Yoongi and Jimin are chaebol workaholics in a loveless marriage. They’re perfectly content living their individual lives, pretending one another don’t exist. Then, they’re asked to visit Yoongi’s sick grandmother overseas and everything gets turned upside down.
[ TAGS ]
➷ arranged marriage
➷ uber wealthy!yoonmin
➷ strangers to lovers
➷ sharing a bed
➷ sharing clothes
➷ a fic about two husbands falling in love with each other
“Important” turns out to mean “life-disrupting.”
Yoongi and Jimin, sitting across from Yoongi’s family at a table in an upscale restaurant in Gangnam, are given the news that they’ll be spending no less than a /month/ in the United States tending to Yoongi’s ailing grandmother.
Jimin balls his fists in his lap as he bites down a dozen arguments. He can hardly afford to take /one/ day away from work but now they want him to leave for an entire /month/?
“Anything you would do from here you can do from there,” Yoongi’s mother says, reading Jimin’s mind.
/Yeah right,/ Jimin thinks but doesn’t say.
His mother-in-law is acerbic at best and downright cruel at worst. She’s a slight but severe woman, with the remnants of startling beauty lining the wrinkles in her cheekbones.
It’s not much of a surprise that she is the way she is—a person doesn’t achieve all that she has without losing a bit of themselves along the way. And so Jimin, for his part, has learned not to argue with her over the course of their few short run-ins.
“Halmeoni requested this,” Yoongi’s father goes on. He takes a sip of his dry Malbec, pinning Yoongi and Jimin with an expectant glare. “She’s at the end of her life. It would be best if we gave her what she wants.”
Beside him, Jimin’s estranged husband sits tall and stiff as a board, his own large hands folded in his lap. His expression is stoic as always, giving up nothing of his true feelings.
Silence reigns for a moment, before Jungkook speaks up.
“I’ll be there during the first half of your trip,” Jimin’s brother-in-law says in an obvious attempt to be helpful. “I’m leaving tomorrow and I’ll be there for a week after you get there.”
He throws Jimin a tentative smile, curling his shoulders inward to appear smaller.
It’s so endearing that Jimin can’t help but smile back at him, his only ally in this den of wolves.
“When do we leave?” Yoongi asks then.
Jimin snaps his head around to look at him. He feels his hackles rise at being spoken for without any sort of private discussion about this between them.
Maybe he shouldn’t be surprised, though.
They’ve only shared space a handful of times in the year they’ve been married so perhaps Yoongi feels he has no reason to take Jimin’s opinion into consideration.
“In two weeks,” Yoongi’s father says. He throws Jimin a cursory glance, as if he’s a piece of gum stuck to the bottom of his shoe. “That should give you both enough time to delegate your responsibilities.”
“Abeonim, I don’t think that—”
Jimin sits back at his father-in-law’s sharp dismissal, unable to keep his cheeks from flushing with embarrassment. Jungkook glances between them with wide eyes, and despite the clear desire to intervene that is reflected in his expression, he seems to understand that—
—saying anything now will only make the situation even more humiliating for Jimin, and probably for Yoongi, too.
Before Jimin can offer any further protests, the first course of food arrives and the conversation moves on.
The air outside the restaurant carries the bite of a young winter, not quite /cold/ but enough to have Jimin curling into himself as he waits for the valet to get his car. Yoongi waits beside him in silence for his own driver.
He’s pleased to find that there are no reporters around for once. Jimin doesn’t feel like having his face plastered all over the tabloids tomorrow, standing more than a meter away from his husband and looking exactly like he was just pulled through the wringer by his in-laws.
“I’m not happy about this,” Jimin informs Yoongi, eyes on the skyscraper across the street. Its facade of reflective glass sparkles under the city lights like a canvas of stars on earth.
A few restaurant goers filter out of the building behind them, speaking in the low, controlled tones of wealthy people as they wait for their own drivers a ways down from Jimin and Yoongi.
“What would you have had me do?” Yoongi asks. His attention is on the phone in his hand as he scrolls through endless work emails. He’s stuffed his free hand in the pocket of his slacks in a bid to look casual but his broad shoulders are still lined with tension.
Jimin blows out a sigh. “We could have at least talked about it.”
“How would that have changed anything?” Yoongi wonders. He side-eyes Jimin, lips curled into his natural pout. “Just agreeing to go saved everyone time.”
“We’re not saving any time, we’re wasting a month of it.” Yoongi’s eyebrows furrow at the word “wasting” used in the context of his grandmother so Jimin backtracks. “I just—I just mean that I don’t have a month to spare.”
He scuffs the toe of one of his Ferragamo oxfords against the sidewalk, stuffing his own hands in his pockets when the wind picks up. What’s taking the valet so damn long?
“Yeah, well, neither do I. We’ll just have to deal with it,” Yoongi replies.
Jimin clucks his tongue, discontent. “I should have stayed in Japan.”
“Sure. Then they would have just called your father,” Yoongi says.
Jimin grimaces at the thought of Yoongi’s father reaching out to his own. The last time that happened, Jimin ended up married.
“I’m still not happy about this,” he says.
At this, Yoongi rolls his eyes. He locks his phone and stuffs it in his pocket as his driver finally pulls up. With the glow of the streetlights and the restaurant illuminating his profile, his delicate features look sharper than usual.
“Whatever. See you in two weeks, I guess.”
Jimin turns away with a frown, doesn’t bother with a goodbye even when Yoongi slips into the backseat of his car and pauses before closing the door.
“I’ll have the trip itinerary sent to your assistant once the flights are booked,” he says. “Bye, Jimin.”
Jimin huffs out another sigh as the sleek black car pulls onto the street. It’s another five minutes until the valet finally arrives with his.
before i start on this update, i just wanted to mention that age dictates a lot of the family dynamics in this story. because jimin is the younger husband, he gets the short end of the stick for many things, like having to take yoongi’s last name, how he refers to yoongi, etc.
not divorced after all~
They arrive at Incheon together for the publicity even though Yoongi and Jimin are scheduled for separate flights out of the country. Jimin has a two-day stopover in Paris for some business meetings so Yoongi will be heading to the U.S. first.
As usual, the airport is a mess of paparazzi and media outlets that swarm Jimin and Yoongi as they make their way through the terminal, shouting invasive questions about their personal lives and pushing camera lenses into their faces.
Neither he nor Yoongi is a stranger to being in the limelight but Jimin has a particular hatred for paparazzi and the way they immortalize every moment of his existence, only to pin the photos up later in their little corner of the internet for thousands to dissect and analyze.
And publicity outings, like showing up to the airport with his stranger of a husband, always add gasoline to the gossip fire. He can already imagine what the netizen comments will look like after today’s airport show:
/Omo, did Jimin really grab Yoongi’s sleeve? That’s the first time I’ve ever seen them touch each other./
/Yoongi was wearing his wedding ring again! D.ispatch got a clear shot of it./
/Does this mean they’re finally over that fight they were having a couple of months ago?/
It’s as if they’re lab specimens under a microscope, as if every schmuck on the internet feels the need to write a dissertation about their every move. All the theorizing is ridiculous.
Yoongi’s only wearing his wedding band because his PR manager implied he looked disingenuous without it. He and Jimin have barely spoken at all since the summer, much less argued. And yeah, Jimin /did/ accidentally grab Yoongi’s sleeve, but only to keep himself from falling—
—when a paparazzo tripped him.
It’s all just a farce, made even more farcical by the fact that beyond the reach of the media, in the airline’s private lounge, Yoongi is little more than a ghost in Jimin’s presence.
He spends most of the time before his flight taking work phone calls and perusing reports on his laptop, so thoroughly ignoring his husband that Jimin might as well be a wall decoration.
By now, he has his mask down, tucked under his chin, and his cap lays on the table beside him. His dark hair is messy, flopping over his forehead and obscuring his face from view as he leans over his computer.
It’s not a long wait in the lounge, and for that Jimin is grateful. Even when there are a couple of staff members hanging around, the air between him and Yoongi tends to be stifling.
Maybe Yoongi doesn’t mean to make Jimin uncomfortable—he usually minds his own business—but the nature of their relationship makes it impossible for Jimin to feel at ease in his presence.
Aside from that, though, he’s still mad at Yoongi for putting them in this situation. Jimin hates being made to seem like he’s at the beck and call of his in-laws—in-laws who have only spoken to him a handful of times—and forced to rearrange his entire schedule during the—
—busiest quarter of the year.
But he supposes Yoongi’s right. If they hadn’t agreed to go, his father would have made a mess of everything.
Within a half-hour of arriving, Jimin’s flight is called for boarding. He gathers his bag and coat, relieved, while his assistant rifles through his phone for their boarding passes.
At the sound of their shuffling, Yoongi offers him a cursory glance.
“Leaving?” he asks, looking back down at his computer screen.
Jimin replies with a noncommittal hum. He quickly checks the time on his Rolex and then turns on his heel without waiting for a goodbye or offering one of his own.
Just as he’s exiting the lounge, though, Yoongi stops him. “Jimin.”
Jimin glances back over his shoulder, mild irritation bubbling up within him. He hasn’t said a word all morning but /now/ he wants to chat? “What?”
Yoongi’s brow arches at his clipped tone devoid of honorifics but he doesn’t wait for Jimin to correct himself. “Our halmeoni, she… she—” he stops, clearing his throat in a rare show of discomfort and ultimately seems to change his mind. His lips dip into a frown. “Never mind.”
Jimin mirrors his frown. “Okay…?”
Yoongi’s expression is unreadable as he studies Jimin for a drawn-out moment. Then he blinks and looks away. “See you in a couple of days.”
He refocuses on his work, effectively dismissing Jimin who rolls his eyes and retreats from the lounge.
The thing about America is that Jimin doesn’t like it here. He knows parts of it are objectively nice, that there are small pockets of beauty throughout, but it’s all hidden behind a worn and tarnished facade—there’s ugliness in the way people look at each other as he—
—enters the airport in a southern part of the country and it makes the hairs on the back of his neck rise.
The terminal is prematurely decked out in Christmas decorations, with massive fake fir trees lit up by fairy lights and strung with multicolored garlands and baubles.
It looks like a picture out of a magazine, a somewhat garish and idealized version of what America has to offer.
Jungkook stands beyond the reach of airport security, as casually dressed as Jimin has ever seen him in shorts and a t-shirt and cutely waving a sign that reads ‘MIN JIMIN’ in bubbly letters.
He’s alone, for once not flanked by his handler and security guard, so Jimin almost doesn’t recognize him for a moment.
Then relief, sweet and welcome, floods through Jimin at the sight of his brother-in-law and he quickens his pace to reach him. “My favorite doryeon-nim!”
Jungkook scrunches his nose but his smile doesn’t waver in the slightest. “That’s cheating.”
Jimin grins facetiously, shrugging, and retorts, “Well, you /are/.”
“I’m your /only/ doryeon-nim,” Jungkook laughs.
“Semantics.” Jimin waves him off.
“C’mon, the car’s outside.”
(doryeon-nim is the term for one’s husband’s younger, unmarried brother)
They make a quick exit from the airport and despite America with all its America-ness, Jimin finds he enjoys the anonymity of being in a foreign country. It’s nice, not having to fight paparazzi right out of the gate.
Jungkook leads Jimin through the parking lot across the street from the terminal as the sun bears down from overhead. Jimin had left his assistant behind in Paris to take care of things this month so it’s just the two of them to make their way to halmeoni’s house with the driver.
“How was your flight?” Jungkook asks as they get buckled in.
“Long,” Jimin groans. He stretches out across half the backseat, pushing back the sleeves of his sweater and flapping it against his chest. He grimaces when sweat rolls down his stomach.
“It’s hot as hell here. Did we accidentally end up in the southern hemisphere or something?”
Jungkook grins. “Not that I know of.”
Jimin squints at him. “You’re pretty peppy in your Chubbies, huh? Don’t laugh at hyung-nim’s misery.”
“It’s fun though,” Jungkook laughs. “But don’t worry—it gets cooler at night. And halmeoni’s house is always cool; she’s right on the water.”
“Good,” says Jimin.
He peers out the window at the passing streets, properly settling in as the driver pulls onto the highway.
The roads are wide and open and soon they’re cruising over an expansive bridge with clear blue water on either side that sparkles under the beaming sun.
Jimin heaves a sigh. The southern air is stifling even in late November as the heat filters in through the car’s windows—
—and despite Jungkook’s assurances, he still feels grimy sweating through his day-old clothes.
The first thing he wants to do when they get to halmeoni’s is take a shower.
“Hyung’s sorry he couldn’t make it to pick you up himself,” Jungkook says after a few moments. “He was on a call with a branch manager in Greece when I left. Couldn’t get away.”
That’s not true and they both know it.
Jimin throws him a sardonic look but doesn’t call him out on the white lie because, after all, it’s for Jimin’s benefit.
“So, uh,” Jungkook goes on, clearing his throat and avoiding eye contact, “this’ll be your first time meeting halmeoni, huh?”
Jimin nods. “Has she lived here a long time?”
Jungkook replies in the affirmative, explaining, “Her second husband was American so they moved here in the nineties after getting married. When he died a few years ago, she couldn’t bring herself to leave.”
Jimin hums, wondering how anyone could love such a foreign place enough to stay even after their biggest connection to it was gone.
“Has hyung told you anything about her?” Jungkook asks.
There’s something in his tone that pricks at Jimin’s brain—it’s reminiscent of the way Yoongi’s voice had sounded in the airport lounge the other day.
Frowning, Jimin shakes his head.
“Halmeoni is…” Jungkook scrunches his face up in thought. “She’s not really like us.”
Jimin’s frown morphs into confusion. “What does that mean? Is she a vampire or something?”
Jungkook snorts and shakes his head.
“Her lifestyle is really different,” he clarifies. “She kind of distanced herself from, you know, the chaebol thing when she remarried. She says—
—being a chaebol was harabeoji’s life and now that she has a choice, she’s happier being more low-key.”
“Well, that sounds kind of nice,” Jimin admits.
“Yeah, but it’s totally different from what we’re used to.” Jungkook gives him a meaningful look. “/Totally/ different.”
Jimin’s not sure what he’s implying, exactly, but he figures he’ll find out soon enough. He nods at Jungkook like he understands.
“She must really like it here if she’s stayed even after her husband passed away,” Jimin muses.
Jungkook nods. “She’s got it all figured out, honestly. Me and hyung used to spend winter breaks here when we were younger and it’s like being in a whole different world.” He heaves a sigh. “That makes our trip this time even more complicated, though.”
Jimin lifts a brow at him in question. “What do you mean?”
“Our abeoji wants us to convince her to come back to Korea for the rest of her treatment.”
Jimin can’t help the grimace that quickly flashes across his face.
This sounds like the kind of distinctly terrible idea that Yoongi’s father loves concocting so it’s not so much surprising as it is cringe-inducing. Because Jimin doesn’t know Yoongi and Jungkook’s halmeoni but a woman who would turn her own life upside down to move to a—
—foreign country probably won’t be easily convinced to abandon that anonymous, comfortable lifestyle in favor of one in the public eye.
“Good luck with that,” Jimin says to Jungkook, who laughs dryly.
“We’ll need more than luck, probably.”
It’s about a half-hour trip from the airport to the beach but eventually the driver pulls off the highway to make his way onto a narrow side street leading out to the shore.
Not until the car winds around a thicket of palm trees and the driveway opens up into a small courtyard in front of a modest two-story beach house does Jimin realize they’ve arrived at Yoongi and Jungkook’s grandmother’s house.
It’s small and pretty and painted a happy shade of mint green with a large wraparound porch, lots of windows, and a big balcony on the second floor. Jimin can both see and hear the Gulf of Mexico down a slope behind the house as he and Jungkook get out of the car.
It’s a world away from the penthouses and mansions he’s lived in all his life but he knows the views must still be beautiful.
“Halmeoni had a doctor’s appointment today. She might not be back yet,” Jungkook explains, helping Jimin with one of his suitcases.
Indeed, when they enter the house, there doesn’t seem to be anyone home.
And it really is a place that feels like /home/, Jimin thinks. Filled from top to bottom with all manner of kitschy seaside-themed decor mixed with random souvenirs collected from around the world, the—
—house is cozy even as big windows allow the sun to pour its warmth inside. The entryway is narrow, a staircase taking up one-half of it while a hallway leads further into the house to a great room that includes the kitchen, a dining nook, and a wide open living area.
Jimin’s gaze catches on the view of the ocean from the massive living room windows, which is just as stunning as expected. There’s a screened-in patio in the back with steps leading right to the beach.
Jungkook was right—it’s completely different from what they’re used to.
There’s no sleek minimalism to be found here; the whole place is made up of worn edges and rough lines. Everything in the house looks like it belongs, /feels/ like it belongs, even when each individual piece is different from the rest.
“I take it you probably want to get freshened up?” Jungkook says as they trail through the house, bringing Jimin’s attention back to him.
Jimin nods and pulls a hand through his sweat-soaked hair. “Oh, god, yes.”
Jungkook grins, pointing him up the stairs as he explains, “Your room is the first one on the left, hyung-nim. It has an en suite bathroom.” He returns Jimin’s suitcase to him. “I’ll be out back if you need me.”
With that, Jimin quickly makes his way upstairs, anxious to get showered and changed out of his stifling clothes. He pushes into the first room on the landing, only to falter in the doorway.
The door swings open out of his grasp and thuds against the wall, catching the attention of the room’s original occupant as Jimin resists the urge to run back downstairs.
Unruffled, Yoongi glances over at the noise and meets Jimin’s eye. He looks no different than he did two days ago, sitting in front of a laptop at a small table near the window, only now he’s much more casually dressed, in khaki linen pants and a v-neck t-shirt.
Jimin stalls, unsure whether this is where he’s really supposed to be.
Yoongi turns back to the laptop after a moment. “Are you just going to stand there?”
Jimin huffs out a sigh.
“I think I’m in the wrong room,” he says by way of explanation.
Jungkook did say the first room on the left, but—
Jimin frowns, even as Yoongi’s stoic mask remains in place. “Hmm?”
“This is your room,” Yoongi reiterates. He shuts his laptop and leans back, peering at Jimin from across the room with sharp, dark eyes.
“What are you doing here, then?” Jimin can’t help but ask.
Yoongi lifts a brow. A wisp of sunlight sneaks through the drawn curtains, catching on his dark hair and making him look as though he’s wearing a crown. “This is my room.”
“But you just said—”
“We’re sharing,” Yoongi explains with an impressive level of nonchalance.
Sharing? Jimin eyes the single bed in the room with mounting horror. There’s no way.
He opens his mouth to protest as Yoongi rises to his feet.
“Halmeoni doesn’t know we don’t live together,” Yoongi says before Jimin can get a word out. “And it would break her heart, so I didn’t tell her.”
The detached resignation in his tone rankles Jimin but at the same time, he’s surprised.
It’s hard to imagine Yoongi as the kind of person concerned about breaking his grandmother’s heart.
Jimin eyes Yoongi from across the room, tracking him as he shuffles into the closet.
It’s even stranger to see him like this—dressed down and moving through a space that feels too small for his large presence—when all that Jimin has ever known of his husband is the polished, buttoned-up version of himself that he displays to the world.
“What if I don’t want to?” Jimin asks, curious to see how Yoongi will respond.
“It’s a little late for that, isn’t it?” Yoongi’s voice comes out muffled.
Jimin rolls his eyes. “Whose fault is that?”
“One of us can just sleep on the chaise,” Yoongi says as he walks back into the room now wearing an unbuttoned linen shirt over his v-neck tee.
Jimin narrows his eyes.
The threadbare chaise, placed in the far corner, is little more than a fancy park bench and looks the definition of uncomfortable. “For an entire month?”
“We’ll take turns.”
“You should have asked me first,” Jimin says.
Yoongi hums in agreement. “There aren’t any other rooms... unless you want to share with Jungkookie.”
Well, that would be pretty inappropriate, Jimin supposes.
He studies the small room with its one bed and dresser, the flimsy door to the en suite bathroom, the walls covered in mermaid and seashell wallpaper, and bites back a petulant whine.
It’s probably about the size of his bedroom closet back home, which might be okay if he wasn’t sharing it with Yoongi, of all people.
He’s ended up here in the first place because he didn’t put his foot down. Jimin refuses to give in so easily this time.
Glaring at his husband, he fidgets with his sweater sleeves, pulling them over his hands, and considers his words carefully before he says, “We—We could just share the bed.”
He only says it because he expects to be swiftly rejected.
As if the thought of sharing a bed with Jimin will put Yoongi off so much, he’ll come up with a better solution than “we’ll take turns on the park bench.”
Yoongi peers at him through the dresser mirror’s reflection as he slips a watch over his wrist, expression turning thoughtful at the challenging lilt in Jimin’s tone. He doesn’t reply for a long moment, long enough that Jimin starts to squirm a little, and then—
Yoongi clasps his watch and slips past him out of the room without another word.
Jimin watches him go, at a loss. Somehow, despite being the one to bring it up, despite only saying it because he expected Yoongi to put up more of a fight, he’s a little disarmed by how quickly his husband agreed.
He flops down on the offending bed with a pout. Well, fuck.
It’s late afternoon by the time Jimin makes his way back downstairs, now dressed much more comfortably in a short-sleeve shirt and shorts. His hair is still damp from the shower but the breeze blowing through the house from the back patio will air-dry it in no time.
He finally feels clean and less out-of-sorts despite his earlier run-in with Yoongi.
The house is much more lively now, and Jimin can hear voices in the great room as he takes the last few stairs two-at-a-time.
“Seokjin-ah, you love halmeoni, don’t you?”
“I do, and that’s why you can’t have any. Now, be a good girl and eat your spinach.”
The airy sound of Jungkook’s giggles floats through the house.
“Don’t laugh at your halmeoni’s misery, brat. We’ll see how you like it when I forbid Sejin from stocking up the pantry with—
—all your favorite ramyeon brands.”
Jungkook is mid-gasp with a scandalized hand to his chest when Jimin rounds the corner into the kitchen.
He’s met by the sight of Halmeoni at the dining table, picking morosely at a bowl of greens as a broad-shouldered man, Seokjin apparently, stands at the counter cutting fruit.
Jungkook is the first to notice him, and shuffles right over to Jimin when he walks in.
“Hyung-nim, halmeoni’s being mean to me.”
Jimin mirrors his pout, reaching up to ruffle his brother-in-law’s hair before he replies, “Well, you probably deserve it, don’t you, doryeon-nim?”
“I had a feeling I’d like you,” Halmeoni says, smiling at Jimin from across the room.
“Do I have /no/ allies in this family at all?” Jungkook bemoans.
Ignoring his brother-in-law’s theatrics, Jimin quickly makes his way over to halmeoni, bowing 90 degrees at her in greeting. He’ll do a proper deep bow later, when he gives her the gifts he’s brought, but for—
—now he sinks to the floor beside her chair.
Behind him, Jimin hears the patio screen door slide open and closed again, and Jungkook huffs, “Hyung, you’re my only hope!”
Then, the rumble of Yoongi’s gravelly voice as he replies, “What now?”
“Halmeoni, I’m here,” Jimin says, hands in his lap as he stares resolutely at the wooden floorboards.
Halmeoni gently lifts his chin with one wrinkly hand and offers another smile. Her eyes are kind, her features soft.
In the brief moment during which their gazes meet, Jimin understands Yoongi’s desire to protect her feelings. “No need to be so formal with me, dearest. I’m too old for all that. Let me just have a good look at you.”
She turns his face from side to side, studying his features with a satisfied hum. “Just as pretty as the pictures Seokjinnie showed me from the internet. What’d my Yoongi do to deserve a beauty like you, hmm?”
Jimin feels his cheeks flush under her attention and he’s not sure how to respond. He’s saved the trouble by Seokjin himself, who shuffles over with a tray of freshly cut fruit.
“Don’t tease me, Seokjinnie,” Halmeoni warns him as Seokjin plucks a couple of strawberries and grapes off the tray and arranges them on top of her salad.
“I wouldn’t dare, nana,” Seokjin says. “This is a reward for being nice to your grandson’s husband, that’s all.”
Halmeoni releases Jimin with a gentle pat to his cheek. He rises to his feet to greet Seokjin next.
“Hello, I’m Par—Min Jimin,” Jimin says. He cringes internally, plastering a smile to his lips to distract from his goof-up.
Seokjin smiles back and offers his hand for a shake but quickly retracts it when Jimin dips at the waist instead. He bends into a bow himself just as Jimin straightens up and holds out his own hand. They both laugh at their awkwardness which is a good enough ice breaker as any.
“Kim Seokjin,” Seokjin says by way of greeting. “It’s nice to meet you. I’m nana’s nurse.”
Jungkook coughs from somewhere across the room. “More like babysitter,” he mutters.
“Min Jungkook, what did I tell you—” halmeoni retorts.
“You know it’s true.”
“Now now, children, stop your squabbling. We don’t want to scare away Yoongi’s better half on his first afternoon with us,” Seokjin intervenes. He turns back to Jimin as halmeoni and Jungkook let out identical squawks of offense.
“Jimin-ssi, we’re glad to have you here. I hope you had a good flight?”
Jimin nods, trying to be less awkward. He runs half a corporate empire back home; it’s a little silly for him to feel so out of sorts here. And yet, he can’t quite pull himself together. “I did, thank you.”
With the formalities out of the way, Jimin moves to sit down at the dining table beside halmeoni but Seokjin stops him before he can.
“So, Jungkookie and I were actually about to start putting up Christmas decorations. Would you like to help?”
Unbidden, Jimin glances at Yoongi, who has taken a seat beside Jungkook on the couch, before turning back to Seokjin, unsure.
“Oh, go on, Jimin-ah,” halmeoni encourages around a mouthful of strawberry. “You must know how much of a Grinch your grumpy husband is. Don’t let—
—that stop you celebrating if you want to.”
This is news to him, actually. He and Yoongi were married in December last year but they’d spent Christmas apart aside from attending a gala together for Jimin’s mother’s charitable foundation.
Yoongi doesn’t come off as the type who embraces the holiday spirit, in any case.
Jimin doesn’t really enjoy the holiday, either, if he’s being entirely honest. He’s never had time for it with work, and Christmas is mostly a lovers holiday back home.
Without a lover, he hasn’t ever seen the point of putting up decorations or trimming a Christmas tree.
It seems like this will be a season of new experiences.
With a last glance at the back of Yoongi’s head, he turns to Seokjin, whose gaze is trained expectantly on Jimin, and nods. “Sure, if you don’t mind.”
“Great, let’s go!” Seokjin says, clapping his hands together. “Kookie, you wanna go up and get the box?”
Jungkook agrees easily and bounces out of the room.
As he follows Seokjin out behind him, Jimin hears halmeoni call out.
“Yoon-ah.” It takes a moment for Jimin to realize she means /Yoongi/. “Come help me off the porch, my love. I want to feel the sand between my toes.”
Putting up Christmas decorations, Jimin learns, is quite an involved process. Seokjin is a big fan of the season and uses halmeoni’s extensive collection of holiday-themed tchotchkes to decorate the seaside house from top to bottom, inside and out.
There’s no shortage of vintage Santa Claus figurines and garlands made of fake pine that Seokjin arranges on every inch of free space he can find, bickering with Jungkook as they go along.
Jimin is fascinated. He’s never done anything like this before.
Growing up, his mother always had assistants or housemaids decorate their homes for special occasions. Even ancestral offerings during Seollal were prepared by people outside the family.
Still, despite his wonderment, Jimin tries to be a good helper.
He dutifully carries a zippy bag full of shiny strips of metal foil, which Seokjin explains is called “tinsel,” that he’s instructed to sprinkle liberally over all the decorations.
(“More is more, Jimin-ssi, don’t be stingy with it,” he says.)
Along the way, Jimin learns that Seokjin has been halmeoni’s nurse for the better part of three years, although he only moved in full-time about a month ago. He’s a few years older than Jimin, around Yoongi’s age, with an infectious laugh and a light-hearted personality.
It’s not much of a surprise when Jimin realizes Jungkook is smitten with the man.
“Aish, hyung, let me do it.”
Jimin watches as Jungkook sidles up next to Seokjin, reaching around him to hang a sprig of mistletoe over the great room doorway.
Seokjin glances over his shoulder at Jimin, winking, and then turns back to an unsuspecting Jungkook. “Well, now you’ve done it, Mr. Min.”
Jungkook fastens the ribbon a little more securely before looking down at Seokjin. His eyes are wide, like he’s expecting to be berated.
“What? What’d I do?”
“You bamboozled me into standing under the mistletoe with you.” Seokjin lifts a dramatic hand to his chest. His voice is deadpan as he continues, “How tragic for me.”
Jimin sees the exact moment the implication of Seokjin’s words registers in Jungkook’s mind. His wide eyes widen even more if it’s possible and his mouth drops into an “O,” of realization. A pretty blush creeps across his nose and cheeks, down his neck, disappearing—
—beneath the open collar of his shirt.
When he doesn’t move, Seokjin lifts a brow. “Unless you don’t /want/ to kiss me.”
“As if,” Jungkook blurts out with a scoff.
His gaze flickers to Jimin momentarily, and then he steps in front of Seokjin, blocking him from view.
All that Jimin can see of the moment is the way Jungkook dips down, shoulders hunched in, briefly enough that it doesn’t become awkward. Then, he straightens back up, clears his throat, and makes a swift escape from the room.
Flushed but shiny-lipped and satisfied, Seokjin grins over at Jimin once he’s gone and Jimin feels his own cheeks grow a little warm.
With the great room properlh dressed for the season, Jimin helps Seokjin untangle the string lights for the outside of the house and then they bring down the Christmas tree and ornaments from the attic for trimming at a later date.
“Nana told me she doesn’t like decorating it too early,” Seokjin explains. “She and her husband used to wait until just a week or two before Christmas. She says it makes it more special that way.”
Jimin thinks it’s all a bit romantic, even if Christmas isn’t as much a lovers holiday here as it is back home. The atmosphere seems to change with the decorations, making the lively home feel warmer, cozier.
Jungkook eventually finds his way back to them but won’t meet Jimin’s eye as he helps hang multicolored strings of lights up on the house’s front porch. The three of them work together to wrap the trunks of the palm trees in the yard with matching lights, and then it seems—
—they’re finally done.
“Nana’s kitschy Christmas is underway!” Seokjin announces, staring proudly up at the house as Jungkook tests out the lights. He turns to Jimin and adds, “She has light-up flamingos, too, but Kookie accidentally d/ecapitated one so they don’t work anymore.”
Jungkook rolls his eyes from his place on the porch. “For the last time, I didn’t decap—”
“Well, I think we deserve a beer after all this hard work, what do you say, Jimin-ssi?” Seokjin asks, blinking innocently at Jimin, who grins back at him.
They make their way up to the porch and Seokjin plants a kiss on Jungkook’s cheek as he slips past him into the house.
Before Jimin can follow him in, Jungkook grabs his arm. “Hyung-nim, hang on.”
Jimin pauses, peering patiently up at Jungkook as his brother-in-law considers his words. It’s sort of funny to see the crisis play out over his handsome features. He teeters, leans this way and that like he’d crawl out of his skin if he could, places a heavy hand on Jimin’s—
—shoulder and then pulls back, rethinking.
“About earlier…” He takes the tone of a man in pain and Jimin can’t help the smile that creeps over his lips.
“You’re cute together,” he offers casually.
Jungkook’s eyes snap up to meet his. “Huh?”
“You and Seokjin-ssi. You’re cute together.”
“You really think so?” Jungkook asks, the expression on his face one of tentative hope. It’s so unlike him.
“Yeah, why not?” Jimin says.
“I dunno,” Jungkook replies, shrugging. He scratches the back of his neck the way Yoongi does on the rare occasions when he’s unsure of himself. “He’s—you know. And we’re—”
Jimin tuts at him. “Now you sound like our parents and I /know/ you’re better than that. Don’t think—
—Seokjin-ssi would appreciate you talking like that, either.”
Jungkook shrinks into himself with a grimace, appropriately chastised. “You’re right, I’m sorry,” he says. “I just mean… you really don’t care?”
“So, that’s it?”
“That’s it,” Jimin confirms.
Jungkook bites his lip. “Oh.”
Jimin reaches up to ruffle his hair and it speaks to how distracted Jungkook is that he doesn’t try to bat him away. His disbelief is cute if not a little worrying.
“C’mon, let’s go have a beer.”
Despite his best efforts, Jimin begins to fall asleep before dinner time as he sits around with Jungkook and Seokin shooting the breeze. Two days of constant work and meetings in Paris was not nearly enough time to adjust to a change in time zones.
He’s dozing before Jungkook has even gotten through explaining just how halmeoni’s light-up flamingo lost its head, before Yoongi and halmeoni even come back from the beach.
It’s improper, perhaps, to be the son-in-law and passing out on the couch without helping with dinner.
But no one wakes him up to help, no one berates him for falling asleep.
In fact, he’s roused only by the smell of food at some time before the pinks of the setting sun have begun to darken into purples.
“Go wake your husband.”
The words don’t properly register in Jimin’s sleepy brain until he sees Yoongi round the couch toward him. He stops short when he realizes Jimin is already awake.
“Dinner’s ready,” he says, stalling at the end of the sofa.
Jimin’s mouth feels like it’s full of cotton, his head like it’s swimming in a fog. He blinks up at Yoongi, lost for a moment, and then nods, straightening up and smoothing down his hair.
With an indiscernible look, Yoongi turns on his heel and shuffles back to the stove to resume supervising a pot of what looks to be jjigae of some kind.
“Ahh sleeping beauty has returned to the land of the living,” Seokjin teases from his place at the sink as Jimin wanders over.
Jimin ducks his head in abashment. “I’m sorry I fell asleep.”
Halmeoni, back at the dining table after an afternoon out on the beach, waves him off. “Oh, hush, you. Spent 13 hours on a plane and probably worked during most of it. You deserved a nap,” she says.
She looks tired but flushed with happiness, Jimin observes, like the beach somehow imbued her with energy even as the trip zapped her body of its strength.
Jimin ducks his head again, this time in gratitude, and then approaches the counter where Jungkook is chopping—
—vegetables beside his hyung.
It’s a bit of a shock to see the brothers cooking but they look as natural as if they’ve been doing it all their lives.
“Do you need help, doryeon-nim?” Jimin asks.
He has no idea what he’d even be /able/ to help with, but asking feels like the polite thing to do.
Jungkook glances over his shoulder at Jimin and with a genuine little smile curling up his lips, he shakes his head. “Go sit with halmeoni. We’re almost done.”
Jimin hesitates until Seokjin comes up behind him and takes him by the shoulders, gently pointing him toward the table. Halmeoni reaches out to take his hand as he approaches. Her grip on Jimin’s palm is strengthless but warm.
“Yoon-ah, get this poor boy a glass of wine,” she huffs immediately. “The clams aren’t going anywhere even if you leave the stove. You don’t need to babysit them. In fact, they’ll be better off if you don’t.”
Yoongi grumbles something under his breath but grabs his glass of wine and steps away from the counter all the same. He turns to his grandmother with a flat expression on his handsome face. “It’s your recipe. You /told/ me to watch the clams.”
Halmeoni nods. “Yes, and you’ve watched them plenty. Now you should watch something a little bit lovelier instead,” she says as she places a wrinkled hand on Jimin’s shoulder.
Yoongi clears his throat and scratches the back of his neck, stepping closer to the dining table.
Jimin is somewhat mortified but he tries to look as disaffected as possible.
“C’mon, now, don’t be so shy. You’re hardly newlyweds anymore,” halmeoni goes on.
Yoongi grunts before finally turning his focus onto Jimin.
“Sauvignon blanc or rosé? The white is a 2017 from Piedmont and the rosé is a 2020 from Côtes de Provence,” he says.
Jimin’s mind goes blank.
“I—” He glances at the half-full glass of what must be the Sauvignon blanc held delicately in Yoongi’s grasp before looking up at Yoongi again with a question in his eyes.
If he’s surprised, Yoongi doesn’t let it show on his face as he holds out his glass for Jimin to try.
At this point he’s committed, so Jimin accepts Yoongi’s glass and takes a sip. He lets the wine sit on his tongue for a moment like a true connoisseur, considering.
“This is good,” he says once he’s swallowed. “The rosé is sweeter?”
Yoongi nods. “A little.”
“I’ll have this, then,” Jimin says, lifting the wine in his hand to give it back to Yoongi.
Yoongi waves him off. “I’ll pour myself another glass.”
Dinner is a simple affair but the food is unexpectedly good and the conversation flows easily with halmeoni, Jungkook and Seokjin doing all the heavy-lifting.
Jimin’s surprised at how much he likes the seafood stew, surprised at this unexpected talent of his husband’s to—
—cook a more-than-serviceable meal for the whole table, complete with banchan and delicious wine pairings.
“I didn’t know you could cook,” Jimin says to Jungkook because he’s too embarrassed to say it directly to Yoongi.
Jungkook sends him a facetious grin from across the table. “Pretty good, huh?”
Yoongi grunts beside Jimin as halmeoni and Seokjin snicker, but he lets his brother take the credit all the same.
When they’re done eating, the sun has finally set and Seokjin suggests helping halmeoni out to the frontyard to see the lights on the house. She grumbles a little at being dragged out but her words die on her tongue as Jungkook flips the switch and the house comes to life.
the vibes of this song are just too perfect open.spotify.com/track/186NCtNk…
It’s lovely, Jimin thinks, looking up at the twinkling lights against the backdrop of a velvet blue evening sky, and worth the afternoon of effort to see how halmeoni’s eyes shine with delight.
Face lit by a kaleidoscope of colors, she wraps her small arms around Jungkook and Yoongi and leans her head on her eldest grandson’s shoulder with a content sigh.
A feeling of heartache suddenly creeps into Jimin’s chest, foreign and unbidden and mixed up together with—
—the shy happiness of being here to witness this moment. He meets Seokjin’s gaze, sees his own emotions reflected in Seokjin’s eyes and feels at once like he belongs and like an outsider looking in.
They don’t spend too much time outside because halmeoni is tired and they still have to clean up after dinner.
Yoongi offers to help halmeoni get ready for bed as Seokjin shoos Jimin out of the kitchen to finish up the dishes on his own.
While he waits for his hyungs to reconvene, Jungkook busies himself mixing up an enormous jug of bourbon and ginger beer—an American take on a Moscow mule. Jimin watches him work, goading him into adding too much bourbon and pinching his cheek when he gives in to Jimin’s demands.
It’s not until Jungkook mentions something about the ginger beer being a gift from one of halmeoni’s bridge club friends that Jimin remembers his own gifts for her in his suitcase upstairs.
He rushes up to retrieve them and then makes his way back down to halmeoni’s bedroom.
The door is slightly ajar when Jimin approaches, giving him a peek inside and, against his better judgment he pauses to listen in on their conversation for a moment.
Yoongi sits at the edge of his grandmother’s bed with his back to the door.
By now, halmeoni has changed into a cotton nightgown and her hair is down from its earlier bun, silver waves of thin hair cascading over her narrow shoulders. She looks older like this, more frail. Yoongi gently massages her wrinkled hands as they speak in low voices.
“He’s lovely,” halmeoni is saying. “Softer than he looks in the papers.” Her voice takes on a teasing lilt. “Much too soft for you.”
Yoongi hums noncommittally, neither agreeing nor disagreeing with her.
“I’m glad you’ve settled down, Yoongi-yah. Life is more than just work and money, you know? Take it from someone who has experience—our family doesn’t always know what’s best for us. Sometimes it’s up to us to figure out what’ll make us the happiest.”
At this, Yoongi’s broad shoulders slump a little. He admits quietly, “Jimin and I didn’t choose each other, though.”
Halmeoni pulls one of her hands out of Yoongi’s grasp and reaches up to cup his cheek.
“Maybe not, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work on figuring things out together, and it certainly doesn’t have to mean that you can’t be happy together. Maybe you just work harder in /spite/ of the fact that you didn’t choose each other.”
Jimin feels like a thief listening in on the conversation but this is a side of Yoongi he’s never seen before.
“Be good to each other and the rest will fall into place,” halmeoni says. She pats his cheek and leans back.
Jimin takes this as his cue to rap gently on the door.
Halmeoni’s expression blossoms into a smile at the sight of him, causing Yoongi to turn towards him as well.
“Oh, my sweet byungari, come in, come in!” halmeoni says.
Jimin shuffles into the room and bows at her from the foot of the bed.
“I’m sorry to intrude, halmeoni. I just have some things to give you that my eomeoni sent,” he explains.
Halmeoni’s face lights up even further at the prospect of gifts and she pats the spot on her other side for Jimin to take a seat.
The gifts are fairly generic in-law gifts—expensive ginseng supplements and a couple of cashmere sweaters and socks. When she’s opened up the last of it, halmeoni peers into the biggest gift bag with a frown.
“What is it, halmeoni?” Jimin asks.
He wonders what his mother could have forgotten.
“No chocolate? No rice cakes?” She pouts.
Yoongi snorts. He rises to his feet, gathering up shredded bits of gift wrap as he tells her, “Even if there was any in there, do you think Nurse Kim would actually let you have it?”
Halmeoni tuts, staring at the ginseng supplements as if they’ve personally offended her. To Jimin, she says, “Tell your eomma that her gifts are lovely but I also quite enjoy Choco-Pies, in case she needs ideas for the future.”
Jimin grins at her, squeezing her hand and standing up. “Okay, I’ll let her know.”
He helps Yoongi clean up the rest of the mess and then they both bid halmeoni goodnight before slipping out of her room.
“If you get hammered, I’m not taking care of you.”
Jimin and Yoongi return to the living room to find Seokjin and Jungkook curled up on the couch together, bickering in low voices.
It’s domestic in a way that catches Jimin off-guard, even after their bold displays of affection earlier in the day, and he tries not to let his expression give him up.
“Sure, Jan,” says Seokjin.
He takes a swig from the copper mug clutched in his hand as if to spite Jungkook, who rolls his eyes and tweaks his jawline. Seokjin goes on, “And whose fault would it be, anyway? You’re the one who made this abomination.”
Jimin flops down in an armchair, trying not to pay Yoongi any mind when he strides past to pour himself a drink.
“No offense, hyung-nim, but you look dead on your feet,” Jungkook tells Jimin. He bats away Seokjin’s wandering hands when he tries to steal Jungkook’s drink—
—after finishing his own. “Why don’t you just call it a night? You won’t miss much apart from these two oldies getting drunk, probably.”
Yoongi and Seokjin let out identical protests as a tired grin curls over Jimin’s lips.
He knows Jungkook is right but he’s stalling. Calling it a night means going to sleep and going to sleep involves being in a bed he’ll be sharing with Yoongi and the longer he can put that off the better.
“I’m okay for now,” he assures Jungkook. “Need a drink, though.”
Before he can get back on his feet, Yoongi appears beside him and presents him with his own copper mug cocktail, complete with a sprig of mint. Jimin can’t keep the surprise out of his expression and doesn’t react until Yoongi lifts an expectant, somewhat patronizing eyebrow.
“Uh, thanks,” Jimin says, taking it from him.
With a hum, Yoongi shuffles away and makes himself comfortable on the loveseat with his own drink, which seems to be straight bourbon.
Even in this entirely different place where he should stick out like a sore thumb, he’s the picture of easy confidence.
“So, are we going down to the water?” Yoongi asks Jungkook.
Instead of answering, Jungkook looks to Seokjin, whose head is starting to loll a bit already.
Seokjin shrugs. “If you carry me.”
Had it been anyone else asking, Jimin thinks Jungkook might have scoffed in their face. For Seokjin, however, he’s too soft to do anything but let out a grunt of agreement.
There’s something dreamy about the beach after sunset. With only the moon to light the ground before them, fractals of silver and blue reflect off the water and the pearly grains of sand to create a hazy night world of secrets.
It’s chilly, like Jungkook had told Jimin it would be, made worse by the wind that whips through their hair and numbs their fingers. Still, the sounds of the crashing waves and the feel of the sand between Jimin’s toes is nice, almost nostalgic.
“Jungkook, don’t you dare!” Seokjin shrieks, holding on like a koala as Jungkook runs toward the shoreline.
Jungkook’s laughter echoes through the night air, light and breezy over the crashing waves. He comes to an abrupt stop just before his feet touch the water.
“Sobered you up, didn’t it?” Jungkook says.
Seokjin grumbles a little more but holds on even when Jungkook tries to let him down well out of reach of the water.
“Jimin-ssi, what do you think of our little piece of paradise?” Seokjin asks after they’ve calmed down, craning around to look at Jimin.
“Why don’t you ask him when the wind isn’t trying to freeze his face off,” Yoongi says.
He takes a sip of his bourbon, so calm and unflappable that it makes Jimin wonder if he even has the /ability/ to feel cold.
Ignoring his husband’s snark, Jimin wanders closer to Jungkook and Seokjin, being careful to stay far away from the frigid water. “It’s nice. Peaceful.”
Behind him, there’s the sound of a shutter as Yoongi snaps a photo of, presumably, the moon or the water. He’s brought along a pretty fancy-looking camera that Jimin has never seen him use before. It’s not surprising that there are many things Jimin doesn’t know about his—
—husband but what he’s learning has certainly been unexpected so far.
Seokjin makes a sound of agreement before finally climbing off of Jungkook to stand beside him instead. “We’ll try to catch the sunset tomorrow, the views are gorgeous.”
They walk along the shoreline for a little while and Seokjin tells Jimin more about the area, like how there’s a flea market in the downtown square every weekend and this little bakery on the pier that has the best key lime pie outside of Key West.
As they meander, Jimin helps Seokjin hunt for seashells while Jungkook runs up ahead kicking around a soccer ball he brought along. Predictably, Yoongi punts the ball back to his brother when it reaches him and snaps a few pictures here and there, but doesn’t move much otherwise.
After a few minutes of wandering, they pick a place to stop and Jimin squats down in the sand beside Seokjin. The chill helps with his exhaustion but he can still feel it weighing him down and making his movements sluggish.
Sitting allows him a chance to properly absorb his surroundings, though. The sand seems to stretch on far beyond what Jimin can see in the darkness, beyond the reach of the moon’s glow, and he wonders if there are any places worth exploring nearby.
As if reading his mind, Jungkook points down the beach and tells Jimin, “There are some rocks over that way and a cave where hyung and I used to catch tadpoles when we were younger. We can check that out tomorrow.”
It’s hard to imagine Yoongi as a kid, knee-deep in saltwater chasing tadpoles and climbing rocks. Jimin wonders if he was cute. He probably was.
“Tadpoles?” Jimin says, glancing up at Yoongi who pretends not to have heard him.
Jungkook chuckles at the reaction. He’s juggling the soccer ball on his knees a few feet away. “He loved tadpoles but was terrified of seagulls so he used to run straight from the house all the way down to the cave, screaming bloody murder any time a bird got within a couple—
—of meters of him. Halmeoni probably has some pictures of us from back then. We’ll have to dig them up.”
A giggle bursts out of Jimin at the mental image of a little Yoongi batting away birds half his size as Jungkook, chubby-cheeked and tiny, runs after him.
“Hyung, d’you remember that day we went to the pier with Robert?” Jungkook catches the soccer ball and comes over to sit down beside Seokjin and Jimin. He tells them, “This one time, halmeoni’s husband took us to get ice cream and hyung dropped his orange dreamsicle all over—
—his clothes like, the second we left the ice cream shop. Next thing we knew, an entire flock of seagulls was chasing him across the boardwalk.”
Jimin collapses against Seokjin from the force of his mirth, laughing even harder when he sees the expression on Yoongi’s face.
It’s clear to see that he’s not actually mad and, despite his furrowed brow and the way he scrunches his nose, the ghost of a smile has lifted his lips up at the corners.
“Don’t leave out the part where you—” Yoongi starts when suddenly the shrill ringing of his cell phone cuts him off. He pulls it out of his pocket and checks the caller ID before answering. “Excuse me. Yeah, Namjoon-ah?”
Phone pressed to his ear, he steps away from their little group to speak to his COO.
“To this day, he still won’t go near orange dreamsicles,” Jungkook tells Jimin conspiratorially.
Jimin covers his mouth with his hand as he and Seokjin devolve into another round of giggles.
“And if you ever wonder why he keeps looking behind him when we’re on the beach, now you know.”
They’re still laughing when Yoongi wanders back over a moment later.
“I have to get on a conference call in a few minutes,” he says.
His eyes dart to Jimin for the briefest of seconds, but he looks away so quickly that Jimin feels like he may have imagined it altogether.
Jungkook groans. “Why are you so lame?”
“It’s mid-morning back home,” Yoongi replies, shrugging. “And we’re trying to close on that deal with the Greek apparel company. I’ll probably be up half the night.”
Jimin peers up at Yoongi, considering. Did he say that for Jimin’s benefit?
Or is Jimin just reading too much into a throwaway comment? After all, neither of them have ever really done anything for each other (apart from getting married).
“You’re supposed to be taking it easier while we’re here,” Jungkook protests.
At this, Yoongi lets out a snort. “Yeah? Tell that to the legal team who’ve been working around the clock for the last month to get this done before the new year.”
Jungkook pinches his lips as if he’s sucking on a lemon but doesn’t comment further.
“You know, on that note, I think I’ll head back too, actually,” Jimin announces. He polishes off what’s left of his drink, grimacing at the sheer volume of bourbon that burns his throat on its way down, and then gets up and brushes the sand off his pants as bows. “G’night.”
The walk back to the house is short and quiet but for once, Jimin doesn’t feel awkward around Yoongi. He thinks maybe it’s just the bourbon dulling his senses, or maybe it’s the image of little Yoongi, adorable and frightened of seagulls that won’t leave his mind.
Yoongi follows Jimin upstairs to their room when they get back and heads straight for the desk as Jimin kneels down beside his suitcase to pull out pajamas.
“I don’t have a side of the bed,” Yoongi says randomly, flipping through a file folder. “So, pick whichever.”
Jimin hums. He rises to his feet and pauses before heading into the bathroom. “Goodnight, Yoongi-ssi.”
Yoongi nods at him but doesn’t look up, his face hidden behind his dark fringe.
He’s gone by the time Jimin comes out of the bathroom.
It’s never the same, waking up in a different country. It must be that feeling of wrongness that comes with being halfway across the planet that sticks to your skin just a little more stubbornly in the morning hours, pinching at your brain and reminding you that you are, after—
—all, far away from home.
It’s no different on the first morning Jimin wakes up in halmeoni’s house, although the warmth of the sun spilling over his face, the softness of the blankets, does trick him at first.
Eventually, he blinks his eyes open, squinting at his surroundings in a sleepy haze as his mind catches up. He groans lowly and tries to turn onto his back, only to find himself held in place by the weight of an arm thrown over his waist.
He blinks down at the pale limb with a frown, studying the dark hair along the length of it, the solid but knobby wrist, and then leans back half an inch and runs into a warm body behind him. The hairs on the nape of his neck flutter as a puff of air tickles his skin.
It takes a moment of half-awake confusion for Jimin to remember where he is and /whose/ arm this must be.
He considers his options—either stay put and suffer through the awkwardness of waking up beside Yoongi or attempt an escape.
It’s not exactly a hard decision to make.
He’s just not very graceful, though, and in trying to sneak out from under the blankets, from under Yoongi’s arm, Jimin ends up jostling Yoongi awake instead.
His husband pulls back his arm and for a moment Jimin doesn’t move.
Then, realizing there’s no good way out of this, he sighs and flops back, bracing himself for the awkwardness.
“’Morning,” he says quietly.
Yoongi blinks slowly, deliberately, as if clicking the shutter of a camera, carefully absorbing the situation he’s found himself in.
“Sorry,” he says in the scratchy, sandpapery voice of someone who was up for most of the night. His hand lays limp between them, his normally sharp eyes softer around the edges, his cheeks lined with pillow creases.
Jimin waves him off as if it’s no big deal. “S’fine. Happens.” Yoongi looks dubious, so Jimin clears his throat and asks, “How late did you stay up?”
He’s croaky too but his own voice doesn’t sound nearly as darkly charming and rough as Yoongi’s.
“’Til five,” Yoongi replies. He closes his eyes in a slow blink. “Then, halmeoni and Nurse Kim woke up and made me end my meeting.”
A wisp of a smile flutters over Jimin’s lips. “Did the call go well?”
Yoongi nods. His cheek is smooshed against the pillow and his stubble makes a scratchy sound against the cotton pillowcase. “Well enough.”
In the ensuing silence, Jimin’s eyes trail up to the low popcorned ceiling of the guest room.
Flecks of beige paint are peeling along the edges of the overhead light, betraying the weariness of the house.
Jimin heaves another sigh before sitting up and shaking off the last dregs of sleep clutching to him.
“Go back to sleep,” he tells Yoongi with a sidelong glance.
Yoongi makes a sound of agreement, allowing his eyes to drift closed once again as Jimin slips out of bed and readies himself for the day.
Yoongi sleeps until lunch. Even from downstairs, Jimin hears his phone go off a few times, but when he slips into their room to grab his own work files around mid-morning, Yoongi’s still knocked out.
He finally wanders into the great room, still wearing fleece bottoms and a baggy sleep shirt, just as Jimin and halmeoni are sitting down to eat.
“Oh, my baby,” halmeoni says at the sight of him disheveled and with bags under his eyes.
She makes grabby hands at him so Yoongi squats down beside her, letting her cup his face in her palms. Swiping wrinkled fingers under his eyes she says, “Look at you. You work too hard.”
Yoongi scrunches up his face in embarrassment but allows his grandmother to fret over him.
After a moment of quietly assuaging her concerns, he glances around at the spread of food on the dining table and Jimin gets to his feet.
“Lunch?” he asks Yoongi.
“Yeah,” Yoongi replies with a nod, tacking on a “please,” at the last second.
Jimin is dismal in the kitchen but he knows how to scoop rice out of a cooker, at least. He fills a bowl for Yoongi, starting when he feels his husband come up behind him.
“Namjoon texted saying he sent Jung Hoseok the final R&D consolidation proposal for Daegu. Just needs—
—your approval, now,” he says, accepting the rice when Jimin hands it over.
“Okay. He probably emailed it to me already. I’ll take a look.”
“No shop talk at mealtime,” halmeoni berates them.
“Sorry, halmeoni,” Jimin says ducking his head.
(just wanted to make one small, but critical adjustment to the tags:
a̶r̶r̶a̶n̶g̶e̶d̶ ̶m̶a̶r̶r̶i̶a̶g̶e̶ -> contract marriage
it wasn’t really “arranged,” in the traditional sense, it was more of a business deal, so i think “contract marriage” is more accurate)
They make their way quickly back to the table.
“Where are Jungkookie and Nurse Kim?” Yoongi asks. He takes a seat beside Jimin, immediately reaching for a piece of meat from the plate in the middle.
“They went Christmas shopping,” Jimin tells him.
“Already? It’s still November,” Yoongi says, shaking his head. He looks at Jimin with a quirked brow that disappears under his unruly black fringe. “You didn’t want to go?”
Jimin glances at halmeoni and shoots her a guilty grin as he says, “I had some work to catch up on.”
Halmeoni tuts. “You /both/ work too hard. You’re billionaires, don’t you ever do anything just for fun?”
Fun is relative, Jimin wants to argue, but Yoongi beats him to it.
“Work /is/ fun.” Yoongi grins at halmeoni around a mouthful of pork and something about the way his eyes light up makes Jimin miss his mouth with his chopsticks. “And besides, we need to work to keep all those billions.”
“Don’t you sass me, Min Yoongi,” halmeoni chides, raising her chopsticks at Yoongi in faux disapproval.
“Well, I did learn from the best.”
“Damn right you did,” say halmeoni, nodding sagely. With the air of a proud parent, she places a choice piece of meat on her grandson’s—
—bowl of rice for his cleverness. “Speaking of fun, your anniversary is soon, isn’t it?”
Yoongi freezes, chopsticks laden with rice and meat raised halfway to his mouth. He looks at Jimin with wide eyes as if asking /It is?/. About three seconds pass before halmeoni huffs.
“Don’t tell me you forgot?” she asks.
Jimin thinks, rather, that Yoongi probably doesn’t know it at all. If he’s honest, /he/ doesn’t know the exact date, either, just that it was sometime in December. If he had his phone he could Google it.
Caught, they look helplessly at halmeoni and she frowns.
“Not a romantic bone in your entire body,” she grumbles, swatting Yoongi’s hand when he reaches for more pork.
“We don’t really keep track of dates,” Jimin tries to explain. “Not that we have many to keep track of, but…”
“Then, what do you celebrate?”
Yoongi looks like he’s at a total loss, his sleepy eyes suddenly wide as he glances from Jimin to his grandmother. What is there to be said, really? He can’t very well admit to only seeing Jimin every few weeks, can’t fess up to the fact—
—that they live in different apartments and only speak when necessary. Remembering something as meaningless to them as their wedding anniversary requires a kind of commitment that neither of them has ever bothered to cultivate.
Fortunately, he’s saved from answering the question by the sound of voices in the foyer.
“Okay but then /when/, Jungkook-ah? You’re leaving in a week and Taehyung will be here on Thursday. I’d like you to meet him before you go.”
Yoongi and Jimin spin around to look just as an agitated Seokjin ambles into the great room, Jungkook on his heels.
“I just—a party seems…” Jungkook trails off, scratching the back of his neck bashfully.
“What’s all the hubbub?” halmeoni pipes up.
As if just realizing they’re not alone, Jungkook looks toward the dining table and his eyes grow round. Seokjin is less perturbed by the presence of the Mins, huffing out a sigh as he flings an armful of shopping bags over the back of the couch.
He approaches the kitchen and begins to poke around the cabinets.
“Nana, your grandson brought me home without feeding me. Is there enough food for one more?”
“Min Jungkook!” halmeoni turns sharp eyes on Jungkook who winces. “I raised you better than that.”
“To be fair, I told him we could find a place to eat but he was too mad,” Jungkook explains.
“What did you do?” halmeoni asks. She looks to Seokjin, waving him over to sit down. “There’s plenty to go around, Jin-ah, come sit.”
Instead of joining them at the table as Seokjin does, Jungkook evades his grandmother’s glare by flopping down on the couch with the shopping bags. “I didn’t do anything, halmeoni,” he grumbles.
It’s unlike Jungkook to behave so standoffishly.
Jimin looks from Yoongi to his brother-in-law, wondering whether he should intervene. Uselessly, Yoongi shrugs.
“Doryeon-nim…” Jimin starts. He doesn’t get the chance to eke out any further words as Seokjin rounds on Jungkook himself.
“Is it so wrong for me to want you to meet my brother?” he asks.
Jungkook peers over the back of the couch at him with a frown. “Meeting Taehyung-ssi isn’t the problem and you know it, hyung.”
Seokjin huffs out a sigh, folding his arms across his chest as he pouts.
He looks genuinely upset, which Jimin didn’t think was actually possible so Jungkook must have crossed some kind of line.
“Kookie.” Jimin’s gaze slides toward Yoongi, who’d been the one to speak, surprised at the level of reprimand in his tone.
“Hyung,” Jungkook whines.
Feeling like he’s missed something crucial, Jimin glances between the brothers in confusion. He’s never seen Yoongi get mad.
Jungkook’s shoulders slump after a moment and he explains, “Seokjin hyung wants to throw me a going away party this weekend at his family’s restaurant.”
“Oh, that sounds lovely!” halmeoni says, patting a still-pouting Seokjin’s hand.
“Jungkook doesn’t want it,” Seokjin replies flatly.
“I don’t want you to waste money on me,” Jungkook argues. They can only see the back of his head from the dining table but Jimin can—
—still imagine the deep frown he’s undoubtedly wearing.
“It wouldn’t be a waste,” Seokjin replies stubbornly. He drops his voice, softening his tone as he adds, “And it would make me happy.”
Jungkook peers over the couch and the upset in his expression melts away at the sight of Seokjin looking back at him. After a long moment he heaves a sigh, slowly rising to his feet.
“Okay fine,” he says at last.
Seokjin brightens up instantly. “Okay? I can start planning it?”
“Yes,” Jungkook replies as he shuffles over to the dining table. “You can start planning it.”
Seokjin wastes no time tackling the youngest Min in a hug, peppering kisses against his cheeks as halmeoni claps in delight.
He puts on a brave front but Jimin doesn’t miss the way Jungkook’s cheeks burn bright pink, or the way his gaze fills with warmth at Seokjin’s happiness.
He turns back to his food, only to catch Yoongi’s eyes trained on him.
“What?” Jimin asks. He pauses at the lack of honorifics, wondering if Yoongi will call him out on it.
He doesn’t. Instead, his husband lifts a shoulder in a nonchalant shrug and resumes eating without another word.
After lunch, halmeoni heads into her room to take a nap as Jimin and the others change into beachwear and make their way out onto the sand.
Begging exhaustion, Yoongi skips out on visiting the cave with them that afternoon, much to Jungkook’s disappointment.
But it’s more fun exploring without the shadow of his husband looming over them, Jimin thinks.
He follows Seokjin and Jungkook’s example as they wade into the shallow waters of the cave to catch squirmy tadpoles in their palms.
While they splash around, Jungkook tells them more stories about halmeoni’s husband, Robert, who’d taught him and Yoongi everything from saltwater fly fishing to making necklaces from seashells.
They wile away the afternoon like this, revisiting a childhood that Jimin never had the chance to experience. By the time evening rolls around, he feels sated, as if hearing Jungkook reminisce about his visits to halmeoni as a child are enough to fill the emptiness left—
—behind by Jimin’s own childhood.
Soon enough, the golden tones of twilight fall over them, drawing them out of the cave to sit down on the white sands of the beach once again. The sunset is as magnificent as promised.
Like a great big celestial tangerine, the setting sun splashes crimson streaks of light across the sky that slowly deepen into mauves and purples before ultimately snuffing out into a velvety midnight blue that blankets the earth.
Warm contentment envelops Jimin as he stares up at the stars. They don’t see stars like this in Seoul, where the pureness of the sky is polluted by artificial lights. He hasn’t seen stars like this since he visited Busan, too many years ago.
Before long, and without his permission, the contentment makes way for an aching sensation that wedges itself into Jimin’s heart. It makes him wish for something he doesn’t understand.
The ache only deepens when he turns to Jungkook and Seokjin beside him.
They’re murmuring between themselves, loud enough to hear each other over the crashing waves but too low for Jimin to catch their words.
“Doryeon-nim, I’m gonna head in,” Jimin finds himself saying after a moment.
He rises to his feet and brushes off the backs of his legs as Jungkook peers up at him.
“Oh, okay. We’ll be in soon,” he promises.
Jimin waves at them before turning away from the water to trudge back up to the house.
His chest continues to ache with phantom hurt even as he enters the great room and finds Yoongi making dinner alone at the kitchen counter. His husband glances over his shoulder at him when he hears the door open but doesn’t say anything to Jimin.
Instead of joining him, Jimin slips out of the room, running light-footed up the stairs.
He can’t seem to shake the weirdness even as he showers and readies for sleep that night. He’d gone through dinner on autopilot, barely participating in conversation under the pretense of still being jet lagged.
He’s so distracted that he forgets all about having to share his room with Yoongi until he’s tucked under the covers in bed. There’s no business call Yoongi needs to get on tonight but when Jimin retreats upstairs again after dinner, he stays behind to have a drink with Jungkook.
Maybe it’s just another way to give Jimin time to fall asleep without him.
Only, Jimin can’t sleep.
He tosses and turns in bed, his mind too filled up with errant thoughts, his body still unable to shake the feeling that’s plagued him since the afternoon.
When Yoongi finally slips into the room a couple of hours later, Jimin’s still awake.
Yoongi doesn’t turn on the lights but his silhouette is outlined in blue moonlight as he changes into his night clothes.
Jimin guiltily presses his eyes closed, feeling like a voyeur for watching his husband under the cover of darkness.
After a moment more of shuffling sounds around the room, the bathroom door opens, and Jimin hears the faucet run as Yoongi brushes his teeth.
If the whole situation weren’t so awkward, Jimin would think he was dreaming.
He’s had partners before but never anything so domestic as this—sharing space and families, visiting faraway places together. It feels more intimate, somehow. Which is funny, because Yoongi has barely touched him in all the time they’ve known each other.
When the other side of the bed finally dips under Yoongi’s weight, Jimin inadvertently lets out a sigh.
“Can’t sleep?” Yoongi says in a low voice.
Jimin hums. He turns on his side to face Yoongi, who has tucked himself under the blanket by now. He’s barely visible in the darkness but the paleness of his delicate features is illuminated by a sliver of moonlight that cuts through the room.
“Should have had a drink,” Jimin mumbles, looking past Yoongi to the fluttering curtains of the window on the far wall.
There’s a rhythm to the waves crashing against the shoreline that matches his every other breath.
Yoongi doesn’t say anything in reply and the silence stretches for a long, long while and it makes Jimin wonder why they never have anything to talk about.
Nothing to say, not even for the sake of just saying /something/.
He sighs again.
“I didn’t know frogs could survive in saltwater,” Jimin mutters eventually. He blinks slow, not able to find a place to focus his gaze and feeling the heaviness of just-out-of-reach sleep teasing him.
Half-asleep already himself, Yoongi snorts. “Most species can’t.”
“The tadpoles are so quick, though.”
Yoongi murmurs something that sounds like an agreement. They fall silent again but it feels less awkward now. From this close, Jimin can smell the whiskey on Yoongi’s breath, mixed up like a strange cocktail with minty toothpaste.
“How many did you catch?” Yoongi asks.
“None,” Jimin admits.
“Pathetic.” There’s no bite to the word. It comes out of Yoongi’s mouth all soft around the edges and a little sweet, teasing.
Jimin sucks in a breath of air, pretending to be indignant. “Hey, I tried. But like I said they were quick. And slippery.”
“The trick is to let them come to you. Don’t chase them,” says Yoongi. He turns on his back, dragging the blankets with him and making Jimin shiver.
“Hey, share,” Jimin whines.
Yoongi, as usual, doesn’t call him out for his disrespectful tone. Instead he pushes the bedcovers back over with a huff.
“It’s like a thousand degrees,” he mutters. The words slur a bit, a hazy blend of sleepiness and liquor seeping into his voice.
“I’m cold.” Jimin curls up under the covers, tucking them securely beneath his chin. He amends, “I’m always cold.”
The silence that follows this exchange stretches for so long that Jimin thinks Yoongi must have fallen asleep.
But then, his husband heaves a sigh and flops back over again. His eyes are barely visible in the drops of moonlight that leak into the room. He blinks slow and deliberate as if the small action takes all his concentration and says, “If you want to skip the trouble of—
—catching your own tadpoles, there’s always the gardens.”
Jimin wonders if the whiskey has anything to do with why Yoongi’s so talkative tonight.
He can see the dark shape of Yoongi’s head bob up and down in a nod. “Botanical gardens. They’re a bit of a drive into town but they’re nice,” Yoongi says.
Jimin has never seen a botanical garden. Not a real one, at least.
Though to be fair, greenery in general is hard to come by when he spends most of his time in a concrete palace.
“I’d like to see them,” he admits. He wonders for a moment if Yoongi, in his strange mood tonight, will offer to take him.
Naturally, though, his reply lands way off the mark.
“I’m sure Sejin-ssi would drive you if you asked,” Jimin’s husband says.
Jimin can’t hold back the bubble of laughter that escapes him at the suggestion. He’s not sure why he’s even surprised.
Yoongi shifts, leaning a bit closer as if trying to see the expression on Jimin’s face. “What’s so funny?”
“Nothing,” answers Jimin. He scuttles backward and clears his throat to dispel his giggles, but the absurdity of the situation makes him feel unhinged.
“I have an early morning meeting with Namjoon and some of the Seoul managers,” he says, yawning midway through the explanation. “Should sleep.”
“Sleep, then,” Jimin says with a snort. “Sorry for keeping you up.”
“Goodnight, Yoongi-ssi,” he whispers.
Without thinking, Jimin reaches out to pat Yoongi on the shoulder and feels his husband stiffen momentarily under his touch. He relaxes quickly but Jimin pulls away before he can make either of them uncomfortable.
Only as he finally sinks into the embrace of sleep does Jimin realize that, despite his husband pawning him off to halmeoni’s chauffeur, the longing he’d felt all day has morphed into something else entirely.
When he wakes up the next morning, this time it’s Jimin who has his arm curled around Yoongi’s midsection, his head sharing a pillow with his husband.
He blinks through the weak sunlight filtering into the room and for a moment he lays still, just breathing.
Is this what it feels like to have someone beside you every morning?
Jimin loses himself in the thought for so long that eventually, Yoongi begins to stir.
As he tries to pull away, to pretend he hasn’t been invading his husband’s space, Yoongi curls a hand around Jimin’s arm to hold him in place. He scrunches his eyes and then blinks them open against the sun.
The first thing he sees is Jimin’s face, only inches away, wide-eyed.
Yoongi blinks. “’Morning.”
Jimin turns his face into the pillow, unable to hide his mortification. “Hi.”
He tries to pull away again and this time Yoongi lets him go.
“We gotta stop meeting like this,” Yoongi mumbles in his scratchy morning voice.
With his face still buried in Yoongi’s pillow, Jimin snorts. “Did you just try to make a joke?”
“I can be funny,” Yoongi says slightly defensively.
/That’s news to me,/ Jimin thinks.
Out loud, he turns back to Yoongi and clears his throat before asking, “What time is your meeting?”
Yoongi reaches over to the nightstand beside him to check his phone for the time and sighs. “It was supposed to start half-an-hour ago.”
“Didn’t you set an alarm?”
Yoongi side-eyes Jimin as if to say “clearly not,” and Jimin grins abashedly back at him.
With another sigh, Yoongi drags himself out of bed and heads for the bathroom. For a long while, Jimin stares at the empty space he leaves behind.
Jimin’s third day in the country passes without fanfare. He spends most of it with halmeoni, Jungkook, and Seokjin again, trying not to think of all the work he’s neglecting as he walks on the beach and “helps” Seokjin with lunch.
Yoongi, diligent as ever, hides in their room for the first half of the day under the guise of back-to-back meetings.
That evening, Sejin himself drops by to have dinner with them, formally introducing himself to Jimin for the first time since picking him up at the airport.
Jimin finds him to be a quiet, kind and agreeable man that halmeoni, unsurprisingly, has wrapped around her finger. He does the grocery shopping and runs errands for the household, along with spoiling halmeoni by secretly buying her sweets behind Seokjin’s back.
Dinner is even more enjoyable with him around. Jimin loses himself in laughter over Seokjin and halmeoni’s bickering, and another person at the table makes it easier for him to blend into the group, to pretend he belongs as much as they all do.
That night, after a nightcap on the back porch, it’s Jimin who ends up staying awake for a conference call with his management team back home. By the time he slinks up to bed at nearly three in the morning, Yoongi is fast asleep.
He’s being spooned from behind again.
That’s the first thought Jimin has when he wakes up on his fourth morning in America.
It doesn’t feel wrong.
Cocooned in Yoongi’s warmth, he closes his eyes against the sunlight and allows sleep to drag him back into his dreams.
When Jimin wakes up much later, he’s alone. The sun has risen high in the sky by now, casting its warmth across the floorboards of his and Yoongi’s room and painting everything in the bright yellows of daylight.
Jimin turns on his back to look up at the worn ceiling.
It’s Friday. The day of Jungkook’s farewell party.
He wonders how things will change around the house without the buffer of his brother-in-law to distract halmeoni from Yoongi and Jimin’s awkwardness.
No doubt the rest of their trip will be much more boring without Jungkook.
He drags himself out of bed after contemplating life for a while and makes his way downstairs once he’s halfway presentable. It’s not making the best impression as the son-in-law of the house to be waking up after everyone else but Jimin has a feeling halmeoni won’t really mind.
When he gets downstairs, the great room is empty. A quick glance outside shows Yoongi and his halmeoni seated on the back patio, empty breakfast bowls and banchan plates scattered around the table between them.
The doors leading outside are open, letting in the salty breeze and sunlight of the Gulf of Mexico, but they’re speaking too quietly for Jimin to hear what they’re saying. It’s just as well; he shouldn’t eavesdrop on family conversations, anyway.
Before going out to join them, Jimin makes his way to the coffee machine in the kitchen. It’s one of those fancy espresso machines that can make a dozen different kinds of coffee if you know how to use it properly. Jimin, who always has coffee prepared for him by assistants—
—and housekeepers or, the past three days, Kim Seokjin, does not.
He fiddles with it for a few minutes but when he can’t make it do much more than hiss at him, he pouts, shoulders slumping, and resigns himself to his fate. Curse his caffeine dependency.
His feet are leaden as he shuffles toward the back doors, feeling more than a little silly to be defeated by the likes of a tar water—Hoseok’s eloquent name for coffee—brewing machine.
Quietly as he can, Jimin peeks out at his husband from the threshold.
Only Yoongi’s profile is visible from this angle—he’s smiling at something halmeoni said, eyes bright and crinkled at the edges. He looks so much more relaxed like this than he ever has back at home.
Jimin bites his lip, reluctant to interrupt, and takes a hesitant half-step onto the porch. Before he can turn back into the house, his presence catches halmeoni’s eye, and she taps Yoongi to get his attention.
“I think your better half needs you,” she tells him, smiling.
Yoongi turns to the open doorway, where an as-yet pouting Jimin stands shuffling his feet like a petulant child.
“Good morning,” he offers, bowing at the Mins.
“Good morning, my sweet byungari,” says halmeoni. “I hope you got a good rest after working half the night away.”
Jimin nods at her. “I did, thank you.”
“You know, back in my day, we had better things to do in the middle of the night than talk to our work colleagues halfway around the world,” halmeoni grumbles, causing Jimin’s eyes to widen.
He coughs and looks down at the sandy wooden floorboards of the patio as heat floods his cheeks.
“What’s wrong?” Yoongi asks. His voice is quiet and gravelly but there’s patience in his tone.
Halmeoni tuts at him. “Aish, at least say ‘good morning,’ first.”
Instead of heeding her advice, Yoongi simply lifts an expectant brow, waiting for Jimin to explain what he needs.
Jimin rolls the hem of his sleep shirt between his fingers. “Can you help me with the coffeemaker?”
Yoongi’s lips quirk at the corners, so subtly and quickly that Jimin thinks he might have imagined it. Even so, his husband rises to his feet, gesturing into the house, and follows after Jimin without a word.
“Make me a cup, too!” halmeoni requests. “With a shot of espresso.”
“And suffer Nurse Kim’s wrath? No thanks,” Yoongi retorts, one foot in doorway. “You can have decaf.”
“Killjoy,” huffs halmeoni. “At least put some cream in it, then.”
“If I feel benevolent.”
Halmeoni’s expression turns sour. “I’m writing you out of my will.”
When they’re inside, Yoongi trails Jimin back to the kitchen in silence but stops short at the sight of the massacre on the counter. There are wet and dry coffee grounds all over, an overturned portafilter laying sadly off to the side.
“Don’t make fun of me,” Jimin mumbles, rushing over to clean up some of the spillage. “I think I made it mad.”
“Clearly,” says Yoongi with a wisp of amusement in his voice.
Jimin pouts but moves aside easily when Yoongi steps up to do damage control. In no time at all, he fixes the sputtering machine and whips up a cafe quality cappuccino that he silently presents to Jimin.
Jimin blinks at the proffered mug. “How did you do that?”
Yoongi shrugs, setting the coffee on the counter when Jimin doesn’t immediately take it, and then turns back to the machine to make another cup for his halmeoni. If he adds a healthy teaspoon each of cream and sugar at the end, Jimin pretends not to notice.
“Are you coming to dinner tonight?” Jimin asks. He takes an experimental sip of his coffee, relishing the smooth creaminess of it. It’s even better than what Seokjin has been making him the last few days.
“Don’t think Jungkook would forgive me if I skipped out,” says Yoongi.
He starts working on a third cup of coffee, presumably for himself.
Probably true, Jimin thinks. The brothers are never openly affectionate with each other but no doubt Jungkook would be disappointed if his hyung didn’t make it to his going away party.
Not to mention, he’d probably appreciate some backup while meeting his boyfriend’s family for the first time.
Jimin watches Yoongi fiddle with the tamper, wondering what he thinks of the fact that Jungkook is dating Seokjin.
Does his opinion align more with Jimin’s or with his and Jungkook’s parents? Something tells Jimin the answer might surprise him.
He wants to ask, suddenly, to know for sure.
The words are on the tip of his tongue, almost bubbling out of him, but Yoongi cuts him off before he can voice them.
“Think you can handle cleaning up without blowing up the coffee machine?”
Jimin blinks. When Yoongi lifts an expectant brow, the corners of his lips curled up just the slightest, he finally manages a nod. “Y-Yeah.”
He stares after his husband as Yoongi makes his way back out to the porch with a coffee in each hand.
Halmeoni’s pleased exclamation carries over the sound of the ocean and Jimin finally heaves a sigh and turns back to the counter.
The day drags by slowly after breakfast. Jungkook, too nervous about dinner, hides in his room for most of the afternoon and Seokjin, too, is mysteriously absent from the house.
This leaves Jimin to help Yoongi with halmeoni’s lunch and medication for the day.
Yoongi learns quickly that his husband is not just abysmal with the coffeemaker but has no kitchen skills whatsoever, and shoos him off before Jimin can cause too much damage.
As a result, Jimin finds himself keeping halmeoni company as they wait for Yoongi to finish the food.
“How are you liking our little town so far?” halmeoni asks as Jimin pours them each a glass of water.
The sounds of frying kimchi pancakes and Yoongi puttering around chopping vegetables and stirring stews makes the house feel lively even in the absence of Jungkook and Seokjin.
“It’s nice,” Jimin admits. “I never get to spend time by the seaside when I come to America on business. It’s so different from back home.”
Halmeoni smiles at him and reaches out to take one of his hands.
“It grows on you, this place,” she tells him. Her grin turns nostalgic. “My Robert used to call it our little slice of paradise.”
It does feel a little like paradise, Jimin thinks, as his gaze catches on the sunlight pouring into the great room.
The town itself is nothing terribly impressive—not when Jimin has spent time in all the most beautiful cities in the world—but there’s a kind of charm that can’t be outdone by the glitz and glamor of bigger places.
“Spend enough time here and you won’t want to leave,” halmeoni goes on wistfully.
Her expression causes a bloom of guilt to form in Jimin’s chest as he recalls Jungkook’s words from his first day here.
/Our abeoji wants us to convince her to come back to Korea.../
Jimin’s eyes flicker to Yoongi in the kitchen. From here, all that he can see of the man are his broad shoulders, pink elbows, a mop of unkempt black hair. Again, he can’t help but wonder what his husband’s opinion might be on the matter of his father’s request.
“I know how you feel,” halmeoni says after a moment.
Jimin looks back at her in confusion, only to find her eyes trained on her grandson as well.
“It’s not easy, being thrust into a marriage you didn’t choose for yourself.” She squeezes Jimin’s hand and offers a small smile. “But if you give it a chance, it might turn into something lovely.”
Jimin’s cheeks grow warm. He directs his gaze to the table between them, unsure how to respond.
“He’s quiet but he’s a good man,” halmeoni says. “Might not be the best at expressing his feelings, but pay enough attention and you’ll understand what he’s trying to say.”
Jimin peeks up at her through his lashes, feeling suddenly shy, and finds that halmeoni’s expression is kind and free of judgment.
“I know you haven’t had much of a chance to get to know each other, so use this time, this place, to do that. You’ll be better for it in the end.”
Before Jimin can stutter out a reply, the man in question shuffles over to the table with an armful of hot jjigae.
“Can you get the rice?” Yoongi asks Jimin.
Jimin nods and jumps to his feet, grateful for the chance to escape halmeoni’s discerning gaze.
Jimin doesn’t see much of Yoongi after lunch. He’s not sure where he disappears to, but it gives Jimin time to agonize over his outfit for the party in private.
His choices are limited since he hasn’t had a chance to go shopping yet, so he scrounges together what he can from—
—what he has in his closet. All in all, it’s not a bad look—a printed t-shirt under an open navy button-down paired with linen pants and sandals. Jimin frets with his hair for a while before ultimately giving up on it and heading downstairs.
He’d assumed he was early but finds that Sejin has already arrived and that Jungkook and Yoongi have been waiting for /him/.
“Ready to go, sajangnim?” Sejin asks him just as the Min brothers round the corner from the great room.
Jimin’s words die in his throat at the sight of Yoongi.
His hair is still fluffy and unkempt but now he’s dressed in light-wash jeans torn at the knees and a tight-fitting white tee under an unbuttoned linen shirt.
His accessories are sparse, devoid of any of his usual expensive, modern watches or chains. All that he has on today are a pair of simple gold hoops and a long necklace with a colorful wooden pendant hanging from it.
He looks so unlike the Min Yoongi Jimin has grown accustomed to that it momentarily takes Jimin’s breath away.
He’s staring. He knows he is, but he can’t stop.
Yoongi meets his eye unabashedly and quirks a brow at Jimin’s obvious ogling.
Jimin turns at the sound of Sejin calling his name. “Uh—yes? Sorry.”
Jungkook, who Jimin had barely noticed standing beside Yoongi, snorts.
Sejin grins at him. “Are you ready to head out?”
Jimin gives him a sheepish nod before following them all outside.
the fits, the fits~
Turns out, the Kims run a Korean pizza joint. It’s the first of its kind in the small seaside town, probably the only place that doesn’t serve burgers or seafood. It’s strategically located at the end of the pier on the beach, next door to an arcade on one side and a souvenir—
—shop on the other.
Seokjin seems pretty proud of the place for someone who chose to go into nursing instead of the family business but Jimin is in no position to judge. He meets them at the door when they arrive and ushers the Mins into the retro diner-themed establishment.
The place is relatively empty for prime time on a Friday night, with a few families littering booths and tables in different sections around the main room. Seokjin leads them through into a second similar room where only the last booth is occupied.
“Just a head’s up—Tae’s kind of cranky because his flight didn’t get in until early this morning so he didn’t sleep much last night,” he’s explaining to Jungkook as they walk.
“Hyunggg,” Jungkook whines.
“Don’t /worry/, he’s going to love you,” Seokjin continues, ignoring Jungkook’s panicked expression. “Plus, I kept it small, just like you wanted. Only invited a couple of our friends.”
They’ve almost reached the far end of the room when suddenly, Yoongi stops short, only a few meters away from the booth occupied by Seokjin’s brother and friends. Jimin glances at him, confused, but his husband’s eyes are trained on the taller of two women seated beside Taehyung.
The woman has short brown hair pulled back into a little ponytail and delicate, pretty features.
Her eyes light up with recognition and she lets out a startled, “/Yoongi/ oppa?” just as Yoongi says, “Jeongyeonie?”
On Jimin’s other side, Jungkook forgets his nerves for a moment, just as surprised as Yoongi and the woman. “Jeongyeon noona! What are you doing here?”
“Oh my gosh, Jungkookie!” Jeongyeon exclaims, rising to her feet.
She pushes Seokjin’s brother out of the booth so that she can rush forward to give Jungkook a proper hug.
Seokjin looks between his three startled guests in bewilderment. “Do you all know each other?”
“You could say that,” Jungkook snorts. “Jeongyeon noona is hyung’s ex-girlfriend from high school.”
Yoongi reaches out with a foot to swipe at him. “Yah.”
Jungkook looks over his shoulder with a pout. “It’s true,” he says. Then, as if in slow motion, his gaze slides to Jimin and he cringes. “Oh. Oops.”
Jimin waves him off. He doesn’t care, really. It’s not his business, is it?
“That was, what, 12 years ago. Does it even count?” Jeongyeon says.
“Talk about a small world,” Seokjin mumbles.
“It barely counts,” Jungkook agrees. He looks at Seokjin. “This town has like 10 people in it. We were bound to run into each other again.”
Taehyung and the other woman who’ve been hanging back until now take the awkward silence following this exchange to approach the group at last.
“Hello,” says Taehyung, stopping beside Seokjin.
He’s as handsome as his brother—tall and broad and beautiful with a baritone voice that sounds like hot chocolate.
His sudden approach seems to flip a switch in Jungkook, who remembers he’s supposed to be nervous and bends into a 90-degree bow.
“H-Hello, Taehyung-ssi,” he stutters. “I’m Min Jungkook.”
Taehyung’s lips curl up into a half-smile and he exchanges a glance with his hyung. Seokjin shrugs helplessly.
“Nice to meet you, Jungkook-ssi.” Taehyung bends into his own bow and Jungkook bows again in response.
Seokjin clears his throat. “Uh, right. Taehyung, this is Jungkook and his hyung, Min Yoongi, and Yoongi-ssi’s husband Min Jimin.”
Jimin ignores the spark of interest this introduction earns from Jeongyeon, bowing at Taehyung who bows back.
“And this is my brother, Kim Taehyung, and our friends Im Nayeon and you apparently know Jeongyeonie already.”
Nayeon, who is equally as pretty as Jeongyeon, waves at them with a brilliant smile as Jimin and Yoongi wave back.
Jungkook seems too flustered to do anything but keep bowing over and over. Jimin would laugh if he didn’t feel so bad for his brother-in-law. Meeting your boyfriend’s family is a unique form of torture.
With the introductions out of the way, they all make their way back to the booth commandeered by Taehyung. It’s a tight squeeze with the seven of them and Jimin finds himself on the end of one side pressed up next to Yoongi, across from Jeongyeon.
“Our abeoji’s in the kitchen tonight,” Seokjin explains, settling in between Jungkook and Yoongi. “The specials are listed on the front of the menu. Order anything you want.”
“Your abeoji’s here?” Jungkook squeaks.
He looks at Seokjin and then at his brother and Jimin, as if suddenly realizing he has no way of escape apart from climbing over them all to get out of the booth.
Seokjin pats him on the knee. “Relax, you big baby. He’s not going to eat you.”
“He might,” Jungkook mutters.
He doesn’t look the least bit assuaged. If anything, his complexion turns a little more green than it was.
“So, Jungkook-ssi,” Taehyung starts casually, settling his chin into his open palm, “I hear you’re like, stupid rich. Why’re you dating my poor, working-class brother?”
Jimin can’t help but be impressed by his straightforwardness.
“Taehyung-ah!” Seokjin hisses as Jungkook wilts beside him.
Taehyung ignores his brother, hawk eyes trained on the youngest Min. “Is it some kind of forbidden romance kink you have or something?”
Nayeon stifles a giggle behind her hands as Jeongyeon looks on in amusement. Jimin glances between Jungkook’s horrified expression to Taehyung, who looks the picture of peace.
“What?” Taehyung says. He blinks innocently at his hyung. “You brought this on yourself by setting up this whole dinner, hyung.”
“I /told/ you to behave.”
As the brothers exchange glares, Jungkook seems to work up enough courage to give Taehyung an answer.
“I don’t really have much money,” Jungkook says, swallowing his nerves. He thumbs at Yoongi over Seokjin’s head. “He’s the one who works for our dad. If we ever got married, Seokjin hyung would have to be the breadwinner because I’m kind of useless, to be honest. Total moocher.”
“Koo, you’re not a—”
Taehyung blinks at him. “Is that supposed to make me feel better?” he asks Jungkook.
“No,” Jungkook says, shaking his head, “but I don’t think anything I could say /would/ make you feel better about me dating your hyung, so I figure—
—honesty is the best way to go.” He reaches over to take Seokjin’s hand and laces their fingers together. His voice barely wavers. “I don’t know how the family thing will play out but I really like Seokjin hyung and I wouldn’t let anyone hurt him. Beyond that… I think—
—you’ll just have to trust me and trust your hyung to have made the right decision for himself.”
Seokjin melts against Jungkook’s shoulder, ears turning pink in a sure sign of embarrassment. Across from them, Taehyung looks like he’s at a loss for words.
“TaeTae, I like him,” Nayeon chimes in.
Jeongyeon nods in agreement, offering Jungkook a thumbs-up.
After a moment, Taehyung deflates, all the bravado leaving him as he pouts. “I hate that you handled that so well,” he tells Jungkook before reaching out to poke his shoulder.
“And just for the record, I /do/ trust my brother. I was just testing you.”
A faint smile curls over Jungkook’s lips as he lets out a big breath of relief. Jimin smiles too, and he spies the ghost of a grin on his husband’s lips as well.
“Now, if we’re done grilling my boyfriend—” Seokjin says, throwing a threatening glare around the table for good measure, “—let’s get some drinks, huh? God knows I need one.”
They order a round of beers and wine as Taehyung, having abandoned his intimidating brother act, leans forward to have a proper chat with Jungkook. Jimin knows from Seokjin that he’s working toward a PhD in music theory, which means he and Jungkook will have plenty to talk about.
Jimin busies himself by looking at the plastic menu in front of him, mostly ignoring the girls as they make idle conversation with his husband. The restaurant has finally begun to fill up around them so it gets harder to hear much of anything.
“Do you want to share a pizza?”
Jimin doesn’t realize Yoongi’s talking to him until he gently bumps his shoulder.
His head jerks up. “Huh?”
He finds Yoongi staring at him with his brows raised as he points at a spot on the menu. “Wanna share something?” he asks again.
“Oh! Me?” If it didn’t make him look like even more of a psycho Jimin would smack himself in the face. Who /else/ would Yoongi be talking to? He ignores the flush he feels rising in his cheeks and nods. “Uh, sure.”
As they peer over the menu together, he senses Jeongyeon’s eyes on him, curious and amused, but he tries his best to ignore it. It’s not condescending, per se, and yet it makes Jimin’s skin itch like he’s being scrutinized.
“So, how did you guys meet?” Nayeon asks after the table has placed their orders for food.
There’s no fairytale story for them to tell. After all, their marriage was the product of a board meeting. Jimin isn’t embarrassed by it because it’s not exactly—
—/private/ information, but he’s not sure how Yoongi’s old friend will take it.
“Our parents are business acquaintances,” Yoongi says vaguely. “Their boards thought we’d be a good match.”
Nayeon’s eyes widen. “Ah, really? Rich people really do live differently, I guess.”
“Didn’t take you for the type to agree to a board-sanctioned marriage, oppa,” Jeongyeon muses, taking a sip of her wine. Her tone isn’t accusatory, just surprised. “You were always so headstrong when we were kids.”
At this, Yoongi offers a shrug. “We all grow up eventually.”
Jeongyeon studies him for a moment. “Yeah, guess we do,” she says eventually. Her attention turns to Jimin, then, and she adds, “And some of us are lucky enough to land super cute chaebol husbands.”
Jimin can feel his cheeks and neck grow warm under her gaze.
He wonders how much of what she says is genuine and how much of it is just teasing to get a reaction out of Yoongi.
Yoongi snorts. “Don’t let his cuteness fool you. He runs a multi-trillion won company.”
“Well, it’s not like I would cross him in a boardroom,” Jeongyeon replies with a shrug. “But I bet you look cool working your businessman charms, don’t you, Jimin-ssi?”
Then again, maybe it’s not /Yoongi/ she’s trying to get a reaction from.
Before Jimin can respond to her, Yoongi cuts in once again.
“Yah, yah,” he grumbles. “Stop hitting on my husband.”
“Hey, I’m happily ball-and-chained myself,” Jeongyeon says, showing off her wedding ring. “But I’m not /blind/, oppa. Plus, unnie doesn’t mind. Do you, unnie?”
His brain still very much stuck on what Yoongi said, Jimin almost misses Nayeon’s next words.
“Look, don’t touch,” Nayeon pipes up, nodding. “Have at it, baby.”
“Unless my teasing makes Jimin-ssi uncomfortable?” Jeongyeon asks. She blinks owlishly at Jimin, her pretty lashes fluttering over rosy cheeks.
He shakes his head, feeling bubbly inside. “It’s okay. I don’t mind.”
Jeongyeon sticks her tongue out at Yoongi who sighs.
“Aren’t you supposed to be on my side?” he asks Jimin.
With a shrug, Jimin replies, “I don’t think there was anything in the wedding contract about that.”
Yoongi’s lips turn up into a pout that makes Jimin grin.
Before his husband can retort, however, the waiter brings them their pizzas and sides and the conversation immediately falls by the wayside as they dig into their food.
At some point during their third round of drinks and second round of pizzas, Seokjin and Taehyung’s abeoji comes out to say hello. Jungkook, bless his heart, reverts back into a stuttering mess, barely able to eke out a proper greeting.
But he’s naturally sweet and no one is immune to his doe eyes and once his nerves have subsided, he manages to charm the socks off Mr. Kim just as he’d done with Taehyung.
“I told you he would love you,” Seokjin says once his father has retreated back to the kitchen.
With cheeks and ears burning bright red, Jungkook ducks his head and presses his face against Seokjin’s shoulder in a rare show of affection. The girls coo at him from across the table as Seokjin cards a hand through his hair. Even Taehyung looks endeared.
It’s interesting to witness Jungkook like /this/ when all that Jimin has seen of his brother-in-law until now has been at fancy cocktail parties and charity events and what he’s like when he behaves as “The Younger Min.”
Despite his reservations and the initial hiccups, Jungkook seems to fit right into the dynamics of Seokjin’s little friend group and family, as if he’s known them all along instead of having just met them an hour ago.
It’s odd, but Jimin feels jealous of Jungkook for this. Almost an entire year has gone by since Jimin became a part of the Min family and yet he still feels like he sticks out like a sore thumb, like he’s a square peg trying to fit into a round hole.
In reality, he’s no more family than he was before he and Yoongi ever got married, and even here, halfway around the world where they’re just “Jimin and Yoongi” instead of “The Min Husbands,” he feels like he’s intruding.
It’s not that Yoongi has ever been cruel to him, or cold, or made him feel as if he shouldn’t be here; it’s just that they don’t quite /fit/ just yet. Not the way Jungkook fits Seokjin or even, from what Jimin has seen tonight, the way Jeongyeon fits Nayeon.
The realization makes Jimin sad in a way he doesn’t understand, makes that ache of longing bloom in his chest again. He tries to focus on the conversations around him and to be an active participant for Jungkook, but finds himself eating rather mindlessly for the rest of dinner.
By the time everyone has had their fill of food, the restaurant is packed to the brim. It’s hard to hear each other over the din but Jimin makes out Seokjin asking if they should head out and find somewhere else to hang out unless anyone is too tired.
The girls complain at the thought of ending the night at—Nayeon gasps in horror—nine-thirty, and Jungkook looks too excited at the prospect of more quality time together for either Yoongi or Jimin to duck out without disappointing him.
So, they spill back out onto the pier and walk around for a little while in search of a place to go. It’s a clear evening, with the beach breeze carding through their hair and cooling their cheeks, relatively pleasant for December in the southern US.
After a bit of wandering, they end up at a place on the beach called—entirely fittingly—The Tipsy Mermaid, which is a makeshift open air bar-slash-club. It’s apparently quite popular and may very well be the only place of its kind in town, evidenced by the number of people—
—they have to fight through to get inside. The bar itself leads directly out to the dark sand of the beach, and is made up of a small dancefloor right at the center and a packed bar to either side.
“The first round’s on me!” Seokjin yells over the music once they’ve gotten bright pink wristbands to show they’re all old enough to have alcohol. He takes Jungkook by the hand and instructs Taehyung to find a table before turning toward the less crowded of the two bars.
Taehyung shouts back an affirmative and the two groups split in opposite directions.
The place is a mess and it’s been a long time since Jimin went out, which causes a bubble of anxiety to form in his stomach.
Unwilling to lose his way amid the crush of bodies surrounding them, he wraps his hand around Yoongi’s wrist in a loose grip. His husband barely spares him a glance over his shoulder before he’s immediately sliding his arm out of Jimin’s hold.
The sting of rejection is sharp, sharper than Jimin would expect it to be, and just as he’s about to explain indignantly that he’d only done it as a form of self-preservation, Yoongi reaches back toward him to twine their fingers together instead.
This is the first time they’ve ever held hands, he thinks absently, staring at where their palms are pressed together. Yoongi’s hand is much bigger than Jimin’s, and warm, so warm.
It shouldn’t feel so monumental, it shouldn’t. And yet it does.
They find a table eventually, one off to the side of the dancefloor, and before long Seokjin and Jungkook have tracked them down, carrying enough shots for an entire army.
Jungkook shoves one of them into Jimin’s hand and another at his hyung, causing Yoongi to let go of Jimin to make sure he doesn’t spill any of it on himself.
Jimin curls his empty palm into the hem of his own shirt.
It takes a bit of shuffling around but once everyone has a shot glass in hand, Seokjin raises up his own small glass and proclaims, “To Jungkookie!”
“To Jungkookie!” everyone echoes.
But before they can knock back their drinks, Jungkook grabs Seokjin’s arm. “Wait!”
“What? What’s wrong?” Seokjin replies, bewildered.
Jungkook shakes his head even as his expression grows serious. “Nothing. I just—I have something to tell you!”
Seokjin lowers his glass and everyone standing around the table follows suit.
The girls and Taehyung don’t bother trying to be subtle as they lean in to hear the conversation better.
“What is it?” Seokjin asks Jungkook. “You’re scaring me.”
Jimin exchanges a glance with Yoongi who only shrugs back at him. He doesn’t know what this is all about either.
“Don’t be mad,” Jungkook goes on, scratching the back of his neck.
Seokjin frowns. “Okay, now you’re /really/ scaring me.”
It takes another moment of hemming and hawing before Jungkook finally works up the courage to blurt out, “Well, so, the thing is, I’m not leaving!”
Seokjin doesn’t seem to register the words at first, but then his eyes begin to well up. “What?”
“You know how this was supposed to be a going away party?” Jungkook says.
“I hadn’t noticed,” Seokjin replies faintly.
“Yeah, so um, it’s not? I mean, I’m not. Leaving, that is.”
“What?” Seokjin says again. “Really? You’re—You’re staying?”
Jungkook nods, grinning a little nervously. He has barely enough time to put down his own shot glass before his arms are full of a blubbering Seokjin.
“You—I can’t believe you. Do you know how much I cried last night? I couldn’t even face you this morning because I was scared I’d just start bawling at the sight of you. How could you do this to me?”
“I know, I know. I’m sorry,” says Jungkook.
He wraps his arms around Seokjin’s waist, carding a soothing hand through his hair as his boyfriend cries into the crook of his neck.
The role reversal from earlier is ironic, but it seems Jungkook is as adept at comforting Seokjin as Seokjin is at comforting Jungkook.
Eventually, Jungkook decides they should maybe find somewhere private to talk. He looks around at the rest of them, guiltily.
“Go, go,” Nayeon tells him as everyone else nods in agreement. “We’ll be fine.”
“Call us if you need us,” Jimin adds.
“Sorry,” Jungkook says, bowing at him and Yoongi. “I should have told you.”
Yoongi waves him off. “We’ll talk later. Go.”
“Well, that was unexpected,” says Taehyung after they’re gone. He looks around at their odd mishmash of a group with bright eyes and shrugs, raising his glass again. “Here’s to… new friends?”
A smile curls over Jimin’s lips. He clinks his glass with the others’ and throws back his shot, enjoying the burn of vodka down his throat.
“Pay up, Nayeon-ah,” Taehyung says afterward and holds out his hand. As Nayeon pouts and slaps a fifty dollar note into his palm, he—
—explains to Jimin and Yoongi, “We bet on whether my hyung would end up crying before the end of the night.”
“I should’ve known better,” Nayeon grumbles. “Oppa’s such a crybaby.”
“You walked right into that one, unnie,” Jeongyeon says.
“Ugh, whatever whatever whatever. Come dance with me!”
Nayeon grabs her wife’s hand and drags her into the crowd before Jeongyeon has a chance to protest, leaving Taehyung with Yoongi and Jimin.
“And then there were three,” Taehyung hums, grinning.
Taehyung, Jimin quickly learns, is as charming as he looks and hilarious to boot. They get along with each other much better than expected. Seokjin’s brother is quirky but gregarious and well-mannered (when he’s not making bets about his hyung) and for the first time since—
—arriving in the States, Jimin feels himself relax.
The feeling is short-lived, however, because only a little while after they’ve disappeared, the girls reappear from the dancefloor to drag Taehyung back into the crowd with them.
Jimin begs off when Taehyung tries to pull him along too, not wanting to leave Yoongi all alone despite his husband’s assurances that he’ll be okay without him.
“We’ll stay close,” Taehyung tells Jimin, batting away Nayeon’s insistent tugging. “Come out if you change your mind.”
Jimin promises he will, and then they’re gone.
/Another one bites the dust./
Left with nothing better to do but stand there awkwardly, Jimin considers getting a drink. Only alcohol will help him get through the rest of this night, he thinks, so long as Yoongi is beside him.
Except, as he reaches into his pocket for his wallet, he realizes he didn’t bring it.
Jimin blows out a sigh, weighing his options, knowing he really only has one if he wants to drink more tonight.
He squares his shoulders. “Yoongi-ssi.”
Maybe he’s not loud enough but Yoongi doesn’t acknowledge him at first, so Jimin reaches out to place a hand on his shoulder and leans in to speak directly into his ear. “Yoongi-ssi.”
Yoongi turns into him, startled, before resting a hand at the small of Jimin’s back and pressing close to hear him better.
“Can I have your wallet?” Jimin asks. He feels stupid for having forgotten his but it’s rare that he ever has to pay for anything himself.
There’s usually an assistant or driver with him.
“My wallet?” Yoongi asks, confused. Before Jimin can explain, however, he reaches into his pocket and pulls it out. “Here. Did you forget yours?”
Jimin nods. He glances over Yoongi’s shoulder toward the crowded bar, not terribly excited to face the throng on his own.
Perhaps Yoongi sees the hesitation in his expression because he asks, “Do… you want me to come with you?”
After the coffee fiasco this morning, Jimin’s pride won’t allow him to admit he needs Yoongi /again/ so he looks at his husband with wide, bright eyes, hoping he’ll just understand.
They’re still standing close, nearly pressed against each other. Yoongi’s palm is hot against Jimin’s back, heavy. He doesn’t move for what feels like an eternity and then, with the barest upturn of his lips, he curls his arm all the way around Jimin’s waist.
“C’mon,” he says, guiding Jimin gently in the direction of the bar. Jimin’s brain is full of static. “Let’s get you a drink.”
Yoongi makes good on his promise. He buys Jimin a drink, and then another. And by the time Jimin is on his third vodka cranberry, he’s leaning almost all of his weight against his husband.
Not that, it seems, Yoongi minds.
His arm stays around Jimin all the while as he sips on a whiskey. They don’t talk—do they ever?—but the warmth of Yoongi’s body pressed against his makes Jimin feel antsy after some time.
He tries to distract himself by watching Taehyung and the girls flail around on the dancefloor; it's fruitless, of course, because all that Jimin can really focus on is the way Yoongi’s palm is curled around his hip, the way he holds him upright even as he begins to teeter.
The thing is, Jimin can hold his alcohol. As someone who is regularly expected to attend client dinners and charity events, he tends to drink quite a bit.
And yet tonight.
Tonight, only a few drinks down and it’s as if he’s never had liquor before. Two-and-a-half vodka cranberries and he’s boneless, floaty, held together only by the arm around his waist and the man at his side.
“Hey,” Jimin says eventually, turning to look at Yoongi’s profile, “want some?”
It’s not funny and yet he grins big as he holds out what’s left of his third vodka cranberry.
Yoongi’s gaze dips to the glass, studying it, before he leans forward with his free hand to pluck it out of Jimin’s grasp. After downing the remainder, he scrunches his nose and a breathy giggle bubbles out of Jimin like champagne froth. Maybe it's a little funny.
“Too sweet?” he asks. Yoongi grunts. “Figures. The ahjusshi vibes suit you.”
Jimin waves a hand at Yoongi’s whiskey and giggles some more.
Yoongi lifts an eyebrow at him. “This is the thanks I get for buying you drinks?” he asks, squeezing Jimin’s waist.
Jimin’s laughter peters off and all he can manage is a half-hearted shrug.
In the silence after this exchange he feels himself grow hazier and has to rest his head on Yoongi’s shoulder to keep the dizziness at bay. Wordlessly, Yoongi runs his hand up and down Jimin’s back.
His husband is surprisingly patient, Jimin thinks—more patient than Jimin might be if the situation were reversed—allowing him to drape himself all over Yoongi as he pleases.
“You okay?” Yoongi asks after a moment, cutting into Jimin’s muddled thoughts.
With a slight shake of his head, Jimin admits, “Wanna go home,” finding the sentiment to be true only after he speaks the words out loud.
Despite being outdoors, the air is stifling at The Tipsy Mermaid as the southern heat mixes with the crush of too many bodies in close—
—proximity to each other. That, combined with all the alcohol sloshing around in Jimin’s brain makes him feel faint.
“We can go,” Yoongi offers. His palm rests against the small of Jimin’s back once again, grounding him. “Don’t think anyone will miss us now.”
It’s only about eleven o’clock, which feels too early, but the prospect of the peace and quiet and breathable air offered by halmeoni’s house is alluring.
“Yes, please,” Jimin murmurs.
He says it so lowly he’s not even sure Yoongi hears him, but then his husband rises from the barstool he’s been perched on, gently dislodging Jimin, and throws back the last bit of his whiskey.
He taps Jimin’s hip. “C’mon.”
They bid quick goodbyes to Taehyung and the girls and as they push their way out of the bar, Yoongi calls Jungkook to let him know they’re leaving. Jimin can barely concentrate on anything but putting one foot after the other at this point but perks up when he hears his name.
“I think we’re just going to go to bed. Jimin isn’t feeling well.” Yoongi pauses to listen to his brother. “Oh? Do you want us to wait for you?” He pulls Jimin a bit closer, guiding him around a group of girls celebrating a bachelorette party.
“You can bring them to halmeoni’s. She’ll sleep through pretty much anything.” Another pause. “Okay. See you there.”
Yoongi doesn’t say anything after he hangs up but Jimin is cognizant enough to have understood the gist of it.
“Party’s not over?” he ventures.
They finally make it past the front entrance of The Tipsy Mermaid and find themselves back out on the busy sidewalk. Yoongi hums, texting Sejin their location as Jimin tries not to pout.
“Jungkook feels bad for disappearing with Nurse Kim,” Yoongi explains. He glances at Jimin from the corner of his eye and his lips turn up slightly at the sight of Jimin’s expression. “Sorry. You can just go to sleep if you want. Kookie will understand.”
Jimin nods, scuffing his sandaled feet against the sidewalk. He yawns and, despite himself, lays his head down on Yoongi’s shoulder again as they wait for Sejin to pull up.
It takes longer than it should and Jimin only realizes why once he has slid into the backseat and Sejin presents him with a cold bottle of water. Jimin lifts a brow, confused, before accepting it.
“Min sajangnim said you needed some hydration,” he explains with a grin.
It’s surprisingly thoughtful and Jimin dips his head in thanks. When he glances at Yoongi beside him, his profile lit up by the blue of the moon spilling into the car, his expression gives up nothing.
“Thanks,” Jimin murmurs, uncapping the bottle and taking a long pull from it.
Jimin falls asleep on the way back to Halmeoni’s even though the trip is only a few minutes long. When they arrive, he’s gently shaken awake and guided into the dark house by Yoongi.
“Are you okay getting upstairs?” Yoongi asks in the entryway.
“No,” Jimin mumbles. “Don’t wanna go to sleep.”
Eyes only half-open, he stares blearily at Yoongi’s silhouette in the dark. “I’on wanna go to sleep.”
Yoongi looks back at him for a moment, probably gauging whether to believe him, before he takes a step toward the great room. “Okay. You don’t have to go to sleep,” he says quietly. “Do you want to change into something more comfortable, though?”
Jimin looks down at himself and nods. He’s hot in the long pants he has on.
“Need help?” Yoongi asks, slipping off his shoes.
Even drunk, Jimin’s brain grinds to a halt at this. “Do I need help /changing/?” he asks, deadpan.
Yoongi snorts. “Do you need help going upstairs? Wouldn’t want you to faceplant halfway.”
Jimin’s cheeks grow warm but he hopes it’s dark enough that Yoongi doesn’t notice. He clears his throat, pressing a palm against the wall to keep his balance as he slides out of his shoes.
“I’ll be okay,” he mutters.
“Alright,” says Yoongi, turning to go into the great room. “Shout if you need me.”
Jimin watches him disappear around the corner before he begins slowly ascending the stairs. It’s a bit of a task as he’s still dizzy, but he makes it eventually.
Getting out of his pants is more of a challenge than expected, and after three failed attempts that almost /do/ end with him flat on the floor, Jimin takes a seat on the edge of the bed to pull them off.
He can’t be bothered to change his shirt so he strips out of the open button down he has on, leaving him in boxer shorts and a t-shirt. By then, he’s on his back on the bed and huffs out a sigh. It’s too comfortable to get up and before long, he finds his eyelids drooping.
He’s not sure how long he sleeps but it must not be very long because Jimin is still tipsy when he wakes up. The vague sound of laughter and voices and music reaches him from downstairs and a sudden feeling of FOMO has him crawling right back out of bed.
this is the music he’s hearing~ open.spotify.com/track/2x8evxqU…
He just barely remembers to tug on a pair of board shorts over his boxers before wandering drunkenly down to the great room.
It’s just as he expects—the girls are dancing around in front of the coffee table as Seokjin and Jungkook cheer them on.
Taehyung is passed out on the couch next to Yoongi, who, as usual, has his eyes glued to his phone while he sips on a glass of some kind of amber liquid.
Jungkook, cuddled up in Seokjin’s lap in one of the armchairs, spots Jimin first and nearly falls on the floor in his haste to rush over.
“Hyung-nim, you’re alive!” he exclaims, arms stretched out in front of him.
“Welcome back to the land of the living, cutie pie,” Jeongyeon chimes in as she dips a giggling Nayeon.
Jimin gets yanked into a hug against Jungkook’s broad chest before being unceremoniously shoved towards the couch in the next second.
He barely catches himself on Yoongi’s legs, sucking in a sharp breath of surprise when sudden dizziness makes him teeter.
“Gguk, be careful,” Yoongi grunts. His arms come up to steady Jimin and pull him gently down on the sofa between Yoongi and a still-dozing Taehyung.
“Alright?” Yoongi asks.
“Mm,” Jimin mumbles back. He leans into the cushions and sighs, still disoriented. “Fell asleep.”
“I know,” Yoongi replies, retrieving the glass he’d abandoned on the side table. “When you didn’t come back down, I went up to check on you.”
While he was passed out in his underwear, Jimin realizes. He feels himself grow warm with embarrassment but doesn’t have time to overthink it when he’s suddenly presented with a lapful of Jungkook.
“Are you excited I’m staying, hyung-nim?” his brother-in-law asks, eyes bright and wide like a puppy.
Jimin offers him a lopsided grin and tugs a hand through his disheveled hair. “/So/ excited.”