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against all odds

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Once upon a time, the world was split into twelve kingdoms.

 

Before the kingdoms split apart, there was war and chaos; bloodshed and families mourning losses unimaginable. It was a world of animal shapeshifters versus the humans; predator, prey. Humans versus animals. A race to be the top.

 

The world was breaking, until twelve leaders rose to sign a treaty of peace amongst all species, so long as they stayed within their own kingdom's territory. And while some allowed visitors from other kingdoms, others did not and retained the right to kill if someone even steps foot in their territory.

 

And with twelve signatures, the twelve kingdoms were born.

 


 

Prince Jungkook, of the rabbit kingdom, is too curious for his own good and has been since the day he was born. Sniffing areas he probably shouldn't be in, chewing on things that could absolutely get him killed — he was a kit that caused a lot of stress on his mother. It's something she fondly reminds him of when he gets himself into troublesome situations, even now as an adult.

 

Even as he grew up and became the jewel of the kingdom, Jungkook's curiosity never quite left him.

 

He's always wondered what life outside of his kingdom looks like — wonders if the rumors of the king-to-be of the human kingdom is as cruel and ruthless as they say; or if the marina kingdom is really run by a beautiful siren that doesn't hesitate to kill any who accidentally step into her territory. Funnily enough, the rumors of the werewolf kingdom are supposedly quite kind and welcoming to all — even prey.

 

And not to eat them.

 

(Or so they say. Jungkook is curious, but he's not that curious.)

 

Jungkook just wonders what life outside of the simple life he's always known is like.

 

These wonders come and go throughout his childhood and teenage years. It's when he's reading a book in the library of the castle that he comes across an old romance tale — one of love and loss, of two families from different kingdoms that don't accept each other, so their love can never be — that the curiosity returns at full force. It strikes something in Jungkook, a new curiosity; rekindles his wondering of what other kingdom life is like.

 

If romance between species really does exist outside of his home.

 

So he makes up his mind to go and find out, though that is easier said than done.

 

While the rabbit kingdom is known for its kindness towards others and outsiders, Jungkook is aware that not all kingdoms are the same. So in order to explore curiously without being noticed as an outsider, he shifts into his rabbit form in the middle of the night, quietly sneaking out when the guards are asleep and no one can spot him in the gardens.

 

He wiggles through the palace wall, escaping out an opening where a loose brick is in back, and ventures into the forest that surrounds their kingdom. His heart races, excited about not only getting to explore other kingdoms, but also the knowledge that he's breaking all the rules that have been set for him his entire life.

 

Jungkook hops through the woods for a long time, not quite sure which direction he's heading in; certainly unsure of which kingdom he's headed towards.

 

But that's part of the thrill of it all.

 

It takes a few hours before Jungkook spots what looks like a kingdom wall. And by the time he finds a hole big enough to fit through, the sun is already rising in the sky. He's so tired he can barely manage more than a few hops before he's laying down in a bed of flowers.

 

And maybe he eats a few, too.

 

(It was a long journey for his little bunny legs, okay?)

 

"I don't care. Either he'll teach me what I want or I won't attend lessons at all."

 

The sound of a deep voice speaking nearby has Jungkook's ears perking up curiously, sniffing the air as he looks around. He can see what looks to be a palace guard following desperately after a man dressed in a blue outfit, a red sash over the chest and a white cape hanging from his golden shoulder pads.

 

With golden honey skin and dark, fluffy hair, Jungkook's eyes widen as he stares openly at him.

 

He's beautiful.

 

Jungkook has never seen someone so beautiful in his whole life.

 

"But your highness," the guard pleads, clearly frantic by the tone of his voice, "it's what the king wishes—"

 

"I couldn't care less what father expects of me," the beautiful man (a prince ) says with a roll of his eyes as he sits down on a bench made from marble. "I've told you my conditions, now it's my private time in the gardens so leave before I have you removed."

 

The guard shuts up at once and bows respectfully before brisky running away.

 

Jungkook sniffs the air a little more, trying to catch whiff of the prince's scent. Human.

 

His eyes widen a little more.

 

Jungkook has heard of the human prince — he thinks every kingdom must have. Cruel and ruthless, cold. He's rumored to kill his subjects for fun . Everyone in the rabbit kingdom fears him as much as they fear his father — a ruler with an iron grip on his kingdom, that doesn't allow visitors or tourists, and that never allows his people to travel, either.

 

And apparently, his son is even worse .

 

But as Jungkook watches the prince's shoulders fall, his body seeming heavy, he can't help but be curious if those rumors really are true. He looks… normal. Too normal to be so unkind, to be so cruel.

 

Even so, Jungkook knows that he should lay low and not get too close. It's important that he stays hidden so that he can freely escape and return home at any given mo—

 

"Hello."

 

Jungkook freezes at the sound of the low voice so close to him. Turning to look up, he spots the prince kneeling down near him, a small smile on his lips as he watches him in the flower bed.

 

"Do you like my flowers?" he asks, tone gentle and quiet, like he doesn't want to scare Jungkook off. To answer his question, Jungkook chomps on another flower, chewing it slowly, his ears perking up a little when the prince giggles.

 

Giggles.

 

He doesn't seem so coldhearted… 

 

"Here," the prince says as he plucks a flower, holding it out for him. Jungkook cautiously takes a step forward, tempted by the flower. It really is the yummiest one… and he chomps it, too, and it makes the prince giggle again. "We don't usually get many bunnies so unafraid of people here."

 

Jungkook freezes again. Is he being too obvious? Does the prince already know?

 

Is he going to kill him?

 

The prince pulls his hand back and smiles, just watching him respectfully. Jungkook finds himself relaxing a little bit again, hopping a little closer, the prince's scent drawing him in. Curiously, he sniffs at his clothes, standing up on his hindlegs to sniff at him better, and it draws a quiet coo from the prince, which is just as cute as his giggle.

 

Jungkook's heart flips in his chest.

 

"I wonder where you came from," the prince muses to himself while Jungkook sniffs at his fingers. The prince just smells really nice, in Jungkook's defense. "You must be hungry, huh? Since you're eating all my flowers."

 

Jungkook tries to look sheepish, but the prince laughs quietly, gently reaching out to pet him. And oh . That feels nice…

 

Jungkook leans into his hand, asking for more, still up on his hindlegs. His front paws rest on the prince's knees where he's crouched down in a squat, and when the prince stops his motions for even a moment, Jungkook bites at his sleeve to bring his hand back.

 

It's a few hours before another guard comes looking for the prince, and he spends the entire time sitting in the grass with Jungkook, giving him all the pets that he wants and holding out flowers for him to munch on.

 

And while they sit together like this, Jungkook finds himself getting curious again.

 

Only this time, he's curious about the human prince.

 

His sweet giggles and cooing, boxy smile and soft hands as they pet over his fur don't seem cruel or ruthless in the slightest. Jungkook wonders how true those rumors are, if he really is as evil as people say. Or if he's just misunderstood.

 

"Taehyung."

 

Jungkook and the prince both jump, startled by the angry voice. Ducking to hide under the prince's — Taehyung — cape, he slowly peeks out just enough to see what has to be the king walking toward them. Dressed to the nines with a golden crown on his head and a red cape with wide shoulder pads, a suit made from red and black thread, he looks like the very image of power.

 

"I heard you refuse to take your lessons," the king says as he comes closer, shadow looming over them. Jungkook cowers closer to Taehyung, who just sighs, petting over him gently to help calm him down.

 

"I told you before, father," Taehyung says quietly, "I don't want to rule the kingdom. Let Seokjin—"

 

There's a loud slap sound that has Jungkook's ears ringing, his eyes going wide at the sight of Taehyung with his head turned sharply, red blooming out across his cheek.

 

"You listen to me, you no good son of mine," the king says in a threatening tone. "If you don't wish to run the kingdom, then I have no need for you at all. We cannot let a bastard child have the seat, how many times do I have to tell you this?"

 

Taehyung's jaw clenches, but he doesn't say anything.

 

"You have lessons tomorrow morning at eight," the king continues. "If you don't show up, or you do something to jeopardize this tutor, then you can forget having any free time. I'll throw you in the dungeon with books and candles."

 

Taehyung doesn't reply again.

 

"Are we clear?"

 

Taehyung nods slowly.

 

"Speak, Taehyung. Use your words."

 

"We're clear," he says, barely above a whisper.

 

"Good," the king says, eyes trailing down to look at Jungkook with a scowl. "And get rid of that filthy creature and get up, for god's sake. You'll ruin your reputation."

 

Taehyung swallows nervously, slowly standing up, his arms wrapping around Jungkook to pick him up with him. Despite his father's harsh words, Taehyung's arms are nothing but gentle as they hold him, fingers petting over his fur to help calm him down.

 

When the king finally leaves, Jungkook burrows his face into Taehyung's clothes, shaking a little.

 

"Sorry," Taehyung whispers to him, scratching behind his ears. "But don't worry... I won't let anyone hurt you."

 

Jungkook lifts his head to look up at Taehyung, blinking and tilting his head, confused.

 

"I think I'll keep you," Taehyung murmurs, fingers still gentle as they scratch under his chin. "I'll call you Snow, since your fur is all white. And I'll keep you safe from harm."

 

Jungkook panics a little at that, shuffling in his arms as Taehyung starts carrying him toward the castle. Oh, he always knew his curiosity would get him into trouble and it looks like that day has finally come...

 

He can't stay here as Taehyung's pet rabbit! His family and kingdom need him, will miss him!

 

But when he looks up at Taehyung and sees the red on his cheek from the slap he endured from his father, Jungkook finds himself relaxing in his arms a little.

 

He'll stay today, and sneak out in the night to return home.

 


 

Jungkook tells himself that he's leaving when night comes and Taehyung falls asleep, but he doesn't. Maybe because he's too sleepy from the long journey and even longer day where Taehyung showed him around the castle. Or maybe it's because Taehyung cried when they reached his room and held his cheek gently, and Jungkook's heart shattered for him.

 

Whatever the reason, Jungkook stays throughout the night, curled up close with his nose touching Taehyung's.

 

And maybe Jungkook spends a few days there, with Taehyung, comforting him when he comes in with another blooming red cheek, or upset after his lessons.

 

Maybe… Jungkook thinks that the rumored cold prince is actually very gentle and in need of some comfort.

 


 

Jungkook has always enjoyed the library in his home, but the library in the human castle is even bigger . He hops around, sniffing at all the books, seeing some familiar titles and others that he's never heard of before. And while Taehyung sits in his lesson with the tutor, who seems very strict and slaps his hands when he writes something wrong, Jungkook doesn't stray too far.

 

In fact, he hops himself right into Taehyung's lap, curling up and chinning lightly at his arm or tummy every once in a while in what he hopes is a comforting manner. Taehyung gives small smiles when he does, which makes Jungkook's heart flutter in his chest.

 

Taehyung is very sweet, Jungkook thinks. His hands are always gentle when they pet him, always slow so that he doesn't scare him. Jungkook has only known him for a short while, but he feels oddly protective of the human prince who seems to have a soft heart even if the reputation of him is the polar opposite.

 

Which is probably why when the tutor brings the measuring stick down again to slap Taehyung's hands, Jungkook hops onto the table and catches it with his teeth, chomping through it easily.

 

The library is silent for a few moments, both Taehyung and the tutor stunned by the action.

 

"What a horrid creature," the tutor says with a glare in Jungkook's direction. He glares right back with a defiant huff. "You should train your animals properly or not have them at all, your highness."

 

"Sorry, Professor Lee," Taehyung says quietly, hand coming down to pet Jungkook who has hopped back into his lap. "I'll train Snow better."

 

Jungkook looks up at him and sees Taehyung smile, petting over his ears. 'Good boy,' Taehyung mouths, and Jungkook puffs his chest with pride, chinning his fingers, rubbing his face all over them.

 

Next time the tutor decides to try and swat at Taehyung, Jungkook sits on the table and glares, making them think twice.

 

And best of all, Taehyung gives him extra cuddles and belly rubs when they return to his room later that evening.

 


 

Jungkook has learned a lot about Taehyung over the last couple of weeks (during which he tries not to think about how much of a panic his own kingdom must be over him missing… news has even reached the human kingdom about that). Things like he doesn't like bitter tastes, that he has to sleep while holding something (which is Jungkook, aka Snow, these days), and that he rarely smiles unless he's alone or with Jungkook.

 

The reputation for being ruthless and cruel is one that is made up, apparently, by the king himself.

 

"I hate it here, Snow," Taehyung says as tears of frustration fall down his cheeks. He's pacing in his room, back and forth, and Jungkook sits on his bed and waits for him to still so he can jump to him. "I hate it so much! I never asked for this —  I don't even want to be king!"

 

Jungkook makes a quiet noise in the back of his throat and Taehyung finally seems to calm down a little. At least, enough for him to scoop Jungkook up and sit down, letting the white bunny sniff and snuffle against his neck, gently rubbing his chin on him.

 

"My brother would be so much better at this," he shakily whispers. "I just… I want to run away, but there's nowhere I can even go."

 

Pulling back slightly to press a little bunny kiss to his chin, Jungkook feels his heart sink. Wondering why . Why not just run away?

 

"My father made this awful reputation for me. He said it was because I was weak and other kingdoms would try to start war to take over because of my weakness," Taehyung says, frowning even as Jungkook licks away his tears. "But now, I think even if I went to another kingdom to try and live peacefully, they would think so ill of me that no one would want me. Not even the kind rabbit kingdom."

 

Jungkook's ears perk at the mention of his own home, pulling back to rest his face right over Taehyung's, trying to comfort him. But he just keeps crying, hugging tighter onto him, his breathing getting more ragged with every inhale.

 

He wants to tell him so badly that the rabbit kingdom would accept him, would understand his situation. That he would protect him.

 

That he will protect him.

 

Wriggling out from Taehyung's grasp, Jungkook hops away and turns to look at him. Taehyung pulls his knees to his chest and buries his face in them, crying harder. He doesn't seem to have even noticed Jungkook getting away.

 

It's been a few weeks of being a bunny, so the shift hurts a little bit, his body stretching out as he returns to his human form. White fluffy ears flop down over his head, his tail wiggling behind him as he stretches his limbs out one by one.

 

"Taehyungie," he says gently, kneeling down next to the crying prince.

 

Taehyung's head snaps up to look at him, startled, eyes going comically wide. He scrambles away from him at first, elbow slamming into a piece of furniture, earning a yelp in pain as his hand flies up to hold it.

 

"W-who—"

 

"Taehyungie," Jungkook says, voice very gentle as he gently holds a hand out, not touching him, but keeping it steady. Similar to the way Taehyung did when he first met Jungkook in his bunny form. "It's me, Snow."

 

"S-snow?" Taehyung asks, eyes still wide as he looks around, as if searching for the bunny. "But why?"

 

Jungkook gives him a sheepish smile. "Ah, actually… My name is Jungkook and I come from the rabbit kingdom."

 

Taehyung just blinks owlishly at him.

 

"I was just curious, you see," Jungkook goes on to explain, rubbing the back of his neck nervously, chancing glances up at Taehyung every few moments. "So I snuck out and ended up here... and I enjoyed your company so I stayed a little longer than I planned…"

 

"You're the lost prince of the rabbit kingdom," Taehyung finally says in a whisper. "And I've been keeping you as a pet , oh my god!"

 

Jungkook laughs, sitting down fully on the floor, now that Taehyung seems a little more relaxed. He does reach for the blanket on the bed, pulling it around his bare body, watching as Taehyung finally seems to notice that he is, in fact, naked. His cheeks flush pink and he looks away quickly.

 

"It's okay, I enjoyed my time with you," Jungkook tells him sincerely, his eyes warm as he watches Taehyung. "I was afraid at first, because I'd heard the rumors about you but you're very kind. I think — I think that you shouldn't fear what others will think of you, because there are so many who would listen to you and try to understand you."

 

A tiny smile appears on Taehyung's lips, nervous and unsure, but a smile nonetheless. It eases Jungkook's heart, just a little.

 

"Taehyungie," Jungkook says as he slowly scoots closer, hands reaching out to touch. He looks up at him first, and when Taehyung doesn't pull away, Jungkook slowly rests his hands over Taehyung's. "If you want to run away, then I'll keep you somewhere safe."

 

Taehyung's eyes drop to look at Jungkook's hands resting carefully over his, and slowly, he turns his so that the palm is up, so that he can lace their fingers together, holding his tightly. Like it's a lifeline.

 

And he goes easily when Jungkook pulls him toward him gently, bringing one hand up to gently cup the cheek that still holds a fading bruise from his father's slap earlier in the week.

 

"You'll keep me safe?" Taehyung asks, eyes unsure, but hopeful. It sets something off in Jungkook, something that feels similar to what he felt when he saw the tutor slap his hands or his father slap his cheek. "You promise?"

 

"I promise," Jungkook echos, firm. "You have somewhere safe to run to, if that's what you wish to do."

 


 

"Father will not be happy, you know that, right?"

 

Taehyung bows his head and nods, Jungkook seated next to him in the gardens as they all sit together. He's back in his rabbit form, not wanting to be seen by the palace guards, but also wanting to give the two brothers a chance to speak without him pressuring Taehyung in any way.

 

"I know," Taehyung says quietly. "I'm sorry to push it all on you…"

 

"Don't be sorry about that," Seokjin says, tone soft as he reaches up to ruffle Taehyung's hair. "But are you prepared to say goodbye to your home? Because if you do this, then I don't think you can come back."

 

They don't add 'until after father's death' but Jungkook feels those words hanging in the air between them.

 

"The only thing I'll miss here is you," Taehyung answers. "I'm nervous but I don't want this life. I don't want to be king, I don't want people to think that I'm evil… I don't want to suffer under father's thumb anymore."

 

Seokjin gives him a sympathetic look, arms wrapping around him to pull him close. "I know, you have suffered a great deal," he says softly, rubbing his back slowly. "You've worked hard, Taehyung-ah. If it's a peaceful life you want, then I fully support you."

 

Taehyung wraps his arms around Seokjin's waist, burying his face into his brother's chest. "Thank you," he whispers, "for everything."

 

Jungkook feels sad, his ears flattening against his head, as he watches the two brothers hold each other as if it's their last time to do so. And the fact is, it could be. Jungkook can't imagine not having hugs from the people he loves the most for the rest of his life.

 

"Yah, this isn't the last time we'll see each other," Seokjin says lightly, but his voice is wavering like they're both on the verge of tears. "Someday, when I'm king, I'll make good relations with the other kingdoms so that you can travel home and come and go as you please."

 

Taehyung smiles, wiping under his eyes. "Please do," he tells him. "You'll make a great king, hyung."

 

Seokjin smiles, ruffling Taehyung's hair again.

 

"So what's the plan?" he asks. "How can I help you?"

 


 

The plan is simple: They sneak out when the castle is asleep, and anyone not sleeping, Seokjin will take care of by giving them fake tasks or scares.

 

To keep Jungkook from getting caught or noticed, he remains in his bunny form, though Taehyung does bring extra clothes for him for when he shifts back after they escape the kingdom wall. In fact, Taehyung packs just a small bag, with only a few things — like a photo of himself and his brother, some golden jewelry pieces for his clothes, and a ring that he says belonged to his mother before she passed away.

 

It's late in the night when they give Seokjin the signal from Taehyung's window, stepping outside of his room and slowly walking down the stairs. The guards here are easy — they're sleeping on the job.

 

But the ones guarding the doors are not.

 

Taehyung, with his bag tied to his back and Jungkook held tightly in his arms, slowly slinks around a wall to take the back exit, going toward the gardens instead. He moves stealthily, quietly, undetected.

 

Until a guard walks right by them, Taehyung having nearly run right into him.

 

He flattens his back against the wall, his hold tightening slightly around Jungkook as he waits for the guard to leave, walking along the gardens on patrol.

 

"Guard!" Seokjin's voice calls in the distance. "I saw someone suspicious over here from my window!"

 

The guard takes off in a speedy run after that and both Taehyung and Jungkook heave a sigh in relief before they slowly come out from the shadows. Taehyung makes a mad dash across the gardens, not even caring when he runs through flowers, as he zeroes in on a hole in the wall.

 

The one that Jungkook slipped in through the first day.

 

While Jungkook can easily hop through, it takes Taehyung a lot more effort to climb over, using a rope made with clothes that they tied together earlier in the evening. Jungkook shifts into his human form to help give Taehyung a boost, and once he's over the top, shifts back into his bunny form to hop through the opening.

 

And then, they run.

 

And Taehyung laughs, rejoicing in being free.

 

The farther they get from the human kingdom, the louder Taehyung laughs. Jungkook shifts so that he can run alongside him and laugh with him, grinning from ear to ear as they run through the foliage and trees.

 

Free.

 


 

The castle is in utter chaos when Jungkook returns, a sheepish smile on his lips as his mother scolds him and his brothers, Yoongi and Hoseok, both take their chance to swat at his butt while also wrapping him up in a blanket. He lets them all yell, cry, and take turns squishing his cheeks and hugging him tightly before he brings Taehyung closer, fingers loosely intertwined.

 

"I was curious," Jungkook starts to explain and his mother pinches his black, floppy ear, making him whine in protest.

 

"You're always curious, baby bun," she sighs, shaking her head.

 

"Anyway, I was curious ," he begins again with a pout, "and I ended up in the human kingdom's palace garden."

 

They all go silent, ears perked up, nervous.

 

The human kingdom is not known for its kindness, after all.

 

"This is Prince Taehyung," Jungkook says, gently pulling him closer. Taehyung looks small, nervous, as he bows politely to them all. "He kept me safe when I was there and took care of me, and I came to learn that the rumors of his character aren't real. So I offered him safety here."

 

"But… what if the human kingdom wants to attack to get him back?" Hoseok asks nervously, eyes flickering from Jungkook to their mother. "His army could crush us in a single battle…"

 

"Ah, please, don't worry about that," Taehyung says gently, biting his lip as they all perk their ears up to listen to him. "I left a note saying that I was journeying far away and that I had no destination in mind and not to come looking for me. My brother, Seokjin, will also cover for me to keep other kingdoms safe from his fury."

 

The three of them seem to breathe a sigh of relief at that news, their shoulders dropping again.

 

"I'm sure you've had a very long journey," Jungkook's mother says softly, her hand sliding up to touch Jungkook's cheek. "Why don't you draw him a bath, baby bun? And we can prepare a room for him."

 

Jungkook smiles, his eyes moving over to Taehyung. "Okay," he says, his own hand sliding down to take Taehyung's gently. "Let's go, Taehyungie."

 


 

"My room is just across the hall if you need anything," Jungkook explains, sitting behind Taehyung on the soft bed and working a towel through Taehyung's hair for him. After Taehyung had come out from the bath, dressed in some of Jungkook's clothes, he settled down to dry his hair for him.

 

Something that his mother always does for him to comfort him after a stressful day.

 

"Oh, and we usually wake up quite early for breakfast," Jungkook adds with a small smile when he notices Taehyung leaning into his touch, his eyes closed. "So I'll come wake you up. But after we eat, you can always go back to sleep if you're still tired."

 

Taehyung hums quietly. "Okay," he replies. "Thank you, Jungkook. For everything."

 

Jungkook smiles, finally finishing drying his hair as best he can with the now damp towel. He slowly gets up, letting Taehyung get comfortable laying back on the bed.

 

"Of course," he says softly, helping to pull the blankets up for Taehyung. "Good night, Taehyungie. Sweet dreams."

 

Taehyung pulls the blankets up to his chin, looking cozy and adorable as he answers with a quiet, "Good night, Jungkook."

 

With a fond smile, Jungkook heads out of Taehyung's room so that he can get himself ready for bed. It's nice to wear his comfortable cotton clothing, nice to sink into his own familiar bed with his scent surrounding him. But it feels a bit… lacking.

 

Jungkook misses falling asleep surrounded by Taehyung's comforting, soft scent.

 

Tossing and turning for what feels like hours, Jungkook groans, kicking his legs restlessly. It's late into the night now, and he just wants to fall asleep. But no matter how many sheep he counts, or how long he keeps his eyes closed, sleep doesn't want to come to him.

 

Kicking his blankets from his body, he heads toward the door, his footsteps light.

 

And just as he opens it, he finds Taehyung on the other side, hand up like he was about to knock.

 

They stare at each other for a moment before they both break into shy giggles, and Jungkook opens the door a little wider to let him in. As he shuts the door, he can't help but smile to himself as he hears the shifting of his mattress and rustling of sheets as Taehyung crawls into his bed.

 

"I couldn't sleep," Taehyung explains in a whisper as Jungkook comes back to his bed to get under the covers beside him.

 

"Me either," Jungkook admits as they both settle down, laying facing each other, heads resting on the same pillow. "I was just going to go to your room, actually."

 

Taehyung smiles, and if Jungkook didn't know any better, he swears he sees Taehyung's cheeks tinge a light hue of pink.

 

It's quiet, the two of them both letting their exhausted eyes close. Jungkook feels Taehyung's fingers brush against his slightly, his heart fluttering at the contact before he loosely intertwines their fingers.

 

It's much easier to fall asleep now, with Taehyung's comforting scent surrounding him and mixing with his own. And for Taehyung, it's easier to fall asleep with the comfort of his closest friend beside him.

 

Jungkook is half asleep, but he swears that just before he completely falls into his dream world, he feels the briefest of kisses pressed to his cheek.

 


 

The rabbit kingdom stays on edge for several weeks following Taehyung's arrival — worried about the human kingdom burning down their village in search of their prince. And while word does spread across kingdoms about the missing human prince, they are never contacted about it specifically.

 

By the third month of Taehyung staying with them, everyone has grown much more at ease.

 

As autumn draws to a close and the weather begins to get colder and darker in the evenings, waking up to find snow covering the ground, Taehyung and Jungkook also get closer and more comfortable with each other.

 

Since the first night that Taehyung comes to stay with them, the two never sleep apart. Jungkook's brothers and mother tease him for it lightly, but he doesn't mind.

 

Not when he gets to enjoy cuddling with Taehyung, who is always so warm and loves to hold him tightly in his arms.

 

They spend mornings together in the library, reading cuddled up near the fire. Enjoy snacks together, feeding each other the treat they find the yummiest and sharing food during mealtimes. They go horseback riding together, racing to see who can reach the kingdom wall before the other, and indulge in hot tea together after to warm up.

 

Sometimes, Taehyung paints him, and Jungkook holds his pose still for hours so he can get it just right. Though he always makes Taehyung laugh when he starts to look too serious.

 

Today, they're outside in the gardens together, bundled up with wool and fur as they run around in the snow. When the snow started falling last night, the two had looked out the window together and made a wish.

 

And Jungkook wished for Taehyung's happiness.

 

His heart flutters as he watches Taehyung throw snow over his head, grinning his big, boxy smile as it falls around him. He looks beautiful like this — so happy and glowing, gorgeous, like a snow globe with the snow falling around him.

 

"Let's make snow angels!" Taehyung shouts, running over to him through the snow, breath labored when he finally grabs his mitten covered hand to tug him along.

 

And Jungkook goes easily, grinning so much his nose scrunches. Taehyung is so endearing, so adorable and good. Every day is a struggle not to kiss him silly, not to confess how much his heart races when they cuddle in bed together every night.

 

As they fall into the snow, they both laugh, arms and legs moving to make snow angels. It's a kind of joy that Jungkook hasn't felt in a while, and something about watching Taehyung struggle to get to his feet without ruining his work goes straight to his heart. How careful and gentle he is, how kind he is.

 

How lonely he must have been…

 

"Here, let me help you," Taehyung giggles, hand outstretched for Jungkook. He takes it, grinning as Taehyung pulls him to his feet, and they look at their angels.

 

So close, their fingers would be touching, if they were real angels.

 

"Cute," Taehyung says under his breath, eyes sweeping over the angels imprinted in the snow. "Should we make a snowman next?"

 

Taehyung turns to look at Jungkook then, his eyes sparkling with childlike excitement, his mouth stretched in a wide grin that shows off all his teeth. His nose and cheeks are red from the cold, puffs of cold air escaping his lips when he breathes.

 

And he is so beautiful.

 

Jungkook takes off his mittens to bring his warm hands to Taehyung's cheeks, surprising the older.

 

"Tae," Jungkook whispers, his eyes lowering to watch Taehyung's lips for a moment.

 

He can hear the breath leave Taehyung's lungs and it would make him anxious except for the fact that a moment later, Taehyung's hands come up to rest on Jungkook's forearms. Not to push him away — but to keep his hands on his cheeks. To keep him close.

 

"Jungkookie," Taehyung whispers back.

 

Jungkook gently brings him closer, their lips finding each other in the middle as they kiss for the very first time. It's soft and sweet, lips molding together and pulling back before shyly slotting together again. And it tastes like winter and the cold, but in the best possible way.

 

Because Jungkook has never felt quite so warm in his life.

 


 

It's the day of the new year that they officially announce to Jungkook's family that they're in love. Apparently, according to Yoongi and Hoseok, this is news to absolutely no one.

 

Still, it feels nice to say it out loud. To be able to hold hands and cuddle in the open without worry.

 

To be able to hold each other in bed late at night, sharing sweet kisses as the moon lights the room and snow falls from the sky. It's a night like this that Taehyung is laying on top of Jungkook, their clothes strewn on the floor around the bed, hands exploring each other's bodies, exploring and mapping them out.

 

Eager to know each other, to learn each other.

 

"Tae," Jungkook whispers, breath catching at the end in a quiet gasp at the feeling of their half hard cocks sliding against each other. Taehyung's fingers trail down Jungkook's chest, tickling him as fingertips brush lightly over his skin to his hip. Goosebumps rise on Jungkook's skin, his abdomen clenching as he breathes out heavily at the teasing touch.

 

"Jungkookie," Taehyung echoes softly as he nudges their noses together gently. "I want you."

 

Jungkook's eyes flutter shut as he tilts his head back, allowing Taehyung to kiss down his neck slowly. His head is spinning, legs spreading slightly under the covers to allow Taehyung to settle between them comfortably.

 

"Want you, too," he answers, fingers trailing down Taehyung's bare back. Jungkook feels teeth graze over the skin of his neck, Taehyung sucking gently to make a fresh mark on his skin. "Fuck, Tae—"

 

Taehyung hums, kissing slowly down Jungkook's chest, experimentally flicking his tongue over Jungkook's nipples, teeth grazing on the skin around them as they harden under his ministrations. Jungkook squirms slightly, torn between wanting to pull back and pushing his chest up against Taehyung's tongue as he runs the flat of it against one of his sensitive buds.

 

A quiet gasp works its way out of Jungkook's lips and Taehyung continues kissing down his stomach and hips, finding a place to suck another mark into his skin.

 

"Wanna try something," Taehyung says as he wraps his fingers around Jungkook's cock to give it a few strokes, making Jungkook's hips buck up into his fist. "Can I suck you off?"

 

Jungkook shudders, all the breath leaving his body as he nods, watching Taehyung settle between his legs with wide eyes. "Y-yeah," he whispers, fingers slowly reaching down to brush Taehyung's hair back from his forehead so he can watch. "Yeah, yes — please ."

 

Taehyung holds the base of Jungkook's cock with one hand and leans in to leave a few kittenish licks to the head, exploring this part of his body in a new way now, too. Jungkook's chest heaves, watching Taehyung closely as he directs the head of his cock to his mouth again and wraps his lips around it, tongue slowly swirling over it and digging into the slit.

 

It takes all of his power not to thrust up into the warm, wet heat of Taehyung's mouth. His fingers are gentle as they thread through his hair, his other hand grasping at the sheets as his head falls back onto the pillows, a quiet moan escaping from his parted lips.

 

It feels so good that Jungkook's head is spinning, his toes curling as he lifts his head to look down between his legs again. The sight of Taehyung there has Jungkook struggling not to come instantly. He looks so good like this, so sexy as he swirls his tongue along the underside of his cock, curling around it.

 

Jungkook wishes he could memorize this moment — how he feels, how it feels to watch Taehyung so intimately, and how Taehyung looks so effortlessly gorgeous with his lips stretched around his cock.

 

Taehyung slowly starts to bob his head, hollowing his cheeks and sucking softly as he tries to take more of his cock in his mouth. He gags on it, pulling back, and strokes Jungkook's cock a few times before trying again.

 

"Feels so good," Jungkook keens, back arching slightly as Taehyung pins his hips to the mattress, taking more of him into his mouth until he hits the back of his throat and Taehyung gags again, pulling back to tongue at the head. "Fuck, oh fuck ."

 

Taehyung groans, breathy, as he sinks back down on his cock, the vibrations making Jungkook see stars before he squeezes his eyes shut, tugging lightly at Taehyung's hair. Even with being held down like this, Jungkook can't stop his hips from bucking up slightly into Taehyung's open mouth, moaning as his cock slides deeper in the wet heat.

 

Taking it in stride and pulling back to let Jungkook shallowly thrust up into his mouth before pinning his hips down again, Taehyung takes a deep breath before sinking down onto him and taking him as deep as he can. Hand stroking what doesn't fit, Taehyung's fingers lightly roll over Jungkook's balls, too, teasing them.

 

It's driving Jungkook crazy, body writhing on the sheets, biting his bottom lip and gripping at the sheets.

 

"Taehyung," he moans, throwing his head back against the pillows as heat pools in his stomach. "I-I'm getting close already."

 

Taehyung bobs his head a few more times before pulling off, giving him a lick from the base to the tip to collect the precum oozing from the slit. He looks obscene, saliva connecting from his wet lips to the head of his cock. Just the sight of him like this, between his legs, has Jungkook's cock twitching.

 

Fuck, he's so beautiful. Jungkook's torn between wanting to kiss him silly or have him fuck him into the mattress.

 

"Where's the oil?" Taehyung asks, his voice husky from his attempts at deepthroating him and it sends a shiver down Jungkook's spine. As if Taehyung's voice wasn't sexy enough before.

 

Reaching for the bedside table, Jungkook grabs the vial of oil and hands it off to Taehyung, who makes quick work of slicking up his fingers and drizzling a little down Jungkook's cock and ass. Jungkook squirms a bit at the feeling of it dripping between his legs, eyes hazy as he sits up enough to cup Taehyung's nape and draw him in for a kiss.

 

And when Jungkook slips his tongue between Taehyung's parted lips and tastes himself there, it makes him moan as his head spins with want.

 

"So pretty, Taehyungie," Jungkook murmurs against Taehyung's lips, noses brushing as they reslot their lips together. Taehyung hums, cheeks flushing, nipping playfully at Jungkook's bottom lip.

 

"You're pretty too, Jungkookie," Taehyung says softly, eyes sparkling in the moonlight, resting their foreheads together. "Gorgeous and kind, too."

 

As Taehyung brings one hand down to lightly tease at Jungkook's entrance, he jumps at the foregin feeling. "Ah, Taehyungie—"

 

"Tell me if you don't like something," Taehyung whispers against his lips. "I've only done this to myself so… I want to make sure you enjoy it, too, okay?"

 

Jungkook nods, arms wrapping around Taehyung's neck to keep him close as his eyes flutter shut. Tilting his head back until their lips are ghosting one anothers, Jungkook finally drags Taehyung in the rest of the way for a slow, heated kiss. Tongues tease tongues, Taehyung deepens it just as his finger circles Jungkook's rim, teasing him before finally pressing against the tight muscle until it sucks him in.

 

It feels strange at first, but not unbearable, so Jungkook just greedily kisses Taehyung harder, sucking on his bottom lip, pressing back against his finger.

 

Taehyung starts up a steady pace, lazily kissing Jungkook under the covers as he pumps his finger in and out until he's stretched enough for two. When he pulls out, two replacing the one, Jungkook whines into the kiss at the stretch.

 

"Oh," Jungkook gasps, head tilting to the side as Taehyung presses kisses to his neck. Taehyung's fingers start pumping into him again, this time scissoring him open to stretch him more. "Oh, that feels so good."

 

Taehyung pulls back to look at him and Jungkook laughs at how serious he looks before breaking off into a moan, pressing down against his fingers more, wanting them deeper.

 

"Why are you laughing?" Taehyung asks, slowing down as he giggles, too, which only makes Jungkook laugh again.

 

"Your face is so serious, like when you're painting," he answers, hands sliding up to cup Taehyung's cheeks and squish them. "It's so cute. You're so cute."

 

Taehyung grins, leaning down so their lips meet again, his fingers curling inside of Jungkook until he finds his sweet spot. Jungkook's body jolts, choking on a moan as his hips buck up wildly, trying to both shy away from the feeling and get more of it.

 

"Feel good?" Taehyung asks against his skin. "Or is it too much?"

 

Jungkook's thighs are trembling, panting as his body jumps when Taehyung's fingers brush over his prostate again. "'S good, so good," he whimpers, pressing back against Taehyung's fingers more. "Oh my god."

 

Heels digging into the mattress to help fuck himself down on Taehyung's fingers better, he groans as his fingers tease over his prostate again, stretching out his rim before pulling out, only to be replaced with three fingers.

 

"Oh fuck, Taehyung—"

 

The warm feeling is pooling in his stomach again as Jungkook sloppily pulls Taehyung close to kiss him, desperate to feel more of him, tongue teasing against his as nails rake up Taehyung's bare back. Taehyung moans against his lips, fingers curling inside Jungkook to brush over his prostate until he's trembling, hips bucking wildly.

 

"Oh fuck, fuck, I'm gonna come," Jungkook cries out as his toes curl and he gives one last thrust up with Taehyung's fingers buried deep in his ass before he comes. Back arching high off the bed, nails digging into Taehyung's shoulder as Jungkook moans Taehyung's name breathlessly, cum shooting up his stomach and chest.

 

Taehyung works him through it, until Jungkook collapses back against the bed, panting to catch his breath. Fingers slipping from Jungkook, Taehyung crawls back up to kiss him again, swallowing all of the quiet whimpers leaving his lips eagerly. He gently rubs at Jungkook's ears as he comes down, pressing kisses all over his lips and cheeks and nose, comforting him until his body relaxes.

 

"Do you wanna keep going or should we stop here?" Taehyung asks, nose dragging along Jungkook's jawline, making him shiver.

 

"Keep going," Jungkook answers in a whisper, looking up at him through half lidded eyes. He can feel Taehyung's cock, still hard, against his thigh. And the thought of it inside him excites him, the thought of being close like this with him makes his heart flutter. "Want you, Tae."

 

God, does Jungkook want him.

 

In every single way possible.

 

Biting his lip and pressing his forehead against Jungkook's, Taehyung brings a hand up to gently stroke over Jungkook's floppy ears, cupping his cheeks.

 

"I want you, too," he whispers, lips ghosting over Jungkook's.

 

Grabbing the oil to slick up his cock, Taehyung settles on top of Jungkook, who pulls the blanket up over them again to keep the cold, winter air away from their bare bodies. Positioning his cock at Jungkook's entrance, Taehyung kisses Jungkook slowly as he starts to push in, nudging their noses together and swallowing Jungkook's whimpers and gasps.

 

Jungkook has never felt anything like this before. A hand around his cock is nothing compared to being filled with one.

 

Especially when it's Taehyung's.

 

"So full," Jungkook whispers, his eyes shut as Taehyung peppers kisses over his cheeks and nose as he bottoms out, letting Jungkook adjust to him. "Feels so good, Tae."

 

"Shit, Jungkook," Taehyung moans quietly, his voice so deep and sexy that it sends Jungkook's stomach flipping. "You're so beautiful."

 

Jungkook's cheeks flush and he bites his lip, eyes opening enough to look at him. Arms wrapping around Taehyung's neck to pull him close, hips rolling back onto his cock as Jungkook kisses him slowly, tenderly.

 

And that's all the permission Taehyung needs to start moving, building up a slow and steady pace. The headboard taps against the wall with every thrust into him, the floorboards creaking underneath the bed, the sheets rustling as Jungkook tugs the blanket up higher over them.

 

"So good," Jungkook whispers, nudging their noses together as Taehyung's cock brushes against his prostate, making him moan loudly, his back arching again, still oversensitive.

 

It feels so good — right on the cusp of pain and pleasure. His cock twitches, slowly starting to fill out again as Taehyung thrusts into that spot again and again.

 

Jungkook moans softly, arms loosely wrapped around Taehyung's shoulders, his feet pressed into the mattress to push himself up to meet each of his slow and steady thrusts. Arousal coils deep in the pit of his stomach, his body shaking with each hit to his prostate, overstimulated whines punched from his lungs with every drag of Taehyung's cock against it.

 

"So good, Taehyungie," he whines, burying his nose into Taehyung's neck to breathe in his comforting scent deeply. Taehyung groans as he slowly sits back, his hands sliding down Jungkook's thighs to spread them more before pushing them up against his chest, holding them there as he fucks into him a little harder, still keeping the same slow pace. "Mmm, feels so — so good."

 

"Fuck," Taehyung whispers, turning his head to press a soft, chaste kiss to Jungkook's lips. "You're making me feel so good, bun. So warm and tight."

 

"Ah, I think I could, ah , come again," Jungkook says, breathless as his nails dig into Taehyung's shoulder at another hit into his abused prostate. Taehyung hums, leaning down to lick and suck at his neck again, making Jungkook whine, hips bucking as he meets Taehyung's next thrust in.

 

"Feel so good, I'm already close," Taehyung whispers into his ear, making Jungkook shiver underneath him.

 

Jungkook lets out another breathy moan, his hips trying to work themselves down onto Taehyung's cock, trying to get him deeper with every slow thrust in. His fingers grasp at the sheets next to him, gripping the fabric tightly as he rolls his hips up.

 

"Tae," he whines, desperate now. "Touch me, please."

 

"Fuck, okay," Taehyung whispers, shaky, as he wraps his fingers around Jungkook's cock and starts to stroke him off in time with his thrusts.

 

Another hit to his prostate has Jungkook clenching tight around Taehyung, his head falling back and eyes closing as he gets closer and closer to the edge. The heat pooling in his stomach has his mouth dropping open in a silent moan, his thighs trembling from where Taehyung is holding them up to his chest to fuck into him deeper.

 

The pleasure is almost blinding, overstimulated and needy; the feeling of being so full making Jungkook feel even higher. And with every little kiss to his skin from Taehyung's lips, his hot breath making him shiver, Jungkook can feel his stomach clench, wanting this moment to last forever.

 

"I love you," Taehyung says, breathless as his voice breaks off into another soft moan. "Fuck, Jungkook, I'm close—"

 

Jungkook's heart soars at the words — words they have whispered late at night, words they have announced to Jungkook's family.

 

Words that have not been said in the height of pleasure until now.

 

"I love you, too," Jungkook whispers, mind swimming as Taehyung fucks him just a little bit harder, a little bit faster as his pace starts to get sloppy when he chases after his orgasm. Every drag of his cock inside him has Jungkook moaning, shuddering and body trembling as he digs his nails into Taehyung's back and rakes them down, leaving a mark of his own on him.

 

And when Taehyung moves his other hand to reach behind him and play with his tail, Jungkook keens, his back arching as he comes suddenly from the oversensitivity, cock spurting out less this time than the last. His body tenses, clenching tight around Taehyung's cock, making him moan as he continues to fuck into him.

 

Taehyung's entire body shudders as he fucks Jungkook through his orgasm, pounding into him harder and faster as he chases his own orgasm. It feels so good, Jungkook clenching so tightly around him, face contorted in pleasure as he comes down from his high.

 

"Oh fuck, Jungkookie," Taehyung says, pressing him into the bed as he snaps his hips harder, panting against his lips as Jungkook's moans turn more breathy, overstimulated and so cute it's making his head spin.

 

It's with a few more sloppy thrusts in that Taehyung buries himself deep and comes, hips slowing until they still as he drops down on top of Jungkook. They're both panting, shivering at the aftermath.

 

But when Taehyung lifts his head to look at him, Jungkook wraps his arms around him and pulls him close to press a soft kiss to his lips.

 

Taehyung's so perfect and beautiful, so incredible.

 

Jungkook feels so lucky to hold him and be held by him.

 

"Wow," he whispers, still in a daze, and Taehyung giggles quietly.

 

"Yeah," Taehyung echoes as he nudges their noses together so he can properly kiss his lips. "Wow, indeed."

 

They spend the next hour with their legs tangled together, arms around each other, hands gentle as they explore their skin and kiss over marks they left on each other in the heat of the moment. And when they start getting sleepy at last, Taehyung grabs a handkerchief to clean them both off before they curl up under the covers together.

 

Jungkook sighs as he wraps his arms around Taehyung's waist, face buried in the crook of his neck while Taehyung holds him close, fingers light as they dance across his bare back.

 

"Goodnight Taehyungie," Jungkook whispers, his eyes heavy as he breathes Taehyung's scent in deeply.

 

"Goodnight Jungkookie," Taehyung whispers back, nose nuzzling into his hair fondly before pressing a soft kiss to the side of his head. "Sweet dreams."

 

And Jungkook does have sweet dreams.

 

Dreams of their life together, of a future where they're happy and in love every single day. Dreams of running the kingdom together happily, of adopting children, and growing old together, falling asleep in bed together this way for the rest of their lives.

 

Now curious about what their future will end up looking like, but excited to find out in time, with his fingers laced with Taehyung's.

 


 

It's years before Taehyung returns to the human kingdom, though he keeps in touch with Seokjin by letters.

 

The day he steps foot in his home kingdom, his fingers laced with Jungkook's, he feels a strange sense of nostalgia for a childhood that he doesn't miss or long for. Jungkook squeezes his hand, seeing how Taehyung looks around, seeing how much has changed in his absence.

 

"I'm okay," Taehyung tells him softly, a small smile on his lips as he squeezes Jungkook's hand back. "Very strange to be back, though."

 

"I bet," Jungkook murmurs, pulling him close to press a gentle kiss to the side of his head. "Come on, I'm sure your brother is waiting for your arrival."

 

They head toward the palace together, fingers intertwined the whole time until Seokjin catches sight of his brother, and pulls him in for a tight embrace. Jungkook smiles happily, watching the two of them reunite, giving them space to catch up on everything and gush about each other.

 

Today is the day that Seokjin officially takes over as king of the human kingdom — and Taehyung couldn't be more proud.

 

They sit in the crowd together, watching as Seokjin is crowned as king, as he pledges his vow to the kingdom, to the people, and to his home.

 

And later that evening, he and Jungkook sign an official treaty between their kingdoms, creating instead an allyship.

 

With travel no longer banned, the two kingdoms can finally find peace.

 

And Taehyung can finally find solace in both of his homes — the one of his roots, and the one that he made in Jungkook's heart.