vmin au: jimin who's defending his master's thesis ends up being caught out for data fabrication by his postdoctoral colleague in the lab. jimin gets kicked out of the lab, loses two years of his life. he ends up dropping out of school to work at a starbucks.
everyday, a handsome man comes in for coffee and to work on his laptop. he keeps giving jimin different names and flirting with him. the most consistent name he gives jimin is "v." soon enough, v and jimin become really good friends.

the catch? there's a catch.
v is actually kim taehyung, a talented and ruthless news reporter who's researching corruption in academia and he's trying to crack down on jimin's thesis advisor who's the head of the lab and is rumored to be running a really unhealthy and tough environment for his students.
the problem is, jimin has shut down completely. he was a brilliant straight a's student who worked his ass off for those grades. he popped caffeine pills in high school, drained monster cans in first year and even started abusing adderall. jimin's family have always been
over achievers and that's how he was raised to be his entire life. his mother enrolled him in ballet, bishop, piano, kendo and korean language school as a child. he was raised to believe that education is everything. so when jimin landed a position in the prestigious kim lab for
cancer research, he was already known among his undergraduate peers for being a ruthless student who only ever studied and paid attention to his grades. he had sex but it was only casual sex and only for some needed release. his ex-boyfriend openly yelled at him in second year,
for being only grades-minded. witnesses remember jimin staring at him blankly before going back to textbook and highlighting sections of it.

jimin couldn't let anyone get to him and take away his focus. he wanted to be done with his phd before he turned 30.
and he was well headed in that direction but then in third year, cracks started appearing in his facade. jimin would experience sharp bursts of pain in his chest and shortness of breath when prepping with his peers for presentations. he lost focus for five minutes during an exam,
staring blankly at his paper, lips parted as he dissociated. it felt like he was floating above himself, somewhere up in the ceiling of the room, looking at himself blanking out.

he got an 85 on that exam. not his usual 95 and higher. he did not forgive himself.
it was the first day, while some guy was pounding jimin from behind that he took a look at his fitbit, saw the guy had been jabbing his prostate for five minutes now and his cock was still soft.

he didn't know how to live life anymore. what was this life? did it mean anything?
jimin had known kim jaeho was a taskmaster. he'd taken kim's inorganic chemistry class in fourth year. kim did not repeat his midterms, kim did not stop to clarify doubts for you and you had to earn his respect. he had the university eating out of his hand.
the man had private companies like real estate and chaebols from korea feeding him a golden spoon. several golden spoons, in fact. he got 150,000 dollars every year in the form of grants, and he'd become a primary investigator for lab research all at the age of 35.
the average age anyone made pi was 46. jimin didn't care about kim's shit reputation as a human being. what the fuck did that matter? he wanted the fame and glory of achieving things at a young age too. who cared that kim had divorced his wife to marry a 21 year old girl?
and so there jimin had finally reached. at the prestigious (and hated) kim lab for cancer research. kim took an instant liking to him. jimin did his job and came in every single day including the weekend.
and then, three years later, kim jaeho, leading researcher on cancer research, kicked out park jimin, master's student, for data fabrication, with a bad reference.

so. starbucks barista, it now was.

at this point, jimin didn't even know what his life even amounted to anymore. he woke up at seven, stared at himself in the mirror, brushing his teeth as he scratched his balls absently.

he didn't have to wake up at 6:30 AM, rush out with his car keys jangling in his hand,
and curse as usual at the traffic clogging up the main road. he didn't have to constantly check his emails anymore or google event invites with details for his defense.

because there was no defense.
his parents were furious. it was now a whole month after jimin had walked out of the lab, head hung low, hugging a box full of things to his chest on the way to his car.

he wouldn't take their calls. they'd told him to immediately apply for an masters in business administration
at a sky university in korea. seokjin's dad was a samsung ceo. things could happen. jimin could leave america and lie low in korea if he wanted. so far, the student newspaper had been forbidden to run any articles. jaeho kim's reach was far.
(trigger warning: content below contains info abt graduate students committing suicide and with mental health issues)
jimin's case wasn't even special. tons of graduate students suffered like this with authoritarian primary investigators making their lives a living hell. he wasn't the first graduate student who'd doctored his own data and he wouldn't be the last one.
as he tapped away on his steering wheel, jimin wondered if he should cease to exist. it would be so easy. tons of shitty drivers on this road. he'd become so tiny that seokjin kept fussing over his ribs poking out and kept insisting on jimin finishing his meals in front of him.
but something, he didn't know what, maybe the remaining dregs of his willpower to live, kept him alert on the road. maybe it was the fact that seokjin still talked to him. still gave a shit about him.
what he'd done went so beyond academic dishonesty, beyond the depths of plagiarism. it was a truly despicable act. he'd been responsible for processing scores of trials and he'd left even more future problems after he left the lab for the other students to despair over.
jimin had been studying cancer for a long time now. at the kim lab, they'd been at the forefront of cutting edge cancer research, working exclusively with inhibitors for STAT proteins. Chemotherapy was a goddamned mess. It fucked with patients' immune systems and abnormally
activated STAT proteins which caused even more tumour growth and a chance that the cancer to return. at jaeho kim's lab, he'd begun to isolate for compounds that could inhibit the activation of STAT proteins. and he'd given jimin a vital role in the research.
jimin had been in charge of fluorescence polarization; a key process used to identify if the inhibitor compounds they were developing in the lab were actually binding to the STAT proteins. he'd run trials upon trials, hours, days, months worth of fucking time confirming that,
yes, the compounds they were developing were actually useful.

or had he really run those trials?

jimin laughed, tapping the ash from his cigarette outside his window as he waited in traffic.

the sound was brittle, broken glass.
he'd created a lot of trouble for the lab. his old papers were still in circulation, published by academic journals. his data that jaeho kim claimed was the proof that his lab was producing effective inhibitor compounds was now all being questioned.
and here jimin was, a month later, on his way to a fucking starbucks shift.

jimin had developed a venomous hatred for academia.

fuck school.

he was sick of studying.

"what do you mean, they can't publish the story?"

"that's what the editor in chief there at kent university told me. they're being told to shut the fuck up."

yoongi steepled his fingers, eyes getting that familiar glint. taehyung knew it was that spark he got before a hunt.
an investigation hunt.

"interesting," yoongi said, staring at him. "very interesting. definitely has potential."

"it's a good story," taehyung said softly. "you know damn well it is. jimin park's not the first student either this year."
yoongi narrowed his eyes at him. "jaeho kim is big fish. i just ran a google search. he's dating a 21 year old girl. she looks like a fucking kpop idol."

"i know. and he's 43."

"yup," yoongi nodded, pinching the bridge of his nose. "i do wanna know."
"you're doing a good job with these pieces on corruption in academia, no doubt. the way you got hold of the wechat logs for the last suicide case, it was nothing short of impressive work and good journalism."

taehyung crossed his legs. "yeah. so i'm good to go for this?"
yoongi merely stared at him. "this fucker is getting a whole building on campus made just for him and his team."


"he gets a few million every year from fucking real estate companies."

"he's getting a lot of money from kent to do his research."


"alright, you get two months."

"great. i'm on it."
"taehyung," yoongi bit out just before he could leave.


"be careful with the kid."

"he's 24. he's not a child. he knew what he was doing."


"... okay."
taehyung shelved away the copies of everything he'd made for the previous case and pulled up the profile bios of the kim lab staff on the kent page. jimin park. they still hadn't taken down his blurb or picture.
"Hi! My name is Jimin Park and I'm conducting trials of fluorescence polarization on compound AHB19 to determine its site compatibility with STAT1. My hobbies include kendo and playing the piano at weddings. I enjoy-"

sounded like a privileged motherfucker.
but taehyung would get to determine everything pretty soon. he'd been systematically cracking down on cases of academic corruption and not only was silence golden but so was the money. no problem.

he was going to get jaeho kim's entire lab talking to him some way or the other.

"how are the new trials going?"

jeongguk sighed, running a shaky hand through his hair. "they're going."


"i-i shouldn't be talking about this with you, hyung," jeongguk said, his normally soft tone terse.
a scoff sounded on the other end of the line. "yeah, and we both know why, don't we?"

"don't push this, hyung," jeongguk snapped. he contemplated the starbucks latte menu. "yeah, i'll get a lavender tea latte," he mumbled to the cashier, switching to english.
"what he's making you do is really unfair."

"i'm alright," jeongguk replied, but it came out sounding mechanical more than anything else.

"really? you're still on campus. do you even leave?"

"somebody has to do it," jeongguk retorted.

"lavender latte for jk!"
"thanks," jeongguk said, grabbing his cup from the barista, switching his cell to his left hand as he slid his cup into a cardboard sleeve.

"you're at a starbucks?"


"that's where he's working now."

jeongguk froze in his retreat back to the lab. "yeah? which one?"
he shifted his weight from one foot to the other as he mentally noted the address.

"ah, in that plaza. yeah, i know where that is. shitty area."


"did you talk to him?"

"are you crazy? we haven't spoken since..."

"right, of course," jeongguk said, feeling stupid.
"so how bad is it now?"

"not that bad," jeongguk said, defensive. "he's ordered us all new e-lab notebooks and we all gotta input all our data in them."

he stopped himself from saying more.
"jeongguk, what you're doing isn't ethical."

"i gotta go," jeongguk said abruptly, cutting him off. "nice catching up with you, hyung. congrats on the new job once again."

"jeongguk, damnit-"

his hands were shaking.

on the other end of the line, namjoon kim, who held an honours bachelors degree specialization in chemistry, a masters degree in organic chemistry specialization in bio-molecular chemistry, a phd in medicinal chemistry and 2 postdoctoral fellowships in the field, sighed deeply.
jeongguk was clearly not going to budge, and namjoon wasn't going to give him more time to rethink his decisions any longer.

he was in love with jeongguk but this couldn't go on. it was wrong, and it all needed to come out, one way or the other.

"can i get a name for your order?"


the corners of jimin's mouth tipped upwards into a smirk. "v for vendetta?"

v's intimidating facial features melted into a sweet smile. since the first day he walked in, jimin had concluded he'd never seen a man with prettier eyes.
"just v," he replied, and laughed, the sound of it shy as pink pooled into his cheeks.

the sight stole jimin's breath away, even as he stole peeks himself at broad arms and shoulders filling out v's brown suede jacket, the cute beret over soft dyed-brown hair, plush bottom lip,
and his height. jimin liked tall men. he hadn't felt instantly attracted to any of the men in a way that went deeper however. everyday, v came in with either a sketchbook or a laptop, and jimin had already pinned him down as an visual art major making bad decisions for fraps.
he liked that v didn't seem to be a scientist. all the men jimin had been with were buff scientists who drank kale smoothies and hit the campus gym daily.

today, v had a sketchbook tucked under his arm. not for the first time, jimin wondered what his life would have turned out
to be, if he'd taken ballet seriously. he'd learned to just look at his younger ballerino days through photographs and waste no more than a wistful sigh. it had just been an upper class asian american parent thing. enroll your son in as many extracurriculars as possible for
bragging rights at house parties, korean community events and after church chats.

not for the first time in his life, jimin wondered how much of his life had really ever been his life.

a life lived on his own terms.
"strawberry frapp for v."

jimin was graced as usual with a boxy smile of gratitude.

he'd chickened out of scrawling his phone number on the cup again, damnit.


"hey. how was work?"

sighing, seokjin threw himself onto the sofa, undoing his shoelaces. seokjin worked at a law firm, and he was up to his neck in work since this was his first job out of law school. he'd gotten one immediately, thanks to his father.
"it was alright. i'm doing a lot of research for this case and it's very high profile. you know, the one i told you i can't talk about?"

"yeah i do," jimin nodded, re-focusing his attention back on netflix. a sappy k-drama. it was mindless and didn't need much brain power.
"you eat anything today, buddy?"

jimin bit on the inside of his cheek. did those omelet bites and three cups of americanos count?

definitely not.

"not much," he admitted.

"jimin," seokjin sighed out. even in his rumpled white dress shirt, tie pulled askew and probably
hours spent squinting at his laptop screen as he scoured through case files, seokjin kim was the embodiment of asian american nouveau riche.

"come on, come with me to the kitchen. hyung will make you kimchi fried rice. come."
jimin grinned. to be honest, ever since everything went to shit, the fact that seokjin was still unquestionably by his side, still his best friend, still his solid support was more than enough to get jimin out of bed these days to face yet another day.
"i knew if i looked pathetic enough you'd make me kimchi fried rice," jimin said lightly, dodging a sharp nudge aimed at his side. "seriously! my rice always comes out shitty, hyung."
"flattery will get you everywhere," seokjin huffed out, but his ears had turned a shade of pleased pink. "also, it's kimchi fried rice. it's so basic, i don't know how you fuck it up."

"it's me," jimin muttered. "i can fuck up anything."

seokjin pulled jimin to him, squeezing him in a one-armed hug. "jimin," he said softly.

"everyday is hard," jimin breathes out, burying his face in his best friend's neck. "i'm an idiot. if i just hadn't left them in the refrigerator, hyung wouldn't have found the samples."
"what's done is done," seokjin said simply. "you fucked up but ... everyone fucks up. you're going to be okay. you have me. nobody is going to get you. the offer to do your mba in korea still stands."

pulling away, jimin shook his head, wiping at the corners of his eyes.
"no, you know i wanna be here, i don't consider korea my home."

"yeah, i know but being there would be a nice change of pace plus you get to finish your education."

"no," jimin replied, with a tone of finality. "no more studying. not for now at least."
seokjin did not look happy but he didn't push the matter. of all people, he knew very well how tyrannical jimin's parents had been about education throughout their shared childhoods.

"okay, it's okay. hyung understands. take your time to figure it out."
jimin smiled, a sad small smile. he reached out to hug seokjin tightly.

"thank you, hyung."

"what for?"

"for still being ... my friend."

"nonsense. you'll always be my friend."

jaeho kim was a six foot, broad-shouldered man. he taught organic chemistry to undergraduate students and seminar classes to students in their masters and phd tracks. he had a habit of staring at you very intently as you fielded a question from him.
currently, he was staring very intently at his graduate student, jeongguk jeon, as he ran through the results of the fluorescence polarization assay trials for STAT5 protein binding to the kim lab's developed AHB19 inhibitor compound.
jeongguk's palms were clammy. he jammed them both into the pockets of his white lab coat as he kept talking.

"any questions, professor?" he asked, taking great care to keep his voice deferent.

"yeah, but about these problems," jaeho said bluntly.
jeongguk was very glad he'd taken a small bite from a bar of weed chocolate an hour prior to this presentation. the effects had finally kicked in, keeping his heart rate from spiking too much from anxiety.
"yeah, i'm still running trials," jeongguk replied, staring at the floor, wishing any minute now he could just disappear.

"there's not enough data we can actually use. and why the /hell/ are your results so shitty? are you really a kim lab student? what is this garbage data?"
"sorry sir," jeongguk whispered, his cheeks a mortified pink.

jaeho let out an explosive /fuck/ under his breath. he looked away from jeongguk to his girlfriend, a young twentysomething, laughing away on line call on her phone.
"june, we're leaving."

she held up a long manicured nail at him, gesturing for jaeho to zip it because she wasn't done on the phone yet.

"i'm going out with my girlfriend for dinner," jaeho said, his voice low and deadly. "there better be data i actually wanna see in 2 days"
the weed wasn't strong enough because tendrils of panic were beginning to curl up in jeongguk's gut again along with exhaustion. he hadn't been home in two days straight. his mother had had to drive to campus to give him home cooked food.
he was sleeping on the floor of the library and using the restrooms there to freshen up.

he looked and felt like shit.
"yes sir," jeongguk said.

"good. june. let's /go./"

later after they left, jeongguk slumped in his chair, burying his face in his hands.

kim had sent out a curt email to everyone regarding the new electronic lab notebooks.
"These data and graph sheets update in real-time. I can see who's wasting their time in my lab and being the least productive. I want good, real, rigorously tested data. Consider this your warning as I will be weeding the least productive people out. J. Kim"
biting on his lip, jeongguk grasped fistfuls of his hair.

he hadn't fed the data on the new software yet for a reason. slowly, he began to edit numbers.

jimin park was every bit as attractive as he was smart.

this much, taehyung grudgingly ceded to as he took a sip of his strawberry frappuccino, seated all the way in a corner of the starbucks where the former graduate student worked at.
it didn't help that in the past, taehyung had mostly been with shorter men sexually, with a slight stature like jimin park. the flat button nose, feline eyes and full mouth all put together made for a countenance that even taehyung, in his most intense reporter mode, wasn't
immune to. add to that, the fact that jimin park actually had a charming smile and manner of speech, definitely made taehyung wonder what the man was even doing in a starbucks as a barista now, working the till and prepping lattes.

it didn't make sense.
he seemed okay. biting on his bottom lip, taehyung reclined back in his seat, pressing the pads of his fingers over closed eyes.

"busy working? mind if i join you?"

taehyung's heart jackhammered fast in his chest.
opening his eyes, he found himself face to face with jimin park, the man he'd been puzzling over.

finally. this was the moment taehyung had been waiting for.

"not at all," taehyung replied, with his boxiest smile, the one his ex said was simply adorable.
"i'm trying to sketch but it's not been the most productive session."

it wasn't the truth but it wasn't a lie either. taehyung doodled for fun and occasionally submitted cartoons for the alternative, the investigative newspaper renowned for its independent journalism.
luckily for taehyung, yoongi, one of the editor in chiefs at the alternative, and the supervisor he directly reported to, was just as much of a radical leftist as taehyung himself. over the past two years especially, taehyung had started making a name for himself finally in the
world of investigative journalism, which was not a kind world to anyone but especially to leftist asian american journalists.

jimin's case wasn't the first of its type that taehyung had reported. his plan, however, was much more ambitious this time.
jimin furrowed his brows at taehyung's remark. "sorry to hear that. you're here a lot, always sketching. i'm curious about your art."

the left tip of taehyung's mouth tipped upwards into a slight smirk. "you could have asked earlier."
pursing his lips to make for a pout (which caused the faintest stirrings of heat in taehyung's gut, no one was allowed to have such a full, attractive mouth), jimin scratched the back of his head, and then ran a hand through dark strands of his hair.

"i thought it'd be awkward"
"it's not," taehyung said, shaking his head. he slid the sketchbook over in a smooth motion. jimin caught it, looking surprised.

"look through it," taehyung said, with a shrug. "i'm no expert but since you asked."
"are you sure," jimin started, looking unsure. "you don't even know me. it's personal to you."

"well, let's change that," taehyung said simply. he held out a hand to shake. jimin took it, and taehyung cursed internally. jimin park had cute, soft hands.

"i'm tae and i draw."
jimin slide an amused smile in his direction. "is that your real name then?"

taehyung laughed. "you don't trust me?"

"only that you've given me a multitude of names since i've made your frappe," jimin replied, with a grin.
they were still holding hands. pink crept up in jimin's cheeks as he pulled away.

"you can call me tae," taehyung said. "it's my name."

"hi tae," jimin replied, his voice soft. "i'm jimin and i make coffee."
jimin flipped through the pages of taehyung's sketchbook.

an apartment complex, with garbage bins overflowing of trash outside. "that's where i grew up. public housing."

jimin looked up.

taehyung nearly laughed. ah yes. rich asians. thought all asians grew up like them.
"i-i see," jimin said, stuttering over his words. taehyung crossed one leg over the other, enjoying the discomfort playing out over jimin's face with his poverty. "i-i'm... i'm sorry."

"what for?" taehyung asked bluntly. "i don't live there anymore."
"right," jimin mumbled, looking properly abashed. his cheeks were flushed now, two spots of pink with his nose in between.

he flipped the page, to a school's playground, trash again littered over the grass. flowers still grew however amidst the plastic waste, bright yellow.
"public school out in the suburbs," taehyung said quietly. "it took me an hour by bus to get there because it was the safest possible one, least reported knife stabbings. my mother insisted. even despite everything, i thought those flowers brave for daring to exist."
jimin swallowed unsteadily, his eyes having taken on a suspiciously moist sheen to them.

"that's a beautiful thought," he replied, his voice barely loud enough for taehyung to hear.

he flipped the page again to a youth with no facial features drawn in, holding a gameboy.
"90's kid," taehyung said, with a grin.

jimin laughed out loud too. the stiff set of his shoulders relaxed some. "same. i was born in 95. you?"

taehyung stared at him. "same."

they were the same age. for some reason, that set taehyung's thoughts off course.
the lengths that taehyung would go to for this case, the sweet softness in jimin park's eyes.


"who is she?" jimin asked him, in that light, airy voice.

taehyung tore his gaze from jimin's mouth.
jimin was pointing to the most detailed image yet in taehyung's sketchbook. a young woman in a hanbok, traditional korean dress, eyes crinkled in laughter, her mouth open in a boxy smile.

"my mother," taehyung said.

sunlight filtered in from the blinds, waking namjoon up eventually. he reached out for his glasses, grumbling as he fumbled for them lying somewhere on his bedside table.

it was a saturday. namjoon wasn't used to still being in bed on a saturday morning, at 11 A.M.
he now had a new job, working at a hospital on several drug discovery projects. being awarded two postdoc fellowships and having made a name for his research in the field of medicinal chemistry had been instrumental in securing namjoon the job. he hadn't even needed jaeho kim's
reference to get the job, but he'd gotten it anyway, having spent the past two years in that lab.

namjoon was really liking his new job. it was a starkly different environment at the new lab. for one, he was actually allowed his weekends off. and he didn't spend morning to
evening sitting hunched up on an uncomfortable lab stool, making notes and running trials. a slower pace was encouraged. at first, namjoon had struggled with it, not used to a more lenient atmosphere. but now he was learning to be happier.

he'd started reading for fun again.
not textbooks. books. fiction. romance, fantasy. he stayed away from the science fiction stuff though, while authors were wildly creative in that genre, the inaccuracy of all the science gave namjoon unnecessary anxiety and annoyance.
he grew a little garden outside on his apartment balcony too. a whole array of different flowering plants. he could sit out here in his comfy chair for ages on end, drinking herbal tea and chattering to himself and the plants.
he went about his morning routine quietly. today he was having company so he took out two simulated, kimchi-flavoured meat patties from his fridge along with the tub of gochujang he'd painstakingly made himself.

"lettuce," namjoon mumbled to himself. "and i need tomato slices."
barley tea. red lentil patties.

it had taken namjoon lots of years to fully go vegan and gluten-free. he'd given up on staying gluten-free these days when it turned out to be too difficult for him but he still did his best to be as green as possible.
the doorbell rang, just as namjoon was done making the burgers.

"door's open," he called out.

there was a huff of exhaustion in the corridor and the sound of jeongguk removing his shoes.

namjoon looked up. jeongguk's features were more wan.
"not going for your usual morning run?" he asked, eyes narrowed.

jeongguk shook his head. "too much going on at the moment. looks delicious."

too much going on at the lab. right, yes. namjoon had promised to not ask.
before namjoon left jaeho kim's lab, he'd become very close to jeongguk jeon, a graduate student doing his master's there. it had been a case of hero worship, jeongguk hanging on to namjoon's entire word, peppering him with such specific questions about namjoon's research that
even namjoon himself struggled to answer at times. and maybe, somehow over the months of intense arguments over veganism, the government, the global state of affairs and whatnot, the lunches grabbed together and jeongguk coming over countless times to try out namjoon's vegan
cooking and stream anime together, namjoon had fallen in love with the intelligent and soft spoken yet mischievous younger man.

jeongguk didn't know. well, namjoon didn't think his blushes and sharp intakes of breath whenever jeongguk grabbed him for a hug were very subtle, but
he'd also done his best to maintain a professional boundary, knowing he was jeongguk's senior at the kim lab.

now though.

things were different.
"yeah," namjoon said tightly. "let's eat."

jeongguk must have picked up on the strained nature of namjoon's voice because he let down his guarded expression and closed the distance between them, wrapping namjoon in his arms for a tight hug.
namjoon held on just as tight, his mind a mess of thoughts. jeongguk was solid muscle against him but also, namjoon felt strong protective urges about him in addition to absolute despair.

those urges intensified when jeongguk's body began shaking in his arms with silent sobs.
"tell me anything," namjoon urged. "hyung will make it okay."

the despair intensified as well when jeongguk shook his head violently. he pulled away, tears streaking down his cheeks and they stared at each other in silence for a minute.
the next minute, jeongguk's mouth was on namjoon's, which he allowed for a few blissed seconds, relishing in the feel of those soft lips against his.

every bit as soft as namjoon had fantasized.

then namjoon gently pulled jeongguk away, hating himself.
"not like this," namjoon said firmly. jeongguk whined, but namjoon cupped his cheeks, forcing jeongguk to meet his gaze.

"i want it but not like this," namjoon said firmly. "i'm going to whistleblow. it's only ethical."
jeongguk stared at him, aghast.

"hyung," he began, tone imploring. "come on. it's my career."

"it's my career too," namjoon said flatly. "jiminnie's is already gone. i won't keep quiet anymore."
"hyung, you didn't do anything wrong! you blew the lid open on what jimin-hyung was doing and exposed him. isn't that enough to satisfy you?"

namjoon ignored jeongguk's frustration. "then why won't he let the student paper publish an article about jimin's expulsion?"
jeongguk fell silent.

namjoon plundered on mercilessly, shouting in angry korean. "if an investigation is being conducted by the ethics department, why the fuck is it taking this long? if you have nothing to be worried about, why won't you look me in the eye, jeon jeongguk!?"
"hyung, please just listen to me, i'm actually running the trials jimin-hyung claimed he ran-"

"you think i'm crazy?" namjoon interjected, his tone continuing to rise. "i've been researching these proteins longer than you and jimin! you think hoseok and i are crazy!?"
jeongguk's eyes were shiny with grief.

"hyung, please just try to understand where i'm coming from, i'm getting favorable results-"

"no, i know you're getting shit results," namjoon cut him, furious. "that compound is binding erratically to multiple sites on the protein."
jeongguk looked like he'd been slapped.

"i know he's developing a patent for it," namjoon said, his tone deadly quiet and laced with venom. "and he's getting the paperwork for it put in place. is that what you want your legacy to be, jeongguk?"
jeongguk's breathing was shallow and laboured. he could not look namjoon in the eyes, gaze firmly fixed on namjoon's grey-spotted white kitchen tiles.

"where are your morals, jeon jeongguk? that compound is unfit to be a drug administered to patients whose lives are in danger."
"i can't believe i'm in love with someone whose morals are so loose like this."

as soon as he blurted that out, namjoon clapped a hand on his mouth. jeongguk looked up again, his face filled with remorse, shock and shame.
it was namjoon's turn to tear up now, unable to stand the sight of the love of his life any longer.

"get out of my apartment," namjoon whispered. "talk to me only when i know you've decided to grow a pair and stand up for yourself."
he wept on his couch, long after jeongguk showed himself out in a flurry of tears.

then for the first time in many years, namjoon ordered chicken gangjeong and bulgogi for takeout and proceeded to make himself sick with meat and soju.

((okay, so that's it for a few hours now, it was an intense update and i'm sure yall need to digest what went down lol. please quote retweet, comment via dm, like the tweets, anything to let me know this doesn't completely suck just yet!♡ i'll do my best to update again today.))
so for people reading this, i've been thinking about completing this fic on AO3. i'm going to pause on further tweeting here for that reason. what would you all prefer?
i'm satisfied with what i wrote here so far, it was basically me outlining the scenes so far in my head. i would rather post this completed on ao3 in a polished format so.... idk. if you'd like me to link u when im done plz like this tweet and and ill be happy to link
but if you all vote overwhelmingly in favour of tweetficcing to the end, then i'll definitely strongly consider doing that.

idk idk. up to whatever the outcome of this poll is basically.
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