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A Glimpse

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2013 – Long Beach, California. Jimin’s home.

“Oh my god…” Jimin gasps. The papers in his hands begin to shake. Blinking his eyes and setting the paper on his desk, he re-reads the sentence that has his heart all up in a knot. He re-reads it once, twice more. Like it’s a bubble about to burst and disappear out of existence, he gingerly picks it up and refolds it. Counting to ten, he opens it again, and the words are still there. He tosses it on his mattress in disbelief. Knees wobbling, he almost topples over. His hip bangs against the desk as he teeters but the pain barely registers. A dull thud pulses over the bone and he subconsciously reaches down to pat it. He opens his mouth and bellows. “Oh, my fucking god, I can’t believe this! Jungkook, Jungkook! Come here, quick!”

There is a loud clatter in the bathroom, a squawking noise and then a thud. A second later, there is a bang, then the thumping sound of feet are rushing down the hallway toward his bedroom. Jimin jumps when the door bursts open to a frenzied Jungkook.

“What?” Jungkook asks. He rushes over, almost tripping on his socked feet. His hands are wet from being hastily washed, but they cup Jimin’s cheeks anyway. Jimin’s mom is trailing behind him too, eyes wide and frightened, curious to see. “What is it? What’s happened?”

“I…” Jimin breathes. He instinctively reaches up and grabs Jungkook’s hands, locking their fingers together. He’s trembling, he knows it, and he might be a tad bit dramatic for this, but it feels like he’s in a dream. He shakily points his finger at his bed, toward the letter open and innocuous resting atop his sheets. “Read it. Tell me I’m not crazy.”

“Jimin, honey…” Jimin’s mom approaches then and wraps her arm around his waist, eyes widening in realization.

“Read it,” Jimin tells Jungkook again when the other doesn’t make a move.

Jungkook hesitantly steps back, eyeing Jimin warily. It takes a moment for him to free his hands, but he steps over to the bed, picks up the letter, and reads it under his breath. It's too quiet; they can’t hear him.

“Jimin...you,” Jungkook cuts off, shoulders raised and tense. “you’re not crazy.”

When he turns around and beams at Jimin, Jimin feels his vision swoop, the air in his lungs punches out of his body. Dizzy and wild-eyed he looks at his mom, who looks like she’s about to cry. Jimin’s eyes are glistening too.

“A full ride, Jimin,” Jungkook announces. “A full-ride scholarship to Colombia University! NEW YORK, BABY!”

Jimin sobs out of joy. Picking up his small mother and swinging her around. She’s full-on sobbing now, so proud of her son.

“My baby boy,” she cries into his ear. “You did it. I knew you could!”

Jungkook hovers by and brings Jimin into his arms when his mom pulls away.

“I have to call your father!” she says, wiping at her eyes. She rushes out of his room, singing his praises all the way down the stairs.

Jimin is suddenly in the air, Jungkook having snatched him up by his thighs, holding him up high enough to almost hit the ceiling. He clutches at Jungkook’s shoulders, laughter uncontrollable. He’s shaken, and he feels stupid, but he can’t stop crying, the tears in his eyes falling freely down his cheeks. Jungkook is squeezing him close and tossing him up and down in elation.

“I did it!” Jimin shouts, smiling down through his tears at Jungkook. “I fucking did it!”

“You did it!” Jungkook beams at him, eyes crinkling. “You worked so hard, Jimin. You’re incredible,” he drops Jimin down until he’s back on his feet, and immediately starts pressing kisses all over his face. “I’m so proud of you. I knew you could. You deserve this, you deserve everything.”

Jimin clutches at his shirt, letting Jungkook kiss his cheeks, his eyes, and nose, forehead and lips.

“I love you,” Jungkook breathes into his ear, hugging him in close.

“I love you,” Jimin presses in, sloppily mashing his lips against Jungkook’s. “I couldn’t have done it without you. I couldn’t have. I love you, so much.”

“No, no,” Jungkook shakes his head and pulls back to brush Jimin’s bangs away from his face. They rest their foreheads together for a moment and take it all in. Jimin brings his hands around to play with the hair at the nape of Jungkook’s neck. “This is all you, babe. All your nights staying up to study, all those honors projects, your amazing grades. God, you’re so brilliant. You’re amazing. You could do anything you put that amazing little head of yours too.”

They giggle, Jimin slumping against his boyfriend.

“I have a great support system,” Jimin mutters. “You’ve been so patient with me; letting me miss out on our date nights to do homework, loving me and being concerned when I didn’t text you for days. I love you.”

“I love you, too,” Jungkook presses a kiss to Jimin’s forehead. “Congratulations, Jimin.”

Jimin’s mother comes into the room and coos at them. They blush, stepping away from the other.

“Jungkook, darling, get him to take a picture with the letter,” she brings out a camera that Jimin didn’t know they owned and hands it to Jungkook.

“Mom!” Jimin pouts. His eyes are all red and swollen. “My face looks bloated.”

“Cute either way,” Jungkook points out. He takes the letter and maneuvers Jimin into a pose, lifting his arms so he can showcase the acceptance letter to the lens. Before he steps away, he kisses his cheek.

“Look at him,” Jimin’s mother sniffles. “Our baby boy.”

Jungkook grins at Jimin’s pouty expression.

“Come on now, smile,” Jungkook aims the camera towards him. “Say, Columbia!”

For all his griping and pouting, and all his watery eyes and dried tear streaks on his cheeks, Jimin smiles wide and proud, teeth glinting when the flash goes off.

Snap.

“Columbia!”

 

 


 

 

 

They spend their last summer vacation together full of days without boredom.

They remain together unless circumstances demand otherwise, and they rarely do.

They spend time going on camping trips with their friends or going on camping trips alone. They go on movie theater dates, take walks along the beach, and swim in the ocean. They get so tan that they sport new moles, then kiss the new brown spots that adorn each other’s skin with love. Days are spent out in the sun, with them locking fingers as they run through shallow waves, and through sands and neighborhood parks. They even stay out so late, they often watch the sun rise and set from their perches on each other’s laps.

They attend parties, dance dirty with other people and then dance dirty with each other. They drink until they’re forced to drag one another back home, sloppily crawling into bed with quiet giggles gasping out of their mouths. Sometimes, they’re too drunk to even get aroused, choosing to lazily get each other off the next morning instead. They’ll kiss sloppily and complain about the taste, but that’s okay because those are some of their fun mornings; the mornings where they create memories together with banter and jokes.

There are so many nights filled with too many messy make-out sessions in houses unfamiliar to them. And that’s okay too, because they love each other, so much, and they’ll never fail to remind one another. Their hangovers are the worst. They pat each other’s backs throughout the vomiting, one making sure they drink enough water, and one making sure they eat something. They take care of each other like they both promised each other they would. They’re always taking care of each other, even when they fight, and even when they’re sick of it.

On slower days, they stay in. They hardly move from under the sheets, tracing fingers over cheeks and lips. You’re so beautiful, one of them would say and the other would smile and snuggle in closer, even if the weather was too warm. Those days, they can’t stand being separated. They shower together, eat meals together, keep each other’s hands safe within their own. They spend days sleeping in each other’s beds, often kept tangled together so deep in those hours when Jimin knows he should be gentle, even softer in the nights when Jungkook gets this look in his eyes.

Sometimes it scares Jimin when it looks like Jungkook is about to break. It looks like Jungkook is waiting, watching him as if he’s about to fade and take his whole world away. So, he treats him like glass, makes love him to gently and slowly, so careful that Jungkook nearly cries. He doesn’t, can never bring himself to tears yet because they still have a little bit of time. He can’t bring himself to act as if their time is limited because it hurts too much. So Jungkook forces himself to smile gently and to love unconditionally. Jimin commends him for being the positive one out of them both, for being the strong one when even he himself is too afraid to face facts.

They never talk about it, not really.

Jimin however, never stops reminding Jungkook that they’ll be okay. No matter what happens, things will work out because they love each other. They believe that the universe will somehow bend to their will, that somehow, someway, their lives will end with the two of them. Because that’s how all love stories end, right? If they speak of it and make promises to each other, stay faithful and true, it’ll be spoken into existence; they know it. They’ll be successful, get married, raise a puppy, adopt children. They just know that they’ll grow gray together. It’s been written into their destinies. Ever since they first laid eyes on one another, they were meant to last forever.

“Life just works funny in that way,” Jimin whispers one night, wiping a tear from Jungkook’s cheeks as he hiccups softly. It’s the first time Jungkook cries about it. He isn’t hysterical, but it breaks Jimin’s heart either way. He keeps nodding as if he’s convincing himself to believe, to have faith. “I love you. I could never stop loving you.”

“Promise?” Jungkook asks desperately, bottom lip quivering.

“Yes,” Jimin kisses his red-tipped nose. “I promise.”

 

 


 

 

 

They still don’t talk about it. Not the reality of it. Not until it’s literally the last day Jimin has in Long Beach.

Jimin’s parents drive them all to the airport, Jungkook clutching his hand in the backseat of the car the entire way. He’s been silent majority of the morning and because of that, Jimin makes sure to smile extra big and made sure to cuddle him a little longer when they woke. He doesn’t dare let himself roam away too far, for he doesn’t know when he’ll be able to touch him again.

Jimin’s father and mother, surprisingly, aren’t teary-eyed at all. They are proud and grinning, happy to send off their son across the country to experience college life at one of the best universities in New York. They drag Jimin’s few suitcases from the car where they park, babbling away at each other and occasionally laughing merrily.

They are the firsts to bid farewell.

“Baby boy,” Jimin’s mother sighs as she holds him. “I’m so proud of you. You’re going to have so much fun. You’re going to make all those professors love you and make all these new friends. I can’t wait to hear all the stories.”

Jimin’s dad also hugs him, “You have to promise to call your mom. Keep us updated on how you’re doing.”

Jimin smiles and pats his dad’s back, “I promise.”

Jimin’s mom drags him in one more time, kisses his cheek and let’s go.

Jungkook fidgets behind them, eyes wide and glassy. Jimin’s parents pass him by so they can have a moment, and she pats him on the shoulder sympathetically, “We’ll be in the car.”

Jimin sees the first tears start falling as Jungkook throws himself at him and this time it appears Jungkook can’t help but start sobbing openly.

Jimin’s heart aches at seeing his boyfriend breakdown like this. He holds him tight, holds him harder when he starts to feel Jungkook’s shoulders shake with his cries. He doesn’t even grimace when a wet nose touches the skin of his neck. The sounds of Jungkook hiccupping into his ear makes this all too real.

He’s leaving. He’s leaving.

He’s never been anywhere remotely far from his hometown and now he’ll be hundreds and hundreds of miles away from the person he loves. He won’t get to hold him to sleep for a while, won’t get to wake up to his sleep riddled face. He won’t get to kiss him whenever he felt like it or even reach out to hold his hand. He’ll be too far. He can’t just have him come over at the simple send of a text or a call. It’ll be months until he gets to see him in the flesh, all warm and radiant. How could he possibly withstand that?

When he gets lonely, what else is he supposed to do? Who else can he go to? Jungkook won’t be around.

He tries and tries so hard, but he can’t help crying too when the lump in his throat won’t dislodge. This hurts more than anything he’s ever felt before.

It feels like goodbye.

Now he understands what Jungkook must’ve felt when he looked at Jimin like he was about to fade, about to disappear. Because he basically will be.

Jungkook whimpers when he feels Jimin shudder against him. He shoves his eyes into the crook of Jimin’s neck and Jimin’s voice catches on a sob. He doesn’t know what to do.

“J-Jungkook, baby,” he tries to coax his boyfriend into looking at him. Jungkook shakes his head vehemently.

Everyone in the airport gives them space, avoids staring as they both cling and hold on to each other as if it’s their last.

“I-I can’t, Jimin,” Jungkook finally says after a few minutes. He can’t seem to catch his breath. “I can’t d-do this.”

“What?” Jimin shakes his head and wipes the tears gathering at his nose. “Yes, you can. Of course, you can.”

“I just can’t help feeling like this is b-bad,” Jungkook finally pulls away, but he doesn’t look at Jimin quit yet. His face is splotched red in odd places, tears hanging heavily off his chin. His lips are pulled down into a frown. Jungkook brings his hands to his eyes and bends over to get a hold of himself. “I just keep feeling like, if you get on that plane-“

“Jungkook…” Jimin interrupts with hurt in his voice.

“No, please,” Jungkook pleads. “Hear me out, baby.”

Jimin nods, “Okay, okay. Anything for you.”

“I just…” Jungkook finally drops his hands and Jimin’s tears fall faster at seeing how broken-hearted he looks. He’s never seen anything like it before. His strong, positive Jungkook, all battered down. “I keep feeling like, if you get on that plane, you won’t ever look back. And, and I know it sounds silly. It sounds so melodramatic, I know. I know I’m supposed to support you and back you one hundred percent on every decision you make for yourself because that’s what a good boyfriend should do, right?”

Jimin stares, dries his eyes and nods hesitantly when Jungkook doesn’t carry on.

“But even after telling myself that, every day this summer, my head and my heart don’t seem to meet eye to eye,” Jungkook smiles sadly. He looks down at his feet and after a moment grabs hold of both Jimin’s hands. “I should know that you’ll come back in the winters and summers. I should know that this isn’t going to be the last time that I see you, but you’re going to be in New York, and I’ll just be here, left behind. Your stupid little boyfriend who still needs to graduate high school in a city you should forget about. B-because you’re destined for great, amazing things. But, I just…I’m so sorry for being shitty. For being this shitty before you leave, but I have to ask, Jimin. I have to ask you.”

Jimin’s eyes close, he tips his head backward, hoping that his tears will stop coming, hoping that the lump in his throat will finally go away. It doesn’t. Everything aches. His heart aches, his stomach is queasy. It’s hard to breathe, “Ask me what?”

“Stay?” Jungkook whispers. It looks like it even pains him to ask. “Stay with me?”

Jimin opens his eyes and stares, stares so long that Jungkook blanches.

“I know. It’s stupid, right? But you can go to school here, you can get into any fucking university here and they’d be happy to have you. They’d be some dumb bastards if they didn’t give you a full ride just like Columbia. We can get an apartment, I can go to the same school as you. We wouldn’t have to wait years to be with each other. Jimin, four years. That’s such a long time. Aren’t you scared? I just have such a bad feeling about this and maybe I’ve let my fear blind me, but I can’t help it. You’re probably so disappointed in me, I know you must be, because… because I should have faith. I know I should. I just love you. I love you so much. I would follow you to the ends of the Earth, as cliché as that sounds. But I choose you, I choose you over everything. I choose us, and I want you to be on the same page with me.”

“Oh, Jungkook,” Jimin smiles softly, he moves in and gathers his boyfriend in his arms. “I love you. I love you more than anything. I know I will love you through the problems we’ll go through.”

Jungkook nods his head quickly, hopefully, “Yes. We can do anything together.”

“But time has nothing on us., Jimin shakes his head. “Four years in college won’t break us. We’d be fools to let it try. I have to do this, for me, for us.”

Jungkook freezes up, he goes so quiet and stiff that Jimin worries at his bottom lip. He just knows he’s probably shattered Jungkook’s heart. He probably feels trampled all over, but he can’t just throw away this opportunity. It’s a once in a lifetime deal and he plans to experience it. He’ll never stop loving him, he knows this to be true. Jungkook must realize this as well and maybe when he’s recovered from this awful farewell, he’ll come to and see Jimin’s reasonings. It’s for the best.

“If we can get through this first year, I’ll get a job and start saving up for a ring. One you deserve,” Jimin smiles as he tries to lighten up the mood. He can’t help but become afraid of Jungkook’s reaction, what must be going through his head when heartbreak is so forthright in his emotions as of now.

Jungkook steps back, face a blank slate of emotions.

“I promise you, hey, look at me,” Jimin nudges his chin up until they lock eyes. “I promise you, we’ll be okay.”

Jungkook sighs, defeated or relieved, Jimin can’t tell, “Okay.”

“Have faith in us,” Jimin places his forehead against his boyfriends. “Have faith in me.”

“Okay, babe. I will. I’ll try,” Jungkook whimpers again. He shakes his head and scrubs at his eyes.

Jimin loves him so much. He’s even endeared when Jungkook cries.

Jimin smiles again, leans in to kiss his lips, “I have to go now.”

Jungkook slumps forward and sobs into the collar of his shirt. It’s so hard to let go.

“Okay,” he says in a wobbling voice.

“I love you. God, Jungkook. I love you so much,” Jimin kisses his hair, his temple.

“Call me when you land,” Jungkook begs when he looks up. “Promise.”

“I promise,” Jimin picks up his carry-on bag, kisses Jungkook once more, twice, thrice more times before he really must go.

“Don’t forget about me,” Jungkook tries to joke and smile while he cries.

“Never,” Jimin shakes his head.

As he turns around, his face crumples. He tries to compose himself, but he can’t. He doesn’t dare look back, afraid of what state of a mess he’s left Jungkook behind.

It physically pains him to turn his back on Jungkook, it feels so wrong to walk away, but he does so knowing that this isn’t the end. If his heart is any indication, he won’t ever let go of Jungkook.

He really meant what he said about coming back, saving up a ring. He plans on marrying Jungkook as soon as he can because that’s what he’s meant to do.

Because if they’ve spoken it into existence, then that’s what it will be.

It’s written in their destinies.

 

 


 

 

 

Jimin doesn’t come home for the winter. Jungkook tries to not hurt when he tells him so over the phone. Jimin plans to stay over the holidays in his dorm, alone. He never bought a plane ticket back home and now that it’s so close to the holiday, the tickets are ridiculously priced.

“It’s okay!” Jungkook encourages. He glances off to the side at the gifts he’s collected for Jimin. He calculates how much postage is going to cost to send it to his dorm. “We still have summer.”

They Skype as often as they can and text each other every day.

It’s right around finals that Jimin begins to reply less and less. He doesn’t log into Skype as often either. When he did find the time to do so, he looked awful. His eye-bags were deep and purple, Jimin explained that he caught the flu and that finals were killing him. He kept apologizing and Jungkook always, always remained understanding.

It’s around Spring when Jimin announces that he got a job. Jungkook is happy for him, he can’t believe Jimin is taking on so much his first year. It’s a receptionist job at a hospital near his dorm. It pays well and it’s in the career path that he is aiming for. He is elated and Jungkook doesn’t bother asking what this means for the summer, fearing for the worst. Deep down, he knows damn well what it means.

When he officially starts working, he starts calling less, starts texting less. Jimin misses Skype dates, forgets to call after parties he’s attended. He becomes bitter when he sees that Jimin has enough time to update his Facebook status, but not enough to text his boyfriend of three years back.

He’s busy. He’s sorry.

He makes empty promises, prioritizes his new friends over his life back home.

It’s fine. It’s fine all the fucking time, Jungkook continues to say.

One night, after watching Snapchats Jimin has uploaded of himself at some outrageous party, he starts to doubt everything.  Maybe Jungkook expected too much of him. Maybe, he was naïve. Maybe he should start going out more too, instead of staying home waiting for a call or text that doesn’t come. He’s been bailing on his friends, pushing off plans all because of Jimin who’s living up his life across the country, without him. It’s pathetic, really. He feels pathetic.

His mother worries. He’s a teenage boy, he should be out having fun and acting stupid. But instead, he feels shitty. He wonders if they both do. Or if it’s just him.

It just isn’t working out like they thought it would, and Jungkook is left frustrated and hurt.

After a while, Jungkook starts expecting less of him. He starts requesting less too. It’s what he receives after all. It’s what Jungkook starts giving back too, a half-assed effort on both parts.

He starts going out more, ignoring some of the rare texts Jimin sends. He starts to feel a little better too, which should be wrong. He shouldn’t feel better without Jimin at his side, but it just seems that that’s how this thing goes.

He’s not trying to be petty either. He’s just come to some conclusions after having had a couple of revelations. He’s grown up a little bit, grown up away from Jimin. He becomes different too, just as Jimin has.

He starts missing him less. He doesn’t bother trying to track what Jimin has been up to from social media sites. He copes by strengthening friendships with his friends at home, meeting tons of new people from the party scene they circulate around. He feels okay. Aches less. He barely even dreams about Jimin anymore.

It’s right before another round of finals that they finally resolve it for what it is.

They haven’t spoken in weeks. The only updates they have of each other are the ones they bother to see from their social media platforms. Lord knows what they’re up to these days. Neither of them has bothered to ask.

Jungkook gets a call when he’s out with friends. They had been drinking a little, hanging out at the beach under the bright moon. He’s not drunk by any means, but he can’t tell if his lack of reaction at seeing the name of the caller ID is from the alcohol, or from the desensitization that has stemmed from days of being locked out of Jimin’s world.

He frowns slightly and answers the phone as he steps away from his friends lounging in the sand.

“Jeon!” One of them calls as he walks further. “Where are you goin’?”

He snickers and waves him off, pointing at his phone.

“Bad timing?” the voice asks in his ear. Jungkook’s heart doesn’t kick as hard as it used to.

“Mm,” he answers noncommittally, “Just out. What’s up?”

“…just seeing how you’re doing, I guess...”

Jungkook snorts. Now he wants to know? “I’m good. You?”

“Same.”

“Cool,” Jungkook bites the skin of his lips. He starts digging a hole in the sand with his bare foot. “Did you uh, did you need something?”

“I just…” Jimin pauses from the other end, hesitating to find the words. “I think it’s a bad time for you. Maybe I can call you back when you’re, ya know. Alone.”

It’s then that Jungkook realizes what this is. His foot stops digging. His head gets a little clearer.

“Oh,” he crouches down. Unfamiliar panic slams into his chest, catching him off guard. He sighs deeply, willing the rush of blood in his system to slow down.

“Yeah. Listen, I can call you back later-“

“No!” Jungkook interrupts. Some pathetic part of him can’t bear to have Jimin hang up yet. “No. Just, just say what you have to say.”

“Jungkook…” Jimin says unsure. “I really think I should call you back. You busy tomorrow?”

“Yes,” he huffs out.

“Oh. The next day?”

“I’m busy a lot lately,” Jungkook mutters. He’s being childish, he knows, but he’s suddenly pissed off and desperate. He hasn’t felt this vulnerable in a long time.

“Well, when can you make time in your schedule for me, Kook?” Jimin bites out, sounding annoyed.

“Just say what you have to say now,” Jungkook bites back. He doesn’t want to prolong it anymore. “What’s holding you back, huh?”

There is silence on the other end.

“I don’t have all night.”

“Why are you being so mean?” Jimin complains. “I didn’t call to fight.”

“Jesus fucking Christ, Jimin!” Jungkook all but growls. “Just break up with me!”

Jimin gasps, almost sounding horrified. Jungkook’s throat feels like it wants to close up.

“Just do it. We both know that’s why you called. Isn’t it?”

“You’re being unfair,” Jimin suddenly sounds small.

“Just fucking do it. Leave me already,” Jungkook huffs, angry and hurt. He refuses to feel sad. He’s out with his friends. He won’t let Jimin ruin yet another night. Won’t spend another night crying over this boy. “What are you waiting for?”

“…fine.” Jimin exhales out shakily. “I didn’t want to do it like this, Jungkook.”

“I’m sure you didn’t,” he snaps. “You haven’t been doing much of anything for us lately, have you. So much for always loving me, right? For saying you’d never forget me.”

“I never forgot you. It’s just. It’s not our time right now, Jungkook.”

“Save it.”

“So, this is how you’re gonna be? You’re just going to be angry with me? What am I supposed to do?” Jimin cries out. He sounds distraught but Jungkook doesn’t have the will to comfort him.

“Nothing Jimin, absolutely nothing,” he fists his hand into his shirt, over where his stomach clenches uneasily. “Are we done now? Can I go?”

“You know I love you.”

“Oh, shut up,” Jungkook begs. “Just stop. You don’t get to say that to me.”

“And why is that?” Jimin asks haughtily.

“Because you don’t deserve to! Because you’ve been ignoring me for days, for weeks and now you have the nerve to tell me you love me? And you expect me to believe you?”

“You’re being so cruel,” Jimin mutters.

“I’m cruel? Me? I’m not the one giving up,” he whispers, but his voice carries a hard edge. “You’ve given up. You physically sicken me. I can’t even stand to hear your voice right now because of how bad you’ve been to me. All I wanted to do was love you.”

The other end goes silent. He listens to Jimin breathe. He imagines what it would feel like if they had to do this face to face. Would it have been easier?

Would this still have happened if Jimin went to a school here?

He guesses that he’ll never know.

“Jeon!” Jungkook hears his friend call out to him again. He turns to see his friends gathering their blankets and bags. “Let’s head out!”

“So, this is it then,” he hears Jimin say. Jungkook feels sick from how resigned his voice sounds. He says nothing more and Jungkook seethes. It’s the anger, the only thing keeping him from collapsing into heartbreak.

“Yeah, I guess so,” Jungkook says. He stands up and dusts the sand from his jeans. He picks up the pieces of himself and clutches onto them tightly. He must let go now. He can’t look back or double guess himself either. He must be sure before he can end this. Does he have the will?

He looks down at his bare feet in the sand and watches his toes wiggle. He pats down his solid thighs, marvels at his solid being and feels his heart pound. He forces himself to feel a little bit stronger, resolve as real as the blood rushing through his veins.

He sighs.

“Take care of yourself,” Jungkook pleads and hangs up before Jimin can say anything else.

 

 

Chapter Text

2024 – New York, New York. Jimin’s apartment.

It’s the sound of his alarm that rouses him from sleep. Surprisingly, it isn’t Seokjin snoring beside him nor his pager. Jimin blinks an eye open, groans and stretches. He listens to his bones pop and creak and lets the alarm ring until Seokjin stirs and reaches over him, slamming his heavy palms over the nightstand table and silencing the sound. His heavy body goes limp on top of Jimin’s chest and Jimin brings his arms down to brush through his blonde hair.

“Why do you always do that?” Seokjin croaks, rubbing his sleep-swollen face into Jimin’s chest.

Jimin grabs a remote from the nightstand and presses a couple of buttons. The lights slowly turn on and the shutters open on the floor to ceiling windows against the right wall of his bedroom. The sky outside is a dark blue and Jimin struggles to open his other eye.

“Work,” he replies through a sleep raspy voice. He shoves Seokjin off him and rolls over to sit up on the edge of the bed. Unconsciously, he rubs a hand over his bare chest and feels a wet spot. “You drooled on me again,” Jimin complains. The saliva cools the skin above his nipple where, coincidentally, more than a few hickeys mar his chest, trailing down past his underwear line.

Jimin looks back and watches Seokjin stretch out under the sheets. The older man doesn’t dignify him with a response and Jimin shrugs. He stands up, stretches his arms some more and moves over to his walk-in closet on the wall opposite of where his bed rests. He turns on the light when he slides the large mirror door open to pick out dark slacks and a white button-up shirt. He lays them very neatly on his bed and goes to grab socks, a blazer, and his heavy coat. They too are placed right next to others, perfectly straight and unfolded to ensure that no wrinkle will crease the fabrics.

Seokjin makes ridiculous sounds as he watches Jimin organize. The man shakes his head and moves to climb out of bed, accidentally kicking at Jimin’s clothes and throwing them into disarray. Jimin screeches and smacks his ass, hard, as he passes.

“Go home,” Jimin tells him with a bitter edge in his voice. “Shower. Clean yourself up; you smell.”

“Such a gentleman. Oh, so kind to the one who gave you the best orgasm this week,” Seokjin singsongs as he wobbles into the attached bathroom, hair a nest on his head. Jimin hears his sink turn on and he blinks at Seokjin when he comes out with a toothbrush in hand and his dick hanging out. He asks, “What’s on the charts for today?” before popping the tool into his mouth and scrubbing.

Jimin turns and realigns his clothing neatly again while thinking back on the information that his assistant, Heejin, had briefed him on the last evening.

“A couple of rhinoplasties and a brow lift. Sasha will be in, again, for a labiaplasty this time,” Jimin chuckles and rolls his eyes fondly. His return patients never cease to amaze him. “and just a couple of consultations.”

Seokjin nods to himself and a moment later comes out of the restroom dressed decent enough to leave Jimin’s high rise apartment. He comes to place a kiss on Jimin’s cheek and gropes his ass before picking up his keys thrown haphazardly on the bedside table and walking out of the door. They don’t bother saying goodbye to one another as they are to see each other within an hour and a half. Seokjin is his surgical assistant and he sees enough of him within a week anyway. Plus, they aren’t dating, just fucking around.

When Jimin hears his front door click closed, he picks up the remote again and turns on the sound system embedded throughout the ceiling of his apartment. His phone connects automatically via Bluetooth and his “Faves” playlist shuffles. Without a second thought to his neighbors, the music blasts through his apartment. He swings his ass around under the spray of water, shaves his face, washes his hair, brushes his teeth. After vigorously scrubbing his hair dry with a towel and moisturizing his skin, he dresses in the outfit he's picked.

It's when his music gets interrupted does he pause in his everyday routine. His phone pings several times, the alert ringing through his speakers. It’s 6 am, and Jimin owns two cell-phones. One is a personal and the other is his hospital phone. By the sound of it, his personal just went off and he’s a little caught off guard.

He takes one last look at himself and grabs his coat. He doesn’t bother opening his messages yet pocketing both phones and shrugging on his heavy coat. When he glances out of the window, he grimaces. It looks like it snowed the night before, the streets down below are lined with white that the cleaners on the ground are shoveling away. He snags his keys and wallet off the ledge of his kitchen counter before he leaves his place not even bothering to lock the door. The chances of him getting robbed are slim to none, not in this building where everyone is well off just like him. The private building is guarded by a doorman who knows all its residences well and there are several security cameras in the lobby. No one remotely sketchy looking is even let near the door without being questioned.

If Jimin were to admit it, he’s extremely proud of himself, and his parents are proud too. Especially when Jimin bought them a grand house back in California, the kind of house his parents deserved. He loves taking care of them, loves sending his mother pretty clothes and jewels, and his father nice wrist watches and shoes. He smiles thinking of them and decides he should call them soon to check up on how they’ve been doing.

He takes the elevator to the underground parking lot level where his black Ferrari 488 sits pristine and sleek. It’s right as he climbs into the seat that he remembers his unopened texts in his phone. The device unlocks into his inbox as he turns to buckle himself up and Jimin almost drops it from the shock that slams into his chest upon seeing the contact name. Jungkook.

He glances around himself suspiciously as if someone's watching him - pulling a prank on him.

He blinks away his surprise as he settles into his seat and starts the car. Before he reverses out of his space he opens the string of texts. They read:

Hey, Jimin :) It’s Jungkook.

Long time, no talk. I’m in New York! Can you believe it?

Anyway, I was wondering if you wanted to get some coffee sometime while I’m here. Maybe you can show me a couple of new places. Let me know! I’ll be here until the New Year.

Jimin reads the texts several times before locking his phone and placing it in the cup holder.

“Hm,” he hums and can’t find it in himself to reply. Jimin doesn’t harbor an answer for Jungkook, and he’s a busy man after all; work is the priority. He’ll reply later, maybe.

 

 


 

 

 

The first rhinoplasty of the day starts at 8 am and it takes up to two and a half hours. Jimin typically hums when he works with a patient in a deep sleep on the table as he gruelingly grinds their bones and places sutures. He’s unaware of it, but he’s quiet today, mind elsewhere. The silence of the room isn’t apparent until he’s done with the patient. Everyone assisting him with his surgery is already staring at him with raised eyebrows when he looks up, including Seokjin, whose only visible feature is his eyes that hold an amusement held above the mask he’s wearing that covers his mouth and nose.

Jimin clears his throat and feels his ears turn red.

“What are you all waiting for?” he asks them. “Clean her up.”

“Yes sir,” they all scramble about giggling to themselves.

Jimin walks out of the surgery suite smiling warmly at his staff. Outside, he rids himself of his gloves, gown, hat, and mask, tossing them as he starts to scrub down, again. It’s a process and he watches through the window that overhangs the sink as the technicians and assistants routinely proceed to clean up the young girl on the bed, a seventeen-year-old named Alicia with permission from her parents to get her nose fixed. Jimin hopes if anything that she’s happy with it and that the people in her school will stop making fun of her. It’s a shame that kids are so mean, she was beautiful either way, Jimin thinks.

Seokjin walks out a moment later, ridding himself of his now toxic materials.

“What’s going on in that head of yours, doctor?” he asks as Jimin starts to dry off. He watches Seokjin scrub up, up, up to his elbows, the white suds covering his flawless skin.

“Jungkook texted me this morning,” Jimin admits easily. Seokjin raises his eyebrows having heard plenty of times who exactly this Jungkook was and what he’d meant to Jimin way back when. Then Jimin realizes his mistake knowing that Seokjin was going to want more information. He’s unbelievably invested in Jimin’s love life which is strange, seeing as they fuck each other.

“An old boyfriend texting you after you find success,” Seokjin laughs. They leave the room and walk down the white halls of their small practice and into a small locker room where their belongings are kept. “What does he want?”

“Apparently, he wants to have coffee,” Jimin scoffs. “can’t imagine why with me. We haven’t spoken in years.”

Seokjin hums thoughtfully, “So he’s in New York.”

“Didn’t say what for either,” Jimin opens his locker, pulling out his white coat, snow coat, cell phone, and wallet. He hasn’t had breakfast yet and mentally plans to trek a short walk to the café located down the street to fetch a sandwich and hot tea. He stuffs his phone and wallet into the pockets of his slacks. “He’s here until the New Year.”

“A vacation maybe,” Seokjin guesses, grabbing his belongings as well to tag along. They put on their white coats and close their lockers with a clang. “though not plausible since its winter. Not very nice here in the winter. He could be wanting to see the ball drop.”

“Jeez, Jin,” Jimin laughs. They leave the back room and head to the front. “you’re so nosy.”

They place their jackets on a counter before heading to the holding room. Alicia lays knocked out cold on her bed and Jimin grins. He approaches her mother who is sitting and gripping her daughter's hand.

“She looks perfect,” Jimin tells the woman. “she did amazing in surgery.”

“Oh, thank heavens,” her mother replies, holding her heart. They look down to Alicia, whose face is bandaged and bruised up.

“Alicia, honey,” Jimin coos, petting her hair. The girl’s eyes flutter open dopily. “you’re so great! Everything came out beautifully.”

A nurse is standing nearby, watching her vitals.

“Sleep some more, doll,” Jimin smiles gently at her. Alicia smiles back as much as she can before she passes out again.  He turns to her mother and notions at the nurse. “Helen will brief you on everything you need to know about a speedy recovery. Don’t worry too much, I’ll be back in a bit if you have any more questions. She did great.”

The woman nods and stands to hug him. Jimin hugs her back just as warmly before stepping out of the room.

“Have you replied yet?” Seokjin asks from where he was waiting just outside. When Jimin doesn’t answer right away he looks scandalized. “The fuck is wrong with you! This is the one who got away. I’m disappointed!”

“Get a grip,” Jimin mumbles. They walk to the receptionist desk where Heejin sits immaculately as ever with her dark brown hair waving gracefully over her thin shoulders. He reaches over and flicks her forehead playfully. “Going to the café. Want anything, love?”

She grins and hops up in her seat, pulling out her cash from a purse hidden under the desk.

“Iced caramel macchiato. Coconut milk, please,” she says and tries to hand Jimin a twenty who just throws it back at her.

“Iced?” Seokjin squawks. “It’s snowing outside!”

She shrugs and bats her lashes cutely, “It’s warm in here.”

“Your wish is my command,” Jimin bows. “Tell the others I’ll get them the same. My twelve o’clock is still my twelve o’clock, right?”

Heejin leans forward and clicks around on her computer seriously for a moment.

“Mhm,” she nods. “Twelve o’clock on the dot.”

Jimin raps his knuckles on the desk before saying, “We’ll be back.”

 

The heavy breeze outside slaps them in the face once they exit the building. They walk in silence, chins tucked into their high collars as they hastily make their way to the café. Others are like them, rushing down the icy sidewalks of New York with determination in each footstep. Jimin wonders where they’re going, where they’re coming from. He glances from person to person, eyes never staying in one spot for too long. Everyone is smartly bundled up for fighting the cold weather.

As they come around a corner at a busy intersection, he sees a man crouched by the trashcan near a light pole. He’s hard to miss as he sticks out like a sore thumb amongst the throngs of other well-dressed beings awaiting at the crosswalk surrounding him yet ignoring his presence. He’s thin, his clothes look dirty, his flimsy windbreaker couldn’t possibly be enough to block out the cold and even his gloves are fingerless showcasing his nails that are caked with dirt. The beanie on his head looks motheaten and the man is shivering.

What accompanies the man is a small dog, skinny like him and wrapped in what looks to be like an old scarf. He carries a lumpy backpack stuffed full of items Jimin couldn’t even begin to imagine the man owns. They meet each other’s gazes and Jimin tenses, a kneejerk reaction that he can’t help. Years of being taught to not trust those less fortunate than he has him reacting in a way that makes him feel uncomfortable as he stares into the strange warm brown of the homeless man’s eyes.

So, Jimin smiles at the man nervously, nodding his head at him in acknowledgment and it isn’t until the act is done that he realizes how assholey he probably looks to the other as he stands there in his warm coat, in shoes that cost hundreds. The idea of even giving the homeless money makes him uneasy. Jimin can only assume he’ll spend it on drugs, and he frowns. Hastily, he darts his eyes to the small cardboard sign the man has clutched in his hand.

‘SPARE ME A KIND FACE’

Jimin’s eyebrows raise in surprise. When he looks back up at the man he is shocked to see a brilliant white smile being aimed his way, accompanied with a thumb up.

Jimin awkwardly gives him a thumb up in return before him and Seokjin – who somehow missed the entire interaction – cross the street.

Once they push into the cozy little café they’ve become regulars at, Seokjin brings it up again.

“You should really text him back. What time did he send it?”

They stomp out the ice in their shoes on the mat laid by the door before moving cautiously toward the counter where a short line is in order. Once his fingers feel thawed out enough, he pulls out his phone to check.

“At about, six?” he replies.

“In the morning? Almost five hours ago?” Seokjin gapes. “Wow. You really are a jerk.”

Jimin shoves him playfully with his shoulder.

“I’m just busy,” Jimin shrugs. “I wouldn’t even know when I would have time to see him. I don’t even know if I want to see him.”

“It’s simple. If you want to see him, you should see him.”

“Why are you pushing this, huh?” Jimin asks curiously, perking his eyebrow at his friend.

“I’m not trying to push this,” Seokjin squints at the chalkboard menu overhanging the counter. “It’s just interesting is all. For all the years that I’ve known you Jimin, I’ve not once seen you try to have a real relationship. I won’t lie either, I am pretty curious to know more about the boy who ruined your love life forever.”

Jimin throws his head back and chuckles.

“My love life is not ruined.”

“I don’t necessarily think one-night stands and FWBs go hand in hand with healthy relationships.”

Jimin tries to justify, “I just don’t like very many people. Well, not enough to commit.”

“Wow, thanks.”

Jimin pinches his side, “You know what I mean. You’re great, but you and me, in a relationship? We’re doomed before it even begins. You only fuck me because you get off on knowing that you get to sleep with your boss.”

“For the last time, I do not have a boss kink!” Seokjin yells.

The person in line before them glances back. Jimin ducks his head embarrassed.

“But you’re right,” Seokjin sighs. “We would never work. I know you too well.”

“Hey!” Jimin whines affronted. “I’m awesome.”

“You’re selfish.”

“I’m selfless,” he pouts.

“When and where?”

Jimin thinks, trying to remember when he ever did a nice thing for someone else without being prompted to do so or obligated.

“I’m buying the girls at the office coffee,” Jimin points out, smiling gleefully.

“You’re literally a millionaire, Jimin,” Seokjin laughs as they make it to the front of the queue. “That’s the least you can do.”

 

 

After having successfully gone through all his scheduled surgeries and consultations, he breathes a little relieved when he receives news from Heejin that his last rhinoplasty of the day has been canceled. The patient had given the excuse that they had a terrible sinus infection, thus chickening out of the surgery altogether. He nods and happily finishes up some paperwork before leaving the office earlier than usual.

He’s rather chipper leaving the building at around 4:40 pm. He decides he will pick up some take out. Or rather, he is going to treat himself to a nice dinner, alone. Maybe even buy himself a nice bottle of wine. Jimin practically skips through the lobby and the valet recognizes him immediately, snapping into action to assumingly retrieve his car, but Jimin holds out his hand to stop him.

“Sir?” the young man questions.

“I’ll be back. An hour tops,” Jimin replies, kindly smiling and making for the rotating doors at the entry.

“Would you like me to call a cab for you?” the young valet questions as he follows, confused.

“No need,” Jimin shakes his head. “I’ll be going for dinner and be back before you know it. I feel like walking a little today.”

“Yes sir,” the man nods. “Have a nice dinner.”

 

 

Jimin regrets his decision exactly five minutes out into his venture.

It’s the moment when he’s in the crossfire of a fight breaking out in the street, that he really, really wishes he would have just gone home and ordered food to his place. He imagines his warm living room, his comfy couch, some cuisine laid out on his coffee table and his stomach chooses this moment to have the audacity to rumble.

His eyes watch warily as two men continue to argue, loudly. Then he practically gapes as he recognizes one of the two men. There are people gathering, watching the scene unfold before them like Jimin has stopped to do as well. He sees a teenage girl pull out their phone to start recording and purses his lips at the act. Then he gets uneasy at the thought of this escalating, not wanting anyone to cause harm to one another, not wanting this to come to blows. He imagines the one he recognizes sitting in a cold jail cell and something, something indescribable, compels Jimin to move forward into the middle of this squabble.

“Hey!” he shouts and uses his strength to shove the men apart who were practically shouting into each other’s mouths. “Hey! What’s going on here guys? Relax!”

“Relax?” the one he doesn’t recognize yells, spittle gathering at the corner of his lips. “Tell this motherfucker to stop harassing people!”

Jimin’s eyebrows raise as he looks at the familiar stranger, the one he saw earlier in his thin windbreaker, the one with the dog and the smile, the one who was holding the strange cardboard sign.

“I just asked to use your phone, you stupid son of a bitch!” he shouts back, veins popping out of his neck. “Jimin,” the homeless man whispers vehemently and Jimin nearly chokes when he’s addressed so familiarly. “I just wanted to use his phone and this PIECE OF SHIT kicked my dog. He kicked my Mickey!”

Jimin looks down to see the small dog hiding behind the man, barking at the stranger aggressively with a slight limp. Jimin’s heart aches at the accusation and the pure evidence of an injured pet. No one should hurt an innocent animal and get away with it. Jimin immediately sides with him, fuck this guy.

“Take a walk,” Jimin rounds on the other guy, crossing his arms. “Just leave.”

“Leave? What the fuck are you gonna do pipsqueak?” The other man – wow he’s huge – gets into Jimin’s face. He’s like a giant, with a bald head, and a red face.

But Jimin doesn’t have time to respond before the familiar stranger behind him starts pulling things out from his backpack abruptly and begins tossing them at the other. Jimin watches on bewildered as the bald man starts backing up, flinching away from the various dirty socks and underwear landing within close range of his face.

Jimin can’t believe this is happening.

“You’re fucking disgusting! Jobless scum. Worthless street rat!” the baldy yells.

“Get lost, Mr. Clean!” the homeless man shouts, tossing a flip-flop next.

“Just go!” Jimin pulls out his cell phone. “I’m calling the cops, you shouldn’t have kicked his dog. Fuck’s wrong with you, huh?”

The other man hesitates in his actions watching Jimin dial 911.

“Whatever,” Baldy scoffs after a long tense moment and spits on the ground before them. “waste of my time, anyway.”

Jimin deflates only when the large male is well out of sight. He turns around to see the homeless stranger crouched to the floor, cradling his dog and gently patting its back leg carefully. He’s whispering small reassurances to the animal and glances over at the teenager who still lingered around to film the ordeal. Jimin huffs frustrated and walks over to her and her eyes widen a bit.

“If you were a decent human being,” he nods his chin at her device. “you’d delete that and not post it anywhere.”

He sees her breath hitch and then she nods, opening her camera roll and deleting the footage. He smiles at her when she glances back at him with an embarrassed smile.

“Get home safe,” he tells her as she scurries away. Jimin makes his way back to the other, who has started to pick up and put all his belongings back into his bag from the floor. “You okay?”

“No,” the other shakes his head. “People are real assholes. It’s no wonder this city is so cold.”

“It’s cold because it’s winter,” Jimin replies with a mild joke.

“That’s not why and you know it,” the other snaps. Jimin stands near warily, not sure how to respond.

He really doesn’t want to help but he feels like a jerk watching the other crawl around the dirty wet ground, picking up his things alone. So, he bends over and collects the items that look a little cleaner than the others and mentally tells himself that he’ll have to thoroughly wash later.

When it looks like most of the items are picked up, he holds out the ones he’s gathered for the other. The man stares at him, not unkindly but just a little unsure like he’s trying to read Jimin. He takes his things and presses them into his bag.

“I’m Hoseok,” the man mutters. Frowning, Hoseok zips up his backpack and tosses his sign into a nearby trashcan. He points down to his small, furry pet. “This is Mickey, my little angel.”

Jimin recalls the bizarre moment when Hoseok had known his name earlier.

“I’m Jimin…” he says uneasily. “but you knew that already. How?”

Hoseok shrugs and begins walking with Mickey in tow. Jimin follows.

“Been on these streets a while,” Hoseok says vaguely. “You get to remember everyone after some time has passed.”

Jimin is somehow not appeased with the answer.

“Plus, your reputation proceeds you. A rich young thing, practically famous,” Hoseok adds, grinning at him with that brilliant smile again.

“I’m a surgeon,” Jimin tells him.

“I know. I’ve heard of you,” Hoseok says. He stops in front of a sketchily empty corner store where the cashier ignores their presence when they walk in. Hoseok goes straight for the snack aisle. “You surprise me, Jimin. I didn’t think you’d intervene back there. Scored some big points in my book.”

Jimin watches suspiciously as Hoseok starts piling up on more than a few full-sized bags of chips, all of them Fritos.

“I couldn’t have left for you two to brawl in the street,” Jimin replies.

He watches as the bags are practically falling out of Hoseok’s arms. Jimin is intrigued. Why he is following Hoseok, he has no idea, but he can’t bring himself to leave, curious to see what the other man says, what the other man does. They walk into the next aisle and Hoseok points to a small bag of dog food.

“Very noble of you. Help me out?” he requests and Jimin scrambles to pick it up for him.

As they make their way to the cashier Jimin quickly picks up two hotdogs roasting on a grill and pours two hot chocolates into paper cups. He’s sure they’ll taste terrible in combination, but he wants to eat and its cold out. He’d also feel guilty if he bought himself food and not Hoseok. Jimin preens internally as he remembers Seokjin calling him selfish earlier. If only he could see him now.

Hoseok, apparently, has money so he might not be homeless like Jimin assumed. He whips out a wallet and some cash from the front zipper of his backpack and pays for his ungodly amount of chips and dog food. The cashier eyes him up and down and grimaces when Hoseok grins at him.

“Have a good night,” Hoseok says as jolly as he can to the cashier. When they are back outside, Jimin watches Hoseok stuff the mound of chips and dog food into his seemingly never-ending backpack. When he’s done Jimin tries to hand him the hotdog and hot chocolate careful not to drop anything.

“Thanks,” Hoseok smiles and takes the offered food. “but I don’t eat meat.”

Jimin frowns as he watches Hoseok unwrap the hotdog to feed it to Mickey. Shrugging, he holds out the hot chocolate next.

“I’m vegan,” Hoseok is still smiling.

“O-oh. Well, okay,” Jimin feels a little silly standing outside in freezing weather with cups of hot chocolate in each hand.

A particularly hard breeze whips around them and Jimin shivers suddenly grateful that he has two drinks to warm his fingers. Hoseok is breathing his hot breath around his cupped hands trying to warm them. Jimin observes his backpack, stuffed to the brim with the clothes he helped him pick up earlier. He glances down and observes Mickey who is also slightly trembling in the cold. The snow has been scooped onto the sides of the sidewalks leaving the wet ground to tread upon. An image conjured up of these two alone on the side of the road makes something in his chest ache a bit.

“If you don’t mind me asking…” Jimin starts. Hoseok glances over, eyebrows raised.

“Do you have anywhere to stay tonight?” Jimin doesn’t particularly know what possesses him to ask. He’s curious, yes, but he doesn’t want to come off as insulting either. He gestures to the belongings Hoseok carries on his back to the small dog on the ground. “If you need a ride to a shelter or somewhere else, I can take you. If the clouds are any indication, it’s probably going to snow again tonight. I don’t-”

Hoseok interrupts his spiel when he bursts out laughing almost rudely in Jimin’s face. He tries not to pout and is stunned by the reaction.

“I don’t see what’s funny,” Jimin snaps irritated by Hoseok’s dramatics. The man is nearly bent over clutching his stomach in laughter.

“What’s funny, my dear friend is the likes of you trying to save me.”

“Save you? I just wanted to help,” Jimin is incredibly offended. “And what do you mean by ‘the likes of me’? You don’t even know me.”

“Oh, but I do know you,” Hoseok’s smile is bright but grim at the same time. An inkling of uncertainty and unease creeps slowly up Jimin’s spine. “I know people like you all too well, Jimin Park. You may be neat and tidy on the outside, but you’re as dirty and rotten as the clothes in my backpack. The same old sob story about a boy who could’ve had everything, but you let this city grab you in its clutches. You’re shallow.”

“How dare you?” Jimin seethes. He’s caught off guard by the dark turn of the conversation and frankly, he’s pissed. “How dare you make assumptions about me and my life! I don’t even know who you are.”

Jimin is almost gasping with how offended he is. He sneers at Hoseok’s appearance, taking a long and hard look over his dirty clothes, his ruddy face.

“And for your information,” Jimin snaps. “I have everything I want. I worked hard to get where I’m at!”

“You’re a lonely and pathetic fool,” Hoseok drawls. He hardly seems phased by this conversation, acting as if he isn’t just blatantly insulting Jimin. Hoseok has not once looked away from his face forcing Jimin to meet the brunt of his gaze. His eyes hold a stony glint. “You have everything you want? Are you sure about that?”

Something about the questions takes Jimin aback. He can’t believe that someone like him is passing judgment onto Jimin.

“Do you really believe you have everything your life could offer? You’re playing with words that you don’t quite understand,” Hoseok says ominously.

“You know what?” Jimin tosses the hot chocolate drinks onto the floor along with the hot-dog making Mickey yelp and jump back in surprise. Sticky warmth oozes and clings to the ice-cold concrete. Hoseok looks surprised by the action, staring at the ground as if in mourning of good drinks gone to waste. “I don’t have time for this shit. I have a warm home to return to and a hot shower calling me. Go wherever the hell you want, sleep on the cold wet ground for all I care.”

Jimin makes to stomp away childishly and he makes it as far as a whole step and a half before he groans and turns back around. Face blushing hot and ears red he picks up the paper cups and spoiled hot-dog he’d thrown down and walks to the nearest trash can to toss them. It takes all his might to not take a second glance back at Hoseok. Before he gets too far he hears Mickey’s bark ring through the air, Hoseok’s laughter, and then his voice shouting gleefully, “You brought this upon yourself, Jimin!”

Jimin shakes his head disbelievingly and rounds the corner to get away. Fucking nut-job, Jimin thinks. He regrets ever being kind to that strange man and hopes he never has to see Hoseok’s face roaming the New York streets again.

“So much for trying to be selfless,” Jimin mumbles.

 

 

Jimin ends up driving home in an angry flurry and doesn’t order himself takeout when he gets home. The strange events of the evening had caused him to lose his appetite and he’d found himself recalling the conversation over, and over again until he tired himself out. There are so many things he wishes he would’ve said, so many things he regrets not doing but it’s all fruitless to think back on it now. With a defeat he hasn’t felt in a while Jimin drags himself through his apartment and into his bedroom.

It’s an early night when falls back into bed and he finds himself wishing he had invited Seokjin back over tonight to pass time. He doesn’t know what ignited the feeling, but a strong surge of loneliness had overcome him within minutes of arriving home. He lays in bed and wonders if he should get a dog or a cat, maybe something low maintenance since he’s hardly home anyway. He doesn’t ever let himself think too deeply about it, but it’d be nice to come home to someone greeting him. An excited face upon his presence would be reassuring in ways that sex can’t offer.

Jimin stares at the bare white ceiling and at the trimmings framing the room. Sometimes, his place feels more like a hotel room than a home with all polished furnishings and walls adorned with art pieces he can’t even begin to decipher. He’s hasn’t experienced true warmth from a home in a long time, not ever since he left home years ago and never looked back.

He glances at the time on the digital clock by his bed and debates on whether it’s too late for a booty call. In the end, he continues to stare up at the ceiling. Monochromatic colors reflect on the walls from his window. When he glances out the into the night he finds that it’s snowing. The snow-flakes fall slowly past his windowpane and Jimin recalls Hoseok’s strange questions. You have everything you want? Are you sure about that?

He turns his gaze toward his large screen tv mounted into his wall, to his fancy bedpost, to his walk-in closet, and finally his cellphone. He picks up the device and unlocks it.

Jimin clicks on Jungkook’s messages.

He sits up and stares at the screen for a while. He types out several responses with a guilt for not having replied for hours but deletes them quickly after. An unfamiliar fear grips him, and he never presses send. It’d be dooming to plan a commitment he isn’t sure he can follow through on.

He wonders if maybe that had hurt Jungkook’s feelings a bit, that Jimin had clearly ignored his texts. He’s surprised to notice that his ex has kept the same phone number since they were kids, and he’s more surprised that he has his. Jimin knows that somewhere along the way he’s changed it once or twice. The thought that Jungkook might have kept tabs on him is slightly exhilarating.

Jimin imagines whom it might’ve been to have given Jungkook his current number. Maybe it was his parents. If they’d kept in touch with the man, they’ve never mentioned it. He supposes he’s grateful for that, because for years he’s been spending time focusing on himself and his own career, and thoughts of Jungkook were a distraction unwelcome.

Rubbing his hand down his face in frustration, Jimin locks his phone and sets it aside. He grabs the tiny remote on his bedside table and closes the shutters. The darkness engulfs him, and he spends minutes staring into the black. Only when he starts hallucinating strange colors and shapes does he make himself shut his eyes and dream.

 

 


 

 

 

Jimin wakes up to the air being quite literally pushed out of his lungs.

He groans and rolls over, wheezing into his pillowcase and clutching his stomach.

“What the fuck?” he groans, trying to catch his breath. He kicks his legs out in a fit and accidentally lands a harsh one into a warm soft body lying next to him in bed. A hand comes over to lazily brush through his bedridden hair and Jimin melts into the touch. It takes a second to register and then Jimin tenses under the ministration.

“Get off,” he hears another voice speak in a deep raspy tone. “Get down.”

Half asleep, confused, and fearful, Jimin lifts his head up and opens one bleary eye. He gets an eye full of dark locks and a strange bed he’s never been in before.

What the fuck?

Jimin’s heart slams in his chest.

Did he go out last night? Did he somehow manage to go out with someone and drink till he blacked out? Jimin doesn’t know where he’s at and he can’t remember anything. All recollection of this bedroom has flown out of his head.

He tenses, even more, when the solid body of the strange man in bed with him scoots in even closer and snuggles against his chest. He flinches away when he feels movement around his feet over the covers. His head whips down at breakneck speed and he spots the ugliest little white dog he’s ever seen sitting on top of the sheets, wagging its tail and panting at the sight of Jimin awakening.

“Morning baby,” the voice against his chest whispers out. “Clouds hungry.”

Jimin recoils, yanking back far enough to smack his back against the tall nightstand by the bed.

“Ah shit,” he complains, feeling the dull thud of a beginning bruise about to form on his spine.

He begins freaking the fuck out.

Jimin lifts the blankets and looks down at his body. He could have sworn he’d fallen asleep wearing nothing but his black boxer briefs, but instead, he’s got on a bleach stained gray T-shirt and plaid boxers he’s never owned. The stranger's large left leg lifts from underneath the covers to wrap around his thin waist, and it officially traps him there. It’s heavy and corded with muscle. Jimin struggles, wriggling back and unsuccessfully tries to get out from underneath the octopus of a man.

“Stop moving,” the man whines out against his collarbone and Jimin’s eyes widen.

He swears he recognizes that voice.

It feels like his heart is about to claw its way out of his throat and his hands immediately go to cup at the face currently buried between his pectorals. Slowly, he lifts the head up enough to be greeted by his own two eyes. He feels his blood run cold upon the sight.

Jungkook’s sleep-swollen face is the one he’s greeted with. There is a furrow in his eyebrows and his lips are all puckered up from Jimin practically squeezing his cheeks.

Jungkook begins to crack open his slumber encrusted eyes, his sight taking a few seconds to focus on Jimin.

“What?” he mutters, licking at his lips. Jimin gets a slap of morning breath against his face. It still doesn’t knock him out of his reverie.

He takes in all Jungkook’s features, the faintest hint of crow’s feet at the corners of his big, brown eyes, the stubble growing in around his chin, his scruffy black hair unruly on top of his head. He’s grown into his nose which used to be larger on his small face when they were teenagers. His eyes linger at the beauty marks dotting his face and especially at the one underneath his thin lips that he still remembers all too well.

He is a sight to behold, still as gorgeous as Jimin remembers him. But something about him is also different, more mature. It feels as though he’s been knocked off his feet at the sight. Never did he imagine that seeing this adult version of Jungkook could affect him so much. Suddenly, something inside Jimin feels fragile, vulnerable. He refuses to acknowledge that there might be tears forming in his eyes. Jungkook lightly takes hold of his wrist, a concern beginning to settle in his expression, “Babe, what is it?”

“This is a dream.” Jimin implores. “You’re not real.”

Jungkook frowns. Jimin watches as a beautiful flush begins to take place in his cheeks.

“Stop messing around,” Jungkook mumbles, smiling shyly. Jimin shakes his head.

“This is unbelievable.”

Chapter Text

They stare at each other for another few seconds before the loud bang of the bedroom door startles them, making them jump away from each other. Jimin sits up so fast he gets dizzy, but he watches in confusion as a little girl with curly bed head stumbles into the room. Her fuzzy socks are nearly hanging off her feet and she is rubbing at her eye with a tiny fist, staring at the two on the bed. She coughs all yucky and wet.

“Jina keeps trying to crawl out of her crib,” is all that she says before Jungkook gasps and shoots out of bed nearly slamming into the door frame from slipping on the wooden floor on his socks.

The little girl and Jimin just gape after the ungraceful exit, both wearing similar expressions of shock. She eventually turns to Jimin and stares. He stares back. She coughs again and sniffles. Poor girl must have a cold.

Jimin shakes his head.

What the hell is going on? This dream is extremely elaborate, extremely detailed. It’s so vivid that it almost feels real. Especially the sheets under his bare skin and the warmth from the sunlight beaming through the windows.

Jimin looks around the room and it’s messy in a weirdly comforting way. There are mismatching pictures and paintings on the walls, the lamps on the bedside tables are mismatched too. Taking it all in he sees that there is not one ounce of an organized color scheme or theme in the room, it’s all muddled together in warm hues, completely different from the way he keeps his own place. This room has clearly been lived in for years, an organized chaos when he glances over at an outdated desk pushed along the windowed wall piled with papers. There are clothes strewn everywhere, some hanging out of a large wooden dresser. The little girl standing in the doorway in her pink Barbie nightgown and green alien shorts, the ugly frizz-furred white dog sitting at the foot of the bed oddly fit right in.

Jimin pinches his arm, hard.

“Ow,” he hisses, staring at the red mark blossoming on his skin.

“Daddy?” the little girl calls. Jimin jerks. She’s staring at him still, expression worried. There is a small snot booger dangling from her nose. “What’s wrong?”

Jimin chokes and throws the covers off his body, scaring the dog and the girl. He tumbles around searching for his clothes, but they are nowhere to be seen. What makes this all a little worse is how he can’t even recall what outfit he had been wearing out the night before he had gotten in this mess. Did he do some wild drugs? One that is making him hallucinate or dream vividly? He has so many questions. One starting with ‘how in the hell is he in bed with Jungkook’ and ending in ‘did this little girl just call me “daddy”’?

Hands shaking from the panic flooding his system he throws on a pair of lumpy red jogging pants and slips into some dirty timberlands that are a size too big. He nearly topples over the small girl before he trips his way downstairs, searching this strange house for an exit. Cracking his skull onto the cement would’ve been the icing on the cake once he bursts outside, but luckily, he catches himself on his hands and knees when he trips over the threshold, cursing the gravel for scraping up his palms.

The first thing that puzzles him is why the sun is shining so bright, glaring into his poor eyeballs. The second thing is why there is a distinct lack of snow on the ground. The weather is almost, almost warm, but still chilly enough to make him realize he forgot a jacket. Wasn’t it just snowing last night? Standing there dazed and confused, he glances up and down the unfamiliar street. Apparently, he’s in a suburb. He has no idea which suburb, but a suburb nonetheless. His car is nowhere to be seen – wouldn’t know where to find the keys to begin with – but there is a minivan parked in the driveway.

A sound to his left makes him snap his attention to a man taking out the trash next door. Tall and thin, the man is donning a yellow robe and some fuzzy red slippers resembling mustard and ketchup. Catching the sight of Jimin standing in the middle of the yard looking like a crazed man, the man’s eyebrows raise amusedly.

“Morning~” the stranger singsongs in a surprisingly deep voice, waving politely. Jimin waves back hesitantly.

The front door of the house he just left swings open. Jungkook steps out looking at Jimin, expression flustered. He has a baby on his hip, bouncing her up and down to soothe it as it whines and fusses.

“Babe,” Jungkook humphs as he tosses keys over at him. Jimin doesn’t react and they smack him in the groin, landing pitifully on the ground. Jungkook frowns. “Where is your jacket? You’re going to get sick!”

“I-I, uh,” Jimin stammers, bending to pick up the keys.

“Never-mind,” Jungkook rolls his eyes, slightly irritated. “Jina is out of formula. Please, please don’t forget my coffee, okay?”

Jimin nods as robotically as one can in this situation and stands there dumbly.

“What are you waiting for?” Jungkook motions to the minivan. “Go,” he’s about to pop back inside when he notices their neighbor watching. “Morning, Tae.”

Jimin winces when Jungkook slams the door. After stumbling over to the minivan on trembling legs, he has trouble unlocking the historic vehicle, dropping the keys twice in his haste to escape.

Once he’s inside he throws the beast in reverse, racing down the street and screeching around corners going well above the speed limit. Jimin doesn’t know these roads. It’s like driving through a maze made up of colorful houses and picket yards.

Heart hammering in relief, Jimin spots what looks like a massive highway far off into the distance over the rooftops of these suburbs. If he can make it onto a highway, surely, he can make it back to his apartment and figure out what the fuck is going on.

However, hope is drained from Jimin when he finally makes his way out of the never-ending winding roads. Recognition and dread color the forefront of Jimin’s brain when he’s back onto the main street staring out at crossroads he didn’t think he’d ever have to see again.

It feels as though he’s experiencing an intense surge of déjà vu, taking in the familiar town he had grown up in with his family. It’s in the city of Long Beach he drives through, mind blank but whirring all at once. Jimin begins to feel sick, dizzy and hot. When he’s losing consciousness of his surroundings, he dubs it a better decision to pull off into the nearest parking lot, which happens to belong to the local grocery store. Pulling into a spot furthest from human traffic, he parks and stares at his lap, feeling his breath coming out in surprisingly calm rhythm.

A few minutes later, Jimin screams.

He punches at the steering wheel and jerks back and forth in his seat.

“What the fuck?” Jimin gasps. He almost bursts into tears. He claws at his clothes and pounds on his chest. “How did I get here! What the hell is going on?!”

Just as he is pulling at his hair, a car zooms into the parking space next to his and the driver honks its horn. Jimin startles and looks out at the person disturbing his mental breakdown. His mouth falls open into a gape.

“That’s my car,” he wheezes. Jimin’s fingers grip the minivans door handle and pull. He stumbles out of the minivan, running his hands over his sleek black Ferrari. He knocks on the window and it rolls down. He shouts maniacally: “This is my car!”

And then Jimin nearly gags when he recognizes the driver.

It’s Hoseok.

“This is my car!” he screeches again for the third time. He feels dizzy. “What the hell is happening to me? Did I die? Did you- did you do something to me? Oh my God,” he clutches at his racing heart. “I’m going to have a heart attack, my heart— it hurts! I’m going into cardiac arrest!”

Hoseok is the perfect picture of serenity sitting in the driver’s seat wearing an expensive coal-black suit, blinking slowly at Jimin hyperventilating on the pavement.

“Jimin,” Hoseok calls for him. “Climb in. I’ll explain everything to you.”

“So, you did do this!” Jimin lunges for him through the window. Hoseok lets him grab him by his shirt, small fists wrinkling the fabric. Jimin shakes him. “You son of a bitch!”

“Jimin, as much as I understand that you’re freaking the fuck out right now, I’m going to need you to let go,” Hoseok says with such an air of patience that Jimin can just feel himself getting angrier.

“Fix this!” Jimin stomps his foot. “Take me back home right now.”

Hoseok sighs and shakes his head. Slowly and with his thumbs and forefingers, he uncurls Jimin’s grip from his turtleneck shirt.

“I can’t do that right now. I’m sorry.”

Jimin can feel tears well up in his eyes. Hoseok looks surprised.

“Why am I here? What did I ever do to you?” he cries out dramatically. Jimin loses all strength in his legs and slumps onto the gravel. He sits there for a long minute, unraveling in his own thoughts.

Hoseok climbs out of the car and rounds to meet him where he is puddled onto the ground. Jimin blinks up at him through tears, stubbornly wiping them away from his eyes. Hoseok is completely different from the last time Jimin saw him. He looks immaculate in his suit that matches with his shiny black shoes. He looms over Jimin like a death angel and for a second Jimin feels fear. But then the outfit looks like something from Jimin’s closet and his eyebrows furrow in confusion

“Here,” Hoseok hands him an uncapped water bottle that Jimin’s failed to notice beforehand. “Drink. It’ll make you feel better.”

Jimin snatches the bottle from him and shakily drinks. Then he chugs. He hadn’t noticed how parched he had become in his panic. The water slides down his throat like honey and it settles heavenly in his stomach. After downing more than half the bottle desperately, Hoseok claps him on the shoulder and offers him a hand.

“Come on,” Hoseok jerks his chin to the car. “Take a drive with me. I promise I’ll try to explain everything.”

 

 

Once they’re speeding down the highway, going nowhere, Jimin starts to hyperventilate again. Hoseok quickly whips out a paper bag from inside his jacket.

“Breathe into this.” Hoseok smiles at Jimin who just gives him a dirty look. He takes the paper bag anyway. “I must say Jimin, you’re handling this better than most others. Sometimes I get pukers, those aren’t very fun.”

“I’m DYING!” Jimin screams, huffing and puffing into the bag. “I feel like I’m in hell. Are you a witch? Did you curse me? Oh my god. Are you the goddamn devil?!”

Hoseok chuckles.

“Kind of the opposite actually,” Hoseok whips around a few slow-moving vehicles with an unnatural grace. Did Hoseok just imply that he was an angel? Or God?

Jimin heaves, the speed of the vehicle isn’t helping with his physical and mental turmoil.

“Listen, you’re not the first to experience this alright?” Hoseok says. “We only get to choose those who really deserve it. This is a good thing! You should be happy.”

“Well, I’m not happy!” Jimin screeches. Now that he looks at him again, Hoseok does have a weird glow to his skin. “You’re screwing with my life! Are you saying that this isn’t some sort of dream?”

Hoseok shakes his head. Jimin groans into the paper bag.

This, Jimin is called a glimpse. It’s what your life could’ve been if you hadn’t left for medical school. You see, very few people are blessed with this kind of experience. You get to live a life that you subconsciously wish you could’ve had. It’s more of a gift, really. You’re welcome,” Hoseok smiles.

“I didn’t ask for this!” Jimin flails. “I had everything I wanted back in New York.”

At this Hoseok cackles, turning dark eyes onto Jimin. He’s still going top speed on the highway and Jimin nearly has a stroke when Hoseok remains driving professionally, dodging cars left and right, all while basically staring into Jimin’s soul through his eyes.

“That kind of mentality is what got you into this in the first place,” Hoseok replies grimly. “Now it’s your chance to realize the error of your choices, Jimin.”

They suddenly jerk to a stop, Jimin almost bashes into the dashboard.

“The hell is that for?” Jimin whines and glances around. Somehow, they’re back in the parking lot where Hoseok picked him up at. The minivan is still in its parking spot right next to them.

He blinks, stunned.

Hoseok is smiling at him from the driver seat, eyebrows wiggling. Jimin gets the chills.

“W-what do you mean ‘the error of my choices?” Jimin asks.

“I can’t tell you that,” Hoseok shakes his head.

“How long does this last? How long am I stuck in—in this fucking glimpse?”

“I can’t tell you that either. Considering how you’ve decided to live out your life, it could be days, weeks, months… or years.”

“Years?!” Jimin feels fear clouding his mind. “You can’t just do this. You can’t just leave me in some life that isn’t even mine!”

“I’m sorry, Jimin,” Hoseok shrugs. “That’s just how this goes,” he reaches over to open the door for Jimin and shoves a container into his chest. “Now get out.”

“No!” Jimin cries, slamming the door shut again crossing his arms. The container lands on his lap. It’s baby formula. “I’m not leaving unless you explain to me what I’m supposed to do.”

“Jimin…” Hoseok purses his lips. “Leave.”

“No!”

As if disappointed, Hoseok sighs. He flicks his hand at Jimin’s direction and Jimin wails when the door he just slammed shut opens again. He tries to cling onto the seat, but some invisible source is lifting his whole body into the air, tossing him out of the vehicle and sideways onto the ground. He lands on his hip, hard, and rolls over to rub at the ache blooming on his side. The container of baby formula lands safely near his head.

The Ferrari, his Ferrari, speeds off.

“Fucker!” Jimin cries from the ground.

 

 

Thirty minutes later, Jimin is standing in the liquor aisle, staring at cheap bottles of whiskey. Beforehand, he had patted down his pockets and realized with thinly veiled horror that he didn’t have a phone on him. He doesn’t even have his wallet, so being here was pointless. After placing the baby formula in the van, he sulked off into the grocery store anyway and has been wandering around, pretending to be interested in a few items to kill time.

Jimin doesn’t even know how to get back to the house, where apparently, he and Jungkook live. He may be familiar with some roads, but the suburb he was in earlier is completely foreign to him. He can’t recollect at all how to get back and he hadn’t even tried for fear of getting lost even more. He hopes, eventually, that it might come back to him or something. It’s been a good hour or so and nothing has clicked yet. But if Hoseok is an angel and had quite literally magicked him out of a car, then maybe some sort of magic can take place in his mind. This isn’t necessarily real after all. Right?

“Jimin?” he hears a female voice call out to him. He snaps his attention to a small, beautiful Korean woman staring at him oddly from down the aisle. She has a basket in her hand and a cell phone attached to her hear. She quickly rushes out muffled words into her phone before hanging up. She walks down the aisle to meet him and his eyebrows raise. “What are you doing here? Jungkook called me worried sick. Said you’d gone missing. Tae was told to go looking for you!”

She starts battering at his arms with her tiny fist and he raises his hands in defense. She stops when she realizes what aisle he’s in, Jimin witnesses questions form in her eyes.

“I got lost,” Jimin mutters out. She turns to him, raising one well-manicured eyebrow. “I’m sorry. Do I uh…know you?”

She glares at him through her small eyes and flips her brown hair over her shoulder. She starts texting rapidly, ignoring his question.

“Very funny,” she huffs. “I didn’t think I’d find you here, to be honest. Jungkook said you didn’t take your phone or your wallet before leaving. You really worried everyone. Are you okay?”

Jimin connects the dots in his head. She must be someone in this life that Jungkook and he know, and very well by the sounds of it. Still, he doesn’t know her name or who she even is. A friend perhaps?

“I don’t know…” he mumbles. She pauses in her hasty texting and glances up with surprised eyes. Her harsh expression softens a bit and she smiles at him a little pityingly.

She huffs again, her cheeks bunching up.

Jimin stares off at the bottles and she comes closer, standing next to him. She places her basket at her feet and winds her arm around his for comfort. Instead of shying away from the strangers’ touch, he revels in it.

“Did you fight?” she asks meekly. “You and Kook?”

Jimin shakes his head.

She nods and playfully shoves at his shoulder with her own. “Do you want to talk to Tae?”

“Tae?” Jimin asks uncertainly.

“Yeah.” she laughs into her hand softly. “You know, lanky dude, goofy smile. My stupid husband? Your best friend.”

“My best friend,” he nods and sighs.

Without any warning or control over it, something warm pools in his stomach. Jimin marvels to himself because he has one of those in this world, a best friend.

“Let’s go,” she tugs at him and smiles kindly. Jimin finds himself following her. Trusting her.

And for the first time since he woke up in this strange life, he finds himself smiling back.

 

 


 

 

 

Jimin drives behind the woman’s car, through neighborhoods and backroads to a suburb slightly familiar. It isn’t until he’s quite literally on the street that he realizes this is the way back to his “home”. He parks the van in the driveway and meets the woman at the house next door. She stands in the same driveway where he had waved at the man from earlier.

When he reaches her, she ruffles his hair and giggles when he glares at her.

“Taehyung!” she yells once they step inside. A small brown and black pup greets them happily, yelping and jumping up their legs.

“Haseul?” he hears that baritone voice from a room over. The man from this morning slides into view, mouth popped open at the sight of Jimin. “Jimin!”

The man rushes over and pulls Jimin into a tight hug. Jimin tenses and pulls away from Taehyung’s enthusiasm.

“Where were you?” he questions Jimin but doesn’t give him enough time to answer as he looks to Haseul. “Where did you find him?”

“He was in the liquor aisle at the grocery store a few streets over,” she bends over and picks up the small dog.

Taehyung nods and looks over Jimin. “Did you two get into a fight?”

“No,” Haseul and Jimin answer at the same time. He squints at her and she snorts.

“I asked him the same thing, Tae. He said he got lost.”

“Ahh,” Taehyung says knowingly. He looks at Jimin with a knowing glint in his eye. “Gonna take him home, babe,” they pass Haseul and Taehyung kisses her on the cheek. “Be back.”

“Good luck, Jimin,” she calls after them. “You’re going to need it.”

“What does she mean by that?” Jimin frowns over their shoulders as Taehyung pulls him out of the house.

“Jungkook was furious when you didn’t come home quick enough with the baby’s milk,” Taehyung shakes his head disapprovingly. They’re coming to the division of their yards and stop in the middle. “After an hour, he started panicking really bad. Called up all our friends because you left without your phone. You okay, man? What’s going on?”

Jimin tries not to shake off the heavy arm that’s hanging over his shoulders. He’s uncomfortable with the way Taehyung drapes his taller form over him, but he figures to play the part, he must accept that this is also a part of the glimpse. Taehyung, from what Haseul had said, is his friend.

You’re my best friend?” Jimin points to him.

“Of course,” Taehyung nods and grins. Fortunately, Taehyung doesn’t understand the context of the question, but it fits the conversation regardless. He steps away from Jimin and pats him on the back. “You can tell me anything.”

Jimin sighs. He glances back up at the house, the one where Jungkook is probably inside worried sick and pissed.

“I just…you’re going to call me crazy,” Jimin grumbles out.

Taehyung scoffs. “No, I won’t.”

Jimin lets his eyes implore into Taehyung’s. He sees an earnest and honest expression, eyes as clear as the sky above their heads. As much as Jimin doesn’t want to confide in someone that he doesn’t know but should know, he has no choice. Feeling lost and alone in a world where there are people who know him isn’t a new feeling, but having others seem genuinely interested and concerned about his wellbeing is. He can’t fault this strange man for not understanding what he’s going through.

He softens. Surprising himself, he wants to confide in someone for once.

“I-I just woke up this morning to Jungkook in my bed and freaked out,” he sounds a little lost, a little hopeless. “This isn’t my life. I’m in this strange world where I’m me, but I’m not really me. Jungkook shouldn’t be mine.”

He looks over to find Taehyung smiley coyly.

“What?” Jimin grumbles, confused.

“You’re too soft, man,” Taehyung cackles. “Look, I get it. I do. You think you’re the only one who wakes up sometimes feeling like the luckiest bastard in the world?”

Jimin recoils, understanding how Taehyung must’ve misconstrued his words.

“Anyone would kill for what we have. Sometimes it might not be perfect, but you’ve got the most beautiful family and a smokin’ husband. This is your life, Jimin. Jungkook loves you.”

“He does?” Jimin frowns.

“Yes!” Taehyung urges, confident that he’s swaying a doubtful friend. “And you love him to death. I know sometimes we get doubts and things get a little rocky, but you’ve got this,” he smacks Jimin’s ass. Jimin yelps. “You’re a great dad,” Jimin pales. “you have this great house, a steady job. You’re doing just fine.”

Jimin nods blankly, staring up at their California home and feeling nauseous.

“Go home and kiss Jungkook until he forgives you,” he shoves Jimin over until he finds enough momentum to walk on his own. When he’s almost to the porch he hears: “You didn’t forget the formula, did you?”

Jimin sprints to the van.

 

 

Jimin is quietly sneaking into the house. He’s cradling the canister of formula to his chest, bug-eyed and searching around for a sign of life. He sighs relieved when he catches no one in the immediate distance. He turns to the front door, clicking it shut as silently as he can. Just as he is about to turn back around he gets tackled into the wood.

“Oh my God,” Jungkook clings to him, squeezing around his waist like an anaconda until he has a hard time breathing. Jungkook has a phone attached to his ear. “Mom! Mom he just walked through the door. I’ll call you back.”

Jungkook lets go long enough to place the phone and the formula he pried from Jimin’s grip on a table nearby. When he swivels back around, his expression is one of barely contained fury. His eyes are rimmed red.

Jimin is taken aback by just how large Jungkook is now compared to when he last saw him. He looms over Jimin, arms buff and fit body barely contained in his clothes. He looks hot. Jimin suddenly feels undesirable in his lumpy red pants.

“Where in the hell were you?!” he cries. Jimin flinches. “I was worried sick, Jimin! I called everyone. I called Jinsoul!”

“I-I’m sorry. I just- “

Jungkook holds his hand up, cutting him off mid-sentence.

“When you left this morning, I didn’t know what to think! When you didn’t come back home to us, I called and called. You didn’t even have your stupid phone on you! Or your wallet! I thought the worst. What if you had gotten into an accident? What if something bad happened to you and we had no way of knowing? Do you understand how awful I felt!”

Jimin gingerly brings his hands up to Jungkook’s shoulders to placate him. He looks like he’s on the verge of tears and the last thing Jimin wants to deal with is a crying Jungkook.

“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. Please stop yelling at me?” Jimin is powerless as Jungkook clings to him again.

“I’m not yelling at you!” Jungkook yells and sniffles. “You just can’t do that to me. Don’t do that to me ever again, please?”

“I won’t,” Jimin nods. He hesitantly wraps his arms around him, holding him as he calms down.

“You have to talk to me, okay?” Jungkook pulls back. He kisses Jimin on the cheek, peppers his lips around his face. Jimin flushes, unsure what to do with all this affection. “I love you. I love you and if something is wrong you gotta talk to me, baby. Did something happen?”

Jimin trembles. He hasn’t held Jungkook in so long, this feeling of being able to be near him, touch him, let him kiss all over his skin is indescribable. It almost brings tears to his eyes. It’s not fair. This isn’t fair. He can’t believe he’s been thrust into this life, all because someone from the higher up thinks it’s funny to mess with him and tear away his world where he’d been so comfortable in.

He didn’t want to know what it felt like to have this again and now that it’s quite literally in his grasp, he misses it. How does he miss someone he’s holding so damn much?

“Nothing happened. I just…I had this dream,” Jimin starts unsure. Jungkook looks into his eyes, attentive and listening.

“A bad dream?” Jungkook questions when he doesn’t continue.

Jimin shakes his head. “No. It was a good dream, a very good dream actually. It felt so real and when I woke up, I was here.”

Jungkook squints at him, expression hardening. He pulls away completely and crosses his arms.

“What was it about?” his eye twitches in irritation. Jimin doesn’t get the hint.

“I was rich,” Jimin starts off hesitantly. “I had a nice apartment in New York City-“

“Ughh” Jungkook interrupts and walks away. “Not this again, Jimin. Are you serious?”

“What!” Jimin whines, following after Jungkook when he takes off in wide steps. “You asked!”

“Well sorry for not fitting into your perfect little dream world, Jimin. Way to make me feel like complete shit. You missed breakfast by the way. I didn’t save you any leftovers,” Jungkook is picking up dishes from their dining table. The sun shining through the kitchen window sets his black locks ablaze in a warm brown. Jimin can’t believe how beautiful he is, even when he’s upset.

“This isn’t my life,” Jimin huffs. He just wishes he could tell someone what the fuck is going on without sounding like he’s gone a little insane. He just wants someone to believe him.

“This is your life,” Jungkook snaps as he tosses plates into the sink. He opens his mouth to say more but closes it when the little girl from earlier walks in. She’s got two cute bows clipping her bangs back from her face and her eyes are switching between Jimin and Jungkook. She clears her throat and Jimin grimaces when he hears all the phlegm in her esophagus.

“What is it Areum?” Jungkook asks.

“Jina keeps trying to eat my fingers,” she says. She holds out her small hands toward Jimin who tries not to recoil. “My hands are all dirty. Can you help me wash them, daddy?”

Jungkook sighs. He looks to Jimin and when he makes no move toward Areum, he jerks his chin.

“I have to feed the baby. Can you please help your daughter wash her hands?” He asks irritably before stomping away.

Jimin looks to Areum before hesitantly picking her up. She’s careful not to touch Jimin with her slobber covered fingers, which he appreciates. He maneuvers her until he’s gently pinning her between his body and the kitchen sink. She knows how to work from there, grabbing the hand soap and turning on the faucet herself. As she’s lathering up and playing with the foam, Jungkook comes back in with the baby, Jina, in his arms.

It sure is a sight to see. The baby is babbling, chewing on Jungkook’s knuckle. Jina seems to be teething, drooling unbelievable amounts onto the cute little bib fastened around her neck. Jungkook coos at her and kisses her cheek. Jimin watches on.

He gets to see Jungkook be a dad, he still can’t wrap his head around this. Jungkook glances up and smiles at him.

The smile looks like a peace offering, a lifeline if anything. The earlier tension between them is momentarily forgotten as Jimin blushes.

“Hurry up, my love,” Jungkook calls to Areum. “Don’t waste the water or the fishies in the ocean will suffer.”

Areum quickly rinses off her suds and wiggles after she turns off the faucet to get down. As soon as Jimin places her on the floor, she darts off with wet hands and all. Jina is then thrust into his arms.

“Hold her for a sec.”

Jimin has never held a baby before. Ever. He holds his arms out awkwardly, dangling the baby over the ground. She giggles and flops her chubby little arms out at him.

“Hold her right!” Jungkook gripes from behind him. He’s quietly grumbling out a “you work with children all the time and still can’t even properly hold a baby?”

Jimin carefully brings her closer to his chest, trying to mimic the way Jungkook had her bouncing on his hip earlier. It’s not so hard but he has a distinct feeling that he might look a little awkward. They turn to watch Jungkook make a bottle, mixing formula into pure water. He drapes a soft towel over his shoulder once he’s done and comes to take Jina from Jimin.

“C‘mere, sweetheart,” Jungkook coos gently, laying her down expertly in his arms. Jina snags hold of the bottle once in sight and Jungkook smiles down dotingly at her. He looks up at Jimin and leans in to place a peck on his lips. “I’m not done being mad at you.”

“Understandable,” Jimin agrees.

“I’m gonna go sit,” Jungkook sighs, rocking the baby in his arms. Rocking their daughter, in his arms. “Don’t go anywhere else today. We still have to go to Yoongi’s tonight.”

Jimin’s eyebrows pinch together as Jungkook walks passed. “To where?”

 

 


 

 

 

Yoongi’s house is set in another suburb south of the freeway from where they live. The house is small but well taken care of. It’s covered in Christmas lights and the street is jam-packed with cars parked along the road.

Jungkook’s mother had come over to watch the children, arriving before they left. It was a harrowing experience to see the woman again after so many years. The last he had heard from her was way before Jungkook and he had broken up years ago. He was sure the woman despised him for how their relationship ended badly, but it’s different in this life considering that Jungkook and he are happily married with children. She had kissed both of their cheeks and sent them on their way.

Jimin isn’t sure what he expects Yoongi to be like. Obviously, it seems like the majority of their circle of friends are Korean like them and judging by the name, Yoongi is also going to be a Korean man. When they trudge up to the front door of the house, there is a lot of noise radiating from the inside. Jungkook knocks and curls his fingers around Jimin’s.

“Don’t drink too much,” Jungkook says. “I plan on getting plastered and I need you to drive home.”

Jimin is about to complain but then the door is being opened by a small, frail-looking man. Thick frames cover his thin slit eyes, his black hair hangs straight down into his strong eyebrows, his nose is small and rounded. His bank expression melts into one of kindness when he recognizes the two at the door.

“Hey!” he steps back and welcomes them both into the house with a smile. He takes turns briefly hugging both Jimin and Jungkook before offering to take their jackets. There are people littered into little groups around the house, drinking out of red solo cups and talking. Some hip hop is playing just loud enough to give the party a chill vibe without it being on the verge of a rager. It’s a little more on the edge of being a more sophisticated party, seeing as everyone attending is around the same age.

“Yo everyone, Jimin, and Jungkook are here!” he calls out and everyone looks over to the pair and waves, some eyes linger more than others like Taehyung and Haseul who greet more enthusiastically than the rest. A blonde woman whom he doesn’t recognize smirks at them and raises her eyebrow when Jimin stares back.

“How’ve you been, Yoongi?” Jungkook asks, smile broad on his face. He pats Yoongi’s back fondly.

“Good, man. Same old shit, different day. Can’t believe break is almost over,” Yoongi shakes his head.

“Tell me about it,” Jungkook snorts. “I’ve been buried up to my neck revising my lesson plans. It’s come and gone too soon.”

Yoongi throws his arm around Jimin’s shoulder and pulls him along toward a group of men standing around a pool table where a dining table should be. They look up and brighten once they recognize them, waving them over. He panics and looks back to where Jungkook is shooing him along. He doesn’t know any of these people, how in the hell is he supposed to interact with them?

“Where are the drinks?” Jungkook calls through cupped hands.

“Beer is in the cooler, liquor on the counter! Help yourself,” Yoongi replies.

Jimin gets jostled into a taller man’s arms as the first greeting. He grins and bears it as he gets passed along the group and lets all the men slap his ass and pinch his cheeks.

“Fuck off!” he snaps at someone who pinches his ass just a little too hard.

They all chuckle and turn their attention back to the ongoing game. Jimin has no idea how to play pool, so he stands there like a lump against the wall with his arms crossed.

“Haven’t seen you in a while,” the tall one with the dimples says from his left. “Has Kook persuaded you into signing up this year?”

Jimin wracks his brain for what to say. He has no idea on earth what this man is talking about.

“Um. I uh,” Jimin stutters. “I. Don’t. Know?”

He hopes that suffices. The man frowns.

“Jimin will never sign up,” another voice chimes in from his other side. He looks up to see Taehyung grinning down at him. He has two new beers in his hand and hands one to Jimin who sighs relieved. “He sucks at bowling.”

“Damn straight,” Yoongi says on the other side of the man with dimples. He has a solo cup dangling from his fingers, occasionally sipping from it and looking out over the house. “He might even be worse than Namjoon here.”

“I resent that,” the man with dimples replies.

“I’m not the one who threw the ball backward,” Yoongi snickers. Namjoon flicks him on the forehead and Yoongi in turn, slaps him.

Taehyung who has been watching on in amusement suddenly shouts an enthusiastic, "Jinsoul!"

Jimin straightens and watches baffled as the men around him diverge toward the blonde woman he spotted earlier - headed their way. She greets them back just as happily, hugging some and joking with others. A beatific smile is then turned toward Jimin and she breaks away to rush toward him. Jimin is left perplexed. He’s almost uncomfortable with how close she’s positioned herself to him.

“Hey, Jimin,” she greets, brushing her long hair behind her ear. And Jimin would be a liar if he said that Jinsoul isn’t stunning. She’s got a face that belongs in magazines, her eyes are wide and brown, her skin unbelievably smooth. He wonders if she’s ever had any work done or if she’s just naturally a little more perfect than everyone in the room. “Haven’t seen you in a while. Everyone at work misses you.”

“D-do they now?” Jimin asks. He squints at her, unsure about the dynamic between them. She leans forward a bit and plucks a stray lint from the sweater Jungkook picked out for him to wear.

“Mhm,” she nods and licks her lips. The shy smile of her teeth pearly and white. “It feels a little quiet in the office. I’ve been kind of lonely without you there to keep me laughing,” she giggles into her hand. “You coming back soon?”

Over the shoulder of Jinsoul, Jungkook comes into view behind her. He’s got the rim of a beer bottle pressed onto his lips and is smiling toward them. Immediately, he feels like a spectacle, but he isn't sure why.

“Yeah,” he nods, bringing his attention back to her. “I think so.”

She hums, pleased. “Want a drink? Or anything to eat? I helped Yoongi with the food ya know? The man can’t cook for his life. I even made some of those brownies that you love.”

Jimin doesn’t usually have a sweet tooth, so he declines with a shake of his head. Unfortunately, in his unease, he hadn’t realized that he chugged the remainder of his beer. It sits empty in his hand. She notices with delight and plucks it from his fingers.

“Don’t move,” she winks before scurrying away. “I’ll bring you another one.”

When she's turned around a corner, Jungkook comes over and pecks him on the forehead. “Seems she's missed you.” and Jimin squirms.

Jungkook guides himself between Jimin and the wall. He hooks his chin over his shoulder and loosely winds his arms around his waist. The free hand not holding his beer is hanging close to Jimin’s groin. Jimin blushes at the onslaught of PDA in front of all the people they know, yet they don’t seem bothered by it one bit, choosing to carry on with their own conversations.

“You look so good tonight,” Jungkook whispers in his ear. Jimin shivers when he gets a wet kiss to his neck. Jungkook’s brought his hand up to his waist, squeezing a little tight and pulling him harder back against him, his ass flush to Jungkook’s hips. He gets another kiss behind his ear, opened mouthed. “So, sexy.”

“Stop it,” Jimin hopes he imagines it, but he isn’t so sure when he feels the slight roll of Jungkook’s hips against him. His throat tightens up and he instinctively grasps for Jungkook’s tight grip on his waist.

This is uncharted territory. Jimin is completely used to having sex, he has sex all the time. Anything sexual with Jungkook however, is something he hasn’t indulged in since they were teenagers who were still experimenting and trying to find what makes each other tick. This Jungkook is completely different from the one he used to know. He’s more confident, a little blunt, a contrast to the shy way they used to make love. Jimin can’t help but be pleasantly surprised. He wills himself to breathe slowly when he feels a lick of arousal burn in his gut. He urges himself to not grind back into Jungkook’s lap.

Jungkook stops his actions when Jinsoul comes back into the room. Jimin is one hundred percent positive his face is all red, burning in humiliation. They’re out in public for fuck's sake. Does Jungkook have no shame?

Jinsoul slows down her pace and her eyes flicker from Jungkook to Jimin. She nods at Jungkook and smiles sweetly.

“Hey, Kook,” she hands Jimin the bottle. He thanks her under his breath. “Having fun?”

“Definitely,” Jungkook pulls away from Jimin and steps toward to give her a hug. His frame swallows her up and something about the act of kindness makes him feel warm.

Haseul comes into the room and gives Jimin a hug.

“You feel better?” she whispers.

He nods. “Completely.”

“Taehyung’s my DD tonight. Aren’t you babe?” she asks sweetly. Taehyung nods bitterly and she kisses his cheek.

“Come take shots with me,” Haseul tries to tug Jimin in the direction of the drinks but Jungkook pulls her back.

“Sorry doll-face, but Jimin is my  DD tonight.”

She gasps and breaks out into a wide smile. Jungkook’s nose scrunches up in excitement.

“Tonight is for the teachers!” Haseul fist pumps. She snatches hold of both Jungkook and Jinsoul before dragging them away.

“You should watch him,” Taehyung points with a finger.

Jimin smirks. “He’ll be fine.”

 

 

Jungkook is in fact, not fine.

Jimin collapses for the third-time underneath Jungkook’s weight. He should’ve listened to Taehyung earlier. He should have gotten the hint and realized what he had meant when he was advised to watch over Jungkook.

Jungkook cannot handle his alcohol whatsoever. It was a well-known fact amongst all their friends evidently and Jimin doesn’t believe even himself when he realized that he let this little fact about him slip from his mind. He also very lowkey wanted to see Jungkook drunk. Some of their best memories were from them partying it up back in school.

Jimin had Taehyung help him stuff Jungkook into the passenger seat of their minivan after Jungkook had vomited in the rocks outside of Yoongi’s place. Yoongi didn’t look very happy, but Jungkook kept apologizing and begging for him to not be mad. It was endearing honestly, how Jungkook kept slipping into slurred Korean, calling them all ‘hyung’ while trying to not pass out. Jimin was just a little embarrassed but ultimately charmed.

Now, crouching outside of their bedroom door with Jungkook on his back proves to be an experience within itself. Jungkook had conked out within seconds on their drive back home, which was good, but also bad because Taehyung had stayed behind with Haseul and he had no one else to help carry this brute up the stairs.

Jungkook’s mother took off moments after watching Jimin struggle through the front door. He was offended that all she did to help was to laugh at Jimin sweating profusely, while he piggybacked an asleep Jungkook. He guesses he’s grateful for her though. She mentioned that the kids were sound asleep.

Jimin tries to pat at Jungkook’s leg with his hand when he starts to slide off Jimin’s back.

“Kook,” he pats again. No movement. “Kook!”

“M’wha?” he mumbles into his shoulder. The scent of alcohol-laden breath smacks his nostrils upside the head.

“I’m gonna need you to get off,” Jimin yelps when his knees buckle. “Seriously! You’re heavy and my backs about to break.”

Jungkook manages to land safely on his feet, for all about two seconds before he starts to topple over. Jimin catches him before he smacks into a nearby wall.

“Jesus, Kook,” Jimin grumbles. “Why’d you have to drink so much, huh?”

“’Twas fun.” Jungkook slurs. “But now, not so fun. I’m dizzy.”

“You’re going to feel like shit tomorrow,” Jimin huffs, familiar with the spins and all the misery drinking heavily brings. “Come on, let’s get you into bed you big lug.”

“Hey!” Jungkook pouts affronted. “I’m not a slug.”

After unceremoniously dumping Jungkook into bed. Jimin goes downstairs to get him some water and painkillers in the morning. When he comes back into the room Jungkook is snoring, his body as still and heavy as lead. His legs are bent at odd angles and dangling off the mattress, his mouth is wide open. Jimin snorts and rolls his eyes.

He’s too cute.

The glow from the dim lamp allows enough light for Jimin to gently pull off his shoes, socks, and pants. When he reaches up to pull off Jungkook’s jacket, he awakens when jostled and peers at Jimin with a goofy smile.

“What’s that look for?” Jimin questions. He’s able to get his jacket off successfully leaving him in a sweater. Moving away to remove his own layers, Jungkook watches. Jimin feels uncharacteristically shy under his gaze which is dark and unfocused, a little hazy.

“You’re so good to me,” Jungkook murmurs.

Jimin’s heart swells. It’s unbelievable really, how after all this time he’s still so fond.

“Am I?”

Jungkook nods, resembling that of a child. “You let me drink until I can’t see straight. You take off my shoes for me. You carry me upstairs and tuck me into bed,” Jungkook yawns and turns onto his side, closing his eyes as his words slur a bit more. “You take care of me so, so well. I love you so much.”

Jimin stares at him mystified. He can’t bring himself to say it back. Thankfully, a loud snore is rumbling its way out of Jungkook’s mouth, saving him from a confession he’s not ready to make.

 

Sliding his head down his face, Jimin begins to wander around their bedroom. Amongst the desk, there are papers and folders scattered along with children’s books and stationery. It’s a cluttered mess but Jimin carefully picks up a few things and looks them over. There are outlines for lesson plans coated in red and black ink, Jungkook’s scrawl filling the blanks and scribbling out sentences. What looks to be like old children’s homework are placed in organized folders that are tabbed and dated by year and subject. Jimin glances at Jungkook on the bed and it’s then that he finally understands where Jungkook gets his patience from.

He handles their children with a well-practiced tolerance Jimin finds astounding. He’s a teacher. Jimin has to give him props for working such an underappreciated career. It must be tough, Jimin thinks. Yet it is oddly fitting. Jungkook has such a good heart. Knowing that he’s an aid in a pivotal part of children’s learning makes him adore the man even more.

It’s funny though, how he didn’t even know that Jungkook had any desire to become an elementary school teacher. The topic was something that had never even come up. Jimin can’t recall a time where he ever asked him. Maybe the reasoning for that was because when Jimin graduated, Jungkook was still going to into his junior year of high school. It makes sense that he wouldn’t have been around to discover the passion that Jungkook had discovered. It’s a shame. For a moment, he’s mad at himself for that.

He moves around to the empty side of the bed and sits for a while. He fiddles around with his fingers and goes rigid when he feels the cool band of the wedding ring nestled comfortably into his skin. He doesn’t know why he hadn’t noticed it before, but it’s there, fit all snug and tight on his fourth finger. Failing to stop his mind from going a mile a minute. Jimin stands up from the bed and steps back into his pants and jacket. He isn’t sure where he’s to go but he just needs to go out. Maybe he’ll take a walk. He feels a little bit like he can’t breathe.

When he makes it downstairs, he looks around the dimly lit house and spots that ugly little dog staring at him from the dog bed near the couch.

He calls for it and it comes to him happily. Jimin reads the nametag, ‘Cloud’ it says.

“Cloud, huh?” the dog wags its tail. He glances up to the table near the door and spots a red leash. Perfect. “Want to go for a walk?”

 

 

 

Jimin enjoys the winter weather in Long Beach. He’s got Cloud on the leash and a jacket thick enough to block out the cool breeze. It’s nothing compared to the harsh cold in New York City and Jimin can’t deny that he missed this.

Stopping at a curb near a green field, Jimin lets the dog wander through the grass. He glances at the time on his phone and purses his lips. It’s late, past 1 AM and Jimin still doesn’t feel very settled. Time has been lost on him since he left the house, but he supposes this walk was nice. It must’ve been very much needed for Jimin doesn’t feel like he’s suffocating anymore.

Being here is overwhelming. Hoseok said that he didn’t know how long it will take for him to get back and he doesn’t know if he must complete a mission or just play the part of a good husband until he can go. He hadn’t counted on this being so emotionally draining. It’s so real, it’s so sickeningly real that Jimin, for one split second, isn’t sure whether he dreamt up his whole life in New York and this is his reality.

He knows that to be bullshit though when he has such vivid memories of leaving home. Of breaking Jungkook’s heart.

The error of his choices, Hoseok had said. Jimin kicks at a leaf petulantly.

Jimin, as far as he is concerned lived his life to the best of his ability. He wasn’t a pest, he wasn’t rude or belittling. Jimin takes pride in being a kind man that keeps to himself. There wasn’t any unnecessary drama in his life, he kept things simple and didn’t draw attention to himself too much. Sure, he had a reputation from his career choice, but was it so bad being successful? Jimin simply lived his life from day to day, embracing whatever it was that fate would throw at him with open arms.

Maybe, sometimes, Jimin would get lonely. But he never spent an extensively long-time moping over what-could-have-been and what-ifs. He just worked, slept around when he needed to, and worked some more. Spontaneity was lacking, the romance was lacking, but he didn’t think there was anything wrong in that.

Was it because he was more on the emotionally conservative side? Is this a punishment because of the decisions he made eleven years ago?

Was it because he was a little selfish?

Everyone’s selfish, everyone.

So why him?

Cloud makes his way back by Jimin’s side. The dog licks at his shoes and pants. Jimin picks up the leash and feels thankfully tired. He bends down to pet at the dog, smiling when it licks at his fingers. It’s weirdly cute. He could understand why Jungkook and he would adopt it. It’s crooked teeth and face are a little off-putting at first, but the dog is kind and sweet. Scratching behind its ears gets it twitching.

“Do you like me in this life?” Jimin asks. The dog barks.

Chapter Text

Jimin bemoans his peaceful mornings, ones where he could simply wake up to the blaring of his alarm clock in his empty, quiet apartment.

Today, he jolts awake to the sound of the baby crying down the hall and muffled music playing in the background. If he listens closely, he can hear Cloud barking outside. He groans stretches out and pulls a pillow to cover his head. Patting around blindly he searches for Jungkook’s warm body. When he finds the space next to him empty and cool to the touch, he rises with a drawn-out grunt.

It seems that the California sun perpetually shines through the bedroom windows. Jimin struggles with the brightness as he cracks open his eyes, only he gets startled when he sees Areum sitting quietly at the edge of the bed. She’s got tissues rolled into her nostrils and was apparently watching Jimin sleep, her gaze is hard on him. He is only a little creeped out.

“Do you have amnesia?” she questions out of nowhere. Jimin blinks.

“Huh?”

Amnesia?” Areum annunciates. She crawls forward and stands, teetering for a moment before placing her tiny hands on Jimin’s head. Her fingers slide through his hair as if she’s assessing his skull. “Remember when you told me what that was? You said when people get bad boo-boos on their heads, they forget some stuffs.”

Jimin chuckles and removes her hands from his head. She sits down in Jungkook’s spot and gazes into his face for a long second, awaiting a serious answer. Jimin’s smile falls and suddenly he doesn’t know what to say.

“You don’t act the same,” she murmurs. There is a hint of suspicion in her eyes. “Jina’s been crying for a looong time and you don’t care.”

“Oh,” Jimin’s ears sharpen. He didn’t realize that he’s been ignoring Jina’s cries. He flips the covers from his legs and swings out of bed. “Where’s um, where’s your other daddy?”

Areum points to the door on the farthest side of the room, gaze never leaving Jimin’s face.

He hobbles over and opens the door, only to be blessed by a butt naked Jungkook singing while shaving his face in a foggy bathroom mirror. That explains the music he’d been hearing. Jimin almost slams the door shut out of reaction, but he just closes it until there’s a crack left. He makes it a point to not let his eyes travel south. But fuck, he’s got nice arms. And his chest- no. Jimin shakes his head to rid himself of dangerous thoughts.

“Jina’s crying,” Jimin announces through the crack. He is proud that he doesn’t stammer. Jungkook turns to him with a raised eyebrow, half of his chin still covered in shaving cream.

“So?” he asks.

Jimin pulls out his puppy eyes and Jungkook cackles.

“Oh no you don’t,” Jungkook says. He turns back to the foggy mirror and resumes shaving. Jimin would be more than happy to stay and watch the blade glide over his smooth damp skin but then Jungkook says: “It’s your turn today.”

 

 

Jimin pulls a wailing Jina successfully from her crib, where she then continues to wail into his ear. Areum follows from behind as Jimin paces the room, bouncing Jina gently in his arms to calm her crying. He quickly becomes overwhelmed and doesn’t know what to do. He considers bringing her to Jungkook, but then Areum tugs at his shirt from below.

“Daddy, she’s hungry.”

Jimin nods his head. “Oh. Oh, shit. Right,”

Areum gasps as he curses, bringing her small hands to her o shaped mouth. Jimin blanches.

“Daddy didn’t say ‘shit’,” he winces. “Don’t tell your other dad.”

He makes it downstairs with Areum on his tail. He looks around the counters for the formula and finds the canister, but he gets pulled away when Areum motions to the fridge.

“She gets cereal and some yogurt first,” she says.

Jimin nods. He finds a plastic bib near the dishwasher and clips it around Jina’s neck. She’s stopped crying now, having calmed down as she realizes that they’re in the kitchen. Every now and then her lip will quiver when Jimin doesn’t move around fast enough. Areum motions to the high chair where Jimin should place the baby. He gets confused and frustrated with the contraption before Areum presses a button on the side that releases some sort of lever. The tiny tray attached lifts and an open seat remains. Jimin feels like an imbecile.

When he places Jina down, she starts to cry again. She’s working up quite a fuss and Jimin thinks there must be something wrong if she’s this worked up. Her face is all blotched red and she’s throwing her head back almost violently. Areum had thankfully retrieved the yogurt from the fridge for him. Jimin opens it and places it in front of the baby. When Jina makes no move to take it and only wails louder, Jimin gets up in search for a spoon.

He isn’t sure how much yogurt he should be feeding to Jina. So, in a panic, he rushes upstairs to retrieve his phone. A quick Google search gives him all the answers he needs and within minutes he understands how he should feed her and how much. With the speedy skills he has from performing several past surgeries, Jimin successfully makes Jina’s infant cereal.

Jimin coos when she shakily lunges at the spoon he holds out for her. Her baby hand grips with force, and she shovels the food into her mouth on her own. Jimin paces her through it, making sure she doesn’t tug the spoon deep into her mouth and choke. She immediately stops crying and Jimin is amazed at the power of food.

“Same, girl,” Jimin sighs as he feeds his daughter. Minutes later his own stomach rumbles.

Jina’s got such big eyes and it’s almost eerie how similar she looks to Jungkook. He hasn’t a clue how they’d managed to adopt two Korean girls and he’s kind of suffering not knowing. It’s something he knows he must discover later, whether he tries to sneak the answer out of Jungkook or whether he must dig around on his own.

When Jina starts to get tired of the solids, he follows the very detailed online instructions on how to make a bottle. It’s…wow, it’s a lot of information overload. He whistles impressed. Apparently, babies should only get certain ounces of food per meal and it varies on how old the child is. Jimin has no clue how old Jina is. He glances over at Areum who is digging through the fridge.

“Um, honey…” he calls. “How old is Jina?”

“She’s six months,” Areum nods matter of fact. She holds out a sealed package of mandarin oranges. “It’s okay daddy, you’ll get your memories back soon. Can you open this for me?”

Jimin smiles uneasy at that and takes the oranges.

By the time Jungkook comes down fresh and clean from his grooming time, Jimin’s got Jina in his arms. The baby is calmly drinking and chewing viciously on the nipple.

Jungkook walks up and kisses his cheek. Jimin gets a heavy waft of soap up his nose.

“Did she behave?” Jungkook asks as he plays with Jina’s hair. “She cried for quite some time.”

“She was fine,” Jimin gazes down at her. “She was perfect.”

Jungkook moves away and starts opening the cabinets and fridge. He brings out vegetables and eggs and other various ingredients. He sets them on the island and then washes his hands.

“You hungry, babe?” he asks.

Jimin and Areum nod enthusiastically.

“I’m starving.”

 

 

Jungkook groans when Jimin is in the middle of a bite of his breakfast. He pats at his full stomach and slumps into his chair. Jimin can relate. Jungkook is an incredible cook he discovers. He couldn’t help himself; he went for seconds.

“We have so many errands to run today,” Jungkook groans and scrubs through his hair.

Jimin freezes. “What?”

“Don’t act all surprised,” Jungkook pouts. Jimin suddenly feels a foot rubbing up and down one of his legs underneath the table. Areum had abandoned them long ago and in the living room, Jina is sitting safely in her swing while cartoons play. “You can’t talk your way out of coming with me today, shithead. Last time I really struggled with both of the girls.”

“Aren’t you hungover?” Jimin questions. “You don’t look like it.”

Jungkook squints at him suspiciously with a smirk on his lips.

“Oh, trust me, I am. I almost threw up in the shower. Twice.”

Jimin gives him a disgusted look and Jungkook shrugs. Hungover or not he still looks immaculate.

“No one else is going to buy the groceries. We really need to go. I have to pick up more fruits for Jina and some more books I reserved at the library,” Jungkook looks like he’s mentally checking off a list of things they have to do in his head. “Ah! Don’t forget to remind me to get toilet paper. We always forget. Oh! And baby wipes.”

“Why don’t you just make a list?” Jimin asks.

“Good idea,” Jungkook tilts his head before dashing upstairs. “Can you get the girls ready? I want to leave as soon as possible.”

 

 

Jimin stares at the hordes of baby clothes stuffed into the dressers in the girls’ room. Jina is watching curiously from where she is sitting in her crib and Areum is minding her business by playing with her dolls. In theory, Jimin should be good at this. Dressing himself well has never been an issue and he thinks he knows what’s okay to put on his kids. It’s just that he’s a little unsure on how to go about stuffing little limbs into T-shirts and pants. Jina has the squishiest arms on planet earth and she’s so small and helpless. What if he hurts her?

“Areum,” Jimin calls and she bounds over. “Do you want to dress yourself?”

Her eyes sparkle. “You’re going to let me?” she asks clapping her hands.

“Um, yes,” Jimin answers with a hesitance. Is that not something they let her do?

Jumping for joy, Areum sets about pulling out clothes with fabrics and patterns that clash. Jimin shrugs.

 

 


 

 

 

Jungkook is wearing one of those baby transports. It was funny how Jimin had to help him strap Jina to his back in the parking lot, and it’s even funnier now to watch him lug her around like a backpack. She’s perfectly content with it. They gave her a rattle and a pacifier and every so often she’ll bang the toy on Jungkook’s shoulder to amuse herself. People are amused by it as well. They can’t help but coo at her when they see her wide eyes peeking out curiously.

They’ve been to a total of four stores already and Jimin can feel himself growing tired. He tries to practice patience as they maneuver through the grocery store, but a headache has begun to mildly pound in his temples.

First, they had to get a specific dog food brand for Cloud that they only sell at a small pet store completely out of the way. They then got stuck there longer than necessary when Areum wanted to look at the spiders and snakes in their habitats. Jimin had almost, almost convinced Jungkook that they needed a hamster, but the man stood his ground on his firm no.

“We don’t need another pet,” Jungkook said while staring at the little white creature hiding in its hut. “Unless you’re going to clean its cage and buy its food, this is a hard pass for me.”

Jimin and Areum pouted.

Next, Jina and Areum needed new shoes and clothes. Jimin held the baby while Jungkook and Areum picked out different styles of shoes. They’d eventually decided on cute little black combat boots that Areum fell in love with. Jina smiled at pink glittery flats Jungkook showed her and that was that.

Thankfully, the clothing store was right next to the shoe department they were in. Jimin and Jungkook complained the whole time about the pricing.

“My leather jacket at home cost almost as much as this stupid shirt,” Jungkook groused as they both maneuvered around the family dressing room.

They then had to force Jina and Areum into multiple outfits despite their protests. The kids had long grown tired and with the exhaustion brought the mild crankiness. Jimin just wanted to get the fuck out of there when Jina grew fussy in his arms and he was glad that they bought most of the things they picked anyway, along with some cute hair clips and a few pairs of pants Areum liked.

When Jungkook had driven them to a local barber shop, Jimin resisted the urge to scream.

“Do you want to stay in the car?” Jungkook had asked after spotting Jimin’s irritated look. Jina had fallen asleep in her seat and Areum was singing along quietly to the music playing through the speakers. Jimin had nodded and he was glad that it took less than an hour for Jungkook to come back, his hair trimmed, and his shirt covered in hair.

Now, they are standing in the condiment aisle of their local grocer. Jina is falling asleep again on Jungkook’s back in the transport and Jimin can’t help but feel adoration even through his exhaustion.

“She’s so cute,” Jimin says aloud, his eyes locked on her. “I’m surprised how good she is.”

Jungkook tries to glance back at her but struggles when his neck only allows so much movement.

“Took her a while to get used to it,” Jungkook snorts. “Remember when she used to cry all the time?”

Jimin nods to indulge him.

“This one on the other hand,” Jungkook jerks his chin to acknowledge Areum. She’s been coming up to them every few minutes with items she tries to sneak into their cart. “A nightmare.”

Jimin giggles.

They’ve been going through Jungkook’s list of items very steadily. Jimin must admit that the list is very, very extensive. At one point in time they had started to argue over the types of pop tarts to buy and after about five minutes of Jimin pouting, Jungkook let him get the smores kind. But Jungkook had refused to skimp out on the numbers of vegetables and fruits he had listed. They all had to sit and watch as Jungkook felt up numerous avocados before finally bagging the perfect ones up.

“You’re taking an unnecessarily long time, Kook,” Jimin complained. Areum and he had begun playing peekaboo with the baby.

“It’s actually very necessary,” Jungkook replied, tone curt. “They have to be the right kind of ripe. If they’re too soft, they’ll go bad early. Too hard, they aren’t ripe enough. I pride myself on my skill to pick out the perfect avocado. Have you ever eaten a bad avocado that I’ve picked?”

Jimin remained silent. How should he know?

“Exactly,” Jungkook had huffed.

When they are finally, finally in line to checkout Jungkook gasps dramatically, startling Jina on his back. Jimin scowls at him.

“We forgot toilet paper,” he says with large eyes.

“Are you fucking serious?” Jimin seethes.

“Watch your mouth!” Jungkook hisses as he starts slowly placing items on the conveyer belt. “Babe, hurry, go get it. Areum, don’t think I don’t see you trying to sneak that candy. Put it back, now.”

Grumbling, Jimin speed walks down eight aisles and snatches the first package of toilet paper he finds. When he comes back, Jungkook gives him the stink eye.

“What?” Jimin snaps.

After so long in the grocery store, both of their moods have plummeted. He wouldn’t mind just going home and taking a nap, he can’t imagine that Jungkook doesn’t feel the same.

“Why’d you get the cheap brand?” Jungkook whines.

“I was in a hurry,” Jimin grits. He places the toilet paper on the conveyer belt.

“That kind always breaks off between my butt cheeks,” Jungkook mumbles.

The cashier looks scandalized from where she’s scanning their things but they both pay her no mind. Jungkook is busy bagging things up since the bagging person is nowhere to be found and Jimin starts helping by placing their items in the cart. It’s so much food that seeing the price climb up and up makes him nervous. Never did he imagine that groceries would cost so much.

“Next time, don’t forget to put the brand on the list,” Jimin grumbles, rolling his eyes.

“Next time, maybe you can offer to help carry the baby and I would remember to.”

“If you wanted help you could’ve asked, Jungkook. You have a mouth, don’t you?” Jimin can feel his heart rate pick up and it’s because, if Jimin knows anything at all, they are both terrible at letting each other have the last word. This argument is so petty, but he knows they’re both going to refuse to back down, stubborn as mules.

“Why yes, I do. But maybe, just maybe, I assumed that my husband would have enough common sense to know that carrying a baby on his back for the better part of, oh I don’t know, the whole day, would be a little exhausting,” voice sugary sweet and sarcastic, Jungkook gives him a plastic smile with eyes hard. “But I guess that’s too hard for you to manage.”

“Wow,” Jimin scoffs, officially at a loss for words. Jungkook has never been so mean before and it’s throwing him for a loop. The cashier is quiet and standing awkwardly, having scanned their last item and waiting for them to pay. “Unbelievable.”

“What’s the total ma’am?” Jungkook asks, a kind smile targeted at her.

Jimin shakes his head and stands by Areum who’s grown quiet.

 

 

 

Jimin is the king of holding grudges.

Jungkook is notorious for silent treatments.

He had ignored Jimin when they emptied their car of groceries and continued to ignore Jimin when he cooked dinner. Jimin found himself hovering by awkwardly as Jungkook angrily slaved away over the stove, his eyebrows drawn taught and his mouth downturned into a frown. There was a can of corn on the counter and when Jimin tried to open it, only to accidentally spill them onto the floor, Jungkook told him to leave.

“I’ll do everything myself,” he snapped as he hastily cleaned up the mess Jimin made.

There have been experiences where Jungkook has shown his annoyance toward Jimin, but it hadn’t lasted nearly as long as this. Typically, Jungkook would apologize later for being harsh and Jimin would shrug it off, letting bygones be bygones. They both aren’t the best at apologizing but Jimin must admit he has a harder time than most when acknowledging his mistakes or downfalls.

To be petty, Jimin didn’t offer any more help with the food after Jungkook snapped at him. Instead, he let himself stew in his own hurt and discomfort. If Jungkook wanted to be that way, then fine. Let him. Two can play at that game. Jimin can give the silent treatment too. Who cares if Jungkook is ignoring him? He doesn’t.

After they eat a tense dinner, Jina immediately shits herself.

“God, it stinks,” Jimin says with a pinched expression. They are all still at the dining table and the smell of a soiled diaper doesn’t do wondrous things to the nostrils no matter the setting.

“Then change her, Jimin,” Jungkook deadpans. He then sighs tiredly and starts cleaning up the dishes, not even bothering to acknowledge a spluttering Jimin.

“I don’t know how!” Jimin whines.

“Don’t give me that,” Jungkook retorts as he takes out various Tupperware containers. It’s clear that the debate is over before it even begins with the way Jungkook won’t even look at him.

Clenching his eyes shut, Jimin prays to whatever God is listening that they help him through this experience.

 

 

 

“Daddy, you’re not wiping hard enough,” Areum comments from where she’s beside Jimin.

Jina is currently kicking her legs out cutely from where she is laid out on the baby changing station. Jimin’s been wiping and wiping her repeatedly, only to feel like she isn’t getting any cleaner. She shits, a lot. Jimin gagged three times when he first opened her diaper and Areum had laughed at his misery.

“If I press any harder I’m going to hurt her,” Jimin cries quietly. Jina giggles.

“No, you won’t. Just don’t do it that hard but just a little itty bitty hard,” she puts her thumb and her forefinger together to show Jimin.

“I-I’ll try…” he sighs.

What they both don’t know is that Jungkook is watching them from the doorway, smiling fondly at them when they both scream at a poopy baby wipe. It’s when Jimin accidentally puffs too much baby powder on Jina’s bum that Jungkook finally cracks up and lets his presence be known. He’s laughing so hard he’s bent in half, clutching at his stomach.

“What on earth are you two doing?” Jungkook shakes his head and walks into the room. He sees that Jina is covered in white and giggles. “Oh god, Jimin.”

“It was an accident!” Jimin panics still holding the baby powder. “I didn’t know it was open.”

Jungkook gives him an exasperated look, yet it’s filled with a tenderness that makes Jimin’s stomach flip and cheeks flood with color.

“Why don’t you just go walk Cloud?” Jungkook suggests, already moving to properly clean up the baby. “I’ll do this.”

“But—”

“Don’t worry,” Jungkook leans over and plants a kiss to the corner of his mouth. “This is your free pass to leave without me getting mad at you.”

 

 


 

 

 

Jimin takes a long, long walk. He visits a gas station and buys sugary drinks and snacks to bring back home. By the time he gets back, the sun has long been set and he has to carry Cloud, having worn him out. He’s still shivering from the cool breeze outside when he steps out of his shoes at the door.

The house is quiet when he makes his way in, the TV is mumbling and the lamps cast a warm glow throughout the house. There are toys scattered along the floor, the couch is leather and beaten into. Jimin feels out of place as he stands in the lobby, eyes darting around the rooms and eventually to the stairs leading up to their bedrooms. He stands and listens as a couple of doors close softly, presumably Jungkook’s feet shuffling along the upper level. He appears at the top railing of the staircase and catches sight of Jimin hovering awkwardly near the bottom. Biting his bottom lip, Jungkook nods to him.

“Coming to bed?” he asks in a soft tone.

Jimin clears his throat, frustratingly lost for words. With the argument they had earlier, he doesn’t know where they stand right now. Jungkook sighs and scratches at the back of his neck.

“I’m not upset at you anymore. We’ve been married for years and not once have we ever made each other sleep on the couch. Not gonna start today, babe,” Jungkook starts stepping down, socked feet thudding against the wood in his haste to get to Jimin. When he’s near enough, he takes hold of his hand and kisses his knuckles, making Jimin flush. “Go wash up. Shower, shave, brush your teeth. We’ve got a long week ahead of us and I don’t want to start it off with a fight.”

“O-okay.” Jimin stammers, slowly pulling away from Jungkook.

“Hey,” Jungkook catches Jimin by the chin before he can escape, forcing him to look into his eyes. “I’m sorry for today. I didn’t mean any of the mean shit I said to you. I was being pissy and I’m sorry. I love you.”

Jimin stays silent, burning under Jungkook’s gaze. When Jungkook’s eyebrows start to furrow from Jimin’s lack of response, Jimin panics and presses forward into his space, effectively shutting Jungkook up from whatever he was going to say with the sloppiest, most desperate kiss Jimin’s ever given. The tension from Jungkook’s shoulders releases as he smiles into Jimin’s mouth, chuckling at the shy tongue licking at his lips.

“You’re too cute,” Jungkook shakes his head softly as he pulls away.

Jimin presses the back of his hand to his mouth, unable to meet Jungkook’s eyes as he circles around him to make it upstairs. He yelps as Jungkook gropes his ass from behind, face burning with embarrassment.

“I’ll be up in a minute. Need to do some last-minute things for work tomorrow,” Jungkook calls and Jimin nearly tumbles down the stairs as he literally trips over hearing the word ‘work’.

“Work?” Jimin internally slaps himself when his voice cracks. “You work tomorrow?”

Jungkook gives him a baffled expression. “Um, obviously. Winter break is officially over for me and since your vacation is over too, we’ve got to wake up nice and early to go back.”

Snorting at Jimin’s expression, Jungkook shrugs in misunderstanding. “I don’t want to go back either, babe. But work is work, we’ve got to pay the rent somehow.”

Nodding numbly, Jimin stumbles upstairs. He rushes into the restroom attached to their room and locks himself in. Scrambling for his cellphone, he heaves a few panicked breaths and scrolls through his contacts. If there was any sort of clue about his occupation in this life, it’d be there.

To his luck, there is a contact saved under “Work”. He copies the number and pastes it into a google search engine. It pulls up the name and location of Jimin’s apparent workplace. It’s a private pediatric medical center.

Jimin tosses down his phone into the sink, hard enough to worry that he may have cracked it. He groans and scrubs at his face, gripping the sink until his knuckles go white. Is he a pediatrician? He knows almost next to nothing about babies, yet he somehow is expected to be in a field dealing with tons of them. He picks up his phone again and goes through the pediatrics website, clicking a link labeled “Our Doctors”. Thankfully, Jimin’s name isn’t included in the short list provided. He breathes a sigh of relief and then wonders what it is he may do in said office.

Throwing the bathroom door open, Jimin makes for the closet. Inside he finds a mixture of shirts and pants belonging to both himself and Jungkook. Dispersed throughout are what look like light colored scrubs, small enough to fit him. He walks over to the desk and shuffles through masses of papers. When his hand finds something plastic, cool to the touch, and small, Jimin yanks it up to eye level. To his correct suspicions, it’s a nametag. His name is plastered in black font, the letters RN written underneath, identical to the ones the nurses in his New York office wear.

Sagging in relief, Jimin nods to himself. He can be a nurse, he’s a fucking surgeon for Christ sakes. The knowledge he knows of the human body can come in relatively handy for this. He went to medical school for years and while he may have studied in a completely different field, he thinks he can handle the basics of this occupation. If anything, it’ll just take practice to get used to.

Rolling his shoulders in confidence, Jimin spins around toward the restroom, preparing himself for the longest shower he’ll take in his life.

As he’s shaving with an electric razor he found hidden between bottles, Jungkook barges in noisily and startles him. He curses as he hot potatoes the razor and freezes when Jungkook swishes the curtain open. Jimin stares wide-eyed at him and Jungkook glares at the razor in his hand.

“I knew you’ve been using my razor,” Jungkook says, unperturbed at Jimin’s nudeness. “I always find your straight pubic hair in the clipper and have to clean it out.”

“Um, I. Uh,” Jimin stammers, giving the razor an offending look as it was just placed on his face. Jungkook rolls his eyes.

“Just clean it out,” he says, swishing the curtain closed.

Jimin gently tugs the curtain back enough to watch as Jungkook goes to the sink. He turns on the faucet, opens the medicine cabinet and pulls out face wash to begin going through the routine that must keep his skin immaculate as it is. Jimin watches as he lathers up his cheeks first, gently scrubbing in circles until he glances at Jimin, smirking when he catches him ogling.

“What?” Jungkook asks as he begins to scrub at his nose.

Jimin slides back into the sanctity of his shower, embarrassed.

“Nothing,” he mutters.

Minutes later, Jungkook pops his head into the shower as Jimin is squeezing conditioner into his hair. He has a toothbrush hanging from his mouth and foam gathered at the corners of lips. Jimin turns around to hide himself from sight, cheeks flaming.

“Why are you being all shy?” Jungkook garbles as he begins scrubbing at his teeth again.

“I’m not,” Jimin shrugs feigning nonchalance.

“Hm,” Jungkook hums. “well, I’ll be in bed, baby. Don’t run the water for too long.”

Jimin nods in ascent.

Unfortunately, when he steps out Jungkook is still awake. He’s propped up against the pillows in bed with the lamp on, glasses perched on his nose and face buried in a book.

Jimin had forgotten to grab clothes for himself before hopping into the shower so now he’s wrapped in only his towel, clutching at it for dear life to cover himself. Thankfully, there is a set of pajamas neatly folded near the end of the bed, complete with underwear. He chances a glance at Jungkook and reaches for the material.

“Thank you,” Jimin says.

Jungkook hums.

Carefully shrugging into his clothes, Jimin’s exhaustion hits full force. The warm shower had relaxed him and put him in a sleepy state. Regardless, he still feels awkward crawling into bed next to Jungkook. He stiffly slides underneath the covers, sheets already warmed from the heat Jungkook produces, and turns his back to his husband.

Unable to find sleep, Jimin counts sheep behind closed lids. What feels like hours pass until there is finally shifting from the other side of the bed. There is the click of a lamp being shut off and a warm form squirming closer to Jimin’s rigid body. An arm winds around his waist and tugs him gently back, fitting him perfectly within Jungkook’s embrace. A soft kiss is pressed to the back of his neck and he can’t suppress his shiver, goosebumps rising on his skin. Instinctively he clutches at the hand rubbing soft circles into his tummy. Jungkook links their fingers together and squeezes.

“Goodnight, love you,” Jungkook whispers tiredly.

Jimin mutters back incoherently.

 

 

 

On any other occasion, waking up with a hand wrapped around his cock would be a nice little treat. This time, however, Jimin’s heart skyrockets with shock. He flinches away from the touch and whimpers when the band of his underwear slaps painfully against the tip of his dick.

“What the hell?” he questions out and Jungkook giggles from his side.

“I want you,” Jungkook tugs Jimin closer, practically dragging him across the sheets without having put in any effort. Jimin struggles in his half-asleep state and chokes when there is a mouth suddenly latched onto his nipple. His shirt has been tugged up far enough to expose his torso and his erection is peeking out from his pants. Unprepared for all of this, he can still feel himself throbbing with want, pleasure tantalizing even through his surprise.

In all aspects of this situation, it shouldn’t be wrong getting physically intimate with his husband. But Jimin has been here for less than a week and isn’t even close to being prepared for Jungkook touching him like this. His mind still somewhat portrays him as his ex-boyfriend.

“Wait, Jungkook.” Jimin gasps and pulls away, tugging up an overeager Jungkook by the chin.

“What is it?” Jungkook leans in, mouth balmy as he attaches himself to suck at his neck.

“I’m t-tired,” Jimin pants. His body betrays him by getting aroused under Jungkook’s ministrations and subconsciously, he tips his head back to give him more access to his skin, loving the way his mouth feels on him.

“Yeah?” Jungkook smirks against his pulse, nipping lightly.

His palms splay around Jimin’s hips dragging himself over and in between Jimin’s legs. Mortified and regardless of his brain battling with his dick, he still feels himself twitch as Jungkook grinds down against him, the friction and weight upon him just too good to ignore. Jungkook’s cock is hard and hot underneath his sweats, it hangs heavy between his thighs and prods close to his entrance when Jungkook tugs his legs up around his waist.

Jimin’s hands itch to slide down between them, to touch him and feel that heat in the palm of his hand, instead he tucks them up close around his chest and fists them, unsure how to react.

He hates to admit how hot it is to see Jungkook like this, all wound up in the early morning before the sun is even up. His pupils are blown wide, lids heavy and hair mussed. Jungkook’s kiss-swollen lips draw in his attention and for a second, he considers letting this moment get carried far away, curious to see how easily Jungkook could wreck him, how he could just as easily watch Jungkook fall apart and enjoy it.

But for some reason, throughout the haze of want, he thinks it’ll feel cheap. Jungkook doesn’t deserve to be debauched by his filthy hands, knowing his touches would be full of intent only to satisfy his selfish need. It makes something inside him churn with guilt and disgust with the very thought of it.

He tightens his legs around Jungkook to get him to still. When Jungkook tries to pry his legs open, Jimin flips them around, settling on top of his lap.

“Whoa!” Jungkook’s hands settle on his thighs, and he barks out a loud laugh at being thrown around. The sound of his laughter booms unnecessarily, echoing throughout the walls.

Jungkook cuts himself off suddenly and stiffens, eyes widening. Jimin furrows his brows in confusion.

A moment later, a cry is heard from Jina. Jimin’s never been more relieved.

Chapter Text

Jungkook is throwing on a cardigan and hastily shoving his feet into his shoes.

“Where the hell is my bag?” he cries.

Areum is sitting on the couch, already dressed for school and Jina is babbling away in Jimin’s ear from where she’s perched on his hip. Jimin feels itchy in his scrubs, having forgotten an undershirt.

It’s their official day back to work and they both couldn’t feel any more anxious.

From what he’s gathered, Jungkook’s school – where he teaches elementary kids – had been on a winter vacation, and Jimin had taken off a full two weeks to spend the holidays with his family. It’d been a while since the couple had to get back to their nine to fives, and even though they had more than enough time to prepare to come back, it’s still been a chaotic morning. Obviously, Jungkook’s nervousness is different from Jimin’s, because where Jungkook has been teaching for a while, Jimin must take a wild swing at what he thinks nursing would entail.

He had begrudgingly shrugged on his scrubs in the morning and grimaced at his reflection in the mirror for a full five minutes before Jungkook pushed him out of the way to get himself ready. They had all eaten a quick breakfast before getting the children ready and are now waiting around until Jungkook can gather his bearings. He’s currently digging through the coat closet looking for his briefcase because he can’t remember where he last placed it.

“Oh!” he exclaims, spotting it by the dining table. “There it is.”

“You ready?” Areum questions in exasperation.

“Yes, baby. Sorry.” Jungkook straightens his shirt and flattens his hair down. They finally move to make their way out the door. “You got your shoes on?”

“Yes, daddy.”

“Good girl.”

Jimin watches as Jungkook locks up the house with shaky hands. Jimin frowns in concern and nudges him.

“You okay?” he asks.

“I will be.” Jungkook smiles, but it’s unconvincing. “You know how I get the first day back. Just anxious.”

Jimin doesn’t know that, and he dearly wishes he knew the best way to comfort him. “You’ll do great today,” he says and Jungkook’s resulting smile is grateful as he leans in to kiss his cheek.

“Thank you.”

Jimin is set with the task of buckling Jina in her car seat while Jungkook settles Areum into hers.

“Morning!” they hear a voice shout to them. They both turn to see an enthusiastic Haseul waving at them from her and Taehyung’s driveway. She jogs over and shoves Jimin away from Jina so that she can coo over her. Jina’s smile is bright as it aims at the woman. On the other side of the vehicle, Jungkook is kissing Areum on the cheek and having a quick and hushed conversation with her, closing the door after. He comes around to Haseul’s side and she links their arms together as if it’s a routine. “You ready for today?” she asks.

“Kind of,” Jungkook shrugs. There is a small furrow in his brow that they notice.

“He’s nervous,” Jimin answers for him, and Haseul nods in understanding. Jungkook tosses him the van keys and Jimin catches them. He opens his palm and looks at them, puzzled, because he has no idea why he’s being handed the keys.

“Don’t make Areum late,” Jungkook requests.

Jimin squeaks. “Wait, what?” and Jungkook kisses him. Jimin had been under the impression that Jungkook was to drive with them to their destinations, but apparently not.

“I’m carpooling with Haseul. Don’t you remember?” Jungkook asks, and Haseul shoots him a concerned glance.

“Oh,” Jimin blinks. His face is of perfect stoicism but inside, he’s panicking. “Right.”

“I’ll see you tonight,” Jungkook leans in once more to give him another kiss, but then Haseul is tugging him away. Jungkook lips pout and he lifts a hand to give him a somber wave the further he gets. “Drive safe!”

Jimin forces an encouraging smile paired with his thumbs up.

When he climbs into the driver’s seat of the van, he pulls out his GPS. Frantic, he searches for a clue as to where he’s supposed to be taking the kids.

“You don’t know where we’re going, do you?” Areum’s clarion voice asks from the back.

Jimin whips around to face her, smile nervous. “Um, well.”

“Because of the amnesia?” she gives him an imploring, innocent stare.

Jimin’s heart clenches. “Don’t tell your dad,” he begs.

“I know where to go,” Areum says with a confidence.

“You do?” Jimin purses his lips.

“Yep,” her answering nod is enthusiastic. “I also know where Jina’s daycare is. We have to take her there first.”

Jimin stares at her unsure, knowing that it’s a bad idea to trust the directions of a six-year-old, but does he have any other choice?

“Do you know the name of your school?” he asks instead.

“Yes.”

Jimin beams.

 

Areum admits that she doesn’t know the name of Jina’s daycare, but she does know the directions. Jimin’s stomach is in knots the whole time driving, listening to Areum giving him soft directions from the backseat and leading Jimin further and further away from the city he’s accustomed to. It’s not a long drive, but it’s an unfamiliar one. Throughout the whole trip, he constantly questions her, making sure she’s sure where she’s going. It’s a completely ridiculous situation and more than once did Jimin almost crack and call Jungkook in a panic, but soon enough Areum points to a plaza off the side of the road.

“It’s in there,” she says as she peeks through the window.

“Oh my God,” Jimin gasps as he pulls in.

And voila, there is a daycare located at the end of the plaza, and it’s decent looking enough to ease Jimin’s nerves just a little. Outside, there are multiple caretakers talking to parents and taking their children off them with practiced smiles and patience. Jimin drives up close enough to climb out and a young woman perks up at the sight of him, smile wide as she bounds over.

“Jimin!” she exclaims with joy. Jimin smiles back at her, relieved that he seems to be in the correct place and all thanks to Areum. “Welcome back. We have Jina today, right?”

Jimin catches her nametag, it reads Yerim.

“Yes,” he replies as he unbuckles the baby to take her out of the car seat.

Yerim seems comfortable enough with them to lean into the van as well, grabbing the baby bag they packed for Jina and slinging it over her shoulder.

“Awe, I missed her so much,” Yerim claps and coos as Jimin hands Jina over. The caregiver is bubbly and sweet, and Jimin is relieved to see that Jina isn’t scared to go with her. “We’ll take very good care of her. Don’t you worry, Jimin. Will we be expecting you or Jungkook to come by later today?”

“Uh,” Jimin scratches his neck. “I’m not sure, to be honest.”

Yerim pouts but then shrugs. “That’s okay. Pick up is still at 6 pm.”

“Okay. Thanks, Yerim,” Jimin smiles as he climbs back into the van.

 

Following the GPS directions to Areum’s school, he glances back at her multiple times in awe. She’s just so observant, having taken to staring outside of the van window instead of playing with the toys in her hands. Every so often, she’ll quietly sing along to the songs on the radio and Jimin can’t stop the adoration blooming within himself.

“Areum,” he calls to get her attention. “You’re pretty cool, you know that?”

She nods straightaway. “Yep, you and daddy tell me all the time.”

“As we should,” Jimin nods, pleased. A gigantic part of him is proud that the parenting he and Jungkook have done so far has given her the confidence a little girl needs.

When he drops off Areum, he makes sure to stay long enough to see her meet up with her classmates and teacher safely.

Jimin feels out of depth when he arrives at the pediatrics office he apparently works in. It’s a relatively small and cozy office, equipped with a small empty waiting room filled with various toys, an empty receptionist window, and silence met with cartoons playing on a television placed on a low table. Jimin has absolutely no fucking idea what to do once inside though as this is unfamiliar territory. For once in what feels like years, he wishes someone would pop up and show him where he needs to go and what he should do in his career.

“Jimin!” a high-toned voice shouts, then he’s being tackled in a hug from behind. He lifts his arms alarmed and turns to see Jinsoul smiling brightly at him. She’s wearing her hair back in a tight pony-tail and is dressed in floral scrubs. “You’re back.”

“Y-yeah,” he stammers as he moves away from her.

“And you’re on time today,” she teases as she pokes his sides.

“Am I always late?” he questions with a raised brow.

She rolls her eyes at him all coy, pressing close to his side as they walk toward the door to get into the back. “Our, Jimin, notoriously known for coming in five minutes late every day.”

“Wow,” he whistles under his breath. “You’ve been paying attention.”

She pauses and side-eyes him. “Course I have.”

They walk together deeper into the relatively empty office, passing by several rooms and heading to what Jimin assumes are lockers to place their belongings in.

“How was the vacation?” she asks as she hangs up her jacket and puts away her lunch.

“It was…good,” Jimin answers back unsure. He hadn’t been here long enough to experience the so-called vacation that he took, but the few days he had were hectic—at least for him.

“Spend a lot of time with the hubby?”

“Mhm,” Jimin nods.

She laughs into her hands as she recalls the party they’d both been at. “Jungkook was pretty wasted. I felt so bad for you, having to carry him out of the house.”

Jimin shrugs. “It’s always nice to see him let loose like that.”

“He seemed to have fun with you. If I had a husband like you to take care of me, I’d have done the same,” she shakes her head. “Too cute.”

Their small talk gets interrupted by another nurse tumbling in and greeting them both as she puts away her things. Jimin files out of the room into the office, taking in his surroundings and observing his other coworkers as they start to settle in and get their daily routine started. Many of them welcome Jimin back warmly, giving him a hug or patting him on the back. They question how he’s been doing while away and then begin to fill him in on patients they’ve been having. They’re all people that Jimin should be familiar with, but he’s not. It’s information overload and it’s only the first hour of the morning.

Jinsoul is the one who mainly fills him in on what appointments they are expecting today and for what reasons. Turns out that Jinsoul is one of the receptionists in the office, taking her place in the window and greeting the families that slowly trickle in through the door. Throughout the shift, Jimin finds himself bored out of his mind but he supposes it’s a good thing because it gives him an opportunity to learn more about his position and his line of work here. He greets the doctors who all know him on a friendly basis and tries to act as natural as possible but judging by some of the looks on their faces, he’s failing miserably.

“You’re quiet today,” a doctor mentions as they eat lunch in the afternoon. Jimin tries to smile it off and explain that he’s just getting back into the groove. After that, they nod in understanding and leave him to stew in his own thoughts.

He’s been called numerous times throughout the day to help with routine checkups on some babies and toddlers. Thankfully, his own experience in the medical field had prepared him for the way he assumes most checkups go and he pulls off everything without any hiccups.

By the end of the day, he has become more comfortable with smiling at families and dealing with children. Jinsoul has become his partner in crime. The girl often attaches herself to Jimin and they both talk more than the others do. He assumes this is because of the creeping suspicion of a crush she might be harboring for him, but it might also have to do with the fact that they are in the same circle of friends. Either way, she’s made the day more bearable and for that he’s grateful.

The office closes at 5:30 pm and Jimin starts to gather his things to leave along with the rest of the staff, promising to see each other tomorrow. All in all, it’s been an easy day and the stress that he’d been feeling leading up to this had been all for naught. It was anti-climactic and frightfully uneventful. It was nothing like his job as a sought-after surgeon.

Jimin gets a call right as he clocks out, heading for his van.

“Hey,” he answers, knowing it’s Jungkook.

“Hey, love,” Jungkook yawns into the line and Jimin smiles. “You’re getting Jina, right?”

“Um,” Jimin gulps. “yes.”

“Wow, did you forget?” Jungkook snickers.

“No, of course not,” Jimin denies, because he didn’t forget, he just didn’t know.

“You do realize you have the car seat. And our car.”

“I know, I know,” Jimin had memorized the name of Jina’s daycare and he sends thanks to the gods for GPS as he gets onto the road.

“See you soon,” Jungkook promises. “Want to pick up some pizza?”

“Sure,” Jimin shrugs, even if he kind of doesn’t. Though the day had been easy, he’s still tired.

“I don’t really feel like cooking tonight. I’m drained,” there is another yawn on the other end of the line and Jimin pictures how Jungkook must look: bags under his watery eyes, and fist poised over his nose as his yawn comes to its peak.

“I’ll be home soon,” Jimin assures.

The smiles he’s greeted with when he walks through the door carrying Jina ignites a fondness in his chest. Jungkook ushers him inside with a kiss and goes back out to grab the pizza still left in the van. Areum runs up to him after he watches Jungkook go and tugs him into the living room where she has a movie playing. It’s Frozen and internally, he groans. Areum has played the film numerous times throughout the week.

“I put on our favorite movie,” she grins. “You used to love it. It’s one of your favorites.”

Jimin has no recollection of ever having loved this movie but seeing the way Areum quickly becomes engrossed in it, he feels a little bit of guilt for shitting on it in his mind. He gently pats Areum on the head, loving how she is actively trying to key Jimin in on who he is in this life. He’s grateful that he has someone who cares so much. She must really love him to be aiding him in his time of need.

Slumping into the couch, he adjusts Jina into a sitting position onto his lap and belly until both are comfortably watching the big screen TV. Funnily enough, she doesn’t kick up a fuss, her doe eyes are intent in watching the movie, only every so often she gets distracted by Areum singing.

After Jimin changes his clothes, Jungkook is sweet enough to serve them pizzas on paper plates. He takes to feeding Jina who becomes restless after a while and from where Jimin perches on the couch, he can easily glance over and watch Jungkook in the act. Jimin quietly chuckles when he catches Jungkook making silly faces at Jina, opening his mouth in a mock simulation of eating and humming obnoxiously when she takes a bite. Jungkook giggles when she does and kisses her cheeks when she giggles back. It’s entertaining to see. Jina has no idea why Jungkook keeps smiling and laughing at her, has no idea that her adorable chunky cheeks and little hands are the cause, but she laughs anyway, unaware that she’s capturing the hearts of the two men under this roof. Such a powerful little thing.

Areum tilts over onto his lap, head burrowing into his thigh as her eyes get heavy. Her empty plate is settled onto the coffee table and Jimin absentmindedly moves to brush at her hair becoming a little drowsy as well.

“Areum,” Jungkook calls them out of their docile states. “You don’t have any homework?”

She shakes her head as a negative.

“Okay,” Jungkook replies, dragging out the vowels as she settles down.

For the rest of the evening, Jungkook and Jimin try to make sure that Areum doesn’t accidentally take a nap. On a few occasions, Jimin almost caves. Her eyes keep shutting when she sits down for too long and eventually Jungkook starts a bath for her. Jimin doesn’t have much to do as Jungkook washes their little ones. He walks around the house and cleans up the kitchen a little. When he flops down on the couch again, Cloud takes his opportunity to pounce onto his lap, expecting pets. Eyeing the leash hanging near the door, Jimin makes his way upstairs.

“I’m gonna go for a walk,” Jimin tells Jungkook as he’s placing Jina in her crib. “with Cloud.”

“Oh,” Jungkook pouts. “okay. Be back soon?”

Jimin nods.

He doesn’t come home for a few hours, but he’s sure to bring his phone with him this time. After an hour, Jungkook had texted him and asked if he was okay and he answered yes. For the most part, he is okay, but he still feels like a stranger in their house. In a way, that sensation is diminishing a little more quickly than he anticipated but Jimin still craves his space, and these walks are becoming somewhat of a reprieve for when he feels alienated.

When he decides to come back, he can breathe a little easier and his shoulders aren’t as tense. He lets Cloud loose when he walks through the door and kicks off his shoes. Around the corner, Jungkook is at their dining table with round glasses perched on his nose and a pen in his hand that is furiously writing. There are papers scattered all over the table, folders piled in neat stacks, and books practically hanging off its ledges. There is a small speaker playing pop songs settled on their island and Jungkook sings along softly, unaware of his audience.

His head snaps up at Jimin when he hears him shuffling in closer and grins lovingly when he recognizes the intruder. Jungkook looks so beautiful, black hair wavy and parted messily, body swathed in ratty clothes meant for sleep. His eyes sparkle, so big and round and so familiar that Jimin is suddenly riddled with an intense surge of affection. His heart skips a few beats, he’s short of breath somehow, and he strikes without a second thought to it, rushing forward to bend down and capture Jungkook’s lips in a soft and gentle kiss, despite the desperation he’s feeling.

His body undergoes an intense appreciation, something he can only think of as salvation as he’s kissing Jungkook. Jungkook chooses that moment to suckle at his bottom lip, and Jimin realizes with a small gasp that he still may be head over heels. That age-old adoration manifests when Jungkook tries to pull away seconds later so he can get back to work, but Jimin fucking refuses. He catches him by his chin and presses in harder, forcing Jungkook’s mouth open with his tongue and quietly moaning when he gets a good taste of him. Jungkook sighs contentedly and brushes his fingers through Jimin’s hair. He drags him closer until Jimin’s standing between his legs.  

Jimin melts into him. He wouldn’t mind kissing Jungkook forever, and he thinks fleetingly that he’d probably never get tired of it; not the way Jungkook softly nips at his lips, not the way he expertly meets Jimin’s tongue with his own, nor the way he tastes and how he grips at his hips when Jimin subtly rolls forward into him. Jungkook chuckles and finally puts down his damn pen, standing and surging forward, meeting Jimin’s enthusiasm. He’s backed into the table, wood creaking and subtly shifting against the floor. A book falls loudly and they both jerk to see where it landed.

Jungkook’s hands have slithered underneath his shirt, resting on his waist. He squeezes gently and tugs to get Jimin’s attention back on him. His eyes are dark, the same darkness contained in them from this morning and Jimin shivers. After a moment, Jungkook tucks his head into the crook of his neck and sighs.

They both stand there in the charged silence for a while, Jimin carding his fingers through Jungkook’s hair and Jungkook caressing the skin on his sides. It’s comfortable, and he finds that he can’t help but let himself get lost in this bliss of just being here with him, being able to hold him, kiss him, rile him up.

He missed this, he misses it even now, regardless if Jungkook is literally in his arms. How is it possible to miss someone so much when they’re in the same room as you? Jimin’s heart clenches and he brings his arms down to pull Jungkook into a hug. Jimin doesn’t like feeling vulnerable, but the thing about Jungkook is that he’s always been able to do just that, pulling out the side of him that makes him feel small and weak.

“I have to finish this,” Jungkook mumbles a minute later.

Jimin nods, but he doesn’t want to let go.

“I’ll be upstairs in a bit,” Jungkook pulls back and pecks him on the lips. Jimin suppresses the need to whine and tug him back to revel in that lovely warmth.

When Jungkook grips his hands and presses a kiss to his knuckles, Jimin backs off to quietly leave him to his work. It’s with a mild panic and a desire to wash up does he finally wind up in their bedroom, picking out pajamas.

After showering Jimin flops down into the sheets. He picks up his cell and curiously flips through his camera roll becoming shocked at how many photos and videos there are of Jungkook and the girls. For obvious reasons, he has no recollection of taking these. There are numerous pictures of Jungkook making dumb faces, he snorts at some of them, then giggles at the short clips he’s captured of Jungkook being silly with the children. On a video further down into his camera roll, his cheeks burn with embarrassment at the icon. Clicking on it, he finds Jungkook being filmed from an angle up above. He’s lying in a bed shirtless, hair messy, cheeks flushed, and lips swollen red. He looks spent, and heat flares a little in Jimin’s stomach.

It’s obvious that this video is a little older seeing as Jungkook’s hair was longer and his cheeks were a little fuller. The Jimin in this video isn’t speaking from where he assumes his position was behind the camera straddling Jungkook, but neither was Jungkook. They were basking in a gentle silence, taking each other in under dim lighting. Even in the darkness, Jungkook’s eyes were shining.

Emotion clogs up in Jimin’s throat at the sight and his breath hitches.

The video is intimate, and regardless if it’s supposed to be a video he himself took, Jimin feels like an intruder looking in on something private. But he can’t help being mesmerized, he wants to know what happens next as his own hand appears on the screen, his left one sliding up Jungkook’s chest, ring finger adorned with their wedding band. He’d begun tracing tenderly around Jungkook’s nipple, gasping softly as Jungkook’s mouth popped open in an inaudible moan. He looks incredible.

The most gorgeous creature Jimin’s ever laid his eyes upon.

“Tell me you love me,” Jungkook rasped out with eyelids half-mast.

“I love you,” the Jimin in the video didn’t hesitate to say. Jungkook smiled softly.

He feels his soul go in and out of himself, a strange sensation coming over him as he hears their hushed voices through his cells cruddy speaker.

“Yeah?” Jungkook questioned with a quirk of his head. He’d captured Jimin’s hand, dragged it towards his lips, and kissed with an open mouth at his palm.

“I love you more than anything,” Jimin confessed, voice breathless. “I love you, so much and I’m so lucky. You’re so beautiful. I wouldn’t know what to do without you and I can’t believe you’re mine.”

Jungkook wriggled from underneath him, blushed and reached out toward him, jostling the camera.

The video ends on a blur of his grin.

And something in Jimin suddenly feels hollow. It lingers, even when Jungkook comes into the room hours later. Jimin screws his eyes closed and pretends to be asleep when Jungkook leans over him. It’s silent for a while as he hovers. Jimin wonders if he’s staring at him, if he can tell that Jimin’s faking. After a minute he feels him backs off, his side of the bed caves in as he lays down to sleep.

“Goodnight, babe,” Jungkook whispers from behind as he winds around Jimin. “Love you.”

 

 


 

 

 

The next few weeks become easier to get through. Jimin becomes familiar with the routine of driving the girls to school. He becomes used to Jinsoul hanging off his arm at work and becomes used to the routine of having to get home to his family. Every night he goes out for a walk, they still last for more than a couple of hours but eventually, Jungkook stops being concerned over how long he goes out for, becoming accustomed to Jimin taking his strolls. Often, Jimin will come home to Jungkook furiously writing on papers. He’s grading homework most evenings and the times that he isn’t caught up grading, he sneaks up on Jimin and initiates intense make-out sessions that last for a long time. It makes Jimin’s stomach flutter, feeling like a teenager all over again with how often they find themselves indulging in their kissing.

However, Jungkook always tries to push just a little bit further and Jimin panics each time. He doesn’t know when the feeling of unease will go away, but he still can’t quite bring himself to do anything more. So, he comes up with excuses when Jungkook’s hand sneaks down a little too close for comfort or he’ll quite literally wiggle himself out of the situation. If Jungkook is bothered by it, he doesn’t indicate so in which Jimin is grateful for. He’s just not quite ready to go there with him yet, doesn’t know if he ever will be and becomes afraid of when Jungkook will question why his husband doesn’t want to have sex with him.

For now, it’s relieving that something like sex is the greatest of his problems. Life becomes smoother and Jimin adapts to their routine, becoming more confident and secure of his position.

On weekends, they go grocery shopping. He learns when it’s his turn to feed and clean the baby, eventually taking initiative when he starts to enjoy their girls’ company more and more. He falls into playing the dad role and Areum sticks to his side more often now that it seems like he’s getting his memories back to her.

One weekday evening, Jimin comes home from his walk and Jungkook is talking on the phone in the living room. He throws a flying kiss at Jimin as a greeting and carries on with his conversation.

Joining Jungkook on the couch he mouths: “Who is it?”

“Yoongi,” Jungkook answers.

“Oh,” Jimin blinks. “Tell him I said hi?”

“Jimin says hi,” Jungkook scoots closer to him and throws his arm over his shoulder. “Anyway, I’ll let you go. We’ll for sure see you tomorrow.”

Jimin looks at him curiously.

“Uh-huh,” Jungkook giggles into the receiver. “He hates it. No, he’ll be there- Alright. See ya.”

“What’s tomorrow?” Jimin wheezes after Jungkook hangs up and obnoxiously throws his whole-body weight on top of him. He turns around from where he’s sprawled on Jimin’s lap and gives him a distraught look. Jimin stares. “What?”

“The bowling practices,” Jungkook pouts and whines. “The very thing I’ve been doing for years, Jimin. How could you forget?”

“Oh right,” Jimin nods, trying to seem as confident as possible. “Thaaaat.”

Jungkook slaps him playfully. “You’re going! Even though you backed out on joining this year, you’re going. To support me. And you’re wearing the shirt.”

Jimin’s eyebrows crinkle. “What shirt?”

 

 

Jimin hates the shirt.

It’s tan, with two bold black stripes running vertically up each side of his torso. It does not do his skin tone well, making him look pale and flushed out. The collar rests awkwardly on his neck and the shirt drapes down long, the hem resting in the middle of his thighs.

Jungkook catches him scowling at his reflection in the mirror and laughs.

“You look cute,” Jungkook quips.

“I look like a dumbass,” Jimin deadpans.

“It’s not that bad,” Jungkook shrugs. He is wearing the same shirt, though he fills it out better than Jimin ever could. He almost looks sexy in it, arms bulging from the sleeves, chest puffed as he crosses his arms. Jimin ignores the urge to drop down to his knees and suck him off. “It’s a shame it hides that great ass, though.”

Jimin glares at him.

“Mom’s here to watch the girls,” Jungkook picks up a duffle bag resting on their bed. “You ready to go?”

 

 

To say that Jimin doesn’t know jack shit about bowling is an understatement. As a warm-up Jungkook started a single game for himself as they waited for the other members and friends to arrive. With some prodding from his husband, Jimin takes a couple of practice throws himself, only to get laughed at for his terrible form and rough technique. He pouts at his second gutter ball and grumbles curses under his breath as he stomps away, embarrassed. Jungkook laughs even more and runs after him, catching and lifting him in a back hug. Jimin screeches and slaps at his arms playfully.

“Wow,” Jungkook snickers into his hear, kissing his lobe briefly. “I knew you said you were bad, but not that bad, babe. What happened?”

“The ball slipped,” Jimin lies. Jungkook hums.

“Twice?” Jungkook teases.

“Leave me alone!” Jimin cries out, cackling when Jungkook mercilessly tickles his sides. Jungkook takes hold of Jimin’s wrist and brings it up to eye level, studying his fingers.

“Well, I would call you out on your lie, but with your baby hands, you make it believable.”

“You motherfu-“

“Whoa, whoa,” a voice interrupts. “There are families around.”

They look up to see Namjoon, Yoongi, Taehyung, Haseul, and Jinsoul walking down to their lane with bags of gear under their arms and wearing matching shirts.

“Early again?” Yoongi questions with a raised eyebrow. He flops down into a chair and begins unlacing his shoes, switching them for his bowling ones.

“Knowing them, Jungkook probably dragged Jimin here by his ear,” Taehyung grins, coming over and slapping Jimin over his shoulder. Haseul bounds over to Jungkook and pounces on his back. “Nice to see you,” Taehyung says.

Haseul and Jungkook grin at each other but then he practically drops her on her ass when she tickles his armpit.

“Stop doing that,” he complains, rubbing at his pit. “You know I hate when you do that.”

“But you’re just so ticklish,” she shrugs.

“I want a beer,” Namjoon interrupts after he tugs on his shoes. “Anyone want one?”

“I do!” Taehyung and Haseul screech. Everyone goes to grab their wallets to join Namjoon at the stairs, including Jimin. Jungkook doesn’t answer but instead picks up his ball, taking his position at the lane. Jinsoul takes a quiet seat, observing Jungkook as he takes his address.

“Want anything?” Jimin calls to them, making a concentrated Jungkook falter in his stride.

“Yeah,” he smiles at back him. “Get me what you’re getting.”

With a nod and no response from Jinsoul, he leaves.

Yoongi is already at the bar with Namjoon, beers being handed over from the tired looking bartender. Haseul and Taehyung are quietly arguing over whether to get a mixed drink or a beer first.

“Thanks, Yug,” Yoongi smiles at the bartender, taking his leave with Namjoon trailing behind.

The man Yug nods a greeting at the sight of Jimin, already seemingly familiar with him.

“Long time no see,” he smiles kindly. “Kook with you?”

“Yeah, he’s over there,” he points back, spotting Jungkook being tugged at by Jinsoul with a grimace on his face. His eyes linger for a moment, watching her be relentless in her pulling until Jungkook sits down right next to her. Once he’s settled, she scoots closer into his space until they are shoulder to shoulder, striking up a conversation Jimin can’t hear.

“Ah…” Yugyeom frowns at the sight for a millisecond before he’s back to smiling. “Tell him to come say hi whenever he gets a minute. Missed you all being around here!”

Jimin’s eyes narrow at the sight too but he brushes it off in favor of ordering two large drafts.

“Yugyeom,” Haseul pipes up, pointing a thumb at Taehyung. “Dumbass over here keeps trying to correct me. Help me out. Isn’t the saying ‘beer before liquor, never been sicker. Liquor before beer you’re in the clear’?”

Jimin chuckles at them. “That’s a myth, Haseul.”

“That’s what I said!” Taehyung shouts.

“No!” she pounds her fist on the bar top. “When I was younger I drank a beer and then had a mixed drink and it messed up my stomach.”

“Well, that can cause your stomach to act up,” Yugyeom comments, sliding two beers to Jimin and starting a tab. “You’re safer sticking to one type of drink if you’re gonna drink. That’s the way I see it.”

“You’re a bartender,” Taehyung points out. “we’d figured that you’d know more about this than us.”

“I’m a bartender in a bowling alley,” Yugyeom corrects. “This isn’t the same type of gig as someone who bartends in a club or an actual bar. I pour beer about eighty percent of the time. Plus, I don’t even really drink that much.”

“Oh,” Taehyung pouts.

“Anyway, I’m right,” Haseul quips. “that’s how the saying goes.”

“The mythical saying.”

“Shut up.”

“Are you two going to order? Or?” Yugyeom gives them an exasperated look.

Jimin takes his drinks and leaves with a quiet ‘thanks’.

Jungkook is still in a conversation with Jinsoul when he nears. From what he catches of their discussion they’re talking about her schooling and Jungkook’s job. She seems a lot more invested in their interaction than he and that makes Jimin surprised. Jungkook has always been the polite type, making the people he’s conversing with feel like he’s listening intently. To see him so obviously uninterested in Jinsoul’s words makes him wonder if he’s privy to her behavior towards Jimin.

Jimin’s always known when women flirt with him, he’s been on the receiving end of many female admirers one too many times to be ignorant about their advances. From their days at the office, Jimin figures that Jinsoul is carrying somewhat of a torch for him. She hangs around him and teases him too much for it to be of platonic interest. He isn’t interested of course, but he doesn’t necessarily brush her off either, just lets her do whatever until she becomes bored. Besides, if she flirts with him a bit, it doesn’t do any real harm. And she never crosses the line to the point where he feels like he should address it or worry.

Tonight, he may be a little confused on what little attention she’s been giving him, but he pays it no mind. Jungkook indulges her attempts at small talk and it keeps her busy, he doesn’t see a problem with it.

Yoongi and Namjoon begin to set up a game on the other side of their lane. They don’t practice with nearly as much enthusiasm and concentration as Jungkook, but they have fun. Yoongi twerks every time he manages to get a strike and Namjoon cackles, pulling out his phone and taking pictures every now and then. Taehyung and Haseul return later and only then do the members of their team start to practice in earnest.

Jungkook, Namjoon, Yoongi, and Taehyung decided to pick up bowling because of Jungkook’s passion for it. He’d picked up the hobby four years back and convinced their friends to join in with him, eventually creating their own team and joining their local leagues. They weren’t necessarily a great bowling team, they did it mainly for fun and didn’t take competing as serious as other teams did. But they liked it enough to have been competing for a couple of years now, this year is the first where they didn’t opt in for the season. They meet up nonetheless using bowling as more of an excuse to come out and drink, as well as spend time with their circle of friends.

When the team starts getting competitive throughout their practice, Jimin and Haseul ditch them to go play in the small room of arcade games. They drink a bit more while away and in no time, Jimin becomes tipsy and his lips become loose. He opens himself up to Haseul and is pleased to find that she’s fun. She’s goofy but smart, curses almost as much as he does and is blunt. He can see how Jungkook and her are alike in some ways, and it makes sense that they seem like great friends.

After a game of Dance Dance Revolution, Jimin has to pee. Haseul points him in the direction of the bathroom and he stumbles away with a dopey smile on his face. As he’s about to come around a corner he hears a couple of familiar voices talking in hushed tones.

“The new shirt looks great on you.”

“Thanks. Jimin thinks so too.”

Jimin stops in his tracks and peeks over. Jinsoul and Jungkook are standing incredibly close, her hand is on the collar of his shirt and his back is leaned against the wall behind him. Jungkook sips at his beer as he gazes at her unwavering.

“Does he know yet?” she asks, dragging her hand down his arm intimately. Jimin’s stomach sours at the sight.

“Don’t bring it up,” Jungkook hisses in response, gripping her hip and looking up and around with paranoid eyes just as Jimin shrinks back out of view.

His heart is pounding in his chest and he hopes it’s just his alcohol-induced mind making him feel paranoid. What doesn’t Jungkook want her to bring up?

Jinsoul only giggles at Jungkook’s response.

“Awe, babe,” she coos sugary sweet. “No one’s around. Don’t worry.”

“I don’t want you to go and spoil everything,” Jungkook complains. “Jimin will see right through me and I can’t afford that. So just lay low for a while. And stop calling and texting me so much. He’ll get suspicious.”

His voice sounds harsh, on edge. Jimin can count on one hand how many times he’s sounded this pissed off. It’s not very many and his mind simultaneously races but numbs. What they’re talking about, he has no idea. But it’s incriminating at how they’re acting and he’s so confused. Why did they have to leave their group to go talk in a private corner? Alone nonetheless.

Is Jungkook being unfaithful? And with Jinsoul?

That can’t be possible.

Jimin can feel himself getting angry and incredibly nauseous. A mixture of betrayal and sadness sweeps through him, and a piece of his brain is telling him he may be overreacting but what the fuck is it that Jungkook is hiding?

“He’s going to find out sooner or later,” Jinsoul barks back. “You don’t have to be an asshole about it.”

Jungkook growls lowly. “This is not even the time to be talking about it. I’m literally here with my husband. Stop it. We should get back to the others before they suspect anything.”

Jinsoul whines. “Kook. Stop being so mean.”

Jungkook sighs. “I’m not being mean,” he says in a softened voice.

“Then play with me,” she requests.

Jimin clenches his fists, stomach heavy with suspicion and humiliation. In just under a few minutes his whole world feels like it’s been flipped upside down. He doesn’t know what to do. Should he burst out from his hiding place and call them out on what they’re talking about? But, no, wait. Maybe he’s just being paranoid. There’s no way this is sounding like what it is. The Jungkook he knows would never do this. He’d never cheat. Jungkook loves him. He tells him so every day—and Jimin, Jimin may love him too. At least he should. They’re married.

Jungkook doesn’t reply for a while and when he peeks back over at them, Jungkook has her in an embrace. Her long hair hangs over his arms secured around her waist. When Jungkook begins to play with the ends, Jimin tears his gaze away.

He hears Jungkook snicker lowly and he finds the will to move his legs and walk off, forgetting he ever had to pee.

Taehyung is laughing at something Haseul is saying when he returns to their aisle. His eyes meet Jimin’s and something in his expression must’ve given away the turmoil he’s going through because he breaks away from their group to come over to him.

“You okay?” Taehyung asks with a small smile on his face.

They both swivel around toward the sound of laughter coming from right behind them. Jinsoul has her arm slung over Jungkook’s shoulders as they walk towards them, only pulling apart quickly as they see the two men observing. Jimin’s sure the expression on his face isn’t one of kindness, he can feel his face crack as his annoyance and anger simmers beneath the layer of indifference he tries to portray. Jungkook has a sheepish smile on his face as he makes his way to them both, pecking Jimin’s cheek before joining their friends, Jinsoul following.

Jimin scowls at the pair as Taehyung raises his eyebrow in question.

“What’s with the face?” Taehyung mutters when they’re out of earshot.

“It’s nothing,” Jimin grumbles as he glares after them bitterly. He isn’t sure this is something he can even bring up. Not when he’s so hurt and lost on what he just witnessed.

“It’s obviously not nothing. Why’re you looking at Jungkook like that?”

Jimin stays silent.

“Ah…” Taehyung hums, nodding his head in understanding. “You two are fighting, aren’t ya.”

It’s not a question, more a statement. Jimin splutters.

“W-what- no I-“

Taehyung chuckles, grabbing Jimin by the shoulders and shaking him gently. “Listen, Jungkook loves you, alright? Whatever it is that you’re mad about, you’ll get over it soon,” Taehyung waves his hand at him as if whatever situation Jimin is in is nothing to be taken seriously. “By tomorrow, you’ll both be fine. Trust me.”

Chapter Text

It’s been more than a week and Jimin isn’t quite “fine”.

Both Jungkook and he had gone to bed as soon as they got home after the bowling session. Throughout the rest of the night he had kept quiet and stewed in his thoughts, eventually going to bed angry and hurt, then waking up the next morning feeling unsettled anxious. That unease didn’t fade over time either but instead lingered and caused Jimin to close off even further.

Instead of talking to Jungkook about what he’d overheard and witnessed, he bottled it up and let it fester. When Jungkook would initiate anything more intimate than a peck to the mouth, Jimin would pull away; a reaction he couldn’t control because of the disgust and suspicion clogging up his throat. More times than he could count, he’d escape any room that Jungkook would walk into. He’d ignore his texts and give him short answers to the questions he’d ask.

After a week of giving Jungkook the cold shoulder and evading him in any way that he could, Jungkook just gave up. He too stopped pursuing Jimin, which was relieving in a sense but had also peeved him. It seemed as if Jungkook didn’t even seem to think anything of Jimin’s aloofness.

Why didn’t he ask him what was wrong? Did he just not care?

He was becoming a walking talking contradiction for craving attention from Jungkook but pushing it away when he’d received it. On the days Jungkook would ignore him right back, Jimin grew frustrated and was on edge. He would mildly snap if the children got on his nerves or if cloud wouldn’t stop barking, he’d become frustrated and start bitching.

One evening, Jimin went a little too far when Areum had been asking them questions about something shown on television.

“But why?” she’d asked for the fifth time, and Jimin didn’t know what possessed him, but he’d shouted at her to stop asking questions, for her to sit still and stop being a nuisance. Areum had startled from his outburst and turned to him with a quivering lip and a sheen in her eyes. When she’d begun crying, Jimin knew he fucked up.

He was about to reach out and comfort her but Jungkook beat him to it. His husband scooped her up in his arms and cradled her until she calmed. It only took minutes, but the whole time Jungkook was glaring Jimin’s way. Eventually, after Jungkook settled her back down toward the television, he shot up and got right in Jimin’s face; he was fuming. Jimin was slightly frightened and for split second he thought Jungkook was going to slap him, but instead he’d dragged him upstairs into their bedroom and shut the door. Jimin didn’t like shouting, but he was so inexplicably angry that he couldn’t help but let his anger get the best of him. They’d yelled at each other for a while, Jungkook wanting answers; Jimin not providing any.

Then Jina started crying downstairs and Jungkook deflated. He’d pushed past him to get to the door and with his hand on the knob, he turned to him with glassy eyes.

“Why are you being like this?” Jungkook’s voice cracked but Jimin was not swayed, even in the face of one very hurt Jungkook. “This isn’t like you, Jimin. You won’t talk to me. You won’t tell me what’s wrong. I don’t know what I did…what we did to deserve this. Why don't you just talk to me?”

Jimin said nothing. He crossed his arms over his chest and tossed his head back to stare at the ceiling.

“Jimin,” Jungkook came closer to him. He placed his hands gently on Jimin’s shoulders and squeezed. “Please, talk to me. You used to talk to me about everything. We can solve whatever this is.”

Jimin heard him speaking but couldn’t really hear a word that came out of his mouth. Jina was still crying downstairs, a second away from being hysterical, but all Jimin could see behind the lids that he was blinking was Jinsoul snug in Jungkook’s arms. It fucking hurt and he couldn’t find it in himself to face anything. Not yet.

“I don’t want to solve anything,” Jimin mumbled, and the moment those words left his lips, the air charged with something almost tangible, something hopeless.

Jungkook blinked at him in shock, a thousand and one emotions flittered across his face until they landed on steely indifference. Jimin watched as Jungkook’s nose flared, as he took his hands away, and left the bedroom without a word more.

 

 

From then on, Jimin cannot figure out how to fix it.

He doesn’t know how to go about bringing up the conversation he’d overheard that night in the bowling alley and deep down Jimin knows that whatever it meant, once it was acknowledged, that it would turn into a real, palpable problem.

He doesn’t want to deal with the confrontation yet. Jimin wasn’t ready. And it’s selfish, but he also doesn’t think he could handle losing Jungkook; how devasted he’d feel if he truly discovered that Jungkook was really cheating. It makes him hurt in unimaginable ways.

How could he ever recover?

At work, he turned to be unnaturally quiet, even going as far as giving Jinsoul the cold shoulder. After a few times of brushing off her attempts at small talk, she became discouraged and pouty, leaving Jimin to his own devices and eventually leaving him alone altogether.

What she doesn’t know is that sometimes during their breaks, he stares at her in secret. It awes him how beautiful she is, and often, he can’t fathom how Jimin could ever compare, how he could even hold a candle to her beauty. Where her skin is flawless, he gets adult acne. Where her frame is slender and gracefully taller than average, Jimin’s is short and stout. After a particularly long day of him enviously glaring at her long legs, Jimin came home to stare disdainfully at his thick thighs and ass in the mirror. Jungkook watched him from the bed where he was tucked in halfway with a book in his hands and glasses on his nose. Jimin saw him arch an eyebrow but didn’t ask any questions.

The silent treatment was too real.

After that awkward night, he replaced his evening walks with runs.

What comes after returning home from his runs becomes an uncomfortable ordeal. He and Jungkook fumble around each other, tolerating and unsure how to be around one another but also having to take care of the children together. Sometimes, Jimin will catch Jungkook’s gaze out of the corner of his eye, making his stomach tense and his heart jerk, but as soon as Jimin goes to face him fully, he looks away and carries about his business as if Jimin imagined it.

It’s clear that even though they’re going through this seemingly never-ending rough patch, they miss each other. Jimin would be a liar if he claimed that he didn’t miss Jungkook’s goofy smile and sweet kisses. It’s only been a couple of weeks of the silent treatments but it’s becoming too much.

Jungkook’s grins never quite reach his eyes; his laughs sound hollow. Jimin caught him dazing off into space once when he was feeding Jina; took note of Jungkook’s tired regard and slumped shoulders. Jimin’s holding up a little bit better, but that’s only because he forces himself to be active which has become a vital distraction from their problems.

If he didn’t run, didn’t exhaust himself down, he knows he’d probably have sleepless nights and long days just like Jungkook, which makes him feel guilty.

When he lets himself think about it, it makes him sick to his stomach to see how unhappy he’s making his husband, but how can he fix something that he’s been dragging on for so long? It feels like defeat. He wonders why he was brought here, into this realm, every single day if not more now.

Is this some sick way of telling him that even if he never gave up Jungkook, they’d still be miserable? Jimin doesn’t appreciate the sentiment.

 

Week three, as he’s driving home after work with the baby, he realizes how ridiculous it is to even be mad anymore.

Jimin is tired, so, so tired of being angry. He’s lonely and exhausted. The repetition of waking up in a bed with someone he adores only to feel forsaken has gotten old and he misses Jungkook tremendously, not only because he’s his husband, but also because he’s his only one true companion in this world. The same one that Jimin’s treated like shit over a suspicion he can’t confirm himself.

It’s Jungkook – the man that dedicated his very own life to Jimin and loves him unconditionally. This fight has been extended for too long and Jimin knows he must try and make this right. Regardless of the misgivings he holds, he should have asked about what he overheard. He’s almost sure Jungkook could never lie to him, he’s never been that great at lying to begin with, stuttering through excuses and flushing when he’s caught up.

Sure, they’ve grown. Yes, maybe now Jimin doesn’t know this Jungkook as well as he thinks he might, but he wants to come home and feel like he’s actually coming home. He wants to kiss Jungkook on the head in greeting and pull him close when they expire from the day. A stranger in this world is what Jimin is, but the lines have been blurred since the moment Jungkook cradled him up in his arms and confessed his love over, and over again, like something Jimin should be familiar with. And Jimin, he feels like shit. He feels like shit for giving nothing back but static apprehension and doubt. A piece of him feels like that’s because he’s lived a life of selfishness, forgetting what it’s like to receive devotion and reciprocate.

But he cares about Jungkook and the kids more than anything; there’s proof in the way he still comes home every night, the way he feels so conflicted and hurt over the possibility of losing Jungkook to someone he might not ever compare to.

If there is one thing he is sure of, is that he gives up too easily in moments where he needs to be his own hero. When he got on the plane so many years ago, that was the first incident, and there were many others that followed. When had he become so complacent?

He frowns as he pulls up into the driveway. Jina is babbling in the backseat; Jimin’s thoughts are babbling.

The lights are on from what Jimin can see through the kitchen window, the curtains fluttering from the air that is circulating inside the house.

He takes a deep breath, counts as he releases it, cuts the ignition, and makes a vow to change.

 

 

Jimin comes through the door with Jina in his arms and immediately gets his legs tackled in a hug from Areum.

“Today, we made animal ears in class!” she shrieks. “I made daddy wear them, oh my gosh, he looks so funny. You have to see.”

Jimin chuckles at her as she drags him by his fingers to where Jungkook is sitting at their dining table, his work already spread over the table, concentration on some papers in his hands. Atop his head sits a paper hat made into white bunny ears, the paper band fitted snugly around his crown.

Jimin can’t help but snort, bringing Jungkook’s attention to him with an unamused face.

“S-sorry,” Jimin snickers into his hand. “You just look so cute.”

Jungkook tugs off the paper hat and fiddles with it. “I didn’t realize I was still wearing it,” he turns to Areum. “You did so well, baby,” Jungkook compliments and Areum grins.

Before he can hesitate about it, Jimin shuffles over to Jungkook and plants a kiss on his forehead.

“Was your day okay?” Jimin asks, somewhat sheepish, with his heart thundering from nerves. As Jungkook stands to take Jina from him, Jungkook kisses the apples of her cheeks. Jimin feels an incredible amount of longing.

 “Yeah,” Jungkook responds, voice monotonous. With one hand, Jungkook begins to organize the mess he had on the table. The pen on top of some papers rolls off and clatters to the floor. Jimin bends to pick it up. “How was your day?”

His heart lurches with hope at the question. As he stands to his full height, he notices how Jungkook is giving him his undivided attention, and although there is a guarded look in his eyes, Jimin feels relief. It’s the most they’ve talked within the past few days, which is incredibly pathetic.

“Good,” Jimin breathes. He glances over and sees that Areum is distracted. “Can we talk later?”

Jungkook’s eyebrows raise, “R-really?”

Jimin nods confidently, soul finally ready to get down to the bottom of this mess he’s created.

Dinner goes smoothly. For the first time in what feels like a lifetime, Jungkook smiles as he animatedly talks about his day. Jimin nods and hums throughout his chatter genuinely caught up in the tales of his scholastic misadventures. They clean up together, bumping hips at the sink and smiling shyly at each other.

Jungkook has brightened up considerably at the prospect of finally being able to talk to Jimin about the issues they’ve been having and while it has yet to have happened, Jimin wants to convey an openness he hasn’t been.

As they relax on the couch to watch some television together, Jungkook reaches over and takes hold of his hand. Jina is in Jungkook’s arms and Areum is curled up on Jimin’s lap.

Jimin grins and takes their intertwined fingers to kiss Jungkook’s knuckles.

 

It’s an hour later that Areum is fast asleep. Jimin tucks her into her princess bed, and Jungkook is struggling to try and get Jina to stay asleep. Jimin can see it in his mannerisms that his husband is keyed-up to finally talk, he’s jerkily rocking Jina in his arms with the bottle and humming out of pitch under his breath.

After a good thirty minutes, Jungkook is still trying to soothe her to sleep. Jimin comes into the girls’ room where Jungkook is rocking her and they share an exasperated look. Jimin moves in to peck him on the cheek.

“Take your time, baby,” Jimin murmurs. “I’ll be downstairs.”

Jungkook huffs, impatient. “I don’t know what’s wrong with her,” he whines, voice hushed. Jina is staring up at her parents with wide eyes from his arms. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be,” Jimin shakes his head. “I’ll wait.”

Jimin decides then to wash up himself. He cleanses his face and brushes his teeth. The jogging pants and loose shirt he slips into are warm and smell of fabric softener. When he makes his way downstairs to wait, Cloud watches him curiously from his bed as Jimin moves to look at the pictures placed atop side tables and hung on the walls.

The first picture he sees is sitting atop of the fireplace mantel, in a golden frame. It’s one of Jungkook, smiling and wearing a graduation gown. He holds his degree in his hands and Jimin can spot a few tears clinging to his lashes. The grin on Jungkook’s face is one of the widest he’s seen and Jimin shakes his head, feeling so fond and reverent just from seeing the expression. The next picture is of Areum and Jina, in a baby blue frame, except they both look a little younger. Jina is bald and wrinkled, looking freshly born and peacefully asleep, tucked away in arms that look like Jimin’s own. Areum is looking down at her in fascination, small hands gently resting among the baby blanket that Jina is swaddled up in.

There are other small pictures placed around the framed family pictures. What looks to be a piece of lined notebook paper is framed and at a closer look, there are poorly drawn stick figures adorning the white sheet. Two men holding hands, a yellow sun with rays squiggled like noodles, a bean-shaped object with a face that he assumes is Jina, and a small girl holding a red flower, Areum.

“You framed that because it was the first picture Areum had drawn of your family.”

Jimin screams and nearly breaks his neck as he whips around to the source of the voice.

“What the hell are you doing here?” Jimin hisses. He hears a clatter from upstairs and throws a panicked look at Hoseok, who is lounging on their couch.

“I have something to show you,” Hoseok shrugs. “Usually, we show these kinds of things later, but I was told I should do this now.”

“What?” Jimin darts forward to grab Hoseok, who rises willingly. He begins to pull him to the front door, ushering him out in fear of Jungkook seeing him. “You can’t just show up to people’s houses like this, in people’s houses. What’s wrong with you?”

“I told you, I have to show you some-“

“Jimin?” Jungkook calls from upstairs. “Babe, you okay?”

Jimin gives Hoseok a wide-eyed look. Unlocking the latch and throwing the door open, he replies, “Y-yeah. Um, there was a spider. Sorry!”

Jungkook walks the rest of the way downstairs, he doesn’t so much as blink in Hoseok’s direction, just gives Jimin a suspicious look from where his hands rest midair in a strange pose. His husband leans against the railing and crosses his arms.

“Where are you going?” Jungkook asks. “I thought you wanted to talk?”

“I do!” Jimin nods, frantic. “I do. But, uh, I figured I could take my run first?” Jimin glances between Hoseok and Jungkook, wondering why his husband isn’t questioning him about the strange man in their house.

“He can’t see me,” Hoseok supplies. Jimin’s breath catches in his throat. “Can’t even hear me. It’s pretty helpful, ya know when it comes to situations like these.”

“Alright, well hurry up!” Jungkook frowns before he skips toward Jimin until he’s in his space. Jimin tenses when warm fingers make their way under his shirt, feeling up Jimin’s stomach. A tug at Jimin’s joggers brings him flush against Jungkook. “Jina finally fell asleep,” he whispers as he presses a kiss against his jaw, open-mouthed and wet. “Come back soon, I miss you. We need to talk.”

“O-okay.” Jimin shakily replies.

When he turns back around to leave, Hoseok isn’t near him anymore. He tugs on his shoes and throws on a jacket.

Fumbling out of the house he sees Hoseok standing out in the yard in a threatening stance, staring at him like a mob boss. The moon is big in the sky, casting a blue glow around the halo of Hoseok’s head. Like this, he really does look like something from out of this world, skin lit up in the darkness. His gray suit is crisp, clean. It’s when he looks down at his feet that Jimin realizes he’s wearing fluffy white slippers, the oddest contrast he’s seen. He doesn’t bother asking. He figures if Hoseok is God, Satan, an alien or whatever he is, he can do whatever he pleases, wear whatever he wants.

Maybe he can even change his appearance, like a humanoid shapeshifter. Did Hoseok choose to look like a youthful mid-twenty Korean man? These are questions he’s curious about, but he saves himself from bringing forth the inquiries. Slightly terrified of the man already, he doesn’t dare to delve deeper into what he’s okay being ignorant to.

The street is desolate, silent, save for the hum of electricity from the powerlines and the noise of traffic a few streets over. Hoseok turns around to observe the neighborhood they stand in, then brings a hand out to snap his fingers. At the sound, the buzz around them comes to a halt and a house at the end of the street goes dark. Jimin’s heart pounds when one by one, each house is plunged into blackness, along with the street lights lining their yards. On each side, Jimin watches in horror at how the darkness comes closer, caging him in until the only source of light left is from the moon above Hoseok and the light from the house behind him. The darkness doesn’t dare touch the yard of his house, stalking like a predator around the perimeter and swirling like smoke. Jimin doesn’t know how he knows, but that darkness isn’t like any old darkness. Something lurks in there, a danger that Hoseok is somehow keeping at bay, as if he so much as wished it, Jimin could be consumed.

Bringing shaky arms around himself, Jimin shudders bodily, near tears.

“I don’t mean to frighten you,” Hoseok says, voice gentle as he steps closer to Jimin, who unconsciously steps back.

“Yes, you do,” Jimin breathes out a wobbling breath. His heart is roaring in his ears and his blood is rushing, all fight or flight instincts kicking in.

“You’re right. I do,” Hoseok quirks a brow and smiles as if impressed.

“What is this?” Jimin shakily gestures to the opaque black in the air. “Are you trying to prove something?”

“And what, little Jimin, would I need to prove?”

“You already t-took me out of my life. Placed me here for God knows what,” he whimpers when the obsidian smoke whirls violently. “I-I get it. You’re stronger than anything in this world.”

Hoseok chuckles and crouches to the floor. “Do you feel like I’m trying to play tricks on you?”

“Yes.”

Hoseok frowns. “That’s not the objective here.”

“I don’t know what it is that you want me to do.”

“I need you to feel. To realize that-“

“Feel? I do feel!” Jimin cuts him off, frustration taking control of his emotions going haywire. He yelps and stumbles back when Hoseok is suddenly centimeters from his face, not having moved a muscle, expression blank and eyes piercing.

“Don’t interrupt me.”

Jimin nods hurriedly. “S-sorry.”

“Tell me, Jimin. Are you scared?” Hoseok starts to slowly circle around Jimin, making him feel like a rabbit in a lion’s den.

“I’d be lying if I said no,” Jimin replies.

“Did you know that I know everything there is about you? I’ve seen your whole life. I know your past, your present, your future,” Hoseok pokes at Jimin’s head. “I know your insecurities, your flaws, your desires, and dreams. I know how your mind works and what you think.”

“Can…can you hear what’s in my head right now?” Jimin asks, a fear heavy in his stomach.

“Of course, I can. It’s almost like reading a book. You’re quite simple, really. It’s almost boring.”

Insecurity grips at Jimin. He convinces himself that he doesn’t care what Hoseok thinks. He doesn’t.

“Your story is pretty basic. The privileged Asian kid who threw away his life to go to college. Made promises he couldn’t fulfill. Told himself he wasn’t ever going to love again after he ruined the only good relationship he ever had. Jungkook really did love you, ya know?” Hoseok giggles. “So, you deal with the ache by sleeping around with your friends and ruining your own relationships because you don’t know how to deal with emotion and affection. But you don’t know how to be alone either, so you keep the few around who don’t know how to say no or who also have no self-worth. Do you even have any real friends?”

“Shut up,” Jimin demands. Seokjin crosses his mind and Hoseok laughs at him from his position behind him.

“Seokjin just humors you. You know that, right?”

“Stop.”

“I can’t stop, even if I really, really wanted to. You’re a little pathetic,” Hoseok quips as he comes to stop and face Jimin again. “Has anyone ever told you that?”

Jimin doesn’t answer.

“No? Well,” Hoseok looks at his nails as if they’re more interesting than the conversation he’s presently having. “Maybe not to your face they haven’t.”

“Why are you telling me this?”

“Because you don’t want to hear it.”

“Stop fucking with me,” Jimin demands hotly and Hoseok pouts at him in a mocking manner.

“Awe,” Hoseok faux coos. “Is little Jimin feeling vulnerable?”

“Shut, the fuck, up,” Jimin fumes as he brings his fists to his sides. He doesn’t like it, doesn’t like knowing that Hoseok is in his head. It’s scary, he’s horrified. He doesn’t want to hear what it is that the people in his life think of him, how could he go back and act normal? They hate him. Maybe they all hate him.

Hoseok puts a hand in the middle of his chest and it starts glowing. Jimin grips his wrist to pull it away but it’s as if Hoseok is attached to him, unmoving and heavy like marble.

“Sorry, dude. I told you that I had to show you something.” Hoseok smiles gently at him. “No hard feelings?”

Jimin’s eyebrows furrow and before he can reply he’s shoved, air pressed from his lungs and body flung backward through the air.

Seconds after he catches his breath, his arms and legs are flailing helplessly before him as he keeps flying. His torso is bent at the hips from the momentum of which he’s being tugged reversed through the air, being pulled further and further away from Hoseok until all the darkness fades from before him at lightning speed. A glance behind him reveals a blinding white light, getting bigger and closer, almost like a miniature sun but pulsing like a heartbeat and open like the end of a tunnel ready to receive Jimin.

It’s blinding, brilliant white. An open maw gaping as Jimin braces himself, screaming his lungs out before he's pulled into the glare.

 

 


 

 

 

When Jimin comes to, he’s laying down on some grass, the bright sun beating down onto him. He covers his eyes with his hands and rolls over on the earth. The sound of footsteps gets him to look up and around him and he starts to scramble to his feet when someone tall and looming is about to walk onto him.

“Hey! Watch out!” he cries a second too late as a long leg steps right into Jimin’s stomach. He gasps and curls in on himself when the foot goes straight through him, causing him no harm, as if he’s this transparent being, like he’s air. Jimin clutches at himself, feeling very solid and looks back at the person who just walked through him and paid him no mind. “The fuck is this?”

Jimin sits up and swivels around, taking in the unfamiliar area surrounding him. It looks like a fancy park, with green hills, stone pathways, and beautiful water fountains placed here and there. Before him are large white tents, buzzing with life from inside.

Standing up hesitantly, Jimin gasps and dodges out of the way from a rushing Yoongi. Yoongi is wearing a crisp white tuxedo, black bow tie unfastened and draping under his collar.

Shit, shit, shit,” the man is muttering curses under his breath, clearly panicking over something Jimin isn’t privy too. Yoongi’s voice sounds distant like it’s plunged under water.

“Yoongi?” Jimin calls for him and makes to follow him when he gives Jimin no attention. “Yoongi! What’s going on?”

Jimin goes to grab his arm and his fingers go through it. He’s like a ghost. He tries not to panic at the fact that they can’t see him.

Namjoon!” Yoongi calls when he enters one of the tents and Jimin follows.

“Can’t you hear me?” Jimin cries out in frustration.

Apparently not, because Yoongi keeps marching forward. Inside the tent is Namjoon, wearing a black tux, splayed across a chair, rubbing at his temples. It looks like a makeshift dressing room, what with the mirrors, lights, and hair products strewn over tables and bags. What makes Jimin freeze though, is the sight of himself sitting rigidly in a chair.

There is another version of Jimin in the tent, looking over at Yoongi, puzzled. This Jimin is dressed in a black tuxedo as well, slightly matching the one Namjoon is wearing but much, much more extravagant with the different shades of black pieces put together. His hair is slicked back, his face is a little pale. It’s as he’s watching himself fiddle with the cufflinks that he realizes what this is.

“This was when I got married,” he whispers to himself. It makes sense, the tent, the tuxedos. Jimin tries to make himself as small as possible, backing up to watch this scene unfold in front of him. This is what Hoseok wanted him to see. What he needed him to be vulnerable for.

What is it?” this Jimin asks, standing up from his seat.

Thank fuck you’re here,” Yoongi strides over to him. “It’s Kook. He um, he wants to see you.”

What?” Namjoon cuts in. “That’s bad luck.”

I thought it was only bad luck if there were a bride and groom,” Taehyung walks in at that moment, dressed up in all black like the rest of them. “Two grooms here. Don’t know if that really matches tradition. We’re also all wearing black like it’s a funeral instead of a wedding.”

All their voices sound slightly warbled, but it somehow makes sense that they do, especially if Jimin’s suspicions are correct if he’s been thrown into a memory.

Is he okay?” Jimin ignores Taehyung as he starts to straighten out his bow tie. “What’s wrong?”

Poor thing probably has cold feet,” Jimin’s mother walks in, wearing a golden dress that compliments her skin tone. “You should go to him.”

But mom!” Jimin complains. “What if it’s bad luck?”

Oh, hush. You two are made for each other. He probably just needs to see you.”

Let’s hurry,” Yoongi urges as he tugs Jimin by the hand. “He had me really worried when I left. Haseul was losing her patience.”

Tell Haseul-“ Taehyung calls out to them only for Yoongi to yell over his shoulder. “Tell her yourself!”

Jimin makes himself follow.

 

 

Yoongi leads them to another tent, placed far from the other one they had been in previously. Haseul is already holding open the flap for him to usher in, a pained look on her face.

Jimin, thank God!” she tugs him inside and leaves Yoongi out who grumbles and walks away. Jimin holds his breath as he phases through the tent wall, stomach queasy as he makes it in.

The inside of this tent has the same set up as the other, except the only contents that are specifically different is the makeup laid neatly across the table and the lack of black clothing. Haseul is wearing a knee-high white dress, matching the pristine white tuxedo this Jungkook is in.

Jungkook stands up shakily and rushes over to Jimin, pulling him in close and hugging him tightly.

I was scared you wouldn’t come,” he whispers out and Haseul takes this as her cue to leave.

What’s wrong, baby?” Jimin pulls back and coos when Jungkook starts to cry. “Are you okay? Please don’t cry. It breaks my heart.”

I just,” Jungkook moves to sit down and Jimin pulls a chair near him, gently wiping away his tears as he settles. “I just had t-to see you. I just.”

Shh, baby. Breathe. Take your time,” this Jimin hugs Jungkook close again and soothingly rubs his back.

Jimin feels completely out of place, watching this scene unfold and feeling like he’s intruded on something private.

He looks away when they kiss, but glances back over when they keep kissing. Jungkook breaks away and presses his forehead against his own, locking eyes desperately.

Do you really love me?” Jungkook asks hesitantly, biting his red lip.

Both Jimin’s gawk, shocked, both thinking the question is so absurd, because in what world does Jimin not adore Jungkook to the moon and back?

Babe, what is this? Of course I do. I love you, so much,” he urges, pulling out Jungkook’s lip and kissing it softly.

I-I wouldn’t blame you if you hated me a little,” Jungkook’s lip quivers.

Why on earth would I ever hate you?” Jimin frowns.

Because, I-I’m pushy,” Jungkook sobs. “I m-made you stay with me and be with me. I made you move in with me after college a-and kept hinting that I wanted to get married and r-raise babies with you. I’m too persistent but I just love you so much. I can’t h-help it, I just want to be with you so bad, and sometimes, I feel like I didn’t even ask you if this is what you wa-wanted. If you even wanted m-me,” He cries and scrubs at his eyes. “I’m smothering. Aren’t I smothering?”

Jungkook,” Jimin smiles fondly as he brushes his fingers through Jungkook’s hair. “I love you. I love you so much, you have no idea. I love you so much sometimes, that it’s overwhelming. Please, please don’t think that you’re smothering.”

I’m not…I’m not pressuring you into this?” Jungkook questions through tears.

Did you forget that I proposed to you?”

Jungkook shakes his head.

I want you. I want this. Right here is where I belong,” Jimin grasps Jungkook’s hands in his own to emphasize his point. “I want to spend the rest of my life with you, Jungkook,” Jimin whispers, as he kisses his nose. “I can’t even imagine spending my life with anyone else. I never once imagined leaving you, I couldn’t bear it. You’re amazing and sweet. I love your persistence,” another kiss is pressed to his cheek. “How else could I ever feel so treasured by someone otherwise? You do so much for me, for us. Hell, Jungkook, we don’t even have to get married, if you don’t want to. I just want to be with you, too. And although this wedding is costing our parents a shitload of money,” Jungkook giggles. “we could walk away right here, right now, and as long as I have you by my side I wouldn’t regret it. I love you. You were the best decision I’ve ever made.”

Jungkook sags into Jimin’s embraces and shakily exhales. “If you’re sure…

I’ve never been surer of anything in my entire life,” Jimin holds him as he rocks gently.

Tell me you love me again,” Jungkook requests.

I love you.”

Again, please?” Jungkook whimpers as he tucks his face into Jimin’s neck.

I love you, I love you,” Jimin pulls back to cup Jungkook’s face in his hands. “I love you a trillion times over, and I’ll love you forever.”

Promise?”

I promise, I swear it.”

Jimin slowly sits onto the ground and watches as he and Jungkook hold one another, confessing words of love and undying devotion. It’s an odd experience, watching himself be so irrevocably in love. Half of the words he watched himself say made him burn with embarrassment yet flooded him with shame. He shouldn’t be allowed to see something so private and intimate. It almost feels like this memory, flashback, or whatever it may be, doesn’t belong to him.

Jimin and Jungkook begin to make-out heavily, making Jimin squirm with unease. He stands and turns to make his way out the tent and just as he is about to reach for the exit, he gets yanked backward again.

He only flies for a moment and lands stomach first onto a cool, hard floor. The air gets knocked out of his lungs and his head spins. Groaning, Jimin clenches his eyes shut until the room stops spinning. As the muffled sounds and view comes into clarity, Jimin finds himself in what looks like the middle of an empty dancefloor. Sitting up, he recognizes that this is what his wedding reception was or could’ve been. There are twinkling string lights lining the inside of a massive white tent, beautiful yellow and white flowers swirl around the pillars, and the sky is dark, accentuating the golden light radiating from within the reception. White-veiled tables line the dancefloor and placed on top are immaculate centerpieces consisting of gorgeous bouquets and golden cutlery placed neatly around them.

Jimin curiously steps toward an empty table, eyeing a wine glass when a noise erupts, and people appear in the room with a clap. There is the smell of food in the air, music playing softly enough as to not disrupt the conversation, and laughter ringing throughout the air. Jimin watches his mother walk right past him toward a long table near the back of the tent. There Jimin sits with Jungkook, both men adorning their rings and talking softly to one another as they sip on water. Sitting beside them are what he assumes are the rest of the grooms’ men and women; Namjoon, Haseul, Yoongi, and Taehyung who is conversing with his mother. Jungkook’s mother approaches the table as well and he watches with a small smile as the woman reaches over and pinches at Jungkook’s cheeks, making him blush and whine.

Taehyung stands at that moment, gathering the attention of many when he taps on his glass and announces that he wants to make a speech. The DJ shuffles over with a microphone and a hush falls throughout the hall. Jimin watches himself and Jungkook clutch each other’s hands, preparing themselves for the speeches their best men have prepared.

Jimin told me that I was going to cry at his wedding,” the crowd snickers as Taehyung starts speaking into the mic with a wide grin. “He was wrong, of course. I’m tough as nails,” he winks at Jimin who rolls his eyes. “Even if I didn’t shed a tear, I feel like it’s safe for me to confess that I started to feel myself well up at the sight of you two at the altar,” the crowd coos as Taehyung takes a shaky breath.

You’ve been my best friend since college, Jimin. We’ve been through breakdowns over exams, arguments over who ate the last ramen, bonding moments through keg stands. It was wild, it was fun, and I can confidently say that the experiences that I’ve had wouldn’t have been as meaningful if it weren’t for you sticking it through with me,” clearing his throat, he continues with glassy eyes. “You’ve been one of the most loyal people I’ve ever met in my life. I can’t stand here and say that because of Jungkook, you’ve become a better person because you’ve had him all along and you both have always been amazing together. It’s cliché, but the first time you introduced me to Jungkook, I saw the way you two revolved around each other like planets. I then understood the concept of soulmates. I knew in my heart that you’d both last, because in this world that’s how it should be. I can’t even begin to explain how happy, how honored I am to be a part of yet another grand experience with you both. I love you, Jimin and Jungkook. Congratulations.”

Jungkook is in tears by the time Taehyung finishes his speech, he hugs Jimin’s arm and wipes his eyes, shooting a meaningful look toward Taehyung.

Thank you,” Jimin mouths, eyes wet. Taehyung shoots him a kiss as he hands over the microphone to Haseul, who stands shakily. She slaps Taehyung on the arm playfully and pouts at him.

How am I supposed to compete with that?” she quivers into the mic as she dries her eyes, and everyone laughs. She looks at Jungkook fondly and smiles. “I’ll try to keep it short, you big crybaby.

I met Jungkookie in our senior year of high school. It was out on the bleachers by the football field,” Jungkook groans, interrupting her. She giggles. “He didn’t want me to tell you this story because he’s embarrassed, but what kind of maid of honor would I be if I didn’t? You see, the first time I met Jungkook, he was singing, to his phone no less. I think he thought he was alone because he kept gyrating his hips and adding unnecessary adlibs in between lines. He looked so stupid. It was then that I realized he was facetiming someone. Now, who would that be?” she rolls her eyes affectionately at Jimin who raises his hand. “It was mid hip thrust that I realized just how committed Jungkook really was. Here was this, tall, handsome dude singing and dancing underneath the bleachers, ultimately embarrassing himself, just so he could amuse his significant other, who at that time, was having a rough time in college and needed some cheering up. It was cute, it made me wish I had someone that could do that for me too. Anyway, he made me promise not to tell anyone and he started to avoid me in the halls. If any of you know me at all, you know that I can get persistent.

It was when I broke my leg during a soccer match did Jungkook show more concern for me than any of my other friends. We were laughing over stupid vine compilations one night when I realized that he’s my best friend. I want nothing more than for him to remain happy and a big part of that happiness was because of Jimin’s constant presence in his life. It’s like what Taehyung said, you two belong together. It’d be wrong if one of you existed without the other.

“Jimin, you hold Jungkook’s heart in your tiny hands,” she laughs. “I know you’ll cherish him with everything that you have because I see that love in your eyes when you look at him. Thank you for making him happy, thank you for loving him. Jungkook, remember that time you told me that you were going to marry this man? I never once doubted you and now look where we are,” she smiles and leans down to kiss both of their wet cheeks. “I love you, both. I truly, truly wish you both the best.”

 

 

Jimin stays in this memory long enough to witness their first dance. He watches as he and Jungkook sway slowly to a love ballad, occasionally pulling apart to kiss and smile at one another. Their mouths are moving, having a hushed conversation that Jimin wishes he can hear. They’re truly in their own little world.

He’s resided himself to sitting in a chair conveniently empty, surrounded by family members Jimin hasn’t seen in years. Everyone is either filming the couple, taking pictures, or smiling gently at them. It’s clear as day how in love they are as if they had waited their entire lives for just this moment. Their rings glint in the light and their eyes sparkle. Jimin can only imagine how it must feel to be pressed against Jungkook on that dancefloor. He knows just by the expression on his face that the world around them isn’t even registering, he bets that everything else is just faded away. It must feel like it’s only the two of them in this world like nothing else matters except for the person in their arms and the love in their hearts. The Jimin in this memory probably feels invincible.

Jimin harbors the ghost of what love must feel like, slowly creeping into his heart. He places his hand over his chest and allows himself to ache for the first time in years.

When the dance comes to an end, Hoseok appears at his side. Jimin doesn’t so much as glance at him, keeping his eyes glued to the Jungkook in this memory, at how he glows. It’s such a brilliant sight that he’s suddenly saddened that he’d never experienced this.

“Sorry for being mean earlier,” Hoseok says. He takes a chair and pulls it next to Jimin before sitting.

“It’s okay,” Jimin shrugs. He wishes the wine bottles on the table were real, he’d reach out and pour himself more than a few glasses to get his head distracted. “Think I know why you did it, but it doesn’t mean I like it.”

“Mostly made some of that stuff up,” Hoseok sighs. “Just had to get you a little more broken down.”

Jimin leans forward and places his elbows to his knees. “Sucked.”

“I know,” Hoseok wrinkles his nose.

“So, this is what I really missed, huh?” Jimin licks his lips. “Big ol’ wedding?”

“Yep,” Hoseok pops the p.

Jimin takes this moment to stand and rid himself of torturous thoughts.

“Can you take me home now?” Jimin asks, his words hushed.

But Hoseok hears him nonetheless. “Of course,” and there is a hand on his shoulder.

In his peripherals Jimin can see it begin to glow like before, can feel Hoseok become unmoving like marble before he's pressed down into the earth and freefalling into a black hole.

Chapter Text

Jimin is more than a little dazed when he’s slammed back onto the earth’s surface; the soles of his feet aching in protest. The landing sends a violent jolt up his legs. his spine, and he curls forward until his knees hit the ground. All the weird dimension jumping he’d just been put through has caused him to feel rattled. Staring at the cement underneath him, Jimin can gather that it’s still night. A look up at the sky confirms this; that same silver moon is hanging overhead.

He almost expects Hoseok to be there, but a look to his left and a look to his right shows that he is not. Rolling his neck and swinging back up to his feet, Jimin looks up at the house. In a way, he’s not quite ready to acknowledge the relief that floods through him at the sight. When he’d asked if he could be taken back home, a small part of him didn’t know which home he’d referred to. The lines blurred; was his home the apartment in New York or this two-story house in California?

Staggering up the yard, Jimin places his hand on the cold metal doorknob and re-enters his home. Warmth swaddles him up as he steps inside. Slipping out of his shoes and locking the door behind him, Jimin turns to a dimmed house. Cloud gets up and greets him, his claws digging through Jimin’s sweats from where he jumps on his leg. Jimin pets him for a few minutes before he makes his way up the stairs. When passing the girl’s cracked bedroom door, he glances inside to see the nightlight illuminating the room, a lump in a princess bed, and a burritoed infant in her crib.

From underneath the gap of his bedroom door, Jimin can see that the lights are off. Pushing it open with a gentle shoulder, it creaks on its hinges, and inside the moonlit space reveals a Jungkook, fast asleep in their bed. The heart inside his chest squeezes. His husband’s mouth is hanging wide open; drool connects his cheek to pillow. Next to him lays a book and his glasses. A small guilt pools within Jimin. He’d kept him waiting for he doesn’t know how long and Jungkook had been wanting to talk, but the impromptu trip down memory lane with Hoseok had interrupted their plan. He only hopes Jungkook won’t be too upset with him.

Like always, a clean set of pajamas are set out for Jimin. He dresses slowly, cautiously. If Jimin does know one thing, it is that Jungkook needs his sleep. Raising a family on top of being a teacher seems to be a taxing affair. The man is always busy, at times feeling busier than Jimin himself. More than anything, he would like for Jungkook to get the rest he deserves.

When Jimin finally crawls over the bed, he takes the book out of Jungkook’s loose grip, and that with the glasses are placed on the nightstand. It takes some maneuvering, but Jimin somehow gets the blankets out from underneath Jungkook’s deadweight. He tucks the taller man in, then slides in right in front of him. As he’s fluffing up his pillow, a quiet voice croaks.

“Babe?”

Jimin jolts, his eyes whip toward Jungkook who’s just rousing from his slumber.

“Hey,” Jimin greets, a smile fighting its way to his lips. “I’m sorry I’m so late.”

Jungkook just blinks one eye blearily, his head lifting a little from its concave spot in the pillows.

“It’s okay,” Jungkook smacks his lips, then licks them. “Did you have a nice walk?”

Jimin had anything but a nice walk. But still, he answers: “Yes. It was fine.”

Jungkook nods, eyes closing once more. A hand glides its way over to Jimin’s waist from under the blankets. It tugs him closer until all Jimin can do is tuck his head underneath Jungkook’s chin. There is then a kiss placed onto his head and Jimin feels the rush of a blush stinging at his cheeks. Thank goodness it is dark or Jungkook would be able to witness just how much these small acts of affection truly affect him.

“I’m not mad anymore,” Jungkook says. “I hate fighting with you.”

“I hate fighting with you, too,” Jimin admits. “And I’m so fucking sorry,” he pulls himself away to look into Jungkook’s eyes. They glimmer even in the dark and Jimin can feel himself being reeled in like a moth. “I acted so ridiculous and didn’t tell you why. I’m so sorry.”

The weight of the world lifts off his shoulders at the apologies flittering from his mouth. A prideful person at heart, it takes a lot for him to disclose his faults. Even though there are so many unanswered questions, so many things he wants to know, Jimin doesn’t even want to bother trying to delve into them right now; not at this midnight hour where Jungkook is so soft and warm in his arms. The peaceful lull they’ve found themselves in feels too fragile and not the kind of moment where Jimin could possibly bring up what he saw, what his logical brain tells him he should ask about. His heart tells him to wait, and so, he will.

“I’m sorry, too,” Jungkook murmurs before slowly pressing forward for a kiss. His mouth is wet and heated against Jimin’s own. It’s been missed dearly. “Can we never do this again? For a moment, I thought I’d lost you and I didn’t even know what happened.”

It’s then that Jimin wonders if he should bring it up, ask Jungkook if he’s cheating, but there is no possible way. Not with the way Jungkook is looking at him like he’s his whole world.

He shakes his head and brings his hands to cup Jungkook’s face. “It was just me being stupid. I promise.”

Jungkook’s eyebrows crinkle in a frown. There looks like what might be a protest on his lips but then he seems to hesitate under Jimin’s resolute gaze.

“Are you sure?” Jungkook asks. “You didn’t talk to me for weeks, Jimin.”

“I’m sure,” Jimin nods with all the conviction he has. He hates seeing Jungkook so conflicted. “It was something…personal. It wasn’t you.”

“Personal?”

“I’m fine,” Jimin breaks into a small smile that he hopes is comforting. “We’ll talk later but right now it’s late. We should sleep. I’m fine. It wasn’t you,” a partial lie. “It was just me.”

Jungkook purses his lips but doesn’t push it any further and Jimin gives when he leans forward to give him another kiss, then another, then another with a little tongue added in.

“If you’re sure…” Jungkook trails off, forehead to forehead with Jimin.

“I’m sure,” Jimin snorts. There are still those heavy bags underneath Jungkook’s eyes, the ones he’s gained through the stress of their fight. Jimin’s thumb rubs gently at them and Jungkook’s eyes flutter closed. “Sleep, baby.”

A huff and a grin stretch across Jungkook’s lips. Jimin marvels at how beautiful he is.

“Haven’t heard you call me that in so long,” Jungkook mumbles. “Missed you.”

Jimin’s heart squeezes again, so harsh it feels like his ribs are constricting. “Missed you, so much,” and that confession is much, much more weighted than Jungkook could ever understand.

 


 

 

For the first time in weeks, Jimin wakes up to a peaceful morning. There is the sound of birds singing outside of the window, Jina is not crying, Areum has not banged her way into the room, and Cloud has not taken the golden opportunity to come crashing down onto Jimin’s stomach. Instead, Jimin wakes up not to an alarm, but of his own volition.

It’s so strange, to feel so wide awake. Blinking at the ceiling, Jimin rolls over and stretches out all his kinks. A groan escapes his lips as his muscles extract. Rolling over, he closes his eyes once more, but the other side of his bed isn’t as warm as it should be. His hand patters around to find empty space where Jungkook was before.

His poof of hair arises from where he’s buried his head in the pillows. The bedroom is empty, but there is a folded piece of paper on the nightstand in his line of sight. A scrawl of his name in what is clearly Jungkook’s handwriting is what finally rouses him from the sheets. He crawls over and picks it up finally noticing a crystal vase with several deep red roses inside. Jimin squints but smiles, leaning forward to smell them. The note in his hand is opened seconds later, and a giggle jumps out of his mouth at Jungkook’s simple handwritten note.

‘When you decide to join us from the land of the dead, breakfast will be ready downstairs.’

He scratches his chin from confusion. Perhaps this is Jungkook’s way of making up after their fight. Jimin shrugs his shoulders and hops out of bed to the restroom. After washing up, he jogs downstairs and spots Areum, hunched over her small worktable and coloring with the half-broken crayons scattered around her. She looks up at his arrival and jumps from her seat.

“Daddy!” she squeals and clings to Jimin’s side. Jimin scoops her up and places a kiss to her cheek.

“Morning, love.”

Jina is bouncing in her walker, hands banging the toys she’s got clutched in her tiny fists. Jimin goes to place a kiss to her head too, laughing when Jina’s face lights up with a smile. Putting Areum down, Jimin rounds into the kitchen and true to his word, Jungkook is cleaning up from making breakfast. A plate with pancakes and fruits and bacon are wrapped up and sitting on the island waiting for him. Jimin licks his lips and feels his stomach pang with emptiness.

Jungkook turns to him from where he’s washing the dishes and a blush dusts his cheeks when their meet eyes. “Was going to wait for you,” he says, then gestures to the digital clock on the oven. “but you were sleeping for too long. Areum got hungry.”

Jimin shakes his head and goes to wrap his arms around Jungkook’s waist. “It’s fine, baby,” Jimin pecks the back of his neck. “It looks delicious.”

And the food is amazing. Jimin scarfs down everything like a man starved, and tries not to feel wary of the way Jungkook is watching him with a glimmer in his eyes…almost like he’s—expectant of something? When Jimin takes the last bite of his food, he puts down his utensils and watches Jungkook wiggle in his seat with barely contained excitement. This confuses Jimin, and he’s sure his facial expression shows as much.

“What—”

“Okay!” Jungkook yelps and hops up from his seat, startling Jimin. He takes his plate and dashes over to the sink to dump it inside with a clatter. His nose is scrunching from his grin and Jimin looks around in confusion. “I’ve been waiting forever for you to wake up and get done,” he rambles. “I know you said we shouldn’t do extravagant gifts this year, especially because we were struggling with the girls’ supplies among other things, but I couldn’t help it. Wait here.”

There is no other choice but to sit, a little winded from Jungkook’s energy. He watches his husbands retreating form as he dashes clumsily from the kitchen to somewhere down the hall. A bang and a couple of loud thuds later and Jungkook is returning. In his hand is a blank, matte black gift bag with matching tissue puffing out from the top. Jimin tries to remember if it’s his birthday, but it’s not. The gift in his hand is clearly meant for himself, especially given the way that Jungkook is eyeing him with a smugness. It is placed in front of him and Jimin doesn’t make a move. Jungkook is displeased by this, he shows it by pursing his lips and pushing the bag closer to him.

“Baby,” he whines. “Open it. I want to see your face.”

Licking his lips, Jimin reaches out a hesitant hand. For some reason, this feels damning. Jimin doesn’t have a gift to give in return. When his hand touches the bag, a small wash of horror pales his face. No—this can’t be.

Inside of all the fancy tissue paper rests a box; the kind of box that houses jewelry. Jimin takes it out with careful hands and sets it on the dining table. Jungkook scoots the bag over from where it was obscuring his sight to the reaction Jimin sports. On the outside of the box is what he assumes is the label of the company imprinted in gold. It’s a name he doesn’t recognize and he’s unsure of how he’s supposed to respond. A glance at Jungkook says he’s supposed to be grateful—and he is, of course—but he doesn’t know what he did to deserve this.

“Kook,” Jimin sighs. “You shouldn’t have.”

Jungkook snickers. “Of course, I should have,” he sits down to Jimin’s right and peers into his eyes. “You haven’t even seen what’s inside of it, doofus.”

The box holds weight in his hands when he picks it up again. He almost wants to put it to his ears, so he can rattle it and guess what’s inside, but he finally gives into Jungkook’s anxious gaze. It opens with a smooth snap, and Jimin’s breath hitches in his throat.

“Wow,” is the only word he can muster.

Nestled in a small cushion of silk sits the most gorgeous wristwatch Jimin’s ever seen. The band gleams with silver and gold, and the dial is a royal blue. It shines up at him from its bed and Jimin recalls one of the Rolex’s he’s owned when in New York. This one resembles the same, but different in brand. It had been one of his favorite possessions, something he wore out almost every day.

“I saw you looking at it once,” Jungkook’s soft voice breaks him out of his reverie. “You stared at it for minutes from the windows when we were out shopping with the girls one day. I had called your name at least four times before you finally looked away from it.”

Jimin does remember that. It had been in the beginning, when he was thrust into this life with no direction. It was such a brief and insignificant moment that he’d simply forgot it happened. But Jungkook paid so much attention to him that he’d remembered and found a way to buy it.

“It’s perfect,” Jimin shakes his head in disbelief. “I can’t believe you remembered.”

“Of course, I did.”

“How much—”

“No!” Jungkook protests. “No talk of prices, babe. Besides, Jinsoul helped me out.”

At the namedrop, Jimin freezes. With furrowed eyebrows, he turns robotically to fully face Jungkook.

“Jinsoul?” he asks.

“Yeah,” Jungkook nods. “she works part-time there and helped me with an employee discount. We’ve been planning it for weeks.”

Jimin feels almost dizzy with the information. Is that why—

“Is that why you’ve been sneaking around with her?” he blurts without meaning to. His brain to mouth filter seems to have deteriorated. “I…saw you two.”

The tilt of Jungkook’s head is everything innocent, his eyebrows furrow in confusion. “Huh?”

“At the bowling alley,” Jimin’s stomach lurches at the memory. “by the bathrooms. You…you two were talking and I overheard. But I didn’t know what you were talking about. I was really confused.”

A dawning look of realization crests over Jungkook’s features at this, and then he shakes his head. “You know I can’t keep secrets from you. Not for long anyway. I was so excited about getting this for you, for our anniversary that I knew I’d spill. I made her promise to keep it from you and she helped me with the discount…” Jungkook trails off and then narrows his eyes. “Is that why you were so distant after that night?”

Wait—anniversary?

“Huh?” Jimin blinks.

“After that night, you were acting so strangely. I mean, you were already being distant, but it got worse after that,” Jungkook begins to frown. “Was it because you heard us?”

Still reeling from discovering that it’s supposed to be their goddamn anniversary, Jimin answers truthfully. “Yes. I saw you and—and I thought something was going on between you two.”

With an expression akin to being slapped in the face, Jungkook scoffs. “With Jinsoul?” he asks, incredulous. He stands up from his chair and Jimin watches as his chest huffs with quickening breaths. This conversation is spiraling downward - fast - and Jimin feels so stupidly helpless. “Jesus, Jimin, she’s your best friend!”

His voice tapers off into an almost shout and Jimin glances over worriedly where the girls are in the living room. He doesn’t want to start a fight in front of the kids, fuck, this wasn’t even supposed to happen in the first place. It’s their anniversary, and Jimin is ruining it.

“Kook,” Jimin placates in a cool tone. “Calm down. I – 'm sorry. I didn’t know what I’d just witnessed, and she-she was all over you. What else was I supposed to think?”

Jungkook blinks and Jimin’s stomach sinks when he sees tears spring in his eyes.

“I’ll tell you what you’re not supposed to think,” Jungkook whispers. “You’re not supposed to think that I’m fucking around with your best friend.”

In a flurry, Jungkook is marching away from him. Jimin shoves himself from his chair and makes sure the girls are safe in the living room before he follows. Their bedroom door is slammed from upstairs and Jimin knows he’s screwed up monumentally. Taking two steps at a time he comes to the door, he expects it to be locked but it swings open easily. Jungkook is pacing around with a pen and a rubber band ball in his hands like he’s unsure of what to do with himself.

“Baby,” Jimin comes to him after he closes the door. “I messed up. I know. Please…I wasn’t myself. I didn’t know what to think.”

Turning to him, Jungkook is silently seething. He places the pen on the desk and leans against it. The rubber ball in his hand gets fiddled with. “You talk to me,” he says, voice hard. “you don’t ignore me for fucking weeks. God, I – I was a literal wreck this whole entire time and it could’ve been avoided if you’d just asked.”

“You would’ve gotten upset either way,” Jimin mutters. “I was scared.”

Jungkook scrubs at his eyes. The tears haven’t fallen yet and that’s probably only because Jungkook is holding them back. “Jinsoul was all over me, yes. I’ll admit that” he says. “but that’s how she always is. You should know from first-hand experience. She’s a touchy person in general. This isn’t fucking news.”

“I didn’t like it,” Jimin sighs. He sits down on the bed and puts his face in his hands. “I hated seeing it…I really just thought the worst. The absolute worst.”

There is silence at this. In a way, finally confessing the feelings he’s been harboring for days feels liberating. He doesn’t have to pretend to not be hurt, to finally confess that what he saw had shaken him to the very core. Jimin’s eyes well up before he can even understand why. But as he’d just said, he hated it.

“I thought you-you were keeping things from me,” Jimin shakes his head. “For a moment, I imagined you with someone else and it made me want to vomit. You belong with me,” he nearly whispers. Jimin looks up to see Jungkook staring at him, emotion swimming in his eyes, but nothing akin to anger. “It was hell for me. You – you’re right, I should’ve said something. I should’ve asked.”

The muscles in Jungkook’s jaw clenches and his eyes harden for a second before they’re back to being almost fond. Standing up to his full height, Jungkook walks over to stand in front of where Jimin is perched on the mattress. Yellow sunlight sets his black hair in a flame of color and Jimin, for not the first time in his life, sees an angel before him.

“You made a mistake,” Jungkook eventually says. “A big one. I just really, really wish you would’ve talked to me.”

Jimin nods. “I know.”

“This really sucks.”

“It does.”

“Do you really think I would’ve ever cheated on you?”

Hurt is etched into Jungkook’s face and Jimin hates himself for causing that.

“No,” he answers. “I just. I lost sight of what I had for a moment. I wasn’t myself.”

Jungkook puffs his cheeks out and then puts his hands on his hips. “What to do now…” he trails off.

It’s a rhetorical question, but Jimin shrugs anyway.

“Well,” Jungkook clears his throat. “Just to make this clear, in the case that I didn’t when we said our wedding vows, I would never be disloyal. And I love you.”

Reaching out, Jimin tugs Jungkook closer by the thighs, placing his forehead to his stomach. “Forgive me? For being a colossal idiot?” he asks.

“Hm,” Jungkook hums. “Not sure if you deserve it. You don’t even trust me.”

“I do trust you,” Jimin says vehemently. “What can I do? I want to make this better.”

Jungkook grins something mischievous at him before pulling away. He holds his hands out in front of himself like a child asking for candy and closes his eyes. Jimin watches in mild horror.

“I think I’ve waited long enough for my gift,” Jungkook says. “Hand it over, and I’ll call us even.”

Standing and scratching at his nape, Jimin is unsure of how to say it. He bends and places two kisses in the center of Jungkook’s palm. A moment later, Jungkook is opening his eyes with a furrow in his brow.

“Kisses?” Jungkook tilts his head and blinks at his palms. “I mean, I love your kisses, but I was expecting something a bit more?”

“I uh,” Jimin stammers. “Well you see – I um.”

Blinking, unimpressed, Jungkook monotones: “You forgot, didn’t you?”

As if he was buffering, choppy video playing on a high definition screen, Jimin freezes. Jungkook’s mouth slowly drops open in disbelief, standing up straighter and taking a step back.

“No,” Jungkook breathes, then puts a hand on his chin, then over his mouth. The other one points at him, index finger accusing. “You forgot?!”

“Babe,” yelps Jimin. He jumps to his feet and pads forward before Jungkook’s scowl practically forces him back a step. “I-I just.”

“I mean I know we said no gifts,” his husband says. “but I didn’t know you’d forget!” then he’s storming off, again, opening the door in a rush to get downstairs. Jimin follows behind, feet thudding along the floor. Jungkook grabs Jina from where she’s still bouncing, chewing on a rubber fox and brings her to a kitchen. “Un-flipping-believable,” he mumbles, pulling out a baby food container from the cupboard.

In his haste to begin feeding Jina, Jungkook is slamming their kitchen drawers left and right. Areum comes in curious as to what all the noise is and Jimin smiles at her uneasily.

“There’s been a lot going on,” Jimin tries to acquiesce. “I’m sorry.”

And Jungkook whirls on him after locking Jina in her highchair. There is a thunderstorm going on in his eyes and Jimin feels as if he’s about to get struck by lightning.

“It isn’t even about the stupid gift, Jimin,” Jungkook gestures to the abandoned gift bag on the table. “I don’t care about all that shit. I don’t need some grand act from you to show me that you love me. But I’d at least expect you to remember the anniversary of the day we shared our vows.”

Wincing, Jimin remains silent. This is much worse than being struck by lightning; it’s as if he’s been dumped bodily into an abyss of guilt. Watching Jungkook slump in defeat as they stew in an awkward silence is enough to get him to ache. Jimin wishes he had all the information he should in this world, just so that he wouldn’t have to keep fucking up almost every week. He’s about to attempt to apologize again but Jina begins to fuss in her highchair and they turn to her.

“Can you feed her,” Jungkook asks, but it doesn’t sound like a question. “Wanna take a nap.”

Nodding, Jimin takes the proffered baby food out of Jungkook’s hands and keeps his eyes glued to him as he slugs himself upstairs as if his body weighed tons.

Areum, who had been watching the whole exchange with large eyes looks to Jimin after the bedroom door upstairs is closed and locked quietly.

“You bought daddy a star last year,” she says.

Jimin groans.

“Of course, I did,” he mutters and turns to begin shoveling sweet potato into Jina’s mouth.

Jungkook doesn’t come down until several hours later with a quiet countenance and Jimin swears he’ll find a way to make it up to him.

 

 


 

 

 

It’s a work in progress, but Jungkook’s behavior toward him had warmed up considerably over the next couple of weeks. Instead of blatantly ignoring Jimin’s presence altogether, he’s leveled up to short words and phrases. Tonight, for example, Jungkook had been lounging on the couch, staring blankly at the TV with Jina in his arms until Jimin walked in and asked: “Did you still want to go tonight?”

With a small jolt, Jungkook glanced at him and answered. “Oh,” he licked his lips. “Sure.”

And since it is the bowling night, Jimin wears the shirt without much of a fuss.

Walking on eggshells around Jungkook since the Anniversary Incident has been no walk in the park. Over the days, Jimin has taken to doing the above and beyond for his husband; from cooking breakfast, preparing lunches and dinners, to cleaning, washing laundry, and taking on most of the load in their childcare routines. He especially doesn’t gripe about the workload, hoping to death that Jungkook has been noticing his attempts at making peace. It’s with these little things that he tries to amend his mistakes, and he wonders how long Jungkook will keep being upset at him before goes nuts.

Not complaining about the hideous bowling shirt is the least he can do; besides deciding to apologize to Jinsoul for being so cold to her at work.

Jungkook comes out of the bathroom dawning his own matching shirt and announces that his mom has arrived. They drive to the bowling alley in relative silence, and Jimin wishes the van wasn’t so fucking big so that he could reach over and hold Jungkook’s hand, but hopefully, that opportunity will come in due time. Their small group is already settled into a far lane, and judging by the score, several turns in. Haseul pops up from her seat as she spots Jungkook to wave, and Jinsoul – who was next to her – sinks into herself.

“You came!” Haseul whoops and flings herself bodily onto Jungkook.

“We come every week,” Jungkook snickers and pinches her sides. He laughs when she punches him in his pectoral and Jimin revels in it.

“Let’s go get you a round,” she demands and begins to pull Jungkook away. “Want anything?” she asks Jimin and he nods.

“Kook knows what I like,” he says and is mildly surprised when Jungkook smiles fondly at him in return. When the duo leaves, Jimin re-shoulders their bowling bag onto his shoulder and nears the group. “Start without us?” he asks and is answered with a few jeers. Jinsoul smiles tightly at him and he shifts on his feet, unsure how to approach her. Jungkook’s past words ring in his mind and he’s suddenly aware that Jinsoul is also supposed to be one of his best friends, and he’s completely screwed their relationship up.

When Haseul and Jungkook come back, Jimin’s already slid on his bowling shoes. He chugs more than half of his beer in one breath and Jungkook raises a brow at him.

“Thirsty?” he teases and Jimin hums.

“I added you in,” Yoongi interrupts and Jungkook takes his bowling ball out of their bag.

At the fourth frame, he feels the buzz the beer has given him and begins to loosen. The rest of the group isn’t far behind him given Taehyung’s rosy cheeks and Namjoon’s slurred speech. Jungkook has adapted a sleepy aura and Haseul is giggling more than usual. Like the black sheep in a dysfunctional family, Jinsoul is quiet and nursing her beer on the bench across from him. It’s a snap decision, but he decides that he if doesn’t say something now, he may never get the chance to make up for his wrongdoing. Jimin has been nothing but incredibly unfair to her.

Jungkook, the observer that he is, notices Jimin’s determined gaze on her. Before he can tear his eyes away, he feels a tap on his thigh and looks up to Jungkook’s understanding and patient face. A small gasp escapes his lips when his husband suddenly leans forward and presses a wet kiss to his temple. Jungkook slides his cheek along his and breathes. Then he whispers: “You should go talk to her,” before pulling away to line himself up in a perfect pose at the lane, even when tipsy.

Even though Jungkook isn’t paying him any more attention, he nods to his back as if he is. The crack of the bowling ball hitting the pins is what makes him launch into action. Jinsoul jerks her eyes to him briefly before looking away as he nears. He carries a beer as he staggers forward and dumps himself in a vacant seat next to her. Jinsoul sits up straighter and begins to twirl the ends of her hair, nervous.

“Hey,” he says, as ineloquent as ever and Jinsoul nods at him. “Can we talk?”

 

 

Jimin leads her to the arcade. Their friends hadn’t said anything when they pulled away but instead gave them a knowing look as they left them to their devices. It must have been common knowledge then, that the pair hasn’t been doing well. Jimin wonders how much they know briefly before ridding himself of those thoughts. That’s not important.

Right now, with Jinsoul leaning against the wall and twiddling her fingers, Jimin urges himself to finally properly apologize. But the words don’t come as easily as he thought they might. When the moment drags for too long, she sighs, sounding exhausted and speaks first.

“What did you want to talk about?” she asks, and Jimin is surprised to not hear any sort of bitter edge in her voice. As accommodating as ever, she blinks at him with clear eyes and cocks her head. “You been doing okay?”

Sputtering, Jimin nods. “I-I’m fine. You?” and shit this is not how he imagined this conversation going. He stares down at his shuffling feet and rakes a hand through his hair.

“Been better I guess,” she shrugs. “Kind of miss you, though.”

He whips to her, surprise heavy.

She shrugs, as if to say ‘hey, it’s true’ and carries on.

“Did you like the gift?” she gestures to his wrist where it sits snug. It hasn’t come off since the day he received it. “Kook was really buggin’ out about it.”

“About that,” Jimin finally opens his mouth. “I’m really, really sorry, Jinsoul. I’ve been an asshole.”

Pursing her lips, she nods. “Yeah, you were.”

“I j-just,” he stammers. “I just want you to know that I didn’t mean it. However I’ve been acting toward you, it – it wasn’t really me, ya know?”

Jinsoul doesn’t really look like she gets it. It shows in her tightened lips and the small furrow in her brow. Eventually, she sighs and nods.

“Jimin,” she steps up and pulls him into a hug. “I forgive you. You’re my best friend after all. This isn’t our first rodeo,” she laughs and steps back, hands on his shoulders to ground herself - or him. “I just really hope you figure out your shit and soon,” there is a small jerk to her chin and Jimin realizes she’s gesturing behind him to where their lane is, Jungkook’s keen eyes are on them. “He doesn’t deserve all these mixed signals you’ve been giving him. Alright?”

He nods, more than stupefied.

“Now,” she grins. “you just got to make it up to your man.”

With confidence, he squares his shoulders and nods once more, “I’ve been trying.”

“Well, try harder.”

 

 


 

 

 

Jimin doesn’t remember if affection has always come easily to him. Was he always so eager to hold someone’s hand, kiss their face – just be near someone for the sake of being near them? He doesn’t know. But he does know that it comes naturally with Jungkook – it’s becoming natural. After years and all over again like this buried deep down inclination for reveling in Jungkook’s everything is being exhumed. After the night at the bowling alley, Jimin cannot stand to stay away from Jungkook.

And it’s incredibly relieving that Jungkook lets him be near. They start cooking dinner together, watch movies cuddling as a family more often. When they settle for bed and Jungkook picks up the latest book he’s into, Jimin isn’t shy about snuggling up to him. Their biggest and most recent development is his lonely walks – that begin to not be lonely anymore.

Jungkook had brought out a jogging stroller one day. It was a dusty thing, something from Areum’s baby days, he’d said. And it was bone achingly sweet when Jungkook proposed that they start taking his walks together, as a family activity. Jimin’s heart lurched, not for the first time and not for the last, and simply kissed Jungkook’s cheek and said: “I’d love that.”

Forgiveness for messing up their anniversary doesn’t seem too farfetched now. Peace has been a resident the past weeks in their home. Even at work, Jimin finds comfort in Jinsoul’s presence.

It’s one evening when Jimin’s tickling Areum into the ground does she pause and give him this all-knowing stare. Something too wise for a child her age. It freezes him up and he watches, entranced as she places a hand on his cheek.

“I think you’re getting your memories back, daddy,” she mumbles.

The moment is suspended for seconds. He swallows a lump in his throat and brushes his hands through her hair. He loves her so ardently he can feel it deep within his soul.

“I think so too, baby,” he beams at her. “and I’ve missed you so much.”

And it’s a realization once he’s said it out loud. He loves her. He loves Jina. He loves Jungkook. And he suddenly knows he’d give up anything for them – even himself.

 

 


 

 

 

At breakfast, Jungkook is handsy. An understatement, really. Any moment he gets, he’ll sneakily pin Jimin to a counter and press hot kisses against his neck. Jimin thanks whatever being it is that Jina and Areum are in the living room because it’s completely inappropriate when Jungkook grabs the globes of his ass and squeezes, not once, but multiple times. At a hard squeeze, Jimin squeaks and bats his hands away.

“That hurts,” he hisses and goes back to pouring orange juice in kiddie cups.

“You like it,” Jungkook retorts before nipping at Jimin’s exposed ear.

It takes a moment to get Jina locked in her highchair, but once it’s done Jimin plops down in his seat to finally feed himself and the baby. It isn’t long, however, before he feels a stray foot brush up against his leg. His first thought is that its Areum, but she’s stuffing sausage in her mouth with vigor and is sitting on her shins. His eyes whip toward Jungkook, who wears a flirty smirk.

Jimin can feel himself turn hot pink.

“What’s up with you lately, huh?” Jungkook asks. “You’ve been so shy around me.”

Jimin just shakes his head. “I don’t know.”

Jungkook continues to stare as they eat.

“I was planning on asking Yoongi to come over later, to watch the girls,” Jimin eventually says. Areum perks up at this.

“I love uncle Yoonie!” she claps, eyes switching back and forth between them. “Is he really coming?”

“We’ll see, baby,” Jimin pets her hair.

Jungkook raises his eyebrow at him in question.

“It’s your day off and I figured we could go out on a date. Maybe see a movie or go to dinner.” Jimin shrugs nonchalantly, but internally he’s just plain nervous to be asking. What Jungkook doesn’t know is that he’s been planning this. He already asked Yoongi a couple of days ago – he said yes and Jimin went ahead and placed reservations at a restaurant he thinks Jungkook would love. “Would, um. Would you be okay with that?”

Jungkook blinks at him in surprise and then wriggles excitedly in his seat. “Of course, I would be okay with that!” he beams, a flush on his cheeks.

Jimin sags in relief.

 

 

Yoongi comes over with a shitload of ice cream. Areum screams and tackles his leg in a hug when he walks in.

“Yoongi!” Jungkook whines. “You didn’t have to bring anything.”

“Yeah? Well too late, I already did,” Yoongi replies. He dumps everything he brought onto their kitchen counters, already familiar in his way around the house. A drawer and a cabinet are opened and closed as he starts digging through the cupboards for bowls and spoons. Jina pushes herself clumsily in her walker toward him with big curious eyes and Areum watches as he begins to scoop out a strawberry flavored something into a bowl. “Now you two leave. Jimin, you still have Netflix, right? Areum and I have some serious movie watching to do.”

“Of course,” he answers.

“Cool,” Yoongi replies. When Jimin just gives him a blank stare, he chuckles. “Don’t worry. They’ll both be knocked out before you get home. You’ll have enough time for your hanky panky tonight.”

Jungkook punches Yoongi’s arm. “Our daughter is in the room!” he hisses. “And who even says ‘hanky panky’ anymore?”

Jimin turns red.

“Just have fun,” Yoongi grins. He glances at a watch on his wrist and mumbles. “You’re going to be late.”

 

 


 

 

 

The whole way on their drive to the restaurant, Jungkook keeps throwing out names of large food chains.

“We’re going to Chili’s, aren’t we?” he jokes and Jimin laughs.

“No!” he whines. “What kind of husband do you think I am?”

“A lame one,” Jungkook snorts and Jimin gasps in mock offense.

“I am not lame. You’re the one who’s basically a couponer.”

“That’s just me being smart,” Jungkook winks. “and I only coupon diapers. They’re expensive.”

And it’s not a long drive. Twenty minutes out and into an unfamiliar city, Jungkook grows quiet. The buildings begin to stem a little taller, the streets are somewhat cleaner in this area. Driving past a neighborhood, Jungkook’s eyes go wide at the massive size of the houses.

“Wow,” he blinks at Jimin. “You really picked a nice place, didn’t you?”

Jimin preens. “Wanted to spoil you tonight.”

Jungkook leans in to kiss his cheek. “I’d love it. Even if we went to Chili’s.”

Deeper into a city with brighter lights, Jimin finally pulls their minivan underneath a large stone archway. It’s decorated with string lights that lead them into a parking lot. A valet stands near their booth as they pull up and greets them with a kind smile. Jimin has to race over to open the door for Jungkook, who shakes his head.

“Awe,” he coos as they wind their fingers together. “who said chivalry is dead?”

Across the lot sits a small, glass structure wafting the fragrance of food. It’s incredibly busy on this night, a telltale sign of the people lining up outside the door no doubt waiting for a table. Jungkook whistles, clearly impressed, and Jimin is just glad he made a reservation beforehand. They’re whisked away to their table not a minute after Jimin gives them his name. In a private booth sits candle-light, shined silverware, and them. Jimin almost wanted to scoot in next to Jungkook in his seat but taking him in across the table is much better.

“I didn’t get to tell you this earlier, but you look beautiful tonight,” and it isn’t flattery.

Jungkook looks gorgeous, with his glossy hair and luminescent skin. Jimin doesn’t even think about it twice before he reaches for his hand over the table. He doesn’t let go, even when their server comes and asks what they’d like to drink. Jungkook orders them some brand of cabernet sauvignon, and Jimin feels so indescribably content to let him do whatever. When the bottle comes, and their glasses are poured, Jimin snorts at Jungkook’s goofy expression at the first sip.

“You never did get the hang of drinking, did you?” Jimin asks, easily swallowing down half the glass.

Jungkook shrugs, “You know me. I like it, but the first taste is always so off-putting.”

“Then you can’t seem to stop once you start,” he jests, remembering the night Jungkook got hammered and he had to carry him home.

“I have self-control, unlike someone I know,” Jungkook jokes, eyes narrowing at him.

Jimin giggles, knowing he can be a lush. He opens his mouth to retort but then the server comes back to get their food order. If he’s being honest, he hadn’t taken one look at the menu, eyes keen on his date. He orders whatever in a blur of words and focuses back on his company for the night.

Jungkook talks about work – about his students and the drama he hears in the teachers' lounge. Jimin soaks it all up, picks at the dinner rolls on the table and drowns out the rest of the world. He doesn’t feel like he needs to say much. Wine slides down his throat, smooth and slightly thick. His stomach feels fluttery and Jungkook is so beautiful with the way his mouth moves.

“I can’t remember the last time we’ve done this,” Jungkook says after he’s trailed off from an anecdote about some kids’ parents. Jimin blinks, surprised at hearing that revelation. But again, since he’s been in this world, they haven’t gone out on a date once. “I wish we could more often,”

“Why don’t we?” Jimin’s brow furrows.

“We don’t have a regular babysitter, for one,” Jungkook mutters. “Ever since we’ve had Jina, it’s been a little harder. But – but not in a bad way!”

“I know what you meant,” Jimin placates. “Babies are hard work.”

“You do a nice job, though,” Jungkook’s legs find Jimin’s under the table and tangle themselves up.

“Are you fucking kidding me?” Jimin tone is incredulous. “You’re the best dad out there. You do everything. Y-you’re so, good.”

Jungkook barks out a laugh, “God, look at us. We’re out on a date, just us two, and all we end up talking about are the kids and parenting.”

Jimin swirls his wine around in the glass, “You think all parents are like us?”

Jungkook squeezes his fingers, “The good kind.”

The food comes hot and fresh. Jimin, unfortunately, ordered seafood on accident. Jungkook simply takes his plate and trades. A gigantic, juicy steak sits next to some asparagus right in front of him and they don’t hesitate to dig in. They eat in silence for a little while and when Jungkook groans about how good the food is, Jimin feeds him a piece of steak across the table. When he accidentally misses his mouth and gets sauce on his cheek, Jungkook laughs.

“Wipe it off,” Jungkook giggles. Jimin swipes the mess off his skin and sticks it in his mouth.

It feels so comfortable to be like this with Jungkook – to play and flirt. It feels like it’d taken decades for him to get to this point, but he’s finally here and it’s just so right.

Jungkook isn’t abashed when he blatantly stares at Jimin. He has no shame when he sneaks in sexual innuendos now and then. He’s silly and cute – unbelievably sexy the next. It’s something that he hasn’t had the pleasure of experiencing in a while - where someone treats Jimin like he’s an actual three-dimensional person. Used to cold, calculated and emotional detachedness, he appreciates it so much. There is a boyish charm about him that has Jimin feeling like goo and after more drinks and food, that’s what he quite literally feels like, so mushy.

His head is in the clouds. Jungkook’s eyes sparkle in the dim and not once does his attention stray from Jimin. It makes him feel desired and loved.

Not once does he think about the inevitable.

“Are you happy?” Jimin blurts out when his buzz is rushing through his head. Jungkook gives him a quizzical look. “I-I mean, do you ever just, I don’t know… have any doubts or think about what things would be like if we made different choices?”

Jungkook swallows down some water, thinking over his answer. It makes Jimin queasy when he doesn’t answer fast enough.

“I’m happy.” Jungkook nods. “I think that everyone has those thoughts. Ones where we overthink and wonder about what we could have done differently. I feel like I’m more fortunate than others, though.”

“Why more than others?”

“I feel like we got our lives handed to us on silver platters,” Jungkook tugs at the hem of his shirt. “I used to beat myself up over keeping you here. I don’t think I’ve ever told you that, but I did for a while. You’re so intelligent and you could’ve gone to New York and experienced a life well beyond what this city offered you. But after a while, I was just so happy to be with you that any doubts about my decisions just kind of, wiped away. We both were dirt broke for a while, we fought a lot, but I think we conquered anything that got in our way. We turned out alright.”

“You think so?” Jimin stares at the ring on Jungkook’s finger. “You don’t regret marrying me?”

“No. Never,” Jungkook leans back in his seat. “Remember when you used to tell me about our destinies?”

“Ugh, please,” Jimin groans and Jungkook smiles. “It was so corny.”

“It was corny, but I loved it,” Jungkook confesses. “I really believe in anything that you say to me, Jimin. I’d follow you blindly off a cliff if you told me that there was something to catch me at the bottom. Maybe it was reckless, maybe we’re reckless, but I’m grateful for what you’ve given up for me. We have a nice house, two beautiful girls. And yeah, our bills could use a little help,” he laughs. “but that’s okay. We’re still trying to figure it out.”

Jimin gazes at him, “You’re incredible. I don’t know how you love me so much.”

Jungkook rolls his eyes, “I know. You got real lucky with me didn’t you babe?”

Jimin kicks him.

It feels like they tease and talk to each other for hours. The conversation doesn’t really go anywhere either. They jump from topic to topic, often picking on each other or doting on each other’s cute qualities. The flirting switches between tensely charged moments and softer ones. It seems as if they get lost in another; they don’t realize how much time has passed. They’ve long ago finished two bottles of wine and Jimin’s buzz has died down to a warm sizzle.

He’s currently checking out his hot husband who’s sorting out the bill with the server when Jimin gets a text.

 

 

The little pigs are asleep.

 

Jimin chuckles and responds.

 

Don’t call my daughters pigs. Be home soon.

 

 

“Yoongi says the girls are asleep.” Jimin scoots up and out of the booth and Jungkook comes in close to wrap an arm around his waist.

“Perfect timing then.”

 

 


 

 

 

The thing about minivans is that they offer a luxurious amount of wiggle room. The thing about minivans whose owners have small children is that the backseat is more than likely going to be cluttered with toys and two hefty car seats, in which Jimin finds one digging into the meat of his thigh.

“Wait,” Jimin hisses and readjusts his position on Jungkook’s thighs. Jungkook doesn’t heed his request and leans forward to bite down the column of Jimin’s neck. “Baby, wait. This fucking car seat is jammed into my leg.”

Jungkook groans and palms at Jimin’s ass, smacking it once before he grunts out a, “Climb in the back.”

Jimin shoots up. He’s painfully hard and can’t stop grinding down onto Jungkook’s lap. “What?”

“The back,” Jungkook uses his strength to detach Jimin from himself and practically throws him over the seats.

Ow,” Jimin yelps when he lands on his face.

“Sorry,” Jungkook calls.

His legs are still stuck over the headrests and he shimmies himself down, so he can flip onto his back. It’s a tight fit, so he’s got to bend his knees to lay comfortably. His cheek burns from how he landed, he’s going to get rug rash.

“This is stupid,” Jimin gripes when he pulls out a stuffed animal from underneath him. He crosses his arms as he watches Jungkook’s large form climb over the seats after him.

“Oh~” Jungkook sings when he crawls over Jimin, sliding himself between his legs. “Fancy seeing you here. Come here often?”

“We’re in the trunk of our van,” Jimin notes monotonously.

Jungkook shrugs and kisses him. “So? It’s not the first time we’ve fucked in here.”

Jimin’s eyes go wide.

Jungkook takes hold of Jimin’s crossed arms and gently places them above his head. He can’t help but giggle when his knuckles knock against the interior.

Jungkook shakes his head as he kisses his cheek.

“You’re so cute, babe.”

“I’m not,” Jimin wiggles underneath him.

He gasps when Jungkook drops more weight onto him, feeling him hard and hot between his legs. Gently bucking up, he seeks friction but Jungkook is so still on top of him. It annoys him, drives him a little bit crazy.

“See,” Jungkook coos and strokes his cheek. “You’re so cute. You try to pretend you’re not desperate for it, but you always get so impatient.”

“Shut up,” Jimin kicks at his thigh as he presses up toward Jungkook’s mouth. “Just kiss me.”

“Be nice, first,” Jungkook teases as he gently fists his hand in his hair, tugging Jimin’s head back and up to expose his neck. He presses chaste kisses to his skin and sucks lightly. Jimin shivers when he feels his tongue warm against him. “Tell me that I’m hot.”

“You’re not hot,” Jimin cackles as he brings his arms around Jungkook shoulders, pulling him down.

“So rude,” Jungkook huffs and playfully pulls away, sitting up despite Jimin’s protests. “I knew you didn’t love me.”

Jimin gasps mock offended. Jungkook is too strong and he proves this by not even budging when Jimin clings to him, trying to get that comfortable warmth draped all over him again.

“How dare you question my loyalty.”

“Nope,” Jungkook pries Jimin’s hold from around his neck. He sits back against the seats and suppresses his smile, eyes teasing and light. “You hate me. Now I know. I’m just in love with a man who hates me”

Jimin giggles as he crawls up and over onto his lap, flopping down and mewling a little when the pressure on his erection gives him some sort of pleasure. He presses his forehead to Jungkook’s and bores into his eyes.

“You’re hot, baby,” Jimin says breathlessly when Jungkook ruts up in retaliation. Jungkook’s eyes turn glassy as he winds his strong arms around waist, dragging him down harder against him. “You’re so fucking sexy. God, look at you.”

“Yeah?” Jungkook gasps, squeezing him a little tighter. Jimin nods.

That rewards him with a searing kiss and a tongue pressing into his mouth. Jimin clutches at Jungkook’s shirt to gain some kind bearing but he’s helpless, starting to lose himself in just how good Jungkook kisses him, in how good he feels against him. It’s too much.

“Tell me more.” Jungkook rasps as he reaches for Jimin’s pants, unbuckling them and struggling to pull them down over his ass and thighs. Jimin moans into his mouth when Jungkook gets his hands on him, palming him through his briefs. He can feel Jungkook twitching underneath him and that gets him even more worked up.

"You’re so strong a-and, fuck. Your hands are so – so amazing,” Jimin jerks when Jungkook tugs down his underwear, exposing his cock and balls. Whining quietly, Jimin desperately itches to touch Jungkook too, to feel how hot and heavy he’d be in his hands but Jungkook’s got a vice grip on him. It’s almost impossible to move. “You’re so beautiful.”

Jungkook moans lowly, dipping forward to nip, kiss and lick at Jimin’s ear.

“Tell me you love me,” Jungkook whispers vehemently as he wraps his hand around his length. Jimin cries out when his thumb roughly swirls around his head. Jungkook then lazily jerks him off, touch barely there but still scorching enough that some precum dribbles out, slicking up his grip. “Come on, baby. Tell me.”

Jimin stiffens, then melts completely.

“I-I love you,” he stammers out, cheeks red, falling forward. He can’t help but slump helplessly into Jungkook’s hold. He feels kisses to his temple, down to his cheek. Jimin squeezes his eyes shut, forcing himself to get lost in this moment and not in his head.

Clinging to Jungkook’s shoulders, he feels like he’s on the verge of tears, for a million different reasons. He’s so fucking overwhelmed, emotionally, physically. He feels so vulnerable. But he likes it.

He loves it.

He turns so that his nose is snuggled into Jungkook’s neck. He licks at the skin there and kisses his way up to his ear.

He means it. He’s a hundred, a million percent positive that he means it. He feels defeated and high all at once. It clashes within him and he wants to cry so bad that his eyes burn. It’s scary and wonderful – love is.

“Again,” Jungkook prompts affectionately, unaware of the storm swirling inside of Jimin. He’s fisting Jimin’s cock harder now, spitting in his hand and wrapping around him with a newfound strength. Jimin doesn’t bother keeping quiet.

“I love you,” Jimin squirms, thighs tightening around Jungkook’s hips, tears gathering at the corners of his eyes. Don’t spill, please don’t spill. “I love you. I love you, I love you.”

“I love you, too,” Jungkook hums. “I love you so much, baby.”

Jimin wipes at his eyes as he hugs himself around Jungkook’s neck. He can feel himself about to cum, twitching and pulsing in Jungkook’s hand.

A tear finally breaks free from his lash line.

Then there is a knock on the window and Jungkook lets out the most feminine scream he’s ever heard. Instantly he tries to cover Jimin’s naked half with his hands, saving him from public indecency. Jimin is oddly charmed by this.

“Playtime is over, children,” Yoongi calls from outside the vehicle. “Jimin, I can hear your fucking whining all the way from Timbuktu. Please think of the neighbors.”

Jimin is mortified. Jungkook shuffles around and helps him tuck himself back into his pants.

“Taehyung and Haseul don’t mind. They like it,” Jungkook yells jokingly. “Uh. Just give us a second. We’ll be right out.”

“I want to go home,” Yoongi complains.

“Just give us a minute!” Jimin screeches.

Yoongi grumbles and walks away.

“He probably hates us right now,” Jungkook shakes his head and laughs. He nudges Jimin to look at him with his hand. He notices his glassy eyes and hopes he doesn’t ask but he does. “Hey. You okay?”

Jimin nods and slaps a hand over his crimson cheeks. “This is so embarrassing.”

“Nah,” Jungkook shakes his head. He gently brushes Jimin’s bangs out of his eyes. “We’re fine. Next time though, we’ll try to fuck in our bed.”

“The bed in our house,” Jimin chuckles. He climbs back over the seats and grunts when his erection bangs against the headrest. “Son of a bitch! I’m going to suffer from some intense blue-balls.”

Jungkook cackles behind him and smacks his ass.

When they topple outside and onto the porch, they’ve started making out heavily again. Jimin’s got a hold of Jungkook’s ass and Jungkook is in the process of slipping his hands up and under his shirt.

They only break apart because Jimin nearly trips over Yoongi, who has taken to sitting on the steps waiting for them. His expression clearly states that he is Unamused.

“Keep the sexcapades in your private homes will ya? This isn’t college anymore.”

“Sorry…” they mutter in unison.

Yoongi stands and brushes off his jeans. Jimin doesn’t miss his fond smile.

“The girls are asleep, as promised,” he says. “I cooked them something, we watched movies until they crashed,” Yoongi pats Jungkook on the back as he passes them. “They’re good kids. I’ll see you guys later.”

“Thank you!” Jimin calls when Yoongi’s halfway down their driveway. He gets a wave in return.

 

 

 

Back in the house, Jungkook stands at the foot of the stairs. Jimin turns off the kitchen, the dining area, and the living room lights.

“I think Yoongi’s afraid of the dark,” Jungkook comments when Jimin meets him. “Every time he stays here late, all the lights are on.”

“We should make him pay the electric bill,” Jimin says.

“Yeah,” Jungkook snorts. “He’ll love that after watching the girls for free.”

For a moment, they embrace each other. Jungkook pecks him on the forehead and they ascend the stairs. A quick check into the girls’ room confirms that they are deep in sleep. Jina’s arms are up above her head and Areum’s clutching a stuffed animal.

It’s lazy, the way they change out of their date clothes. Jungkook, after watching Jimin strip off his pants, pulls him into the restroom. The shower is running hot, steam fogs their small bathroom mirror. They wash one another’s hair and kiss slow under the stream. After the water is shut off, Jungkook towels Jimin’s hair as Jimin tries to towel Jungkook’s. It’s a mess of limbs, but they eventually tug on something loose and settle into bed.

Jungkook turns off the lamp and pulls Jimin into him.

“Love you,” Jimin says first, taking Jungkook’s hand that’s pressed over his stomach to kiss his fingers. He gets squeezed in return.

“Love you, too.”

Moonlight spills through the curtains, making patterns on their sheets. It’s a different hue of blue, and Jimin falls asleep feeling as though he’s floating.

 

 


 

 

 

The creak of the bed is what wakes Jimin next. He expects the sun to be breaking over the horizon outside of their window, but the sky is navy blue. The moon hovers high in the sky and a glance at the clock shows that it hasn’t been long since he’d fallen asleep. The bed creaks again and Jimin realizes that the warmth the enveloped him before is gone. He turns around only to startle at Jungkook already staring back at him.

“What’s wrong?” Jimin croaks. Jungkook is wearing an expression he can’t read, says nothing. Jimin begins to sit up. “You okay?”

“Y-yeah,” Jungkook stammers. “I’m fine.”

Jimin rubs at his eyes, “Can’t sleep?”

Jungkook tugs up the blankets to his nose as an answer.

“Want me to stay up with you?”

“You don’t have to,” Jungkook replies. His eyes are a little shy and Jimin’s tired, but he’ll keep himself awake if Jungkook needs to talk. They were always night owls when they were younger. Maybe this is one of those nights.

Shuffling forward, Jimin pulls Jungkook toward him. He’s met with a little resistance and Jimin’s brow furrows.

“C’mere,” he whines.

When Jungkook relents, Jimin can feel why he was resisting. It presses up against his hip.

“Oh?” he smirks. Jungkook groans.

“Didn’t want to bother you,” Jungkook mumbles, but grinds up against Jimin anyway. “still want you.”

“Cute.”

“Don’t call my hard dick cute,” Jungkook laughs.

Jimin tugs the blanket down from Jungkook’s face. Not even an inch forward and he covers Jungkook’s mouth with his, slow, languid. It’s well after midnight and he feels like they should take it slow. He pushes Jungkook onto his back and slides his thigh over his hips, only to be grabbed and draped fully over his lap.

There’s a hiss from Jungkook’s mouth, then he’s grinding up between Jimin’s legs. A tongue meets his and Jimin sucks.

Jungkook gasps, “What do you want to do?”

“I want to do what you want to do,” Jimin answers, meaning it and feeling himself stiffen in his boxers as he swirls his hips in slow circles.

“Can I do what I want to you?”

“I’d always let you do anything to me,” Jimin grins, pecking his lips.

Jungkook groans and reaches down to palm his ass. He presses him down hard, almost hard enough to hurt, but Jungkook’s cock kicks. The layers between them are so thin.

“Can I be in you this time?” he asks.

Jimin almost coos. How sweet of him to ask.

“Anything, baby,” he nods; Jungkook nods with him.

They kiss more, Jungkook sliding his lips against the column of Jimin’s neck and sucking. He flips them over, hands eager when they glide underneath his shirt.

“Off,” Jungkook says, pushing up Jimin’s shirt to his arms. Jimin pulls it over his head, yelping when Jungkook yanks his boxers off his hips.

He doesn’t know why, he wasn’t embarrassed or nervous earlier when they were in the van, but something about the way Jungkook looks at him now makes him color. His gaze roves over his body, slowly, purposefully. Jungkook takes him by the calves and spreads his legs open delicately.

“Fuck,” Jungkook bites his lip. “you look so good, baby.”

“Stop,” Jimin snickers.

Jungkook crawls up between thighs, palms squeezing up and up. His hot mouth is placed just underneath his belly button, he sucks a mark there, moves up and sucks another one right between his pecks. Jimin squirms, keens when his tongue laps at his nipple and moans when teeth nibble.

“Sound so good,” Jungkook whispers against his chest. Jimin isn’t expecting it when a hand is being wrapped around his cock, isn’t expecting it when it’s pressed against Jungkook’s own. He looks down between them and curses.

Jungkook’s whole hand fits around their heads and Jimin is embarrassed that he begins to leak so early. He can’t help it, Jungkook knows what makes him tick.

Soon Jungkook’s taken Jimin’s cock in his mouth and Jimin struggles to keep quiet. He tugs at Jungkook’s hair, bites down on his own fingers. When he feels himself pulse, about to spill over, he clamps his thighs around Jungkook’s head and writhes.

A noise of disappointment leaves his mouth when Jungkook pulls off.

“Close?” Jungkook asks.

Jimin nods, out of breath.

“L-lube,” Jimin pants. “where is it?”

Jungkook lurches forward, body pressing over Jimin as he digs deep underneath their pillows. He unearths a bottle of lube with a grin and Jimin has to smack a hand over his mouth to cover up his laugh. Dry fingers are tracing at his hole and that has him sobering up. It’s been a while since he’s been on the receiving end. Nerves make him tense.

“Go slow?” Jimin whispers, bringing a hand to Jungkook’s cheek.

“Of course,” Jungkook answers.

And Jimin doesn’t know why he thought he wouldn’t be taken care of. Jungkook takes his time, kisses him heavy and long when Jimin tightens at the first finger. He whispers reassurances in his ears, tell him he’s doing so well. The stretch takes a while and he’s waning by the time Jungkook is three fingers deep. Between his legs, it's sticky, Jungkook went a little wild with the lube.

A slick hand brings him back to hardness, distracts him, as Jungkook presses himself in, inch by inch. Jimin’s noises are muffled, teeth buried into Jungkook’s shoulder.

“You okay?” his husband asks once he’s in to the hilt.

Jimin feels so full, can’t remember the last time he’s felt like this. He lets go of the meat of his shoulder and kisses the indent of teeth marks.

“Been a while,” he murmurs, but he doesn’t hurt.

After a moment, a languid, experimental thrust tells him that Jungkook can move. He pulls out gently, slides back in just as unhurried. The angle already leaves him breathless; he loosens his legs, thighs falling open wider, hips angling up. Jungkook grabs him by the chin and licks at his open lips.

“Feel so good, Jimin,” he says into his mouth. His gaze is heavy, eyes imploring.

Jimin tries to keep the eye contact but struggles when every thrust makes him feel euphoric, expression screwing up and mouth hung open. Jungkook takes him slow, has him feeling everything.

Jungkook pulls back to sit on his haunches, bringing Jimin’s hips up and on his lap. He grapples for the sheets, fisting them and biting his bottom lip to keep quiet. Jungkook drives in, pace steady, faster. A sob wants to rip out of his throat, but he muffles it in time. Jungkook gives him a look like he knows.

“Like it?” he asks.

Jimin can’t do anything but nod and whimper quietly. His chest heaves, his cock kicks. Before he knows it, he’s incredibly close. Jungkook must be able to tell by the way he tightens. He begins to slam in harder, pressing deeper. He lowers his hips to the bed once more and reaches for Jimin’s dick.

“Oh god,” Jimin gasps.

A few tugs, a handful of more thrusts and he’s coming, spilling over Jungkook’s fist, into his bellybutton. His stomach clenches with his orgasm, his hole like a vice.

Jungkook pulls out in time to cum all over his rim, body slumping over Jimin, quiet voice moaning into his neck.

When they’re too sticky and too warm does Jungkook finally pick himself up. He leaves and comes back to bed with a damp towel to clean Jimin off. Jimin lets him tug his boxers back on, sit him up to pull his shirt over his head. In a way, he feels like a doll, but Jungkook is looking at him so lovingly, like he’d rather be here, dressing up his husband after soft sex, more than anywhere else in the world.

Jimin is pressed into Jungkook’s side in no time, head on his chest. The sky outside begins to turn sapphire instead of that dark navy. Exhaustion creeps up on him like a dream, but even though all this satedness, Jimin feels so, so irrevocably in love.

“Thank you,” Jungkook mumbles. His palm is warm on Jimin’s back. “For being here with me.”

Jimin turns to peck his torso, says: “Always.”

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

When Jimin comes to, it’s to feel the intense cold. It slams into him from all sides, unfriendly and unforgiving. He jolts awake, heart pounding painfully in his chest, in his throat. A look up to the ceiling leaves dread loaded in his stomach. The sheets underneath are familiar, but not in the way he’s grown to love.

To his right are those floor to ceiling windows. Jimin stands on wobbling legs, his mouth waters as he walks toward them. He might get sick all over the floor. Standing in front of them, Jimin heaves. Devastation breaks ungracefully all over him. Snow greets him on New York streets down below, underneath several stories.

One look behind him confirms his worst fear.

All traces of Jungkook, Jina, and Areum are nowhere to be found.

 

Chapter Text

 

Time is a tricky thing. Minutes blend into hours, blend into days and weeks and months.

Being stuck in a New York second feels like an eternity. Jimin doesn't cope well upon his return. The tears were the first to appear, then came the screaming; the pouring of anguished words that no one in his God-forsaken apartment complex could hear.

The doors are spread apart too far, the walls are thick. Perhaps that makes it somewhat better. Jimin can regret and regret, lock himself up and cry knowing that not one person will come looking for him to check if he’s okay. It gives him lonely privacy.

And even if there are hours spent like this, Jimin doesn't count any. His body and his grief-stricken brain don't allow him to do much of anything except curl himself underneath a duvet he can't find comfort in.

Jimin tucks away from the white and gray of the city. His chest feels as hollow as ever. Nothing, he thinks, can compare to the pain of returning. A dense pillow is hugged to his chest, a puddle of wet has formed under his cheek flat against the mattress. More than anything does he want to go back, does he want his family. His husband and his beautiful daughters along with their ugly dog.

The scent of the air is different here. There is nothing homely about it. Here is a place he once called home but now it feels alien, it feels deserted.

Without any energy to fuel him, it’s hard to get out of bed. When he does, the floor is cold on the soles of his feet. It stings at his skin and makes him shiver, feeling worse.

Jimin wanders to the restroom in a daze. Vaguely he registers that the skin on his face feels tight, that his chin itches. The pads of his fingers rub at them absently, the tips come back wet. The light switch stays off as he relieves himself. The second door that leads to the living room is cracked open.

There is the sound of something clattering in the next room. Jimin steps away from the toilet and nears the threshold to peak through the gap. Because he is numb in his sadness, not even surprise can sway him when he finds Hoseok lounging on his couch, munching on Fritos.

He sighs, exhausted. Shaking his head, he's about to close the door and return to his cocoon when Hoseok calls out,

"So, you're just going to ignore me?"

Jimin's eyes flicker to Hoseok's offended ones before he closes the door completely without an answer. He hears Hoseok squawk but ignores it. The covers welcome him when he climbs back into his mattress. Jimin's eyes only widen a smidgen at Hoseok already there.

"Get out," Jimin's voice croaks. It's raw from all the yelling and screaming and sobbing he'd done. "Don't want to see you."

Hoseok frowns at him from under the covers, eyebrows crinkled in concern. Jimin would believe the pity he sees in them if Hoseok wasn't the one who did this to him, who came in one day and messed with his life, with his head. Jimin didn't want this. He hadn't done anything wrong.

"You're not handling this very well," way to point out the obvious. "I didn't foresee this."

Jimin closes his eyes, wills down the anger threatening to swell up in his chest. There is nothing more he'd love at this moment than to punch Hoseok square in the nose. Even if he was a being from a higher power, Jimin would hold no regrets.

"Has anyone ever beat you up before?" Jimin whispers.

Hoseok scrambles away on his oversized bed.

"Uh, yes, actually," Hoseok answers.

The answer somewhat please him. "Good," Jimin says, sitting up. "Hope it hurt."

It takes a lot of his will power to stay upright. Just being in his skin is unbearable. The silence in the room is heavy. Hoseok takes the risk and scoots a tiny bit closer to Jimin. Perhaps he does it to comfort, though Jimin is convinced nothing could comfort him right now.

"I came to see how you were doing." Hoseok mumbles. Though his body language shows timidness, his all-knowing eyes bore into the side of Jimin's face. "But all you've been doing is moping around for days. I expected more."

"Don't feel like doing anything," Jimin responds, doesn't know why he's talking to someone he despises.

Hoseok makes a disapproving noise, says, "You can't just not do anything. You still have work and your friends--,"

Jimin grumbles. "I don't expect you to understand how I fucking feel."

"I do though. I know exactly how you feel," Hoseok throws the covers from his body and stands. A look of frustration appears on his face. "and I want to help you but I can't give you all of the answers, Jimin."

Jimin all but growls. "There are no answers!" before he too stands. It feels as though they're having a face-off, the mattress the only thing keeping them separated. His lungs heave, his throat aches but he can't quell his voice from yelling. "You don't get it Hoseok!"

His voice bounces off the walls of the room, loud enough that the quiet that follows is thick. Jimin feels a stream of words sitting in his lungs, they swell like balloons.

"I can't just get him back," Jimin says. His shoulders hunch in, his eyes blur. "Things don't work like that, they don't. He lives in California, he's probably moved on, has someone else, has something better than me…”

And it’s like a punch in the gut to finally say it out loud. It has been days, days of denial, days of longing.

In his mind’s eye, he sees himself all those years ago, folded atop his desk chair with his knees to his chest, his cellphone to his ear. Then there was Jungkook, croaking into the line with a warbled voice telling him just break up with me, and Jimin was numb. And he was dumb, so he did it.

Then he was numb for weeks afterward until it stopped and until he moved on, as long as it took and as hard as it was.

But this is so much worse than that. What had been so tangible, what had been so real was the love they shared in that California home, palm trees lined on the streets outside, an ugly van in the driveway. Nothing would ever feel that right again.

“I miss them,” he whispers. His face stings with the onslaught of tears building up. “I want Jina, Areum, Jungkook. I want them.”

Hoseok says nothing, not for a long while. Jimin feels an ache in his chest so strong he can’t stay upright. He subsides into the bed, curls into himself and tries to breathe through the pain even if he doesn’t want to anymore.

It’s a second of hovering before Hoseok climbs in after him. Earlier Jimin wanted to hit him, scream at him until his voice couldn’t make a sound. But now he lets Hoseok pull blankets over him, lets him take a hand and twine their fingers together. A hand is in his hair a minute later, and this unearthly being must be doing something to him because suddenly his eyes are heavy, the pain in his heart decreases.

Before he can close his eyes, at the very last moment he hears an apology, then there is blessed silence.

 

 


 

 

Jimin wakes up to another day, though not different from the others. He is still curled in that same position under the blankets but instead of Hoseok’s hand in his palm there lies his cellphone.

Blinking at it, he sighs. He is startled a minute later when it rings, vibrating violently. Seokjin’s name pops up on the caller ID. For a moment he is tempted to reject it, but answers for the sake of hearing a friends voice.

“Hello.”

“Wow,” Seokjin greets. “You’re alive.”

“Mm.” It takes a huge amount of effort to talk.

“Are you feeling well enough to come in this morning?”

Jimin blinks again. His eyelids feel like sandpaper against his pupils. A glance out of the window shows a gray sky, slowly coming to a glow with the rise of the sun.

“I should,” he answers. “but I’m not sure.”

Seokjin groans. “C’mon Jimin. You’ve never taken time off even when you had mono that one time.”

Jimin turns over onto his back. Surprisingly, he can feel his body start to energize itself. His eyes become more alert. For whatever reason, his chest isn’t aching, and he frowns.

“I didn’t have mono.” Jimin snaps. “I had strep.”

“Same thing.”

“They’re completely different—”

“Anyways,” Seokjin interrupts. “if you don’t come in today Marsha from Wyoming will cancel. She’s been refusing to cooperate with the other surgeons, says she won’t have anyone else but you.”

Then Jimin feels guilty. Marsha is one of his favorites, a porn star in the making with an infectious attitude and a great smile. His fingers twitch; after a moment he realizes he misses work. Seokjin keeps rambling, counting off how many things have been going wrong at the hospital since he decided to call in a random vacation time to mope.

As he rambles, Jimin listens and picks himself up off the mattress. Stretching and scratching at his hair as he walks into the restroom. The lights temporarily blind him, but what nearly blinds him permanently is the reflection of himself in the mirror. Jimin grimaces.

The stubble on his chin and upper lip are grown out, his hair is oily. There are the tiniest of breakouts along his forehead and his skin is dull. The shower is calling for him, Seokjin is still talking. For the first time in days does he finally get the urge to get out of his apartment, skin ready to feel the winter, body craving to be productive.

“—and to top it off, Heejin said that—”

“Okay,” Jimin interrupts, then adds. “I’ll be there.”

There is a pause. “Wait, really?”

“Yes,” Jimin sighs, then pulls off his shirt and starts the shower. “I’ll be there.”

“Oh thank God.”

 

 

Despite being away for weeks from surgeries and consultations, Jimin glides back into work gracefully. If anything, it’s been a welcome distraction from the slap of being brought to reality.

The first couple of days were hectic, but he had been welcomed back so warmly he almost teared up. The medical assistants hugged him, his patients were grateful to see him.

After a long day following his return, Seokjin had followed him to his car. At first, it confused him, but then a second later discovered why he was being tailed. Right as he reached the door Seokjin pulled him into a kiss. The shock had him frozen during the first few slicks of lips, then a mild taste of disgust welled up in him. He’d pulled back, wiped his mouth, and felt his cheeks color.

And it’s not like Seokjin was disgusting to him; they’d shared too many intimate moments for him to think that. But it didn’t feel right, not the way it had.

He wasn’t Jungkook and Jimin wasn’t ready for that yet. Intimacy with another person.

Seokjin didn’t get upset at being rejected. He’d tilted his head, shrugged, apologized, then ruffled Jimin’s hair much to his annoyance.

“That’s okay if you’re not feeling it anymore,” he’d said. “We can always just watch movies and cuddle or something.”

That’s what they did. Above all else, Jimin was grateful he had him as a friend. It made the evenings a lot less lonely.

 

 


 

 

 

One evening finds Jimin staring holes into his cellphone.

It had been a moment of revelation when Jimin was in the middle of consultation and suddenly he’d remembered the text Jungkook sent days ago. His patient had wished him a happy holiday and he’d realized that Christmas was around the corner, then the new year at which Jungkook said he would be staying in New York until.

When he arrived at home, he recalled the morning he’d woken with his cellphone in his hand. He’d wondered if that had been a hint. The opened, and un-replied to text still lied in his inbox. But he couldn’t bring himself to answer it.

Until now.

Jimin’s managed to make dinner, watch television, shower, read, and lay down for an hour pondering about what to say. He opens the message.

With shaking fingers, he’s typed a million and one things. It’s with an accidental slip of his finger does he send an unfinished text.

He

And oh shit, Jimin curses to himself. His thumbs punch the keyboard with swiftness, but it’s useless. He nearly screeches when he gets a quick message back.

????

He?

Jimin cringes, hits send.

I meant to say Hey among other things.

Dots appear on the bottom of the chat. His throat closes up when he gets another message.

Oh that’s okay! :) I’m just happy you replied.

Jimin’s heart pounds. Jungkook still seems as sweet as ever. He replies,

I meant to earlier, but I got sidetracked

It’s great to hear from you Kook

Are you still in NY?

He doesn’t get a reply for a while. It’s as he’s settling in for sleep does he decide to send another text.

If you still wanted to get some coffee I’m free anytime

I know a few good places. I can show you around. We can catch up.

I’d really love to see you again.

And he really hopes his desperation doesn’t cling to those electronic letters. Scaring Jungkook off would be disastrous to his being.

When the moon takes its place high in the sky, Jimin clings to hope.

He doesn’t know when he fell asleep, but he wakes up with a blurry head. His phone is clutched in his hand once again and inside is a message from Jungkook that has Jimin’s heart bursting with joy.

I’d love that too

 

 


 

 

 

Though there is dirt brown snow congregated in sidewalk crevices and lodged into dirty corners, a quaint café nestled in Queens keeps warm. Under a gray sky, the russet brick building pops its color in between its slate neighbors.

The afternoon is frigid. Jimin has bundled up in a parka, stuffed his legs into protective thick jeans. Boots save his feet from the harsh weather, gloves hug his fingers. And Jimin is fidgeting, tuckered down into a wooden chair and gazing across the café, thoughts going berserk.

In line stands Jungkook, though not the same Jungkook that was in his glimpse. This Jungkook seems brighter if possible, there is youthfulness in his features that was missing in Husband Jungkook.

They’d met up just minutes ago, a heart-pounding, breath-stopping, holy-fucking-shit-he’s-here moment that meshed them into an embrace. Jimin was sure he was trembling when Jungkook pulled him into a bear hug, smiling so widely his eyes were nearly closed. And all Jimin could think about was how it has been years…and this Jungkook was so different, but his eyes were the same.

His hair is carefully trimmed, but a fluffy light brown compared to the dark locks he’d grown familiar with. Jungkook is fit, fitter than he expected with a waist cinched so small he was sure he could wrap his hands around him. His complexion is glowing and healthy, there are no small stress lines around his eyes.

For a moment, Jimin almost lost himself into the urge to lean in and greet him with a kiss, but then reality bit him in the ass when Jungkook pulled out of the hug just as quickly as he was pulled in.

They’d picked a table near the window. Even if there are snow and dark skies, the city doesn’t slow. People pass by, most with noses in their phones, most with chins snuggled into scarfs. Jungkook had been the one to propose they order their drinks, going as far as to insist to pay. Before Jimin even got a word in he’d walked off, leaving Jimin to stew in his thoughts.

Anxiousness prickles at him, but more than anything relief is present because Jungkook is finally here, right in front of him and looking every bit as beautiful as he expected and more.

The man comes back minutes later with steaming mugs balanced in both hands. They are placed on the coasters atop their lacquered table top, and Jungkook is beaming at him over their rims.

“You didn’t tell me what you wanted,” Jungkook says, blowing on his own drink. “So, I guessed.”

“Did you?” Jimin chuckles. He picks up his drink and sniffs at it. Whiffs of coffee and something inherently sweet jump out at him. “That’s rude. You could’ve asked.”

Jungkook shrugs. “Didn’t want to. It’s your punishment if you don’t like it, for leaving me on read for days.”

“I didn’t mean to!” Jimin defends with a pout. “I was a little, uh, caught up with something.”

“Sure,” Jungkook snickers, eyes teasing, smirk playing at his lips. “First I don’t hear from you after the split, then you don’t even reply to my text. Now that’s rude.”

And though Jimin knows he’s joking, the mention of their breakup makes his heart sputter a little.

“You haven’t even asked me why I’m here yet,” Jungkook jests before placing his mug down with a click.

“I thought maybe I’d ask how you’re doing first,” Jimin narrows his eyes and pulls back the hand wandering toward Jungkook’s own on the table. “Because I’m ya know, nice…unlike someone I know. You’re still a brat I see.”

Jungkook barks a high pitched laugh that echoes through the ceiling. Jimin’s stomach warms.

“I guess I am. But yeah, I’m doing great,” Jungkook answers, all traces of his teasing gone. “really great, actually. Though this weather is wearing me down, I don’t like the cold at all.”

“Some people say you get used to it,” Jimin takes his cup and puts it to his lips. “but that’s a lie. I’m still not.”

Jungkook’s eyebrow perks. “California boy through and through.”

Jimin nods. “And your parents, your brother?”

“Junghyun married ages ago,” Jungkook says, resting his head on his raised fist. “Has four kids. It keeps mom busy and dad spoils them rotten.”

Then his phone is pulled out; Jimin watches his long fingers swipe through an album then blinks at a photo Jungkook showcases. It’s a family photo; four little Korean girls around similar ages are kneeling on the floor in matching outfits, a tiny woman with a kind smile is under Junghyun’s arm who is standing next to his dad, their dad next to their mother, then their mother next to Jungkook. They look happy, they look healthy. Jungkook’s familiar big eye shape adorns the children, genes running strong.

“So cute.” Jimin giggles. “You guys look so cute.”

“It was taken around Christmas last year after my parents moved into their new house. They love it there. It’s their dream home.”

“That’s awesome,” Jimin congrats. “they deserved it.”

Jungkook hums. His phone is stuffed back into his pocket before he starts to strip out of his heavy coat. Jimin pointedly does not stare at his bulging biceps beneath a thermal long-sleeved shirt. Jimin suddenly feels too warm and also strips himself of the extra layers.

“How’ve you been?” Jungkook finally asks, eyes twinkling. “Haven’t heard much except for when I see your mom around.”

“She keeps you updated, doesn’t she?” Jimin feels a little sheepish.

Jungkook shrugs. “I don’t mind it. I like to hear about you from time to time so that way I know you’re still alive. But that’s an understatement, just look at you, all successful.”

Red rises in his cheeks. “Not…really.”

“Don’t be modest,” Jungkook laughs. “I’m really proud of you. You’ve worked hard, made a lot of sacrifices.”

Jimin loses his words for a moment. Thoughts stuck on sacrifices, eyes lingering on Jungkook.

“Too many,” he eventually says. “Too many sacrifices.”

The air gets a little thick with tension. Jungkook seems to buffer under Jimin’s gaze. After a moment, Jungkook clears his throat and glances away. Jimin turns his gaze to his lap.

“So,” Jimin’s coughs into his elbow. “What brings you here? Going to see the ball drop?”

Jungkook flaps his hand. “Nah…well, I mean, yes. But that’s not the only reason.” He says, then leans forward with a Cheshire grin.

Then Jimin is hit with déjà vu. He’s unbelievably familiar with this expression. It’s the one Jungkook adapts when he’s nearly bursting at the seems with a secret, wanting nothing more than for someone to ask what he’s up to, what he’s hiding. Excitement lines Jungkook’s lips.

Jimin raises an eyebrow, asking the question that’s expected to be asked. “Well, then what for?”

Jungkook’s practically vibrating.

“I’m on…” he throws out his hands. “a book tour!” then wiggles his fingers at the announcement.

Jimin’s mouth gapes open.

“A b-book tour?” he asks. “You don’t teach?”

Jungkook frowns in confusion as he puts his hands back down.

“No?” he answers. “I’d never want to teach.”

“You’re a writer?” his voice is a whisper. “But you were so good with kids.”

“Huh?” Jungkook leans in, straining to hear. “I didn’t catch that.”

Jimin waves him away. “No, no. It’s nothing.”

Jungkook plops back into his seat then picks up his mug again.

“A writer.” Jimin muses. “Wow.”

“Yeah,” Jungkook lifts an arm and scratches at the back of his neck. “I kind of started to pick it up after you, um, left.”

Jimin hadn’t known that, how did he not know that.

“That’s really cool, Kook.”

Jungkook smiles at him. “I love it. I love it a lot. To be honest, I didn’t really think that it’d go anywhere? I mean, I was just one gay kid in California projecting all my shit into words and then suddenly I was published and then suddenly more stuff was published. Then here I am, selling out and going on book tours across the US. It’s been a dream.”

“That’s fucking amazing.” Jimin awes. “I wanna read what you’ve written. You’re going to have to show me! I’ll buy all your books. I’ll even put up a shrine.”

For the first time of the afternoon, Jungkook blushes. Rose sits nicely in his cheeks and Jimin is so fond.

“A shrine?” Jungkook giggles.

“Yes,” Jimin nods. “Then you can sign all the other copies I’d buy. Maybe I’ll sell them on eBay and get rich.”

“You’re already rich!” Jungkook laughs. “And you don’t have to buy my books. Honestly, they’re not that good.”

“I want to!” Jimin insists. “I bet they’re incredible.”

“Being a writer is nowhere near as impressive as being a surgeon,” Jungkook jokes.

Jimin frowns. “Don’t do that.”

“Hm?”

“Don’t undermine yourself, even if you’re kidding.” He says. “I’m so proud of you.”

Jungkook blinks at him then directs his attention to the window.

“I’m grateful we got to meet,” Jungkook says. “I um, I was a little scared to see you today.”

Jimin’s throat tightens. The mood sobers. He doesn’t mention that he’d felt the same way.

“Why?” he asks instead.

“I don’t really know…” Jungkook licks his lips, furrows his brows. “I mean, I know it’s been years but…maybe some part of me needed this,” he says then turns those deep brown eyes back to Jimin. “to see if you were doing well. To see if you were happy—healthy.”

Realization slams into Jimin hard. His chest feels choked up suddenly. In a whoosh of breath, he says:

“You wanted closure…”

Jungkook laughs a self-deprecating thing. “Yeah, I guess. Does that make me a little pathetic?”

Jimin shakes his head, doesn’t say anything for fear his voice will crack. Jungkook wants closure—so what does this mean? Does this mean he’s still not over it, does this mean he is, and this meeting is simply the final ending in their story?

“So,” Jungkook sighs. “Are you?”

Jimin meets his gaze. It’s hard to read.

His throat is a little dry so before he answers, he takes a swig from the cooled down drink. It’s delicious, well, it would be if it didn’t taste like ash on his tongue.

“Am I happy?” Jimin asks for clarification. Stalling.

Jungkook nods.

And the first thing that pops into his head surprisingly isn’t "no", it’s "yes".

But it’s not "yes" because it's true, it’s "yes" because for years that’s what he trained himself to believe. It’s "yes" because that’s what he had to convince himself he was all throughout college, after their breakup; when he had to delete their pictures off his computer’s hard drive; when he had to block him on social media; when his mother accidentally slipped once and mentioned Jungkook over a phone call one summer that nearly ripped his fucking heart out.

It’s "yes" because accepting anything other than a "no", admitting that he’s not happy, would break him.

Then what would Jungkook think, if Jimin shook his head, if he confessed everything right here, spilling words he’s never spoken to anyone before, about how much he can hurt, about how much he stifles it?

How would he react?

Jimin can feel a breath shudder through his lungs. Then he decides to lie.

“Yeah,” Jimin nods. “I’m happy.”

And Jungkook grins at him, eyes crinkling, cheeks bunching. It’s the most beautiful thing Jimin’s ever seen, and he’s happy his deception put it there.

“I’m glad.” Jungkook breathes. “That’s all I want for you.”

“Even after our bad breakup?”

“Please,” Jungkook rolls his eyes. “that was ages ago. I’m over it, you’re over it. It’s cool that we can even stand to sit here right now.”

It feels like a knife is being twisted into his gut, but Jimin soldiers on. “Right, right.” He agrees. “And you seem happy too.”

Jungkook is enthusiastic in replying. “Completely. Though sometimes shit gets hard, I’m good.”

“That’s…” shitty, this is shitty. Jimin’s run out of positive words. Just keeps saying, “that’s really cool.”

Like an idiot. He’s an idiot. Any kind of hope he’s been harboring about this get together is dwindling. And it’s so unfair that Jimin must be the one to suffer through all this emotional turmoil. He wants to feel as okay as Jungkook too.

“Mhm,” Jungkook stretches his arms above his head, then checks the time on a glinting watch around his wrist. “Ah…”

Dread fills Jimin’s stomach. “Do you need to be somewhere?”

Jungkook shoots him an apologetic look. “I’m supposed to meet my agent back at my hotel in thirty and I’m still adjusting to the subways. I should leave soon.”

Jimin practically shoots from his chair, a little frantic. “I can drive you.” He offers. “I drove here, and I can drive you.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, totally.”

Jungkook shrugs. “If you insist.”

 

 

The valet across the street brings Jimin’s vehicle around. From his peripherals, he catches Jungkook’s expression morph into shock and some pride surges through him.

Jungkook is staying at a hotel not too far, but the roads are a little congested. The drive is quiet. Jungkook’s eyes are trained out of his passenger window, Jimin’s keep straying toward him. The familiar scent of something purely Jungkook fills the car and his stomach clenches. A flash of intimate moments renders him breathless as they cross his mind; soft sheets, even softer skin.

He clears his throat, shakes his head to rid the thoughts, and turns at a green light. A moment too soon and they’re pulling up on the road where Jungkook is to be dropped off.

“We got here early,” Jungkook enthuses. “sweet!”

“Yeah, sweet.”

Jimin puts the car into idle once they arrive out front. A valet comes over and Jimin hands him a bill but tells him to keep it running since he’ll be leaving soon.

They turn to one another as they make it into the lobby. It’s a grand hotel, with glimmering-golden chandeliers, checkered-polished floors, great-white pillars that house staff dressed in pressed suits. They hover near an oak table with a vase full of fresh flowers of every kind. An ornate clock ticks away next to it.

Jimin is desperate for more time.

“Thank you for seeing me,” Jungkook says. He tilts his head, regards Jimin with a muted adoration. “It was nice.”

“It was.” Jimin answers. Blood is rushing through his ears. It takes everything in him not to cry.

“I’ll see you around, yeah?” Jungkook spreads his arms at his sides, beckons Jimin into a hug.

And Jimin falls into him. He fits so perfectly its almost too painful to endure. His arms wind around Jungkook’s waist, he tucks his chin over his shoulder and nuzzles down. His body pulses with the saddest of needs. This feels even worse than the first time it happened, back in that California airport.

Soon, much too soon, he finds his hands unlocking from behind Jungkook’s back, finds his legs taking a backward step, finds his eyes dry, meeting Jungkook’s own. He thinks that maybe this is how it’s supposed to be even if it feels all wrong. To let go.

“I’ll see you.” Then he’s smiling, so fake, so forced.

Jungkook gives him one last meaningful expression before he turns to walk away.

This is how it must’ve felt when I left first.

Because his heart is breaking, and all he wants to do is throw Jungkook’s old words back at him and ask him to stay.

I choose you, I choose you over everything.

 

 


 

 

 

The valet doesn’t say anything about the tears streaming down Jimin’s face. He only gives him a look as if he’s deranged and eyes him as he gets into his car.

Jimin is wailing hysterically once he’s down the road. His vision blurs so badly that he decides to pull over until he calms. As he’s blowing snot into a receipt paper because he has no tissues, Hoseok magically poofs into existence in his passenger seat. Jimin screams.

“You’re making a mistake,” Hoseok monotones. There is a furrow in his brow. He’s wearing a fully white tuxedo. “Have you learned nothing from the Glimpse?”

Jimin squints at him. “W-wha?”

Hoseok groans then flicks Jimin’s forehead with a thwack. “You’re hopeless.”

“But he’s moved on,” Jimin sputters through tears. “He’s happ—”

“You love him, don’t you?” Hoseok asks. “You love him, and you’ll never be happy with anyone else.”

“What does that matter?”

“Everything you do matters. Everything you want matters. And you’re supposed to fight for it Jimin!”

Jimin freezes in his seat. Hoseok is yelling at him, and it doesn’t feel very good.

“It’s not going to fall into your lap just like that,” Hoseok’s fingers snap. “You have to work for it. And it’s going to be hard, but you’ve got to be honest. With not only him but for yourself.”

Jimin blinks wetly at him.

Hoseok asks. “What do you want?”

Jimin doesn’t know how to answer.

Hoseok huffs. Then asks again. “What do you want, Jimin?”

“You know what I want,” he mumbles because Hoseok is losing his patience. It’s a scary sight.

The gaze Hoseok is leveling him with is piercing, all-knowing.

“I do,” Hoseok nods. “but I’m not the one who needs to be convinced.”

 

 

After Hoseok disappears, Jimin sits. He sits for so long that the sun descends into the west behind the clouds. The skyscrapers keep his car in the deeper shadows. Traffic begins to pick up once again. A restaurant opening for dinner begins to fill right beside him and an annoyed manager comes out to knock on his window.

“Sir,” his voice is muted. “you can’t park here.”

Jimin turns to meet his eyes and slowly rolls down the window. The man throws out his hands in exasperation.

“Well,” the man snoots. “Are you going to move?”

“I didn’t…tell him…” Jimin is speaking to himself.

“I’m sorry?”

Jimin squeezes his hands on the steering wheel, knuckles white.

“I didn’t tell him the truth.”

The man huffs. “Sir, if you don’t move I’ll have no choice but to have your car towed.”

Jimin whips his gaze to him wildly and the man flinches back. He hops out of the way when the car door is swung open, after Jimin shuts off his car, and stuffed his wallet and keys into his pockets. He hears none of the threats the man is spewing, is doing nothing but moving on animal instinct.

The lights of Jungkook’s hotel are within sight, a couple of blocks back from whence he came.

“Sir!” the man is calling for him when Jimin starts to retreat. “Sir!”

“I didn’t tell him.”

And he chants it to himself over, and over again, even when his legs break into a sprint, dodging pedestrians clogging the sideways, hurdling over small dogs and the trash on the floor, and maneuvering around cars. He slips more than twice. Snow begins to fall when he makes it to the second block, cool flakes smacking his cheeks, wind frosting his nose red.

The receptionist looks ready to call security when he bursts back into the hotel lobby. He placates her through huffing breaths.

“Just…need,” he inhales. Can’t catch his breath. “To know which… r-room Jungkook Jeon is in.”

The woman narrows her eyes at him, more than suspicious. “We don’t have anyone staying here by that name,” she lies, without even touching a computer screen to look it up.

Jimin wants to scream. “Please,” he begs. “I’m an old friend. I know he’s here…I just need to see him.”

“I already told you there is no one here by that name—”

“Jimin?”

And God, that blessed voice. Jimin turns to look behind him and there is Jungkook, in a crisp suit standing on the edge of the carpet that leads into the hotel bar with a man near his elbow, looking on curiously. His eyes are creased in concern, glancing from the receptionist to a harried Jimin.

“Are you okay?” Jungkook asks, then whispers something to the man near him. After a moment of hesitance, the stranger leaves. “What’s going on?”

“I didn’t tell you.” Jimin chants again, adrenaline fueling him. His mouth is cotton-dry, his knees are weak, but he moves toward Jungkook anyway. “I lied.”

Jungkook glances around the lobby and pulls Jimin by the elbow into a secluded area near the back.

“Lied about what?”

Even though Jungkook is looking at him like he’s lost his mind, Jimin doesn’t care. All his life he’s been making selfish choices, all his life he’s been a liar. For tonight, he’s going to make one more selfish choice.

What’s the truth if it was never a lie to begin with?

“I’m not happy.” Jimin states. He glares down at his shoes, they were shiny earlier and now they’re scraped up from the asphalt. Jungkook’s grip tightens on his elbow before it loosens and falls away.

“What?”

Jimin directs his eyes to Jungkook’s face. “I’m not happy,” he says. “I- I don’t think I ever was, not after we broke up.”

And he can tell his confession catches Jungkook off guard. It’s in the way he takes a step back, in the way his eyes widen, and his jaw tightens. Jungkook rubs a palm over his mouth.

“Look, Jimin.” Jungkook sighs then smiles so soft. “If this is about that closure…if you need more, I’m fine. You don’t have to worry about me. Yes, I was heartbroken, but I got over it.”

Jimin blinks through stinging eyes, wants to reach out so bad but knows its not his place.

“Maybe,” Jungkook gives him a gentle pat on the shoulder. “Maybe you should move on, too.”

“B-but—”

“Listen,” Jungkook glances off to the side and sees that man hovering nearby with an impatient aura. “This isn’t really a good time. I’m sorry, but I have a dinner meeting I need to get to soon. Maybe…you can call me later?”

Fear grips Jimin by the gut, he tries to keep Jungkook with him with a gentle hand on his wrist, but he pulls away.

“I really have to go,” Jungkook says.

Then Jimin is watching him walk away again, two times in one day. The man Jungkook is walking toward throws Jimin a look of interest but turns away as they make their way to the rotating doors.

Everything in his very being is terrified shitless because it knows, he knows that if he doesn’t do this right here, right now, he might not ever get the chance again. His mouth opens.

“I had this dream!” Jimin shouts across the room like Martin Luther King Jr., loud enough to bounce through the walls, loud enough to stop everyone in their tracks, including Jungkook who is leaving. When Jungkook glances back at him from over his shoulder, he keeps going. “I don’t know where it came from, I don’t know why it happened, but it— it felt like it lasted a lifetime.”

Jungkook turns scarlet under the attention. Some people have already turned back to their business, but most others watch the scene unfold, even the staff, even the security.

“Her name was Areum.” Jimin almost cries, feels his voice wobble. “She was our first daughter. God, and she was so bright ya know? At only five years old she held this wisdom beyond her years. And although she watched too much television, she managed to be the smartest kid in her grade. Kind of like me,” he laughs with a wet voice. “And then there was Jina, she was just a baby, but she already looked so much like you. Her eyes were so wide and brown. She missed nothing, learned so quickly and grew out of her clothes so fast we got tired of buying her new shoes.

Then there was you, Jungkook.” Jimin laughs, wipes a stray tear away. At some point, Jungkook had begun gravitating toward him with wide eyes. “You were a teacher. And you loved it. You’d come home and tell me about your day, about your best friends named Yoongi and Haseul. You couldn’t handle your liquor well and you yelled at me a lot, but that was okay because I messed up a lot too. You loved bowling, made me wear this hideous shirt that I dealt with because…

Because we were so in love.” Jimin says in earnest, feels that very same love pass through him in waves. “After years and years of marriage, we were so in love. It was as if it never went away…as if I never left.” He winces. “But most of all, Jungkook, you made me so much better than I ever was. Than I ever could be.”

Jungkook’s eyes are wet when Jimin feels brave enough to go to him.

“I don’t know how, but it felt so real.” Jimin’s face crumples. “I lived in our house in California, I saw our wedding…and I don’t know,” Jimin shakes his head. “I don’t know if this makes me sound crazy or seem desperate or whatever and I don’t really care. But what I do know is that I lied. I’m not happy. And I’m not asking you to fix it, but what I will ask you is if it’s okay if – if I can take you out on a date. If you’d give me another chance.

Because after that dream, after seeing what we could’ve had together, I can tell you that it was incredible. And after everything, I choose us. I’d choose you, over everything.”

Jungkook’s chest is huffing after Jimin finishes, looking as winded as Jimin feels. Their gazes linger on another. Jungkook is sniffling and swiping at his nose. He doesn’t say anything and Jimin doesn’t know what that means.

“Just,” Jimin closes his eyes. “Please, stay with me. Don’t…don’t go to dinner.”

And suddenly Jungkook is barking a laugh. It startles Jimin out of his desperation and he opens his eyes to a red-nosed Jungkook. He turns toward the man lingering around to hear, who’s also in tears, and says:

“Reschedule dinner.” And the man sputters. Jungkook grins back at Jimin. “Tell them that a sudden proposal came up that I can’t miss out on.”

Jimin’s heart pitches through his chest, throwing him forward into the open arms Jungkook uses to catch him.

 

 


 

 

 

When the moon takes her place in the navy-blue night, a miracle happens. For the first time in days does the sky clear of the snow, of the clouds. The stars don’t blink into existence, but airplanes up hundreds of feet high twinkle almost as prettily.

Inside Jimin’s penthouse suite sits the pair. The lights are dimmed, the only source of glow comes from the window where they’ve settled themselves on the floor, on top of layers of down blankets. In front of a never-sleeping city.

A glass of wine is nestled in between them as they speak words that need to be spoken. Their fingers hold onto the thin stems of crystal-clear glasses.

When their palms drift after hours of hushed assurances, the universe accepts it. Their fingers lock together, interwoven with possibilities, and provoking aspiration throughout hours and hours.

Fate keeps watch from the roof across the street, definitively sealing their destiny with a heart-shaped grin.