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do you know why i'm going in circles?

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“Hey, Jiminie, you would tell me if we were dating, right?” Taehyung asks from where he's got his head pillowed in Jimin’s lap. They've been awake for an hour but they haven't managed to get out of bed yet. It's one of their rare days off, and mostly they're just trying to figure out what they want to order for lunch in between taking weird pictures of each other and threatening to post them on Twitter.

Jimin blinks down at him, eyebrows raised. “What do you mean?” he asks. “I'm pretty sure to be dating, we'd both have to know upfront.”

“See,” Taehyung says, pointing up at Jimin lazily. “That's what I thought.” He looks happy that Jimin’s agreed with him, and goes back to his phone, scrolling down a menu and adding more and more food to his order as he goes. Jimin notes that they’re mostly things that Jimin likes, and his heart feels full, even though his stomach is so empty he feels like he could throw up.

“Why?” he asks, poking at Taehyung’s cheek.

“Well, it’s just something that Namjoon-hyung said. Like, we’re practically dating, or whatever. And I thought he was joking, but when I laughed he looked really serious, and said I should ask you. And then he pinched me. So.” Taehyung shrugs, crossing one leg over the other and wiggling his toes. It’s getting colder, but Taehyung flung off his socks with his shoes when they got home last night, and they haven’t actually managed to leave the bed, not even to go to the bathroom. It’s kind of like an extended game of ‘the floor is lava,’ but they’re the only ones playing and neither one of them is risking falling into the lava.

“That’s weird,” Jimin says. “Don’t listen to him. He’s weird.”

“Yeah, I know,” Taehyung says, and he rolls a little until he’s on his side and he can look up at Jimin, cheek smushed up against Jimin’s knee. “But you’d tell me, right? If we were dating.”

“I promise that we won’t be dating until we both look at each other and agree to date.” Jimin laughs, and the movement jostles Taehyung a little, making him bite his cheek, but he just slaps at Jimin’s other knee and settles down on his back again.

“And you can’t order that much food, Taetae,” Jimin tells him. “The restaurant will have to use a forklift to bring it here.”

Jimin doesn’t think about it again. It’s not really a big deal. He and Taehyung have always been close, and maybe it looks a little weird, how they cling to each other and hold each other’s hands and sleep in the same bed sometimes, but it doesn’t feel weird, and that’s what’s important.

So he doesn’t think about it again.

At least, until he tries to kiss Jungkook.

He flops down onto Taehyung’s bed, after, and kicks Taehyung’s legs until Taehyung grunts and kicks him back, squinting at him in the dark.

“What? Taehyung whispers.

“I kissed Jungkookie,” Jimin says, equally quiet. Hobi doesn’t like it when they wake him up. Sometimes he’ll kick them out of the room, and sometimes he’ll jump on top of them in bed and force them to cuddle with him, with Hobi in the middle, his arms spread out so he can tug them both close.

“Congrats,” Taehyung tells him, giving him a wobbly thumbs up, already half-asleep again.

“No, I mean. He got mad at me,” Jimin says.

“What?” Taehyung blinks, suddenly fully awake. “What do you mean?”

“Like, I tried to kiss him, and he was like, how could you do this.” Jimin waves a hand vaguely. “And I think--I don’t know. He looked really upset.”

Taehyung frowns. “Do you want me to go sit on him until he apologizes?”

Jimin shakes his head. “He doesn’t have anything to apologize for. I guess I should’ve asked first. I thought I was--reading signals, whatever.”

Taehyung tugs Jimin closer and slings a leg over Jimin’s hip. They’re face-to-face, Taehyung’s breath hitting him in little puffs, and it smells kind of gross, but. Jimin doesn’t really mind. He tucks his head down, rubbing his cheek against Taehyung’s pillow - really, the pillow in Taehyung’s bed reserved for Jimin - and feels his eyelids getting heavier. He’s so, so tired. The look Jungkook gave him earlier is still burned into his brain, and he feels kind of small and ashamed.

As if he knows this, Taehyung tells him, “You’re a catch, Jiminie.” He pats at Jimin’s cheek, fingers gentle. “Jiminie, I love you.”

Jimin doesn’t cry, but that’s mostly just because he falls asleep before he can.

The next day, when Jimin is hiding out in the hallway backstage to avoid being in the same dressing room as Jungkook, Taehyung sneaks up behind him and tickles him until he’s hitting Taehyung hard enough to bruise and yelling loud enough that people are giving them a wide berth.

“Jiminie!” Taehyung says when Jimin quiets down. He’s rubbing his shoulder where Jimin hit him, but he’s grinning, extra wide and rectangular, eyes bright. “I figured it out!”

“Figured what out?” Jimin asks, slapping Taehyung’s hand away from his shoulder so Jimin can rub at it instead. Taehyung lets him, wincing a little.

“Why Jungkookie didn’t let you kiss him!”

Jimin hits Taehyung again, this time in his bicep, and shushes him loudly. “I don’t wanna talk about that,” Jimin hisses, looking around. People have mostly stopped looking at them, but it’s still a really public area. He tugs at Taehyung and pulls him into a closet full of what looks like bags of confetti.

Taehyung eyes the confetti like he’s got a bad idea, but then he’s smiling at Jimin again. “He thinks we’re dating!” he says, spreading his arms, simple as that.

“What?” Jimin gapes a little.

There’s a pause, a moment of complete and utter silence, Taehyung wiggling his eyebrows at him in the dark of the closet.

Then Jimin’s laughing, and Taehyung is laughing too, and they’re clutching at each other and holding each other up, their knees going a little weak with it.

“Why is everyone so weird?” Jimin complains, wiping tears from his eyes. “Wouldn’t we tell them if we were dating?”

Taehyung shrugs, and flops back onto one of the bags of confetti. It pops and deflates a little, but he doesn’t seem to notice. “I mean, I guess friendship is kind of like platonic dating,” Taehyung says. “I do everything with you that I’d do with someone I was actually dating, except, like, romantic stuff, or sexual stuff.” And maybe they sometimes did stuff that could be interpreted that way, but it didn’t count. What counted was the intent, which wasn’t romantic, and wasn’t sexual.

“I guess?” Jimin says. He crosses his arms and purses his lips. “I mean, they might have a point. It probably looks--I don’t know.”

“No, no,” Taehyung says. “Remember, you promised we wouldn’t be dating unless we agreed to date. Do you want to date?”

Jimin scrunches up his nose. “No,” he tells Taehyung.

“Exactly. So we aren’t dating. Or, well, not romantically.”

“Do you think Kookie will believe that?” It’s just that, Jimin really wants to actually kiss Jungkook. With intent and everything. And if Jungkook’s only issue was that he thought Jimin was cheating on Taehyung, then maybe he could explain it, and try again.

“If he doesn’t believe it, I’m pretty sure you shouldn’t date him anyway.” Taehyung points a finger at him, and then he leans back until he’s almost horizontal across the bags of confetti, and his finger is pointing at the ceiling. “Trust is important.”

Later that night, he crawls into Taehyung’s bed again. His lips are swollen and red, and he smells like Kookie’s cologne, feels a little raw with the way the pillow rubs against the bites on his neck, but he’s happy, and he’s got a date tomorrow night, if they can manage to get away.

“See,” Taehyung says, voice rough with sleep. His eyes are shining, happy crinkles at the corners, and he smooths down Jimin’s mussed hair. “He adores you.”

“I adore you,” Jimin tells him, even though it’s kind of embarrassing, and he has to hide his face a little.

When he peeks up at him, Taehyung leans in quick and blows a raspberry against Jimin’s forehead, and Jimin laughs and yells loud enough that Hobi wakes up and dive-bombs the bed while they’re still in it.