Chapter NineBeauty of My World
"Jin," Taehyung whispers and Seokjin wants to hum a reply at the name. But he remembers the origin of the name, the forbidden night they are to forget and he keeps his mouth shut. "Do you..still think of that night?"
Seokjin's eyes widen and his mouth parts in disbelief at Taehyung's acknowledgment of that night. He can't read Taehyung's face, seeing only the slightly pinched brows which he doesn't understand. He doesn't understand why Taehyung is asking this.
Seokjin closes his mouth, pressing his lips together in a tight line. He has been doing his best to forget that night like promised. Yet, it would be a lie if he says that he doesn't look at Taehyung's lips sometimes and remembers how they were once on his.
He still remembers how Taehyung spoiled him with kisses the whole night. Seokjin felt so delighted when he woke up and Taehyung was still cuddling him.
But Taehyung doesn't like him like that. He was just helping Seokjin. Besides, he's an alpha. Once he regains his sight, he won't need Seokjin anymore.
Taking a step back, Seokjin declares, "We're not supposed to talk about it." He frees his wrist from Taehyung's hold, ignoring the slight pain he feels as he does so.
He turns around, wanting to escape before his heart betrays him. He only makes a few steps before a pair of arms are embracing him from behind, stopping him in his tracks.
"Why not?" Taehyung queries, sounding lost and confused.
'Because you'll get my hopes up that you and I have a deeper relationship than just patient and caretaker,' Seokjin thinks in his head. However, he doesn't speak his thoughts. Instead, he tenses in Taehyung's hold, knowing that he shouldn't allow himself to relax in his hold.
Upon his silence, Taehyung leans forward and his head touches Seokjin's back. Seokjin's about to push him away, but Taehyung speaks before he does, "I can smell your scent right now." This leaves Seokjin bewildered and also self-conscious. He does wonder why Taehyung can only smell at certain times and why it's only his scent that he smells.
Taehyung continues, "I feel like I'm in the clouds. Cherry blossoms are flying around me and the taste of strawberries sits on my lips." Seokjin's face becomes warm at his description and his heart pounds against his chest. "I felt that way that whole night we spent together."
Seokjin's mind blanks out. What does Taehyung mean? Does he mean that he also...
Seokjin squeezes his eyes shut and then opens them. Is he dreaming? No, this is real life. But, it can't be.
Taehyung retracts his arms, stepping away from Seokjin. "Sorry," he apologizes. Seokjin turns around to face him. "If you don't mind, I'm going to go get some fresh air."
Seokjin watches as Taehyung leaves out the back door. Once the door shuts, Seokjin lets out a sigh, leaning against the kitchen counter. 'What was I thinking?'
After a soundless breakfast, Taehyung retreats to his bedroom. Seokjin is both relieved and disappointed. Nevertheless, he leaves Taehyung unbothered.
He busies himself with cleaning the house and afterward, even takes a nap. He wakes up just in time for lunch. As he makes lunch, his eyes keep adverting towards the stairs, expecting Taehyung to come down. Yet, he never does.
Even with lunch ready, he is still to be seen so with tiny steps, Seokjin goes up the stairs. He arrives at Taehyung's door and lightly taps on it to announce his presence.
There's no response so Seokjin clears his throat and meekly asks, "Taehyung?" Taehyung doesn't say anything. "Taehyung?" Seokjin tries again, this time with a louder voice. Despite that, the door remains shut and Taehyung's voice is not heard.
Instantly, Seokjin worries that something's happened to him. What if he's sick? What if he's passed out cold?
Driven by these new thoughts, Seokjin doesn't hesitate to twist the doorknob, pushing the door open. His eyes land on Taehyung sleeping in his bed. Though he looks fine, Seokjin wants to be sure so he steps into the room.
He tiptoes towards the bed, not wanting to disturb Taehyung's sleep. The blanket is pulled over more than half of Taehyung's face, leaving only his eyes to peek out.
'How can you breathe like this?' Seokjin thinks, pulling the blanket down slightly so that Taehyung can breathe better.
In doing so, he realizes how haphazardly the blanket has been thrown over Taehyung's body. He fixes the blanket so that it isn't falling off the bed and is actually over Taehyung.
Making sure he isn't harboring a fever, Seokjin presses a hand to his forehead. He's relieved to find no spike in temperature. Pulling his hand away, he lets his eyes admire Taehyung for another second before exiting the room.
Dinner time rolls around and Taehyung has not made an appearance. At this point, Seokjin's traced back all of his steps, wondering if he did something to displease Taehyung. They didn't get into an argument. What could it be?
Hearing the creaking of the stairs, Seokjin raises his head and a smile makes its way onto his lips as his eyes land on Taehyung. His hair is a fluffy mess and Seokjin infers that it's from his long nap.
"How was your nap?" Seokjin asks cheerily as Taehyung enters the living room.
"Could've been better," Taehyung murmurs, walking past him and towards the kitchen.
Seokjin follows him. "Are you hungry? I was thinking that for dinner, we grill some meat." Taehyung seemed to enjoy it the last time they did so. "I already prepped the meat and grill."
"Then why didn't you grill the meat yet?" Taehyung questions callously with a clenched jaw.
Seokjin's shoulders sink a little at the remark, but he dismisses it, thinking that he's just overreacting. Softly, he discloses, "I was waiting for you."
Taehyung's jaw unclenches and his lips part slightly. "Can you bring me a plate after you're finished? I'm going to sleep again," Taehyung lets out lowly.
Before Seokjin can reply, Taehyung turned around and left once again. Dejection slowly overwhelms Seokjin, but he brushes it off. This is what he wanted. Now, they're just like patient and caretaker. Seokjin's only relationship with Taehyung is taking care of him. He shouldn't expect Taehyung to think more of him.
With a heavy heart, Seokjin takes the meat he prepared and takes them out to the grill.
The door shuts and Taehyung leans against it. He takes in a deep breath before letting it out. Once more, Seokjin's scent has dispersed into thin air. The only remains of it are stored in his memory.
He ventures toward his bed, sinking into it and letting the blankets engulf him. He's been avoiding Seokjin all day, wanting to prove to himself that he doesn't view him as more than just a caretaker.
However, his thoughts were all filled with Seokjin and his dreams weren't much different. It didn't help that when he awoke from one of his many naps, Seokjin was in his room. Taehyung had pretended that he was still asleep and hoped desperately for Seokjin to just leave. Yet, he didn't.
Instead, he fixed his blankets and checked his temperature. It makes sense. Seokjin just wanted to make sure he's doing well. Still so, the act brought a sense of elation to Taehyung.
Remembering his last encounter with Seokjin where he coldly replied to Seokjin's questions regarding dinner, Taehyung wants to yell at himself for being so rude. But it is for the better, isn't it?
Taehyung isn't thinking straight. Having Seokjin show acts of kindness to him is not helping. Honestly, Taehyung felt touched when Seokjin said, "I was waiting for you." At that moment, he was ready to drop everything, take Seokjin's hand and go grill meat together outside in the sunset.
He wouldn't have been able to see it, but Seokjin would've. Seokjin would've also described it to him beautifully. The ambiance would be wonderful and it would just be them two, enjoying each other's company and Taehyung would-
Comprehending what he's doing, Taehyung ends his thoughts, banishing them to a place far away in his chest.
Has he forgotten his mindset about relationships? Taehyung shakes his head, trying to convince himself he didn't. He's always been a lone wolf. He's always told himself that he doesn't need an omega to go with his alpha. He'll get a nice apartment in the city where he'll only focus on himself. Maybe he'll get a dog. He'll live his life to the fullest and then die old and by himself.
Having a partner isn't part of the agenda.
Also, Taehyung could be mistaken about what he's feeling right now. He's never been in love before and never even had a crush on anyone. Therefore, he shouldn't self-diagnose himself. He knows not a thing about love.
Besides, how could anyone learn to love him? How could Seokjin love him?
A knock sounds on Taehyung's bedroom door, interrupting the discussion in his head. Despite hearing the knock, Taehyung stays rooted to where he is, unable to face Seokjin.
As if understanding what he's doing, Seokjin calls through the door, "I finished grilling the meat. I made a plate for you..." Taehyung sits up, listening closely to him. "I'll leave it out here. If you need something, tell me."
With that, he's gone, just like what Taehyung wanted; just like what Taehyung did not want.
It's been days and Taehyung's proud that he has been victorious in keeping his distance from Seokjin. They barely spend time together anymore with Taehyung always holed up in his room.
Boredom always finds him, but he'd rather it than the weird feelings he gets when with Seokjin.
Today, for a change, he's outside while Seokjin's inside. It seems that for the most part, Seokjin understands what he's doing and is going along with it.
Plucking a few strands of grass, Taehyung gets to weaving them. The diversion brings a sense of tranquility to him. That is until he remembers how he made a few rings for Seokjin before. He's red-faced as he questions why he did that.
"What are you doing?" Seokjin's gentle voice materializes. Like being zapped, Taehyung sits up straight. He's about to throw the grass in his hand away, but Seokjin catches sight of it. "Oh, you're weaving again."
Taehyung's conflicted as he hears Seokjin sit next to him. "It looks good so far," Seokjin comments. Taehyung stays mute, not wanting his tongue to give way to his emotions. Quietly, he proceeds with weaving the strands of grass together.
Seokjin doesn't say anything else and Taehyung is grateful that he doesn't. They sit side by side with only the birds applying sound to the scene. However, Taehyung's wish isn't granted forever.
"Can you teach me?" Seokjin requests warmly.
Taehyung beams and the word, "sure", almost leaves his lips—almost. Instead, he tosses the strands of grass in his hands to the side. "I'm busy," he lies deliberately, hoping Seokjin would take the hint and leave him alone.
He's glad he can't see because he knows he's hurting Seokjin and seeing Seokjin's expression would have broken him down right there and then.
Ashamed of his attitude, Taehyung's head hangs. He waits for Seokjin to stand up and storm off. He waits for Seokjin to yell at him and storm off. He waits and waits, but Seokjin doesn't do any of that.
"How come you didn't eat the lunch I left outside of your bedroom?" Seokjin asks, not in an interrogating way as if he doesn't expect Taehyung to even answer.
"You don't need to make me food anymore," Taehyung whispers, turning away from Seokjin's stare.
"I purchased a new book the last time we were in the city. Would you like to read it with me?" Seokjin invites as if Taehyung has not been rude to him at all.
"Read it yourself," Taehyung declines lowly. Wanting to leave, his hand desperately searches the ground for his white cane.
"Did I do something wrong?" Seokjin asks meekly as Taehyung continues to search for the walking stick.
Taehyung's face hardens, and he scrambles to find his white cane, his route to escape. It slides into his hand with a brush of Seokjin's fingertips.
In a frenzy, Taehyung pulls the white cane away from Seokjin. He could feel the sprinkle of rain begin as he stands up. He hears Seokjin stand too. "Taehyung," he begins, but Taehyung leaves before he can continue.
He enters the house, releasing a breath as he closes the door and takes off his shoes. 'It's better this way until I sort out my feelings and make sure they disappear,' Taehyung thinks as he runs a hand through his hair, stepping away from the door.
His moment of solitude is disrupted as the door opens and he knows who's the cause of it.
"Taehyung," Seokjin starts, not bothering to shut the door. Taehyung pretends he isn't there, ignoring him and making his way towards the stairs. "Taehyung," Seokjin tries again, grabbing his arm. "Why won't you answer me?" Seokjin asks, hurt and confused.
Taehyung presses his lips tightly together, tugging at his arm to free it from Seokjin's grip. "Tell me what I did wrong," he pleads, making Taehyung feel even worse. "We can talk about it-"
Taehyung yanks his arm away successfully, spitting out, "If you're unhappy with our situation, then feel free to leave!"
Taehyung feels nauseous as he continues, "I don't want you here anymore. I want you gone." He closes his eyes as he whispers, "I want you away from me." Raising his voice, he yells, "So, leave!"
However, Seokjin doesn't leave nor does he say anything. The sprinkle outside has turned into a full session of rain, which can be heard through the thick silence between Taehyung and Seokjin. Taehyung tosses his white cane to the side, hearing a loud thunk. "Go!" Taehyung orders again, hating how a lump is starting to form in his throat. See, this is why Seokjin needs to leave.
Since Seokjin isn't leaving and Taehyung is frustrated, Taehyung scrambles towards the back door. He hits the kitchen counter blatantly but ignores the pain. He spins around to meet where he assumes Seokjin is still standing. "When you reach the city, file for a divorce. I'll sign it," he tells Seokjin.
Upon no response, Taehyung turns around, feeling the rain hit him as he steps out from under the house's roof. He focuses on the pitter-patter of the rain.
He ignores the fact that he's bare-footed, allowing his feet to dig into the muddy ground. He ignores the way his body tremors from the cold of the rain. He ignores the heavy weight on his chest.
'It's better to do this now,' Taehyung tells himself. 'Before, I lose myself.'
"Taehyung!" he hears but continues walking. He doesn't know where to, but he just wants to get away. "Taehyung!" his pursuer sounds closer now. With a tug on his arm, Taehyung stops walking.
"Where are you going?" his pursuer questions, worry evident in his voice.
"Since you won't leave, I will," Taehyung announces. Though he can't even see, he keeps his body turned away from him. "Now, let go of me," Taehyung orders, yanking his arm out of his grip. He only takes one step until he's interrupted.
"I will never leave you!" Taehyung freezes. "As I promise, I'll only leave when you don't need me anymore-"
"I don't need you anymore!" Taehyung turns around, fists clenched. "So leave and never come back. I don't want to hear your voice anymore, Seokjin."
Taehyung lets the words sink in, realizing that though he said them to cut Seokjin, he feels them cutting into himself as well.
However, this seems to have done it for only the rain replies to Taehyung.
Then shakily and barely audible, Seokjin doesn't give up, "I'll only leave you when you're able to see the beauty of the world again." Taehyung's fists unclench, falling to his side. He could feel the rain running off of them. "Then, if you still want me gone, I'll leave."
Taehyung's hand falters as he feels Seokjin pick up his hand. "So," Seokjin's voice is quieter now. "Let's go back inside." Taehyung doesn't fight it as Seokjin leads him through the rain.
'Why?' he wonders as he focuses on Seokjin's hand around his. 'Why are you still here?' He focuses on the warmth of Seokjin's hand. 'Why haven't you left me?'
They enter the house again with both of them soaking wet from the rain. Seokjin's hand continues to hold his, keeping it from freezing. Before Taehyung can think to pull away, Seokjin asks in a caring voice, "Now, can we talk?"
Alarms blare in Taehyung's head and he falters in what to say. Talk? Would that mean he'd have to express his feelings? Wouldn't that just be disastrous, though?
Stiffly, Taehyung nods. He's going through everything in his head and deciding which to tell Seokjin and which to keep for himself as they sit down on the sofa.
In a perfect world, where Taehyung has confidence and believes in himself, he'd confess proudly with a lovely speech, dedicated to Seokjin. In the real world, Taehyung says, "What do you want to talk about?"
"I want to know why you keep avoiding me," Seokjin replies.
Taehyung feels a flush come to his face, which he hopes is not visible to Seokjin. "I..." In his mind, he's split between telling the truth and fabricating it. "I make you uncomfortable, don't I?" he asks meekly.
"Huh?" Seokjin questions.
"I reach for your hand a lot," his head hangs, feeling embarrassed as he admits it. "I like being in your embrace. I like sleeping and knowing you're beside me."
Taehyung takes a deep breath, then releases it. "I think this is all due to the fact that when I was a child," he pauses as he feels old wounds open. "After my omega dad passed away and I was shipped abroad, I didn't get much..." he hesitates with his vulnerability. "Affection."
He feels shameful as he continues, "I think that's why I enjoy your touches and care more than I should." He feels dirty as if he's using Seokjin for his own benefit. "Sorry," he apologizes, knowing that that one word is not enough.
"That's why I pushed you away. I didn't want to keep using you," he explains, although he leaves out the fact that he was also trying to get rid of his feelings. "I-uh," he stammers, face flushed at his reveal. "But I understand where we stand so I'll stop trying to get affection from you-"
He's interrupted as Seokjin pulls him into a hug. Like a reflex, Taehyung embraces Seokjin back, missing his hug more than anything.
"You don't have to stop," Seokjin says, though muffled, as his face is buried in Taehyung's shoulder. "I don't mind." Taehyung beams and his stomach fills with what he thinks people call, butterflies(he's still new to this whole love and romance thing).
Seokjin pulls away and Taehyung is quick to mask his elation. "I'm here to help you," Seokjin assures. Quietly, he adds, "So, don't give me the silent treatment again. Okay?"
Taehyung feels tears come to his eyes, but for a reason, he's never encountered before. His eyes are watery for the reason that the person standing before him is truly good and pure. He isn't doing all of this for his personal gain. He's still treating Taehyung well even though Taehyung isn't a perfect person.
In the end, the cold heart that he locked away has thawed and allowed itself to beat for an omega named Seokjin.
"Okay," Taehyung lets out. He won't give Seokjin the silent treatment. Though everything is not yet stable, he won't push his feelings away anymore.
Seokjin sets the watering can down. Thankfully, the bonsai tree is doing well again. It wasn't drinking water the previous days, but now it is smiling happily in the sun and enjoying the water Seokjin gives it.
Taehyung is also talking to him again. It makes Seokjin smile. He wants to help Taehyung, best as he can. It's his duty as his caretaker.
"Can I help you?" Taehyung asks, appearing beside Seokjin.
"It's okay. I already finished watering the tree," Seokjin tells him.
"You don't have anything else to do, do you?" Taehyung asks him.
Seokjin takes a moment to think before answering, "I don't think so." Taehyung nods and turns away. "Did you need something?" he asks, noting Taehyung's behavior.
"No," Taehyung shakes his head. "It's just that if you're free, will you read the new book you got?" Taehyung stays faced away from him. "Please?"
Seokjin's mouth parts in surprise. "Sure," he accedes.
"I'll go wait outside," Taehyung announces. "Grab the book and meet me out there, yeah?"
"Yeah," Seokjin lets out softly.
Seokjin pauses in his reading as a yawn escapes his lips. He's been reading for a while now and frankly, the book is quite boring. "Is it boring you?" Taehyung questions as if reading his mind.
"Kinda..." Seokjin answers sheepishly. "But it's probably just because it's the beginning."
"We can stop," Taehyung proposes. "You have been reading for a while." At this, Seokjin places the bookmark on the page and closes it while Taehyung stands up. "Let's go on a walk instead."
"Huh?" Seokjin's eyes widen at the suggestion and he looks up at Taehyung.
"I don't want to go inside just yet," Taehyung explains. He holds out his hand, "Will you accompany me, Jin?"
Warmth occupies Seokjin's cheeks and he can feel his heartbeat accelerate. "Mmh," he hums in reply as words struggle to form. Delicately, as if Taehyung were porcelain, he slides his hand into his.
Taehyung helps him to his feet but keeps his gentle grip on Seokjin's hand. Seokjin allows their hands to stay together, remembering what Taehyung disclosed to him.
As they walk, Taehyung retracts his white cane. "Though you've been here for a while, I still don't know much about you," Taehyung comments. "Can you tell me more about yourself?"
Seokjin blinks. 'Taehyung wants to know more about me?' he questions in his head.
"There's a lot regarding me.." Seokjin starts. "What exactly do you want to know?"
"Just..anything," Taehyung says. "I want to know you better." Seokjin feels his heart flutter at Taehyung's words. "Say..." Taehyung bites his bottom lip as he thinks. "What's your favorite color?"
Seokjin chuckles at the obvious ice-breaker question. "Blue." His eyes go to Taehyung. "What about you?"
"I like gray," Taehyung tells him.
"Blue and gray," Seokjin repeats, liking how they sound together.
"They're nice together," Taehyung notes. "Different, but compatible." Seokjin looks down at their hands which are different, yet compatible.
Taehyung sways their hands slightly as he comes up with another question. "What's one place you want to visit?"
Seokjin has to think for a moment. There are lots of places to come to his mind, but he answers with, "Bali."
"Really?" Taehyung questions, perplexed. "What a coincidence. I'd like to visit Bali too." He turns his head towards Seokjin and proposes, "Let's go there someday."
Seokjin feels the corners of his mouth lift.
The rain continues to sound against the roof and the windows though it's been hours. Seokjin has been reading to Taehyung, but Taehyung's legs itch to do something else.
After Seokjin finishes a chapter, Taehyung interjects, "Let's stop there for today."
"Okay," Seokjin complies. He hears him close the book. "What do you want to do then?"
Taehyung listens to the beckoning rain and proposes, "Let's go outside."
"Outside? In the rain?" Seokjin sounds against it. "You can get sick."
"No," Taehyung shakes his head. He scoots closer to Seokjin, nudging him with his elbow. "I thought you were smart and would know that that's a misconception," he teases.
"H-hey!" Seokjin nudges him back. "I am..smart."
Taehyung chuckles. "Then make the smart decision and come with me," he urges Seokjin in a soft voice. He holds his breath as he waits for Seokjin's answer.
He doesn't care if they go play in the rain or not. Yet, he does care about being with Seokjin or not. He's been doing everything he can to spend most of his day with Seokjin. He doesn't care what it is that they do. He just likes having Seokjin with him. It makes him feel complete.
"Okay," Seokjin finally lets out. "I'll go. But if we get sick-"
"We won't," Taehyung interrupts with a smile, unable to contain his happiness at Seokjin's agreement.
After getting forced into rainwear by Seokjin, they go outside. Taehyung tilts his face up, letting the rain hit his face. His moment with the rain disappears as the rain stops falling on his face and he hears Seokjin's voice. "It's cold. Let's just go back inside," Seokjin complains.
Taehyung feels the ghost of a smile on his lips at Seokjin's persistence. "No," he rejects. Following Seokjin's voice, he steps closer to him. He brings his hand up and bumps into the umbrella Seokjin is holding above them.
He wraps his hand around Seokjin's hand that is holding it. "Do you not trust me?" he asks tenderly.
"It's-it's not that," Seokjin denies, flustered.
"Then..." Taehyung lowers the umbrella, letting the rain fall on them. "Come be with me."
Slowly, Seokjin lets go of the umbrella. Taehyung tugs him closer by the hand. "W-what are you doing?" Seokjin stutters.
Taehyung ignores him and instead asks, "You've never smelled my scent before, have you?" With his alpha being decapitated, he's sure Seokjin has never known his scent.
"No.." Seokjin answers softly.
"Do you want to know what I smell like?" Taehyung asks quietly, a little flushed at asking such. He thanks the rain which continues to cover them for it keeps his face from becoming a tomato.
"I do," Seokjin tells him.
Taehyung finds Seokjin's other hand and holds it. "People say my scent is that of a walk through the forest in which a single bundle of lavender sits in the middle of it. The sun is just setting and the rain is falling.." His heart beats as he reveals to Seokjin what his scent is like.
"I like it," Seokjin says which makes his heart race. "It matches you." Taehyung feels red paint his face as an abashed smile appears on his lips.
"Really?" Taehyung asks with a quirk of a brow and a palpitating heart.
"Yeah," Seokjin confirms.
This confirmation makes the smile permanent on Taehyung's face, causing a surge of exhilaration to flow through him. Beaming, he asks, "Do you know what else matches me?"
"...What?" Seokjin wonders.
Supported by the rain, Taehyung doesn't hesitate as he whispers, "You."