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xjoonchildx · a day ago
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kanalia | jhs x reader | chapter three: all the finest things in the kingdom
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banner by the amazing @kimtaehyunq
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⚜️summary: secrets and uncertainty plague a young queen in her arranged marriage to a kind but distant king. the farther she drifts from her husband, the closer she gets to one of his most trusted men.
⚜️pairing: queen!reader x royalguard!hoseok
⚜️rating: mature, 18+
⚜️genre: royal AU, historical AU, smut, slow burn & pining
⚜️warnings: infidelity (it’s complicated, y’all) mentions of pregnancy, fertility issues. OC struggles with depressive thoughts and episodes.
⚜️word count: 8.0K
⚜️notes: ermagerd y'all she's a writer! like a published chapter and everything! hahaha thank you guys for putting up with my chaos and my delays. i appreciate you all very much. semi-beta read by the boo @hobi-gif because your girl can never finish her homework on time, read through entirely by @btsarmy9593 because we share a time zone and i know when i can bug her. if you enjoy this chapter or this story, pretty please let me know. i'd love to hear from you!
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Fate is a rather fickle thing, is it not?
For much of your life, it’s smiled on you. It saw fit to hand you a charmed existence; placed you in the enviable position of favored daughter to a wealthy, powerful family. It was fate that determined that one day -- through absolutely no endeavor of your own -- you would ascend even higher than the lofty circumstances you’d already been gifted.
To the throne.
But it is also fate that has seen fit to humble you. It’s placed you in a kingdom far from home, absent the comfort of familiar faces and customs. It is fate that has determined that -- through absolutely no endeavor of your own -- you will be bound for life to a man who cannot love you. Seated in a position of power with no actual power to wield.
And just as you’d once happily accepted fate’s favor, you must now accept its trials.
You have come to understand that there is no undertaking quite as fruitless as raging against forces beyond your control. That trying to fight against your fate would be as futile as trying to count all the stars in the sky.
So the days pass and the heaviness in your body slowly starts to lighten. You exhale the bitterness and disillusionment with each breath and let the wind carry it away.
None of it remains by the time Namjoon resumes his nighttime visits.
Nothing remains at all, in fact, but a vast emptiness that stretches wide inside of you. It is only your body in that chamber with the King -- only your body that follows his gentle instruction and only your body that tenses at the thick stretch of his entry. It is only your body that feels the lingering tenderness between your legs long after he’s retreated to his own chamber.
Well, the King can have your body. It is his by right, after all.
But your mind? Your heart?
Those are yours and yours alone.
⚜️⚜️⚜️⚜️
You can smell the promise of fall in the breeze.
Something in the air has shifted in recent days -- the summer heat ebbing into a balmy, comfortable warmth. You welcome the change in climate each morning as you bid Hyeri goodbye and set out for your walk.
You take your time about your journey to the woods, winding a meandering, circuitous route across the lush green spanse of the castle’s grounds. You offer kind smiles for anyone who happens to cross your leisurely path, certain you must appear aimless and wandering.
But you know the truth of it -- that your steps are chosen carefully, with purpose.
It is the path that carries you away from prying eyes at the castle and allows you to draw near to the stables. Close enough to observe them at a distance, but not so close as to attract unwanted attention. It is the path that allows you, each morning, to spend a few minutes enjoying a secretive glimpse of Lord Jung and his magnificent warhorse.
It is not, of course, that you don’t think of his personal invitation to the stables.
In truth, you think of the Royal Guardsman and his invitation far more often than you should. But each time you are tempted to accept it, you cannot help but remember your last encounter. The memory of the troubled look in his dark eyes, of the way you’d allowed your practiced composure to fall away in front of him is enough to make your cheeks heat.
And it’s certainly more than enough to keep you at a distance.
So you settle instead for this -- moving surreptitiously between the trees, stealing glances from behind their cover. Secretly watching Lord Jung make headway with his Arabian from the safety of your wooded refuge.
Each new day brings a new mark of progress.
The mornings pass one after the other as you watch Lord Jung slowly win the Arabian’s trust. Over time, the animal’s stance becomes less aggressive. The tension in the lines of his neck and bulging muscles seems to vanish. Over time, Lord Jung appears more and more in control, approaching the animal with the confidence of a man with absolute authority.
Then comes the morning when you see him mounted high atop the massive horse.
The air is crisp -- the coolest of the season -- and you wrap your shawl around you tight as you watch the Royal Guardsman command the beast, confidently issuing commands and leading it through a series of training exercises.
You stand there in your secret perch, smiling for no one’s benefit but your own. Heart swelling in your chest with secondhand pride as Lord Jung smoothly dismounts, treating the animal to an apple as a reward and stroking a kind hand down it’s muzzle.
The next morning, you set out again, feeling a bit brighter than you normally do, walking a bit faster than you normally would. You near the stables with happy anticipation thrumming in your veins, anxious to see the Arabian perform. Perhaps a bit anxious to see his trainer, too.
But your heart sinks as you near the stables, peering at the empty pen between the trees.
Both horse and rider are gone.
⚜️⚜️⚜️⚜️
One gentle fingertip to the bridge of the nose, stroking lightly over and over again.
This is how Min Yeona likes to be lulled to sleep, you’ve found. The baby makes a contented sound as you continue the motion, nestling deep into the crook of your arm.
“She’s picky about who can hold her, you know,” Boram smiles. “So I believe it is safe to say she likes you very much, Your Grace.”
You laugh lightly, looking down into the infant’s pretty little face and full, pinchable cheeks.
“The feeling is quite mutual, sweet Yeona,” you murmur, “You are the most darling baby I’ve ever seen.”
The infant’s big, dark eyes grow wide at the sound of her name.
They’re the same dark eyes that had once only blinked back at you in reflex -- but now light with recognition when you come around. Only a small accomplishment to be sure, but one that makes you feel wonderful nonetheless.
A few more minutes of the gentle stroking motion and Yeona’s eyes begin to droop. You watch with a soft smile as she slowly succumbs to sleep. Eyes falling shut and lips parting as she relaxes in your hold.
“There she goes,” Boram announces happily, rising from her chair. She carefully plucks the baby from your arms and disappears into the back rooms of the house to place Yeona in her bassinet. When she finally returns, she’s wearing a wide smile and carrying two steaming cups of tea.
“First moment of peace I’ve had all day,” she chuckles, handing you a teacup before sinking heavily into her chair. “You have the magic touch, Your Grace.”
You beam a bit at her praise. “I think I could sit with her for hours.”
“Be careful what you wish for, or I’ll bother you to come visit every day.”
It wouldn’t be a bother at all, you think -- though you do not say it out loud. As it stands, you only visit with Boram twice a week so as not to make a nuisance of yourself. You’ve come to treasure the time you spend with her and Yeona, the easy friendship that’s been forged between the two of you.
“What are you preparing that smells so good, Boram?” you ask, turning your nose up to catch more of the scent. “Everytime I come here, you’re cooking something amazing.”
“I have a pot of dak gomtang simmering over the fire,” she says, “Enough of it to feed an army, too. I always make as much as I can whenever Lord Jung joins us for dinner because he and Yoongi both eat like men twice their size.”
A tingle skates over your skin at the mention of the man’s name.
“Does Lord Jung join you for dinner often, then?”
“As often as I can get him to agree,” Boram sighs. Her voice drops conspiratorially low as she adds, “His wife died, you know.”
The grip around the teacup in your hand goes a bit tight, heat scorching you through the pretty porcelain. You clear your throat as you set it down, smoothing the throbbing skin against your skirts.
“I had heard something to that effect, yes,” you say slowly. “Did you know her well?”
“Not as well as I would have liked,” Boram admits with a frown, turning her head to look out the window. “She hailed from a village in one of the King’s southern holdings. Seemed like a very sweet girl, though. Always pleasant.”
“And how did she come to know Lord Jung?” you ask, tone light as though asking after something as mundane as the weather. “If she hailed from the south, that is.”
“Ah -- well, the story goes that Lord Jung was sent south on business of the Elder King,” Boram explains, pausing to sip at her tea. “He was lodged at her family home for a time. I suppose she was quite taken with the man.”
Your heart trips uncomfortably inside your chest.
It’s easy to imagine, isn’t it? A young, awestruck girl falling to pieces over the dark, dashing Lord Jung. You can practically picture the frenzy a man like him would have provoked had he ridden into the kingdom of your youth. Your sister would have whispered herself hoarse passing the gossip back and forth.
“So it’s my understanding that she immediately went to her father and begged him to arrange the match,” Boram continues. “Her father petitioned the Elder King and the Elder King suggested the marriage to Lord Jung.”
You chew at the inside of your cheek before issuing your next question.
“And Lord Jung saw fit to agree?”
Boram lips twist thoughtfully.
“Well, her family was quite powerful, you see. Very old allies of the Royal Family. So I suppose in some ways, Lord Jung agreed to the match to please His Grace. Certainly there would have been political implications had he refused her.”
“Ah,” you nod, “Very pragmatic.”
“Yes, I believe that is a very apt way to describe it. Lord Jung was in need of a wife and the proposition was advantageous. Besides,” Boram chuckles, “had she been a horrible sort, I’m sure he would have put up a fight. But as it was, she was very sweet. He seemed to like her quite well.”
But did he love her?
The question looms large in your mind and makes heat rush to your cheeks. You drop your eyes to your lap and twist your fingers together, avoiding Boram’s kind face and kind eyes. You would be mortified if your friend saw even a tiny glimpse of the shameful envy brought on by the mention of Lord Jung’s late, young wife.
“Well, I was quite sorry to hear of the circumstances of her death,” you say, at last. “Such a shame to happen to a woman so young.”
“A terrible shame,” Boram agrees. “But perhaps a necessary reminder that we are not promised tomorrow or the next day. Life is far too short to put off the business of happiness.”
⚜️⚜️⚜️⚜️
A letter arrives two days later.
Hyeri hands it to you early in the morning as you dress, one brow lifting high when you do not tear into the ornate envelope at once. But it takes only one quick glance at the looping, neat letters for you to know exactly where -- or rather who -- this letter is from.
And it is for that very reason that you wait until you can steal a few moments alone before reading it.
There is a cool tinge to the air in the aviary this afternoon, something nearing a proper chill when the occasional gust of wind passes through. So you pull your shawl tight around your shoulders as you open your journal and reach for the envelope, working the wax seal apart with great care.
My Dearest Sister (Because though you are a Queen, you are not my Queen, you are my sister and I will address you as such) --
I write to you today because you never write to me. I’m sure your life as Queen is a dizzying, posh affair but I often wonder if you ever think of me? Surely you can find time in between parties and tea socials to send a quick missive to your only sister who eagerly awaits the details of your illustrious new life.
I suppose instead I shall bore you with the details of mine.
Things here are much the same as you left them. Mother is still dreadful, though I would venture to say that she is more dreadful than ever now that you have gone. Without you here, she has little to do but worry over me. I cannot sing or paint or sketch as well as you do and Mother makes no effort to hide her displeasure about it. She finds me lacking in every way.
Worst of all, she says I’m to reduce if I’m to find a husband.
She says men do not want plump wives which I believe strongly to be untrue. I told her that the butcher’s son told me that he quite prefers a healthy woman with a sizeable backside and she was predictably appalled. She then immediately forbade me from eating Eunbi’s custards and now I must suffer each night as I watch Father partake in my favorite indulgence without me.
Our brother is well. He’s nearly finished with his preparations to take over the estate and has announced designs to marry Lee Myeong. Face like a bloodhound that woman, but he seems to like her quite well and I suppose that’s all that truly matters. He does, on occasion, manage to sneak a fruit tart from the kitchens for me.
Hajoon told me that she heard from Siwoo who said that Nabi made the acquaintance of the daughter of a traveling merchant who came through some time back. The merchant’s daughter claims she’s seen your King for herself and that he is quite handsome. So I am both relieved that he is not covered in warts and very sorry for ever suggesting otherwise.
Finally, I must tell you that Mother waits every day for a rider bringing news of your child. She threatens that she will pay you a very long visit once the news arrives and I thought it only fair that you be warned.
I miss you.
Your sister, Chaehee
A smile plays over your lips despite the tears that well in your eyes.
There’s something comforting about seeing your sister’s words on paper -- something reassuring about knowing that the same funny, headstrong girl you left behind remains. But your heart also twinges at the thought of your mother trying to change that. Subjecting your sister to the same caustic treatment you suffered for far too long. Probably far worse.
The sun changes position in the sky and the birds sing overhead as you sit at your pretty desk, reading and rereading the letter. Contemplating how best to respond and rationalize your silence.
There’s no truly plausible explanation for it, of course. No excuse that will satisfy your sister’s curiosity or balm her wounded pride. And there is certainly no way you can bring yourself to admit to Chaehee that you have written to her, over and over again -- but that each letter has found its way into a fire instead of a carrier bag.
My Dearest Sister --
I regret that I have not yet written to you. You must understand that as a Queen, my days are a whirlwind of duties both diplomatic and marital. I am quite pleased to tell you that I am sublimely happy here. The King is an exemplary ruler and husband who consults me on all affairs before issuing his wise judgement. Our mother was right -- good things come to compliant, courteous women and you should do your best to please her.
My Dearest Sister --
Life has a way of diverting from even the best laid plans. I find that my days here are not what I had anticipated and that much of my time is spent navigating a new world with new rules and new challenges. I try very hard not to be disheartened, but I must admit that I am quite adrift.
My Dearest Sister --
The most astonishing thing has happened to me and I must share it at once. You see, I happened upon the King in the midst of passionate liaison with another woman. What’s more, my handmaid assures me that my husband is not a common cad but rather a man deeply in love with someone else. So I regret to inform you that propriety and obedience are not any particular guarantee of happiness. Please learn from my mistakes so that you may not commit them as well.
None of the letters you have started, stopped, and ultimately burned would do. And so torn between telling the disheartening truth or constructing an elaborate lie, you’d instead chosen a third option. Silence.
But with the arrival of this letter from your sister comes an ultimatum. There is no choice but to answer.
Now you must figure out how.
⚜️⚜️⚜️⚜️
The next time you cross paths with Lord Jung, it is entirely by chance. Entirely.
Yes, it is true that in the days following your visit with Boram, you consider the fact that Lord Jung dines often at her home. And yes, it is also true that you make a few subtle changes to your schedule. You start to call on the Min girls late into the afternoon, bidding your goodbyes in the early moments of dusk.
But certainly neither one of those things has anything to do with the other.
So yes, it is entirely by chance that just a few days later -- just as you’ve wrapped your shawl around your shoulders and dropped a farewell kiss to Yeona’s plump cheek -- that you run into Lord Jung. Literally.
By some cosmic folly, the man is pulling the heavy door to the Min home open at the very moment you are pushing against it. There is not enough time or space to stop your forward motion when the door swings open wide, sending you tumbling.
Somehow, despite the awkward, forceful way you crash into him, the two of you do not collapse to the ground in a heap. Lord Jung manages to absorb your momentum, firmly planting his feet and grasping you tight in order to keep you from tripping over yours.
He raises one dark brow once he’s certain you’re both steady.
“That’s quite an entrance, Your Grace,” he chuckles under his breath. “Or exit, I should say. I suppose that’s more accurate.”
You blink up at him for a moment, staring dumbly while you gather your wits. And slowly, the wry amusement in his face falls away the longer you remain silent.
“Are you alright, Your Grace?”
It takes you a second to realize that the question has not come from the man before you -- the one still holding you far too close. The question comes instead from Lord Min, who is standing behind Lord Jung, wearing an expression of concern that matches his counterpart.
You shake your head slowly, dispelling your stupor.
“No, I’m quite alright,” you insist with a strained laugh, awkwardly jerking out of Lord Jung’s hold. You wobble backwards like a foal trying out it’s new legs. “Forgive me,” you murmur, face aflame, “I am not usually in the habit of such clumsiness.”
“Nothing to forgive,” Lord Jung replies, lips twitching with a hint of a smile.
“Oh, my goodness! Did you hurt yourself?”
You turn your head at the sound of Boram’s exclamation and find her standing in the entryway behind you, Yeona in her arms.
“Oh no, I’m fine,” you assure quickly, straightening your shawl. You push wayward strands of hair behind your ears, feeling the weight of all three sets of eyes on you at once. “Thanks to Lord Jung, here. I’ll try to take my leave now without making any more of a scene.”
Yeona makes an unhappy sound, frustrated when she sees her father and he does not attend to her at once. Lord Min moves to right that wrong, stepping around you to accept her from Boram’s arms.
“You seem very eager to run off,” he teases, bouncing Yeona expertly against his hip. The infant gurgles her happiness. “A shame, seeing as we are about to share supper. I think I speak for Boram as well when I say that it would be an honor to have you dine with us.”
Boram nods her agreement vigorously.
“Yes, of course,” she says, a smile lighting up her pretty face. “We would be so pleased for you to join us. I really ought to have thought to extend that invitation much sooner.”
You look from her to Lord Min and then to Lord Jung, who adds nothing to their declarations, handsome face unreadable in the waning sunlight.
“Oh, you’re all so kind,” you protest weakly, “Truly. Perhaps another day. But I really must return to the castle at once. Too much time away and Hyeri starts to worry after me.”
Something strange flickers behind Lord Jung’s dark eyes, but still he says nothing. A fraught beat of silence follows in which Lord Min clears his throat.
“We certainly understand the constraints of your schedule, Your Grace,” he says pleasantly. “But rest assured that you are welcome to dine at our home any time it pleases you.”
“Thank you,” you say, forcing a tight smile. “I’ll remember that.”
“Very well,” Lord Min smiles, stepping through the threshold and holding the door open with his free arm. “Now hurry up, Jung. I’m hungry.”
“Go on without me,” Lord Jung calls back, “I’ll see Her Grace back to the castle first.”
Now it feels as though your entire body might go up in flame. Heat blazes a path up your neck and down your back as you whirl on him.
“My Lord, that’s not necessary, it’s but a short --”
“-- It’s nearly dark,” he interrupts, voice low, for your ears only. “And I insist.”
You would argue with the man, truly, were there not such finality in his tone. And so just like that majestic horse you watched him train, you resign yourself to his instruction -- and follow his lead.
⚜️⚜️⚜️⚜️
The short walk back to the castle begins with a long silence.
It’s not the comfortable, companionable kind of silence often shared between a pair of close friends. Rather, something about this silence feels heavy, the air between the two of you dense with the weight of a peculiar tension.
Were this any other man, it would be easy enough to carry on a cordial conversation. You’d remark on the pleasant change in the weather and he would agree. He’d ask after the goings on at the castle and you’d offer a lighthearted anecdote about the staff.
But this is not any other man, is it?
And so once again you find yourself at a loss for words, as happens far too often in Lord Jung’s presence. You shrink deep into your shawl and keep your eyes trained on your feet, walking fast in order to keep up with his long strides.
“You never did come by the stables.”
The statement comes without preamble, the rich sound of his voice cutting clear through the thick silence. You find that you are grateful for the long skirts that conceal the way your steps falter in response.
“I -- ” You start and pause. Wanted to. Should have. “ -- regret that I did not, My Lord. The days have a way of getting away from me sometimes.”
“Yes, of course,” he concedes graciously, eyes fixed on the path ahead.
You look up from your feet to steal a furtive look at the man, captivated by the way the little sunlight left in the sky manages to find and illuminate him. His sharp features bathed in the most glorious wash of red and gold.
“Have you made much progress with him, then?”
“Much,” he agrees, long strides slowing just a bit. “It took us some time, but we did manage to break him."
“That’s wonderful news,” you say genuinely, as though you’d not spent weeks surreptitiously watching the training process through the thick of the trees. “And did you change his shoes? Did that do the trick?”
“Well, I should like to think that it was my skill as a horseman that did the trick,” he chuckles, “But I am also a man who does not like to leave things to chance. So I did have his shoes changed. Just to be sure.”
His dark eyes sparkle with humor when he finally turns to look at you, mouth curved into a playful smirk that makes your stomach go weightless. And you return the smile -- politely -- taking great care not to appear as delighted as you feel.
The agreeable moment is ruined as the grand brick facade of the castle and the bustling activity in the courtyard slowly come into view. Your heart starts to sink a little with every step, each one a reminder of the inevitable end to this walk and his company.
“It must have been very hard work,” you remark quietly. “That horse is as formidable an animal as I have ever seen. I imagine he didn’t break easily.”
“You imagine right,” Lord Jung replies, shaking his head. “He fought me every step of the way. That’s why I decided to name him Jeonsa.”
Jeonsa. Warrior. A more than appropriate name, given what you’d glimpsed of the warhorse’s power.
“And now he will serve the King.”
“Yes,” Lord Jung confirms, strides even slower now than before. “He’ll be the King’s personal mount.”
The thought rankles you. It had not been the King who’d done the hard work of breaking that animal. Not the King who’d spend hours each day toiling in the hot sun at the stables. But your husband would reap the rewards anyway.
Someday he would mount that warhorse in grand fashion and his people would all stare in awe, whispering about how regal and noble he looked.
The grass beneath your feet gives way to the crunch of gravel as the two of you walk together into the courtyard. Ahead of you, the men standing guard at the castle’s entrance bow.
“Forgive me for saying so,” you start quietly, “But it seems unjust. That horse is only suitable for service because of your training. He’s probably bonded to you. It’s a shame that you cannot keep him.”
Lord Jung is quiet until the two of you reach the bottom step to the castle’s grand entrance and the guards pull the heavy door open wide. He stops there, nodding an acknowledgment to the men before turning his attention back to you.
“That is the way of things, Your Grace,” he says at last. “When you are King, all the finest things in the kingdom belong to you. Just or not.”
Certainly he’s only speaking of the horse. Certainly there is no reason to read deeper meaning into his piercing gaze, into his words. But you are struck still for a long moment, heart pounding in your ears as you search for your words.
“Good night, Your Grace,” Lord Jung murmurs, bowing a farewell.
You swallow against the sudden tightness in your throat and nod.
“Good night, My Lord.”
⚜️⚜️⚜️⚜️
That night, as you dine on what is certain to be the most elaborate spread in the entire realm, you find yourself without an appetite. You half-listen to the King’s attempts at conversation, smiling when appropriate, answering when appropriate.
He doesn’t seem to notice the way you spend your entire meal pushing your food around the plate, wishing instead for a warm bowl of dak gomtang and the company of friends.
⚜️⚜️⚜️⚜️
You ease the pressure off, bit by bit, and watch the thick stroke of charcoal wane into a much finer one.
It’s taken you days -- no, weeks, really -- to get the lines just right, to draft the shapes to your satisfaction. Of course, you’ll never be able to fully capture the elegant slope of his nose or the precise angles of his jaw, but this will have to do.
You roll your tender shoulders and tip your head back to bask in the warmth of the sun, content to feel the heat on your face. And the thought that has surfaced in your mind countless times these past weeks surfaces once again.
This is infatuation, isn’t it?
This preoccupation you have with Lord Jung. The way your mind drifts to thoughts of him for no reason at all, at all hours of the day. The way your stomach feels as though you’ve swallowed an entire net of butterflies in his presence.
The way you dread and desire seeing him at the very same time.
It must be infatuation. Just a silly, girlish fascination with a handsome man of your acquaintance. And a harmless sentiment in the grand scheme of things, considering the state of your marriage.
Because it’s not as though you’ve done anything wrong, is it?
It’s not you who’s been discovered in bed, limbs tangled around another man. Not you sneaking off each afternoon for clandestine trysts with a secret lover. Admiration is not tantamount to adultery and longing does not rise to the level of lust.
And yet.
There is some small part of you that knows that entertaining these thoughts can lead to nothing but ruin. That allowing even a small seed of want to flourish inside you could prove disastrous. That by doing so, you could make yourself vulnerable to something far worse than what you’ve already suffered.
And yet.
You open your eyes to search for the stationery in your basket, feeling for the edges of the fine paper packed away between drawing supplies. Your fingertips brush against the bundle of stiff pages and you pull one free, smoothing it over the surface of your desk. And as you reach for your ink, you regard the lovely face of the man in your sketch.
This time, the words don’t start and stop. This time, you know exactly what to say.
My Dearest Sister:
I have learned a great many things since leaving home and coming to this place. The world is so vast, Chaehee, so much more complex than I ever imagined. I think back to when I was younger -- back to when I was so certain of the future that lay ahead of me -- and now I am mortified by my former self.
I need you to know that you lack for nothing.
You have been blessed with courage and discernment far beyond anything I could ever hope for. You have the sharpest mind of any woman I have ever known and deserve everything you dream of.
Finally, the thing I want most to say.
You must think of yourself and your happiness above all else. It will not come from satisfying Mother with your singing or bringing news of a betrothal to Father. It will come only from you, when you do and live exactly as you please.
This is my most fervent wish for you.
With love,
Your Sister
P.S. -- Eat the custard.
You fold the letter carefully and slip it between the pages of your journal before packing up your things and heading back.
⚜️⚜️⚜️⚜️
You arrive at the castle to find Hyeri in a state.
You are barely through the chamber door when she has you in hand, wrenching your basket away and pushing you towards an ancient man with thick spectacles.
The realization hits you right away.
“I’m late for the fitting,” you whisper apologetically, nodding at the man as he feebly bows.
“Very late,” Hyeri corrects through her teeth. “As in just minutes away from me marching myself down to that aviary to drag you back myself. Bad hip and all.”
“I’m so sorry,” you whisper, turning to the man with a contrite smile. “I’m so sorry for my tardiness,” you repeat a bit louder but the man merely squints at you as he pulls pins and tape from his kit.
“Don’t bother,” Hyeri snorts, “The man is deaf as a post. But he’s the finest dressmaker in this entire country so pay attention and do exactly as he asks.”
So you do as you’re told, stepping up onto the stool and doing your best to interpret the man’s nearly inaudible commands. Hyeri glowers at you as he unspools his tape and starts the work of taking your measurements.
“You’re lucky he didn’t get back into his carriage and leave you,” she lectures. “It could take months to secure another appointment with a dressmaker of this caliber. Does this look like the kind of man who has months to spare?”
“Hyeri!” you hiss.
“I already told you, he cannot hear.”
You search the man’s wrinkled face for any sign of insult and find none. He seems oblivious to anything but the tape in his hands and the numbers he records with slow, shaky strokes. Hyeri crosses her arms across her chest, and raises a brow as if to say, See?
“Well you’d better hope he cannot read lips,” you grumble, rolling your eyes as Hyeri’s face breaks into a wide grin.
The old man, still unaware of the conversation taking place over his head, stands to his feet. He spreads his arms until he is standing before you like a scarecrow and you mimic the stance, allowing him room to measure beneath your arms.
“These dresses should be ready in time for the King’s grand fall celebration,” Hyeri says, pacing as she watches him work. “You’ll be very pleased with them once they arrive, Your Grace. You’ll see. This man’s work is a cut above anything else I’ve ever seen.”
“I’m sure they will be exquisite,” you return absentmindedly, muscles burning with the effort it takes to hold your arms straight out and keep them still.
Hyeri stops pacing in front of your desk and peers into your basket, gaze focused on the folded letter jutting out from between the pages of your journal. She recognizes the heavy paper stock at once.
“Is that a letter to be sent, Your Grace?”
“Yes,” you practically groan, “To my sister. I’ll see to sending it off -- ”
“-- Nonsense,” Hyeri interrupts, reaching into the basket. “That’s what you have me for.”
“But I -- ”
You are powerless to stop her as she takes hold of your journal, carefully cracking it open to retrieve the letter pressed between the pages. By now your muscles are screaming in protest, breath caught in your throat as you watch her study the sketch revealed once the letter is in her hand.
There is a harrowing moment in which you watch her eyes go a bit wide.
“This sketch is quite good, Your Grace,” she starts slowly, lifting her eyes to meet yours across the room. “A very… solid likeness.”
“It’s -- it’s no one,” you lie pathetically, nearly gasping with relief when the old man signals that you can release your arms back to your sides. “No one in particular. Just a silly bit of doodling.”
Hyeri’s eyebrows go up high as she looks from you back to the sketch, face frozen in an expression of disbelief.
“Well, it must be my mistake then,” she murmurs, clearing her throat as she closes the journal and carefully sets it back in the basket. “Perhaps I saw something that wasn’t there.”
⚜️⚜️⚜️⚜️
It is little more than a week later when you wake feeling a bit out of sorts.
There is a stiffness in your neck and a low throb in your temples as Hyeri dresses you for the day. She makes note of your lethargy and you brush off her concerns, certain both can be relieved with a bit of fresh air and exercise.
And so, despite your fatigue, you go on about your day.
You push yourself to complete your morning walk despite the heaviness in your legs, then set out that afternoon for the aviary with a book in hand. But after a while, it becomes clear that the exertion has done little to alleviate your discomfort.
And as you try -- and fail -- to concentrate on the words on the page before you, realization dawns that you feel much worse now than before.
And that’s when the trouble begins.
The moment you make to stand from your desk, the lightheadedness hits you. The book falls from your grasp as you slowly stumble your way to the garden entrance, disoriented and weak. And when you finally reach the gate, you wrap both hands around the wrought iron bars and hold on for dear life, closing your eyes and waiting for the dizziness to dispel.
It doesn’t.
Briefly you consider sinking to the ground below and staying put; waiting for someone to come to your rescue. But the logical part of you knows it could take hours for someone to notice your absence and no one is likely to pass by this part of the grounds any sooner. The seclusion and peace you have always treasured in this place now work against you.
So you rest for a while, preserving the little strength you have left until you are ready to try walking again.
It is painstaking work to make your way out of the garden and up the private walk. The heaviness in your muscles makes the simple act of lifting your head to watch your steps nearly impossible. But you know if you can push yourself just a little bit more, if you can make it to the castle’s main walkway, someone will see you. Someone will help.
And someone does finally see you, just as you are teetering onto the walking path. The heel of your boot lands awkwardly atop of a large piece of gravel and you stumble, falling to your knees.
“Your Grace?”
You don’t recognize the voice right away, certainly not at a distance. But you hear the sound of the man’s feet coming quicker, closer, as he runs towards you. Then a second shadow is joining yours as you stare down at the ground.
“Your Grace, tell me what’s wrong,” the man says, getting to his own knees beside you. “What’s happened?”
You nearly weep at the concern in Lord Jeon’s face, his voice.
“I don’t know,” you manage, surprised at the thin, hollow sound of your own voice, “I can’t walk. Too dizzy and too weak.”
He leans away from you to whistle, the shrill sound of it making the throb in your temples pound harder.
“I’ll help you,” he promises, sidling close to loop your arm over his shoulder. “We’ll do it together.”
He stands to his feet, lifting his body and yours at the same time and you sag into him, incapable of maintaining any balance.
Distantly, you make out the sound of more boots and more voices approaching -- no doubt more manpower summoned by Lord Jeon’s call. The youngest Lord Kim is the man you recognize first, pretty blonde hair matted to his brow with sweat. Beside him stands Lord Park.
Lord Kim reaches out to press one large hand to your forehead.
“She’s feverish,” he announces somberly. A keen observation because between the dizziness and the throbbing head you hadn’t realized you were feverish until this very moment. “We have to get her back to the castle at once.”
All three men nod in agreement.
“I’ll find the Hyungs,” Lord Park decides, taking off towards the castle. “Carry her if you have to,” he calls out over his shoulder.
Lord Kim takes to your other side, looping your free arm over his own shoulder and he and Lord Jeon begin the task of moving towards the castle, the two of them supporting your useless weight between them.
⚜️⚜️⚜️⚜️
“We can take her from here.”
At what point did Lord Jung appear? By now you are too afflicted and too dazed to remember his arrival or Lord Min’s. You only know that when you reach the castle steps, both men are there -- and Lord Jung sets to work right away, issuing orders to the younger men.
“Taehyung, send for the doctor,” he directs, taking the man’s place at your side. Lord Min takes over for Lord Jeon and you wince at the bite of the tiny pieces of gravel still stuck to your knees. “Jungkook, find the King.”
The youngest man nods and both guardsmen make haste, setting out in different directions. Lord Min leans close, brow furrowed with concern.
“Do you think you can manage the steps, Your Grace?” he asks kindly.
“I don’t know that I have a choice,” you concede with a shivering laugh that makes your temples throb anew. “I only know that I would do anything to be able to lie down right now.”
“We’ll have you in bed before you know it,” Lord Jung promises. He signals to Lord Min that it’s time to move and the men carefully lift you up each step, one by one.
⚜️⚜️⚜️⚜️
“I never should have let you leave for that walk,” Hyeri worries aloud, chastising herself as she pulls back your plush duvet.
The short distance between your chamber door and the bed looks more like a chasm, the only thing standing between you and the comfort you know will come the moment you are able to lie still.
“Taehyung has already sent for the doctor,” Lord Jung explains, maneuvering so that he and Lord Min can help you flop pathetically onto the mattress. Hyeri attends to you at once, pressing a cold cloth to your forehead that makes tears of relief spring to your eyes.
“Poor dear,” she laments under her breath, moving to the foot of the bed to unlace your boots. “Poor, poor dear.”
You try to block everything out but the sensation of that cool cloth across your brow -- the pain and the noise and the commotion still filling your chamber. But soon there is a knock at the chamber door and another voice joining the fray. Almost too quiet for you to hear.
“I can’t find the King.”
Lord Jeon’s words are spoken in a hush -- the statement clearly not intended for the room at large.
“Did you check the stables?” Lord Min asks. “The barber? The blacksmith?”
Jeon clears his throat. “I checked them all, Hyung. I don’t know where he is.”
The young guard’s strained reply is followed by an equally strained silence, made more obvious by the stillness that falls over the entire room. Even Hyeri, who’s busied herself with arranging your pillows and sheets, stops still. By now, the throb in your temple has graduated into a steady pounding.
“Find him.”
There is absolutely no doubt as the owner of that voice, and absolutely no doubt as to the gravity of his command. Lord Jung’s words come slowly -- tightly -- as though pushed through clenched teeth.
“Go now, and find him.”
⚜️⚜️⚜️⚜️
The King never does make an appearance, but much to your relief, the doctor does.
Right away, he has you drink a thick, herbed syrup that makes you gag. Hyeri helps you sit up in bed long enough to choke it back, whispering soft reassurances as you struggle to get it down.
The doctor assures Hyeri your malaise will pass after a long rest.
He leaves her with instructions on how to provide care and promises to return the next day to check on your progress. Hyeri sits in a chair at your bedside and strokes one soft, old hand across your damp temple and brow.
A few more minutes of the gentle stroking motion and your eyes begin to droop. Hyeri watches with a sad smile as you slowly succumb to sleep.
⚜️⚜️⚜️⚜️
When you finally wake, it is to complete quiet and complete darkness.
You blink against the wall of black, ceiling slowly taking shape as your eyes adjust to the darkness. You are still in your walking dress, both it and the sheets beneath you soaked through with sweat.
But it feels as though the fever has passed. That alone makes you feel infinitely better.
You turn your head towards the chair at your bedside and find it empty, croaking Hyeri’s name out loud in a poor attempt to find her.
But there is no answer.
So you slowly sit upright in bed, supporting your weight with palms pressed to the mattress on either side of you. That’s when you notice the shape in the window, a shape pressed into the glass, staring out into the dark. A shape that nearly makes you come out of your skin.
Until you realize that shape is Hyeri.
“Hyeri?” you call out again, a bit louder now, and the poor woman startles backwards so violently she nearly loses her balance.
“Oh! Oh, Your Grace, my goodness, I had no idea you were awake,” she squeaks, backing away from the glass. “How do you feel? What can I get for you?”
“What were you doing?” you ask carefully, the pallor in her face obvious even in the dark. “What has you so spooked?”
Your mouth twists into a frown as you take in the heavy rise and fall of her chest, the way she’s still struggling to catch her breath. Certainly she’s been caught doing something she doesn’t want you to know about.
That’s when you hear the sound. Well, sounds actually.
Your mouth drops open as you stare at Hyeri and strain to make them out. Voices, certainly. A bit muted. Likely not far from your window.
“What is that?” you demand, pulling the duvet back and setting newly steady feet to the floor.
“It’s nothing, Your Grace,” Hyeri objects weakly, “Nothing for you to worry about at all. You ought to stay in bed in your state.”
“Nonsense,” you mutter, padding across the cold chamber floor with your bare feet. Hyeri stares at you with wide, worried eyes as you pass her, moving forward to take her place in the window.
You stare out into the darkness outside your window and realize at once what she was trying to hide.
The King and Lord Jung stand together at the far edge of the courtyard, just a few steps out of the low torchlight. Certainly, they are arguing, there can be no doubt.
Tension is written into every line of their bodies -- the King’s stiff, awkward stance, Lord Jung’s unhappy pacing and gesturing. Over and over again, their voices start to rise -- only to go back to a hush.
And Hyeri, who has abandoned any pretense of not caring about the drama unfolding in the courtyard, now stands over your shoulder watching the strange cycle start and repeat alongside you.
Finally, Lord Jung shakes his head at something Namjoon says, and you watch, astonished, as he turns his back on his friend. His King.
And then he stalks out of the courtyard in a huff.
Namjoon stands there for a moment, breath visible in the cold night air, and scrubs a hand down his face. When he retreats back to the castle, the chamber is quiet for a long moment before you turn to Hyeri with a question.
“What on Earth was that about?”
“Come, Your Grace,” she orders firmly, pulling you away from the window. “Come back to bed and don’t give that madness another thought. The only thing you ought to be worried about right now is sleep.”
You don’t have the energy to argue the matter. So you accept her help changing out of your walking dress and into clean nightclothes, and you wait patiently for the maids to arrive with fresh sheets. You wash up in front of the basin and slip back between the sheets.
And though your body is tired, your mind is anything but.
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hello if you are reading this now i super appreciate you. thank you for reading and i’d love to hear from you 💕💕💕 talk to me here!
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kjmsupremacist · a day ago
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make you feel my love (hyunjin/chan)
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Chan’s life, once empty, grew bright again when he met Hyunjin. But their meeting was more complex than one might think, their history more layered than they can bear to remember. There is love here, of course. But always where there is love, there is also grief.
I would advise you to read part 1 first, but it isn’t wholly necessary for your understanding of this work.
“But it is not blood that makes a vampire. No. It is the wanting.”
— Cecilia Tan, “The Tale of Christina”, Dark Angels: Lesbian Vampire Stories
Pairing: Hyunjin/Chan, Hyunjin/Chan/Felix
Characters: Bang Chan, Hyunjin, Felix; other skz member cameos
Genre: smut, vampires, horror, angst, romance, tragedy, i would call this plot with porn i think
Warnings: major character death, brief nongraphic mention of suicide, blood, violence, mild gore?, poor decision-making lmao, d/s dynamic, breathplay/choking, bdsm and general rough treatment, overstimulation, threesome, spitroasting, unhealthy attachment styles like no one in this work is 100% mentally stable and that is ok <3
Rating: Explicit
Length: 21k (AJSKNSKJKS I DONT KNOW)
you can listen to the official playlist here! you can find my meta of red lights here!
just a reminder that this is .... dark. if the first part was haunting, then I would call this closer to horrifying. also, again, please suspend your disbelief re: the minute details of vampire biology. I don’t know how they can come if they’re dead.
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Chan’s life was full once. He had been young once. He had friends, a family. He cared deeply about things; he cared deeply about everything. There was life everywhere he turned.
Now, if he lets his vision unfocus even a little, it seems like everything slips into grayscale. There’s a chasm in his mind that yawns wide. It threatens to swallow him whole. Worse, though, is his apathy. One of these days, he is sure he will let it.
He knew it would be this way; he knew what he signed up for. He knew he was lucky to have the choice. His mother had not been so lucky. The same vampire that had killed his father had turned her while she struggled and screamed. She told Chan later she thought he had plans of making her his new wife. But once she recovered, she ambushed him and fled back to their home, where Chan had begun to grow restless with worry.
They grieved his father together. She didn’t tell Chan what had happened at first; she simply said they were attacked and that his father had died to save her. Later, though, when Chan began to question her odd habits, she broke down and told him the truth.
“You will grow old,” she said softly, “and I will stay the same.” She gave him a sad smile. “I always feared having to bury you. It is a mother’s greatest fear, that she may have to bury her children. I did not imagine it would be like this.”
“It doesn’t have to be,” Chan said slowly. “You could turn me, and then neither of us will have to bury the other. Ever.” 
So it had been a choice, completely and wholly his own. But at the same time, it had been no choice at all. How could Chan abandon his mother to the loneliness of immortality; how could he force her to watch him grow old and die; how could he leave her all alone? Even then, without having experienced it, he could feel the horror of that kind of existence, the lingering dread.
He started keeping detailed records as soon as he recovered from the bite. It became his most prized possession—a bound notebook full of close friends: their likenesses, sketched by a local artist; their habits; the things he loved the most about them. If he was to live forever, he wanted their memories to live with him. He refused to let time steal this away from him.
They managed to hide it for a while. But a few years passed, and people began to talk. It was not so obvious on his mother; age had already cemented itself in her features before she had been turned. Chan, though, was young. People expected to see change, and when none came, they became suspicious.
“It will have to be like this,” his mother said. “We will never be able to stay in any one place for long.”
Chan knew, though knowing made it no easier. They made their excuses to acquaintances. They had distant relatives in the north; they heard of opportunities there; staying in that house without Chan’s father felt wrong, somehow. People accepted their reasons easily. Chan wasn’t sure if they were good liars, or if some people were secretly relieved to see them go, to be free of their mystery.
Before they left, though, he gathered his two closest friends and sat them down to tell them the truth. Changbin did not react much—Chan had a feeling he had already begun to catch on—but Jisung flinched away at the sight of his sharp canines.
“Please don’t be afraid,” Chan said, itching to reach out to him, though he knew it would do no good. “I will never hurt you.”
After his initial shock, though, Jisung accepted the truth quickly. They said their goodbyes, and Chan promised to visit as soon as it was safe.
“It probably won’t be for a while,” he said. “I need to wait for people to forget about me.”
“We won’t,” Changbin said fervently. “We won’t forget.”
And so for the next few decades, Chan and his mother moved from town to town, traveling thousands of kilometers. They mostly fed on wild animals; neither of them had a particular interest in human blood. They met a few other vampires on the way, and it was always good to set down the act for a night or two and trade stories. There was kinship in shared tragedy.
Finally, Chan decided to go back to his hometown. It had been long enough that most people would not recognize him. Still, he had to travel under the cover of night, which offered extra security. 
It had hurt to leave them; somehow, it hurt even more to return. Changbin and Jisung had both married long ago and raised children—children who were, by the time Chan made his way back, older than he had been when he left. Changbin and Jisung were old—by Chan’s estimate, nearing the ends of their lives.
They stared at him in wonderment; he stared back in longing. Their faces had changed in the intervening years; Chan wished he had time to update the sketches in his record book.
“You’ve lived well,” he finally said.
“You,” Jisung said softly. “You’re exactly the same. Not a hair out of place.”
“There’s something comforting,” Changbin added, “to see you unchanged.”
“You’ve both… grown up,” Chan said, studying them. “Is it wrong to say I’m proud of you?”
They smiled at him then, and the tension in the air was broken. They spent a few hours talking, but Chan could feel sunrise approaching. Though both Jisung and Changbin offered to let him stay, he refused. It would be dangerous, for one, but something told him he should return to his mother.
So he bid them both farewell, saying he would come back in a few months, as long as nothing came up, and ran off into the night. 
When he returned to his new home, he found it in flames. His mother’s dismembered and burning corpse was there to greet him in the doorway. For a moment, he froze, panic seizing his body. But then he remembered his record books, and he scrambled past overturned furniture and shattered glass. Luckily, whoever had done this had no interest in the journals buried at the bottom of a dresser drawer; they were untouched and unharmed. He gathered them up and fled from the burning house, collapsing in the yard as he watched the flames in the doorway swallow his last glimpse of his mother whole.
He wanted to grieve, but he knew sunrise was not far away, so after a moment of sitting in the dew-damp grass in shock, he dragged himself to his feet and, still clutching his record books, started to run.
He ran and ran, out into the wilderness, through thick forest and undergrowth. As the sun had just begun to peek through the trees, he stumbled upon a cave and took shelter inside.
With shaking hands, he opened his record book to a fresh page. He kept pieces of charcoal tucked away in pockets in the binding, and he extracted one. The sketch of his mother was crude and shaky, but it was all he had. No one else would be able to do it for him.
The grief settled in quickly. His mother was gone, and the life he had become a vampire to save her from would be his reality. After Changbin and Jisung passed, Chan would be truly and completely alone.
When his drawing was done, and notes on her character scrawled beneath, he set his things down and wept.
He let himself sit listless for a day. But when night came again, he knew he had to do something. He certainly couldn’t sit in that cave forever. First, he hunted for food, and then he began to track the vampires that had ransacked his house and killed his mother.
He found them rather easily; despite how well they covered their tracks, it only took a couple months of searching. He took them down easily, too; they didn’t suspect he would come after them, or maybe didn’t think he would be able to. He reclaimed his stolen possessions, and took a few other valuables, and traveled until he found another town a suitable distance away.
He bought a small plot of land there and settled in as best he could. He needed little, and the things he took from the other vampires were enough to sustain him for quite some time. Once he had established himself in his new home, he finally made the journey back to his hometown to visit his old friends.
It was the end of winter; it had been a particularly harsh one. Though Chan had only been away a half a year this time, everything had changed. 
Changbin and Jisung had both been taken by that season’s illnesses. Chan was too late.
He returned to his residence in a sort of grief-stricken daze. Who now could Chan even speak to, let alone care for? Everyone he knew was dead. Briefly, he considered letting the sunlight take him, but something else still burned in him. His life had been torn apart by selfish murderers. That did not have to be true for everyone else.
He got into contact with branches of local vampire government. He became a sort of bounty hunter; he would track down rogue, troublemaking vampires and bring them in; or, when he was asked, kill them where he found them. It was not easy work, nor was it enjoyable, but it was satisfying. The money was good, but Chan mostly did it because it kept him going. It was a reason to stay.
This went on for a century or so. Things changed. The world grew around him. He bought a few more residences around the country to make his work easier. He got used to this sort of existence—cooperating with others, but always lonely. It wasn’t so bad. His life had a purpose.
But during the day, he would pore over his old journals. His actual recollection of the people that had once been in his life was growing faint. He only really remembered remembering them. Still, it was better than forgetting entirely. He traced over the lines of the drawings with his eyes, meticulous, committing and recommitting them to memory. He repeated their names to himself when he was getting ready in the evenings. Han Jisung. Seo Changbin.
He convinced himself that the loneliness would grow familiar. There was no point in letting others into his life when eventually he would return to this, anyway. Something would happen; one way or another, one of them would leave, and only the loneliness would remain. It was better to resign himself to it now than spend years trying to outrun fate.
Still, though, Chan longed for a warmer life. He missed companionship bitterly. He watched the humans he mingled with jealously, coveting the fullness of their days, the sweet bright flare of their mortality. He felt foolish for it, but the yearning wasn’t something he could will away. It was something that resided deep within him. Maybe, in the end, it was all he was. 
Eventually, he was called closer to his hometown to deal with a particularly troublesome vampire. He’d been too brash, killing too many humans and terrorizing local towns. Humans are growing suspicious and restless, and most of the local vampires would rather someone got rid of him before he became too conspicuous. Chan was known for his expertise and his efficiency, so he was asked to tackle the case.
He watched the vampire for a week or so. He kept a relatively uneven schedule, going out occasionally in the night to feed and retreating into his mansion in the day. Chan stayed at an inn nearby, waiting. 
Curiously, he seemed to have some kind of human pet. The human never left the house; Chan wasn’t sure if he was bound there, either by physical restraints or magic, or was simply too scared to leave, but he caught glimpses of him through the window. It seemed like the vampire viewed him as some kind of prize. Chan had a feeling that when the human began to age, or when the vampire found a more interesting toy, he would be quick to kill and eat him. 
He didn’t harm the human until the ninth night that Chan watched him. He heard raised voices, and then saw the vampire dragging the human through the house, and decided he had to step in. 
Swiftly, Chan broke through one of the lower level windows and made his way to the upper floor. His presence shocked both of them into silence. The human stared at him in mute terror while the vampire recovered from his surprise. Chan had to tear his gaze from the human’s face, stunned for a moment by his beauty. He could see why the vampire had chosen this human to keep.
“Let the human go,” Chan said softly. 
“His kind will not take him back,” the other vampire said. “They will call him mad.”
“Maybe. That does not make him yours to kill.”
“Why are you here?” 
Chan sighed. “There are some who have deemed your actions irresponsible. I am here to put a stop to them.”
“Ah.” The vampire tightened his hold on the human, who squeaked in fear. “A fight, then?”
“If you insist,” Chan replied.
The vampire did something Chan did not expect. He sliced open the human’s stomach and threw him across the room, then paused, waiting to see how Chan reacted. 
The smell of blood filled Chan’s head, but he brushed it away. He would kill the vampire first, and then try to save the human. Without thinking twice, he charged at the vampire.
It was not a difficult fight. Chan had a feeling that this vampire was relatively young. He dismembered him quickly, backing him against a hallway window. He smashed the window open with a closed fist and hurled one of the vampire’s legs to one side, then tore off the other and sent it sailing in the opposite direction. Finally, he kicked the vampire’s screaming torso out the hole in the window as well, watching it crumple on the ground below.
The horizon was tinged yellow and orange. He would be dead soon enough.
Chan turned back to the human, who was gurgling softly on the floor.
Blood poured out of the wound; Chan could see that the vampire had cut him quite deep. Fear clouded the human’s eyes, but he must not have had the energy to shy away when Chan drew near. 
Chan had been trained in basic first aid in the intervening years after his mother’s death, but even a skilled doctor could not fix this wound. He hesitated, wondering if the human was still conscious.
But then he spoke. “Who are you?” His voice was faint and weak. He blinked his shining eyes—he really was beautiful, Chan realized. Even for a human. It seemed like such a waste.
“Don’t speak,” Chan murmured, running a hand alongside the wound.
The human didn’t listen. “Is he gone?” he asked.
Chan nodded. “He will be dead soon. Don’t worry.”
“You must be a vampire, too,” the human said.
Chan nodded again. “Do you want me to save you?” he asked softly.
Tears filled the human’s eyes then. “Yes,” he whispered. “Please, it hurts.”
“I can save you,” Chan said, “but that will hurt too.”
He thought the human nodded, but his eyes had glazed over again. Chan was left with a choice. 
He hesitated for one second. But the human had asked, and he was fading quickly. So Chan bent over him and bit over the artery that was jumping in his neck.
The little blood he did ingest in the process revitalized him, which was just as well. The fight, though quick, had been somewhat taxing. He pulled back, wiping his mouth on his hand, and watched as the human went terribly, terribly still.
After a pause, so long that Chan thought for a moment he may have been too late, the human’s wound began to seal. It did not even leave a scar behind; the human—well. Chan could no longer call him that. The new vampire would no longer bear scars but the one on his neck, to show how he was made.
As the wound finished sealing, the new vampire blinked open his eyes. 
There was no recognition there; the fever had set in already as his body fought to reject the venom. It was a long process, and an unpleasant one, and Chan knew humans would soon come looking. They could stay here for this day only, and then Chan would have to carry the vampire he made away, deep into the wilderness. His mother did the same for him when she turned him, took him away from people so that his screams would not alert their neighbors. 
As the new vampire convulsed on the floor, Chan moved back to the window to check on the other vampire. His body was smoking; soon it would catch flame, and nothing would be left of him.
That night, Chan traveled quickly into the woods, trekking deeper and deeper until he was sure they would not be found. He went toward the sound of water, and discovered a cave hidden behind a waterfall. The roar of the waterfall would mask almost anything else. 
For a week, the new vampire writhed and screamed as the venom took hold. Chan left him tied to a rock while he hunted, bringing back animals to feed both of them while he waited for the fever to come down.
After seven nights, the new vampire was cool to the touch. Chan sat beside him, waiting for him to wake.
When he finally did, he recognized Chan immediately. “You,” he said once he’d taken in his surroundings. “You’re the one who saved me.”
“Yes,” Chan said. “I—”
But the new vampire plowed ahead. “My name is Hyunjin,” he said brightly. “Thank you for taking care of me. What is your name?”
“Chan,” Chan said. “And you’re welcome. But—”
“That bad vampire,” Hyunjin interrupted, “he said he wanted to turn me and keep me there forever.” He rubbed his neck over the bite scar. “I didn’t think he would actually do it. I wish he had just killed me instead, but I’m glad you were able to kill him and get me out. At least I did not have to spend an immortal life with him.” 
The realization was horrifying. Hyunjin had not wanted this. Perhaps the pain had been so great that he had not known what Chan was asking him; at any rate, it seemed that Hyunjin had misremembered his turning. Chan was not in a rush to correct him. It would do no good. He needed Hyunjin to trust him so that he could help him adjust to being a vampire. He owed him that, at least. After a few weeks, they would part ways and it would never be Chan’s concern.
“He deserved to die,” Chan chose to reply. “I am sorry… about your turning, though. If you did not want it, it must be a shock.” He meant it genuinely, but Hyunjin brushed the comment off.
“It isn’t your fault,” he said. 
Guilt stirred in Chan’s chest, but he pushed it away. “Ah, are you hungry?” he asked. Hyunjin blinked, and then nodded. “When the sun sets, I will show you how to hunt.”
After eating, Chan offered to take Hyunjin back to his closest residence. He intended to let him stay for a few weeks while he adjusted, telling Hyunjin he didn’t mind the company. In reality, he felt he owed the boy for damning him to this life. Extending his hospitality was the least he could do.
Hyunjin adjusted quickly. He was a fast learner and despite being faced with what Chan knew was a rather wretched existence, seemed to remain positive. He asked Chan about his work, eyes glowing with interest when Chan explained how he had started down this path. Over the next month, they grew to know each other quite well, and Hyunjin even accompanied him on a few more minor jobs.
An obsession found a home inside Chan during this time. It started small, but grew quickly, blooming and dripping its sweet toxins, so potent Chan was worried Hyunjin might be able to sense it. He watched Hyunjin out of the corner of his eye, drinking in the sight of him whenever he could get away with it. He was radiant. Most vampires settle into some kind of otherworldly beauty—a trick of the venom, to lure their prey closer and coax them to let down their guard. But for those who had already been attractive in life, the venom only amplified these features. Chan only caught glimpses of Hyunjin when he was alive, and already had found himself taken by his appearance. Now, though, he was breathtaking. His long black hair fell in gentle wisps, brushing his shoulders; his eyes were dark and shimmering; his lips red and thick.
But he was out of reach; he had to be out of reach, because how could Chan have him without first telling him the truth of his creation? It would be wrong to do so; it would be a great stain on their relationship that would only fester and grow. And Chan knew that if he told Hyunjin the truth, he would leave him immediately. It was better to keep it a secret for a little while longer, and then let Hyunjin leave him on good terms so that he wouldn’t have to carry around a resentment that big. At least now, he thought the culprit was dead and taken care of. He would not have to contend with the gratitude he thought he owed Chan.
After a little over a month, Hyunjin would have been able to live on his own, but he stayed. Chan worried that perhaps he felt trapped at his house the way he had with the other vampire. He didn’t wish to imply that Hyunjin was unwelcome here—he most certainly was not—but he didn’t want him to stay out of obligation.
“You can,” Chan said haltingly one day, “you know, go wherever you like. You don’t have to stay here. I’m not… him. I will not keep you here.”
Hyunjin turned his beautiful eyes on Chan, and studied him for a moment. At last, he replied, “What if I wanted to stay?”
A war began in Chan’s mind. On one side, his craving for company and his fear of isolation screamed their approval. He liked Hyunjin, more than he would care to admit. He filled Chan’s days and nights, warmed him. Though they were both dead, he had brought life back to Chan’s existence. Losing that felt worse than anything in the world.
But it was wrong, all wrong. Chan turned him when Hyunjin had not wanted him to, and he didn’t know. It wasn’t fair. 
But Chan was weak and a coward. And it had been an accident, he told himself. Surely Hyunjin would understand if he told him—or perhaps he would never have to tell him. And besides, he liked Hyunjin so much.
While Chan was coming to this conclusion, Hyunjin had stepped closer. “What if I wanted to stay,” he repeated, “here, with you? Help you kill the bad vampires like the one who hurt me?”
“Oh,” Chan said quietly. “You can, if you want.” He saw doubt flicker across Hyunjin’s face, and he took a breath. “I mean, I would like that,” he amended. “I would like it, if you stayed.”
The doubt was gone; Hyunjin was smiling, beautiful and blinding. “Good,” he said softly. A pause. “What if I wanted to kiss you?”
Something close to warmth spread across Chan’s skin. His fingers twitched at his side. “I would like that, too,” he said.
Hyunjin was taller than him, and Chan had to tilt his head up to meet his lips. Hyunjin took Chan’s face in both his hands and kissed back, tongue and teeth eager, and Chan realized it had been decades, maybe longer, since somebody had touched him. 
“I want you,” Hyunjin whispered. He sounded like he was begging. Why, Chan wondered in the back of his mind, would Hyunjin beg? He should never have to beg for anything. Least of all from Chan.
“Then you will have me,” Chan replied immediately, and Hyunjin let out a sweet moan. Chan thought he would do anything to hear him make that noise again.
He found it wasn’t difficult. Hyunjin was just as eager, it seemed. Chan brought him to his bed, seldom used, and lay him down on the soft mattress. He undid the buttons on Hyunjin’s shirt, and the first press of his lips against Hyunjin’s skin had him whining, high and demanding. Some kind of dark arousal flared in Chan; he wanted to pluck Hyunjin like a rose and crush his petals to dust in his palms, the sweetness of the scent clinging to him wherever he went.
He didn’t know how to say it, though, so he undressed both of them swiftly instead to keep his hands busy. Hyunjin’s fingers fluttered over the sheets, catching hold of Chan’s wrists when he was within reach. 
“Kiss me again,” he demanded. Chan crawled up the bed so that their bodies were aligned, bending over him to kiss deep into his mouth. When they broke apart, Hyunjin was looking at him in reproach. “You can hurt me. I’m not afraid.”
Swallowing, Chan fought to reply. “I don’t wish to hurt you.”
“Yes, you do,” Hyunjin said quietly. 
They held each other’s gazes for a moment, and then Chan sighed. “Yes, I do,” he whispered. 
“You can’t scare me away,” Hyunjin said. “I want it. I want you.”
Chan cupped his cheek, running his thumb over Hyunjin’s pretty lips, now glossy with spit. Hyunjin opened his mouth, flicking his tongue out over the pad of his finger. Chan sighed involuntarily, head already swimming with lust. “You’re beautiful,” he breathed out. “Do you know that?”
Hyunjin blinked up at him slowly. “Am I?” he asked.
“Thought so from the moment I first saw you,” Chan admitted, running his hand down Hyunjin’s body and letting it come to a rest at his waist. “I had a lot of other things on my mind then—dealing with that other vampire, trying to get you out safely—but I remember thinking you were beautiful. I—” The words caught in his throat. “I have thought it again, many times, since then.”
Hyunjin let out a soft sound of appreciation. Chan wondered faintly if Hyunjin knew he was good-looking and was simply fishing for compliments, but he couldn’t fault him for that, either. He would be happy to tell him, over and over, no matter how many times he asked. 
“I know, especially to you, the time we’ve known each other is like a fraction of a breath, but I also know I am rarely wrong when I think I want something,” Hyunjin said softly. “Did you think about me, like this?” he asked, plowing on before Chan could even wrap his head about the question. “I thought about you.” His words were like electricity sparking across Chan’s skin. Suddenly, his thoughts were filled with dark images of Hyunjin mouthing his name in a moment stolen alone; he imagined Hyunjin watching him the way he had been watching Hyunjin—furtive, wanting.
The last of Chan’s restraint crumbled, and almost subconsciously, his grip on Hyunjin’s body tightened. “Yes, I thought of you,” he whispered. He held Hyunjin in place, moving down the bed a little so that he was situated between his legs. “I thought about how you would sound if I touched you like this—” He ran a finger up the length of Hyunjin’s cock where it lay half-hard against his inner thigh. Hyunjin gasped in surprise. Chan brought his hand to his mouth, taking two fingers between his lips.
Strictly speaking, preparation was not necessary for a vampire’s body—it would hurt for a moment, and then the body would give way—but Chan wanted to do it, just to watch Hyunjin fall apart from his hands alone. Or perhaps simply because it felt necessary. There was no need to remind either of them that they were just two dead things playing at life.
“Or,” Chan continued, pulling his fingers back out of his mouth and reaching down to pet over Hyunjin’s entrance, “if I touched you like this.” Hyunjin shivered, giving a breathy sort of moan. Anticipation made him tense, so Chan met substantial resistance when he first pushed his fingers past his rim. But after a moment, Hyunjin relaxed around him. His thighs twitched as the pads of Chan’s fingers brushed past his prostate. Chan looked up at him and found Hyunjin’s eyes staring back, glassy and slightly unfocused, and all the more beautiful.
“It feels like it’s been forever for me,” Hyunjin said softly. “Though in reality it’s only been a few years.”
“He never?” Chan asked. It hadn’t really occurred to him—rarely would a human survive an encounter like that—but now that the thought of it was in his mind, somehow it made him angry.
But Hyunjin was shaking his head. “No. Though I imagine he might have gotten around to it after my turning. But you were there, so it doesn’t matter.”
“I see,” Chan murmured.
“How long has it been for you?” Hyunjin asked. “Since someone has touched you?”
Chan blinked at him calmly. “I don’t remember,” he said honestly. He would have to check his records to be sure of the exact number. “Centuries, I think.”
Sadness bloomed across Hyunjin’s face. “That’s terrible,” he said. “Come closer, then. Where I can reach you.”
Chan couldn’t say no. He slid his thighs under Hyunjin’s hamstrings, pressing so close that the head of his cock brushed the heel of his hand where it was still buried inside Hyunjin. Hyunjin pulled him forward with one hand, stretching the other down to cup Chan’s cock. He squeezed softly, and Chan moaned low against his lips. For a moment, he forgot what he’d been trying to do, too lost in the feeling of Hyunjin’s hand on him, delicate fingers wrapped snug around him. 
Hyunjin strained upward to catch his lips, and the scrape of his teeth brought Chan back to himself. He muffled his moans in their kisses, pumping his fingers in and out, slow at first, and then faster when Hyunjin began rocking his hips.
Hyunjin had started moving his hand, too, smearing Chan’s precome along the whole length of his cock as he pulled and twisted his wrist. Chan’s other hand trailed up and down Hyunjin’s body, taking hold of his hip, then coming to rest on his ribcage. Hyunjin circled the fingers of his free hand around Chan’s wrist, tugging. 
Chan broke the kiss, brow furrowed. “What?” he asked.
“Here,” Hyunjin said, tugging again. Chan let him guide his hand up, up past his chest and clavicle until it was hovering over his throat. The look he gave Chan was pleading. “Here, hyung.”
Chan closed his hand around Hyunjin’s throat, thumb covering the bite scar over what was once his pulse point. He shifted a little to get the position right, and then squeezed. Hyunjin was giving him tiny nods of approval, so he kept going until he was sure it hurt. But Hyunjin had been right—Chan wanted to hurt him. Arousal grew steadily inside him as he watched Hyunjin’s eyes roll back in his head, his hand falling away from Chan’s wrist, landing limp on the bed at his side. 
“Would it please you to know I thought about this, too?” Chan asked. It was true—he had imagined taking Hyunjin in his hands and wringing him dry in this way. Hyunjin wheezed softly; Chan had a feeling that if he were able, he would cry out. “Did you think of it? My hands around your throat?”
Hyunjin gave a minute nod, blinking rapidly. Chan could see tears gathering there, but Hyunjin was smiling. He looked dazed and blissful, and pride rushed to Chan’s head, a roar of emotion. He had done this—he had given this pleasure to Hyunjin. And it was only the beginning.
He realized he was thrusting into Hyunjin’s hand now, at the same pace that he was fingering him—fast and a little erratic. That must be why the arousal rose fast and steady inside him, why his head swam, why he felt a gathering in his stomach. Clumsily, he squeezed a third finger in beside the other two. Hyunjin’s jaw dropped open, chin crowding Chan’s fingers. 
Chan released his throat in favor of wrapping his hand around Hyunjin’s cock. Hyunjin gasped in breaths, eyes wide, convulsing when Chan touched him. “I’m close,” he forced out, hoarse. “Are you?”
Chan managed a stiff nod, too focused on keeping his eyes open to reply. He wanted to see it, wanted to watch Hyunjin unravel in his hands. Hyunjin held his gaze, eyes half-lidded, pretty lips parted in a moan. And then Chan felt wetness across his hand, and looked down to see pearls of white splattered across Hyunjin’s stomach and chest. 
Hyunjin’s hand tightened around Chan’s cock. “Now you,” he whispered. It sounded like a demand, which amused Chan in the back of his mind. Did Hyunjin think he would refuse?
When he came, he felt it everywhere. There was something nice about having more than just his own hand and his imagination. Hyunjin watched him hungrily as Chan groaned and shook and spilled into his palm.
They caught their breath for a moment. Chan watched the shadows of the candle flames dance and flicker on his walls. He hoped Hyunjin wasn’t yet sated; he wanted more still. 
He was in luck. Hyunjin was already whimpering softly, squirming beneath him. “Chan,” he whined. “Fuck me.”
Chan smiled, pulling his fingers out with a wet pop. “You want that?” he asked, just to tease.
Hyunjin gave him a reproachful look, and Chan remembered thinking that he should not have to beg for anything. He took it back now; Hyunjin looked sweet when he was pleading, lower lip pushed out just a touch, eyes round and hopeful. 
“Please,” Hyunjin said in a very small voice.
Chan pulled away from him slightly, resting one hand on his hip. “Turn over, then,” he said. 
Pleased at having gotten his way, Hyunjin obeyed with a smile, rolling over fluidly, drawing his knees up beside his chest and curling over his thighs, resting his head in the pillow of his forearms. He watched Chan over his shoulder as Chan positioned himself behind him.
Chan lined himself up with Hyunjin’s entrance, hands splayed across his lower back to keep him still as he sank in. He was tight, despite the prep, and Chan groaned softly at the feeling of Hyunjin around him. His body held him soft and snug; Chan dug the pads of his fingers into Hyunjin’s skin as he bottomed out.
Hyunjin moaned openmouthed, unabashed. “Oh, fuck,” he breathed out. “Feels good.”
“You too,” Chan replied. “Such a nice body.” He meant it—he admired Hyunjin’s little waist, his long, lithe legs, the line of his spine, the delicate bones of his hands. Hyunjin preened, blinking slowly. “Ready?”
“Been ready since I saw you,” Hyunjin huffed, and it was all the encouragement Chan needed. He rolled his hips against Hyunjin, gritting his teeth at the way Hyunjin arched his back, lovely moans spilling freely from his lips.
Their refractory periods were much shorter than a human’s, but they still needed a little time to recover, so Chan kept his pace slow at first. Hyunjin still moaned appreciatively with his every movement. “You’re so loud,” Chan chided, tongue slow and heavy with pleasure.
“Can’t help it,” Hyunjin said, unapologetic. Good. Chan didn’t think he would tire of hearing him. 
Slowly, the sensation went from something sharp to a duller, more constant thrum under Chan’s skin, and he started thrusting faster. Hyunjin’s cries increased in pitch and volume, but Chan didn’t care. His property was large, his neighbors distant. There was nobody to hear but him and the gathering night outside. 
Chan reached forward and grabbed a fistful of Hyunjin’s long, dark hair. He tightened his fingers, satisfaction running thick and heavy through his body when Hyunjin gave a dry, choked sob. It took him a moment to realize Hyunjin had said something.
“What was that?” Chan asked.
“Harder,” Hyunjin repeated, insistent even though his voice was weak and broken. Chan had to admire his tenacity, he supposed as he started fucking him rougher. The bed shook, and Hyunjin sobbed, but Chan knew he didn’t have to stop. 
For a moment then, none of it mattered. Chan didn’t feel like a vampire, eternal and exhausted. The blanket of melancholy that seemed to usually smother his life receded somewhat. Even the guilt about the secret he harbored from Hyunjin was no longer so heavy. His own breath filled his ears; beyond it, the rhythmic slap of skin on skin, and Hyunjin’s voice. Nothing else mattered. For those few minutes, Chan forgot his despair, his dread. He almost could have convinced himself that he was alive.
Hyunjin let Chan fuck him into the mattress, pliant beneath his hands. He cried, but between breaths he still begged for more.
“Don’t need to be greedy,” Chan said, struggling to keep his voice even. “There’s always next time.”
“Next time,” Hyunjin said dreamily, like it had only just occurred to him that this was not going to be a one-time occurrence. “Alright. Next time. Promise?”
I think I would do anything for you, Chan wanted to say. Anything you wanted. “Promise,” he said instead. 
“Faster,” Hyunjin said, now that that was settled. “I want to come.”
Chan did his best to pick up the pace. Hyunjin shifted, reaching his arm down between his body and the sheets to touch himself. He dissolved into whines when Chan changed the angle of his thrusts, clenching down around him. Chan growled low in the back of his throat, leaning over Hyunjin, turning his head to the side with the hand that was still in his hair, and kissing along his sharp jawline. He could feel the muscle working there under his lips. He could feel tears, could taste the salt of them on his tongue. Hyunjin twitched beneath him.
“Gonna come?” Chan asked softly. He hoped the answer was yes because he knew he wouldn’t be far behind.
“Yes,” Hyunjin gasped. “Fuck, please don’t stop, I’m so close.”
Chan grunted into his skin, finding it in himself somehow to go faster still, and Hyunjin wailed, spasming around Chan’s cock as he came. He was still shuddering through the aftershocks when Chan felt the tight coil of his own arousal release, spilling deep inside Hyunjin’s body. He sank his teeth into the skin of Hyunjin’s shoulder, moaning as his hips stuttered to a stop.
He released Hyunjin’s hair, smoothing it down; one of Hyunjin’s hands had found his cheek. Chan pulled out somewhat gingerly, rolling off Hyunjin and onto the mattress beside him. Hyunjin turned onto his side, lethargic but determined, leaning close so he could kiss Chan. Chan drew him to his side, kissing back.  
Gradually, the kisses grew sporadic, and then they relaxed into the pillows. They lay there like that in the dirty sheets for a while, Hyunjin curled against Chan’s body. They weren’t resting, exactly—just processing, Chan concluded. 
A few minutes passed. Then, Hyunjin cleared his throat. “After that vampire killed my family and took me away to live with him,” he said softly, breaking the silence. “I thought that was it. That was going to be my life—just him, for the rest of forever. It terrified me—that sort of loneliness.” Chan looked down at him, and saw him staring back. “But now he’s dead, and I have you. I’ll remember this now, whenever I feel hopeless.”
“I’m glad I found you,” Chan whispered earnestly. “I was quite alone.”
Hyunjin smiled. “I’d like to stick around a while longer, if you’ll have me,” he said. “Then neither of us will have to be alone.”
“I’d like that,” Chan said. He didn’t know why he was hoarse. But Hyunjin didn’t say anything about it.
Later, when Hyunjin had gone to hunt, Chan looked over his record books. He hadn’t shared them with Hyunjin yet—he didn’t want him to find the pages about his turning. He ran his fingers over the dried ink, fanned them over the edges of the page. He could have destroyed these records. He could have burned the pages that told of what happened that night, and written a different version of what happened—the version that Hyunjin believed. Then he could show Hyunjin everything—he could tell him his entire life story. Hyunjin could see the drawings of Chan’s mother, his friends, his home. And over time, Chan, too, would forget the truth. Without the real record to remind him, the memory would fade into nothing. They could be happy. 
He almost did it, hand poised to tear the first page out. It would have been so easy. But Chan didn’t deserve easy. It was one thing to offer Hyunjin the simple answer; Hyunjin didn’t need to suffer any more than he already had. Chan could not free himself of the responsibility. It wouldn’t be right. He would carry the truth of Hyunjin’s turning for the both of them, the heavy weight of a lie. It would be his punishment for what he had done, what he would continue to do. It didn’t make it right, but at least it was something Chan could live with.
He heard Hyunjin at the door, and moved quickly to hide his journals.
“Caught a deer,” Hyunjin called. “Come down, it’s still warm.”
“Just a moment!” Chan replied, guilt searing through him like venom.
And so Hyunjin became a permanent fixture in Chan’s life. He became an equal partner in his cases; soon, the vampire community knew both their names. They were respected and renowned. Though neither of them took particular delight in the killing, Chan knew he at least took some joy in the acclaim. They were doing good, and they were doing it together. In this way, many years passed.
Chan kept his records secretly, sneaking away to scribble down the days’ events. It wasn’t all too difficult—they knew they had forever with each other if they wished, so when they weren’t working a case, they would spend time alone. Hyunjin liked to dance, and would do so for hours at a time. Sometimes Chan would join him, but he didn’t love it the way Hyunjin did, so mostly he left him to his hobbies and took the opportunity to add more detail to his notes.
They didn’t spend all their free time apart, though; they couldn’t bear to. Eventually, Chan would stash his journals away, and Hyunjin would tire of dancing, and they’d meet in some common space—maybe the kitchen, or the living room. There was no rush to it; they’d wait for the other to arrive, patient, placid. And then, the sweet rush of happiness at seeing the other, to find they were, still, somehow, not alone.
“Hi,” Hyunjin whispered, taking Chan’s hands in his. “What were you doing?”
“Reading,” Chan lied, pulling him to his feet, tugging him close. “You?”
“Dancing,” Hyunjin said. “As usual.” He ducked his head and pressed his nose to the hollow of Chan’s throat, kissing just beneath it. A pause. “Can I tell you something?”
“Of course,” Chan said, smoothing a hand down his back.
“I love you,” Hyunjin said, raising his head and looking Chan in the eye.
“Oh,” Chan said softly. The words dug their way under his skin, burrowing in the tough muscle of his still heart. Hyunjin loved him. “I love you, too.”
Hyunjin’s face softened into a joyful smile, and he kissed Chan, all teeth. “If I must live forever,” he whispered, “at least I can do it with you.” He pulled away just a bit, so Chan could see his face, could see his eyes sparkling. “Chan,” he said, his tone reverent. “My savior. My love.”
Chan tightened his grip on him. “Hyunjin,” he murmured. “You saved me. Do you know that?”
Hyunjin smiled. “Good thing I did,” he said gently. “You’re worth saving.”
No, I’m not, Chan thought, but he just kissed Hyunjin instead before he could find the sadness in Chan’s eyes.
But after that, it was even easier to ignore the truth, to bury under every I-love-you, and try to forget. 
But some things are impossible to forget. Chan realized that even if he had torn out the pages of his records, he would have remembered their events with stunning clarity, anyway. How could he forget, for longer than a few moments at a time, the fate he had affixed onto Hyunjin? How could he forget that he knew the taste of his blood? 
The world changed, and they changed with it. With faster modes of transportation made available, they no longer needed so many residences; they sold a few of the older, seldom-used properties and worked out of just a couple of houses. They continued their work. They continued loving each other. The horror of their pasts faded into the background of their minds.
Contrary to some beliefs, vampires do not take mates. Their relationships work in the same way a human’s would. The only difference is that marriage is a silly prospect to them—just another set of legal papers they would have to continue to update and forge—so Chan and Hyunjin were never married. But Chan knew if they were not immortal, and if it were acceptable, they would have been married long ago. As it was, they were in a long-term partnership with no end in sight. That was all either of them needed to know.
Decades slipped by them. There were rough patches, especially at the beginning, when Hyunjin was still settling into vampire life. Some days he’d come to Chan, shaking and tearful, begging him to help him remember pieces of his human life that had begun to slip away from him. Chan soothed him through it as best he could.
“It’s natural to forget,” he said quietly, holding Hyunjin close. “I don’t remember a lot of things, either.”
“I don’t want to forget,” Hyunjin mumbled.
“If you’re scared, you can write things down,” Chan suggested. “I do, sometimes. But you also have to trust that your mind will retain the things that are truly important.”
“What if one day, I forget who I am?” Hyunjin asked in a small voice.
“I don’t think that will happen,” Chan said, “but if you do, I’ll be here to remind you.”
Hyunjin’s eyes shone, and Chan’s guilt came knocking again. He did his best to push it aside.
Their work was steady, easy with the two of them. Sometimes they were joined by others for larger, more complex cases; sometimes it was just the two of them. But they were always together; when others called on them for help now, it was never just for one or the other. It was Chan and Hyunjin, Hyunjin and Chan. Are you and your partner available for a case? people would ask. We’ll pay double. 
But even in all the goodness, the acceptance, the acclaim, there were rumblings of distaste in their community. Whispers were passed around, that they were doing it for power, that they were greedy and self-important. 
“There are some that think you have been allowed to feast on your own pride for too long,” one of their acquaintances, Lee Minho, told Chan one day. “With your notoriety, and the money you make, there are some that feel your power is too great to be unchecked.”
“We don’t do what we do for power.” It came out angrier than Chan had intended, but he was bristling with fury. How could they? He, and now Hyunjin, had kept vampires and humans alike safe for centuries. How dare they question their intentions; how dare they be so ungrateful?
“I don’t agree, you understand,” Minho said calmly. “I’m just letting you know. You need to be careful. You and Hyunjin both. There is unrest, and unrest often leads to violence. I would hate to see something happen to either of you.”
“What do they want from us, then? A share of our pay? They can have it,” Chan said. 
“I’m afraid it won’t be that simple.” Minho sighed, brushing his hair back. “Some are saying you should no longer be allowed to, ah, practice.”
“That’s ridiculous,” Chan said.
“To be fair, it’s not just you. Other older bounty hunters have been targets as well. A few retired actually, just last month, after increasing pressure. I’m sure you know Jaebeom and Jinyoung.” Minho waited for Chan to nod before continuing. “And more notably, one of their friends, Jackson, refused to cooperate.”
“What happened?” Chan asked. 
“He got into a fight with some locals of the town he was living in for a case,” Minho said. “They killed him.”
“What?” Chan stared at him, but Minho wouldn’t lie. Not about something like this. “So they’re doing the very thing they’re condemning us for? Does no one see the hypocrisy?”
Minho spreads his hands. “I guess not. I’m halting my activities until they decide what they want me to do. I’d advise you to do the same.”
“I’m not going to let some power-hungry insurrectionists tell me what I can and cannot do,” Chan said. “Our work is legitimate. I will continue working until I am unable.”
“And if they kill Hyunjin? What then?” Minho asked.
Chan froze. His own death, he could contend with, he supposed. But Hyunjin’s—that was crossing a line. And even the idea that he would have to leave Hyunjin alone was enough to give him pause. “Well,” he said, trying to sound brave. “At the very least, I will continue working until those who disagree voice their concerns to me directly.”
Minho nodded slowly. “I suppose that’s the best I can do for you, then. Good luck, Chan. Stay safe.”
Chan told Hyunjin once he got home. A line of worry appeared between his brows. “Maybe we should do like Minho, and the others,” he said. 
“But our work is important,” Chan insisted. “I don’t want to give it up at the first sign of danger. That would be cowardice.”
“I know, but—but what about what happened to Jackson?” Hyunjin asked. “If we push it, there may be no place for us.”
“I’d rather try and fail than give up,” Chan said.
Hyunjin nodded, taking his hand. “You know I will stand by your side.” He stared at Chan intently. “But promise me, if things start to look bad, that we’ll back down. I don’t need the work we do. But I need you.”
“I know,” Chan said softly. “I promise.”
Their confrontation didn’t come for some time. They kept working, completing a few more cases. Chan had a feeling it was because of their reputation that people did not come knocking on their door—many of these people were afraid of them. An angry pride reared its head inside of him. They should be afraid. Chan was likely older than all of them. He had seen things worse than any of their nightmares. 
But eventually, the dissent grew from rumbling to something too loud to ignore. A member of a local branch of law enforcement, accompanied by a couple of vampires that Chan did not recognize, showed up on their doorstep not a few hours after sunset. 
“We’ve let you run wild long enough,” the policeman said, holding up a hand when Chan opened his mouth to object. “It is not that we are ungrateful for the work you have done. But things are changing. Your role is no longer useful to us, and some are concerned that you may be using it to gain political and financial power. They have brought their concerns to those who hold public office, and we agree that it is in the community’s best interest that you either retire completely, or hand over a portion of your assets and await further instruction.
Hyunjin touched Chan’s arm, looking at the vampires across the table. “May we speak about this in private, please?”
One of the vampires stood, and the rest were quick to follow. “We will leave you tonight,” the policeman said. “We will return tomorrow, and we expect an answer. Please have one prepared. We’d rather not make things unpleasant.”
“Fine,” Chan said through gritted teeth. “You know where the door is. See yourselves out.” He watched their retreating footsteps with stony anger, unable to move for fear of doing something rash. He could barely feel Hyunjin’s hand where it still lay on his arm.
“That was a threat,” Hyunjin said as soon as they were gone. “Chan, we can’t. I know it’s important to you—it’s important to me, too. But I think it would be best if we cut our losses and got out. We can find other things to do! I want to try gardening.” He sounded desperate. “Chan, look at me.”
Chan turned his head, fixing his stormy gaze on Hyunjin. He softened immediately. Hyunjin looked scared and sad and unsure, but he clung to Chan’s sleeve all the same, pretty fingers balled tight around the fabric. “I don’t want to sit around waiting for them to tell us how we will fit into their new idea of society,” he said quietly. “I don’t want anything to do with any of them. Besides, I worry that it won’t be safe, even if we comply.”
Hyunjin nodded. “I agree,” he said quickly. “Why don’t we—sell all our other residences, pull our money out of savings, and buy a big, beautiful house somewhere out in the middle of nowhere? There people won’t bother us, and humans won’t be likely to stumble by, and we’ll be able to live in peace.” He shook Chan’s arm a little. “Together.”
It was a difficult thing, but Chan knew he didn’t really have a choice. He’d rather ensure Hyunjin’s safety than fight a losing battle. “Okay,” he agreed. “We’ll start looking tonight.”
“Thank you.” Relief flooded Hyunjin’s voice, sweet and warm. “I love you.”
Chan pulled him close so he could kiss him. He closed his eyes tight, letting Hyunjin’s taste soothe him. “I love you, too,” he whispered.
It was almost a relief, in a way, to withdraw. Chan was not going willingly. He had fought to stay in this world, and now he was being asked to leave it. But at least he had come out of it with something. He had Hyunjin, however dearly bought, and that was enough. It would have to be.
They found a beautiful mansion in a secluded clearing at the heart of a thick forest. No one would come looking for them there, and the isolation was enough to put worried minds to rest. Hyunjin bought plant seeds. Chan packed his record books underneath stacks of clothing. They sold their other houses, gathered their belongings, trimmed the edges of their life.
It was alright at first. Hyunjin tended his garden, danced. Chan made copies of older record books that had begun to fade. He could keep them digitally now, which was all the better. Easier to hide when they all lived on the same device, and harder to destroy. He and Hyunjin hunted in the forest—it was full of animals, plenty to live off of. The house was everything they could ask for—countless rooms, glass with UV protection so they would not have to keep their curtains closed in the day; beds and floors sturdy enough to withstand all the things Hyunjin and Chan did on them. They were happy.
But they were not fulfilled. At least, Chan was not. He missed having a purpose beyond loving Hyunjin, as sweet as it was. What was there left for him to do? He kept record of their days, though it hardly mattered anymore. Nothing happened. They had no visitors; even Minho stopped coming by after the first couple of years. They received no news, too concerned about what venturing back out into the world might bring.
Some days Chan would find himself in a panic, realizing he could not remember certain things. He would frantically search through his files for the answer, and sometimes he would find it. But most times, he would not; he would skim until his eyes burned, not even sure what exactly he was looking for, just knowing that something, somewhere was missing. There were cracks forming in his mind that turned into fissures.
He hid it from Hyunjin; admitting something was wrong would require revealing all his record-keeping, and he certainly couldn’t do that now. The one thing his mind, fraying as it was at the edges, would not let him forget was what he had done to Hyunjin all those centuries ago. It was almost a blessing, in a way; something to hold onto. When he found himself overwhelmed by all the things he had lost, he would soothe himself by listing the things he knew.
One: he had turned Hyunjin without knowing he hadn’t wanted it, and lied to him about it ever since. Two: they could never leave this house and reenter society, at least not for many, many years. Three: He loved Hyunjin and he would never leave him.
Hyunjin, at least, seemed to be handling the isolation well. Though Chan could see that he, too, was losing pieces of himself, at least he seemed content. His garden blossomed. He took to painting as well, and soon their walls were covered in his art. It was lovely—at least one of them was happy, still, and Chan loved to see Hyunjin happy—but the monotony only sped the deterioration that Chan could feel encroaching on every minute of every one of his days. He knew Hyunjin would not understand that, and a new kind of loneliness took root in Chan’s stomach. While Hyunjin was satisfied fucking Chan and pursuing new hobbies and busying himself with household things, Chan wanted more. And he would never have it.
It wasn’t all bad, of course. Hyunjin’s beauty became no less alluring with the passage of time. They had long grown comfortable with each other; they knew their ways around each other’s bodies as well as they knew their own. Chan hardly had to think about what he was doing anymore. It came to him naturally, just how loving Hyunjin came naturally. It was easy; it was right.
“Chan,” Hyunjin whined, trying to lean in close for a kiss.
“Hyunjin,” Chan replied evenly, holding him in place and keeping his lips just out of reach. “You said you were hungry.”
“The nights are growing longer,” Hyunjin replied. “The sun hasn’t even set. We can wait.”
“We can after we get back,” Chan tried again, but already he knew it was a battle he would not win.
“But I want to now,” Hyunjin said, pouting. His pouts were always dangerous. Chan always wanted to punish him for being pushy, but he also wanted to give him whatever he was pouting so hard for.
Chan sighed, and dipped his head forward, swift so Hyunjin wouldn’t see it coming, and snagged his offending lower lip between his teeth, then kissed him roughly. Hyunjin let his body melt into Chan’s, making a noise of satisfaction.
“Let’s be quick, then,” Chan said.
“I love you,” Hyunjin said breathlessly. Chan didn’t need to look at him to know he was smiling. 
They were in a dining room, but that hardly mattered. Chan cleared the table behind Hyunjin and lifted him up onto it, kissing him in between to stop him from complaining. Hyunjin lay back against the sturdy oak, hair fanning out softly behind his head. He lifted his hips obediently when Chan tapped them so that he could pull his pants off.
“Good,” Chan murmured, almost reflexively.
Hyunjin let out a happy sigh while Chan started working on his own pants. “Can I have your mouth, before you fuck me?” he asked.
“Yes,” Chan said softly, eyeing Hyunjin’s cock as he let his pants fall to the floor. He bent over him, kissing a trail down from the seat of his belly to the tip of his cock before taking the head in his mouth. One of Hyunjin’s hands found his hair.
“Fuck,” Hyunjin whimpered tightly when Chan hollowed his cheeks. “So good, feels so good.”
Chan only hummed, taking Hyunjin deeper. He knew he had been the one to say they needed to make it quick—and he was right to say it—but he couldn’t help but take his time. Hyunjin shuddered, biting back moans like he liked to do when he thought it was too early for him to make too much noise, and Chan swallowed carefully around his cock, surrounded by his scent. Time was slower like this; the quietness of the house was not so stifling. Chan breathed in, slow, then drew himself up and off of Hyunjin with his exhale.
“Chan,” Hyunjin complained.
He looked so pretty, sprawled out on their dining room table, nice shirt now full of wrinkles, crumpled up around his ribs. His dark eyes followed Chan’s every movement. Chan clenched his jaw so he wouldn’t smile, tilting his head. “You don’t want me to fuck you?”
“Oh,” Hyunjin said, like he was just remembering. Maybe he was.
“Open,” Chan said, and Hyunjin did, tongue pushing his lower lip down to protect Chan’s fingers from his teeth. Chan pressed his fingertips against the roof of his mouth. “Close. Get them wet for me.”
Hyunjin looked up at him intently as he swirled his tongue around his fingers, batting his eyelashes, trying to take him deeper. Chan let him; if he needed it, Chan wouldn’t be the one to refuse. Eventually, he released Chan, coughing wetly.
“Don’t hurt yourself,” Chan said impassively, bringing his hand down to Hyunjin’s entrance. “We still have to hunt.”
“Doesn’t hurt,” Hyunjin replied, voice raw. Chan flicked his gaze up at him, eyebrows raised. “After we’re done eating,” Hyunjin continued, unfazed, “Will you choke me on your cock? We haven’t done that in a while. I want it.”
I want it. It was like he knew Chan wouldn’t say no. “I couldn’t tell,” Chan said drily, twisting his fingers inside him. “Yes,” he added, when he realized he hadn’t given his answer.
“Thank you,” Hyunjin said dreamily. Chan knew he was already imagining it. He let Hyunjin carry himself away with his thoughts while he lined himself up with his hole. 
He didn’t bother warning him, just pushed his cock in nice and slow. Hyunjin arched off the table with a surprised moan. “Oh, fuck,” he slurred. “Fuck fuck fuck, Chan.”
Chan liked it when Hyunjin swore. It was like a metric of how well he was doing. Four fucks in one breath meant he left him just tight enough for it to hurt. He bottomed out and paused, running a hand over Hyunjin’s stomach, down past his hips to his soft thighs. Hyunjin spread his legs a little wider, maybe subconsciously trying to take more of Chan, or maybe just trying to goad him into moving. 
Chan moved. It really was supposed to be quick, after all. They were good hunters, but he’d rather not risk being out near sunrise. Hyunjin wailed, clenching down like that would help.
“Hurts?” Chan asked, not slowing.
“Mm-hm,” Hyunjin said, nodding, “but it’s g-good.”
Chan made an affirmative noise, rolling his hips smooth and steady, letting Hyunjin spasm and cry out and eventually settle back down against the table as his body gave way to the harsh pace Chan had set. His cock bobbed against his stomach, slick still from Chan’s spit and the precome that leaked out drop by drop with every one of Chan’s thrusts. He watched Hyunjin’s face twist up with pleasure, watched him scrabble against the table. He always got spacey when he was forced to come fast, eyes wide and empty. Chan could only wonder what he was thinking.
He kept fucking him, fingers digging into his thighs, letting his lust take over his brain. The table creaked beneath them, but Chan knew it wouldn’t break. He wouldn’t have done this here if he thought it might. His orgasm built inside him. He could feel it like a pulse.
“Chan.” Hyunjin was struggling to focus on him, but Chan could tell it wasn’t for lack of trying. “I’m gonna come if you don’t slow down.”
“Good,” Chan said quietly. “Come, then.”
Hyunjin whimpered; it wasn’t the answer he wanted. But Chan was close, and he wanted to see Hyunjin come first. He wrapped a hand around Hyunjin’s cock, smiling when he sobbed. The noise became a scream as he came, shooting streaks of white across his stomach, hips twitching.
Chan released him, bringing his hand to his mouth to lick it clean, rutting into Hyunjin roughly to get himself off. He hadn’t even swallowed the last of Hyunjin’s come when he was coming too, deep inside Hyunjin’s body. He realized he’d dug his nails into Hyunjin’s skin, and forced himself to let go as he came spinning back down.
“Okay,” Chan said when he’d recovered enough. “Let’s go.” Hyunjin just groaned softly. “You asked for it,” Chan said, pulling out and reaching up above Hyunjin’s shoulder for a napkin to clean them with. “I said we should wait until after.”
“Give me a minute,” Hyunjin complained.
“You said you were hungry,” Chan reminded him, getting dressed and then offering a hand to Hyunjin. “Come on, baby.”
Hyunjin sighed, taking his hand and pulling himself up, hopping off the table and right up into Chan’s space to give him a kiss. “Where are my pants?” he asked.
“Here.” Chan waited for him to zip them up before nodding towards the doorway. “Let’s go.”
They ran out into the night, splitting up once they hit the trees. Chan sprinted, perhaps a bit faster than what was reasonable, relishing in the feeling of the cold wind on his skin. The leaves were turning; soon, it would be winter, and with the season would come shorter days and longer nights. After a summer of spending far too many hours indoors, the change would be welcome, even if the snow would make prey scarce.
He picked up the trail of a family of rabbits, and followed it, catching them quickly. Rabbits in hand, he picked his way back towards the house, trying to find Hyunjin.
He found his trail quickly, following his footsteps in the undergrowth. He’d gone towards the water, and suddenly Chan came to a clearing. Hyunjin was there, skin glowing in the moonlight reflecting up from the stream beside him. He was bent over a still figure.
“Hyunjin,” Chan said slowly. “What is that?”
“I found him like this,” Hyunjin said, not taking his eyes off the human, Chan could see now as he stepped closer. A young man, around the age Hyunjin had been when Chan turned him. “What should we do?”
Chan came up beside them, carefully setting the rabbits on the ground and crouching beside the human. He was still alive; Chan could feel his warmth as soon as he drew near. “He must have gotten lost hiking or something,” Chan murmured. “Or…” He glanced down. “His leg is broken,” he said. “He must have tried to get close to a water source. Maybe passed out from the pain.”
“We can’t just leave him,” Hyunjin said.
“We don’t have another choice. We can’t—what, take him to the nearest town? He probably won’t survive the journey, anyway.” Chan shook his head. “The wolves will get to him soon enough. If he’s lucky, they’ll strike while he’s still out.”
“You know how to fix broken bones,” Hyunjin said. “We could help him.”
Chan looked up at him, frowning. “And what happens when he wakes up? What happens when he starts asking questions?”
“We’ll just heal him up and send him on his way,” Hyunjin said, like it was that simple. “It’ll be fine. Please, Chan. I feel awful just leaving him to die.”
“What happens if he wants to come back and thank us? Or tells his human friends about us?” Chan pressed.
“We can keep up the act,” Hyunjin insisted. Chan pressed his lips together, thinking. “You would’ve done it, if it was me.”
“It was different, when we met,” Chan said delicately. “A different lifetime.”
They were silent for a moment. The rabbits had gone cold. 
“We’ll figure it out.” Hyunjin brushed some blonde hair back from the human’s face. Chan noticed then the freckles dusting his cheeks. “Please, Chan.”
He knew they shouldn’t. But it had been so long since they’d seen another person. It couldn’t hurt, could it? Hyunjin was right; they could simply paint themselves as eccentric recluses; once the human was healed, they would offer to help him find his way back home, and tell him not to worry about thanking them. If they made it clear they didn’t want to be disturbed, he’d probably just let it be, right?
“Fine,” Chan said, picking up his rabbits. “But when he’s healed, he goes.”
“Thank you,” Hyunjin said, eyes bright. He picked the human up, cradling him in his arms, and followed Chan as he turned and headed for home.
Once they were inside, Hyunjin laid the human out in one of the downstairs bedrooms. He drained a rabbit while Chan got to work resetting the human’s leg and making a splint. Hyunjin cleaned the dirt from his face and hair. 
“Tomorrow night,” Chan said, “I will go into town to get some food. He’ll want to eat when he wakes, I’m sure.”
Hyunjin nodded. “I’ll stay to watch him,” he agreed.
The human stayed asleep through the entirety of the day, and once evening came again, Chan gathered up some money and left Hyunjin to tend to him.
The town had changed since Chan had last seen it. It had been years at least; the last time he’d ventured out was to get a laptop and a WiFi router. The buildings were taller, sleeker, and there were more people. Though it was rather late, maybe around midnight, many humans were out, filling the streets and the bars. 
Chan ducked into the first grocery store he found, gathering whatever caught his eye into a basket and hurrying to pay. He didn’t want to be away long, and as soon as he was finished paying, he rushed back out into the night.
But the house was still and dark, just as he’d left it, when he returned. As he slipped off his shoes, however, he heard the low murmur of voices.
He almost went straight to the bedroom, but realized it would be odd to come up with so many groceries, so he went first to the kitchen to put things away. He transferred their stash of blood to the bottom drawer, swept dust off the counters. He tried to make it look lived-in, though he knew it was silly. The human wouldn’t be able to come up the stairs on his own. 
Finally, with nothing left to do, he made his way back downstairs, where Hyunjin was speaking.
“…in the forest?” he was asking.
“I’d gone for a walk.” A voice that Chan had to assume belonged to the human. It was odd—the voice was low. From the human’s delicate features, Chan wouldn’t have guessed it. “I wasn’t looking where I was going, and fell down a huge ravine. And when I stopped moving, I realized there was something wrong with my leg. So I—oh!” 
Chan had rounded the corner and come to a stop in the threshold of the bedroom. “Hello,” he said softly, trying not to spook the human, who was now sitting up against the headboard. Hyunjin sat in a chair beside him, and had turned at the sound of Chan’s footfalls.
“Felix,” Hyunjin said, “this is my partner, Chan. I told you he’d be back soon. He’s the one that fixed up your leg.”
“Thank you,” Felix stammered out. 
Chan smiled. “You’re welcome,” he said. “Though I wouldn’t call it fixed quite yet. You’ll have to heal a bit before you can move about. Do you want us to call the hospital? We weren’t sure—I mean, I figured I could probably stabilize you on my own. Besides, it’s hard for vehicles to get out here. So we thought we’d ask you.”
Felix shook his head. “They’d probably have to airlift me, if that’s true,” he said. “Too expensive. I mean,” he added quickly. “I don’t want to overstay my welcome. I can go if you want. But I’d rather just call a taxi or something.”
“You can stay, if you prefer,” Hyunjin said. “Chan isn’t a doctor, exactly, but he knows what he’s doing.”
“Is that alright?” Felix asked meekly.
Chan nodded. “We don’t mind. We don’t get a lot of visitors—by choice, of course, but if one happens by, we won’t turn them away.” Felix looked at him quizzically, but Chan decided to change the subject. “Are you hungry?”
“Oh—um, yeah, I am,” Felix said, blinking.
“I can get you something,” Chan said. “Some soup?”
“Soup is good,” Felix agreed. “Thank you.”
“Of course.” Chan turned and left, happy to be gone.
As he retreated down the hall, he heard Hyunjin ask, “So what do you do, Felix?”
They quickly fell into a routine this way. One of them would stay with Felix most of the time while the other tended to the house, to meals, to whatever they liked. They usually tried not to overwhelm him with their presence; rarely would the two of them stay together in the room for long. 
It didn’t give them much time together, except for a few hours at night while Felix slept. They spent this time rearranging the house, trying to hide signs of the truth, or hunting, or heading into town for more food. Chan even bought a car, though they didn’t use it, realizing it was suspicious that they wouldn’t have one. No human could make the walk in under a few hours.
Felix seemed somewhat wary at first, but quickly opened up to them. Chan found himself laughing around him, like he hadn’t in a long time. Felix shared stories about his life, and Chan and Hyunjin got to know him very quickly.
He seemed dissatisfied with the world when he spoke of it. From his telling, things seemed horrible and mundane. Chan was almost glad for their solitude, away from all the troubles Felix described. Poverty was rampant, it seemed, and overpopulation was threatening the entire planet. Felix spoke of his own worries in a detached manner, as if he had long since grown accustomed to them. 
His family was all gone, all in different ways. His father had died in a plane crash when he was nine; his mother and one of his sisters had been taken by a deadly virus a few years afterwards. His other sister drank herself to death to drown her grief. Only Felix remained, juggling multiple jobs, too busy for friendship, too poor for happiness. In a way, he said, it was a good thing he’d fallen that day. It wasn’t like he had much going for him, anyway.
“He doesn’t have anywhere to go,” Hyunjin said to Chan one night. “Can’t we keep him?”
Chan did feel bad for him, of course. And besides, he liked Felix. He was sweet, and funny. But he knew that wasn’t enough of a reason. “The longer he stays, the more likely it is he discovers the truth,” he said. “And he’ll run screaming back to the humans, and we will be done for.” 
“But what if he doesn’t?” Hyunjin wheedled. 
“You would keep him, as you were kept?” Chan asked. It was harsh of him, he knew, but he didn’t know how else to get through to him. 
It worked, at least. Hyunjin flinched and fell silent. He did not speak of it again.
So Felix healed, and Chan and Hyunjin pretended to be normal. It was a problem for another day, they both decided. Tomorrow, we’ll think about it. Tomorrow, we can worry. Tomorrow after tomorrow came and went.
They bought crutches for Felix, and a medical boot, so he could hobble around without assistance. He seemed happy to crutch up and down the halls, careful to keep weight off of his leg. Weeks passed. He started exploring; Chan would find him on the third story, or maybe the first. He went out to sit in the snow on the first day after a night of storming.
“Come on!” he called to Chan and Hyunjin, who lingered in the doorway. “It’s soft!”
Chan shook his head. “It’s slippery, Felix,” he said. “Come back inside.”
Felix frowned, but did as he was told, dusting the white powder from his hands as he stood. 
These sorts of awkward conversations started happening with more and more frequency.
”What’s your favorite food?” Felix asked.
“Oh, ah, I like jjajangmyeon,” Chan said quickly.
“You’ve never made it,” Felix said, sounding puzzled. “Actually, I haven’t seen you eat at all.”
“I do eat,” Chan defended uncomfortably.
“You must,” Felix mused, half to himself. “To keep a physique like that.”
“He asked me what it is we do,” Hyunjin told Chan one day. “You know, to afford this house and everything, since we look so young. I panicked and said I sold my art, and that you worked remotely trading stocks. I don’t think he bought it.”
Chan sighed wearily. “Well, he’ll be off the crutches in a week. Maybe we can convince him to leave.”
He tried to do it gently. If things were different, he would never dream of asking Felix to go. When he wasn’t asking uncomfortable questions, he was a delight to be around. The house felt warmer with him in it. Chan found himself fixated on him when he talked, his hands dancing in the air. He grew to know the sweet curl of his lips when he smiled, the low rumble of his laugh, the lines of his eyes.
“Felix,” Chan said casually one evening. “It’s been a delight to get to know you, but—I mean, you’re almost healed, and we just—wouldn’t want to keep you from your life, you know.”
“You want me to leave,” Felix said. His words cut through the room like a knife.
“It’s not that, we just—”
“It’s alright,” Felix said quietly. “I know I’ve intruded on your lives. Something—is different, about you two. I’ll go.” He drew a breath. “But first, I want you to answer a question. Can you get Hyunjin, please?”
Chan turned to stare at him. “What?”
“Please,” Felix repeated. Chan had never seen him so serious, not even when he had explained his past. His eyes were clouded and distant.
“Alright,” Chan said, not knowing what else to do.
Chan brought Hyunjin back to the dining room, where they sat opposite Felix at their table. Felix was studying his hands where they were clasped in his lap. After a few long moments of silence, he looked up.
“I just want you to answer me honestly,” he said. “Please don’t try to tell me I’m crazy. You can—you can even kill me after you answer, I just want to know.”
“Why would we kill you?” Hyunjin asked.
“You’re not human, are you?” Felix blurted. “Not anymore, anyway.”
The silence was heavy. Hyunjin stiffened beside Chan. They could hear the tick of the clock down the hall. 
When they didn’t reply, Felix pressed on. “I think you’re vampires,” he said, “which I know sounds nuts, unless I’m right. And you’re sitting there staring at me like that, which I think means I’m right. I—I promise I won’t tell. I swear. No one would believe me anyway. And I don’t have anybody to tell! I just—I just want to know.”
Chan exchanged a brief glance with Hyunjin, and then sighed. “Yes,” he said quietly. “You’re right.”
Felix’s jaw dropped. “Really? I mean—that’s it?”
“What else would you want us to say?” Chan asked.
“I just—I don’t know, it seems like kind of a big deal,” Felix said. “And I mean—you don’t want to eat me? Why didn’t you, when you found me in the woods?”
“Ah,” Chan said, “no, I’ve never really enjoyed drinking from humans. My father was killed that way.”
“You had a father? No, of course you did. I’m sorry,” Felix said in a rush, shaking his head. “Um, so if you’re not going to eat me—or, um, kill me—can I—can I stay?”
“Stay?” Hyunjin echoed. “You don’t want—to go back?”
Felix spread his hands. “I told you, there’s nothing left for me there. I’m sure my old apartment has already been cleared out and sold to someone else. People probably think I’m dead by now. If they haven’t come looking, they won’t. I don’t have a family, or friends. I hated my life there. Here—it’s different. I don’t have to worry about so many things, I don’t have to deal with people I don’t like. And—and there’s you.” He was looking at Chan when he said it, faintly embarrassed. “If you—if you still want me to go, I’ll go. And I meant it, I won’t tell anybody. Just—I wouldn’t mind staying.”
“We chose to save you,” Hyunjin said slowly, giving Chan an imploring look. “We made you our responsibility. I’m sure it’ll be alright, right?”
“I can be useful,” Felix added before Chan could reply. “I mean, I can go out during the day, you know? And I can, like, clean and stuff. I’ll stay out of your way.”
Chan held up a hand to stop him; he had a feeling Felix would just keep talking until he turned blue if he didn’t. “Alright,” he said. “But you’re not a prisoner here, okay? You may leave when you wish. Just—as a favor to us, please don’t mention anything about us, to anyone.”
Felix nodded quickly. “I understand,” he said. 
And so Chan’s life changed once again. Now that they no longer needed to hide it, having Felix around was easy. He danced with Hyunjin, went with him to tend to his garden. He helped Chan cook, teaching him recipes he’d learned in the time he spent living alone.
“I’ve never had access to a nice kitchen, or a fully-stocked fridge,” he admitted. “I only wish you could try what I make.”
Chan smiled at him. “I can’t digest it,” he said apologetically. “But it always smells good.” Felix beamed at him in response.
There was the lingering question, of course, of what would happen as Felix aged. He had expressed no desire to be turned—and Chan wasn’t sure he would agree to do it, even if he asked—but it was inevitable. Felix would grow old, and eventually die, and Chan and Hyunjin would have to bury him.
But, Chan reminded himself, that wasn’t now. Now, Felix was full of life. Winter had turned to spring, and soon it became summer, and Felix spent time outside, never straying far beyond their yard. Chan would watch him from the window as he picked wild flowers and chased birds on his freshly-healed leg. He’d come back tanned and smelling of honey, presenting his haphazard bouquet to the both of them. “A handful of sunshine, for you,” he said. “Look, feel the petals. They’re still warm.”
When summer gave way to autumn again, Felix helped Hyunjin harvest pumpkins from his garden while Chan gathered firewood. That evening, Chan taught Felix how to make a fire without a match or a lighter while Hyunjin sketched in an armchair.
“Now you try,” Chan said, blowing it out before it could catch.
He watched over his shoulder as Felix dutifully rubbed the stick between his hands. “Like this?” he asked.
“Faster,” Chan said. “Good.”
It took much longer than Chan’s demonstration, but eventually he got it to light. Chan snatched up the burning stick, nearly whittled all the way through, and used it to light the wood stacked in their fireplace. “That was so cool!” Felix gasped, watching as the flames grew.
Chan grinned. “You did very well,” he said warmly.
When he hugged him, Chan glanced over Felix’s shoulder and caught Hyunjin watching them intently. He smiled, and Hyunjin smiled back.
Felix’s birthday passed, a gentle reminder that he was growing older. But it was alright. He was young still; he had another sixty years at least, and these last few months seemed to have passed slower than usual. Sixty years felt like eternity. Chan went out late the night before while Felix was sleeping to buy him a cake. After he blew out his candles the next morning, Felix coaxed both of them into trying just a tiny taste of the frosting.
“A little bit can’t hurt, right?” he wheedled. “I eat things I can’t digest all the time. C’mon, it’s sweet.”
Chan closed his mouth around the prongs of the fork Felix was holding out to him, tips just barely covered in icing. It really was sweet.
The weather turned stormy. Felix still liked to take walks around their yard, even in the rain, and neither Chan nor Hyunjin stopped him. One day, it began storming very suddenly, and Felix burst through the doors a few minutes later, soaked through to the bone and teeth chattering as he struggled to free himself from his jacket.
“Here,” Chan said, hurrying down the stairs to help him. “Hold out your arms.”
They got his outside layers off and Chan took them to the laundry room while Felix went to run himself a hot shower. When Chan came to check on him, he found him burrowed under the covers, still shivering. 
Chan dug around for a thermometer and coaxed Felix to take it. It came back reading 37.9.
“I’ll get you some tea,” Chan said. “Honestly, I’m surprised this is the first time you’ve fallen ill.”
He brewed some chamomile tea, and brought it back down. Felix waved him away as soon as he received it. “You’ll catch it if you come too close.”
Chan laughed. “I am impervious to sickness, silly,” he said. “Do you want another blanket?”
“Oh,” Felix said meekly, wearing a self-deprecating smile. “Yes, please.”
Chan sat with him until he finished his tea and his eyelids had begun to droop. He took the cup and switched off the light. “Get some rest,” he said quietly. Felix was already half asleep, nestled under the covers. “Goodnight.” 
He almost bent down to kiss his forehead, aborting the movement so suddenly the mug nearly slipped from his hand. Feeling awkward, though thankful that Felix hadn’t seen, he slipped from the room as quickly and quietly as he could.
Though Felix hadn’t witnessed it, he felt strange around him afterwards whenever they were alone together. It was odd—he only now began to notice how long Felix’s eyelashes were, how soft his hair. He spent many hours sitting at his side, watching over him as the cold ran its course. There was a tug in his stomach when he looked at Felix now. If it wasn’t a loaded thing to say—because he didn’t mean it like that—Chan would call the feeling hunger.
It didn’t help that Felix just seemed to be a naturally affectionate person. He liked to give hugs, and he didn’t like to be alone. Even after he recovered, Chan thought he seemed a little more clingy. If he wasn’t with Chan, he was with Hyunjin—Chan passed the ballroom one day to see the two of them dancing together, nose to nose. Surprisingly, this didn’t spark jealousy in Chan. Instead, what he felt was curiosity. 
The first snow fell. It had been over a year since they found Felix in the woods. They went out after the moon rose at Felix’s request for a snowball fight. Chan had never laughed so hard in his life, even when Felix accidentally caught him in the lip with an errant throw. After Felix bade them goodnight, Hyunjin and Chan went out to hunt.
“You know,” Hyunjin said quietly as they strolled back towards their home. “I really quite like him.”
Chan blinked. “I do, too,” he replied, not sure exactly how Hyunjin had meant it.
“I think he likes us, too,” Hyunjin continued as Chan unlocked their back door.
“I’ve gotten that impression as well, yes,” Chan said.
“Would you want to—maybe—I mean, I know it’s not conventional,” Hyunjin said, following Chan up the stairs to the kitchen. “But...” He gestured towards their fully-stocked fridge. “We’re already here, you know?”
Chan nodded slowly. “But what if we’re wrong? What if he doesn’t want it?”
“We’ll just… suggest it. Gently. I really don’t think he’ll say no,” Hyunjin said. “Maybe in a couple nights—just, before he goes to bed, ask if he wants to stay instead.” When Chan hesitated, Hyunjin leaned in. “You can’t pretend you don’t want him, Chan,” he said softly.
And so Chan agreed. They set things up, changing the sheets in one of the bedrooms so Felix would have something clean and soft to lie on. They both offered to help make dinner with him, sipping at wine glasses of fox blood while Felix ate. Chan could tell that Felix knew they were up to something, knew they were stalling. He ate slowly, leaving pockets of silence for them to speak up, but Chan wanted to wait until he was done with his dinner before he tipped his world on its head.
Felix stood to put his dishes in the sink. “Thank you for sitting with me,” he said. “I think I’ll head to bed?”
“Felix,” Chan said softly, “would you—and you can say no—would you like to join us, tonight?”
Felix turned, looking back and forth between the two of them, surprise painted across his face. He was blushing, Chan noticed; the warm redness had risen to not just his face, but the skin of his neck as well. “I-if you promise you won’t break me,” he managed after a moment, eyes wide.
Hyunjin laughed quietly. “We know how to be gentle, Felix,” he said. 
Chan stood. “Is that a yes?” he asked, holding out his hand.
“Yeah, yes,” Felix stuttered, reaching out to take it. He giggled sweetly when Chan pulled him close. “I’ve been thinking about it, actually,” he admitted as Hyunjin stood, too, coming up to his other side. “But I—I wasn’t sure you’d even want me.”
Hyunjin leaned in, dark hair framing his face and creating shadows that sharpened the angles of his features. “Why wouldn’t we want you?” 
Felix blushed harder, if it was possible. “I don’t know,” he whispered. 
“I’m glad we can set that straight, then,” Hyunjin said, dipping his head and stealing a kiss. 
Chan was happy to let Hyunjin seduce Felix a little as he guided them down the hall to the room they prepared. It was a short walk, but by the time they reached the bed, Felix was already sighing, his grip on Chan’s hand tight.
Chan pried himself free and closed the door behind them—not that it mattered, but there was something to be said for the enclosure. Anything that existed outside of this room didn’t matter, and they could be free of distractions. 
Hyunjin had already laid Felix down on the bed; Felix clung to his neck while Hyunjin kissed him, one hand already exploring under Felix’s shirt. Chan took his time lighting a couple of candles before joining them. 
Felix reached out to him as soon as he felt the bed dip; something lunged from Chan’s stomach to his throat at the gesture. He took Felix’s outstretched hand and kissed it.
Hyunjin pushed himself to the side, crawling up to sit next to Felix’s head. Chan bent forward and caught Felix’s lips with his own. Felix turned to him easily, moaning softly when Chan gave him a gentle nip. He shifted on top of the sheets, hips twitching. Chan had a feeling he wasn’t even aware of it himself. 
“What do you want, baby?” Hyunjin asked Felix when Chan released him. 
Felix blinked his eyes open; they were glazed and over-bright. “Uh,” he said softly. “I don’t know, what do you want?”
Hyunjin laughed, running his thumb over Felix’s spit-slicked and kiss-bitten lips. “I think I want your mouth.” Felix whined in the back of his throat, tongue poking out to chase Hyunjin’s finger. “Do you want that? Want to suck my cock?” Felix nodded. It was cute, Chan noted, how quickly he struggled with words, how easily he grew pliant in their hands. “What about Chan?”
“Want Chan, too.” He sounded frustrated for a moment, but then his face cleared, giving way to delight. He turned his sweet eyes on Chan. “Will you fuck me?”
The same wave of wanting rose in Chan again and he struggled to reply. “Of course,” he said. He stroked Felix’s soft cheek. “Let me get some lube.”
He rummaged around in the drawer of the bedside table while Hyunjin and Felix got each other out of their clothes. Chan found Felix’s hands on his waist when he turned, tugging at the hem of his shirt. He let Felix undress him, let him press wet, open-mouthed kisses to his chest and stomach.
“I’ve been wanting to see your body,” Felix said breathlessly.
“And?” Chan asked. “What do you think?”
“Come closer and maybe I’ll tell you,” Felix said, pulling Chan towards him.
Hyunjin was the one to arrange them on the bed; he sat back against the headboard, Felix on his hands and knees with his head in Hyunjin’s lap, and Chan behind him. Hyunjin threaded his fingers through Felix’s hair, tipping his head back when Felix closed his mouth around his cock. Chan watched the way Hyunjin’s throat moved as he swallowed down moans, mesmerized for a minute before remembering he was supposed to be prepping Felix.
He knew he was going to have to be much more careful with Felix than he was with Hyunjin, but Felix only moaned, muffled by Hyunjin’s cock, when Chan pushed his first finger into him. If anything, it was Chan who was surprised. Over the years, he’d forgotten the feeling of heat on his skin. Felix was warm, warm all over. Chan’s breath caught in his throat.
“Is it too cold?” he asked, pausing to gauge Felix’s reaction.
“Mm-mm,” Felix said, sounding insistent. He gave a tiny shake of his head; Hyunjin huffed out a breath.
Chan opened him up slowly, making sure there was very little resistance before adding another finger. Felix rocked back against his hand, head bobbing rhythmically between Hyunjin’s thighs. Hyunjin kept his hips very still, hand in Felix’s hair to help guide him. 
“Baby,” he said when Felix took him deeper, “you’re going to hurt yourself.”
“Mm-mm,” Felix argued. 
“You asked us to be gentle,” Hyunjin reminded him.
Felix pulled off quickly. “I asked you not to break me,” he said, indignant. “I can take it. I’ll tap your thigh if it’s too much.” He tipped forward, pressing his nose into Hyunjin’s stomach. “Want you to fuck my throat.”
Hyunjin pet Felix’s hair. “Alright,” he said. “I just don’t want to hurt you, that’s all.”
“You won’t,” Felix said with a note of finality.
The room filled with wet noises; Chan was on four fingers now, and Felix was doing his best to take Hyunjin’s entire cock in his mouth, base to tip. Hyunjin gasped, thighs trembling, and Chan caught his eye.
“How does it feel?” he asked, massaging Felix’s prostate with his fingers just to make him whine. 
Hyunjin dropped his jaw open, moaning softly. “He’s so good,” he murmured, lovingly resting one hand over the base of Felix’s skull. “He’s so warm.”
Chan removed his fingers so he could slick up his cock. He trailed a fingertip down the length of Felix’s cock with his free hand, smiling when he shivered, the muscles in his shoulders bunching up. “He’s so hard.” Felix whimpered around Hyunjin’s cock. 
Hyunjin laughed softly, looking down at him. “He just likes to tease,” he said. “He always gives you what you want, in the end. Chan is good like that.”
Chan didn’t reply, just lined himself up with Felix’s entrance and pushed in. Felix seized up around him; he pulled off of Hyunjin’s cock, coughing dryly. “Oh, fuck,” he gasped.
Chan stopped moving and ran a soothing hand down his back. “Are you alright?” he asked.
Felix made an incredulous sort of noise. “I’m getting fucked by two of the most beautiful people on the planet, I think; of course I’m alright,” he stuttered out, adding, “holy fuck,” like he couldn’t believe Chan would even ask. “As long as you keep moving, I’ll be okay.”
Chan pressed his lips together to hide a smile. “Just checking,” he said, pushing his hips forward again. Felix took Hyunjin’s cock back into his mouth, and Chan bottomed out. With his worry for Felix gone, he could actually focus on feeling him. He was warm and wet around Chan; he almost swore he could see the heat rising off of his body. A thin layer of sweat gave a slight gleam to his back; his skin looked like honey in sunlight, rich and shining and sweet. 
He opened up around Chan, too; soon, he was moving with ease. He bent over Felix’s body, kissing the knobs of his spine as he rolled his hips forward and back. It was all he could do to keep himself in check, to not be too rough. Felix took him so well, the sweet clutch of his body making lust cloud Chan’s mind. He tried his best to keep a steady rhythm, cradling Felix’s body close to his own.
Felix drooled on Hyunjin’s cock, letting out a steady string of low moans. Hyunjin was arching away from the headboard, knees bent and toes curling. His breath hitched—he would come soon, Chan knew—but before Chan could even say anything, Felix wailed, shaking and spasming around Chan’s cock, releasing Hyunjin so he could cry as he came, untouched. 
“Sorry,” he gasped out. “Just felt so good, and I couldn’t—”
“Don’t apologize,” Chan said.
“Think you can come again?” Hyunjin asked. 
“Yes,” Felix said immediately, “just give me a second—fuck!” The pitch of his voice curved up into a squeal as Chan pulled out. 
“Sorry, baby,” Chan said. “I just thought Hyunjin should get a turn.”
“You’re already covered in lube,” Hyunjin pointed out.
“I know,” Chan replied placidly. “Come here so I can prep you while Felix catches his breath.”
“Oh,” Hyunjin breathed out. He extracted himself from underneath Felix, moving to the side and then walking down the bed on his knees to meet Chan. 
Chan pulled him close, kissing him soundly. “You looked so good,” he murmured against his lips. 
“So did you,” Hyunjin replied. 
Chan gave him another kiss, and then turned him around, tapping between his shoulder blades to get him to bend over. Hyunjin went willingly, curving towards Felix, who had rolled over onto his back to watch.
“Hyunjin,” Felix mumbled, reaching out to cup his jaw. 
“Hi, baby,” Hyunjin whispered. “Did it feel good?”
Felix nodded, startling when Hyunjin stiffened as Chan pushed two fingers in at once. “Did I do good?” he asked. He stroked his thumb over the muscle in Hyunjin’s jaw.
Hyunjin nodded, a little unsteady. “Almost made me come,” he said. 
“Next time,” Felix said. 
Chan made quick work of it, opening Hyunjin up efficiently and a little roughly. He was still achingly hard, and he didn’t want to wait if he didn’t have to. As soon as it was easy for him to pump his fingers in and out of Hyunjin’s body, he withdrew. “Think you’re ready, Felix?” he asked, pinching Hyunjin’s hip when he made a noise of complaint at the loss of Chan’s fingers.
“Yes,” Felix answered over Hyunjin’s gasp of surprise.
Chan squeezed some lube out onto his palm, reaching forward and wrapping his hand around Hyunjin’s cock. “Move closer to Hyunjin, then,” he said. “Spread your legs.”
Felix did as he was told, trembling, while Chan stroked Hyunjin a few times to spread the lube. 
He let Hyunjin get settled first, watching as he pushed into Felix’s body with a moan. Felix was still loose, Chan was sure, but Hyunjin took his time anyway. Once he bottomed out, Chan spread his ass with one hand, using the other to guide his cock into Hyunjin’s hole.
“Oh, god,” Hyunjin forced out. Chan didn’t have to see his face to know how he looked—eyes squeezed shut, mouth open and jaw locked, pink tongue almost poking out between his teeth. “Oh, fuck, I can’t.”
“Can’t what?” Chan asked, bringing his hips back and then thrusting in again. Hyunjin cried out, nearly crumpling on top of Felix. 
“I’m already—already so close, I don’t—it’s too much,” Hyunjin stammered. Chan could hear a slight waver in his voice. 
“Come if you want,” Chan said impassively. “Felix and I will just use your body when you’re done.”
Hyunjin moaned, arms shaking. Felix brought a hand up to Hyunjin’s cheek. “He’s mean, isn’t he?” he commented. 
Hyunjin nodded. “So mean,” he whimpered as Chan pushed into him again and again, each thrust rougher than the last. Chan knew that his movements were causing Hyunjin to rock in and out of Felix, so there was really nothing he could do to stave off his orgasm.
Chan fucked him fast and cruel, happy that he didn’t have to hold back now. Hyunjin buried his face in the crook of Felix’s neck; Felix wrapped his arms around his little waist and blinked up at Chan over his shoulder. 
“Touch his chest,” Chan said to him. “He likes it when you play with his nipples.”
Felix nodded, pulling at hand between their bodies. Hyunjin convulsed with a moan. “Sensitive,” Felix murmured, pressing his lips to Hyunjin’s shoulder. “Gonna come?”
“Yes, fuck,” Hyunjin whined. He was shaking, and Chan could see the tension in his neck as he strained against the inevitable. A few seconds later, Hyunjin cried out as pleasure wracked his body. He rutted into Felix, panting.
Felix let out a quiet moan. “Fuck, it’s so wet,” he whispered. Hyunjin was still coming, body twitching between them. Felix’s eyes fluttered shut, eyebrows pinched. “‘M so full.”
Chan groaned in the back of his throat, the sound rumbling down through his chest. Hyunjin had gone limp beneath him, weak from his orgasm. Felix rubbed his back slowly; the sight of the two of them tangled beneath him sent a shock of desire through Chan’s body.
“He’s crying,” Felix announced. He sounded sympathetic, but not worried. 
“He likes dramatics,” Chan replied. Hyunjin sobbed in protest. “And he knows he’s a pretty crier.”
“You like it when I cry,” Hyunjin managed, lifting his head to make sure he was heard. Felix giggled airily.
Though Hyunjin sobbed and complained, he never once asked them to stop. Once he’d recovered a little, he reached down to stroke Felix, all while Chan continued to fuck him, chasing his own release. The three of them rocked together like that, Hyunjin still crying softly into Felix’s shoulder, and Felix’s breath picking up as the minutes stretched on. 
“Does it hurt?” Felix asked Hyunjin.
“Y-yes,” Hyunjin hissed. “I like it, though.” Chan glowed with pride. He wasn’t sure what it was, exactly, but he liked that he could show Hyunjin off to Felix; he liked that he could share with both of them. He tightened his grip on Hyunjin’s hip.
Felix nosed at Hyunjin’s neck, impressively calm. “I think I’m gonna come again,” he said quietly, flicking his gaze up to Chan.
Chan grit his teeth. “I’m close,” he said. “Let me see you come.”
Felix nodded, shifting beneath Hyunjin. Chan could feel his arousal creeping over him, and he watched through heavy-lidded eyes as Felix threw his head back, little body twisting in the sheets as he came. Hyunjin kissed along his neck, arm pumping steadily as Felix panted out moans. 
The sight of it was enough for Chan; he felt his body tighten, and then he was coming, too, soft moans escaping his lungs with every breath as he slowed to a stop inside Hyunjin. He slumped over as he came down, unlocking his fingers where he had been clutching Hyunjin’s waist.
A few beats of silence passed between them. Chan could hear Felix breathing, could hear the way his breath was slowly returning to normal. He shifted accidentally and Hyunjin winced.
“Ow,” he complained quietly. Chan groaned and pulled out as swiftly and gently as he could. Hyunjin yelped anyway; Chan had to press a few fingers to his lips to stop himself from moaning when he saw his come leak out of Hyunjin’s hole. 
Hyunjin flopped to the side, pulling out of Felix in the process. His hair was a mess, but he was smiling. 
Chan sat back on his heels, looking over the two of them, a smile spreading over his face, too. “Are you happy?” he asked them. 
Felix opened one eye, nodding. “We can do it again, right?”
“I hope so,” Hyunjin said.
It was easy, opening their relationship to Felix. Chan and Hyunjin both adored him, and he settled into his new role in their lives quickly. It felt natural, almost. Of course they had Felix; of course he had them.
They waited a few months to have a conversation about what it would mean, and when they did, Felix surprised them.
“I know it might be selfish of me,” he said, “but I don’t want to be turned.” He looked back and forth between them. “I know that means you’ll—you’ll have to lose me, but I don’t want it. Is that—is that okay? I mean, can you forgive me?”
“There’s nothing to forgive,” Hyunjin said. “This isn’t a life I would ever want to force upon somebody.”
“It’s alright,” Chan added. “We won’t have to worry about that for quite some time, anyway. And I want you to be happy, Felix. We both do.”
“Okay,” Felix whispered. “I just—it’s not that I don’t want to be with you. I—I love you, both of you.”
Happiness, a new achingly sweet sort that Chan had never felt before, pierced him through his chest. “I love you too, baby,” he said softly.
“Love you,” Hyunjin echoed, wrapping Felix in a tight embrace. “We’ll just have to make use of the time we have.”
We have decades, Chan thought as Felix pulled him into the hug. Decades. It feels like forever.
Things were more exciting around the house, that much was certain. It wasn’t always all three of them together; Chan and Hyunjin still spent time alone with one another while Felix slept; other times, when Hyunjin was busy, Chan would take Felix into his lap and let him ride him until he couldn’t come anymore, until he was weak and shaking and teary-eyed. He also knew that Felix and Hyunjin spent plenty of time alone without him, but it didn’t matter. At the end of the day, they loved each other. And they had time.
Years passed; they celebrated Felix’s birthday each September. The seasons changed, and changed again. Hyunjin’s garden grew. They fell into a comfortable rhythm, maintaining the house and keeping each other company. Chan found he didn’t even miss his work so much anymore. Things here were good, and while he still resented the way he and Hyunjin had been pushed into this life, he knew he wouldn’t change it now. They got Felix out of it, and that alone was enough.
One particular day, he found himself alone. The house was quiet, and he assumed Felix and Hyunjin were keeping each other company elsewhere. That was fine; he was in the middle of checking over their air systems after a winter of keeping the heating on high so that Felix wouldn’t catch cold. He circled through the attic, dusting the vents, and then made his way down to the fifth floor, then the fourth. He snaked through spare bedrooms, planning to pause in his study to look a few things over before continuing.
But when he stepped through the door, he saw Hyunjin standing at his desk. Worse, he saw him holding one of his old journals.
He looked up when he heard Chan enter, and Chan saw that his eyes were red-rimmed and frightened. 
“Hyunjin,” Chan said, unsure what to do. 
“What is this?” Hyunjin asked quietly, holding up the journal. 
“I… I keep records,” Chan said weakly.
“I see that,” Hyunjin said. His voice was shaking. “Is it true?” he whispered. 
“Is what true?” Chan asked, hoping in vain that he was asking about something else, anything else.
“It wasn’t that other vampire that turned me,” Hyunjin said, and Chan’s heart plummeted straight down to the first floor. “It was you.”
“I did it to save you,” Chan said. “I—I asked you, if you wanted me to save you, and you said yes. I didn’t know—if I had known—”
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Hyunjin flung the journal aside, striding across the room until they were just inches apart. Pain was all Chan could see in his eyes; it rolled off him in waves—hurt and betrayal and anger. “Why did you never tell me?”
“I didn’t—I thought it would be easier,” Chan said. “You believed it was him when you woke up, and I didn’t want to tell you the truth because at the time I thought—I thought you would be in my life for a few weeks, and then I’d never have to worry about it, and by the time it became clear that that wasn’t the case, it felt too late to tell you.”
“You did this to me,” Hyunjin whispered.
“Hyunjin,” Chan pleaded. “I’m sorry.”
“You lied to me!” Hyunjin shoved him aside, storming out of the room. After a moment of stunned silence, Chan hurried to follow him. 
“I’m sorry,” he repeated, nearly tripping as he rushed down the stairs after Hyunjin. “I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to hurt you. Hyunjin, I’m sorry!”
Hyunjin kept walking until he reached the first floor. He stopped at the bottom of the stairs and looked up at Chan, who froze where he was on the landing. “What else have you been keeping from me?” he asked. His voice was raw. “Centuries, Chan. Centuries we’ve been together. I love you. You said you loved me! How could you keep something like this from me?”
“Please,” Chan said, walking toward him on shaking legs. “That’s it. That’s all, I promise. I’m sorry. Please forgive me.” He’d reached the bottom of the stairs now. He held out a hand, tentative. “Please.”
Hyunjin smacked his hand away. “How can I forgive you? How can I trust you?” He’d raised his voice; his eyes were wild. “I can’t believe I spent all these years not knowing. Betrayed by you, betrayed by my own mind! I wish I had never met you! I wish you had let that vampire kill me!”
“Hyunjin.” Chan tried to take his hand, but Hyunjin grabbed him and yanked him to the side. Chan stumbled, caught by surprise, and when he looked up, Hyunjin was stalking toward him, one arm raised. 
Chan ducked, narrowly missing the blow, scrambling to the side. But Hyunjin followed. He was crying now, and it was all Chan could do to fend off his fists as Hyunjin wept and tried to hurt him. He wondered if he should even be defending himself; after all, Hyunjin had every right to be angry. It was all Chan’s fault, all of it. Chan closed his eyes, putting up an arm as Hyunjin reared back.
But the blow never came. Chan heard a sickening crunch, and a sharp gasp. His eyes shot open, and landed on the figure doubled over beside him. But it wasn’t Hyunjin.
“Felix!” Hyunjin cried. 
“Please stop fighting,” Felix said, voice impossibly small as he crumpled to the floor.
Chan’s ears were full of ringing. Panicked, he dropped to Felix’s side, gingerly rolling him onto his back. Felix wheezed wetly, and Chan took in the unnatural concavity in his side. 
“No,” Chan said, running a hand along the wound. “No, no, no.” He looked up at Hyunjin, who had collapsed onto his knees a few feet away, staring in wide-eyed horror, then back down at Felix.
“It’s okay, Chan,” Felix whispered.
“I,” Chan said, shaking. “I can save you.”
“No,” Felix said weakly. He coughed, and blood spilled over his lips. One of his ribs must have punctured a lung. “I don’t want it.”
“Felix,” Chan mumbled, desperate. “Please.”
“I don’t want it,” Felix repeated. His voice was so thin. “If you turn me, Chan, I will never forgive you.”
Chan drew in a sharp breath. “Okay,” he whispered. “Okay, I won’t.” He leaned close, taking one of Felix’s hands in his. Tears stung at his eyes, blurred his vision.
“I’m sorry.” Hyunjin had crawled closer; he took Felix’s other hand. “I’m so sorry, I didn’t see you. Why did you step in?”
“Didn’t want to see you fight,” Felix said. He blinked slowly. “Not your fault,” he added. “You couldn’t have seen me coming.”
Chan searched inside himself for anger towards Hyunjin, but found none. Maybe he didn’t have the space for it. All there was was hurt and grief and longing; he gripped Felix’s hand tight and knocked his forehead against his shoulder. 
“I love you,” Hyunjin was whispering. “Felix, baby, I love you. I’m so sorry.”
“Love you, too,” Felix replied. “You and—and you, Chan.”
“I love you,” Chan mumbled, and then he was crying, tears falling fast and hard. “Felix.”
“Hey,” Felix said, He coughed again, a terrible wet noise. “You made me so happy. You—you know that? I was happy here, with you.”
“You made us happy, too,” Hyunjin said.
Felix drew another shaking breath. “It hurts,” he whimpered.
“Don’t talk, then,” Chan murmured. “It—it won’t hurt for long. It’ll be okay.”
“Chan,” Felix said softly.
“Baby?” No reply; the silence stretched on for a few beats too long, and Chan realized he could no longer hear the labored rattling of Felix’s breath. He reached up to check for a pulse in his neck, but felt nothing.
Hyunjin let out a terrible scream, but Chan barely heard him. He clung to Felix’s hand.
A finite amount of time seems like infinity when you don’t have to confront the end of it. Chan had pushed the ending away, refusing to worry about it, sure that he wouldn’t need to.  It felt like forever. It felt like eternity, until eternity only existed in the time it would take for Felix’s hand to go cold in his own. He thought they had so much time. They were supposed to have so much time.
“I love you,” Chan repeated. He knew Felix couldn’t hear him.
He sat back, and saw Hyunjin still bowed over Felix. The reality of it began to settle into his skin. It was just the two of them again. The little pocket of joy Felix had given them was gone, leaving them with next to nothing.
“Hyunjin,” Chan said. Hyunjin didn’t reply. “Hyunjin?” He touched his shoulder gently, but still got no response. Carefully, he reached over Felix’s body and lifted Hyunjin off his chest. 
His eyes were closed, like he was sleeping. His face still had a healthy pallor, and Chan quickly realized he must have passed out. Good, he thought. Reality is going to be hard for him to bear. 
Chan, with nothing else to do, carried Hyunjin to one of their rooms and laid him in bed. He wrapped Felix’s body in a white sheet. He cleared Felix’s old room, putting his trinkets away. He cleaned out the fridge, shelved clean dishes. They wouldn’t need them again. He prepared for Felix’s funeral and waited for Hyunjin to wake up. He did not cry. If he kept moving, he thought, maybe the grief wouldn’t hurt as much.
Hyunjin stayed unconscious for three days. A deathly sort of silence settled over the house. It felt wrong, in a way, to stay there, Chan thought—death had no place here, in the house where he and Hyunjin and Felix loved each other. But at the same time, it was fitting. Felix had brought warmth and happiness to this house. It would only make sense that all the good things would leave once he was gone.
Chan happened to be at Hyunjin’s bedside when he woke. Confusion clouded his face, but he recognized Chan right away. “What happened?” he asked hoarsely. “The last thing I remember, I think I was trying to find you.” Chan froze. “What is it?” Hyunjin asked. “You look troubled.”
“Hyunjin,” Chan began. “I think you’re confused.” He pushed Hyunjin’s hair off his forehead, an old habit to check for illness. But Hyunjin was cold as ever under his fingers. “Felix, he... you…”
Hyunjin frowned lightly. “Felix,” he said. “Who is Felix?”
He doesn’t remember, Chan realized, his thoughts racing. It was happening all over again—Hyunjin had forgotten, and Chan was left with a choice. 
“Nothing,” Chan said quickly. “Do you remember why you were trying to find me?”
“I think I wanted to hunt,” Hyunjin said, taking the distraction. “I was hungry.”
“Are you hungry now?” Chan asked. “I can bring you something.”
“Please,” Hyunjin said.
“One second.” Chan gave him a swift kiss on the forehead and then withdrew from the room. 
Hyunjin didn’t remember any of it. The last few years—gone, wiped from his memory, or shoved in some locked box in his brain. Chan wished his mind were half as merciful. If he could forget it all, he thought he would. 
Fine, he thought to himself as he dug out a frozen bag of blood and put it in the microwave to thaw. I’ll just leave it be. I’ll lock down my files and burn my old journals and make sure he never discovers them. We won’t have any more visitors, and that’ll be it. I will carry it, so Hyunjin does not have to. At least he’ll be spared the pain. It’ll be better this way.
Chan’s heart felt heavy in his chest. He brought the blood to Hyunjin in a cup, watched him drink. 
“So—what happened?” Hyunjin asked.
“Oh,” Chan said, “I found you unconscious in the foyer. I’m not sure.” 
Hyunjin handed the empty cup back to him. “Maybe I was just really tired,” he suggested. He didn’t seem too concerned. 
“Maybe,” Chan agreed. “Why don’t you rest some more? I’ll just be doing some chores. The sun just set, too; I might go hunt. I’ll be back in a few hours.”
Hyunjin had already closed his eyes. “Alright. Don’t be too long.”
“I won’t.” 
Chan gathered up all his journals. He’d long since transferred all the data; he’d just been keeping them as a backup. But it was clear now they would do more harm than good. He gathered Felix’s body from where he’d carefully arranged him in the freezer. As quickly and quietly as he could, he slipped out the back door. 
He sprinted, just in case Hyunjin was looking out the window, not slowing until he reached the trees. Luckily, finding a place would not be hard. He rediscovered the same clearing by the stream, the place he had first seen Felix, some months ago. He had been planning to take Felix there on the next year’s anniversary of their meeting. 
He reached the clearing easily, setting first Felix’s body, then his journals, down on the ground. He gathered some wood, dry from the summer heat, then built and lit a pyre, using his journals to help grow the flames.
Finally, he picked up Felix’s corpse. He had begun to thaw, though only a little. It felt wrong to see him so cold. Felix had always been warm. 
Chan lay Felix down in the flames and stepped back quickly, using a bit of his magic to make the blaze stronger. Even with his power, it would take hours for the body to burn. He would have to hurry home before the sunlight became too strong. 
For the first time since Felix’s death, Chan allowed himself to weep. His shoulders shook with it; he watched the flames blur in his vision as the fire destroyed the beautiful shell that once held the boy he had loved so sweetly, so fiercely, so selfishly.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered. He didn’t know what else he could say. He didn’t know if Felix could hear him. In a way, he hoped he couldn’t. He hoped he was already resting. 
Eventually the flames died, having run out of fuel. Chan swept the ashes into a simple metal box. He dug a grave, small and deep. It was easy work, with his supernatural strength, and only took a few minutes. He laid the box gently at the bottom, then covered it quickly. The sky had grown light; he would need to catch something and return soon. 
He did not leave a marker; Hyunjin might find it. Instead, he committed the spot to memory, determined to write it down once he got back. Another thing he must never forget; another thing he must carry.
He found two rabbits, killed them, and headed for home. The sun was on the rise; any longer, he realized as he stepped back inside, and he may have been in danger. But it was no matter now. He went to the kitchen, drained the rabbits, stored away the blood. He cleaned dirt from under his fingernails.
“Chan?” Hyunjin was in the doorway, wrapped in a blanket. “You were gone for a while, are you alright?”
“Yes,” Chan said, turning. “Just got a little distracted.”
Hyunjin stepped closer. “You smell like burning,” he said. 
“The sun is up,” Chan said, gesturing out the window at the pale yellow light. “I nearly got caught in it.”
“You should be more careful,” Hyunjin said, coming closer still, so that Chan had no choice but to open his arms to him. 
“I’m alright,” Chan replied softly, rubbing his back.
“I’m glad,” Hyunjin said. “Come rest with me.”
Chan curled up with Hyunjin in his arms, blankets a soft shield around them. They didn’t speak; Hyunjin traced patterns into Chan’s arm while Chan absently stroked Hyunjin’s hair. The sun continued to rise outside, flooding the room with rich light. 
The warmth didn’t reach Chan, though. It may as well have been bleak and grey. It felt like there was a stone in his chest—no, not a stone. A hole, a black void, one that had been easy to ignore when Felix was here to fill his days and nights, when his proximity to life had been so close it was almost like he had been alive himself. He had forgotten the loneliness, the muted terror, the gaping dread; he had even forgotten the wanting, the craving inside of him for something more, something he could never have. 
He knew that forgetting what had happened would not lessen the chasm, but at least it wouldn’t hurt as much. He envied Hyunjin—a bitter spike of emotion that pierced their love like a spear, twisted it, soured it like old blood. His ignorance would not keep him sane, but it would keep him content. Chan would be driven to a different kind of madness.
It’s the same now as it was then. Hyunjin has not remembered it. Chan has forced himself not to forget. He skims his records, keeping the truth of it fresh. The pain is sharp, but the blade has dulled over time. Chan knows that soon, resignation will replace the grief. 
He finds himself scanning back to his first entries. He drinks in the pictures of his friends, his mother, hungry. Things were simpler, even then. He wishes he had been killed with his mother in that house. He would not have so much tethering him here, now. Now, there is no escape. 
He hears familiar footsteps down the hall and quickly closes everything out, picking up the book on his desk and turning to a random page. 
“Chan,” Hyunjin says, and Chan looks up, pretending to be startled. He crosses the room to him as Chan puts the book down; Hyunjin kisses him chastely. “Oh,” he says when he pulls away. “You look sad.” His eyebrows pinch as he strokes Chan’s cheek with his thumb. 
Chan closes his eyes. “It’s nothing,” he says gently, so light he nearly convinces himself. “Just missing you.”
He leans in, kissing Hyunjin’s stomach over the fabric of his shirt, reaching out to wrap his arms around his waist so he can pull him into his lap. Hyunjin laughs breathily, letting Chan situate him, letting him place his limbs. 
At least there’s this. At least Chan has this. It is twisted and wrong, but it is all he has. Even after all these years, he is hardwired to find comfort in familiarity. And it’s alright, really. He loves Hyunjin. Doesn’t he? He’ll do anything to keep him, anything to protect him. That’s love, isn’t it?  He loves him, or at least remembers loving him—and, really, what’s the difference in the end?
For one moment, Felix’s sweet, bright eyes flash through his mind, and the nauseous tug in his stomach is back; the sick, dizzying wanting and bittersweet affection. It’s different from the way he feels about Hyunjin; this he knows with a final certainty. With Hyunjin, the connection is a habit now, ingrained in him; he knows his role and he plays it to perfection, every time. 
It doesn’t matter. He cares less and less about what is right—who will judge him for it, anyway? There is nobody left in this world that can. He pulls Hyunjin’s shirt open and mouths over his chest just to hear him moan. The spark it lights in him is dull, but he does not care about that, either. What matters is that this is what he has, and it will have to be enough. It is enough. 
He’s almost sure of it. 
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reliablemitten · 2 days ago
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BONA FIDES 11 - PJM, ft. KNJ
Series Complete!
Pairing: Namjoon x Reader, Jimin x Reader, Namjoon x Reader X Jimin
Genre: Spy!Au
Rating: M (18+)
Word Count: 6.5k
Warnings: Violence, gun violence, people being shot; heavily implied death; descriptions of blood; implied character death; characters have guns; loss; deception; swearing, taking the Christian lord’s name in vain
Author Note: I don’t know anything about wearing or carrying a gun except for what I’ve seen in the movies, so apologies for any mistakes there. I know even less about using a gun, hand to hand combat or field first aid. Reminder Reader has an alias in this story - Natalie Lee - see previous chapters for explanation on why.
Many, many thanks to @hobi-gif for beta-ing and keeping me in check when this got too sappy. @smasmashin for cheerleading and I would not have finished this without your encouragement. Also the way I referenced @xjoonchildx Best Bangtan Moles list like it was an academic text to get the placement right. Sadly, it does not confirm all of Jimin’s moles referenced in this chapter.
And, if you’re reading this, thank you! For reading, for your comments. This fic has been rattling around in my brain for months and it feels so good to get it all out 💜
Series List
CHAPTER 11: TROUBLE, PT. 2 or THE QUEEN OF NOTHING AT ALL
Friday, 7:23am
Last night was like a dream. You’re not sure how late you were up. Most of your body feels a little tender today. With the riot of emotions and thoughts happening inside you, the sweet physical love hangover from last night is a pleasant, if not wholly effective, distraction.
Walking out of the bathroom in your towel, you see Jimin adjusting his tie in the full length mirror. That look is back. The hard one. Like he has steel armor behind his eyes.
He smooths his jacket down and then stretches his arms back when he’s done. His jacket lifts just enough so you see the gun in a holster under his left arm.
You shouldn’t be surprised by this. You’re surprised you haven’t seen it before. Namjoon was right, their operation must not have been too violent until now. You aren’t afraid of guns, you have extensive arms training. Hell, you can even shoot a bazooka if necessary. But the sight of your sexy, cinnamon roll man carrying a piece brings reality screaming back.
This could be it. This could be the end.
“Jimin, why do you have a gun?” You reach out to him, but pull your hand back. You know why, of course, but it’s so incongruous, so scary, so real.
He pauses.
“Jagiya. My job is more complex than I’ve told you…”
“What do you mean? Jimin, you’re making me nervous.” This is not entirely a lie. You are quaking inside at what might happen today.
“Don’t be nervous, my love, but there’s been some trouble. At our warehouse. This is just in case. For protection.” His hands are on your shoulders, fingertips lightly moving back and forth.
You’re frowning so hard it kind of makes your head hurt. You try to relax your face, except then you might start crying.
You almost tell him everything right then.
You want to confess and beg him to run away with you. Leave Paris, find a beach somewhere and just be together. Never look back.
But if that happens, everyone else is at risk. Tae, Jin, Jungkook.
Namjoon.
So you sniffle a little, bite your lip, and hug him. “Okay, it’s just I didn’t know—I love you. Please be safe. I can’t—” Take a deep breath. There is a plan. “I love you, okay?”
“Okay.” He’s hugging you, gently stroking your back, face pressed close, a little smile against your neck. “It’s okay, love. It’s okay.”
One more deep breath. You lift your head and blink the tears that welled in your eyes. His eyes are gazing right into yours, his hand softly whisking the tears off your face.
He kisses you softly once. “I’ll see you later?” He’s bending down slightly to keep his eyes on yours.
You nod. You loosen your grip. And let him go.
He turns and walks out without looking back.
Your face briefly crumples, mouth and eyes squeezing shut. You just need to get this rush of pain and panic out, then you can focus. It’s like it is surging out of you now, this fear that you’ve shoved into a corner of your heart. You bend over, holding your stomach, trying to hold the towel on your body. You’re suddenly very cold.
Then it’s over. It’s out.
You’re hunching over breathing hard, panting like you’ve just sprinted. You focus on breathing in. And breathing in. Breathe in. Breathe out.
This sharpens your mind. You have a plan. You know exactly what to do.
This time, everybody lives.
Friday, 8:35am
You take the Metro and make three transfers to the George V station. You still have a guard outside your house and Jimin has one at his, so just in case they’re following you, losing someone in the Metro is the easiest route.
Yoongi picks you up in a van so you can drive to the gallery. Jin was there at 5am to be in place in advance of anyone else.
When you hop in, he gives you a grin and wink. “Hey there, agent. Ready?”
“Who is this smiley person? Am I being kidnapped? I demand you takes to the real
Yoongi!” you joke, happy to see a familiar face even if you’ve never seen it before. Grateful for a moment of levity.
The smile stays but the deadpan shows up a little, “Spare me your attempts at humor, let’s go.”
“There he is! I feel much better now.” Laughing, you glance at the back of the truck and see the monitors, the computers, the weapons cage. This is really happening.
Looking back at Yoongi—seriously why is everyone involved in this so freaking hot—the two of you talk through the plan again.
Jimin and Namjoon, and you’re assuming Jungkook, will meet the New Guys on the loading dock. Jin is in place as support inside the gallery, as are some of Jimin’s men.
They’ll inspect the doctored painting crates, formalize the plans to sell and give some profit back to Jimin and company. Since the New Guys want to have a full partnership, they will probably ask for the proprietary chemical mix that allows the drugs to be stable but line the paintings.
This is the part of the deal where Jimin and the New Guys aren’t aligned. He wants to keep it, because the recipe is what gives them full control here. So this is where it might get complicated. The “recipe” is on Jimin’s phone, and since you have the tap, Yoongi’s manipulated the file so it can’t be sent, downloaded, copied or have a screenshot.
The plan is to have Namjoon (who they think is Jung Hoseok) tell them they’ll do another deal with the plans. If the New Guys protest, he’ll offer them full profit—several million Euros—on the shipment. Then Jin will meet them on their way out of the gallery and bring them both to the bomb shelter storage where they’ll stay until the New Guys have cleared out. And then they’ll be taken to a black site in Paris and moved to witness protection. Namjoon will carry on the business as normal.
This is the plan when it runs perfectly. This is how it has to work.
8:47am
You arrive outside the gallery in about 10 minutes and Yoongi busies himself setting everything up. Yesterday you placed devices on the gallery’s video feeds so the van could pick them up. While Yoongi boots everything up, you get your gun from the weapons cage and check the clip, the safety and tuck it into the back of your jeans. Holsters don’t work well for people with boobs.
“_______, we’re ready.” Hearing your own name feels so luxurious these days, and to get it from Yoongi’s gravely voice is such a treat. Just then Tae texts you that it’s all set from his side, he let the other employees know the gallery was closed for an exterminator in the building.
“Okay, let’s get it.” You smile, your nerves soothed by the adrenaline coursing through your veins. Jin was right, you had trained for this.
9:45am
Jimin, Namjoon, and Jungkook arrive early with two other guys you recognize from your security detail. Tae, who even on a day like today is in head to toe Gucci, explains there is an extermination happening in the apartments upstairs.
Ever the host, Tae makes them coffee in the back offices. There is a full cappuccino machine to serve fancy clients. Usually one of the assistants makes it and it says a lot about Tae that he’s willing to make coffee for them since he dislikes it so much.
9:55 am
Camera shows the New Guys and the truck show up in the loading dock.
9:59am
The men in the upstairs offices bow and shake hands. Tae and Jimin briefly hug. There’s no audio on the office cameras for privacy, but you can see both of their faces. Tae’s briefly flashes concern. The other three leave and when the door is closed, Tae looks right at the camera and gives a thumbs up.
10:02am
You and Yoongi huddle around the screen with the loading dock feed, your eyes trained on the doors that lead from the gallery. There is a short flight of concrete stairs they’ll have to walk down to reach the lower floor that has truck access and where the New Guys—about seven of them—and the crates with the paintings are waiting.
The door and stairwell are surrounded by larger crates both near the door and on the lower floor. Because of this, you can’t see the door fully and they’ll be briefly hidden before they come out into the open.
The doors open and Jimin’s group walks out. Jungkook and the two other guys first, eyes scanning the room quickly while Namjoon and Jimin follow them. Jungkook nods an acknowledgement to the men standing on the lower floor and the five of them head down the stairs. The New Guys start loudly greeting them, why are they shouting in such a small space?
Just then you see movement on the right side of the screen. One of the panels on a huge crate is sliding open. Sliding… that doesn’t seem right, those crate doors are usually screwed on...
“Oh my god, they had someone hidden! Someone hidden in a crate!” Shouting and pointing at the screen, you and Yoongi are both standing now. Your breath is coming in shorter spurts, like you’ve been sprinting. You can see inside the crate a little now, blankets, food wrappers, and a large can. The sight makes you sick.
You’d only had camera access to this space for 24 hours. This guy must have been here since at least Wednesday. You weren’t monitoring shipments in and out. And with the Russia trip last week, the gallery was behind on it’s paperwork. Who knows how long this crate has been there.
The voices in the room are overpowering any sounds of movement, echoing around the concrete room. Jungkook and the other guards have come around the crates at the foot of the stairs, just as you see the hidden guy rush behind those boxes. Right where Joon and Jimin are.
They’ve outplayed you.
You are yelling at the screen, but of course they can’t hear you. Wearing a wire is too dangerous in this scenario for multiple reasons. Everyone just trusted the plan.
You hear shouting and a scuffle behind the box and Namjoon walks out with his hands up.
The hidden guy follows him. One hand on the back of Jimin’s neck forcing him forward. The other holding a gun to Jimin’s left temple.
Jimin’s face is expressionless. He’s not resisting but he’s also not in any hurry to move. He’s trying to give his guys a chance to notice what’s happening.
The other New Guys all pull their guns. As if it’s in slow motion, you watch Jungkook and the others realize what’s happened. Jungkook is the first to have his weapon out. He trains it on the hidden guy, the other guards point at the group of New Guys.
They are outnumbered. It was meant to be a show of respect and trust, to bring fewer people. Namjoon was insistent it had to be this way, keeping in line with how business was done in Jimin’s organization.
A New Guy steps forward and addresses Jimin. “Give us the recipe, Park and no one gets hurt.”
“This was not part of the deal,” Namjoon starts, arms still above his head. He approaches the lead New Guy slowly but with authority. “The deal gets all of us more. Cutting us out will just end in headaches.”
The New Guy laughs, “No it doesn’t. This way we get everything. Take his phone. Where is it, Park?”
“_______,” Yoongi says, interrupting your concentration. He’s typing rapidly on the computer next to him. You can see a mirror image of Jimin’s phone on the screen. His background is a photo of you and him taken at LaRotonde in one of those dark, cushy booths. He took it just as you turned your head to him. You’re looking at him with a mix of adoration and like you want to eat him instead of your dinner.
That seems like a lifetime ago.
“I’m going to remove the file completely, since they’re not playing fair, I doubt they’ll take the time to download it or whatever. The risk is they might see me working on the phone if they’re poking around in it.”
Another guy moves forward and starts patting Jimin down. He first finds the gun and takes it, looking at the hidden guy, he scolds him. “Next time remember to take the fucking gun.” He turns away and hands Jimin’s weapon to another New Guy and resumes his search.
He finds Jimin’s phone from his back left pocket. Jimin’s face betrays nothing. It’s still set in steel, his eyes looking forward. You can see him breathing. Then his eyes quickly flit over to Jungkook, who also hasn’t moved.
They might make a move. They’ve known each other for so long, trained together, worked together.
“Come on, come on, come on…” Yoongi is talking to the screen. You are still focused on Jimin, trying to will him to just wait a few more seconds.
“Keep calm, baby, we have this, we planned for this.” You’re staring at the screen, talking to yourself, to Jimin.
The New Guy holds it up to Jimin’s face to unlock it. On Yoongi’s screen you see him deleting the file. Jimin’s mouth quirks slightly. He must have seen the document being deleted in front of him. No time to worry about that now. You just want to get to the point where you’ll have a chance to explain.
The New Guy is poking around. “Where is it, Park?”
Jimin’s lips barely move. “It’s in the file folder titled ‘Mix 10.13.5’”
Time seems to stop while the guy pokes around in the phone. Jimin and Jungkook glance at each other again. Namjoon closes his eyes for a second, like he’s listening, trying to anticipate the next move. You and Yoongi hold your breath.
“It’s not there, that folder is empty. Stop lying. Bet your girlfriend would know.” He shows the New Guys the photo. “She works here—someone go find her.” One New Guy heads up the stairs.
The hidden guy pushes the gun harder into Jimin’s temple, pulling his head back slightly with the force.
“Not worth arguing,” says lead New Guy. “We’ll take it and just go, we’ll find it. Remove the security—”
Now that they have the phone, there is no more need for Jimin and Namjoon. Time for Plan B to kick in.
You’ve got your own hidden guy.
Jin steps out from behind a crate and without hesitation, shoots the lead New Guy. He crumples to the ground and then all hell breaks loose.
Jungkook pivots away from Jimin, who looks so shocked at seeing Jin, and starts shooting into the groups of New Guys. His normally stone face distorted with rage. He hits at least one guy but one of the New Guys manages to get a shot on him and Jungkook is hit in the shoulder. He’s knocked back to the ground and stops moving.
Jin turns to the hidden guy, still holding Jimin, and shoots him right in the chest. The hidden guy starts to fall. His hold on Jimin loosens and Jimin jerks back, ducking, just as the hidden guy’s gun goes off, right over Jimin’s head. The hidden guy manages to get one more shot out before he falls over and it hits Jin in the ribs. Jin is knocked back, falling to the ground, clutching at this side.
When he lands on the floor he is completely still.
Namjoon has moved behind a crate and is also shooting at the larger group of New Guys. Chunks of wood fly off the crate as the bullets hit it.
Just then Jungkook gets up from the ground, like the goddamn Terminator. He’s moving slowly, his arm is bleeding, but a shot that would have knocked out anyone else has not stopped him. He gets to his feet and starts screaming in Korean, charging the larger group.
Jimin has rolled on the ground landing near a piece of wood that’s been shot off of one of the crates. The hidden guy is still alive and has started crawling towards his gun, which slid across the floor when he fell. Jimin gets up, picks up the wood and twirls it around like a Kendo sword, assessing the weight.
He lifts it up threateningly over the hidden guy’s head, his face now also twisted in anger, and—
BAM! The camera is out. One of the bullets must have hit it.
You had been paralyzed with fear watching this all unfold. When the camera goes out you are immediately thrown into action. “Yoongi! Grab a first aid kit and follow me.”
Yoongi stands, moving to the medical supplies he asks, “Agent, confirming, are you sure? We don’t know what’s happening and it may compromise all of the work we’ve done so far.”
“Yes.” Your voice is low and calm, completely belying the panic and fear you feel right now. You grab your gun, double check the clip and safety and tuck it back into your waistband. Yoongi is holding the kit, but doesn’t move. You open the van door, and look back at him. “Let’s go.”
The front door of the gallery is unlocked. All of the lights are off. You see Tae and the assistant peeking out of the office doors. They look scared, they can surely hear the gunshots. In the open loading dock, most of the neighborhood can. It’s only a matter of time before the local police arrive.
You gesture and mouth to them to leave, sliding around the gallery wall to the hallway that leads to the bomb shelter storage. If someone is patrolling the gallery looking for you, you need to be extra careful. You wait until they’re safely out to go down the dark corridor.
To get to the storage, you need to pass the hallway leading to the loading dock. You can’t see much as the exit signs are the only light and they’re creating long shadows. The video feed cameras aren’t night vision and you were so focused on the loading dock feed, you could have missed someone. You check as best you can and take a breath. There aren’t many places to hide so you’re likely to hear someone coming. You motion for Yoongi to follow and start to move.
You’re nearly to the bomb shelter door when you sense movement behind you, and you hear quick footsteps. Suddenly, a hand grabs you from behind and pulls you back. They get part of the turtleneck on your sweater, it’s like you’re being choked.
So there he is.
Your training kicks in and you thrust behind you, your heel landing square in his nuts. The wind knocked out of him, you spin around, pulling your gun out. The New Guy is bent over in pain and you whack the butt of your gun across his head. Suddenly he’s on the floor, breathing but not moving.
“Oh shit, that was kinda hot.” Yoongi saunters over. Of course he is unruffled in this scenario.
You roll your eyes. “They’ll have to do better than that to fuck with me.” Then you squat down and zip tie the New Guy’s hands and pat him down for weapons or wires. You take his gun and bring it with you. If there was someone else around, they would have come out already. These dudes are not subtle. You both head down the stairs to the bomb shelter storage.
You’re only there for a few minutes, but it feels like a million, when the door opens.
Jimin and Namjoon are carrying Jungkook in. His face is pale, blood soaking the side of his body, splashes of it on his head.
You rush over help as they help Jungkook sit down on a crate.
Jimin doesn’t notice you right away. It’s so incongruous. You come around a stack of paintings. “Jimin, Jimin, love, are you okay?” He’s pressing his jacket to Jungkook’s shoulder, blood on his hands, a spray of it across his shirt. His hands shake and the color drains from his face when he sees you.
“Jagiya, what are you doing here?” He sees your back as you bend over to look at Jungkook’s wound. “Why do you have two guns?” Yoongi has come over to help tend to Jungkook. “And who the fuck is this?” Jimin gestures to Yoongi.
You can’t speak, you hadn’t thought through this scenario.
“I’m Min Yoongi, Park. We’re here to help you and Jungkook. We’re taking you into the protective custody of the government of the United States of America.”
Jimin has stood up and moved away from Jungkook. His face is pale, eyes wide, mouth open.
Yoongi pulls out the first aid kit and is pouring something into the bullethole in Jungkook’s arm. Jungkook starts roaring, a flush running up his face, the tendons on his neck bulging. “This will stop the bleeding and sanitize the area until we can get you to a field surgeon.”
Yoongi is pulling out supplies to bandage Jungkook’s arm, commanding him, “Stay awake for me, JK, keep focused on me.”
“I hate that nickname,” he chokes out, tears of pain in his eyes.
“Good, I’ll keep annoying you to keep you conscious, okay JK?”
“I like you,” Jungkook gives him a weak smile. The anesthetic must be kicking in, but his face is still pale, almost grey. Yoongi smiles and pulls out a sling for his arm.
“The United States Government…” Jimin starts, still staring at you. Your eyes have not left his face.
“Jimin, I can explain…” You take a step towards him and he takes two steps back.
“What are you doing here? How did you know we’d be here?”
“I can explain, this is part of the plan—”
“Plan?” His voice and hands are shaking. “And you,” he turns slightly to point at Namjoon, his voice so steady and calm, he is in shock. “You brought me here, did you know she’d be here?”
Namjoon hasn’t moved, he’s looking at you, waiting to see if you’ll need him. And all you can do is hold your hands out and move slowly towards Jimin.
“Don’t. Please. Stay there. Because… you…” It’s like you can see the realization washing over his face, and his voice starts to ramp up.
He stops.
“Oh my god, you’re a spy. You’ve been spying on me. You’re the one who messed with my phone.”
You glance at Yoongi. “Kind of, I can explain.”
“I told you that I love you! I’m in love with you! And this whole time?” Jimin is shouting now and you are crying. Your lips smashed together, hands clasped in prayer, as if anyone or anything could get you out of this now.
“This whole time you’ve been lying to me? Who are you?” You have never seen him so angry. Actually it’s not anger, it’s hurt, he looks like he’s in pain.
“No, Jimin, I swear, I love you too, that is not a lie. I would never, I could never lie to you about that.”
He sees Namjoon looking at you. Joon hasn’t looked at Jimin at all.
“Oh my god, oh my fucking god. You know each other. And what happened in Moscow? What the fuck?” His head is back, hands in his hair. He stops talking and sinks to the ground.
“What the fuck.” This time it’s softer, he’s squatting on his knees, head in his hands, not looking at either of you.
And you, you are frozen, your worst nightmare happening around you, and you’re paralyzed.
“Jimin, I love you. That was not—”
Just then, Jin arrives at the door, “Hello!” He looks so chipper he’s borderline hysterical. He has blood on his head, he’s a little sweaty, but this guy really does look good in almost any situation.
Yoongi shouts. “Hyung! Oh my god, you’re alive! How?”
“Of course I am. I’m bulletproof.” Jin opens his torn shirt a bit, revealing the vest underneath. “And I’m far too pretty to die.”
Yoongi rolls his eyes at Jin’s smile, which immediately turns serious.
“But, sadly, no more time to talk about me. Park. Jeon. We need to get out of here. The New Guys brought reinforcements and are still outside looking for you. Also local police are en route. We have a helicopter to take you to Rammstein. We need to get to the roof.”
“Fuck me, is everyone a spy? Jesus. Rammstein?” Jungkook stands slowly, Yoongi holding the uninjured arm to help him up. Jungkook winces and starts walking towards Jin.
“Military transport, hospital for you, from there to protective custody.”
Jimin does not move. He is still staring at the ground, his eyes fixed, his breathing is slowing down. You know this face, he is thinking, processing. You also know that he is still very angry. You’ve stopped crying, and are just standing, staring at him. An unexpected feeling of calm washes over you, your heart beats: keep him safe, keep him safe, keep him safe.
“Park, you stay here. They find you and you die. Say your goodbyes. Now.” Jin’s voice is calm but stern.
You take a step towards him, but feel like you can’t get too close. Like your betrayal is a barrier pushing you back. “Jimin, I want to explain everything. But getting you out alive…that’s all that matters right now. You have to go.” Your voice is steady, loving, you can’t help it.
And with that, Jimin’s eyes snap to yours. In them a flash of recognition, of love, of the connection between you. He stands and strides to you, his arms moving up. You can’t tell if he’s going to kiss you or yell at you.
He does both.
Jimin’s expression is rough but his hands are gentle when they cup your cheeks and he gives you a bruising, passionate kiss. And then pulls back quickly, hands pulling away and clenching into fists as he slams his arms down.
“Fuck. I’m so confused, so angry.” You flinch involuntarily at his tone and his voice softens a little. “I need to—Was it all a lie?” The anger on his face clears for a second, he looks like he might cry.
“Park. We’re leaving.” Jin is at the door, taking Jungkook’s arm to support him and walking out the door.
“No. Never. I love you. I love you. That is real. That is true.” You reach out to touch him, hands hovering over his chest, but stop short.
His eyes pinch closed at your words. Then he looks you in the eye one last time, his face unreadable, almost as if he’s on the verge of saying something else. But he turns from you without another word, runs out the door and doesn’t look back.
You, Namjoon, and Yoongi all stand totally still, just breathing. It’s as if your body is made of cement. Heavy, immobile, numb.
Finally, Namjoon comes over to you and touches your arm. His voice sounds like it’s coming from far away. You can’t stop staring at the door. You can feel your heart beating all over your body, like it’s trying to jump out and follow him: Come back, come back, come back.
Yoongi’s phone buzzes. “It’s Jin. They’re in the chopper, everyone is okay.”
This breaks the spell, and all the pain comes flooding back. You nod and sink to the floor. Touching your lips where he kissed you, your hands shaking.
Namjoon puts his hand on your back, rubbing slow circles. “You did it, ________. You got him out. He’s okay. He’s alive.”
All you can do is sob.
TWO WEEKS LATER
You have to stay in Paris because what’s left of the New Guys and Jimin’s organization are watching you. Yoongi arranged it so that on the police records, Park Jimin and Jeon Jungkook had died that day at the gallery. You can’t let them think you’re anything but a girlfriend in mourning.
And you are. Jimin is alive, but you lost him. Was there even a chance to preserve what you had? It doesn’t bear thinking about, but it’s all you can think about.
You get a certified envelope addressed to Natalie Lee at the Vante Gallery. Tae hand delivers it to your apartment as you’d stopped going into the gallery. It contains a safety deposit key and an address.
When the bank manager leaves you alone in the private viewing room to open the rather large box, you don’t know what to expect. You’re assuming this is from Jimin but the two of you never discussed this. Maybe you weren’t the only one hiding things.
Inside the box are bricks of 500 Euro notes. Your hand flies to your mouth. This is several million in cash from the first glance. On top an envelope addressed to ‘Gertrude’.
Jagiya—if you’re reading this something has happened to me and we probably won’t see each other again. Please use this money to take care of yourself. I want to give you the whole world but this will have to do if I’m not around.
I need you to know I’ve never known anyone so smart, so strong, so brave or so beautiful. I was so lucky that you let me love you and gave me your love in return.
In Provence, I was also going to tell you who I really am. How I got this money. What I want to change. How I want to build a life with you. Forever. But it’s too late now. Just know that in my life, nothing mattered more than you. Please be happy, even if it can’t be with me.
I love you, so very, very much.
You sit on the floor of the bank room for a long time with your head in your hands. Jimin planned this for you in case he died. You try to focus on the positive—he is alive and protected. He’s safe.
It doesn’t really work. You don’t even deserve this. The Jimin who wrote this letter, he did all this to take care of you—that Jimin didn’t know what you’d done. How you’d betrayed him. This is for Natalie Lee, not you.
You stand up, you put the letter back in the box with the money and lock it up, leaving another part of your connection to Jimin behind.
TWO MONTHS LATER
You’re due to leave Paris in a few days and are walking around your old haunts. You pass by the gallery, the Vante name has been removed, all the grand spaces empty. Tae and his assistant turned business and life partner have bought a farm in Tuscany. Before you left, Tae made you coffee on the fancy machine. “You know, for a fake job, you did it really well.”
You smile and chuckle a bit, this is high praise from Tae. You feel lucky you had this chance to work with him, and you tell him so.
Tae smiles softly at you, those big eyes peering out from under that glorious head of hair.
“And if it’s any consolation, I’d never seen Jimin so happy. I didn’t know him for long, just a few years. But what you two had, it just radiated out of you both. It was beautiful.”
—-
Jin didn’t come back to Paris. You know from Yoongi that he helped get Jimin and Jungkook placed into protection. And then had some time to recover mentally and physically from the loading dock fight. Yoonig said Jin’s next assignment might be undercover to investigate a drug ring in Bering Sea fishing boats.
You're still in touch with Yoongi. He will call you at random, always on a different number, to let you know if he’s heard from Namjoon or any other updates. On your last call, he ended on an uncharacteristic sentimental note. “I know you’re hurting. Believe it or not I know what it’s like to lose someone you love. But—” he sighs. “No one could have done better. You were brilliant this whole time.”
“Thanks, Yoongi.”
“Okay, that’s enough. Min out.”
He keeps your black card active.
So you go to the south of France—it is the summer after all—and spend two weeks at the Hotel du Cap Ferrat. Yoongi said it was okay. Mostly you just stand in the water staring at the horizon. You’ve stopped running through what you could have done differently, constantly replaying the last year. That final day. Now you’re just hoping to piece yourself back together enough to keep going.
At night, the empty space beside you feels like a missing limb.
When you return, you have 12 hours to do a final walk through of your apartment before you go back to the US. You have one piece of mail—a postcard from Busan with nothing written on it. The postmark is Paris, so that gives you a clue what it’s about. This is Spy Communication 101. You bet Jin set this up.
So you check it over for a message and see a website from the manufacturer in tiny print on the border. When you go to it, you’re prompted for a password. The hint is that it has 8 letters. You know it immediately—Gertrude.
The screen just shows text in the upper left corner of the screen. Your heart squeezes at the message.
You betrayed me, but now I understand more from our mutual friend about why. It broke my heart and it saved my life. I don’t know yet if I forgive you. But I do know I love you. Still and forever.
PS - Please keep what is in the box. I want you to have it.
You put your face in your hands. You don’t cry. This might be the best you could have asked for, right? Jin told him about what happened. Why you did what you did. And Jimin is alive, everyone is. He still loves you. Maybe he’ll forgive you. Most likely you’ll never know if he does, but just the thought is enough.
Still, you long for him so much, it’s like you can feel his arms around you, his lips pressing into your forehead, his hand holding yours. Is this what you’d been trying to avoid all those years you pushed people away? The times you didn’t open up to let someone really love you? To love them back? The way you cut off Namjoon?
What you know now, that you didn’t then, is that this pain is worth it. To have experienced being loved, to have felt the love that Jimin gave you, that is worth everything.
You run the self-destruct protocol in the Spy Closet and walk out for good.
A YEAR OR SO LATER
You've gone back to The Farm to teach and have started a PhD in psychology. Your thesis is on emotional attachment in clandestine ops, so you can help other agents prepare better.
You think of Jimin every single day, you have since he left Paris. You still wear his bracelet. You’re still not sure when or if you’ll be ready to date anyone else.
You started writing him letters about what happened in Paris, about your family, your past. What happened in your day, how you found that mushroom galette recipe. How much you miss him. How much you love every bit of him, the mole on his right cheek, your favorite one on his left hip that you would kiss every time you saw it. The sound of his breath when you did. His crescent eye smile, his mochi cheeks. How he always knew the right thing to say or give, and when you just needed him and nothing else.
Letters you can never send because he’s been placed into super deep witness protection. Maybe three people in the world know where Park Jimin is, and one of them is him. Last you heard through Yoongi six months ago, Jimin and Jungkook left a site on Eastern Europe and were given new identities and everything.
They are gone for good.
Your love for him has not changed. The longing isn’t as painful these days, but it’s always there. You suppose it always will be.
One cold fall morning, you’re heading out for your morning run. As an instructor, you share an apartment with one other person, though they haven’t arrived yet, your last roommate went out on assignment three weeks ago. You open the door and walk smack into 6 feet of man.
It's Namjoon.
You shriek in surprise, delight, relief, you’re so happy to see him. He looks thinner and tired, dark smudges under those kind eyes, but he’s smiling back at you. Those dimples are as perfect as ever. He embraces you in a huge hug.
“Joon.” You hug him so tightly it hurts. “I’m so glad you’re here and you’re safe. Are you okay? What are you doing here?” Your eyes well up with relief.
“I’m okay, I had some time to recover. I am very, very glad to be back.”
“What and when and how and what the fuck?”
”Oh, uh, why do you ask?” He laughs and you swat at him. “Well, looks like I’ll have lots of time to tell you about it, roomie. I'm back to instruct linguistics for a bit.”
You hug him again. So glad to have someone to hold onto, someone who knows you, so glad it’s Namjoon. So eager to find out if all of that was worth it.
“Unless…” he sing-songs.
“Unless what?” You pull back and look at him. “Don’t be so cryptic, Kim, I get it we’re spies or whatevs but I haven't even had coffee yet.”
He grins, hugs you tight again, and whispers in your ear, “I know where he is, if you want to see him. He really, really wants to see you.”
A lightning bolt of shock and joy shoots through your body as you grab his sweater, smiling.
“I do, Joon, please. Take me to him.”
The End
A/N 2: THANK YOU for reading! For sticking with this story. Please let me know what you think, I love your comments and messages.
I am thinking there will most likely be an epilogue but I need some time for the characters to tell me how that will play out. Their love wins out in the end and I want to do their reunion some justice.
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yutasgalaxy · 2 days ago
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Isn’t It Ironic? teaser
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𝐏𝐚𝐢𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠: rich boy!Seokjin (BTS) x reader
𝐂𝐨𝐥𝐥𝐚𝐛: College Enemies 101 (will post Oct. 28th)
𝐆𝐞𝐧𝐫𝐞: angst, smut, fluff, college au, enemies to lovers au
𝐑𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠: R
𝐖𝐚𝐫𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬: will update on the fic, right now wearing
𝐖𝐨𝐫𝐝𝐬: fic will be over 2k
𝐒𝐮𝐦𝐦𝐚𝐫𝐲: You don't care for Jin that much; He is from a rich prominent family and you come from poor backgrounds who is attending university with a scholarship. You are supposed to despise him with every fiber of your being. So why do you find yourself falling for him instead?
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Jin is the bane of your existence. He walks into your Language Studies class with his fancy watch and rich kid aura that makes you want to vomit. Everyone around you talks about how cool he is, and they wish they could be friends with him, or sometimes even be him. But you aren’t fooled by the nice act he gives out. You know, at the end of the day, he is just some spoiled brat living off of his family’s wealth. 
Jin isn’t some stranger to you; you went to prep school together in the Hills. Jin’s family is super-wealthy; they practically everything in your city. He hung around the rich kids in his demographic, whereas you stayed with your small circle, reading books and working hard to make sure you had a college scholarship. His friends were assholes, and that makes him an asshole by default. You hate people like Seokjin Kim.
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chateautae · a month ago
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hotter than hell | jjk. (m)
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banner by miss solaris @jamaisjoons <3
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➵ summary : jungkook, lucifer and king of hell, has been cast out of the crimson underworld for a reason he’s unsure of. embarking on his journey for the answer should’ve been easy, if it weren’t for you, the human that nurses his wounded body in her home, and accidentally witnesses the truth of his identity. kickstarting a hellish adventure with the devil himself, you discover lucifer is the most infuriating company ever; and jungkook finds out that maybe his answer to returning home lies within his annoying human confidant.
↳ part of the Namkook Moonrise Masquerade collab hosted by @jamaisjoons
➵ pairing : fallen lucifer!jungkook x human!reader
➵ genre : supernatural/fantasy!au, romance, e2l, road trip, angst, fluff, eventual smut, three-shot
➵ rating : 18+
➵ word count : 27k
➵ warnings : swearing, angst, alcohol consumption, semi-biblically-accurate depictions of angels and demons, supernatural themes, mentions and depictions of sin, s e x u a l  t e n s i o n, neck-kissing, straddling
➵ a/n : WHY HELLO EVERYONE here’s the demon lucifer jk as promised!! i stayed up an entire night just to create the plot, i hope it delivers!! it’s literally one of the my favourite ideas ever hehe. this is the first part of a three-shot :) please excuse any mistakes or error since I didn’t have a beta and will probably get someone to do so later 🤧 PLEASE IMAGINE MOTS ON:E DAY 1 MY TIME JUNGKOOK FOR THIS Y’ALL, enjoy!! <3
➵ playlist : asshole by hooligan chase
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| 01 | 02 | final. |
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‘Why is she looking at my man?’ 
‘I need to get blackout drunk.’
‘Damn, that girl is fucking hot.’
‘I’ll steal it when he isn’t looking.’
Jungkook’s head rings with an innumerable amount of others’ thoughts, and he can’t seem to silence the blaring volume of them at all.
He’s roaming in complete confusion, clutching his palms over his ears because shit, is everything just so loud. His feet hurt too, when have his feet ever hurt? Why can’t he fucking fly? Why does he suddenly feel so cold?
Jungkook’s bleary vision catches sight of neon signs and lights that invite head-splitting migraines. His usual leather outfit suddenly feels like it’s sticking to his skin too much, and what is this constant pang he feels in his stomach?
He doesn’t know, all he knows is that this isn’t hell, and he definitely should not be here. 
In all his thinking, his shoulder smacks into a passing stranger and he scolds them with stern eyes, only to ram into someone else yet again. 
Fuck, that hurt. Why did that hurt? When has he ever felt pain at all? Jungkook grunts in frustration as he weaves through passing bodies in the streets and eventually tumbles before a closed store. The second he looks through the window, his eyes widen in sheer horror. 
He’s.. he’s human? 
No, impossible. He can’t be human, where did his red eyes go? Why can’t he see his wings? He snaps quick glances at his shoulder blades and finds them empty, even reaching behind his back to only feel a seamless leather jacket. He looks at his hands and sees them just like his usual form, but when did he lose that natural, searing heat to his skin? 
Jungkook can’t think, he can’t understand what’s going on but can only comprehend one very obvious, almost laughable thing. 
He’s been cast out of hell. 
He laughs, then laughs some more because shit, is that goddamn funny, comedic, absolutely hysterical. Lucifer, the king of hell himself, has been cast out of his own kingdom? Sent to Earth as some measly blubbering, putrid human? 
The second Jungkook whips his head around to a horn honking, his equilibrium unbalanced itself, that incessant ringing in his ear returning. He feels too fucking dizzy, the axis of his entire world spinning. Groaning in dull pain, he begins stalking down the street with his clammy palm to his head. 
He bumps into more people and staggers, but he doesn’t care when he can still feel that same agonizing headache plaguing him. His eyesight begins to lose precision, and before he advances, he feels his knees buckle into the nearest alleyway. He drops to the ground hard, and his surroundings disappear before he feels his cheek meet the cold pavement. 
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Monday’s are so goddamn boring. 
Absolutely nothing is special about the dreadful day. All you ever desire is to crawl into a hole and slowly perish. And the only remedy to such an issue? At least to you, it would be a nice, steaming cup of coffee. 
But what absolutely trashes even the taste of coffee on a Monday?
The fact that it’s a Monday.
You drag your feet down the street, listless and exhausted after a tiresome day at work. You loosely clutch your bag over your shoulder as you trudge along, paying attention only squarely in front of you when suddenly, your feet ram into something. You almost trip over, furrowing your brows in confusion as you zero-in on the culprit. 
Once your vision becomes clear, you immediately squeal out in shock. You look carefully to find a man lying unconscious nearby a dumpster, appalled by the disgusting trash that litters the area next to him. 
You step slowly towards the stranger, finding that he’s actually quite… handsome. No, scratch that, he is drop-dead gorgeous, his looks almost too devilishly attractive. He appears fairly young to you as well, maybe the same age as you. You scan his outfit next and find him in a quite showy leather outfit; black boots, sheer-patterned shirt that exposed his body, hair flawlessly framing his face. 
You could’ve believed he was a fallen angel, his almost ethereal aura screaming of an existence far from here. His face structure is almost perfectly crafted from the finest marble, his nose looks boopable and his adorable lips naturally fall into this charming pout. 
Though his cuteness was not to be taken head-on, because you could only imagine what such a beautiful man’s eyes look like, and what allure remained hidden within them. 
You shake your head out of the compromising thoughts, swallowing as you contemplate what to do next. The most logical thing would be to call 911, that would help him out the most, wouldn’t it?
You whip out your phone and tap your screen, only to gain no response. You quirk your brows, clicking your power button and finding your device completely drained of battery. You groan with a roll of your eyes, too shy to inquire another stranger on the street for their phone.
Weighing on the decision that the stranger most likely has a phone, you bite your lip before squatting down by him. You precariously reach into his jacket and gently search for any pockets inside, only met with empty ones. You target his leather pants next and surprisingly come up dry of a phone or wallet, no keys or even a damn stick of gum. 
That leaves you with a real head-scratcher. The stranger seems to have absolutely nothing on him, now suddenly curious of whether or not he's even dead or alive. Heart quickening at the prospect of this being a dead body, you nervously gulp as you carefully take his wrist, and place two fingers against his pulse point. 
You thankfully feel a faint heartbeat and release a breath of relief, thinking quickly on your feet. You couldn’t just leave the stranger to fend for himself, it was already cold tonight and God knows what would happen to him without any of his necessary belongings. 
On a whim and out of sheer concern for the man’s well-being, you decide to haul a cab and take him home with you, hoping to also treat that nasty wound on his cheek. 
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Jungkook feels his consciousness resurfacing, head heavy, legs weighing a ton. His eyes flutter open to a white ceiling, darting around to find himself not on the street, not in hell, but inside a quaint apartment.
He furrows his brows, rubbing lazily at an eye once he does a quick once over of the place. He sincerely doesn’t understand where he is or what he’s doing here, but right now his head is still pounding too hard to even contemplate his next move. 
Sitting up, he swallows to find his throat desert-dry, stomach producing this weird gurgling sound he can’t piece together an answer for, and his eyes feel this hefty weight behind his lids. 
With a sigh, he rises to his feet, steadying himself. He sighs at just how annoyingly human he is, feeling the sensation of his legs aching, his neck adopting a crook from being awkwardly perched on the couch’s armrest, even his cheek stinging with something. 
He touches the afflicted area and instead finds some sort of cloth taped over him, wondering what in the hell it is. He touches it some more, and applies pressure only to hiss at his wound, rolling his eyes at the sensation of pain. 
With a deep exhale to release the frustration from his body, Jungkook notices he can still feel the fiery pits of hell coursing through his veins. That hot flame is still alive inside him, something heated still within his blood and he’ll be damned if he doesn’t do something about it. With a focused mind and a composed breath, Jungkook attempts to revisit the very first, innate thing about his older form, imagining conjuring up his red, glowing eyes. 
He squeezes his eyes shut tightly, and envisions them glowing crimson before he opens them again, feeling a smoldering heat spark in his irises. He spots a mirror by the front door of the apartment and peers at himself, finding his eyes a vibrant, almost fiery red. 
He smirks, proud and satisfied. He’s still got it in him and he’ll be fucked six ways from Sunday if anyone can tell him otherwise. Feeling confident and alive, Jungkook attempts to conjure up some flames in his palms. Lo and behold, after a tense second of undivided focus, a fire gushes open in his bare hands. It feels just like when he’s perched on his throne in hell, Jungkook cracking another smug grin at the power he still holds. 
In that moment however, he hears the distinct clatter of something tumbling to the ground, and whips around to the noise. He shockingly finds a human woman staring at him in utter terror, hand clutched to her heart with her phone on the ground, and cowering into the wall as she shakes profusely. 
You’re stunned, flabbergasted, downright terrified out of your wits seeing the same man you found unconscious in the street now with fire flushing out of his hands. You see him begin to approach you and you’re overridden with fear, screaming at the unnatural sight before you. 
You scream, you scream and scream and look around for objects of any sort. You spot a small bottle of body spray on your hallway counter and immediately fling it towards the man for defence. 
“Get away from me, get away!” 
“Woah, hey, hey! Calm down!” 
But you don’t, and you instead throw other obscure and heavy objects towards him only for him to either burn or dodge them, eliciting even more of your panic. He’s getting closer as he attempts to pacify you, darting by him and running directly towards your kitchen.
Your frazzled brain isn’t thinking and you immediately fling open a cabinet, reaching for the very first thing you see and rapidly grasp a pan. You hold it up ready for punishing the man before he scrambles and hushes your ear-splitting shrills, holding up his hands in surrender. 
“Wait, wait, stop! Shh!” 
“How can I not scream when your eyes are literally red?!” 
Jungkook struggles for a sentence. “Look, just, shh. You’re gonna alarm the people in your building!” 
“That’s the fucking point?! You’re a maniac!” You yell and grab open your drawer of utensils, beginning to chuck forks and spoons at the frantic man. 
“Hey, stop! Would you-stop throwing shit!” Jungkook yells frustratedly as you send him a scowl, only catapulting things harder in response. But suddenly, Jungkook burns a butter knife you haul his way, and fearfully watching it melt right before your eyes. They widen in absolute horror.
You’re seriously, and very horribly fucked.
Panic invades your chest and you spot your phone lying on the ground near your bedroom door, quickly bolting towards it in hopes of calling 911, or at least somebody for help. You dive towards the floor and snatch up your device, racing mind unable to sift through contacts efficiently enough before you feel strong arms quickly caging around you. The stranger traps your wriggling body as he attempts to grab at your phone, yelling angrily. 
“Are you insane?! Why are you calling someone?!” 
“Because you’re a fucking maniac!” 
You struggle against the man’s burly hold and flail around hopelessly, utterly panicking realizing how strong he is.  
Screams escape you as you useslessly fight each other on the floor, incessantly attempting to weaken his grasp. The man with much larger hands than yours however nabs your phone and tosses it into your room somewhere, attempting to hush you as you squeal and kick at him profusely. 
“Stop it, stop! I can explain myself!” 
“I don’t want to hear your fucking evil plan before you kill me!” 
The man’s arms are still, curled around you and hugging your back to his chest, but it’s not a warm welcome at all as he keeps you from escaping, all while you holler incoherently at him to release you. You grow tired of the shenanigans and stuff the meat of his hand in between your teeth, sinking them in with enough force to harm him. The man exclaims in pain as his arms detangle from you. 
“Ow! What the fuck?!” 
You rapidly rise to your feet in search of your phone. It’s laying near your bed and you scamper off towards it, bending down with a grabby hand to reach it, but suddenly feel the man’s heavy figure hurtle you onto the bed. You both tumble onto your mattress, the handsome stranger on top as he locks down your thrashing hands, eyes urgent as he regards you below. 
“Woman, please, please stop screaming.” He warns crucially. “I’m not someone people can know about, we’ll both get in shit!” 
“By who? You’re the only freak here!” You wiggle your smaller wrist out of his grip and reach over for a stray cushion on your bed. You feel the fleecy material in your hand and harshly begin smacking the man with the pillow. 
“Oh c’mon-what the fuck?!” You disarm him completely as he falters at your hits, the stranger toppling onto the ground as you recklessly beat the living hell out of him. 
He crosses his arms over his face in an effort to protect himself, knowing even if you run now, the man seemed strong and smart enough to capture you again; two deadly combinations that could mean your demise. So you decide to keep senselessly whacking the cushion at him until he eventually tires, and you’ll make a break for it, or Mr. and Mrs. Tran next door will most likely come to your rescue. 
You stand above him and yell profanities as you practically abuse the stranger with your pillow. However, the man latches a hand onto the pillow to halt you and causes the cheap material to completely tear open. Feather’s instantly fly out of the cushion and fill your room with white fluffiness, groaning in complaint at the mess. 
You disregard the $4 ripped-up thing, and return to smacking at the man with the pillow cover. 
“Why. The. Fuck. Did you. Rip. My. PILLOW?!” You howl between each of your attacks and the man struggles on the ground as he exclaims in pain, blinded and barely able to shout in return. 
“Are you fucking kidding me?! Why are you beating me up?!” 
“Says the one who ripped my pillow and tried to murder me!” 
“I’m not even-what!” The stranger shrieks in disbelief. “I never tried to murder you! I didn’t do anything wrong!” 
That response actually halts your actions, freezing once you truly contemplate the stranger didn’t try to exactly kill you or anything, and you’re then in fact assaulting him for no concrete reason. As your easily distracted mind wanders, the man suddenly pulls at your legs with grabby hands. You squeal as you suddenly land on top of his rather muscular body, crashing onto him hard. 
Funny enough, you end up apologizing for settling over him so roughly. “Oh my God, I’m so-” 
“Shh, shh.” The man pushes his index fingers to your lips and his own, shushing you both. There’s a long moment of silence, both you and the albeit, gorgeous man staring into each other’s round eyes as your chests press into each other’s tightly, feathers slowly cascading down around your entangled bodies. 
You swallow as you watch the man underneath you in fear, wondering why he hushed you. You open your mouth to question him but he only shakes his head, warning you with a hush again. 
“Shh, I hear footsteps.” 
Suddenly, your front door is racked with a few hard raps. 
“Who’s-” The man begins a question but you immediately smack your hands over his mouth, silencing him. 
“Shh, don’t say anything!” 
He removes your dainty hands from his lips and surprisingly holds them quite gently. “But is it the police-” 
You clasp them over his mouth tighter, your face and his suddenly mere inches from each other as you tut him. “Shh! They can’t hear another voice!” 
“Honey! Are you in there?” 
You both pause, wide-eyed and frozen in time as you hear the voices of the nice couple that live next door to you. Your fight or flight mode kicks in, stress hormones on high alert as you register the idea of them seeing a random man in your apartment. 
Let alone you on top of him like this.
They’ll assume the worst and get too worried for their own good, sighing with immense anxiety. You rapidly scramble off the leather-wearing stranger and snatch up his wrist, quickly tugging him upwards and onto his feet. He balances himself and you quickly shove him onto your tousled sheets and disorderly feathers. 
“Look, just-stay here.” You hiss in a whisper, gesturing to him to stay put like a pet dog as you rapidly kick some stray feathers that escaped into the hallway inside your bedroom. You fix your outfit with a few strokes and begin shutting the door to hide the man, until he suddenly calls you back with a whisper-yell. 
“Wait, woman!” 
You poke your head back in with an incredulous ‘what the fuck?’, and the man rises as he steps speedily towards you. His hands jut out for what you believe to be in effort to harm you, but instead find your hair and smooth down some of your wild locks, even picking out a fuzzy piece of feather that stuck to your bangs. 
“Oh..” You quietly exclaim, running your hands through your hair for a quick fix.
“Dear, where are you? We’re getting very worried!” You hear Mr. Tran yell more urgently this time, and your hands smack against the strangers to unhand you, pushing him back within the four walls of your bedroom and shutting the door on his handsome face. 
You compose yourself once you’ve done so and reach your foyer, swinging open your front door. 
“Oh dear, Y/N, we were so worried, honey. Are you alright?” Mrs. Tran holds her hand to her chest as she takes a deep breath, Mr. Tran soon joining. 
“Is anything going on, sweetheart? We heard so much yelling.” 
“I’m okay, Mr. and Mrs. Tran. You don’t need to worry about me at all.” 
“Are you sure you’re okay, dear? There was an awful lot of screaming.” Mrs. Tran’s eyes flit around your apartment discreetly. 
“I was just on video call with my friends and they decided to play a scary prank on me.” You bellow out a fake laugh and watch them lighten up, buying the lie. 
“Oh gosh, we thought we heard another man’s voice and got so scared! We’re so glad you’re alright, dear.” Mr. Tran laughs with you, and you kindly reply. 
“Oh not at all! Thank you for checking on me, Mr. and Mrs. Tran.” You smile big and wide to appear okay, momentarily snapping your vision towards your bedroom with a gulp. They end up bidding their farewells and you watch them entirely enter their apartment, sighing with relief once their door closes. 
You shut yours, and practically stomp over to your bedroom as you hurl the door back open. The man on the other side practically leaps when you do, staring wide-eyed with raised eyebrows at your angry expression. 
“You have a lot of explaining to do.” The man watches steam figuratively blown out of your ears, and a little noise escapes the back of his throat that almost sounds like a laugh. 
“Did you just laugh at me?” 
“N-no.” He brushes off sauvely. 
You roll your eyes and snatch his wrist again, dragging him over to your living room and abruptly halting just before your couches. You shove him towards them and he snaps a testy look at you, taking his seat. 
You decide to stand and look down at him as he crosses a leg and lays his arm against the backrest, sitting as if he owned the place. You fold your arms and tap your foot in anticipation, eyes pissed and steely. “Well?” 
“Well, what?” 
“Do you not owe me an explanation?” You quirk an audacious brow, attempting to fathom what just transpired in the last 5 minutes.
“Explanation.. of what exactly?” He tilts his head and watches you with fascination, and it was now you realized his eyes weren’t glowing red anymore, they’re the colour of chocolate brown. But that doesn’t mean what you saw was a hallucination or a mind-trick either, you remember exactly what you witnessed with your naked eyes. 
The man seems to feel a crook in his neck. Your once occupied attention now snaps to the way he stretches it out, listening to the cracks of his bones that sound practically inhuman. 
“Why the hell did I see fire coming out of your hands? And your red eyes? Who the fuck are you?!” 
The stranger has an ah-hah moment, and understands you with a small nod. He goes from a non-committing look of disinterest to a mirthy smirk on his face, one that almost seemed devilish. He lets out a proud sigh as he hoists himself up, standing tall before you as he suavely tugs at the lapels of his leather jacket. 
“Well, I’ll cut to the chase,” The man quirks his eyebrows and plays with his lips in this undeniably sexy way you can’t help but find hot, blinking away the thought before it consumes you. 
“I’m Lucifer, the king of hell, baby.” 
You blink; once, twice, then three times. You stare at him dumbfounded, as if that would help you understand what he just so casually uttered. You finally let out a noise akin to a scoff. “I’m sorry, what?” 
“I’m Lucifer. You know, fallen archangel? Satan? The Devil?” 
You blink. “Do you think this is a joke?” 
The so-called Lucifer furrows his brows. “Huh?” 
“I nursed you after finding you unconscious on the street, and now you want to joke with me?” 
“But I’m not joking..?” The man seems acutely confused, even tilting his head in this innocent way that completely contrasted his scorching hot looks. He even peers so vividly into your eyes, it's as though he could read every corner of your soul. He towers over you, you also realized. His height is so significantly taller than yours that he has to crane his neck to look down at you. And all of sudden, the way your eyes shift up to meet his gaze feels oddly searing, almost like you feel something hot ignite within you when your lines of sight lock.
“There’s no way in hell you’re Lucifer, buddy. Tell me who you really are and maybe we can talk.” 
“But that is who I am,” Jungkook emphasizes, watching him step closer to you. He suddenly leans down to be eye-level with you, staring directly into your pupils smugly before cracking an evil grin. “Let me show you.” 
Your lips fall into a quizzical pout as you watch him perplexedly before you, and witness the man’s eyes suddenly morph from a warm coffee brown into a dull, flaming colour of dark scarlet. You flinch, watching the image of almost a smoldering fire in his eyes, and the coy way he tongues his cheek gives you the impression he’s a man dripping in sin. 
He blinks and rids himself of the flames, straightening up. “Believe me now, angel?” 
You couldn’t fathom this information, nor the pet name he just used on you. Did you in fact find Lucifer, the devil himself unconscious in the street and brought him into your home? Even nursed him and let him crash in your living room? Not that you regretted it at the time, you do remember admiring his absolutely gorgeous face and couldn’t help but openly gawk at him. 
Of course Lucifer had to be scorching hot with a face that could be sat on.
So-called Lucifer suddenly cracks a grin and chuckles, narrowed eyes snapping to him. “Why’d you just laugh?” 
“Nothing,” The man shrugs, amused eyes scanning you over. “You’re kinda cute.” 
You scowl at him sternly and roll your eyes, clearing your throat as you address him. “Well, Mr. Lucifer-” 
“Jungkook,” he gestures with a hand before folding his arms. “Just call me Jungkook.” 
“J-Jungkook.. what in God’s name are you-or not God. What in hell’s.. the devil’s name?” You become confused trying to form the question, pensive finger to your lips. 
“What am I doing here on Earth, is what you’re asking?” 
You nod with big, curious eyes, though still hold an adorable amount of annoyance within them Jungkook couldn’t help but notice. Said man flashes an evident look towards your lips before he continues. “To be honest, miss. I have no clue.” 
You purse your confused petals as you figure  that’s not exactly much to go on. You wonder what a celestial being of such high caliber could possibly be doing on Earth, let alone appearing to you like some rockstar that missed out on his opening act for Elvis Presely. 
“You didn’t tell me a name.” 
Your eyes flicker to his. “Huh?” 
“Your name.. I don’t know it.” He flatly remarks as his hands slip into his pockets, still eyeing you, almost examining you with that intense stare that seemed to burn you alive. 
“O-oh, right. My name..” You nervously laugh, arms crossed over your chest. “Y/N.. Y/N Y/L/N.” 
Jungkook jerks his brows in amusement, doing that thing where he tongues his cheek, and now you suddenly wonder why he plays around with his tongue so much. “That’s a nice name.” 
“Thanks,” you rigidly respond, not exactly knowing what to do. You’re all but traversing the many thoughts swarming your head; is this even real? Is this a dream? Is this some sort of colossal, sick joke someone’s playing on you? 
But you’re interrupted by the sound of a sudden gurgle, knowing you’ve already eaten dinner, and discerning it’s coming from your otherworldly companion. 
“Umm, are you hungry?” 
“Shit, is that what this is? Hunger?” Jungkook pulls a disgusted expression and pretends to throw up, lamenting horribly. “Fuck, I really am human.” 
You roll your eyes as he puts on a show of fake-sobbing, his pretentiousness eliciting a scoff from you. “Look, do you wanna eat something or starve?” 
Jungkook lightly pouts his lips as his shoulders slump and hands falter, eyes suddenly much more innocent. “Eat, I think? It’s not good for a human to not eat food, right?” 
You realize with such a question how little knowledge Jungkook possesses on humans, and with a hard sigh, you nod as you lead him towards your kitchen. 
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You watch Jungkook literally devour all the leftovers you housed in your fridge; fried chicken, some old Chinese, even the pasta and ravioli you’d left earlier today all down his stomach. You feel full just watching him when you lean your elbows over the counter, seriously inquiring about him. 
“So, wait, repeat that again?” 
Jungkook scarfs down a slice of pizza in practically a whole second, speaking messily through a full mouth. You try not to grimace. 
“Basically, I was cast out of hell and now…” Jungkook swallows as he reaches for a tall glass of water. “I have to find my way back in.” 
You blink multiple times to compute the information. “So for some reason you were kicked out of hell, and now you need to find your way back? Why the hell were you kicked out in the first place?” 
“I have no clue,” Jungkook takes another swig of water to wash down the dense content of his food. “All I know is that I need a way back in.” 
“Do you at least know how? Or what you need to do?” 
You watch him slam down your glass after finishing off, and now, you find every plate you presented to him nearly wiped clean. “I have no clue about that, either.” 
You deadpan. “What the fuck?” 
“Look, human. All I know is that I can find the answers I’m looking for. I just don’t know where to start.” You sigh, cradling your cheek in your palm as you watch him pat a napkin to his lips, and all of a sudden it draws attention to the soft petals. 
Why are his lips so damn kissable?
Jungkook’s eyes suddenly flicker up to yours and you snap out of your trance, swallowing. “W-what? Have you never been on Earth before?” You internally facepalm yourself for your idiotic stutter. 
“Nope, not at all.” 
You narrow your eyes. “Then how do you even know how to act like a human?” 
Now it’s Jungkook’s turn to deadpan, an elbow coming up to rest on the table as his other hand cups over his thigh, leaning in. “Are you forgetting who I am, angel?” He smugly asks. “I’m the devil, watching humans is part of my job.” 
You shoot him a testy look for the pet name again, but become curious of his job all of a sudden. “What do you even do as Lucifer? Sit on a throne and hear the screams of poor souls perishing in hell’s fire?” 
Jungkook genuinely laughs at your words, and you become even more annoyed. “What?!” 
“You’re quite right,” Jungkook sends you a proud nod, though he suddenly leans in closer, and he’s now bridged the gap between you and himself over your kitchen counter. He’s close, close enough you catch a whiff of this crisp, warm, though attractive scent off him. It was practically beckoning you closer with each breath in. The heat that radiates off him is almost scalding alone, swallowing as his proximity calls this certain side of you to jump out. 
Or more so, jump him. 
Jungkook smirks again, wetting his lips. “But I’m also the king and master of sin. I draw people’s deepest, darkest secrets out of them. All the bad in them.” 
He deliberately eyes you, almost too hard. It's as though he’s searching every crevice of your mind and can suddenly see all the hidden, disguised aspects of yourself. Now the air’s suffocating, those searing eyes you swear turn scarlet at one point so immensely bewitching you, it’s hard to look away. 
You can feel this almost magnetic pull towards him, eyes darting down to those cute lips of his again. But you immediately brush it off, knowing men like, well, devilish men like him love using their charms to entrance whomever they deem weak enough to fall into the trap. 
You scoff, looking away. “I’ve gotta take a shower.” 
You abruptly rise from your seat. You swipe your phone with you as you watch him settle into his chair, arms folded and now appearing very bored. You sigh as you glare at him, wondering how you’re meant to keep Lucifer of all people entertained. 
A question pops into your head, having mulled over it since you’d nursed him on your couch. “Hey, demon.” 
His gaze flickers to you, chewing on his lip. 
“Do you have a place to stay?” 
You watch as Jungkook actually becomes uncharacteristically shy, shifting awkwardly in his seat. “Not exactly, no.” The column of his throat bobs as he gulps. “Why? Are you trying to kick me out?” 
You laugh, covering your smile when you do. “No, I’m not like whatever higher power that casted you out of hell.” 
Jungkook’s smile returns then, less snarky but now actually more.. charming? “Funny and cute. I like you, human.” 
You narrow your eyes with a curt reminder. “Human’s not my name, demon.” 
“And demon’s not mine, either.” You contort your lips into an annoyed pout and stare him down. He returns the challenging look, though lightens up for his next question. “So.. can I stay here?” 
You don’t take much time to consider your answer, knowing your empathetically-cursed character could never deny the homeless man shelter. “I guess so. I don’t think it’s smart to let you roam the human world with your little knowledge of it.” Jungkook moves to deny you the insult of his pea-sized brain, but you calm him down. “I don’t mean it offensively. I mean it for your safety, Jungkook.” 
He settles down, understanding. “Yeah, I get you.” 
Jungkook seems to then regard you with a much more amicable look, his eyes conveying unusual, though present gratefulness. Suddenly you become interested in exactly how human Jungkook really is, seeing as he appears as human as it gets, but exactly how Lucifer is he still? 
“If I may ask.. are you really.. human on earth? As in.. do you have a different form in hell?” 
Jungkook finds the question endearing, laughing a little. “Not really. I appear like this in hell too, all the way down to my outfit.” He gestures towards his attire. “Though in hell I have wings. My eyes permanently glow red and I usually have flames surrounding me.. mainly my wings.” 
You’re stunned, now contemplating the image of Jungkook with these wide, gorgeous wings. You’re left completely speechless, envisioning the flames that probably burst out of them like a Phoenix rising from the ashes. 
“They must be beautiful.” You don’t even realize you let your thoughts slip aloud, regaining focus when you see Jungkook smirk through a laugh. 
“I-I mean.. are you sure you’re human? I mean your skin and all.. do you even need to sleep?” 
Jungkook tilts his head side-to-side for an unsure answer. “Eh, it’s different now that I’m on Earth. In hell, I’m at full power and never need to sleep, eat. Shit, I don’t even feel pain. My flames act as a sort of protective shield, I never incur injuries.” Jungkook elucidates casually.
 “But it seems the rules are different for me on Earth. I get hungry and thirsty. And this,” he gestures towards the small bandage you placed over his cheek wound. “Means I don’t automatically heal, and the exhaustion in my body means I also require sleep.” Jungkook simultaneously yawns as he informs you, covering his mouth. 
“And your skin..? Is your body entirely human?” 
Jungkook cracks a chuckle and his devilish eyes land on you, staring into your soul yet again. He props off his chair without warning and suddenly steps towards you, towering over your smaller frame again. His eyes remain locked with yours as he removes the lapels of his jacket, peeling back the item as he tongues his cheek. The action calls attention towards the sharp edge of his jawline, noticing how attractive it makes his thick neck appear. 
Fuck, if only you could mark a neck that pretty. 
The sound of his sudden snort reels you back into reality, watching him strip his jacket off.
“Jungkook-” You panic to cover him, but he continues, tossing the jacket onto the couch behind you as he then employs his fingers towards his nearly sheer, black-patterened dress shirt. You grow nervous as you watch him dislodge each button, wanting to avert your eyes and do so, but something about him beckons your sight back. Eventually he casts his shirt open, and your eyes nearly fall out of your sockets. 
Jungkook is ripped, as in he has the sexiest body you’ve ever witnessed in your entire life. The Statue of David must be jealous, hell, Aphrodite herself would probably choose Jungkook over ugly ol’ Adonis; that is how gorgeous he is. 
“Touch me and see for yourself.” 
You gulp, wide eyes flashing towards him. “Huh?” 
His lips curve into a smug grin, emphasizing his already drop-dead gorgeous face. “If you want to know whether I'm human or not, touch my body.” 
You suck in a breath, suddenly his open shirt exposing his sculpted torso is making your brain go haywire. The deep timbre of his voice saying such words already have you in shambles, wondering when he became so goddamn irresistible?
You can see each divot and protrusion of his muscular body, his abs prominent and his chest downright sinful. Though it’s his tiny, almost delicate waist that has you swooning, practically drooling over the hour-glass figure of his stunning, practically ethereal body. 
You snap a look at Jungkook, and his eyes await you as he watches with pure mirth. You hmph, acting as though this isn’t a big deal when you step closer and slowly, but surely press your palm to his chest. You lose air the second you feel the rock hard muscle.
Fuck, can I squish my face between his pecs? 
You shake your head and hear Jungkook let out the tiniest of laughs, shooting him a grumpy look. You then carefully traverse his skin, being able to feel the beating of his heart, the flesh and blood that make up his body. He feels warm.. almost too warm and it’s as though he’s.. calling you. Your body feels that magnetic pull again, wanting to either devour him whole or litter his body with your sinful kisses. 
It rushes through your veins and floods your lungs, filling your bloodstream with this instinct to simply jump him, touch him, bring this ravenous, dark side of you out into the world. Your breathing increases speed; suddenly he’s all you see and you can feel your body needing him just like you need air, like you wouldn’t survive without him until.. you pull yourself out of the trance. 
You physically rip your hand away and breathe erratically, as though you weren’t yourself just now. Your perplexed eyes blink multiple times to allow the rush to subside, and swallow harshly as you look away from him. 
“What.. what is that?” 
“What’s what?” 
“That-that thing. That fucking attraction to you or whatever..” 
He displays a lop-sided grin on his face as he quirks his brow amusingly, scoffing. “I’m Lucifer, angel. I breed sin wherever I go.” 
“What-what do you mean?” You peer at him with annoyance but also.. intrigue? This was oddly interesting to you, never have you felt the effects of something so utterly hypnotizing, attractive, alluring.  
Never have you felt your heart hammer and mind race like that. 
Jungkook makes it a statement to subtract the space between you two, your bubble invaded by his bare body as he carefully circles a palm around your arm, searing eyes boring into yours. “It means whatever sin you think of; lust, greed, gluttony, envy. They’re all heightened when you’re close to me, and worse if anyone’s lucky enough to touch me.” 
Your vision locks with his, finding the explanation to that scalding heat of his body. 
He’s goddamn Lucifer. 
“But.. I touched you.” 
He breathes a laugh through his nose. “And I don’t let just anyone touch me, angel.” 
You narrow your eyes at him, tugging your arm out of his hold. “Why do you call me angel?” 
Jungkook lightly gestures towards your chest area, and before you can grow offended over his line of thinking, you flicker downwards to find that your pajama t-shirt for tonight has the word ‘angel’ written across it, then adorned with wings and a halo around the text. 
You scoff, returning to him. “Really?” 
“That, and you seem to radiate the energy of an angel.” 
“And how exactly do I seem to do that, demon?” 
Jungkook’s fingertips find themselves preoccupied with feeling a piece of your hair, letting himself watch the action with a faint smile. You would smack his hand away, but his softer eyes look towards you, and you swallow nervously when you feel that heated attraction to him once again. 
His open shirt is already difficult to ignore, and you can’t seem to want to shove him away.
“Angels are pure, and true. They’re virtuous and serve the good of the universe.” You feel his hot breath tickle your skin as he decreases the gap between you two. His eyes remain locked with yours as he releases your hair. “But one thing to be known about angels,” He leans in closer, and pierces your soul with his searing heat. 
“They’re not as innocent as they seem.” 
He does it again, peering as if he knows something about you, deliberately searches your eyes as if he can sift through your mind, and you need to simply break away from him. His lips are too close and fuck, do you already find his lips so goddamn kissable. Not to mention this now supernatural pull you have towards him heightening your darkest desires. 
“I’m gonna take a shower, busy yourself in the main area.” You mutter almost incoherently. 
And all you hear is Jungkook’s muffled laugh as you scurry away. 
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The sounds of the TV running quirks your brows, ruffling a towel against your damp hair as you enter the living room. 
You find the odd sight of Jungkook holding a remote in his hand, lounging on your couch as he watches an episode of Friends. A laugh escapes you, not having ever imagined Lucifer doing something as mundane as watching TV. 
His eyes shift towards you at the sound of your chuckle, Jungkook sitting up much straighter. 
“Welcome back, human.” 
“It’s my house, demon.” 
Jungkook kisses his teeth as you approach him, your towel hanging around your shoulders. His eyes remain on your face for a while, though they travel down your body with a little scan. You realize it’s your short-cladded legs he’s observing, then returns his sight to you. 
“What are you wearing?” 
“Pajamas?” You answer him with a chide. 
He purses his lips in this certain manner of understanding, leaning his arm against the back of the couch, legs manspreading almost indefinitely. This is when you earn the opportunity to really view Jungkook’s legs, and fuck, are you goddamn mesmerized. His strong, thick thighs are hugged snuggly by those leather pants, and they do him a damn service by emphasizing their muscular, sexy build. His legs are also long, you notice, perfectly presenting his lap to you and it takes every ounce of your being to not so obviously look at his bulging crotch; naturally bulging crotch may you add. 
I swear if he’s packing too, this’ll just be unfair. 
Jungkook cracks a scoff all of a sudden and you narrow your vision, scrutinizing him. 
“I asked you a question?” He suddenly says.  
“Huh?” You blink; he must’ve queried you when you spaced out. “What did you ask?” 
“I asked if that’s how humans usually dress for the night.” Jungkook repeats himself. 
“Well, yeah. You wanna be comfortable when you’re sleeping, less clothing is usually the answer.” You reply honestly, arms crossed over your chest that adorns no bra. “You’re a guest in my home, and this is how I dress.” 
“You consider me a guest?” Jungkook inquires with a slight smile. 
“Well, yes. To be fair, I’m the one who brought you to my home, you didn’t infiltrate it or anything.” You offer him a shrug. 
You watch Jungkook genuinely grin at that, amused eyes flitting to you. “You’re nice, human.” 
“Thanks.” You’re not sure how much a compliment from Lucifer matters, but you take it anyway. 
“Oh shit, you don’t have anything to wear tonight, do you?” 
Jungkook’s round eyes wander off in thought, and it’s now that you notice his eyes are actually quite.. cute. “I don’t think so. I assume sleeping in an outfit like this wouldn’t be comfortable, as you say.” 
“Yeah, just hold on. I’ll come back with something.” 
You return to Jungkook with a set of comfortable clothes in hand, presenting them to him. “Here, I think these should fit.” 
Jungkook quirks a brow as he peers at the clothes with incredulousness, then you. “You’re going to make me wear that?” 
You roll your eyes as you regard the Hello Kitty shirt and grey sweatpants in your hands. “This is my biggest oversized shirt, okay?” You attempt to defend yourself. 
Jungkook appears as though his ego is hurt, a baffled hand to his heart. “You expect Lucifer, the king of hell, to wear something like this?” 
“It’s either this or no clothes, buddy.” You try to reason with him. 
Jungkook smirks then, standing to his feet before you with an amused and suggestive attitude. “I mean, I don’t mind not wearing clothes. But I think the only person that’s gonna have a problem with that is you, angel.” 
God, his eyes just scream the fiery pits of hell and mischievous mirth, who fucking knew Lucifer could be so obnoxious? His sense of confidence is suffocating and he seems as egotistical as the high school captain of a football team. 
You shove the clothes into his, dare you say, rock hard abs and huff with a scowl. “Just take the fucking clothes and change, demon.” 
Jungkook scoffs with barely-there acquiescence, inspecting the clothing items as he picks out the sweatpants. “These sweatpants don’t look like they belong to a woman.” 
“They’re not mine.” You absent-mindedly grumble as you make your way towards your kitchen, deciding on tidying up the many plates Jungkook left scoured from his feast. 
“Whose are they?” 
“Ex’s.” You reply flatly, compiling the plates together and nabbing the utensils he used. 
Jungkook nods in understanding, though now seems a bit out of place holding the pants. He reveals what could’ve been... sympathy? Pity? You don’t know. 
“Why are they in your apartment?” 
“He left them here after I kicked him out.” Jungkook notices the way you seem too casual while washing the plates, querying again. 
“Why did you kick him out..?” 
You set down the plates harshly in the sink then, producing a loud clattering noise. “Could you just fucking change?”
You didn’t mean to say it so sternly and with a cold-cut tone, but you settle once you see the taken aback expression on Jungkook’s face. You bite your lip as the water runs over your now cold hands, sighing as you return to your dishes. “I’m sorry. Just-get changed, please? That outfit must be bothering you.” 
Offering your words a little sweeter this way seems to dissemble the look of surprise on Jungkook, nodding as he visibly zips his mouth shut. Jungkook then begins to unbutton his pants right before you, undoing and just about tugging them down until you rapidly hold up your soapy hands to halt him. 
“Wait-wait! Not here!” 
“What?” 
“Don’t get changed in front of me, change in my room or something!” You attempt to mask your line of sight. No way would you goddam let yourself see whatever beast Lucifer is hiding in his leather pants. 
“And why would I need to do that? Haven’t you seen a man naked?” 
You roll your eyes at his snarky remark, knowing there’s got to be another smug grin on his rideable face right now. “I have but I haven’t seen you naked. Just change in my room please.” 
Jungkook lets out a grievous huff as he fixes his pants back on. “Fine, I’ll be back.” 
He snatches up his clothes and finds his way to your bedroom, shutting himself inside after flashing you a purposefully saccharine grin. You exhale once he’s disappeared, now running through the millions of thoughts that plague your mind. 
Is this really what your life’s now come to? Housing Lucifer in your home? You do digress on the matter that it’s not his fault. He’s been cast out of hell for a reason he doesn’t know, and it’s not like he was provided an elaborate guide on how to get himself back in either. 
You assume it must do with learning a valuable lesson or performing some sort of task, though it’s not like you know what the mighty powers above have in store for an already ethereal being such as Lucifer. You weigh your options here, maybe you can simply let him live here as a roommate until he can find a way back, right? 
Considering he has no means of living in the real world; ID, wallet, phone, fuck, even a passport, he won’t be able to get around easily. So for now, you might as well let him slumber with you until he deals with whatever introspective prospect of himself he needs to clean up. 
Your bedroom door clicks open as you find Jungkook emerging in your ex’s sweatpants that actually fit him quite well, and a stifled giggle escapes you once regarding him in your blush pink Hello Kitty t-shirt. 
“Well, you look just about ready for your hellish throne, don’t you?” 
“Fuck you.” He harmlessly exasperates, dragging his feet towards you with slumped shoulders. “You couldn’t have found me a shirt that maybe had anything to do with hell? Like that one sitting on your chair by your desk?” 
You scoff, scrunching up your facial features in disbelief. “No way would I give you my Thrasher t-shirt.” You glower. “It’s my favourite t-shirt.” 
“And I’m about to become your favourite person soon, hand it over.” Jungkook holds out his palm and requests the shirt with an arrogant curl of his fingers, sending him a deadpan expression and shoving his hand aside. 
“Maybe if you help me clean up my apartment and the dishes I’ll consider the offer, demon.” 
Jungkook rolls his eyes, kissing his teeth yet again. “You made a mess of objects in your apartment by throwing them at me, and now I have to clean them up, human?” 
“Who’s the ‘human’ that’s keeping your identity as Lucifer a secret and is letting you live here for free?” Jungkook pulls his lips back guiltily at that, pursing them with an affirmative nod before reluctantly getting on with his task. You quietly huff as you watch him compliantly clean up the mess, glad that he can at least follow instructions. 
It boggles you actually. Did you just instruct Lucifer, the obnoxious ruler of the Underworld to do something, and he listened? Do you now have one of the most powerful beings in the universe wrapped around your finger for offering your home? The thought paints a smirk onto your face. You did not begin this Monday at all thinking you’d be in the good graces of the devil himself. 
Too preoccupied with your thoughts, suddenly a searing heat beside you startles you. You peer up to find Jungkook slotted right next to you and picking up the dishes you’ve sudded up, silently rinsing them with this pout on his lips that seemed like a natural habit.
Cute.
You quirk an inquisitive brow though, hands having stopped moving. “What are you doing?” 
“I’m helping you?” He replies obviously. 
You absorb the kind gesture and loosen up a little. “That’s.. kind of you.”  
“What? Didn’t think Lucifer could be kind?” He’s teasing you now, his eyebrows jerking in an amusing way that shows you he just loves the game. You roll your eyes, nudging his elbow as you bite back a smile. 
“Get to work, demon.” 
Jungkook suppresses a grin. He rather contorts his lips in acquiesce as he continues to wash diligently, humming a tune very similar to The Beatles’ “Devil in Her Heart”. 
And you quietly chuckle. 
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“There,” you gesture with an accomplished grin, hands perching onto your hips. You and Jungkook both look on at a makeshift bed you had crafted for him in your room, eyes peering at him for approval. 
He observes it with a critical lens, pensive pointer finger and thumb stroking his chin. “Is this meant to be where I sleep?” 
“Of course, where else would you sleep?” 
Jungkook’s eyes flicker towards your queen-sized bed and very obviously gestures towards it. “Maybe on the entire bed in your room? Did you think I don’t know that humans sleep in beds?” 
You exhale with irritation, palm smacking your forehead. “You can’t just sleep in my bed, genius. I barely know you!” 
“And what’s so bad about a man and a woman sleeping in the same bed?” Jungkook questions argumentatively. 
You send him a glare. “Like I said, I don’t know you and your intentions, and sleeping is when humans are in their most vulnerable state.” 
Jungkook contorts his lips with dislike. “I’m not going to unsolicitedly touch you or anything, if that’s your concern. All you are is a measly human to me, I have no attraction to you.” He holds up a hand in protest. 
“Excuse me?” You gasp. “Are you saying I’m unattractive?” 
“So now you want me to think you're attractive and want to unsolicitedly touch you?” 
You halt once you see the flaw in your argument, brewing in resentment as you watch him grin proudly. “That’s what I thought, human.” 
“Fine, you know what? Either you sleep on this lovely bed I made for you on the floor, or you sleep on my couch.” 
Jungkook sticks his tongue out and blows a wet raspberry, arms folded over his hard chest. “Fuck your couch, it put this damn crook in my neck.” 
You clasp your hands together and emphasize the most pathetically sympathetic pout in the universe. “Awh, did little Luci get an ouchy?” 
“Are you asking me to burn your couch? Because I’ll do so without hesitation, angel.” 
“Ugh!” You suddenly burst out into figurative flames, standing square before Jungkook to address him seriously. “Alright, demon. Since you seem to be the epitome of a picky child, you can sleep in my bed with me.” 
Jungkook’s face purposefully lights up like an elated child, gasping comically loudly just to get on your nerves, but you halt him with a finger. “But, we’re putting a barrier of pillows between us.” 
Jungkok scoffs with folded arms, hating that the action called attention to his bulky, bulging biceps in a funnily contrasting women’s shirt. “Not like I wanted to cuddle with you and catch your human disease, anyway.” 
You exclaim disapprovingly at the way he spits the term, hands perched on your hips with a speedy retort. “Well fuck you and your smoldering heat, demon. When I asked for a new furnace I didn’t mean you.”
Jungkook childishly mocks your expression, rolling his eyes. “Whatever, if you need a furnace then clearly it gets cold at night, and then we’ll see who’s cuddling up to who for heat.” 
You watch him practically throw open your covers and shuffle inside, hmphing as you step off in search of your light switch and shut it off. “Whatever.” You weakly grumble back. 
You settle into your covers as you harshly shove a bunch of pillows between you and Jungkook, not even daring to spare the infuriating man a look, turning completely away from his figure. You huddle into your side like a fetus once the night really kicks in, cursing your goddamn furnace for supplying such sparse heat while your window leaks chilly air through the old cracks. 
You shiver all while Jungkook seems to completely knock out in peace, most likely from his first oh so tiresome day being human. You’re welcomed by his light snoring for hours as you roll your eyes in contempt. 
Wanting to pin it on him for so irritatingly interrupting your much-needed sleep, you become annoyed not just with Jungkook’s snoring, but that he was right. 
You really wanted to cuddle up to him for some goddamn warmth that night. 
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You bop around to the Beatles’ 1963 track Jungkook was humming last night, pushing around some strips of bacon in your pan, messy hair tied and in your lounge wear. You’d cracked a few more eggs and cooked more bacon for your annoyingly hellish acquaintance. 
The chilly night really didn’t serve you well as you froze in your spot, only shuffling towards Jungkook after peeking at his slobbering, snoring state of sleep. You were thankful he still radiated such an abundant amount of heat, that finding relief in the small waves you could feel even over the pillow barrier wasn’t too difficult. 
Your pride kept you from removing even a single cushion. 
You produce playful noises from your lips as you busy yourself, setting up some breakfast considering your house does not only have a population of one anymore, but two, and it still continues to shift the axis of your world. 
Was last night really your reality? Are you sure that wasn’t just a wild figment of your imagination? It had to be, even if you believe in the supernatural, there was no way such a superior celestial being could so casually be a guest in your home. 
You’re reminded of that certain special guest when you suddenly hear a loud thud in your bedroom, concerned eyes perking towards your ajar door. 
“Demon?” You call. 
You gain no answer, wondering if you truly did just imagine all the events from last night. 
“Jungkook-!” Said man tumbles out of your room then, groggy as all hell as he lazily rubs his eyes and appears to you as death himself, though still delectably hot. 
Ugh, fuck him. 
“Y/N.. shit.” He addresses you, and suddenly the deep, gravelly tone of his morning voice makes your core inadvertently clench. “Y-yes?” 
“I crashed into your damn vanity in the bathroom.. why is everything of yours so tiny?” He complains first thing in the morning, now remembering just how frustrating the king of hell really is. 
“Maybe you’re just too big, demon.” He grunts his response, stalking over to you as he can’t seem to adjust to the morning light filtering into your apartment. 
You watch him approach you, gathering the necessary tableware for a quality morning breakfast. “How’d you sleep, demon?” 
Jungkook’s barely-open eyes scrutinize you as he seats himself on a stool by your counter, covering his mouth when he yawns. “Meh. I had this… this thing. I saw these pictures in my head when I was sleeping…” 
“A dream?” You assist him as you pour out a glass of milk. 
“Yeah, whatever the fuck it’s called. Anyway, I think.. I think I saw something that’ll help me get back to hell.” 
That pries your eyes open with intrigue, setting the glass of milk down for him on the counter. “Oh shit, already?” 
He nods, and you find it actually quite endearing how much his hair was tousled into this attractive bed-head, eyes puffy, lips pouting. “I saw this club.. I remember seeing it when I used to be in hell.” 
“A club?” 
“Mm,” he replies with a confirming hum as he reaches for the glass, lightly inspecting the drink as he continues. “It’s this exclusive club only for celestial beings. I heard about it sometimes among my demon subjects, but I was too busy being the mighty king of hell to give a crap.” He haughtily regards himself as he takes a moderate swig of the milk, licking his lips as he nods in approval of the beverage. 
“I like this, what is this?” 
“Milk,” you elaborate. “What about this club?” 
Jungkook takes another lazy sip as his eyes scan over the food you now plate on the counter. “Well, it’s obviously only meant for celestial beings. Demons and angels. I’m thinking if I can find even one of my demons, I could find out where the club is, and then figure out why I was kicked out of hell.” 
“Ohh,” you remark with understanding, setting aside the pan and spatula, while nabbing two forks from a drawer. “So you just have to visit this club then, correct?” 
“Correct,” Jungkook answers. “There’s just two things.” He begins as he takes the fork you hand him with ease, impressed by his adeptness for such human, mundane things. 
He must’ve watched humans for a brain-numbing amount of eons. 
“One, this one’s mainly angel territory.” 
You raise your brows in question, arms crossed and eagerly interested in the information. “There’s more than one?” 
“There are clubs scattered around Earth, it’s to allow celestial beings a place of refuge when they visit here.” Jungkook explains. “I remember seeing an American flag when I landed here, so I’m assuming I’m in America, and the only existing club here is in Chicago.” 
“Chicago?!” You exclaim with utter shock. “That’s across the entire country from here!” 
“Not the point, human.” He cuts you off with a finger. “Point is, that club will be crawling with angels, and as Lucifer they may not welcome me with open arms.” Jungkooks sets his fork down against your counter with a sigh, almost seeing his mind shift its locks and gears. 
“The only way I’ll be able to get in is if..” He pauses, serious eyes locking with yours. “Is if I bring a human with me.” 
You blink; rapidly, then slowly, then rapidly again somehow hoping it would change what you just heard. “Come again?” 
Jungkook sighs, his facial features already telling you he finds this difficult to discuss. “This club in Chicago is angel-dominant, meaning demons need to bring a human companion in order to get in. Like a truce, a sign we mean no harm.” Jungkook elaborates. “And even as Lucifer, I don’t think my charms and wit alone can get me through considering my less powerful, human form.” 
You scoff at him shamelessly tooting his own horn, wondering if he’ll ever tire of it. “Sounds like a real pickle, Luci. Wonder where you’ll find yourself a ‘measly’ human.” You snark with a snort, placing the milk back in your fridge and reaching for your mango juice. 
You swivel back around to a Jungkook who doesn’t smirk, nor grin nor tongue his cheek condescendingly, but simply leans his elbows over the counter and pressingly peers at you. As if communicating with his eyes alone… 
No, no way. No way in the fiery pits of Jungkook would you goddamn do this. 
“Jungkook, don’t you dare..” 
“Human.. it’s important.” You scoff through a humourless laugh, setting down your carton of mango juice and gesturing towards yourself in disbelief. 
“Me? You want the human to be me?” 
“Y/N…” Jungkook quite gently calls your name, a complete contrast to his arrogance and while the sound of your name on his tongue lights something within your chest, you can’t help but snort with utter derision. 
“No. I’m not fucking accompanying you all the way to Chicago just for some innocence show-and-tell.” You immediately deny him, contemplating just how crazy this is. How in the world could you just up and leave for some travelling with the devil all the way across the country? You couldn’t even take a goddamn flight considering dear-old Lucifer’s lack of passport ID. 
“Y/N.. look. I know it’s not ideal for you, but this is seriously important.” Jungkook emphasizes with a persuasive tone. “I need you…” 
Those last three words and the look of pure need in his eyes tug at the strings of your weak heart, groaning in complaint. “Jungkook, you can’t be serious. I-I have a life here! I have friends and a job and not to mention school starts back up for me in a month-” 
Jungkook suddenly rises from his seat and paces over to you, grasping a careful hold of your hands and the innate warmth he emits from his skin actually feels.. comforting. 
“Y/N, look. I get it. You have a life here on Earth, a place where you belong. But I have a life in hell, a place where I belong. Wouldn’t it be best to just accompany me and get me back to hell so I can get out of your hair?” 
“Jungkook…” You counter with an uncooperative tone, eyes communicating sympathy, but you can’t offer him the help he needs. “I can’t.” 
“This will benefit both of us, human.” Jungkook convincingly states. “I go back to hell faster, and I leave you alone faster. I know how much you don’t want me here.” 
You hesitate, eyesight faltering to your connected hands; his thumbs are actually soothing the back of your hands? When did he start doing that? 
“That’s not exactly true…” 
“Y/N, just come. I know it’s asking a lot but I really need this.” Jungkook pleads. 
“And what will you do for me in return if I come with you?” 
“Oh, Y/N, I’ll do anything. The faster I can get back to hell the faster I reclaim my full powers, and I’ll grant you anything you desire. I promise.” You’re uncertain of how strong a promise from the devil could be, deterring you from giving him an answer he wants to hear. 
With a sad sigh, you disconnect your hands from Jungkook’s. “I really can’t, Jungkook. It’s non-negotiable…” 
You watch as the usually confident, cocky man falls into an expression of glumness, silently retracting his hands. He scratches the back of his neck awkwardly as he acquiesces, though seems silently upset. “Okay..” 
The gloomy pout to his cute lips does you in. “Look, Jungkook. I’m going out with friends tonight for drinks at this bar. Maybe you can tag along and you can easily find another human? I’m sure any girl would be willing to roadtrip with a super handsome guy like you across the country.” You attempt to present a peace-offering with a joke, hands shoved into your sweater paws as you hug your chest. 
“But those humans won’t be like you..” He groans with a huff, eyes evading you. 
“And what’s so different about me?” 
“You already know I’m Lucifer, that makes things 100x easier for me.” He argues. 
“Well, I found out and I ended up accepting you. Who’s to say you won’t find another human like that?” You plead your case, but Jungkook just scoffs in reply. 
“Please, do you not remember what happened when you saw that I was Lucifer?” You recall the fiasco of forks, flinging and feathers, sighing once you see his point. “Exactly. Besides, you saw me as Lucifer by accident, I can’t just be revealing my identity to anybody. It’s not allowed.” 
“But I know..?” You question genuinely, gesturing towards yourself. 
“Like I said, by accident. Though I’m assuming the Council won’t see it that way, and they’ll come for me anyway.” Jungkook more so mutters to himself as he frustratedly tongues his cheek and steps around, brewing with stress. 
“The what?” You question. 
Jungkook rolls his eyes, as though now registering just how annoyingly human you are. “Think of them as angel police, yeah?” 
You mimic his tone purposefully and he impersonates you back, scoffing to end the interaction. “Look, if you already have these angel police people on your ass then what’s the harm in telling another human? They’ll be chasing you anyway.” 
Jungkook laughs dryly, looking away from you as he shakes his head. “I can’t just do that, that’s not how it works.” 
You sigh, watching the way his jaw flexes because he’s grinding down on his teeth too hard, a clear sign of his anger. You hate that it emphasizes the sharp edge of his jawline, and that it’s actually fucking hot. 
He suddenly breaks into the slightest laughter that holds some amusement, wondering what he’s laughing at. Nonetheless, you decide to defuse this situation and try to comfort him. You meant it when you said last night you wanted to be in Lucifer’s good graces, but also remain in them no matter how irritating he is. 
You approach him amicably and grasp his bare bicep, brushing his arm in support. “Look, Jungkook. Just come with me tonight and try, okay? Maybe your answer is just an arm’s length away.” 
Jungkook’s eyes find yours, and you watch them glimmer with something akin to understanding, surprisingly loosening up at your touch. Though his irises are soon blanketed with his signature mirth as he eyes you, feeling the heat of his body suddenly radiate off him like a heatwave. 
“You sure you want me to come tonight, angel? Your friends may think I’m your scorching hot boyfriend.” 
You produce an appalling noise of disapproval, removing your hand from him and shaking off his Luciferness. “Fuck you. I’m telling them you’re my roommate and that’s final.” 
“And where exactly did you find me as a roommate? On the street?” Jungkook laughs as you shoot him a crabby glare, not missing the way his amused eyes flit over your figure with almost… likeness? 
“I’m telling them you’re a co-worker. No way am I saying I just found you on a whim, they’ll think we’re-” 
“We’re sleeping together, right?” 
You grow aggravated by the sly way he’s folded his arms and does that stupidly attractive thing where he tongues his cheek, fed up with his suggestive fun. You quickly snatch your kitchen towel in your hands and roll it up into a punishing device, rapidly smacking at him. 
Jungkook exclaims playfully as he dodges your hit. “Wo-hoah, human. Didn’t I tell you angels are good and pure beings? They don’t hit people.” He laughs as you grunt in frustration and follow his retreating form for another whack, actually landing it against his arm. 
“Hey, bad angel!” Jungkook tuts you light-heartedly as he cleverly evades your angry attacks. You hate that even while he’s riling you up, you actually liked the image of his glowing, entertained smile, his cute teeth reminding you of a bunny. 
“Says the obnoxious Lucifer!” You holler loudly in complaint, chasing him while your once warm breakfast turns unfavourably cold. 
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“And this is Jungkook, my co-worker!” You cheer as you present Jungkook to your group of friends, earning wide smiles and gawking eyes from your female friends and equally surprised male friends. 
“Hey, everyone.” Jungkook waves with a confident smile, showcasing his adorable teeth for a lovable grin. 
Did he seriously have to be cute too?
You snap out of it once you see your friends all greeting him kindly, Jungkook only left to shyly smile and reply shortly to all the inquiries he gains. His lost eyes find yours and he reveals genuine fear in them, silently requesting you to come join him and let up the traffic of questions. 
A snort escapes you as you watch on, who knew Lucifer could actually be awkward? You swear he should’ve been a natural with people, though you contend he just doesn’t do well with so many questions at once. 
To be fair, he’s never been around other humans before either. 
You grant him mercy by sliding in beside him, shooting pleasant grins all around as you answer the dozens of questions your friends ask about your new gorgeous co-worker. 
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“Doesn’t he just look like one of those men that’ll eat you out until he can’t breathe?” 
“Oh for sure, looks like he’d stuff himself full and even when you tell him to breathe he just says no.” 
“Hell, he’d be that type that pulls your hips back down over his face when you try to let him breathe.” 
“Guys..!” You interject as your friends Madison, Naila and Kiara all giggle together. You’re all huddled together drinking by the bar as your friends become more interested in observing Jungkook in all his dripping sexiness. 
And to be honest, you don’t really blame them, he’s wearing that scorching hot leather outfit again. 
“Y/N, seriously. How could you not tell us someone that hot worked with you?” 
“This has got to be a crime, were you gate-keeping him?” Naila suddenly complains as you quell their grievances. 
“Guys, he just.. got transferred to my department recently. He’s new.” You find a quick enough and convincing lie. 
“How did you two end up even living together? There had to have been some sort of meet-cute.” The girls all gush together when Kiara asks, all eyes shifting towards you as they excitedly await an answer. 
“Well.. we just.. got on the topic of him needing a place and we hung out sometimes. So I offered my place.” 
“And?!” 
You feel slightly cornered, but confidently answer with another white lie. “And he said okay.” 
They all squeal together like teen girls, honestly finding amusement in their reactions. “Ugh, you’re living the dream, Y/N.” Madison suddenly slings an arm around you and tugs you towards her, gesturing towards nothing that indicates her depiction of ‘the dream’. “You’re in a roommate situation with an absolutely scorching hot guy, you’ll totally end up either falling in love or banging him!” 
“What?” You squeak as you throw back a shot of tequila Naila handed you. “No way will that happen, he’s obnoxious as hell!” 
“Ugh, babes. Even if he’s obnoxious I bet that dick isn’t.” Kiara jokes and the girls all chuckle together, tipping back their shot glasses after filling some back up. You roll your eyes and smack her arm as she exclaims, trying to lighten you up. 
“Y/N, c’mon. You deserve to have some fun after that shitty fucking ex of yours. Live a little, ya know? Whether it’s love or dick, they’re both great remedies.” 
You scoff as your lips hover over a shot glass, eyes wandering the club as if you're occupied, but really, you know it’s in an effort to look for Jungkook. It’s funny you act like you don’t know where he is, when you know his exact location. 
Your eyes flicker across the bar, finding Jungkook having casually slipped into conversation with the boys tonight. He was laughing and happily tipping back shots himself, amused that he at least eased up and found some company with your male friends. 
Sights absorbed in suddenly eyeing him, it’s truly difficult to pry your gaze away. No way was this Jungkook’s impact of being Lucifer, you now knew you needed to be very close, or at least touching him in order to feel those effects. So why is it that you still feel this magnetic pull towards him? Can’t help but not only find him incredibly sexy in his usual outfit, but something so mysteriously alluring about him? 
Your body wanted him, you knew that much. Anyone with eyes and functioning reproductive organs would know that, but you couldn’t shake off the fact that it wasn’t just your body that wanted him.
He was just so intriguing, and you wanted to know more. 
Suddenly, Jungkook’s eyes casually shift from your friend Hobi he’s speaking to, and locks with your gaze across the bar. You freeze, eyebrows raising as you hesitate to take your shot, caught in a stare with him you can’t break. 
Jungkook stares back, and he stares goddamn good. He tongues his cheek again irritatingly and you try to swallow down the way he makes your core light up. Jungkook then tilts his head a little downwards with a cracked smirk, before he peers up at you again with eyes so devilishly smoldering, you could feel a sweat break out at the nape of your neck. 
You gulp as Jungkook then tips his head to the side with a light furrow of his brows, as if questioning you what’s wrong, and you lightly nod to him nothing. He laughs a little, hating that he finds this somehow amusing. You’re in the middle of narrowing your eyes at him until Naila interrupts you, Jungkook cleverly looking away then. 
“See, they’re practically eye-fucking already!” You shoot them all an annoyed look as you grunt in complaint. 
“Are you sure you guys aren’t together?” Madison inquires. “It seems like he already likes you, babes.” 
You click your tongue in disapproval. “He just likes to tease me, guys. Drop it, would you?” 
“As long as you land on his face, then everything should be good.” The drunk girls giggle together, and you can’t help but snicker at the joke. You contemplate in your tipsy head there really is something about Jungkook’s smoking hot face that makes it seem so rideable. 
“I’ll be back, guys. Stay here.” You instruct the girls as you set your shot glass down. You weave through the throngs of people mingling and dancing in the bar, ignoring your girls’ hollers of encouragement as you bee-line towards Jungkook. 
You reach the occupied man and tug lightly at the end of his sleeve for his attention. “Jungkook!” You shout over the blaring speaker the guys are all near. 
Jungkook’s vision snaps to you as he simultaneously touches your wrist to acknowledge you. Your skin ignites at a simple touch of his, feeling a rush you’ve never experienced before. You blink it away before lightly tugging him aside, speaking to him. 
“What’s up, human!” The booming bass of synth-pop beats abuses your eardrums, requiring both you and Jungkook to yell at each other. 
“Why haven’t you talked to anyone yet!” 
“Huh!” He hollers in response.
You exclaim in complaint as you lean in a little towards his ear, shouting louder. “I brought you here to talk to someone and bring with you, why haven’t you been talking to anyone yet!” 
Jungkook draws back and signals to you he can’t hear, rolling your eyes and curling your palm around his wrist, dragging him through the crowd. You tug him into the secluded restroom area where it’s much quieter, the shut door closing out the music. 
“Ah, that’s much better.” Jungkook notes. 
“I was asking if you’ve talked to anyone about Chicago yet, Jungkook.” You repeat yourself from earlier, hand still holding onto his wrist. “That’s what I brought you here for, remember?” 
“Hey, I’ve been talking to people,” Jungkook defends himself, though his expression falters into one of hesitancy. “Kind of..?” 
You glower at him, “Jungkook, what do you mean by ‘kind of’?” 
Jungkook sighs, shoulders slumping as he surprisingly doesn’t even make you let go of him. You can feel that rush of his energy coursing through you, but you manage the invasive feeling as you focus on the conversation instead. 
“I’ve been trying to get it out of me but.. I just never end up asking.” You exclaim in annoyance as you scold him.
“Jungkook, why not?!” 
“Because it’s just weird, okay, Y/N?” Jungkook argues. “I’m meeting these people for the first time, I can’t just fucking ask them to hitchhike with me all the way across the damn country.” 
“But it was completely okay to ask me?” 
Jungkook kisses his teeth with a roll of his eyes. “How many times do I have to tell you you’re different, human?” 
“Well, I’m not any different when you always call me a ‘human’ anyway, demon.” 
Jungkook becomes fed up with your pestering and scoffs. “Whatever. You’re the only human I can do this in front of and not have someone screaming their head off.” Jungkook emphasizes his point by conjuring up a hot flame from his palm. His suddenly glowing red eyes also appear, shooting you an ‘I-told-you-so’ look of challenge as you glare back at him. 
You’re seconds from retorting until you’re suddenly interrupted by the shrieking of a woman. You’re startled as your unsuspecting vision falls to a random stranger who had just ventured out of the bathroom and…
“Fire, fire!” 
You and Jungkook both look at the flame in his palm, then towards the woman in fear, finally locking anxious eyes with one another and panicking. Jungkook puts out the fire and you rapidly approach the woman to calm her down, hoping nobody can hear how goddamn loudly she’s screaming. 
“Shh, oh my God. It’s okay, it’s a prank. It’s a prank!” You repeatedly yell in order to shut the lady up, but she keeps yelling and trying to make a horrified break for her purse. She scrambles inside and you both watch her fish out a small bottle of something that’s engraved with almost-visible writing.
Holy Water. 
“A demon, it’s a demon!” She shrills so goddamn ear-splittingly, you and Jungkook leap into flight mode. He engulfs your arm in his and tugs you towards him urgently.
“Y/N, we have to go!” 
You curse repeatedly as Jungkook swings open the doors to the club and you shoot the woman apologizing glances, begging for her to put a damn sock in it. Jungkook takes the lead as he drags you out into the bar. He rapidly pulls you through people and ensures he keeps a tight hold of your arm, tugging you incredibly close to his own body as some sort of shield. 
Your friends end up seeing you both fleeing and shooting you looks of either ‘what the fuck’ or ‘get it on!’ as you practically hide your face in embarrassment. You and Jungkook hurtle out into the blissful night as he tugs you both down the way he knows you parked your car. You grunt in raging frustration once you realize that you parked it far with this place being downtown. 
“Ugh! You just had to fucking use your powers out in the open!” You complain aloud while you run with Jungkook, not caring now for the few late-night city stragglers hearing you. 
“Not my fault you keep nagging me about finding another human!” Jungkook argues as he continues pulling you down the road, the fear of authorities being called by the random woman scaring him. “Do you see now why you’re the only one who can come with me?!” 
You whine as you consider he’s correct, there’s no use in him searching for another human for ages when you exist right before his eyes. “Fine, fine! I’ll fucking go with you, asshole! Can we just stop fucking running?!” 
You become too tired to keep up with Jungkook, feet aching in your shoes once you realize how fast Jungkook was going, hands dropping to your knees as he releases you. 
“You… you run.. fucking fast.” You heave for air as you register the sweat on your forehead, having participated in too much exercise just now. 
“I’m a little faster as Lucifer, human.” Jungkook elaborates oh-so-obviously as you wave him off, squawking for air as though you were a fish out of water. 
“You okay?” Jungkook asks as he nears your bent over form with a hand, and you swallow harshly as you tell him to give you a minute. You’re focusing on resupplying your lungs oxygen until you suddenly feel arms cupping underneath your body, and are unexpectedly hoisted up in the air. 
You squeal as you find Jungkook’s lifted you off the ground bridal-style, freaking out at just how strong he is. “J-Jungkook, put me down! You can’t carry me all the way to the car?!” 
Jungkook swiftly ignores you as he begins jogging towards the direction of your car, and quite frankly does so almost too easily. “I’m fast and strong as Lucifer, human. I can handle you.” 
Jungkook quells your worries as your round eyes watch him flash a look down at you, and try to stifle the flutter of your heart when he shoots you a show-stopping smile. 
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It was the day of your trip, and having woken up at the ass crack of dawn to get on the roads early, you and Jungkook currently load your car with your luggage enough for two weeks of travelling. You groan as you rub an exhausted eye, yawning when you feel sleep still beckoning you to your warm bed. 
You stand frozen in your spot as you refuse to move the suitcase resting at your feet, rather staring at it with delirium instead. 
You feel a sudden nudge to your shoulder, finding Jungkook settling beside you. “Hey, sleepyhead, get moving.” He instructs in rather a light, encouraging tone, finding that very different from his usually pushy tone. 
Sight still filled with sleep, your eyes remain locked on Jungkook shooting you one last look before he’s hauling a duffle bag over his shoulder, and carries another heavy suitcase effortlessly, hating that it all made his biceps pop so goddamn sickeningly.
Did Lucifer really have to be ripped?  
You roll your eyes at how unfair this is; Jungkook having begged you last week to take him on a small shopping spree so he had enough trendy clothes to wear and didn’t have to keep sporting your Hello Kitty shirt. Not only that, but you had to spend even more bucks purchasing him necessary things to even live in the human world; his own toothbrush, cologne, hell, even boxers were on the list with Jungkook’s shameless ass promising he’ll shower you in gold once he’s ruling hell again. 
Jungkook suddenly waves his hand before your eyes, perking up as your eyes shift upwards to accommodate for his height. “Hello, human? I need you with me.” 
You blink rapidly. “Yeah, yeah. I’m here.” 
“You okay? I know you didn’t sleep well with everything you needed to arrange.” Jungkook’s palm curls around your arm, carefully inspecting your features. “How was your call with work?” 
“Not terrible. They were kinda pissed. I was asking for vacation time at the last minute but when I explained it was a family emergency, they weren’t so annoyed about it.” Jungkook approves of that as he rubs your arm supportively. 
“I promise we’ll be back in two weeks, and your life will go right back to normal, human.” Jungkook grants you another promise as he sends a small smile, earning a miniscule, tired grin from you. 
“Did you get the last of everything from inside my apartment?” You gesture towards your building. 
“Yeah, I got everything. Just your suitcase left.” You nod in understanding as you bend down to lug at your suitcase. You struggle as your palms fasten onto the bag but find the weight too much for your flimsy arms. You make a rather resilient effort to tug it towards the trunk of your car with all your might, until Jungkook’s hand suddenly replaces yours on the handle. 
His presence casts you aside as he shoots you a tight-lipped smile and lifts your luggage himself, tucking it into your trunk effortlessly and shutting the hood. You stand frozen at the sudden kind gesture, brows furrowed in confusion. 
Did he just do something nice for me? 
You decide not to snarkily comment on it, instead shutting your mouth and making towards your beat up Prius.
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Ironically, AC/DC blasts through your car’s speakers, snickering a little once you consider you genuinely are on the ‘Highway to Hell’. 
Your laugh catches Jungkook’s attention, who’s enthusiastically pretending to drum the exact beats of the rock song. With your peripheral, you find Jungkook completely enjoying himself before shooting a look at you, then back out on the road again. 
You and Jungkook were about 2 hours into driving now, having decided to blare the music in order to keep each other awake in the early morning. 
“You sure you don’t want me to drive, human?” Jungkook asks as he settles in his seat, getting comfy as your hands remain at ten and two. 
“Nah, it’s okay. If I don’t drive I’ll fall asleep.” 
“You kinda look like you need it.” You shoot him a glare as you move a hand to smack at his arm, to which Jungkook hisses and tuts. 
“Hey, focus on the road, will you?” 
You hear him laugh while you roll your eyes, returning your hand to the steering wheel. “Fuck you, do you even know how to drive, demon?” 
“Of course I do. It isn’t too difficult.” Jungkook shrugs as though you were both discussing apple-picking. 
“And how to hell do you know that?” 
Jungkook scoffs a dry laugh, taking a long, deep sigh. “Sweetheart, you have no clue how long I’ve been watching humans.” 
He reclines back in his seat as he shuts his eyes, tossing the heels of his shoes over your dashboard until you swat violently at his legs, sneering reprimandingly. “Hello? This is my car? Get your dirty feet off.” 
You shove his legs off and Jungkook awakes with a disagreeable scowl. “What the fuck? Can’t a guy goddamn rest?” 
“You’re Lucifer, Jungkook. Not a human, remember?” You purposefully chide with a saccharine tone, and you listen to him scoff. 
“Whatever.” 
“Awh, he’e becoming more human everyday.” 
Jungkook mocks you before you find his arms tightly folding over his chest, huddling against the window as he genuinely attempts to get some shut-eye. You presume he’s not so used to needing sleep. 
“Do you even know if this is the right way, Jungkook?” You ask, ensuring with him every now and then if he wasn’t just simply leading you to your demise somewhere. Who knows, maybe the real way for him to get back into hell is by sacrificing a human life through a ritual or something. 
You shiver hoping that’s not true at all. 
“Yes, I know..” Jungkook grumbles with his closed eyes and an exhausted body, watching him peacefully come to rest. 
You decide to not bother him considering he did complete most of the work packing and loading all your luggage for the road trip this morning, needing to have woken up before you for the task. You shoot a glance at his resting state, his lips falling into that pout you’ve now noticed over the week, in fact, is a natural habit of his. 
He usually makes it when he falls asleep. 
With an acknowledging side-grin, you turn down the volume of the music, and focus on driving again. 
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“You just had to eat all the Fuzzy Peaches, didn’t you?” 
“No I didn’t, there were only three left once I even got the bag, it was you.” 
“And you couldn’t spare some for me? I’ve been driving for 4 hours!” 
That particularly stupid argument is what led both you and Jungkook to pull into this convenience store along the side of a quite bustling street. Car washes, lauder mats, even a brunch diner were all located in this small plaza ‘Ed’s Convenience’ was also in. Across the street from you was a supermarket, the rest of the area littered with stores whatever odd town in California housed. 
Currently, you were waiting for Jungkook to return to you from the convenience store. Despite now knowing him and his tendency to snack a lot, you allowed him to take your card after he promised that you would be given the choice of always deciding where you eat. 
You had to seriously discuss with Jungkook that money was going to be your biggest issue on this trip. Considering gas, eating out, staying at hotels, a lot of your own personal finances were going to be depleted just for this 2 week trip. Jungkook yet again, promised indefinitely that once he returned to hell he would be able to conjure up triple what you spent on him, along with a slew of fake-sobs that you reluctantly agreed to in order to shut him up. 
You roll your eyes remembering the interaction, having set a strict rule with him that your money will have to be managed and budgeted very well while on this trip. Sometimes you would both have to survive on convenience store food, sometimes it would be best to just camp out in the car together rather than always spending nights at crappy motels. 
The sound of gravel crunching catches your attention, soon finding Jungkook appearing before you. He was wearing black ripped jeans, combat boots, black shirt all tied together with his leather jacket, holding a bag of convenience store goodies as he plopped down next to you on the trunk of the car. 
He currently munches on some gummy worms as you watch him, finding that he probably appeared the most innocent when he was eating. His eyes go round as though he’s a child eating food for the first time, and he chews in his adorable pout you can’t help but admire, rather ironic for the sinful king of hell. 
You never expected to see him in such a domestic, human state. 
His eyes flash to you and you wake up from your trance, clearing your throat before flickering back to your laptop screen. “You’re back, demon.” 
“Mm,” he hums, reaching into his bag and suddenly presenting you with a bag of Fuzzy Peaches. You raise your eyebrows in surprise as your hand tentatively clasps around it. 
“For me?” 
“Well, you threw a whole tantrum over em’.” 
You immediately move to elbow him but he defend himself, laughing as he presents the bag of candy. You accept the bag with a scoff, disguising the grateful smile and flutter that threatens your heart at the gesture. 
“What are you looking at?” He inquires with narrowed eyes to get a better look at the screen. 
“Google maps. I know you said the club you need to visit is in Chicago, but do you know the exact location so that it’s easier once we’re in Chicago? I need to know which highways to take.” 
Jungkook nibbles on the last of a gummy worm as he pouts his lips in thought, watching the clear blue sky above him. “I told you, we’d have to ask one of my demon subjects in order to find that out.” 
You nod in comprehension. “Do you know anyone we could possibly visit for an exact address?” 
Jungkook reaches inside his packet for another bite of a gummy worm. “I do. I think most of my subjects would know, though the only one I can recall the exact location of is a demon named Azazel.” He snaps a piece of his gummy worm in half, bringing one of them to his lips for a nibble as he details. “He’s one of the Princes of hell, serves right under me. He likes to hang out at this one place in Nevada I think. He’d definitely know where the celestial club is located.” 
You purse your lips as you absorb the information, checking it through with him. “Prince of hell?” 
“Yeah,” Jungkook nods. “They’re these 7 princes that are meant to represent the Seven Deadly Sins. They’re a ranking just below me, powerful beings but they’d never dare defy me.” Jungkook proudly remarks, watching the way he straightens up his slouched back and squares his shoulders. 
“That’s interesting. Which sin does this Azazel demon represent?” 
“Lust. Or, well, vanity.” Jungkook clarifies. “But when I say he’s a super weird one, I mean it. He’s got his own very… unique tastes he thinks very highly of.” Jungkook grimaces as he seems to remember something bone-chilling about the demon. He then laughs, however, finishing off the last of his gummy worms as he regards you beside him, trying not to squirm at how much larger he is than you, or how he even makes damn ripped jeans look scorching hot.  
“Take a guess where you think we’ll find someone like him?” 
You furrow your brows as you tilt your head in question, Jungkook’s eyes lighting up at the adorable gesture of yours. “Where?” 
6 hours later, you stand frozen, mouth agape, legs unmoving. You listlessly stare at a loud, flashy neon-pink sign that depicts the image of an erotically-posed woman wrapped around a pole, along with the name “The Devil Wears Prada” ironically plastered underneath in cursive. 
It’s a fucking stripclub. 
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You peer at Jungkook absolutely bewildered, blinking a few times to compute whether or not he was serious. Jungkook merely stands all too giddy, arms folded over his chest as he flashes you a beaming smile. 
He’s having way too much fun with this.
“Jungkook..” You draw out his name with a scolding. 
“Oh c’mon, Y/N, it’ll be fun.” He attempts to warm you up to the idea, nudging your elbow too adorably. 
You shoot him a dirty look and snatch your arm away from him, exhaling annoyingly. “Did it really have to be a stripclub?” 
“Why?” Jungkook queries. “Have you never been to one?” 
You freeze, suddenly a lump forming in your throat and trying to swallow it down. You’re not sure how you’re going to tell Jungkook that you actually have without revisiting a long-gone memory from your past. Your eyes evade him completely then, squeezing your folded arms tighter. “I have.” 
Jungkook furrows his brows. “Is.. there a problem?” 
“No just-get us inside, will you? It’s not exactly warm out here.” You begrudgingly complain as you harshly tug your cardigan around yourself. You hate that the temperature suddenly dropped significantly at night, leaving you freezing in your tank top, jean shorts and a measly wool cardigan. 
You internally groan then, not just at the weather but standing in front of this Godforsaken place. The entire idea of a stripclub is off-putting to you, and it’s not like you’ll tell Jungkook exactly why. 
You didn’t want to recall the god awful person attached to it. 
All of a sudden, you’re enveloped by the warmth of a jacket around your shoulders. You surprisingly snap to your right and find Jungkook adjusting his cozy leather jacket over you, warm from his usual higher temperature. Your lips fall into a quizzical little pout. 
“Why’d you...” 
“Let’s go inside, we don’t want Azazel leaving, do we?” 
You regard Jungkook with round eyes as he simply sends you a smile, halting yourself from swooning over the deadly image. He wraps a warm palm around your wrist and drags you to the entrance of the club, silently following him with the hint of a shy smile. 
A long line awaits outside the door, but Jungkook confidently stalks over to the security guard on duty. The man almost protests angrily until Jungkook glowers at him with his crimson eyes, sending the man to instantly shiver with fear. He graciously opens the door for you both without a hitch, even granting you VIP access badges. 
Impression is all that colours you as you contemplate Jungkook’s mere unmatched power, knowing damn well you’ll refrain from pissing him off too much, You slip inside the lively club with Jungkook, and unconsciously slide your fingers into his with acutely rising nerves, squeezing slightly. 
And surprisingly enough, Jungkook squeezes back. 
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Your pairs of once peaceful ears are welcomed by the sound of raunchy music blasting over the speakers, scantily-clad women dancing on a neon platform with a shimmering pole, and also decorating the many suit-wearing men in the crowds. 
You feel out of place, awkward, only having been in a stripclub once, and it was not your best experience at all. You clasp Jungkook’s hand a little harder this time, even cowering into his much larger form as people pass you by and disregard all means of space. 
Jungkook’s eyes sweep over the place with nothing but mischief and mirth, watching his eyes smolder a fiery red with a smug grin.
“Fuck, now this is my place.” This must be exactly where Jungkook thrives; sin litters this place from left to right and you assume it’s channeling his powers of pure evil. 
You fear a human possibly sighting his Lucifer eyes though, and quickly prop yourself on your tip-toes. Your hand curls over his shoulder and you speak to him in his ear, Jungkook instinctively bending down. “Jungkook, your eyes.” 
“Hm?” His round orbs stare into your soul inquisitively, and you suddenly realize he actually has very big eyes, almost doe-like. 
“Your eyes, they’re red. Someone will notice.” 
“Oh,” Jungkook blinks a few times and dials down the heat, dispersing the colour. “Better?” 
“Better.” You nod. It takes a good second for you to notice how close your faces are to each other, however, and your breath catches in your throat. Jungkook’s lips curve into a little smile when he sees that, becoming too swept up in his ocean and immediately removing yourself from him. Only your hands clutch each other as you avert your sight. 
You continue to evade him and Jungkook instead zeroes in on you, scrutinizing your features. “Are you okay?” 
“Yeah, why wouldn’t I be?” 
“Oh my God, don’t tell me you totally lied about going to a stripclub.” Jungkook drawled. “You’re so innocent.” 
Jungkook makes it a statement to ruffle the top of your head, and you quickly smack his hand away as you send him a death glare. “I’m not lying, for your information. I have been to a stripclub, and I’m not that innocent.” 
You have no clue the things I’ve thought of.
Jungkook cracks a sexy grin. “Hmm, are you sure about that?” He leans in eye-level with you suddenly, and you lean back in accordance. “I’m sensing something else here.” 
“The only thing you should be sensing is Azazel, demon.” You shove him back and Jungkook lets out a hearty laugh, rolling your eyes in response. 
“You’re right, I actually can sense him. He should be here.” Jungkook scans the place with his demonic eyes, attempting to discern where exactly Azazel may be. 
You’re busy hmphing when you move to cross your arms, and realize that Jungkook, while distracted, is still holding your hand. You peer down at the means of contact, feeling a warm, fuzzy feeling suddenly spreading across your chest. You push it away once Jungkook turns to you, ensuring he doesn't catch you staring at your connected hands. 
“I think he may be in one of the VIP rooms, I’m going to check, okay?” 
“Wait,” you pull him back, Jungkook all ears for you. “Why are you going alone? I can’t come?” 
Jungkook chuckles a little. “Demons usually take up the vip rooms in this club,” Jungkook then suddenly tugs you towards him without warning, and you tumble directly into his chest. You peer up at him in complete surprise, only to find his smile absolutely shit-eating. 
“I wouldn’t want an angel like you in a den of sinners.” 
Your heart hammers against your ribcage, being this close to him just sets off an insatiable fire inside you that’ll never have an explanation anymore. Maybe it’s Jungkook’s attraction as Lucifer, you’re not sure, but suddenly feeling his chest against yours, mere inches from his lips, his eyes only on you in a room full of exotic, topless dancers, you feel yourself falling into his abyss. 
Why can’t I just kiss his cute lips?
A shove to Jungkook’s shoulder by a stranger snaps you out of it, immediately adding space between you two. “G-go find Azazel.” You see Jungkook crack a knowing grin before he holds up his hands in mock surrender. 
“Alright, alright.” He vindicates himself, but suddenly winds an arm around your shoulders, his lips brushing your ear. He tugs you close enough to catch a whiff of the coffee you both drank on the way here, trying not to ignite at the feeling of his lips touching your skin. 
“Stay here, don’t talk to anyone. Don’t take a drink from a stranger either, only wait for me.” He instructs firmly with a squeeze to your arm, turning to the side to question him why, but Jungkook has already let you go. He disappears into the crowd and booming club then, before you can even breathe. 
Damn, he really is fast as Lucifer. 
You suddenly become reclusive in the grandiose, erotic club. All you see are boobs and sexy women flaunting their gorgeous bodies, and as much as you find it downright impressive, respecting the hell out of the stunning dancers, a pit settles into your stomach.
Stripclubs just aren’t your thing, they never have been. Especially after what your asshole of an ex did to you in a stripclub before, they unsettle you to the very core. It brews a storm in your heart you can’t remedy nor can ever forget, sighing as you suddenly wish Jungkook didn’t leave you alone. 
What the fuck? When did you even need his presence around in the first place? 
You shake the jitters out of you. You won’t let some dark part of your past haunt you anymore nor think about the literal devil himself, you’re far beyond that and a healed person. 
You sigh as you contemplate what you’re meant to do now, Jungkook’s instructions of staying put and not even touching a drink producing your sheer boredom. You stand with your arms folded and step towards the bar ensuring you weren’t in the way of any dancing women, or didn’t catch the eye of some ogling man waving money. 
Blowing a raspberry, you silently bop around to a sultry rock beat as a new stripper presents herself on stage. Your own eyes are glued to her almost instantly, surprised by how gorgeous she is and mentally commending her for her graceful figure and well.. generous assets. 
Out of boredom, her show becomes your center of attention until a sudden tap to your shoulder turns you around. You come face-to-face with a very handsome bartender. 
“Sorry to interrupt, but this drink’s for you.” He sends you a polite smile. 
“Oh, but I didn’t order a drink.” 
“I know, I ordered one for you.” You’re internally taken aback by not only the man’s boldness, but his drop-dead gorgeous smile. A grateful grin creeps up onto your lips as you chuckle a little.
“And why did you do that?” 
The handsome stranger shrugs. “It looked like you needed one.” 
You slowly wet your lips as you try to keep from smiling too wide, encircling the glass. “That’s awfully kind of you.” 
“Don’t mention it,” he waves you off. There’s a simple moment where you’re merely looking at your glass, taking it in your hand for a drink until Jungkook’s voice rings clearly in your head. 
‘Don’t drink anything either.’ 
You furrow your eyebrows wondering why you exactly couldn’t. You teeter on either defying him or simply choosing to listen, not knowing how severe his order was. You buffer on the drink until the man’s rather hypnotizing voice pulls you out. 
“So.. what’s a woman like you doing here all alone?” 
You quirk a brow. “And who exactly is a woman like me?” 
“Too pretty to be alone.” 
You crack a chuckle at that, the charm he’s laying suddenly loosening you up. “That’s a good one.” 
“Good enough to know whether you’re alone or not?” 
You hesitate on an answer here, not knowing his intentions but giving him an honest answer nonetheless. “No, I’m.. not here alone.” 
“Are you here with a boyfriend?” 
Your heart stops at that, someone referencing Jungkook of all people as your damn boyfriend feels ridiculous. Even imagining such a thing leaves you sneering, and no the idea does not make your heart swell or your chest flutter. In no corner of the world will you find even a measly speck of you considering Jungkook as your boyfriend, a good idea. He’s only the smoldering hot king of the underworld that seems to actually be nice despite being the master of sin, has these cute doe eyes when he’s confused or these pouty lips whenever he eats. 
And he does not have you undeniably attracted to him. 
Not at all. 
“N-no, not my boyfriend.” You choke on your saliva. 
“Ah, so I don’t have to worry about a jealous man or anything.” He smirks all too handsomely. 
“And why exactly would a jealous man bother you?” 
“Because I’d like to make you mine tonight.” 
You feel your heart experience whiplash in your chest as you feel it bloom with fuzziness. Suddenly his smile is show-stopping, the way he leans over the counter emphasizes his muscles and his black button-up hugs his body like a second skin. 
“Have a drink and loosen up, gorgeous.” The smoldering bartender tongues his cheek, and suddenly his jawline is looking too good to not kiss up.
With a smirk of your own, you run your tongue inside your cheek as well, a fire lighting inside you. Your fingers curl around your glass of what seems to be a cocktail, suddenly thirsty for a drink. You eye up the handsome stranger as you bring the glass to your lips, tipping your drink over. 
“What the fuck are you doing?” Jungkook’s voice startles you as he suddenly clamps down on your wrist and displaces your drink, spilling some on you. “Didn’t I tell you not to drink anything or talk to anyone?” 
His sudden rude tone ticks you off. “Jungkook, it’s just a drink-” 
“Hey, man. I was just talking to her.” 
Jungkook’s eyes immediately become annoyed regarding the stranger behind the bar, quickly approaching him with a furious look. “I’m not some ‘man’, and I know you aren’t either.” 
Jungkook then violently grabs the bartender’s collar and tugs him over the counter harshly, the anger in his eyes absolutely searing. You panic as Jungkook’s harsh actions catch the attention of others nearby, your glass now empty as it spills over. 
“Jungkook-!” You try to pull him back, only to be completely surprised with what you see next. 
Jungkook’s eyes spark into a demonic fire as he stares into the man’s very soul, and you watch as the bartender’s irises suddenly reveal a deep shade of red himself. You falter back in shock as the man’s features immediately paint over with terror so horrific, he scrambles to be let go of.
“Sir, please-” 
“Get the fuck out of my face.” 
The once smirky and charming bartender turns into the equivalent of a crybaby, practically tripping over his feet as he runs off to cower away in the employee’s break room. Jungkook without a word snatches up your hand and begins leading you through the club, ignoring the concerned eyes that follow you two. You’re overridden by a million questions as he relentlessly pulls you, not even granting you a moment’s rest.
“Jungkook, Jungkook! What are you-” 
“Did I not fucking telling you to stay put and not talk to anybody? Did you think I said that for fun?” 
The irritation in his tone makes you feel guilty, and maybe you’re realizing your mistake, but Jungkook didn’t have to be so damn pushy about it. 
“I don’t exactly see the problem-” 
“That was the problem.” Jungkook suddenly stops you both before a dimly lit corridor as he gestures in the direction of the bar. His breaths are hot and heavy as his eyes cut you cold. 
“And what kind of problem was that? He was just a bartender-” 
“He was a demon,” Jungkook emphasizes. “This place is crawling with them.” 
Something about the anger in Jungkook’s face either makes you feel turned on, want to argue back, or a deadly combination of both, 
Why is it so sexy when his jaw clenches like that? 
You try to ignore the way your legs suddenly squirm. “So what if he was a demon?” 
Jungkook scoffs dryly, wetting his lips as he looks away. “That’s what the demons do here. They reel human women in with their charms, roofie their fucking drinks and get them alone.” He then mutters under his breath, focusing on nothing in particular with sheer indignation. “You have no clue the disgusting things he was thinking.” 
You scrunch your face in confusion. “And you do?” 
Jungkook rolls his eyes before he simply huffs, “it wasn’t hard to tell. Do you even know what a demon would do to an unsuspecting human like you?” 
His evasiveness and avoidance of making eye contact only increases your pissy mood, folding your arms with a pressing question. “And since when did it bother you what happens to me?” 
Eyes flashing to you, Jungkook only produces a mean look of hesitation. His jaw clenches as he gnaws at his teeth, lips impatiently pressed together. He then simply takes your hand in his, muttering yet again. “I found Azazel, let’s go.” 
And he drags you away as you unwillingly tag along. 
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You and Jungkook stop before a rather grand-looking door, noticing it’s probably the most expensive and exorbitant among the hallways. The entrance is perched by two guards on both flanks, a stern-looking man and an evil looking woman, both staring you and Jungkook down as though they could see right through you.  
Jungkook clears his throat, proudly presenting himself with a look of unbothered confidence. “Good evening, underlings. I need to see Azazel.” 
“And who might be asking?” The sultry woman practically slithers out her words. 
Jungkook rolls his eyes before he, for the dozenth time, flashes them his scarlet eyes, watching the stoic man raise his brows in surprised acknowledgement, as the woman merely shivers in pleasure. Both their own eyes glow a deep shade of ruby, and you now understand that they’re demons as well.
Did Lucifer have some sort of connection or invisible linkage between all demons? Was there something about his eyes? 
“Ah, the king himself is here.” She cheers, clasping her hands together with excitement. Her vision flashes down to Jungkook cradling your hand in his, though, but she doesn’t show any disapproval or bitchiness about it, rather seems intrigued. 
She abandons her post and makes towards Jungkook, her red dress accentuating every slim curve of her body. She laughs an almost harmonious giggle as her hands soon land over Jungkook’s chest, biting her bottom lip as she asks in a whisper. 
“Is it really you, master?” 
Jungkook merely laughs, tilting his head as he condescendingly asks. “Who else would it be?” 
Her eyes flicker with fire, fingers slowly feeling over much of Jungkook’s muscly body as he simply allows her to do so. His expression doesn’t really communicate much of anything however, as though he’s bored and simply letting the demon have her fun. Clearly the attraction to Jungkook isn’t just a human thing, he has practically all creatures on their knees for him, and he seems to know it too. 
Arrogant prick. 
A laugh escapes you suddenly, and the female demon’s attention immediately snaps towards you, eyes narrowed into slits. 
“And who might this be?” 
“None of your concern.” Jungkook tugs you a little closer to his body, almost shielding you. You can only intently watch, unable to do much of anything. But the female demon boldly ignores Jungkook, too enthralled by you to remain obedient. She approaches your figure with almost a cat-like nature, extremely curious and hyper-aware. 
You suspect absolutely nothing, until within the blink of an eye, she suddenly grapples the back of your neck and tugs you flush against her own face. You gasp in immediate fear when her fingernails transform into sharp claws. 
“Amara.” Jungkook scolds with a reprimanding tone as he squeezes your hand, but she only continues on, the bridge of her nose skimming the arch of your cheekbone. She actually sniffs you, and her lips curve into a downright demonic smile. 
Ironic. 
“A human..” She chimes lowly, but is only interrupted by an irritated Jungkook. 
“Amara, let her go. She belongs to me.” Jungkook instructs firmly, and your heart does a backflip inside your chest. When did you ever become his? 
Even worse, when did you actually like the idea? 
“Is that why she’s wearing your clothes, master?” She queries as her sharp hand rests over your shoulder, feeling at Jungkook’s leather jacket on you. “Master never gives his clothes to anyone.” 
The fact leaves your eyes widening, looking towards Jungkook who merely sighs. He then holds onto Amara’s shoulder and forces her to face him, seriously peering into her eyes. 
“Amara, let her go.” Jungkook’s eyes beam a vibrant red as he authoritatively orders. “I will not ask you again.”  Amara immediately lets you go then with thinly-pursed lips, holding her head up high as she returns to her post. 
Jungkook wets his lips in frustration before he turns to you and gently gathers your hair in his hands, carefully peeking behind your neck. He lightly whispers in your ear, “did she hurt you?” 
Ignoring the goosebumps that arise across your skin, your fingertips canvas over your neck as you feel the slightest sting in a certain area, knowing it must be a scratch. “Not really.” 
Jungkook laughs then, and you furrow eyebrows. “Why’d you just laugh?” 
“Because the desire to sin really does kick in when you’re near me, huh?” Jungkook’s pointer finger then slides over the exact cut you had, and you instantly let out a hiss. Jungkook knowingly grins. “You just lied to me.” 
You roll your eyes, seconds from swatting his hand off you until the sudden scent of coffee on his breath stops your heart. Jungkook casts your hair aside as he gently leans over your shoulder, and invades all your personal space. You’re unsure of what he’s doing until you feel his breath fanning you—he’s blowing on your cut. Surprisingly enough, it’s almost as though Jungkook’s delicate blows cauterize your wound, feeling your pain melt away in an instant. 
Sweeping your hand over the nape of your neck, suddenly it’s as though there was never a wound at all. You look at Jungkook with pure wonderment as he simply flashes you that sexy quirk of his brow and an attractive grin. Adjusting his shirt on himself, he then fixes his jacket on you, pulling it tight around your body. He turns back to the demons after finishing his task and grasps your hand yet again “We need to see Azazel, open the doors.” 
The stoic man that’s merely stood there the entire time silently clasps onto the handle. He opens the door without a complaint, standing off to the side. Jungkook enthusiastically tugs you along with him as you pass Amara, who only flashes a half-hearted smile your way before you’re greeted by something you never expected. 
Rouge curtains, a plethora of intoxicating incense, bright, vivid colours of Moroccan splendour designs attacking your eyes. The entire place is littered with these vibrantly coloured fabrics and charms, gaudy pieces of diversified collectibles and an odd earthy though spicy scent that made you throw up in your mouth. Though what catches you next are the multitude of nearly naked women sensually dancing and sitting around a quite eclectically dressed man, your brain far from boggled. 
The man’s too busy making out with a certain woman until Jungkook loudly clears his throat. “Azazel,” 
Said man, well, demon suddenly rips his mouth away from the topless woman, wiping some lipstick that smeared onto his skin. His hooded, hazed-over eyes are far more entertained when he regards Jungkook, however, lips curving into a mirthy grin. 
“My, my, if it isn’t the king of hell himself.” 
Jungkook purses his lips in acknowledgement as Azazel leans over onto his knees, waving off his dancing women. “Nobody told me you’d be visiting little old me.” 
“Maybe if you weren’t sucking the life out of female humans, you would know.” 
Azazel’s eyes bounce as though he were dealt a hit he actually liked, snickering in his throat. “A little too haughty for someone in your position, don’t you think?” 
Jungkook furrows his brows in confusion, and Azazel merely scoffs. “Think the whole of hell doesn’t know what’s going on with you, boss?” He questions rhetorically. Azazel then gets up from his seat, the women around him not even minding as they seem in almost an unbreakable trance. 
‘They reel human women in with their charms, roofie their fucking drinks and get them alone.’
Fuck, Jungkook was really telling the truth. Better yet, was he genuinely trying to protect you?
He approaches Jungkook, almost too close for comfort. Jungkook squeezes your hand in response, and you stay right by his side. 
“We all know the big man upstairs kicked you out of hell and you’re about as powerless as a mouse in a glue trap, boss.” The demon, you now realize, is almost ironically nothing what you imagined the demon of lust to be like. He seems the epitome of gluttony with his larger belly and older-looking features, honestly disgusted by him. Jungkook almost reads your mind as he makes an expression of distaste too, turning his face away from Azazel’s to actually breathe. He faces him then, eyes powerful and self-assured.  
“I’m still the king, and I rank higher than you, Prince of hell.” Jungkook squashes Azazel’s ego. “I’d watch what comes out of your mouth.” 
“And I’d do the same if I were you, boss. Right now it’s looking right about rocky for you with your powers gone.” Azazel practically, or well, quite literally spits. “I’m thinking you should choose your words wisely, could probably squash you like a pesky ant on the side of a road, Your Highness.” Something about the superiority complex and condescension of Azazel ticks you off. You turn to Jungkook trying to believe what the demon said isn’t true, but Jungkook’s acquiescing expression clues you in to the fact that that’s not the case. 
Maybe he really does have to play nice right now, you didn’t know the breadth of Azazel’s powers compared to a human Lucifer, anyway. 
Jungkook sighs as he tongue his cheek. “I just need to ask a question, Azazel.” He then instinctively tugs you further behind his larger frame, but that only draws Azazel attention to you, and suddenly his once normal eyes beam with an intriguing, red hot flame. 
“And who might this be?” His creepy voice curls around your spine and makes you shiver, sending him a look of disapproval. His hand comes out to cup your cheek but you immediately smack his hand, leaning away from him. 
His eyes glow with anger as he almost lunges towards you, but is stopped by Jungkook’s arm blocking the way. “Behave, Azazel. She’s mine.”   
“Ohh,” Azazel calms down with a snarky tone, eyes still scavenging your figure as though you were a meal to consume. “The master’s keeping a toy, I see.” 
The context of that leaves a bad taste in your mouth, watching Jungkook’s expression stay predominantly blank. He squares his shoulders when he requests again. “Just answer my question, Azazel.” 
The demon hmph’s as he sends you and Jungkook a death glare, returning to his seat. “Sit down.” He practically growls. 
Jungkook leads you with him towards the vibrant indigo, velvet couch across from the weird demon. Jungkook plops down on the cushions, and just as you’re about to seat yourself next to him, he immediately tugs you forward with a force you couldn’t deny. You tumble into his lap and your ass settles over his strong, thick thighs. Your arms naturally fall around his neck as his hands delicately hold your waist, panic overflowing you once your core presses into his crotch. 
“J-Jungkook, what are you-” 
“Shh,” he grits quietly under his teeth. “Just play along.” 
You pull a confused face, watching as Azazel becomes busy speaking with one of his scarcely-dressed ladies. “What do you mean? Why do I-”
“Azazel has a thing for human girls,” Jungkook whispers closely in your ear, hands slowly soothing your side that leaves you squirmy. He suddenly dares to nibble on your lobe a little, the touch igniting a lusty flame inside you despite the initial surprise. “Especially girls like you.” 
“What-what are you doing?” 
“Acting,” he rasps in a whisper, tongue gently licking at your lobe. “Play along.” He repeats pressingly. 
“What do you mean…” You attempt to suppress a yelp when Jungkook unexpectedly bites your ear lobe, only fidgeting over him more. “Girls like me?” 
You feel Jungkook smirk as he presses a bold kiss behind your ear, a hand of his dropping to your bare thigh. He ever so slightly brushes the tips of his fingers up and down your skin, fuelling every nerve inside your sensitive body. 
“Sweet and innocent ones like you.” 
His tone is so dark, so deep and low you’re forgetting where you even are. Your grip on his shoulders tightens when Jungkook skims his nose up your pulse point, his heated breath and lips raising goosebumps all over you. You chew on your bottom lip to contain how horny you suddenly feel, as though every cell in your body wanted Jungkook kissing you, on you, inside you. The hunger was insatiable, your legs rubbing together once your panties felt too sticky. 
“Since-since when did you care? I thought you hated humans.” 
“I said I hated humans, not you.” 
“You..” You contain a moan when he grips your bare thigh. “You said you’d never be attracted to a human like me.”
A scoff escapes him as his lips graze your skin, scrunching his shirt in your fist for any semblance of control. It’s hilarious that Jungkook is so transparent about insisting you’re different, but never explains why you are in the first place. His silence now beckons you to question him again, though it comes out more akin to a moan.
“Jungkook...” 
Jungkook then finally latches his wet mouth onto your neck, feeling your core gush with an immediate waterfall. He begins ever so slightly mouthing at your skin, laying soft kisses that were almost feather-like, barely there, yet you felt as though you were on fire. You realized he didn’t answer, wanting to query him again but fuck, you’re too goddamn distracted by his plushy lips sinfully kissing your weak spot. 
Suppressing a moan, you manage, “why are you doing this.. Jungkook?” 
“I need to show him you’re mine..” Jungkook mumbles against your neck as he sucks a soft bruise . “So he won’t take you.” 
His words snap you out of your daze, reminded that you and Jungkook are here for a goddamn task. He wasn’t doing this because he actually wanted you, there was an underlying agenda here and you need to stop getting sucked into his tempting ocean. 
You gently push him off you and find Jungkook’s amused eyes peering at you, cracking his signature grin. You realize you must appear flushed, the heat of Jungkook’s Lucifer body too searing to handle. 
Eyes locked in an untelling gaze, this position with Jungkook feels too unreal. You’re currently perched in his lap as you hold his neck and he hugs your waist, face mere inches from each other, almost kissing but not. You hate how much you suddenly yearn to kiss his lips, wondering if that certain Lucifer attraction is the reason why, or maybe Jungkook’s lips are just so fucking kissable. 
Jungkook doesn’t break your eye contact as he juts out his tongue to swipe his bottom lip, flashing his vision down to your petals that hang slightly open. You breathe carefully attempting to not suffocate, Jungkook is seriously, and very undeniably hotter than hell. You can almost taste the coffee on his breath again as he nears you, vision flashing to his lips that suddenly seem so close…
“Cozy, now aren’t we?” 
You both snap towards Azazel in unison, clearing your throat as Jungkook plants his feet down and straightens himself. 
“What’d you wanna ask, boss? Make it quick.” Azazal tends to one of his topless girls feeling him up, practically cooing at her as he speaks annoyingly. “I’ve got better things to do.” 
Jungkook rolls his eyes, his hand on your tummy drawing soft circles. You try not to melt. 
“I need the location of a club, Azazel.” 
The demon laughs across from you both, caressing one of his dancers that flank his left side. “There are many clubs, boss. You gotta be specific.” 
“You know which one I’m talking about,” Jungkook scowls, his palm firmly clutching your bare thigh, and you try not to imagine what he’d feel like touching you elsewhere. 
What if he touched me down there?
Jungkook suddenly squeezes your thigh and you practically jump, trying to refocus on the conversation. You attempt to not pay attention to the way Jungkook’s practically eye-level with your cleavage. The mere prospect of his sexy face in your boobs leaves your legs rubbing together, nipples shamelessly hardening. 
God, why are you so horny?
“Angels Give You Wings, you know the one.” Jungkook affirms, seriously trying to work with the rather disinterested demon. 
But once the name’s up in the air, Azazel’s eyes shimmer with mirth as his attention shifts to Jungkook. “The infamous club, you say?” he asks rhetorically. “You should know it’s in Chicago.” 
Jungkook sighs. “I know it’s in Chicago, but I need the real address.” 
Azazel raises his brows. “And why would you need the real address?” 
“It’s not exactly your concern.” Jungkook cuts in all too arrogantly, Azazel narrowing his eyes. He now examines you both, almost scrutinizing the pair of you as he touches one of his strippers. 
“You two don’t look very close for a couple.” Azazel observes, flitting over your entangled bodies. You become displaced, looking towards Jungkook for an answer. But you only find him glaring back at Azazel as he cradles you in his arms, practically demon-growling at him.
Azazel hoots as he watches Jungkook’s anger grow. “Wow, would you look at the master being possessive of his toys for once.” He smiles evilly, laying both his arms over the back of the couch with a repulsive look. “If you’re being possessive of her, then you ain’t getting jack shit tonight, boss.” 
“And what the fuck is that supposed to mean?” Jungkok practically spits.
“It means,” Azazel mimics Jungkook’s harsh tone. “If you wanna know the address, you need to let me read her.” 
You furrow your brows as Jungkook heavily sighs, bringing a hand to his forehead with distress. Your fingers ask for his attention through rubbing at the nape of his neck, voice quiet.
“Jungkook, what does he mean?” 
“Oh!” Azazel cheers all of a sudden. “She calls you by your real name, master? That’s wonderful!” He claps like a happy seal, now understanding what Jungkook meant by Azazel being quite the... odd type.  
Jungkook lifts his head to look at you then, eyes revealing something akin to.. Fear? Stress? You couldn’t place it accurately. “I won’t let him have you, angel.” 
You’re sure Jungkook is probably only saying this to act like you’re together, hell, even his hands slowly but soothingly caressing your waist and thigh have all probably got to do with this ruse. But something about the reveal of emotion in his eyes maybe indicated he could be speaking the truth. 
Or at least, you’d like to believe so. 
“Hand the girl over, boss.” 
Something ticks inside Jungkook as he flashes his eyes a searing red, and practically sneers at Azazel. “You’re not touching her.” 
Azazel’s amused expression only thrives off Jungkook's anger. “Well then, you won’t be getting your address, then.” 
Jungkook huffs with a dry scoff. “I’m not offering her to you anyway.” He then pats your thigh to move off him. You climb off Jungkook’s lap as he stands on his feet with you, avoiding your eyes as you wonder why he won’t just give you up. He intertwined his hand with yours in mere milliseconds as he sends Azazel a death glare. “We’re leaving, angel.” 
“You’re funny, boss. How do you expect to get your address?” 
Azazel’s condescending tone stops Jungkook, and you need to seriously squeeze Jungkook’s hand tightly in order to prevent him from charging forward. You should’ve known, Lucifer would obviously be irrationally hot-heated. But, also being the representation of Pride among the so-called seven princes of hell, he absolutely hated it when someone knocked him off his high horse. 
And that’s all Azazel has been doing. 
“I can ask any other demon.” Jungkook grits through his teeth. 
Azazel clicks his tongue, shaking his head. “Nuh uh. That’s an Angel-dominant club, do you really think some second-rate lackey could get in? It takes someone of my power-ranking or higher to even withstand those damn halo-wearing pricks.” 
Jungkook scoffs. “I’m Lucifer, Azazel. I can ask an angel.” 
Azazel snickers as though he were told an immature joke. “You really think an angel won't go straight to The Council and rat you out? Don’t think you’d appreciate seeing your estranged brothers in this circumstance, boss.” 
You hear a crack in Jungkook’s neck as you watch his jaw flex firmly again, except now, it seems like Jungkook could be breaking his teeth as he bites down hard. His eyes are a seething ruby, wondering what could be causing Jungkook so much heated distress. 
Brothers? Did brothers mean.. the rest of the Archangels? 
Your hand suddenly feels too hot as Jungkook practically crushes the life out of you. You exclaim in pain, realizing that Jungkook’s utterly losing his cool. You panic, knowing Jungkook is still quite powerful and you did not want to see him angry. He needs to simmer down before all hell actually breaks loose, worriedly approaching him. 
You rapidly step in front of him and grips his biceps, attempting to gain his attention. 
“Jungkook, hey, Jungkook.” You call him with light shakes, but his breaths only increase in speed. His vision is glowing a vibrant red and you can feel him entering attack mode. You protest for him yet again, to look at you, to calm down, hoping your voice can pull him out but gain no response. 
Jungkook is seconds from unleashing his flames, already raising his palm for a ferocious blast until your small hands suddenly engulf his cheeks, forcing him to look at you. 
“Jungkook!” You say it so worriedly, so sweetly that something almost automatically switches off inside Jungkook. It’s as though the figurative flames bursting out of him are extinguished, his breath stabilizing as you find his doe eyes staring back at you. 
You crack a smile as you watch his features change, becoming the exact Jungkook you met back in your apartment. 
“Human..” You’re unsure of why Jungkook’s stuck with the name, but funny enough, it made you laugh a little
“Demon..” You chide him, and he actually cracks a grin too. You wet your lips as you seriously peer into his eyes, speaking kindly. “Jungkook, you should let Azazel read me.” 
His eyes flood with something akin to anxiety and he grips your hand against his cheek, shaking his head. “No, it’s not a good idea, angel. He’ll hurt you.” 
Your lips pout slightly hearing his concern, again, unsure of whether or not this was all a ruse. You wouldn’t know. 
“What will he do?” 
“He can read minds when he touches people. Angel, demon, human, it doesn’t matter. But it hurts, especially for humans.” Jungkook warns, eyes communicating the urgency he desires to reach you. 
You can see where Jungkook’s coming from, whether it was for the ploy or his own genuine compassion, you wouldn’t want Jungkook to hurt himself just for you, either. But you knew this was important to him, he really needed to unearth that club and figure out his way back to hell. 
He needed to go back home.
You’ve already tagged along and come this far, not to mention how many times Jungkook really did show concern for you and helped you out. You should repay that kindness and help him too. 
“Jungkook, you really need that location.” You explain softly. “It’s okay, it won’t be for long, right? I can endure it.” 
“Human..” You can see the worry in his eyes, feeling your heart melt. He squeezes your hand harder and you try to ignore the fact that he doesn’t even mean any of it, only an act meant for the demon you can tell is staring you both down. 
But you’d oddly like to believe it was real.
“He’s going to infiltrate your mind, read your deepest, darkest thoughts, invade your privacy...” He urges you, emphasizing gravely that this is not something to be taken lightly. 
“I’ll be okay, demon.” 
Jungkook sighs with evident worry. “If you feel uncomfortable for even a second, I’ll kill him.” He proclaims. “You don’t have to go through with this.” 
“I’ll be fine, Jungkook. We’re a team now, alright? I got you.” 
You’re unsure of what emotion flashes through Jungkook, but you can clearly see his expression soften. He purses his lip, and simply nods as he slowly lets your hand go, but not without leaning in close to your ear. “You need to convince him..” Jungkook advises quietly. “Convince him about us to get the address.” 
You nod back in affirmation, detangling your fingers and stepping towards the sleazy demon. 
Azazel flashes you a toothy smile you wish you couldn’t see, repulsed as you stand before him. You notice the women flanking him don’t necessarily pay attention to you, and have only been touching and dancing around Azazel the majority of the time. You wonder if they’re under some sort of trance, attributing their behaviour to the drugging methods Jungkook informed you of earlier. 
Though you also wouldn’t rule out the doings of Azazel knowing he’s the sin of Lust. 
“What do you want?” You question bleakly. 
“Your hand, darling.” He slides his tongue over his teeth. 
“Do more than just read her, and I’ll torture you in hell for eternity.” Jungkook scolds threateningly, jaw clenched and eyes smoldering. 
Azazel merely acknowledges Jungkook as you reach the eclectic demon. With a weirded out expression, you hesitantly present your hand to Azazel, who snatches you up as though he were a starving dog seeing meat for the first time. He immediately shoves the back of your hand against his nostrils, gaining a good, heady whiff of you. You try not to feel a sense of ickiness all over your body, suddenly feeling this certain shock that runs throughout all your veins. 
It feels uncomfortable at first, but suddenly transforms into this sharp pain flooding your bloodstream. You exclaim immediately, feeling as though knives were suddenly coursing through your arteries. You falter as the feeling crawls all over your skin, clutching your hand to your chest in a panic. 
“Human!” Jungkook worriedly approaches you, but stops once Azazel’s ominous red eyes warn him. 
You calm down for Jungkook’s sake, breathing through the aching intrusion. “I’m fine.. I’m fine, Jungkook.” 
You remember his words in an instant, enduring the pain as you focus on thinking about Jungkook. He needs to think you’re both together, right? What better way than to conjure up every appealing thought you’ve had of Jungkook? 
His lips, his body, his eyes, his rockstar hair, his sexy leather outfit that hugs him just right. His Adam's apple, his thick neck, his alluring voice, the attractive way he tongues his cheek. Not to mention the adorable way his eyes go round or his small, cute lips pucker into a pout. 
Your mind naturally drifts towards the thought of all those features, and how they ignite your core anytime you ponder them. His fingers? His tongue? His lips? What could they do in other places? Would he be fast or slow? Would he touch you right? Would he be rough or soft? 
You try to imagine how it would feel if he were to touch your pulsing clit, shuddering once you register that masculine roughness he has to them. You bite on your lip, center lighting up with wanton desire once you consider how his tongue would feel, and most of all, you wonder exactly what beast Jungkook hides in his pants. You practically scream all these things at yourself, prominently contemplating your attraction to Jungkook for Azazel. 
Though funny enough, you know deep down they were real thoughts you merely suppressed. 
Azazel continues to read your mind, your shut eyes too focused on honing in on your likeness for Jungkook until all the pain in your body suddenly stops. You exhale harshly, as though air was sucked out of your lungs once you return to Earth. You recall your place in reality and face Azazel, swallowing. 
“Hmm,” Azazel contemplates, suggestive, mirthy eyes gazing up at you. “She really does belong to you, boss.” 
You hear Jungkook let out a triumphant scoff, hands on his hips as he quirks a brow. 
“You’re all she seems to think about.” Azazel then eyes your figure up and down. “And they mainly seem to be very dirty.” 
That fact makes you physically choke, coughing out the spit that caught in your throat. You rip your hand out of Azazel’s hold, recovering from the hiccup. 
“T-the address, Azazel.” 
Azazel’s annoyed vision flits to the side as he leans back. He rolls his eyes, holding out his pointer and middle finger in the air. He suddenly flicks them to conjure up a piece of paper with a bright spark of flames. Its edges are burnt, though the integrity of the piece still holds up. 
You smile victoriously as you reach out for the paper, only for Azazel to suddenly retract it. 
“You owe me for this, boss.” 
Jungkook laughs dryly, suddenly feeling his presence beside you as he flattens his warm palm against the small of your back. “We’ll see about that in hell—what did you say? Second-rate lackey.” 
The term makes Azazel growl as a counter, finally nabbing the paper from him and nuzzling into Jungkook, proudly presenting it before him. 
“For you, my liege.” You bow as part of your skit, Jungkook clasping the paper. 
“Why thank you, my angel.” Jungkook responds in the same playful tone, bowing as well. 
He graciously snatches the paper from you and tucks it inside the pocket of his leather jacket you wear. He pats the pocket condescendingly before entangling his fingers with yours and tugging you flush against his side, saluting Azazel. 
“So long, Azazel. Hope you grow the balls one day to fight me in hell.” Jungkook snarks, cocking a proud brow. “We’ll see then who's more powerful. If you’re not too busy getting your balls taken care of here, that is.” 
Azazel literally spits at the ground you both walk on, Jungkook immediately clutching you close to him as he merrily laughs at his own remark. 
And honestly speaking, as obnoxious as Jungkook can be, you laugh, too. 
Hugging the paper with the address to your chest, Jungkook side-hugs you to him as the pair of you walk out together into the main area of the strip club. There’s a new stripper on stage now, and Nelly Furtado’s ‘Maneater’ fills the hooting club as you both make your triumphant exit. 
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The soft thrum of rock beats keep your eyes open, shifting in and out of sleep as you slump into your passenger seat. Jungkook sits at the wheel now, and despite only claiming he could drive, you admit he’s a pretty decent driver for someone who’s only learned through observation. 
You’re yet again falling asleep after the day’s tedious activities, cheek resting in your palm while you huddle into Jungkook’s warm leather jacket. It was oddly very comforting. 
“Hey, sleeping beauty.” Jungkook lightly hits your arm and you shoot up, grumbling with sleep-laden eyes. 
“What the fuck, Jungkook?” 
“Feel lucky I even called you beauty, you don’t look so hot right now.” 
You roll your eyes, not caring of your appearance after driving for God knows how long. You still run your fingers through your hair, however. “Fuck you.” 
You see in your peripheral Jungkook silently scoffing, chiding you with an expression of mimicry. You narrow your eyes into slits at him, huffing at how easily you both return to normal. You should’ve known whatever concern and care Jungkook was showing you was only for Azazel, there’s no way the daft idiot could even muster a single cell of decency. 
Asshole.
Jungkook suddenly toes at your shin, nearly kicking you awake once again. You turn around and face him with sheer annoyance. “Jungkook, what the fuck! Can’t you just fucking drive?!” 
“So you have dirty thoughts about me, huh?” Your throat cinches, your brain shuts down and you transform into the epitome of an error 404 not found code. You hold up a finger in protest as you buffer, lips struggling for a sentence. 
“I-” 
“I didn’t know I was always on your mind, angel.” Jungkook bounces his brows as he peers at you, but it seems like his expression completely depicts the opposite of what he says. He eyes as if he knows the inner workings of your brain, knows exactly what you think, what’s on your mind, and knows they’re not innocent like an angel. 
God, he’s so annoying. 
“Would you shut up? That was for Azazel. You wouldn’t have your precious address without me anyway, demon.” 
Jungkook scoffs, laughing at your rather cute act of denial. “Whatever helps you sleep at night, human.” Jungkook's hand once gripping the steering wheel then suddenly settles over your thigh, not squeezing or touching, but merely resting there as he refrains from doing anything compromising. 
His eyes then suddenly flit towards you.
“You seem to be quite the dirty little angel.” 
Your cheeks heat up, growing angry because.. fuck, did he actually have to be right? Why did it feel like he could see right through you? Like he could read you as though you were bearing all the pages of your book? You scrutinize him repulsively as you shove his hand off you, shuffling away from him further. 
“Whatever. You should be letting me sleep, asshole.” You counter in response. “And watch the fucking road.” 
Jungkook stifles a laugh in his throat as he returns his eyes to the road, his hand now resting over the console as he drives with one hand freely. You try not to flit down to his legs manspreading deliciously, or gaze at the veins that sprawl up his arm and his rough hand on the steering wheel. You even ignore the way he tongues his cheek as though he’s too amused. 
“Why did you keep calling me that?” 
Jungkook flickers towards you. “Huh?” 
“With Azazel, you kept calling me angel.” You grumble. “You only use that when you’re being an asshole.” 
Jungkook breathes a laugh through his nose, his vision focusing on the road as he handles the steering wheel. He swipes his lips with his tongue as he looks ahead, flexing his jaw. 
“I didn’t want him knowing your real name.” 
Your brows raise in light surprise, not expecting that concern to come from him even without putting on a show. 
“That’s rich coming from you.” You scoff. 
Jungkook cracks a smoldering smirk, hating that he was so obnoxiously attractive. “It’s rich that for an angel you have a lot of dirty thoughts.” 
You roll your eyes, shutting down the arousal that floods your core as you smack his bicep. Fuck Azazel for saying that aloud, and now fuck Jungkook for snickering about it to himself. You exhale tiredly as you tuck your hand underneath your cheek and force yourself to sleep, completely avoiding him. 
So what if you wanted to fucking jump his bones? It’s his fault for being so sexy. 
With a knowing smile and quirk of his brow, Jungkook leans over and turns the volume of the music down, continuing your journey under the dark sky with spangled stars. 
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Jungkook brings in the last of your luggage from the car into your motel room, setting down the heavy bags and suitcases in one-go. He appeared seriously fucking strong doing so, and suddenly the image of him hauling stuff like that was simply too hot to not watch. 
His shirt clings to his muscular body as he maneuvers your things around the room, filling up space the way it should. You laid on your tummy simply scrolling through your laptop, meant to be looking up the address of the club you’d received from Azazel. 
Instead, you watch Jungkook’s back muscles flex as he zips open his duffle bag, shuffling through his belongings. You genuinely wonder if it’s possible to be attracted to someone’s back. He’s just so incredibly broad and wide, his traps and shoulder blades adding to the breadth of his posterior. He seems strong enough to be able to manhandle you, but kind enough to be gentle about it. 
Suddenly you remember what your friends were all whispering about regarding Jungkook; the type of man that would let you do anything to him to gain your own pleasure. 
Fuck, would he ever let you ride his back? 
Jungkook stifles a laugh in his throat as his eyes shift to you, sexy smile on display with amused eyes. You become aware of your blatant ogling and hide behind the screen of your laptop, clearing your throat. 
“What’re you doing over there, angel?” 
You heat up once you realize he clearly saw you, though act as though absolutely nothing happened. “Nothing, I’m just researching the address we got.” 
You continue clicking through much of Google maps, only to find yourself coming up empty. That was the issue with the address you’d both earned from Azazel, it appeared like a normal address, though it didn’t show up on any maps or across the grand internet. 
“Have you found the exact address?” 
“Honestly, I’m having some trouble with it.” 
Jungkook furrows his eyebrows with a little confused noise, abandoning his things and joining you on the motel bed. He seats himself right next to you, and just as you begin explaining the conundrum, Jungkook leans in close and places a hand over your body. His fingers squish into the sheets next to you as he practically cages you on the bed, feeling a fluttering in your chest at his unusual proximity. The scent of his cologne mixed with the fabric softener he started to like set your nerves ablaze, never having expected Lucifer himself to smell so nice, be so suffocating. 
It was intoxicating, he was intoxicating. He’s simply leaning over you to closely peer at the screen, but you couldn’t help but feel your heart race in your chest, feel his presence permeate your back. 
“What’s troubling you?” 
You struggle with your sentences before you can find feasible words, attempting to not stare at his thick thigh through his ripped jeans right in your face. “I-yeah. Um, did Azazel give us the right address? I can’t seem to find the club.” 
Jungkook hums in understanding, cutely pursing his lips. “I see. Let me take a look.” 
To your surprise, Jungkook leans down directly over your head to type on your laptop, and you attempt to not squeal at how incredibly proximal he is now. He covers all of your upper body so easily, and you suddenly wonder what it would be like if he were on top of you. 
He’d probably completely dominate me. 
You hear Jungkook breathe a scoff above you, tentatively peering up to find that in fact, his chin could’ve been resting atop your head. You watch his gorgeous, thick fingers type over your laptop then, searching diligently as you silently grow warmer underneath him. 
“Hmm, I see what you mean.” Jungkook chimes as he drifts into thought, also coming up dry. “Azazel shouldn’t have lied to me, the princes of hell are incapable of doing so.” 
You tilt your head and peer up at him, chin resting in your hands as you swing your legs back and forth over the mattress. “Why so?” 
Jungkook smirks devilishly, eyes flitting down to you. “They know the hell they’re in for if they do.” 
You roll your eyes, how typical of Lucifer. Jungkook ticks his head, however, as he thinks, trying to piece together what to do now. He brings his pointer finger and thumb to his chin, contemplating. 
“Can I see the paper Azazel gave us?” 
You fish it out of Jungkook’s leather jacket that you were in fact still wearing, presenting it to him. You watch Jungkook stare at the paper in his hand, scrutinizing the living hell out of it. You watch the gears in his head shift until finally, Jungkook has an ah-hah moment. 
He brings the piece close to his pink lips and gently blows over the paper. You watch in surprise as it smolders in accordance with Jungkook’s breath, suddenly small text emerging in a searing heat underneath the original address. 
‘Only those with wings can truly see.’
Jungkook cracks a scoff as he finally understands, laughing to himself. “Azazel, you damn bastard.” 
“What does it mean?” You query curiously. 
“You can’t see it, but I can.” Jungkook explains. He shows you the paper and runs underneath the first part of the text, indicating it to you. “‘Only those with wings’ means celestial beings like angels and demons, they both have wings. Humans can’t see the address or location unless they’re with a celestial being.” 
“Ohh,” you nod your head in acknowledgement. “That makes so much more sense. Google maps just kept showing me this dead-end alleyway.” 
Jungkook clicks his tongue as he ruffles your hair. “Should’ve been using that big brain of yours instead of staring at me, angel.” 
You scoff underneath him, peering up through narrowed slits. “Shut up, I wasn’t staring at you.” 
“You were pretty clearly staring at me, sweetheart. Next time you want a piece of this,” he gestures towards his brawny body. “You can let me know.” 
You pretend-vomit as you shove him away from you, Jungkook chuckling as you prop yourself back up. “Get away from me, your egotistical head is too big.” 
“Nuh-uh” Jungkook tuts with a finger. “I may be egotistical, but I know what I saw. Just tell me you want me and it’ll solve all your problems, angel.” 
“And who said I want you? It’s not like you want me.” 
“Did I ever say I didn’t want you?” 
Your eyes fall open in surprise, Jungkook merely staring at you with his mirthy eyes. He even dares tilt his head as he intensifies his gaze, growing too flustered to consider what he just said. He’s clearly only playing with you. 
“Whatever,” you wave him off. You grab the physical map you’d purchased at a convenience store. “Just fucking circle where we need to go on this.” 
You’re presenting a map to Jungkook for actual work, but he then cunningly swipes it from your grasp. “Wait a minute, what map exactly?” 
You grievously complain as Jungkook holds the map too high for your height, cursing his long arms and how much larger he is in comparison to you. You practically climb his strong body and lap to retrieve the flimsy thing, only for Jungkook to retract it every time you think you’re close. 
“Jungkook!” 
“You have to try harder than that, angel.” You breathe out a fed-up chuckle as you reach with all your might, wildly struggling as he simply giggles at your attempts. You finally snatch the map out of his hand and let out a triumphant ‘ah-hah!’
But just as you celebrate, Jungkook unbalances you with his grasp and the weight of his body sends you toppling over, falling back against the bed. Jungkook falters directly over you, his hands either side of your head as you stare up at him in shock. 
Your hands are sprawled either side of your head, round eyes regarding him with sheer surprise. You notice the way Jungkook’s knee has settled right between your legs, causing you to fidget. You swallow watching the smirk on his face grow, all too amused by the compromising position. 
“Mmm,” Jungkook suddenly hums. “For an ‘innocent’ angel you seem very comfortable as a bottom, huh?” 
You suck in an immediate breath, hating how much this position lights your nerves on fire. An arousal shoots through your core as you attempt to appear normal, countering his comment with your own. 
“Funny, you don’t seem much like a top.” You were lying straight through your teeth, and you goddamn knew it. But nothing else really mattered as you flit between Jungkook’s lips and his eyes that gleam with mischief, another typical characteristic of Lucifer, you thought. 
“Ouu,” Jungkook hisses. “You really are a liar, aren’t you?” 
You stare him down in challenge as he slowly leans down towards you, examining your every feature. “Wonder who taught such a pure angel like you to sin so much.” His voice is so condescendingly low, you couldn’t help but squish your thighs together. 
“And I wonder who taught such an arrogant asshole like you manners. They seemed to have left out personal space.” 
Jungkook hisses yet again, head dipping for a dry laugh before refocusing his almost lust-ridden, fiery eyes back on you. “We need to do something about that attitude. Angels don't talk back.” 
“One, I’m a human, not an angel.” You snark wittily. “And two, what exactly will you do about my attitude, King of hell?” 
Jungkook wets his lip slowly, taking his time with it. He very obviously flits down over your body before he arrives at your face, lowering himself even more as his fingers slide into yours against the mattress. His proximity shoots waves of arousal through you, your once dry core now fluttering with anticipation. 
Goosebumps blossom over your skin as Jungkook comes exactly face to face with you, lips mere inches from yours as your body loses control. 
“You have no clue what I’ve got in mind,” he whispers, his deep voice travelling through you and right to your dampening pussy. “But once I’m done with you, you won’t be so pure anymore, angel.” 
Your breath hitches as Jungkook maintains his heated closeness, eyes flickering down to your lips as he seems seconds from connecting them, petals brushing yours as you taste his breath… only to finally collect yourself. Registering this as Jungkook’s crazy Lucifer attraction, you quickly shove him off you with a loud huff as you sit up on the sheets, muttering almost incoherently. 
“I’m going to take a shower.” You attempt to shake all the dirty thoughts about him out of your system, slipping into your slippers and making towards your luggage. 
Jungkook chuckles before tonguing his cheek while you search through your things, his thumb swiping across his bottom lip. He props a leg up on the bed, leaning his elbow over his knee as he regards you. 
“We should eat dinner after your shower, human.” He nonchalantly says, as though absolutely nothing happened between you just now. Funny, you should’ve known Jungkook was playing, it’s practically the only trait Lucifer has. “You get to choose, remember.” 
“I do. You’ll have to eat whatever I want, though. No complaints.” You gain the courage to look him in the eye, and honestly laugh shyly when you find him very obviously checking you out. Or just looking? You didn’t know, but sitting like that while purposefully peering at you seemed evident enough. 
“No complaints here.” He held up his hands in mock surrender, ticking his head towards the shower. “Go, I’ll be here if you need anything.” 
You nod in response, and try to divert yourself from considering the fact that you’ll be in a room over from Jungkook, showering and naked. 
You wonder what he looks like naked. 
Jitters crawl all over your body and you snap yourself out of it, rapidly nabbing your clothes and rushing towards the bathroom without a single thought. You stand in the doorframe and peek back into the room, only to see Jungkook bouncing his brows just to tease you with a little wave, and you roll your eyes as you slam the door shut. 
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Shutting the shower nozzle close, you let out a sigh as you finish. You wanted to smack your head against the shower wall repeatedly, horrendously until it produced an answer for why in God’s name Jungkook made you feel like this. 
Why did you like him on top of you like that? Why were his lips so goddamn tempting? Maybe it really was the Lucifer effect he has on you and practically anyone he comes into contact with, but you groan once you realize this feels stronger. 
If it were merely the effect of Jungkook, then you shouldn’t like it so much, should you? It feels as though it isn’t an arbitrary attraction anymore, but rather a voluntary desire that keeps manifesting itself everytime you’re near him. Maybe the effect is just stronger on humans, you didn’t know. But what you did know is that you wanted him, and it did not originate from whatever spell Jungkook always manages to cast upon you. 
You smack your forehead as you emerge from the shower, spotting your clothes for tonight’s outing and drying yourself with a towel nearby. You wrap it around your chest as you proceed to apply moisturiser and your usual skin care routine, plugging in a blow dryer for your hair before sorting through your clothes for your undergarments. 
Only to realize, they weren’t here. 
You immediately gasp as a hand covers your agape mouth. Your dumbass really didn’t think to bring your bra and panties when you were angrily snatching your clothes in front of Jungkook. You feel dread overcome you as you contemplate needing to venture out into the motel room for your clothes, stepping anxiously in your spot as nerves flood your system. 
You take a deep breath once you realize that they’re merely your clothes, and whether or not Jungkook lets you live this down, at least you didn’t go completely commando out to dinner with him. 
Mustering every speck of courage in the world, you crack the bathroom door open to take a small glimpse, expecting to see Jungkook maybe sprawled on his bed and watching TV, but only finding an empty mattress. 
“Jungkook?” You call quietly, hoping for a response. You don’t hear anything though, sparking your light concern. You meander out a little further and call his name again, but gain no answer. You presume he could be out of your room right now, using this as your golden opportunity. You scamper towards your bag with all your delicates in only a measly towel, clutching it loosely from falling out of place as you scrounge through your bag. 
You rapidly put together a matching set and instantly zip your bag shut, barging it back into your suitcase. You swivel around to make a risky break for it, only to run smack dab into someone’s rock hard chest. Suppressing the desire to cry, you recognize it anywhere, complaining as you rub your forehead from the contact. 
“Ouch.” 
“What are you doing?” 
Your face heats up, carefully meeting Jungkook’s gaze as you see him fully clothed, while you’re naked and wet underneath a towel. The thought pries your embarrassed eyes away from him, clutching your garments to your chest in order to conceal them, but his sharp eyes can clearly discern what they are.
Damn his Lucifer abilities.
“I-I’m sorry. I just forgot something..” Your eyes flit everywhere but at Jungkook, who stands firmly in place without even the slightest bit of shame, towering over you. 
“You could’ve asked me to grab them for you.” Jungkook proclaims, his voice velvet-like and practically serenading you. 
“This isn’t something you can exactly grab.” You state. “It’s embarrassing.” 
“What’s so embarrassing about you being a woman?” Jungkook suddenly asks, still unable to meet his gaze, and you’re honestly glad Jungkook doesn’t demand it out of you either. His voice seems softer now however, almost understanding you. 
“Nothing, but it’s just…” You trail, not feeling exactly uncomfortable about him here, but feeling quite bare and open. All your intimate parts are covered, yes, but the mere idea that only a layer separating him from witnessing what lies underneath leaves you almost mortified. What if you’re not desirable at all to him? What would he think about your stretch marks? Your scars? All the flaws that you adorn? 
It leaves you clutching the towel even tighter, the very thought making you swallow a wad down your throat. Jungkook seems to notice your unease, and his expression falls from one of his usual amusement to seriousness. 
He very carefully, and hesitantly juts out his hand towards your hair. He considerately watches your reaction as his fingers meet a certain strand dangling in your eyesight, and he gently casts it behind your ear. His fingertips naturally fall to your chin, and you instinctively peer at him as he holds you ever so delicately. 
“You don’t have to be embarrassed with me, Y/N. I’m not expecting anything from you.” Jungkook clarifies, his tone uber soft. “Is that what you think of me?” 
“No.. I just,” you pause, searching for better wording. “Don’t know what you’ll think of me.” 
Jungkook furrows his brows, as though contemplating how that’s even something you could say.  He light-heartedly laughs as he looks to the ground, then peers back up at you. His eyes have softened into those round orbs of coffee, noticing that his eyes actually had a tendency to emit this natural glow, almost like a shimmer of stars. 
“You really think I’d be the type of guy that judges a woman’s body? Or her bra and panties?” 
You suck in a breath listening to his pretty lips say those words, gently nibbling on your lip as your tentative sight meets his. 
“If there’s one thing you should know about me, angel.” Jungkook begins, still cradling your chin. “You never have to be ashamed of yourself around me. I’m Lucifer, baby. All your sins, your secrets, your darkest thoughts.. I got you.” 
Jungkook steps closer to you, closing the space between your bodies as he releases heat that only warms you up, both inside and on the outside. He then closes the space between you two ever so slowly, lip brushing your ear as he whispers. 
“Even the dirty ones.” 
 His words ignite a lustful fire inside you, wondering a million heart-pumping possibilities with him so close to you, but choosing your gratitude over your horniness. You and Jungkook are merely a team, not a relationship waiting to happen. And so you crack a smile as you find yourself gazing into his eyes, wondering where this was coming from, and contemplating that maybe Jungkook... really isn’t half bad. 
That was, until he opened his mouth. 
“But if you’re like a furry or something, I’m gonna have to pass.” 
You scoff as you propel his chest away from you, shooting a repulsed expression his way. “Let’s just go to dinner, jackass.” 
Jungkook laughs as he watches you march away, flickering back to scold him, but only seeing his lips curving into this rather attractive bunny-like smile, wondering why the fuck Lucifer had to be blessed with such cute lips. 
And also wondering what it would feel like to kiss them. You didn’t know you’d find out later that night, or that Jungkook is in fact hotter than hell. 
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opaljm · 4 months ago
Text
nip it in the bud (m) – kth
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➻ female reader x taehyung
➻ going to get a piercing au/completing bucket list au + my brother’s best friend au + tattoo artist!taehyung
➻ genres: smut, romance
➻ length & status: 10k words; complete
➻ rating & warnings: 18+; taehyung has tattoos and piercings, he and his big hands are illegal, tae's oral fixation is entirely out of control, nipple sucking/breast play, semi-public sex (? idk tbh), the pussy eating he does is sloppy and gross, squirting, nasty/messy sex, unprotected sex (wear a condom and be safe kids OR ELSE), riding, creampie, pussy stuffing cuz tae has a big dick (I don’t think you understand it’s GIGANTIC), multiple orgasms
➻ summary: You're not sure how you ended up here, but maybe a shitty ex and a horrible breakup had a hand in what placed you in front of the tattoo parlor. It was already a nerve-wracking experience, but what you never expected was seeing that the owner and artist giving you nipple piercings was your older brother's best friend you hadn't seen in ages. to make things even worse, he got fucking hotter.
➻ a/n: this was born out of a TikTok where I learned that tattoo artists have to make sure your nipples are hard before piercing them and then I yelled at @jamaisjoons, having an existential crisis about how hot that was. She is the one who told me to write about it 😌 and the reason the fic exists. The last time I got piercings was idk 16 years ago (yes I was 7 🥴). I also have zero tattoos so my knowledge of this is minimal I just wanted to write hot Taehyung sex. Hope y’all enjoy this mess regardless. beta-read by @taegularities @hantaev & @chateautae​ (she helped with the summary too🤩) my favorite tae accounts who have encouraged me so much during this arduous writing process! beta-read and banner made by @softestmuse! You all were there for me for so much during this whole thing and helped so much 🥺
⋆ my masterlist ⋆
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Were you actually going to do this? Was this really happening?
As you stood in front of the tattoo parlor christened “Inked in Blue & Grey,” by the messily arranged jagged font that laid out the cobalt blue neon letters decorating the shopfront, you almost chickened out. 
When you had been scrolling through Yelp late at night two weeks ago, flitting between the stages of depression and bargaining as you made your way through the grief from the breakup between you and your ex, Donghyuk, your eyes had stopped on the highly rated tattoo parlor – 4.9 stars? That was practically unheard of, especially when they had reviews and ratings in the tens of thousands. It hadn’t taken much for you, with eyes hurting from the blue light of your cellphone in the late hours and a head aching from how wine drunk you were, to quickly find the link to their website and sign up for an appointment to get twin nipple piercings. Well, no one ever wanted a singular nipple piercing to your knowledge. But you had no doubt that there were countless people out there who had chickened out from the pain of the first to not follow through with the second one.
You slowly pulled your lower lip with your teeth, softly biting down on the plump flesh as you had your head tilted up towards the intimidatingly bright letters of the parlor’s sign. The last time you had gotten any piercings was in summer camp ten years ago when Yuju had stabbed your ears through with a sewing needle. The needle had been unbearably hot from having been heated by the flame of the fluid lighter she had snuck into camp by tucking it in the black Nike crew socks she had been wearing on drop off day. It had stung you with the quick flashing pain of a burning stab wound. 
Yuju had been your last resort to get additional ear piercings which you had thought were so cool after you saw your brother walk into the house one day with several new helix piercings to go along with his lobe ones. You had begged your mother for another set of piercings, tired of having the boring set of two you had. You wouldn’t get them in the cartilage like Jimin had but wanted to add to your lobe. Your mother had vehemently denied your protests and grounded Jimin for sneaking out and getting piercings with his best friend Taehyung. 
You had complained about it to your cabin mates, who had seen the scores of tween and teen campers swoon over your brother and his friends who seemed edgy and dangerous. Your friends however were immune to their appeal and knew that they weren’t much more than geeky nerds who carefully hid their embarrassing tastes in both anime and porn. Hearing thirteen-year-old Y/N complain about her plight in the late-night whispers covered by the chirping of crickets that kept the night camp counselors from checking in on your cabin, Yuju had jumped down from her bunk into yours and eagerly offered to help you increase your total number of piercings up to four.
Looking back, you had no idea why you had trusted Yuju’s dubious claims of working at the Claire’s in the mall close to her house for three months. Later on, you found out that it had actually been Yuju’s older sister who had had the nice mall gig. The incident had left you with piercings that kept getting infected until one of them finally closed up, and you were still rocking the asymmetrical ear-piercing look, almost a decade later with one dangly earring threaded with stars on your right ear while a cubic zirconium stud and gold bedazzled moon clipped your left ear. You never saw the point of getting them fixed and had avoided piercings and needles to the best of your abilities until now.
You thought you pulled off the mixed jewelry look pretty well, but your face instantly scrunched up with an unhappy frown when you remembered Donghyuk telling you to wear matching earrings when you went out on dates with him. You bit down on the flesh of your bottom lip harder as you recalled how Donghyuk had constantly berated you and put you down for the entire duration of your three-year long relationship. Your face twisted as though a bitter taste had flooded your mouth when you remembered that your mother had been expecting him to propose to you this year. Why had you begged him for another chance when he callously threw your arms off him as he stomped around the apartment gathering up his things, ignoring your pleas and requests for an explanation until he couldn’t take it anymore? Then Donghyuk had turned around to you, glaring at you with the heat of his hard black-brown eyes, staring you down resentfully from his towering height of 6’2.
“I broke up with you because I’m tired of having such mind-numbingly vanilla sex with a woman who never comes. You’re so boring and honestly, I’m just not attracted to you anymore, Y/N. I thought I could change the meek mousy weirdo. But after three years, it looks like I was wrong,” he had said with a caustic bite to the venomous hate he spewed from his mouth.
Yes. You remembered exactly why you had booked that appointment in the fuzzy high you had gotten from too much wine and “Emily in Paris.” You had been so livid. Of all people, Donghyuk thought you were boring? Unadventurous, and vanilla? You were the one who was always holding yourself back from being too enthusiastic during sex because he could only get off when he was doing you doggy style with his hand covering your mouth in what he thought was his attempt at BDSM in the bedroom.
Your eyes lit up with renewed heat and you found yourself marching forward to the door and swinging it towards you with a powerful pull as you made your way in. Your newfound confidence only lasted until you made your way to the receptionist. There, you found yourself fumbling once more.
“Hi, I’m Park Y/N,” you stammered nervously, “I – uh, I made an appointment for… um nipple piercings,” you whispered the last bit, embarrassedly as your neck straightened and you twisted your head around to make sure no one else had overheard you. “Two weeks ago? I made my piercing appointment a while back,” you finished more confidently.
The receptionist stared at you expressionlessly. “What time is your appointment?” she asked, tucking back a vibrant purple lock of hair behind her ear.
“It’s – it’s the one o’ clock,” you mumbled, clearing your throat uneasily. You had never been in an establishment like this before and dressed in your oversized sage colored waffle knit sweater and a pair of charcoal gray Lululemon leggings you felt wildly out of place.
“Alright Y/N, here are the forms you need to fill out before you do this,” she said easily, plucking out the thick stapled document out of a manila folder. “Just a reminder, this is a semi-permanent body modification and this will close up rather quickly if you go without wearing jewelry for too long. There are pages on your medical history and if you have any allergies on the front. Prices and payment information are on the pages following that. The documents explaining the procedure and aftercare are at the end. We’ll send you home with a list of instructions on how to care for your new piercings after your appointment ends as well.”
You blinked, overwhelmed by the staggering amount of information she had just thrown your way. As you sat down at the oatmeal colored sherpa sofa at the reception and read through all the health risks and warnings, making sure you were taking in all of the information, carefully signing all the lines and checking off all the boxes, you wondered if you were in over your head.
Technically, it wasn’t too late for you to turn your back on this. You would lose your deposit, but you could still walk away – pain free. What would Jimin do if he found out that you had gotten your nipples pierced? Probably murder you, based on how he had reamed you and Yuju out after your ears had gotten infected from swimming in the lake the camp had been located next to. But would you really let your overbearing annoying older brother control you even now when you were 23? And how would Jimin even know about you getting these very intimate piercings? 
You only saw him a few times a year. There was no way Jimin would be finding out about this, nipples were more discreet than ears and you couldn’t even remember the last time you had been around your brother in clothing that would even hint that you had boobs, much less nipples. Jimin had only ever seen you in oversized T-shirts, flannel pajama bottoms or baggy sweats, and giant zip-up hoodies when he had the fortune of being in your company. No wonder he sometimes forgot you were a girl. 
Once you finished up the paperwork, you made your way back to the girl at the front desk with the clipboard. Placing it down on the counter, you took out your credit card to pay up front, with your id card beside it as verification on top of the terrazzo surface, but she shook her head, “You pay at the end for the piercings and the jewelry you pick. Personally, I prefer nipple clickers,” she said wryly, twisting her lips into a smirk.
“I’ll keep that in mind,” you mumbled as you watched her stand up and come around to you.
“Follow me, I’ll take you to the private room we have for the more intimate tattoos and piercings. There’s only one artist in today but he should be finishing up with his other client soon. You’ll probably only have to wait 5 to 10 minutes for V,” she threw her words over her shoulder carelessly as she guided you through the narrow hallway.
When she closed the door behind you and left you alone in the room, you felt rather like you were at the doctor’s waiting for your gynecologist to come in and the panic quickly set in once again. Should you have your shirt off and be ready for the piercing? Or would the tattoo artist be freaked out if he was instantly assaulted with the image of your breasts the second he opened the door? Should you sit up on the wide leather covered table or continue to stand while staring awkwardly at the door waiting for the artist to walk in?
As you looked around the small room, your eyes caught on the artwork decorating the walls. They were on white backgrounds that were framed and looked like post-impressionist portraits. The color scheme stuck to black and the primary colors, while the faces had the boldest of expressions painted over them. Extraordinary, you thought, as the door opened behind you.
“Hi, I’m V. I'll be the artist who is piercing you today. I see you’ve signed up for two nipple piercings?” A deep sensual voice flooded into the room, making you shudder involuntarily. 
You turned back and saw a male looking down at the clipboard with the forms you had filled out, his face was half covered by an indigo face mask dotted with silver embroidered stars while the other half was concealed by the soft looking black waves that were flowing forward as his bangs swept over his forehead and obscured his eyes.
“Yes, that’s right,” you nervously tittered, “Should I– should I take off my top?”
“Mmhmm,” he murmured, his eyes quickly sweeping over you, barely looking at you, as he continued on professionally, “Could you also take off your bra and tie back your hair before sitting up on the table?”
V turned around to the cabinets to get out the clamps and needles he would need to pierce you. As he bustled around gathering purple latex gloves and alcohol wipes, he asked in his soothing husky voice, “So what type of jewelry are we thinking? Titanium straight barbells? White gold hoops?”
“Which one is better?” you asked, shuddering in the air-conditioned room as your arms prickled up with goosebumps and you wrapped your arms around your naked upper half.
“Most people get the straight barbells; they find them to be the most comfortable,” V said as he tinkered around with the selection of nipple rings, “Titanium is hypoallergenic so it’s a really good metal choice. If you’re more sensitive to metals I would probably recommend gold but that’s a little more expensive. Any special closures you’re looking for? Star attachments at the end? Moons?”
“Just the basic white gold straight barbells with the star ends,” you muttered quietly. You’d worry about getting more decorative adornments for your nipples when they fully healed from the piercings and you were more accustomed to them. For now, the cute stars at the ends, instead of spherical stoppers, would be enough.
V readied everything on a small table with wheels that he pushed to one side of where you were sitting. As he pulled his gloves on, he said, “I’m going to clean your nipples and then I'll flick them to make sure they are erect enough that I can comfortably clamp them and pierce the needle through them, okay? Let me know if at any moment I am making you feel uncomfortable, sound good?”
You hummed your assent and V finally looked up from his equipment, an alcohol wipe in his hand as he reached forward for your left breast. Before he made contact however, his eyes met yours.
“Y/N?” he yelped in shock, his large gloved fingers brushing against your nipple for the briefest of moments in his shock before he recovered and recoiled from you as though he had been struck.
Your brows furrowed as you confusedly inquired, “Taehyung?”
The two of you stared at each other in shock. The male who was standing in front of you with the Van Gogh-esque vines and branches wrapping their way up his right arm  and covering his throat surely could not be the Kim Taehyung you had grown up with. This could not be your brother Jimin’s childhood best friend. This could not be the former bane of your existence.
“Yes,” breathed Taehyung, still gaping at you with his mouth wide open from behind his mask, not that you could see. You noted that he respectively maintained eye contact with you the entire time, not letting his eyes dip below your gaze. Shrugging on your muted green sweater you glared at him. The second you were covered, Taehyung gazed upwards to the rafters and murmured a not so silent prayer much to your displeasure.
“Y/N why are you getting your– ” Taehyung stopped, obviously struggling with how to word his question while not wanting to talk about his best friend’s younger sister’s nipples. “Why are you getting more piercings?” he said instead with what you thought was highly misplaced affront. “Remember when you almost died because of Yuju in eighth grade?”
Taehyung was so dramatic. You glared at him, crossing your arms over your chest, noting with satisfaction that a red flush was spreading across his golden skin as you held your gaze.
Taehyung had been a junior in high school and the camp counselor assigned to all the cabins in the row yours had been in the same summer Yuju had gone ham with your ears. He had also gotten his ass handed to him when Jimin had found out that instead of making sure the campers were asleep he had been sucking face with Jennie Kim every night.
You scowled, annoyed by how the Taehyung in front of you was a long way away from the gangly nerd with unattractive rectangle framed dad glasses and straight brown hair cut into an unflattering bowl cut that you remembered. Sure, everyone had always talked about how attractive Taehyung had been growing up, but you had never seen it. Taehyung had been a geek who had a penchant for weird outfits with his loose fit/too short culottes, brightly colored oversized crewnecks that were more hole than sweater thanks to his overeager hands when it came to snipping with scissors, and black beat-up converse lows. He had been the furthest thing from what you were into back in the day. However, the man standing in front of you right now? He was almost intimidatingly beautiful. A stunning Adonis, so gorgeous that even Aphrodite had fallen in love.
Taehyung had pulled off his mask and was frowning at you, his petal pink lips pressed thinly together. Your eyes widened when you noticed the glint of silver peeking out between his lips. Taehyung had a piercing on his tongue.
“Are you trying to police my right to have piercings?” you angrily demanded, “You work at a tattoo parlor! You have seven piercings.”
His beautiful dark brows pulled down as his wavy hair swept forward covering one of his eyes again, but he hectically moved his hair away from his face as he looked at you in abrupt alarm, “How could you possibly know that?!”
You froze in confusion, halting your impassioned tirade. Taehyung had seven piercings? You looked at him straight on again, your eyes flitting across his body, scanning him from head to toe. You had known about his five ear piercings. He had gotten them with Jimin when the two of them had still been in high school and you would see Taehyung everyday either at school or your house because of how often he would be over. The only facial piercing he had was his tongue. Where was the seventh? As your gaze drifted down his front, it stopped at his chest. Though you had been thinking about people with only one nipple piercing earlier, you somehow didn’t think Taehyung would be in that crowd. 
Your gaze finally stopped awkwardly at his crotch which was concealed by his black jeans. You stilled at the thought of Taehyung having a piercing on his cock and tried to look away quickly after you came to the realization. 
Unfortunately for you, Taehyung hadn’t planned on making it easy for you. A large veiny hand palmed at his denim covered crotch. “Are you having dirty thoughts about my dick, Y/N?” murmured Taehyung.
“I’m not!” you protested. “I’m just here for my piercing appointment so get on with it, Taehyung! Treat me like one of your usual customers!” 
You grabbed at the bottom of your sweater again and this time, instead of just holding it up above your breasts for Taehyung, you pulled the entire thing off. With your bare chest still heaving, you attempted to straighten your back, meeting Taehyung’s eyes confidently. 
Taehyung held your gaze with heat behind his chocolaty brown eyes for long interminable minutes. A sense of understanding seemed to pass between the two of you before he bit his lips and grated, “Fine, Y/N.”
Taehyung went back to the table where he had been preparing his equipment, making sure that he had gathered everything before pushing it along to stand right next to where you were seated. He sat down on a circular stool with wheels and slid towards you, using his feet to propel him forward.
Sighing once he was in front of you, he squirted hand sanitizer on his purple encased hands to make sure they were still clean, though he hadn’t touched anything other than your jewelry to resterilize them after his panicked realization that you were his client. He slowly and thoroughly rubbed his palms together, working the sanitizer in between his fingers, taking as much time as he could to delay the inevitable and then fanned them to dry. You were mesmerized by the size of his hands. They were so big they could probably cover your boobs with room to spare even though you were a rather busty girl yourself. You whimpered a little as you watched him at work.
Taehyung had heard you making that sound but he tried to ignore it. You were making it hard for him to think straight. He had never once thought that one day his dick would fall for Jimin’s crybaby little sister that he had annoyed at every opportunity he had gotten when he was younger. He had been trying to avoid direct eye contact with your uncovered upper half without much success. Your two voluptuous teardrop breasts seemed to be begging for his attention with their perky upturned nipples, hard due to the cold air drafting into the room. And below your breasts was your tiny waist and heavenly hips. You were shaped like the hourglass filled with black sand that he had for decoration in this room. 
He had already sterilized the white gold bars that you had wanted, and cleaning them a third time would only make you have an angry outburst again he was sure, but now it was time for him to get your nipples ready. He matter-of-factly ripped open an alcohol wipe, unfolding the drenched white sheet within the packet. It was finally time for him to touch you. He didn’t think he had ever been so unnerved in his life. 
Pulling the seat as close to the table that you were on as he comfortably could, he reached out for you. One of his large hands clutched your side, long fingers splayed over your ribs to hold you in place, as his other hand delicately swiped at your nipples with the alcohol wipe. You were frozen like a statue, not even daring to breathe as Taehyung was at work, his face only inches away from your breasts. Too soon, or so you had thought, his hands went away to grab the surgical scrub to further ensure that your nipples were as clean and disinfected as possible before he went to work and actually stabbed your chest to create the piercings. 
You sighed as his hands returned to your chest again. Taehyung had moved on from cleaning your skin to etching them with a marker to indicate where your piercings would be. He cupped the underside of one of your breasts with his left hand while his right hand carefully drew blue dots on either side of your nipples that were parallel to each other. He then switched over to your other breast and drew on the dots to replicate what he had marked before as symmetrically as possible. 
The scratchiness of the pen tip hardened your nipples even more than they had been and wetness pooled in between your pressed thighs. When he was done his palm was flat against your abdomen, pushing you back, “You’ll want to lie down Y/N just to be cautious. Some people get their piercings done sitting but there is the possibility that you’ll faint so I just want everything to be safe for you.”
As you laid back to rest on top of the butcher paper covering the cool leather of the table, you panicked. Taehyung was really going to do this. He was treating you like a paying customer, which you were, but you found yourself wishing that he wasn’t acting so professionally and had tried harder to dissuade you from getting these piercings, especially since you were having second thoughts about this. 
He finally returned to face you again, holding a steel contraption that looked like scissors but the ends were flat with little holes. He had his fingers threaded through the clamps he was going to use to hold your nipple as he pricked through it with a long sterilized needle. 
Taehyung sighed, “I’m going to have to flick and touch your nipples a lot. I’m sure you’re aware of that already but it might take a little more finagling than you thought. It might not be a one and done process where the clamps are perfectly on on the first try. Just, tell me if it’s too much or I’m making you uncomfortable and I’ll immediately back off. Okay, Y/N?”
You nodded mutely. You didn’t trust yourself to speak. What if you threw up all over Taehyung the second you opened your mouth?
Taehyung held your right nipple in between his forefinger and thumb, gauging its firmness before determining that it wasn’t erect enough. He flicked it with his finger, and you had to stifle your reaction, the hardness of his nail bed, even through the latex glove, catching you by surprise. Finally, he was ready to use the clamps.
You breathed through your mouth as the metal clamps pinched your delicate mauve areola to hold the bud of your nipple in place. Leaving the equipment dangling from the edge of your breast, Taehyung turned back around to grab the needle he had prepared. 
While Taehyung had been focused on the next step, you had managed to further your panicked state and were almost hyperventilating. Your lips were pressed tightly together and your hands had furled themselves into clenched fists that had your fingers digging into the thin white butcher paper beneath you, ripping it as your nails dug tiny indentations into the smooth leather underneath. 
Before Taehyung went ahead with the first of your piercings, he glanced at your face, like he did with all his clients to make sure that everything was still going smoothly. What he found had him putting the needle down again. Your face was white with fear and your eyes were filled with liquid. 
“Hey,” murmured Taehyung softly, his gloved hand cupping your cheek. “What’s up Y/N? You wanna tell me what’s going on?”
“No!” you protested fiercely.
“Miss Park Y/N,” teased Taehyung, striving to adopt a lighthearted tone, “Come on, is it just nerves? You can tell me. If I know what’s wrong then I can help you fix it. Do you not wanna get these done today?”
You sighed, “Taehyung, it’s just. I don’t know. Why am I even doing this?”
“Hmm,” hummed Taehyung, steepling his fingers, his warm brown eyes glancing at you comfortingly, “A very good question. Why are you doing this? We don’t want you getting a piercing for the wrong reasons. What is it? Have you been down in the dumps and need some change? Well maybe it’ll help you but maybe it won’t and then you’ll end up with far more piercings than you ever thought you would.”
“Is that what happened with you?” you whispered. Now that Taehyung wasn’t actively working on getting your piercings done, you had covered your chest again with your hands cupping your breasts.
“Not exactly,” admitted Taehyung, “Maybe at first when I was getting the piercings with Jimin, but later on as I got more serious about art and creating, it became a way for me to express myself to the world. A way to solidify my character and what I wanted to be known for and associated with. I really had fun once I started adding the tattoos in,” he laughed huskily. His cheeks came with his boxy wide spread grin. You had missed Taehyung. Though granted, he had been annoying for much of your childhood, you’d had a lot of fun with him. You adored Taehyung, you realized belatedly. Though perhaps realizing it while you were topless was not the best time for your epiphany, you thought as blush took over you, blood rushing to the surface of your skin, painting your cheeks, ears, and chest a muted red.
“Will you tell me where the seventh piercing is?” you asked softly, pushing yourself up. 
Taehyung stared at you, his gaze going in between your face and your uncovered form, its heat was infectious and made your own skin flush even further in its wake.
“Perhaps,” he agreed, “Although, you’ll have to tell me what pulled you into this studio today, first.”
You pouted, “It’s really dumb.”
“This is a safe place,” Taehyung smirked winningly. He repeatedly raised and lowered his thick, impeccably groomed eyebrows mischievously, “I won’t judge you, Y/N.”
“Yes, you will,” you groaned.
“Yes, I will,” admitted Taehyung easily, the ghost of a smile still painting his lips. “But you’ll tell me anyway, won’t you?”
“Donghyuk broke up with me,” you grumbled, “We were supposed to get married.”
Taehyung blinked, he vaguely remembered a baby faced male that was slightly taller than him with a mushroom cap haircut. He scoffed, “The audacity of some people. You were so far out of his league, it’s insulting that you weren’t the one to end things.”
You smiled weakly at Taehyung’s attempt to cheer you up. “It made my mind go all over the place. I don’t know. Maybe he wasn’t wrong. Maybe I am unadventurous and boring. Maybe I am vanilla.”
“What’s wrong with vanilla?” complained Taehyung, throwing his hands up. His outcry of displeasure loud and clear.
You snorted, your gaze focusing on the length of his fluttering fingers for far too long, “Let’s not pretend you’re not one freaky mofo, Taehyung. But I don’t know, I just wanted to live a little.”
“So?” retorted Taehyung mulishly, “I am a man of diverse tastes. I can appreciate both vanilla and some of the more– experimental stuff.”
“Hmm,” you hummed, “I wanted to get nipple piercings, they're adventurous right? And it’s not because I think that if I do this he’ll get back together with me. But maybe he’s the one who kept me trapped and complacent. Maybe he’s the reason I’m not bold. I just wanted to try something new.”
Taehyung scoffed, “You didn’t have to go to such drastic and permanent measures. You can barely handle the nipple clamp. You would’ve cried and complained the entire month that you had to wait for your nipples to heal. You forget that, I know you. Oh Y/N,” Taehyung suddenly recalled, “You can’t do sexy stuff with your nipples while they heal so how exactly would that have helped you during your kinky adventures?”
You narrowed your eyes at him, “You don’t know me that well!”
“No?”
“I’m gonna lose my deposit,” you griped. “This is the worst day of my life.”
“You are so dramatic Y/N,” Taehyung replied, “How can this be the worst day of your life?!” he demanded, “What about the day Donghyun broke up with you and pushed you head first through the five stages of grief?”
“Donghyuk,” you corrected. Taehyung made a face at you, contorting his handsome visage into something that made you let out a loud laugh, visibly showing he did not give one fuck about what your former boyfriend’s name was.
“It’s not a complete loss, Y/N,” Taehyung murmured. 
“Why do you say that?” you asked. 
Taehyung placed those devilishly sexy and large hands on your waist pulling you closer to the edge of the table to where he was seated besides you. You gasped at how his grasp almost entirely circled your waist until his widespread fingers were millimeters away from meeting each other. “Ever had sex with the owner of a tattoo parlor?” he breathed, his deep voice purposefully gravelly and husky. 
“No,” you murmured, hardly daring to believe that Taehyung returned your affections. The long buried feelings from your secret crush on Taehyung all those years ago, erupting once again in your heart.
“You don’t need to get piercings to make it fun, Y/N,” Taehyung tantalized.
“You’ll tell me about the seventh piercing?” you confirmed.
Taehyung barked out a laugh. “I’ll do you one better,” he murmured, “I’ll show you where it is.” He finished off with a rakish wink.
“Can I kiss you?” you asked, hands already moving forward to cup his chiseled cheeks and jaw within their grasp.
“Hold on one second,” Taehyung chuckled, peering at you playfully as he looked up at you from where his face was in between your palms. “I gotta do one thing first.”
Taehyung went to remove the metal clamps from your poor neglected nipple that had gone slightly numb from being within its confines this entire time. “My poor Y/N,” Taehyung softened his tone as he rubbed your breast to bring back the feeling. “I’m sorry for not doing this earlier.”
He ducked his head, his plush lips wrapping around the abused peak as he soothed it with warm wet licks and light suction. You let out a high pitched sound and then choked when the cool metal ball on his tongue slinked against your sore nipple as he twirled his tongue around the flesh. He was uncharacteristically gentle though he was spitting against your breast and spreading the welcome coolness around the hard peak.
You let your hands go up to his head, fingers raking themselves into silky soft black waves, holding him into place while he worshiped your chest. Soon, Taehyung switched over to the other breast, enveloping it in the warm wet heat of his mouth, as well. He was much rougher this time as he didn’t have to be careful. His teeth grazed the hard bud, nipping the nipple lightly as you found yourself letting out endless keens.
“Fuck,” muttered Taehyung finally pulling himself away, “How are you this sensitive and responsive? You would’ve had such a rough time with the aftercare if you had gone through with this.”
You shook your head, ignoring his question. “Taehyung!” you whined instead, “I need you.”
Taehyung scoffed lightly as a pleased smirk marked his lips. He ripped the purple gloves off, flinging them onto the side table. 
“Will you let me eat you out, Y/N?” he asked. “I’ve been dreaming of it ever since I saw those snaps on your private story for your 21st birthday.”
Your brows furrowed. For your birthday your friends and you had gone down to Cabo since it was close to spring break. You hadn’t even realized Taehyung was on your private story. Your brother Jimin certainly wasn’t. You had posted everything from videos of you skinny dipping with your friends in the hot tub, to full length mirror selfies of every itty bitty neon colored bikini you had worn on the trip. 
“I’ve had fantasies about you too,” you admitted as Taehyung’s hands slid down your waist to hug your hips, fingers digging into your charcoal gray leggings, ready to pull them off. 
He looked at you curiously, “Since when? Was I your sexual awakening?” he teased, his cheeks full in his joy. You wanted to bite those bread cheeks but you controlled the impulse.
“Hardly,” you retorted, “I was dreaming about Min Yoongi before I ever thought of you. But he graduated and went away for university. And you had that wavy silver brown hair. You looked so hot in your old school hiphop outfit you’d worn for Halloween senior year.”
Taehyung narrowed his eyes, “I was always hot, Y/N. It’s cute of you to deny it. But wow headbands really do it for you huh? Is that why you ran up to your room when we started watching It? I thought it was because you were scared. Had I known that you were sneaking away to shove your hand in your panties–” he trailed off.
“You would have what?” you asked, raising an eyebrow.
Taehyung hit your hip lightly with his fingers, more tap than slap, making you lift your bottom so that he could drag the dark colored athletic fabric down your legs. 
“Why don’t I show you?” Taehyung said. 
With your leggings down to one of your ankles, completely off of the other, Taehyung took a hold of your thighs, swinging your legs around so they hung over the side of the platform you were seated on. You were facing him now, but he was so tall that even with the small boost your seat offered, you were eye level with him. He slid back the stool he was on, moving it out of the way. Then he sank to his knees so that his head was at the perfect height for the treasure that laid between your slightly parted thighs. 
With his left hand still grasping one of your thighs, he used his other hand to prod at your folds over the drenched fabric of your black seamless panties. His forefinger and middle finger stroked at your opening, hunting for your clit, slipping over the sodden fabric over and over. When you were so wet that his fingers went away, picking up enough evidence of your arousal that a transparent string clung to him before finally breaking off, Taehyung decided to move the panty off to the side, revealing the swollen dripping folds of your cunt to him. 
“You’re so pretty, gorgeous,” he sighed, “I want to feast on you.”
His fingers were curiously spreading you even more, parting the furling petals to your entrance, revealing the pretty wet hole to his hot seeking gaze as it desperately clenched around air, wanting something bigger and more substantial to close around.
“Taehyung please,” you pleaded, your fingers knotting into his unruly hair, as you attempted to move his head closer to your cunt.
Taehyung dipped down, his lips pursed at first, almost like he was kissing you down there, but he soon found his pace, tongue wildly thrusting into the hole and gliding over the folds. As he lapped at your entrance, he hummed in pleasure, rejoicing in the sweet poignant taste of you. 
As his tongue ran over your folds and the engorged bud of your clit, you shuddered and trembled. It had been so long since someone had eaten you out. You had been broken up with Donghyuk for two months, but it had been even longer since the last time he had gone down on you. 
He tongued at you curling the tip of his wet muscle to urge more of your juices into his open mouth. You tasted like heaven, “You’re so fucking sweet,” he furiously growled into you, his baritone sending vibrations through your most sensitive part. “I love your reactions. I could eat you out for hours,” he hissed.
When his teeth nipped at the sensitive bundle of nerves, you cried out his name, babbling senselessly, mad with pleasure. He wrapped his lips around it, sucking tightly at the bud. Your eyes rolled back at the pressure, the stimulation almost unbearable. You felt the prodding of two long fingers invading your entrance even as his lips continued its merciless assault on the swollen bud. 
“Taehyung!” you panted. Your fingers were almost digging into his scalp. “I can’t stand this!!”
Your back arched as he scissored his fingers furiously within you. His teeth and tongue were sloppily pursuing their war on your heated and engorged clit.
“That’s it Y/N,” murmured Taehyung huskily, “Give yourself to me.”
His fingers reached deep within you, dragging against your folds that gripped around it like a vise, clenching and unclenching in stuttered movements. He groaned at the tightness, the vibrations of the sound echoing through your opening, your clit fluttering at the stimulus.
“Another finger,” you susurrated, your words chased by loud keens and moans.
“Yeah?” Taehyung breathed out, “You think you can take that? I can barely even move the two I have in you now. Your pussy is clenching around me so much.”
“Want it Tae. Need it,” you babbled, “Need to prep for that big cock you’re hiding.”
Taehyung exhaled loudly through his nose, the gust of air falling over your oversensitized core. “Yeah, you dirty girl? You wanna prep for my fat cock? You need it,” he admitted. “I’m gonna destroy your tight little cunt,” He growled.
With another nip of your clit, this one harsher and more toothy, he stuffed a third finger in you, frantically pumping them and curling them to drag against the taunt muscles of your inner walls. The appendages were stretching you out gloriously. You closed your eyes as you edged head first towards your orgasm. Taehyung’s tongue danced over your folds, stimulating them even further. 
He breathed through his nose as he ate you out even more enthusiastically; he had been going at this for a long time but it would be worth it. His cock was a hard and heavy weight against the confines of his constricting dark jeans. You whimpered, lightheaded and overheated as the pressure at your core continued to build. You were stuffed to the brim with his nimble slender fingers pushing savagely in you. 
All it took was a swipe of his long tongue over your bud, the metal sphere of his piercing a hard heaviness digging into your clit, as his fingers found your g-spot and hit it brutally, and you let out a shrill scream, immediately gushing like a flooding waterfall. There were black dots in your vision as the edges of your eyes gathered with tears. You panted as you continued to squirt over Taehyung’s trapped fingers, drenching his hand with the evidence of your orgasm then trailing down his wrist. 
“Fuck,” swore Taehyung, “You fucking squirted. That’s so hot, gorgeous.”
He reluctantly moved his hand away from you, licking a wide stripe across his palm, tasting your sweetness, still not tired of your delectable release. What he didn’t consume, he wiped against the butcher paper covering where you were seated. You had your hands splayed besides your thighs, needing help to keep yourself upright. Your gaze drifted down to your crotch where the paper was sopping wet, dark, and translucent from where you had squirted all over it. 
This was why you never had sex in public; you were already getting a headache at the thought of Taehyung having to clean up and sanitize everything before his next appointment.
“Hey what’s wrong?” asked Taehyung, getting up from his knees. His hand went to his belt, unbuckling the black leather and loosening it around his hips. He undid his button and zipped open his fly, finally freeing his aching hard cock from the confines it had been resisting against.
You stared at his erection, pressing against the band of his underwear. “Is this really okay?” you asked.
“Going soft on me so fast?” Taehyung teased, “Thought you were gonna prove to Dongkyung that you were fun and freaky. I bet he’s never had sex outside of the bedroom.”
“No,” you protested, “I still want to. I just– I just wanted to make sure you were still okay with this.”
“Oh,” murmured Taehyung with a ravenous glint in his eyes, “I’m thrilled about this. I want to destroy you in a way that has you limping after. I want your pussy to have PDD, never wanting another cock.”
“PDD?” you asked, repeating the acronym with confusion heavy in your tone.
“Post-Dicking Depression,” Taehyung clarified with a faux condescending tone. You could hear the laughter in his voice that he tried to keep in.
“I don’t know if I want to have sex with a man who refers to it as me getting dicked down,” you scoffed, wiggling your butt backwards to move away from Taehyung who scowled and quickly moved his hands from his pants to your hips, holding you in place.
“But you want a dicking from me,” he sing-sang, “You used to have fantasies about me.”
“I used to have fantasies about Flynn Rider, that means nothing,” you retorted, your hands placed over his.
He narrowed his eyes, “That says less about me and more about you, gorgeous.”
He palmed his heavy cock through the cotton fabric of his briefs. 
“You sure you wanna stop right here, Y/N? Don’t wanna go for another orgasm?”
“I can’t leave you hanging,” you acquiesced easily, “Golden rule of reciprocation and all that.”
“You don’t always have to give back what you get in sex,” Taehyung frowned, “It’s not a business transaction, it’s a group effort. As long as we both enjoy ourselves, you don’t have to worry about me, Y/N.”
“You don’t want to have me?” you asked, suddenly self-conscious, “You seemed really enthusiastic about it earlier.”
“I’m dying to have you, but I only want you if you want me,” Taehyung clarified, his baritone wafting into your ears soothingly.
You smiled up at him, even though you were naked in this room that might have his assistant or coworkers knocking at any moment, even though he was completely dressed while you were not, you still felt comfortable with Taehyung. You put your fingers through the belt loops of his partially opened jeans, dragging it down his hips, over his ass, stopping midway on his thighs. Taehyung watched you, his jaw clenched and his eyes hard with the heat of his lust, thick dark brows furrowed as he bit his lips.
“Please, Tae?” you asked, “I want you. I want the heavy fucking that has me walking side to side afterwards.”
Taehyung snorted, “‘4.5 when I make the bed shake,’ huh.”
“Ariana is a legend,” you gasped, outraged at his little quip, your hands falling from where they had been clutching his ass. 
Taehyung just gave you one of his gorgeous boxy smiles that left you breathless before he went to free his fat cock from the cotton confines of his underwear. His cock bounced once it was free from its bounds, his length even more thick and imposing than you had imagined when you were sixteen, slipping your fingers down your throat and choking on them, pretending they were his dick instead. 
It was impressively girthy and you knew your fingers wouldn’t be able to wrap around it and touch at the ends. The mushroom head was flushed burgundy. The seventh piercing winked at you, a curved steel barbell turned towards you as a part of his king’s crown piercing that was threaded through his head, running along the ridge of his shaft. Your mouth watered - the tip of his cock was glistening with precum and you wanted to whirl your tongue around its bulbous head like it was the tastiest lollipop. 
“Taehyung,” you pleaded, your fingers going towards his crotch. 
Taehyung gently slapped your hands away. 
“Uh uh,” he chastised. “Behave, gorgeous.”
You spread your thighs apart, knees up and feet flat in front of you as you sat up with your hands wrapped around your calves, holding your legs open. Taehyung took hold of the meaty softness of your right thigh and pulled you towards him, settling in between you, his cock bouncing lightly, the tip brushing against your entrance as he used his hands to pull your legs around him. Your hands let go and fell backwards and you splayed your fingers and palms behind you to balance your weight as Taehyung carefully situated your lower half, pulling your hips up to be aligned with his so that he could easily slip in and out of you.
He slapped your flushed and swollen cunt with his cock, the proof of your orgasm mixing with his precum. After a few slaps, he finally began to guide his shaft into you. For a moment there you didn’t think the fat bulbous head would be able to breach your entrance even with how wet you were as your tight glistening hole protested around it, but a firm push later he was sheathed. 
“You like that, gorgeous?” he growled, “You feel that? You’re gonna wring me dry when I cum inside, aren’t you? Gonna creampie this fucking pussy. Have your beat up cunt leaking my cum for hours.”
You whimpered as your mouth sought Taehyung’s lips but couldn’t. Instead you found your tongue licking up a line up the bare expanse of his neck, tracing the lines of his tattoos, your lips following their path, leaving bruising kisses and kittenish bites. He moaned and his head ducked down, moving his throat away from you so that you could finally kiss him. At first your tongues twirled around each other, but Taehyung was a messy kisser. His teeth were soon nipping at your lips and his tongue was thrusting in your mouth, licking the insides of your cheeks, the roof of your mouth, not letting you pull away to breath and leaving you lightheaded. 
Taehyung slowly pushed himself in and out, not going more than an inch or two within you, giving you time to get used to the fullness. He was so thick, your walls were clamping around his girthy length like a vise and he was struggling to move, but the movement he was able to make had you keening and whimpering as the round ends of his piercing jewelry dragged against the ridged muscles of your walls, making them spasm uncontrollably at the feeling. 
As you grew wetter and wetter, your desperation increasing exponentially, Taehyung found himself getting lost at the sensations, thrusting faster and more erratically until his control was so frayed that he could no longer hold himself back. He slammed into you, the thick heaviness of his cock stealing your breath away as he was impaled within you. You tried to catch your breath but he continued to jerk inside you, the piercing hitting your g-spot and making you scream as white spots appeared in your vision. 
His pace then grew progressively more frantic and Taehyung found himself holding you up with his sheer strength which left you breathless at the display of power; you were no longer on the table, he was fucking you standing up. Your legs were wrapped around his hips and your head was at the side of his face, pressing kisses against his jaw and nibbling up to his ear. Your moans were an echoing throaty vocalization in his ears, making them burn as a pool of lust gathered in his gut and made his abdomen tighten. Meanwhile, your hands were flitting across the expanse of his back, under his shirt, leaving long scratch marks in their wake as your nails dug into his skin every time Taehyung thrusted a little too hard, his fingers pinched your clit, or his piercing found that glorious g-spot.
“God, Tae,” you panted. You could feel him so deep inside you that as you glanced down you saw that your tummy was bulging a little bit and you had to wonder if it was because of him. You pressed down on your stomach experimentally and then you both gasped as your walls clenched tightly around him, rhythmically pulsating around the entire length of his shaft, keeping him connected to you. 
Taehyung hadn’t forgotten your tiny clit, although it was swollen and not as little now. He thumbed at the responsive bundle of nerves; the pressure from his finger had you on overdrive, hyper aware and feeling like you might go ballistic at any moment. Your mewls were like music to his ears and propelled him forward, making him plunge into you so violently. You were bouncing on his length, your legs loosening slightly around his hips from the force that came with every time he rammed into you.
For your safety, he lowered you down to the table you had been sitting on earlier, making your back flat against it as he had one hand by your head holding him up, keeping himself from crashing into you, and one hand wrapped around your hip, snapping it up to meet his every thrust. The new angle allowed him to go even deeper and he found himself slowing down to enjoy the feeling of your folds fluttering around his shaft as he dragged it through your walls deliberately, penetrating you acutely. 
He was holding himself back, he didn’t want this moment to end but at your surprised cry when one of those thrusts hit your g-spot particularly hard, you suddenly gushed like a broken faucet around him, and then clenched his cock tighter than you had ever before, even as the stream of cum cascaded all around his shaft. He grunted before following you in your wake, the heat of his own release leaking out of his tip and mixing with yours. 
Somehow Taehyung was still hard around you, you noticed with surprise as your legs fell with no strength left in them, no longer making your body cling to Taehyung’s. You stared at him in confusion, your eyes wordlessly saying, What now?
Taehyung licked his lips, his familiar grin appearing sheepishly. “Ride me, gorgeous,” he dictated.
He hadn’t let you remove his cock from inside your pussy and he picked you up, holding you beneath your thighs, his fingers brushing against the cleft of your ass as he moved you two around so that he was now seated with you on top of him. 
One of your hands fluttered against his chest as you got used to sitting on him, the other was holding onto his shoulder. You inhaled deeply, your hands going up to stop his head from moving so that you could kiss him punishingly, neither of you parting to breath for long interminable moments. His fingers threaded through your hair that had long since fallen out of its bun, holding you in place, so that his lips could chase yours easily every time you tried to break apart from him.
He helped you with the first move, his hands gripping your hips and his long fingers dimpling into your skin as he moved you up, almost entirely off his cock that dragged enticingly along your folds as it slipped away, before slamming you back on his lap with enough force to have your teeth knocking against each other. 
You braced yourself with your palms on his chest, fingers curving over the broad length of his shoulders, slowly lifting yourself away from his dick before quickly and forcefully bringing your ass down, reluctant to let him withdraw completely. Each time you brought yourself back onto his cock, Taehyung snapped his hips up, impaling you with his thick impressive length. His fingers were bruising into your hips with how hard he was holding you in place. 
Your movements were erratic and feverish, following no rhyme or reason, only seeking fullness and release. He had you writhing on top of him wantonly as your hips swiveled to meet each snap of his, until his cock was hitting you again and again vigorously. But it wasn’t enough; he wanted to give you more. So Taehyung found himself squeezing two fingers into you alongside his cock, filling you even more than you had thought was possible, bordering on the side of painful. His palm was positioned up so that it was pressed against your clit. And with every bounce and jerk on top of him that had his cock and fingers moving deeper within you, his palm pressed against your puffy bud stimulating you endlessly. 
You screamed as you sprayed around Taehyung, coming again. As you writhed against Taehyung’s body, his arms kept you wrapped in his embrace, keeping you from injuring yourself, pulling any muscles accidentally. Your cunt was reluctant to release its grip on Taehyung’s cock, holding onto him tightly, and he found himself grabbing your hand, borrowing it for a second to have you squeeze his balls. And then Taehyung felt himself cum for the second time that day. He shuddered into your chest as his balls emptied themselves, getting lighter as streams of his warm cum shot into you, painting your insides with lines of white. 
You mewled at the feeling, wiggling on top of Taehyung in discomfort. He chuckled huskily, an airy yet throaty sound. Carefully, he withdrew from you, using one of his hands to keep the cum from pouring out from between your legs, his palm against your entrance keeping the hot liquid trapped inside you. After a moment he moved his palm away so that his fingers could play around in your folds, pushing the cum into every divot and crevice, the pads of his fingers massaging it in and then his fingers went back inside you, swirling the cum around your hole with his fingers messily. You let him play around, rubbing his mark into you even though it was fucking filthy and gross, but when his fingers brushed too close to your battered clit, your inner thighs spasmed with your muscles jumping, you found your hand frantically pulling at his wrists attempting to pull him away from your exhausted and overworked pussy.
“Taehyung, stop!” you whined. 
He glanced back at you sheepishly. “Sorry,” he murmured, an apologetic tone painting his words, “I got distracted.”
You snorted, “Yeah, you did.”
Taehyung pulled you off his lap and sat you down beside him, from in between your parted thighs, your pussy leaked out the mixture of both of your cum out onto the ripped and mangled butcher paper that looked as though it had gone through the wringer. Taehyung stood up to grab a bundle of paper towels from his work station and came back with them, bending down in front of you and starting to clean you up. Once he was done, he looked back up at you.
“I’ll give you back your deposit, Y/N. Don’t get the piercings today, okay?” he said, “And when you finally feel like you’re ready to modify your body for the right reasons, you can come back here and I’ll do it for free. A piercing, a tattoo, whatever the case. Just– just don’t think you have to change for a man. You are perfect as long as you like who you are.”
Your eyebrows dipped down in confusion as Taehyung stumbled over his words, painstakingly attempting to make sure that you understood him and realized that he liked you and you should like yourself too because you were perfect and no man was worthy enough to make you change. 
“Why for free, Taehyung?” you asked instead, uncomfortable at his sincerity.
Taehyung smiled nervously, “Well if you’re dating the owner, it’s the least I can do. Don’t you think so?”
“Who says we’re dating?” you teased, pulling him closer to you, making him stand between your legs.
Taehyung pouted and then huffily said, “Fine, have it your way. See if anyone in the Tri-State area takes you as a client then. I’m getting you blacklisted from everywhere so Jimin doesn’t kill me when he finds out you want to look like Post Malone.”
“Post Malone?” you questioned, laughing uncontrollably. “Taehyung, why would you offer to help me if Jimin would kill you instead of those other tattoo artists?”
“Girlfriends hold more weight than best friends,” he said mulishly, slumping forward and resting his forehead against your sternum.
“Yeah?” you asked, quilting your fingers through his hair, scratching at his head comfortingly.
“I’m also in love with you,” Taehyung confessed, turning his head so his ear rested against your chest. He could hear your heartbeat, you realized with a panic, and how it stuttered at his reveal. But his arms had slowly wrapped themselves around your form and you couldn’t find it within you to push him away.
“Really?” you asked needily, needing the confirmation.
He hummed, “I would do anything for you.”
“I think I’ve been in love with you too,” you admitted as well. You suddenly shoved against him. “It was you,” you accused.
“Hmm,” muttered Taehyung, instantly knowing what you had meant, “I can’t help it if I’m beautiful and you kept fantasizing about me while dating Dongbyun.”
“Tae!”
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This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial - No Derivatives 4.0 International License
©OPALJM 2021
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smoochkooks · a month ago
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—champagne problems (m.)
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pairing: jungkook/reader
genre: rich!jk, friends with benefits, slight sugar daddy au, smut, fluff, some light angst because i’m evil
word count: 2.5k
warnings: explicit sexual content, exhibitionism, dom!jk, also bit of possessive!jk if you squint, fingering, dirty talk, degradation, jk calls oc ‘love’<3, oc having a brief moral dilemma while being horny. 
summary: so even if that’s temporary, you are going to stick to jeon jungkook's side, indulge in some sugar babyness, have good sex, drink expensive champagne and listen to trivial problems of the upper-class. when life gives you lemons, make lemonade, right?
a/n: this drabble has been sitting in my drafts ever since sowoozoo happened and blessed us with this look on jk. since it’s my favorite’s boy day, i decided to finish this up. happy birthday, jungkook<3
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It didn’t come to you as a surprise that rich people don’t have the same problems as you, basic humans do. They’re called champagne problems, dilemmas that carry little significance when compared to famine, poverty, inflation or other things only commoners experience on daily basis.
Jeon Jungkook, for example, a womaniser extraordinaire you met two months ago in Stigma, considered buying yet another car for himself a real problem not because he doesn’t have money for that – the black card in his wallet indicates quite the opposite actually. The main obstacle, as he explained to you that night over the second cosmo he oh, so generously bought you, is the limited space in his apartment building's parking lot. He’s currently occupying two spots and the rest is tenanted by others. A pity, truly.
Yet, you listened to him speak about it with nothing less than ardour. The anti-capitalist in you got deadly quiet as soon as the hottest guy in town decided to pay you attention. Putting The Communist Manifesto and your pride aside, you were ready to pounce this man any second. And maybe you weren’t actually betraying your kind that much because frankly, eat the rich applied to your situation perfectly. You could gladly eat up Jungkook.
They say a girl can do a lot to get laid. After bending your morals, the only thing left was your natural charm. And listen, men are easy in theory. But rich men? They are a piece of cake.
Channeling your inner Anastasia Steel, you kept biting your lip, batting your eyelashes, oh, so subtly brushing your palm up his muscled arm – it was all working in your favor. And before you knew it Jeon Jungkook had his hand underneath your skirt on the backseat of the cab and his lips on your neck.
Then he had you on your knees in the middle of his living room, bent over the emerald-green couch, on your back on his enormous bed. Three orgasms later you were nearly delirious, but satisfied nonetheless. Jungkook passed out soon after, his light snores filling the spacious bedroom.
Your best friend would say: “Girl, this is your chance! Rob him and get the fucking away from there!” The thing is, your best friend had never had a dick that good in her life and truth to be told, you really wanted a round two in the morning. Sadly, breaking the law was right after amazing sex in your hierarchy of important things.
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After all, it seemed like Jungkook wasn’t the type to fuck and discard, so you earned the title of his next plaything. You’ve seen them all through his Instagram Stories, and they do have one more thing in common, beside sharing the same experience of sucking his dick – they all seem to be wealthy. Unlike you, a college student with debt and part-time job.
So even if that’s temporary, you are going to stick to Jeon Jungkook's side, indulge in some sugar babyness, have good sex, drink expensive champagne and listen to trivial problems of the upper-class. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, right?
You aren’t his girlfriend, you’re rather someone in between fuck buddy, therapist and friend, because, surprisingly, Jungkook can become very much chatty after sex. And to your astonishment, he digs quite deep sometimes, opening up about things that, well, aren’t such champagne problems anymore.
And it’s nice. It makes you feel like you’re someone more than a girl he tried to swoon over in the club with the numbers on his bank account.
You like that vulnerability in him, even though it exists only in the confines of his own bedroom, when you’re lying curled around each other after a round of fucking; sweaty and too tired to leave the bed and shower. You know he probably told the sob story about his parents’ divorce to every girl he’s had in his bed but nevertheless, your heart starts stubbornly beating a little faster whenever you’re around him.
And you really spend a lot of time with him. Jungkook, as a wealthy man in his twenties, has a busier social life than the streets of Seoul. Events, cocktail parties, dinners – you name it. He buys you new dresses for each occasion and then slips them off you to fuck you senseless after everything is done.
Tonight, you’re accompanying him to a birthday party. That one friend of his who's a self-proclaimed sex addict and an heir to some food company, has just turned twenty-six. His name is Park Jimin, if you remember correctly. Blonde hair, plump lips, drives Porsche through the streets of Gangnam and all the silly girls falling for his smile and money up the wall.
He's not even here right now and frankly, you haven't seen him ever since he greeted you and Jungkook by the door. His eyes roamed over your body then; up and down, through and thorough, a sly smirk caught on his pillow lips. You weren't stupid, you knew damn well what he said when he leaned to whisper something into Jungkook's ear.
“Will you let me have my way with her? It's my birthday, after all."
Even if you were down for it, you wouldn't have a chance to give into carnality with Park Jimin. The thing with Jeon Jungkook is simple: he doesn't share. What's his, is his. Period.
And ever since he has laid his eyes on you that night two months ago in Stigma, you are his.
(At least until he gets bored and replaces you with someone new. But for now – it doesn't really matter.)
Maybe you are a little bit of a masochist after all, letting him treat you like his plaything, a pretty doll he shows off to everyone in the room and then fucks behind close doors. Even if your relationship has an expiry date, you don’t care. You’re fucking the hottest, richest bachelor in town.
And the sex, God have mercy, is so worth it. For starters: he knows how to make a woman come. Knows where clitoris is and how to use his mouth to have you gushing onto his tongue. Knows just the right amount of pressure to have your head spinning when his fingers are wrapped around your throat.
And maybe it’s because all your past sexual partners have been so dull and incompetent, but needless to say – you let this man do anything he wants to you. And you enjoy every second of it.
Like right now: Jungkook's tattoed fingers are knuckle-deep in your pussy and he shows no signs of stopping anytime soon, or at least not until you're coming around them.
Rich people are nasty. Jungkook's nasty, paying no mind to the surroundings (you could swear there's at least one person in the room who knows what's happening underneath the table) pushing a third finger into the warm crevices of your cunt.  
“Look at you,” he coos, saccharine-sweet voice that has you leaning even closer to him, like you're bewitched. There’s a string of saliva connecting your lips but you couldn’t care less. You will ask him to spit in your mouth one day. “You're dripping all over my hand, love. What if someone sees you like this?”
You mewl, hiding your face in the crook of his neck. You're not an expert when it comes to perfume but there's one thing you know for sure: he smells rich. It's so intense it makes your head spin. Your grip on his button-up tightens as he roughly shoves his fingers inside.
“You'd like that, wouldn't you? You want this people to see what a pretty slut you are for me.” he says. He starts rubbing relentless circles on your clit with his thumb as his digits fuck you open, bringing you closer and closer to the release.
You've never had a man finger you so skillfully before. It's like he knows you inside and out; every little thing that makes you tick, like he knows where to press, push, caress, grip just to see you lose it.
You’ve also never had a man call you ‘slut’ during sex before but there’s something so deliciously fifthly about the way Jungkook says it. You’re not even slightest bit ashamed of enjoying his degrading words. Once Jungkook's hands are on you, feminism leaves your body.
“Say something, love, don't be shy now,” he beckons, slowing down his pace. Your breathing gets heavier and all you could focus on is Jungkook, his fingers sliding through your slick walls and the husky tone of his voice as he speaks right into your ear, “You were begging me to touch you not so long ago. So needy, so desperate,” His unoccupied hand cups your cheek, thumb stroking your burgundy-colored lip. As on cue, your mouth falls open. He pushes his finger inside and like a filthy thing you are, you suck on it obediently. “Fuck.”
It's spoken so soft and quiet you almost miss it. Your eyes lock with his – two charcoals staring at your mouth with so much desire it's almost suffocating. He removes his thumb with a 'pop' and focuses his attention on making you come.
“Please, Jungkook–fuck,” you moan before you could stop yourself, your hips lifting off the chair. You're practically fucking yourself on his fingers now and like the cocky bastard Jungkook is, he smirks seeing you do so.
He kisses your pout away, his tongue slithering inside. It's messy and so nasty, but you find yourself chasing after his mouth when he pulls back to murmur, “Please what, love?”
“I wanna come.” you whimper as tears well in your eyes because it’s all just so fucking intense.
(In moments like this you’re grateful waterproof eyeliners and mascaras exist.)
“Yeah? Wanna put on a show here? God, you're so filthy,” Jungkook rasps. “Come on, cream my fingers like a good girl, then.”
You do exactly like you’re told, your walls constructing around his fingers as you’re being pushed over the edge. He kisses you through it, muffling your moans and cries, letting you ride out your orgasm for as long as you’re capable of.
When he notices you’re wincing from oversensitivity, he withdraws his fingers and without paying it any mind – licks your release off his fingers.
“You’re nasty.” you grumble, seeing him do so.
He smirks. “But you like it when I’m like that.”
Truthfully, that hasn’t been the filthiest thing you’ve done together so far. The title still belongs to the teacher-student roleplay he persuaded you do to, daddy kink and all the shenanigans (e.g. spanking you with a belt so hard you couldn’t sit on hard surfaces the next day) that come with it involved.
You roll your eyes and take a deep breath. Glancing around the room, you notice that no one is really there left beside two unfamiliar men sitting by the minibar and drinking something, their backs facing you. Everyone is either fucking upstairs or getting wasted outside by the pool, judging from the loud cheers coming through the windows.
Suddenly, Jungkook gets up from his chair. “Wait here. I’ll be right back.” he says.
Two minutes later he comes back carrying a bottle of Dom Perignon and two glasses. Before you met Jungkook, you didn’t even know what good alcohol should taste like. As you’re simping on the expensive liquid inside your flute, you can almost taste the luxury.
“I think this is some limited, vintage-edition bottle. Jimin-hyung will kill me if he finds out.” Jungkook chuckles, pouring himself another glass.
At the mention of the birthday boy, you’re now reminded about the exchange between Jungkook and him upon your arrival. Before you could stop yourself, you ask, “Hey, what did he say to you when we came inside?” even though you already know the answer.
Jungkook grimaces. “You don’t want to hear it.”
“Come on, I don’t mind.”
He puts down his flute and sighs. “He asked if I would ever let him fuck you one day,” he says. “He does it with every girl I bring to his parties just to fuck with me because he knows damn that I–”
“That you don’t share.” you finish for him and he smiles sheepishly.
You try not to think how obvious it is that they were other girls before you and will be after you. You knew it that night in the club and still, you let him into your bed. Are you signed up for a possible heartbreak? Definitely. Yet, it doesn’t really matter. Because for now, you are utterly his, you are having fun, drinking expensive champagne and fucking the most handsome guy you’ve ever seen in your entire life. You’re going to live this moment to the fullest.
There are worse things that happen people on this planet and you are not making ‘falling for emotionally unavailable guy’ your own champagne problem.
Then, Jungkook says something unexpected and the whole world stops for a second.
“Would you like to go on a date with me?” he asks and it comes out so quiet that you nearly don’t catch it. Stunned, you stare at him. The man who spoke obscenities into your ear just minutes ago and brought you to the brick of pleasure, is now glancing at you with a boyish smile.
“Aren’t we on a date right now?” you tease.
For a moment, you think that you’re dreaming because there’s no possible way that this is happening, maybe this vintage Dom Perignon is actually too strong and makes him speak nonsense. And yet – here he is, Jeon Jungkook asking you out on a date.
“I want to take you on a real date, love,” he says and your hearts skips a beat. “Not to a night of partying with my friends, not to some fancy dinner with my father's business partners. Somewhere nice, just the two of us.”
Just the two of us.
You’ll think about the meaning and depth of this words sometime later. For now, the night’s still young and one orgasm isn’t enough to satisfy you, so taking the mattress into your own hands you decide to get a little bolder.
You smirk, giddy with excitement. “Fine. But if it’ll suck, I’m going to consider Jimin's proposition.”
Jungkook's eyes narrow. “You wouldn’t.”
You lean closer, until your breath his fanning over his ear. “Dare me.”
When he grasps your writs to follow him upstairs, you know it will be so, so worth it.
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yoonia · 2 months ago
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once upon an us [m] | knj
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❥ Summary | You have spent years building a life of your own until you find yourself living a life that every little girl could have ever dreamed of. With a promising career and an expensive apartment in the big city, the only thing left is the fairytale wedding that you had wished for since you were a little girl. When the one you believe to be your prince charming finally comes into your life, you start to believe that dreams do come true. But you also know that things aren’t always as simple as it seems, when there is still a piece of your past that is still tethering you back from reaching for it.
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❥ Title | Once Upon an Us
❥ Pairings | Kim Namjoon x female reader
⤑ Genre | Past Lovers!au, Exes to Lovers!au, Established relationship, Angst, Rom-com, Fluff, Smut
⤑ Ratings | +18 / M for Mature
⤑ Warnings | Mentions of miscarriage, grief, characters making bad decisions, fake relationship(-ish) trope, Namjoon as a (former) basketball player, some cliche scenes as part to romcoms (sharing a bed, lots of arguments), technically involves infidelity, sexual tension, lots of kissing, dry humping, outdoor foreplay, public sex, breast play, clothed foreplay, clothed sex, denied orgasm, hair pulling, fingering (female), oral sex (female, including clit play, implied biting), unprotected sex, rough sex, mention of multiple orgasms, implied creampie.
⤑ Word count | 47k words (I am so sorry!!!)
⤑ Cross Post | AO3 | Inkitt 
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❥ Author’s Note | This story is written as a part of the ‘Christmas in July’ project, for the ‘Winter Wedding Season’ category, an event hosted by @kookdiaries, @kithtaehyung, and @xiaokoo. This fic is loosely inspired by the movie Sweet Home Alabama (2002) | Thank you @theodea for reading through this on such a short notice (I love you, bub!) and for my sprint mates and fellow camp nano-ers who kept hyping me up in this journey @softyoongiionly @randombtsprincessa @yeoldontknow 
❥ Song Companion | Sabrina Claudio - Belong To You (feat. 6lack) ● Daughter - Landfill ● ORKID - Only If You Want To ● Jutes - We Good ● Standing Egg - Ironic
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There is always something to be said about little girls and their big dreams.
The way their innocence allows them to conjure imaginations that are beyond any adult mind could comprehend. To have their minds going places without any worries of facing the reality of life, without any barriers or limits to how far their extensive imagination would go as they create all the scenarios involving their whole life—starting with the paths where they want to go in life, the person they imagine they would become, the people they want to meet, and everything that they want to achieve.
For a lot of people who had known you since you were a little girl, this is exactly how they had seen you and has continued to remember you with. A dreamer. The little girl who would paint a big picture inside your head that you would often get stuck in your own world, oftentimes too stubborn to look at the present or the world around you and to simply follow the course that your life was taking you into.
The little girl in you had dreamt of becoming your own princess, just like the ones you have read in the storybooks that your parents used to read you before bed. You dreamt about living in a castle somewhere at the top of the mountains—just like the mountains that you had always seen growing up at home. You dreamt about having all the fancy things that princesses would acquire and being spoiled with the pleasure of the admiration and praises from all the people that you would surround yourself with.
As you grew older, your dreams began to manifest into something more real. When you knew that, in reality, it would be impossible for you to build your own castle, you began to turn your dreams and use them to build a plan of uprooting your life. From the small-town girl that everyone knew into someone who has a lot more, achieving everything through an elaborate plan that you had concocted so perfectly for yourself—to move into the big city, to have your own place, switching from living in the old brick house in your family’s property to affording a fancy apartment which looked similar to those you have seen in the movies, and to have a great career, something that would be enough to allow you to buy your own fancy things the way you couldn’t afford to as a child.
Soon, you would learn that the journey to fulfilling your dreams would not be as easy as how you had pictured it as a child. If there is something for you to learn as an adult, is that there is also always something to be said about life, about its twists and turns, the surprises and the secrets looming in every corner, and how easy it would be for someone like you to get caught drifting in the tide if you are not prepared for it.
It had taken you far and through a tumultuous course of life to be in this moment, to find yourself living in the big city, with a good job and a rising career that had put a roof over your head—specifically the two-bedroom apartment located in the heart of the city which would have costed a living if you hadn’t been lucky enough to have the kind of income that you earn from your fancy job.
Sometimes, it still feels unbelievable to think that you had somewhat managed to bring your dreams into reality, though the years of hard work to make it all happen have managed to keep your foot on the ground, keeping you humble despite everything that you had gone through. The journey started the day you left the small town where you were born and raised, stepping out of your comfort zone to begin your own adventure. It was all followed by the years you spent studying in law school, then building up your career while constantly proving yourself against the people who had once looked down on you along with all the vicious male competitors at work for you to become the person that you are today.
Looking back at your journey and at everything that you had accomplished for the past seven years, to see for yourself just how you had managed to survive all the tides that fate had thrown at you should be able to make you feel happy and content. The life that you had built up to today has gone beyond whatever you had imagined and there is no chance in hell you would ever trade it for anything else.
Not even for a fraction of a memory that you had to sacrifice many years ago.
But sometimes, you still find it hard to savour everything. Not when you still constantly feel like you are missing something, as if there is a piece of you that had been mislaid, lost, perhaps forgotten in the midst of walking down your path to finding your happy ending.
And the void has only been getting stronger because you know that the little girl inside you is still refusing to give up on her fairy tale ending and has always been so demanding that she wants to have it just the way the old storybooks that she had read as a child had been telling them.
In the fairy tales that you had once adored as a child, each of their stories had always ended with the Princesses meeting their Prince Charming, to have them falling in love, and have their union defeat all the bad until there is nothing left but the good. Just like everything else that you have acquired in life, this had also been a part of the dream that you had manifested in your mind as a little girl. To finally end your story by finding someone who could sweep you off of your feet the same way you read them in those storybooks, before riding into the sunset to mark the end of your lone journey and the start of your journey together with the one you love.
There had been many years of waiting, of picturing how it should be when the moment would finally come. But despite all the scenarios that you had planned and played out in your head each time you wondered about it in the past, never once had you imagined that it would be something like this.
“Babe?”
You snap out of it when his voice comes to your senses, shaking you out of your wandering thoughts and pulling you back to the present. Back to the man who is still down on the floor, resting on one knee right before you. He is now wearing a nervous smile on his face while his eyes carry a ton of questions, no doubt for having you falling silent instead of jumping up and down in joy after what he had initially asked of you. Your eyes fall on his hands. The same hands that have been holding out a small box with a glowing diamond ring sitting at its center, and you immediately remember what had just happened before time suddenly stopped still for you to send your mind wandering off to the past.
“M-Matthew—” your voice comes out small when you finally manage to speak, though the words still seem to refuse to come out.
“What do you say, babe? Will you marry me?” he asks again, as if you hadn’t heard him the first time, and you can see his gaze flickering, looking vulnerable when you have yet to give him an answer.
A hush comes from around you as the people who have been witnessing this moment unfolding are beginning to whisper. Some talking with curiosity while others seem to be growing more impatient on Matthew’s behalf.
‘She’s still in shock,’ says one voice. ’I think he’s made her speechless,’ says another. You don’t even make any effort to look around to see who is speaking and who is probably sneering at you, still too stunned into silence at the sight of the man before you. You can feel their gazes on you even without looking over, though you try not to let their presence intimidate and haunt you, letting them fade into the background while you focus on steadying your breath.
The words are there on the tip of your tongue, but your racing heartbeat makes it hard for you to find your voice to speak it out loud. Despite the fact that you had known for quite some time that he had been planning for this, having heard him talking and insinuating for this moment to finally happen, you never expected for him to do this here and definitely not right at this moment. Right in the middle of the important office event, everyone has gathered for the night to celebrate his promotion as a partner. He was supposed to be the one who is standing in the limelight, the one who is supposed to become the main part of the event, and he certainly was not supposed to pull you with him under that spotlight which now seems to be pointing straight at you.
But perhaps this is his fairy tale ending too. Something that he had planned to happen right at the same time he finally acquired his goal, putting an end to his lone journey to start a new one with you. As the thought occurs to you, the answer comes to you pretty easily.
“Yes,” you finally give your answer out loud, and your pounding heartbeat intensifies just as your joy begins to take over, coming out in waves, eliminating all the doubts that had been weighing inside your chest. “Yes, Matthew. The answer is yes. I’ll marry you.”
While everyone around you cheers to celebrate, Matthew jumps onto his feet and wraps you in his arms. As someone who always appears so calm and composed whether he is in the courtroom or within the conference meeting rooms, Matthew has never had any hesitation in showing his feelings for you whenever he is in public. And you have grown used to it by now that you simply laugh with him as he envelopes you with his big arms, lifting you up and spinning you around with him, before taking your lips in his in a quick celebratory kiss and then finally letting you go.
Your head is still spinning and your mind still feels slightly fuzzy when he takes your hand and gently slides the beautiful ring onto your finger. Everything seems so surreal that you are almost convinced that you are dreaming, that nothing about this is actually happening. But then Matthew helps you feel everything once again, bringing your senses back alive and your mind back to focus as he pulls you in his arms once more so he can capture your lips, giving you a kiss that is much deeper in his joy.
This is it, you wonder to yourself as you slowly give in, wrapping your arms around his neck as you return his kiss and lean into his embrace.
The happy ending of your own fairy tale. Your Prince Charming.
The feeling of his heart beating against your chest makes his presence more real. To allow you to realise that this is all happening. But the moment he lets you go, giving you a chance to pull away from the kiss and look at his face, the reality of your life and of what had just transpired finally begin to sink in.
The happiness you are feeling now should have you feeling ecstatic, to be able to cheer just as loud as the guests in the office party who had become the witnesses to this wondrous moment and to savour it with a smile on your face which should be just as wide as Matthew’s as he looks at you with wonders in his eyes.
“I love you,” he whispers, keeping his forehead resting on yours as he keeps holding you in his arms, swaying you gently with him as he moves from side to side to enjoy the faint hum of the music playing from the speakers while everyone else returns to the enjoy their drinks.
You look up at him, returning his smile when you whisper, “Love you too,” making his smile grow wider as he savours the words you have given him before he pulls you back against his chest. You enjoy making him smile, and you revel in the joy brewing inside you knowing that you make him happy. And yet you can still feel the sinking feeling that comes to you in the form of the shadow from your past, reminding you of the reason why you are still unable to fall freely into this joy, to savour it the way you are supposed to. And you hate not being able to enjoy this moment when deep down you know that you deserve every bit of the happy ending now being offered to you.
Wrapping your arms around Matthew’s waist, you close your eyes and bask in his warmth. It pains you to know just how happy he is about this moment while you are filled with a dreadful pang of guilt pinching at your chest.
As you let him continue to guide you into a slow dance right in the middle of the dance floor, you begin to silently write a new elaborate plan inside your head, writing another scenario that would allow you to finally embrace the happiness being gifted to you, starting from going back home to face the shadows of your past and the life that you had left behind when you began writing your own story.
Because something is tethering you back into that life still, a secret that would be enough to shatter the life that you have built for yourself, your future, and perhaps any happiness that is waiting for you at the end of the tunnel.
And you know that it is time for you to set everything loose for once and for all. All for the sake of moving on and for you to embrace your new beginning.
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Your flight home had never felt this long before. Not for a trip that was supposed to have been a quick one. It isn’t as if your hometown is somewhere across the globe or even all the way across the country. It just didn’t help that you had been anxious all through the trip that it simply felt as if the plane had been crawling in the air, making it appear as if time simply stood still while you were up there. With your stomach constantly churning, you couldn’t even indulge yourself in the alcohol drinks they were offering on the flight to help you pass the time.
Stepping out of the plane has not done much to ease the anxiety you felt, and yet you simply force yourself to hold it back down and act as if you still have control over everything. You have even chosen to grab a rental car from the airport instead of taking the cab home, hoping that driving the car would help clear your head a little and perhaps force you to focus instead of letting your mind constantly wandering out of control.
Once you start driving away from the airport, you soon find that you were right, after all. The action has your mind focusing that it leaves no space for your anxiety to take over. Though it doesn’t stop other emotions to come through you. Watching the scenery as you drive the car slowly down the road, you relish on the feeling of melancholy that suddenly overwhelms you. And yet, at the same time, you still find it hard to just relax and give in to the moment. But only because everything that you are looking out on as you drive past the town road and its old buildings all seem odd to you, and somewhat foreign.
It had been seven years ago when you left this town for the first time. Leaving behind the heartache, the grief, the physical pain that had been a part of you, a reminder of what you had lost, and you had done it all simply to continue on living.
Up until three years ago, you had been coming home often, either it was to spend the holidays with your family or to simply visit your parents on their birthdays or on the weekends where you would be free with a chance for a long break. But then things changed, when everything fell apart all so suddenly and you no longer had any reason to come back when the last string of hope that you were still holding on to for you to survive was ripped away from you.
It was not too long after when you got the permanent position in the law firm you are working at, and while work had always been so rough and so busy even around the holidays, it had helped give you the escape you had needed to stay away. It might have been unfair for you to use your job as your excuse to keep your distance, and for you to use it as a reason not to come home as often as you had wanted, but it was a small sacrifice to what you had wanted to gain. Ever since then the only way you could ever celebrate Christmas with your family had only been done through video calls instead of being there in person. Though your heart kept telling you that it wasn’t enough, you simply had to make do, and your parents had no other choice but to understand and to let it continue on for a while.
Being here now, looking out the window to watch the town as you drive right by, you can feel a nagging feeling inside you that tells you how much you no longer belong in this place. Especially now, when you are about to embark a new journey that doesn’t involve any part of your past.
Thinking about the recent events happening in your life, specifically on the one that is about to change the entire course of your life, only brings your mind back to Matthew.
You have always been a terrible liar, and the guilt of lying to Matthew about this abrupt homecoming is still clawing at you in the chest. Rubbing your palm against the source of the painful pinch you are feeling, you recall the day when you had to tell him about coming home to see your parents in order to send them the news of your engagement.
And that you would need to do it without him.
Having only started dating each other for 8 months, Matthew had never gotten a chance to get to know the side of you that you had left behind. He had only known you as the woman who would always come early every morning and the last one to leave the office at night. And then last year, after facing a case that had gotten you stuck with him in the office on the night before Christmas, it had been the side of you that you had painted for everyone around you to see—the hardworking city girl with no baggage or secrets, and perhaps not even a personal life—that had managed to catch his attention first. He had never known you as the small-town girl who had once think highly of the holiday tradition that you had with your family, who would stay up all night to set up all the Christmas decorations to light up the whole house when you weren’t stuck in the kitchen helping your mother with her Christmas meal or when you weren’t helping your brother wrap up all the gifts until blisters would start growing on the tip of your fingers from working with all the glues and tapes.
So the moment you got a strong reaction from Matthew about you seeing your parents without him and that you would be staying with them for the holidays, you had been ready for it. Though it had needed a lot of convincing on your part still to make sure that he wouldn’t insist on tagging along and ruining your whole plan.
“How long will you be gone?” he asked you the morning he was driving you off to the airport, once he was open to the idea of letting you travel home on your own.
“Just one week, only until the day after Christmas, then I’ll come back as soon as I can so I can spend New Year’s Eve with you. I promise,” you had answered him then, appeasing him by giving him what he had wanted to hear while silently repeating it inside your head as a promise to yourself, setting up a time limit as you set out to clear out the final hurdle getting in the way of your new beginning with your fiancé.
It wouldn’t be easy. Even as you were thinking about doing this and way before you even decided to fly all the way here to make this happen, you had known that this would not be an easy task. But it needs to be done, and it needs to happen soon, and the last thing you would ever let yourself do is to get swayed away from your goal the moment you take action, just like it had happened before.
But you cannot afford for it to happen again. Not now, not ever, and especially not after all sacrifices that you had made the day you left this town for good three years ago.
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Not too many changes had been done to the house that you grew up in since the last time you were home.
The wallpapers and the floorboards had been changed, and you also know that your Dad had done some renovating over the years that you were mostly gone, but he kept a lot of part from the old house to make it look all the same. You can still breathe in the faint scent of stale paint and glue and must from old wood lingering in the air, though everything feels muted when they are mixed with the scent of fresh paint and freshly cut wood that still remains after the past renovations.
All the mixed fragrances are soon masked away with a set of new ones, as the delectable aroma of freshly brewed coffee and the meat dish cooking in the oven continue wafting in the air as your mother makes her way back and forth between the kitchen and the dining room to set up dinner. Your mother had made it obvious that your arrival had been a surprising one, when she screamed at the top of her lungs the moment she opened the front door to see you standing there on the other side. Especially since you had no chance to let her know about your sudden visit, an afterthought that had only occurred to you the moment you were knocking on the door. But she was quick to recover from her shock, replacing it with excitement and had instantly taken action in preparing a large dinner to welcome you even if your Dad and your brother have yet to arrive home.
“How was your flight? Did they serve you one of those snack boxes like the one I got when I came home from seeing you last time? Unless you got on the first class flight. They still serve you a full course meal for those expensive tickets they’re selling, don’t they?” Your mother keeps throwing random questions as she is busy preparing the meal, while she keeps insisting that you simply remain in your seat instead of helping her with her tasks. You only respond to her questions with one short answer at a time while trying to sneak in some lending hand whenever she isn’t looking—from checking on the oven’s heat to stirring the pot of meatball sauce while she has her hands full with the other.
“Have you gone to see anyone yet since you landed? Have you heard from Missy? Did you hear that she’s pregnant with her third child? Third!” your mother keeps rambling on, waving her spatula at you while speaking louder with her voice rising with each sentence. You have no idea whether she is completely hyped over the fact that your childhood best friend is having another little one on the way or if she is just happy to have you home this year after your long absence in the house. Even better, that you had arrived a lot earlier and with almost a week to spare before Christmas would arrive.
Her joy is somehow contagious that you cannot help but laugh just as she accidentally splatters some sauce anywhere but the pot where the fresh sauce is boiling.
“Mom, slow down. You’re tossing that tomato sauce all over the kitchen,” you tell her while pointing at her spatula and the sauce dripping from it before she tosses it back to the pot where her special meatball dish is currently cooking. “And no, I haven’t gone to see anyone yet. I drove straight here and avoided going through downtown—”
To avoid having people seeing me around before I can at least prepare myself to deal with them and all their questions, you silently add.
“I haven’t even called Missy yet. Maybe I will in the morning or I can go the her family’s diner a bit later to pay a visit.”
Your mother shakes her head. “You must be exhausted. Look at those bags under your eyes, and have you been eating properly?” she keeps asking you while pinching at your cheeks. “You always work so hard and I know that you’d be skipping meals if I don’t call you everyday to remind you of it.”
“I’m fine, Mom. It’s probably just the jet-lag,” you simply answer her before she would go ranting about the way you have been living in the big city. She had always been giving you the same lecture after she had caught you red-handed tossing away a week worth of takeout boxes out of your apartment when she made a sudden visit to see you. Then, as if your body agrees with you, you suddenly feel your shoulders dropping and you find yourself yawning.
“Oh, look at you,” your mother comments right as she sees it. “There will be no more of you going around town tonight. We’re going to sit down for dinner and then you’re going to go upstairs to sleep it off.”
You open your mouth to protest, only to have your mother shaking her head and pushing you away from the frying pan that you have been fiddling with. “Now, go sit back down! Don’t you dare think that I haven’t noticed what you’ve been doing. Now, shoo!”
You laugh softly as you let her kick you out of the kitchen while muttering, “Yes, mother.”
Not long after, your mother sits with you at the dining table as she tries to feed you every single meal on the table while asking about how your life has been. Your father is still out at work, giving the two of you a chance to catch up more freely and for you to gently bring up the real reason why you had returned home without the intense way your father would be reading through your lies if he had been home already.
You had tossed the engagement ring into your purse when you first arrived, keeping it hidden from your mother’s eyes. Despite the fact that you have only had it on for a few weeks, you still feel like there is something missing as you raise your left hand up. You can barely ignore the indentation on your ring finger that you keep rubbing your thumb over it, brushing against the odd feeling of void that the ring had left behind.
All through dinner, your mother keeps you updated on the rumour mills, letting you know about how the neighbourhood has been changing and everything there is to know about the people in town. You listen halfheartedly, responding with the usual murmurs of yes and no or ask her more about what she is telling you, even if you are slowly feeling the weight of your news looming, pushing you to the edge to make you want to just spill everything in the open.
You look at your mother and see that she seems to be holding back too. Not in the way she is talking about the town, however, but from asking you the questions that you can see lingering in her eyes each time she gives you her quick glances.
Once you are done with the first course of the meatball dish and your mother stands up from her seat to give you a second offering, you can no longer take it anymore.
“I’m going to see him,” you finally tell your mother, still feeling a bit tense about admitting it, though you feel good for finally voicing it out.
Your mother only looks at you for a moment before releasing a deep sigh and returning to her seat. “So that’s why you came home, huh? I was wondering if there’s something more going on,” she says, sounding a bit regretful as a sad smile comes to her face. “I thought that might be the case, but I kept telling myself—” she stops only to shake her head. “It’s been so many years.”
“That’s the point. It’s been years too long,” you answer your mother with a solemn nod. “I need to settle the things going on between us for good.”
Your mother purses her lips together. “Can’t you guys just talk about it like decent adults first? You know, maybe you can find a middle ground and work on—”
At her question, and whatever it is that she has going on in her thoughts, you can only sigh and shake your head. “I tried, Mom. Things wouldn’t have turned out this way if not for him suddenly turning away from me before actually giving a chance for us to talk about it like two adults,” you tell her, explaining to her for the umpteenth time already, just like how you would always do every year when this topic comes up.
“Why now? After all these years, why have you suddenly decided that you want to see him in person now?”
You open your mouth to answer but find yourself unable to speak. How are you supposed to explain the fact that you had somehow agreed to marry someone that your parents don’t really know anything about? And while this hurdle had been getting in your way for too long already, it wasn’t until the moment you put on Matthew’s ring and have the images of your future flashing in your eyes when you realise that you can no longer let it hold you back from moving on.
You know that no matter how well you can find a way to explain it, neither one of your parents is going to be happy to know what is going on or to understand the reason why you are taking an action after years of being silent.
“I can’t tell you why just yet, I just—” you begin to speak, shaking your head again before looking at her. “It’s time, Mom. Don’t you think?”
Your mother looks completely somber when she nods. There is a voice in the back of your mind that is telling you that perhaps your mother knows that something is up. But you refuse to admit it, hoping that she simply thinks of this as a way for you to make things right.
“You’re right. I think you really should talk to him,” she says to you, finally, keeping her voice soft as she speaks before pointing a finger at you as she adds, “And I mean really talk to him properly without screaming at each other.”
Her comment reminds you back to three years ago, when you were much younger and you still had lack control of your emotions that you had allowed the townspeople to witness it when you were fighting with him in public. It was catastrophic, and there is no doubt that people still remembers that day, perhaps even better than what your memory had served you. Chuckling sheepishly to yourself, you raise your hand up and look at your mother with a sly grin. “You know I can’t promise you anything yet, but I’ll do my best to reign down my anger.”
“As you both should,” she says, only to stop briefly and glance over to the empty seat where your father would usually sit during dinner. Except for tonight, as he was stuck dealing with a little problem at work. “And, um—I need you to do me a favour,” your mother speaks to you softly, almost to whisper before turning to look at you. “Don’t let your Dad know what you might decide to do about all of this until it’s time, you hear me?”
For a moment there, you are left speechless, wondering if your mother had found out about what is truly going on. But looking at her doesn’t give you an answer, not when she isn’t giving you much of it when she keeps her face blank, only filled with the firm look in her eyes as she waits for you to agree with her.
“I won’t tell him anything until I’ve handled things.”
Your answer seems to please her, enough to bring back her smile. Your mother pats gently on your left hand, showing her gratitude without so much of a word before she leaves her seat to finally get you that second serving of her homemade meatball dish. As she leaves, your eyes find your hand, focusing on the empty ring finger that suddenly feels heavy with an invisible weight, carried by the secret that you simply cannot wait to let go of.
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“How does it feel to be back home?”
Listening to Matthew’s voice on the phone makes you want to close your eyes and exhale a deep sigh. In fact, that is just what you do as you lean against the side of your rented city car, basking in the rumbles of Matthew’s deep voice that you have started to miss a lot despite the fact that you had just spent time with him last weekend.
“It feels—good, and odd at the same time,” you answer him with a chuckle, opening your eyes to look around you and take in the sight of the beautiful town where you grew up in.
There is a whole lot of truth in your words when you talk about being home. Being here feels good. Everything about it feels right—the fresh air, the clean roads and sidewalks, the artsy walls and the old buildings, the familiar scents, and all the places that remind you of your childhood and all the years you spent causing trouble and trying to find yourself through your teen years.
But it is certainly different here compared to the big city. In the city, you are nearly invisible. Surrounded by all the people who only care about their own personal businesses, on living it through the day and following the quick pace of the city life that you have become a part of for the past nearly seven years. Everything here appears in brighter colours, slightly muted compared to the colours you see in the city, where everything seems more vibrant and bold and awfully loud. Everyone here moves at a slower pace, as if they are savouring every second of their day as they go about it town, finishing their personal businesses without so much of a rush, sometimes even stopping just to have a chat with anyone they come across. It has been a sight that is completely unlike what you have grown used to seeing back in the city, where people would rush to get from one spot to another as soon as they can without even bother paying attention to the people they come across as they continue to live and move along to follow the constant ripple pulsing within the city
You almost forgot that you had once been a part of this town.
And you have just been reminded that everyone in this town knows each other.
There is no doubt that the news of your arrival may have already reached him. There is nothing you can do to escape it when you came across Ruth, the gossip girl of the town, when you dropped by at the bank in town this morning. Not to mention the fact that your uncle may have gone to see him early morning when you know that they are still doing their morning runs together. Funny how life changes over the years and yet some things just remain the same.
Everything—and everyone—in this town seems to remain completely the same.
And that is when you start questioning just where do you fit in all of this. Or if you still fit here at all.
“Baby? Is everything okay?” you hear Matthew’s voice from the phone still pressed to your ear, snapping you from your wandering thoughts, and only then do you realise that he has been saying stuff on the phone which you have obviously missed.
“Yes,” you quickly answer him while chastising yourself for it. “I’m sorry, I got distracted. You were saying?”
Matthew lets out a soft chuckle through the phone, as if he already knows your antics, and that he had grown used to noticing you spacing out so randomly when you are not focusing completely the way you would when you are working. “I was saying how sorry I am that I can’t be there. You know, it would’ve been better if I had joined you to meet your family if you’re going to let them know about our engagement, don’t you think? I should’ve been there with you to do it. I have to meet them at some point, right?”
“Right,” you answer him with a small voice while you feel your breath getting caught in your throat. You had gone through all of this before, having him question why he isn’t here with you and you had always tried to explain the best you could about why you have to do this alone. With him constantly bringing it up on each phone call, you are not completely sure just how much longer you can keep going with this ruse and how soon the truth will come out.
You are thankful for the fact that he is unable to see you this way, but you still try your best to recover and answer him lightly, “But you know, you also have that family thing this Christmas and the gala. I feel like I have to do this on my own—”
Because your Dad’s heart might not be able to survive it if you had brought a man into your parents’ home and your Mom would blow a torch once she drops her gaze on Matthew.
And then there’s the gossip.
Oh, what would people say if you had come home with Matthew instead of coming here alone? Once again, the weight of the engagement ring that you have kept inside your purse feels heavy. This time, it feels heavier than the tightness in your chest that you have to press your free hand harder against the side of your purse as if the tiny little thing is pulsing from within and everyone in town might be able to sense its presence from a mile away.
“—because you know, I already told you that my parents might be a bit old-fashioned about this, yet I feel like I need to send the news to them lightly.”
“Yeah, I get it. I mean, I don’t think I can escape this charity gala even if I’d wanted to,” he says, and you feel even more guilty for lying when you can hear the smile in his voice.
Not lying, omitting the truth, as you have told yourself time and time again.
“But—” he adds, “At least you’re going to be back here for New Year’s Eve, right? My parents have been going on and on about the family dinner and the gathering. Don’t worry, I kept my promise not to tell them about the engagement until then, but they still ask about you a lot, wondering if you’re going to be here.”
“I’ll be there,” you quickly answer him, just when you hear the sound of a door opening. “Listen, Matthew honey. I have to go. Can I call you back later tonight?”
“Of course,” he says. “I have to stop by at the office briefly before heading to the gym and then I’m off to see my Dad for lunch right after my workout. You take care over there, alright? I love you.”
“Me too.”
Ending the call, you toss the phone into your purse and push yourself away from the car. You begin to walk carefully on the gravel-covered pathway heading to the old building in front of you—the old place that you had once remembered as the old wooden barn turned into the town’s farmers’ tavern which, at some point, had come near of being torn down.
The place had once called the Spinning Horse Pub, where you would see drunken old men hanging out there at night after spending all day doing labour work, tossing glasses and passing around the local beer while singing old folksongs completely out of tune and with all the wrong lyrics, the sight which ended up leaving kids scarred and slightly traumatised at the sight of adulthood.
Today, the place is called the Moonlit Bar, standing pristine with a mix of brick walls and polished wooden floors, stained glass windows, and blues music humming faintly from inside just as the front door swings open.
After years of not seeing him in person, you had thought that you would have a problem finding him. But it had turned out that he had been keeping contact with your parents, especially your Dad—in extension of him spending his free time with your uncle—and you had found out just where to ambush him without creating so much of a hassle or to attract the attention that you obviously have no time or energy to deal with.
Your heels sink between the gravels as you continue to walk closer towards the bar. The sounds of men talking are heard as you grow closer, followed by a series of laughter coming with the voice that you have known for a long time. Even before you can see him, as the talking men are still concealed behind the truck that is parked right in front of the bar, your heartbeat has already started picking up, pounding rapidly the closer you are to get to him. And with each pound of your heartbeat, you can feel the ominous throb coming from the ring inside your purse, further intensifying all the tension you currently have running through your body.
And then, finally, you are there, right where you need to be after walking around the parked truck to be able to have a clear view of the bar’s own front door, only to stumble right the moment you find him.
Standing on the front porch, looking all gloriously in his presence is Kim Namjoon, the man and the devil himself, whose wide smile that he shared with his friend falls for a brief moment at the sight of you coming over to him before his lips curl up to a sly grin.
Namjoon waves at his friend who knows not to stay and is already hopping away to his parked car in the lot before he turns to you. “Well, look at what the cat dragged in,” he says, leaning back against a column on the front porch with his arms crossed as he takes you in. His eyes are glowing with mirth, though you can sense him holding something back, using his haughtiness against you to hold it back in.
You stop on your tracks, staying just a few steps away from the porch’s stairs as you cross your own arms. “I thought you were allergic to cats.”
Namjoon shrugs. “Still am,” he says, dragging his words while he drags his gaze, looking at you from the top of your head and down to your fancy heels. His intense gaze makes you feel self-conscious, while your skin begins to flush not only for the way he is looking at you, but also at the sight of him.
With the years that had gone by, you have never expected to see him changing this much. He has always been so tall, but the last time you had seen him, he was still his lanky old self, completely careless to the way he looked or how he presented himself.
Today, he is standing there with his flannel shirt, the short sleeves folded up all the way to his shoulders, exposing his strong arms, muscles grown from the years that he had no doubt been spending working out and out on runs, all flexed tightly for your eyes to see as he keeps his arms crossed defiantly over his chest. And then there is his chest, looking all buff and strong, unlike the way he used to be back then, when he had looked way smaller compared to your massive built uncle who had insisted to have him join his exercises and workouts, when he appeared frail that it made you worry a lot whenever he had to deal with his carpentry and especially when he had taken the job at his father’s construction business.
All of a sudden, you feel the urge to clench your hands, only because a flash of memory comes into your head. You still remember how it felt to run your hands down his skin, how he would shudder under your touch when you pressed your palms on his chest. And then your mind wanders yet again, only to imagine what it would feel like if you would run your palms down to his chest today, to trace his tight muscles, to feel the heat of his skin, and—
“So what are you doing here, stranger? Did you get lost? Forgot your way back to the big city?” he begins questioning you, snapping you right out of your trance. You look up to see his eyes, noticing the way they are glinting with amusement, as if he had caught on to you ogling at him.
“No, actually. I’m here looking for you,” you respond to him while averting your gaze, shaking your head to shake off the blunder that has suddenly gotten into you and get your mind out of the gutter.
“Oh, really?” he asks, sounding intrigued. “Mind if I ask why?”
Again, your heartbeat picks up, and you swallow deeply to stop yourself from throwing up out of nerves. Pressing your lips together, you reach into your purse to pull out a brown envelope that contains the papers that you had prepared prior to coming here. Taking it in your hand, you take a few steps closer to him and hand it out for him to grab.
“I’m here for this,” you tell him, keeping your voice calm and steady as you continue, “I want you to sign the divorce papers. And I’m going to need you to do it now.”
His eyes fall on the envelope that you are handing out to him, a flicker of his surprise and his emotions that you cannot really read from him appear in his gaze for a brief moment before they disappear, replaced by a look of astonishment that comes together with his smile.
“No,” is all that he says to you.
“What?” you simply gasp out your reaction while your courage simply shatters into pieces.
“I said no. I’m not signing that.”
Rage comes boiling in your blood and you lower your hand roughly that the envelope brushes against your thigh with a loud slap. “What do you mean?”
“I mean, I’m not signing.”
“Why? What’s the point?” you try to protest. Stopping only to take a deep breath to calm yourself down before levelling your voice, keeping it down when you continue to speak, “Namjoon, we’ve been separated for a long time. We never even talked nor have we seen each other since I left town, much less living like a normal pair of husband and wife. Do you really want us to get stuck in this—this, whatever this is, until we both grow old, despising one another while we’re rotting to death?”
Namjoon’s gaze turns hard as he lowers his arms. “I’m not signing because I can’t.”
“What the hell does that even mean?” you hiss at him, though it doesn’t seem that getting emotional is doing much to help you in this matter.
Namjoon exhales a deep sigh and looks around him. He keeps his eyes looking far away and over your shoulder, staring at the shadows that aren’t exactly present when he speaks, “Why don’t you come inside so we can talk properly without worrying about people listening in? I know that I owe you at least a drink or two.” His eyes find you again before he gives you a smile that doesn’t quite reach his eyes, the same eyes that are still giving you a hard gaze. “What do you say, city girl? Or are you too fancy now to try out the local brews?”
You keep staring at him with disbelief as he turns around and makes his way back into the tavern without waiting for your response. Deep down, you know that he is right. It would be better to be talking about this inside, away from any prying eyes and curious ears listening in. God knows what the rumour mill is already spreading about the connection between your return and your visit to Namjoon’s bar while you are standing out here for everyone to see. And you are also curious to hear about what he is about to tell you. After taking a quick look around you, you slip the envelope back into your purse and dust off your skirt from the invisible dust before stepping up onto the porch.
Namjoon is still standing by the entrance, waiting for you to follow as he holds the door open for you. His smile doesn’t seem at all welcoming when you look at him, but feels more like a taunt. Despite knowing that you would be caught in a place where he holds all control, you don’t stop yourself from going around him and walk through the door. “Let’s get this over with,” you tell him as you walk past, only to have him responding to you with a deep chuckle as you sense him following you in.
“Oh, Sweet Cheeks, you have no idea. I haven’t even started yet.”
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Stepping into his bar feels like stepping into a completely different world from what you had outside.
Even in the daytime, the bar had been kept slightly dark, with only a few probe lights illuminating the room from the corners of the seating area, some lights are spread around the bar, and some of the brightest are set around the empty stage in the center of the room, highlighting the music instruments placed there to be ready for use. You can feel Namjoon’s warmth as he follows close, right until the moment you come to a halt at the center of the room and he walks around you to make his way towards the bar counter.
He says nothing as he looks over his shoulder to meet your gaze, but the look in his eyes is enough to have you following him towards the bar. You can see that a few patrons are present as you walk across the room, and neither of them are looking your way. Some of them are enjoying their meal, while some are simply there to chat with each other while enjoying their beer and the light music playing from the old jukebox across the room. The silly device looks awfully too bright against the darker room around it, catching your attention so easily. Judging from the looks of it and how old it seems, you wonder just how that thing is still running.
Namjoon stops at a seating booth nearby the bar counter, quite hidden from the rest of the place. Simply perfect to finally have the talk. He watches you coming closer and gives you his sweet and charming smile that you have grown used to know, added with a pinch of his smugness, then motions for you to take the seat right across from him.
“You seem to be doing well. And I have to admit that this place looks nice,” you say to him after a beat of silence. You find it almost awkward to be sitting here with him and not saying anything. But you have found a long time ago that both you and Namjoon had always managed to find comfort in your silence.
Except that part of your life had ended a long time ago, and you barely know the man who is sitting right in front of you today.
Namjoon’s lips curl up to a smile, and you can tell that he is pleased to hear your compliment and he takes a lot of pride in bringing this place together. You can obviously see it when he leans back, taking a good look at the place with a look of wonder in his eyes. And you cannot help but admit that you share the same pride inside you for seeing how far he had gone since you left.
“How did you find me?” he suddenly asks you before his eyes find you again.
You keep your eyes on him for a moment, studying the look he is giving you only to give up when you find nothing. Giving him a shrug, you answer him with a small smile. “Small town. Everyone talks. Just ask the right question to the right people and they all come pointing their fingers to help me find you.”
Namjoon grins. “Your uncle told you about this place, didn’t he? Did he specifically told you that you can find me here today?”
A chuckle escapes you as you nod. “He came to the house to barge into our dinner last night the moment he heard from Dad that I was home. Couldn’t stop talking about you and how you managed to pick this place back up and keeping it from falling to the ground. Said you re-built everything with your own two hands.”
Namjoon simply gives you nothing but silence instead of confirming what your uncle had told you last night. And he did more than just to let you know where you can find and perhaps corner Namjoon into talking to you.
You had thought that your uncle may have been exaggerating things when he talked about Namjoon and about all the things that the man had done for the town ever since you left. But seeing this place now and how he carries himself around the bar and around you is beginning to make you wonder just how much things have truly changed since then. There is a glint in his eyes that is hard for you to decipher, though it makes you feel like he is able to look through you without so much of saying a word. You open your mouth to speak again, to strike a conversation, to say anything, just to keep the ball rolling and to start getting straight to the point where he would provide some answers, only to be interrupted by a waitress who comes sidling to the side of the booth.
You turn to the girl, expecting her to ask for your orders just so you can quickly send her away, only to realise that she doesn’t even have her eyes on you. The waitress simply stands there with her hips popped to the side, keeping one arm pressed around the underside of her boobs to practically push the girls up and making them look bigger as the peak of the mound come peeking from over her low cut shirt and her other hand is nowhere close to holding her notes. To you, she appears to be a bit—ditzy, as she tries to gain Namjoon’s attention, but her presence amuses you too much to make a comment out of it.
“What are you having, Joonie?” she asks with a voice slightly whining to make herself sound cute for your dear husband, and yet Namjoon pays her no attention, giving her not even a glance as he keeps his eyes on you.
Amused at this development, you lean back in your seat and cross your arms over your chest to taunt him. “Yes, what are we having, Joonie?”
Namjoon’s lips twitch for a brief moment, as if he is holding back a smile. Yet he keeps his eyes locked on your face when he finally answers, “I’ll have the beer from the tap, and tell Bernie to make my wife here a glass of Manhattan.”
You glance over as the poor waitress stiffens. Her eyes grow wide as she glances back and forth between you and her employer before she stutters, “Y-your wife?”
Leaning forward, you address the girl with a sly grin. “You heard the man. And yes, I’m his dear old wife. Please make sure that Bernie makes mine a little sweet, will you?” you ask her, making her look even more flustered before nodding. “Thank you, darling,” you call out to her with a teasing wink right as she starts scrambling off towards the bar where Bernie—your father’s old fishing mate who is also Namjoon’s second cousin—is tending the bar.
The sound of Namjoon’s deep chuckle pulls your attention back to him. You remember how that sound used to make your stomach twist with butterflies fluttering inside you, and you hate to admit that it is still giving you the same effect, albeit a bit muted due to the fact that everything between you had turned into shambles. You simply doubt that you can escape from feeling all the pain coming back to you again each time you think of the past, so you suppress the sensation happening inside your belly, ignoring it the best you can as you begin to push him into talking.
“Why won’t you sign the divorce papers, Namjoon? I’ve been sending them to you so we can get things over with without us having to go through the court and all the unnecessary legal battles you know waiting for us. All you had to do was sign them. I thought you wanted this? Why do you keep sending them back to me?”
Namjoon says nothing, but keeps his eyes looking down on the table while he rubs his hand over his rugged face. The moment his gaze finds yours again, it looks terribly guarded, as if there is a wall standing between you and he has chosen to hide behind it.
“Don’t you want to move on, maybe get lucky with little miss sweet thing right there?” you ask him with a tilt of your head aimed at the waitress who still seems a bit frazzled as she talks rapidly with another girl. The disbelief on their faces seems almost comical, though it brings an odd feeling into your chest to know that there are girls like them, other women, that he could pick from. Women who seem to adore him the way that waitress does.
While you are suddenly left wondering about this, the question that you have given him finally draws a reaction from him, even if it only comes in the form of a scoff. His eyes soften for a brief moment when he holds back another smile, before they both disappear the moment he notices you watching, soon to be replaced with a faked mirth when he shrugs. “She’s not my type. Frankly, I’m not that big into dating when I legally still have a wife. Even if she’s busy trying to conquer the world, leaving me in this town to rescue old buildings from falling into the ground.”
This time, you are the one giving him a scoff. “Don’t tell me you haven’t been with anyone else since we separated.”
Namjoon doesn’t answer you right away, but falls silent instead. Leaning forward, he crosses his arms and rests them on the table as he levels his gaze on you. His eyes are intense, piercing through you just enough to make you shudder, that you nearly miss it when he answers you with, “I haven’t.”
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“When Daisy told me that Namjoon’s wife is here, I just had to come and deliver these drinks myself.”
Bernie’s large figure fills the space around you just by standing at the side of the booth. He drops the large-sized tankard filled with beer with a loud thump on the table for Namjoon while he sets down your martini cocktail gently for you. Seeing him there and listening to his boastful laugh makes your heart feel warn that you cannot resist sliding out of the booth to wrap your arms around him.
“Bernie, it’s good to see you,” you hum softly as you embrace the man who had become more like a second father to you at some point in your life.
“You look awfully good for a city girl,” Bernie says after patting gently on your back and releasing you. He crosses his arms over his chest, his gaze looking up and down as he takes you in. You have no idea what he sees in you, but you can see pride coming out of his gaze. “Heard from your uncle this morning that you’re home. Didn’t expect to see you hanging around this side of town, much less to visit here. The drink’s on the house, my treat to welcome you home,” he says, nodding at your untouched glass while Namjoon gives him a light scoff. The big guy turns to your soon-to-be ex-husband and raises his eyebrows. “What? You can just cut it off my pay.”
“There’s no need, big guy. He already said he’s paying for this,” you say to him before Namjoon can say a thing.
Bernie raises his brows once more. “Really, now? Then the second glass will be my treat,” he says, before wrapping an arm around your shoulders and pulls you in to whisper, “Just don’t tell your Dad I gave you more than a glass.”
His sly comment makes you laugh. “You know I’ve passed being twenty-one a long time ago, Bernie. Dad should know that I can handle my drinks just fine.”
“Oh, but you’ll always be your Dad’s baby girl even if you’ve made it big in the city. You know that, don’t ya?” Bernie says with a shake of his head, and then he follows your eyes as you take a good look around, noticing some of the areas that you had failed to pay attention to when you first came in. “See what he did to the place, Pumpkin? Joon here did all of this by himself—with a lot of our help, of course. Said he did it all for—”
“Bernie,” Namjoon quickly cuts him off before Bernie can say anything else. The bartender looks over with a questioning gaze while Namjoon simply stays calm. “You got some customers coming.”
You raise a questioning brow at him, wondering just what Bernie may have been trying to tell you before he was cut off. But Namjoon tilts his chin up towards the bar’s entrance and both you and Bernie turn to look. Sure enough, a group of young men walk past the front door just then, almost too conveniently, letting Bernie know that it is time for him to get back on the job. The big man looks over his shoulder to you and shrugs.
“Right. Well, I’ll catch up with you a little later, Pumpkin,” he says as he playfully messes with your hair before turning back to the bar.
“Take care, big Bernie,” you call out to him then return to your seat, facing Namjoon once again. You avert your eyes when you find him still watching you, taking your time as you taste the drink that had been made for you with a few small sips while letting it run down your throat to calm your nerves.
“So, where were we?” you ask him while leaning back in your seat.
Namjoon remains calm when he answers, “The papers.”
You nod. “And you were telling me why you’re still not signing.”
Once again, Namjoon gives you nothing but silence. He takes a few big gulps from his drink, making you wait until he sets the glass down and leans forward. “Why do you want to get out of this marriage so bad?” he finally asks you, looking awfully curious as he studies your face. Neither of you says a thing until the glint of mirth in his eyes dims down and his smile falls, bringing a painful pinch into your chest upon seeing his reaction. And the pinch brings even more pain when he mutters softly, “You’ve found someone.”
You frown at your hands, unable to look at him. “I’m just trying to move on, Joon.”
Namjoon nods with a blank expression on his face. “And I already told you that I can’t sign it.”
You raise your head and frown at him. “And why is that, exactly?”
Suddenly, his face turns a little sour, though you can see a flash of sadness coming across his face. “Winny.”
Your breath gets caught in your throat while you can feel your heart plummeting down your stomach at the mention of her name. Winny, Namjoon’s grandmother and—legally still—your grandmother-in-law. Though Winny is not exactly her real name, the name that toddler Namjoon had officially given her when he couldn’t specifically call her as ’grandma’ nor that he could pronounce her name properly at such a young age. The name had stuck with your grandmother-in-law ever since, and she had always let both you and Namjoon continue using the name to address her while growing up together, and it had even lasted until you both have grown into adults.
“Did you know that Winny got a heart attack early this year?” Namjoon asks you, and you are beginning to see just where this is all going.
Nodding your head, you take your glass in your hand, taking one swipe of a drink before you can talk about it. “Your Mom called to tell me about it when it just happened. I called your grandmother after she woke up from it and we talked through the phone for a long time,” you begin to tell him, sighing deeply as you recall about the phone conversation that you had with her at the time. A frown comes to you when you recall how the conversation went, how she reacted to your voice, and sympathy comes when you remember everything that she said to you then, “She seemed confused, asking me why I’m not back for the term break yet and if I’ll be home for the holidays. She kept talking as if I hadn’t finished law school or even had the job in the firm yet, and it sounded like she believed that we’re still together.”
Namjoon studies your face for a moment. “And yet you still didn’t question it, nor did you correct her to remind her that we are no longer happily married, or that you had graduated from school years ago.”
Slowly, you only shake your head. “I had to play along cause I didn’t want to upset her.”
Namjoon takes another drink. You can see the sadness in his eyes returning to him full force and it has you doing everything you can to hold back from reaching out to him and hold his hands to give him some comfort. Ever since he was a little boy, Namjoon had always been close to Winny. His grandmother had always been strict to all of her grandchildren, but the woman had treated him a bit special back when he was growing up while at the same time, treated him as if he was her own child, giving him advices that had eventually helped guide Namjoon up to a point where he started making his own mess. That was how the two of them formed a bond with each other when Namjoon was entering adulthood. A tight bond that had always been so strong that you know it would have been hard for Namjoon to deal with her illness.
“She called me this morning, said she heard that you came back home. I’m not sure how she found out, but she was asking a lot of questions about you. She specifically wanted to know why I haven’t taken you to see her yet and if there’s any specific food she should cook for you to welcome you back. Though she might be asking my Mom for help on that,” Namjoon says with a low chuckle, shaking his head. “That was how I found out that you were back in town.”
Hearing this, you can only sigh. You hate to think of the strong-willed woman having trouble with her memories and dealing with her regular days. “What did you say to her?”
Namjoon only shrugs. “I just told her that you might still be exhausted from the trip, and that you would call her once you have gotten some time settling in. You know, all of that. Even if I had no idea how to make that happen. Just like Bernie said, neither of us really expected you’d be coming here on your own.”
You look down on your hands, wondering how things seem to suddenly be on your way. It seems like fate is trying to test you. Just like how it did years ago when you were younger, when you were too hot-headed to play along and had ended up leaving.
Namjoon leans in, whispering softly just so you can be the only one to hear it when he says, “She’s still confused, ______. Her memory is still stuck in the past after that heart attack.”
“I realised that much when I talked to her. I was hoping that it would gradually get better in time. I guess that was a bit too much to hope for,” you answer him, nodding your head solemnly. Deep down, you really do feel sad for her. Winny had always been larger than life, easy and fun to be with, and had always been the wise voice that you listened to when you were still together with Namjoon. The situation makes you feel bad about it. And yet, it doesn’t stop you from wondering, “What does signing the divorce papers have to do with Winny’s condition?”
Namjoon pinches his lips together and clenches his jaw for a moment. “The old Winny before the heart attack had known that we were separated. And though she kept trying to get us to reconcile, she was starting to accept the fact that we may never get back together,” he says, lowering his voice as he speaks, even if there is no one getting close enough to listen in. “Present-day Winny still thinks that you are returning next year after finishing law school and that we are still going to run her old office once my dad and uncle retire.”
Sighing, you murmur softly to yourself when you finally understand, “She still thinks that we’re together and still happily married.”
Namjoon’s jaw tightens when he nods his head. “That’s not the only problem,” he whispers, sounding nearly like a groan when he is speaking while letting out an exasperated sigh. “Do you remember our deal, when we first got into this marriage?”
Your mind instantly flies back to the past. To the moment when you had just graduated from high school, when you were both had been so young and lost after making one of the biggest mistakes of your lives and receiving a blessing that had come at the worst period of time, and how both your family and Namjoon’s had cornered you both to the point that you had almost agreed to Namjoon’s suggestion of running away and eloping just to escape their wrath. That had been a messy time of your lives until Winny swooped in, playing devil’s advocate as she tried to diffuse the situation in her own way before all hell would break loose.
Then you are reminded of the one crucial part of the entire ordeal that had changed everything.
The trust fund.
The account that Winny had set up for your small growing family, all to ease the tension running through both families upon finding out their high school graduates kids were expecting a baby instead of college acceptance letters, and to reassure both you and Namjoon that you would be taken care of no matter what your fathers had tried to punish you both with. It was the part of the deal that had you agreeing to legally marry each other before the baby would come along and to have it occurring right in front of your entire family and about a half part of the town attending the ceremony as witnesses.
How you had forgotten about all of this is beyond you. It feels like such a long time ago, a distant memory of your past that had somehow gotten buried almost completely in the back of your mind. And yet, you can feel the same dread and grief that you haven’t felt for a long time rolling through you at the thought of it.
“After we lost our—” Namjoon’s voice breaks before he could say it out loud, and he clears his throat before he can continue. “She still kept the trust fund, telling my Dad that she would one day hand everything to both of us if we ever get back together.”
Your eyes grow wide upon hearing this. Though you have always known what Winny had been planning to do, you had never thought that she would actually keep her words. And that she would have waited for this long to keep the account running despite seeing no other possibilities that you and Namjoon would come back together.
Rubbing a hand over his face, Namjoon looks at you with a mix of hope and depletion in his eyes, before he finally gets to the point. “I have—some plans. Big plans. And I won’t lie to you, I’m going to need that money. I thought that perhaps I could just borrow it so I can have things running and then I would return them once everything pulls through. Just as long as she doesn’t go and donate the funds someplace else first. That’s what she said to us, by the way. That she’d rather hand the money to someone else that would actually care about it than let it sit in her account with nowhere to go because we’re too stubborn to—you know.”
Surprised to hear this new development, on what sounds more like a threat that—you do have to admit—does sound like something Winny would say, you cannot help but laugh. “Would she really do something like that?”
Namjoon’s lips curl to a small smile. “She may have implied a few times—almost at least twice each year—that she would do it one day. That was before she got sick,” he says with a sigh, and you can only shake your head in wonder.
“So how are we supposed to do this? How are the legal work and the papers play a role in this?”
Namjoon ponders about it for a moment before speaking with a low voice, “I’ll sign the papers, if you really want me to, but I’m going to need your help first. My parents have been talking about having a family retreat, rent a cottage up in the mountains for a quiet Christmas family outing so Winny can get the break she needs. Initially, it would have been just us, the immediate family. But Winny already knows that you’re in town and she sounded terribly excited to see you and to spend time with you while you’re here, so I figured that this might be a good chance.”
And too much of a coincidence, you wonder to yourself. But you say nothing. Because Namjoon has no way to arrange all of this just when you are coming back just to sever the ties. Once again, you curse at fate, hating the way you are forced to play its game yet again.
“Come with me, join us, stay a bit longer in town, just until after we’ve shown Winny that we’re doing okay. You know that she adores you so much, so maybe having you with her would help her get better,” Namjoon continues, sounding almost pleading when he shares his ideas. “Unfortunately, playing a role and acting like a regular married couple in front of her won’t be enough. We need to make sure that we’re still legally married while we’re doing all of that act together, just in case she goes out of her way and checks everything out.”
Chuckling softly, you cannot help but smile. “Knowing Winny, I suppose that we do have to prepare for something like that to happen. As long as she finds a way, she’d be digging everything out to expose us for deceiving her,” you murmur softly as you think of Winny and her antics.
Namjoon laughs. “Don’t forget that she has her own lawyers. Might not be as big as you guys in the big city, but these people would do anything that Winny asks them to. I don’t think my Dad or uncle would be able to do anything to cover it up once the divorce is legalised before I can get my hands on the money.”
Laughing at this, you know that he is absolutely right. Your mind flies back to another period of time in the past where Winny had gone and send out her lawyers to handle the mess that her grandchildren had created all over town. Once, she had even sent out the same lawyers to investigate the tenant of a new apartment building where Namjoon’s sister lived, accusing them of trying to con the poor girl by setting up some shady deals when she was trying to extend her rent for another year.
Winny had always been protective of her family, and she had always managed to find a way, no matter how extensive, to make sure everyone is safe.
“How important is it to you to pull this through? How badly do you want—no, need it, that you have to go this far?”
Namjoon smiles at your question. “You tell me. You are the one who has always had big dreams to chase,” he says, and you can sense a sudden change in his voice. Something that sounds wistful, while at the same time, a bit envious, even. But then his expression turns a bit solemn. “But I also want to see Winny get better. We’ve tried everything. We’ve turned to different doctors, hospitals, specialists, and we even got her through a bunch of therapies that did no good but left her feeling tired all the time that we had to stop everything before things would go from bad to worse. You are pretty much our only hope at this point.”
And mine.
Those were the words that he didn’t say out loud, but you can see it in his eyes. The desperate need to make sure that things will go in his way. It makes you curious to know what he has planned, perhaps something to do with his project on restoring old places and bringing this town back up—just like what your uncle said about something that Namjoon seems to want.
There is a mix of different feelings running inside you after listening to him speak. Starting with a punch in the gut when he mentioned your ‘dreams’, feeling like he was taunting you about it. Then there is the same pinch of sympathy and dread when you think about the woman that you had looked up to for a long time having such a hard time. Suddenly, you just want to be there for her, to help her and her family for one last time before you would walk away from all of this for good, just like the way she had been helping you through one of the toughest times of your life then.
And perhaps, in the process, you can help Namjoon too. For old time sake.
“Fine, I’ll stay for the charade. I’ll help you, as long as you promise to sign the divorce papers before I leave town,” you say this to Namjoon, keeping your eyes looking straight into his. “But I’ll only stay until after the family retreat, and not a day longer.”
The expression Namjoon is giving you is still unreadable, and you are starting to hate just how you are unable to read through him when you used to know him better than you knew yourself. But there is also something in his eyes that you manage to catch on to before it fades. A feeling of relief, as if you had just given him hope, no matter how small it is compared to what he truly needs. Though he is quick to mask it all away, hiding his emotions much better than you ever could have when he nods and answers you with,
“Understood.”
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Coming home from meeting Namjoon has left you feeling more lost than resolved.
You had known that it wouldn’t be easy to get through to him and you had gone to see him without so much of a hope to return with the result that you had wanted on your first try. You had known all along that Namjoon may have something up his sleeve because you have been sending the divorce papers repeatedly for the past year only to have him sending them back to you.
You had drafted the divorce papers ever since the day you realised that there was no way you were going to get back together when neither of you even bothered to make any effort of communicating with each other during the time you were apart. Not the same way you and Namjoon did it when you had simply gone away to law school. And after what had happened three years ago, you had thought that everything had officially ended.
You had always wondered why Namjoon had been so adamant in keeping this marriage together when there had been nothing left to fight for. But seeing him today and listening to his side of the story had given you a new perspective on the matter.
Had Winny always been a part of it?
You have had a lot of theories on why Namjoon would deny you the divorce when he had made it seem like he wanted nothing to do with you, not after the big fight you had that had sent you packing up and leave. But it had never crossed your mind that perhaps he had simply done it to be able to claim the trust fund from Winny.
But would that have been the case at all?
And if it was, then why does it make you feel—disappointed to hear it, when you had never even considered about the possibilities that he may still have some hopes to turn things around. No, you are not going there, you shake your head and scold yourself for even letting your mind stray to a place that you had not let yourself venture into for a long time. A place in your mind that you had pushed so far back by living your life away from the memories—burying all thoughts of your past by working the long hours, taking in the big cases that had left you too exhausted to think at the end of the day to remember him at all, making new acquaintances that had no knowledge of your past back home.
Starting a new relationship.
You had never intended to seek a new chance in a relationship with another man, nor have you ever expected to have Matthew, the junior associate that had only joined the law firm last year to somehow show any interest in you as soon as you met him and to have him pursuit you so publicly until you finally agreed to start going out with him. You had thought it would only turn out to be a fling or that he would have given up on you as soon as he recognised the walls you had put around you to guard your heart. But he had always been so insistent, and never once had he wavered no matter how much you tried to push him away.
And you certainly had never expected that he would ask you to marry him this soon, or ever, before you had any chance to deal with your past.
The sounds of laughter filling the room completely snaps you out of it, taking you back to your family who has gathered in the dining room for what would be the second family dinner where everyone is present. And it is not even Christmas night yet.
Sitting at the end of the table is your Dad, who is telling jokes from his workplace with the help of his brother, your uncle who had taken the seat on the other end. Your mother sits right across from you, forcing your brother to sit separately from his wife as he takes the seat right next to your Mom while your sister in law chooses to sit by your side.
Looking at your family together, you feel warmth surging inside your chest. Your arrival at home had become some kind of a momentous affair and everyone, who had rarely come to join your parents for dinner, had agreed to come just to spend time with you while you are home. For the past few nights since your return, the house has already felt a bit more festive, and it already feels like Christmas even if you still have a few more days to go.
Being here with them and seeing them gathering like this makes you realise that your departure from the town may have caused more heartaches than you had thought. That you might have not only broken off your marriage with Namjoon when you left, but had somehow created a complete mess in the family dynamics when you broke their hearts by leaving them as well.
You try to join the conversation as much as you can to ease the guilt, but your mind keeps going back to the conversation that you had with Namjoon today, replaying every word in your head until you can almost hear his voice all over again.
“You’ve found someone.”
You recall how he had said those words, the odd look on his face and the low tone of voice that he had when he spoke. Had it been hurt that you saw in his eyes?
You had no idea whether or not to believe him when he said that he had never been with anyone else even after you had parted ways. It suddenly seemed unfair to think about it, though you don’t really have the interest to worry about him the way you used to. Not anymore.
You had spent too many years doing so in the past and look at where it got you. The small voice in your head is always there to remind you of the heartache that you had carried with you when you left town back then each time you begin to dwell too far into the past.
Focus on the future, you hear the same voice whispering to you once again, and your thumb easily slides to find the empty ring finger to brush against the indentation left by your engagement ring.
A regretful sigh escapes you when you think about the gorgeous diamond ring, of how you have kept it hidden in your purse still, never once putting it on ever since you had gotten here. You had been wearing it with pride since the day of the proposal, and yet, just thinking about the ring alone simply gives you a sense of shame as you sit there in the middle of your family with your secrets hidden too deep for them to see it.
You know that you would eventually have to reveal to your family and have them know that you had gotten engaged to someone else. You know that you cannot possibly hide it any longer, but there is no way your parents would take the news lightly, not while you are still legally married to Namjoon. Not until once the divorce is finalised and the ties between you and Namjoon would officially be severed through a simple exchange of signatures. Not while your parents are still following their old, conservative ways, and the news certainly would not make it easy to share with the kind of past that you have.
After all, it was only seven years ago when you came to your parents, straight out of high school, admitting to them that you had gotten pregnant because both you and Namjoon had been irresponsible and reckless about it. Not to mention the occasional events where you had gotten caught doing the naughties while you were both still dating each other all through high school to basically give your parents some clue of just how careless you had been then.
Thinking about it now, you suddenly cringe at the memory of your father coming home early from work to find you riding Namjoon’s lap on the wooden bench that he had built for your mother on the back porch.
It had happened during your senior year of high school, about a year after you began dating Namjoon and only weeks after losing your virginity to him. The night had ended with your father giving Namjoon ’the talk’ while keeping hold of him in the living room while your mother kept you in the dining room to have a long conversation about the birds and the bees. Not that it had done any good at the end.
Knowing what they had perceived you with your wanton ways as a teenage girl, there is no doubt where their mind would venture into had they known you have been having a relationship with another man. And they are not the only ones whose thoughts on it matter to you, you soon realise.
“I haven’t.”
You remember Namjoon admitting to you when you had thought that he might have been finding other women to spend his time with after you were gone. An admission that had made you feel relieved and yet guilty at the same time of what he might have been thinking when you implied to him about finding someone new. That he might imagine you sleeping with another man while you still hold the title of being his wife—even if they had only been nothing but in written papers.
There is no way for you to let him know the truth. That even when you let yourself open your heart to allow Matthew in, even if you had allowed yourself to feel love again, never once had you gone so far with Matthew to even sleep on the same bed with him, much less to make love to him. Not when the ties you still had with Namjoon had always held you back, stopping you from getting too far. Not when you would feel guilty and would think of yourself like a traitor to even receive something so simple like a kiss.
“I haven’t.”
His words continue to echo inside your head, while you silently admit the painful truth that you couldn’t give him then.
Neither have I.
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Three years ago…
You had once thought that you have had everything figured out. By the time you were in senior high school, you had everything planned out perfectly, all the possible ways that you could go through to achieve your goals written down from start to finish—starting from how you were going to leave town, then to study in a good university that could later bring you to places and lead you closer towards your dream. You had envisioned yourself to be someone who was more, someone who could go far and do bigger things in life, instead of being stuck in this small town for the rest of your life just like all the others.
Namjoon had always been in the picture since way before you had even started painting all these visions in your head.
When you were little, Namjoon had been the only one who was willing to listen to you rambling about your dreams, the only one who wouldn’t look at you funny over your obsession with your princess stories and on finding your own fairy tale ending. It had always been easy to share these things with Namjoon simply because he also had his own big dreams to share.
Just like you, Namjoon had always wanted to leave town, to venture out to new places, and he had found his own way to reach it as he joined the basketball team at school and had been playing while keeping his eyes on the sports scholarship as his ticket for his upcoming adventure. Together, you had written out all the details, planned out all the steps, and you had both been nothing but confident in achieving them as long as you had each other.
It took you rewriting your entire life story and the scenarios that you had envisioned since you were a young girl to finally understand that life could never be that simple.
No matter what your parents had called it, you would have never looked at it as a mistake. Having an unplanned pregnancy when you were still too young had been completely terrifying, a surprise that had come uninvited but had always been welcomed, and you still managed to adjust with all the changes, rewriting all the plans to fit the baby into your lives.
All of a sudden, you had no choice but to forget about all the universities you had been applying to and to set your mind in preparing for the baby, in learning and practising on how to become good parents, and building your small family with Namjoon. Your life suddenly expanded so rapidly that you had to shrink down your dreams. You had ended up having more reasons to stay in town, where you would have more people helping you, your families standing by your sides to guide you all the way through. The magical wedding you had envisioned many years ago became something more simple, more intimate, all to save up enough money to buy cribs, to afford to buy the small cabin near the lake where you could have your privacy and enough space for the nursery, and to save up enough funds for you to apply for the community college so you could still earn your degree.
Once again, you were all set up for another adventure, and Namjoon was always there with you to share the journey. It was the two of you against the world as you anticipated for your little one to come, until once again, fate played a twisted game by sending you to another turning point where you had to walk through a different course in life.
An entire ordeal sent your world tilting off its axis, sending you to a new, empty path where there was no more baby, no more chance of having the small beautiful family that you had envisioned, and the only thing that was left had been your dreams, coloured with the sorrow of your loss and the crumbling hope of ever getting a little break.
The loss and grief had been so great, but you used those emotions to continue on moving, ignoring the pity look everyone was giving you as you carried on with your classes and exams and pushed yourself until you could figure out how to be able to get out of the town that had become even more suffocating with the memory of what you had lost. Slowly, you began rewriting a new story of your own, using the last bit of hope you had left to find your new happy ending.
The only thing you had never expected was to find yourself going down this new path on your own, while Namjoon remained stuck in the moment of grief.
You had somehow managed to excel through community college and was heading out to law school when you made a deal with Namjoon that he would soon join you. He had let go of the scholarship that he had gotten through basketball when he had his mind set on staying behind to build a family with you before giving up on basketball and chasing his dream entirely. But you gave him all the time and space he needed, choosing to wait instead of pushing him to run. You had gone to the big city on your own to attend law school, feeling confident enough to survive the temporary long-distance relationship until he would be ready to join you. Even if you were the one who had to make the effort of keeping the relationship last—from being the one to come to visit the town and spend time with him to set everything up for your future together for the day he would be ready for it.
It wasn’t until during the final visit that you made right before you were graduating from law school when you realised that Namjoon had never made an effort to move on and had completely given up—on everything.
“Is it so wrong to want more?”
That was the question that you had asked him then, when he had fought against every effort that you had put through to be able to continue on living and to push him into getting back on his feet so he could give his own dreams another chance.
“Is it so wrong for me to continue on living? For me to want you to live instead of—” you were too emotional to even form any word and had been waving your arms around instead, pointing at the messy bedroom in the cabin where he had been holed up in while you were away. “This has been going on for too long, Joon. You can’t put your life on hold like this, not this long.”
You had hoped that you could get through him somehow, change his mindset so he could try again and do it together with you. But the more you spoke, it kept getting clearer that nothing you said could get through to him. You might as well had been talking to a brick wall with the way he kept being obstinate, too stubborn for his own good, and it was getting too tiring to even try. But you had to, if not for his sake, then for the sake of saving your marriage. Even if you could feel the last sliver of hope you had was slowly chipping away the more you spoke to him.
“What’s the point? I won’t get drafted anywhere by now. That chance has been lost for me.” His eyes were hard as he said this, and it was obvious that he had made his own mind about it. A flash of depletion came flashing out of his eyes when he finally returned your gaze after he kept avoiding your eyes the entire time, before the hardness returned and you saw nothing but lost hope. “Perhaps it’s just not meant to be,” he muttered, and it was both disheartening, enough to make you feel hurt inside, while at the same time it made your blood start boiling with your devastation.
“So what? You’re just going to hole up here for the rest of your life doing nothing?” you scoffed at him, finally snapping at him. “Haven’t you thought about how it could possibly be your second chance? That maybe it’s a sign for you to try again?”
When all he could give you was silence, the only thing you could do was shake your head, still refusing to accept this. “All I’m asking you is for you to try. With me. We can do this together.”
Namjoon clenched his jaw for a moment. “What if it’s not something that I want?” he said then. “I don’t have big dreams like you do.”
The painful pinch inside your chest almost made it impossible for you to speak. “You used to have dreams.”
He scoffed. “Yeah, but look at where it got me. Look at where it got us. You wouldn’t have gotten a miscarriage if it wasn’t for—” His voice was strangled with emotions that he simply stopped, the clench of his jaw tightened as he tried to hold back from saying anything more, from talking about him—the baby boy that had once hold your entire world while he was still living inside your womb.
For some reason, you had expected this. The loss had been too great for both of you and you were both had been too young to deal with the grief. It had taken a lot for you to finally be able to move on, to leave the town where you had buried your unborn child. You could see the grief in his eyes, appearing just as strongly as how you had felt it. You understood fully well the pain that he felt. Hell, you were the one who carried the child for almost nine months before he suddenly stopped moving inside your belly.
No more brain activity, they said, reassuring you that the exhaustion that you had from splitting your days between classes, working on your part-time job, and supporting Namjoon in his games had nothing to do with it. But it was harder to convince Namjoon about it when his guilt had been planted too deep in his mind, when he still blamed himself for letting you join him on his away game and getting you sick days before it happened.
“It wasn’t your fault. It wasn’t anyone’s fault. It just happened!” you nearly screamed as you tried to make him see this, but then you took a deep breath and decided to try a different angle. “Look, I’ve gotten things figured out. I’m graduating in a few months and I’ve applied for a job at a law firm so that I can—”
“Good for you, then. I’ve always known that you would make it,” he cut you off before you could even begin to lay out your plans, everything that you had envisioned for when he would finally join you in the city. Namjoon had a smile on his face when he said this, and something in your head was telling you that nothing about it was right.
“I want you to be there with me. I’ve been waiting for the moment that you would finally come with me so we can make it together,” you said to him with a small voice while Namjoon only kept shaking his head.
“I can’t join you.”
You began moving your head from side to side. You hated the thought of giving him an ultimatum, but you knew that you could no longer put your life on hold for him. “I can’t wait for you until you change your mind on your own.”
The way Namjoon was looking at you made your heart stop, before you could feel a crack building when he said, “Then we’re at an impasse.”
“I suppose we are,” was the only thing you could say to him, though you could barely get the words out when your throat was caught, both with pain and anger. “I’ve spent days, weeks, worrying about you, planning and preparing for everything so you can join me—”
“Maybe you shouldn’t.”
Your heart was pounding so hard at this point that you could barely hear your own voice. “What do you mean?” you asked him, your voice almost strangled with the pain hurting you from within. You could almost hear it when your heart was starting to break apart, but you needed to be sure. “Are you saying—”
His eyes softened when he looked at you, even if you could see the hardness in them when he gave you a smile, giving you a false sense of sincerity when he said. “I’m saying that it’s not worth it. I’ll always love you, _____. But I don’t think this is going to work anymore. It’s obvious that we’re both walking in two different paths now. We’ll end up hurting each other if we continue doing this, you know that.”
You were too lost for words to speak, too broken to respond to him. Tears began to form in your eyes, but you refused to cry right in front of him. Breathing in deeply, you swallow all the pain down, letting your rage take its place.
“Fuck you, Namjoon. You’re right. It’s not worth it. I’m sorry I even wasted my time with you.”
That was the last thing you ever said to him before turning away, not giving him another glance when you walked away from him, leaving him and the town behind for good as you silently accepted the fact that you would never find your happy ending in this place. Not anymore.
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Present day…
[from Matthew] I’m sorry about what I said on the phone last night. I was feeling disappointed that I won’t get to see you this weekend and I unintentionally took it out on you. I hope you’re having a great time with your family. Please call me back.
You barely finish reading the whole text before shutting the app off and tossing the cellphone into your purse with a deep sigh. You turn away to look out the window, watching the trees and the hills passing by as Namjoon keeps on driving up the mountain roads, hoping that the silence and the sight of the scenery—even though you have them all covered under a blanket of snow—can calm you down before getting into the whole charade.
But nothing seems to go past Namjoon’s attention, when he only gives you a brief moment of silence before asking, “Is there something wrong?”
Pressing your lips together, you silently contemplate your answer. What are you supposed to tell him? That you had a fight last night through the phone call with your fiancé after letting him know that you will be staying a bit longer, that it is still unnerving to you just how mad your fiancé got after hearing that you are having an extended Christmas celebration with your family instead of coming home the next morning after Christmas dinner like you had promised him you would? Or should you tell him how upset your fiancé had been when you had accidentally sent him a photo of yourself at home while you weren’t wearing the engagement ring? That would surely start quite an interesting conversation with your husband—even if the title that he still carries would only last until the moment all of this charade is over.
“Nothing,” you finally answer him before turning to look at his face. Sometimes you still feel like you are dreaming when you see him driving this fancy four-wheel truck by himself. He used to hate driving through town, choosing to either ride with his friends or hitch a ride with your brother in his truck whenever he had to go to places that would have needed quite a drive from home. He seems to be a lot calmer and more collected now as he leads the truck up the tricky roads, knowing exactly where to go without so much of a fuss. Unlike back then when he had sat right by your side when you first learned how to drive.
“It’s just nerves,” you quickly add as soon as you notice that Namjoon is still expecting for you to explain. “I suppose it’s finally getting to me that we’re going to be holed up in one place, together with two families and a very attentive grandmother. And we’ll be coming in as an estranged married couple in the middle of it. Oh, let’s add the fact that I haven’t been in town for three years to know everything that’s been going on so I’m not completely sure just how we are supposed to pass Winny’s test with flying colours.”
Namjoon chuckles softly as he keeps his eyes on the road. “If you put it that way, I guess I’d be nervous about it too,” he says, suddenly reaching out to grab your hand and give it a little squeeze. “Don’t worry, we got this. We already had our stories lined up and I’m sure that she wouldn’t notice how detached you have been with the family and the whole town. She still thinks you’ve been away in school, after all.”
The touch that Namjoon gives you makes your chest stir a little. It has you growing rigid in your seat when your body seems to be reacting to him and yet you try your best to hide it. But the moment he pulls away, you immediately feel the loss. Your eyes follow his hand as he grips the steering wheel while you clench your hands on your lap, already missing his light touch and wishing to have his hand resting on yours again.
Grabbing your empty left hand with your right one, you clutch them together tightly to stop yourself from reaching out to him just as you respond to him, “That is true. But we need to make sure to remind my Mom not to talk about Missy’s pregnancy with her third child since it wouldn’t line up with the timeline.” You almost roll your eyes when you say this, since it is the only thing that your mother had been talking about during family dinners. Especially since your best friend had specifically asked your mother if she would be available to watch over the other two little ones when the time would come for the baby to arrive.
You almost grimace when you think about this. It’s not that you are not happy with Missy’s good news. But being near a pregnant woman had always made you feel uncomfortable, much less to hear it being talked about constantly. It doesn’t matter if she is your best friend and that she had been there during your own pregnancy and your loss, but being reminded of that phase in your life had been extremely hard for you to deal with.
“Dutifully noted,” Namjoon responds to you with a smile, unaware of where your mind had wandered off to. “How are your parents taking this, though? I know that this situation isn’t quite ideal and it doesn’t seem fair to get them all involved.”
You release a sigh. “It sure isn’t, but they try to understand. They both care about Winny, after all, so they didn’t question it too much. I think the prospect of getting to enjoy the holiday break outside of the house became their top priority to think about so they really don’t think much about everything else.”
Your parents had been surprised when you told them about your plans to join Namjoon and his family on their trip to the mountains. Whatever they had expected when you announced that you were going to see Namjoon and to have one of the most life-changing conversations of all, it was probably nowhere close to this, and neither of you could imagine it would end up this way. But then Namjoon extended his invitation to have your parents come along on the trip, and they simply stopped questioning it. Even if it has become pretty obvious that your father is still feeling a bit wary about the whole thing.
As the drive continues and the air grows denser, you are relieved that there is only the two of you in this ride, with your families traveling separately as they all left early at dawn to beat the bad weather. While Namjoon’s parents had gone to the mountain cottage first with Winny and his sister, you had convinced your parents and your dear uncle to join Bernie in his truck so that you can have some more time with Namjoon to plan things out properly. It had also been his idea to come together as a unit, showing a front that would please Winny by coming together in the same car as if you had been staying in the same old cabin that you had lived in with Namjoon since you came back.
“How do your parents feel about all of this?” you ask him in the middle of the conversation, just as you are reminded of his mother, who had treated you like a second daughter since you got married to Namjoon. You have grown so close to each other that she had even gone to the city with your parents to attend your graduation from law school three years ago.
“Just as I told you before, all we really want is for Winny to get better. No matter at what cost. They, uh—they know what we’re planning to do, but only to the point that we are going to be there together to indulge Winny. I can definitely say that the news had pretty much surprised my parents when I told them about you coming on this trip, but I think they’re just happy to know that you’re going to be there for her. That, and because we can finally have you joining our family this year.”
You nod your head, ignoring the feeling of longing blooming in your chest at the thought of meeting his family again. “How’s your Mom doing?”
Namjoon’s smile grows. “She’s doing great. She’s been busy with her shop downtown, but overall, I think she’s having the best time of her life with it,” he says, his eyes flickering between you and the road while his smile widens when he sees you smiling back.
“I’m glad to hear that. She had always wanted to do her own thing.”
“She’s also been helping me out at the bar. You know that she’s acting as the head manager, right? Practically Bernie’s boss and she gets to boss see around, even if I own the fucking place,” he says with a chuckle that rises up to a series of laughter after seeing your reaction to what he had just told you. “I’m serious! She was the first person to support me when I told everyone I was going to buy the property and rebuild the place. Then she got all excited when the place was coming together that she simply offered to get involved. She began by tending the bar with Bernie, making sure to help me run the whole thing once I officially had it open for business. She usually bartends during the day while serving lunch. You just happened to come during the days when she took a break and let Bernie work all day.”
Picturing yourself entering the bar with your mother-in-law standing behind the counter has you laughing amusedly. “I would have probably shocked her pants off if she had been there when I first came by.”
He gives you a small smile before he turns back to the road. “Especially with those papers in your hand,” you hear him muttering softly, though the rumbling sound of his truck drowns the words that you are not completely sure if you had heard him correctly. And he gives you no chance to question it when he makes a sudden turn, leaving the main road to drive through a long gravel-covered road until a fenced property comes to sight.
“We’re here,” he says as he drives through the wide opened front gate, slowing the truck down until a rather spacious plane of snow and a frozen pond appear, and the cottage—that does not fit its title at all—rises to view. The cottage, as Namjoon has called it, is a three-story mountain lodging with red brick walls, massive stone columns protruding on its sides. Large windows with rustic wood frames fill the sides of the lodge, overlooking the beautiful scenery of the snow covered mountains and trees, while the open balcony on the upper floor seems to be enough to fit the entire family to hang out on if anyone wants to stay out in the cold.
“This place looks amazing,” you find yourself muttering softly as you marvel at the beautiful sight of the building, while Namjoon remains silent as he drives his fancy truck to the side, finding the empty spot between Bernie’s fancy truck and your uncle’s older one that has already gotten covered with a thin veil of snow.
Namjoon sets the truck to a park before leaning back in his seat. Then he turns to you just as you look at him, a smile on his face when he says, “Thank you.”
It takes you a moment before you finally understand what he is trying to say.
“You built it,” you tell him rather than asking him for confirmation, and Namjoon gives you nothing but a smile to respond. “I thought you said your family is renting the place?”
Namjoon nods. “It belongs to the Mayor. But I was the one who helped build it, renovated it from the old hunting cabin that he inherited from his father to look the way it is now. All I did was added more floors and built bigger rooms inside to fit a whole family. It did make it easier for us to get a cheap price to stay here through Christmas because of that. The man is also an old friend of Winny’s from school, so I think that’s also the reason why he’s letting us use the place for as long as we want to.”
You open your mouth to make a comment, but find yourself unable to find the right words. You don’t even give the lodge another look, too amused at your husband. You have been hearing different things about him from the people around you—how much he has changed, how far he had turned his life around after you were gone, and you are beginning to see him in a different light.
In a way, it amuses you just how far he can go once he put his mind on it. On the other hand, it makes you feel—jealous, betrayed, dejected, because this is exactly what you had wanted from him years ago. This is the side of him that you had wanted to see, and all he did then was defy you, constantly refusing your help and support while not being able to see how much you wanted to help him become the person he is today. And it is somehow hurting you to find out that he had only chosen to start trying again once you were out of the picture, and only once you were no longer a part of his life.
Which only shows that he surely had not been doing all of this for you.
“Shall we come in? I have a feeling that everyone would have been waiting for us.” Namjoon glances towards the lodging before looking at you, keeping a smile on his face as he is still unaware of how you have your mind wandering off to the past or to even notice the hurt you are feeling in your chest.
Suddenly, not only does he appear to you like a new person, you only see him as a stranger. Perhaps he was right, after all, when he said that the two of you had been walking in different paths. That maybe it was not meant to be. That you had always meant to walk another path without him by your side. Somehow, keeping this thought only helps seal your mind into getting things done as soon as possible and return to the life waiting for you once this is all over.
“Alright, let’s get things rolling.”
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If you had been mesmerised by its outer skin, you find yourself getting more amused and astounded as Namjoon takes you inside the lodge.
His mother welcomes you at the front door with a big hug, lingering for a moment to squeeze you in her arms as if you are still the young girl she used to watch over when your parents were away. “It’s so good to see you again, ______,” she whispers to you, lowering her voice so that you would be the only one to hear her.
“I’m happy to see you again too,” you respond to her before you part ways, and you nearly tear up with emotions when you find her still smiling at you with her glossy eyes taking you in.
“Come say hi to everyone else.”
Letting Namjoon takes your hand in his, you walk hand-in-hand to enter the main living room where everyone is gathering, sitting and lounging on the loveseats with warm drinks and snacks that fill the air with their wonderful fragrance, no doubt Winny’s creation straight from her own kitchen. You linger briefly near the foyer to talk with your in-laws first, before greeting your parents who are joined by your uncle and Bernie near the fireplace. Right across the room, sitting close to the massive Christmas tree—one that appears to have been cut straight from the mountain forest before it was placed inside the room—together with Namjoon’s sister is Winny, who is looking straight at you with wide eyes and her smile hidden behind the cup she is holding up as she takes dainty sips of her drink.
Namjoon pulls you to his side as you walk away from your parents, brushing his lips across your temple as he whispers, “Don’t be nervous.”
“Got it,” you whisper back to him, giving him a smile as he pulls back. You let him guide you to grab a drink from the nearest table where the refreshments have been set up before walking over to greet Winny.
However, right before you can make it to the table and grab the hot chocolate drink that seems to be calling your name, Winny stops both you and Namjoon from moving across the room when she suddenly calls out,
“Stop. Hold it right there!”
Both you and Namjoon stop moving at the same time and your heartbeat begins to rise. You are practically clutching his hand tightly in yours and almost clinging onto his arm completely just to keep yourself from crumbling on the floor. Feeling completely scrutinised under Winny’s gaze, your nerves begin spiking up that you are too afraid to make a move. Just as you are beginning to feel the blood draining from your face, wondering if you had somehow shown a tell to blow this whole charade before it has any chance to start, a bright smile grows on Winny’s face, while her eyes are filled with mirth and joy and something else that you cannot truly decipher.
Suddenly, she raises a hand and points up, aiming right above your heads and says, “Look, you are standing right below a mistletoe. You know it’s a bad omen to step away from it without a kiss.”
Your heart drops, while Winny looks too adorably excited that you find no way to deny her. So you turn to your husband, meeting his wide eyes that are looking at you with pure confusion and doubt, before his gaze shows a silent understanding when he pulls you closer and wraps his arm around your waist. He gives you a small smile as his head dips, the mask that he has been wearing around you slipping from his face for the briefest moment before his lips are suddenly on yours, giving you a chaste kiss that feels too good and yet ends too soon. The kiss feels brief, and yet it is enough to set your whole body to come alive, to bring warmth rolling in waves from where he is kissing and touching you and all the way down to the tip of your toes.
And for some strange reason, you refuse to let this feeling fade away too soon. He tries to pull away once he ends the kiss, but you immediately wrap your arms around his neck to keep him close.
“Need to make it believable, remember?” you whisper against his lips, before pushing yourself up to your tiptoes so you can press your lips on his, starting with a chaste kiss that feels just as innocent as the one he gave you. Only that instead of pulling away, you press harder, moulding your lips with his to let it linger.
Namjoon grows stiff at first, before his hold on your body tightens, pulling you further into his chest as he begins to return the kiss with the same fervour, his tongue slipping out sneakily as he devours your lips to have a taste, and it has your body lighting up as if he had set up a flame somewhere deep within you.
A soft sigh escapes from your throat and it snaps you right out of it, clearing out your muddled brain to remind you of where you are. Ever so gently, you pull away, keeping your arms around him still when you open your eyes, finding him watching you with dilated eyes that are slowly filled with a hint of shock. Though you can easily see that there is also warmth in his gaze, a hint of longing that has your heart pinching tightly in your chest.
“Oh, that’s what I’ve been waiting to see, my favourite couple being full of love the way they always do,” Winny exclaims with a soft clap. Everyone in the room gives a burst of nervous laughter—except for Bernie who is standing in the corner with a knowing smile on his face and Namjoon’s mother who is watching you with a pair of glossy eyes that she quickly hides by turning to grab her glass from the table—but Winny doesn’t seem to notice this as she rises from her seat and makes her way towards the two of you.
“Look at you,” she says, taking your face in her palms just as Namjoon releases you from his hold. “You’ve become an elegant woman already. Oh, why did time have to move so fast? I used to be able to watch you grow and suddenly you are looking so mature it feels like time has completely slipped right out of me. ”
Guilt slowly seeps in, but you force a smile to your face when you answer her, “It’s good to see you again, Winny. I’m sorry I’ve been away.”
For a moment, the only thing that Winny does is to look at you, her gaze studying you closely with an intense look that you cannot possibly read even as you are looking at her closely. “I’ve missed you too, kiddo. But I’m glad to see you two back here together again,” she says, giving you an odd look on her face as she speaks, making you start questioning things silently and feeling your doubt brewing inside your head. Before you can think too much of it, Winny turns her gaze to Namjoon and smiles gently. “Joon must have felt relieved to see you back home.”
“Oh, I’m not so sure about that,” you try to lighten things up with a joke, though you still find it hard to hide the nervous chuckle bubbling from inside you. Noticing this, Namjoon wraps an arm around your waist and pulls you back to him, pressing you to his side.
“Don’t listen to her, Winny. Of course it makes me happy to have her home with me,” he says, once again planting a kiss on the top of your head.
Seeing this, Winny simply nods her head. “Well, I better let you kids go to your room and rest. I know it was a long drive. Go on, grab some hot chocolate and snacks or take your time to get settled in and come back down to have a drink with me once you’re ready.”
Once the short encounter is done, you part ways with Winny, giving her another hug before leaving the room. Namjoon takes you upstairs, leading you to the bedroom that you would be sharing with each other during your stay. He keeps holding your hand even when nobody is looking and he only lets you go once you are in the room.
“This is it. I hope it’s okay that we’re going to be holed up here for a while,” Namjoon smiles sheepishly while you turn your eyes away to find the king-sized bed in the middle of the room. All of a sudden, your body feels warm just thinking about sharing the room and perhaps split the bed with him. But then you hear Namjoon clearing his throat, possibly seeing the look on your face as discomfort and then points at the sofa bench placed in the corner of the room. “You can take the bed, and I can take the bench if that would make you feel more comfortable.”
You take a good look at the sofa that doesn’t exactly look comfortable to sleep on and simply cannot imagine him sleeping all night on that thing. But you say nothing about it. As if he takes your silence as a yes, Namjoon only smiles and nods at you. “Alright, I’ll leave you to change and unpack, maybe lie down for a moment. I know you might want to chill a little before going back out there. I’ll go down and grab the rest of our bags.”
He catches your gaze as you look up at him again, and his smile softens to whatever he sees in your eyes. “I won’t be long. I promise.”
“Okay.”
Namjoon closes the door gently behind him as he leaves the room, while you take a seat on the edge of the bed just as your knees are beginning to feel weak. Only then do you finally realise that your legs have been trembling for a while now, and the only reason why you even managed to keep on standing was simply because you had been holding tightly onto Namjoon’s arms the whole time.
You release a deep sigh as you are trying to wrap your head around everything. You have to admit, that you have been feeling as if you are walking in the clouds and it has been this way ever since you walked past the front door. It is not so much because of the ruse that you are feeling this way, but for everything around it. And for the most part, it is all because of Namjoon.
You had known that you would need to play your part in this whole thing, and you have been preparing for it for the past few days before coming here. The only thing that you had not expected was to have your whole mind and body reacting this way over a simple kiss.
The kiss that you shared with Namjoon had only been a show, one that had been completely unplanned—when neither of you had expected that Winny would be asking for such request only moments after you arrived—but you cannot deny and say that your body is only reacting to it now as a part of your scheme and it is left you questioning things when you are supposed to keep a clear head while getting into this.
This wouldn’t be the first time that Namjoon has affected you when you are with him.
For the purpose of planning the ruse and getting used to being with him again without feeling all the awkwardness and to stop you from acting like strangers with one another, you had been seeing him constantly—from going out on lunch dates with him and coming to the bar to see him at night—and while all those meetings have been nothing but friendly encounters, you cannot deny the way he has been making you feel.
At first, it had taken you a while to stop feeling uneasy for being around him and appearing in town together with him, but then the need to get used to each other’s presence again had been stronger than your past resentment to one another that you slowly got used to it. Until you soon found yourself easing into things as if everything around you had gotten back to the way they were.
The comfortable silence that would fall between you had seemed like a warm blanket more than it gave you the awkwardness that you had feared to find when you had first thought about spending time with him. The light touches that he had given you—the ones that you let him do while telling yourself that it had to be done as practice—kept giving your body all the odd tingles that had been surprising but was never unwelcome.
Sitting here alone while thinking about all of this, you also notice how it suddenly feels like there is a void inside your chest that has been growing since the moment he walked out the door, as if you had grown so used to his presence that you had been clinging to it for comfort. The silence that accompanies you in his absence is not only making you feel the presence of the void even more, but it is giving you a chance to think, to look back into the past few days while wondering why the light tremors that his kiss had ignited in you have yet to fade.
A part of you seems to be telling you that perhaps being with him has awakened the feelings that you had felt for him but left buried for years. But you ignore the voices, denying that you may still have a lingering feeling for him left. Perhaps you still do care about him, perhaps you always have, but you are not quite sure if this feeling is anything close to the fierce, burning love that you used to have for him.
Perhaps what you have for him is nothing more but an infatuation, and it is building up inside you only because you are seeing him as a different person and not as the man that you had left behind.
Yes, that is simply what this is and nothing more, you keep convincing yourself even as you press your fingers on your lips, tracing the lingering sparks that have been left there from his kiss.
Closing your eyes, you take a deep breath to gather your resolve back, reminding yourself the reason why you had come here in the first place. Soon, everything will be over, and you will be free to move on, to leave all of this behind without any regret. Whatever Namjoon makes you feel would be temporary, and you have no doubt that it all stems from the memory that you had together in the past, the nostalgia that still remains in your head and not because you simply still love him or care about him the way you used to be in the past.
As you wait for Namjoon to return, you keep repeating this to yourself, refusing to give in to the illusions carried by your old, buried feelings, while convincing yourself to be stronger, hoping that your words alone would be enough to get you through this charade in one piece.
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The moment dinner time arrives in the evening, you only find that none of the things you kept telling yourself all day even mattered, or if any of them truly worked. Not when your mind keeps bringing you back to the kiss that you shared with Namjoon even as you are sitting among the others at the dinner table. And with Namjoon sitting right beside you, his presence serves as both the comfort that you need and, at the same time, the catalyst, when he ignites every spark, every reaction, and—every time you would look at him and your eyes would find his lips again—every flash of memory from the kiss.
No matter what you have done to try and get that moment out of your head, there is no stopping you from rewinding it again to yourself. There is no denying that—even if you keep telling yourself that it didn’t matter—the kiss still rattles you in a way that your body continues to react so easily to him. Your body shudders to each brush of his hand through dinner or whenever he leans closer to speak. Your skin would tingle when he is pressing to your side as he eats his meal. The fact that you are simply unable to avoid every gesture he is openly showing to the others at the table to play his part as the dotting husband only makes you feel more hyperaware of his presence. And it is certainly giving you quite a challenge, when you need to constantly hold back and hide all the shudders he brings forth within you, preventing it from showing out for everyone else who is present to see.
“You know how proud I am to hear about how well you’re doing in school, don’t you? I’ve told this to Joon time and time again since you started school again, but we all have hopes for you to make it big,” Winny says, turning to you after you saw her talking to your mother.
Feeling all the attention that seems to be drawn to you all so suddenly, you can only chuckle nervously while shifting in your seat, barely realising that you would lean a bit closer to Namjoon when this happens. “I don’t know about reaching anything big, but—” You turn to glance at Namjoon, gauging at his reaction and using his smile the encouragement that you need to keep on talking. “I do enjoy being in school, and I can’t wait to graduate soon and see where it leads me.”
The lie feels bitter on your tongue, but it is nothing compared to the guilt you feel in your chest for deceiving your grandmother-in-law.
Meanwhile, Winny simply nods, completely unaware of the turmoil that you are having.“Namjoon has also been making me proud. I think he wants to prove to himself and to the family that he can keep up with you. He’s shown me this bar he’s been working on and I think he’s doing quite a great job on it.”
The pride in her eyes is contagious, and you find yourself smiling proudly as you turn to Namjoon. “Well, he sure has been surprising me with a lot of what he’s been doing. I’ve been spending my time at the bar with him since I got back and I love seeing what he had done to the place.”
To your pleasure, Namjoon appears embarrassed to hear your compliment. A shy smile appears on his face and he dips his head to hide the blush forming on his skin. But then he reaches out to grab your hand gently in his and starts running his thumb absentmindedly on your knuckles when he speaks again, “I’m glad to hear that, coming from you. You have been my inspiration behind everything that I’ve been doing, after all.”
He looks straight into your eyes as he says those words, and a shiver instantly runs down your spine when you can clearly see the sincerity in the way he is looking at you. As if those words were real. Then you look away just as your face grows hot, finding Bernie sitting at the end of the table while giving you a knowing look. Everything that he said to you from the other day rings inside your head, and your heartbeat picks up.
“Joon here did all of this by himself—with a lot of our help, of course. Said he did it all for—”
There is no way, you tell yourself, refusing to let your mind go anywhere that you really have no right to venture into. But you keep these thoughts to yourself, forcing a smile to your face and holding it together as Namjoon brings your hand up and presses a kiss on the back of your hand. The gesture instantly sparks a reaction through your body, a delightful spark that you haven’t felt for a long time comes shooting through your skin, and you find yourself unable to look away, completely hypnotised by his warm gaze that keeps drawing you closer to him, and the touch that seems to bring back all the emotions that you had once thought had been lost.
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The rest of the dinner simply flew by like a fleeting dream. Though it didn’t stop you from slipping away from the others only an hour after dinner has been wrapped up to find a place to hide.
You had managed to hold yourself together through the rest of the dinner without so much of a blunder even with the continuous moments you find yourself getting too lost inside your head for all the feelings that Namjoon had brought up in you.
And he was not the only one who had made you feel these things.
Sitting outside the lodge, you can hear the voices coming from inside. You can tell that everyone is currently doing their own thing to enjoy the night. You can hear the sound of your parents laughing from the seating lounge as they are keeping Winny company near the fireplace while Namjoon’s parents are no doubt enjoying their drinking party with Bernie in the kitchen pantry. The last time you saw Namjoon was right before you stepped out onto the porch, catching the sight of him having an intense conversation with his sister in the living room and away from the others.
Being around everyone, having both families joined together and sharing this moment have been enjoyable, and it was surprising to see just how easy it has been for you to dive right back in despite how long you have been away from them. Watching everyone interact and enjoy their dinner left you swamped with emotions, just the way it did during your family dinner the other night when everyone was present, laughing and chatting as if the time when you were gone had been non-existent. You felt exactly the same way earlier, and it had made you somewhat uneasy, when it felt both like coming home while making you feel like a fraud at the same time.
As if you no longer deserved to be sitting here among them, indulging in the warmth of their companion and acting like a member of the family when you haven’t been one for a long time.
It had become too overwhelming when you still couldn’t shake the feeling off even after dinner had ended that you simply had to get away, and that was the reason why you have found yourself here, sitting on the long wooden bench—one that looks a bit too similar to the old wooden bench you have back at home—to find solace and perhaps have your peace with the silence as your companion. You were also hoping that being out here would give you a chance to clear your head before heading up to your room to end the night, but your mind keeps wandering all over the place, taking you back to the events happening throughout the day and sometimes way back to the past where everything had seemed to be perfectly in control, before it had gone into a complete mess.
“A penny for your thoughts?”
You nearly jump at Namjoon’s deep voice as he appears at the door, smiling amusedly at you. “God, you scared me,” you mutter softly while pressing a hand over your heart, hoping that it would calm back down.
“Sorry,” he chuckles at you as he leans against the wooden doorframe. “What are you doing out here in the cold?”
You press your lips together, wondering just what to say to him, though you immediately realise what a mistake it would be to hide these things from him. Not when he is the only one currently on your side.
“I just need to do some thinking on my own,” you finally tell him with a shrug, and his gaze softens. “Where’s everyone?” you ask him when you realise that the voices coming from inside have gone down.
Namjoon glances over his shoulders and takes a look inside through the open door briefly before turning back to you. “Most of them have gone up to their rooms, including Winny. Our Dads are planning to go to the shop early in the morning for the barbecue lunch tomorrow so they’re settling down early. The only ones left are Bernie and your uncle who are trying to work on finishing that bottle of whiskey I brought them earlier,” he says, chuckling softly before his warm gaze returns. “And then there’s us.”
“And then there’s us,” you mutter softly, mirroring his words with a small voice.
You bite your lips, hating how powerless you are against the flutters forming inside you and how surprisingly good it feels. The warmth in your belly feels comforting, but it makes you grow wary to let it linger for far too long. You should be standing up and start to make your leave, and then hide in the bedroom instead of sitting here under his gaze and enjoying the way he is making you feel. Suddenly, you feel like a teenager again, the same way you felt when you hid away with him during one of the parties that your school friends were holding at the time and he had ended up giving you your first kiss.
“Mind if I join you?” he asks you gently while his eyes never once stray away from you, and you find yourself unable to refuse.
You should say no to him and walk away, the small voice inside your head whispers to you, telling you to retreat for the night and walk away from him. It would be much safer, the voice speaks, and you can swear that you can hear it trembling, filled with the fear of having the wounds that you had once carried inside you returning. But the pounding in your heart becomes stronger, drowning the voices that keep sending you all the warning signs, and the words simply slip out before you can stop them,
“No, go ahead.”
A smile of relief comes to his face and he walks over to take the empty seat next to you while you slide away to give him space. You still haven’t gotten used to the new muscular built he is now sporting that you almost forget that he wouldn’t fit easily to your side so you cannot escape it when he brushes against you. The bench groans a little as he drops himself right next to you while he instantly engulfs you with his warmth. Goosebumps begin to form on your skin even without him touching you directly that you just lean back, trying your best not to make it obvious by rubbing your hands on your arms to hide it.
“It’s quite a lot to take in, isn’t it?” he suddenly asks you, keeping his voice low enough that you almost miss it. You turn to him to find him smiling at you while you have no idea how to respond. “I’m sorry for putting you through this.”
Swallowing hard, you can only nod your head slowly. “I wouldn’t say you are solely responsible in all of this. We wouldn’t have been in this spot if I hadn’t come to rush you into—”
Signing the divorce papers.
Shoot. For a while there you had almost forgotten the real reason why you are here in the first place and why you had agreed to become a part of this whole ruse. There is an icy prick poking in your chest when you are reminded that this whole thing has a time limit, and it surprises you to feel this way. There is no way you would want this whole thing to carry on, not when you have another life waiting for you. Another story for you to live through.
Another man who is waiting for you to return.
You shake your head, still cannot believe how easily you find yourself straying away from what you are meant to do. You should have expected this, when you knew what you were getting into by joining this trip. But it had somehow slipped your mind completely to prepare yourself against this, to remember that Namjoon would not be the only one that would be able to draw out all the memories and to stir your heart. Regardless of all the lies, the secrets that you are still keeping from everyone, and the horrible charade you are playing, you cannot deny how it makes you feel like you are finally home.
For years, you had thought that being here would only bring back all the hurt, that you would be constantly reminded of your painful past when all of the elements are present together. But it had turned out that the only things that have been brought back up while you are with everyone who are dear to your heart are the memory of the love that you had shared with them, the good times, and the comfort of coming home.
And for some reason, there is a part of you that doesn’t mind being here, to forget the world outside of this bubble and the life where this warm feeling doesn’t exist. Letting this thought linger inside your head, you find yourself admitting it loudly to Namjoon about it before you can stop it.
“I have to admit that I’ve missed all of this. To be around the family, to hear Bernie’s dirty jokes. And most importantly, being around Winny,” you mutter softly, turning to him with a smile just as you stop yourself from admitting how much you have missed the part of your life which you had once shared with him, only because you would have to admit that you have been missing him too. “I was nervous about meeting them all at once, but everyone was enjoying themselves that I just got into the festive mood pretty easily.”
“I think we both did pretty well for the first round,” Namjoon says, nodding his head.
“I’ll say,” you chuckle softly at him. “Though, I do admit—being around Winny for too long makes me nervous. Sometimes I’ll find myself talking to her and then the moment she brings up something from three years ago as if they had just happened, I’ll feel so guilty that I just want to admit everything.” You look back with a sigh. “Especially when she brought up the candy apple. I probably would’ve bawled my eyes out and told her that the last fair we went to together happened 4 years ago and not last year if you hadn’t come to change the topic.”
Namjoon laughs softly as he recalls that moment, when he came to the rescue at the perfect time while you were stuttering in front of Winny while she was reminiscing about the old town’s fair that you had gone to together. “All I did was look at your eyes and I knew you were panicking. I did what I had to do.”
“My saviour,” you whisper to him with a teasing tone in your voice, making him smile.
“That’s what teammates do, be there for each other,” he says, speaking in a low voice that warms your skin. He falls silent for a moment when your gazes meet each other, and the playfulness in his eyes fades. “We used to make a great team, you and I.”
We certainly did, the small voice in your head responds to him, just as a painful twist appears in your chest. The betrayal that you had felt before when you thought about his changes comes stabbing deeper into your chest, and it grows even deeper when you remind yourself that you are no longer a part of his life, just as much as he is no longer a part of yours.
“Don’t do that,” you say to him as you look away, avoiding his gaze that suddenly feels so intense that it nearly burns you just by looking back at him. “Let’s not go there, Namjoon.”
The way he is looking at you makes you feel exposed, that no matter what you do to shield yourself and hide from him, he can still make you feel as if you are holding out your heart, that you are baring your soul for him to see. So you keep your eyes looking away, focusing on the trees around the lodge instead of letting him see through your facade.
“Why not?” he whispers, and you realise that in your effort of trying to avoid him and to push him away, Namjoon has shifted closer. You can feel his arm resting on the backrest behind you while his warmth comes pressing to your side. “Can’t I talk about the good old past? We were sharing all the great memories from when we were kids and we even acted like how we used to be in the past. Is it not okay to just talk about it, for old time sake?”
“That—that’s different and you know it,” you respond to him with a voice barely a whisper. And you hate the way your body is truly reacting to him, as your skin grows hot when you feel his warm breath falls against you, brushing softly right where the top of your sweater falls over from your shoulders. A faint scent of whisky wafts between you and you lift your eyes to him. “Are you drunk? Is that why you’re not making sense right now? Or did you hit your head on your way out here?”
Namjoon laughs and shakes his head. “You know I barely had any alcohol through dinner. Neither of us did since we promised to stay sober while we’re around Winny, remember?” he says with a chuckle, and you begin to regret turning to look at him. You have failed to realise how much closer he is to you now, that he is basically leaning over you and keeping you trapped against the bench with nowhere to escape. His eyes are dark, and there is something in his gaze that you have not seen for a long time as he keeps looking at you. His presence feels intimidating, intense, leaving you completely entranced that you can barely hold back from leaning closer and letting yourself be drawn to him.
“I only took a shot of whiskey from Bernie and your uncle before I walked out here to find you, but my head is still as clear as day. I’m only curious, are you saying that you didn’t feel a thing when we kissed? Do I not make your heart race anymore?”
Your mouth falls open, both in shock and for finding yourself almost giving him the answer that he seems to be searching for.
Because the answer is yes.
Yes, you did feel something—a lot of things—when you kissed him under the mistletoe and right in front of your families who knew nothing about the deal you have made with each other.
Yes, he makes your heart race, just the way he is doing it now, simply by being so close, for having his face leaning close to yours that you clench your hands tightly to stop yourself from reaching out and pulling his head so you can devour his lips again.
And yes, your heart is still racing, not only because of his presence, but also because of the way he is looking at you as if you are a mystery for him to unfold. The curiosity, the astonishment, the wonder—you can see it all, all the emotions dancing in his eyes, and you wonder if you are showing him all the same thing when you return his gaze while your face is burning under his gaze.
But you take a deep breath, willing your body to stop reacting to him and swallow hard. “Everything is in the past, Joon. Right where we left it. And we’ve moved on from it.”
Namjoon clenches his jaw, though there is a glint of his amusement in his eyes when he says, “We did leave all of that behind, didn’t we?” His voice comes out so soft that it almost seems like he is questioning himself rather than expecting an answer from you. Then his sly grin returns when he lifts his hand, brushing against your forearm that shows under the sleeves of your sweater, his fingers tracing gently on your skin before he begins trailing them upwards ever so slowly, all the way to your shoulder.
“Do you really not feel anything anymore? Not even when I touch you like this?” Then he stops, only for a brief moment, before you feel his fingers moving to brush your hair away, exposing the nape of your neck, where he then runs a featherlight touch with his long fingers until he draws a shudder through your body. ”Not even when I do this?” he whispers, keeping his eyes on you the entire time to watch your reaction, no doubt catching the way your eyes are dilating to his touch or the way your breath hitches right when the tip of his fingers brush against the sensitive spot beneath your ear.
“No,” you answer him, but even you know that your answer holds no truth when you are trembling against him, and your voice has come out breathless, almost to a sigh, when the shudders running through your body is still existent and you can no longer fight against it.
Namjoon must have caught on to how your body is truly reacting to him no matter how much you try to hide it, because he only seems to keep leaning closer, his head dipping lower, coming so close that you are suddenly feeling his lips ghosting over yours, just a hairbreadth away from yours when he finally stops himself.
“And you won’t feel a thing if I kiss you right now? A real kiss, not a part of a show where we have audiences watching and expecting us to perform for them?” he whispers against your lips. “There is only you and me out here, Baby Doll. Nobody else but us.”
He looks down at you for a long, silent moment before he dips his head, placing a chaste kiss on your lips. He pulls away right after, just far enough to what you imagine as a way for him to gauge your reaction. He looks at you for another beat of a moment before he does the same thing. He dips his head, giving you a brief, closed-mouthed kiss, lingering for a moment longer this time, before he slowly pulls away again.
This time, you are the one searching for his eyes. Deep down, you both know just how wrong this is. How this cannot happen. And most importantly, why this should never happen. But right now, it doesn’t seem to matter. The pull between the two of you which you had once thought had somehow vanished right before you left is still there and you cannot seem to shake it off. Not when he is this close, with his warmth rolling between you and the shadow of his touches still ripples on your skin.
Maybe it is due to the fact that you are stuck in this place together. Maybe the entire night of reminiscing the past and having his grandmother doting you as if you had never left makes you feel like you are right where you belong. Maybe it is the melancholy, knowing that this would be the last time, that you would have to let him go for good once everything is over, no matter what history you have had together and what you still feel for each other. But there is a strong feeling of need inside you that makes you want him more now in a way that you haven’t felt before. And it is taking over you to the point that you can no longer hold back.
When he dips his head toward you again, only after noticing how you no longer have your guards up against him, you slide your hands up his chest, grabbing onto his shirt and pulling him into you. You part your lips, almost begging him to deepen the kiss, and he happily obliges, sliding his tongue against yours before he trails it over your bottom lip.
You can taste the bite of alcohol on his tongue and you pull him even closer. The move seems to snap him out of his final restraint, and he is suddenly reaching out for you, no longer holding back. His hand slides up your back, fisting into your hair as he moves the other to start fumbling with your knitted sweater. He somehow manages to slide his hand inside, then wraps the same hand around your waist to pull you even closer, almost lifting you onto his lap.
You gasp softly against his lips as his hand reaches behind you, finding the zipper of the dress you have been wearing underneath the sweater and starts sliding it down. You must have been so distracted by his kiss that you fail to realise how your cardigan had slipped right off your shoulders, giving him more leeway in doing the same with the strap of your dress, and he pulls back just as the front of your dress falls over, exposing your covered breasts to his eyes.
A soft groan slips out of Namjoon’s lips when his gaze falls on your heaving chest, while pure hunger appears in his eyes, dark and intense, making you grow hot just by having him rake his gaze all over you. He wastes no more time as his hand finds your breast, touching you gently while he uses his other hand to slip behind you, unfastening your bra so easily as if he has done this to you many times before. You think nothing of it when you simply lean forward, pressing your lips on the nape of his neck while he makes a quick work on your clothes—unhooking your bra with what seems to be a flick of his wrist before sliding his hand underneath, trailing his fingers across your skin all the way from your back and then coming around to find your breast. He slides the straps of your bra off your shoulders, his fingers finding the sensitive skin around your nipple, making its tip harden before he finally rubs a thumb across the nub.
His lips suddenly find yours again just as the touch draws a gasp right out of you, though he doesn’t stop you from moaning into his mouth as he begins to devour your lips with more heat and hunger while he keeps touching you, sending surges of pleasure all through your body with the light traces of his long fingers. You hear a soft grunt coming out of his throat, but you continue kissing him, refusing to let him stop or to let any drop of doubt fall between you. While his touches remain on your skin, you reach out to him and begin to fumble with the buttons of his shirt, suddenly having the urge to feel his skin, to bask in his warmth, and to feel him shudder under your touch the same way he is doing it to you.
Just as you tug on his shirt, a deep groan rumbles from his chest again and his grip on your waist tightens just as he pulls you up to his lap. The move happens so suddenly that you can barely stop yourself from falling against his chest with a soft gasp. Then his lips are quick to return to yours, capturing the rest of the sounds you are making both in your shock and as you are drowning in the heat of the moment as he devours your mouth, pouring his desire more freely now that you are reacting and reciprocating his actions.
Your hands are trembling as you blindly release the buttons of his shirt, taking them off one and a time with your eyes closed and his kisses distracting you just as his hands are pressing on your curves, touching you wherever he can reach. You can only faintly hear the sound of him clearing his throat through your muddled senses, and yet he makes no move to pull away and you continue on pressing your lips on his, arching your chest to him, letting your body melt against his as your hips begin to sway, rolling over his lap as you press down against his groin.
The sound that you heard comes back, growing louder, and it takes you a while before you realise that the sound is coming from somewhere else and it wasn’t Namjoon who has been clearing his throat in the middle of kissing you. Both of you instantly pull away from each other as you realise this and Namjoon finally notices the sound. The soft cough returns again and you turn to look at the door just as Namjoon instantly pulls you to his chest to hide your exposed chest for your intruder to see, and your heart plunges in your chest when you see Bernie standing there, looking overly intoxicated after his drinking game with your uncle with a sick grin showing up on his face.
“Ah, sorry to interrupt. Didn’t see you two out here. Was checking to see if the door’s locked and there you are,” he says, slurring a little as he points between the door and the outer side of the porch. Meanwhile, you can feel your face burning hot with shame, though you are glad that Namjoon managed to snap right out of it a bit faster to cover your body from Bernie’s eyes, though you aren’t even quite sure if he can see either of you that well through the dark while he is being so heavily drunk.
As if he notices the way Namjoon is hiding you from him—and most probably only realising now that both you and Namjoon are looking like little deers caught in headlights—Bernie raises his hands in surrender and says, “Don’t worry, I didn’t see anything. Scout’s honour.”
While you are still left speechless in your shock, Namjoon chuckles softly. “You go on up and head to bed, Bernie. We’ll make sure to lock the doors up before we come up.”
“Sure thing, Joonie,” Bernie says, nodding like a child before he clumsily turns around and makes his way back through the door. His large frame keeps brushing harshly against the doorframe before he manages to slip right in. You are just beginning to breathe a sigh of relief and are telling yourself that perhaps he really did see nothing, when Bernie suddenly looks over his shoulder and asks, “Don’t you kids think it would be better to do it in your room? It’s freezing out here.”
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“So—how are we going to do this?”
Namjoon lifts his brows at your question and you can see the humour painting his gaze. “Simple. We sleep. I’ll take the sofa and you can keep the whole bed.”
You hold back the urge to roll your eyes at him and sigh, keeping your eyes on him as he stands right beside the bed while you stand on the other side. The heated moment that you shared with him at the porch had been instantly ruined when Bernie caught you both and things had only grown awkward and tense between you since. You could barely look at him when you were both fixing up your clothes and took your time to cool down. Then, once he had made sure that the coast was clear, Namjoon pulled you inside, locking the doors behind you before taking you all the way to the bedroom. Only to once again find yourselves surrounded with an air filled with tension once you were both secured in the confinement of your bedroom.
Your face still feels warm after what had happened downstairs—including the part where you had gotten caught right in the midst of it. As your mind flies back to that moment, your skin tingles right where he was touching you. Your breasts instantly grow hot and tight at the memory of his hands and fingers touching and brushing across your nipples that are now beginning to grow hard beneath your nightshirt. Afraid that he can see it through the thin fabric of your shirt, you cross your arms around your chest, pressing all the delicate tingles down while hiding the way your body is still reacting to him. Though it doesn’t stop you from running your gaze on him, noticing how the material of his shirt seems to cling onto his broad chest and wide shoulders so perfectly well that it barely serves its purpose in covering his body.
At least he is wearing something, you inwardly sigh.
After getting into the bedroom earlier, you had practically run and gone to hide in the bathroom to avoid him. After taking your sweet time washing up and getting yourself ready to bed, you had then returned to the bedroom to find him standing there only in his boxers. The way you had completely forgotten that Namjoon had always slept in the nude when you were still together almost had you screaming. Telling him to put a shirt on and making him promise to at least keep his boxers on had been the first few things that you said to him, much to his amusement. At least it had been entertaining enough for him to do exactly what you asked him to.
You look away before he would notice you staring at his chest. When your eyes fall on the sofa bench which Namjoon keeps insisting to sleep on, you simply grimace, unable to imagine him fitting his hard body on top of the small-sized furniture the way he keeps claiming he would. “No, that won’t do,” you find yourself muttering as you wonder about this. Hearing this, Namjoon tilts his head.
“What do you mean?”
“I’m talking about you, sleeping there,” you point out between him and the sofa before shaking your head. “When there is a perfectly good sized bed right here.”
Namjoon raises his brows and barely holds back his amused smile when he teases you, “Are you trying to seduce me into joining you in bed, Baby Doll?”
“You know what I mean,” you say to him, narrowing your eyes. “I’m only saying that instead of letting me have this whole bed while you torture yourself into that tiny thing, why don’t we just—use the bed?” You stop for a brief moment, trying to ignore the way your cheeks are heating up before adding with a small voice, “Together.”
Namjoon’s eyes are glowing with glee when he questions you about it. “So you have nothing untoward planned for me? We’re just going to—sleep?”
“Funny. That would be the last thing I’d ever do. And we’re not just going to split the space by pointing between us to decide which of us gets which side,” you continue by pointing at his side to your side. “You can take that side and I’ll take this side. And then—” Giving him a sweet smile, you pull a thick pillow from the pile of them resting against the bed’s headboard, fluffing it in your hands a few times before placing it in the middle and add, “These pillows, the ones that we won’t be using to sleep, will be here in the middle.”
Namjoon’s eyes fall onto the pillow and his smile falls as you continue to add more pillows right in the middle of the bed and make it look like a fort. “You’re making a barrier?”
“Yep.”
“You’re creating a line with pillows.”
“Exactly. And it’s a fort, actually.”
Namjoon looks up and raises his eyebrows at you. “Let me guess, we’re not allowed to trespass each other’s territory?”
Clapping your hands, you make a sound like he had just the grand prize in a big quiz. “That’s right. No crossing over to this area if you don’t want to get your balls kicked.”
He looks at you, looking genuinely surprised, before he starts laughing. “Alright, Baby Doll. Whatever you say.”
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Warmth comes trickling as the morning slowly sneaks in, brushing against your skin like delicate fingers teasing you to wake up, coaxing you to embrace the morning for a fresh start. As you slowly come awake, you breathe in deeply, inhaling the familiar musky scent that feels like home, wrapping you alongside the two gentle arms that are keeping you comfortable and safe in a loving embrace. And then the sound of a steady heartbeat begins to pick up, slowly rising, sounding clearer and clearer, inviting, mesmerising, and you snuggle against it, embracing the warmth that comes with it, only to notice that you are no longer snuggling against the soft pillows that you had been resting on all night.
It takes you another moment before you are finally pulled out of your slumber completely, before finding yourself resting on something solid, that there is a warm surface present under your palm. The smooth texture of Namjoon’s shirt appears to your bleary eyes when you slowly open them, letting you know that you have somehow gone over the pillow fort, and had landed on top of his hard chest instead. With your head right on top of his beating heart, your palm resting over his abdomen, and your legs entwined together, it simply appears as if you had locked onto one another in your sleep.
Namjoon’s breathing is still steady, even if he has one of his arms resting around your waist. Trying to relax as not to startle him awake, you begin to rake your brain to find a way to slip right out of his clutch without waking him up. The first thing you do is to slip your legs out of his, before gently peeling yourself from him, only to have his arm tightening around you to stop you from moving away.
“Where are you going?” His voice sounds deep and hoarse with sleep, but it stirs something deep inside you like a flame licking from within. It has you clenching your thighs together, your body going stiff against him before giving in to his embrace and simply remain to lie motionless on top of his chest.
“I—I’m sorry, I have no idea how—”
Namjoon’s chest rumbles as he chuckles softly. “Did I say I mind it?” he asks you, keeping his eyes closed while he is moving his fingers absentmindedly up and down your upper arm, while the palm that is pressing on your waist is still ever-present, holding you against him while he is caressing you gently. You look up just as he slowly opens his eyes, looking down on your face with something intense in his gaze, making you want to melt against him instead of pushing yourself off of him.
“This shouldn’t have happened,” you whisper softly, only realising now just how close your face is to his.
Namjoon’s lips twitch, forming a small grin. “I’m not the one who went over the fort that you built,” he says to you teasingly. You should be angry at his words, at whatever it is he seems to be accusing you of, but it is hard to think clearly when you have his lips brushing against your temple and when your heartbeat begins to race with the rising heat burning inside your belly.
“It’s still wrong,” you whisper with a sigh, closing your eyes when Namjoon tugs you up against his chest and continues to run his gentle kisses on your face.
“I’m not the one making the rules.”
You slowly push yourself up and he plants a kiss right at the tip of your nose, drawing a gasp out of you. “I should get up and—”
“And?” he asks, though he doesn’t make any move to let you go. He simply lies there beneath you, keeping his eyes on your face to gauge at your reaction, waiting, with his lips hovering so close that all you have to do is push yourself upward so your lips can touch.
But you do nothing as such, letting him hold you to his chest, unable to look away. You feel like you are getting drawn further into him, the pull that has been present now making itself known. One moment, you are simply there, listening to the steady thrum of his heartbeat that nearly matches yours. You have no idea who makes the first move, but his lips are suddenly on yours, brushing gently just as you lightly press your lips against him in return. A soft sound slips out of you when he gently takes your bottom lip and gives a light suck, and that is when the remaining restraint you have between you simply snaps.
With a light pull, he tugs you until you are on top of him, your legs resting on either side of him while you straddle his hips, pressing your pulsing center right on top of his covered hard-on. Your hands are clutching tightly on his shirt while you mould your lips together. He slides his tongue right at the seam of your lips, making his way in to deepen the kiss. Everything becomes a blur of heated desire with your tongues clashing against one another, his hands running up and down your curves while you slip your fingers through the hem of his shirt, slipping beneath the fabric, desperate to feel his skin.
While your fingers begin tracing blindly on the hard ridges of his abs, your hips begin to move, swivelling and rolling against him to rub your pulsing core against his covered cock, feeling him hardening and growing stiff under the heat of your desire. A deep groan comes rumbling from his chest before he gives one tight grip on your waist, holding you right in place as he moves his hips, reciprocating every motion you make while his other hand slides under your nightshirt, finding it easy to slide right in when its hem has hiked up to your hips as you continue riding on his groin. It doesn’t take much for him to find your breasts, continuing where he left off last night without any bra present as a barrier this time as you had opted to sleep without it. His palm feels warm against your mound, and he waits no longer before he begins fondling on your soft flesh, kneading and tugging while his fingers find your hardened nipple and gives you a light pinch.
You release a cry into his mouth, letting his kiss drown your voice. Your body trembles at the way he is playing with your body, the way he seems to find the right rhythm to draw out the delightful sparks of pleasure rising from deep within your core. With your nails buried on his chest, you keep on grinding against his covered cock and pressing hard right where it makes you feel good. You continue to ride the waves, letting them build up and continue to rise until you can feel yourself reaching to the edge, getting closer and closer, already losing balance as your legs are trembling around him.
Feeling how close you are to climax, Namjoon slides his other hand down your shirt, cupping your other breast with his palm and begins to do the same as he did the other. As you press down harder against him, he sucks on your lips harder, giving your nipples a rough pinch to draw your cries, and you can start feeling yourself plunging, flowing over the edge and—
The sound of someone banging on the door makes you both jump. For a moment, everything is spinning and you nearly come tumbling down from on top of him. But Namjoon is quick to catch you. His hands are still hidden beneath your shirt, but he is now holding you by the waist, keeping you still while you are both breathless. You are still feeling terribly flushed and your heartbeat seems to take forever to settle down, even if you can still clearly see the burning need in his eyes when you look at him. His own skin still looks flushed and his lips are swollen after all the biting and sucking you did while devouring them in the heated moment.
Neither of you says a thing to each other, or to even try and respond to whoever is on the other side of the door, until the banging sound returns.
“Joonie, you’re up?” Your father-in-law calls for him from outside, and Namjoon releases a groan. Closing his eyes, he lets his head fall back to the pillows.
“I’m up!”
“Good, I’m driving down to the nearest store to buy some supplies for the grill. You coming? Your dad-in-law is driving.”
Namjoon lets out another groan and pulls you down. He buries one hand in your hair as he holds you to him, pressing his lips on yours for a brief kiss before he whispers, “I have to go. He won’t shut up if I’m not up to help him.”
You open your mouth, but your head is still muddled and everything seems so fuzzy for you to even say much. “Okay,” you simply whisper, nodding your head before letting him help you lie back down on the bed.
“Get some more rest,” he says, brushing his lips against yours as he hovers on top of you. “We’ll continue this once I’m back.”
With those words, Namjoon presses a gentle kiss on your lips, before pushing himself up and leaves the bed. He quickly grabs his pants, getting ready to go just as his Dad comes banging on the door once more. “I’m coming,” he shouts back, though he makes another stop to kiss the top of your head before he makes his way out, keeping the door from opening too wide to hide your flustered state from his father when he slides out the door.
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The moment Namjoon is gone, the entire warmth that you have felt since the moment you woke up just seems to have been sucked dry along with his departure. The silence that falls after also feels too deafening and you find it hard to process everything and understand what had just happened. It feels like you have been dreaming, that nothing is real, and it gets even harder to think clearly and to snap right out of the remaining fog of your desire when you can still breathe in his scent which has been plastered all around you—the pillows, the sheets, even on your hair and skin.
Deciding that it would only get you nowhere if you simply remain there and wallow in your loneliness, you run to the bathroom, hoping that a long hot shower might help clear your head a little before going through with the day. You stay under the shower for a bit longer than you probably should, relishing the running water that does its best to wash away the grime, the remnants of his scent that you still carry with you, and the shadow of his touches on your skin. You feel it slowly washing away the fog that is still muddling your head and the rush of pleasure that seems to linger inside you. Only when your skin begins to wrinkle and the hot water slowly turns cold when you finally step out of the shower, wrapping the fuzzy towel that you find on the sink counter before walking out of the bathroom just in time for your phone to start blaring loudly.
You reach for it and pull it out of your purse, and your heart instantly falls.
Your hand is shaking as you bring the phone up to your ear, knowing that you cannot possibly ignore his calls. Not if you want to have a whole day safe from any interruption. Because you know that he would only continue calling again, and again, until he can get through you. That is just how relentless you know Matthew is as a man and a lover.
You take a deep breath and slowly lowers yourself to sit on the edge of the bed, afraid that you might fall if you don’t. “Hello—?” you can barely get your voice out as you answer the call, but you manage to anyway. A shuffling sound is heard from the other end before you hear him speak.
“Good morning, babe. How was your sleep?”
Matthew’s voice rumbles deep from the phone and your chest twists with guilt. “Morning. It was okay. Really good, actually,” you answer him, before a rush of heat flows to your face at the memory of your sleep—or, better yet, the memory of how you had woken up this morning. The surge of pleasure that you had just washed off suddenly runs through you when you remember how you were riding your husband’s lap, the heat in your body returning full force with need, and you try to shake it off as you focus on your fiancé’s voice.
“That’s good to hear,” he says, sighing. “You know I’m glad to see you taking a long break after the past busy month. You’ve worked so hard lately so you needed this break. It must be the fresh air, isn’t it? You’ve always had trouble sleeping for as long as I can remember.”
Letting out a bitter chuckle, your voice grows small when you answer him, “Yes, the fresh air, that could be it.”
Matthew hums into the phone for a moment before he speaks again. “Look, baby. I’m just calling to say I’m sorry. Again. You, uh—you never called me back, so I was wondering if everything is okay.”
No, everything is not okay, the voice in your head sneers at you, making you grimace to think that he had been waiting for you to call him back when he barely crossed your mind. “Right, I’m sorry. I’ve been around my family—” and in-laws, you add inwardly before you continue, “—so things have been overwhelming. I just couldn’t find the right time to call you and talk.”
Once again, your tongue feels bitter with all the lies. Though a part of your excuse isn’t a complete lie this time, when you have been surrounded by your family since you arrived yesterday and Namjoon had almost never left your side. And you obviously could never slip away from Winny to make any phone call in the middle of the family reunion without raising questions. Not even if you would try to make a silly excuse to say that you were to make a call about work.
But there is also a part of you that had been intentionally avoiding him, for reasons that you could barely understand.
Looking back to it now, and then recalling everything that has happened since last night, you wonder if this whole ruse has had something to do with it. Perhaps you had gotten too deep in playing the role as the dotted wife who is returning for the holiday week to be with her husband. Perhaps a part of you enjoyed reliving this part of your life without any disturbance from the real world and from any part of your present life, and you just weren’t ready to wake up from that illusion too soon.
You close your eyes and sigh, barely catching on to what he is saying on the phone with your mind drifting away while he keeps on talking. “—I didn’t want to interrupt your time with your family, but I just need to know if you’re still mad at me. I don’t want us to fight while we’re apart, especially when it’s Christmas.”
“I know. I’m sorry, I was just a bit—busy. But I’m not mad at you, I promise.”
A deep sigh is heard from his side, and he mutters softly, “Good, that’s good,” while you grow tense as you anticipate what he is about to say next. “So—have you had the talk with your parents yet?”
You begin pulling on your towel as you try to think of an excuse. “No, baby. We just got here, remember? Everyone was busy preparing for this trip and then we got caught up in catching up, I could barely share anything and update them about what’s going on with my life aside from stories coming from work. And I told you, my grandmother has been sick, so I didn’t want to steal the stoplight too much from everyone.”
He remains silent as you ramble on, until he finally says, “Maybe I can help.”
“What do you mean?”
“What if I fly there so I can join you? Meet your family while everyone is there? All the preparation for my parents’ Christmas gala is done already and I won’t even have too much to do before the New Year’s Eve party. I think I can slip away a day or two and join you there. That way we can share the news together, what do you say?” He speaks so fast that you can barely catch up to what he is saying, and the moment you do, you can feel your heart pushing its way up to your throat.
“You want to come here?” you ask him, almost stuttering.
“Yes, why not? My family’s jet is available since everyone will be staying here for the event and we can fly back together right after seeing your family. We’ll save up on plane tickets that way, won’t we?”
The more excited he sounds, the more anxious you feel about it. To imagine him coming here, to not only expose your secret past with Namjoon but to also ruin the ruse—you can feel your blood draining while you can barely breathe. You can’t even stay seated with your anxiety rising up. Your head begins to pound as you stand up and begin pacing back and forth in the bedroom.
“Fly—here?” you ask again, wishing that he would start laughing and tell you that he is simply joking. But the only answer you get to hear is, “Yes! I can have it arranged soon. I can fly out there on Christmas morning, and—”
“No, Matthew don’t. You can’t do that.” In your panic, the words simply slip right out of you before you can do anything to stop it, surprising yourself and—judging from the silence that falls from his side—him as well.
“Why can’t I?” he asks you after a beat of silence, the tone of his voice filled with suspicions and you feel the urge to pull your hair out.
Still pacing on the floor, you try to find the best excuse that you can think of to erase every thought he could have about flying here to see you. “Just—this is a private event and my family isn’t as big or as open as yours.”
Lies, lies, all nothing but lies, when you know for sure how welcoming your parents have been to your friends in the past. But how are you supposed to explain to him that he barely exists to your parents? And how the hell would you explain to your family if Matthew just randomly shows up, introducing himself as your fiancé, when they are probably thinking that you are trying to reconcile with Namjoon through this trip? And what about Winny?
All these thoughts keep running in your head while Matthew simply grows silent. You don’t have to see him to know the gears in his head are turning at the same time, and you suddenly despise the fact that you are somehow engaged to a lawyer. And a damn talented one at that, you have to admit, when you have witnessed him time and time again exposing frauds and terrible liars in courts.
“Is there something wrong about me seeing your parents?” he questions you, sending chills down your spine with the accusing tone latching onto his voice. “We’re getting married anyway, aren’t we? I’d eventually have to meet them and introduce myself.”
“Yes, I know, but—” You close your eyes and try your best to control your breath. Remember, he can expose your lies and pick up on an uneven tone so easily, you remind yourself as you try to calm your nerves and make sure to stay collected as you speak to him. “Can’t we do it next time? Maybe when it’s not the holidays or on any other private occasion. I just don’t want to overwhelm my parents or my grandmother with so much going on already.”
A faint sound of someone talking is heard passing right in front of your door and you briefly stop, moving further from the door before you can continue.
“It’s not that I don’t want to introduce you to everyone, it’s just—The timing wouldn’t be right. I just—I need to ease this thing to my parents.”
“Is that so?” he asks you, and it is obvious that he isn’t buying it. “There’s always something, isn’t it?” His voice sounds harsh as he says this, making you flinch at his tone, knowing that you have made him grow angry at you again. “Seriously, what is the matter with you? Is there something going on that I need to know about? Did you meet someone and suddenly have a change of heart? Because you’ve been acting strange and distant since you went back home and it’s like I can’t talk with you so I don’t know what to think!”
Shaking under his wrath, and to how close he had come to the truth, you reach out to grab the backrest of the nearest chair and hold on tight. “I’m sorry. Things are just too complicated right now, and I can’t really tell you anything.”
“Right, of course,” he says with a sneer. “Well, you know how to contact me when you’re done being so—so aloof and when you’re ready to tell me what the fuck is going on with you.”
With those last words, Matthew ends the phone call. The sound of the final click makes you flinch and it makes your breath hitch at the finality of his words and the way he ended the call. You have grown used to seeing him getting emotional, letting his anger and frustration show, but it feels different when you are on the other end of it.
And it makes it even harder for you not to crumble because you are the guilty party.
Dropping down on the chair, you place the phone away with shaking hands. All so suddenly, you feel like the rug has been pulled from beneath you and there is nothing stopping you from falling. There is nothing stopping you from being pulled and awakened from the illusions that you had let yourself drown in.
Dropping your head into your hands, you chastise yourself and let all the dread of guilt wash over you.
You shouldn’t have agreed to be a part of this ruse. Or, at least, you should have kept your head firmly on your shoulder instead of getting drawn into the moment. You should have said the hell with it and insisted harder on Namjoon to sign the divorce papers so you wouldn’t have to worry about getting your secrets exposed if—and when—Matthew decides to register your marriage legally.
Your mind flies back to what had happened between you and Namjoon last night, and what had occurred this morning, only less than an hour ago, and you feel like you need to smack your own head so you could get your act together.
What were you thinking, making out with Namjoon like that after all the talk about letting go and moving on? How can you let yourself lost in his touch when you had sworn to yourself that you would never fall for his charms and that you would never forget what you had come all the way back here for?
Taking a deep breath, you muster every will to snap your head back into place and out of the illusion of the life that you had let go of a long time ago. This part of your life had been lost, and whatever you had thought you felt with Namjoon since you had gotten back had been nothing but a broken piece of your memory forcing itself back into your mind, nothing but an illusion.
Perhaps you have grown too comfortable in this situation, letting yourself get tempted to the alluring part of your past that you had wished you still have, but now it is time to face reality and to get your focus back on track, to remember your purpose.
Finish the whole charade, keep Winny happy for a little while longer, and then have Namjoon sign the papers so you can be free, you remind yourself, repeating those words in your head until they sink in. Because there is nothing left for you here but a fleeting dream, while you have your entire life waiting for you, away from this place, and—most certainly—far away from him.
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For the rest of the day, you try your best to avoid being alone with Namjoon.
You still play your part for as much as you need to whenever you are among the others, though you let Namjoon run the show as he openly shows his affection, giving you light touches and kisses while mingling with the rest of the family. But the moment the act is done, you will try to put a distance between you, always evading him whenever he tries to come close without anyone watching and finding excuses to slip away whenever he is trying to pull you aside.
It had taken you nearly all morning to get your act together, and it helped that he was gone for a long time as he went to join the rest of the men on their shopping trip to the nearest store. Then everyone’s excitement during the outdoor barbecue feast had managed to give you the escape you needed, when Namjoon kept being pulled away to help tend the grill while Winny kept insisting that you would stay with her the entire time.
It isn’t until after dinner when he finally manages to catch up with you just when you are about to slip away to find shelter out on the porch, thinking that perhaps you can wait out there until Namjoon would fall asleep before you can return to your bedroom to avoid anything untoward to ever happen between you. But you should have known that it hadn’t slipped his attention that you have been steering clear of him the whole day and is just about to try to escape him yet again.
“You’ve been avoiding me,” is the first thing he says when he catches you moments after you slip out of the door. “Is there something wrong? What happened?”
Nothing.
Everything.
Not expecting to have him ruining your escape plan and finding yourself somehow out here all alone with him, the words simply die down on your tongue. You open your mouth, ready to launch some random excuses to slip away from him when Namjoon comes approaching you with a determined look in his eyes. There is also something else in his eyes that makes you stop before you even try to evade him—a mix of wariness, curiosity, and a hint of despair—as if having you slipping away all day and giving him cold shoulders have been affecting him more than you had thought it would.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” is the only thing you can say to him, though it is clear that there is no use of you to act so aloof about it when he simply responds with a scoff.
“Right,” he says with a bitter chuckle. “Don’t play dumb with me. Did you really think I wouldn’t notice?”
Namjoon has come so close that he is looming over you, keeping his voice low enough only for you to hear. His looming presence and his deep rumbling voice make you feel so little, cornered, and you lean back to the railing on the edge of the porch to hold on, trying to make yourself tall as you return his intense gaze with your own. “What is going on inside that brilliant head of yours, Baby Doll? What game are you playing with me?” he slowly questions you, and his words snap something inside you.
“There is no game,” you hiss at him just as you hear the sound of laughter ringing from inside the lodge. Looking over his shoulders, you make sure that there is nobody passing by this area to find the two of you having this face off. God knows what would cross their minds if they should ever find you out here together like this.
“You must have thought you have been so slick to avoid me and that nobody would notice. But even Winny caught on to your act and she’s been asking me if you’re feeling okay,” Namjoon says with a sneer, while you grimace, realising just how terrible you have been at pretending after all.
With a frown on your face, you look up, finding Namjoon looking at you, no longer with the sneer or annoyance on his face, but more of a concern. “Something happened while I was gone, hasn’t it?”
“Nothing happened. It’s just—” Your mind flies back to the phone call that you had with Matthew, to being the receiving end of his anger, and you pull back just when Namjoon lifts his hand to touch you. “Maybe I just realised that this—whatever it is that’s been going on between us—is wrong.” Shaking your head, you look up into his eyes and plead, “We just can’t—I just can’t have it happening again. I can’t allow it.”
Namjoon scoffs. “You won’t allow it? Always have to be the one to make the rules, don’t you?”
The condescending tone in his voice feels like a knife piercing through your chest. You can barely hold back from pushing him off when you lift your chin up to respond to him. “I thought all we had to do was play a role? To act only when we have audiences watching us? Not to do something like—” You stop just as the image of you kissing him, touching him, letting him bring pleasure through your body comes flashing through your head and your whole skin flushes, and it is somehow making you feel even angrier that you had even let yourself lost in that moment in time that your voice comes out as a hiss when you continue, “Not to act on it while we’re alone. Not to lose control when we’re—”
When we’re not supposed to. When we have a time limit.
The words simply remain inside your head when it suddenly feels too painful for you to say them out loud.
“Lose control? Is that all it ever was?” he questions you, though it sounds more like he is wondering these words out loud. Placing his hands on either side of you, he leans closer, caging you against the wooden railing behind you as he lowers himself, getting close to your face.
“I’m going to ask you again, what the hell happened with you? Why all the sudden change? One minute you were okay with everything and it was obvious that you wanted it to happen, and then you suddenly act like you just can’t get away from me fast enough and now you’re off rambling on as if you didn’t want me too.” Namjoon asks you, before he lifts one hand, reaching up to brush away the hair that has fallen on your face when you were getting too emotional. He moves his fingers ever so gently, and yet you can still feel his knuckles brushing gently across your skin. The featherlight touch brings a shudder through your body, and it doesn’t slip Namjoon’s attention when he could feel it, even if it only happens for such a brief moment.
“Tell me you feel nothing when I touch you like this,” he whispers to you as he brings the tip of his fingers down, tracing an invisible path down the nape of your neck.
Almost instantly, your body comes to life. The light touch he is giving you simply lights up your senses, the shudders feel so delightful, and the pull between you simply strengthen itself that it would be so easy for you to simply give in to it and let go.
But this is wrong, your conscience speaks, snapping you out of it that it helps you muster enough strength to grab him by the wrist and stop him before he can go on.
“No, we can’t do this. You need to remember why I came here in the first place and why we’re doing this,” you whisper as you push him away while shaking your head. While your reaction and your words seem to light something else inside him that his eyes only grow hard, and his words—that had been enough to draw you to him and had managed to break the walls that you had built between you—now suddenly sounds vindictive, taunting, coming at you like a jab to your gut when he says,
“You can’t or you won’t? Tell me what you feel when you’re with me. Tell me you feel nothing.”
In an instant, everything that you feel for him changes. It feels as if he had just ripped the band-aid that has been present to hide your wounds and what comes out of it is vicious, filled with all the pain that you had buried, laid almost forgotten, and now coming awake just as strongly as the desire that you have felt for him ever since he had first brought it back up from your cold heart, and it gives you enough strength to push him away, severing the pull that has kept you blinded from all the painful memories that were left from the moment he had stomped all your dreams and your heart into nothing.
“Fuck you, Namjoon. You don’t get to say these things to me or even had the audacity of asking me about my feelings when you were the one who pushed me away and broke us apart,” you cry out as you keep pushing against his chest in your anger. The sudden burst of your rage renders him speechless at first, before he snaps,
“Are we going to talk about that now? About what happened years ago? Is that it?” He begins seething with anger, though you can see the hurt in his eyes. “Well, let me remind you that I wasn’t the one who left and gave up on us,” he says, pointing at you. “You were the one who walked away.”
His words feel like a slap right on your face and you can no longer hold everything back. “You broke up with me,” you nearly scream to his face, not even caring if there is anyone inside the lodge that can hear you as you continue to face him, letting the hurt inside you reveal itself for him to see. “You were the one who said that there was no point for us to even try to go on, that it would be better for me to just go and leave you behind. That was what you said to me!”
“I thought that was what you wanted…!”
“What I wanted was for the man that I loved with every-fucking-thing that I had to fucking fight for me!”
This time, Namjoon is the one who looks as if your words had slapped him right on his face. The moment he speaks again, his voice sounds small, and broken, as he can only whisper, “I never gave up on you.”
The fight simply leaves you after hearing his words and once you are done pouring out everything that you have kept to yourself for a long time. Except that it only leaves you with one simple question that you have yet to find the answers to.
“Why did you keep sending me back the divorce papers?”
Say it. Please, say it. Tell me that you have been waiting for me. You silently beg, and beg, only realising now that these are the exact words that you have been waiting for him to say to you.
But Namjoon remains silent, keeping his eyes away from you still. Instead, all he does is clench his jaw and he begins shaking his head. “It doesn’t matter,” is the only thing that Namjoon says to you. His eyes no longer hold the same warmth and longing that you had seen in them merely moments before when he looks at you, as if he is withdrawing from you again. You can feel him putting up a barrier as he protects himself from the tremors coming from the pull that is still tethering you together.
“I’ll sign the papers. You’ll be leaving this weekend, right? I’ll give them back to you in the morning.”
With that, Namjoon turns away and goes back inside, leaving you standing there all alone on the porch, with your heart still bleeding out from the pain that he had ripped open and your tears still running down your face. He never returns for the night to sleep in your shared bedroom, while having your heart torn out has left you exhausted, completely drained that you easily fall asleep the moment you find solace in your bedroom.
Completely on your own.
Only to wake up the next morning to find the divorce papers resting on his cold pillows, marked with his signature right at the bottom of the page.
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The rest of the day simply floats by. Though you cannot really say that things are going smoothly as they had been for the past two days. It feels more as if you are walking through a thick pool of gelatine, wading heavily through the surface as much as you can without being swallowed down to the bottom.
At the same time, your body seems to be moving on autopilot, and it helps you to play your role well despite the numbness you are feeling within. You can still find a way to smile, to laugh at any random jokes, to nod whenever you need to, though you can barely listen to what people have to say.
When you finally saw Namjoon again during breakfast, he had managed to act out as if nothing has changed, so you were determined to play your part the way he could. Even if it takes a lot for you not to grimace at his touch or to flinch whenever he kisses you or when he presses his lips on your temple the way he always would in the middle of a conversation with Winny.
You are having so much trouble keeping it up together that it barely registers to you that tonight would be the highly eventful Christmas dinner. The night where you are supposed to be filled with joy. Where you are supposed to embrace the moment while being surrounded by the people that mean to you the most—and yes, that obviously includes Namjoon—and yet, you can barely feel a thing when it feels like every part of you is slowly crumbling. That for some reason, you are left as nothing but a shell, present but completely meaningless, as if it wouldn’t matter if you are no longer a part of this picture-perfect moment.
You do, however, take as much time as you can get to record all of this into your memory. Taking in everyone’s presence, their expressions, their stories, keeping this night as something that you will cherish for the rest of your life. Watching everyone sharing all the love and the bond that has been there for years, you realise what you have missed out on for a long time. You know that there is no use to dwell on the past, but you try your best to picture this as something that you can possibly reach again in the future.
One day, perhaps, after all of this ends.
And only if everyone would forgive you for what you are about to do.
It isn’t until in the middle of the dessert, when your uncle suddenly stands at the end of the table with his best friend, Bernie, and they both start belting out the Christmas Carol when you reach out to grab Namjoon’s hand, surprising him for a moment when you give him a squeeze until you turn to smile at him. His eyes are wide when he sees how relaxed you are, not seeing the way your mind is working hard to plan out just how you are going to give this story an end. And then you start to join the duo, keeping the smile on your face as you look at him, encouraging him to join in as everyone else are singing along.
You can feel Winny’s eyes on you as she sits right on your other side, and you find her watching you with glossy eyes. So you reach out, grabbing her hand with your free one, creating a bond between the three of you to share this moment. Even if it is only for one last time.
You return to an empty bedroom once dinner is long over, everyone has retreated to their rooms earlier after their bellies are full with the sweet desserts that Winny and your mother had made and all the alcohol that was present on the table.
Once again, Namjoon has chosen not to join you in your room, disappearing somewhere in another part of the lodge as he tries to avoid you.
This time, you find it hard to go to sleep. Not that you ever plan to do so anyway. And not when you can still feel his presence on the empty side of the bed, as his scent still lingers even when the sheets have grown cold.
Each time you close your eyes, you can still see those moments inside your head. You have tried so hard to deny it before, but being with him did make you feel everything. The comfort, the desire, the raw carnal need that you had never felt with anyone else the way you did with him. And now that your mind and body remember perfectly well what it is like to be with him, to be in his arms and to feel his love, you know that there is no turning back.
Being with Namjoon after going through all the pain many years ago now feels dangerous. Disastrous—that would be the only way to describe it, because why else would you end up losing control like that when you are together, or to be acting like teenagers who are completely helpless against the desire coursing through your body. It makes you completely reckless—just like how he managed to pull you onto his lap after dinner at the back porch, going completely out of bounds as you kept going at each other, practically clawing each other skin in the process of tearing out your clothes without any care of your surroundings. Or just like the other morning, when you were riding him without a care as if it had been something that you had always done.
The tension coming from those short, heated moments still lingers in your body, making your skin feel hot and tight even when you are far away from him and when he is no longer in sight. Rubbing your hands up and down your bare arms, you take a seat right on the edge of the bed, trying to find solace until the tremors in your body would start to subside.
Except that you quickly realise that it would be impossible for it to happen when you realise that the tremors are coming from deep within your chest.
“I’ll sign the papers.”
If it had been years ago, if it had happened before you joined him on this trip, perhaps you would have felt relieved, pleased to finally have what you have been waiting for. To have your freedom. To finally have your life back. To gain a chance to decide on your future without constantly being haunted by him and the memory of your history together.
But as you wrap your arms around yourself, the only feeling that you have now is nothing but agony, despair, sadness, and it takes you a while before you realise that what you are feeling is your heart breaking into pieces, realising only now that the shackles that you had thought to be the one holding you back from your happiness had in fact been the only thing that has been holding you up and keeping you together from falling apart. Now that you are about to become free from it, there is nothing stopping it from having your entire world and the life that you had created for yourself from falling apart.
Realising all of this, you find yourself determined to start working on your plan. Rising from the bed, you walk around the bag that you have packed earlier this afternoon and reach out to find your phone, setting it up on the table near the windows so you can have better reception.
It takes a while for the call to come through, and then suddenly his face comes to the screen.
“Hey there, stranger,” Matthew’s smile comes beaming from the other end, and it brings a similar smile to your face.
“Hey, just calling to say Merry Christmas before you get too tired.”
He chuckles softly when he hears this, before answering you softly, “Merry Christmas, babe. How was the family dinner?”
“It was great,” you answer him. “It was amazing, but it probably wasn’t any close to yours. Did the Christmas Gala go on well?”
Matthew nods, and pride comes to his face when he begins sharing with you about his wonderful night with his family and the important people that had been invited to the event. It appears that a lot of people had come from every part of the city just to attend the night. Something that isn’t too surprising knowing how important his family is to the city. With his parents being high ranked politicians while he and his siblings have slowly become successful lawyers following on their tracks. Had that been the reason why you were so drawn to him? The alluring world and the glamorous life that he could offer you that had somehow seemed to be the answers to your dreams?
You can see him still wearing his tuxedo for the night, and you admire his handsome look, even if you had seen it when he sent a photo of him wearing the tux before the gala had started. Seeing that he has yet to change, it shows that the event had only ended not too long ago and he had just returned to his penthouse.
“That sounds marvellous. Are you exhausted? You seem like you’re still glowing for some reason.”
Matthew laughs. “Just the Christmas spirit, babe. I just feel sorry that you weren’t here with me. You would’ve looked amazing if you had come with me in your pretty dress.”
His words make you smile, before you feel your guilt rising slowly, reminding you of what you need to do to make things right. “Seeing that you’re now home, I was wondering if we can talk?” Your heart starts to pound even before you can say anything, but you know that you need to get through this. That you need to do this now before it would be too late. “There’s something that I need to—say. A lot of them, actually.”
“Right, right,” Matthew says, nodding his head with a knowing look on his face, just as his beaming smile slowly fades. You can see him taking a seat, resting back on the sofa that you have grown familiar with after spending many nights there with him. He rubs his palm down his face with a sigh, before looking back at you through the screen again with an intense look in his eyes and says,
“Perhaps you can start by explaining to me about the request you made through our affiliates, Jeon and Partners, before you had to leave, when you had them draft a divorce statement for you, listed under your name.”
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It feels like forever before midnight comes to pass.
Throughout the night as everyone in the lodge descends into their slumber, retreating to their rooms one person at a time with the anticipation of waking up to the bright Christmas morning, you remain in your room, waiting, until the only thing you can sense beyond that door is silence. It doesn’t take much for you to sneak into your uncle’s room and use the drunken state that he is in to coax him into lending his truck. With the keys clutched in one hand and your packed overnight bag on the other, you move carefully through the night, making your way downstairs without making so much of a noise that could possibly wake everyone up and ruin your plans.
As you continue to make your escape and slip out through the side door heading to the parked vehicles, the conversation you had with Matthew earlier continues to replay itself in your head. After the last fight you had with him, he had grown so curious to figure out why you have been acting so strange that he had gone digging around to find what you had been secretly hiding from him.
The moment he revealed to you that he had found out that you had filed for divorce to someone else through an affiliate law firm, your heart had instantly plummeted. But then as you finally told him everything, making him understand your situation and why you had to do what you are about to do, the only thing you feel after was—relief. It had been the first sign that showed you that you were on the right track. That you are doing the right thing.
The only thing for you to do left is to walk away from this. Because you can no longer lie to everyone and there is absolutely no place for you here. Not anymore. At least, not until you can—
“So that’s it? You’re going to leave again?”
You are only a few steps away to reach your uncle’s truck when you hear his voice. For a moment, the thought that perhaps you are imagining it comes across your head. But then you turn around, finding him standing there on the side porch while keeping its lights turned off.
As if he had been waiting, lurking in the dark.
As if he had predicted this.
“Namjoon—”
He remains silent as he makes his way to you, walking in slow, long strides with his head held high and his eyes locked on you. Stopping only two steps away from you, his eyes fall on the overnight bag you are carrying in your hand and his jaw clenches tight.
“You’re really leaving,” he says, before his eyes find yours.
“I—I have to,” you can barely choke out the words, suddenly feeling so small under the scrutiny of his gaze. Shaking your head, you dare yourself to look at him in the eyes to plead to him. “I’ve made a mess of things and I’ve only made it worse by coming here. You know I can’t stay. I’m so sorry.”
You turn away just then, only to have him stopping you. Catching you by the wrist, Namjoon pulls you back so that you are facing him. The hardness in his eyes is no longer present when you look up at him, though you still have no idea how to read the expression he is wearing.
He says nothing for a moment, just taking you in, then he pulls you closer to him ever so gently while murmuring, “Don’t go.” His request catches you by surprise, but it is nothing compared to what he says next. “You asked me to fight for you?” he asks, taking your other wrist into his hand as he gently peels the car keys out of your clutch. “Here I am. Don’t go. Don’t leave.”
Startled, your head falls back as you release a bitter laugh. “Oh, God. Namjoon—” You blink away the tears that are threatening to fall. You have been hoping that you could have a chance to keep it together until you can reach the town, or perhaps once you are back home, before you can have your breakdown. So much for your plans, you wonder while shaking your head.
“I can’t stay. You know I can’t,” you finally tell him. “I can no longer look into Winny’s eyes and not feel guilty for pretending to be someone I’m not, to play a role of the person who has no place here.”
Namjoon lifts your chin up with his gentle fingers, and he makes you look up to meet his gaze before he speaks. “That’s not what I saw when you were sitting there at the dinner table with us, singing along with Bernie and your uncle no matter how out of tune they were and laughing at my Dad’s corny jokes,” he says with his lips curling to a small smile. You are lost in the depth of his gaze to realise that he has not only stolen the keys away from you but he has also pulled your bag away, throwing it to the ground before he takes your hand in his.
“That’s not what I saw when you were holding my hand or when you are with Winny, tending to her needs and listening to her stories,” he says, bringing your hand to his lips. “This is where you belong, _______. You are home. You belong here with us. With me.”
He lowers his head as he says this, but instead of brushing his lips on your face or lips, he presses a kiss on the top of your head. At this point, you are slowly losing every bit of resolve that you still have, already forgetting everything that you had been planning to do.
His words serve like an enchantment, filling your head so easily to replace every thought, every doubt, and it becomes so easy for you to simply lean into it and embrace the way his request is making you feel when you have been waiting to hear those exact words to come from him for years. It had taken you so long to admit this, but you had never truly stopped waiting. You had done all you could to relinquish the hope you ever had for finding your way back to him again, only to have the memory of your broken heart stopping you from ever trying to reach out to him again.
“Stay,” he whispers softly as he buries his nose between the strands of your hair. “Don’t go.”
As you lean into him, he flattens one hand on your back, letting it drift slowly upward until his palm comes to the base of your neck. He continues to brush his nose gently across your hair, breathing through the strands while pressing his mouth to kiss your hair, with each kiss drawing a shiver through your body.
Your hand grips onto his shirt then, though you are not quite sure whether you want to stop him or to urge him to carry on. “Namjoon—”
“Sshh—” he murmurs against your hair, then his fingers find your chin, lifting your head gently to look at him again just when you try to avoid his gaze and pull away. He pulls your face towards him, letting his lips dance over yours ever so gently with a hesitant kiss.
For a brief moment, you make no move to return the kiss, still too stunned and still feeling too vulnerable against the turmoil happening inside you. As always, Namjoon manages to bring back all the emotions within you, and it takes you a moment to be able to process them all together, to let the last bit of your restraint crumble, and you begin to press against him, kissing him back gently until you both begin to let go.
He hums his approval as he kisses your lips before he pulls back. With his hooded eyes on you, he grips the back of your neck and tilts your head back. The hold he has on you feels firm, and yet he remains gentle as he is pressing his mouth on your furrowed brows, your temple, and then on your eyelids as your eyes are beginning to flutter close to his gentle kisses, before finally dipping down to find your lips.
Your fingers tighten on his shirt, and your mouth falls open against his to welcome him. And almost instantly, the kiss goes from a soft and gentle caress to a dominating one, growing hot and needy in less than a second, and you can feel his hunger taking over him as he slides his tongue into your mouth. As you are submitting to him, opening yourself up to the searing kiss and the touches of his fingers on your body, your own hands come reaching up to start clawing on his shirt, wishing it gone so you can feel the connection that you have with him through every delicate touch of your skin against his.
You have no idea what is happening to you. It is hard to explain why you cannot seem to keep your head on straight when you are in his arms. It feels like your body simply comes alive while also losing its will to run when he is holding you like this. It should be wrong to relish on this delightful feeling, when you had only come here in the first place in order to end this instead of coming back to it. But there is also something so right to be with him again. All the things that he makes you feel and everything that you share with him feel completely different from anything else that you had ever experienced. Though it is not as if you have truly experienced a lot when it comes to relationships and men.
Namjoon had always been the only one. From the only boy that you had ever loved to the only man that you have ever been with. Even if you have made up your mind to move on, to be with someone else, you have slowly realised that whatever you had with Matthew could never compare to what you and Namjoon have shared for years. And every memory of what you felt when you were with him is definitely worlds apart from the kind of feelings that Namjoon is able to ignite in you so easily with his touches.
Namjoon bites your bottom lip in the middle of the kiss, snapping you right out of it and makes you both pull back from the heated kiss. Both of you are breathless, the air between you curling with a thin veil of white fog, and there is no doubt that both of your bodies are burning with need. But neither of you make a move to come apart any further, keeping your hands on each others’ bodies to hold on and your mouths are still hovering against one another.
“Tell me you’re staying,” he whispers against your lips. As if the way you are kissing him has yet to serve as the answer that he needs to hear. And he simply needs to hear it, to have you say the words out loud.
But you find it hard for you to speak. Both from being so breathless still and for feeling the fear that you might be giving the wrong answer. Suddenly, you are no longer sure just where you are leaning into. A part of you still wants to flee, to protect yourself from the past heartache and the possibility of having to go through all of it all over again. While another part of you finds home in his embrace, and there is nothing that your soul wants more than to return to a place where you truly belong.
“I can’t—” you begin to answer, only to stop when you have no idea what to say. You simply cannot decide which path to take as of this moment, when everything seems to be crumbling just the way it did the day you left this town 3 years ago. But then you reach up, resting your palm on his face as you look straight into his eyes, finding the love that had been the reason for you to live, coming from the man who had once been your strength and your weakness, and everything inside you breaks apart. “Namjoon—”
You know that he can see it in your eyes as it happens, when he can see the pain in your eyes that is too stubborn to leave. Then he is suddenly looming over you, pushing you back towards your uncle’s truck until you can feel the hard ridges from the vehicle pressing against your back. You cannot really tell whether it is coming from his rage for seeing your inability to let go of the past or simply a part of his presence, but he sets your body on fire without even laying a single touch of his hand.
“You don’t have to leave,” he whispers, suddenly pressing so close to you as he pins you back against the truck that you can feel his chest vibrating with his deep voice.
“I have to,” you choke out, though you are starting to feel yourself giving in.
“No one said that you should.”
You continue to shake your head. “It won’t be right if I stay any longer,” you mutter softly, more to yourself than to him, but Namjoon takes it as something that you are throwing at him just to have a reason to walk away.
“Says who?”
“Namjoon, I—” You stop and look at him. Your eyes find his, finding the pain emitting from within their depths, and it is enough to make you question things. But you need to get things out of your chest and make him see it. “What we’ve done, what we’ve been doing—That kiss under the mistletoe, that was a part of an act, a show, but everything else that came after—” you shake your head at him. “It was wrong. We were wrong. We shouldn’t have let things gone so far.”
“Why not?”
“Because—” Your breath hitches just as the twist in your chest returns. “Namjoon, I said yes. I was already engaged to someone else.” You bite your tongue to avoid telling him the truth, that even if you leave today, you may not have anything to come back to. Not after that last conversation that you had with Matthew and how he had reacted to the news.
But instead of yelling at you, Namjoon simply looks at you with a deep gaze that has yet to waver. “You’re still my wife,” he says, with a tone that you can barely decipher, though you can still feel him laying claim on you with those words.
“Do you love him?”
His question surprises you. You open your mouth, only to close it again when you cannot find the answer. Do you really love him? Have you ever truly felt anything for Matthew? Or do you simply love the idea of having someone admiring you, loving you, chasing you to the end of the earth with a promise of forever?
The promise that Namjoon had once given you, and apparently he had kept without you knowing any of it. All of a sudden this thought comes into your head, sneaking in when least expected. It may have gotten inside your head ever since you started seeing this new part of him, to know all the things that he had been working on and the reason behind all of it.
But you still have to return, you remind yourself that you would still need to resolve things with Matthew face to face, to be able to have an actual conversation that a simple video call couldn’t provide so you can explain yourself properly. And you also have your job. The career that you have built for many years, waiting for you to return. Even if you know that things would certainly change now, because there is no way you could possibly return to work in the same place with Matthew. Not after what you did.
“One day,” he says, stopping you before you can say anything. “Just stay here with me one more day, and you can decide tomorrow if you still want to leave or if you want to stay for another.” He stops to take a deep breath, before adding with a small voice, “If not for me, then—”
You grimace when you suddenly remember.
Winny.
Your eyes flutter close when a pinch of guilt comes to your chest. Would you really have done it to Winny, to just walk away and leave without saying goodbye? After everything that she had done for you?
You open your eyes again. And the first thing that you see when you look at him nearly knocks the air out of your chest. In his eyes, you see something that he had never truly shown you before. Something that you cannot remember ever seeing before.
You see his vulnerability. You see his pain. And suddenly, you question yourself if there is really something true in the words that he had given you before.
“Did you mean it? What you said before—?”
He frowns. “About what?”
“That you—” You stop, not sure how to approach this without having him pulling away from you again. Not sure how much it will break you if he isn’t giving you the answer that you want to hear. “That you never—”
“I never gave up,” he immediately answers before you can question him properly. “Never really did.” His deep gaze softens as he releases a deep sigh. Then you can see his guilt as he looks at you, before he covers it by resting his forehead on yours. “I wanted to race out there and fight for you the moment I realised that I was nothing without you and that I shouldn’t have pushed you away. But I knew that it wouldn’t be right for me if I had simply begged you to come back when you were finally getting everything you wanted.”
Once he stops talking, you find yourself exhaling a relieved sigh. Hearing his words doesn’t erase the pain that you had gotten from the past, but it does make your heart swell. And it changes the way you are seeing him even further. He is still silent as he gives you a chance to process this, making no move to touch you or to walk away, until you push yourself up on your tiptoes and press your lips on his.
“One day,” you whisper softly, finally agreeing. The logical part of your mind is telling you that you are simply agreeing to stay simply because it is late, and there is no way you could possibly drive all the way back to town in the darkness and through the route down the mountains that you can barely remember.
But the other part of your mind is telling you something else. Insisting that you would stay solely because of him. Because you want to see another glimpse of Namjoon that you haven’t seen and all that you have missed ever since you left. And you can tell that you are opening up to him, and opening up to chances, finally giving in to this moment, no matter how hard you have been trying to fight it. And you let him know this when you tilt your face up toward his once again, as if giving yourself to him, but also giving him a chance to take the olive branch that you are handing out to him.
Namjoon seems hesitant at first, not completely sure if you are truly giving things a chance or if you are seconds away from challenging him again. But as you remain defiant, keeping your chin up as he dips his head lower, and then lower, and you make no move to look away or to push him back, Namjoon no longer holds himself back.
You feel like you are in a daze when you feel his lips on yours, still barely recovering after all the revelation that he had just given you. He kisses you gently at first, brushing his lips lightly against yours once, twice, and then pressing slightly harder when he comes for the third. It sure feels like he is still holding himself back, as if he simply refuses to give in entirely. Not when you still refuse to let him see what his kisses and his touches do to you.
As you close your eyes, the pained look that you saw from him earlier comes back to you, reminding you of the pain that you had felt years ago when you walked away from this old town, and it brings back the pain that you felt from losing him then. Just as you lean further against him, you realise that you have yet to heal from that old wound, which explains the need that you keep feeling to protect yourself from having too much hope. You also realise that you have come so close to losing him again tonight, and you would have probably been nursing the opened wound if he hadn’t chased you out from running.
The moment these thoughts fill your head, your body simply reacts. Your chest arches against him while your hands move to reach out to him, fingers tightening on his shirt, pulling him closer and tethering him to you as you take his bottom lip between your mouth and give him a light bite. The pain that you ignite in him snaps him out of it. And all so suddenly, Namjoon loses all control, and he simply lets himself go.
The moment his mouth meets yours again, a growl slips out of him and he pushes you firmly against the side of the truck, pressing his hard body against yours to pin you harder in place so that there is no more chance for you to escape. As his kiss becomes deeper, with him spilling all his need into it, his hands move around you, with one of them resting at the back of your head to hold you still against him while the other comes wrapping around your waist to press you to his chest. You simply melt against him, feeling his heartbeat pacing against yours and your body heat searing hot between you that it could have melted the snow around you if you would let them.
“We need to get inside. Can’t have you out here, you’ll be freezing cold,” he murmurs against your lips, his breath already growing ragged with need, while his touches are growing hot on your skin that not even your sweater can keep you from feeling it.
“Okay,” you whisper against his lips, though there is something in his eyes that keeps telling you that it wouldn’t simply be an act of sheltering you from the cold if you ever let him take you back inside. That he has something else in mind and the moment he can get you someplace safe, to get you to a place that is warm and comfortable, letting you rest would be the last thing in his mind.
You can also feel it in the way he is grabbing your hand and pulling you with him back into the lodge. How he is walking with long, impatient strides, keeping his shoulders straight, it becomes more obvious that he is moving with a goal set in mind. And then he quickly proves to you that you are right when he makes a turn as soon as you are both inside the lodge, moving towards the other side of the ground floor and away from the stairs, before opening a door that he finds downstairs. The next thing you know, he is pulling you into a bedroom that seems to have been left vacant as everyone had chosen all the bedrooms available on the upper floors.
Once you are both inside, Namjoon wastes no time to turn you around and push you against the door right after he closes and locks it behind him. Then his mouth quickly returns to yours, pressing a searing kiss that no longer holds any apprehension, showing you nothing more but lust and temptation and the pure hunger that he has more than once shown you before. What happens next is a flurry of clashing tongues and teeth and lips moulding to one another. His fingers come up to the back of your head, clutching tightly on your hair to hold you in place as he continues to devour your mouth, drawing soft moans from your throat and light shudders all over your body.
With his other hand, he follows the surge of pleasure running down your body, tracing his fingers down your curves while pressing down on your sensitive spots as he makes his way down. Your chest arches as he brushes his thumb over your covered nipple, pressing down hard over the nub that the sweater you are wearing barely feels present. Then he grabs tightly on your waist, pulling you to him and pressing against the small of your back until your hips are connected to his, allowing him to rub the evidence of his desire right against your abdomen, showing you without so much of a word just what you have been doing to him while claiming you as his.
This.
This is everything that you remember of him. The way he takes without any shred of guilt when he presses his lips on yours and his hands are gripping you possessively without giving you any chance to slip away. How he devours your lips with pure hunger, swallowing your gasps, drowning the sound of your moans, and drinking the sounds of your breath until you are nothing but a bundle of flames, burning from deep within with your desire that continues to build up stronger as he lets you feel his own. The way he fists on your hair, entangling his long fingers through each curl and pulling your head back to make you submit to him, giving him access to trail his mouth down the column of your throat and giving him a full reign to control your body. The way he is rolling his hips, pressing the bulge of his arousal against the center of your pulsing need while his mouth continues to devour you.
Namjoon grunts against your skin as he nips at the sensitive spot under your ear, as he has recognised every part of your body that would be able to respond so easily to his touches. Then he slides one hand—the one that isn’t holding you up against him—to reach beneath your sweater, climbing back up the moment he meets your bare skin underneath, and then keeps moving up, until his fingers meet your bra and he swiftly grabs on to it, pulling it down, giving him full access to your breasts.
His hand comes back up, taking one mound into his palm, sending a wave of pleasure down your body as he begins to work on the soft flesh and the hardened nub with his palm and fingers. The wave continues to ripple inside you, rising steadily, moving from where he is touching you towards your pulsing core.
For every single time you are lost in bliss under his talented hands, you keep telling yourself how wrong it would be to give in. Even if he had been right when he reminded you that you are still legally his wedded wife, but years have passed and you still have something left unresolved waiting for you back in the city. But as he continues kissing you, his mouth pressing at the right places along the column of your throat then coming back up to find your lips, his hands touching everywhere while igniting the flame within you, you keep finding it hard to convince yourself to stop, to admit that this is something that you shouldn’t be doing.
How is this wrong, when it is your husband who is touching you? The man who you are still legally married to, both in the papers and under the legitimacy of your vows? And how can you possibly say that this is a mistake, when your heart still beats for him the way it did the day you said ’I do’, and when your whole body would only come awake under his touch?
When his hands are on your waist, pressing and kneading the way he would do it back then while rising you up against the wooden door behind you, you finally realise the reason why it had always felt as if your skin was crawling whenever Matthew touched you. The reason why your body seemed to scream ’this is wrong!’ whenever you tried to make love to another man.
Because both your heart and soul had only been searching for the one they have always meant to be with, and that person is the man who is now lifting you in his arms, carrying you to the bed that is placed right at the center of the room.
With his mouth no longer latching onto yours, you finally allow yourself to look around. The room is dark, with only the soft gleam from the moonlight illuminating the room, but you can still see Namjoon’s desire in his eyes as he gently sets you down on your back, right on top of the plushy bed that has grown cold for being neglected for days.
Under his gaze, your whole body thrums with a sort of carnal desperation. Something that you are beginning to see as a feeling that he might be experiencing as well, when you watch his eyes glinting with lust and pain when he rakes down your body with his gaze, when his chest heaves with all the pent up desire that he seems to have kept buried for a long time, and when his hands seem to unable to stay away, already reaching out to you and touching you with his gentle caress as if he wants to make sure that you are real.
When your hands reach for him, you realise that you share the same desperate need to feel him, to touch and connect to him. All the pain that you felt from the past is beginning to simmer, but it is still present, reminding you how painful it would be to lose him again and how close you had been to let it happen.
As his touches grow bolder, you feel that you are getting just as eager. Your hands begin to tug at his clothes while your mouth keeps meeting his with a passion that you haven’t felt for a long time and matches terribly to his own. Namjoon slips your sweater off of your shoulders, tossing it away to the nearest chair, before tossing his own jacket away to join it. He returns to you in a matter of seconds, then slides his fingers beneath your shirt with a sense of starvation and need to touch your bare skin. You can feel his hunger when his body vibrates right when you are shuddering under his touch, and you can hear it when he lets out a deep grunt while his breath grows ragged the moment your skin connected to each other.
The sound that he keeps making is causing you to grow more impatient, and you begin to tug and pull at his shirt, not even caring about it when you pop out the buttons in your desperate need to take his shirt right off of his body. Namjoon seems to share the same feeling, when it seems like the only concern that he has at the moment is to get you out of your clothes. He keeps tugging impatiently at your shirt while giving you his kisses so recklessly that you can feel your lips bruising with each pressure of his lips on yours. But you care nothing of it, only returning the kiss with your own need, while you do the same as you continue to tug at his clothes until his chest is left bare right at the same time he manages to toss your shirt away.
His eyes instantly fall onto your chest when you come apart, eyes dilating at the sight of your breasts spilling out of your bra after the mess that he had created in the heat of the moment, and the sight carries on to entice him further as your chest keeps rising and falling with your ragged breath. It sends him into some kind of a hungry daze, as his hands absentmindedly reach out for you, all while muttering under his breath, “Beautiful,” before he dips his head, capturing your mouth while his hands continue to mesh, knead, pressing onto your soft flesh and pinching at your nipples until you arch your body against him, feeling the pleasure moving rapidly inside you like sparks of flame licking at your center.
His hands trail down to your waist, cursing under his breath when he finds the waistband of your pants getting in the way. Instinctively, you also curse along with him at your decision to wear them. Though it had been undeniably the perfect decision for you to take before running out into the cold, you hate to admit that if only you had been wearing a skirt, or perhaps the same dress that you had worn during dinner, he would already find his way to be inside of you, to be touching you right where you are pulsing with need.
He doesn’t even try to pull away from the kiss even as he tugs at the zipper on your pants with one hand while he tries to work on his own zipper with the other, all while his tongue keeps dancing and teasing against yours in a way which sends magnificent jolts of need all the way down to your toes.
He stops the kiss as he shoves your pants down to your hips and you help as much as you could—by tearing your flimsy bra and kicking the damn pants and underthings the rest of the way until they are all gone, fallen to the floor before Namjoon climbs back on top of you. By then, you are nearly blinded with desire, and it intensifies the moment he slips his fingers between your legs, finding out just how ready you are for him. The touch of his fingers dancing around your heat draws a soft moan right out of your lips, while he breathes out a sigh of relief, as if your readiness serves as the answer to his prayers.
Instead of taking the chance to continue devouring you, Namjoon pulls back, his fingers retreating from your pulsing heat to shove his own pants down, releasing his cock as he kicks everything away. His pants and boxers fall onto the floor with a heap of a mess, and his hand comes down to wrap his hard length, stroking himself a few times as he bends down on the bed, his mouth finding your bare neck where he presses a kiss onto. At the sound of your whimper, his free hand reaches down between your legs, finding your heat once more. This time, his fingers move rather gentle and slow as he circles around your folds, moving in a steady rhythm as he slowly finds the center, then he dips the tips in, pressing right where your arousal keeps dripping out.
“Ah—Namjoon!”
He hums against the nape of your neck as he slowly pushes his way in, dipping his fingers into your heat all the way to his knuckles and grunts as he feels your body shuddering against him. “Fuck, you’re tightening around me, Baby Doll,” he groans deeply, growing nearly breathless as he relishes on the way you are pulsing around his fingers while he continues to stroke himself gently, you can feel him moving against your hips and you raise yourself, inviting him to push himself into you.
Instead, he simply moves his fingers, sliding them in and out of you and rubbing the digits against your pulsing walls while his thumb finds your clit, pressing and circling until the pleasure comes rolling upward and you are left trashing on the bed with the need for release. You can feel the pleasure rising, reaching its peak, but also not quite there. Namjoon can probably feel this too as he gives you a quick peck on the lips before pulling back, suddenly rising and then climbing down the bed. He still has his fingers playing with your cunt, slowly picking up their pace as he thrusts them deeper, pressing right at your sweet spot, before he pulls his thumb away and his mouth latches on in its place.
Everything falls into another flurry of sinful bliss while your body becomes nothing but a bundle of nerve ending as he plays with your body so fluidly—his fingers continue pumping in and out of you, his mouth and tongue taking turns to tease and torture at your swollen clit, sucking and lapping while sometimes he would get his teeth into the mix and brush against the pulsing flesh until you are left trashing and crying with pleasure. There are tears in your eyes at how good he is making you feel and how quickly you are coming over the edge. With your hands clutching on his head, you press your hips down against his face, riding his mouth and hand with a matching pace to the rising pulse of your climax, chasing it with the help of his coaxing words, until you are finally there, as your orgasm comes rolling so intensely there is nothing stopping you from falling over the edge.
Your whole body continues to pulse with the spasms of your climax even as he slowly pulls back, releasing you from his mouth while his fingers are still moving gently around your folds to help you ride it down. Moving ever so slowly, Namjoon climbs his way back up, pressing his hand onto the bed beside you to prop himself over you. He stays there for a moment, watching you closely as you try to control your breath, your eyes slowly opening to him with pure love and lust looking back at him right at the same time you are seeing them coming from his own eyes.
“You can stop me,” he whispers hoarsely. “If you don’t want to do this. If you still want to—”
Go.
The words die down on his tongue, and yet you can still see the fear and doubt in his eyes without him ever having to say them out loud. You reach out to him, trembling hands cupping his face, your thumbs brushing to wipe away the remnants of your release that are still coating his mouth and chin even after he had tried to brush them all clean. “Make love to me, Namjoon,” you whisper to him. “Make me feel alive again. You’re the only one who can make me feel.”
There is a hint of relief and a glint of hope in his eyes when he hears your words. With a smile on his face, he turns to kiss your palm, pressing his mouth on one side before turning to do the same to the other. His gentle hands come up, catching your wrists as he begins kissing down on them, then he brings your hands down to rest them above your heads, pressing them down to the pillows before he lowers himself on top of you and quickly catches your mouth in his once again.
“I’ve waited for this moment for a long time, Baby Doll. I’ve missed you so much,” he whispers against your lips, drawing your tears out when you realise that you have been feeling the exact same way.
One of his hands comes down, before you can feel the tip of his cock rubbing against your slit. He takes a moment to coat his shaft with your arousal, moving it up and down and then around your clit, making your legs tremble around him, until you feel the fat tip of his cock pressing and nudging at your entrance.
With his mouth pressing down on yours, he swallows the soft cries you are making as he sinks into you, groaning deeply as he feels your wet heat engulfing him, wrapping around his girth. He waits for a moment, only until he can feel the intense pulsing of your walls around him slowly wane down, until your body relaxes beneath him, until his own heartbeat steadies and he no longer has to worry about coming too soon to the pleasure of being buried inside you again after so long.
You throw your head back against the pillows as he begins to move, gently and slowly at first, his deep groans turning into whimpers as he relishes the wonderful feeling of his cock brushing against your walls. He thrusts, and thrusts, moving in and out with a steady pace, and you reach out to him just as he finally releases you so he can hold your hips up to him, your hands clinging onto him, urging him on as your need continues to boil hotter from the depth of your core. The sweet and soft sounds you are making soon becomes the encouragement that he needs, along with the way your nails are beginning to clutch and bury themselves into his skin. He leans forward, kissing you again as your hips begin to rock against each other. The old bed creaks beneath you, but nothing can stop either one of you from rolling your hips, chasing and drowning yourself in the pleasure of his lovemaking, pushing up when he presses down, slowly increasing the pace as the need to chase for climax begins to grow stronger on both of you.
Namjoon continues pounding and thrusting his cock rapidly into your heat while you reciprocate by moving your hips, lifting yourself up to meet each of his thrusts. The emotions piling up from the past few days that you have spent with him are all coming to a head, leaving you both clinging desperately to each other as you try to ease the tension that are still carried by both your bodies and your broken hearts. With a deep groan, Namjoon raises his hands, gripping the wooden headrest right above your head as he keeps on bringing you over to the edge of your bliss, picking up his pace as he puts more force into his thrusts, sending you both jostling on top of the bed. And yet his cock keeps hitting you deep to a point that you are feeling the mix of pain and pleasure meshed together in one delightful bliss.
Soon enough, the waves of your orgasm begin to build up once more, coming to you stronger and faster without giving you a chance to hold back. Your breath begins to come out shorter, the cries of pleasure keeps getting caught in your throat at the force of his pounding, before it comes out higher when the pain slowly descends, leaving nothing but pleasure in its place.
“I love you,” he rasps between his thrusts, wanting you to hear it. And you can see his need to let you know this when he never once looks away as he buries himself deep inside you. “I’ve always loved you and I still do. I never stopped, damn it.”
Your gaze turns up and finds his, only to grow blurry and hazy at the mix of your tears and the rising bliss just as you scream out, “I love you too, Namjoon. Always have.”
And always will.
At the exchange of your words, something within you snaps, and with one single thrust, he pushes you over to the edge, sending you tumbling over to the peak of your pleasure with a loud cry of his name. Your climax comes through you in an intense wave, vibrating from deep inside you and wrapping tightly around him to send him to his own release. A deep groan continues to rumble from his chest as he keeps on thrusting, the movement of his cock turns rapid and messy and filled with the desperate need to reach his end before you feel him swelling, tightening inside you, then he pushes forward and going so deep one last time as he releases himself inside you, filling you up with his cum.
The moment everything stops, Namjoon drops down beside you and pulls you to his chest. He continues to hold you tight between his strong arms, letting you feel his heartbeat without minding the thin veil of sweat building between you. As the remaining spasms of your release begin to wind down, your eyes slowly flutter to close, relishing on the mixture of emotions and the feelings running through your body—the warmth of his embrace, the wet heat coming from his release that is still dripping out of your pulsing core, and the feeling of love fluttering inside your heart.
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Your whole body feels incredibly relaxed, while at the same time, completely sore, by the time dawn comes peeking through the window. And yet, you find there is no need to complain about it when your body is also humming with pure pleasure as you open your eyes and stretch your limbs out beside him.
For the rest of the night after your rigorous lovemaking, Namjoon has shown you just how insatiable he could be when he is with you.
For hours, he had taken you in every position possible for a man to take you. With you on top, riding him while facing him and then facing the other way. With him on top of you, taking you hard and gentle and then with a lazy roll of his hips until you were sent into a slow rising bliss. With you in all fours, as he took you from behind, not even caring how the bed kept making loud noises as it kept on banging against the wall with how hard he was pounding his cock into you until your whole body was trembling with your intense climax. You have lost count on how many times he had made you cum, as he simply kept on going, only giving you a short amount of time for breaks each time before taking you again, as if he was making up for lost time the best he could, showing you what three years of exercising and working out while working hard labour had done to his body and stamina.
As if he had been doing it to prepare for this moment, just to please you like nobody could.
“I did some thinking. You know, after our fight 3 years ago,” he murmurs softly after kissing the top of your head. You have your head resting on his shoulder, while he has his arm around your shoulders, his fingers running up and down your arm absentmindedly to enjoy the silence that had fallen between you. “I knew you were right all along, but I guess I was too stubborn to see it then. Then I went to your graduation, watching you from far away since I had too much pride to join my Mom to sit with your family then. But I was still there to see you taking that step onto the life that you had always wanted, and that was when it truly hit me.”
You instantly look up at his face as you listen to him. It surprises you to hear that he had been there for your graduation, when you had spent the entire night after the ceremony crying over his absence. But you say nothing about this, only staying silent as you continue to listen.
“It took me a long time, but I also realised that just because we lost—” he chokes out as he always does whenever he talks about this, so you rub your hand gently over his chest, soothing him so that he could go on. “It didn’t mean that I—that we had lost a chance to still build our family.”
Sighing, you are filled with both relief and despair to know that it has taken him so long to get to this point. To realise all of this. But you are also glad that he is finally there. “That was what I kept trying to tell you,” you murmur to him while trying your best to keep your tears at bay. “But I had to understand. Our reason to believe that we could be a family at all was because of—of him, our little peanut,” you chuckle softly at the short memory of being a young mother. “So it was hard for both of us to look past that and to see us having a life without him with us. At one point, I couldn’t see it. But all I ever wanted was for us to heal together.”
Namjoon closes his eyes briefly and sighs. And then you can see the regret in his eyes when he looks at you again. “I just didn’t want to hold you back. When I finally realised that I could no longer put my life on hold, I also knew that the only way for me to change things up was to start from the beginning rather than for me to chase your shadow. I reapplied for college once I got back home, finished early, started working with my Dad to learn the ropes, and did everything I could to build everything from the ground up, both literally and figuratively, starting with my own life first, stopping it from crumbling to the ground before I started doing the same to the old buildings in town.”
You push yourself up. “Why didn’t I know any of this?”
Namjoon doesn’t answer you right away, but chooses to bring up your question instead. “You asked me why I kept sending the papers back.”
Hesitantly, you nod your head.
“I wanted to win you back,” he says, his smile never leaving his face. “But first, I wanted to become someone who you can rely on, and I knew I had to prove to myself, to you, to everyone, that I can be someone that you can depend on when the only thing people saw from me was how much I had failed you.”
With a sigh, he lets his head fall back. His eyes looking up to the ceiling but his gaze seems further away as he looks back to the past. “I’ve made a lot of mistakes, and I still blame myself for what happened with—” Again, he chokes, but the pain is no longer there when he looks at you. “But I blame myself more for being stuck inside my head while I was grieving that I completely neglected you, completely disregarded my part as your husband, and as the man who vowed to take care of you.”
He lifts his hand, brushing your hair and tucking it behind your ear gently. “I’m sorry it took me a long time to realise it. I should’ve fought harder. I should’ve done it sooner,” he says, keeping his eyes on yours. “I should’ve been there for you and fought my way back up together with you.”
“You could’ve told me. I would have—” you try to speak, “I wouldn’t have—”
Namjoon stops you by pressing a light peck on the tip of your nose. “It doesn’t matter now anyway, right?”
And then it dawns on you, just as you are reminded of how your Mom had sat you down on that first night you arrived, before everyone came by to join dinner, when she asked you gently to have a proper conversation with Namjoon before deciding to do anything. When she asked you to listen to him. “My parents knew about this.”
Namjoon slowly nods. “They had always been the ones to give me their full support. And Bernie wasn’t lying when he said they all helped. Bernie and your uncle, specifically, have been great partners in expanding my construction business.”
It sure takes a lot to take in. There have been so many changes happening while you were gone, so many things that you have missed. Perhaps you were wrong after all when you had thought that life would simply stop in this place, that it would be impossible for you to expand your life in such a small town where there were so many barriers, so many limitations, and not enough room to grow.
But when you had managed to prove to everyone and the world that it was possible for you to have big dreams and to reach for them by leaving, Namjoon had shown that it was possible to have them all by staying.
“I signed the papers,” he murmurs softly, reminding you about the predicament that you have found yourself in. You close your eyes as your heart pinches under the memory of waking up to find those damn papers.
“I saw.” You open your eyes to look at him and sigh. “I haven’t put down my signature yet.”
“Why?” he asks, and then his vulnerability shines bright in his eyes. “Are you going to sign it?”
“I don’t know anymore,” you find yourself answering him, before the pain in your chest increases and you simply drop down on top of his chest to hold him tight. “I won’t. No, never. I’m going to burn those papers once the sun comes up.” Namjoon’s chest rumbles with a chuckle, though you can still feel him sighing with relief when he presses his mouth on your temple. “I ended it. The engagement,” you whisper to him while keeping your face pressed to his bare chest, afraid of what you might find when you look at him.
Namjoon says nothing at first before you feel him nodding. “I know,” he whispers as he buries his nose into your hair, breathing you in before he sighs in relief.
You raise your head to look up. “What? How?”
He hums softly. “I just—I can tell. And I overheard a little bit of your argument while you were on the video call earlier. I was standing right outside the bedroom,” he admits to you sheepishly. “I’m so sorry.”
“No, you’re not,” you say to him after reading the expression on his face, finding more relief and pride present there instead of remorse. “You’re definitely not sorry.”
A slow smile grows on his face as he dips his head, capturing your lips in his with a whisper, “No. No, I’m not.”
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Epilogue…
There was a saying that you read a long time ago. One that said how time flies over everyone, but leaves its shadow behind.
Months have passed since you were reunited with Namjoon. Ever since the holiday week that you spent with him where you were given the chance to revisit your past and to have another look at the life that you had at that moment to find what you had been missing.
The summer breeze comes flowing through, making your dress dance around you as you slowly walk down the path between the guests, surrounded by the familiar faces of your family and friends who have arrived to become a part of this moment.
You make a quick glance over to the seats, your eyes meeting Winny’s, finding her beaming with a smile as she watches you with pride in her eyes. The trip in the winter had done a lot to help her recover, and she had become one of the first people around you to support this day to happen. Everything else had simply fallen in place since—the bar had been expanded to have its own bed and breakfast, Namjoon’s business has risen even faster than what he had ever predicted, as the Mayor’s testimony of his work had spread so fast to the neighbouring town that he had gained even more work, saved even more buildings, and there is nothing stopping him now from blossoming.
And then there is you.
It is certainly funny how life works, how it had chosen to send you into different paths and different kinds of adventures before it finally leads you towards your fairy tale ending.
When you came back home all those months ago, you had thought that you would return to the big city with closure, with a chance to move on with a fairy tale ending. Never once you had ever thought that you would find yourself instead.
Instead of closure, you had found a new beginning, a second chance, and to finally open your eyes to realise that you had already found your fairy tale ending, and you never had to look far to see it. And now you are here, walking towards the happy ending that you had dreamed of for a long time, in the magical moment that you had pictured in your head ever since you were a little girl—a white wedding at the top of the cliff, overlooking the town and the canyons below, with you wearing an ivory dress that sparkles beautifully under the bright sun above.
You look ahead, meeting Namjoon’s gaze as he waited for you at the end of the path, standing not too far away from the edge of the cliff that serves as your final stage. Right beside him is the Mayor, acting as the officiant for this ceremony, a surprise gift that he had offered after finding out about your plans for renewing your marriage vows with Namjoon. The fact that he had offered his service only months after you had officially become his legal advisor was almost too good to be true, but the man had claimed that he owed so much to Namjoon, and then now to you, to take the pleasure of becoming a part of this moment.
You look at Namjoon and smile at him. There are tears in his eyes when you finally reach him. His hands are trembling when he takes yours in his, but the moment your hands touch each other, the only thing you both feel is a wave of calmness, as the bond between you takes over to eliminate all the nerves.
You barely pay attention as the Mayor reads out the written vows that you had prepared for each other, only until the moment he gives you the final question, of promising a forever with Namjoon, both in happiness and in sorrow, in sickness and in health, and nothing can ever set you apart.
You raise your head, looking straight into the eyes of the man who had always been there as a part of your journey, whether or not he was constantly present in every page of your tale. Your husband. Your Prince Charming.
And as you look out beyond the cliff, into the sight of nothingness that also offers you a wide-open space with a thousand of possibilities for your future, you feel as if you are free falling into your new beginning, and you simply take it, knowing full well that he would be there to catch your fall.
Always.
“I do.”
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Extra: honourable mention - BM (Matthew) from Kard
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❥ Author’s note 2.0 | Thank you for reading!
❥ Taglist | @hearteuforjoonie — @blue1928 — @jeonmisha — @smitssharon02 — @mini-coop25​ — @sumzysworld — @namjooningelsewhere — @nyamnomnamujoon — @rrrrap-monster — @moonchild1 — @onlythehobi — @secretlypg95 — @girlsforgloss — @kpopstudybee — @mynameis-kim​
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rmnamjoons · 3 months ago
Text
The Bodyguard [KNJ]
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➳ summary: You’re the daughter of the ambassador to a small, peaceful, barely-on-the-map country in Western Europe, working as a diplomat to help your mother with her endless meetings and politics. After a kidnapping attempt gone wrong, you and your protective bodyguard Namjoon are on the run across Europe, jumping from trains, stealing cars, and pretending to be a couple on your honeymoon to stay hidden. As the would-be kidnappers close in, Namjoon promises you that he’s going to keep you safe, no matter the cost.
➳ pairing: bodyguard!Namjoon x reader
➳ genre: bodyguard au, romance, smut, fake dating/fake marriage, road trip (kinda), very slight angst
➳ word count: 62.9k – this is a complete, VERY long oneshot
➳ tags: hotel owner seokjin cameo, main pairing is on the run and traveling all over to stay hidden, mutual pining, slowburn, bed sharing, accidental cuddling while sleeping, pretending to be a couple, protective namjoon, unrequited love that’s actually very requited, masturbation and accidental voyeurism, lots of horny thoughts/fantasies, smut, oral (f receiving), biting, soft dom namjoon has an oral fixation
➳ a/n: I originally started writing this in December of 2019, and I’m very proud of it! It’s the length of a short novel and I put a lot of work into it, so I hope everyone likes it 💜 Also, it takes places in winter (because that’s when I started writing it), and I never say what country Y/N is from or what country her mother is the ambassador to, to keep it as self-insert as possible. Enjoy!!!
!!!!!!! PLEASE READ THE WARNINGS IF YOU HAVE ANY TRIGGERS !!!!!!!!
➳ warnings: a main character gets shot but is fine, the underlying threat of being kidnapped by unknown men is a theme throughout, guns tw, shooting tw, blood tw, unnamed character death tw, both Namjoon and Y/N shoot and kill bad guys
***
***
***
“It was complete shit, Joon. A shit show. A fucking circus. Did you see the way that American aide kept leering at me? I should’ve slapped him when he winked at me. Ugh, fucking asshole,” you grumbled, pacing around the luxurious first class compartment you’d booked for your more than twenty-four hour train ride home.
You’d been on this line before, many times actually, and you found the long trip relaxing, mostly due to the fact your compartment was nearly the size of a normal hotel room. Even if there was no wifi or cell service for a few hours of the ride, you loved it. It let you relax and disconnect from the world, if only for one night.
You’d kicked off your heels pretty much immediately after getting to your compartment, but you were still in the light pink skirt and blazer you’d worn to the summit earlier today. You’d smiled to your bodyguard Namjoon that morning as he’d escorted you down to breakfast at the hotel, asking him if you looked like Elle Woods in your outfit. He’d smiled to himself and responded with a quiet “Yes, ma’am,” and you swore he’d tried to hide the fact he was blushing, though maybe that was just you projecting your intense stupid crush onto him, making you see things that weren’t there at all.
“I thought it went pretty well. The summit, at least. Not the American,” Namjoon replied from his seat at the small table by the window, glancing up at you every few moments while skimming through the book he’d brought on this trip. The empty plates from the dinner the two of you’d been served a couple hours ago were still stacked there in front of him, Namjoon having not gotten up yet to put them out in the hall. “I still think you should’ve let me talk to him.”
“Of course you do,” you laughed, rolling your eyes. “I remember the last time I let you ‘talk’ to someone for me. How many of that man’s ribs did you break?”
“He had it coming,” Namjoon mumbled after a moment, not looking up from his book, though you could see the small smile he was trying to hide. You smiled too, remembering how the man in question had grabbed your ass at a charity banquet when he’d thought no one was looking. You’d gasped and looked up at the man with scared eyes, before running to Namjoon and telling him what had happened, tears streaming down your face.
Your bodyguard had said he would just have a word with the man, dragged him off to another room, and the next thing you knew paramedics were rushing by to take the man away, now groaning and clutching his stomach.
“Some random rich asshole is one thing, the chief aide to the American ambassador to Russia is another,” you commented, now standing in front of your suitcase and folding some of your clothes, seeing what you had left that was still clean. “Besides, the whole summit was stupid. Nothing happened. Barely anything was even discussed. The trip was such a waste of time. Then again, when aren’t they?”
You’d mumbled the last sentence, but Namjoon still caught it. You knew he agreed with you by the tight-lipped expression that came over his face, but he said nothing, eyes still glued to his book. He was never one for speaking his mind on the political aspects of your or your mother’s jobs.
Namjoon had been your personal bodyguard for almost three years now, ever since your mother had accepted the position of ambassador to a small, peaceful, barely-on-the-map country in Western Europe. When she was first appointed, you were freshly graduated with a useless degree and unsurprisingly unemployed, so she’d brought you with her to serve as an unofficial aide and representative for public events. Your mother handled the important business, while you were stuck at never-ending luncheons and banquets and casual meetings with wealthy businessmen trying to make political (and sometimes romantic) connections with you and your mother.
It was stupid, mind-numbing, degrading work, and it bothered you a lot that nepotism was the only reason you’d gotten the job, but you tried to tell yourself that ambassadors’ grown children often had positions like yours, helping represent their embassy and country to the public – more celebrity than politician, a role to play instead of a job to do.
In the time you’d known him, Namjoon was the only person in your life besides your mother who treated you like a normal human being instead of a spoiled princess. You spent nearly every waking moment together, and despite his professionalism, he was friendly, sweet, even goofy with you. He was your friend. Your big, sexy, funny, intelligent, charming, perfect friend you were kind of a little bit in love with… who your mother paid to never leave your side.
You sighed, closing your suitcase with a thud and turning back toward the table, your mood soured by thinking about your pathetic and very unrequited crush on Namjoon. You moped over and slumped down in the chair across from him, sighing again as you crossed your arms.
“You okay?” Namjoon’s deep voice interrupted your thoughts, making you almost jump out of your seat. He’d put his book down on the table and now sat up straighter, tilting his head as he looked at you, concern in his warm brown eyes.
“Yeah,” you said, smiling weakly but not making eye contact with him. “Just thinking.”
“Thinking? Sounds dangerous,” he said. He had a teasing tone in his voice, like he wanted to be playful with you. “What are you thinking about?”
Your heart was racing now, though you knew this was just him checking on you and doing his job. He was always so attentive, so wonderful and kind to you, like a boyfriend instead of a bodyguard. His caring nature and how sweet he was did not help your crush on him at all.
“Nothing,” you lied. “Just plans for the week, what else I have to do, stuff like that. Nothing important.”
“You looked upset. You had that pout you get when you’re lost in your head,” Namjoon said. “Something coming up you’re worried about?”
“Nope,” you said, still not looking at him. “And I wasn’t pouting.”
“Oh yeah?” he said, voice gentler now, thankfully not pushing anymore. “I saw you pouting, ma’am. You looked like this.” Namjoon made the most pathetic pout you’d ever seen, batting his eyes and sticking out his bottom lip, making you giggle. He reached across the table and tickled your stomach, your giggles turning into near-screams of laughter and joy as you tried to squirm away from him in your seat.
He showed mercy and stopped, letting you catch your breath as he watched and smiled at you.
“Y/N,” he said, serious again, and you finally looked up at him, surprised by the use of your name instead of the usual ‘ma’am’ thing he insisted on continuing, despite your many objections. “You know you can talk to me, right? What’s on your mind?”
A small part of you wanted to just blurt out your feelings, but you could never do that to him. It was beyond inappropriate, in both the friend aspect and the fact your mother employed him. What if he felt pressured to say he liked you back, out of fear of losing his job? What if confessing your feelings made him quit to get away from the insane, spoiled ambassador’s daughter lusting after him? You were stuck, cursed to live secretly in love with your bodyguard-best friend forever.
Before you could answer him, your stomach growled loudly, making your eyes widen comically as you looked down at yourself in surprise.
“Oh, I see,” Namjoon said, a knowing, relieved smile growing on his face. “Are you hungry again? Is that what put you in a pouty mood?”
“Yeah,” you lied, your pout slowly turning into a smile too, thankful for the perfectly-timed distraction. “Joon,” you cooed to him, giving him your best pleading eyes. “Would you be willing to get us some food from the dining car? Something sweet, like cookies or chocolate? Please?”
Namjoon’s smile grew wider, looking down and shaking his head a little, as if laughing to himself. You knew he had a complete inability to refuse you whenever you batted your eyelashes at him and gave him puppy eyes, and you exploited that fact often.
“Yes, ma’am,” he said, his cheeks turning red. “Preference on cookies or chocolate?”
“Chocolate cookies are my preference, then chocolate, then cookies. Nothing with raisins. Thank you, Joonie,” you said, drawing out his name cutely, like how you always did when you asked him for a favor.
You grinned at him, watching the way his dark eyes sparkled at your joy. He sighed, standing up and stretching a little before heading out of the compartment, setting the plates from dinner outside the door on his way out.
***
Namjoon slid the two packs of double chocolate chip cookies he’d bought into his jacket pocket, cautiously picking up the two cups of hot cocoa and stepping to the side to get out of the way of the snack counter’s line. He knew all about your insatiable sweet tooth and love of chocolate, so he thought he’d surprise you with what he knew to be your favorite drink, especially on cold nights like this.
Namjoon wondered how he’d ended up so lucky, to have gotten a job like this, taking care of and protecting you. His entire existence revolved around keeping you, the love of his life, safe and happy; he got to spend basically every waking moment with you, worried over your safety, in charge of protecting you no matter what, and he actually got paid for it. He would do this for free in a heartbeat. Hell, he’d give up his life savings and all worldly possessions to be the one by your side, your protector, the one person you trusted more than anyone else.
Part of him, though, sometimes wondered if this job was actually torture. He would never be able to confess his feelings; he could never do that to you. How would you feel if you found out the man you’d trusted your life with was secretly a pervert who thought of you as his, who fantasized every night about putting his head between your legs, who jacked off in the shower every morning while moaning your name?
Even earlier today, when you’d paced around after dinner, he’d kept sneaking glances and staring at your ass in that tight little skirt, fantasizing about bending you over the desk in the compartment. He knew you’d feel disgusted and betrayed, so he kept his mouth shut and accepted it, because getting to dote on you forever was the most wonderful torture he could possibly imagine.
He was so whipped for you, too, and he knew it. All you had to do was bat your eyelashes at him and he’d drop everything to please you. You had him completely wrapped around your finger, and you didn’t even realize it.
This job was either heaven or hell: protecting the most beautiful woman in the world who he loved more than anything, who would never have any idea how he felt. He couldn’t kiss you all over like he wanted to, so instead he took care of you a different way, translating the kisses and devotion he wanted to give you into favors, friendship, and, most importantly, protection.
Namjoon turned to head back, moving slowly to balance the very full hot cocoas in his hands and smiling proudly to himself at just the thought of getting to surprise you with something you loved.
As he headed out of the dining car, he spotted two men sitting at one of the tables, each with a small, barely noticeable black object in their ears, and his heart stopped. The two men were dressed casually, no logos or patterns, but Namjoon recognized the black boots they both wore as being tactical, police or military-grade by the looks of it.
He didn’t react or slow down, instead setting his jaw and continuing on his way, not wanting to draw attention to himself or let them know of the suspicion he felt. He would check into that as soon as he got back to you, after fortifying the room you were in. You were his only priority, and if these guys weren’t a threat to you, they weren’t his problem.
By the exit, a third man sat at a table by himself, also with a hidden earpiece and tactical shoes. This one was reading a book, and Namjoon glanced at his face, seeing his eyes not actually moving or reading.
Namjoon swallowed thickly, but didn’t react otherwise.
He swore he could feel eyes on him, maybe the two men at the table or the employee working the snack counter behind him. Everyone on this train was now a potential threat, as far as he was concerned.
Once he left the dining car and the windowless door slid shut behind him, Namjoon immediately cut to the side, ducking into the bathroom and locking it behind him. He then dumped the hot cocoas in the sink, burying the cups in the little trash bin on the wall before pulling out his cell phone.
“Shit,” Namjoon muttered under his breath, smacking the side of his phone. The train had already reached the two-hour stretch of the journey where there was no service or wifi, up in the mountains. He would have no way of scanning any databases for who these guys were, no way to call for help or letting anyone know about the situation. He couldn’t even text you to warn you not to open the door for anyone but him.
He took a deep breath, reminding himself that he didn’t actually know if these men were here for you. He didn’t want to freak you out or scare you unnecessarily, and he needed to stay calm and in control. The only thing that mattered right now was getting to you and fortifying the room. He had a gun and plenty of rounds. He knew he could protect you.
Namjoon moved to leave, but froze when he heard someone enter the other bathroom across from him. He heard a man’s voice, and Namjoon pressed his ear against the bathroom door to listen.
“We just reached the dead zone. Target is confirmed onboard. Only one guy with her,” the man said, his hushed tone so quiet Namjoon had to strain and close his eyes to hear him. Nobody was responding to what this man was saying, which meant he had some kind of satellite phone that worked without normal cell service. In the past, Namjoon had repeatedly requested a satellite phone that would work on this train route, but the security team back at the embassy had deemed it unnecessary.
“Yeah, I had eyes on them both when they got on the train,” the man continued, his American accent thick. “He’s a pretty big guy, potentially armed, but he won’t be a problem.”
The man paused for a moment before continuing, “Came in the snack car a minute ago. Didn’t suspect a thing. Bought her some cookies,” the man laughed. More silence. “Yeah, he just went back to the girl.”
Namjoon bit his lip, hearing his suspicions confirmed.
These men were here for you.
They had military-grade gear, they were coordinated, and they had phones or communicators that still worked up in the mountains where nothing else did. They were far more prepared and equipped than he was, and he was definitely outnumbered.
Namjoon strained to hear what else the man said, catching only a few words like “engine room” and “eliminated” over the low hum of the train. The man said something else, and then it sounded like he signed off. A few seconds later that door slid open again, and then Namjoon heard firm footsteps heading back toward the dining car.
Namjoon waited for a few seconds, staring at his phone and watching the time pass on his clock app. He listened as hard as he could for hints that anyone else was in the hallway, but all he could hear were the sounds of the train. It would only take one of these assassins or kidnappers or whoever they were being in the hallway outside to spot him, and then they’d all know he’d heard everything.
His heart was racing, the only thought in his head being how badly he needed to get back to you and protect you. Someone could be waiting right outside this door to ambush him, or breaking into your compartment now, hurting you or taking you somewhere, away from him.
Namjoon took a deep breath and slid open the door, peeking around carefully before stepping out. The hallway was empty, and the sleeping car a few meters away was mostly vacant, with only a family with small children sitting near the back.
Namjoon walked down the train car, smiling pleasantly to himself as he passed the family. He didn’t want them to freak out or see him running, but he couldn’t help but pick up his pace the moment he passed them.
Once in the next (thankfully empty) sleeper car, Namjoon broke into a jog, rushing to get back to you. The first class cars were all at the back of the train, farthest from the loud locomotive, and you’d rented the very last one, with its own little private balcony on the very back of the train. His heart and mind were both racing, but he tried to tell himself that he needed to stay calm. Panic would just make him less helpful and only put you at risk. You, his princess, the woman who trusted him with your life, the one person he’d die for in a heartbeat.
When Namjoon reached your door, he found it still locked and in place. He fumbled with his key, nearly dropping it before finally getting the door open, immediately sliding it shut again the second he was inside.
“Y/N, baby, get up right now,” he said, locking the door behind him.
You seemed to be frozen in place, your wide eyes confused and watching him.
“Huh?” you said, still not moving as you watched him pull the mattress off his bed and throw it against the door.
“Up,” he said, coming over to you and grabbing you by your arms, pulling you up as gently as he could in his urgency. “You have thirty seconds to put necessities in my backpack. We’re leaving.”
“What? Why?” you said, standing still and blinking in confusion as Namjoon turned and grabbed his backpack beside his now bare bed frame, throwing it down in the chair you’d just been sitting in. He still had his bag of toiletries in there, along with a first aid kit, his glasses and extra contacts, his passport, and a few other things, so he figured he was set.
He started to pull your mattress off the bed too, but noticed you still hadn’t moved.
“Y/N,” he said, coming back to you and holding your face with both hands, making you look up at him and focus. “I need you to get whatever you need and put it in my backpack right now. There are men on this train who want to hurt you. We’re leaving.”
“What? Who are they? What do you mean ‘leaving?’ We’re on a moving train in the middle of nowhere,” you said, panic rising in your eyes and voice.
“Sweetheart, I need you to stay calm,” he said, dropping one hand to your shoulder and moving his thumb in little soothing circles. “I’m always honest with you, and right now’s no different. I’m gonna keep you safe, but I need you with me and focused. I heard them call you ‘the target’ and they know you only have one guard, so we need to move right now.”
“Are we jumping off the train?” you said, and when you blinked he noticed your eyes welling up.
“No, angel,” he said, bringing his hand up to cup your face again, stroking your cheek with his thumb. You leaned into his touch, looking up at him with a scared expression that made his heart ache. He realized he was calling you pet names in his attempt to comfort you, and didn’t care to stop himself. “It’s my job to keep you safe, remember? I wouldn’t be a very good bodyguard if I made you jump off a moving train, now would I?”
That made you smile a little, and Namjoon smiled weakly, happy you weren’t as panicked as before. Keeping you calm was almost as important as keeping you safe right now; he couldn’t afford to have you panicking, but he needed you to understand the seriousness of the situation. You were an adult. You could handle being scared. It was his job to keep you safe in scary situations like this and handle everything else.
“I need you to listen to me, okay? Can you put some of your stuff in my backpack? Please?” he said gently, and you nodded, biting your lip. God, he wished he could kiss you right now, hug you close and tell you he loved you and would die to keep you safe. “I’m working on a plan to get us out of here,” he continued. “I promise I won’t make you jump.”
When you sighed and nodded, he squeezed your shoulder gently before turning away.
He was able to get the small desk and coffee table both pushed in front of the door, and he rearranged the setup so the mattresses both leaned against them. Behind him, he could hear you putting things into his backpack, finally.
Namjoon went to his suitcase, on the floor beside his bed. He had a small case hidden under his spare clothes, which he pulled out and set on the bed frame. He noticed you watching him now out of the corner of his eye, but didn’t stop or let himself think about it.
He opened the case and took out his handgun, quickly loading it before pulling off his jacket and taking out his shoulder holster and strapping it on. He stuffed extra rounds into his pockets, as many as he could fit.
Once his jacket was back on and his gun secure and concealed, Namjoon pulled out the bulletproof vest in your size he always travelled with, hidden away in the bottom of his suitcase. He rose, quickly pacing toward you and handing you the vest, which you looked down at like you had no idea what it was.
“Put that on under your jacket,” he said, tucking the rest of his extra rounds into the backpack on top of your toiletries, wallet, and change of clothes. He also saw your iPad in there, which he figured was smart. If these men were after you for your political connections or information about your mother, leaving behind something like a tablet full of information was definitely not a good idea.
“Now,” he said, glancing up at you when he noticed you still just standing there holding the vest.
“Oh, shit, sorry,” you said, jumping into action, as if suddenly realizing he was talking to you.
“It’s okay,” he said, smiling weakly and turning away to give you privacy.
He figured you were most likely in some kind of state of shock, and he couldn’t exactly blame you. He’d been trained for how to react calmly in dangerous situations, while you most definitely had not. He knew how important it was to stay patient but firm with you right now.
When you finished, you made a small noise to get his attention, and he turned back to see you buttoning your blazer back up.
“Ready? Got your pills and everything?” Namjoon asked, zipping up the backpack and pulling it on. He knew you took a birth control pill to help with your periods, along with a low dosage of an ADHD medication, and he knew how much it bothered you to miss doses of either of them. He even had a daily timer set on his phone, since he knew you liked to take them at the same time every day and he could remind you if you forgot.
You nodded, and he glanced down, seeing you still standing there barefoot.
“I think you forgot something,” he said, making you gasp when you realized.
“Fuck,” you mumbled, running back to your suitcase. “I only brought my heels and a pair of slippers for the hotel.”
“Which can you run in?”
“Neither?” you grimaced, worrying your lip as you glanced around the room, as if looking for better shoes to magically appear. “I’d probably be better barefoot.”
“Put your heels on,” Namjoon said, securing the straps of his backpack. “We’re up in the mountains, it’s cold outside. Can you wear a pair of my socks with them?”
“Yeah,” you mumbled, standing in place as you watched him get a pair of socks out of his suitcase.
Once you were ready, Namjoon led you to the back door of the compartment, leading out to the small balcony on the back of the train. Namjoon went out first, gun out, making sure nobody was waiting to surprise the two of you just outside.
When he was fairly sure it was safe, he tucked his gun away and pulled you out by your hand, your hair whipping around your face wildly in the cold wind.
Namjoon wasn’t sure what he was going to do yet. The thought had crossed his mind about jumping, but he’d promised you he wouldn’t make you do that, so that would be his last resort. He knew he couldn’t call for help with any of the train’s staff, since he had no idea if the men had infiltrated or bribed them, and his phone didn’t work here anyway. Triggering any kind of alarm could make the men speed up their plan and let them know he was onto them. He needed to be subtle, but he wasn’t seeing many options.
“Maybe I can decouple the last car,” Namjoon said, more to himself. “The caboose is just our compartment, so if we uncouple it, it’ll just slowly come to a stop, and then we can get off and walk to a town and use the internet there.”
He had no idea how to access or operate that though, since he was sure it was very mechanical and complicated, and that there wouldn’t just be a button labelled “decouple train car” on the wall somewhere. He’d probably need some kind of tools or access code, if it was even possible to do while the train was moving.
“How many men were there?” you asked, your voice quiet. He was still holding your small hand, and he squeezed it gently when he realized you were shaking.
“At least three,” he said, glancing your way. “Probably more.”
You nodded, looking out at the track behind the train. Snow flurries whipped around the car, gently falling to the ground and covering it in a light dust once out of the wind.
Namjoon peeked around each side of the train, half expecting to see men climbing along the side towards the two of you. Instead, he saw the rest of the long train, a thick forest on either side of the tracks, and a mountain straight ahead.
The train was about to go up a hill, Namjoon realized, which meant it’d be going much, much slower. If he remembered this trip correctly, it almost felt like the train wasn’t even moving at all for parts of the steep mountain pass.
Inside, a sudden thud made both you and Namjoon turn around, looking back into the room. Someone had just tried to knock down the door to your compartment, throwing their weight against it. It looked like the lock was still holding for now, and hopefully Namjoon’s barricade would help hold them off for a few extra seconds.
“I think we have to jump,” you said suddenly, making Namjoon look at you in surprise.
“No, Y/N, we’ll find something else,” he said, squeezing your hand again, but he knew you were right.
The train lurched, nearly throwing both of you off your feet as it reached the incline and slowed down dramatically, the engine running louder as the locomotive pulled the train up the hill.
“We need to, now,” you insisted, biting your lip like you always did when you were scared or nervous.
“Fuck,” Namjoon mumbled under his breath, walking up to the balcony’s railing on the side farther from the door leading into your room. You stayed by his side, pressing against him as you both looked over the railing at the maybe two meter drop to the ground. Another loud noise inside the train car made you jump even closer to him, and he dropped your hand and put his arm around you protectively.
“Let’s just do it,” you said quietly, looking up at him. “The train’s going so slow now, we can do it.”
“Are you sure?” he said, even though he knew it was your only option now. There was no going back to uncouple the train, no calling for help, no chance of him fighting off that many trained, armed men on his own without also risking your safety.
“I trust you,” you said, your big eyes so innocent and terrified, and Namjoon wanted so badly to kiss you, comfort you, tell you he loved you, but he held it all in, instead climbing up onto the railing and holding out his hand for you.
“We’ll jump together,” Namjoon said once you’d slipped off your heels, picked them up, and climbed up with him. The two of you now sat side-by-side on the railing, feet dangling over the side of the train. “Try not to tense up. Bend your knees as you land, like you’re squatting or bracing yourself. Think superhero landing pose. Try to jump away from the train a little, if you can.”
Before you could respond, another loud bang rang through the room, making you flinch. You looked up at Namjoon with scared eyes when you heard an American man’s voice yell, “Search the room!”
“Now,” Namjoon breathed, and the two of you jumped together.
The little broken noise you made in pain when you hit the ground would haunt Namjoon’s nightmares for the rest of his life. He’d landed solidly, bending his legs and bracing himself with his hands, but you’d landed barefoot in the snow and had fallen to the side, groaning in pain and trying to be quiet once the immediate shock wore off.
“Fuck,” you moaned, rolling onto your back and bringing your leg up, clutching your right ankle with both hands. You whined in pain, a noise that stirred something deep within him, something protective and primal.
“We need to go,” Namjoon said quietly, picking you up and making you squeak in surprise. He wanted so badly to see if you were okay and fix whatever was causing you pain, but the two of you needed to get away from the tracks as fast as possible. Just one of the men looking out the back of the train could mean life or death for you.
After you reached over and grabbed the heels you’d dropped, Namjoon stood carefully, holding you bridal style against his chest. The snow was coming down a little harder now, swirling in the air and landing in your hair and eyelashes.
He carried you into the forest, running out of sight and away from the tracks. The spot the two of you’d landed on was already covered by the gently falling snow, as if you’d never been there at all, and the train sounded far away already. Namjoon couldn’t hear anyone running or see any signs of life in the quiet forest, but he knew that didn’t necessarily mean you were safe.
Once a few meters away from the tree line, Namjoon walked parallel to the tracks, opposite the direction the train was heading. He held you tighter to him when he felt you shiver, and tried not to shiver himself when he realized he could feel your warm breath on his neck.
After maybe ten minutes of walking, Namjoon set you down on a fallen tree, squatting in front of you and carefully setting your injured foot on his knee. He rolled off his sock you’d put on, slow and gentle as he pulled it around your ankle and heel.
“How’s the pain, on a scale from one to ten?” he asked, his voice soft.
Your ankle was a deep shade of red, but the cold air seemed to help it not swell. He held your leg gently, one hand under your calf to support it and the other under your heel as he looked closer, seeing if any bones looked broken or out of place.
“Maybe a four,” you sniffled.
“Can you move your foot around for me a little, please?” he asked, and when you did it, rotating your ankle and wiggling your toes, Namjoon smiled. “That’s good. If it was broken, you wouldn’t be able to move it, and it’d feel more numb than painful. I think it’s just a sprain. Can you try to put some weight on it and see how it feels?”
You shifted on the log, and Namjoon helped you move forward, moving back a little to give you space. You put your bare foot on the snowy ground, gasping softly and curling your toes at the cold before biting your lip and powering through it. You stayed sitting down, but gently put some weight on it, grimacing as you tested it.
“It feels tender, but it’s not that bad,” you said, relaxing your muscles and letting yourself sit normally with your foot on the ground. “I don’t think I’ll be able to walk in heels, though.”
“I’ll carry you until we get you some walking shoes,” Namjoon assured, not caring if the closest town was a thousand miles away.
You nodded, sniffling a little from the cold air making your nose run. Your cheeks were flushed, and when Namjoon saw you shiver again, he immediately took off his backpack so he could slide off his jacket and wrap it around your shoulders.
“No, you need it more than I do, I already have my blazer and the vest,” you tried to protest, but Namjoon already had your arms in the jacket and was zipping it up for you.
“I’m fine,” he said, picking up your discarded heels and putting them in the backpack so you wouldn’t have to hold them. “You just focus on staying warm.”
“Now you’re just in a shirt, though,” you said, putting your hand on the thin material of his dress shirt over his bicep.
“It’s long-sleeved,” he defended. “Plus you’re the one in a skirt, young lady.” He reached up and tickled you on the back of your knee on your bare, non-injured leg, making you squirm and giggle.
“Fine,” you sighed, smiling as you watched Namjoon set your foot back down on his knee and begin digging for something else in his backpack. He reached in nearly elbow-deep before finally pulling out a little plastic container with a red plus sign on it, which he immediately opened and took out a small roll of gauze from.
“Your ankle will feel better if we compress it,” he explained, unrolling the gauze a little and starting to wrap it around your ankle. “That and the cold will help keep the swelling down, plus when I carry you it’ll be kind of elevated.”
You hummed in understanding, nodding a little, and watched him work as he carefully wrapped your ankle. His hands were so large and gentle, you couldn’t help but stare.
“What are you thinking?” you asked after a moment, and you saw the way his brow furrowed slightly at the question.
“I’m thinking about how we’re gonna keep you safe,” he said, not looking up from your ankle.
“And what’s your plan?” you asked.
He glanced up at you, setting his jaw before answering.
“We’ll walk along the tracks until we find a town, where we can buy some more clothes and other basics,” he said. “We’ll have to stop at an ATM and withdrawal as much as we can, so we can stay off the grid after that in case we’re being tracked through any of our accounts. In town we’ll find wifi and contact the embassy and arrange some kind of pickup or extraction. After that we’ll just need to stay hidden until our ride gets there.”
“Seems simple enough,” you said flatly, “But what if the closest town is hours away? I think you missed the part about us probably freezing to death overnight out here. We’re up in the mountains, remember?” You hadn’t meant to be like that, but your panic rose as you spoke, and you ended up almost shouting by the end of it.
Namjoon didn’t answer, instead just finishing up with your ankle and tucking the end of the gauze in so it’d stay wrapped. You moved your foot a little to get his attention, and when he looked up at you and saw you expecting an answer, he sighed.
“We’ll figure it out,” he said, pulling your sock back on and putting the first aid kit back into his backpack. “I’m sure there are at least buildings along the tracks. And you know how close together everything is in Europe. We’re probably just a mile or two at most from a nice, warm bed and breakfast.”
“If you say so,” you said, making a face at him when he looked up at you.
Once his backpack was back on, you scooted forward a little, holding out your arms for him as he moved to pick you up. You wrapped your arms around his shoulders, hugging him as he carried you bridal-style again.
“Where do you think we are?” you asked, holding onto him tighter as he began walking in the dark again. He stayed close enough to the tree line so that he could still see the tracks, stepping awkwardly over fallen branches and tall weeds as he moved.
“I don’t know,” he said honestly. “I think the mountains with no service or wifi are in southern Poland or Slovakia. I never paid much attention to the route, but I’m pretty sure it dips south.”
“I think you’re right,” you agreed. “There’s a mountain range on the border between those two; maybe that’s where we are. There’s no way we’re far enough west to be in the Alps or Dolomites yet.”
He hummed in agreement, the silence after he spoke drawing your attention to the stillness of the forest, the only sounds Namjoon’s breathing and his feet crunching in the snow.
“When we find civilization, we need to draw as little attention to ourselves as possible, whenever we find that town with the nice, warm bed and breakfast I promised you,” Namjoon said after a moment. “A well-dressed woman with a bodyguard walking into town injured and barefoot is going to be weird, and people might talk about it or remember us. You brought extra clothes, right?”
“Yeah,” you said, nodding.
“You can change whenever we’re close. We’re going to tell people we’re a couple on our honeymoon, backpacking across Europe. If anyone asks, we can say we got mugged a few days ago, lost all our credit cards, your backpack, and our passports. That way we can pay cash and won’t have to show our passports anywhere and put ourselves on the map. We’ll say that we already filed a report with the police, but they said there was nothing they could do. We’re on our way to the capitol to talk to the embassy about getting replacements.”
“And if people find it strange that we don’t know what country we’re in?” you teased, reaching up and poking his dimple.
“They don’t need to know that,” he said, smiling so you could feel his dimple better. “We’ll see a flag or license plate somewhere. We can bluff until we figure it out. We’re going to have to avoid people anyway, so we won’t be getting questioned by every person we come across.”
“You sure did think of everything, didn’t you?”
“That’s my job,” he said, smiling, though it didn’t reach his eyes.
You rested your head on his shoulder, snuggling in against him as you felt him squeeze you closer to him.
“We’ll be okay,” he promised. You believed him.
***
Namjoon ended up being right, which didn’t really surprise you.
After maybe an hour and a half of walking, the two of you spotted a road cutting across the train tracks, and when you reached it, you could see the lights of a town just a little ways away. It looked pretty small, but you could see a gas station and other signs of businesses, and you hoped one of them was that bed and breakfast Namjoon had promised. At this point, though, you’d take anything with heat.
Namjoon ducked back into the forest again and handed you your change of clothes, helping you get a solid footing before turning away and facing the road. You swore that even in the dark, you could almost see his cheeks and ears turning red.
Your change of clothes wasn’t exactly practical. You’d packed the only clean clothes you’d had left, which were a set of pajamas: a pair of shorts and a thin t-shirt. You weren’t sure which was worse, that or the business outfit you’d been in, but at least the pajamas looked like they could be hiking clothes, you figured. Not exactly ideal for snow, but it was the best you had for now. You put on the bulletproof vest and then your t-shirt, moving awkwardly as your socks got wet in the snow and you tried not to put weight on your injured foot.
You still had Namjoon’s jacket, so he tucked his gun into the back of his pants, untucking his shirt to hide it. He put his holster in the backpack along with your dress clothes, and picked you up again to carry you down the road.
His hand was now on your bare leg as he carried you, due to how tiny your shorts were, and you noticed the way he tilted his hand away from you, not letting his fingers touch your skin, ever the polite and professional bodyguard.
You sighed, and Namjoon must’ve thought you were cold, so he rubbed his hand on your arm, warming you up.
“Almost there,” he said, smiling at you, dimple on full display.
When you reached the town, you saw a license plate with “PL” and the European Union symbol, so you figured you were in Poland, or at least close to the border. The town seemed pretty much deserted, all the stores closed and nobody out walking around, though you knew it must be close to eleven at night by now.
Namjoon pointed out an inn a little further up the road, its quaint wooden sign saying “wypoczynkowy,” which you couldn’t even guess at the meaning of. The inn and its sign were both illuminated and inviting, and a small English sign by the window read “vacancy,” which almost made you tear up in relief.
Before heading there, Namjoon stopped at the gas station, seeing an ATM out front. He used his work card and withdrew the maximum amount, which ended up being five thousand of the local currency. Neither of you knew how much that was, and you hoped it would be enough to cover at least one night at the inn.
The two of you ducked into the gas station, and while you sat in the empty little cafe, Namjoon found a sweatshirt for you and a hat for himself, both with a drawing of a mountain and the word “Tatry.” He bought them at the counter, along with a couple snacks, two big bottles of water, and two phone chargers.
Namjoon came back over to you, setting the bag and waters on the table as he sunk down in the chair across from you. You were pretty sure he’d just carried you at least three miles, so you knew he had to be exhausted, despite doing his best to hide it.
“All this only cost like twenty złoty, so hopefully that’s a good sign for this not being an expensive area,” Namjoon said, smiling weakly when you looked up at him. “And I’m sorry, I didn’t see any shoes for sale here.”
“It’s okay. I still can’t get any service on either of our phones,” you mumbled, motioning toward the two devices laying uselessly on the table in front of you. “You think that inn has wifi?”
“Probably,” he said, leaning back in his chair as he cracked open his water. “It seems pretty rural here, but I’d honestly be shocked if it didn’t have internet.”
Namjoon drank half his water in one go, tilting his head back as he chugged it. You stared at the thick column of his neck and the way his Adam’s apple bobbed in his throat as he swallowed, your eyes glazed over in lust, nearly drooling at the sight. Your eyes quickly un-glazed and snapped back down to the phones as he finished and took a deep breath, sighing as he set his water back on the table.
“How’s your ankle feeling?” he said, crossing his arms as he lounged back in his chair. “You about ready to get going?”
“Better, and yes,” you said, tucking the phones back into the backpack he’d left by your chair. “I should walk the rest of the way, though. I don’t want anyone to know I’m injured, in case people come through asking about us. I feel fine enough to walk.”
“Are you sure?” he asked, sitting up straighter now, his brow furrowed.
“Yep,” you said, getting to your feet and pulling on the backpack, figuring it was definitely your turn by now. Jesus, this thing was heavy – how had he carried both it and you for so long without his arms falling off?
“Okay,” he said, voice unsure but standing up with you. “Hold on to me as you walk, though?”
“I will,” you said, smiling up at him as he came around the table. You pouted as he pulled the backpack off of you and slung it over his own shoulder, though you didn’t push it. You’d let him have this.
Sighing, you took his arm when he offered it to you.
You headed out of the gas station together and up the road towards the inn, wobbling in your heels the whole way. You had a slight limp, though your ankle wasn’t hurting too badly now. Namjoon wrapping it had definitely helped a lot.
You held onto his arm tighter as the cold settled back in, a gust of wind blowing snow in your faces. Namjoon reached over and brushed the snow off your hair, mussing it up in the process, which made you laugh and squeeze his arm tighter.
You were so thankful for him. You wished you could cuddle up to him and kiss him all over his face and thank him for saving you, though you knew it was inappropriate and unwanted. He’d saved your life today, and then carried you for miles in the snow to get you to safety. If you couldn’t kiss him all over, maybe he’d at least let you give him a massage later, to thank him and help ease the pain he must be feeling in his muscles.
“Remember,” Namjoon said quietly as the two of you approached the front of the inn, “We’re on our honeymoon, backpacking through Europe together.”
“How long have we been married?” you asked him, moving to hold his hand instead of holding onto his arm, doing your best to hide your limp as you reached the door.
“Let’s say two weeks,” he said, lacing his fingers with yours.
“Aw, happy two week anniversary, honey,” you cooed up to him as he opened the door, making him roll his eyes and blush as he smiled.
The inn’s small lobby was cute, in a dusty fairytale kind of way. What looked like handmade vases full of fake wildflowers sat in each windowsill, where the yellowed blinds had all been closed for the night. The furniture was all made from the same light-colored wood, the couches and chairs covered in colorful quilts and pink and yellow pillows. In front of you, behind the counter, sat a kindly, stout, middle-aged woman, who jumped off the little stool she sat on when she realized customers had suddenly come in.
The woman said something to you in Polish, her eyebrows near her hairline in surprise, and you winced, putting on your best ignorant foreigner act.
“Hi, do you speak English?” you asked, grimacing awkwardly, and the woman eagerly nodded.
“Yes, hello,” she said, accent heavy and grin wide. “Do you need a room?”
“Yes, ma’am,” Namjoon said, laying on the charm thick. The two of you approached the desk, and he moved to put his arm around you. “Do you have a honeymoon suite available, by any chance?”
The woman smiled knowingly, looking between the two of you with a sparkle in her eye.
“We do,” she said, opening a drawer and taking out an old-fashioned bronze key. “How long will you be staying?”
“We aren’t sure yet, ma’am. Do you have wifi?” Namjoon asked.
“Oh, I’m so sorry, we don’t,” the woman said, “It’s so expensive to get it in this area, so we just have telephones in the rooms, and a wonderful internet cafe just down the road that opens at eight tomorrow morning.”
“Perfect, thank you,” Namjoon said to her, and you felt him move his hand on your shoulder a little, as if comforting you.
“How much is a room per night? And can we pay in cash?” you chimed in then, smiling politely at her.
“Well, the honeymoon suite is one hundred złoty per night,” she said, flipping through some papers on her desk as if double-checking. “That’s about twenty-two euros, or twenty dollars if you’re American. And yes, we accept złoty and euro, in addition to card and traveler’s checks.”
You nearly choked on air hearing that, looking up at Namjoon with wide, excited eyes. Namjoon mirrored your expression, glancing down at you before nodding eagerly.
“Yes, we’ll take it,” he said quickly, pulling out some of the money he’d stuffed in his pocket. “We’ll start with three nights, if that’s okay.” You wondered why he asked for more than one night, but tried not to react in front of this woman. Maybe he was just planning ahead, in case you ended up stuck here in this town for a little while.
“Of course,” she said, taking the money with a smile. “Breakfast is served tomorrow morning at nine. We all eat together every morning.” You glanced toward Namjoon, remembering how he’d wanted to lay low, but he didn’t react, still just listening to the woman with a polite smile on his face. “Your room is on the top floor,” she continued, “You’ll have the whole floor to yourself, and there’s nobody staying in the two rooms underneath right now. Lots of privacy.”
“Perfect,” Namjoon said, winking at the woman and pulling you closer to him, and you were pretty sure both her and your hearts fluttered simultaneously.
“Here’s your key,” she said, her face now bright red. Namjoon took it with a smug smile, dropping his other arm from around your shoulder and holding your hand again.
“Thank you so much for everything,” Namjoon said, practically oozing charm now. He led you toward the stairs, glancing back to smile at the woman again, while you tried your best to hide your limp, thankful the woman seemed much more interested in looking at Namjoon than you.
She hadn’t asked you for ID or even your names. Was that normal for hotels in Poland? What about incidentals? Maybe she was just distracted by Namjoon and forgot to ask.
The moment the two of you were around the corner and out of sight, Namjoon picked you up again, making you gasp in surprise.
“How’s your ankle feeling?” he asked quietly, carrying you up the stairs like you weighed nothing. He definitely earned a massage after this.
“Fine,” you said, rolling your eyes. “I can walk, you know.”
“You saw how tall this building is. It’s probably six floors up. No way I’m letting you walk on a sprained ankle up that many flights of stairs,” he insisted, raising an eyebrow at you when you gave him a look.
“Oh!”
Namjoon froze when you both heard a voice behind you, and you both turned enough to look back and see the woman at the bottom of the stairs, looking up at the two of you like you were the most romantic thing she’d ever seen.
“Sorry, he’s always like this,” you quickly explained, attempting to laugh lightly. “He keeps insisting on carrying me into our room every night. I don’t think anybody told him that tradition was only meant for the first night of the honeymoon, carrying your new wife over the threshold and all that. He gets so carried away sometimes.”
The woman said something to herself in Polish, putting her hand over her heart and tilting her head to the side, smiling and sighing wistfully. Namjoon leaned in and kissed your cheek, and you willed yourself not to gasp or widen your eyes at the feeling of his plush, warm lips on your skin. The two of you giggled like a couple in love, pressing your foreheads together, and you thought your heart might burst out of your chest.
“It’s our honeymoon, how could I not?” he asked you, his voice sweet and just loud enough for the woman to still hear him.
You waved goodnight to her, and Namjoon resumed carrying you up the stairs, speeding up a little when he rounded the bend in the staircase.
“That was good thinking,” he murmured once he passed the fourth floor, now definitely out of earshot from the woman. You could tell he was feeling tired by the way his arms strained holding you now and how he’d slowed down a lot, but you didn’t push it, knowing he wouldn’t put you down no matter how much you insisted you were fine.
When the two of you got to the top floor, there was just one door, which Namjoon walked up to and bent over slightly in front of, allowing you to unlock the door without him letting go of you. You pushed the door open as best you could, and he turned and walked in sideways, careful not to bump your feet on the doorframe.
You flipped on the lights, kicking the door closed with your non-injured foot, and Namjoon reached down with you still in his arms, making you giggle as he attempted to lock the door and move the swing guard in place without putting you down.
“Having fun?” you asked, reaching up and locking the door for him, putting him out of his misery.
“Totally,” he said, stepping into the room and heading straight for the room’s one very large bed. “Think she noticed you were in shorts, socks, and heels?” he teased as he set you down gently, nearly dropping to one knee in his effort to ease you down as carefully as possible.
“No way. She was too busy lusting after you,” you laughed, kicking off your shoes and vowing to yourself to never wear them again.
“Oh, come on,” Namjoon said, shaking his head as he eased off the backpack. You grinned when you realized he was blushing, though he turned away and tried to hide it, setting the backpack down on the cozy little chair that looked like it was meant for two people sitting very close together. Even though he’d turned away, you could see his ears turning red. Did he not know how hot he was? Did he not realize that most people he met were attracted to him?
“She was totally in love with you. I think she would’ve asked you out if I wasn’t there,” you laughed, relaxing back on the bed on your elbows. The quilt laid over the sheets matched the ones down in the lobby and felt wonderfully soft, like real cashmere.
Namjoon glanced your way, and you swore he did a double-take when he saw the position you were in. You watched him shake his head and focus back on the backpack, where he was currently setting out his spare rounds and putting your bag of toiletries and his on the table beside the bed.
“You should get some sleep. I think exhaustion’s starting to get to you,” he mumbled, his already deep voice lower than normal. You quirked an eyebrow at him but didn’t comment on that.
You were about to say something when he pulled his gun out from the back of his pants, doing something mechanical with it that seemed like checking the rounds inside. He looked so professional and efficient, the muscles in his wide shoulders and thick arms moving slightly as he worked. You swallowed hard, taking a deep breath as you watched him.
He walked around the bed to the desk across the room, where a landline phone sat plugged into the wall. He put the gun down carefully on the table and picked up the phone, and you watched him immediately dial a phone number he must have memorized.
You sat up straighter, pushing your horny, distracted thoughts out of your head and preparing for the serious conversation Namjoon was about to have with the embassy about you being in danger. You watched him standing there as it rang, and he turned back to face you as he waited, giving you a weak smile when you made eye contact.
Namjoon frowned then, pulling the phone away from his ear and glaring at it.
“It said something in Polish, and then it said in English that this caller is out of my network,” he said, hanging up the phone before immediately picking it up and trying again. This time even you could hear how it immediately went to what sounded like a dial-up noise from the 90’s.
He tried again, and you sighed, watching him as he started to get frustrated. You stood, limping over to him, and felt Namjoon jump a little when you put your hand on his arm.
“I’ll go check in the lobby and see if she can fix it or get us another phone,” he said, sighing. He glanced toward the old-fashioned clock on the wall, which read it was almost midnight now.
“Hold on,” you said, catching him by his hand as he turned to leave, making him look at you. “Just stay. Please.” Your voice was quiet, exhausted, pleading. “We can just go to that internet cafe in the morning. Let’s just sleep, Joon. You must be so tired.”
“I need to call the embassy and let them know what happened,” he said, shaking his head a little, his hand still in yours, though. Up close you could see the bags under his eyes and the way his shoulders sagged.
“Please,” you murmured, squeezing his hand. “We’re safe here. Let’s just sleep and call in the morning. If those men had followed us from the train, they would’ve found us in the forest, so I really think we’re safe here. Please, stay with me. Don’t leave me.”
Namjoon bit his lip, sighing as he seemed to consider it. He squeezed your hand back before nodding, some of the concern melting from his tired eyes when he saw you smile.
“Just tonight,” he said, bringing his hand you weren’t holding on to up to stroke your hair back from your face. “First thing in the morning, we’ll make the call. We might have to check out and keep moving tomorrow if it’s not safe here, so we do need to rest.”
“Sounds perfect,” you sighed, letting go of his hand and heading over to the backpack.
You slid off his jacket and laid it over the back of the chair, before pulling off your t-shirt so you could take off the bulletproof vest. Behind you, you heard Namjoon inhale sharply, and when you glanced over your shoulder you saw him turned away, facing the opposite wall.
“Are you planning on sleeping in your dirty dress clothes?” you asked him, taking off your bra before putting your shirt back on. You wanted to start a conversation that could somehow non-awkwardly lead up to you offering to give him a shoulder massage, in a way that didn’t sound inappropriate or too intimate. “I don’t think that’ll be very comfortable, plus you’ll get the sheets all dirty.”
“It won’t matter, since I’ll be sleeping on the floor,” he said matter-of-factly, like it was obvious.
You turned around now that you were fully dressed again, glaring at him, though the effect was lost since he was still facing away.
“Oh no you aren’t,” you said firmly, crossing your arms when he turned to look at you again. “This bed is huge. It could fit five people! You are not sleeping on the floor.”
“It’s okay. I’ll be fine,” he said, unbuttoning the top few buttons on his shirt and making your heart skip a beat. “You just lay down and get some sleep. You need to rest your ankle.”
“Kim Namjoon, if you don’t sleep in this bed, then neither will I,” you said, grinding your teeth and setting your jaw. When he raised an eyebrow at you, you raised one back, challenging him to keep arguing. “It’s up to you. Either we both sleep in this giant bed, or we both sleep on the floor. You walked for miles tonight, carrying a person after jumping off a train. You’re sleeping in a bed, even if I have to make you.”
Namjoon rolled his eyes, kicking off his shoes and unbuckling his belt. You tried to maintain your resolve and not think about the sight of him pulling his belt out of the belt-loops, but he was making it really hard for you.
“Fine,” he grumbled, laying his belt across the chair in front of the desk.
“And don’t even think about getting out of bed and sleeping on the floor after I fall asleep, mister. If I wake up and you’re not still in bed, I’m sleeping on the floor every night for the next week. I don’t care if we’re back home tomorrow night, I really mean it. I’ll do jumping jacks on my twisted ankle too, just watch me.”
“I believe you, ma’am,” he said, laughing a little at your stubbornness.
“Why’d you even ask for the honeymoon suite if you were planning on sleeping on the floor?” you snapped, going over to the bed and throwing the sheets and quilt back.
“I thought a suite would be more private, and it helped sell our act,” he said, taking off his watch and setting it on the desk. “We need to be as believable as possible to stay undercover and inconspicuous. Plus it won’t seem weird if we don’t leave our room, if people think we’re in here… honeymooning.”
“Honeymooning, right,” you scoffed, flopping down on the bed and crossing your arms again, pouting at him angrily.
Namjoon ignored your comment, coming over to the backpack again and pulling out both your cell phones, along with the bag from the gas station with the chargers. He started opening them, walking back to the desk slowly as he concentrated.
You sighed, knowing you’d gone a little too far with your anger. You wanted him to take care of himself and not put himself through any more struggles on your behalf. You were upset with him because he was trying to be professional and considerate, not because he’d actually done anything wrong.
“Hey, Joon,” you said quietly. “I’m sorry for snapping at you. Are you okay after carrying me and walking that far? Do you want me to give you a shoulder massage or anything?”
He was plugging both your phones in, bent over as he reached behind the desk to plug in the chargers, and you tried to ignore the great view you had of his ass. You heard him mumble something, letting out a short grunt as he strained and reached, before standing back up and turning to face you.
“No thanks, I’m fine,” he said simply, shrugging. “And it’s okay, really. You don’t have to apologize.” He looked devastatingly handsome, his hair ruffled up a little from bending over the desk, white dress shirt unbuttoned just enough to tease a glimpse at his large, firm chest. You almost groaned at just the sight of him; this was so completely unfair of him, to look this good when you were trying to apologize.
“It’s not okay,” you said, picking up the pillow behind you and hugging it to your chest. “You saved my life today and got me out of there when I was kind of in shock. You wrapped my sprained ankle and carried me for miles in the snow. I shouldn’t snap at you.”
“It’s okay, ma’am. I was just doing my job.”
You blinked as you processed what he said, your lips parting as you felt your heart shatter. Namjoon seemed completely indifferent, just standing there looking at you blankly, and you set your jaw, huffing, trying so hard not to show how devastated you felt by that little reality check.
You were just his job. That’s all you were to him, that’s all your life meant to him, even now. He wouldn’t even let you apologize, because he was so professional and saw you only as a coworker – not even a coworker; he saw you as a task, a thing to protect for money, a job to do instead of a friend or someone who loved him.
You felt silly and stupid for even being upset by this, because of course you were just his job. You already knew this, so why did hearing him say it affect you so much? Why did it feel like a punch in the gut instead of a reminder of something you’d thought you’d already accepted?
When you didn’t respond, Namjoon turned back toward the desk, double-checking that the phones were both plugged in and charging before walking toward the bathroom. You heard the door close and the sink turn on, and you laid down, turning away from the door and curling up into a ball on your side.
You bit your lip as you tried not to cry, hot tears stinging your eyes as your throat and lungs tightened painfully. You felt so exhausted, both emotionally and physically, and you tried to tell yourself that being tired always made things feel worse. Tomorrow you’d wake up, feel a little better, and things could begin going back to normal between you and Namjoon.
You told yourself what you already knew, repeating it in your head to yourself as you tried to fall asleep. You’re just his job. He doesn’t have feelings for you. He doesn’t love you.
***
Namjoon had shared hotel rooms with you a few times before, but never the same bed, never close enough to feel your body heat pulling him in.
He wanted so badly to turn toward you now and spoon you, kiss you all over your neck and shoulder and whisper promises about how he’d always keep you safe, but he knew there were lines he wasn’t allowed to cross. He felt guilty even thinking about it in your presence, like his perverted thoughts alone somehow violated you.
Though laying here now in the dark, listening to your gentle breathing as you slept, he found it hard not to let his fantasies run wild.
He hoped you weren’t uncomfortable by him sharing your bed or what he’d done to maintain your cover. The honeymoon thing, while helpful, definitely hadn’t been necessary, but he hadn’t been able to help himself, seeing it as the perfect excuse to have fleeting moments of intimacy with you, however fake and convoluted.
You’d gone along with it perfectly, and then you’d insisted on him sharing a bed with you when he’d tried to keep everything professional, ever-careful of your boundaries and what would make you feel uncomfortable. He just wanted to keep you safe and happy, and you were being such an angel, as always. His angel, he thought to himself with a lazy smile.
When you’d tried to apologize to him, he’d shut that down immediately. He knew you were stressed and tired and that normally the two of you never even disagreed on anything, so he’d tried to reassure you that everything was fine and that you had nothing to apologize for. He didn’t want you to feel like you owed him anything. You’d been so cute when you were angry, all pouty and passionate, and even when you were upset, you still cared about him and checked on how he was doing, caring about his wellbeing. It made Namjoon’s heart ache.
You’d reacted oddly when he’d told you that it was his job to protect you, your expression becoming unreadable. You were already asleep when he’d come out of the bathroom, so he tried not to think too much into it. He knew you must be exhausted, scared, in pain from your injury, stressed, still coming down from being in shock earlier, and more. You probably just needed a good night’s rest and to get out of this scary situation and back to the embassy.
Beside him, you sighed in your sleep, shifting a little.
Namjoon closed his eyes, mentally replaying the noise you’d just made, that contented, gentle, relaxed, beautiful sigh. He imagined you making that noise as he kissed down your body, spreading your thighs and putting his mouth on you for the first time. What would you sound like when he sucked your clit between his lips, or when he fucked you with his tongue? What would you say when he told you you had the most beautiful pussy he’d ever seen, that you tasted sweeter than honey and that your pussy belonged to him? Would you pull his hair and whine, maybe have that adorable pout on your lips as you looked down at him? What would you feel like when he finally slid his cock so deep inside you, your legs wrapped around him or up over his shoulders, his hands in your beautiful hair as he kissed you breathless and made love to you again and again, until you knew nothing but his name? Your perfect little pussy would squeeze him so hard, and he’d pound into you until you came for him, sighing and moaning and making the most beautiful sounds in the world.
Namjoon groaned quietly to himself, rolling onto his side facing away from you. He reached up and grabbed the second pillow he wasn’t using from his side of the bed, hugging it tight against his chest. It was a poor replacement for you, but he needed to stay professional, and a raging boner and sex dreams about you were as far from professional as he could get.
He had a job to do. He was here to protect you and keep you from being kidnapped or assassinated, not to fantasize about you inappropriately. He’d put his gun in the nightstand beside him, and he reached out and felt the handle of the drawer it was in, memorizing how far it was from him in the dark and where exactly the handle was in case he had to suddenly reach out and grab it. He needed to be ready.
As he tried to relax, Namjoon listened to the sounds of the hotel, the hum of the heater in the corner of the room, your gentle breathing as you slept. It was peaceful, and he already felt himself drifting off to sleep.
Beside him, you sighed again, and at that he closed his eyes and smiled to himself.
***
When you woke, Namjoon was still asleep, thankfully still in the bed and not on the floor. You’d been serious about your threat and were happy he’d listened, for both his sake and yours.
You stretched a little in place, your ankle throbbing in pain when you moved it, making you hiss and bite your lip. Your muscles throughout your whole body felt stiff, and you wondered if it was from jumping off the train, since it certainly wasn’t from walking.
You turned your head to look over at Namjoon, your heart aching. He looked so peaceful as he slept on his side facing you, his cheeks looking rounder and cuter, his hair all mussed up from sleeping well. He wasn’t quite snoring; it was more of a gentle purr, a quiet rumble in his chest. He’d slept shirtless, you realized, seeing his bare shoulders peeking out from under the covers, and just the thought of that made you squeeze your legs together.
God, you wanted to kiss him. His plush lips were parted and looked so soft, and the adorable noises he was making made you want to lay your head on his chest and feel the vibrations of his sounds. He’d been so warm when he’d carried you last night, like a human furnace, and you wondered if he was still that warm now, if cuddling up to his body heat would put you right back to sleep. You wanted him to hold you forever, the two of you never leaving this bed ever again.
Namjoon groaned to himself, rolling onto his back and stretching. He grimaced when he moved his shoulders, and you quickly closed your eyes when you saw his eyes start to open.
“Y/N,” he said, his voice deep from sleep. “I saw you.” He was teasing you, and when you cracked open one eye and peeked at him, he smiled lazily. “Are you pretending to be asleep?”
“No,” you said, closing your eyes again and trying to hide your grin.
He hummed softly instead of responding, a low noise you felt the vibrations of through the mattress. His head was turned toward you as he laid on his back, smiling contentedly as he just looked at you. It felt intense, so intimate and domestic, and you looked away, feeling a blush staining your cheeks and not wanting him to notice, though you could still see him watching you out of the corner of your eye.
“How’d you sleep?” he asked, and you tried not to look at the way his large, bare chest rose and fell with his slow breathing. You imagined running your fingernails along his skin there, making him gasp and squirm beneath you as you rode him. You sighed, pushing away those thoughts as quickly as they came.
“Good,” you said softly, your own voice groggy and quiet. “You?”
“Good.” He was still just laying there watching you, and you were sure you were bright red by now. “I think we overslept,” he added, smirking a little.
“By how much?” You remembered the kind woman from the lobby’s words about her guests always eating breakfast together, and you weren’t eager to break her rules so soon into your stay.
“It’s almost eleven,” Namjoon said, laughing softly at you when your eyes went wide.
“Jesus,” you said, shaking your head. “Guess we needed it.”
“Yeah,” he hummed, his eyes still on you.
The sheets and quilt had fallen enough for you to see his defined pecs, tiny brown nipples you kind of wanted to put your mouth on, dark hair in his armpit when he raised his arm and tucked his hand behind his head, relaxing. They were such small details about him – you’d certainly never thought about his armpit hair or nipple size before in your fantasies – but you felt yourself becoming wet, your skin feeling hot and flushed. The moment was so intimate, showing you such small details about him and his body that you’d never even considered before. He was here and real. Even just the way his large chest expanded as he breathed made you want to touch him everywhere.
“I think I’m gonna run down to the internet cafe by myself,” Namjoon said then, making your eyes refocus on his face. You really, really hoped you hadn’t actually been staring at his chest when you’d zoned out, or at the very least that he hadn’t noticed. “I can grab breakfast for us and bring it back, and see if there’s anywhere I can get some more clothes for us. Definitely shoes for you, at least. I’ll be gone an hour tops, and you can stay here and stay hidden.”
“Joon, shouldn’t we stay together?” you said, furrowing your brow. “What if they find me while you’re gone? What if they break in and take me?”
“I’ll look around first and see if there’s anything suspicious,” he said. “I can survey a bit before I leave the inn, ask if anybody else checked in or asked about us. I won’t leave you unless I feel like it’s completely safe.”
“Can’t I come with you?” you said, aware you were now pouting at him and giving him the puppy eyes you knew always worked on him.
“You should rest and stay off your feet. You need to recover,” he said, sighing, and your heart skipped a beat as you watched him glance down at your lips.
He was just looking at the fact you were pouting, you told yourself. There was no way he’d actually looked at your lips like that, while shirtless and sharing a bed with you and looking like he wanted you, and there was definitely no way he’d actually licked his own lips while looking at yours. You had to be imagining things.
“I’ll only be gone a little while. I promise,” he said, turning onto his side to face you fully. “Besides, just me walking around will be much less noticeable than both of us, especially if you’re limping. And you shouldn’t walk on your ankle anyway, especially not in those heels.”
You made a quiet humph! sound, crossing your arms and glaring at him with no heat. You couldn’t actually be mad at him, but you didn’t want him to leave you here even for a moment. Namjoon smiled softly, reaching over and stroking your hair back from your face.
“If I leave now, I can be back before noon,” he said, tucking your hair behind your ear. Your heart was racing now, and you hoped Namjoon couldn’t feel it. “Later, if everything looks safe, we could go sit somewhere. Maybe there’s some place cozy downstairs, by a nice warm fire. It’ll be nice to get out of the room if it’s safe.”
“That sounds nice,” you mumbled, pouting again.
He still had his hand in your hair, and you almost wanted to moan, feeling how warm and soft his big hand was. You wanted him to touch you everywhere, to feel those big long fingers inside you, but he was just being nice and comforting you. You remembered his words from last night: I was just doing my job. It was so hard for you to remind yourself of that now when he was stroking your hair and being so sweet to you.
Namjoon dropped his hand to your shoulder, squeezing once before turning away and throwing back the covers from his side of the bed.
You sighed, pulling the covers around you closer, not at all ready to get up yet as you watched him sit up and swing his feet to the floor. His back was now to you, and you took in a deep breath, letting yourself ogle the broad expanse of his bare shoulders. He had a couple of little moles on his back, just like the ones on his face you’d imagined kissing so many times, and you wanted to reach out now and touch him, trace the constellations on his golden skin with your fingers and lips.
Namjoon stood, and you tried not to gasp as your eyes bulged. Not only was he shirtless, but he’d slept in just his boxers. You figured that made sense, since he’d only had his dress clothes he’d worn to the summit yesterday and they’d gotten kind of dirty in the forest, but seeing him parade around the room now in just one little piece of clothing made your mouth water. His thighs were so muscular you almost moaned out loud, imagining how strong and powerful he must be. He was so big and muscular, it made your pussy ache to be filled.
“I’m gonna borrow that sweatshirt I bought you,” Namjoon said, standing in front of the chair with the backpack, facing away from you. “I think it’ll fit me. I got one a little big for you. That way I’m not in the same weird, dirty outfit I was in last night.”
“Yeah, that’s smart,” you said, your eyes not leaving his ass. You were currently fantasizing about squeezing him there while he fucked you, digging your fingernails in and feeling his muscles clenching and moving as he thrusted, and you almost missed when Namjoon turned around to look at you again.
“I think we passed a cafe on the way here from the gas station. I hope they’re still serving breakfast,” he said, pulling on the sweatshirt. “If not, I’ll get us something like sandwiches or soup.”
“Uh-huh,” you said, glancing down at his crotch in the brief moment his eyes were covered by the sweatshirt as he pulled it on.
“You want extra raisins in your food, right?”
“Yep, totally,” you said, not at all hearing him.
Namjoon smirked, and you looked back up at his face, blinking in confusion.
“Somebody seems distracted,” he said, coming back toward the bed. He climbed across the bottom, sitting cross-legged by your feet. “Is your ankle hurting?”
He pulled the covers off your legs and took your injured foot in his hand, handling it carefully as he held it up to examine it.
“Just a little.” You hoped he actually believed you were distracted from the pain, not from how fucking sexy he was, parading around in his underwear.
Namjoon began slowly unwrapping the gauze, revealing your red and somewhat swollen ankle. You tested moving it, and it ached but gave no resistance. Namjoon moved his hand up, holding your leg up by your calf, and you imagined him moving his hands up even farther and bending over and eating you out. God, you needed to get ahold of yourself.
“Doesn’t look too bad,” he said, glancing up at you. “If you stay off of it, you should heal pretty quickly. Walking as little as possible would definitely help.”
“So are you becoming my butler in addition to my bodyguard and doctor? Just gonna dote on me and carry me around all day?” you said, smirking up at him from where you laid.
The covers were off of you now, and you were just in your tiny little shorts and the thin t-shirt with no bra you’d slept in. You watched Namjoon glance down at your chest and shorts before answering, his voice a little deeper than normal, like when he’d first woken up.
“I already dote on you,” he mumbled, and you swore he was blushing. He looked away from you, down to the floor beside the bed, unable to make eye contact. He gently laid your foot back on the bed, the bottom of your foot against his knee where his legs were crossed.
“You’re so good at it, too,” you teased, pressing your foot against him playfully.
Namjoon blinked a few times, sucking in a breath, before suddenly standing up and walking around the bed. You pouted, not wanting him to leave you yet or quit the teasing game you’d been playing.
“Here,” he said, picking up a pillow that had fallen to the floor by his side of the bed. He came back around and propped up your injured foot, using the pillow to elevate it. “Just stay relaxed like this, and I’ll be back before you know it.”
“Oh, whatever,” you sighed, crossing your arms.
“Do you want your phone before I go, so you can play games? Do you need help going to the bathroom?” he asked, completely serious, and you rolled your eyes at him, laughing.
“Just go if you’re going,” you said, ready to throw a pillow at him.
He smiled, walking back over to the backpack and pulling on his dress pants. You watched him take his gun out of his bedside table and tuck it into the back of his pants before heading out the door.
***
It took you about twenty minutes of laying in bed alone before you got bored and decided to get up, Namjoon’s advice about elevating your foot be damned. You needed to pee and really wanted to shower, so you got up and hobbled on over to your bag of toiletries, heading into the little bathroom that desperately needed updated and cleaned.
As the shower heated up, you sat on the toilet that alarmingly wobbled a little, staring at the closed door and thinking about Namjoon. You’d never seen him shirtless before, and his big chest muscles and broad shoulders were all you could think about. He was a god, an Adonis, an angel on earth, a marble statue come to life. And where on earth had he been hiding those massive thunder thighs? You’d always known he was a big boy, but good fucking god.
When you got in the shower, you used the inn’s little bottles of shampoo and body wash to clean yourself, groaning at the fact you would probably have to put back on your dirty clothes after your shower. You were grateful to be clean though, and more grateful to have something to do to distract you from your thoughts.
The hot water felt nice, and you stood there for a moment once you were clean, closing your eyes and letting the heat soak into your injured ankle and sore muscles. The water was hot enough to make the whole bathroom steam up, the mirror over the sink fogging up and condensation running down the walls.
Standing there with your eyes closed, you let your mind return to Namjoon and his body. You sighed, remembering how fucking sexy he’d looked this morning with his bare chest on display, and you imagined him rolling over and getting on top of you, covering your body in kisses and touching you with his big, gentle hands. He had such long, elegant fingers, and as you stood there imagining them, you let your own hand drop between your legs, feeling your slick heat and circling two fingertips around your clit.
“Joon,” you whimpered, squeezing your eyes closed tighter, your breathing picking up.
Each flick of your fingers sent a spark of pleasure through your body, and you imagined Namjoon on his knees in the shower in front of you, his mouth on your pussy and tongue moving in and out of you. He’d pull one of your legs over his shoulder, holding your ass with both hands as he fucked you with his tongue, his dark brown eyes focused on your face as he ate your pussy.
Your whimpers and moans echoed off the tile walls of the shower, and you moved your fingers back and curled two of them deep into your pussy, now imagining Namjoon standing behind you and fingering you. You imagined him holding you against his big firm body with one arm, his hand on your tits as he played with you, grinding against your ass with his massive cock.
“Joon, fuck me,” you whined, whimpering with every exhale and imagining him bending you over right here and entering you from behind. He’d fuck you so good, slam against your ass over and over, and he’d take his pleasure from you and make the most beautiful noises, moaning and growling in that deep sexy voice.
Your moans devolved into gibberish noises of pleasure, barely able to say his name anymore as you drew close. You were breathing hard, your eyes closed as you fucked yourself closer and closer, thinking of vague parts of Namjoon and how much you loved him instead of imagining specific scenarios. You thought of his lips, the way he’d carried you yesterday, how sexy his thighs had looked, and came with a cry of his name that you swore shook the walls, your body tensing as you felt yourself throbbing as you came all over your fingers.
As you started to come down from your high, you sighed, rinsing off your fingers under the running water. You smiled lazily to yourself, imagining Namjoon’s lips sucking your fingers clean. You wished you could cuddle with him right now, feeling so contented and satisfied from your orgasm, you swore you could fall right back asleep.
Sighing, you turned off the shower, stepping out and wrapping a towel around your body.
***
Namjoon had gotten back from his errands a few minutes before, and now sat on the end of the bed, his head in his hands as he listened to you touching yourself in the shower.
Your whines and moans had made him hard in seconds, his lips parting and eyes rolling back in his head every time you made yourself cry out in pleasure. Part of him wanted to pull himself out of his pants now and stroke himself, his cock practically aching for it, but instead he just sat there and listened, committing every second of this to memory.
You were the sexiest thing on the planet, and right now you were making the most beautiful noises he’d ever heard. He imagined barging into the bathroom now and dropping to his knees and fucking you with his mouth. He wanted to more than anything, but he knew you were just letting off steam and doing this to relax. This wasn’t about him, and he would never go there and make you feel uncomfortable.
Still, he had his fantasies. He wanted to eat your pussy so fucking bad, it was something he imagined pretty much constantly. He’d always known he had an oral fixation, but with you, it had become so much more intense, sometimes he only imagined eating you out and not even actually fucking you.
He imagined bursting into the bathroom right now just to throw you over his shoulder, carry you out here, and toss you down on the bed, spreading you open under him and eating your beautiful pussy until you screamed for him. He closed his eyes and imagined it, imagined you pulling his hair and begging him to let you come, but he wouldn’t let you, not until you were in tears and crying nothing but his name and “please.” And then he’d let you come, just to keep licking your pussy through it, through three or four more orgasms, one after another, not stopping even if you screamed in overstimulation.
He wanted to destroy you with his mouth, reduce you to a pathetic crying whore, his angel he’d make fall apart and shatter just so he could put you back together. Maybe you’d squirt all over his face; he’d drink up every last drop of you, never taking his mouth off your pussy ever again.
Namjoon was so caught up in his fantasies, he almost didn’t hear what he swore sounded like you moaning his name. His heart skipped a beat when he heard it, his entire body frozen and eyes wide as he tried to listen, because there was no way in hell he’d heard that right.
“Joon, fuck me,” your beautiful voice moaned so loudly, and Namjoon groaned, his eyes closing and mouth falling open as he came in his pants just from hearing you.
Namjoon looked down at himself, the shock of the situation making him just sit there with his mouth hanging open and eyebrows near his hairline. He’d never blown his load in his pants like that before, not even when he was a hormonal teenager.
More importantly, there was no fucking way you’d actually just moaned his name while masturbating. His fantasies must be turning into actual hallucinations, because it was completely impossible that you were masturbating while imagining him. There was just no way.
He heard your moans crescendo as you came, and he bit his lip, imagining you coming all over his face. He let himself imagine it then, just for a moment, that you were actually touching yourself while thinking of him, and he almost got hard again at just the idea.
The mess in his pants was starting to feel disgusting and uncomfortable, and he desperately wanted to change and get clean. He needed to take a shower as soon as you were out, and he needed to get in there without you realizing he had a giant wet stain on the front of his pants.
When he heard the shower turn off, Namjoon quickly stood, going over to the bags of clothes he’d bought at a little boutique next to the internet cafe. He pulled out some of the ones he’d bought for himself, holding them awkwardly in front of his crotch while he waited for you to come out of the bathroom. Part of him felt guilty for having listened to you, but he tried to tell himself that he hadn’t done anything terrible. This was a shared space. You’d known he was coming back soon. He tried to tell himself that, but it didn’t ease his guilt.
The door opened a moment later and you walked out, wrapping your hair up in a towel. You gasped when you saw him, your eyes wide, and he watched you try to play it off, smiling awkwardly and coming over to him. You were only wearing a towel, your body still dripping wet from the shower, and Namjoon ignored the way a brief fantasy flashed in his mind, imagining himself grabbing that towel and throwing it off to the side before dropping to his knees and making love to you with his tongue.
“Hey,” you said, peeking into the bags of clothes he’d bought. “How long have you been back?”
You’d tried to ask it casually, but he could tell you were on edge. He swore he could smell your scent over the cheap hotel shampoo, and it made his heart rate spike, his jaw setting as he tried to push aside his horny, possessive thoughts. Despite your nerves, he could tell that you were glowing from your orgasm, and he wanted to kiss you so bad his whole body ached from it.
“I just walked in a couple seconds ago,” he quickly lied, hoping to ease your nerves. He stepped around you, heading off to the bathroom. “I’m gonna shower real quick too. Lunch is in that brown takeout bag. Feel free to start without me.”
“You know I’ll wait for you, Joonie,” you said, your eyes sparkling as you smiled at him. Namjoon’s heart ached looking at you, so fucking sweet and angelic and perfect.
“Well, look through the clothes I got you then,” he teased, smiling back to you. “Or better yet, get off that ankle and elevate it like I told you, young lady.”
“Yes, sir,” you said, fake-saluting to him, and Namjoon ignored the way his cock twitched hearing you call him that. He started to turn to head off to the shower, but you casually asking “Oh hey, Joon, what’d you hear?” made him freeze in place.
“Huh? Hear what? I didn’t hear anything,” Namjoon said quickly, turning back to look at you with wide eyes.
You looked confused, tilting your head and blinking.
“I meant, what’d you hear from the embassy?” you said slowly, narrowing your eyes.
“Oh,” Namjoon said, biting his lip and nodding, unable to look up and make eye contact with you. “Uh, yeah. The embassy.”
He made himself be serious, shifting into work mode and speaking calmly as he explained how that conversation had gone, still awkwardly holding his clothes in front of his crotch.
“They passed on the information to your mother, so she knows you’re all right,” he said blankly. “There was, uh, a bit of a situation though, so they can’t come get us yet. Your mother’s fine, but an unknown terrorist group attempted to breach the house last night, so the embassy’s on lockdown. If I had to guess, I’d say it was the same group that had men on our train last night. It can’t be a coincidence that it happened at the same time.”
He waited for a moment, letting you process that. You looked scared for a split second, before taking a deep breath and nodding for him to continue.
“Your mother’s secure at the embassy with the rest of the security team,” he continued, watching your reaction. “They told me to get you somewhere safe and stay hidden, and then in the next few days they’ll arrange an extraction and get you home.”
“Okay,” you said, nodding and looking down at the ground. You crossed your arms in front of your chest, shrinking in on yourself, and the scared look in your eyes you tried to hide made Namjoon’s heart hurt. You shivered, still standing there in your wet towel, and he wanted to go to you and hug you, warm you up, and tell you he’d always keep you safe.
“There’s a bus to Kraków at three o’clock today, and I want us on it,” Namjoon said instead. “It’ll be much easier for us to hide in a city, and it’ll be safer to get away from a town that’s right by the train tracks. The attack on the embassy means this is an even bigger operation than I’d thought, so I want us to play it safe.”
“Who are they?” you asked, ignoring what he’d said and frowning.
“I don’t know. The rest of our security team is trying to figure that out now. They’re working with the Polish authorities and our embassy here to get more information, and to arrange an extraction for you as fast as they can.”
You looked lost in thought, looking down to the ground and frowning again as the gears turned in your head. Namjoon wished he could put his hand on your shoulder comfortingly or do something, anything, to help you feel like things would be okay, but he was still holding his clothes in front of his crotch and didn’t want to risk moving.
“After lunch, we should pack up and get ready to go. We only have a few hours,” you said quietly, setting your jaw. Namjoon’s heart swelled in pride, seeing how determined and brave you looked. His wonderful, strong, brave angel.
“I’ll go shower, then,” Namjoon mumbled, trying to hide his dumb smitten smile and heart eyes as he turned to leave.
Once safely inside the bathroom, he sighed, his entire body relaxing as he turned on the shower and set his clean clothes down on the counter. He braced himself there, staring down at the sink as he tried to collect his thoughts and get ahold of himself.
You hadn’t moaned his name. He had to have imagined it. It was his fantasies coming to life, him projecting his desires onto you unfairly after he’d listened to you masturbating, like a complete pervert. He’d crossed a line today, and the idea of doing something like this to you, choosing to listen to you when he knew you were having an intimate moment, was way too far.
Namjoon bit his lip as he let his guilt overwhelm him. He squeezed his eyes closed, gripping the counter painfully hard and trying to focus only on his breathing.
Why had he not gone out into the hall and waited there once he’d realized what you were doing? Instead of respecting you and giving you privacy, he’d been so selfish, caring only about his fantasies and lust and eavesdropping on you in a moment you obviously didn’t want anyone to hear. He was a pervert, and he’d disrespected you. He’d projected onto you, to the extent of imagining hearing you moan his name. What the fuck was wrong with him?
Namjoon stripped off his clothes, feeling numb. He turned and stepped into the shower, making the water as cold as he could stand it.
He should give your mother his two weeks notice the moment he got you back to the embassy safely. It was the right thing to do, the only way to redeem himself after doing something like this. But the thought of leaving you, of leaving this job where he spent every day by your side sounded worse than any punishment or torture he could think of. Maybe that’s why he should do it: he deserved it, after this.
Namjoon washed himself quickly, trying to calm his mind and not think about you. He tried to tell himself that he hadn’t pressed his ear to the door or gone out of his way to listen to you; he’d just come back to your shared hotel room, and was able to hear you.
That didn’t help him feel any less shitty about the situation, though. As he rinsed his hair and turned off the shower, he sighed, shaking his head in disgust at himself.
He decided it then. Once you were safely home, he would tell you everything. How he felt, that he was in love with you, and that he’d heard you. He’d leave it entirely up to you: if you were uncomfortable, he would leave, and that would be that. It was the only thing he could think of doing that didn’t make him feel like he was lying to you or violating you. It gave him a sliver of hope, while letting him feel at peace with his conscience.
Namjoon dried off and got dressed quickly, trying to push away his stress and worries before coming back out to you. He didn’t want you to feel like anything was wrong, so as he went to open the door, he sighed, making himself smile weakly.
True to your word, you’d waited on him to eat.
After you’d gotten dressed in the clothes he’d bought for you, you’d set out the sandwiches and fruit on the little table in the corner of the room. Namjoon smiled when he saw you standing there setting it all up like it was a picnic or fancy dinner, not takeout in a hotel room. You were now putting napkins and plastic silverware by each of your takeout boxes, your adorable face deep in concentration as you made sure everything looked perfect.
Namjoon swore he’d never felt deeper in love with you than that moment, his heart swelling in emotion.
“Thanks for waiting on me,” he said quietly, tossing his dirty clothes over toward his backpack. You smiled up at him, realizing he was there, and he felt like his lungs and heart were being squeezed by invisible hands in his chest.
“Of course,” you said, sitting down at one of the seats and motioning for him to join you. “It’d be rude not to wait on my hero, who saved my life and got me new clothes and food.”
“All in a days work,” he mumbled shyly, sitting down across from you and ignoring the way his heart sang at hearing you call him your ‘hero.’
The two of you ate in comfortable silence. If you were suspicious about him potentially having heard you when you were in the shower, you didn’t show it at all, smiling to yourself and looking up at him every few minutes, the same friendly smile on your face as always. Namjoon kept catching himself smiling at you and watching you without even realizing, and he really hoped you weren’t noticing. He needed to get ahold of himself.
He was really going to miss this. A few days from now, when he confessed everything and you fired him for being such a perv, he’d look back on right now and all the times like this, when the two of you had wonderful moments alone together, eating or talking or joking with each other. He didn’t want to think about what it would be like once you were out of his life forever; he couldn’t bear to think of it, so instead he glanced up at you, watching you enjoy your lunch and look around the room with a pleasant, relaxed look on your beautiful face.
“I found a bed and breakfast in Kraków I thought we might like,” he mumbled after a few minutes of comfortable silence. “I didn’t book it obviously, but the website said they take cash, and it’s not too far from the bus station. It looked private and off the beaten path, but still safe and clean.”
“That sounds nice. Maybe this time we can actually enjoy the breakfast and not just the bed,” you giggled, making his heart soar.
“We’ll still need to lay low in case anyone’s still looking for you. Kraków is the closest city to where you were last seen.” Namjoon was trying so hard to be serious and professional, but your giggles and good mood and how fucking good you smelled were all short-circuiting his brain.
“Well, maybe on the way out of town when we’re extracted, we can drive by the touristy spots in town, at least. I’ll see everything through a bulletproof window in a car,” you said, making Namjoon laugh.
The rest of the meal was quiet, and afterwards, Namjoon cleaned up, insisting you stay off your foot. He brought a pillow from the bed over, putting on the chair he’d sat in, and brought your foot up, resting it carefully on the pillow. You pouted at him for not letting you help him pack, insisting that your foot felt fine now, and Namjoon just shook his head, smiling.
From there, he packed up his backpack, which was now stuffed full and barely able to close. If he saw an opportunity somewhere, he’d try to get you a bag of your own, so the two of you would look like normal backpackers and you could carry your own clothes. You were pretending to be a couple on your honeymoon, after all. You should at least look the part.
Once done packing, Namjoon got down on one knee and helped you into the shoes he’d found for you, a simple pair of white sneakers he hoped were your size. He was pretty sure he knew your shoe size, and as you slid your non-injured foot into the shoe perfectly, Namjoon let himself sigh in relief.
He tied up your shoelaces for you, double-knotting them and smiling up at you once he was done. He glanced down, suddenly noticing the fact he was on his knees in front of you as you sat, your legs slightly parted. He swore he could almost smell sex on you, and it made him part his lips as he imagined himself leaning in and kissing your pussy over the pants he’d bought for you. He’d inhale you, pressing his face against your cunt and just breathing you in until he got off on just that. He felt savage, like an animal in heat, like he needed to rub his face all over your pussy and mark you as his. That faint smell, undoubtedly from you getting yourself off earlier, was like a drug to him, and he felt like he could get high from it, from you.
Namjoon quickly stood, turning away and clearing his throat.
“We should get going soon,” he said, his whole body tense. He heard you stand up behind him and didn’t dare to look back at you. He didn’t trust himself. “We should get our tickets and make sure nobody’s looking for us near the bus station.”
“Okay,” you said softly, your beautiful voice a siren song pulling him in.
Before he could say anything else, Namjoon felt your small hand on his shoulder. He instantly melted under your touch, the tension leaving his body as he turned toward you.
“Are you alright?” you asked, looking up at him with your beautiful, concerned eyes. You could tell he felt off, because of course you could. You knew him better than anyone, so you could obviously tell he was acting weird.
“I’m fine,” he mumbled, his heart full from how sweet you were. “I promise. I’m just worried about keeping you safe.”
“Hopefully, we’re already past the hard part,” you tried to encourage, and Namjoon nodded. He wanted to reach out and squeeze your hand, but knew better.
“Hopefully,” was all he could manage to say. How could he feel completely level-headed yesterday when those men were busting into your room on the train, but now, just standing in front of you, he was a nervous wreck?
“Either way, I know I’m safe with you, Joon,” you said, and Namjoon bit his lip, taking in a deep breath.
You were an actual angel, a goddess among mortals. He was sure of it.
“I’ll always keep you safe,” he murmured, barely above a whisper. “I promise. We’ll get to Kraków by tonight, and we’ll be fine. No matter what, you’re safe with me.”
Namjoon’s heart jumped when you suddenly hugged him, your face pressed against his chest as you squeezed him. He was frozen only for a split second, and then he hugged you back, tightly, securely, and, most importantly, platonically. He wanted you to trust him and feel safe in his arms, because you were always safe with him. He was your bodyguard, your protector, and he had a job to do. His whole purpose was making you feel safe.
You stepped back and smiled up at him, and Namjoon was sure you could ask him to rip out his heart right now and give it to you, and he’d do it without hesitation.
The moment passed, and the two of you began getting ready to leave. It was almost two in the afternoon already, and the bus for Kraków left at three. You had plenty of time to get to the station and get your ticket, and he was glad the two of you didn’t need to rush.
Namjoon put on his jacket and the Tatry hat he’d bought yesterday in the gas station, while you pulled on the matching Tatry sweatshirt. The two of you looked like a couple of tourists, which was smart, he figured. The less you looked like the daughter of an ambassador, the better. The two of you were a young, foolish, cheap couple on vacation. Not a targeted political figure and bodyguard.
When you left the bed and breakfast, Namjoon checked out with the kind woman at the front desk, got a refund for the nights the two of you didn’t stay, and then quietly left out a side door he’d found earlier, instead of directly out onto the main street. He led you by the hand to the back of the inn, and the two of you walked along the town’s secondary road, much smaller and without a sidewalk, but it had much fewer cars passing by compared to the large main road.
It wasn’t snowing today, but a dirty slush still covered most of the ground, especially by the roads. The wind had a sharp edge to it that Namjoon noticed made you shiver. He squeezed your hand, wishing he could warm you up.
At the bus station, he bought two tickets for Kraków, and the two of you sat in the back corner of the empty little station, his arm around your shoulders as the two of you waited. He had his gun in his holster under his jacket, and he felt on edge, watching the door in case the men from the train suddenly burst in. He hated having you out in the open like this, though he knew he had no other choice right now.
“This town is so empty,” you mumbled, nuzzling in against his side. The building wasn’t heated, but at least you were out of the wind.
“Everybody’s probably at work,” he answered, matching your quiet tone. You had no reason to be quiet in this empty room, but it still felt safer. “Plus it’s not tourist season. Maybe they get more visitors in the summer, when people can go mountain-climbing or whatever.”
“We should come back here,” you said, turning toward him. “Once everything’s safe and those men are caught. We could come back in the summertime, maybe.”
“Sure,” he said quietly, wondering if he’d still be in your life then. If you didn’t fire him in a few days, maybe you could come back here together.
The bus rolled up right on time, and you and Namjoon were the only ones to get on at this stop. It would take almost four hours to get to Kraków from here, so you would definitely be arriving after sundown.
Namjoon led you by the hand to the very back of the bus, eyeing every other occupant on the way. There was a young couple cuddled up together near the front, a few elderly people, a small family, a few backpackers. No athletic men with tactical gear or earpieces.
Namjoon had you take the window seat in the back row, and he stored his backpack overhead, still looking around the bus warily. It all felt too easy, but he made himself sit down beside you, settling in for the ride.
***
It was now a little over two hours into the bus ride to Kraków, and you were pretty sure Namjoon was going to have a heart attack from stress.
You’d tried to hold his hand and talk to him, but you could tell he was on edge. The bus stopped every twenty minutes or so, a few people getting off to stretch their legs, a new passenger getting on every once in a while. It was a completely normal bus journey, but Namjoon didn’t take his eyes off the people outside the bus, the other passengers, even the driver.
The only brief break he’d taken from worrying was at exactly five o’clock, when a silent alarm lit up his phone and he’d reminded you to take your birth control and ADHD medication. Amid all the chaos and being on the run, you would’ve completely forgotten that today if not for him. Even when stressed out of his mind, he was still doting on you.
You understood Namjoon’s concern about the kidnappers, to an extent. You were definitely nervous too, but you felt safe enough. If you hadn’t run into the men from the train yet, you figured it was very unlikely to happen now, in the middle of rural Poland, at the random bus stops in little towns like Nowy Targ and Rabka-Zdrój that you’d never even heard of and definitely couldn’t pronounce. The further you got from the train tracks, the safer you felt, but the more tense Namjoon became.
“We’re fine,” you said, reaching over and taking his hand again and giving him a reassuring squeeze.
The bus was now stopped in Rabka-Zdrój for about ten minutes, and the driver and other passengers had all gotten off to use the bathroom and stretch their legs, leaving the two of you alone.
“I won’t feel like we’re fine until we’re in a locked room in Kraków,” Namjoon mumbled, watching a family with kids outside the bus. You wanted to tease him and ask if he thought that family and their toddler were part of the terrorist group, but figured Namjoon wasn’t in a joking mood right now.
“I was thinking about that, actually,” you said, turning toward him fully, leaning back against the window. You still held his hand in your lap, and you tilted your head, catching his gaze and pulling him away from the suspicious terrorist toddler outside. “Would it be safer for us to stay in a real hotel, one with a security guard and a front desk and everything, instead of a bed and breakfast?”
“I’m worried they’ll expect you to go for a nicer hotel, if they think you’re used to luxury,” he said, still keeping his voice low even though the bus was empty. “But we don’t have to stay in a bed and breakfast. We can go for some kind of hotel, if you want.”
You nodded, figuring that made sense, though you weren’t sure how much it mattered. After escaping the train last night but then having a relaxing night at the inn, you didn’t really feel like you were in danger anymore. They probably gave up on looking for you when they didn’t find you on the train.
You opened your mouth to speak, but froze when you saw Namjoon’s eyes widen in fear.
You looked over your shoulder and saw two tall men, both dressed in black clothing, walking out of the bus station’s little ticket booth. They looked like wannabe FBI agents, right down to the tactical boots and dark sunglasses. One was blond and talking on a clunky satellite phone, while the other, a balding man in his late 40s, had his arms crossed over his chest, his eyes scanning all of the people in the outdoor part of the station.
They stood together, in the middle of the platform, like they didn’t care who saw them.
A passenger from your bus – a tall East Asian backpacker traveling alone – walked out of the bathroom, and the two creepy men both went on alert for a moment, looking at the backpacker as he walked by, one of them saying something urgently on the phone.
The backpacker kinda looked like Namjoon, you realized. The assassin-kidnapper-terrorist-whatever men saw a tall Asian man and went on alert, because they’re stupid and racist Americans, but they were looking for you and Namjoon. If they got on the bus here, they would instantly see the two of you.
The two men realized the backpacker wasn’t Namjoon, one of them sighing while the other said something else on the phone. Beside you, Namjoon looked like he was trying to think of an escape route and failing, the gears in his brilliant mind spinning. The bus had no bathroom, no hiding spots, no exits besides the main one at the front and the emergency window exits. You knew Namjoon wouldn’t hesitate breaking a window to get you out of here, but that wouldn’t exactly be subtle.
“One of them was on the train. The blond one. He was in the snack car,” Namjoon said quietly.
“What are we gonna do?” you mumbled, turning back toward him fully.
“I’m thinking,” Namjoon said, not taking his eyes off the men outside. He was still holding your hand, and he squeezed it once, comforting you.
You glanced back at the men, and your heart stopped when you saw them walking toward the bus. Namjoon quickly reached up and grabbed his backpack, pushing it to the floor in front of him and pulling you down in your seat. The two of you crouched down on the ground, hiding just as the two men stepped onto the bus.
Namjoon had his gun out, you realized, and he turned the safety off as quietly as he could.
Oh, god. He was going to shoot them if they came back here.
You held your breath, resting your shaking hands on Namjoon’s back, your heart racing. He had positioned himself so he was fully between you and the aisle, slightly higher off the ground than you, so you were completely shielded. You couldn’t even see the aisle around him.
The men were on the bus, talking quietly to each other, and you wished you could take off your bulletproof vest from under your clothes and make Namjoon wear it instead. You heard the men coming closer, their heavy boots loud on the rubber floor of the bus.
They were coming down the aisle, walking slowly as they checked each seat.
“They were definitely on this bus,” one of the men said in a stereotypical Midwestern American accent. “The tracer says they’re nearby, too, so they can’t have gone far.”
The tracer? Were they tracking you somehow? You thought of your cellphones, wondering if it was even possible to track someone if they didn’t have data or wifi. By the sounds of it, they somehow knew you were on this bus specifically, other than just tracking your location.
You thought back to when Namjoon had bought your bus tickets earlier today; you hadn’t really gotten a good look at the ticket seller, but you could see him describing you and Namjoon to these thugs, especially for a bribe or under threat. These men could’ve been right behind you this whole time, gotten the information they needed from the ticket seller, and hopped in their car and caught up to the bus, their trace on you confirming it all for them. How else would they know you were definitely on this bus? Had Namjoon mentioned it on the phone when he’d called the embassy?
Regardless, a trace on your phones meant these men had been right on your tails, and you hadn’t even suspected it. Well, Namjoon had, but you hadn’t. If you’d stayed in that little town another day, would they have found you in the inn, burst down the door and killed you in your sleep? Maybe they would’ve killed Namjoon and kidnapped you, held you for ransom or in exchange for secrets about your home country?
You’d been so stupid to think you were safe, and now, they were here.
You felt Namjoon tense, like a coiled spring ready to snap. He took in a deep breath, and you bit your lip, terrified he was about to do something stupid. Maybe the men would leave on their own. Maybe the driver would come back and ask to see their tickets, and kick them off. There had to be something else besides Namjoon putting his life in danger.
Namjoon suddenly jumped up and fired off two shots in less than a second, before you could even move or register he wasn’t in front of you anymore.
A few people on the platform outside screamed, several ducking down, most of them taking off running away from the bus. At least, you thought they’d screamed; your ears were ringing from the gunshots, and now everything was muffled by that and maybe from the shock of the situation. You blinked a few times, your eyes wide and mouth open, your hands still up where they’d been on Namjoon’s back, frozen in midair.
Namjoon stepped out of his seat into the aisle, heading for where the two men had fallen. You stood on shaky legs, unsure of what to do or what just happened, really. Your hands were trembling, your heart racing, your mind empty.
Namjoon had just killed two people. He’d fired his gun and scared everyone outside. The two men here were dead. One of them had been on the phone when he’d been shot, so whoever he’d been talking to had heard it.
You looked over your shoulder and saw the family with the toddler; the mother had picked up the child, clutching it to her chest, and the father had his arms wrapped around his family, looking around in fear as they crouched on the ground. Other passengers from the bus were running away from the station, covering their heads and crouching as they ran. A few were on their cellphones, undoubtedly calling police to report a shooting.
You turned back and saw Namjoon turning off the man’s phone before tossing it into a seat.
“We need to go, now,” he said, coming back to you and grabbing his backpack. “Police will probably be here in a few minutes. I have diplomatic immunity, but we can’t afford to stay here if these guys know what town we’re in.”
“You shot them both,” you said numbly, letting Namjoon take your hand and lead you down the bus aisle.
“Come on,” he said, his voice a gentle murmur as he squeezed your hand. He was trying to rush, but you could tell he wanted to comfort you.
You passed one of the men, the balding one, who’d fallen sideways into a bus seat. He had a bullet hole right in the middle of his forehead, blood rolling down toward his nose. His eyes were still open, his expression not even surprised, like he hadn’t seen Namjoon coming at all and was now frozen in that state. If you couldn’t see the bullet hole, you’d think he was just staring off into space.
You couldn’t look away from the man’s eyes, your entire body frozen before Namjoon could pull you out of it, dragging you along toward the exit. It was like the dead man’s eyes followed you, making unbroken, unseeing eye contact, before you forced yourself to look away.
Namjoon had killed both of these men with perfect headshots. You hadn’t even known he was that good of a marksman. What had he done before becoming your bodyguard? Where had he worked? How many people had he killed?
You figured there were a lot of things you didn’t know about Namjoon.
Outside, the station was now empty, but you could hear sirens far off in the distance. There was a security camera above the door to the ticket booth, and Namjoon quickly ran over to it, pulled out his wallet, and held up his badge that the embassy had given him, the one that showed he was protecting a diplomat. He held it up right in front of the camera for a moment as he looked around the empty station and you walked up behind him.
That was the badge that gave Namjoon diplomatic immunity, but you wondered if it was enough to stop a manhunt after a public shooting. Would local police even care? Was this camera even on and recording?
“Come on,” he said, putting his wallet back in his pocket and taking your hand again. “We need to dump our phones and get away from here.”
“My iPad, too,” you mumbled, and he squeezed your hand, nodding.
The two of you went out to the street, seeing it completely empty. The passengers had all run away, or maybe some were still hiding in the station and you just hadn’t seen them. You were on the outskirts of a little town, but you could see shops and businesses just down the road.
Namjoon led you in a fast walk toward the shops, and then around back, behind the gas station. The two of you took your phones out of your pockets, and Namjoon got your iPad out of the backpack, tossing it onto the ground.
You opened your mouth to say something, but stopped when Namjoon suddenly stomped on the iPad, cracking the screen and crushing the thing. He stomped on it a few times, thoroughly breaking it beyond repair.
“I’m going to factory-reset our phones and leave them here, so they can still think they’re tracking us while we leave,” Namjoon said, slightly out of breath as he still smashed the now misshapen iPad. “I’m destroying this though, so they can’t hack into it and recover any of you or your mother’s information.”
“That’s smart,” you said, flinching as Namjoon gave the tablet one final stomp before kicking it under the dumpster.
He then looked at his cell phone in his hand, typing something, and you stepped over and looked at his screen. Namjoon didn’t tilt the phone away, fully letting you look at what he was doing. You saw the text he’d just sent to the head of security back at your embassy, thankful you at least had cellular data in this tiny rural town.
Resetting and dumping our phones. We’re being tracked. I’ll check in as soon as I can. Don’t text this number again.
After that, Namjoon went into the phone’s settings and factory-reset it, before you did the same to yours.
“Couldn’t we just turn our phones off and keep them?” you said with a sigh, handing your phone over.
“Phones can still be tracked if they’re off or on airplane mode,” Namjoon said, kicking both your phones under the gas station’s dumpster. You heard one of them bump into your smashed iPad. “It takes NSA-level tech to be able to do that, and I didn’t think they had resources like that, but I was wrong. They were able to track us when we had no service, it appears.”
“Do you think they’re with NSA, then? Or the CIA or something?” you said, furrowing your brow.
“I doubt it, but I’m not ruling anything out,” Namjoon mumbled, coming over and taking your hand again. The two of you began walking, and you felt him lace his fingers with yours. “The American government loves to meddle, but to come after you this hard, when you’re not exactly a big fish politically and you’re from a country with close ties to the States… it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. I feel like it’s most likely ransom-related, and they’re just some rogue terrorist group or something, especially with the attack on the embassy on top of this.”
You nodded, figuring that made sense. You’d almost forgotten about the attack on the embassy Namjoon had told you about earlier. Your mother must’ve been terrified after that; she would’ve been scared about her home being attacked, and then to hear about you being in danger on top of that? And you hadn’t even texted her before resetting your phone. You owed your mother a huge apology after all this was done.
The two of you walked through a small field behind the gas station, and then were on a road in what looked like a residential area. You began walking down the street, unsure of where to go or where Namjoon was taking you. You just let him lead the way and trusted him to keep you safe. In the distance, you could hear police sirens approaching the bus station. No cars passed the two of you on the street you walked down.
“That was an amazing shot you made, back on the bus,” you said after a moment. “Well, two amazing shots, I guess.”
“Oh, yeah. I’m qualified as a sharpshooter, technically,” Namjoon said, but that only raised more questions for you. “I wasn’t sure I’d still be able to do that with a handgun, but I guess I still got it.”
“Why didn’t you do that on the train?” you said before you could stop yourself.
Namjoon sighed, and you felt him move his thumb on yours a little, almost comforting you.
“Because I didn’t know how many there were, and we were being ambushed. We had the element of surprise here,” he said. “On the train, it could’ve been a dozen men bursting in, all with their weapons ready. I also don’t particularly enjoy killing people, even if they’re trying to hurt you. I will, but I’d rather avoid it if possible. They’re bad men, but their families don’t deserve to lose them.”
You nodded, understanding his reasoning.
The two of you walked about twenty minutes, passing small homes, most with smoke coming out of their chimneys and warm glows from lights turning on as the sun set. It was probably around 5:30 or 6 by now, and the winter sky was already getting dark. Soon, you and Namjoon would be walking around in a small Polish town after dark, with those men still after you. And now, maybe the police, too.
“Hey, look,” Namjoon said quietly, and you looked up at him, seeing him nod his head forward, motioning down the road a ways.
Up ahead, you could see a family packing suitcases into a minivan, skis strapped to the roof of it. They looked like they were leaving for a vacation, and you saw the other car in their driveway, a beat-up old sedan that looked like it was built during the Soviet era.
“Are you thinking of stealing that car?” you said under your breath, your eyes going wide.
“It wouldn’t be reported missing for a while, since they’re leaving,” Namjoon said, raising an eyebrow at you when he saw the look you were giving him. “We could just borrow it, take it to another town’s train station, and leave it there. When they report it missing, it’ll be found right away. I’ll even leave them some money in the car for their trouble.”
The dad at the minivan closed the trunk, and three rambunctious kids jumped into the car, sliding the side doors closed behind them. You heard the mother yell something out in Polish, and she sounded happy. You hoped it wouldn’t stress her out too much, to come home and find the family’s other car gone.
The parents got into the minivan and started the car. They backed out of the driveway and turned, and you realized they were about to drive right by the two of you, and there was nowhere to hide. Namjoon didn’t exactly blend in in rural Poland, so this family would see very recognizable strangers in their neighborhood, and then come back to find their car stolen.
Your heart began racing as you looked around, your eyes wide as you started to panic. Should you run? Should you and Namjoon grab each other and start making out, like people did in movies and romance novels, as some kind of distraction? They’d see you any second now and you were running out of time.
As if he’d sensed what you were thinking, Namjoon squeezed your hand.
“Act natural,” he mumbled, smiling pleasantly. “We’re just a couple on a walk. They won’t know it’s us who took the car, and if they do, we’ll be long gone by then. Acting suspicious will make us stick out more.”
Against your judgment and panicked thoughts, the two of you simply continued walking, hand-in-hand. As the minivan passed the two of you, Namjoon looked down at his feet, the front of his hat hiding his face as he looked like he was just casually glancing down. He swung your hand a little, like the two of you were a couple on a romantic little walk… in the middle of winter, in a non-touristy town, in a residential neighborhood, with police sirens in the distance from the shooting Namjoon just committed.
The minivan was gone, and the two of you kept walking. The family’s house was small, maybe three bedrooms at most, and a spike of guilt rose in your throat like bile at the thought of stealing from them. They obviously weren’t well off, but Namjoon dropped your hand anyway, walking up to the little sedan and peeking inside.
“Keep a lookout,” he said, and you immediately turned away, not wanting anything to do with this.
You looked at the other houses on this street, crossing your arms as the wind picked up. The windows were all empty, at least, as far as you could see. It was around dinnertime, so most people were already sitting down and in for the night, nobody coming or going or looking out their windows. You saw movement in a second-story window across the street, but realized it was just a cat walking across the windowsill.
Behind you, Namjoon was rustling with something, and you wondered if he was just going to shoot the car’s window to get inside.
You jumped when you heard the car’s door open. You spun around just as Namjoon was tucking something metal back into his pocket, what looked like a pocket knife of some kind. He pulled the door open further, threw the backpack onto the backseat, and sat down in the driver’s seat.
You rushed to the passenger side, and Namjoon reached over and unlocked it for you, both of you closing the doors as fast as you could to get out of the cold and out of sight.
“You can’t drive,” you said, rubbing your hands together. “What are you doing on that side?”
“I still need to hot-wire the car,” he said, reaching down below the steering wheel and messing with a panel you couldn’t see.
“You can hot-wire a car but not drive?” you said, almost laughing, and you raised an eyebrow at him when he shot you a look.
“I can drive,” he said as he eased the panel’s cover to the ground and began messing with wires. “I had my license revoked a few years ago, so now I just say I can’t drive.”
“What? What’d you get your license revoked for?” you said, your eyebrows now near your hairline in surprise. Namjoon had always told you that he couldn’t drive because he was scared, and because he was too clumsy to drive a car. You’d never really believed that, given how talented and fearless of a bodyguard he was, but you also hadn’t considered the possibility that he’d lied to you about it.
“Reckless driving,” he said, winking at you as the car suddenly roared to life, the engine starting up and heat thankfully turning on.
“Should I be worried?” you laughed, watching him ease the panel back into place below the steering wheel.
“I’m usually a safe driver. There was just an incident a few years ago, before I started working for you. I needed to get out of somewhere fast, and cameras caught me breaking a few traffic laws,” he explained.
“How many is a few?” you said, buckling your seatbelt as Namjoon eased the car out of the driveway and went opposite the way the family had gone. “Don’t they usually just give you a warning before revoking your license?”
“Okay, maybe more than a few traffic laws,” he said, glancing over at you. “And I might’ve caused a few accidents while driving recklessly.”
“Were you in a car chase or something?” you asked, and when he didn’t answer immediately, you gasped, laughing as you tried to imagine it. Namjoon, speeding through a city, causing accidents and breaking laws and getting his license revoked.
“Anyways,” he said, pulling onto the town’s main road now, “I can drive. The rest isn’t important. We’ll follow traffic laws so we don’t get pulled over.”
“Where are you taking us, anyway?” you said, relaxing in your seat. The sky was becoming dark now, and Namjoon turned on the car’s headlights, illuminating the empty road in front of the car. He was following the speed limit exactly, his hands perfectly on the wheel like he was taking a driving test.
“West,” he said, his eyes not leaving the road. “They thought we were going north to Kraków, so we’re going a completely different direction. We can go to a train station, and then maybe head into the Czech Republic or Slovakia. A train will be much faster than a bus, and we can try to get to a larger city and then on a direct train that won’t stop as much.”
“Are we going to try and go all the way home on our own?” you asked, and you watched Namjoon clench his jaw as he thought.
“If we have to,” he said. “My priority right now is just getting you far away from here.”
After that, the two of you drove in silence for a while, the Polish countryside a dark blur outside.
The family’s car had no radio, and the heat stopped working about twenty minutes into the drive. You found a little piece of paper with what looked like a grocery list, along with a pen, so you wrote on the back “I’m sorry, we needed your car for an emergency” on the back and tucked it into the cup holder. You were planning on holding Namjoon to his promise of leaving money for the family, and would have to make sure the cash was hidden, so nobody else tried to steal their car after you ditched it.
After about an hour and a half of driving, you tilted your head back, your eyes falling closed. You really didn’t want to fall asleep, but outside the car was only darkness, and Namjoon didn’t appear to be in a talkative mood. You blinked slowly, trying to will yourself to stay awake, but you knew it was a losing battle.
Namjoon’s hand came over and rested on your knee, squeezing once.
“You can sleep,” he said quietly, and you looked at him, seeing him glance your way with a sweet smile. “I’ll drive, and you just rest.”
You sighed, unable to even answer him. You didn’t know how you were this tired; you’d slept until almost noon today, and then sat around a hotel room and then on a bus. Still, you felt yourself dozing off, and this time you didn’t stop yourself.
***
You’d only slept about a half an hour before you felt Namjoon park and turn off the car. You groaned, stretching in place, and heard him laughing a little beside you.
“Sleep well?” he asked as you rubbed your eyes and let out another little groan.
“Mmm,” you hummed instead of responding, still attempting to open your eyes.
It looked like Namjoon had stopped in a parking lot beside a river. To your left, you could see a large, lit-up sign saying “Merkury Market” and pointing away from the river. Through the trees on the riverbank, you thought you could see lights of more buildings.
“Where are we?” you grumbled, unbuckling your seatbelt.
“The town’s called Cieszyn,” he said, taking out his wallet. He tucked five hundred złoty under your note in the cupholder, shrugging because you both had no idea how much that translated to. It seemed like a lot, but you had no idea. You wished for it to be worth a thousand euros. “I wanted to leave the car in Poland, so it has a better chance of getting back to the owners. We’re right across the river from the Czech Republic. There’s a train station on that side that can take us to Ostrava, and then we can get on a direct train to Prague or Vienna, maybe even Berlin.”
“How do you know all this?” you said, giving him a look, and he smiled to himself.
“I’ve traveled and lived all over,” he said cryptically, and when you raised an eyebrow at him, his smile grew. “Okay, and I stopped and asked a little old lady for directions to a train station. I’m surprised it didn’t wake you up, me rolling down the window and talking to her.”
You laughed, stretching again as you finished waking up. Namjoon somehow turned off the car, messing with the wires again, and then reached to the backseat and grabbed the backpack before stepping outside.
You followed, shivering the moment you stepped out into the cold. It was windy here by the river, and you hoped the train station wasn’t far. You were just thankful your foot wasn’t hurting anymore.
Namjoon locked the car before shutting his door, and came over and took your hand. You were pretty sure you were safe here, but you still liked him holding your hand and touching you. You remembered what he’d said earlier. No matter what, you’re safe with me. You believed him wholeheartedly.
Namjoon led you past an old building, a restaurant with “Pizzeria Wenecja” painted on the side, and you held his hand as tight as you could. His hands were so big and warm, easily enveloping yours, and when he felt you shiver, he brought your hand up, holding it with both of his hands now.
The two of you walked across a large cobblestone bridge, and at the other side there was a small sign saying “Český Těšín.” You weren’t sure what that meant, but you knew the difference between Czech and Polish enough to know you weren’t in Poland anymore.
It crossed your mind then that today, you’d technically stolen a car and crossed international borders. Namjoon had even killed two people! Despite your fear of those men finding you, it was all kind of exciting. You felt like a badass international criminal, the kind of person who drove in exciting car chases like Namjoon. You just hoped that family would get their car back, though. Some criminal you were, worrying about things like that.
You and Namjoon walked in silence for about ten minutes, following the signs that had a little symbol of a train on them. You wondered what Namjoon was thinking about, glancing over and seeing him looking around, his eyes scanning the area as you walked. He looked at every person you passed, every car, every license plate, every window and storefront, his jaw clenched and mouth in a tight line, as if he were in deep concentration. He was supposed to be acting like a man on his honeymoon, happily strolling to the train station with his wife, but he was in bodyguard mode, not willing to let his guard down even a little.
“Joon,” you murmured, squeezing his hand. “Relax. I know we need to stay alert, but you look like you’re about to have a stroke.”
Namjoon didn’t respond, but he gave you a weak smile, squeezing your hand, too.
When you got to the train station, Namjoon was able to get two tickets for Ostrava, the closest big city he’d told you about, with some spare euros he’d had on him. Neither of you had any Czech koruna, so you were thankful they took euros too. You’d have to find a currency exchange somewhere soon.
The train station’s small gift shop sold backpacks and took złoty, euros, and even dollars, so you bought one, a little pink thing you were pretty sure was actually meant for kids. It was plain and didn’t have logos, but you noticed the zippers were sparkly and came with a unicorn keychain. Namjoon also got two waters and a bag of pretzels, which you assumed was going to be your dinner.
You sat together in the back corner of the station, your train not for another half an hour or so. You worked on moving some of your things from his backpack to yours, attempting to carefully work around the extra rounds for Namjoon’s gun, not wanting to jostle them too much or let anyone else in the station see them.
As you worked, Namjoon looked around the station, studying every other person in the large room.
“People are going to think you’re weird,” you whispered to him, elbowing him lightly in the ribs after you zipped up your new little backpack.
“I’d rather be weird than ambushed,” he mumbled back, wrapping his arm around your shoulders and pulling you close to him. Your heart skipped a beat at his gesture; he hadn’t acted this couple-y since last night, checking in at the bed and breakfast.
“What’s the plan once we get to Ostrava?” you said, turning toward him as well as you could. He still had his arm tight around you, his hand rubbing little circles on your shoulder.
“I’m thinking we could go to Vienna,” he said, like he was deciding what to do right now as he spoke, making it up as he went along. “I have a friend there who owes me a favor, and he’ll have a place we can stay.”
“That’ll definitely be unexpected,” you mumbled, looking down at your hands in your lap. You wished you had your phone, so you could tell your mother you were okay, or at least have something to do to pass the time. “Do you think we can get there tonight, or will we have to stay somewhere and continue tomorrow?”
Namjoon looked at the clock on the wall and you followed his gaze, seeing it was almost eight. Your train was at 8:05, and it would take about an hour to get to Ostrava.
“It’ll be late, but I think we can make it,” he said. “The ticket seller said there was a connecting overnight train to Vienna, and another to Prague if we decide to go that way. I think it’ll be best to keep moving.”
“Okay,” you said, sighing. “How long will that take?”
“Ostrava to Vienna is about five hours.”
“Ugh,” you groaned, sinking down in your seat. This was going to be a long night.
Namjoon squeezed your shoulder, like he was trying to make you feel better.
“We’ll get dinner at the station in Ostrava, and you can sleep on both trains. I’ll keep a lookout and make sure you’re safe.”
“What about you?” you said, turning toward him again. You could see the dark circles under his eyes, and you wondered if his shoulders were still hurting from carrying you yesterday.
“I’ll get some coffee in Ostrava to keep me up,” he said simply. “Don’t worry about me.”
“I slept on the drive here. It’s your turn to rest, Joon,” you said, aware of how silly you sounded.
You wanted to help him and let him get some rest, but really, what could you do if those men showed up while Namjoon was sleeping? You’d never held a gun before. You’d never even taken a self-defense class, though Namjoon had suggested it on more than one occasion. You felt like a child or old lady: completely, utterly, annoyingly helpless. It made you feel foolish and like a burden, though you tried to tell yourself that this was literally the whole point of Namjoon’s job, to keep you safe in situations like this.
“Thank you, but really, it’s okay,” he said, smiling at you. “You can rest if you want when we’re on the train. I’m fine.”
“I’ll stay awake with you,” you grumbled, crossing your arms and pouting.
You glanced over and saw Namjoon still smiling at you, his eyes glancing down at the pout on your lips. You wondered if he was going to make fun of you for pouting, but the train pulling into the station made you jump in your seat, the horn suddenly blaring through the wall behind you.
“That’s our ride,” he said, standing up and offering you his hand. You reached up and took it, letting him help you to your feet.
***
The ride to Ostrava was completely uneventful.
Namjoon had only been able to get the cheapest seats available, which were right by the bathroom at the back of the first train car. The smell wasn’t exactly pleasant, and you wondered when the last time the bathroom was cleaned.
Namjoon kept his arm around you the entire time, you in the window seat and him by the aisle. You couldn’t complain, enjoying his warmth and closeness and loving his protectiveness. Well, he’d always been protective of you, but this, how borderline-possessive he was, made you almost shiver in excitement. He was acting like a protective boyfriend, and it made you want to giggle and turn toward him like a teenager in love.
You needed to stop being so silly, you told yourself as the two of you got off the train in Ostrava, your hand in his again. You were in a deadly situation, and you were acting like an idiot. You needed to pull your mind out of the gutter and your heart out of clouds. Namjoon was being overly cautious, eyeing everyone the two of you passed, while you only had eyes for him. You needed to focus and stop being foolish, at least until you were somewhere safe.
It was so hard, though, with how safe Namjoon made you feel. You kept catching yourself looking up at him and sighing wistfully, before shaking your head and making yourself look at the other people in the train station too.
When you went to the bathroom, Namjoon waited right outside, arms crossed over his large chest. He would probably terrify anyone who passed by, but when you walked out, drying your hands on your pants after washing your hands, you smiled up at him like he was the moon and all the stars in the sky.
From there, Namjoon led the way to a little currency exchange machine, where he got nearly three thousand of the local koruna for five hundred złoty. You had no idea how much either of those numbers meant in currency familiar to you, but based on all the signs you could see that listed prices, it was more than enough for tickets and dinner. Eastern and central Europe weren’t expensive, so you took a moment to be thankful you weren’t currently traveling through somewhere like London or Paris.
The two of you got tickets to Vienna and then dinner, sitting in a little cafe near your platform. Namjoon was throwing back a large black Americano, while you nursed a small coffee too, much to Namjoon’s disapproval. He’d insisted again that you could sleep on the way to Vienna, but you ordered your coffee and he couldn’t stop you.
By the time you finished dinner, however, your hands were trembling from the caffeine. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea, you thought with a shaky sigh.
After eating, Namjoon took you back into the main part of the station, and then, to your surprise, over to a different platform than the one your train was scheduled to leave from. The sign above the entryway here said Praha, Hlavní Nádraží – 11:10, and you knew Praha meant Prague, but you weren’t sure why Namjoon would’ve brought you over here.
“Joon?” you asked, looking up at him.
“Hold on,” he mumbled. He held your hand tightly, his fingers laced with yours, but his eyes searched around the platform, looking for something or someone.
You opened your mouth to question him, but stopped when he suddenly stepped forward, pulling you with him.
“Hello, sir, do you speak English?” Namjoon called out to an elderly man sitting by himself on a bench. The man nodded, and Namjoon continued politely, “My wife and I were mugged yesterday, and we lost our cellphones. Would it be okay if I borrowed your phone, just for a second, so we can call our hotel? It’ll only take a moment, and I’ll stay right here the whole time so you don’t think I’m running off.”
“Sure,” the old man said, apathetic. He looked like he wouldn’t even care if Namjoon did run off with his phone.
“Thank you so much. Děkuju,” Namjoon said, nodding to the man and taking the phone with both hands, smiling innocently.
Namjoon took your hand again and pulled you just one step away from the man, who immediately started dozing off. You watched Namjoon dial a number from memory and then held the phone up to his ear, waiting.
After a moment, you heard someone answer, their voice a cartoonish mumble.
“Hey, it’s Kim,” Namjoon said quietly, his eyes now scanning the platform for anyone potentially watching the two of you. “She’s safe. We’re in Ostrava, Czech Republic. We’re headed to Prague and should get there in a few hours. Our train leaves at 11:10.”
You looked up at him, tilting your head.
“Yeah,” Namjoon said in response to something you couldn’t hear. “Yeah. When we get there, I’m thinking the Grand Hotel Europa. That one right off Wenceslas Square. It’ll have security and all that, and they won’t expect her to hide somewhere so nice.”
You raised an eyebrow at him, and he raised one right back, smirking to himself.
“Okay,” Namjoon continued, his voice serious. “I’ll call as soon as I can. I got a burner phone, but I’m still worried someone’s tracking us. I’ll probably dump this phone when we get there, as soon as I can get another burner. Yeah, no contact unless there’s an emergency. Perfect.”
You almost wanted to laugh. Namjoon looked smug, like he was proud of how clever he was, and you supposed he deserved to feel proud after coming up with all this.
Namjoon hung up the phone after signing off, and you crossed your arms, looking up at him expectantly.
“Thank you so much again, sir,” he said, turning back to the old man and returning the cellphone. “Thank you.”
“Yeah, okay,” the man said, pocketing his phone and rolling his eyes.
Namjoon took your hand and the two of you went back into the station, and then over to the platform that said Vienna, Wien Hauptbahnhof – 10:00.
“You going to explain your big evil plan now, mastermind?” you asked, the two of you sitting down at the very end of the platform. You both took your backpacks off and set them down by your feet.
“They think we’re going to Prague, and that phone is going to Prague, too,” Namjoon said simply, shrugging.
“No, I got that. I meant why you lied to our own security team about where we’re going.”
“We need to know if anybody’s listening in on their end. Our embassy phones are supposed to be secure, so now we’ll see if they really are,” he said, watching the end of the platform, where two young women came in and sat down. He continued, “The thought also crossed my mind that someone at the embassy could be working with the men after you. I thought it would be best to trust only ourselves and stay off the grid until we can contact your mother directly on a secure line, or until they figure things out.”
“You actually think someone in our security team is a mole? Wouldn’t they have already helped the terrorists get into the embassy by now?”
“Potentially,” Namjoon said, putting his arm around your shoulder, like he was a boyfriend or husband cuddling up with his lover. “But I want to make sure. Wenceslas Square has a live feed people can watch anywhere in the world, since it’s a big tourist spot. I’m going to try and get ahold of something with internet in Vienna and watch it all day tomorrow, and we’ll see. If our friends show up there, we’ll know we can’t communicate with the embassy, because there’s a mole or because someone’s listening in. Either way, this will prove it.”
“Unless they hack into this station’s cameras and see us get on the train for Vienna,” you said. You ignored how he somehow already knew which spots in Prague would have a live feed.
“They have no reason to think we’re lying. I doubt they’d bother, since we gave them all the information they need.”
“And what if they track down that old man in Prague? Since they’re tracking his phone now.”
“Even the best, most advanced government-grade trackers aren’t that exact. It’ll only lead them to a general area, like a building or city block. And I said I was planning on dumping my burner phone, so that man will go wherever he’s going, and they’ll think that was me dumping the phone. By the time they realize we’re not in Prague, we’ll be settled in and safe.”
“Well, you’ve certainly thought of everything,” you said, almost wanting to laugh.
“That’s my job,” he said proudly. He became more serious, sighing before continuing, “We stayed all night at that inn with our phones on, and they didn’t show up. They didn’t know where to look until I called the embassy and said where we were. It might’ve taken all night to get into our phones, or it might’ve been my call to the embassy that made them know where to start looking. Either way, it’s not a risk I want to take. I want us to be as careful as possible from now on, taking all precautions.”
You looked up at him. This close, you could see three tiny moles on the right side of his face, a constellation across his cheek.
“I trust you,” you said, not breaking eye contact with him.
You watched him set his jaw, his expression flashing dark before he looked down and away from you. You almost would’ve sworn he was blushing.
“Like I said earlier, you’re my priority. Something weird is going on here, and I don’t want to trust anyone but you.”
“And your friend in Vienna who owes you a favor?” you teased.
Namjoon almost rolled his eyes before catching himself, shaking his head, like just the memory of this friend made him want to laugh.
“And him. I wouldn’t trust him under most circumstances, but I do trust him with my life.”
“How ominous,” you said, giggling. “And oxymoronic. A friend you don’t trust with anything but your life. Would you trust me alone with him?”
“Absolutely not,” Namjoon laughed. “He thinks he’s a real ladies man. He’ll steal you right out from under me, and I’ll be out of a job.”
You wanted to tell him that all of the attractive and eligible suitors in the world combined couldn’t steal you from your Joon, but the train for Vienna pulled into the station, screeching to a halt in front of you.
You both picked up your backpacks, heading onto the train the moment the doors opened, holding hands again.
***
Despite all the excitement and coffee, you were asleep within fifteen minutes of the train pulling out of Ostrava.
Namjoon looked over at you as you slept. You’d lolled to the side, resting your head on his shoulder, and he relished the moment, feeling your gentle breathing as you leaned on him. You looked so precious and small, but he knew how fierce and brave you were. You were his everything, his whole world, and just looking at you sleeping so peacefully made his heart swell in emotion.
As the train zipped through the Czech countryside, distant dots of light marking villages and highways, Namjoon tried not to think about what had happened earlier today. It had been way too close of a call on the bus. Those men could’ve killed him, and then they would’ve taken you or hurt you.
He had no idea what their intentions were, but he knew he’d die to keep you safe. If they somehow caught him and you got away, he’d let them torture him, and he’d never give up even one word of information about you or your whereabouts. He was your protector, and that meant something to him. His life revolved around you, and the only thing that mattered was your safety and wellbeing.
You were hugging his arm in your sleep, and Namjoon smiled to himself. He resisted the very strong urge to turn and kiss the top of your head. That’d be crossing another line, and he’d already crossed too many of those in the last twenty-four hours. He wasn’t a hormonal teenager. He had self-control.
Still, this close, Namjoon could smell the cheap hotel shampoo you’d used, along with your own scent underneath. He closed his eyes for just a moment, leaning his head back against the headrest and letting himself have a few seconds. The two of you were in the very last train car, and nobody else was in this car or the one in front of it. He felt safe enough to close his eyes for a moment, especially since he didn’t feel sleepy at all.
You smelled so fucking good, just your scent made Namjoon feel high. He didn’t turn his head and smell your hair directly, but fuck, he wanted to. He felt like such a pervert, especially since you were sleeping, so trusting and innocent, hugging his arm like a teddybear. He imagined a version of himself where he’d let himself smell your hair like a complete creep. He’d plant his nose and mouth right in your hair and inhale you, maybe rub his face around so he could get your scent all over him.
That thought made him think of another part of your body he wanted to inhale, and he stopped himself, opening his eyes and staring at the back of the seat in front of him. The last thing he needed was an erection to hide, in case you suddenly woke up. His depraved thoughts made his heart rate spike, but he couldn’t do this now. Not in public, not around you, not when you were in danger.
You sighed in your sleep, snuggling in against him, and Namjoon bit his lip and wondered if this was the universe punishing him for being such a pervert. You’d hugged his arm tighter and accidentally pulled his hand into your lap, between your legs. He’d imagined his hands there a million times, but this was wrong. You were sleeping, and you’d never actually want him like that.
Namjoon quickly pulled his hand away, back to the safety of the outside of your leg. He looked out the window at the dark countryside, the moon a thin sliver of light low in the sky, and he wondered what he’d have to do in his life to deserve an angel like you.
***
Three in the fucking morning.
You yawned to yourself, not bothering to cover your mouth as you and Namjoon walked through Vienna’s main train station, nearly empty at this late hour. Or rather, this early hour. You felt like a zombie, barely able to keep your eyes open as Namjoon led you by the hand outside, but the blast of cold air and snow that hit you the moment you stepped out woke you right up.
For some reason, Namjoon didn’t want to risk a cab, so the two of you were walking to wherever his friend was. Part of you wanted to pull the whole “I twisted my ankle the day before yesterday, remember?” card, but your foot didn’t actually hurt. Not your ankle, at least. As you and Namjoon walked forever, though, the bottoms definitely started to ache.
“Do you think we’re safe now?” you asked after a while, glancing over your shoulder at the empty street and sidewalk.
“I won’t think we’re safe until we’re back at our embassy,” Namjoon said, not slowing down, “And even then, I might not let you leave your room until every last one of those men are dead or in prison.”
You huffed, too tired to laugh.
“I’m sure that’s completely reasonable and not at all overreacting.”
“That’s my compromise,” he said, smiling in a way you knew was just teasing, swinging your hand as he held it. “If I had my way, I’d take you somewhere far away, where nobody could find you, and you’d never leave my sight again.”
“Sounds reasonable,” you laughed, rolling your eyes and ignoring the flutter in your heart his words gave you.
The two of you were quiet for a moment, cutting down a side street through the labyrinthine old town Namjoon seemed to have memorized. Your footsteps echoed off the cobblestones, the imposing baroque buildings hanging over you like gargoyles in the night. This part of town had old-fashioned streetlamps, and you wondered if someone came around and lit them manually every evening.
“So who’s this friend of yours we’re going to?” you said after a moment.
“His name’s Jin. It’s a long story, but he owes me a big favor,” Namjoon explained. “He owns a hotel here, a real nice one, like you wanted to stay in.”
“He owns a hotel?”
“I know. He’s probably worth more than your mother is.” He looked up, seeing something down the street and nodding toward it. “There’s his hotel.”
You looked where Namjoon gestured, seeing a grand masterpiece of architecture towering above all the other historic buildings. It reminded you of the Plaza in New York and the Ritz in Paris, not that you’d ever stayed at either – the luxury that oozed from this place just made you think decadence, luxury, class, and expensive.
“You’re friends with the guy who owns this place?” you said, your eyes wide as you looked up at the grand entrance as the two of you approached. If you were friends with the owner of a place like this, you would’ve cashed in that favor years ago for a free year-long vacation here.
“Yeah. Jin’s like a brother to me,” he said, opening the door for you, and you almost gasped out loud at the sight before you.
The lobby was so opulent, you almost felt like your presence lowered the property value. Large crystal chandeliers hung from the high ceiling above, the grand entryway full of cream-colored furniture and vases taller than you. The walls all had what looked like antique wallpaper and intricate white crown moulding, the details lined with what you were sure was real gold.
“We can trust him,” Namjoon continued quietly, leading you through the empty lobby by the hand. “And like I said, he owes me a favor. He’ll help us. He always used to work the night shifts, so it’ll probably be him we speak to. Oh, there he is now, perfect.”
You looked to the grand check-in desk where Namjoon was gesturing, seeing a handsome Korean man sorting through some papers. He looked trustworthy, but more than that, he looked elegant and proud of his work. You wondered how a young Korean person came to own and run such an upscale hotel in Vienna, if it was family money and a passion for this city, or if he was raised here perhaps.
Who you assumed was Jin looked up, and you stopped in place when he suddenly gasped as he saw Namjoon.
“No,” Jin nearly yelled, pointing at Namjoon. “No way in hell. Whatever you want, no. Get out of my hotel.”
“Hyung,” Namjoon said, sounding like he was about to start bargaining.
“Do you know how much you cost me the last time you were here? I had to take out a loan to patch up all the bullet holes!”
“I had no idea,” Namjoon said, glancing over his shoulder toward the door. There was nobody else in the lobby and nobody out on the street, but you knew he was still being careful and wanted to not cause a scene, even if there was no audience. “If you’d told me, I would’ve helped.”
“I’ve seen how you ‘help,’ asshole,” Jin said. He looked like he was about three seconds away from calling the police.
“Were you in the mafia or something?” you laughed, looking up at Namjoon.
“No, and can you please both lower your voices?” Namjoon hissed, bringing you in closer to the desk. Jin took a step back, glaring at Namjoon.
“Get out of my hotel,” Jin said, thankfully quieter now.
“I just need a room for the night. That’s all,” Namjoon said. “I have about eight hundred euros worth of Polish money, and it’s all yours for that room, and for us to stay off the books. I can send you some more once we’re safe. I’ll find a way to pay you back.”
“Do I even want to know why you have that much Polish money, or why you’re being so shady?” Jin asked.
“He’s my bodyguard,” you cut in quickly, glancing up at Namjoon. His eyes went wide and he shook his head at you, but you continued. “My mother is an ambassador, and some bad men are after me. Namjoon’s just trying to keep me safe and hidden until the embassy can help us.”
Jin looked from you to Namjoon, narrowing his eyes.
“Yeah, and last time, Namjoon was a billionaire from Daegu, and look how that turned out for me,” Jin scoffed.
“Billionaire from Daegu?” you questioned, tilting your head.
“It was a cover,” Namjoon growled, glaring at Jin.
“Oh my god, were you a spy?” you whispered a little too loudly, thankful the lobby was empty.
“Hyung,” Namjoon said, stepping in even closer to Jin’s desk as he ignored your question. “You owe me a favor after what happened with Yoongi.”
Jin’s eyes widened, and you looked between the two men, trying to figure out their past together.
“You’re an asshole for bringing that up,” Jin said.
“And you’re an asshole for being so rude to a diplomat when she’s running for her life,” Namjoon growled back.
None of you spoke for a moment, the two men glaring at each other and you just standing there awkwardly. Outside, you heard church bells chiming, echoing through the city, announcing it was now four in the morning.
Finally, Jin let out a breath, almost laughing to himself. He shook his head, looking like he wasn’t sure whether he wanted to help or punch Namjoon.
“Are you really a bodyguard now?” he said, crossing his arms. “After everything that happened, you just disappeared. Is this where you’ve been all this time?”
“Almost four years now. I guarded other people before her, but I like having stable, long-term work.”
Jin was quiet for a moment, before eventually sighing, like he was being overdramatic just to show how much the two of you inconvenienced him.
“Fine. But only because it’s the off season and I have a lot of rooms.”
Namjoon started to take out his wallet, bur Jin raised one hand, stopping him.
“Keep your Polish money,” he said. “Just be gone by tomorrow afternoon.”
“I’ll try,” Namjoon said. “But it will all depend. I’ll probably need a few days; I really don’t want to risk moving her until it’s safe. Her life is on the line, hyung.”
“Yeah, yeah, somebody’s life is always on the line,” Jin said, rolling his eyes. He began rustling around behind the desk, looking for something. “Fine. Whatever. But after this favor, never come back to this country.”
“The whole country?” Namjoon laughed, shaking his head. “But I like Austria.”
“So do I. I like it even better when you’re not in it,” Jin said, setting an old-fashioned golden key on the desk in front of him. The tag said ‘613’ in rich calligraphy, and the key itself looked like it was from the turn of the 20th century.
“Thank you,” Namjoon started, reaching out for the key, but Jin pulled it back away from him, making Namjoon listen to him before handing it over.
“Stay in your room. I’ll have meals sent up. I have a feeling it will be better for my hotel if you’re seen as little as possible,” Jin said. “There’s a phone in your room if you need it. It’s a suite, so it’ll have a kitchenette too.”
“Wow, thank you,” you said, taken aback by his generosity.
“Nobody but me and the one staff I have bring up your meals will know you’re here. But please… stay in your damn room until you leave.”
“Can do,” Namjoon said, grabbing the key from Jin’s hand. “Can you also wipe the security footage of us coming into the lobby? And the one outside, if you have access to it? That’d be really helpful.”
“You’re an asshole,” Jin growled, and your heart skipped a beat when you saw Namjoon wink back at Jin, which only seemed to annoy him more.
“Do you have a spare phone I can borrow?” Namjoon said, and you thought Jin might explode. “Maybe a tablet or something?”
“You really know how to wear out your welcome,” you teased, making Jin smile.
“It’s important,” Namjoon assured Jin, smiling smugly.
“I truly hate you,” Jin said, reaching under the desk and pulling out an old tablet in a clunky black case that had the hotel’s name and logo on the back. You wondered if it was supposed to only be used by hotel staff typically. “You know, this is starting to seem like more than one favor.”
“I guess I’ll owe you a favor after this,” Namjoon said, taking the tablet and tucking it under his arm.
“My favor will be you never coming back to Austria,” Jin said, writing something down on his check-in sheet. You leaned in and looked at what he’d written, seeing Room 613 – maintenance. “Maybe I’ll ask for all of Central Europe.”
“That’s a little much, don’t you think?” Namjoon laughed. “I’ll leave you this neighborhood in Vienna if you’re lucky.”
“You ever heard the phrase ‘biting the hand that feeds you,’ Joon?” you mumbled, elbowing him in the arm.
“I like her,” Jin said, genuinely smiling now.
Namjoon opened his mouth to reply, but Jin cut him off.
“Get out of my lobby, asshole. I don’t want to see you again until you’re leaving for good.”
***
Once you and Namjoon were safely in your suite, he moved a side table in front of the now locked and bolted door, checking the locks three times before determining the room was secure.
You slid off your backpack and set it down on the couch. The suite had a separate living space with a sitting area and kitchenette, and then what you assumed was a bedroom with a bathroom beyond that. The decor was elegant and looked expensive, royal, and refined, not unlike the lobby and the hotel’s owner himself.
“So,” you said, watching Namjoon putting the tablet down on the small dining table. “You said Jin’s like a brother to you?”
“Brothers bicker sometimes,” he said, though you saw the small smile he was trying to hide.
“The two of you seem to bicker a lot,” you said, throwing yourself down in one of the fancy armchairs in the sitting area. You slid off your sneakers, now dirty after walking around all day, before propping your feet up on the table that was probably built in the 1700’s. “Seems like there’s a lot of history between the two of you.”
“It’s a long story,” was all Namjoon said, coming over with the tablet and sitting down on the couch, the closest spot in the room to where you sat.
“Care to share that long story?” You tilted your head, giving him your infamous pout and puppy eyes.
He laughed dryly, shaking his head. He was focused on something on the tablet, maybe the live feed of that square in Prague he’d mentioned, and he didn’t seem to be planning on answering you any time soon.
“Were you a spy, Joon?” you said, narrowing your eyes at him.
“No.” He sighed, looking up at you. “I was not a spy,” he said in a way that made you one hundred percent sure he was definitely a spy.
“Oh my god, you were,” you cackled.
“No, I wasn’t,” he said, “And if I was, I obviously wouldn’t be able to tell you, would I?”
“You totally were. You used to be a spy, and then something happened here at Jin’s hotel, a shootout maybe, with all those bullet holes he mentioned, and you decided to leave the spy life and become a bodyguard instead.”
“What makes you think I would’ve left after getting some bullet holes in Jin’s fancy hotel?” he said, not looking up at you from the tablet. “I think you overestimate how much I care about this building.”
“Something with Yoongi, then?” you said, and instantly regretted it.
Namjoon sighed, closing his eyes. He set his jaw and almost looked angry, tossing the tablet aside and leaning back on the couch as he took a deep breath, one hand taking off his hat and the other running through his hair. His large chest expanded as he breathed for a minute, his head tilted back and eyes closed. You knew he had to be exhausted physically from the day you’d just had, but he looked like you’d emotionally exhausted him in just four words.
You had no idea who Yoongi was or what he’d meant to Namjoon, but you knew something had to have happened, based on how Jin reacted earlier and Namjoon’s reaction now. Something happened to him, or with him, related to something Jin did, and Namjoon was still angry or upset about it all these years later. Potentially. You could tell by the context earlier that something bad had happened.
Maybe Yoongi had been Namjoon’s partner when he was a spy! Had something happened to this Yoongi person, and that was what made Namjoon leave the spy business? Was Yoongi dead? Maybe Yoongi and Jin had betrayed Namjoon, or Jin had done something that cost Yoongi his life?
You stopped yourself. Your sleep-deprived brain was thinking way too much into things. It wasn’t any of your business, and it was clearly a sore spot for Namjoon. You didn’t even know if he was even a spy for sure, and if he was, Yoongi could’ve been anyone. All you had to go off of was that something had happened that made Jin feel guilty, and Namjoon didn’t want to talk about it.
It didn’t matter. You wouldn’t ask Namjoon about it, or anything related to his maybe-spy life. It wasn’t your business. If he wanted to tell you, he’d tell you on his own.
Namjoon never answered you, instead just standing up and walking into the bedroom. You heard him rustling around, maybe checking the room out and making sure it was safe or something.
After a moment, he came back out into the main room. He closed all the blinds after checking that the windows were secure, examined the edges of the mirror and all the picture frames, ran his finger along the lampshades. You weren’t sure what he was up to, but figured it had something to do with his paranoia and keeping you safe. You wondered if he’d learned these tricks back during his top secret maybe-spy life you weren’t letting yourself speak about.
As you watched him, your exhaustion hit you like a train, your body sagging as you thought over how long today had been. This morning, you’d woken up at that cute bed and breakfast in that little town in Poland, Namjoon half naked beside you. Now, you were melting down into your chair in Vienna, your eyes half-closed as you watched him zipping around the room. He had dark circles under his eyes too, but you were sure he’d never let himself rest until he knew the room was safe.
“Are you going to shower tonight or in the morning?” he eventually said, standing in the doorway between this room and the bedroom.
“I feel gross, but I think I’d pass out if I tried to shower,” you said, glancing at the clock on the wall. Almost 4:30 in the morning, and it felt like it.
“Same,” he said, his voice soft. You looked up at him, seeing the warmth in his eyes as he looked at you sitting there. If he’d been mad or annoyed about you mentioning Yoongi, he didn’t show it now. He continued, his deep voice a gentle murmur, “Come on. Let’s go to bed. The Prague live stream has the option to go back up to twelve hours and play it at double speed, so I can catch up on Wenceslas Square when we wake up. We’re safe here.”
You stood, your bones feeling heavier than normal and eyes barely open as you dragged yourself over to the bedroom. Namjoon put his hand on your back as you passed him, and you were almost too sleepy to feel the butterflies in your stomach from just that.
“Close your eyes,” you mumbled. You didn’t want to sleep in dirty train clothes, but your only other option was dirty forest clothes, so you just took off your sweatshirt, your t-shirt, the bulletproof vest, and your pants, dropping them on the floor before pulling the t-shirt back on and clambering into into the bed. The bedroom was just as fancy as the rest of the hotel, the king bed so large it was nearly square, but you couldn’t bring yourself to care or even look around as you pulled the covers up to your chin.
Beside the door, Namjoon cleared his throat, glancing down at your clothes all over the ground. You were still in a t-shirt and underwear and you were now fully under the covers, and he’d slept shirtless and just in boxers last night, so you didn’t care if he felt prudish now. If he could sleep in just boxers, you could sleep in your undies.
You couldn’t even open your eyes now, but you heard Namjoon turning off the lights in both rooms and pulling off his own clothes. Something hard was set down on his side table, and you figured that was his gun. Straps coming apart followed. His gun holster. You sighed as you heard him undoing his belt, then clothes rustling and his pants falling to the soft carpet.
He climbed into bed behind you, and you wanted to look at him and see if he was shirtless, curiosity piqued in your sleepy brain, but you didn’t have the energy, and Namjoon turned off the lamp on his side of the bed, plunging the room into darkness.
You smiled lazily to yourself, imagining Namjoon shirtless as you let yourself drift off to sleep.
***
Namjoon hadn’t slept this soundly in what felt like years.
Somewhere in the back of his mind, he knew he should force himself to wake up and be alert. You were still in danger. He should be watching the Prague live stream, or looking out the windows here in case anyone suspicious approached the hotel. He should eat and get protein so he could fight if someone burst into the room. There were a lot of things he should be doing, but he couldn’t bring himself to care.
You shifted, letting out a little moan in your sleep and nuzzling back into his arms, and Namjoon’s eyes suddenly snapped open.
He was spooning you. His arms were around you. Your bare legs were tangled with his. His face was buried in your hair, his nose right behind your ear. The two of you were so close, he couldn’t tell where you ended and he began.
This was wrong. He was violating you. He hadn’t meant to and would never do something like this on purpose, but his body had wrapped around yours in his sleep, and now he was very awake, his heart racing and eyes wide as he tried to will himself to calm down. He had a semi, not full morning wood, and he didn’t know how he wasn’t rock hard. He must’ve slept very deeply, because now that he was awake, his blood was on fire.
His hands were in respectable places too, at least. One rested on your stomach, over your t-shirt, and the other was beside you on the bed, your small hand resting in his. He felt your fingers move a little in your sleep, and he wondered if you were dreaming. You shifted again, your ass pressing against him harder, and his mind instantly went somewhere dirty as he closed his eyes and fought to suppress a groan.
He imagined himself with his hands on you, maybe lifting your leg up and sliding into you from behind. Like this, he could touch you everywhere, maybe kiss your neck or bite your shoulder, and he could whisper right in your ear all the things he wanted to do to you. He could fuck you like this and reach down and rub your clit, and you’d be so good for him, his sweet little angel he loved so much. He could worship your body like this, make you fall apart in his arms just so he could put you back together.
Namjoon felt his cock twitch, and he instantly shut those thoughts down. He needed to untangle himself and get far away from this bed, now.
He tried to pull himself away, but you let out a sad little moan, holding onto his hand and tangling your legs with his even further. Your free hand came down and held his over your stomach, and you settled in against him again, grinding your ass fully against his cock and making him close his eyes and bite his lip. You were still fully asleep, your light snoring coming back just a moment later, but you were not letting go of him.
Fuck.
This was so inappropriate. You’d wake up and be disgusted by him, especially if he couldn’t make his erection go away. He tilted his hips away from you, at least getting that away, even if you still had all of his limbs hostage.
He could feel you breathing in his arms and had to close his eyes again. Fuck, fuck, fuck.
“Y/N,” he said softly, right in your ear. His voice was deep and groggy from sleep and he resisted the urge to clear his throat. “I need to get up.”
You moaned back to him, sounding annoyed, and your hands tightened their grip on his. He hoped you wouldn’t wake up, because he didn’t want you to feel embarrassed or uncomfortable. He just wanted to slip away and go take a nice cold shower.
“I’m going to get up now,” he murmured, and this time you let him pull away from you, thankfully.
Namjoon sighed as he got out of bed, shaking his head. He reached back and made sure you were all tucked in, not wanting you to get cold while he was gone. You looked so snuggly and warm, and a huge part of him just wanted to climb back into bed and hold you some more, but he knew it was inappropriate. He needed to be strong.
Namjoon picked up his clothes from yesterday and headed into the bathroom, grabbing the tablet on his way. He turned the shower on and pulled up the live stream, clicking back to where he’d left off the night before and setting the video at double speed. He didn’t take his eyes off the screen until he finally made himself pause it and shower.
It was only ten in the morning now, which meant he’d slept about six hours. No wonder you were still sound asleep. He didn’t feel tired, though, especially not after waking up with your soft, perfect body in his arms, your warmth seeping into his bones, your scent all over him.
He smiled to himself, letting the water run through his hair. He’d decided against a cold shower, instead letting the warmth of the water spread through him like your body heat had. He was still hard, and he sighed as he reached down and wrapped his hand around his cock, running his hand up and down it slowly and thinking about the way your perfect body had felt in his arms.
“Y/N,” he sighed, his hand moving faster now, biting his lip as he imagined you in his lap, bouncing on his cock as he kissed your perfect breasts. Maybe you’d throw your head back and moan his name, or whimper and beg him to fuck you harder. Your tits would fit perfectly in his hands, and he’d squeeze them, massage them, feel the weight of them as he thrust up into you.
His fantasy shifted and he imagined you on your knees in front of him, your lips wrapped around his cock and his hands in your hair. He’d fuck your mouth like he was mad at it, holding you by your hair and watching the way he slid between your lips. He’d have you stop with his cock buried in you to the hilt, your nose pressed against his pelvis and chin against his balls, and he’d stroke your hair and tell you how perfect you looked with his cock down your throat. Maybe you’d moan for him like that, just so he could feel it.
Namjoon groaned, throwing his head back as stroked his cock and thought about your lips. Your mouth was so fucking perfect, he just knew it’d be so soft and tight, and you’d swallow around him like a fucking angel, because you’d know just how to get him off. You’d be so fucking good for him, Namjoon’s whole body tensed at just the thought.
“Y/N…” he moaned, and then he climaxed, his body shivering and mouth falling open as his cum hit the tile wall in front of him. Breathing hard, he watched it slowly dripping with the condensation from the shower, letting out a deep groan as he imagined his cum on your face and chin instead. He’d rub the head of his cock on your lips, smearing it around and claiming you as his.
Namjoon finished his shower, his body humming pleasantly and muscles relaxed after what he’d just done. He thought about you, only you, as always, his mind overflowing with his fantasies, his memories of little innocent things you’d done over the years, the way you made him feel when you smiled up at him.
As he turned off the shower, he realized he was smiling to himself.
Once he got dressed again, Namjoon grabbed the tablet and started taking stock of the supplies the two of you had, closing the door to the bedroom so you could continue sleeping.
You both had phone chargers and no phones, but these chargers also worked on the tablet Jin had let him borrow. You had a few weeks worth of both your medications, and he had his first aid kit. You each had a bag of toiletries, and your passports you couldn’t use without putting yourselves on the map. You had no clean clothes, nothing to do, nothing to eat until Jin had food delivered, and no more euros, if Namjoon could even sneak away from the hotel to use them. He had his Polish money, around eight hundred euros worth. He had his gun and several mags full of bullets.
Namjoon found a small pad of paper, and wrote a short note to Jin. He’d pass along the note to whoever delivered breakfast.
We only have the clothes on our backs. I can give you money for more clothes if you want, but we really need some clothes, desperately. You’d have to exchange the Polish money for euros, but it’s still cash.
We’d also greatly appreciate some snacks if you’re feeling extra generous. Y/N loves chocolate and sweets, and I don’t hate them either.
-NJ
Namjoon had exaggerated a little – the two of you also had your change of clothes from the forest, so not just the clothes on your backs – but Jin didn’t need to know about that.
Namjoon wrote down his clothes size and yours, along with a few suggestions like pajamas, underwear, casual clothes, things that wouldn’t stand out if the two of you had to go in public. Just a few changes each, to last as long as you were stuck in this suite. Though Namjoon had a bad feeling that you’d need to keep moving sooner than he hoped.
He set the tablet down on the table, pressing play and sighing. In the other room, he could hear you gently snoring.
***
You definitely had not slept soundly.
The first time you woke up in the night, you felt Namjoon spooning you, and you wondered if you’d died and gone to heaven. His large, firm, strong arms around you, you’d never felt so safe and protected. You felt like you were his.
The second time you woke up, you heard Namjoon turning on the shower. You listened to him for a minute, wondering what time it was and if you should get up too. You still felt sleepy, but maybe after a day like yesterday, you’d feel tired for weeks.
After a few minutes, you started to doze back off, but your eyes snapped open when you swore you heard Namjoon moaning.
You tilted your head, listening hard, and gasped when you heard the sound of him definitely masturbating, very hard by the sound of it, due to the fact his hand moving was audible over the running water and through the wall separating the bedroom and bathroom.
Oh, god. You should plug your ears or go into the other room. He thought you were asleep! He would never do this if he thought you could hear him. This was so beyond inappropriate, and you were being inappropriate by listening to him. This was so wrong.
But you were a bad person, and so you just laid there and listened to him masturbating in the shower. You heard his moans crescendoing, and then your heart stopped when you heard him definitely, clearly, undoubtedly moaning your name.
You gasped as you heard him cum, your eyes wide as you froze and tensed up. Your panties were now completely drenched, your mind replaying what you’d just heard over and over as you heard him breathing hard and coming down from his high.
You heard him turn off the shower, your mind still racing and heart beating out of your chest.
There was no fucking way. You had to have heard him wrong. Maybe he knew someone else with your name! You had to be wrong. There was just no way Namjoon was masturbating and moaning your name. It was impossible, because that would mean he was attracted to you, and you knew he wasn’t because he was Namjoon, the perfect, sexy, unattainable bodyguard you’d spent the last few years head-over-heels in love with. He was so far out of your league it was laughable, and you knew he wasn’t interested in you. He just wasn’t.
But you knew what you’d heard, and you couldn’t stop your brain from replaying it over and over.
Namjoon opened the door, and you closed your eyes, pretending to be asleep. You heard him pick some things up and head into the separate living room, closing the door quietly behind him on his way out.
Your mind raced for a few minutes, but sleep eventually reclaimed you, your fatigue sinking back into you and knocking you out again.
The third time you woke up, hours later, you made yourself get out of bed, pulling on yesterday’s dirty pants and wondering if Namjoon could somehow ask Jin for more clothes. You refused to think about what you’d heard earlier, because you were pretty sure it was just an elaborate sex dream you’d had, and you hadn’t actually woken up and heard him. It was the only logical explanation.
You headed out into the main room, where you saw Namjoon sitting at the table, a piece of toast in his hand and the tablet on the table beside him.
“Hey,” he said, motioning toward a plate of food set out at the other seat, assumedly for you. He was acting completely normal, and you could smell the fancy hotel soap on him and wished you could just sit in his lap and smell him. “I was just coming to wake you up when I heard you walking around. Breakfast got here about five minutes ago.”
“Cool,” you mumbled, plopping down in the chair across from him.
Jin had sent up toast, scrambled eggs, assorted cut fruit, and thick cuts of bacon, despite the fact it wasn’t currently morning. Beside your plate were three little bowls with different kinds of jams and preserves, a glass of orange juice, and a steaming cup of coffee. In the middle of the table was a pot of hot water with a little tray of various bags of assorted tea, and a small bowl of honey and honeycomb.
“I saw our friends in Wenceslas Square,” Namjoon said, and you looked up at him, surprised by how casually he’d said that.
“What?” Your brain was still foggy from sleep and Namjoon maybe moaning your name, so him pulling you back to reality and talking about the men after you made you sit up straighter.
“Here, look,” he said, sliding the tablet across the table to you and taking another bite of toast, which he’s spread marmalade on. The stream was paused at 4:07 in the morning, and Namjoon pressed play.
You watched four men dressed in dark, casual, nondescript clothing walk across the empty square, right to the large yellow building with a “Grand Hotel Europa” sign. Two of them headed for the front doors, the others standing guard outside.
“See how they’re all wearing the same black boots?” Namjoon said, zooming in for a second. It was blurry and grainy, but they were definitely all in similar boots. You never would’ve noticed if he hadn’t pointed it out, given how popular combat-style boots were as fashion. “The shoes are always a giveaway. They’re tactical. Probably bought in bulk by the looks of it,” he joked.
Namjoon zoomed back out as two of the men went into the hotel. One of the others sat on a bench by the entrance, while the other walked out of view of the camera. He came back a few seconds later, and you realized he was pacing the square.
“They still haven’t left,” Namjoon said. He reached over and turned the speed setting up to play it twice as fast. The two men who’d gone inside never came out, and you wondered if they’d rented a room, or maybe were going door to door in the hotel or bribing the front desk. Namjoon skipped ahead a few hours, and the one on the bench outside still hadn’t moved, but now had a newspaper. The one pacing had sat down in the outdoor part of a café next door to the hotel, and was sipping coffee.
Namjoon skipped ahead again, now having it play live. It was one in the afternoon, and both men still sat right where they were hours before. Part of you wondered if they were cold, sitting outside in winter for that long, or if the one at the café was annoying the waiters by squatting so long.
“What does this mean for us?” you said, not taking your eyes off the screen.
“It means we can’t communicate with the embassy at all.” Namjoon finished off his toast before wiping his hands on the fancy cloth napkin and continuing. “Either we have a rat, or these guys are listening in on our security team. I’m not sure which is more likely.”
“What about my mother? If someone in our security is working with these men, she’ll be in danger.”
“I don’t know how we can warn her without immediately giving up our location to anyone listening in,” Namjoon said, sighing. “If we try to contact her or warn the rest of the security team, they’ll know where we are and come after you right away.”
“And if they don’t find us in Prague, won’t they look to the last place they knew where we were, the train station in Ostrava, and check the cameras and see us going to Vienna?”
“Exactly,” was all Namjoon said, taking a long sip of his coffee.
“So we should keep moving soon, then?” you suggested, wanting him to elaborate a bit more.
“I’m thinking tomorrow morning, maybe. If they hadn’t shown up in Prague, we could’ve stayed longer, but I’m sure they’re starting to suspect we aren’t there. Maybe they’ll think I lied, or maybe they’ll think we just went to a different hotel in Prague and wait for me to check in and tell them. We should always assume they know more than we think they do, though.”
“So we should assume they’re already on their way here to this hotel?” you said, and Namjoon cracked a smile.
“Maybe not that much. They’d have to have already seen us going to Vienna, then followed us through the whole city, since we walked and used so many side streets. That’s a lot of different business’ security cameras to hack, and there could be blind spots where they won’t know which way we went. It should buy us some time, but we shouldn’t stay here long, just in case.”
“Where do we go from here?” you said, and you watched him set his jaw, the gears in his brilliant mind spinning.
“I’m not sure. Have any ideas?”
You looked down at the plate in front of you, thinking.
“We can’t leave the Schengen area,” you said slowly, nodding to yourself as you spoke. “If we do, we’ll have to show our passports, and that will put us right on the map. Can’t travel by plane, and we should try to avoid places with lots of cameras, just to be safe.”
“Good,” Namjoon said, smiling just enough to show a peek of dimple, as if he were proud of you and the way you were thinking.
“If we go any farther West, things will start getting a lot more expensive,” you continued.
“I could borrow money from Jin,” Namjoon suggested, grinning when you raised an eyebrow at him.
“I think he’d slap you if you tried to ask for money,” you said, before laughing and saying, “Unless you tell him you’ll take a bribe to never come back to Austria.”
“I could do that.” You saw a sparkle of mischief in his dark eyes and knew he’d definitely be lying if he told Jin that.
“Even if we get money from him, we should still be frugal. We won’t know how long we’ll have to make it last,” you said. “Should we go to Slovenia? Or maybe head into the Austrian countryside? Maybe we could get into Switzerland–”
“Switzerland is very expensive,” Namjoon commented, taking another sip of his coffee.
“Okay, not Switzerland.” You thought for a moment, before a lightbulb went off over your head. “I got it! What if, right before we leave Vienna, we call my mother to warn her about the security team leak, since we really should do that, and then we went back into the Czech Republic? It’s one of the cheapest countries in central Europe, and they wouldn’t expect us to backtrack like that. If we’re on the run, they’d expect us to try and get farther away, right?”
Namjoon seemed to consider it for a moment, tilting his head back and forth.
“We could call from somewhere where we know there are no cameras,” he said quietly, lost in thought. “If they don’t know which way we head, it could work. They’d most likely think we’d keep traveling in the same direction, and then we could settle in some small Czech town and stay hidden.”
You liked this plan and thought it was your best bet, but you wondered when you’d be able to stop running and go home. Spending time alone with Namjoon all day was amazing, but you didn’t want to be scared anymore and have the threat of being abducted looming over you. Namjoon was probably going to give himself a heart attack from stress with how rightfully paranoid he was, and it was only a matter of time before you’d run out of money or put yourself on the grid somehow. If your mother found out about the security team leak, and there really was a mole back home, would they be able to find out who it was? And how would you even know, if and when they did? You could call your mother, tell her what you know, and she could have everything sorted out in a few hours, and you would never know until you eventually contacted her again.
How long until all this was over, and you were safe again?
Namjoon seemed to notice your shift in mood, and he reached across the table, resting his hand on yours.
“We’ll be okay,” he said softly, his warm eyes searching yours.
You sighed, looking down at the table. You felt so utterly helpless and small. You wished there was a way you could feel less powerless, a way to be more prepared if these men ever found you. If you ever got separated from Namjoon or something happened to him, you’d be a sitting duck.
Another lightbulb moment struck you then.
“Joon?” you said, glancing up at him. When he raised an eyebrow at you, you continued, “Will you teach me how to use your gun?”
***
Namjoon stood behind you, his arms wrapped around you. The two of you held his handgun together, aiming by the window overlooking the street. You were on the sixth floor and the building across the street was only three stories, so you felt like aiming this way was safe enough, especially since you weren’t planning on firing it.
You were more than a little intimidated by the gun and even by Namjoon knowing so much about guns, but you knew it was important to know how to use it, just in case. This was important to you. Not feeling so helpless was important to you.
“When you’re holding a gun, always act like it’s loaded and could go off at any moment,” he said, showing you the proper way to hold it. “Even if you think it’s not loaded, even if you think the safety’s on. There are thousands of accidental deaths from guns every year. This is a deadly weapon, only for emergencies. Anything you point a gun at, you have to be willing to destroy it.”
You swallowed hard, trying not to think about that.
“Once you know the basics, it’s pretty straightforward. Aim and shoot. Make sure the safety’s off, like this,” he said right against your ear, showing you what he described. “Most people will do what you tell them if you’re holding a gun, so hopefully you’ll never have to fire it. But if you do, if those men find us and something happens to me, shoot first, ask questions later.”
“Okay,” you said quietly, nodding.
You weren’t sure if you’d be able to do that though, if the time came. You’d always been someone who froze when you were scared. You didn’t want to think about a situation where you’d have Namjoon’s gun and he wasn’t there to help you. You were certain you’d be frozen, and probably inconsolable from whatever made him unable to use the gun himself.
“Here’s how you rack it,” he said, and you took in a breath, feeling his large hands moving yours. His body was pressed completely against you, your shoulders against his firm chest, your back against his stomach. When he spoke, the depth of his voice rumbled in your body and mind, making you have to fight to suppress a shiver.
“Will you show me how to reload it?” you said, your voice softer than you were expecting it to be.
“Sure.” He turned the gun sideways so you could see him work, pressing a button on the side. He brought your hand up, having you feel the button he’d just pressed. “Feel that?”
“Yeah,” you breathed, unsure of how to react to Namjoon’s fingers holding yours and having you feel something so small. Your heart was racing from how close he was, and from how exhilarating and scary it felt holding a real gun.
“That’s the magazine release. To take a mag out, press that, and then just slide the new one in.”
He showed you what he’d described, his hands moving with yours. You were breathless just from this, but you tried so hard to listen to his words. This was important, serious, and dangerous. Not the time for fantasizing.
“Make sure it’s in properly, like this, and then press the slide release here.”
He showed you, and then the gun was loaded and ready again. You held it up, aimed at the wall, and Namjoon’s hands closed around yours.
“Perfect,” he said right in your ear, and this time you actually did shiver before you could stop yourself.
Namjoon cleared his throat, stepping away from you suddenly. He didn’t make eye contact with you as you handed the gun over, and he turned the safety back on and put it away.
“You did well,” he said, his voice slightly deeper than normal. “I can show you again later, to make sure you remember.”
“Sure,” you said, unable to even look at him. Your face felt hot and you suspected you were blushing.
A knock on the door interrupted your awkward moment, and Namjoon rushed over, looking out the peephole before quickly opening the door to reveal Jin with a small meal cart with two plates covered by fancy metal cloches.
“Wow, this hotel is nice,” Namjoon teased, holding open the door for Jin. “The owner himself delivers room service.”
“Shut up, you,” Jin grumbled, the cart bumping over the doorframe as he entered. He stopped walking and pushed the cart lazily in the direction of the kitchenette, letting it drift until it bumped into the table.
“What a disrespectful waiter,” Namjoon joked as he closed and locked the door again. “This will be affecting your tip.”
“The tip for your lunch, or the tip for me going shopping and getting you both new clothes?” Jin said, throwing himself down on one of the armchairs. “The bags of clothes are on the bottom shelf of the cart, under the tablecloth,” he added, motioning in the vague direction of the cart.
“Thank you,” you said, figuring Jin deserved at least a little genuine gratitude instead of just Namjoon’s snark.
You walked over to the cart and pulled out the shopping bags of clothes, peeking in and seeing jeans, sweaters, and even undergarments. One bag had two folded winter coats, along with a couple beanies, scarves, and a large pair of black gloves and a smalle