer exasperation. He looked like he was over the conversation before it had even begun. “Shit, Taehyung. You of all fucking people…” He sighed. “It’s a rule for a reason. You know that.” He responded flatly, returning his attention to the bar register.

 

Taehyung, breaking into a smile, nodded. “I know, I know. The usual, please?” He asked, and with that, he looked at the young bartender – who was, Taehyung noted, quite attractive. Young, but attractive. They always were. “Glenlivet 18, please. Short, on the rocks.” He paused, glancing behind him at the floor adorned with mostly empty tables, lush chairs, and three very large, very obvious stages, all adorned with sleek silver poles. “two rocks, specifically.” He smiled at the bartender. 

 

“Until the third.” Yoongi added, his arms crossed. The bartender looked confused. “Two ice cubes until the third round. Then it’s four, with a generous splash of soda.” He clarified, rolling his eyes and making a gesture for the bartender to get going. He then looked at Hoseok, who giggled. Taehyung raised his eyebrows, looking impressed and nodding thankfully at Yoongi. He then immediately cracked into a smile mirroring Hoseok’s giggle. He couldn’t help it – Hoseok’s giddiness was contagious.

 

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After receiving his drink, Taehyung took leave from the bar and settled at a table in a more obscure corner of the club. The layout was quite massive; the main floor was open, but VIP booths in the corners and the cushioned chairs along the walls afforded a bit more privacy. Taehyung enjoyed being more of a wallflower; it was either the wall or the very edge of the bar. Never too out in the open. His eyes tracked upwards towards the towering ceilings. He peered at the darkness of the second floor. He’d never been upstairs to the VIP lounge. Not that he wasn’t intrigued, but no one had particularly piqued his interest to lead him to reserve a room. He looked down at his watch. 10:37 P.M. He brought the glass to his lips, taking a sip of his drink. He sucked his teeth as he felt the burn of the alcohol searing his throat. 

 

His eyes scanned the room – it was relatively empty, with most patrons just starting to arrive. Dancers were already up on the stages; one on the main center stage, and another on one of two side stages. They rotated stages with each song. 

 

“Ares, stand by. Ares, stand by, baby.” Taehyung heard the DJ’s smooth voice meshed with the music.

 

“Ares..” He thought to himself. It didn’t ring a bell. New dancer? Taehyung took another swig of whiskey, cursing at the burn. It numbed his tongue just slightly. Taehyung had been a regular patron of the club for a while now, and had become familiar with most of the dancers. He was cordial with some, cold with others – most knew that he was not an easy client to bag. He was the type to buy a drink, but yet to buy a dance. Normally, this would be a problem – but considering Taehyung’s tendency to rack a large bill and tip nicely for time, it wasn’t an issue. Besides, Taehyung had known Hoseok for quite a long time – Hoseok was the one who invited him here in the first place. Taehyung doubted that he’d ever be forbidden from returning. He smiled fondly at the thought of his friend, who was probably having a fun time right now, running the place. Taehyung looked over towards the bar, wondering where Hoseok and Yoongi were. Taehyung always found it interesting the industry that Hoseok had gotten his way into. “What an interesting profession to assume…”

 

Just then, Taehyung looked back at the main stage as the music changed. His eyes widened, nearly dropping his glass in the middle of drinking from it. He choked on his whiskey, eyes watering as he coughed and tried to compose himself without drawing any attention. He watched in disbelief as a dancer, toned and dazzling with a baby face too cute to match, strutted out onto the stage. A second later, after wiping his mouth, he burst out into laughter. He couldn’t believe it. Laughing, he grabbed for his wallet and pulled out cash. He made a mental note to get dollar bills from the bar later, and with a huge smile on his face, got up from his seat, placed his napkin over his drink, and walked towards the main stage.

 

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On stage, Ares exuded nothing less than power. With a physique that seemed chiseled by gods, he retained a boyish, mischievous charm that seemed unique to him. His look screamed “bad boy” and the way he moved his body proved he knew it. 

 

“I was wondering where you were!” Taehyung shouted, flashing a big smile as he approached the stage. He looked up at the dancer, who looked momentarily surprised and then smiled brightly down at him. Taehyung giggled. His smile was always cute – his baby face made him look like a bunny rabbit. The dancer dropped down in front of him as Taehyung put his hands down on the edge of the stage, exhibiting his best gentlemen's club etiquette. “Jeongguk”, he said, with flirtatious eyes and a sly smirk, once the dancer was close enough to hear.

 

Ares laughed, sitting down on the edge of the stage and throwing his legs over in one smooth, fluid move. Taehyung was momentarily startled – had he ever seen Jeongguk move so… sexily? It was like he didn’t even need to try. Ares placed his hands on Taehyung’s shoulders, slowly feeling down his arms and pulling him closer. He straddled Taehyung as the music continued playing, rolling his body and grinding his ass on the stage in time with the music. Taehyung was pressed up against the edge of the stage, with both of Ares’ thighs straddling his torso. Taehyung did his best to remain composed, though he was arguably overwhelmed, and definitely aroused. He had only ever seen Jeongguk in formal wear… behind the bar on the other side of the room. He chuckled to himself. “So that’s why there’s a new bartender…” Taehyung thought. Ares, with an arm around Taehyung, leaned in close and breathed into his ear. Taehyung shivered, feeling more than just the alcohol coursing through his veins.

 

“It’s Ares now.” He whispered, and pulled away looking seductively at Taehyung. A moment later, he flashed his cute bunny teeth in a baby-faced smile. A slight blush flushed his cheeks.

 

Taehyung smirked, looking Jeongguk – ahem, Ares, up and down. “Ares.” He said, nodding and taking the appearance of Jeongguk in, scanning him from his face downwards. Taehyung carefully placed his hand on Jeongguk’s leg and glanced upwards with a raised eyebrow as he did so, making eye contact with the dancer in seeking approval. After receiving a smile and a small nod from the dancer, Taehyung slowly traced the length of Jeongguk’s thigh until he reached his hip, feeling the softness of Jeongguk’s skin and the sinewed shape of his muscles before slipping a $20 bill in the string of his thong. 

 

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Taehyung had never expected to see Jeongguk on the other side of that bar, much less on stage. His head was swimming with the scent of Jeongguk upon returning to his seat. He finished his whiskey, feeling drunk but not on alcohol. He laughed to himself. “Good for him,” Taehyung thought. Jeongguk had been the star bartender since Taehyung had started coming here; and he had a personality perfect for this place. Taehyung knew that Jeongguk loved attention – Taehyung had come to know him well enough to know so – and there was only so much dazzling he could do behind a bar. There was a certain attractiveness that Jeongguk emanated while bartending, but this was a completely different ballpark. Taehyung felt amused; come to think of it, it wasn’t a surprise at all that Jeongguk had made the switch. He got up to get change and another round from the bar. On his way there, he glanced up at the second floor once again. Maybe it was time for him to finally make his way into the unknown territory of second-floor champagne rooms. He bit his lower lip at the thought, and checked his watch. It was nearing 11:30 P.M.. The night was still young – he had plenty of time. Hell, even the valet attendant had yet to clock in. 

 

Taehyung stood at the bar, swirling the whiskey in his glass as he waited patiently for the bartender to exchange large bills for smaller ones.

 

“Mr. Kim Taehyung,” he heard his name being called, and turned to see none other than his not-so-new friend, Jeongguk – Ares, he reminded himself – joining him at the bar. Ares had finished his stage sets, made his rounds on the floor, and had just emerged from the dressing room after freshening up.

 

Taehyung smiled and gave a small laugh, turning to him and nearly placing his hand on Jeongguk’s waist. He stopped himself, but not before looking him up and down. “Fuck,” Taehyung bit down on his lower lip without thinking, moistening his lips which suddenly seemed very dry. How did he never properly notice Jeongguk and how absolutely gorgeous he was? He chalked it up to Jeongguk being concealed behind the bar for the entirety of their interaction, since they met. Taehyung had guessed he looked nothing short of handsome under his tux uniform, but now that Taehyung realized it, he had never really been this close in proximity to Jeongguk. The bar was always between them. He was beginning to be really glad that he didn’t go back to his car and leave earlier.

 

Jeongguk giggled, even more so when Taehyung’s smile mirrored his own. “I know you’re a quiet one, Taehyung, but I didn’t know you were really shy,” He said playfully. He took Taehyung’s wrist and placed it on his waist, rubbing Taehyung’s hand as he pressed it on his skin. He gave him a flirtatious look, to which Taehyung was glad it was dark and you couldn’t see his face flush. He blinked nervously and looked away, though making no effort to remove his hand from Jeongguk’s waist. He grabbed his glass with his free hand and put it up to his lips, before feeling Jeongguk’s starry eyes on him and stopping. 

 

“Oh, excuse me.” Taehyung set his glass down, clearing his throat. “I’m being rude. Would you like a drink, Jeon–“, he paused, smiling sheepishly, “Ares?” 

 

Ares’ smile lit up on his face once again, and he laughed. “It’s about time you asked, Mr. Kim.”

 

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Taehyung’s second whiskey turned into his third, with club soda this time, and four ice cubes instead of two – Jeongguk was the one who made a point to remind the bartender of Taehyung’s drink preferences. Taehyung began sipping lighter and lighter on it, interrupted by a couple of tequila shots with Jeongguk. Taehyung was not the biggest lightweight he’d met, but he definitely wasn’t the heaviest drinker. Five drinks normally lasted him the whole night, and by the third he was usually buzzing. He was never much of a “shots” kind of person – but Jeongguk was, and tonight was different, after all. Taehyung felt himself loosening up, feeling hot in his loose-fitting clothing. He was definitely a lot closer physically to Jeonnguk now, still standing at the bar and enjoying the dancer’s company. He was vaguely unaware of the rest of his surroundings – dancers continuously vied for attention, on stage and on the floor, but Taehyung had tunnel vision. Most of them knew not to bother him anyway, but a lot of envious and questioning eyes were on Jeongguk. It wasn’t the best start for him as a new dancer, to be envied and despised by the others who wouldn’t even be given the time of day by Taehyung, a coveted client. Jeongguk, however, reveled in it. He knew all eyes were on him – including Taehyung’s – and he loved it. To know he had Taehyung’s attention, and on his first night dancing – the pride in him swelled and he felt his blood boiling with the hunger for victory and and bragging rights. All he needed next was to get some VIP time with Taehyung, and he would be the only dancer in this entire club to have done so. With a pretty price tag, Jeongguk was determined. Target: acquired.

 

The lights were blurred and the floor was starting to feel a little unsteady. Before he knew it, Taehyung was sitting in a booth, with Jeongguk on top of him, straddling him. “Holy fuck,” Taehyung opened his eyes and looked up at Jeongguk on top of him, in awe. He glanced around; he knew he hadn’t gone upstairs, or had he? No way. It still had to be too early, and he hadn’t had that much to drink. Did he black out? No way. Three drinks wouldn’t do that. He only had three so far, right? Taehyung blinked and looked around hazily. He could see the entrance of the room – they were in downstairs VIP. Relief washed over him for an unknown reason – Taehyung found it funny, and smiled as he tossed his head back and relaxed into the booth. So, Jeongguk was the one to finally do him in. He chuckled to himself, and put his hands on Jeongguk’s hips, encouraging him to grind into him. A few dances couldn’t hurt. He’d never done this, after all. Not once. But something about tonight was just tempting him to try things he’d never tried before. He bit down on his lip aggressively, feeling Jeongguk’s dick grinding against his own. Jeongguk’s hands propped himself up as he grinded against Taehyung, and Taehyung could swear that Jeongguk was admiring his own reflection in the mirror that lined the wall behind them. Beads of sweat dotted Taehyung’s forehead, and his breath was ragged. Fuck, this was amazing. He could feel the alcohol fueling the blood rushing through his veins, rushing to a part of him that told him maybe he should put some space between him and Jeongguk… But he could have swore as he got hard, that it only encouraged Jeongguk to grind harder, slower, savoring the tease. He saw a sly smirk flash across Jeongguk’s face as the dancer turned around and sat himself on Taehyung, grinding his ass on Taehyung’s dick. Taehyung opened his legs to allow Jeongguk full range of motion, and heard a laugh escape from Jeongguk’s lips. Taehyung admired Jeongguk from behind, running his hands along the curves of the muscles in Jeongguk’s back, resting on his firm, sculpted ass. Taehyung whined slightly as the friction on his dick became enticingly stimulating. Jeongguk leaned back into Taehyung, resting as he continued to roll his body against him. Jeongguk let out a breathy laugh. “Are you enjoying yourself, Mr. Kim?”

 

Taehyung laughed, his breath ragged and hitching in his throat every time he felt Jeongguk’s weight settling on him. “Taehyung is –,“ he stuttered, “–fine”, he set his hands on either side of Jeongguk’s waist, running down his thighs. He felt almost, dare he say, euphoric? What was it about today that had him feeling like a fired up piston ready to go? “Ares,” he breathed deeply, relishing the scent from Jeongguk’s hair.

 

Jeongguk took Taehyung’s hand, guiding him over places of his body that no one would dare venture. “Yes, Taehyung?” 

 

When did his name sound so sexy? Jeongguk had said his name plenty of times, but never like this. Never this close. Taehyung felt sweat prickling on his skin. “You feel…” fuck. “You…” Could Jeongguk stop grinding for two seconds so he could speak? No, wait, Taehyung didn’t want him to stop. He definitely did not want him to stop. “You feel… so…  fucking good.

 

Ares smiled, laying into Taehyung and resting himself as a song came to a close. Taehyung cracked a smile, letting his arms wrap around Jeongguk and feeling entirely grateful that Jeongguk had introduced him to Ares, and a brave world of trying new things.

 

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The rest of the night was a blur, but a lot tamer than Jeongguk expected. After about an hour of lap dances in downstairs VIP, Taehyung had excused himself to go to the men’s room. Jeongguk laughed at the thought of Taehyung jacking himself off in the restroom like a teenager – there was no need for that though, when Taehyung knew the champagne rooms were upstairs, and downstairs… “He does know about downstairs, right?” Jeongguk wondered to himself. Taehyung had been coming to The Parthenon for a while, but maybe not that long… He at least knows about the champagne rooms , Jeonnguk thought. He sat in the main dressing room on the second floor, counting through his money. He’d made a nice chunk of change off of the downstairs dances with Taehyung – whether he would have made that off any other client in the club was up for debate, but at least with Taehyung it was comfortable. Jeongguk stopped in the middle of sorting through his dollar bills, mentally slapping himself. Taehyung was a client. His bar regular, to begin with. He made a note to himself to keep his distance from Taehyung as much as possible. Just enough to tempt him, and keep him as a paying client. No more than that. Taehyung was a gold mine – but Jeongguk knew that meant playing the game carefully. Resuming his counting, he hummed to himself, catching a glance of himself in the mirror and smirking, shaking his chocolate hair to fix it.

 

On the main floor, Taehyung gripped the edge of the sink inside the men’s room tightly. He steadied himself, feeling unusually queasy. Looking up, he saw his reflection in the mirror, separating into two blurry realities that he couldn’t force to unite. Shaking his head, he turned to sink on, splashing cold water onto his face. What was happening? He was never like this. He glanced down at his watch. 1:21 A.M. It was already past 1 A.M.?! He cursed under his breath, and sighed to regain himself. He rewinded the night in his head. He knew he hadn’t had that much to drink – three drinks. Oh, shit . The tequila shots. It was only a couple, though. Right? Taehyung’s head pounded. He immediately felt his stomach knotting up, and his jaw clenching. Sourly, he felt resentment towards the new bartender, feeling like there was something more than just alcohol in his drink. “Fucking bastard,” Taehyung cursed, taking a drink of water from the sink and steadying himself as he nearly stumbled out of the men’s room, heading for the building entrance.

 

“Taehyung! Taehyung, where are you going?!” Hoseok called out from behind Taehyung, in the corridor. He jogged to catch up to Taehyung, who was approaching the hostess to ask for his coat.

 

Taehyung had half a mind to let Hoseok have it. As he turned, though, and saw Hoseok’s concerned face, there was no way he could be mad at him. It wasn’t Hoseok’s fault, and even then – he didn’t actually know if anything had happened. He didn’t know if he’d been drugged, or maybe he was just more of a lightweight than usual. He never drank tequila, after all. Taehyung did his best to appear as sober as possible, smiling apologetically to Hoseok. “I think I’m going to call it early, Hoseokie.” He said, putting his arms in his jacket as the hostess held it out for him.

 

Hoseok looked surprised, hearing “ Hoseokie ” coming out of Taehyung’s mouth. He immediately was equal parts suspicious and equal parts concerned. “Taehyung…” he started, approaching him and placing his hands on his shoulders gently. “Are you good? You don’t look so great, man.” He analyzed Taehyung’s face – his dark eyes were glossy.

 

“No, no. I had a great time, Hoseokie,” Taehyung smiled. “Ares is… he’s a lot of fun.”

 

Hoseok laughed. “I heard!” He steadied Taehyung, who was leaning into Hoseok more than he probably realized. “I’m glad you had a great time, man. I knew hiding that boy behind that bar was a crime.” He laughed, and then in a more serious tone. “Honestly, Taehyung. We can get you a car. You can leave yours here.” He paused, smiling. “Valet will take care of it.” 

 

Just then, Yoongi appeared in the front lobby. “Hoseok, where the fuck–“ he started, but was abruptly stopped by Hoseok turning and shooting him a panicked look. Yoongi pouted in annoyance. “What?”

 

“Yoongi–ssi! I was wondering where you went.” Taehyung smiled, waving, and Yoongi raised an eyebrow at Hoseok. “ Yoongi–ssi ?” He mouthed, looking confusedly at Hoseok.

 

“Taehyung is ready to go home now,” Hoseok petted Taehyung’s shoulder, “but I think we should send a car for him. I don’t think Kim sajang-nim would mind…”

 

“No, no,” Taehyung started, waving his hands. “I’m fine. I’m just tired.” He rummaged in his coat pocket for his keys. “ Kim sajang-nim?”, He thought. “ The owner?” Taehyung had never met him before. The man was elusive – though he owned The Parthenon, he hardly made an appearance. To see or meet him was quite rare. Rumor had it, though, that he was extremely handsome. “I’ll be back tomorrow.” Taehyung said, smiling and stepping away from Hoseok.

 

“Drive him, Hoseok.” Yoongi’s voice was firm, and he shot the hostess a look as the phone rang on the reception desk. 

 

“What?” Hoseok seemed surprised. “Me? But, Yoongi, it’s Friday, you can’t be by yourse–“

 

“Drive him.” Yoongi cut him off. “Take his car, I’ll have one sent to escort you and you can ride back.” He was already turning to leave back into the club. “It’s a tame Friday, I’ll be fine. Hurry back.”

 

Hoseok pouted, and Taehyung opened his mouth to say something, but Hoseok grabbed him and turned him around towards the entrance doors. “You heard him! Let’s go, Taehyungie ~” With that, he grabbed Taehyung’s keys from him and helped him down the stairs of The Parthenon. The rain had let up to a light drizzle, though still bitterly cold. Hoseok didn’t mind – he liked the cold weather.

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

Fuck, Taehyung was heavy . Though this wasn’t the first time Hoseok had to carry his drunken ass anywhere, it had definitely been a long time. It was a good thing Taehyung’s apartment complex had an elevator. To his side, he heard Taehyung mumbling something. It wasn’t too difficult to get him inside – beads of sweat prickled on Hoseok’s forehead as the doors closed. He wasn’t entirely comfortable in elevators.

 

“Hyung…” Taehyung breathed. His vision was blurred and he felt like words were heavy, his tongue felt thick. 

 

Hoseok patted him reassuringly, drawing circles on his upper back with his hand. “You’re okay, Taehyung. You just had a lot to drink.” He chuckled. “Tequila shots were never your thing…”

 

Taehyung patted his jacket, his eyes wide. “Did I pay my tab?” He asked, panicking. 

 

Hoseok tilted his head in a jerking motion, a habit of his that he was more of less unconscious of. “Well, I’m not sure, but it’s okay, Taehyung. I’ll see and take care of it when I get back. I have your wallet and your keys. Your phone is in your jacket, I think…” He trailed off once the elevator door opened onto Taehyung’s floor.

 

Hoseok dragging him into his apartment, throwing Taehyung’s keys and wallet on his kitchen island. He helped him to his bed, breathing heavily. Sure, he was Taehyung’s good friend, but he did not get paid enough for this. He roughly stripped Taehyung of his overcoat. Finally dropping Taehyung on the bed, Hoseok sat on the edge and laughed. “Finally… Taehyung, you’re such a fucking lightweight, man.” The clock on his bedside table read 2:36 A.M. The club would be closing soon – the first two floors, anyway. Hoseok bit his lip. He really needed to get back – he refused to leave Yoongi alone for after–hours. And on a Friday, at that. No way.

 

“Oh?!” Hoseok’s breath caught in his throat as he felt Taehyung’s hand close around his wrist and tugging him down onto the bed. He sunk into the bed, and could feel Taehyung’s breath hot in his ear. 

 

“Hyung…” Taehyung breathed, slurring his words. “Stay with me.” He reached to interlace his fingers with Hoseok’s.

 

Hoseok smiled, letting out a light laugh. He turned to face Taehyung, who looked like a hot mess. He allowed Taehyung to hold his hand, and reached his free hand to brush Taehyung’s hair out of his face. “You know I can’t, Taehyung. I have to get back to the club. Yoongi–“ 

 

Taehyung pouted and cut him off. “Yoongi.” He groaned, and Hoseok looked at him questioningly. Taehyung sighed. “You really like Yoongi, don’t you?”

 

Hoseok seemed taken aback. His face flushed, and his breath quickened. “Yoongi? N-no, it’s not like that. I mean, he’s great, we work together–“ he paused. “We just work together, you know? He’s basically my boss.” Hoseok’s voice lowered as he stared up at the ceiling.

 

Taehyung chuckled, rolling closer to Hoseok and cuddling up next to him. “Hyung, I’ve known you since even before you were a dancer at that club…” he licked his lips before continuing, “when you kept it a secret from me.” 

 

Hoseok frowned. “Taehyung, I–“ 

 

Taehyung’s eyes were closed, and he smiled and shook his head. “It’s okay, Hoseokie-hyung. You know it’s always been okay.” He buried his face in Hoseok’s shoulder. “I just wish you knew you never have to hide anything from me.” He smiled, enjoying the warmth of Hoseok’s presence in his bed. “Even your feelings for other people… Including your boss.” 

 

Hoseok smiled and sighed. He stroked Taehyung’s hair fondly. “I have to go now, Taehyung. Get some sleep.” Taehyung made a small whimper of protest, furrowing his brows; but he was already half asleep. Hoseok chuckled, slipping his way quietly out of Taehyung’s grasp and out of his bedroom. He stopped at the kitchen to grab a bottle of water and a vitamin tablet from Taehyung’s cupboard, leaving both on his nightstand before slipping out and heading downstairs. A sleek, black Cadillac waited in front of the complex.

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

Taehyung awoke abruptly to the loud ringing of his phone’s alarm. Scrunching his face in disgust, he turned, grunting and feeling for his phone. Cursing to himself, he felt a headache slamming his head in full force. “Oh, shut the fuck up!” He yelled, finally finding his phone and turning off the alarm. He rolled onto his back, covering his face with his arm. Ugh. He felt like shit . He could feel his skin clammy and hair matted with sweat. He reeked of alcohol. Grabbing his phone, he checked the time. 9:23 A.M. He sighed. Normally, even on weekends, he liked to wake up early and keep in a routine. Normally, though, he wouldn’t be hungover and feeling on the verge of death. He opened his eyes fully, looking up at the room around him. At least he was in his own place. The event of last night began to flood back into his memory. Oh, god. He groaned. He remembered the burn of his scotch whiskey, and Hoseok bringing him home, and… Ares . He reveled for a moment in the memories of his time with Ares last night, cracking a smile. It instantly turned to a grimace when he felt a wave of nausea. He turned to get up, and caught a glance of the water and vitamin tablet on his nightstand. Hoseok . He smiled. Reaching for the water, he downed nearly the entire bottle before picking up his phone and typing a message.

 

taehyung – 9:31 A.M.

hyung 

thank you for taking care of me last night ~

 

He opened the vitamin tablet, downing it with the remaining water in the bottle. His throat felt sore. He got up slowly, stripping his clothes and heading for the shower.

 

The hot water felt like a burning blessing to Taehyung. He stood facing the shower head for what felt like hours, letting the water melt away his hangover and any of the ugly things from the night before. He couldn’t help when his mind wandered to Jeongguk. The heat of the boiling water sent his blood coursing hot through his veins. He braced himself against the shower wall with his left hand, holding himself in the other. He bit his bottom lip, feeling it swell against his teeth. Fuck… What was it about Jeongguk that had him so… ravenous ? Taehyung slowly worked himself, stroking the length of his shaft as the hot water battered down his body. He threw his head back, indulging of the memories of last night. Images flashed in his mind like flipping through a blurry, euphoric rolodex. The first sight of Jeongguk on stage. The chiseled curves of muscle; the way he moved his body with such power, exuding sparks of animalistic energy that Taehyung fed off of the entire night. His breath hitched as he quickened his pace, stroking fast and hard. He remembered his face buried in Jeongguk’s hair, swore he could smell the sweet scents of sweat and alcohol mixed with the dancer’s cologne. Harder, faster. He remembered the way Jeongguk felt on top of him, grinding his hips down on Taehyung. Jeongguk’s devious smile, and his breathy laugh in Taehyung’s ear. The way he said his name – Taehyung . He bucked into his grip, bracing himself up to keep his balance. “Yes, Taehyung?” The way it sounded like all kinds of secrets laid on the tip of Jeongguk’s tongue as he said his name made Taehyung wonder what Jeongguk's kiss would taste like. Blurry memories of Jeongguk continued to flood rapidly, firing off in his brain. Remembering Jeonnguk’s voice is what did it, and seconds later, Taehyung felt a fiery sensation shoot through his body as he climaxed. He lurched forward, letting out a raspy, jolting moan as his vision became blurred. He felt the tingling of his orgasm flooding his body, poking pins and needles in his shaking legs. Breathing heavily, water soaking his hair and running down his face, Taehyung watched as it all washed down the drain. He instantly felt better, and crackled a slight smile – he guessed the vitamin he took was a damn good one. 

 

Still riding the high of his orgasm, Taehyung stepped out from the bathroom to begin his day. He looked down at his phone, which showed several notifications.

 

hoseok   – 9:43 A.M.

i always got you, bro 

 

hoseok  – 9:44 A.M.

are you hungover?

eat something nice ~ !

 

hoseok  – 9:51 A.M.

you coming back tonight?

 

Taehyung chuckled. It was the first time he’d been hungover in quite a while. He debated on whether to return to the club tonight. He’d had fun last night – arguably quite a lot of fun – but he wasn’t sure if returning was the best idea. He recalled sourly the experience of being nauseated in the bathroom, and suspicious of the new bartender. But – he licked his lips, mouth suddenly feeling parched – it was a Saturday, and Jeonnguk was bound to be working again. He bit down on his lip as a feeling of remorse rushed through him. Had he said goodbye to Jeongguk last night? He couldn’t remember. He remembered their lap dances in downstairs VIP – and then Taehyung went to the bathroom, and after that… He only remembered Hoseok helping him to his apartment. Did he even pay his tab? Just then, his phone pinged again.

 

hoseok   – 10:23 A.M.

you’ll want to hear from me before yoongi but

you left your tab open last night

 

Taehyung’s eyes widened as he read the messages. “Shit.” His face suddenly felt hot, and he felt really bad. He always paid before leaving. This wasn’t like him. He watched the ellipses bubble pop up on the screen, indicating Hoseok was typing.

 

hoseok – 10:25 A.M.

yoongi took care of it but

you owe him one

 

Taehyung frowned. Yoongi . If he showed up tonight, Yoongi would probably lay into him without a doubt. But if he didn’t show, it would be a lot worse – and incredibly rude of Taehyung. He rubbed his face with his free hand and sighed, typing a response.

 

taehyung   – 10:27 A.M.

fuck, hyung, i’m so sorry

it’s not like me to do that.

 

Taehyung thought hard about his next message. He wasn’t entirely sure he wanted to go back tonight – but he couldn’t just bail on his open tab and leave Yoongi seething over it. He knew it was a significant sign of trust that they didn’t ask him for his credit card when he got there – they relied on him because he always paid at the end. Taehyung sighed. 

 

taehyung – 10:30 A.M.

i’ll make it up to you guys, i promise

i’ll be there tonight

 

He clicked his phone to lock it and sighed again. He’d have to apologize to Yoongi, and really make it up to him. But how? He rubbed his eyes tiredly. Tonight was going to be interesting. 

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

Most of the day passed by in a blur. Taehyung ordered brunch delivered to his apartment, then proceeded to venture out for some fresh air. The October air was crisp, with a nice breeze lifting Taehyung’s spirits. The sky was overcast, and nature around him seemed more lush in the aftermath of yesterday’s rain. The weather was cold, but Taehyung didn’t mind. In the evening, he went to dinner at an affluent restaurant in Seoul. He dined alone quite often – as he sat in a corner booth, away from the bustle of dinner time in a fine dining establishment, he realized just how alone he was all the time. Swirling a glass of pinot noir of the Louis Latour variety, he sighed. Life was seeming to be quite lonely as of late. He looked lazily across at the empty booth he sat in. He felt himself blushing slightly as he imagined Jeongguk in the seat across from him. Sipping his wine, he let his mind wander. “I should treat him to dinner sometime.” Taehyung thought. Just a nice dinner – why hadn’t he ever thought of asking him before? Taehyung felt shy at the thought of never having the courage to consider these things when Jeongguk was a bartender. It definitely wasn’t that Taehyung didn’t find him attractive before – he did, definitely so. What was it now that made Taehyung feel so brave? Maybe it was Jeongguk making the first move. Jeongguk technically did make the first move, right? Or was it Taehyung? “Hmm…” Taehyung sat back in his seat, looking blankly down at the half-finished steak on his plate. Pushing it away slightly, he took another sip of his wine, and glanced up to survey the people in the restaurant. He’d really have to invite Jeongguk out sometime. 

 

It was around 7:00 P.M. when Taehyung’s phone rang. He was in the process of paying for his dinner, when he fumbled for his phone. He looked at the screen. “Shit.” He didn’t even get the chance to say “hello” before the caller was speaking.

 

“Ya, Taehyung. Hoseok said you were but you better fucking be coming tonight.” 

 

“Yoo–“ Taehyung timidly tried to interfere, but it was to no avail.

 

“You’ve never done this and it’s fucking embarrassing for me, Taehyung. I know you didn’t mean to, but the owner is on his way in tonight and I’ll have your ass on ice in a sparkling fucking champagne bucket before my numbers are fucked up.”

 

Taehyung was startled. The owner was going to be there? Tonight? He suddenly felt nervous; the wine made him a little queasy as his stomach unsettled.

 

“I’m really sorry, Yoongi.” He thought quickly – that wouldn’t suffice. “You know that’s not like me. I don’t know what happened.” He resumed quickly, then paused. “I told Hoseok that I’d make it up to you guys, I will.” He didn’t know what else to say. Shit, Taehyung, think. “I don’t know what my tab was last night, but I’ll make tonight worth everyone’s while.” Saying this made him nervous, and he felt like he instantly regretted it. But he had to make up for last night. Money wasn’t the issue – he knew that, and he knew that Hoseok and Yoongi knew that, too. The issue was trust, and Taehyung knew he couldn’t fuck that up – he had to fix it.

 

“Shit, Taehyung. You fucking better. No slip-ups tonight, for fuck’s sake. I can’t have Kim thinking I’m a fucking shit chicken without its head.” The pause that followed seemed to stretch for longer than Taehyung was comfortable with. “Give your card to the bartender when you open your tab tonight. I took care of yesterday’s…” 

 

Another pause.

 

“–But it won’t happen again.”

 

Taehyung nodded, even though Yoongi couldn’t see him. “Understood.” He heard a click . Yoongi had hung up on him. Taehyung’s shoulders slumped as he relaxed – he didn’t realize how tense his body had become during the phone call. Fuck, Yoongi was scary. He thought about Hoseok, and wondered if maybe that’s the kind of thing he was into. Come to think of it, Taehyung had noticed that Hoseok tended to gravitate towards personalities almost opposite of his own. He smiled at the thought of his friend. With that, he grabbed his wallet, making his exit from the restaurant and stepping into the cold evening with the unknown that waited for him ahead. 

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

Back at the fucking Parthenon. 

 

It had taken Taehyung quite a while to convince himself not to back out of tonight – he spent a couple hours tearing his closet apart and pacing around his apartment. But, at the end of everything, he knew that tonight was important and he had to make amends. Finding an outfit wasn’t much of an issue – Taehyung pridefully knew how to dress well. He had been concerned about the owner’s appearance at the club today – Taehyung felt like he needed to impress him, somehow, even though he wasn’t an employee and realistically had no obligation to do so.

 

Taehyung had entered the club around the same time as yesterday – he opted to be early, but not too early. The same hostess greeted him, with the same warm smile and the same polite aura. He wasn’t too bothered by a lack of valet today, since it wasn’t raining. Hoseok had not come out to greet him, so he figured both Hoseok and Yoongi were busy. He had made his way down the corridor by himself, admiring the paintings longer than usual, before taking a few minutes to encourage himself to enter the world beyond the two large doors with ornate handles.

 

The familiar gust of cold wind rushed into his face, carrying with it the equally recognizable scent of cologne, liquor, and pheromones. To his right, the bartender immediately acknowledged his entrance, with an expression on his face that Taehyung couldn’t quite decipher. He knew the bartender would have had a rough time in dealing with the open tab that Taehyung had carelessly left – though he resented him for possibly spiking his drink and didn’t trust the man whatsoever, Taehyung felt a twinge of sympathy for him. The bartender did have to answer to Yoongi, after all. Chills pricked up his spine as he made eye contact with the bartender, offering a smile and approaching the bar.

 

Almost immediately, Taehyung pulled out his wallet, retrieving a slick black credit card and holding it up between his index and forefinger. He maintained eye contact with the bartender, who had been looking at him apprehensively. Taehyung had a calm, almost seductive look expressing through his eyes – however, he smiled sheepishly when the bartender took the card from him. He did feel embarrassed about yesterday. 

 

“What’ll it be, Mr. Kim?” The bartender asked, scanning the card to open the tab, and placing it inside the box of the register.

 

“I apologize for yesterday,” Taehyung replied, abruptly. The bartender raised an eyebrow at him, but said nothing. “It was incredibly rude of me to leave without closing my tab. I… First impressions are important.” He peered up at the bartender through the dark curls that hung over his brow bone. “And I’m afraid I might have made an awful one.” Licking his lips out of habit, he continued, “I’m sorry if you might have gotten in trouble. I won’t let it happen again…” he paused. “What’s your name?”

 

The bartender looked him up and down skeptically, propping himself on the bar with both arms extended. He furrowed his brow slightly, before walking away from Taehyung and fetching something from the bar shelf. Taehyung, startled, sat up and opened his mouth to speak. “Wait–“

 

“I accept your apology, Mr. Kim.” The bartender cut him off. Using a clean hand towel, he returned brandishing a bottle of Glenlivet 18. He fetched a rocks glass, dropping in *two* ice cubes, and began to pour – Taehyung watched as he poured a double. Just as he was about to protest, the bartender spoke again. “My name is Helios.” 

 

“Helios?” Taehyung was confused. Were the names for just the dancers or all the staff? But, Jeongguk wasn’t Ares until he became a dancer… Right?

 

Helios placed the glass on a napkin and pushed it in front of Taehyung. “The double is getting you back for the shit I got into with Mr. Min.” Helios cracked a smirk. “After this we’re even.”

 

Taehyung let out a breathy laugh and grabbed the glass. “Deal. Thank you, Helios. I’ll be sure to… take care of you.” He raised his glass and nodded, before looking at it nervously. He did watch him pour it… but a double? It was going to be that kind of night… Swallowing hard, he took a sip. The burn of the alcohol ignited in his throat and spread warmth into his stomach. Sucking his teeth, he winced slightly. He had to please as many people as possible tonight – it just so happened that he was starting with Helios. Taehyung surveyed the club behind him, wondering who would be next.

Chapter Text

Taehyung wasn’t sure if it was because it was more alcohol than usual, or just his nerves, but he seemed to be drinking rather quickly tonight. Half the glass of scotch whisky was gone in what seemed like a matter of minutes. Taehyung sank into the chair – he was sitting in his usual spot, along the wall tucked into the corner. He could see the main stage clearly from here, along with a mediocre view of the two smaller stages. He bit his lip nervously. Should he go look for Hoseok? Yoongi? He hadn’t seen Jeongguk yet, either. He tapped on the glass of the table. Oh, wait. The owner was coming tonight. That was probably why he hadn’t seen either Yoongi or Hoseok since he arrived. Was the owner here now? , he wondered, and where? He looked up at the second floor inquisitively, then took out his phone.

 

taehyung  – 10:41 P.M.

i’m here, hyung

are you busy?

i wanted to apologize to yoongi

and you too

 

He put his phone down on the table and continued drinking, lazily observing the dancers who were currently on stage. His breath caught in his throat when his screen lit up a few minutes later.

 

hoseok  – 10:44 P.M.

we’re glad you’re here ~

i’ll send jeonggukkie downstairs for you

you can apologize later, no worries

 

Taehyung sputtered his whisky. Jeongguk? Being sent for him? He panicked. He didn’t ask for him, and what if Jeongguk didn’t even want to see him tonight? His eyes darted from side to side, feeling his palms prickling with sweat. Out of sheer nervousness, he grabbed his glass and gulped the entirety of the remaining whisky, wincing as the alcohol sent shivers down his spine. He shook himself to get rid of the nerves. He had quite a habit of drinking when he was nervous – he could down an entire bottle of water in seconds if it was in front of him. Unfortunately, though, right now, his option had only been the scotch in his glass.

 

Moments later, he looked up towards the entrance as the doors opened, and – Holy fucking hell. In strode Jeongguk, in a sultry red, strappy, leather outfit that molded perfectly to his body. Taehyung caught himself staring as Jeongguk stopped by the bar to talk to Helios. Taehyung licked his dry lips nervously as he watched Jeongguk leaning against the bar, the curves of his ass looking excruciatingly tempting. He felt a slight pressure against the fabric of his pants. He knew he was staring, but he couldn’t bring himself to look away – not before Helios pointed in his direction, and Jeongguk turned and made eye contact. Taehyung blinked and looked down, feeling his cheeks flush as Jeongguk walked towards him. “ Shit He caught me…” 

 

“Hey there, stranger.” Taehyung heard Jeongguk’s voice suddenly in front of him. He looked up to see him standing there, painfully close – so close that Taehyung could even see the metal clasps and chains on the red leather harness, and on what arguably was Taehyung’s favorite part of the outfit – the red leather choker, lined with a small trim of fur. He swallowed dryly. 

 

“Ares–“ he said, and smiled sheepishly. “Hi.” 

 

Jeongguk raised an eyebrow at him. “May I have a seat?”

 

Taehyung nodded furiously, scooting his chair to allow Jeongguk room to take the seat next to him. To Taehyung’s suprise, Jeongguk slipped into his lap, settling his arms around Taehyung’s neck. Taehyung felt his heart pounding fast in his chest, and his breathing quickened.

 

“Taehyung.” There it was. There was something about the way his name sounded in Jeongguk’s voice that really turned Taehyung on. “A few of us here are a little bit upset with you, you know.” He said, leaning in closer to Taehyung. Jeongguk’s lips brushed just slightly on Taehyung’s ear, giving Taehyung chills. “…Including me.” Jeongguk leaned back, shifting in Taehyung’s lap.

 

Taehyung coughed, straightening the lapel of his jacket. “Jeongguk, I–“ he stopped, his eyes widening momentarily. “Ares. I…” He corrected himself. At that moment, Taehyung could feel the whisky running its course. “I fucked up yesterday. It was just a long week, and I…” he smiled shyly. “I don’t normally do what yesterday was.” He saw the way Jeongguk cracked a small smile, and cautiously put his hand on Jeongguk’s lap. “I… I’m really sorry. I had an absolutely amazing time with you… I hope you don’t think that I didn’t.” He sighed, looking at Jeongguk with apologetic eyes.

 

Jeongguk studied him carefully, as if he was debating on whether to accept Taehyung’s apology or not. “I couldn’t tell. I figured you didn’t, since you left so quickly and without saying goodbye.” 

 

Taehyung winced. “I know, I’m sor–“

 

“Are you going to make it up to me?” Jeongguk cut him off, leaning in closer to Taehyung. He placed his hands on Taehyung’s, purposely moving it slowly up his thigh. Just like yesterday, Taehyung thought. This boy is… what a fucking tease 

 

Taehyung bit his lip, allowing Jeongguk to move his hand where he pleased, though becoming skittish when he reached an area dangerously close to Jeongguk’s dick. Jeongguk smirked mischievously at Taehyung’s response.

 

“Did you… have something in mind?” Taehyung asked, with the realization that his mouth suddenly felt very dry.

 

Jeongguk traced circles on his skin with Taehyung’s fingers. Taehyung’s hands were a bit clammy. “I have a few things.” He responded, with a trace of a devilish smile.

 

“Could we… start with some drinks?” Taehyung suggested, tugging his hand back lightly.

 

Jeongguk cracked his bunny smile – but there was a big hint of mischief in his eyes. “It’s a start.” He agreed, and got up off of Taehyung’s lap to pay a visit to the bar with him.

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

Half an hour and two shots later, Taehyung was feeling a lot more at ease. He opted for mixed shots as opposed to tequila; but still encouraged Jeongguk to drink as much tequila as he wanted. Taehyung sipped on his third drink – a Glenlivet 18 with soda – and Jeongguk had ordered a Johnny Walker whisky and sprite. His order had piqued Taehyung’s curiosity – he didn’t peg Jeongguk as a whisky guy. Not too long after, Jeongguk had excused himself, and Taehyung found himself alone at the bar. He wondered with a bit of concern as to whether that was Jeongguk taking his leave, and not having any interest in Taehyung anymore. Taehyung felt a twinge of guilt in his stomach, and drank his scotch dejectedly. 

 

Not too long later, a familiar cheery voice burst out to the side of Taehyung, and he nearly jumped. “Taehyung!” Hoseok smiled brightly and threw his arm around Taehyung’s shoulders. “Already going on round two, I see?”

 

Taehyung smiled, feeling relieved to see Hoseok and in good spirits. He hugged Hoseok, laughing. “I’m so glad to see you, hyung. Thank you for last night, and I’m really sorry.” Taehyung looked like a puppy who’d been scolded by its owner.

 

Hoseok giggled. “Thank you for the apology, man. Last night was a little rough.” He jerked his head in his habitual tilting motion. “Yeah, but… I’m glad you’re here tonight.” He smiled again, scrunching his face. Just then, his phone buzzed in the pocket of his suit jacket. He answered it in front of Taehyung, and Taehyung figured it was Yoongi, or else Hoseok probably would have excused himself. “Eh? Huh? Taehyung?” With a curious and surprised look on his face, he glanced at Taehyung. Taehyung peered back at him curiously, confused. “Yeah, he’s down here at the bar, but– oh? What? Jeonggukkie said?” His eyes narrowed and he peered at Taehyung. “Ares, yeah sorry, Ares… I mean, okay sure, I’ll take him up right now.” He hung up the phone, and looked curiously at Taehyung.

 

“What.. What was that? Did I do something wrong?” Taehyung asked, pulling his puppy eyes in nervous response to the mystery call.

 

Hoseok studied him. “Did you piss off Jeonggukkie last night too?” He asked, to which Taehyung looked down sheepishly.

 

“I think so.” He admitted with an embarrassed smile, swirling the liquor in his glass. “I told him I’d make it up to him today, but he disappeared earlier.”

 

A tight smile began to spread on Hoseok’s face, and he jerked his head in a titling motion once again. “Ohhhh, Taehyungie…” He chuckled. “I think you’re in for quite the night.” 

 

Taehyung chuckled nervously, taking a drink from his glass. “What’s going on?”

 

“Come on,” Hoseok grabbed his arm. “Finish that. You’re going to meet the owner.” 

 

Taehyung choked on his whiskey. “What?! Me? Why?” He sputtered and began to panic. After putting down his glass, Hoseok grabbed him, leading him away from the bar. Hoseok was laughing.

 

“You’ll see.” He smiled reassuringly. “I’m sure you’ll have a great time. We’re just going upstairs… Jeongguk said you agreed, yeah? He said it was part of a deal.” Hoseok stopped. “I won’t take you if you don’t want to go.” He offered.

 

Taehyung fixed his hair by running his fingers through it, and adjusted his jacket. “No, I… It’s fine. I’ll go.” He nodded. “I did tell Jeongguk that I would make it up to him for bailing last night.” 

 

Hoseok smiled. “Great. And… You know we will take care of you, Taehyung. will take care of you, man.” He put his hands on Taehyung’s shoulders. “I got you, bro.” He said, pronouncing each word diligently in English. “Just try to relax and have fun tonight. You don’t owe anyone anything,” he paused, “But you definitely owe it to yourself to let loose, man.”

 

Taehyung smiled, and nodded. “Thank you, hyung. I trust you.”

 

Hoseok giggled. “Follow me!”

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

Taehyung wasn’t sure what he thought upstairs looked like, but he figured it would be just as nice, if not more beautiful than the main floor – and it was. Upon entering from a stone spiral staircase – and not the elevator, for whatever reason, because there was an elevator – the second floor was open and wrapped around so that you could look down to the main floor. There were cocktail tables just like downstairs, except the chairs upstairs were bigger and nicer, and tables lined the railing for patrons to observe the stages from upstairs if they wished. Obscure, curtained booths lined the walls, and Taehyung caught sight of a few closed pairs of large double doors. In the center was a statue carved of stone. It was a lot to take in.

 

Hoseok laughed, seeing the shock on Taehyung’s face. “Welcome to upstairs VIP.” He grabbed his arm. “Come on, we’re not there yet.” 

 

Taehyung followed Hoseok past the tables, down the right. He glanced down over the railing, getting a faint glimpse of the main stage. The second floor was pretty high up – it made him dizzy. He felt a twinge of the scotch whisky coursing in his blood. Hoseok led him to a pair of large double doors, which felt intimidating to Taehyung for some reason.

 

“The rest of the night awaits you.” Hoseok smiled, bowing and opening one of the double doors. He gestured for Taehyung to enter. 

 

What Taehyung saw upon the door opening made him swear that his heart had stopped, at least for a few seconds. A champagne room – did they all look like this one? – splayed out before him. He had never been in one before, so he didn’t know what to expect, but holy shit. If the extravagance of the suite didn’t blow him away, the sight of Jeongguk straight ahead definitely did.

 

Jeongguk, still clad in his red leather outfit, was on his knees, on a small podium against the wall directly ahead. He had a red blindfold tied around his head, and upon seeing that, Taehyung felt a moment of panic. What the fuck was happening here? Jeongguk didn’t seem to be in pain, or displeased, and the next thing that caught his eye was the twinkling reflection of a chain – fastened to the red leather collar that Taehyung had so feverishly admired earlier around Jeongguk’s neck. His eyes followed the chain, which seemed to be anchored to… the wall? Taehyung felt beads of sweat on his brow. He was nervous. Was Jeongguk waiting like this… for him?

 

Hoseok pushed on the small of Taehyung’s back slightly, and with a jolt, Taehyung stepped forward into the room. Upon entering, he was able to see the room fully and felt his body surging with shock. Straight ahead, to the right of Jeongguk, was a lush velvet sofa – on it, an impeccably handsome man, lounging and relaxed with a glass of champagne in his hand. And, to the right of that man – Who the fuck is that?

 

A man, smaller in stature than Jeongguk, but chained in the same fashion, was standing on the other side of the couch. Though chained to the wall, he stood normally, on the floor and not on the podium to the right of the sofa. He faced towards the man on the couch, his left side to Taehyung, and Taehyung studied his profile quickly. Taehyung’s head spun; this was a lot to take in. He didn’t know whether to look at Jeongguk, the man in a suit on the sofa, or the other man – a dancer too, maybe? – on the right. The man on the right was blonde – a pretty platinum blonde it looked like, but the lights were too low to tell. A leather outfit mirroring Jeongguk’s adorned his petite figure, except the leather on his outfit was white. Pure white, with glistening gold clasps, and – Taehyung swallowed hard – a choker to match. 

 

The blonde man didn’t have on a blindfold, and looked up towards Taehyung at the sound of him entering.

 

Taehyung swore that in that moment, when his eyes met those of the man in white, that time collectively stopped for what seemed like forever. The blonde man’s eyes were piercing – nothing like Taehyung had ever seen before. As if that weren’t enough to make him feel like his breath burned hot in his chest, enough to choke him to death, the man’s face – all of him, but particularly his face – was beautiful . Taehyung, ripping his eyes from their contact, immediately focused on pink, luscious lips. He reactively moistened his own, still looking directly at this blonde man whom he had never met before. 

 

“Good evening, sir. You are?”

 

A voice snapped Taehyung out of his daze. Startled, he stood up straight and looked at the source – the man lounging on the couch. He noticed Jeongguk straighten up slightly and cock his head, still on his knees and blindfolded on the podium. Taehyung then noticed that Jeongguk’s hands were behind his back, and he wondered if those were chained, too. Jeongguk looked like he was listening intently for a reply.

 

Taehyung roughly cleared his throat. “I’m Kim Taehyung, sir.” He placed his arms firmly at his sides, initiating himself into a deep, long bow. He took the opportunity to glance down at a large, oval glass coffee table with gold framing and white marble legs. Two ice buckets with two bottles of champagne – Taehyung wasn’t certain, but it looked like at least one of those champagne bottles was of the Bollinger Vieilles variety, which Taehyung knew were not even in production anymore – at least not to the public. He also caught sight of a sleek, tall, brown bottle – undoubtedly Don Julio 1942 tequila, and… at least six very loaded lines of crisp, white cocaine on the glass. Next to that, an ashtray with a cigar resting but still lit, the swirls of heavy smoke wafting off it into the air. Behind him, the door had closed. Taehyung felt his hands trembling.

 

“Ah, so you’re a Kim!” The man on the sofa flashed a bright smile, with a sing-song laugh that sounded beautiful and comical at the same time. “Eros, if you will, please.” He said, motioning to the man on the right who Taehyung had to try extremely hard not to look at again. He couldn’t help but watch as the man obediently took a champagne bottle on the table and poured it delicately into a crystal flute. The man on the sofa rose, taking the glass from him and approaching Taehyung.

 

“No wonder you’re so handsome. It precedes us,” The man winked, offering Taehyung the glass of champagne. He smiled warmly at Taehyung, who accepted the glass timidly. “I’m Kim Seokjin,” He said, “The owner of our beloved Parthenon.” Seokjin clinked his glass against Taehyung’s, taking a large gulp of his champagne and finishing half the glass in one swill. 

 

Taehyung raised his eyebrows slightly, nodding politely and taking a sip of his champagne. The bubbly drink felt light, crisp, cold, and refreshing as it hit his tongue – he immediately gulped down more. “ So, this is the owner…" He thought. As he drank, he looked past Mr. Kim and at Ares behind him. He didn’t know what he had gotten himself into, but it was much too late to back out now. 

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

“Please, take a seat, Mr. Kim.” Seokjin extended his arm, waving over the room. “Anywhere you like, make yourself comfortable.” He smiled, walking over to Jeongguk. Meanwhile, Taehyung opted for a chaise lounge immediately to his front and on the opposite side of the sofa, across the coffee table. He felt the blond man’s eyes burning holes into his face, but purposely did not look his way, and clutched onto his drink, making a point to drink and avert his eyes instead.

 

Seokjin pet Jeongguk’s hair fondly; Jeongguk instinctively flinched and leaned into the touch. Moments later, Seokjin removed the blindfold from Jeongguk. Jeongguk blinked, his eyes adjusting to the room. He immediately locked eyes with Taehyung, and smiled. Taehyung smiled in return – Jeongguk’s smile was too cute, and reassured him that whatever was happening, Jeongguk was not in any danger like Taehyung had previously been wary of. 

 

“Hi, Taehyung.” Jeongguk greeted sheepishly. A second later, he made an audible gasp as his breath hitched in his throat – the crinkle of chains rang out as Seokjin jerked his chain in sharp reprimand. Taehyung’s eyebrows rose in shock, and he looked at Jeongguk worriedly.

 

“Where are your manners, Ares?” Seokjin asked, his voice twinged with a slight hiss. “Mr. Kim is our guest.” A smile returned to Seokjin’s face. “Don’t be such an animal.”

 

Recovering his breath, Jeongguk nodded, bowing his head. “Forgive me, Master Kim.”

 

Taehyung’s eyes widened. Master?! What was going on?! He had never heard Jeongguk speak in such a tone, nonetheless use the word “Master”. 

 

Just then, Jeongguk looked up at Taehyung. “I’m sorry, Mr. Kim.” He said, bowing forward. “I am so happy to have you join us.”

 

Seokjin relaxed into a warm smile once more. “There. That’s better.” He chuckled, returning to his seat on the sofa. He took the cigar from the marble ashtray and put it in between his lips, inhaling deeply. “Eros.” Seokjin patted the lush velvet of the sofa, and said nothing else.

 

Taehyung knew that the blonde man – Eros, did he say his name was? – had his eyes on him this entire time. Taehyung could feel his face burning hot. He watched the blond man as he draped himself delicately on the sofa. He reminded Taehyung of a graceful, dangerous feline. Taehyung’s eyes darted nervously from the blonde man to Jeongguk, and back again.

 

Seokjin, following Taehyung’s gaze, raised his eyebrow. “Oh?” He smirked, exhaling a large cloud of smoke before continuing. “Have you yet to meet?” He said, gesturing to the man sitting prettily beside him. “This is Eros.” He took another inhale of his cigar. “Eros, darling, introduce yourself to the kind man.”

 

Eros, who had his eyes on Taehyung from the minute he walked in, nodded. He got up from his seat, bowing deeply towards Taehyung. “Hello, Mr. Kim. My name is Eros. It’s a pleasure to enjoy your company tonight. Thank you for having me.”

 

“Having him?” Taehyung thought. What exactly in hell was going on? “Maybe he’s just being polite… But… What kind of shit is this? 

 

Taehyung, snapping himself out of his thoughts, stood up and bowed in return. “It’s nice to meet you, Eros. Thank you.” 

 

Seokjin observed their interaction closely, as did Jeongguk, who almost seemed to be seething off to the side. Seokjin took note of this too, and seemed amused. “Wonderful, dear. Would you serve Mr. Kim another glass? Let’s not leave him thirsty, shall we?”

 

Eros immediately obeyed, circling the table with the champagne bottle to fill Taehyung’s glass. “Of course, Master.” 

 

The way Eros arched his back as he bent to fill Taehyung’s glass; the way he leaned in quite close, to the point that Taehyung could smell the sweet scent of the perfume wafting off of his glittering skin – all of it seemed extremely intentional, and made Taehyung nervous. Taehyung held his glass with both hands as Eros tilted the champagne bottle. Before pouring, Eros placed on hand on Taehyung’s own to steady the glass – he poured delicately, and slowly, keeping his hand on Taehyung’s. Taehyung swore he was already seeing double and his breathing was shallow and uneven. He noticed then that Eros had very small, delicate hands. Petite, like the rest of him. Except, from what he could see, below the belt… Taehyung bit his bottom lip. He stole a glance at Jeongguk, still on his knees and chained on the podium, who looked displeased.

 

No sooner had Eros stopped pouring that Taehyung downed his entire glass. Seokjin raised his eyebrows, looking impressed. “You’re quite thirsty, aren’t you, Mr. Kim?” He laughed, exhaling a cloud of thick smoke from his cigar. “Well, I suppose we’ll have to make sure you’re well attended.” At this, Eros began to move to return to Taehyung’s side, but Taehyung stopped him.

 

“Thank you,” Taehyung said, nodding, and looking insistently at Jeongguk, continued, “Actually, if I may…” he paused. “Would it be possible for Ares to join us?” He licked his lips out of habit. Seeing Jeongguk chained and isolated, forced to just watch them made Taehyung uncomfortable. Jeongguk looked so… vulnerable, and Taehyung had never seen him like that.

 

Seokjin smiled, and Taehyung could have swore there was some kind of sadistic twinge to the man’s grin. “Of course, Mr. Kim! What a good idea.” He laughed, getting up and puffing on his cigar. The smoke was beginning to sting Taehyung’s eyes a little. “Let’s have some real fun together.” Seokjin said, producing a key from the inside of his suit jacket. He pulled on Jeongguk’s chain, and Taehyung winced as he saw the veins protruding in Jeongguk’s throat. Jeongguk had to be uncomfortable, and in pain. Seokjin released the cuffs that held Jeongguk’s hands, and his arms limply dangled at his sides as he regained feeling in them. “Shall we unchain them too, Mr. Kim?” Seokjin puffed on his cigar, blowing his smoke purposely into Jeongguk’s face. Taehyung grimaced, but composed himself and immediately replaced his expression with a smile, nodding. Seokjin seemed to be a man who enjoyed playing a dangerous game –– Taehyung knew it was in everyone’s best interest if he played along.

 

“Yes, I think we should.” 

 

Seokjin grinned at him, pointing in a friendly manner. “Alright, Mr. Kim. Whatever you say, you are our delighted guest after all.” He pulled at Jeongguk’s collar, quite roughly – yanking him as he worked the key to unlock the chain from around the choker. He then offered the key to Taehyung. “Would you, please?” And he gestured to Eros on the other side of the sofa, who sat patiently watching them. 

 

Taehyung felt his hands getting clammy. “S-su–” He stopped himself quickly, and cleared his throat. “Yes, Mr. Kim. It would be my pleasure.” Bowing deeply, he took the key with both hands. Approaching Eros, he fiddled with the key in his hand. If he had learned anything about Eros so far, it was that he was really damn good at keeping eye contact. Taehyung couldn’t maintain it – Eros’ eyes were too piercing, like they were looking into his soul. His filthy, lonely, ravenous soul. 

 

Eros turned his back to Taehyung, and bowed his head, offering the lock in the back of his neck which connected the chain to his choker. Fumbling with the key, Taehyung worked to unlock it. After a few clumsy seconds, he heard the click ; the chain crinkled as it fell to the floor. Taehyung lowered his eyes to look at the curvature of the man in front of him; his bit on his bottom lip gently at the sight of Eros’ round and perfectly plump ass. A second later, he looked away.

 

Seokjin smiled. “Now let’s have some good fun.” 

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

Taehyung clutched his glass of champagne and did his best to keep his vision from splitting into two; he swore he was drinking more tonight than he had in his entire life. He steadied himself on the chaise lounge – his eyes nonchalantly drifted downwards as he watched Master Seokjin rail two large lines of cocaine off the glass table. Seokjin’s eyes rolled back in satisfaction as he finished inhaling, and smiling devilishly at Taehyung. He held out a rolled up bank note, offering it to Taehyung.

 

Taehyung raised his eyebrow, leaning back in his seat. “Oh, I–“ He felt everyone’s eyes on him.

 

Seokjin, looking greatly amused, let out a laugh. “Oh, Mr. Kim,” he chuckled. “You don’t have to be shy.” Two lines remained on the table; Jeongguk and Eros sat to either side of Seokjin on the sofa. Seokjin leaned back, taking a drink of his champagne. “Go on then, boys. Let’s clear the table a bit.” 

 

Obediently, Jeongguk and Eros got on their knees on the floor. Eros took the note from Seokjin, glancing at Taehyung before bending over the table and clearing one line of cocaine. He then straightened up, handing the note to Jeongguk, who seemed to hesitate for a second before hunching over to clear the second line. Seokjin, looking pleased, smiled. “Let’s show our guest how to have a good time.” He picked up the bottle of tequila, and Eros caught on quickly; he began clearing the table.

 

“Eros, darling. If you will,” Seokjin puffed on his cigar, which was nearing its end – Eros obligingly laid himself down on the table, on his back. He beckoned to Jeongguk. “First, the lime.” Jeongguk reached in a cocktail glass that held lime wedges, grabbing one. Taehyung watched curiously, unable to peel his eyes off of Eros. He watched as Eros’ plump, pink lips parted, allowing Jeongguk to place a lime in his mouth. 

 

“Next,” Seokjin’s voice, “the salt.” Jeongguk took a shot glass full of salt, kneeling down and hunching over Eros’ torso. Taehyung bit his bottom lip as he watched Jeongguk’s tongue run down the length of Eros’ stomach. Jeongguk sprinkled salt on the spot where he licked. Seokjin smiled. Taehyung decided he wasn’t the most comfortable with Seokjin’s smile – he seemed to enjoy some things too much. “And finally…” Seokjin tipped the bottle of tequila, the liquor traveling down its sleek neck to pour into Eros’ belly button. “Ares loves tequila,” Seokjin added. “Don’t you, Ares?”

 

Jeongguk looked at Taehyung, locking eyes with him even as he responded to Seokjin. “Yes, Master.” He said, and Taehyung could feel fire in his gaze. Jeongguk maintained eye contact as he lowered his head, before making contact with his tongue on Eros’ body once more. He licked the salt, slowly, still locking eyes with Taehyung – only when he kissed Eros’ stomach to drink the tequila did Jeongguk break his gaze. Afterwards, he made his way to Eros’ face, where he bent down to take the lime from Eros’ mouth. Taehyung watched as their lips made contact, and felt his blood running hot in his veins. Fuck, this was hot. He felt a craving – an animalistic hunger, and he couldn’t tell if it was for Ares, or Eros, or both of them. His mind wandered to the thought of having both of their lips on him – all over him

 

Seokjin looked pleased. “Mr. Kim, your turn.” 

 

Taehyung stood up, eager. He was here, and this was his situation tonight – who was he to say no? Hoseok’s words echoed in his mind. I got you, bro. I will take care of you. Taehyung trusted him – he trusted Hoseok with his life – and he knew that making a good impression on Hoseok’s boss was imperative. So, throwing any inhibitions aside, he decided then and there that wherever this night went, he was going to go with it. With that, he took a lime, looking down at Eros’ face. He was able to get a proper look at the man in white leather – his face, particularly, and fuck, was he beautiful. Eros looked like a doll – he looked unreal. Taehyung, feeling a fire burning in his chest when he locked eyes with this man, reached down and ran his fingers through his blonde hair. He smirked at the fleeting response of surprise on Eros’ face before he placed the lime delicately in his mouth.

 

Taehyung got down on his knees to replicate the ritual he had just seen Jeongguk do. Grabbing a pinch of salt, he parted his lips, snaking his tongue above Eros’ navel. Eros’ skin was soft, his core toned, and he swore he could feel the chills prickling on Eros’ skin as he licked him. Sprinkling the salt, he waited for Seokjin to pour the tequila, watching as the liquid spilled over and ran down Eros’ sides. Taehyung knew that tequila was definitely not his thing –but, drinking it off of Eros’ skin made it worth it. After deeply licking the salt off of his skin, Taehyung kissed his body and sucked the tequila into his mouth. He could taste the mixture of alcohol with a sweet kiss of sweat, and Taehyung swore that it made tequila taste a hundred times better. Feeling the burn penetrate his throat, he made his way up to Eros’ face, hovering over him for a second. He gazed into Eros’ piercing eyes before lowering his head, and making contact with his lips on Eros’. 

 

At that moment, Taehyung swore his body lit on fire. He felt his heartbeat hammering in his chest – blood rushed through his veins, like a wildfire spreading with no inhibition. He deepened into the kiss, tasting the bitter skin of the lime wedge and wishing it wasn’t there. He wanted the hint of sweetness that he could taste on Eros’ lips. A moment later, he felt Eros’ tongue push the lime wedge against his own, and Taehyung received it, breaking the contact and standing up. He chewed down on the lime, grimacing at the sour juice. 

 

Seokjin clapped and laughed. “Was that your first time, Mr. Kim?”

 

Taehyung threw the chewed lime in the ice bucket. “It won’t be the last, sir.” He said, wiping his mouth and chuckling. 

 

Seokjin’s eyes widened, grinning widely. “That’s what I like to hear, Mr. Kim.” Eros was about to get up, before Seokjin nudged him back down. He produced a bag from inside his suit jacket, full of quite a large amount of white powder. Opening it, he poured the powder in a sloppy line on Eros’ chest, smack in the center. Reaching for the rolled up bank note, he offered it once again to Taehyung.

 

Without hesitation, Taehyung accepted, nodding towards Seokjin. He could feel Jeongguk’s eyes on him as he got down on his knees and hovered over Eros on the table. Lowering his head, he stuck one end of the rolled up note in his nostril, plugging the other. With the knowledge that he was in way over his head, Taehyung inhaled strongly, clearing the mound of white power on Eros’ skin.

 

Fire burned through his nostrils, igniting fireworks in his brain. Taehyung’s eyes rolled to the back of his head, sending searing pain shooting through his nose. His blood boiled, surging like a voracious river of venom through his body. He felt the rapacious fire that he kept tucked away to himself suddenly rip itself free, coursing a sensation of euphoria through him. When he opened his eyes, everything looked brighter. The low lighting of the champagne room was unimportant – he could see even the most minute details. His eyes focused first on Jeongguk, who seemed to be looking more intently at him than he ever had before. He observed each strand of Jeongguk’s chocolate hair, gazing into his sparkling eyes. Taehyung then looked down at Eros on the table. The curvature of the muscles on Eros’ body seemed more defined – as if he had been carved of stone. Taehyung’s vision focused on the glittering sheen of sweat that adorned Eros’ skin. His eyes settled on the v-cut of Eros’ hips, admiring the depths of the dips in his body. 

 

“Taehyung,” he said, feeling a sharp chemical taste drip down the back of his throat. He grimaced slightly, swallowing hard in an attempt to rid himself of the taste. He brought his eyes up in a dangerously focused stare under hooded lids, to make contact with Seokjin’s. He no longer felt nervous, or afraid.

 

Seokjin was ashing his cigar when Taehyung spoke. “Hm?” He said, raising an eyebrow at Taehyung.

 

“Please, call me Taehyung, sir.” Without looking down, Taehyung placed his hand on Eros’ thigh. He felt Eros twitch slightly underneath his light touch. Jeongguk’s eyes focused on Taehyung’s hand.

 

Seokjin smiled, nodding. “Taehyung.” He said, holding up his glass.

 

Taehyung retrieved his glass from the table, clinking it against Seokjin’s. 

 

Any remnants of timidity melted away. Taehyung felt like himself – ignited, powerful, and alive .

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

As the night continued, Taehyung found himself getting accustomed to Seokjin’s company, and his interesting sense of humor – what he couldn’t get used to, though, was the appearance of the two insanely attractive men in leather harnesses. He felt he must have saved an entire country during times of war in a different lifetime, because he wasn’t sure what he had done to be blessed with being surrounded by this.

 

After numerous shots of tequila, glasses of champagne, and copious amounts of cocaine, Taehyung was convinced he wouldn’t wake up in days – or maybe at all – at the rate he was going. He had never drank so much liquor in his entire life. What he was discovering, though, was that he held the liquor quite well with the assistance of this newfound substance – no wonder his own boss did it. Cocaine was a hell of a drug.

 

Seokjin caught Taehyung eyeing his dancers more than a few times, and he watched as Taehyung poured himself another glass of champagne. He smirked. “Taehyung,” he said, patting the seat of the sofa. “Come.” 

 

Taehyung, hesitant to sit next to a man of such authority but aware it would be rude to decline, obliged. Eros shifted to allow him space to sit between him and Seokjin – Jeongguk’s eyes observed Taehyung from the other side of Seokjin, a fierce gaze that burned holes in Taehyung’s chest. Taehyung sat down delicately, crossing his legs and feeling the rush of his high swirling in his head and throwing him slightly off balance. His breath hitched in his throat as he felt Eros settling down, draping himself dangerously close to Taehyung; a moment later, Taehyung felt Eros’ hand slithering up his torso, resting on his chest. Eros’ close proximity sparked a hunger in Taehyung’s body that he didn’t want to restrain.

 

Seokjin studied Taehyung curiously, a sly smile on his face. “So which would you choose, Taehyung?” He asked, taking a long drag of a cigarette. He held his inhale as he waited for Taehyung’s response.

 

What? Taehyung turned to him, feeling the hair on the back of his neck raise. “Excuse me, sir?” 

 

Seokjin eyed him, smirking. He reached for Jeongguk’s neck, hooking his finger underneath the red leather collar. Sharply, he yanked Jeongguk downwards, pulling him close. He exhaled his smoke in Jeongguk’s face; Jeongguk’s eyes watered, and his jaw clenched, but he only resisted Seokjin's hold slightly. Taehyung winced, shifting slightly in his seat. Seokjin smiled down at Jeongguk. “Would you prefer Ares, a personification of gunpowder ready to ignite–,” He took another drag of his cigarette, “or Eros, a delicate blossom of absolute seduction?” Without warning, Seokjin stood up and pulled Jeongguk rather roughly, nearly shoving him on top of Taehyung. Taehyung opened his arm to receive Jeongguk on his left side, grabbing part of his harness to steady him. Almost protectively, he kept his arm around Jeongguk, allowing him to settle into Taehyung’s chest. Taehyung felt Eros’ weight lifting off of him, and he immediately grasped him to keep him close. Where was he going with this?

 

Seokjin looked at him expectantly. “So, Mr. Kim?”

 

Taehyung raised his gaze to meet Seokjin’s defiantly. “I’m an open-minded man, sir.” He responded. His mind was racing – being in Seokjin’s company felt like stepping in a field of mines, laying just underneath the ground and ready to explode. “I like my options.” He tightened his grasp on both men on either side of him.

 

Seokjin’s serious expression morphed as he smiled again, letting out a small laugh. “I like that answer, Taehyung.” A moment later, his phone rang. Seokjin pulled his phone from his pocket, nursing his cigarette in his mouth. He put the phone to his ear; Taehyung tried to listen, but couldn’t hear over the music. He rubbed circles into Jeongguk’s lower back, feeling the tension of the man’s body as he laid against him. He realized, with a tinge of sadness, that Jeongguk had invited him upstairs to spend time with him, and he hadn’t really been able to do so – not after being blind–sighted by Mr. Kim and Eros joining their company. Taehyung silently pulled Jeongguk closer, embracing him with his right arm. Taehyung observed Seokjin closely.

 

“Ah, I see.” Seokjin smiled. “He loves this place almost as much as we do.” He grabbed his cigarette, putting it out in an ashtray on the table. “Two minutes.” He hung up the phone, and ran his fingers through his hair. “It seems our good lawful friend is paying us a visit,” he said, and looked expectantly at the trio on the sofa. “Ares, come, darling.” 

 

Taehyung opened his mouth in protest as he felt Jeongguk’s body go rigid at the sound of his name coming from Seokjin’s mouth. “Sir? What is happening?”

 

“Ares. Come.” There was a slight strain in Seokjin’s voice.

 

Taehyung looked at Jeongguk, who looked up at him with sparkling, apologetic eyes. Jeongguk nodded towards him, squeezing Taehyung’s thigh before quickly ripping himself from Taehyung’s grasp. Jeongguk said nothing as he joined Seokjin’s side.

 

“Eros, darling. Attend Mr. Kim to another room – take the champagne with you.” He pulled a key from inside his suit, and tossed it to Taehyung. Reflexively, Taehyung caught it in his free hand. “You have less than a minute. Lock this room, won’t you, Taehyung?” He smiled deviously as he turned around to leave, putting a finger to his lips. “The key will be between us for now, yes?” Without waiting for an answer, he turned and exited the room. Jeongguk looked at Taehyung for a few seconds, before looking down and exiting the room, not too far behind Seokjin.

 

Taehyung looked down at the key in his hand. “…What?” His head was beginning to throb. 

 

Eros, on the other hand, had already risen from his seat, fetching a champagne bottle and placing it in an ice bucket along with two glasses. He held out his hand towards Taehyung. “Mr. Kim? We need to leave.” 

 

Taehyung, in a daze, nodded and took Eros’ hand, leaving the room and locking the door in confusion behind him. 

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

Taehyung allowed Eros to lead him to another champagne room – a smaller, less extravagant version of the first, not too far from where they had just been. Taehyung left the door slightly ajar upon entering. He relished the crisp, clean air – free of Mr. Kim Seokjin’s cigar smoke. He rubbed his temples, trying to ease his headache.

 

Eros took his arm lightly, tugging at his jacket. “Mr. Kim, do you feel alright? Please, have a seat.” 

 

Taehyung blinked – he’d forgotten he had company for a second. He nodded, slipping the key into a pocket inside the lining of his jacket. He took a seat on the sofa, shrugging off the jacket. He cracked his neck, feeling relief from shedding a layer of clothing – his shirt stuck to his skin from his sweat. He draped the jacket on the sofa to his left, and he felt Eros sit down to his right. Taehyung relaxed, leaning into the back of the sofa. He let out a large exhale, closing his eyes. He was confused, had no idea what had just happened, and his head hurt. “Taehyung,” he said, after some moments of silence. 

 

Eros looked at him curiously, cocking his head. “I’m sorry?”

 

“You can call me Taehyung.” He smirked, eyes still closed as he rested his head on the back of the sofa. “You don’t need to call me Mr. Kim.” He paused. “Maybe just in front of your boss, but otherwise...” He paused. “It’s okay, it’s just us two.” He didn’t hear a response from Eros, but he felt him get up and heard the sounds of him pouring champagne into glasses.

 

A moment later, Taehyung heard commotion outside of their room. He opened his eyes, raising his head and straightening up. He peered at the frosted glass of the doors to the room, and leaned to look through the gap of the doors left ajar. He raised his eyebrows. “Yoongi?” He hadn’t seen Yoongi or Hoseok all night – what time was it? He looked down at his wrist, realizing he had forgotten to wear his watch. Shit. He looked up, trying to get a view of the person Yoongi was with – it was a man, but it wasn’t Hoseok. This man was taller than Hoseok, and he could see that his build was different. Realizing they hadn’t turned on any music since they entered, Taehyung could faintly hear their conversation. His breath hitched in his throat as he saw them approaching the champagne suite they had exited minutes ago. Taehyung listened intently.

 

“All of the rooms seem to be open except this one. Is it occupied?”

 

“No, officer Kim. We don’t allow locking of the rooms with patrons and entertainers inside.” That was definitely Yoongi’s voice. Taehyung’s eyes widened. Officer?! 

 

“Why is it locked, then?” 

 

Taehyung heard Yoongi respond without skipping a beat. “It’s a luxury suite, sir, and we don’t leave it open outside of use. No patrons have it booked at the moment.”

 

“Is that so?” Taehyung strained to listen to the officer’s deep voice. “I’d like to take a look anyway, if you will.”

 

Taehyung’s heart began to race. He had the key – surely Yoongi had a copy of the key as well, right? Or was the ‘luxury suite’ an excuse to deter the police – did anyone use that room besides the owner? Taehyung felt like pistons were firing off in his head; his eyes darted from side to side as thoughts ricocheted wildly in his mind. His tongue felt thick, his mouth felt dry. If they opened that room – Taehyung thought of the chains, the cocaine all over the table, and the remnants of things that confirmed that Yoongi was most definitely lying about the room not being in use. Taehyung had to do something, and quickly. His blood boiled in his veins as he acted on impulse.

 

He grabbed a crystal champagne flute, downing its contents in a second. Immediately, he snatched his jacket from his side, tossing it over Eros’ frame. Eros jumped in surprise, opening his mouth to speak before suppressing a scream as Taehyung brought the champagne flute crashing down onto the glass of the cocktail table in front of them. The shattering of the crystal against the glass rang out sharply in the champagne room, echoing into the hallway. The blood that felt so hot in his veins spilled from a cut on his hand, unbeknownst to Taehyung – he did not feel it at all.

 

Only seconds passed before the door swung open and in burst the officer that Taehyung had yet to identify.

 

“What’s going on here?” Officer Kim Namjoon barked, surveying the room. Taehyung froze. He knew he’d had to interfere, but he didn’t really think about what he would do after he broke the glass. Eros blinked, looking down at Taehyung’s jacket draped over himself, covering his body. He looked back up at Taehyung, a million thoughts flooding his head. 

 

Behind him, the smaller frame of Yoongi appeared. “Taehyung?!” He glanced at Eros for a second, before looking down at Taehyung’s bleeding hand. “What the fuck happened?” He entered the room, nudging past Officer Kim and getting on his knees. He grabbed Taehyung’s wrist, attempting to see the severity of the wound in the low light. 

 

Taehyung’s main focus was not looking at the officer, because he knew that there was no way he looked remotely innocent or sober right now; instead, he focused on Yoongi. He smiled sheepishly, attempting to maintain composure while the voice in his head screamed at him to panic because he was really, extremely, way too in over his fucking head . “I’m sorry, Mr. Min. My glass slipped.” He bowed his head. “I wasn’t able to catch it. I apologize for the damage. I will cover it, if you’ll add it onto my tab, please.”

 

Yoongi raised an eyebrow at him. They locked eyes, and Taehyung could see Yoongi calculating his thoughts quickly. He got up, going to the small bar inside the room and grabbing some things from behind it. He returned with a clean towel and a bottle of water. “Here, apply pressure.” He said, pressing the towel down on Taehyung’s hand. Taehyung winced as the pain shot through his hand. “I’ll send Hoseok up to help you.” He stood up, pulling his phone out and turning to Namjoon. “I apologize for the inconvenience, Officer Kim. If you will, the security footage you requested is ready downstairs.” 

 

Namjoon looked at Yoongi suspiciously, glancing down at Taehyung, then back up at Yoongi. “Right, the tapes. Okay.”

 

Yoongi gestured for him to exit the room, following behind. He paused in the doorway, looking at Taehyung. Taehyung smiled up at him; Yoongi nodded before exiting. Taehyung didn’t know if that was Yoongi being thankful, but he assumed maybe it was. 

 

As soon as Yoongi and the officer had exited the room, Taehyung let out a deep breath and slumped back into the sofa. “Holy fucking shit.” He took a second to regain himself – he felt his brow drenched in sweat, and the sting of the cut on his hand. All of the physical impediments that he had been unaware of since that first taste of cocaine suddenly began to creep upon him and make their presence known. After a minute, he felt a shift of the sofa, and his eyes shot open – he straightened up, quickly noticing Eros jolt in reaction. Taehyung’s expression softened. “Shit, Eros. I’m…” He raised his hand to placate him. “I’m so sorry. I’m not–, I didn’t mean to scare you.” He offered a smile. “Are you okay?”

 

Eros blinked, sitting up. Taehyung’s jacket was warm and comfortable on his skin. He stared at this man in front of him, feeling a mix of emotions that he couldn’t quite identify surge through his body. What was it about Taehyung that Eros couldn’t quite understand? Eros looked down at the jacket on top of him. “I’m okay.” He nodded, looking back up at Taehyung. His mind wrapped around Taehyung’s actions, and he melted into the realization that Taehyung might have covered him to keep him from appearing exposed or indecent to new company – which happened to be in the form of his manager and a police officer. Eros was pretty sure the amount of coverage that leather straps and a thong provided him could have easily landed him in trouble with law enforcement; even in this kind of environment, there were still quite a lot of laws to abide by. Eros smiled. He knew it wasn’t a huge gesture, but it was a kindness that he had never experienced extended to him by a client – nor by Master Seokjin, in fact. Master Seokjin preferred him quite exposed, at all times, and Eros had never questioned it. He never felt the need to – at least not until now. 

 

Taehyung was busy wrapping the towel around his hand, trying to get it to stay. Eros quickly rose from his place, placing Taehyung’s jacket delicately on the sofa. He got on his knees in front of Taehyung, taking the towel politely from his hand. He worked to wrap the towel around Taehyung’s hand. 

 

“You can keep it on, Eros.” Taehyung said, watching him. “The jacket, I mean.”

 

“Jimin,” Eros replied, keeping his eyes down and focusing his attention on tying the towel around Taehyung’s wrist. 

 

“Hm?” Taehyung raised his eyebrow.

 

“My name,” Eros continued, “is Jimin.” He looked up at Taehyung; his face softened with a smile, and he looked almost bashful.

 

Taehyung mirrored his smile, nodding. “Jimin.” The name rolled off his tongue nicely – something about it made him feel warm and at ease. The next moment, Taehyung furrowed his brow as he felt what seemed like the floor being pulled out from underneath him. He looked at the towel, red and soaked with blood, before his vision began to become black on the edges. 

 

The last thing he saw were Jimin’s piercing eyes, widening as his vision cut to black.

Chapter Text

“We fucking killed him, Yoongi!” Hoseok’s voice strained with concern. He kneeled besides Taehyung’s limp body on the floor of the champagne room. His hand trembled slightly as he held the phone in his hand, with Yoongi on speaker.

 

Yoongi exhaled in frustration on the other side of the line. “What do you mean? The fuck happened?”

 

Jimin, swimming in Taehyung’s jacket, leaned over Taehyung’s limp body. “I– I think he just blacked out from the alcohol.” He responded, nervously. 

 

Hoseok raised his eyebrow. “Just alcohol?” He asked, already knowing the answer. He pulled at Taehyung’s eyelid, clicking a small flashlight on his keychain to check for responsiveness. 

 

Jimin bit his lip. “I–“ his lip trembled. “Is it really that bad?” He kneeled down beside Taehyung. “I didn’t know–“

 

Hoseok waved at him to stop talking.

 

“So? Hoseok? What’s happening?” Yoongi paused, and Hoseok and Jimin heard rustling on the other end of the line. “Look, just take care of it. Take him downstairs through the back. The medic has Narcan if you need it, or just IV him.” 

 

Hoseok’s eyes widened. “D-downstairs? Yoongi, are you sure? What if–“

 

Yoongi cut him off. “Fuck, Hoseok, just fucking do it!” More rustling on the other end. Hoseok faintly heard voices in the background. “I’m sorry. Look, I’ll go help you as soon as I get this fucking cop out of here.”

 

Hoseok’s brow furrowed. “He’s still here?” His face drained of some color. “Did… The tapes…?”

 

“The tapes were fine, he’s just being a prick.” A long pause. “Thanks, Hoseok.” Click. Yoongi hung up abruptly.

 

Hoseok was frozen for a few moments. He really hoped Yoongi was telling the truth – that the security footage that Hoseok had replaced while Yoongi distracted Officer Kim upstairs had passed as authentic, and that the officer didn’t suspect anything. But Yoongi was good at covering up when things were going bad. He was even better when things were really bad – which is probably what landed him running The Parthenon as Seokjin’s right hand in the first place. 

 

A moment later, Hoseok jerked his chin and snapped out of his own thoughts. “Okay, you heard him. Jimin, you have to help me get him downstairs.” Hoseok chuckled to himself as he reached forward to hook his arms around Taehyung. “This is the second time this week, Taehyungie!” He feigned scolding him. “Jimin, grab his legs, I’ll get his chest.” He huffed, locking his arms underneath Taehyung’s. “I’m warning you, he’s heavy.

 

Jimin, confused at Hoseok’s remark, moved quickly to grab Taehyung’s legs. On Hoseok’s count, they lifted him. Jimin huffed, hooking Taehyung’s legs on his shoulder and supporting his lower half. Hoseok was right, Taehyung was heavy – especially as dead weight. They moved out of the room, heading for an elevator behind the secluded, locked champagne suite. 

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

The doors of the elevator opened into a dark, cold corridor. Jimin was relieved to feel a rush of cold air – the cramped space and the fluorescent lighting of the elevator felt too overwhelming. He was drenched in sweat, still wearing Taehyung’s jacket and riding the mild high of cocaine –something he had already grown accustomed to.

 

“Let’s take him to your room, Jimin.” The veins in Hoseok’s throat bulged as he exerted to lift Taehyung.

 

What Jimin never did get accustomed to, was hearing his name out of the mouth of anyone he worked with. Everyone called him Eros, except Hoseok – it had always been that way, and Jimin had never felt that he was in a place to correct him. Hoseok was his manager, after all. “Mine?” He asked, but obediently moved with Hoseok to take Taehyung down the dark hallway, lined with rooms on either side.

 

The Parthenon’s best kept secret: the underground floor. The hallway and rooms were relatively quiet at present – the only people down here right now would be workers, either dancing for club hours or getting ready for the rest of the night. There were no patrons allowed in the basement level until after 2:00 A.M., when the top floors of The Parthenon cleared out and the true belly of the beast opened. After 2:00 A.M., patrons were allowed to partake in certain explicit activities in the rooms that laid below The Parthenon’s ground floor. 

 

After what seemed like an excruciating amount of time trying to hold Taehyung’s body up, Jimin and Hoseok arrived one of the few rooms that had a door in the entryway – others were simply draped by thick, velvet curtains. Jimin entered a key code to unlock the room. The pair dragged Taehyung in, tossing him roughly on the bed. Jimin moved quickly to close the door behind him.

 

Hoseok wiped the sweat dripping on his top lip, sitting down on the edge of the bed and breathing heavily. “Shit, we made it.” He pushed his hair back from his face. Jimin moved across the room, shedding Taehyung’s jacket in favor of a silk robe. The leather straps he wore felt like they were burning on his skin, but he would have to change later. He made his way to a small fridge, returning to the bed with a bottle of water for Hoseok, who gladly accepted.

 

“Sir, um–“, Jimin looked nervously at Taehyung lying unconscious on his bed. “Are you sure it’s okay for him to be here? I mean–, I understand Mr. Min ordered so, but…” Jimin bit his lip. “Patrons aren’t allowed here outside of hours; what if Master Kim gets upset?” 

 

Hoseok tilted his head out of habit. “Don’t worry about that, Jimin.” He took a large gulp of water, relishing it. “If anything, we’ll get in trouble, not you.” He smiled. “Besides, I’ve known Taehyung for years…” He peered at Taehyung. “It wouldn’t be the first time I go to bat for him.” He finished his water bottle. “Stay here. I’m going to go get the medic.” 

 

Jimin held his hand out. “Wait, I have narcan–“

 

“I think we should just IV him.” Hoseok interrupted. “Yoongi’s not down here yet, and the spray… I'm not sure it'll work.” Hoseok shook his head, making his way to the door. “If he stops breathing, give him the Narcan. Then call me. His phone passcode is 189402.” Hoseok exited the room.

 

Jimin, dumbfounded, looked down at Taehyung. He suddenly felt tightness of the leather straps on his body, and clawed at them; he had the urge to shower, but knew he couldn’t leave Taehyung alone. If Taehyung had overdosed… Was this really how they were going to handle it? Just leave him? Wouldn’t it make more sense to administer the naloxone right away? Jimin eyed the door, then Taehyung, and back. Making a decision, he went into the bathroom to fetch the naloxone. He wasn’t going to wait to see if Taehyung stopped fucking breathing to do anything.

 

While in the bathroom, Jimin quickly unbuckled the straps of the leather outfit, relishing in the relief. The outfit had felt particularly constrictive for what must have been hours already – slipping on clean silk panties, he slipped his robe back on and headed back to the bed with the nasal spray in his hand. Laying on the bed, he looked down at Taehyung. For a few moments, he admired him; Jimin’s eyes traced over the contours of his sharp, prominent features, the lustful temptation of his lips, and the dark curls that hung in his eyes. Even almost dead, Taehyung looked beautiful. Snapping himself out of his daze, Jimin eyed the door before sticking the nozzle in Taehyung’s nostril and pushing the plunger. His colored eyes stared at Taehyung intently as he tossed the bottle off to the side.

 

It only took seconds for Taehyung’s eyelids to flutter open, his eyes rolling forward as he awoke. Dazed, his vision stuttered; he could not focus. A sharp pain stabbed at his head; he winced and he scrunched his face. The edges of his vision were blacked, and clouding more by the second. His eyes lolled in their sockets and the last thing he saw, again, was Jimin – before his vision faded once again. 

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

“I told you the spray wasn’t going to work.” Hoseok shook his head, standing with his hands on his hips. 

 

Jimin looked down shamefully. “I was just worried…” 

 

A woman worked by the bed, setting up an IV with fluid in a bag. She moved silently and worked diligently, unbothered by others’ presence in the room. She only spoke when she surveyed Taehyung’s hand, and directed her question to Yoongi. “Excuse me, sir. Should I attend to this as well?” She held up Taehyung’s hand by his wrist.

 

Yoongi nodded at the medic. “Yes, please. Thank you.” He crossed his arms, redirecting his attention to Hoseok. “Hoseok, it’s almost 3.” He said, looking at his watch. “You’re going to have to take him home again.” 

 

Hoseok’s eyes widened. “Take him home ?!” He asked incredulously. “Now?! Like this ?!” He gestured to Taehyung on the bed. Yoongi shrugged, nodding his head. “No, Yoongi, no.” He shook his head. “I’m not taking him home and leaving him there alone. Not like this.” He looked at Yoongi apologetically. “I’m sorry, but no way. We can’t do that.”

 

Yoongi rubbed his face in exasperation. “Well, what do you propose then? It’s getting late and we’re going to have clients here any minute.”

 

“I’ll take him home in the morning, when he wakes up.” Hoseok looked at Yoongi nervously. He knew it wasn’t the best idea, but there really didn’t seem to be many options. 

 

Yoongi shook his head. “Eros needs his room to work.”

 

Jimin glanced up at the mention of his name. He sat on the bed, almost like a loyal puppy watching over Taehyung. He looked from Yoongi, to Hoseok, and back.

 

Hoseok glanced over at Jimin. “Jimin can take one night off.” Jimin nodded in agreement, and Yoongi still shook his head. “Yoongi,” Hoseok reached out and grasped Yoongi’s hand. “Please.” He pleaded. 

 

Yoongi stared him down before rolling his eyes. “Fuck, Hoseok. Fine.” He pulled his arm away. “Let’s go. We don’t have time.” He turned, exiting the room.

 

Hoseok exhaled in relief. He looked at Taehyung with concern. He studied as the medic packed up her things, following Yoongi and making her exit. His eyes went to Jimin. “Please take care of him for me, Jimin. Please…” He stepped closer to the bedside, patting Taehyung’s hair. “We’re really all each other has.” Without another word, he exited the room, running to catch up with Yoongi.

 

“You better hope Kim sajang-nim is busy, or he’ll have both of us fucking flayed alive.” Yoongi spoke to Hoseok as he walked. Abruptly, he stopped, turning on his heel and making sharp eye contact with Hoseok. “And if you ever do that in front of an employee again,” he hissed, “You’re fucking fired.” 

 

Hoseok was surprised for a second, but suppressed a smile, nodding. Everyone found Yoongi scary, except him. He stifled a giggle. Grabbing his hand must have really flustered him, Hoseok thought. Quietly, he followed behind Yoongi as they prepared to receive clients until dawn. 

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

Jimin had taken the liberty of finally heading to wash up after what felt like quite a long night. He laughed to himself – on a normal weekend, he would barely be gearing up to work at this time. His smile disappeared as he anxiously thought of Seokjin and Jeongguk. He wasn’t sure where the two had gone; if they had left to Master Kim’s manor, or still remained on the premises. He shuddered, fearing punishment for taking the night off. Ever since Jimin had begun working for Master Kim, he had not had a Saturday off of work. Ever . He was still surprised that Yoongi had even agreed to it. Jimin’s thoughts raced through his mind as he stripped himself of his clothes – he was a highly requested entertainer, with quite the list of high-profile clientele. His weekends were normally fully booked, in advance, and he hated to think of what might happen if… when … Master Kim discovered that he was not seeing clients tonight. Heaving a sigh, Jimin stepped into the hot water to wash the overwhelming feelings of the night away.

 

Jimin stepped back into the main bedroom wrapped in a towel. He observed Taehyung carefully, his eyes lingering on the IV tube that hung from his arm. A sudden realization hit him – he was seeing a client tonight. Technically I am, right? Taehyung was a client. Not on Jimin’s client list, but there was no reason to say that tonight he could have decided to be. Jimin approached the bedside, gazing over Taehyung. He studied the veins in Taehyung’s slender arm; and the curves of his hands, his face, and particularly his lips. Jimin bit his own bottom lip before bending over, bringing his face dangerously close to Taehyung’s. He could feel the whisper of breath from Taehyung’s parted lips on his own; his eyes surveyed Taehyung’s closed lids before closing the space in between their faces. 

 

Though soft and gentle, the contact of their lips sent an electric sensation through Jimin’s body – much like the first time, when Taehyung took the lime from Jimin’s mouth in the champagne room. Jimin withdrew delicately, straightening up and eyeing the door. Every minute that passed build an anxious fear of the door bursting open and revealing Master Kim. Jimin’s bare feet padded lightly across his floor as he went to retrieve clothes to change into. Eventually, after covering Taehyung with a blanket, Jimin found himself cuddled up to Taehyung as he watched over him, before drifting into slumber. Out in the halls, the underground floor was alive with activity – inside Jimin’s room, he could swear that only him and Taehyung existed in the world.

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

Taehyung’s eyes fluttered open; his vision took a few seconds to come into focus. “What happened?” He felt an uncomfortable sensation in his left arm, and looked down in confusion as he saw an IV tube protruding from his arm. “What the fuck–?” He blinked, squinting as he realized his eyes still seemed to be sensitive to light; as he looked around the room, he swore trails of light followed in his field of vision. The room he was in looked completely unfamiliar. He remembered most of the night; but the last place he remembered being was in the champagne room at The Parthenon. “How the fuck did I end up here?” He shifted to sit up before realizing he wasn’t alone. He turned and saw a head of golden hair; Jimin was cuddled up to him, fast asleep and laying on his right arm. He froze, but his movement woke Jimin up; Jimin’s eyes drifted open. His face was scrunched in discontent before he looked up at Taehyung; instantly, Jimin awoke fully.

 

“Oh, you’re awake!” Jimin sat up in bed, getting off Taehyung's arm. “How are you feeling?”

 

Now that his right arm was free, he reached over and hissed as he pulled the needle out the crook of his arm. Realizing his vision seemed to diverge, he swore he saw two Jimin’s instead of one. Was he still drunk? High? He dropped back onto the pillow, and looked at Jimin from underneath the bangs that were matted to his forehead. “Did I die and go to heaven?” He chuckled. 

 

Jimin broke into bashful laughter. “Mr. Jung was so worried about you. I should call him–,”

 

Taehyung grasped the fabric of Jimin’s robe and pulled him close, taking Jimin by surprise. He was only inches from Jimin’s face when he spoke. “Jimin.” The name that rolled off so delicately on his tongue; he much preferred it to Jimin’s dancer name.

 

Jimin, surprised, swallowed dryly. “You remembered my name.”

 

Taehyung smirked. “Where am I?” He spoke barely above a whisper, his voice raspy and low.

 

“You’re… At The Parthenon still, Mr. Kim. I should call Hoseok, he’ll explain–,” Jimin began running his words together.

 

“Are we alone?” Taehyung couldn’t keep himself from staring at Jimin’s lips; he looked up to make contact with Jimin’s eyes and bit his bottom lip lightly.

 

“Yes, we’re alone.” Jimin half nodded, propping himself up and trying his best not to rest his full weight on Taehyung. His eyes observed Taehyung cautiously, ignited with curiosity.

 

Taehyung slacked his grip on Jimin’s robe. “Jimin.” He repeated Jimin’s name, unable to resist the way it felt for him to say his name. It felt like it was made to sit in the back of his mouth and roll effortlessly off his tongue.

 

Jimin giggled. “Yes, Mr. Kim?” 

 

Taehyung furrowed his brows, and tightened his hold on Jimin’s robe again. He pulled Jimin closer, snaking his left hand up through Jimin’s hair, holding the back of his head. “I told you, it’s Taehyung.” He breathed. His heart pounded in his chest, and he could only assume he was either still inebriated or simply intoxicated by the presence of Jimin alone. His breath escaped his lips heavily as he tempted Jimin to meet his lips; however, he did not force him.

 

This was yet another gesture that Jimin was not familiar with; when Taehyung pulled on his robe, his mind had almost instantly reverted to responding as if with a normal client. Most of his clients were rough and aggressive; not that Jimin minded – it came with the territory – but his mind came to a point of confusion when Taehyung pulled him and then stopped, almost as if he was waiting for Jimin to decide on the next action. Jimin was no stranger to the power dynamics of his line of work – he knew he was always in control, whether the client believed so or not. Most clients had to be tricked into thinking they were in control of the situation at all times; most men were easy to fool. Jimin marked a checklist in his mind as he realized that Taehyung didn’t need to be manipulated at all – he was gladly giving Jimin the power. He was allowing Jimin the control that he normally needed to maneuver to obtain. The smallest things were revealing to Jimin what kind of a man Taehyung was – the jacket was the first, and his space allowance in this exact moment was the second. Jimin stared into Taehyung’s eyes with a yearning desire to know the other things that would define Taehyung to him. His eyelashes brushed his cheeks as he closed his eyes, and obliged to close the space in between their lips.

 

Jimin wondered: if he kissed Taehyung forever, would each kiss keep feeling more euphoric than the last?

 

Taehyung savored the sweet taste of Jimin’s lips on his; he tightened his grip on the locks of Jimin’s hair, pulling gently. His tongue pushed against Jimin’s lips, begging for entrance; Jimin obliged. Taehyung deepened the kiss, shifting to embrace Jimin’s full weight on top of him. Jimin slightly protested before giving in. Taehyung’s heart raced, and his breathing began to become heavy. He pushed up against Jimin, feeling an ignition of passion in his veins. Time seemed to slow and come to a stop around them; Taehyung’s tongue circled Jimin’s, exploring the delicious, poisonous taste of temptation that sat on Jimin’s tongue. “Fuck…” Taehyung gasped as Jimin broke their kiss.

 

Jimin pulled back and observed Taehyung. His eyes glanced to the door with uncertainty; he was constantly nervous that Master Kim would burst into the room at any second. “Would he be displeased?” Jimin bit his bottom lip in worry. 

 

“Jimin.” 

 

Jimin looked back down at Taehyung. “Yes?”

 

Taehyung ran his hand through Jimin’s hair, stroking his face. “You’re fucking beautiful.”

 

Jimin seemed caught off guard by Taehyung’s hand against his face; he didn’t know how to respond, which made him flustered. This wasn’t like him – he always knew how to respond to clients. Taehyung was different.

 

“Are you okay?”

 

Taehyung’s question caught Jimin off guard. Taehyung admired his features, and the slight flush in his pale cheeks. “Yes, of course.” He nodded. “Are you?”

 

Taehyung scrunched his brows in thought. “Well, I’m confused, and I have no fucking clue where I am.” He shrugged. “But I’m not in jail, and I don’t think I’m dead, so.” He snickered, gently pushing Jimin so he could sit up. He tried peering into the hallway on the far end of the room and shook his head. “I’ve never been here before.” 

 

Jimin sat back on his haunches on the bed. “We’re still at The Parthenon. You’re in… my room. I…” he nibbled the inside of his lip in thought. “I get ready here. For work.”

 

Taehyung’s eyebrows raised, and he looked around, nodding. “Wow. I didn’t know The Parthenon had rooms like this for the dancers.” 

 

Jimin felt a tinge of sympathy for Taehyung. “He really has absolutely no clue…” He smiled tenderly, and saw Taehyung look questioningly at him. He debated on whether to continue the conversation. “You’ve been coming to the club as a patron for a while, haven’t you?”

 

Confusion riddled Taehyung’s face as he nodded. “Yes…” 

 

“Mr. Jung never told you about this floor?” Jimin regarded him cautiously.

 

Taehyung felt an unpleasant feeling in the pit of his stomach. “About dancer dressing rooms?” 

 

Jimin smiled, shaking his head. “It’s not just a dressing room, Mr. Kim.”

 

Taehyung’s eyes narrowed upon hearing the formality return to Jimin’s tone. “What is he on about?” He felt himself getting defensive.

 

Jimin leaned forward, crawling to move closer to Taehyung. “And I’m not just a dancer.” He whispered. He leaned in close, placing his hand delicately on Taehyung’s thigh. “The things we can’t do upstairs…” His voice purred as he moved his hand lightly up Taehyung’s thigh. He heard the hitch in Taehyung’s breath as he did so; Jimin flashed his teeth in a devious smirk. “We can do them here.” He pushed lightly on Taehyung’s torso, tempting him to lay down. 

 

Taehyung, however, did not budge. He grabbed Jimin’s wrist, stopping him. “Wait. What do you mean?”

 

Jimin was startled. “What?” He scrunched his face. “I mean… What do you think I mean? I…”

 

“What exactly is this, Jimin?” 

 

Jimin could hear defensiveness in Taehyung’s tone, and he instantly pulled away, backing off. Without a word, he fluidly moved to get off the bed, disappearing into the dark hallway on the far end of the room. He returned a second later with Taehyung’s phone, and held it out to him. “I think you should call Hoseok.” He said, rather coldly; Taehyung was taken aback by his tone. Jimin crossed his arms, wrapping the sheer fabric of his babydoll dress around him tightly.

 

Jimin secretly seethed on the inside; had Taehyung just rejected him? He’d never been rejected in his life; much less by a client . Who the fuck does he think he is? He couldn’t discern his emotions, but it felt more like hurt and less like anger.

 

Taehyung unlocked his phone; ignoring notifications, he called Hoseok, who answered after three rings. “Hoseok, what the fuck–“, Taehyung fell quiet and after a few moments, just nodded his head. “Okay.” he said, before hanging up. 

 

About twenty minutes of silence later, Jimin’s door unlocked and Hoseok entered. He looked tired; his face was puffy and his eyes were heavy with exhaustion. He still smiled at Taehyung and adapted his cheery personality as he greeted them. “Taehyung!” He grinned. “How are you feeling, man?”

 

“Hoseok, please tell me what the fuck is going on. Where am I? What is this?” Taehyung gestured to the room. He was relieved to see Hoseok – a thread of familiarity in the midst of his confusion – but he couldn’t help but feel frustrated.

 

“Taehyungie, you’re okay. You’re fine.” Hoseok raised his hands and motioned for him to calm down. “You’re… You’re at the club.”

 

Taehyung looked at him curiously. “Yeah, that’s what he said.” He nodded at Jimin. “What is it that you’re not telling me, Hoseok?”

 

Hoseok was caught off guard, and looked at him apologetically. “Look, let me take you home. I’m just seriously glad you’re fine, man. I promise I’ll explain everything on the way.” He reached to pet Taehyung’s shoulders and helped him up. “Please just hear me out, man, we have to go.” As he ushered Taehyung out of the room, he looked back at Jimin, bowing slightly and mouthing a “thank you”.

 

Jimin just stared as Hoseok took Taehyung away. None of his superiors had ever bowed to him or thanked him before. He looked down at the empty bed beside him, and suddenly felt intensely and unusually lonely.

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

The car ride to Taehyung’s apartment was filled with tense silence that neither Taehyung nor Hoseok seemed to want to break. Taehyung glanced at the clock on the dashboard — 5:47 A.M. He shifted in his seat, frustrated and uncomfortable.

 

Hoseok eyed him in his peripheral. “Taehyung…” He sighed. “Are you hungry?”

 

Taehyung raised his eyebrows, looking at Hoseok. Then, dropping his expression and looking back to the road in front of them, he shook his head. “No.”

 

“Taehyung, there’s a lot to talk about.” Hoseok resumed. “We can talk at your apartment today, or another day, but…” Hoseok swallowed hard, his worry finally breaking through his barrier. “Fuck, Taehyung.” His bottom lip quivered like he was about to cry. “I’m just really fucking glad you’re okay, man.”

 

Taehyung, confused, felt himself soften as he observed Hoseok. He was still confused, and frustrated from the confusion – but he could hear the emotion in Hoseok’s voice, which made him decide to back off. The rest of the drive continued in silence, as neither of them knew exactly how to fill the space.

 

The sun was breaking over the horizon as the pair stepped into Taehyung’s apartment, Taehyung taking the lead and walking straight to his bedroom. Hoseok seemed, for the first time, unaware of how to behave comfortably in Taehyung’s space. He awkwardly hovered close to the front door. Taehyung looked back at him questioningly, before sighing and turning to face Hoseok. He looked down, hands in his pockets as he thought for a few seconds before raising his gaze to meet Hoseok’s. “Do you want to shower?”

 

After a moment, relief appeared on Hoseok’s face, and he smiled. “A shower sounds great, man.” He left the awkward demeanor at the door as he followed Taehyung into his bedroom.

 

Taehyung’s body relaxed into the hot water, feeling as if layers of grime and stress were melting off of his skin. Hoseok busied himself fetching shampoo, working a lather into Taehyung’s curls. He smiled and hummed to himself, before stopping. “Oh, Taehyung!” He blinked. “Didn’t you just get a perm?” 

 

Taehyung chuckled. “I’ll get another,” he leaned forward into Hoseok’s chest, heaving a sigh of exhaustion. “It was raining the other day when I got it, anyway.” He mumbled. Hoseok smiled fondly down at him, continuing to lather his hair. 

 

“How’s your hand feeling?” Hoseok puckered his lower lip into a pout.

 

Taehyung pursed his lips. “It hurts… But I’m fine. The cut wasn’t too bad.”

 

“Hey, Taehyungie,” Hoseok fetched body wash after shampooing his own hair. 

 

“Hm?” Taehyung was nodding off from the relaxation and comfort he felt being in the company of Hoseok.

 

“We haven’t showered together since our military days.” Hoseok giggled, lathering Taehyung’s body with a loofah before attending to his own. 

 

Taehyung smiled sheepishly. “It’s really been that long, has it?” He took the loofah from Hoseok’s hands, turning him to face the hot water with his back to Taehyung. Gently, Taehyung lathered circles on Hoseok’s back. “I’m really not sure where all the time went.” 

 

Hoseok cherished the feeling of the hot water pounding on his chest. He ran his hand through his wet hair, sighing. “Yeah, me neither…”

 

After their shower, the pair abruptly fell asleep in Taehyung’s bed, legs tangled in a cuddled mess after a long and exhausting night. Hoseok was woken up by the buzzing of his phone on the bedside table. He answered it almost immediately.

 

“Hoseok? Did you make it home alright? I didn’t know you’d left with Taehyung.” 

 

Hoseok’s voice was hoarse as he replied. “Yoongi.” He smiled. “Yes, I’m here with Taehyung now.” He smiled over at Taehyung, nestled comfortably and still in deep slumber. “I’m sorry, I forgot to text you. And,” he paused, “About last night… I’m sorry for going over your head. Really, I am. It’s just – we’re all each other has, Yoongi.” He sighed. “We’re all each other has.” A long silence stretched on the other side of the line. Hoseok checked to make sure Yoongi was still there. “Yoongi?”

 

“… You have me, too, Hoseok.” A pause. “Fuck. You can’t leave me alone to deal with this shitshow.”

 

Hoseok’s heart skipped a beat. He’d never heard Yoongi be remotely affectionate with his words before. “Yoongi…” He smiled, feeling a flush in the apples of his cheeks.

 

“We have a problem.” Yoongi’s voice cut sharply across the line, interrupting Hoseok’s happy moment. “Kim knows.” He sucked his teeth. “Ahh… He knows Taehyung was down here. He knows he was with one of his most profitable – and he knows he’s in the red since Eros wasn’t attending to his pre-bookings.” Yoongi’s voice sounded strained. “There are high-pros that are fucking pissed. We’re in trouble, Hoseok. I don’t know what he’s going to do, but I’m not sure how to get any of us out of this one.”  

 

Hoseok felt panic seeping into his chest. Yoongi never didn’t know what to do. “Are you okay? Has he told you anything?” He checked the time on his phone. 10:23 A.M. “I’ll talk to Taehyung about paying for the night. We’ll fix this…” He bit his cheek nervously. “Yoongi, where is Jimin?”

 

“Even if he does pay, Hoseok… Eros' regular clients are still pissed. I don’t know where he is. I haven’t seen him since last night. He might be back at the Manor. I haven’t seen Ares, either.”

 

“Oh no, Jeonggukkie…” Hoseok rubbed at his face. “Have you gotten any sleep, Yoongi?”

 

“… No.”

 

“You need some rest. Get some rest, and I’ll talk to Taehyung. Let’s have dinner later, we’ll fix this.” 

 

“I sure fucking hope so, Hoseok, or it’s both of our heads. And Taehyung’s, too.”  

 

Click. Yoongi was always the first to hang up. Hoseok sighed, before throwing himself back down in bed. In his sleep, Taehyung nuzzled back up to Hoseok, who tried to push the impending thoughts of panic away before falling back asleep.

 

Taehyung and Hoseok both awoke sometime after 3:00 P.M.. They enjoyed a coffee together, still avoiding the elephant in the room. Hoseok explained that he wanted to meet Yoongi for the three of them to have dinner in the evening – Taehyung reluctantly agreed. At 5:30 P.M., they made their way towards Taehyung’s favorite restaurant in Seoul. He realized it felt like weeks since he’d been there, when he had just gone for dinner there almost 24 hours ago. The feeling prompted him to think of last night’s events – what he could remember, anyway. Had it really been only 24 hours ?

 

Taehyung entered the restaurant with Hoseok and Yoongi behind him – Hoseok was surprised when Taehyung was attended immediately and they were escorted to a booth in the back. “Hey, Taehyung,” he admired the glamor of the high-end dining establishment. “Did you make a reservation or something? That quickly?”

 

Taehyung chuckled as he gestured for them to sit down first in the curved booth. Yoongi sat on the edge, leaving Hoseok to scoot into the middle and Taehyung last. Before he could respond, a server appeared. “Mr. Kim,” he bowed, and smiled. “And company, what a pleasant surprise!” The waiter was young, and his smile was bright. He bowed deeply. “Welcome. It is my pleasure to attend to you this evening.”

 

Hoseok raised his eyebrows, looking at Taehyung, who smiled bashfully. “Younho, thank you. Please take care of us well.” The server politely took Hoseok’s and Yoongi’s drink order before taking his leave.

 

“You’re not getting anything to drink, Taehyung?” Hoseok looked at him, confused.

 

Taehyung sunk into the booth a bit. “They… already know what I drink.”

 

“Ohh!” Hoseok nodded as if though impressed, and laughed. “Taehyungie! I didn’t know that you came here often! Hey, why didn’t you ever invite me?” He smacked Taehyung’s shoulder playfully, opening the menu. Yoongi and Hoseok both looked over the menu as they waited for their drinks.

 

“Ah, Hoseok. We have things to talk about while we’re here.” Yoongi spoke, accepting his whiskey from the waiter and falling silent until the waiter took their dinner orders and left.

 

Hoseok took a deep gulp of beer before bothering to respond. “That’s true…” He frowned. “Taehyung…” He trailed off, not knowing exactly what to say.

 

“You spent the night with a highly… requested entertainer.” Yoongi spoke abruptly, placing his elbows on the table and crossing his fingers.

 

Taehyung cocked his head. “Jimin?” He knitted his brows. “That wasn’t my intention. I still don’t know what happened.” He swirled red wine around in his glass. “I’m actually still really fucking confused about everything.” There was hostility in his voice. 

 

Hoseok sighed. “Taehyung…” He bit his lip, reluctant to continue. “I know the night was crazy for you. It was crazy for us, too. There are some things that you don’t know.”

 

Taehyung rolled his eyes. “Obviously, hyung.” He crossed his arms. “That’s why we’re here, right?”

 

“The Parthenon isn’t only a gentleman’s club.” Yoongi interrupted, taking the reins of the conversation. “Not all of it. The ground and second floor are,” He sipped on his whiskey intently. “But the underground level – where Hoseok so vehemently insisted that you stay, and the floor you woke up in – is part of another business that we partake in on the premises.”

 

Taehyung raised an eyebrow, looking from Yoongi to Hoseok. “I’m… still not following.”

 

Hoseok sighed. “Taehyung, it’s simple and also not so simple. The Parthenon has a floor underground that normal patrons of the club don’t know about, lest they, you know… Are invited, or know someone.” He paused. “It’s… full service on the basement level… If you–, if you know what I mean, man.” He averted his gaze and focused on drinking more beer. 

 

Taehyung cocked his head again, still confused. He peered at Hoseok. “When you say ‘full service’…” He trailed off before his eyes became as wide as the dinner plates the server approached with. The trio fell quiet as their food was placed in front of them. Taehyung didn’t miss the way the server eyed them somewhat suspiciously after they had suddenly stopped talking at his approach. Taehyung smiled, thanking the server who promised to return with another round of drinks.

 

Hoseok dug in, Yoongi attended to his plate less enthusiastically, and Taehyung poked around at his.

 

“Well, Hoseok?” Yoongi offered, not looking up from his food.

 

Hoseok, mouth full, stopped chewing. “What?”

 

“Are you going to answer him?”

 

Hoseok looked at Taehyung. “It’s what you think it means, Taehyung.” He said matter–of–factly, before returning his attention to his food. “Hey, did you have sex with Jiminie before I got there?” He asked curiously.

 

Taehyung held up his hands. “No, what? No.” He shook his head. “I didn’t. I wasn’t even awake that long… I don’t even know how I got there.” He sighed in frustration.

 

“That’s the problem.” Yoongi interrupted. “You didn’t have sex with Eros – at least, not that we know about.” He rolled his neck, cracking his bones. “Taehyung, I need you to listen closely. I know it’s a lot to take in, but we really need you to try to keep up as much as possible. You spent last night with Eros. That much we know – we all know. However, what you don’t know is that Eros is a very high–profile entertainer, a very highly-requested entertainer, who primarily works in our underground level.” He bowed his head, eyes making contact with Taehyung’s, “Which means he provides full services to some pretty important clients. Very wealthy, very connected, very powerful… clients.” The electricity between their gazes was almost tangible. “Do you understand?”

 

Taehyung furrowed his brow. “So, what I’m understanding is…” He paused, taking a large gulp of wine from his glass. “You guys run a prostitution ring? That’s fucking illegal .” He looked at Hoseok, feeling a hint of anger bubbling in his belly.

 

Yoongi rolled his eyes, sitting back in the booth. Hoseok opened his mouth to speak before Yoongi interjected. “So is railing 8-balls of cocaine off of strippers’ ass cracks and hiding it from the cops.”

 

Silverware clattered loudly as Taehyung slammed his down on the table, halfway getting up from his seat. “You fucking prick–,“ He glanced around before sitting back down. “I did that to cover your ass, you fucking asshole.” His voice was lowered and seething with anger.

 

“Well nobody fucking asked you to, did we?” Yoongi spat back.

 

“You fucking-“ Taehyung clenched his fists, feeling the sting of pain in his left from the healing gash that was still relatively fresh.

 

“Guys, please, please stop.” Hoseok raised his hands and motioned for them to calm down. “Stop, please. Look, Taehyung, we’re just trying to fix things.” He frowned. “We’re all kind of in trouble here, and it’s not going to help if we don’t communicate with each other.”

 

Taehyung whipped his attention towards Hoseok, fuming. “Communication?! Oh, you’re one to fucking talk about communication, Hoseok.” He clenched his jaw. “First you being a dancer – for goddamn at least a year, who knows how fucking long – and now this? How long has this been going on?” The veins in his throat bulged with strain. “At least you being a dancer was legal . Now you mean to tell me you’re running a fucking prostitution ring , Hoseok? Is that it? You could get fucking arrested!” 

 

Yoongi set his glass down on the table hard enough to get their attention, but lightly enough to not draw anybody else’s. “He couldn’t tell you.” He made eye contact with Taehyung. “He signed a nondisclosure.” He paused. “We’re only telling you because the issue of last night involves you. It’s illegal –,” His voice dripped with sarcasm, “– to tell you otherwise. That being said, the legality of what we do is nobody’s goddamn business.”

 

Taehyung avoided looking at Yoongi, lest he escalate the scene in front of the entire restaurant. He grabbed his cloth napkin, wiping his mouth. “I forgave you the first time for keeping things from me, Hoseok.” He folded the napkin, throwing it on the table. “I’ll be damned if I fucking do it again.” He got up from his seat before Hoseok had a chance to reply.

 

Hoseok had froze and his eyes were wide. It took a few seconds for him to snap out of it, after hearing Yoongi say his name. His face dropped, looking down at the rest of his food that had been so appetizing not even a couple minutes ago. His bottom lip puckered, and Yoongi swore he was going to cry.

 

Yoongi, not being the most adept at these situations, reached out to pet Hoseok’s shoulder. He wasn’t sure what he was going to do if Hoseok cried; he waved over the server, whose smile seemed more professionally obligatory and less genuine than when he had greeted them. “Could we have the tab, please?”

 

The server bowed lightly. “Oh, the bill has already been settled, sir. I hope you’ve found everything well. Is there anything else I may attend to?”

 

Yoongi shook his head, thanking the server. “Come on, Hoseok. Let’s go.” His hand traveled down Hoseok’s arm, resting on top of his hand under the table. “We’ll fix this. All of it.”

 

Hoseok smiled weakly at Yoongi, before his expression replaced with a somber one as he followed Yoongi out of the restaurant. 

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

The next few days passed by in a blur. Taehyung attended to his life as normal; he went to work, did what he needed to do, and lied about his hand injury. His boss, though skeptical, believed him, and he continued through the motions as best as he could. By Tuesday, though, Taehyung realized that something was wrong. He felt increasingly nauseous, irritable, and restless; his nights passed agonizingly slow and without sleep. On Wednesday, his boss pulled him aside and addressed an issue of him snapping at a coworker. Taehyung apologized intensely, using the excuse of being irritable from the pain and stress due to personal issues. His boss insisted that he was worried, that it wasn’t “like Taehyung” to act that way, and advised him to visit the hospital to get his wound checked by a professional and prescribed painkillers. He told Taehyung to take the rest of the week off – something that had never happened in his years of working with the company. Reluctantly, Taehyung expressed gratitude for his boss’ understanding and took his leave – what other choice did he have?

 

Taehyung skipped on the clinic, and soaked in his misery alone at home. As the weekend approached, he grew more and more anxious. He couldn’t hold any food down; he tossed in his bed for hours on end, drenched in his own sweat. His mind flitted from Hoseok, to the club, to Jeongguk, and Jimin. He hated that he could only remember bits and pieces of Saturday night, and racked his brain for more memories in vain. He wondered how Hoseok was doing, floating somewhere in between worrying about him and never wanting to speak to him again. Taehyung’s existence felt excruciatingly more lonely than ever before. He cried in his bed as he retched from a combination of nausea and pain, yearning for something that he couldn’t quite identify. He tossed and turned, entangled in sheets and fits of intense and fleeting emotions. He found himself opening the screen of Hoseok’s contact on his phone, hovering his finger over the “call” button, only to lock his phone and put it down. He repeated this more times than he bothered to keep track of.

 

On Friday, Taehyung surveyed his injury closely; it seemed to be healing well. He decided to venture out of his apartment for fresh air; maybe he should send food or desserts to the office, as an apology for his behavior. He wrapped his hand, donning gloves and his coat before leaving to place a delivery order at a bakery nearby. He thought of sending Hoseok flowers as an apology as well, and decided he would figure that one out on his outing. He returned home in the evening, having enjoyed a day off in an attempt to relax. Taehyung felt the sweat beading on his forehead as he rode the elevator up to his floor – the motion caused him to feel sick, and he clutched his stomach as his vision began to blur slightly. What the fuck is happening to me? It had been days and his condition had not improved; he considered visiting the clinic soon.

 

A small tinge of a feeling that Taehyung wasn’t quite familiar with creeped up on him as he approached his door. It felt sinister, and Taehyung didn’t like it. Unlocking his door, he pushed it open and was immediately hit with the feeling that something was awfully, terribly wrong. In front of him, his apartment looked like utter destruction. It was dark; but Taehyung could make out the haphazard shapes of furniture turned over, things thrown and destroyed. He froze in the doorway, his mind racing – Should I leave? Should I call the cops? Blinking his eyes, he reached immediately for the switch to the light. Click.

 

His breath caught in his throat in a mixture of shock and dread as he saw someone sitting in his living room. His eyes met Seokjin’s as soon as the lights were on. Taehyung’s mouth dropped open slightly; his mind screamed and adrenaline pumped through his veins.

 

Seokjin smiled at Taehyung. “Mr. Kim. I’ve been expecting you.”

 

Taehyung’s mouth was dry and he felt his throat closing up as his nerves reacted. He tried to compose himself, stepping inside and closing the door behind him. “Mr. Kim…” he bowed. “To what do I owe the pleasure?” He strained to focus on the man in his apartment, and not the sheer chaos of his possessions, broken and littered all over the floor. He glanced quickly at the open door to his bedroom.

 

“Are you enjoying your vacation time?” Seokjin lounged in an accent chair, legs crossed. His fingers were intertwined, hands resting on his knee. “You weren’t in your office.”

 

Taehyung’s eyes widened slightly. “He fucking knows where I work?!” He cleared his throat, and looked around the room. “Were you…” he looked at Seokjin, “looking for something, Mr. Kim?”

 

Seokjin cocked his head, smiling. “You’re a Kim, so I should expect you to be sharp,” he said. “You have something of mine, Taehyung. Remember?”

 

Taehyung’s brows furrowed, trying to recollect the events of last Saturday. Sweat matted his bangs and they clung to his forehead. He could feel his stomach knotting with nausea. 

 

“My key, Mr. Kim.” Seokjin’s voice held a hint of annoyance. “Our little secret, yes?”

 

Taehyung’s eyes darted from side to side and he licked his lips in an attempt to moisten his mouth. It took a few seconds before he remembered what Seokjin was talking about – shit. The key to the champagne room . What had he done with it? Taehyung racked his brain. Suddenly, he remembered – he remembered slipping the key into the inside pocket of his jacket. Where was that jacket?

 

“Tick tock, Mr. Kim.” Seokjin eyed him expectantly. “It is the weekend.” He smiled. “And I’m a busy man.”

 

“I… I don’t have it, Mr. Kim.” Taehyung said defeatedly. He couldn’t remember where he’d put his jacket. Was it in his bedroom? Considering the state of his apartment, his bedroom probably had been ransacked as well – surely, Mr. Kim would have found it in his jacket if it was in his room? Was it in his car? “Fuck, where the fuck is it?” Taehyung felt his vision blurring again. He stumbled, bracing himself against the wall in an attempt to keep his balance.

 

Seokjin grimaced. “That’s not what I like to hear, Taehyung.” He stood up, walking towards Taehyung, who now caught sight of something that made his body immediately flood with panic – a gun, sleek and black strapped onto Seokjin’s waist. Seokjin smiled as he approached Taehyung. “Withdrawal is quite the bitch, isn’t she, Mr. Kim?” 

 

Taehyung was drenched in sweat and could feel his legs shaking. He looked up at Seokjin, confused. “What?” He couldn’t keep himself composed – he felt the sting of bile in his throat, and the blend of fear and exhaustion threatening to buckle his legs out from under him. He watched as Seokjin reached into his pocket, withdrawing a syringe. Taehyung defensively stepped back; as he placed weight on it, he felt his leg give out and he stumbled.

 

Seokjin lurched forward and caught Taehyung, who felt a wave of nausea from the smell of cologne and cigar smoke. Taehyung hissed as he felt a painful sting of a needle puncturing his neck. He swore he saw stars as Seokjin pushed the plunger down, dispensing the injection’s contents into Taehyung’s bloodstream. His eyes rolled back as a burning sensation shot through him, igniting his veins. He fell to his knees, reeling as the contents of the injection flooded his system, sending his body into overdrive. “Wha–, what the fuck–“

 

Seokjin smiled down at Taehyung as he withdrew the syringe. “Just something to help with the pain, you know. Make you feel better.” 

 

Taehyung, kneeling on the floor, heard a ‘click’ and his mind immediately flashed to his days in the military. That sound was all too familiar – it was the sound of the safety on a gun being disengaged. He looked up to find himself staring straight into the sleek, metal mouth of a Kimber Classic handgun. His eyes rolled in their sockets; the burn of narcotics flooding his bloodstream shot him into a state of euphoric chaos. Somewhere deep in the recesses of his mind, he heard his brain screaming, “You’re about to fucking die.” He thought of his parents; he also thought of Hoseok, and Jeongguk, and… Eros? Eros… Something didn’t seem right about that name. 

 

“Do it.” Taehyung’s voice sounded unfamiliar to himself. Still on his knees on the floor, he leaned forward and pressed his forehead against the barrel of the gun. His mouth spread into a grin as he heard the cocking of the hammer. “Please, fucking do it.” He closed his eyes, riding the wave of a high that his body had been craving for days. His heart pounded violently in his chest; the sound flooded his ears and made them ring. A few seconds later, Taehyung felt the cold metal of the gun withdraw from his head, and he opened his eyes. 

 

Seokjin looked down at him, and began laughing. “You are definitely a Kim. I’ll give you that much.” 

 

A moment later, the body of the gun came crashing against the side of Taehyung’s skull, and he crumpled to the floor. Silently, Seokjin stepped over him, making sure to turn the light off before taking his leave.

Chapter Text

5:21 P.M. –– Seocho-gu, Seoul, South Korea

 

Jeongguk looked up at the towering building in front of him, before looking down at his phone to make sure the address was correct. He wasn’t too far from The Parthenon, which was in the next district order. “Did he really live this close the entire time? No wonder he comes so often… ” Jeongguk thought, before slipping his phone into his pocket and entering the building. He stuck his hands in the pocket of his leather jacket and kept his head down as he made his way to the elevator inside the building. 

 

A few minutes later, Jeongguk stood in front of the door to Taehyung’s apartment – or the door of the address Hoseok had given him, anyway. He glanced around at the empty hall. Jeongguk found it eerie how empty and quiet the building was. He stared at the door for a second before withdrawing his hand from his pocket and knocking. A few seconds passed in silence. Jeongguk looked around nervously. “Mr. Kim?” He knocked again. “Tae… Taehyung?” He took out his phone, opening his chat with Hoseok and clicking on the phone number that Hoseok had provided him as Taehyung’s. He waited as the line rang. Immediately, Jeongguk cocked his head, hearing something. He leaned forward and pressed his ear to the door – and heard the faint sound of a phone ringing. Eyes wide with curiosity, he hung up and messaged Hoseok.

 

jeongguk –– 5:32 P.M.

do you know the key code to his apartment?  

 

Almost immediately, his phone pinged with a text.

 

hoseok –– 5:33 P.M.

920418*

 

Jeongguk meticulously entered the pin on the keypad and, to his satisfaction, heard the sound of the door unlocking. Smiling, he pushed the door open carefully. “Taehyung? It’s Jeong–“, his eyes grew wide as he stepped into the apartment. Furniture was upturned, shattered glass and other objects littered the floor. His eyes then landed on Taehyung’s body, slumped and lying face down on the floor. “Taehyung!” Jeongguk ran inside, kneeling on the floor. He grabbed Taehyung’s shoulders, turning him over. “Taehyung?! Shit,” he fumbled for his phone. “Should I call the ambulance? What the fuck happened?!” He shook Taehyung, slapping his face lightly. He pressed his fingers to Taehyung’s throat, and breathed a sigh of relief when he felt a pulse. “Holy shit.” He looked around.

 

Taehyung stirred; Jeongguk’s eyes darted back to him. “Taehyung? Taehyung, are you awake?”

 

Taehyung groaned, scrunching his face as he slipped into consciousness. He squeezed his eyes shut, feeling pain shooting through his body; particularly his left arm. His head throbbed. “Hoseok?” He rolled on his back, blinking at the light that filled the apartment.

 

“Shit, Taehyung, are you okay? Should I call an ambulance?” Jeongguk fumbled with his phone as it began to ring. “Hyung-nim! I found him, he’s here… I don’t know what happened, I found him on the floor… He’s waking up, I think you need to come.” He held his phone between his ear and his shoulder as he pushed Taehyung’s hair out of his face. “Taehyung?”

 

Taehyung’s vision finally came into focus; his head throbbed and the side of it felt tender. He groaned, blinking and looking at Jeongguk. “J–, Jeongguk?” He moved to sit himself up, but felt a sharp pain shoot through his left arm; it felt stiff. “What are you doing here?”

 

“What’s happening, Gukie?” Hoseok’s voice was full of worry on the other side of the line. “Is he okay? Hello? Jeongguk!” 

 

Jeongguk moved to prop Taehyung’s body up as he attempted to sit up. Frustrated, Jeongguk shoved his phone into Taehyung’s hand. Confused, Taehyung put it to his ear. “Hello?”

 

“Taehyung! What’s going on? Are you okay, man? What happened?” 

 

Taehyung, now having gathered his bearings, sat up on his own and looked around at his apartment in ruin. “Uh…” He patted the side of his head with his fingers, wincing. “I’m fine, hyung. Please don’t worry.” 

 

“What do you mean don’t –,” Hoseok was cut off, and Taehyung heard voices and commotion in the background. “What do you mean don’t worry?! You ignored my texts and calls and Jeongguk found you on the floor?! Do you need medical attention? I can send a nurse from here–,” 

 

“No, no.” Taehyung chuckled. “I’m okay, I swear. I…” He glanced at Jeongguk. “What is Jeongguk doing here?”

 

Jeongguk peered at him. “Hey, why are you referring to me as if I’m not here–,”

 

“I sent him to check on you because I couldn’t leave here. I was…” Hoseok paused. “I was really worried about you, Taehyungie.” 

 

Taehyung smiled. “I’m okay, Hoseok. Thank you for checking in on me. I’ll make sure to get Jeongguk back to you right away.”

 

Hoseok giggled. “Take your time, Taehyungie.” His voice dripped with hidden intentions. “Oh, and Taehyung…”

 

“Yeah?”

 

“Thank you for the flowers, baby.” 

 

Taehyung’s cheeks pulled into a boxy smile. Click . Hoseok hung up. He smiled down at the phone. Blinking and realizing it wasn’t his, he offered it back to Jeongguk, who pocketed it. Jeongguk squatted on the floor, the flesh of his legs straining against the rips of his tight jeans. “Let me help you up.” He offered, reaching out towards Taehyung. He huffed as he generously lifted the majority of Taehyung’s weight as he helped him up. “Is your entire apartment like this?” He helped Taehyung to the sofa, being careful to avoid broken glass on the floor. 

 

“I couldn’t tell you.” Taehyung shrugged, slumping onto the couch in relief. He felt a wave of nausea flow through him and swallowed hard. “Jeongguk…” 

 

Jeongguk sat next to him on the couch, looking at him with wide, puppy eyes. “Hm?”

 

“What…” Taehyung bit his lip. “What day is it?”

 

Jeongguk cocked his head. “It’s… It’s Saturday.” He laughed nervously. “How long have you…?” He looked around. “What happened?”

 

Taehyung shook his head, his mind flashing to a hazy memory of returning to his apartment. Why couldn’t he remember? “I don’t know.” At least it had only been a day or so that he had been unconscious, depending on what time it was. “I…” He looked at the floor. “I came home and found my place like this. I think there was someone here. I…” he lightly touched the side of his head with his fingers, feeling his hair matted with dried blood. “I blacked out after that.”

 

Jeongguk’s eyes widened. “Did somebody attack you?” He straightened his back, peering skeptically at the hallway that lead to Taehyung’s bedroom. 

 

“Yeah, I guess so.” Taehyung nodded, pinching the bridge of his nose. He got up from the sofa, steadying himself as he felt himself get faint. He made his way to the kitchen to get some water. “What time is it?” He asked, curiously.

 

Jeongguk pulled out his phone to check. “It’s a little past 7.” He replied. 

 

Taehyung fetched a bottle of water from his fridge. He peered at the bar setup he had at the end of the counter. “It’s Saturday…” he mumbled, tilting his head back. The cold, refreshing taste of the water felt like a blessing as it touched his lips. He drank nearly half the bottle before continuing. “I wasn’t aware you made, uh… outcalls.” He said, smirking.

 

Jeongguk raised his eyebrow at him, turning to look over at Taehyung. Taehyung swore he could see the mischievous glint spark in Jeongguk’s eyes – the same glint he saw in the eyes of Ares. “I don’t.” His lips stretched into a devious smile.

 

“Are you working tonight? Would you,” Taehyung gestured at the bottles of alcohol that sat prettily in his bar area. “Like a drink before you go?”

 

Jeongguk smiled. “I’d love one, Mr. Kim.”

 

Taehyung raised his eyebrow; it seemed Ares existed even outside the club.

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

Taehyung opted for mineral water from his fridge in place of alcohol; though he was sure it would help ease the pain that throbbed on the side of his head, he felt entirely nauseous and preferred all of his faculties in order. Jeongguk, however, had downed two whiskeys on the rocks and was going for his third. Taehyung watched in awe, feeling slightly unsettled. He felt uncomfortably embarrassed as he surveyed the disaster that was his apartment. “I’m sorry.” He finally said, standing in his living room and looking at the mess.

 

“Hm?” Jeongguk looked up from pouring whisky into a glass. 

 

“I’ve never had your company here, and this…” He gestured dejectedly at his apartment, “It’s… kind of embarrassing.” 

 

Jeongguk chuckled, throwing his head back as he downed whiskey from his glass. He set it down on the counter, circling the island and approaching Taehyung. He took Taehyung’s glass from his hand, setting it down on a nearby table and grasping Taehyung’s wrists; he placed Taehyung’s hands around his waist, snaking his own hands up Taehyung’s chest to rest on his shoulders. “Why are you so…” Jeongguk leaned in closely, touching his forehead to Taehyung’s. His lips cracked into a smirk as he heard Taehyung’s breath hitching in his throat. “What are you so scared of, Taehyung?” 

 

Taehyung was taken aback by Jeongguk’s advances. He felt his heart beginning to pound loudly and ring in his ears as he felt Jeongguk’s hands on him. He felt his chin tipping upwards slightly, aching to meet Jeongguk’s lips. His breath was ragged. “I…” his thoughts were hazy and Taehyung felt dizzy; he stumbled slightly and felt Jeongguk move quickly to steady him. Jeongguk guided him down to sit on his sofa. 

 

“Are you alright? Are you sure you don’t want Hoseok to send someone from medical? We have nurses at the club–,” Jeongguk’s eyes glistened with concern. 

 

Taehyung shook his head. “No, no. I’m fine.” He messed with his hair. “Sorry.”

 

Taehyung’s breath caught in his throat as Jeongguk climbed on top of him, straddling him and supporting himself on the back of the sofa. Jeongguk leaned in close, once again closing the space between himself and Taehyung. “You really should have someone check you out. If you come to the club, Hoseok can have medical look at you.” His voice purred lowly. “You and I could spend some time together afterwards.” His breath tickled on Taehyung’s ear; Jeongguk grimaced slightly as he caught a scent of blood. He pulled back slightly, cautiously touching Taehyung’s hair. “Are you… bleeding?” He returned to the expression of curiosity and concern.

 

Taehyung hissed, wincing at the touch. “Sorry, uh..” He covered the side of his head with his hand. “No, I don’t think so.” Taehyung found it peculiar the duality of Jeongguk’s personality – in less than two seconds, he went from purring seductive sex machine Ares, to what Taehyung could only assume was normal, real, young man Jeongguk. He seemed to separate work and personal, yet mesh them entirely together. This intrigued Taehyung immensely. As much as Taehyung didn’t want to, he knew he had to get Jeongguk out of his apartment and properly assess whatever had happened. “I really should shower.” He said, attempting to redirect their conversation. He put his hands on Jeongguk’s thighs, squeezing lightly. “I’ll stop by later tonight.” He said, inadvertently suckering himself into yet another night at The Parthenon. 

 

Jeongguk raised his eyebrow at Taehyung squeezing his thighs. Smirking, he nodded. “Fine. Come later.” He put his hands on Taehyung’s, leaning in close as he guided them up his thighs. “The later you come,” he purred, “The more fun we can have.” Jeongguk grinded teasingly on top of Taehyung, placing his forehead on Taehyung’s once again. Instead of waiting this time, however, Jeongguk pressed his lips against Taehyung’s. He sucked Taehyung’s bottom lip, biting down aggressively. Taehyung inhaled sharply, grasping Jeongguk’s ass firmly with his hands. A second later, Jeongguk withdrew and got up, fixing himself. Taehyung whined as he did so, wanting more. “I’ll be waiting.” Jeongguk said with a smirk, before making his way to the front door. 

 

“Wait, I’ll walk you out–,” 

 

Jeongguk was gone before Taehyung got the chance to even get up from the sofa. Taehyung felt dizzy. He sighed, looking around his apartment. He thought about hiring a cleaning service for the evening, and felt the weight of the realization that he was, once again, alone in a very empty apartment. Feeling dejected, he got up and headed for a shower.

 

To his relief, his bedroom wasn’t entirely destroyed; his clothes were thrown and drawers of his nightstand were open, but it was nothing like the scene in his living room. After his shower, he sifted through his clothes for something to wear for the rest of the night and made a call to a maid service. The shower had helped, but Taehyung could feel that something wasn’t right; he felt nauseous, and had a feeling of desperate craving for something he couldn’t quite put his finger on. His mind ran wild, and he felt as if he was going insane; he swore he saw Seokjin standing in the shadows of his hallway, waiting for him. He scratched at nonexistent bugs that crawled under his skin, and couldn’t help but grind his teeth in agitation. He vaguely remembered the feeling of fire burning through his body, and the stinging of a needle in his neck. Grimacing, images of staring down the barrel of a gun in Seokjin’s hand flashed in Taehyung’s mind. What the fuck had he ever done to Seokjin to make him treat him this way? As his head continued to throb and his memories came back hazily, Taehyung cursed under his breath. 

 

Curiously, Taehyung checked underneath his bed; relief washed over him as he saw a leather case resting hidden against the wall. He withdrew it from underneath the bed; clicking in a passcode, the case flicked open. He opened the lid, admiring its contents. Tucked neatly inside was a sleek H&K P7 handgun; something Taehyung hadn’t touched in years. He brought it up to the light, feeling the weight in his hand. It felt almost nostalgic, and a dark determination glinted in Taehyung’s eye as he loaded the magazine. He was 2–0 against Kim Seokjin; he had a lot of catching up to do to become even. 

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

Taehyung checked the Patek watch resting heavily on his delicate wrist. 11:12 P.M. It was still early. Inhaling the unfamiliar taste of smoke, he leaned against the body of his Audi, obscure in the dark parking lot of The Parthenon. Under hooded lids, he looked lazily up at the building looming in the darkness. He exhaled, feeling his lungs contract and the burn of the smoke exiting through his nostrils. He hadn’t had a cigarette in months, maybe years. He rolled his neck, cracking it in a few places and sighing with a peculiar mixture of anxiety and relief. His mind burned with the memories that were held inside that building; his mind flitted from Jeongguk to Jimin. Jimin . Taehyung brought the cigarette to his lips, taking another drag. He needed to find that key, and he was sure it never left The Parthenon to begin with. He felt the nicotine settling the ‘pins and needles’ sensation he couldn’t shake; as much as he craved the company of two men in particular that the club held in its vices, he knew his body craved something else – something in the form of any kind of narcotic that would ignite his blood. He ground his teeth lightly, clenching his jaw; Taehyung cursed Seokjin under his breath. “Fucking bastard.” There was no time to waste; Taehyung knew he’d entered a deadly playing game, and the only way to win was to be ruthless. Mr. Kim definitely knew what he was doing. Taehyung leaned against his car, his mind flashing to the gun resting inside the glove compartment; he bit his lip in thought. Silently, Taehyung stomped out the cigarette on the asphalt before making his way inside. 

 

Taehyung had only been in the front gallery for a few minutes before he was nearly knocked over by a barreling flurry of Hoseok. 

 

“Taehyung!” Hoseok cried, hugging him tightly. “Taehyung, are you okay?! What are you doing here?” Hoseok patted him frantically. “What happened?” He pulled his arm, leading him further into the building; he lowered his voice. “Jeongguk said your place was trashed? And he found you on the floor? What happened, man?”

 

Taehyung stopped abruptly, tugging on his arm. “Hoseok, I’m here to see Jimin.” He said firmly, meeting Hoseok’s eyes.

 

Hoseok cocked his head. “Jimin?” He peered at Taehyung. “Jimin’s not dancing right now.”

 

Taehyung nodded. “I’m sure he isn’t. I need to go downstairs, hyung.” 

 

Hoseok pursed his lips. “The bottom floor doesn’t open until later.” He checked his watch. “It’s way early. But Jeonggukkie is working the ground floor right now, he’s dancing.” He offered. He reached for Taehyung’s arm again, but Taehyung dodged him.

 

“No, Hoseok. I need to go downstairs. Right now, please.” Taehyung insisted, and touched the side of his head lightly. “Besides, Jeongguk said you had medical something downstairs that might be able to help me out.” He somewhat lied through his teeth; Jeongguk hadn’t mentioned downstairs, but where else would they keep medical personnel? Taehyung had found himself wondering why they even needed medical personnel in the first place, but had simply added it to the millions of questions he had about The Parthenon that no one seemed to be willing to answer.

 

Hoseok’s eyes narrowed. “He told you about that?” He sighed. “Yeah, of course, man. But the medics don’t come in until later. Why don’t you just have a drink and relax for now?”

 

“Hoseok.” Taehyung straightened himself up. “I’m going downstairs, I need to see Jimin. I’ll pay for whatever time. I don’t care. I need to see him.”

 

Hoseok thought it over, before sighing and running his hand through his hair. His phone buzzed, and he pulled it out of his pocket to check it. “Fine, Taehyung. Yoongi might get pissed if you’re down there, though. The boss might be down there too, fair warning. I don’t know if he’s here yet. Just go upstairs and take the elevator in the back. Do you know where Jimin’s room is? Do you remember?”

 

Taehyung nodded. “Yes, I’ll be fine, thanks hyung.” He began to walk away. 

 

“Taehyung!” Hoseok called after him; Taehyung looked over his shoulder with an eyebrow raised.

 

“I’m glad you’re okay, man. You can stay with me tonight when we’re done, okay?”

 

Taehyung smiled, nodding. “Sounds great.”

 

It was difficult to remember the exact layout of the underground floor; Taehyung vaguely remembered being here, but gave himself more credit than he should have. He couldn’t remember exactly where Jimin’s room was; so, he walked down the halls quietly, racking his brain for memories that might point him in the right direction. As he walked, he heard a faint sound; his steps came to a halt as he listened intently. It sounded like – moaning ? Taehyung scrunched his face. “I thought patrons weren’t... serviced... before a certain time?” He looked around, and heard it again – this time a bit louder, and a bit clearer. It was a high–pitched moan, and Taehyung swore it sounded mildly familiar. He followed the sound until he came upon a set of curtains draped at the end of a hallway; now he could fully hear the moaning, and Taehyung’s interest was peaked – the pitch of the voice sounded too familiar. He realized then, that he could also hear other voices; men’s voices. Curiously, Taehyung pulled on the opening between the heavy velvet drapes, allowing a small space to peek through.

 

Taehyung’s breath hitched in his throat as he suppressed a gasp at the scene in front of him. He saw Jimin, on full display, on top of a man – was that Jeongguk?! – who was quite literally fucking him senseless. Jimin’s head was thrown back, his eyes pressed shut and brow furrowed – Taehyung couldn’t quite tell if it was in arousal or agony. Jimin’s dick, flushed and erect, bobbed as he bounced on top of Jeongguk, who bucked into him furiously. Taehyung felt blood rushing to his cheeks. He’d seen both Jeongguk and Jimin in nothing but a thong and leather straps, but he hadn’t seen either of them completely naked. The sight of Jimin’s doll–like perfection and the chiseled masculine frame of Jeongguk made Taehyung instantly aroused; focusing on Jimin, he stared at his golden hair, his flushed lips, the curvature of his body, and his eyes rested hungrily on Jimin’s dick. A second later, however, Taehyung was filled with the feeling that something was wrong. He peeked around through the curtain; the first thing he noticed was a large camera on a tripod, pointing straight at Jimin and Jeongguk on a bed. The second thing Taehyung noticed were professional studio lights. The third was caught by his nose: the scent of cigar smoke that seemed oddly too familiar. Taehyung pulled the curtain a little further to attempt to get a better view.

 

In that moment, Jimin’s brought his head back forward, opening his eyes and adjusting himself on top of the man he was riding. He was crouched and his legs were burning with strain. Just then, he looked up; his eyes looking straight at the gap in the curtains and meeting Taehyung’s. Taehyung’s presence was instantly given away as Jimin’s eyes grew wide at the sight of him – he froze. He attempted to play it off, but not before his reaction was noticed. 

 

“Is something wrong?” 

 

Taehyung froze. He knew that voice. That was Kim Seokjin. He felt beads of sweat prick on his forehead, and his breathing became shallow. “Shit.” He cursed under his breath.

 

Someone approached the curtain and Taehyung stepped back; there was nowhere to hide. A hand reached out, grabbing the fabric of his shirt and pulling him through the drapes and into the room. The man who grabbed him threw him roughly onto the floor, and the room fell silent before a laugh erupted from Kim Seokjin.

 

“Ah, Mr. Kim?” Seokjin lounged on a sofa, much like the ones in his champagne room. “What an unexpected surprise.”

 

Jimin and Jeongguk froze; Jeongguk’s hands, resting on Jimin’s hips, pushed to allow him to maneuver Jimin off of him so he could see; both stared at Taehyung on the floor. Jimin moved to get off of Jeongguk; Seokjin held up his hand to stop him.

 

“I didn’t say ‘cut’, you two.” Jimin obediently stopped moving; the tip of Jeongguk’s dick was still inside him, and made him squirm.

 

Taehyung looked up at Seokjin. He got up, dusting himself off. “What an unexpectedly warm welcome.” He said, fixing his fingerless gloves and making sure that the bandage on his hand hadn’t come off. He strained to avoid looking at Jeongguk and Jimin.

 

“Of course, how rude of me.” Seokjin smiled, leaning forward and inhaling a line of cocaine on the table in front of him. The mere sight of the drug sent signals of desire firing inside of Taehyung’s veins – he felt his blood rushing with a feeling of craving. Sweat beaded his forehead.  “Would you like to join? Come, sit.” He patted the sofa next to him with a smile. Taehyung obliged; he felt Jimin’s eyes glued to him as he did so. Seokjin offered him a rolled banknote, to which he refused. Seokjin looked hurt. “No?” He glanced over at Jimin and Jeongguk. “Keep going.” He ordered sharply. Jeongguk and Jimin exchanged a look, before Jeongguk slowly re–entered Jimin; he pushed slowly, feeling the stretch of Jimin’s entrance taught against his dick. “Faster.” Seokjin ordered. Jeongguk looked apologetically at Jimin as he obeyed. Jimin’s moans sounded strained.

 

Taehyung shook his head. “I don’t like the taste.” He locked eyes with Seokjin, who met his gaze before laughing. Taehyung tried as hard as he could to keep his attention off of Jimin and Jeongguk, though the sound of Jimin’s discomfort made Taehyung begin to feel angry.

 

“How about something better, then?” He smiled, putting his cigar in the side of his mouth as he fished inside his suit jacket. He withdrew a syringe. “Is this what you want, Mr. Kim?”

 

Taehyung’s nerves were causing his head to spin, and he swore he could hear Jimin gasp on the bed in front of them, but his eyes were on the syringe. As much as he hated to admit it, his body craved the feeling of fire igniting through his veins. He craved the feeling of power, of euphoria; he needed the fire in his blood to play this game. Seokjin tapped the syringe, smiling deviously as Taehyung offered his arm, making a fist. He laughed, leaning in towards Taehyung. He grabbed Taehyung’s arm just above the crook of his elbow, pressing down with his thumb to expose a vein.

 

Taehyung watched as the needle punctured his skin. With his free hand, he pinched the tube of the syringe between his fingers, pressuring Seokjin to let go of it. “If you’re going to kill me, Mr. Kim,” he said as he pushed down the plunger only halfway, withdrawing the needle and looking up at Seokjin with a smile, “I’d rather you do it with your bare hands. With honor, you know.” Taehyung felt the drug shooting through his blood and popping fireworks in his brain. His eyes rolled back, relishing the high he’d been craving since the first time he had dared to venture into this world. He breathed in deeply, trying hard to harness the high and control it; he needed to not let it dominate him, but use it to his advantage. The sooner he did so, the less leverage Seokjin had on him. He opened his eyes, focused immediately on Jimin. 

 

Seokjin observed Taehyung with a mischievous smile. “He’s exquisite, isn’t he?” He leaned back in his seat, taking a drag of his cigar. “Do you want to partake, Mr. Kim?” He exhaled his smoke.

 

Taehyung rose from the sofa, eyes locked on Jimin’s. Jimin kept eye contact with him, though his face scrunched in a mixture of forced arousal, discomfort, and – Taehyung assumed – pain. He walked towards the bed, seeing Jimin’s hard dick bouncing against his stomach and doing his best to maintain his focus on anything else. Slowly, Taehyung placed his hand on Jimin’s chest, running up the length of his neck and tipping his chin delicately. “I want them... Both of them. For the night.” He said defiantly, staring down Seokjin.

 

Seokjin raised his eyebrows. “Mr. Kim, that’s quite a request.” 

 

Taehyung did his best to remain focused and composed as he felt the contents of the injection spreading through his veins. “I’m aware.” He responded, and he stroked Jimin’s hair, without looking at him. 

 

Seokjin took a long drag from his cigar, crossing his legs and observing Taehyung. He looked down at his watch nonchalantly. “It’s quite early. Ares has yet to finish his work upstairs.” 

 

Taehyung eyed Seokjin suspiciously; he heard a cease of activity from Jeongguk and Jimin as Jeongguk’s strokes became slower in order to better accommodate the latter, who whimpered with each stroke. Taehyung felt a sense of urgency; he wanted Seokjin out of this situation entirely, but Taehyung felt like nothing more than a pawn in Seokjin’s game. “I’ll pay to cover the rest of his night.” Taehyung contended. “And J–“, he cleared his throat, “Eros’ night as well.”

 

Seokjin raised his eyebrow. “Darlings. Stop.” Jeongguk and Jimin obediently stopped; Jeongguk withdrew from Jimin, who nearly collapsed on top of him. Both remained on the bed, Jeongguk stroking Jimin’s hair and massaging him gently in reassurance. Seokjin uncrossed his legs and leaned forward. “Are you of the assumption, Mr. Kim, that you are the only client to desire Eros’ companionship?” He laughed. “It’s foolish even for you to think that either of my dolls here aren’t already reserved for better company. I didn’t take you for a fool, Mr. Kim.” Seokjin placed his cigar in his mouth, meeting Taehyung’s gaze easily.

 

“I can assure you, sir,” Taehyung thought for a moment, his mind racing with inklings of what to say. He could sense the feelings of euphoria beginning to trickle through his body; his heart pounded in his ears. “That I’m anything but.” Taehyung looked back at Jeongguk and Jimin on the bed; he reached out, resting his hand on Jimin’s face fondly. Taehyung stroked the softness of his skin, feeling surprised when Jimin subtly leaned into his touch; it made him briefly reconsider his next actions. He felt Jeongguk’s eyes burning on him. Suddenly, Taehyung withdrew his hand, drawing it back before cutting through the air and making contact again with Jimin’s cheek in a sharp, unexpected slap. 

 

Jimin’s eyes watered and his breath knocked from his throat as he felt the sting of Taehyung’s hand slapping his face. Surprised, he fell into Jeongguk, who caught him and steadied him. Jeongguk’s eyes widened in surprise and horror as he glared at Taehyung. 

 

Seokjin looked, for the first time tonight, incredibly amused and pleased. 

 

Taehyung looked back at Seokjin. “Both of them. Mine for the night. I’ll pay double.”

 

After a few seconds, Seokjin burst into laughter and clapped. “You’re an interesting one, Mr. Kim.” He laughed; Taehyung noted he had a peculiar laugh. “But you don’t get both of my best.” He shook his head. “You already owe something of mine, Mr. Kim. I’ll allow you one more before you’re going to have to pay more than you can wager.” Seokjin eyed him with a deadly challenge in his eyes.

 

Taehyung bit his lower lip as he looked back at Jimin and Jeongguk. Jimin avoided his gaze; Jeongguk glared at him like he wanted to knock his teeth out. Taehyung considered that Jeongguk’s anger would make for a rough night of fun, or just get his ass beat; but, ultimately, he was reminded that he was here to get that godforsaken key back and either make amends with Seokjin, or challenge him deeper into his own fucked-up game.

 

Taehyung looked at Jeongguk apologetically. “I want Eros now. When I return what I owe – I want them both.” Taehyung stared Seokjin down. “No questions asked. Both of them.”

 

The corners of Seokjin’s mouth stretched into a devious smile. “Don’t negotiate yourself into bankruptcy, Mr. Kim.” 

 

Taehyung smirked. “Respectfully, sir. Please, don’t underestimate me.” He felt the fire igniting the feeling of power that Taehyung had craved within himself. “It just might be the last thing you do.” 

 

Seokjin raised his eyebrows; Taehyung knew he’d gotten his attention. “Eros, darling, go on and attend Mr. Kim to your suite.” He got up from the sofa and approached Taehyung. He withdrew another syringe from his pocket, offering it to Taehyung. “Have a wonderful night, Mr. Kim. Your bill may be arranged upstairs when you’re done.”

 

Jeongguk moved to allow Jimin to remove himself from the bed; both of them shared a silk sheet to cover themselves. Jeongguk’s eyes didn’t leave Taehyung. He felt a burning anger seething in the pit of his belly; he wasn’t sure if he wanted to knock Taehyung flat for hitting Jimin, or if he was more upset that he’d chosen Jimin over him. He felt his blood boiling in his veins, and wanted desperately to act on his emotions.

 

Taehyung could see Jimin was noticeably uncomfortable; he stepped back, allowing him space to get off the bed. Catching a glimpse of fabric draped over a chair nearby, he grabbed it and offered it to Jimin – it was a robe. Jimin took the silk robe, draping it over himself and maintaining avoidance of eye contact with Taehyung. “Thank you, Master Kim.” Jimin bowed towards Seokjin, nodding briefly at Jeongguk before turning towards Taehyung. “Please follow me, Mr. Kim.” Jimin paused, glancing at Seokjin before returning his gaze downwards. “Thank you for allowing me to attend you tonight. It is a pleasure.” Seokjin smiled at this; Taehyung noted the forced formality that Jimin adopted in Seokjin’s presence. Taehyung nodded, bowing to Seokjin and shooting an apologetic glance at Jeongguk before following Jimin out of the room. He bit his lip, worrying about Jeongguk – but he knew he had no choice and would have to make it up to him later.

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

Taehyung followed Jimin silently down the dark corridors of The Parthenon’s underground level; it was almost like a maze. His eyes focused on the shadows in the silk draped over Jimin’s frame, on every strand of platinum golden hair on his head, and the way the low light reflected off his features; the high was surging in his body and shooting sparks in his brain. They approached the end of the hallway; Jimin entered a passcode on a keypad and opened the door, stepping back to allow Taehyung to enter first. Taehyung shook his head, insisting without words that Jimin enter first; Jimin obliged without a word. 

 

Taehyung shut the door behind them quietly. “Jimin, I–“

 

Jimin turned around, hand on his cheek. “If you left a mark, Master Kim is going to be upset with me.” His eyes pierced through Taehyung’s gaze. “What is it that you’re trying to achieve here, Mr. Kim? What exactly do you want?”

 

Taehyung blinked, taken aback. “Jimin, I’m sorry, I–,”

 

“The last time you were here, you didn’t want anything to do with any of this. What’s changed? I’ve gotten enough punishment because of you.” Jimin seethed. “You don’t need to be here. And you certainly don’t get to lay your fucking hands on me after explicitly stating that you didn’t want me in the first place. Do you know what the fuck you’re doing here, Mr. Kim? Do you understand any of this?!” Jimin shouted. He paused and crossed his arms. “You’ve got some fucking nerve coming back here. This clearly isn’t your place.” He finished, fuming.

 

Taehyung raised his hands. “Jimin…” He looked at him apologetically. “Please, I didn’t mean to upset you, I’m sorry.” He was beginning to think a dual personality was a job requirement; Jeongguk flashed in his mind. “When did you get the idea…” Taehyung approached Jimin, delicately reaching for him, but hesitated when Jimin apprehensively backed away from him. “I came here to see you, Jimin.”

 

“Eros.” Jimin hissed, his eyes meeting Taehyung’s in a sharp gaze.

 

Taehyung shook his head. “I didn’t come to see Eros.” He said, “I came looking for you. To be honest, I…” He paused. “Can we sit? Do you have anything to drink?”

 

Jimin ran his hand through his hair, pushing it back from his face. “Of course, Mr. Kim.” He disappeared into the hallway on the opposite side of the room; taking a seat on a chair by the bed, Taehyung peered after Jimin. He was intrigued to see Jimin angry, and out of his subservient character that he maintained around Seokjin. Taehyung wondered what Jimin was really like – how angry he could get, and how he behaved as Jimin and not Eros. Taehyung breathed heavily as he felt the intensity of his high subsiding slightly. He thought of the syringe that Seokjin had left him with.

 

In the depths of the luxurious suite, Jimin prepared a bottle of champagne, just as he would routinely with any other client. His bare feet padded on the floor as he went into the bathroom, looking at his face in the mirror. His cheek was flushed red still, and his skin felt delicate and raw from the slap. He rattled a bottle of pills, downing two Vicodin pills dryly. He returned to the main bedroom with champagne, a bucket of ice, and two crystal flutes. Delicately, he poured the champagne and offered Taehyung his glass silently. 

 

“Jimin.” Taehyung started, and paused when Jimin gave him a look. “Eros.” He corrected himself with a pained look on his face. Jimin sat on the edge of the bed, eyeing Taehyung cautiously as he sipped his champagne. “I know you don’t believe it, but I came to see you. The other night that I was here,” he looked around. “I left my jacket with you.” Taehyung couldn’t read the expression on Jimin’s face. “Seokjin wanted his key back from that night, and he almost fucking killed me for it.” Taehyung downed his entire glass of champagne nervously. “It took me a long time to remember what the fuck even happened. And now, I didn’t mean to bother you, I just… When I saw you, I didn’t know what was going on, if you were in pain, and I–, Seokjin is fucking crazy–,”

 

“Would you like another glass, Mr. Kim?”

 

Taehyung sighed. “Please.” He said defeatedly, and held out his glass. Jimin took the champagne bottle from a nearby table, pouring slowly. Taehyung took the opportunity to grasp his wrist and looked up at him sincerely. “Please, Jimin. I just wanted to help.” 

 

Jimin regarded him cautiously. He felt the Vicodin kicking in. It felt like a scream was perched just under his chin, and he couldn’t let it out. He felt a range of emotions, mixing together into a plethora of madness within him. “Your jacket?” Jimin straightened up, pulling free from Taehyung and putting the champagne down. “It’s still here, Mr. Kim. If that’s all you needed, I’m sure Mr. Jung would have been happy to take it to you.”

 

Taehyung brushed his fingers through his hair in exasperation, drinking his champagne thirstily. He rose from the chair, approaching Jimin. His eyes locked onto Jimin’s, and he nearly pressed up against him as he grasped both of Jimin’s wrists. Taehyung, carefully, stepped forward to guide Jimin back, tipping him over onto the bed. He held Jimin’s wrists down firmly, hovering over him. “Stop.” He whispered, staring into Jimin’s colored eyes. “Stop calling me that. It sounds like you’re talking to him and not me.” Jimin tugged on his arms in resistance; Taehyung only tightened his grip. 

 

Jimin felt his breath become shallow in close proximity to Taehyung; he squirmed, his eyes avoiding Taehyung’s. His head spun as the Vicodin sent a rush through him; what the fuck was this? Jimin defiantly turned his cheek towards Taehyung. 

 

“Look at me.” Taehyung breathed. “Just say my name, Jimin.” He tried to get Jimin to look at him, to no avail. After a second, he gave up, and dropped his head, chuckling. He moved to get off of Jimin, leaving him on the bed. 

 

Jimin blinked, looking at Taehyung. “That’s it? He gave up that easily?”

 

“I don’t mean to bother you much longer,” Taehyung said, sticking a hand in his pocket and looking around the room. “I just need that fucking key to give back to the asshole who wants to kill me.” He looked down at Jimin, raising an eyebrow. “My jacket?”

 

Jimin knitted his brows. He got up, walking towards an armoire that rested against the wall. Opening it, he withdrew Taehyung’s jacket. He offered it to him without saying a word.

 

Taehyung took the jacket, immediately reaching inside. He fished around in the lining until his hand wrapped around the item he’d almost died over – the little fucking key to the champagne room. Sighing with relief, Taehyung smiled as he withdrew the key from the pocket. “Thank fucking god.” He slung the jacket over his arm. “I… I’m honestly really sorry for touching you, Eros. I swear I didn’t mean to disrespect you, I just…” He sighed, looking at Jimin with sadness in his eyes. “It’s really fucking hard to play Seokjin’s game.” He shrugged, smiling weakly. “I’m going to go find Jeongguk. Thank you, Eros.” He turned to leave, walking towards the door.

 

“Taehyung.” Jimin’s voice sounded foreign even to himself.  

 

Taehyung’s hand was on the door handle; he raised an eyebrow, looking over his shoulder. 

 

A million thoughts ricocheted through Jimin’s mind as he approached Taehyung; he couldn’t decipher the emotions that flooded through him. “What is it about me that isn’t enough?” A voice echoed in Jimin’s head, peaking feelings of anxiety and insecurity that he suppressed expertly while at work. “You’re not doing your job well enough, Jimin. Eros isn’t good enough. Get yourself together. Clients don’t walk away from you. Seokjin will have your fucking skin if you let him out of your grasp. That’s double your rate down the drain.” There was no way he could let Taehyung walk out of his room this early. Jimin felt at war with himself as he tried in vain to gauge Taehyung’s character once again.

 

“You really just came for the jacket?” Jimin asked, stopping at a distance in front of Taehyung. 

 

Taehyung looked down at the jacket slung over his arm. “I…” He looked back up at Jimin. 

 

Jimin closed the distance between them, bringing his hand up to touch Taehyung’s face. He caressed Taehyung’s cheek and made a note of the way that Taehyung leaned into his touch. With his free hand, he pulled on the jacket and tossed it to the ground. Jimin felt himself zoning in on Taehyung, feeling more like himself as the Vicodin coursed through his veins. He grasped Taehyung’s wrist, pulling him closer and away from the door. He placed Taehyung’s hand on his waist as he snaked his hand up the side of Taehyung’s head to tangle in his curls; Taehyung winced. Jimin withdrew his hand quickly. 

 

Taehyung smiled apologetically. “Sorry, I uh, hurt myself there.” He grabbed Jimin’s other hand, placing it on his other cheek. “This side is okay.” He smiled sheepishly. 

 

Jimin smiled, stroking Taehyung’s face. He admired Taehyung’s sharp jawline, the curls that fell and covered his face, his hooded eyes; Taehyung was gorgeous . Jimin never did much physical observation of his clients; most of them weren’t too pleasurable to look at, and none came close to Taehyung. As he looked at him closely, he could see more than the physical – he could see exhaustion, stress, and emotions that Jimin couldn’t quite figure out just yet. “Taehyung.” Jimin stepped backwards, leading Taehyung. He hooked his hands around Taehyung’s neck, bringing his face close. “Do you really want to leave already?” He purred, and placed Taehyung’s hands around his waist.

 

The pace of Taehyung’s breath quickened, he felt as though the fireworks that shot through his brain earlier were muffled, but he could feel the sensation still coursing through his veins. He shook his head furiously, his breath hitching as Jimin placed his hands on his waist. The silk of Jimin’s robe felt cold and thin; Taehyung could feel every curve of Jimin’s body and it drove him wild. He felt the tinge of animalistic hunger igniting in the pit of his stomach; he clutched the silk fabric tightly. “No, I don’t.” He said, pushing Jimin backwards towards the bed again. Right as they reached the bed, Taehyung blinked in surprise as Jimin turned around, pushing him down and crawling on top of him. Taehyung looked up at Jimin, finally making close contact with his eyes; making eye contact with Jimin took Taehyung’s breath away. The silk of the robe fell open, exposing Jimin’s chest and torso. Taehyung ran his hands up and down Jimin’s body, wanting to throw the robe off and admire him fully; however, he remained on his best behavior, and settled to feel Jimin through the thin silk.

 

Jimin observed Taehyung carefully. “Are you nervous, Taehyung?” He asked curiously. He searched Taehyung’s eyes for the answer. Realizing something, Jimin lifted himself on the bed fully, straddling Taehyung. He smirked to himself as he felt the bulge in Taehyung’s pants while he sat on top of him. Slowly, he ran his hands down Taehyung’s chest, down to his waist; he slipped his hand into Taehyung’s pocket, withdrawing the syringe. “You don’t have to be nervous, baby.” Jimin purred, popping the cap off the syringe. He flicked the needle with his fingers. Taking the syringe in his teeth, he took Taehyung’s arm, pushing up his sleeve; Taehyung allowed him. Jimin’s hand couldn’t fully enclose around Taehyung’s upper arm, but he pressed down hard enough to expose a vein nonetheless. Taehyung watched him intently, cursing himself for wanting this all of this – so fucking bad. Jimin took the syringe from his teeth, gently puncturing Taehyung’s skin at an angle. He glanced at Taehyung’s face as he pushed the plunger, dispensing the injection into Taehyung’s vein. Jimin straightened up as he placed the cap back on the syringe, tossing it onto a nearby table. 

 

Even the way that Jimin injected fucking narcotics into Taehyung was gentle and sexy. He hardly felt the puncture of the injection; Taehyung couldn’t figure out if it was Jimin’s experience, or the fact that he was already high to begin with. Taehyung’s eyes rolled back as he felt the drugs coursing back into his veins – the familiar fire burning through his body, making his heart pound and his blood boil. He relished the feeling, and Jimin’s weight on top of him intensified the desire to feel him even more. He sat up, circling one arm around the small of Jimin’s back and tangling his other hand in Jimin’s hair. He held Jimin tightly, preventing him from falling as he straddled Taehyung. Taehyung bucked his hips upwards slightly, subtly grinding against Jimin. His breathing was heavy. “I’m not nervous.” He breathed, placing his forehead against Jimin’s. “I just really fucking want you, Jimin.” He pulled the silk fabric downwards, causing it to fall off Jimin’s shoulders and expose his torso. “You are so fucking exquisite .” Taehyung brushed his lips against Jimin’s collarbone, making his way up and kissing Jimin’s neck. Jimin exhaled sharply, grinding against Taehyung as he felt himself getting hard. 

 

“Taehyung…” Jimin threw his head back, soaking in the feeling of Taehyung’s mouth on him. He laughed when he felt Taehyung’s teeth biting the delicate skin between his neck and his collarbone; Jimin entangled his fingers in the back of Taehyung’s hair and pulled. He looked down into Taehyung’s eyes. “Tell me something I don’t know.” His lips stretched into a smirk before Taehyung closed the space between them. The burning sensation of desire flooded Taehyung as he pushed his tongue into Jimin’s mouth, biting gently on Jimin’s bottom lip. Jimin  reached down, peeling Taehyung’s shirt off of his body, deepening the grinding of his hips and savoring the taste of Taehyung’s kiss. Taehyung lifted his arms in immediate cooperation, breaking away only to remove his shirt. Jimin sat back, admiring Taehyung for a few moments. “Mr. Kim…” He breathed, running his hands over Taehyung’s chest; he bit his lip shyly at the look Taehyung gave him. “…Taehyung.” 

 

Each time that Taehyung’s name escaped Jimin’s lips seemed to sound sweeter than the last. He pulled Jimin close again, tugging on the silk of the robe; he considered throwing it off, but it didn’t feel right. Jimin observed him curiously; was this the third or fourth moment to file away into the character observations of Taehyung? Since meeting him, Jimin had observed the moments of consideration and relinquishment of power that Taehyung was not obliged to, yet had given out of what seemed like sincerity. After the incident earlier, Jimin couldn’t be sure; but from what it seemed, Taehyung was insistent on Jimin’s comfort – something that Jimin couldn’t say happened often, if at all, with other clients. It made him feel wary. Locking eyes with Taehyung, he pushed him down slowly, slipping the robe off and tossing it aside. Jimin adeptly worked at Taehyung’s belt without breaking eye contact; he pulled the hem of Taehyung’s underwear to reveal his dick, erect and already flushing at the tip. Jimin sucked on his bottom lip, biting down and relishing in the tease. “He must be flying so fucking high right now.” Jimin positioned himself between Taehyung’s legs and placed his lips gently on the tip, forming a small ‘o’ with his mouth. Slowly, delicately, he took the length of Taehyung in his mouth, stretching his tongue to lick against his shaft. 

 

Just the sight of Jimin alone was enough to kindle euphoria within Taehyung; his eyes rolled back as he felt the warmth of Jimin’s mouth enclosing on his dick and the drugs surging through his veins. He looked back down, his breath heaving as he watched Jimin bobbing up and down teasingly. A deep, raspy moan escaped Taehyung’s lips, which elicited a response from Jimin; he moved to grasp Taehyung with his hand.

 

“No.” Taehyung placed his hand on the back of Jimin’s head. “Just your mouth.” He said, bucking upwards slightly into Jimin’s mouth. 

 

The corners of Jimin’s lips pulled into a smile as he obliged, placing his hand on Taehyung’s thigh instead. Slacking his jaw, he dipped low, taking Taehyung’s entire length until he felt the tip prodding the back of his throat. Taehyung moaned, entangling his fingers into Jimin’s hair and keeping him there. His eyes rolled as the pleasure shot through him, intermingling with the high from the drugs. “Fuck, Jimin… ” Taehyung looked back down, meeting Jimin’s eyes. He wanted to preserve this image and look at it for the rest of his life; no artwork was as stunning at the sight of Jimin in this very moment – it made Taehyung want to capture as many moments as could, like a photographer and his muse. He let go, allowing Jimin to break for air and raising his eyebrow at the apparent lack of gag reflex. Taehyung blinked. “Ah, Eros…” He corrected himself.

 

Jimin gasped, saliva dripping from his lips. He laughed lightly, smiling deviously at Taehyung. Tilting his head, he pursed his lips, running them along the length of Taehyung’s dick delicately. The sensation made Taehyung shiver. Jimin flicked his tongue out, teasing Taehyung from the base to the tip. “It’s Jimin,” he breathed, taking Taehyung’s dick into his mouth again; his eyes locked onto Taehyung’s as he dipped down, slowly savoring the way Taehyung’s dick trembled in his mouth. He could feel his own erection throbbing, felt the thirst for friction and pleasure. But Jimin, especially working, was of the giving variety – until the dynamic was shifted otherwise. His client was his priority, and if giving kept Taehyung in his grasp, Jimin was happy to serve.

 

Taehyung had experienced a lot of activities of the sexual nature, but he was convinced he’d never experienced anything like this – he wasn’t sure if it was the drugs and the alcohol, but he swore he felt his soul being sucked from his body. The way that Jimin made him feel – hell, just the way his mouth made him feel – made Taehyung want to take the stars out of the sky and hand them all to Jimin on a pretty silver platter. Anything he wanted, Taehyung wanted to give to him; he wanted him to feel as good as he was making Taehyung feel right now, and more. “What would it take?” Taehyung pulled on Jimin’s hair, motioning for him to stop. Sweat beaded his forehead and his breathing was heavy and ragged. “Jimin,” he pulled himself up, steadying himself as he blinked and saw stars; the room was spinning and Taehyung swore the walls were dripping like liquid. 

 

Jimin observed him, pulling himself up and placing his legs on either side of Taehyung to straddle him. “Yes?” He tried looking into Taehyung’s eyes, but Taehyung was clearly feeling the waves of morphine and alcohol ebbing through him. “Are you alright?” He attempted to grab Taehyung to steady him, but Taehyung dropped backwards, leaning against the headboard. Jimin placed his hands on either side of Taehyung’s head against the board to steady both of them. His dick throbbed lightly against his stomach as he felt Taehyung’s erection underneath him. 

 

Taehyung touched Jimin’s face, caressing his cheek gently. He felt a stinging sensation in his chest, almost intense enough to well tears in his eyes. “You are so fucking gorgeous. ” Taehyung whispered. “It was not my place to ever lay a hand on you.” Taehyung smacked his tongue against the roof of his mouth, which suddenly felt very dry. “I just wanted you away from that fucking asshole, Seokjin. I just wanted you all to my fucking self.” He laughed weakly.

 

Jimin regarded Taehyung carefully. “Is this guy really going to cry?” Jimin wondered if the drugs might have been too much for Taehyung, and how he would go about the situation if Taehyung really was going to get emotional. He thought about Taehyung’s words carefully, before wrapping his arms around his neck. “This one’s a boyfriend experience.” He softened his voice. “Now you have me, baby.” He purred, stroking Taehyung’s hair. “All to yourself, to do whatever you please.” Taehyung swallowed hard. “Tell me what you want to do to me, baby.”

 

Taehyung ran his hand from Jimin’s face, down his neck and torso, and found Jimin’s dick, hard and beckoning Taehyung’s thirst. He kept his eyes on Jimin’s face as he ran his thumb against the tip of the head gently; Jimin bit his bottom lip in response. In Taehyung’s mind, Jimin was undeniably good at at least two things: sucking dick, and maintaining eye contact. Both went hand in hand and drove Taehyung wild. He wondered what else Jimin was good at; he wanted to find out. Taehyung moved to flip Jimin over, attempting to do so swiftly but failed to remember how liquid his surroundings seemed; regaining himself, Taehyung positioned himself over Jimin. “I need a drink,” he said, “And then I would really love to fuck you.” 

 

Jimin let out a light chuckle. “That sounds perfect, baby. I want you to fuck me.” 

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

Half the bottle of champagne was gone within the next few minutes; Taehyung stripped himself of the rest of his clothes with a little help from Jimin. Back in bed, Taehyung’s mind swirled with the essence of this entire experience – just company from others was enough, but he felt absolutely indulgent in the company of Jimin. Taehyung admired Jimin as the latter laid beneath him, cheeks flush, erection throbbing, and lips lush with desire. Jimin had fetched lube and condoms for Taehyung, who slicked his fingers, positioning himself over Jimin and teasing at his entrance. Taehyung moved downward, settling his eyes on Jimin’s dick hungrily. Jimin whimpered in surprise as Taehyung’s tongue flicked out, teasingly licking the length of Jimin’s dick. Jimin’s eyes grew wide; he’d fully assumed Taehyung to be a receiver, and Taehyung’s actions surprised him. He moved to protest as Taehyung shook his head and smiled deviously, pushing one finger into Jimin’s entrance; Jimin exhaled sharply, arching his back into it. “Taehyung,” he breathed, a mewl faintly escaping his lips.

 

“Let me please you.” Taehyung’s voice resembled a growl, low and raspy. “I’ll fuck you, but let me please you.”

 

Jimin’s mind clouded with Taehyung’s words as he felt the warm sensation of Taehyung’s mouth on his dick and the pressure of his finger exploring inside him. He arched his back and a shrill moan escaped his lips; it was music to Taehyung’s ears. Jimin squirmed, encouraging Taehyung. “More, baby.” Jimin breathed. “I want more.” Taehyung wasn’t like his other clients – the ones who threw him around, fucked him dry, and cared less about Jimin as anything other than an object. Jimin’s job entailed an endless amount of effort in establishing boundaries and maneuvering the situations with his clients to ensure boundaries were maintained, or at the very least regarded somewhat, and the amount of emotional labor was exhausting. The physical had become nothing to Jimin; he went through the motions with almost all of his regular clients, performed well, and that was that. But tonight, he thought, as he looked at Taehyung’s gorgeous face with his lips on his dick and his fingers inside him, was different. The unfamiliarity of it all made Jimin feel the need to build his walls higher, when all he wanted to do was break them down. He whimpered as Taehyung pushed a second finger inside him, stroking slowly and gently. Taehyung curved his fingers, pushing on Jimin’s prostate. “Fuck,” Jimin whined. “Taehyung, baby.” He clawed at Taehyung’s skin, throwing his head back. “Fuck me, Taehyung. Please.” 

 

Taehyung withdrew his mouth off of Jimin’s dick, making a popping sound with his lips. He pushed up on Jimin’s thighs, hooking his arms underneath Jimin’s knees for leverage. Slowly, Taehyung pushed his dick up against Jimin’s entrance, taking care to be gentle. Jimin bottomed out, encouraging Taehyung inside him. Taehyung gasped as he pushed into Jimin, the sensation sending his body into overdrive. “ Fuck, ” Taehyung exhaled, “You feel so fu–, fucking g–,good, Jimin.” He bucked his hips, falling into slow, steady strokes as he rode the waves of his current state of bliss. Maybe it was the drugs, but holy fuck this might be the best night of Taehyung’s goddamned life . The moans that escaped Jimin’s lips lured Taehyung in like a siren’s song; Taehyung wanted to delve into the depths for Jimin and never come back up again. His eyes rolled back as he quickened his pace, his hips slapping against Jimin’s thighs. Taehyung hunched over, admiring Jimin beneath him and envisioning that white leather choker around Jimin’s bare neck. He was beside himself as he reached down, enclosing his hand around Jimin’s throat, bucking into him faster. 

 

Jimin placed his hand over Taehyung’s, encouraging him to press down tighter, choke him harder. “Fuck, Taehyung…” He gasped as he felt himself become lightheaded. Taehyung picked up his pace, fucking hard into Jimin. The feeling was overwhelming; riding his high, Taehyung felt like he could go for hours. He kept a steady pace, admiring the flush in Jimin’s face, the mewling sound of his moans, and the way his dick bobbed against his stomach with each stroke. If there was anything that Taehyung wanted to do for the rest of his life, it was to experience this – over, and over, and over again. 

 

Taehyung attempted to reign himself in as he could feel himself getting close; but Jimin just felt too fucking good. “Fuck, Jimin, I’m close…” He growled, careful to release pressure on Jimin’s throat. Something about Jimin being under his hand made Taehyung feel paramount – Taehyung liked the feeling. He felt powerful, and wanted to keep Jimin under his hand and away from anything in the world that threatened him. 

 

“Come for me, baby.” Jimin whined, adeptly suppressing himself as his climax approached. 

 

Taehyung moved his hand to Jimin’s cheek, caressing him. He brought his face close to Jimin’s. “You first.” He whispered, brushing his lips against Jimin’s forehead. Withdrawing his lips, he chuckled. “Baby.” He moved to bite down on Jimin’s earlobe, licking a trail down his neck and nipping on his delicate skin. Taehyung straightened up, surprising Jimin by bucking into him fast and hard. It took all of Taehyung’s effort to keep himself from finishing before Jimin; moments later, Jimin’s high-pitched moans rang like music in Taehyung’s ears as he arched his back, finishing all over his stomach. The pressure of being inside Jimin was unbearable, and the sweet sound of Jimin’s moans is what did it. Taehyung moved to pull out, but Jimin locked onto him, and Taehyung couldn’t hold out – he moaned deeply as he finished inside Jimin, stars obscuring his vision as the euphoric sensation flooded through his body. It took a few seconds for Taehyung to gather himself, and all of his effort to remove the condom and tie it off, tossing it aside. He breathed heavily; his limbs felt weak and he scrunched his face as he attempted to clear his vision and steady himself. 

 

Though Jimin wasn’t nearly as inebriated as Taehyung, he felt a strange sense of ecstasy in his orgasm; this didn’t feel like work at all. He allowed his body to revel in the bliss, and admired Taehyung above him for a few moments before moving to get off the bed. The warmth of his cum was starting to dissipate on his stomach. “Let me clean myself–,” 

 

Taehyung stopped him and shook his head. “No.” He said, blinking hard to try to keep the room from spinning. “Allow me.” His voice sounded like a growl, and he dipped his head down; Jimin’s eyes widened in surprise as Taehyung’s tongue ran across his stomach, licking up the remnants of Jimin’s cum. 

 

“Taehyung–,”

 

Taehyung breathed heavily. “You taste as delicious as you look, Jimin.”

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

This one was definitely a boyfriend experience , Jimin observed, as he rested his head on Taehyung’s chest. He felt Taehyung’s fingers brush lightly through his hair. Jimin was no stranger to the dynamic – most of his clients were undoubtedly lonely – but there was something about Taehyung that piqued Jimin’s curiosity. He was like other clients, but he also wasn’t, and Jimin wanted to know exactly why he seemed to think so. To Jimin’s surprise, Taehyung had been content after the first round; he didn’t press Jimin for more, being careful to delicately refuse when Jimin insisted that their fun didn’t have to stop. The feeling sat a bit sourly in Jimin’s belly when he became apprehensive of Taehyung cutting their time together short, but was reassured by Taehyung that his company was still very much desired. Jimin snuggled up to him as requested, soothing Taehyung as he drifted on his comedown. 

 

Taehyung held Jimin against him in a state of bliss. His eyes were closed; the room was spinning and melting and shifting and all of it was a little too much to take in, so Taehyung opted to rest comfortably and spend his time with Jimin in a way that Taehyung hoped was enjoyable for the both of them. He scrunched his face, groaning with the pounding pain on the side of his head that persisted. “That bastard must have clocked me really fucking good.” 

 

Jimin lifted his head, looking at Taehyung. “Are you okay?”

 

Taehyung shook his head and chuckled lightly. “I’m fine. Your boss just…” He pressed his palm against his head, “Really fucking has it out for me.”

 

Jimin dropped his gaze. “Master Kim can be very…” he fell silent. “Capricious.” He wasn’t sure it was the right word, but most of them felt wrong to say, anyway.

 

Taehyung blinked hazily, stroking Jimin’s hair. “Master…” he mumbled. “Why do you call him that?” 

 

Jimin blinked. “It’s… out of respect.” He responded, though he sounded unsure even to himself.

 

“Jimin,” Taehyung looked lazily up at the ceiling. He thought for a moment before speaking again. “Do you… belong to him?” 

 

Jimin remained quiet; he was grateful Taehyung couldn’t quite see his expression. He pondered on what to say, but nothing was coming to him. He shifted and pulled himself to sit up. “Do you want something for your headache, Mr. K–… Taehyung?” 

 

Taehyung smiled, shaking his head. “I’ll be fine.” He moved to check his phone – 3:37 A.M.. Fuck, where had the night gone? His mind flashed to Jeongguk, remembering the events from earlier. “I really should find Jeongguk,” Taehyung got out of the bed, fetching his shirt from the floor.

 

“You’re leaving so soon?” Jimin puckered his bottom lip in a pout; his mind raced with ways to get Taehyung to stay.

 

“I’ll pay for the entire night,” Taehyung reassured him as he put his shoes back on. “However much time is left, or just tell me how much you’d like.” He said absentmindedly. “What is your, uh…” Taehyung seemed to search the air for the correct words to say. “…rate, anyway?”

 

Jimin tilted his head. “You… You don’t know?”

 

Taehyung shrugged. “No, I didn’t ask. Anyway, I’ll just settle it with Hoseok.” He smiled at Jimin, making his way to the door for the second time. “Thank you for your time, Jimin. I…” he smiled sheepishly. “I really enjoyed myself. I hope you did, too.” Taehyung mentally smacked himself for that last part. “I.. I’d really love to see you again, if you’re available.” He nodded, taking his leave.

 

Jimin opened his mouth to speak, but Taehyung disappeared. He blinked, lowering his gaze to the jacket that Taehyung had insisted he had come for, draped on the armchair where he’d sat only moments before. Jimin stared at it, and sighed.

Chapter Text

Taehyung’s phone buzzed just about the same time as Hoseok rounded a corner and almost ran into him. Hoseok’s face lit up, and he put his phone down. “Taehyung! I was just coming down to check on you.” He wiggled his eyebrows. “The boss told me you booked with Jimin?” He snickered, punching his shoulder. “It’s still kind of early, are you already done?”

 

Taehyung’s cheeks flushed and he smiled bashfully at Hoseok’s teasing. “Yeah, I actually was about to go upstairs, I was looking for Jeongguk.”

 

Hoseok raised his eyebrows. “Jeongguk? Oh, Gukkie left early with the boss.”

 

“Left early?” For a reason unbeknownst to him, that sounded suspicious to Taehyung. “I… I asked to have Jeongguk tonight, not just Jimin.” He pursed his lips. “He didn’t mention that?”

 

Hoseok cocked his head. “No, he didn’t.” He peered at Taehyung. “You wanted both of them? Oh, Taehyungie!” Hoseok laughed, poking fun at him. 

 

“Stop!” Taehyung laughed. “It’s not like that… So, Kim is gone too? They both left together?”

 

Hoseok shrugged. “Yeah, they left a while ago. Hey, are you still going to stay at my place tonight?”

 

Taehyung pressed his fingers to his eyelids in attempt to quell the throbbing in his head and the unsteadiness of his vision. “Actually, can we go back to mine? I called a maid service and want to make sure I didn’t get fucking robbed.” He chuckled. “Can I see that medical whatever that you have here? My head is fucking pounding.” 

 

Hoseok blinked and nodded furiously. “Oh, yeah, man! Of course. Come on, it’s on this floor.” He smiled, hooking his arm into Taehyung’s and leading him down the corridor; Taehyung realized he could now hear activity coming from some of the rooms, and felt like more time he spent in The Parthenon, the more he fell under its spell. 

 

To Taehyung’s surprise, The Parthenon did in fact have medical services – obscured in a hallway somewhere in the depths of the underground floor. The room he was attended in looked like an examination room at a clinic, and Taehyung wondered what other surprises laid in wait inside The Parthenon’s walls. A female nurse attended to him, and Hoseok lingered while she worked. After some conversation, the nurse came to the conclusion that Taehyung had suffered a mild concussion, much to Hoseok’s surprise. By the time they were finished, it was nearing 5 A.M., and Taehyung was exhausted. After checking to make sure everything was in order for the night, Hoseok dragged a tired Taehyung upstairs, stopping in the office to settle his bill. 

 

Taehyung rubbed his eyes as Hoseok peered over Yoongi’s shoulder; Yoongi sat at a desk, observing a computer screen. “Woah, Taehyung – You booked Jimin at double his rate?” Hoseok’s eyes widened after looking at the computer screen; Yoongi remained busy, typing and printing some documents. 

 

Taehyung blinked sleepily and nodded at Hoseok. “Yeah, why?”

 

Yoongi turned in his chair, offering a few papers to Taehyung. “Taehyung, we need your signature on a few things. Firstly –,” he handed him a pen, “Nondisclosure.” He smirked. “Liability waiver, general rules, consent to transaction, and I need to scan your license.” He thumbed through the papers. “You’ll be assigned a client number, which you’ll need to remember. Hoseok can fill you in on anything you don’t understand.”

 

Taehyung raised his eyebrows, looking at Hoseok. “Paperwork?” He groaned, taking the pen and flipping lazily through the documents. “Do I need my lawyer to look over this or something?”

 

Hoseok giggled. “It’s just formality, Taehyungie.” 

 

Yoongi printed out another paper, handing it to Taehyung. “Your invoice for tonight. You are welcome to keep copies for your records, but most clients have us destroy them. I need a signature.”

 

Taehyung flipped through the papers, skimming them as he signed. He just really wanted to go home and sleep. He looked up, blinking as he took the paper offered by Yoongi. “Invoice?” He looked down at the paper, his eyes widening for a second before he realized that both Hoseok and Yoongi were looking at him intently; he coughed and regained himself. Printed on the paper was the bill for tonight alone, and Taehyung’s eyes glared at the numbers – $24,189.00. Though he was quite surprised, he did his best not to show it, and signed the invoice. He reached for his wallet, withdrawing his license and handing it to Yoongi along with the papers.

 

Yoongi chuckled. “I didn’t believe the boss when he told me you offered double Eros’ rate, and for a full night at that.” He worked to make a copy of Taehyung’s license. “You’ve got some balls, Taehyung.”

 

Hoseok’s eyes were wide as he watched Taehyung sign the paper. “I don’t think anyone’s ever offered to pay double for him, or any of ours.” He blinked in awe, then peered at Taehyung. “Jimin already has the highest rates, and I know you weren’t in there for eight hours. Did you lose a bet or something?” 

 

Eros.” Yoongi interjected dryly.

 

Taehyung chuckled and covered his face with his hand. “Something like that… Can we get going now? I’m fucking exhausted.” 

 

Hoseok smiled at Taehyung, taking his license from Yoongi and offering it back to him. He looked at Yoongi questioningly, before Yoongi nodded. “Yeah man, why don’t you get your coat from the front? I’ll be right there.” 

 

Taehyung eyed him before he obliged, rolling his eyes and leaving the office. 

 

Yoongi sat back in his chair, intertwining his fingers behind his head and stretching. He glared at Hoseok for a moment before rolling his eyes. “Fine, go. I’ll close up by myself. But this is the last fucking time, Hoseok.” He sucked his teeth. “The next time he has to wait until close if you’re leaving together.” 

 

Hoseok smiled. “Thanks, Yoongi. I owe you one.” He giggled. “You know… If we left together, then I wouldn’t need to leave early.” He winked, ducking and running out of the office laughing as Yoongi shouted and threw a pen at him.

 

Hoseok drove them in Taehyung’s car back to the latter’s apartment – Taehyung was lightly snoring only a few minutes after leaving The Parthenon’s parking lot. Hoseok smiled to himself, admiring Taehyung out of the corner of his eye; he was absolutely exhausted, but thankfully Taehyung lived relatively close by. Taehyung was grumpy when they arrived; Hoseok woke him gently, allowing Taehyung to lean on him as they made their way up to Taehyung’s floor. He opened the front door quietly, tiptoeing inside. When he flicked on the light, Taehyung was pleasantly surprised – his apartment looked, all things considered, very normal. The mess from the day before was gone, along with a few furniture items that were probably damaged beyond repair, but relief washed over him regardless; at least the disaster was behind him. He looked tiredly at Hoseok, raising his eyebrow.

 

Hoseok smiled, already knowing what Taehyung was thinking. “Shower?” He chuckled, hooking his arm around Taehyung’s waist. Hoseok led him into the bedroom, letting go of him. Hoseok approached the bathroom doorway and screamed in horror when he flicked the light on. “ Taehyung !”

 

Taehyung jumped, startled by Hoseok’s scream. “What, what the fuc–,” He ran into the bathroom and his eyes widened at the sight that met him. His mirror was shattered; the floor was covered in shards of glass and – blood? Taehyung felt the color drain from his face. Hoseok was on his knees, leaning over the edge of the bathtub. “Jeongguk! Jeongguk!” 

 

Jeongguk laid tied up and gagged inside Taehyung’s bathtub, his body limp and covered in blood. Taehyung felt his heart drop into his stomach as his mind screamed at him to hurry up and fucking do something . He swallowed hard, panic sending adrenaline surging through his veins. He kneeled next to Hoseok, and cursed himself because he really had no fucking idea what to do. Jeongguk was soaked, his hair wet and tangled, and his face was pale; moments later, Hoseok began crying as Jeongguk’s eyes shifted under his lids. “Holy shit… Where is all this blood from? What the fuck, Taehyung, call an ambulance!” He shouted. “Jeongguk? Jeongguk! Where are you hurt? Can you hear me?” 

 

Jeongguk’s eyes flitted open, revealing the whites of his eyes as they rolled back into his head. His jaw slacked and he groaned, mumbling incoherently. He shivered uncontrollably, his clothes completely soaked through. Taehyung got up and looked around; first at the floor covered in shards of glass, then the mirror, a cell phone on the counter – “ that’s Jeongguk’s”, he thought – and then back at Jeongguk. 

 

“What the fuck are you doing, Taehyung?!” Hoseok shouted at him, pulling a towel off the rack and putting it around Jeongguk’s shoulders. “Call a fucking ambulance!” 

 

“I… I don’t think it’s his blood, Hoseok.” Taehyung’s voice was low as he looked around. “Is he hurt?”

 

“Does it fucking matter?! Look at him!”

 

“Help me get him out of the tub.” Taehyung responded, ignoring Hoseok’s hysteria. “I don’t think it’s his blood, and I don’t know if we should call an ambulance.” 

 

“Taehyung… What the fuck do you mean we shouldn’t call an ambulance?!”

 

Taehyung shuffled around the glass shards on the floor carefully, reaching in and hooking his arms under Jeongguk’s, wrapping around his torso and heaving as he attempted to lift him. “Hyung, help me .” 

 

Jeongguk’s head lolled as he mumbled incoherently, fading in and out of consciousness. Taehyung tried to hold his breath as he felt nausea washing over him from just the sight and feeling of the blood slick on Jeongguk’s skin.

 

Hoseok sucked his teeth. “I’m calling an ambulance.” He stood up and reached into his pocket, pulling out his phone.

 

Quickly, Taehyung moved to grab Hoseok’s phone, attempting to hold Jeongguk in one arm. He missed terribly and smacked the phone out of Hoseok’s hand; it clattered on the floor.

 

Hoseok’s eyes widened and he looked at Taehyung incredulously; the seconds that he stared at him felt almost as if the stretched on for hours, and Taehyung flinched as he felt the anger bubbling in Hoseok.

 

“What the fuck, Taehyung?!” Hoseok screamed, shoving him backwards. Taehyung fell to the floor, wincing at the crunching of glass shards against his back. Hoseok gripped his shirt roughly and shook him. “What the fuck is your problem?! Why is he even here, Taehyung?! What the fuck is this?!” 

 

Taehyung’s eyes rolled in his head as the violent shaking from Hoseok began to make him feel dizzy. “Hyung, just hold on–,”

 

“Don’t fucking ‘hyung’ me, Taehyung! You disrespectful fucking–,”

 

Taehyung raised his hand in defense; he was convinced Hoseok was about to punch him. However, two sounds stopped him in his tracks: the sound of a phone notification, and the vibration of his phone ringing against the floor. Both were not exclusive to Hoseok’s phone, and both Hoseok and Taehyung looked at each other in confusion. Hoseok moved to grab his phone, getting off of Taehyung. He looked relieved when he saw the caller, and answered immediately. “Yoongi! We need help–,”

 

Taehyung took the opportunity to get up, trying to shake off the broken glass pieces that clung to his shirt. Curiously, he approached the bathroom counter – the origin of the notification sound was the phone that rested there. He peered at it, clicking the button to unlock the phone; his eyes widened. A text notification, from a number Taehyung was unfamiliar with, appeared on the screen.

 

+822-***-**** – 5:55 A.M.

you wanted him tonight

you got him

 

Taehyung stared at the screen. He wasn’t sure what made him feel more nauseous – the text message, or the fact that the lock screen photo on the phone was a picture of Jeongguk, bound and gagged in Taehyung’s bathtub, staring with glistening eyes straight into the camera. Chills pricked Taehyung's skin, and he blinked when another text message popped up.

 

+822-***-**** – 5:57 A.M.

it’s too bad you were so late

 

Taehyung grabbed the phone, “Hyung–,”

 

“… Okay. Please hurry, Yoongi. It’s so bad.” Hoseok hung up and looked at Taehyung. “Yoongi’s coming with medical.” Hoseok looked in despair at Jeongguk. 

 

Taehyung raised his eyebrows. “What?” 

 

“Help me get him out of the tub, Taehyung. I really hope he’s not fucking dead within the next twenty minutes or I’m going to lose my shit.” 

 

Taehyung pocketed Jeongguk’s phone, obliging to help Hoseok lift a bloodied, half–conscious Jeongguk out of the tub.

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

Approximately twenty minutes later, Yoongi arrived at Taehyung’s apartment with two women. Jeongguk laid on Taehyung’s floor, on top of a blanket. Taehyung and Hoseok had managed to get him out of the bathroom, and laid him on the floor to check his body for injuries. Taehyung had been right – there was no wound as far as they could see. While a relief, the fact left a chilling question in their minds: if the blood wasn’t Jeongguk’s, whose was it? 

 

The two women Yoongi arrived with went to work, attending to Jeongguk like paramedics would on a field call. Yoongi gestured for the men to leave, and he followed Hoseok and Taehyung out of Taehyung’s bedroom and into the main area of Taehyung’s apartment. Yoongi ran his fingers through his hair and rubbed his eyes; the sun was going to come up soon. None of them knew exactly what to say to fill the silence. Finally, Yoongi spoke, directing his words towards Hoseok, who looked like he was fighting back tears. “I told you I didn’t know what he was going to do, Hoseok.” 

 

Taehyung’s eyes widened slightly and he looked at Yoongi. “So you know this was Kim?” He felt emotion surging through him, mostly in confirmation that he himself didn’t look suspicious here.

 

Yoongi leaned against Taehyung’s kitchen island, rubbing his face in exasperation. He nodded silently. “I figured something wasn’t right when they left so early… I thought Jeongguk was going to spend the night with you.” 

 

Taehyung’s gaze dropped to the floor. “I… I wanted to, but Kim made me choose.” He bit his bottom lip, staring at the dark hallway that led to his bedroom. “Is he… Do you think he’ll be okay?” He couldn’t get his mind off the blood, and he felt a tinge of panic in his stomach. “Where’s… Where’s Jimin?”

 

Yoongi shrugged and crossed his arms. “Gone home, probably.”

 

“I’m going to go check on Gukie.” Hoseok disappeared into the hallway before anyone had time to protest.

 

Taehyung felt awkward being alone in the same room as Yoongi. “I’m worried about Jimin.” Was all that he managed to blurt into the silence.

 

Yoongi peered at him and then nodded. “I don’t think he’d touch Jimin.” His eyes glanced down the hallway. “Then again, I didn’t think he’d touch Jeongguk, either.” He sighed, rubbing his eyes once more. “I’ll give him a call or go check on him when we’re done here.”

 

Taehyung chewed on his cheek, and glanced at the light beginning to peek through the curtains. “You can sleep here.” He offered, contemplating whether he regretted it as soon as he said it when Yoongi gave him a look. “I mean, you’re welcome to. If–, you must be tired. Hoseok will be staying here, so–,” he paused, and stumbled over his words. “Not that I mean, you know, I just–, you have to be exhausted, you don’t have to if you don’t want–,”

 

“Thanks, Taehyung.” Yoongi cut him off.

 

“I could go check on Jimin.” Taehyung chewed on his lip, and felt flustered when Yoongi peered at him. “I just, Kim is fucking insane, and earlier, when I went downstairs looking for Jimin…” 

 

“I can’t have you do that.” Yoongi shook his head. “You’re his client – his highest paying one now, at that. It’s just business. We don’t reveal entertainer information to clients.” Yoongi scrunched his face as he saw the morning light filtering into the apartment. “You’re not even supposed to know his name.”

 

Taehyung bit his bottom lip. “Well, maybe I could just call him–,” He was cut off by Hoseok emerging from the hallway.

 

Hoseok sighed. “He’s going to be okay. He’s doped like crazy... But they said there’s no sign of ‘any extensive injuries’. I don’t know where the blood came from. They’re cleaning him up, and putting in an IV. He’s going to have to detox. I gave them some of your clothes and told them it was okay to put him in your bed, Taehyung.” 

 

Taehyung nodded dismissively and looked at Yoongi. “Please, Yoongi. Just to make sure he’s okay.” Hoseok blinked in confusion, and Yoongi rolled his eyes.

 

“Fine. But use Hoseok’s phone.” 

 

Hoseok cocked his head. “What?”

 

“Just let him use your phone. He wants to call Jimin.” Yoongi scratched at the back of his head, ruffling his hair. “Taehyung, do you have anything to drink?”

 

“Oh, yeah, of course.” Taehyung gestured to the kitchen. “There’s drinks in the fridge, help yourself. And scotch and vodka on the bar.” Yoongi smirked, venturing into the kitchen. Taehyung extended his hands, palms up, towards Hoseok. “I’m really worried about Jimin, hyung.”

 

Hoseok nodded, scrolling in his contacts and reaching Jimin’s; he handed Taehyung his phone. “If Yoongi said it was okay…”

 

Taehyung nodded furiously, anxiously taking the phone. “Thanks.” He walked over to a sliding door on the opposite side of his living room that let out to a balcony patio. Cold, crisp morning air bit at his cheeks as he stepped out onto the balcony; just then, he looked at himself, clothes stained with blood and illuminated brightly in the light of the sunrise. Nervously, Taehyung pressed “call” and paced as the phone rang. It rang four times, and each ring made Taehyung more anxious than the last. He felt his stomach drop as he thought of Jimin, and Seokjin, and all of the events of the evening.

 

“… Hello?” 

 

Taehyung’s breath caught in his throat at the sound of Jimin’s voice. He exhaled deeply as relief washed over him.

 

“Jung Hoseok, sir? Hello?”

 

Taehyung’s mind raced as he stumbled on what to say. “Jimin, hi.” Was all that he managed to say.

 

A silent pause lingered on the other side of the line. “… Who is this?” 

 

“It’s… Kim Taehyung.” Taehyung shook himself in an attempt to calm his nerves. “From the club?”

 

“Kim Taehyung… What’s wrong? Where’s Hoseok?” 

 

“He’s here, I just, uh–,” Taehyung stuttered. “Jimin, a-are you,” He then realized what an absolute creep he must seem like, checking on Jimin out of nowhere, with Hoseok’s phone; even more so if Jimin had no clue as to what had happened. Taehyung sighed in defeat. “Are you okay?” A long pause ensued, and Taehyung bit his lip. 

 

“Um, yeah… Should I not be?”

 

Taehyung heard rustling on the other side of the line, and then, faintly, another person’s voice – a man’s voice. He felt the color drain from his face. “Oh–,”

 

“Taehyung, did something happen? Why are you calling? Give me a minute–,” 

 

Taehyung remained quiet, debating on hanging up just from sheer embarrassment. He heard more rustling and Jimin talking to someone; as much as he felt like he was intruding, he tried to listen to what they were saying, but couldn’t make it out. He jumped when Jimin spoke again.

 

“Okay, sorry. What’s going on?”

 

“S–,sorry,” Taehyung stammered. “I didn’t know you were busy, I just, uhm…” He ran his hand through his hair in exhaustion. “I’m sorry. I, uhm…” He really had no idea how to explain why he was calling Jimin at 7 A.M. to ask if he was okay. “Are you close to Jeongguk?” It wasn’t the best question, and maybe he should have ended the call already, but for whatever reason, he just really wanted to hear Jimin’s voice.

 

“Jeongguk? I mean, we live together, so I guess so.” Jimin paused. “Did you…” Another pause. “… take him home with you?” 

 

Taehyung blinked. They live together? He felt a tightness in his chest; the last thing he wanted to do was give Jimin the wrong idea, but his hands were tied. “Uh, yeah.” He chuckled weakly. “Yeah, he’s at my place.” 

 

Jimin’s voice changed, and Taehyung cringed at the apprehension in his tone. “Well, at least I know why he didn’t come home. He never answers my damn texts.” Taehyung heard rustling on the other end of the line, and a man’s voice again.

 

“Jimin, I–,”

 

“I have to go, Taehyung.”

 

“Wait, could I have your number–,” 

 

Click . Taehyung sighed, dropping the phone from his ear. His shoulders dropped, partially in relief and partially in defeat. Well, at least he’s okay, Taehyung thought. He squinted out over the railing of the balcony, surveying the skyline; he dropped his gaze to the floor, many stories below him. He furrowed his brows before turning to go back inside. 

 

Taehyung entered his apartment quietly – he looked around in confusion at an empty living room. Silently, he ventured down the hall and peeked inside his bedroom; he smiled at the sight of Jeongguk, tucked into his bed with an IV bag at bedside, and Hoseok and Yoongi, both fast asleep alongside Jeongguk. Hoseok was draped on top of Jeongguk, and Yoongi slept at Hoseok’s side. Taehyung chewed on the inside of his cheek as he retrieved Jimin’s number from Hoseok’s phone, putting it in his own before placing Hoseok’s phone delicately on a nightstand by the bed. As quietly as possible, Taehyung took some clothes from his closet before changing in the living room, grabbing his coat and keys, and exiting the apartment. 

 

The morning sunlight was extremely bright to Taehyung’s tired eyes. He was beyond exhausted, but knew that the last thing he wanted to do was sleep. His mind was glued on Jimin’s phone number as he tiredly walked down the sidewalk away from his apartment building. It took him several minutes of staring at his phone before he finally, impulsively, pressed “call”. He panicked as he saw the line ringing, and debated hanging up, before seeing the change in the screen; Jimin had picked up.

 

“Hello?” 

 

Taehyung swallowed dryly. “Jimin, uh.. It’s me again, Taehyung.” He laughed nervously. When Jimin didn’t say anything, he continued. “I wanted to know if uh–, if you weren’t busy… Would you like to get breakfast? Or–,” he checked his watch: 9:32 A.M., “ Sunday brunch?” He chuckled weakly, feeling like an idiot for calling Jimin in the first place. After a few moments of silence, Taehyung panicked. “I, I’m sorry, I might be out of line–,”

 

“Sure.” 

 

Taehyung stopped in his tracks. “Oh?”

 

“Where did you have in mind?” 

 

“Uh–, uhm, well… Where are you?” Taehyung looked around, though more so to make a note of where he was; maybe he should have brought his car.

 

“It doesn’t matter, I can meet you.” 

 

Taehyung thought frantically for a few moments. “Are you around Gangnam?”

 

“I’m close by, but… Not Gangnam.”

 

Taehyung chuckled. “Uh, I know a place across the river in Seongdong district. I’ll send you the location?”

 

“Yeah, that sounds good. I’ll meet you there.” Click.

 

Taehyung brought the phone down from his ear and stared at it. Oh. He’d really just invited the… entertainer that had… entertained him just hours ago, to brunch . Taehyung blinked, looked up the café and sent Jimin the location. He wasn’t sure if he was more surprised that he asked him, or that Jimin had said yes. He thought anxiously of Hoseok, Jeongguk, and Yoongi back at his home; apartment hunting was going to be something that would have to get done as soon as possible, Taehyung noted. There was no way that anyone was safe there anymore. He flagged down a taxi.

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

Taehyung sat at a table, nervously scrolling through apartment listings on his phone as he waited. He’d drank three glasses of water in the seven minutes that he’d been here; the waitress had ended up bringing an entire pitcher to his table with a weird look. Taehyung glanced at himself in the reflection of his phone – “ Shit. I look rough." His hair was disheveled, his stubble was visible, and he had circles under his eyes. He looked around, and figured he wasn’t too out of place and probably just appeared hungover. He shrunk into himself, continuing to thumb through listings intently on his phone.

 

“Good morning.”

 

Taehyung jumped, having failed to realize how engrossed he was in his phone; he looked up. At the sight of Jimin, he instantly stood up. “Jimin, hi.” He licked his lips nervously. “Good morning.” He waited for Jimin to seat himself before sitting back down. In those waiting moments, Taehyung observed Jimin; dressed neatly casual, in a grey turtleneck sweater, silver jewelry, and tight black jeans with a designer belt. His hair sat nicely styled, shining platinum golden in the natural light. Taehyung felt slightly more self conscious. Jimin’s smile made him feel a bit more at ease.

 

Jimin sat down quietly; only a few moments later the waitress approached. Jimin suggested mimosas; Taehyung winced a bit at the thought of any alcohol whatsoever, but agreed. He had water, anyway. 

 

Nervously, Taehyung thumbed through the menu. He nodded thanks as the waitress brought a pitcher filled with juice and champagne; she poured the first glass. Jimin smiled, sitting relaxed as he sipped his drink. He crossed his legs, observing Taehyung politely.

 

“Are you… hungry?” Taehyung asked.

 

Jimin shrugged, and nodded lightly. “I could eat.” 

 

Taehyung sighed in relief. It wasn’t going to be one of those dates – the ones where you’re starving and the other person doesn’t eat, so it’s awkward and you have to shovel food in your mouth while they just watch. Wait – was this a date? “Okay, great. I think I’m going to get a breakfast plate, and maybe some french toast.”

 

Jimin looked around, observing others around them. He pursed his lips. “The portions look a little big here.”

 

“Hm?” Taehyung followed his gaze, looking at plates that a waitress was placing on another table. “Oh…” He thought for a second, before looking up shyly. “We could… share? Do you like french toast?”

 

Jimin took a sip of his drink and his lips stretched into a smile. “Yeah, french toast sounds good.” 

 

Taehyung’s eyes widened when the food was placed down in front of them; now that he thought about it, he couldn’t remember the last time he had even eaten anything . He glanced up at Jimin, and his mind flitted back to the not-so-vague memory of him licking Jimin’s cum off of his stomach. When Jimin met his gaze, Taehyung looked down immediately and felt a blush in his cheeks. Flustered, he grabbed his glass of water and drank half of it.

 

Jimin laughed as he watched Taehyung. “Long night…?” He looked him up and down.

 

Taehyung nearly choked on his water. “Uh..” he paused. “Yeah, actually.” He chuckled weakly, biting his lip. He moved his attention to his food as hunger took over. After a few moments of eating in silence, Taehyung realized just that – they were in silence. He cut a piece of french toast, stabbing it with a fork and holding it out to Jimin. Jimin raised his eyebrows, covering his face with his hand as he laughed. Shyly, he opened his mouth and accepted the french toast offering. Taehyung admired the way his face lit up, and the way his luscious pink lips closed around the utensil. He felt his cheeks getting hot as he remembered the way Jimin’s lips looked around his dick; he nervously downed his entire mimosa. Jimin poured him another – that also reminded Taehyung of his time with Jimin at The Parthenon.

 

“So, you and Jeongguk… You live together?” Taehyung asked, after a few minutes of eating and sharing french toast with Jimin.

 

Jimin leaned back in his chair, drumming his fingers on the table. “Did you really ask me out to ask about Jeongguk?” 

 

Taehyung inhaled sharply. “No, no of course not.” 

 

“If you want to get to know him better – you should invite him out to brunch.” Jimin sipped on his drink intently, not bothering to look at Taehyung.

 

“Jimin…” Taehyung sighed. He wanted to scream; he could feel a million things in his head just dying to be let out. He anxiously looked down at his phone. Jimin eyed him.

 

“Maybe I should go, Taehyung. Thank you for the breakfast.” He placed his glass down, moving to get up from the table.

 

Taehyung reached out for him, quickly grasping his wrist. “Jimin, wait–,” he tugged lightly. “Please, sit down.” Jimin stared at Taehyung’s hand. Taehyung paused, slowly letting go. “Please?”

 

Jimin rolled his eyes and sighed; however, he sat back down. “Taehyung, I’m not somebody who enjoys their time being wasted.”

 

Taehyung winced. “I’m sorry. I’m not trying to waste your time.” He drank from his champagne glass thirstily; he could already feel the rush of alcohol buzzing in his head. “I don’t want you to feel like any time you spend with me is a waste.” His tongue felt a little looser, and a little thicker in his mouth. He smiled with a pleading look in his eyes.  “Can we start over?” He cut a piece of french toast again, offering it with a shy smile.

 

Jimin kept a straight face for only a moment, before breaking and trying to suppress a smile. He accepted Taehyung’s peace offering in the form of french toast once more. He looked around at their surroundings. “I’ve never been to this café.”

 

“Oh, it’s, yeah… It’s not as nice as some places in Gangnam…” Taehyung swallowed hard. He had just paid over twenty thousand dollars for a few hours with the man in front of him – what was he thinking bringing him to a mediocre café? Taehyung wanted to smack himself.

 

Jimin smiled. “I like it.” He reached for the fork, delicately taking it out of Taehyung’s hand. He proceeded to eat more french toast, and Taehyung grinned. Well, that’s a relief. 

 

“Did you… have a long night as well?” Taehyung regarded Jimin with curiosity.

 

Jimin chuckled. “You should know, you were there.” 

 

Taehyung smiled sheepishly. “I know, but I left you early…” His expression fell slightly. “Which I apologize for. I, uhm, heard someone on the phone earlier…” He trailed off.

 

Jimin raised his eyebrows, finishing his glass and pouring more from their pitcher. “Curious, Mr. Kim?” Taehyung gave him a look. Jimin laughed. “I did end up having another booking after you so graciously cut our time short.” He shrugged, tipping his glass to his lips.

 

“I… wasn’t aware you did outcalls.” 

 

Jimin regarded him apprehensively. “I’m not at liberty to discuss the details of my work, Mr. Kim.”

 

Taehyung rolled his eyes. “Stop calling me that.”

 

“You weren’t aware of the possibility of me seeing clients outside of the club,” Jimin eyed Taehyung with his piercing gaze, “but here I am, with you.” 

 

“Th–, That’s different.” Taehyung responded flatly, drinking his beverage. He was really feeling the champagne. He checked his watch – he’d have to get back home soon, maybe he’d order some food to take for Hoseok and Yoongi. “ Would Jeongguk wake up anytime soon?” Taehyung wondered. 

 

“Taehyung,” The sound of his name snapped Taehyung out of his thoughts. “Why did you call me earlier? From Hoseok- nim ’s phone… What was that about?”

 

Taehyung swallowed nervously. “Oh, well…” He chewed on his lip. He wasn’t sure whether telling Jimin anything could potentially put him in danger, or make things worse for him. He remembered something suddenly. “Last night… You said you’d gotten punished enough… because of me.” Taehyung observed Jimin’s reaction to his words carefully. “What did you mean?”

 

Jimin was taken aback by Taehyung’s words; flustered, he looked away. He could feel Taehyung’s eyes on him; for the first time, he was the one that didn’t want to meet the other’s gaze. “Nothing.” 

 

“Jimin…” Taehyung’s voice softened. “How does Seokjin treat you?” 

 

Jimin shifted in his seat. “That’s none of your business, Taehyung.” He continued to avert his eyes. “I work for Master Kim. There are consequences when you don’t work, or don’t perform well. It’s just like a civilian job, Taehyung. It’s a job.”

 

Taehyung nodded. “Of course it’s a job, I understand that.” He unlocked his phone, clicking something and then sliding it on the table in front of Jimin. “Do you recognize this phone number?”

 

Jimin looked down at Taehyung’s phone screen; displayed was a picture of another phone’s lock screen, with two text messages and – Jimin gasped, his eyes went wide. “Is that Jeongguk?!” He nearly shouted; Taehyung looked around apologetically and motioned for Jimin to watch the volume of his voice. The lock screen in the photo was Jeongguk; bound, gagged, in what looked like a bathroom, looking straight at the camera. “What the fuck is going on?”

 

“Do you recognize the number.” Taehyung repeated.

 

Jimin looked down nervously at Taehyung’s phone again. He shook his head. “No, I don’t.” 

 

“It’s not Seokjin’s?”

 

Jimin shifted again in his seat. “No, not that I know of.”

 

Taehyung’s eyes prodded at Jimin; he observed him carefully. “Jimin…” He sighed. “I didn’t take Jeongguk home. Hoseok and I found him in my apartment this morning.” He rubbed his face in exhaustion. “He was like that picture, except he wasn’t really awake and he was…” Taehyung swallowed dryly. “He was covered in blood. Covered.” Taehyung shuddered. “I know it was Kim. He’s… gotten into my place before.” Taehyung tapped the side of his head lightly. “When I left to find Jeongguk last night… I didn’t find him. Not at the club. I found him this morning, almost dead in my fucking bathtub.” He couldn’t quite decipher Jimin’s expression, nor his reaction. “I was worried about you. I had to beg Yoongi to let me call you.”

 

“Min– nim was there, too?”

 

Taehyung tilted his head. “Yeah.” He nodded. “He wouldn’t give me your number, so I had to call from Hoseok’s phone…” Taehyung regarded Jimin with a bit of curiosity; his demeanor seemed to have shifted, and Taehyung noticed it. 

 

Jimin picked up on Taehyung analyzing him almost instantly; he softened his expression. “Is Jeongguk okay?”

 

Taehyung leaned back in his chair. “Well, I don’t know. He’s alive.” He sighed and waved over the waitress. “Excuse me, can I place some orders to go?”

 

Jimin eyed him curiously, but drank his cocktail quietly as Taehyung ordered several things to take with him. He raised his eyebrow at Taehyung after the waitress left to place the order.

 

Taehyung dropped his head in his hands, feeling the exhaustion overcoming him. He caught a glimpse of Jimin eyeing him. “For Hoseok and Yoongi.” He chuckled. His expression changed, and he bit his lip in worry. “And Jeongguk, if he wakes up any time soon.” He checked his phone; no notifications. None of them were probably awake yet – Taehyung suspected that wasn’t a bad thing. “They’re all at my place.” 

 

Jimin became lost in his thoughts for a few moments, before reaching delicately across the table and placing his hand on Taehyung’s wrist. He squeezed it gently. “Have you slept, Taehyung?”

 

Taehyung felt his heart race at Jimin’s touch. He smiled weakly. “No, I haven’t.”

 

“You look tired. You should get some rest.” 

 

Taehyung rubbed his face with his free hand. “I have a lot to do.” He sighed. “I need to go look for a new place, and there’s work tomorrow…” He rubbed his temple. Work… He hadn’t been at work since the middle of last week, and he wasn’t on the best terms with his boss; Taehyung was definitely going to have to figure out some way to make it up this week. He wished he didn’t have to sleep.

 

“You’re looking for a new place?”

 

Taehyung nodded. “I kind of need to move as soon as possible.” He chuckled. “Like, by tomorrow would be great. I might have to just hire someone to do it, though.”

 

Jimin nodded. “Do you live around here?” He waved his hand around, gesturing towards nowhere in particular.

 

“Across the river. I live kind of close to The Parthenon.” Taehyung took a gulp of water; the pitcher of water was almost empty. “In Seochu–gu.”

 

“Ahh.” Jimin nodded.

 

The pair sat in silence until the waitress approached their table with bags full of food. Taehyung graciously thanked her and paid the bill. Jimin protested, insisting that he could pay – Taehyung refused. They exited the café together, standing on the sidewalk for a few moments; neither of them seemed to know what to say.

 

“Thank you for coming out with me.” Taehyung broke the silence. “I, uhm…” He smiled, trailing off. “Let me get you a taxi.” 

 

Jimin shook his head and smiled. “No, no, it’s okay. I’ll see you off.” He skipped towards the end of the sidewalk, successfully waving down a cab almost immediately. Jimin opened the car door, gesturing to Taehyung, who raised his eyebrows and smiled. He approached the car and nodded at Jimin thankfully; Jimin leaned in, planting a light kiss on his cheek. “Thank you for having me. I’d love to do this again sometime.” He purred lowly in Taehyung’s ear; Taehyung felt his cheeks become hot. Jimin pulled back, smiling at him and stepping away from the car, back onto the sidewalk. He smiled and laughed as he waved; Taehyung returned the smile and watched Jimin through the window as the car pulled away.

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

Taehyung’s phone buzzed, disrupting the silence of his taxi ride.

 

maybe: jimin – 12:17 p.m.

did you save my number? it’s jimin

 

Taehyung pursed his lips. He’d forgotten to even confirm with Jimin if it was okay to have his number in the first place; he’d just stolen it from Hoseok’s phone without asking.

 

maybe: jimin – 12:19 p.m.

let me know how jeongguk is doing

i can go get him and bring him home

 

Taehyung smirked.

 

taehyung – 12:22 p.m.

that would mean coming to my place

 

He paused, biting his lip in thought before he resumed typing.

 

taehyung – 12:23 p.m.

are you asking for a second date?

 

maybe: jimin – 12:26 p.m.

so this was a date 😏

call me later

 

taehyung – 12:27 p.m.

should i save you as jimin or eros?

 

maybe: jimin – 12:29 p.m.

you decide

 

Taehyung smiled to himself for a few seconds before he felt the taxi driver glancing at him in the rearview mirror. He cleared his throat and shifted in his seat, locking his phone and staring out the window silently for the remaining duration of the ride. 

 

Taehyung quietly entered his apartment; it was just as still and silent as he had left it. Tiptoeing in, he set the bags down on the kitchen counter and peered down the hallway; he heard the water running from the shower. “Hoseok? Yoongi?” He opened his bedroom door; Jeongguk was still asleep in his bed. Taehyung peered at the bathroom doorway. “Guys…?” He blinked at the sight of his bathroom; it was, surprisingly, clean. There were no shattered pieces of glass on the floor, and no blood. Two things hit Taehyung simultaneously: exhaustion, and the realization that Yoongi and Hoseok could most definitely be in the shower together. Not wanting to be in the vicinity in the event that they were going to come out of the bathroom together, Taehyung retreated to his living room. Exhaustion won, and he flopped down on his sofa; he was asleep almost immediately. 

 

“Taehyungie~” Hoseok whispered, poking at Taehyung. It was almost 4:00 P.M., and Hoseok felt bad for waking him up. “Taehyuuung~”

 

Taehyung scrunched his face, groaning as he turned. His eyes blinked open and he pouted in discontent. “No.” He said, turning his back towards Hoseok and curling into himself.

 

Hoseok laughed. “Taehyung, wake up.” He poked at his waist, tickling him.

 

“Hyung, stooooop.” Taehyung squirmed and swatted his hands away. “I’m awake, I’m awake.” He groaned; his hair was a mess and he rubbed his eyes tiredly. “What?”

 

“Jeongguk’s awake, Taehyung.” 

 

Taehyung’s eyes shot open wide and he sat up immediately. “What? Where is he?” He felt panic, for a reason unbeknownst to him. He blinked down at a blanket that was draped over him; he was sure he didn’t have a blanket when he fell asleep.

 

“He’s still in bed. He’s kind of out of it. The nurses are here – Yoongi sent them to check on him.” Hoseok’s voice was low; he sat down on the sofa next to Taehyung. “He thinks we should send Guk to a hospital or a rehab, but I don’t know.” He sighed defeatedly. “I don’t want to think about Gukie in a hospital all alone.” 

 

Taehyung furrowed his brow. “Rehab? But he doesn’t… He’s not an addict or anything.”

 

“Taehyung, he was doped up on enough drugs to kill someone. The nurses can only do so much – they can’t even really tell us exactly what it was. They think it's heroin, or morphine, and it could have been mixed with something else. We wouldn’t know unless we take him to a hospital.” Taehyung’s mind flashed to Seokjin’s syringes. “What if he gets arrested? None of this is even any of his fault.” Hoseok sighed.

 

Taehyung cringed and looked down dejectedly. After a long silence, he spoke. “It’s mine.” He sighed. “I don’t understand why Kim is doing any of this, but Jeongguk wouldn’t be in this mess if it wasn’t for me. I tested Kim, and I…” Taehyung rubbed his face with his hands. “I lost.” That’s 3–0, Taehyung. “Is there a private place we could take him?” Hoseok shrugged. Taehyung shifted on the sofa. “Hyung, I’m going to move this week. Obviously I can’t live here anymore, and…” He glanced at the hallway, being careful to keep his voice low. “I want to take Jeongguk with me.” His mind flitted to the past week, during which he experienced withdrawal. He remembered the nausea, the chills, the feeling of complete and utter insanity that invaded every fibre of his being. He had been absolutely miserable. If Jeongguk was going to go through that nightmare of an experience – and because of him – Taehyung knew he had to take responsibility. He had to help Jeongguk; there was no question about it. “Can we find someone to attend to him at home, like a caretaker? Where do you contract your nurses from?”

 

Hoseok looked at him flatly. “Taehyung, you’re forgetting that Kim is the owner of the club – not to mention, Jeongguk’s boss – and he knows exactly where we contract medical from. If you’re trying to keep off Kim's radar, that’s not going to do it.” Hoseok cracked his neck and rubbed his own shoulders. “If he’s hospitalized, Kim will know. He’ll know where to find him.” Hoseok paused, falling silent and Taehyung noted it seemed with purpose.

 

“… Hyung. What?” Taehyung looked at him intently.

 

Hoseok bit his lip before looking up at Taehyung with a glint of sadness in his eyes. “I can’t guarantee that we won’t have to tell him where Jeongguk is.”

 

Taehyung’s mouth dropped slightly and his eyes widened. “What? What does that even mean? Hyung, you wouldn’t–“

 

“He’s still our boss, Taehyung. Jeongguk is still on our roster as a dancer. We’re obligated to make sure he shows up to work, or be involved when he doesn’t.”

 

Taehyung stood up defensively. “You want to make him work?!” He covered his mouth when he realized he was shouting; he lowered his voice. “No way, Hoseok. Kim can’t force him to go back to the club when he just almost fucking killed him.” 

 

Hoseok sighed. “I’m not saying that I want to make him work. I’m just saying that my job and Yoongi’s job requires us to consider bottom line. Jeongguk’s one of our best… second only to Jimin, and that’s just on rates. He pulls way more regulars than Jimin does.” He peered at the hallway. “And Kim almost always does whatever the hell he wants. As you can see.”

 

Just then, two women emerged from Taehyung’s bedroom and entered the living room. Hoseok stood up. Both women bowed politely; one spoke. “Sir. We’ve attended to him. His memory might be hazy at best, and he won’t be fully aware for some hours. We spoke to Mr. Min about detoxing…” She took some things out of her bag, placing them on the counter. “Medication to help with the detox. If he’s going to do so in the comfort of his home, I encourage you to have someone with him at all times to soothe the process and administer medication routinely. It’s not required, but will make the process relatively easier.” She placed a few vials on the table, along with syringe needles and other medical supplies. “Sedatives.” She tapped on one of the vials. “Dosage is labeled. We are happy to assist with administration as needed.” She bowed.

 

Hoseok mirrored her formality in return. “Thank you, miss.” Quietly, the women left, leaving Taehyung and Hoseok staring at each other in the living room. Hoseok jerked his head to signal for them to go to the bedroom; Taehyung followed behind him.

 

Hoseok opened the bedroom door carefully. “Jeonggukie~” he sang, peering into the bedroom.

 

Jeongguk’s eyes fluttered open, and it took a few seconds for his vision to come into focus. He was half sitting up, propped up on pillows against the headboard of Taehyung’s bed. “Hyung?” he moaned as he felt pain and nausea washing over him. 

 

Hoseok smiled and sat on the edge of the bed, petting Jeongguk’s leg. “It’s Hoseokie, Gukie. How are you feeling?” Taehyung lingered by the door, unsure of how to occupy his own space.

 

“I’m…” Jeongguk rubbed his eyes and looked around. A mixture of surprise and – was that fear? – flitted on Jeongguk’s face when his eyes found Taehyung. “Where am I?”

 

“You’re at my apartment.” Taehyung spoke before Hoseok. He leaned against the wall, feeling obligated to keep his distance for a reason he couldn’t quite pinpoint. “Do you remember anything?” Hoseok shot a sharp look at Taehyung.

 

Jeongguk scrunched his face as he thought for a few moments. “Uhm…” He groaned, tossing his head back and resting it against the mound of pillows.

 

Hoseok took his hand, petting it gently. “It’s okay, Gukie. We’re just happy you’re okay,” he pointedly glared at Taehyung before looking back at Jeongguk with a smile. “Are you comfortable? Can we get you anything?” 

 

“What time is it? Shit, I need to go home–,” Jeongguk moved to get off the bed, before realizing he moved too quickly and nausea completely overcame him. His eyes widened and he heaved, doubling over onto the floor. 

 

“Jeongguk!” Hoseok moved to catch him. “Taehyung, get him some water. Jeongguk, do you need to throw up?” Jeongguk nodded as he coughed; Hoseok guided him up gently and directed him to the bathroom. Taehyung obliged and came back several minutes later with a water bottle. Jeongguk kneeled over Taehyung’s toilet, dry heaving as Hoseok stroked his back. “Here, Gukie, drink some water.” He offered the water bottle to him.

 

Jeongguk’s eyes watered as he felt the sting of nothing but bile in his throat. He accepted the water with trembling hands, resting on his haunches. He stared at the bathroom floor, his eyes moving up to the shattered mirror above the bathroom counter; suddenly, Jeongguk choked and spewed water everywhere. He coughed and gasped as he tried to compose himself. Images flashed in his mind; they were fleeting, and hazy, but moments were vivid. He remembered the burn of ropes tugging against his skin, the shattering of glass, the feeling of fire pulsating in his veins. Jeongguk’s eyes were wide as the memories overwhelmed him, he dropped his head into his hands.

 

“Jeongguk, are you okay?” Hoseok touched his shoulders gently. 

 

Jeongguk flinched violently, throwing himself away from Hoseok’s touch. He felt a burning tightness in his chest. Taehyung kneeled down in front of Jeongguk, regarding him carefully. “Jeongguk.” 

 

Jeongguk’s entire body trembled. “What the fuck did you do to me?!” He screamed. Emotions bubbled and boiled inside of him, overcoming him as panic racked his body. His ears rang with the shattering of glass; his nose filled with the pungent smell of blood. Bile burned in his throat and he could hear, at the base of it all, a voice low and soothing – he couldn’t discern whose voice it was. Jeongguk’s mind soared into overdrive and pumped adrenaline in his veins. He lurched forward, grabbing Taehyung by his shoulders. “What the fuck did you do, Taehyung?!” Jeongguk shook him violently. Surprised, Taehyung stared into the eyes that once glistened so innocently when he looked at them; Taehyung thought he could still see that glint somewhere inside of Jeongguk’s dark, dilated pupils. 

 

“Jeongguk, I–,” he grasped Jeongguk’s arms to keep them both from falling over. Jeongguk jerked violently, throwing Taehyung’s hands off of him. 

 

“Don’t fucking touch me.” He snarled.

 

Taehyung winced. “Jeongguk, I didn’t do this–,”

 

“You’re a fucking liar!” Jeongguk shouted and threw himself on top of Taehyung. “You sick fucking bastard–“ He grabbed Taehyung’s shirt and shook him violently.

 

“Jeongguk, hey! Stop!” Hoseok jumped in to interfere, grabbing at Jeongguk’s arms. 

 

Jeongguk threw his elbow to keep Hoseok from grabbing onto him. “Who the fuck do you think you are, Taehyung?! You fucking hit him and then you pick him over me, you say you’ll come for me but you never fucking do!” Anger boiled and overflowed in the form of tears welling in his eyes. “You’re a sick fuck, Taehyung.” 

 

Hoseok’s eyes were wide as he stared at them both. “Jeongguk, please.” He spoke gently. “This wasn’t Taehyung.” 

 

“Don’t fucking tell me he did nothing wrong! Why the fuck am I here, huh?!” The veins in Jeongguk’s neck bulged with strain as he turned his attention towards Hoseok, still holding firmly onto the front of Taehyung’s shirt. “I know where I am, I remember coming here. I remember this bathroom, and I remember the mirror. I remember–,” Jeongguk hissed as he felt the sting of a syringe needle puncture his neck; Hoseok’s eyes went wide as he stared at Taehyung pushing down the plunger. Jeongguk’s eyes rolled under fluttering eyelids and moments later, his body went limp; Hoseok ran forward to catch him as he fell on top of Taehyung. 

 

“What the hell was that?! Taehyung?!”

 

Taehyung heaved as the weight of Jeongguk’s body settled on him. “Sedative.” He mumbled, shuffling out from underneath Jeongguk. “Help me get him back into bed.” 

 

Though bewildered, Hoseok obliged, once again helping Taehyung carry an unconscious Jeongguk out of Taehyung’s bathroom. 

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

“I’ll find someone to help me take care of him, hyung. I’m not taking him to a hospital where Seokjin can find him.” Taehyung sat in his living room with Hoseok while they argued and discussed over dinner that Taehyung had delivered. Jeongguk slept soundly in Taehyung’s room.

 

Hoseok chewed his food in thought. “Who are you going to ‘find’? Do you just happen to know someone that can medically oversee him while he’s…” Hoseok swallowed hard. “Withdrawing?”

 

Taehyung chewed on his bottom lip. “I’ll figure it out. It’s not like everyone with a problem gets clean in a hospital. There are people who ride this kind of shit out at home.”

 

Hoseok peered at him. “Do you just have experience with this kind of thing? Because you’re acting like you do.”

 

Taehyung’s mind flashed back to last week; he shuddered. “I’m not saying I know what the hell I’m doing, hyung. I just don’t want him anywhere near Kim or the club. If that means keeping him alone with me for a week or so until he’s gotten past the worst of it, so be it. I will figure it out .” 

 

“And work?”

 

“… Yeah, I know.” Taehyung sighed. “I just need to find someone to be with him during the day while I’m at work, and I’ll take care of him when I’m home. It’s not like I have a million places to be, anyway.” 

 

Hoseok indulged in drinking his Sprite for a few moments before he responded. “Speaking of places to be…” He raised his eyebrows. “Where were you this morning?” 

 

Taehyung shifted uncomfortably; his cheeks flushed. “I… went to get you guys some food.” He avoided Hoseok’s gaze.

 

“You could have had it delivered.” Hoseok motioned at the food splayed on Taehyung’s coffee table, where they currently sat, with their legs crossed on the floor. “Come on man, spill it.”

 

Taehyung smiled shyly, though he tried to hide it. “I… went to see Jimin. We had brunch.”

 

Hoseok raised his eyebrows and laughed. “Oh, Taehyungie!” He poked at him. “Look at you! Someone has a little crush~!”

 

Taehyung laughed and swatted him away. “Hyung! It’s not like that.” 

 

“It is like that. I can tell.” Hoseok wiggled his eyebrows.

 

“And you?!” Taehyung smacked his shoulder. “I heard the shower when I got home and the bed was empty.”

 

Hoseok looked at him with a confused look before his face went red. “Hey, man! No!” He threw himself to the floor with laughter. “Did you–?! No!” He sat back up. “No, Taehyungie, I only shower with you.” Hoseok pursed his lips, making kissing noises at Taehyung. “Not that I would have minded, but Yoongi woke up before me. He showered and left – we have inventory on Sundays.” Hoseok’s phone buzzed. “Oh–,” He grabbed it to check the notification. “Speak of the devil.” He giggled before he got up, brushing himself off. “It’s Yoongi. I have to go help tonight before we open up for the rest of the week.” 

 

Taehyung looked up at him. “Hyung…” He thought about his question for a second. Hoseok looked at him expectantly. “Is The Parthenon open… well, the bottom part… Is that open all week?”

 

Hoseok raised an eyebrow before he laughed. “No, Taehyung. It’d be impossible to keep a low profile if we had after hours open every day.” He grabbed a jacket that was draped on the sofa; Taehyung’s jacket, but Taehyung didn’t mind. “Thursday through Saturday.” He said, winking. “You can book Jimin then.” 

 

Taehyung’s cheeks flushed and he opened his mouth to protest. Hoseok bent down, planting a kiss on the top of Taehyung’s head before ruffling his hair fondly. “Thanks for dinner, baby. I’ll see you later~!” He sang. “Oh, keep me updated on Gukkie. I’ll come by when we’re done at the club.” Hoseok smiled, a big grin with his eyes squinted closed. He exited the apartment, leaving Taehyung in silence with nothing but his own company and a sleeping Jeongguk who hated his guts in his bedroom. 

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

Taehyung spent most of his evening attempting to get in contact with an agent who could help him find a new place within the next few days. It was nearly impossible to get a hold of anyone on a Sunday, so all he could do was wait and hope for a call tomorrow. Taehyung showered, made note that he needed to either replace the mirror or pay for damages, and caved into exhaustion once again as he crawled into bed beside Jeongguk. He drifted to sleep in the comfort of his own bed, relishing the presence of another person with him.

 

Taehyung woke some time later to the sound of his phone pinging notifications. Groggily, he grabbed his phone and squinted his eyes at the screen.

 

jimin – 7:03 p.m.

hey

how’s jeongguk?

 

jimin – 7:31 p.m.

??

 

jimin – 7:52 p.m.

taehyung?

 

jimin – 8:17 p.m.

are you seriously going to ghost me

 

Taehyung blinked, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. Hesitantly, he pressed the ‘call’ button on the screen. The line rang twice before being picked up.

 

“Took you long enough.”

 

“Jimin? Hi.” Taehyung rolled over on his back and rubbed his face. “Sorry, I was asleep. What’s up”

 

“‘What’s up’? I told you to call me.”

 

Taehyung bit his cheek. “I did… I’m calling you right now.” He smiled sheepishly to himself. He swore he could hear Jimin’s eye roll.

 

“How’s Jeongguk? Is he still with you?”

 

Taehyung nodded, looking over at Jeongguk fast asleep next to him. “Yeah, he’s still here. He’s, uhm, asleep.” 

 

“Asleep?”

 

“He’s… sedated.” Taehyung sat up gently, though he was sure Jeongguk wouldn’t wake up regardless. “I had to sedate him earlier. He’s really going through it.” 

 

“… Sedated? Should I go pick him up? I’ll bring him home.”

 

Taehyung shook his head. “No, no. It’s okay. I mean, I don’t think he’ll wake up any time soon, for one. And,” Taehyung chewed on his lip. “I was thinking of having him stay with me for a while.” He paused, waiting to see what Jimin would say. When he was met with silence, he continued. “Just while he’s coming off of whatever the fuck Seokjin almost killed him with. I don’t want him to be alone.” The moments of silence that stretched made Taehyung uncomfortable. He shifted his weight nervously. “… Ji–,?”

 

“He wouldn’t be alone. We live together. I told you that.”

 

“Yeah, I know, but…” Taehyung looked at Jeongguk with worry. “You work, and you have clients to attend to, I’m sure.” 

 

“… You work too, don’t you?”

 

“Yeah, yeah of course.” Taehyung chuckled weakly.

 

“So how is he not going to be alone if he stays at your place and you’re working?”

 

“Well…” Taehyung fell silent. He sighed. “I don’t know. All I know is that I want to make sure he’s okay. I was going to try and hire a caretaker or something to be with him while I’m at work. The timing is just… inconvenient. It’s kind of impossible to arrange anything on Sunday evenings.” His mind flitted to his futile attempts at contacting a leasing agent. Again, prolonged silence stretched between him and Jimin.

 

“… I can help.” 

 

Taehyung waited for Jimin to keep talking, but that’s all that he said. “What do you mean–,”

 

“I can be with Jeongguk during the day.” Taehyung dwelled on the sound of Jimin’s breath into the phone’s mouthpiece. “If it’s fine with you, I’ll watch him during the day and leave when you get home. I mostly only work nights, anyway.” 

 

Taehyung pondered over Jimin’s suggestion before his lips stretched into a sly smile. “That’s a smooth way to get me to invite you over.” 

 

Taehyung’s smile widened when he heard Jimin’s laugh. “Is it? Did it work?”

 

Taehyung giggled. “Maybe. Really, that’s a great idea. It would help me out a lot. And…” He bit his bottom lip as he fell silent.

 

“…And?”

 

“… And you don’t have to leave when I come home from work.” Taehyung breathed. “I-if you don’t want to.” He swore he could see Jimin’s pretty luscious lips stretching into a smile as he heard another laugh on the other end of the line.

 

“When should I go over?”

 

Taehyung pushed his hair back from his face as he felt his skin become hot; he swallowed dryly. “Do you want to come tonight?”

 

“… Send me your address.” Click.

 

Taehyung’s eyes widened slightly and he brought the phone away from his ear; Jimin had hung up. He blinked in awe; did he really just invite Jimin over for the night? –Shit. Hoseok was supposed to come over tonight, too. Taehyung rubbed his temples as he wondered whether to tell Hoseok that Jimin would be here; would Hoseok still want to come? Would it be weird with all of them at Taehyung’s apartment? Taehyung’s mind wandered to just last week, when he was alone and sobbing into his bedsheets, craving nothing but company and the comfort of another. Now, as life would have it, he had Jeongguk unconscious in his bed, and another man or two joining him. He chuckled to himself. Life had a funny way of giving you the things you wished for.

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

taehyung –– 8:37 p.m.

hyung

what time are you out of work?

 

hoseok –– 8:51 p.m.

not sure

why?

 

taehyung –– 8:52 p.m.

i did a thing

 

hoseok –– 8:54 p.m.

??

 

taehyung –– 8:56 p.m.

i invited jimin over

it kind of just happened

do you still want to come?

 

taehyung –– 9:01 p.m.

call me when you can 

don’t be mad <3

 

Taehyung locked his phone, falling back onto the bed and drifting to sleep. He was woken up by the sudden ring of his doorbell. Startled, he jumped up in bed, automatically looking at Jeongguk – who was still asleep. Damn. Did I get the dosage right? Taehyung pondered for a few moments before scrambling out of bed. His hair was a mess; he wiped at his mouth and dragged himself to the front door. The sight of Jimin met him when he opened it; Taehyung’s breath hitched in his throat. It was hard to overlook Jimin’s appearance every time he saw him.

 

Jimin’s eyes wandered aimlessly around the hallway before he met Taehyung’s as the latter opened the door. He smiled. “Evening.” He said, nodding politely.

 

Taehyung grinned. “Jimin, hi.” It took him a few moments before he jumped, swinging the door open. “Oh, come in.” He stepped aside to allow Jimin inside. He smiled shyly. “It’s kind of a small place.” He said, fidgeting.

 

Jimin looked around, observing Taehyung’s apartment. He laughed lightly. “No, it’s nice. You do live close to the club.” He leaned against the back of the sofa.

 

Taehyung nodded. “Do you want something to drink? Have you eaten dinner?” 

 

Jimin scrunched his nose. “A drink sounds nice.” He peered at the dark hallway that led to Taehyung’s bedroom. “Where’s Jeongguk?”

 

Taehyung busied himself in the kitchen. “Oh, he’s in the bedroom. Did you want, uhm… Whiskey? Vodka? Virgin?” He fumbled with a container of ice.

 

Jimin glanced at him and his lips pulled into a devious smirk. “I don’t think that last one is an option here.” He snickered. “Vodka, please. With cranberry or mineral water, if you have it. If not, with water is fine.” 

 

Taehyung nodded, working to pour Jimin a drink. His nerves acted up as Jimin sat down at the kitchen island, head in his hands as he observed Taehyung intently. Taehyung glanced up at him questioningly; Jimin smiled. “This is the first time you’re the one pouring the drink.” 

 

Taehyung flushed as he topped off the glass with cranberry juice and slid it over to Jimin. “I’m better at other things.” 

 

Jimin pursed his lips and chuckled. “I’m sure you are.” He brought the glass to his lips, relishing in the fresh taste of cold cranberry juice mixed with the smooth burn of vodka. “Is Jeongguk sleeping still?”

 

Taehyung nodded; he jumped at the sound of his phone ringing. “Hello?” Jimin raised his eyebrows, drinking half of his cocktail. He got up and proceeded to explore Taehyung’s apartment.

 

“You invited him over?!” 

 

Taehyung winced and chucked bashfully. “Hyung–,”

 

“Taehyungieeee. We were supposed to have our sleepover~”

 

“You can still come!”

 

“So I can share a bed with you, Jeongguk, and Jimin?” Hoseok laughed. “No way. That’s a porn episode I did not sign up for.” 

 

“Hyung!” Jimin looked at Taehyung questioningly from across the room as Taehyung shouted; Taehyung turned away to hide his red face. “It’s not like that.”

 

“If you’re really going to move, you should consider a two-bedroom. Or maybe a house.” 

 

Taehyung chuckled. “Noted.” He frowned. “So, you really don’t want to come?” 

 

“Maybe I’ll stop by tomorrow. I’ve left Yoongi to do a lot of work by himself lately, anyway.”

 

“Okay…” Taehyung pouted. “But let me know when you get home!”

 

“Will do, babe.” Click .

 

“You look happy.” Jimin placed his empty glass down on the counter; Taehyung moved to refill it. 

 

“Hoseok.” Taehyung smiled fondly. “He was going to come over tonight, but I guess work has him tied up.” His face fell into a grimace. Ugh, work. At the thought, he grabbed an empty glass. Jimin looked at him curiously as he poured himself a scotch. Jimin raised his glass to clink against Taehyung’s as they shared a drink. 

 

“I didn’t think you were much of a drinker.” 

 

Taehyung shrugged. “I’m not.” He chuckled. “I’m just dreading work in the morning.” He checked the time on his phone. 10:23 P.M. He rubbed his face. “I’ve been sleeping on and off all day, so getting back into the 9 – 5 is going to be fun.” 

 

Jimin finished most of his drink rather quickly; setting the glass down, he approached Taehyung behind the kitchen island. Taehyung stepped back instinctively, but Jimin placed his arms delicately on Taehyung’s shoulders, intertwining his fingers around the back of Taehyung’s neck. “I could help you relax.” Jimin breathed, messing lightly with Taehyung’s hair.

 

“Jimin…” Taehyung grasped Jimin’s wrists as he admired him up close. His eyes rested on the way Jimin’s hair sat softly fluffed on his head, the slight red flush in his cheeks from the alcohol, the way his clothes draped over his petite frame. Jimin was wearing a high–neck shirt with long sleeves; Taehyung swallowed hard as he pictured his hand on Jimin’s neck once again. He meant to take Jimin’s hands off of him, but found himself seemingly frozen and unable to do so.

 

“Yes, Taehyung?” The way Jimin could stare into his eyes felt like it pierced Taehyung’s soul. Jimin pulled him closer; Taehyung rested his hands on Jimin’s waist. Taehyung’s breathing was shallow; his mind raced with words to say. “Just relax.” Jimin whispered, running his fingers through the back of Taehyung’s hair. He tilted his head, brushing kisses like artwork onto Taehyung’s neck. Taehyung felt his heart begin to race and his grasp on Jimin’s waist tightened. Taehyung’s mind lingered on the feeling that Jimin felt right in his hands; that somehow, Jimin’s presence filled a void that Taehyung normally did his best to ignore. Something about him just made Taehyung feel like they were meant to be near each other; it was a strange feeling to him, but he didn’t want it to ever go away. Gently, he lifted Jimin’s chin to his, closing the space in between their lips. 

 

The rush that flooded Taehyung’s body each time their lips met hadn’t ceased to take Taehyung’s breath away – Taehyung wondered how many times he could try before it did. He doubted it ever would. He brought Jimin closer, deepening the kiss and lightly pressing his tongue against Jimin’s. Jimin breathed heavily into their kiss, passionately drawing Taehyung in as he entangled his fingers into the curls of his hair. Jimin’s lips felt heavy with a thousand words he wanted to say, but he let his tongue write the letters within the depths of Taehyung’s parted lips. Taehyung reached down and hooked his hands underneath Jimin’s thighs. Jimin became pliable in Taehyung’s hands, allowing himself to be lifted and wrapping his legs around Taehyung’s waist. Taehyung pushed him up against the wall, his breath becoming ragged as lustful desire burned in the pit of his stomach. His hands snaked up underneath Jimin’s shirt and he relished in the feeling of Jimin’s soft, hot skin. Taehyung felt the blood rushing in his veins, his entire being thirsting for Jimin; they both became startled and broke their kiss when they heard a loud thud somewhere within the apartment. Both stared at each other for a second in confusion. “Shit. Jeongguk.” Taehyung was careful to let Jimin down gently, allowing him to get his footing before almost running to his bedroom; he opened the door timidly. “Jeongguk..?” 

 

Jeongguk kicked around, entangled on the sheets on the floor. His hair matted against his forehead with sweat. He groaned.

 

“Jeongguk…” Taehyung kneeled on the floor, reaching for the sheets; when Jeongguk flinched, he paused. “Can I help you?” He asked gently. Jeongguk pursed his lips in a pout before he nodded. Taehyung pulled the sheets off of him and reached to help him up. “Can I… touch you?” Jeongguk nodded again, a small nod accompanied by more pouting. Taehyung hooked his arms around Jeongguk’s torso to help him up.

 

Jeongguk’s eyes widened at the sight of Jimin in the doorway. “Jimin?!” 

 

Jimin waved. “Hey, Jeongguk.” He watched at Taehyung helped lift Jeongguk to sit on the bed. “How are you feeling?”

 

Jeongguk tilted his head. “I mean, I’ve seen better days.” He flashed his cute bunny smile; Taehyung’s lips stretched into a smile as well as he saw the light on Jeongguk’s face. He hadn’t seen that smile in what seemed like a painfully long time. 

 

“Jeongguk… I’m glad you’re awake.” Taehyung rubbed his sweaty palms on his pants. “Are you thirsty? Hungry? Should I order you something?”

 

Jeongguk nodded furiously at the mention of food. “Yes! Please.” He looked at Jimin. “Hey, what are you doing here?”

 

Taehyung responded in the place of Jimin’s silence. “About that. Jeongguk, I’m sure you’re confused, and I know you’re still upset with me, but,” he licked his lips nervously. “I wanted to ask you how you felt about staying with me for a while.” 

 

Jeongguk raised an eyebrow; his expression didn’t exactly scream excitement.

 

“I know, I know.” Taehyung raised his hands. “But, listen. I really didn’t hurt you, I swear, Jeongguk. Hoseok can tell you.” He ran his hand through his hair. “Jeongguk, whatever happened to you… It wasn’t me who did it.” He sighed. “But it was because of me, and for that, I’m so fucking sorry.” He got down on his knees by the bed, reaching for Jeongguk’s hand gently. “I’m really, so fucking sorry. I promise I won’t let anything else happen to you, I swear I’ll fucking kill him if he touches you again.” 

 

Jimin was leaning against the wall, hands crossed as he observed Taehyung; his eyebrows arched in curiosity at Taehyung’s words. He felt a burn of an emotion he didn’t want to accept; so he swallowed the words that bubbled because of that feeling, and remained silent.

 

Jeongguk was surprised by Taehyung’s words – as much as he wanted to be angry because he was confused, he really just couldn’t fucking remember much of anything that happened. The only memories that made an appearance in his mind were the shattering of glass, the smell of blood, and muffled voices that Jeongguk still couldn’t hear clearly. He shifted nervously, glancing at Jimin. “You want me to… stay here?” He pulled his hand from Taehyung’s grasp.

 

“Jeongguk,” Taehyung sat back on his haunches. “You were drugged last night. You can ask Yoongi and Hoseok. I don’t even know what you’re coming off of, but you might be coming off of it hard. I just want to make sure you have someone around you and you’re not alone.” He gestured to Jimin. “Jimin will be with you when I’m not here.” Taehyung smiled. “When I’m at work. You can stay as long as you like, I’d like it if you’d stay for a while.” He got up from the floor, brushing himself off. “I’m trying to move to another place this week, and I want you to come with me.” 

 

Jimin’s eyes widened slightly and he uncrossed his arms. “You want him to move in with you?”

 

Taehyung blinked, startled at the rise in volume of Jimin’s voice. “Well…” He smiled like he was a child who’d just been caught stealing candy. “If he wants to.” He looked back at Jeongguk. “You don’t have to, you could just stay with me for a while. I just don’t want you to be in danger, Jeongguk. I’ll take care of you.”

 

Jeongguk nervously glanced at Jimin, then at Taehyung, back at Jimin, and back at Taehyung again. “Thanks, really, but…” He chewed the inside of his cheek. His mind whirled with the thoughts that came with both options. He could be “safe” – if Taehyung could even guarantee that; “taken care of” – Jeongguk sourly remembered his empty promises; yet, he’d be abandoning Jimin and would still have to work under Kim Seokjin regardless. Jeongguk sighed. “I’ll think about it.” 

 

Taehyung smiled. “That’s all I ask.” He felt Jimin’s eyes burning holes into him, but avoided them purposely. “What do you want to eat? I’ll order delivery.”

 

Jeongguk’s eyes lit up at the sound of food, and Taehyung felt a sense of happiness and relief just from the light in Jeongguk’s starry eyes.

Chapter Text

Taehyung and Jimin lounged in the kitchen; Jeongguk had successfully ate his weight in delivery food and fell asleep on Taehyung’s couch. Taehyung, not wanting to wake him, draped a blanket over him and admired the beauty he held even when he was asleep. Taehyung and Jimin shared another drink silently; Taehyung’s mind flitted to only just a while ago that he had Jimin’s legs around his waist, pushing him up against the wall to their right. His face flushed red.

 

Jimin swirled the ice in his drink absentmindedly. He glanced up at Taehyung, raising an eyebrow at the flush in Taehyung’s face. “Something on your mind?”

 

Taehyung coughed as he sipped his drink. “Mm,” he wiped his mouth with his sleeve. “Not really.” 

 

Jimin peered at him. “Your face is really red.”

 

“So is yours.” Taehyung pouted.

 

Jimin chuckled, taking a drink of his cocktail before clinking the glass down on the table. “Taehyung…” He stared down at his glass a few moments before raising his eyes to make direct contact with Taehyung’s. “Why did you ask me to come over?”

 

Taehyung rubbed the back of his neck. “Well, to help with Jeonggu–,”

 

“No, I mean tonight.” Jimin interrupted him. “Why’d you ask me to come over tonight? I could have come in the morning.”

 

Taehyung chewed on his bottom lip anxiously. “I…” He was at a loss for words. Why did he invite Jimin over? It felt as if he just did so without thinking; it felt natural to want Jimin with him. “… I guess I just really wanted to see you.” He shrugged. The next words out of his mouth felt heavy and putrid on his tongue; they tasted as bad as they sounded to Taehyung. “You can leave, if you’d like.”

 

Jimin frowned. “Do you… want me to leave?”

 

Taehyung shook his head. “No, of course not.” His mind wandered to the first night he met Jimin; in the champagne room, how Taehyung felt like he was walking in a loaded minefield. He sighed. “I just…”  He stared down at the marble of the counter dejectedly.

 

Jimin got up from his seat and quietly circled around to approach Taehyung. “Taehyung.” He whispered, glancing at the back of the sofa where Jeongguk slept. He leaned on the counter and attempted to meet Taehyung’s gaze. “Put your arms around me.” Taehyung blinked, lifting his head to meet Jimin’s gaze. His eyes filled with intrigue as he obliged, placing his hands delicately on Jimin’s waist. Jimin smiled as he drew himself closer to Taehyung; a warm smell of cologne and comfort met him as he did so. “Now…” Jimin purred into Taehyung’s ear. “Take me to your room.” 

 

Taehyung’s breath became shallow as his heart quickened pace. Just the sound of Jimin’s voice sent blood rushing to areas that Taehyung would be embarrassed to admit. He felt the pressure in his trousers. He grasped Jimin’s ass firmly, lifting him once again and cherishing the surprised giggle that escaped Jimin’s lips. Once again, Jimin wrapped his legs around Taehyung, who blushed at the feeling of Jimin pressing against him. The soft chuckle that escaped Jimin’s lips confirmed that he could indeed feel Taehyung’s budding erection, and Taehyung took the opportunity to press his lips against Jimin’s as he carried him to the bedroom.

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

“Jimin,” Taehyung’s breathing was ragged as he clawed at Jimin’s clothes hungrily. Jimin sat on top of Taehyung, straddling him; Taehyung felt an odd sense of comfort having Jimin’s weight on top of him. Taehyung’s head spun; he wasn’t sure if it was the alcohol, or just the effect that Jimin seemed to have on him. 

 

“Yes?” Jimin could taste the whiskey on Taehyung’s lips.

 

Taehyung pushed his tongue against Jimin’s lips, aching to taste the sweetness of cranberry cocktail and the particular taste of Jimin that drove Taehyung wild. Jimin gave into his advances, and Taehyung bucked at the opportunity. “Say my name,” Taehyung breathed. Jimin’s lips pulled into a playful smirk. He remained silent, kissing Taehyung, and began to grind lightly against his hips; a glint of mischief sparked in his eyes when he heard a gasp. It encouraged Jimin to tease him further. He breathed into Taehyung’s ear and bit on his earlobe, brushing his lips down the length of his neck. Taehyung tilted his head back to expose his throat for better access; Jimin bit down lightly on the delicate skin. 

 

“Mr…” Jimin purred. “…Kim?” He smiled deviously, before his breath hitched as he felt Taehyung’s hand wrap around his neck. 

 

“No.” Taehyung growled; Jimin blinked in surprise at the low register of Taehyung’s voice. He swore he could hear something primal and angry in the depths of Taehyung’s throat, something he hadn’t heard before. It made Jimin curious, and also slightly uneasy. He hissed as Taehyung applied more pressure to his throat.

 

“.. T–,” Jimin felt a stinging pain in the area at the bottom of his neck, above his clavicle. “Tae–,” his breath stuck in his throat and he gasped as Taehyung pressed down harder. His blood began to rush in panic, and the words stuck in his throat. The pain shot through his neck and he clawed at Taehyung’s hand, attempting to pull it away. “Stop.” Jimin felt lightheaded. “ Taehyung, stop.” “T-Tae..h-,hy…S-stop!” He squeaked, his eyes beginning to water. 

 

Taehyung’s eyes widened in alarm, and he immediately released his hold on Jimin’s throat. Jimin braced himself against Taehyung’s chest as he coughed and gasped. Taehyung’s hands began to shake and his voice trembled. “Fuck, J-Jimin? A-Are you okay!?” He moved to place his hands on Jimin’s shoulders, but stopped himself. “Did I hurt you? Holy shit, I’m so fucking sorry, oh my god–,” His words tumbled over one another in concerned panic.

 

Jimin shook his head, regaining his breath. “No, it’s okay, sorry–,” He attempted to slow his breathing, to no avail. “I just need a second–,”

 

Taehyung nodded. “Here, let me get you some water–,” He moved to shift out from underneath Jimin, taking extra caution with his movements. Quietly, he exited the room. Jimin took a few moments to calm himself before getting up from the bed and venturing into the bathroom. “Oh, yeah.” He looked at the shattered mirror in front of him; he’d forgotten about that. He shrugged off his shirt, peering in the broken remains of the mirror at a bandage taped to the base of where his neck met his clavicle – it was stained red. He pressed on it lightly, and hissed at the pain. 

 

“Jimin?” He heard his name from the bedroom, and Taehyung entered the bathroom holding a bottle of water; his eyes widened at the sight of Jimin. He wasn’t sure if it was the sight of him shirtless, or the bloodied bandage on his neck, but both took Taehyung by surprise and he gasped. “What is that? Holy shit, are you okay?” He offered Jimin the bottle, who accepted it with both hands.

 

Jimin chuckled sheepishly. “Yeah, yeah I’m okay.” He nodded and took a sip from the water.

 

Taehyung raised his hands to observe the bandage, but stopped himself before touching Jimin. “May I…?”

 

Jimin regarded him for a second, before nodding his head. “How many times is it now?” The analysis of Taehyung’s character was becoming a growing bank of thoughts in his mind.

 

Taehyung nodded, gently lifting the bandage from Jimin’s skin; his breath hitched as it revealed a deep cut, bleeding from the pressure that Taehyung had just placed on his neck minutes before. Taehyung suddenly felt extremely ashamed of himself. “Holy shit,” He whispered, placing the bandage back down. “Hold on.” He rummaged through his bathroom cabinets, producing some first aid supplies that he’d gotten when he had cut his hand at the club. “May I?” He asked Jimin again, holding up the bandage and other things. He waited for Jimin to nod before proceeding in removing his soiled bandage. Taehyung cleaned the cut carefully, apologizing for the pain that the alcohol brought while disinfecting. He looked closely at the cut; it was clean, but alarmingly deep; Taehyung thought of his own scar that was forming on his hand. He thought it a pity if the cut on Jimin’s pretty skin were to create a scar. Jimin remained silent, though he clutched Taehyung’s arm tightly when the latter cleaned his skin with an alcohol wipe. He laughed to cope with the stinging pain, squeezing Taehyung’s arm suddenly. Taehyung placed a new bandage firmly onto his neck. “Jimin… What happened?” 

 

Jimin sucked his teeth. “Well…” He looked around Taehyung’s bathroom, mostly keeping his eyes on the floor. “Uhm… A client.” He settled on that answer, smiling weakly. “He, uh… got a little too rough.”

 

Taehyung raised his eyebrow at Jimin’s answer. “A client… did this to him? What kind of shit does Jimin get paid to deal with?” He felt anguish in the pit of his stomach, sharp enough to make his chest hollow; he suddenly felt incredibly sad, and angry. “A client hurt you like this? The one from this morning?” He thought of having brunch earlier that morning; Jimin was in a turtleneck sweater, he remembered. 

 

Jimin averted his gaze, becoming shy. “… Y–,Yeah.”

 

Taehyung wondered the reasons why, all of sudden, his blood boiled – he felt absolutely enraged . His mind flitted to Seokjin; did Seokjin do this? Was Jimin covering to protect him? If he did what he did to Jeongguk… There was a very viable possibility, in Taehyung’s mind, that Seokjin definitely could have hurt Jimin – and it made him absolutely livid. His mind flashed to Yoongi’s words that very morning: “I don’t think he’d touch Jimin…Then again, I didn’t think he’d touch Jeongguk, either.”

 

“Thanks, Taehyung.” Jimin’s words snapped Taehyung from his thoughts; he smiled at Jimin, though he felt his blood boiling in his veins. 

 

Back in the bedroom, Taehyung sat next to Jimin on the bed, maintaining space between them. A few minutes of silence stretched, interrupted only by the sound of Jimin drinking water. Taehyung broke the silence. “Jimin, I…” He paused. “I’m really sorry. I didn’t realize, and I should have, and I know you said it’s okay, but it’s not.” He bit his bottom lip, face scrunched in apology as he stared at the floor.

 

Jimin shook his head and smiled. “Taehyung, it’s really not a big deal–,”

 

“Yes it is.” Taehyung interrupted firmly, looking up at Jimin. “It is a big deal. You were already hurting and I made it worse. I was being selfish.” 

 

“Is he really beating himself up over this?” Jimin stared intently into Taehyung’s eyes. “Taehyung…” He scooted closer to Taehyung and placed his hand on Taehyung’s thigh. “It’s fine, it’s not your fault.” His hand traveled up Taehyung’s thigh. 

 

Taehyung’s breath quickened at Jimin’s hand on his thigh; stubbornly, he placed his own hand on Jimin’s to stop him. “Stop. You don’t have to, you know. We don’t have to.” 

 

Jimin froze, and pulled back instinctively. “Stop? You don’t want to?” He tugged his hand to withdraw from under Taehyung’s, but Taehyung’s hand enclosed around his and kept him there. 

 

“Jimin, don’t.” Taehyung squeezed his hand. “You’re absolutely fucking intoxicating.” He murmured. “Don’t think I don’t want to. I just don’t want you to feel like we have to. You’re not at work.”

 

Jimin eyed him with an expression on his face that Taehyung couldn’t quite figure out. “I know I’m not.” He pouted, becoming flustered. 

 

Taehyung chuckled. “I invited you over because I like spending time with you.” He released Jimin’s hand. “I absolutely love fucking you,” his voice lowered into a murmuring growl, before returning to a normal register. “But I like spending time with you, too. Just like this, just us.” He smiled. “I still have a long way to get to know you.”

 

Jimin felt chills run down his spine at Taehyung’s growl and his words. He felt blood pumping in his veins; fuck, that raspy growl was sexy . Jimin’s eyes softened into a sultry look, and he leaned closer to Taehyung. “I’m sorry, what was that?” He purred, squeezing Taehyung’s leg.

 

Taehyung watched in wonder as Jimin’s persona seemed to shift; he was reminded of the duality of the working entertainer once again, and the corner of his mouth stretched into a smirk. “I… like spending time with you?”

 

Jimin’s plump lips stretched into a smile as he stared at Taehyung’s lips. “The… other part.”

 

“I absolutely love fucking you.” 

 

“Oh?” Jimin’s hand snaked up Taehyung’s chest as he leaned in closer. He moved to close the space between them, but stopped before their lips met. “So fuck me then, baby.”

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

Taehyung’s breath was ragged as he pulled Jimin onto him, being careful to avoid touching the wound in his neck. Jimin pulled at his shirt, peeling it off of Taehyung’s hot skin. Their kisses were messy, passionate, and aggressive; Taehyung felt a burn of desire in the pit of his stomach that ignited at the beckoning of lust for Jimin. Gently, Taehyung turned Jimin to lay him down, playing with his tongue in between Jimin’s parted lips as he did so.

 

“Ninety…” Taehyung breathed. “Five.”

 

Jimin wrapped his arms around Taehyung’s neck, relishing in the contact of his skin with Taehyung’s. “Hmm?” He brushed breathy kisses along Taehyung’s neck, flicking his tongue out and teasing him.

 

“Ninety five.” Taehyung repeated. He propped himself up, admiring Jimin underneath him. He searched the depths of Jimin’s eyes compassionately, and smiled at the look of confusion. “If you want to stop.” Taehyung smiled. “Just say ninety-five.” 

 

Jimin tilted his head. “A safe word?” Though he was familiar in his personal affairs, as far as clients went, this was a first; unfortunately, in his line of work, he was discouraged from encouraging anything that could potentially stop a client from fulfilling their booking; it meant maneuvering himself and his clients in the most complicated of ways. Jimin had yet to encounter something he couldn’t handle; that didn’t mean that his work hadn’t left him with invisible – and, well, now visible – battle scars. His expression softened, and he nodded. “Thank you.” He whispered, before he scrunched his nose. “Why ninety-five?”

 

Taehyung chuckled. “It’s the year I was born.” He shrugged. “You can always tell me something else.”

 

Jimin blinked. “We’re… the same age?” He smiled and shook his head. “No, ninety-five is fine.”

 

Taehyung mirrored his smile, and ran his hand through Jimin’s hair. He dipped down to place a light kiss on Jimin’s head. “Don’t hold yourself back if you’re not comfortable, please.” He murmured.

 

Jimin clawed into the back of Taehyung’s hair, pulling his head back. “Don’t hold back either, Taehyung. Please.” Taehyung noted the devilish glint in Jimin’s eyes, and wondered just how much Jimin could really take. He inhaled sharply as Jimin ran his nails down the length of Taehyung’s neck, scratching down his chest. Taehyung growled, igniting fire in Jimin’s eyes – he wanted to push Taehyung as far as he could, wanted Taehyung to take him to places Jimin had never dared to venture. He grabbed at Taehyung hungrily, who slotted his leg between Jimin’s and began to grind against him; to Jimin’s surprise, they were both hard. His breath became ragged as he felt Taehyung’s erection pressing against his own; he wanted the clothes out of the way immediately, starving for Taehyung in a way he’d never wanted a client before. “F–,fuck, Taehyung–,” Jimin panted. “I want you, so fucking bad.” He palmed Taehyung's dick through his pants, unsnapping the button easily and pulling at the fabric.

 

“How bad?” Taehyung breathed into Jimin’s ear before he bit down on his earlobe; the way Jimin shivered and whimpered underneath him made his dick begin to drip. He thought hungrily of Jimin’s lips on his cock.

 

“So fucking bad, baby.” Jimin whined, bucking up against Taehyung’s hips. He released the button of his pants, shrugging them down aggressively. Taehyung’s dick strained against the fabric of his underwear. 

 

“You want to know what I want?” Taehyung murmured as he brushed his lips along Jimin’s jawline, and waited until Jimin nodded to continue. “I want…” He placed his finger on Jimin’s plump bottom lip. “These beautiful lips, your exquisite fucking mouth…” He rubbed Jimin’s bottom lip gently before he slipped his finger inside Jimin’s mouth, devouring the way Jimin’s lips looked as his mouth closed and sucked on it. “On my cock.” He finished, pushing a second finger into Jimin’s mouth and hooking towards the back of his throat. “Can I have that… baby ?” Jimin’s eyes began to gloss, but he did not gag. Taehyung smirked. Jimin moved to push Taehyung off of him to switch their positions, but Taehyung stopped him. “No. Stay.” He straightened up, getting off of the bed to shed the rest of his clothes; Jimin eyed him as his dick dropped out of his bottoms, erect and already flushed at the tip. It made Jimin’s own erection throb; Taehyung pulled Jimin’s bottoms off as well, surprising him as he bent down to plant a kiss on the tip of Jimin’s dick; Jimin gasped. Taehyung got back on the bed and positioned himself on top, on his knees and Jimin went cross-eyed as Taehyung’s dick lolled in front of his face. Taehyung put his thumb on Jimin’s bottom lip, pressing down lightly as he admired him. “Open.” Jimin was intrigued at the command that Taehyung had taken, and it turned him on. Obligingly, he dropped his mouth open, letting out a breathy moan as Taehyung’s dick filled his mouth. Taehyung tossed his head back, moaning as the wet warmth of Jimin’s mouth enclosed on his dick – fuck, that felt so fucking good. Jimin stuck out his tongue, saliva dripping down his chin as he allowed Taehyung more entrance. He sucked in his cheeks, moving his head with Taehyung’s strokes. “Fuh–,fuck, Jimin,” Taehyung looked down at him, his breath catching in his throat as Jimin’s eyes met his. There was just something about Jimin locking eyes with him while his dick filled his mouth that drove Taehyung wild. “That feels… so fucking good .” He growled, caressing Jimin’s face for a moment before grabbing a handful of his hair. He bucked into Jimin’s mouth suddenly, catching the latter by surprise. “I said…” Taehyung paused. “Open.” Jimin blinked before slacking his jaw in cooperation. “Okay?” Jimin looked up at him and nodded. Taehyung rammed his dick into Jimin’s mouth roughly, picking up his pace. Jimin’s eyes watered as he obediently kept his mouth open, his breathing ragged as the tip of Taehyung’s dick thrust at the back of his throat. He moaned as his dick leaked with precum, throbbing in desperate desire for contact. Taehyung entangled his fingers in Jimin’s hair, fucking into his mouth roughly and admiring the way he took him entirely, almost effortlessly. Jimin allowed himself to be pliable in Taehyung’s hands, relishing in the way adrenaline pumped through his veins and the way Taehyung fucking his face made him feel delightfully lightheaded. Spit dribbled from his lips, covering his chin as he gasped and spit on Taehyung’s hard cock. “That’s it, baby.” Taehyung growled. “You take me so fucking good.” 

 

Jimin raised his eyebrows. Was this the same Taehyung ? The one from last night, who was so careful with every move? The one who seemed like he was going to cry, the one who just wanted to cuddle him, the one who Jimin felt was lost in his world? Maybe Taehyung hadn’t wandered into the wrong world after all , Jimin thought. Maybe he was exactly where he needed to be. Jimin pushed his tongue out, allowing Taehyung to fuck his throat mercilessly. His eyes rolled in the back of his head as he struggled to breathe, relishing every second of it. 

 

“Holy shit, hyung.” 

 

Taehyung froze. Jimin blinked, taking a few seconds to come back through the fog of his headspace; he knew the voice, but couldn’t see Jeongguk because, well, Taehyung was kind of covering his entire field of vision. Taehyung withdrew from Jimin immediately, his face searing hot as he blushed and he moved off of Jimin. “Jeongguk!” Taehyung squeaked.

 

Jeongguk stood in the doorway, arms crossed with a smirk across his face. 

 

Jimin sat up, wiping the mess of spit and precum on his mouth. “Hey, Guk.” He chuckled. “How are you feeling?”

 

“You’re such a slut, hyung.” Jeongguk teased. “Better now, thanks for the dinner, Taehyung.” He approached the bed, hands in the pockets of the sweatpants he wore – Taehyung’s sweatpants. “Oh, and for the clothes.” He locked eyes with Taehyung; Taehyung knew that devilish glint, he’d seen it plenty of times before. 

 

“Y-You’re welcome, Jeongguk.” Taehyung sputtered. He moved to cover himself with the sheets. 

 

Jeongguk crawled onto the bed. “Let me thank you.” He purred, and Taehyung’s breath caught in his throat.

 

“W–,what?” Taehyung scooted away from him before Jimin placed his hand on Taehyung’s chest, keeping him there. 

 

“What’s the matter, Taehyung?” Jimin cooed.

 

“Didn’t you want both of us?” Jeongguk followed, crawling on top of Taehyung, who laid back underneath him. 

 

Taehyung’s eyes were wide. Are they serious?! “Thu–that’s not whu–,what I meant–,”

 

“It’s not?” Jeongguk smirked. “Are you sure?”

 

Taehyung’s hands pricked with sweat. “Jeongguk, you’re not well–,”

 

“Then help me feel better, Taehyung.” Jeongguk’s growl took Taehyung by surprise. Taehyung glanced at Jimin, who looked as seductively dangerous as Jeongguk. Taehyung swallowed hard.

 

Jimin ran his hand along Taehyung’s chest. “It’s okay, Taehyung. Let us please you, baby.” He brushed his lips against Taehyung’s. “You can stop us at any time.” Taehyung felt Jeongguk’s eyes burning holes into him, and he turned to meet them. 

 

“What are you scared of?” Jeongguk settled in between Taehyung’s legs and tugged at the sheets, his starry eyes widening as Taehyung’s erect dick, flushed and slick with precum, revealed itself. “Holy shit, Taehyung–,” Jeongguk felt a primal hunger bubble within the depths of his belly. “You’re fucking huge .” Taehyung blushed, squirming underneath him. Jeongguk’s lips stretched into a smile and he licked the tip of Taehyung’s dick, enclosing his mouth around it and dipping down slowly. Taehyung inhaled sharply as he watched Jeongguk take the length of his dick into his mouth; Taehyung’s head spun and his eyes rolled back as he closed them and indulged in the sheer pleasure that flowed through his body. Jimin’s eyes intently watched him and he smiled, tipping Taehyung’s chin to the side to allow Jimin’s lips to meet his. Jimin kissed him deeply, passionately, and Taehyung moaned into his lips as Jeongguk worked his mouth along the length of Taehyung’s shaft. Clumsily, Taehyung reached for Jimin’s dick, thumbing the tip and bucking into Jeongguk’s mouth when he felt Jimin’s tip slick with precum. He smiled into their kiss, stroking Jimin slowly, fondling him and stroking his length until he heard the faint mewl from Jimin’s lips; his moans were music to Taehyung’s ears, and he wanted to keep Jimin singing forever. 

 

Taehyung felt the burning sensation of his climax beginning to creep upon him, but strained to control himself. There was absolutely no fucking way he was going to orgasm already; not when Jeongguk had just got here, not before he got to fuck Jimin’s brains out. “S–suh…” He breathed, his tongue sitting thick and heavy in his mouth. “S–stop.” He said, placing a hand on Jeongguk’s head gently. 

 

Jeongguk raised his eyebrows, obliging and withdrawing his mouth from Taehyung’s dick. Jimin’s eyes went slightly wide as he pulled his face away from Taehyung’s to observe him. He searched Taehyung’s eyes with concern. “Ninety five?”

 

Taehyung shook his head and smiled, caressing Jimin’s face. “Thank you for asking.” He chuckled before his voice dropped into a low, growling register. “No, I just…” He bit his lip to suppress a shy smile. “I want to watch.” 

 

An expression of curious surprise flitted across Jeongguk’s face as he looked at Jimin. They both exchanged looks before looking at Taehyung. “You want to watch… us?” Jeongguk asked, though the answer was obvious.

 

Taehyung nodded slowly, pulling himself to sit up. “That’s right.” Jimin caught the dominant tone in Taehyung’s voice that seemed to come and go; it piqued his interest. “I didn’t get to enjoy it last time.” His mind flashed to the room within the depths of the underground level of The Parthenon; seeing Jimin and Jeongguk naked for the first time, tangled in each other at – he grimaced – Seokjin’s command. 

 

Jeongguk was clearly surprised; Jimin picked up the response for him. “What do you want to watch us do?” He purred, running his hand along Taehyung’s arm. 

 

Taehyung turned to look at him with a dark gaze that caught Jimin off guard when he met his eyes. “Whatever you enjoy doing.” The dark glint in his eye disappeared for a second as he looked at Jeongguk. “Oh, unless you don’t enjoy doing anything with each other–,” His cheeks flushed. “I shouldn’t have assumed, you’re not at work.” He smiled weakly.

 

Jimin shook his head, chuckling. “We’d be happy to please you, right Guk?” Jimin ran his hands along Taehyung’s chest, cherishing the feeling of his hot skin underneath his fingertips. Jeongguk nodded quickly, eager to please. 

 

Taehyung smiled and pet Jeongguk’s hair. “Oh! If you want to stop at any time, Jeongguk. Just say nine–,”

 

“He was born in ’97.” Jimin interrupted. 

 

Taehyung raised an eyebrow at Jimin, registering his interruption. “Okay… If you feel uncomfortable, Jeongguk,” he looked back at Jeongguk, “Just say ninety–seven, and we’ll stop.” He smiled.

 

“Okay?” Jeongguk tilted his head, but he didn’t question it. 

 

With that, Taehyung got up from the bed, moving to sit in a chair in the corner of the room. He felt suddenly very exposed, and took an article of clothing from the floor to drape over his lap. He nodded at the men on the bed. “Go ahead. Whatever you like.” He placed his hand on his erection, stroking slowly; just enough to maintain himself for as long as he could keep control.

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

Watching the way that Jimin and Jeongguk entwined their bodies in a play of sensual euphoria made Taehyung question whether or not he was conscious and aware – or maybe Seokjin really had killed him and everything since then had been limbo, and now he was at the gates of heaven, the song of moans slipping from the men’s lips beckoning him further. His vision tunneled as he watched their hands explore each other; his ears relished in the sound of heavy breathing and moans escaping their lips. Jimin was exquisite, and Jeongguk was powerful and salient; the experience of the two together was exalting. Taehyung shifted in his hand, sucking his teeth as he kept himself at bay. 

 

Jimin’s neck was buried in the crook of Jeongguk’s; he looked up to meet Taehyung’s eyes from across the room. The two shared an electrifying moment of silent communication as Jimin’s eyes pierced into Taehyung’s; it suddenly felt like they were the only two in the room. “Come join us, Taehyung.” Jimin mewled. 

 

Taehyung rose from the chair, realizing with surprise that any concept of refusal had not crossed his mind whatsoever; it was as though Jimin had him under a spell. He silently joined both men on the bed, breath hitching in his throat as their hands explored him. Jeongguk pulled him roughly into a kiss, to Taehyung’s surprise.

 

“Fuck me, Taehyung.” Jeongguk growled. “Jimin already had you, it’s not fair. Fuck me first.”

 

Taehyung broke for air, inhaling sharply as Jeongguk bit down on his bottom lip aggressively; Taehyung moaned. “Jeongguk, calm down–,”

 

Jimin chuckled, snaking his arms around Taehyung’s shoulders and stroking his chest from behind. “It’s okay.” He murmured close to Taehyung’s ear, and it sent chills down his spine. “Gukie’s a brat, I would know.” Jeongguk pouted at Jimin. “He hates coming second…” Jimin purred, and Taehyung shivered at the hidden intentions dripping in his voice. “The poor baby is sick. Make him feel better, Taehyung.” Jimin drew closer to Taehyung’s ear, pressing his body up against Taehyung from behind. “Save yourself for me.” He whispered, swollen pink lips brushing against Taehyung’s ear. 

 

Taehyung shivered violently; he felt Jimin’s erection pressing up against his back and groaned. His dick throbbed and ached with the building climax that boiled inside of him. Was Jimin… denying him? He doubted he could last through two orgasms; Taehyung was exhausted. What time was it, anyway? Biting his lip, grabbed the lube and began to slick his fingers.

 

Jeongguk shook his head. “No. Fuck me, Taehyung. Just fuck me.”

 

Taehyung raised an eyebrow. “No, Jeongguk, it’ll hurt–,”

 

“I’ll be fine. Trust me.” Jeongguk and Jimin flashed a look at each other, leaving Taehyung confused. He looked at Jimin questioningly, who nodded.

 

“He likes it, Taehyung. Go on.” Jimin stroked Taehyung’s hair from behind, encouraging him.

 

Taehyung bit his lip in uncertainty. “What do you say if you need me to stop?” 

 

Jeongguk exhaled sharply as he was becoming impatient. “What?”

 

Taehyung eyed him. “You really are a fucking brat.” He observed Jeongguk’s reaction; he swore he saw the glint in his eyes that Taehyung normally saw in Ares. So he is into that kind of thing. He leaned forward, cupping Jeongguk’s face in his hand roughly. “Maybe you should listen harder. What do you say when you need to stop? It’s a number, and it’s really not that fucking hard , Jeongguk.” His voice lowered into a growl and he could feel the heat radiating from Jeongguk’s body. Jimin observed Taehyung with intrigue.

 

Jeongguk smiled deviously in Taehyung’s hand. “If I say it now, you’ll stop.” His eyes sparkled with dark delight. “It’s the year I was born. Now hurry up and fuck me, Taehyung. Now .”

 

Taehyung eyed Jeongguk darkly from under hooded lids. He let go of Jeongguk’s face, only to bring his hand back and slap him sharply. “I’ll make you wait longer if you keep it up.” 

 

Jeongguk felt electric waves surging through his body as he relished in the stinging pain of the slap; he smiled. “I’ll behave.”

 

“Good boy.” Taehyung grabbed a condom and the lube, slicking himself. “Turn over.” He shoved Jeongguk to turn him around before lining up and penetrating him slowly; his body went into overdrive at the sensation and it was all Taehyung could do to not give out right then and there. “F-Fuh–, oh, fuck .” Taehyung gasped as his eyes rolled into his head. 

 

Jeongguk’s back arched as Taehyung filled him, and he moaned loudly, clawing into the sheets. The girth of Taehyung’s cock strained him, but the pain from the stretch felt so fucking good . “Holy sh–,shit, T-Tae–,h–hyung…” Jeongguk gasped. “Fuh–,fuck me. ” Jimin moved off the bed, and Taehyung observed him curiously as he simply kneeled by the bedside and grasped Jeongguk’s hand in his own. Taehyung raised an eyebrow at him and he smiled, focusing his attention more on Jeongguk, though the latter had his face buried in the sheets. “What’s your color, Guk?” He squeezed his hand.

 

Jeongguk’s eyes rolled in the back of his head as the stinging pain sent shocks through his body. “G–,guh–,” He clutched Jimin’s hand tightly. “Green, hyung.” He managed to gasp.

 

Jimin nodded and stroked the back of his hand. He glanced at Taehyung, simply nodding. 

 

The feeling of being inside Jeongguk was electrifying, and Taehyung moaned as he began to settle into Jeongguk and pick up his pace. He kneaded Jeongguk’s ass with his hands, breathing heavily as he strained every fibre in his being to hold himself back. He threw his head back, closing his eyes because the room was starting to spin. 

 

“Spank him, Taehyung.” Jimin cooed from somewhere off to Taehyung’s side; he couldn’t discern directions at this point. “Hit him. He fucking loves it.” Jimin grabbed Jeongguk’s hair, yanking his head from being buried in the sheets. “Don’t you, Gukie? You fucking love it?”

 

Jeongguk’s brow was covered in sweat and he simply nodded weakly. “Yes,” he whimpered. “Taehyung, hit me.”

 

Taehyung raised his eyebrow – what an interesting fucking dynamic they had going on here? – and drew back his hand, landing contact with Jeongguk’s ass in a stinging slap. Jeongguk whimpered and bottomed out, taking all of Taehyung’s length inside him; Taehyung began to see stars. “F–fuck, sh–shit, I’m c–close,” Taehyung gasped. Jimin shot him a look that he definitely did not miss and he moaned as the torture of denial washed over him – whatever you do, don’t fucking come yet.  

 

“Fuck, Taehyung, you’re so f–,fucking hu–,huge,” Jeongguk whined. He turned his head to face Jimin, who stroked his hair and wiped his budding tears.

 

“Color, baby.” Jimin brushed the matted hair from Jeongguk’s forehead gently.

 

“Guh–,green, hyung. Fucking green.” Jeongguk breathed, before simply dropping his mouth open; they needed no further vocal exchange, and Taehyung’s eyes went wide as Jimin slapped his hard cock on Jeongguk’s tongue, pushing his length into the youngest’s mouth. 

 

“Don’t fucking think about it, Taehyung.” Jimin’s eyes glanced up from Jeongguk to Taehyung. “Jeongguk comes first.” He said, beginning to buck roughly into Jeongguk’s mouth. He threw his head back as tears spilled from Jeongguk’s eyes and saliva dripped down his chin. 

 

Taehyung swore he was going to pass out; Seokjin had definitely killed him, and maybe this was actually purgatory instead of heaven. “I–,” He felt Jeongguk’s ass slapping his hips and groaned. “I don’t nuh–,know i–if I cuh–,can…” He whimpered. 

 

Jimin fucked Jeongguk’s mouth roughly, and Jeongguk let out a high–pitched whine as he choked on Jimin’s length. “You close, aren’t you, Guk?” With tears streaming down his cheeks and his mouth full, Jeongguk moaned in response. “He’s fucking you so good, isn’t he, baby?” Jimin cooed, stroking his hair. “Is he gonna make you come? Come for him, baby. You’re so fucking pretty and he wants to see you come.” 

 

Taehyung’s vision went completely static for moments as he felt Jeongguk tighten suddenly around his cock; he let out a raspy cry as he forced himself holy fucking hell to not fucking come, don’t fucking do it, don’t fucking come. Jeongguk’s back arched and he nearly screamed as he climaxed, finishing all over the sheets underneath him. His body shook violently and went limp; Jimin swiftly moved him to avoid collapsing into the wet spot on the sheets. 

 

The burn in Taehyung’s thighs was unbearable; as he withdrew from Jeongguk, his dick throbbed violently; simply touching it to slip off the condom sent electricity searing through his body. He whimpered, the pain of denying his orgasm making his body run hot.

 

“You did so well, Gukie.” Jimin was half laying on the bed, stroking Jeongguk’s hair. “Didn’t he, Taehyung? He looked so fucking pretty being fucked by your cock?”

 

Taehyung wanted to tell Jimin to shut the fuck up because holy shit, the way those words sounded coming out of Jimin’s mouth , but he nodded to go along. “You felt so fucking amazing, Jeongguk. You’re so tight and you took me so fucking well.” He panted, reaching to rub circles in Jeongguk’s back gently. “You’re absolutely fucking beautiful.”

 

Jeongguk panted into the sheets, completely spent. “M’ sleepy, hyung.” He murmured.

 

“You tired, Gukie? Go to sleep, baby. Go to sleep right here.” Jimin moved to cover him with a blanket that wasn’t dirty. “We can shower in the morning.” He moved to kiss Jeongguk’s forehead and shot a look at Taehyung, who blinked before moving quickly to do the same; he planted a light kiss on Jeongguk’s forehead. 

 

“Goodnight, Jeongguk.” Taehyung smiled.

 

In what seemed like seconds, Jeongguk was snoring lightly away; Taehyung was surprised at how quickly he fell asleep. Still reeling, Taehyung laid on his back on the bed, breathing heavily. His breath caught in surprise as Jimin draped himself on top of him. Jimin smiled, touching him delicately. “Taehyung…” he leaned close to whisper into Taehyung’s ear. “My turn, baby.”

 

Taehyung’s eyes rolled in his head. “Jimin, I-, I don’t think I can last…” 

 

Jimin chuckled lightly. “They never do.” He pinched Taehyung’s earlobe in his teeth. “Cum in my mouth then, let me taste you. You can fuck me later.”

 

Taehyung swallowed hard. “No.” He entangled his fingers in Jimin’s hair, and caressed his face. “I want to taste you, too.” His eyes searched the depths of Jimin’s, exalted by this new world that he had dove into. “I’m going to taste you.” His voice was a raspy, guttural growl.

 

Jimin smiled deviously at him, before they entangled their bodies in heated passion while Jeongguk slept soundly right beside them.

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

Taehyung looked pretty as he slept, Jimin observed, as he lay on his side next to him. Jeongguk snored away on the other side of Taehyung, who nestled in the middle of the bed. Jimin also observed that Taehyung was troubled; or so he figured as much, because Taehyung mumbled and whined in his sleep quite a bit. When Jimin reached to brush Taehyung’s dark curls with his fingers, even in his sleep, Taehyung leaned into his touch. It gave Jimin a sensation in his chest that he wasn’t completely familiar with, which made him uneasy – but looking at Taehyung sleeping peacefully only made Jimin want to caress him more. He breathed evenly, matching his rhythm with Taehyung’s as he caught a glimpse of the light of the sunrise beginning to peek through the curtains. Taehyung’s alarm would probably go off soon, Jimin thought. As he admired Taehyung’s tranquility, he wished he could stop time, even for a few moments, just to stay like this for a while. 

 

Unsurprisingly, Taehyung slept through his alarm; Jimin, who had just begun to nod off when it rang, was the one to prod him. An interesting new revelation to Jimin about Taehyung: he was a deep sleeper. “Taehyung,” he whispered. He tapped him delicately; no response. “Taehyung,” he shook him a little, raising his voice slightly; still no response. Jimin raised his eyebrows in curiosity. Gently, he draped himself on Taehyung’s chest, planting a soft kiss on Taehyung’s lips. He lingered for longer than he expected himself to; his breath hitched in surprise as Taehyung shifted under him. Jimin felt Taehyung’s hand on the back of his head, and Taehyung became alive under him as he deepened the kiss. Jimin broke away first. “You have work, Taehyung.”

 

Scrunching his face, Taehyung rubbed his eyes sleepily. “Work? No, I died and went to heaven. There’s no work in heaven.” He turned his head to flop back on the pillow.

 

Jimin giggled. “Taehyung…” He thought for a second. “I want you.” He purred as he ran his nails lightly along the skin of Taehyung’s chest; he could see the chills and Taehyung shivered under him.

 

Taehyung opened one eye, then both, blinking as his vision came into focus. He looked into Jimin’s eyes; did he really just wake up next to him? Was this a dream? He looked to his left; Jeongguk snored away. Surprised, he felt the need to hit himself; waking up to both Jeongguk and Jimin on either side of him was definitely a dream.

 

Jimin chuckled. “You’re a heavy sleeper.” He moved to get off of Taehyung. 

 

Taehyung sat up, rubbing his face. “I know.” He yawned and stretched. “That was the best sleep I’ve gotten in a long time…” He peered around for his watch or his phone. “Even if it was only a few hours.” He glanced at Jimin with a smirk.

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

Taehyung’s morning back in office was relatively uneventful; he apologized profusely to his boss, the president of the company, thanking him for the slack last week and sheepishly letting him know that he was in the middle of some personal issues and moving house this week. Taehyung worked under only one person at the top of the organization; so, thankfully, as long as he was on his good side, he would be fine. He received approval to work remotely more often, and it relieved him to know he could spend more time with Jeongguk; he wondered anxiously about his condition.

 

taehyung –– 11:31 a.m.

i hope you two are sleeping well

how’s jeongguk?

 

During lunch, Taehyung phoned the leasing agency in order to expedite the process of moving. The woman he contacted offered viewings in several districts throughout the week; he simply asked for photos and details, but she insisted he attend viewings, to which he agreed to dryly. He thanked her for her time, and she said she looked forward to working with him tomorrow.

 

jimin –– 1:02 p.m.

good morning 

jeongguk is still asleep

how’s work?

 

Taehyung nearly threw his phone across the room when he quickly grabbed it at the sound of the notification. He smiled at the screen.

 

taehyung –– 1:04 p.m.

it’s… work

let me know when he wakes up

 

Taehyung paused, chewing on his lip.

 

taehyung –– 1:05 p.m.

did you sleep well?

 

He stared at his phone for a few minutes, before putting it aside and convincing himself to get back to work. He jumped when it pinged again. His eyes widened and he nearly dropped his phone as he opened the message; it was a photo of shirtless Jimin, with a towel wrapped – Taehyung swallowed – pretty loosely around his waist.

 

jimin –– 1:42 p.m.

your shampoo smells nice

 

Flustered, Taehyung locked his phone and placed it face–down on his desk. He felt his face getting hot as his mind wandered wildly to the events of last night; he swallowed hard as he felt the pressure against his pants just from the thoughts. He jumped at the sound of his work phone ringing loudly. Clearing his throat, he picked up the receiver. “Good afternoon, Kim Taehyung speaking.”

 

“Executive vice president, Kim Taehyung?” 

 

Taehyung’s eyes widened and his breath caught in his throat. It sounded like – Jimin?! His eyes glanced around, and he swallowed dryly. “Yes, may I ask who’s calling?” Taehyung heard a chuckle on the other side of the line – definitely Jimin.

 

“I have a request to make, Mr. Kim.” 

 

Taehyung grimaced. “Of course. How may I assist you?”

 

“You didn’t text me back.” 

 

Taehyung raised his eyebrow. He peered at the frosted glass wall of his office, but no one was in the hallway. He adjusted his tie nervously. “I apologize, sir.” The last word felt odd. He heard Jimin chuckling again.

 

“Do you sit at a big desk, executive vice president?”

 

Where was he going with this? And how the hell did Jimin get his work number?! “Yes, sir. That’s correct.”

 

“Do you miss me yet?” Taehyung felt beads of sweat beginning to prick on the palms of his hands; he didn’t respond. “Do you miss the way I sound when you’re inside of me, the way I look when you fill my mouth with your cock? Do you m–,” 

 

Taehyung choked on his spit and coughed abruptly. “Sir, I–,” His breath quickened in pace.

 

“Don’t fucking interrupt me, Taehyung.” 

 

Taehyung shrunk into himself; his jaw clenched as he felt the burn of desire begin to ignite just below his belt. He raised an eyebrow; Jimin’s personality surprised him at every turn.  “I apologize, sir.” He grabbed a notepad, scrawling aimlessly on it to keep himself distracted.

 

“Baby…” Jimin cooed. “Touch yourself for me. Under your desk, go on. I know you were thinking about me before you picked up this phone. I know you’re thinking about fucking me, Taehyung. I’m thinking about you fucking me, too.” 

 

“Sir, I sincerely apologize for the misunderstanding.” Taehyung’s breathing was becoming ragged. “However, I don’t think it’s a viable option. I’d have to look at the report from last quarter.” Jimin took over Taehyung’s mind, and his thoughts were filled with everything about him – the curves of his body, his luscious, inviting lips, his sweet scent, and the way his eyes pierced Taehyung every time he looked at him.

 

“Taehyung, I want you. I’m touching myself just for you, baby.” Jimin moaned. “Come on, don’t you want me too?”

 

Taehyung’s hand snaked underneath his desk, and he palmed at himself through his slacks. He was surprised at himself – was he seriously indulging Jimin in this? At work ?! Taehyung had to admit, though, that just the sound of Jimin’s voice drove him absolutely wild – Jimin was sharp to have picked up on it , he thought. Silently, he unbuckled the clasp to his belt; shoving the hem of his underwear, he grasped himself and began to stroke; he was already hard. “Yes, of course, sir. Your satisfaction is of the utmost importance to us.” He strained to control his breathing. “I would be happy to personally see to it that your issue is resolved. Please continue, I’d like to listen to what you have to say.”

 

Jimin’s breath muffled into the phone as he laughed lightly. “That’s it, baby. Stroke yourself for me.” The veins in Taehyung’s neck bulged as he heard Jimin moaning on the other end of the line. “Fuck, Taehyung, I want you so fucking bad.” 

 

Jesus fucking Christ Jimin was going to be the death of him, Taehyung thought as he jerked himself under the desk. He whined, cock slick with precum, feeling almost pathetic as the burn inside his thighs warned him he was already close. Fuck, Taehyung panted, What the fuck did Jimin do to him?

 

“Thank you for sharing your concerns w–wuh, with m–,me, suh–,sir.” Taehyung cursed at himself, trying desperately to keep his composure. He nearly panicked as he caught movement out in the hallway; he watched the blurry image of a woman’s back as she passed by his office. Taehyung’s heart pounded in his ears. “I’d be happy to–,” Taehyung paused. “Make an appointment, f–for fuh–, further dic–,” He coughed, clearing his throat. “ Discussion , sir.”

 

Jimin laughed; he was clearly amused. “You’re so fucking weak for me, aren’t you, baby? Come for me, Taehyung. Fucking come for me, I’m so turned on.”

 

The next sound Taehyung heard was Jimin’s mewling moan, and he gasped as the electric sensation racked his body, reaching his climax. He bit his lip aggressively in an attempt to suppress a moan, and his eyes rolled back as his vision became incoherent for a few moments. He breathed heavily, legs shaking as he clutched the phone to his ear. After a few seconds of silence, he fumbled for words and tissues from the box on his desk. “Thank you for your call, sir. It was my pleasure to be of assistance.” He cleared his throat, adjusting himself in his chair. “I look forward to our meeting.”

 

Jimin giggled before hanging up. Taehyung’s eyes widened and he just stared at the phone in his hand before placing it back on the machine. He nearly melted into his chair, panting heavily. In a panic, he cleaned himself up, quickly zipped his pants and fumbled to buckle his belt. Had that really just fucking happened? 

 

Taehyung’s mind was a muddled mess for a little while, until the post–orgasm high made him absolutely glowing. He was in awe at himself, and at his life as of late. His mind lingered achingly on Jimin, curiosity piquing within him as he wondered about Jimin’s other clients – was he like this with them, too? He felt a little uneasy, with the reminder of Jimin’s job and the way the lines were easily blurred. With that thought, he resolved to try to maintain his distance as best as possible, or to clear the boundaries at least; was it work when Jimin wasn’t at the club?

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

By the time Taehyung got home, the sun was setting and he could feel the exhaustion setting in. He arrived with bags of food in tow, opting to bring dinner home; he’d wanted to take both of his guests for dinner, but figured Jeongguk might be unwell and he was absolutely tired himself, anyway. Punching in the key code to his apartment, he entered silently. “Jeongguk? Jimin? I’m home…” He kept his voice low, lest Jeongguk be asleep. The living room was empty; he set the bags down on the kitchen island before peering down the hallway. Are they asleep? He tiptoed down the hallway; his ears caught the sound of a high-pitched voice, soothing and sweet. Taehyung lingered in the hallway for a moment, relishing in the sound of Jimin’s voice sprinkling the air with a sweet melody. A moment later, he pushed open the door carefully and peeked inside. Jimin, only slightly startled, fell quiet and looked up at Taehyung; Jeongguk laid on his lap, lulled to sleep by Jimin’s voice and touch. Taehyung smiled at him and waved. “ Hi.” He mouthed.

 

Jimin’s smile mirrored his, and he nodded. He attempted to move out from under Jeongguk; Taehyung shuffled over to help steady Jeongguk’s head as Jimin withdrew himself from underneath him. Taehyung brushed Jeongguk’s hair with his fingers lightly, before pulling a blanket over him and following Jimin to exit the room. 

 

“I wasn’t sure if you both would be hungry, so I brought dinner.” Taehyung gestured to the bags on the counter. “I’m not the best cook.” He chuckled and flopped down on his sofa, sinking back into it. “I’m so glad today is over.” He rubbed his face and groaned. Taehyung nearly yelped as he felt Jimin settle on top of him, he blinked in surprise.

 

“I could eat something else.” Jimin purred, straddling Taehyung. “You must be exhausted.” He grasped Taehyung's tie, stroking it delicately. 

 

Taehyung gulped. “I–, I am.” He nodded.

 

Jimin leaned in close to Taehyung’s ear, feeling the strands of dark hair tickle his lips as he murmured. “You have such a hard time relaxing, Taehyung.” He brushed his lips against Taehyung’s earlobe, sending shivers down the latter’s spine. 

 

Taehyung placed one hand delicately on Jimin’s waist, protectively steadying him. “I’m relaxed.” 

 

Jimin bit down on Taehyung’s earlobe suddenly, pulling it with his teeth; it caused Taehyung to jump in surprise. Jimin giggled. “Are you sure about that?” He laughed, brushing kisses on Taehyung’s neck. 

 

Taehyung’s breathing quickened pace, and he involuntarily arched his head back to give Jimin easier access. He closed his eyes and relished in the feeling of Jimin’s lips on him. He felt a hollow feeling burning in his chest as a voice nudged him in the back of his mind. “Jimin…” Taehyung breathed. He brought his hand up to entangle his fingers in Jimin’s hair.

 

“Yes,” Jimin responded in between kisses, teasingly licking the delicate skin of Taehyung’s neck and making him squirm. He moved to hover his lips just above Taehyung’s. “Taehyung?”

 

The burn of desire that Taehyung felt igniting his blood clashed with the hollow feeling in his chest, and the crackle drowned out the voice inside of him telling him they needed to stop . “I didn’t know you could sing.” Taehyung pushed his lips against Jimin’s and felt a peculiar wave of relief wash over them as their lips met. He sighed into the kiss, overwhelmed with the feelings that coursed through his mind every time they did this. 

 

Taehyung’s heart skipped a beat as he felt Jimin giggle into the kiss. “I can do lots of things, baby.” He purred, and began to undo the clasp of Taehyung’s belt.

 

It took a minute for Taehyung to break their contact; he didn’t want to, but the feeling wouldn’t stop pestering him. He stopped Jimin’s hands from undoing his belt. “Jimin… I…” He frowned, looking away.

 

Jimin froze, and peered at him. “What? What’s wrong?”

 

“I–, just…” Taehyung sighed. He rested his hands on Jimin’s thighs, unsure of where else to put them. “I’m sorry, but I’m feeling confused.” He could feel Jimin’s eyes burning on him, and couldn’t bring himself to meet them. “I… should we be doing this?” His bit his bottom lip, chewing nervously. “Since I’m your… client, and all.” He took a second before chancing a glimpse at Jimin; he couldn’t decipher Jimin’s reaction much at all, but instantly wanted to reel his words back in faster than he had said them. 

 

Jimin mulled over his words for a few moments – moments that seemed too long and excruciating to Taehyung. “You’re not like other… clients , Taehyung.” 

 

Something welled inside of Taehyung at Jimin’s response, and it made the hollow feeling dissipate, if only a little. “Jimin…”

 

Jimin smiled at him, placing his hands on top of Taehyung’s and leaning forward to speak in his ear once more. He breathed slowly for a few moments, causing Taehyung to shiver underneath him. “Other clients wouldn’t refuse me like you do… And they wouldn’t complain against my company, paid or not.” He whispered. With a smile that dripped with venom, he withdrew himself, getting up off of Taehyung. He moved to grab his jacket that was draped over the back of the sofa. 

 

The hollow feeling that was beginning to dissipate suddenly spread as if a floodgate had been opened, and Taehyung’s body filled with anguish at Jimin’s words. “I’m not–, that’s not what I meant!” He got up quickly, reaching almost desperately for Jimin’s hand. He caught the sleeve at his wrist.

 

Jimin snatched his arm away violently, turning and piercing Taehyung’s eyes with his own. “Fucking pay for it then, Taehyung.” He hissed. He glared at Taehyung, and Taehyung realized, for the first time, what hurt looked like in Jimin’s eyes; it made his heart drop. 

 

“Jimin, please–,”

 

Jimin turned on his heel and stormed out of the apartment, though he closed the door gently behind him. 

 

Taehyung blinked and stared blankly at the door; a million thoughts flooded his mind.

 

“What just happened?” Jeongguk stood in the hallway, rubbing his messy bedhead hair. He looked at Taehyung before curiously catching sight of the bags of the counter.

 

Taehyung blinked and jumped in surprise; how long had he just been standing there and staring at the door? He smiled brightly. “Jeongguk! You’re awake.” He grinned. “Uhm…” He fidgeted nervously. “Do you want to eat with me?” He gestured at the counter and laughed at Jeongguk’s eager nodding. 

 

The pair opted to settle in on the floor in Taehyung’s living room, huddled around the coffee table. Taehyung watched Jeongguk eat mostly, in awe at the amount of food he could put away. “ Where does it even go?” Jeongguk caught him looking; he sheepishly looked away.

 

“He’s like that, you know.” Jeongguk slurped on a rice cake, licking the sauce that dripped around his lips. Taehyung raised his eyebrow. “Jimin. He’s sensitive.” Jeongguk shrugged. “What’d you do? He sounded pissed.” 

 

Taehyung nodded, staring down at the table. “I upset him.” He kept nodding, and rested his face in his hand. “How do you guys do it?” Taehyung caught the questioning look from Jeongguk, whose mouth bulged with food. Taehyung chuckled. “Cute~”

 

Jeongguk smiled shyly, and chewed his food furiously to allow him to speak. “How do we do what?”

 

“Your job.” Taehyung sighed and rubbed his face. “With everything… I mean, how? I just…” He buried his face in his hands and groaned. “I don’t get it.” 

 

“Taehyung…” Jeongguk peered at him with twinkling eyes and giggled. “ Hyungnim is really likable, I don’t blame you.”

 

Taehyung blinked and shook his head furiously. “Oh, n–no, that’s not–,”

 

Jeongguk giggled. “Taehyung, you don’t have to be embarrassed. I was there, too.” He gave Taehyung a teasing look before shoving food into his mouth.

 

Taehyung laughed weakly and felt his cheeks get hot. “Y–,yeah. I just…” He glanced at the door. “I thought I was wrong. I thought, I don’t know, maybe I was taking advantage of him.” He chewed on his lip. “I didn’t want it to be that way, but I didn’t know how to go about it…” He exhaled heavily. “I’ve never really…” He turned his face as he felt his cheeks flushing.

 

“You make a lot of friends really easily, Taehyung.” Jeongguk poked a rice cake with a toothpick, offering it to Taehyung. “But beyond that, I can’t really say I’m sure you know what you’re doing.” 

 

Taehyung laughed sheepishly and accepted the food from Jeongguk. His mind flashed to his breakfast date with Jimin, and he felt a sharp pain in his chest. He chewed silently and nodded. “I mean, I got you in my house, and in my bed.” He gave Jeongguk a sultry look. “That has to count for something.” Jeongguk laughed; the sound of his laughter lifted Taehyung’s spirits. “Really, how are you feeling?” He reached over to press the back of his hand against Jeongguk’s cheek.

 

Jeongguk leaned into Taehyung’s touch slightly. “I’m… okay.” He nodded. “I’ve been sleeping a lot.” He smiled – the cute bunny smile with the twinkle in his eyes that Taehyung was becoming quite fond of. “Thanks, Taehyung.” The apples of his cheeks flushed slightly. “I’m really grateful to you for all of this.” 

 

Taehyung smiled at him. “Thanks to you too, Jeonggukie.” 

 

Both were tired, and retired back to Taehyung’s bed not too long after finishing dinner. The presence of Jeongguk’s warm body nestled up against him made Taehyung feel at ease; the sound of him snoring softly while huddled safely in the crook of Taehyung’s shoulder relaxed him. As exhausted as he was, though, his eyes tiredly lingered on his phone screen and the thread of messages between him and Jimin. He scrolled through their brief text exchanges mindlessly, wanting desperately to call him, knowing that he probably wouldn’t answer; but in the depths of his chest, there was an inkling of hope that maybe he would. He wondered if Jimin had gone home; he pictured him walking alone in the dark. Solemnly, he listened to the sound of rain droplets pattering against the windows. Biting his lip, he began to type.

 

taehyung – 1:47 a.m.

jimin

i hope you made it home safe  

 

taehyung – 1:49 a.m.

i’m sorry

 

He put his phone down after a few minutes of anxiously waiting. Settling in comfortably, he wrapped his free arm around Jeongguk. Contentment collided with anguish as he drifted to sleep, cuddling Jeongguk close and missing the heat of another body pressed up against him.

Chapter Text

Taehyung hadn’t realized the kind of long nights he’d somehow managed to set himself up for; not an hour later he was awake, coddling a trembling Jeongguk in his arms. He sourly remembered the feelings that Jeongguk was experiencing; the nausea, the pain, and the anguish setting fire to his body with the craving for the venomous euphoria in his veins. He stroked Jeongguk’s hair, which was dampened with sweat and clinging to his skin. He rocked him in a desperate attempt to comfort him as Jeongguk trembled and writhed in his arms, whimpering in discomfort. 

 

“Hyung…”

 

Taehyung petted him fondly. “Jeongguk, it’s Taehyung, it’s me. You’re okay.” He murmured, holding him tighter to his chest.

 

“‘m c–,cold, hyung.” Jeongguk nestled closer.

 

Taehyung pressed his hand against Jeongguk’s cheek; his skin was hot. “You’re burning up, Guk.” He withdrew from Jeongguk momentarily to shrug off his shirt; Jeongguk whined at the separation. Taehyung immediately resumed cuddling him, holding him close to his bare chest. “C’m here.” Jeongguk’s body shook like a leaf, and Taehyung exhaled deeply as he brushed his lips against the top of Jeongguk’s head. “‘m so sorry, Gukie.” He felt resentment boiling in the pit of his stomach. Taehyung cursed himself, and cursed Seokjin for his stupid fucking games. “You’re going to get better, I got you. I promise.”

 

The rest of the night stretched on, consisting of shifts of sleeping, cuddling, and taking care of a suffering Jeongguk; Taehyung didn’t mind, no matter how much sleep he lost. His mind floated to and from Jimin, and he eyed his phone more than he would have liked to admit.

 

Startled, the sound of his phone ringing jerked Taehyung out of a deep slumber. He grabbed it almost instantly, without checking the caller ID; his heart pounded loudly in his ears. “Hello?”

 

Where the fuck is my dancer, Taehyung?”

 

Shit. Taehyung glanced at the phone screen. Yoongi. “Yoongi, hi–,”

 

“Piss off with it, Taehyung. Answer my question. Where is he?” 

 

Taehyung glanced at Jeongguk, curled up and sleeping peacefully. He moved carefully to get out of bed, and kept his voice low. “Which one?” He hoped to stall until he got out of the bedroom. He heard a heavy sigh on the other side of the call.

 

“Which one do you fucking think?”

 

“Well…” Taehyung rubbed his face and squinted at the morning light illuminating his living room. “I don’t know, Yoongi.”

 

Another sigh. “I know you’re not an idiot, so don’t fucking act like one to get out of it. Is Jeongguk with you? He was scheduled to work last night.” 

 

Taehyung chewed on his lip in thought; he glanced at the hallway. “No, he’s not with me.”

 

“If you’re fucking lying, Taehyung… I swear I’ll go to your house and get him myself.”

 

Taehyung shrugged. “‘m not lying, Yoongi. He’s not at my place. Go ahead.” He winced slightly; he felt he was being too disrespectful, but he wasn’t about to hand Jeongguk over. Not like this.

 

“… Fine. If you hear from him, call me. And for fuck’s sake, Taehyung – call Hoseok. He’s worried about you.” Click.  

 

Taehyung stared at his phone blankly for a few moments; he frowned as he thumbed through the texts from Hoseok he had ignored. He rubbed his face in exasperation. Shit. This would be so much easier if Yoongi and Hoseok didn’t work together. He pressed the phone to his ear again, waiting patiently for Hoseok to answer; it was almost second nature to smile when he heard Hoseok’s voice. “Hyung, hi.”

 

“Taehyung! Where have you been, man? You good?” 

 

Taehyung nodded even though Hoseok wasn’t in front of him. “Yeah, yeah, I’m…” He rubbed the back of his neck in a mixture of nerves and exhaustion. “Getting back into work is a bitch.”

 

Hoseok chuckled. “Ah, the 8–5 life. Maybe you should come work at the club.” 

 

Hoseok’s voice was playful; Taehyung realized he missed it. He smirked. “Me? As what, a dancer?”

 

The volume of Hoseok’s laugh made Taehyung jump. “It sounds like a good retirement plan. I could give you some pointers.” 

 

Taehyung pictured Hoseok’s teasing facial expressions and laughed. “Maybe I’ll consider it. Sorry I haven’t gotten back to you, I’m just…” He nibbled on his bottom lip. “I’m just really fucking tired lately.”

 

“I get it, man. No worries. Just don’t disappear on me, okay?” Hoseok paused. “… How’s Jeongguk?” 

 

Taehyung felt his breath catch in his throat; his thoughts were frantic as he racked his brain for a reply. Do I tell him? Do I lie? Fuck… He didn’t want to lie to Hoseok – the last thing he wanted to be was a hypocrite – but there was no way Yoongi wouldn’t come for his head if he lied and got caught that easily. “I… don’t know, hyung.” He swallowed hard.

 

“… What? What do you mean you don’t know?”

 

“I mean I don’t know how he’s doing. Call him. I gotta go, hyung.” His mouth felt dry. “I’ll talk to you later.” Without thinking, he hung up. He stared at his phone blankly; he never hung up first. Panicking, he set his phone on ‘do not disturb’; he’d have to figure his story out later.

 

“I mean I don’t know how he’s doing. Call him. I gotta go, hyung.” His mouth felt dry. “I’ll talk to you later.” Without thinking, he hung up. His stared at his phone blankly; he never hung up first. Panicking, he set his phone on ‘do not disturb’; he’d have to figure his story out later.

 

Taehyung rubbed his face in exhaustion; today was going to be a long day. He was scheduled to view three prospective apartments; the first appointment was in an hour. Tiredly, he returned to the bedroom; he smiled at Jeongguk, who retained his boyish charm when he was asleep. He frowned; would Jeongguk be okay by himself while he was gone? Nervously nibbling on his bottom lip, Taehyung made his way to the bathroom to shower. 

 

The hot water melted into the knots in his back and shoulders, and Taehyung wished he could just sleep for a solid twelve hours after his shower; he cursed under his breath, sourly wishing he’d never stepped into this whirlwind of chaos involving Seokjin and the club. He exhaled slowly as he rinsed shampoo out of his hair; he thought of Hoseok and their showers together.

 

The view of someone entering the bathroom snapped him out of his daydreaming. “Hm?” He peered at the frosted glass of the doors to the bath. “Jeongguk?” His cheeks ran hot as he turned himself slightly away from view. No response; Taehyung cringed at the sound of Jeongguk vomiting into the toilet. Oh. He opened the glass door slightly, peeking out. Jeongguk was doubled over the toilet bowl; Taehyung frowned in concern. “Are you okay?” He turned off the running water.

 

After a minute of dry heaving after feeling the sting of bile burn in his throat, Jeongguk weakly sat on the floor. His chest rose and fell as he gasped for air, and he nodded. “‘m okay.” He strained to catch his breath. “Sorry.” He smiled apologetically. 

 

Taehyung shook his head. “Don’t be sorry, Guk.” He smiled. “Good morning.” He licked his lips nervously, feeling the awkwardness of the current situation prodding at him. His skin was getting cold as he just stood dripping inside the shower. “Do you…” He glanced at Jeongguk before looking away nervously. “Want to shower?” He tried to fight a sheepish smile.

 

Jeongguk observed him for a second with a cocked eyebrow before flashing his teeth in a smile. He giggled and nodded, moving slowly to get up from the floor. “Okay.”

 

Though they had quite obviously seen each other naked – Taehyung had already fucked him, for heaven’s sake – Taehyung couldn’t help but feel a bit shy as Jeongguk stepped into the shower with him. Showering with someone was an intimate experience; Taehyung heard Hoseok’s voice faintly in his head. “I only shower with you, Taehyungie.” He chuckled to himself as he imagined Hoseok’s reaction to the news of Taehyung cheating on him with another shower partner. He allowed Jeongguk most of the stream of water coming from the shower head, and delicately shampooed his hair; Jeongguk smiled as he leaned into Taehyung’s touch. As much as he wanted to ground himself in the moment, Taehyung’s mind flashed through memories like flipping through a rolodex. He thought of Hoseok in his shower with him, of Jeongguk bound in this very bathtub, covered in blood and half–conscious, and of him screaming at Taehyung on the bathroom floor, with pain and rage in his eyes. He thought of Jimin, and bit his lip as he tried to push the uncomfortable feeling in his chest away. “Jeongguk…”

 

Jeongguk opened one eye, having lost himself in Taehyung lathering his hair and bathing him. “Hm?” 

 

Taehyung smiled gently and rubbed his shoulders from behind. “How are you feeling?”

 

Jeongguk’s eyes closed again, and the corners of his mouth pulled into a smile. “‘m okay.”

 

Jeongguk’s smile when he smiled with his teeth made butterflies flutter in Taehyung’s stomach. It was cute and instantly lifted his spirits. “Hey, Guk.” He busied himself with soap and a loofah. “If you’re feeling okay… Would you like to go see some apartments with me?” His voice was careful; Jeongguk hadn’t really agreed to stay with him in a new place. He bit his lip in the moments of silence that followed. 

 

After a minute of silence, Jeongguk nodded his head slowly. “Sure.” He turned around, eyeing Taehyung up and down and giggling at Taehyung’s blushing cheeks and boxy grin. He grabbed the loofah. “When?”

 

“Hm, the appointment is probably in like twenty minutes.” Taehyung furrowed his brow in thought; he wasn’t sure what time it was.

 

“Twenty minutes?! Hyung!” Jeongguk’s doe eyes widened, and he scrubbed at Taehyung’s body furiously. 

 

Taehyung raised an eyebrow. “Hyung?” He chuckled. The youthful innocence he saw in Jeongguk’s eyes was refreshing.

 

“Oh,” Jeongguk’s cheeks flushed, and he pursed his lips and he dropped his gaze. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to–,”

 

Taehyung grasped his wrist and pulled him closer. He admired the stream of hot water rushing down the other’s body. “What are you scared of?” He whispered into Jeongguk’s ear. He plucked the loofah out of Jeongguk’s hand and lathered circles on his body as he observed Jeongguk’s reactions. “It’s okay. You can talk to me casually.” He chuckled. “Come on, let’s go.” He smiled at Jeongguk and turned off the shower, offering him a towel and helping him out of the tub. With a smile, Jeongguk eagerly followed.

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

“Your clothes are… comfy.” Jeongguk lifted his feet higher than normal as he waddled in an attempt to adjust to the feeling of Taehyung’s loose pants draped on his frame. The pair were currently in Seongdong–gu , just across the river from Gangnam, the district in which the club resided. They walked behind a woman dressed to the nines, heels clacking on the pavement in front of them. She held a file in her hand and notably made an effort to keep a close but polite distance from the men, and smiled at them every so often. 

 

Taehyung chuckled as he noticed her overhearing Jeongguk’s comment and pretending not to pay attention. “A little different from your skin–tight jeans?” 

 

Jeongguk smiled. “A little. I think I’m getting a breeze.” He followed Taehyung’s eyes to the woman in front of them and snorted in laughter. As they approached a building, Jeongguk’s starry eyes stared in awe as he craned his neck to view the towering skyscraper. “It kind of looks like something out of a sci–fi comic.” 

 

Taehyung raised his eyebrow and chuckled. “ Seoul Forest Trimage .” His eyes scanned a brochure that the agent had provided him. “It’s got a nice view of the river.” He observed the building for a moment and his face fell to a resting expression of seriousness.

 

“Please, gentlemen.” The woman paused at the entrance of a large building, smiling and bowing politely as she stepped aside to allow them to enter first. The pair bowed, and entered the building for the first viewing of the day.

 

Not an hour later, Taehyung and Jeongguk were in a cab on the way to the next viewing. Taehyung yawned, sinking into the worn leather of the seat. Jeongguk eyed him curiously. “You didn’t like it?” 

 

Taehyung shook his head tiredly. “Too prissy.” He scrunched his nose. “I’m not a huge fan of the modern style.” He tossed the brochure on the seat. 

 

Jeongguk looked out the window at the surroundings passing by them. Long moments of silence stretched between them before Jeongguk disrupted it. “Hey, Taehyung…” 

 

Taehyung, who had begun to nod off in the backseat of the car, opened one eye lazily. “Hm?”

 

Jeongguk fidgeted slightly. “Just how loaded are you?” Taehyung raised his eyebrows lightly before he chuckled. His lack of immediate answer made Jeongguk flustered.

 

“I grew up on a farm.” Taehyung’s answer was short, and he still seemed relaxed and a few breaths away from being asleep. His face was serious, to the point where it had taken Jeongguk several months of knowing him to know that was just his resting expression.

 

Jeongguk peered at him. “I meant, what do you do for work? You never told me, you know.” He laughed lightly; was it just him, or was the back of the car becoming a bit hot? 

 

“You never asked.” Taehyung retorted lazily. He realized with the shift in the atmosphere that it may have come off a bit curt, but he was too tired to address it. As he opened his mouth to speak again, the car began rolling to a stop.

 

12:06 P.M. –– Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea

 

The agent was just as polite, Jeongguk was just as excited for the adventure of the day, and Taehyung was just as over it as he’d been before he even left the house. Normally, Taehyung would be happy to be doing this, but under the circumstances – he was exhausted, he was moving because a certain… business owner wanted him dead, and for hell’s fucking sake he couldn’t get his mind off Jimin. Though he was distracted, he did make a mental note that he preferred this place to the previous one. It was spacious; it covered an entire floor and had a hell of a view. Hoseok’s voice echoed in his head: “If you’re really going to move, you should consider a two-bedroom. Or maybe a house.” He chuckled to himself. Surely, this space would be enough; his one-bedroom in Seocho–gu was merely functional, as he had never exactly needed the extra space – until now, it seemed. Additionally, the security in this complex was top-tier, which made Taehyung more comfortable. A house was ideal, but Taehyung knew that the commitment was unwise in the wake of his one-sided attachment to a certain Kim Seokjin.

 

“I’ll take it.” Taehyung’s voice interrupted the words of the agent who was in the middle of mentioning something about the spacious balcony where they stood. He placed his hand on the railing, looking over at the expanse below them. The agent caught herself before faltering into a startled stutter, and resumed her composure.

 

“Pardon me?” She gestured to the patio door leading into the apartment. “You have yet to see the entirety of the location, Mr. Kim–,”

 

“I’ve seen all I need to.” Taehyung turned to regard the agent; Jeongguk blinked at him and the stern in his voice. “I’d like to sign for it, please.”

 

Jeongguk’s eyes glanced between the agent and Taehyung. “Taehyung, are you sure? You haven’t even seen all of it–,”

 

Taehyung’s eyes darted to Jeongguk. “You don’t like it, sweetheart?” He bit his lip in a smirk at the reaction of the agent; he saw her eyes widen and noted the way she turned to hide her face as she composed herself. He knew what she was thinking – whether she agreed with it or not, signing off this apartment to anybody would cut her a nice check. 

 

Jeongguk’s eyes widened slightly as well, and his cheeks flushed lightly before the mischievous glint in his eyes appeared. “Does it matter what I think?” He approached Taehyung, placing his hand on Taehyung’s arm to provoke him.

 

Taehyung accepted the challenge; smirking, he snaked his arm around Jeongguk’s waist, taking the latter by surprise and pulling him close. “Of course it does, babe.” He took the opportunity to stare into the depths of Jeongguk’s dark eyes – as much as they entranced him, the color made him think of the lighter ones that seemed to be burned in his brain.

 

Jeongguk regarded him with impression, and laughed. “It’s a beautiful place, baby.” 

 

Taehyung’s body tensed; he could have sworn the voice he heard “baby” in wasn’t Jeongguk’s. “Almost as beautiful as you.” He murmured; though, in his mind, he was chasing the rabbit. At the sound of a small cough from the agent, Taehyung looked lazily back at her; he kept Jeongguk close. “You have the paperwork with you already, I assume?”

 

It took a minute for the woman to register Taehyung’s request; she quickly shuffled in her file. “Of course, Mr. Kim. If you’re sure–,”

 

“I’m certain.” Taehyung gestured towards the patio entrance. “Let’s go over it inside?” 

 

“Of course, Mr. Kim.”

 

Jeongguk eyed him with a mixture of fascination and disbelief.

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

“You’re kind of fucking crazy, Taehyung.” Jeongguk chuckled as they stood outside of what was now the complex Taehyung would reside in. He crossed his arms as the cold autumn air nipped at his skin through his clothes, sending chills up his spine.

 

Taehyung chuckled. “I’m just tired. She was kind of annoying to listen to, she talked too much.” He took a gulp of water from a complimentary bottle that the residence had offered to him.

 

Jeongguk laughed. “It’s her job to talk a lot.” He stretched, looking around. “What time is it? I’m hungry…” He looked down at his phone, before remembering he’d turned it off to avoid his employers who were undoubtedly looking for him.

 

“Let’s grab lunch?” Taehyung smiled and looked around at the surrounding area.

 

Jeongguk nodded excitedly. “Oh, hyung. Do you think we could stop by my place? It’s kind of close by…”

 

Taehyung nearly choked on the water he swallowed. “You–, you live near here?” He peered at Jeongguk. “… How close by?” His mind instantly flittered to Jimin. 

 

Jeongguk nodded. “Yeah, around Hannam.” 

 

Taehyung wanted to smack himself, or Jeongguk, or both. Why didn’t he mention that before? He basically ended up being Jimin’s neighbor – was this some romance drama with a cheesy storyline or what? Taehyung sighed, before lifting the corners of his mouth in a weak smile. “Yeah, of course, Guk.” He chuckled. “Let’s go.” The pair opted for lunch first, at a café nearby. Taehyung couldn’t help but think of brunch with Jimin, which seemed like ages ago. Was it really only a couple days ago? As much as he tried to remain in the present, his mind wandered often; it was a good thing food was a perfect distraction for Jeongguk.

 

The cab ride to Jeongguk’s place was short; Taehyung did his best to drop a location pin when they arrived without catching the other’s attention. They rode an elevator up some floors; the complex was nice, but a bit more humble than Taehyung’s sky-rise bachelor pad in Seocho-gu

 

“I’m just gonna grab some clothes and stuff, you can hang out for a while.” Jeongguk smiled at him, gesturing at the living room; he disappeared into a bedroom. Taehyung nodded, hands in his pockets as he looked around the apartment. It was a messy sort of clean, with artwork on the walls and a few signs of life scattered about in the form of clothes and possessions. Taehyung sat on the couch, silently thumbing through his texts with Jimin. Still no response – just a gray “delivered” underneath his last text. He sighed and his eyes wandered around the open living room, coming to rest on photos placed on the wall. Intrigued, he approached them; they were a series of polaroid photos and others, printed and developed alike. He raised an eyebrow; most of them were photos of different environments and landscapes – parks, trees, the beach in Busan. Taehyung peered at each of them curiously, before his eyes landed on a photo of Jimin – it was candid, and Taehyung became absorbed in observing it. Without knowing it, he smiled to mirror Jimin’s in the photo, as his eyes devoured every detail. It took a minute for him to snap out of his daze. A photo of Jimin and Jungkook on the beach then caught his attention, and he smiled as he pinched the corner of the photo lightly in his fingers to get a better look at it – they looked really young, maybe college age. Taehyung chuckled; the boyish charms they held in the photos made him feel warm. He scanned over the others briefly and his breath hitched in surprise at a polaroid photo featuring Hoseok – holy shit, is that really him?! – in a strappy outfit, much like the harnesses that Jimin and Jeongguk wore to work. Taehyung swallowed hard. Hoseok was flashing a happy grin, arm around the shoulders of a grumpy Yoongi, who wore a suit. The background seemed like a dressing room or something. Taehyung raised his eyebrows in curiosity. “This must have been when Hoseokie was a dancer.” He let out a light laugh. He then peered in the corner at a scrawl of writing on the corner of the polaroid – “GCF”. Taehyung’s eyes narrowed; that didn’t seem familiar. He thought about it for a minute; still nothing.

 

After a few minutes of pondering in silence, Taehyung jumped as he heard the front door unlocking. He froze as it opened; Jeongguk was still in the room. His eyes darted nervously from the front door to the bedrooms while he simply stepped away from the wall, in a panic and unsure what to do with himself. His stomach dropped when he caught sight of strands of blonde hair on the person entering the apartment. “ Jimin.

 

Jimin’s eyes raised to meet Taehyung’s, and the shock on his face was more apparent than Taehyung’s. Taehyung met his eyes and watched the shock quickly morph into some kind of resentful confusion. Jimin’s mouth dropped open slightly as they both stood completely still – Jimin’s hand was still on the door handle, front door wide open as if he was maintaining a viable exit. A long pause of silence expanded between the two, and Taehyung wondered if it was just him that felt that himself and Jimin were the only two people that existed in the world at this exact moment. 

 

“Taehyung, what are you–,”

 

“Hyung!” Jeongguk emerged from one of the bedrooms. Taehyung felt his chest heave; he was holding his breath without knowing it. Jeongguk ignored the electricity in the air and smiled at Jimin, who finally allowed the door to swing closed behind him. 

 

Jimin regarded both with uncertainty. “Jeongguk, what is he–, what are you guys doing here? Are you feeling alright?”

 

Jeongguk nodded. “I’m good, yeah. I’m just grabbing some clothes and stuff, Taehyung found a new place–,”

 

Jimin crossed his arms and glanced at Taehyung. “And you’re… going?” He looked to Jeongguk for confirmation. “Really?”

 

Jeongguk nodded again. “Yeah, why not? It’s close by, anyway.” 

 

Taehyung’s palms pricked with sweat when Jimin’s eyes rested on him again as if asking him; he nodded slowly. “Ichon.” His voice was low; he barely heard it himself.

 

Jimin looked back at Jeongguk, expertly masking his reaction to Taehyung’s new proximity. “If it’s so close, what’s the point?”

 

Jeongguk shrugged. “Maybe it’ll get the boss off my ass for a while. I feel like shit, hyung.”

 

“Off your ass? You’re already in trouble for not showing up last night, Guk.” Jimin ran his fingers through his hair; Taehyung watched him intently. “You’re going to piss him off and you know he’ll make you regret it. If you’re fine you need to come to work. At least show up.”

 

Jeongguk pursed his lips into a pout. “Maybe I’m not fine.” He turned and retreated back to the room – Taehyung opened his mouth to protest, but nothing came out. Silence expanded between the two once again. Jimin moved to leave the living room; Taehyung spoke to stop him.

 

“Jimin.” Why was it that all that he could ever manage to say was his name? Taehyung fidgeted as he felt Jimin stop and turn to look at him expectantly. “You know… You could come with, if you’d like. It’s a big place.” Jimin looked at him for a second; Taehyung wondered if he was actually thinking about it. His stomach churned when Jimin broke his gaze and turned away. Taehyung stepped forward, extending his hand. “Jimin, please–,”

 

“Don’t.”

 

Taehyung withdrew his hand slightly. “Can we just talk for a second?”

 

Jimin rolled his eyes. “I have nothing to say, Taehyung.” 

 

“Okay, that’s fine. Just listen, then.” Taehyung approached him, but froze when Jimin turned to face him. He reached gingerly for Jimin’s hand and held his breath when their fingers made contact.

 

Jimin indulged Taehyung, baiting him easily – what he didn’t expect, though, was the way his heart stuttered in his chest at the feeling of Taehyung’s touch. He kept himself composed; his lips stretched into a hint of a smile, and he leaned in closer to Taehyung. “Request a booking and I’ll listen all you want.”

 

Taehyung dropped his hand and sighed. “C’mon, Ji–,”

 

“I’m ready~!” Jeongguk marched back into the living room, having changed into ripped black jeans and a t-shirt with a weekender bag slung over his shoulder. He looked between Jimin and Taehyung, glancing back and forth. “You coming, hyung?”

 

Jimin eyed Taehyung before breaking his gaze and refraining from looking at anyone. “No, Guk. I’m not. Be careful. And turn on your damn phone.” He disappeared into a bedroom, closing the door behind him.

 

Taehyung and Jeongguk looked at each other for a few moments before taking their leave. The hollow feeling in Taehyung’s chest overwhelmed him, screaming at him to turn around and venture beyond that bedroom door, beyond the wall that seemed to tower between himself and Jimin and what the fuck are you doing, go back in there and make things right. As much as it seemed like every fibre of his being told him not to ignore it, he did, and did his best to convince himself that Jimin would come around soon enough – whether he did in fact convince himself of that was up for debate.

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

Jimin closed the door gently and stood with his back against it, listening intently for sounds of activity outside of the room. He heard them retreating to the front of the apartment and felt the pit of his chest burning with emptiness. As he heard the front door close, the void in his chest grew, and the more he accepted that Taehyung and Jeongguk had left, the more he wished they’d return – the more he wished that Taehyung would turn around, push his door open and his walls down, and just fucking do something, anything. Sighing, he ran his fingers through his hair. His eyes glanced over the empty room – why was he even home? He solemnly made his way to the bathroom, peering reluctantly in the mirror. Lately, the stress had been accumulating; and he swore it was becoming more visible. He wasn’t sleeping; his face was looking more sunken; his hair was becoming dull. Swallowing hard, Jimin tugged at the neck of his shirt to peek at the bandage laying underneath, flush against his skin. He cursed under his breath, becoming livid. How dare he. How dare he fucking mark him like this, with all Jimin’s ever done for him – for all of Jimin’s world that he had given him. Jimin felt anger beginning to boil in his veins. He’d have to take extra care to try and prevent the wound from scarring; but it was more than likely that he’d be permanently marked, for everyone to see – and that made him resentful. Control of himself was something he’d always maintained, and convinced himself that he chose to give it to certain people – the inevitable scar now broadcasted to the world that he, in fact, did not have that control – that someone else controlled him, that he did indeed belong to someone. Sucking his teeth, Jimin opened the cabinet and rattled a few pills from a bottle onto his hand. He threw his head back as he swallowed them dryly before taking out his phone at the sound of message notifications.

 

+822-***-**** – 3:21 p.m.

did you find him?

 

Jimin sneered at the message. He locked the phone, neglecting to open it as he exited the bathroom. It pinged again.

 

+822-***-**** – 3:23 p.m.

lovely

don’t be difficult

 

Jimin rolled his eyes. Sighing, he opened the messages and typed a response.

 

jimin

why don’t you ask me something else? like how i’m feeling?

 

He bit his lip, staring at his response and debating on pressing ‘send’ for a few seconds. He deleted the words, typing different ones instead:

 

jimin – 3:27 p.m.

treat me and i’ll tell you

 

+822-***-**** – 3:33 p.m.

of course, darling

anything you wish

i’ll send a car for you

 

Jimin looked flatly at his phone before sighing and going back into the living room. While grabbing his wallet, he glanced at the wall full of photos; curiously, he peered at a string of photos that were hung by small clothespins. His eyes rested on an empty space amongst the polaroid photos, and he observed each one closely – he stared for a good few minutes before the sound of his phone notification snapped him out of it. Scrunching his nose, he looked once more at the string of photos before grabbing a jacket and taking his leave.

 

“I would have preferred a spa.” Jimin spoke flatly as he approached Kim Seokjin, who sat contentedly in the warm walls of a luxurious hotel bar. The latter paused from drinking from a glass of whiskey, and smiled warmly at his company.

 

“All you have to do is ask, sweetheart. There’s a spa here.” Seokjin pulled one of the stools out for Jimin; Jimin nodded as the bartender approached him. Jimin opened his mouth to speak, but Seokjin spoke for him. “Chopin and mineral water, please.” The bartender nodded politely; Jimin eyed Seokjin poisonously for a moment before quickly changing his expression and reaching out towards the bartender to stop him. 

 

“Cranberry, actually.” Jimin stretched his lips into the familiar, intoxicating smile of his. “Please." The bartender glanced at Seokjin, who eyed Jimin momentarily before nodding. The bartender returned with his drink, and Jimin settled in next to Seokjin as he sipped his drink silently.

 

“So?” Seokjin looked at him after a few moments of silence.

 

Jimin kept his gaze averted, opting for a look of disinterest. “So?”

 

Seokjin chuckled. “You’ve such an attitude.” He reached towards Jimin, who tensed only slightly when Seokjin ran his fingers through his hair. “Your hair’s looking a bit dull.”

 

Jimin rested his chin on his hand and refrained from showing any kind of reaction. “Do they have a salon here, too?” He said, swirling the ice cubes in his glass and letting his eyes wander around the lounge.

 

Seokjin chuckled again. “They do, in fact. I’ll have them take care of you.” He pushed his empty glass aside as the bartender replaced it with a fresh drink. “So, lovely? Did you find him?”

 

Jimin sighed; his head was beginning to throb in mild agitation. He looked down at his drink, biting his tongue for a moment before answering. “Yes.”

 

The corners of Seokjin’s mouth tugged into a frown. “Yes?” His fingers rested at the back of Jimin’s head, and he tugged on the strands of his hair.

 

Jimin’s jaw clenched, and he kept his gaze averted. “Yes, Master Kim.”

 

Seokjin smiled. “That’s wonderful. You always deliver, lovely.”

 

Jimin finally looked up at him, flashing a glimpse of his smile. “Anything for you, Master.” 

 

The next two days passed by in a drunken, doped up blur for Jimin. He spent the rest of the evening at the upscale hotel in the heart of Seoul – which he learned was newly acquired by Yoongi, as a “thank you” gift from Seokjin for his loyalty over the years. Jimin wondered if he’d get anything more than scars as a “thank you” for his, but neglected to bring it up to Seokjin. The feeling simmered sourly in his stomach, though, and he drowned it with a cocktail of xanax and liquor. He filled the hours with spa treatments, a hair appointment, and becoming friendly with the guests and staff of the hotel alike; the bartender in particular was quite open and flirtatious when Seokjin wasn’t present, Jimin noted. He played the game, flirting and smiling and wondering just how many paychecks the bartender would have to stack in order to afford Jimin’s time. He didn’t get the chance to find out, as the bartender fiercely pressed him up against the wall of the elevator later that night. Jimin breathed heavily, wrapping his legs around the waist of the other man as he lifted him. Jimin’s head spun; he tossed it back and gazed hazily at himself in the mirror ceiling of the elevator. As he stared, his eyes rested on the top of the head of dark hair of the man kissing down his neck; as he closed his eyes, he could only picture the dark curls and the feeling of someone else’s lips on his skin. “Tae…” he breathed and his voice was barely above a whisper. Either the bartender didn’t hear him or didn’t care; he only asked for Jimin’s room number and pulled at his clothes even before the door shut behind them. 

 

The pounding headache Jimin woke up with the next day was bothersome, but nothing that he knew more drinks and Vicodin couldn’t fix. He sat up in the plush, king-size bed, scrunching his face at the light that filtered inside. The bed was empty; Jimin felt as though the sea of sheets swallowed him whole. Swallowing dryly, he checked his phone – it was already afternoon. He felt a sense of dread pricking in his stomach as he vaguely recollected the events of the night before. “Fuck.” He thumbed through his notifications mindlessly, feeling the emptiness in his chest rearing its head. He exhaled deeply and stared out of the window; the view was breathtaking, but it seemed underwhelming to him in this moment. The emptiness of the room, though, was overwhelming, and Jimin felt almost like he was going to cry; instead, he made his way to the elevator, punching in the 26th floor and considering a repeat of the night before as he caught sight of a familiar bartender who smiled at him. Jimin still didn’t know his name. He didn’t care.

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

“Are you sure you’ll be okay, Jeonggukie?” Taehyung stood in the master bedroom of his new apartment, fidgeting in worry.

 

Jeongguk lounged on the bed; his lower half only covered by the sheets. He flashed his teeth in a bunny smile at Taehyung. “Of course, hyung. I’ll be fine.” His mouth pursed in a smirk. “I feel so much better already, thanks to you.” He said, stretching out on Taehyung’s bed.

 

The tips of Taehyung’s ears tinted red and he felt a blush rush into his cheeks; his bit his lip as he smirked. “I’m glad I could help.” He checked his Patek watch that rested heavily on his wrist. “Shit, I gotta go.” He paused for a second, before approaching the bedside and ruffling Jeongguk’s hair with a smile. “I promise I’ll be off work early today. Let me take you to dinner, if you’re feeling up to it.” 

 

Jeongguk smiled, with the ever-so-familiar glint of mischief in his eyes. “Sounds great, babe.”

 

Taehyung withdrew his hand before his breath hitched as Jeongguk grasped his shirt and tugged him down to meet their lips. Taehyung blinked in surprise, but allowed the kiss, and smiled sheepishly when he pulled away. “Get lots of rest.” He took his leave quickly, lest he be late to work. 

 

In the elevator, Taehyung withdrew his phone and gazed at the lack of notifications blankly. His mind achingly revolved around Jimin; he hadn’t returned his message from days ago. He’d messaged Jimin on Monday night, and it was already Thursday – still nothing. Taehyung sighed. Thursday . It meant Jimin was working tonight, if Taehyung recalled correctly. His brows furrowed; he was suspicious of the lack of pestering from Yoongi, and Hoseok. He figured Hoseok could be upset with him because of his attitude the other day; but he would be lying if he said he wasn’t surprised that Yoongi wasn’t knocking his door down in search of Jeongguk, who hadn’t been back to work this week. His eyes darted around the elevator – the fact that Seokjin hadn’t somehow miraculously showed up at his new apartment for Jeongguk made him uneasy. Maybe the complex’s security was really just that good – if it was, Taehyung was grateful. He felt a sadness in the pit of his stomach; he’d never imagined getting a new home and Hoseok not being the first one to know about it. No housewarming party, no friends to invite over – all because of that fucking psycho, Kim Seokjin. As he stepped out of the elevator, he contemplated paying Jimin a visit. Just to make sure he’s okay, Taehyung told himself. Nothing more. 

 

Taehyung’s work day was relatively uneventful; he found himself staring at his work phone more than a handful of times, while his mind replayed the events of his phone call from Jimin earlier that week. He sighed; how did things change that quickly? What happened, that it went so wrong? He counted the minutes painfully until he was able to leave the office — much to his dismay, he was stuck there until 5:00 P.M., despite his plans to leave work early.

 

“Jeongguk? I’m home!” His voice echoed in the new space; though it was furnished, the open nature of the place carried an echo that Taehyung hadn’t quite gotten used to. “I’m sorry I’m late, I’ll make it up to you with dinner!” Receiving no response, his eyebrow raised. “Jeongguk…?” He called again, though he noticed the pitch of his voice raised and faltered a little. He quietly ventured further into the apartment, approaching the master bedroom. The lack of any noise made him uneasy – maybe Jeongguk is just sleeping , he thought, and the idea brought a small smile to his face. “Jeonguk, I’m ho–,” His voice caught in his throat as he pushed the door to the master bedroom open; the sight of blonde hair caught him completely by surprise, and he choked on his words. “J–, Jimin?” Jimin sat on the edge of Taehyung’s bed, eyes focused downwards; Taehyung followed them, immediately resting on the metal body of a gun glinting in Jimin’s small hands. Taehyung’s breath caught in his throat; why did the sight of the gun stir something in his mind that he couldn’t quite place? Jimin raised his head and eyes slowly to meet Taehyung’s – Taehyung held his breath.

 

“Hi, Taehyung.” He said; his eyes pierced Taehyung’s, who couldn’t read his expression.

 

Taehyung did his best to maintain eye contact with Jimin and not look at the weapon that rested in the other’s hands. A million thoughts ran through his mind, but in all reality, he was still relieved to see Jimin. Still, Taehyung wondered what the fuck was going on, and why the fuck does he have a gun?! Where’s Jeongguk?! He attempted a smile. “Hi, Jimin.” 

 

Jimin stood up; Taehyung instinctively stepped backwards in reaction to the weapon in the other’s hand, but stopped himself. “I’ve been thinking about you.” Jimin’s voice seemed different; Taehyung took the opportunity to observe him. He looked like he hadn’t been sleeping; his eyes were tired and slightly bloodshot, his face seemed thinner, and more sunken; the sight of these minute changes crept through the fibers of his clothing, sunk into his skin, and laid to rest as if they were just as tired as the man they belonged to. 

 

“I’ve been thinking about you too.” His answer was true – he thought of Jimin constantly, unwaveringly, and just about all the fucking time

 

“Have you?” 

 

Jimin’s voice pricked chills on the surface of Taehyung’s skin. It sounded almost disembodied; like it wasn’t him speaking at all. Was he… tired? High? Drunk? A combination of all three? “Jimin…” Taehyung proceeded cautiously, eyeing the gun in his hand. It was hard to make out the details in front of him; the sun was setting, and the screens on the windows made it difficult, but he could see Jimin well enough to know something was – probably horribly, awfully – wrong. “… Where’s Jeongguk?”

 

The shift in the air was tangible; Jimin’s eyes dropped slowly. “Jeongguk…” He mumbled. Taehyung stepped forward to approach him, but froze in his tracks when Jimin’s eyes sharply glanced up to meet his own. “Have you counted the amount of times we’ve spoken, Taehyung?” Taehyung only blinked in confusion at Jimin’s question – he didn’t seem to know what Jimin was getting at. Jimin chuckled, and it sent chills running up Taehyung’s spine. “Have you counted the amount of times you’ve asked me about him? In all the times we’ve even spoken?” His voice was low before he moved suddenly, and Taehyung did his best to resist the instinctive wince as Jimin waved the gun. “Don’t you give a shit how I’m doing, Taehyung?” His voice instantly raised, like a tea kettle beginning to scream. “Does no one give a fuck how I’m doing?!”

 

Taehyung winced at Jimin’s shouting; had he raised his voice at all before? “Jimin…” He raised his hands in a gesture to placate the other; he felt his blood pumping adrenaline into his veins, but did his best to stay calm. He stepped forward to approach him closer. “Of course I care about how you’re doing. I’ve been wanting to talk to you… You left so suddenly, and you didn’t answer my texts–,” 

 

“Is that the best you could do?” Jimin’s voice dripped with poison, and he stepped back. Taehyung eyed him carefully, and Jimin couldn’t stand the way he looked at him. What was that in his eyes, pity? “ He fucking pities you, Jimin. He pities your pathetic, drunk, drugged up ass. He feels sorry for you, that’s why he didn’t try harder. He was fine here with Jeongguk, he doesn’t need to try with anyone but you because you’re not fucking good enough, you’re not worth the effort. You lured him in and fucked up the catch. Good fucking luck.” His emotions ran haywire, intertwining with the effects of the substances still coursing in his system. His mind was on fire, though, and it was zoned in on one person only – the one standing in front of him. 

 

“Jimin, let’s talk…” Taehyung took another step towards him. The glint of the gun’s metal body flashed as Jimin snapped it up, pointing the barrel directly at Taehyung, who froze. “What the fuck?!” Now that he stared down the barrel, a vague memory pulled itself from the recesses of his mind and eerily crept back to the front of it. He recognized this gun . As he looked from the barrel, to Jimin’s face, it was replaced with what he remembered – Kim Seokjin. Taehyung remembered now: the weapon he was staring at – the refined metal body of a Kimber Classic handgun – was Kim Seokjin’s, and it wasn’t the first time he was staring down the barrel. He never expected it to be in the hand of another, though – much less Jimin’s.

 

“Jeongguk is fine.” Jimin’s voice was low and cold once again. 

 

“What…” Taehyung forced himself to breathe slowly and evenly, though he had a gun pointed at him and his brain was screaming at him to fucking move or do something because there’s a fucking gun pointing at you . “Where is he, Jimin? What did you do?”

 

Jimin’s hand solidified his grip on the gun, and Taehyung noted that his finger grazed around the trigger; Taehyung’s hands began to tremble. “Me?” Jimin laughed. “None of this would be happening if it wasn’t for you, Taehyung.” He jerked the gun with a flick of his wrist, gesturing at him. 

 

Taehyung chewed on his lip for a moment before speaking; he observed the pained expression on Jimin’s face. Out of the million things he could say, there was no guarantee that any of them would prevent the other from shooting him. Would he really shoot? Taehyung’s muscles tensed – Seokjin wasn’t even here, yet here Taehyung was, in another round of his stupid fucking game . He breathed slowly, evenly. “… That’s Seokjin’s gun, isn’t it?” He didn’t miss the fleeting reaction that appeared on Jimin’s face – it was quick, and barely noticeable, but it was there. Taehyung felt a shift within himself, and the panic from the sight of the gun began to dissipate. It was a round in the game, but Jimin’s position in it was vague; Taehyung could use that to his advantage. “You do belong to him, don’t you?” He locked his eyes with Jimin’s; the emotions that flooded through the latter in doing so pressed against the chaos of his thoughts. “You don’t have to do this, Jimin…” Taehyung straightened as he watched Jimin disengage the safety. His breath quickened, but he defiantly kept his eyes directly on the man in front of him; he raised his eyebrow. “… Or do you?” He noticed emotions flitting in Jimin’s eyes – Taehyung was beginning to gauge how to read him underneath the veil he kept so expertly. “Did Seokjin put you up to this?” 

 

Jimin felt the metal become slightly slick in his hands as sweat began to prick in his palms. He didn’t have an answer; or the one that was the truth was stuck in his throat, burning as he swallowed it down.

 

“Are you going to kill me with Seokjin’s gun, Jimin?” Taehyung stepped forward again, and again, until his chest was nearly pressed against the barrel of the gun. Jimin moved to step back, but was met with the bed, and stumbled; he reached his free hand to catch himself against it. Taehyung saw the opening and took it; he lurched forward, one hand grasping Jimin’s wrist to point the gun upwards, and his right arm wrapping around Jimin’s waist to keep him from falling. His eyes gazed deeply into Jimin’s – he wondered how one moment could feel as though it stretched into eternity. Taehyung again wondered: how the hell did they get here, how the hell did things change so fast?

 

Jimin felt emotions bubbling in him; his head spun but he forced himself to remain focused. “Let me go.” He pulled his wrist, but Taehyung only tightened his grip. For the first time, Taehyung’s eyes felt more piercing than his own – Jimin looked away.

 

“No.” Taehyung pulled him closer, allowing him to lower his arm but keeping a hold on his wrist. “ As long as he won’t drop the gun, I can’t let him go. Don’t get caught off guard, Taehyung. It’s the game. You need to play it well. Don’t lose.” “Why are you here?” He breathed. He realized how eerily quiet the apartment was; you’d be able to hear a pin drop from across the place.

 

Jimin’s gaze was lowered; he avoided Taehyung’s eyes. “Do you trust me, Taehyung?” 

 

That’s a loaded question. Taehyung attempted to meet Jimin’s eyes, to search them for his intentions – but Jimin wouldn’t look at him. He exhaled deeply. “Yes.”

 

“Then let me go.” Jimin felt the words cut deeply into himself, could feel his voice wanting to crack. His eyes raised slowly to meet Taehyung’s, and locking his gaze tore a gaping hole in his chest. 

 

Taehyung frowned, searching Jimin’s eyes for something, anything, a hint as to what he really meant because this definitely couldn’t be it – but Jimin was adept at masking things, he knew that much, and he knew there was little hope to understand just what he was really feeling. So, Taehyung did what he asked – he loosened his hold around Jimin’s waist, slacked his grip on his wrist, and let him go entirely. Silently, solemnly, he stepped back and away from Jimin, who walked past him; he paused and turned before reaching the door. 

 

“Stay away from the Parthenon, Taehyung.” He looked at him and the way he seemed full of emotion and void of it completely made Taehyung uneasy.

 

“Jimin…” Taehyung swallowed hard. “Don’t go.”

 

Jimin’s lips pulled into a sad smile as he scoffed lightly. He stepped towards Taehyung, whose heart jumped at his return. Jimin hesitated only momentarily before bringing his free hand to caress Taehyung’s face softly – he felt the piercing pain in his chest as Taehyung leaned into his touch, and covered Jimin’s hand with his. When he brought his face close, Taehyung could smell the mixture of liquor and the sweet hint of cranberry juice on his breath. Taehyung swore he could see the ebb and flow of a sea crashing within the depths of Jimin’s eyes, and all he wanted to do was calm the storm. All he wanted was for Jimin to stay, to be calm and safe, to stay with him, just fucking stay. They could figure everything else out, Taehyung knew they could. “Just… fucking… stay.” His heart nearly jumped into his throat as Jimin’s lips gingerly met his – it was gentle, and sincere, but it was over before Taehyung could pull him closer and Jimin was pulling away.

 

“It’s Eros.” 

 

Taehyung couldn’t tell if he was surprised or not when he heard Jimin cock the hammer on the gun. He swallowed hard, anguish ripping through him as Jimin’s hand fell from his face. He wasn’t concerned anymore; not when the gun was cocked and loaded, not when he felt the barrel pressed against his chest, not when he dropped to his knees, legs giving out from underneath him. 

 

The sting of tears threatened to well in Jimin’s eyes; he blinked them away.

 

“Goodbye, Taehyung.”

Chapter Text

“What the fuck is going on, hyung!?”

 

“Yah, Taehyungie, calm down.” 

 

“Don’t fucking tell me to calm down! Where is he!? What the fuck did you guys do with him?!”

 

“Hey, don’t talk to me like that. What the hell is wrong with you?”

 

Taehyung sighed, pressing his hand against his face and rubbing his temples. “I’m sorry. But seriously? What the hell?” Taehyung could hear commotion in the background on the other end of the phone call.

 

“Look, Taehyung. It’s out of my hands. I’m sorry. I’m kind of busy, man, I can stop by after tonight–,”

 

“No.” Taehyung cut him off. “I know whose hands it’s in. How the hell can you work for that asshole? Talk to me. You out of all people need to talk to me.” He paused. “Please.”

 

Hoseok sighed on the other side of the line. “Hold–, hold on–,” Taehyung heard rustling and the fading of noise on Hoseok’s end; he vaguely heard a door close, and then silence. “Where was this the other day when I called you asking for him, Taehyung? You said you didn’t know. And now you’re calling me asking the same thing. Should I lie to you like you did to me? Huh?”

 

Taehyung’s eyes narrowed. “It wouldn’t be the first time.” 

 

Hoseok scoffed loudly. “Are you fucking kidding me?” He felt anger rising in his chest, but forced a sigh to calm himself. “Look. Jeongguk’s fine. He’s being taken care of. He’s one of the boss’ favorites – seriously. He’s fine. It’s out of your hands. It’s none of your business.”

 

Taehyung felt his heart pounding emptily in his chest. “Hyung…” 

 

“Look, Taehyung, I gotta go, I’m sorry. I’ll call you later.” 

 

Click. Taehyung sighed in defeat. He sat on the corner of his bed, peering out at the skyline, brightly contrasting to the darkness of the night sky. The expanse of his apartment loomed around him, and he recalled feeling just as empty in his last apartment. As he indulged in the silence, he suddenly felt completely, and achingly, alone.

 

Hoseok sucked his teeth as he hung up the phone. He sighed, leaning against the desk inside the office of The Parthenon. A minute later, he straightened up as he heard the door opening. Upon entering and seeing Hoseok, Yoongi raised his eyebrows. “Everything alright?” He seemed relatively disinterested, as per his usual demeanor, but he could sense the tension in the room.

 

Hoseok offered a tight smile. “Yeah, yeah.” His shoulders dropped slightly and he looked down at the floor, running his fingers through his hair.

 

“Taehyung?” 

 

Hoseok didn’t bother to look up; he simply nodded sullenly. 

 

Yoongi fidgeted for a few moments – he wasn’t good in these kinds of situations. “Why don’t you sit down?” He offered, and gestured at one of the plush office chairs. 

 

Hoseok eyed him with a bit of uncertainty, before obliging and taking a seat. He put his head in his hands – he was exhausted. “I’m sorry, I just need a second. I’ll be back out on the floor right away.”

 

Yoongi shook his head; he approached Hoseok, and gingerly placed a hand on his shoulder. “Hey, it’s going to be fine.” His voice was tender; Hoseok hid his surprise the best he could. “I know Taehyung’s intentions were good, but it’s for the best.” He squeezed Hoseok’s shoulder.

 

Hoseok chuckled and nodded. “Yeah, I know.” Some moments of silence stretched between them, and neither knew how to fill it. Hoseok was too tired, and Yoongi was too… well, again, not the best in these situations. He moved to withdraw his hand – Hoseok took the chance and placed his hand on top of Yoongi’s, glad when Yoongi allowed him to keep his hand on his shoulder. Hoseok smiled, a small smile that he turned to hide from Yoongi, who still caught it. The latter felt the apples of his cheeks getting hot.

 

“Do you… Want to book a day at the spa?” 

 

Hoseok glanced up at him. “Hm?”

 

Upon meeting Hoseok’s gaze, Yoongi nearly jumped and averted his eyes. “The spa, you know? At the L’Estrange. It’s mine now…” He trailed off; his hand was beginning to feel too warm underneath Hoseok’s. “Well, ours... If you sign the damn paperwork.” 

 

Hoseok giggled; he lifted his hand from Yoongi’s, who withdrew immediately, with a sense of relief. “‘I’d rather be signing other papers together.” He snickered at Yoongi’s flustered reaction. “Wah, I guess business partners are better than nothing…” He sighed dramatically. “I guess you being my work husband is enough.”

 

Yoongi pulled a face. “Yah! Don’t talk like that!” He crossed his arms, completely flustered.

 

Hoseok laughed; his full, bright, bodied laugh – Yoongi smiled to himself at the sight of it. He felt relieved; seeing Hoseok down was rare, and it was difficult to know how to cheer him up. Yoongi was glad he could. “Sign the fucking papers, Hoseok. The boss wants us to pick a name upon the transfer, unless we want to keep it as is.” He made his way to leave the office.

 

“Oh my god.” Hoseok’s English made Yoongi raise an eyebrow. “Picking a name? It sounds like having a child before we even get married! Yoongi, what will your parents think!” 

 

The tips of Yoongi’s ears burned hot. “I take it back.” He turned to hide his face from view. “Hurry the fuck up and get back on the floor!” Yoongi shuffled out of the office, promptly followed by a snickering Hoseok.

 

Jimin couldn’t recall the last time he’d looked in a mirror; but now, as he sat at his vanity in the depths of the underground floor of the club, he stared at his reflection for what seemed like hours. His eyes wandered over the contours of his face – none of the pampering he’d received at the spa this week had done enough to cover the stress and exhaustion displayed all over it. He was glad he worked at night, the lights were dim, and his clients didn’t give a shit anyway because while he saw one thing, they saw something entirely different. He sighed, feeling Vicodin coursing through his system in a vain attempt at placating his emotions in preparation for the night ahead. The more he stared at the mirror, the more he didn’t recognize himself – and the memory of staring into the mirrored ceilings of the elevator and hotel rooms, at a foreign body on top of him and knowing exactly who he envisioned in their place, kept coming back to him. When he glanced at the bed in his room, he thought of his nights with Taehyung, intertwining themselves for hours. The champagne rooms, the drugs, his room, breakfast food, dark curly hair, a certain scent of lavender and chamomile that Jimin had caught on the fabric of his jacket – everything reminded him of the same person. He couldn’t get the events of earlier out of his mind – how only hours ago, he was sitting in Taehyung’s apartment with a loaded gun, waiting for his arrival, with Seokjin’s words swimming in his head and mixing with his own. As he looked at his reflection, he wondered if Seokjin really expected him to do it – really believed that he would shoot Taehyung. In the end, unsurprisingly, he couldn’t. Jimin bit his lip. There was no reason to; Jimin knew Seokjin too well, and knew that it was just a part of his game. It was just for fun; to put him – both of them – through this, was pure amusement for him, and Jimin knew it. If Jimin had shot him, the game would be over – he went as far to assume that Seokjin knew that perfectly well. Sighing, Jimin dropped his head into his hands. Did this mean he was disloyal? At one point, he thought he’d do anything for Seokjin – now, he wasn’t so sure. It gnawed at him and left him feeling achingly hollow and lost. He’d have to make it up to him. What was he doing? What was Taehyung, this man he’d met only, what, two weeks ago ? – doing to him? Jimin’s mind flitted through his memories, as far back as he’d been working for Seokjin. Surely, years would trump weeks. “ Right?” His eyes glanced down at his hands, small and foreign as they rested in his lap. “Right…?” 

 

Jeongguk’s head was spinning. The lights were too bright and moving too quickly; his thoughts swam with the burning taste of acid bubbling in his stomach. He did his best not to grimace, nearly stumbling against the slick, cold metal of the center stage pole. A bit less than graceful, he braced himself against it to keep his balance as he continued to move through the music that pounded in his ears. Sweat dripped from his brow; he could feel eyes on him, but the lack of patrons at the edge of the stage only made Jeongguk want to retch even more. He bit down on his lip, cursing under his breath. He wasn’t entirely sure who his anger was directed at – but he was angry nonetheless. The veins in his arms bulged with strain as he held himself up, refusing to lose his composure on stage. He could feel his limbs trembling as he swallowed the bile that threatened to surge up into his throat and out of his mouth.

 

Hoseok stood behind the bar, supervising the bartender as they rebooted the computer system. Yoongi lounged on a cushioned bar stool, swinging idly with his arms crossed. He observed Jeongguk intently, watching the dancer on center stage. Hoseok glanced up and followed Yoongi’s eyes, resting his own on Yoongi. He said nothing, but his jaw tensed and returned his attention quickly to the computer system when Yoongi spoke. “He’s going to be pissed.”

 

Hoseok glanced up; he noted how the bartender did his best to ignore the conversation, and nodded at him to walk away. He waited for the bartender to leave before answering. “He’s the one who wanted him back.” Hoseok peered at the computer system, putting a little too much attention into it.

 

Yoongi swiveled around to look at Hoseok across the bar. “Doesn’t matter; look at him.” He sighed. “He’s not going to pull in his regulars like that .” 

 

Hoseok glanced up; his face was serious as he observed Jeongguk, obviously out of it as he struggled to keep himself together on stage. Hoseok frowned, knitting his brows in concern. “Maybe we should call him down. He’s not ready to come back, Yoongi.”

 

“That’s not our call to make.” 

 

Hoseok studied him for a few seconds before speaking. “It is, though.” Yoongi raised an eyebrow at him. “You run this place for a reason, Min.” He knew he sounded pleading, and Yoongi saw it in his eyes. “Please. Look at him.”

 

Yoongi clenched his jaw, giving Hoseok a stubborn look of disagreement, before reluctantly looking over his shoulder at Jeongguk. He thought for a few minutes, feeling Hoseok’s puppy dog eyes on him. “Yah, stop it! Stop looking at me like that.” Yoongi sucked his teeth. “Agh, fine. Take him downstairs to his room after he’s done on stage.” He rubbed his temples in frustration. “Pour me a fucking whiskey before I get my shit handed to me.”

 

Hoseok smiled apologetically. “You got it, boss.”

 

Yoongi’s glare made Hoseok giggle as he moved to grab a bottle from the shelf.

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

“You can’t be afraid of him forever.”

 

“Yah, shut the fuck up, will you?” Yoongi lurched forward, covering Hoseok’s mouth with his hand. Hoseok raised his eyebrows in surprise – Yoongi was the polar opposite of initiating physical contact. Flustered, Yoongi removed his hand. “Don’t fucking talk like that.” He glared at Hoseok. “Not here.” 

 

Both of them stood in Jeongguk’s room in the depths of the underground level. Jeongguk groaned, covered in a sheen of cold sweat. He tossed his head weakly, draped on the large bed inside his room. 

 

“He can’t make him work like this, Yoongi.” Hoseok bit his lip, eyeing Jeongguk on the bed. “Not after what he did to him… You have to say something. He’ll listen to you.”

 

Yoongi crossed his arms. “That’s a fucking awful lot to ask, Hoseok.” He sucked his teeth in a sound of frustration. “I’ll pull for him for the dancing shift, but I can’t guarantee anything as far as after hours go.” He rubbed his face in exhaustion. “That’s Kim’s deal. I can’t touch that.” 

 

“Or you don’t want to.” Hoseok bit his lip as soon as he heard the words out of his own mouth; he may have been overstepping some boundaries, but who would if he didn’t? “Who’s side are you on here, Yoongi? Look at him.” He gestured at Jeongguk. “He relies on us. They all do.” 

 

Yoongi’s eyes pierced daggers through Hoseok. “I don’t give a shit about sides.” His shoulders fell into a shrug. “Our jobs are our jobs.” He moved to exit the room, turning the door handle. “You need to remember why you’re here.”

 

“You need to remember why you stay.” Hoseok’s response made Yoongi pause for a moment, halfway out the door. He said nothing as he left. Hoseok chewed on his lip; right now wasn’t the best time to have Yoongi not on his side. He looked at Jeongguk breathing heavily on the bed, his eyes full of worry.

 

Jimin cocked his head upon hearing his door unlock; his body immediately tensed, but relaxed with relief at the sight of Hoseok, who smiled at him. “Hi, Jiminie.” He offered a small wave as he closed the door behind him.

 

A slight smile stretched Jimin’s lips. “Hi, boss.” He watched Hoseok fidget for a moment before gesturing to a chair. The exchange was unspoken, and Hoseok nodded as he sunk into a plush chair; Jimin rose from his seat. “Would you like something to drink?”

 

Hoseok shook his head, waving his hand at him. “No, no, don’t bother yourself. Sit down, it’s okay.” He chuckled, rubbing his face in exasperation before peering at Jimin, who looked solemn. “Hey, are you feeling okay?” 

 

Jimin realized he was staring off into space, hands resting idly in his lap. “Mm?” He blinked and straightened his back. “Oh, yeah.” He nodded. “I’m fine.” 

 

Hoseok noted the way Jimin avoided looking directly at him. He titled his head, looking at the other intently. “Are you sure?” His mind flashed over the exchange he’d just had with Yoongi. “If you’re feeling unwell, you know, I’m here to help.” He offered a smile.

 

Jimin nodded; Hoseok’s voice sounded like Jimin was placed in a sealed glass jar and Hoseok spoke outside of it, beyond Jimin’s reach. “Thank you, Mr. Jung.” He offered a small smile in return.

 

Hoseok sucked his teeth. “Ah, Jiminie.” He laughed. “You don’t have to call me that.” He rolled his head in an attempt to crack his neck – these late nights were catching up with him. “I’ve known you for a long time already, you don’t need to be so formal.” He observed Jimin as he only responded with a silent nod. “Anyway…” He pulled out his phone to check the time. “I have a favor to ask.. .Jeongguk’s down here in his room. He–,” Hoseok bit his lip. “He’s not feeling well, I know you know that. I have to be back upstairs, but do you think you could check on him in a bit? I don’t know what to do, Yoongi won’t let him leave. I don’t even know what the big boss is going to say when he tells him that Gukkie’s not dancing.” He sighed, rubbing his face in exasperation. “I think he has a booking tonight, but I wanted to give him a break. He’s really bad.”

 

Jimin’s body tensed at the mention of Jeongguk; he made sure to control his reactions, and simply nodded at Hoseok’s request. “Yeah, I will.” He interlaced his fingers, still sitting idly on the chair in front of his vanity.

 

Hoseok looked at him curiously –  something’s off , he could tell. But the pinging of messages from Yoongi telling him to “ hurry the fuck up and get upstairs, how the fuck do you work the bartenders computer shit” drew his attention away. “Thanks, I owe you one.” He smiled and nodded, getting up to leave. “Oh! Before I forget.” He approached Jimin, withdrawing a small velvet box from his jacket and placing it gingerly on the vanity table. His smile radiated with warmth as he ruffled Jimin’s hair lightly. “Happy birthday, Jiminie.” He heard his phone buzzing again in his pocket and rolled his eyes; he withdrew it, answering and turning to leave the room. “I’m going, I’m going!” 

 

Jimin watched him leave, then stared at the little box on the table. It had a “J” embroidered in golden thread and was wrapped neatly in a silk ribbon. He eyed it for what seemed like hours, before averting his gaze and grasped it lightly, placing it inside a drawer. He stood up and made his way towards the champagne bottles in his room; he decided waiting for his first client would take too long and a glass of champagne sounded nice right about now. “Happy birthday to me.” He mumbled, popping a bottle and pouring a glass.

 

A few glasses of champagne and quite some deliberation later, Jimin knocked gingerly on Jeongguk’s door. He waited silently for a response; when he heard nothing, he clicked the passcode into a keypad and opened the door to peek in. “Jeongguk?” His eyes adjusted to the darkness of the room easily; it was lighter than the obscurity of the silent hallway.

 

Jeongguk hadn’t moved since Hoseok had left; splayed on the plush mattress, he tossed his head to the side, offering a groan in acknowledgment. His eyes fluttered open; his skin was sticky with sweat, and chills racked through his body. “Hyung?” His lips pulled into a weak smile; he was happy to see him.

 

Jimin closed the door and approached the bed, kneeling down beside it. “Hey, Gukie.” He smiled. His fingertips brushed the other’s hair away from his forehead, eyes full of sympathy. “How are you feeling?” 

 

Jeongguk swallowed hard, smacking his tongue dryly against the roof of his mouth. “‘M okay.” He kept his smile, and Jimin couldn’t help but admire his spirit. The latter smiled in return as he got up to bring Jeongguk some water; he handed a bottle to him and helped him sit up, and watched him intently as he drank. “I feel like I haven’t seen you in a long time, hyung.” Jeongguk’s voice interrupted the silence that stretched between them. 

 

His voice conveyed some sort of longing that moved something in Jimin – he swallowed the bubbling of feelings that he had been pushing down for the past few days. He cleared his throat. “I only saw you a couple days ago, Guk.” He chuckled in an attempt to lighten the conversation.

 

Jeongguk smiled. “That’s not what I meant.” He shook his head. “I wanted to give you your present in person.” Jimin raised an eyebrow and looked at him questioningly – his confusion only seemed to magnify when Jeongguk’s grin widened and he opened his arms. “Don’t you want to know what I got you for your birthday?”

 

Jimin regarded him with curious confusion, before chuckling and scooting towards him on the bed to embrace him. Jeongguk’s arms wrapped around him strongly – the warmth of it made Jimin swallow his emotions down roughly once more. He settled into the hug, placing his chin on Jeongguk’s shoulder. 

 

“I’m going to take that as a yes.” Jeongguk giggled, and he felt a lighthearted chuckle from Jimin as he hugged him. “It’s me. My love is your present.”

 

Jimin rolled his eyes and laughed as he pulled away from Jeongguk’s embrace. “Thanks, Jeonggukie. It’s a really thoughtful gift.” He tapped his fingertip to his lips as if in deep thought. “Come to think of it, I think it’s the same present as last year’s.” 

 

Jeongguk’s lips stretched into his full endearing smile as he giggled. “It’s the best one you’ve gotten, right?”

 

Jimin’s face fell only slightly. He thought “It’s the only one I’ve gotten” , but remembered the velvet box sitting inside his vanity drawer. He smiled at Jeongguk. “It’s always the best one.” 

 

Jeongguk’s bright eyes and boyish smile reminded Jimin all too well of his charm. Jeongguk pulled his legs up and hugged them to his chest as he rested against the headboard; he was still clad in a black dancing outfit, black mesh robe doing little to keep him warm – it stuck to his skin and was beginning to become considerably uncomfortable. “So... Taehyung didn’t show out with his gift then, did he?” 

 

Jimin was staring off at an obscure place on the floor when Jeongguk’s question took him by surprise. He blinked, aware that Jeongguk more than likely caught the way his body tensed at the mention of Taehyung’s name. Jimin looked at him in confusion. “What?”

 

Jeongguk eyed him curiously. “I know it’s your business, but c’mon, hyung.” He giggled, wiggling his eyebrows. “What did he get you? I’m curious.” The blank confusion on Jimin’s face morphed Jeongguk’s expression after a few long moments of silence; Jimin broke the eye contact and looked back at the floor. “He didn’t… he did get you something, didn’t he?”

 

Jimin shrugged. “I haven’t seen Taehyung since…” He paused for a second, flicking through the days in his mind. Though he had picked Jeongguk up at Taehyung’s earlier that day, Jeongguk didn’t know that Jimin had gone back. He bit his lip, feeling the emptiness in his chest swell at the thought of sitting with a loaded gun to Taehyung’s chest. “Tuesday, at our place.” Jimin wondered if that was going to be the only lie to Jeongguk that he would take to his grave – it made the emptiness in his chest tear through him; he wasn’t a great liar. His brows furrowed after a moment of thought. “I don’t know why he would, I’ve never told him my birthday.” Again, his mind flitted back to the memory of the night at Taehyung’s old apartment. 

 

“Ninety…” Taehyung breathed. “Five.”

 

Jimin could hear Taehyung’s voice swimming in his mind, and could swear he felt Taehyung’s hot breath on his skin.

 

“Ninety five.” Taehyung repeated. “If you want to stop.” Taehyung smiled. “Just say ninety-five.” 

 

Jimin’s breath began to quicken; it was as though he couldn’t get out of his own head.

 

Taehyung chuckled. “It’s the year I was born.” He shrugged. “You can always tell me something else.”

 

“We’re… the same age?” 

 

“You didn’t.” Jeongguk’s voice snapped Jimin out of his daze – the latter looked at him curiously.

 

“What?”

 

A sheepish smile tinted a blush in Jeongguk’s cheeks. “You didn’t have to. I might have told him.” He giggled. “So? He really didn’t get you anything?”

 

Jimin opened his mouth to protest, but decided against it and just shrugged. “I don’t know why he would. I don’t know him that well… He’s just a client. A new one, at that.” He stood up briskly. “You probably know him much better than I do. I know he’s been coming upstairs for a while.”

 

Jeongguk furrowed his brows. “Hyung–,” he reached for Jimin’s arm, but the latter moved away. Jeongguk frowned. “Hyung, what’s wrong? What happened–,”

 

“I don’t want to talk about it, Guk.” Jimin ran his fingers through his hair, beginning to feel flustered.

 

Silence filled the air for a few moments before Jeongguk spoke. “You’re right.” Jimin peered at him from the corner of his eye, but said nothing. “I have known him longer.” Jeongguk sighed. “Long enough to know that he really likes you, hyung.” He didn’t miss Jimin’s fleeting reaction, nor the glance his way. “I know he’s just a client, I know how they are. We both do. But he just, I don’t know, he cares .” Jeongguk pursed his lips into a pondering pout. “Maybe he’s just lonely, but I think it’s more than that.” 

 

Jimin avoided meeting Jeongguk’s gaze as he took in what he was saying. He crossed his arms over his chest and opened his mouth to say something, before the sound of the door unlocking made both of them look immediately at the doorway. Both of their bodies tensed at the arrival.

 

“Good evening, darlings.” Kim Seokjin stepped through the doorway, closing the door behind him and smiling at the two men in the room. The scent of earthy, woody cologne mixed with the heaviness of cigar smoke radiated from his presence; he was dressed to the nines in as per usual, Dormeuil suit made of Peruvian vicuna woolen fabric fitted like a glove to his broad shoulders and slender frame. 

 

Jimin immediately offered a bow, and Jeongguk shuffled out of the bed to do the same; Jimin reached to steady him when he faltered, having gotten up too fast. “Good evening, Master Kim.” He guided Jeongguk as he helped him sit back onto the bed.

 

“I heard someone’s not feeling too well.” Seokjin smacked his teeth, tutting in sympathy. “What’s wrong, lovely?”

 

Jimin kept his gaze lowered as he laid Jeongguk down. “He’s fine, sir. He’s just a little faint.” The sweat drenching Jeongguk’s brow and matting his hair to his head said otherwise, but he remained silent. 

 

Seokjin approached the bedside; Jimin withdrew his hands obediently as Seokjin brushed the back of his hand gently against Jeongguk’s forehead. “You poor thing. You have a special guest tonight, Ares. It’s not the best night for a leave of absence.”

 

Jeongguk’s eyelids fluttered as he tried to gather his bearings, to little avail. He swallowed hard; Jimin observed him before speaking. “You look feverish, Gu–,” he felt Seokjin’s eyes glance his way and reeled his words back instantly. “Ares. Do you feel hot?”

 

Jeongguk knew that if it was anyone else but Jimin, he wouldn’t have, but he picked up on the underlying meaning of Jimin’s question easily. He groaned in response. “I’m burning up. Is my face red?”

 

Jimin moved closer to him on the bed; Seokjin raised an eyebrow as he observed them, but said nothing. Red . In the time that Jimin had come to work closely with Jeongguk, there were very few instances that Jeongguk ever presented Jimin with the signal for full stop – ‘I can’t do this’, ‘I don’t want to do this’. The color system they used worked favorably for them when they needed to communicate on a more obscure level; Jimin’s breath hitched as he remembered just exactly the last time they used it. Memories of Taehyung’s bedroom broke a dam in his mind, flooding his thoughts and becoming overwhelming; he forced himself back into the present. He grabbed Jeongguk’s hand, squeezing it. “No, you look a little pale.” He flipped through things to say; he could feel Seokjin’s eyes piercing wounds into them both. “A special guest?” Seokjin nodded silently in response; Jimin looked back down at Jeongguk. “Why don’t we pick out a special outfit for you, for your guest?” Jimin smiled, brushing Jeongguk’s hair out of his face and tucking it behind his ear. “I have a pretty yellow piece you could borrow–,”

 

Jeongguk snorted into a chuckle. “Ew, hyung. Yellow is totally not my color.” Jimin hid a frown at this response – so he wasn’t unsure; he’s completely certain he can’t take whoever the client is. Seokjin seemed amused at their conversation; Jimin was relatively certain the triviality disinterested him. “No, I’ll probably wear the red strap outfit. The one that the Master likes so much.” Jeongguk’s voice sounded sweet, and his doe eyes looked doting as he looked at Seokjin; he received a smile from Seokjin’s lips. 

 

There it is, Jimin thought. Red. His mind raced.

 

“Why don’t you go home, darling?” Seokjin’s suggestion caught Jimin by surprise. “Our guest won’t be pleased if you’re unwell.”

 

Jeongguk shifted to sit up. “No, sir, I’m fine.” He shook his head. “I just need to get ready, is all.”

 

Seokjin smiled fondly down at Jeongguk. “We can’t have you if you’re not at full performance, darling. What will our guests think? No…” He tutted again, shaking his head. “I’ll have a room booked for you at the L’Estrange. You can rest and come back in a few days.” He smiled and stroked Jeongguk’s hair gently. “How’s that sound, darling?”

 

Jimin thought of the hotel, and his mind flitted back to the bartender and his not-so-vague binge. “Sir, I can take him home later, he can wait here.” He flinched at his own courageous suggestion – who was he to be disagreeing with Master Kim?

 

Seokjin regarded him flatly. “He’ll be waiting quite a long time. You’ve two clients tonight, darling.”

 

Two? Jimin pursed his lips in thought – he was sure he’d only been notified of one. 

 

“I’ll have a car sent for you shortly. Eros, be a doll and help him get freshened a bit.” He turned and made his way to the door. “Oh, and Eros… Wear his red outfit. It’s not only my favorite.” Seokjin’s smile dripped in a poison that made Jimin choke on his breath. 

 

Jimin stared in confusion even after Seokjin took his leave. What? He scrunched his face and shifted to help Jeongguk up. “Come on, Guk, let’s get you into clothes so you can get some rest.”

 

Jeongguk’s head nearly flopped on Jimin’s shoulder as the other put his arms around his torso. “Thanks, hyung.” The gratitude in his voice conveyed enough to fill the void of silence in between them; Jimin felt an uneasy feeling boiling in the pit of his stomach.

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

To Jimin’s surprise, his first client of the night came early; the older man indulged in Jimin’s company in a V.I.P. suite upstairs, inhaling crisp lines of finely cut cocaine and one cigarette after another, while Jimin sat on his lap and laughed at all his crude jokes, voice tinkling like a bell and looking absolutely angelic in a sheer babydoll outfit, fabric shimmering in the color of champagne.  His mind wasn’t in the present at all, but Jimin forced himself to stay in the moment as much as possible; since when had someone other than his client become a priority while working? He mentally smacked himself, inhaling another line of cocaine and downing champagne in a desperate attempt to get out of his own head.

 

By the time Jimin knew it, it was a little after 3:00 A.M.. The time with his client had been relatively easy and eventful; the time spent upstairs was enough to get the man absolutely trashed, and he’d only lasted about an hour into their after–hours booking. Jimin chuckled to himself. These occurrences were the best: spend some vanilla time upstairs, getting clients drunk enough to where they can’t see straight. If you’re lucky, they pass out as soon as you got them downstairs; if not, keep drinking and offering favors and they’d last an hour at best. He sat as his vanity, fresh out of the shower; idly, he opened the drawer and stared at the velvet box. He withdrew it from the drawer, hesitating before delicately unwrapping the ribbon and opening the box. Inside glinted a set of silver earrings with the daintiest diamonds, sitting prettily atop a plush cushion. He smiled; Hoseok was sweet, especially with gifts. A second later, he heard the sound of his door unlocking; he quickly placed the gift back into the drawer and closed it. He turned around to meet Seokjin’s arrival for the second time that night.

 

“Lovely.” Seokjin smiled, closing the door behind him.

 

Jimin bowed from his seat, bending deep at the waist. “Master.”

 

Seokjin approached him, placing his hands on Jimin’s delicate shoulders as he observed his reflection in the vanity’s large mirror. He brushed his fingers through Jimin’s hair; Jimin met his eyes in the reflection. The latter observed Seokjin towering behind him. “They did a wonderful job with your hair. It looks sweet like honey, like you.”

 

Jimin lowered his eyes, looking at himself. “Thank you, sir. I’m thankful that you like it.” His body tensed as Seokjin’s hands brushed down his neck, pushing the fabric of the silk robe to fully reveal the raised, red line of a wound beginning to scar. Seokjin tutted in sympathy.

 

“I always thought it would be a pity to mark your sweet skin.” Seokjin’s fingertips brushed delicately over the scar, sending chills up Jimin’s spine. “But now that I think about it, it reminds me of kintsugi .” His lips stretched into a fond smile, one that Jimin knew all too well to know of its sadistic underlying tones. “Filling in broken porcelain,” he brushed his fingertips through Jimin’s hair with his free hand, bringing his lips close to Jimin’s ear, “With exquisite gold.” Jimin felt Seokjin’s hot breath as he chuckled; the latter withdrew a syringe from his coat, placing it on the vanity before straightening back up. “Don’t forget to change into the red outfit, darling.” Seokjin turned to leave, walking towards the door. “Dr. Yu is quite fond of it.” He smiled.

Jimin turned in his seat, confusion on his face. “Dr. Yu?” He could feel the beast of bad feeling rearing its head in his stomach as he saw the all-too-familiar expression of amusement on Seokjin’s face. Jimin’s eyes glanced around as he thought about the name. “Isn’t that…?”

 

Seokjin nodded. “A guest of Ares.”

 

Jimin’s face was blank; confusion riddled his features. It took a few moments before he registered what Seokjin meant; his eyes grew wide. “Do you mean I’m…?” 

 

Seokjin nodded again, pure sadistic delight radiating on his features. “He was quite disappointed to hear his favorite was unwell. I’ve assured him he’d be in wonderful hands with mine.” He smiled. “I know you’ll take wonderful care of him, darling. You never disappoint.”

 

Jimin opened his mouth to protest; but closed it a second later, nodding solemnly. “Of course, sir.” His eyes dropped to the floor. “Thank you, Master Kim.” He bowed his head silently and did not move until Seokjin had taken his leave. Jimin stared at the floor – he was his favorite?

 

Though he’d been told enough times that he looked stunning in anything he wore, Jimin couldn’t come to be comfortable as he pulled at the red straps of Jeongguk’s leather outfit that hung a bit loosely on his body. He had the same leather outfit in white, but the red gave him chills and thoughts of things that he would rather not think about. He broke his gaze from staring at himself in the mirror and idly picked up his phone, hugging a sheer, floor–length robe tightly around himself as he scrolled through a few notifications. 3:42 A.M… Dr. Yu will be here soon. Jimin sighed; he’d never taken one of Jeongguk’s clients before, or vice versa. His thoughts came to a stop as he heard a voice inside him telling him that wasn’t exactly true – technically, Taehyung was Jeongguk’s client to begin with. Jimin bit his bottom lip harshly, swallowing down a sour taste in his mouth. He needed to get out of his own head. His eyes wandered from his phone and lingered on the single syringe that rested on the vanity table – he felt uneasy when thinking of exactly why Seokjin felt the need to leave a syringe full of potent narcotics at his disposal. He had little time to think of it though, before he heard a knock at his door; he moved the syringe out of sight, and silently crossed the room to answer the door. 

 

“Good evening, Dr. Yu.” Jimin bowed deeply and stepped aside to allow his guest to enter. He observed the man; nothing too comfortable to look at, in a suit and with a heavier stature like most of the men that passed through the doors of this floor. There was something in his facial expression, though, that made Jimin uneasy – he couldn’t quite put his finger on what it was, or why.

 

“Good evening, Eros, is it?” The man’s voice was raspy, but not in the way that Jimin could say he was fond of. Dr. Yu offered Jimin a shopping bag. “I heard it was your birthday. I know we’ve just met, but, I’m looking forward to celebrating with you.”

 

For reasons yet unbeknownst to him, sirens began to go off in Jimin’s head. Taken aback, he accepted the gift, bowing deeply in gratitude. “Oh, thank you, sir. It’s my pleasure to enjoy this time with you, it’s an honor. I hope you’ll receive my gratitude well.” Jimin felt the shift in his personality, a new veil of skin slithering itself on in the form of Eros. It was almost as if he changed into another person without having to do much at all; he delicately reached for the man’s arm, brushing his fingers lightly along the sleeve of his blazer. “May I take your jacket?” When the man obliged, Jimin slipped the jacket off lightly, placing it on a hanger in his armoire. The sheer fabric of his robe swept faintly on the floor around him; Dr. Yu observed him intently. “To celebrate… Shall we start with a glass of champagne, Doctor?” 

 

Jimin didn’t miss the way a certain expression flitted on Dr. Yu’s face in response – it made his stomach churn. It looked somewhat familiar, and it wasn’t something that Jimin wanted to be familiar with. Dr. Yu smirked. Jimin thought he caught a small nod; to dissipate the awkward silence, he bowed as he exited the main area of the bedroom to fetch a bottle of champagne. As he retrieved the bottle and arranged a bucket of ice, he could feel chills sitting at the base of his neck; something about this client seemed off. It made him uneasy; he’d have to be on his toes for this one.

 

He returned with a sultry smile, setting the things on a table and moving to open the bottle. He could feel Dr. Yu’s eyes intently on him; he avoided eye contact until he’d popped the bottle and poured two glasses. Jimin circled around the table, daringly taking a seat in Dr. Yu’s lap. He smiled as if fond of the man, and offered him a glass, clinking his own against the other’s when he accepted it. “To a new acquainting.” Jimin smiled, tipping his glass to his lips; he was thrown off when he saw that Dr. Yu hadn’t taken a drink from his glass at all. He raised an eyebrow, looking questioningly at him. “Is something the matter, Doctor?”

 

Dr. Yu chuckled, reaching forward to place the glass on the table. The way his heavy, clammy hand rested on Jimin’s lap to steady him made Jimin want to vomit. “Oh, did they not tell you?” Dr. Yu met Jimin’s eyes. “I don’t drink.” His smile and eye contact solidified exactly what they reminded Jimin of – Seokjin’s own expression, a mixture of sadistic amusement. 

 

Jimin felt dread puncturing the depths of his belly. He… doesn’t drink? He nodded his head, expertly masking his reaction with a smile. “Oh, my apologies, sir. How rude of me to assume.” He raised his glass to his lips again; his breath caught in surprise as the man’s fingers enclosed around the stem of the glass, stopping him. 

 

Dr. Yu drew his face close to Jimin’s. “Seokjin certainly wasn’t lying when he said you look absolutely angelic.” Dr. Yu’s hot breath on Jimin’s skin made him want to squirm. “Are you Seokjin’s favorite, because you’re a pretty little bitch? Is that what he likes?” He chuckled at the end of his sentence; Jimin’s eyes widened only slightly in surprise. 

 

“Excuse me, Doctor?” 

 

“Did you not fucking hear me?” 

 

Jimin shifted to move off of the man’s lap, but his free hand gripped his waist tightly – too tightly. Sirens began to blare in Jimin’s head – he fucking knew it. Goddamnit, fucking Kim Seokjin.

 

“I asked if he likes you because you’re a pretty little bitch.” Dr. Yu had a bellied laugh that made Jimin’s skin crawl. “Christ. He mentioned you were pretty, but didn’t mention you were dense. I suppose the pretty ones are a stupid as the bitches themselves.” Dr. Yu’s hand snaked up to the nape of Jimin’s neck, entangling into his hair and yanking roughly; Jimin’s jaw clenched, but he remained silent. “If you’re that pretty and stupid, you might as well have a cunt.” Dr. Yu’s smirk widened as he tipped the glass, pouring the champagne onto the lips of unexpecting Jimin, who opened them too late and sputtered from the liquid as the rest spilled on his face, dripping onto his clothes. Dr. Yu’s fingertips pressed on Jimin’s bottom lip, hooking into his mouth and opening his jaw. Jimin held back his utter disgust, obliging the man who held him in an aggressive grip.  “Your lips are something else. I can’t wait to see what that pretty fucking mouth of yours is useful for.” Dr. Yu smiled and released his hold on Jimin, grimacing as he looked him over. “You’re filthy already, how disappointing. Kim can’t be bothered to present me with a bitch that’s clean?”

 

Jimin’s mind whirled. What the fuck is he on? Sourly, Jimin maintained his facade as expertly as he knew how, as his mind flitted to Jeongguk – so these are the kind of clients he takes, Jimin thought. He’s into that kind of thing… Is this easy for him? Uneasily, he shifted in Dr. Yu’s lap. “My apologies, Doctor. Excuse me while I freshen up for you.” He slipped out of the man’s lap swiftly. “May I interest you in a sparkling water while you wait?” His sultry smile returned. “For one toast to our celebration together. Will you oblige me with the honor, sir?”

 

Dr. Yu frowned at him. He leaned back into the sofa, looking Jimin up and down. “Fine. Because it’s the bitch’s birthday. Go on, then.” 

 

Jimin grumbled to himself as he slipped into the bathroom, slipping out of his robe and dropping it to the floor. He ran a hand towel under the sink and wiped himself off, patting his face and reapplying a bit of makeup with a puff. He stared at himself in the mirror for what seemed like ages; his face was sallow, eyes sunken into their sockets. He almost didn’t recognize himself; when did he start looking like this? Jimin bit his bottom lip and frowned; he reached into the cabinet by the sink, withdrawing two bottles quietly. Solemnly, he downed a couple pills; turning the sink back on, he crushed a couple others. He exited the bathroom, silently making his way over to the fridge at the small bar inside his room. He withdrew a sparkling water, pouring some into a glass and dropping the crushed powder inside. He squeezed a spurt of lime into the glass, setting a fresh slice on the rim. He returned to the room with a smile, holding the bottle of sparkling water in one hand and offering the glass. “My apologies for keeping you waiting, sir.”

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

The pattering of raindrops on asphalt echoed against the dark silence of the night, threatening to rattle Jimin’s aching bones and settle in the chattering of his jaw as he wobbled out of the building that towered behind him. He could feel the blood pooling in bruises, the pain of tonight curling into the hollows of his body and resting there like an unwelcome stray. The cold October air bit harshly at his cheeks; he felt an arm wrap around his back gently, nudging him close to stay dry under the umbrella – Jimin flinched.

 

Hoseok’s jaw was clenched taut, his own silence deafening and muting the sound of the falling rain. He escorted Jimin solemnly to a car; Yoongi stood just inside the club, watching the pair from the doorway in the back of the building. “Are you sure you don’t want me to take you home, Jimin? You can stay with me, if you want.” Hoseok’s brows furrowed with worry; even in the darkness, Hoseok could see the weight of tonight bearing down on the other, threatening to shatter him into pieces at any moment. 

 

Jimin stared emptily at the ground; his words seemed to echo in his chest, swirling like smoke and dissipating in his lungs with each labored breath. A simple response finally clawed its way out of his throat, spilling from his lips in a croak that turned into a whisper by the second syllable. “No, thank you.” He nodded his head in a bow of gratitude before entering the car without another word. 

 

Hoseok watched with worry as the sleek black car rolled out of the lot behind the club; he turned to Yoongi, who matched his gaze and shook his head apologetically. Hoseok shivered as he shuffled back inside, following in Yoongi’s wake to close the club for the night.

 

Jimin couldn’t tell which was more excruciating; the silent drive home, enough to deafen him with the sounds of his own screams in his head, or the dredging journey from the lobby to his apartment as his legs rattled underneath him, aching to give out. He propped himself against the railing of the elevator, heaving and swallowing bile that threatened to burst like wildfire from his throat. The dark silence of his apartment seemed eerily unfamiliar; it wasn’t often that there was no one home. He sighed, simply grateful to have even made it home after tonight. He swore he could hear the snickering of the demons from the night stepping over the threshold behind him; solemnly, he flicked on the light and dropped his bag where he stood. Jimin blinked; the sight of a large, bright bouquet of flowers sitting on the counter in a crystal vase caught his immediate attention. If he hadn’t been so surprised, he would have thought the vividity of pinks, red, and white were too loud for his exhausted eyes. Curiously, he approached the counter; next to the flowers sat a black and white designer box, and a simple card rested on top. He opted to open the box first; he figured it must be from Kim Seokjin, and the idea of receiving anything from him sat bitterly on Jimin’s tongue. His eyes indulged in the sight of a sweater, folded neatly inside paper almost as delicate as the fingers that trembled in unwrapping it. The sweater was nice, though it didn’t seem quite like Seokjin’s taste. His attention drifted to the card sitting prettily on the counter – his fingers opened it as though it would light aflame.

 

Jimin,

 

I know we’ve just met, but you don’t feel unknown to me. 

This day is special. I wish you the happiest of memories.

 

Kim Taehyung

 

The black ink of the words printed neatly onto the card struck Jimin harshly, the crack of the axe that split the frozen sea; as his resolve splintered, the roaring waves crashed through his body, spilling out of his eyes in the form of hot tears that wouldn’t stop. The burning in his chest tore like poison corroding his insides, threatening to rattle his body and take home in his lungs until he was left gasping for his last breath. The sobs that he choked on sounded foreign to him; his bones were paper and he was crumpling to the ground before he could brace himself against the counter. The weight of the night, the days, the weeks that stretched behind him piled on and Jimin felt crushed beneath it all; as he hugged his knees to his chest and surrendered to his emotions, he faintly heard his phone ping with a notification. He was sure it wasn’t anyone he wanted to hear from, and instead allowed himself to be engulfed in the solitude that enveloped around him and swallowed him whole.

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

“Jimin… What did you do?”

 

Jimin stirred, displaced in his bed that felt foreign and not his own; why was he so cold?

 

“You don’t have to do this…”

 

Oh, but I do. Jimin’s eyes fluttered open; his breath hitched as his eyes met the depths of others, peering at him from under a head of dark curls. He opened his mouth to speak; his voice came out hoarsely. “Tae.. Taehyung?” His body shivered; why the fuck is it so cold? Taehyung smiled and pulled the covers up over Jimin’s trembling body. “What… what are you doing here?” Jimin’s eyes were heavy with the exhaustion that pooled into the creases of his lids and threatened to pull him into its depths; his body felt just as burdened. He observed Taehyung lying next to him; why is he wearing a coat? He must be cold, too…

 

“I came here to see you, Jimin.” 

 

Jimin’s brows furrowed in confusion. “How did you…” He nearly flinched as Taehyung’s hand rested warmly on his cheek; the warmth seeped into the pores of his skin and welled hot tears in his eyes. The hollow feeling in his chest throbbed with a ravenous desire to be filled; he covered Taehyung’s hand with his own and nestled into his touch. Jimin closed his eyes, content to curl up in Taehyung’s warmth and sleep there forever.

 

“Jimin…”

 

“Hm?” 

 

“Where’s Jeongguk?”

 

“He’s not home…” Jimin frowned as he felt Taehyung withdraw his hand from Jimin’s cheek. He scrunched his face in protest, eyes still closed. “No…”

 

“I really should find Jeongguk.” 

 

Jimin felt the movement of the bed as Taehyung shifted next to him, his heart began to quicken in panic. No, Taehyung, don’t leave. He drew his knees close to his chest, balling himself up as his teeth began to chatter. His body shivered violently and he began to choke on sobs. “T–,Tae–, it’s… c–,cuh–,cold….” His eyelids felt heavy, they didn’t want to open. “Come b–,back, I’m c–,cold…” 

 

“Jimin… Don’t go.”

 

The cold that seeped into every corner of Jimin’s body brought with it a wave of pain, and as his eyes bolted open, he slipped into lucidity with a cry that ravaged itself from his throat. Too many feelings hit him at once, and he bolted up in bed, body drenched in a cold sweat and an aching soreness racking his frame. His vision came hazily into focus after a few moments; he looked around his empty bedroom. He heaved a sigh, scrunching his face from the light filtering in through the windows. Groaning, he dragged himself out of bed, favoring a hot bath to soothe his aching muscles and wash the feeling of sludge in the form of nightmares and bad memories sticking to his body. 

 

Jimin stayed in the bath for what seemed like hours, until his thoughts in the silence were too much to bear and the steam from the water wrapped its fingers around his throat, strangling him softly. He did his best to avoid looking at the mirror, but couldn’t help and sneak a glance; unsurprisingly, he was jolted and displeased at what he saw. Welts from the leather snapping against his skin were beginning to raise, disrupting the even complexion of his skin. Bruises began to color the contours of his body and he scowled in disgust. No amount of boiling water and scrubbing could scrape away the remnants of last night. The thought of sitting with the trauma of it all sat sourly in Jimin’s belly, crawling into the recesses of his mind and settling there, making a home with the other demons that took up permanent residence in the shadows. He wasn’t sure who he was angry at – Jeongguk, Seokjin, Taehyung, himself? He downed a few painkillers before wobbling to the living area of the apartment, where he’d left his phone. The sight of the vividly colored flowers met him instantly, brightened by the natural light that shone through the windows. His mind lingered on his dream, and on the man who’d sent him the cheery gift in a world that looked monotone. With a bit of dread sitting in his stomach, he unlocked his phone to check it.

 

jk –– 4:46 A.M.

hyung

how is everything?

 

jk –– 4:48 A.M.

who did you see tonight?

 

jk –– 5:03 A.M.

msg me when you’re out of work, come stay in min’s hotel with me 

its really nice 

 

jk –– 6:03 A.M.

did you go home?

 

Jung Hoseok –– 7:42 A.M.

jiminie

did you get home safely?

 

Missed Call –– 7:53 A.M.

Jung Hoseok

 

Jung Hoseok –– 7:59 A.M.

please let me know if you need anything

 

Jung Hoseok –– 8:02 A.M.

or anyone

 

Jimin checked the time; 2:12 P.M.. He’d been asleep all morning. He ran his fingers through his damp hair, before replying to Hoseok’s messages.

 

jimin –– 2:14 P.M.

hyungnim

do i have to work today? I don’t feel well

 

He locked his phone, spacing out for a few minutes before the sound of a text notification brought him out of his daze.

 

Jung Hoseok –– 2:17 P.M.

I’ll talk to the boss

Are you okay?

 

Jimin blinked; he was surprised Hoseok was awake. Does he ever sleep? He jumped as his phone began to ring; he groaned as he saw Yoongi’s name on the caller ID. That was fast – were they sleeping together or what the hell? Jimin didn’t want to answer, but knew he had to. Sighing, he accepted the call. “Huh–,” surprised, he cleared his throat; his voice was hoarse. “Hello?”

 

“Jimin. Hoseok told me you’re not feeling well.”

 

“Mm.” Jimin’s response was as much of a “yes” as he could muster. A long pause settled into the call.

 

“... You don’t want to work tonight?”

 

“Mmhm.” Jimin nodded, repeating himself.

 

“I know you’re not well, but you need to talk to us, or we can’t help you.”

 

For some reason, Yoongi’s words made Jimin angry. He bit his tongue as he seethed. “Yes, he’s right, sir. I don’t feel well.” Yoongi had a habit of being quiet, mulling things over, and Jimin shifted impatiently as he waited for him to speak.

 

As well as Yoongi did his job, times like these were definitely where he tripped up. His mind drifted back to Hoseok’s words from last night. ‘Who’s side are you on here, Yoongi? Look at him… He relies on us. They all do.’ He sighed; he’d already gotten one out of work, and now the one with the biggest profit was trying to pull out of the weekend – there’s no way Seokjin would let it slide. “I have to talk to Kim. I’m sorry, but since Jeongguk’s out for the weekend, I can’t make any promises.”  

 

Jimin frowned; he felt a scream boiling in the pit of his chest, and remained silent to avoid losing his temper. 

 

“... I want to help you, Jimin, I do. I know last night was hard for you. I’ll see what I can do. One of us will call you later. Get some rest.”

 

Jimin managed a tight, “Thank you, sir”, before hanging up and releasing the scream that seared his throat. He threw his phone in anger. Out of everything he’d ever done for others, all he’d shouldered, this was how he was treated? His scream devolved into broken sobs, angry tears stinging at his eyes and blurring his vision until he was spent and lying on the couch, falling back into a slumber. 

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

“With all due respect, sir, you went too far.” Yoongi swirled an ice cube in his glass, idly melting it into the scotch as he rested his elbows on the L’Estrange hotel bar, which was located on the 26th floor of the building and Yoongi had learned was called Marque D’Amour , which was French for love or some decadent romantic shit that he didn’t remember. It was dark inside, with a historic boutique ambience, like stepping into a bar in 19th century Paris. He had to admit, the place was absolutely gorgeous, smaller in size than other 5–star hotels in the area, but definitely unique. Yoongi could feel the attentiveness of the bartender from down the bartop, more than likely because Kim Seokjin sat next to him. The attention made Yoongi uncomfortable.

 

Seokjin smiled, indulging in a long gulp of his own drink before answering. “There’s no such thing.” 

 

Yoongi’s eyes wandered lazily around their surroundings; it was still difficult to believe this bar, this hotel, this property – was his now. Well, partially his. He blinked as Seokjin spoke again, almost as if he’d read his mind. “ Get the fuck out of my thoughts, Kim.”

 

“Did Hoseok sign the papers already?” 

 

Yoongi nodded. “Yes, he did.”

 

When Yoongi had first become acquainted with Seokjin, the latter’s smile sent chills up his spine. Now, it didn’t bother him at all, merely tipped his attention towards his intentions; Seokjin was fond of smiling. “Great. He took long enough, as if there was much to think about.” He chuckled. “Will you be keeping the name?” 

 

Yoongi shrugged. “We haven’t decided yet.” He rolled his tongue in his mouth, becoming impatient. “Sir. I know you’re aware that last night was too far.” Yoongi exhaled at Seokjin’s lack of response. “Or maybe you aren’t, so I’m telling you that it was.” He didn’t miss the way Seokjin’s eyebrow raised – finally , he’d gotten his attention. “Ares is out per your request and Eros is running on fumes. We’re going to be in the red for the weekend if we don’t make some...” he paused, mulling his choice of words over as he swirled his glass; as if he’d find the correct one in the depths of his whiskey. “... Adjustments.”

 

Seokjin tipped his glass to his lips, savoring his liquor for what seemed like hours before speaking again. “I know you won’t let that happen, Min.”

 

Yoongi’s face fell flat. “Of course not. So,” he took a large gulp of whiskey, using the burn to give him the courage to say what he wanted to next. “I’m pulling Eros. No clients, he’s off. At least for tonight.” He avoided looking at Seokjin as he waited for a response; he opened his mouth to speak again but was interrupted.

 

“Dr. Yu will be back on Saturday.” Seokjin sipped his drink idly. “He enjoyed Eros, imagine my surprise.” He chuckled. “Clear him tonight, then, and the Doctor will be his only tomorrow.” 

 

Yoongi blinked. “Again? Sir, I don’t think that’s–,”

 

“I didn’t hire you to think, love.” Seokjin rose from his seat, straightening his jacket. “He’ll be there tomorrow.” He offered the venomous smile he so fondly adorned in every situation. “You will make sure of it, won’t you?”

 

Yoongi had an infinite amount of patience, but even he could feel it wearing thin. He sighed and nodded. “Yes, sir. Understood.” He only sat for a few moments after Seokjin took his leave; leaving his drink, he got up and made his way towards the elevator. 

 

Yoongi rolled his neck in an attempt to crack his joints as he waited in front of a rather ornate door leading to the single and most luxurious L’Estrange suite. He realized then that he was quite curious as to the layout of the hotel; seeing as Seokjin had sort of just handed it to him, he really didn’t know anything about the place. What he did know was that the loudness of the decor gave him a headache, and he didn’t know shit about 19th century Paris – but the hotel was modeled after that theme and had been designed by some bigshot French contemporary architect. It was a 5–star boutique gem sitting in the heart of Seoul, and somehow it was Yoongi’s and Hoseok’s now. Yoongi hadn’t even known that Kim Seokjin owned any hotels, luxurious ones at that, and it made him wonder what else Seokjin owned. 

 

The large door opened to reveal boyish doe eyes that widened in surprise, and then squinted in a happy smile to see him. “Mr. Min? Hi! Come inside!” Jeongguk’s lips pulled into his boyish smile as he stepped aside to allow Yoongi into the suite. He bowed deeply and politely. Yoongi nodded, cocking an eyebrow at the young boy’s naivety – he hadn’t asked why he was here at all, and looked genuinely happy to see him. Jeongguk must have noticed Yoongi’s eyes wandering around the suite, and giggled when Yoongi let out a low whistle. “Can I get you something to drink, sir?”

 

Yoongi waved his wrist lazily to reject the offer. “No, thanks, Guk.” He offered a slight smile. “I didn’t know he’d put you up in the penthouse suite. I hadn’t seen it yet.” His eyes wandered over his surroundings.

 

Jeongguk pursed his lips in a pout, eyes growing a bit wide. “Sir, isn’t it yours?” His starry eyes scrunched into a squint as he laughed at Yoongi’s small nod. “I mean the whole place, it’s yours and you haven’t seen the suites yet?”

 

Yoongi eyed him for a second before breaking into a small chuckle; it was impossible not to mirror Jeongguk’s cheery demeanor. “I’d seen photos of the royal suites, and the presidential.”  He frowned slightly. “The wallpaper gives me a damn headache, though. On second thought, Guk, a coffee?”

 

Jeongguk had stood to lean against a plush velvet sofa, not wanting to be rude and sit down when Yoongi hadn’t. At the older’s request, he almost jumped to stand up straight, nodding eagerly and shuffling over to the bar inside the room. He popped a pod into the coffee machine that sat pristinely on the lowest shelf; above it rested bottles of Hendricks gin, Green Spot Chateau Montelena Irish whisky, and a gorgeous bottle that absolutely towered over the others, sat in the centre, and looked heavy enough to break the glass of the shelf. Yoongi wasn’t the most familiar with liquor brands – Hoseok handled the bar and its inventory – but he was fairly sure he’d only seen Kim Seokjin drink from a sleek glass bottle with a silver “M'' on its front, and maybe only on two occassions. He couldn’t recall if they even stocked it on the shelves at the club, but he knew without a doubt it had to be expensive as hell.

 

Jeongguk turned to look at him. “Cream and sugar?” Yoongi’s eyes still rested on the bottles that sat nicely on the shelf; Jeongguk followed his gaze. “Are you sure you don’t want a whisky, sir?” He giggled.

 

Yoongi smirked, smacking his tongue against the roof of his mouth. He’d had a scotch down at the bar – a scotch he hadn’t even finished. It was a nice scotch whisky, but it sure as hell wasn’t of the caliber whatever was sitting in the centre of the shelf; he couldn’t be sure of the other bottles. He shook his head. “Just black.” He blinked, removing his gaze from the bottles. “I’m going to sound like a damn idiot but Guk, what’s that bottle, the big one? Actually, what are all of them? I don’t even know if we have them at the bar.” He accepted the mug of steaming coffee from Jeongguk with both hands, and scuffled to settle down on the plush black sofa. The furniture kind of reminded him of The Parthenon’s extravagant style  – Seokjin definitely had a certain taste in things.

 

Jeongguk followed him like a puppy, sitting opposite of Yoongi in a plush chair and folding his legs up to sit comfortably. The crisp white cotton of complimentary pyjamas hung on his body loosely. He cocked his head. “Hm? It’s, uh–,” he studied the bottles. “The short one is gin, the green one is whisky, and so is the other, the big one.” 

 

Yoongi looked at him flatly, blinking in expectancy of a more detailed response.

 

Jeongguk only blinked at him in return for a few seconds before registering Yoongi’s waiting. “Oh! Well, we definitely have Hendricks – the gin.” Jeongguk scrunched his nose; gin wasn’t his preferred taste. “Jimin likes Hendricks.” His eyes flitted over the bottles. “The clear one is one of Master Kim’s favorites. It’s Macallan.” Yoongi didn’t miss the doting look in Jeongguk’s eyes as he spoke; and the way he seemed to concentrate really hard on pronouncing ‘Macallan’. “We have Macallan at the club, but not that one.” 

 

Yoongi nodded in response, sipping at his coffee quietly. The warm bitterness was welcome in his dry mouth. “Maybe I should tell Hoseok to order it.”

 

Jeongguk snickered and shook his head. “I don’t think you’ll find that one, sir.”

 

Yoongi peered at him. “What? Why not?”

 

“Well, I’m pretty sure Master just bought that one in an auction in Hong Kong.”

 

Yoongi knitted his eyebrows. “Auction?”

 

Jeongguk nodded, boyish eyes wide with the naivety that Yoongi assumed him to retain so well in his youth. “It was a charity thing. That right there went for over 600 grand.” He tilted his chin in the direction of the large crystal decanter. His eyes flitted upwards as he calculated math. “775 million won?”

 

Yoongi nearly sputtered on his coffee, eyes widening before he knitted his brows in thought once more. He wasn’t sure which intrigued him more: the hefty price tag, the part about it being a charity auction, or the fact that Yoongi didn’t know about it at all — yet Jeongguk did. “Charity? Kim?” And then, he thought, Why is he keeping it here?

 

Jeongguk nodded. “I think you can find some of those bottles in the States, but… the smaller ones, and I don’t think they’re easy to find.” Jeongguk giggled. “His favorite is Balvenie, but he likes Macallan, too.” He shifted on the chair, settling comfortably against the plush backing.

 

Yoongi nodded, mulling Jeongguk’s words over. “You haven’t been with us long, Jeongguk, but you know quite a bit. You pick up so quickly. You’re so young, still.”

 

Jeongguk tilted his head, not entirely sure what Yoongi was getting at. “Sir, can I ask why you came to see me?” His eyes flickered in thought. “Did you come to see me?”

 

Yoongi cupped his coffee in his hands, enjoying the warmth. “I came to check on you. See how you were doing.” Jeongguk nodded appreciatively, but Yoongi could tell he still didn’t believe that was it. Yoongi rolled his neck, kneading at the tight muscles with his fingers; he really wasn’t good at these situations. “It came to my attention that I don’t take care of you all as much as I should.” Yoongi sighed. “You, Jimin, all the boys at the club.” He rolled his tongue in his mouth, the conversation making him feel awkward. “I think Mr. Kim gets a bit too excited sometimes, and I just want to make sure you all are safe. As much as we all work for Kim, you’re my dancer. Both you and Jimin are my entertainers, and with the nature of our business, well, of course I have to look out for you, right? You guys are my responsibility.” Yoongi exhaled, realized he started to kind of ramble and speak way too quickly; it was a habit of his when he got anxious or nervous. 

 

“I’m doing just fine, sir. Thank you, really.” Jeongguk smiled. “Master, just... he’s fun. He likes to have fun.” 

 

Yoongi took a minute to calculate Jeongguk’s response. “Well, not everyone can handle fun the way you can, Guk. You’re young, you bounce back like a loaded gun. And, well,” he chuckled, shifting in his seat. “I know you like to have some – interesting – kind of fun.” His face dropped to a serious expression. “Speaking of–, Guk, your client last night. You’re aware Jimin took him?”

 

Jeongguk felt the shift in the air, and he could feel the pricking of a bad feeling in his belly. He shifted in the chair and nodded, attention piqued at Yoongi’s words. “How was it? He didn’t even tell me who he saw. Master didn’t tell me who I was supposed to see, either.”  He pouted.

 

“Jimin saw The Doctor last night, Jeongguk.”

 

Jeongguk’s eyes widened, caught like a deer in the headlights with surprise. “Duh–, Dr. Yu?” He sputtered, and Yoongi nodded in response. Jeongguk swallowed dryly, worry plastering itself on his face, sitting in the pretty little scar on his left cheek and replacing the look of naivety with age. “He booked him with Jimin? ” He shook his head. “No way, Jimin wouldn’t–, that’s…” Jeongguk fumbled for the words. “...That’s not his type .”

 

“I could tell.” Yoongi swirled the remnants of his coffee in the mug, its contents having begun to go lukewarm. “It’s not your issue, but I came to ask something of you. I know Kim told you to take off for the weekend.” He exhaled deeply. “I’m not asking you to go against his wishes, and I’ve already talked to him.” He licked his lips in a nervous tick. “The Doctor seriously fucked with Jimin, Guk. I’ve never seen him like that.” He paused, recalling the sight of Jimin wobbling out the back door of the club in the early morning hours before dawn, Hoseok’s arm delicately guiding him under the umbrella. His face had been expressionless, eyes sunken and blank in their sockets. “I don’t know what the hell happened. As you know, those hours are basically Kim’s jurisdiction. I couldn’t do anything about it–, or, uh, I’m not sure what I could have done, maybe I could have done something.” The realization was sinking in more and more – Yoongi could have done something, tried to do something, but he didn’t; and he wasn’t sure how that sat with him, but it definitely didn’t settle well on his shoulders. “I didn’t know the... details of your clients, and I didn’t know he…” Yoongi swallowed dryly. “I didn’t know Jimin couldn’t handle it.” Yoongi ran his fingers through his hair; he was becoming more anxious by the second. He knew he was rambling; but he also knew he’d fucked up. He’d fucked up by letting Seokjin go too far. He went too far with Taehyung, with Jeongguk, and now, with Jimin. Taehyung had hardly been in his field of interest; but he couldn’t ignore the other two. Words echoed in his head again: ‘ Whose side are you on here, Yoongi? Look at him… He relies on us. They all do.’ Damnit, Hoseok was always in his head as of late. He was right, though; Yoongi had failed at doing one of the most important things that his job entailed. “That being said, he’s not in a good space, and I want to give him some time from the club. Even if it’s just a night. I wanted to ask if you’ll come in to dance tonight. I won’t make you take any clients, you don’t have to. But if I could get you in for the dancing shift… You’re the only one I can count on, Guk.” With that, Yoongi fell silent – a silence that expansed across the room for what seemed like too many long, agonizing minutes.

 

“Sir…” Jeongguk started, his voice low. “I think that was the most you’ve ever talked to me since I met you.” His chest swelled with Yoongi’s finishing sentence; he wanted to count on him ; it made his pride flutter. He felt Yoongi staring with an almost incredulously sarcastic expression , as if disbelieving that that is all Jeongguk had in response to him. “Master Kim wants me to work tonight?”

 

“He doesn’t mind if you do. I can’t have both you and Jimin out, so it’s more a favor to me than anything, Jeongguk.”

 

Jeongguk thought about this for a few seconds, before nodding. “I’ll go in.” He pouted in concern. “Is Jimin… Sir, is he okay? No wonder he didn’t text me back…” He looked around, in search of his phone.

 

“I don’t know, Guk. I honestly don’t know.” Yoongi sat the mug on the table, unfinished coffee sloshing coldly inside. Yoongi stretched, cracking his tired joints a bit as he straightened up. “By the way, Jeongguk.” His eyes made contact with the boyish brown ones that peered at him widely. “Dr. Yu will be back tomorrow.”

 

Jeongguk’s eyes widened slightly. “Again?” He tilted his head in confusion. “But… he only comes to the club once a month.”

 

“Well it looks like there’s a first for a lot of things, then.” Yoongi rubbed at his temples, and made his way towards the door.

 

Jeonnguk followed hurriedly in order to get the door for him. “Don’t worry, sir. I don’t need the weekend off. I can see Dr. Yu tomorrow no problem, and I’ll be there tonight.” Jeongguk flashed his boyish bunny smile. “You can count on me.” 

 

Yoongi offered a slight smile in return. “Thanks, Jeongguk. I’ll see you tonight.” He paused. “Hey, Guk…”

 

“Hm?”

 

“I thought Jimin liked vodka.”

 

Jeongguk flashed his smile, chuckling lightly. “Master Kim thinks vodka suits him. Jimin used to hate it, actually. I think he took a liking to it, since he drinks it all the time now. He always liked gin.”

 

Yoongi nodded; interesting . “Oh, I didn’t know.” For some reason, this made him unsettled. “Thanks, Guk. I’ll be going now.” With that, he took his leave, and Jeongguk’s feet padded on the floor as he proceeded to get ready for the night.

 

Chapter Text

Not The fucking Parthenon.

 

“Come on, Kim Taehyung. If I have to go with my dad to another prissy shithole to listen to them choke on their fucking cigarettes and wine I’m going to fucking blow my brains out.” 

 

Taehyung shifted in his chair, looking up at a man who leaned against the wood of his desk, clutching the edge to brace his back against it. The man was his boss – well, the chairman’s son, Choi Youngjae, the president to Taehyung’s vice president title – making him as much his boss as the chairman was. Youngjae was younger than Taehyung; he was incredibly fit and had a face with a wide set jaw, sharp cheekbones, and feline eyes. Taehyung gnawed on his lip; Youngjae had caught him off–guard, coming to Taehyung’s office to ask about plans for the night. The company’s young president was trying desperately to weasel his way out of the business evening outing together, and Taehyung was his scapegoat. 

 

“If my dad knows I’m going with you, he won’t say anything.” Youngjae scoffed. “Shit, Taehyung, if he wanted another son he’d snatch you up in a heartbeat.” 

 

Taehyung licked his lips in an anxious habit, shifting again in his seat. “I don’t know, Youngjae. It’s…” he trailed off. What excuse did he have? Youngjae had essentially cornered him; he knew that Taehyung skipped out on spending time with the company workers often, in favor of going someplace else alone. Youngjae had never pried, though him and Taehyung had grown considerably close over the years of working together; being on a first–name basis wasn’t too common with coworkers of their position. At this point in time, Taehyung wasn’t quite sure if the president was aware of his, ehm, preferences, but he also wasn’t certain if Youngjae would care or mind, either. It was a hard gamble to guess. Youngjae could be quite mean and hot–headed. 

 

“It’s what?” Youngjae looked at him expectantly.

 

The eye contact made Taehyung slightly uncomfortable, and his tongue felt thick and heavy in his mouth as he searched for words. “It’s… different.” It was all he could settle on, and he wanted to smack himself for it.

 

Youngjae peered at him for a few more moments before letting out a sudden chuckle. “Great, that’s fine. Different is better than my dad’s usual.” He smirked, pushing his weight up off the desk and circling it to clap Taehyung on the shoulder. “Let’s go around nine? I’ve got to show up for dinner for my mom at least, because God knows my dad won’t fucking show.” His smirk remained plastered on his sharp features as he made his way towards the door.

 

Taehyung blinked and looked up in a slight panic. “Youngjae, I–,”

 

“You can’t say no, Kim Taehyung.” Youngjae eyed him with amused sarcasm. “I’m your boss, remember?” He gave a sly wink. “I’ll go by yours to pick you up. See ya.” He took his leave before Taehyung could say another word.

 

8:37 P.M. –– Yongsan–gu, Seoul, South Korea

 

So that was it. Taehyung had, for one reason or another, been roped into spending another night at The Parthenon. As he stood in his bathroom, he struggled to clasp the heavy body of the Patek watch on his wrist. His heart raced as his mind flitted through memories associated with the place that seemed to have a hold on him. It was Friday – meaning the underground floor would be open. Taehyung’s jaw clenched at the thought of being in the club, knowing that Jimin would be just one floor away; so close, yet so far. His words swam in Taehyung’s head: “Stay away from the Parthenon, Taehyung.” Why did he want him to stay away so bad? Taehyung frowned. It wasn’t like he hadn’t tried to stay away – it was his boss’ suggestion, and he couldn’t say no to his boss. Taehyung let out a chuckle at the irony of it all. The fucking Parthenon – where else would he end up on a Friday night?

 

“Why the fuck are you so quiet, Kim? Are you good?” Youngjae and Taehyung reclined comfortably in the back leather seats of a sleek silver Bentley Continental, with a bottle of relatively cheap bourbon in Youngjae’s hand. Taehyung had chuckled in amusement at this when he’d gotten in the car only ten minutes ago; Youngjae was the heir to a multi–billion dollar company, in his twenties, riding around in a car worth the price of a luxurious house, yet he chose to drink a $40 bottle of bourbon in the backseat before heading to a bar, where there was plenty of alcohol and his wallet was never empty. 

 

The corner of Taehyung’s mouth pulled in a smile. “Yeah, I’m good.” He nodded, and blinked at movement in his peripheral. He turned to look at Youngjae, who held the bottle out to him. Eyebrow raised, Taehyung let out a laugh before accepting the bottle and tipping it into his mouth. He scrunched his face as the taste of mid–tier, lukewarm bourbon whiskey coated his tongue and burned down his throat. “Fuck, that’s gross.” He wiped the back of his hand across his mouth, handing the bottle back.

 

Youngjae scoffed. “Don’t act like such an old fuck, Kim.” He brought the bottle to his lips, but paused before drinking to peer out the tinted windows. He blinked, interest piqued at the sight of a large, stone building towering above the parking lot they pulled into. “Is this it? It looks like a fucking museum.”

 

Taehyung became a bit tense as the car rolled to a stop in front of The Parthenon; he nodded. “Yeah, this is it.” 

 

Thinking back on it, Taehyung was grateful for the shot of shitty bourbon in the backseat as he climbed the steps to the entrance of the club. He chuckled to himself at Youngjae cursing under his breath about “What the fuck do you mean they don’t have valet?” and“You have to climb a fucking staircase to get to the place? What if your drunk ass falls when you leave? That’s a nice fucking lawsuit waiting to happen. Hey, Kim Taehyung, I’m going to push you down the stairs when we leave. We’ll fucking own this place.” This only made Taehyung’s mind wander to who actually did own the place, and it left a sour taste in his mouth that he was eager to get rid of with a nice glass of liquor.

 

Taehyung didn’t miss the way that Youngjae whistled and looked around as they entered the lobby of the grand Parthenon. Hands shoved in the pockets of his coat, Taehyung took a second to look around again as well, taking in the sights that he felt he hadn’t really seen in quite some time. The plush red carpet leading into the lobby; the grand stone pillars, the enormous, renaissance–style paintings that hung in the main lobby as if it were an art gallery.

 

“Hey, Taehyung, is this a joke? Is this really where you come on the weekends?” Youngjae clapped his hand on Taehyung’s shoulder, looking up at the vaulted ceilings and paintings that decorated the walls. 

 

“Good evening, Mr. Kim! It’s a pleasure to have you back.” The polite, cheerful voice of the hostess snapped Taehyung’s attention, and he bowed in acknowledgment, offering a quiet thanks. He noticed Youngjae beginning to speak before the sight of someone emerging from the corridor caught his attention entirely; his body tensed as his eyes met with Hoseok’s, which caused a clear look of surprise on the other’s face.

 

Hoseok blinked, stopping in his tracks as he entered the main lobby of the club. He’d come to check in on something with the hostess, only to have his eyes met with Taehyung’s. The moments that they just stared at each other seemed to stretch on for too long, making them only a tinge awkward. Almost instantly, though, a smile spread across Hoseok’s face. “Taehyung!” If Hoseok was upset, he didn’t show it. It took him a moment to meet eyes with the man who accompanied Taehyung and stood next to him; confusion flickered across Hoseok’s face before immediately being replaced with a welcoming expression. He was working, after all. “You brought company today?” Hoseok was curious; Taehyung had never brought someone with him to the club.

 

Shyly, Taehyung offered a small smile, almost a bit apologetic. “Hoseokie, hi.” He cleared his throat. “Oh, this i–,”

 

“Choi Youngjae.” Youngjae stepped forward, straightening his jacket and offering a smile that looked as sharp as the rest of his features. He extended his hand to shake Hoseok’s. “You two know each other well?”

 

Hoseok laughed, and responded even though Taehyung had opened his mouth to speak. “Jung Hoseok. I’m the manager of this fine establishment.” His smile was bright and infectious; Youngjae found it amusing, though a bit obnoxious. “Taehyung and I go way back.” Hoseok shared a small glance with Taehyung before shaking the other man’s hand heartily. “Welcome to The Parthenon, Mr. Choi.” 

 

The pair left their coats with the hostess and followed Hoseok down the corridor, who escorted them into the depths of the club. Taehyung could tell that Youngjae was absolutely intrigued; he would stare at all the paintings and ornate decor too, if it was his first time in the place. He didn’t have to even look at Hoseok to know he had a million questions sitting eager on his tongue; Taehyung could almost hear him buzzing with them all caged behind his teeth. They approached the large, ornate double doors, and Taehyung could feel his heart quicken pace.

 

The moment those doors opened, two things hit Taehyung quite hard: first, the rush of cold air that brought with it the scents of the club, all too familiar and strangely just as foreign, which gave him a weird feeling that he couldn’t quite explain; and second, the sight of two very new, and very unfamiliar things that Taehyung was sure he’d never seen before. Suspended above the floor were two very large, metal cages – those were definitely not there before. He couldn’t help but immediately stare at them, and try to wrap his mind around how the hell they even hung those when the ceilings were insanely high. 

 

Hoseok must have caught him staring because he clapped him on the shoulder and laughed. “Nice, huh? Do you like them?” Taehyung blinked and swallowed dryly, and Hoseok snickered. “Did you see the stage, too?” He gestured in direction of one of the three stages that adorned the club floor; railing had been installed around the perimeter to give somewhat of a cage effect, and colored LED panels lit up the space from below. The Parthenon had three stages: the main stage, which was the largest, and two secondary stages that were smaller; dancers rotated throughout the three on any given night. Only one stage had been “caged”, and Taehyung noted it was the one closer to where he normally sat. Why did it feel so long since he’d last been here? “We’re thinking of doing the railing on the other secondary stage, too, but we’re feeling it out first. Wait ‘til you see some of the new stuff downstairs.” Hoseok wiggled his eyebrows.

 

Taehyung cleared his throat to catch his words, clearly thrown off by the new additions to the club. “It’s–, uh, yeah, it’s–,”

 

“Holy shit, Taehyung.” Taehyung blinked at Youngjae’s voice; he’d almost completely forgotten that holy fuck he had brought his boss with him. He choked on his own saliva, coughing as his nerves took over. Youngjae barked in sudden laughter, hitting Taehyung’s shoulder. “I knew you were fucking freaky, Kim. I fucking knew it!” 

 

Taehyung felt his ears tinge red at the tips, and idly moved to the bar; he hadn’t noticed Yoongi stood behind it with the bartender, and was caught off guard. He nodded sharply, not missing the way Yoongi’s eyes glanced from him, to Youngjae, and back with a questioning expression. “Hi, Min.” Taehyung situated himself at the bar, feeling sheepish. It was almost embarrassing to be here; not because of the nature of the place, but because of all that had been happening in the past couple of weeks. The last interactions he’d had with Yoongi and Hoseok left him feeling like they weren’t on the best terms, and it made him feel slightly uncomfortable.

 

“Taehyung.” Yoongi nodded, and raised his brow at Youngjae. “You brought a friend?”

 

Taehyung opened his mouth to speak, but Youngjae interrupted before he could do so. “Better,” Youngjae smirked. “He brought his boss.” Youngjae slung himself to sit in a bar stool, rapping his knuckle on the bar. Taehyung had a hard time finding where to rest his eyes as he saw a look of intrigue on Yoongi’s face, and pure surprise on Hoseok’s – Hoseok was too expressive to hide his reactions to anything, obvious with the way his mouth dropped open. “That’s an impressive shelf. Bourbon? With Coke. I don’t give a shit which kind.” He looked lazily at Taehyung. “You? What do you want?” 

 

Yoongi was clearly amused at this development of the night; he smirked. He called the bartender over; Taehyung met eyes with him and suddenly memories that seemed incredibly distant flooded into his brain. The bartender smiled. “Mr. Kim, it’s been a while. The usual?”

 

Not a minute had passed since getting their drinks, and Youngjae downed a quarter of his, hissing at the burn of alcohol as he swiveled around to survey the entirety of the club floor behind them. He whistled lowly. “‘S a lot of pretty boys in heels and thongs.” He said, perking an eyebrow in curiosity as he watched one of the dancers, clad in a skimpy thong and rhinestone–covered heels, walking right by them. 

 

Yoongi, who still stood behind the bar and was studying something on a clipboard, raised his eyebrow and shot a questioning glance at Taehyung. Hoseok had returned to the front of the club, and no one else sat at the bar so far; it was early, and the club was barely beginning to come alive, it seemed. Taehyung sipped on his Glenlivet idly, observing his boss in silence. He’d ran his eyes over the room several times, and though they still were adjusting to the darkness, he hadn’t caught any sight of Jeongguk – or Jimin, but he didn’t expect he’d see Jimin on this floor, anyway. 

 

Youngjae swiveled back to face the bar, making a point to look at Yoongi while he downed the bourbon in his glass. “Bartender?” 

 

Yoongi took a moment before realizing that Youngjae was looking at him, and he looked up and pursed his lips. “No, wrong guy. You need another?” 

 

Youngjae rolled his eyes, swirling the glass in his hand. “Tell whoever to keep ‘em coming then, yeah? Here.” He withdrew his wallet to toss his card on the bar; the metal of it made a pleasant clattering sound. “Make it a double.”

 

The sound caught Taehyung’s attention, and he reached for the card as Yoongi took it from the bar surface. “No, I’ll get it–,”

 

Yoongi peered at the card, reading the name engraved on it with raised eyebrows. “SK Holdings?” He looked at Taehyung, clearly curious.

 

“That’s the one. Choi Youngjae, President. It’s a pleasure.” His voice sounded lazily sarcastic.

 

“Min Yoongi.” Yoongi took the glass full of bourbon from the bartender, filling it with soda himself and setting it in front of Youngjae. 

 

“Min is the director of this place, he runs the club.” Taehyung interrupted. 

 

“Oh, does he?” Youngjae raised his eyebrows, raising the glass in acknowledgement and gratitude. “Tell me, Mr. Min Yoongi,” he paused to take a sip of his drink, relishing in the burn, “since this seems to be a club for faggots, are you a faggot, too?”

 

Taehyung picked the wrong time to have his drink to his lips; he sputtered, choking on the scotch as his eyes went wide. The liquor dribbled down his chin, and Yoongi, holding Youngjae’s eyes and without missing a beat, snatched a napkin and held it to Taehyung, who took it with one hand while trying to catch the liquor spilling off his chin with the other. A smirk stretched on Yoongi’s face and he scoffed. “Well, aren’t you?” 

 

A long moment of silence stretched, electricity sparking in the eye contact between Youngjae and Yoongi before Youngjae smiled widely, venomously, and let out a bark of laughter. His shoulders heaved as he raised his glass again in a ‘cheers’. “Shit. I might as fucking well be.”

 

Taehyung had just asked for his second drink and was giving up hope of seeing Jeongguk – they’d already been here over half an hour and still he hadn’t caught sight of him. He sat idly next to Youngjae, who downed his bourbon like water. Both had been silent for the past ten minutes at least, and Taehyung was nowhere near feeling the alcohol enough to not be uncomfortable, so he decided to break the silence. “Youngjae, I–,”

 

“It’s fine, Taehyung.” Youngjae cut him off; Taehyung frowned. He did that a lot, interrupted him often. “You’re scared that this is what you’ve been hiding?” He turned to look at him, eyes lazily gazing at him through heavy eyelids. He scoffed and took another swig from his drink. “Don’t be such a bitch.” 

 

“It’s not that, Choi. It’s just–,” 

 

“I’m not my dad, Kim. And we’re not fifteen.” He chuckled. “So you like half–naked guys with their cocks swinging around in women’s panties?” He waved the bartender over. “So what?” Taehyung, for the first time tonight, broke out into small laughter; Youngjae looked at him, annoyed. “What?”

 

Taehyung snickered. “Saying ‘cocks’ sounds like you like them too, Youngjae.”

 

Youngjae rolled his eyes and asked for shots from the bartender, who delivered them promptly. He held one out to Taehyung, who reluctantly accepted. “Y’know what, Kim? Maybe by the end of tonight, I will. Fuck it.” He raised the shot glass to Taehyung’s, clinking them together before downing his shot. Taehyung stared at him for a second before taking his; the taste of smooth tequila immediately made him think ‘oh, no’, and memories of Jeongguk flooded his brain.

 

As the club started to fill, the pair opted to leave the bar and sit at a table, mostly obscured against the wall of the club. At some point, the cages caught Taehyung’s eye as he saw them hoisted upwards, and then slowly lowered down back into view – they were both now occupied with dancers, neither of which Taehyung recognized. He spaced out, hazily envisioning Jeongguk in his black leather outfit, dancing in a cage above his head. He then thought of Jimin, dancing in the other cage, and it made his body run hot. He’d never seen Jimin dance, but he was sure he’d be great at it. Jimin’s giggle and his words echoed in his head: “I can do lots of things, baby.” Taehyung’s breath caught in his throat, and he thought with a considerable amount of sadness that that had been the last time he’d had Jimin close to him, in his lap. He couldn’t help but let out a heavy sigh – why had he let him go? Better yet, why had he pushed him away?

 

“My parents are getting a divorce.” Youngjae’s words snapped Taehyung out of his daze; the music was loud, but not loud enough to drown out their voices, and Youngjae’s seemed to cut through the noise. Youngjae’s eyes trailed the ass of a dancer that walked by them as he said this, and he didn’t look at Taehyung at all.

 

Taehyung frowned. “Why?”

 

“My dad is an ass.” Youngjae shrugged. “Not news. My mom found out he’s been fucking someone else, and she wants out.” He took a slow, long sip of his liquor. “She wants to take him for half of all he’s got, and then some.” Taehyung’s eyes went a bit wide, and Youngjae shrugged again. “I don’t blame her.”

 

Taehyung chewed on his bottom lip. “Youngjae–,”

 

“She’s pregnant. Due in February.”

 

Taehyung blinked, eyes still wide; Youngjae was just dropping all kinds of bombs. “Your–,?”

 

Youngjae shook his head. “Nah, the mistress.” He hadn’t looked at Taehyung once in the conversation, which Taehyung found unusual. “Fuck, Taehyung.” He pounded his fist on the glass of the table, beginning to seethe. “He’s such a piece of shit.” He pushed the empty glass to the center of the table, eyes still finding other things to look at. He sighed, straightening up in his chair. “Maybe I should just fuck guys too, right?” His eyes settled lazily on the dancer who currently entertained them in the stage that was surrounded by railing. “Then I don’t have to worry about making the same fuck–ups that my good–for–nothing father can’t be fucking bothered about.”

 

Taehyung opened his mouth to answer, before stopping himself. Wait… Though Taehyung had brought Youngjae to a place that was obviously sexually charged with the abundance of only men, he hadn’t said anything about actually fucking them. Nevermind that Taehyung did fuck men, but he hadn’t explicitly even said that he did. He sighed – so that’s why Youngjae wanted out of the company outing so bad: he didn’t want to see his father. Taehyung mulled over his words, before his eyes wandered to the double doors swinging open. The words were all but snatched from his mouth as he caught sight of Jeongguk, walking in black patent leather boots and strapped in a black outfit, just like Taehyung had imagined him in not too long ago. The dancer was only illuminated by the splashes of color that the strobing LED lights provided, but easily visible to Taehyung’s eyes, who had been searching for him since he’d arrived. 

 

His eyes remained all but glued on Jeongguk, observing him as he made his way to the bar, leaning against it and speaking to the bartender. Taehyung’s eyes wandered hungrily over the curve of his arched back, the slope of his ass, the contours in the muscles of his legs. As much as he devoured the sight of the other man, he was also relieved to just see him – alive, well, and looking a lot better than even the previous morning, and definitely better than the week behind them. To Taehyung’s surprise, Jeongguk didn’t notice him at all. Not since he’d walked in, not since he’d talked to the bartender, and Taehyung realized Jeongguk really had no idea he was in the club as he watched him strut past all the tables, up the stairs to the main stage to begin a stage set. Taehyung’s eyes rested hungrily on Jeongguk, who was grinding his hips to an R&B track that Taehyung swore he was vaguely familiar with.

 

“Youngjae…” He breathed, eyes glued on Jeongguk. “I’m sorry about your parents.” It took a considerable effort for him to tear his gaze away from the dancer. “Let’s have a fucking great time tonight, yeah?” There was a glint in Taehyung’s eye, and hidden intention in his voice; he was at The Parthenon, his boss was here, and he figured he might as well make the most of it. 

 

Youngjae regarded him with his eyebrow raised before he laughed. “Fuck yeah, Taehyung. Show me a fucking great time.” 

 

Without another word, he grasped Youngjae’s wrist, pulling him along as he approached the main stage of the club. The music pounded in his ears, and Taehyung could feel the effects of the alcohol beginning to creep up on him. He could vaguely hear Youngjae protesting, the likes of “what the fuck, Kim?!” and “the fuck are you doing?!” coming out of his mouth, but Taehyung’s attention was entirely zoned in on something – and someone – else entirely.

 

Jeongguk threw his head back, shoulder against the slick cold metal of the pole as he propped himself on his knees, grinding his hips into the air to the rhythm of a track that sounded so much better when he was drunk off his ass. He could feel the sweat beading in the roots of his hair, cocaine coursing through his veins to give him the energy to make it through tonight. There was no one standing at the edge of the stage to tip him thus far; but it was his first set of the night, and the absence of tippers only fueled him more. He ground his hips harder, exaggerated his movements, did everything he knew how to exude sexual appeal and attract men to the edge of his stage. He smirked to himself when he caught the sight of someone approaching, thinking smugly that it had worked, that his efforts were not in vain and he was about to get the opportunity to rope a patron into his grasp – that is, until the person approaching looked immediately familiar, and Jeongguk’s hips stuttered only momentarily in surprise. He raised his eyebrows, failing at suppressing the boyish smile as he recognized none other than Kim Taehyung coming into his line of view. Jeongguk’s curiosity was piqued as his eyes trailed to Taehyung’s hand, grasping another man and pulling him in tow. Jeongguk was curious, interested; the other man was attractive, and Jeongguk had never seen Taehyung bring anyone with him to the club before. He used it to his advantage, channeling pure sensual energy as he dipped forward, approaching the men as Taehyung pulled the other to the stage and spoke in their ear.

 

“Just put your hands on the edge!” Taehyung cupped his hand to Youngjae’s ear, talking to him over the music that echoed through the club. He pulled his wrist, setting the other’s hand on the stage. 

 

“I’m not–! Man, no–,” Youngjae pulled away from Taehyung’s grasp. “I was just kidding, dude, I’m not into guys–,”

 

“Kim Taehyung...” Jeongguk purred, crawling towards the edge of the stage with his back fully arched, like a feline on the prowl. “Feels like it's been so long, babe. You brought a friend?” He smiled, stealing a glance at Taehyung’s company. He looked him up and down, pushing his tongue against his upper lip as he surveyed the man. Youngjae returned the gaze reluctantly. 

 

“Ares,” Taehyung’s lips stretched into a boxy grin. “This is Youngjae.” Taehyung leaned closer to Jeongguk, in order to get his voice across the rattling bass of the music. “It’s his first time, he’s shy.” 

 

Youngjae jerked his head, glaring at Taehyung. “What the fuck? I’m not shy–,”

 

Jeongguk giggled and threw his head back in laughter. He took the chance to toss his legs over the edge of the stage, taking a light grasp of Youngjae’s wrist to slot himself and straddle the man who stood rigid in front of the stage. Jeongguk smiled, his boyish charm showing through his sex–piston appearance. He could feel Youngjae pulling away, and placed his hands on Youngjae’s shoulders instead in order to lean in close to him. “It’s okay, babe. There’s nothing to be afraid of.” Jeongguk giggled, running his hands along Youngjae’s upper arms; suddenly, he grasped the material of Youngjae’s shirt tightly, practically yanking him closer. Jeongguk thrust his hips upwards, leaning back and bracing himself on one arm while the other grasped the nape of Youngjae’s neck, holding him close. “We’re all friends here.” He purred seductively into Youngjae’s ear.

 

Taehyung snickered, amused at the shock on Youngjae’s face that he so clearly tried to hide; reaching into his wallet, he pulled out a stack of bills, tossing them all onto the stage as Jeongguk continued to dance for his friend – his boss. He heard the DJ blast some sound effects and yell into the microphone as Taehyung threw the money, and he laughed. Youngjae was clearly caught off guard, looking at him with curious surprise. With a grin on his face, Taehyung took his hand, pressing a $20 bill into it. “Here, you put it here,” Taehyung ignored his attempts to pull away and guided his hand to Jeongguk’s hip. He rested Youngjae’s hand on Jeongguk’s hot skin, where the fabric of his thong bit into his waist. 

 

“Yah, Kim Taehyung–!”

 

“Youngjae, it’s rude if you don’t.” Taehyung’s voice was stern; he was convinced it was the alcohol starting to have an effect on him, and the rush he felt having Jeongguk half–naked and grinding in front of them. Taehyung was surprised at himself for speaking like this to his boss, of all people, but at this point, what did it matter? They were here, at a gentlemen’s club – for gentlemen, drinking together and watching men shake their asses in various stages of undress. If they were going to do the damage, Taehyung figured, then they might as well do it all the way. Go big or go home, right? With that, Taehyung stared Youngjae down; the latter ultimately obliged, allowing Taehyung to brush his hand against the skin of the dancer in front of them. Jeongguk obliged them, rolling his hips and placing his hand on top of Taehyung’s, guiding them both to caress his waist and feel the heat of his skin. Taehyung’s breath hitched in his throat, and having his hand sandwiched in between Jeongguk’s and Youngjae’s made him feel weird – really weird. But he dealt with it, and guided Youngjae to tuck the bill in the strap of Jeongguk’s thong. Jeongguk took the liberty to dance for the pair until the end of the song, when he proceeded to go to the next stage and Taehyung and Youngjae returned to their seats at a table.

 

Youngjae was trying to catch his breath, breathing more heavily than he would have liked to admit. “Hey, Taehyung, what the fuh–,”

 

“You wanted to come.” Taehyung interrupted him, waving the server over for another round of drinks and some shots. He made a point to order a drink for Jeongguk, and asked them to take the cocktail and a bottle of water to one of the stages. His eyes glanced smugly at Youngjae under heavy lids. “Didn’t you say you wanted to have some fun? Give yourself a fucking break, Youngjae. It’s not like you have a dick up your ass.” Taehyung chuckled, taking the shot he’d ordered and holding the glass up to clink against Youngjae’s. “Yet.”

 

Taehyung took a minute to excuse himself to the men’s room, leaving a protesting Youngjae at the table to fend for himself. He’d encouraged Youngjae to talk to the dancers that approached him, that it would be fine and he wouldn’t end up with his cock in anyone’s mouth – not that early in the night, anyway. In reality, Taehyung avoided the bathroom, sighing in relief as he finally caught sight of Hoseok in the front lobby. “Hyung!” He jogged to catch up with him.

 

Hoseok jerked his head at the sound, offering Taehyung a warm smile. “Taehyungie, hey.”

 

“Are you busy? I wanted to talk to you, at least really quick–,” he glanced behind him down the corridor. “I left Youngjae alone and I’m not sure how well he can fend for himself.” Taehyung chuckled.

 

Hoseok’s eyes widened at this, having forgotten about Taehyung’s company. He grasped his shoulder, dragging him away from the hostess stand. He led him into the empty office, leaving the door ajar. “Hey, that’s your boss? He looks younger than you! How old is he? Yoongi said he’s the president of SK Holdings? The SK Holdings?! What is he doing here? Not that you can’t bring anyone with you, but Taehyung, you never told me–,”

 

Taehyung waved his hands, timidly signalling for Hoseok to stop. “Hyung wait, woah.” He chuckled weakly. “Yeah, that’s my boss. He’s a year younger than me, his dad is the chairman. Honestly, I–,” he stopped, bringing his hand to his face and rubbing at his chin in exasperation. “I didn’t plan on bringing him, or coming tonight, hyung. He got curious and I couldn’t say no.” Taehyung frowned. “That’s not the point, I wanted to talk to you–,”

 

“Don’t worry about it, Taehyungie.” Hoseok smiled. “There’s nothing really to talk about. I love you, man, but all of this–,” he gestured around the air, “Please. It doesn’t concern you. I say that with the most love. You don’t have to worry about it.”

 

Taehyung furrowed his brows slightly, thinking on Hoseok’s words for a moment. “Fine.” He paused. “Then let me worry about you at least, then.” He could tell Hoseok was caught off guard by his words, so he continued. “Don’t you think there’s something wrong here, hyung? Don’t you think he goes too far? I’m worried for you, for Jeongguk, for everyone.” For Jimin, he thought. “How are you working for someone like that?”

 

Hoseok frowned. “Aich, Taehyung.” He groaned. “I don’t want to talk about this with you. Maybe later, but not right now–,” he moved to brush past Taehyung, heading for the door.

 

“Hyung.” Taehyung grasped his arm, sliding his arms around Hoseok’s waist and pulling him into a hug from behind. He pressed his cheek on his shoulder; he could feel his skin beginning to run hot from the alcohol. “Why did this place… When did this place come between us so much?” 

 

Startled, Hoseok froze, before slumping his shoulders and settling into Taehyung’s embrace. He patted his hand delicately. He didn’t exactly have an answer; when had his job come in between their friendship? “We’re fine, Taehyungie.” He said softly. “Don’t worry so much. Everything is fine.” He sighed, before peeling Taehyung’s arms off of him and turning to face him. Taehyung’s eyes were glossy, and Hoseok couldn’t tell if it was the liquor or if he was going to cry; he looked cute, Hoseok thought. “Come on, Taehyung, I’m serious, don’t worry about it.” He chuckled.

 

“But I miss you, hyung.” Taehyung’s voice broke just then, and a scarce couple of tears spilled onto his cheeks. 

 

Hoseok blinked. “Hey, no! Taehyung,” he laughed, wiping Taehyung’s cheeks with his sleeves. “Are you drunk already, man? It’s okay, don’t cry.” He smacked his teeth, shoulders shaking with laughter; he couldn’t help it. He hugged Taehyung tightly, rubbing his back. “Taehyungie, you have to go back to your boss, you can’t leave him all by himself out there. He’s too cute, he’ll get eaten alive by our boys.” Hoseok giggled. “Everything is fine. Trust me babe, we’re okay. You’re okay. We’ll always be okay.”

 

Taehyung shook his head, pressing his face into Hoseok’s chest. He heaved a few breaths to calm himself down and regain his composure. The emotions over the past couple of weeks were really starting to take a toll on him, and coupled with the anxiety of bringing his boss into the equation was just too much. “I don’t want you to get hurt. I’m just worried. I was so worried about Jeongguk, and–,” he paused, straightening back up and bringing his face away from Hoseok’s chest. “Hyung… How’s Jimin?”

 

Hoseok tilted his head, thinking for a moment. “Jimin? Well, he’s…” What was the right answer? “He’s a bit… stressed.” Hoseok thought back to last night, and Jimin’s distant behavior; not to mention the sight of him after his booking, which Hoseok was certain would remain burned in his mind for the foreseeable future. “Hey, did something happen between you two? I thought he’d maybe had a fight with Gukkie, but now that I think about it…”

 

Taehyung fidgeted and averted his gaze – he figured then, that maybe Hoseok didn’t know about last night at all. Jimin at his apartment, with Seokjin’s gun, telling him to stay away. It only made Taehyung more worried for Hoseok, and he chewed on his bottom lip. “I… I’m just stupid when it comes to boys, hyung.” He heard Hoseok laugh, and mirrored it with a chuckle and a sheepish grin. “I always fuck it up, you know?”

 

“Taehyung, don’t you know that the first rule is to not fall in love with a stripper?”

 

Taehyung’s eyes widened, and he smacked Hoseok’s shoulder. “It’s not like that!”

 

Hoseok snickered, wagging his finger at Taehyung. “I’ve known you too long, Taehyung, you can’t lie to me.” He giggled. “Honestly, you should talk to him. I can’t really tell you anything because club rules, but…” Hoseok trailed off, and the sad look on his face interested Taehyung immensely. “He had a hard time last night with work. I think… I think he’s had a hard time all week. I can’t really say that I know why, but he’s been… off, you know. Just–, not himself.”

 

“Can we…” Taehyung paused, shaking away the thought of taking Youngjae downstairs with him. “Can I… see him tonight? Is he available?” Hoseok shook his head, and Taehyung pouted. “But why not, I’ll pay–,”

 

Hoseok waved his hand flimsily. “It’s not that, Taehyung. He’s off tonight. Yoongi gave him the day off.”

 

“Oh.” Taehyung paused. He couldn’t help but feel curious that Jimin wasn’t where he thought he’d be; it seemed foreign to think that Jimin existed outside the walls of this club on the weekends. He thought of Hoseok’s words; Jimin had been acting ‘off’ all week. His mind swirled with the memory of Monday night, the last time he’d had Jimin smiling in his lap before he went and royally fucked everything up. Hoseok turned to leave the room, and Taehyung followed him. “Hyung, wait–,” he gave him a shy smile. “Could we, uh, get a room? Upstairs. With Guk, and, uh–,” he felt stupid for being shy about asking for a champagne room. “I don’t know, some other dancers? There was one with these glittery heels–,”

 

Hoseok curiously raised an eyebrow at him before belting out into laughter. “Taehyung, spit it out!” He snickered and nodded. “Of course you can get a champagne room. Come on, you know I got you, man.”

 

Taehyung smiled brightly, following Hoseok back to the main area of the club. “Yeah, hyung, I got you, too.” 

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

Caught in a daze, Jimin stood silently as he stared at the door in front of him. His mind felt full and void at the same time, and he wondered just how long he’d been standing there, alone and in front of the door to Taehyung’s apartment. The floor was quiet; the silence gave Jimin chills. Just do it, already. Just press the bell, come on. He’d tried to convince himself that being here was useless; why had he gotten in a taxi, why had he flirted his way through security, why had his feet led him to this door? He bit down on his bottom lip, giving himself no more time to think and reaching to press the bell. He withdrew his hand as though the bell was scalding hot; his heart began to race. He’d done it – he’d rang Taehyung’s doorbell, at almost midnight on a Friday evening because he couldn’t stand it, any of it. He couldn’t stand leaving things as they were, he couldn’t stand not understanding, he couldn’t stand that the last time he had seen him involved holding a loaded gun to Taehyung’s chest. His mind raced and his emotions bubbled with chaos, until they died down a few moments later. Jimin frowned. “Is he not home?” He blinked, withdrawing his phone from the back pocket of his black jeans as it rang with a notification. 

 

+822-***-**** – 11:49 p.m.

1 Attachment: Photo

 

Jimin peered at the picture; he immediately recognized the setting as the club. It looked like the picture was taken from the bar, and though it was dark, he could make out the photo well enough. He inhaled sharply. Taehyung. The picture was of Taehyung, sitting at a table in the club with Jeongguk in his lap, and a man Jimin didn’t recognize, sitting – intriguingly close, Jimin thought – at Taehyung’s side. He frowned, feeling something like bile threatening to bubble up from his stomach in his throat. He glanced at the door, feeling a scream perched in the back of his throat before he turned around and walked back to the elevator, away from the door he had so desperately convinced himself to come to.

 

Being back in a champagne suite brought along with it the memories that Taehyung expected – and then some. Though it wasn’t the same suite as the one he’d been in when he first met Kim Seokjin – and Jimin, he thought – it was relatively similar, with extravagant furniture, a bar, and a stage resting against the wall with floor–to–ceiling mirrors and a pole glistening with the glow of the dim lights. The other suite hadn’t had a pole, Taehyung recalled, and that’s when his eyes had looked for the metal fixtures on the wall that he vividly remembered Jeongguk and Jimin being chained to. He’d licked his lips in nervous recall of these memories, being unable to quit staring at the damn metal fixtures on the wall. At this point, over an hour later, the night had definitely escalated. He was amused to think that only two weeks ago, he’d timidly entered a champagne suite upon being invited; now, here he was, lounging on a sofa in a room he’d booked for himself and his boss, who’d busied himself railing lines of cocaine, smoking a chain of cigarettes, and, after quite a bit of convincing and inebriation, had comfortably accepted the two dancers who sat on either side of him and showered him with their attention. Taehyung had made a point to ask for Jeongguk and two other dancers, at least, to start; he’d asked for the one with the rhinestone heels and nice ass, because he hadn’t missed the way Youngjae’s eyes had trailed to follow it every time the dancer had passed by their table. The dancer had a more feminine build, which Taehyung wasn’t surprised about, considering he was relatively sure that Youngjae wasn’t gay or interested in men in the slightest – at least, maybe not yet, or not that he knew of. Taehyung chuckled over his glass of champagne, realizing just then how fucking great it felt to be here with someone; to have company, a friend, and not just coming here all by himself like he had done so far, all the time. He wasn’t exactly sure if Youngjae counted as a friend, but by all accounts, he was Taehyung’s company for the night, and so far he seemed to be warming up to the whole “cocks swinging around in women’s panties” better than Taehyung had expected. 

 

“Hi, handsome.” 

 

Taehyung was snapped out of his train of thought by Jeongguk, who stalked up to him, swinging his leg up to settle on top of Taehyung, straddling him. Taehyung jerked to save his glass from spilling, and smiled shyly at Jeongguk’s giggle. 

 

“Come here often?” Jeongguk ran one of his hands through Taehyung’s curls, settling down on his lap and subtly grinding, if only a little, against him. 

 

Taehyung let out a light laugh. “Actually, I do.” He settled his hand on Jeongguk’s waist, still holding his champagne in the other. “I think we’ve met before.” 

 

“Us? No, I don’t think so.” Jeongguk leaned in close, shifting his weight and running his fingers down Taehyung’s chest. “I would have remembered you.” He chuckled into a soft sigh, bringing his face dangerously close to Taehyung’s; Taehyung could feel the heat beginning to burn arousal in his loins, and squirmed a bit. “I’ve definitely never met your boyfriend.” Jeongguk jerked his head in the direction of Youngjae. “He’s cute, except I thought maybe I was more your type.”

 

Taehyung blinked, glancing in Youngjae’s direction. “Youngjae? Jeongguk, no, that’s–,” he laughed, before catching himself at the pout that flashed on Jeongguk’s face. He cleared his throat. “Ares. Hm–, that’s…” he chuckled and shook his head. “That’s not my boyfriend.”

 

“Oh?”

 

Taehyung smirked. “That’s my boss.”

 

Jeongguk’s doe eyes widened a bit at this, and he raised his eyebrow. “Oh?” He glanced at Youngjae, then back to Taehyung. 

 

“Yeah. Shit, I nearly had a heart attack bringing him here. He looks like he’s having a pretty good time though, thank fucking God.”

 

“Well, he should be, considering he’s on half a pill of X and probably going to hit his peak in the next hour.” Jeongguk snorted.

 

Taehyung, who’d brought his champagne to his lips, choked on it. He coughed for a second, still making sure that Jeongguk was balanced well on his lap even as he regained his composure. “Huh–, h–he’s on what now?”

 

“Ecstasy. Why, do you want some? We can split the other half.” He smiled, and Taehyung noticed just then that Jeongguk’s pupils seem to be quite big, on the brink of swallowing the chocolate color of his irises. “Taehyung…” Jeongguk breathed, settling his weight into his chest as he brought their faces close; so close, that Taehyung could feel Jeongguk’s hot breath on his own lips. “I missed you.” His hand slithered down to palm Taehyung through his pants; not aggressively, but a simple teasing touch that rested in between his legs.

 

Taehyung’s breath caught in his throat, but he relaxed into it. Jeongguk was a tease; this was a fact he was familiar with. His hand wandered down, giving Jeongguk’s ass a playful, firm squeeze. “I’m glad you’re okay, Guk. Honestly. I really am, I was worried about you.”

 

“Everyone’s always so worried.” Jeongguk pouted, rocking his hips as he straddled Taehyung. “I just want to have fun, don’t you?” There it was. The glint of mischief in Jeongguk’s eyes, and in his smile – the devious, boyish charm that Taehyung saw when the personalities of Jeongguk and Ares collided. Jeongguk plucked the champagne flute from Taehyung’s hand; to Taehyung’s surprise, Jeongguk jerked the glass, splashing the champagne all over the bouncing ass of one of the other dancers. Jeongguk reached out, landing his hand on the dancer’s bottom with a loud smack! Taehyung’s mouth dropped open.

 

“You fucking asshole!” The dancer turned around, and Taehyung was confused to find him laughing. He swatted Jeongguk’s arm playfully. “You always fucking do that, Ari you little shit!”

 

Jeongguk burst into a fit of giggles, and Taehyung glanced at Youngjae, who looked absolutely gone out of his fucking mind. Amused, Taehyung couldn’t help but stifle a laugh; god, he hoped he wasn’t going to get fired for this. “Hey, Guk..” He tugged on his wrist. “About that… uh, offer.” 

 

Jeongguk’s eyes glinted with a devious happiness. “You wanna roll together, babe?”

 

Just the look of Jeongguk’s excitement made Taehyung buzz with a desire to be excited with him; he nodded. “Sure, just…” He glanced at Youngjae once more. “Not as much as him, though, okay? Nothing too crazy.” Nothing too crazy, huh? As Jeongguk slipped a small baggie from inside his boot, he wondered just what the definition of “nothing too crazy” was at this point. 

 

“Don’t worry, hyung. I got you, baby.” Jeongguk smiled, breaking a piece of a pill and placing it on his tongue; the purple color was a sharp contrast to the pink of his tongue. Smiling, Jeongguk wrapped his hand around Taehyung’s nape, pulling him close and smashing their lips together. 

 

“Surprised” was an understatement of Taehyung’s reaction as he felt Jeongguk’s tongue pushing against his own; the chemical taste of something insanely bitter spread on his tongue, and it took all of his self–control to not gag and shove Jeongguk away, as much as he craved the rush he felt when the other man’s mouth met his. It was aggressive, and passionate, and fast – Jeongguk bit teasingly on his lower lip, sucking it as he withdrew his lips from Taehyung’s. He offered him a glass of champagne almost immediately, which Taehyung accepted, eagerly downing the contents to rid himself of the absolutely awful taste. He wiped his mouth, grimacing slightly. “What the fuck was that? That tastes fucking horrible, holy shit.”

 

Jeongguk giggled. “It hits you faster if you let it sit on your tongue. You got a lot of catching up to do, hyung.” Jeongguk winked at him.

 

The sudden buzzing of his phone in the pocket of his slacks startled him and he jumped, pulling it out to check the Caller ID. He froze and his eyes widened when he saw the name on the screen: Jimin. He excused himself hurriedly as he shuffled out of the room. His hands fumbled, and he noticed he was beginning to see double as he attempted fiercely to answer the call. Swallowing hard, he brought the phone to his ear to speak. “Hello?” The line remained quiet for a few moments, and Taehyung moved across the second floor, aiming for the restroom in hopes it would be quieter. “Jimin?” He looked at the phone; the call was still going. He entered the restroom and pressed the phone to his ear; thankfully, the men’s room on this floor was empty, and quiet.

 

“... I thought I told you to stay away from the club, Tae–,” A pause. The tone of Jimin’s voice made Taehyung’s heart plummet into his stomach. “Taehyung.”

 

“Jimin.” Taehyung breathed, feeling the rush of the alcohol and the uppers coursing in his veins. He tried to strew his words together but dropped them like clothespins in the wind. 

 

“Why couldn’t you listen?”

 

Taehyung felt his heart pounding in his ears, so rough and so fast that it felt like it was pulsing in his throat and not his chest. He leaned on the counter to steady himself. “Wait–,” He knitted his brows. Hoseok said he was off today. “Jimin… How did you know I was here?” There was another long pause, but Taehyung didn’t dare hang up.

 

“Can you answer my question?” 

 

Taehyung felt a rush in his blood, heat pounding the surface of his skin. “Can you answer mine?” He waited, but was met with silence and suddenly became impatient, emboldened. “Why didn't I stay away? Why do you think?” He wasn’t sure if it was his emotions, or the alcohol, or the drugs, but Taehyung felt words tumbling from his chest like vomit. “You told me to come here if I wanted to see you, but then you tell me to stay away? In what world does that fucking make sense!? It doesn’t, does it?” Taehyung was nearly shouting, but it didn’t matter because he didn’t care. “I don’t understand what the fuck I’m supposed to do. I can’t listen because you don’t make any sense, Jimin! Fuck!” He slammed his fist on the granite of the countertop. “How can I see you when I can’t find you?” Taehyung’s voice dropped, almost cracked, sounding hopeless and defeated. Click. Taehyung blinked, lost in the silence. He stood up straight after a moment. “...Jimin?” Pulling the phone away from his ear, his eyes were met with the home screen. He stared and blinked in confusion. “What the fuck?”

 

Jimin stared at his phone for just as long, if not longer. In the rush of things, he hadn’t had an answer; again, he’d succumbed to running away, to deflecting. He didn’t have an argument; maybe he really didn’t make sense, and it was his fault for confusing Taehyung in the first place. Who was more confused? Taehyung didn’t want him outside of the club, or so he’d said – but Jimin knew the club was the devil’s playground, with Seokjin on the throne. Jimin knew that Taehyung being anywhere near the club put him in danger, at the whim of Seokjin's games; wasn't it right to ask him to stay away, for his own good? Fuck, why did everything have to be so confusing? Strangely, he didn’t regret hanging up, but he found himself with an empty feeling that he didn’t expect after calling Taehyung. He sighed, looking up at the unique exterior of the L’Estrange hotel, inviting him in for another night of drowning his emotions in bad decisions.

 

Taehyung frowned. It was hard to type out a message, but he was damned if he didn’t try.

 

taehyung –– 12:32 A.M.

i m sorwy

for ywllinggn 

 

He squinted his eyes, attempting in vain to merge the blur of the screen and focus his eyes on the text messages.

 

taehyung –– 12:34 A.M.

whrea r u

iil go to u

 

His phone buzzed and he felt his blood rushing through his head in excitement.

 

Choi Youngjae –– 12:35 A.M.

where the fuck did u go

 

“Shit.” Taehyung pocketed his phone and  shuffled out of the bathroom. He tried calling Jimin again, receiving no answer. Fuck. He frowned at himself; he hadn’t handled that very well, had he? Why did he yell at him? He groaned, heaving an exhale. Why did everything have to be so damn complicated? Why was Jimin always running away? 

 

“Taehyung,” Jeongguk turned from his spot on Youngjae’s lap; Taehyung was surprised to see him straddling Youngjae, bottle in his hand. “We’re doing body shots! Just waiting on you.” He waved the bottle.

 

Taehyung raised his eyebrow and chuckled in amusement. “Oh? Sorry to keep you waiting.” He approached the table, sitting between the two other dancers. He noted that seeing Jeongguk straddling his boss made him feel a certain way, and though he wasn’t necessarily keen on being very touchy with the other dancers, he wasn’t going to be rude, either. 

 

Jeongguk seemed to pick up on Taehyung’s curiosity, and smiled at him with that devious glint in his eyes. “Youngjae’s never done a body shot before, should we show him how it's done?” 

 

“That’s not true!” Youngjae protested, shifting underneath Jeongguk. “Yah, Kim Taehyung, your boyfriend’s a liar.”

 

Taehyung raised his eyebrows in amusement. “My boyfriend?” Youngjae nodded and gestured at Jeongguk. “That’s funny, because he thought you were my boyfriend, Youngjae.” Taehyung grabbed the bottle from Jeongguk, and helped him out of Youngjae’s lap. 

 

“What the fuck?!” Youngjae barked in laughter. “You couldn’t bag a catch like me, Taehyung.” He snorted. “Any–fucking–way,” Taehyung could see the pupils of his eyes were dilated considerably – he must be high as fuck, Taehyung thought. “I’ve done body shots. Just not off of…” He crossed his arms. “Only with women, like the fucking man I am.”

 

“Hey, Youngjae, don’t be rude.” Taehyung scolded him; shit, was he really talking like this to his boss? “For someone who just had his hands all over my boyfriend a minute ago, you’re acting real fucking brand new, Choi.” Jeongguk raised his eyebrows, entertained at Taehyung’s attitude. Taehyung and Youngjae stared each other down for a few intense moments. “If you’re such a man, why don’t you go first?” Taehyung held the bottle out to him, challenging him with his gaze. Youngjae was prideful, and competitive – Taehyung knew how to push his buttons, and push them well. 

 

Youngjae scowled, taking the bait just like Taehyung figured he would. “Fine. But don’t fucking tell anyone about this, Taehyung, or I’ll fucking kill you.”

 

Taehyung hummed in agreement, content to watch Jeongguk lying on the table, and Youngjae kneeling to prove that he did know what he was doing, even if the concept of gender was different than what he was used to. Some kind of heat in Taehyung’s belly began to spark as he watched; there was something about watching that he really liked, and it immediately threw him into his head. It was impossible not to chase the rabbit, and he thought of the night spent with Jeongguk and Jimin, watching them entwine their bodies in pleasure in front of him. 

 

“Taehyung? Earth to Taehyung.”

 

“Yah, Kim!” Youngjae smacked his chest, shoving the bottle towards him. “It’s your turn, asshole.”

 

Taehyung snapped out of his daze; he felt the heat of pleasure coursing through his veins as the drugs spread through his system. He chuckled, taking the bottle and kneeling by Jeongguk; the moment he looked into the dark color of his eyes, he swore he would be content to feel this kind of kindling euphoria forever. 

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

“Come on, Taehyung, it’ll be fun.” Taehyung relished in the feeling of Jeongguk’s hot breath on his skin as he spoke to him. It was nearly 2 A.M., and the life of the ground floor was approaching its end for the night. “I want you,” Jeongguk’s breathing was heavy and it tickled Taehyung’s ear. “I know you want me, too.”

 

Taehyung felt his chest heaving with the labor of breathing, his heart pumping hard as if he’d just been running a mile. The lights trailed as his eyes wandered; even as he closed them, the vivid colors burned themselves into his mind. “I can’t... I have to take Youngjae home.”

 

“He can come with.” Jeongguk pouted. He was sitting in Taehyung’s lap, and he leaned into his chest. Taehyung’s touch felt electric as he stroked Jeongguk’s thigh idly. “I’ll please him, too.”

 

Taehyung frowned. “No. I don’t like to share.”

 

Jeongguk giggled. “You shared me with Jimin, though.”

 

Jimin’s name set off distant fireworks in Taehyung’s mind. “That’s… that’s different.” He shifted in discomfort, feeling the sheen of sweat settling in between his skin and his clothes. “I’m not fucking you with my boss, Guk.” He chuckled. 

 

“Then he can go with another boy, and you can be with me.” Jeongguk trailed his hand on Taehyung’s chest, teasingly dipping low to thrum his fingers against the waistband of his pants.

 

Taehyung stopped his hand from traveling any further. “He’s not even gay, Guk. He’s as straight as they come.”

 

At this, Jeongguk snorted. “Are you sure about that?” He obliged him by placing his finger on Taehyung’s chin, tipping it to look in Youngjae’s direction. He blinked in surprise as his eyes were met with the sight of Youngjae making out quite aggressively with the dancer in the rhinestone heels. 

 

“Shit.” The sight sobered up Taehyung quite a bit; he knew there was no way he could let Youngjae go too far, or it was his ass on the line. “I’m sorry, Guk, but I can’t.” He rolled his eyes into his head, blinking hard to resist his desire to throw all caution to the wind and just go downstairs, fuck it, so what if Youngjae ends up downstairs, what’s the worst he could do? But in the end, Taehyung knew that at this point, he was already deeply pushing his luck. There wasn’t any guarantee that Youngjae would forget any of tonight, and if he did something he regretted, Taehyung knew he’d take out the blame on him. So, he tore himself from what he wanted, what his body so desperately wanted, and gently pushed Jeongguk to the side. He saw Jeongguk pout in protest and smiled apologetically, softly cupping his face with his hand. “I’m sorry, Gukkie. I need to get him home, or to a hotel, or something. Fuck.” He knitted his brows in thought, trying hard to concentrate. “I can’t let him go home like this.”

 

Jeongguk cocked his head. “Why don’t you just take him home with you?”

 

 “So he could wake up in my bed?” Taehyung snorted. “Shit, he’d probably strangle me.” He chuckled weakly. “Fuck, I guess I didn’t think this far.”

 

A smile spread on Jeongguk’s lips. “I have an idea.” Taehyung regarded him curiously. “Do you trust me, Taehyung?”

 

Taehyung’s breath caught in his throat, and it felt like he was underwater as he recalled those words from someone else’s lips. He swallowed hard and nodded. “I do.”

 

Taehyung wasn’t sure what he was expecting, and he also wasn’t sure entirely how they’d gotten here, but as he entered into the lobby of some boutique hotel he realized he had to try really fucking hard not to look like he wasn’t absolutely hammered out of his mind on liquor and drugs. He could still feel the uppers coursing through his veins, pumping in his blood and making his cheeks run hot. Youngjae looked more drunk than anything, and Taehyung was surprised he was the one that seemed to be a bit more coherent than his boss, considering he’d always been a lightweight and Youngjae most definitely was not, as far as he knew. As they made their way to the elevator, Taehyung noticed that Jeongguk didn’t seem at all phased; he didn’t look completely sober, but out of the three of them, he definitely looked the most normal. Both Taehyung and Jeongguk had to essentially hold Youngjae up, because he was stumbling and cursing and Taehyung didn’t need any reason for them to draw more attention to themselves. The check–in desk, according to Jeongguk, was on the seventh floor; Taehyung’s eyes wandered over the details of the hotel as he took it all in. The interior was beautiful; Taehyung found he really loved the classic ambience of the place, and wondered how Jeongguk knew about this hotel, or why he’d brought them here. The check–in process was smooth; Taehyung handed Jeongguk a credit card and let him take care of it while he hissed at Youngjae to shut up you’re too loud, and the trio made the journey back to the elevator after getting a key to a suite on the twentieth floor. 

 

“Fuck, Youngjae, you’re heavy.” Taehyung huffed as Youngjae stumbled, and Taehyung pulled on him to keep him from falling. He pulled him into the elevator with Jeongguk’s help. Taehyung punched the button for the twenty–third floor, sighing as he slumped against the railing. 

 

Jeongguk giggled. “You tired already, Taehyung?”

 

“Well, if someone could carry their own weight.”

 

“Kim Taehyung, I’ll fuh–,” Youngjae slurred. “Shut the fuck up or I’ll beat your ass.”

 

Taehyung snorted. “Go ahead, Youngjae.” He watched the numbers on the display climb as they ascended through the hotel. “Shit, wait. What floor was it, Guk?” He furrowed his brow as the numbers blurred in his vision. “Fuck, I’m fucked up.”

 

“Uhh–, twenty?” Jeongguk fished in the pocket of his jeans for the key.

 

“Fuck.” Taehyung frowned as the elevator began to slow, approaching 23. “I put the wrong floor.” He reached for the button designated “20” as the bell dinged, and the elevator doors whirred open. Taehyung laughed as Youngjae cursed at him, about to quip back with a remark before any words he’d been thinking about got stuck in his throat and disappeared completely, making him choke. His eyes widened, locking with irises that he felt he’d only seen in his dreams as of late. 

 

In the entryway to the elevator stood a man with his back to it, and in his arms, hoisted with his legs wrapped around his waist was Jimin, blonde hair striking against the dark contrast of the brunette he was straddling. He’d been kissing down the man’s neck, just like he’d done earlier that week, before his eyes glanced upward upon the elevator opening. Pure shock passed across both Taehyung’s and Jimin’s faces, their eyes instantly meeting and locking with a gaze so intense it felt electric. 

 

And Taehyung, without thinking, was the first to act; he lurched forward, shoving the back of the guy that Jimin was so tangled up in. In doing so, he stumbled slightly, losing his balance; he could faintly hear Jeongguk calling his name, shouting as the elevator doors closed and all he could seem to hear was a ringing in his ears as he stood in the empty hallway with Jimin and the guy who had also just lost his balance, turning around and cursing an angry “what the fuck” while Jimin’s legs dropped from his waist to keep them both from falling. And again, without thinking, Taehyung acted, the heat pumping his blood to a boil as he withdrew his arm. The skin of his knuckles turned white as he swung his clenched fist in a heavy punch; it made contact with the cheek of whoever the hell this guy was, and sent him reeling in a fit of angered surprise. 

 

The punch shocked Jimin possibly more than the man who’d received it, which happened to be the bartender he’d hooked up with earlier that week, who now braced himself up on the floor. “Taehyung!” Jimin gasped.

 

The man looked up at Taehyung as he wiped his mouth, his teeth having cut a gash in the inside of his cheek. He raised his eyebrow. “This is him? Are you fucking serious?” He snarled.

 

Taehyung’s mind was on fire; his hands were shaking and he wasn’t sure if it was his emotions, the drugs, the adrenaline, or a mixture of it all at this point. This, however, caught him off guard; he looked at Jimin in confusion.

 

“Shit, Jackson, are you okay?” Jimin reached out to help him up. 

 

Jackson grimaced, pulling back as he got up to reject Jimin’s help; his eyes didn’t leave Taehyung’s. “Killer arm, fuckface.” He wiped his mouth again, catching the sight of blood on his hands. He scoffed. “Look, dude, I didn’t know you were still his boyfriend. I don’t want any problems.”  

 

Taehyung arched an eyebrow. Boyfriend? He simply stared the other man down, hoping he looked intimidating enough because in his mind he was screaming, freaking out, yelling at himself because what the fuck are you doing and what the fuck is going on?!

 

Jackson punched the button for the elevator and chuckled humorlessly. “Sorry babe, you’re cute but not worth losing my job over.” He grimaced, wiping his hand on his pants and cursing under his breath.

 

Taehyung frowned at this, angry for an entirely different reason and he felt himself lurching forward before two small hands pushed against his chest to stop him. “Taehyung, stop it.” Jimin pushed to keep him back. “Stop it.” His voice was low, almost whispering, and Taehyung obliged. 

 

The elevator doors opened a few moments, and out spilled Jeongguk, still shocked and confused and pulling on a slurring Youngjae. “Hyung! Help me.” The man who’d Jimin referred to as “Jackson” stepped around them to enter the elevator, curious but absolutely not wanting to be involved with any of whatever the hell was happening around him. That’s when Taehyung and Jimin both responded to Jeongguk’s ‘hyung’, and Jimin found himself reaching to help Jeongguk lift a man who he didn’t know, dragging him as they decided to wait for the next elevator to change floors.

 

This elevator ride was definitely more awkward than the first; no one knew exactly what to say, and Youngjae was too far drunk to get his point across about asking who Jimin was – he did, however, tell him he was really pretty, to which Jeongguk couldn’t help but snicker and Taehyung wanted to find it funny, but was still just angry and confused and fuck this elevator is so hot, get me the fuck out of here. They made it to their floor, and Taehyung did most of the work in dragging Youngjae to one of the king beds in the suite. He took a minute to sit on the edge of the bed and catch his breath; his head reeled and he still couldn’t see straight. It didn’t take him long before he felt some kind of feeling similar to panic; what if Jimin left, or is leaving? “Shit.” No, he couldn’t let that happen.

 

“Kim Taehyung!” Youngjae slurred, his voice muffled as he lay face down on the bed. “Where the fuck are you going?”

 

Taehyung rolled his eyes. “To get some dick, Youngjae. Go to bed, unless you want some too.”

 

Youngjae laughed. “You’re fucking crazy, Taehyung.”

 

Taehyung chuckled, before smacking Youngjae on his ass and pushing himself to his feet. He entered the living room, discovering Jeongguk and Jimin, who seemed to be talking but fell silent when they saw him. They both kind of stared at him, and for whatever reason, it made him annoyed.

 

Jimin cleared his throat. “Well, I’m going–,”

 

Taehyung walked forward, grabbing Jimin’s wrist and pulling him towards the door. “No. We need to talk.” Jeongguk opened his mouth to say something, but Taehyung was out the door and pulling Jimin in tow, and as the door closed behind them, it didn’t re–open. Taehyung stood with Jimin in the empty, quiet hallway, staring at him and doing his best to focus on whichever Jimin in his double–vision was the real one.

 

It seemed like hours of silence stretched between them before Jimin broke it, with his voice barely above a whisper. “Taehyung.” He paused, glancing down at his wrist, with Taehyung’s hand wrapped around it. “You’re hurting me.”

 

Taehyung blinked; he followed Jimin’s eyes, surprised when he hadn’t realized he was still holding onto him. “Oh.” He let go abruptly, and averted his gaze to the ground. “Sorry.” A few more moments of silence swirled in the space between them, and Taehyung rubbed his eyes aggressively; the pattern in the carpet was not helping him sober up at all. 

 

“Are you… okay?” 

 

Taehyung shook his head, blinking in an attempt to clear his vision. “Yeah, I just, uhm… I had a lot to drink.” 

 

Jimin peered at him, looking curiously at his eyes. “Your pupils are blown, Taehyung.” Taehyung tried to look away because he was embarrassed by Jimin’s observation, he really didn’t want to look away. Jimin broke the eye contact first. “Did you… have fun?”

 

Taehyung's eyes roamed over Jimin, taking him in, and then settled on the color of a bruise on his neck, peeking out above the neckline of his shirt. He rolled his tongue in his mouth, eyeing the bruise and raising his brow. “Sure. It looks like you’ve been having fun, too.”

 

Jimin furrowed his brows in confusion, until he looked up at Taehyung and felt the spot on his skin that the other’s eyes were burning into. He brought his hand to his neck to cover himself, frowning as the memory of Dr. Yu’s hands around his throat assaulted his mind. 

 

Taehyung could see Jimin’s shift in demeanor, and his face softened; he realized just then how tense he was, how piercing he was looking at Jimin, and how overbearing and just too much he was being right now; he’d just punched a guy, for fuck’s sake, a guy who he didn’t know and because, what? Because Jimin was with him? Taehyung tried to force himself to relax, but too many things in his system were still pounding through his veins, and it felt like his body was on fire.

 

“I’m going. Goodnight, Taehyung.”

 

No. Jimin turned to leave, and Taehyung’s mind screamed at him. Don’t let him go. Don’t let him leave. Don’t fuck this up, not again. “Wait–,” he reached for Jimin, but stopped himself from touching him. “Don’t go.” Taehyung felt like words were bubbling in his throat like vomit – until he realized – no, wait. His jaw clenched. Oh, no. “I… I think I’m going to be sick.” He looked around, eyes resting on a trash can down the hallway. He threw himself forward, pressing his hand to his mouth as he ran before he finally stumbled against the trash can, heaving the burning contents of nothing but alcohol and bile from his stomach. He breathed heavily as his head swam and the room spun; his legs shook beneath him and gave out, and though he tried to hold himself up, he slumped against the trash can. The next thing he felt were arms reaching to grab him, to pull his body up, and he swore he could faintly hear familiar voices, though they sounded far away.

Chapter Text

When Taehyung came to, he was slouched on the bathroom floor, his back against the cold surface of a wall. As his vision came back to him, his eyes focused on brown ones under heavy lids that peered at him curiously. 

 

“Taehyung? Are you awake?” Jimin was on his knees, crouching as he patted at Taehyung’s head with a damp hand towel, brushing his curls drenched in sweat from his face. “Guk! He’s awake!” He called towards the doorway, and blinked in surprise as Taehyung’s hand pulled on his shirt.

 

“Jimin.” Taehyung smacked his tongue against the roof of his mouth, which felt dry. His voice was hoarse, raspy, and it hurt to speak. “Stay.” He felt like the floor was liquid beneath him, his head was swimming, and he couldn’t quite feel his body, other than the burn in his throat. 

 

“Taehyung–,”

 

“Please.” Taehyung swallowed hard. “Just, stay.”

 

The door swung open and Jeongguk peeked into the bathroom, phone pressed to his ear. “Hm? Oh, sir, he’s awake now.” He moved the phone to speak away from it. “Hyung, do they send a nurse?”

 

Jimin looked up at him. “They might as well.” He shrugged, shaking his head and letting out a small chuckle. “It’ll help with their hangovers, if anything.”

 

Jeongguk nodded, disappearing again as he talked to Hoseok on the phone about sending a nurse from the club.

 

Jimin glanced back at Taehyung, who looked confused. “Can you get up?” Taehyung didn’t move to respond, which seemed to answer his question. He smiled with a hint of sadness tinging his expression as he shook his head. “The club is going to get you killed, Taehyung.” 

 

Taehyung’s shoulders jerked as he let out a light laugh. “It’s the only place I know to find you, so I’ll take my chances.”

 

Jimin looked at him for a second, before shaking his head with a sad laugh once more as he moved to help Taehyung. “Come on, I’ll help you up.” 

 

Jeongguk popped his head in the doorway once more. “Hyung–,” 

 

Jimin and Taehyung both responded simultaneously with a “What?”, and looked at each other for a moment in confusion. 

 

Jeongguk giggled. “Jimin hyung.” He jerked his head, beckoning him to come outside. 

 

Jimin handed Taehyung the towel delicately. “Don’t try to get up yourself, okay? I’ll bring you some water.” Taehyung opened his mouth to protest, but Jimin exited the bathroom before he was able to say anything. Curious, Taehyung stretched towards the door, straining to hear their conversation.

 

“I’m leaving to the manor.” Jeongguk was still considerably strung up on uppers, but managed to retain his composure relatively well. 

 

Jimin cocked his head, eyeing the bathroom door that he’d left ajar. “Right now? Why?”

 

“Master sent for me. Besides, I can talk to him about tomorrow night.”

 

Jimin’s body tensed, and he dodged Jeongguk’s eyes. “You don’t have to bring it up to him. I don’t think he’ll change his mind, Guk.”

 

“Hyung, you shouldn’t have taken the Doctor in the first place. I know we haven’t had the chance to talk about it, but….” Jeongguk trailed off, searching for words. “I know that he couldn’t have been easy for you. Let me try to help.” He reached out to pet Jimin’s arm fondly. “Maybe he’ll listen to me.”

 

Jimin pulled back and ran his fingers through his hair. “Kim doesn’t listen to anyone. You know that.”

 

“Well, it’s worth trying. If anything, maybe I can convince him to let me take the booking with you.”

 

Jimin frowned. “What? No, Guk–,”

 

“Hyung. I don’t want to disrespect you.” Jeongguk pursed his lips. “But trust me, it would be easier if I’m there with you, at least. I really think so. So let me try, okay?” Jeongguk smiled, letting a small giggle escape his lips as he moved to peck Jimin on the cheek. “Can you handle, uh–?” He jerked his head in the direction of the bathroom door.

 

Jimin pursed his lips. “I hope so.” He chuckled, shrugging. “I think it should be okay. But really, Guk. Are you sure you should leave? What if Taehyung doesn’t want you to go–,”

 

“He’ll make it up to me later.” Jeongguk waved his hand dismissively, a mischievous smirk pulling on his lips. He glanced down at his phone as the screen lit up with a notification. “Shit, the car’s here.” He moved towards the door, turning the handle before pausing. “Oh, shit. Hyung–, his boyfriend’s a little weird, too, but I think he’s knocked out. Hopefully he stays like that. The nurses will probably be here when the club closes.” He smiled, waving. “Tell Taehyung I said bye!” He waved with a smile before slipping out into the hallway, leaving Jimin behind with a blank stare of confusion on his face.

 

Boyfriend?

 

It took the noises coming from the bathroom to snap Jimin out of his daze, and he pushed the door open to find Taehyung, standing up but leaning heavily against the counter, doubled over the sink. “Taehyung? Are you okay?” He placed a bottle of water on the counter and moved to grab Taehyung’s arms to help him steady himself. “Be careful, I told you not to move.” 

 

Taehyung blinked hard, his eyes going wide in their sockets as he tried furiously to focus his vision. “Ch–, I’m really fucked up.” He avoided looking at his reflection in the mirror, instead closing his eyes and throwing his head back. “Where’s Jeongguk? Don’t let Youngjae near him if he’s awake. He’s too cute and Choi’s an ass.” Taehyung chuckled. “Shit, I feel so bad. I’m such a lightweight.”

 

“Here, drink some water.” Jimin offered him the bottle, unscrewing the cap before handing it to him. He nibbled on his lip in thought, ignoring the curiosity that piqued at the mention of Youngjae. “Gukkie left.” His voice was small, a twittering offering into the space between them.

 

Taehyung blinked. “What? Left where?”

 

Jimin sighed, leaning against the counter as he ran his fingers through his hair. “Master Kim called for him.” He could sense Taehyung’s tension at his words, and crossed his arms in front of his chest. “It’s fine, though, Jeongguk wanted to go–,”

 

“Are you fucking kidding me?!” Taehyung nearly shouted, and Jimin blinked in surprise. “Seokjin almost killed him, and he’s going to him now?” Anger bubbled in the depths of Taehyung’s chest, forming into a vapor of a panicked worry that seemed to settle in the blood pounding through his veins. “Jimin, what the fuck, why did you let him go–,” Taehyung reached for the door, stumbling past Jimin, who frowned and scrunched his face.

 

“Me?” Jimin uncrossed his arms, straightening up and observing Taehyung as he stumbled out of the bathroom. “Why is it my–,”

 

“Why the fuck would he go back to that asshole? He’s going to get himself killed, fuck, god damnit Jeongguk!” Taehyung slammed his fist against the wall, subsequently bracing himself against it with his arm as he lost his balance. 

 

Jimin observed him, idly leaning against the frame in the doorway of the bathroom. He crossed his arms once more, content to watch Taehyung fume. He did so for a few moments until he spoke again. “Are you done?”

 

Taehyung blinked as he turned to support himself, his back making a muffled sound as he slumped against the wall. He pinched the bridge of his nose, sighing in frustration. “What?”

 

“I asked…” Jimin let his hands fall to his sides as he approached Taehyung, taking the other by surprise as he closed the space between them quite suddenly. Taehyung’s mind raced as Jimin pressed up against him. “If you were done.”

 

Taehyung licked his lips nervously, eyes met with the ones who bore holes into him. “I…” he pursed his lips. His hand rose to grasp Jimin’s wrist to keep him in place; he didn’t miss the fleeting reaction of reluctance on Jimin’s face. “Why weren’t you at the club?”

 

Jimin searched Taehyung’s eyes, jaw set in the tension of answers that bore possibilities just under his tongue. “Why were you?” 

 

Taehyung’s tongue rolled in his mouth, the drag of it searching for a response in the hollows of his cheeks. “I wanted to see you.”

 

Jimin let Taehyung’s words sit on his tongue for a second. His lips broke into a smile, which piqued Taehyung’s curiosity – the chuckle that escaped his mouth reminded Taehyung that he knew better. He watched the look in Jimin’s eyes change, as if Eros personified himself in the clouds that began to smoke Jimin’s gaze. “You wanted to see me?” Taehyung wasn’t sure if the sultry tone in Jimin’s voice turned him on, or terrified him. Maybe both

 

Taehyung swallowed dryly and nodded his head. “You know I did.” His eyes rested hungrily on Jimin’s lips, plump and soft and inviting in ways he couldn’t fathom resisting. Only seconds passed before Jimin opened his mouth to speak, and Taehyung was crashing his lips onto the other’s, swallowing any syllables of his words like they were water and he’d been lost in a desert for days. His kiss was aggressive; as careful as Taehyung wanted to be, the taste of Jimin reminded him of how badly he wanted this. How yearning and starved – how ravenous he was. His hold tightened on Jimin’s wrist, pulling him closer as he cupped his face. It felt like Jimin would dissipate into sand, falling through his fingers at any given moment. “Fuck,” Taehyung breathed. “Fuck, Jimin.” His chest heaved and he felt lightheaded; he pressed his forehead against Jimin’s as he attempted to slow his breathing. “I need you. I need you so fucking bad.”

 

If Jimin didn’t believe him, he was convinced he could taste the meanings in the drag of Taehyung’s tongue against his own. Taehyung’s advances winded him more than he would have liked to admit; his heart raced, and he felt a rush in his head that didn’t match the alcohol he’d had to drink. Taehyung’s words caught him by surprise – “ need”? Tentatively, he glanced up to meet Taehyung’s gaze – he stared into the depths of dark and wild eyes, eyes that said “I need you” . He searched for something else, anything else, but Taehyung wasn’t insincere. 

 

“Jimin,” Taehyung breathed. “Do you have a room here?”

 

Jimin nodded in response. “Yes.” His voice was low, quiet, barely able to fill the space in between them. He knew what Taehyung was asking without having to ask at all; he stepped away from Taehyung, noting the way he didn’t let go of his wrist.

 

Taehyung paused. “Wait, I should go check on Youngjae–,”

 

Jimin caressed his face, snapping Taehyung’s attention back to him. “I’ll go.” He patted his jeans as if searching for something. “I think I left my room key inside, actually. I’ll be right back.” He smiled a bit sheepishly, leaving Taehyung in the empty hallway as he went back into the suite. A few minutes later, he returned with the room key in between his fingers. “Your boyfriend’s asleep. Come on.” He grabbed Taehyung’s hand, leading him down the hallway to the elevator. Taehyung raised an eyebrow, but said nothing as he followed Jimin, curiously eyeing the pattern of what looked like a bruise wrapping around the side and back of his neck.

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

The hotel room was dark, nearly pitch black; Taehyung moved to turn on a switch, before he felt Jimin’s hand in protest. “No.” Jimin’s voice sounded almost disembodied, coming from only darkness in a foreign place. “Leave it off.” He breathed, and his hands slipped up Taehyung’s chest, grasping his shirt and pulling him forward. 

 

Taehyung’s eyes were wide, searching desperately for hints of light as they tried to adjust to the darkness of the room. He could faintly make out shapes, the little light that did filter in leaving trails that confused his vision. “I can’t see–,”

 

“It’s okay.” Jimin whispered. “Just follow me.” His hand dropped to find Taehyung’s, interlacing their fingers as Jimin pulled him forward, a siren pulling his prey into the depths of an oceanic abyss. His grasp on Jimin tightened instinctively, some kind of panic beginning to seep into his being. He blinked in surprise at the feeling of Jimin’s free hand brushing against his face, and inhaled sharply as Jimin’s lips brushed against his. Jimin laughed lightly, pulling Taehyung on top of him as the back of his legs found the corner of the bed within the suite.

 

Taehyung’s senses dove into overdrive as his lips found Jimin’s; he breathed heavily into the kiss, deepening it with the desperation of grasping around in the dark. He followed Jimin easily enough, getting on the bed somewhat clumsily, and slotting a leg in between Jimin’s own. His teeth caught Jimin’s bottom lip, biting down as he heard a breathy moan escape from the man who dug his nails into Taehyung’s back, scratching at the fabric of his shirt. Taehyung pushed his knee up, his breath becoming ragged as his thigh met with the hard length of Jimin’s cock, straining against the fabric of his jeans. Sounds seemed intensified in the abyss of some kind of sensory deprivation from being in the dark; Jimin’s voice alone drove Taehyung wild. He felt insatiable, thirsty, deprived. His hands crept underneath the fabric of Jimin’s shirt; searching, exploring, and finally, relishing the heat of skin at his fingertips – satisfied with the electricity that sparked in his body as he touched him, but aching and wanting more.

 

Jimin broke their kiss only to pull off their clothes, stripping down to their underwear. Maybe I should stop this, Jimin thought. Maybe I’m getting too close. He had delved into Taehyung so fast and unquestioning; he’d discovered what it felt like to fly, and now he was pushing it – like Icarus, he was flying too close to the sun. His wings would melt, and he would fall, and there would be nothing to catch him but the depths of an abyss that he would drown in. 

 

“Jimin.” Taehyung’s voice, raspy and deep, broke Jimin out of his train of thought.

 

“Hm?” Jimin dipped his chin forward, searching for Taehyung’s lips; he couldn’t find them. Though it was dark, he swore he could feel Taehyung’s eyes looking for him, searching for his own.

 

“It’s so dark. I can’t see you.” 

 

Jimin reached up, feeling for Taehyung’s face as his fingers found his cheek and brushed delicately against it. “It’s okay.”

 

“No.” Taehyung frowned. “I want to see you.” He shifted his weight to support himself on one arm as he reached for Jimin’s face, fumbling to find it. He chuckled. “Seriously, I can’t see shit.”

 

Jimin giggled in return. “You don’t need to see me to fuck me, baby.”

 

Taehyung blinked in surprise. That was sudden. And then, wait. Taehyung dwelled on his thoughts for a moment; a small alarm rang in his head. Silently, he withdrew from his position on top of Jimin, placing his foot gingerly on the floor after searching for it. He heard Jimin shift on the bed, presumably sitting up, and also a “Taehyung? What are you doing–,” as he flailed his arms a bit and finally found it, a lamp on the bedside table that he switched on. His pupils screamed in surprise as the warm, dim light flooded the room, and he blinked hard as his vision adjusted. 

 

Surprised, Jimin’s arms came up to shield his eyes from the sudden light, and he scrunched his face in discontent. “Taehyung–,”

 

Taehyung smiled in return, a bit sheepishly, as he rubbed his eyes. “Sorry, I–,’ He started to speak, but his words evaporated from his mouth as his vision focused and his eyes fell on Jimin. Without thinking, he stared, zoning in on the marks that colored what he could see of Jimin’s exposed body. Although he’d caught sight of the obvious marks on Jimin’s neck and, peculiarly, Taehyung had thought, on his wrists, he hadn’t thought to pry until now, unnerved at the sight of what looked like relatively fresh bruises, welts, and marks littered all over his skin. 

 

Jimin flushed, becoming flustered and frowning as he pulled the sheets to cover himself. “Why are you staring at me like that?” 

 

Taehyung cleared his throat, blinking and looking away. “M’, sorry, I didn’t mean to.” His jaw clenched, desperately wanting to look at Jimin, but not at him – he wanted to see him, to look at the thoughts that flooded his head instead of the marks that trailed all over his flesh. 

 

Jimin blinked in surprise as Taehyung approached him, and warm hands enveloped his own. He glanced up. “What are you–,” When his eyes met Taehyung’s he paused, caught in the current of the waves that stormed within Taehyung’s eyes. Neither of them said anything; Taehyung’s hands brushed against Jimin lightly, tentatively, as if anything less gentle would cause Jimin to shatter. Jimin suddenly felt an unusual awareness of his exposure; though being naked in front of anyone wasn’t new to him, he was beginning to realize the effects of the night with the Doctor were catching up to him, clouding his mind like a thick, black fog. This was new to him; he wasn’t sure when he’d slipped out of control, but now as he felt Taehyung’s eyes on his body, he realized with a sense of dread in the pit of his stomach that he had, in fact, lost control – lost power, become vulnerable, and as a result, had paid a price: a price that announced itself in the marks all over his body and the screams inside his head. It made him angry, flustered, and embarrassed, and the last thing he wanted was to feel the vulnerability. He bit his bottom lip, aggressively fighting the urge to push Taehyung away, to cover himself up, to walk out of this room and leave. “Tae–,” His voice was cut off by Taehyung shushing him; lightly, gently, as gentle as the touch of his fingertips, as gentle as his lips as they brushed against a bruise on Jimin’s shoulder.

 

Taehyung kissed Jimin’s skin lightly, moving from a bruise on his shoulder to one on his chest, traveling along trails of marks that someone else had so maliciously left behind, a fool who had taken advantage of uncharted territory and ravaged it before leaving it torn asunder. He gently insisted forward, requesting that Jimin lay down without saying any words; his insistence was tender and not forceful, and he cupped the back of Jimin’s head to help him relax into laying back. He grasped Jimin’s wrist, planting a kiss on the bruises that settled there. Taehyung swore he could hear the cries from whatever had happened to mark his body like it was, swore he could see the torment in the depths of Jimin’s eyes. 

 

Jimin swallowed hard, feeling the burn of desire in his belly clashing with the storm inside his mind. “I’d really like to turn off the light.” 

 

After thinking for a few moments, Taehyung brushed a light kiss on Jimin’s forehead, before standing up to turn off the lamp. As soon as the lamp was off, Taehyung reeled to adjust his eyesight to the darkness; fumbling once more, he used the edge of the bed to guide him as he made his way towards the window. “I have an idea.” Finally grasping what he was looking for, he pulled the curtain open; the view of the skyline was gorgeous, and light enough that the room was still dark, but not completely. He glanced back at Jimin on the bed; he could now make out his features, and Taehyung’s mind devoured the sight in front of him. The stroke of the light that filtered in through the curtains, highlighting the slopes and curves of Jimin’s body amidst the darkness, were brushstrokes on a painting that Taehyung wanted to frame and keep forever. He returned to the bed, climbing onto the plush of the mattress and hovering over Jimin; content now to see his features, every individual lash casting shadows on his face. “Is this okay?” Taehyung whispered. Still careful, still gentle, still cautious in the wake of the storm behind the resilient walls of Jimin’s resolve.

 

Jimin offered a small nod; Taehyung pulled at the fabric of his bottoms as delicately as he had taken off his shirt, as if peeling the fabric too hard would take his skin with it. He shrugged his own bottoms off, and though the rush of his own blood thundered in his ears, he made sure to move slowly. He slotted his leg between Jimin’s once more, settling some of his weight down as he met Jimin’s lips with his own. This time, it was slow – it was deliberate, and delicate, a lifetime of care in the drag of his tongue and the way he rocked his hips against Jimin lightly. He felt Jimin buck up against him, and smiled into their kiss, letting out a breathy chuckle. “Relax.” He whispered. “Let me take my time.” Taehyung’s voice was low, raspy, and the way the words sounded as they rolled off of Taehyung’s tongue and onto Jimin’s made the latter’s head spin. Taehyung broke the contact of their lips to travel downwards, painting a trail of kisses down Jimin’s jawline, on his neck, pausing for a moment before his tongue flicked out to lick against the forming scar on the base of his neck. Jimin hissed at the sensation, and jolted slightly before relaxing into the feeling of Taehyung’s lips all over him. 

 

Taehyung left no mark untouched, no bruise un–kissed, and it wasn’t until Taehyung’s lips kissed on the sensitive head of Jimin’s dick that Jimin realized that he was so tense, wound up and ready to snap. He breathed in sharply, squirming under Taehyung’s advances. “Tae–,” he moaned as Taehyung’s mouth enclosed around his length, sending waves of pleasure and warmth throughout his body. He snagged his fingers in Taehyung’s curls, arching his back with the gratification of an outlet for the electricity that surged through Jimin’s veins with every bit of Taehyung’s touch. He could feel Taehyung’s lips pull into a smile as his hair was pulled, easing up and down the length of Jimin’s cock, savoring it slowly. Jimin opened his eyes, looking down and choking on his own breath as his eyes instantly met Taehyung’s. The light that casted through the window was enough to illuminate the side of Taehyung’s face, and in it, Jimin swore he could see a world of things – something primal, something ravenous , but also something warm, and tender. A mewl escaped his lips and he threw his head back, burying his face as he moaned into a pillow at the pleasure that racked his body from Tae’s mouth alone. He swore he heard a growling moan from Taehyung, which caused him to buck up into his mouth, eager for more. “Taehyung, fuck…” Jimin whined. “Fuck me, please.” 

 

Taehyung took his time before withdrawing his mouth off of Jimin’s dick; even in the low light, his eyes rested hungrily on the sight of it throbbing in front of him, flushed and begging for more. He pulled himself up, settling to hover above Jimin as he returned to his eye’s level, and smiled with satisfaction as he rubbed against Jimin to elicit a reaction; Jimin’s moans were music that he could curl up in and be content to hear forever. “And what if I don’t want to?”

 

Having almost lost himself in the currents of pleasure that washed over his body, Jimin tensed slightly as Taehyung’s words caught his attention. He looked at him somberly, a mixture of confusion and fleeting hurt on his face. “… What?” Taehyung was silent for too many moments, and Jimin became uncomfortable as he felt the other’s eyes boring into his. He looked away, squirming underneath Taehyung, who observed him intently before responding by brushing a kiss against his forehead, then his cheek, and trailing his lips to brush against a sensitive spot behind his ear.

 

“What if I want to take my time…” Taehyung growled, and Jimin felt chills running up his spine at the sound of it. “Jimin…” His name sounded different when it spilled off of Taehyung’s tongue. “What if I want to be careful with you?”

 

“You don’t–,” Jimin’s breathing was ragged. “–have to be careful.” Jimin relished in the pleasure as Taehyung kissed along the underside of his jawline and his neck. “You act as if I’m going to break.”

 

Taehyung paused for a moment, lips still hovering just above the chills that pricked Jimin’s skin. “I just don’t want to be the reason that you do.” His breath ran hot, his words settling into the pools of blood in Jimin’s bruises and holding Jimin where Taehyung physically could not. Jimin’s eyes went wide – he opened his mouth to respond, but he couldn’t quite find the words to say. “Even if you do…” Taehyung planted a kiss on the scar that sat on his neck, “I’ll pick up all the pieces.” He withdrew his face from Jimin just far enough to meet his eye level, searching the depths of Jimin’s eyes for something that Jimin wasn’t sure he should be finding. 

 

Nonetheless, Jimin held Taehyung’s gaze, staring back into the pools of black that seemed so inviting, so deep, so warm. “Taehyung…” His chin pulled forward, lips aching to meet Taehyung’s with a burning thirst that seemed never to cease. Taehyung obliged him, and in the moment that their lips met, Jimin swore that the resolve of a lifetime of yearning was painted in the space that was sealed into their kiss. The answers to the questions that Jimin had neglected to ask before diving headfirst into Taehyung all rested in the delicate red thread that pierced through their skin, weaving their lips together in agonizing intention. It stitched together pieces that Jimin had been waiting to fill, emptiness that had been left to sit, expecting the molten gold that Seokjin had promised to pour into all the cracks. Taehyung’s hands wandered all over him, the tips of his fingertips pressing promises delicately into the spaces that pooled with blood and raised in welts. His heart accelerated, his breath quickening as the burn of desire began to tear through his body. “I need you” lingered on the tip of his tongue, but he felt it dissipate in the drag of Taehyung’s tongue against his. Do I need him?, Jimin wondered. Do I need him like he says he needs me?

 

As Taehyung’s body rocked against his, he realized: it didn’t matter. As he pushed up against him to sit up, to change their positions, and lay Taehyung down as he sat to straddle his hips – it didn’t matter. The past week, a blur in Jimin’s mind, didn’t matter; the world that Taehyung had stepped into, a stranger lost in unknown territory, didn’t matter. What mattered was now, and the way that Taehyung growled in pleasure under him as Jimin rubbed himself against him, lowering himself to allow his lips to explore every inch of Taehyung. “Can you reach the table?” He asked, eyes gazing up at Taehyung under heavy lids as he kissed along the cut of his hips, approaching dangerously close to his cock, flushed and throbbing hard in anticipation. A sighing moan escaped his lips as they brushed against Taehyung’s length, and he heard the simultaneous gasp of pleasure and the sound of Taehyung’s hand fumbling for the drawer of the nightstand by the bed. 

 

“Wuh–,what–,” Taehyung tossed his head back as Jimin’s mouth made contact with his cock, and the uppers reignited the sensation of euphoria in his veins. “ Fuck.” He knew he’d been feeling it, but didn’t know this would feel this fucking good. “What, ah–,am I looking for?”

 

Jimin, who’d busied himself with letting the wetness of his tongue work the length of Taehyung’s shaft, pulled away to snicker. “Lube, Taehyung. Condoms. What do you think?”

 

Taehyung let out a breathy chuckle, swallowing hard as his hands fumbled in the dark, searching the contents of the top drawer. “The huh–, hotel kuh–keeps that in here?”

 

Jimin’s mouth was full, deliciously and achingly full as he slurped noisily, paying hardly any mind to Taehyung’s struggle. His lips pulled in a smile to breath out a laugh as he withdrew once more; his eyes lingered hungrily on Taehyung’s erection before flicking up to move his attention. “No, they don't. But it’s my room, and I do.” He purred, eyeing the bottle that Taehyung withdrew from the drawer as he shifted on top of Taehyung. “Tell me, Taehyung…” Jimin braced himself up with his palm on Taehyung’s chest. “Since you don’t want to fuck me, or so you said…” Taehyung could hear the smile without needing to see it, his venomous smile that dripped with hidden intent. “Can I fuck you, then?”

 

Taehyung nearly choked as his breath caught in his throat at Jimin’s words; they sent blood rushing to his head, pumping and screaming in his veins. He swallowed hard, scrunching his eyes shut as Jimin bit delicately on his earlobe. “Yh–, yes. Fuck , Jimin, yes. ” The smug chuckle he heard escaping from Jimin’s lips made him shy – did he sound desperate? Oh, fuck it, who cared? He noticed Jimin pause, as if somewhat taken aback at Taehyung’s agreement to his request.

 

“What do you say, Taehyung?” Jimin’s voice was a whisper, a hint of tenderness weaving in between the letters that spilled from his lips. “If you want me to stop.”

 

Taehyung smiled, snaking his hand up to brush against Jimin’s body. “Ninety–five.” 

 

Jimin’s lips stretched into a smile as well, and he nodded. “Perfect.” His voice dropped register, and his next words sent chills ravaging through Taehyung’s body. “I can’t wait to fuck you, baby.”

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

The feeling wasn’t unfamiliar to Taehyung; though, he had to admit, as he growled into the stretch of Jimin filling him, it had been quite some time since he’d experienced it. His chest heaved, back arching as he tossed his head to the side, sweat mottling his hair to his brow as he choked out moans with every thrust. 

 

Jimin’s hands pressed into the backs of his thighs, holding on for purchase as he picked up his pace, breathy moans escaping in the rhythm of his strokes. He rocked into Taehyung, fireworks shooting through his body as the pleasure consumed him. His vision tunneled, a fire ravaging his body as the sound of Taehyung’s growling moans lit it further like kindle. He began to thrust harder, faster, the rhythmic sound of his hips slapping against Taehyung filling the air, entangling with the invisible thread that seemed to bind them together, weaving its way around their limbs as Jimin fucked deeper, Taehyung moaned louder, and they melted into one another with each thrust. Jimin clenched his fingers around Taehyung’s cock, hard and dripping with precum that slicked his length as Jimin stroked him, pumping his fist in the rhythm of the moans that escaped Taehyung’s mouth.

 

“Fuh–, fuck , Ji–,” Taehyung choked, spluttering on the name that dripped like honey on his lips. He blinked in an attempt to focus his vision, gazing up at the sight of Jimin on top of him, head thrown back, sweat beginning to drip down his temples and soak the blonde strands of hair that laid askew on his head. He swallowed hard, the fire in his belly ravaging him, warning him of an approaching climax. The thrusting was harder, faster, and the sound of their skin making colliding contact seemed to roar in his ears. Suddenly, he was aware that his heart was pounding so hard it felt like it would burst from his chest, Jimin’s moans sounded far away, and he was becoming lost in the mixture of pleasure and pain that he couldn’t discern one from the other. Wait. Wisps of panic began to seep into his mind. Find your words. His mind was cloudy, and Taehyung’s tongue felt numb. “Ji–, uh–,” Taehyung’s throat felt tight, and the feeling of Jimin’s cock against his prostate racked his body, screaming at him in pleasure. “Nuh–, nine!” Taehyung sputtered. He caught Jimin’s attention, and it took everything in him for the words to tumble out of his throat.

 

Ninety–five. 

 

Jimin froze; he blinked, realizing he’d completely lost himself for a good few minutes, desire having consumed him, painting a red film over his vision. Withdrawing his hand off of Taehyung’s cock, he remained still for a few moments before slowly, carefully, pulling out. He observed Taehyung, who tossed his head on the pillow and breathed so heavily Jimin would have thought he’d been having a heart attack. “Taehyung?” As soon as he let go of them, Taehyung’s legs dropped limply onto the bed. Shit . “Taehyung. I’m here.” He pulled himself off of Taehyung, reaching to meet his face. “Taehyung.” Nothing but his name seemed to want to tumble off of Jimin’s lips, desperate and in need of response. “Hey, you’re okay, it’s okay.” Jimin brushed the drenched curls from his forehead, catching the sight of dilated pupils roving wildly in his eyes. “Just breathe. You’re okay. Breathe, baby. It’s Jimin, it’s me. You’re safe.”

 

It felt like a fog had settled in Taehyung’s mind; as he scrunched his face, he closed his eyes and could see the trails of figures and shapes behind his lids. Maybe he’d just really overdone it this time – the alcohol, the stress, the drugs, the sex – everything was overwhelming, and he was a goddamned idiot to keep chasing this fever dream. The foggy feeling consumed him, feeling like he’d fallen from a cliff, slamming into a body of water; the pressure enveloped him, caressing his body and crushing it at the same time. It felt as though he was underwater, content to sink in its depths, though his mind screamed at him that he needed to get to the surface . Once muffled, Jimin’s voice came into focus, and he blinked, suddenly realizing he was quite unaware of what was happening. Were they not just fucking? Did he dream that? He furrowed his brow, blinking hard as his vision came back into focus to see Jimin’s eyes and his face, full of concern. Confusion registered on Taehyung’s expression as he stammered in search of words. “I–, uh–, I don’t–,”

 

Relieved to see Taehyung responsive, Jimin smiled and shook his head. “It’s okay. Are you alright? Do you know where you are?”

 

Taehyung moved to sit up, and Jimin helped him, moving to prop pillows underneath him. “Yeah, of course. Shit, I just–,” He pressed his palm against his head. “Fuck. I’m sorry.” 

 

Jimin shook his head again, moving to get off the bed. Taehyung reached out, almost in a panic, and Jimin paused to reassure him. “Let me get you some water.” He returned a few moments later to Taehyung sprawled on the bed, staring up at the ceiling as if he was lost in thought. He offered him the water and sat on the edge of the bed, a plush robe wrapped around his frame. He placed a robe identical to the one he was wearing on the bed, and stroked Taehyung’s leg reassuringly, delicately.

 

Taehyung downed the water instantly, gasping for air as he finished. “I, uh–,” he bit his lip as an embarrassed smile crept across his lips. “I’m sorry. I guess I’m just, it’s been a while, you know, and...” He trailed off, words dissipating into thin air.

 

Jimin observed him for a second, a small smile on his lips as he shook his head. “It’s okay, baby. How are you feeling? Are you coming down already?”

 

Taehyung scrunched his face. “I–, uh, I don’t know. Fuck, this is some shit. How does he–, how do you–, shit. All the time, how?

 

Jimin let out a small laugh, placing his hand delicately on Taehyung’s. “Shh. Come on.” He pulled at Taehyung’s hand gently, offering him the extra robe that was draped on the bed. “Just come with me.” Let me take care of you.

 

Taehyung wasn’t sure what he was expecting, but a hot bath with Jimin was at the end of the list, and he just stood and stared as Jimin dropped the robe from his body, doing his best to tear his eyes from the marks all over his back. 

 

“Here, lay against me. Don’t slip.”

 

Taehyung obliged; as he carefully slipped into the bath, laying his back against Jimin’s chest, it just felt fitting, like pieces of a puzzle slotting into their places. He settled comfortably, relishing in the heat of the water as it enveloped him and pressed at the knots in his tired muscles. A few moments later, he felt Jimin’s hands pressing on his shoulders, kneading gently. He sighed in pleasure, content to stay like this forever. He felt small in Jimin’s embrace, but it was comforting, and Taehyung never wanted to leave. He leaned his head back against Jimin’s chest, nestling into the crook of his neck and allowing himself to rest.

 

“There. Just relax.” Jimin breathed, his voice barely above a whisper as his breath tickled Taehyung’s ears, brushing past the curls of his dark hair. Taehyung’s breath stuttered in his chest as he recalled Jimin’s words from earlier that week: “You have such a hard time relaxing, Taehyung.” It was hard to believe he was here, laying in a hot bath nestled into Jimin’s embrace; that this wasn’t some kind of fever dream, and he wasn’t actually laying somewhere alone, doped, and half–dead. Shit. He really hoped this was real. His hand wandered upwards, trailing to find Jimin’s; when it did, he gently pinched one of his fingers, giving it a small squeeze. He heard a light laugh escape Jimin’s lips, and his own parted in a smile. 

 

“I’m relaxed.” Taehyung murmured. “I just want to know that this isn’t a dream.” He chuckled lightly. “I hope I’m here, and not laying somewhere, alone and half–dead.”

 

Jimin’s hands paused their massage, before dropping from Taehyung’s shoulders. “I did tell you to stay away, Taehyung.” Jimin’s voice was quiet. “You didn’t listen.”

 

Taehyung frowned. “I know.” The bathroom was silent, save for the sound of the water as their bodies moved within the tub. “Jimin, I–, earlier–,”

 

“Shh.” Jimin’s hands resumed their gentle kneading on his shoulders. “It’s okay, Taehyung. It happens. We can talk about it, or not, but it happens. You were overwhelmed.” He swallowed dryly, chewing the inside of his cheek in thought. “I’m sorry I didn’t realize it sooner.” He shifted underneath Taehyung, who became suddenly aware of Jimin’s dick flush against his back. 

 

“Are you?” Taehyung’s hand snaked to grasp Jimin’s in his own, glancing at the marks on Jimin’s wrist as he did so. He could feel Jimin’s body tense in response.

 

“What?”

 

“Overwhelmed.”

 

Jimin shifted underneath Taehyung, tugging at his hold slightly. “No.”

 

Taehyung pulled Jimin’s hand gently, placing a kiss on his wrist. “Are you sure?”

 

“...Yes.”

 

The moments of silence that passed allowed their bodies to melt into one another, relaxed by the hot water that enveloped them. The apples of Taehyung’s cheeks flushed as he leaned against Jimin, secretly relishing in the contact as he felt himself becoming hard again. He bit his lip, cocking his head to look at Jimin, arousal and desire smoldering his gaze. Jimin didn’t miss the shift in his demeanor, nor the way his raspy growl betrayed his arousal and his intentions. “Can we… try again?”

 

Jimin’s breath caught as Taehyung grasped his hand, leading it down to wrap around his cock. “We don’t–, we don’t have to.” The tone of his voice gave away the truthful intentions, the desire that spread like wildfire in his body.

 

“I know.” Taehyung nuzzled at Jimin’s neck, planting kisses on the skin he could reach. “I want to.” He didn’t know what time it was, how he’d ended up in a hot bath with Jimin pressed against him, what tomorrow would have in store – all he knew was that Jimin was here, now, and he wanted to devour every inch of him, lock it away into his mind to keep him there forever.

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

The sound of a knock on the door, though light and not too disruptive, jerked Taehyung from his sleep, the pain of a headache violently assaulting him as he awoke. He scrunched his face, groaning in discontent. “Hm?” He turned over, swimming in the sheets of the hotel bed. Almost immediately, his eyes shot open and he jerked himself up. “Jimin?” He looked around, panicking for a moment at the emptiness of the bed before the person he was looking for entered the bedroom. 

 

“The nurses are here.” Jimin smiled. “An IV should help with your hangover. They’ll attend to your boyfriend, too.”

 

Taehyung scrunched his face as he sat up in bed. Boyfriend? He pulled the sheets over himself as two women walked into the room; they paid him no mind as they began to set things up from designer weekender bags they carried. “Uhm, are they–,”

 

“They’re from the club.” Jimin sat on the edge of the bed and ran his fingers through his hair. “Gukkie panicked a bit last night, and called Hoseok– hyungnim. He sent them from the club.”

 

Taehyung offered his bare arm in reluctance and hissed at the puncture of the needle, choosing to ignore the faint tracks already present in the crook of his elbow. He leaned back against the headboard, chuckling lightly. “Why do I feel like I’ve done this before?”

 

Jimin’s mind flitted to the first night they met; the night Taehyung had blacked out, and woke up hooked to an IV before he’d left in a fit of angered confusion. The sound of his name snapped him out of his reverie.

 

“Jimin. Are you talking about Youngjae?”

 

Jimin blinked, jaw clenching just slightly, the response dissipating as fast as it had come. He didn’t respond, seemed to look confused, and Taehyung took the opportunity to continue.

 

“He’s not my boyfriend.” Taehyung chuckled again, amused at the idea. “Did Guk not tell you? He’s my boss. Shit, I hope he's not going to be pissed. Where’s my phone?”

 

Jimin remained silent as he got up to get Taehyung’s phone for him, handing it over. He thumbed through it. “He hasn’t called or anything.” He looked at the time: 8:27 A.M. “He must have knocked out good.” He laughed to himself. “Fucking Youngjae, crazy asshole.”

 

Half an hour later, the two women packed their things back up, following Jimin and Taehyung to the elevator as they made their way back to the twentieth floor. Jimin was quiet this morning, Taehyung realized, and it was a whirlwind of an experience thinking back on all the events of last night. After the IV treatment, Taehyung felt just fine – he’d have to really do something to pay back Hoseok sometime, after always looking out for him. 

 

“Hey, Choi!” Taehyung called into the room, the first to make his way towards the bedroom. “C’mon, rise and shine. Your dad’s going to beat my ass and cut my salary for not taking you home.” He chuckled at the sight of Youngjae, face–down on the bed, glad he had gotten some sleep and hadn’t gone out looking for women or any more trouble. “Hey, Youngjae. Time to wake up.” Taehyung sat on the edge of the bed, tapping Youngjae’s arm and shaking him a bit. He rolled his eyes. “Come on, asshole. You can't be a heavier sleeper than me. Yah, Youngjae!” Taehyung shoved him. Panic began to set in as Youngjae’s body slumped back, limp and heavy. His eyes widened. “Youngjae?!” Jimin approached the bed and grunted with exertion as he helped Taehyung turn Youngjae over – he was pale, limp, and Taehyung felt the color drain from his own face. “Holy shit.” He felt his breath quickening, the pricking of sweat forming on his palms. “Youngjae? Youngjae!” His voice climbed into a yell as he shook Youngjae’s shoulders. “What the fuck?!” Taehyung slapped at his face, hands trembling as he fell into a panic. “Aren’t you medics?! Do something!” After a moment of silence, he stared wildly at the two women who simply stood in the room, silent and unmoving. “Call a fucking ambulance!”

 

Jimin raised his hands to placate Taehyung, voice soft as he spoke. “They can’t.” He reached forward to press his fingers against Youngjae’s throat, feeling conflicted as he felt the faintest thrum of a pulse. 

 

“What do you mean they can’t ? What the fuck?!” Taehyung pushed Jimin’s hands away, cupping Youngjae’s face. “Youngjae, hey, Youngjae, this isn’t funny–,” he jerked backwards as he got up from the bed, pacing in a panic. “ Fuck ,” he muttered. There’s no fucking way this wasn’t Seokjin. “Goddamnit, SHIT!” Taehyung snarled; Jimin jumped as Taehyung’s fist sent a bedside lamp crashing to the floor, the shattering of glass echoing through the room. Taehyung's mind raced. Fuck . “Jimin.” He swallowed hard. “One of them needs to call. From the hotel. As a housekeeper, whatever. We can’t, you can’t–,” he bit his lip. 

 

Jimin did his best to maintain his composure, lest he slip up and make the situation worse. “What do you mean?”

 

“I mean,” Taehyung pressed his palm against his temple. “I mean that my boss, the president of a fucking conglomerate is half fucking dead and who’s here with him?” He gestured wildly between them. “Fucking christ. I can’t believe this shit. That fucking asshole!”

 

“Taehyung, calm down–,”

 

“Calm down?! How the fuck do you expect me to calm the fuck down whe–,”

 

“He has a pulse.” Jimin ran his fingers through his hair. “Look, let me call Min. He can send a service, or have them call.” He nodded his head politely at the women, who remained stoic and observant from a respectful distance. “They can’t do anything Min doesn’t tell them to. They can still hook him up to an IV, while I get a hold of him.” Jimin reached out to placate Taehyung, hoping to calm him down. “It’s going to be okay, Taehyung. We’ll help him.”

 

“Fuck…” Taehyung swallowed hard, staring down at Youngjae on the bed. I fucking hope so.

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

“How is it that there’s always someone half fucking dead after a night out, are you shitheads teenagers?” Yoongi crossed his arms, mildly irritated at the lack of sleep he should be getting at this time – not that he slept much, anyway. He grumbled in annoyance, standing in the living space of Youngjae’s hotel suite as the two women wheeled a limp Youngjae – still unconscious but not as pale after an intravenous treatment – out of the room in a wheelchair. Jimin sat quietly on the sofa and observed them as they left.

 

Taehyung’s eyes trailed the women with concern. “Are you sure he’s going to be okay, shouldn’t he be on a stretcher or something?”

 

“What, so I can have the entire fucking place crawling with press? You.” Yoongi pointed at Taehyung. “You know just as fucking well what someone of that status going out of here in an ambulance will cause. The fuck were you thinking?”

 

“Me?” Taehyung straightened instinctively, glaring down at Yoongi. “Why is this my fucking fault? He was fine when we left him, nothing was wrong.” He was bordering on yelling, but he didn’t care. 

 

“When you left him?”

 

Taehyung withdrew slightly, biting his lip. He paused for a few seconds, before mulling over Yoongi’s words. “Wait… What did you say?”

 

Yoongi blinked at him with a look of sarcastic incredulity. “What the fuck were you thinking?” 

 

“No. Before that. So you can have the place crawling with press?” Taehyung peered at him.

 

Yoongi’s expression was flat – he’d really had about enough of it all. He glanced at Jimin, then back to Taehyung, and rolled his tongue in his mouth as he scoffed. “Seriously, Kim Taehyung? You’re that fucking clueless?” 

 

“This is Min’s hotel.” Jimin’s voice chimed in before Yoongi could string together the angry profanities that sat caged behind his teeth.

 

“Mine and Hoseok’s.” Yoongi corrected, crossing his arms. “You’ve got a lot of fucking nerve, Taehyung, I’ll give you that much.”

 

Taehyung blinked, taken aback. “What the fuck did I do?! I didn’t even–, Youngjae just wanted to go to the club, what the fuck–? When did hyung get a fucking hotel –,”

 

“Just shut up.” Yoongi waved him off. “Shut the fuck up and listen to me. I can understand Hoseok pulling for you, but you’re dragging other people into the wrong situations, Taehyung. I don’t know how the fuck you keep weaseling your way into it all, but it’s kind of really fucking weird that you’re the common factor in all of this shit.” He sighed, and raised his hand to keep Taehyung from talking. “I don’t know what the fuck it is, but we really don’t need any more fucking attention, okay? I’m so fucking serious. Not on the club, and not on this hotel. So here’s what’s going to happen. You’re going to say “thank you Min Yoongi”, go about whatever the fuck you need to do, and we’re going to pretend like this–,” he gestured around the room, “–all of this, it didn’t happen. Kim won’t know about it, Hoseok won’t tell him about it, and neither will anyone in this entire fucking building. You need to deal with your boss and your company, because the second they come for this, any of it, Kim will know and it will be a fucking bloodbath, Taehyung. Got it? Do you fucking understand?”

 

Taehyung stared, nearly dumbfounded, at the waterfall of words from Yoongi’s mouth. He took a second to register, Yoongi impatiently glaring at him in expectation. He cleared his throat. “I really think there’s been a misunderstanding–,”

 

Yoongi waved him off, making a sound of annoyance. “Ah–ah. No, see, you’re not fucking listening.” He exhaled. “What do you say, Kim Taehyung?”

 

Taehyung frowned, pouting in a fit of anger and annoyance. “Can you just–,”

 

“Yah! Fuck !”

 

Taehyung sighed. “... Thank you, Min Yoongi.”

 

Yoongi jerked his head in a small nod. “You are so fucking welcome. See how easy it can be?” He stretched, rolling his neck. “I’m fucking going to bed.”

 

“Wait.” Taehyung reached to stop Yoongi from leaving, though he withdrew his hand so as not to touch him. “I meant to ask to book Jimin tonight.”

 

Yoongi paused, blinking a few times to process Taehyung’s words. He glanced at Jimin, who looked just as surprised, and then back at Taehyung. “You’re… You’re serious?” He scoffed. “Did we not just–, did this entire fucking conversation go over your head?” He shook his head. “Don’t even answer that. No, sorry. He’s already booked for the night.”

 

“I know.” Taehyung’s jaw was clenched, his words firm. “I don’t care. I’ll pay more.”

 

Yoongi smirked. “You can’t just throw money and expect to get your way, Taehyung.”

 

“Can’t I? Is that not how all this shit works?” Taehyung let out an exaggerated chuckle, feeling just as fed up with the conversation. “Is your concern not your bottom line? So what the fuck is it, then?”

 

Yoongi glared at him. “Throw a fucking fit about it if that’s what you want, but I’m not going to just cancel a client because you want me to. That’s definitely not how ‘this shit’ works.”

 

“Sir.” Jimin got up from his seat, voice quiet and eyes averted to the ground. He bowed, and Taehyung peered at him. “I’m so sorry for all of this. I’m looking forward to my time with The Doctor tonight. Please go get some rest.” Taehyung didn’t miss the way that Jimin’s voice faltered, eyes dropping to small fists clenched at his sides.

 

Yoongi looked between both of them for a few seconds. “I’ll see you tonight, Eros.” His eyes narrowed at Taehyung. “He’s free before 3 A.M.. You can come then. Double the rate.” With that, he left the room, leaving Taehyung and Jimin in deafening silence. 

 

The silence seemed to stretch on for hours; both of them left to soak in the aftermath of last night’s storm. Taehyung worked to calm himself; as upset as he was, Yoongi was right – he had helped, and there was no reason Taehyung shouldn’t be grateful for it, as angry and confused as he still was. His expression softened as he watched Jimin fall back onto the sofa, clearly exhausted. His face was partially obscured by his hair, and he didn’t look in Taehyung’s direction. “Hey…” Taehyung sat down next to him, eyeing him curiously. “Jimin. Are you… Are you alright?” 

 

“I’m fine.” The croak in Jimin’s voice betrayed his emotions, and his exhaustion. “I’m just tired.”

 

Taehyung furrowed his brow in worry. “I’m sorry, Jimin. I’m–, something always seems to happen–,” He sighed. “You should get some rest. I’m sorry I kept you up last night. Or, uh, this morning.” He smiled shyly.

 

Jimin let out a weak chuckle, rubbing the sleeve of his shirt against his nose to stifle a sniffle. “It’s okay.” He calmed himself before turning to look at Taehyung. “Tonight. You…?”

 

Taehyung searched his eyes before nodding. “I, well… Hoseok told me you were having a hard time with work lately, and I just…” His eyes trailed down to the marks on Jimin’s neck. “I just wanted to make sure you’re okay. I’d pay for you to work if it meant you could have the night off.” He paused, quickly adding, “If that’s what you wanted.”

 

“You didn’t want to reserve for an actual booking?”

 

Taehyung blinked. “No! No, that’s not what I mean. Jimin…” He scooted closer on the sofa and gently placed his hand on Jimin’s thigh. “I fucked this up last time. So, you know already that I’m not the best at this.” He shook his head and chuckled. “I want you to know that your time is the most precious thing you can give, right? It's something we never get back. Whatever the ‘booking’ entails–,” he ran his hand lightly over Jimin’s thigh, “…Is up to you. Okay? It’s your world, I’m just playing in it. Right? You’re in charge here.” He offered a smile, hoping to whatever forces that be that he hadn’t royally fucked it up this time. He paused for a moment before a serious expression came over his face. “Can I ask you something?” 

 

Jimin, who’d be staring at the floor, glanced up at him. 

 

“Who…” Taehyung swallowed. He motioned at Jimin’s body, unsure of how to ask. 

 

Jimin’s jaw clenched, and he looked away. His eyes bore holes into his lap, where Taehyung’s hand had just rested. A million things flitted through his mind – it was as if the storm in his head never seemed to cease. He thought of last night: of his time with Taehyung, the incident at the elevator, showing up to his door, the text message, the angry phone call, the boyfriend that turned out to be his boss, and the empty syringe in Taehyung’s jacket pocket that Jimin had sent down to dry cleaning while he lured him away for time together that Jimin enjoyed more than he had expected to. Was he overwhelmed? Maybe. Was it in anyone’s best interest for Taehyung to know it? No, probably not. Jimin swallowed hard, fighting the words that threatened to burst from behind his teeth.

 

Taehyung withdrew his hand from Jimin’s thigh. “I’m sorry. It’s none of my business.” 

 

“No, its–,” What the fuck are you doing. “It’s just, uhm.” Shut the fuck up. Jimin’s thoughts clashed inside of his head; it was a constant push–pull, it seemed, and sometimes his emotions pulled to win. “It’s a client.” He sighed, conflicted to divulge more. 

 

Taehyung clenched his teeth, peering at Jimin with concern. He’d figured as much, but he swore he could see the storm raging inside of Jimin; raging with things that Taehyung had no way of knowing, no way of seeing. His eyes settled on the scar on his neck. “The same one who…?”

 

Jimin looked at him, bringing a hand up to cover his neck. He remained silent. 

 

Anger bubbled in Taehyung’s belly; he was beginning to feel powerless in every situation, and it made him enraged. Seokjin’s games were driving him to the edge, exposing his faults and pressuring him into failure each and every single time. There were a million things that Jimin wasn’t telling him; whether he wanted to or not, Taehyung had no way of knowing. “Jimin.” He searched to meet Jimin’s eyes, desperate to see what he hid behind his walls. “Who are you seeing tonight? Is this… Is this what you want?” He gestured vaguely at the marks on his wrist.

 

Jimin sighed, dropping back into the sofa and covering his face with his hand. “It doesn’t matter.”

 

“... So it’s not.” Taehyung looked at him intently. “I don’t know what the fuck he’s thinking treating you like this.” His voice began to drop register, betraying his anger. 

 

Jimin’s eyes were closed, head thrown back against the sofa. He thought for a second, before nodding his head slowly. “He’s… high profile. It’s why Min won’t let you book his slot.” He sighed. Should he even be doing this? What was Taehyung to him, that they were having this conversation? “He’s normally Guk’s client, I’m not…” He let out a small chuckle, humorless and weak. “It’s not my specialty.”

 

“I didn’t mean the client.” Taehyung shook his head slowly, letting the information sink in. “So you…” he paused. “You had to do something you weren’t okay with.”

 

Jimin swallowed hard, conflicted to respond; at this point, he wasn’t sure if being honest was more difficult than not. “Like I said, it doesn’t matter.” He offered a weak smile. “I’m sorry, Taehyung. I’m really tired.”

 

Taehyung nodded, a feeling of defeat sitting sourly in his stomach. “Of course. Get some rest, Jimin.” He rose from the sofa, looking around the room.

 

“Are you going to stay?”

 

Taehyung shook his head. “I’m going to go to the hospital to check on Youngjae.” He searched around the living area, peeking into the bedroom. 

 

Jimin got up from the sofa and his eyes followed Taehyung. “Are you looking for something?”

 

“My jacket. I’m pretty sure I left it here when we…” He trailed off, stifling a shy smile. 

 

“We sent it down to dry cleaning.” Jimin’s jaw clenched slightly, before relaxing into a smile. “You, uh, kind of threw up on it. You can call them to bring it up or get it from check–in on the seventh floor.” He caught Taehyung eyeing him with a certain look. “What?”

 

Taehyung raised an eyebrow. “You know your way around this place.” He approached Jimin, pressing up against him as he wrapped one arm around his waist and placing a hand gingerly on Jimin’s chin to tip it upwards. “Is this where you’ve been hiding from me, then?”

 

Jimin swallowed hard, daring to stare into the eyes that had less chaos in them than they did last night. As he gazed into them, he realized they weren’t conflicted – in Taehyung’s eyes, he saw determination, and something darkly primal that he couldn’t quite place. He averted his gaze and jerked his chin from Taehyung’s grasp. “I wasn’t hiding.” I went looking for you, too.

 

Taehyung let out a light scoff, amused at Jimin’s response. He let go of Jimin, stepping away to take his leave. “Get some rest.” He paused before exiting the room, looking at Jimin over his shoulder. “Jimin.” He waited to have his full attention before continuing. “Whoever has done all of that to you…” He smiled. “I’ll fucking kill them.” He exited the suite, leaving Jimin to stare into the empty space that swirled with the poisonous promise of Taehyung’s words.

Chapter Text

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

“There is only so much I can tell you, Mr. Kim. I’m sorry. Mr. Choi is currently in a coma, and toxicology results will take a few days. He’s stable, and will be monitored around the clock.”

 

Taehyung bit his lip aggressively, swallowing the emotion that threatened to constrict him into a chokehold as he placed his hand on the edge of the bed where Youngjae lay, pale and hooked to machines.

 

“I understand your worry, Mr. Kim, but I can assure you he is in the best hands.” The nurse attempted to reassure him, reaching out to touch his shoulder but retracting her hand politely at his flinch.

 

“Oh, yeah?” Taehyung couldn’t take his eyes off of Youngjae. “And whose hands are those?” He blinked at the sound of the door closing and footsteps approaching closer.

 

“Mine. Good morning.” A middle–aged man entered the room, grasping the chart at the foot of the hospital bed to take a glance at it. “My name is Dr. Yu.” He glanced up at Taehyung, offering a less than polite, tight smile at Taehyung. “I will be overseeing Mr. Choi during his stay. Are you kin?”

 

Taehyung stuttered in his reaction for a second, declining to neither shake nor nod his head. “Mr. Choi and I are very close.”

 

“Ah. I see.” Dr. Yu glanced back down at the medical chart. “Well, I can assure you–,” he looked up over the rim of his glasses expectantly. 

 

“Ah, Kim Taehyung.”

 

“–Mr. Kim,” his eyes looked back down at the chart. “That Mr. Choi is in great hands.”

 

Taehyung nodded curtly, humming in response. “Thank you, Doctor.” 

 

5:37 P.M. –– Yongsan–gu, Seoul, South Korea

 

Taehyung sat on the edge of his bed as he stared at his phone, dreadfully expecting either a call from Youngjae’s father, or the hospital, which he’d requested update him according to Youngjae’s condition. Taehyung was the first and only person to show up at the hospital that morning; he wasn’t sure who would turn up after him. He jumped as his phone rang, staring at Hoseok’s name for a few moments before picking up. “Hello?”

 

“Taehyungie!”

 

Taehyung smiled, letting out a light chuckle. “Hi, hyung.”

 

“Hey. I heard you got in trouble.”

 

Taehyung frowned, headache returning as he thought of Yoongi’s scolding that morning. “Yeah, uh.” He chuckled. “There was kind of a misunderstanding, I think.”

 

  “Ah, Taehyung. Seriously, you good, man? Yoongi told me that your boss–,”

 

“Yeah, he’s–, he’s fine, hyung. Thanks.” Taehyung swore he could hear Hoseok frowning on the end of the line.

 

“...What about you?”

 

“Hm?”

 

“Are you alright?” Hoseok paused, and Taehyung didn’t quite have an answer quick enough to fill the silence. “What’s been up with you? Last night, you know, and lately. I’m worried, man. You make me worry.”

 

Taehyung smiled fondly. “Remember back in the day when you'd make fun of me because I said I liked you so much?" He chuckled. "How the tables have turned, Hobi–hyung. I think it's you who likes me too much.”

 

Hoseok’s laugh tittered on the phone line at the mention of an old nickname. “I haven’t heard that in years.” His laugh was light and lifted Taehyung's spirits. “You bet your ass I like you too much. Man, the fit that Yoongi had this morning. You’re going to give him a heart attack.” 

 

“I think I’m the least of his worries. Maybe he just needs to get laid.” Taehyung snorted.

 

“Are you offering? I’ll let him know.”

 

“Hyung!” Taehyung whined, and Hoseok’s laughter erupted through the call. He shook his head and chuckled. “Fuck, I miss you. What are you doing? Let me take you to dinner.” 

 

“Will you take me home after? You moved places and never invited me over. You never invite me over anymore!” 

 

Taehyung frowned. He really hadn’t been in touch with Hoseok as much as he normally was – though he’d done so in the best interest of others, how far would it go before he lost Hoseok in the midst of it all? “Shit, I never sent you the address, did I?”

 

“Jeonggukie was the first to know, right? You’re breaking my heart, babe.”

 

Taehyung smiled with a tinge of sadness. “I’m an ass. I’ll make it up to you, hyung.” He checked his watch. “Come on, dinner. I know you liked the food.” He thought back on the last time he’d been to his favorite restaurant – with Hoseok, and Yoongi, and a flurry of anger and emotions as he had first discovered The Parthenon for what it truly was. “I fucked it up last time. I keep doing that.” He chuckled weakly and shook his head.

 

“Aw. I’d love to, but it’s tight today.” Hoseok paused. “We’ve had our hands full with the club lately.” He chuckled. “I don’t remember it being this crazy before, man. You know? I guess that’s just business.” 

 

“Yeah.” Taehyung nodded idly; what was going on? 

 

“Anyway, I’ll take a rain check?” Taehyung heard rustling on the other end of the call. “I gotta go, Taehyungie. I'll see you later?”

 

Taehyung nodded again. “Yeah, uhm. I’ll be there later. Hyung, wait–,”

 

“Yeah?”

 

Taehyung smiled. “... Love you.”

 

Hoseok giggled. “Love you too, babe.” Click.

 

Taehyung stared at his phone for a few moments, chewing on his lip in thought. He thumbed through his contacts, idling on “J” . Inhaling deeply, he settled on a contact name and pressed ‘call’ . He waited for a couple rings, heart racing for reasons he couldn’t quite be sure of.

 

“Hello?” 

 

“Jeonggukie, hi.” Taehyung smiled.

 

“Taehyung,” – he swore he could hear Jeongguk’s bunny–tooth smile – “You’re alive.”

 

Taehyung chuckled. “Yeah, so are you. You disappeared last night.”

 

“Yeah, sorry. Something came up.” 

 

“Mm.” Taehyung fiddled with the hem of his shirt. His voice dropped register subtly, darkening his tone. “Are you going to make it up to me?” Jeongguk’s laugh on the line made him feel embarrassed.

 

“That only works when I say it, babe.” Jeongguk’s voice sounded breathy, and it made Taehyung’s head go to places he shouldn’t let it go. “What did you have in mind?” 

 

“... I’d like to take you to dinner. If you’re free?”

 

Taehyung heard a dramatic gasp from Jeongguk. “Hyung! I’m never free, how dare you.” 

 

Taehyung chuckled. “Of course not, how could I.” He shook his head; something that Jeongguk never ceased to be was flirtatious – coy and teasing. “If you’re available. ” He corrected himself.

 

Jeongguk giggled. “For you? Of course, baby. Right now? Where at?” 

 

Taehyung checked his watch. “Would you like me to pick you up? I can take you to work after.” Wow, he was being brave. “If–, if that’s alright with you.”

 

“That sounds great, hyung. I’ll be ready in half an hour. Don’t be late.” Click. 

 

Taehyung blinked down at his phone screen, and let out a small laugh. Oh, the boys he got himself involved with. After a moment of deliberation, he grabbed his car keys, heading out for the night and wherever it would take him.

 

Not more than half an hour later, Taehyung’s hands gripped the wheel of his Audi A8 tightly. He licked his lips out of nervousness, glancing at himself in the rearview mirror. He picked at his hair delicately with his fingers, fixing it as he waited outside of Jeongguk’s apartment complex. His mind wandered to Jimin, wondering if he was home and had gotten some rest – he hadn’t spoken to him since the morning. Taehyung eyed the dainty shopping bag in the passenger seat, and chewed on his lip as he contemplated throwing it to the back seat. It was a small gift – something he’d purchased quickly, on a whim, after Jeongguk’s words swirled in his head in the midst of their phone call. “I’m never free.” He caught a glimpse of Jeongguk’s hair, chocolate strands bouncing on his head, before swallowing hard and quickly throwing the glove box open – his breath caught as the body of his handgun glinted in the low light, and he tossed the small bag into the glove box, shutting it as Jeongguk approached his car. Quickly, he exited the car, circling to the passenger side to open the door for Jeongguk. 

 

Jeongguk smiled at him as he approached, clad in his usual tight jeans, casual tee and a black leather jacket, with a black leather weekender bag slung on his shoulder. A plethora of silver earrings flashed on his earlobes, and his smile was bright as he pulled Taehyung in to peck a kiss on his cheek in greeting. “Hi, hyung.” He giggled as Taehyung opened the door for him. 

 

“Hi, Jeonggukie.” Taehyung flushed at Jeongguk’s small kiss, and his eyes couldn’t help but devour the man in front of him as he watched him toss his bag into the car. Taehyung’s breath caught as his eyes rested on the way Jeongguk’s jeans clung to his sculpted ass and thighs. He blinked, forcing himself to tear his eyes away as he waited to close the door behind Jeongguk and circle back to the driver’s side of the car. He huffed as he settled into the vehicle, feeling nervous for no particular reason. He chuckled – he was acting like a teenager on a date, a date that he had anticipated for some time now. 

 

“How are you feeling? Hungover as shit?” Jeongguk settled into the leather seat, the engine of the car purring lowly as they pulled out of the parking lot. 

 

Taehyung chuckled. “No, actually. The nurses showed up, saved my ass.” 

 

Jeongguk laughed. “That’s great, hyung. I hope you had a good time.” His voice was suggestive, and Taehyung could feel Jeongguk’s eyes glancing on him.

 

Taehyung swallowed hard, feeling nervous as he slid his hand onto Jeongguk’s thigh, resting it there. “It would have been better if you’d stayed.” He gave Jeongguk’s thigh a small squeeze. God, he was toned. 

 

Jeongguk scrunched his face, remaining silent as he watched the lights of the city pass them by. “So, where are you taking me?”

 

Taehyung smiled. “It’s my favorite place. I hope you’ll like it.” 

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

“Mr. Kim, what a pleasure! It’s been quite a while. May I start you with the usual?” The waiter, dressed neatly and as happy as ever to see Taehyung, smiled brightly at the two men who’d seated themselves in the booth not two minutes ago.  

 

“Younho, it’s good to see you. Yes, please.” Taehyung smiled politely up at the waiter, and looked at Jeongguk, whose eyes glanced over the waiter with attentive curiosity. He glanced back at Taehyung.

 

“What are you drinking?” 

 

“Pinot noir. Do you like wine?”

 

Jeongguk thought for a second before offering a quick nod. “Red, right?” Taehyung nodded, and Jeongguk mirrored him with a smile. “Yeah, that sounds great.” The server obliged them, leaving to fetch the drinks.

 

Taehyung settled back, eyes wandering over the top of the menu to rest on Jeongguk. He took in his features – the purse of his lips, the smokey makeup that darkened his lids, the fall of styled chocolate locks that he tucked behind his ear, the glinting of earrings catching the low light with each movement. He shifted as Jeongguk’s eyes flashed up to meet his, catching his gaze with a smirk. 

 

Jeongguk straightened up, raising his eyebrow at Taehyung. “You like what you see?”

 

Flustered, Taehyung cleared his throat. “Mm–.” He coughed, attempting to hide the flush in his face with the back of his hand. “You look… good. Really good.” He licked his lips, fingers fiddling nervously with the lack of anything to distract him with. A few moments later, the server returned with their drinks, and Taehyung asked for a few more minutes to peruse the menu. “Oh, Guk, what did you want?” He motioned to the menu and smiled. “Order what you like.”

 

Jeongguk flashed an apologetic expression, before smiling like he’d been caught doing something naughty. “Actually, hyung.” He shifted in his seat. “I uhm, I’m not very hungry.” 

 

Taehyung frowned. “Oh, why didn’t you say something? You didn’t have to come out if you weren’t hungry.”

 

“I wanted to come because you asked me.” Jeongguk sipped at his wine idly.

 

Taehyung blinked and his expression softened to a smile. “Oh? Still, Gukkie, we could have gone somewhere else just for drinks, or something.”

 

Jeongguk pursed his lips. “It’s not that, it’s…” A blush began to tint his cheeks and he laughed sheepishly. “Uhm, I take care of my body a certain way on days that I’m seeing a client. It’s, uhm, hard to explain.”

 

Taehyung furrowed his brow in confusion, thinking about what Jeongguk meant, before he had an inkling of realization. “Oh.” Oh. Taehyung blinked, sipping on his wine to distract himself before he inhaled too quickly and had to cough and clear his throat. “No, I–,” he chuckled nervously. “I understand. Uhm, how about… Wine?” He held up his nearly empty glass, red wine swirling with the bittersweet taste of unspoken conversation.  

 

Jeongguk smiled. “That sounds great, hyung.”

 

The server seemed curious when Taehyung had ordered the bottle of wine for the two to share, but obliged them with the same degree of sincerity that he’d always displayed. Taehyung resigned himself to only a couple glasses, while he kept a glass full of water on the side. He’d requested a small charcuterie platter for himself to go with the wine, mostly to help with his low alcohol tolerance. 

 

“So, your… client, tonight.” Taehyung was unsure of how to pry into this conversation; he’d thought about it, many times over. He was curious. Ultimately, there seemed to be a plethora of things that Jimin would not tell him – maybe Jeongguk would provide more insight, or so Taehyung could hope. “Is it–, is he–, a big deal?”

 

Jeongguk smirked, letting the bittersweet taste of wine sit on his tongue as he thought of a response. “Mm, yeah, you could say that.” He nodded. “You curious about work, hyung?” 

 

“I just, you know.” Taehyung raised an eyebrow, regarding Jeongguk in a manner that was encouraged by the alcohol coursing in his system. “After our… time together, I can’t help but wonder what kind of men you see.” And just like that, there it was – the glint in Jeongguk’s eyes, the one Taehyung never missed when he saw it. 

 

Jeongguk glanced at Taehyung, observing him. “What kind of men?” He smirked. “Well, I guess they’re men like you, aren’t they?” He smiled, a mischievous smile to match a smoldering gaze. “Men who like to fuck me.”

 

Taehyung cocked his head. “You don’t say?”

 

Jeongguk let out a light laugh. “Are we talking business?” His gaze was challenging, dangerous, and he held it defiantly.

 

Taehyung took a large sip of wine to wet his mouth and he cleared his throat. His fingers lingered around the lining of his jacket, tempted to withdraw the small bag he’d retrieved from the glove box upon arriving at the restaurant. He’d tucked it neatly into the inside of his jacket without Jeongguk noticing, and dwelled on it now. As he felt Jeongguk’s eyes peering at him from over the brim of his wine glass, Taehyung withdrew the bag, setting it delicately on the table. Jeongguk cocked his head, a surprised interest on his face. Taehyung smiled sheepishly. “For you.”

 

Jeongguk seemed curious as he plucked the bag from the table – he withdrew a small box inside, the material of it making it feel luxurious and heavy in his hand. He popped the box open to reveal a pair of Cartier earrings, thick hoops of fine white gold, glinting beautifully under the low ambient lighting of the restaurant. He raised his eyebrows, eyes moving from the earrings to settle on Taehyung. 

 

Jeongguk’s gaze seared into Taehyung, and he shifted uncomfortably. After a few moments of silence, he swallowed hard. “Do you like them? Shit, you don’t like them. Fuck. I’m sorry–,” He reached for the gift, stopping when Jeongguk pulled it away.

 

“Thank you, hyung.” Jeongguk’s lips pulled into a smile, and he scrunched his face as he did so. “I love them.” He plucked the jewelry from its case, replacing one pair of his worn earrings with the ones he’d been gifted. It took a moment for him to do so, and Taehyung watched in delighted relief. Jeongguk pocketed the old earrings, tucking a strand of hair behind his ear and smiling from across the table. “Well?”

 

Taehyung smiled, settling into the booth. “They don’t compare to the man wearing them.” 

 

Jeongguk’s expression seemed to morph as fluidly as it often did, and Taehyung was yet reminded again of the duality of the man’s personality. “Are you asking because you’re interested?” He propped his elbows on the table, interlacing his fingers as he rested his chin on top of his hands. Taehyung regarded him with question. “You want to know what kind of men I see, to see if your… interests, line up with them?”

 

Taehyung cocked an eyebrow. “Well, that’s one way to look at it.”

 

Jeongguk smirked, and let out a small laugh. “You’ve already had a taste of what I’m into.”

 

“Are you and Jimin…” Taehyung paused. “Are you both… into the same things?”

 

Jeongguk took in his words, inhaling the scent of wine from the brim of his glass. “Jimin? Mm, no.” He pursed his lips and shook his head slightly. “Our clients are different.” He smirked. “Except for you. You’re the only one we share.” He winked, before his expression faltered slightly, face becoming somber. “Well, you were the only one we shared.” He chewed his lip in thought, and Taehyung could see worry flit across his face. Taehyung’s questioning look encouraged him to continue.

 

“Jimin and I don’t share clients.” Jeongguk took another drink from his glass, and Taehyung refilled it for him. “Some of the boys do, but we don’t, not really.” He let out a small laugh. “It’s kind of funny, because we’ve known each other so long, you think we would, and make a killing. But, we just don’t. It’s like an unspoken rule, or something.” Jeongguk glanced up at Taehyung, a smirk tugging at the corner of his lips. “Until you came along.” Taehyung became flustered at the thought of their night together, the three of them. “But it wasn’t at work, so I guess it doesn’t count, does it? Anyway, I don’t really know what happened.” Jeongguk frowned. “I was all fucked up and feeling sick, and it’s never happened before, but my client got handed off to Jimin.” Taehyung didn’t miss the tightness of Jeongguk’s voice as he seemed strained to get the words out. “I didn’t want that to happen. I had no idea that Master Kim had Jimin take him.” He chewed on the inside of his cheek, worry beginning to settle in the contours of his face. “The Doctor, he’s… I don’t know. He’s…” Jeongguk trailed off. “He’s just, uhm, particular. He’s got… particular interests, and…” He trailed off again, unsure of how to piece the right words together. 

 

Taehyung kept himself from reacting too obviously, but there it was – ”The Doctor”. He’d heard the name that morning, in the falter of Jimin’s voice as he spoke to Yoongi. That had to be it – Taehyung was convinced that was who had something to do with Jimin’s broken resolve, and the marks all over his body. If not Seokjin, who else? Taehyung cleared his throat, thinking of the other things that Jimin had mentioned: a high–profile client, who was normally Jeongguk’s client – it seemed to fit. “The… Doctor?”

 

Jeongguk nodded absentmindedly; he seemed to be elsewhere in thought. “He’s a regular client of mine.” He nibbled on his lip, staring off into space as he did so. “Well, he was, up until Thursday.”

 

Taehyung observed Jeongguk intently. “Jeongguk…” He waited for Jeongguk’s eyes to find his to continue. “The marks…” He didn’t feel the need to explicitly ask upon seeing the fleeting reaction in Jeongguk’s eyes. The small nod that came from the man across from him confirmed his answer; his heart dropped into his stomach. 

 

Sadness pooled in Jeongguk’s eyes. “It was his birthday, hyung.” His voice faltered, cracking before the last syllable tumbled out of his mouth. “Fuck, I feel so bad. I shouldn’t have left. He wasn’t supposed to take him. He wasn’t…” Tears brimmed and threatened to spill from Jeongguk’s eyes, and he quickly tried to swipe them away with his fingers. 

 

“Gukkie.” Taehyung reached over the table for his hand, enveloping it in his own. He stroked the back of Jeongguk’s hand with his thumb lightly, reassuringly. “It’s okay.” He offered a linen napkin, which Jeongguk accepted and dabbed at his eyes gently, so as not to disturb his makeup. 

 

“I didn’t know, hyung. I still don’t know.” Jeongguk sniffled, and Taehyung offered his glass of water in place of wine. “I haven’t really gotten to talk to him about it, or about anything. I’m…” He swallowed hard. “I’m nervous for tonight. Fuck, I’m so nervous.” 

 

Jeongguk reached for the wine bottle, and Taehyung grabbed it, pouring another glass for Jeongguk. “... Tonight?” As he set the bottle down, Taehyung realized it seemed quite light already. He returned his hand to rest on top of Jeongguk’s on the table.

 

Jeongguk nodded, downing wine as if it were water. He allowed Taehyung to hold his hand – he felt comforted by it, if only a little. “We… We’re taking the client, together. He requested Jimin after Thursday, but…” He bit his bottom lip, chewing on it in anxious worry. “I couldn’t let him do it alone. He doesn’t know what he’s dealing with, he’d never had to before a couple days ago. I had to beg Master Kim, but I couldn’t let him do it alone.” Jeongguk shook his head. He sipped at his wine idly, the flush in his face betraying the effects of it in his system on an empty stomach.

 

Taehyung brushed his thumb delicately over Jeongguk’s skin, leaving reassurance in the traces. “Hey, Guk.” He smiled fondly. “Let’s go? You can get some fresh air before work.” Though his smile was fond as he helped Jeongguk out of the booth, wrapping his arm around his waist to hold him close as they left the restaurant, a storm of anger bubbled within Taehyung’s belly. He was enraged, and his mind rested on the sleek metal of the gun in the glove compartment of his car. He could only think of Jimin and the blood he wanted to spill for his sake – blood that coated his vision in red and fueled the fire in his chest, waiting for the onset of the night to spread and burn everything in its wake.

 

“Hyung,” Jeongguk gasped, breath coming out in heaving rasps as Taehyung’s teeth pulled at his bottom lip. “You said… fresh air.” He leaned downwards into their kiss as he straddled Taehyung in the back seat of Taehyung’s idle car. 

 

Taehyung chuckled as his hands roamed over Jeongguk’s body hungrily. “I can crack a window?” He smiled into their kiss, pulling at the buckle of Jeongguk’s belt. Taehyung had driven them to a spot overlooking Han River – truthfully, to get Jeongguk some air before having to go into work for the night. They had enjoyed a small walk along the river, staying close enough to where the car was parked so that it wouldn’t take too much time to circle back. Taehyung wasn’t sure exactly when it got heated – who was hungry for who, but now they fumbled in the backseat of his car, passionate like teenagers in the middle of a dark parking lot by the river. 

 

Jeongguk laughed lightly, his hot breath mingling with Taehyung’s as they intertwined themselves, his hand wandering down to palm at Taehyung through his pants. “I can’t be late to work.” 

 

Taehyung eyed the clock on the dash – it was nearly 8 P.M. . “You won’t be.” His chest heaved as his heart quickened pace, breath hitching in his throat as Jeongguk worked to undo his belt and his pants. Entangling his fingers in Jeongguk’s hair, he threw his head back against the seat as Jeongguk nipped at the delicate skin of his neck, small growls of moans escaping Jeongguk’s lips as he pulled apart the buttons of Taehyung’s shirt with his teeth, leaving bites on the skin that became exposed. His mouth found Taehyung’s nipple, the warmth of his tongue sending pleasure shooting through Taehyung’s body. Something about intimacy with Jeongguk was primal – fierce, lustful, animalistic – and it enticed Taehyung to no end. His eyes rolled into his head as Jeongguk’s mouth finally descended on his cock, the wet warmth sending chills throttling up his spine. He let out a raspy moan as he tightened his fingers and pulled on the strands, eliciting sounds of pleasure from Jeongguk. He bucked his hips up into him, forcing Jeongguk to slack his jaw and accept Taehyung’s length. The palm of Taehyung’s hand pressed against Jeongguk’s skull, keeping his mouth deliciously full as his saliva began to drip out the sides, dribbling down his chin. 

 

“Hyung,” Jeongguk choked out, and Taehyung released him – he withdrew from Taehyung, grasping his length and working him hard, pumping and twisting his wrist. “Don’t ruin my makeup.” He smirked, and let out a giggle. “I worked really hard on it.”

 

Taehyung licked his lips, pleasure pumping through his veins at Jeongguk’s touch. His lips pulled into a smirk, and he moved his hand from Jeongguk’s hair to grasp his chin, tilting Jeongguk’s face to look into his glossy eyes. “I’m sorry, baby. You just look so fucking pretty, I can’t help but want to ruin you.” He saw the flash in Jeongguk’s face at his words, lust burning in the depths of the dark chocolate swirls of his eyes. 

 

“Why do you have such shitty timing, hyung?” Jeongguk whined. “Want you to fuck me.” He murmured, pursing his lips as he ran them along the length of Taehyung’s cock. His tongue lolled out as he took Taehyung’s length in his mouth again, fondling his balls in his hand as he slurped noisily, careful to keep himself from getting too messy. 

 

Taehyung couldn’t take his eyes off Jeongguk, chest heaving as Jeongguk’s eyes darted up to meet his, defiantly keeping his gaze as Taehyung fucked into his mouth. Taehyung could feel the fire igniting in the depths of his belly, creeping its way through his body as it warned him of his climax. “Fuh–, fuck, Guk–, I–,” He moaned, a throaty growl escaping his lips. “I want to fuh–, fuck you, baby. Fucking ruin you, you and that fucking makeup.” He clawed at Jeongguk, eager to feel more of him. Jeongguk’s fingers pressed into Taehyung’s hips as he grasped him firmly for purchase before shoving his face all the way down, taking Taehyung’s length until the tip prodded his throat. Taehyung’s eyes rolled into his head and he gasped in surprise, choking a disgruntled moan as Jeongguk pulled back. Oh, fuck. Jeongguk, I’m guh–gonna,” he gasped. “Fuck, I’m–,” His hips stuttered as he bucked into Jeongguk’s mouth before attempting to pull away, though Jeongguk’s hands held him in place. Taehyung stammered a weak protest before he felt pleasure shoot fireworks through his body, blinding his vision and pumping Jeongguk’s throat full of hot cum. His chest heaved as he regained himself, relaxing into the leather of the seat. “Fuck, Guk.” His breathing was ragged. “Shit.”

 

Jeongguk let out a satisfied giggle as he patted his lips with the back of his hand to clean them; he glanced at the clock on the dash. “Hyung, come on, I can’t be late. It’s almost 9.” He whined and pulled at Taehyung, who was still spent and regaining himself while sprawled on the seat.

 

Taehyung frowned. “I’ll talk to Hoseok, it’s fine if you’re late. Come here.” He grasped at Jeongguk, aching to pull him back and feel him, fuck him, ruin him. He palmed at Jeongguk’s jeans hungrily before Jeongguk swatted him away.

 

“Hyung! I can’t.” He offered an apologetic look before leaning in to press a kiss against Taehyung’s lips, biting down on Taehyung’s bottom lip as he pulled away. “You’ll have to find me later to make it up to me.” He giggled as he climbed nimbly into the passenger seat of the car. “See, it only works when I say it, right?" He scrunched his face as he smiled playfully. "Come on, let’s go.” He turned down the visor to look at himself in the mirror, fixing strands of hair and checking his makeup as Taehyung exited the car only to re–enter in the driver seat with a huff. “I need gum. Do you have any?” Jeongguk reached for the glove box, pulling it open before Taehyung reached to slam it shut. Jeongguk blinked, jumping in surprise as he stared at Taehyung.

 

Taehyung averted his gaze and withdrew himself. “Not in there.” He busied himself opening the middle console, producing a container of mint gum from inside. “Here.” He smiled, and Jeongguk peered at him curiously, but said nothing as he accepted it. Taehyung swallowed dryly as he pulled out of the lot and drove towards The Parthenon.

 

8:51 P.M. –– Gangnam–gu, Seoul, South Korea

 

“I told you I’d get you here on time.” 

 

Jeongguk smirked. “Barely.” He leaned over to retrieve his bag from the backseat. “You coming in?”

 

Taehyung frowned, glancing at the building towering over them. “Mm, it’s kind of early, even for me.”

 

Jeongguk pursed his lips. “You could hang out with me.” Taehyung swore he could hear the seduction creep into his tone, settle in the boyish features that morphed themselves into something mature as the night progressed. Taehyung was interrupted by the sound of his phone ringing a notification.

 

hoseok –– 8:53 P.M.

ur coming later right?  

 

Taehyung raised his eyebrow at the text, a smirk playing on his lips.

 

taehyung –– 8:54 P.M.

I mean if i’m paying 24k again shit i better be

 

hoseok –– 8:55 P.M.

there are no money back guarantees ㅋㅋㅋㅋ

 

hoseok –– 8:55 P.M.

lol would u bring coffee plz

i’m dying 

 

Taehyung chuckled; a coffee request at 9 P.M.. What separate lives they lived, he thought.

 

taehyung –– 8:58 P.M.

of course hyung 💜

iced americano?

I’ll be there in an hour or so

 

Jeongguk peered at him curiously; Taehyung smiled. “Hoseok. He wants coffee. Go on. You’re going to be late, brat.” 

 

Jeongguk scrunched his face in response. “Fine.” 

 

“Jeongguk.” Taehyung grasped his arm before he was able to exit the car. Jeongguk looked at him questioningly. “Those earrings look gorgeous on you.” 

 

Jeongguk smiled. “Thanks, baby.” He leaned in to plant a kiss on Taehyung’s lips; Taehyung’s hand flew up to grasp his neck, holding him in place. Jeongguk’s breath caught in surprise and he smiled, letting a breathy chuckle escape his lips.

 

“Pretty things for a pretty thing like you.” His eyes devoured Jeongguk’s features, the growl of desire still rumbling in his body as his thumb pressed down into the contours of Jeongguk’s throat. “Keep them on tonight, okay? Something from me while he’s fucking you. You’re so fucking pretty, Gukkie.” Taehyung’s voice dropped register, purring into a growl that rattled chills up Jeongguk’s spine.

 

Jeongguk’s lips pulled into a smile, his nose brushing against Taehyung’s in their close proximity. “Anything for you, babe.” With a teasing peck on the lips he withdrew from Taehyung, swinging his bag on his shoulder as he stepped out of the car. He pulled his jacket around himself tightly as the cold air bit through the fabric of his shirt; he shivered. “Thanks, hyung.” 

 

Taehyung’s eyes rested longer than he would like to admit on Jeongguk as he watched him ascend the staircase in front of the building. Clearing his throat, he swallowed hard and pulled out of the lot, pieces of conversation with Jeongguk swirling in his mind. Some things weren’t adding up – the thought of it all made him grip the wheel tightly in a silent rage.

 

─────•~❉᯽❉~•─────

 

“Taehyung!” A little over an hour later, Taehyung was barreled into by a flurry of Hoseok; he did his best to maneuver around his embrace to avoid dropping the holder of coffee in his hand. 

 

Taehyung smiled. “Hi, hyung. Missed you.” He swallowed dryly, keeping his distance as the body of his handgun pressed against his back, tucked neatly into his belt under his jacket. He offered the coffee with a smile, before stepping away from the hostess who approached him to take his coat. “Oh, no, thank you.” She seemed taken aback, but bowed politely and retreated. 

 

“Ugh, you’re a lifesaver, man.” Hoseok ripped the straw wrapper with his teeth, eager for the caffeine. “But, four coffees? What for?” He peered at him. “You don’t drink coffee.”

 

Taehyung shrugged, smiling. He plucked a coffee from the holder, offering it to the hostess. She was confused for a split second, before bowing and accepting the drink with both hands. “Yoongi seems like a coffee type? I don’t know, all of you fucking night creatures are a different breed. Does Jimin like coffee?”

 

Hoseok laughed. “Aw, my Taehyungie, always thinking of others.” He threw his arm around Taehyung’s shoulders. “I actually don’t know. Honestly, I never see him drink anything except vodka, champagne, and water.” He chuckled. “I’m sure he’ll be happy if it’s from you.” He wiggled his eyebrows, and Taehyung shoved him with a laugh.

 

“Hyung, stop. ” He plucked a coffee from the holder. “I’m going downstairs, yeah?” He checked his watch. “Yoongi said to come before 3 A.M., so yell at him if I’m not supposed to be here.” 

 

Hoseok eyed him with curiosity. “He did?” Taehyung offered him the remaining coffee in the holder, and he furrowed his brow as he thought. “Well, shit, he’s not really telling me anything lately, then.”

 

Taehyung smiled. “That’s no basis for a relationship, hyung. You better kick his ass about it.”

 

Hoseok threw his head back as he laughed; he lowered his voice to a feigned whisper. “Don’t say the ‘R’ word, Taehyung. You’re on sacred ground.” He shook his head. “Kick his ass for me, what are you my best friend for?”

 

Taehyung laughed as he walked away. “That’s a good idea. Gives you a way in for make–up sex as an apology for your best friend kicking his ass.” Hoseok’s laugh made him chuckle and he waved lightly as he made his way down the corridor, leaving Hoseok to find Yoongi in the depths of the ground floor.

 

Alone in the elevator, Taehyung knitted his brows as he made the descent to the underground level. His heart began to race and his jaw clenched. A million thoughts raced through his mind: he was going to voice them, but how Jimin received them was going to be a complete wild card that Taehyung wasn’t sure he was prepared for. He gripped the railing of the elevator, staring at the sloshing contents of the coffee in his hand before the doors opened, and he stepped into the eerily familiar air of the underground level of the Parthenon. 

 

Sitting at his vanity, Jimin patted at his face with a powder puff as he touched up his makeup for maybe the sixth time in the last thirty minutes. His heart thrummed with an anxious dread for the night to come – he’d been right, and Master Kim wouldn’t budge on the appointment with The Doctor. He thought of Jeongguk upstairs; normally, he wouldn’t have been here this early on a Saturday, especially only one other booking, but Jeongguk had insisted he wanted to see him, to talk to him, to game plan before their client tonight. It was nice of Jeongguk – he was worried, Jimin could tell, and it tore at him that he was unable to do anything about it. He swallowed dryly; the sound of a knock on his door made him jump, and he cursed under his breath. It wouldn’t work to be as wound–up as he was; he needed to calm down, somehow. He waited a moment, expecting to hear the sounds of the keypad and unlocking of the door. Surely, it was Jeongguk? Hoseok? Or Seokjin – Jimin furrowed his brow as the silence continued. “Who is it?” He called; purely out of habit, because he knew the rooms were well sound–proofed. He wrapped the thin fabric of his robe tightly around himself before making his way across the room. Opening the door, he was surprised to see Taehyung standing in the hallway. “Taehyung?”

 

“Jimin. Hi.” Taehyung offered him a smile. His heart raced, and he was beginning to feel hot under the fabric of his jacket. “Uhm. Do you like coffee?”

 

Jimin blinked at him for a second, confusion on his face before he moved to open the door. “Uh–, sure, yeah. Come in.” He accepted the drink from Taehyung, moving to set it down on a table. “You…?”

 

“Oh, uh. Yoongi told me to be here before 3 A.M., right?” Taehyung smiled nervously. “Am I… too early?”

 

“No, no.” Jimin shook his head – what time was it, anyway? “I actually, uh. I don’t know what time it is.” He smiled, averting his gaze to settle his attention on the coffee that sat on the table. He simply stared for a few seconds, before snapping out of his daze. “I’m sorry. Can I take your jacket?” He reached for Taehyung, flinching slightly when he pulled away.

 

“No,” Taehyung smiled apologetically. “Sorry. No, thank you.” His brow furrowed slightly as he caught Jimin’s reaction. “Are you okay? Did you rest well?” 

 

Jimin looked down, offering a small nod in response. “Yeah, I’m fine. Thank you.” His lips pulled into a tight smile, and he swallowed the thoughts that plagued his mind. “How is your…” 

 

“Boss?” Taehyung smirked as he finished Jimin’s question. He frowned slightly. “He’s… Well, stable. He’s… in a coma.” He swallowed hard, and Jimin felt remorse wringing his insides as he observed Taehyung and took in his words. “They’re running tests and everything, but.” He sighed, shoulders sagging as he slumped onto the sofa within the suite. He rubbed at his face with his hand. “I know he’s in good hands, but, fuck. I…” He bit his lip. “I just don’t fucking know what happened.” 

 

“Oh, baby. I’m sure he’ll be okay.” 

 

Taehyung inhaled sharply as Jimin settled into the couch beside him, leaning into his space and draping a hand on his chest. 

 

“Let me take your mind off of it.” Jimin smiled. “Would you like a glass of champagne?”

 

Taehyung’s heart raced – the sound of Jimin’s voice, the feeling of his presence, his hand on his chest, the feeling of them being the only two people in the world within this quiet space underground, seemingly miles away from the rest of the world – Taehyung never ceased to feel completely engrossed in another world when he was with Jimin. He shook his head with a smile. “I’ve already had a couple glasses of wine, I shouldn’t drink any–,”

 

“Taehyung.” Jimin’s voice was firm, but there was a pleading tone to it. “Please. Just a glass, with me. Maybe I’m the one who needs his mind taken off of things.” 

 

Taehyung blinked in surprise, and turned to meet Jimin’s eyes – what he saw there made a void tear into his chest, the storm in the colors of Jimin’s eyes thundering with torment once again. He nodded, carefully raising a hand to caress Jimin’s cheek. “Okay.” He offered a smile, heart stuttering as Jimin leaned into his touch and covered Taehyung’s hand with his own. It only wrenched his heart further as he watched Jimin cross the room, disappearing into the depths of the suite as Taehyung bit down on the words that felt like poison on his tongue. 

 

“Jimin.” The pair had settled into the sofa, keeping the respectful distance of two who could only be troubled and sober. Taehyung sipped on his champagne, while Jimin had downed nearly all of his. “Hey.” He reached to place his hand on Jimin’s thigh, and hesitated at the slight flinch in response. “Are you… okay? You seem…” Taehyung trailed off. What was the right word?

 

Jimin nodded. “No, I’m okay. Sorry, it’s just…” His jaw clenched, and he downed another gulp of champagne. “I’m sorry, baby. Forgive me. I’m here for you.” He offered a smile, sidling closer to Taehyung. He grasped Taehyung’s hand and placed it on his thigh. 

 

Taehyung pursed his lips. “Jimin. Don’t.” He saw a reaction flit across Jimin’s face as he withdrew his hand, only to grasp Jimin’s hand in his own. “Tell me. Talk to me.” His eyes roved over Jimin; the blonde strands of hair, smokey makeup on his eyelids, glossed lips, opaque stockings that clung over the muscles of his legs, clipped in place with a garter belt – a smart outfit choice that covered the sight of bruises in the most appealing way, and the silken robe that hung a bit looser on his frame than Taehyung remembered. He could see the tension in the clench of Jimin’s jaw, the way his muscles were strung so tightly he was bound to snap. 

 

“There’s nothing to tell, Taehyung.” Jimin smiled. “Everything’s fine. I’m here, with you. I’m present.” 

 

Taehyung exhaled, tipping the glass to his lips. Maybe champagne wasn’t such a bad idea. He pulled Jimin forward suddenly, zoning his gaze on Jimin’s surprised – scared? – reaction. “You told me you weren’t going to break, but here you are, ready to snap.” 

 

Jimin shifted his weight as he was pulled into Taehyung’s chest. “You startled me. That’s all.” He braced himself up against Taehyung’s chest, eyes becoming level with Taehyung’s as the distance closed between them. He forced his breathing to slow as his eyes fell half–mast to settle on Taehyung’s lips. “I’m fine. Are you worried?”

 

Taehyung licked his lips out of habit as the space between them lessened. “And if I am?” The burn of desire ignited in his body, and he ached to meet Jimin’s lips with his, intertwine their bodies, embrace him and keep him there in his arms for as long as he could. 

 

“You don’t have to be, Taehyung.” Jimin breathed. “I told you, you don’t have to be careful.”

 

“It’s not me I’m worried about. It's others who aren’t careful with you.” Taehyung ran his hand over the lining of Jimin’s robe, fingers brushing against the raised scar on his neck. He could hear the stress in Jimin’s hard swallow, his Adam’s apple bulging as he did so. “I don’t want him to touch you.” The drop in register of his voice gave away the emotion behind it. “I won’t let him. I won’t let you.” 

 

Jimin could feel his mouth beginning to run dry, clenching his words behind his jaw in steeled resolve. “It’s not up to you.” He whispered.

 

“Of course it’s not.” Taehyung didn’t miss the way that Jimin winced at his words. Taehyung sat up straight, forcing distance between them. “Give me his number, then. I’ll call Seokjin myself.” He withdrew his phone from his pocket and held it up. “I’ll tell him you’re mine for the night. Fuck the other guy.” 

 

Jimin pulled back and furrowed his brows. “Taehyung.” He glanced from Taehyung’s eyes, to his phone, and back. “You’re serious? No.” He shook his head. 

 

Taehyung suddenly rose from the sofa. “Why not?” He faced Jimin, gaze challenging him. “His number.” He held out his phone, looking expectantly at Jimin.

 

Jimin averted his eyes as he followed suit, rising from his place on the sofa. “Why do you even–, don’t you have it? It’s not up to you , Taehyung. Kim doesn’t listen to anyone.” He ran his fingers through his hair, clearly flustered. “It doesn’t matter, Taehyung, it’s–,”

 

Taehyung was taken aback – ‘Don't I have it?’ The realization began to settle insidiously in Taehyung's mind, enveloping him in a sense of dread. He covered his expression and kept his face straight as his eyes narrowed. “Jimin.” He interrupted him; the tone of his voice pricked chills on Jimin’s skin. He stepped towards him, and Jimin had the feeling of becoming overwhelmingly small in his presence. Jimin stepped back instinctively, feeling the beginning of his flight response seeping into his veins. Taehyung’s eyes seared into him. “Don’t I have it?”

 

Jimin furrowed his brow. “What?”

 

“Seokjin’s phone number. You just said...How would you think that I had it?” He paused, gears working through memories in his head. “When I showed it to you at the café…, you said you didn’t recognize it.” The silence became tense, the air heavy enough to suffocate. “Or did you?” His eyes burned into Jimin’s, searching for the storm – the thunder cracking in his irises, the break in his resolve. He swore he could see it, or feel it coming, but he couldn’t wait. “That day… who cut your neck?” He reached to pull at the lining of Jimin’s robe, revealing the scar on his neck and the marks on his skin. “Tell me, was it Seokjin?”

 

Jimin withdrew into himself as he pulled the fabric back over his chest. “What? No, I told you, Taehyung, a client–,”

 

“The same one you’re seeing tonight?”

 

Jimin glanced up to meet his eyes – the dark flurry of emotions in Taehyung’s eyes made him unsettled. He looked away, clenched his jaw in tense response, and nodded slightly. “Yes.” The air in the room was thick, heavy, weighed with the electricity between them. 

 

He’s lying. Jeongguk’s words had confirmed Jimin had never seen the Doctor before two days ago – Taehyung swallowed the anger and emotions that bubbled in his chest. The number is Seokjin’s. He wasn’t with whom he said he was with. What else is he lying about? “Jimin, look at me.” He waited for Jimin to look at him, insistent on holding his gaze as the weight of Jimin’s resolve settled into the cavernous hole threatening to tear through his chest. “Are you sure?"

 

Jimin blinked, thrown off by the question. “What?”

 

“I said,” Taehyung’s voice was low, dangerous – something that Jimin was sure he’d never heard coming from Taehyung. “Are you sure?”

 

“I–, I don’t–,” Jimin’s mind began to race. What? What was he getting at? “What do you mean, am I sure–,”

 

“What the fuck do you think I mean?!” Taehyung shouted. He tossed his phone in anger and grasped the fabric of Jimin’s robe again, roughly, yanking it down and pulling Jimin forward in the process. 

 

Jimin grabbed Taehyung’s arm for purchase as he stumbled forward. “What the hell, Taehyung?” Panic seeped into the tremble of Jimin’s hands as Taehyung’s advances throttled him. His mind raced, heart threatening to pound out of his chest. A sense of dread settled in his stomach, swirling in between all the memories in his head. 

 

“Jimin. Fucking look at me.” Taehyung growled. “Answer me. Your neck. Who was it, hm?” Taehyung began to speak faster, adrenaline searing through his veins. “Who did you see that morning, huh? It’s not who you’re saying it is. So… Kim fucking Seokjin? Who are you protecting? What are you not telling me? Why the fuck won’t you tell me?!” He shouted, releasing his hold on the robe with a thrust of his hand. Taehyung swore he could see the panic in the tremble of Jimin’s hands, the fleeting fear within the depths of his eyes. “If it was an answer you wanted me to hear, it would have been easy for you to say it already.”

 

Jimin’s eyes flickered wildly to read the emotions on Taehyung’s face, in his voice, and he choked on his breath as Taehyung battered him with questions. It's all happening too fast. Slow down. Please, slow down. His chest heaved as his mind swirled with confusion, racing to pick up the loose ends of threads that somehow, along the way, he’d carelessly left untied. Carelessly? No. Every step has been calculated, everything accounted for. How the fuck does he know? Jimin’s heart raced. Seokjin was his fail–safe. Was he really that shattered, at fault for all the things that were falling through his cracks? “Taehyung, I–,” he choked on his words, the weight of them all threatening to constrict his throat and suffocate him, pulling him under in the chasm he’d created. His mind flashed through memories, running through a maze and desperately trying to hold onto the reality of it all, a lifeline, anything to salvage himself in the situation at hand. 

 

“You what, Jimin? You what? Two days ago was your first booking with that man, that fucker. ‘The Doctor’. Am I wrong?” Taehyung paused, searching wildly for the answers in Jimin’s eyes. “The cut on your neck can’t be from someone you were never with, right? So that leaves me with what?" His chest heaved. "It all goes back to that day. The night I spent with you. The night I left early." He swallowed hard. "Why would you have gotten cut in the first place? I thought... Is it a coincidence that Jeongguk was covered in blood that night, blood that wasn’t fucking his, Jimin? You said you didn’t recognize the number when I asked you that day, but now you say I have it, don’t I? How would I?" His heart raced as the words spilled from his mouth faster than he could think. "Did he – did you – hurt him, Jimin? Did you leave him drugged and tied up in my bathtub to fucking die?!” Taehyung paused, chest heaving with the weight of questions left unanswered. “You don’t have any answers for me, do you?” Venom dripped in the words that rolled off Taehyung’s tongue, pooling at Jimin’s feet. “Do you?” He shouted.

 

“No!” A response in the form of a scream like the crack of a whip tore from Jimin’s throat, bearing with it broken sobs that welled with tears in his eyes. “Stop it, Taehyung.” He choked. “Stop it!” Hot tears spilled onto his cheeks, his chest heaving with the weight of sobs and the searing panic in his body. The panic morphed into anger as he felt like he’d been backed into a corner, left with nowhere to turn.

 

“Just tell me, Jimin, talk to me!” Taehyung matched the raised volume of Jimin’s voice, each shouting at one another in the dead silence of the suite. He reached for Jimin, who jerked back to avoid his grasp, not before Taehyung had caught his robe, tearing it off of Jimin’s body.

 

“Get the fuck away from me.” Jimin’s voice was low, cold, and a calculated rage settled in the spaces between his words. His chest heaved as he struggled to control the storm of emotions that shattered his façade, the cold air biting at his exposed skin as he stood in nothing but a thong and stockings, held with a harness and garter belts around his thighs. “Who do you think you are, Taehyung?” His eyes flashed up to meet Taehyung’s, and Taehyung could see a morph in the emotions within them. “Huh?! All of these questions, who the fuck are you to be asking?” 

 

Taehyung’s mouth dropped open slightly and he stepped back, taken aback by Jimin’s shift in demeanor. He’d never heard Jimin speak to him the way he did now – he hadn’t heard Jimin speak to anyone the way he did now. “I’m just asking for the truth, Jimin. That’s all. I just want to know.” The pain in his voice broke through, and he clenched his jaw to maintain his composure. He reached for the robe on the floor to offer it to him, making a point to avert his eyes from Jimin’s body.

 

“I think you should leave.” Jimin’s expression had steeled, the emotion in his voice gone. He crossed his arms to cover himself, seething with anger.

 

“No,” Taehyung pleaded, reaching out to him, trying to close the distance between them. “Jimin, I just want you to tell me–,”

 

“Get out!” Jimin cried. “Get out, Taehyung. Leave. I don’t fucking have to–,” he shoved Taehyung, hurling his his fists at his chest to beat him away. Taehyung grasped his wrists to still him, holding on as if Jimin would slip through his fingers. He struggled to pull away. “Get the fuck off of me, I don't have to–,”

 

The interruption to Jimin’s words happened in a flurry of events that seemed to occur all at once. The sound of the keypad on the door broke his sentence first; suddenly, the door to the suite flew open, and a man in a police uniform barreled through without warning, a stranger’s voice yelling and igniting panic in Jimin’s veins. 

 

“Hands up!”

 

Before Taehyung knew it, he was staring at the barrel of a pistol, hands raised as he stood in front of Jimin, instinctively shielding him the moment he’d reacted to the intrusion. His mind screamed in panic after lunging to put his body between Jimin and the intruder, and it took him a few seconds to register that a police officer was standing in front of him, pointing a gun to his face. The realization then settled in – he’d seen this officer before . The memories of a couple weeks ago flashed in his mind – the night in the champagne room. The night he’d met Jimin . The shattering of glass echoed in his head, and his eyes flickered to meet the appearance of Hoseok and Yoongi trailing in the room behind the officer.

 

“What a surprise.” Officer Kim pulled a smirk, a humorless chuckle escaping him. “What kind of bullshit story did you feed me, huh, Director?” He glanced at Yoongi. “Dancers get ready down here, or some shit like that?”

 

Yoongi’s jaw was strained with stress, as best as he tried to hide it. He steeled his expression, pulling the facade as expertly as he knew how to compensate for the worry evident on Hoseok’s face. “Officer–,”

 

“He brought him coffee, sir. That’s all. He brought us coffee.” Hoseok pointed to the coffee on the table, left untouched. 

 

Namjoon smirked. “Sure, let’s go with that.” He looked between Yoongi and Hoseok, the gun still held and pointed at Taehyung. “If he’s just bringing you coffee,” he paused, doing a double–take while glancing at Taehyung. “Wait. I know you.” His eyes narrowed. “You’re the guy from upstairs.” Taehyung could see the calculating thoughts within the officer’s eyes, and he forced himself to steel his emotions, lest he react without caution. “The one that didn’t show on the tapes.” 

 

Hoseok’s breath caught in his throat and he swore he could feel Yoongi wanting to scream at him to stay still, don’t react. 

 

“Behind you.” Namjoon flicked the gun with a gesture of his wrist, peering at Jimin, who stood shielded behind Taehyung. “Step aside.” 

 

Taehyung shook his head, refusing to move. “No.” He clenched his teeth, swallowing any ounce of panic that screamed at him because here he was – in the depths of what could only be considered a police raid on a very illegal business venture, with the metal body of a fucking handgun tucked into his waistband. His mind raced for a second, presenting him with the most unanticipated question he would ask himself tonight – What would Seokjin do? 

 

Namjoon regarded him for a moment. “No?”

 

“Come on, Namjoon–,” Yoongi stood to interject, but was cut off.

 

“Don’t get informal with me, Min.” Namjoon glared at him, raising his gun to point in Yoongi’s direction. 

 

Hoseok gasped, lurching forward to put himself in front of Yoongi, who barred him from doing so with an outstretched arm. “It’s fine,” he mumbled under his breath, seemingly unphased in the line of a loaded gun.

 

“I think we’re past that. Don’t you think so?” Namjoon chuckled humorlessly. “I know what you’re up to. I don’t know how stupid you think I am, but this entire place will go down, Min, and you’re going to go with it.”

 

“I don’t think you’re stupid, Kim. Far from it.” Yoongi shook his head. “There’s nothing here, I told you. Shit, put the gun down, for fuck’s sake.”

 

Seeing the officer distracted, Taehyung took the opportunity to reach behind him slowly, searching to grasp Jimin’s wrist; he moved carefully so as not to draw attention. When he found it, he grasped it delicately and gave it a light squeeze. Taehyung’s heart raced – anything from then on depended on Jimin, and he was terrified of the wrong result. Jimin would have to make a choice – Taehyung had little idea if it would be a right one, but he hoped to death it wouldn’t go as wrong as it easily could. “I apologize, Officer–,” He peered at the officer’s chest. “Kim?” His lips tugged a smirk. “Kim. Of course.” 

 

Namjoon glanced at him, raising an eyebrow and turning his attention back on Taehyung.

 

Taehyung let out a small chuckle, and felt both Yoongi’s and Hoseok’s confused eyes searing into him. “I’m sorry, officer Kim. I understand the impression you might have of this place, but regardless... I wouldn’t do any man the disservice of exposure.” Taehyung shook his head. He began to shrug off his jacket, to which Namjoon tensed. 

 

“Don’t move–,”

 

Taehyung remained calm, moving slowly. “I’m just going to offer my jacket, sir. That’s all. My hands are visible.” 

 

As Taehyung’s jacket slipped off, Jimin’s eyes caught the unexpected glance of a handgun, the handle sticking out of Taehyung’s belt as it laid tucked into his waist. Something in his head screamed – he tore his eyes away immediately, focusing instead on anything else but the weapon that Taehyung had been hiding the entire time . He swallowed hard, realizing the warning in Taehyung’s touch – he was armed. They were in a room with a police officer, Jimin in an unlawful state of undress, and Taehyung was fucking armed. What the fuck was he doing with a gun?! Jimin’s mind raced; he was presented with too many options and not enough time. He swallowed the temptation to expose Taehyung in possession with his weapon, emotions clashing in his mind with the pressure to act. “ You could take him down, right here, right now. He wouldn’t be your problem, with everything that he knows. How the fuck does he know? What else does he know that you don’t? He won’t be your problem, he’ll be out of Master Kim’s reach. Make your decision . You have a choice.

 

“Sir, really, there’s no reason for the gun–,” Hoseok pleaded, nervous to see the weapon pointed at Taehyung.

 

Namjoon glared at him. “That isn’t for you to decide.” 

 

Jimin realized he had no time to weigh options – he had to act, no matter what it meant for him later. With that, Jimin nodded slightly, stepping forward to press himself against Taehyung’s back. As nimbly as he could manage, Jimin slipped the gun out of Taehyung’s belt, using the obstruction of Taehyung’s body and the jacket to hide his movements as he slipped the weapon into the tight straps of his harness and thong, hoping like hell it would hold as the weight of it pressed coldly against his bare back. He slipped into Taehyung’s jacket, thanking the powers that be that Taehyung had a tendency for clothes that were oversized, even for him. He stepped to Taehyung’s side, careful in his movements. “I’m sorry, officer. I was getting ready, sir, and I’m not dressed.” He exposed his front to prove his words, showing his state of undress, in just a thong, garters, and stockings. 

 

Visibly flustered at Jimin’s brave display, Namjoon averted his eyes and lowered his gun. He coughed and cleared his throat. “Sorry, uhm–, hm. Okay.” He made a point to look away from Jimin. He looked from Taehyung, to Yoongi, to Hoseok, and back. “It just seems really odd to me, doesn’t it?” Namjoon’s eyes, calculative with a tinge of accusation, settled on Taehyung. “I think you know something. Either you’re who I’m looking for, or you know where he is.”

 

“Kim, seriously, he doesn’t know shit–,” Yoongi attempted to regain his attention.

 

“Shut up, Min.” Namjoon growled. 

 

“Officer. This is all a bit much–,” Hoseok raised his hands in a placating motion. 

 

“Namjoon, he doesn’t–,”

 

“Fucking christ, Min, shut up or I’m taking your ass in first!” 

 

“For what?!” Yoongi spat. “For fucking what, Kim?”

 

“Yoongi,” Hoseok raised his hands to Yoongi’s chest. “Stop, you shouldn’t–,”

 

“Excuse me–,” Taehyung attempted to interject. 

 

“What are you doing down here?” Namjoon’s eyes narrowed on Taehyung. “You're not an employee, are you?"

 

Taehyung shook his head silently.

 

"What's your name?"

 

"Kim Taehyung, sir."

 

"Kim Taehyung..." Namjoon regarded him with suspicion. He glanced at Yoongi. "You said this is a dressing room, correct?" Yoongi peered at him, warily nodding his head. Namjoon smirked. "So you're of the understanding, Mr. Kim Taehyung, that being here, in this vicinity, as someone who isn't an employee, is breaking the law?"

 

Taehyung swallowed dryly. “ I could say no,” he thought. Something told him the cop wasn’t leaving without taking someone with him. “I could say no and save my ass, act innocent.” His eyes flickered to Yoongi and Hoseok, before settling back on Officer Kim. “...Yes.”

 

The rattling of metal handcuffs being produced from Namjoon’s belt broke the silence that had settled in the spaces of their words. “Alright then.” Taehyung’s jaw clenched as Namjoon approached and clicked his wrist into the device, pulling his arms behind his back to handcuff him. Jimin’s eyes widened as he watched in silence, and a mixture of panic and surprise flickered on his face. 

 

Hoseok’s eyes widened in terror. “Sir, you’re misunderstanding–,” Yoongi moved to silence him, shaking his head subtly.

 

“No, I don’t think I am.” Namjoon glared at Yoongi. “Your little playground here? Shut it down.”

 

“Suck a cock, Kim.” Yoongi hissed. 

 

Taehyung’s eyes met Yoongi’s, and he held his gaze defiantly for a few moments. He mouthed the words that Officer Kim had just said – “ Shut it down .” He broke their gaze. “Am I being arrested?”

 

“For the liability of the crime of trespassing, Mr. Kim Taehyung, you have the right to remain silent and refuse to answer questions from here on forward. Let’s go.” Namjoon grabbed him by his elbow, proceeding to push Taehyung towards the door; he glared at Yoongi. “Count your days, Min.” 

 

“Do me a favor, Kim.” Yoongi looked solemnly at Namjoon, then to Taehyung, and back. “Take him out the back, will you?”

 

Taehyung’s eyes glanced at Hoseok – who watched in horror, then Yoongi, and lingered on Jimin, searing the moment that held their gaze into his mind. Without another word, he was ushered out of the room, leaving a heavy silence that weighed on the three men that were left behind. 

 

“… What the fuck ?” Hoseok whispered, his quivering voice breaking the silence. 

 

“Come on, Hoseok.” Yoongi’s fists were clenched, voice cold and collected. “We have a lot of shit to do.” He moved to exit the room.

 

Hoseok blinked. “What? But– but Yoongi–,”

 

Yoongi flashed him a glaring look. “But nothing, Hoseok. Let’s go.

 

“Sir?” Jimin’s voice tittered into the silence, quiet enough to seem like he’d disappeared into the shadows of the dimly lit suite. “What…” He trailed off, unsure of how to piece the questions together that swirled in his mind.

 

Yoongi checked his watch. 11:47 P.M. “There’s still time.”

 

“For what?” Confusion flitted on Hoseok’s face.

 

“We’re going to contact clients and move their appointments to the hotel.” Yoongi’s expression was deadpan, as serious as ever, as if he hadn’t just insulted a cop and had a patron leaving in handcuffs. “The ones that are willing, anyway. They can’t do shit about anything before 2 A.M.. Radio the hostess for a head count, we’ll manage capacity or close the gallery early.” Yoongi’s jaw clenched with stress. “Nobody will have seen Taehyung leave, don’t tell any of the staff. Everything is normal. We close at 2.”

 

“Sir… The…” Jimin paused. “The Doctor?”

 

Yoongi shook his head. “I don’t know if he’ll go to the hotel, but I’ll let you know as soon as we know. Go upstairs and tell Ares – and don’t tell anyone else. You should go to the hotel. And Jimin–,”

 

Jimin blinked, thrown off by the sound of his name coming from Yoongi’s lips. Yoongi never called him by his birth name. 

 

“Don’t tell Kim about this.”

 

Yoongi turned to leave without another word, leaving Hoseok to trail in his wake. Jimin stared, feeling numb as the shock began to settle in with the silence that engulfed him. His eyes glanced down to the phone on the floor, abandoned where Taehyung had thrown it.

 

What the fuck had just happened?

Chapter Text

The silence was eerie, cold air biting at the raw skin of Taehyung’s wrists as he rubbed at them in discomfort, the only sound in the room being the clinking of the metal links against the table. He shifted in his seat, eyes focused on his glint of the harsh light against the metal of the handcuffs. Unmoving, his eyes glanced up from under messy, dark curls to glare at his vague reflection in the window across from him. Two–way glass, he thought. Someone’s watching. As if confirming his assumptions, the handle to the door clicked, and the officer who had brought him stepped into the room. He was tall, his skin was tanned, and he had eyes that seemed to be consistently calculating, gears constantly clicking in his head. In his hands he held a manila folder, full of a large stack of papers. He set it down on the table quietly, and pulled out the chair to sit in front of Taehyung, obstructing Taehyung’s view of himself in the glass. Taehyung’s eyes dropped to his wrists, focusing on the chain that linked the cuff. Both remained silent, until the officer cleared his throat.

 

“Hm. So–,” Namjoon hunched over slightly, beginning his process with a shift in body language to break tension in the air. “Kim Taehyung, was it?”

 

Taehyung nodded silently, leaning back in his chair a few moments after the officer leaned forward. He twisted his wrists in the cuffs idly, focusing on his attention on them a little too hard. 

 

Namjoon raised an eyebrow, observing Taehyung’s behavior. He pursed his lips in thought before producing a key from his belt; reaching over the table, the click of the cuffs unlocking echoed through the small room. Taehyung withdrew his wrists, rubbing at the red skin. “Better?” Namjoon looked at him expectantly, and Taehyung nodded slowly.

 

“Do you keep all… ‘trespassers’, in handcuffs?” 

 

Namjoon straightened in his chair, relaxing a bit in an attempt to observe whether Taehyung would do the same. “We keep criminals in handcuffs. Are you a criminal, Kim Taehyung?” 

 

Taehyung let out a scoff. “That’s forward.” He rolled his neck, cracks echoing as joints popped. 

 

Namjoon let out an exhale. He adjusted himself in his seat, neglecting to touch the file on the table. “You don’t have a record, so I can’t say that you’re a criminal. Not yet.” His eyes narrowed to peer at Taehyung. “So, what were you doing there? The…” he paused. 

 

Taehyung opened his mouth, seconds away from finishing his sentence for him – “Parthenon” almost slipped his lips before he stopped himself. You’re talking to a cop, for fuck’s sake. Don’t put words where he wants them. He swallowed his words, eyes flickering up to meet Namjoon’s as he met him with silence.

 

Namjoon nodded subtly, acknowledging Taehyung’s opt for silence. “... Parthenon.” He finished for himself – so he’s not stupid, Namjoon thought. 

 

“Bringing coffee.” Taehyung replied simply, shortly.

 

Namjoon nodded again, taking in Taehyung’s answer. “Bringing coffee.” He repeated, a feigned understanding coating his tone. Taehyung simply nodded his head in response. “Have you been there before, Mr. Kim?”

 

Taehyung rolled his tongue in his mouth, patience beginning to waver. “Is that related to the reason why you brought me in, Officer?”

 

“It could be. It would depend on your answer.”

 

The room fell quiet for a couple of long, agonizing minutes; neither of them seemed to let up. Without a word, Namjoon rose from his seat; the scraping of metal against the floor rang out into the silence. He exited the room, and Taehyung settled into the chair. He couldn’t believe what tonight had become – just yesterday, he’d been at the club, drinking and having a good time with his boss and Jeongguk, and now, maybe 24 hours later, he was sitting in a police interrogation room, arrested, and being questioned by a cop. Youngjae was in hospital, and he couldn't stop thinking about the heated conversation he’d just had with Jimin – Jimin. His mind flitted to the club, and the obscure “Doctor” client that was booked for tonight. He thought of his gun, and the unspoken faith he’d shared with Jimin to help him out of a bad situation that would have only gotten worse if he’d been caught with a weapon. He thought of the events of the night leading up to now; to Youngjae, and Jeongguk, and how the fuck did he end up in the middle of a police raid on the fucking club? Was it even considered a raid – what the fuck was going on here?

 

Taehyung had hardly had time to think, to process, just what the fuck had happened. He swallowed dryly. His pensive silence was penetrated by the sound of the door opening, and the cop re–entered the room. He was holding a ziploc bag with Taehyung’s wallet, watch, and keys along with a hot cup of coffee, which he placed on the table in front of Taehyung. “Coffee?”

 

Taehyung shook his head and scrunched his nose. “No, thank you.” 

 

Namjoon sat back into his chair and he opened the bag, retrieving the contents from within. He flipped open the leather wallet, perusing through its contents. He checked the fold where cash was kept, raising an eyebrow as he glanced at Taehyung. “You always carry this much cash?”

 

Taehyung shrugged. “Is having money a crime?”

 

A smirk pulled at Namjoon’s lips, and he let out a light chuckle. “If you have too much of it at once, yes.” He shook his head and continued to pull things out of Taehyung’s wallet. He pulled his license, credit card – he paused at the heavy feel of the aluminum before continuing – an insurance card, another credit card, and then paused once more, fingers neglecting to move as something caught his attention. He raised his eyebrow, attention piqued by the small polaroid picture that sat tucked away in the back of Taehyung’s wallet. He cocked his head slightly, recognizing the man in the photo as the one who was – hm, in a state of undress – back at the club. The photo wasn’t suggestive; it was candid, but Namjoon recognized his face. He glanced up at Taehyung, pulling the photo from the wallet. He held it in between his index and middle fingers. “He’s cute.” Namjoon said, flicking the polaroid lightly as he held it.

 

Taehyung’s jaw tensed momentarily as he watched the officer pull the picture of Jimin from his wallet – the picture he’d pulled from the line of photos tacked up at Jimin’s apartment. It was a stupid thing to do, in retrospect, he thought. He made no move to respond.

 

“Is he your favorite?”

 

Taehyung furrowed his brows. “What do you mean?”

 

“Do you know each other well?”

 

“Those are two different questions, officer.” God, this conversation was like pulling teeth. Don’t let him trip you up. 

 

Namjoon regarded him for a few moments, before exhaling. He reached into a front pocket of his vest, withdrawing a box of cigarettes. Thumbing it open, he placed one in his mouth, before offering the open packet to Taehyung, who shook his head. Namjoon shrugged, flicking a lighter to light the tip of the cigarette, taking a deep inhale before exhaling slowly. The smoke swirled out of his lips, filling the air between them. Taehyung was sourly reminded of cigar smoke. 

 

Namjoon opted to look again at the photo, and then at Taehyung’s license. “Who are you…” He mumbled, ashing the cigarette nonchalantly onto the floor. 

 

“Pardon?”

 

“You know, they say the owner’s name is Kim.” Namjoon nodded, placing his cigarette to his lips again. “Do you know something about that?”

 

Taehyung pursed his lips. What is he fishing for? Maybe I’ll bite. “What do you want, Officer?”

 

“Me?” Namjoon chuckled lightly, almost feigning his amusement as he jerked his head in a light nod. He exhaled cigarette smoke calmly. “I want to know what you’re doing there.” He rested his elbows on the table, leaning forward once more. “I remember you. I recognize you. I’ve seen you there before.” He took another drag, ashing absentmindedly. “You’re there often, correct? You don’t... partake.” It took Namjoon a second to settle on the right word. “Up until recently, you’ve remained relatively… safe. A wallflower kind of guy, right?” he nodded to himself. “But, recently, you’ve become more… involved.” He sat on the last word, pondering if it was the right one. “You’re the only one who the tapes skipped.” His eyes were focused, scrutinizing, analyzing. “I’m not going as far as to say that you’re the owner.” Namjoon scrubbed out his cigarette on the edge of the table, dropping the remnant of it on the floor without letting his gaze leave Taehyung. “But it seems that the only two options here are that you are, or you know where he is.” 

 

“Mm.” Taehyung hummed, and leaned to settle back in his chair. He thrummed his fingers on the surface of the table idly. He wondered what the officer meant about the “tapes” – he couldn’t place it, even as his eyes trailed the remnants of the cigarette falling to the floor. Taehyung almost chuckled to himself at the novelty of it, this – all of it. And now, thinking about it, if he had anything to be grateful to Seokjin for, it was teaching him how to play the game – and play it well. His demeanor shifted; Namjoon caught on easily, and it piqued his interest.

 

“You know what I think,” Taehyung’s eyes roamed lazily to the name displayed on the front of his chest, “Officer Kim?” The corner of his lips tugged into a small smirk. “I think you’re bullshit.” 

 

Namjoon was intrigued; somewhere along the way, he’d struck a nerve. 

 

“I think the trespass charge is bullshit. I think you don’t know who I am,” Taehyung let out an almost mocking chuckle, “because if you did, you’d know the basis of your arrest is, like you, absolute bullshit.” He reached for the box on the table and pulled a cigarette from the table, slipping it into his mouth. “You mind?” He arched an eyebrow, flicking his thumb in request for a lighter. Namjoon obliged him, withdrawing his lighter from his pocket and flicking it on; Taehyung leaned forward to light the cigarette, relishing in the relief that the nicotine coursed through his veins. “The camera outside of the club. Was it you?” Taehyung pulled the cigarette from his mouth, letting it sit delicately in between his fingers as he drummed his free ones on the table.

 

Namjoon eyed him; so he’d noticed. 

 

“Looked like some kind of press. Maybe I’m just out on a limb here, but either the media is on a trail and you haven’t gotten it,” Taehyung took a drag of his cigarette. As he exhaled, his eyes zoned in on Namjoon’s, challenging his gaze. “Or you were convinced you did, and now you’re not so sure.” The smoke wafted in the space between them, but neither seemed to back down from their gaze. It has to be Seokjin he’s looking for, Taehyung thought. He couldn’t know for sure exactly why; it wouldn’t be surprising to learn that Seokjin was participating in – or leading – any kind of illegal operations. The bottom floor was illegal; or, at least the activities that happened in it were. Was that it? Or was it something different? Was there more to it all than just the bottom floor? Was it that bad, that the cop had been staking out the place, and now some journalist or some kind of press was onto it? Taehyung wondered if Yoongi and Hoseok knew about the media crawling around outside of the club. His mind flashed to Hoseok, to the dinner he’d had with him and Yoongi. “There are some things you don’t know, Taehyung.”  What Taehyung did know, now, was this: at some point, he was going to have to bet all in. It was the only way to play this kind of game. He exhaled slowly, deeply. “Am I close?”

 

Namjoon took a second to observe him; he noted that Taehyung had leaned forward, resting his elbow on the table as he busied himself with his cigarette. Now he’s in. He’s engaged in this conversation. A tight smile spread on his lips. “You seem confident that you are.” 

 

─────•~ ~•─────

 

“Yoongi, stop. Seriously, wait–,”

 

What, Hoseok? What!?” Yoongi jerked his arm away from Hoseok’s clutches, turning to face him as he fumed.

 

Hoseok withdrew into himself slightly, wincing at Yoongi’s aggression. “Just talk to me, please.” His jaw set in tension, his expression pulled into one of seriousness. He followed Yoongi once more as they entered their office at The Parthenon.

 

Yoongi sighed. “I’m sorry.” He rubbed at his face, circling the desk that stood in the room. “Fuck!” He hissed, slamming his hands down on the oak surface of the desk. “Shit.”

 

“Yoongi, Taehyung–,”

 

“I know, Hoseok. I know.” Yoongi exhaled again, in exasperation. “It happened too fast. I’m sorry. I swear we’ll do something about it, but we can’t right now.” He shook his head.

 

“Yoongi, what the hell is going on? What the fuck happened?”

 

Yoongi bit on his bottom lip harshly, chewing it in thought. Hoseok could see thousands of thoughts running in the flicker of his hooded eyes. “I don’t know. We slipped up somewhere. Fuck.” Hoseok could see the anxiety building in the tension of Yoongi’s body. “That fucking prick. Can’t keep his fucking nose out of anyone’s goddamned business.”

 

“... What did he mean about the tapes?” Hoseok’s eyes rested on Yoongi, who, for the first time he’d ever noticed, flinched slightly under his gaze. “Yoongi.” His voice was low, barely above a whisper. “What night? The last time, you told me they were fine.” He knew there was something wrong, because Yoongi wouldn’t look at him. 

 

“I thought they were. Fuck.” Yoongi hissed. 

 

Hoseok's voice was cautious, tentative. “What is it you’re not telling me?”

 

Yoongi’s jaw clenched, and he looked up to Hoseok, who could see a falter of the resolve in his eyes. “I’m just trying to protect y–,” he paused. “... this. This place, all of us.” He looked away. 

 

Hoseok’s eyes bore into him. “Tell me what’s happening. Let me help.”

 

Yoongi looked up at him, conflicted. “Hoseok, I–,” he swallowed. “You know how it’s been lately.” He ground his teeth, stress pulling at every muscle in his body. “Kim will go after anyone. Obviously, we’ve seen it.” His eyes glanced at the clock. “Fuck. We don’t have time.” He straightened up, stepping to leave the room before Hoseok gingerly placed his hand on Yoongi’s arm to keep him there.

 

“Yoongi. I need to know something, anything. I can’t–,” his mind whirred, trying to keep up with the flurry of things that were happening all at once. He was worried – deeply worried. For Yoongi, for Taehyung, and Jimin, and every one of their employees who were working, dancing the night away in the confines of these four walls, the truth of everything unravelling unbeknownst to all of them. “You know I’m behind you one hundred percent. Right?” Hoseok’s expression steeled; he needed Yoongi to have faith in his resolve. “It’s us.” Hoseok offered a smile, searching to meet Yoongi’s eyes and hold his gaze. “We do this together. It’s the only way it works, right? So let me in.”

 

It took Yoongi a few moments to meet Hoseok’s gaze; when he did, the sight of his smile washed a sense of relief over him, unfurling the stress in his muscles. He nodded. “I need you to know that I’m just trying to protect us.” His gaze melded with Hoseok’s. “Everything I do, it’s in our best interest.”

 

Hoseok nodded. “Okay.” He released his hold on Yoongi’s arm.

 

“The tapes… I really did think they were fine, honestly.” Yoongi sighed. “It wasn’t until he caught it that I realized we messed up.” He paused. “...I messed up. There was a skip, fuck.” He chewed on the inside of his cheek in thought. “I hadn’t planned on Kim inviting Taehyung up to the champagne suite. I thought it was fine, whatever. But, I also didn’t get a heads up that the cop was coming. Our contact missed it, so we inadvertently fucked up the security footage.” He rubbed at his temples. “It wasn’t something we could have seen, Hoseok. There’s a skip when you take him upstairs, until after Kim leaves. It cuts out, but Namjoon’s too fucking smart for his own good, and he caught that Taehyung was in the room on the opposite side of the floor.” He shook his head. “There wasn’t any way to cover it. I’m sure that’s why the officer took him in, there’s no way he doesn’t remember Taehyung from that night. Taehyung–, I know he probably was just trying to help by getting the cop’s attention. He couldn’t have known, that poor fucking idiot.”

 

Hoseok absorbed everything Yoongi was saying, taking a moment to let it sink in. “... He’s not an idiot.” 

 

Yoongi blinked. “What?”

 

“Taehyung.” Hoseok’s expression steeled – the seriousness in his face caught Yoongi off guard. “He’s… relentless, and kind of crazy.” A small chuckle escaped his lips as he jerked his head in the habit of his. “But he’s not an idiot.” His lips pulled taut. 

 

“Hoseok… That’s not–,”

 

“You don’t know him like I do. It’s not that I don’t think he can hold his own, it’s just–,” Hoseok’s voice faltered. “I’m the one who really dragged him into all this. He shouldn’t be there, Yoongi. He shouldn’t be at the police station, going to bat for something that’s not his fucking fault. Right? It’s none of his fucking concern. He’ll pull it upon himself, because that’s the kind of guy that he is. But he’s not an idiot.” Hoseok met Yoongi’s eyes. “He can figure shit out, I know he can, and he will. He cares too much to see me – to see us – in trouble. I know, because I… I would do exactly the same for him.” His gaze conveyed the determination in his voice, the resolve behind his friendship that he would take to his grave. 

 

Yoongi eyed him wearily, and took the opportunity to glance at the clock. “We need to go, Hoseok.”

 

“You shouldn’t have sent the picture.” 

 

Yoongi froze. He decided to drop that now? He peered at Hoseok. “What?”

 

“The picture last night, of Taehyung. You told Kim he was here.” Hoseok’s jaw clenched. “Yoongi, I need you to know that if you throw him to the wolves,” Hoseok paused, his voice wavering slightly, “I will go down with him.” 

 

A wave of emotion rattled through Yoongi’s chest, and it made his chest feel hollow. But I need you with me. He swallowed his words, and the emotions that came with them, setting solemnity into his expression. “Let’s go. All of our underground boys will need to be moved to the hotel, cars need to be sent already. We have to do it quietly. And Hoseok,” he paused, swallowing pride that sat sourly behind his teeth. “I’m not going to throw you anywhere. I… need you with me.” With that, he left the office abruptly, neglecting to allow Hoseok any more time to discuss any of the things that may have been left unsaid.

 

─────•~ ~•─────

 

“Wait, what the fuck?” Jeongguk patted at his forehead with a towel, sitting on a European marble countertop; it served as part of a communitive vanity for the dancers in the expanse of a luxurious dressing room on the top floor. He brought his legs up to cross them, eyes wide at Jimin’s words as they sank into his head. “He got arrested?!” 

 

“Shh–!” Jimin waved him off, glancing around in case of any other ears nearby. “Min doesn’t want anyone to know. I think they were planning a raid, Guk. Or they are. I don’t know.” Jimin shook his head. “He took Taehyung just for being downstairs.” He swallowed hard, the image of the gun, now settled in his bag with Taehyung’s abandoned cell phone, swirling in his mind. “The cops have to know something at this point. Min wanted me to tell you that they’re moving tonight’s clients to the hotel.”

 

Jeongguk blinked. “The L’Estrange? Seriously?” He furrowed his brows. “I don’t know if… The Doctor, I don’t think he–,”

 

Jimin nodded. “I don’t know, either. I don’t think the bosses can do much if any of them say no. Min told me to go to the hotel, just in case, but I can wait for you.”

 

Jeongguk cocked his head. “Wait for me?”

 

“Main floor is still closing at 2.” Jimin leaned his back against the edge of the counter, and ran his fingers through his hair. “Boss wants to finish the night like normal. I don’t think him and Jung really have a choice.”

 

“Wait.” Jeongguk pursed his lips, the glitter in his eyes shifting as he glanced around in thought. “What was Taehyung doing downstairs?”

 

“Oh–,” Shit. “He asked to see me tonight. Before our client.” He did his best to adopt a nonchalant tone in his voice. 

 

“Even then.” Jeongguk furrowed his brow. “It’s way early.”

 

“He–,” Jimin felt his heart quicken pace. “He brought me some coffee.” 

 

“Ah.” Jeongguk nodded with a pout; he remembered Taehyung saying Hoseok wanted coffee. He didn’t bring me any coffee. 

 

“Yeah.” Jimin glanced over at Jeongguk; it was then that he caught the glint of hoop earrings that he hadn’t seen on Jeongguk before. He peered at them; it took Jeongguk a moment to notice Jimin leaning in to look closer at him.

 

Jeongguk blinked. “What?”

 

“Those earrings. They’re new?”

 

Jeongguk felt the apples of his cheeks flush and moved to cover his face with the small towel as if continuing to pat off sweat that wasn’t entirely there. “Mm, yeah.” He smiled sheepishly. “They were a gift from Taehyung. Cute, right?” He smiled. 

 

Jimin’s eyes moved away from the earrings to Jeongguk’s face, a curious look in them. “Love.”

 

Jeongguk paused from wiping at his neck with the towel and blinked. “What?”

 

“They’re called ‘love’ earrings.” He nodded slightly to himself, habitually bringing a hand to run his fingers through his hair. “Yeah, they’re pretty.” The heated conversation he’d had with Taehyung swirled in Jimin’s mind. “Anyway,” Jimin broke his gaze, waving his hand idly. “Min said he’d let us know if The Doctor agrees to move his booking to the hotel. They’re doing it with everybody. For tonight, at least.”

 

“And if he doesn’t?”

 

Jimin shrugged. “I don’t know, honestly. I’m just as lost as anyone, Guk. I don’t… I don’t think Min was expecting this.”

 

The DJ’s voice on the microphone echoed into the expanse of the dressing room. “Ares stand by. Ares, stand by, baby.” 

 

“Shit, already?” Jeongguk swung his legs over the edge of the counter and pushed himself off of it.

 

“If I don’t stay, I’ll come get you to go to the hotel at two, okay? If we still keep our booking.” Jimin stepped aside, allowing Jeongguk to fix himself up before going on stage. Jeongguk nodded idly, and he made his way to exit the dressing room. “Guk,” Jimin called after him; he waited for Jeongguk’s attention. “Don’t tell Master Kim. Min’s asked us not to.”

 

Jeongguk pursed his lips; he nodded slightly before taking his leave.

 

─────•~ ~•─────

 

“October 1st, Mr. Kim. Two weeks ago. Do you remember what you were doing, then? It was a Saturday night.” Namjoon leaned back in his chair, stretching his arms as he settled further into their conversation. There was no clock in the room; the absence of one served a purpose.

 

Taehyung could feel exhaustion beginning to settle on his shoulders, but he was determined to remain resolute. “I do.” He nodded slightly.

 

“Where were you?”

 

“The Parthenon.”

 

“What were you doing at The Parthenon, Mr. Kim?”

 

“What everyone else does at The Parthenon, officer.”

 

“And what is that?” Namjoon’s eyes were narrowed on Taehyung, calculating every answer that escaped his lips.

 

“Having a drink and enjoying company, sir.” 

 

“And is that what you were doing there tonight?”

 

Taehyung’s expression flattened. How much longer was he going to keep this up? “I’ve already told you that I was bringing coffee to some of the staff tonight.”

 

“Look, Mr. Kim.” Namjoon exhaled and thumbed at his box of cigarettes, withdrawing another from inside. “If I’m being honest, I don’t give a shit what you were doing on the bottom floor.” He pursed his lips around his cigarette, nodding to himself. “I’m curious to know what you’re doing there at all. At that place, in general. Understand?”

 

Taehyung cocked an eyebrow, observing the officer from across the table. He rolled his neck to clear the shroud of fatigue that weighed heavily on his focus. I’m tired. “Sir, if I may?” His tone began to adopt the arrogant aura that had laced his words earlier, settling into his demeanor in place of exhaustion in the hopes it would steel his tenacity. “You remember me, right? It seems you have a lot of questions that no one will answer.” A light chuckle escaped his lips, thinking of the whirlwind of confusion that had begun to storm through his mind as he discovered new things about the world in which The Parthenon opened up to. “Since you don’t give a shit what I was doing down there, why don’t we skip the formalities? Let’s focus on something more important. I’m a good man, I came here for a reason, right?” He smirked. When he received a scrutinizing look from Namjoon, his expression steeled. “Or, I could ask if I’m being detained.” He leaned forward, his gaze challenging Namjoon as he rested his arms on the table. “You would say no, and I would walk out of here, because you have no reason to detain me. So, with that being said… What do you really have me here for?” 

 

Namjoon regarded him apprehensively. He took a long drag from his cigarette, eyes shifting as they seemed to weigh thoughts and options in front of him. Silently, he reached towards the device recording their exchange; he fumbled with it for a second, flipping a switch. The light on the device stuttered before flicking off. “Shit.” He grabbed it and turned it over in his hand to inspect it. 

 

Taehyung raised an eyebrow, silently observing him fumbling with the device.

 

“Fuck. That’s the second one this week.” The cigarette bobbed in between his lips as he thumbed at the switches, peering at it curiously before setting it back down on the table. His eyes flickered in front of him as if weighing options, before he finally reached for the manila folder that had been sitting abandoned. He flipped it open and thumbed through the pages. “You can guess that I’ve been on that place for a while.” Namjoon jostled the folder, gesturing to the many documents that rested inside. “Are you close with the staff there, Kim Taehyung?”

 

Taehyung observed him, attempting to sneak a glance at the papers. He shrugged. “It depends on your definition of ‘close’.”

 

Namjoon smirked and nodded his head, before sliding a paper across the table to place in front of Taehyung. “Do you recognize this man?”

 

Taehyung furrowed his brows at the photo of a middle aged man in a white medical coat, before his breath stuttered at the realization. His mind flashed to just that morning, standing in Youngjae’s hospital room. “I will be overseeing Mr. Choi during his stay.”

 

Youngjae’s doctor. Taehyung tried his hardest to control his reaction, lest his expression betray him. He could feel Namjoon’s eyes bearing holes in his skull.

 

“Doctor Yu Youngchul.” Namjoon observed Taehyung’s face closely. “Reportedly a frequent patron of that place, except I’ve never seen him. Have you?”

 

It felt as though the thoughts in Taehyung’s mind were a barreling train, the sound of scraping metal screaming as it came to a halt. “No fucking way.” There was no way. Jimin’s and Jeongguk’s voices swirled in his head – “The Doctor”. That was just a name of reference, right? It had to be some sort of coincidence, some sort of misunderstanding in the ambiguity of it all. Was that client actually a doctor? Taehyung hadn’t thought to ask – the absolute irony of it made him want to bash his head into the table. He’d only seen that man this morning, in Youngjae’s hospital room; he had no idea of what the “Doctor” client looked like, and he felt the sudden burning need to talk to Jimin again. If it was the same person – Taehyung felt the film of red coating his vision. His own words echoed in his mind: “Whoever has done all of that to you…I’ll fucking kill them.” 

 

“Mr. Kim?”

 

Taehyung blinked out of his daze. He cleared his throat. “I’ve never seen him there, no.” It wasn’t a lie. 

 

“We have reason to believe, Mr. Kim, that there are illicit activities happening in the confines of that building.” Namjoon’s eyes flickered over Taehyung. “You wouldn’t know anything about that, would you?”

 

“That is a vague question to answer, officer.” 

 

“Kim Namjoon.”

 

Taehyung, who’d been looking down at the table in front of him, raised his gaze to meet Namjoon’s with an arched eyebrow. “Excuse me?”

 

“You don’t have to call me by my title. Kim Namjoon is my name.”

 

Taehyung nodded slowly, scrutinizing the officer’s choice for informality. “Okay, Mr. Kim Namjoon.” He crossed his arms and leaned back in his chair as he eyed his Patek watch resting on the table, having been spilled from the ziploc bag with his wallet and keys. Shit, what time was it? 

 

Namjoon’s eyes followed Taehyung’s, and he nodded. He’s wearing down. “I know it’s been a long night, Mr. Kim–,”

 

“Taehyung.”

 

The calculative expression never left Namjoon’s face. “... Taehyung. But, like you’ve so sharply deduced, I’ve been on this place for a while, so you can understand that I won’t let any lead run cold.” Taehyung simply nodded idly in acknowledgment. Namjoon had come so far, and it wasn’t a lie that he hadn’t gotten as far as he would have liked to with this investigation by now. Something told him that Taehyung knew something – whether it would benefit their investigation or detriment it, there was no way of knowing. He had come to realize his investigation relied on the fruits of a gamble – without risk, there was no reward. “We have reason to believe the owner of the place is running illicit activities through the building. A number of things, that you may or may not know of. I’m looking for the owner, but he’s a hard man to find. This man, however–,” Namjoon tapped the corner of the photo that rested in front of Taehyung. “He’s easier, right? Because he’s a medical professional.” He tapped on the medical coat in the picture to further prove his point. 

 

“We’ve only caught two things that lead him to The Parthenon.” Namjoon continued. “A subsidiary company, connected to an P.L.L.C. that is contracted out to another company in relation to the bar.” Namjoon shook his head with a faint chuckle. “It’s a hell of a chain, isn’t it?” 

 

The gears in Taehyung’s brain cranked to work as he followed Namjoon’s words; being business–oriented, it wasn’t hard for him to understand, but filling in the holes with information he didn’t have was going to prove difficult. He thought about it for a second: a professional limited liability company, contracted with some kind of ties to The Parthenon. It meant that the middle company had to provide certain licensed services; realization dawned on him, and dread began to seep like acid in his stomach as flashes of memories from the club burned in his mind – medical. The Parthenon has medical services. One thing that was certain, was that doctors filed their practice under that kind of company. How fucking ironic, would it be then, to find that not only “The Doctor” client was an actual medical professional – but providing medical contract services in exchange for what, sex services? Taehyung’s mind settled on Jimin, and the marks on his body, and he felt the sudden searing of a scream perched inside his throat. He swallowed it dryly before he pushed his words together with caution. “What’s the second thing?”

 

Namjoon eyed him for a moment before flipping through papers and withdrawing another few from the folder. “Medical malpractice suit.” He hesitated to show the documents to Taehyung, before his mind became insistent on it – you need to get something here. The documents were spread in front of Taehyung, who visibly fought to calm his instant reaction. Among some worded documents were photos – quite graphic photos of a young man’s body. The person in the photo looked no older than early twenties, if that. Taehyung swallowed dryly; the marks on the boy’s body brought images of Jimin’s body searing to the forefront, and he tried desperately to fight them away. The resemblance was uncanny, though – that fact alone racked chills up Taehyung’s spine. He looked away, feeling uncomfortable about staring at photos of a young man’s naked body, exposed and marked for all eyes to see through the lens of a camera. “What am I looking at, Off–, Mr. Kim?” The name sat sourly in his mouth. Mr. Kim. 

 

Namjoon made no move to rescind the photos, and instead observed Taehyung’s reaction intently. “This man–, this boy…” He nodded at the photos. “To spare the details, he was in for a medical procedure. He came out of anesthesia. According to the suit, he was being assaulted – reportedly by Dr. Yu.” He cocked an eyebrow slightly, zoning in on Taehyung as the latter glanced up from the photos to meet his eyes. “Sexually assaulted.”

 

That caught Taehyung’s attention; he felt the hair on the back of his neck bristle. He glanced back down at the photos, biting down on his lip in thought. What does this have to do with the club? What does this have to do with me? 

 

“You can imagine, Taehyung,” Namjoon cleared his throat. “That with this kind of information, I wouldn’t let up a lead so easily, right?” Namjoon nodded to himself. “This man concerns me not only because of the suit, but because of the ties he seems to have to that place, The Parthenon.” He tapped the cigarette against the table to rid it of the accumulating ash, before taking another inhale of smoke. “I’m well aware of the, hm… nature, of that place. It’s not a wonder that someone of those…” He paused. “Preferences, is there, that’s not what I’m getting at. But you understand, with the rumors… I’m curious to know what someone with that kind of background, this kind of background–,” he motioned to the photos. “What is he getting from there – who is providing it – and what is he giving in exchange. Do you understand what I mean?”

 

Taehyung’s eyes flickered over the photos and documents, taking it all in. So he’s looking for Seokjin, but he can’t get a hold on him. Is this the next best thing, then? The gears in his brain began to click faster as he strained to put together information. If he has business ties to The Parthenon… What the fuck is really happening here? Does Hoseok know about this? He has to, he fucking runs the place. What is going on? This guy, this doctor… He might be the one that topples the entire thing over, the card that takes the entire house down. A million thoughts were firing like pistons in Taehyung’s head – a decision had to be made. Involving himself in any of this would be absolute – once he was in, there wouldn’t be any backing out. It was now or never, and it was then he decided that he’d have to thank Seokjin one of these days, preferably with the barrel of a gun pressed to the other man’s skull. He leaned back in his chair with a small nod. “So you want him.” He gestured at the picture of Dr. Yu. “There has to be a reason you don’t have him already, what is it?”

 

Namjoon’s jaw clenched slightly. “We need due cause.” He shook his head. “We don’t have explicit proof of this man specifically engaging in illegal activities at that club. It’s…” He seemed visibly upset at the words that came from his mouth. “It’s a hunch. My hunch.” 

 

Yoongi was right. Namjoon was, in fact, smart. Intuitive. Taehyung nodded. He chewed on his cheek in thought as his mind rested on Jimin. He considered his words carefully; another glance at the photos on the table of Dr. Yu’s victim convinced him further. “How old?” He jerked his chin at the photos.

 

“Twenty, now. Nineteen at the time.”

 

Taehyung wasn’t surprised, because the boy in the photos did in fact look young – but the thought still sickened him. Fuck that bastard. “I’ll help you.”

 

Namjoon glanced up at him with curious apprehension. “Excuse me?”

 

“You want this guy, right?” He waved at the photo of Dr. Yu. “If he is who you think he might be, you’ll get him.”

 

“But…” Namjoon narrowed his eyes.

 

A faint smirk pulled at Taehyung’s lips. He leaned forward, interlacing his fingers and resting his elbows on the table. “But, we’ll have to make a deal.” Namjoon remained silent, so Taehyung continued. “Immunity, Mr. Kim.”

 

“Namjoon.”

 

“... Namjoon.” Taehyung nodded. 

 

Namjoon raised his eyebrow. “You want immunity?”

 

Taehyung chuckled lightly. “Not just me.” He shook his head. “Though I would insist on it, now that we’re here. No, not only for me… For the club.” He didn’t miss the way Namjoon was taken aback by his request. “The club doesn’t get touched, and you only take him.” He pointed at the photo of Dr. Yu. “No one else.” His gaze was challenging, defiant. “No one who’s involved. None of the employees.”

 

“That’s a big request.”

 

“It’s a big catch.” Taehyung shrugged. “The owner… He’s evaded you for this long, right? This is your only lead, isn’t it?” He didn’t miss the shift in Namjoon’s demeanor, the air surrounding him felt defensive.

 

“Well, now that you’re here, I suppose I can consider you a lead, too.” Namjoon’s eyes narrowed. “Why don’t you just tell me where the owner is, then, and I won’t arrest you for obstruction of justice?”

 

A light scoff escaped Taehyung’s lips. “Is that a threat?” He leaned forward, his weight pressed down on his arms as he stared Namjoon down. “I never said I know where he is. You have to know that if you take down the club, he will disappear with it.” A small smile played at the corner of his mouth. “You know that, don’t you? You’ll lose everything you’ve worked for. If you really want him, Namjoon... Take the deal, or don’t. It’s up to you.” Taehyung leaned back in his chair and covered a yawn with his hand as he stretched; he put on an expression of disinterest.

 

Namjoon regarded Taehyung with intrigue. After a few moments he let out a light laugh, nodding as he leaned back in his chair. “You talk like you own the place, Taehyung.”

 

Taehyung smirked, eyes lazily resting on Namjoon with a tinge of fueled defiance. 

 

“I will.”

 

─────•~ ~•─────

 

Leaving the police department was exhausting in itself; Taehyung’s things were returned to him, minus his phone; it had taken him a bit of time to remember that he’d thrown it in anger in Jimin’s suite, and that had left him to wonder just where it was. In the end, he’d thought better than to use the phone at the police department, and instead opted to simply walk out of the place, the cold biting through the thin fabric of his shirt until he’d made it down the street and flagged down a taxi. Exhausted and reeling from the chaos that was this entire night, Taehyung fought the urge to nod off in the backseat. Not too long later, he arrived back at his apartment, sluggishly dragging himself to the elevator. He’d have to figure out a way to find his phone, call Hoseok, figure out whatever the fuck was going on – but for now, he was grateful to be home, and just wanted to crawl into bed and sleep for a solid twelve hours. As he stepped out of the elevator onto his floor, his steps echoed to a halt as he caught sight of someone in front of his door. His first instinct was a sharp tinge of panic; as he realized who it was, his heart still beat fast in his chest, but he wasn’t afraid – the sight of blonde hair reassured him.

 

Jimin had lost track of how long he’d been sitting at the foot of Taehyung’s doorstep; he rested his back against the wall, almost nodding off in the silence of the hallway. The sound of the elevator alarmed him, and as he watched Taehyung step out of the opened doors, he felt a swelling of emotions in his chest. His breath caught as they met eyes, and Jimin blinked, scrambling to stand up. He swallowed hard as Taehyung approached him. “Taehyung.” His voice was more hoarse than he would have liked; the emotions betraying the truth behind his demeanor.

 

Taehyung stared at him for a few moments, then looked at his door and raised his eyebrow. “Didn’t let yourself in this time?”

 

Jimin winced; he couldn’t place Taehyung’s feelings through his voice, and the hostility caught him off guard. He avoided the question, instead fishing a cellphone from the pocket of the jacket he wore – Taehyung’s jacket. “Uhm. I… brought your phone. And, uh. Your jacket.” He wiggled his arms a bit to gesture at the obvious article of clothing draped on his body. The way that Taehyung regarded him chilled his blood – Jimin hadn’t noticed how intimidating Taehyung’s gaze could be. 

 

“Oh, thanks.” Taehyung nodded and plucked the phone from Jimin’s hand. “The jacket… You’ll be cold if you leave without it. Keep it.” He stepped around Jimin, moving to unlock his door. 

 

Jimin looked down at the jacket dejectedly. “I already have one of yours. I’ll be alright.” He moved to shrug it off, before realizing Taehyung was opening his door. “Taehyung, wait–,” Jimin moved to reach out for him; he only hesitated after the ice in Taehyung’s gaze raised chills on his skin. The cold outside didn’t seem to compare, and maybe he did need the jacket – more so for now than he would once he was out of Taehyung’s vicinity. The man that boiled the heat of desire in his veins now made him feel like he was walking on ice.

 

“Your appointment.” Taehyung interrupted. “What time is it at?” He glanced at his watch, resting where it belonged, dangling heavily on his wrist. It was already past 2 A.M.. 

 

“It’s, uh…” Jimin swallowed dryly. “It’s not happening.” Jimin’s eyes fell – whether it was because he couldn’t keep contact with Taehyung’s gaze or for some other reason, he couldn’t be sure. 

 

“No?”

 

Jimin shook his head. “Min shut it down for tonight.”

 

“Good.” Taehyung nodded curtly. He didn’t miss the way Jimin didn’t move, and thought for a second before withdrawing his wallet from his pocket. Jimin watched him with curious confusion as Taehyung pulled the entire stack of bills that were tucked in the wallet. “Sorry, I didn’t get to pay before I left. Here.” 

 

Confused, Jimin opened his mouth to protest as Taehyung pressed the money into his hand. “Wha–, what? I didn’t–, Tae–,”

 

“Be safe going home. Keep the jacket. Goodnight, Jimin.”

 

Jimin’s eyes stared into the silence that met him, the only deafening noise being the closing of Taehyung’s front door in his face. His mouth dropped open slightly, taken aback. That’s it? Dumbfounded, he stood for moments that felt like hours – was that really it? He stared down at the bills in his hand and frowned. Taehyung had never been the one to walk away, to leave him standing with heavy air entangled with thoughts that wrapped around his throat to suffocate him; it was always Jimin that walked – or ran – away. But, he realized, maybe Taehyung had never done a lot of things before they met. With a piercing feeling in his chest, he swallowed down his emotions and, after staring at the door for another minute, he turned on his heel and walked away. He’d be lying if he said that he wasn’t waiting for Taehyung to open the door and call him in – but somehow, past the piercing void within his chest, he knew that wouldn’t happen.

 

Maybe it was the sobriety in the midst of dealing with the events of tonight and the weeks before him, but Taehyung was asleep before his head hit the pillow. He was awakened abruptly to the ringing of his doorbell, signaled in the intercom within his room. Confused and entirely not having it, Taehyung turned in bed to ignore it. He scrunched his face and groaned as it rang again; and then a third time, in a certain rhythm. His eyes shot open and he sat up instantly; he shuffled over to the display and, to his happiness or dismay, caught sight on the video feed of Hoseok – a very exhausted looking Hoseok. The only person he’d let unexpectedly awaken him at – what time was it? He peeked the sight of faint light spilling in from under dark curtains, and grimaced.

 

The video display hardly did any kind of justice to the sight that Taehyung laid eyes on when he opened the door; Hoseok’s face, normally bright and chipper, was sunk with exhaustion. His eyes were puffy, a little red, and the fatigue was so apparent in his face and slumped shoulders that it made Taehyung slightly concerned. Nonetheless, Hoseok smiled when he saw Taehyung – a weak, relieved, grateful smile. 

 

“Hyung.” Taehyung smiled and opened his mouth to continue speaking, but was cut off by an abrupt hug. Hoseok threw himself over the threshold, into Taehyung’s arms, clutching around his waist like he was afraid the floor would cave right then and there and swallow Taehyung with it, and he’d be damned if he wasn’t swallowed with him. Taehyung blinked in surprise, and his heart sank as he returned the embrace warmly, and felt Hoseok’s shoulders heaving as sobs escaped his body. “Hyung? Shh, hey, it’s okay.” 

 

“I’m–, I’m so sorry I didn’t go get you, Taehyung. Fuck, I’m so glad you’re here.” Hoseok’s breaths came in gasps, as if inhaling only set fire to his lungs. 

 

Taehyung frowned. “Hyung—,”

 

“I was so worried, I’m so fucking sorry Taehyungie.” Hoseok’s voice broke completely on his name, and he crumbled in Taehyung’s arms, crying with no inhibition. “I’m s–so, sor–, sorry...”

 

Though he was confused and a bit alarmed, Taehyung pulled him closer, hugged him tighter. He pet Hoseok’s hair fondly, rubbing circles in his back to calm him. “Shh, it's okay.” He held Hoseok even as his sobs shook his body, even as he apologized for reasons Taehyung didn’t exactly know. He quieted him gently, scrunching his face only as he noticed the living area of his apartment getting brighter. “Come on. Let’s go to bed.” He patiently waited for Hoseok to calm down, holding him just as warmly in his embrace as he did so, and not only until Hoseok was ready to move did Taehyung guide him to the bedroom. 

 

Gingerly, Taehyung helped him undress – it was rare to see Hoseok like this. It didn’t happen often, but when it did, it was bad; Hoseok was resilient in his optimistic resolve, until he wasn’t. Hoseok was worn down, burnt out, and maybe feeling other things that Taehyung didn’t know of. Taehyung’s eyes regarded him carefully and with concern. “Do you want to shower, hyung?”

 

Hoseok was silent, staring down into no particular spot. His gaze looked empty as he shook his head, the faintest movement that Taehyung might have missed if he wasn’t so focused on him.

 

The refusal drove home just how badly Hoseok was feeling – how exhausted and overwhelmed he was, and must have been. Taehyung’s heart hurt for him, and he nodded in understanding as he offered fresh pajamas, slipping Hoseok into them as gently as he could manage. He pulled back the covers for Hoseok, waiting until he curled up into his bed to tuck him in and sidle under the covers with him. Taehyung opened his arms in question, an offering without saying any words – Hoseok accepted, turning to face away Taehyung and cuddling up to him. They fit together well, after all their years of shared affection and friendship – and Taehyung wouldn’t have it any other way. He pet Hoseok’s arm gently and hugged against him, the feeling of needing to protect his friend welling in his chest. “I got you, hyung.” Taehyung whispered, hugging him close. “I got you.” 

 

Taehyung waited until Hoseok’s breathing became deep and even before submitting to slumber himself, with Hoseok held protectively in his arms. They fell asleep soundly, legs entangled with one another, as the rest of the world came to life with the rising dawn.

 

Taehyung was the first to awake. He shifted slightly, his arm having gone numb after being under Hoseok’s neck as support while Taehyung coddled him in their sleep. He didn’t bother to move it, because he was in no particular hurry to move Hoseok; he knew his friend was exhausted, and needed all the rest he could get. He didn’t know what time it was; he didn’t care. He laid there for a good while as consciousness slowly returned to him – it gave him ample time for the events of last night to trickle back into his mind, reminding him of the chaos that reverberated even in the silence of a Sunday afternoon. During the daytime, in the mornings (or, more often than not, afternoons) upon waking up after a weekend night out, it all seemed so… surreal. Often, Taehyung had to remind himself of events that otherwise, he would be sure he’d dreamt up. His mind floated somewhere between Jimin, Jeongguk, The Parthenon, and the police station. He’d somehow managed to get arrested last night, for fuck’s sake.

 

A stirring in his arms broke him from his daydreaming. Taehyung blinked, and let out a small laugh at the sight of Hoseok’s hair sticking up in every direction as he awoke. “G’morning, hyung.” He observed Hoseok as the latter squinted his eyes and scrunched his face, confusion painting his features for a minute as he looked around the room. Oh, right. He’s never been here before. His thoughts were interrupted as feeling began to creep back into his arm, pricking pins and needles while his circulation returned.

 

“Taehyungie?” Hoseok’s voice was hoarse with sleep as he turned in bed to face the owner of the arms that encircled him. “Where the hell–,”

 

Taehyung flashed him a fond smile, rubbing circles lightly on his waist. “New place, remember?”

 

Hoseok’s eyes were still squinted, and his lips pursed into a pout as he thought about it. “Oh, yeah.” He rubbed the sleep from his eyes before glancing around again. He let out a low whistle, and Taehyung laughed. “It’s nice.” He offered a small nod. “What time is it? Shit, Yoongi–,”

 

“Hyung.” Taehyung slithered his arms around Hoseok’s waist and pulled him closer as he snuggled him back into the comfort of the bed. “Five more minutes.”

 

Hoseok let out a laugh; his normal laugh, and it took Taehyung aback how relieved he was to hear it. The silence that ensued, though, felt heavy on them both – and Taehyung realized that last night must have crept back into Hoseok’s mind, too. It was silent for maybe those five minutes that Taehyung had asked for, before it was interrupted by a low growl of Hoseok’s stomach. Taehyung bit his lip, trying to stifle a laugh before being unsuccessful in doing so. “Breakfast?” Taehyung asked. 

 

Hoseok giggled. “Ugh, yes. Please. Can I borrow some clothes, Taehyungie? I need to shower.”

 

Taehyung smiled. “Of course, hyung. Can I join you?”

 

Hoseok’s smile was fond, and his eyes were sparkling with warmth once again. “Always.”

 

─────•~ ~•─────

 

“We need to talk, don’t we?” 

 

A defeated sigh. “Yeah, I guess we do.”

 

The sounds of bustling activity, silverware clattering, and the smell of coffee swirled around the pair as they sat in a café – it all mingled with the words they’d shared in the midst of their shower together, something Taehyung had deeply missed. Taehyung and Hoseok shared an unspoken understanding that maybe they should enjoy their breakfast – if one could call it breakfast at 2:30 P.M. – before delving into the things that they maybe needed to talk about. Taehyung hadn’t been to this café since he’d come with Jimin after that one unforgettable night – it seemed like forever ago.

 

“Yoongi is glad to hear you’re okay.” Hoseok offered to start a conversation as he set his phone down.

 

Taehyung, though with little malevolent intention, let out a scoff. He didn’t move to retract it, or justify it, either – he simply nodded curtly, attention elsewhere as he looked out the windows of the café absentmindedly. “Is he?” 

 

Hoseok’s lips pursed into a line as he observed Taehyung. He waved down the waitress, requesting an iced americano either as a buffer, or because he simply wanted it. He’d devoured his plate of food – Taehyung’s sat off to the side, half eaten and forgotten. He waited for the waitress to leave before speaking again. “Taehyung, I was so wor–,”

 

“He didn’t seem to care about my wellbeing when he told the cop to, huh–,” Taehyung’s eyes wandered back to the conversation along with his attention, and he rested his gaze on Hoseok. “‘Take me out the back’.” 

 

Hoseok winced. “Taehyung, he didn’t mean–,” 

 

“I really don’t give a shit what he meant, Hoseok.” Taehyung knew his friend would get defensive as soon as the words left his mouth, and he sunk into himself. 

 

“Hey, watch your mouth.” Hoseok frowned. “There’s no need to be disrespectful, Taehyung.” He sighed – his face brightened with a friendly smile as the waitress returned with his drink. He took a long, satisfying sip before continuing. “Look. There’s… a lot, Taehyungie. So much. I don’t know where to start. I–,... I didn’t think about anything except whether you were okay, man. I know we need to have a conversation, but, shit, I don’t know. I wasn’t prepared for this.” His face was solemn. “None of us were.” 

 

Hoseok was right about one thing – it was a lot. For the amount of questions Taehyung had, he couldn’t realistically expect that Hoseok had all the answers. He stared into his glass of water, as if searching the contents would hold the answers he was so desperately looking for. In the midst of the chaos that wreaked havoc on his mind, it mostly circled back to one subject – Jimin. 

 

“Jimin told me that you shut it down last night.”

 

It wasn’t the first question that Hoseok was expecting – maybe not any of the ones he was expecting. He blinked as he absorbed it. “The…” he peered around nervously. “After hours? Yeah.” He nodded. “Well… not necessarily.” Taehyung raised an eyebrow and peered at him. “We moved the appointments to the hotel. The ones that were willing to keep their bookings, anyway.” Hoseok sighed. Talking about work was draining – it was also a stark reminder that they’d taken a major financial loss last night. He narrowed his eyes. “You’ve spoken to Jimin?”

 

Taehyung blinked. Oops. “Uh, yeah. He… stopped by my place last night. He had my phone. I left it there when I got uh, you know. Arrested.” 

 

“So that’s why you never answered. I called you a million times, shit.”

 

Taehyung’s eyes wandered as he attempted to redirect the conversation. “Hey, that too. A hotel?” He leaned forward. “When the fuck did you get a hotel, hyung? And with Yoongi? What’s that about?” He frowned. “And why didn’t you tell me?”

 

Hoseok sighed. Fuck. This was a lot. He cracked his neck, stretching before slumping into his chair. “The hotel… was a gift. From the boss.” He paused. “The big boss. It was originally just for Yoongi, but he insisted that my name go on the papers, too.” He fidgeted in his seat, glancing outside. “Taehyung, can we go for a walk? I know it’s cold, but... I’ll explain as much as I can, I promise.”

 

Taehyung regarded him for a moment. “Actually, will you come with me? I need to go on a quick errand. We can talk on the way, or when we go home.” His eyes softened, and he bit his lip before reaching across the table to place his hand on Hoseok’s. 

 

Hoseok smiled. “Does that mean you want me going home with you tonight, Taehyungie?” He wiggled his eyebrows and rubbed his thumb along Taehyung’s skin warmly as he held his hand.

 

Taehyung chuckled. “Always, hyung.”

 

Hoseok’s interest was piqued when they arrived at a hospital not too long after. The hospital was nice; definitely not public, and as he watched Taehyung speak to the receptionist, he wondered just what “errand” Taehyung needed to run. He simply followed along, though, and they shared a somewhat comfortable silence as they rode the elevator up many floors. It wasn’t until they arrived at the room and entered, that Hoseok’s stomach dropped. He’d followed behind Taehyung, feeling more nervous until they entered the room, and he caught sight of a man hooked up to machines, and the silence of a room bursting with absence. 

 

It took a few minutes for Hoseok to recognize the man, and he stifled a gasp as it came back to him. “Tae–,” he choked. “Is this–,”

 

“Youngjae.” Taehyung’s eyes rested on Youngjae, the silence in the room destroyed by the deafening sound of machines working to keep his body alive. “My boss.” He pulled up a chair, laying his hand on top of Youngjae’s as he pushed a strand of hair out of the man’s face. Hoseok fidgeted as he stood by the foot of the bed. Taehyung took a few moments – long, silent moments – before his eyes flickered up to meet Hoseok’s. “Something happened the other night, hyung. There’s something else. His doctor–,” he was cut off by the sound of the door opening. Taehyung stretched to look past Hoseok, and his eyes narrowed. Speak of the devil. 

 

“Good afternoon.”

 

Hoseok’s eyes widened at the voice behind him – it sounded oddly familiar. He turned to look at the person who’d just entered the room, and the second he met their gaze, he was sure the color began to drain from his face. Immediately covering his reaction, he bowed politely. He plastered a polite smile on his face – relatively easy for him to do. Yoongi’s words from years ago echoed in his head. 

 

“I know it’s a lot to take in.” Yoongi set out a slew of papers in front of Hoseok, who stared at the sheer volume of documents on the desk before him. He could feel Yoongi regarding him with apprehension, but maybe, if he wasn’t mistaken – a bit of fondness, too? Actually, maybe it was contempt, and Hoseok was just being optimistic.

 

“The contracts are non–negotiable. So are our relations with clients. This is extremely important, Hoseok.” Yoongi’s voice snapped Hoseok to attention. “The contracts are signed for a reason. If you ever happen to come across a client outside of these walls, and you probably will…” Yoongi paused. His voice was as serious as ever, and the look in his eyes was deadly. “You are never to acknowledge previous acquaintance. Ever.” His tone sent chills up Hoseok’s spine. “No matter the circumstance. I don’t give a fuck if you see one of our highest bidding clients bleeding out on the fucking sidewalk with a gash to his face.” Hoseok winced. Out of all analogies, he had to go with that? Yoongi’s eyes narrowed. “You don’t look twice. Shit, you don’t look once. You mind your goddamn fucking business, because as far as anyone’s concerned, you’ve never met the guy. Understood?”

 

Hoseok nodded. “Can I ask… Why?” 

 

As Hoseok recalled, he probably had so many stars in his eyes at the time – still new to being a leader in a world that he’d only dipped his feet in as a dancer. 

 

“We don’t exist, Hoseok. That’s why.” Yoongi’s expression had softened slightly; or maybe it was, again, contempt, but Hoseok wouldn’t believe it. “Our clients come here and they’re off the grid. You know what we do here. On another level, besides just the main floors… We provide an escape. That comes with protections – we have to guarantee everyone’s safety. Yours, mine, our boys, and our clients.” Yoongi sighed. “That means being as nonexistent as possible. The nature of it all is really fucking fragile, and now you’ll be shouldering some of the responsibility of protecting a house with glass walls. One stone thrown at the right time, and the right place, and we’re exposed for the world to see. We can’t allow anyone to be taken down with us at any point in time. Do you understand?”

 

Hoseok wasn’t sure he had understood the magnitude of any of it at the time – but he was eager, and optimistic, and happy to help. He was honored that he’d been given the opportunity to be someone in a world that hadn’t been entirely nice to him. He was naive, maybe, but eager. Eager to have responsibility, eager to help Yoongi as they navigated the world that opened only in a certain place, at a certain time – the wonderland that was held in the confines of The Parthenon.

 

Hoseok’s brow furrowed as he took in Yoongi’s words, but easily relaxed into a smile. “Yes, Mr. Min. I understand.”

 

Yoongi’s expression, now, had indeed softened – Hoseok was sure of it. The corner of his lip pulled into a slight smile – the most Hoseok had ever seen in his years of working at the club. “It’s not ‘Mr. Min’, anymore, Hoseok. You can call me Yoongi.” 

 

Hoseok had beamed that day, a bright smile that brought with it hope for his future, and a gratitude of working alongside someone he’d admired for a while. “Yoongi.” The name felt foreign on his tongue, but settled like a sweet taste of honey. “I understand, Yoongi.”

 

And so, now – those words, all that time ago as he prepared to ascend the ladder from dancer to manager – rang in his mind with a bit of alarm. Surprisingly, he’d never really seen any of their clients; not the high–profile ones, anyway, because their worlds – the worlds of their lives during the day – simply did not intersect. But here, in the confines of this hospital room, with Taehyung’s boss lying unconscious on a hospital bed – it had finally happened. Hoseok had come across a client outside of the club. 

 

The doctor’s eyes rested on Hoseok for no more than a second; he offered a nod and redirected his attention to Taehyung instead, who was intently observing Hoseok’s reaction. Dr. Yu cleared his throat. “Mr. Kim, if I remember correctly?”

 

Taehyung snapped to attention, standing up in formality with a polite bow to the doctor. “Yes, doctor. Good afternoon.”

 

Dr. Yu’s lips pulled into a tight line, what could maybe be interpreted as an awful attempt at a smile. “Were you planning on visiting your dear friend every day?” He peered at him from over the frames of his glasses; his shoulders shook as he chuckled, and the sound of it made Taehyung’s blood curdle. “I’d assure you, Mr. Kim, that your friend’s condition may not improve from one day to the next. It’s nothing to be worried about, he’s doing well, all things considered.”

 

Taehyung couldn’t help but scoff, and he felt Hoseok’s eyes on him with a weary look. “I’ll keep that in mind, sir.”

 

“Dr. Yu.” The odd excuse for a smile played on the doctor’s lips.

 

Taehyung grimaced. “Of course. Thank you, Dr. Yu.” Without another word, the doctor simply scribbled on Youngjae’s medical chart and left the room. Taehyung scrunched his face in disgust – the photos of the young boy plagued his mind. He looked at Hoseok, searching his face for answers. He’d get them, soon enough.

 

“You can pull up a chair, hyung. We’ll only be here a little while longer.”

 

“I can wait outside–,”

 

Taehyung slumped into his chair, taking Youngjae’s hand in his with a heavy sigh. “Hyung… please.” His voice was pleading, and he made a pointed look to a chair against the wall.

 

Hoseok nodded solemnly. “Okay.”

─────•~~•─────