Chapter 25

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Taehyung fidgeted nervously with his fingers. He could hear Emily making her way through the apartment and the restlessness in his body only grew. When Jimin had linked with him and told him Emily remembered he'd felt an eerie sense of calm. Taehyung knew he either needed to leave, or confront her when she came home and come clean about everything. His gut instinct was to flee, but as he'd hurried back to the apartment to gather his few, hidden belongings he'd had a change of heart. His reasons to stay outweighed his desire to flee. He'd always been able to fly under the radar and get away with more than most agents of Wishing Well could, but this time was going to be different. The chances of his involvement being discovered were high and the consequences would be terrible. His memories would either be wiped before they retrained him, or he would be stripped of his abilities and left to live out his days in whichever form Mr. Yoo decided would be suitable punishment.

He squeezed his eyes shut, sick at the thought of being bound to one form for the rest of time; at the complete and utter loss of freedom. Taehyung knew that Jimin was doing his best to protect him from the fallout of this situation, but deep inside Taehyung knew there was very little chance that Jimin would be successful in safeguarding them both. His heart ached for his friend. Jimin may not have accepted the truth himself, but Taehyung knew what Emily was to Jimin and he was determined to help his friends in whatever way he could.

Friends he thought ruefully to himself. I'm not sure Emily will feel that way, but that's what she is to me. Taehyung released the breath he'd been holding when he heard the front door close. Emily was home and he knew a confrontation was inevitable. He sucked a few deep breaths into his lungs as he tried to formulate what he was going to tell her.

When she walked through the bedroom door he looked up at her and found himself wishing he could hear her thoughts the way he was able to Jimin's. He could tell that she was trying to put up a brave front. EMily's eyes were wild and her breathing was controlled, but just barely. He knew he had to look frantic and worried, too.

Finally finding his voice, Taehyung spoke, "Jimin said he told you. I guess I should formally introduce myself." As he stood from the bed her jaw dropped; he could only imagine how she was feeling. He was usually scampering around her apartment as a cat and now he was standing in front of her as himself, as a man. He wiped his hands on his jeans before extending one to her. She stared at his hand for a moment before her gaze made its way to his face. After a moment's hesitation, she placed her small hand in his much larger one.

"Hi, Emily. My name is Taehyung." He rasped.

"Tae-Taehyung?" Emily asked. Taehyung couldn't help the grin that broke out on his face. He nodded vigorously before answering, "I am pretty partial to Jack though."

She smiled at that, but it didn't quite reach her eyes. The smile slowly dropped off his face as well. He had only wanted to help her, but she didn't know that. All Emily knew was that two of the people in her life weren't who or what she thought they were.

"I'm sorry for tricking you," he told her, ducking his head as he spoke. She pulled her hand away from him and took a seat in her desk chair.

"Why?" Emily asked.

Taehyung's head snapped up, "What?"

"Why?" She repeated. "Why did you trick me? And why are you sorry for it?"

"I just wanted to protect you." Taehyung murmured. "Then I felt like you were my friend, and I didn't like lying to you, but I still wanted to keep you safe."

Emily scoffed, "You felt like I was your friend?"

Taehyung nodded and Emily's brows furrowed.

"You took good care of me. You didn't have to take me in, but you did. Even when I scratched you and I wasn't nice to Jimin you were still kind to me." He said softly.

"Why protect me though? Did Jimin put you up to it? Are you a team?" Emily pressed.

"No," Taehyung shook his head. "We work for the same organization, but we aren't a team."

"Then why me? Why protect me?" She asked. Taehyung could hear confusion, or maybe desperation, creeping into her voice.

"In addition to being a shifter, I get feelings--"

"I didn't ask about your specialty or your feelings!" Emily snapped. "I asked why you were protecting me."

"I'm getting to that," Taehyung answered calmly. "I need you to let me speak and not interrupt again. Can you do that?" Emily jerkily nodded her head.

"Thank you." He said. "So in addition to the ability to shift, I also get gut feelings sometimes." Emily snorted and he shot her a look before continuing. "I'm kind of left alone at the company. I'm mostly unproblematic so they let me do what I want. I typically end up wandering around until I find what my feelings seem to be pulling me toward."

He paused, taking a breath before continuing. "I had no idea you were connected to Jimin in any way when I found you. I just knew I needed to stick with you. I shifted into a cat and you know the rest."

Taehyung rubbed the back of his neck and averted his eyes when he finished.

"So, do you still feel like you need to stick with me?" Emily asked quietly.

"I do."

"Then I guess you can stay here." She said, standing from the chair. His head snapped up and his jaw dropped. Emily took in his shocked appearance and continued, "We have to have some ground rules though. No more being a kitty. You have to stay in your human. . . Uh. . . Humanesque form at all times. No lying. None. If you lie you're gone."

Taehyung stood from the bed and grabbed her hands, "Thank you, Emily. Thank you!"

"I can't believe I'm doing this," she muttered, pulling her hands away. "If I have questions will you answer them?"

"Yes! Anything!" Taehyung answered quickly.

"Then I guess we have a deal. Now get out of my room. Since you're no longer my pet you can't sleep here anymore." She said as she shooed him out of the room.

She shut the door behind him and he felt a small grin forming on his face. He wasn't sure why she had decided to trust him and let him stay; he should probably be more suspicious that she trusted him so quickly, but right now he wasn't going to push it. He made his way to the kitchen, determined to do something nice to thank Emily for letting him stay

Hey Jimin? He reached out with his thoughts.

Before too long Jimin answered how did it go?

She's letting me stay as long as I stay in my human form Taehyung answered cheerfully.

That's it? That's her only stipulation?

No, I also can't lie, but I get to stay and I feel relieved.

Taehyung felt silence from Jimin's end and continued toward the kitchen, knowing he would answer when he was ready.

///

Emily sat in her room still not quite believing that she had agreed to let Taehyung stay. She still felt freaked out about everything that had been going on and she was currently questioning all of her relationships. No one was who she thought they were and it left her feeling on edge. Of all the people in her life she felt like Taehyung was the one that would be the most likely to actually tell her the truth. Angela had been lying for years and Jimin had obviously lied trying to protect Taehyung, but there was something about the taller man that felt open and honest.

Jimin wouldn't like it, and she was probably a terrible person for using Taehyung to get the answers she needed, but she couldn't stumble around blind with no answers. Emily needed the truth and if trusting Taehyung, using him to get answers was what she had to do then so be it.  Emily refused to be in the dark anymore. 

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