The thing about Jimin is that he’s not even really famous.
The entire thing’s a fluke. A happy accident. Before all this went down Park Jimin was a regular college student with an Instagram account. Like most millenials he was relatively ordinary, shared photos and boomerangs of himself with emojis and hashtags in the captions, the occasional cutesy filter.
It was meant to be fun. Jimin had started the account as a place to dump all his selfies once he ran out of storage on his phone. Every now and then he’d throw in artsy aesthetic pics of his lattes or his hottest outfits in blurry bathroom mirrors. One or two brief videos of him dancing warm-up improvisations across the floor of the studio. Back then the follower count had been less than fifty. He’d post maybe once a week, a quick flurry of selfies and whatever else he wanted to delete from his phone, sharing bits of his life to a small collection of classmates, friends and family. The most excitement on the account would be his grandma occasionally typing out Dear Jimin, Miss You So Much!!! I Am So Proud Of You!!! Call Me Handsome Man! Love, Grandma in the comments, and that was completely fine by Jimin.
The point is, it didn’t start as anything special. Jimin’s not anything special. He’s just a twenty-something who knows how to dress well and look good in whatever lighting he’s got to work with.
So Jimin doesn’t know who found the account. What person took screenshots of his best selfies and shared them with the local groupchats that started the manhunt. He has no idea what social media site latched onto his profile first or what popular account shared some of his pics. He certainly doesn’t know what it is about him that attracted thousands of followers in a single week, though he suspects the BuzzFeed article ‘Meet Dance Bae, The Instagram Hottie Who We’re Obsessed With 😍' might have something to do with it.
Whatever the reasons, Jimin logged into the app one day to find that his mere 50 followers had jumped to under 15 thousand. His notifications were so flooded that the app crashed several times before he could turn them off. There were hundreds of comments, thousands of likes, and those numbers kept on climbing.
Evidently, people thought he was hot.
And suddenly Jimin was no longer an ordinary college student. He was #JIMIN. He had a brand. He was a desired commodity on social media, whatever the hell that means.
At first the whole thing seemed nothing but an overnight viral firestorm, bound to die out as quickly as it ignited. But weeks passed and still the comments kept rolling in, still the follower count kept rising. It wasn’t long after that the promo products started arriving from companies and startups. Free skin-care samples. Makeup. Cologne. When Jimin uploaded a bit of his dance showcase choreo the companies started sending him boxes of coconut water, workout clothing to wear, protein bars to be take a bite of in his selfies. All free. He was invited to conferences to talk about networking for millennials, and he was getting paid for appearing. All he had to do was occasionally take a picture with the products, use the proper hashtags, and that’d be it.
So Jimin’s not famous. When he walks down the street no one asks to take his photo, no one actually knows who he is. He’s not famous, but he’s not so obscure that he doesn’t occasionally get odd looks on campus, like people are trying to place his face, figure out where they’ve seen him but they can’t quite put their finger on it.
It’s not that much effort, being an “influencer”. It’s not even really a real job? Jimin’s mostly in it for the free shit and the occasional ego boost. He’ll never admit it, but it’s a nice little pick-me-up to see thousands of people calling him pretty. Sure, there are sometimes raging assholes in the comments too, but Jimin doesn’t care about them.
So he uploads on a more consistent schedule, staggers the posts rather than dropping them all at once, but it’s not his life. It’s just a convenient side gig while he struggles to get his dance degree and make a real living. He’ll soon be hitting the 100k followers milestone which is kinda neat. The comments can be a weird mix of flattering and insulting depending on the day of the week, but Jimin’s trying his best not to become fixated on it.
After all, it’s not like it’s a big deal or anything.
This is how Jimin meets Kim Namjoon:
It’s evening. Sunset, to be exact. He’s got his hands wrapped around an Instax camera, another product to promote. He’s wearing the dark wash jeans with the shredded right knee. That last detail isn’t necessary to the story but it’s an important detail nonetheless because his ass looks great in these jeans. He got them on sale at the consignment shop last week and he is quite proud of himself for it.
Anyways, Jimin looks hot. He took a selfie a few minutes ago with his iPhone first to check the lighting, head tilted with a gentle but well-trained smile, and he knows he looks good. The sunset is beautiful; he’s captured the exact way that light filters through the trees, perfected the angle to hold the camera to fit the scenery, pale pink sky and tangerine orange sun. He crouches down a bit, lines up the shot.
This is how Jimin looks when some random guy walks right into picture seconds later: windswept, crouched over with an ass that you could bounce a won off of.
Maybe that explains why the stranger stops and stares right in the center of the frame.
“Oh—,” says the stranger, right as Jimin presses down on the shutter-release.
For a brief pause the guy gapes at Jimin.
For a second, Jimin gapes back. Only for a second, though.
“I’m so sorry.” The guy rushes over towards Jimin, then quickly backtracks, like Jimin’s a very angry forest creature snarling and foaming at the mouth. “I just totally photobombed you, didn’t I?”
He totally just did, but Jimin’s trying not to be miffed about it. There’s a subtle click as the Instax photo prints, a small rectangle of shiny grey film with vague shapes filling in. Jimin holds his hand up against the sun, squints up at the vague figure. Can’t really make him out but can tell that he’s tall, even from this distance.
“It’s—fine.” A total waste of Instax film which is kinda pricey, but it’s whatever. Jimin doesn’t pay for this as it is.
“I got really wrapped up in my book, I didn’t even see you.” The guy lifts his hand and sure enough, he’s holding a book. Only his hand seems completely to dwarf said book, so it’s either a big hand or that is a book made for ants. “Anyways. Sorry about that.”
Then, like he doesn’t remember doing it the first time, the guy once again does the walk forward and backward, toeing his way along an invisible tight rope. Jimin has never felt so baffled by a personal interaction in his life.
“Who reads while they walk?” he asks, going for teasing but probably coming off a bit too harsh.
But the stranger surprises him, volleys back with, “Most people with a phone and social media, I imagine.”
“Touche.” Jimin steps sideways and out of the direct sun to get a better look at the guy and—oh.
He’s cute. Not a total waste of Instax film after all.
“Polaroid film is expensive, isn’t it?” The guy digs his hand into his pocket. “My friend’s a photographer, he’s always telling me—can I pay you for it?”
“It’s not a big deal. I got the camera free for a promo thing. I’m an influencer.”
“An influencer,” Jimin repeats.
“I’m an Instagram model,” he amends, and realizes how totally vain and vapid that sounds coming out of his mouth. How he has been trying very hard to become the exact opposite of that and—well.
“Oh,” says the stranger. “Cool. One of my friends is a fashion model.”
Jimin looks at the guy’s unnecessarily baggy khaki shorts and highly doubts that.
The air is exceedingly tense and awkward, and Jimin feels kind of rattled. The guy is just so tall? It’s kind of irritating. No one has the right to be that tall.
“Right well.” Jimin shrugs. “Don’t worry about the film. I’m sure it turned out fine.”
“Sorry again, have a nice day,” Mr. Khakis cringes, and begins to walk away.
Jimin glances down at the Instax clutched in his hand, grey square fading in slow with color, like clouds clearing after a storm. In the corner, the glow of the sunset. And then, in front of the actual sun, the boy frozen mid-step, looking at Jimin beyond the camera. His eyes round as tiny moons and his mouth hanging open with soft surprise.
It’s actually not a bad photo. A bit of a niche focus but still good. He’ll put it up alongside his own selfie from his phone
“Hey,” Jimin calls out after the stranger, who immediately doubles back towards him in long strides. “Okay if I post this on social media?”
“Sure,” the guy shrugs. “I don’t have an instagram or facebook or anything.”
“No worries.” Jimin snaps a picture of the polaroid with his phone, adjusts the light a bit and adds a Snow filter. “Just wanted to make sure it was okay. Consent is important, and all that. Thanks.”
When Jimin looks up from his phone a moment later, the guy is still standing there staring at him. Which isn’t too strange, because people look at Jimin quite a lot as a general rule. He doesn’t mind the attention, might even say he enjoys it. But something’s different about this one. His gaze is more curious than evaluating. He’s not giving Jimin a once-over like he’s trying to picture him without clothes on. It’s more like he’s trying to look into Jimin’s soul and see what looks back. It’s a different kind of attention, and it sets Jimin on edge, low simmer.
“What’s your name, again?” The boy asks breathlessly.
Can’t hurt. This conversation’s already been weird enough as it is. “Park Jimin.”
“I’m Kim Namjoon.” The boy holds out a big callused hand. “Pleased to make your acquaintance."
They shake hands and—okay. Turns out the book was just a regular sized book, and this guy’s hands are big. Maybe bigger than Taehyung’s hands. Maybe bigger than anyone in the history of forever’s hands. Cool. Great. File away that information for no goddamn reason.
“Well then,” says Kim Namjoon. “Good day sir.”
And then he books off in the opposite direction like someone who suddenly remembered he had an extremely urgent appointment to make and could not be kept a second longer. Jimin could say it’s been one of the weirder interactions he’s had in a public place, but he’d be lying.
On the train ride home he uploads the set of photos for the Instax promo in a slideshow. First, the picture with Kim Namjoon in it. Then his own selfie, followed by a picture of the camera itself, his own tiny hands curled around it. Tomorrow he’ll take one of those silent Snow videos of him sipping that nasty Kombucha in his dance clothes to get ahead of the schedule and that’ll be that.
He selects the appropriate hashtags and then adds:
park_chimchim: my #Instax brings all the boys to the yard 😏
He presses ‘post’ and thinks, eh, at least he was cute.
“Excuse me my good brethren, my sweet soulmate, may I ask pray tell who the fuck is on your instagram?”
This is not how Jimin was expected to wake up at 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning, with Taehyung (and Yeontan) crawling into his bed and nudging him awake with sweet nothings.
“No one’s on my instagram. Just some guy,” says Jimin, tugging the blankets back over his head.
“Some guy? Jimjams, I’m your best friend in the entire world and I’m not even on your instagram!”
“You are too.”
“Yeah, but that was B.F.”
“Before Fame,” Taehyung answers, like it’s obvious. “You only ever upload pictures of yourself and nature and boba! I can’t believe this. Is this because he’s prettier than me?”
“No one’s prettier than you Taetae,” Jimin sighs sleepily.
“Good answer, but on the real...was it a meet-cute?”
“Was a guy walking into my camera frame and fucking up my shot a meet-cute?” Jimin opens his eyes now, frowning. “No. No, it was not.”
“Well, you better get on top of the narrative quick, because that’s not what your followers are saying.”
“What the—.” Jimin scrambles up and snatches his phone, swiping over to Instagram and scrolling briefly through comments. Most of them are your typical bots, Hey, Nice Picture! You Should Follow Me Back :) but in between all the spam comments he sees stuff like Wow, who’s the long leggy guy in the background? and He’s cute, are you guys together? and then a usually ignored but specifically pricking Omg forget dance bae. i wanna see KHAKI SHORTS BAE 🤤🤤🤤.
“It wasn’t a meet-cute,” says Jimin quietly. He feels pricked. Like there’s a burr in his sock, a raw scraping against his skin as a small sore spot begins to form on the pad of his foot, right at the base of him: why not me. why don’t they want me anymore. “I didn’t even think he was cute.”
His tens of thousands of instagram followers seem to disagree, however.
“What’s his name? What do we know about him?”
“Kim Namjoon. And other than the super obscure t-shirt and shoes, not much.”
“Are those…” Taehyung squints at the phone. “What the fuck kind of shoes are those.”
“I don’t know. Clown shoes. I told you he isn’t cute.”
“Clown shoes mhm. Okay.” Taehyung nods like he’s mentally jotting all this down. “Did he say where he was from? Where he lived?”
”He interrupted my photo,” Jimin snaps. “I don’t want to find him.”
“Cool. I’m gonna find him,” says Taehyung says, handing Yeontan off to Jimin and pulling his laptop out from under the bed like he’d been waiting for this moment to strike. “Park Jimin had a meet-cute and he thinks I’m just gonna let that slide? Please.”
“Would you—I did not have a meet-cute!"
“You keep saying that but the subtext I’m getting here is that you want to crawl all over his long bod like a horny hermit crab.”
“Whatever.” Jimin says, tucking a snuffling Yeontan in his arms. “I’ve got homework to do. And don’t go posting on Craigslist missed connections. That’s how you get murdered.”
“Missed connections? What kind of amateur do you think I am?” Taehyung sneers. “Give me fifty-two minutes and a cup of joe. I’ll find your man.”
“One, not my man. Two, you don’t drink coffee. Adding six half-n-half cups and twelve sugars makes it pretty much the opposite of coffee.”
“I said what I said.”
Not a second over the fifty-second minute, Jimin’s deep in his geology readings when he hears a sudden bellow of victory, looks up to see Taehyung smirking to himself as he leans back in his chair and sips at his “coffee”.
“Found him.” Taehyung slaps his hands down on the desk. “Student directory. Kim Namjoon, alumni at WSU, not too far from where we are, which puts him within range of the park. It doesn’t look like he has a lot of social media otherwise. But based on his graduation date and how old he looks in your pic…I think this might be our White Whale.”
“Okay Queequeg, and what does this have to do with me?”
Taehyung stares blankly at Jimin. “You have never taken a picture of a single person on your instagram that wasn’t like, that one time you ran into Hyuna in the supermarket at 2 a.m.”
“Hyuna’s not a person you bitch, she’s a god.”
“Well either way. You’re into this guy, it’s obvious.”
“I’m not into anyone.” Jimin sniffs. “He walked into my frame as I was taking the picture. It was an accident.”
“You mean to tell me you didn’t take seventy five other photos in order to have options for a single insta post, yet you chose to use the one with him in it?”
“That feels targeted and no, I did not. The sun went down pretty quickly after that.”
“So you don’t want this guy’s number.”
“And you don’t want to see him again.”
“And you defs don’t want to climb him like a tiny hobbit would an ent.”
“Not a chance,” says Jimin, and has the absolutely stupid gall to think that’s the end of it.
Jimin makes a point not to think about the boy in the sunset.
The post is a hit. Within a week it’s somehow his most liked post on Instagram, even more liked than the one that initially made him go viral. Mostly because everyone keeps commenting and wants to know who the hottie in the khaki shorts is. Wants to know why he’s staring at Jimin. And what specifically about Jimin is bringing all the boys to the yard.
It’s kind of annoying, actually? Jimin posts a really cute selfie of himself in yoga pants and all the comments are asking about the guy from the post the other day. They don’t even mention how good Jimin’s ass looks.
It’s almost as if they don’t even care. And like, Jimin used to not care whether they cared or not? Which is petulant, to be affronted that they’re not thanking him for gracing them with his presence. He doesn’t care about being an influencer and yet—
Well. It’s like when Jimin was in pre-school. How he didn’t care about playing with the Bob the Builder toolset until someone else picked it up. Petty and childish as that sounds, this feels exactly like that.
He didn’t care what people thought of him on the internet above mild amusement until some rando hot guy walked into his photo and stole the spotlight.
So he feels a little guilty. Maybe even silly. But also, it’s his Instagram. Kim Namjoon can get his own.
After a few days of people pestering him, he decides to go back to the post and read through the comments, and discovers a whole new layer of ugly, of raw insecurity, like picking at a scab.
View all 57647 Comments
monstASex: Oh my god who is that dude in the first pic w/ you he is SO HOT 🔥🔥🔥
i_just_want_some_balenciagas: daddy af
yte-gurl-w8sted: i want all twelve feet of that khakis guy inside my guts
“What the hell?” Jimin mutters, and then, like he wasn’t sure the first time, zooms in on the Instagram photo to take in the guy. Kim Namjoon. Khaki shorts and some pretty solid thighs, okay, sure, Jimin will give him that. And he’s—he’s not ugly. Okay. But he’s definitely not hotter than Jimin.
The more he scrolls through the comments the worse he feels. The less significant, the less interesting. When he sees some borderline hostile or sexual commenters he blocks them. And that quiet whisper of why not me gets a little louder and desperate.
He switches over to DM requests in an effort to change tracks but it’s much of the same. Most of the messages make a point to mention khaki shorts guy, and they’re all from super pretty people clearly trying to make a pass. Mostly girls, but there’s a few guys with rainbow flag emojis in their bios and that make Jimin simmer. He makes sure to do so quietly, because it’s none of his business that people want the mystery man of his Insta photo in their guts. He’s not Jimin’s responsibility. Jimin doesn’t know why he’s bothered but he is, half sick with guilt that he’s feeling so jealous and shitty and half something else, it’s dumb really, it’s so dumb—
(It’s not about the fact that this guy is supposedly hotter than him. Not really.
It’s about how Jimin has nothing but a name. He didn’t ask for a number. He’ll never have the opportunity to tell this slightly awkward gangly boy that a ton of people on the internet want to fuck him.
He’d probably be surprised. It’d probably be kind of cute.)
Whatever. Jimin tosses his phone aside, finally giving up. It’s not like it even matters. They won’t be seeing each other again anytime soon.
Jimin likes Insta Live-Chats. It gives him a way to connect to his followers. He can answer questions, flatter his ego just the right amount. He starts a livestream right after finishing up his skin routine, face dewy and makeupless. He figures most of the questions will be about what products he uses, so he’ll start with that.
But then the questions start rolling in as he chats about his day, one after the other after the other.
KimsKup asked: r u and that guy from the photo dating?
G-aydragon69 asked: is he your boyfriend?
Stan_loona_5ever asked: oh they’re totally fucking. didn’t you see the way that guy was gaping at him? like???? HAROLD!!!!
blackpinkinuranus asked: please please please omg i ship you guys together so much
lesbians4exid asked: lmaoooooo have y’all seen the ao3 fic for these two it’s wild.
Jimin scrolls while talking about his skincare routine, searching for a question that’s not about khaki shorts guy. And…doesn’t get much.
“Alright, so I’m seeing a lot of questions about the cameo on my post a few weeks ago.” Jimin puts on his most beatific smile, leans over like he’s being coy. “I didn’t actually know the guy so, no. We’re not together. He walked into the frame right as I took the picture, and I just decided to post it.”
His phone vibrates so much he has to silence it from all the notifications.
omg you didn’t get his number??? im going to cRY
THIS IS LIKE A K-DRAMA OMG GO GET UR OPPA
Jimin’s smile pinches a little. “He’s not my oppa. I don’t know him. We’re not together, sorry y’all.”
More enthusiastic cries of remorse for lost love and—really, what happens next is Jimin’s own damn fault. Call it pride, call it his Achilles heel, call it a complete inability to shut the fuck up and learn to leave well enough alone.
The truth is that Jimin’s a people pleaser, always has been. And as much as he would enjoy telling all these semi-invasive commenters on the internet to fuck off, the thing is that he cares. Deeply. He cares what other people think of him. Even when it’s people whose opinions shouldn’t matter. He cares that he’s likeable.
Which is why he tosses the next comment out, chum to shark infested waters:
“I did get his name though. Unfortunately he doesn’t have social media. So good luck finding Kim Namjoon out there, wherever he is.”
Then he deftly changes subjects and monologues about the bougie salad he ate today, ignores any further prying questions, and hopes to Hyuna the search trail runs cold quick.
“Have you checked your Insta lately?”
Jimin lifts his head, a bit tired and wan. It’s midterms week and he hasn’t been on Insta in a minute. Which is fine, education over social media, whatever. But it’s been a week or so and he didn’t think there’d be anything important happening on the ‘Gram. “Is this about me posting about pineapple pizza again? I swear, you’d have thought I murdered someone.”
“No, not that.” Taehyung shakes his head. “It’s…they’re really into this khaki shorts guy.”
Jimin rolls his eyes. What else is new. “Okay, and?”
“Uh. I uh. Well. I think you should see this for yourself.”
Then Taehyung holds up his phone to the Sunset Photo™, where the topmost comment sits from alongside a username with a small blue checkmark next to it.
BuzzFeed_SK_Official: Hi Jimin! It looks like we found your mystery man! Would you be interested in going on a date with him in the name of missed connections and true love? Date’s on us ;) Check your DMs if interested!
Jesus fucking christ.
“Jesus fucking christ,” Jimin groans and collapses back onto his mattress.
“What exactly did you say to your followers?”
“I told them the guy’s name, they weren’t supposed to track him down that fast. It’s probably not him, they must have found a rando. There’s like, probably at least a thousand Kim Namjoons in Seoul alone.”
“Well,” says Taehyung, furiously tapping at his phone a few times before passing it back. “Apparently they think he’s the one. Look familiar to you?”
Jimin takes the phone and his stomach drops.
There, plastered in posts and collages beneath a trending hashtag with hundreds of other posts, is unmistakeably Kim Namjoon.
As it turns out, Kim Namjoon wasn’t lying: he doesn’t have an instagram and he doesn’t have a facebook. It doesn’t matter either way, because the internet found Kim Namjoon just the same.
There’s at least a thousand comments and posts in the #KHAKISBAE hashtag on Instagram, which is apparently top trending. So Kim Namjoon doesn’t have an Instagram but he does have a LinkedIn page with a frankly abhorrent profile picture and a resume that hasn’t been updated since 2013, listing an impressive number of academic awards won at West Seoul University for music composition, but nothing recently. There’s also a twitter profile with a blurry display picture that could be Kim Namjoon from a distance, but the all the account does is tweet passive aggressively at Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. The soundcloud page floating around seems pretty legit even though there’s no pictures on it. People seem to think it belongs to the underground hiphop group that Kim Namjoon’s a part of, apparently known for their talented tongues and addictive beats.
Jimin takes in all this information and can only come up with: “How the fuck did they find this?”
“Apparently, Mr. Kim Namjoon has friends in high places,” says Taehyung, and clicks over to a profile of one Mr. Kim Seokjin (@worldwide_handsome_kim). “God, what is he? A model? A chaebol’s son? I think I’m in love.”
“Namjoon mentioned having a friend who was in fashion,” says Jimin, feeling cowed for having disregarding the claim so quickly. “That might be him.”
“I can’t tell if he’s a sugar baby or a sugar daddy, but I want to both spoil him silly and be spoiled by him.”
“Tae you are broke.”
“It’s never too late to start chasing your dream, Jimothy.”
The next few hours are an internet wormhole. Through their sleuthing, Taehyung and Jimin discern that someone who followed Kim Seokjin recognized #khakisbae (“I refuse to call him that. I’m the dance bae. There can only be one.”) in one of @worldwide_handsome_kim’s posts. Thanks to the stalkers on the internet, they’re actually able to dig up a lot of info. Kim Namjoon is not only a musician, but a pretty vehement activist. Loves dogs. Apparently every New Year he goes and plants a tree somewhere in the forest by himself.
He’s basically a perfect human. Jimin is enraged.
The other thing they learn is that this Seokjin guy has posted a fair amount of Namjoon candids. Most of them are silly; Namjoon either caught unawares much to Seokjin’s amusement, or making a completely obnoxious face on his own. It seems like they’re good friends, and Namjoon must work somewhat adjacent of the entertainment industry because he’s in all the photos of Seokjin at big parties and functions. Usually in the background, hugging the wall and not really the focus of frame, but still there.
Then Jimin scrolls across a post dated back a year and his heart leaps into his fucking mouth.
worldwide_handsome_kim posted: happy birthday bro love u bro
if you ever steal my phone to take selfies again i’ll fucking gut you
like a fish bro #kimnamjoonyeah
“Huh,” says Taehyung, peering over Jimin’s shoulder. “You didn’t say he looked like that.”
“Shut up,” Jimin replies, the tips of his ears feeling hot.
“Are you going to message BuzzFeed back?”
“No. Yes. I don’t know.” Jimin sighs. “Do I really have a choice? If I say no I’ll look like an asshole. You know how weird and invasive people are on the internet. But if I say yes—”
“You’ll potentially feed into a frenzy that could last the rest of your life and result in a lifeless marriage and broken households and traumatized children?”
“A bit extreme, but yeah.”
Taehyung pets his hair gently, scratches at his scalp a bit, in the way that Jimin always loves. “You know what I’m gonna say here, right?”
“That you’re my best friend and you’ll support me whatever I do?”
“What? No. Fuck that. I want to sit on Kim Seokjin’s lap and feed him decadent chocolates. Fuck support. Go on that date and pull an Inception on Namjoon so I can get me that high fashion model dick.”
Jimin waits for the frenzy to die out. He really really wants it to die out. He goes silent on the internet so as to not provoke or feed into it but the bastards find Kim Seokjin’s twitter and by proxy more pictures of Kim Namjoon. Within twelve hours #FINDKHAKISBAE is trending, alongside #WESTANMINJOON which might be the most embarrassing thing Jimin’s ever going to see in this lifetime.
So while he waits for this whole thing to blow over he does some research of his own. Courtesy of Kim Seokjin’s twitter, and from there more accounts. It’s like once people know what this guy looks like, he’s everywhere.
Jimin scrolls. And scrolls. And scrolls.
The thing is, now that he’s looking it’s clear that Seokjin himself isn’t exactly a photographer. The notion makes Jimin want to accidentally photograph Namjoon all over again, maybe do it differently. If only to capture the light in his hair, the darker brown of his roots. Take more full body shots to accentuate and appreciate the length of him. Hell, if Jimin was in charge of these photos, he’d make a damn viral hashtag of his own. #KimDaily could be cute, filled with little posts of Namjoon bundled up in all his various layers.
The more photos of Namjoon he stares at the more Jimin wonders—quietly, jealously, and a bit of something else—what it would be like if Namjoon did have an Instagram. If Namjoon would let Jimin take photos of him. There’s so much to work with in a photograph of him, Namjoon has soft dirty blonde hair and long fingers and he dresses in layers upon layers. Sometimes in monotones but every now and then Jimin sees splashes of color, bursts of blue and green. Beaded necklaces that bring out the more golden flecks of his eyes.
Jimin is not a photographer but he kind of wants to do a whole series on Kim Namjoon. Wants to photograph the softness of his cheeks and zoom in on the exact pink of his bottom lip. Wants him laid out in greyscale lighting, wants to photograph him removing all his layers. Not even in a sexual way. He just thinks it would make an interesting series. Namjoon in his slacks, bare feet. Maybe shirtless or in a tank top, finding ways to capture the vulnerability of him, which somehow looks no less different when he’s bundled up in all his coats and scarves. He has a wonderfully open face, a kind face.
There’s more to it, if Jimin were to think beyond that and part the lids of the artist’s eye to the more selfish part of him underneath.
The thing is that Kim Namjoon would take one hell of a photograph.
(Okay so it’s a little sexual. Shut up, Taehyung.)
This motherfucker is ridiculously good looking, a fact which infuriates Jimin to no end. No matter how dorky Namjoon’s acting in the photos with his friends, he’s also horrifyingly cute. Namjoon is the kind of beautiful that, quite frankly, pisses Jimin off. Makes him want to grab him and shake him a little bit. And yeah, okay, makes him want to climb him like a tree, shut up Taehyung.
It’s just that Jimin is used to being the hottest person in the room and now someone has come along and unknowingly stole his thunder and Jimin’s been keyed up about it for days, equal parts insecure, out of his element, and possibly ready to commit a murder. It’s not even like he cares (of course he cares), but it makes him kind of furious? How dare Kim Namjoon trounce his way into Jimin’s photograph and derail his side-gig. How dare Namjoon leave without giving nothing but his name?
(How dare Jimin let him walk away without asking for his number.)
“I’m just so mad,” he says to no one, because Taehyung walked out of the room like twenty minutes into Jimin’s ranting. “He has dimples and regularly volunteers at LGBT youth centers? Fuck that.”
“Are you mad that he’s a decent person or mad that he’s a hot person?” Taehyung shouts from down the hallway. “Because I’m getting mixed signals here.”
“Ah.” Taehyung’s head pops around the corner. He takes one glance at Jimin’s phone, open to and zoomed in on the most recent photo of Namjoon, and nods knowingly. “I see.”
One of Namjoon’s other non-Seokjin friends, a dancer from the looks of it, uploaded the selfie a few hours ago. Jimin’s had his finger hovering over the like button for at least ninety minutes now.
hopeonthestreet: found khaki’s bae!! But he’s very confused as to why the internet is so obsessed with him. Say hi, Joonie!
If the photo were on paper Jimin would tear it to shreds with his bare hands. Namjoon’s smiling nervously over the guy’s shoulder, smiling with dimples. He’s wearing an orange beanie and these yellow shaded glasses which is so retro but goddammit he makes it work, and he makes it work good.
It’s as if someone has placed a can of coke and a roll of mentos inside Jimin’s chest. Pressure building, bound to explode. Jimin has to do something with all the furious like in him. He can’t let it out. It could potentially kill both of them, how much he likes Namjoon.
Long story short he’s been down an internet wormhole for three days and is at the end of his rope. Maybe the most infuriating bit of all of this is that Namjoon likes having his photo taken, but doesn’t seem to have any interest in the actual posting. In the comments and likes and the surge of followers that have occurred on all his friend’s accounts, hoping for a glimpse of him. Jimin’s horrified to find that he’s hoping too.
“What are the odds I can hire an internet hitman to take him out?”
“Jeongguk would probably do it for free if you told him the guy made you cry.”
Is Jimin okay? An interesting question. He didn’t know it was possible to come across a person so hot that it makes him just a little bit murderous. Not to mention that everyone and their mother seems to think they’re destined to be soulmates, which Jimin highly doubts. Not because Jimin thinks he’s better than Namjoon, actually. Maybe that would have been his gut petty response a few weeks ago but now, after days of scrolling, he kind of has to admit that this guy is miles out of his league.
Because what’s a pretty face to someone who donates half his EP proceeds to UNICEF? Jimin’s nowhere near this guy’s league.
The selfie is one of many photos in an article by BuzzFeed, of course, chronicling the entire internet cycle on the hunt for Khakis Bae leading up to the date proposal and the radio silence. He shows it to Taehyung wordlessly.
“They’re calling it the meet-cute of the century.”
“Ugh. This is like that one weird white lady that stalked those two people on the plane because she thought they were soulmates. You know you don’t have to do this, right?”
“I know. I could take down my account and go about the rest of my life and ignore it but—.” Jimin scrolls to another picture of Namjoon in the article, one of him leaned back on a park bench in all blue, soaking up the sun. Something smaller and less angry curls in his belly.
“I think I should just get it over with,” says Jimin, more to himself than anything. “Let the internet have their weird romantic comedy self-insert moment and then shake hands and move on.”
“Life isn’t a romantic comedy.”
“I know. But they seem to think it is.”
“Are you interested in him?”
Jimin shrugs, keeping his face neutral. “Maybe if I didn’t have the entirety of the internet screaming at me, yeah.”
“So say yes.” Taehyung shrugs, then boops Jimin on the nose. “Just because it’s not rom-com perfect doesn’t mean it’s not romantic.”
“Fuck it,” Jimin sighs. “Fuck it, yeah, it’s do it.”
“Thank god for that,” Taehyung adds, after he’s gotten all the way to the door. “It was going to be really awkward if you said no because I miiiight have already messaged BuzzFeed back? Your date is next Sunday morning at the same park you met. I’ve already picked your outfit. And yes, I have confirmed with my future husband Mr. Kim Seokjin that Namjoon will be there as well.”
“You’re a plague and a curse unto my life, you know that?”
Taehyung laughs. “Yeah I know. But you love me anyway.”
For the record, Jimin is not nervous.
(Jimin is a little nervous.)
He changed his outfit nine times before settling on the original outfit that Taehyung had selected. Briefly considers going for some dramatic makeup to make his eyes pop but then figures if he can’t make this work at his perfectly ordinary than it’s not going to work period.
(He also spent like, a good half hour staring at himself in the mirror. Sure he looks good for photos and he looks good for BuzzFeed but does he look good for Kim Namjoon? The internet’s sweetheart? It shouldn’t matter, but now it does. Jimin’s walking into something blind and he doesn’t know what to expect. He doesn’t dare hope.)
Now he’s running ten minutes late, because of course he is, jogging to catch up, feeling nervous and faintly sick because he didn’t have much to eat and now he’s here and almost wishing he wasn’t.
Up ahead, in the copse of trees where it all began, he spots a cameraman and a guy with a microphone talking to a figure sitting on a bench. If the BuzzFeed interviewer is the one with the microphone then the guy on the bench must be his date.
As Jimin rounds the corner and comes face to face with said date he is forced to acknowledge the fact that despite countless hours of scrolling through his feed and saving a secret shame stash of Kim Namjoon photos from various posts to prepare himself for this moment, it’s nothing compared to the real thing.
The removal of the glossy Instagram filters reveals a boy who is just as gangly and awkward looking as Jimin remembers him being, but also fifty times softer. He’d really gone into this thinking it wouldn’t be that bad, but Kim Namjoon’s still devastatingly cute, and Jimin still wants to kill something.
“Hi.” Namjoon brightens and it’s like watching a bean sprout in a cup with a paper towel, like one of those first grade ventures into botany, only 500x faster. He shoots off the bench, standing several inches taller, hair tufty and leafy as he snatches his beanie off his head, for some weird reason, and then stuffs it back on when he realizes what he’s done. “Um. These are for you.”
Then he hands Jimin a bouquet of flowers, and Jimin immediately feels rather than hears the telltale click click click of the camera shutter go off behind him. He forces the corners of his mouth higher, puts on his most beatific smile.
The flowers are golden on the outside, but spread into darker hues as they move towards the center of the bouquet, into the rich red center. Makes it look—
“It’s a sunset,” says Namjoon. “Like the one the day we—the day I—ah.” He scratches at the back of his neck. “It’s from the photo.”
“Right.” Jimin blinks and tries to gather his thoughts, but it’s like the brown paper bag carrying all his groceries has split wide open, and now he’s simply trying to keep everything from clattering down to the ground, juggling cans and boxes and bottles alike. Juggling thoughts like What the fuck what the FUCK to No one’s ever brought me flowers on a first date to I’M GOING TO FUCKING DIE to He’s somehow cuter than on Instagram this should be a punishable CRIME.
The interviewer and the cameraman introduce themselves properly. Namjoon’s face remains pale pink for a solid five minutes as they make small talk, his eyes darting over Jimin every few seconds or so.
“Okay,” says the BuzzFeed guy with a coy smile. “So we thought it’d be cute for you guys to take Instax pictures of each other. You know, since that’s how y’all met. We’ll have fun with it.”
Jimin blinks and moves robotically over to the edge of the garden where the guy is gesturing, the low hanging branches of a weeping willow. Takes his phone out as the guy explains the mechanics of the Instax to Namjoon, who takes the camera from his hands as if he’s touching something made of delicate glass.
he brought me flowers
i didnt bring anything so i look like an asshole
and now he’s charming the pants off of the reporter
how the fuck am i supposed to play this off
this is going to destroy me
destroy you bc he’s ur sworn enemy and now looks way prettier and nicer than u or like
destroy ur heart
i said he chose these flowers bc they look like the sunset on the day i took the picture I—
oh wow. this guys good.
119 call the FBI im calling in my emergency date escape
oh hell no
we worked too hard to get you this buzzfeed exclusive
wE worked?????b ITCH
besides, this isn’t even a date emergency
he sounds nice :)
is he as cute as he is on insta
i feel like u think he’s cute
just a vibe i’m getting
how does he look?
he has Infinite Leg
oh no not Infinite Leg
wow the universe went straight for the kill shot on this one
how much taller is he than you?
…it didnt occur to me to ask
rip park jimjams
gone too soon
killed by leg and size difference kink
kim taehyung you fuckiddng b—
Jimin’s head snaps up mid-keysmash and he immediately turns off the display on his screen. Namjoon is looking at him politely, nervously, backpack slung over his shoulder. There’s a Greenpeace patch that says ‘Save The Whales’ on it. The BuzzFeed reporter is holding his microphone, waiting.
“You ready to go?” Namjoon asks shyly.
“Yeah, of course. Let’s go.”
The BuzzFeed reporter asks them a round of generic “first date” questions as they snap Instax candids of each other. Stupid innocuous stuff: Where were you born? What’s your favorite movie? What pizza topping would you rather die than eat? All the kind of stuff you’d expect from like a mediocre tinder date, only Namjoon navigates each one deftly. Talks to Jimin in a tone that doesn’t imply that he and Jimin are anything more than friends while also affecting the rouse that they like each other. That he’s interested in whatever Jimin has to say. He speaks well, polite and diplomatic. Jimin watches him intensely, trying to find a hole in the visage, a flaw. Waits for Namjoon to trip up and say something shitty or assuming but it doesn’t come. If anything, the more he talks the more that Jimin is convinced that he’s being pranked or something because there’s no way a dude this hot could be this perfect.
The mere suggestion of it makes Jimin feel murderous, an emotion which Jimin is realizing with dawning horror is actually affection. Big huge romantic comedy-esque affection because Namjoon is cute and kind and this is the worst most forced first date in history but also Jimin kind of doesn’t want it to end? But also maybe wants to strangle Namjoon and slam him against a wall but like, with his mouth?
Suffice to say Jimin’s got a lot going on in his head right now.
The thing that Jimin has to keep reminding himself here is that life is not a romantic comedy. This date didn’t happen because they happened to run into each other and be interested. This isn’t romantic. It just isn’t. Jimin can’t stage the perfect moment here because the perfect moment doesn’t exist. Because it’s not meant to happen. In romantic comedies you know they’re going to get together at the end. It is always a certain and solid thing. But this isn’t that.
It doesn’t matter how many pictures Jimin takes of Namjoon, no matter how well he captures him in this moment. This isn’t a movie. He can’t freeze Namjoon the way he wants to, preserve it in film to last forever.
Jimin’s firmly grounds himself in that reality, nay, buries himself six feet deep in it. Sometimes you have a meet-cute—if you could even call it a meet-cute—and it doesn’t go anywhere. Just like sometimes you bake a whole cake only you forget the butter, or the flour, so the cake is not even worth eating. That’s what this thing with Namjoon is. They are a half-baked flourless cake. No one wants a cake without flour. Like, sure, gluten-free people exist but everyone knows it tastes better with flour given the choice.
This is a date set up because a bunch of strangers on the internet decided to project on two total and complete randos. This isn’t compatibility or chemistry. This is all fake. Jimin would know, because the carefully crafted image one puts on social media is basically his area of expertise. Not his job, but very nearly.
Even with the flowers, even with being perfectly polite and charming and kind and so, so wonderful—this isn’t romantic.
“Can you guys make small talk?” The reporter asks. “We want to get some candids with our camera as well.”
“Uh. Sure.” Namjoon rotate stiffly towards Jimin on the bench and clears his throat. “How are you, Jimin-ssi?”
Jimin grins, shoves the cynic in him aside. “I’m good. And you, Namjoon-ssi?”
“Just dandy,” says Namjoon. He seems intensely aware of the camera pointed at them, keeps smiling and flinching whenever his eyes catch the lens. It’s worth noting that his dimples are big and they deserve to be kissed. Jimin doesn’t know where that train of thought is headed but they deserve to be kissed goddammit. “Sooo...what do you do with all these photographs?”
Jimin shrugs. “Oh, I have an account where I dump all these photos. It’s like a hobby.”
“Huh.” Namjoon nods. “Do you like it?”
Jimin thinks of the increasing amount of comments on all his posts. The frequency of omg i ship you and this guy so hard and long tan and handsome? we stan!. He thinks about all the are you dating this guy and WHEN WILL YOU TWO BE MARRIED.
“I like parts of it. Is it bad if I say the flattery is a perk?”
Namjoon grins. “Nah, I won’t judge.”
“Well, the flattery is a perk. But there are downsides.”
He kind of wants to ask if Namjoon is aware that the entire internet is obsessed with him or if he’s just along for the ride but. That feels like entering a conversation too close to real and vulnerable. He doesn’t want to freak Namjoon out.
Then Namjoon’s dimples blink again and he says wryly, “Vogue Korea was tweeting at me.”
“Yeah. It’s been...wild. To say the least.”
“Does that bother you?”Jimin tucks his knees beneath his chin on the wall they’re sitting on, deliberately ignoring the camera, which seems to help Namjoon relax a bit.
“I mean, apparently I have a modeling career ready to kick off whenever I want and, about 4500 follower requests on my now locked twitter account but, you know.” Namjoon shrugs. “I was a little freaked at first but—one of my best friends is a model whose face goes viral every time he walks into a club so. I’ve seen it happen before. I don’t know that it’s for me.”
“I suppose that means you won’t be doing your vogue photoshoot spread anytime soon.”
“Who knows,” Namjoon gaze slides over to Jimin’s, something playful at the corners of his mouth. “I might decide to try for more followers than you. Seokjin said you were probably massively jealous at my instant popularity.”
“I was not,” says Jimin primly, and Namjoon’s responding raised eyebrow makes him balk. “I wasn’t!”
“It’s all good,” Namjoon relents in a way that’s as self-deprecating as it is cute. “We can’t all be blessed with a body that’s three fourths legs.”
“Was that a height joke?”
“No way,” says Namjoon, throwing an arm around Jimin’s shoulder in a way that makes the cameraman rapid fire click. “Wouldn’t dream of it.”
Then as quickly as it’s begun, the date is finished. The BuzzFeed reporter shakes their hands and thanks them for being good sports, promises to send them a draft of the article before it’s posted. Takes one more selfie with Namjoon and Jimin together like they’re all old friends or something.
Jimin is thinking okay, I can go home, spoil myself silly with a bath bomb and an evening of pampering and be over this by the morning when Namjoon says, “So, wait, tell me about your semester abroad in Japan.”
And, this isn’t a romantic comedy. It’s not. But the third party is gone and Namjoon’s perfectly polite visage loosens and Jimin can see that there’s a boy there. There’s a kind, slightly weird and sweet boy, who wants to know what traveling in Japan is like. Who wants to go to Australia to meet Koalas, because Jimin asks about where Namjoon has traveled and wants to travel. Then Jimin’s telling Namjoon about Busan, about the ocean, and Namjoon asks with wide eyes about the crabs, if they’re friendly or not, and Jimin says hyung what are you talking about crabs are never friendly, to which Namjoon pulls out his phone and shows Jimin an entire photo folder on his phone that’s just him holding sand crabs and other small animals.
It starts with talking about where they traveled to talking about where they’re from. Moves a bit south of that to stories from their childhood. Jimin yanking up his sleeve to show the scar on his elbow from when he fell off the monkey bars trying to do a backflip. Namjoon lifting his chin to show the scar from when he fell ten feet onto concrete from a jumping castle.
Then they’re talking about things Jimin doesn’t even know how the subject got around to. Namjoon asks Jimin if he reads, which is something no one has ever asked Jimin without knowing him. Jimin’s learning rather quickly that there’s nothing he could possibly be mad at Kim Namjoon for. He’s as gentle and harmless as a yearling and Jimin likes the way Namjoon looks at him. Like he’s listening to and appreciating everything about Jimin. Like he’d looked at Jimin on that first day they met.
This isn’t a romantic comedy. But if it were, Jimin would be fucked.
They’re still seated on that wall when Namjoon says, “The sun’s about to set.”
There’s nothing suggestive in the statement but he’s right. Everything’s turning gold and rose around them and soon it will be dark and cold. Jimin doesn’t have plans after this and he doesn’t know if Namjoon does either but neither of them are asking and it’d be a damn shame to walk away from such a sunset (from such a boy) and not do something about it. Not try to capture it, contain the warm glow of feeling just a bit longer. Even if it hurts more in the aftermath. He can do it. Wants to do it.
The BuzzFeed photographer took the Instax with him so Jimin takes out his phone. “Take a photo of me Kim Namjoon? A real one.”
“I don’t know what the internet has led you to believe but I’m...not exactly a photographer.” Namjoon blushes. “Seriously, you’re gonna get some pretty amateur shots.”
“That’s okay. Photography is all about perspective. I wanna know yours.” Jimin prods the phone into Namjoon’s hands, waits until Namjoon’s long fingers curl around it, cradle it gently. Their hands linger for a breath or two, Jimin’s small hands in Namjoon’s large hands and the phone between them. “Take a photo of me, Joonie.”
Something in Namjoon’s wary expression goes slack at the nickname, almost trancelike, and he immediately lifts the phone to eye level and snaps a picture.
“Not yet!” Jimin laughs, holding up his hands in front of his face. “I wasn’t ready! And you’re too close!”
“Well, get ready, Jiminie,” Namjoon teases, and the playful tone sends the most horrid thrill down Jimin’s spine.
He positions himself as Namjoon hops off the wall and takes a few steps back. Then they talk, pick up right where they left off, and wait for the sun to hit the right angle.
He doesn’t catch when Namjoon takes the photo. He doesn’t even hear the clicking sound effect from the phone. Jimin’s seated on the wall, leg dangling off the edge, leaned back on his palms, talking to Namjoon, laughing as Namjoon tells some story or another about some fuckboy in his gender studies class. Or maybe Jimin’s talking about the weirdest promo products he’s been sent (the diet tea was the worst by far, he’d outright refused. But the sparkly translucent lipsticks had been pretty cool). Either way Namjoon takes a picture, looks down at the phone screen and turns bright red.
“Not a good photo.” He begins furiously tapping the screen. “How do you delete—”
Jimin makes grabby hands, laughing. “Noooo I wanna see.”
“I caught you mid-sneeze, Jimin—”
“But I didn’t sneeze.”
“Well, you blinked. Your eyes are closed. You look weird.”
“I never look weird. How dare you say such a thing.”
“You’re right. I’m sorry. You’re always gorgeous. I just—”
“Joonie.” Jimin steps over to him, gently loops a hand around Namjoon’s wrist. His fingers aren’t long enough to make a full circle but it’s the thought that counts. Namjoon’s expression goes slack again, like every time Jimin uses the nickname he loses half his brain cells. “Let me see?”
He makes sure it’s a question. Makes sure Namjoon can say no.
With trembling hands—Jimin can feel them when they touch—Namjoon hands over the phone.
There, on the tiny display screen, is Jimin. Sun-soaked and smiling at the person behind the lens, smiling so big his eyes are glittering crescents.
If Jimin were to see this in a gallery, if he were rando on the internet looking at this photo who didn’t know the subject, he’d think: oh, so it’s love.
For a moment Jimin can hear nothing but the way his heartbeat thuds in his ears. Then he looks up, seeks out the gold flecks in the brown of Namjoon’s eyes.
“Theoretically, if this was the best photograph of me that I’ve ever seen, and I kind of want to kiss you for it, would you be okay with that?”
If Namjoon were still holding the phone right now he would have dropped it. His entire body sort of flops in shock, like a fish out of water.
“Well I’m. Not totally opposed. To that idea. Um. Theoretically speaking.”
“Rad,” say Jimin, and flings his arms around Namjoon’s neck, bringing their mouths together, again and again and again. Kind of gets a bit carried away. Because Namjoon’s just so beautiful. It really isn’t fair.
Not that Jimin minds it so much anymore from where he’s standing.
“Wait, oh my god, we can’t make out,” Namjoon gasps against Jimin’s lips and frantically pushes him back, then pulls him close once more in apology, like he doesn’t want him too far. Back and forth on the tightrope.
“Why not,” Jimin whispers, tilting up so their lips brush, so they’re almost kissing, they’re nearlyalmostthere kissing, but not quite. This achingly sweet brush of words and breath. “Is this too fast? Sorry. I should ask you out. We have to go on a proper date. Do you want to go on a date with me Kim Namjoon? I promise not to invite the internet this time.”
“No, no, it’s not that. God, I’ve wanted to kiss you since I met you, I stalked your Instagram for days, like a fucking creep, and I don’t even have an Instagram. It was so bad. You didn’t even know me.”
“You stalked my Instagram?” Jimin smiles, teasing. “That’s so romantic.”
“Stop,” Namjoon groans. “I mean, don’t stop. My point is—aren’t you modeling that chaptick they sent you?” The words make Jimin shiver, the way they ghost over his mouth, nearlyalmostthere. “You were just talking about it. That real expensive stuff with like, gold, or like, I don’t know vibranium in it. Something like that.”
“Essential oils. But I’m not wearing it right now. Why did you think that?”
“You taste like butterscotch,” breathes Namjoon, and leans in once more to capture his lips.
Jimin makes a soft sound of surprise, but his hand comes up to touch Namjoon’s face, to palm his cheek. Then he’s pushing up onto his toes as much as he can to meet Namjoon’s kiss, to wrap his arms around him and pull him down so they can be closer. Namjoon bends like a willow to Jimin’s wind, bends and fits their mouths together so sweetly, makes Jimin want to pull back and say, Joon-ah, it’s you, not me, you’re the one who tastes so good.
But that’s wasting time that could be spent on kissing and Jimin doesn’t want to do that for a second longer.
Meet Minjoon: The Internet’s Favorite Meet-Cute That Made Us Believe In True Love in 2019
Remember Dance Bae & Khakis Bae? Well, they’re together now, and we’re DECEASED from the Cuteness Factor.
50 of #MINJOON’s Best Selfies, Ranked & Analyzed
park_chimchim: #KhakisGuy bought me breakfast this morning. Isn’t he sweet? (go follow him on @_hashtagkimdaily_ xoxo)
park_chimchim: tfw you steal your boyfriend’s hoodie 🌝 #JIMIN
park_chimchim: hunting for sandcrabs on vacation! (don’t worry joonie, i’m allergic to shellfish) 🦀
park_chimchim: get a man that bends down to your level 😎
park_chimchim: i love you i love you i love you. happy 1 year 💛🌸💛
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_hashtagkimdaily_ commented: 💛