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rushan @chromekook
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a taekook au where model Kim Taehyung gets into a car crash and ends up with severe injuries that could’ve paralyzed him from waist down. But after a successful surgery, they hire a physical therapist to strengthen his legs again.

But it doesn’t help that it’s his ex Jeongguk.
Should i


When Taehyung first gets into the accident, there’s nothing.

He feels nothing, he hears nothing and he sees nothing. And once the shock disappears, there’s pain. Blinding, unbearable pain and he tries to scream but he can’t hear his own voice over the chaos around him.
And between the pain and shock, the realization settles that he’s gotten into a car crash. He slips in and out of consciousness. Every time he awakens, he thinks. His career; the press; are his friends okay? But before he can do anything, he slips away again.
And around him, he hears machines and clicks and sounds of so, so many people when he’s awake.

It hurts his head, as if the previous migraine hadn’t been bad enough. Taehyung knows he’s alive, though.

And in that moment maybe he should be grateful for just that.
The first he awakens sober, its a few days after the accident. Immediately the nurse in the room calls for the doctors, and the bustling on his left gives him the peripheral vision of a worried Jimin hovering nearby.

“I’m okay,” he croaks out, hand holding onto Jimin’s.
The doctors tell him about the car flipping due to a collision but really, he cares about why its so difficult to move his legs. There are only vague answers until finally Jimin caves in.

“You were almost paralysed,” he whispers, “Your legs wouldn’t work without surgery,”
The surgery is said to be successful yet Taehyung wonders why he can’t move without a struggle from everyone around him. He seems to have gotten the worst impact.

He thinks about the runway, the lack of power to walk. To model. The one thing his world revolves around.
“Physical therapy,” The doctors say, “That’s your best shot if you ever want to move on your own again,”

He agrees. Of course he does. Even then there’s risks but he’ll take what he can get and immediately his team sets out to find him the best therapist they can find.
And for that moment he forgets why that profession sounds so familiar. Physical therapy.

Under the influence of the medicine, the trauma from the crash he forgets.

He forgets why it sounds so, so close to home.
The next week he spends mentally preparing himself for physical therapy. He gets introduced to the gymnasium-esque he’ll train in before he is officially allowed to be discharged from the hospital.

And while they inform him, he wonders why Jimin looks so pale all of a sudden.
Jimin is holding his medical file when his face drains of any color, mouth dropping open.

Taehyung wheels himself closer, “What’s wrong?”

Jimin looks up at him, swallowing, “I-it’s nothing .. it’s just.. you sure you want this, right?”

Taehyung frowns, “Obviously, Jimin,”
Jimin nods shakily, “O-Okay. I just... I need you to be sure,”

Taehyung sighs, “I am. I need to walk Jimin. I have to. It’s my job, I can’t lose it,”

Jimin nods, expression still pinched. He walks away then and Taehyung cant help the dread that spreads under his skin.
and it doesn’t take long before Taehyung finally asks the big question.

“So? Who is it?” He asks Jimin first, fingers playing with the handles of his wheelchair, “Who’s it gonna be?”

Jimin laughs nervously, “Whoever it is has a degree in physical therapy so don’t worry,”
Taehyung giggles, “Of course, why else would the team hire them? They need me to walk too, you know?”

Jimin nods, quiet, “Mmhm. The best model there is,”

Taehyung laughs softly, “Practically unable to move now. So? What’s their name?”

Jimin only looks down.
“Jimin?” Taehyung urges quietly, but when his friend doesn’t respond he turns away petulantly, “Why aren’t you telling me?”

Jimin shrugs helplessly, “It’s just.. better if you didn’t know now,”

Taehyung rolls his eyes, “I’ll just ask the doctor. He’s obligated to tell me,”
Jimin calls after him as he wheels away and the desperation in his tone almost makes Taehyung stop but he wants to know why Jimin won’t tell him who’s going to be responsible for his career.

So he clears his throat and asks his doctor, “What’s my therapists name?”
The doctor glances behind him where Jimin is giving them a pleading look.

“You need to ignore him,” Taehyung pouts, “I’m your patient, you have to tell me,”

So the doctor only purses their lips, “Alright. Your therapist’s name is Jeon Jeongguk,”

-

Taehyung’s world stops.
behind him, Jimin sighs. But he can’t hear anything.

“What did you say?” Taehyung whispers, “Could you repeat that?”

The doctor looks between him and Jimin, “His name is Jeon Jeongguk. Mr. Kim? Is everything alright?”

Taehyung breathes in, “Are you sure?”
But it makes sense. Of course it would be him.

Of course it would.

Back when they were younger, naive, Jeongguk had been majoring in physical therapy. He was at the top of his class. He’d always been.

But that was back when things were perfect. Taehyung should’ve known.
His heart beats loud enough that he can hear his pulse ringing in his ears. Physically, he makes himself nod and wheel away from where Jimin is calling his name. But inside, he can feel himself ripping apart just like he had the last time he’d seen the face attached to that name.
The wide eyes and comforting arms that Taehyung had once wrapped around himself. He remembers it, the soft press of a pair of lips still a phantom on his skin and the gentle words still swarming his thoughts now.

He remembers the end, too. That’s what he remembers most clearly.
Jimin follows after him as he goes back to his hospital room, “Tae- Wait! Look... you need him-“

“Don’t,” Taehyung stops abruptly, “Don’t say that again. I’ll settle with anyone. I don’t want to see him.”

Jimin purses his lips, “Tae... he’s arriving in an hour, though,”
“Call it off,” Taehyung looks away, “Didn’t he know? He knew. Of course he knows his client. He was okay with this?”

Jimin breathes in, “He was one of the first people to call, you know? He sounded so worried, Taehyung-“

“I don’t want to hear this,” Taehyung looks away.
Jimin kneels in front of his wheelchair, “He’s the best in the country. He was willing to do it without pay, you know? I know you guys had a horrible break but you need to give him this chance,”

Taehyung says silent.

“He’s going to help you walk again, Taehyung. Let him,”
Taehyung doesn’t say anything, still. He lets Jimin walk away with a sad sigh.

It’s too late, anyway. Jeongguk is coming back. He’s going to see him and he can’t do anything about it because he can’t walk. He needs to walk and Jeongguk seems to be his only chance now.
But Taehyung is hurting. Eveb before the entire mess with the accident he’d been hurting.

He’s been hurting ever since Jeongguk turned away from him. Ever since Jeongguk gave up on them because of Taehyung’s career.

And Taehyung won’t forgive him for that.
So Taehyung agrees. He agrees and he waits in the gym for the one person he never wanted to see again to show up.

Jimin waits right by his side, his parents outside the gym waiting for him to start his first session.

Taehyung takes in a deep breath. He can do this.
The anticipation builds inside him; even when Jimin squeezes his shoulder and assures him it will be okay.

He has to do this, he tells himself, there’s no other option.

But he can’t prepare himself for the impact of the emotions that hits him as soon as the doors open.
When Taehyung sees Jeongguk, a year after his pain and his heartbreak, it knocks the breath away from him.

It feels like he’s going through the entire car crash again. The nothingness before the sudden, agonizing pain in his chest when his gaze falls on Jeongguk’s face.
He looks so much like the same Jeongguk remembers but at the same time he looks so different.

His eyes are still doe-like, his lips sculpted beautifully and his arms just as strong. He remembers the height, now towering above him in his chair. He remembers the soft voice.
“Hi, Taehyung,” Jeongguk says, “I’m going to be your physical therapist. I’m going to help you walk again,”

And Taehyung’s throat threatens to close up again, but he knows he’s stronger than this. So he nods, expression vacant and doesn’t say a word as Jeongguk waits for one.
When Taehyung refuses to say anything, Jeongguk sets down his large bag, “Taehyung, we-“

His tone warns Taehyung of what he’s going to say and he stops him before he can say anything else, “Just... do your job, okay? We don’t need to talk about anything else,”
Jeongguk’s looking at him with an unreadable expression, mouth set in a straight line, hands in his pockets. It takes a while for him to nod with a low sigh, “Okay. Okay, Taehyung. Let’s do this, yeah?”

Jimin is stiff beside him but moves away when Jeongguk walks towards them.
Taehyung longs to pull his best friend closer but he resists as Jeongguk kneels in front of him.

“Let’s start with a few basic stretches?” He asks, voice so gentle that it breaks Taehyung even more than he already feels.

He just nods jerkily, letting Jeongguk hold his leg.
He doesn’t know how he gets through his stretches with Jeongguk so close.

All he can think about is how he used to touch that skin, how he reciprocated every touch, how he could reach down now and just hold Jeongguk once again.

But instead, he stays quiet and still.
Jeongguk seems to be uncomfortable, too, but he pushes Taehyung through each stretch. He moves his legs with soft touches and kind words.

But every time he speaks, Taehyung hears the ‘I can’t do this anymore’ ring in his ears and he has to look away.
Maybe it was the cold look in Jeongguk’s eyes replacing his usually warm, loving one or the way he’d been unable to look at Taehyung as he’d walked away but it stings bitterly in his chest still.

Taehyung doesn’t understand how he manages to pull through the session.
He remembers everything with Jeongguk this close.

He remembers waking up in the dark side of his mornings to a comforting embrace, he remembers having a solid presence radiating love near him all the time. He remembers how cold his bed had been after Jeongguk left.
The session ends just as awkwardly as it started, considering Jeongguk had to be close to Taehyung to help him move his legs around in different positions.

For their first meeting after their breakup, it isn’t the most convenient. They make it with minimal conversation.
Jimin is at the side, watching with careful eyes and when they finish, he joins Jeongguk. A few meters away from Taehyung, they converse quietly so he can’t hear, but the heat in Jimin’s eyes would be visible from miles away.

Taehyung traces his ankle, sighing.
He wishes for a moment that he hadn’t come. He’d blow Jeongguk off like Jeongguk blew him off once upon a time.

But then he feels the weight of his legs; almost a dead weight and knows that despite what happened, Jeongguk is the only one who can help him now.
Jeongguk finishes his conversation with Jimin, clearly displeased but his expression turns vacant when he returns to Taehyung’s side.

“If you want to continue with me,” He starts off, soft, “We can have our next class tomorrow. I’ll stay overnight to make sure you’re okay,”
Taehyung looks away from him, “You don’t need to stay, I’ll be fine,”

Jeongguk nods, “I would feel better if I did. Just to make sure we aren’t over exerting your legs and therapy isn’t critical,”

Taehyung shrugs, so Jeongguk speaks up, “Do you want to continue with me?”
Taehyung looks at Jimin, who seems to be watching them closely, “I... I don’t know,”

A second of what seems like hurt flashes across Jeongguk’s eyes but then it’s gone, “You don’t know?”

“I... You know why I’m conflicted, Jeongguk,” Taehyung says, leaning back into the bench.
Jeongguk nods slowly, and sits on the floor in front of Taehyung. He looks up at him, “I think we should talk?”

Taehyung freezes, glancing up at Jimin. But Jimin is gone. He must’ve left the gym.

“What? Why?” Taehyung breathes out, trying to shrink into himself.
Jeongguk smiles almost sadly at him, “You and I both know why, yeah?”

Taehyung hates how Jeongguk speaks in question, as if he wants him to decide. As if it wasn’t his own decision to leave.

“We.. have nothing to talk about,” Taehyung licks his lips, “I think you should go,”
Jeongguk sighs, “Taehyung, we need to talk,”

Taehyung wishes he could move, he could stand on his own. He wishes Jimin were here. Instead, he looks down, “No, we don’t,”

“Honey bear-“

Taehyung looks up sharply, “No. You don’t get to call me that, Jeongguk. Not anymore,”
Taehyung can feel himself on the verge of tears. The nickname strikes him, his breath hitching. Jeongguk looks guilty, looking at the ground.

This is why he didn’t want to do this. He didn’t want these feelings to resurface. The love he spent months to bury leaping out at him.
Jeongguk doesn’t speak.

Taehyung needs to move and he can’t move. Usually, Jimin would be here to help but Jimin seems to have given them their privacy, which really is the last thing Taehyung needs.

“I need to leave,” Taehyung whispers into the silence, “Now, please,”
Jeongguk nods, and gets up almost shakily.

Taehyung doesn’t need to meet his eyes to know Jeongguk’s expression is broken. He can hear it, “Alright, Taehyung,”

And then his hands are around Taehyung, helping him stand and Taehyung wonders if this pain is worth it after all.
Taehyung grips steadily onto Jeongguk’s shoulders. His built is still strong and solid, and Taehyung feels the telltale trust floating in his chest no matter how much he tries to hate Jeongguk.

Jeongguk helps him to his wheelchair, let’s go only when Taehyung is seated.
Jimin glances up immediately when Jeongguk wheels him outside.

“Your parents just got home,” Jimin says to Taehyung, nodding halfheartedly at Jeongguk.

Taehyung nods at him, “Okay,”

The air around them is tense, until Jeongguk speaks up, “I guess I’ll head home, then,”
“Yes, please leave,” Jimin grips onto Taehyung’s hand, impassive.

Taehyung bites his lip, “Jimin,”

“No, he’s right,” Jeongguk gives him a gentle, painfully gentle smile, “But please remember that I’ll always be sorry for what happened,”

And then he’s gone, just like that.
-

Later, in the hospital room Taehyung is getting too used to, he sits beside Jimin.

“You know, Taehyung,” Jimin starts tentatively, “He was the first person after your family who called when he heard about the accident,”

Taehyung closes his eyes, “Jimin-“
“I think you should know,” Jimin sighs, “I don’t like him, either. But he was worried, Tae. He was crying, he wouldn’t stop crying. He thought you died in that crash. It wasn’t pretty,”

Taehyung laughs bitterly, “I would know, I was in that fucking car, you know, Jimin,”
Jimin nods sadly, “Of course. I just think... I think he still cares about you. I know he does. Or else he wouldn’t be here,”

“Yeah, I bet it isn’t because of the shit ton of money he’s getting out of this,” Taehyung rolls his eyes.

Jimin laughs, “About that...”
Taehyung raises his brow in question.

“He refuses to accept pay for the job,”

Taehyung sits up, wincing at the pain, “What? What do you mean?”

“I mean,” Jimin smiles, “He’s doing this for you. For free, Taehyung. Not for the money. For you,”
Taehyung stares at Jimin, “What? What do you mean he didn’t accept pay?”

Jimin shrugs, “He wouldn’t. And your family and frankly, me as well, decided that was the best option,”

Taehyung sits up, “No, he can’t- you can’t just... he isn’t allowed to... my team-“
Jimin shakes his head, “Your team decided it was best for your family to decide. Of course, it isn’t the best option for them... but-“

“This can jeopardize the company... press will say we forced him-“

“Taehyung,” Jimin places a hand on his knee, “We didn’t force him,”
Taehyung frowns, biting his lip, “He can’t... he can’t do that,”

“Considering he’s known you from before, it’s easy to tell media he was a friend-“

“That’s the fucking problem!” Taehyung exclaims, exasperated, “He isn’t my goddamn friend! We aren’t on good terms. We’re exes,”
Jimin stares at him.

Taehyung looks at him pleadingly, “He broke me, Jimin. He took away a vulnerable part of me. There was an ultimatum in our relationship. That is not how relationships work, for fucks sake. He put me in a situation where I had to pick love or my career,”
Taehyung grabs Jimin’s hand, “I know I should be grateful. I know that, okay? But he left me. The ultimatum he left me with didn’t even reach a conclusion. He /left/. He didn’t let me choose,”

Jimin looks down.

“Jiminie, I love him. I loved him for so long but he hurt me,”
Jimin nods slowly, “I know that,”

“Then you must know how difficult it is for me to do this. To pick again. My career or my dignity. You picked me up, you know the state he left me in. And now I have to deal with him and I swear I’m trying but he’s making it a favor to me,”
“And you don’t want his charity,” Jimin finishes for him, “I know, Taehyung,”

Taehyung nods, eyes watery, “Then you understand why I cant let him do this for free? I don’t want any more favors, I just want my legs back,”

Jimin sighs, and pulls him into a hug, “I know, Tae,”
-

And so they call Jeongguk back, telling him they need to speak to him about the payment arrangement. The tone in Jimin’s voice must cease any argument about to happen, so Jeongguk agrees reluctantly to it.

And for once, Taehyung feels a little bit in control again.
“I get it,” Jeongguk sighs when he gets there, “You don’t want me to do this for free,”

Taehyung nods, refusing to look at him. His gaze stays fixated on the little rip in his jeans, “I don’t want your charity,”

Jeongguk sighs again, “It isn’t charity, and you know it,”
Taehyung’s head snaps up, “Oh, is that so? Then why does it feel like you keep trying to make me feel guilty for something I never wanted, Jeongguk?”

Jeongguk gives him a pained look, “Are you talking about the accident or the breakup?”

Beside Taehyung, Jimin stiffens.
“I should go,” he mumbles, and before Taehyung can stop him, Jimin walks away from the room.

Jeongguk remains seated on the seat in his hospital room, eyes fixed on Taehyung, “So? Is it about the accident or the breakup?”

Taehyung breathes, “Maybe it’s about both,”
“You never wanted the breakup?” Jeongguk asks softly, but his eyes are hard.

Taehyung furrows his brows, “Actually, this isn’t why you’re here. We need to discuss the payment. Let me make it easy for you; you either take the money or you leave. We can find someone else,”
“Taehyung-“

“No, just,” Taehyung closes his eyes momentarily, “It’s your choice. There are plenty of physical therapists. I don’t want you to do this for free, I don’t need you to. I’m not fucking helpless,”

“I never said you were,” Jeongguk mumbles, “An ultimatum, huh?”
Taehyung looks away, “Seem familiar?”

Jeongguk laughs, a little bitter, “Thought we weren’t discussing the breakup,”

Taehyung gives him a long look, “So, you’re going to leave, right?”

Jeongguk shakes his head, smiling gently at him, “I’m not going to leave until you walk,”
“Is this some kind of consolation for fact that you walked away before?” Taehyung purses his lips.

Jeongguk stands up, frowning, “See. You’re the one who keeps talking about the breakup. But as your trainer, I want you to walk again, Taehyung. So no, I’m not going anywhere,”
Taehyung watches him grab his things, “Why?”

Jeongguk glances at him, “Why what?”

Taehyung is looking at him carefully now. With genuine curiosity. Now he sees them. The eye-bags under Jeongguk eyes, the way his shoulders sag. He sees the slight downturn of his lips.
Jeongguk is still looking at him, his eyes dulled of the little spark they once held.

Taehyung sighs, “Why are you doing this for me? Is it guilty conscience?”

Jeongguk licks his lips, eyes flickering to the floor, “You keep saying that as if I can’t genuinely care about you,”
Taehyung doesn’t say anything.

“That relationship was never one sided, honey bear,” Jeongguk says, so soft that Taehyung has to strain his ears to hear him, “I loved you. I care about you, even now. That’s why I’m doing this. Because I care, Tae,”

Taehyung stays silent.
He stays silent because he cared, too. Jeongguk was his entire world. Jeongguk was the person he came home to, someone who would always be there for him.

Until suddenly, he wasn’t. And maybe that’s why it’s so hard for Taehyung to understand this. Because the end was so abrupt.
Jeongguk is quiet as he finishes packing up the rest of his things and grabbing his bag.

He sends Taehyung one last look before he leaves, “Please don’t ever think I didn’t care. Because I did then. And I do now,”

Taehyung still remains close mouthed.
Taehyung doesn’t utter a word. Not when Jimin walks in and asks what happened; not when his doctor comes in and tells him his vitals are steady enough for him to be discharged soon.

Taehyung doesn’t say anything because he still doesn’t trust that Jeongguk won’t hurt him again.
“Did you hear that?” Jimin smiles at him, tidying up the little room. He places a bouquet on the table. Taehyung’s received a lot of those.

Taehyung nods halfheartedly.

“Tae,” Jimin urges, “Doc said you can go home soon! That’s great news, right?”
Taehyung nods again. He looks up at Jimin this time, “He said he cared about me,”

Jimin pauses, studying Taehyung’s face, “Well. That’s understandable, right?”

“No,” Taehyung breathes out, “He doesn’t care about me, Jimin. He doesn’t,”

Jimin frowns.
“What do you mean?” He asks, “He was doing it for free, and now he’s agreed to getting paid because that’s what you want. He does care,”

“Who’s side are you on, Jimin?”

Jimin stares, exasperated, “There aren’t sides. It isn’t black and white. I see both your sides here,”
Taehyung laughs coldly, “Yeah? Do you see the part where he left me, too?”

Jimin pauses, “I’m not talking about that. He isn’t talking about it, either. We’re talking about this; now. Your legs, your therapy. You’re the one who brings that situation up again and again,”
Taehyung’s eyes blaze, “Are you kidding? The only reason I’m upset is because of the breakup. That’s the reason this isn’t working for me,”

Jimin nods, “I know. Taehyung, I know. Look I just... I need you to get better. You need you to get better. But for that, you need him,”
“We can find someone else,” Taehyung says weakly.

“He’s the best option we have,” Jimin negotiates gently, “But how about you two talk it out one last time without it ending badly? A civil conversation. Then you can decide if you really want a new therapist,”
-
-

The entire day, Jimin seems distracted and only replies to Taehyung vaguely, not necessarily seeming to hear him. Taehyung doesn’t ask what’s wrong, still feeling bitter about the entire ordeal; but he does feel curious.
His doctors come check up on him a few times. Hes come to know them quite well now.

Dr. Min smiles at him when he enters the room, “How are you feeling? You get discharged in some time. Must be nice not to have to see me anymore, yeah?”

Taehyung laughs lightly at that.
“I guess,” Taehyung sighs, “You’re a good doc. So are Dr. Kim And Dr. Jung,”

Dr. Min gives him another smile, “Yeah. And so is your physical therapist. He’s a good kid. He bought coffee for me and your manager Seokjin, too,”

Taehyung stiffens, but forces himself to smile.
Jimin walks back into the room, phone in his hand. He seems to be rapidly texting someone and pays Taehyung no mind, which is strange considering he’s always hovering over him especially after the accident.

Dr Min leaves after a few more vital checks, giving him one last smile.
“Jiminie,” Taehyung says, “What are you doing?”

Jimins head snaps up, “Hm? Oh! Nothing. Just texting Jin hyung about your schedule,”

Taehyung frowns, “I’m not even sure I’ll walk again-“

“Don’t say that!” Jimin interrupts, “You will walk again, I’m sure of it,”
Taehyung watches him skeptically as Jimin continues to giggle nervously.

“Okay,” He says finally, leaning back into his pillows, “When does he come over to talk? And when do I get to leave this place?”

Jimin looks up, “Well, he’s coming later today,”
Taehyung suppresses a sigh, “What even are we going to talk about? Everytime we talk it ends up a disaster,”

Jimin shakes his head, “No, you have a session with him today. You guys can just take that chance to talk it out,”

Taehyung nods, but he doesn’t like the idea.
He thinks about Jeongguk a lot more than he should.

He thinks about getting to hold him at night again, when he has nightmares from the crash. He used to have trouble sleeping before their break and Jeongguk used to hold him so tight that Taehyung would feel nothing but him.
He thinks about the smiles that didn’t hold the same pain that they hold now; the hands that maneuver him to help him move used to hold his to ground him; the eyes that lost their glimmer, always shining when their gaze fell on him.

And admit it or not, he misses Jeongguk.
And maybe that is the problem. The fact that he still harbors these feelings that keeps complicating this therapist situation.

He wants Jeongguk to help him but every time he sees him, his eyes burn with the memories of him curled up, crying alone without Jeongguk there.
Every time he gives Jeongguk a chance, he’s flooded with everything he thought he had buried. The stinging memory of Jeongguk walking away. The memory of him yelling for him to give him more, please just a bit more time.

The memories of Jeongguk‘s, “I cant do this anymore,”
When Jeongguk shows up for his session that day, Taehyung’s decides to talk. But not about the breakup. This is it. He’s going to forget again, he’s going to do his best to.

He needs to let go. He needs to let go of Jeongguk, his soulmate and think of Jeongguk, his therapist.
Jeongguk seems surprised by the change of events when Taehyung asks, “So how much progress have I made?”

He falls silent for a few moments before answering him, “So, you’re not going to give me the silent treatment anymore?”

Taehyung sighs, “How much progress have I made?”
Jeongguk raises his eyebrow, “Oh. Alright. You’re doing good. Your ankles can move on their own now without much struggle. That’s a good sign,”

Taehyung nods meekly, “Okay, let’s continue,”

Jeongguk gives him one last skeptical look before leaning down again.
Jeongguk helps him exercise his joints by laying him down and bending his knees before unbending them and then repeating it. Then, he makes Taehyung try it himself.

At first, Taehyung feels like he can do it. But when he feels the weight of his legs completely numb, he realizes
the extent of his disability to move his legs.

Taehyung feels a little alarmed. This is the first time Jeongguk’s made him exercise on his own. So he tries, lifting it over and over again to no avail. He starts to pant; but continues to struggle. Jeongguk gives him a careful
look, “Hey, don’t force yourself to do it if you can’t. It’s okay,”

But Taehyung tunes him out. It’s just lifting his legs he should be able to do this. He’s a fucking model, he should be able to move his legs.

The pains starts to settle in his chest when he just can’t move.
Taehyung breathes rapidly, trying to lift himself up. He gasps, claws at the mat and doesn’t stop even when Jeongguk grabs his arm.

“Hey, hey, Taehyung, stop,” Jeongguk frowns, “That’s enligh. Stop, you’ll hurt yourself,”

But Taehyung doesn’t stop. He can’t stop.
He starts to panic. If this is how much of a lack of movement there is in his legs, he may never walk again.

Taehyung closes his eyes, continues to try and move over and over and over until he hears Jeongguk yelling at him over the flooding in his ears.
Jeongguk is grabbing his legs, stopping them from moving any further, “No. more. Stop, right now. You’re hurting yourself, that’s enough!”

Taehyung gasps, chest rising irregularly as he tries to catch his breath. He can’t do it, he won’t walk again he won’t be able to move-
“Taehyung,” Jeongguk’s voice is calm as steady, but there’s an underlying bewilderment, “Enough. It’s okay, it’s okay, Taehyung,”

“Jeongguk,” Taehyung breathes, “I won’t walk again,”

Jeongguk falls silent before he frowns, “What? Yes you will, I’ll make sure of that,”
Taehyung shakes his head, eyes watery, “I can’t even- I can’t even make my legs move, how can I-“

“Tae,” Jeongguk grabs his hand, “You’ll be fine,”

Taehyung looks at him, his eyes swimming with tears, lips dry and sweat lining his forehead, “Call me honey bear. P-please,”
Jeongguk looks at him unbearable sadness in his eyes when he realizes what Taehyung said, “Tae, I-“

“I know,” Taehyung sighs, voice cracking, “I sound weak and pathetic but I just.. it calms me down... it-“

“You are not weak, don’t ever say that again,” Jeongguk pauses.
Taehyung looks at him, still breathing heavily.

“You’re not weak, you’re not pathetic,” Jeongguk’s hand squeezes his, “H-honey bear... you’re the strongest person I know. You were a model, you were critiqued all the time and you put up with it. Then I... I left and...
you put up with that too. And then the entire accident and not once did you complain you just.. you deal with everything so well and I can’t imagine,” Jeongguk sighs, “How it must feel to see me again. And I’m sorry. I’m so sorry,”

Taehyung sniffs, “I don’t mind seeing you,”
Jeongguk looks at him uncertainty.

“I know I say it all the time because...” Taehyung breathes in, “Because you...”

“Because I left,”

“Yeah,” Taehyung closes his eyes, “But I don’t think... I could’ve done it if you hadn’t come. Because subconsciously, I still need you,”
Jeongguk’s hand shakes slightly, the tremor obvious in his voice, “Y-Yeah?”

Taehyung manages a small nod, “And yes, I have bitter feelings still. But that doesn’t mean that my good feelings went away. If you hadn’t come to see me, despite the situation, it would’ve broken me,”
Jeongguk smiles, a little weak, “Hm. I would’ve come to see you even if I weren’t your therapist, you know. You’re more than just an ex, or just a patient,”

Taehyung nods again, turning his head so he’s staring at the ceiling. He’s still laying on the mat, heart beating fast.
Jeongguk reaches out to stroke his hair, playing with the brown strands, “Hey, you think you can continue? We can take it easy. Or we can stop, too. If you’d like,”

Taehyung leans into the touch, “Hmm,”

Jeongguk laughs, “Yes or no?”
Taehyung sighs, “It’s okay... I just... lets go to my room. We really, really need to talk,”

Jeongguk nods, still running his fingers through Taehyung’s hair, “Alright, honey bear. Properly, this time,”

Taehyung nods, “Yeah. Yeah, let’s do that,”
Jimin is waiting for them outside the gymnasium as he usually is after every session but the calmer air surrounding Taehyung and Jeongguk makes him raise his eyebrows in question.

“Everything alright ?” He asks, moving to grab Taehyung wheelchair.
Jeongguk stops him, gripping the handles, “It’s okay, hyung I got it. I’ll wheel him,”

Taehyung smiles at him, turning to face Jimin, “It’s all okay. We’re okay. We’re going to talk,”

Something in his tone must surprise Jimin, so he nods, sending Jeongguk an unreadable look.
Jeongguk smiles softly at Jimin, “It’s okay, hyung. We don’t have to anymore,”

Taehyung looks at him questioningly but Jeongguk shakes his head, “It’s nothing, let’s go,”
-

The hospital room is the same as they left but with Jeongguk here this time, it feels a lot different.
Jeongguk sits next to his bed after helping him on this time instead of across the room. He holds Taehyung’s hands in his, playing idly with his lithe fingers.

“So,” He starts.

Taehyung licks his lips. He doesn’t know where to begin.

“You,” Taehyung starts, “Um,”
Jeongguk looks at him, eyes soft and understanding, “Okay. Let’s start here. I left you. I left you without any warning, left you on your own,”

Taehyung’s feels pinpricks in his heart at each word, “Y-Yeah.. you left,”

Jeongguk nods but his gaze holds a certain sadness to it.
Taehyung shrinks into himself. He hates this suffocating feeling wrapped around him, each crevice of his body feeling exposed. He hasn’t faced this problem head on. It’s weird to have Jeongguk looking at him,waiting. It’s raw.

“You left me,” Taehyung breathes out, “It hurt me,”
Jeongguk closes his eyes, biting his lip before his head drops, “I know,”

“Do you?” Taehyung bites, before recollecting himself, “Sorry, I mean-“

“No, no honey bear,” Jeongguk looks back up, “I don’t want you to be sorry. It was me. I did it and now I’m facing it,”
Taehyung nods shakily, “O-okay... you left me, it hurt and I still don’t know how to deal with it,,”

Jeongguk looks at him, lips pursed slightly but eyes accepting. He wants Taehyung to continue.

“Even now, I miss you. Because I love you, I always will. Even if you left,”
Jeongguk’s brow twitches, “Tell me about... about how you felt. I need to know,”

Taehyung laughs, a little resentful, “You already know. You broke me. I gave every part of me to you, I thought we were happy because- because we were. We were happy and then you left me so
out of the blue I still think about it now. You said it was my job, you couldn’t stay with me because of my job. I still don’t understand, Jeongguk,”

Jeongguk is hunched into himself, making himself smaller. But still, he speaks up softly, “Tell me about all of it, Tae,”
“I couldn’t sleep for months after you left me. It was like a nightmare even when I was awake because our- our house. Everything reminded me of you. Of course it did. You were my everything. For ten years,” Taehyung bites his lip.

Jeongguk nods, shaky, “Ten years,”
Taehyung bites his lip, “Since high school. We were together for ten years. And then you left. I still have the sweaters you left in the house. I don’t even live there anymore,”

Jeongguk doesn’t meet his gaze, “I know,”

Taehyung stares.
Jeongguk continues, “I know you don’t live there. I visited. No one was there. I visited a lot,”

Taehyung furrows his brow, “You never told me,”

Jeongguk smiles, a little brokenly, “Hm, you changed your number, baby. And your address and just. Everything. I was so surprised
when... when Jimin agreed to let me be your therapist,”

Taehyung looks down, “He kept telling me to talk to you. Told me to call or text you. Something. I couldn’t do it. I, I just wanted to know why you left. I wanted to know. And he kept urging me to talk to you,”
“Me too,” Jeongguk sighs, resigned, “I just. I don’t know what to say. I left you... I don’t know why, still. Your job was taking away all your time and I was so afraid because you were getting bigger and... it just made me snap one day and I made the biggest mistake of my life,”
“Mistake,” Taehyung mumbles.

“I regret leaving you every single day of my life,” Jeongguk brings Taehyung’s hand up to his lips, pressing a gentle kiss on to his knuckles, “Every. Single. Day,”

Taehyung presses his lips together.
“I missed you, too,” Jeongguk admits after some silence, “I still do. When you reacted so badly after seeing me, I guess I realized finally that i broke you a lot more than I thought,”

Then, Taehyung shuffles on to the side of his bed, closer to Jeongguk, letting rub his arm.
“Hey,” Jeongguk whispers, tucking a bit of Taehyung’s hair behind his ear, “I’ll leave if you need me to. This can’t be easy- it isn’t easy for you,”

Taehyung thinks about it for a second, reveling in the feeling of Jeongguk’s soft fingertips running across his cheekbone.
“I,” Taehyung begins, clearing his throat, “Um. I don’t want you to go... it’s hard, yes. But if you leave, it’ll be harder,”

Jeongguk smiles, empathetic, “You don’t have to say it cause you feel bad. I made you feel worse. I don’t.. I don’t even deserve to be near you,”
Taehyung shakes his head, “No, I need you to be. I need to start getting over these feelings, too,”

A small flicker of hurt flashes across Jeongguk’s eyes, “Oh... you... oh. Okay,”

“Hm?”

Jeongguk shakes his head, laughing, “No it’s just... nothing. It’s nothing,”
Jeongguk smiles a little. He grips Taehyung’s hand, “I mean, if you’re sure you want me to. You know I’ll stay, of course I will,”

Taehyung smiles, shy. He feels a lot more at peace. Talking helped, after all. He feels secure, he has his closure. It was just what he needed.
Jeongguk looks up, suddenly, “Wait, I just. Can I, uh, can I hug you?”

Taehyung’s eyes widen, “What?”

Jeongguk looks sheepish, “I just... I don’t know. I just need to hold you, just for a little bit,”

Taehyung bites his lip, “Guk,”

It sounds like a bad idea but..
Taehyung continues to stare at him.

Jeongguk is looking at him, a little bit of painful desperation in his gaze, “I... I know this sounds bad. But just for a second. Just one second, it... won’t be for long, I promise,”

Taehyung nods hesitantly, “Okay... I guess,”
Taehyung leans forward when Jeongguk sits up on the bed next to him, pulling him close until his chin rests on Jeongguk’s shoulder.
Jeongguk’s hand reaches up to cup the back of his head, tangling his fingers in the brunette locks.

He hears Jeongguk sigh into his hair.
Involuntarily, Taehyung smiles at the gentle feeling. He feels a little wave of nostalgia pass by him. This is how Jeongguk hugged him before.

An arm wrapped around his waist, a hand on his head. Taehyung shifts closer, burying his nose into Jeongguk’s neck.
The hug lasts for a lot more than a second. It lasts a few minutes. A few minutes where Jeongguk just holds Taehyung and Taehyung holds him. It’s far too intimate, a lot heavier than what what Taehyung would have wanted.

But it feels undeniably like home.

A forgotten home.
And before Jeongguk pulls away, he presses a fleeting kiss to Taehyung’s temple, “I’ll make sure you walk again. That’s a promise. And I know I’ve hurt you countless times, I know that. But I’ve never broken a promise I’ve made to you and you know that, too,”

-
Later when Jeongguk leaves a shell shocked Taehyung with a soft smile and a promise of a return, Jimin asks Taehyung what the hell went on that had Taehyung gaping like a fish.

“Nothing, he just,” Taehyung shakes his head, “Nothing happened. We talked. That’s it,”
But Jimin knows that there’s something missing from Taehyung’s story. Taehyung tells him that they’re moving on, maintaining professionalism. But that isn’t it.

Because this is Taehyung’s side. The pain, the hurt, and now the closure. This is not Jeongguk’s side of it.
-
-

Taehyung stares at Jimin.

“I’m getting discharged today,” He says.

Jimin makes noncommittal sound.

Taehyung huffs, frowning, “Why do you look so annoyed? Am I annoying you? What’s on your mind, you know you can talk to me,”
Jimin hums distractedly again.

Taehyung squints at him, “What are you doing? Why are you ignoring me?”

“M’not,” Jimin mumbles, glaring at his phone.

“Are you texting someone?” Taehyung grins mischievously, “Is Seokjin hyung not replying? Is that why you’re sad?”
Jimin glares at him, “Shut up, I’m not ignoring you. I’m just... thinking,”

Taehyung leans back into the bed, “Hm, tell me about it,”

Jimin looks at him carefully, “Jeongguk’s coming for another session today,”

Taehyung nods, “Yeah and? We already talked. What’s wrong now?”
Before Jimin can say anything else, Seokjin walks in. He looks like he’s in top shape, as always. The only time Taehyung had seen him distressed was when he woke up after the accident to see his red eyes and tear streaked face.

“Morning, Tae,” Seokjin greets him.
Taehyung nods, “Hi. What’s up?”

Seokjin sighs at him, “I have some things to discuss with you today regarding your modeling. Since your legs are... in compromising shape. We need to think about some other options,”

Taehyung sits up, “What are you talking about?”
Seokjin gives him a long look, “The therapy isn’t guaranteed to bring back full control of your legs. We don’t know for sure you’ll walk again,”

Taehyung looks at him with wide, unbelieving eyes, “No, what? You can’t do that. You ... no. Jin hyung, I’m gonna to walk again,”
Seokjin stares at him, waiting.

“Jeongguk said so,” Taehyung frowns, “He told me, he’s my therapist. Jeon Jeongguk? Best in the field,”

“I know who Jeongguk is. I hired him,” seokjin gives him a look.

“Then you should know!” Taehyung exclaims, “I’m gonna walk again!”
Seokjin looks at Jimin, sends him a look, “Tae. We don’t know that,”

Taehyung folds his arms, “Yes! We do! Jeongguk promised me... he... he never broke a promise before,”

“You’re his client, Taehyung,” Seokjin says gently, “He was probably trying to console you,”
Taehyung glares, “I am more than just a client he... he would never lie to me...”

Seokjin sighs, “Taehyung. There are many other option. Other than walking. You can have photoshoot and work with-“

“I want to go on the runway,” Taehyung argues, “And I will. I know I will,”
Jimin licks his lips, “Jin hyungie... come back later. Tae and I need to talk for a bit,”

Seokjin looks between them before sighing defeatedly, “Fine. Clear your head. I’ll be back,”

But when he leaves, Taehyung glares at Jimin, “Don’t tell me I can’t walk again,”
Jimin shakes his head, “I won’t. But he’s your manager he’s only looking out for you as his model. Either way, that’s not why I want to talk to you,”

Taehyung sighs, “What is it Then?”

Jimin tongues at the inside of his cheek, “You said you’re more than a client to Jeongguk,”
Taehyung nods, confused, “Yes?”

Jimin interlaces his fingers, “Well...in that case is he more than just a therapist to you?”

Taehyung looks at him indignantly, “He was my ex for eight months. Before that, he was my lover for ten years. Of course, he’s more than a therapist,”
Jimin breathes out, “You sure? This entire moving on thing... this was so you could forget the entire ordeal and just focus on your legs. But it’s as if you haven’t let go,”

Taehyung bites his lip, “I have. I can’t change the fact that he’s my ex. But I’m moving on,”
“So you don’t want Jeongguk anymore?” Jimin frowns, “You were hurting before. Now he’s back to you... you don’t want him?”

Taehyung pauses. He... hadn’t thought of this. He’d been so hell bent on forgetting Jeongguk that the possibility of getting back together slipped by him.
“I... don’t know,” Taehyung admits, slumping.

Jimin raises an eyebrow.

Taehyung doesn’t know what to do with this sudden revelation. Getting back together with Jeongguk seems strange after all he went through... but it isn’t impossible. He... doesn’t know. He doesn’t know.
Thankfully, it’s the subject of the matter that interrupts them.

Jeongguk knocks on the door, “Hey, Tae. Ready for your session?”

Taehyung stares, nodding numbly. But he knows now that it’s in there, the thought of getting back with Jeongguk won’t leave his thoughts alone.
The entire session, what Jimin said revolves around his head. Jeongguk is right here, and it’d be so easy for Taehyung to take back exactly what had been stolen from him; love.

But Jeongguk refuses to bring up their past and Taehyung wonders if that’s what he really wants.
Jeongguk is a sweetheart during he session. As he’d promised, he keeps it professional but even then he’s gentle and caring. Every time Taehyung as much as tries to exert himself, Jeongguk’s there with his steady, warm hands and a firm voice telling him to take it easy.
But while it may not be obvious, Taehyung feels the lingering touches, the bits and pieces of affection still pooling in Jeongguk’s gaze. The way he speaks to Taehyung differently compared to the others in the hospital.

Eventually, he does start light conversation, though.
“Hey, I heard you’re getting discharged today,” Jeongguk smiles at him.

Taehyung nods, “Yeah, well it’s been two months of recovery after the surgery. Not that it would make it better if I went back,”

Jeongguk frowns at him, pausing, “Why?”
Taehyung shrugs, “Seokjin hyung started to list options other than runway modeling yesterday... you know... in case,”

Jeongguk sets Taehyung’s leg down, “Hm... that must be difficult for you,”

Taehyung freezes, “Are you kidding me?”
Jeongguk raises his eyebrows, “I’m sorry? I just.. I mean, I can see why he’s doing it. But I know it must be hard for you,”

Taehyung deflates, heart sinking, “You don’t think I’ll actually be able to walk either, do you? You just said that to make me feel better,”
Jeongguk’s eyes widen, “No, Tae. That’s not what I said,”

Taehyung looks away, “You promised. You promised me I would walk again,”

“Honey bear,” Jeongguk starts softy, placing a hand on Taehyung’s knee in front of him, “Hey. Listen to me. I believe you’ll walk again. I do,”
Taehyung looks at him, unbelieving, “Mmhmm. Then why are you siding with Jin hyung?”

“Tae,” Jeongguk frowns, “That’s because the surgery was complicated. Your management is looking at the worst case scenario for them,”
Taehyung sighs, “But they need to know that my physical therapist says I’ll walk again,”

Jeongguk freezes but he doesn’t say anything. He reaches for Taehyung’s leg to continue their exercises instead.

Taehyung frowns, “What?”
Jeongguk shakes his head, looking down guiltily , “It’s just that. I didn’t tell you that as a physical therapist. In my job, I have a protocol. I’m not allowed to lie to my clients. So no, that wasn’t the physical therapist talking,”

Taehyung stares at him, “What do you mean?”
Jeongguk smiles at him sadly, “I promised you that... as... not your therapist,”

Taehyung narrows his eyes, “Then what were you trying to be? Didn’t we agree that you would only speak to me as your client?”

Jeongguk winces, “I’m sorry,”
Taehyung tries to sit up under Jeongguk’s concerned gaze, “So you lied to me. I can’t walk again. You lied,”

Jeongguk reaches for him, “Hey... easy there. And Tae.. I didn’t lie to you. I made a promise as... as someone who loves you. But not as your therapist. I’m sorry,”
Taehyung pauses, “What did you say?”

Jeongguk looks at him, “Hm?”

“What did you just say? Before the therapist part. Who did you talk to me as?”

Jeongguk’s mouth opens before closing. He closes his eyes, “As someone who... loves you,”
“Fuck you!” Taehyung lashes out, moving away from Jeongguk, “You can’t say that to me, Jeongguk. Not now,”

Jeongguk looks down, “I... im-,”

“Wbat the fuck?” Taehyung grabs his own head, “I just... we agreed. We agreed not to do this you can’t tell me you love me. You can’t,”
Jeongguk looks down, “You said you loved me when we talked,”

Taehyung stares at him in disbelief, “Don’t you see the difference between me loving you and you loving me? You left me! You left me, Jeongguk!”

Jeongguk flinches at his tone. He whispers, “I know. I know, Tae,”
“No.. you don’t know.. you lied to me about my legs. Then you tell me you love me,” Taehyung takes a deep breath, “You have to stop fucking with my emotions. You have to stop,”

Jeongguk nods slowly, “I’m sorry,”
Taehyung shakes his head, laughing bitterly, “You don’t know because you keep doing this, Jeongguk. All you do is fuck with my feelings. And I’m begging you now. Please, please just stop it,”

Jeongguk looks down at the mat, hands in his lap. He looks defeated, “I’m sorry,”
Taehyung looks at him, pained, “Guk... please. Don’t do this to me, alright? I agreed to let you be my therapist. We talked about this. We agreed. Please. I.. need you to stop it. Stop loving me, stop lying to me. Stop treating me like someone who means something to you,”
Jeongguk still doesn’t look at him. His shoulders shake. His voice his shaky when he whispers, coarse, “I can’t stop loving you. Not.. not just like that. But I’m sorry. I’ll try. I’m sorry, Taehyung,”

Taehyung’s heart shatters when Jeongguk sniffs, tears falling onto the mat.
Taehyung reaches out to touch his arm, “Jeongguk...”

Jeongguk wipes his eyes, red lined, “N-no. You’re right. I’m sorry... just. Give me a second,”

Jeongguk stands up, walking away from Taehyung and out the gymnasium, leaving him alone on the mat.
Taehyung stares after him. He doesn’t know how this happened again. It seems like every time Jeongguk and him are as much as near each other it ends up in a fight.

He wishes things were back to the way they were. But... that brings him back to his talk with Jimin.
-

A few seconds after, Jeongguk walks back with puffy eyes and a vacant expression. His voice is cold and pierces Taehyung, “Lets continue, Mr. Kim,”

Taehyung looks at him, “Jeongguk-“

“Mr. Kim,” Jeongguk breathes in, shaky, “We only have half an hour. Let’s continue,”

-
And Taehyung’s heart breaks even more than it already had, a thousand, a hundred times before.

But Jeongguk doesn’t spare him another glance and Taehyung thinks. Is this what he really wanted?

Because now he’s got it.
-

After their session, Taehyung finds himself crying unceremoniously into Jimin’s shirt.

“He wouldn’t look at me,” his voice is muffled, “He wouldn’t even say my name,”

Jimin rubs his back, but he has a strange look on his face, “That’s what you wanted,”
Inside, Taehyung’s thoughts scream at him. This is not what you wanted it’s the last thing you wanted stop-

But Taehyung only clutches Jimin tighter, “Minnie,”

Jimin sighs, “Tae. Do you or do you not want him back?”
Taehyung doesn’t know. He shrugs, rubbing at his wet eyes. Jimin guides his hand away, “Don’t irritate your eyes. And tell me. Do you want him or do you not? Because he’s just giving you what you’re asking of him,”

Taehyung sniffs, “I don’t want him to ignore me,”
Jimin bites his lip, “He’s not. He’s being professional,”

Taehyung looks at him, teary, “If he’s not professional, he hurts me,”

Jimin rubs his temples, “So he said he loves you? Present tense. You love him too. I don’t get the problem here,”
“He left me. I didn’t leave him,” his voice is icy.

Jimin nods, “Okay... okay. Do you forgive him for that?”

Taehyung starts to shake his head but then stops. Does he? He’s hurt. He’s hurt yes, but he’s willing to move on. He’s told Jeongguk. Does that account for forgiveness?
Jimin is still staring at him curiously, “Do you want to know what I think?”

Taehyung nods slowly.

“I think,” Jimin takes a breath, “You’re afraid that if you get together with him, he’s going to leave again. I think you’re afraid that if you forgive him, he’ll forget he left,”
Taehyung doesn’t say anything.

“And,” Jimin continues, “Jeongguk is so guilty that he’s doing everything you want from him. Even if it’s killing him because he loves you, too. But you’re sending him mixed signals because you’re so scared,”

Taehyung slumps. Jimin’s right.
“You’re scared of wanting him, but you’re scared to let go. It leaves you hanging by this thread you keep calling professionalism. So you have to decide; do you want to let go? Or no?”

Taehyung doesn’t know.

Or maybe he does and he just doesn’t want to admit it to himself.
-
-

The next sessions after that go agonizingly. But the one good thing that comes out of them is the tremendous progress Taehyung’s legs start to make.

He can bend them on his on, and with Jeongguk’s support, he can almost stand by himself for a few seconds.
It’s crazy how far he’s come from being in that accident. Seokjin still tries to get him to agree to different options and he does listen this time, considering the various types of modeling he could do.

Taehyung’s life seems to start looking up and yet, something feels missing.
Eventually, Taehyung regains strength in his hamstrings and quadriceps and does his own exercise, too.

Jeongguk starts making him put weights on various parts of his legs and lift them on his own.

The only fear that remains is if he never regains full control of his walking.
As for Jeongguk, he goes back to calling him Taehyung but nothing else other than that changes. His voice is still icy cold, he still doesn’t meet Taehyung’s gaze.

And Taehyung learns how to deal with that. He can do it. Right now, he has to focus on walking.
A full four months pass, Taehyung moves back into his apartment officially, which is a relief honestly and Jimin drives him to his therapy sessions every week.

The seasons get colder, and Taehyung slowly starts to become less optimistic about walking again.
His legs gain most control back but he can’t balance himself. He can stand upright, but his legs refuse to coordinate when he walks.

He’ll tumble into Jeongguk’s waiting, but cold arms. Or he falls backwards on the mat .

And each time, a little bit more of his hope diffuses.
He goes back to the hospital every now and then for checkups and while his vitals are fine his legs still aren’t.

He starts to dread the thought of never walking again. Maybe seokjin was right after all. Maybe he really should’ve prepared himself for a bad outcome.
“You made a lot of progress these past few weeks,” Jeongguk tells him after class one day, however, “Your knees bend, your thighs are stronger. You’re doing well. So don’t think otherwise. This takes time,”

And Taehyung is surprised at the change of tone in his voice.
“I know you like to get things right, it’s in your nature,” Jeongguk laughs softly, but it lacks humor, “But you’ll get there. Trust me. I’m still holding on to the promise I made,”

When Taehyung recalls the event to Jimin, the latter gets an almost angry expression on his face.
“What’s wrong?” Taehyung asks, curling and uncurling his toes. A habit he’s developed.

Jimin shakes his head, “Is that all he said?”

Taehyung nods. Jimin breathes, “Alright. I have something to do. I’ll be back,”
-
-

Taehyung notices a small change in Jeongguk’s behavior the next sessions. He looks more determined in his job, but when he looks at Taehyung, he sees a separate person.

Jeongguk looks worn out. He looks tired and just... he looks like he’s given up.
And for some reason, Taehyung’s heart sinks because even though he doesn’t want to admit it still, he knows exactly what Jeongguk’s given up.

“Guk?” Taehyung asks one day, voice quiet, “Is everything okay?”
Jeongguk looks up, surprised, “What? I...Yeah.. yeah... why?”

Taehyung shakes his head, “You look tired. And... I don’t know. Tired,”

Jeongguk smiles at him weakly, “Hm.”

Taehyung tilts his head, “You sure you’re alright?”
Taehyung folds his arms, “Doesn’t mean I cant care about you,”

Jeongguk closes his eyes. He looks like he’s going to say something but he stays quiet. Instead, he smiles again, “Let’s get back to work,”
Taehyung feels frustrated. But he lets Jeongguk help him stand. He’s a little shaky but he feels a lot stronger today. Also a lot more determined.

He shrugs Jeongguk’s arms off, “I can do it,”

Jeongguk gives him a look, “I’m going to hold you. In case you fall,”
Taehyung shakes his head, “No. Go stand over there,”

Jeongguk looks alarmed, “Huh? What?”

“Stand over there,” Taehyung frowns, “I’m going to walk to you,”

Jeongguk squints, “You still can’t-“

“Jeongguk,”
Jeongguk sighs, folding his arms, “Fine, Alright,”

He turns around and walks to the other side of the gym. He’s wearing matching sweats and a hoodie. He looks good, a small part of Taehyung says. He frowns. He isn’t allowed to think that way.
So instead of staring at Jeongguk’s muscles protruding and his chiseled jaw, Taehyung takes to balancing himself on the wall. He can do this.

He takes a step.

He takes a step by himself.

And Taehyung stays steady.
Feeling accomplished, he smiles to himself. Then he takes another step. And slowly, another two.

Taehyung can feel his legs straining. He’s barely taken about five steps. He takes a deep breath, before taking another and that’s when he wobbles a little.
A surge of panic passes but then he stabilizes himself. When he looks up, Jeongguk looks like he’s about to move but then, he has his mouth set in a straight line. And he stays still.

So Taehyung glares at the ground. He has to do this.
And when he makes it halfway across the gym, he looks up to see Jeongguk smiling almost proudly at him.

Taehyung can’t help it. He laughs, light and airy, “Guk! Look at this! I’m walking! I walked! Steadily!,”

Jeongguk smiles wider, “Come on, don’t stop now. Keep going,”
So Taehyung does. He takes slow, steady steps. Walks the way he used to, just a bit slower. And he’s getting there. He can feel Jeongguk so, so close.

Just a bit more, he tells himself. Just a bit more.
Jeongguk is clapping now, “Come on, Tae. A bit more. Come here, you can do it!”

When he looks to the side, he finds Jimin standing there, gaping at him, “Taehyung?”

Taehyung smiles, “Min! Look! I’m walking!”

Jimin nods excitedly.

“Come on!” Jeongguk exclaims, “Taehyung!”
Taehyung nods, taking a deep breath. Then he continues to walk.

Jeongguk is so close now, a few footsteps away. He looks beautiful, skin glowing, eyes bright and his smile strikingly gorgeous.

Taehyung is going to get to him. He’s going to his Jeongguk.
Jeongguk is staring at him with a strange amount of affection and pride in his eyes. When he whispers, Taehyung hears him.

He’s so close.

“Come on, baby. I’m here,”
With one final step, Taehyung surges forward to wrap his arms around a waiting Jeongguk, and with the last bit of adrenaline in his veins, Taehyung kisses him.
-

Jeongguk freezes when he feels Taehyung’s lips on his.

But that doesn’t stop Taehyung, he moves closer. He can feel Jimin staring at the two of them but he’s focusing on Jeongguk right now.

He walked. He fucking walked. And now, he knows what he wants
For a moment, Jeongguk stays still. But then after the split second that Taehyung starts to panic, he feels hands gripping his waist and a pair of soft, familiar lips moving against his own.

Taehyung pulls Jeongguk’s upper lip between his own, hands around his neck.
He feels Jeongguk’s hands reach up to tangle between his hair, angling his head to pull him closer.

This is perfect. It’s perfect, it’s perfect. And then...

Suddenly, it’s not.
Taehyung pulls back abruptly, gasping. Something flashes across his mind.

He hears him.

‘I can’t do this anymore’

(Jeongguk walking away. He walks away. He walked away)

Taehyung breathes, “I’m... I’m sorry. I can’t- I can’t... no...”
Jeongguk looks panicked too, eyes wide and lips red, “Tae? Taehyung? Hey... it’s okay.. Taehyung, breathe,”

Taehyung feels his legs weaken, feels his knees buck but Jeongguk holds him up, arms steady, “Tae. Stay with me, it’s fine. Tae, it’s fine,”

Jimin rushes towards them.
“Taehyung?” Jimin is holding him. Jeongguk is holding him. There are arms, hands, comfort and warmth. But then there’s the cold, cold dread and the blankness in Jeongguk’s eyes when he left and Taehyung is breaking all over again.

“You’re going to leave me,” He cries, “Again,”
Jeongguk freezes, sends Jimin a look before looking at Taehyung, “Tae... honey bear...”

“No,” Taehyung chokes out, resting his head on Jeongguk’s shoulder. He’s tired, so so tired, “You’ll leave... you leave... you always leave me,”

Jeongguk’s breath hitches, “Taehyungie,”
Jeongguk noses at his hair, “Listen to me, okay? Are you listening?”

Taehyung nods, pressing his forehead to Jeongguk’s warm neck. He feels Jimin watching them.

“I’m not leaving. Not now. Not ever,” Jeongguk whispers against his temple, “I’m here to stay, I’m right here,”
Taehyung shakes a little, “You’re gonna,”

“No,” Jeongguk’s voice is firm, “I’m not. Ever. Going. To. Leave. Understand? I’m not going anywhere,”

Jeongguk sits down against the wall, pulling Taehyung closer until they’re leaning against each other, “I’m staying with you,”
“I’ve been here since the accident. I’ve hurt you, I’ve helped you and I stayed through it,” Jeongguk mumbles, stroking his hair, “Just now I watched you walk. And I let you kiss me. I kissed you back. Because I want you. I’ll stay because I love you. And I need you,”
Taehyung looks at him through wet lashes, and gently places his hands on either sides of Jeongguk’s neck. Then, he’s leaning forward slowly until their lips are pressed together.

“You promise?” Taehyung mumbles against his lips, “Really, really mean that?”
Jeongguk nods, a minuscule movement and presses a chaste kiss to Taehyung’s lips, “Mmhmm. I mean it, honey bear,”

“Baby, I just,” Taehyung sighs, “Im so scared,”

Jeongguk kisses him again, “That’s okay. I’m going to be right here. I’ll be right here with you,”
And this time. Taehyung believes him.

It’ll take time. Healing takes time. He won’t ever forget it, the way Jeongguk turned away that night a year ago. He won’t forget the words whispered into the cold air between them.

But he’ll learn to forgive. He’ll learn to move on.
Taehyung’s physical therapy continues, with Jeongguk and Jimin at his side, he begins to walk. It takes a month, two months and three before he begins to walk perfectly. He goes on jogs with Jimin, practices catwalking with Seokjin.

And Jeongguk there with each step he takes.
And the day comes when Seokjin comes to him with a bright smile and an invitation to walk at a runway for Gucci.

Taehyung, in the middle of his tears and joy and celebration doesn’t even see Jeongguk slip away with a secretive smile on his face.
When the runway arrives, Taehyung will find Jeongguk waiting for him at the end of the show, arms open and a soft kiss pressed to his lips.

“You came!” Taehyung will exclaim, holding him close despite the expensive clothes. And Jeongguk will nod then, reaching into his pocket.
And that night, Jeongguk will take out a small velvet box, with a diamond ring in the middle of it and breathe out the promise of a forever against Taehyung’s lips.

And it will be the same night Taehyung will finally, truly believe, that this time, it’ll work out for him.

-
THE END
A/N

this au will be on the top of the list of why rushan shouldn’t be allowed to write angst.

thank u guys so much for reading . Lowkey cried the entire time and PLS don’t listen to sad songs while reading u will DIE

stay tuned for future aus. hope you enjoyed 🖤
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