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My Harbour Full of Ships

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“This place feels like hell,” Taehyung says one afternoon, sitting on the left side of their raggedy couch. Like he’s said every afternoon for the past three days of this heatwave. Ass parked left. Not the right side but the right side. The correct side.

Jeongguk, slouched next to him, grunts.

“Sweat pouring down my ass crack like Niagra Falls or something,” Taehyung continues, spreading his legs even wider, right knee almost touching Jeongguk’s. He’s an overheated and miserable mess stripped down to just to his underwear, tan supple skin stretched over sharp collarbones. A golden colour that Jeongguk can’t now, can’t ever, live up to.

Jeongguk swallows. It’s been three days of this too.

Their apartment faces southwest, the temperature inside climbing all day long till it reaches this crescendo in the late afternoons when they get home. Taehyung first. Jeongguk half an hour to an hour later. Tonight, they’ll have to sleep naked again, shying away to opposite ends of the bed to avoid touching each other’s scalding skin.

“Fucking hate summers in the city.”

Jeongguk stays silent. Blinks slowly and watches Taehyung play a new game on his phone. It’s annoying how stupid he looks. Long hair stuck to his neck and forehead with sweat, eyes squinting at the screen, and tongue poking out between his lips as he tries to spark together his last 2 braincells not fried-out by the heat.

It’s annoying how sexy he makes stupid look.

Jeongguk twists his body slightly to the left, trying to obtain something resembling relief. Anything, really. Just a modicum of comfort or a short respite from how the leather sticks to his skin. He’s sitting on the right side of the couch, the wrong side of the couch, where the springs dig into the flesh of his thighs no matter how he positions himself and the breeze of their 10 year-old fan that Seokjin donated to them out of pity can’t reach.

The whirring of the fan follows Jeongguk everywhere he goes in the apartment. It’s with him in the living room as Taehyung plays his games and with him in the bedroom as they go to sleep. The whirring of the fan, the sweltering heat that coils itself tightly around everything in the apartment till it suffocates, and Taehyung’s presence. On the left side of the couch. The right side.

Three days.

Jeongguk lifts himself off the couch, leather peeling off his skin with a sound that haunts Jeongguk’s sweaty nightmares, and Taehyung barely tears his eyes away from his phone long enough to throw him a questioning glance. He should have looked a little longer.

There’s loud wheeze full of pain when Jeongguk drops his body into Taehyung’s lap like dead weight, phone clattering to the ground.

“Jesus, Jeongguk! Fuck!

Jeongguk has always liked how deep Taehyung’s voice goes when he’s angry. His words bleeding all the different shades of red.  

“You’re on my side of the couch,” Jeongguk says simply. Like it’s a real explanation.

What the-!” Taehyung’s hands connect with his back hard enough for some of the air to escape him. “Get the fuck off me, Guk! It’s fucking 400 degrees in here!”

Digging both feet into the carpet, Jeongguk pushes all his weight back onto Taehyung, calf muscles burning. He’s not going anywhere. There’s a sick satisfaction at spreading the pain and grief this heatwave has been giving him. And Jeongguk has wanted to share everything with Taehyung since the time Taehyung took him out for their first date, wallet forgotten at home, and the owner made Jeongguk leave his silver bracelet behind as collateral while they scrounged up the funds. Apparently, misery is no exception.

Taehyung’s hands tighten painfully around Jeongguk’s waist and, for a second, Jeongguk’s scared Taehyung will be shitty in the way Jeongguk’s being shitty. That Taehyung will be shitty in a way all boys can be shitty and wrestle Jeongguk off until they probably crash through the coffee table and someone ends up with an elbow to the eye socket.

But then Jeongguk feels Taehyung’s body go limp behind him and his chest expand in a heavy sigh. No real fight in him when he’s this worn down by the beating sun outside.

“You’re such a cunt, y’know that.”

Jeongguk smirks; Taehyung’s right. It is hotter than Satan’s asshole in their living room. Taehyung’s a wall of almost unbearable heat against his back and Jeongguk feels the tin fabric of his top growing damp and uncomfortable with their combined sweat. Even the way the naked skin of their legs rub together is aggravating. But Jeongguk hasn’t felt this pleased in three days.

“Wanna sit this side of the couch,” Jeongguk says. Like it’s reasonable. And Taehyung does nothing but grumble softly in response.

In his new spot Jeongguk is closer to the windows. Outside he sees the blinding glare reflected of all the steel and glass that makes up the inner city. Pretty. Brutal. A massive magnifying glass scorching it’s inhabitants like ants. He can’t wait for the end of the heatwave to come. For darkness and rain. Taehyung and Jeongguk sharing hotteok under their windblown umbrella while the neon reflects up at them from the pools of water around their feet instead of sleeping on opposite sides of the bed.

“Guk,” Taehyung whines from behind, legs gently jostling Jeongguk. “You’re gonna give me heatstroke. Get off.”

Jeongguk huffs. He’s not done yet. There’s something simmering under his skin. He feels agitated, pent up, too hot to be this close to Taehyung but too restless to be alone. “Suck it up.”

Two vicious jabs between Jeongguk ribs, exactly where he’s ticklish, precisely where Taehyung knows he’s weak, and then Jeongguk’s dumped sideways in one well-placed shove.

Jeongguk glares up at Taehyung from his newfound place on the couch, one leg still draped over Taehyung’s lap, the other foot on the floor, Jeongguk’s back resting on the sharp springs. Even from this angle Taehyung looks good. In a way no person should really be allowed to. His head is tilted, long hair brushing past his cheekbones, and his strong eyebrows are scrunched up in irritation above dark eyes. Such a pleasant view.

“Whaddaya want, Guk?”

What does he want?

For this heatwave to stop. For the burning in his belly to give. For Taehyung’s hands on him. For Taehyung to…

“Touch me.”

Taehyung rolls his eyes, angrily mutters unbelievable under his breath, but he wraps one large hand around the thigh spread across his lap and Jeongguk feels something in him settle. “You get so moody when it’s hot.”

“You’re not exactly Mr. Sunshine either, shitbitch.”

“Cuz my boyfriend’s an asshole,” Taehyung counters, pinching the inside of Jeongguk’s thighs and making him jolt.

There are marks there. Old ones that, when Jeongguk pushes them in the shower, still throb. Marks that Taehyung left behind days ago before the city turned into an open-air oven and everything and everyone became too hot to the touch. Faded bruises peeking out from under the shorts that Taehyung is pushing higher up his leg till it’s bunched up at his groin.

“Better?” Taehyung asks. His grin is a little too sharp. A little vindictive. Jeongguk shudders.

“Y-yeah,” Jeongguk says, feeling Taehyung digging his fingertips deeper into old love bites. They burn. The air too hot in Jeongguk’s lungs and only getting hotter. Even this side of the couch. Not the right side but the right side. Taehyung’s side. “Better.”