acatwhowrites: (L.Joe♡salute)
A Cat Who Writes ([personal profile] acatwhowrites) wrote2015-10-01 03:52 pm

Snakes Will Always Bite Back [At the Zoo]

title: Snakes Will Always Bite Back [At the Zoo]
players: Kim Seokjin/Jin, Min Yoongi/Suga (Yoona), Kim Namjoon/ Rap Monster (Namjik), Jung Hoseok/J Hope (Halla), Kim Taehyung/V
rating: PG-13
word count: 2,940
summary: Weekends are perfect for torturing the chaperon on your zoo date.
a/n: Same AU as this and this. The whole series can be read here.
read on: ao3 || dw

After their double date with Jimin and Jungkook—during which Yoona terrorised them on the ice rink until Taehyung decided to give chase and skated right into the barrier—Yoona feels it's only fair that Taehyung go on a double-and-a-half date with her, Jin, Namjik, and Halla. The girls agree simultaneously at the idea.

Taehyung senses ulterior motives and sees flashes of his youth passing before his eyes until Yoona nudges his knee. "Alright? Zoo on Sunday?"

"Y-Yeah. I like animals." Yoona's smile is lopsided, and Halla slaps a hand over her chest with an exaggerated and endeared gasp until Yoona glares at her. Halla laughs, then, unafraid.

Taehyung's sure to tell his mom exactly where he and the girls are going, just in case he doesn't make it home. "You'll probably need to get CSU to clean the lion cages. That's where they'll leave me." Mrs Kim laughs at his ridiculousness, but he's completely serious and even shows his brother how to clear his browser history, just in case.

That Sunday, they all meet up at the bus stop near school and ride to the zoo together. Taehyung arrives right after Yoona and Namjik, so they sit and wait for the other girls. Namjik pulls out a notebook and hunches over it, clearly not up for conversation. Yoona turns to Taehyung. "You ready?"

"Of course!" He toes his shoe off and his pantleg as he lifts his leg. "I'm even wearing my giraffe socks!" They are not meant for someone with muscular legs, but they're still cute, with a cartoon face on the foot and rest of the yellow sock covered in darker brown spots. An older woman sitting with her friend covers her laughter with a gnarl-knuckled hand.

"I refuse to be seen in public with you, if that's how you greet people." Jin stands a few sidewalk blocks away, Halla giggling into her shoulder.

He waves his foot, just to get Yoona to roll her eyes and smack his shoulder with the back of her hand. It's as good as a laugh, in his opinion. He drops his leg and hops to his feet, apologising fast when Namjik drops her pen.

The bus is right on schedule. They stand aside to let a few people off, and Taehyung trails behind the girls towards the back of the bus.

Taehyung stands—because he's a gentleman and gives up his seat so the couple of old ladies can continue their knitting project—while the girls share seats, but Yoona leans towards the aisle a little and keeps a hand wrapped around the pole running from the floor of the bus to the ceiling, keeping the seat anchored. Taehyung's left hand wraps around hers while his right hangs onto the bar running parallel to the ceiling.

The girls are getting used to him, he thinks. There are less hostile-and-or-questioning stares and more questioning grimaces when he does something particularly stupid. It's an improvement. His own friends give him the same looks.

Such an example is Taehyung getting into a heated arguement with one of the birds in an outdoor enclosure, almost immediately after paying the admission fee and entering the zoo gates. Its feathers are ruffled, and it's hopping threateningly close to the outer fence when Yoona grabs Taehyung's arm and drags him away. Jin and Namjik had already walked a safe distance away, safe enough to say they don't know him. Halla records it all on her phone.

He makes faces at the monkeys, narrowly missing getting spat on. "It's not the first time it's happened," he explains, mystified, to Yoona. "I think they're trying to initiate me into their ranks or something."

"Well, you are a monkey." Jin waits by a kiosk with Namjik, looking over a map and arguing over what they should see next.

"If I was King Kong," Taehyung muses, "I'd climb any building for you."

"...That's actually kind of sweet, but I am perfectly happy on the ground." Yoona's walking ahead, grinning at him over her shoulder. The sun's shining bright and hits the back of her head, throwing a halo of light and setting off the highlights in her hair while simultaneously making her complexion border on ethereal. It's like a cheesy rom-com moment; instead of a chorus of angels, there are screaming children and barking sea lions, but Taehyung's afraid to take the few steps to get out of the way of someone selling balloons, because there's a convenient fountain nearby that he's sure to fall into.

The mass of balloons breaks his line of sight, effectively breaking the spell Yoona cast, and Taehyung breathes again.

Balloonman keeps walking, switching the ribbons from his left hand to his right. Kids continue driving their parents to migraines. Sea lions cough and bark to the delight of their audience. Yoona stands with a hand on her hip, other hand playing with the strap of her purse.

"Are you coming, Taehyung, or are you going to see about the chimps adopting you as their own?"

"Oh, hey, wait! Hold up!" Taehyung pulls his phone from his pocket and opens the camera, joggiing behind Yoona with his arm outstretched.

"What're you doing?"

"Take a picture with me!" She's trapped between his arms and resigns herself to the photo, throwing up deuces with a wink.

"Lemme see." Taehyung taps the photo and tilts the screen so she can see, but she snatches the phone from his hand and emails the picture to herself. "Not bad. Your monkey arms are good for something," she teases. Taehyung makes a grab at her, but she ducks and runs away, taking sanctuary behind Jin.

As playful as she's being, Yoona plays dirty. She knows Taehyung still prefers at least ten feet of distance between himself and the oldest girl. Halla has no such restrictions and hooks an arm over Taehyung's neck to drag him along.

They check out souvenirs at a stall near the restrooms. Taehyung picks out couple hats—as coupley as a lion and a polar bear can be. He doesn't give Yoona warning, sneaking up behind her and tugging the knit hat over her hair. It looks ridiculous with the bump of her bun, and she's still for a few seconds before tearing it off her head.

He doesn't even think; he just bends over and kisses her. It's chaste and quick but still kind of makes his fingers tingle a little, because her eyes are soft when he pulls away.

Then Namjik has to ruin the moment.

"Oh!" she gasps, staring at her sunglasses in shock. Her left hand holds the lenses and an arm; her right hand holds the other arm. "I didn't even do anything!" They were on her face and decided to give up against the sun's glare, popping right off her ears.

Jin sighs and takes her to the gift shop, at the front of the zoo, because Namjik cannot survive without sunglasses.

"We'll meet you at the food court in twenty, okay?" The girls leave, Namjik whining about her poor luck, and Yoona looks to her right, where Halla's browsing plastic toy dinosaur heads that had trigger-activated snapping jaws.

"You're not going with them?"

"Nope!" she chirps. Someone has to keep an eye on Taehyung. It goes unsaid, but Yoona rolls her eyes, remembers the hat on her head, and blushes at the ground.

He buys the hats, roaring at a couple small children and earning delighted shrieks of laughter. Yoona puts the hat back on, just to cover up her static-charged hat hair and grabs Taehyung's hand before he wanders off too far, then takes Halla by the elbow. She feels like an elementary school teacher on a field trip.

She needs to find someplace to keep them both contained for fifteen minutes, then they can join Namjik and Jin. Yoona glares at a corner sign. African safari, penguins, polar bear, reptiles... Her lips twitch, and she pulls her friends to the right.

They go to the reptile house.

It takes a bit of coaxing, especially around the snake handlers demonstrating how to hold a nine foot boa constrictor, but Halla joins them in the dark, air conditioned building. There's a hushed murmur of voices, and children press against the glass while parents stand back and take photos or chat with other parents.

Taehyung immediately walks to the left, determined to follow a set path and see every reptile and fish. He crouches by the frogs and turtles, squinting when he can't see them and triumphantly pointing them out to Yoona when he finds them. Halla walks behind Yoona, playing with her phone and texting Jin to please hurry. i'm hungry and don't want to be the third wheel stuck with the lovebirds.

They progress from amphibians to reptiles. A little girl slowly reads the snake facts to her dad, and Halla inches closer to Taehyung and Yoona. She doesn't want to be left behind with the newfound knowledge that snakes can't choke on their food because of the little tube at the bottom of their mouth that comes out far enough to get air with the rest of their mouth is full.

Or that the spitting cobra spits venom right into the eyes of its prey from six feet away. So much nope in one five foot glass box.

"This one's pretty," Yoona comments, tapping a glass enclosure with the pad of her finger. It's lit with recessed bulbs, heating the enclosure and making the windows a bit foggy. The snake's green body drapes like a horse saddle with its head nestled in the middle of its coils over a branch hanging beside the pool of brownish water; it's thicker than her bicep.

"You like snakes?" Taehyung leans closer, observing the lazy snake. It ignores him.

"I don't mind them." She looks at their reflection in the glass. "I can't say the same for Halla, though."

On Taehyung's right, Halla clutches his arm to her chest, quivering in her ankle boots and looking over her shoulder more than the enclosures.

"Hey, Halla. Paws off the merchandise, if you're not buying."

"It's okay; I don't mind." He knows what it's like to be terrified, living in near constant fear since asking Yoona out, and holding onto someone is a great way to anchor oneself in reality. It is also a great way to incur a girlfriend's jealous wrath. Taehyung's quick to wave a hand, as if clearing the air of misundersandings. "That's not what I meant—"

Yoona's eyebrows drop over her eyes, and her mouth makes a bracketed hyphen. It's a funny face, but Taehyung's too afraid to laugh. He is trainable.

Halla releases his arm so she's just holding onto is forearm and elbow with her hands. She sidesteps a giggling child and watches as he runs right up to a concave window of the large aquarium to stare in wide-eyed wonder at the many freshwater fish inside. Fish are kind of okay, in that they're harmless, but their dead eyes and aimlessness resemble zombies way too closely for comfort. "Whatever. Yoona's jealous. Can we please get out of here?" Her voice breaks.

Yoona walks behind them to stand at Halla's right. "I am not jealous." She's protective. There's a difference. "Why don't you just go wait for us outside?"

"I don't want to be alone." Navigating the dim building is difficult enough with the two. On her own, she clearly envisions the chase scene in Snow White, after the princess escapes the hunstman. Everything would be one hundred times scarier. Also, she, Namjik, and Jin agreed to not leave Yoona and Taehyung alone. Just based on principle.

"They can't hurt you, noona. They're all behind glass." Taehyung raps his knuckle against a window for good measure, and Halla whimpers a little when the anaconda's body slithers, the head staying perfectly still. "Just look at how lazy they are. They're totally spoiled. Big snakes can actually go for days without eating. You probably look disgusting to them."

"Gee, thanks." It doesn't make her feel any better. She looks into the pen of another lounging snake. It's actually kind of pretty, white with a yellow pattern.

Taehyung prattles on, doing an amazing Wikipedia impression. "Snakes don’t have eyelids, so they can’t blink or close their eyes to sleep, and it’s hard to tell when they're sleeping or actually staring, but they can’t see very well, anyway, and they really only notice objects only if they move." The pretty python lifts its head, tongue flapping before its face. Halla stills, holding the boy's arm tighter. He doesn't seem to notice, eyes on the captive reptile. "Most of the time, they sense their prey through vibrations caused by movement. Their most acute sense is smell, though, which is actually because of their tongues. When they do that tongue thing, they pick up tiny chemical particles..." The snake winks, and Halla's eyes snap shut; she drops into a crouch with her hands over her ears and screams.

Across the zoo, wolves howl. The monkeys screech and jump on their rope bridges. Some glass in the reptile house cracks, but that is probably coincidence. Young children take up the cry, rushing to their parents with wet faces and runny noses.

Zoo workers are called in and escort a sobbing Halla outside, with Yoona and Taehyung tailing solemnly behind.

They sit her on a bench across from the reptile house. Yoona promises to look after her, and they leave.

She feels a bit bad, but she doesn't feel so bad as to not acknowledge the sharp, bitter taste of something akin to jealousy when Taehyung offers a hug, and Halla readily wraps her arms around him to cry into his sweater. "I don't like snakes!" she cries. Taehyung gives good hugs. Yoona knows. She likes his hugs, not that she'd admit it out loud.

"C'mon. Let's get moving before Jin calls over the speakers."

The walk to the food court is relatively quiet. Yoona takes pity on her younger friend and holds her hand. Taehyung walks alongside with his hands in his pockets, head swiveling left and right and ducking a bit to check on Halla. For as strong as she is on stage and on school, it takes an animal to reduce her to tears. She reminds him of his baby sister; she decided she didn't like frogs after finally catching one and discovering its skin was slimy. Poor kid had stood in their yard, screaming and crying, holding onto the frog in shock.

He can only imagine how Halla would have reacted if they'd actually gone to where the zoo workers were letting patrons hold the snakes.

They reach the meeting place a bit earlier than planned, but Jin and Namjik—sporting leopard print sunglasses—are already at a table with a shady umrella. Jin almost stands when she notices Halla's pink face as the girl passes the table to go to the restroom.

Yoona waves a hand dismissively and plunks herself beside Namjik. "Halla got scared in the reptile house."

Namjik snorts, writing in her notebook again.

Halla returns a few minutes later with damp eyelashes, reapplied makeup, and some more colour to her face than usual, standing with her hands on her hips and glaring at the table collectively.

"I have decided on your punishments."

Namjik's pen pauses its scribbling. Punishments?"

"What are you talking about Halla? Please sit down." Jin scoots over more and searches for her pocket mirror, because Halla's makeup reminds her of her own, but the younger girl doesn't sit.

Namjik leans her chin on her palm. "What did they even do?"

"Reptile house," Halla spits. "It is full of snakes and lizards and slimy, creepy things!" She shudders. Taehyung debates defending the reptiles. Most aren't slimy, and few are creepy, but there's a dedicated gleam to the girl's eyes that tells him she would not appreciate a crash course in zoology.

"I still don't see why you're taking it out on all of us." Jin snaps her compact shut and puts it in the pocket of her blazer.

"Because karma's a bitch, unnie." And so is Halla right now. She is a woman on a mission. Hell hath no fury like Jung Halla. She takes all her bright positivity and redirects it towards revenge, promising to make them all pay. Even Taehyung, who did absolutely nothing wrong for once.

Dating Yoona, however, he's guilty by association.

"No one told you to come with us," Yoona points out with her arms across her chest. "You could've gone with Jin and Namjik." Yoona is perfectly trustworthy by herself. Taehyung is questionably questionable. The issue is them alone together. Jin won't allow it, within her power, until she's certain Taehyung isn't a complete putz like the previous boyfriend. The others agree, Namjik in particular, who celebrated his punishment with dinner provided and paid for by Yoona's dad.

"That's not the point," Halla chirps with a small smile. "The point is you know I don't like snakey things but went there anyway and did nothing to help when I was clearly freaking out, so you each much suffer one righteous punishment of my choosing."

"Now?" Taehyung asks. He flinches when Halla smiles at him. It's more terrifying than Yoona's smile, that one that carries the weight of nuclear proportions. He swallows and tries to not show fear. Jin mutters something about overreacting that Halla duly ignores.

"Not now, no," Halla says, finally sitting beside Jin. A black cloud of Doom hovers overhead, tiny lightning flashing with every word. "But soon."