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If Jimin could define love then he would string all the beautiful words into a sentence in such a way that every word tweaked the cords of heart. But how can he define something that is only supposed to be felt, and embraced? Love, beautiful love. An experience of a lifetime, what love hasn’t done in the past. Even gods have gone to war over love. 

 

A feeling so deep, so pure, that even all the words of the dictionary cannot do it justice? So how can a mere sentence do justice to that overwhelming feeling? 

 

For Jimin, love is a miracle. Providence of the universe. Being a firm believer in destiny, he knows that the universe has planned good things for him. 

 

But on a sadder note, in the 24 years of his life, Jimin hasn’t fallen in love. Not even once. He believes that when he will meet his soulmate, he will know it deep down in his heart. He also thinks that maybe he’ll hear violins and music playing around him magically, or that the time will stop and there will be nothing and no one between him and his lover. 

 

Is he a hopeless romantic? Yes. 

 

Does he cries watching romantic movies and has book hangovers for days contemplating the life of his favorite fictional pair? Also yes. 

 

But no one has ever touched his heart the way he would want to. No face, no personality, not a single person has made his heart skip a beat or two. Never has he met someone and wanted to know more about them. He hasn’t felt that intense, heart wrenching, soul pleasing love that he has read so much about. 

 

Sometimes he wonders if the universe is playing a joke on him (and is even laughing secretly) by keeping his soulmate hidden from him. Well, that won’t stop him from waiting for his soulmate, a person who will forever have his heart and his soul.

 

Blinking in the dim light of the room, Jimin lets out a deep breath. He turns his head on his side and looks at his partner, Ahreum, who is sleeping peacefully. The innocence of her baby face brings a small smile to Jimin’s lips. Over the years, he has been with many people. Friends with benefits, passing affairs, one night stands, you name it and Jimin has had it all. 

 

But all those people have failed to make him feel the love, fulfill the desire he longs for. The desires of the heart cannot be fulfilled by just anyone. Not because he has a long list of criteria that his partner needs to fit in for his love, but because his heart never found peace with anyone. Never anyone felt like they fit him like a glove. Nobody has ever touched his carefully guarded heart.

 

Jimin fixes the cover over Ahreum’s exposed arms and turns away from her, on his sides. 

 

Picking his phone from the side table, he opens his all-time favorite book, Symposium. He opens the quote he has bookmarked:

 

“And so, when a person meets the half that is his very own, whatever his orientation, whether it's to young men or not, then something wonderful happens: the two are struck from their senses by love, by a sense of belonging to one another, and by desire, and they don't want to be separated from one another, not even for a moment.”

 

Jimin’s heart aches for his lover. The longing to finally find his home, his lover, has been growing too much lately. A tear makes way to the corner of his eyes and rather than wiping it away, Jimin lets the tear make it home there. 




Chapter Text

The morning light sets a warm glow in the pristine room. The crystal chandelier glimmers like diamonds as the sunlight hits it and the surface of the Italian marble shines like a mirror. The antique clock at the corner marks a few minutes after eight in the morning. From the 35th floor, the view of the city is extraordinary.

 

Ah-reum tosses her hair back, her thick brown mane falling over her back while bangs adorn her round dimpled face cutely. Ah-reum - her name means "beauty" and her looks do it justice. With her tall, slender figure and features that can rival with those of Vogue's cover girls, Lee Ah-reum is a head-turner. 

 

But she isn’t just her appearance, she is also a brilliant mind. Majoring in finance, she studies hard to grab a place in her father's shipping company. A company she has dreams of running in the future. And having a partner at her own level of prestige is a must-have recommendation on her social resume.

 

She takes a deep breath and smiles. Picking up the breakfast tray, she is ready to wake her partner. 

 

On the tray, two cups made of porcelain so fine you can see the amber-colored tea through them, sit next to a dainty, little crystal vase cradling a single red rose.

A couple of napkins and a basket of warm scones sat on opposite sides. In the middle of the ivory among harmony of the plate and bracketed by the silver cutlery, there's the protagonist: a heart-shaped, freshly-baked, mini red velvet cake with buttercream frosting. The red treat arrived in a neat package straight from the finest French bakery of Chicago, just a few minutes back.

 

Cooking is not a skill she practices, but when you can hire a Michelin star chef to cook three meals a day for you every day, why would anyone bother?  

In the hallway, the sounds of footsteps approaching and a deep voice humming lowly reach her ears. Before she can turn towards the room she's headed to she is met with that tall blonde guy, Taehyung. 

 

Wearing Gucci slippers and a Gucci robe, one can easily mistake him for a Gucci sponsored influencer. Holding his Pomeranian, Yeontan– a.k.a. Tannie– in his arms, Taehyung glances at the tray and scoffs.  

 

"He hates sweets in the morning." His regularly deep voice seems a bit husky in the morning.

 

There are many reasons why Ahreum despises Taehyung, first of all, because he is always right when it comes to Jimin. Second, because she never knows what he will do next minute. 

 

Tannie leans forward and sniffs the cake. 

 

Ah-reum moves the tray away quickly before the dog can lick the sweet delicacy she got especially for Jimin. 

 

“This dog!” She says with a flicker of annoyance. “Keep him away from him.”

 

Tannie barks at her in response. The high pitched noise makes Ah-reum annoyed even more. She has no idea where this little dog stores his voice in the tiny body. 

 

She sighs and walks past him without saying a word. It's too early to let a Gucci-clad, good-for-nothing, puppy-enthusiast ruin her day or her good mood. He'd have to try again some time past ten in the morning.

 

As she opens the door she is met with a sight to die for. She quickly sets the tray on the center table at one end of the room. Picking up the remote, she opens the curtains. Light floods the room. The corner of her eye catches the glimmer of water and her eyes immediately fall on the window to savor the view of the lake. She itches to go for a swim, maybe they'll find time over the weekend. Her eyes follow the light falling from the window to the person on the bed. Her breath catches in the throat when a small moan reaches her.

 

Park Jimin, is lying flat on his tummy, bedsheets tangled between his legs. His blond hair is a colossal mess of golden locks and his plump lips look a bit swollen on his sleepy pout. She would gladly get back in bed with him, but then she'd be late for her breakfast meeting with her mother.

 

"Let me sleep," Jimin croaks.

 

Ah-reum picks the tray and walks towards Jimin. Keeping the tray on the bed she crouches on the floor, right in front of Jimin and runs her hand through his hair.

"Oppa, wake up! I made you breakfast."

 

Jimin brushes her hand away, "I don't want."

 

Her eyes become wide. "It's our 100th day anniversary, it calls for a celebration."

 

In an instant, he opens his eyes and looks at her. "Already?" She smiles, knowing it will showcase her dimples.

 

She had tried to date Park Jimin for so long: precisely five years, counting from the first time she met him at the Chuseok party in Naperville. Jimin was accompanying his mother to the party, and even though they were just 19 back then, Ah-reum knew she had to marry him. First, they look good together and second, her rank would reach new apex if she married the sole heir of Park Hospitality Inc., the renowned chain of luxury hotels scattered throughout Asia and America.

 

"Time flies by," She says and takes Jimin's hand in hers.

 

Jimin jerks his hand away, rubs his eyes and blinks a few times to drive away from the sleep. He lets out a long sigh and then looks at her, "The 100-day thing is for the people who are actually dating.”

 

This confuses Ah-reum, and she laughs nervously, "We are dating."

 

"We aren't. This was just a casual thing." Jimin says it clearly and looks at her face, which is suddenly devoid of color. "Look, we were just hanging out and honestly, it feels like maybe we should put an end to it. I think it's best we stop."

 

Her heart drops to her stomach. It took her endless flirting and whatnot to even get Jimin to share his phone number with her. She can’t explain how much effort took her to get into his bed. Well, she kind of knows, the semester term ending party and shit tons of alcohol.

 

Everyone knows Jimin can handle his alcohol and drinks like a fish. Tricking him when he was drunk out of his mind was easy, but keeping him in her life afterward was not.

 

Ah-reum had to constantly be the one to take the initiative and push for a reaction. She had accepted it as her fate and assured herself that the prize would be worth it. Ah-reum told herself that if she kept trying and kept him in the relationship, then she would soon be Jimin’s wife.

 

She even compromised with Jimin's sexuality and overlooked that he dabbled with both men and women, even when they were seeing each other. 

 

Now, she isn't sure anymore that 'seeing' had ever been a term fitting for them. A sweat breaks from behind her ears when she thinks about how she is going to tell this to her mother over breakfast. She had been constantly asking Ah-reum about their relationship, reminding her how important it was to keep Jimin by her side.

 

The door flies open and Taehyung enters, Yeontan still nestled in the crook of his arm, a huge smile on his face. Ah-reum hates that this house has no privacy.

 

She clenches and unclenches her jaw and throws Taehyung a dirty look. "We were talking, so can you..."

 

" We , are done talking." Jimin interrupts.

 

He squeals at Yeontan and makes grabby hands towards the adorable dog as Taehyung approaches/nears the bed. 

 

Taehyung jumps onto the bed and Jimin grabs Yeontan and cuddles him. "How are you, baby?" Jimin coos Yeontan. He has an extra soft spot for the pet.

 

As Taehyung gets into the covers and inches closer to Jimin, Ah-reum can't contain her anger anymore. "He's naked. Get out!"

 

Taehyung raises his eyebrows at her, "I have seen him naked more times than you, so…"

 

Every day she thinks she can't possibly hate him more but every single day she finds something new to dislike about him. She hates Jimin's friendship with him and blames him for Jimin never settling down with anyone. 

 

She throws her hands in the air, "Jimin-ah, you can't do this. You can't just end our relationship-"

 

Jimin cuts her off mid-sentence. "It was never a relationship." He looks at her pale face. "Look, I am sorry but this is better for both of us."

 

"Who are you to decide what is best for both of us?" Ah-reum can feel the anger bubbling inside.

 

"50% of this thing," He gestures between Ah-reum and himself. "And I do get to have a say in it."

 

"What will our parents say?" The panic in her voice evident.

 

Jimin frowns, "Why would they care? Mine really don't. They have better things to do."

 

Before Ah-reum could say another word, Taehyung interrupts. "Listen, why don't you go and treat yourself with some great food and shopping. It'll clear your head."

 

Jimin whose attention has reverted back to the dog says, "You can put everything on my tab." Jimin looks up at her, "Have a good day, Ah-reum. Bye!" Jimin says with finality in his tone.

 

The silence in the room is so profound it makes Taehyung internally cringe. Situations like this happen regularly to two of them. 

 

A few weeks back, the guy Taehyung broke up with, made a huge scene and broke everything that came into their sight. Within fifteen minutes the entire floor of the apartment was covered with shards of glass and porcelain. He absolutely loathes when people cannot handle rejection. Looking at his face, Jimin could immediately tell what he needed and took him to Hawaii for a week. By the time they came back, the house was back to normal and new decorative items replaced the broken ones. Taehyung is not going to tolerate another destructive spree.

 

Holding onto her remaining self-respect, she storms out of the room and the apartment, loudly slamming the front door behind her.

 

Finally, Jimin lets out a huge sigh and sits up on the bed. "I hate doing this." He says softly, guilt flickering inside of him. "Every single time. I am tired of all this, Tae. It makes me feel like a monster."

 

"You are not a monster," His best friend assures him. 

 

They have been inseparable since primary school. They know each other's deep dark secrets and embarrassing truths. The two of them have a lot of friends, but nobody has ever been able to take each other's place in their lives. 

 

They might not know themselves, but they know the other one like no one else can.

 

Jimin shakes his head and lets out a huge sigh. The entire room suddenly seems too quiet. Disliking the silence, Jimin picks the remote from the bedside and switches on the TV hanging on the wall in front of his king-sized bed. ‘Love Actually’ comes on screen, exactly where he paused it last night. He can’t bring himself to watch it now or think about anything related to love. He starts looking around the room to distract himself. 

 

Jimin’s room is exactly like his personality. Bright, warm, soft colors, minimal and very welcoming. Done in white, beige and grey colors, the room has a very calming vibe and needless to say it is Jimin’s favorite place in this apartment. 

 

His bed placed right in the center of the room and on the wall right next to his bed is a floor to ceiling bookshelf. Bein an avid reader and collector of first editions, his taste in books varies from Oscar Wilde to Haruki Murakami. 

 

Jimin and Taehyung moved into the apartment soon after graduating from high school. They didn't care where they were going to attend university as long as they were together.  When they both got selected for the University of Chicago itself, they bought one of the most expensive apartments in downtown Chicago and made it their home.

 

Before moving to this apartment, Jimin wanted the floor to ceiling windows in his room so he can enjoy the beautiful view Chicago has to offer. His prized possession, a telescope, that his father gave him on his 16th birthday, is set up in front of the window for his stargazing sessions. 

 

His eyes fall on the stack of books and shopping bags on the sitting area on the right side of him. Yesterday, he finally received his first edition copy of the ‘Iliad’ and he is yet to put it on the shelf safely. After he came back from his shopping spree last evening, Ah-reum dropped unannounced and even though he did not appreciate her coming to their place at her own free will, things escalated pretty fast in his room when she started taking off her clothes. He didn’t get a chance to arrange everything in their place and it is mildly bothering him now. 

 

Resuming the episode of Mind Explained, he turns to look at Taehyung who is scrolling through his phone. 

 

Jimin picks up the tray of food left behind by Ah-reum and places it on the bed, in the middle of him and Taehyung. Avoiding the sweets, he picks the cup of tea and says, "I still wonder if I will ever find someone I can adore and love. Truly, deeply, madly.”

 

Taehyung laughs, "You have been waiting for that to happen since high school."

 

"I don't think anyone in this world is made for me. Don't you think if I had a soulmate they would have shown up by now?" Jimin takes a sip of his tea and makes a face, immediately disliking the taste. He puts it down. Clearly Ah-reum doesn’t know how he likes his morning tea.

 

"What are you saying, I am your soulmate." Taehyung reminds him. 

 

That's true, they reached the conclusion a long time ago.

 

"Not like that, someone who can… you know… who can make me fall in love madly." Jimin pouts. He is 24 years old and yet he has never felt the love that everyone talks about. “I have never felt the spark with anyone. I have never felt that deeper connection with anyone.”

 

"Maybe only an alien can fit your demand for the right partner and maybe they are already here but the government has captured them," Taehyung laughs. "Or maybe they are on their way to you."

 

"And where should I look for them? Airport? Bus stop? Area 51? They should just come already. I want to fall in love, Tae!" Jimin exclaims, smiling.

 

Taehyung turns his whole body towards Jimin, "You know how in every romantic movie, lovers reunite at the airport or at the central station, maybe we should start looking for your lover there."

 

It makes Jimin laugh, signature eye-smile appearing.

 

Taehyung laughs with him and picks Yeontan, who is licking the cake on the tray. "Hey, who knows maybe they are just exiting the airport as we speak."

 

"Ugh, these romcoms have raised my expectations too much." Jimin picks the tray and places it back on the side table.

 

Taehyung shakes his head, "Jimin-ah, when the time comes, you'll meet The One. Right now, it's time for you to get ready for our appointment with the hair designer."

 

Jimin suddenly remembers it and gets down to his feet. Picking his robe from the chair not too far from him, he says, "Do you think we can grab a good breakfast on the way?"

 

"There's still an hour left, we should be able to get breakfast, but we are not going to Nico's, I want to try that breakfast bar on Michigan Avenue."

 

"The one that reopened two weeks ago? I have been meaning to try it as well." Jimin says excitedly. The thought of food or anything food-related is a very exciting topic in the house. 

 

Their love for food isn't limited to just eating. On days when they have the time they love to cook as well.

 

Taehyung nods while getting out of bed and walking out of the room. “I am going to get ready. Also, I have brewed the coffee.”

 

Jimin saunters to the window and smiles looking at the city spread in front of him. It is indeed a beautiful day, maybe he and Taehyung can go to Millennium Park and spend some time there. He knows the summer won't last much longer and wants to enjoy every last bit of it while he can. 

 

 

*

Chapter Text

Jungkook feels nervous as he steps out of the immigration department. Needless to say, they gave him a hard time there, but eventually, let him in. Swallowing his nausea, he looks around for his older cousin, Yoongi. 

 

Yoongi had assured Jungkook that he would come to pick him up, but he was nowhere in sight at the gate. They hadn't decided on a precise meeting point, assuming they'd just find each other, but now the time is passing by and Jungkook doesn't know if it is best to stay where he is or look around. 

 

He doesn't have an American sim card yet, so calls and texts are out of the question. He has already tried a hundred times — with no luck— to connect to the airport Wi-Fi. Since he thought his hyung would come to pick him up, he did not even bother to take his address.

 

Now, standing at the arrivals of O'Hare Chicago International Airport with his two large suitcases, one backpack, and one handbag, Jungkook has no clue what to do. He checks his wallet, he has a $50 dollar note, but without the address, he can’t call a cab. He looks around for a payphone, but can't find any.

 

Dragging his trolley, he takes tentative steps, trying to look at every face in the waiting area, hoping one of them would be his cousin’s.

 

"Jungkook!"

 

He turns around to find a tall, slim guy walking towards him. Dressed in sweatpants, t-shirt, and very colorful shoes, he waves at Jungkook, smiling. 

 

The man comes to stand in front of him— beaming— and it seems like the smile is permanently etched onto his face. 

 

"You are Jungkook, right?" he asks.

 

Hesitatingly, Jungkook nods, "Do I know you?"

 

The stranger bites his lip."I am Yoongi's… friend, Hoseok. You can call me Hobi." He says, scratching the back of his head. "Something urgent came up at work and he asked me to come and pick you up."

 

Jungkook doesn't know if he should trust him, even though the stranger knows his and his cousin’s name. 

 

Yoongi has never mentioned any friend before, it is natural for him to be skeptical.

 

"You are just like he said you would be: big doe-eyes, handsome face, and tall!" Hoseok exclaims, eyes shining bright."Well, he actually showed me your picture but you look even nicer in person."

 

"Thanks," Jungkook croaks looking down, not knowing how to react to such praise coming from an unfamiliar person or how to act with this bubbly friend of Yoongi's at all. 

 

Jungkook used to be a very shy kid, he mostly grew out of it, but his bashfulness tends to resurface when he gets nervous or is around very extroverted people. He was both now.

 

Hoseok takes the handle of the trolley from him. "Let's go home, shall we?"

 

Jungkook stops him, hesitant. "Um, can I talk to hyung first?" 

 

He is in a foreign land and he knows no one, except a cousin who didn’t even show up: he has to be cautious.

 

Hoseok, noticing his nerves and hesitation, said, "Sure! Do you want to FaceTime him?" He fishes his bright red-cased phone out of an acorn-shaped fabric pouch Jungkook hadn't even noticed was slung around his torso.

 

He unlocks his phone and Jungkook is taken by surprise when he sees Yoongi and Hoseok’s picture on the lock screen. 

 

After an awkward exchange of embarrassed smiles, while the app opens , they call Yoongi. Yoongi picks up after three rings.

 

"Hyung!" Jungkook does not realize how loud he is being until Hoseok gives him a partly startled, partly amused eyebrow raise.

 

Yoongi just laughs, "Kook-ah, you landed. I hope your flight was ok," he says as he walks out of his recording studio.

 

Min Yoongi is a small-time music producer. He gives piano lessons and performs at a variety of events: from concerts and musicals to weddings and high-end parties. 

 

Jungkook nods, "It was fine. You didn't come to pick me up." 

 

"I know. I’m sorry. Something urgent came up. Come home quickly with him." Yoongi smiles brightly.

 

Jungkook nods.

 

"I can't wait to see you," Yoongi smiles his gummy smile. "I have to go now."

 

Hoseok smiles and takes the trolley from him. they both walk out of the arrivals gate, towards the parking.

 

 

 

Thirty minutes of traffic, twenty minutes of hauling the luggage from the car to the elevator and from the elevator to the apartment, and four hours of deep-napping later Jungkook wakes up.

 

Yoongi and Hoseok live in a two-bedroom apartment with an open kitchen. Sparsely decorated, the colorful walls of the house give it a youthful touch. There are pictures of their family and friends hanging on the walls and in frames scattered around on the drawers . The entire apartment is warm and welcoming, just like its residents.

 

He was beyond happy to see his Yoongi hyung after almost five years. Jungkook jumped on him and hugged him tight and didn't let go for a while. 

 

Back when they were kids, he used to see Yoongi regularly as they both lived in Seoul. Even though their mothers are cousins, they were as tight as brothers.

 

However, after serving the military, Yoongi left the country against his parents' wishes and hadn’t come back home since. 

 

Jungkook doesn't really know why his cousin left but he believed that he must have had his own reasons. 

 

It is not a secret that Yoongi never felt at peace back home with his parents, there were a lot of restrictions and Yoongi felt suffocated. Jungkook understood one thing when he left: Yoongi was his own person and had the right to live his life on his own terms.

 

Even after waking up, Jungkook struggles to keep his eyes open. He couldn’t sleep properly in those economy class seats of the airport and the children crying on the plane made it even worse. Right now he feels like he could sleep for 100 hours straight. 

 

Yoongi gently ruffles Jungkook's slightly curly hair when he sees Jungkook’s eyes drooping every now and then. 

 

"It'll take some time for the jetlag to pass. It's a whole 12 hours difference." Yoongi says as he places the bowl in front of him.

 

Jungkook shakes his head as Hoseok and Yoongi sit down at the table with him for dinner. The appetizing bowl of ramen in front of him makes his stomach growl.

  

Jungkook picks his chopsticks and clinks them together, "I am hungry and sleepy."

 

"Just eat quickly and go back to bed. Try to sleep through the night."

 

Jungkook nods.

 

Hoseok excitedly informs him of the plans they made for the next two days. They would take Jungkook on a mini-city tour and show him all the important landmarks and how to reach them by foot or public transit. 

 

Both Yoongi and Hoseok had started making plans as soon as Jungkook told him that he would be moving to Chicago for university. From where to eat to where to go, everything was planned out and they couldn’t wait to show him around.

 

"On Monday, we’ll go to the university and finish all your admission formalities," Hoseok tells him.

 

Jungkook hesitates, looking from Yoongi to Hoseok, both busy eating their dinner. 

"Uh, it won't be necessary. I mean, I can go and do that by myself. You don't have to put your schedule on hold for me." 

 

As much as he is glad that they are letting him live with them, he can't impose on them. He had already made up his mind to contribute to the household and extend his help, even monetarily. He had also made up his mind to buy groceries for at least a week every month. He can't stay there and not pony up.

 

Listening to Jungkook, Yoongi chuckles, and Hoseok laughs. 

 

Yoongi explains, “Kook-ah, Hobi is a dance teacher at the same university.”

 

Hoseok interrupts, “It’s not a bother at all, Jungkook. In fact, I have time on my hands before classes start.”

 

Jungkook nods and gets back to his ramen. After a while, he says, "Hyung, I was thinking about joining some part-time job. Mom and dad have already put in a lot of money for my university fees and I don't want them to pay for my day to day expenses too. I was hoping to handle them myself."

 

Yoongi nods and pats his arm. 

 

"I understand. I'll look for something and let you know." Yoongi assures him.

 

 

 

After they were done eating, Jungkook offers to help to clear the table and do the dishes. Yoongi and Hoseok just laugh and introduce him to the concept of a "dishwasher".Jungkook's eyes grew wide at the thought that there could be a dishwasher in an Asian household to do the dishes, knowing how keen they are to do it by themselves.

 

Back at home, his mother was pretty strict and preferred to do everything by hand, except for washing clothes.

 

Jungkook laughs and picks an empty bottle from the cabinet, filling it up with water for himself. 

 

He looks outside the window: it's still bright and sunny. "What time does the sun sets?"

 

"Around 8:30 to 9, there's still time," Yoongi informs him."Hey, want to go for a small walk outside? You know, just to get familiar with the neighborhood?"

 

Jungkook nods, "Sure."

 

Yoongi glances in Hoseok's direction once and then leaves with Jungkook.

 

 

 

As they walk down the street, Jungkook can feel the gentle warmth of the evening sun. 

It is the first time he stepped out of Korea and as excited he is, there is no denying that he is very scared too.

 

When he had contacted Yoongi and had told him about his plans to study there, Yoongi had been beyond happy. He had assured him that Jungkook didn't need to worry about anything and that he would take care of his accommodation. 

 

Jungkook is glad he has at least one person who has his back in the new country and that, even though they haven't seen each other in five years, nothing between them has really changed.

 

Jungkook looks around little shops, and when he raises his head he sees the sunlight glinting skyscrapers. For some reason, this new city does not feel new. It feels oddly comforting and much like home.

 

He turns to look at Yoongi who is biting his lip and thinking hard about something. Jungkook might not know everything about his cousin's life now, but he can tell there is something bothering him. And he has a clue what it might be.

 

He decides to put Yoongi out of his misery. "Hyung?"

 

Yoongi looks at him and they stop on the sidewalk facing each other. He waits for Jungkook to speak further.

 

"Who is Hoseok-hyung?" Jungkook asks softly. "He isn't just your friend, right?"

 

Yoongi chewed on his bottom lip, "He is my boyfriend. We have been together for three years now."

 

Jungkook sees him fiddling with his fingers and grabs his hands to calm him down.

"It's alright, hyung." He reassures, looking into the eyes of the older one. 

 

He wants to make sure his hyung gets that there is nothing to be uncomfortable about.

 

"Nobody back at home knows about it." The nervousness in Yoongi’s voice is palpable.

 

"Your secret is safe with me. And it's not my place to tell anyone about your relationship." Jungkook says.

 

Yoongi looks at him with wonder, "Thank you."

 

Yoongi takes his hand and they walk down the street, "How did you know?"

 

"Umm…You don't have to share a room with your friend in a two-bedroom apartment. Besides, when I came to the kitchen after I woke up I saw you hold him by his waist, but you let him go when you saw me." Jungkook says.

 

Awe transforms Yoongi’s face, “I am floored by your observational skills.”

 

Jungkook smiles at the compliment, “I think it's because of my Taekwondo training. I learned a lot of things while training and most things came in handy during my enlistment.”

 

Yoongi looks at Jungkook amused, “When did you grow up to be this understanding and responsible, Kookie? It seems like I am meeting a whole new Jungkook.”

 

Jungkook scoffs, “Hyung, I was always this nice.”

 

“No, you were a menace growing up. Remember how your mum was always worried because you kept running into some kind of trouble.”

 

Jungkook throws his hands in the air, “All children are naughty. They are supposed to be.”

 

This incites a laugh from Yoongi, “You were a handful.”

 

“But you always had my back,” Jungkook says.

 

“I still do.” 

 

Jungkook stops on his track and turns to look at Yoongi. “I missed you a lot, hyung.”

 

Yoongi’s mouth curved into a smile and touches Jungkook’s cheek, “I missed you too. I can’t tell you how happy I am that you are here.”

 

Jungkook leans into his palm, “Thanks, hyung.”

 

“For what?” 

 

“Everything.”

 

Yoongi gently punches his cheek, “Don’t grow up so soon, Kook-ah.”

 

They both enjoy the evening walk. They talk about how everything is in Korea. 

It's been a long time and there's so much, for both of them, to catch up on. 

 

By the time they reach home, the sun has set and Jungkook is really struggling to keep his eyes open. 

 

 

*

Chapter Text

Jungkook's eyes widen as he stands in front of the university office building. He has seen it probably a hundred times in the brochures and on the internet. However, seeing it in front of him has another feeling to it. 

 

He has worked so hard to get into this university. Right now standing in the middle of the campus he has dreamed of for so long gave him reassurance that all his hard work paid off. 

 

Yoongi and Hoseok live just 20 mins away from the university, so Jungkook had already decided he’ll be walking to class every day even though he has the option to take a bus.

 

Hoseok guides him towards the office and helps him finalize the admission forms. He had already done most of it online, all he had to do was pay the fees and submit his ID and local correspondence address.

 

When they are done, Hoseok decides to give him a tour to make Jungkook familiar with the campus. He helps Jungkook to get his schedule and look for his classrooms.

 

Jungkook is beyond thankful to have a guide like him. 

 

After the initial awkwardness evaporated, mainly thanks to Hoseok’s easy-going and sunny personality, Jungkook found it very comfortable being around Hoseok. For all of the three days he has been around Hoseok, not once did he treat Jungkook like an outsider, but always like his own family.

 

He's grateful for the two of them. He found not just a place to stay in but a home.

 

Jungkook cannot help but notice that Yoongi looks the happiest he has ever seen him be. 

 

Growing up, Yoongi has always been the responsible one, shy and quiet. 

But now it seems he had come out of his shell and enjoys every day of his life. 

The personalities of Hoseok and Yoongi are complete opposites of one another. It amazes Jungkook how their differences combine in such a way that they enhance the qualities of the other. Yoongi grounds Hoseok. Hoseok energizes him.

 

"You won't have any problems here, you know. Students are very welcoming and helpful. Especially the ones that are in the ASA, the Asian Student Association." Hoseok reassures and gently runs his hand over Jungkook's back.

 

Jungkook smiles, grateful at his attempt to soothe his social worries. It's probably clear to Hoseok by now that he's not the outgoing type, not at first at least. An association sounds great for starters, though. He's about to say so when, "Hoseok-ah," A man wearing a white button-up shirt and black trousers approaches them.

 

"Namjoon! I was about to call you." Hoseok says.

 

They hug when the other man comes to stand in front of Hoseok.

 

The newcomer is Asian too — Korean judging by the name— but he looks a bit older than Hoseok and it's dressed too sharply to be a student.

 

"Jungkook-ah, this is your accounting professor: Kim Namjoon." Hoseok gestures to the man at his side, who shoots him a smile, dimples showing and extends his hand. Jungkook shakes it, bowing his head in respect.

 

Jungkook feels a bit jittery and somewhat embarrassed upon suddenly meeting one of his teachers. He also didn't think he'd have a teacher so young; Namjoon couldn't be older than Yoongi. It was weird because Jungkook wanted to be respectful, but Namjoon —despite his button-up shirt— didn't seem the formal type.

 

Out of respect, Jungkook bows down.

 

Hoseok turns to Namjoon, "He is Jungkook."

 

Namjoon smiles and pats Jungkook's back, "So he is your partner's cousin who is joining the university. I look forward to teaching you."

 

"I look forward to it as well." Jungkook bows again.

 

While Namjoon and Hoseok discuss something about the faculty, Jungkook looks around. 

 

The courtyard of the university is very peaceful, with people wandering in and out of the buildings or chatting in small groups at the picnic tables scattered around . All the green of the grass and the soft breeze blowing make Jungkook feel that he belongs. 

 

The bright, colorful primroses catch his eyes and a smile appears on his lips. The entire surrounding feels harmonious.

 

That is until he hears a car revving through the driveway, blaring loud music. He turns to look at the direction of the noise slicing the calm surrounding. He sees a white Tesla Roadster driving down the tarmac and sharply taking a turn before coming to a halt in the parking lot. The music stops abruptly and the doors of the car open towards the sky, the way he has seen them only in James Bond movies, it’s quite shocking for him to see it in real life.

 

The two guys stepping out of it are themselves eye-catching: the driver is turquoise-haired, while the one exiting from the passenger’s side sports a head of soft, bubble-gum-pink hair. They’re both laughing over something. They’re both good-looking. The one with pink hair is shorter, not too short — around 5'8 — and his face is hidden with oversized sunglasses. Their clothing and the way they carry themselves give off the feeling that they live on a different, higher level than anyone else around them.

 

They keep laughing and chatting animatedly between themselves as they stroll by. The turquoise-haired guy wraps his arm around the other's shoulder while they make their way to one of the buildings. As they climb the stairs to the entrance they are greeted warmly by the students hanging around in that area, even giving a few high-fives.

 

"Who are they?" Jungkook asks out of curiosity.

 

Hoseok smiles, "Them! They are the most popular guys in the university. The guy with blue hair is Kim Taehyung and the guy with pink hair is Park Jimin."

 

"Are they models or something?" Jungkook can't help but ask since they both seemed fit and perfect in every way.

 

Hoseok had to laugh, "Nah, they are students here, business school. Their fathers are the richest Asians in Chicago and important donors of the university."

 

"So they think they own this place?" Jungkook rolls his eyes. He knows all about arrogant rich youngsters. He has seen a lot of such guys in Seoul and all of them seemed to be pretty shallow.

 

Hoseok is taken by surprise, "Nah, they aren’t the entitled snobs you think, they are nice guys. They both are very involved in campus activities, student services and stuff like that. They're quite approachable -- I swear-- they don't pick their friends based on their money. They even advocated expanding the funding of subsidies for low-income students. I am sure it's all because of their upbringing. Their families are pretty nice too. You can find their names tied to a myriad of charities. "

 

"They are my students too, and I have never seen them slacking with their work or submitting their assignments late. They don't expect any special treatment, even though their families literally built the dining hall ." Namjoon says.

 

Jungkook is quite surprised to hear all that.

 

Hoseok continues, "They both are pretty active members of ASA. You can approach them any day for anything. They will definitely help you, they never say no to anyone.” 

Proudly, he adds, "You know Jimin— the pink one —  is in my dance class and I have never seen that guy miss a lesson. Jimin is one of the top students of the class. They both never show off their family's power or connections and I guess that says a lot about the kind of people they are."

 

Suddenly Hoseok's phone beeps and he fishes it out of his pocket. 

 

"Um, I have to pop into the dance studio for five minutes.” He tells Jungkook. “I guess some students are there early." He points at the building opposite of them, "Why don't you go and get enrolled at ASA. I think they are having a meetup right now, you will be able to make some friends."

 

Hoseok looks at Jungkook who is staring at the building as if trying to see the room he’s supposed to go through the concrete. "Go straight, take the first left: the third room is where ASA meetings happen. I'll text you when I am done and we will meet here again. Ok?"

 

Jungkook nods, “Yeah, sure. Now go, I don’t wanna steal more of your time.”

 

And there's no harm in meeting new people, it’s not like he’s scared or anything.

 

Hoseok gives him a shoulder squeeze and a last encouraging smile and walks away. Namjoon follows him, throwing in a, “See you in class.”

 

 

 

As Jungkook enters the room, students are cheering and laughing over something. At the other end of the room, there's a small podium on which the blue-haired guy —  Taehyung— is talking into a mic. 

 

Jungkook looks nervously around, everyone is laughing and it seems like Taehyung cracked a joke. Everyone seems to know somebody.

 

When Jungkook looks back at him, he finds Taehyung making a funny face which incites a laugh from everyone including him. He quietly goes to stand against the wall in a quiet corner. Blending in with people is hard for him, but he mastered the art of camouflaging in his surroundings.

 

His eyes are drawn to the pink-haired guy — what was his name? Is he the one in Hoseok’s class? — who is laughing again, this time along with someone else on the podium.

 

Candy-cotton boy has discarded his glasses and that makes it visible that his eyes disappear when he laughs. The baby fat gracing his cheeks makes him look adorable and even though his hair would make anyone else — probably not Taehyung though — look like a knock-off anime cosplay. He looks cute. 

 

Dressed in blue jeans and a grey, Chanel shirt, he looks ordinary yet not: it's a magazine’s version of what a student looks like. A silver hoop in one ear and three diamond studs in the other give him that k-pop star something. 

 

Jungkook can't take his eyes off him. He admires him for afar, the fall of the pink fringe over his forehead, the adorable way he tries — and fails — to cover his mouth with his hands while laughing, the way he engages with the crowd. 

 

Jungkook feels like Jimin is very comfortable with touching others, casually giving hugs and patting backs. It’s a wonderful, rare, type of confidence: knowing that you are so good at reading people that you can detect when and how to give contact.

 

Jimin manages to find something to chat about and laugh with everyone. The social skills he displays make Jungkook want to take notes or beg to be illuminated on the Ways of Being Cool With Humans.

 

Jungkook looks around. There are many people, more than he thought there would be. On a chair next to the podium, a small crowd of students seems to wait for their turn to speak with a laptop-equipped guy that’s typing what they say, likely taking enrollments.

 

Jungkook thinks he should go too, but there are many students in line, so he decides to wait until the crowd thins out. He is comfortable standing in the corner and not making small talk in the queue right now.

 

When he glances again at Jimin, he finds him already staring back at him. He freezes when their eyes meet from the opposite ends of the room. Panic ensues in Jungkook.

 

Why is Jimin staring at him? Did he catch him staring moments ago? Did it make him uncomfortable? Is that a “get-out-of-here-you-creep” look or what?

 

He hadn’t meant to be creepy or rude, it just happened. 

 

He should have been more self-aware and sensible: true. 

 

It’s very hard not to stare at the prettiest human you have ever met: also true.

 

I’m terrible, he probably gets stared at all the time and I made him uncomfortable. Way to go, Jungkook.

 

"Guys, guys!” Taehyung calls for attention from the podium, “You will have to tell us all the things you want to do this year. We need to start brainstorming ideas, anyone with a project or suggestion is welcome! C’mon, dreamwork makes the- no wait that’s not it." the crowd laughs at the mishap, Jungkook cannot honestly tell if it was on purpose.

 

“Teamwork makes the dream work, that’s how it was!” Taehyung continues, "Alright, before anything else, all the newbies, please, come and introduce yourselves so we can welcome you warmly." He smiles and steps down from the podium, Jimin following.

 

Jungkook's mouth hangs open.

 

Public speaking is not his thing. Public speaking is, in fact, the bane of his existence. Let alone speaking in front of so many strangers on a podium, with a mic that would amplify his stuttering ramble. And all of this without a meticulously prepared speech?

    

He swiftly leaves the room without a second thought.

Not today, Public Speaking, you won’t have me today.

 

 

 

Hoseok takes him to a posh restaurant named 'Seoulful'. Jungkook is only slightly internally fretting about the bill. He can’t have Hoseok offer to pay the whole bill.

 

A s soon as they step in, even before one can manage to be intimidated by the flawless room design or fret about the sleek flooring, they are enveloped by a fresh perfume emanating from a fragrance diffuser that looked so expensive Jungkook felt like he should be paying for every breath he takes. Before he could get overwhelmed though, the familiar smell of Korean food wafted to his nose, making him feel at home.

 

Beige tables and grey contrasting chairs are spread out in the room with green potted plants at every corner. He can hear a soft piano song playing. If Yoongi was with them he would have been able to tell who the artist was, maybe. The entire aesthetic of the restaurant is minimalistic yet soothing. 

 

As they approach the counter, Jungkook sees how clean and shiny every inch of the establishment is.

 

I’m only ordering water here.

 

A tall figure comes out from the office and opens his arms wide as he sees Hoseok, which Jungkook didn’t expect, but he isn’t surprised: Hoseok seems to have adoring friends everywhere they go.

 

"Hobi, It's been so long, where have you been?"

 

Hoseok hugs him tightly, "Sorry hyung, I was just caught up with some things." 

 

When the stranger’s focus shifts on Jungkook, Hoseok drapes an arm on his shoulder and says, "This here is Jungkook, Yoongi's little cousin." He then turns to Jungkook, "He is Seokjin-hyung, owner of this restaurant."

 

Seokjin looks at Jungkook and says, "So you are the one that kept Yoongi so excited over the past few months. He never shuts up about you. He made all of us impatient to meet you too."

 

Jungkook laughs. "Really? He only told me he was happy to have me here."

 

Both Hoseok and Jin say in unison, "What!"

 

Hoseok laughs while Jin scoffs, "Happy is an understatement.” He smiles at Jungkook. “Anyways, come here." He opens his arms and Jungkook awkwardly hugs him back. Jin is a bit taller and has quite large shoulders. Jungkook kind of felt like a kid dwarfed in the big bear hug. He didn’t hate it honestly.

 

"Glad that you came here,” He said releasing him and making earnest eye-contact. “Yoongi missed having his family here, even though he wouldn't say that out loud.”

 

Jungkook feels delighted hearing about his cousin. "I am happy to be here as well."

 

Hoseok rubs Jungkook's arm, "Would you like to work part-time here?"

 

"Here?" Jungkook looks around surprised. 

 

He expected to work in a small shop or something, not somewhere this classy. Can he afford to repay one of the orchid pots if he accidentally knocks it off?

 

"I have never worked in a restaurant before, I have no idea how to work in the kitchen."

 

Jin interrupts, "Oh no, not my kitchen. I employ professional chefs who specialize in Korean cuisine. I can offer you a job at the counter."

 

Jungkook takes a glance at the counter, "What will I be doing?"

 

"Oh, just general management. You know, preparing the bill, taking orders and booking reservations on the computer, taking calls, that stuff. And...oh, making coffee."

 

"Coffee?"

 

"Yep, we serve coffee here and it is the job of counter person to make it. It is easy, it'll take you a few days to learn, but once you get the hang of it, it’ll be a breeze."

 

Jungkook ponders the opportunity. He has no prior experience, but he knows he is good with people (he can be polite and accommodating, ok? He only sucks with crowds and people he wants to befriend. Customers are fine.) He can probably learn to make decent coffee. It might be useful for a future barista job. It would also be hard to find an employer as trustworthy as a close friend of Yoongi could be.

 

Jungkook nods enthusiastically, "I can do that." He bows his head. “I’m in your care”.

 

His job sounds easy and it'll help him pay his bills. That's what matters in the end. He knows that if he perseveres he can master anything. He always does (Eventually. Mostly.)

 

It is a good place to work and learn.

 

They decide that Jungkook will do his shift after university hours and four hours on Saturday and Sunday morning. 

 

Jungkook offers to start the next day; the sooner he starts the less time it will take to learn what he needs before his classes start the following week. 

 

Chapter Text

Taehyung lets out a huge sigh. The only thing Jimin has been talking about since the ASA meeting is the guy he saw and believes he is his soulmate. For a brief time, Taehyung laughed it out thinking it might just have been his imagination since he has been complaining to the universe for not sending his soulmate his way for a while now.

 

Right now, sitting at the floor of their apartment living room with pizza and beer for dinner, Taehyung is trying to keep his patience with Jimin talking about the guy again.   

 

He has no idea how to shut his best friend up. "Are you sure you didn’t imagine that guy?"

 

"Yes Tae, he was real.” Jimin whines loudly, “After we finished the announcements, I went to look for him but he vanished, like literally, 'poof'."

 

After three bottles of beer, Jimin gets whiny and moody. No, it's not a good situation for Taehyung.

 

It has been two days and his friend hasn't shut up about the elusive mystery hottie  Taehyung has never seen. 

 

Jimin describes him as tall with big —"dreamy"—doe eyes and Jimin thinks he was the one for him. 

 

Taehyung needs to do something to find this mystery guy or else Jimin will continue being like this. He is already getting tired of it. 

 

He slides the pizza box towards Jimin who makes a face and pushes it away. 

 

It's custom that they fight over the last slice of pizza. It has been a thing for as long as they have known each other.

 

Taehyung takes a deep breath. He needs to stay calm to keep his friend calm. "Alright, let's do one thing. Let's check the ASA database. If he was in the meeting, I am sure he got himself enrolled. We can check."

 

Jimin's eyes widen at the thought. 

 

He immediately grabs his iPad from the sofa and opens the ASA database. 

 

They go through the profile of every newbie who has enrolled this year but they can't find him. None of the profile pictures match the face in Jimin's head. 

 

 

Jimin gets restless by the day. How much he wishes he could have seen him first or got down from the podium a minute earlier. He might have been able to catch him then.

Jimin lets out a scream and slumps down the sofa settling on the floor. "He’s not here."

 

Tae bites his lips, "What if he isn't from our university and only accompanied someone here? I mean, if he left soon and without enrolling himself he might have been only accompanying someone,"

 

"Noooo, no no no, Tae don't say that." Jimin's brows crease. "I don't want to think that. Don't make me think that."

 

Tae raises his hands in a placating motion. "Ok, ok… umm…” He pauses in thought for a moment, then snaps his fingers “ Let's look for him in our Facebook group. Even if he didn't enroll, he might have joined the online group. We can filter new people."

 

Jimin gets excited and quickly opens the ASA Facebook page. 

 

They go through the profile of every new person who has joined the group in the last 30 days with no luck. Jimin kicks his legs in the air out of frustration. 

 

"Where is this guy?" He shouts at the top of his voice.

 

Besides him, Taehyung is taken aback by the pitch of Jimin's cry. He wasn't even sure that the person existed in the first place. What kind of person inspires that kind of devotion just by standing against a wall for like, a minute? Now he is even more inclined to believe Jimin might have just imagined him. His desire to find the one cosmically-chosen, star-blessed love of his life might be going overboard.

 

Jimin buries his face into the sofa cushions and lets out a huge scream.

 

When Jimin goes quiet, Taehyung says, "We can always hack the university student database and find him."

 

Jimin jerks his head up to look at his best friend. "I am not committing that kind of crime."

 

Taehyung shrugs, "I mean, we don't have to hack. It’s a government site after all, risky as hell. But, we can bribe someone in the office to let us peek in super quickly. Nobody has to know."

 

Jimin thinks about it. "We are not doing it, Tae. The one we bribe will know and they could that against us. Plus, it’s blatant privacy violation of the students?"

 

"I mean… If we are smart about it they won’t know. Besides we’d be looking at the ID pics, we’re not trying to find out their credit card number." Tae tries to convince Jimin.

 

Jimin sits straight, fixes his shirt and takes a swig of his beer. "We are saving that as our last resort."

 

"This is our last resort," Tae argues.

 

"No, we still have to do everything to find him. If we fail everything else we look into the student database and commit a crime that could potentially haunt us." Jimin says.

 

Taehyung nods, "Alright. Classes start next week, we might see him on campus, our gigantically huge campus."

 

The sarcasm in Tae's voice isn't lost on Jimin.

 

Jimin glares at him.

 

"What? You could have simply asked to find a needle in a haystack, would have been an easier task." Tae retorts.

 

Jimin narrows his eyes, "Can you be a little positive, please!"

 

Taehyung throws his hands in the air, sighing loudly. "Fine, I hope to God we find the guy."

 

Jimin smiles from the tiny bit of reassurance that he will find the mystery guy. 

He just knows there was something that attracted him to look at that quiet corner of the room. Something impalpable about that boy kept him looking. Maybe the air of innocence around him or his cute face. 

 

He felt the connection, he felt something different when. Their gazes met. Like the entire world came to a halt and it was just two of them in the room. 

 

In the last two days, Jimin has cursed himself infinitely for not getting down from the podium a minute earlier and walking up to the guy. But now he feels that maybe he will be able to find him and everything will be back to normal again. 

 

He picks the last slice of pizza and Tae immediately grabs his hand, "That's mine, you refused to eat it."

 

Jimin protests laughing, "You already ate more slices than me. This is mine."

 

"Ya, whose fault was it. If you hadn’t been such a lovelorn brat, you could have had the pizza. This one is mine." Tae tries to snatch it from Jimin's hand, but Jimin’s not ready to let go of the last slice.

 

Jimin playfully kicks Taehyung and they continue to bicker and play-fight over the last slice of pizza. They fall asleep on the floor, tangled like a couple of cats, watching Stranger Things. 

 

*

Chapter Text

Jungkook takes a deep breath before stepping inside the classroom. He has had an entire week to prepare for his classes. 

 

A week of poring over the syllabus of each class (it’s a lot ), buying supplies ( that much for a bunch of markers? Hell no), ordering books ( so expensive) and handling minor things like getting a (blissfully free) library card. 

 

He’s been looking forward to studying International Business for as long as he can remember. Sure, for a while he had wanted to be a k-pop singer when he was about fifteen, but it was just a phase.

 

Today he takes the first class of his dream school. He had been so excited, he barely slept the night before.

 

As he enters the classroom, he bumps into someone. The tall Asian guy introduces himself as Yugyeom. 

 

Taking the seat next to him, Jungkook asks, “Are you a local?”

 

“Born and raised here,” Yugyeom opens his laptop. “Where are you from?”

 

“Seoul.”

 

Yugyeom’s eyes lit up, “Really? My extended family lives there. I went to Seoul last year to attend a family wedding. I miss it so much.”

 

Jungkook feels giddy hearing about his hometown. No matter where you live or where you go, your hometown lives in you. All the memories, all the little things about your city, is always close to your heart. 

 

“Maybe come with me next time I go home.” Jungkook offers. 

 

Yugyeom fist bumps him, “Sure, dude.”

 

Yugyeom seemed like a nice guy and Jungkook smiles knowing that he has made his first friend in the university.

 


 

Jimin enters his classroom and lets out a tired sigh. He left early for university today and spent a long time in the parking lot waiting for his mystery guy. 

 

He hoped that maybe he will be able to spot him there but no luck. Dragging his feet towards the empty seat next to Taehyung he sits down with the biggest pout on his face.

 

"Let's just agree that he goes to a different university and only came here to accompany someone," Tae says as he types out the password on his laptop. He fixes the glasses on the bridge of his nose, "Just stop already."

 

Jimin starts his laptop as well, "I won't! And please, positive vibes only. Good words lead to good things. How about you start saying 'Yes Jimin-ah we'll find him. He is in this university, you'll see him soon'. I need you to fuel my dreams, not crush them with fucking common sense. If you can’t do that, keep your negativity to yourself. Grow it in your private garden, harvest it, sun-dry it carefully, crush it into a powder and drink it as your very personal Bad Friend protein shake." Jimin scowls at Taehyung.

 

Tae shakes his head while typing something. "Why should I even lie to you or give you false hope? I won't be doing you any favors."

 

Jimin turns his entire body to face Tae, "He is my soulmate, I am sure of it. I felt it in my bones. You know I’m hella intuitive. Wasn’t I right about all of the exes that were cheating-"

 

"Jimin-ah!" The words come out of Tae's mouth a bit louder than he expected. His face contorts in anger. He closes his eyes and lets out a breath as more than a few students turn their way.

 

He gives Jimin a reprimanding look. "Fine,” He says, whisper-shouting, “We are hacking the student database today, you psycho."

 

"It’s psychic . And no, we aren’t. I don't want to commit fraud before the age of thirty until I’ve tried every other option I have." Jimin counters.

 

Tae looks at him gobsmacked, "Since when are you such a pussy?"

 

"I am not inviting cops to my house because a guy," Jimin says. “Can you imagine explaining this to my parents? They’re gonna forge adoption papers to get me out of the family.”

 

"But that guy is your soulmate. So much for a soulmate," Tae smirks. “Not even worth a bit of risky business.”

 

Jimin narrows his gaze at his best friend, taken aback by the sharp remarks made by his friend. "Shut up! You don’t understand, you loveless criminal." He sits straight and Tae purses his lips to hold his laugh.

 

 

 

Taehyung and Jimin scuttle towards the accounting department of the university administration building, looking around the hall carefully. 

 

Lunchtime has just started and no one would come here to even peep inside for half an hour. It is the best time for them to quickly check the database without being noticed.

 

"Mr. Smith," Jimin says, smiling widely as he sees the head of the accounting department coming out. 

 

Mr. Smith has been working with the university for the past twenty years. Not only does he know Jimin and Taehyung but he also knows their fathers.

 

Mr. Smith smiles, "Jimin, Taehyung! What are you both doing here?"

 

"We were looking for you," Taehyung says cheerfully trying to enter his good graces.

 

"Is there anything I can help you with?" Mr. Smith's eyes shift from Taehyung to Jimin, wondering what these kids want from him.

 

"Actually yes, we need a teeny tiny favor," Jimin says sweetly.

 

"Alright, go ahead. I'll see what I can do." Mr. Smith says slowly. 

 

"Well, we just need to access it the student database," Taehyung says.

 

Mr. Smith's eyebrows shoot up, "What?"

 

"We'll be super quick and be gone before you are back from lunch. Promise!" Taehyung pleads.

 

Jimin leans forward and whispers in Mr. Smith's ear, "We'll even get you anything that you want. Anything."

 

Mr. Smith stands in a stupor and looks at both of them. "I can't let any student have access to it."

 

"You name it and we'll get it for you," Jimin's tone is quiet and inviting. There’s nothing he won’t do for Mr. Smith just to get access to the database. If he asked for a million dollars, Jimin would give him a box filled with cash. He is ready to do absolutely everything. 

 

Mr. Smith sighs, "Listen, kids, I know you both are rolling in money and everything, but this university has some rules and I won't break them because of you. Why do you even need access to the database?"

 

Jimin purses his lips and says, "There's this guy we are looking for…"

 

Taehyung's breath catches in his throat at Jimin’s slip, and he tries to curb the damage, "I mean he is very talented and all that. We saw him—   I mean we met him at the ASA meeting last week. Such a lovely guy. Unfortunately, he was in a hurry and forgot to register himself with the association. Since we have so many things planned for this year we were hoping to get in touch with him."

 

Jimin nods fervently, "Exactly, that's why we need to quickly get his contact, his course or anything. We won't take long."

 

"What was his name again?" Mr. Smith asks, crossing his arms on his chest.

 

Both Tae and Jimin look around nervously, "His… name… was... What was his name Jimin?" Taehyung asks.

 

"Umm... Ji… young… Jiyoung.” Jimin says nervously. “ Such a good guy." He adds copying Taehyung’s emphasis.

 

"There's no one enrolled in university this year named Jiyoung." Mr. Smith says and starts to walk away from them.

 

Jimin dashes around the him and blocks his way, "Just five minutes, please."

 

"Listen, I have no idea what you are up to, but I cannot let you have access to the database." Mr. Smith warns them. "Maybe he is from a different university. Leave now!"

 

"But-" Jimin tries to speak but he is cut off mid-sentence.

 

"Jimin, no!" Mr. Smith says strongly.

 

Jimin and Taehyung look at each other and turn to give Mr. Smith puppy eyes as a last resort, but Mr. Smith refuses to give in. When that effort fails, they quietly leave.

 

While walking towards the exit, Taehyung angrily whispers,, "Are you crazy! Were you really trying to tell him that we are looking for a guy that you just saw? C'mon!" Taehyung rolls his eyes.

 

As they approach the door, they hear the sound of voices from the other side of the lobby. From the corner of his eye, Jimin can see the other door opening. He turns his head as Taehyung steps out of the lobby. Someone calls for Mr. Smith and Jimin walks out, internally thankful that no one walked on their conversation with Mr. Smith.  

 

 


 

"Mr. Smith," Jungkook calls, entering from the other door in the lobby. "Do you have a minute?"

 

Mr. Smith sighs, "It is my lunchtime, can it wait?"

 

Jungkook feels bad for not realizing it. "Yes, definitely. I just wanted to let you know that I have submitted my address proof — of both Seoul and my local address —  like you asked me to."

 

"Oh, that! Sure, anything else?"

 

"Not for now. I just thought I should hand it in person, in case there is something wrong with it or is there anything else I need to submit." Jungkook says timidly.

 

Mr. Smith smiles and pats his shoulder, "That's nice of you. Go have some food, you look tired. We can solve anything else via email, no need to go out of your way to come here every time."

 

 

 

 

Jungkook hands the parceled food to the customer, smiling politely. It has been a week since he started working in Seoulful and he has already learned his way around the counter and coffee machine. 

 

Jungkook has always been a quick learner and has never backed away from a  challenge. 

 

Growing up, his parents enrolled him in various activities and classes to nurture his skills. Also to prevent him from tearing the house apart with his overflowing energy, but no one needed to know that.

 

His focus and eye for detail have always helped him in acing everything he does.

 

"Enjoying working here, kid?" Jin playfully ruffles Jungkook's hair.

 

Jungkook smiles wide in response, showing off his bunny teeth.

 

"How was your first day of uni?"

 

Jungkook's eyes shine, "It was good. I did not expect people to be so friendly and helpful. I didn’t have any problem with the classes or understanding anything too." The smile seems to be plastered on his face as he continues speaking, "I feel like I belong in this university. Everything is perfect."

 

"That's great news." Jin pats his back. He swiftly slides an envelope towards Jungkook.

 

Jungkook looks at it confused. The restaurant's logo is on the top of the white envelope.

 

"First paycheck," Jin says. 

 

Jungkook jerks his head towards him in confusion. He didn’t expect the payment just yet. He holds his breath, hoping for his employer to explain further.

 

"I know you said you would like to be paid monthly but I guess since you just moved here and started university, you will need some money at hand right now. Take it. It's yours."

 

Jungkook is speechless at Jin's gesture, the thoughtfulness behind it. 

 

He did need the money. He was a bit over budget for the week but in his defense, he had to get his metro pass, new sim card, and books. He will not deny that a week's payment will help him incredibly.

 

He thanks him softly and bows.



After his shift from Seoulful, as he walks down the curb to his home from the metro station, he feels giddy with excitement. He cannot wait to see all the things that this city, this beautiful city has in store for him. Till now he has met nice, helpful people who are considerate towards him. When he left Seoul, at the back of his head he was ready to face all the adversities he could encounter and was ready to adjust to every situation he was presented with. But seeing how everything has turned out for him, he is grateful at heart. At times like these, he believes that the universe is always working to send good things his way.

 

 

*

Chapter Text

Taehyung glances at Jimin from the pool table. He feels drained just seeing Jimin resting his head on the table, fiddling with the empty beer bottle, an almighty gloominess on his face. All their friends are playing in the gaming lounge while Jimin just sits broodingly at the table with no appetite for the delicious finger food or interest in any game.

 

Even the energy around fails to bring Jimin joy, when he generally feeds off from the energy of his surroundings.

 

Taehyung dragged him here to pull him out of his — now seemingly permanent— sad mood. He is losing his patience with Jimin. It has been two weeks since he saw the mystery guy. 

 

Things would become so much better for all of them if Jimin just let go. Taehyung has no idea how to cheer his friend. Clearly, this is not working. Nothing is working! 

 

He just can't believe how a stranger who never spoke a word to him can affect Jimin so much. Taehyung has never seen him like this, not for such an extended period of time.

 

Taehyung leaves the table and goes to sit next to Jimin. 

 

"What must I do to get my happy Jiminie back?" Taehyung can't see him anymore like this. He decides that if he has to break a few laws, he will just do it. His father will handle the rest.

 

"I don't know," Jimin murmurs.

 

Taehyung sighs. He looks around and sees all the familiar faces playing the various games while enjoying the food and drinks. 

 

Taehyung thinks of getting the Jenga blocks and playing with Jimin, hoping it will do some good. Deep down he knows it won't. He stares blankly at the wall and crosses his hands over his chest. Suddenly an idea pops in his head and he quickly turns to Jimin.

 

"Let's throw a party for all ASA members. We'll ask them to pass the information around, and every student who is registered with ASA can bring a few friends even from other universities. We can say that it's to promote inter-collegiate connections. Hopefully, if he or a friend of his is in our university, he will come." Taehyung says excitedly. That's the last plan he can think of. 

 

He has no idea what to do next if the mystery guy doesn't show up.  

 

Jimin jerks to a sitting position, eyes wide. 

 

"Oh my gosh Tae, that's a really good idea. Let's throw a party right now." Jimin jumps from his chair, but Taehyung grabs him by his arm.

 

"Slow down, buckaroo. If we want to maximize the chance of catching him the party has to be big. If we throw a party right now, there is a good chance the news won't circulate properly," Taehyung says.

 

"You are right," Jimin stands still, chewing on his thumb. "Today is Friday, let's just throw a party on Sunday at the beach. We'll post it everywhere, send texts and everything. God, I hope he gets it. I hope he comes. Please God, let me meet him."

 


 

 

Jungkook is wiping the dining table at home after dinner. In the kitchen, Hoseok is loading the dishwasher and Yoongi is busy cleaning the kitchen counter. 

 

Jungkook has been busy all weekend, finishing his assignments and going out with Yoongi and Hoseok to get groceries. He enjoys going on those weekly grocery trips. 

 

The first time Hoseok and Yoongi took him to Costco, Jungkook got lost three times. For some reason, looking at everything on the shelves is more interesting here than it ever was in Korea.

 

The best thing were the free tasters. He loved those free samples of food and drinks.

 

Jungkook smiles as he overhears the conversation between Yoongi and Hoseok.

 

"I still think we need a green onion plant, you don't understand how much it'll be of help to grow it at home," Hoseok says. 

 

This is the second time this month they are having this discussion. He has absolutely no idea why Yoongi keeps refusing to get a green onion plant.

 

"You can get them anytime at the supermarket and it's not like we live far away from it. I don't understand why you want to grow it." Yoongi replies. 

 

Jungkook knows Yoongi is always in favor of doing things as easily as possible. Keeping a plant or a pet alive is a task. It amuses him knowing that his perception of keeping things easy and simple hasn’t changed.

 

Jungkook picks the dirty tissues and empty water bottle from the table and goes to the kitchen.

 

"We can even get food from outside, why even make it at home!" Hoseok closes the door of the dishwasher and washes his hands.

 

Jungkook throws everything in the bin and washes his hand too.

 

"It's not like that, you know takeaway is unhealthy," Yoongi says.

 

"Not always, some restaurants make really healthy food," Hoseok argues. He turns to Jungkook, "Tell me, don't you think getting a green onion plant will be good?"

 

"My mom has one, she only uses green onions she grows at home in her cooking. She never buys it." Jungkook says.

 

"You don't interrupt," Yoongi points finger at him.

 

Hoseok kicks Yoongi in his shins lightly, "Ay, he is the part of this house and this family. He has all the freedom to speak." Over these two weeks, Hoseok has grown quite fond of Jungkook.

 

Yoongi throws the tissues in the bin and raises his hands in the air conceding defeat, "I did not mean it that way."

 

Suddenly Jungkook's phone beeps. He takes it out to read the text and then puts it back in his pocket quietly without replying or reacting.

 

Both Yoongi and Hoseok look at him, waiting for a reaction.

 

"What?" Jungkook's eyes move from Hoseok to Yoongi, wondering why his elders are looking at him like that.

 

"Who was it?" Yoongi asks.

 

"Ah, just a text for some party at the beach." Jungkook rolls his eyes. "It's for all Asian kids in college."

 

"Then go…" Hoseok says in an encouraging tone.

 

Jungkook shakes his head, "I think I need sleep." He has been looking forward to have an early night and sleep for proper 8 hours. 

 

Yoongi grabs Jungkook by his arm, taking him by surprise, and pulls him out of the kitchen.

 

"No, you don't. You need to go out and make friends." Yoongi looks at him concernedly, “All you do is attend classes and go to your job. The only time he goes out is when we take you out.”

 

"I have friends," Jungkook replies immediately.

 

"That one guy you sit next to in class does not count as 'friends'." Yoongi says, "Kook-ah, I understand you are not always comfortable around people, but kid, you need to make friends. You can't just stay at home all the time, it's not ok. Go out, live your life."

 

"Who is throwing the party?" Hoseok comes to stand next to Yoongi.

 

Jungkook shrugs, "Probably those guys we saw at the parking when you gave me a tour of the university."

 

Hoseok smiles, "Jimin and Taehyung! They throw amazing parties. Besides, it'll be a good excuse to meet new people, even if you do not want to make friends, there's no harm in meeting people."

 

Yoongi nods and puts his hand on Jungkook's shoulders, "It is always nice to meet people of our community, it helps us grow."

 

Jungkook looks at them suspiciously, "Do you both need the house to yourself?"

 

Hoseok groans and Yoongi gives him a once- over. Taking the cue, Jungkook says, "Fine. I'll go. Don't wait for me, I'll be late."

 

"Take your sweatshirt or a light jacket with you," Yoongi says as Jungkook walks towards his room to change his clothes.

 

As he enters his room he can still hear his hyungs, bickering. 

 

Faintly, he can hear Hoseok saying, "Why is he like you?"

 

"He is not like me," Yoongi responds immediately.

 

"So much like you…" Jungkook can hear their footsteps retreating towards their bedroom.

 

"Not like me." 

 

"Don't see any difference…"

 

 




 

The party has been going on for two hours and yet the mystery guy is not here.  Jimin is losing all hope by the second. He keeps asking the newbies if everyone is here and all of them keep telling him that their friends are all here. 

 

They even compliment him for the amazing party, but Jimin just nods and leaves.

 

Every few seconds his eyes scan the entire beach hoping he will see his guy. 

Someone brings him another bottle of beer.

 

"Who are you waiting for?" Ahreum says. She takes advantage of being so near to Jimin again after weeks and drags her index finger over his cheek.

 

Jimin flinches, "Leave, Ahreum." 

 

His eyes are still scanning the entire beach, trying to see as far as he can, as many faces as he can.

 

"I am free tonight," She says in a husky voice.

 

Jimin looks at her puzzled, "Congratulations?"

 

"You know-" Ahreum starts to speak.

 

Jimin cuts her off, "No I don't and excuse me." 

 

He quickly makes his way towards Taehyung who is talking to a group of friends. Not being able to see the person he has been waiting for is hurting his morale. 

 

Jimin hugs Taehyung from behind wrapping his arms around his neck. He leans his head on his best friend's shoulder and pouts. "I can't find him."

 

Taehyung excuses himself from the guys he was talking to and turns to Jimin. He sighs and fluffs Jimin's hair. 

 

"It's ok. Jimin, if you are destined to meet him again, you will. Let the universe work at its own pace."

 

Jimin's face falls. His eyes dart upwards towards the sky. He is sure the universe is laughing at him now. 

 

"Is this all happening to me because I have been so mean to people? I have never wanted to meet anyone this badly before and I think it is the universe's way of telling me how shitty I have been to people before. It's the ultimate punishment: you get a sneak peek of your soulmate and then you have to pine after him for like forty years. I'll meet him when we'll be old and wrinkly and the sex is going to be boring." Jimin’s hopes are already six feet under.

 

Taehyung’s forehead creases, "Jimin-ah, no, it's nothing like that."

 

"It is. Look how I treated Ahreum a few weeks back and everyone before her. She wanted me in her life and I showed her the exit door without even blinking an eye. Maybe that heart-shaped cake of hers was bewitched that if I didn't eat that, I would be cursed with unhappy love."

 

"Ahreum's knowledge in witchcraft is limited to her superior power to keep her makeup intact 24/7. And that's not magic, it's Fenty Beauty. Listen, not everyone deserves a place in our lives and no one can force you to be in theirs just because they like you, no matter what the frosting on a cake says," Taehyung says softly, trying to calm him down.

 

Jimin chuckles, "I have never wanted anything in my life this badly. But I guess, it is what it is."

 

Jimin’s shoulders sag and with his head held down he walks towards the bar they have set up at the beach. He orders shots for himself and throws them down one after another. He has lost count of how many shots he had when his vision gets blurry. 

 

After a while, he feels way more lightheaded than he ever had. Getting off the stool, he loses his balance but manages to regain it. Goosebumps rise on his arms and legs as the cool air touches his bare skin. 

 

He takes a deep breath and looks around. Everything is blurry and he can't spot Taehyung's blue head anywhere.

 

Maybe Taehyung left a while back. He fishes his phone from his pocket to check the time. He can't read the time—what a nice butterfly he chose as screensaver though!— so he looks up at the sky, hoping the position of the moon will tell him the time. But he can't even find the moon. He also never learned that skill, but he doesn't remember.

 

"Where did you go, Moon?"

 

Very confused and drunk, he decides to go home. 

 

He tries hard to think how he came here, did Taehyung drive? Or did he? His stomach grumbles and he feels a sour taste at the back of his throat.

 

"Tae…" He mumbles but even he can't hear his own voice. Maybe the music is too loud or maybe he lost his voice.

 

He takes another step and stumbles. The sour taste in his mouth takes over. 

Jimin leans forward and his stomach heaves out everything he ate in the past seven hours or so. Someone gently rubs Jimin's back as he pukes. Someone is speaking to him, he can’t distinguish the words, but the tone is soothing. 

 

When he is done, he can feel sweat covering his forehead and sliding down from behind his ear. He takes a deep breath to regain his normal composure. 

 

He can feel his accelerated heartbeat. He has never puked like this before, but then again he has never been this drunk before. The sour taste in his mouth is still there and he hates it.

 

As the cold winds blow past him, a slight shiver passes through him. The person next to him offers him a sweatshirt and wraps it around his shoulders. Jimin is too tired and exhausted from all the puking to even open his eyes to look at who is next to him.

 

"Jimin-ah!" Taehyung comes running towards him and grabs him.

 

"You ok?" He lightly taps Jimin's cheek, "Don't pass out." 

 

Someone gets him water and Jimin takes a gulp. He immediately makes a face as the sour taste in his mouth intensifies.

 

"Home…" Jimin's voice is barely a whisper but it is enough to tell Taehyung that he should take him home now.

 

Taehyung takes Jimin's arm and puts it around his shoulder while grabbing him by his waist. He carefully helps him walk towards their car and safely takes him home. 

 

 

*

Chapter Text

Jimin groans and opens one eye. The room is faintly lit with sunlight trying to filter into the room through the curtains. His head is throbbing badly and his throat feels as dry as sandpaper. 

 

He rubs his eyes and tries to open them but it takes a lot of energy from him. Sleepily, he turns to his bedside and sees a glass of water. Gathering all the energy in the world, he sits up and drinks the water in one go. 

 

His bed feels so comfortable that almost immediately he gets back under the covers. 

 

As he slowly comes back to his senses, he can taste a stale taste in his mouth and something around him stinks. 

 

He wonders where the smell is coming from and then realizes it is him: he is the one stinking.

 

Jimin can never stand anything disgusting or rotten. He loves cleanliness as the next person and always puts the effort in keeping everything around him clean and spotless while being himself pretty clean and as well. 

 

He knows he will have to shower and clean his mouth —probably with bleach— to get rid of that god awful taste.

 

Dragging himself from the bed was an effort he had to make. Slowly, while trying to remain on his feet, Jimin reaches his bathroom. 

 

He runs a hand through his hair and examines his face in the mirror, to see if he looks as bad as he feels. There are bags under his eyes, his face is paler than usual, and his hair is an almighty mess.

 

Slowly his eyes fall on what he is wearing. He looks down at the grey Adidas sweatshirt that does not belong to him but that looks oddly familiar. He knows it's not one of Taehyung's either. It is nothing like their taste.

 

He tries hard to remember where he has seen this sweatshirt before. 

 

Suddenly his eyes widen in realisation and he murmurs, "Holy fuck.”

 

He properly looks at the sweatshirt in the mirror and then runs out of the bathroom.

 

"Taehyung!" Jimin shouts as he makes his way to Taehyung's room. 

 

Throwing the door open Jimin jumps on his bed, "Tae, get up!"

 

Taehyung stirs in his sleep, "What? What!" He throws his hand around haphazardly. 

 

"Did you bring me home last night?" Jimin asks loudly and excitedly.

 

Taehyung opens his eyes and looks at Jimin in confusion, "Who else would’ve?" His deep voice is throaty.

 

Jimin shakes him to wake him up properly, "Who gave me this sweatshirt? Did you see the guy?

 

"What sweatshirt? What are you talking about?" Taehyung asks, slipping down under the covers. It’s too early to be in any questioning round.”

 

"Taehyung! Get up, it's important." Jimin throws his cover away, not standing for Taehyung’s refusal to help him in this situation. 

 

Taehyung takes a deep breath and sits upon the bed. "Wha—" He wrinkled his nose slightly "You stink."

 

Jimin ignored the remark and points at his shirt, "Who gave me this? Did you ask his name?"

 

Taehyung looks at the sweatshirt. “I vaguely remember someone draping it around you, but I did not see his face. I had a more urgent matter at hand than seeing someone's face or asking their name. Why though?"

 

Jimin groans, "Tae this is the sweatshirt that guy wore when I first saw him. This is his sweatshirt."

 

Tae's eyes widen, slowly trying to understand what Jimin is saying.

 

Jimin lets out a loud, cheerful scream and excitedly jumps on the bed. "The guy exists and he is in our university." Jimin laughs happily. He jumps out of the bed and does a little jig, "Now we just have to find him. And I know exactly how."

 

 


 

 

Jungkook looks at the notice board and takes note of when the Taekwondo classes are going to start. He is a black belt in Taekwondo and has been thinking of continuing to practice. Since he saw the poster of the classes last week, he has been thinking about continuing his practice. It is an extracurricular activity and surely he can afford to take a couple of classes every week without burning himself out. 

 

His eyes glance at the other notices on the board but nothing interests him. 

 

Suddenly, on the glass, he sees the reflection of Taehyung and Jimin laughing and approaching the notice board. 

 

Jungkook has seen them a couple of times around on the campus but has never found enough courage to talk to them. They both look pretty intimidating, carrying that kind of confidence. 

 

He knows he should ask for his sweatshirt back from Jimin but he doesn't think Jimin would have cared enough to keep it. It was just a random jacket and considering that Taehyung and Jimin only seem to wear high-end designer clothes, they might have been using it as a spare cleaning cloth. 

 

Jungkook cannot find the courage to ask about his sweatshirt back.

 

Watching them approach near him, he feels a bit uncomfortable. He decides to leave and discreetly walks towards the corridor, merging with the small crowd of students standing outside their classes.





 

 

Taehyung and Jimin enter the lobby holding a few rolled-up posters in their arms.

 

"How many boards do you wanna use?" Taehyung asks. They have already put up posters in eight notice boards around the campus.

 

"Every single one of them. Who knows which building he is in. I don't want to miss any notice board."

 

Jimin pins the poster on the notice board that he has also posted on the ASA Facebook page and the university’s ASA Forum.

 

'Hey, Sweatshirt guy,

Thank you for giving me your sweatshirt at the beach party last weekend. I would like to return it back to you but I am afraid I do not have your name or contact details. Please get in touch with me at the below-mentioned email address so I can return your belonging to you.

 

Regards,

Park Jimin

Jimin.park@gmail.com'

 

Jimin smiles reading the poster, hope rising inside him that he will finally meet the mystery guy.

 

"You should give your number as well," Tae suggests pointing at the blank space under his email id.

 

"And let my phone blow up with endless calls and messages! No, thank you." Jimin rolls his eyes. 

 

They move towards another notice board in the building.

 

 


 

'Hey Jimin, I am not the sweatshirt guy, but I can be the guy who licks the sweat off your skin. Here's my number. Call me!'

 

'Jimin, can I be the person tonight? You won't regret it.'

 

'This is so cute Jimin. If you don't find the original owner give it to me and I can return the favor properly ;)'

 

Jimin sighs and closes the lid of his laptop in frustration. It has been a week since he put up the posters around the university and he has received almost 500 emails about it, mostly asking to be his one-night stand or a lover or something. 

 

The sweatshirt guy has not contacted him, which makes him doubt if he really is in the university after all. 

 

He religiously checks the online forums too for the response from the guy, but he hasn't seen any.

 

"Why are people so horny? Why do they all think I can be their salvation?" Jimin groans. He can feel a slight ache in his head and he knows it is all because of these useless emails. 

 

Tae snorts. He is too busy playing games on his mobile.

 

Jimin opens the laptop again and thinks for a while before clicking on another unread email. There are still 20 unread emails sitting in his inbox. He cannot not read them but also does not want to read it if it is another one of those one night stand emails. 

 

Every day he deletes tons of such emails and does the same the next day. The trust issues he has every time he gets a notification for a new email is a lot to explain. However, he feels relieved that he did not give his phone number or else he would have had to change it.

 

He taps his fingers on the keyboard and looks at Taehyung. 

 

"Should I open another email?"

 

Tae rolls his eyes, "What have you got to lose!" Tae has been observing Jimin losing hope in finding the mystery guy. 

 

Jimin knows Taehyung is still of the opinion that the guy is from another university, but they have come to an agreement that he will let Jimin try everything he can to find him.

 

Someone ruffles Jimin's hair and he looks up to see the person.

 

"Ah Jin hyung, how have you been?" Jimin smiles looking at his friend.

 

Seoulful is the Park family's favorite restaurant and they regularly come here to get their fix of Korean cuisine. Over the years, he has grown fond of this place and Jin. Since Jin is in the hospitality business, he knows the Parks quite well. Both Tae and Jimin have immense respect and love for Seokjin.

 

Jin smiles looking at them, "I am great, but why haven't I seen either of you all summer?"

 

"Jimin and I went to northern Europe to travel and then when we came back I was interning at my father's office and he was interning at his. We barely had time. It's not like we forgot this place, we just didn't get any time to come. But we got your food delivered to our house all the time." Taehyung informs him.

 

Jin nods, "Good to see you both, though." He looks at Jimin who looks a bit sad, "What happened to you?"

 

Tae lets out a breath, "We are ghost hunting and he is going mad."

 

"Ghost hunting?" Jin’s brow creases.

 

Tae puts his phone down, moves forward and crosses his hands over the table, "So a few weeks back we- I mean Jimin met this guy, who was very cute. But then he disappeared into the thin air and we have been trying to find him. Since then we have looked up for him in our ASA database, ASA online groups, university groups, everywhere. Last week, Jimin threw a party and accidentally someone gave him a sweatshirt. Jimin now thinks it was the same mystery guy, but he was so drunk he can't be sure, and now the search for him has intensified."

 

Jimin closes the lid of his laptop and leans forward towards Tae, "You know what, I think I should look for new places to throw another party. I'll be sober this time and I hope he turns up."

 

Tae looks at Jin who is still trying to process everything. "Jimin is pulling a Jay Gatsby to find his Daisy. He'll keep throwing a party every weekend now."

 

"You are of no help," Jimin frowns.

 

"I have been of the greatest help I can be. And it is better if you just stop looking for him now, Jimin-ah. If you are supposed to meet him, you will. No need to go above and beyond."

 

"Why even do anything ever then. Let's just sit at home and never move a finger. If things are supposed to happen, they will. If I am supposed to pass my classes, I might not even study and let fate do its thing." Jimin says a bit aggressively.

 

Tae gasps at his tone and widens his eyes. "Why are you acting like this over a guy!"

 

"Alright, you both stop now." He turns to Jimin, "I think Tae is right!" He says quietly.

 

"I don't," Jimin mouths.

 

Tae lets out a huge sigh, "Fine! Now let's go to Brett's party."

 

Jimin slouches on the chair and folds his hands over his chest, "I don’t want to attend any party. I want to go home."

 

Jin laughs as he stands up from the chair leaving them both to decide, "I'll see you both later. Let me know when you find your mystery guy." Jin says and makes his way to the employee room.

 

 


 

Jin softly calls, "Kook-ah, you feeling better?" He touches Jungkook’s forehead to see if the temperature has gone down.

 

Jungkook nods, since this morning he had been feeling ill but didn't bother taking any medicine. 

 

When Jungkook came to work, he had a terrible headache and his skin was burning. When Jin saw a pale, tired-looking Jungkook, he immediately asked another employee to take over the counter. He gave Jungkook some medicine and asked him to rest in the employee's room until he feels better.

 

"Shall I ask someone to drop you home?" Jin asks.

 

"No, I'll be fine. I feel much better. Thanks hyung, you didn't have to take care of me." Jungkook says shyly.

 

Jin smiles, "Why, it's only human to look after others." He pats him and says, "Now go home and get some rest."

 

Jungkook takes a deep breath. Slowly he gets up from the couch and fixes his clothes. As he takes out his bag from the locker, Jin’s chuckle grabs his attention.

 

"What happened hyung?" Jungkook asks.

 

"I am thinking about the conversation I just had, I swear these two punks are on another level all the time."

 

"Who?"

 

"Jimin and Tae." Jin looks at Jungkook, "You might know them, you go to the same university."

 

Jungkook's mouth goes dry. "I have seen them around on the campus." He says sheepishly.

 

Jin laughs, "Apparently, Jimin threw a party a weekend back and someone lent him a jacket. Turns out it was the guy Jimin has been looking for a while but he doesn't know his name. He has put up posters everywhere and makes posts on every online platform but he can't find him. Why am I telling you all these things, you should already know this."

 

Jungkook's mouth drops open. "What! Who told you this?" He looks at Jin bewildered.

 

"Them! They are outside." Jin points to the restaurant area. 

 

Without a second thought, Jungkook hurries outside to the restaurant and looks around. He can't find either of them. He walks to the reception and asks, "Where are those two?"

 

"Tae and Jimin? They just left." The girl manning the counter says.

 

Jungkook rushes towards the entrance door and sees Jimin getting into a cab. The cab leaves before he has the time to walk up to him. Jungkook stands on the sidewalk, wondering what he should do.

 

Jimin is looking for him, to return the sweatshirt. He smiles thinking about it. He should contact him. Jin hyung told him that Jimin posted it everywhere but since Jungkook is barely active in any social media and hasn’t bothered to check the notice board since that day, he had no idea what was happening. 

 

 

*

Chapter Text

Jimin lightly runs his fingers over Yeontan. The little dog has been his mood uplifter since Taehyung brought him home a year ago. He loves how Yeontan, being such a tiny dog, fits comfortably in his lap and is always there to listen to him whenever he needs someone to talk to.

 

"Will, I ever meet him, Tannie?" Jimin asks softly. 

 

He nuzzles Yeontan behind his ear and pecks him. He has been trying to binge-watch his favorite k-drama to distract himself, but it is not helping. In fact, nothing is helping him. Every few minutes he keeps refreshing his inbox, hoping the email he is desperately waiting for, will arrive.

 

His hopes are sinking into a never-ending abyss. 

 

Although a tiny voice in his brain keeps telling him that he will find his guy, the more mature part of his brain wants him to move on and focus on better things. 

 

He pulls Tannie closer to him and buries his cheek in his fur.

 

"I want to meet him, I really want to." He whispers and a tiny drop of tear falls from the corner of his eye.

 

He has never felt this low-spirited before. 

 

It isn't like him, he is always cheerful, always full of life. How come he feels this drained over a guy?

 

He is still thinking about what Taehyung said to him that evening: maybe it is time to move on and stop chasing the ghost. 

 

He knows Taehyung only wants what is best for him. Taehyung cares for him more than anyone, they have a bond that supersedes every other relationship they have had. They have never disagreed over anything like this before and it scares him a bit. What if they disagree over bigger things in the future?

 

He shakes his head trying to keep the bad thoughts away.  He can't do this to himself now. 

 

He raises his head and turns up the volume of the television. He decides to browse through Netflix this time. It is his favorite way to kill time, scrolling through the Netflix catalog for hours and then settling to watch his favorite show for the 50th time. 

 

Having more options to choose from does not make decisions easier at all and he ends up going back to what he knows he likes for sure.

 

The email notification chime grabs his attention. His inbox is open on his laptop discarded on the bed next to Tannie. He sighs and goes back to look at the screen. 

 

He can't choose between X-files and Schitt's Creek. Watching murder mystery with hot Gillian Anderson is a good option but then he won't get a wink of sleep tonight and it will be an endless loop of “just one more episode”. On the other hand, watching a dysfunctional family hilariously struggle through their lives will also lead to the same loop, but at least it will be funny.

 

Jimin settles for Schitt's Creek deciding that sleep is for the weak and if he wants to binge-watch all night then he must.

 

He tries to avoid checking his inbox for a while, just trying to see if he has any patience. But soon he gives up and leans over to open the email. Somehow he knows it is going to be another one-night stand plea email. He opens the email and reads the sender's email ID over and over again.

 

 

 

 

To: jimin.park@gmail, com

From: iamyoursweatshirtguy@gmail.com

Subject: A sweatshirt needs to be returned

 

Hello,

 

I think I am the person you are looking for. 

I just found out that you are looking for the person who lent you sweatshirt at the beach party last Sunday. I lent it to you while you were profusely puking on the sidewalk.

 

The sweatshirt I am talking about is grey with the Adidas logo on the left side. It is a size M and there is a small smear of red paint on the inside of the right wrist.

 

I have no idea how else to make you believe that I am the guy you are looking for. To avoid embarrassment (in case you don't believe me) I decided to make another email.

 

If you think I am your guy, respond to the email and we can arrange a meeting.

 

Yours,

The Rightful Owner of the Grey Sweatshirt.

 

 

Jimin quickly leaps out of the bed, startling the peacefully sleeping Yeontan and earning a bark from him. 

 

He rushes to his closet and takes out the sweatshirt to check the size and the presence of red paint.

 

His knees go weak when the description matches the sweatshirt. For a moment he has no idea what to do. When he almost gave up looking for the guy, he gets a signal from the universe. It takes him a while to regain his composure. He runs out of his room. 

 

" Taehyung !"

 

 

 

 

 

The heavy breathing of his partner turns him on further. His eyes are getting heavier and he licks his lips. 

 

There are days when he loves to slip into the dom zone and tune the world out. Tilting his head, he glides the riding crop over the breast of his sub. Seeing his partner tied to the bedpost with velvet ropes in the midst of silk sheets is exciting him more than he anticipated.

 

At the party, Taehyung was bored out of his mind. He rarely wants to leave a good party as soon as he steps in, but it just happened. It wasn't because his best friend was missing, they do attend parties and social gatherings separately. 

 

It’s more because he is concerned about Jimin. 

 

Seeing how aggressive he got when Taehyung asked him to quit his search, concerned him. Jimin isn't like that. He has barely ever raised his voice, he is a peaceful person. Jimin does get annoyed or pissed off, but he has other ways of dealing with it. He knows better than to lose his temper over petty things.

 

This frantic search has changed/twisted his behavior and Taehyung has all the right reasons to be bothered. 

 

So, when the opportunity for distraction presented itself in the shape of a willing sub, Taehyung knew what he needed to let loose.

 

In the dimly lit room, he can see the goosebumps rise on her skin as he continues gliding his riding crop downwards.

 

The moan that left her lips went straight to his member. 

 

Taehyung pushes down his arousal, he knows the eyes of his sub are following his every move. He won't give her the pleasure to see him naked just now. He will take his time and make it worthwhile.

 

In his silent room, he hears Jimin calling for him in the distance. He tries to ignore it and decides to continue. Whatever Jimin has to say can wait.

 

Loud knocking on his door makes his heart jump.

 

"Tae!" Jimin shouts at the top of his lungs.

 

His sub cries in surprise, "What the fuck?"

 

"Not now, Jimin-ah," Taehyung says. 

 

Hoping his friend will go away and leave them alone. He can already feel the atmosphere of the room shifting, but he can build it again.

 

"Right now!" Jimin says stubbornly.

 

Letting out a huge sigh, he walks towards the door and opens it slightly just so he can peep, "I am busy right now."

 

Jimin grabs the collar of his robe and drags him outside, "I don't care."

 

In a hurry, Taehyung throws the riding crop next to the door. "Jimin-ah! What the hell?" feeling slightly annoyed, Taehyung pushes Jimin’s hand away from his collar. 

 

Jimin jumps and comes to stand in front of him, "He emailed me." Jimin smiles, his eyes shining like moonlight.

 

Taehyung looks at him confused, "Who emailed you?"

 

"The sweatshirt guy," Jimin says excitedly. He hops from one foot to another, the wide smile never leaving his face. 

 

He takes Taehyung's hand and drags him to his room. "Look!" he exclaims holding up the open laptop for Taehyung to see.

 

While Taehyung reads the email, Jimin picks the sweatshirt and points at the red paint smear. 

 

"It matches the description."

 

Taehyung looks from the email to the sweatshirt and cross-checks the details. 

"Oh my god, this guy exists."

 

"I told you," Jimin jumps around happily. "I found him, Tae. I found him. Yay!"

 

Taehyung smiles, "Finally!"

 

"How should I reply, what should I tell him? Help me!" Jimin comes to stand in front of his best friend and takes his hands in his.

 

"We can think about it tomorrow, I have other things to do right now," Taehyung remarks.

 

"Oh," Jimin lets go of his hands immediately and takes the laptop from him. 

 

He can see Jimin’s face turning pale in guilt. Well, he is not going to make him feel better about it. 

 

As Taehyung walks towards the door, Jimin calls, "Tae! Thanks and…" Jimin pauses for a second, "…sorry." He says sheepishly.

 

"You should be," Tae says in a stern tone, softened with an amused smile about his mouth.

 

 

 

When he re-enters the room, he knows the entire mood is gone and he has a lot to apologies to make to his partner. 

 

It wasn't something that should have happened when spending an intimate moment with someone. Especially when you are putting so much trust in the other’s hands in being a sub.

 

"I am sorry, it won't happen again." Taehyung walks towards her and gets the feeling that he isn't forgiven. The look on her face and anger in her eyes speak volumes.

 

"This is exactly why you should leave Jimin behind." She hisses through her teeth. "He isn't a good friend, he is always taking advantage of you." 

 

Her palms are closed in a tight fist and it looks like every nerve in her body is tense.

 

Taehyung looks at her, "What did you say?"

 

"I said what I said. I am not going to stand this humiliation.” She spits out the words angrily.

 

Tae looks at her for a moment and then approaches the bedside. He leans down and gently kisses her temple. "My driver will drop you home."

 

Both Jimin and Tae have drivers on standby all the time, even though they prefer driving themselves. Neither of them likes to be driven around like children or precious cargo, and it’s also quite pitiful to make the chauffeurs wait around for them. Even their housekeeping staff is ordered to only enter the house when neither of them is at home, to clean it, do the laundry and prepare the meals. It’s just weird to have strangers around your private space all the time, makes you feel like you are always performing the “rich kid” role.

 

He undoes the knots of her velvet rope and sets her free. 

 

He pours her some water in a crystal tumbler from the jug on the bedside table. 

 

"Here,” he says holding out a glass of water. “If you want to eat something, grab anything from the kitchen. I'll let my driver know to wait for you in the underground garage. He’ll be in a black Audi E-Tron."

 

She gets up from the bed, "I don't want anything."

 

Taehyung turns on the lights of the room as she gathers her clothes.

 

"It's past 2 in the morning, I don't think you should go alone. No hard feelings!"

 

Taehyung leaves the room without looking back.

 

 



 

Jimin is reading the email for the millionth time when the front door slams shut making him jump lightly on his bed. 

 

He fixes his glasses on the bridge of his nose and looks at his bedroom door. His heart sinks thinking about how he ruined Taehyung's night. He should be more considerate with stuff like this, they are not kids anymore. His cheeks feel slightly hotter in guilt. 

 

He decides to properly apologize to Taehyung for it.

 

As he throws his covers aside and slides one leg out, his bedroom door flies open and Taehyung enters the room with an unbothered expression.

 

"Sorry," Jimin says.

 

Taehyung shakes his head and gets on the bed. He adjusts the pillows, picks Yeontan up and lies down with his puppy over his chest. 

 

"Wasn't your fault."

 

"Why did she leave?" Jimin asks.

 

"I asked her to because..." Taehyung scratches his puppy behind his ears.

 

"Because?" Jimin asks softly, propping his elbow on the pillow and leaning his head on it.

 

Tae looks at Jimin and replies, "She asked me to leave you behind."

 

Jimin stares at him silently for a moment, "She was justifiably-"

 

"No! there's no excuse for it." Taehyung cuts him off. 

 

He knows Jimin will try to make sure Taehyung never loses anyone because of him. 

 

"Jimin-ah, if someone has my loyalty, it will always be you. No matter what dumb stunt you pull off."

 

Jimin can't say a word but looks at him waiting for him to speak further.

 

"I have known you for so long, I can't even imagine a life without you in it. It’s a habit, a routine. In my entire life, I have seen you for more days than I have seen my own family. For a while, you were my only family, we were each other's family. Why would I leave you over someone I just met? You have a permanent place in my life, Jimin, no one, absolutely no one can ever change that." Taehyung says making it clear to Jimin.

 

Jimin holds his hands and leans his head on Taehyung's shoulder.

 

"Will you leave me if someone asked you to?" Taehyung asks.

 

Jimin jerks his head up and looks up at him with a bit of fear in his heart. 

 

"Taehyung!" How can his best friend even think this?

 

"Then why do you think I would?" Tae says kindly.

 

Jimin leans his head on his shoulder again and holds him closer. 

 

"It's scary to even think that. You have been the only constant in my life. Somehow it feels like you know me and my life better than me.”

 

"'Cause I do. Anyone who says we should break apart is welcome to get the fuck out." Taehyung says.

 

They both go silent and gently pet Yeontan.

 

After a while, Taehyung breaks the silence, "Well, I am glad you got a reply from the mystery guy."

 

Jimin nods, "I almost lost hope that I would ever hear from him. But I guess the universe had its own way."

 

Tae snorts, "Yeah, universe!" He turns his head towards Jimin, "Good for you."

 

Jimin instantly sits up and says, "And I am so nervous."

 

"For what?"

 

"To meet him!" Jimin eyes widen.

 

"Why? You have met so many people before."

 

Jimin groans, "Its… I- I just want him to like me, Tae. What if he doesn't like me and is not interested in me. How will I deal with it?"

 

"I don't think there's anyone who wouldn't adore you," Tae says, adjusting his pillow.

 

Jimin shakes his head, "I can give you a list of people who don't like me. But I really don't care about them or what they think about me. I do care what he thinks about me. I just want to make a good impression. I think I should wear decent clothes to meet him, you know. Maybe I'll go shopping tomorrow. I heard Chanel had a new collection or something, must get new clothes."

 

Tae sits up and puts his hands on Jimin's shoulder reassuringly?, "You have amazing clothes and your style is out of the world."

 

"Do you think I should get his sweatshirt dry cleaned? I mean I wore it after I puked. Yeah, I definitely must get it dry cleaned. I'll it drop it off first thing in the morning." Jimin says fidgeting. "I have no idea what I will say to him. I mean what are the right words to make a good impression? I don't want to look creepy or weird, you know."

 

"Jimin-ah," Tae voice is low and soft. "It will be fine."

 

Jimin looks up at Taehyung, his eyes wide with fear. "What if he is not into guys!"

 

Jimin can feel his heart sinking as he says it.

 

Tae nibbles on his lips, "If that's the case, then no one can do anything."

 

Jimin's heart spirals down to a new low. The sudden realization that it can be a possibility, a very plausible possibility, has him lightheaded. 

 

He has never met a person who hasn't been interested in him, regardless of gender. He has also never chased a person before without knowing their sexual orientation. He has zero ideas on how to navigate such circumstances.

 

Taehyung tries to distract him, "Well, we won’t know until we do. Besides, who knows, he could be a straight -up asshole. You know what I mean, right? There are some people who just look cute but are such a pathetic excuse for a human being. Or maybe you won't even like him after you meet him. Maybe he has the most irritating voice. Maybe he has a lazy eye and smells like mold.” 

 

Jimin snorts at that.

 

“Or maybe he is not the one, but has an identical gay twin. . ." Jimin laughs at that.

 

“Every straight person should have a queer twin. That would be awesome, imagine: Obama’s gay twin, Hillary Clinton’s lesbian counterpart…”

 

“And Lady Gaga’s hetero sister: Mary, mother of four, resident in Florida, voting republican...” offers Jimin.

 

Just like that, the mood lightens and it’s easier to accept that Taehyung is right and there's nothing he can do about it now. 

 

Tae picks the remote and swipes through the Netflix menu, "Oh, there's a new episode of ‘Abstract’, let's watch it."

 

 

*

Chapter Text

To: iamyoursweatshirtguy@gmail.com

From: jimin.park@gmail.com

Subject:  Sweatshirt repatriation

 

Dear Rightful Owner of the Grey Sweatshirt,

 

First, thank you for contacting me. I almost believed that the owner would never contact me and I really wanted to express my gratitude. 

 

Second, apologies for the “scene” the other day at the beach party, I might have ruined your fun. 

 

Thank you for being there for me, even though we don't know each other. You seem very thoughtful.

 

As soon as I received your email I looked for the specifications you mentioned and all of them match.

 

Your sweatshirt kept me warm in a time of need and is now dry cleaned and neatly packed, ready to be returned to you. 

 

We can choose a time of your preference for the meeting. I suggest next Thursday, in front of the William Rainey Harper Memorial library after college hours. Let me know if it suits you. 

 

If not, we can arrange the meeting whenever it suits you.

 

Yours,

Park Jimin

 

 

 



Jimin takes a nervous breath and shifts his weight from one foot to another. It is almost time, time to meet the person he has been constantly thinking of for so long. He has been a nervous wreck since waking up after a fitful sleep. 

 

It had amused Taehyung endlessly because Jimin wasn’t the fretting type. Jimin took his SATs and university exams sporting nothing but composure and confidence. And here he was now, insecure about his hair because of a mere cutie. 

 

Jimin had spent half of the previous day in Chanel and Dior stores trying to pick the best outfit and testing the shopping assistants’ capacity to hold up fake smiles. 

 

This morning, his walk-in closet was a mess of unprecedented proportions and would certainly make an interesting discovery for the maid. Eviscerating the tidy, color-coded bowels of his wardrobe didn’t, however, solve the outfit dilemma. Ultimately, Taehyung came to the rescue, pairing black pants and a black t-shirt with a beanie.

 

"Nobody ever went wrong with black. You also need to chill, he’s a grey-Adidas-sweatshirt guy, not a Vogue editor." Tae said and hurried him to get dressed already because he was not going to be late — again — for Mr. Kim Namjoon’s class.

 

The entire day seemed to drag on for Jimin. He kept checking the time all through his lessons. Time flowed slow and viscous, like thick honey lazily dripping from a spoon.

 

Right now, standing on the front stairs of the library, his eyes scan the courtyard for the one face he cannot get out of his mind. 

 

"Do you see him?" Jimin asks Taehyung leaning against the wall next to him, without stopping his search.

 

Taehyung looks up from his phone, "I don't even know what he looks like. What do I look for? Dreamy eyes?" He types something and adds, "Did you get the email for the annual golf game?"

 

Jimin sighs, "Yep, I got one from my father's PA. These golf games are so boring, why do we even have to go? I am thinking of making up some bullshit, I’ll falsify a medical prescription and say I am sick, or I’ll say I have been selected for some seminar."

 

"Mom texted me, she is expecting me to be at home this weekend. Guess we both have no choice." Taehyung says.

 

Jimin pouts. 

 

If Taehyung has to go home and attend the game, then he will have to as well. It’s a staple of their friendship: boring family gatherings are bad, but boring family gatherings without one another are unholy. Their parents probably know that by now, it only takes to trap one of them to get the other too. They both really have no other option.

 

Taehyung taps Jimin's shoulder. "I'll quickly go and check for the book I need for Mr. Pharrell’s course. I hope it is back on the shelf."

 

Jimin nods as Tae leaves.

 

Jimin takes a deep breath. It is already two minutes past the agreed time. Maybe he stopped after class to talk to his professor or friends. He knows it is just two minutes but it was a reminder that even though he had anticipated the encounter as if it was Christmas morning, for the other guy it might be nothing more than an afterthought. 

 

Jimin’s jitters were starting to veer from “mostly excited” to “fear of rejection”. He is investing so much emotional energy into this, it’s crazy, he knows that. But rationality could not touch that tiny, but shiny certainty that he was reaching for something truly meaningful.

 

He is not sure how long is he supposed to wait here. He starts envisioning being stood up. Should he just email the guy again? 

 

He should have given his phone number. We’ve been emailing like pen pals from 2002 for fuck’s sake. Standing there alone, hands in his pockets and bubblegum pink hair peeking out of his beanie, Jimin is attracting a few curious stares, sometimes locking eyes. But it was never the right person.

 

Where are you? Where are you? Why can’t I get a hold of you of all people?

 

Someone clears their throat behind him.

 

"Excuse me…”

 

Jimin turns around. 

 

Here he is, the person he has been waiting to meet forever. The ghost he chased is awkwardly standing in front of him, real as the polished stone under his feet.

 

Big adorable doe eyes, that sweet shy smile and messy hair. His heart jumps at the sight and time slows down in a completely different way now, at last free of any trace of frustration.

 

"I am the sweatshirt guy." His voice is like warm chocolate. It’s quite an uncertain voice actually, but the timbre of it is pleasant and rich, makes him wonder how his laugh sounds like.

 

There's so much innocence in his face and his big beautiful eyes seem to hold the entire universe in them. 

 

Jimin cannot look away from his face and he has to physically stop himself from reaching out and touching him, to make sure he is not dreaming.

 

"My name’s Jungkook, you are obviously Jimin." He offers his hand for a handshake and without a single thought in his head Jimin takes it, mesmerized at hearing his name said by that voice.

 

Jungkook’s hand is surprisingly warm, or, more likely, Jimin’s hand is colder than he had realized from the autumn chill. It’s a bigger hand than his own, solid and soft to the touch. Jimin wonders what it will feel like to intertwine their fingers together.

 

"You know my name?" Jimin's voice is a mere murmur. Is just the touch of a hand enough to turn him into a shy, inarticulate 1800’s maid?

 

Jungkook smiles, "It’s on the mail. Besides, you are quite famous around campus. I have heard so much about you from everyone around."

 

Jimin's jaw drops. He had thought he was looking for a guy from another university for so long, he hadn’t put into account that he might have known about him. 

 

Jimin knew he was wrapped in a blanket of other people’s opinions of him, praises and gossip. He had not that much control of his public persona in the end and he didn’t know what kind of image of himself preceded him when he walked into a room. 

 

"All good things," Jungkook assures as if reading his mind.

 

Jimin smiles up at him. They are still holding hands. 

 

Jimin is sure he can't put into words the warm feeling taking over his chest, so he doesn't even try. He shamelessly marvels at the features of the guy in front of him. Every trait of Jungkook seems like a confirmation check on a list Jimin hadn’t known he carried in his head. 

 

Jungkook breaks the silence first. "Um… my sweatshirt?"

 

"Oh," Jimin quickly lets go of his hand and gives him a brown paper bag with his sweatshirt in it.

 

Jungkook looks at it, and says, "There was no need to get it dry cleaned."

 

Jimin simply smiles, he won't even try to make a fool of himself by speaking. 

 

They both stay silent for another few seconds before Jungkook fidgets in discomfort.

 

"Jimin-ssi, I have to go. I am awfully late already. I lost track of time in the library." Jungkook’s brow creases. “Thank you for returning this." He holds up the bag. Jungkook bows and starts to descend the stairs.

 

Jimin comes to his senses. 

 

"Wait!" He quickly catches up to him and comes to stand in front of him. "Um… You helped me that day, let me say thank you properly by taking you out for a coffee. Also, I know we have just met but I don’t want you to be so formal with me. Just call me Hyung."

 

Jungkook looks at him surprised, "Hyung, there’s no need."

 

Jimin waves off his excuse energetically, "No, no, I wasn’t raised to be ungrateful. Seriously, it would make me happy to treat you properly. I spoiled your evening that day. Let me take you out for dinner." 

 

As soon as the words come out of his mouth, he realizes he messed up.

 

"Huh?"

 

"I mean coffee, brunch, movies, whatever suits you. I’ll follow your schedule," Jimin flashes a smile, hoping it conceals his panic. He cannot let the opportunity slip away like that.

 

Jungkook nods at his persistence.

 

Jimin smiles grow wide and genuine now, showing off all his teeth. "Great! How about tomorrow morning, I am free tonight."

 

Jungkook's brow joins together in confusion.  

 

"I mean, when are you free?" Jimin asks.

 

Jungkook purses his lips, "I am not so sure at this very second." 

 

He looks at the older with apologetic eyes. 

 

"Can I have your number, then? We can talk about it when you have time."

 

"Sure." Jungkook takes out his phone and they exchange their numbers.

 

Jimin looks at him happily, feeling like he won the lottery.

 

"Hyung, I am sorry but I am terribly late. I have to go now. Bye."

 

Before Jimin could say anything else Jungkook is off leaving behind a very flustered yet happy Jimin.

 

Jimin facepalms himself.

 

"Stupid!" He curses his brain for going offline in such a crucial moment.

 

Jungkook must think he is some annoying, boring, clingy dude. He first pukes pathetically in front of him, then hunts him like a weirdo (Jimin’s picture is now in the dictionary under “desperate”) and all to stare silently at him, make him run late and rope him into a coffee date. 

 

"So the guy is real, and you are whipped. " Taehyung comes to stand next to him. “Before entering the library I saw the guy approaching you and I watched the entire interaction from afar.” 

 

Taehyung looks at Jimin with slight amusement, “I can't believe you looked at the guy like a fool the whole time.” He nudges Jimin with his elbow, “But the guy is actually cute, can't blame you to lose your sense of being.”

 

"Yes, but where does he have to be so urgently?" Jimin pouts already missing him.

 

 



 

Jimin turns on his side, looking at the blank screen of his messages. 

 

He has been thinking of sending Jungkook a message all evening but has absolutely no idea what to say. He also doesn’t want to seem even more desperate.

 

He clicks on the profile picture, or the lack thereof.

 

"Why you don't have any profile picture, Jungkook? What do I have to do to see your stupidly gorgeous face, you wicked charming prince!"

 

Yeontan looks carefully at Jimin having his fit.

 

He shakes his head thinking how creepy he sounds and exits the app. While he is adjusting in the bed he gets a text from Taehyung.

 

 

TaeTae: Ice cream is in the fridge if you want to eat your feelings…

 

Jimin: Yes I am simply not sure what I should say to him. Should I text him first or not?

 

TaeTae: Let's wait a day or two before sending any text.

 

Jimin: How can you be so patient?

 

TaeTae: Why shouldn't I be. Anyways, I am going to be late and everyone is asking about you here. I told them you were not feeling well.

 

TaeTae: So if you get any messages, just play along.

 

Jimin: Will do! Thanks. Bye!

 

 

Jimin scrunches his face. He can't wait to talk to Jungkook and see him again. He knows tomorrow is Friday and he will be busy all day Saturday and Sunday, and he cannot wait till next week to see Jungkook again. 

 

They barely talked, he barely got to admire Jungkook. He is sure if he has to wait till next week, he will lose his mind.

 

"Shall I text him first, Tannie?" Jimin pets Yeontan and kisses him.

 

His phone beeps again. He picks up the phone thinking it is Taehyung again. The phone almost slips from his hand when he reads the name of the sender.

 

Jungkook: Hi

 

Jimin looks at the screen, not sure how he should react or even respond. Three dots appear on the screen making Jimin's heart race.

 

Jungkook: Sorry, I had to leave early. Thank you for getting it dry cleaned though, it wasn't required.

 

Jimin bites his lip and a small smile makes way to his lips.

 

Jimin: Hey.

 

Jimin: Trust me it wasn't any effort.

 

Jimin: Can I ask the reason behind your hurry? It is ok if you do not want to tell me.

 

Jungkook: Nothing major. I was getting late for my shift that's it.

 

Jimin: Shift?

 

Jungkook: Yes, at the restaurant I work at.

 

Jimin: Which restaurant?

 

Jungkook: Seoulful

 

Jimin sits upright on the bed, reading the name of the restaurant over and over again.

 

Jimin: Seoulful? I was there a few days back but I did not see you!

 

Jungkook: Yeah, I know. I was not feeling well that day and I was resting in the employee's room.

 

Jimin gasps loudly. He thinks how close, how super close he was to meet him that day, but he didn't.

 

Jimin: How do you know which day I am talking about?

 

Jungkook: Jin hyung told me that you were looking for the sweatshirt guy and when I came out you were already getting into the cab.

 

Jungkook: Thanks again.

 

Jimin: Stop saying thanks.

 

Jimin: When are you free? I want to thank you properly.

 

Three dots appear and they are gone soon. They appear again and it seems like Jungkook was thinking too much before typing.

 

Jungkook: You don't have to.

 

Jimin: I insist.

 

Jungkook: Ok.

 

Jungkook: I am free Saturday and Sunday.

 

Jimin: I am going home for two days, so I won't be here.

 

Jimin: Hey, what about tomorrow?

 

Jungkook: After college? I have work.

 

Jimin: When do you get off work?

 

Jungkook: 10.

 

Jimin: oh…

 

Jungkook: Next week then?

 

Jimin whispers to himself, "I cannot wait till next week to see you. Please understand."

 

Jimin: Sure…

 

 

*

Chapter Text

Taehyung looks at his best friend dragging him by his arm on the sidewalk. He can see few people turning their heads to look at them and for a brief while, Taehyung feels a bit embarrassed. When Jimin stopped the car, he thought they were going to the river walk but he was highly misguided when Jimin started walking in the opposite direction. His eyes fall at the Ghirardelli building. It has been a while since he went there and he can almost taste the mouthwatering chocolate covered everything. 

 

A very familiar building comes in his line of sight and he knows where Jimin is dragging him.

 

"Why are we going to Seoulful?" Tae asks.

 

"To see Jungkook," Jimin replies.

 

"Wow, you are turning into a whole creep. Calm down, will you." 

 

He doesn’t know how he feels about the creepy tendencies that are growing on Jimin. He saw Jimin reading the texts over and over again all day. 

 

Jungkook not having a profile picture bothered Jimin more than Tae anticipated.

 

Jimin stands to a halt and says, "It's not creepy!"

 

"Well, if you thought clearly about it, it is actually very creepy and stalker-ish. I might have to throw you into therapy if this continues." Taehyung remarks.

 

"Watch your mouth," Jimin warns and turns around towards the restaurant again.

 

Tae rolls his eyes and sighs, "Fine, let's see what your lil guy has got."

  

Tae forcefully opens the door and enters inside. He walks towards the counter and sees Jungkook's gaze shift from him to Jimin. He looks so nervous, Tae wants to laugh.

 

"Hello, welcome to Seoulful," Jungkook says as cheerily as he can manage.

 

Wearing his off white apron over a grey t-shirt and black slacks, he looks very ordinary. Taehyung tries hard to think about what might have appeased Jimin so much.

 

"Jungkook! Glad to see you." Jimin smiles wide.

 

Jungkook smiles at Jimin, a genuine smile. Taehyung raises his eyebrow wondering if both of them are whipped like cream for each other. 

 

"What can I get you?" Jungkook asks pleasantly. 

 

He steals a glance at Taehyung but looks away.

 

"I am craving boba today," Jimin says.

 

"Same for me," Taehyung replies in a monotone while carefully looking at Jungkook. He knows Jungkook is nervous when he sees him gulping and looking down at the floor, trying not to meet Taehyung’s eye. 

 

While Jungkook prepares their boba, a girl takes over the counter and prepares their bill. 

 

"Oh I forgot to introduce you both," Jimin happily chimes. "Jungkook, this is my bestest friend, Taehyung. Tae, he is Jungkook, he gave me a sweatshirt the other day. Such a humble guy isn't he!"

 

Taehyung nods all the while looking at Jungkook, "What are you studying, Jungkook?" He knows how to use his deep voice to intimidate people. Honestly, he is having so much fun around Jungkook, it’s hard not to enjoy seeing him nervous like a cat.

 

Jungkook timidly looks up from the machine, "Business studies, bachelors."

 

Jimin's mouth forms an 'o', "We are doing masters."

 

Jimin takes out his phone to pay for the drinks.

 

"Never seen you around, how come?" Taehyung enquires. 

 

Jimin throws Taehyung a sharp look and quietly stomps his foot over Taehyung's. 

 

"It's ok. We don't know everyone at the university."

 

Seokjin approaches them, a sly smile on his face. "Wow, twice in a week. Are you both alright?"

 

"Jin Hyung!" Taehyung says in disbelief. "First you complain we don't come here often and when we do you complain that we come here too often. Choose one."

 

Seokjin had to laugh looking at Taehyung's face.

 

"Just kidding. Well, how is the search for the sweatshirt guy going?" Seokjin asks. "Any luck?"

 

Jimin smiles wide, "We found him. It was Jungkook."

 

Seokjin’s eyes lit up in surprise, "Jungkook-ssi! Our little Jungkook? That's amazing."

 

Jungkook's face feels hot and he turns around to look at them. He gently places the lid on the mugs and places them on the counter.

 

"Please, enjoy your drink." He says shyly, still trying to avoid meeting eyes with Taehyung.

 

"Thank you, Jungkook! For both the sweatshirt and the boba." Taehyung says slowly making sure the counter guy heard every word clearly. Internally he has died laughing 50 times already. 

 

Jimin runs his hand through his hair and looks at very flustered Jungkook, "Hey, if you need anything-at university or outside, just let us know."

 

"Hm, you have his number, put it on speed dial and call him every time you need something." Taehyung sarcastically says. There was no way he would have let this opportunity pass. 

 

Jimin throws Taehyung a look before turning to look at Jungkook, "He means, don't feel shy or anything."

 

Taehyung takes a sip of his drink, "Never."

 

"I mean it," Jimin says softly. He immediately grabs Taehyung before his best friend can say another word. "And we will leave now. Thank you." He picks his cup and walks towards the door.

 

 




Jungkook simply watches them leave, not really sure what just happened here.

 

Tina turns to him and says, "They both are so weird."

 


 

 

As soon as they are outside the restaurant, Taehyung cannot hold his laughter anymore and laughs loudly holding his stomach. 

 

"You are so fucking annoying, Taehyung. He probably won't ever talk to me." Jimin tries to be mad at Taehyung but seeing him laughing like this, he tries hard to suppress his laugh.

 

"Did you see his face? Did you see his face… He looked like a lost rabbit." Taehyung throws his head back laughing heartily.

 

"Why were you tormenting him like this," Jimin asks.

 

"Ay, it was harmless teasing."

 

"He'll never see my face again." Jimin looks at Taehyung in disbelief.

 

"Well, at least you can come and see him again." Taehyung laughs.

 

"Never bringing you again," Jimin turns and starts walking towards their car.

 

"Jimin-ah, wait! We should come here often, he made good boba."

 

"Never coming here with you again, Tae." Jimin stomps his foot and walks ahead quickly, away from Taehyung.

 

Taehyung runs up to Jimin, laughing. Taehyung stops him midway and holds his free hand and continues laughing. 

 

Jimin tries to hold back his laugh but then gives up and then joins him. 

Chapter Text

Jimin's footsteps echo in the halls of his house. 

 

It’s his parent's mansion, a place that, however familiar it feels, he can't bring himself to think of it as his home. Maybe it’s because he doesn’t live there enough or maybe because he does not have any emotional attachment to this place. 

 

Jimin can see his mother’s personal touch in every detail, in how she was careful in creating luminous spaces, ushering the darkness away from the corners with crystal sculptures, strategically placed lamps, and mesmerizing artwork. It was a thing of hers: she hated neglected spaces. 

 

You couldn’t lay your eyes on an ugly corner, a mess of visible wires or a dying plant in the Park’s mansion. Everything spelled in neat letters, that order and elegance reigned there and absolutely nothing else.

 

A maid crosses the hallway carrying a voluminous vase of flowers in violet and white. 

 

Jimin smiles at her and bows his head slightly in acknowledgment, she returns the gesture before swiftly disappearing, hurrying to make some ignored corner of the house less empty.

 

His eyes fall on the family portrait on the main living room's wall. He loves that particular picture: His mom is sitting on an antique chair, the dark wood of it inlaid with an intricate design of leaves and flowers and upholstered with a vibrant cobalt velvet that offsets his mother’s pearly complexion and her raven-black hair. His father and he are standing beside her, both sporting perfect postures and showing their best side of the face, but it doesn’t look forced or unnatural as bright smiles on everyone's face. He clearly remembers the day the picture was taken, it was one of the best days he has spent with his family, even if it took a thousand shots to get it perfect.

 

He knows where to find the king and queen of the house on a Saturday morning. He looks around, searching without urgency as he walks out in their garden, the green expanse dotted with trees, rose bushes, benches and the occasional post-modern statue that extends far into the distance into a golf course. 

 

The sun is shining brightly, but it doesn’t have the summer’s burning force anymore, leaving more of a diffuse glow that glorifies the greens of the grass and the kaleidoscope of reds, oranges, and yellows of the dying trees. In the gazebo surrounded by yellow roses, the Parks are having breakfast at the round table prepared there for them. 

 

One of these days his mother will shiver at a gust of wind, tighten the shawl around herself and click her tongue before informing the maid that breakfast was to be had inside from thereon, but until then she will not miss on the last rays of sunshine. 

 

She is now pouring tea while talking to his dad who is busy half-scowling at the Financial Times.  

 

Jimin chuckles and makes his way towards them.

 

"Eomma!" Jimin hugs his mother from behind. 

 

Chanel no. 4 instantly fills his nostrils. It is her favorite and no other perfume has ever appeased her as much. For a while, he believed it was his mother alone who was keeping up the sales of the perfume.

 

His mother smiles wide turning her face to look at her son, "Jimin-ah!" She leans forward to kiss the chubby cheeks of her beloved son.

 

When Jimin was a baby, his mother had to stop herself from playing with Jimin's cheeks. She loves that the baby fat hasn't gone anywhere even though he has grown up.

 

"Appa!" Jimin leans into the open arms of his father whose frown had evaporated. 

 

Tightly hugging his father, he feels a slight pain in his heart, realizing how much he has missed them.

 

"I haven't seen you since you came back from your trip," His mother complains.

 

Jimin knew this was coming. 

 

He hasn't been home since he came back from Europe. He did meet his father every day while he was interning at the company. He facetimed his mother while being in the same city and they met for coffee in town but he couldn't be bothered to come down to the suburbs and actually spend time with them.

 

"I got busy." It’s true. 

 

Still, his mother gave him a look that says one of her favorite remarks ‘if there’s a will, there’s a way’ . And that’s true as well.

 

"It's all right, Eunjin. He is here for the weekend now." His father says before his wife can turn her look into words.

 

Jimin smiles slightly, he carefully chooses to omit that he will leave the following evening.

 

"Tea?" His mom offers, smiling, glad at the prospect of having him home.

 

He takes a seat between them and quickly picks up a warm scone. "Ready for the golf game, Appa?"

 

His father puts the newspaper away and takes a sip of his tea. 

 

"Yes. A lot of people are coming for the game and I want you to meet them."

 

Jimin nods as his mother serves him a cup of tea.

 

"I wanted you to come,” His father continues. “As it would be useful for you to be familiar with people you might work with one day. I hope you will join the business after you graduate next year." He catches the suspicious neutrality that fell on his son’s features, “Or the year after or when you feel ready.”

 

Jimin knows that it is his ultimate fate to join his father's company. 

 

He doesn't have anything against it, but he is not sure if he wants to commit himself to it so fast and forever. 

 

Growing up, he was very active and took part in everything that interested him spanning from horseback-riding to pottery, dance to chemistry olympiads. He had an extravagant glass case full of trophies and ribbons, as keepsakes.

 

His parents never stopped him from learning anything, they were not laser-focused on molding him into a CEO as soon as he learned walking, like some families are. They have been supportive of his passions and interests. 

 

Even when he came out to them, his parents did not make a fuss, no panic over the reputation of the family, no rejection. They were quite frozen for a few moments, but they moved on quickly. 

 

Before or after that they have never asked Jimin about his love life. 

 

Jimin and his parents never had a conversation about his sexuality since he came out to them and sometimes he wonders if his parents think it is just a phase and over time he will get over it.

 

But maybe it didn’t matter at all. 

 

If Jimin was spending hours riding, messing with clay, learning the splits or poring over biochemistry formulas, if he liked boys or girls or both and everything in between, the single-core truth was that his surname was Park and nothing could change that.

 

All the versions of Jimin, would not change his place in the world.

 

His parents have always been resting assured in their conviction that Jimin was going to step into his role as if they had read his future in the big book of life. 

 

"There's still time for me to graduate, I think I want to focus on that. How can I be good for the company if I’m not taking my current task seriously? I don’t want to divide myself into two tasks and perform both halfheartedly. I also don’t want to have those people look at me as the CEO’s kid, like it’s ‘ bring your son to work ’ day." Jimin says.

 

"I know, I just want to give you a feel of the situation, have you test the waters and introduce you to everyone formally." His father says.

 

As if they don’t know who I am already.

 

Jimin takes a bite of his scone and nods. "Can't wait." 

 

I’m sure your board of directors is dying to play nice with the boss’ brat too.

 

There's an awkward silence in the air, which makes him a bit anxious. It’s a build-up, and somehow he knows he won’t like what it leads to.

 

His father turns his body more towards him now, moving his attention from his cup to him  "Jimin-ah…” his father’s eyes are shifting in a shy way as if he’s uncomfortable with what he is about to ask, “ Do you have a special someone in your life?"

 

He stares at his father’s concerned but still awkward expression. He is not sure what prompted the question but he definitely does not like it.

 

"Someone like a lover," his father specifies, deepening the weirdness between them.

 

Jimin's heart sinks, he should have known this day would come. 

 

He has no idea what to tell him. He has had so many partners in the past 7-8 years, he doesn't even have a count. 

 

Jimin wonders if it is funny or concerning how much his parents do not know about his life.

 

Saying he never really had a long-lasting, traditional, committed relationship would make him look vapid and shallow. But he was uncomfortable lying.

 

Explaining that he might have found the love of his life biasing on his first-glance, gut-feeling and that he was hunting down the boy desperately camping at his workplace just to be in his space, might raise even more questions about his judgment.

 

"Why do you want to know now?" 

 

He is not ready to have his lifestyle exposed and scrutinized by his parents. They always let him be his own person as long as he was a good person and didn’t get in trouble. Them poking their noses into his very colorful and complicated love life was having him panicking.

 

Because Jimin was sent off to a private boarding school at the young age of 10, he didn’t grow up around his parents ro with them. It is one reason he is not super close to his family. When either he or Taehyung missed their parents, they both had each other to hold onto. It's not like their parents pushed them away intentionally, they each drifted to their own world with nothing tethering them together. 

 

Now that he is all grown up, his parents are ready to know him but he doesn’t know how to let them in his life and parts of it. 

 

Jimin hasn't lived with his parents for so long, he doesn’t know what it is like to live under their watch anymore.

 

He prefers sticking to his part of being a dutiful and caring son. 

 

His father lets out a shaky breath, "Is someone coming with you today to the…"

 

"No." Jimin takes a careful sip of his tea.

 

His father leans back in the chair. "Taehyung's parents are looking for a match for him, we were wondering if we should do that for you as well."

 

Match. 

 

Even though Jimin has just taken a sip of the tea, his mouth felt dry.

 

Taehyung, his best friend, so incredibly picky with his conquests and so quick to set them aside should he find something he doesn’t like, was to be set up with a stranger?

Oh, that would not sit well with him.

 







Taehyung spits his tea and coughs profusely. 

 

The house help immediately comes to pat his back. 

 

His mother passes him tissues and his father looks at him confused.

 

His younger brother —  Yeonjun’s— eyes widen at the news. Sitting right across from Taehyung, he’s clearly as blindsided as he is. 

 

"Sorry, who?" Taehyung asks again, thinking he heard it wrong the first time.

 

"Lee Ahreum, she attends your university, right? We met her parents and she seems like she would be a good addition to the family." His father says proudly.

 

“Then adopt her,” quietly suggests Yeonjun. The comment earns him a trademark unimpressed look from his father.

 

Taehyung swallows the bile and tries to remember the last time he saw Ahreum.  It wasn't a pleasant meeting and she stormed out of the house pretty mad.

 

"Appa! Ask me if I even want to get married or not!" Taehyung looks at his father in disbelief. How can his father not even ask him if he wants to get married or not? He doesn’t even know if Taehyung is currently in a relationship or not.

 

Taehyung’s father is a powerful real estate mogul and he doesn’t take no for an answer from anyone. 

 

His father puts his knife and fork down, "What is there to ask? She is a nice girl."

 

"Not my type, Appa!" It takes Taehyung a lot of energy to even fake politeness.

 

"What is this type of thing, Tae? We are not Americans. We may live here, but we follow our Korean traditions." His father makes it clear.

 

“Why only her? Why Ahreum? There are a million girls in this world. Why did you choose her?” Tae cries. 

 

His mother explains, “Well, I met her mother a few weeks back and she told me they were looking for a suitable match for their daughter. Well, it struck me that she is pretty, smart, kind and well- educated of course. What else can we ask for in a perfect daughter in law and a bride for you?” She continues with giddy excitement, her eyes shining, “She comes from a good family. We have known them for a long time. It’d be nice if both families can formally come together?.”

 

Mrs. Kim continues, "Meet her today, you might like her." She offers an encouraging smile, pushing the plate of baked potatoes towards him, as if in a bribery attempt.

 

"What if I don't?" Tae looks straight at his mother. His hunger has died. 

 

He should have taken on Jimin's offer to grab a good breakfast at their favorite breakfast bar before coming here.

 

His mother runs her hand through Taehyung’s hair, fixing it. 

 

"With this mindset, you won't. Have an open mind. Give her a chance, you might like her."

 

Taehyung knows there is not going to be any tender feelings blossoming between him and Ahreum. 

 

He had always disliked her at the way she pursued Jimin as one would chase after a literal prize. She came out to be calculating and driven by the uglier type of ambition: the one that used other people as a means to an end.

 

He certainly cannot tell this to his parents all of that, that would involve airing out Jimin’s business.   

 

He cannot wait for this day to get over already.

 

His father picks up his cutlery again and turns his attention to the youngest Kim. "Yeonjun-ah, how is school going?"

 

Yeonjun and Taehyung look strikingly similar. Anyone can tell they’re brothers. Well, they both take a lot from their father and barely anything from their mother.

 

"Good Appa," Yeonjun replies politely.

 

Taehyung looks at his brother and wishes he knew him better. But since they both live very different lives and are caught up with studies, him pursuing his master and his brother being a high school senior, they both really never have any spare time to sit down and get to know each other. Even personality-wise they both are very different and Taehyung has no idea how to even start bridging the distance between the two of them. 

  

His father continues talking to his brother and Taehyung's eyes shift towards the window from where he can see his father's private glider jet parked. He loves flying it, just like his father does, but he is sure he won’t get any pleasure from it today. 

 

He already regrets coming here and would do anything to avoid the game.

 


 

 

Taehyung parks his car and internally dreads going inside. 

 

It’s a great day for playing golf: cool wind, sunshine, very favorable. 

 

He spots Jimin's car parked not too far away. 

 

Parks and Kims have reserved parking during events like these. Being from the affluent part of society comes with its own perks. It is not like Naperville lacks rich people, it is famously called the rich people's suburb. Even so, there is not a single person who doesn't know the Parks and the Kims.

 

Taehyung takes a deep breath, cringing at the thought of what is coming in the next 10 minutes. His phone vibrates.

 

Jimin: I am near the drinks counter next to the fountain

 

It comes as a relief to him knowing Jimin is already here to give him moral support throughout the day. After breakfast with his parents, he immediately went to his room and called Jimin. Jimin told him about what he had heard and that he was worried. When Taehyung told him about the ‘perfect match’, Jimin screamed ‘What kind of fuckery is this’. He promised Taehyung that he would do everything he could to drag him out of the miserable situation. 

 

Taehyung walks quickly towards the drinks counter. He looks around to find Jimin. Technically, it should have been the easiest task since his pink fluffy hair can be spotted from anywhere. But it took Tae some time as Jimin is wearing a golf cap.

 

As soon as Jimin spots Taehyung walking towards him, he picks up two bottles of Stella Artois and hands one out to him.

 

"You'll need this," Jimin says.

 

"I'll need something stronger to get through this event." Taehyung takes a huge gulp. 

 

The beer is not cold enough and he is losing his patience.

 

"Don't worry, Tae! I have already planned our escape. We meet everyone here for a while, do all the pleasantries, then we quietly sneak out and go watch a movie. The game is going to last until the sun goes down. We can come back here at the last moment and if anyone asks, ' we were just here and there. How did you not see us !'"Jimin wiggles his eyebrows, "How is it?"

 

Tae sighs, "I don't care as long as it works."

 

Jimin pats his back, "It will."

 

Yeonjun walks towards both of them with a pout on his face. Taehyung has really no idea what goes inside his brother's head. 

 

"What are you doing here? Are kids even allowed here?" Taehyung teases him.

 

Yeonjun rolls his eyes, "Funny, ha-ha."

 

Jimin laughs, "Are you playing the Cello today?"

 

One thing that Taehyung and Jimin admire so much about Yeonjun is his passion for the Cello. 

 

Yeonjun started playing it when he was just 10. He plays the Cello like a dream and there's no denying that Yeonjun is at his happiest when playing.

 

Yeonjun nods and points at the small band on the podium. 

 

"There! But I don't know when it will start. I am trying to find the event coordinator."

 

"The one who looks like they are ready to pull out their hair is definitely the event coordinator," Taehyung says.

 

All three of them start looking around for an exhausted and annoyed person who is trying hard to keep their calm.

 

Taehyung's mother comes from behind and gently takes Tae's hand in hers. "Come, let me introduce you to her."

 

"No need. I already know her." Taehyung gently frees himself from her hold. Anything to avoid meeting Ahreum.

 

"Let me officially introduce you then." Mrs. Kim insists.

 

Jimin interjects, "That's actually not required. It'll be a bit awkward, you know."

 

Taehyung's mom looks at both of them and raises her eyebrows, "What are you both up to?"

 

"Nothing, why!" Tae defends them both.

 

She lets out a breath and pulls Tae with her, "Come on."

 

Tae is left with no other option but to accompany his mother. 

 

Meanwhile, Jimin gets called by his father. 

 

There's nothing he can do, even if he wants to. He just has to look for an opportunity to escape as soon as possible.

 

Taehyung can see Ahreum with her mother standing next to a golf cart. He rolls his eyes as they approach the mother and daughter. 

 

“Mrs. Kim,” Ahreum’s mother happily looks at his mother and throws her arms around him. 

 

Taehyung had to scoff at the fakeness. It doesn’t take him a lot of effort to spot the bullshit. He knows it when he sees one. 

 

“My son, Taehyung.” His mother gestures towards him while looking at Mrs. Lee, “I think you might know him but I thought of formally introducing him.”

 

Taehyung bows in respect. Even though he might not like this entire situation or the people standing in front of him, he still has his manners. His eyes fall on Ahreum and no matter how much he tries to keep an open mind all he can think of her as a person who does anything only if it benefits her. 

 

After a brief introduction, both Ahreum and Taehyung's mothers leave them alone to talk. 

 

Given a choice to eat glass or make a decent conversation with Ahreum, he would definitely choose eating glass. He looks around, purposely making it known that he is not interested in being here.

 

Ahreum runs her hands through her hair and looks at Taehyung. She clears her throat, "So…"

 

Taehyung immediately turns his head to look at her. "Don't get any ideas. I am not marrying you."

 

Taehyung can see the surprise on her face after the blunt rejection. Maybe because nobody ever has talked to her like this before but honestly he doesn’t care. 

 

"Who said I want to marry you!"

 

"Good to know. Just tell your parents I am not the right guy or whatever you feel like saying." Taehyung says. He can't care less what she ends up telling her parents, he just wants to be rid of all of this.

 

He throws her one last look and walks away to where Jimin is standing with a small group of people. He is glad he has Jimin by his side always. 

 

Jimin tries hard to cheer him up and after playing golf for an hour, they both quietly sneak out. 

 

In the end, they don't even go for a movie, but play all the upbeat songs in their car and just drive around aimlessly instead, stopping only at Starbucks and Portillo's.

 

I was past midnight when they reach back to Taehyung’s house. It has been on Taehyung’s to-do list to some pictures from their childhood framed in their apartment. They spend the rest of the night reminiscing about their olden days as they walk down the memory lane through the many photo albums.  

 

They pick a few pictures to put up in their apartment and fall asleep after the sunlight has made its way to Taehyung's room.




  

 

 

Jungkook scrolls through his Instagram and soon finds himself on Jimin's page. 

 

Since he began seeing him so often, he had been curious about what kind of person he might be. A part of his brain kept painting Jimin as a rich, spoiled brat who can't care less about anyone. Maybe he kept telling that to himself to keep the thoughts about Park Jimin away. But since he talked to him, his curiosity was piqued. 

 

He didn’t mean to look into Jimin's social media, but while scrolling through his Instagram feed he couldn't help but search for him. 

 

Jimin has been so polite and nice that it kept Jungkook wondering about him. He eventually gave up to the curiosity of knowing Park Jimin. 

 

The first picture on his Instagram is of him and Taehyung holding golf clubs. Jungkook's eyes widen when he sees that Jimin is wearing proper golf attire, polo t-shirt, pants, and a cap. He can't really picture Jimin wearing anything other than the urban-chic attires he wears daily.

 

The second picture is of some dessert and is tagged at the Drake. For all he knows, the water there costs more than his life. 

 

The next picture is of a cute dog captioned, ' Tannie's grooming day '. 

 

He has no idea what that is, but the dog is adorable. He moves to the next. He loves the entire aesthetic of Jimin's Instagram. The pictures of food, mountains, rivers, beaches, sky, random stuff and everything seems/looks so well put together. 

 

Jungkook can't stop scrolling through his feed. It seems to him that while Jimin posts about a lot of things, he barely posts anything with himself in it. And if he does, he’s with Taehyung. There are a ton of pictures of the two of them

 

As Jungkook keeps scrolling deep into his Instagram he is super careful not to accidentally like any post. 

 

But even if he accidentally liked any post, he’s sure Jimin wouldn't notice, considering his 20k+ followers.

 

The thing that absolutely fascinated him was the fact that in no post did Jimin show off his wealth or his family's status. The posts are something a normal university kid with a lot of time and a bit of money to spare will have on their Instagram. 

 

He is enticed by his photography skills and how he keeps changing the theme of his profile. The wintery black and white theme was his favorite followed by the very colorful summer theme. 

 

After giving it a thought, Jungkook taps on the follow button, knowing very well/convinced that Jimin wouldn't notice.  

 

As Hoseok calls for him from the living room, Jungkook gets up from his bed. He fixes his hair before leaving and picks his jacket. His hyungs have been meaning to take him to the Science Museum, and though he is not too keen about going there, he won’t say anything since he doesn’t want to kill the enthusiasm of his hyungs. 



*

Chapter Text

Jungkook is heading to Hoseok's dance studio, unhurriedly enjoying the walk. 

 

Summer was nice, but autumn always brought more clarity with its wind. The carelessness and laziness of the previous season evaporated and you could tell everyone on campus had a certain energy in their step. The air has a bit of a musky scent and he loves it. 

 

Yesterday, Jin told him that now the orders for pumpkin lattes will increase. He did not understand why but when he sees so many students drinking them from the biggest coffee mugs, he understands why. It’s the fall season.

 

He is very much amused by how many people here are driven by coffee. He himself loves a good cup once in a while, but it is not like he can't go without it.

 

As he enters the lobby of the dance studio, he sees students leaving. The university hours are over and everyone must be ready to go home. He is still looking around when someone bumps into him.

 

"Oh!" A familiar voice says. "Jungkook!"

 

"Jimin hyung! What are you doing here?"

 

Jimin brushes his fringe out of his face and points at the studio. "My dance classes."

 

Jungkook suddenly remembers Hoseok mentioning that on the very first day. 

 

Wearing his black tights and long off white t-shirt, Jimin looks like a proper dancer and Jungkook can't take his eyes off him. 

 

As Jungkook rakes his brain to find something intelligent to say and avoid at all costs blurting out something along the lines of, “You sweat prettily! You are all shiny and somehow not gross, how!?” Hoseok comes to the rescue.

 

"Kook-ah, you are here. I was going to text you."  

 

Jimin's brows knit together, "You know each other?" He turns to Hoseok for an answer.

 

"Yes, Jungkook is my partner's cousin."

 

Jimin is taken by surprise, "Your partner's cousin!" He cannot believe how small the world is. 

 

"Hyung, can you take my bag home? I am going to the Pier and I don't want to carry it around." Jungkook politely requests.

 

He wouldn't usually mind carrying it around, but he just got a few books from the library and they add a lot of weight to it. 

 

Navy Pier is filled with life with different rides, games, restaurants. Jungkook only got to spend a little time there when his hyungs gave him a tour but he wants to explore it more. 

 

Hoseok takes the bag from him, "Sure!" He ruffles Jungkook's hair, "Enjoy your time. I'll see you at home." He gives a quick squeeze to Jimin’s shoulder and leaves with the usual bounce in his step.

 

If Jungkook could muster a fifth of Hoseok’s unproblematic casualness, his life would be so much less stressful.

 

For a moment, Jungkook has no idea what to do. Small talk is not his specialty and Park Jimin is probably someone used to interact with socially skilled humans. He decides to make an excuse and leave.

 

Jimin breaks the silence before Jungkook can stiffly lie his way out, "Pier? Anything special?" He’s patting the sweat off of his neck with a towel, head tilted to the side and watching him with glimmering eyes, like a curious bird.

 

"Um, nothing. It's just a beautiful evening and it’s my day off. I’m new in town so..." Jungkook is stuffing his hands in his pockets and looking somewhere over Jimin’s shoulder. 

He thought that he had learned to master his shyness, but Jimin, with his dancer posture and halo of coolness, succeeded in reverting him back to middle schooler Jungkook.

 

Jimin gets suddenly excited, "Can I join? Unless you are going with someone?"

 

He wasn’t. He just meant to explore a bit since he’s been there only in passing. To anyone, having someone as nice and interesting as Jimin offering to spend time together, would seem like a great opportunity. 

 

But Jungkook is not great at impromptu social obligations/interactions. Back in Seoul, if someone asked him to go out on a whim, without any previous arrangement, he would often pretend his parents hadn’t given permission.

 

Jungkook swallows nervously. 

 

He is confused about why Jimin would want to go to a place he is probably bored of with a person that must seem as uninteresting, they aren't even friends. They had barely spoken and not at any point has Jungkook left any lasting effect for his witty banter.

 

But it would be so rude to say no. Jungkook grew up shy, but also very polite. "Sure, I don't mind company."

 

Jimin's entire face brightens up, "Great! I’ll be your guide. Can you just wait for five minutes? I just need clean clothes y’ know," He says, tugging at the collar of his loose shirt, exposing the glittery, honey tanned skin of his collarbones.

 

Jungkook smiles, trying to look casual. Jimin leaves, shooting him a grin over his shoulder. 

 

Jungkook watches Jimin leave and can't help but marvel at how good his legs and thighs look in those leggings. His off white t-shirt bunches at the dip of his back and Jungkook tries hard to not stare at how nicely his hips sway. He shakes his head and turns around thinking its creepy to look at someone like that and he must not do it.

 

As he waits he tries to steady himself and summon his inner Hobi-hyung. Jungkook is on a mission and one mission only: not embarrass himself.

 


 

 

Jimin and Jungkook walk side by side as they casually stroll along the Pier.  On their way there Jimin had blissfully taken the lead and walked Jungkook through a mostly smooth, light chat. 

 

Jimin is taken by surprise when he was presented with the revelation that Hoseok, his own dance teacher lives with Jungkook. He cannot believe how small the world is. 

 

“He’s probably from another university,” Taehyung had insisted, and it turns out Jungkook was just around the corner.

 

Jimin made a mental note to self: always ignore Taehyung’s hypotheses.

 

He looked for him everywhere, threw a party and put up the posters when he could have crossed paths with him at Jin’s place or through Hoseok. 

 

He can’t do anything about the time lost, but now he can surely make use of the time he is spending with Jungkook, to learn more about him. As they stroll, Jimin learns Jungkook had done a variety of sports in high school, that he liked the countryside and that he looked incredibly young when he laughed.

 

Jimin has been here too many times to count, so nothing is new for him, but Jungkook looks excited even by the little things. 

 

He even took the brochure with the activities list. Jimin looks at him and wonders why he needs it since he’s with him. He wonders if he’s the type that keeps this kind of thing as souvenirs. Jimin collected all his plane and museum tickets, sometimes even receipts, stored in a box. Taehyung joked that it looked like he was trying to gather an alibi for an eventual murder or something.

 

"Where are you from?" Jimin asks him, guessing he must be from a place where maxi soda cups aren’t a thing since he seemed pretty confused about why “ anyone would need that much Fanta”.

 

"Seoul." Jungkook proudly says. "I came here last month."

 

Jimin is surprised, "That far! Wow." 

 

Given Jungkook's accent, it crossed his mind that he might be from Korea, but he wasn't too sure.  He hasn't heard him talk enough before that afternoon and whenever he spoke he was too shy and quiet.

 

"Have you ever been there?" Jungkook asks sipping his soda.

 

"Ah, a long time ago. My mother's family lives there. She goes to Seoul every year, but I just can't find enough time with the studies and everything."

 

Jungkook looks at him with curious eyes, “I can't imagine what it must be like growing up in a country where you are visibly not the same race as the majority, trying to hold onto your cultural identity, but also trying to fit in.”

 

Jimin’s pink hair is swept by a gust of wind, the loop in his ear glinting. Jungkook’s deep thought gave Jimin something to think about. He never saw himself as someone other than people around. Culturally, of course they were different from Americans but he never struggled to find a place for himself. “I have never felt like an outsider. Maybe you don’t need to completely fit in to be fine, you are not supposed to fit in everywhere. You just need to find a place where you feel comfortable being you.”

 

Jungkook chuckles, “That’s so deep, hyung.” His attention goes back to the brochure. 

 

Seeing Jungkook so immersed in that leaflet, Jimin shakes his head and snatches it from. "I'll give you a tour."

 

Of all the attractions in the Pier, Crystal Garden is by far the best thing to show a tourist. The indoor botanical garden is a six‐story glass atrium with arched ceiling which holds live palm trees, lush foliage, hanging twinkle lights and dancing leapfrog fountains.

 

As they enter the crystal garden, Jimin can see that Jungkook is just completely awed. 

 

The intricate white metal structure and the glass makes it look like they’re inside a diamond. Ropes of crystal beads hang from the ceiling like comet tails.

 

The entire ambiance, with the palm trees reaching up and spreading their frayed leaves above everyone, is breathtaking. Here and there, round fountains with plants and flowers embedded on the rims spurt sprints of water into one another forming a system of water arches the visitors can walk under. On one side you can see through the glass, in all its geometric, led-lit glory, the Ferris wheel. 

 

"It is so beautiful," Jungkook says as he looks around. 

 

It is a beautiful place indeed and he’s glad Jungkook liked it. He also pats himself on the back for jumping at this opportunity to be with him: how else would he have been able to see Jungkook’s eyes glittering like that.

 

"Why didn't you tell me you had a day off?" Jimin has been wondering about it since Jungkook told him about it. "I wanted to thank you."

 

Jungkook bites his lip, "Um… I had no idea how to tell you that. I mean… it would have been so awkward to just text you like ' hey, it's my day off. wanna buy me a coffee? ’”

 

This incites a laugh from Jimin. True, it would have been awkward, if it was anyone else but him. 

 

Jimin had made Taehyung so tired of his fixation on Jungkook. that it seemed unreal to be reminded that the boy in question had no clue of his impact on Jimin.

 

"I thought of texting you this morning, but you might have had other plans. I didn’t want to disturb you." Jungkook admits.

 

Jimin did not have any plans. He would have gone home, ate something and left with Taehyung to some party or to meet his other friends. It is his general day to day routine, nothing more, nothing less.

 

"You can text me anytime, I already told you that."

 

Jimin knows if it was anyone else who had permission to contact him or text him anytime, his phone would have been blowing up. Jungkook did not take the opportunity. He did not text him all weekend. 

 

I didn’t want to disturb you.

 

Jimin was used to being used, to being seen as a walking opportunity, a door to certain events, a certain lifestyle, a certain social prestige. 

 

Jungkook could be taking advantage of him to know more people, integrate into the school, but instead, he was treating him first and foremost like a person with a private life to be respected.

 

He did see that Jungkook followed him on Instagram though. He almost sprained his ankle jumping in happiness. When he scrolled through Jungkook's Instagram he was surprised to find only 20 pictures in all five years of him having an account. There were just two pictures of his face, from three years ago. 

 

Jimin was on the verge of having a breakdown. He can't understand how anyone can have only 20 pictures in five years when he has almost 800 on his account. Does he not know his face is beautifully symmetric and totally photogenic? He quickly had to check his own profile and look at the proper aesthetic to feel better. 

 

Jimin proposes riding on the Ferris wheel next. As they walk, Jungkook takes some pictures with his phone.

 

"I can take one of you here," Jimin offers.

 

Jungkook shakes his head saying he doesn't like getting his pictures taken which further intrigues Jimin. Maybe he is annoyed by people gushing over his looks. Maybe he had crazy online fans. It happened to Taehyung, a girl even wrote a very inappropriate and disturbing comment on a picture of his and he had to go private and take a break from socials for a bit.

 

"How was your weekend?" Jimin asks. He got no clue about his life from his social media so he might just ask the old fashioned way.

 

"It was good. We went to the science museum and I worked a few hours at Seoulful. Weekends are such a rush." Jungkook informs. 

 

Jimin is impressed, "The science museum! That's one of my favorite places to go when I am bored. It is so fascinating to see everything, you know, how we evolved, our DNA or how electricity was invented. Science is amazing."

 

Jungkook stares at him and then laughs. "You are a nerd!"

 

“My hair is way too good to be linked to a word like that,” He says, overdramatically combing his hair back with a hand, "But I enjoy anything related to science. Did you enjoy the museum?" Jimin asks.

 

Jungkook purses his lips, "Umm… I am not a science guy. To be honest, I thank science for giving us everything we have today, but I honestly can't care less about how electricity came into existence. The only thing I know is that we evolved from monkeys, that's it."

 

Jimin laughs, "The only thing? You can store only a single science fact in your brain?"

 

"I hated science so much in school, it legit made me cry. Science and Math."

 

"I loved Math and Science, Chemistry especially," Jimin says passionately. He kept to himself that he was the consecutive winner of four Math Olympiads in school.

  

Jungkook’s eyes widen, “I just had a brief flashback of every single time chemistry equations kept me awake at night and the PTSD trigonometry gave me.” He continues, "Wow! I guess… you are a certified nerd then, no matter how much you try to distract people with your hair." 

 

Jimin gives him a quietly amused look, looking up from under his lashes. Jungkook is a bit disoriented, a bit dry-mouthed.

 

"I pass all my classes, which is my only aim. I’m not grade-obsessed." Jimin says with ostentatious nonchalance.

 

Jungkook closes his eyes and a sly smiles makes way to his lips, “I hate, really hate when the top students behave like they don't put their blood, sweat, and tears into their studies and just say ' oh, it is a surprise I passed haha '.” He looks at Jimin, “I have never been a top of the class type of kid, but if I ever topped any subject I would go around boasting about how much effort I put into it. I won't let it slide saying it was easy because god knows passing classes is not easy, let alone being excellent.”

 

Jimin looks at him, eyes wide with surprised. "Why did you visit the museum if it doesn't interest you?” He can’t find any reason why a passionate science un-enthusiast would go to a place dedicated to science. 

 

"Ah, hyungs were so excited to take me there, I didn't have the heart to tell them that I am not a science enthusiast," Jungkook says. "Honestly, it is so weird not being the person who likes this stuff."

 

"Why is it weird?" Jimin asks as they come to stand near the Ferris wheel.

 

"Well, everyone I know enjoys it. When I tell people that I don't, I get awful looks." Jungkook confesses."I generally lie about liking it just so no one can question me."

 

Jungkook looks at Jimin who is looking back at him trying to figure him out. Jimin is not judging him or questioning his choices. He just wants to understand. 

 

Jimin shrugs, his lips quirked to a side in a resigned half-smile that brings out a dimple in his cheek, "Well, to each their own. I don't think there is anything to feel ashamed about. People get judgy about the weirdest stuff. Have you ever tried to refuse chocolate for no other reason than that you don’t like it? People go bonkers."

 

Jungkook looks at him speechlessly, eyes wide. But Jimin has a taunting smile on and Jungkook presses his lips shut, earning a giggle from Jimin.

 

"Wait here, I'll get the tickets," Jimin says and jogs towards the booth, pink hair bouncing.

 

"I can pay for my own," Jungkook half-yells after him.

 

Jimin waves him off without turning around.

 

 



Jimin had always laughed thinking about how a ride in Ferris wheel can be romantic. He came to a conclusion a long time back that the movies and novels only hype it to boost the Ferris wheel industry. 

 

It’s good marketing, but can’t live up to the expectations. Honestly, how can one feel get the right atmosphere when hanging in the air, wind whipping your face and people screaming around you.

 

But he has never been so wrong in his life.

 

Jungkook’s delightful squeals and excitement doesn't fail to bring a smile on Jimin's face. Sitting so close to him that their knees touch each other, Jimin has a difficult time concentrating on anything but Jungkook. He really can't hear anything around him, only Jungkook's voice.

 

If it were up to him, he would live on a Ferris wheel from now on just to see Jungkook so happy and giddy.

 

"This is so much fun," Jungkook throws his hands in the air while giggling to himself.

 

Out of instinct, Jimin places his hand behind Jungkook's back, steadying him. There's no way Jungkook can hurt himself, but Jimin is feeling so protective of him at the moment.

 

Jimin carefully looks at Jungkook and his heart melts at the happy glow on Jungkook's face. The pretty city lights in front of them, the sun setting behind Jungkook, casting a faint halo over his head, Jimin is sure he has never seen anything more beautiful in his life.

 

When they both get off and are on their feet, Jungkook holds his stomach while laughing.

 

"Do you want to go again?" Jimin asks excitedly. 

 

He would take Jungkook on that Ferris wheel every day just to see him like this.

 

Jungkook takes a deep breath to stop from laughing, "No. I think once was enough. Maybe I'll come back again in a few days."

 

"Really?" Jimin knows this is the opportunity and he must seize it. "I think the Pier is fun with friends or someone. It might get boring alone."

 

Jungkook thinks about it, "You are right. If I came here alone, I don’t think I would have enjoyed it so much. Thanks for coming with me here, hyung."

 

Jimin smiles wide, "No worries. It is my city, I should be a good host."

 

"You really are. I'll recommend you on trivago as a tour guide."

 

Jimin giggles.

 

"Next time too, I can accompany you," Jimin says, trying to make his proposition clear.

 

"Really? Why?" Jungkook looks at him confused.

 

"Uh…" Jimin's eyebrows shot up as he thinks for an excuse. "I mean, I love coming to the Pier but I generally don't have a company. I don't like coming here alone." 

 

Jimin realizes how smoothly he can make excuses if he needs to, "Next time you plan to come here, let me know. I'll accompany you."

 

Jungkook nods, "Or if you want to come here, you can ask me to accompany you here."

 

"Of course," Jimin high fives Jungkook, "We are a good company for each other."

 

Jungkook giggles and turns around to walk ahead.

 

Jimin pats himself on the back internally, satisfied with his bluff.

 

"Do you want to eat something?" Jimin asks. He catches up to Jungkook and his big strides, "Have you tried our famous Chicago hot dogs? The best thing this city can serve?"

 

"I have not. I have had enough popcorn though," Jungkook informs him. “My hyungs never said anything about hot dogs.”

 

Jimin smiles, "Let me get you the best hot dogs." Once again, Jimin is quickly off before Jungkook can protest. He comes back with the two hot dogs and two cans of coke. 

 

Taking their snack with them, they go to sit at the observation deck. 

 

With their legs dangling down from the edge, they look at the endless expanse of blue water stretching in front of them.

 

Mesmerized by the view in front of him, Jimin says, "When I was a child, I used to get fascinated by looking at the horizon. I always wanted to travel to the point where earth and sky met. But no matter how far we went, both the sky and earth moved farther away from me. I have even cried because of it."

 

Jungkook laughs, "I used to think that too. I thought if I could touch the sky then I would be sucked into space and would get to avoid school."

 

This incites a laugh from Jimin, "Avoid school?"

 

"I hated school, ok!" Jungkook shakes his head.

 

Jimin nods sympathetically, "So I’ve learned." Jungkook’s hatred for studies made him quite adorable. Jimin pictures a young Jungkook pouting in front of homework.

 

"What are you doing here, if you hate studies so much? I mean, you are in another country, pursuing your bachelor's. I am confused."

 

Jungkook sighs, "Well, it doesn’t matter how much I dislike studies, I have to get a job. And I need to have a decent degree for that."

 

"No, you can make a living from what you love. There must be something that you’re passionate that drives you."

 

"I love playing games all day and all night." Jungkook smiles. "But let's get real here, that's not a career. I need something solid so I can at least have an income to live off of every month."

 

Jimin agrees.

 

"But I love what I am studying now. Maybe school wasn't for me, but the university is definitely for me. I love it here."

 

"That's very nice. I am glad you are interested in your course now." Jimin says and pats Jungkook lightly.

 

Jungkook takes a bite of his hot dog and munches on it. "This is so good." He says with a mouth full of food.

 

Jimin smiles, delighted that Jungkook loved the treat he got for them. He picks his can of coke and takes a sip.

 

"Do you miss your family?”Jimin asks. “Seoul is far from here." 

 

Jungkook looks down at his lap, "They miss me more. It has always been me, mom and dad. Now it's just two of them."

 

"I hope you go to see them soon," Jimin says earnestly. He has always lived near his parents and never got to really miss them. He can only imagine how difficult it must be for Jungkook and his parents to live so far apart.

 

Jungkook shakes his head and looks ahead at the river, "No, I won't go back home until I have graduated. I will take an internship after the year ends."

 

"That's three years, Jungkook!" Jimin gets concerned about him.

 

"Well, I FaceTime them every alternate day. And to be honest, they both have always lived their life around me. It's ok if they start living for themselves now." Jungkook says.

 

They both sit quietly, finishing their snack?

 

The evening is getting darker and colder. They decide to leave, hoping to come back here soon.

 

As they walk towards the exit, Jungkook sees a little child with round glasses. He chuckles, "Every time I see someone wearing those, I get a feeling that they are a Harry Potter fan."

 

"What's wrong being a Harry Potter fan?" Jimin wonders.

 

"I didn't say anything is wrong, it's just that I don’t understand the hype around it. I mean, I like books, but nothing more." Jungkook says.

 

Jimin shakes his head, "What house are you in?"

 

"What?"

 

"Hogwarts house?" Jimin looks at him puzzled. Everyone knows if you are asked about your house, it is your Hogwarts house.

 

Jungkook chuckles, "I don't know. Why is it important?"

 

Jimin gasps audibly, "Jeon Jungkook, how come you don't know your Hogwarts House? People are born with it."

 

Jungkook laughs, "I take it that you are a Harry Potter fan."

 

"Fan is an understatement," Jimin says seriously. Growing up he has read the books so many times, that he is sure he knows every word by heart now. 

 

"It’s not even a real world. It's just a fantasy. Why should I think or care about a fantasy world?" Jungkook says. “I never really understands the whole HP madness in general.”

 

Jimin's hand flies to his face, "How can you say that? The HP world has raised an entire generation."

 

Jungkook takes a deep breath and walks ahead, "Can't relate to it."

 

Jimin screeches loudly, "Jeon Jungkook!"

 

Jungkook laughs and walks quickly ahead while Jimin tries to catch up with him. Jimin sits Jungkook down and tries to explain to him the cultural importance of Harry Potter and why it is important to know your Hogwarts House.

 

"Your house says so much about you as a person," Jimin explains him seriously.

 

Jungkook laughed it all off and refused to take the quiz online. Jimin ultimately huffed and gave up. He has never met a person who has a dislike for science or HP. He is quite amused and curious about Jungkook even more. He wants to spend more time with him and learn all about him. 

 

When they part ways, Jimin has a stupid smile on his face and his heart is overflowing with love. He knows he can't wait to see Jungkook again and spend time with him. Even though they both have only just become friends, to Jimin it feels like he has known Jungkook forever.

 

Jimin looks up at the sky filled with stars and blows a kiss as a thank you to the universe for Jungkook.  

 

 

*

Chapter Text

After their trip to the Pier, Jimin seemed to have developed an addiction to Seoulful’s coffee.

 

He goes alone or with Taehyung in tow and it’s never for a take away: he always drinks it at one of the tables inside, preferably in a spot with a clear view of the counter and the boy working it.

 

Jungkook’s job means that Jimin gets to see him as much as he wants — while getting some actual work done on his laptop— without seeming too stalkerish because he can blend with the other customers. On the other hand, the fact that Jungkook is obviously always busy serving said customers also means there are not many occasions for interaction. 

 

Jimin thinks he might cross the line by engaging Jungkook in a conversation since he’s on the job, he also doesn’t want Jungkook to be kind to him only because he has to as an employee of the establishment. 

 



 

Today, in particular, Seokjin has been observing Jimin. 

 

He has noticed Jimin has started to camp in the lounging area, mistaking it for his office apparently. 

 

Jimin generally leaves in an hour or two, but today he has been here for almost four hours and it is not sitting right with Seokjin at all. 

 

He should start paying rent at this rate! “Rent-rate” that’s a good wordplay, I should write it down.

 

Seokjin makes his way towards Jimin's table. Pulling out a chair for himself, he sits across from Jimin.

 

Jimin looks up and smiles brightly, "Seokjin hyung! Hi…"

 

"Are you trying to turn my restaurant into the corner side coffee shop?" He asks in an overly sweet tone.

 

Jimin looks at him, confusion clouding his face, "No, why?"

 

"Then why are you sitting at one table for hours?" Seokjin questions.

 

"Oh, but I even ordered coffee and food. I ate so much that I feel bloated now. Tae joined me today and we had a feast for dinner. The food was undoubtedly amazing hyung and no lie, we scraped the bottom of our bowls.”

 

"You punk, nobody gets bloated eating food made in my restaurant," Seokin narrows his gaze. "You are such a regular here, it is concerning me now."

 

Jimin smiles politely, "I come here often because of the ambiance. It's fabulous."

 

"Liar! I have been running this restaurant for five years now and never have you stepped in here just for the ambiance. What is going on? Are you doing some research about my restaurant? Does it have anything to do with your chain of hotels?" Seokjin looks at him questioningly, trying to find his ulterior motive.

 

Jimin looks at him aghast, "Jin hyung! How can you even think something like that?"

 

"Then what is the reason?"

 

"I told you," He pouts.

 

Jin glares at him and Jimin mouths 'fine' at him. He shuts down the lid of his laptop and picks his laptop sleeve. Jin nods and quietly leaves. He didn't want to do that but he knows if he allows Jimin to work here for hours, soon his restaurant will be like every other Starbucks in the country.

 


 

 

Jimin looks outside the window and lets out a long sigh when he notices how heavily it is raining. He just wanted to spend some more time around Jungkook. 

 

It makes him happy to hear his voice, his laugh, to see him greeting the customers so warmly.

 

Sometimes they would even lock eyes. Jimin would just wave at him and loved it when Jungkook smiled sweetly in return.

 

Seeing him around more often seems to have eroded a bit of Jungkook’s quiet reserve. He didn’t look surprised or taken aback by Jimin’s presence or interactions anymore.

 

Jungkook seems more comfortable with Jimin around and he is always welcoming him with a smile. A smile Jimin loved so much. While Jungkook made him his coffee or Boba, Jimin would strike a small conversation with him about anything in general. 

 

Like today, while Jungkook was busy making coffee, Jimin saw a flier regarding a small musical gig. He asked Jungkook if he would like to attend it and Jungkook told him that he was more of a ballad person than Pop or R&B guy. These small conversations meant a lot to Jimin as he learned so many things about him which he wouldn’t otherwise.  

 

But he won't be able to do it anymore. He can't even find excuses to come here often now. He will have to think of something else, maybe he should try being friends with Jungkook. 

 

Yup, that actually is a good idea. 

 

Jimin has been meaning to be friends, actual friends, with him. He just didn’t know how to go about it without pressuring Jungkook. 

 

In his head, he keeps reliving the time he spent with Jungkook at the Pier. On good days he thinks of it as a wonderful evening, on bad days he worries he imposed his presence on someone too shy to refuse him.

 

They both sometimes talk over texts but nothing major. Jimin overanalyzes it all and never knows if he’s progressing or dragging around a dead horse.

 

He hoped that coming to Seoulful will help him become friends with Jungkook, but since Jungkook is always busy behind the counter, he barely makes an attempt to be friends. He had only gawked a lot.

 

Halfheartedly, Jimin gets up from his chair and starts towards the door. He glances at Jungkook, but he is busy with a customer, so he leaves without saying a word.

 

 

The rain is pouring incessantly and Jimin finds shelter in a Whole Foods. He aimlessly wanders around and when he gets bored, he randomly picks a packaged box of spring rolls and gets in line to get it billed. 

 

In the line next to his, two girls are holding hands and giggling to themselves. 

 

Jimin smiles at them, but deep down he gets a flicker of jealousy. 

 

In all these years, he has never shared a tender moment like this with anyone, never held anyone that lovingly. He has seen way too many romantic movies not to understand why those moments are so important. He knows it is not about the big gestures but about the little things, late-night talks, silent conversations through glances, smiling for no reason. 

 

And to his worst luck, never has he experienced it.

 

He looks away deciding not to torment himself anymore. Maybe one day the universe will let him have his own miracle, the knowledge in the back of his head, at the bottom of his heart that he has been chosen as someone’s life mate. He would hold his person so close so tight that it'll finally feel like home. He wouldn’t squander it. He doesn’t know if he deserves such a thing, but if the universe gifted it to him, he’d treasure it.

 

Once Jimin has paid, he walks over to the exit and looks out. The rain has evidently slowed down but doesn’t seem to show any sign of stopping. Jimin checks the weather app: it seems like it will go on for the whole night. 

 

He lets out a sigh and decides to quickly walk towards his car to avoid getting drenched in the rain.

 

As he walks briskly, he sees a homeless man sitting on the curb, a cat shivering in his arms. He only has an umbrella to shield them from cold needles of the rain. The man's belongings are soaking up too. Jimin doesn't have anything to give him or help him. He walks up to him and offers him the box of spring rolls he just brought. The man thanked him with a smile, peering up to blink at him. The cat meows dismally.

 

As he walks towards his car which is parked near Seoulful, he sees Jungkook coming out. Jungkook is relying only on the hood of his sweatshirt and his own hands to cover his head. Jungkook looks up at the sky.

 

"Jungkook-ah," Jimin quickly makes his way to him, his shirt almost soaking up in the rain.

 

Jungkook turns to him and looks at him in surprise, "Jimin hyung!"

 

"Rain won't stop anytime soon. Come on, let me drop you home." Jimin says and gestures him towards his Range Rover parked just a few steps away.

 

Jungkook hesitates, "I can catch a bus-"

 

Jimin waves him off, "I don't mind dropping you."

 

Jungkook is deep in his thoughts.

 

“Jungkook, you are getting me soaked,” Jimin snaps his out of his thoughts.

 

“Oh, sorry. I would like you to-” Jimin doesn’t let him finish, taking him by the wrist and running lightly to the nearby dryness of his car. 





 

The traffic in the city has predictably slowed down. The streets feel empty without people walking their pets or the general crowd. The pedestrians hurried by with their heads bowed down.

 

As they drive through the downtown, the city feels lazy to Jungkook, as if everyone is nestled either in a car or in the warmth of their homes. As they drive along, Jungkook looks out the window at the city passing by, his view distorted by the raindrops continuously falling down. 

 

Yet the city looks so beautiful, more than he can put in words. All he wants to do is get out of the car and get wet in the rain, feel the raindrops fall on his face and cool winds gush around him, breathe in the city. 

 

When Jimin offered to drive him home, Jungkook weighed his options carefully. He was really tired from his shift, the rain would have slowed down the bus (the floor of which was probably going to be a magnificent slippery dirt-fest and there’s always one person that gets your shoes wet with their umbrella) and without a doubt, he would have missed his usual train. And even though he would manage to catch the next train, he has a faint idea that it will be packed and dirt fest. The option of taking a ride with Jimin seems the best. He promised himself to make it up to Jimin after.

 

He leans his head on the window and sees his breath fogging in a small patch on the glass. He runs his fingers through it and chuckles. A memory crosses his mind: when he was a child he used to do the same thing and doodle on the glass. He used to love going on drives during the cold, rainy season, and he would accompany his father on random errands just for the ride.

 

Traffic lights, lamp posts, and neon signs shine on the wet asphalt, making the streets look like the shimmering skin of a great, flat snake. The red traffic light bounces on the hood of the car, and on Jimin’s skin too.

 

The contrast with the deep shadows on his features makes him look less painted-cherub-pretty, more marble-angel-handsome. That, and the calm surety with which he drives, eyes focused on the road, make Jungkook feel some type of way.

 

"Your city is so pretty." He says, needing to get away from his mind’s musings.

 

Jimin laughs— not one his bubbly giggles or airy head-thrown-back laughs, it’s something discreet, from his chest, as if he was chuckling to himself. "You have said that 500 times already. You are falling in love with it."

 

Jungkook smiles looking down at his knees, "I am just amazed at how lucky I am to be here.” He sits back and turns to the window. “There’s an elegance to the city. I don’t know, I am not good at saying what I mean." Jungkook lets out a breath and smiles, a little embarrassed, at Jimin.

 

“I can’t really picture what it feels like for you, I grew up here. Hometowns are a bit like moms,” Jimin continues, “and no one can talk shit about them, but you don’t appreciate them anymore as you grow and it’s a bit...surprising to hear them praised. Makes you feel proud.”

 

“Yeah” Jungkook agrees. “Seoul is a bit like my mom too: won’t tolerate me leaving trash around.” 

 

When Jimin laughs; this time, it’s loud and bright.

 

They are bottled up at an intersection when Jimin turns to Jungkook and asks, "How is...” 

 

He runs a hand in his hair. “How are you, Jungkook?" He asks softly. ”New town, new people, new job and all, you have a lot on your plate.” 

 

Jungkook looks at him, an impish smile tugging at his lips, "You see me every day, hyung. Do I look troubled?"

 

Jimin bites the insides of lip cheek, "Jungkook-ah, it’s not wise to judge by appearances. As your senior, can't I ask about your wellbeing?"

 

"Of course you can. But, as your barista, judging by your orders, can I worry about your caffeine intake?" He asks, satisfied that he overturned Jimin’s argument. The light from the outside makes his eyes twinkle and as he leans forward and looks straight into Jimin's eyes, it looks like the glint of mischief. "So, how are you doing, hyung?"

 

Jimin huffs, eyes widening, "Touché, you nosy barista.” 

 

Jungkook leans back, "No, really. How come you are at Seoulful so much?"

 

"Well, it’s simple: the leaves are changing color, and I am changing hanging out spots. I follow nature, Jungkook, I have a deep connection to Mother Earth.” Before Jungkook can get over the joke and push for a real answer, Jimin follows with, "Do you like working there?"

 

Jungkook gets serious now, "I love it there. I heard some of my friends complain about their employer and I’m honestly blessed. I am thankful Jin hyung is so good and nice to me. Actually, he is nice to everyone."

 

Jimin nods, "Yeah, he is a really good man."

 

“I don’t know if...it’s definitely none of my business,” He says, scratching the nape of his neck, shy all over again.

 

“What is it?” Jimin asks. 

 

Jungkook bites his lips and then shyly turns his head to Jimin, "I don't know much about Jin hyung, except that he goes on a lot of dates. Every day there are flowers or gifts for him, literally every day. Does he have a partner? Is he taken? I have never seen him with someone."

 

Jimin leans back on his seat, "Jin hyung!" He looks at Jungkook, "Well, you will know when you know."

 

Tina once told Jungkook that she hasn't seen a single day when there weren't any gifts delivered for him. 

 

Jungkook pouts, he knows he could ask his hyungs, but Jimin is laughing about it like it’s just some silly thing about Jin. He will probably find out if he too, like Jimin, gets to know him better. If Jin doesn’t mean for everyone, to know, there would be a reason.  

 

Out of the blue Jungkook says, "I followed you on Instagram. Your profile theme is incredible."

 

"Oh, thank you!" Jimin tries for a nonchalant tone, the opposite of an oh-thank-god-you-are-validating-me tone.

 

"You love traveling, it seems," Jungkook says. No envy, no judgment in his statement. 

 

Jimin nods, “Yes I love traveling so much. When you visit a new place, you learn about its culture, its history. It feels incredible to see how people in the past have made so many efforts to bring forward a community or spread a culture.” Jimin looks at him to assure himself that Jungkook is still interested in listening to him, “Taehyung and I visit new places whenever we can. It’s kind of soul-satisfying.”

 

Jungkook gazes at him as they drive towards his house. At some point, he zones out and simply looks at the side profile. 

 

Jimin's features are such a combination of soft curves and sharp lines. Jungkook distantly wonders how he looks like when he’s angry, if the gentleness can be truly swept away from his face. His hair looks soft and wind-swept even though Jungkook knows dyed hair cannot really be silky and probably since Jimin keeps running his hand through his hair. His eyes shift to the hand he is gesturing with as he tells a story about their travel this summer through Europe, while he holds the steering wheel with the other. 

 

Jungkook wonders what it will be like to hold his hand. He has heard rumors about Jimin that he never sticks around with a single person. But he doesn’t think he knows enough about Jimin to believe any rumors about him. True or not, he really doesn’t care. With the politeness and thoughtfulness Jimin has shown him, Jungkook knows that Jimin is a good person. He can’t judge Jimin for his choices when he barely knows him. 

 

He licks his lips as his eyes slide down to Jimin’s lips.

 

Jimin turns his head to Jungkook, and snaps his fingers to snap him out of his reverie, "You are sleeping with your eyes open. Jin hyung works you too hard." 

 

Jungkook quickly turns his head to his lap and nervously picks at his jeans. He can feel his heart beating wildly, hoping his face doesn’t show how flushed he feels. 

 

Jungkook doesn't look at Jimin again for the rest of the ride and tries to keep his eyes on the road.

 


 

"Which one is yours?" asks Jimin, slowing down the car and peering up at the condos.

 

"Blue one. Second floor, the one where you can see a few flower pots." Jungkook points at his house as Jimin stops the car. "Come inside, meet my hyungs, they’ll be glad to meet you."

 

Jimin gives him a look that makes Jungkook feel like he’s being searched for something. Whatever Jimin finds, he seems to like it by rewarding Jungkook for it with a half-smile. "Next time."

 

Jungkook exaggerates a surprised expression, "Did my boba’s quality earn me a free Uber Select?" He asks jokingly.

 

Jimin ducks his chin a bit, pinning him to the car door with a dark gaze. "Nothing is free in life." In the next second, though the intensity is gone and Jimin is giggling at his undoubtedly dumbstruck face.

 

Jungkook laughs, "Hyung, you are funny. Thanks for the ride."

 

It feels like something is missing, like he can’t just leave like this, so Jungkook extends his hand for a handshake, too fast and rigidly, before he can think better of it.

After a second of amused surprise, Jimin takes it and gives it an energetic squeeze.

Jungkook feels the warmth and softness of the skin, but it’s nothing like the kind of touch he had fantasized about before. He gets out of the car before he can waste more of Jimin’s time.

 




Jimin watches Jungkook running up the stairs and fumble with his keys before he disappears inside. Jimin rests his forehead on the steering wheel, already pining after Jungkook. 

 

He turns his head to look at the passenger seat and all he can see is Jungkook laughing, him fluttering his eyelashes, his occasional dimples.

 

Having Jungkook in the familiar space of his car, right where Taehyung usually is, made Jimin feel like Jungkook is less of a far-away mirage and more of a person that might actually be in his life. 

 

For once, Jungkook was literally within reach. So much that it was almost painful to hold back from touching him. 

 

Jimin chuckles, "Jungkook-ah, next time spend some more time with me," He says to the empty seat.

 

 


 

 

Yoongi sips his coffee while leaning on the window. The rain had him worry over Jungkook. He texted him several times, but his cousin never replied. 

 

Hoseok kept telling him that he should let Jungkook navigate through situations like these on his own.

 

Yoongi did agree that in life there are going to be worse dangers than water falling from the sky and causing traffic, but he’s responsible for Jungkook in America. He trusts Jungkook, his anxiety is more about not trusting himself as his guardian. 

 

The door opens and Jungkook walks in, dropping his bag, "It's cold outside. And damp."

 

Jungkook takes off his shoes and socks hurriedly, trying to get rid of his wet socks and shoes.  

 

As he enters the sitting room he spots Yoongi by the window. 

 

Hobi turns his head to look at him and opens his arms for a hug he says, "Did you get wet? It's raining cats and dogs outside."

 

Jungkook leans in for a tight hug.

 

Hoseok runs his hand over his back and says, "We were waiting for you for dinner.”

 

Jungkook straightens up and looks at Yoongi who in return gives him a questioning look.  "Who dropped you off? Seokjin hyung?"

 

Jungkook scratches at a nonexistent itch behind his ear, and sheepishly  says, "Jimin hyung."

 

Yoongi's eyes widen, "Park Jimin?"

 

From behind, Hoseok says, "Jimin went out of his way to drop you home! Why did you not invite him upstairs?"

 

"I did! He said next time." Jungkook is a bit grumpy that his hyungs are doubting his politeness. “He’s probably busy.”

 

Yoongi and Hoseok exchange glances. Yoongi points behind him, outside the window "Then why is he is literally still here, but not coming upstairs?"

 

Both Jungkook and Hoseok come to look. 

 

There's a black range rover standing under their apartment.

 

As if sensing the new attention, the car drives away. 

 

Jungkook pouts as the car disappears into the night. “Maybe he had to make a phone call?”

 

At that, Yoongi looks at Jungkook and immediately says, "You, why you did not reply to any of my messages?"

 

"Uh, my phone died," Jungkook says already cringing at his lame excuse. "Sorry!"

 

Yoongi shoots him a look, but his shoulders are relaxed and there’s no real bite when he speaks, "I got worried. Keep your phone charged all the time, okay?"

 

Jungkook whines, "I got too busy at work hyung. The rush today was mad and I forgot to plug my phone in for charging."

 

Hoseok runs his hand gently over Jungkook's back. "It's alright. It's a new place for you, so it's natural for us to get worried." He sweeps the fringe off his forehead. 

 

Yoongi shakes his head but chuckles and Jungkook feels the tension slip away from the room.

 



Jungkook understands why Yoongi would want him to inform him of his whereabouts but in his defense, he is an adult and can look after himself. His does have a well earned black belt in Taekwondo.

 

Jungkook realizes that no matter what or how big he will grow, it will always be second nature for Yoongi to look after him. But even so, he longs for the day when Yoongi will see him as his equal and not a child he has to babysit.

 

Hoseok and Yoongi move to the kitchen to set the last things for supper, and Jungkook is about to go change when Hoseok speaks again, “We didn’t know you and Jimin were so close that he drives you home now.”

 

"He’s just very nice. I think he kinda looks out for me since I’m younger and new in town. He comes to Seoulful a lot these days so…  I don't know, we see each other around. I guess we are friend... friend-ly?" As he speaks his face contorts more and more in the effort of ordering his thoughts and explaining himself.

 

Every time Jimin walks through the door of Seoulful, Jungkook feels surprised. He has never seen him here before and suddenly he’s there almost every day. It makes him feel dubious. Even Tina is confused by Jimin's regular visits. She has been working there for a long time and told Jungkook that he never came here this often before. 

 

“Maybe we changed something in the coffee blend that he likes?”

 

Tina snorted as she made a shot of espresso, “Maybe we changed something behind the counter that he likes.” She said with a smirk.

 

Jungkook is not sure why Jimin chose Seoulful as his place to study and work on his computer. In the end, he reasoned that there was no need for a particular reason, people changed habits, and Jimin likely came here to have a quiet time and enjoy the boba.

 

He didn’t actually know how he got Jimin to drive him around. Jimin had wanted to and there was no refusing him.

 

Yoongi raises his eyebrow, "He comes to Seoulful a lot these days?"

 

Jungkook snaps out of his thoughts, "I’ve seen him every day this week. He just drinks coffee like water and works on his stuff. Taehyung comes too sometimes. But it’s mainly just Jimin. I hadn’t seen him there before, but since we went to the Pier together he comes all the time. He said a thing about being like the leaves and the Earth, he’s so funny." Jungkook grinned at the memory.

 

Yoongi, ever-sipping from his cup, almost spits, "Where?"

 

"In the car?”

 

Hoseok laughs while cutting bread, “No, about the Pier.”

 

“Oh, I told you I went to Pier the other day. I met him at the dance studio when I was looking for Hobi-hyung and he wanted to come as well.

 

"You never told us you went with Jimin," Yoongi says.

 

“I didn't invite him, he invited himself just like he offered to drop me home today. I didn’t think it was a big deal or anything." Jungkook says casually. 

 

"He is very polite." Jungkook walks towards his room, "His hands are cute, they are so chubby. I bet he’d make a fuss if I told him so." Jungkook laughs to himself and closes the door behind him.




 

Both Yoongi and Hoseok exchange glances.

 

They know how easy it is to be charmed by Park Jimin. His personality is out of the world. But they never thought they would see Jungkook being charmed by him. 

 

And it wasn’t just charm, Yoongi could see how Jungkook’s tone softened when he spoke about Jimin and mentioned his little details. It was beyond just charm. 

 

Jungkook has never even spoken about his middle school girlfriend like that. Even though Yoongi is in awe of his cousin’s observation skills, he wasn't sure if this is the extent of observation Jungkook has. 

 

Chubby hands...seriously??

 

Yoongi sighs, giving up on the workings of Jungkook’s mind. 

 

"Do you need wine?" Hoseok asks, already opening it. He can tell they are going to need the whole bottle.

 

Yoongi nods.

 

*

Chapter Text

Weekends are something everyone waits patiently for and so does Jungkook.  He doesn't have to rush anywhere, no classes and this time, no work too; he is free to spend the day as he likes. 

 

Doing two loads of laundry could have been tiring, but Yoongi made him avocado toast and grilled vegetables for breakfast. He won't lie, lately, he has grown to love avocados and asparagus that are so popular in America, so much that he could eat them with every meal and even in between.

 

After lunch, Jungkook booked three of them the tickets for the new Spiderman movie - they have all looked forward to it coming into theaters. After dinner, Jungkook worked on his assignment. 

 

Afterwards, while scrolling through his Instagram, he comes across Jimin's new picture. 

 

It's tagged at a library and the picture is of a banner saying ' Welcome Harry Potter Fans'. 

 

In the next picture, Jimin and Taehyung are holding wands and wearing the robes of their respective Harry Potter houses. Jimin is also wearing round spectacles as Harry Potter did. His hair is blonde now and he looks paler than usual. On the other hand, Taehyung has gone blonde on the left side of his head and pink on the right. Jungkook laughs looking at the hair color.

 

From their discussion at the Pier, he got an idea that Jimin is a huge Potterhead, but he didn't contemplate that he is the type of fan who attends fan meets and conventions, and things like that. 

 

He picks up his laptop and decides to sort himself into a house. Opening the Wizarding world website he feels childish on clicking ‘Hogwarts Sorting’. Even his 10-year-old would not have been amused by this. He only read Happy Potter because all his classmates were reading it in their free time and he didn’t want to be the odd one out by not giving the series that everyone talks about, a read. 

 

He wonders if he should text Jimin at this time or not, but then finally decides to.

 

Jungkook: Hey. Thanks for the ride yesterday.

 

Jungkook bites his lips, wondering if it was indeed a good idea to text him at this time. He has no idea what Jimin might be doing and honestly he is not expecting any reply. 

 

A minute later his phone buzzes as a message from Jimin arrives. Jungkook’s face glows as taps on the notification to read the message. 

 

Jimin: Jungkook, I have told you already, no need to thank me.

Jungkook: I feel like I should.

Jimin: Nah, really.

Jungkook: So, I was taking a quiz at Pottermore to sort out my house and I am a Ravenclaw.

Jimin: That's amazing. See I told you, you will either be a Ravenclaw or a Hufflepuff. I can't believe you never took the quiz before.

Jungkook: I am not a nerd!

Jimin: Yo boy, it's not about being a nerd. Harry Potter was never being about a nerd.

Jungkook: I guess you haven't read the books properly then.

Jimin: I cannot believe this, are you saying I am not a true HP fan!

Jungkook: Hehe, I am saying that Harry Potter himself was a nerd. A clumsy nerd.

Jimin: Did you read HP in some alternate universe! Did we both read the same book?

Jungkook: You are so defensive over HP not being a nerd. Also, I am going to stick by my opinion that Slytherins are the worst.

Jimin: Jungkook, get up, go get some coffee, take a shower. It will help you clear your clogged brain. SLYTHERINS WERE THE MOST MISUNDERSTOOD HOUSE AND UNDERRATED TOO!

Jungkook: But JK Rowling herself said Slytherins were nefarious.

Jimin: She doesn't know anything. 

Jungkook: She's the writer, hyung!

Jimin: That's beside the point. Draco was such a good character, I rooted so hard for him.

Jungkook: hehe, I hated him. Always.

Jimin: That's it! You know what I am coming to see you right now and clear all your misconceptions.

Jungkook: It's 1 am hyung.

Jimin: I don't have a clock at home and time is an illusion. I'll text you when I reach there.

 


 

Hoseok stretches and walks towards the window of their bedroom. He just got done with arranging his wardrobe. He has no idea how it gets messed up every few weeks when he makes sure to hang all his clothes neatly. 

 

As he leans by the window he spots a black Range Rover coming to a halt beneath their apartment. He turns to look at the clock and it is near 1:30 am. He wonders who could it be.

 

Not much later someone comes out of the driver’s seat. Hoseok's mouth drops open when he sees the person getting out of the car, "Jimin!"

 

Yoongi gets up from the bed and comes to stand next to Hoseok. His eyes widen when Jimin is joined by Jungkook who is laughing holding his stomach. Yoongi and Hoseok look outside the window, without any words to say. Both Jimin and Jungkook seem to be enjoying each other's company and keep laughing.

 

"What is going on between these two?" Hoseok wonders.

 

Jimin walks towards the driver's seat and Jungkook towards passenger's seat and soon they are off, leaving both Yoongi and Hoseok surprised.

 


 

 

Jimin and Jungkook both sit on at the stairs of the riverwalk talking and discussing everything they know, occasionally leaving only to get coffee or something to eat. The weather is getting colder day by day, and Jimin kept asking Jungkook if he felt cold, and kept reminding him that he has an extra jacket in his car. 

 

After some time, they both drive to the beach and wait together for the sunrise, lying on the sand.

 

A tear fell from Jungkook's eyes when he saw the sky turn pink just before the sunrise. "It is so beautiful."

 

Cool gentle winds blow through his hair carrying with it the earthy smell of beach and morning. Jungkook comes to the conclusion that everything looks pretty in the morning. Everything sounds like music in the morning, the chirping of birds, the gentle rustle of the leaves, the myriad sounds of the world. The world is peaceful in the morning.

 

Jimin turns to look at him and smiles. "Is it?"

 

The faint sun rays fall on Jungkook’s face, making it glow. His cheeks are a faint shade of crimson, his soft fringe fly about his forehead. 

 

Jungkook may not be smiling all wide with his teeth on display, but Jimin can tell from his eyes that Jungkook is happy at the moment. The way his eyes smile and widen, he is sure he saw the entire universe in them.

 

Jungkook looks at Jimin, "Don't you think?"

 

When Jungkook blinks, his eyelashes fan on his cheekbones and Jimin can feel his heart spiraling out of control. "I have seen prettier things than this."

 

"Like what?"

 

Jimin chews his lips and contemplates if he should tell him or not. He decides not to and lies on his back to look at the fresh blue of a glowing new day above him. 

 

 

*

Chapter Text

Jimin scratches Yeontan's ear to calm him down. He just had his regular vaccination and is fidgeting a lot. He keeps whining like he wants to be left alone.

 

Jimin just needs some peace. He has had a long day at university and the trip to the vet took more time than anticipated. The crazy traffic is not helping him at all. He thought of taking Yeontan to the park after the vaccination, but seeing how moody he is, Jimin and Tae decided it was best to take him home. Maybe a familiar environment would help him calm down. 

 

"Ah, Tannie, calm down baby," whispers Jimin, giving him a belly rub.

 

Taehyung looks at them and then at the road. He pets Yeontan, "I still don't understand why he gets so moody after every vaccination."

 

"The vet did say that it happens to some dogs and Tannie is just a year old."

 

"I know, but shouldn't he be better by now. Like, being used to the small pricks and all." Taehyung softly rubs Yeontan’s tummy too.

 

Yeontan calmed down a little bit after a while, once Jimin had already tried everything to distract him. Eventually, he held him against the car window so he can gaze out while still gently petting him.

 

"Can you take him home?" Taehyung asks.

 

"Sure, are you getting late?"

 

"I think so. I don't want Appa to think I forgot to meet him." Taehyung says.

 

"Do you have any idea why he wants to meet you at such short notice?" Jimin asks.  They were in the vet clinic when Taehyung got the message from his father's PA. They couldn't discuss anything there, but it made both of them worry.

 

"Maybe to talk about my introduction in the business when I graduate," Taehyung says.

 

Jimin understand why their parents are so keen on introducing them formally to the board now, "I am going to be summoned by my father soon as well, I have a feeling."

 

Neither one of them wants to voice out loud the worry that has been silently haunting them. For weeks they have avoided to even give it a thought, but it seems like they can't avoid it any longer. 

 

Jimin has a feeling Taehyung’s father might not be pleased with how the meeting with  Ahreum went. He has no idea how to help Taehyung. He wishes Taehyung’s parents won't pressure him.

 

"Where shall I drop you?" Taehyung asks fixing his glasses on the bridge of his nose.

 

"Seoulful!" Jimin says, trying not to meet eyes with Taehyung. He knows what the reaction is going to be.

 

Taehyung scoffs, "Really? Really!" His eyes widen in disbelief. "Jin hyung literally kicked you out of his restaurant and you want to go back again just to get kicked out again."

 

"No, no…" Jimin protests. "He didn't kick me out. He just politely asked me not to work on my assignments there."

 

"Exactly, kicked you out!" Taehyung says it loud and clear with emphasis on ‘kicked out’, hoping it will help his friend, who seems to have lost his sanity, understand the situation clearly. 

 

Jimin looks at him and tries to explain himself to him, "Look, I'll go there, get my boba and leave. That's it."

 

"Don't call me if you are escorted out of the restaurant by his security and thrown on the sidewalk." Taehyung shakes his head. "And… And nothing better happen to Tannie."

 

Jimin looks at him clutching Yeontan to his chest tighter, "I'll protect him with my life."

 

"Your dumbass better." Taehyung lets out a huge annoyed sigh.

 

 


 

 

Jungkook looks at the clock on the counter, it is past seven in the evening and Jimin is nowhere in sight. He usually comes by 5:30 or 6, never a minute later. 

 

It wasn't compulsory for Jimin to come, of course, but at this point, it felt normal for Jungkook to see him every evening. 

 

They would have a small chat, or just share a few glances that made his day a little better. He wonders if Jimin got bored of coming here every day.

 

The door opens, shaking Jungkook out of his thoughts, and stepping in is none other than Jimin. He smiles wide when he sees the most awaited customer has finally arrived. He’s also carrying in his arms the adorable puppy starring in more than a few of Jimin's Instagram pictures.





 

As Jimin steps inside he is greeted by the familiar comforting scent of the restaurant and a brightly smiling Jungkook. It already feels like his day will be better from here. Jungkook’s face can make any day better. 

 

"You brought a friend with you," Jungkook looks at the puppy as Jimin goes to stand at the counter. "Hi, little guy."

 

Jimin puts Yeontan on the counter carefully while still holding him and says hi to Jungkook.

 

"Boba?" Jungkook asks delightedly. 

 

Jimin nods, "Definitely need some." He turns Yeontan’s head towards Jungkook, "Meet him, Tannie, he is Jungkook and he is a nice guy."

 

Jungkook bends down to look at the pet’s face, "Tannie? Cute name."

 

"Short for Yeontan," Jimin informs him.

 

Jungkook taps gently Tannie's paw but he barks in response.

 

"Ah, sorry. He just got vaccinated and he is a bit moody." Jimin apologises, hoping Jungkook didn’t mind it his barking. 

 

"Aww, lil guy. Did it hurt? Would you like a puppuccino to make you feel better?" Jungkook cutely asks the puppy, but Yeontan is distracted, looking everywhere and being jittery.

 

"You make pup-friendly stuff?" Jimin is surprised. He has never seen anyone bringing their pets here or asking for a pet-friendly drink.

 

Jungkook nods picking up the cups and goes to the machine to make one for them while Tina does the billing.

 

"How was your day, Jungkook?" 

 

Jungkook turns his head and smiles, "Just got better I guess."

 

Before Jimin could respond, Seokjin approaches him and puts his hand over Jimin’s shoulder.

 

Jimin immediately says, "Just here for boba, hyung." It was necessary to clear the intention of his visit before he is asked to leave again. 

 

Seokjin laughs, "Come here as much as you want, I just won't allow anyone to work on their assignments here."

 

Jimin understands why Seokjin would have felt that he was trying to do research on his restaurant and how it would have seemed rude. Maybe he would have reacted the same way if someone camped in one of his hotels for no reason.  

 

But even though he can't sit here every day as much as he would love to, at least he can come here every day for his boba or to get some food. He is happy that Jungkook doesn’t shy away from texting him anymore. They talk to each other through texts almost everyday. Sometimes Jungkook asks for advice on his courses or books for research, or Jimin will casually ask him about his life or things happening around him. 

 

The door opens again and a girl wearing skinny washed jeans, a white shirt and skyscraper heels enters. Jimin has never seen her before. Her gait seems confident, and with the way she is approaching the counter without looking around the restaurant, which generally everyone does when they enter a new place, it seems to Jimin like she has been here before. 

 

"Ah, here comes Jungkook's favorite customer," Seokjin says in a low voice, just loud enough for people at the counter and behind to hear.

 

The color on Jimin's face drains, "What?" He snaps his head in Jin’s direction.

 

"She seems to be interested in Jungkook, and comes here often, but our Kook-ah is too shy," The corner of Seokjin’s mouth quirks up.

 

The sound of her heels fills the room as she comes to stand next to Jimin. A sweet refreshing smell fills the air around him. 

 

Jimin looks at her, judging her looks. With her dirty blonde hair and blue eyes, she looks beautiful, but for some reason, Jimin feels uncomfortable with her presence.

 

"Meredith!” Seokjin greets her. “How are you?"

 

Her impressive blue eyes land on Jin and she beams as if delighted by his presence. "Great,” she says, confidence dripping from the word, ”Thank you for asking Seokjin. How are you?" Her tone is sweetly confidential and her voice is quietly charming, typical of a person that doesn’t need to raise their voice to command attention. 

 

"Not bad," Seokjin replies.

 

Meredith then turns her attention to Tina. "I placed an order, is that right?" she reminds, placing her chin on her palm.

 

"Yes, it's ready," answers Tina glancing at Jungkook, while making a shot of espresso for another client.

 

Jungkook places Jimin's boba and Yeontan’s puppuccino on the counter and smoothly moves around to grab Meredith's order. He can see the girl’s blue gaze follows his every move closely with the focus of a hawk. To move his attention from a nobody he decides to make conversation with Seokjin. 

 

Jimin picks up his drink and turns to Seokjin, “You know your restaurant makes the best boba in town.” With his free hand, he moves the cup of puppuccino towards Yeontan, who refuses to even look at it. 

 

Jimin’s shoulders sag in defeat. 

 

Seokjin pets Yeontan’s head. “Of course, you are a regular here for a reason.” Seokjin leans forward and whispers, “Are you sure it’s just boba?” 

 

Jimin throws him a look. 

 

From the corner of his eye, he can see Jungkook reads the order receipt to cross-check that the order is perfect. Jimin turns his attention back to Jungkook. 

 

She takes the neatly closed paper bag from Jungkook, her fingers brushing his, eyes locked on his, red-lacquered lips splitting into a grin. Jimin can’t wait for this girl next to him to finally leave so he can have a little conversation with Jungkook. He needs to hear his chocolate warm voice. 

 

"Thank you for coming to Seoulful," Jungkook says politely after handling the bill to Meridith.

 

“Thankyou.” She bites her lip. "Jungkook," She hesitates, "Umm… what are you doing this Friday?" She asks confidently. "There's a live-action Mulan show in the city. I have a spare ticket, my friend dropped out at the last minute. Would you like to join me?"

 

Jimin is holding his breath. His stomach is doing weird flips. His eyes fall on Jungkook who seems to have been taken by surprise as well. 

 

"Yes!" Seokjin shouts, making Jimin jump in his place. "He is free on Friday, he'll join you."

 

Jungkook stutters, "Um… no, I think I might have some work and some…"

 

Seokjin cuts him off, "No, there's no work. Take the day off. Go watch Mulan. It is amazing." He turns to Meredith, "He will join you. So kind of you to ask him."

 

Meredith blushes and coyly peers up at Jungkook from under the thick fringe of her lashes. "Can I have your number?"

 

Jimin feels devoid of any energy, and the entire world seems to be spinning around him as Jungkook and Meredith exchange numbers. 

 

Meredith tucks a strand of her hair behind her ear, uncovering a voluminous, glittering earring, "See you on Friday, then." Her cheeks are prettily flushed. Smiling, she leaves.

 

Jungkook looks at her go, trying to hide a small smile tugging at his lips. However, his expression quickly changes as he turns to Seokjin, "Hyung!"

 

"What? You barely go out on dates or meet your friends outside. Go live your life. Go on dates, meet people."

 

"I don't have time, hyung," Jungkook protests.

 

"Make time. Youth is only once." He turns to Jimin, "Tell him Jimin-ah, tell him that I am not wrong."

 

Jimin is too shocked to say anything, but he tries to fake a smile and swallows his bile. His heartbeat rate seemed to have slowed down and he feels short of air. 

 

"She likes you, Jungkook,” Tina chimes in, “You are the reason she keeps coming here. There's nothing wrong with meeting her outside. I think it's cute that she asked you out."

 

Seokjin agrees, "I think she simply got tired of Jungkook not giving her anything to work with."

 

Jungkook covers his face with his hand.

 

At that moment, Jimin wouldn't have minded if the earth swallowed him right away. In fact, he wished that it happened so he wouldn't have had to witness the scene before him. He feels nauseated, the room feels stuffy and his skin is pricking with sweat. He needs to get out, he needs some fresh air. He picks up Yeontan, his take-away drinks, and just storms out of the restaurant. 

 

Finding a garbage bin he throws away the drinks and walks as fast and as far as he can from the restaurant.

 

 


 

"Eomma," Taehyung greets his mother over the Bluetooth speaker, picking up the call while driving back home after meeting his father. 

 

He really has no energy left to talk to anyone. But avoiding his mother's call will do him no good. Let it be now than later.

 

"Taehyung! How are you doing, son?" His mother's jovial voice brings a tired smile to his face. He can hear her smile in her voice.

 

"I am good, Eomma. How have you been doing?" Tae asks softly. Nothing like a mother's voice to make everything better.

 

"Good." his mother says. "Did you meet Appa today?"

 

"Yes, going back home from the office."

 

"What are your thoughts?"

 

Tae sighs, "I am too young to get married, mom."

 

"It doesn’t have to happen now, you can take it slow. Why don't you both meet over a cup of coffee and talk to each other? You may like her and we can take this forward," his mom suggests. 

 

It seems like they have been planning this for a while and they know exactly what they need to say.

 

"I don't think that is a good idea," No way in hell he is going to spend more time unraveling Ahreum’s terrible personality.

 

He can hear his mother’s tone changing to a more nagging one, "Tae, this is a good opportunity and she is a nice girl. See it this way, you will have to get married at some point."

 

Tae swallows the lump in his throat and takes a deep breath, trying to fill his lungs with as much air as he can to suppress his incoming tears. He just had an hour-long lecture from his father about the same thing and now his mother too. Neither of them is ready to listen to him. He has no idea how to make his parents understand that forcing him into this alliance is such a bad idea.

 

He can't carry on the conversation, "I have to go, mom. I'll talk to you later."

 

His mom starts protesting, but he disconnects the call and switches off his phone. He cannot wait to reach home, the only place where he feels safe and genuinely happy.



 

As Tae enters their apartment he is taken aback to see the entire place in darkness. He wonders if Jimin is not home yet, but he dropped him hours ago, he should be home by now. All their cars were parked in the garage and Tae was hoping Jimin would be waiting for him. 

 

Even when they are not home, the housekeepers switch on a few lights. It is never this dark.

 

"Jimin-ah?" Tae walks inside, his eyes adjusting to the darkness. Faint light is coming in through the windows. "You home?"

 

The entire house is concerningly silent, giving him bad vibes. "Jimin-ah!" He calls louder this time.

 

He looks for switches and turns on the lights of the house. Instantly, the entire living is filled with soft yellow light. 

 

Taehyung looks around and the entire living room is a mess with magazines and pillows strewn on the floor. Yeontan is quietly sleeping on his bed in the corner and Jimin is sitting on the sofa in a fetal position clutching a pillow.

 

Jimin's hair is sticking in all directions as if he had been pulling at it, but what has Taehyung rush to crouch in front of him is the sight of his reddened eyes and blotchy cheeks. The glow that was a part of his being seems to have left, leaving him a terrible mess.

 

Taehyung softly takes Jimin's face in his hands and turns it to face him. "Jimin-ah, what happened?"

 

Jimin's bottom lip wobbles and tears streak down his face. "I hate myself." His voice is barely a whisper.

 

Taehyung gets goosebumps as Jimin says that. "What are you saying?"

 

Jimin pushes Taehyung's hand away from his face. "Today, a girl came and invited Jungkook out for a date and he agreed. He agreed, Tae!" A broken sob leaves his throat. "How could I ever see him with someone else? How could I ever see him smiling with someone else or even touching anyone else?"

 

Jimin throws the pillow on the floor. "I can't stand him being with someone else. The thought of him getting intimate with someone else makes me sick," Jimin shouts as he continues crying. "What is happening to me, I wasn't like this. I was never a jealous person, why the fuck am I feeling like this now!"

 

Taehyung looks at him in shock. He really can't believe the words coming out of his best friend’s mouth. He never thought he would ever see the day where Jimin would lose his sanity over a person.

 

Jimin looks at him, tears streaming from his eyes. "I wanted to die at that moment. It was so painful. It felt like a knife twisting in my gut," He sobs.

 

"Jimin-ah, no," Taehyung says softy and holds his hand.

 

"Why am I going through this? I wanted to fight someone so bad at that moment."

 

Taehyung envelops him in a tight hug and gives soothing rubs to his back.

 

"I fell for a straight guy, Tae. I fell for a straight guy." Jimin sobs uncontrollably. "And I can't even pretend that I don't love him 'cos I know how deep I am into him now."

 

"It's ok," Tae says softly.

 

Jimin’s tears dampen Taehyung's shirt.

 

"The thought of anyone else touching him makes my skin crawl with disgust," Jimin spits it out.

 

Taehyung pulls back. "Jimin-ah!" He says it loudly. "Stop it. You don't own him."

 

"Why am I so jealous! I cannot become this person, this despicable person, Tae. Save me!" Jimin's cry for help tears up Tae.

 

"Take a step back." Tae can feel the lump in his throat. It hurts him way too much to see him like this. 

 

The thing Jimin is feeling right now is alien to both of them. Never once in their life they have been in any situation where they had to give up anything, and what is this feeling called jealousy anyways? 

 

They both have heard that growing up some people were jealous of things they had but never could they figure out why. They both have always been generous in sharing their stuff with friends but not to a point someone starts taking advantage of them and therefore they always stuck by each other's side, not leaving any space for someone new to get between them or their life. 

 

They knew what they had and how blessed they were to live a life where they don't have to struggle for anything and their families made sure they stayed humble. Whatever they wanted, they knew is just one call away. There was never a point where either of them felt like they don't have something other people have, a feeling some children have grown up with. But they also never judged anyone else for not having what they had.

 

Suddenly, this feeling that they might not always have everything they want and like is hurting both of them so much. It is not something anyone else can fix for them, it is something they need to fix themselves. There might not be an easy solution to it but Tae refuses to become the slave of this dark feeling that is looming over their heads. 

 

He won't let this jealousy get the best of Jimin. He takes a deep breath, trying to clear his head. He needs to focus on better things for him and his best friend. 

 

"Jimin-ah," He says softly. "It will be easier to take a step back now than later. It will hurt less now than seeing him with someone else."

 

Jimin's painful cries fill every inch of the room. 

 

 


 

 

Jimin wakes up to his throat feeling like sandpaper. He sits up and coughs a few times, hoping to soothe his irritated throat. 

 

He shakes his head; his eyes are swollen and he feels sweaty and feverish. In a swift motion, he throws the cover away and runs his hand through his hair. He can feel a few stray tears at the corner of his eyes.

 

Wiping them away, he is reminded of the reason for his tears. He just wants to get rid of this feeling and never be in this situation again. He hates it so much. It's like there's a whole new person living inside him whom he has never met. A little glimpse is enough to comprehend that Jimin never wants that dark, malicious person in him to take over. He is a better person, a bigger person. Always has been. He can't let himself go down like that.

 

No. Never.

 

He takes a deep breath. even though his heart feels empty, he needs to get on with his life. Tae is right, he needs to let Jungkook go, it’ll somehow hurt less. But letting go will not be easy for him, he knows. Deep down he knows how much he enjoys being around Jungkook and having him in his life. Leaving all of that will be harder than anything he has ever done. But he needs to start somewhere. 

 

Maybe one day, someday, he will be over Jeon Jungkook. Even though he can’t see anyone taking the space in his life like Jungkook ever, he won’t lose hope. Maybe one day this pain will go away. Or maybe he will just get used to the pain, that the hurting will stop bothering him. 

 

He will keep Jungkook in his heart and will try to move on with his life. The person he became wasn’t him and he can’t do that to himself ever again. He must treat himself better. 

 

Getting up from the couch took him a lot of effort, and for a moment he staggered while regaining his strength. Walking towards the kitchen, he switches on all the lights. Gulping two glasses of water he quickly dashes to his room for a shower.

 

The warm water helps to make him feel better. 

 

When he looks at himself in the mirror he can’t recognize himself for a second. His hair messed up, face red and swollen, it is like looking at some other person. Jimin sighs and slathers moisturizer on his face. He shouldn't hurt himself like this, it's no use. If he is supposed to meet his soulmate, he will. And the universe will work for him. Until then, he should focus on things that make him grow.

 

The state of the living room makes him feel bad about his behavior. He remembers Taehyung went to see his father, and Jimin never asked him how it went. It is still dark outside and the clock on the wall tells him that it is past 1 in the morning. Without a second thought, he makes his way to Taehyung's room.

 

He knocks once and opens the door. The room is absolutely dark. Jimin switches on the lights of the room and finds Taehyung lying on the bed with his eyes open, staring at the ceiling.

 

"Tae?" Jimin calls softly and walks towards him.

 

Tae looks at him blankly, not sure what to say or ask. His eyes move back towards the ceiling.

 

Jimin settles next to him on the bed and kisses his forehead. "How did it go with uncle?"

 

Tae doesn’t say anything but shakes his head, letting Jimin know everything he should.

 

Jimin holds him tighter. He knows there is nothing he can say or do that Taehyung hasn't already tried.

 

After a while, Tae says, "They want me to get married soon after I graduate."

 

Jimin holds him even tighter. He knows his parents are not being fair to Taehyung. Who gets married so young anyway? 

 

"Worse is, I don't even like her," Taehyung’s eyes fill with tears.

 

Jimin gets up and looks at Tae, "Is it because of whatever happened between me and her? I can promise you I won't mind."

 

"Jimin-ah! It's not that. I don't like her. Never did." Taehyung stares at the wall and says in annoyance, "How can my parents pressure me into getting married? I don't even know if I ever want to get married or not. It's a huge responsibility. If I ever get married, shouldn't I be given a choice to marry the person of my liking?"

 

Jimin knows the feeling well. Asian parents won't shy away from taking decisions for their children. Even though they have grown up in America, their parents hold their traditional values and still believe they can make decisions for their children better than them.

 

"Why I don’t get a choice?" A tear falls from the corner of Tae's eye.

 

Jimin immediately wipes it away. "You do get a choice." He takes Tae's face in his hand and softly says, "Shall I talk to them? Ask them to not pressure you?"

 

"No Jimin-ah, I can't drag you into this."

 

"But if you are in this, then so am I, without any question," Jimin replies immediately. "Listen, I can tell them that it won't be a good arrangement between you and Ahreum given we had a fling."

 

"And what good will it do?" Taehyung points a finger at him, "You stay away from this."

 

"But it will give them a solid ground to not move ahead with the alliance. Besides, you can ask them to keep looking, it is going to take them a million years to find another match and even if they do find another one, we'll find another way to get rid of them as well."

 

Taehyung shoots him a look.

 

"My idea is so good, it is going to work. We will make it work."

 

"I have to meet her next week."

 

Jimin's mouth hangs open. He is at a loss of words. He did not see it coming.

 

"Why is she agreeing to this?" Tae rubs his face. "I have always been rude to her. She must either be the dumbest person with no self-respect, or she wants something else."

 

It gets Jimin thinking too. He remembers clearly that she told Tae that she will refuse to marry him. But what happened then? Are her parents forcing her too? Maybe she does not have a choice either?

 

Taehyung runs his hand through his hair and tugs at it. He groans.

 

Jimin leans down and hugs him tightly. He doesn't know what will happen but he knows he will talk to Taehyung’s parents if they don’t stop pressuring him.

 

"I am sorry," Jimin whispers. He should have been a better friend, and should not have burdened him with his own problems without considering Taehyung's state.

 

"Don't ever be," Taehyung assures. 

 

"Did you eat anything?" Jimin asks running his hands through Tae's soft hair.

 

"No, my head is throbbing," Tae complains.

 

Jimin gets up and ruffles Tae's hair. "Get a shower, I’ll make us some chicken ginseng soup."

 

Maybe their problems cannot be solved immediately but they can take a step towards it working on themselves. And nothing soothes the soul like a good bowl of chicken ginseng soup. Well, an episode of FRIENDS will also do, but it won’t be as comforting as warm liquid filling their stomachs. 

 

As Taehyung makes his way to the bathroom, Jimin sighs, remembering the mess that the living room is in. He must at least try to fix the disaster before Taehyung comes out. A messy house messes with their heads a lot. He wants both of them to spend a peaceful time, and the clutter in the living room will not be helpful. 

 

They need to heal, they can only do it themselves. Right now, Jimin is thankful to the universe for giving him Taehyung. No matter how many times he will fall, he knows Taehyung will be there to pick him up and vice versa. 



*

Chapter Text

Jungkook hasn't seen Jimin in four days, nor has Jimin replied to any of his texts or phone calls. Jungkook even tried to look for him on the campus, with no success. 

 

Hoseok told him that Jimin is not coming to his dance practices too. It worried Jungkook a lot. The feeling that Jimin does not want to be friends with him anymore is not helping him either. He constantly checks Jimin's social media hoping for an update or something, but nothing.

 

He might have not known Jimin for a long time, but he got a feeling that they had a real connection. He tries to figure out what happened last time they met that might have prompted his sudden ghosting. He keeps thinking about Jimin and he can't even concentrate on the musical playing in front of him. 

 

He wanted to cancel the date, but Hoseok pushed him out of the house saying he needs to go on dates and all. He almost faked an injury on his way there. In the end, he felt bad for Meredith and decided to give her company.

 

Jungkook is wearing jeans and a simple turtleneck. Meredith looks beautiful in her pink dress. He is worried she is cold: the temperature drops more and more every day as they approach winter. 

 

Throughout the play, Meredith tried to touch his hand or hold it a few times, but Jungkook hesitated and pulled away. When the play ended, they walked outside together. 

 

He loves this entire downtown area. Always buzzing with people and filled with life and colors. Suddenly his phone vibrates in his pocket. He takes it out and it is a notification from Jimin's Instagram saying he just posted. Jungkook opens it quickly.

 

It is a selfie of Jimin with Tae in the background, wearing ski gear. The location tagged is somewhere in Northern Canada. Jimin's cheeks look pink and they both are smiling wide. He swipes for the second picture of snow-capped mountains.

 

Jungkook tries to remember if at any point Jimin ever told him about his trip to Canada. He realizes that Jimin is not required to inform him about his plans. He feels reassured still thinking Jimin was not avoiding him, but only busy during vacation, maybe somewhere with poor signal.

 

"Did you enjoy the show?" Meredith asks, her entire body facing Jungkook. She looks excitedly at his face, her eyes lit with happiness.

 

Jungkook fakes a smile, "It was amazing. Thank you. I have never seen anything like this before." He could barely concentrate on the play, but he is not going to tell her that. 

 

"Great!" She smiles wide. /closing the distance between the two, she stands so close that Jungkook can feel her breath on his face.

 

Jungkook instinctively jumps back. "Uhm, I don't feel so good."

 

Meredith's face falls, "Oh!" She bites her lip, 

 

Jungkook wouldn't meet her eyes.

 

She asks, "Did I cross a line?"

 

Jungkook shakes his head. "Its, it's… I can't explain. I am sorry. And thank you for inviting me. I'll pay you back for the tickets." 

 

She looks at him, shocked.

 

"I am so sorry." Jungkook walks away without looking back. 

 

He knows what he just did is so wrong on so many levels. He just left a girl alone like that, but he can't afford to give her hope. He has no idea why he just did that, but somehow he felt wrong being with her. It didn't feel like what it felt like when he spent time with Jimin. Not even close.

 


 

A week has passed by, still no message or word from Jimin. Jungkook is trying hard to stay positive and remember that he might still be somewhere without proper internet or signal. But he is losing his patience and the thoughts of Jimin's well-being keep haunting him.

 

As he walks out of his class, he feels gloomy, and the weather outside is adding to his moodiness. He checks his phone for the billionth time today, hoping to have a notification from Jimin. The disappointment shouldn't come to him as a surprise, but he hasn't lost hope yet.

 

Some low chatter reaches him from behind and his friend, Yugyeom punches him on the shoulder, "Is everything ok with you?"

 

"Yes, why do you ask?"

 

They both start walking out of the building, "You look exceptionally lost these days. Is anything bothering you? You know you can share it with me."

 

"Nothing, really! I think I have a lot to catch up on with classes." 

 

Yugyeom agrees, "I know, I am lagging behind in some subjects too. It's so difficult to keep the pace." He shakes his head, "C'mon let's go. We have to be at the ASA meetup before the holidays."

 

Jungkook has no will to attend it. Christmas or even Christmas holidays are not a big deal to him. He knows he will still be coming to the university library every day to study. He must catch up on all subjects before the holidays are over and he would like to prepare his notes beforehand. Giving into his friend’s insistence, Jungkook agrees to attend the meet. 

 

 

 

The ASA meeting room is bustling with students and everyone is in the holiday spirit. People are passing around candies and Santa hats. Banners are hanging around the room and there are small tables set up for refreshments and flavored drinks. He can hear some Christmas music playing through the speakers.

 

Quietly maneuvering towards a corner, Jungkook takes out his phone to check for notifications from Jimin, again. There's none. He opens his Instagram and iMessages to check if his phone failed to give him any notification but is met with nothing but disappointment. 

 

He contemplates that maybe Jimin has gone home to spend the holidays with his family and he hasn't gotten any time to text or reply to him. He takes a deep breath and checks his watch. He cannot wait to get out of campus.

 

A familiar voice reaches him from the far end of the room. He has heard the deep voice a few times and he cannot be mistaken. He quickly looks up at the podium and he is surprised to see Taehyung welcoming everyone with a bright smile on his face. His eyes quietly move next to him and he lets out a breath he had no idea he was holding.

 

Jimin is standing next to Taehyung, wearing a deep blue turtleneck shirt and an off-white long coat. His red Santa hat has a little bell at the top and he looks adorable. Even from across the room, Jungkook can see how pink Jimin's cheeks are and how happy he seems. In fact, both Taehyung and Jimin look giggly and happy, which melts Jungkook's heart. He has no idea why both of them disappeared from the face of the earth for so long but they seem to be glowing.

 

Taehyung wishes everyone the best holidays and then steps down from the podium for Jimin to do the same. They both happily hug everyone afterwards. The entire room is so crowded, and with the music playing, Jungkook’s voice won't be heard if he calls for Jimin right now. 

 

Jungkook tries to move past the students to where Jimin is standing with someone and giggling over something.

 

Suddenly their eyes meet and Jungkook stops in his tracks. It has been so long since they talked. For a moment it seems to him that the smile from Jimin's face disappears. 

 

Jungkook starts to make his way towards Jimin, trying to reach him as quickly as possible. But it takes him a lot of effort and a million 'excuse me's to reach Jimin.

 

But when Jungkook nears the podium, Jimin is nowhere in sight. He looks around but he cannot find him. His shoulders drop down, realizing there’s no chance of finding him in the crowd. 

 

Spotting Taehyung, he approaches him, "Tae-hyung, where is Jimin hyung? He was just here, I saw him."

 

"Um, must be here somewhere, I think. It's a crowded room." Taehyung gulps. Someone calls for him and he leaves a confused Jungkook behind.

 

Without a second thought, Jungkook leaves the room. He didn’t even bother wishing anyone happy holidays.

 

 

 

Jungkook spent his holidays in deep, draining study sessions at the library as he had planned, partnering with his course mates to cross-check notes and test each other.  

 

After the library, Jungkook went straight to Seoulful and worked even extra hours on weekends. He kept himself mostly occupied so he will not have to think about Jimin at all. By the end of the day, he would be so tired, he would fall asleep as soon as he hit the bed. 

 

But sometimes, he would find himself gazing at his phone, hoping for a message or communication from Jimin, or checking Jimin's social media accounts to find any new post from him.

 

A couple of times Jungkook thought he saw Jimin's car parked outside the library, but he could never find him there. 

 

Jimin did not post anything on his Insta throughout the holidays, but Taehyung did post a few pictures, and in one of them Jimin was sitting on a table, his notebook and book open in front of him, a smile on his face with golden specs, wearing a white knit sweater. Jungkook got the idea that maybe they are studying too and are busy.

 

 

 

When classes started again, it came to Jungkook as a relief. He was all up-to-date with his classes and notes. He couldn't wait to start classes again and start fresh. It was the longest holiday he has ever had. 

 

Knowing Jungkook has been working every day without a break-even during the holidays, Seokjin asked him to take a few days of break. 

 

Jungkook wasn't in favor at first, but even Yoongi asked him to take a few days off so he could relax and spend some time with both of them. Hoseok did complain a few times over the holiday that he doesn't get to see Jungkook enough, and that he was around him more when he had regular classes.

 

One day, Hoseok offered to drive Jungkook home and Jungkook wouldn't pass the opportunity to avoid taking the metro.  As he reaches the dance studio he sees Jimin walking out, unaware of his surroundings. Jimin is typing something on his phone. For a second, Jungkook hesitates. He is quite sure Jimin is avoiding him for some reason, and he deserves to know why. Maybe there’s no why, and that's who Park Jimin is in reality. Maybe he gets bored with people and then avoids them.

 

Jungkook shakes the thought from his head about Jimin’s nature and approaches Jimin. He has to know the reason why Jimin is avoiding him. 

 

"Hyung?" Jungkook says softly.

 

Jimin looks up and double-takes.

 

"How are you?" Jungkook asks. He can see Jimin turning pale and his body going stiff. He worries about Jimin.

 

"I am fine," Jimin says in a low voice.

 

It takes Jungkook a lot of effort to not just look at Jimin and find words to speak. Before he could say anything Jimin makes an excuse.

 

"I am sorry, I have to go. I need to be somewhere." Jimin starts walking past him.

 

Jungkook catches up to him and stops him. "Hyung!" His voice cannot hide the hurt and for once he doesn't regret letting his emotions out like that. "Why are you avoiding me? Did I offend you? Did I hurt you? I am sorry, trust me, it wasn't my intention."

 

"No! Jungkook, no. Trust me. It's not you." Jimin purses his lips.

 

"Tell me then. Why you never reply to my messages or calls?" Jungkook's face has a concern and worry written all over. 

 

He can see Jimin biting his lips and contemplating his answer. Over time Jungkook has gone over every possible reason why Jimin won't talk to him. From him being younger than Jimin to him not being as socially as compatible to him, Jungkook has pondered over everything and made himself angry. He even has an answer ready for whatever reason Jimin would come up with.

 

To be honest, he has even given the thought that Jimin just doesn't want to be friends with him, for no solid reason. And Jungkook has mentally prepared himself to accept it and get a proper closure. He wondered why he cared so much about Jimin not being friends with him than he has ever cared about anything in his life.

 

"I just want closure, if you do not want to be friends with me. Don't leave me hanging." Jungkook says, still waiting for an answer from Jimin.

 

"Look," Jimin says. "I like you."

 

Jungkook's mouth hangs open. Of all the reasons he imagined, he did not imagine this.

 

"I like you so much. I found reasons to see you every day, talk to you every day, spend time with you or around you. It reached a point where I realized I was turning into this toxic possessive person. At some point, I started stalking your social account, and trust me I have never done that. I looked for you everywhere and went mad when I couldn't find you. I went above and beyond to find you after seeing you at the first ASA meeting and after the hoodie thing." Jimin’s cheeks turning red in embarrassment.

 

"Jungkook, I am sorry. I know you don't swing that way, I mean, you don't like men. I do and I have always. I don't only, like men, but that’s part of my sexuality." Jimin fiddles with the hem of his shirt. "I am sorry that for a moment I assumed you liked me too. If at any point it was uncomfortable or if I crossed a line, please forgive me."

 

Jimin refuses to meet Jungkook's eye and without another word, turns on his heels and leaves.

 

For a long while, Jungkook stands glued to his spot, Jimin's words running inside his head over and over again. 

 

 

*

Chapter Text

Jungkook tried to concentrate on his work, but Jimin's words kept coming back to him and distracting him. 

 

All he wanted to do was to talk to Jimin and pretend he never said those words. 

 

Jungkook never had a lot of friends. Growing up he had a small group of friends and over time everyone got busy and he lost touch with them. Even here in university, he has a handful of friends, but he is often so busy he refuses to go out for any parties or get-togethers.

 

But with Jimin, it wasn't like that. 

 

Friendship came naturally with Jimin and it seemed like he didn't have to put any extra effort. Talking to him was pleasantly easy too. Being an introvert, Jungkook has always struggled to forge friendships and relationships. But Jimin made him feel like he was wrapped in a warm blanket of love and understanding. 

 

They talked about everything they could and it surprised Jungkook how well aware of world Jimin was, even though he didn't show it. If there was something, Jimin had no clue about or had no solid opinion, he was always open to understanding the issue and discussing it.

 

Making it through the days is not as difficult as making it throughout the evenings and nights. He does everything he can to avoid thinking about what Jimin said. 

 

There's a little voice inside his head that keeps telling him that it shouldn't matter whether Jimin likes him or not because clearly, he doesn't feel the same. That voice inside him keeps asking why he is so bothered. and that bothers him even more.

 

Right now, mindlessly flipping through the channels on television, he has absolutely no idea what to do. He does not want to study, he can't sit and watch a show, even the idea of listening to music doesn't appeal to him. Maybe he should go out for a walk, but it is cold outside and even that doesn't seem like a good option.

 

Yoongi quietly settles down on the couch next to Jungkook. Jungkook keeps flipping through the channels.

 

“Jungkook, what has happened?” Yoongi asks softly, gently caressing Jungkook’s hair. “You have been so distant for the past few weeks, it's worrying me now.”

 

Jungkook swallows the lump in his throat. He can’t find the right words to say. He really has no idea why Jimin’s absence is bothering him so much. 

 

Yoongi lets out a breath and in a cheerful voice he asks, “How is Jimin? I haven’t heard about him throughout the holidays.”

 

Jungkook sighs, "He doesn't want to be friends with me anymore."

 

Yoongi snaps his head in Jungkook's direction, "What? Why? Even though I don't know Jimin personally, I never took him for a guy who cuts off friendships with people.”

 

Jungkook takes a deep breath, switches off the television, "He likes me."

 

"What?" Yoongi’s eyes widen in surprise. 

 

Silences takes over the room as Jungkook gets lost in his own mind. No matter how he tries, Jimin is always on his mind. 

 

After a while, Jungkook asks, "Hyung, how did you know?"

 

Yoongi looks at him, "Knew what?"

 

"That you like men," Jungkook turns to look at his elder brother. 

 

Jungkook can see Yoongi contemplating. Even though he has never judged or questioned Yoongi for his choices, he thinks that maybe Yoongi is not really ready to talk about it. Maybe he shouldn’t have asked. 

 

Yoongi fidgets with the hem of his shirt. "I have known that since I was in high school. It wasn't just girls that I felt attracted too. I felt the same for boys too."

 

"Was it difficult to accept?" 

 

Yoongi blinks, "I lived and grew up in a society that did not allow me to express myself freely. It was scary, I felt like I was committing a crime."

 

Jungkook looks at him, "Why you never told me?"

 

"You were a kid back then."

 

"I wouldn't have judged you," Jungkook responds.

 

A small smile makes way to Yoongi’s lips, "I know, Kook-ah. It took me time to accept that there's nothing wrong with feeling what I was feeling."

 

Jungkook shifts towards the corner of the couch, pulling his legs to his chest and hugging himself. 

 

"Hyung?" A tear falls down his cheek. "It's normal, right? It is normal to miss a person and hope to see them every day, right?" Jungkook hugs himself tighter, "Just tell me it is normal for someone to wait for texts from a person. It is normal to miss someone, even if they are a guy, just tell me hyung. I don't want to hear anything else." He nervously gulps.

 

"I am always here, you know," Yoongi says quietly running his hands over Jungkook's back.

 

With a confused, heavy heart, Jungkook gets up and leaves for his room.

 


 

 

 

Taehyung swirls his red wine and looks up at Ahreum, sitting right across from him. He observes her slicing her steak and taking a bite. There's no denying that she does everything gracefully and she is beautiful. Under the soft yellow light of Soho House, the thin diamond necklace catches the light and shimmers.

 

Taehyung looks at the untouched box with a delicate dragonfly brooch, encrusted with diamonds and blue emeralds that his mother told him to gift her. When Taehyung gave her the gift, she simply nodded and didn't say anything about it. Not even a thank you. 

 

Perhaps, she was expecting a bigger gift. He really did not understand the entire gesture of giving her something in the first place, so her refusal to open it is pissing him off.

 

What he keeps wondering is why she is here? 

 

They were supposed to meet last month as had been previously arranged, but after everything that happened with Jimin, they both decided to spend some time in the mountains, away from everything. They both needed a change of environment to figure out a lot of things about themselves and their lives. 

 

After they came back from holidays they had a lot to catch up in terms of their studies. It came to him as a relief when his mother told him that Ahreum is spending the holidays with her friends in another country. This eventually delayed their meeting. 

 

Now, there was no way of avoiding it anymore, so Taehyung decided to get over with it and ask her why she hasn’t refused the proposal. He believes she has a motive but he can’t quite figure it out. 

 

After chasing Jimin so hard for years, she readily agreed to marry him instead. It is something that is not settling down with Taehyung.

 

"What do you want?" Taehyung asks bluntly, his gaze fixated on her.

 

Ahreum looks up. Wiping her mouth gracefully with the napkin she smiles, "What do you mean?"

 

Taehyung grinds his jaw, "You said you will refuse to marry me. Why did you agree to this?" He has no time to keep up with the bullshit.

 

Ahreum leans back on her chair and crosses her hands in front of her, "Well, I need a desirable partner. If not Jimin, then you. Having a husband who is from an affluent family and has a good social status boosts my credibility and looks good in front of the board, you know."

 

Taehyung scoffs, "You're that desperate, aren't you?"

 

"Desperate? You have no idea how hard I will have to fight for a place in my father's company. You have no idea how me being a woman is already a disadvantage. I have two elder brothers, I will have to prove myself every step of the way."

 

Taehyung leans forwards and looks her dead into her eyes, "And whose problem is that?"

 

"I will never stop you from living your life or keeping up with your lifestyle. You are free to do whatever you want." She says determinedly.

 

Taehyung leans back, staring at her in disbelief. "I have never been a believer of marriage or lifelong commitment, and your words reaffirm that belief."

 

Her jaw drops open, "Taehyung!"

 

"I am not somebody's pawn, Ahreum. I'll never be. So you need to take this bullshit somewhere else." Taehyung looks at her carefully, "Do whatever you want, I know what I am doing."

 

Taehyung gets up from the chair, the cutlery clattering from the force, "Dinner's on me. Goodbye."

 

"Taehyung..." Horror crosses Ahreum's face. 

 

As Taehyung walks out of the restaurant, he can hear Ahreum shouting, “I am not done with you Taehyung! Neither you nor Jimin.”

 

 


 

 

Scrolling through his iCloud and trying to skip pictures of Jungkook is an extreme sport Jimin hasn’t mastered. He has been looking for some pictures of him and Taehyung to get it framed for their living room.

 

Even though Jungkook is a camera-shy person, everytime Jimin asked for a selfie with him, Jungkook agreed without question. He knows he should delete all the pictures of Jungkook that he has saved. Over the times he has braved himself to select all of his pictures but never brave enough to click the delete button.

 

Hovering again over the picture of Jungkook, he wonders how he got it all so wrong. He has tried to avoid thinking about him so much that it has started physically hurting him. He can't concentrate on anything, let alone get any work done properly. He knows he has lost some weight, but no one can tell that over his winter clothes. 

 

Taehyung doesn't say much, but sometimes he will remind Jimin that he needs to move on and there's no other way around it.

 

Oh, how much Jimin wishes there was another way around this.

 

The front door of the apartment opens with a force and Jimin jerks his head in that direction. The look on Taehyung’s face is enough to tell him that the dinner did not go well. 

 

Taehyung comes and stands across from Jimin over the breakfast table where Jimin is scrolling through his laptop, and drop his car keys loudly on the table. Jimin jumps in his chair when the keys clatter to the surface.

 

"Tae? What happened?" Jimin looks at his best friend, concerned about his spoiled mood. Taehyung isn't reckless, but when he is pissed over something, he has a difficult time hiding it.

 

Taehyung grabs a glass and fills it with water. Downing it all in one go and taking a deep breath, he tries to calm himself down. "She's crazy," Taehyung tells Jimin about everything that she said and why she wants to marry him.

 

Jimin cannot contain his shock as he tries to take in all the information. He always knew Ahreum did everything with an agenda in mind, but he never could have guessed the extent of it.

 

"What are you going to do now?" Jimin asks, worrying over his best friend’s future.

 

"I told her I know what I am going to do, but honestly I have no idea what I can do. One thing is for sure: I'll not marry her. I'll run away if I am forced to marry her." Taehyung says, deeply upset.

 

Jimin jumps to his side and puts an arm over his shoulder, "We'll find a way. There's always a way." Jimin has to find a way to stop this impending marriage. 

 

Jimin cannot let his best friend suffer like this for the rest of his life. In his head, he already knows what he has to do, come clean to his parents about his and Ahreum’s past. He has kept it as a last resort if nothing works. 

 

Both Taehyung and Jimin have been hoping that Taehyung’s refusal to get married will be enough but it seems like it’s not an option anymore. Maybe he should wait for a few more weeks before taking any step in that direction, He also doesn’t know what Ahreum will do now. 

 

Maybe after the scene during dinner, she will hold onto her self respect and refuse the alliance. He hopes to God she refuses. 

 

*

Chapter Text

Days have passed and nothing has changed for Jungkook. Things have only gotten worse as he regularly spots Jimin at the university. Maybe his eyes are always searching for him that he finds Jimin somewhere. If their gazes lock, then Jimin instantly looks away and pretends he did not see him. Well, Jimin has been pretending a lot that he doesn't know Jungkook and it is not settling down with him. It is only making Jungkook feel worse. 

 

Jimin does not come to Seoulful anymore. For some reason, working there doesn’t feel the same. Every time a customer asks for boba, Jungkook has to ask Tina to make it. He knows he is being unprofessional, but he can’t bring himself to make the drink which has prompted a lot of his and Jimin’s conversations. 

 

Staring at the screen of his laptop, he hovers the pointer at the Google search bar. He should be asleep at this time of the night, just like the city which has slipped into a peaceful slumber. 

 

The agitation of his soul has robbed him of everything peaceful, including sleep, and he hasn't been able to rest properly. Even though his body gets worn out and limbs give way, he can't sleep for more than 2-3 hours at night. Even the slightest noise or movement wakes him.

 

He fiddles with his fingers and then types out 'How to know that I am '.

 

Quickly deleting and then retyping 'am I'.

 

He shakes his head, closes the lid of the laptop and puts it away from him hastily. He doesn't want to see it. Throwing the quilt all over himself, he lays on his side in the fetal position, holding his knees to his chest tightly.

 

After some time, Jungkook throws the quilt away and picks his laptop again. His fist clenches as he stares at the text on the google search bar. He takes a deep breath, braves himself and types out 'How to tell I am gay? '

 

A million results pull up, top three of which are quizzes from Buzzfeed and other websites. Jungkook clicks on one of the quizzes and takes it.

 

Among the few quizzes he took, few gave him the result that he could be bisexual while some gave him the result that he could be gay, confusing him further. 

 

It did not seem enough for him, so he looks for articles that explained it better and then looks for some more. Finally, after two hours, when his laptop's battery drained and he couldn't bother to plug it into charging, he keeps his laptop aside.

 

Even though he learned more than he asked for, there were many things he still wanted to know. Out of curiosity and the need for answers, his hands reached for the laptop again, but then he stopped himself mid-way. 

 

He knows there's someone who can guide him better than the internet. Without a second thought, he leaps from his bed.

 


 

The loud rapping on the door jolts awakens both Hoseok and Yoongi. On an impulse, Hobi looks at the clock and it reads 3:40 am.

 

"Hyung!" Jungkook calls out from the other side of the door.

 

"Kook-ah, are you alright?" Yoongi panics and immediately leaps out of bed, grabbing his shirt from the chair.

 

Hobi turns on the bedside lamp and gets out of the bed, worried just like his partner about Jungkook.

 

Opening the door, Yoongi is met with teary-eyed Jungkook with messed up hair and clothes. The dark circles under his eyes are prominent and he looks really tired, which worries Yoongi and Hoseok both even further.

 

Grabbing him in a bear hug, "What happened?" Yoongi tries to hide the panic in his voice.

 

He has never seen Jungkook like this before. 

 

Even as a child, Jungkook never cried over broken toys or anything, and somewhere Yoongi was always assured that Jungkook is not emotionally attached to anything materialistic. 

 

Jungkook barely ever cried over a scratched knee or any injury while playing. Jungkook always knew that either things can get fixed, or in the case of material things, they can be replaced. Crying is not worth it. But right now, Yoongi has no idea what could have hurt him so much that Jungkook is so messed up.

 

Jungkook holds him tighter, "I think I am gay." His voice is barely a whisper as he tries to swallow the lump in his throat.

 

"Huh?" Yoongi looks at Jungkook, confused with what he is saying. 

 

For a second, he thinks that maybe Jungkook woke up from a dream, but his face tells him that Jungkook hadn't slept a wink all night.

 

 

Settling on the couch in the living room, Jungkook scoots towards the corner of the couch and brings his knees to his chest. Yoongi sits next to him while Hoseok sits on the edge of the center table in front of Jungkook. 

 

Looking at how scared Jungkook looks, Hobi gently takes his hands and holds them firmly to convey that he is there for him.

 

Hoseok knows all about needing comfort at this point. He has been there and he knows he will never let anyone walk that path alone. It's scary, nerve-wracking and without people supporting or making you feel comfortable, it is anything but pleasant.

 

Hoseok wipes the tears falling from the corners of his eyes, "It's all going to be ok." 

 

Jungkook’s face breaks Hoseok’s heart into a million pieces. How he wishes it weren't like this, how nobody should be scared because of their sexuality.

 

Hoseok was in a similar situation when he was a teenager. It took a while for his parents to come to terms with his sexuality. But after they accepted their son's reality, they have been super supportive of him.








"How will I ever tell my parents?" Jungkook says as another tear falls from his eyes.

 

Yoongi runs his hands over Jungkook's back. He knows what it feels like, how scary the thought of facing parents, especially Asian parents, in a society where same-gender relationships are frowned upon. 

 

"They'll come around. It might not be easy, but they will accept you and who you are Jungkook. They love you so much and as far as I know, your parents are pretty open-minded." Yoongi tries to reassure him. Even though he is yet to come out to his own parents, he knows Jungkook's parents will be supportive of their son.

 

Jungkook shakes his head, "Not like this."

 

"We'll see about that when the time comes," Hoseok wipes another tear that falls from Jungkook’s eyes. “We can't just sit around and worry about it. We'll do what needs to be done when the time comes.”

 

A few tears fall from Jungkook's eye, "I tried so hard to not think that way, but I couldn't stop." Jungkook wipes his tears, "I was interested in girls, but I like guys too. I am so confused, what is happening?"

 

Yoongi moves closer to him and says, runs his hand over his back to calm him down. The moment of confusion is so scary.

 

"You could be bisexual, but there are more sexualities." Jungkook looks at him and Yoongi continues, "Take your time to figure it out. You don't have to figure out everything just right now. Nobody wakes up one day thinking 'Ok I'm gay now'. Confusion is good, confusion is nice. It means you are really trying to find answers. But don't feel pressured Jungkook."

 

Jungkook hugs Yoongi and buries his head in his shoulder, "Is it wrong?" He whispers.

 

"No. It's not wrong. Love is never wrong."



Jungkook looks at Yoongi and finds no trace of question on his elder brother's face. He can't thank the universe enough that he has an elder brother like him whom he can turn to whenever he needs someone. He leans his head on Yoongi's shoulder and lets out a breath he had been holding for so long. He can't put his feelings into words, but the assurance that his feelings are not wrong and he can be who he wants to be is overwhelming. 

 

 

 

*

Chapter Text

Jungkook shifts his weight from one leg to another and fiddles with the hem of his jacket. It just started snowing and he is glad that he avoided it by running towards the dance studio quickly. He knows it is where he is going to find Jimin and he needs to talk to him.

 

The students start coming out of the studio and Jungkook scoots towards the wall to give the students more way. He looks at every face, but Jimin doesn't come out. Hoseok texted him an hour back that Jimin was in the studio and Jungkook hadn’t thought twice before coming here to see him.

 

Jimin walks out of the studio, typing something on his phone, unaware of his surroundings.

 

As soon as Jungkook spots him he goes to stand in front of him, "Hyung!"

 

Jimin looks up from his phone, surprised, "Jungkook!"

 

Jimin looks beautiful in his deep blue slacks and cherry red jacket over a white t-shirt. Jungkook is mildly surprised to see his dark brown hair flying everywhere. Of all the hair colors he has seen on Jimin, he is still trying to come to terms with the fact that he can rock every hair color. From pinks to blues. Even brown dark brown hair color hasn’t looked this pretty on anyone. 

 

"Um, I want to talk to you." Peeking at Jimin from under his eyelashes, Jungkook stutters nervously. He can feel his heartbeat rising. "It won't take long."

 

Jimin looks blankly at Jungkook, "O-Okay." He gestures towards the studio. "Can we talk in there?"

 

As they step inside Hoseok is picking his bag and walking out. His eyes shift from Jimin to Jungkook. Giving him a sympathetic nod, Hoseok walks out without a word.

 

The entire studio is empty except for just two of them. There's not a single sound in the studio and it is dimly illuminated by the light just above their head. Standing face to face, there's an awkward silence between them.

 

Jungkook has practiced over and over in his head everything that he is going to say to Jimin, but right now not a single word comes out of his mouth. It like his brain and mouth do not have any coordination at the moment and refuse to help him.

 

Jimin breaks the silence between them, "Jungkook, I am really sorry. It was stupid of me to think of you like that."

 

"What?" Jungkook mumbles.

 

"I didn't think it properly and it was all my fault. I really do not want you to feel awkward about it." ‘Sorry’ is written all over Jimin's face.

 

"Hyung…"

 

"I shouldn’t have guessed that you liked me. I mean, I shouldn't have guessed your sexuality at all. I thought you liked me too and now when I think about it, it really is unacceptable." Jimin goes on, refusing to meet Jungkook in eyes, his gaze locked to the floor.

 

"Wait-"

 

Jimin continues, "I have no idea why I thought that. Maybe because I am always around people who are a part of the queer community. Uh, I know it's not even a proper explanation but I don't have any other reason for why I thought the way I did."

 

Jungkook looks at him with mouth open.

 

Jimin looks up with a sorry expression all over his face, "I am sorry, Jungkook. I am sorry I cannot be friends with you. I can't bring myself to be just friends with you. I am sorry for being such a shitty person. Please forgive me and try to understand." Jimin pauses for a moment and then continues, "You are such a nice person Jungkook, I wish I could keep you in my life but I can't."

 

Jungkook pulls Jimin forward and hugs him tightly, taking Jimin by surprise. "Listen to me, please," Jungkook whispers. 

 

Jungkook looks at Jimin and takes a deep breath, "Look, I know why you are feeling guilty but trust me, there's nothing to feel guilty about. The thing is that when we both used to hang out, I felt so good. I never had many friends in my life and hanging out with them never felt the way it did with you. I thought most people feel this way when they talk to the people they connect with. But then you suddenly disappeared and it affected me. It affected me so much that I started thinking about why I was missing you so much. I would text you and keep checking my phone every now and then, hoping to get a message or a call from you and every single time it disheartened me."

 

Jungkook looks at Jimin’s blank face and continues, "When you told me you liked me, I had no idea how to react. No guy has ever told me that. I tried to push the thoughts of you away. I tried not to think about you or what you said. I promise I tried really hard, almost too hard." Jungkook says with utmost sincerity in his voice. "But I kept wondering why it bothered me whether you like me or not if I don't feel anything for you. It took me some time, a couple of google searches, a few quizzes, a hell of a lot of tears and a long chat with both my hyungs, to get me to stop denying what I feel for you."

 

Jungkook takes Jimin's hand in his, "It was all so confusing to me. I mean, I used to like girls, then I liked a guy. I was so scared, it felt like I was doing something wrong, or my feelings are not allowed."

 

"It's ok. Your feelings are valid." Jimin says softly with an encouraging nod.

 

Jungkook tightens his grip on Jimin's palm, "I know now. I am not scared anymore. I want to tell you that I like y-"

 

Jungkook stops mid-sentence and looks at Jimin for any reaction who is looking at him wide eyes. Jungkook now notices that his eyes always widen when he is surprised and his tiny eyes on his chubby face makes him look extra cute.

 

"I don't know how you feel about me now, but I hope it is not weird to tell you that I like you." Jungkook pauses, searching for an answer on Jimin’s face. "A lot."

 

"Jungkook!" Jimin says, failing to hide astonishment in his voice.

 

Jungkook timidly looks at him, "I- It's ok if you don't feel that way anymore. But I just wanted to let you know that you should not feel guilty or anything about it."

 

Suddenly, to Jungkook it feels like a huge weight has been lifted off his chest. A weight that has been burying deeper and deeper every day. He feels lighter, a bit relaxed.

 

Jungkook relaxes his hold on Jimin's hand and tries to let it go, but Jimin holds his hand back even tighter than before. They both look at each other wordlessly.

 

For a while, there’s nothing between them. Standing so close, Jungkook’s eyes fall on Jimin’s lips and thought wanders in his head, ‘I wonder how they must feel while kissing.’

 

Even when neither of them says anything, Jungkook feels reassured that Jimin is not feeling bad anymore. 

 

"I still feel the same." Jimin whispers.

 

A huge smile makes way to Jungkook’s face, his eyes crinkling at the corners. He really did not expect this to happen. He was sure Jimin would reject him, or tell him that he has found someone else, but he wasn't ready to hear these words from his mouth.

 

Jungkook smiles thinking about how Jimin always says something he never sees coming, always surprising him, always shaking the earth beneath him. 

 

"Can we talk more about this later?" Jimin turns his head towards the door, "I don't feel comfortable here. It's university and not somewhere I would prefer to discuss it."

 

Even though Jungkook’s heart falls to his stomach, he conceals it behind his smile. "I understand. I have to be at Seoulful soon, I should leave."

 

He has already informed Seokjin that he will come a bit later than usual today. He was sure that Jimin would reject him and he will need some time to recover from the rejection. 

 

He knows Hoseok is waiting for him at the parking, wanting to know how it all went and also ready to lend him his shoulder if Jungkook wants to cry. 

 

"Let me drop you," Jimin offers.

 

It surprises Jungkook that Jimin is willing to drop him to Seoulful, "Won’t be necessary, Hoseok hyung is waiting for me."

 

"Oh," Jimin is taken aback.

 

Hand in hand they both walk towards the studio door and then eventually out of the building. At one point, their fingers intertwined and Jungkook’s heart almost leaped out of his chest. Jimin’s warm hands felt so soft to hold, like a stuffed toy. 

 

He didn’t dare to look at their hands, worrying if it would be awkward for him. What are the rules of dating, he has no idea? Are you allowed to stare at the pretty face that is on your mind all day, after you start dating? Or it is some kind of no-no?

 

Hoseok is already waiting for him in the car, playing a game on his phone as they reach. 

 

Jimin clears his throat, “So… Um…”

 

Jungkook lets his hand go as he comes to stand in front of him while leaning over the car door. 

 

“I’ll see you soon?” Jimin looks at Jungkook expectantly.

 

Jungkook slips his hand inside the pocket of the jacket, already missing the warmth and feel of Jimin’s hand. “I am free whenever you are.”

 

He just wants Jimin to know that he is ready to talk and discuss them, and time is not a constraint. Well, nothing would be a constraint, but he can’t seem to find words to put emphasis on it. 

 

Jimin’s eyes sparkle with joy, “I’ll call you.”

 

“I’ll wait,” Jungkook whispers, not being able to take his eyes off Jimin. His hands itching to touch the man in front of him again. 

 

Jimin is so irresistible, how much Jungkook wishes they were alone and no one was in sight. He knows he is gathering some stares from everyone in the parking lot but couldn't care less. People can talk about whatever they want about him, he can’t bother to explain himself to anyone. 

 

 The ringing of Jimin’s phone snaps them both into reality. 

 

Jimin looks at the screen, “I am sorry, it’s Taehyung. I need to take it.” Jimin bites his lip, “I’ll see you later.”

 

“Sure.”

 

Jungkook smiles as Jimin quickly makes his way towards the library, talking on the phone with Taehyung. 

 

He takes a deep breath and it fills his lungs with air. For the first time in a while, it seems like he is breathing freely. He feels more relaxed than ever. 







Jimin excitedly bangs the table, "He likes me," The brightest smile hasn’t left his face all evening. He twirls in the room. "Me, he likes!"

 

He has been over and above the clouds since Jungkook said that to him. It took a while for the words to settle in and since then he hasn't been the same person. He is sure he isn't the same Jimin who woke up this morning. The sun shines brighter to him, everything looks pretty, the world is the right place to live and all he can see is endless happiness and joy around.

 

Taehyung takes another bite of his pie that he brought in celebration along with an entire bottle of Moet and Chandon. There haven't been enough good things happening in their lives lately and even a small ray of sunshine and hope must be celebrated.

 

Taehyung pours them both another round of champagne and offers a bite to Jimin who just jumped on the couch next to him. Jimin was pleasantly surprised to see that Taehyung bought home with him an entire bottle of Moet and Chandon. In Taehyung’s defense, there haven’t been enough good things happening in their lives lately and even a small ray of sunshine must be celebrated. 

 

"What should I do, Tae?" Jimin asks excitedly. "I cannot wait to see him. I want to see him all the time now." Jimin takes a sip of his drink. "But I still can't believe that he said that. Pinch me." Jimin holds his hand in front of Tae's face. "I want to know that I am not dreaming."

 

Taehyung laughs and pulls his cheeks, "You are not dreaming, Jimin-ah." Leaning forward he kisses his temple. "Don't fuck it this time."

 

Jimin leans back, "I never fucked it up, you know. I just-" Jimin trails off. He really doesn't want to think about it.

 

As if sensing Jimin’s mood souring, Taehyung turns to face Jimin properly, "So… where do you both stand now?"

 

"I have no idea. I want to see him, talk to him and talk some more and then hold him tightly." Jimin groans loudly, "Is this how it feels like to be in love? It's frustrating. I can't wait to see him again, Tae." His cheeks have a natural pink flush and his entire face has a beautiful glow.

 

"When are you seeing him?" He offers another bite of the pie to Jimin, who takes it gladly.

 

"I have no idea." The butterflies in his stomach are not helping him stay calm. He looks at Tae and makes a puppy face, "Shall we have dinner at Seoulful?"

 

Taehyung shakes his head, "Sorry, I don't think I am in a mood to be thrown out of a restaurant."

 

"He didn't throw me out…" Jimin laughs remembering that day.

 

Taehyung laughs with him. 

 

“Do you think we will work it out?” Jimin asks, seriousness in his voice.

 

Taehyung leans back, “Don’t know about him but the way you have been all over the place over this guy if you don't make an effort to make it work then there is something wrong.”

 

Jimin runs his hand through his hair, “I am nervous.” The feeling of excitement and nervousness is merciless. He can’t wait to see Jungkook again, but he also does not want to lose him again. 

 

Taehyung crosses his fingers in front of his face, “Good things, Jimin-ah. Only good things from now on.”

 

Jimin smiles. 

 

Maybe, just maybe, the universe has all good things for him in store now. Maybe it all starts from here. Maybe his life is about to change. Good change, happy change. Jimin takes a deep breath, mentally readying himself to welcome the new chapter of his life. 

 

 

*

Chapter Text

The streets are covered with a blanket of snow but that doesn’t stop people from enjoying their daily life. Jungkook, however, hasn't been particularly fond of winters here. It just seemed too much for him to handle. The entire white and grey weather has been draining him of spirit instead of enjoying the scenic beauty of the snow-covered city. He knows the weather is going to be like this for a few more weeks before spring comes. However, he isn't sure if the weather was the only reason for his sour mood for the past few weeks. 

 

Today, as Jungkook steps out of the restaurant he doesn't feel gloomy and the cold weather doesn't seem too bad to him. In fact, for the first time, Jungkook looks around and notices how beautiful the streets look with their soft yellow lights. Even though the festive month is long over, the general ambiance feels festive to him.

 

Looking around, his eyes fall on Jimin leaning on his car door and looking at him. Jungkook beams looking at him takes step towards Jimin. Dressed in a black woolen overcoat, black jeans, with only a hint of color from his crimson red silk scarf tied around his neck stands out as a stunning accessory with his black sweater, Jimin looks dashing. There's something about his dangling earrings that sets him apart from everyone, or maybe it is the way he carries himself flawlessly that captivates Jungkook.

 

"Waiting for someone?" Jungkook asks cheekily.

 

The corner of Jimin’s mouth curls up and his eyes shine like the pole star, "A cute barista," He says, the color of his cheeks deepens, "Have dinner with me?" Jimin holds out his hand for Jungkook.

 

Oh, how much did he miss holding Jimin’s hand. As he grips Jimin’s hand, he is met with the unfamiliar feeling of butterflies in the stomach. He steps closer to Jimin and tries hard not to get lost in his eyes. 

 

Jimin opens the passenger door for him and gestures him to sit inside. 

 

 

Jungkook's curious about where Jimin is taking him. He thought it would be one of the restaurants in the city, but when they did not stop at one of Jimin’s favorites, it made Jungkook wonder. 

 

Jungkook nervously gulped when the hotel came into view; ‘Hotel Park Renaissance’, one of the biggest and the fanciest hotels in the city. Jungkook has seen it a few times while passing by but of course, he never went inside. All he knows is that you need to have a proper dress code to even enter. 

 

He looks down at his black slacks and white oversized knit sweater. He knows he is underdressed, very underdressed. He shuts his eyes and then opens it again - is it too late to ask to go somewhere else? 

 

Jimin stops the car in the parking lot. When Jungkook gets out and looks around, all he can see is the sea of BMWs, Mercedes’, Teslas and Range Rovers. Jungkook hesitates taking a step further. He doesn’t want Jimin to feel embarrassed because of how he is dressed. He runs his hand through his hair, hoping it will make him look at least acceptable. 

 

As they ride up the elevator, Jungkook is both excited and nervous. He can see Jimin smiling at him from the reflective surface of the elevator walls. He can sense the uneasiness of the elevator attendant with their presence.

 

As soon as they step out, all Jungkook can see is glass wall in the tastefully decorated hall. The foyer has a golden hue and the chandelier hanging from the ceiling gleams like a star. 

 

A table is set near the glass wall with chairs on the opposite sides. A bottle of champagne and two flutes with a platter of cheese is laid on the table. There’s soft piano music playing through a speaker somewhere. 

 

Jungkook quickly walks towards the glass window and gazes at the beautiful city spread out in front of him. 

 

"Wow…" he whispers. Everything looks tiny and small from here and all he can do is look around in awe.

 

"Like it?" Jimin comes to stand next to him.

 

"It's beautiful. Which floor are we on?" Jungkook was a mix of nerves and he didn’t bother checking which floor they were riding up. 

 

"85th!" Jimin replies happily. 

 

Jungkook turns to look at him, "How do you know about this place?" 

 

Jungkook had been to the 95th-floor Signature room and Sears tower before and had loved the view of the city from there. His hyungs told him that they were the best places in the city to get the view. But they never told him about this place. The view is even better from here. 

 

"It's the private viewing gallery in one of my dad's hotels," Jimin informs.

 

"Oh," Jungkook tries to hide his surprise. Even though he read the name of the hotel, he didn’t think this one would be Jimin’s. 

 

To be honest, he really doesn’t know what properties Jimin and his family owns around the city. He never felt the need to ask him or know about it. 

 

Back when they were just friends, Jimin never bought up his father's business or his family fortune in any conversation. Jungkook could make out that Jimin lived pretty lavishly and nothing about it made Jungkook feel intimidated. Right now, for the first time, Jungkook is getting a glimpse of Jimin's life beyond university and he has no idea how to process it all.

 

Jimin takes Jungkook's hand in his and they both gaze outside the window for a while. Gently Jimin moves his thumb over Jungkook's knuckles in a soft circular motion. Jungkook knows it's a futile attempt to avoid thinking about what the gesture is doing to him or how much he would absolutely love to kiss Jimin's hands. For so long he has tried to shun his feelings towards Jimin but he won't anymore. Whatever feelings come his way, however he feels, he will take it and give it back as well.

 

Jungkook links their fingers together and holds his hand tightly. He turns his head to look at Jimin who is already looking at him with a soft smile that Jungkook can't explain in words. A smile that comes from satisfaction and love. Even his eyes are shiny and big. He wishes to keep this contentment of Jimin's face and his being, preserved all the way till the end. Never hurt it, never ruin it, just always keep it close to his heart.

 

"I am sorry for putting you through all that.” There’s nothing Jungkook won’t do to turn back time so neither of them was suffering. He understands why Jimin had to stay away from him, he would have done the same if he was in Jimin's place.

 

Jimin shakes his head, "No, Jungkook. It was right for you to take your time to know your feelings, to come to terms with a lot of things. It is not a one day process, I know. And I'm glad you took your time to understand those feelings."

 

"You were hurting because of me."

 

"I was hurting because of myself. And it is not the responsibility of anyone to make me happy. It is mine, to find my peace." Jimin takes a step closer to him. "I was hurting because I experienced something I have never before. I got a reality check and maybe I needed it."

 

Jungkook looks at him, trying to understand Jimin's position. He continues, "I always thought that I liked girls and that I only liked you as a friend. I loved hanging out with you, talking to you, but other times I would want to hold your hands. But then I convinced myself that it's just because of your personality and your nature that I felt that way for you. It took me a while to realize that what I felt wasn't all because of it."

 

Jungkook looks down at the floor, his cheeks flaming in embarrassment, "Sometimes I looked at your face and wanted to touch your cheeks. I even wanted to kiss you, and none of that made it easy for me to know what I was feeling."

 

"You wanted to kiss me?" Jimin takes another step towards Jungkook, their toes touching.

 

Jungkook looks up at Jimin and for a moment he forgets to breathe. Being so close to Jimin is clouding his head, or maybe he really wants what he has tried to keep away. The red plump lips are in front of him and he wonders what they taste like.

 

"Is it weird?" Jungkook whispers.

 

"No," Jimin says and leans forward to seal his mouth with Jungkook's.

 

For Jungkook, the time has stopped, all he can feel is his and Jimin’s heart beating in tandem. Jungkook leans forward to reciprocate the intensity of the kiss. It feels like they both share a bond, and energy together. 

 

He doesn’t want to stop. Not even for a fraction of a second did the kiss feel unnatural or forced. 

 

Jimin chuckles as they part, "So… what are we now, as in, um… are we…?" He hesitates, "Do you want to be my boyfriend?"

 

Jungkook's jaw drops open, he really didn't see it coming. "Do you want to? I mean, are you really serious about it?"

 

"We can take time and figure it out as well. I mean, if that's more comfortable with you." Jimin pauses for a moment and then continues, "You know what, I think we should take it a bit slow and see where we stand, and then decide."

 

Jungkook agrees. He is not really good at doing everything super quickly, he needs his own time to figure things out at his own pace.

 

Jimin points at the table set up near them. "Hungry?"

 

After Jimin pours them both some champagne, two stewards dressed in black suits and ties bring them their food. The delicious smell of steak makes Jungkook hungrier than before. He compliments the steward a few times about nice the steak was and that he has never had a steak like this before. It was his best one.

 

Afterwards, Jimin drives Jungkook back home.

 

"Come upstairs. Hobi hyung asked to bring you home next time you dropped me." Jungkook insists.

 

"I would love to, but it’s late. Next time." Jimin promises.

 

Jungkook pouts but agrees. He can’t force Jimin to meet his hyungs. Maybe Jimin needs time to be ready to meet them and Jungkook doesn’t mind giving him some time. 






Jimin watches as Jungkook gets out of the car and makes his way towards the entrance, wishing he stayed with him a bit longer. He has missed Jungkook so much that a simple dinner will not suffice to make up for it. He needs him by his side, all the time. 

 

Jungkook turns back to look at the car, Jimin waving at him. He can see Jungkook taking out his phone, and not much later his phone starts ringing.

 

"Hyung, go home," Jungkook says with authority in his tone, taking Jimin by surprise.

 

"You go in first…"

 

"I am already home," Jungkook counters.

 

"Go inside, Jungkook," Jimin says softly. No, he is not ready to leave yet and doesn’t mind looking at Jungkook till he is out of sight.

 

Jungkook giggles. "If you are not going to leave, you should come upstairs," Jungkook tries to bargain.

 

Jimin’s mouth quirks up, "Should I? I don't want to wake up your hyungs." 

 

"They are probably still up," Jungkook insists.

 

"A gentleman never drops unannounced at odd times." Jimin boasts. He looks at his iWatch and it reads 11:45 pm. It is definitely not the time to go to someone’s house. 

 

"Really? But a gentleman standing outside in the car and refusing the invitation to come home is acceptable?" Jungkook sasses him. "Not very gentleman-ish I think."

 

"Did you just say I am not a gentleman? I dropped you home safely." Jimin tries to hide his amusement. He can see Jungkook laughing at his words, which brings a huge smile to his face. 

 

"Well, you leave me no option."

 

Jimin just stares at Jungkook, hoping somehow he didn’t have to leave. He wants to be with him, around him. 

 

"I miss you already," Jungkook’s voice is low and Jimin can tell it is a heartfelt confession.

 

"Me too," Jimin wonders if he should ask Jungkook to come with him and spend some more time. Maybe they can ride around the city, or Jimin can take him to his place and they can make out. 

 

He wants to spend some quiet time with Jungkook, he doesn’t care where or when as long as they are together.  

 

They both go silent for a while, staring at each other from a distance, but neither of them taking the step to close the distance. 

 

Jimin holds back, thinking everything is just too new for Jungkook and he shouldn’t overwhelm Jungkook like that. He should give him some time to clear his head, and figure out what he wants. 

 

Jungkook breaks the silence, "Either leave or come upstairs."

 

Jimin sighs in defeat, "Fine, I am leaving. You are insufferable."

 

Before leaving, Jimin gives him a flying kiss which made Jungkook blush. 

 

 


 

The weather cleared up in the morning and bright sunlight spread its warmth around the city. Jungkook woke up with a bright smile that would put the sun to shame. Even though he didn't get a lot of sleep at night, all because of the excitement to see Jimin again, he doesn’t feel tired. In fact, he can't wait to start the day and reach university so he can meet Jimin. Quickly, grabbing his breakfast he leaves for his classes.

 

As he steps outside the building he is surprised to see Jimin already waiting for him. A Cheshire smile blooms on his face as he makes his way towards Jimin. In his oversized sunglasses, white cashmere sweater, red beanie, and black jeans, Jimin looks as adorable as he did last night.

 

"Didn't you leave last night?" Jungkook approaches him.

 

"I did but I came back to pick you up." Jimin opens the passenger door for him and gestures him to get inside.

 

Jungkook does so, gladly. 





And this becomes a routine. Jimin would pick him up and drop him home after his shift at Seoulful. They both wanted to spend time with each other and neither of them had any other free time apart from morning and late nights. Jimin would drive and sometimes they would do a carpool karaoke, or just talk to each other about their day. Jungkook would tell him about some customer and Jimin would listen to it interestedly, or Jimin would retell some funny antic of Taehyung’s to a laughing Jungkook. 

 

Every time they sat in the car, Jungkook grabbed Jimin's hand and only let it go when Jimin needed to change the gears. Understanding how Jungkook didn't like to let go of his hand even for a minute, Jimin started riding his automatic cars. Jungkook laughed at it but it worked for both of them.

 

Right now, as Jimin stops the car in front of Jungkook's apartment, he can't wait for their goodnight kiss. It has become almost a ritual to kiss him goodbye and good morning and Jimin feels empty without it. He releases his seatbelt and leans forward. The entire hesitation of kissing each other has evaporated and Jungkook always enjoys their few precious moments of intimacy.

 

When they part, the evidence of their desire for each other is pretty evident with their swollen wet lips. 

 

Jimin is hesitant to ask Jungkook to take their relationship to another level. He wants them to become actual boyfriends and do proper boyfriend things, even though they already kind of do.

 

The time he has to say goodbye is hardest, but he has to do it every day and wait for the sun to come up again to see him. "I'll come to pick you up tomorrow."

 

Jungkook chuckles, which makes Jimin curious.

 

"What?"

 

With a mischievous smile on his face, Jungkook says, "If I knew you were going to be my designated driver, I wouldn't have bought the metro pass this month."

 

Jimin bites his lips, trying to hide his smile. "It's only polite to tip the driver adequately."

 

"Is it? How will the driver like to be tipped?" Jungkook raises his eyebrows.

 

"Ah, it's difficult. There are so many ways to pay for the services, but I absolutely wouldn’t mind a good make-out session."

 

Jungkook makes a thinking face, "Isn't the tip too high?"

 

Jimin's eyes widen, "Do you know much energy it takes to drive around and across the city!"

 

"It's an automatic car, you barely do anything." Jungkook reminds.

 

"That's not the point. If I am behind the driver's seat then I am the one responsible for making sure you reach your destination safely while you’re having fun during the ride."

 

Jungkook laughs and immediately pulls Jimin by his jacket and seals their mouth together. With Jungkook's fist grabbing Jimin's hair and Jimin hand trying to ride up under Jungkook's shirt, neither of them know how they reached a point where they were kissing each other passionately. Jimin breaks the kiss and makes his way to Jungkook's neck and bites it softly before grabbing his lower lip in between his teeth and kissing again.

 

A while later, the beep of Jimin's phone snaps them out of their trance and brings them back to reality.

 

"To be continued later?" Jimin's low husky voice reaches Jungkook.

 

Jungkook nods, breathing heavily. Pecking Jimin's lips one last time, he gets out of the car and leaves.

 

 

*

Chapter Text

The days are getting longer and sunnier and the feeling of winter is slowly passing. Jungkook is especially enjoying the weather - not freezing cold, not stifling hot. Just the way he likes it. 

 

Walking out of Seoulful, he whistles the tune of the song he heard on the radio just now. Generally, Jimin is here, leaning in his car and waiting for him by the time Jungkook is done with his shift. Even though he made fun of Jimin last night for being his driver, he looks forward to it every day.

 

As he looks around and a smile creeps across his face as he spots Jimin standing on the curb, not too far away from him, wearing a smile, and a bright yellow jacket and blue skinny jeans paired with a black beanie and crossbody bag. Jungkook takes a step towards him and looks for his car. 

 

"Where's your car?" Jungkook is amazed to see Jimin but not his car.

 

Jimin holds up his phone screen in front of Jungkook's face. "I guess we should utilize that public transport pass of yours."

 

Jungkook’s brows knit together as he leans forward to see the phone screen clearly. A hearty laugh escapes him and his heart swells with love for Jimin when he realizes that it is the metro pass that Jimin bought for himself. 

 

"You didn't have to." Jungkook never really thought Jimin would even think of getting on public transport, only because he doesn’t have to. But the gesture he made, only confirmed Jungkook that Jimin really wants to spend time with him, regardless of the situation or the setting.

 

Jimin chuckles, "Well, I guess metros are fun."

 

Jungkook's eyes twinkle as he looks at Jimin, heart beating wildly. He pulls Jimin towards himself by his waist. "Are you really going to travel in the metro just to drop me home?"

 

Jimin's hands wrap around his neck and he plants a soft kiss on his cheeks. "I'll even go to the moon for you, Jungkook-ah!"

 

Jungkook smiles and seals his lips with Jimin's without any care for the world around them. Kissing him always feel like coming home after a long day. He waits for their kisses, their moments. To Jungkook, it seems like the only time they both have a moment of peace is when they are lost in each other. 

 

They both break apart only when the need for air becomes important. Jungkook takes a deep breath and takes Jimin's face in his hands. Kissing his lips once more. No, he will never get tired of kissing Jimin.

 

"Since you are being so thoughtful to me, let me buy you dinner."

 

Jimin makes a thinking face, "Ok. But I am craving Italian."

 

Jungkook bows his head, " Sì, Signore! Which is your favorite Italian restaurant?"

 

Jimin smiles brightly. Taking Jungkook's hand in his, Jimin turns around and points towards the way to his favorite Italian restaurant. 

 

As they both walk down the curb, Jimin animatedly telling him about his day and a particular dance step he finally nailed flawlessly after trying it for more than a week, Jungkook looks at him in awe. They have been going out for a while and yet Jungkook takes every opportunity to stare and looks at Jimin with utmost adoration. 

 

He has never really met anyone like him before and he sometimes wonder what Jimin is made of. Everyday he wants to know more about Jimin, get to know him a little more. Sometimes his eyes and thoughts will wander to uncharted territory and he will think about what Jimin’s skin must feel like under his touch or what Jimin is like during an intimate embrace. 

 

From their kisses and brief makeout session, Jungkook can tell that Jimin is a passionate lover. But that intensity could be because of his own desire as well. Frankly, he cannot wait to take their relationship to another level, but he hesitates to ask Jimin for the same. 

 

Jimin agreed to take it slow, but he has no idea of how to broach the subject of taking the relationship further in their conversation. Will he look too desperate? Will Jimin think that he only wants one thing from him? Will it put Jimin off? Is it even acceptable to ask for it or should things just naturally happen in a relationship? 

 

 

 

The food, the ambiance, everything about the restaurant was perfect and Jungkook enjoyed his meal heartily. He loves a good pasta, and if it is pasta arrabbiata with buttery garlic bread paired with white wine, then it is the best meal ever for him. And that's exactly what he had for dinner. The pasta sauce was outstanding with a smoky charred flavor that Jungkook really couldn’t get over. He is so full but he hopes to come back here again soon. To his delight, the meal wasn't even as expensive as he thought it would be.

 

The restaurant is small with only around 12-15 tables and a very limited menu. But when he took the first bite of his food, he was blown away. 

 

"From now on, you are my go-to food guide. I am deleting Yelp from my phone." Jungkook wipes his mouth on the napkin. 

 

He has never seen this restaurant on Yelp when almost every weekend he and his hyungs look for restaurants to try out. 

 

Jimin picks his glass of wine, "But my services come with a price, you know. Nothing is free."

 

Jungkook looks up at him and sees the sheer mischief in the eyes of the man in front of him. Jungkook licks his lips and looks left and right. Everyone is busy with their food. His gaze slants on their table. He picks his glass of wine and put it on the corner along with his empty plate. He stands up and leans forward towards Jimin. Grabbing his chin meets Jimin in his eyes. Jungkook softly pecks his lips before drawing the bottom lip between his teeth and biting it. 

 

"How much will the membership cost?" Jungkook smirks, adjusting back in his seat.

 

Jungkook looks at the wide-eyed flustered Jimin and wonders if he took him by surprise to that extent. His eyes drag towards the red mark he left on his plump lips and it takes a lot of self-control to not kiss him recklessly. 

 

Jimin licks his lips, "There's an exclusive offer just for you."

 

"Tell me more about it," Jungkook throws back his wine. At this point, if Jimin asked him to suck on his toes, he’ll probably do it too. Anything to get his mouth on Jimin’s body. 

 

As Jimin looks at him in the eyes, Jungkook can feel his eyes getting heavier and for a moment he forgets where he is. All he can think of is grabbing Jimin and kissing him like his life depends on it and never ever stopping. 

 

Someone clears their throat, snapping Jungkook out of his reverie. 

 

The waiter politely asks if he should clear the table. 

 

Jungkook taps his fingers over the armrest of his chair wondering if he crossed a line. Maybe he should have kept his desire under control and not jumped on Jimin like that. What must Jimin be thinking about him now? That Jungkook only looks at him in a sexual way? 

 

He sighs to himself and promises himself to never do it again. 

 

After the waiter leaves, Jimin looks at Jungkook, "What are you doing tomorrow?"

 

"It's Saturday tomorrow so I have my shift in the morning but after that, I am all free," Jungkook informs. He really has no plans unless his hyungs are going to another trip to Costco, then he definitely has plans. But he will not tell that to Jimin. 

 

Jimin rests his hands on the table, "I want to invite you to my home. You have never been there and I was wondering if you would like to have dinner with me tomorrow at my place."

 

Jungkook is taken by surprise for the second time in the evening. Wondering if his thoughts were too loud that Jimin heard them or whether Jimin is on the same page as him, Jungkook can’t wait to meet him all alone. 

 

Trying not to show his desperation, Jungkook smiles, and nods.

 

Jimin fiddles with his fingers but maintains proper eye contact with Jungkook, "You can even stay the night if you would like."

 

Jungkook is rendered speechless. He didn't expect Jimin to invite him over for dinner and ask him to stay overnight. Is the universe in the mood to grant him everything he wants, he could have asked for good grades as well? But this works to the finest. 

 

Jungkook smiles in agreement. One thing is for sure the next 24 hours are going to be the longest for him ever.

 

 


 

 

Taehyung punches the buttons on his controller quickly and cries in frustration as he wins again, the third time in a row. He throws the controller next to him on the couch and turns to look at Jimin who is pouting, holding the controller. 

 

Jimin can’t concentrate on anything. His mind keeps going back to the moment Jungkook kissed him without a warning. And he loved it. He loved every single second of it. Sadly the kiss was too brief for his liking. 

 

"It's not fun playing if I am going to win every time," Tae throws him a look. "From the way you are playing, I can win in my sleep."

 

Taehyung lets out a long sigh and gets up from the couch to grab beer bottles from the mini-fridge in their game room. 

 

"I am nervous!" Jimin says picking Yeontan from the floor and settling him on his lap with a kiss. Maybe the four-legged furball can comfort his jittery nerves. 

 

Yeontan takes the opportunity to lick Jimin's face which Jimin doesn't mind at all.

 

"You invited him, why are you nervous?" Taehyung hands one bottle to Jimin picks the pillows from the floor that they pushed away while playing and keeps them back to the couch before settling on it.

 

Yeontan quickly jumps from Jimin's lap and goes to Taehyung's open lap. No matter how much Jimin coddles Yeontan, he always finds Taehyung’s lap better than Jimin’s. 

 

Jimin pulls his legs to his chest. "I didn't think before asking that and I hope it wasn't weird."

 

After Jungkook kissed him all he wanted was to spend some time alone with him and kiss him to his heart’s content. He was a bit conflicted if he should ask Jungkook to come over to his place but then he decided to take a chance and thought that the worst would be Jungkook refusing the offer. But at least he will have the answer if Jungkook wants to wait some more or not. 

 

Taehyung chuckles, "You are worried about whether asking to have dinner with you is weird? Are you sure there was nothing that could have been weird?"

 

Jimin picks a pillow and hits Taehyung. "Don't remind me. I don't know what he must be thinking of me now."

 

"Well, he agreed so I don't think you should be worried about anything." Tae takes a sip of his beer. "Have you thought about what you are going to order for dinner?"

 

"Um, I was thinking I'll make it," Jimin says timidly, trying not to look at Taehyung.

 

Taehyung's eyes widen. "Wow! You are in love."

 

Jimin flusters and punches Tae's shoulder. "Stop!"

 

"What? You have never cooked for anyone before. That must be love."

 

Jimin looks at him with his mouth open. "What do you mean never for anyone? I always bake a cake for you on your birthday."

 

That's true. Taehyung's birthday falls on a day before New Year's Eve. When they were 11, they got back home for the holidays. Their fathers were busy with work and mothers were busy organizing a charity event. Taehyung's mother promised him that they will celebrate his birthday later. 

 

In the evening, when Jimin went to his house with a gift that he carefully wrapped himself, Taehyung cried saying no one loves him. Jimin couldn't see him like that and immediately asked Taehyung's house help to teach him how to bake a cake. She smiled and agreed. She made them both chocolate milk and taught Jimin how to beat the eggs and fold the ingredients together. Since then every year, Jimin bakes him a cake on his birthday. No matter how many cakes and treats Taehyung gets on his birthday, his favorite is always Jimin's.

 

"That's different. I am talking about a love interest." Taehyung says rubbing Yeontan’s belly. 

 

Jimin slouches down on the couch. "I don't know what to cook."

 

Taehyung smirks, "Penis fish!"

 

Jimin picks another pillow and throws at him. 

 

A high pitched bark leaves Yeontan when the pillow hits him. Jimin apologizes to the furball and gives him belly rubs. Sometimes Jimin wonders where Yeontan stores that high pitched voice in his tiny body. 

 

Tae scoots closer to Jimin and picks up his iPad. Opening the Jamie Oliver website, Taehyung scrolls through, "How much do you want to impress him with food?"

 

"The way to a man's heart is through his stomach. So like, a lot." Jimin leans his head on Taehyung’s shoulder. 

 

As soon as they spot oysters on the website, Taehyung taps on it. 

 

"This is what you need to impress him. The aphrodisiac you need." 

 

Jimin refuses, "I am not making oysters. Something else please." His eyes look at the other options on the sidebar. 

 

"Why? They taste so good."

 

"It will give the wrong message."

 

Taehyung looks at him, "You invited him to stay overnight, it gave all the messages it could."

 

Jimin sits up straight. "Why do you keep bringing it up?"

 

“Well, it’s too good to be forgotten. Besides, look at you. When have you made any effort to impress anyone, and now you want to cook for him. I am very amazed.”

 

“He’s my soulmate, Tae. I must do everything to make sure he likes me.” Jimin runs his hand through his hair mentally trying to figure out what he is going to wear. 

 

Taehyung turns his whole body towards Jimin, “Jimin-ah, why are you so anxious?”

 

Jimin looks away, he is really in no mood to bring his innermost fears to the surface. 

 

Taehyung nudges him. 

 

“I don’t want to lose him.” Jimin whispers. 

 

“And you think cooking food for him will ensure that he stays in your life?” Taehyung questions.

 

Jimin shakes his head, “What should I do, tell me?”

 

Taehyung puts his hand over his shoulder, “Be yourself. Love him the way you do. There’s really no other way.” 

 

Jimin looks at him wondering where all this sound advice is coming from. “You are single, how do you know this.”

 

“Single people give the best relationship advice, trust me.”

 

Jimin picks Yeontan and puts him on the floor where his toys are scattered. A busy dog is a quiet dog. 

 

Putting his beer on the table next to him, he gets all serious, “Did you talk to uncle and aunty about Ahreum?”

 

Taehyung’s head hangs down. 

 

“Why won’t you tell them that you can’t marry her because of her and my past!” Jimin puts his hand over Taehyung’s. 

 

All he wants are good things for his best friend, but good things don’t seem to find their way to him. 

 

Taehyung looks up at him, “I am not dragging you into this, I have said this before. What will my parents think about you if I tell them about you and her! They would see you in a new light and that is not something I want.”

 

“I don’t care how they see me as long as it takes away your burden.” 

 

“I care what anyone thinks about you.” Taehyung holds Jimin’s hands. “I would never-”

 

Jimin cuts him off, “Don’t think about me, you idiot. Think about yourself and your future. It will never make me happy to see your life getting spoiled.”

 

He is lowkey getting annoyed at Taehyung for not standing up for himself. If the only reason is to protect Jimin, then he needs to make it crystal clear that he couldn't care less about what people think about him. 

 

“Don’t do it, Tae, don’t!” Jimin pleads. 

 

“I’ll take care of it. I promise.” Taehyung holds out his pinky. 

 

Jimin looks at it and thinks for a moment before linking his pinky to Taehyung’s. “If you won’t then I will.”

 

Jimin is going to keep his end of the promise. He will make it better for Taehyung if he doesn’t do it himself. He will never ever be able to look at himself in the mirror if he ever had to see Taehyung suffer all his life over something that could have been solved if he intervened. 

 

 *

Chapter Text

Jungkook can feel a slight tingling sensation under his feet while riding up the elevator to Jimin’s apartment. Shifting his weight from one leg to another, his nervousness is taking the best of him. From the moment he entered the building he was intimidated by everything around him. Looking at his reflection in the shiny reflective wall of the elevator, he wonders if he is underdressed. He couldn’t figure out the right ensemble for the evening. 

 

With the help of his hyungs, he tried a few outfits and they all agreed that Jungkook should wear something casual. He settled for his black jeans and grey sweatshirt (only because of the sweet memory it holds). Right now, looking at the lavishness everywhere since he stepped inside the building, he feels like he should have worn the white silk shirt with those formal black trousers that Yoongi offered him.

 

Jungkook takes a deep breath, trying to get a grip on his jitters. He knows there's nothing he can do now about his outfit and he will have to make peace with it. He hopes that Jimin won't mind it.

 

He texted Jimin as soon as he entered the building and surprisingly, someone who seemed to be dressed in navy blue and white uniform, guided him towards the elevator and pressed the button for the floor. Jungkook wondered if he was the concierge of the building and whether Jimin had informed him beforehand about his arrival. 

 

The elevator comes to a halt with a low ‘ting’ sound. As he steps out, he can see an elevator door right in front of him and two apartments on the opposite ends of the floor. There are huge antique looking mirrors on opposite walls. Paintings are adorning the hallway walls and green plants are in huge flower pots every few steps. 

 

Jungkook wonders why the hallways need so much decoration, nobody even spends time here anyway. He looks for Jimin's apartment number and walks towards it. The nervous pang in his stomach makes him feel slightly dizzy. Taking a deep breath, he rings the bell. 

 

He can hear some footsteps from behind the door. The door opens with a force and he finds a cute looking boy, around 17 or 18 years, staring at him, holding a glass of juice, sipping it with a straw. Jungkook feels like his face is familiar, but he is not sure where he has seen him..

 

"Jungkook-ssi?” The boy sips on his juice from the straw and looks at him innocently. 

 

He suddenly remembers him from a few of Jimin and Taehyung’s Instagram posts. But he is not going to say that out loud. 

  

"Please come in," Taehyung comes to stand behind the boy. 

 

Right now, Jungkook can see a million similarities in their faces and wonder if he is Taehyung's younger brother.

 

Jungkook nervously enters the apartment, looking around for Jimin desperately. He follows Taehyung and the boy silently behind as they walk towards the living room. Jungkook can't help but notice how elegant and clean everything looks. The floor of the apartment is shinier than the mirror in his room and there’s a mild soothing smell of lemongrass in the air. 

 

“Welcome home,” Taehyung throws his arms in the air and gestures him towards the sofa. “Don’t feel like an outsider, make yourself at home.”

 

“Thank you,” Jungkook says shyly. 

 

"Jungkook!" Jimin scuttles towards him with a smile to greet him.

 

Jungkook turns to look at him and is immediately met with relief upon seeing his face. Wearing a white knit sweater and black trousers, Jimin looks perfect. 

 

He leans in to kiss Jimin’s lips as he comes to stand in front of him. Yup, he missed him all day and the familiar softness of his lip.

 

"You shouldn't see that.” He can hear Taehyung speaking. 

 

Jungkook can feel his cheeks getting hotter. Maybe for a second, he forgot that there were other people in the room as well. When Jungkook looks away from Jimin, he finds Taehyung covering the younger one's eyes with his hand. 

 

"I have seen it all. I know everything." He removes Taehyung's hand and offers his hand to Jungkook for a handshake, "I am Yeonjun."

 

Jungkook shakes his hand. "Nice meeting you. I always thought that only Jimin hyung and Taehyung live together. I never knew you live with them as well.” 

 

"No, he doesn't.” Taehyung rolls his eyes. “Yeonjunie came here because he was bored and now he won't leave." 

 

Jungkook bites his lip to stop himself from laughing as Yeonjun looks at Taehyung, aghast.

 

"I am always welcome here," Yeonjun says with clear confidence.

 

“Ugh,” Jimin takes Jungkook’s hand and guides him towards the sofa. "That’s sibling love, ignore it." 

 

Jungkook nervously gulps as everyone settles on the sitting spaces around the room. He didn’t expect to see even Taehyung tonight, let alone his brother as well. He has no idea what he should do. When Jimin asked him to come over for dinner, he was sure it will be just the two of them. The evening has taken a turn he didn't expect, and it has only just started.

 

 

 

After the initial hesitation passed away, Jungkook found that being around Tae, Yeonjun, and Jimin is pretty enjoyable. The way both Tae and Jimin kept cracking jokes and recall their childhood shenanigans, Jungkook never found it uncomfortable for even a minute. He enjoyed the company and the evening. 

 

In fact, he learned a lot about how Jimin and Taehyung became friends and even though they both don’t show it, Jungkook could tell they both adore Yeonjun a lot. The way they treat Yeonjun seemed pretty familiar, as Yoongi hyung pretty much treats him like that as well. 

 

The dinner was hearty with Korean style fried chicken, Japchae, potato and pepper salad and Kimchi fried rice. After the meal, they cleared the table and settled in the living room again. 

 

 

Throughout the evening, Jungkook found excuses to touch Jimin when no one was looking at them. Everytime their eyes met, Jungkook had to stop himself to pull him for a kiss. 

 

Right now, grazing his thumb lazily over Jimin’s chubby fingers, Jungkook tries to get involved in the conversation about the new album by Shawn Mendes. Jungkook has heard his songs a few times and he wouldn’t mind giving his two cents on it, only if Jimin wasn’t running around in his head. 

 

"Dessert?" Yeonjun asks happily, holding Yeontan in his arms. 

 

Taehyung gets up from his couch and looks at Yeonjun, "Yeah, let's go and get some ice cream."

 

Jungkook can see confusion written all over Yeonjun's face. "Um… There are tubs of ice cream in your refrigerator."

 

"We have to get a particular flavor." Taehyung insists.

 

"I am sure there are like seven flavors in there. What more can you want!" Yeonjun is surprised. “There is so much ice cream, your freezer is like ice cream wonderland. There's also a whole box of Magnum bars unopened. I have been waiting patiently to get my hands on them.”

 

Taehyung picks his phone from the side table. "Get up, we have to get ice cream and then I have to drop you back at your hostel."

 

For a second Jungkook thinks he saw a flicker of nervousness in Yeonjun’s demeanor as he pulls his feet up and brings his knees to his chest, "I don't want to go back."

 

Taehyung looks at him wide-eyed. "What do you mean you don't want to go back. It's your school."

 

"Tomorrow is Sunday! Can I stay the night? Please let me stay." Yeonjun says pouting all the while.

 

Jimin immediately rushes to Yeonjun's side and softly ruffles his hair, "Of course you can stay. Is there anything about the school that's bothering you?"

 

It warms Jungkook looking at how soft and caring Jimin is towards Yeonjun. 

 

Yeonjun’s voice is barely a whisper, "Nothing."

 

Well, it didn’t convince Jungkook but to him, it doesn’t feel like it is his place to dig deeper into the issue. As he looks at both Jimin and Taehyung, he knows even they bought Yeonjun’s ‘nothing’.

 

Jimin crouches in front of Yeonjun, “If there’s anything bothering you, you can tell us.” 

 

“There’s nothing, I just don’t like school.” 

 

Jimin and Taehyung exchange a look and a silent conversation happens between both of them that Jungkook couldn’t quite understand but he leaves it to both of them. 

 

Taehyung breaks the silence, "C'mon let's go. Let's go watch a movie." 

 

He picks the car keys and a spare jacket from the couch.

 

Jungkook could see that Yeonjun didn’t really want to leave but Taehyung dragged him from the couch. Jungkook laughed when they both left the apartment bickering over who is going to drive. Yeonjun kept insisting that he drives all the time and can be trusted but Taehyung rolled his eyes saying he is still a kid.

 

As the front door closes, a silence falls in the room and he silently prays that they both now get some alone time

 

Jungkook look at Jimin resumes his original place next to him, "Are they like this all the time?"

 

Jimin sighs, "Most of the time but they love each other a lot." 

 

Jungkook takes Jimin’s hand in his and leans his head on the backrest. Looking at the face in front of him, he can only think that being this kind of beautiful without any effort should be illegal. 

 

It’s not that Jimin is doing anything out of the ordinary or wearing something over the top. He is being casual and normal and yet he looks so breathtaking, Jungkook really can’t understand how anyone around him can get any work done. If Jungkook was to be around him all day, he will simply gawk at his face without any apologies. 

 

"Dessert?" Jimin asks smiling. 

 

"Can I help with anything?"

 

"There's some wine on the shelf if you want to pour us some." Jimin points towards the wine cabinet at the corner of the room.

 

Jungkook picks the bottle of red wine and pours it in the wine glasses, while Jimin takes out the chocolate covered strawberries from the fridge and carefully places them on a very fancy earthen platter. 

 

Settling back on the couch in the living room, Jungkook sets the glasses on the table in front and Jimin puts the platter in between the glasses. Jungkook licks his lips looking at the very delicious looking dessert. 

 

Jimin picks up a remote and changes the lighting of the room to soft yellow which gives the room an intimate feel. Jimin looks at Jungkook and slowly reaches for his hands.

 

"Thanks for coming for dinner." Jimin gently kisses his knuckles.

 

A smile makes way to Jungkook's lips, "The food was amazing. Did you cook all that by yourself?"

 

"Tae and Yeonjun helped. But I really wanted to cook for you." Jimin says shyly. "I couldn't figure out what to do to make the evening memorable for you."

 

Jungkook leans forward and kisses Jimin's lips, "You are so thoughtful." 

 

Jimin slowly caresses his knuckles with his thumb. "I wanted you and Tae to get to know each other. I hope it wasn't awkward."

 

"I never thought he would be this laid back and hilarious."

 

Jimin chuckles, "I hear that a lot about him."

 

Jimin picks up a strawberry from the platter and brings it near Jungkook's mouth. Jungkook opens his mouth and bites it. Some juice dribbles from the corner of his mouth that Jimin wipes with his finger, all the while looking at his lips. Jungkook could feel himself getting hard when Jimin sucks on his finger and pops the remaining strawberry in his mouth.

 

"What are you thinking?" Jimin asks in a raspy voice.

 

"What are we now?" Jungkook asks in a low voice, his eyes fixed on Jimin's face.

 

"We can be whatever you want us to be," Jimin replies.

 

Jungkook turns his body towards Jimin, his hand itching to reach out to Jimin and touch him. "Will you be my boyfriend?"

 

Jungkook is distinctly aware of their surroundings. The music, the lights, the ambiance of the room, he only knows that he doesn't want to stay away from him and there's a lot of distance between the two of them, both physical and emotional.

 

Jimin picks another strawberry and feeds it to Jungkook. When the juice dribbles out of the corner of his mouth again, Jimin doesn't bother to wipe it with his finger but leans forward and swipes his tongue over it. "I would love to."

 

The warmth of Jimin's tongue over the corner of his mouth and his breath falling on him sends tingles down Jungkook's body. All he can think about is sucking those luscious lips and feeling him closer to him, more than ever. Jungkook grabs Jimin's hair and seals their mouth together.

 

Jimin moves forward and adjusts himself on Jungkook's lap without breaking their kiss. Jungkook's hand moves under Jimin's sweater and touches his bare skin. He can feel Jimin’s fingers tugging his hair tightly and the sensation goes down to his member. 

 

"My room?" Jimin asks without any hesitation. 

 




Not much later, their clothes were strewn on the floor, their moans and the sounds from kissing and sucking filled the room. Jimin could feel Jungkook’s fingers lightly touching the nape of his neck. Caught in a moment of passion, Jimin drags his tongue over Jungkook’s neck and sucks on the delicate skin, leaving a faint red love bite.  

 

He pushes him towards the bed and Jungkook falls on the mattress.

 

"I… I haven't done this before." Jungkook stutters as Jimin moves on top of him.

 

This takes Jimin by surprise and he looks at Jungkook surprised, "As in? Sex? You have never had sex before?" He pauses and settles next to him on the bed, "Am I about to take your virginity away?"

 

"No, I mean… I have never done this before with a guy." Jungkook’s face turns red.

 

A sly smile makes way to Jimin's face, "Does that mean, you have done this before with a girl!" Playfully, Jimin raises his eyebrow at him.

 

Feeling embarrassed, Jungkook picks a pillow and covers his face with it. "Yes." Jungkook turns on his stomach, still hiding his face.

 

Jimin giggles and moves forward to plant a soft kiss on his shoulder. "I guessed that it would be the first time with a man, for you.”

 

Jungkook turns his head and looks at Jimin from under his eyelashes. 

 

“I was so excited to meet you today. I waited so long for this and now I get cold feet!” Jungkook whines covering his face with his hand. 

 

Jimin runs his hand over Jungkook's hair trying to make him feel better, "Don't be embarrassed about it. I understand it can be intimidating." He looks at Jungkook lovingly. "If you want, we can go through some videos and some materials that can give you a precise idea of same-gender sex."

 

"Or you can just ask me to trust you and you can do things," Jungkook looks at Jimin curiously.

 

Seriousness takes over Jimin’s face, "I would never do anything to anyone without them absolutely understanding what they are in for. Jungkook, sex is something you can never take back and I don't want you to regret it in the future."

 

He would die if Jungkook ever ended up regretting their moments. He would dig a hole for himself and jump inside it himself and never resurface again. 

 

"I won't." Jungkook insists quietly. 

 

"Then I must make sure about that." Jimin kisses Jungkook's cheeks and turns on his back. He picks up the remote from the bedside table and switched on the television.

 

Jungkook moves and lays his head on Jimin's chest. Jimin gently caresses his hair and kisses his head.

 

"It's alright, Jungkook!"

 

Jimin can sense the anticipation, the nervousness, the curiosity of doing it. He might have gone through it as well, but it was too long back when he had sex with a guy for the first time and honestly, he doesn’t remember a thing about it. But he is looking forward to doing it with Jungkook. He has waited too long for this and he is not letting Jungkook’s nervousness be a hiccup. He wants Jungkook to be as involved in it as him. If Jungkook decides to wait further, he will. There’s no doubt about it. 

 

 

The idea of watching the videos wasn't the best that Jimin has ever come up with. Both Jimin and Jungkook had a difficult time staying put while they watched the videos. As educative the videos were, there's no denying that Jimin and Jungkook were both aroused.

 

While resting his head on Jimin's chest, Jungkook moved his hand and intertwined his fingers with Jimin while tangling their legs. Jimin gently ran his hand over Jungkook's back. He had a hard time controlling himself and Jungkook’s physical closeness was not helping. While running his fingers over Jungkook’s bareback all he could think about was running his mouth over the skin. 

 

A while later, Jungkook raises his head and kisses Jimin's cheeks. 

 

Whatever little control he had gone out of the window. Jimin turned Jungkook on his back and throw himself partially over Jungkook. Kissing his neck and making his way to his navel, leaving love bites all the way, he can hear Jungkook giggling.

 

"Jiminie," Jungkook whispers. 

 

Hearing his name from Jungkook's mouth without honorifics surprised Jimin beyond words. With his brows furrowed and a smirk on his face, he looks up at Jungkook.

 

It seems to him that Jungkook only exists to surprise Jimin at every turn. Surprises that make him happy and content. 

 

Jungkook giggles, his teeth on display, "Jiminie! Jiminie!"

 

Jimin has seen that smile a handful of times on Jungkook's face but never like this. Jungkook looks a lot like an adorable bunny and when he is up to something and with his eyes shining in sheer mischief, he looks even more adorable.  

 

Jungkook says again, "Jiminie!"

 

Jimin purses his lips, trying to hide his smile. "Who told you that you can drop the honorifics? I didn't give you permission yet."

 

Jungkook's smile gets even more mischievous, "Jiminie," He whispers.

 

Jimin bends down and bites his neck to make him pay for the audacity. The bite did nothing but make both of them harder. Jungkook’s actions are promising him a good evening ahead. He will surely enjoy making him pay for it properly. 

 

"It's like calling an angel," Jungkook’s fingers dig into his skin.

 

Jimin runs his tongue over the bite mark before kissing it lovingly. "What?" 

 

Jungkook pecks Jimin's lips and says, "Jiminie sounds like the name of an angel."

 

Surprises just won’t stop coming to him. "But that doesn't answer why you are calling me without honorifics?" Jimin inquires. 

 

He actually doesn't mind, but it is fun to punish Jungkook for it. To be honest, he can hear his name from Jungkook's mouth for the rest of his life. It sounds different when Jungkook says it, it sounds like a reason he is living for.

 

Jungkook pulls Jimin closer and flips him on his back before climbing on top of him.

 

Jimin is taken aback but Jungkook’s boldness deserves to be rewarded. He pulls Jungkook closer for a deep kiss.

 

When they break apart, Jungkook says in a husky voice, "Can't I say your name when we are together… just two of us… like this." 

 

Jimin hisses in sweet pain as Jungkook gently nips at his ear. Before Jimin could say something, he feels Jungkook’s leg riding up in between his towards his crotch. A moan escapes him and he throws his head back as Jungkook gently presses his knee over Jimin's balls.

 

Jungkook gliding the tip of his nose over his neck and leaving a trail of kisses is making him harder. 

 

Grabbing Jungkook's hair in his hand, Jimin looks him straight into the eyes, "You know how to get what you want, don't you?"

 

Jungkook looks at him with sly smiles on his lips and fire behind his eyes. "Always." Jungkook whispers.

 

Raising his eyebrows at Jungkook, Jimin has a thousand things running in his mind to make Jungkook behave and he knows he is going to enjoy it a lot. The thought of hearing Jungkook's pleads for mercy excites him.

 

"Oh love, you are so going to pay for this," Jimin promises, already thinking of all the ways he is going to have his way with him. 

 

Jungkook makes a thinking face, "As far as I can see, you are trapped under me, how are you going to make me pay!"

 

Jimin chuckles, "You don't know me, I can top while lying on my back. And you better start remembering all the angels of heaven because no one will save you from being a sobbing mess after I am done with you."

 

Taking the opportunity, Jimin immediately flips Jungkook on his back, pins his hands above his head and traps Jungkook in place while sitting on top of him with his thighs firmly on both sides of Jungkook's waist.

 

Jimin smiles as Jungkook makes a failed attempt struggling out of Jimin's grasp. He can't help but laugh.

 

"Done!" Jimin tilts his head a bit and leans forward while maintaining eye contact with Jungkook.

 

When Jungkook stops moving under him, he catches Jungkook's bottom lip and sucks it before devouring him all night.

 

 

 


 

Jungkook stares at his reflection in the bathroom mirror. His eyes are glossy, hair mussed up, lips swollen, and there is a trail of hickeys all over his body and some scratch marks on his back. His skin feels a bit sticky at places and there are some white smears on his hair as well. He knows he smells like sex and bodily fluids as well.

 

His eyes fall on Jimin's reflection as he comes to stand behind him. Their gaze locked with each other through the mirror, Jungkook can still feel Jimin’s mouth on his skin. Jungkook has the sudden urge to touch Jimin even though for the whole night they both had their hands and mouths on each other. He is sure there's not a single inch of Jimin which he didn't kiss or devour but it is still not enough. He wants more, so much more.

 

Jimin did keep his promise and Jungkook teared up at some point while they were all over each other. The only thing he wasn't sure of, was if the reason for the tears were the overwhelming emotions he felt, as Jimin constantly said that he waited so long for Jungkook while also not letting him cum or the way Jimin showed his love. Either way, Jungkook never thought this kind of passion and love was possible. He only heard about it and always thought it was only limited to books and movies, not real life. Who even falls in love like that? He did though. Deep down he knows he will never be the same person again. He is deeply in love, too deep for Jimin and there's no return from here. 

 

At one point of their intense lovemaking, he felt wetness over Jimin's cheeks as they kissed each other. When Jungkook looked at him and wiped his tears away, Jimin gently caressed his cheeks and whispered, "You are mine."

 

Jungkook knew at this point, he found a home. As they became one, Jungkook was overwhelmed with the love and he never ever wanted to stay away from Jimin, not even for a moment.

 

Jungkook snaps out of his reverie when Jimin takes a step forward and plants soft kisses on the base of his neck. Jungkook leans his head back as the electricity passes through him. He has never felt this happier in his life before. Never in his life, he has felt more at peace like this. Never has he felt this good about himself and his body. He feels sexier, more confident about himself. 

 

Things love teaches us. 

 

Gliding his hands over Jungkook's, Jimin holds his palm and takes him to the shower with him. The warm water from the overhead shower soothes Jungkook's skin.

 

"How do you feel?" Jimin asks wrapping his arms around Jungkook's neck.

 

Jungkook slips his hands over Jimin's waist and pulls him closer. "Bit sore, but alive."

 

Jungkook seals his mouth over Jimin's. He has no idea how he will ever keep himself away from Jimin. He has no idea how he will even get out of this room because as far as he can see, it is impossible for both of them to stay away from each other. He hopes the physical distance between them doesn’t start giving him pain. He can't imagine a second where he is not touching his Jimin.

 

"I love you," Jimin whispers in between their kisses.

 

For a moment Jungkook cannot breathe. He didn’t expect to hear the words and briefly wonders if he is hallucinating. 

 

"Say that again," Jungkook insists, holding Jimin even more tightly. 

 

He has been to churches and religious places, heard many verses, repeated many of them as well. But never anything has felt sweeter than these words from Jimin's mouth. No other words have ever explained to him the meaning of life and his existence than the three words from Jimin. 

 

"I love you, Jungkook-ah," Jimin looks at Jungkook. 

 

"Again." 

 

He needs to hear that, need to make sure he is not dreaming. If it is a dream he never wants to wake up, if not then he never wants to stop hearing the words from Jimin. 

 

Jimin giggles and repeats it. He repeats it as many times Jungkook asks him to without getting tired of saying it. 

 

 

*

Chapter Text

Weeks have passed by and their relationship has only grown stronger. They meet after classes and spend time when Jimin drops him home. Sometimes Jimin would bring his car, other times they travel by metro. Jungkook is always amazed by how much effort Jimin puts in the relationship and it never seems like he is doing anything that discomforts him.

 

It’s not a secret in the university that they are dating and Jungkook always gets mixed reactions from strangers. Some give him a polite smile while a few roll their eyes if he comes across them. Jungkook has a faint idea that the animosity is because of his relationship with Jimin. He knew this was going to happen. Not everyone would be ok with their relationship, and he doesn't bother about such people at all. At the end of the day, it is his relationship and what people think doesn’t affect them. There's nothing to be ashamed of, but he also makes sure he is not rubbing it in anyone's face.

 

They both try to keep it low key and just friendly in the university. No one would ever see them making out after classes or find them in questionable situations. They both generally have lunch together and when they have free classes, they both meet in the library and finish their notes.

 

Jungkook comes regularly to Jimin and Taehyung's apartment and sometimes even spends the night. Both Yoongi and Hoseok adore Jimin and invite him sometimes for meals. It makes Jungkook immensely happy knowing that Jimin enjoys being around his hyungs as well. 

 

Right now, sitting on the floor of Jimin's room and their notes spread out in front of them, Jungkook and Jimin are preparing for their finals which are just a couple of weeks away. Jungkook wants to get everything revised at least twice before the actual exams. He always does that. 

 

While Jimin and Taehyung follow a strict study schedule and mostly study together, Jimin doesn't mind revising his notes while Jungkook revises his own before dinner. Taehyung is supposed to join them for dinner after he comes back from the gym.

 

Jungkook looks up and finds Jimin smiling fondly at him while lying on his stomach, head propped up by his palms. 

 

Jungkook picks his book and throws it at him, "Study!" Jungkook says a bit loudly to make sure the message reaches Jimin and he gets back to studying.

 

Jimin giggles and dodges the book, "You look cute when you are concentrating hard."

 

Jungkook whines, already tired from all the revision, "I am trying to study and you should too." Jungkook gets anxious every time he revises his notes. He knows that he has covered all the topics and is prepared, but the fear that he will forget everything while writing his exam gets to him every time.

 

Jimin moves towards Jungkook and pecks his lips, "Stop stressing over exams, Jungkook. You will do amazing."

 

Jungkook groans and runs his hand over his hair. "I just want these exams to be over so I can get back to my normal routine."

 

Jimin takes Jungkook's hand in his. "Take a deep breath." 

 

Jungkook closes his eyes and does what Jimin asked him to do.

 

"Kook-ah, stressing out over exams are not going to get you good marks. Keeping your mind clear and being a little more confident will surely help you." Jimin says softly. 

 

Before Jungkook could say anything Jimin closes his notebook and puts it away. "C'mon, let's take a break. You have been studying all day."

 

Jungkook lets out a sigh, "Maybe you are right."

 

Jimin smiles and caresses his hair, "Let's warm the food. We'll go for a walk afterwards, ok?"

 

Jungkook turns to look at Jimin and a smile of relief crosses his face. He takes Jimin face in his hands and kisses him deeply. He has no idea what he did in his past life to be blessed with a supportive boyfriend like Jimin but whatever he did, he hopes to do it again in this life. 

 

Jimin always guides Jungkook regarding the subjects and even shares his old notes to make preparation easier for Jungkook. He never asked Jimin to help him with studies but Jimin himself offered it and Jungkook thought it will be stupid to let the offer go. 




 

Jimin takes out the casserole from the oven as Jungkook fills the jug with water. To Jimin’s delight, Taehyung arrived home as soon as he started heating the food. They wouldn’t have to wait for him to start dinner. By the time the food would be warm, Taehyung would have taken a shower. 

 

"What have you thought about your internship?" Jimin asks Jungkook. Jimin has tried to bring up the topic a couple of times but Jungkook barely ever discussed it with him and for a while, he has been wondering about it.

 

Jungkook places the jug on the table, "I have received replies from a few companies that I applied to. I am still thinking about where to join."

 

Jimin turns to look at him, "Which companies?"

 

"Umm… Three IT companies, three shipping companies. I also applied to a couple of startups but I haven't heard from any of them."

 

"Did you apply to Park Hospitality?" Jimin asks timidly, biting his lips.

 

Jungkook looks away, which makes Jimin anxious, "I am yet to receive a reply from them."

 

Jimin's forehead puckers. The news that Jungkook actually applied for an internship in Park Hospitality is new to him and it bothers him that Jungkook never told him about it. He knows he needs to simply make one phone call and Jungkook would receive his internship approval letter but he decides to keep the information to himself.

 

"If you get an internship opportunity in Park Hospitality, will you join?" Jimin asks hesitatingly. But then again, he will not play around, he needs his answer and he might as well ask the question directly. 

 

Jungkook goes silent for a moment and doesn't say a word.

 

"I… I mean I will be joining my father's company after I graduate and it will be nice if you can do your internship there. That way we will get to see each other every day." 

 

Jimin looks at Jungkook hopefully. The thought of not seeing Jungkook while he goes on and about his day fills him with dreed. And he knows an internship is not easy, Jungkook probably won't have time to waste around, but the satisfaction that they both are in the same building would be enough for him.

 

Jungkook purses his lips, "I will think about it."

 

Jimin takes a shaky breath and tries to keep the incoming thoughts away from his head. They both start placing food on the table without further discussions about the internships. Jimin knows there's nothing that he can do to convince him, and he can simply hope that Jungkook accepts. 

 

Suddenly, the thought that he might not always be able to see Jungkook as regularly as he does now creeps up. He can feel his stomach drop to the floor and the color of his face pales. He turns away from Jungkook and tries to keep himself busy taking out the cutlery and serving spoons.

 

"Hey," Jungkook taps on Jimin’s shoulder.

 

Jimin can't physically turn around to see him and simply makes a humming noise.

 

"I'll freshen up and come," Jungkook says and makes his way to Jimin's room.

 

Jimin turns to look at Jungkook as he leaves and drops everything he was holding on the counter. He knows he will be so busy after a few months that he will probably not have a lot of free time. The devil inside his brain tells him that Jungkook might find someone else in the university. Jungkook still has some years before he finishes university and someone might whisk him away from Jimin. A fleeting image of that girl asking him out for the musical comes back to haunt him.

 

His knees feel weak as he thinks about Jungkook leaving him for someone else, someone better. His right hand automatically makes way to his mouth and he bites his fingernails. What will he do if the day ever arrives? Entering into the real world of responsibilities has always made Jimin panic and it's worsening his fears even more. He would go mad if Jungkook ever leaves him. His hands feel shaky and he takes deep breaths trying to fill his lungs with air. He can't seem to find enough of it and it feels like his own thoughts are choking him. He leans on the counter for support, feeling he might not be able to stand on his own feet for long. A bead of sweat breaks out from the back of his ear and his vision blurs. He opens his mouth to get some more air but the surrounding seems to be lacking enough air.

 

"Jimin-ah," A cheery deep voice reaches him. He almost wants to cry but the tears won't make way to his eyes. His tear ducts seem dried up.

 

"What's for dinner?" From the corner of his eye, he can see Taehyung stroll into the kitchen. "Did you heat up last night's lasagna? It was delicious."

 

"It's in the oven." His voice too weak.

 

Jimin can hear Taehyung reaching him and running his hand up and down his back, "Everything all right?"

 

Jimin refuses to meet Taehyung in the eye. He gets away from the counter, "I'll just freshen up and come."

 

"Sure," Taehyung picks the oven gloves lying next to Jimin on the counter. 

 



Jimin scrambles towards the guest bedroom and closes the door behind him. His knees finally give away and he slides down to the floor. Bringing his knees to his chest, he leans his head on it. Feeling lightheaded and devoid of any energy, the world around him seems to be spinning in slow motion. He feels nauseous and a bit feverish. His throat feels parched and he wants to throw up, hoping it will help him get rid of this feeling.

 

His eyes fall on the spare bottle of water on the side bed table but he does not have any energy to reach out to it. He feels too weak. He finally gives up and lie on the floor, closing his eyes, trying to block out all the feelings.

 

He has no idea how long he lies there when suddenly a text arrives. Slowly he opens his eyes and with shaky hands, he takes out the phone from his pocket.

 

I miss you at the dinner table. - Jungkook

 

Tear fills his eyes as he reads the text over and over again. Covering his mouth with his hand, he lets out the sob that has been refusing to come out. 

In his heart, he can feel a slight consolation that Jungkook loves his presence the way he adores Jungkook’s. He hopes that Jungkook never gets tired of seeing him around because he himself can never get tired of Jungkook’s presence. 

 

He takes a few deep breaths and replies back.

 

Two minutes. - Jimin

 

 

 

 

Jimin plants small kisses on Jungkook's shoulders while Jungkook lies on his stomach, hands tucked under his head. It is physically impossible for Jimin to not kiss Jungkook’s muscular shoulders at sight. He is determined to thank whoever convinced Jungkook to take the Taekwondo training as his body is built perfectly. 

 

Softly kissing his temples, Jimin hums a tune lowly. 

 

"I am already sleepy," Jungkook’s voice deep and husky.

 

Jungkook’s eyelids surely look heavy and there’s a sweet smile on his lips. Jimin kisses his cheeks, throws his leg over Jungkook’s back and trails his index finger down his spine. 

 

"I know. Sleep nice and dream of me, Jungkook-ssi."

 

Jungkook opens his eyes and sleepily looks at Jimin, "I already have you all over me."

 

Jimin nuzzles behind Jungkook's ear, "Not enough. I want to be with you even in your dreams because you are in every single of mine.”

 

"Kiss me," Jungkook turns on his back. 

 

Kissing him deep and hard, Jimin tangles their legs together and grabs Jungkook's hair in his fist. Slowly he makes his way to Jungkook's neck, holding him tight and near. They might be tangled together but for Jimin there’s still painful distance between them and he wants to close it all. He doesn’t want any emotional or physical distance between them. 

 

"Ah, I forgot to tell you," Jungkook mumbles between the kisses. "My hyungs are going out of town for two days."

 

Jimin instantly looks at him and raises his eyebrows playfully at him, "Are you getting any naughty thoughts, Jeon Jungkook?"

 

"The irony of it coming from your mouth." Jungkook runs his finger over Jimin’s arms, "You can stay at my place for two days."

 

"Are you sure?"

 

"Yes! Besides, I'll be studying in the library the whole day and I'll only see you afterward. I hope you don't mind."

 

"Not at all." Jimin carefully adjusts the stray strands falling over Jungkook’s eyes, "I am excited to see your room."

 

Jungkook chuckles, slipping his hand under Jimin's shirt, "It's very modest."

 

"Tell me again, why have I never seen your room before even though I have been to your place a couple of times.” Jimin makes a thinking face, “Ah, yes, because you never invited me to your room.”

 

Jungkook gasps, “I live with my hyungs. It would have been awkward if I invited you to my room.”

 

“Do you care what people think about us?” It makes Jimin wonder if Jungkook is not really ok with being boyfriends in public or around people. 

 

“It’s not like that. It’s just that they are older than me and it makes me feel a bit weird if I invite to my room. Not because of what anyone will think but because I don’t want any third person to know about my intimate moments with you.”

 

Jimin takes his hand and kisses his palm, “But you feel comfortable coming here and I live with Taehyung. Or does that make you feel awkward too.”

 

“Your apartment is so big, I still don’t know where Taehyung’s room is.” 

 

Jimin bites his lip at Jungkook’s words, “Down the hall, first right.”

 

“You have more privacy here.” 

 

“So you are more concerned about the privacy. Is that why you don’t feel comfortable having me at your place!” It all starts to make sense for Jimin now. 

 

“Well, that’s not my place, to begin with. I mean, when I’ll move out and live on my own then you can come and stay over anytime you want. I live with them and I don’t want to invite anyone to their place or my room which is technically not even mine. Makes sense?” Jungkook looks at him earnestly. 

 

“A lot.” Jimin bends down and kisses his lips, “You are so thoughtful. But either way I am very much looking forward to seeing your room. I bet there are books everywhere like an absolute nerd.”

 

Jungkook looks up and immediately protests, "No!"

 

Jimin bites his lips to hold his laugh, "My boyfriend is a nerd."

 

"I am not a nerd." Jungkook throws him a look.

 

There are many pleasures in the world but the kind of satisfying pleasure Jimin gets from getting onto Jungkook’s nerves or riling him up for no reason, is unmatched. He decides to let it slide this time only because he wants Jungkook near him and nothing else. "Alright, alright! You are cool."

 

"Coolest," Jungkook says with great determination.

 

"Let's not get ahead of ourselves." Jimin ruffles his hair. "Why aren't you sleepy anymore. Sleep." 

 

"You are not ready to sleep yet."

 

"I sleep late and you know that.” Jungkook always immediately falls asleep after their lovemaking or in general he falls asleep before Jimin as he is always tired at the end of the day. 

 

"Why? What are you, a bat? A night owl?" Jimin can feel Jungkook gently make small circles with his thumb at the small of his back. 

 

Jimin chuckles, "I am a creature of the night. The moon guides me."

 

Jungkook throws his head back laughing, "That makes no sense."

 

"It does. I am at my best at night." Jimin says proudly. He knows he gets most stuff done at night. From assignments to even arranging his closet, he feels more energetic at night, and he came to the conclusion long back that the moon brings him energy. 

 

Jungkook licks his lips and a mischievous smile covers his face. His doe eyes reflect the playfulness. "Yup, you are at your best at night." Jungkook winks and laughs his bunny smile.

 

Jimin smiles at Jungkook’s playful mocking. He can give Jungkook a proper reply that would wipe the smirk off his face, but no, this moment is too precious and he would rather make love to him than making having a battle of wits with him. 

 

Jimin leans down and showers Jungkook with his love and kisses. 

 

*

Chapter Text

Jungkook scoots closer to Jimin, throwing his leg over Jimin’s lap and resting his head on his shoulder. After dinner, they both decided to watch a movie on Netflix. But since they both have settled on the couch in front of the television, Jungkook has been snuggling next to Jimin distracting him while being too distracted by Jimin himself.

 

Jungkook kisses Jimin's cheeks, then bites it softly when a small moan comes from Jimin. "Your cheeks are so chubby. Bet you were the chubbiest and the cutest baby in preschool."

 

Jimin smiles wide, his eyes shining, "Well, I am not going to lie or brag but yes, I was the cutest. Everyone adored me, from teachers to students."

 

"This is bragging," Jungkook scrunches his face.

 

"It's called being self-aware. And well I'm not as chubby now as I was when I was a kid." 

 

Jungkook can see Jimin’s gaze shift towards the floor and for a second it looks like Jimin has disconnected from him and wavered off to his own world. There’s a satisfactory glow on his face and Jungkook can’t really put a finger on the reason for it. 

 

Jimin continues, "I think I took it from my father but I also feel like I took a lot from my mother. I mean, I resemble my father the most but also a lot like my mother as well. Funnily, my dad's side of the family says I look like my dad while the mother's side of the family says I look like her."

 

Jimin snaps out of his deep thought. He looks at Jungkook who is looking carefully at him. "What?"

 

"You have never talked about your family before. I mean not with this passion." Jungkook is happy to finally hear something about his family. Jimin always questions him about his life with his mom and dad but barely ever talks about them. 

 

Jimin goes quiet for a moment, "Is it?"

 

Jungkook nods, "Yes. I don't think I have ever seen you talk about your mom and dad so much. You barely ever talk about them."

 

"There's nothing to tell, to be honest."

 

Jungkook looks at him worryingly. He has never got the impression that Jimin might not be on good terms with his family. But he really can’t tell that anymore. 

 

"It isn't like I don't get along with them or something. I do. We are a happy family. I respect them, they love me, I love them. There's nothing more to it." Jimin explains.

 

"Don't you want to spend more time with them?" Jungkook takes Jimin's hand in his.

 

"Not really. I have never spent a long time with them, so I really don't have any such feelings. My parents are busy people and I understand why so I never expect them to drop everything for me."

 

"Don't you miss going home and spending time with the things you love? Like your childhood room, your favorite memory, etc." Even though Jungkook never says it, he misses his parents and his childhood room. 

 

"Home?" Jimin's voice goes softer.

 

"Yes," Jungkook nods encouragingly.

 

Jimin shakes his head and pulls Jungkook closer to him. 

 

Jungkook rests his head on Jimin's shoulder. "They must be so proud to have a son like you. You are amazing, you know that right."

 

Jimin links their fingers. He kisses Jungkook's head and holds him even closer. 

 

"Kook-ah, after exams, I want to introduce you to my family," Jimin says without a trace of doubt in his voice.

 

Jungkook looks at him surprised. "What?" He pauses for a second then chuckles. "They will probably not care since you might have introduced them to other people before." He leans his head back on Jimin's shoulder, finding a comfortable spot to lay his head.

 

"I have never," Jimin says seriously.

 

Jungkook snaps his head in his direction.

 

"I have never introduced anyone to my parents before." Jimin looks him in the eye.

 

Jungkook can’t quite find anything to say and blurts out, "Why?"

 

"I haven't been in love before.”

 

"What?" Jungkook mouths after being rendered speechless by Jimin’s confession. 

 

Jimin leans his forward towards Jungkook, look straight in his eyes and whispers without a speck of doubt, "I love you, Jungkook."

 

Jungkook smiles and a tear makes way to the corner of his eye. He never thought a simple sentence would give him so much life. Every time Jimin says it, it feels like he is dreaming. But somehow the 3 words feel like oxygen to him. He pulls Jimin forward and kisses him deeply.

 

When the need for air becomes a necessity, they break apart.

 

He can't bring himself to say what he is feeling. There aren't even enough words for him to form proper sentences about the same. For a long time it felt like with everything going on between them, everything good, something bad is just about to happen. It worries him that if he gets too happy then something unpleasant will come their way hurting Jungkook beyond means. 

 

His gut feeling has never proved him wrong and he hopes that is proved wrong gladly this time. He lets out a deep sigh and tries to keep all the pessimistic thoughts away from his head. 

 

Holding his heart and his feelings, he hopes the feeling- the happiness he feels now, never subsides. He wraps himself around Jimin and throws his leg over his while leaning his head over Jimin's heart.

 

They both stay like this for a long while, Jimin softly caressing Jungkook's hair.

 

"What if they don't like me?" Jungkook says looking up at Jimin's face. "Your parents, I mean."

 

"There's nothing about you that one wouldn’t love and admire," Jimin assures him. He knows if he can see the many amazing things Jungkook is, he is sure his parents will too.

 

Jungkook purses his lips, "Do they know about your sexuality?" It is something he has been wondering about for a while.

 

"Yes, they know I don’t only like girls."

 

"How did they react?"

 

Jimin sits straight, "I think it took them a while to come to terms with it, but eventually they did."

 

Suddenly Jungkook has so much respect for Jimin’s parents, even though he has never met them. He is aware of why it would have been difficult for them to accept Jimin's sexuality, but they accepted their son for who he is and in Jungkook's understanding that's an admirable thing. He can't wait to meet his parents and know them better.

 

Jungkook leans forward and kisses him. Jimin wraps his arms around him and they make out for a while.

 

When Jimin's hand slips inside Jungkook's shirt, he says in-between kisses, "Let's go to my room."

 

 

 

Jungkook closes the door of his room while Jimin looks around the room. As soon as Jungkook approaches, Jimin grabs him by the waist and plants a soft kiss on his lips. Seeing no protest from him he gently takes him to bed. Settling himself on top of Jungkook, Jimin takes off his shirt all the while looking at Jungkook.

 

Gliding down his body, he leaves a hickey on his stomach, Jungkook moaning softly as Jimin dips his tongue in his belly button. Taking his own time in pleasuring them both, Jimin makes Jungkook come twice.

 

After they are done, Jimin flops back in bed, all sweaty and out of breath. As Jimin tucks his hand under his head, Jungkook softly sucks the delicate skin in his underarm leaves a love bite. Jimin smiles and turns on his side to face his boyfriend.

 

"What happened to you? You were so wild yet gentle, like so intense."

 

Jimin smiles, "Why! I like you and like having sex with you. Don't you love it when it's intense."

 

Jungkook touches Jimin's lips, "I haven't known you long but I do know you wouldn't be like this for no reason."

 

Jimin tangles their legs together and fixes Jungkook's hair. He thinks for a while and says, "There is a reason, many to be honest." 

 

He pulls Jungkook towards himself. Taking Jungkook's hand in his, he softly kisses his knuckles, "Kook-ah, having you or meeting you wasn't a simple straightforward thing for me. All my life I have waited for someone with whom I could fall in love . I have waited so long for you. I remember the first time I saw you. You looked so cute, so scared but adorable. I wanted to wrap you in a blanket and keep you warm. I saw you and almost immediately lost you. And then I looked for you everywhere. I searched every nook and corner and couldn't find you. I went beyond my means to look for you. I prayed so hard every day that you will show up. At one point I lost all hopes and then I think the universe felt pity on me then and decided to make your way into my life."

 

Jimin softly smiles and continues, "I was so happy when I had you as a friend. It felt like everything has fallen into place for me. And then I lost you again. I had you and my crippling fear had me lose you. I lost you so many times thinking you'll never want me, to the point I started questioning everything."

 

"I have lost you more times than I have had you in my life. So don't take that against me if I can't keep me to myself around you. I need to touch you to know I am not dreaming and you won't vanish when I open my eyes. Yes, I know I can't hold my sexual urges, but I have always had a high sex drive. With you, sex is not just a need but feels like my reason for being. Never had sex been anything that made me think twice. I always knew if not this one then another person will do."

 

"With you, I can't imagine you in someone's arms, it drives me crazy. I only want me to love you. I know it's wrong and I hope to God I learn to love you in a better way. Every time you are around I want to hold you, kiss you, be inside you. I have never breathed more freely than when I am lost in you."

 

Jimin continues, "So be mindful every time you are going to lay next to me, I'm going to shower you with love and if you'll allow me, then make love to you. And I'll do it every day, every night. I'll kiss every inch of you, leave my trace everywhere so you know what and how much you affect me. I know I am not a perfect man but I love you to the best of my ability and even more."

 

Jungkook looks at him quietly, without saying a word. 

 

Jimin continues, "And sex is not the only thing I want from us. I love everything we do. I love watching movies with you, going to gaming arcades. I love watching you make coffee and concentrate hard on your studies. The sound of your laughter fills me with so much happiness, I cannot put it into words. I love how your eyes get bigger when you are surprised or confused. I love when you talk so passionately about Iron Man, how you cutely smile, how you treat people around you. But I am only human, Jungkook, I want everything that everyone wants from their partners. Just that I want it 100 times more." He pauses then goes on, "Sometimes I hesitate to even touch you thinking you won't like it. I'll rather that my hands hold yours than touch anything ever else again."

 

"Who said you can't touch me whenever you want?" Jungkook says looking straight into Jimin's eyes. He takes his hand and puts it on around his waist while leaning forward to kiss him.

 

"Don’t!" Jimin whispers, "I'll lose my control again and have you one more time."

 

A sly smile makes way to Jungkook's lips, "No, you won't. 'Cos I am going to take my time making you come." Jungkook pushes Jimin on his back and slides down his body.

 


 

After they are done, they both lay spent in each other's arms, sometimes nuzzling, sometimes breathing in each other, hands-on skin. 

 

When it gets difficult for Jungkook to keep his eyes open he shakes his head and gets up from the bed, "Let's clean up."

 

"Shower or bath?" Jimin grabs Jungkook’s hand and tries to pull him back to bed taking Jungkook by surprise.

 

"Aren't you tired?"

 

Jimin just smiles to which Jungkook says, "You pick, I'll get us some water."

 

The hot water shower and the lazily soaping each other while they hungrily kissed each other might have been the best thing to do. After, they both change the sheets and lie on the bed. Jungkook falls asleep almost immediately and in the slightly lit room, Jimin looks at Jungkook and gets emotional.

 

He sits up next to him and his eyes wells up with tears thinking about Jungkook and the relationship they share now. "Are you real, Jungkook? How did I get this blessed to have you in my life?" A tear falls from Jimin's eyes as he whispers.

 

Jungkook’s question, about whether he misses his family home or childhood room or not, is still in his head. He didn’t give an answer as he didn’t have any to give. As he thinks about it now, he never really misses his home or family. He has his own little life and is happy with it. 

 

Maybe home isn't four walls for him but a person. A person with whom he does not have to pretend or be who he is not. A person who brings him comfort and loves him for just being him. One who gives him comfort just by existing. Maybe home is supposed to be a person and not a place. Maybe Jungkook is his home that he has been looking for for so long. 

 

He gently holds Jungkook's hand and whispers, "Please, please don't ever leave me." He covers his mouth with another hand to stop from sobbing out loud. "My world will fall apart, I will crumble if you ever left, Jungkook."

 

Wiping his tears, he leans down and kisses Jungkook's temple. "I love you so much."

 

Linking his hand with Jungkook's hand Jimin lays back on the bed and falls asleep.

 

 

Chapter Text

Jungkook fills his bottle of water, while Jimin finishes his cup of coffee. They both woke up late and are hurrying to reach their respective places to meet their study groups.

 

"What time will you be done?" Jimin asks, picking up a box of cookies. He picks one for himself and saves another for Jungkook.

 

"Ah, I'll be in the uni library all day, after that, I have my shift at Seoulful." Jungkook tightens the cap of his bottle. "Will you have dinner with me?"

 

"Sure," Jimin nods. He walks towards the living room to pick his and Jungkook's bag from the couch. "Just get something from Seoulful. It's been a while since I had their food."

 

Jungkook laughs, "Jin hyung will love it." Jungkook opens the front door and waits for Jimin to come out.

 

"Where will you be all day?" Jungkook asks curiously.

 

"Tae and I are going to the public library and study there. We have a lot to catch up on. Ah, I hate exams." Jimin says. This is the first time he doesn't feel so confident in his preparation and it’s making him anxious. 

 

Descending down the stairs Jungkook asks, "How do you both study?"

 

"He makes half the notes, I make the other half. Then we exchange our notes and explain to each other what we have learned." Jimin informs him. They have been doing this for as long as they remember. "It saves us so much time and effort."

 

"Wow, I should have done this too.”

 

Jimin chuckles. "It's only me and Tae, so we know how to study. I have no idea how to do it with a huge study group."

 

Jungkook scratches his head, "Yes, I think huge study groups are not my thing as well. I am glad there are only four people in my study group."

 

As they reach Jimin's car, Jungkook says, "I think you should go to see Tae hyung. I'll be on my way."

 

Jimin looks at him surprised, "What? I am dropping you to the university library. Get in." He says with finality in his tone.

 

Jungkook shakes his head, "No! I know we both are running late and if you come to drop me, you will be very very late. Please, I don't want you to make Tae hyung wait."

 

Jimin narrows his eyes at him.

 

Jungkook leans forward and pecks his lips, "I'll see you for dinner, ok!"

 

Jimin sighs, "Fine. Let me at least drop you to the bus stand. You are so stubborn." Jimin gets in the car and gestures Jungkook to get in the passenger seat and Jungkook does without a question.

 

 


 

 

Jimin spins the pen between his fingers while gazing out of the window of the library. Even though his notes are open in front of him, his mind is somewhere else entirely. Two cups of Starbucks latte sitting next to his laptop. He came early as Tae got stuck in traffic and he decided to start by himself, but he got distracted.

 

A knock on the table brings him back to reality.

 

"Good morning." Taehyung is standing in front of him. With his glasses on and hair mussed up, Jimin can tell Tae was up till late finishing his notes.

 

Taehyung looks at him amusedly and tilts his head slightly, "Seems like you had a really good night."

 

Jimin doesn't say anything but sits straight.

 

Taehyung pulls out a chair in front of Jimin and sits on it. "You do know that you are completely flushed from head to toe. Anyone can tell that you really got laid nicely last night."

 

Jimin groans, "Tae… I am not in the mood."

 

Taehyung opens his laptop, "Didn't get morning cuddles or what?"

 

Jimin lays back on the chair and heaves out a restless sigh.

 

"What?"

 

"What if he leaves me?" Jimin blurts out, his face serious without a trace of humor. He can’t stop thinking about it, and it’s making him restless. 

 

Taehyung looks at him worryingly, "Why? Why will he leave you? Did something happen between you guys?"

 

Jimin shakes his head. "It's just… It's just that things are good. Too good."

 

"Jimin-ah!" Taehyung looks at him.

 

Jimin's voice shakes, "What if he finds someone better? What if he ever thinks I am not enough? What if…"

 

Taehyung places his hands over Jimin's, "You are perfect, I know that he knows that. And we are only going to think positive things to let positive energies come our way. Jimin-ah, I understand why you are a bit skeptical about having good things in life but just enjoy the moment."

 

Jimin holds his breath.

 

"He likes you too. I don't know if you see this or not but I see it. He adores you so much. He has this stupid smile on his face all the time he when is around you. I can't explain to you how obvious his body language is, but you have to trust me, he likes you too." Taehyung assures him.

 

"I told him last night that I love him," Jimin says.

 

“Not the first time.”

 

“Yes but I also told him that I’ll introduce him to my parents after exams.” 

 

Taehyung's eyes widen, "You what? Wow… What did he say?"

 

"Nothing. He was just surprised that I wanted him to meet my parents. I think he didn’t see it coming. But what if he isn’t too serious and really don’t want to do meet-the-parents thing?” Jimin had tried not to think about it by not putting it into words. and finally letting it out of his thoughts feels good. 

 

Taehyung scratches his chin thinking and then says, "Is this why you are zoned out today? Because he didn’t say 'I love you' back or he didn’t show his excitement of meeting your parents?”

 

Jimin thinks for a while, "No! I mean yes! I mean… I miss him."

 

“It is all in your head. Look, if someone asked me to meet their parents out of the blue, it will leave me nervous and surprised as well. Stop overthinking.” Taehyung lets go of Jimin’s hand and shakes his head, "This love thing is so painful, I am glad to stay away from it to watch it all."

 

A small smile appears on Jimin's lips.

 

"C'mon, let's walk to  Starbucks and get some coffee," Taehyung gets up from his chair.

 

Jimin points, "Here's the coffee." He bought them a while back and wonder if they have gone cold already. 

 

"No, I want you to clear your head. It’s a beautiful day, we'll go out, grab something and come back. I am not starting unless your head is clear. There's so much to study."

 

Jimin agrees. He knows he will not be able to concentrate on anything with this current state of mind. Maybe a change in the environment will help clear his head. Maybe some air will relax him. Maybe Taehyung is right and he is thinking too much about it. 

 

He gets up from his chair and takes a deep breath. In his heart, he feels good knowing he can always rely on his best friend for anything, even his feelings. He knows Tae will keep them safe.

 

 


 

 

 

Jungkook descends down the stairs of the library, checking the time on his watch. He had already planned to take time off from work when his exams start, he cannot afford any distraction then. As he looks up he is surprised to find Jimin standing at the bottom of the stairs, smiling at him.

 

Jungkook takes two steps at a time and quickly reaches Jimin, "What are you doing here?"

 

"Came to pick you up for Seoulful." Jimin pecks his lips.

 

"I thought we agreed that you will study." Jungkook reminds him. He is not sure how he feels to see Jimin in front of him right now. He knows Jimin has a lot to study as well and if he is the distraction, then he doesn't feel good about it. But somewhere he is also happy to see him.

 

Jimin raises his eyebrows at him, "I was studying all day, and Tae and I decided to take a little break. So I thought I’d come here to pick you up and drop you to Seoulful."

 

Jungkook bites his lips, "Are you sure?"

 

"I am not missing my studies, I promise," Jimin informs him. "Let's go!"

 

 


 

As Jimin and Jungkook walk towards their car, from the top of the stairs, Ahreum looks at both of them, a sly smile gracing her face. She puts on her sunglasses, fixes her hair and descends down the stairs.

 

 

 


 

 

Jimin closes the lid of his laptop and gets up from the chair. After dinner at Jungkook's place, he needed to finish the topic he was going through. While Jungkook decided to take a shower, Jimin stayed in the living room. It was a surprise to him how productive he has been all day. It’s the revision phase for both him and Taehyung and he is glad they both are doing nicely.

 

A warm arm draped around him from behind and Jungkook rests his head on his shoulder. A stray droplet from Jungkook’s wet hair falls on his neck and a sweet citrusy scent fills the air around him.

 

"Thank you," Jungkook whispers.

 

"For what?" Jimin asks him, confused.

 

Jungkook nuzzles Jimin's neck, "For everything. For spending time with me, for staying over."

 

Jimin looks at Jungkook and glides his hands over his.

 

"I missed you all day. I just wanted the day to get over so I can see you again." Jungkook leans closer and kisses his cheeks, pulling him closer to him.

 

Jimin is so touched by Jungkook's words. He really doesn’t know when Jungkook is going to take him by surprise with his little confessions or gestures.

 

"Let's go for a trip, just you and me," Jimin says without even thinking about it. "I mean after exams."

 

Jungkook looks up at him puzzled, "What? I thought you were planning on going for a trip with Tae hyung after graduation."

 

Jimin remembers it. Both Taehyung and he had been thinking about it but they hadn’t finalized anything yet. He knows that like always, it is going to be a last-minute decision. But with Jungkook he wants to spend quality time relaxing. 

 

Whenever Taehyung and Jimin go for a trip, they try to see as many places, experience as many things as they can. They generally leave their hotel or Airbnb after breakfast and come back late at night. In between, they try to experience everything about the place. But with Jungkook he just wants to spend some quiet time and learn more about each other. 

 

"Yes, but of course I can manage," Jimin assures him. He turns around, wraps his arms around Jungkook's neck, "I want to spend time with you. Alone!"

 

Jungkook grabs his waist and pulls him further.

 

"Will you come with me?" Jimin asks.

 

Jungkook smiles, "Can we talk about this after exams? I really don't want to think about anything else right now."

 

Jimin's expectations fall but he doesn't let that show on his face, "Of course. Sure!"

 

"I am sorry but I… uh… I really can't afford to think about anything else. I need to clear my exams, first class, I need to do that for myself and my parents." Jungkook explains, sorry written all over his face.

 

Jimin nods. "I understand."

 

Keeping his selfishness besides, he understands why Jungkook is so focused on his studies. He once told Jimin that it's expensive for his parents to pay for his tuition and if he is not doing well in his studies then he is simply wasting their time and money. Jimin knows education is expensive for people who live in this country as well, he can't imagine how people from other countries pay for their tuition and manage everyday expenses.

 

Jungkook groans, "I am so tired."

 

Jimin runs his hand through Jungkook's hair, "Let's go to sleep. I am exhausted as well. I will leave early tomorrow though."

 

"Why?"

 

"Tae and I have decided to start revision early tomorrow," Jimin explains.

 

Jungkook pouts.

 

"When will I see you next?" Jungkook asks.

 

"My exams start next week. Will it be alright, if we meet after yours and mine end?" Jimin suggests. He himself has no idea how will he make it for the next few weeks without seeing Jungkook but he knows he will have to. A lot has happened this year in both his and Taehyung's life and somewhere their studies have taken a backseat. He wishes to graduate with a good GPA and for that, he needs to focus.

 

Jungkook hugs him tight, "Ok. But miss me."

 

Jimin smiles, "We'll FaceTime every day."

 

Jungkook hums, buried in his neck.

 

"Let's go to sleep, you will fall asleep standing," Jimin says and drags him towards Jungkook's room.

 

Jungkook rests his head on Jimin's chest and they both quickly dozed off into a deep slumber.

 

 

*

Chapter Text

As the exams are getting closer, Jungkook is getting more and more nervous by the day. He is always studying, always revising his notes. Even now, during his shift at Seoulful, he has his flashcards open on the counter. Even though he feels confident about his preparation, exam stress is common. He just wants them to get over so he can finally breathe freely.

 

The rush at this time of the evening is mild. There are fewer people but he knows as the evening progresses the rush will increase.

 

Tina sighs next to him, "You have been going through your flashcards since you came here. Take a break."

 

Jungkook shakes his head, "No, I need to finish these here so I can look at my other flashcards on the way back home."

 

Tina looks at him amused, "Are you a topper or something."

 

Jungkook smiles and looks at her, "I wish I was. I wouldn’t have had to worry about my grades then."

 

The door of the restaurant opens and Jungkook pushes aside his flashcards. He looks at the face of the customer and he is sure he has seen her around in the university campus but he doesn’t know her name. 

 

The person comes to stand in front of the counter and says, "I have an order under the name Lee Ahreum."

 

Jungkook nods, "Yes."

 

"I'll get it," Tina announces and goes inside the kitchen.

 

Jungkook looks at the screen and opens the order she has placed to continue with the billing. He taps a few times on the screen to check the progress of the order.

 

"Your order is almost done," Jungkook informs her. "Would you like coffee or anything meanwhile?"

 

"You are Jeon Jungkook, right?" She asks.

 

Jungkook's entire body stiffens as he hears her name from her mouth. To him, it felt like her tone had a trace of anger in it. 

 

She continues, "Park Jimin's new toy."

 

For a second Jungkook forgets to breathe.

 

"We are dating," Jungkook informs her. No one has ever called him anyone's toy. Nobody has ever degraded him like that and listening to the word from her somehow makes his skin crawl.

 

Ahreum chuckles, "Dating?" She leans forward and looks straight into Jungkook's eyes. "Does Park Jimin date?"

 

She blinks and smiles, "He doesn't. He uses people and then throws them away. It was me before you, it'll be someone else after you."

 

The ground beneath Jungkook shakes. He can't say a word, he feels numb. Jungkook has always known that Jimin was quite popular and has always thought that he might have had been in few relations in the past but he never asked him about it, neither did he worry about it. To be honest, he himself wasn't sure about their relationship, but since Jimin told him that he wants Jungkook to meet his parents, he had absolutely no reason to worry about anything. 

 

"Does he say 'I love you' to you or 'I miss you'?" Ahreum asks. "He says that to everyone. I have probably heard it fifty times and I fell for it all fifty times. I am warning you, save yourself from the heartbreak and walk away before he leaves you. You think he is not with someone else right now, well you must be mistaken. Park Jimin always have multiple people as his side pieces."

 

"He is not like that," Jungkook defends him. He has no idea what was going on Jimin’s life before they met, but he is sure Jimin is not seeing anyone else. 

 

Ahreum shakes her head, "Oh, another one has fallen for him and his charms. God bless your heart, it's so pure. But he is not."

 

The door of the kitchen opens and Tina comes back with the order carefully placed in a brown paper bag. She smiles and hands it over to Ahreum.

 

“Call him. Ask him where he is.” Ahreum hands over her credit card to Jungkook. “If I am wrong then I am glad for you. If not, run before he hurts you.”

 

Ahreum’s brutal confidence makes him nervous. Jungkook gulps his own bile and with shaky hands finishes the billing. After Ahreum leaves, he asks for a break and goes outside for some air. His knees feel shaky and his breath catches in his throat. Whatever he just heard can't be true. Jimin wouldn’t do that to anyone; he convinces himself that she has to be lying.

 

He takes out his phone and calls him. Jimin’s phone rings three times before it is disconnected. A message arrives instantly,

 

I am studying, bye.- Jimin

 

Tears well up in his eyes, he needs to see Jimin, he needs to hear from his mouth that whatever he heard is wrong and he is not playing with him. He needs confirmation from him.

 

 

His shift at work has never felt as long as it did today. Every minute felt like an eternity and worse, he couldn't even reach Jimin. The calls went to his voicemail. He wished so hard that Jimin would pick up his call and reply to him and tell him that everything was fine. After his shift, he decided to see Jimin in person and go to his apartment.

 

He is getting more anxious by the second as he waits in the lobby of Jimin's apartment, waiting for the elevator. He can feel the nervous itching at the bottom of his feet and he knows it won't go away unless he has cleared everything with Jimin. Somewhere he is ready to be badly embarrassed for doubting Jimin or even questioning their relationship. He has come up with the ways with which he is going to make up to Jimin for asking the questions he is about to. He is ready to go to the ends of the world to make up with Jimin, he only needs to hear it from his boyfriends' mouth.

 

The elevator bells beep and the door opens.

 

"Jungkook-ah!" Taehyung stands in the middle elevator. There's no one else apart from him.

 

Jungkook smiles and gets in, "Hyung, you are alone?"

 

Taehyung nods, "I went out for a while. I needed some fresh air. Are you here to see Jimin?"

 

"Yes, I just missed him a lot today," Jungkook nods. It is not entirely false. He did miss him all day, just that his missing turned into anxiety after a visit from a certain lady. 

 

"I don’t know if he is home, yet," Taehyung checks his watch. "But you can wait if he is not home. You had dinner? I am sure there's food at home."

 

"Where did he go?" Jungkook asks impatiently.

 

Taehyung shrugs and doesn't say another word.

 

For a second Jungkook almost believed everything Ahreum told him. He takes a deep breath and decides to keep all the thoughts at the bay. He can't know anything until he hears it from Jimin himself.

 

 


 

"Coming," Jimin shouts as he approaches the front door of the apartment after it rings the second time. He is not sure who will be here at this time.

 

Opening the door, Jimin's is taken by surprise when he sees Ahreum standing on the other side of the door. "What are you doing here?"

 

She rolls her eyes and walks inside, "Thank you for inviting me in." 

 

"I didn't," Jimin says. He wonders if she is here to see Taehyung. Watching her walk inside the apartment with the gentle sway of her hips, Jimin is sure she is very aware of how her low cut off-shoulder dress is clinging to her curves. 

 

Following her inside, Jimin asks, "Are you here to see Tae?"

 

He wonders if Taehyung forgot to tell him about any meeting with Ahreum but her presence also makes him curious about why she is here. 

 

She turns around as she stands in front of the sofa in the living room, "Won't you ask me for some refreshments?"

 

Jimin sighs loudly. He has a feeling that she won't leave anytime soon and he better be nice because that's what people do when they have guests over, "Wine or water? What will you prefer?"

 

"Red wine." She chooses.

 

Jimin walks towards the wine cabinet and takes out a bottle of red wine. He pours some and takes the glass to the living room where she is waiting.

 

Offering her the glass of wine he says, "Why are you here?"

 

Ahreum takes a deep breath, inches closer to him and says softly, "I am here to talk to you."

 

Jimin's brows furrowed in confusion. He has no clue what is there talk between the two of them.

 

She continues, "Jimin-ah, I have always wanted to marry you and I still do." The innocence in her face and eyes matches her tone, "I thought agreeing to marry Taehyung will somehow make you realize that you love me but I guess that isn't true."

 

"Why will you even think anything like this?" Jimin asks her. "I told you, I had no feelings for you and I will never have any. Do you have any idea how stressed Taehyung has been because of you? His family won't stop pressuring him and you did all of this for what? Me? Are you even in your senses?"

 

Every time Taehyung has said that Ahreum was bad news, Jimin simply brushed it off thinking that she is harmless and there's nothing she will do to hurt either of them. Right now, he can clearly hear Taehyung's voice in his head saying Ahreum is not the one who should be invited to their house.

 

"Oppa!" She closes the distance between them, puts the wine on the table next to them and says, "I still love you." Her gaze flickering between his lips and eyes, trying to gauge his reaction.

 

Jimin takes a step backward, "Ahreum, just leave." As much as he prays to God she leaves, he hopes this was just a bad nightmare and it will pass away soon.

 

She moves closer, "No, you will have to listen to me." She throws her hands around Jimin's neck.

 

Jimin leans back trying to avoid her while also pushing her away. "Go away, Ahreum!"

 

She continues, "You are the only one I keep thinking about. I am not over the time we spent together. I keep thinking about how your fingers would glide over my body and how passionate your kisses were."

 

"Just leave," Jimin moves his head away from her and tries to push her away from her waist.

 

Ahreum stands on her tiptoes and moves Jimin's face towards her, "Let's just kiss again and relive those times. You miss me, right?" Without a warning, she seals her lips with Jimin while holding his head firmly.

 

For a second, Jimin has no idea what just happened, he can only feel something warm and soft on his mouth. He tries to push his head away but Ahreum's hold is pretty tight and he can barely move an inch. Behind him, he can hear the sound of the front door opening and closing and then a loud deep voice reaches him.

 

"Jimin-ah!" Taehyung shouts as he enters the living room with Jungkook behind him.

 

Jimin's head snaps in the direction of the voice and he freezes in the spot when he sees Jungkook looking at him with his eyes wide and crestfallen face.

 

"No," Jimin says pushing Ahreum aside, "It's not what it looks like." His gaze is locked at Jungkook all the while.

 

Jungkook's bottom lip wobbles, "You liar." A tear makes way to the corner of his eye and he immediately turns on his heels and storms out of the apartment.

 

Jimin runs to catch Jungkook in the lobby.

 

"Jungkook," He stops Jungkook by holding his arm. "I can explain. She came here without a warning and was suddenly-"

 

Jungkook looks like someone punched him on his face, punched him in his heart. A teardrop from Jungkook's eye, "You were dating her before me, weren't you."

 

Jimin looks at him surprised. His face turns red out of embarrassment, "It wasn't. I wasn't dating her. We were… we were just-"

 

Jungkook sobs, "And you and I. Is it just a thing for you like it was with everyone else?"

 

"What? No, you are getting it all wrong." Jimin has no idea where all these words are coming from. He is sure he never gave Jungkook any idea that he is just passing his time with him. 

 

“Where were you when I called you?” Jungkook asks, his eyes glued to Jimin’s face. 

 

Jimin is taken by another surprise. “Huh?” He looks behind him and then towards their apartment. He can hear some faint voices of Ahreum and Taehyung. He turns his head towards Jungkook. “I can’t tell you that right now. Look can we talk somewhere else.”

 

"She was right, you are using me, then you will throw me away as well," Jungkook says, the disdain for Jimin very apparent in his eyes. "I feel like a fool that I fell for your words." He jerks himself away as the elevator arrives.

 

Jimin holds Jungkook by his arms, trying to stop him from leaving.

 

Jungkook jerks his hand away, "Don't touch me. Get away from my sight. You disgust me."

 

The color from Jimin's face evaporates as he hears those words from Jungkook. Frozen on his spot, he watches as Jungkook gets inside the elevator.

 

"Don't leave me," Jimin says, tears running down his cheeks. He shouts as the elevator door closes "Jungkook please! Give me a chance to explain. Please!"

 

The elevator door closes and he is left alone in the lobby with his tears and hurting heart.

 

 


 

 

"What the fuck, Ahreum!" Taehyung walks towards her, anger pouring out of him. He cannot believe she went this low. "What do you want?"

 

She rolls her eyes at him and fixes her clothes and hair. A satisfactory smirk graces her face.

 

"Get out of my house." Taehyung points towards the door.

 

Ahreum smiles, "I don't want to stay here for another second." She starts towards the door but Jimin blocks her path.

 

"Why did you do this?" Jimin comes to stand in front of her, blocking her way out.

 

Taehyung moves to his side and runs his hand over his back to soothe him.

 

"I wanted my revenge, I got it." She says coldly. Her eyes flicker from Jimin to Taehyung, "I hate you both so much."

 

"You hate me, take it out on me. Why did you involve Jungkook?" Jimin says loudly, tears falling from his eyes.

 

Her smile widens, "I had to. I saw your weakest point and hit you there." She looks at Taehyung and says, "Taking revenge on you was so easy. I knew if I hurt Jimin, it would directly affect you. I did what I had to."

 

"If it was because of me, then it should have stayed till me, Ahreum," Taehyung grinds his jaw. He folds his palm into a fist, trying to stop himself from punching the wall. 

 

"No, it was both of you." Her gaze shifts from Taehyung to Jimin. "I have no idea whom I hate more."

 

"Is this only because I refused to date you?" Jimin hisses.

 

"No, it is for hurting my pride." She reaches for her little handbag and takes out her Amex card. Holding it over Jimin's face she says, "You know what, go out to eat some food or go shopping. I heard Dior has a new collection. Put it on my tab." She flips the card on Jimin's face.

 

The words hit him harder than anything ever. He remembers saying the exact words to her once. He realizes how Ahreum would have felt when he said that. In his head, he can hear the cries of all the people he has hurt before.

 

The doorbell rings and Taehyung turns his head towards the door.

 

"Oh, that must be food delivery from Soho House." She informs.

 

Taehyung snaps his head in her direction.

 

"The dinner's on me. Enjoy." She says flatly and leaves without looking back.

 

Jimin is frozen to his spot for a while like he is trying to understand everything that has just happened, and then he falls on his knees and a loud wail leaves him with tears flowing down his cheeks. 

 

Jimin’s sobs hurt Taehyung more than he can bear and he knows there is nothing he can do to make it better for him. Somewhere he feels like everything is his fault and he shouldn't have treated Ahreum like that. How much he wishes he could turn back time and take everything he has said to Ahreum back. 

 

 

*

Chapter Text

Jungkook's eyes are swollen from crying all night. Never in his wildest dreams did he expect Jimin would turn out like that. His hyungs tried to make him feel better by assuring him that it was better he learned the truth early in the relationship. As the night grew darker, he felt bad for his hyungs staying up late for him, so he lied saying he was going to sleep. Alone in his room, though he didn't sleep a wink. The time he spent with Jimin on this bed together, those memories kept hurting him.

 

He put on his glasses and a beanie and hoped to God no one asks him about his disheveled state. He quickly grabbed breakfast and left for the library to meet his study group.

 

As soon as he steps out of the building he finds Jimin waiting. For a second, he forgets everything and feels happy to see him. But then everything that happened not even 12 hours back, comes flooding back. His heart aches to see Jimin so messed up, with his face and eyes swollen and nose red. He can tell even Jimin didn't sleep properly. He tries to walk past Jimin without a word but Jimin stops him but coming to stand in front of him.

 

"Listen to me, Jungkook. Just once, I can explain." Jimin pleads.

 

Jungkook looks at his sorry face, "What is there to explain? What excuse are you going to come up with? You were kissing her, I saw that."

 

Shame fills Jimin from head to toe. He knows what Jungkook saw was so wrong but he didn't have any hand in it.

 

Jungkook continues, "You were dating her before me, you said the same things to her as you told me. What is the difference? You will leave me as you left her."

 

"What words? What did I say to her? It was her who always thought we were dating when we really weren't." Jimin explains. "Not in my opinion though."

 

Jungkook scoffs, "What's your opinion on us? Are we dating? Are we together? How many people are you with right now?"

 

Jimin's pale face goes even paler, "Are you doubting me? Everything that I have ever said to you, you think it was all a lie?" Tears make way to his eyes.

 

"Where were you last night when I called? Why didn't you pick up my call?" Jungkook can’t stop thinking about it.

 

"I was at the library when you called, I was studying with Tae," Jimin says.

 

"Really? Because when I came Tae hyung said he had no idea if you are home or not. Why didn’t you pick up my call?"

 

"Jungkook?" Jimin looks at him in disbelief. "Trust me, we both were studying, then I had a slight headache so I went to the riverside and Taehyung left to grab drinks with a few of our friends. I met Yeonjun there and there were certain things I wanted to talk to him about, mainly I wanted to know what Taehyung’s parents are thinking about Taehyung and Ahreum.”

 

“Did you come up with this excuse last night?”

 

“What? I didn’t want to say that yesterday because Taehyung was there and I didn’t want him to know that.” 

 

"She said when you both were together, you were seeing other people too, is that true? Are you seeing someone else as well?" Jungkook can feel himself recoil from inside as the words come out of his mouth. 

 

"I was never dating her," Jimin whispers.

 

Jungkook waits for the answer he wants from Jimin. He wants to know if has been with multiple people while being with someone. He just needs to know that so he knows what kind of person Jimin is. Somewhere he wants Jimin to lie through his teeth so he can finally find comfort in his words. He just wants him to say it was a lie, and she was lying.

 

Jimin's bottom lips wobble, a tear falls from his face. "She was right. I did see other people at that time."

 

Tears well up in his eyes, “You are such a liar. Who were you with last night when I called?” 

 

“Jungkook, I told you-”

“I can’t take lies,” Jungkook takes a step back, anger bubbling inside him, "Get out of my sight." He turns away from him and tries to walk towards his destination. Half running, half walking with tears falling down his eyes, he wants to get away from him as far as he can.

 

"Jungkook, listen to me." Jimin's voice cracks. "Please."

 

Jungkook doesn't even turn around to look at him and walks away as quickly as he can.

 

 


 

Jimin rings the bell of Ahreum's place impatiently. It took him so much energy to even bring himself here, but he needs to fix this before he can start fixing other things. He needs to sort things out with Ahreum, so he will do it first.

 

Ahreum opens the door and is surprised to find Jimin. She raises her eyes at him, "Don't remember inviting you here."

 

Jimin takes a deep breath, "Do you really hate me so much that you ruined my relationship?"

 

"You have no idea how much I despise you and your best friend." Ah- reum grinds her jaw.

 

"Then why didn't it stay till me and him. Why did you have to hurt Jungkook? He didn't do anything to hurt you. He doesn't even know you and yet," Jimin asks her. He can't shake Jungkook's sad face from his head.

 

"How else was I supposed to come at you?" Ahreum asks folding her arms.

 

"There were a million ways. How could you go so low?" Jimin looks at her in disbelief. "Well, I shouldn't be surprised at all since you tried to marry Taehyung just so it can raise your social status." Jimin looks straight into her eyes, "Look, I apologize for everything I have said and done. I apologize for hurting you and your emotions. We are even here."

 

Ahreum chuckles, "We are not done here."

 

Jimin folds his hands into a fist and tries to hold the anger inside him. He takes a step closer to her and warns her, "We are done here. I don't owe you anything now. You ever cross a line again, I'll hurt you so bad you'll never be able to recover, and I mean it."

 

He turns on his heels and walks towards the elevator waiting for him.

 



 

Over the next few weeks, Jimin tries to get in touch with Jungkook a lot. He tries calling him but Jungkook never picks up his call or answers back his texts. He shows up at Seoulful only to find that Jungkook has taken time off work till exams. Seokjin asks him what is going on, as Jungkook looked in pretty bad shape. Jimin didn't have the heart to say that they fought, so he left without saying anything. Eventually, Jimin decided not to bother him when their exams are going on. He tried hard to keep thoughts of Jungkook out of his head. It was ok for the most part, but as soon as he hit the bed, everything came back to him and he found it difficult to even breathe.

 




 

Seeing Jimin in such a vulnerable state concerned Taehyung. He made excuses to sleep next to Jimin so his best friend was never alone. The television or radio was playing all the time in the house, never leaving Jimin alone with his thoughts. Taehyung tried hard to make sure that Jimin was eating properly and drinking lots of water. He knew it wasn't enough, but he had to do everything he could. 

 

Taehyung tried to make peace with Ahreum, but she refused to not get married to him. Knowing how worked up Jimin would get, he decided to keep that information to himself. He came to the conclusion that he will simply pretend that he is ok marrying Ahreum, even if he was dying inside.

 





Jimin knew his best friend better than anyone. He could sense that Taehyung was hiding something from him. He called Yeonjun and asked him for any updates regarding Ahreum and her decision since Taehyung wouldn't tell him anything. 

 

Yeonjun told him that their parents were still very serious about the alliance and they are looking forward to a summer wedding. Jimin's heart dropped to the floor. He knew he had to fix the situation for Taehyung and there was only one way of doing it.

 

The day their exams got over, when Jimin finally had time to breathe, he called Taehyung's mother and asked her when she was available to meet him. They decided to meet the following day at one of her favorite restaurants.

 

Jimin could feel the nervousness as he drove to the restaurant to meet Mrs. Kim. He prayed with his whole heart that she believes everything that Jimin is about to tell her. If this didn’t work, then he will have to hide Taehyung forever from his parents. There’s no way he will ever see his best friend suffer through a marriage just because Taehyung’s parents won't listen to him.  

 

Jimin had already booked them a table next to the glass window with the perfect view of the river from the 35th floor. The water shimmers like diamonds on a sunny day. His eyes fall on the rows of yachts lined up by the port. He has been patiently waiting for summer to come around so he can take Jungkook on his private yacht and they can spend a day together cruising. In his head, he had a perfect meal planned with the best champagne, seafood, and dessert. 

 

It pains him to think that it will never happen. Jungkook will never see his face and there’s nothing he can do about it. He can’t force Jungkook to love him. 

 

“Jimin-ah,” Mrs. Kim says as she approaches the table. 

 

Jimin stands up and pulls the chair opposite to him for her.

 

“Thank you for coming.” Jimin is glad she made time in her busy schedule to meet him. 

 

After they order their drinks, Jimin can feel the awkwardness between them. He tries to focus on the matter at hand and stick to the reason why he is here, but it keeps getting difficult as she keeps telling him about the upcoming wedding in the family.

 

"Aunty! I have to tell you something." Jimin interrupts, garnering a disapproving look from her. 

 

His latte is sitting in front of him untouched, he hadn’t been able to bring himself to even take a sip.

 

Mrs. Kim puts down her cup of tea and looks at him, "What is it?"

 

"It's about Taehyung," Jimin tries to gauge her reaction. He takes a deep breath and continues, "Please don't pressure him to get married to Ahreum."

 

The shock on Mrs. Kim's face did not go unnoticed by Jimin. He was expecting it.

 

He takes a nervous gulp and tries to come clean to her. There’s no reason to hide anything from her now and that is possibly the only way to stop this alliance. "Ahreum and I share a past. We both were involved with each other."

 

"Jimin-ah!" Her eyes widen.

 

"It will be very difficult for both Tae and me if you all go ahead with this alliance. Besides, she is only agreeing to marry Taehyung because she needs a good and valuable partner to raise her social profile. There's no romantic feelings or even good feelings for each other between them. And I am the reason for it. I am sure if things were different, they both would have been great together, but not anymore. Not like this."

 

Mrs. Kim looks at him aghast, without any words to say.

 

"I am sorry." Jimin looks down at his hands on his lap.

 

He can assume what the lady in front of him might be feeling but he had to do it for his best friend. He can't see Taehyung suffering anymore like this. Somehow he feels lighter, like something heavy from his chest has been lifted. 

 

Now he thinks about it, he should have told Taehyung's parents everything long back, when all this even started. It would have saved Taehyung so much stress and time. But better late than never, he feels good to explain everything to Mrs. Kim. 

 

Now everything is in their hands, but Jimin trusts them to take the right decision for their son.

 

"Why he never said anything about it earlier?" Mrs. Kim asks Jimin.

 

"Probably because he didn't want anyone to talk about me and Ahreum," Jimin confesses.

 

She looks at him, her face looks pale. "The families are already planning a wedding. Tell me how should I tell them about this?"

 

"Aunty, how can you let your son marry a girl who does not even love him? Don't you think Tae deserves to be with a person who treasures him and loves him with their whole heart?" Jimin asks her. He knows how difficult it would be for Taehyung's mother to call it all off. But he will never let this wedding happen, even if this means crossing some lines.

 

"Does Yeonjun know about this?" She asks, looking directly at Jimin.

 

From what Jimin understands, Yeonjun is not in favor of the alliance. He has no idea if Yeonjun knows why Ahreum wants to marry Tae but he knows Yeonjun dislikes Ahreum a lot. Jimin doesn't want the kid to get involved in the mess so he simply lies.

 

"I don't think so he knows anything about it." Jimin hopes his harmless fib saves Yeonjun.

 

 


 

 

Jungkook has been in pain that he can't even put into words. Avoiding Jimin's calls and texts have been so difficult for him. He hates when he has to see his phone ring and Jimin's face appears on the screen. How badly he wants to reach out to him and forget about everything. But he can't get over the fact that Jimin admitted being with other people and at the same time won’t tell him where he was when he called.

 

He has been smoothly lying to his hyungs that he is doing well and has been concealing his sadness at home pretty well. It's just that when he is alone in his room, he lets the thoughts come back to him and he cries himself to sleep. Eventually, to even avoid that, he started studying harder and going for runs. By the time he hits the bed, he is so exhausted that he barely has any energy to keep his eyes open. He falls asleep almost immediately.

 

Not even for a single second was Jimin away from his thoughts, but he tried to avoid thinking about him while studying. He can't let any of it come in between his exams.

 

The day his exams got over, he went to the beach alone and screamed his heart out and cried all the tears he has been holding back. All the time he spent with Jimin here haunts him. He spent hours on the beach missing him and hoping to god he’ll get to come here with Jimin again. 

 

Chapter Text

Summers are almost here, the days are getting longer and warmer. The thought of sitting in the park and taking in all the sun is unmistakably the best feeling in the world. Standing in front of the Bean, Taehyung can see tourists flocking the place. He runs his hand through hair and takes a deep breath. It finally feels like he is able to breathe. He feels lighter and happier. The baggage he has been carrying around for a year finally has been taken away.

 

After getting a worrisome call from his mother in the afternoon, asking him to come and see her and his father immediately, Taehyung jumped on his feet and left for his father's office. His father's secretary ushered him to his father’s office quickly.

 

As soon as he stepped inside, he found his mother sitting on the couch, stress apparent on her face while his father looked outside the window with his hands crossed behind him. The entire atmosphere felt quite tense and it immediately gave Taehyung an idea that whatever is coming isn't good.

 

"Eomma, Appa!" Taehyung walked towards the middle of the room, near the sitting area where his mother was sitting on the couch. "Is everything alright?"

 

Mrs. Kim looked up at him and said, "Were we forcing you to get married to Ahreum?" She paused, maintaining eye contact with Taehyung. "Tell the truth, Taehyung."

 

"Eomma!" The surprise in his voice was hard to conceal.

 

His father turned around and walked towards him. "Was it that difficult for you to come up to us and tell us the truth?"

 

His gaze shifted from his father to his mother, "What has happened? Why are you both talking like this?"

 

He had no clue why his parents were talking about it or how they even got to know about it. He doubts that Yeonjun would have said anything about it, only because his little brother chooses not to get involved in situations like this. 

 

Mrs. Kim gestured next to her on the sofa, "Come sit here." The words came out so softly from her mouth. Taehyung doesn't even remember the last time he heard a tone like that from his parents.

 

After Yeonjun was born, his parents’ main focus was the new baby. Even though they never neglected Taehyung, looking after the little one became the priority. When Taehyung was sent to private school, he left with a heavy heart. For 8-year-old Taehyung, it felt like his parents were distancing themselves from him and for some reason he always kept that wound with him.

 

His mother took his hand over hers and said, "Tae," The warmth and softness in her voice brings him comfort. "Do you want to tell us something?"

 

His father sat next to him on the armchair, his forehead furrowed. "She wanted to marry you just for your family name and her social status?"

 

Taehyung has never felt such odd relief before. His parents have always been supportive but over the last few months, he lost all hope that his parents would change their minds. He had accepted it and decided to go along with the decision of his parents, as he didn't want to disappoint them.

 

His eyes fell to the floor, he had no idea what to say. He felt humbled that his parents wanted to know the truth.

 

"Why did you never tell us?" His mother's sweet voice reached him.

 

"How could I?" He refused to meet eyes with his parents, not because of shame but because he knew he would not be able to control all the emotions he was going through at the moment. "You both were so happy with the alliance."

 

"Taehyung!" The concern in his father's voice made Taehyung raise his head and look at him. "You are my son. How can you think I'd take a step in the direction which doesn't make you happy?"

 

"I didn't want to disappoint you and make you think that I never listen to you both," Taehyung confessed. "I wanted to be a good son."

 

The corner of his father's eyes glistened, "Do you think it would have made me happy to see you suffer throughout your life? Tae, I know you are going through some stuff that you want to keep it to yourself, and we thought that settling down would help you see things in a different way. We never had any intention of forcing you through it."

 

"Appa!" Taehyung choked.

 

"It's ok if you want to keep your internal struggles to yourself, we respect your boundaries. But it is not like it makes us happy to see you go through it alone."

 

Taehyung was at a loss for words. He never said a word about it to his parents, yet his parents understood every unsaid word. At home, he always pretended to be content, but if his parents were able to see through him then he might have misunderstood them.

 

"I am sorry. I did not know I was hurting you." Taehyung said softly looking down at the floor.

 

His mother gently ran her hand through his hair and kissed his temple, "My son, I would never ever force you into a marriage. Please know this, that no matter what it is, we are always here to listen to you."

 

Taehyung nodded. He stayed with his parents for another hour and told them everything about why Ahreum wasn't a good choice in the first place. 

 

His mother told him that if it wasn't for Jimin, she wouldn't have ever learned the truth. It warmed him to know his best friend really came through to save him, even though he never said a word to Jimin about how much it was killing him inside.

 

He tried to maintain his composure for the whole time he was with his parents. The second he left his father's office and got into his car, he let the tears flow down his eyes. He texted Jimin asking where he was, he wanted to see him and hug him tight.

 

TaeTae: Where are you?

 

Jimin: At home. Where are you, Tae?

 

TaeTae: On my way home.

 

 

Taehyung needed some time to clear his head before he went to fix his best friend's life. Right now, he feels at peace. 

 

After some time, he gets up and leaves for where he should be.

 

 

 

Taehyung looks at his watch and crosses his hands over his chest. About time, he thinks. He looks around while waiting in front of Seoulful. He knows he has the option to go inside but he decides to wait outside.

 

From the employee's door, Jungkook comes out, fixing the straps of his backpack. One look at him and Taehyung can tell he is a mess. His hair is out of place, the dark circles under his eyes prominent. He looks tired.

 

Jungkook's mouth sets in a hard line as soon as he sees Taehyung in front of him. He tries to walk away but Taehyung comes to stand in front of him, halting him in his tracks.

 

"We need to talk," Taehyung looks at him with hopeful eyes. 

 

"There's nothing left to talk." Jungkook tries to step away from him.

 

Taehyung blocks his way, "Really? Is that how weak your faith in Jimin was?"

 

"He was kissing her," Jungkook counters. “And where was he when I called him.”

 

"You didn't give him a chance to explain. It wasn't what it looked like." Taehyung tries to explain. He knows what Jungkook saw and understands why he would think it in a wrong way.

 

"There was nothing to explain. He has done it in the past and he would do the same in the future." The corner of Jungkook’s eyes well up with tears.

 

"What do you even know about his past, when you weren't even a part of it?" Taehyung questions him. "Don't judge him for what he did, but know him for who he was with you. Give him a chance to explain."

 

"Tell me what I don’t know about him?"

 

Taehyung lets out a breath, "The girl who was kissing him, Ahreum," Taehyung air quotes, "was supposed to marry me."

 

The color from Jungkook's face disappears and his eyes widen. Confusion is written all over his face. "What?"

 

Taehyung looks at the shock at Jungkook's face. He knows it won't be easy for him to know the facts, but he has to tell him everything. "Do you want some coffee? I think you need to be prepared for what I am about to tell you. Taehyung points at the Starbucks near them. "Let's go."

 

 


 

 

Taehyung stands at the top of the stairs of the Riverwalk and quietly observes Yeonjun sitting at the bottom step. The gloominess surrounding Yeonjun is profound and from the way his little brother is hugging himself, Taehyung knows exactly what his brother is feeling.

 

His head hangs down in shame for letting Yeonjun down by not being there when he needed his family. Wishing he could turn back time and support his brother among the crowd of cheers.

 

Gathering up his courage, Taehyung steps down and sits next to Yeonjun quietly. A huge sigh from Yeonjun gives Taehyung a brief idea that he is aware of his presence.

 

Taehyung turns his head to look at Yeonjun and sees some streaks of tears. He runs his hand behind his little brother's back, "I heard you did excellent today." He is proud of him, will always be.

 

Yeonjun chuckles bitterly, "Did you call my cello instructor? Why did you even bother asking about it when you couldn't even care to show up."

 

The hostility in Yeonjun's voice hits Taehyung right in his guts.

 

"I am sorry, Yeonjun-ah. Mom and dad asked me to come and see them." Taehyung can’t even tell him how sorry he is.

 

Yeonjun's bottom lip wobbles and the corners of his eyes fill up with tears, "Even they didn't bother. I expected mom to be at my cello recital, even she didn't show up."

  

"Why? Why did you all have to meet exactly during my recital? Why not before that? Why not after that? Why not some other day? Why only today?" Yeonjun continues, "I played for 200 people today and my family wasn't even among those 200 people."

 

The guilt inside Taehyung intensifies. Yeonjun has been texting him all week reminding him to be there and yet he failed him. "It was about me and Ahreum," Taehyung says quietly.

 

Yeonjun snaps his head to look at Taehyung. "So you are finally marrying her? Why can't you just tell them that you don't want to marry her."

 

"They found out about Ahreum's intentions and wanted to talk to me about that," Taehyung explains. He knows his explanation cannot turn back what he missed, but he hopes it will maybe calm down Yeonjun a bit.

 

Yeonjun turns his head ahead and looks at the reflection of lights in the water. "She wants to marry you for the social status, that's it.”

 

Taehyung frowns, "How do you know?"

 

"It doesn't take a genius to figure it out," Yeonjun says. He looks at Taehyung and asks, "Still marrying her?"

 

Taehyung shakes his head. "No."

 

Yeonjun looks ahead and then on the other side. He doesn't say anything for a while and gets lost in his own world.

 

"I am sorry, Yeonjun-ah," Taehyung says sincerely. "What should I do to make up for it?"

 

When Yeonjun turns to look at him, his eyes are filled with tears, "You can't make up for the past." A sob escaped him, "Do you even know how alone I am? I don't like being in school. I don't like being in the hostel. I don't like being anywhere. I don't know where I belong. I don't know if I am a part of this world or not."

 

Taehyung's heart hurts hearing those words from his little brother. He knows exactly what he is feeling, he felt the same things not too long back. It's a sad and emotionally draining place to be. All the nights he has stayed up trying to find himself, all the things he has done to avoid thinking about where he belongs. He learned the hard way that running from your own issues is not the way to find answers.

 

"Yeonjun-ah," Taehyung holds his little brother's hand. "I am sorry I wasn't there for you all these years. Even though I am always approachable to you, yet I was always far away emotionally. I promise I won't let it happen again." He pauses and then continues as Yeonjun turns to look at him. "I felt the same way for so long, just like you. I can't explain, butI promise you that from this moment onwards you will never be alone. I am always by your side to listen to you, to help you, to just give you company when you need it."

 

Yeonjun looks at him silently. 

 

"You are about to graduate high school, move in with me after that?" Taehyung tries to gauge his brother's reaction.

 

He has no idea what Yeonjun feels about living together. They have only spent holidays together with their parents and nothing besides it. The only thing Taehyung knows is that he doesn't want Yeonjun to go through a difficult time alone. He had Jimin to help him through his rough phase. He has no idea how he would have managed to even get through it without his best friend. And that's exactly why he needs to be with his brother, so he isn't alone. He knows he can't make up for the past but he can try his best to build a better future. A future where he is proud of him and his efforts. A future where he is not running away from anything.

 

"Did you ask Jiminie hyung about it?" Yeonjun asks.

 

"We both are going to find new separate places after we graduate," Taehyung informs him.

 

When he gets no reply from Yeonjun, he ruffles his hair and says, "C'mon, let's go see mom and dad."

 

Yeonjun shakes his head, "They don't love me."

 

"That is not true."

 

"They are always busy."

 

"Yeonjun, our mom and dad are nice people. It's just that they have more responsibility than just the two of us. They have to be at more than one place at a time and it's stressful. But they are trying their best." Taehyung says softly.

 

Yeonjun looks at him.

 

"They love us, they love you the most. You are the apple of their eye, Yeonjun. They won't ever do anything knowingly to let you down." It took a long time for Taehyung to understand it and he hopes it doesn’t take Yeonjun that amount of time as him.

 

"Let's go home." Taehyung swallows the lump in his throat. Maybe he is about to finally find his peace. Maybe today is the day one of his life.

 

Yeonjun nods quietly. 

 

*

Chapter Text

Standing outside the door of Jimin's apartment, Jungkook feels nervous and guilty. Tears hadn’t stopped falling from his eyes since Taehyung told him the truth, and coming all the way here felt like the longest distance he has ever traveled. He has never wished he could fly or teleport as badly as today. All the way, he kept wondering if Jimin would forgive him or not. He had to talk himself into understanding that whatever be Jimin's decision, he owes him a decent apology. Somewhere he knows apologizing won't be enough, but he has to try.

 

He takes a deep breath, wipes the tears from his face and rings the doorbell. 

 

He can hear some faint sounds of footsteps from behind the door.

 

"Taehyung, what took you so long?" Jimin's voice reaches him and he can make out that Jimin is just behind the door.

 

The door opens and when Jimin's face comes into view. He feels even worse now, seeing Jimin so gloomy. His skin looks grey, and the eyes that always held so much life and joy in them look dull. His hair is messed up and Jungkook can see the remnants of tears in the corner of Jimin's eyes.

 

"Jungkook!" Jimin says, surprise in his voice.

 

How much Jungkook wants to hug him and tell him how sorry he is. If he can turn back time at this point he would.

 

"Can I come in?" Jungkook asks.

 

Jimin nods and lets him in towards the living room. Even though the house looks pristine, the resident of the same doesn't look the same.

 

Jimin breaks the silence lingering between them, "Jungkook-ah, I don't know why you are here. But I am really sorry for hurting you. I know you are angry at me and you have all the right to be, but if you will just give me a chance-"

 

"Jimin-ah!" Jungkook gets closer to him. Taking his hand, he leads him to the couch and settles him down. Crouching in front of him he continues, "I am sorry."

 

He takes Jimin's hands in his and kisses his knuckles, "I am so sorry." He looks up at him, "I am so sorry I didn't trust you. I am sorry I didn't give you a chance to explain."

 

Concern grows on Jimin's face, "Jungkook-ah! Why are you saying sorry? It was me who was wrong."

 

Jungkook shakes his head. "Jimin-ah, the main foundation of a relationship is trust, and I did not trust you."

 

"What you saw was wrong and I am sorry-"

 

"It wasn't your fault. I know it now and I can't explain in words how miserable I feel for putting you through this." He brings Jimin's hands closer to his mouth and kisses his knuckles again. "I am sorry."

 

Looking back at Jimin he continues, "Tae hyung told me the truth. I should have given you a chance to explain."

 

"What did he tell you?" Jimin asks.

 

"Everything." Jungkook pauses. "But why did you never told me about Ahreum?"

 

"I didn't think she was important enough to get mentioned," Jimin says with a sliver of bitterness in his tone. "Jungkook-ah, it is true that I was with her before you. It is also true that I was with other people too at that time. But in my defense, I was not dating anyone exclusively. I thought I made it clear to them but I guess not clear enough."

 

Jimin takes a deep breath and continues, "Somehow, Ahreum got a misunderstanding that we both were dating and it hurt her pride when I told her that we weren't. She wanted to hurt me for it and she took her revenge.”

 

"I didn't tell you because for me it did not matter what I did before you came into my life. All that seemed tiny and worthless." Jimin explains. "I only wanted to be with you, make happy memories with you. What I did before you weren't at all worth mentioning."

 

Jungkook sighs in relief and brings Jimin's hand over his cheeks. How much he missed Jimin's warmth, his love.

 

"I would understand if you don't want to see me again after this," Jungkook says, not making eye contact with Jimin.

 

Jimin leans closer to him and tenderly raises Jungkook's head to see his face, "Why are you saying this? Why won't I see you?" A stray tear falls from his eye, "Don't you know I have died waiting for you?"

 

Jungkook looks into Jimin's eyes and sees only sincerity.

 

Jimin continues, "I don't know about you, but I haven't been the same person since you left. I would have never cheated on you Jungkook. Never."

 

"I am sorry," Jungkook tries to swallow the lump in his throat. "She came to Seoulful that day and told me about you. I didn't want to believe anything she said, so I tried so hard to reach you but somehow, we couldn't talk. I only wanted to hear from you, whatever the truth was. But when I came here and saw you both, it made me angry. It hurt me so bad. And then you wouldn’t tell me where you were. I reacted without knowing the truth." Jungkook takes a deep breath, "I did not know she wanted to hurt you."

 

Jimin nods, "You know, all these weeks I have been thinking about all the people I have hurt unintentionally. Your anger and refusal to listen to me felt like I was paying for all the things I have done. It made me feel like shit."

 

"I won't do it again. I won’t hurt you again. Promise." Jungkook holds Jimin’s hands tightly.

 

A faint smile makes way to Jimin lips. "Promise? Jungkook-ah, if there's anything about me that makes you doubt me, promise me you will ask me about it first."

 

Jungkook nods, "Learned my lesson." He continues, "The entire time I avoided you because I felt hurt, and everything was so difficult for me. I couldn't concentrate on anything. I tried so hard to keep a brave face all the time but at the end of the day, I cried myself to sleep. I wanted to be with you, and not be with you as well. I wanted to see you, but not have you around. Somehow every night I wished you held me to sleep. I needed you so much, I couldn't even breath at times."

 

Jungkook chews his bottom lip, "Will you still be with me? Will you still be mine even after everything that has happened? I love you, Jimin-ah."

 

"Jungkook," Another tear falls from Jimin eyes, "I will die if you ever walk out me again."

 

Jungkook immediately wipes Jimin's tears.

 

"You have absolutely no idea how much I have waited for you. I have prayed so hard, so sincerely for you, every day, every night for I don’t know how long, that you had to come true." Jimin can feel a huge lump in the throat. "I started living the day I first saw you from across the room. I have no idea how I was living before you, maybe I was just existing. You gave me a purpose, a reason to live."

 

A sob escapes Jimin, "Jungkook, why don't you understand that I can fight the gods for you but I can't fight you. I will go to great lengths to get things done my way, but I can never ask you to do things you don't want to. I am so strong yet so powerless around you. I can move mountains for you, Jungkook but I can't hurt you. Tell me how should I handle myself? I can't even pretend that I don't love you deeply when you are all I think about all day long. Wherever I go my eyes are searching for you. I feel so incomplete when you are not around."

 

"Jimin-ah…" Jungkook whispers.

 

"Don't ever think that I will not have you in my life. I'll take you in every way I can. I love you so much, I can't explain." 

 

Jungkook leans forward and seals his mouth over Jimin's. It has been so long and it feels like he is finally back home, back to where he belongs.

 

 

 

Hours later, after lazily kissing and touching each other all over, they both lie in each other's arms on Jimin's bed. Jungkook slides his leg between Jimin's and whispers, "I love you."

 

Feeling Jungkook all over him, Jimin feels overwhelmed. It has been so long and he missed Jungkook so much. Jungkook has been surprising him all night with his small little gestures. He learned one thing about Jungkook, that he might not say everything in words but his actions speak the loudest. Even though Jungkook only said 'I love you' a couple of times, he made sure that Jimin felt it a thousand times.

 

Jungkook looks at him and takes a deep breath. There's a satisfactory glow on their faces.

 

"I missed you so much," Jungkook runs his hands through Jimin's hair.

 

Jimin smiles, "Me too." Jungkook's thin lips look swollen and Jimin can't help but drag his fingers over them. Jimin blinks and looks at Jungkook, "Let’s go on a holiday. We have a lot to catch up."

 

Jungkook pouts, "I can't. My internship starts next week."

 

Jimin frowns, "Internship? Where did you join?"

 

Silently he hopes Jungkook will say Park hospitality. He knows that Jungkook received an acceptance letter for an internship from his company. Jimin only had to make a call for that to happen. But he didn't hear back whether Jungkook agreed to join.

 

Jungkook purses his lips, "At an IT company-"

 

"Why are you not doing an internship at Park Hospitality?" Jimin asks. "We provide good internship opportunities."

 

"I know that," Jungkook nods.

 

Slightly bothered by it, Jimin untangles himself from Jungkook's hold and sits up on the bed, leaning on the backrest, "Then why? Is it because of me and what happened between us?"

 

"No!" Jungkook replies immediately and sits up next to Jimin as well. "It has nothing to do with you."

 

"Then?"

 

"I don't want anyone to think I got the opportunity to work there because of you," Jungkook explains.

 

"But you didn't. HR liked your profile. And who cares what anyone thinks." Jimin rolls his eyes. 

 

"Jimin-ah, I am not the person who keeps things or relationships a secret. If I am with you, I will not hesitate to tell the world about it. Your family owns that company. Do you think no one will ever point fingers at me saying I am only here because I am dating you? I want to work in a place with my head held high. I don't want to be made to feel bad about my relationship."

 

"No one will say that," Jimin knows if he ever hears that from anyone’s mouth, he will kick the person out from his company.

 

"You know this, I know this, it will happen. I want to grow in my workplace, learn things and grow because of my ability and nothing else." 

 

"Does that mean you will never join me at work?" Jimin asks, his brows furrowed in concern.

 

"Why is it so important to you that I join your company?" Jungkook looks at him perplexed.

 

"Why?" Jimin's eyes widen, "Kook-ah when I start working, I won't have time for anything. My days and evenings will be occupied. I don’t think I will even get proper time during weekends. My workplace is not even on the way to yours. I won't be able to see you regularly Jungkook. I want you to work there so at least I can see you every day."

 

"I will come to see you regularly, wherever you want," Jungkook assures with a smile.

 

"You think uni is fun, right! Wait till you start the next session and tell me when you have free time." Jimin replies. "I don't want to even go a day without seeing you, you are saying that we will see each other maybe once or twice a week. I am going mad here."

 

Jungkook moves his face closer to Jimin’s, "I will make it up to you properly." He pecks Jimin's lips.

 

"Not enough," Jimin says stubbornly.

 

"Don't make it look like I would go on without seeing you. These past weeks have been so hard on me. I don't want to not see for so long. I fear-"

 

"Move in with me." Jimin blurts out.

 

"What?" Jungkook's brows rose.

 

"I am serious, Jungkook. Live with me."

 

He looks at Jungkook expectantly. The hope that Jungkook will agree is feeble but he has to try. He will lose his mind if he has to go on without seeing Jungkook for days.

 

Next to him, Jungkook thinks about it and says, "Won't it will be awkward for Tae hyung? You both have lived with each other so long and if suddenly I come in, I am not sure if he will like it."

 

"We both are going to live separately after we graduate."

 

Jungkook frowns. "Why?"

 

Jimin takes a deep breath, "Well since we both are going to join business soon, it will only be right to live separately. Also, the board members will not like it if they find out we still live together. It doesn't look good." Jimin explains. "But don't worry we will still live close to each other." He takes Jungkook's hand in his, "Jungkook-ah, please!"

 

Jungkook bites his lip, "Can I think about it?"

 

And Jimin is left with no other option but to give Jungkook what he wants. He needs time and Jimin will give him that. He nods quietly and sits astride on Jungkook's lap.

 

He grabs Jungkook's hair and kisses him deeply, Jimin says, "But there's one thing I am not giving you any choice at."

 

Jungkook frowns as Jimin picks his phone from the bedside.

 

"I am taking you on a holiday now." Jimin unlocks his phone and starts typing.

 

Jungkook laughs, "What? Now? It is not possible."

 

Jimin looks at him amazed, "Really? ‘Cos, as far as I know, we are boarding my jet in two hours."

 

Jungkook laughs and kisses Jimin's neck, "You are funny."

 

Jimin leans back and looks at him, "I am not joking."

 

"You are talking like you have a henchman." Jungkook chuckles.

 

"I do have a henchman," Jimin shows his phone screen to Jungkook. "And we are leaving the apartment in half an hour."

 

Jungkook frowns, "I have never seen him. Does he do everything for you?" Jungkook looks at the name 'Mr. Hanes'. He is sure he has never even heard the name from Jimin's mouth before.

 

"I do most things myself but yes, he is there to sort out things for me when I can't," Jimin explains. "Why are you surprised?" He gets up from his lap and from the bed making way towards his bathroom, "Shower?"

 

He looks at Jungkook's confused face and had to laugh.

 

"I don't have any clothes to wear or take with me," Jungkook looks at him puzzled.

 

A mischievous smile makes way to Jimin's lips, "Who said you need clothes!" He winks at him, leaving everything up to his boyfriend's imagination. 

 

 

*

Chapter Text

Time has flown by with Jungkook around him. Never has life felt so perfect and peaceful for Jimin but since Jungkook moved in with him, everything seems so much better. It feels like this is the life he has always yearned to live and finally he is able to live and feel the love universe has for him.

 

Jimin fixes the collar of his shirt and checks his reflection in the full-length mirror of his walk-in closet. The black pants fall perfectly over his hips and accentuate his ass. He loves wearing this particular piece because of the fit. The white shirt lays open over his chest. He walks towards the glass cabinet in the center of the room where his collection of watches and cufflinks are neatly arranged.

 

The closet is separated equally with the left side Jimin's and right Jungkook's, but that's just for the sake of saying. Jimin's clothes are everywhere in the room. Jungkook's clothes and shoes do not take as much space as Jimin's. Their spacious white and grey closet is not enough for Jimin to find racks to hang his clothes. In his defense, his formal workwear needs more space than his casual clothes. There's an entire section in the closet that is only dedicated to Jimin's suits. It always amazes Jungkook that even though Jimin owns enough clothes to clothe a poor country, he still wears Jungkook's clothes at home. Jungkook never stops teasing Jimin for stealing his clothes and Jimin always shuts him up by saying there's nothing more comfortable than his boyfriend's clothes. Jungkook can't argue and lets Jimin do whatever he wants.

 

After careful consideration, he picks a silver Omega watch and Cartier white gold and diamond cufflink. He walks towards the drawer of his tie collection and picks out a dark grey handwoven silk one that goes with his black suit. 

 

Finishing dressing up, Jimin checks the time on the wall clock. It is 8 in the morning, enough time for him to get breakfast with Jungkook before he leaves for New York for business.

 

With one last glance at his reflection in the mirror and making sure that he is dressed to the nines, he walks out to his and Jungkook's bedroom.

 

Slowly walking towards the bed in the dimly illuminated room, making sure not to make any noise, he gently parts the white sheer curtains of their four-poster bed. He climbs onto the bed and smiles when he sees Jungkook sleeping soundly. His hands placed over the pillow Jimin carefully tucked under his hand before getting out of bed. His hair fanned across his forehead makes him look adorable.

Jungkook came home late last night as his shift at Seoulful got extended. He was tired beyond words. Jimin barely cuddled him and Jungkook was out like a light.

 

It has been a year since they started living together and to this day coming back home to Jungkook is the highlight of Jimin's day. He hates it when they have to spend time apart because of work but he has no other option. Jungkook has his university and job at Seoulful and Jimin can't possibly ask Jungkook to accompany him whenever he travels for work.

 

Looking at the peaceful rise and fall of Jungkook’s chest, Jimin contemplates whether to wake him up or not. He wants to spend whatever time he can with him before leaving. He gently fixes fringe falling over Jungkook's forehead. He leans forward to peck the back of Jungkook's hand.

 

All this time and yet he hasn't learned how to control himself around Jungkook.

 

Jimin will forever be grateful that Jungkook agreed to move in with him. But Jungkook had his own conditions and they were that Jimin will never ask him to work in his company or ask him to quit his job. Knowing how much his self-respect and self-reliance means to Jungkook, Jimin agreed. Jungkook also drew a line for gifts when Jimin bought him a car for his commute. The car is still parked in his parking and Jungkook never drives it. Jungkook actually told him he doesn't need anything unless asked and even though Jimin was a bit on the fence for not being able to spoil Jungkook, he understood why Jungkook wants that.

 

Jungkook really didn't bother with the shopping of furniture etc. for their home but agreed to accompany Jimin to pick out the bed for them. They both immediately fell in love with the four-poster rosewood bed they saw in one of the luxury furniture boutiques. Needless to say, for all intents and purposes, their bed is the most cherished part of the house for him.

 

Jimin's phone vibrates in his pocket and he fishes it out immediately.

 

TaeTae: Blue, Red or Grey? Which tie goes with a pinstriped suit?

Jimin: Red?

TaeTae: I don't have that red. You know which red I am talking about, right.

Jimin: Hehe, I have a perfect red tie for you.

TaeTae: Cool! Coming down.

 

Carefully, without making a sound, Jimin gets out of bed and walks towards Jungkook's bedside. Picking Jungkook's phone, he plugs it into charging. Taking one last glance at his boyfriend, Jimin smiles and walks towards his walk-in closet.

 

 

 

As Jimin reaches downstairs, Taehyung is already waiting for him on the couch with one leg on the floor and another thrown over the arm of the couch, scrolling through his iPad. Stress is apparent on Taehyung's face even though his demeanor is relaxed.

 

After they graduated, Taehyung's father gifted him a duplex penthouse in downtown Chicago. Taehyung's father carefully designed the penthouse keeping Taehyung and Yeonjun in mind, in one of his luxury projects. It made Mr. Kim happy knowing both Taehyung and Yeonjun would be living together now. He would not have to worry about his younger kid now, he knew Taehyung got it handled.

 

Jimin bought the penthouse just below Taehyung's so they could still be near each other. Most of the time, all four of them are hanging out with each other in their free time.

 

"You'll be fine at the meeting, Tae." Jimin says as he approaches Taehyung. "Stop stressing over it."

 

Since the past few months, Jimin has seen a lot of changes in Taehyung. He is more patient, more focused and takes life more seriously. It seems like Taehyung has finally found what he has been searching for all his life, a place for himself. He is still learning business with his father though, but every day, Jimin is happy that Taehyung comes back home satisfied with his work. Jimin knows Taehyung has nothing to complain about.

 

Taehyung sighs, "This is the first board meeting that I am conducting by myself, ah, I am so restless."

 

Jimin knows the feeling, he did the same thing not too long back and addressing the board members for the first time is intimidating but also somehow empowering. It gives a sense of satisfaction that you are doing well.

 

Jimin has seen Taehyung prepare for this meeting for weeks now and he knows Taehyung will shine. His passion shows at his work and it speaks louder than any words Taehyung can ever speak about himself. "Fighting, Tae."

 

Jimin holds out a beautiful crimson red, self-design silk tie to Taehyung which brings a smile on his best friend's face.

 

"This is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks." Taehyung takes it and puts his iPad away. "Are you ready for the meeting in New York?"

 

Jimin slumps down on the couch next to Taehyung, "I don't want to go but I have to."

 

Taehyung sighs, "You need to fire that manager, he keeps messing with your company's accounts."

 

"I am about to do it today. Hate firing someone." Jimin says with unease. He is already dreading it.

 

Taehyung shakes his head, "Only if one can run a business without drawing some lines."

 

"True." Jimin agrees. Running a company isn't easy and even though some things are difficult, he has to do them to make sure no one ever crosses the line.

 

"Is Yeonjun up? He wanted to come with me to New York. Ask him if he is ready to leave in half an hour."

 

Taehyung nods, "He was eating his cereal. I think he was playing games all night. He looked exhausted. But I will ask him."

 

Jimin chuckles. Jimin loves Yeonjun just like he would have adored his younger sibling. He might not understand Yeonjun completely but he knows that all Yeonjun wants to do is play video games, play the cello and do everything in his power to avoid studies.

 

"I'll drop him a text when I leave," Jimin informs.

 

"JIMINIE!" A loud wail from Jungkook makes them turn their heads upstairs.

 

"I am downstairs in the living room, Kook-ah," Jimin says, trying to reassure his boyfriend.

 

Taehyung stands up, picks the tie and iPad and says, "I guess it's my cue to leave."

 

"I'll call you tonight," Jimin says. From the corner of his eyes, he can see Jungkook descending down the stairs in a hurry. "Good luck."

 

"You too." They both fist bump each other and Taehyung walks out of the apartment.

 

Jimin turns to look at Jungkook, who is looking panicked. "Jungkookie, did you have a nightmare?"

 

Jungkook comes to stand in front of him, eyes wide and nervousness all over him. "I thought you left while I slept."

 

Jimin smiles, "I can't leave without kissing you." Jimin wraps his arms around Jungkook's neck, "I thought of waking you up but my heart ached at the thought. You were so peacefully asleep." Gently he kisses Jungkook's temple and caresses his hair, "How did you wake up?"

 

"I can't sleep when you are not next to me." Jungkook pulls Jimin closer by waist. He whines, "Uh, how am I going to spend the next two days."

 

There are many things you start learning about a person when you live with them. Over the past one year, Jimin has dealt with all kinds of Jungkook, including angry Jungkook, who only shows up once in a while - Jimin is sure he really doesn't want to see that side of him again. He can flawlessly handle Jungkook at his highest and lowest but he still struggles to handle him when Jungkook gets all whiny. It's difficult because Jungkook gets all needy and clingy and then Jimin can't be productive. This happens all the time when Jimin has to travel for work and he still hasn't figured out a smooth way to make the separation a bit bearable for them. He knows throughout the day he will get fifty messages from Jungkook saying how much he misses him and it won't help Jimin at all.

 

Jungkook bends down and buries his head in Jimin's neck, "Two days, then the weekend for that annual golf thing and then next whole week. I won't get any quiet time to spend with you for the next ten days."

 

Jimin knows he will be gone for three days and two nights and he will only be back late night on Friday. On Saturday they have to go to his parent's place and they'll be back on Monday. He hates it as much as Jungkook, but he is not going to show it, knowing it would only make Jungkook feel worse. Jimin holds him tighter.

 

"Eomma and Appa are looking forward to seeing you again though." Jimin tries to make Jungkook feel better about the stay at his parent's place.

 

Last year when Jimin introduced Jungkook to his parents over dinner, it took his parents some time to get their head wrapped around the fact that Jimin is in a solid relationship with a boy. The entire dinner was awkward for all four of them. Before leaving, Jimin asked his parents to give Jungkook a chance and try to be open-minded about it. And they did. Following weekend, Jimin's mother came over to Jimin's place and spent an entire day with Jimin and Jungkook, trying to understand their relationship.

 

When she left after dinner, she hugged Jungkook and told him, "I am glad that my son is dating you."

 

Jimin was beyond happy to get acceptance from his mother. He knew acceptance from his father was not far away as well and he wasn't wrong. His father called Jimin to his office after office hours and talked to him about the relationship with Jungkook. His father couldn't deny how happier and relaxed Jimin looked. He accepted it too, knowing Jimin is the happiest he has ever been. Over the few times they have met Jungkook, they found themselves to be fond of their son's choice.

 

However, sometimes it bothers Jungkook when he thinks about how he will broach the topic to his parents, and Jimin has promised him that whenever he decides to tell his parents, he will accompany him to Korea and stand right next to him. Whatever happens, Jungkook will not be alone and Jimin will make sure of it. If his parents reject their relationship, Jimin is ready to take the brunt of it from them. He won't let Jungkook go through any of it all by himself.

 

Jimin takes Jungkook's face in his hands, "Two days will pass by quickly. Besides, you have assignments to work on. Finish them and don't keep them leaving them for the weekend, ok?"

 

Jungkook sighs, "I can just drop out and live the rest of my life like a hippie. Whoever said college was easy was a dick."

 

Jimin giggles and kisses his cheeks.

 

"Are you going to your hyungs place tonight?" Jimin asks.

 

Jungkook nods, "I don't want to stay here alone. I'll stay with them for the next two days till you come back home."

 

Jimin smiles, "Nice," He swipes his thumb gently over the apples of Jungkook's cheeks. "I love you."

 

A smile makes way to Jungkook's lips and his entire face lights up. "Say that again." The throaty whisper never fails to make Jimin crazy.

 

Sealing their lips together, Jimin kisses him deep and intense. He could feel the same intensity in Jungkook's hold on his waist and he inches even closer, pressing his body against Jungkook's.

 

"Love you," Jimin whispers against Jungkook's lips.

 

Jungkook's hands slip over Jimin curvy bottom to squeezes it tightly, "Again." His mouth slips over Jimin neck and glides down.

 

Jungkook opens the top three buttons of Jimin's shirt and drags his tongue over his chest. Biting it softly, he moves down. They both came to an agreement a long time back that it is better to not leave any hickey where it will be visible to the people. But the rest of their body is at other's mercy at times. There are still probably some marks on Jimin and Jungkook's skin from the last time, but that won't stop them from making more.

 

"Miss me," Jungkook kisses Jimin's throat and opens the buckles of Jimin's belt.

 

"You are always on my mind, I always miss you," Jimin says as Jungkook gets down on his knees and unzips Jimin's pants.

 

Jungkook looks up at him, seeking permission to taste him before he leaves. Jimin blinks in response and lets Jungkook do what he wants. He can't deny Jungkook anything. It is something he doesn't know how to do and he doesn't even want to learn that. There's nothing in the world Jimin won't give Jungkook if he asked for. If it was up to him, he will gift Jungkook the moon.

 

 

 

Riding down the elevator exactly 20 minutes later, Jimin can still feel his heart thumping wildly inside his chest. The feeling of Jungkook's warm mouth wrapped around his dick and persistent sucking is still lingering. It has been a while since Jungkook has been so needy and Jimin so badly wanted to return the favor but the time constraint and responsibility made him promise Jungkook a good time when they are alone.

 

He checks his reflection in the reflective elevator wall and internally pats himself for deciding to wear glasses to hide his glossy eyes. His cheeks are still flushed and he simply hopes no one will notice it.

 

As the elevator doors open, he finds, Mr. Hanes, waiting for him.

 

"Morning Mr. Hanes," Jimin says cheerily.

 

"Mr. Park," He approaches him smiling and hands him the iPad as they walk outside though the lobby where Jimin's car is waiting. "Your jet is waiting for you and the meetings have been scheduled according to your preference."

 

Jimin can see Yeonjun waiting for him in the lobby while playing in his Nintendo Switch. One day he will ask him to stop playing games and concentrate on his studies, but it's not today.

 

"Mr. Hanes," Jimin looks at him. "Make arrangements for Jungkook and me on a beachside villa in Long Island for next weekend and clear all of my schedule."

 

The way Jungkook regretted not being able to have another 10 days alone with him drove Jimin to give his baby what he needs.

 

"I don't want any phone calls next weekend and I'll be glad if you can email me if there's anything that will need my attention." Jimin directs Mr. Hanes while scrolling through his day's schedule and feels charged knowing he has a good day ahead of him.

 

He ruffles Yeonjun's hair, grabbing his attention, "Let's go."

 

All three of them get inside the waiting car and Jimin takes a deep breath. Even though he is going away for work he hates being away from Jungkook. He can't wait to come back home and spend time with his Jungkook. He leans his head back and goes back to thinking about the moment they spent just before Jimin left.

 

Jimin can't believe how much his life has changed, not just on the outside but also personally, since Jungkook came into his life. He feels more settled and calmer than he has ever felt. He remembers how much he waited for Jungkook to be in his life, and now he has him, and he treasures every second of it. Sometimes it all feels like a good dream and if it is, he doesn't want to burst his bubble.

 

A few months after they moved in together, Taehyung asked Jimin, "Do you see yourself marrying him in future, Jimin-ah?"

 

Without a doubt, Jimin said, "Yes. Of course. I see him with me in the future as well."

 

Taehyung smiled happily knowing his best friend will be ok for the rest of his life.

 

It might have been just a simple question but it gave Jimin something to think about later. Both of them haven't discussed their future or what Jungkook will do after he graduates, but Jimin has a faint idea that Jungkook will go for his masters, and in his head, there's no thought of marriage or settling down for now. He can't force or put the idea of the same in Jungkook's head, it's too early. Maybe he will just have to wait patiently and let the universe do the thing. Well, the universe has worked its way for him before by letting Jungkook in his life, surely the forces of the universe will handle the rest as well. The only thing he knows is that no matter what happens in life, he will stand by Jungkook and hold his hand throughout everything. He will always hold love and respect for Jungkook in his heart. He knows he will always love Jungkook with every last inch of him, for the rest of his life and beyond.