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.
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.
“I’m okay,” he croaks out, hand holding onto Jimin’s.
“You were almost paralysed,” he whispers, “Your legs wouldn’t work without surgery,”
He thinks about the runway, the lack of power to walk. To model. The one thing his world revolves around.
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.
Under the influence of the medicine, the trauma from the crash he forgets.
He forgets why it sounds so, so close to home.
And while they inform him, he wonders why Jimin looks so pale all of a sudden.
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,”
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.
“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,”
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 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,”
So he clears his throat and asks his doctor, “What’s my therapists name?”
“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.
“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?”
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.
He remembers the end, too. That’s what he remembers most clearly.
“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,”
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.
Taehyung says silent.
“He’s going to help you walk again, Taehyung. Let him,”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,”
Jimin is stiff beside him but moves away when Jeongguk walks towards them.
“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.
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.
But every time he speaks, Taehyung hears the ‘I can’t do this anymore’ ring in his ears and he has to look away.
Taehyung doesn’t understand how he manages to pull through the session.
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.
For their first meeting after their breakup, it isn’t the most convenient. They make it with minimal conversation.
Taehyung traces his ankle, sighing.
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.
“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,”
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?”
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.
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.
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,”
Taehyung wishes he could move, he could stand on his own. He wishes Jimin were here. Instead, he looks down, “No, we don’t,”
Taehyung looks up sharply, “No. You don’t get to call me that, Jeongguk. Not anymore,”
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.
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,”
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.
Jeongguk helps him to his wheelchair, let’s go only when Taehyung is seated.
“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,”
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-“
Taehyung laughs bitterly, “I would know, I was in that fucking car, you know, Jimin,”
“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...”
“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,”
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-“
“This can jeopardize the company... press will say we forced him-“
“Taehyung,” Jimin places a hand on his knee, “We didn’t force him,”
“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,”
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,”
Jimin looks down.
“Jiminie, I love him. I loved him for so long but he hurt me,”
“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,”
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.
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,”
Jeongguk gives him a pained look, “Are you talking about the accident or the breakup?”
Beside Taehyung, Jimin stiffens.
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,”
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,”
“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?”
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,”
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,”
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.
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,”
“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.
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.
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 say anything because he still doesn’t trust that Jeongguk won’t hurt him again.
Taehyung nods halfheartedly.
“Tae,” Jimin urges, “Doc said you can go home soon! That’s great news, right?”
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,”
“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,”
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,”
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,”
“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.
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.
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.
Dr Min leaves after a few more vital checks, giving him one last smile.
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,”
“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,”
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 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.
And admit it or not, he misses Jeongguk.
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.
The memories of Jeongguk‘s, “I cant do this anymore,”
He needs to let go. He needs to let go of Jeongguk, his soulmate and think of Jeongguk, his therapist.
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?”
Taehyung nods meekly, “Okay, let’s continue,”
Jeongguk gives him one last skeptical look before leaning down again.
At first, Taehyung feels like he can do it. But when he feels the weight of his legs completely numb, he realizes
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
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.
“Hey, hey, Taehyung, stop,” Jeongguk frowns, “That’s enligh. Stop, you’ll hurt yourself,”
But Taehyung doesn’t stop. He can’t stop.
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.
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-
“Jeongguk,” Taehyung breathes, “I won’t walk again,”
Jeongguk falls silent before he frowns, “What? Yes you will, I’ll make sure of that,”
“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,”
“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.
“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...
Taehyung sniffs, “I don’t mind seeing you,”
“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,”
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,”
Taehyung nods again, turning his head so he’s staring at the ceiling. He’s still laying on the mat, heart beating fast.
Taehyung leans into the touch, “Hmm,”
Jeongguk laughs, “Yes or no?”
Jeongguk nods, still running his fingers through Taehyung’s hair, “Alright, honey bear. Properly, this time,”
Taehyung nods, “Yeah. Yeah, let’s do that,”
“Everything alright ?” He asks, moving to grab Taehyung wheelchair.
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.
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.
“So,” He starts.
Taehyung licks his lips. He doesn’t know where to begin.
“You,” Taehyung starts, “Um,”
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.
“You left me,” Taehyung breathes out, “It hurt me,”
“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,”
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,”
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
Jeongguk is hunched into himself, making himself smaller. But still, he speaks up softly, “Tell me about all of it, Tae,”
Jeongguk nods, shaky, “Ten years,”
Jeongguk doesn’t meet his gaze, “I know,”
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
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,”
“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.
Then, Taehyung shuffles on to the side of his bed, closer to Jeongguk, letting rub his arm.
Taehyung thinks about it for a second, reveling in the feeling of Jeongguk’s soft fingertips running across his cheekbone.
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,”
A small flicker of hurt flashes across Jeongguk’s eyes, “Oh... you... oh. Okay,”
Jeongguk shakes his head, laughing, “No it’s just... nothing. It’s nothing,”
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.
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..
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,”
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.
An arm wrapped around his waist, a hand on his head. Taehyung shifts closer, burying his nose into Jeongguk’s neck.
But it feels undeniably like home.
A forgotten home.
“Nothing, he just,” Taehyung shakes his head, “Nothing happened. We talked. That’s 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,”
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?”
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?”
“Morning, Tae,” Seokjin greets him.
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?”
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,”
“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!”
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,”
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,”
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,”
Taehyung sighs, “What is it Then?”
Jimin tongues at the inside of his cheek, “You said you’re more than a client to Jeongguk,”
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,”
Taehyung bites his lip, “I have. I can’t change the fact that he’s my ex. But I’m moving on,”
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.
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.
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.
But Jeongguk refuses to bring up their past and Taehyung wonders if that’s what he really wants.
Eventually, he does start light conversation, though.
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?”
Jeongguk sets Taehyung’s leg down, “Hm... that must be difficult for you,”
Taehyung freezes, “Are you kidding me?”
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,”
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,”
“Tae,” Jeongguk frowns, “That’s because the surgery was complicated. Your management is looking at the worst case scenario for them,”
Jeongguk freezes but he doesn’t say anything. He reaches for Taehyung’s leg to continue their exercises instead.
Taehyung frowns, “What?”
Taehyung stares at him, “What do you mean?”
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,”
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,”
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,”
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,”
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,”
Jeongguk nods slowly, “I’m sorry,”
Jeongguk looks down at the mat, hands in his lap. He looks defeated, “I’m sorry,”
Taehyung’s heart shatters when Jeongguk sniffs, tears falling onto the mat.
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.
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,”
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,”
But Taehyung only clutches Jimin tighter, “Minnie,”
Jimin sighs, “Tae. Do you or do you not want him back?”
Taehyung sniffs, “I don’t want him to ignore me,”
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,”
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?
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,”
“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.
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.
Taehyung’s life seems to start looking up and yet, something feels missing.
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.
And Taehyung learns how to deal with that. He can do it. Right now, he has to focus on walking.
The seasons get colder, and Taehyung slowly starts to become less optimistic about walking again.
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 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.
And Taehyung is surprised at the change of tone in his voice.
When Taehyung recalls the event to Jimin, the latter gets an almost angry expression on his face.
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.
“Guk?” Taehyung asks one day, voice quiet, “Is everything okay?”
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?”
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,”
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,”
Jeongguk looks alarmed, “Huh? What?”
“Stand over there,” Taehyung frowns, “I’m going to walk to you,”
Jeongguk squints, “You still can’t-“
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.
He takes a step.
He takes a step by himself.
And Taehyung stays steady.
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.
So Taehyung glares at the ground. He has to do this.
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,”
Just a bit more, he tells himself. Just a bit more.
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!”
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.
He’s so close.
“Come on, baby. I’m here,”
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
Taehyung pulls Jeongguk’s upper lip between his own, hands around his neck.
This is perfect. It’s perfect, it’s perfect. And then...
Suddenly, it’s not.
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...”
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.
“You’re going to leave me,” He cries, “Again,”
“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,”
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,”
“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,”
“You promise?” Taehyung mumbles against his lips, “Really, really mean that?”
“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,”
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.
And Jeongguk there with each step he takes.
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.
“You came!” Taehyung will exclaim, holding him close despite the expensive clothes. And Jeongguk will nod then, reaching into his pocket.
And it will be the same night Taehyung will finally, truly believe, that this time, it’ll work out for him.
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 🖤