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adubu ☁︎

adubu ☁︎

Mar 3, 2022
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Jimin hums tunelessly, watching Yoongi’s reactions and microexpressions. He’d like to think of himself as someone intuitive enough to read when a person is uncomfortable, so he doesn’t push it no matter how badly he’d love to hear his hyung play. “Someday, I wanna hear you!”

Yoongi’s face smoothens out in relief. Chortling, he walks past Jimin and ruffles his hair. “Maybe.” With a small grunt, he falls back on his bed and closes his eyes, arms eagle-spread. “What movie do you wanna watch?” Jimin perches on one corner of his bed. “The Notebook!”
“You like romance?” Jimin shrugs. “It’s what everyone likes.” “But what do you like?” Yoongi lifts his head and cracks an eye open at him. For a long and strange moment, Jimin just stands there, tongue caught in a tangle while he just drinks in the sight of Yoongi in his bed.
“I…” At his stuttered speech, Yoongi sits up and tilts his head, waiting with one eyebrow raised. He looks so devastating, Jimin thinks, when he’s just in comfortable attire. His hair is a mess and his hoodie’s strings are entwined. Jimin is half compelled to fix it for him.
/I want to hug him/. The thought springs unbidden in Jimin’s mind, raw and prickling. Jimin gives a shuddering exhale, confounded by the source of such a unique line of thinking. Because sure, he hugs Jungkook all the time. But why does he want to hug Yoongi… differently?
But what kind of ‘different’? That doesn’t even make sense! Yoongi must sense a troubled shift in his expression, because he prompts in a softer tone, “So… romance, Jimin?” “I DO NOT LIKE ROMANCE,” Jimin blurts, his Busan accent coming on strong. Which means he sounds harsher.
Yoongi makes a scrunchy-nosed face at him, snorting. “Okay, alright, tiger, calm down. We’ll put on something else.” “Horror, I want horror,” Jimin grits out, mentally chastising himself. He abhors anything supernatural, but if watching a romance movie sends his mind haywire…
…then so be it. Jimin is a young adult! He can take a pinch of horror! Yoongi casts him a momentary apprehensive look, before shrugging and browsing through the library. “Fine by me. What about ‘Haunting of Hill House’?” Jimin nods. He can take haunted house stories. “Good.”
It’s not exactly a movie but more of a series, so they decide to give just the first episode a try. Jimin sits on the bed, scooting backwards until his back touches the headboard. Yoongi grabs the snack bowl and settles next to him, close enough for their arms to touch.
The first few minutes roll by without much of a fuss, and as time goes by Jimin actually appreciates how the show doesn’t seem to rely on too many jump scares. “Just as I thought,” he remarks, opening a new bag of chips. “Western horror doesn’t hold a candle to Asian horror.”
Instead of making crude commentary and bantering with him like Jimin expected, Yoongi is sitting incredibly still, eyes glued to the screen. “Uh. Yeah.” Jimin leans over to get a better look of Yoongi’s face, then laughs. “Daebak. Are you actually invested in this?” “Pfft. No.”
Jimin nods slowly, not quite believing him. “Okay.” He returns his attention to the show. Onscreen, one of the younger children, a little girl, is complaining about being unable to sleep because of the ‘Bent-Neck Lady’. Then the dad kisses them good night and closes the door.
But when the dad walks down the hallway and turns back, he finds the same door that he had closed earlier, now ajar. A chill racks Jimin’s spine. Okay, /that/ was creepy. He glances at Yoongi’s own bedroom door to make sure it’s still locked, & shifts one inch closer to Yoongi.
From then on, the scenes seem to rapidly progress in scary-ness, leaving Jimin’s pulse thudding harder than usual. It’s like watching a nightmare and being unable to stop yourself from getting sucked into the spiral. He shrinks away from the TV, bag of chips forgotten.
Another scene comes up featuring the same young girl, who asked to sleep in thr living room with her mother because the Bent-Neck Lady was apparently being insistent in her shared bedroom with her brother. Jimin does not like the mood and the dark palette of this current frame.
“I don’t understand,” he says shakily, if only to diffuse his own rising fright, “If I were the eomma. I wouldn’t leave my daughter alone to sleep in the living room!” Next to him, Yoongi’s face is as white as powder. One of his hands is clutching the hem of Jimin’s sleepshirt.
Jimin finds that he doesn’t mind, especially since in the next scene, the Bent-Neck Lady finally appears, looming over the sleeping young girl. Both of Jimin’s hands instinctively shoot out to reach for Yoongi’s sleeve. The horrifyingly buzzing music rises. Jimin scoots closer.
His eyes are screwed tight by the time the music reaches its peak volume. A tiny squeak escapes Jimin as he burrows his face into Yoongi’s sleeve and wedges himself to his side even further. “Ow. Jimin.” “Yes?” Jimin keeps his face smooshed to Yoongi’s arm. “I’m falling off.”
Jimin cracks one eye open to survey the situation. Sure enough, he’s shuffled them both so far to the left side that Yoongi is sitting precariously right at the edge of his own bed. “Oh. Oopsie.” A long pause passes. On TV, there’s more English conversations. “Jimin?” “Hmm?”
“You have to actually move.” “Ah. Right.” Jimin shifts back to his original position, but then he hears a low groan from Yoongi. “Jimin-ah, you- could you let go of my right arm for a bit? It’s cramping.” “Oh! Sorry.” Jimin flexes his fingers and retracts his hands.
With nothing else to hold onto, Jimin stares down at his lap and clasps his own fingers together. That should keep them from wandering. A chuckle sounds from beside him. “I thought you liked horror.” “I do,” Jimin insists. Yoongi scoffs, then lifts his hoodie to take it off.
And damn it, Jimin really CAN’T focus on the show at this point, because now Yoongi is topless next to him, and wow—his skin is like milk and nipples are rosy! He’s got a lanky frame that would look nice if they filled out someday, but Jimin’s more surprised at his toned stomach.
“Waaaah,” he whistles, ogling Yoongi’s body. His hyung probably works out. Thst’s what older hyungs do all the time. Jimin’s hands come around his own midriff to feels his tummy, but all he gets is a flat, less flattering plane of skin and fat. Yoongi tosses his hoodie at him.
“Wear it.” Yoongi walks over to his wardrobe and tugs on a navy blue sweater. “You’ve got goosebumps all over.” Jimin grins and obliges. Two arms in, then his head. Yoongi’s oversized hoodie smells like body soap and tangerines. Jimin wants to keep it. “Hyung, do you work out?”
Yoongi just shrugs, which is the most frustrating non-answer ever. He joins Jimin on the bed again and grabs the remote to point it at the TV screen. “Are you still going to watch or not?” “Let’s just finish this ep,” Jimin decides, already feeling 100% safer in Yoongi’s hoodie.
The rewind the last few scenes they missed and lean against each other. When Jimin senses that a new freaky scene is about to happen, he pauses and turns to Yoongi. “Can I hold your hand if I get scared?” Yoongi’s eyes lock with his. Then he laughs. “You’re just like him.”
“Like who?” “An old friend from piano class,” Yoongi says. “Very into skinship. Now focus on the show.” “But you still haven’t answered me,” Jimin insists, his feet jiggling under the blanket in protest. He /needs/ to know, because what if he makes Yoongi uncomfy or anxious?
Yoongi clicks his tongue, and Jimin’s mind gives a quiet mental ‘yikes’, but then his hyung holds out a palm. “Here.” Jimin’s insides turn into goo, his spirits soaring. All this time of trying not to hold Yoongi’s hand—and all he had to do was /ask/? All those wasted chances!
With a squeak, Jimin links his left hand with Yoongi’s right, then hugs their intertwined hands close to his chest like a kid with a new teddy bear. “Yesss.” Although the back of his hands are rough and criss-crossed with scars, Yoongi’s actual palms are soft. Jimin squeezes it.
Yoongi turns his head to look at him with a softness Jimin has never noticed before. His smiling eyes flicker down to their locked hands, before sliding back to the TV screen. Watching horror without a handholding partner is a nightmare. But with Yoongi’s hands? Manageable!
There’s one scene in the episode that totally catches Jimin off-guard, not because of its horror elements but because the characters’ behavior sticks out in his mind: A girl walks into a club and makes googly eyes at another girl, and in the next frame they’re in bed together!
Jimin’s jaw goes slack as he stares at the two girls kissing, and there’s a stirring in his chest that he belatedly identifies as panic, and to a certai extent—fascination. “Girls can kiss each other?” he asks. Yoongi hums. “Girls can kiss whoever they want.” “Not just guys?”
“Yep.” Yoongi’s eyes are still plastered to the screen, and Jimin has an inkling that his hyung is only half-aware of the current conversation. He glances down at their entwined fingers, vaguely aware of what’s happening onscreen. “What about guys, then? Not just girls?”
And perhaps Yoongi heard the slight uptick of doubt mixed with fear in his trembling voice, because then his eyes shift to pierce into Jimin’s, dark and flashing. “Not just girls, either.” Jimin sucks in a shallow, quiet breath. Yoongi’s brows furrow. Someone on TV screams.
It’s so loud and startling that it rips Jimin out of his line of thought. He, too, lets out a small yelp, followed by a long, pitchy fart. Yoongi muffles a snort. Jimin gasps and covers his mouth, heat flooding his cheeks. He stares at Yoongi with watery eyes.
“Don’t you laugh,” he threatens, turning and rolling to the side of the bed, away from Yoongi, until he drops to the floor. “I’m—“ Yoongi coughs loudly to cover a garbled noise. “Not laughing.” Screw the horror movie! Now all Jimin wants is to pop into thin air like a bubble.
Lying on the floor. Jimin covers his face and release a quiet whine. “It’s been long day, okay! And I had a bit of indigestion! Let me live.” Yoong crawls across until his face pops out of the edge of his bed, several inches directly above Jimin’s. “I’m not laughing. See?”
Jimin squints his eyes at him. “You have the laughing eyes, though.” “Ah. So you want me to NOT smile. Roger that.” Yoongi wrinkles his face into an exaggerated frown. Jimin huffs, both hands reaching up. Using his thumbs, he tugs the corners of Yoongi’s mouth up. “No. Smile.”
“Heol.” In retaliation, Yoongi’s hands shoot down to pinch both sides of Jimin’s cheeks. “You’re a brat.” They stay like that for a good few seconds, pulling and tugging at each other’s cheeks until Jimin’s pouty tantrum blooms into giggling.
Eventually, his fingers tire of pinching, so his hands travel north, thumbs hovering over Yoongi’s eyes as his penpal’s eyelids flutter shut. “You have long eyeslashes, hyung,” Jimin muses. He traces his thumbs across Yoongi’s eyebrows, marveling at how smooth his skin is.
[a/n: play this song for maximum vibes^^]…
One of Yoongi’s hands come to a rest against Jimin’s cheeks. “Jimin-ah.” Jimin thinks his favorite hyung has never looked more squishy than now, with his dark hair all tousled and backlit by the warm light hanging from the ceiling. “Hmm?” “Suppose you don’t leave?”
Jimin frowns. “Huh?” “Hypothetically speaking,” Yoongi says quietly, dark eyes glimmering. “If you didn’t have to go. Do you”—he swallows, Adam’s apple bobbing—“would you consider going to the same university together? In Seoul?” Jimin’s heart gives a slam. He sits up slowly.
He hasn’t even left Yoongi’s side yet, but looking into that earnest gaze, a hollow well of grief gapes wide in his chest. He’s struck with a sudden desperation to play make believe for as long as he may. “Okay. Let’s go to the same uni together.” /I’ll make it happen./
Yoongi’s glassy eyes scan his, and it’s quiet between them until he sighs softly. Jimin wonders if he believes him. “If you stay in the country, what major will you take?” Yoongi helps pull Jimin up so they can sit on the bed again, then snatches the remote to turn off the TV.
“Dunno. Haven’t planned.” Jimin scuttles towards the pillows and tucks himself under the thick blanket. “What about you, hyung?” “I was planning to apply to Seoul Arts Institute,” Yoongi shares, crawling to his side. “But then we can’t attend the same campus. I’m untalented.”
Yoongi shoots him a sharp look. “No self-deprecation under my watch.” “Ugh.” “But that’s why I was thinking—I could study psychology at one of the other local unis,” Yoongi continues. “If you stay, I’d rather do psychology than music.” “If I stay, we’ll cafe-hop together!”
“If we attend the same uni, we won’t have to travel between Daegu and Busan anymore,” Yoongi surmises, lying flat on his back. Jimin mirrors him and lies down, too. “If we attend the same uni, we could be roommates!” “Maybe. Otherwise I’d visit your dorm.” “Same here.”
Jimin can picture his college life happening that way—walking down the corridors with a cooler, older upperclassman, hand-in-hand. Visiting nearby PC cafes and gaming together all night. Watching live buskers perform at Hongdas on weekends. “We can study at the library together.”
Yoongi snickers. “Good luck not falling asleep in there.” “I’m a diligent student, hyung,” Jimin scoffs. “If anyone here’s more likely to fall asleep, it’s /you/.” “Nah. You.” Jimin smacks the side of Yoongi’s hip, which elicits a hiss. “By the way, wanna see something cool?”
“What?” Jimin asks, watching Yoongi as he slips off the bed and walks to a flick a switch on the wall. Just when he thought nothing about the Mins’ home could surprise him any further, Yoongi’s entire ceiling begins to slide off, revealing the velvety blanket of a starry night.
Words dissipate from Jimin’s mouth, making it run dry, and he can only gawk in amazement at the ceiling, and the boy who has single-handedly transformed one of the worst nights of his life into a favorite memory. The boy who’s given him the sky. Yoongi hops back into bed.
“I don’t often use it,” he admits, scratching the back of his ear. “Parents’ idea, not mine. It’s just so… extra, isn’t it?” “Are you kidding me?!” Jimin throws his arms up in the air wildly, still lying on his back. “This is next level! Hyung, you’re officially the coolest.”
Yoongi heads lands next to his with a quiet /fwoomp/. This close to him, Jimin’s skin tingles with warmth. (Or maybe it’s because he’s feeling extra hot from wearing Yoongi’s hoodie.) “Are you scared?” Yoongi asks, the low rumble of his voice carrying softly between them.
“Of what?” Jimin says distractedly, wishing he had telescopic vision. The sky is massive. In science class they did a chapter on astronomy, where they learned all about the planets & constellations. If he had supersonic vision he might see the Oort cloud from here. “You eomma.”
Jimin tears his eyes away from Yoongi’s glass ceiling to look at him, only for his breath to hitch at the view that greets him. Under the moonlight, Yoongi’s already-fair skin seems to glow—a human moon with its own face. “What happens when you get back? She’s probably furious.”
“You have pearly cheeks,” Jimin states out of the blue. Yoongi freezes, mouth ajar, before he seems to compose himself and sighs. “Jiminie…” “I don’t know.” Jimin shrugs. He’s not usually this reckless, but tonight he just /can’t/. “I’ll worry about that when I do get home.”
A blanket of silence falls over them. Jimin rolls over his side to study his hyung’s face. Yoongi looks conflicted, opening and closing his mouth, but ultimately seems to decide against pushing the matter any further. “How ahout you?“ Jimin asks. “What?” “Is your eomma scary?”
Yoongi bristles. He shakes his head, then rolls over so that he’s facing Jimin, too, both of his hands creeping up to pillow his head. “She’s… difficult.” Jimin doesn’t say a word, just waits. “She used to have these grand dreams of sending me to Juilliard when I was younger.”
Jimin gasps softly. “New York?” Yoongi nods. “But over time I stopped winning concours, and I think it made her realize that I’m not… I’m not what she hoped I could be.” “I don’t understand,” Jimin says. “Why is she being such a harsh perfectionist on you? But not your hyung?”
“Because Jin-hyung isn’t…” Yoongi grimaces, jaw clenching as if he’s being forced to spit the words out. “Our eomma met hyung’s dad when I was 3, a year after she divorced my appa.” Jimin can’t say he’s surprised, what with the surnames and the differential treatment. “I see.”
“I don’t know what her deal is, but she always tells me he enjoyed going to her concerts. Music was the thing that brought them together,” Yoongi continues. “But…” He shakes his head and closes his eyes. “You don’t have to tell me everything,” Jimin assures, heart twisting.
He reaches for one of Yoongi’s hands tucked underneath his head and strokes one thumb over his knuckles in soothing circles. Yoongi’s eyelids flutter open. He sighs again. “Long story short, shit happened and she couldn’t continue her singing career, so now it’s up to me.”
“It’s /not/ up to you,” Jimin corrects sternly with a shake of his head. It’s not fair! “She shouldn’t be putting that kind of burden on you, can’t you have your own life, hyung?” Yoongi gives him a pointed look, and Jimin thinks— Oh. They’re both in pretty similar situations.
“Okay, point taken,” Jimin accedes, mind flashing back to the countless number of times his own mother had to rely on him to take care of Jihyun, practically helping to raise him. Even back when his dad was around, they’d both depended heavily on Jimin’s help on adult matters.
Thumb still carressing the back of Yoongi’s hand, Jimin mutters, “I wish she’d stop punishing you for being human, though.” Yoongi’s hand goes still in his grip, before enclosing Jimin’s and pressing it to the space on the bed between them, so that their hands now overlap.
“Korea Uni,” Yoongi says, eyes resting on Jimin’s. “Eh?” “Not that it’s a concrete plan, but I was thinking of Korea Uni, if ever I don’t end up going to Seoul Arts.” Jimin’s mouth curves up slowly. He doesn’t know how he’ll manage it, but… “Then I’ll follow you there, too.”
“You’re not obligated to,” Yoongi says. “I’m just saying. Didn’t you want to be a firefighter when you grow up?” “Me?” Jimin points to himself. “Since when?” Keeping their hands glued, Yoongi raises his other hand to rap his knuckles against’s Jimin’s forehead. “Your letters.”
Jimin snickers, ducking his head. When he looks up again, it hits him belatedly that Yoongi’s face seems to be much closer now than it was moments ago. Huh. Perhaps he shifted closer while giggling just now. “Aw, man. That was a childhood fantasy! It holds no weight now, hyung!”
Yoongi chuckles. This close to him, Jimin can actually feel the vibrations emanating from his penpal’s chest, quaking the very air between them. “So what’s next for you? Got any new dreams?” Jimin shrugs. “Like I said, I haven’t planned yet. So, no dream. Does that make sense?”
Yoongi nods, lips pursed like he’s giving his answer some deep consideration. “No dream is fine, too. I don’t think adults realize how much we don’t have time for dreams these days. Sometimes, I just wanna get through the week, you know?” “Adults aren’t shit.” “Yah. Language.”
Jimin chortles quietly, a yawn working its way out of his mouth just as he scoots over to cross the last bit of distance between him and Yoongi, ending up on Yoongi’s pillow. Hooking his chin over the crook of his hyung’s shoulder, Jimin says, “Let’s run together.“ “Let’s- huh?”
Jimin laughs and smacks Yoongi’s arm lightly. “I don’t mean it literally. I mean it as in, I’ll help push you when you slow down, as long as you promise to help push me, too.” Something about Yoongi’s easy calmness makes him want to trust him, and go through adulthood together.
Yoongi lets out a soft hiss that sounds like a scoff, but replies, “Sounds good.” Jimin smiles, eyes drooping closed. “Good.” “Also, Jimin.” “Hmm?” “I’m about to fall off my bed again.” Jimin groans, then rolls back to the right side to make space for Yoongi.
Chuckling breathlessly, Yoongi shifts inwards until their hips bump, then does the one thing that leaves Jimin thunderstruck: he curls an arm around Jimin’s shoulders and pulls him closer until his face is smooshed into the crook of his neck. “Eh- hyung, oh? Ehh?” Jimin panics.
He recoils, eyes round and pulse galloping like a horse on steroids. Yoongi lifts one eyebrow. “You don’t want to? I was guessing that’s what you’ve been trying to do all night.” “It’s not that I don’t wanna- it’s just.” Jimin licks his lower lip. “You’re okay with cuddling?!”
Yoongi blinks kittenishly. “I don’t remember ever saying I’m not…” Jimin gapes at him. But of course. He’d taken one look at Yoongi’s reserved demeanor, matched it with ‘soxial anxiety’ and immediately assumed he’d be touch-averse. “It’s okay if I hug you?” “Unless you don’t?”
Jimin squeaks and immediately crowds Yoongi’s space, throwing one arm and over him and giving Yoongi’s midriff a long squeeze. “No! We cuddle, we cuddle! Hyung, you have NO idea how much I’ve been trying to stop myself. I love hugs, you know? You can hold me back, too. C’mon.”
Yoongi’s breath stutters, spine going stuff, but to Jimin’s delight, his penpal relaxes and shifts so that their legs are entangled, too. “Huh. Cool. You’re not a bad hugger, Park Jimin.” Jimin’s eyes crinkle into crescents. Then something silvery & shiny catches his attention.
He glances down at a triangular pendant hanging from a chain around Yoongi’s neck. It was concealed under his hoodie before he took it off earlier, and only now is Jimin getting a closeup of it. His fingers rest against Yoongi’s sternum to fiddle with the pendant. “What’s this?”
Yoongi yawns, follows his downward gaze. “Ah. This?” His own hand comes up to fold around Jimin’s smaller, chubby fingers, then guides Jimin’s hand to the moonlight to inspect the pendant. “Family heirloom. Our harabeoji was a bit of a rockstar, in his youth. There 2 of this.”
Jimin frowns and hums. “But you’re only wearing one.” “The other belonged to my halmeoni. That’s how”—Yoongri grins mid-sentence—“that’s how harabeoji proposed to her, after he came back from the war.” “Heol,” Jimin breathes, turning the pendant over in his hand. “So cool.”
A new paralyzing thought strikes him, then—if this is a family engagement heirloom, and it comes as a pair, does that mean… Yoongi will one day hand over the other necklace to the girl he’ll marry? Jimin’s inner green-eyed snake can’t help but hiss-hiss at the prospect.
“You want it?” Yoongi mutters, grinning. His eyes flash with mirth that has Jimin scowling and smacking the pendant back to his chest. “I’m afraid you need to upgrade your sense of humor, hyung.” Yoongi chuckles, tucking the chain under his sweatshirt and ruffling Jimin’s hair.
Jimin melts back into his side, stifling another yawn. How is Yoongi’s hoodie so warm and comfy? “I’m sorry for barging in so suddenly tonight. I’m causing trouble and I know it. But thank you for not turning me away even when we just had a fight.” Yoongi hums. “Anytime.”
“Why is your hoodie so comfy?” “It’s my favorite. It has my vibes.” “Fair enough.” Silence. “Hyung, what if I snore?” “I’ll snore louder and outdo you.” “Ugh.” Silence. “Yoongi-hyung?” “…mm?” “I’m glad you’re my friend.” “Yeah?” “I’m happy you’re you.” “….me, too.”
Jimin yawns one last time, eyelids weighing like bricks. “Yoongi-hyung…” “Mmm?” Yoongi’s voice is barely above a gravelly sound now. “I don’t wanna go,” Jimin murmurs into Yoongi’s sweater. The air is quiet. By the time Yoongi mumbles an answer, Jimin is already dead asleep.
🏵️🌱 🏵️🌱 🏵️🌱 🏵️🌱 🏵️
Jimin slowly wakes to the sound of sizzling and the smell of something savory wafting in the air. He stirs with a groan and opens his eyes, only to be met with a plain white ceiling. It looks like the roof is back over the glass paneling. He’s alone in bed. Sitting up, he yawns.
Jimin shuffles out of bed and makes his way downstairs, where he finds Seokjin and Yoongi in the kitchen, their backs facing him. They don’t seem to have heard nor noticed Jimin’s presence, so he quietly takes a seat at the dining table and watches the two hyungs cook.
At first glance, he never would’ve guessed that the two are not blood-related, what with the way they treat each other as though they’ve been bullying the other since their diaper days. Jimin is used to Yoongi taking up the hyung role. Seeing him dogging after Seokjin? Adorable.
Whe waiting, he catches snippets of the brothers’ conversation. “…unless you’re really sure how you feel?” Seokjin murmurs. Yoongi shrugs. “…know what I think… gonna try.” “You do that.” “It’s thanks to that idiot,” Yoongi says. “…source of courage.” “First love, huh?”
“Whose first love?” Jimin blurts without thinking twice, making the two brothers jump. Seokjin almost drops the knife he’s holding, while Yoongi’s head immediately whips around, eyes wide. “Jiminie. How- how long have you been here?” he stammers, hand around a pan of eggs.
Jimin shrugs. “A few minutes? I just came down. Anyway, don’t dodge my question. Whose first love?” “Oh my, my, my,” Seokjin tuts, shaking his head. “Were you /eavesdropping/ on your elders?“ Jimin gasps, his cheeks warming. “No! I didn’t mean to listen in, I swear.”
“Huh.” Seokjin turns back around and eyes the pot of boiling broth on the stove. “In that case, come try the egg soup. It’s a little close to lunchtime, so we’ll have brunch instead.” Happy to oblige to EatJin’s request, Jimin bolts out of his chair and takes on the Taster role.
As he has quickly come to learn since last night, every dish created by Yoongi seems to have been sprinkled with magic. The egg soup is fantastic, and so is the omurice that Seokjin makes. While eating together, Jimin glances at his phone—a gesture that doesn’t go unnoticed.
“Aren’t you going to turn it on?” Yoongi asks, casting him a sidelong look. Jimin hesitates. On one hand, he probably should—now that he is somewhat calmer, the fear of having to be responsible for his actions is creeping up on him. But at the same time… “Just a while more.”
Call it gut instinct, call it intuition—Jimin has a nagging feeling that this illusion of peace will shatter the moment he switches on his mobile device and returns to his daunting reality. He smiles humorless at the two brothers. “I’ll leave. For now, can’t I stay a bit longer?”
Seokjin and Yoongi exchange loaded glances, but then respond with slow nods. A small knot of tension loosens in Jimin’s chest. “Eat more,” Seokjin urges, pushing more soup towards him. “Yoongi should bring you around town today. Right, bro?” Yoongi blinks, then shrugs. “Sure.”
After breakfast, Jimin is told to get ready for a ‘casual day out’ with Yoongi, which gets him all jittery enough to lift his spirits from the anticipatory dread of facing the music. After changing into a pullover w/ a sweaterpaws-inducing baby blue cardigan, he heads downstairs.
He finds Seokjin in the living room, playing Mario Kart, eyes glued to their widescreen television. “Yoongi’s still showering?” he asks. Jimin nods. “He will probably take a bit longer. It might not look like it, but my bro’s picky with how he looks,” Seokjin says, tone blasé.
Which is why Jimin takes his liberties with the time spent waiting. He asks Seokjin for permission to roam about the front porch and the backyard (a whole backyard!) Seokjin points to a glass door adjacent to the kitchen, and Jimin steps outside. He emerges into a bright garden.
Oranges and yellows. They fill his vision—beds of marigolds sprouting every area where there is soil. Jimin feels like… He feels like an emoji, the standing man emoji where he can do nothing else but stare frozen, breath stolen from his lungs. His heart is a hot air balloon.
“A sight for sore eyes, no?” a voice from behind him pipes up, amused. Jimin turns around and finds Seokjin leaning against the doorframe, arms folded. He nods to the flowerbeds. “They’re at their last hurrah. They’ll die at the first frost. Count yourself lucky you saw them.”
Jimin opens his mouth to speak and realizes his voice has gone hoarse with an inexplicable emotion. “Did… did Yoongi-hyung plant these?” “Practically each year. He has a thing for them. I always wondered why and assumed it’s ‘cause they look like tangerines and he loves those.”
Jimin nods. “Ahh. No wonder.” He feigns a chuckle, then wonders why that bit of information somehow sinks his heart a little. “Did he ever say why?” Seokjin’s eyes bore into his, a smile playing at his lips. He shrugs nonchalantly. “You tell me. Why do you think so, Park Jimin?”
Jimin sucks in a slow breath, unable to tell apart the myriad of emotions that flood him, clouding his judgment. On one hand, there’s a sense of thrill that’s just waiting to spring forth and claim him, an urge to rejoice. On the other hand, there’s dread. But why? Jimin gulps.
As a young child and now well into his teenage years, Jimin has learned an important part of his core identity: he is drawn to security and stability. Craves it even. That Yoongi is a solace for him as a friend is more than enough. To consider him as anything more? Dangerous!
“By the way, isn’t your nickname ‘marigold’ or something?” Seokjin continues, rubbing his chin thoughtfully. “Wow. How interesting.” Jimin purses his lips, moved & perplexed at the same time. “I—“ “Jimin?” Yoongi’s voice sounds from the doorway. Then he appears next to Seokjin.
Jimin turns his back to the marigolds to face his penpal, then immediately regrets it. Because Yoongi,dressed in a grey hoodie and a bottlecap-blue beanie, looks fresh and all shades of cool. Jimin’s mouth falls open. “Nice outfit, hyung.” There it is again—the urge to /hug/.
Yoongi smirks his way, but then directs a stern, almost scalded look at his older brother. “Hyung, why’d you let him into the backyard…” Seokjin makes a noise of affront. “Heol. Then did you want me to gatekeep your tangerine garden from him?” Yoongi’s neck turns scarlet.
Jimin forces out a sharp bark of laughter. “Tangerine garden! Haha. Hah. Good one! I guess Yoongi-hyung loves them that much that he keeps reminders of them in your garden.” He didn’t mean for it to come out as double-layered, but as soon as the words leave his mouth, he pauses.
He mentally slaps himself, stifling the urge to bury himself his very own hole in the soil and join the flowering marigolds. What’s gotten into him? It’s as if his mind is a radio that’s been airing one channel for ages, but has now gotten tuned to a different, scarier channel.
“Yeah, of course!” Seokjin adds boisterously, clapping Yoongi in the back. “Our Yoongichi here’s intensely fond of tangerines. And marigolds. Aren’t you, bro?” Yoongi shrugs off Seokjin’s arm and ducks away to grab Jimin by the elbow. “Knock it off, seriously.” Seokjin cackles.
With a grunt, Yoongi steers Jimin back inside the house and makes a beeline for the front door. “We’re heading out now.” “Go forth and be free. I’ll finally have the house to myself,” calls out Seokjin, shooing them off. “Have a good date—er, day, you two! Hohooo.”
Yoongi groans and shakes his head as they march out the front porch together. “Ignore him. He says weird shit sometimes.” But Jimin doesn’t even think he has the capacity to listen to anything more than his own heartbeat at the moment. Yoongi’s hand is still holding his elbow.
Jimin glances down at Yoongi’s pretty white knuckles, and suppresses the urge to weep right then and there. What is so wrong with him so suddenly? Last night he’d been holding hands and even cuddling with the guy, and today he’s so antsy over an elbow grip? It makes zero sense!
And he has nothing to compare these inclinations with. Not even his period of dating Jeongyeon made him feel so… self-conscious and hyperaware of the other person. From proximity to touch to physical appearance, it’s as if a giant Yoongi shaped blight has invaded Jimin’s vision.
He shakes his head. Why was he even thinking of comparing Yoongi to Jeongyeon, of all people? It’s not as if he’d date… date his one and only penpal— Jimin trips over a small dip in the uneven pavement. He keeps over, off-balance, and would’ve face-planted if not for Yoongi.
One hand grabs Jimin by the arm and guides him to stand upright. At the same time, Yoongi’s rough drawl carries over to the shell of Jimin’s ear. “Careful. You good?” Jimin sucks in a breath, face going ashen as he stares into Yoongi’s inky dark eyes. He scuttles backwards.
“I’m not—!” Jimin grits out skittishly, feeling cornered, and consequently mortified by his incoherence. Yet he can’t seem to help it. “I don’t— I can walk fine alone.” Yoongi’s brows furrow together. He slowly withdraws with a nod. “OK…?” Jimin swallows heavily and walks on.
He attempts a few steadying breaths, shoving his hands into his cardigan pockets. Not another word is spoken between them while they wait for the bus. Jimin hates it. He’s never felt so stuffy and uncomfy with Yoongi before, so why now? What gives? He can’t even look at Yoongi.
They hop aboard a bus that would take them to the heart of the central town, and Jimin’s vision zeroes in in the last two empty seats at the back, next to each other. He halts by the bus doors. Yoongi nudges him from behind. “Go on.” “Ah. Right.” Jimin heads towards the back.
Gingerly, he slides into the innermost seat, then refrains from flinching when Yoongi takes the seat beside him and their arms touch. Jimin glances at the spot where their clothes meet. If Yoongi’s touch was a color it would be flame-red, and this isn’t even bare skin. /Heol./
The bus begins to move. Jimin stubbornly looks out the window, desparate for any form of distraction from the poison spreading through his mind. A short while later, Yoongi clears his throat. “Are you- are sure you’re okay?” “Hm?” Jimin resolutely keeps his gaze pinned outside.
“You look constipated.” Now /that/ pulls Jimin out of his spiraling funk, if only by a fraction. He frowns and turns his head. “What?” Yoongi’s features visibly relax. “Finally, you’re looking at me.” Jimin blinks owlishly, then ducks his head. “What- what do you want…?”
Yoongi rolls his shoulders back and shifts in his seat. “Are you worried that you eomma will punish you terribly?” Well, there’s that of course, Jimin thinks, but he’s surprised to realize that his family situation isn’t even at the forefront of his attention at the moment.
Even more surprising is how he can’t seem to bring himself to voice out what’s really bothering him. How do you tell your childhood friend that sitting next to them on the bus sends your mind haywire? That’s weird! So Jimin settles for a defeated shrug, unable to be honest.
“Don’t worry too much,” Yoongi reassures in his even, gentle tone. “I’m sure you’ll be fine.” Jimin feigns a chuckle. “Anyway. Did… did Jin-hyung say anything strange to you?” Jimin casts him a sidelong glance—the only thing he can manage right then—and huffs. “Not really.”
Yoongi nods, eyes downcasts, and seems to shrink into himself. “Okay.” Jimin glances at him again. There’s a crease forming in the space between his eyebrows, his mouth downturned. Yoongi snags his teeth over his upper lip and opens his mouth, then closes it again.
“What is it?” This time, it’s Jimin’s turn to ask. “Don’t frown so much.” Yoongi crosses his arms. “Do you- do you wanna just go home?” “Huh?” “If you’re that worried, we can just head back to my house, pick up your stuff and I’ll send you back to Busan—“ “Nooo,” Jimin says.
Yoongi opens his mouth to argue, so in his rising panic, Jimin’s mind grapples for the bare minimum topic to bring up. “H-how’s Holly!” Yoongi pauses, the concern in his eyes turning to confusion, then understanding. “Oh?” “You got a puppy right?” “Nah. We just fostered him.”
“Oh.” Jimin nods, tongue twisting itself. This is the worst. “Yeah.” Yoongi nods too, and the fog of doubt returns to his eyes. They fall quiet, but unlike the comfortable silences that they’ve come to share, Jimin feels dread pulling at his gut, causing him to feel restless.
The air between them is so thick with tension he can imagine cutting it with a knife. Licking his lips, Jiming folds his arms to look down at his lap. This has never happened before over the course of their friendship. It’s like all competency at socializing suddenly flees him.
“I’m sorry,” Yoongi blurts out of the blue, startling him. Jimin looks at him, eyebrows rising. “If I said anything that made you feel weird. Or if the egg soup sucked. I- I’m sorry, I don’t know what made you mad—“ “I’m not mad,” Jimin says, suppressing a sigh.
He’s more than compelled to bury his head in his hands and groan in frustration, but what kind of message would that be sending to Yoongi? Regardless of his inner turmoil, Jimin can’t afford to upset the person who’s welcomed him so warmly in his home in the middle of the night.
So Jimin uncrosses his arms and plasters a placid smile on his face. “Trust me, I’m not mad. You’re right. I’m just… anxious about this whole thing, I guess.” He decides to give another shade of the truth—he’s not exactly lying, this way. “I’m nervous because I’m a bad son.”
The concern creasing Yoongi’s eyebrows smoothen with realization. He sits up straighter, shaking his head. “Just because you have troubling behavior doesn’t mean you’re problematic.” Jimin arches an eyebrow. “Mistakes can be corrected and learned from.” “So this is a mistake?”
Yoongi’s mouth closes and he scratches the back of his head, looking perplexed. “I wouldn’t call it a /mistake/. But we both know it’s impulsive.” Jimin’s lower lip juts out. “Don’t give me that look, Jiminie. It’s not like I’m nagging or chasing you out. I’m just saying.”
“Just say I’m a burden and goooo,” Jimin says half-jokingly. Yoongi gives him a flat stare. “If you believe that, then I’m disappointed.” “What? It’s not like I’m lying. I’m causing trouble because I’m a kid, like you said—“ “Jimin-ah,” Yoongi murmurs. “You are not a burden.”
And there it is again—a breathless, tightening sensation that has Jimin clenching his fingers into fists just so he doesn’t embarrass himself further by doing more impulsive things like… like maybe cup Yoongi’s cheeks and pepper his face with smooches— Jimin’s head snaps away.
“Sorry,” he mutters, forcing his gaze to remain anywhere but Yoongi’s direction. “I’m being pissy again.” Yoongi huffs, and Jimin sure hopes it’s amusement he hears in that chuckle that follows. “Nothing I’m not used to. Anyway, this is our stop. Let’s go.” They alight the bus.
As they step out into the clear autumn day, Jimin makes a mental note to calm down and just try to enjoy this day. After all, this is the Daegu visit he’d been anticipating, and nothing unnecessary should sway him from having fun. He walks through town central beside Yoongi.
The good thing about being surrounded by crowds is that it takes Jimin’s mind off the person next to him, even if just for a bit. The Daegu twang from chatter all around fills his ears as theh zip in and out of different sightseeing areas. Yoongi brings him to a park and a mall.
For lunch they dine at a café, and even though Jimin offers to split the bill, Yoongi just shakes his head and refuses to let him touch it. Now that Jimin is more relaxed he finds it easier to make casual chat over the table, and he even manages to slip in a joke or two. Except.
Except there’s something different. Jimin can’t pinpoint it, but he’s aware of how his brain’s gears have seemed to begin turning in another direction. For the first time, he’s way too conscious about the way he chews food, his body posture, even the volume of his laughter.
It’s like his nerve-endings are standing on end, and inside him is an Alternate Jimin who is hungry for attention and upset when deprived of it, only to preen like a peacock every time Yoongi’s gaze brushes past him. It’s torturous. He’s always loved attention, but not this way.
And so. On the outside he is Park Jimin, bubbly giggler and fun friend. But mentally he is revising every single moment he’s shared with Yoongi in the past, wondering how many times he’s made a fool out of himself in front of the guy.
Mid-way through lunch, Jimin sees a spot of carbonara cream on Yoongi’s upper lip, and his vision goes hawk-eyed on the erroneous stain until he can’t seem to focus on anything else— “Earth to Park Jimin. Hello?” Yoongi waves a hand in front of him. “You’re zoning out.”
Jimin snaps out of his reverie, although his eyes can’t keep straying to Yoongi’s mouth. He’s always been aware of how pink they are… mauve even… but now there’s an added observation: they look super soft. Jimin wonders if they feel like velvet. “You have cream on your mouth.”
“Oh.” Yoongi’s hands fumble for a napkin, only to realize that he’s used up his spare ones. The dispenser is closer to Jimin, so he takes it upon himself to yank one out and… Oh— Before he can think twice, he leans across the table and wipes Yoongi’s upper lip, heart skipping.
They both freeze at the same time. Yoongi stares at him, wide-eyed. Meanwhile, all manner of respiration seems to have left Jimin’s lungs. His arm remains stretched between them, suspended mid-air, fingers still pressed to Yoongi’s mouth. Yoongi blinks. Jimin drops the napkin.
(They’re! Softer! Than! Velvet!)
(a/n: pls play this song for the next few tweets, it truly does set up a ~mood~)…
Yoongi clears his throat and huffs out an amused noise. Jimin yanks his hands down to his lap, staring at his right fingers as though they’ve been torched. His pulse is cha cha cha-ing and doing triple flips. If heartbeats were animals his would be a frog, all skippy-hoppy.
“There’s a frog in my chest,” he mutters under his breath, senses hyperaware once more. It’s odd, the way all of his five senses seem to have tuned up, as if a blanket that’s been muffling his capacities just got lifted and he’s finally hearing and seeing too many things at once.
“What?” Yoongi prompts, resuming his meal but keeping his eyes trained on Jimin’s face. “I said, pasta is the best.” Jimin shoves a mouthful and chews slowly, willing his heart to follow suit. He knows he’s still young, so he shouldn’t worry about his blood pressure, but still.
Yoongi flashes a crooked smile. “Welcome to Daegu, everything’s better.” “Except the seafood,” Jimin argues, setting aside his chaotic internal panic for a moment. “Busan’s seafood is always the freshest.” “That’s a given. You live in a port city.” /Not for long/, he thinks.
The thought sends a new wave of apprehension coursing through Jimin. If he won’t be in South Korea for long, then that means he won’t get to find out what these strange new realizations about Yoongi mean, would he? This worry accompanies him all throughout lunch until they leave.
It doesn’t leave Jimin’s mind, although it gets pushed to the back burner when, closer to sunset, Yoongi suggests visiting an arcade, to which Jimin agrees. He loves arcades and happens to be a pro at games, courtesy of Jungkook’s help.
The rest of the afternoon blurs into a multitude of purple-teal-yellow neon LED lights and the cheers of fellow arcade patrons. Jimin slays the shooting games while Yoongi beats him in the racing consoles. Jimin makes up for defeat at Dance Dance Revolution using BTZ’s singles.
“Yah, how could you memorize the steps to Permission To Sing that fast?” Yoongi asks, his bangs matted with sweat when he removes his beanie. Jimin shrugs cheekily. “I’m a pro! Wanna try Life Goes Off next?” Yoongi makes a face, but waves a ‘yes’. “Whatever makes you happy.”
Like the last few rounds, Jimin scores perfectly, much to Yoongi’s mock annoyance. After ‘Life Goes Off’, his penpal requets a break, so they walk around until Jimin spots a crane machine with little plushie keychains inside. He approaches it, fixated on a brown poodle keychain.
He presses his nose against the glass, calculating the distance between the poodle keychain and the crane machine’s hole. “What, what, what?” Yoongi sidles up to the space beside Jimin. Jimin points at the poodle. “I’m winning that one for you. Wait and see.” “Ooh. Confident.”
Jimin tilts his head back to flash his most smug look at Yoongi. “You’re only talking to Busan’s No. 1 Crane Whisperer, Park Jimin.” He flexes his fingers and inserts tokens into the slot. Music emanates from the machine, and the claw starts to move when he nudges the toggle.
Once he’s certain he had calculated the most precise position, Jimin presses the ‘grab’ button & watches gleefully as the claw starts to sink. “Woooh,” Yoongi says, craning his neck to see the progress. The claw tightens around the poodle keychain and rises, dragging it along.
But at the last moment, the poodle dislodges from the claw and plummets back into the sea of other keychains, much to his dismay. “Aigoo, and that’s one loss for Park Jimin,” Yoongi says a la sports commentary style. “One point for the machine! Who will win?” “Me,” Jimin grits.
He slots in more tokens and tries again, only to fail this round as well. Sad trumpet music sounds from the machine. With a growl, Jimin curls his hands into fists and lightly taps the glass in a demonstration of repressed frustration. “You don’t have to win it,” says Yoongi.
“I’m going to,” Jimin declares firmly. “Maybe this is your chance to admit that Busan claw machines are easier,” Yoongi taunts, waggling his eyebrows. “Daegu’s built different.” “Daegu can kiss my ass after I prove you wrong,” Jimin says. One last round. He’ll get it this time.
He’s so hyperfocused on the claw that he completely misses the way Yoongi regards him with twinkling eyes and a crooked smile, head tilted. When at last the claw machine hooks the curve of poodle’s metal keyring and delivers it to the hole, Jimin jumps and pumps the air. “Yes!”
He bends down to collect the brown chicken-looking dog plushie and waves it in the air victoriously. “See! I got it! What did I tell you, hyung?” Yoongi claps without energy. “Wow. Amazing. Swag. Fantastic job.” Jimin is so proud he can’t even care about the sarcasm. “Here.”
He tosses the keychain at Yoongi, who catches it with deft hands. “That’s Min Holly!” Yoongi sends him a bemused look. “Yeah?” Jimin winks at him. “For the puppy you couldn’t have.” Perhaps it’s a shift in lighting, but he could have sworn Yoongi’s features softened.
“Not to be ungrateful, but do enlighten me. Why are you giving it to me?” Yoongi says as they amble out of the noisy arcade. “You could keep it for yourself.” Jimin waves dismissively. “Take it as a token of appreciation. For um, for everything.” This much, he can do.
Yoongi raises an eyebrow and holds the poodle keychain out as if to inspect. “Huh. I’ll accept it as due diligence.” He ruffles Jimin’s hair as they make their way towards the bus stop. The autumn night is cooler than usual. But Jimin’s skin feels warm. “What’s due diligence?”
Yoongi hums for a long moment. “If I were to simplify it, the way our abeoji did, it’s like—it’s like processing available information before making a big decision, or commitment.” He glances at Jimin. “Make sense?” “Kind of.” Yoongi winks at him. Jimin bites his lower lip.
They board the bus and sit together again. This time, there’s a more comfortable atmosphere between them as they make quiet conversation, although a huge part of Jimin is still keeping score of how he’s behaving in front of Yoongi. Just in case. (He just doesn’t know what case.)
All too soon, they’re walking through Yoongi’s fancy downtown neighborhood, and their two-storey, white-painted house with tinted windows loom into view. Jimin wishes there was a way to slow down time, but before he knows it they’re shuffling back inside the house.
“Hey, hey. How was your little day out?” Seokjin asks from where he’s still gaming in front of the TV. Jimin shoots a polite smile his way. “It was fun. I beat hyung in DDR.” Yoongi snorts and hooks a thumb at him. “Jimin can’t race to save his life.” “We have our talents.”
“Ha,” Seokjin says no committally, then adds, “So how’s Daegu, Jimin? Feels like home, no? Maybe your family should consider moving in. You’ll have nice neighbors with pretty gardens like us.” “Hyung,” Yoongi says in a warning tone. The garden. The marigold beds. Jimin flushes.
He curls his hands into his fists and stuffs them into his pockets. “I’ll… I’ll go get my things.” Without another word, he scampers up the stairs to gather his belongings. There isn’t much to pack—he’d only brought enough for a single night rendezvous, after all.
Once his duffel bag is all zipped and ready, he grabs his phone—still turned off—and perches on the edge of Yoongi’s bed, the force of his anxiety physically weighing him down. He’s ignored life for a day. As he looks down at the black screen, guilt claws at his stomach.
A knock makes his jump. “Jiminie?” Yoongi appears by the open doorway. “You… you ready?” “Yeah, but I…” Jimin brandishes his phone. “I haven’t checked my phone at all since yesterday.” Yoongi’s expression grows apprehensive but he walks in. “You can hold my hand and check.”
He sits next to Jimin and holds out his right hand. Jimin only considers it for a moment, before linking his left. Yoongi is a friend, and friends can hold hands without it being weird! Holding his breath, he switches his phone on. The notifications flood the screen at once.
[5 voicemails] [23 new text messages] It seems that different people have been trying to contact him since last night, with his mother being the most frequent recipient. However, the attempts to reach him fizzle out by around noon. Yoongi squeezes his hand. “Breathe.”
Jimin obliges, letting out a stuttering breath. “I feel sick.” “Understandable. I’d be ill too if I opened my phone to that many people.” Biting his lower lip, Jimin picks out inbox messages from the contacts he feels least anxious about reading, starting with Jungkook’s.
[aspiring dead body collector] WRu ur eomma is looking for u how could u leave me D: HYUNG??? pls i take back what i said about dead bodies i never meant for one to be yours Jimin blinks at the tirade of messages. [aspiring dead body collector] namjoon hyung told me i hate u
Jimin tips his head back with a groan, then opens Namjoon’s texts. [chicken drumstick thighs hyung] there’s been a ruckus in the morning care to share your whereabouts, bro? ok so a kim seokjin called and things are calmer i told your eomma but she’s worried sick gl 🥲 stay safe
The rest of the messages are from Mrs. Park and Jihyun, which Jimin pointedly avoids opening, not because he doesn’t want to read them, but…well, just because. He shoves his phone into Yoongi’s hand. “Read them aloud for me, hyung,” he request, collapsing face-first to the bed.
“You sure?” Yoongi asks. Jimin nods without looking, and cringes inwardly when Yoongi starts reciting the messages from his family. The texts from his eomma vary from worried, to desparate, to empty threats that Jimin knows won’t happen, but confirm his fears: he’s in deep shit.
“‘If you come home before nightfall, you are grounded for a week’,” Yoongi reads out loud, his voice ironically soothing as opposed to the content he’s saying. “‘Next message: Appa’s here. Come home soon’.” Jimin’s head snaps up. What? His father is back? This is huge.
Jimin’s wide eyes graze Yoongi’s, and it’s an affirmation of what he’s already thinking: that this could be a game changer, that there is hope to be had. He scrambles to his feet and slings his duffel bag over his shoulder. Yoongi hands him back his phone. “Ready to go?” “Yup.”
Standing, Yoongi stretches out a hand. Jimin stares at it for several heartbeats, then grasps it with a deep breath. Together, they hurry downstairs. Jimin bids Seokjin a hasty farewell and thanks for the stay, and then the two of them are back outdoors once more, into the night.
[a/n: this song is crucial to the next scene ahahahaha]…
The autumn chill sinks into Jimin’s bones as they wait at the bus stop, but he can’t bring himself to care right now. There is a mix of anticipation at homecoming and the bittersweet feeling of having to leave Yoongi behind. And to think that the guy in question is right here.
Jimin turns to face him now, memorizing the way his tousled hair sticks out against the warm streetlights, like a dandelion. Commits to memory that blue beanie, the way his hoodie seems to swallows his frame despite his broad shoulders. “What? Why are you staring at me?”
Jimin shakes his head, then shrugs. “Just because. Just in case.” Yoongi narrows his eyes at him, a muscle ticking along his jaw. “If you end up moving to Australia, we’ll keep in touch, right?” “That’s an ‘if’,” Jimin states. “But if my parents get back together, I’ll stay!”
“Promise me, though,” Yoongi mumbles, scuffing the toe of his boots against the gravel. “We’ll still be… we’ll stay… friends.” Jimin swallows heavily. If his heart is a frog, then that frog is in tears. He nods and looks up at the sky. “Of course we’ll still be friends. Pabo.”
Yoongi scoffs, shifting his weight from one foot to another. He steps back and tips his head to one side, eyes trained on Jimin, then nods to himself. It makes Jimin self-conscious, sending heat rising to his cheeks. “Quit that.” Yoongi makes a face at him and ruffles his hair.
Before Yoongi can drop his hand, Jimin grabs it from the top of his head. They pause, then Jimin lowers Yoongi’s hand until they meet in the middle and intertwine. It’s warm. Yoongi has always been such a warm-hearted person. It’s then that Jimin realizes: /I don’t want to go./
But more than that, he doesn’t want to go to the terminal with Yoongi, only to leave him behind. As someone who’s been in those shoes back when he had to send Yoongi off from Busan, Jimin doesn’t want him to experience the same thing. “Don’t send me off at the the terminal.”
Yoongi turns to him sharply, alarmed. “Just until here.” There is a giant brick rising up his throat. Jimin swallows, trying to force it down, but all he feels next is a stinging at the back of his eyes. “This bus stop’s good enough.” An empty bus stop, with a lonely lamppost.
Yoongi falls quiet. Then nods, fingers squeezing Jimin’s. Jimin strokes a thumb over the scars on his knuckles, praying to the autumn winds to be gentle on Yoongi’s walk back to their house, because then Jimin won’t be there to hold his hand, or walk beside him. Headlights.
2 bright lights signalling the bus’ arrival turn into the street, and Jimin’s heart quickens to an erratic pace. The panic that grips him is a shock, and only when he turns to look at Yoongi’s face does he truly, finally realize for the first time— Oh. Yoongi isn’t his mentor.
Squinting at the approaching bus, Yoongi tugs Jimin closer by the wrist, prompting them to face each other. “Jimin-ah.” Jimin can’t find any words, paralyzed by this epiphany. Crap. Crap! Yoongi ducks his head, lifting a chain from around his neck. A guitar pick pendant glints.
He steps closer to fasten the necklace over Jimin’s nape. “I have nothing else.” It’s as if Jimin’s gone mute, unable to activate his tongue. The thoughts in his head are a mish-mash of questions and declarations that won’t be made. Yoongi steps back. “Trade for the keychain.”
There is water gathering at Jimin’s eyes as he lets out a shuddering exhale, unable to ignore tha ache puncturing his ribs, because this time he knows, he understands. This is the boy who grew a garden in his name, who shared his personal sky with him. The bus slows to a halt.
The pendant is solid against’s Jimn’s sternum, & his knees go weak. Yoongi’s pupils are dilated—earnest, trusting. What was it that Namjoon said? /Have you ever considered kissing Yoongi?/ Jimin doesn’t know. But he’ll never know if he doesn’t try, and this is his last chance.
Yoongi explained the importance of assessing information before making a decision, didn’t he? “Hyung,” says Jimin, heart thudding. “Hm?” The streetlights cast an amber hue over Yoongi’s eyelashes. “This is due diligence.” Then he steps forward and leans in to kiss Yoongi.
Jimin had always imagined his first kiss to be anticipatory, soft and inviting. This one is anything but. A rushed, chaste smacking of lips a first kiss does not make, but he relishes in the cold yet soft texture of Yoongi’s mouth. Someone yelps in surprise—he can’t tell or care.
Just like that, the tight clutch over his chest loosens, and just like the first time he heard Yoongi’s voice over the phone, Jimin is keenly aware of the slamming of his pulse against the walls of his throat. The bus horn honks, and Jimin springs away from a wide-eyed Yoongi.
After the adrenaline comes consequence, and with consequence comes confusion. Once again Jimin’s insides feel like they’re being pumped with air, only this time he can’t identify if it’s good or bad except for the general urge to cry. What has he done? “Jimin—“ “So, um. Bye.”
He backs away from Yoongi, inwardly lamenting the loss of warmth from the lack of proximity, and races up the bus’ steps, planting himself firmly on the window so he can catch a glimpse of Yoongi one last time. The bus doors close. Yoongi stands unmoving. Jimin waves and smiles.
With foggy glass windowpanes, he can’t quite discern the details of Yoongi’s expression, so the last thing he remembers is a figure in a grey hoodie at a lone bus stop. As the bus slowly chugs away, Jimin forces himself not to glance back over his shoulder, otherwise he’ll break.
Fighting back hot tears, Jimin leans back against the seat, raising a trembling hand to the silver pendant. It’s cold to touch. It’s the only part of Yoongi he can touch now. Only after the bus turns the street corner does Jimin bend over his knees, sobbing all the way home.
🏵️🌱 🏵️🌱 🏵️🌱 🏵️🌱 🏵️ weeee, it ended up being a long update haha! Feel free to ramble or rant~ Also—I am saving up for a possible semester exchange overseas but am short on cash, so if you could support me on ko-fi, I’ll love you forever 😭💕 thanks!
Oh yeah and don’t forget to follow the playlist because most of the songs I link are from there! 💕 HAPPY YOONGI DAY, FRIENDS!🎂🎈…
Hello! Before this update starts, let me just plonk in Yoongi’s POV before Jimin came to Daegy :) up on Patreon! 😘🌟
adubu ☁︎

adubu ☁︎

Dear My Friend: Yoongi’s POV 🌱 • 1.9k words • Patreon special • a glimpse of Yoongi’s thoughts & feelings about Jimin coming to Daegu • in which Seokjin is the bestest bro ever Thank you for supporting this story! Here’s a little gift~ READ HERE:
He sleeps the entire ride back to his hometown. The next time he comes to, it’s to the sensation of the bus grinding to a stop at the terminal. Jimin rubs his eyes, disoriented, before the force of what he’d just done trickles back into his brain like a leaky faucet he can’t fix.
At that moment, his phone buzzes with a new message. [Mindeulle] text me when you’re home safe. Jimin stifles a mortified groan and forces his feet to stand and clamber down the bus, his insides feeling like they’re spinning in his stomach. He might get cramps at this rate.
He pockets his phone and shoulders through the dwindling late night crowd, unable to check for any more messages. For some reason Jimin doesn’t /want/ to think over what happened, doesn’t want to revisit his stupid actions. Yoongi hadn’t mentioned it, which means he’s disgusted.
If he’s deliberately not making any mention of how Jimin sneaked in a k-kiss… Jimin shudders when he realizes: Yoongi doesn’t even /see/ him that way. He likes girls! If he’s deliberately ignoring it, then he must not want to talk about it in order not to embarrass Jimin.
A hot flash of regret mixed with shame courses through him. He might puke. That plus the growing anxiety of having to return home for an earful makes Jimin want to curl up and hide. So he does, by pretending not to have seen the message. With a deep breath, he trudges home.
The lights are on when he approaches their gate. Jimin lets himself in, trying not to tremble, then spots a familiar pair of footwear outside their front door: his appa’s old, beat-up Timberlands. For a long moment he just stands and stares, eyes welling up. It’s been so long.
Heart in his throat, Jimin pushes the door open. The sound must alert everyone from inside, because the next thing he knows— “Park Jimin!” his mother’s tart voice barks, sharp but filled with worry. She rushes to the door. The Jihyun is there, clinging to one of Jimin’s arms.
“Just where have you been, young man? Do you know how worried we were? How could you…” His mother’s nagging falls away. Jimin’s lower lip wobbles when his gaze settles on the bearded man sheepishly rising from the armchair at the corner of the living room. “Jimin-ah.”
Jimin’s throat hurts. His eyes hurt. His stomach clenches. “Appa?” Both Jihyun and his mother pause, heads turning in the direction of the man behind. Appa looks… different. Tired. His face is gaunt, cheeks hollow and eyes sunken. He blinks back tears as he waves at him. “Hi.”
Jimin thought he’d be exhilarated and mad with relief if he ever saw his father back in the house again. Instead, a tangle of emotions so fierce it makes him emit a sob rises up in him, and he can’t begin to identify them one by one except for the most intense: anger and grief.
“You’re finally home,” he ekes out shakily, barely able to keep a straight face. His father nods, then looks down. “You, too.” Jimin’s bag thuds to the floor as his face crumples in tears. He hates the man. He loves this man. He never wants to see him again. He’s been waiting.
The man who was his father for over a decade and a half shuffles uncomfortably where he stands, unable to approach but unable to just watch. Jihyun crowds him and throws both arms around his midriff tightly. His mother rests a hand on his shoulder, eyes pained. “Have you eaten?”
——————————— Steam wafts from the pot of ginseng chicken soup in the middle of the table. As Jimin scoops out his own helping, it occurs to him how much he’s taken this image for granted: his family around the dinner table, sharing a warm meal altogether. He swallows back a sob.
They eat in silence until his eomma states, “I’m sure you know the gravity of your actions.” Jimin pretends not to have heard her, busying himself with scooping more broth. Jihyun kicks his shin under the table. With a reluctant sigh, Jimin nods. “What do you have to say?”
“I’m sorry,” Jimin bites out in a clipped tone. But is he really sorry for what he did? He can’t quite tell. He does, however, regret making his eomma and friends worry. “For making you worry. But I went to a friend’s place in Daegu, so I was safe.” “And who was this friend?”
Jimin absently swirls his spoon into his bowl. “Just someone from childhood.” “Park Jimin.” His mother’s eyes are hawk-like, searching his face. “Tell me who this friend was. I can’t have you running around like a homeless kid. What if he’s in a drug ring—“ “He’s not!”
Jimin lets his spoon clatter against the bowl’s edge. “He’s Min Yoongi, and he’s given me more support and advice than you ever have, because you’re ALWAYS working, never have time for me or Jihyun—“ “Jimin,” his father warns. “No, no you don’t get to shush me!” Jimin snaps.
His father blanches, eyes wide with hurt, but screws his mouth shut. “Min Yoongi,” his eomma repeats, eyebrows knitted close. “Don’t tell me… that boy from your elementary school’s penpal program? You still talk?” She scoffs. “I can’t believe you went to a stranger’s house!”
“Eomma.” Jimin feels heat rising up his neck, the telltale signs of fury making his head feel overloaded. “He’s not a stranger. We’ve been friends for years.” “Do you even KNOW him? Do I know his parents?” His mother challenges. “How could you?! Did his parents allow your stay?”
Jimin fights back a new legion hot tears. “No, but his hyung knew—“ “That is still very concerning, Park Jimin. You’re only kids, you need parental guidance. How irresponsible could you get?” His mother retorts. She holds out a hand. “Give me your phone. You are grounded.”
“What?” Jimin’s voice climbs an octave in hysteria. “You can’t do that. I need it—“ “Phone. Now.” His mother holds her ground. “Young man, you are grounded for two weeks. That means your only destinations are school, or home. No extracurriculars or trips with friends, either.”
Jimin bites his lower lip so hard he tastes something metallic. He’s seconds away from lashing out, from screaming at their cruel unfairness, but then his eyes latch onto a pale-faced Jihyun sitting across the table, eyes wide and glistening, two hands over his ears.
Jimin gulps back his sharp words and stomps away from the dining room to snatch his phone out of his bag’s side pockets. He grits his teeth so hard his jaw hurts. With a heavy chest, he all but slams the device into his mother’s outstretched palm. “Good. Take this as a lesson.”
Jimin marches back to his seat with a huff. “If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that running away is the key to putting the family back together.” He sends his appa a pointed glare. At this, his parents exchange mutual frowns. “About that,” says his father, tone uncertain.
Years of growing up wary of his parents’ moods have taught Jimin to be hypervigilant. The warning bells in his head begin to ring, and he sits up with a stiff back. He watches his parents dodge the topic. “You tell them,” says his father. “You do it. Be responsible for this.”
“Tell us what?” Jimin’s gut is twisting like a basket of snakes. He’s too afraid to breathe. His father rubs a palm over his face. “I didn’t want to have to do this in front of food.” “What?” Jimin’s chest is tightening. “Jimin-ah. Appa and Eomma aren’t getting back together.”
If he were fully honest with himself, it’s not like Jimin didn’t see it coming. While he’d blindly clung onto childish belief, a deeper gut feeling told him otherwise. For the rest of dinner, his parents launch a monologue about “custody” and “start over” and “finalize things”.
Jimin notices how his parents don’t raise a question about who stays with who and where. Jihyun must be curious about the same thing, because for the first time the young boy raises his head and asks in a small, frightened voice, “C-Can I stay in Busan?” Jimin fights a sniffle.
Their mother lets out a sigh. “Appa is in no position to take care of you. He has… many scores to settle with some uncles.” Jihyun’s face falls. “Can hyung and I stay with halmeoni and harabeoji?” “They can barely take care of their health. So no, not when I have the custody.”
Looking into his little brother’s shattered expression and defeated slouch, for the first time in his life Jimin wishes he were older. If he were of legal age he could take off to a different province and start anew, just the two of them. He could find work and support Jihyun.
But he is just a kid who has no means of getting by, and the avenues are so very limited for people like Jimin, who have no wealth nor strong connections with people who can help them. Teeth clenched, he trudges away from the table to enter his room. “Jimin—“ He slams the door.
————— In the house opposite Jimin’s, a boy with headphones feels a ~shift~ in the air and finally looks up from the video editing software he’s been immersed in. It’s not the first time he’s convinced he might be a clairvoyant. Jungkook wheels his chair to his window, frowning.
The way their houses are built side by side makes it possible for his and Jimin’s bedroom windows to be directly opposite each other’s. So when Jungkook looks across, ready to nag at Jimin for causing a storm of worry all day, he finds his friend curled up on his bed, head down.
This will not do. This is a crisis.
————— When Jimin hears a thump at his windowpane, he first dismisses it as one of the naked branches of the tree outside his bedroom rapping against the glass. He ignores it, keeping his head down while he hugs his knees close. /Thump./ “Go away,” Jimin grumbles. /Thump./
Irritated, Jimin’s head snaps up. He throws a glare at the window, only for his expression to soften into surprise when he spots Jungkook leaning out and waving from his own bedroom. /Hyung!/ Jungkook mouths, his figure only half illuminated by the streetlights. Jimin sighs.
He crawls to his window and pushes it open. /What?/ he mouths back. Jungkook’s head whips left and right, then disappears from view as his bends over his desk to grab something. When he reappears, there is something in his hand. He tosses it deftly towards Jimin’s window.
It enters his room and lands square on the floor. Jimin picks it up—a heavy eraser with a crumpled note wrapped around it. He lifts the sheet of paper to read Jungkook’s messy scrawl. /hi bro??? welcome back. are you grounded. HAHAHA/ Jimin rolls his eyes, but his rage melts.
He scribbles a hasty reply into a torn sheet of notebook paper, wraps it around the eraser, then hurls it back at Jungkook’s expectant hands, cupped together in preparation to catch. /Yea. 2 weeks. No phone. Really pissed./ - jm
/shiiiiiit. that bad?/ - jk /yes. appa is here. things are messy. can your family adopt us? haha./ - jm /im not sure ‘cos we are gonna adopt new dogs soon…i need to ask my parents/ - jk Jimin’s eyes mist over as he reads the note. How he wishes it was that simple.
/can you come down to our gate? i got news./ - jm /now???/ - jk /yep. i can’t leave the house so i’ll stay in./ - jm After Jungkook reads the note, he looks up and sends Jimin two thumbs up. Jimin barges out of his bedroom. “Where are you going?” asks his mother. “Garden.”
As the ruthless cold of the autumn night hits him square in the face, Jimin burrows deeper into his cardigan. He makes it all the way to the gate, where Jungkook is already standing, two big, doe eyes peering through the gaps. “What /happened/?” he asks. Jimin sighs heavily.
“You have to keep it a secret for now, swear by it.” “I swear,” Jungkoo says solemnly, crossing his heart. “Appa and Eomma are separating,” Jimin states blankly, a tiredness seeping into his bones. Jungkook blinks. “Huh.” “And we’re moving houses.” Silence. Then, “HUH?”
Jimin nods, unsure how he could have dropped the bomb any better. “Yeah.” “You’re joking,” Jungkook laments, his eyes wide with denial. He leans closer and wraps both hands around the railings of Jimin’s iron gate. “Hyung. Hyung, you’re not going, right?” Jimin remains silent.
Jungkook falters. He peppers the tense silent between them with occasional bouts of ‘huhs’ and ‘no ways’, before shaking his head. “But what about our snack runs?” Jimin’s lips tremble. He shrugs. “BTZ will have a comeback soon, too. We were supposed to do a dance cover again.”
Jimin sniffles and shakes his head. “I don’t know.” Jungkook lets out a sharp noise of disbelief. “Buh- but. I don’t get it. We were gonna attend the same high school. You were supposed to be my sunbae. You said you wanted to bully me when I become freshman!” “I’m sorry, Kook.”
A quiet whine punches out of Jungkook’s mouth, and when Jimin looks up he’s hit with the nostalgic image of exactly how he met his neighbor that first day, several years ago: Jungkook wiping snot from his nose, eyes red. “That’s so sudden,” Jungkook mutters. “That’s cheating.”
“You should go back and rest,” Jimin says kindly, making sure not to show too much distress. “I’ll send you a note tomorrow or something. It’s not good to be out like this when you’re just wearing your pj’s, Kook-ah. You’ll catch a cold.” “I don’t want you to go,” Jungkook says.
“I won’t go anywhere soon,” Jimin reassures, reaching through the gate to pinch Jungkook’s cheek. “When are you moving?” Jimin’s shoulder droop. “Eomma said winter break, after my semester ends. We have a few more weeks.” Jungkook’s eyes turn glassy, filled with quiet sadness.
“Where are you moving? Seoul? We can meet on weekends.” Jimin’s expression darkens. “Australia.” Jungkook looks absolutely horrified. “Eiii,” Jimin clucks his tongue and yanks both of Jungkook’s cheeks sideways. “None of that depressed look. Don’t think too much about it.”
Jungkook’s nose scrunches as he sniffles. “It’s not fair.” “Yah, why are you reacting so sadly!” Jimin feigns a teasing tone. “It’s not like you’re the one affected. Cut it out, bro.” “I’m not just sad ‘cause I won’t have a neighbor soon. I’m sad for hyung. It’s not fair.”
Jimin takes in a long, stuttering breath to calm the new wave of ache that washes over him. He fakes a snort and ruffles Jungkook’s hair. “Ugh, look at you. So snotty! Clean yourself up, Jeon Jungkook. Go back inside now, leave me alone, I’m sleeeepy.”
Jungkook swats his hand away and ducks out of Jimin’s reach, running back to his front door. “Don’t squish me or I’ll tell your eomma you bully me!” “I’m just making up for all the years I won’t get to bully you!” Jimin calls out. “I hate you!” “Go sleep, stupid.”
(For someone who claims to hate Jimin, he sure makes a lot of effort when, the next morning, Jimin finds a brown paper bag of bungeo-ppang snacks on the brick wall between their gardens.)
————— Jimin supposes that being grounded DOES help him focus on getting his homework done faster. But once he’s finished with schoolwork, he realizes how reliant he’s become on his phone for entertainment, and communication. He hasn’t even texted Yoongi yet. It’s the worst.
To keep his idle mind from worrying to much, Jimin plays board games with Jihyun, and then decides to inspect the garden later that afternoon. It’s been a while since he checked the seedlings from Yoongi. Heck, they might be dead. So it’s a small mercy when he finds otherwise.
He crouches to a squat, slack-jawed with awe. What were the odds that they would grow? “Nice sprouts you’ve got there.” At the familiar voice, Jimin stands & faces the gate to find Namjoon, grinning as he peeks in. “Hyung.” “Hey.” Namjoon sends a wave and another easy smile.
Jimin scampers towards the gate. “I can’t join your snack run today. Sorry, bro. I got grounded.” Namjoon shakes his head. “I’m not here for that. It’s just…” He leans closer and lowers his voice. “I got a call from the same person as yesterday. EatJin?” Jimin’s pulse spikes.
“That’s Yoongi-hyung’s brother.” “Yeah.” Namjoon continues, “Anyway, he and his brother were just wondering if you were home already, since you weren’t answering your phone last night. Which is also why I came by to check.” Jimin makes a face. “I lost my phone privileges.”
“Right. That makes sense.” Namjoon scans Jimin’s face. “How do you feel? You look really troubled.” Jimin raises both eyebrows. “I- I do?” “Yes.” Namjoon cocks his head. “Did anything happen in Daegu?” They way he says it, it’s almost like he’s certain of the answer.
There’s always been something about the way Namjoon looks at Jimin, as if he knows things that Jimin doesn’t. Which probably makes sense, given that he is older, but still. It’s unnerving how right he is. Jimin swallows back a squeak and shakes his head. “Everything’s cool.”
As much as he wants to confide in Namjoon, to scream every doubt and confusion and hear what the elder has to say, how is he supposed to articulate things he doesn’t have the vocabulary for? Jimin can’t even digest his family situation, let alone relive that bus stop moment.
“Is it really?“ Namjoon prompts, leaning against the gate. Jimin shrugs. He doesn’t have the capacity to mull over anything related to Yoongi. What happened in Daegu should stay there. “It’s a mess. I dunno. I’m confused.” “It’s okay to be,” Namjoon says. “Not knowing is fine.”
Jimin crosses his arms, scrunching his face. “I feel…I feel stupid. It just hit me that I really am just a kid, y’know? Powerless. And I don’t know things. Many things. And everything is going to fall apart because of me.” “That’s not true. You just need to sort your thoughts.”
Jimin clenches his fists. “I just wish I could do something.“ He doesn’t even know if he’s still means Yoongi, or his overall situation anymore. “Sorry. It’s a lot.” Namjoon watches him carefully, then shrugs. “It’s normal.” “I can’t talk to him.” “Why?” “Don’t wanna.”
“Why don’t you want to?” Namjoon presses. Jimin grows hesitant. Why /doesn’t/ he? Because of what he did at the bus stop, Yoongi might start treating him coldly or worse, laugh it off. And Jimin can’t take that kind of rejection right now—not when everything is too fraught.
Jimin shakes his head slowly. “I don’t know what he’d say. And anyway, my phone’s not with me, so there’s no point.” “So you don’t want to be his friend anymore?” “It’s not that! I just… let me breathe. I have exams and eomma is already discussing passport stuff, I need time.”
His fingers creep to the chain around his neck, turning over the silver pendant resting on his collarbone. Jimin already misses him. But for the first time in a long time, he realizes he can’t bring himself to be as honest as he wants with Yoongi anymore. “Is that from him?”
Jimin nods and sighs. He doesn’t make any additional remarks. Namjoon gives a hum of understanding. “Well, take it day by day, bro. I’ll just let them know you need downtime. I’m sure they’ll get it.” An appreciative smile tugs at Jimin’s mouth. “Thanks, bro.” “No prob, bro.”
A week comes and goes in a dizzying blur. With finals looming and his phone still out of reach, Jimin throws himself into his studies. Funny how school becomes an escape when real life gets too shitty. His appa disappears soon after. Neither Jimin nor Jihyun bother asking why.
Jimin gets so frazzled with daily chores and responsibilities that it comes as a sincere surprise when he finds a letter in their mailbox one fine Tuesday morning, all the way from Daegu. He stomach drops at the name of the sender: Min Yoongi. Here it is. An ultimatum.
The envelope doesn’t even have Yoongi’s trademark (-ㅅ-) face doodle next to his name, which stings. Jimin stashes the letter deep into his drawers without opening it. He can’t afford to get distracted, not when there are exam papers to get through in the next few days.
His exams week passes without a hitch—the one thing in his life that’s going right. On Sunday morning, when he is finally handed back his phone, the first thing Jimin does is text Jungkook. [pabo hyung] MY HOUSE ARREST IS LIFTED [aspiring dead body collector] happy_dancing.GIF
[pabo hyung] pokemon choco roll??? [aspiring dead body collector] race you to the store They spend the afternoon hopping in and out of the convenience stores around their neighborhood, searching for the most coveted bread among their peers. They find Namjoon at the first store.
“Oh?” Namjoon says when they tap his shoulder. “Yo!” For the first time in a long while, Jimin manages to grin freely. He and Jungkook give him matching salutes. “Yo!” “We’re here for Poke-rolls. I’m looking for an Eevie sticker,” Jungkook says as they go hoard the bread aisle.
To Jimin’s utter dismay, the space where the Pokemon choco rolls are usually displayed is completely wiped out. “Eh,” he mutters, frowning. “Somebody took ALL the Poke-rolls!” Jungkook exclaims. Out of the corner of his eye, Jimin spies Namjoon hightailing it out of the store.
Jimin points to the red-handed culprit. “GET HIM!” Jeon Jungkook turns slowly, eyes filling with a fury worthy of rivaling Goku’s, before dashing out of the convenience store. Jimin sprints after him, blood pumping with determined adrenaline. “Hoarding is cheating!” he screams.
“And stalking is a felony!” Namjoon’s shouts ring in the air as he, too, quickens his run, his footfalls heavy. “Shoo, shoo!” “Ah, hyung!” Jungkook cries, face crumpled with disappointment. “How could you take everything!” “First come first serve! Find another store, bye!”
Jimin slows to a jog and eventually stops, breathing raggedly as he bends to rest his hands on his knees. “Jungkook-ah, he’s right. We’ll find- more,” he gasps in lungfuls of air, “at other shops. Don’t waste your time dealing with a cheater.” Jungkook jerks his chin and sniffs.
“Fine,” he relents, and he and Jimin turn back to raid the rest of the neighborhood, arms slung over each other’s shoulders. Jimin wishes he could have more afternoons spent like these. It’s almost tragically funny, how much he’s taken snack runs with Jungkook for granted.
When they finally cop a few bags of Pokemon bread at the third convenience store, they both pump the air with whoops of victory. Celebration comes in the form of sitting outside the store’s sidewalk & sharing their sticker pulls. “Oh! I got Torchick!” Jimin exclaims. “Mewtwo.”
Jimin’s eyes go round. He leans over to snatch the sticker from Jungkook’s fingers. “Lemme see, lemme see!” Jungkook pulls it out of reach, beaming smugly. “Better luck next time.” “I’m gonna steal it when you sleep.” “I will NEVER sleep.“ Jimin sneers. “Friendship over.”
Jungkook rolls his eyes, then turns his attention back to his bread. “Sour grape.” Jimin smiles to himself and bites into his own choco roll. A comfortable silence passes between them, both boys just chewing on their hard-earned snack as they watch the sun begin to dip lower.
[a/n: this is a really sweet song for this scene]…
“Are there Koreans in Australia?” Jungkook asks, gaze trained on the sun. Jimin shrugs. “I hope so.” “I bet they don’t have Pokemon bread there, though.” “Shit. That’ll be a nightmare,” Jimin remarks. “But worse is—they won’t have any Jeon Jungkooks there, either,”
Jungkook nods casually, chewing on his bread. After a long moment, he declares, “Busan without Park Jimin is gonna stiiiink.” Jimin ducks his head to force down the sudden lump growing in his throat. In doing so, he chokes on his bread, eyes turning watery.
A waterbottle lands on his lap. “Chew slowly,” Jungkook advises. “Unlike you, the bread isn’t going anywhere.” Jimin smacks his arm while he takes a swig of water. “Screw you.” Jungkook giggles and holds out a peace sign. “I’ll come back.” “When?” “Dunno.” “Liar.”
It’s not a lie, Jimin realizes quietly, but more of a secret promise. To his friends, to Yoongi, to himself. He mulls it over on the walk home, until he’s back in his bedroom. His mood is better; an afternoon with his friends helped to calm his nerves. He glances at his drawer.
Gingerly, Jimin opens the Dreaded Drawer to retrieve the envelope he’s been ignoring for days. Before he can chicken out, he opens the seal to read.
“Jimin, Heard you’re grounded. Take your time. I meant it. We don’t have to talk about anything. I just wanted to show you this new frisbee hyung and I got. Cool, right? p.s when you feel ready to talk, I have something important to tell you. —Yoongi-hyung”
With a shaky exhale, Jimin lowers the letter and dips his fingers into the envelope to pull out a single photo of a blue frisbee. That’s it. Jimin sits on the bed, mind spinning and stomach churning. That’s it—Yoongi didn’t mention anything about Jimin’s bus shenanigans.
He must really be that humiliated if he’s not bringing it up. And that afterword… Jimin smacks his own forehead. /Something important/? It can’t be anything else but a rejection, right? Yoongi is being too nice. He wants Jimin to come forward himself so they can have closure.
In some ways, the let-down is better than he imagined, because Yoongi is as kind and gentle as usual. But in a way, it’s also worse, because Jimin can’t even bring himself to resent the guy for being too nice. He curls up in bed and tosses the letter on his desktop.
Since Yoongi told him to take his time, Jimin decides he might as well oblige. He’ll never be ready. Which means he’s not required to write back. Namjoon had also advised him to take it day by day, that it’s okay to sort himself out first. Technically, Jimin isn’t wrong to do so.
He’s more than desperate to knock on his mother’s door and beg for a way out, but this is a mess he’d gotten himself into. Moreover, what would she say if she found out Jimin kissed a boy? She has enough worries. Jimin can’t tell a soul. Not about his feelings or frustrations.
So he takes the high way by toughing it out & pretending there isn’t anything wrong. On the day they get their exam results back, Jimin still doesn’t feel ready. On the last day of the semester, Jimin still isn’t ready. At the airport’s departure lounge—still not ready.
—————— “You’ll never believe me,” Jimin says in front of his laptop’s front camera. “But December in Australia is /summer/. I want to bathe in ice.” “Heol.” Jungkook and Namjoon’s faces crowd the camera. “When is winter, then?!” “Mid-year. I know, crazy stuff.”
Moving into a new house wasn’t the hardest part of living in a new, different country. It’s getting used to the customs and the way people look at him when they realize his English is barely above conversational that sucks the most. “How’s English classes?” Namjoon asks. “Ugh.”
Jimin makes a sour face. “I think I’m gonna need your help. I’m okay with written quizzes but it’s hard getting Australian humor.” “Don’t worry. Soon enough, you’ll pick up their accent and blend in until we won’t even recognize your voice anymore,” Namjoon jokes. “Tutor meee.”
“If I’m free, maybe,” Namjoon concedes, then frowns. “But shouldn’t you have better English than me by now? It’s been a month!” Jimin snorts. “If anything, it’s gotten harder.” They chat casually, catching up and joking. “Jungkook-ah!” An off-cam voice screams. “Come help!”
“Ooop, that’s my eomma. Hang on.” Jungkook hands over his phone to Namjoon. “Be right back.” Namjoom shifts the camera until his face fills the screen. “So, bro. Have you gotten in touch with Yoongi yet? I haven’t heard from EatJin-ssi so I thought…” Jimin’s smile drops. “No.”
Namjoon’s forehead creases. “You mean you never texted again? He doesn’t know you’re in Perth?” “He told me to take my time until I’m ready!” Jimin points out petulantly. “So… I’m just biding my time.” Even miles away, he can feel Namjoon’s disapproving, tight-jawed stare.
“I can’t believe you. Go text him!” “I don’t have his number memorized. And I deleted my Kakao,” Jimin says, his stomach growing queasy. “Then how were you planning to reply to him?“ Namjoon asks. Jimin bites his lip. “I know his address by heart. I’ll just… write him?”
“Jimin,” Namjoon says with a small sigh. “You can be honest with me, you know that, right?” Jimin puffs up his cheeks stubbornly, then sighs. “Yes.” “Why are you avoiding Yoongi?” “I’m not!” “You are. C’mon, what really happened in Daegu? Did he hug you?” Jimin balks. “No?”
Namjoon narrows his eyes. “Did he—did he try to do anything to you? Hurt you? If he forced anything—“ “I kissed him, okay!” Jimin blurts, heart pounding. He looks at his bedroom door to make sure the lock is pushed in, then lowers his voice to a frantic whisper. “I— we… urrgg.”
The video call goes silent. Jimin forces his gaze on his keyboard. Great. Now Namjoon knows, and he’s going to lose whatever respect he had for Jimin, which is such a shame because Jimin admires the guy so much— “And how did it feel?” Namjoon asks slowly. Jimin blinks.
“Wha…?” Jimin painstakingly lifts his eyes to the video call, stunned to find that Namjoon doesn’t look dismayed or amused, but curious. Like he’s taking Jimin’s confession seriously. “You kissed him. How did it feel?” Namjoon repeats. “Gross?” “What- no!” Jimin cries.
Namjoon nods like a scientist inspecting a petri dish, a small smile pulling at the corners of his lips. “And?” Jimin’s cheeks are burning. “And what?” “Did he kiss you back?” “He- I can’t remember. It was too quick. We were saying bye and I hopped on the bus after.”
“And you haven’t spoken since?” Namjoon says. Jimin shakes his head. “I’m scared, hyung. What if he- what if he hates what I did?” “You’ll never know until you talk to the guy, bro. Only he can answer that,” Namjoon explains patiently. “Which is why I suggest writing him now.”
Jimin bites on the insides of his cheeks, trying not to let shame overwhelm him. “Okay.” “HELLO~” Jungkook’s voice chirps in seconds before his face appears next to Namjoon’s. “I’m back, hoho.” “Just in time for our AOT anime discussion,” Namjoon says affectionately.
Jungkook whistles. “I wanna be Reiner’s friend. He seems cool.” Namjoon snorts. “Wait ‘til you reach the later seasons. Anyway, Jimin, remember what I said, okay?” Jimin manages a wan smile. “Yeah.” “What? What was it?” Jungkook asks. “Uh… Pokemon Go hacks,” Namjoon says.
————— Jimin sits in front of his desk, pen hovering over a sheet of paper. Birds are chirping outside the window, too peaceful against the hammering of his heart. It’s suddenly so much harder to write when there’s so much to say. Where does he even begin? Jimin inhales deeply.
“Dandelion hyung, I’m in Australia. Things didn’t work out between my parents. I’m sorry it took so long. And for making you wait. I needed time to figure myself out. That time at the bus stop, I kissed you because I needed to confirm. Now I’m sure. I like you. Yours, Jimin.”
Posting a letter has never been more nerve-wracking. Jimin has to take calming breaths as he hesitates outside the postbox, & squeals when the letter finally drops from his fingers. He paces back and forth several minutes afterwards, just in time to see the mailman collect them.
No takebacks now. Jimin will perhaps move to another new city and claim a new identity for himself now. Or maybe he will hide in a cave until he gets a reply. All week, he’s been so focused on when he would get answer that he forgot to consider /if/ he would even get one.
A week passes, then two. Nothing. The anticipation that’s been building in his chest slowly morphs into anxiety, and later resentment. In January, he and Namjoon hold a video call again, and he confides all that he’s done so far. Namjoon listens without interruption, frowning.
“Do you think maybe he moved away?” Jimin frets, twisting the hem of his shirt. “If the whole family did, the letter would get bounced back, no?” says Namjoon. “So, that’s odd.” Great. Just great. Jimin groans. “Do you still have EatJin’s number?” “Yeah, hold on.”
Namjoon dials on his phone, his frown deepening after several moments. “Huh. It says the number is not in use. Do you remember his address? I can maybe check for you. Send a letter.” Jimin recites Yoongi’s address by heart, his worry barely relieved by Namjoon’s promise to help.
He decides to do a bit of sleuthing on his own. If Yoongi’s family moved away, that would reflect on Seokjin’s mukbang videos, right? Seokjin always talks about where he eats. He checks the YouTuber’s channel, only for his heart to sink—every video was based in Korea recently.
Which means Yoongi’s family is safe and sound in their home country. The initial resentment in Jimin grows into a full-blown, fiery bitterness. After baring his heart out, Yoongi is ignoring him back. So much for taking his time. Jimin shakes his head. “How petty, Min Yoongi.”
🏵️🍊 🏵️🍊 🏵️🍊 🏵️🍊 🌟 END OF HIGH SCHOOL ERA 🌟 College childhood friends-to-enemies-to-lovers, anyone? :] If you would like to help me save up for my college summer exchange this year, my Ko-fi is below hehe:
Jungkook’s English Poetry Assignment, two weeks after Jimin’s family moved out
:] surprise~^^
adubu ☁︎

adubu ☁︎

Dear My Friend🌱: Yoongi’s Letters 💌 • patreon content • i hope this explains something! Read here: 💌
🍊🏵️🍊🏵️🍊🏵️🍊🏵️🍊 [1 AND A HALF YEARS LATER]
“So, we’re going to have a new appa,” says Jimin candidly, inspecting his nails while leaning back on his reclining computer armchair. Jungkook’s confounded face fills the laptop screen on the table before him. “Your eomma is remarrying?” Jimin shrugs. “I’m not buying it.”
“What, that your eomma will marry again?” “That anyone can ever step in as my appa,” Jimin sniffs. He tamps down the age-old bitterness in his heart with a ninchalant shrug. “I always knew that lawyer was fishy from the get-go. He was too friendly to Jihyun.” “Sus.” “Mm, sus.”
What Jimin appreciates about his friendship with his ex-neighbor during the time they’ve been apart is this: Jungkook never presses. He has a way of making things seem carefree and innocent. He won’t ask, /Will you like him as a dad?/ because he knows it’s a given—Jimin doesn’t.
“How’s Jihyun anyway?” Jungkook says as he grabs an apple from somewhere behind his laptop camera. Jimin cringes. “He’s gotten so moody and edgy, Kook. I can’t believe that brat’s my brother. He started wearing black all the time and only listens to bands I’ve never heard of.”
Jungkook hums. “Maybe he’s going through the p-word.” “P-word?” Jungkook lowers his voice and leans towards the camera. “Puberty, hyung. Sounds like he’s pubertizing.” Jimin muffles a snort. “Well I miss my little brother. I share a home with an English-speaking stranger now!”
“Well, maybe if you tried harder at English you’d get along better with him,” comments Jungkook. Jimin scowls at him. It’s not like he hasn’t heen trying! “Look who’s talking, mister 4/100 in English,” taunts Jimin. “Namjoon-hyung tutors me well enough, okay. How is he, anyway?”
At this, Jungkook’s face splits into a proud grin. “Aced the college entrance exams, as usual. He’s deciding between SNU, KU and Yonsei.” “Those are literally the SKY unis,” Jimin gives a low whistle, nodding. “Amazing.” “And I’m gonna follow him,” Jungkook announces firmly.
Jimin’s eyebrows shoot up to his forehead. “Dude, you’re literally a freshman.” “Almost a junior,” Jungkook corrects. “You should focus on enjoying your time! Why rush?” “Because then Namjoon-hyung is moving to Seoul,” Jungkook mutters. “And I can’t get there fast enough.”
“Why him, anyway?” Jimin chuckles, endeared by Jungkook’s determination. Judging by the look on his friend’s face, there is no swaying him. “I trust him. I want to be around him when I become a grown-up. If it’s not him, it’s weird.” Jungkook shrugs, scratching his arm absently.
The words send a pang through Jimin, making him fall silent for several moments. Once upon a time, he used to have someone for whom he felt the same way. “‘If it’s not him, it’s weird’, huh?” He leans forward on the desk. “Jungkook, listen. Don’t depend too much on hyung.”
Jungkooo arches a skeptical eyebrow at him. “Say whaaat…?” “I know he’s great and wonderful and smart and kind and perfect, but don’t bet all your cards on him. He’s our friend, I know, but I care about you, too. Is there a reason you wanna study in Seoul apart from him?”
Jungkook nods, the determination in his eyes never once fading. “Film. I can major in it in one of the Seoul institutions.” Jimin’s shoulders relax. “That’s good, then.” “What about you, hyung?“ asks Jungkook. “Aren’t you graduating next year? It’ll be your turn to plan.”
Jimin cocks his head to one side, tongue playing with his inner cheeks. “College, huh?” He supposes he could just attend a local uni in Perth—the education here is not bad, and if he’s honest he’s slowly starting to get used to it here. Still, nothing beats the comfort of home.
And once he is legal, he could technically just up and leave to go wherever he wants. It’s not the first time that the thought of moving back with his appa—his real appa in Busan—crossed Jimin’s mind. He sighs. “I’ll worry about that once I turn 18.” Just then, his phone rings.
Jimin excuses himself from the video calls and spins on his armchair as he answers the call. “Hello?” “Yo, Jimbo!” a jolly voice chirps out loud. “Party at my place tomorrow night? Summer, so pool’s open. Bring only yourself and good vibes.” “Jackson—“ “See you there!”
Jimin smiles to himself and answers in Korean, “Alright.” “Hooo, am I hearing this right? Park Jimin is actually attending one of my parties?” Jackson whistles. “After one year of trying, maybe my extreme charisma is finally influencing you.” “Maybe I’m just feeling kind.”
Jackson barks out a laugh. “See ya tomorrow night!” Jimin hangs up and places his phone back on the table, shaking his head. “Sorry ‘bout that, Kook. What a persistent guy.” Jungkook grins. “Congrats on finally having friends. Is he also Korean?”
Jimin hums. “Met him through the youth support group at the church our family attende every Sunday. Eomma figured out pretty quick that the way to meet other Koreans in a foreign country is through church, so.” Jackson isn’t exactly there to pray though, but to ‘create networks’.
Jungkook chortles. “He sounds like fun. I’d wanna hang out with him, too. Don’t be a party pooper, okay?” “Hey, I’m fun,” Jimin retorts with a pout, though the silence that lingers afterwards speaks for itself. “Heol. Hyung, don’t tell me this is going to be your first party?”
“No comment,” says Jimin. “It is, isn’t it?” Jungkook cackles. “That’s so cool. Will there be foreigners around?” “How am I supposed to know?!” “Maybe you can finally find a girlfriend there. Or boyfriend.” “Mmm,” Jimin says noncommittaly, shyness rising in him.
He doesn’t know how Jungkook knows his… well, his whole sexual crisis, but once again it’s like Jungkook could /tell/ without having to ask. Jimin wets his lips, unsure how to skirt around something he’s never openly spoken about. It’s not like he’s sure of himself, anyway.
Because sure, while sexual education in Australia is better than in South Korea, and there’s more awareness about different identities, ever since Yoongi ghosted him, Jimin hasn’t truly allowed himself to explore how he feels, or what his likes and dislikes are. He’s been busy.
“Lighten up, hyung,” Jungkook’s voice pulls him out of his reverie. “You’ve been working hard. It’s okay to take a break and party, hohooo. You can do it!” Jimin manages a half-hearted smile. “Thanks, Kook.”
People his age are already lingering around the steps leading up to the front porch of the Wang residence by the time Jimin arrives. Heavy bass music pulses from the inside, so loud that Jimin can’t be imagining the way the pavement below him is quaking ever so slightly.
He halts a few steps short of the house, contemplating. It strikes him that he doesn’t really know how to be a ‘common teenager’ like his classmates. In Busan, his world had been so small. He had his close circle of friends who all spoke Korean. Maybe he should just go home.
But before he can turn around and scamper away, the front door swings open to reveal none other than the young master of the house himself, a red cup in one hand and a a hula hoop (???) in another. “Park Jwemenn, my dude!” Jackson hollers, eyes shining. “Finally. Come on in!”
And then Jimin is getting swept into a home that smells like an odd combination of energy drinks, pizza and a stronger scent that can’t be anything other than alcohol. “We’re having a hula hoop battle!” yells Jackson, handing Jimin a neon pink one. “How good is your hip game?”
“My- my what?” “Never mind.” Jackson claps Jimin in the shoulder before giving him a slight push in the direction of the living room. “I nominate you, Park Jimin! Let’s see if you’ve got what it takes to be a hula master. Hey, hey Mark! Who’ve you got competing from your group?”
“We’re betting on this one here,” a blonde-haired guy who must be Mark answers, tugging another boy sporting golden highlights over silky black hair. “Taemin beat the others from all the previous rounds.” Jimin gulps, unable to peel his eyes from his competitor. How /pretty/.
“Step out, step out, you two!” Jackson grabs a hairbrush and pretends to use it as a microphone. Jimin yelps as he gets shoved in Taemin’s direction, his neck warming at the bashful but cheeky smile that the other boy sends his way. “This is round one of the Hula Challenge. Go!”
Time blurs by. If you ask him, Jimin would honestly be anywhere than here, forced to shake and shake his hips to keep the hula hoop from touching the floor. How did he even end up here? But then Taemin’s hula hoop hits the ground barely 15 seconds in, to his supporters’ dismay.
Surprised, Jimin forgets to move, and his own hula clatters to the floor shortly after. “Aw, man!” someone cries. “WHAT! After you beat the last 3 guys? Taemin, are you that tired?!” “Sorry, Minho-hyung.” Taemin bends down to pick up Jimin’s hoop, smiling. “Looks like I lost.”
He cranes his neck up to pass Jimin the hula hoop, dark eyes catching the twinkle of the purple-blue-green lights from the living room’s ceiling, and Jimin almost forgets his own name. “Yes!” Jackson screams, pumping a fist in the air. “I knew I count on you, Jimothy!”
More cheers rise from Jackson’s side, ringing in Jimin’s ears. Shit. As much as he adores attention, Jimin isn’t equipped well enough to deal with this much all at once, especially from people he barely knows. Especially under the scrutiny of a very cute (& possibly older) guy.
So he does what he knows best. Turning on his heel, Jimin excuses himself with a squeak and scuttles out of the living room. Anywhere but the spotlight. Ever since he arrived in this country, he’s wanted nothing but to blend in. He heads to the kitchen to grab a drink.
To his dismay, Jimin can’t locate any pitcher of plain water or an untouched carton of juice. He knows about the drinking habits of Australian kids, of course, but he just doesn’t feel like glugging liquor right now. Besides, it’s not allowed! He’ll only turn 18 in a few months!
“Can I get you anything, dearie?” Another blonde-haired guy asks in Korean. Jimin turns around to find a guy leaning across the kitchen island, batting his eyelashes at him. “Um. Just juice?” says Jimin. The guy laughs and pushes a red cup his way. “Here, have some orange.”
Jimin nods in thanks and grabs the cup, raising it to his lips. “I wouldn’t drink that, if you just want juice,” interjects a silken, lilting voice. Lowering the cup, Jimin turns to find his competitor from earlier standing a a few feet away, hands in his red baseball jacket.
Taemin walks over and gently coaxes the cup out of Jimin’s grasp, before returning it to the blonde guy who had served. “Kibum-hyung, seriously. This isn’t juice, is it?” Kibum snorts and raises two hands in surrender. “Fine, it’s a mixer. But there IS orange in it!”
Taemin rolls his eyes and turns to Jimin. “These guys are smashed, sorry ‘bout that. But don’t worry, I’ve got you. Take my sports drink. I haven’t drunk from it.” He hands Jimin a cold bottle, and Jimin uncaps it with a muttered ‘thanks’, all while thinking— /I’ve got you./
How could 3 words bring back such a whiplash of unwarranted emotions? Jimin’s heart might choke on the sudden swell of nostalgia inside of him, if he goes on like this. He looks up at Taemin, wide-eyed. “Thanks again.” Taemin shrugs, beaming. “Just looking out for the newbies.”
Jimin cocks his head to one side. “How’d you know I’m new?” “Well, I’ve never seen your face around here before,” Taemin answers, his eyes softening with a curious twinkle. “And I’m pretty sure I’d remember you if we’ve met before.” Jimin wants to believe he’s sincere. “Same.”
Taemin tilts his head, studying him. “Your name is Park Jimin, right?” Jimin nods. “And… you’re Taemin?” “Lee Taemin, yep. Graduated this year. Jackson begged us to come to his reunion bash.” So he’s a year younger than Yoo— no, he’s only a year older than Jimin himself.
Jimin decides he can get with that. Maybe being friends with a cool senior will help break him out of his shell, who knows? “You’ve been living in Perth for…?” “Oh, I grew up here. Moved with my family when I was 7, I don’t remember,” Taemin chuckles. “My Korean’s quite rusty.”
Jimin giggles. “I could teach you..?” “Free of charge, please, otherwise I’d have to repay you some other way,” Taemin jokes as they sit, and only then does Jimin realize they’ve moved away from the kitchen to find free space on a couch. “I could think of ways to charge you.”
Taemin throws his head back with a soft wheeze, turning his body to face Jimin. “Are you flirting with me right now?” In a stroke of boldness and honesty, Jimin shrugs. “Do you want it to be?” /Maybe you’ll finally find a girlfriend. Or boyfriend./ Jungkook would be proud.
Jimin lifts the energy drink between them. “How about this. Need me to repay you?” He inches closer to whisper this to Taemin, highly aware of the heat between their bodies. There’s not much logic to this. Not knowing Taemin makes it easier. Taemin huffs. “You’re confident.”
Jimin leans back and gnaws on his bottom lip, lowering his gaze. He can feel the bass music thumping in time with his hesrtbeat. He’s mildly aware of the bodies standing around their couch, pressing against one another. What is he even doing, really? “I’m not. I’m terrified.”
Jungkook was right about him. He’d been grinding himself to death all this time, and now Jimin feels like a coil of spring wrung too tight from unbidden pressure. He swallows thickly. “I don’t really know what I’m doing. But I like this, right now. Feeling no pressure.”
Taemin surveys him for a long moment, then leans forward and rests his chin on one palm. “Okay.” He tilts his head, eyes kind. “No pressure, then. Is this your way of saying you feel attracted to me?” Jimin shrugs. “I…I can’t say.” “Would you like me to kiss you to find out?”
Out of habit, Jimin’s fingers come up to cradle the silver guitar pick pendant resting between his collarbones. He gnaws on the insides of his cheeks. “Just kissing?” The corners of Taemin’s eyes bunch up softly. “If you want.” Heart leaping, Jimin closes the gap between them.
🍊🏵️🍊🏵️🍊🏵️🍊🏵️🍊 They don’t date. When the party ends at daybreak and Jimin’s mouth is red and swollen from having the living daylights kissed out of him, Taemin scribbles his social media username into his wrist and disappears with his friends. It’s… exhilarating, really.
If kissing Yoongi had made Jimin realize how he’s been banging his fists against an imaginary bolted door his whole life, then kissing Taemin was the final key to getting the floodgates to open. Suddenly, kissing boys doesn’t seem too daunting of a challenge anymore.
It’s like being struck with lightining, and he’s more aware of himself now more than ever. Because of his suddenly-earned reputation as a Hula Master, Jimin finds himself getting invited to more parties over the next few months. He gets picky with clothes, dyes his hair blonde.
His eomma claims she’s watching her son turn into a stranger, but Jimin would beg to differ. Just like how his little brother is turning into some kind of emo goth punk rocker (Jihyun recently picked up drums and guitar), Jimin has never felt more… complete, and sure of himself.
He joins his high school’s debate team to improve his confidence. On top of public speaking skills, he learns just how fucking huge and diverse the world is, and so many current affairs and injustices to be /angry/ about. Busan had been a small world. Perth, on the other hand…
“I needed it,” Jimin explains when Jungkook’s eyes practically pop out of their sockets the moment Jimin’s blonde hair appears onscreen. Jimin flips his hair this way and that. “I’m growing it out. Maybe dye it peach.”
“You look like an m-word!” Jungkook exclaims. Jimin flinches. /Marigold?/ “I mean, being blonde isn’t about representing a flower—“ “A mochi!” Jungkook says, showing two thumbs up. “Do you have girlfriend or boyfriend yet?!” Jimin pauses, then chuckles. “I have partners…?”
Jungkook spits out the banana milk he’s drinking halfway. “What do you mean, ‘partners’?!” “As in, I don’t attach myself to one.” “You cheat on everyone?” “No! Kook, what the hell. I mean I don’t fall into committed relationships. I just… go to parties and have fun.”
Jungkook tilte his head in a puppylike manner. “So you just go around kissing whoever? Why would you do that?” “Because it’s just… fun?” Jimin shrugs. “I don’t know. A cultural difference, maybe. I’m still figuring things out. And besides, it’s not like I sleep around.”
Jungkook’s face turns crestfallen. “Wah, hyung. You’re so grown-up now.” He chuckles and sips his banana milk sadly. “Everyone’s going so fast, but I’m still here. Heh.” The droopy doe eyes are too much for Jimin’s eyes to handle. “Don’t rush so much, Kook. Just be yourself!”
Jungkook sighs and looks out to tbe distance, “Sometimes, I can still hear Jimin-hyung’s voice…” Jimin rolls his eyes. “I didn’t DIE, idiot.” “Will you still drink banana milk with me sometimes?” Jungkook asks, face troubled. “You’ve started drinking, haven’t you?” “Nope.”
Jimin holds up two fingers. “I have two months to go before I’m legal. Heee.” “Heee,” Jungkook mimics. He raises his banana milk. “A toast to our minor-ness, then?” Lifting his own glass of lime juice from his desk, Jimin grins. “Cheers to us, bestie.”
The partying rages on, and Jimin’s mother’s rage grows bigger. By now she’s married that show-off of a lawyer, but Jimin could hardly care. Not even when she threatens to kick him out. Every now and then, Jimin crosses paths with Taemin, and they fall back into their patterns.
On his 18th birthday, Jackson throws a party in his name (much to Jimin’s amusement; the guy could throw a party in the name Good Weather, really, he just needs the bare minimum excuse), and Taemin turns up with his own crew again. By now they’ve been on and off for months.
Making out with Taemin is like resorting to a beloved chocolate brand after a hellish exams week. Jimin crawls into his lap as soon as he finds Taemin alone on one of the bean bags, and makes out with him for so long he ends up tugging Jimin up to one of the rooms upstairs.
Flushed and buzzing with the alcohol in his blood, Jimin groans when Taemin starts palming him through his leather jeans, a shudder tingling down his spine. But when Taemin starts unzipping his pants— “Wait, wait,” Jimin pants, detaching his lips and stepping back. “Um.”
“Yeah?” Taemin’s inky eyes rove over him, glimmering with hunger. One of his hands start massaging the side of Jimin’s hip. “Happy birthday, baby.” Jimin can’t hear his own thoughts over the rushing of his blood, but one thing he does know is: “I can’t.” He touches his pendant.
Taemin’s eyes widen. “Oh. Have you- you’ve never…?” Jimin slowly shakes his head, willing his hands to stop trembling. He closes his eyes as his palm closes around the cold pendant. “Just kiss me?” “Okay.” Taemin rests his forehead against his. “We don’t have to do anything.”
Taemin just lies in bed with him for the rest of the night, and is still holding him when Jimin wakes up the next morning. Watching Taemin’s sleepy eyes flutter open to regard him with a softness Jimin doesn’t deserve, he thinks: /Shit, he likes me./ It makes Jimin anxious.
Just like that, Jimin begins to have a niggling suspicion that he may or may not have bagged himself a cool boyfriend. Taemin texts him more frequently, asking to have meals together at least once every few weeks. No kissing or touching, just hanging out. It’s not bad, per se.
But it’s not life-altering or mind-numbing, either. Being around Taemin is like being on a steadily-rocking boat with no wind or sails. Jimin doesn’t have the heart to define their relationship nor call it quits. Which is why it lasts for as long as it does, beyond graduation.
His mother doesn’t attend his graduation ceremony because of a business meeting, but Jihyun does. Jimin’s little brother starts an Instagram livestream for Jungkook and Namjoon to tune in, and their genuine support is more than enough for Jimin to smile brightly on the stage.
Taemin is there too, not just for Jimin but also because he’s friends with several people from Jackson’s class. Their wild chatter and whoops of congratulations are enough to power an entire neighborhood’s electric usage. “What’s your next step?” Taemin asks, holding his hand.
Jimin’s lips curl into a sneer. “/Not/ college.” True to his word, he disobeys every last expectation from his eomma and finds part-time jobs instead of applying for college. He helps out at a bakery, then works as a janitor at a theatre, while cashiering at the K-Mart at night.
Having so many part-time jobs actually has its perks. While it does mean Jimin gets less time to sleep or go out with friends, at least the manager at the bakery is kind enough to let him bring home the leftovers. If he’s lucky, the gimbap at the K-Mart is not so stale yet.
At this point, his family except for Jihyun has practically stopped speaking to him, barely acknowledging his presence on rare occasions he /is/ home. Often, his mother just sighs out loud and complains in a not-so-subtle manner about how she’s raised two ungrateful sons.
Which is why Jimin’s made a habit of crashing Taemin’s new apartment on nights when he’s not on shift. One such night, a few weeks before his 19th birthday, Taemin turns to him while Jimin is giggling over a viral Tiktok video on his bed. “Baby.” “Mmm?” Jimin lowers his phone.
Taemin’s hand creeps across the bed to cover Jimin’s. “Nothing. Just missed you.” Jimin hums and strokes his boyfriend’s hair. Feeling like a robot, he mumbles a customary, “Same.” “You’ve been tired lately.” “I am?” “You look like it.” Taemin’s gaze meets his. “Wanna share?”
“I’m fine though,” says Jimin. “Just same old work shit.” Taemin’s eyes waver. “Okay.” Jimin averts his gaze. That’s the look Taemin gives him when he wants to make out. They’ve gotten handsy a couple of times, but Jimin’s never been able to explain why he can’t go all the way.
Habit and old instinct has him fidgeting with the silver necklace around his neck nervously. Jimin clears his throat. “Sorry I haven’t been around much—“ “You’ve never told me about that.” Jimin blinks. “Huh?” Taemin nods towards the guitar pick. “Your pendant. Any backstory?”
Jimin’s heart lodges in his throat as a fresh wave of hot tears sting the back of his eyes. Just like this, within a few seconds and he’s ready to bawl. Over two years have passed & still so pathetic. Memories flood his mind: scenes of writing letters and Pokemon bread hunting.
“Hmm?” Taemin prods him with an elbow. “What’s so special about it?” It’s everything. All that was good and well and precious before life crumbled to pieces. Jimin presses the back of his hand to his eyes and hides his face into the corner of the pillow. “It’s from home.”
“Ah. Like a family heirloom?” Taemin inquires, voice piqued with interest. Jimin nods. “Cool. I wish we had a family heirloom,” Taemin says, one hand coming up to pat Jimin’s head. “Do you get homesick a lot?” Jimin clutches the pendant—a missing piece of him. “All the time.”
“Jimin-ah,” his mother surprises him by calling the moment he gets home that morning. “Come here.” Jimin bites back a groan and has to drag his feet to the dining area, where his eomma is sitting with his stepfather. “Nice of you to remember you have a son,” Jimin half-jokes.
His eomma seems to be having none of it. She points to the seat opposite her, face completely wiped of any trace of a smile. “Sit with us.” Jimin’s pulse quickens. “Why, what’s happening? I’m not causing trouble, I swear.” “Nothing like that, don’t worry,” says his stepfather.
He exchanges a look with his wife, then says, “Should I tell him or you?” His mother presses her lips together, then clears her throat. “Jimin-ah. You’re going to have a baby sister.” Jimin has been so detached from this family that he honestly feels nothing, not even surprise.
He only remember to give an appropriate reaction when a long silence passes, accompanied by his eomma and stepfather’s anxious faces. “Oh, right.” Jimin raises two thumbs up. “Good job! I mean- congrats. Woohoo.” The tension from his eomma’s face seeps out slightly. “Thanks.”
“We’re fully ready to take responsibility for the baby,” his stepfather says, his tone lightening. “Um. Okay…?” “It’s just. You know you’ve graduated high school,” says his mother. “And you’re working now.” “Uh-huh…?” “And the cost of raising a child is… it’s a lot.”
Jimin scoffs. “So… you want me to help out with child support?” “If you’d like to help babysit while we work…” His mother trails off. “Of course, you can do whatever you want with your time. You’re legal after all.” She has no idea how ridiculous she sounds. Jimin scoffs.
“You’re right, I’m legal.” Jimin stands, sending the chair scraping backwards. “And I can decide what to do on my own terms, including rejecting the offer.” His non-family stares at him, dumbfounded. “Bet you didn’t imagine I’d say no.” Jimin smiles. “Lemme just move out, too.”
He jogs up the stairs to grab some basic necessaities from his bedroom. On his way down the corridor connecting his room to the staircase, he spots Jihyun’s eyes peeking from his room. Jimin stops short, heart twisting. He marches to Jihyun & hugs his brother’s head to his chest.
“Listen,” he whispers fiercely. “Don’t give up on school, alright? You have to keep going until you’re legal. I’ll make arrangements and take you then.” He crouches lower to match Jihyun’s eye level. “Don’t let them make a babysitter out of you, okay? Don’t become me. Promise.”
Jihyun looks up at him, forehead creased. Then he gives Jimin a smirk and pats his shoulder. “I’ll be fine, hyung. I’m gonna join a band and we’ll tour the world. No worries. Peace.” How he’s grown in such a short time. Jimin huffs, ruffling his brother’s hair. “You do that.”
“And just where do you think you’re going?” his mother adminishes shrilly when he spots Jimin stomping down the stairs with a stuffed duffle bag. “You’ll be back in a week. You’re too broke.” Jimin smirks. As if he hasn’t been saving up, just in case. “Wouldn’t you know.”
Taemin’s face grows stormy the moment he hears the news. “What the hell. How could they do that to you?” They’re sitting at his a coffee shop closer to Taemin’s office building, since Jimin called him in the middle of the day to rant over a baguette and a cup of hot chocolate.
Jimin lets out a heavy sigh and massages his head. “Welcome to my life.” “I can’t believe I didn’t know,” Taemin says, regarding Jimin as if with fresh eyes. Then, he mutters to himself again, “I can’t believe I didn’t know…” “Yeah, you didn’t. Sorry for keeping it from you.”
A long silence descends between them, Jimin too lost in thought to bring up any more conversation other than, “Thanks for coming down to see me on such a short notice.” Taemin shrugs. “It was my lunch break.” He sips his coffee. “So, what’s next?” He’s always asking that.
Jimin stirs his hot chocolate for several quiet moments. When he looks up again, Taemin is there, gazing at him with eyes so dull it’s like he died while walking—not living, just surviving. Those eyes used to shine so brilliantly. A huge part of Jimin blames himself for that.
“Am I… am I anywhere in what you’re thinking of?” Taemin jokes half-heartedly, and Jimin can’t possibly hate himself more than he does right now. “I think I might go to college now, properly,” Jimin says, eyes downcast, “…in Seoul.” Silence, sharp and fragmented.
There’s a headache beginning to throb at the base of Jimin’s skull, and he can’t decide whether he wants to close his eyes to cry or sleep for a hundred years. Taemin’s smile slips into a thin, pressed line. He nods slowly. Jimin fiddles with his mug’s handle, eyes welling up.
“I always kind of figured,” Taemin says slowly, his voice cracking at the end. He clears his throat. “Somewhere along the way I just realized—I don’t know much about you at all, Jimin.” He sighs. “And you knew that, didn’t you?” Jimin licks his trembling bottom lip. “I’m sorry.”
Taemin shrugs. “It takes two to tango, after all. I knew it, too. I’m glad we talked about it today, actually.” “I really do care about you,” Jimin says, hoping Taemin can see how much he means it. “I know. You’re good. But I think a boyfriend isn’t what you need right now.”
🍊🏵️🍊🏵️🍊 “He’s right, you know,” Jungkook muses, rubbing his chin as though he’s an elite scholar. “What you need is a good smack in the head!” Jimin scoffs at him in mock affront. “And then a hot choco and hotteok afterwards. Seriously, hyung, you’re a walking red flag.”
“Oh, revered Jungkook-nim, whatever shall I do, then? Please enlighten me with your words of wisdom,” says Jimin in honorifics. “Stay. Single,” Jungkook advises, gesturing with his hands for emphasis. “What, like you?” Jimin challenges, opening his convenience store gimbap.
“Excuse youuu, I’m temporarily single, but it’s by choice.” Jungkook’s voice falls to a whisper. “I’m betrothed, hyung.” Jimin nearly spits out his gimbap mid-chew. “You— WHAT?” Jungkook nods solemnly. “I spoke to Namjoon hyung about it. We’ll take it slow, but… someday.”
If minds could have a visual representation, Jimin’s would probably look like a dead channel right now, all grey static and white noise. He gulps his mouthful and stutters, “You and h-hyung- since WHEN? And what- someday?“ /Someday/. Yoongi had promised him that, too. That liar.
“I didn’t want to bring it up ‘cos you’re sad, and anyway it’s not like hyung and I are a thing right now. We have dreams to achieve first,” Jungkook blabbers, cheeks flushing. “So, yeah. I’ll tell you about it another time.” “You’ll spill it all it when I land my ass in Seoul!”
“Woah.” Jungkook holds both hands up, eyes growing rounder. “You’re coming here?! REALLY? When?” For the first time all day, Jimin cracks a smile. Jungkook’s excitement is infectious, and it’s nice to have someone feel happy for him during this time. “Yeah. I’m going home.”
While Jungkook eats his fist in happiness, Jimin sighs and surveys the cheap backpacker motel he paid for overnight, with its musty curtains and thin mattress. “It’ll take time to save up a bit more. But I don’t really think Australia is for me, after all.” “But- Seoul, hyung?”
“Yeah. I’ll attend uni there. But I gotta save up.” Jimin has about five grand over the years he’s saved up from his part time jobs, but that’s barely enough to last him half a year in the big city. “I found an aunt who lives in Myeongdong. The rich sister who cut eomma off.”
“And you think she’s going to take you in?” Jimin shrugs. “She owns a café near the university I want to study in. I told her I’d work my ass off if she lets me stay with her. Besides, we have something in common—hating eomma’s guts.” Jungkook claps slowly. “You’re so adult.”
Jimin flips his hair and beams. “Right?” “But just in case. You can always stay with me in Busan, if things don’t work out. Then we can move to Seoul together,” Jungkook suggests, and Jimin’s heart positively swells with affection. “I’ll be fine, Kook. Don’t worry about hyung.”
[a/n: I haven’t recc-ed a song in a while! Please do play this.]…
Jungkook grins with a thumbs up, and they end the call shortly after bidding good night. As soon as the screen goes dark, Jimin is met with his own reflection on his laptop. His face is haggard. He hasn’t eaten well in weeks, which is why he’s stuffing himself with gimbap now.
The face that looks back at him has a smile frozen on it, but his eyes… Jimin wonders whose eyes those are, because they seem too fucking sad for a 19-year-old. He’d put that smile on for Jungkook. In the quiet void of this room, Jimin muffles his sobs with gimbap rolls.
He dreams of writing a letter that night, addressed to nobody in particular. In his dreams, the words don’t appear in writing. Instead, he hears his own voice narrating it to himself while his mind replays memories of him working his part time jobs.
“Dear nobody,” he narrates to himself while he mops the floor at the theatre lobby during a morning shift. “I dream of waking up and not worrying about my next meal, because someone who loves me cooked warm rice. I dream about rice, and being able to eat more than two bowls.”
The scene melts away, showing memories of his first day at the bakery, where he’d tripped and upset a tray of muffins. The manager had given him an earful that day, and called him ‘clueless chink’. “In my dream, there is a perfect world where people are kind and laugh together.”
And then Dream Jimin is coming home to an empty, silent house. He tiptoes towards the stairs, only to find the kitchen light on, where Jihyun is snacking on Nutella. They sit together and finish the entire tub. “In this perfect world, parents are smart, and nobody is forgotten.”
“Dear nobody,” his voice says while Dream Jimin toils away at his graveyard shifts at the convenience store. At the end of each shift, he takes out the expiring food and sneaks them into his backpack. Expiry dates aren’t real! “I’m very lost, and I want to go home and sleep.”
🍊🏵️🍊🏵️🍊🏵️🍊🏵️🍊 Living life at rock-bottom is incredibly humbling. At the same time, it gives Jimin an unexpected confidence boost—the way he sees it, he has nothing to lose but everything to gain. His aunt—Lee Miseon—calls him after a few days.
Jimin picks up with shaky hands, but soon as the line connects, he takes a deep breath and launches into a sales pitch on Why He Would Be An Asset To His Aunt. By the time he finishes talking, he’s breathing hard, chest rising and falling rapidly. “I hope you agree, imo-nim.”
“Ooohh, not bad,” Aunt Miseon answers. Her voice is lively and perky, like she’s just drank a double-shot espresso. “Yah, Jimin-ah, you know my café is hiring a full-timer, right?” “Really?” Jimin frowns. “But I checked your website. It says you’re not hiring—“ “Now we are.”
“But- my university schedule—“ “Quit fretting about your plans and just haul your ass back here ASAP,” Aunt Miseon cackles. “Let’s see what kind of son my little sister raised.” Jimin perks up. “You- you’ll let me stay?” “I’ll book your ticket. You’re enrolling this year.”
Jimin has to bite the palm of his hand to suppress the sob that’s bubbles out of him. After taking steadying breaths, he gasps, “Imo-nim.” “Your uncle Sejin will fetch you from the airport, you hear?” Aunt Miseon says. “Well, see you soon, chap. I can’t believe my sister…”
The call disconnects, leaving Jimin standing still at the traffic light while dozens of people walking past and around him. Someone bumps into his shoulder with a muttered apology. Someone’s dog’s fur brushes against Jimin’s jeans. A car honks. He grins alone. He’s going home.
🍊🏵️🍊🏵️🍊🏵️🍊🏵️🍊 (Quick break! Will resume in about an hour uwu. Meanwhile, please feel free to tell me what you think of the story’s flow, pace and characterizations are so far. I’m very excited about writing this arc!)
Of all the people he would have expected to send him off, Taemin was honestly one of the last on his list. Jimin didn’t the guy would want anything more to do with him after the breakup, but being the good guy he is, Taemin keeps true to his word about wanting to remain friends.
Before joining the line towards the departure hall, Jimin turns to his ex one last time, and gives a small, shaky sigh. “Thanks for, um. Helping me with everything.” Taemin folds his arms and shrugs. “No problem.” His gaze on Jimin borders on sympathetic. “Don’t hold back.”
Jimin tips his head in a birdlike manner. “Hold back from what?” “Finding what makes you happy. I really hope it’s there,” Taemin says. “Just shoot your shot, Jimin. Call people if it gets tough. Doesn’t have to be me.” Jimin’s eyes water, and he spread his arms wide. “Hyung~”
Taemin scoffs and lets Jimin hug him. “Look at you being all grown up.” “I’m sorry again,” Jimin mumbles, a pang lancing through his heart. “What did I tell you about apologizing. You’re gonna make me feel awkward!” Jimin pouts. “Fine. I still don’t deserve this, though.”
Taemin steps back and gives both of Jimin’s shoulders a gentle squeeze. “Maybe nobody’s told you, but it’s okay to believe you deserve happiness, Park Jimin. It’s okay to want that. Got it?” He grins, turning Jimin around and giving him a small shove towards the departure halls.
Right before Jimin passes through the doors, he turns to Taemin again and says fleetingly, “Hyung!” Taemin nods as if to say, /What?/ Jimin smiles tearily. “Thanks for being part of my happiness here. I mean it.” Smiling softly, Taemin urges him on with a little wave. “Go.”
Jimin supposes if there’s an ideal final memory of Australia to go by, then Taemin’s smiling, farewell wave is as good as it gets. It’s like having a thorn getting plucked out of his lungs. As Jimin’s plane takes off and soars into the clouds, so does his hammering little heart.
🍊🏵️🍊🏵️🍊 Next to Namjoon, Uncle Sejin is one of the tallest Korean men Jimin has ever laid eyes on. How can someone grow so /tall/ but look so… teddy-bear like? “Have you eaten? Did they serve food on the plane?” is the first Uncle Sejin says while gathering Jimin’s luggage.
The question unexpectedly throws Jimin off-guard, leaving him standing frozen while his uncle hauls his stuff onto the back of his pickup truck. It’s been so long since any adult older than him asked after his meals that Jimin feels a new wave of tears threatening to spill over.
A quick honk instantly snaps him back to the present. Jimin realizes he’s still standing by the road, his uncle having already hopped into the driver’s seat. “Well? Not coming?” Jimin lets out a small huff of pure, sweet relief, and rounds the truck to enter the passenger seat.
adubu ☁︎

adubu ☁︎

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