not that it matters anyway
i don’t want to have to figure everything out right now
hbu? how’s your day
hhhh you might scold me but
i maybe kind of spent it with
why do you do this to yourself
look i cant help it
the way you describe him
sounds like a walking red flag to me
he’s a friend
i’m trying to look past the bad
“i can fix him”, you said
you can’t fix people
only accept them
or ultimately remove yourself
Jimin sighs and rubs his eyes, feeling inexplicably riled up because some stranger on the phone is bashing Yoongi.
well maybe i like scarlet
hell. u like hell
Jimin makes a face at his phone.
look i know i complained about him
and i like myself when i’m around him
does he treat you well though
yeah he’s a good person i swear
everyone has their flaws
you’d know. you’re a counselor
to each his own i suppose
don’t fall too deep in infatuation though
it’s NOT infatuation lawddd ㅠㅠ
look it’s complicated
but my priority is exams tomorrow so i’ll continue this another time maybe
why do i feel like i just destroyed that paper
it was too easy
[jimin of the park]
AFTER ALL WE’VE BEEN THROUGH
“Strawberry Boy,” Taehyung says later during their shift. Now that their final papers are over, he and Jimin are back at the Cacao Crushers. “Save my number as that!”
Jimin lifts an eyebrow. “Nah—what’s your horoscope?”
“You’re a winter baby?”
“Yup.” Taehyung wipes his hands against his apron, smiling softly to himself. “Our grandmother often calls me a bear.”
Jimin doesn’t know how that’s any relevant to his question, but he decides not to push. “Okay.”
HOW WAS EVERYONE’S EXAMS ^-^
no exams but the ashes of my dissertation draft is ready to be harvested from the stove thank you for asking :)
[nam of the june]
i hate stoves =\
got one last paper
stay strong my bros
why don’t we have a party or trip
celebrate the end of the sem
after yoongi hyung’s last exam???
[nam of the june]
[jimin of the park]
you better not vanish again
how about the day after tomorrow?!
let’s go to the beach~
[nam of the june]
not sure if jimin and i can make it
[jimin of the park]
fetching an old Busan friend from the bus terminal haha
INVITE HIM TOO THEN
actually no wait
i’ll find better dates for a beach roadrip!
I’M SO SLEEPY. Good night for now!
Will continue tomorrow.
Thoughts on this short update and Yoongi’s ‘confession’?
“Jimin-sshhiiii,” booms the boy hopping down the last few stairs of the bus. He’s clad in a plain blank tee and oversized jeans paired with chunky platform sneakers—an outfit that would have looked cool if not for the jumbo-sized army-green bag slung over his shoulders in front.
Jimin muffles a snort & turns to exchange an amused glance with Namjoon who, bless his soul, looks utterly smitten as he lobbles forward to help carry some of Jungkook’s belongings.
“Yah, why’d you use such a massive bag? Don’t tell me you hid a dead body inside,” Jimin teases.
“My life, my bag, my choice,” Jungkook declares, flipping his bangs from getting into his eyes. He grins at Jimin and reaches out for a fist bump, but in stepping forward he loses balance due to the weight of his enormous backpack, making him wobble on his feet. “Woah-hoah-ho.”
“You’ll be here, what, a few weeks? Did you bring your whole house?”
“I bring only secrets.”
Jimin chortles, chest swelling with affection as he rushes forward to mess up Jungkook’s hair. “Hello to you too, brat!”
“Ow- hey, not the hair! Dude!”
“Have you eaten?” Namjoon asks.
Jungkook turns to him, eyes going round. “No.”
Namjoon’s smile grows hopeful as he hoists Jungkook’s duffel bag’s strap over one shoulder. “I could try to cook—“
“We’ll eat out,” Jimin cuts in at the same time Jungkook says, “Ahh how about a restaurant in town?”
“Why can’t you let me cook, I swear I’ve gotten better, I read up on recipes—“
Jimin lays a hand on Namjoon’s arm and pat-pat-pats him kindly. “Remember why you hate stoves in the first place. We don’t want a repeat of The Bunsen Burner Fiasco 6 years ago.”
Jungkook nods along.
“Don’t worry, if you can’t cook, you can always pay,” quips Jimin, and Namjoon sends him a serious side-eye before relenting anyway, because they’re Jimin and Jungkook, and Namjoon has never been ever say no to them unless it’s related to Pokemon card and stickers trading.
Which is why, an hour and a half later they find themselves entering none other than… the Cacao Crushers, partly because Jimin gets staff discount on the menu, and partly because Jungkook wants waffles instead of a proper dinner. Hoseok and Taehyung greet them from the counter.
“Yo Chim!” Taehyung wipes his hands on his apron and waves enthusiastically.
Jimin nods at him.
“Is that the Busan friend?” Taehyung asks, coming around the counter with a growing smile. “Hi. What’s up?”
Jungkook stares at him, then points at himself. “Heol—I’m… famous now?!”
“I’ve heard a lot about you. Chim says you’re a childhood friend?“
Jungkook snickers. “Yeah, and I got copies of his naked baby pics. $5 each.”
Jimin elbows him. “Say hi to my same-age friend, Kim Taehyung. He’s your hyung.”
“Oh. Okay, ‘sup,” Jungkook offers a salute, “hyung.”
Taehyung’s grin spreads and he turns to Jimin with an approving nod. “I like him already.” To Jungkook he asks, “What’s your MBTI?“
“ISFP,” pipes up Namjoon quietly.
Jungkook shrugs. “MBTI is fake. What’s yours?”
Taehyung regards him with narrow-eyed amusement. “Capricorn.”
Jimin face-palms himself while Jungkook cracks an impressed smile, jumping headfirst into conversation with Taehyung about horoscopes and tarot.
“Is it safe to leave those two like that?” asks Namjoon.
Jimin smirks. “Are you jealous, hyung?“
“Nope, just wanna prevent chaos.”
They settle into one of the tables in the café—the one beside Table 7, which is currently empty. Not that Jimin was particularly paying attention. He just happened to brush his gaze past the area where he would typically to find Yoongi.
“Oh, he’s out for band practice.”
He looks up just as Taehyung sets down three glasses of water on their table, sending Jimin a prim smile. “And no, you didn’t say anything aloud. I just guessed what you were thinking.”
“I wasn’t thinking anything,” protests Jimin.
“Okay, Yoongi-hyung simp.” Taehyung winks.
“/Yoongi/?”Jungkook’s eyesbrows jump to his hairline. “Isn’t that your penpal first love, Jimin-sshi?”
At his words, Taehyung gawks and squeaks at Jimin, making jazz hands. “I knew it! I knew it! Yoonmin is real!”
Jimin turns and hides his face in Namjoon’s muscular shoulder.
i’m hiding in the toilet to avoid my friends’ teasing
word about the crush is out ig
hey sry busy rn
Sitting in the toilet to let the teasing mood from outside die down, Jimin stares at the reply on his phone, awash with a sense of déjá vu.
Sometimes, Chrysantemum’s manner of texting reminds him of how Yoongi was in his high school years. Of course there’s no correlation, but his Yoongi-like qualities, like using the :] emoji, really does remind Jimin of how Yoongi’s texts looked like.
haha sure no probs
He pockets his phone and exits the bathroom stall to wash his hands.
This is bad. There is potential disaster to be wrecked with the rate of teasing his friends are doing, & the last thing Jimin wants is to jeopardize the odd, fragile truce between him and Yoongi at the moment.
He can’t let things get shaken up when he and Yoongi have only just begun to repair their friendship. Jimin shakes his head. Jungkook sets foot in Seoul for two hours and he’s already exposed Jimin to /Yoongi’s childhood friend./
For humanity’s sake, Jungkook must be stopped.
“Ah, Jimin-ah.” Hoseok gently steers him by the elbow when Jimin passes by him in his way out of the gents’, “I forgot to tell you something.”
“Eomma wanted me to tell you—tomorrow, we’ll be visiting some family from by appa’s side, so we’ll be away for the weekend.”
“Oh. Okay.” Jimin mulls it over. “Wait, and the family car—?”
“Appa’ll be taking it,” Hoseok elaborates. He studies Jimin’s face, but seems to find nothing too alarming. “Will you okay?”
“Yeah, it’s just”—Jimin hesitates—“my brother’s landing in Seoul tomorrow. I have no ride.”
Hoseok’s eyes widen. “Ah. Shit.” He looks around, as it a solution might present itself nearby, begore his gaze brightens up. “Oh. I remember your Yoongi-hyung drove us to the hospital before, back when I hurt my hip. Why don’t you try asking if he’ll be free?”
He hates asking for favors, even from friends. “It’s okay, I’ll just take the train—“
“What, and travel back to Seoul dragging all of your brother’s luggage with you?” Hoseok interjects as they walk back together to Jimin’s table. “Nonsense.”
“We could take a cab…”
You need a ride to the airport?” Taehyung raises his hand like a student in a classroom. “Why?”
“Jihyun’s coming to Seoul tomorrow,” says Jimin with a sigh, dropping to his seat next to Namjoon. “I’ll just take a cab to fetch him, really.”
Taehyung and Jungkook exchange looks.
Jimin doesn’t know what goes on in their wordless exchange, except now Taehyung is whipping his phone out with a smirk. “Don’t mind me,” he says. “I know a few friends who drive. Let me give one a call.”
He presses on a contact name and sets his phone on speaker.
As soon as he recognizes Yoongi’s sleepy, honey-glazed drawl, Jimin face-palms his face and drops his head to the table in mortification. No. Noooo.
“Hyung, Jimin’s in trouble,” Taehyung preludes.
A pause. The line goes quiet for a moment. Then: “What happened?”
Taehyung heaves a dramatic sigh, one hand snatching the phone out of reach when Jimin tries to make a jump to end the call. “His brother’s landing in Seoul tomorrow. But… I don’t know how to break it to you, hyung.”
“Kim Taehyung,” Yoongi snaps. “I’m busy. Just spit it.”
“There’s no one who can send Jimin to Seoul,” Taehyung says in one rushed breath. “And he has no car. Poor Mimi.”
More silence. Jimin can practically see the confusion on Yoongi’s face. “Why won’t he take the train then?“
“See?” Jimin points a finger at Taehyung. “I told you!”
Taehyung pouts. “You won’t be free to drive him?”
Yoongi clears his throat. “I mean. If I have to—“
“Hi, Yoongi-sshii,” Jungkook leans towards Taehyung’s speaker.
“—who was that?” Yoongi asks.
“I told you, I’d take the train,” Jimin says, while they speak over one another.
“Wait, did you put me on speaker, Taehyung-ah?” Yoongi says suddenly.
Taehyung bites his lower lip. “Yeah, but just temporarily. Listen, if you could just—“
The line goes dead.
For a moment, and very vividly, Jimin is thrust back into a similar scenario years ago.
The four of them stare at Taehyung’s phone screen.
“That went well,” Taehyung says.
“He doesn’t enjoy calls,” Jimin says, recalling the 1st time he & Yoongi spoke over the phone. “And doesn’t like being put on the spot like that…”
“We love a concerned friend,” coos Taehyung.
Jimin presses his lips together in a thin, reproachful expression. “I hope you apologize to him.” He reaches into his pocket to take out his own phone. He’s got half a mind to ask for Yoongi’s number to call him himself, but there’s no way Yoongi would pick up now.
[jimin of the park]
taehyung is sorry
and me too
you got dragged into my issue
i hope you’re ok
Jimin stares at the very first string of texts he sent over a private Kakaochat with Yoongi, feeling remorseful that his conversation opener is an apology.
That’s it. That’s all he sends, and Jimin has to bite down a squeak at the rush of fierce affection that suddenly floods his chest.
[jimin of the park]
sorry for the trouble, really
and that person who spoke was jungkook
my busan childhood neighbor?
you know him
thanks for clarifying
i’m not mad or anything btw
just got whiplashed
what time is your brother’s plane arriving?
[jimin of the park]
no no pls there’s really no need
i got this
i’ll be fine
it’s 5.30pm btw
i’ll pick you up at 4.30 then
Jimin stares at the last text, scratching his head.
Well. Since he still insisting on offering a ride even after Jimin has explicitly and politely declined, it looks like Jimin has no choice but to accept, for the sake of not souring their friendship.
[jimin of the park]
jihyun can be a bit of a naughty handful
but he’s a good kid
sounds like someone i know
[jimin of the park]
what’s that supposed to mean hhh
[jimin of the park]
if you insist
True to his word, Yoongi’s car honks outside the Jung residence’s gate at half past 4 the following day.
Jimin slips into his white sneakers before rushing outside and sliding into the passenger seat, pausing for a split second to absorb the sight of Yoongi in a grey tee shirt.
“Is that your just-hopped-out-of-bed hairdo?” Jimin teases with a huff, snapping his seatbelt on.
Yoongi runs a hand through his hair, which aggravates Jimin’s must-touch instinct. “Most people I do favors for say thank you, first thing. And yes, I woke up from a nap like this.”
“I mean, you offered, so is it still a favor or a proposition?” Jimin fires back.
Yoongi huffs as he drives off. “Neither, I was raised to be generous towards the needy.”
“Ah, yes, so I’m a charity case.” Jimin clamps his hands over his heart. “Every man’s dream!”
Yoongi shows him a hard case of eyeroll. “So Jungkook’s in town, huh.”
“Mm-hmm. He and Tae hit it off right away, not that I’m surprised,” Jimin replies, easily settling into their new topic. Switching up amidst their rapid fire banter is beginning to feel like second skin now.
“Has Tae apologized to you, by the way?”
Yoongi nods, sending his bedhead flopping over his forehead in a way that has strands falling towards his eyes. It’s so messy. Jimin is half-scared it’ll block his vision, and wouldn’t that be dangerous for a driver?
“Pull over a sec.”
“Huh? Why, why—“ Yoongi protests weakly, all the while obliging as he veers to the side of the street anyway.
“Just do it.” Jimin reaches into his bag’s pockets for a rubber band. Once the car slows, he beckons Yoongi forward. “Come here. Your hair is fucking with your eyes.”
“My hair is perfectly FINE, how dare you touch every perfect strand…” Yoongi grumbles while leaning towards Jimin and tipping his chin down.
Brows pinched in concentration, Jimin reaches over and rakes a hand over Yoongi’s hair, before gathering up a bunch into the rubber band.
“What the hell,” Jimin complains, scowling, “how’s your hair this soft and thick? Mine is all cracklin’.”
“Maybe because you /bleached/ it,” Yoongi mumbles.
“I wasn’t asking for your opinion.”
“I’m sharing a fact. Bleached hair dries out easily.”
Jimin tugs at Yoongi’s hair.
“Ow. Hey, be gentle, I’m a sensitive honeyboy,” Yoongi laments in a fake-whine, making Jimin snort.
Once he finishes tying Yoongi’s hair to keep his bangs away from his eyes. Jimin pats Yoongi’s head & pulls away. “There. You look like a little sprout.”
At that, Yoongi smiles.
“You look five years old with that hairstyle,” Jimin remarks as Yoongi hits the road again, joining traffic.
“Weird way of praising my youthful genes, but thank you.”
“Yeah no, I should’ve said you look like a broomstick.”
Yoongi reaches out to swipe a palm over Jimin’s face.
Jimin retaliates by darting out his tongue and licking the centre of Yoongi’s palm.
“Eugh. Gross, Park Jimin.” Yoongi makes a face and wipes his hand on his jeans. “No need to resort to cannibalism!”
After a moment of comfortable silence, Yoongi ruffles Jimin’s hair.
The thing about spending time with Yoongi is this—Jimin hardly even notices time is being spent at all. Every moment seems to exist within its own forever, a string of infinities, and yet infinity with Yoongi never seems to be quite enough.
Thus, they reach the airport too soon.
Jimin jostles his way through the crowd waiting at Arrival Gate 4, then holds up a small sign written in permanent black marker: “Jimini Bro Park Jihyun”. On the other hand, Yoongi lingers at the back, where the crowd is thinning out.
Soon, a boy in a denim jacket appears.
Jimin’s heart soars at the instant recognition of his brother’s face. “Jihyunie!” He starts waving wildly.
Jihyun surveys the crowd, face lighting up when he picks out Jimin. He dashes to close the 50 or paces between them, going for a running embrace into Jimin’s arms. “Hyung!”
Jimin laughs, spinning his brother around as they break apart from the crowd to join where Yoongi is standing. “Dude, you’ve gotten so tall.”
Jihyun throws up gang signs. “Credits to Australian cows.”
“Jihyun-ah!” a sweet tenor calls out from the arrival crowd.
Jimin looks up.
And there he is, just as breathtakingly striking and delicate-looking as Jimin remembers. Lee Taemin, dressed in a plain white V-neck long-sleeve and jeans, stands and pauses when his gaze shifts from Jihyun to Jimin. He grins and waves. “Hey!“
Jimin is frozen.
He steps back from hugging Jihyun to throw a panicked glance at Yoongi, who’s eyeing Taemin like he’s not sure if he’s the one being waved at.
Jimin does the biggest internal cringe he has ever done at his own carelessness. How could he have /forgotten/ Taemin was coming along?
Heart slamming against his ribcage, Jimin tugs at Yoongi’s sleeve. “Hyung, I need to tell you something important.”
Yoongi’s eyes narrow. “Oh yeah?”
“I forgot about it, but actually today Jihyun’s being accompanied by—“
“Sweetheart,” Taemin greets, halting before Jimin.
Jimin’s mouth goes dry as he stares at his ex, who he does actually still hold lots of platonic affection for. “Hey.”
“Taemin-hyung snored on the flight,” Jihyun quips.
At the name, Yoongi’s gait visibly stiffens. Jimin wants to smack himself.
Taemin asks, “How’ve you been?”
And then, the next thing Jimin knows, he’s being gathered like a little kid in Taemin’s hug, strong arms fastening around his shoulder. Jimin squeaks as the scent of Taemin’s signature pear and musk colonge. “Long time no see, sweetheart!”
Jimin glances around.
Yoongi is gone.
Time to sleep. Any theories?
But before you go, please consider supporting my university spendings on Ko-Fi I’d really appreciate it, because I’m gonna be alone in Seoul…
thank you so much in advance!!!
Thank you SO much for this heartfelt art, I feel so soft looking at their expressions
If you’ve created DMF art that I haven’t linked on the thread, please kindly quote your original tweet it on the community group so I can give it the love it deserves!!
After returning a quick squeeze, Jimin carefully extricates himself from Taemin’s hug, head swiveling about in search for Yoongi. He could’ve sworn the guy was just there a second ago.
“I need to buy a sim card,” says Taemin, gesturing to a nearby booth.
Jimin nods. “Go ahead.”
While Taemin inquires at the booth, Jihyun tagging along, Jimin whips out his phone.
[jimin of the park]
i’m rly sorry, I forgot to tell you about it, it slipped my mind
where are you?
He starts fretting when his messages get ‘read’, but receive no reply whatsoever.
Because what if Yoongi is having a panic attack right now, at this very moment? Sure, he seems to have gotten better over the years, but Jimin still isn’t aware just how much he can take.
[jimin of the park]
i won’t ask you to come out
but at least let me go to you
sry i just
near the duty free store
Jimin frowns at the messages, sniffing out the obvious excuse. He’d seen the way Yoongi went stiff the moment Taemin turned up.
[jimin of the park]
He wastes no second in dashing towards the gents’.
Jimin is fully expecting to find Yoongi locking himself in a bathroom stall, to coax him out if need be. So it’s a huge relief when he finds the guy at the sink facing the mirrors, wiping his hands on a paper towel before reaching up to loosen the rubber band around his hair.
“Hyung,” Jimin says, gingerly approaching him from the entrance. “Are you okay?”
Yoongi barely gives him a nod of acknowledgment, eyes trained in his hair. “Do I look stupid?”
Jimin’s gaze follows his sprout-like hair, which is a little disheveled, which a few strands loose.
Jimin shakes his head, coming to a stop next to Yoongi. He leans against the edge of the sink countertop. “You look fine.”
Yoongi glances down at himself—plain black shirt, grey sweatpants. “I’m so underdressed.”
“Hyung.” Jimin can practically /feel/ the distress from him.
He reaches out both hands to hold Yoongi by the shoulders, which seems to do the trick. Yoongi catches himself and raises his gaze to meet Jimin’s worried one.
“Breathe with me?” Jimin says, making a show of showing his chest rising in an inhale. Yoongi nods, obliging.
They stand in complete silence, breathing together in the middle of a near-empty bathroom. If the other stranger dudes who pass them by have anything to say about two guys seemingly meditating together, they don’t voice it out.
“That’s better,” Jimin says, concern not abating.
Instead of dropping his hands, he gently slides them to the back of Yoongi’s head, pressing soothing circles into the base of his skull. Yoongi’s eyes flutter closed.
“You look fine, hyung.”
“My hair, I just- I don’t have a comb—“
“Want me to re-tie it for you?” Jimin offers.
Yoongi hesistates, eyes snapping open to look at Jimin dubiously. Jimin lifts an eyebrow.
“It doesn’t look stupid, I swear.” Jimin reaches up to fiddle with the hairs sticking out of the bun, then faces the mirror. “See? It’s cute!”
Yoongi’s Adam’s apple bobs up & down. “Yeah?”
Jimin has to suppress a giggle at the pout making its way to Yoongi’s face. “Come on, don’t believe me?” He crosses his arms and cocks his head to one side. “It’s like you want me to insult you!”
Yoongi rolls his eyes, then nudges him with an elbow.
Jimin cracks a smile.
He points up to Yoongi’s hair questioningly, & once he gets a nod of permission, reaches up with both hands to gently weave a new bun on the crown of Yoongi’s head. “Let’s make you look even cuter.”
“Park Jimin, don’t coddle me.”
“Fine, let’s yassify you, then.”
Jimin steps an inch closer, concentrating on gathering just the right amount of hair. “I mean it, just now. I’m sorry for forgetting to tell you about Taemin coming.”
Yoongi shrugs. “It’s… it’s whatever. I’ll deal.” He clears his throat. “He’s… he’s the ex, I presume?”
Yoongi nods, eyes dropping to the sink counter. “Cool, cool.”
“There we go,” Jimin stands back to appraise his own handiwork, smiling to himself. He lifts Yoongi’s chin to the mirror. “Bun!”
Yoongi narrows his eyes. “Why do I get the feeling I’m getting the Ken doll treatment?”
Jimin shoots him finger guns. “In other words, runway-worthy.” He pinches the apples of Yoongi’s cheeks, earning him a huff and an eyeroll. “Ready to face the big bad world again?”
When Yoongi’s gaze falters for a moment, Jimin hops forward to sling an arm around his shoulders.
“Come on, mindeulle. I’ll introduce you to them this time, properly.”
Yoongi relents, but drags his feet all the way out the bathroom. “Why’s Taemin here anyway?”
“Chaperoning my brother back. He’s still too young.”
Jimin blinks. “What else is there?”
Yoongi presses his lips together in his bracket-shaped not-quite-a-smile. “So… why does he…” He trails off.
“What?” Jimin presses.
Yoongi clears his throat, his left eyebrow twitching, then shakes his head. “Nothing. Forget it.”
Jimin nudges him. “Just say it.”
Yoongi’s nostrils flare with annoyance, and he squirms out of Jimin’s arm. “Nuh. Thing.”
He’s so adorable. How can someone so cool and mature also be this cute? Jimin has to physically refrain from making cooing noises at this point. He masks his reaction with a shrug. “‘Kay.”
Nevertheless, he loops an arm around Yoongi’s and half-swaggers, half-drags him towards where Taemin and Jihyun are standing.
“…aha!” Taemin exclaims with a grin when his phone finally regains reception, thanks to his new sim card. He catches Jimin’s eye and nods. “Heyo.”
Then his gaze slides to Yoongi, and he blinks a couple of times, pupils dilating with what Jimin assumes is curiosity. “And hi…?”
“This,” Jimin says, gesturing to the entirety of Yoongi’s person. “Is my friend—“
“Daebak,” Jihyun exhales slowly. “Blue&Grey’s THE Min Yoongi?”
At the sign of recognition, the cloud of uncertainty over Yoongi’s eyes parts with sudden clarity. Bashfully, he scratches the back of his ear, but rolls his shoulders back. “Well…”
“Lawwwd, you are!” Jihyun squeaks, mouth dropping open. He turns to Jimin, eyes gleaming.
“Hyung, why’d you never say you were friends with /Min Yoongi/?”
Jimin raises both hands in surrender. “I was about to say he’s our ride back to Seoul today, actually.”
“What!” Jihyung holds his head with both hands, gobsmacked as he stares up at Yoongi. “This is so cool.”
Meanwhile, Taemin edges closer, eyeing Jihyun and Yoongi. “Huh. Looks like your little bro’s a fan.”
“I watched your New Year’s busking performance at Hongdae this year,” Jihyun gushes, hands clutching his backpack strap tighter. “Great Maroon 5 cover. Loved the new song, too.”
Yoongi ducks his head, grinning from ear to ear. “I didn’t think people outside Korea would listen…”
“What! No way! We love you guys’ music. I’m here to follow my passion, too, can you sign my shirt?”
As Yoongi’s face turns deeper shades of scarlet, Jimin holds back a laugh.
He’s so deeply engrossed watching the interaction between Yoongi and his younger brother that he completely misses the knowing look that passes Taemin’s eye when he, in turn, observe the three of them.
“Anyway!” Jimin claps his hand to save Yoongi from the fanboying overload.
He clamps down hands on Jihyun’s shoulders and steers him towards the parking lot. “We’ll continue everything in the car, and then you can go ahead and grill Yoongi-hyung to your heart’s content.”
On the walk to the carpark, Jihyun chatters away with Yoongi.
“Hey,” Taemin says.
“Hey yourself,” Jimin answers, watching Yoongi & Jihyun from behind. Jihyun is asking about genres & favorite songs, which Yoongi answers with much gusto.
“You look good,” Taemin says, finally earning Jimin’s wide-eyed gaze. “Happy.”
“Yep. Guess Seoul was a good move?”
Jimin’s smile softens as he glances back to the pair walking ahead of them. “You think? What makes you say so?”
Taemin shrugs. “I’m asking /you./“
To be frank, Jimin hasn’t been reflecting on whether moving back has done him more good than bad. “Maybe. But anyway—how are YOU?”
Taemin gives him a brief summary of what’s been going on in his life—he got hired at a new company with better wages and a less toxic supervisor, and he’s been volunteering at an elderly home on weekends. He’s good. Always has been.
They reach Yoongi’s car, which beeps unlocked.
“Can I call shotgun?” Jihyun pleads, eyes going round.
Jimin hesitates, eyes flickering to meet Yoongi’s.
“Jihyun-ah, we haven’t inserted your new sim card yet,” Taemin quips in a stern tone, opening the passenger’s seat door. “Come on, let me help you. Hop in.”
Jimin gives his little brother a gentle push. “Go on. Yoongi-hyung isn’t going anywhere.”
“Eugh. Fine.” Jihyun sighs and steps in after Taemin.
Once Jimin double-checks that the trunk is all loaded and closed, he joins the rest of them by getting into the passenger seat.
“Seatbelt.” Yoongi’s firm reminder is the first thing he hears.
Jimin rolls his eyes. “Yes, good sir.”
Yoongi casts him a sidelong glance, then looks at the rearview mirror. “Everyone buckled in?”
Only after he gets affirmatives from everyone does he drive out of the carpark.
Once they’re safely in the expressway, Yoongi surprises Jimin by starting the conversation first. “So uh. How long is Taemin-ssi planning to stay in Seoul?”
“Hmm?” Taemin pipes up. “Oh. Just a week.”
Jimin turns around on his seat. “Where are you staying, though?”
“My older sister has a place in Gangnam,” Taemin answers. “I’ll crash her place and visit other relatives here, too. Why, were you gonna offer your own place, sweetheart?”
From Jimin’s periphery, he spies Yoongi’s head twitch slightly, like he’s trying not to look Jimin’s way.
Jimin throws his head back to laugh good-naturedly. Looks like Taemin really hasn’t dropped his pet name for him from when they’d been an item together. “I’d offer, but I’m currently just crashing aunt’s place, too.“
“Jimin-ah, could you prepare some loose change?” Yoongi quips.
“Huh?” Jimin faces Yoongi. “Where?”
“My wallet’s in the compartment. Toll gate’s coming.”
“Um.” Squinting, Jimin makes a curious noise when he finds nothing looming in the far horizon. Weird, but okay. Maybe Yoongi wants to prepare in advance. “Sure.”
Taemin smiles to himself.
“By the way, what happened to that necklace you always wear, Jiminie?”
Jimin’s blood goes cold in his veins.
This time, Yoongi does tip his head to shoot him a fleeting sidelong look.
“Um,” Jimin titters nervously, “what necklace?”
“The silver one, shaped like a guitar pick?”
Jimin lets out a string of forced, staccato giggling. “Ahhh.” He does NOT look at the driver’s seat.
“You never took it off in Australia, so I was wondering why it’s not there today,” Taemin continues so casually that he yawns mid-way. “What was it again? It reminds you of ho—“
“Hot summer days!” Jimin interjects in a garbled rush, punctuating his outburst with a pitchy giggle. “Because yes, silver has a cooling effect on the skin! And it was really useful in Perth, you know.”
Beside him, Yoongi has fallen quiet, but he nods along. “Interesting.”
“Yeah, and like, it was a pretty pendant—“
“—and there was something cool about wearing a guitar pick around, right Taemin-hyung?”
“Jimin,” Yoongi says evenly. “The toll fee.”
Jimin blinks and pauses, heart palpitating so hard it echoes in his ears. “Ah. Right.”
He lifts the compartment lid and rummages through the the coin pouch in Yoongi’s wallet, grateful for something to be busy with. As the car slows, Jimin hands over the loose change. “Here.”
Meanwhile, from behind, Taemin hums in thought. “Didn’t the necklace remind you of home?”
Jimin fights back a squeak and does the only thing a cornered boy like him can do in such a small space, with limited avenues for exit.
“Hooo,” he yawns. stretching his arms out. Then he collapses back against the seat and lets his head loll sideways to rest on the windowsil.
“Jimin? Sweetheart?” Taemin prompts.
Jimin remains laying still, screwing his eyes shut.
“He’s dead,” Yoongi deadpans.
“He’s meditating, y’all,” Jihyun supplies helpfully.
A huff sounds from next to Jimin, followed by the sound of the passenger seat’s sun visor being lowered.
Jimin continues to fake sleeping. He must be a pretty darn good method actor, because in between his somewhat comfortable position and Yoongi’s smooth driving, he eventually does end up getting pulled to drowiness.
The last thing he hears is—
“…pass me the blanket from the…”
WHY DID EVERYONE THINK IT WAS GONNA BE ANGSTY?
Good night, thank you for staying up with me. Please shower me with love, I could use the energy boost.
Or you could also help support me on ko-fi; I’m miles from my budget goal
Dear My Friend: Yoongi’s POV
—While Jimin Naps
• what happens in Yoongi’s car on the ride from the airport with Taemin and Jihyun.
During his first few nights in Perth, Jimin could barely catch a wink of fitful sleep. He was one of those people who was picky about beds, and the one in his new room felt too foreign for comfort. The few times he did succumb to exhaustion, however, he used to dream of Yoongi.
Specifically, his voice. Calling him by the name.
At that time, he didn’t know what or how to think of Yoongi; Jimin had been too engulfed in the shame and self-hate that came with kissing a boy. His subconscious, though, was far kinder to him than reality.
Because in his dreams, his Yoongi hyung’s voice always sounded so warm and tender. Like forgiveness. Like he was saying, /It’s okay./
Then Jimin would wake up, and the nightmare of real life would come haunt him all over again.
Yoongi’s voice has always been soft.
“Yah, Park Jimin. Wake up, idiot.”
Okay—but never in THAT tone.
Jimin jerks awake, head lifting from the passenger seat’s windowsill. The first thing that dawns on him is how there’s a fuzzy grey mini blanket draped over his chest.
That, and Taemin isn’t in the car anymore.
Jimin looks around and realizes they’re already outside the gates of the Jung residence.
Yoongi nods. “We’re here.”
The backseat door opens as Jihyun hops outside and races to ring the bell. “Touchdown!”
“What about Taemin-hyung…?”
“Dropped him off at Gangnam. You were K.O.”
Jimin’s upper lip curls sardonically at Yoongi. “You were nicer in my dreams,” he slurs through a yawn, still blinking humself back to full alertness.
Yoongi shoots him an odd look, eyes filling with amusement. Jimin ignores the implication that he /dreamt/ of Yoongi. In plural.
Outside, the gate opens wide and Hoseok hops out to pull Jihyun in a headlock. “Yooo, cousin!”
Jihyun bursts into laughter, eyes crinkling at the corners. Jimin grins at the sight.
“He smiles like you.”
Yoongi nods towards his younger brother as Hoseok escorts him in.
“Thank you for confirming our sibling relationship.”
Yoongi stares at him flatly. “Yeah, and you’re nicer when you’re asleep.”
Jimin snorts, unbuckling his seatbelt. “Whatever. Thanks for the ride, hyung. Coffee’s on me when you visit the café next time.”
Jimin turns just in time to catch Yoongi’s knuckles tightening and loosening over the steering wheel. “Thanks for, you know. Just now at the airport.”
“Oh.” Jimin blinks. “It’s no biggie.”
He sits and waits, sensing that Yoongi still has more to add from his pinched expression.
Yoongi lets out a slow breath. “Taemin… he’s good. I’m happy for your— Australia era.”
“Australia era,” Jimin repeats, fighting back a cackle.
Yoongi squirms. “You don’t have to answer. But uh. How- how were you? Those years. Out there.”
Jimin’s chest gives a soft squeeze.
It never occurred to him that Yoongi would wonder. Why would he? Jimin and he had beef during that time, and they aren’t sure if either of them are ready to touch on the topic. Jimin swallows, taking his time to contemplate.
/Okay at best, miserable at worst,/ he wants to say.
“I learned a lot,” Jimin states carefully.
/I had to rely on myself and I hated adulting./
Yoongi keeps staring at him expectantly, and damn if those burnished eyes aren’t hard to lie to.
So Jimin dishes out half-truths. “I met a lot of people. Partied a lot. Studied English.”
/I wasn’t home a lot. I burned out trying to support myself. I was an emotional mess./
See, the thing about relating personal experiences is that the messy things aren’t too great to talk about. Moreover, Jimin would hate for Yoongi to worry—or worse—think badly of his actions.
/I missed you so bad./ Jimin blinks rapidly at the sudden wave of tears stinging his eyes.
“Ah, the universal young adult experience, then,” Yoongi quips with a nod, his gaze never leaving Jimin’s.
“Yup.” Jimin clears his throat and shrugs in what he hopes is a casual manner.
Unable to deal with the invisible tension in the car, he pushes the car door open and steps out.
“Jimin, wait.” Yoongi unbuckles his own seatbelt and ducks out to round the car, brisk-walking to the other side so that Jimin ends up leaning against the passenger door. “I just.”
Jimin folds his arms as a prelude to cradling his own elbows close. “What is it?”
Yoongi glances down to the base of his throat, then cracks a half-smirk. “My blanket’s still on you.”
“Oh.” Jimin clamps his mouth shut & uncrosses his arms to let Yoongi peel the fabric off him.
Once it’s off, Yoongi folds it over his left forearm. Then he takes Jimin by surprise and leans in with his right arm against the car’s roof, caging Jimin against the passenger door. His eyes flicker up to Jimin’s again.
“Wah, wah- hyung?”
Yoongi sighs, forehead creasing.
“I’m really nervous about doing this,” Yoongi mumbles, closing his eyes, making Jimin’s heart leap out of its ribcage.
It’s late at night. There’s no one else around, no sound except the occasional meow of an alley cat.
Yoongi bumps his temple against Jimin’s gently. “Boop.”
Butterflies aren’t aggressive enough for the leaping, twisting, zesty sensation that takes up all the space in Jimin’s gut.
The action is so unexpected, so random, that Jimin barks out a muted giggle & instinctively lifts one hand to rest against Yoongi’s nape, fingers curling.
“You laugh,” Yoongi grumbles, lips brushing the shell of his ear in a way that sends tingles down Jimin’s toes. “I’m just returning the favor.”
Truth be told, Jimin’s laughter was a prologue to the sudden tears that spring to his eyes, like the first wave of a cracking dam.
Holding onto his last string of self-restraint, Jimin manages not to burst into pitiful sobbing like a child. Instead, he lets his head fall forward to hide his face into the warm crook of Yoongi’s neck, one hand trembling against his nape.
“You’re such a weirdo,” Jimin murmurs.
“If by weirdo you mean wonderful, then I’ll take the compliment.” Yoongi steps forward, closing the gap between their chests, and draws Jimin into the sweet fold of his arms as they lean against the car.
“Nice to know you’re capable of /hugging/,” Jimin quips, voice muffled.
“Excuse you, I cuddled you when you came to our house,” Yoongi whispers.
“Because I /asked/,” Jimin retorts with a petulant pout, his left arm rising to grip the hem of Yoongi’s tee shirt. “Today is a record because I /didn’t/ ask. Get the difference?”
“You’re stingy,” Jimin replies, relishing the way he can /feel/ Yoongi’s shoulders quaking with silent laughter, mirroring the exact same earthquake inside Jimin’s chest. He wonders if his heartbeat is thunderous enough for Yoongi to notice.
Yoongi steps back and cups his face.
Jimin grins wickedly and closes his fingers around Yoongi’s wrists. “You know what this means, don’t you?”
Yoongi’s eyes dim for a moment, then glint with realization. “Fuck.” He clucks his tongue, shaking his head as he removes one hand from Jimin’s face to dig into his pocket.
“I can’t believe I’ve become piggybank fodder,” Yoongi grumbles as he drops a 500-won coin into Jimin’s open palm.
Jimin sticks his tongue out and jerks his chin towards the car behind them. “You drive an Audi, mindeulle. I’ll take your nuggets.”
Yoongi flicks his forehead.
“I don’t even take it out that much,” Yoongi reasons, stepping back to walk Jimin to the gate. “I prefer public transport.“
“Why?” Jimin says, following his trail to the gate.
Yoongi scrunches his nose, then mutters darkly, “Parking fees.”
Jimin lets out a garbled snort.
“You’re a loser.” Jimin puts up an L-sign with his fingers to his own forehead, then scuttles into the gate before Yoongi can yeet him out of the planet.
“Yah, I’m a savvy spender,” Yoongi argues, his voice carrying over the gate. “Shit, i’m talking to a wall, aren’t I.”
Jimin covers his giggle with a hand and tip-toes to their front door.
“Night, marigold!” Yoongi’s aggressive half-whisper chases him into the night.
Biting back a grin, Jimin whispers back before stepping into the house, “Night night, mindeulle! Thanks again!”
In dreams without Yoongi, Jimin often imagined coming home to a laughing, complete family, with home-cooked food steaming on the dining table. His eomma would ask how his day was while his appa told them stories about /his/ day, because Jimin’s dad was one heck of a storyteller.
He’d long since given up on it until now, stepping through the front door of his cousin’s house.
At once, he hears Hoseok’s bright, sparkling laughter as he, Jihyun & Uncle Sejin play poker cards in a circle around the carpet.
“Jimin-ah!” Aunt Miseon says. “Help set the table?”
Months ago, Jimin’s heart might have palpitated at the sight and he might’ve fled the scene, convinced that this can’t be real, that something so good can’t be for people like him.
Now thought, while he still wonders how this can last, Jimin accepts the way his eyes water.
“Okay,” he chirps simply, hurrying to set down the last of Jihyun’s belongings next to the couch before moving to help with the dining table.
He mostly stays in a happy, quiet haze during dinner, heart feeling lighter than it has in ages as he watches his little brother eat.
They chatter about Jihyun’s flight, about Taemin chaperoning him to Seoul, and for a short while Jimin gets teased when everyone around the table finds out he’s his ex. While warding off the teasing remarks, Jimin’s heart soars as he thinks—
/They’re okay that I had a boyfriend./
Jimin is a boy who had a boyfriend, and all Hoseok’s family can ask is “who was taller”, “who had better hair” and “who snores in his sleep”, and Jimin is so close to blubbering again.
That is, until Aunt Miseon goes Mom Mode and launches on a lecture against /running away./
At least Jihyun has the tact to shrink back and look apologetic. In his defense, according to him, he had the funds and friends to help him out, since it didn’t seem like his eomma cared all that much.
“She just called, actually,” Uncle Sejin mentions. “Before you got here.”
Jimin and Jihyun’s eyes go wide in mirroring expressions. “Ehhh?!”
Aunt Miseon nods. “We were on the drive back from Ilsan when she called to ask if Jihyun got to Korea okay.”
Jimin gnaws on his lower lip and looks down to pick at his seafood, torn about how to feel. “Huh.”
“I bet she was gonna scold me!” Jihyun singsongs, but one glance at his eyes tells Jimin just how curious—and even hopeful—his brother must be feeling.
“Did she ask to speak to us?“ Jimin adds.
Aunt Miseon and Uncle Sejin exchange loaded glances.
Jimin sighs. “Probably not.”
“She’ll come around to it,” says Uncle Sejin, avoiding their gazes.
Jimin doubts so.
Aunt Miseon glances at Jihyun. “Wanna see your hyung’s room? Do you want your own bed?”
“I’ll go get more rice,” volunteers Jimin, trying to ignore the sinking feeling replacing his euphoria.
Eventually the conversation shifts to lighter topics, and later on the family sits around the living room playing board games until midnight. Then they retire to their respective rooms. Jihyun takes the shower first, so Jimin sits in his bed, recollecting moments from the day.
dear my friend—
Jimin pauses, thumbs hovering over the keyboard. When it comes to his personal issues, habit has him thinking of contacting Chrys first. But this isn’t really an urgent emergency, and besides, someone else has just expressed curiosity about Jimin’s life.
[jimin of the park]
hi boop buddy
[jimin of the park]
what’s the matter
[jimin of the park]
what makes you think something’s the matter
you hardly text
also, that emoji is a red flag
[jimin of the park]
emojis can’t be toxic pls
are you bored, can’t sleep, or what
[jimin of the park]
little bit of all
jihyun’s still in the shower
glad to know I’m a past-time
[jimin of the park]
what is family to you?
This time, Yoongi’s answer is not immediate.
[jimin of the park]
just wondering ㅋㅋ
/dtownbeats is typing…/
Jimin stares at the screen for several long moments, but the typing keeps going until his bedroom door creaks and his brother pokes his head in.
“Your turn, hyung.”
“Oh.” Jimin looks up from his phone. “Okay.”
He tosses his phone aside on his bed and heads into the shower. By the time he steps out, toweling off the dripping ends of his hair, Jihyun is already lounging on Jimin’s bed, browsing on his phone. It seems he’s already claimed the left side. Fine with Jimin.
“Seoul really is next level,” Jihyun says without looking up from his phone screen, eyes wide. He turns his phone towards Jimin. “How is it that some places can deliver even this late at night?”
“Some places open ‘til late,” Jimin explains, sitting next to him. “Why, you still hungry? We still have some leftover—”
Jihyun shakes his head. “I just love technology. And I missed real Korean food, I guess.”
Jimin’s heart twists.
Australia never did truly taste like home. He opens his mouth to further interrogate his little brother, but Jihyun beats him before words come.
“Your phone’s been vibrating, by the way.” Jihyun nods at Jimin’s cellphone on top of the blanket. “Who’s user ‘dtownbeats’, anyway?
Jimin’s mouth forms a small “o” shape as he makes a dive for his phone, scrolling through the visible notifications. Distractedly, he replies, “He’s Yoongi-hyung.”
“Oh.” Thoughtful silence. “You guys a thing?”
“What?” Jimin splutters, lowering his phone to his lap to gape at his little brother. “What gave you that silly idea? Get outta here.”
Jihyun tilts his head, eyes glinting with mischief. “Oh. Your neck’s all red. I won’t judge, I swear. Min Yoongi is cool!”
Jimin half-sighs, half-groans, then falls sideways to bury his face into the mattress. “He’s a childhood friend.”
“Aw c’mon, he’s not just your childhood friend. He’s the Min Yoongi, keyboardist of Blue&Grey!” Jihyun claps back, before reeling back with a more sober expression.
“Didn’t expect him to be a little quiet, though.”
“That’s Yoongi-hyung for you.” /Never says a word, but always here to swoop in when people are in trouble./
Jimin turns his head to one side and lifts his phone to his face, only then remembering how Yoongi has probably replied.
Opening their Kakao chatbox, Jimin finds a new string of text messages waiting for him.
this feels very familiar
do you remember what I told you back in high school?
what it means to want to be with someone forever…
going by that logic
to me, i guess family is
someone you don’t mind forever with
you get what i mean?
Jimin stares at the chat bubbles and lets out a whoosh of breath. Yoongi’s answer is good — profound, even — but Jimin himself can’t figure out why he’s not fully aboard with it.
Not that he disagrees with Yoongi’s definition, but it feels like there’s something missing.
[jimin of the park]
forever sounds like a longass time keke
let me rephrase
someone who makes forever worth it.
Jimins has to bite back a disbelieving scoff at. Forever, huh?
[jimin of the park]
that sounds so nice it’s almost fictional keke
it's such a narrow requirement for family
You don’t foresee spending forever with anyone?
Because forever is a commitment. Isn’t Jimin a bit too young to start fantasizing or planning for something so… permanent? Wouldn’t it be nicer, instead, to find a person or a place who makes every moment stretch to feel like forever?
[jimin of the park]
I suppose it’s a little scary to think about
imo forever belongs in the distant future
I don’t know how to start thinking of that when I’m still stuck figuring out the now, you get me?
Anyway how did we even get to this haha
If Jimin can’t even afford the present, how is he expected to think of forever?
What’s family to you then?
Just curious too.
since I gave you my answer
Jimin gnaws on his upper lip, hanging his wet towel on a wall hook.
He glances up at his little brother then surveys the entirety of his room, eyes landing on the textbooks Aunt Miseon bought for him, the slippers Uncle Sejin helped him pick out at the flea market, at the white secondhand headphones Hoseok had gifted him a few days into his stay.
“Jihyunnie,” he says, scooting back so that he’s leaning against the headboard next to his younger brother. “What do you think of staying here so far?”
Jihyun turns to look at him. “I like it here.”
“Yeah?” Jimin smiles. “Why?”
Jihyun cranes his neck back, tapping his chin in the picture of thoughtful silence. He answers simply, “Food here’s warm. Eomma doesn’t cook that often.”
A fresh lump forms in Jimin’s throat.
He knows all too well that it must have been like for Jihyun to come home to cold leftovers or worse, an empty dining table despite having both parents around. When they were younger and their family had been intact +
+ their mother often cooked a variety of local dishes, from kimchi pajeon to ginseng chicken broth and Jimin’s favorite, kimchi jjigae. Days such as those were long gone, or so Jimin believed.
He reaches out to stroke the top of Jihyun’s hair. “Me, too.”
Sleep doesn’t claim him as fast as it does his dongsaeng. While Jihyun’s breathing eventually steadies and evens out as soon as he tucks himself under the duvet, Jimin lies awake, eyes trained on the ceiling. He opes the last message he sent Yoongi.
[jimin of the park]
That’s it; no other text succeeds the chat bubble, and they may very well be Jimin’s famous last words for the night. He tosses and turns, mind too active to succumb to slumberland.
In the end, he sneaks out of bed and heads downstairs. To his surprise, the kitchen light is on.
Squinting halfway down the stairs, Jimin makes out Aunt Miseon’s hunched form over the dining table, surrounded by sheafs of paper bills and other documents. She must be settling the household’s monthly finances.
Jimin joins her, sitting on the opposite chair.
Aunt Miseon addresses him without looking up from the words she’s scribbling.
Jimin nods with a soft affirmative hum, raising both legs onto the chair to hug them to his knees. “My mind can’t seem to shut up, imo-nim.”
“Why? Your brother’s safe with us now.”
“So, what is it?”
Truth be told, he knows exactly what’s bothering him, but to say it out loud takes a kind of courage that requires Jimin to acknowledge that deep down, he still craves motherly love — not just from any older female figure in his life, but his actual mother.
He drums his fingers lightly on his knees, gaze fixated on no particular thing. “I just- can’t help but wonder. Why won’t she talk to us, imo-nim?“
At that, Aunt Miseon gives a pause, then sets down the pen in her hand. She shifts forward so that her full attention is on Jimin.
Aunt Miseon’s eyes are shadows, hooded under the warm light fixture hanging above the dining table. “I don’t think it’s a matter of ‘won’t’, Jimin. More like she can’t.”
Jimin sulks, waiting for her to continue.
“She’s probably ashamed of her actions & doesn’t know what to do.”
“But I don’t even hate her,” Jimin interjects wilfully, unable to wrap his mind around that. “And neither does Jihyun, I think. It’s not like we’ll cuss her out if she just asks to have a conversation over the phone.”
Aunt Misson lets out a soft exhale and clasps her hands.
“I think that’s exactly why, darling,” says Aunt Miseon. “You’re probably very hurt and disappointed, and it makes it hard. I’m not defending your mother, but you see, facing disappointment is more difficult than facing outright hate, even moreso when they’re your own children.”
Once upon a time, Jimin had concocted an entire, delusional lie to himself about Yoongi probably hating him and hence ghosting him. He’d convinced himself of that because it was easier than having to face the possibility that HE had disappointed Yoongi by taking so long to write.
He clenches his hands into fists and blinks back the burn behind his eyes.
More than his loathing for the way their eomma has been behaving, Jimin hates that he can actually see where she’s coming from, because understanding a person robs you of the energy to resent them.
Pressing the heels of his hands against his his eyes, Jimin says, “All she has to do is apologize.”
“My dear boy. Adults are worse than children when it comes to apologizing.” Aunt Miseon sighs and tips Jimin’s chin upwards. “Look at me, and listen very carefully.”
Jimin sniffles and nods, looking into his auntie’s eyes.
“Your mother’s shortcomings are a reflection of her, not you or whether you deserve love. More than blood, family”—Aunt Miseon lets out a soft exhale—“means coming home to a place where you know you’ll be safe and loved.”
Jimin’s lower lip wobbles. “Imo-nim, can I tell you a secret?”
“Sure, darling, what is it?”
“Sometimes I wish I was your son.”
Aunt Miseon’s face twists. Jimin cringes at the flood of guilt that rises in him just as quickly as the words leave his mouth. He’s horrified.
“No, no, I mean—“ His mind races to rearrange his words, articulate his thoughts more tactfully. “That came out wrong. I mean, I wish my eomma was better to us. And I hope she treats our baby sister different.”
Aunt Miseon ducks her head and takes a long, deep inhale.
“And it’s not that I’m saying I’m jealous of Hoseokie hyung, because of course he’s your son,” oh no, Jimin is downright babbling now, “but sometimes I watch us eat dinner and wonder, what me and Jihyun would have been like if we’d grown up like Hoseok-hyung did?”
“Every family has its struggles, Jimin-ah,” Aunt Miseon answers, then tells him how, 5 years ago, the Cacao Crushers nearly closed down as a failing enterprise. How the Jung family had been the only workers since they couldn’t afford to hire more. To help, Hoseok delivered milk.
“Everyone gets a taste of pain here on the earth,” Aunt Miseon says candidly, tapping her pen against the table. “It’s not something people can be exempt from. That doesn’t make your pain and more or less valid, though. We are all just different shades of hurt.”
Jimin reels at that, tipping his head to one side thoughtfully. “I hate the self-pity that comes with it, though. I just wish I’d stop going there.”
“You can,” Aunt Miseon says with conviction. “Keep your eyes ahead instead of back. Instead of asking, ‘what if’…try ‘what now?’”
What now, indeed? Jimin rests his head against the pillow as he stares up into the general nothingness, brain spinning from his midnight talk with Aunt Miseon. He feels for his phone, and types a reply.
[jimin of the park]
family is a feeling
He musings carry over to the next day, following him into his shift at the café while his body shifts gears to autopilot—take orders, prepare and serve, clear the tables. Jimin gets so lost in thought he doesn’t realize his name is being called until he hears—
Jimin’s gaze jerks up and lands on Taemin and Jihyun waving at him as they stand in in front of the cash register, waiting to order.
“Ah.” Jimin straightens his back and smiles. “Hi.”
Taemin’s eyes wander about the store’s interior. “So this is your workplace.”
Jimin nods distractedly. “Welcome to the life and times of Park Jimin.”
“Can we just take any seat?” asks Taemin, looking around the handful of free tables. He hooks a thumb at Table 7. “The window seat looks good.”
“Um.” By reflex, Jimin glances at the door.
Yoongi hasn’t been coming by to the Cacao Crushers lately—according to Taehyung, the guy’s swamped with band rehearsals for the campus summer showcase this weekend. Still, some part of Jimin is apprehensive about simply letting the table… go, in case a certain someone drops by.
As if on cue, Taehyung swaggers past Jimin’s line of sight, waggling his eyebrows up and down, and Jimin sorely remembers his friend’s question—who would he give Table 7 to, if he had to pick?
Well, luckily there ISN’T much of a choice, since Yoongi isn’t around.
While Taemin goes to designate the table, Jihyun scans the menu and asks for recommendations. Jimin cites a few crowd favorites as well as a couple of seasonal specials. After the two of them pay for their drinks, Jimin watches them occupy Yoongi’s table.
Wait. Not /Yoongi’s./
“So he’s the ex,” Taehyung muses, cropping up out of nowhere behind Jimin and making him jump in surprise. “Hmm. Cute. But Hoseok-hyung is cuter.”
Jimin elbows him. “Nobody was asking you to compare.”
Taehyung shrugs. “Not the sun’s fault everything dims in comparison to him.”
At that, the 2 of them pause, their gazes drawn exactly to where Hoseok is serving a tray of waffles to Table 3, all bright smiles and crinkly eyes. He might as well be emitting glitter, the way the customers sitting in the table tilt their heads back and return his dreamy smile.
Jimin nods. Taehyunf has exquisite taste; Hoseok is nothing but the cream of the crop in a landfill of men. Aside from Yoongi, that is. Well, and the rest of their tight-knit friend circle.
“I’m relieved Yoongi-hyung isn’t here,” Jimin whispers to Taehyung. “No need to choose.”
“Just say you miss him and go,” Taehyung says, pinching the left side of Jimin’s cheek before hurrying off to help clear a dirty table.
“I don’t /miss/ him.” Jimin was just texting him last night and they literally spent yesterday together!
Just then, the entrance bell chimes.
From his periphery, Jimin spots a silhouette decked in all black, and his heart is already doing a micro flip when he turns to the doors with his best megawatt smile. “Welcome to— oh, hey.”
“Jimin-sssshi,” Jungkook greets, striding into the café in his chunky black boots.
“‘Sup,” Jimin waves, glancing behind Jungkook. “Where’s Namjoon-hyung? Aren’t you staying over at his place?”
“We broke up.” Jungkook hops onto one of the high stools lined against the bar countertop, closest to the counter.
Jimin gawks. “Huh?!”
Since when were they together?
Jungkook just nods to himself as he casually orders— “Do you guys serve piña colada?”
“Gguk, you’re a minor.”
Jimin rolls his eyes, brows drawn in confusion. “I’ll get you a coconut smoothie…”
Jungkook holds his hands up in surrender. “Can’t have nice things.”
While Jimin prepares his drink, Jungkook dunks his head into his hands, ruffling his own hair, and occassionally beats a fists against the wooden countertop. “Cohabitation, Jimin-sshi. Cohabitation. I thought we could make it through anything. But then the fire nation attacked.”
“Do I want to know?”
“Yes, yes you do. Namjoon hyung…” Jungkook sighs and leans forward to whisper in a grave tone, “tried to cook breakfast. Omellete, but there were eggshells in it. And he chops onions with the curved side down, flat side up. I was freaked.”
How frightful indeed. Jimin hums in allyship and solidarity as he slides Jungkook’s coconut smoothie across the countertop. “He’s a walking hazard in the kitchen, Gguk. Do better.”
“So I said to him, ‘I need to rethink our friendship’ and he went, ‘Is this a breakup?’”
Jungkook sighs and ruffles his bangs. “And I said, ‘I will reconsider if you give me your best Mangnanyong pull’, and you know what he did? He took the omellete and said he’d just eat it himself.”
“Foul,” Jimin gasps. Jungkook nods gravely.
“I think it’s over now.”
Jimin clucks his tongue and pats Jungkook’s shoulder reassuringly. “I’ll send him a tutorial for onion-cutting later. Stay strong.”
“Thank you.” Jungkook slups his smoothie with a frown, which Jimin takes as a compliment, because he only makes that face when the food is good.
Just then, Taemin walks up to the counter, stopping just beside where Jungkook is seated by the high stools.
“Hey sweetheart, can we get another dalgona coffee?”
Jungkook snorts and makes a squirting noise into his coconut slush. Gaping, he mouths at Jimin: /Sweetheart?/
Jimin shoots him a side-eyed warning look, then entertains Taemin’s requests within the same breath. Once Taemin walks back to Table 7, Jungkook narrows his eyes.
“Since when did you go by petnames?”
Jimin cringes, then whispers, “Dude, he’s my ex.”
Jungkook gasps. “In Perth?”
Jimin may or may not have mentioned casually seeing someone while he was in Australia. Then again, he’d kept a lot of secrets from everyone he loved during those toxic years. “It was a casual thing. We’re still cool after the breakup.”
“So why does he still call you sweetheart?”
Jimin squirms and settles for a shrug. He doesn’t really know how to explain that in his neighborhood, terms of endearment were commonplace, and that Jimin himself had taken time to get used to it. “He just got used to it, I guess. It’s no biggie. Anyway, how’s Busan?”
To his relief, Jungkook takes the swift topic change in stride. “Still the same. Oh, but the Kang family down the street moved to Ilsan. Hyemi-noona got engaged. The grandma from the grocer’s recently passed away. Hmmm, what else?” Jungkook taps his chin. “Ah! And your appa…”
Jimin’s ears perk up. He hasn’t heard from his father in years. Curious as he may be about how he’s doing, Jimin never quite mustered the courage to reach out to a parent who had so willingly let him go.
“He got a job in the sea port, so he’s away a lot,” says Jungkook. “And…”
“And what?” Jimin presses, brows knitting close together. A thought strikes him. “What about our old house? Is it still there?“
“Ah, mm.” Jungkook nods, averting his gaze while fiddling with his straw. “It has a pretty garden. Yellow flowerbeds and all. But, uh...”
Just then, Taehyung calls for his name to take some orders, so Jimin excuses himself to rush over to the cash register. Later, when he returns to Jungkook’s seat, he asks, “Does appa still live in Busan?”
Jungkook gulps, eyes down. “He remarried, hyung. After selling the house.”
Jimin can’t say if he knows anyone who has ever felt dismay this intensely; a deep, gut-wrenching sensation pummeling at his insides and coiling around his chest. He swallows.
“I see.” He doesn’t even know why his body is reacting to this information like it’s such a great loss.
Is it because his father got married and moved on with his new life without bothering to tell his kids?
Or is it because a secret part of Jimin still foolishly believed that as long as their old house still stood, then there was a chance that his family might come back together?
And now Jimin feels like an embarrassment, a blockhead who clung onto the mirage of an old house with no people to hold it together.
Because what makes a home if not the warmth of a family living in it? What makes a hearth light up if not for the fuel that holds the flame?
“Sorry, hyung,” Jungkook pipes up quietly through his teeth biting his straw. “I didn’t mean to hide it from you. But I just, I didn’t know how to tell you.”
Jimin pushes down the brick in his throat and shrugs. “It’s- it’s whatever. That house crumbled long ago, anyway.”
He glances at Jihyun, talking animatedly with Taemin.
And then Hoseok is calling Jimin, asking for a helping hand with crowd control, so he has to set aside the grief curdling in his stomach like spoilt milk. He releases a long huff, rolls his shoulders back, and gets to work.
Tamping down his emotions gets easier the more he immerses himself in the routine of the work. Fortunately the summer crowd is endless, so Jimin gets to avoid having to entertain an idle mind. Feeling like a robot, he plasters a courteous smile on his face & excels at each chore.
Jungkook—bless his heart—plays a huge part in keeping Jimin’s spirits somewhat aloft by cracking jokes and showing him memes everytime he passes by the stool counter. They’re engrossed in playful bickering when the entrance bell chimes, and Namjoon walks in looking distraught.
“Oh- hey hey hey,” Hoseok greets while cleaning up the table closest to the entrance. “The usual?”
Namjoon gives him a distracted nod, eyes scanning the café until he zeroes in on where Jungkook is sitting. Then he marches forward, carrying a bulky dark grey binder in one arm.
He stops once he’s in front of Jungkook, chest rising and falling rapidly. He places the binder in front of Jungkook. “Here.”
Jungkook’s doe eyes widen as he flips the cover open to reveal a whopping collection of Pokemon stickers Namjoon has amassed over the years. “Hyung…?”
“Gguk-ah,” Namjoom starts, voice cracking, “I know we’ve been through tough times especially when we were both down on our weekly allowance—oh, hi Jimin—but I honestly want you to know how much I- I cherish and need your support.”
“In everything,” adds Namjoon.
As much as Jimin is having a hard time trying to fathom the whiplash and confusion from the scene in front of him, he can’t help but smile at the way Jungkook’s eyes are turning glassy.
“I once said to you we’d go catch ‘em all,” says Namjoon. “But now I want to catch you.”
A snort sounds from Jimin’s far right and he turns to frown & elbow Taehyung.
“Sorry,” Taehyung snickers behind his mouth, eyes gleaming with glee.
“Shut up. Let them have their moment,” Jimin whispers back.
And then Jungkook is leaping out of his seat and into Namjoon’s arms.
“Good for them, good for them,” Taehyung says, watching as Jungkook and Namjoon gather their stuff to leave the coffeeshop, hand-in-hand. He glances at Hoseok surreptitiously. “Me when?”
Jimin watches his friends leave, heart twisting with a mix of fondness, jealousy and…grief.
Because as much as he’s elated with the way things are moving along for his friends, Jimin can’t help but feel the way he did that night after their freshman orientation camp, when all of his schoolmates and were talking about their future ambitions.
Meanwhile he’s still… here.
He watches his two closest childhood friends walk out of the café, happy and glowing with love, and wonders if that’s how his father walked out of their home.
Jimin turns away from the door.
He pauses when his eyes land on Jihyun. Shit. He should probably tell him soon, right?
But how? Looking at Jihyun right now, mouth smeared with chocolate cake and eyes bright with excitement everytime he looks around, Jimin doesn’t know how to find it in him to break his brother’s spirits about Seoul.
He hears the entrance bell chime once more, but doesn’t look.
Instead, Jimin keeps his head down as he gathers dirty glasses from table to table, eyes downcast. The chatter around the café is loud, the buzz of the coffee machine defeaning, and the world keeps moving along while Jimin is still stranded in his own cold truth.
It’s not even his name, but no other voice says that word like it has an owner; no other voice carries the quiet drawl that manages to effectively make other noises within Jimin’s vicinity fall to a hush.
He looks up from his tray, and into Yoongi’s eyes. His hair’s dishevelled.
He’s wearing a light shirt over a white singlet paired with ripped jeans, and his hair is so tousled Jimin’s first thought is—
/I want to tangle my hands in it./
But it’s the probing expression on Yoongi’s face that finally makes Jimin suck a shuddering breath. “What’s wrong?”
Jimin blinks, eyes darting about as his frown deepens. “Nothing, um. What are you doing here? I thought you were at band practice.”
“I was.” Yoongi answers, eyes never leaving Jimin’s face. “But I’m here now. What happened?”
Jimin shakes his head & shrugs. “Nothing, I swear.”
Yoongi sends him a pointed look as if to say, /Yeah, right./
No matter how much they’ve been closing the rift between them the last few weeks, Jimin internally squirms at the idea of letting Yoongi see him all vulnerable, especially when Jimin should be focused on working.
He scratches the back of his head and gestures with his hands. “We’re closing soon. Coffee’s closing.”
“Okay.” Yoongi’s gaze shifts to the rest of the café. “Can I get a flat white?“
“I told you, the coffee machine’s closing now—“
Jimin stifles a groan. “Fine.”
Without another word, Yoongi walks past him to make a beeline for his regular spot, only to stop in his tracks.
“Ah,” Jimin says, belatedly realizing the matter at hand as his attention falls on Taemin & Jihyun still sitting at Table 7.
Yoongi turns around slowly, face pinched.
“Um,” Jimin stammers. “They dropped by earlier—“
“Hi, hyung,” Taehyung says as he passes them by while carrying a loaded tray. He pauses at the look on Yoongi’s face, follows his gaze, then blanches. “Oh. Ohhh.” He shakes his head and faces Jimin. “Tsk tsk. What now, loverboy?”
Jimin gnaws in his lower lip, watching Yoongi’s expression closely. That’s how he spots the exact moment uncertainty crosses Yoongi’s eyes and it dawns on Jimin—those with social anxiety find comfort in routines, in having regular ways of doing things. This must suck for Yoongi.
Acting on pure instinct, Jimin strides forward to drape an arm around Yoongi & steers him towards the high stool that Jungkook had vacated earlier on. “It’s okay, hyung. I got you. Just sit closer to us at the bar.” He can feel the tension in the sinews of Yoongi’s muscles.
Yoongi hobbles forward stiffly, sliding into the high stool. Meanwhile Jimin asks Taehyung to help him key in a last order for a decaf.
“Don’t be mad,” Jimin says, leaning across the counter and craning his head to get a better look at Yoongi’s face.
“I’m alright,” Yoongi says.
But he won’t meet Jimin’s gaze.
Jimin’s frown only deepens. “I can’t read your face, though. I don’t know what you’re thinking. Are you really okay? Help me out a bit here.”
At that, Yoongi finally locks eyes with him, mouth pressing into a thin line. “Likewise, Jimin-ah.”
Jimin’s eyes blow wide, and he straightens up from where he’s leaning on the countertop.
He didn’t realize.
Yoongi looks at him imploringly, gaze searching for words Jimin doesn’t yet know how to form to describe the ache in his chest.
“One decaf!” Hoseok chimes, all bubbly.
His interruption cracks the tension in the air, which Jimin welcomes as he steps back to let Hoseok serve the drink. Jimin looks around the café, the crowd beginning to thin out as the sun disappears below the skyline outside.
“I’ll, um. I’ll do the closing prep,” he volunteers.
While preparing to clean out the display fridge, Jimin sneaks glances at Yoongi every once in a while, only to catch the guy doing the same thing. Each time their gazes collide, either one looks away quickly as though caught red-handed in a criminal act.
Jimin huffs to himself.
Frankly speaking, he feels stupid for constantly bottling up everything inside.
/It’s a knee-jerk defense mechanism/, he reminds himself. Self-awareness has been slow to catch up to him, but he HAS been doing some reflection homework.
It’s not like he always means to withdraw.
Which is why, even before the café team finishes closing up for the day, Jimin approaches Table 7 with a brief request for Jihyun to go ahead and return home without him. Jihyun agrees easily, citing his plans to stroll around the nearby night markets with Taemin anyway.
Next, once he finishes the last chore on his closing to-do list and bids Taehyung and Hoseok goodbye, Jimin stops in front of Yoongi, who’s busy scribbling into a lyric notebook of some sort.
“I’m clocking out now,” Jimin says out loud.
Yoongi looks up from his notebook.
“Are you walking home?“
Jimin nods, slinging his messenger bag across his torso. “And you? Did you drive here?” If he remembers correctly, Yoongi often uses the car for band rehearsal equipment.
Yoongi pauses, blinking. “No, I didn’t.”
“I’ll take a stroll,” Jimin hints.
Jimin scratches his neck, then gestures weakly to the general outdoors, shifting his weight from one foot to another. “I’m taking, like, a long detour.”
Yoongi turns his whole body to him, watching him closely now, 1 eyebrow twitching. “And?”
“It’ll bring me to, uh, Han river.”
“Alone?” Yoongi prods.
Jimin bites the insides of his cheeks. “If I have to.”
“Okay.” Yoongi gathers his belongings and hops off the high stool. “Have fun on your leisurely stroll, then. Good night.”
/Eeek./ Jimin shoots forward to grab a fistful of the hem of Yoongi’s shirt.
Yoongi halts mid-step, throwing him a casual glance over the shoulder. “Oh? What’s up?”
Face flaming, Jimin dips his head and has to suppress the urge to curl his shoulders inward. It’s so embarrassing to have to ask, but… he wants to.
“I don’t wanna walk alone,” he ekes out.
At his words, Yoongi’s face softens. He turns around to nick the underside of Jimin’s chin. “All you had to do was ask, doofus. Good job.”
Jimin screws his eyes shut, cringing at himself. His cheeks feel so hot! Still, he reaches out with his other hand to clutch Yoongi’s shirt.
They step out of the Cacao Crushers. Yoongi leads just a step ahead, hands in his pockets, while Jimin tags along behind, clinging to the back of his shirt and wishing he could un-redden his damn face.
(As they turn the corner, Yoongi shoves his car keys deeper into his pocket.)
The thing is, Jimin kind of sort of maybe lied.
“I’ve been wanting to stroll by the river myself,” Yoongi starts, looking back over this shoulder at him.
They’re too far from the riverside to actually /walk/ their way there. Yoongi surely knows this, so why..?
Well, Jimin reasons with himself, it IS a pleasant summer night, one of the cooler ones that provide reprieve from a sweaty day. Yoongi must want to bask in the weather, too.
“Cool,” Jimin says. “Actually, I don’t mind just wandering.”
“Then let’s go where the summer takes us.”
Jimin’s eyebrows arch in surprise, and he steals another glance at Yoongi. How is he so laid-back, walking with his hands in his pockets like that? Jimin wishes he had half of Yoongi’s composure sometimes. “Wah, that almost sounded cool, hyung.”
“Almost?” Yoongi tests.
Jimin grins. “Try harder. Then we’ll see.”
Yoongi slows down and glances back at him again. “Why do you keep tagging behind, anyway?” His reaches out to uncurl Jimin’s fingers from the back of his shirt, and gently tugs him along so that they’re side by side. “Walk properly.”
“Fine.” Jimin looks down at Yoongi’s slouched, hands-in-his-pockets gait, and promptly mimics it as they resume their pace. Every now and then, their shoulders would brush, and it’s like denying static, the way Jimin has to keep from startling each time Yoongi gets this close.
They end up circling Jimin’s neighborhood, making rounds until they reach a steep incline of road overlooking the rest of the sprawling district below.
It’s a tangle of alleys dotted with dim lamp posts, but even in the dark Jimin looks to Yoongi’s face in search of brightness.
“You haven’t been coming by the café lately,” Jimin says in his best nonchalant voice. It’s an objective take, after all. Just a passing comment.
Yoongi’s gaze veers sharply to his, a gleam in his eyes. “Didn’t know you’d miss me this quickly.”
Jimin scoffs. “I just /noticed/.”
Yoongi ducks his head and smiles to himself, leaning both forearms over the road fence. He’s quiet for a moment, gaze lost in the neighborhood below them. Jimin jumps at the chance to explain himself.
“I mean, I know you’re busy rehearsing for the showcase, so—“
Jimin’s brain shuts off mid-sentence, because Yoongi chooses that moment to tip his head back and train his burnished gaze on Jimin, and in those eyes there’s not a trace of amusement. Just… an earnest honesty.
His hair falls into his eyes. It gets a little tougher to breathe.
There’s also the embarrassing urge to stretch out his fingers & rake them across Yoongi’s floofy hair. It’s the stupidest thing, the way Jimin feels yanked back to being his old high school self, fumbling and stumbling under Yoongi’s scrutiny.
Even worse, is that Jimin gives in.
His inner self watches, mortified, as his hands bridge the distance between them to flick at a non-existent piece of lint on Yoongi’s hair. Jimin clears his throat & tries to stay true to the topic. “It’s public. I would’ve gone to watch with the others even without you asking.”
Hands, hands, oh the horrors of what they’re capable of. Against his better will, Jimin’s fingers card Yoongi’s hair back in soft, soothing strokes, making his hyung’s eyes flutter closed. “Your mullet may be gone, but your hair’s still kinda long.”
“Is that a bad thing?”
Yoongi turns sideways to face him and swiftly makes a grab for Jimin’s wrist. “So.”
Jimin pauses. “What’s wrong?” He eyes Yoongi’s hair with a frown. “Want me to stroke you differently? Or stop?”
“Don’t stop. Hands on the head, please.” Yoongi’s eyes glint.
Jimin cracks up.
He smacks Yoongi’s chest lightly. “You are so unserious. Seriously? At your big age?”
“Hey. Dick jokes are immortal.” Once the words leave his mouth, Yoongi’s smile drops as his left hand comes up to trap Jimin’s hand to his chest. “Jiminie.”
“Are you okay?”
Jimin drops his gaze to his hand, still pressed against Yoongi’s chest, encased in Yoongi’s warmer one. “What do you mean?”
“Earlier,” replies Yoongi, inching closer and lowering voice. “You looked so out of it. Did something happen?”
Technically, Jimin could lie again.
But it’s so hard keeping everything bottled in, and Yoongi is someone he has never been skilled at lying to. Jimin’s mouth tugs into a frown. “It’s a stupid reason. I shouldn’t even be this affected.”
“Why?” Yoongj coaxes.
“Our appa remarried,” Jimin grits out.
As the words slip out, Yoongi’s eyes widen, but his gaze remains unwavering, silently urging Jimin to continue.
It’s all the encouragment he needs. Jimin takes a deep breath and shuffles towards a nearby wooden bench that faces the city skyline. “And I just found out today.”
Yoongi joins him on the bench, keeping a careful foot’s distance, as if afraid Jimin might shatter if he strays too close. “He didn’t say anything to you?”
Jimin shakes his head, looking down to find that his fingers are tightened into shaking fists on top of his knees.
Jimin frowns at his knees, head ducked. “How do people do that, hyung? Move on so easily? When I can’t even—“
/Let go of the family I used to have. Forget about you./
He’s taken aback when his vision suddenly tilts as Yoongi gently pulls his head and presses it to close to him.
“Let it out, Jimin-ah. It’s okay. Hyung will listen.”
Jimin sniffles into Yoongi’s collarbone, his head positioned at an odd angle, but welcomes the little warmth and privacy that Yoongi’s shirt offers. His hyung is like a shield. Always has been.
A new wave of affection swells in his chest, coiling around his throat so tightly he almost chokes up. It’s almost distracting, the deep yearning. How he wishes for three things at that moment—for peace, for contentment, and for Yoongi to hold him in some romantic regard, too.
What was it that Chrysanthemum once said about his good friend? About having love for him?
/I am in the state of loving./
It makes sense for Jimin to think of it this way now too, as he comes to see Yoongi not just as a mild crush, but with a deep-rooted unshakeable fondness.
But Jimin doesn’t come equipped with the words to express something so profound just yet. Instead he lets out a long, shuddering exhale and scoots closer to bury his face into Yoongi’s shirt. Honesty is hard, but Yoongi makes it seem less daunting.
“Truth is, I’m resentful.”
“Mmm.” Jimin feels rather than sees Yoongi nodding.
“And things suck. Been shitty for the past few years,” Jimin continues. “But I don’t want to dump my load on anyone else, especially on you, because you deserve better than seeing me at rock-bottom. Friends aren’t therapists.”
Yoongi lets out a bemused hum and pulls back to look Jimin in the eye. “Telling us about your problems doesn’t mean you’re obliging us to do anything for you. You could think of it this way—you’re simply informing your trusted friends about something they’re curious about.”
“But I don’t want to be a wet blanket, you know,” Jimin protests weakly. “It’s inconsiderate, socially speaking.”
“You’ll be even more of a wet blanket if you continue looking so miserable without giving worried friends a chance to understand you. Isn’t that more inconsiderate?”
Jimin purses his lips, then pulls up both knees on the bench to hug them close to his chest.The city beats with a pulsating tangle of alleys like veins.
“After the divorce and moving to Perth, our eomma remarried a lawyer,” Jimin says slowly.
He’s never told the full story to anyone, not even Chrys, with whom he’d kept their correspondence vague enough because at the end of the day, Jimin still hasn’t felt safe enough with anyone but Yoongi.
“Like our dad, she moved on with her life. Adjusted to Australia smoothly.”
Jimin realizes his voice and fingers are shaking at the same time that Yoongi’s fingers slide over the park bench, looping his pinky finger on top of Jimin’s.
It’s solid. It’s Yoongi’s touch, holding him to the ground.
“When she got pregnant with our sister, we faded away.”
Yoongi makes a startled noise. “You have a baby sister now?”
Jimin nods. “I don’t want to be bitter, but between eomma’s fixation with her new life and finding out appa is doing the same, I couldn’t help but wonder—where does that leave Jihyun and me?”
/Do I belong anywhere?/
“During the time eomma was too busy to even help my brother and I buy school supplies and textbooks, we went on our own, I paid using my savings. And then eomma realized I could do things independently and started expecting the same of me ever since then. I was happy to oblige.”
Yoongi nods, squinting slightly. “But then…?”
“But then it got exhausting,” Jimin confesses, closing his his eyes with a sigh. “I worked part time jobs to keep up. I wasn’t the best person, studying and working to the bone by day and partying to escape reality each night.”
Jimin rubs a hand over his face. “I know it sounds like a typical college life, but when there’s no home or family to fall back on, I feel pointless and— I’m just…” Deadened inside. “I’m so tired, hyung. I’ve been working so hard I’m so”—Jimin blinks back tears—“fucking tired.”
Yoongi right hand rubs circles into Jimin’s back, while he hums in his deep, baritone growl. “Then be tired. Just be.”
“What place in Seoul allows anyone to just be?” Jimin scoffs.
As if to answer, Yoongi pulls Jimin’s head closer to his shoulder, /With me./
It’s almost funny, how even though for weeks on end, Jimin has been doubting whether the Yoongi he used to know—his Yoongi—is still somewhere inside this man next to him, all it takes is a gesture.
And suddenly Jimin is back to his high school self, aching for Yoongi’s safety.
“You’re good,” Jimin murmurs, leaning his head sideways against Yoongi’s shoulder. The movement closes the gap between their thighs, and Jimin can imagine the warmth of Yoongi’s skin seeping through his jeans. “Still so good to people.”
Their free hands lay limp on their knees.
Yoongi makes a noncommittal hum, while Jimin trains his gaze on the inches of space separating their hands from each other. If he could just reach over—
“Not all people.”
Jimin blinks, breath stuttering. Yoongi’s words are firm, steady.
He can’t bring himself to meet his gaze.
“Oh?” Jimin says testily. If it means what it means…
“Yeah. I’m selective about my- friends.” Yoongi clears his throat, eyes fixated on the hands on top of his knees.
/Can you hear my heart?/ Jimin desperately wants to ask, fearful of shattering this bubble of hope, of whimsy.
He glances down at their hands again, and in a surge of sudden boldness, lets his hand dart out to rest on top of Yoongi’s. At his touch, Yoongi tenses, then relaxes, melting against Jimin’s side.
/I missed this/, Jimin thinks to himself. “Thank you. I know I’m difficult.”
Yoongi is quiet for a long moment, absently stroking a thumb over the soft flesh between Jimin’s thumb & forefinger.
Jimin can only stare at the crisscrossing scars over Yoongi’s knuckles, heart heaving. “Y’know, I often think about how I might’ve suffered less if I never left.”
Yoongi lets out a quiet breath.
“Suffering isn’t optional, I think.”
Jimin frowns and lifts his head. “Are you saying I deserved—“
“No.” Yoongi shakes his head vigorously. “Not in that way. It’s like… I think we as people are allocated our own share of pain so we can grow.”
“That’s a sucky fact if I ever heard one,” Jimin comments disdainfully.
“We all suffer,” Yoongi says with a shrug, then turns to hold Jimin’s gaze. “But there’s no need to do it alone.”
Jimim holds his breath, and manages a small, rueful smile. That’s right. He’s been lonely.
Walking a lonesome path trying to bear the weight of the world on his shoulders, wishing he could stop by someplace to breathe. But with Yoongi it’s as easy as breathing, his wisdom deep & sturdy as a deep-rooted tree.
/Stay by my side,/ Jimin finds himself wishing. /Like this./
“You…” Jimin breaks their gaze & shakes his head to himself with a chuckle.
Yoongi nudges him with an elbow. “What? What’s so funny?”
“It’s not funny, it’s just—I’m amazed at what psychology majors can do, I suppose,” says Jimin. “The way I see it, you’re a bit of everything.”
“Steady as an oak,” Jimin holds up a finger for every point he makes. “Deep as an ocean. But also soft-hearted—like a dandelion. There’s a little bit of you in everything the eye can see in nature, hyung.”
Yoongi lets out a shallow, shuddering breath, hand squeezing Jimin’s.
“You can’t just say that,” Yoongi says. “That’s unfair.”
Jimin snorts, wrinking his nose. “What, what? How so?”
“It’s honesty.” Jimin angles himself so that he’s facing Yoongi more. “It’s called a compliment. Give me one, too.”
Yoongi gives him an eyeroll.
“Well?” Jimin holds out an open palm. “Make it even, then.”
To his surprise, Yoongi catches his hand mid-air and tugs him closer, so that Jimin is leaning towards him even more than before. Up close, he can make out the sparkle of city lights, reflected in Yoongi’s pupils.
“You’re doing great,” Yoongi murmurs, his free hand coming up to gently stroke the back of Jimin’s head. Jimin sucks in a breath, tasting the prickling air. “You work hard. Watching you gives me motivation to… to keep going, too.”
The back of Jimin’s eyes feel hot.
Yoongi moves closer so that his lips are directly brushing the shell of Jimin’s ear, making the hairs on his arms rise. “Thank you for not giving up.”
Then he turns, pressing his mouth to Jimin’s left temple for a long, quiet moment, and murmurs, “Thank you for coming back.”
Jimin’s lungs feel useless; his heart swells with such a heavy mix of relief, gratitude and affection so fierce he’s afraid his ribcage might crack under its weight. Curling a trembling fist over Yoongi’s shoulder, he locks eyes with Yoongi, and realizes they’re as misty as his.
He didn’t even know he needed to hear those words until Yoongi said them. Jimin has never been /thanked/ for simply trying, because they live in such a society that rewards excellence, not effort. Acknowledgment like this—it feels like being seen, naked and vulnerable.
Then Yoongi breaks their gaze momentarily to dig into his pocket, letting out a wry chuckle when he manages to fumble for a 500-won coin. He plants it in the center of Jimin’s palm. “Here.”
Jimin frowns. “Huh?”
“Due diligence.” Eyes lit by the city of Seoul, Yoongi leans in.
But they barely brush lips when Jimin’s phone blares out of the blue, making him jump out of Yoongi’s proximity and practically topple off the park bench.
Clearing his throat & flushing furiously, Jimin answers the call with checking the caller ID. “Hello?”
“Hyung are you coming home yet?” Jihyun gushes. “Taemin hyung came by to visit us!”
“Taemin?” Jimin slowly gets up to perch back on tbe bench, shoulders stiff, averting his gaze from Yoongi’s the entire time. “Why?”
“Aunt Miseon told Hoseok-hyung to invite him over for dinner.”
“Oh, um.” Jimin fans his neck, feeling uncharacteristically hot despite the cooling evening summer breeze. “I’ll- I guess I’ll be there ASAP, then.”
“Okay. Aunt Miseon cooked chicken stew.”
“That’s awesome,” Jimin breathes into his phone, unable to glance Yoongi’s way.
“Come quick. See you!” Without waiting for Jimin’s answer, his brother drops the call, and the line goes dead.
Jimin nibbles on his upper lip, lowering the phone from his ear.
What just— no, what /almost/ happened? Did he really imagine that Yoongi would k.. k… kiss him?!
Jimin ducks his head, flames spanning across his cheeks. He stands. “I should get going.”
“I’ll send you back,” Yoongi volunteers, standing up as well.
Jimin releases a forced laugh, giving him a once-over. “You & what car?”
“Ah.” Yoongi stiffens. “I mean, I’ll walk you home.”
Jimin nods mutely and spins around to trudge the path back to the Jung residence, stuffing his hands in his pockets. He tries to ignore the raging heat flooding his cheeks, and forces his gaze to his shoes.
He’d been wondering, really, if kissing Yoongi now would feel the same.
He can’t deny that this time round, instead of a hurried, desperate peck, he’d anticipated it. What does it mean that Jimin wanted to feel those lips again? As much as he wants to chalk it all up to curiosity, it’s hard to ignore that he /wanted/ it.
After all this time.
Which is why it’s a lot harder to look at Yoongi’s face now, after that awkward moment. Thank heavens for Jihyun’s interruption.
“Jimin-ah,” Yoongi says, catching up to his pace beside him.
Jimin licks his lower lip. “Hmm?”
A hesitant pause.
“Come to the show.”
This time, Jimin tilts his head and forgets his embarrassment enough to frown at Yoongi. “What show?”
“The campus summer showcase,” Yoongi says, keeping his hands in his own jeans pockets too. “The band’s performing. Come watch, if you’re up for it.”
“Ah.” Jimin’s face clears.
“Hyung, I’m already coming to watch even if you didn’t ask me to. Tae and I made plans to go.”
“Still,” Yoongi sniffs, the tips of his ears flushed, “consider this an official invite from a member himself. Aren’t you honored?”
Jimin side-eyes him. “Soooo honored.”
Yoongi’s face breaks out into one of his rare gummy smiles as he ducks his head and rubs his nose. “Great. See you, then.”
Just like that, the tension seems to dissolve into the summer breeze, making it easier to chat again. They gloss over school and summer plans.
Which is how Jimin discovers that—
“Hyung and I are going back to our hometown for a bit,” Yoongi says. “Not sure when, though.”
“Oh.” Jimin doesn’t know what to think of that. He kind of assumed everyone would stay in Seoul. “For how long?”
“A week, maybe two.”
“Why?” Yoongi’s eyes dance with a teasing glint. “Gonna miss me?”
Jimin clucks his tongue and makes a big show of folding his arms in disappointment. “That means you can’t come to the café, and we’d lose business. That’s a big problem right there.”
“Glad to know I’m an ATM.”
Jimin giggles and nudges him. “Best to let you know from the start that our friendship hinges on your Audi.”
Yoongi chuckles and walks closer to bump his shoulder lightly. “Little shit.”
“You seriously need to come up with better insults,” Jimin says. “Time to get creative!”
Yoongi jabs him at the ribs, triggering his funny bone and making him squirm away.
“That’s foul!” Jimin takes off into a jog and Yoongi takes off after him, their sneakered footsteps loud against the pavement. Jimin laughs his worries away into the wind that nips at his face.
Once he turns into their home’s street, Jimin slows down and turns, waiting for Yoongi to come into view.
“So much for walking me back,” Jimin says when Yoongi finally appears, huffing with red cheeks. He looks so alive, framed against the warm glow of the lamp post behind him.
Jimin can hear his own pulse, pounding erratically in his ears, and can’t tell if it’s from the running or something else entirely. All he knows is this moment, watching his hyung walking towards him with an unfamiliar expression, as if Jimin is something soft to protect.
It’s nice to be looked at so earnestly, to be beheld and given attention as if he deserves it. The tired knot in Jimin’s chest loosens with every step Yoongi takes.
So he meets him halfway. Jimin steps within Yoongi’s proximity, pausing only to bring his forehead to his. “Boop.”
He closes his eyes and carefully breathes in Yoongi’s warmth and presence, standing still. Yoongi huffs, but doesn’t back away, much to Jimin’s relief. Their foreheads stay connected.
“What are you doing?” Yoongi’s drawl rumbles against Jimin’s skin, raising goosebumps.
Jimin has no idea, having only succumbed to the intense need to be close and closer still to Yoongi. So he answers, “Just, vibing.”
Yoongi huffs in amusement, nicking his chin. “How’s the vibe, then?”
“Pretty neat,” Jimin replies, eyes still shut. “Warm. Safe. I like safe.”
Yoongi hums, one hand coming up to support the small of Jimin’s back. At some point in time Jimin realizes they’ve started swaying ever so slightly, just two boys under the solitude of a lamp post at night.
“You might not like what I’m about to say…”
Jimin’s eyes begin to flutter open, but before he can pull back to look Yoongi somberly in the eye, Yoongi tugs him closer using the same hand on the small of his back. Jimin stumbles forward and ends up with his chin on Yoongi’s left shoulder.
“What is it, hyung?”
Yoongi’s other hand comes up to cradle the back of Jimin’s hand, coaxing. Then, he murmurs into the shell of Jimin’s ear—
“Safe is good. But so are risks. If it doesn’t challenge you, you don’t get to test your limits. Comfort zones are good, but real growth starts beyond it.”
Jimin’s lower lip trembles, chest swelling with an inexplicable warmth as he pulls back to pout at Yoongi. “Why the sudden wisdom?”
Yoongi shrugs and steps back, releasing Jimin from his grasp. “I just wanted to tell you.” He tucks a stray now-brownish strand behind Jimin’s ear.
/Let’s put it to practice, then./
“So that day at the café,” Jimin says in a shaky rasp, trying to steady his heartbeat. “Did you mean it when you described the kiss at the bus stop as a meaningless, adoloscent thing?”
Yoongi’s eyes widen.
/He’s going to feign ignorance/, thinks Jimin, growing anxious. /Or he’ll just laugh at the ridiculous question./
Yoongi does neither. Rather, his gaze turns thoughtful and he says, “Well, let’s see for ourselves, shall we?”
Then he leans forward to press their mouths together.
Jimin gasps against his mouth, soft and searching, and only has enougn time for his eyes to start fluttering closed before Yoongi pulls back and holds him by the forearms.
“How was that? Feel anything?”
Light-headed. Pleasantly thrilled. But most of all, Jimin is terrified.
Because as much as he’s been yearning for it, wanting to kiss Yoongi, there’s a fear knotted in his gut that if Jimin gives in, he’s at risk of losing Yoongi all over again.
He can’t afford to do that, not when they’re only starting to mend things between them.
Which is why, rather than giving a straightforward answer, Jimin decides to play coy.
He puts on a shaky grin, flexing his fingers as he lets go of the clutch he has on the front of Yoongi’s shirt & slowly returns his arms to his sides. “I dunno hyung, maybe try again tomorrow?”
Yoongi blinks in surprise, a clear question in his eyes, but after several moments his expression morphs to understanding & he ducks his head, cheeks pinking. “O-oh? Tomorrow, huh.”
Jimin gnaws on his bottom lip, trying to calm his racing pulse, or not burst into a dance. “Mmm.”
Scuffing the toes of his sneakers into the asphalt pavement, Yoongi nods, gaze down. His ears are scarlet. “I see, I see.”
“Yep, I- um, I’m not opposed to the idea of k-kiss…” Jimin covers his mouth as he stutters, then clears his throat. “That time at the bus stop was a test.”
Yoongi’s gaze lifts to meet his. “A test?”
“Yeah like a- a trial and error thing,” Jimin elaborates, wondering why his voice sounds so suddenly high-pitched and squeaky in his throat.
“And the results were?”
Yoongi nods. “In psych, it’s normal to keep trying.”
Jimin’s neck feels damp, hands clammy, and only then does he realize he’s sweating despite the breeze. He pulls up the collar of his café polo tee uniform in a proxy attempt to maybe bury himself, since he can’t just dig a hole in the ground right now. How is Yoongi so calm?
“Then in that case,” Yoongi drawls, rubbing the back of his ears, “I’ll see you tomorrow, then.”
It sounds less like a goodbye greeting and more like a promise, and Jimin would be lying if he said those words didn’t send a zing sparking down his spine. He smiles toothily.
Jimin feels teary for some reason. He feels like he’s a wooden house that’s just gotten a massive axe dislodged from its walls after a long time, letting in the first rush air he didn’t know he’d been craving.
Gently twisting side to side, Jimin says coyly, “See you tomorrow.”
“HYUUUNG!” Jihyun’s voice echoes from a few blocks down the street, where he’s waving from inside the Jungs’ gate. “Finally! Quick, dinner is getting cold!”
And suddenly, Jimin remembers that there’s a world around them; that this moment is more than just him and Yoongi’s smile.
Yoongi steps forward and gives him a little nudge by the elbow. “Go on.”
Jimin’s mouth perks into a tiny, reluctant pout, but he starts backing away to their home anyway, all while still facing Yoongi. “Text me when you’re home?”
Yoongi nods and waves.
“You’re coming to the café tomorrow?” Jimin asks hopefully.
At this, one side of Yoongi’s mouth tips upwards. “Only if you don’t give my table away to others…”
Jimin gasps in mock affront, grinning. “Taemin and Jihyun got there first today!”
Yoongi wrinkles his nose.
Jimin’s fingers curl into fist in his pockets as he suppresses the urge to croon. “Whatever. I’ll see what I can do. Thanks for the walk.”
Yoongi tillts his head sideways, eyes soft. “Anytime.”
Jimin reaches the gate and finally turns around to step inside, humming to himself.
Outside, Yoongi stands still, waiting until the gate finally bolts shut, before he spins on his heels and explodes into a happy little tap dance, arms waving about like jelly.
(That is, until he realizes he has to trudge the same uphill-downhill trail back to the parking lot.)
hello my loves thank you so much for being patient with me thus far!
We’re now in the final arc of DMF
If you like my writing and would like to support my expenses in Seoul (it’s pricey here ㅜㅜ), drop me a cappucino maybe?
Dinner is a mild and pleasant affair, with Jimin being in good spirits and Jihyun in a talkative mood. Taemin makes a stellar guest, charming the family with his respectful remarks and adorable smile. At some point Jimin zones out and imagines it’s Yoongi at the table with them.
Not that Yoongi would have any such reason to be invited over to Jimin’s house, except maybe that one time Jimin was sick, but still—that had been a valid reason.
Afterwards, while Jimin helps to brew some tea that his aunt really loves, Taemin joins him in the kitchen.
“Hey,” he greets, leaning against the kitchen counter a few feet from Jimin. “Need help?”
Jimin smiles. “It’s alright. I got it.”
“So,” Taemin whistles. “You and Min Yoongi of Blue&Grey, huh? Jihyun would be thrilled.”
Jimin pauses & tilts his head. “Huh?”
“You guys a thing?”
Jimin almost chokes on his own spit. “We- we’re not boyfriends.”
Taemin grins. “And non-boyfriends walk each other home?”
“Friends do that too!”
“Friends don’t look at each other like that,” muses Taemin.
Jimin averts his gaze, cheeks aflame. “You saw us outside?”
“Hmm, kinda?” Taemin shifts his weight and folds his arms. “I stepped out to check if you were on the way home and saw you guys jogging down the steep hill.”
Jimin gives a throaty chuckle. Seems like Taemin didn’t see them kiss, thank heavens. Jimin would’ve felt self-conscious.
“Wait, so if you’re not together, then what are you?” Taemin asks.
“You’re surprisingly curious about him,” Jimin points out, glancing askance. “Don’t tell me you’re jealous?”
Taemin shakes his head, then sighs. “Not quite? It’s a mix of happy for you and envious, really.”
Jimin snorts. “Nothing to be envious about, come on.”
“He makes you smile like that, all childlike,” Taemin says quietly, wistfully, like he’s speaking from memory rather than relaying a moment. “I could never.”
Jimin stiffens, heart sinking with a crushing guilt and sadness.
“Hyung,” he says, making sure to let the teabag steep in the teapot before stepping away from the kitchen counter and standing directly in front of Taemin. “Let’s not go there, it’s different.”
“I know, I just…” Taemin shrugs. “I wonder if I could have tried a little harder.”
Jimin shushes him and rests a reassuring hand on his arm. “You did everything right. Don’t say that. You taught me a lot and I was really grateful for you, still am.”
Taemin smiles at him ruefully, eyes reading Jimin’s face. “You’re happier here.”
“Yeah. I am.”
Jimin steps in to give Taemin a quick squeeze. “Keyword being happier. You made Perth bearable. Because of you, I could be happy there.”
Taemin chuckles and hugs him back. “Besides accompanying Jihyun, I came here to check in on you too. I’m glad you’re finding peace here.”
“Why do you have to phrase this like some kind of final farewell,” Jimin mutters, stepping back.
“I mean, I’m leaving tomorrow, so.”
Jimin gasps, stomach sinking. For years, Taemin had been a source of strength and real friendship. To not care about him would be impossible.
“I thought you’d spend a week in Seoul?!”
Taemin makes a sour face. “I just got a business call from my supervisor yesterday who asked if I could cut my leave two days short because of an emergency at the company.”
“It’s fine. There’s nothing much else to do.”
Despite his high spirits moments ago, Jimin is surprised to find himself randomly tearing up and launching himself into Taemin’s arms. He doesn’t know why, but something about this moment feels so… absolute. Final.
“I do love you,” Jimin says.
“I know. Just not in that way.”
Which is why it’s so easy for Jimin to throw the words out loud, and they both know it. Jimin steps back, sniffling.
“Keep in touch?”
“Of course.” Taehyung ruffles Jimin’s hair and chuckles. “Take care, Jimin. If you ever visit Australia and need a place to stay, just ping me.”
[A/N: *taemin oops i guess i was too drowsy last night] ^
dear my friend,
i spoke with en ex today. it felt like closure, for real, for good. i don’t know how to feel. there’s a lightness but also… a kind of sadness? is this normal?
of course it is.
closure is still loss
even with resolution, loss involves grief
Jimin rolls to his side, tucking one hand under his pillow while reading the message reply.
thank you, once again
talking through my feelings really helps me process it. idk how you’re an expert at it
you must be such a great communicator
you’d be surprised at how terrible i can be with expressing myself, let’s not jump to conclusions
anyway, i think self-awareness is the first step to betterment
being honest with myself is hard
what’s one thing you were honest about today
Jimin purses his lips, staring at the last message from Chrysanthemum. It’s not easy to discern what he feels since he’s used to repressing his emotions. But guidance from his counselor is particularly helpful in helping him conclude—
i just stopped lying
Jimin hesitates. As much as he wants to pour his heart out to his counselor, he’d like to take things slowly, vaguely.
about having a hard time
& that it’s scary
but not trying is scarier
also about… wanting things that i never thought i’d get
Hey, that’s realt good progress!
I’m proud of you.
It takes a lot to be honest with oneself
well what’s something YOU were honest about today?
let’s just day i finally took a leap of faith
and did something i’ve been wanting to for ages
it’s a secret
just a personal milestone
makes me happy though. real happy
aww. that’s cool
be right back, i forgot something important
Jimin sends an “OK”, humming to himself. Must be an errand.
He rolls to the other side of his bed, scrolling through his past conversations with Chrysanthemum, feeling light and warm. Just then, his phone rings.
It shows Yoongi’s KakaoTalk ID. Jimin pulse skitters, but he answers without hesitation. “Hello?”
Silence. Then, “Jiminie?”
Since he’s lying in the dark, Jimin doesn’t bother fighting back the smile blooming on his face. “Hi, mindeulle.”
Yoongi’s answering chuckle is amused and breathy, bus voice mellow. “That nickname…”
“Hee.” Jimin rolls to the other side of his bed, careful not to jostle Jihyun.
Deciding he’d rather not risk waking his brother, Jimin slips out of bed and soundlessly tiptoes out of the room to sit at the top landing of the staircase. “I’m surprised you’re calling me.”
Jimin shrugs. “Remember the first time we called and you hung up?”
Yoongi’s half-snort, half embarrassed chortle sends a pleasant warmth coursing through Jimin’s veins.
“That was years ago. It was my anxiety talking.”
“That’s what I’m saying,” Jimin says. “Look at you go, unfazed by phone calls now. Good job!”
“Small wins. Much thanks.”
Jimin grins, leaning against the staircase barricade. “So? What’s up? We just saw each other.”
“Just…” Yongi clears his throat.
“Justwantedtosaygoodnight,” comes Yoongi’s rushed response, and Jimin can pictute hin flushed while gritting the words out. “And your voice.”
Jimin’s heart does a triple flip as he pushes back the urge to squeal. He wrings the hem of his pyjama shirt in his hands as he composes his voice and prompts, “Hmm? My voice?”
“Yeah. Okay so, good night,” Yoongi says, voice going hoarse. “I’m kind of nervous doing this.”
“I just, I just am.” Yoongi gives a small, incoherent sound. “Maybe I sound stupid. Or lame.”
Jimin can’t help it. He lets out a tiny, “Awww. Don’t be. You can count on me not thinking that about you. On the contrary, you sound really sweet and sleep-soft.”
Yoongi lets out a small huff that makes Jimin want to giggle and lean in, even though they’re on the phone. “Sleep-soft…”
“Yeah? You got a problem with it?” Jimin challenges, smiling.
“You used to call me cool.” Yoongi clears his throat. “I’m a manly man.”
Jimin cracks up.
“What the heck is a man, anyway?” Jimin says as he curls up on the staircase landing, drawing little circles on his knees. “Just be yourself. The Min Yoongi I know.”
“Ah, see. Now I’m curious,” Yoongi drawls, his voice sounding more alert. “How /is/ this Min Yoongi you know?”
“You’re fishing for compliments.”
“I’m on a path to self-discovery.”
“You flatter yourself.”
“I just want to make sure,” Yoongi breathes, pausing as if hesitating, “that you really don’t hate me even after everything.”
Jimin’s smile drops. His heart wrings itself dry.
“Hyung,” he starts.
“Because what if, you know,” Yoongi’s voice warbles, “what if tomorrow I come into your café, and you won’t even look at me again?”
Jimin stays frozen on the steps, clutching his phone tight. He had no clue. Not a single idea what went on in Yoongi’s head.
“That’s not true,” counters Jimin, an urgency to calm Yoongi’s intrusive thoughts swelling in his chest. “I never hated you, even when I was mad at you. Even when I convinced myself that you couldn’t stand me, I could never”—he sighs defeatedly—“hate you. You know?”
“Good.” Jimin rakes a hand through his hair, wishing there was some way to offer some physical comfort to one he cherishes as dearly as Yoongi. “That’s good.”
“Sorry, I got carried away.”
“No, it’s okay,” says Jimin. “I’m glad you told me. My counselor says it’s good to feel.”
A pause. “You have a counselor?”
Jimin winces, caught unprepared by his own loose lip. “Yeah, every once in a while. It’s this side therapy thing I’m part of. Anyway, the point here is, I’m glad you told me about that fear. Tomorrow, I’ll make sure to look at you.”
Yoongi lets out a long, shaky breath. “Yeah?”
Jimin nods in the darkness. “Mm! Of course.”
“I’ll see you tomorrow, then.”
“That’s the second time you’re saying that.”
“I like how it sounds. It means I dread a tomorrow where I don’t get to see you.”
Jimin lets out a squeak.
Yoongi makes another warbled noise. “Why, why?”
Jimin buries his face in his knees, overcome with a ridiculous amount of shyness, which makes no sense especially since he’s alone. “Nothing.”
“I’ll see you tomorrow, too,” Jimin musters, throat tight with fondness.
“Yeah. Alright. Cool.”
“Good night? Again, I mean,” Yoongi stanmers.
How is it possible to miss somebody you’re literally on the phone with? One would think they’ve been separated more than 3 years, what with how clingy Jimin immediately feels. “Goodnight.”
Jimin waits for the call to drop and tor the static line to return, phone still pressed to his ear. But when seconds pass and he still hesrs Yoongi’s faint breathing—
“Yeah? Why haven’t you hung up yet?” Yoongi asks, sounding genuinely puzzled.
“Why haven’t YOU?”
Yoongi gives a breathy chuckle. “I don’t know.”
If this is what he’s like to his close friends, Jimin wonders if this is a smidgen of what it must be like to be loved by Yoongi, and is gobsmacked with the realization that he wants to love him back just as tenderly.
“Are you in bed right now?” he asks.
“Mmm, a little sleepy, why?”
Manly man, Jimin’s ass. So he /is/ sleep-soft! “Do you wanna just”—Jimin licks his lower lip—“stay on the call until someone falls asleep first?”
“I’ll read you a bedtime story.”
A giggle pushes its way out of Jimin’s mouth. “Keep me entertained, then.”
“How about some trivia,” Yoongi says. “I have this electronic encyclopedia I like to read when I’m commuting.”
Jimin feigns a gasp. “Don’t use your phone while /driving/!”
“I said commute, doofus.”
Jimin laughs quietly and shuffles back into his bedroom, listening and letting Yoongi do whatever he wants, which includes rambling about rare dog breeds and the history of Nike Jordan. At some point, while Yoongi talks about light fixtures and European architecture, Jimin yawns.
“And if I could renovate my family’s house, some waiscoting would be kinda neat, don’t you think— ah, Jiminie?”
“Mmm?” Jimin mumbles, barely able to keep his eyes open. Yoongi’s voice just has that much of a lullabye quality to it.
“Wanna hang up?”
“No. I’ll miss your voice.”
The line goes quiet, and Jimin’s brain turns even sloppier with sleep.
“I’ll still be here tomorrow, you can sleep,” Yoongi murmurs.
“Just continue your wainscoting plans,” Jimin slurs, barely coherent. “You wanted a studio?”
“Ah, yeah, for the music equipment and stuff.”
“So cool,” Jimin mumbles absently, eyes drooping closed. Yoongi’s voice falls into white noise.
“…to be honest, I used to fantasize, years back. What if you had your own room in my house? We could have been like, I don’t know. Something like dorm mates. Haha. Weird. I know…”
“…in Hong Kong land is scarce and rent is sky high, I lived there with my parents for about a year but I got sick of it. I always wondered how you would react to my letters, so it was kind of sucky to know you never received them at all. Jiminie?”
Another low chortle. “Nice to know I’m your personal ASMR sleep device. Ah, what a lucky fellow you are, getting a free trial from me. Yah, you better subscribe next time, Jimin-ah. My services are expensive. I’ll let you know my rates. You can pay for all my coffee in return.”
“Anyway, I called for many reasons. To hear your voice, mainly. To make sure this is happening. And to tell you that I’m scared. I’ve always loved you as a friend, you know that. But now I’m… scared.” Yoongi pauses. “Or nervous, more like. Because I’m getting greedy, marigold.”
Jimin’s little puffs of breath travels the phone line. Yoongi sighs.
“…and I lowkey hope you’re getting greedy, too. I- we might be on the same page, someday. Let’s go slowly. I don’t mind if we crawl, I just don’t want this to break. Good night, marigold. See you tomorrow.”
In the still silence of Yoongi’s bedroom, he clicks off the call and presses his phone to his chest as he lies flat, staring at the ceiling.
He goes to his study deak and flips open a journal he hasn’t touched in years, adding to his bucket list:
/12. Tell him you’re in love./
Good night/morning the next update is gonna be a lot less calm than this, haha!
I will work hard!!! If you like this story, please consider supporting my writing with a cuppa coffee, I’ll love and appreciate you always.
For those on Patreon, you might appreciate a peek of this before the update starts^^ thank you for subscribing and supporting my work
good day my dahlias
since when did we become flowers
[nam of the june]
petition to be grass please
grass is always ignored
so i don’t need to go outside
to touch grass :>
[jimin of the park]
how’d u get in the gc?
[jimin of the park]
you’re not even in college
no minors allowed here!
/busan bestie changed the group chat name to “no below 174cm allowed”/
[jimin of the park]
this is foul
oh so now you’re crying
pack it up jwaman and yoongi-hyung
I’m 174 on a good day actually
[jimin of the park]
i hate y’all
[jimin of the park]
hahaha you are all so funny!!!
hi hyung :)
good morning ^^
[nam of the june]
okay so you were saying
so about our summer trip
besties i just got to seoul
why would u send me back
das not a vacation
i want a refund
/‘busan bestie’ has left the chat./
[jimin of the park]
lmaaaoooo did you kick him
as I was saying
[nam of the june]
ok not to be biased
but jungkook does have a point
many of us here are from busan, so wouldn’t it be more like homecoming?
i don’t mind busan
but for this one, what about a different place?
[nam of the june]
jeju-do has good tangerines :]
[jimin of the park]
let’s go to jeju then
/‘Social Taetae’ added ‘busan bestie’ to the chat./
what did i miss
don’t let my opinions sway you
i didn’t know i mattered that much :”)
but busan is fine
[jimin of the park]
we’re going to jeju-do, doofus
not all of us, ig
[nam of the june]
hyung and i need to visit home
!!!! will your parents be back in Daegu?
gotta make sure the upkeep of the main house is up to standard
also, appa’s birthday
[nam of the june]
why don’t we just go to daegu then
nooo i’m from there
busan and daegu, no
jeju is still in the lead
yoongi-hyung, when are you scheduled to leave soul?
the day after the summer festival live stage
we’ll be in daegu a few days only
okay in that case then
we move the jeju trip once they’re back
[nam of the june]
sorry for causing a delay
[jimin of the park]
it’s not an inconvenience no biggie
go enjoy daegu haha
Jimin blinks when his phone pings with a new private text.
good morning :]
it’s just a few days in daegu
Jimin lifts one eyebrow, one side of his mouth tipping upwards.
[jimin of the park]
didn’t know you were a morning person
you’ve never told me ‘good morning’ before
fine i take it back
[jimin of the park]
else you’ll ruin my day
ah, what a heavy responsibility
[jimin of the park]
see you later?
you’re coming by the cafe right
the guys called for band practice…
i’ll try to come by
[jimin of the park]
don’t get too lonely without me lol
[jimin of the park]
are you kidding???
a yoongi-less day?? MY LIFELONG DREAM
[jimin of the park]
[jimin of the park]
or am i?
by any chance
just in case you’re curious
do you wanna come by our rehearsal
after your shift, that is
[jimin of the park]
oh like a chaperone
??? like a friend
Jimin makes a face.
/A friend./ Hmmmph.
[jimin of the park]
send me the address
Contrary to what Jimin assumed and despite his busy shift, a Yoongi-less day is nothing but excruciatingly slow. A snail would be faster that the minute hand on the clock. Throughout the afternoon, he ends up counting down the hours until he gets to kiss- no, see Yoongi again.
/No strings attached/, he tries to convince himself while fiddling with the coffee machine. For all he knows, Yoongi might just be enjoying this whole bro-to-bro kissing practice. He knows some guys who’ve kissed their closest friends before.
“‘No strings’?” Taehyung pipes up.
“Huh?” Jimin snaps out of his reverie, the smell of coffee hitting his nose and the chatter of the café blasting back to his senses in full force.
“You were mumbling to yourself just now,” Taehyung says matter-of-factly, wedging his way towards the display fridge.
Jimin’s neck warms even under the air conditioner gusting from above, and he jerks his gaze back to the coffeemaker. “I’m just a little out of it, I guess.”
Taehyung hums. “Sucks when Table 7 isn’t around, huh? Even worse, hyung’ll be in Daegu soon…”
Jimin elbows him.
He doesn’t want to think about that. At least not yet.
Taehyung cackles under his breath and squeezes past Jimin again, carrying a tray of mousse cake and fruity smoothies. Jimin watches as Taehyung sashays past Hoseok & does a double take when Hoseok pats the small of his back.
Another hour passes, with Taemin dropping by to grab one final iced Americano along with promises to meet up in the future, before heading to Incheon Airport.
At 7.45pm, Jimin’s feet start tapping impatient. 15 more minutes until his shift ends!
To entertain himself, he texts Chrysanthemum.
how to not miss someone
Unlike other times they’ve chatted, it takes Chrysanthemum a longer time to reply. Jimin is already changing out of his apron when his phone vibrates again.
wish i knew
is that romance in the air i sense
is my senpai in luuuurve ㅋㅋㅋ
you so are!!! who is it?!?
Chrysanthemum stops replying after that, which Jimin sees as a cheap, easy cop-out. He huffs.
As soon as he skips out of The Cacao Crushers and into the mid-June humid breeze, he hums to himself, following the pinned location that Yoongi-hyung had sent him. Apparently Blue&Grey’s practice studio is at Euljiro(3)ga. Very hipster of them, really.
Jimin boards the subway.
As the train zips along the underground tunnels, Jimin’s itchy fingers reach for his phone again, and this time he texts the source of his jitters directly instead of asking his counselor for help.
[jimin of the park]
not to be straightforward but
about the kiss trial thing
[jimin of the park]
how about once a day
for starters i mean
if you’re comfortable with that
and if we want to cross any more boundaries we can signal it with the 500-won fee we impossd earlier
The reply comes three minutes later.
[jimin of the park]
Yoongi doesn’t reply after, which both frustrates but makes Jimin’s heart flutter. He supposes he must be some kind of masochist, because boy does he enjoy feeling a little on edge when it comes to his ever-enigmatic Min Yoongi hyung. It looks like he’ll get an answer in person.
He’s about to regret the string of messages he just sent when subway voiceover announces his destination. Jimin alights at the station, distracted from saying anything stupider.
At night, it makes sense why Euljiro(3)ga is nicknamed as “hip-jiro”—alleys are drenched in neon.
Along the streets, chairs and tables are scattered and spilled about, and patrons lounge about while feasting on fried chicken, beer, and other assortments of cheap street food. It’s a typical June night and Jimin basks in the vibe while searching for Blue&Grey’s basement studio.
He makes a left turn and enters a skinny alley lit in cobalts and aquas, squinting at his phone screen. According to Naver, this should be the location of a semi-basement studio.
Sure enough, Jimin can make out faint sounds of a drum and an electric guitar from somewhere below.
He can’t find the entrance though, because the only visible point of entry is one that leads inside a motel. Jimin dials his phone and presses it to his ear.
“Hyung, I’m here outside the studio,” Jimin says. “Can’t find the door, though. Are you guys done?”
“Hold up, yeah,” Yoongi answers, an uptick of something like delight lacing his tone. “We’re packing up, I’ll find you in a bit.” Then a moment later, in a more muffled voice that sounds like he’s covering the receiver he calls out, “Thanks, guys. I’ll head off first.”
“Ah!” A distant voice calls out from somewhere near Yoongi. “Is that your Jiminie, hyung?”
“Hi Jimiiiin!” Another voice calls out, sounding suspiciously like Huening Kai.
“Say hi to—“
“Shut up,” Yoongi grumbles, and then the call is promptly dropped. Jimin stares at his phone.
There’s a little seed of warmth in the pit of his tummy, making him feel all warm and fuzzy the way you do when something new is growing, or itchy in the way of a healing wound. Either way, it’s not an unpleasant feeling.
Moments later, bootsteps echo from a stairwell nearby.
And then Yoongi’s pale face appears as he ascends the staircase that opens down to a basement just next to the neon-lit motel. He’s wearing a cool bomber jacket whilst carrying a black keyboard bag. Jimin straightens up & gives him a shy wave.
Without a word, Yoongi marches over.
Under the neon lights, the silver embossed symbols on his jacket seems to reflect a multitude of fragmenting colors, Jimin can only stand rigid and stare, pulse skipping, as Yoongi’s porcelain grows more iridescent with every step he takes.
He IS a summer night.
When he comes to a pause in front of Jimin, alarmingly too close for Jimin’s lungs to work properly, Jimin has no choice but to rip his eyes away & glance down.
Which is how he spots a little brown poodle keychain hanging from the zipper of Yoongi’s keyboard bag.
“Oh?” he says.
Jimin points weakly at the poodle keychain, feeling his knees go weak for some undiscernible reason. “Is that the one I won for you years ago?”
Yoongi follows his gaze, then nods fondly. “One & only.”
Jimin grins and looks up. “Can’t believe you still—“
Yoongi pecks his cheek.
Jimin’s words taper off into a stuttered wheeze, heart rate accelerating. He clutches his cheek. “Oh?” He grins wickedly. “That’s your quota.”
“That so?” Yoongi reaches into his back jeans pocket to press a 500-won coin to Jimin’s hand.
Then he leans in and kisses his temple.
It lasts barely longer than 2 seconds, but the warmth of Yoongi’s closeness lingers, ghostlike. Jimin’s toes curl, & by the time Yoongi steps back to brush away an unruly lock of hair from his eyes, he has a shit-eating grin on his face.
“Hi,” Yoongi murmurs.
Jimin beams. “Hi.”
Their nighttime date—TO BE CONTINUED!
If you loved this update, please feel free to drop me a cappucino goodniiight!
Bathed in the blending glos of fuschia, teal and sunrise yellow from the neon street signs around them, Yoongi’s porcelain face remains full of vigor. His hair is rugged, long enough to cover his eyes, which reminds Jimin—
“Ah,” Jimin starts, rummaging through his bad. “Here.”
Yoongi accepts it blindly, only seeming to process what the item is once it’s in his hand. “You got me… a box of rubber bands?”
“Hairties,” Jimin corrects, opening the box’s topcover pull one rubber band out. He steps just a bit closer to run a hand through Yoongi’s hair.
As if by instinct, Yoongi ducks his chin to grant him further access in order to create a tiny bun on the crown of his head. “This is so unnecessary.”
“Shut up.” Biting his lower lip, Jimin picks a rubberband to tie Yoongi’s loose locks the same way he did at the airport.
When he steps back, Yoongi gives a testy shake of his head. “It helps with the stray hair, I guess.”
Jimin rolls his eyes, then reaches into his bag again for a can of orangeade he got from a nearby vending machine while waiting for Yoongi. “Here.”
Yoongi arches an eyebrow.
“What?” Jimin lifts his chin pointedly.
“How’d you know I like orange?”
Jimin scoffs and places the drink in Yoongi’s palm. “Duh. That’s literally in the first letter you wrote me.”
Yoongi clears his throat and dips his head, one corner of his mouth lifting. “You remember?”
Jimin suppresses a grin. “Of course.”
Yoongi, on his part, keeps his eyes fixed on the canned drink, nodding and mumbling, “Huh. Thanks.”
“What was that?” Jimin uses his left hand to gently tip Yoongi’s chin up. “Look at me when you say it, hyung. My eyes are here.”
He bursts into low chuckles when Yoongi stubbornly looks anywhere but at his face. “Mm. Thanks.”
Jimin lets his hand wander to the apple of Yoongi’s cheek to give him a light pinch. “You’re welcome. Have you guys eaten?”
Only when the topic switches does Yoongi look at him.
“Not yet.” Yoongi lifts his keyboard case. “Let me put this in the trunk and we can maybe walk around and find some place?”
Jimin secretly revels in the assumption that they’ll have dinner together, just the two of them, as if it’s a given thing. He shrugs. “Sure.”
He trails after Yoongi down a narrow alley that leads to a small parking lot, silently watching the way the little poodle keychain bouncing on the keyboard case’s zipper. The keychain isn’t dusty or moldy, Jimin notes with a warm satisfaction. “You took care of Holly, huh.”
Yoongi pauses, looks over his shoulder, and slows down for Jimin to catch up to his pace. Once they’re side by side, he resumes walking. “He’s cute.”
Jimin nods. “I bet he is.”
“Makes me want to take care of him.”
Heat floods Jimin’s veins, and now it’s his turn to duck shyly.
“He’s in pristine condition,” Jimin says, glancing at the keychain just so he won’t have to look at Yoongi. “I’d say you’ve done a good job.”
“I could do better,” Yoongi deadpans, and Jimin is about to completely lose it and squeak right then and there when the elder turns left.
“This way.” He takes out and presses his car keys, and is met with a beeping sound from his Audi. Only after he has opened the passenger seat for Jimin does he head to the back to load his instrument into the trunk.
Jimin hesitates by the open passenger door. “We’re driving?”
Yoongi hums, rounding the car to open the driver’s seat. “There’s this nice bistro I know, we could head over there.”
“I thought you said we’d walk around.” Jimin pounts and points at the sky. “Moon’s out tonight. Weather’s nice. Hyuuung.”
He watches Yoongi’s Adam’s apple bob.
After an extended silence, Yoongi shuts the door to the driver’s seat and walks towards Jimin’s side to close the passenger door. As soon as it clicks shut, Jimin leans against it to face him. “This area is your band’s turf—take me to your favorite place to eat. Do you have any?”
He doesn’t really know when his hands started moving, just that it’s already too late because they’re tightening into fists at the hem of Yoongi’s bomber jacket to tug him closer. Yoongi obliges, sandwiching him between the Audi.
“I-I know a kalguksu place.” His voice is hoarse.
Jimin’s lips quirk up. “Okay. Let’s go slurpee durpee those noodles then.”
Yoongi chortles, then takes him by surprise when he starts to lean in closer—
—only to pause, hovering when his face is right next to Jimin’s, mouth by his ear.
This must be a fever dream.
Jimin’s nerve endings are firecrackers, an electric thrill thrumming through his skin at their mere proximity. Something in his chest tightens, as though begging for release, and he stutters— “W-what are we doing?”
“Nothing. Just,” Yoongi huffs, then inhales, “you smell good.”
Then he steps back, leaving behind a cold wormhole in the sudden new gap between them. Jimin scrunches his nose and beats a weak fist at his chest.
“Don’t startle me like that.”
Yoongi catches his fist, eyes crinkling. “Did you put on perfume?”
“No.” (It was Jo Malone.)
“You mean, ‘naur’?” And fuck, Jimin is so gone for that teasing smirk.
“Exactly,” he plays along, pretending not to notice when Yoongi splays his hands out and links their fingers together. “I woke up smelling like luxury. My fart probably smells like roses.”
“You wouldn’t know that.” Jimin pushes off from the Audi as they start a leisurely pace, the warm night like a cozy blanket over them.
“I do, actually.” Yoongi swings their hands together. “That time when you visited me in Daegu, you farted a couple of times—“
“Not on purpose!”
“Who the hell deliberately farts?” Yoongi counters in rough satoori, which makes Jimin bend over to laugh, partly from embarrassment and partly from the need to hide his scarlet cheeks.
When he straightens back up, Yoongi’s eyes are trained on him, for once not bashful.
Yoongi shakes his head and resumes walking. “Haven’t heard that laugh in a while.”
Something inside of Jimin swoops, like a rug has been pulled from beneath him and now his stomach is plunging to unknown depths. At the same time, his chest swells with too much fondness.
He bites his lip at the prickle behind his eyes, then inches closer to smoosh his arm against Yoongi’s side. Jimin hates appearing clingy like this, but he doesn’t quite have the proper words to articulate the emotion overflowing in him, so he lets his body express his heart.
Yoongi casts him a sidelong glance, half of his face bathed in a neon indigo glow from the signs they’re walking past. “Hmm?“
Jimin clears his throat and murmurs, “You make laughing easy.”
Yoongi falls quiet, and gives him a gentle nudge. “I always knew my jokes were top-tier.”
Jimin gives a wry smile. “I can’t believe I almost convinced myself I hated you up until a few weeks ago.”
“To be fair, we were on the same boat,” Yoongi says. He points at a storefront with several plastic chairs and tables laid out on the sidewalk. “We’re here.”
They designate one of the outdoor tables at a farthest corner of the sidewalk for more privacy, and order two bowls of noodles and a dumpling platter to share.
“You excited for the summer showcase?” Jimin asks once the server leaves.
Yoongi shrugs. “I’m more anxious, really.”
“It’s pretty irrational, really. And I’m aware. But uh,” Yoongi licks his lower lip and shifts in his seat. “I get lost in my head worrying often. What if something goes wrong, like the speakers overheat, or the crowd boos—“
“Not with me and Taehyung there,” Jimin says.
Yoongi’s left eyebrow lifts slightly, but he relents with a nod. “Assuring, but I remain worried.”
Jimin is so tempted to reach across the table and folds their hands together, but they’re surrounded by people right now, unlike the narrow alley earlier. “Then find an anchor.”
Yoongi sends him a quizzical look. Jimin raises a hand. “Let me explain. A friend of mine once advised that when things feels unhinged, it helps to find an anchor.” It’s 1 of Chrys’ many advisories during their chatting sessions. “You know, to ground you.”
“I know how it works.”
“Yeah, well then, when things get loud, just think of something or look at the anchor you’ve decided on,” Jimin says matter-of-factly, feeling proud that he’s the advise giver this time round. “What makes you feel safe?”
Yoongi’s gaze burns into his for an extended silence.
It goes on for so long that Jimin squirms in his seat, awkwardly fidgeting and running his hand through his hair. “Obviously you don’t need to answer right, haha—“
“Kalguksu,” Yoongi blurts just as two steaming bowls of noodles are serves in front of them.
Jimin pauses. “Eh?”
Yoongi clears his throat and gestures to their bowls. “Eat while it’s warm.”
Jimin tips his heas to one side, then school his expression from a frown to that of casual acceptance. “Well, that’s fair. Food can be a good anchor, I suppose.”
Yoongi sighs and slurps his noodles.
Jimin hums, watching him eat, then picks up a piece of dumpling and lowers it into Yoongi’s plate. “There. I’m being a good dongsaeng, am I not?”
Yoongi glances up at him, amusement flashing across his eyes, then reaches over to wipe one thumb over the corner of Jimin’s mouth.
Jimin blinks. “Hmm?”
“Hmmm,” Yoongi echoes in a placating tone. “You had something there. Messy eater.”
And just because he craves closeness, Jimin mirrors the gesture and brushes a knuckle over the side of Yoongi’s lips even though there’s nothing there. “Tsk tsk. You too.”
Yoongi wrinkles his nose, which Jimin copies. When Yoongi bows his head for a mouthful of noodles, Jimin follows the same.
“Stop it,” Yoongi warns, albeit with no bite to his tone.
“Copying me. This isn’t Simon says.”
“I don’t know what you mean,” Jimin sings.
Yoongi smiles into his food, shaking his head. “Insufferable.”
Jimin sticks out his tongue. “You love me.”
His heart seizes when he realizes what words just slipped out of him, and he glances up at Yoongi, stricken.
Yoongi is quietly stirring his soup. Dread overtakes Jimin.
That was too brash. He cringes.
This is what he hates so much about his blabbermouth self. Often, when Jimin gets carried away in the heat of a moment, he loses all brain-to-mouth filter which makes him look like a total fool. He shouldn’t pressure Yoongi for confirmation.
And yet Jimin wants to know, wants to hear it. As much as actions seem to have their own meaning, he still can’t ever be sure.
But right now, the longer Yoongi doesn’t speak, his head down, the tighter the knot of dread in Jimin’s tummy twists. He gulps. “Nevermind—“
They both look up in relief at the server lying down two cups of ice and canned Coke on their table. Jimin is grateful for the interruption, because it diffuses the sudden weirdness caused by the tension in the air moments ago.
“Anyway, Taemin-hyung left today,” Jimin starts.
“Taemin?” While chewing, Yoongi glances sharply up at Jimin, much to Jimin’s dismay.
He can practically feel a heavy, invisible heart sinking below his ribs, one by one. Still, he keeps up a cheery smile. “Yeah! He said he needed to get on the earliest flight.”
Jimin nods repeatedly, lips pursed, then grabs his drink, if only to fill the sudden silence between them with his own sips. He peeks at Yoongi, whose expression is smooth and unreadable while he stirs his bowl.
“Is it too hot?” Jimin ventures, glancing pointedly at the broth.
Yoongi shakes his head and clears his throat. “So uh. You and Taemin…how long were you together?”
“Like, officially?” Jimin tilts his head questioningly.
Yoongi’s expression falters. “There was an unofficial stage?”
“Well, most relationships do. Officially… about two years?”
Yoongi lowers his gaze back to his swirling chopsticks, humming in response. “I guess it was pretty serious, then.”
Jimin doesn’t really know how to answer that, because on one hand, while he and Taemin /were/ long-term, it wasn’t like Jimin saw the rest of his life with him.
So he shrugs, licks his lower lip and continues to slurp his kalguksu, unable to quell the niggling sensation that something in the air is torpedoing in the wrong direction. “Taemin-hyung was a huge pillar of support. Still is.”
Yoongi’s face seems stiffer than moments ago.
He takes a swig of cola and leans back against the chair, regarding Jimin with one of his searching, unreadable gazes. “He seems like a nice guy.”
“He is,” Jimin perks up, fondly remembering how his relationship with Taemin had been. How Taemin never forced anything on him.
Jimin nods. “He’s non-judgmental, super friendly and sweet with people, and he really helped me settle into Perth while i was there. Honestly, he’s a huge reason why it was bearable. “ /And he helped me forget you temporarily, too/, is what he omits.
Yoongi hums lowly.
Now that he’s started opening up about his life to Yoongi, he’s hit with the urge to just reveal his soul now, hardships and fond memories included. “We met at a party, but he’s not like one of those toxic wild dudes. He supported me at my rock bottom. I’m glad we’re friends.”
“That so?” Yoongi quirks one eyebrow, busying himself with his food again. There’s a darkness in his clouded gaze that only makes Jimin squirm. “Bet you wanted to marry him at some point.”
Jimin makes a face, trying to ignore the sting those words send through him. “Not really?”
Yoongi smirks into his bowl, but he doesn’t comment any further, which annoys Jimin because—well here he is, trying to share about his life, and for some reason Yoongi is just reacting in a detached, haughty manner that’s totally unlike him. “Try not to assume that, hyung.”
“Wasn’t assuming. Just speculating,” Yoongi answers in a noncommittal tone, not meeting Jimin’s look of affront.
“I’m just trying to share about my life with you,” Jimin says, feeling an indignant heat roll through him. He pauses and sighs, trying to rein in his rising temper.
“I mean, surely Taemin wasn’t the only part of your life in Australia,” Yoongi remarks lightheartedly, accompanied by a scoff. He’s smiling, but it doesn’t reach his eyes.
“He’s one of the better parts of my time there,” Jimin blurts. “His /presence/ helped me resent you less.”
Yoongi’s chopsticks stops dead in the midst of lifting his noodles, and he lifts his head to level a long, frigid look at Jimin. “I’m not sure what that’s supposed to mean.”
Jimin swallows heavily, setting down his chopsticks to sit on his clammy hands. He doesn’t like this air.
“Park Jimin,” Yoongi says, his voice low and steady but a lot more lukewarm than he’s been speaking with all night. “What do you mean?”
“I really hated you, for a time,” Jimin says through trembing lips, his heart drumming wildly against his ribcage. “Because you ghosted me—“
“We’ve gone through this.” There’s an involuntary muscle ticking in Yoongi’s jaw. “You know that’s not the case.”
“Yeah, but at that time I didn’t know, did I?” Jimin says, lips pulling into a thin line. His spine is taut, defensive. “So is it my fault for wanting to forget?”
Yoongi’s expression turns conflicted. “Then that wasn’t very fair to Taemin.”
“I loved him, in my own way. I care about him a lot, hyung,” Jimin says, trying his best to keep his voice at a moderate pitch. “I appreciate it if you didn’t speak on my feelings and experiences.”
“I’m just saying there could’ve been healthier avenues—“
“Oh, don’t be a hypocrite,” Jimin snaps, his appetite completely squashed now. “‘Cause to me it sounds like you didn’t want me to be happy there. And now you’re talking as if you didn’t have your own relationship, too.”
“Okay, you want me to be honest?“ Yoongi mutters, setting down his chopsticks and pushing away his half-empty bowl. “Fine, since we’re talking transparency, then I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want you to be even just slightly miserable out there. Yeah. Guess I’m no saint, huh?”
Jimin flinches and lets his shoulders slump forward, and Yoongi must have clocked the pained expression on his face, because he does a double take & gulps, averting his gaze.
“I don’t know what to say to that,” Jimin says, because to be honest, he’d also cursed Yoongi back then.
“I mean, thanks for the honesty, I guess,” he continues, scrunching his nose. “Even though that’s lowkey toxic. I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t wish you’d be worse off without my friendship back then, too.”
Yoongi sighs and shakes his head. “Lowkey? More like highkey.”
Jimin pokes out his lower lip, his stomach feeling like it’s been put on tumble dry. “This is weird. I don’t like it.”
Across him, Yoongi shifts in his seat, fidgeting with his bomber jacket zipper. “Me neither.”
If air could have a flavor or texture, it would be rancid, damp.
“I don’t want to be around you right now,” Jimin finds himself saying, which surprises him, because he never would have had the guts to say such words aloud to anyone else.
“I mean, I can’t be around you for the moment,” Jimin rephrases.
“Let’s call it a night.”
Yoongi pushes off from the table to stand, taking their order chit with him to pay at the counter.
Jimin can’t help the deep frown settling over his face. “If you say so,” he mutters under his breath. He follows Yoongi to the cash resgister, keeping a meter’s distance.
When they step out into the street, Jimin continues to trail after him from behind, freezing when his gaze falls on the parked Audi.
Jimin stops in his tracks and spins on his heel. “I’ll take the subway home.”
Yoongi snorts. “No, I’ll send you home first.”
“I don’t wanna.”
In the darkness of the carpark, Yoongi seems to shrink, his back going stiff as he just… /looks/ back at him. Jimin wishes his face wasn’t so obscured by shadows right now. Yoongi huffs and runs his hand over his hair, only to pause when he realizes to late that it’s in a bun.
He’s irritated. That much, Jimin can guess. Well, Park Jimin is annoyed, too. He crosses his arms, aghast as Yoongi clucks his tongue and tugs the rubberband free.
Jimin rolls his eyes and steps forward. “Give me that.”
“No,” Yoongi bites back.
“Hyung. Chill. Lemme fix it.”
Eventually Yoongi stops withholding the rubberband from him, although Jimin does in some way has to manhandle it from the guy’s palm. He sighs, pulling Yoongi’s floppy dark hair into a new bun.
Then, he hears a sniffle.
Jimin’s gaze snaps down from Yoongi’s hair to his face.
His gaze is downcast, but his eyelashes are damp, and the pent-up anger in Jimin’s chest seems to subside at the sight of it. “Hyung—“
“Save it,” Yoongi cuts in quietly.
Jimin steps back, watching him be miserable, and feeling the same misery leaking out towards him.
“Let’s… let’s talk about i-it another time,” Yoongi stutters, voice wavering as he hugs his arms to himself. He clears his throat, staring at the ground for a heartbeat longer, then turns around. “Bye.”
Jimin’s chest squeezes as he watches him trudge away. “Fine, be like that!”
Grumbling to himself, Jimin shoves his hands into his jeans pockets and spins on his heel, stalking off while thinking of every possible way to delete this moment from his memory. “Stupid Min Yoongi.” How had they come to this? They’d started out so well. “So be it—“
Jimin freezes mid-step, the heel of his Chelsea boot barely touching the ground, and turns back to glower over his shoulder. “What, what?”
The rest of his complaints fall away at the sight of Yoongi’s small frame facing him as he stands, illuminated by a lone carpark lamp post.
Jimin’s heart gives a slam. An image flashes in his mind—Yoongi alone at that bus stop in Daegu three years ago, unmoving as he watches Jimin’s bus whisk him farther and father away. Back then, Jimin hadn’t had the capacity to run back to him.
He croaks out, “Stupid Min Yoongi.”
And then he’s storming back to the only boy whose soul has touched his, fuelled by a dull anger he’s polished over years, and a greater affection that he’s been harboring for even longer. Yoongi’s eyes widen at his approach.
“You’ve always frustrated me the most,” Jimin says.
He is much too frustrated for a hug, but he doesn’t want to not touch him either, so he opts for standing as close as his feet can bring him to Yoongi, and leaning in to knock his forehead against his.
“Ow!” Yoongi hisses amidst his tears.
“Take that!” Jimin pouts stubbornly.
Rubbing his forehead with a giant “WTF” face, Yoongi grumbles, “What was that for?”
Jimin shrugs, scuffing the toe of his right boot on the ground. His face feels hot— he can’t tell if it’s because of the irritation or the adrenaline of pulling such a random move. “My wrath.”
Yoongi narrows his eyes at him.
Jimin squints back, and points at his forehead. “See that red mark? Color of my fury. You’ve been warned, pabo.”
Yoongi scoffs. “Your forehead’s red too.”
“You’re so annoying.”
“Says the one who just pulled a dumb move.”
Jimin purses his lips.
“Anyway.” Yoongi looks away. “We’re both on edge. But I just want you to know I don’t mean to make you mad.”
“Is that an apology?“
Jimin sighs & steps forward again. Yoongi eyes him warily. This time as he leans, though, he presses his temple gently against Yoongi’s.
He feels Yoongi hold a breath, but Jimin doesn’t do anything more. They don’t hug. It’s just them standing close, temples resting against the other. Jimin whispers croakily, “I’m not mad AT you. But okay, we’ll talk tomorrow.”
“But it’s the summer showcase…”
He feels Yoongi nod and step away, frowning at nothing in particular. “Yeah. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Jimin nods and shifts his bag strap over his shoulder. “Seeya tomorrow.”
“You sure you don’t- don’t want a ride home?” Yoongi asks.
“Nah. I’m good.” Jimin backs away. “Night.”
Jimin turns and scurries away.
(Not soon after, Yoongi slides into the driver’s seat, jaw clenched tight, but doesn’t turn on the engine nor think of driving away until Jimin’s shrinking figure disappears from his rearview mirror as he enters the subway station.)
Wow I finally finished this section of an update
It gets worse, don’t worry! Have a good day!
Meanwhile, if anybody would like to buy me a cuppa coffee,,, hehe,,, jk,,, unless?
I’ll work hard to give them a good ending.
“What’s with the long face?” Hoseok is at the kitchen island, slurping up some jajangmyeon, when Jimin sullenly walks in and closes their front door.
Jimin eyes his cousin’s half-raten bowl of noodles, and decides he doesn’t wanna make Hoseok lose appetite with negativity.
So he just shrugs and mumbles something about feeling worn out. “Where’s Jihyunnie?”
“Already asleep. Says he has an early slot at the HYPE auditions tomorrow.”
Jimin blinks. “Oh. It’s already tomorrwow?”
Hoseok nods, eyes still fixed on him. “Something wrong, our Jiminie?”’
Jimin clears his throat and trains his gaze to his bare feet, shuffling towards the kitchen island. Try as he might, he can never seem to sneak away from Hoseok’s knowing gaze. He sits on the chair opposite his cousin, hesitating.
What was it Chrys advised him before? Open up?
He puffs up his cheeks, mustering every last ounce of courage in his body to overcome the cringe of vulnerability and ekes out, “Hyung.”
Hoseok sets down his chopsticks and leans his forearms on the kitchen island to lean forward. “Yes.”
“It’s about Yoongi-hyung?” Jimin winces.
“Ahhh.” Hoseok leans back and cocks his head, regarding Jimin thoughtfully. “What, did you two fight?”
Jimin scratches the back of his head. “Not really? I don’t know. Maybe.” Was it that obviois that he was upset with Yoongi? Where on his face is it written?
“How bad was it?”
“I wouldn’t say it’s much of a fight as it was… like, us being upset with each other.” Jimin sighs and cards a hand over hus hair, annoyed. “Long story short—we were having a fun time eating dinner, but then he suddenly got all cold and haughty unprovoked, which ticked me off.”
Hoseok lifts one eyebrow. “That makes no sense.”
“Right? I thought so too.”
“Surely there was been a reason, or a trigger for the sudden atittude change. What were you guys talking about?”
Jimin hesitates. “Well, I mean, I think I was talking about my ex’s supportiveness and—“
“Woah, woah.” His cousin coughs up his jajangmyeon mid-slurp and looks aghast at Jimin. “You were just talking about Taemin, and Decaf Dude- I mean, Yoongi-hyung—got all pissy?”
“Kinda? He wasn’t that pissy.” Jimin gnaws on his lower lip. “Okay, maybe the vibes were a bit off.”
Hoseok’s eyes glimmer with a a new, sharp keenness. “Pissy in what way?”
“Passive aggressive!” Jimin laments with a huff. “Which made me feel like I shouldn’t bother opening up to him at all about my life in Perth, even though I wanted to try… urgh.”
Hoseok smiles to himself.
“What an asshole, then,” Hoseok chimes candidly, picking up his chopsticks to resume stirring his bowl. “Maybe he isn’t the best person to open up to.”
Jimin’s head snaps up. “Eh?”
Hoseok shrugs. “Based on what you’re saying, he sounds immature.”
“Hyung, he’s not like that.”
“I don’t know about you, but I probably wouldn’t want to befriend someone who tears me down so coldly.”
Something beneath Jimin’s skin prickles at such a harsh statement, and before he knows it he’s adamantly countering, “He’s /not/ like that. Hyung, he’s a soft boy. He’s good.”
“Really?” Hoseok casts him a dubious frown. “‘Cause I wouldn’t know since we weren’t friends before. If he keeps being mean to you, should I stand in and protect you each time Yoongi appears?”
“No!” Jimin cries in panic, wringing his hands together. “I swear, you don’t have to.”
“Really?” Hoseok narrows his eyes. “What makes you say so?”
“Well, he- he’s a good hyung.”
“Um. Cooks for me. Listens to me. Makes time for me.” Jimin gulps, feeling his pulse quicken in real time. “Makes me feel safe.”
“You like him?”
“Yeah. I mean—“ Jimin chokes.
Hoseok grins his diabolical grin, which only serves to send more heat rushing into Jimin’s cheeks. Jimin’s tongue must have forgotten how to Words, because the next thing he knows, all he can do is form little squeaks and strangled, incoherent noises.
“Okay, breathe, Jiminie~”
But how is Jimin supposed to calm down when it truly hits him that maybe the reason why he’s this disgruntled is not just because he likes his childhood penpal, but lo… lo… “I think I’m in L-word?”
Hoseok nods sympethetically, clapping. “Congrats!”
Jimin swallows heavily.
“Wait,” he says, holding up one finger. No, it can’t be for real, right? He’d fancied the idea of romantic connections with Yoongi, even early on, but it had always been from the perspective of an onlooker, someone fantasizing about the unspeakable. “Wait, am I really, though?”
Hoseok’s smile dims. “Eh?”
“What if I’m just feeling emotionally attached to him because he makes me feel safe?” Jimim frets in a rush. “What if I’m just afraid to lose him as a friend, which is why I’m annoyed when we have tension?”
Hoseok’s jaw drops as he stares on. “Dude.”
Jimin clutches his head and starts pacing about the kitchen, forming new possible rationalizations for why this can’t be real, and wondering why his brain believes this is a bad thing. “Because— I’ve known him forever. How can one fall for someone who’s always been just there?”
“Woah, woah,” Hoseok says, gesturing with his hands. “Jiminie. Why don’t we backtrack a little?”
Jimin pauses, urging his brain to listen to his cousin. “Huh?”
“You two bad a fight,” Hoseok summarizes. “Because of Taemin, a topic that soured the mood. Correct?”
“He didn’t seem to react well to Taemin, is that it?”
“See, that’s the thing,” Jimin says. He sighs and takes the seat across Hoseok. “Based on previous encounters, he’s always been nice and cordial around Taemin-hyung. So I don’t get why he’s suddenly this weird about it.”
“Maybe he’s jealous,” Hoseok throws out casually.
Jimin gnaws on his bottom lip. “I don’t think he’s the jealous type. He’s pretty laid-back.”
“And you’re sure of that.”
“Jiminie. Does he make you happy?”
“Do you want to make him happy?”
“And would you feel less happy if, hypothetically speaking, he might suddenly start gushing about how great his ex was to you?”
A sharp twist cuts into Jimin’s gut. “Naur! I mean I’d try to bear it, but it’ll make me—“
“See?” Hoseok smirks with a tone of finality.
“Any guy can be laid-back, as long as they feel secure about the other person.” Hoseok smiles at Jimin, bright and full of fondness. “I think you underestimate how crazy he is about you.”
Jimin’s heart does a double handstand, making him hide his face behind his hand.
Hoseok reaches over to pinch one of Jimin’s crimson cheeks. “Aaah. My little cute dongsaeng. Look at you.”
“Hyung, stop!” Jimin wants to crawl into a hole, wishing for his heartbeat to calm.
“Anyway,” Hoseok continues lightheartedly, “so have you guys made things official?”
Jimin groans and leans over to squash his nose into the kitchen island counter, hiding his face. In a nasal voice, he says flatly, “This is embarrassing. Naur.”
“What’s embarrassing about liking another person? You should be ecstatic.”
“He hasn’t— urgg.” Jimin bites his lip.
“Hmm?” Hoseok cackles, and it drives Jimin wild that his cousin seems to be having /fun/.
“I kinda put words into his mouth, earlier,” Jimin shares with a sinking feeling. “I said, ‘you love me’, and he just stayed quiet.”
“You idiot, that’s a given.”
“I wanted to hear it…”
“Well, have you ever thought maybe he wants to hear it from you, too?” Hoseok says.
Jimin falls quiet.
Chuckling as he finishes the last of his meal, Hoseok stands up and pats Jimin’s head on his way to the sink. “Try not to think about heart stuff with your head, mimi.”
Later while in bed, Jimin clutches his phone to his beating heart, a dilemma keeping him awake.
Should he text Yoongi, or would that make him lose focus for tomorrow’s gig? What if he just ends up sending negative vibes?
But he can’t sleep knowing things are weird.
In the end he decides against it, because it’s better to leave some space for each other. If he must rant, there are always other avenues.
Chrysanthemym replies almost immediately.
i have: a vent
about my person
your asshole fuckboy?
did he do something?
no! nothing like that
i just realized
i might love him?
what did i tell you about being careful with red flags
well, your choices bud
so what happened
it’s a long story ngl
hhhhh i wish i could just
meet you and then rant in person
all this texting makes me lazy haha
He’s expecting Chrys to shut it down, but instead—
yeah maybe that might be cool
i feel like we’re friends now
and anyway we were gonna meet at the library long ago but got sidetracked, remember?
a meetup is long overdue
will you be free tomorrow?
can’t, bit busy on campus
oh hey i’m gonna be on campus too!
gonna watch the summer showcase with a friend
i’ll be at the summer showcase too
meet you for coffee after maybe?
yeah dude just text me
see you then
hang in there for a bit more… DMF’s final arc is finally taking shape
thank you for staying with this story.
if you’re able to, please support me on Ko-Fi because I’m low on funds for daily stuff here thank you in advance
Jungkook slides into the bench next to Jimin and Taehyung with a firm thud of a Tupperware on the table. “Eomma wanted you to have this.”
Jimin stares at the orange-stained box. “Kook-ah.“
“Is that kimchi?” Taehyung snickers.
Jungkook, to his credit, actually looks sheepish.
“Kook-ah,” Jimin says, glancing about the campus quad. “It’s been over a week since you arrived from Busan. Why bring it /now/?”
“I forgot.” Jungkook makes a face. “Til I saw it in Namjoon-hyung’s fridge.”
“You know what, he’s got the college aesthetic right,” says Taehyung.
Jungkook gives him an appreciative high five. “Application for new best friend’s open, hyung.”
“Hey,” Jimin laments, nudging Jungkook’s feet under the table. To make a point, he hugs Jungkook’s mom’s kimchi Tupperware close with a possessive frown.
Taehyung grins at Jungkook.
Across them, a few student volunteers have begun to set up neat barricades for queues into the main hall where the summer showcase will be held. Jungkook, who’s been looking around, spots it and jumps to his feet.
“It’s open! 30 minutes to showtime, come on, come on oldies.”
“So which performance are you looking forward to the most?” Taehyung asks, and the excitement in Jungkook’s eyes morph into something dreamy.
“The stage MC.”
“That would be Namjoon-hyung,” Jimin mutters into Taehyung’s ear. Jungkook dabs three times in agreement.
“So like, are you two together?” Taehyung asks.
Jungkook shrugs. “All the time.”
As they join the queue to enter the hall, Taehyung turns to Jimin with a knowing look, eyebrows waggling. “As for you, obviously we all know which performance you’re anticipating.”
Jimin squirms, flushing, & fixes his gaze to the floor. “Not really.”
He has more than 1 reason for being here today, and has got a lot in mind. Part of him has forgotten to just enjoy the campus showcase at all.
“Oh?” Taehyung cocks his head. “You’re not eager to see hyung?”
“Yeah, Jimin-ssi, aren’t you here to fulfill boyfriend duties?” Jungkook teases, resting one elbow on Jimin’s shoulder.
Jimin scowls and drops his shoulder to brush Jungkook off. “We’re- we’re not like that.”
“Yet,” Taehyung adds. Jimin shakes his head.
“We’re on bad terms.”
Jungkook’s eyes go round. “/Again/?”
Jimin’s eyebrows furrow. /Again/, huh. That’s right. His and Yoongi’s friendship has always been tumultuous from the start. He scratches his head. “I don’t know. We’ll see how it goes later.”
“So you’ll finally talk about it?” says Taehyung.
“What did you fight about?” asks Jungkook.
“Are you going to apologize?” Taehyung adds.
Jimin grimaces and gestures frivolously with his hands. “It’s not- I don’t know, okay. I’m trying to figure things out, too.”
“What, about being in love with him?” Tashyung presses.
“Naur!” Jimin groans and drops his face into his hands. He’s saved from the burden of having to answer when a student volunteer waves them into the auditorium, and Jimin takes the chance to scamper down the carpeted stairs to find empty seats near the center of the hall.
His pulse is all skippity-hoppity for no reason, and as he presses a palm to his chest, the grooves of a certain guitar pick necklace around his neck meets his fingers, cool and solid.
Licking his lips, Jimin sits down, followed by his two other friends.
“Soooo,” Taehyung says conversationally. “Hoseok-hyung’s not here.”
Jimin senses the underlying questions behind that statement. Now that the topic isn’t about him, he’s eager to play into the chat. He shoots Taehyung an apologetic look. “The cafe’s understaffed, you know that.”
Taehyung nods. “Yeah, but he did say he’d try to find people to replace his shift…”
Jimin shrugs. “Why don’t you text him yourself.“
“Look who’s talking,” Taehyung shoots back, eyes gleaming. “Have you even texted Yoongi-hyung about today? Does he know you’re here?”
“O-of course.” Before their little fallout last night, they’d just been talking about it! And besides, Jimin isn’t so petty (anymore, at least) that he wouldn’t turn up to such an important event to Yoongi. That, and he does feel curious about finally meeting Chrysanthemum.
Although that part, he keeps to himself. For some reason he feels protective of his connection to Chrysanthemum, even with his friends. The counselor has become a pretty meaningful person to Jimin’s life, and there’s a small voice in his head saying this should stay private.
Perhaps it’s this overlapping of thoughts of two different people that has Jimin whipping out his phone and crafting a message to his counselor:
Jimin smiles to himself for a good few seconds until he realizes—
“Shit.” His veins freeze. “Wrong sent!”
To make it even weirder, his phone buzzes a few seconds later—
Jimin lets out a baffled noise as he scans the reply over and over.
wrong sent sorry
you know someone performing tonight?
oh yeah haha
why’d you say thanks though ahah
tonight’s pretty important for my portfolio
gotta make sure things go smooth
Ok gotta go
Jimin hums. Portfolio, huh? Maybe Chrys is one of the several student volunteers helping out tonight.
ok have fun
The moment his text sends, the house lights in the auditorium theater begin to dim. Jimin pockets his phone, craning his neck to see the stage. “Are they coming out now?”
“Blue&Grey are the last to perform. Seventh,” Taehyung supplies.
Jimin nods, leaning back in his seat.
Next to him, Jungkook’s head whips left and right, eyes blown wide. “Wah. I didn’t know their band was this popular. They even have those lightstick thingies.”
“Huh?” Jimin follows his gaze to where a group of girls their age are seated.
Sure enough, some of them are waving up posters spelling out, “YOONGI MARRY ME” while others are toying with makeshift lightsticks, made by wrapping blue fabric over plain flashlights.
Jimin clears his throat and turns to Jungkook. “But none of them are penpals with MY hyung.”
Jungkook smirks and raises both hands are if to surrender. “Easy now, no hissy hissy!”
Jimin turns his nose up in the air and folds his arms. He’s being haughty; he can’t help it, even though he knows it’s a good thing that Yoongi’s band has avid supporters. Good for him, good!
He returns his attention to the stage, where Namjoon is striding out with a dimpled smile that has Jungkook hooting and hollering with thunderous applause. His enthusiasm is contagious enough to make Jimin grin and shrug off the zealous fans in the theater.
“Hello,” Namjoon says into the mic.
Jungkook makes an awed noise and whispers to Tehyung and Jimin, “See that? Emcee of the year.”
Taehyung hums and clears his throat. “‘Hello’. There. Am I emcee of the year material yet?”
Jungkook elbows him with a cackle. “You lack dimples.”
After finishing his opening ment, Namjoon introduces the first performer, a traditional Korean dance troupe, and the showcase begins.
It’s a pretty decent setlist. At one point a K-Pop dance cover group did “Those Those” by Sigh feat. Gloss, and the entire theater went wild.
It’s all well and smooth, except maybe until the sixth performer is called, and while waiting for the performance to begin Taehyung half-whisper, half-exclaims, “Oh. Is that Jin-hyung?”
Jimin’s gaze slides to where his friend is pointing.
“Who’s that beside him?” asks Jungkook.
Taehyung’s eyebrow furrow together as he squints to get a closer look at the woman with a neat ponytail, not a stray hair in sight. A second later, he visibly pales. “That’s hyung’s eomma.”
Jimin makes a startled noise, mind already racing to a hundred conclusions. “Whose…?”
Taehyung meets his eye. “Yoongi-hyung’s eomma. She used to be a singer.”
Wouldn’t Jimin know. He should have recognized her, but the dark hall isn’t helping and besides, she looks a lot harsher in real life than the portrait he’d once seen hung in Yoongi’s home in Daegu.
Throughout the 6th performance, Jimin fidgets & observes.
Yoongi’s mother and Seokjin sit about 3 rows away, but from what little Jimin can see, already he can tell that there is something uptight about Mrs. Min, with the way she’s sitting upright and perfectly still as a statue.
“Does she know that Yoongi-hyung is in a band?” Jimin leans in to whisper to Taehyung.
His friend shrugs, gaze darkening. “I don’t know why she’s even here. She never turns up to hyung’s events.”
“Alright, and now for the stage you’ve all been waiting for!” Namjoon announces.
As soon as he walks offstage, the stage lights blackout. The crowd roars. A low buzz kicks up in the air. Against his better self, Jimin feels the audience’s excitement sink into his skin and make his heart pound.
A spotlight blooms in center stage, and a guitar starts riffing.
At the sight of the full band onstage, the audience goes berserk, and everyone starts to stand while clapping their hands. Jimin’s ears ring with the force of their cheers, but he does the same. After the song ends, the lead singer, DK, raises a hand.
The audience hoots in response, every eye in the theater glued to the singer. Well, almost every eye.
Jimin’s searching gaze sweeps the stage until he finds Yoongi behind the keyboard, his cheeks flushed, his head down in a shy smile. Heck, his naturally floppy hair is /permed/.
Jimin feels his jaw drop. There are silver earrings dangling from Yoongi’s earlobes, and the sparkly little blue jacket he’s wearing should have looked cringe but somehow /doesn’t/. Suddenly Jimin forgets what they were arguing about at all last night.
“Our next song is a cover of one of our favorite artists,” DK drawls into the microphone. “It’s for anyone out there having a hard time. Remember, you’re never alone. Let’s go.”
The music begins with the keyboard. Jimin watches, transfixed, at the way Yoongi controls his sound.
“Lights will guide you home,” DK songs as the chorus hits, “and ignite your bones.”
Jimin blinks up at the stage lights, the way it glitters against Yoongi’s skin.
At the same time, Yoongi looks up & by some miracle, finds him in the crowd, mouthing, “And I will try to fix you.”
/Oh/, Jimin thinks, his heart squeezing as though it’s being pinched.
For 3 whole years he hadn’t had a place to truly call home, and he’d worked his ass off to return to South Korea just to feel Korean again.
That day on the plane back to Seoul, the city’s lights welcomed him.
Jimin closes his eyes as he lets the song wash over him, wash away his fears and troubles even for only a few moments. When the song reaches its peak instrumental riff, Jimin swipes at his cheeks, only for his fingers to come away wet.
That’s when he realizes that there’s a hand reaching for his, and a weight pressing down on his other shoulder. Jimin blinks and finds his hand cradled in Taehyung’s larger one, while Jungkook is quietly leaning his head on his shoulder.
Meanwhile onstage, Yoongi plays for him.
It’s almost as if all those years of pointless, overwhelming loneliness are being compensated for now. Jimin breathes in the universe’s apology and thinks, /I might just be okay./
The song ends. DK takes the mic again and says, “Unfortunately, we’ve almost reached the end of our set!”
The crowd awww’s.
DK chuckles, glancing around his bandmates. “Anyway this final song was written by our keyboardist, dedicated to a longtime friend. Here’s ‘Summer Rain’.”
As the tune fills the auditorium, Jimin lets out a tiny, quiet sob of the oddest mix of a the deep ache of gratitude and… humility.
Humility, stemmed from the Latin word ‘humus’, meaning ‘earth’ — that’s what Yoongi’s song is. Stable ground to walk on, tethering Jimin steady.
Who would have known that a melody so unassuming and gentle could be this intense? That devotion itself, at its most bare, would be humbling rather than pompous? Jimin would like to race down these aisles, to jump onto the stage and kiss Yoongi senseless right then and there.
Yoongi glances up then, looking out across the auditorium as though in search of a certain face. Against the glare of the stage lights, his gaze finds Jimin.
Time slows. Despite the distance between them, they smile at each other in full friendship, and perhaps yearning, too.
And if Jimin had been blind for ages, now it all becomes so painfully clear—that the attachment and adoration he’s been nursing for Yoongi was never just friendly, that he never would have been satisfied with being just remaining platonic.
/Does he see it too?/ Jimin wonders.
As the finally chords of the song peter out, Jimin and Yoongi’s eyed remain locked, audience be damned. The cherished and the cherisher, each one both at the same time.
Then the thunderous applause yanks Jimin back to the present and he sees the moment Yoongi’s gaze breaks away.
Away from where Jimin and his friends are standing and towards a couple of rows down, to where he catches his older brother’s face in the crowd. Seokjin is standing along with the others, applauding.
Then Jimin sees it happen as though in slow motion: Yoongi spots his mother.
His face pales, and his hands drop from the top of his keyboard to his sides. Meanwhile, as the audience claps, his mother turns with a huff & begins weaseling her way out of her seat down the row.
“Thank you for your time,” DK is saying into the mic, but Jimin isn’t listening.
His attention is solely fixated on Yoongi. The keyboardist looks stricken, as though he’s just been threatened with a knife. Yoongi’s chest is rising and falling erratically, and just before the stage lights go pitch black, Jimin sees him quikly duck offstage in a mad rush.
The next few minutes rush past Jimin in a dizzying blur of trying to squeeze through the hyped crowd while keeping an eye out for the direction Yoongi’s mother had gone in. Her sleek, jet-black ponytail bobs through the crowd, towards the backstage area.
Dread curdles in Jimin.
“Excuse me,” he says amid a barrage of profuse apologies for blocking people’s views. “Sorry, just tryna get past.“
“Where’re you going?” Taehyung asks, tugging at the hem of Jimin’s denim vest.
Jimin glances back, barely able to keep a straight line of thought. “Yoongi-hyung.”
The grip on his clothes loosens. Taehtung nods, frowning. “Okay. I’ll see you later?“
Jimin hums in response, already distractedly picking his way through the crowded aisles. He keeps an eye out for Mrs. Min’s trademark ponytail, and panics when he can’t quite locate her.
it takes a few minutes to pass through the countless obstacles to backstage, but Jimin makes use of the chaos to sneak into a door marked “STAFF ONLY”, leading into a plain corridor marked with doors into smaller waiting rooms for the performers.
One of the doors are wide open.
Muted voices are flitering out from it—one lower, one higher-pitched. Jimin slows down and inches towards the door with his back to the wall, feeling like some kind of spy.
“…you to come here.”
“And I’m glad I did, because now I see what pointless things you’ve been up to.”
Jimin creeps in closer to pokes his head in, but the 2 people in the waiting room are too immersed in their heated conversation to notice his presence.
“Honestly, Yoongi, you move to Seoul and start doing this- what, garage music? It’s a far cry from the elegance of real music.”
“You don’t know what you’re talking about, my band’s music is—“
“Oh I sure as hell KNOW what I’m talking about, Min Yoongi, you forget who you’re talking to,” says his mother, chin lifted high in the air. “And as a proper musician I say: this is futile. It’s noise. Come back.”
Jimin’s brows furrow at the sight of Yoongi’s hands shaking, gaze trained to the floor. He needs to step in, somehow. But how?
“Or what?” Yoongi challenges in a quiet voice. “What will you do? Hit me? I’m not some child you own anymore.”
“HYUUUNG!” Jimin cries.
He schools his face into a euphoric, fanatic expression &—quite literally—stumbles into the waiting room after tripping over a stray chair leg. “Hyung, that was suuuuch a great performance!”
Yoongi’s features grow mystified. “Jimin?”
“LOVED the vibe!” Jimin throws his hands up.
Shimmying his hips in the air, Jimin ignores the tense drumbeat of his pulse. “That first guitar riff? A banger! Second song? Swoony. Last song? My favorite. Ah, Blue&Grey seriously makes people so happy. Isn’t that what music is all about? Touching people? Your song moved me.”
Yoongi stands frozen, staring at him with a mixture of shock and bewilderment, and Jimin laughs and turns—
“Oh? Who are you…?” He feigns ignorance in front of Mrs. Min, purposely blowing his eyes into round circles. Then he points at the door. “I think this is students-only.”
“Yoongi,” his mother says in a warning tone.
Jimin lets out his own pitchiest, curious whine and makes a show of pulling out his phone. “Waaah. Maybe I should contact Namjoon-hyung to tell him to tell security that suspicious strangers are in restricted areas!”
Mrs. Min huffs.
With a final, snide glower in Yoongi’s direction, she turns and stalks out of the waiting room, her heels click-clacking in staccato down the corridor. Jimin creeps towards the door, looks out to make sure the coast is clear, before quietly closing it for privacy.
When he turns around to look at Yoongi, he finds the elder crouched to a squat on the floor, hugging himself, his breaths coming in and out raggedly. Jimin watches the rapid rise and fall of his shoulders as he attempts to self-soothe.
“Just. Go,” Yoongi pants.
He looks so small, curled in on himself like that. A wounded animal tending to its own wounds. Jimin leans back against the door, unable to move forward but unwilling to just comply, either. “Hyung, is there anything I—“
“Go,” snarls Yoongi. “You can help by leaving me alone.”
gotta go for now since i have chores but here’s a poll: should jimin oblige?
Jimin can do nothing but stand and watch his precious person tremble against himself, barking if he so much as hears footsteps approaching him.
It’s heartbreaking. Jimin has never felt so near yet so useless, unable to help the only way he knows: physical affection.
“Okay,” he decids, inhaling deeply. He twists open the doorknob and gingerly slips outdoors. “I’ll be seeing myself out.”
He lingers for a few seconds, but those crucial moments are all he needs to note the way Yoongi’s form stiffens, his head jerking as if to listen closely.
Jimin feels his expression grow severe as Yoongi drops his head to his knees as though in defeat. But he doesn’t get to say more because the door is already closing.
Out in the hallway, Jimin leans against the closed waiting room door, mind churning in different directions.
/I could go,/ he thinks bitterly. After he’s been so coldly turned away, Jimin ought to comply and return to the audience.
But the look of defeat in the line of Yoongi’s deflated shoulders flashes back in Jimin’s mind’s eye. He shakes his head.
How could he ever leave so easily?
This is Yoongi they’re talking about. Yoongi who had so gently cared for Jimin even when he was a delirious, babbling, feverish mess. Yoongi who’s always been a steady support for others, but barely got a taste of what it’s like to be supported.
An idea pings in Jimin’s mind.
Earlier he’d passed by a vending machine in the corridor. He digs into his pockets and grins at the jingle of coins in it.
Making sure the door stays locked, Jimin skitters down the hallway and pauses in front of the glowing vending machine, humming with electricity.
He picks out a canned orange juice and jogs back to Blue&Grey’s waiting room just as heavy footfalls and the sounds of laughing start coming from the backstage end of the hallway. Jimin squeaks when the other Blue&Grey members appear.
“No!” Jimin dashes to block the room’s door.
“Oh?” HueningKai’s eyebrows jump. “Hey, it’s you! Jiminie?”
“Is Yoongi-hyung inside?” asks Hajoon, twirling his drumsticks.
Jimin gulps and spreads his arms out, barricading the waiting room door. “Yes…”
Yeonjun tilts his head with a hum, mystified. “Is he okay?”
Jimin bites his bottom lip. “I… I don’t think he’s doing well.” He doesn’t want to be the one to bring up Yoongi’s family, so he skips it out. “Might be nerves. He looks a bit shaken. I’m gonna come in and pass him this drink.”
“Jimin,” says DK. “He might be better alone.”
“I know,” Jimin says, against the desperate cry in his lungs to acknowledge the fact. “I just… I can’t leave him again anymore. Excuse me for a sec.”
He turns the doorknob and slips into the quiet room, where Yoongi is hiding behind a couch’s armrest, hugging himself.
At the sound of his voice, Yoongi’s head snaps up. He turns to Jimin, eyes wide. “You—“
Wordlessly, Jimin picks up Yoongi’s hands to press the drink into his palms. He squats to see eye-to-eye with him. “Here. Drink.”
When Yoongi does nothing but stare in shock, Jimin sighs.
He eases the can from Yoongi’s grip to open it for him with a hissing ‘pop!’, then presses it back into his hands. Dusting off his jeans, he stands. “Take your time. I’ll be outside if you need.”
But before he can turn away, Jimin feels a soft tug at the hem of his jeans.
Jimin glances down. Yoongi is holding onto the hem of his heans, his brows drawn together as if he’s having a hard time explaining his behavior.
It’s almost hard to believe this is /his/ Min Yoongi on the floor like this. His strong, ever-dependable hyung laden in vulnerability.
Jimin adores him with his entire, bruised heart. Sighing, he bends down and pulls Yoongi up by the arms. “Hey. It’s okay.”
“This is fucking pathetic, yeah—“
“Hyung.” Jimin shushes him as Yoongi stands. Pushing back his bangs from his forehead, he plants a light kiss there.
Yoongi’s eyes flutter closed, and for the first time since Jimin walked into the waiting room, he finally lets out a long, steady breath. Jimin pulls him close and cradles his cheeks, murmuring encouragements into his ear.
“I love your music so much. You were wonderful.”
Yoongi gives a shuddering breath this time, letting his head fall forward into the juncture of Jimin’s neck. He likes to do this, Jimin notes now. Likes to bury his face into Jimin’s neck, like it’s some sort of safe space from the world’s cruel scorn.
“I was scared you left.”
Jimin chuckles and rakes his fingers over the back of Yoongi’s head. Yoongi has always acted so independently, with wisdom & maturity beyond his years, that Jimin often forgets he’s the younger brother in his family. In hindsight, he’s a little bit of a baby.
“Baby, I wouldn’t.”
Yoongi stiffens and draws back to shoot Jimin a look so puzzled that Jimin cackles in his face.
“‘Cause that’s what you are.” He uses his index finger to boop Yoongi’s nose. “A giant baby.”
That earns hin a nose scrunch from Yoongi. “Disgusting.”
Jimin scoffs. “Infant. Fetus.”
Yoongi groans out loud & hides his face in Jimin’s neck again. This time round, Jimin feels the heat from Yoongi’s cheeks seeping against his skin.
With a laugh, he lifts Yoongi off the floor and twirls them around once, twice. “Don’t be shy now~”
“You’re asking for murder.”
Eventually their giggling dies out, and Yoongi regains his balance on the floor, still locked in Jimin’s embrace. They stand in the middle of the waiting room, breathing with their foreheads against each other.
Yoongi’s eyes are closed, a frown making creases between his brows.
With one finger, Jimin massages to soothe the crease there. He whispers, “Good?”
Yoongi’s eyelids slowly blink open. Their gazes meet, and he nods. “Good. I’m here.” His eyes roam lower to land on the necklace between Jimin’s collarbones.
He smiles—a beautiful, aching thing.
“You’ve got it,” he drawls, eyes bright and glassy with wonder.
Jimin nods, pride surging in him. He touches the guitar pick pendant. “Mm. I’ve got you.”
A knock on the door has them springing apart. Yeonjun pokes his head in. “Yo. Thought we heard laughter so I’m checking in.”
Jimin tucks his hair behind his ears and straightens out his clothes, feeling like he just got caught doing something surreptitious. “Uh, yeah. All’s good now! Right, hyung?”
Yoongi, unlike him, is a picture if calm and collectedness, leaning against the couch’s armrest. “Yeah.”
“Okay, great. Cause, um”—Yeonjun pauses and speaks to someone outside the room, over his shoulder—“apparently there’s a group of fans gathered outside the stage area right now?”
“Oh.” Jimin shoots a look at Yoongi, who pales.
“Yeah. Are you ready to face people, Yoongi-hyung?”
Stiffly, Yoongi answers, “I mean, if I have to—“
“What if you gave it a pass just for tonight?” Jimin pipes up, then grimaces. How dare he speak over what Yoongi wants? “Not that I’m trying to tell you what to do or anything, sorry.”
“Don’t be,” says Yeonjun. “He has a point.”
Yoongi is quiet, eyes on the floor. For a moment Jimin worries he’ll start spiraling down another hole where he can’t reach him, but then Yoongi sighs and nods, relenting.
“Awesome.” Yeonjun hooks a thumb behind him. “There’s another stage backdoor that leads out of the hall.”
It takes no more than a few minutes for them to get packed. The rest of the band members pour into the waiting room with understanding smiles, clapping Yoongi’s back with compliments about how well everyone performed. And then they’re ushering Yoongi and Jimin out the door.
Down the corridor they fly, with Yoongi carrying his keyboard in tow. Before they open the backdoor that leads to the parking lot outside the auditorium hall, Jimin says—
“Wait.” He tugs on Yoongi’s sleeve. “I have something to say.”
Yoongi sends him a blank look.
Yoongi narrows his eyes. “Huh?“
“For being a brat last night. I didn’t think Taemin would be such a sore spot, ‘cause I thought you guys got along well while he was here. Does talking about him make you insecure?”
Yoongi frown smoothens. He looks down, chuckling to himself.
Then, to Jimin’s surprise, Yoongi grabs his hand and intertwines them to plant a soft kiss to his knuckles.
“Not insecure, marigold.” Yoongi pushes open the backdoor, and moonlight comes filtering in, setting his face awash in silvery blue. He smirks at Jimin. “Just jealous.”
Ending this update on a good note for now! So much chaos awaits in the next update haha. Hope you had fun!
Also please consider getting me a cuppa kofi I’ll be using it to buy my textbooks this semester hehehe thank you in advance ilysm.
At some point, there comes along at least one person who makes you want to simply escape, and leave the rest of the world turning with careless abandon. Jimin never imagined that the person who’d make him want to disregard time and space would be somebody he’s known forever.
As Yoongi leads the way to his car, Jimin trails along happily, fully content with watching the back of his hyung’s head. Thank heavens the parking lot is practically empty—most university students here don’t drive. The Audi looms into view, and they part hands to hop inside.
They sit inside the car, neither one speaking, and it’s not until the engine roars to life that Jimin realizes he has no idea what they’re doing, nor where they’re headed.
“So.” He clears his throat and folds his arms. “Where to? Are you going home?”
Yoongi gives a long breath.
“Don’t feel like it.”
Jimin nods, staring straight ahead. “Understandable. So, what do you feel like?”
His question is met with a long bout of silence. When Jimin turns, Yoongi is leaning back against the driver’s seat, something unhinged gleaming in his eyes.
“You’re staring,” Jimin points out.
“Wrong. I am actually thinking, and I just happen to be turned in your direction.” Yoongi adjusts his position and drums his fingers against the steering wheel.
“That’s still called staring, idiot—“
“Wanna grab a drink with me, Park Jimin?”
Jimin whistles lowly. “Oooh. Is this gonna be our first adult hangout? What, you wanna go to Hongdae right now?”
“I was thinking more along the lines of a pub rather than clubbing,” Yoongi says. “How good is your tolerance?”
“I’m alright.” That’s ONE good skill from Perth.
Jimin cocks his head to one side. “And you?”
“I hold mine pretty okay,” Yoongi says, nodsing as if to affirm his words. “More into whisky, frankly.”
“Ah, so you’re a man of class.”
“You words, not mine, marigold.”
The nickname sends a delicious zing down Jimin’s spine.
He looks out the window to curb a growing smile, not wanting to look stupid in front of Yoongi. Jimin shrugs. “Fine. You pick.”
“I know a bar near the river.” Yoongi shifts the gearstick and starts to drive out of the parking lot. “Great night view. Live music, too.”
“What can I say? Man of taste.”
Jimin scoffs and side-eyes him. “Surprise me.”
It’s only a 20-minute drive down towards Ttukseom. For the most part, they don’t talk, because Jimin is busy ogling the city lights dotting the inky skyline as they cross the bridge.
Yoongi parks at a spot near the river and points outside. Following his gaze, Jimin gawks at the sight of a big yacht floating by the river, lit with tiny fairy lights that glimmer against ther water lapping by the river banks.
“Heol. The bar’s in there?”
A secret thrill rushes through Jimin at the thought ot “hanging out” at such a fancy place. He hasn’t had it easy in life so far, but perhaps his prospects are beginning to look up now. He feels like a K-drama lead, with a chaebol partner to boot. “How are you just a student?”
Yoongi shrugs, smiling sheepishly. They step out of the car, and the doors beep closed. Just as Yoongi pockets his keys, he freezes. “Ah.”
“Hmm?” Jimin falls into step by him. “Why?”
Yoongi pats around his jeans pockets and lets out a low curse. “My wallet.”
As if on cue, Yoongi’s phone vibrates loudly, and he pulls it out to answer an incoming call. “Hey. Ah, yeah. Yeah? I’ll just collect it from you tomorrow at rehearsal.” He rubs the back of his neck. “Thanks, man. Bye.” He hangs up and stares at Jimin. “So, we have a situation.”
Jimin doesn’t have to guess to understand the matter at hand. Leaning one hand on his hip, he hums pointedly. “Let me guess—left your wallet at the waiting room?”
“I mean, it’s safe with Yeonjun, I could drive us back—“
“Forget it,” Jimin waves good-naturedly. “It’s cool.”
He plucks out his own wallet from his jacket pocket. “How much per person in this bar, anyway?”
Yoongi coughs out loud, mumbling something.
“It’s uh. Minimum 100,000 won per pax.”
(!!!!) Jimin nearly drops his wallet to the ground. “Heol.”
He opens the flap in his wallet and pulls out two bank notes. “Unfortunately for you, my good friend, my broke ass here holds only a grand total of: 20,000 won.”
Yoongi’s expression looks so mortified and constipated that Jimin can’t help but burst into high-pitched giggling.
Jimin latches onto Yoongi’s shoulders, draping both arms around him from behind to avoid doubling over from laughter. “Awww, don’t look so sour now, hyung.” He turns and steers their bodies towards another direction—facing a nearby convenience store. “How about beer for tonight?”
The fluorescent lights beam down on their instant ramyeon cups, two cans of beer between them. It’s a grand feast of a supper, courtesy of Park Jimin’s generous budget. For the most part, Yoongi is compliant, though the pink in his cheeks never quite fades.
Jimin, on the other hand, feels very much pleased at the chance to treat and splurge on his precious person. This much, he can do. He raises his beer can. “Don’t look so embarrased, hyung. We can always go another time. Now, cheeeers!”
“Another time?” Yoongi looks hopeful.
“Yesss. If you’re looking for someone to have a fun time with, call me. I’m always game!” Jimin splits apart his chopsticks and slurps up his noodles. “Or if you feel lonely and need someone to annoy you, call me too. If you need a rambler, I’m here. Actually, call me whenever.”
Yoongi looks down with a soft scoff, busying himself with his own chopsticks. After gulping his own mouthful, he takes a sip of beer and says, “You sound very free. You sure Hoseok won’t scold you for messing about while on shift?”
“It’s not messing about! It’s /friendship./“
Yoongi stares at him in complete silence for a good long minute.
“What?” Jimin scratches the back of his head, willing his face to stop heating under such a piercing gaze.
Shaking his head, Yoongi takes a huge swig of beer, then opens another can.
Which is pretty normal, Jimin supposes, since Yoongi does tend to have his silent moments. With a shrug, he returns his attention to the cup ramyeon and wolfs down the rest of his meal. “Anyway, what I said earlier, I really meant it. You looked so cool onstage back there!”
And because Jimin wants to be /subtle/ and unassuming, he adds in with as much tact as possible, “That last song really blew me away. You wrote it, right? Lyrics and all? It’s almost like, I don’t know, you wrote in dedication to a very specific person.”
Jimin’s heart goes !!!!!!!! for the second time that night. Very softly, he says, “Ohhh.”
Yoongi nods and slurps up the last of his soup, then downs the rest of his beer. He lets out a burp, mumbles ‘I ate well’ under his breath, and then leans his chin on one hand. “Yeah.”
There’s a furious flush to his cheeks, and his eyes are slightly glazed over, but he’s staring bullets into Jimin’s. He doesn’t say a word, though.
“So, um…” Jimin’s neck feels warm. He twiddles his thumbs, batting his eyelashes. “That song. Is for me?”
A sharp giggle bubbles up Jimin’s throat, which he tries to mask with a blank expression as he covers his mouth. “So like. When did you write it?”
Yoongi hums and tilts his head to one side. “Can’t remember. It was supposed to be a lullaby. But that would mean you’re asleep.”
Jimin giggles into his hand and tucks a couple of loose strands of too-long hair behind his ear. “A-and that’s not good?”
“Not good,” Yoongi echoes, shaking his head. “It’s for you, so what’s the point if you never hear it?” He reaches over and flicks Jimin’s forehead. “Idiot.”
“Ow.” Scowling, Jimin rubs his forehead. Nothing at the moment can take away his floaty giddiness, though. He clears his throat, then moves his hands to trap them under his butt. “So why’d you write it?”
“Because…” Yoongi’s gaze sweeps over him.
“Because…? What inspired you?”
Yoongi’s eyes never leave his. “Because you stopped shining, for a while.”
Jimin blinks, utterly taken aback. “Huh?”
“Did you know that marigolds wither and bloom again every- every year?” Yoongi’s words are more slurred than usual. “Yeah. You looked so defeated, that day.”
He’s offloading too much information all at once, and it leaves Jimin half-stricken, half-puzzled. “What day?”
“Many days.” Yoongi sighs and leans forward to rest his face flat on the convenience store tables. “Maaany days, Jiminie. And you hated me. So I couldn’t do anything.”
/He’s tipsy/, Jimin realizes. He wonders if Yoongi is aware of his own verbal comprehensibility at the moment. “You know I couldn’t have hated you even if I tried.”
Yoongi turns his head, still resting in the table. Jimin mimics his position so that they’re facing each other.
“Did you feel like you had to bear it all alone, our Jiminie?” asks Yoongi, his tone serious but surprisingly childlike.
Jimin swallows. He nods once. To his surprise, Yoongi’s eyes start to glisten.
“Was it very heavy?”
Jimin rests a hand against Yoongi’s face. “Just a bit.”
Yoongi clucks his tongue and shuts his eyes, one tear escaping sideways down his cheek. “I fucking hate that.”
“Why’d you have to get sick alone. Why were you running alone. Why didn’t I realize sooner.” Yoongi’s brows furrow. “I missed you so bad I forgot to /see/ you.”
It shouldn’t make sense and yet Jimin understands it—how the act of missing can be such a selfish thing, a desire to fill a gap in oneself without regard for the other person’s well-being.
“I missed you too. I always miss you,” Jimin confesses, eyes misty. “Even now I still do.”
And since they’re already on the topic, he adds, “I was scared earlier, too. Seeing you like that. I felt helpless.”
Yoongi gives a wry smile. “So I guess now you know how I felt. Why I visited your café almost every day.”
Something mellows out in Jimin, making him sigh.
Yoongi’s left hand comes up to fiddle with the guitar pick pendant dangling from Jimin’s neck, now resting on the table. “I never thought this would see the light of day again.”
Jimin gives a wet chuckle. “Thought you might appreciate it.”
“I love it,” Yoongi admits. “I love—“
“Excuse me, hyungs!” A group of high school teenagers call out from a few feet away. “Are y’all done using the tables?”
Jimin jolts up, vaguely realizing that they are, in fact, getting tipsy and weepy in the middle of a convenience store. Before him, Yoongi sighs.
Jimin stands up with a small, apologetic smile as the high schoolers starting flocking around them, ready to claim the table. “Shall we go for a walk?”
Yoongi grimaces and holds up an index finger. “Do you have enough for one more can?”
Jimin chortles. “You’re impossible.”
—Dear My Friend
• a little something that’s been stewing in the back burner since DMF first started
• happy reading
Jimin would be lying if he said he’d only never forgotten Yoongi during his time abroad.
There had been stretches of time he’d convinced himself he was finally moving past the ‘betrayal’—days, weeks even, when he wouldn’t think of his childhood penpal, wouldn’t wonder ‘what if’.
What if Jimin hadn’t moved away, and Yoongi had stayed in Seoul, too? Would they have continued to be friends?
Somehow, Jimin has a feeling they would have found a way to break each other’s hearts over & over, no matter the situation.
“Yah, Mimi, why are you walking so slow?”
The old nickname jolts Jimin out of his sentimental thoughts so forcefully that he chokes on his spit. Catching up to Yoongi, who’s kind of just ambling ahead with both hands in his pockets, Jimin wheezes, “Ah, hyung! Seriously? You haven’t called me that since we were /kids/.”
They’ve left the convenience store for an evening stroll by the riverbanks.
“Why, why, what’s wrong with experimentation?” Yoongi challenges, his lips curling forward in a defensive pout. Jimin has to admit—this is a side of his usually reserved hyung that’s amusing to watch.
Jimin muffled a chortle and nods towards the half-full beer can that Yoongi is swirling in his hand, as if it’s a whisky glass instead of cheap alcohol. “So much for being a hard liquor type of guy? You’re already tipsy on beer.”
“Listen, man. Whisky is whisky. Beer is beer.”
Jimin smiles to himself, locking away that piece of information in his memory. Maybe human tolerance for different types of liquor differs accordingly, or maybe his hyung is just unique. “If you say so. So, what did you wanna do?”
Yoongi shrugs, mumbling under his breath.
“What was that?” Jimin cranes his neck, brows drawing together as he strains to listen.
“…skip pebbles,” Yoongi says, scratching his nose. “With you.” He points to one section of the park that gives open access to the water. “There.”
Jimin chews his bottom lip to stifle a coo.
He’s already barely able to hold back from reaching out to pinch Yoongi’s cheek as it is. Nodding, Jimin slings one arm around Yoongi and gently steers him towards where he wanted to go. “Okay. Lead the way.”
“But you’re already leading.”
“No? I’m following you, hyung.”
This part of the Han River park is less crowded. In the growing silence, the sound of lapping water accompanied by the singing of cicadas rises in the air. Jimin gathers a couple of stones and sits next to Yoongi at the riverbank steps.
“Here.” Jimin grins. “Let’s play a game.”
Yoongi tips his head to one side, peering at Jimin through his bangs. They’re getting longer again.
Jimin pours a small handful of stones into his hyung’s pale hand. “If one of us manages to skip a pebble more than twice on the water, we get a pass. If it sinks, we say a truth.”
“Hah. Easy. Looks like it’s honesty hour for you then, huh, Mimi.”
Jimin ducks his head and focuses on turning over the stone in his hand. “You’re talking to someone who grew up in the port of Busan. Jungkook and I skipped stones all the time. Prepare to lose.”
[a/n: yoonmin are sitting along the breakwaters like this]
Their turns are decided through a single round of rock, papers, scissors: Jimin wins, so without delay he tosses his pebble across the river. It bounces once, twice, thrice before disappearing.
“Damn. That was bad,” Yoongi teases.
Jimin makes a face. “Still a pass though. You?”
Yoongi does this little wrist warm-up by flopping his hand back and forth, makes a big show of loudly blowing hot breath against his pebble, then throws it into the river. It travels several meters further than Jimin’s… then sinks right into the water.
“Hah!” Jimin cheers, pumping a fist in the air. “Ah, hyung, at least try! This isn’t a distance competition, come on now.”
Yoongi shrugs with a simple tight-lipped smile. He looks only half-alert, but still awake enough to /wink/. “Guess I lost.”
Jimin considers combusting.
Is Yoongi flirting, or is this some sort of tipsy boldness? He can’t tell, so he doesn’t comment. “Okay, well. Now you have to tell a true thing.”
“Uh. The sun is a star,” deadpans Yoongi.
“BTZ is a Korean boy group.”
“What, why? Facts are true.”
“Not like that,” Jimin whines, frowning so hard that Yoongi snorts at his expression. “Okay, how about this: winner asks a question and loser answers honestly.“
“Yah, are you changing the rules?”
“Yes, now get with the programme, hyung.”
Yoongi scoffs, cheeks flushed. “Brat.”
Jimin chews on his bottom lip, thinking. This is the best time to wiggle some information out of Yoongi, things he might not usually blurt out when fully sober. “Okay, you never explained but—what inspired your band’s name? Blue&Grey?”
Yoongi huffs and tosses his hair back.
“It means different things to different members,” he says matter-of-factly, his Daegu satoori slipping. “But ultimately, we all agreed on it.”
Jimin nods slowly. “What’s blue & grey to you, then?”
Yoongi’s eye catches his, before sliding his gaze to the water. “Funny you ask.”
Jimin tilts his head inquisitively. “Huh?”
“Do you remember what you wrote me in your first few letters?” Yoongi looks down at the stone beneath his shoes, watching water slip and slosh through the rounded breakwaters.
Jimin shrugs. “It was honestly so long ago…”
“What’s your favorite color?” Yoongi asks.
Jimin blinks. It’s been ages since he /picked/ a favorite color. It’s something you do as a kid, or so he believes. “Um, maybe red? Black? I’m not choosy.”
Yoongi chuckles lowly. “Awww. Too bad.” He looks at Jimin. “Mine’s grey, Mimi.”
The combination of that childhood nickname and young Yoongi’s favorite color dislodges a frozen memory from Jimin’s mind.
/My favorite color is blue./
He stifles a small gasp with an abrupt cough.
“Oh.” Jimin gulps and fixes his eyes on Yoongi’s ear studs. “Blue and grey, huh.”
Yoongi nods as Jimin puts his mind to work. If Blue is in reference to Jimin, then in Yoongi’s perspective, it could very well stand for, “You and I.”
On a typical day Jimin would consider such a line of thought overthinking, but knowing Yoongi… it might hold water. “Cool.”
Jimin is FAR from feeling cool and collected—his pulse is racing, palms sweating, and he wants to smooch Yoongi.
He must not! He also can’t sit on his hands right now because of the rough surface of the rocks they’re on, so he opts for trapping them between his knees.
“‘Cool’?” Yoongi parrots, peering at Jimin from beneath his bangs with a tiny smirk. Jimin nods.
Yoongi chuckles, leans over, & nicks Jimin under the chin. “Really? Just ‘cool’?”
Jimin can’t decide if he should be mad at that shit-eating, teasing grin. He nips Yoongi’s fingers.
“Shit- ow, hey, that’s foul,” Yoongi half-slurs in a whiney tone. He retaliates by wiping bis hands on Jimin’s sleeve. “Don’t bite your elders.”
Jimin makes a face at him and proceeds to toss another stone. When it manages to skip more than twice, he gives a whoop. “Pass again!”
Yoongi throws with an unsteady hand. As his stone vanishes below the water, he raises both hands in defeat.
“Hah!” Jimin pounces at once. “So. That one week at the café, while I was on shift. You kept turning up with different people.” He crosses his arms. “Were they dates?”
Yoongi snorts. “Nope. Did you…” He turns to Jimin, a glint playing in his eyes. “You thought I was bringing dates to the café where you work?”
Jimin recoils a little, sheepish. “I thought it was a deliberate tactic to provoke me.” Ah, now that just came across as self-centered.
So he adds, “Or like, to prove a point.”
“Prove what?” Yoongi asks point-blank.
/That you cared enough to try to make me jealous/. Jimin can’t ever say that. Instead he comes up with, “That you… that you’re a fruit.”
Then Yoongi bursts into laughter.
And Jimin’s neck is hot with shame. “Naur, why- don’t laugh at me!”
Yoongi reaches over and aggressively ruffles Jimin’s hair, before pulling him closer by the nape to bump their temples. “You’re the worst, Park Jiminie. Never change.”
His low laughter is music to Jimin’s ears.
His response confirms two things for Jimin: one, that Yoongi is indeed of the rainbow variety, and two, that he wasn’t trying to date around outlandishly in front of Jimin. It’s a massive weight off his shoulders.
“Okay, okay. Cool. So what were they? Not to pry or anything.”
“Yah, that’s another question,” Yoongi warns teasingly. “Go throw your pebble.”
Jimin does & succeeds in getting a pass. This time, when Yoongi skips his stone, it manages to jump just a little over two times before disappearing.
“Hah!” Yoongi points. “Two and a half. My turn.”
Yoongi’s slightly bloodshot, inky dark gaze bores into Jimin. “What did you miss the most about me, Park Jimin?”
Jimin gulps. Out of habit, his fingers fly to the guitar pick pendant—a gesture Yoongi doesn’t miss. His hyung’s curious gaze drops to his neck.
Yoongi watches him, and Jimin watches him watching.
/Your voice. Your hands. The way your shoulders shake when you laugh, and your gums show when you’re genuinely happy. Your advice. Your jokes. Everything./
Jimin shrugs. “Your wacky humor.” He throws a pebble and passes.
“Seriously?” Yoongi retorts. “You couldn’t have said my fashion sense? My great hair?”
“Hey. Being funny is a virtue.” Jimin’s pebble skips four times. “Okay, pass!”
Yoongi loses the round, which gives Jimin the green light to press on.
He decides not to waste his question on grilling Yoongi about the people he’s been bringing to the café. As long as they’re not dates, Jimin is 100% cool. Instead, he asks, “How did you know you weren’t straight?”
Yoongi’s easy expression dims. He looks straight at Jimin.
“You really want to know?”
“I…” Yoongi pinches the bridge of his nose and tips his head back, thinking. “I asked a magic 8-ball, and it told me my fate.”
“Ah, hyung!” Jimin whines, stomping one foot. “Seriously! I’m not kidding. How and when did you realize?”
Yoongi lets out a long, amused-sounding exhale and leans back far enough until both his elbows are resting on the breakwater. He tilts his face up to the sky, eyes closed.
Jimin waves a hand over his face. “Earth to hyung…?”
“I think it’s time,” Yoongi mumbles. He sits up.
“Huh? Time for what?” Jimin watches carefully while Yoongi fumbles around in his jeans pockets, his movements a little slow and sluggish, before finally pulling out his phone.
A few taps later, Yoongi nods. “There. Check your email.”
“I sent you some Google slides.”
—Dear My Friend
• a little something that’s been stewing in the back burner since DMF first started
• happy reading
Jimin hums curiously. He reaches for his own phone, only to deflate. “Ah. My phone’s dead.” He pouts and shows Yoongi the black screen.
Yoongi clucks his tongue and throws his head back, face sour. “Aaaack.” He rubs a palm over his face and slumps back in his elbows once more.
“Why, why?” Jimin leans forward, eyes going round. “What’s on it? What’s it about?“
Yoongi parts the fingers covering his face to peer at Jimin through the cracks. “You’ll see.”
“Can’t you just tell me?”
To Jimin’s surprise, Yoongi starts drunk singing.
“When it raaaains, I think of youuu,” Yoongi half-sings, half-drawls. He lies back on the rocks, which can’t be too comfortable, but his cheeks are pink and there’s a dopey smile on his face.
It’s a song Jimin recognizes—Rain Song by Epik High. He and Yoongi listened to this.
“I know this,” Jimin remarks thoughtfully. “It’s the song I heard when you lent me your earbuds at Everland, back when we didn’t know each other yet.”
“I’m drinking too much today~” Yoongi raps in staccato, “My heart seems to be unaware that my body can’t take it~”
How fast time zipped by. Jimin can still vividly envision that day. “I can’t believe we ran into each other, actually. Even after losing contact as penpals.”
“If I try to hold the emotions in, they'll swallow me alive,” Yoongi sings, hands swaying upwards, reaching for the sky.
“So don’t hold them in!” Jimin teases, tossing one of his leftover stones in Yoongi’s way.
“It’s useless to blame me or you or this lonely weather~”
“I broke up with my girlfriend that day.”
“Just let me miss you wholeheartedly~” Yoongi sings before his voice goes quiet.
“What, why’d you stop?” Jimin asks playfully, nudging Yoongi’s foot with his own. “Just continue your noraebang moment.”
“What about you?” Yoongi asks, muted. He sounds almost sober, suddenly.
“What about me what?”
“How did you realize you aren’t straight?”
The singular, pivotal moment from three years ago floods him again, like a memory that never learned how to fade. Yoongi at the bus stop, eyes glassy with a quite ache that Jimin was sure mirrored his. The bus headlights. Jimin pulling him in by his hoodie strings.
His cold lips.
Any other instance and Jimin wouldn’t have been as loose-lipped. But tonight Yoongi’s smiling so openly, and the moon looks like a silver plate, and what are the chances his hyung will remember, anyway?
“When I kissed you at the bus stop,” Jimin confesses hoarsely, eyes down.
He might be imagining it or overthinking, but he’s damn sure he can feel the heat of Yoongi’s gaze pinning him down, rendering all muscles frozen. “That’s how I knew you were my…”
/Please/, he begs inwardly, /don’t remember this tomorrow./ Jimin glances up.
“My first love.”
Before him, Yoongi releases a shallow, shuddering exhale. He sits up and curls in, hugging his knees close and tucking his chin to his chest to hide his face.
Around them, the river water continues to lap by the banks.
“You were—are—my first love,” Jimin says.
So many times Jimin had imagined saying this, but no scenario compares to how it actually is now. Now that he’s said it, the world seems to gave gone still, and it’s so deathly quiet inside his head. “Hyung?”
Yoongi turns his head to face him, his cheeks burning scarlet. “Yeah?”
Jimin nudges him with one foot. His voice is shaking. “Say something.”
“Come here, then.”
Jimin frowns, puzzled. “Where?”
Yoongi opens his arms. “You can sit in front, here.” He parts his knees to make space, which sends Jimin gawking.
Not that he’s about to refuse.
Gingerly, Jimin picks his way through the rocky breakwaters until he’s wedging into the space between Yoongi’s legs like a puzzle piece. Instantly, Yoongi’s strong arms wrap around him from behind, chin jutting out to rest on Jimin’s right shoulder. His body is a welcome warmth.
They’ve never done this before, yet Jimin melts back in his hold like he was made to do this, natural as breathing. “Hyung. You have beer breath.”
“Mmm,” Yoongi hums by his ear.
Jimin turns his head to find Yoongi’s eyes closed. “Did you just ask this to use me as a cushion?”
Yoongi’s shoulders shake silently. “You’re comfy.”
Jimin’s heart feels so full of air so light he thinks it might float out of its ribcage at any moment. “Is that all you have to say after I—“
“You know I love you, right, Jimin-ah?” Yoongi murmurs into the shell of his ear.
Good night for now, me is sleepy
Thanks for sticking around! There’s more yet to come.
If you’d like, please consider getting me a cuppa coffee. Money is real tight this month and writing is my main source of income at the moment fr thank you!
Jimin’s breath stutters. Vaguely he wonders if he heard right, or if his secret pining has reached peak hallucination stage. But the swooping-stomach, heart-twisting ache in his body feels all too real of a reaction, and Yoongi’s cheek is warm against the juncture of his neck.
Too scared to jostle Yoongi, Jimin only manages to turn his face to the right ever so slightly, mind racing, tongue tripping. Was that confession for real? What’s he to say to that? Swallowing thickly, Jimin slowly parses through the jumble in his head to say, “How could I have?”
“Mmm.” Yoongi’s face is squashed into the column of Jimin’s neck.
“Hyung.” Jimin lifts a hand to gently tap the back of Yoongi’s head. “Say it again. Did you mean it?”
Jimin pauses. Twists a bit more to get a better look at Yoongi. “Hyung?”
Yoongi groans sleepily.
At which point Jimin’s face wrinkles in an exasperated, silent whine. Unbelievable. How does one doze off in the middle of a confession? “I can’t believe you right now, Min Yoongi. Hey, if you don’t correct me, I’ll get ahead of myself and believe that’s a romantic confession.”
He almost jumps out of his skin when Yoongi’s cool lips smack against the side his neck in a noisy peck.
“Yah. Shut up,” Yoongi slurs, eyes closed. “‘M tryna sleep.”
Ignoring his protests, Yoongi proceeds to nuzzle into the crook of Jimin’s shoulder, mumbling.
“Okay, okay,” Jimin soothes, half-annoyed, half-flustered as he pats Yoongi’s hair like a parent comforting a kid. “Hell. You’re just a baby when intoxicated.”
Just then, a loud buzzing fills the air, stealing Jimin’s attention.
“Hyung. I think your phone’s ringing.”
“Aren’t you going to…?”
“You take it,” Yoongi mumbles. “‘M not in the mood.”
Jimin huffs, but obliges anyway. “Hyung, I swear…” He pats around Yoongi’s jeans pockets and yanks out his phone to see Seokjin’s caller ID onscreen.
“Yoongi-yah— oh? Hello?”
“Is that you, Jimin?” Seokjin asks, and even on the line Jimin can hear the worry lacing his tone. “Are you with Yoongi right now?”
“Thank God. Hey, Taehyung-ah! Jimin’s fine. They’re together.” A few seconds of muffled conversation pass. “Jimin, where are you two?”
Jimin looks around sheepishly. “Uh, we’re by the Han River park at Ttukseom.”
“He’s next to me,” answers Jimin, glancing at the man in question. Yoongi is fully knocked out on his shoulder. “We drove here but uh, I don’t think either of us are fit to drive now.”
Seokjin blows out a breath. “Okay. Stay there, Hoseok and I will find you.”
“Hoseok-hyung?” Jimin echoes.
“Yes. Yah, you both got everyone worried. Hoseok came to campus with your little brother. Says you were supposed to pick the kid up after his HYPE audition.”
Jimin hisses with a grimace, smacking his forehead. “Crap. That slipped my mind.” Come to think of it, he had a whole plan for the evening after the summer showcase ended, didn’t he?
He and Chrysanthemum were supposed to meet, and then Jimin would pick Jihyun up from HYPE.
“How kind of you to finally remember,” Seokjin remarks. “Anyway, send me your exact location. See you soon.”
Jimin sighs in disappointment; he’s been too irresponsible tonight. This is what happens when he lets himself get carried away by Yoongi. “Okay. See you.”
The call ends.
Jimin stares at the phone for a bit longer, a little distracted by the weight of Yoongi’s head on his shoulder. His heart does a backflip when Yoongi’s lockscreen turns up with a 2D art of dandelions in a garden.
“Here.” Jimin gingerly slips the phone back into Yoongi’s pocket.
Yoongi grunts, barely stirring. Up this close, his hair smells so ocean fresh—he must be using a minty shampoo. Unable to resist, Jimin leans in for a quick whiff, then pinches himself for being weird. He clears his throat.
“You smell good,” he remarks casually.
“I’m in a lot of trouble ‘cause of you, you know?” Jimin mock-scolds, putting on a firm tone. “I’ve been irresponsible!”
Yoongi’s shallow breathing is all that he gets.
“You make me forget that there’s a world waiting for me all the time,” Jimin sighs.
“Are you you meant what you said? Just now,” Jimin gulps, “when you said you loved me?”
“‘Cause I think I’m in love—“ Jimin cuts himself off, bristling. It really IS cringey to say out loud. “I like you a lot, Min Yoongi. Liked you since we were kids, I think.”
“Damn it, I can’t believe—“ Jimin groans and makes a scrunchy face. “Ah, hyung! How can you knock out in the middle of such a moment? And now you can’t even hear me out! I like you. I seriously like you, okay? I really hope you remember this or I’ll just wither.”
Jimin takes a deep breath, thinking. Then he closes his eyes witn a soft laugh. “Oh, man.” He turns again to plant a gentke kiss to the crown of Yoongi’s head. “The way you have me. Hyung, you have me chattering like a loon to a drunk man on the river.” He kisses Yoongi’s temple.
When he pulls back, Yoongi lifts his head by a fraction & squints at him through narrow, bleary eyes.
“And I’m just letting you,” Jimin says, pressing his face close to boop their noses together, never mind the beer breath. “‘Cause you’ve worked hard today, so do what you want.”
Yoongi sluggishly withdraws a fraction to look Jimin in the eye, and says in such a mangled jumble of words that’s hardly coherent, “You talk too much.”
Then, with his dopey, bracket-shaped smile, he leans in to kiss Jimin full on the mouth. “So shut the fuck up.”
It’s a split-second peck, the kind that a parent might do while sending off their children to school. Still, it catches Jimin off guard. His head backpedals, eyes fluttering in shock.
“Eh?” He can practically hear the thunder of his pulse rushing in his ears. “What was that?”
Still grnning, Yoongi lowers his face into the crook of Jimin’s neck again, this time kissing the soft bare skin there. “Chu~”
Jimim bursts into peals of laughter, bending over and slapping his knees. “Naur! Hyung I- holy shit.” His laughter tapers off into squeaky giggles.
“Due diligence,” Yoongi slurs, snaking his arms around Jimin’s waist. “Youcanhaveitback.”
“HOW are three cans of beer taking you out like this?” Jimin asks, tearing up with laughter.
“You can take ME out.”
“In a date way or romantic way?” Jimin plays along, smiling.
“Forever way,” Yoongi answers through a yawn.
Ignoring the somersaults in his chest, Jimin pretends to think this through. “I’m not the best cook so we’d have to eat out, but I’m kind of broke.”
“I’ll cook,” Yoongi says, eyes closed. “We stay in. Ihatepeople. Buh-butnotyou.”
If you told Jimin he would one day see his cool, mysterious favorite person babbling to him like a kid while they swap kisses by the Han River, Jimin would have laughed in your face at the absurdity of it all.
Right now, though, all he can do is chase Yoongi’s lips with his own.
It’s a pretty sloppy one, far from any fairy tale-like smooch, because for one, they’re both clumsy from the liqquid adrenaline, and secondly Yoongi keeps making unnecessarily loud, moaning sounds while nipping at Jimin’s bottom lip as if he’s /delicious/.
Which would have been sexy any other time, but at the moment Jimin can’t help but break away, cracking up into mad giggles. “Hyung—“ His cuts himself off, cackling, then cups Yoongi’s face. “You tell me to shut up but then YOU make weird noises.“
“They’re appropriate sounds.”
“But not in public!”
“Yousaid I- I can do what I want,” Yoongi sighs. “I’m tired and I want one simple thing, but now you’rescoldingme.”
Jimin squeezes his eyes shut, holding back the aggressive-fond reflex kicking in him. “I hate you so much.” He pulls Yoongi’s head to a hug.
They fall quiet, with Jimin’s arms around Yoongi as his hyung leans half on his shoulder, half on his chest.
“Today was scary,” Yoongi admits into Jimin’s shirt. “Eomma…” He swears under his breath.
Jimin pats his back soothingly. “I know, baby. I know.”
“It sucks I can’t- can’t control my reactions,” Yoongi says. “I pretend a lot but”—he shakes his head—“I’m often not in control of things. I’m scared of people.”
Jimin tucks Yoongi’s head underneath his chin and rocks them gently. “Min Yoongi, I know you’re sleepy, but listen.”
He takes the answering silence as a cue to continue, remembering the same words Yoongi once told him. “You work hard. Harder than most I know. Social anxiety…it’s just part of who you are. I don’t think it’s any monster to be afraid of, or to control or fight against. Just be.”
Jimin has been so preoccupied with coming to terms with himself and his own plights that it’s only now occuring to him to consider what life is like in Yoongi’s shoes. To be told to uphold a certain standard of perfection, to always have to live up to an unreachable expectation.
Jimin glances down at Yoongi’s hands, intertwined at his hips, & slowly extricates them from his body. Holding Yoongi’s hands in his, Jimin leans down to press soft kisses to each scarred knuckle. “This is proof that you tried, hyung. And I’m so damn proud of you for holding on.”
“I’m scared of letting people down,” Yoongi mumbles sullenly. “‘Specially you.”
Jimin scoffs. “I mean—we’ve disappointed each other so many times over the years but I’m still here, so where does that place us?”
Yoongi blinks slowly.
Jimin laughs. “I’m a little stupid for you.”
A car honks from behind. Jimin turns and flinches at the glare of headlights in his face. It’s Seokjin, his head leaning out of their Audi’s driver’s seat. “Jimin-ah! Get in.”
Jimin taps Yoongi’s shoulder. “They’re here. Can you stand okay?”
“No problem.” Yoongi wobbles.
“Yep, no, just as I thought. Come here, you big baby.” Jimin takes one of Yoongi’s arms and gingerly steers him off the breakwaters. “Be careful.”
As they pile into the backseat, Hoseok turns around in the passenger side. “Yah, Jimin-ah. Why didn’t you answer your phone?”
Jimin scratches the back of his head, squirming to snap his seatbelt on. “It died, I need to charge it.”
“Pass it to me,” Seokjin says, reaching for a charging cable plugged to the car. He glances behind. “How’s Yoongi?”
Jimin glances down at Yoongi, head nestled in his lap.
As though sensing his gaze, Yoongi turns his head slightly, and his bloodyshot eyes crack open to peer up at Jimin blearily.
“He’s safe,” Jimin says softly, not breaking eye contact. His right hands comes up to carress the soft hair on top of Yoongi’s safe. “Tipsy, but safe.”
Yoongi’s eyes flutter back closed, leaning into his touch. With a muted grunt, he turns his head again to bury his face into Jimin’s stomach more comfortably.
Briefly, Jimin wonders if Yoongi might hear the wild fluttering setting off in his stomach from that gesture alone.
“Did he brag about his alcohol tolerance to you?” Seokjin says, turning into a lane. “‘Cause this kid’s got a wonky liquor intake. Sips whisky like juice but can’t handle his beer. Somehow he thinks they’re interchangeable.”
Jimin’s mouth twitches. “Well, he turned into a baby.”
“Sounds about right,” Seokjin comments, glancing at them through the rearview mirror. “You punks are lucky I have a spare key to the car. Otherwise who knows what would’ve happened.”
“I… could drive…” Jimin starts, but shuts up when Hoseok directs a withering glare his way.
“How’s Jihyun?” He opts for switching the subject instead, all the while brushing his fingers through Yoongi’s hair.
Hoseok shrugs. “Seemed excited, but wouldn’t say anything unless you heard it first.”
“He’s a good kid,” Jimin says, stomach rolling. He should apologize later.
“Don’t change the subject,” Hoseok says. Jimin grimaces. His cousin smiles so often it always gives him a whiplash whenever he gets upset—it’s like a hundred eighty-degree switch from sunshine to thunderstorm. “Why’d you just disappear after the show? You didn’t let anyone know.”
“Yeah, Taehyung and Jungkook came up to me looking for you,” Seokjin supplies. “Then we went to ask Yoongi’s band and they said you two went ahead.”
“We weren’t doing anything dangerous,” Jimin says, flushing scarlet as his mind recaps the night’s events.
“Still. People worry.”
Jimin’s first instinct is to protest, but he resorts to shutting his mouth. It’s uncomfortable being scolded like this when nobody has asked after his whereabouts for the past three years in Perth. So this is what it’s like to have people care about you—it can be annoying, too.
He supposes he’d rather be annoyed than lonely.
“Hyung’s mum came into the backstage waiting room after the show,” Jimin explains sullenly, fighting back the urge to hug Yoongi’s head (and risk suffocating him).
“I could’ve sworn she said she needed the bathroom,” says Seokjin.
A tick works its way into Jimin’s jaw, making him clench his teeth. “Well. It wasn’t too pretty, that’s all I can say.” He glances down at Yoongi again, whose breathing has gone shallow and steady.
Seokjin falls quiet. “It was worse when our families first moved in together.”
Jimin suppresses the urge to curl his fingers into fists, lest he accidentally yanks Yoongi’s hair. He sighs. “I can only imagine.”
The rest of their ride to Yoongi’s studio apartment is quiet, peppered with snippets of small talk mostly between Seokjin and Hoseok.
Together, he and Seokjin help to haul a staggering Yoongi in through the front door and onto his bed. Meanwhile Hoseok opens doors and light switches, clearing a path.
Jimin drops to the mattress with him, and squirms to unsling Yoongi’s arm from around his shoulder.
“You know, you’re actually heavy,” Jimin says with a groan, rolling his shoulders back.
“Mmm. Jiminie,” Yoongi mumbles, eyes closed. One of his arms lift into the air as if to reach for Jimin. “Mimi.”
“Aaand I’ll be outside,” Seokjin says. “Hoseok, tea?”
Hoseok smirks. “Sure.”
“Why, why, why?” Jimin says, one hand outstretched in an involuntary response to Yoongi. Their hands find each other, and Yoongi tugs until Jimin is kneeling by his bed, making him giggle. “Hyung, holy cow. How can you be this out of it?”
Yoongi cracks one eye open, smiling dopily. Even in the low light of his bedside lamp, the pink flush fanning over his cheeks is visible. Jimin must resist the urge to kiss his face! “Let me fetch you some water.”
He scuttles out of the room to collect a glass from Seokjin.
“Thanks,” Jimin says as he accepts the little tray. Right before he turns, Seokjin calls his name.
“Jimin-ah. My brother’s an idiot, isn’t he?”
Jimin pretends to look thoughtful. “Yes.”
Seokjin cackles. “He’s shit at expressing himself, but he’ll come around. Don’t worry.”
Jimin sure hopes so. Despite the seemingly large leap they’ve made over the course of the evening, he can’t help but feel a smidgen of insecurity over the fact that most of it happened with Yoongi tipsy. Something’s not sitting well with him.
He returns to Yoongi’s room.
Yoongi’s already cocooned himself under the covers, making him look like a caterpillar lump in the glow of the bedside lamp.
“Here.” Jimin knees by the bedframe and taps Yoongi’s shoulder. “Hyung. Drink before you sleep so you don’t get a migraine.”
Yoongi stirs and sits up just long enough to take a few sips of water.
“Finish it,” Jimin says in a warning tone. “I’m not leaving until you finish one glass.”
At his words, Yoongi immediately puts the glass down and snuggles under the blanket. “So don’t.”
“What, what?” he all but barks.
“My hands are cold.”
One of Yoongi’s scarred hands slip out from beneath his blanket wordlessly. Jimin stares at it, half endeared and half aghast. “Min Yoongi.”
The guy in question only peers at him from under the blanket.
Jimin scoffs, smiling to himself as he takes Yoongi’s hand in his. “This is gold.” What are the odds he’ll ever see Yoongi this way again? “I NEED to record your shenanigans, wait.” He pulls out his phone and puts on the front camera, then leans in against the lamp to film them.
After checking to make sure the video is recording, Jimin grins and turns to Yoongi, coming closer so that they’re almost face-to-face: Yoongi lying down, and Jimin kneeling by him. “Yoongi-hyung. Are you drunk?”
“How many fingers?” Jimin holds up four.
“I’m not blind.”
“That’s not answering the question, baby.”
When Yoongi raises a middle finger at him silently, Jimin erupts into snorting giggles.
Unable to help himself, Jimin takes Yoongi’s other hand and kisses his knuckles. “Cute.”
“I’m not /cute/.”
“Okay. So what are you?”
Jimin’s head falls against Yoongi’s shoulder, shaking in silent laughter. Oh, this video is going to be so fun to show his hyung once he’s sober. “Look at you. Maybe you should should drink beer more often. You’re more fun.”
Yoongi only pouts, eyes unfocused. “I’m /fun/.”
Jimin pulls back, smile dimming as he recollects himself. He clears his throat. “Hyung, about just now…at the river… that was real, right?”
“Ah.” Yoongi’s nose wrinkles. “Was it a dream..?“
Jimin’s head drops to the mattress as he groans. “I give up. We can’t talk like this.”
Yoongi’s fingers crawl across the bed towards the pendant hanging from Jimin’s neck. He twiddles the guitar pick between his thumb & index finger.
Jimin’s breath catches, but all Yoongi does is tilt the guitar pick this way & that.
“Tomorrow when you wake, call me?” says Jimin.
Yoongi blinks. “Mm.”
“It’s just, I don’t know. I feel like we should talk about this,” Jimin says carefully, gesturing to the space between them. “When you kissed me, it meant something, right?”
Yoongi hums. “You’re still…unsure…?”
“You’re tipsy. We’ll talk tomorrow, right?”
“Jiminie.” Yoongi’s grip tightens around the pendant.
“Hmm?” Jimin turns his head at the same time that Yoongi tugs him closer by the necklace’s chain to capture his lips.
Jimin yelps, breath stuttering, but Yoongi’s eyes are closed, so he follows suit and kisses him back.
Which is how, framed against the glittering lights of the city skyline outside Yoongi’s window, Jimin’s fogotten phone camera captures two silhouettes trading slow, languid kisses in the room.
Yoongi’s hands slide under Jimin’s jaw, pulling him closer as he deepens the kiss.
Jimin braces his weight against 1 arm to keep from crushing Yoongi, smiling into their liplock. He’d be lying if he said he never dreamed of kissing this mouth again, after that juvenile stint at the bus stop 3 years ago.
“Mindeulle,” he whispers against Yoongi’s lips.
At the nickame, Yoongi’s fingers dig into the skin at Jimin’s nape and he chuckles in the middle of their kiss. Jimin pulls back, smiling despite himself, and pecks Yoongi’s cheek.
When he lets go of Jimin, Yoongi’s head drops back against the pillow, eyes closed in contentment.
Jimin huffs and runs a hand through his own hair. “You owe me 500 won for that, mister.”
Instead of answering, Yoongi shifts to get comfortable, one hand still in Jimin’s. “Due diligence.”
“That’s not how it works, but okay.” Jimin stands. “Good night. Talk to you tomorrow.”
As Jimin turns to go, Seokjin passes by him in the hallway to check in on his brother. As soon as he enters the room, Jimin hears Yoongi’s slurred voice exclaim:
“Ah, Jin hyung, you know I love you right?”
Jimin halts, heart dropping.
So that meant… nothing?
*strokes beard with evil laugh*
Thanks gor sticking around until here! I am officially broke for the final leg of month, so if you’d like to help support me with a cuppa latte, you know where to find my kofi
Hoseok chokes on his tteokbboki, takes a few moments hacking and wheezing, then shoots Jimin a dirty look. “Dude. Are you kidding me?”
Jimin gnaws on his bottom lip, jiggling one leg under the table. Around them, other customers in the tented street food stall call for orders.
(“Ahjumma, one more pajeon here, please.”
It’s much later at night, and rather than head straight home from Yoongi’s apartment, Jimin asked his cousin if they could take a slight detour. He can’t help it—he needs a fresh mind that won’t overthink.
“No, seriously, ‘cause”—Hoseok swallows his food—“going by that reasoning… Jimin-ah. Come on, Seokjin-ssi is his brother.”
“Exactly!” Jimin insists. “Which means, either Yoongi-hyung has a habit of professing love to anyone when he’s drunk, OR… I’m just, I’m a bro to him.”
“Right.” Hoseok nods. “Cause bros totally make out by the river and then cuddle in the car after.”
Jimin flushes and pours another shot of soju down his throat. He’s overthinking. He’s being eaten up by his insecurities. So why can’t he stop? “I should call him to double-check.”
“Nah-uh.” Hoseok bats away Jimin’s hand that’s already reaching for his phone. “What do you think you’re doing? He’s asleep right now. Put that back down.”
“Tomorrow, when you’re both sober,” advises his cousin. “I know you want it all resolved now, but patience, Jimin.”
Jimin lets out a longsuffering sigh but obliges, pocketing his phone and leaning his head forward on the table surface. When he closes his eyes longer than a blink, all he pictures is Yoongi’s flushed cheeks, seconds before kissing him full on the mouth. “I just wanna make sure.”
/That this isn’t a mistake. Or a repeat of three years ago./
Jimin shrugs. When he straightens his spine, Hoseok’s probing gaze meets his.
“Why are you in a rush, though?” asks his cousin.
Jimin massages his temples. “Because I’ve already waited my whole life.”
Hoseok sits back, watching him cautiously. “Why did you never tell him before, then?”
Jimin runs a palm over his face. “‘Cause I’m a loser. I wasn’t aware. And then I wasn’t sure. He was- was always /there/, and then not, and now that he’s back in my life I just— can’t fuck up.”
He thinks of Yoongi’s demeanor, how strong and laid-back he looks on the outside, and yet how easily bruised he actually is. Easy to ward off and—
—and lose forever. How could Jimin NOT fret? “You don’t understand, hyung. You’ve never fallen for a friend.”
Hoseok falls silent.
There’s a look that crosses his eyes, uncertain and conflicted, and something about the way Hoseok averts his gaze at the statement has Jimin leading forward.
“Unless…” Jimin narrows his eyes, recounting the small touches he’s been witnessing between his cousin and Taehyung.
“Ah.” For once, Jimin momentarily forgets his own anxieties and rests chin over one palm; smirking. “So, you and Tae?”
“Nah, no. No.” Hoseok down a shot. “Nothing like that—“
“But you like him,” Jimin supplies.
Again, Hoseok refuses to meet his eye. “He’s something else.”
“Taehyung’s a great guy,” Jimin says. “And it’s obvious he has a crush on you. What’s not to like?”
Hoseok scratches his nose, eyes trained on his plate of tteokbboki. It’s a while later when he says, “I don’t know if I’d bring any value to his life. Or if he’s even serious.”
“Of course he is—“
“Aaaah, anyway!” Hoseok says, wrangling both hands in the air to signal a request to move on. “Another time, Jiminie, you know I like to turn in early. You should rest, too. It’s been a long day. C’mon.”
Jimin can only sigh helplessly. “Fine.”
It’s only much later, tucked under the covers, that Jimin remembers to send a follow-up apology to Chrys for failing to meet up with him (again).
sorry for bailing, something came up
I forgot to text you
I’m so sorry
did you wait long?
No reply. Fair enough, Jimin surmises, yawning as he glances at the corner or his phone screen. It’s 2:43am—his counselor is probably asleep.
He tucks his phone under his pillow & closes his eyes, willing his frenzied heartbeat to calm down until he drifts off to dreamless sleep.
As soon as daylight presses against his eyelids, Jimin shoots up in bed and fishes for his phone, scrolling for new notifications. There are a few from various group chats, but nothing from Yoongi, nor his counselor.
Jimin supposes he can take initiative.
[jimin of the park]
good morning hyung
hope you’re not having a hangover
He presses ‘send’, then anxiously waits the next few minutes. When no reply arrives, Jimin checks the time. 8.52am. That makes sense. Yoongi must still be asleep.
His phone buzzes, making him jump.
It’s from the groupchat.
[nam of the june]
are we renting a vehicle in jeju tomorrow?
Jimin hums quietly.
Right. The summer trip to Jeju.
we’re heading to Daegu today
will join you guys after our visit!
catch y’all in a few days
Jimin inwardly bemoans the situation, falling back on his pillow. He’s completely forgotten about Yoongi’s hometown visit! Great, now he’ll have to wait even more just to finally see him again, to speak with him, bask under his gaze and maybe press closer—
His phone vibrates.
it’s cool, don’t worry about it.
I kinda got distracted myself so
no issue there
Jimin heaves a sigh of relief. Hopefully Chrysanthemum isn’t just being polite.
glad to hear that!
if you’re free by any chance
want to meet today instead?
no can do
going back to visit my folks for the hols
Jimin blinks down at his phone screen. Huh. Seems like a lot of students are returning to their hometowns for the summer.
just like a friend I know ㅎㅎ
mainstream, i know
i’m gonna be there next week
wait omg i’ll be there too
how about we
let’s just meet there lmao
damn. coincidence much
but ok. call.
Well. At least that’s one reason to smile at his phone. Jimin rests it against his chest, relief coursing through him at the thought that he /didn’t/ let Chrys down by bailing on him last night in order to be with Yoongi.
Yoongi who, as of this moment, has yet to reply.
Which is fine, Jimin supposes, since Yoongi isn’t exactly the quickest of texters. Jimin grunts in growing frustration and scrolls through other unopened notifications from last night, trying to keep his mind distracted.
Which is when he finds the email with a Google drive link.
Yoongi sent it last night, didn’t he? While muttering under his breath.
Too bad Jimin wasn’t able to open it right away since his phone was dead.
Now’s a good a time as any. Jimin taps the link, but scowls when a new pop-up appears—
[PERMISSION REQUIRED: REQUEST ACCESS?]
Jimin pouts and sweara under his breath, but taps the ‘request access’ button onscreen anyway. Great, and now he’s gonna have to wait for Yoongi to grant him permission. Why, oh why, did he send the link instead of sharing it?
Whatever. Jimin decides not to waste any more time—there’s much to prepare for the trip—and hops out of bed.
At that moment, his phone buzzes again.
Jimin’s throat constricts. Yoongi’s awake.
At the same time he clocks—
Not even a ‘good morning’.
“Okay, calm down,” he tells himself, swiping on the Kakao app to find Yoongi’s profile. He should have gotten the guy’s number by now, but it’s just so easy to rely on Kakao and the ID’s many functions.
Yoongi’s phone rings twice before the call connects. Jimin’s pulse surges.
“Hey,” he says, a little breathless, a lot jittery. His palms are clammy against his phone case.
“Jimin-ah.” Yoongi sounds distracted, and he’s breathing hard, like he’s physically exerting a lot of energy. “Listen, I’m a bit busy packing for Daegu, but um, I. I, uh…”
Jimin jumps on the chance. “Are you hungover?”
Scratchy noises, then, “No.”
Hope spreads through Jimin’s ribs, making him hold his breath. “Last night—“
“Last night,” Yoongi cuts, “wasn’t supposed to go like that.”
Jimin feels his breathing freeze. His hands go cold. “Huh?”
“Yeah, yeah. Jiminie, listen. I didn’t mean for it to go that way…”
Yoongi’s words fade into a kind of noise that seems to grow a life its own, pinching and prickling Jimin from the inside out. The nerves building up in him spill over as hot tears, and his ribs feel crushed.
“…and, you deserve better than that, so let me just— huh, what was that, hyung?” Yoongi’s voice turns muffled, the speaker distant from his mouth, “okay, yeah. Anyway. Jiminie?”
Jimin can’t even swallow. “Mm?“
“We’ll talk about this in Jeju, okay?”
Yoongi is being too polite.
Even while rejecting Jimin, he manages to be gentle and accommodating. As much as Jimin wants to hurl every shard of his shattered heart at him, he can’t bring himself to try, because Yoongi is a friend.
And it looks like that’s all he’ll ever be.
A drunken mistake. That’s all.
So Jimin musters the last of his remaining face, and finds his voice. Brittle, but it’s better than nothing. “Yeah.”
“Uh…” Yoongi sounds dubious, but doesn’t press. “See you then. Text me whenever.”
“‘Kay. Gotta to. Bye!”
The line goes dead. Jimin’s vision blurs.
he broke my heart
not to be that guy but
i told you, red flag
fuck off man
i hope things are better for you at least
i’m trying to fix things
thanks for asking
see you in jeju
at least there’s that
The thing is, it makes perfect sense.
He and Yoongi had never actually, well, acknowledged that there was something more than friendship to what they have going on, whatever it is. Hell, they’ve never even HAD a talking stage like most couples do—just constantly toeing the line.
Furthermore, Jimin has always been a physically affectionate person, so it’s likely that Yoongi hadn’t taken any of his ‘hints’ as anything more than casual brotherly affection. Which is sad, but perfectly rational.
Jimin would like to think there is reason behind all this.
See, the Old Jimin (i.e him from earlier this year) would have been absolutely devastated at such a blatant rejection.
But New Jimin fights to remind himself that even without romantic connection, he IS still loved by Yoongi, and his friends, and has support from Chrys.
He spends majority of their flight to Jeju Island on his phone, scrolling through self-help articles and then listening to insightful advice from TikTok self-healers. It’s a wonderful distraction and honestly, after bawling his eyes out last night, Jimin is convinced he’s fine.
So yes, Yoongi has recanted his ‘confession’—Jimin can accept that. But Jimin tells himself his feelings are valid, because Yoongi is a wonderful person whom he can’t hate after all. At the same time, rejection doesn’t mean Jimin isn’t WORTHY.
“Uh,” Jungkook fumbles. “You okay?”
Jimin hiccups, then pulls his gaze away from the airplane window. “Huh?”
“It’s just…” Jungkook makes hazz hands, a constipated look on his face. “You’ve been sniffling and sighing the whole flight.” He turns to Namjoon on his right. “Hyung, you got a tissue?”
“No, no. It’s fine,” Jimin splutters, fingers absent-mindedly swiping at his cheeks and holy moly, are those TEARDROPS? Shocking. “It’s just”—he fans his face and looks out the window—“the view is pretty and I have so many feelings about it.”
Jungkook glances out the window.
“Hmm. Pretty clouds,” quips Namjoon while handing a packet of tissues to Jungkook, who then places it in Jimin’s hand.
Jimin nods and blows his nose into a tissue. “Yeah.”
Jungkook grunts and takes out his sketchpad, mumbling something about capturing the view ‘for hyung’.
Any other time and Jimin might have felt compelled to open up about Yoongi to these two friends, just like they used to in that alley across each other’s houses long ago.
But they’ve been looking forward to this Jeju trip all semester—Jimin can’t bear to weigh the mood down.
He turns to peek behind them, where Hoseok and Taehyung are seated, slumped against each other while napping.
Yeah, this trip should be one filled with only good memories.
He manages a small smile & ruffles Jungkook’s hair, then leans back against his seat and closes his eyes.
Traveling around Jeju is easier with a car than by public transport, so the first place they look for after collecting their bags is a car rental booth.
Jimin yawns, rubbing his eyes and tuning out the ongoing argument about how Namjoon-Cannot-Be-Trusted-With-Vehicles.
Since they’ll be on the island for 5 days and Jungkook doesn’t have a license yet, the role of driver will be swapped among Jimin, Taehyung and Hoseok. They opt for a larger van, since Seokjin and Yoongi will be joining from Daegu and—
Jimin will have to face him again.
He groans and looks out the rear window, mind churning. In his dramatic little post-rejection grief, he’d forgotten about it.
The Google articles advised that no-contact is always a good way to go, but how does Jimin do that when Yoongi matters too much?
As if on cue, his phone vibrates with a new text message.
/Speak of the devil/, Jimin thinks, heart skipping a beat despite the fog of despair clouding his thinking.
good morning :]
Jimin makes a sour face. How is Yoongi acting this civil? He’s too good.
He slams down his phone on his lap and looks into an imaginary camera like he’s in The Office, which catches Jungkook’s attention.
“Why, why?” Jungkook says, lips jutting out in his pouty stubborn kid way. “What goes on?”
Jimin shakes his head and grits his teeth. “Irony.”
It’s the way Yoongi is texting him like all is good, as if he didn’t just give Jimin a total ultimatum a day ago.
A strong wave of annoyance and helplessness threatens to engulf Jimin, and he tries to calm his angry, thumping heart with a deep breath.
/I can’t do this./
are u alive
how do u deal with someone who still texts u after rejection u
damn…he’s still at it?
sorry but he has some nerve.
but we’re friends
just don’t reply then.
do it for your sanity
And Jimin almost does it. Lets his thumb hover over the ‘block’ button, then decides not to reply instead.
This does not seem to bode well with Yoongi.
did you reach jeju safely?
Jimin stares at the new messages and suppresses the urge to eat his fist.
There is no choice. Jimin mulls it over for five minutes, before eventually deciding to press the ‘block’ button.
“And we’re in Seogwipo!” Hoseok announces. “Just gotta park in our accommodation now.”
Jimin sighs in relief, pocketing his phone, and watches the scenery whiz by.
Seconds later, Taehyung’s voice cuts through the white noise in Jimin’s blank mind.
“Oh? Yoongi-hyung, why?” Taehyung turns in the passenger seat.
At once, Jimin’s heart rate picks up.
“Ah. Okay.” Taehyung stretches out one arm and presses his phone to Jimin’s ear. “There.”
Jimin shoots him a dark look, but holds the phone anyway. Before he can say a word, Yoongi gravelly voice cuts in.
It’s like being electrocuted after running away from the thunderclouds for so long. Jimin’s chest constricts and he licks his lower lip. “Hey?”
He inwardly cringes at the sound of his own voice. He sounds so pathetic.
“Yah, why’d you block me,” Yoongi says, whiney and honey-like, and Jimin can just imagine the pout on his lips while speaking. He clears his throat. “Did I… did I scare you away?”
Jimin heart heaves.
“Naur,” he says meekly. Regret floods him veins in a cold stream. The last thing he wants is to ruin whatever friendship he has with Yoongi.
He hates the way Yoongi sounds, all hesitant and uncertain. It dawns on Jimin that his care for Yoongi is bigger than his wounded ego.
“It’s not you, it’s me,” Jimin stammers. “It’s just— I- I pressed wrong? My hand slipped?”
Pin drop silence.
“Right,” Yoongi says, and Jimin can practically picture an aura of disbelief pouring out of his body.
“Sorry, I’m just.” Jimin exhales. “Overwhelmed. I’m tryna deal.”
“Deal with..?” Yoongi prompts.
“The whole thing, I guess.” Jimin glances around the car. The other guys appear to be occupied with their own little things, but he’d be damned if he didn’t know how attuned they are to their phone call. “Like. I need time to process it, is all.”
He hears Yoongi inhale a huge breath and sigh, and is quick to add, “I swear, we’re fine. Don’t worry about it! But maybe keep phone communications light? It’s a vacation after all.”
Yoongi hums. “No, yeah, I get it. Take your time.”
“We can talk about other stuff, no probs!”
“Yeah?” There’s an uptick in Yoongi’s voice that loosens the tightness in Jimin’s shoulders. “Good to know. Sorry if I was being pushy.”
“It’s cool, I swear,” Jimin insists, wanting to do nothing but assure and reassure, over and over. Anything to make Yoongi comfortable.
“Like you said, I’d rather just… talk face-to-face. Like, a proper conversation, you know?” Jimin adds frantically.
Yoongi hums again. “I know, yeah. That’d be better.” He pauses, and there’s nothing but his breathing on the other end. “Don’t make me miss you too much, though.”
Jimin barks out an involuntary half-sob, half-delirious laugh that startles the rest of the guys in the car. Hoseok curses under his breath about almost fucking up the parking. Jimin salutes apologetically.
“Do I at least get to say that?” Yoongi asks. “Permission to miss you.”
Jimin has never been this confused in his life. It’s like his heart is perpetually being put through sandpaper, then balm, only to go through the wringer all over again.
Above it all, he just really wants Yoongi to stay /his/. Even as a friend.
“Yeah,” Jimin answers weakly.
Hoseok turns off the engine and the rest starting jumping out of the car. Jimin stays seated, frozen in his own bubble.
“Yeah?” Yoongi chuckles.
“Yah, Jimin-ah! Help unload the trunk,” says Hoseok, knocking on his window.
Jimin nods. “Mm. You don’t need permission to miss me.”
Yoongi huffs. “Thank God.”
“I gotta go,” Jimin says, opening the car door.
“Talk soon? You know I get- I get anxious.”
“I know,” Jimin says, and this time he doesn’t fake the warmth in his voice. “I’ll be in touch. We’re good, really.”
(He loves Yoongi too much.)
“Don’t you think he looks a little gloomy?” Namjoon asks, munching on a granola bar while on the couch of their little rented AirBnb. He gestures to the direction of the bathroom, where Jimin is taking a quick shower to cool off from the heatwave.
Jungkook nods. “Potato chip?”
“No, thanks,” says Namjoon.
“He was all weepy on the plane,” Taehyung remarks, scrolling through the dozens of pictures he’s already taken in his camera gallery.
“I think it’s because mercury is in renegade,” says Jungkook.
“Renegade?” Hoseok mimics the viral TikTok dance.
“No. Gatorade,” says Namjoon. “Halmeoni texted me to warn me about it.”
“He means retrograde,” Taehyung corrects with a swift smack to the back of Jungkook’s head. Jungkook shoots him a glare and aims a kick at his shin. Taehyung hisses and karate chops his neck.
Hoseok frowns. “Jimin’s bummed ‘cause there’s mercury in gatorade… shit. Fuck, he loves that drink, too.”
“I have a prophecy,” Jungkook says, raising his hand. “Let’s have a campfire when the other hyungs arrive.”
“You mean a /proposal/,” Namjoon says.
“I’m a minor, be nice.”
Taehyung points at Jungkook. “I love that. And then we’ll play truth or dare. Then they’ll confess. Happily ever fucking finally after.”
Namjoon bites his lip. “Are we gonna have to roast our own food over the fire?”
The other three exchange uncertain looks.
daegu is such a sleepy town
it’s been so long i almost forgot
[jimin of the park]
a little… zzz
[jimin of the park]
@ cheonjiyeon falls now
see that’s why i’d rather be there
have fun on my sorely bored behalf
[jimin of the park]
In the end, Jimin eventually unblocked the guy. It’s not like he was planning to keep Yoongi blocked anyway.
The spend half of their first day touring the falls.
For the most part, he’s distracted enough to not think of Yoongi or even bother to check his phone. It’s a little hard to be lost in thought when you’re surrounded by four other guys who are all equally walking disasters by their own individual right.
Namjoon insists on adopting every tiny frog he finds along the stream, Hoseok goes ham-crazy on souvenirs, Jungkook somehow gets a kick out of taking pictures in life-threatening positions, and Taehyung enables the hell out of everyone’s antics.
Jimin feels like a mother goose.
He takes solace in the little texts and pictures Yoongi sends him throughout the day, wildly aware of how tragic and pathetic Jimin is for allowing himself to be consoled and humored by the same person who keeps breaking his heart.
Jimin pauses to stare at the bed of marigolds. The sight of that picture—and what it embodies—aches with a grief he can’t name. He plays it off casually, though.
[jimin of the park]
it’s still there?!
[jimin of the park]
i thought you moved out
the property is still there
just had caretakers to look after it
Jimin chokes up at the nostalgia the flowers bring. But they raise a question in his head, too.
[jimin of the park]
remember long ago
when you sent me a bunch of seeds
what flowers were they?
[jimin of the park]
you didn’t plant them?
[jimin of the park]
of COURSE i did
so why don’t you know
you wouldn’t be asking me if you planted them
you wound me
[jimin of the park]
“Jimin-ah, what are you doing?” Namjoon’s excited bark rips his attention from his phone. He waves from one of the bigger rock formations that he and the rest of the guys are standing on. “Quick, join the selca!”
[jimin of the park]
so i’ll be in jeju the day after tomorrow
where do you want to meet?
where will you be?
west coast of the island
with friends but i’ll meet you
Jimin’s eyebrows fly to his hairline as he reads the message over dinner.
that’s literally where we’ll be too
how about the afternoon?
overlapping itineraries for the win, i guess
Osulloc Tea Museum?
there’s like a cafe
hmm. I’ll have to slip out
Jimin frowns at his phone screen, nudged by a little voice in his head telling him to…to what, exactly? It’s like grasping in the dark for something he doesn’t even know to begin with.
[jimin of the park]
Chrys will be in Jeju the same day Yoongi and Seokjin land.
Finally an update thank you for patiently waiting^^ Goodnight! We are SO close to the ending…
Don’t forget to buy me a latte if you’d like to support my writing (and recently, health) journey.
I’ll be using the funds for meds!
also correction but it’s supposed to be [blooming bud], not [jimin of the park] I HAVE BEEN MUDDLED
“I swear, if you just close your eyes, you can practically taste the salt in the air,” Namjoon says as they observe the rock formations along the cliffs before them. Beyond that is the expansive sea, blue and clear as the sky.
Jimin hums and nods.
“Penny for your thoughts?”
“Huh?” Jimin blinks back to himself, anchoring his thoughts from where they’ve been straying. “Yeah?”
Namjoon glances at him before turning to follow the other guys down from the observation lookout point. “You’ve been quieter this trip.”
“Yep. You good, my guy?”
Jimin gulps before nodding, using the excuse of watching his step in order to avoid Namjoon’s gaze. It’s not easy to lie under scrutiny. “Sorry, I’m good. Just…um, giving introspection a try.”
Namjoon grins. “Don’t worry. He’ll be here tomorrow.”
“Who?” Jimin lets out a queak.
Namjoon only shoots him a knowing look.
“I wasn’t thinking about Yoongi-hyung!”
Wrong thing to blurt out. As soon as the name leaves Jimin’s lips, Namjoon’s grin widens.
“Wasn’t even mentioning names.” Then he turns and jogs to clasp Jungkook’s hand. “Wait, wait for me!”
i miss him
he broke your heart.
even just seeing him would be nice
Is he not around?
Jimin stares at his phone screen, formulating ways to subtly “nudge” more information out of Chrys.
Meanwhile, his correspondent has sent sent a stream of advice.
Do you think you deserved to be treated that way, bud?
Have some self-respect
put yourself first
He’s just some guy
yeah he’s not around
went back to his hometown for a bit
like you did haha
anyway this time should be about you
go and have fun with your friends
will do thanks
come to think of it
how’s YOUR hometown visit?
prefer to not really talk about it
can’t wait for Jeju
Jimin frowns at his phone. Dead end.
haha me too
I wonder what you look like
what if you’re someone I know?
I can barely count my friends with all of my fingers.
Wouldn’t bet on it
haha are you introverted
when I want to be!
Jimin stares at the blinking typing line on his phone screen, conflicting thoughts warring in his mind. There’s no way this could be Yoongi, actually. Chrys has described being in love or having “love” for a friend; Jimin doesn’t think Yoongi has anyone.
I’m a little jealous of you tbh
Your life is steady
No rocky waters
even in love
It hasn’t been easy
Oh but I did confess
Didn’t get rejected thank heavens
Jimin’s jaw drops.
so are u together now or
Dunno. we’ll see
I’m trying to test the waters
anyway i gtg
important things to do today
I’ll see you after I get settled in Jeju-do
um see you !!
Jimin sighs and lowers his phone to his chest, mind racing. Well, that was unproductive.
He feels a little silly, a lot stupid, for trying to chase after a groundless suspicion. Jimin knocks his knuckles against his forehead with a grimace. Chrys is a taken man! How could he and Yoongi be one person?
Many people are coming to Jeju—this is all just a coincidence!
Jimin pushes it to the back of his mind. Pushes everything aside to try and truly bask in the trip with his friends—enjoy local food and orangeades, run about and take selcas.
He keeps himself entertained to avoid idle moments, lest he starts fantasizing about Yoongi’s kisses.
For the most part, he’s successful in casting his phone aside so he doesn’t feel overcome with the urge to contact Yoongi. They haven’t texted all day, not a peep. Not that Jimin is bothered. Or worried.
So he nearly jumps out of his skin when his phone vibrates after dinner.
hey. you around?
That’s it. No hi, hello, or any updates about how his day has been. Not that Jimin is particularly curious.
He bites his bottom lip and sighs. Since /he/ was contacted, he’s got no choice but to /answer/, out of courtesy.
[jimin of the park]
[dtownbeats is typing…]
Jimin’s frown deepens as seconds tick by and no message chat pops up. What on Earth could Yoongi be typing for this long?
just spoke with eomma.
about my passions
and why i quit piano, or classical at least
Jimin sits up abruptly, his heart rate kicks up a quicker pace in his chest, practically feeling Yoongi’s distress as if he were in his shoes.
“Why, what’s wrong?” Hoseok and Taehyung send questioning looks from across the dining table.
Jimin just shakes his head, busy typing.
[jimin of the park]
and how did she take it?
[jimin of the park]
not too good
maybe it’s because i stuttered a lot
i presented my case poorly
and i’m just a loser, kind of
maybe she’s right, i just make noise not music lol
my hand’s clammy
/No/, Jimin’s mind screams right away while he stares at the flood of Yoongi’s texts with mounting dread. How does Yoongi not see how incredible he is, and how well he’s been doing?
[jimin of the park]
we both know that’s not true
I can’t even begin
don’t praise me
[jimin of the park]
it’s not about praising you for the sake of it!
you don’t give yourself enough credit
please read back your texts
and tell me you don’t actually believe them
Yoongi doesn’t reply for a solid five minutes even after having ‘seen-ed’ Jimin’s messages.
[jimin of the park]
i don’t want to speak out of line
but just because your eomma was an opera singer doesn’t mean she can appreciate or be open to all types of music
she’s probably speaking from a place of prejudice
so pls don’t take her words to heart
not when you work so hard
It’s weird, Jimin thinks, how he will always feel compelled to rush & soothe Yoongi whenever he’s in distress regardless of whether they’re on good terms or not. Even after getting rejected, Jimin still wants to be his friend. Pathetic as it may sound, he can settle for friends.
yeah sorry just
i sat on it for a bit.
i think it’s just a bummer that the one person i’ve always tried hard to please and gain approval from just
it’s something i know so i avoided telling her about the band
but now… it’s a mess
Jimin’s chest swells with an ache he doesn’t know how to carry, like a second heart reserved under Yoongi’s name. He sighs and types furiously.
[jimin of the park]
tbh i love You
He hits the ‘press’ button a split-second too late, just as his mind catches up with what he sent.
[dtownbeats is typing…]
As soon as that prompt comes up on their chatbox, Jimin’s eyebrows jump and he squeaks, haphazardly double-texting.
[jimin of the park]
as in, You
that song y’all played at the summer showcase
The ‘typing…’ prompt disappears.
i love you too
gr8 song :] one of my favs
yeonjun wrote it
Jimin’s pulse kicks up a timpani tempo, and he can feel his neck flaming. He clears his throat and reminds himself not to take Yoongi’s message—however heart-fluttery it is—too seriously.
But oh, how he wishes — with all the might his frail little heart could muster — that Yoongi would say those words and mean it the way Jimin wants them to.
Clutching his chest, he lets out a stuttering exhale, a little guttered, a lot wistful.
(“Do not panic,” Jungkook says at the alarmed looks on the others’ faces from the dining table. “These are normal Jimin-isms.”)
His friends’ casual chattering falls away to background noise in Jimin’s ears as he forces himself to return to his text conversation with Yoongi. Gotta act casual.
[jimin of the park]
haha yeah. good song !!
which is why i’m trying to tell you
don’t discredit your hard work
I mean, I wouldn’t call it discrediting
the guys in the band are amazing
just feeling a little bummed right now
And out of the blue, Jimin is struck with the strongest urge to offer a long, tight hug that might give some comfort to his hyung.
Jimin stares at the newest chat bubble on his Kakao screen, dumbstruck. It’s like Yoongi is reading his mind. Before he can type a reply though, another text quickly follows—
that was cringe
Jimin muffles giggle into his hand.
[jimin of the park]
im a tough nut
[jimin of the park]
it’s ok not to be tough all the time
im happy you opened up to me
you make incredible music
you guys are loved by so many
pls tell me you see that
[dtownbeats is typing…]
same goes for you, marigold
Jimin bites back a squeak. There it is again. Yoongi has a knack for sneaking in that nickname at the most inopportune times which, frankly, cannot possibly good for Jimin’s poor heart.
[jimin of the park]
i hope you’re feeling a liiiittle better
Jimin narrows his eyes. Does Yoongi really want that hug for real, after all?
are you wearing the pendant, jimin-ah?
As if by reflex, Jimin’s fingers fly to the chain around his neck — he hasn’t been able to remove it again, despite the rejection and all.
[jimin of the park]
then perhaps I’m feeling better now
/Sneaky/, thinks Jimin. Also — how dare ge continue to say such heart-fluttery things after everything?!
spring-cleaning the attic tonight before the flight
see you tmrw? :]
Jimin curses his heart for doing a mini flip at the thought of reuniting with Yoongi after days being apart. He should really stop simping now. Correction — he should’ve given up the crush years ago.
[jimin of the park]
yea cya! nightie
good night, marigold.
In the morning, Jimin wakes up to the summer sun toasting his cheeks, and two messages from different people.
[dtownbeats — 8.50am]
Leaving Daegu now.
I found something after cleaning last night..?
We need to talk.
[chrys - 11:05am]
Just touched down in Jeju-do.
Four words are all it takes for Jimin’s vision to tunnel, the edges blackening, zeroing on, “we need to talk”. In what time in history had those words ever NOT spiked anxiety in the receiver?
He gulps, sweat beading at his temples, unable to focus on the other text.
[jimin of the park]
am already in jeju with hyung btw
As if Jimin’s heart rate wasn’t already galloping at an unhealthy speed.
[jimin of the park]
are u otw?
can u at least tell me the topic
like is something wrong?
Jimin scrambles out of bed. That’s it. No further elaboration whatsoever.
[jimin of the park]
i’m not kidding
u are sending me to the psych ward fr
but not before i strangle u
are u coming to the airbnb now?
While he waits for Yoongi’s reply, Jimin scrolls through his other chats until Chrysanthemum’s name catches his eye, and he realizes that he hasn’t replied at all.
welcome to Jeju!
so what flower are you then
anyway i have a suggestion
It’s not like Jimin isn’t excited to see Yoongi. The opposite, actually, and he needs to get his emotions in check before meeting him again. And so—
how about we meet now! haha
like right now?
Logic tells Jimin this: maybe things will align themselves into a more rational perspective once he meets his student counselor. You know, make a friend and get some real-time advice at the same time, all that jazz—killing two birds with one stone. Chrys’ advice would calm him.
[jimin of the park]
I know it’s abrupt but um
I’m kinda maybe stalling for time avoiding someone and would really like some backup?
and your advice of course
well I guess I can move my schedule around :]
“Yay,” Jimin mutters under his breath.
They decide to meet at the O’sulloc Tea Museum in about an hour and a half’s time, just in time for lunch. It’s a good window period — Jimin should already be gone by the time Yoongi and Seokjin arrive in their lodgings. Good!
how do i find you in the crowd?
I’ll be the one holding a chrysanthemum
an actual flower?
many florists around
i’ll find one too and update u what i got, idk
As soon as the chat concludes, his phone buzzes—new message.
to answer your question
jin-hyung’s reaching the place first
I’ve got some things to attend to
[jimin of the park]
so you’ll be arriving later?
[jimin of the park]
ohhh that’s cool
hahah have fun
make sure to eat breakfast
and hydrate :]
[jimin of the park]
ok now ur being weird
a guy cant be concerned?
[jimin of the park]
[jimin of the park]
GO DO YOUR ERRAND FFS
“No way,” Jungkook laments as soon as Jimin finishes relaying the situation to him. “You’re going off to meet a stranger you’ve never met on an island you’re not familiar with ALONE?”
“Is this you being concerned?” Jimin balks.
“This is me not wanting to miss out! Lemme come!”
Jimin scrunches up his nose. “It’s not even a big deal, it’s not like a blind date.“
“Yeah but if this is a shady catfish scenario, I need to capture your Look of Dumbstruck-ness in 4K HD.” Jungkook pats his video cam. “And THEN square up and beat up whoever this Chrys is.”
“I bet he’ll make you viral on TikTok.” Taehyung pops out of nowhere and hooks his chin over Jungkook’s shoulder. “Kook’s edits are fire.”
Jimin says, “Tell that to 14-year-old him. Graphic design is my passion—“
“Hey! I was younger then!”
“Can I come with?” asks Taehyung.
Jimin sends him a helpless look. “But you don’t even know what’s going on!”
“Sure I do.” Taehyung chrugs nonchalantly. “You’re meeting up with a white guy?”
“Some dude named Chris?”
“Chrys is NOT a foreigner. He’s a flower. We speak Korean.”
“He’s a flower?”
“So can I come with?” Taehyung asks. “I’m just looking out for my bestie’s safety~”
“What, what’s going on?” Hoseok’s voice filters through the air as he walks, one mug in hand, into the lounge area where the three of them are gathered. “Jiminie’s leaving?”
“Just stepping out.”
Taehyung hooks a thumb over at Jimin. “He’s meeting Chris Brown.”
Hoseok’s voice drops to a hush, eyes blowing wide. “He’s in Jeju?”
Jimin smacks Taehyung’s arm.
“Um,” Namjoon calls out from upstairs. “I broke a door?”
“Everybody please be quiet~” Jungkook singsongs.
Somehow, Jungkook’s request takes effect. A brief silence falls, punctuated only by a metallic jangling from upstairs.
“I swear it’s not me,” says Namjoon.
“Don’t worry, the host says one of the doorknobs is a bit wonky, waiting for replacement!” Hoseok calls out. “Come down!”
After a few moments, a door slams, followed by the sound of flip-flops hopping down the stairs. Namjoon, fully clad in koala bear pyjamas, comes into view, bedhead and all. “What’s poppin’?”
“Jiminie is,” Taehyung answers. “He’s poppin’ out. With me!”
“And me,” chimes Jungkook.
“I’m just meeting a friend, my online counselor,” Jimin explains, biting back a groan. On one hand, he’s exasperated, but on the other hand he can’t help but feel warm at the thought of his friends looking out for him.
“Do you want us to come with?” Hoseok says calmly.
“If you need an out, we’ll be there,” Namjoon volunteers gently, leaning against the couch’s armrest. “But you can say no.“
Jimin thinks it through. “I’m just concerned that there won’t be anyone here when Jin-hyung arrives.”
“Oh,” says Hoseok. “He’s accompanying Yoongi first.”
Jimin’s eyebrows jump. “Oh?”
Hoseok nods, whipping out his phone. “Yeah. Not sure what for, but he texted saying he’ll feel better if Yoongi’s got someone with him.” He slides his gaze to Jimin. “Which is why I hope you understand why we’re concerned, too.”
Jimin pouts. “Fine.”
It’s a little after midday when Jimin arrives at the tea museum with the guys, shuffling in with a crowd of tourists.
(“Remember, sit at least 2 tables away,” he’d sternly said.
“Can’t we sit closer?” Jungkook lamented.
“/If/ we can even get a table,” Hoseok interjected.)
As soon as the building looms over them, Jungkook lets out an impressed hoot. “This reminds me of your dad’s cafe in Busan, hyung.”
Jimin’s ears perk up. “He runs a cafe now?”
Jungkook and Namjoon exchange glances.
“Mmhmm,” says Jungkook simply. “Sold his house for business.”
An image from so long ago flashes in Jimin’s mind — his childhood home, next to Jungkook’s and across the street from Namjoon’s. How many forevers he’d spent there. How limited those infinities has been. “Huh. I never got to see that house again.”
“It was overrun with flowers.”
“Yeah?” Jimin glances at Jungkook wistfully.
Jungkook nods. “I once scaled over the wall and saw a flowerbed there. Everything was yellow!”
Jimin chuckles to himself with the vague recollection of him planting the seeds Yoongi had sent him through letters.
Must be marigolds.
He glances down at the mini cluster of said flowers in his left hand, mainly orange dotted with yellow, handpicked from the beds lining the open fields along the road. At the same time, his phone buzzes.
okay I’m in
found a seat
with my flowers
so what did you get in the end?
let me find you
Jimin walks through the glass doors, and instead of typing a reply, he raises the cluster of marigolds in his hand to take a picture of it, then swiftly sends it.
His phone pings in record time.
you asked me what I’d be
so here i am
A gnawing sensation, cold and numbing, starts scraping at the back of Jimin’s mind. He squints.
“So where is he?” Taehyung’s dramatic whisper jolts Jimin out of his reverie.
“Um.” He looks around.
His phone buzzes. This time, instead of a text from Chrysanthemum, it’s—
Jimin frowns, but obliges. He raises his gazes and is drawn to a single, bright yellow chrysanthemum flower bobbing among the café’s mob of dark-haired guests.
His breath stutters.
“Kook.” Jimin’s hand shoots out to grab Jungkook’s sleeve, reeling back at the sight that greets him:
His hair’s grown past his ears, curling at the nape, onyx eyes burning into Jimin’s.
“What was the flowerbed outside our house?”
Jungkook snaps his fingers. “Chrysanthemums.”
Thank you for reading up ‘til here heheh thoughts?
If you’d like to support my work + my medicine costs for my health (not so good in the last months), feel free to drop a cuppa coffee
thank you always. I’m happy to write!
“dear batman hyung min yoongi,
i’m 9 years old today and i think you forgot its my birthday so i’m writing to remind you that it’s my birthday. we have cake, if you wanna eat it you can go to my party becoz it’s chocolate. den maybe i’ll see you and we can play.
Happy birthday. Didn’t you receive my postcard? It should have arrived yesterday.
i’m not allowed to leave Daegu so i’m drawing you a present.
your Batman hyung,
“dear batman hyung,
woah. what’s inside? i like a beyblade.
you know i relly wanna meet you and play. i will ask my eomma to ask your eomma if you can come over for my special day. she MUST say yes!
I saw the postcard! Appa thought it was a Halloween bro-sure?
“Dear birthday boy,
Not a brochure. Being born in October means you’re a Halloween baby! So there.
LOL I’m not sure if we can meet anytime soon! But since we live in Gyeongsang-do, it would be funny if we’ve seen each other without knowing before, right?
Older Than You,
hello i’m NOT a baby, I’m 9. Shut up!
Don’t call me baby, I have a baby brother remember? He is the baby.
hah nooo way, I would know for sure if it’s you! if we ever meet and i act like I don’t know you, just call my full name!!!
here’s your cake slice.
Contrary to what Jimin thought it would be like if ever he came across a life-altering moment, there’s no record-scratch happening. Instead the world, uninterested and unsuspecting, keeps on turning. The crowd streams past his frozen figure.
His first thought is: it must be some kind of mistake. Or coincidence. Just because Yoongi once sent him chrysanthemum seeds years ago doesn’t mean the significance still holds true today, right?
Jimin quickly averts his gaze from Yoongi’s and looks down at his own marigolds.
So then how come he still resonates so deeply with marigolds?
“Um, I don’t get it.”
Jimin sucks in a sharp inhale and turns to Taehyung, whose head is tilted to one side.
“Isn’t that… Yoongi-hyung?” Taehyung waves excitedly. “Yo, hyung! Wassup!”
“Eyyy!” Hoseok lights up.
Yoongi’s eyes, burning with an intensity that makes Jimin’s stomach drop, momentarily flickers to their friends before returning to Jimin’s stricken self.
It’s too much, all at once. Yoongi, his counselor. Yoongi,his first love—so evergreen, never out of season in Jimin’s life.
A wave of nausea hits Jimin, and he shakes his head, fearing the floor might give out beneath him.
Fuck, His brain needs some space to process this. No, he needs to walk away, pretend he didn’t see shit—
He grunts, spins on his heel—
Marches off swiftly and—
Low, a little hoarse, a lot desperate. Yoongi’s voice traps Jimin in place, raises goosebumps along his arms.
“‘If we ever meet and I act like I don’t know you, just call my full name’,” Yoongi continues, voice stronger, floating above the crowd’s chatter, “—is what you wrote.”
/From a letter over a decade ago./
Jimin hangs his head and lets out a shaky exhale, only to realize that the marigolds in his clutch are trembling in his hands, too. He can’t believe it.
“Wait,” Taehyung drawls, frowning, “why’s hyung here?”
“Let’s join him,” adds Jungkook.
Hoseok gently steers Jimin around and drapes an arm over his shoulder. “You okay, my bro?”
“Wait—I just.” Jimin digs his heels into the floor, making everyone pause. His voice cracks, “I think it’s /me/.”
“Huh?” Jungkook cocks his head.
“Me, the one Yoongi is waiting to meet.”
Hoseok’s eyes narrow. Meanwhile Jungkook and Taehyung’s eyes bulge wide, flittering between Jimin and Yoongi.
“Wait, as in, no cap?”
“How d’you know?”
Jimin doesn’t even know where to begin. He lifts his marigolds weakly. “The… flowers.”
Jimin hears him way before he slides into view, separating from the nondescript crowd to appear next to Yoongi while carrying a tray of steaming tea. Seokjin sets down the tray, then waves their little group over to come closer.
“Yah, what’re you punks doing here? Following us?”
“Jiminie said he was meeting someone,” Hoseok says. “Turns out it was Yoongi-hyung?”
“/Yoongi/?” Seokjin repeats in disbelief. “But my dongsaeng is meeting… oh, wait.” His gaze darts to Jimin.
“I don’t understand,” says Jungkook.
Taehyung shrugs. Jimin wants to wilt.
He can barely think straight, let alone deal with Yoongi and the circus of an aftermath that’s coming for sure. It’s excruciatingly humiliating, for a lack of a better word, to be caught on the brink of a mental breakdown in the middle of their friends.
He turns to scurry away.
To his chagrin, a strong hand catches him and tugs him back by the collar. “Woah, woah, where do you think you’re going?” Jungkook says cattily, grinning from ear to ear. “Not so fast.”
Jimin squirms. “N-no, let me go, little shit—“
“No, we gotta hear this,” chuckles Taehyung.
“Jimin-ah, are you okay?” Hoseok chimes, brows drawn in worry. Jimin does not want to be the target of said worry, or anyone’s attention at all.
“Heol, what’s up’?” Namjoon ambles towards them while carrying a tray of snacks and tea.
“Oh, shit, he’ll drop that,” says Jungkook.
“Can y’all just sit?” says Jin.
Jimin purses his lips, drawns in a breath, then faces them. The moment Taehyung and Jungkook clock his expression, their smiles drop.
“Yo,” Taehyung says.
“It’s loud,” Jimin chides. “And I wasn’t expecting this.”
“Expecting what?” Namjoon asks.
Jimin curls the fabric of his shirt into his free hand, trying to take even breaths, willing the whirlpool in his mind to calm. He’s only vaguely aware of Hoseok is rubbing circles into his back.
And then Yoongi speaks again.
Jimin’s head snaps up.
Yoongi remains seated, unmoving, his eyes fixated on Jimin as if he’s afraid that if he so much as stands up or dare to look elsewhere, Jimin might bolt. His left hand is gripping the chrysanthemum stalk so hard his knuckles are white. “If you don’t want to, you can walk out.”
And it should be ridiculous, how Min Yoongi can be the cause and cure for a meltdown within the span of a minute, through as few words as possible. But in his misty gaze Jimin finds kindness, and something else… something almost resigned, maybe even guilty.
Following such a harrowing discovery, a million questions burrow into corner of Jimin’s mind. How is this possible? Did Yoongi know all along? And come to think of it—Jimin checks his phone and realizes the last message was from ‘dtownbeats’—how long since Yoongi figured it out?
In times of crisis, the path of least resistance is always the most convenient to take. And so rather than give in to reactive emotions and disappoint Yoongi by running away again, Jimin lets curiosity win above all else.
He inhales and strides forward, expression tight.
The seat opposite Yoongi’s is empty, so Jimin makes a beeline for it and lowers himself to face Yoongi. Better get all the questions answered before anything else—
“I’m sorry,” Yoongi stutters, head bowed, face ashen.
Jimin’s frown deepens. “Wh-what? What are you sorry for?”
It makes no sense to Jimin that the first thing pouring out of Yoongi is an apology instead of an avalanche of question, like with Jimin. Because if guilt is his first reaction…
“I’m sorry,” Yoongi repeats brokenly, eyeing their respective flowers.
…then that means he knew.
The realization is a knife stab to Jimin’s gut, making him reel backwards in part disgust and part dismay. So Yoongi had known his identity all along and yet continued to exchange letters with him?
“You knew?” Jimin says, nostrils flaring. “And yet you acted dumb?” He stands.
“Wait, no- huh?”
Jimin drops his head to his hands. “No, actually. It’s me, I’m the dumbfuck. I’m the problem. I shouldn’t have written— fuck’s sake, I—“ He can feel himself drowning in a spiral again, thoughts falling into that menacing coil where he can’t retrieve coherency.
And then Hoseok is there, draping himself over Jimin’s back. “Breathe.”
“I’m still trying to piece it together,” Taehyung says.
“Dude. Read the room,” Jungkook chastises.
Seokjin quips quietly, “Tea’s cold.”
Yoongi looks up at his brother and ekes out a helpless, “Hyung.”
(“Wait,” Taehyung gasps, “holy shit, HE’S Chris Brown. I get it, I get it.”
“No, dude. Look at the flower, it’s a chrysanthemum… it’s chrys, it’s a homophobe.”
“You mean homophone,” corrects Namjoon.)
Seokjin clears his throat, and then—
“Everybody, shut the fuck up.”
Amidst a museum café abuzz with the low chatter of tourists, a long table remains in pin-drop silence.
Until Namjoon clears his throat.
“We open the case at hand with the issue: plaintiff Jimin accuses defendant Yoongi of taking advantage of his vulnerability.”
IT IS 4AM?! aaaahh. TBC!
Don’t worry :] be excited for the fluff!!!
if you liked this update, perhaps drop me an espresso? It would help a lot with my medical upkeep (I’m injured, on a recovery journey!)
It took a bit long to explain the crux of the issue and get everyone on the same page, mainly because someone kept firing questions every few seconds. But at last they’re here, and Jimin is… well, he no longer feels like puking, if that counts.
“Defendant, state your case.”
Frozen across Jimin, Yoongi’s head is hanging low, face shadowed by his hair. He gives a small puff of a sigh and rubs his eyes. “Namjoon, I don’t even— I’d really rather not.”
“Why?” Jimin can’t help but blurt. Is Yoongi in denial? Does he hate that Jimin is first bloom?
Yoongi’s eyes snap to his, clouded with too many frantic emotions Jimin can’t point out one by one. The look that passes between them feels like a choked sputter, an attempt to breathe in an airtight space.
Then it occurs to Jimin. Yoongi’s anxiety must be off the roof.
Jimin glances around the table, clocking the rapt & concerned expressions on his friends’ faces. As much as he loves them, he wonders just how necessary this whole set-up is. All this attention…
Yoongi ends up just shrugging in reply.
“But did you already know?” prods Namjoon.
Yoongi shakes his head mutely, shoulders curling in. He raises one hand to his mouth, gnawing on a fingernail.
Jimin can’t bear to watch him. He stands, albeit abruptly, making the rest of their friends’ heads swivel to him.
“Um. I wanna go walk outside. Fresh air.”
At his words, Yoongi seems to wither even further, so Jimin adds in a clipped tone, “With Yoongi-hyung.”
Raised eyebrows meet his declaration. Yoongi looks up at him, gaze searching.
“Just us,” Jimin clarified. He cocks his head towards the glass door leading to a grassy patch.
The first to nod and wave them to go ahead is Hoseok, sending Jimin an encouraging smile. Seokjin directs a pointed look at Yoongi, who sighs before standing.
“You sure you don’t need us?” asks Taehyung.
“Yeah, what if you start beating each other’s faces up?” says Jungkook.
“I’LL beat you up if you don’t shhh,” Jimin hisses, pinching lightly at Jungkook’s earlobe. Jungkook makes a move to swat him away, but Jimin is already scuttling aside, looking over his shoulder at Yoongi. “Hyung. Join me?”
Yoongi pockets his hands and follows him outside.
Jimin picks a spot on the grass yard and makes it a point to turn his back to their friends, who are undoubtedly snooping in through the glass walls. He sits cross-legged and pats the patch beside him, beckoning Yoongi to take his place.
Yoongi sits, and asks, “Do you hate me?”
Jimin scoffs, nose wrinkling. “You always keep saying that. Even when we were kids.”
Yoongi shrugs, chewing on his bottom lip.
Silencr descends on them.
“I don’t,” Jimin says finally. “I could never, especially not now.” Yoongi had shaken his head when Namjoon asked if he knew.
“Did you mean it?” Jimin says, tugging fruitlessly at a blade of grass, if only to give his hands a task. “That you didn’t know my identity the whole time we were talking through the Garden Post?”
Yoongi nods. “They don’t let correspondents know. It’s fully anonymous.”
Jimin nods. “Okay.” There is so much to say. There is nothing to say. He doesn’t even know where or how to begin. “Honestly I’m appalled by how blind I’ve been to not have connected the dots any sooner. What a dumbass.”
“That makes two of us,” Yoongi quips quietly.
“Why did you keep apologizing, just now?” Jimin asks, hugging his knees to his chest. “That made me panic.”
“Because—“ Yoongi swallows heavily and rubs a hand over his face. “Because I was reminded of the things you wrote me.”
“Family, moving away. Life shit.”
Yoongi rests his elbows over his knees, eyes distant, expression darkening. “To think that you were going through rock bottom. And I was here the whole time with hardly a clue. I just- was I that blind? I should’ve… I would’ve tried to be there for you.”
“Ironically, you were.”
Jimin watches the miniscule changes in Yoongi’s expression when he grunts in response, but then inwardly reprimands himself for admiring how cute he is even when perturbed.
Yoongi scratches the back of his neck. “Yeah, as an anonymous Aunt Agony to you. It’s a lot to process.”
Jimin nods. Now that he thinks about it, it’s almost laughable how he and Yoongi always seem to find each other through letters, back then and now. “Not gonna lie, we did disclose a lot of shit to each other. Like…”
His mouth goes dry.
Chrysanthemum has a friend he /loves./
In the time it’s taken for his brain to catch up to the equation that Yoongi is Chrysanthemum and vice versa, a dozen more pressing facts had pushed that detail to the back of Jimin’s mind.
But if Chrysanthemum is Yoongi and Yoongi has few close friends, then…?
Yoongi is staring at a nondescript fallen lead next to his sneakers, waiting for Jimin to continue. When not a single word fills the air, he prompts, “Like the fact that you had someone else waiting on you…?”
Jimin’s forehead wrinkles. What?
Does Yoongi not REALIZE?!
Waiting on Jimin, as if there could have ever been anyone else. For once, Jimin is almost relieved he’s not the biggest clown in the circus.
He throws his head back with a scoff that eventually turns into wheezing chuckles, which seem to disgruntle Yoongi.
“Yah, Park Jimin.”
Fuck, what a dumbass. Jimin squeezes his eyes shut to keep from laughing too loudly, dabbing at the tears beginning to dampen the corners. He ends up falling back, clutching his stomach as his head softly lands on the grass. Then, grappling for Yoongi’s sleeve, he tugs him along.
“What- dude, I’m not gonna lie down in public—“
“Hyung, just come,” Jimin musters in between giggles, beckoning Yoongi closer. “I’ll tell you what.”
“What?” Despite his begrudging tone, Yoongi obliges, leaning his ear closer so that he’s not lying flat, but propped on an elbow.
His face is so close that Jimin can see the tiny freckles dotting his nose bridge and cheeks, feel the heat radiating from his skin. Yoongi’s ears are pinking. He’s always been pink. Jimin feels his anger melt away.
Lying flat, he cups both sides of Yoongi’s face. “I love you.”
Surprisingly fascinating really, how easy it gets to express an emotion once you have the right word for it. The words just roll right off Jimin’s tongue like they’d always been meant to be whispered only to Yoongi. All that passion, that pining. Because if not love, then what?
Yoongi’s face seems to have frozen, hovering atop Jimin’s. His back’s gone rigid, and he’s so still that Jimin starts to fear—
“Breathe, hyung,” he urges, giving Yoongi’s cheek a light smack.
It seems to perk him up. Eyelids fluttering wildly, Yoongi swallows.
His elbow gives way, and Yoongi ends up burying his crimson face in crook of Jimin’s neck so when he speaks, his voice comes out muffled.
“Fuck, Jimin. That was foul.”
A giddy titter bubbles out from the depths of Jimin’s chest.
“D’you- do you wanna say it again?” Yoongi says.
“Nope,” Jimin says cautiously. “‘Cause what if you reject me again?”
Yoongi sucks in a breath, then lifts his head to level a puzzled expression at him.
Jimin groans and covers his eyes with one forearm. “Don’t make me say it.”
“I was writing about YOU the whole time.”
The multitude of emotions that cross Yoongi’s face, making him narrow and bulge his eyes out over and over within the span of seconds, is enough to send Jimin into another wheezing fit. He sits up and gently pats the back of Yoongi’s neck.
“Yeah, yeah. ‘Asshole red flag’, huh?”
Yoongi just shoots him a weak glare, mouth parted in incredulity. After a moment, a string of curses fall from his lips. “I played myself bad.”
“Pretty much.” Jimin is enjoying this way too much.
“And here I thought I was being consistent towards you.”
“Considering that we loathed each other’s guts since we met again, I had reason to doubt everything,” Jimin says, hands raised as if in surrender. He lowers them to his lap and stares at his palms. “But maybe deep down, I had a feeling. Was I the friend you ‘have love for’?”
Yoongi buries his face in both hands, only to eke out a quiet, “And what about it?”
Jimin’s stomach flips like a pancake. He feels like a soufflé pancake, warm & soft. “Then it means you /didn’t/ reject me.”
“Dude, when did I ever- shit, what kind of conversation even is this?”
“Bro, hyung, you literally CALLED me the other day to take back everything,” Jimin says. “And that was AFTER we kissed at Hangang! What was I supposed to think?”
“Dude, I was trying to tell you that you deserved better—“
“There’s no one better for me, man.”
They hold each other’s stubborn gazes for a full half a minute, each one reluctant to break the silence first, but Jimin can see the tip of Yoongi’s nose pinking, and he has no doubt his own face is redder than a Christmas sock.
They both turn away bashfully at the same time.
Jimin crosses his arms, lower lip jutting out, mind swirling. Relationships are tough. He always thought a love confession could solve everything, but it seems with a connection as tangled-up as his and Yoongi’s, it’s gonna need more than a simple admission of feelings to fix.
“It wasn’t supposed to be a rejection,” Yoongi finally says, playing with loose threads on the denim of his jeans. His cheeks are starkly rosy against the white of his shirt and the dark hair curling under his ears. Jimin quells the urge to just— touch him, be close.
“Yeah, no. I wanted to- to say it when I’m sober. Drunken shenanigans isn’t my style. You deserve better than that.” Yoongi shrugs, casting him a sidelong glance. “And it’s not fair if I don’t get to remember every detail.”
Jimin muffles a giggle into his sweaterpaws.
“So say it again, then,” he challenges, raising one eyebrow.
Yoongi squints at him, pursing his lips. Jimin reaches out and prods him on the side.
“Come on, say it again.”
“We’re in public, dude.”
“‘Dude’?” Jimin parrots, mimicking a puking motion. “C’mon, just say it~”
He makes a move to tickle Yoongi’s side again, only for Yoongi’s rough hands to catch him by the wrists midway.
Leaning in, he murmurs hoarsely, “Don’t be a brat, marigold.”
Which is more than enough for Jimin to shut up and suddenly feel compelled to be a very good boy indeed.
He wrestles his wrists out of Yoongi’s hands, flashes a peace sign and grins brightly. “Okay, bestie.”
Yoongi’s jaw drops. Jimin smirks, and is about to mock him again, until he hears a loud rustling from nearby.
“So, what’s the verdict?”
“I can’t hear, ow, Kook, my shoulder.”
“Shhh, you guys need to be more discreet. Subtlety is an art movement.” Seokjin’s voice.
“Actually, there was never an art movement named subtlety, but I guess ‘minimalism’ is the word you’re looking for,” comes Namjoon’s not-so-whispered input.
“We can hear you,” says Jimin.
“Shit, shit, everyone scram—“
“Come out,” Yoongi calls, craning his head back to stare at the suspiciously trembling bushes a few feet away from where he and Jimin are sitting.
At this, four faces with sheepish smiles pop up from the bramble, leaves adorning their hair.
Yoongi rolls his eyes while Jimin bursts out wheezing at the looks on their friends’ frazzled faces. Turning around, he spots Hoseok right behind them on the other side of the glass pane, sending Jimin a thumbs up.
/All good?/ his cousin mouths. Jimin’s eyes water.
He flashes a thumbs up in return. Hoseok visibly relaxes and points back at the table, where their trays of tea are cooling. Jimin nods.
“We were just making sure no violence occurs on public grounds,” says Namjoon, dusting himself off. Jungkook picks a single leaf off his hair.
“So did you guys make up—“ Taehyung starts.
“Aaaand since it looks like they’re having an amicable chat, we should probably head back in,” Seokjin cuts in, steering Taehyung by the shoulders.
Yoongi scoffs. “As if you weren’t part of the eavesdropper crew too, hyung.”
Jimin grins as he watches the 4 of them dragging their feet back indoors, with Taehyung gesturing for Jimin to ‘spill the tea’ later.
Once they’re left alone again, Yoongi shakes his head. “Busybodies.” He leans his weight back on his arms, fingers close to Jimin’s on the grass.
Without even clocking it, Jimin finds himself gravitating to him, his fingers inching close enough to interlink their pinkies. “I mean, I guess they got impatient. We should head back in, too.”
“Jimin.” At that moment, Yoongi’s pinky locks with his.
Jimin pauses. “Hmm?”
Yoongi’s tongue darts out to lick nervously at his bottom lip, and he takes an extended heartbeat before speaking. “Just now…what you said. It’s not just platonic. Yeah?”
Jimin tips his head to the side. In many ways, he might finally understand what it means when Yoongi wrote—
“‘I have love for you’.” Jimin curls his pinky around Yoongi’s and offers a small smile. “I think I know what you mean, now.”
What he feels for Yoongi is all-encompassing—too huge to be compartmentalized, too malleable to be labelled as only platonic or strictly romantic.
“And I still want to continue finding out what that means, between us.” Jimin gestures in the space separating them. “I mean, it’s a lot to process, and I don’t want to fuck up, you know.”
Yoongi’s eyes shine with surprise, before settling into a softer understanding. “I know.”
Jimin hugs his knees to his chest and rests his head on top of his knees, peering up at Yoongi through his eyelashes. There’s always been something about the way he feels when he’s fixed under Yoongi’s soft regard. He smiles.
“What?” says Yoongi.
“That’s ‘cause you stared first,” Jimin retorts smartly.
Yoongi rolls his eyes. “Listen, there’s this thing called eye contact which doesn’t happen unless both parties are looking—“
“I’m so glad it’s you,” Jimin murmurs, blinking up at him slowly. Yoongi’s mouth clamps shut.
Jimin’s grin spreads as he watches the other clear his throat and tug at his collar, looking anywhere but at him.
“Look at you, using your words,” Yoongi mumbles. “I can’t tell if I like it or not.”
“Why!” Jimin snaps petulantly.
Yoongi mirrors his position, hugging his knees.
He hides his face, leaving only his tousled hair exposed, & Jimin decides he can’t suppress the urge to reach out and gently carress the tufts below Yoongi’s ear.
“Would you rather I never said anything?” he asks.
Yoongi lifts his head a fraction to peek at him.
It’s oddly reminiscent of a similar moment lodged deep in Jimin’s memory, so many years ago on Yoongi’s home couch. He’d looked at Jimin the same way then, cheeks flushed and eyes glimmering. At that point in time, Jimin hadn’t understood what that expression meant. Ah, déjà vu.
And— holy crap.
If Yoongi had felt that way since back then, does that mean he’d been patiently waiting for Jimin to come to terms with HIS own emotions and sexuality?
Jimin’s mouth parts open in realization. “Hyung.”
“So that kiss at the bus stop… it DID matter?”
Yoongi groans and buries his head into his knees again, ears a deep shade of maroon.
“Holy shit, you had a CRUSH on me back then!” Jimin concludes with a cackle.
“Says the idiot who took years to catch up.”
“Fuck off, I bet you didn’t know I liked you at the time, too!”
Yoongi looks at him then, eyes somber. “Why do you think I held on for so long?”
Crack, goes the last layer of thin ice coating Jimin’s heart. He never really realized how every word and kind gesture from Yoongi had been thawing him from the inside out.
He looks away, smiling.
“I took a long time to get here, didn’t I?” mumbles Jimin.
“At least it wasn’t forever,” Yoongi says matter-of-factly. “But yeah, you took your time strolling. Detouring. Welcome home, though.”
“You’re a SAP.” Jimin smacks his arm.
“Am I?” Yoongi reaches into his pocket.
What he produces is an old, familiar-looking beige envelope that Jimin would recognize anywhere, simply for being the brand of stationery he used to use to write letters to his penpal.
There is only one letter that he doesn’t recall Yoongi ever opening.
Jimin gasps. “GIMME!”
He makes a lunge for the incriminatory piece of paper, but Yoongi is much faster, snatching the letter higher and out of reach. Jimin lets out a gruff whine as he falls over Yoongi’s lap.
“Hyung! Have you opened it?”
“‘Dandelion hyung’,” Yoongi recites, tone bright as summer.
“No no NO,” Jimin all but wails, squirming upright and reaching for the letter again.
Yoongi’s chest rumbles with laughter as he scrambles to his feet. He pockets the letter while making a beeline for indoors, turning with a mocking shrug.
Jimin stomps his foot. “Ah, hyung!”
He stares at Yoongi, aghast, while racking his brain for what he’d written in that stupid confession letter. Had he really started it with “Dandelion hyung”? Sheesh, it’s been way too long — Jimin himself can’t even recall!
He huffs, then strides after Yoongi like a loser.
How did Yoongi even get his hands on it? Wasn’t it lost mail? Jimin stews in his own embarrassment as he joins the table, and spots that Yoongi has already taken a seat. The man in question is smiling up at Jimin politely, like he hasn’t just obliterated Jimin’s mental PEACE.
“Yo,” Namjoon greets, face schooled in one of his trademark passive aggressive smiles. “Nice of you to finally remember we exist!”
“Did you guys make up?” Taehyung asks.
Jimin holds up his hands. “No violence.”
“Good,” says Seokjin. “So sit next to Yoongi to prove your truce.”
He stands to give up the seat he’s occupying beside Yoongi in order to swap places with Jimin, who was initially sitting opposite.
“Uh,” Jimin starts.
“If you guys can tolerate each other for more than an hour without clawing each other’s eyes out, I’ll believe you,” says Jin.
Yoongi rolls his eyes.
/Perfect/, Jimin thinks with an internal whoop. This is his chance to make a grab for the letter in Yoongi’s pocket once he lets his guard down. He stifles a grin and hops over to Yoongi’s side. Yoongi raises a brow at him.
Jimin only smiles innocently.
“Hi,” he says.
Yoongi’s eyes narrow, but there’s an amused glint flashing in them. “Yep, you’re up to no good.”
“Excuse you? For smiling?” Jimin retorts. “Would you prefer I glare at you?”
At this, Yoongi twists sideways to face him better, then tugs Jimin’s stool closer.
Jimin muffles a yelp, finding himself in way closer proximity to Yoongi than he expected, then forces his face to relax.
The entire time, Yoongi keeps a stoic—almost bored—expression, one hand supporting his own chin while his free arm snakes around the small of Jimin’s back.
“Go ahead. Glare,” Yoongi drawls.
Jimin licks his lower lip, heartbeat galloping faster when he finds Yoongi’s gaze flicking down to his mouth momentarily.
“You were saying?” Yoongi’s voice is gravel. He tilts his head to one hand, a smirk tugging up one corner of his mouth.
Jimin grapples for his wits, and when his braincells finally connect to one another, he smirks back and sneaks a hand into Yoongi’s back pocket. Two can play at that game.
Yoongi’s eyes widen as Jimin’s hand slips into the denim. Then he catches Jimin by the wrist. “Hmm?”
“What the fuck,” says Namjoon. “What the actual fuck.”
“As if you’re any better,” Hoseok berates. “You and Jungkook got all handsy on the car ride.”
“We were playing thumb war!” Jungkook cries. “This is—“ He waves weakly towards Jimin and Yoongi.
Taehyung snaps a selfie.
Seokjin sips his tea calmly, legs crossed, eyes glittering with mirth.
We are about 2 updates left to the finale. :] thanks for keeping up with this short update!
If you like my work & would like to support me, I hope you consider getting me a cappucino expenses are heavy especially for this month~
So what exactly DOES happen after the big confession moment, the pinnacle of every fairy tale, the peak of romantic comedies? In the movies Jimin watches, it’s easy — the two leads get together and happily ever after ensues. Cue credits.
Real life does not end in credit-rolls.
And as Jimin is discovering, life goes on in a decidedly normal fashion, albeit now he does feel somehow lighter, bouncier; something about expressing oneself honestly has an unloading effect on his chest.
Still, he’s surprised that Yoongi doesn’t really act, well… different.
Not that Jimin was expecting anything! But shouldn’t there be something to be said for the way two people behave pre- and post-revelation of /feelings/?
Thing is, Jimin’s not so sure. With Taemin, they just naturally started hanging out more and more without talking it through.
Granted, he’d known Taemin had been attracted to him from the beginning, and it’s not like there was a lot on the line if Jimin got intimate with him.
But this is /Yoongi/. Jimin is not certain how or where to start, or what should be left in the air for the wind to sort.
Such are the thoughts swirling around in Jimin’s little brain soup as their group slowly packs up to head back. As they exit the tea museum’s doors, Yoongi falls into step with him, close enough to feel his body heat, and Jimin bristles.
Their fingers brush.
Crap, is there something in the air or did Jimin just feel a literal /spark/ zap through his skin. He stares at his palm, then fixes his gaze on Yoongi’s, frowning.
“You okay?” Yoongi murmurs, leaning close into Jimin’s ear, which makes him tense up and lean away, cheeks hot.
“Hhhhh.” Jimun lets out a pathetic, puttering noise from the back of his throat and nods vigorously, flashing two thumbs up at Yoongi. There’s a lot to process.
He wants to hold Yoongi’s hand. He wants to take his time. He wants Yoongi to tell him what /he/ wants.
Yoongi blinks, then smiles to himself and it’s a glorious, glorious sight, the way his eyelashes flutter like butterfly wings in slow motion, casting shadows on those snow-pale cheeks.
Come to think of it, what did he want out of confessing his feelings frankly?
Because it’s only crashing down on him now, after it’s been said and done, that all this time Jimin’s been so preoccupied with denying his attraction, hating Yoongi and eventually accepting his own feelings that he failed to consider the… After. Just Happily Ever.
Besides, why did it take finding out Chrysanthemum’s true identity for Jimin to muster up thr courage to be honest? If he really thinks hard about this, could it be possible that his attachment to Chrysanthemum as a /counselor/ is misleading him to mistake romantic feelings?
Because what if that’s the case? And what about Yoongi — wouldn’t his role as a Garden Post counselor be compromised if word got out that he got too personally involved with his assigned correspondent? It’s one of the main issues that the whole anonymity rule stood for!
“Earth to Park Jimin—yah.” This time, it’s Seokjin’s voice that rips Jimin out of his newest impending spiral. Jimin sucks in a sharp breath and blinks back to his surroundings, only then realizing that they’ve already walked to the carpark, and everyone but him’s hopped onboard.
The car door is open, and there are 6 pairs of eyes currently fixated on him, waiting.
Yoongi, the one nearest to him, wordlessly pats the empty space next to him.
“Right.” Jimin ducks into the vehicle, planting himself beside Yoongi. Their knees touch. It makes him weak.
And then Jimin is smacked in the face with hot flush, a new realization sending an overwhelming wave of embarassment over him. Shit, now that they’ve been honest, will every skinship with Yoongi feel this intense from now on?
But wouldn’t that be weird? Jimin would hate to start feeling awkward—pretty counterproductive, especially since honesty was supposed to clear the air between them.
A nudge against his knee has him blinking out of his thoughts, and he glances at Yoongi, whose brows are furrowed.
Before Yoongi can utter anything though, Seokjin beats him to it.
“All good back there, Jimin? You two are awfully quiet.”
Taehyung, squeezed next to Yoongi, scoffs. “Hyung’s always quiet.”
“Maybe you should too,” Seokjin says.
Jimin clears his throat. “Just tired.”
He turns and leans against the window, looking out over the fields passing by. Although he’s keenly aware of Yoongi’s eyes following him, Jimin tries his best to give a chipper demeanor. He shouldn’t let his overthinking cloud the atmosphere.
Any other time before this, Jimin would have shot a quick text to his student counselor for the next best course of action. But knowing thar Chrysanthemum and Yoongi are one and the same—
Fuck. Jimin’s been complaining & asking Yoongi for advice to /get over Yoongi./
Now that he finally has time to process the entire situation, the sheer mortification of such a ridiculous setup is a confrontation Jimin never could’ve prepared himself for.
He lets out a scoff of incredulity, then hides his face in his hands. “Naur!”
“Is he OK?” asks Ssokjin.
Jungkook raises a hand. “Respectfully, if I may. He’s just going through it.”
“Let him be,” Yoongi mumbles.
“I guess the best thing to do is… ig-naur him,” says Seokjin.
“Naur-cissistic, mygod I love it~” Jungkook singsongs.
Jimin shrivels and sinks further into his seat.
“Are we having BBQ for dinner?” Taehyung pipes up out of nowhere.
“Who said that’s the menu?” says Hoseok.
“Nobody.” Taehyung grins. “That’s why I’m suggesting it now.”
“We don’t have a grill,” says Yoongi.
“We could buy one,” Namjoon offers.
“Or rent,” Jungkook rectifies.
And so it goes, that while Jimin goes into breakdown mode over the realization of having been complaining about his crush TO his crush, his precious friends chatter about dinner in the meantime.
It’s the most whack-but-comforting things ever. A reminder that life carries on.
Eventually, a menu is settled and Seokjin turns into the next road to make a detour to the nearest supermarket for groceries.
“I’m in charge of the snacks,” Jungkook announces, unbuckling his seatbelt.
Taehyung scrambles after him. “Bro. That’s MY role.”
Seokjin sighs audibly.
“Are we babysitters?” he asks, and Hoseok chuckles while sliding out of his seat, followed by Namjoon.
Something taps against the side of Jimin’s shoe, and he peeks through his fingers to find Yoongi’s foot nudging him.
This is bad. Jimin can’t even look at him!
“Yoongi-yah, Jimin-ah, find the sauces. I’m putting you on the condiment aisle,” Seokjin instructs, pausing to look back over his shoulder when he gets no response. “Are you two coming or?”
Jimin unbuckles his seatbelt. “Yeah, hang on—“
“Hyung.” Yoongi raises a hand. “Later.”
Jimin pauses and glances at him with a frown. “Why—“
“Give us a few,” continues Yoongi while looking at him, tone firm. “We’ll join you in a bit.”
Seokjin squints from him to Jimin, then shrugs, tossing the car keys at Yoongi’s lap. “Make sure to lock before you leave, then.”
Jimin can only watch with a sinking feeling as the others turn away to stride towards the supermarket. What he’d give to find a way out of this car and Yoongi’s scrutiny!
The silence that wraps the air between them is thick and cloying, making Jimin gulp.
“Well? prompts Yoongi.
“What?” Jimin clears his throat and cranes his neck left and right, fixing his gaze on the backs of their friends as they stride towards the supermarket.
Jimin licks his lower lip. When the silence between them stretches for too long, he turns to Yoongi.
To his surprise, Yoongi’s not looking at him like he thought he’d be. Instead, his hyung is leaning against the car seat, arms folded, gaze trained on the steering wheel.
It’s relaxing to not be looked at, for once.
“What’s on your mind, marigold?” Yoongi asks impassively.
Jimin’s hands find their place beneath the reassuring weight of his own thighs, if only to keep them from fidgeting pointlessly. “There’s… I don’t know where to start.” He emits a nervous chuckle.
Yoongi casts him a sidelong glance, but makes no comment save for a low hum.
“I’ll just start then,” he says with a tiny shrug. “You seem bothered by something, and uh. Well, when you go quiet, I get worried.”
Jimin’s eyebrows rise to his forehead. “You do?”
“Of course.” Yoongi sniffs. “I can’t read your mind, you know? And I wonder, ‘Is he mad at me’?”
Jimin shakes his head aggressively. “There’s no reason- why would I even be…?”
“That’s what I’m saying.” Yoongi twists his body to face him, then leans his head to the backrest of the car seat. “I’m not particularly interested in others’ business. But I want to hear yours.”
Warmth spreads through Jimin’s chest, and he leans closer to rest his temple against Yoongi’s shoulder. He’s so fond. So, terribly fond. “You’re the best.”
“And /that/ is a non-answer,” Yoongi says.
Jimin smooshes his face into Yoongi’s arm. “Fine. I’m- I’m mortified, mostly.”
“Seriously? You’re gonna make me say it?”
“Say what?” Perhaps it’s a trick of his peripheral vision, but Jimin could’ve sworn he glimpsed Yoongi’s mouth twitch.
“Hyung.” Jimin groans. Yoongi shakes his shoulder, jiggling him along. “Quit that!”
“Still waiting, Mimi.”
That stupid childhood nickname. Jimin lets out another exasperated groan, neck ensconced in heat, and sighs. “Dude. I was literally gushing and complaining and cussing you out, /to you/. That’s so embarrassing.”
“Yeah, well, at least you didn’t call yourself a fuckboy red flag.”
A guffaw busts its way out of Jimin, and he bends over his knees while laughing, tears forming at his eyes. “Ruining your own rizz. Shit, we’re such losers, hyung.”
Yoongi is pinching the bridge of his nose, the tips of his ears turning scarlet. “I’m never gonna live that down.”
And just like that Jimin’s lungs feel a lot freer; it’s like a balloon of tension just popped in the air between them, making laughter easy. Like this, it’s not difficult to imagine being with Yoongi.
Because… relationships are what happens when people like each other, right?
“So what now?” Jimin blurts, too flush with relief to think twice.
“This…” Jimin gestures between them, then clears his throat. “Us. What’s um, what’s next?”
The light in Yoongi’s eyes dim to something serious, and his gaze turns searching. He falls quiet.
This new silence brings with it a heaviness that Jimin didn’t expect his question to impose, and at the somber look on Yoongi’s face, panic swells in him. Instantly, his mind rushes to backtrack. “I mean, we don’t need- I wasn’t trying to pressure—“
“Do you want to be with me?”
Jimin feels his breath hitch. Yoongi watches him like a hawk, dark eyes glinting.
For the first time, Park Jimin actually confronts what it means to BE with someone, in a seriously committed manner. He shivers.
Why did thing with Taemin had felt so easy to start and let go of?
On the other hand, he’s compelled to be cautious about going down this road—not when something precious is at risk.
As much as he wants to be around Yoongi all the time and craves his affection, if Jimin actually considers it carefully…does /Yoongi/ deserve someone so broken?
As the silence turns stuffy, he spots a muscle working in Yoongi’s jaw.
“No, it’s not that—“
“It’s okay. You don’t have to—“
“Hyung,” Jimin cuts sharply, throat going tight. “Do /you/ want to be with me?”
Yoongi stares at him incredulously. “Really?”
And before Jimin knows it, the words are pouring out, an avalanche unblocked. “Because what if it’s pity, what if you’re transferring some kind of social responsibility from your role as Chrysanthemum and mistaking it for romantic affection, what if I can’t give what you need?”
Jimin runs a hand through his hair. “No, scratch that, actually. It’s not a ‘what-if’. I KNOW I can’t give you what you need, not completely, not as I am now. There’s…” He sighs. “I don’t know how to be right for you, and I’m scared I’ll fuck it up.”
Just like his parents did.
Jimin turns away and looks out the car window, wiping a tear rolling down his right cheek. Surely Yoongi must see how terrible of a state he’s in and decide he wants no part in Jimin’s narrative, right? Surely he must understand that Jimin’s just a dark cloud on people’s days.
Yoongi snorts. “How conceited.”
Jimin faces him with a sharp inhale, frowning. “Excuse me, I’m trying to be serious here—“
“And how can you claim to know what’s best for me, Park Jimin?”
Jimin’s mouth falls closed, but his frown remains. He gnaws on his bottom lip.
Yoongi gives a soft sigh and shakes his head slightly, eyes straying the car door. “I’m hurt, Jimin-ah. Not gonna lie. If that’s what you think.”
Jimin swallows thickly. “I’m sorry, I just- I can’t help those thoughts.”
“I know.” To his surprise, Yoongi folds a hand over his.
Which is what alerts Jimin that his own hands have been shaking the whole time, in contrast to how steady Yoongi’s grip his. Warm. Solid. That’s all it takes for Jimin to melt forward and wrap his arms around Yoongi’s shoulders.
“I don’t want to be a downer. Or hurt you, hyung.”
“Mmm.” Yoongi’s arms loop around his waist, returning the embrace with a squeeze.
“Mm-hmm.” Yoongi starts gently swaying sideways, rocking Jimin along with him. “And?”
“You’re the last, LAST-est person I want to drag down with me.”
Despite his rambling, there’s something magical about being in Yoongi’s hold. The swaying helps, for one, but when their chests are pressed together this close, Jimin can’t help but breathe in time with Yoongi’s evenly timed inhales and exhales, lulling him to a soothing calm.
They sit like that for what must have been less than a couple of minutes, but lasts forever in Jimin’s head. Yoongi pats the small of his back, still swaying until Jimin pulls away.
To his shock, Yoongi’s eyes are red-rimmed. “Hyung?” He presses a thumb to Yoongi’s cheekbone.
Yoongi’s eyes flutter closed, leaning into his touch until Jimin eventually cradles his face with both hands, fingers ready to catch anymore threatening teardrops.
“Jimin-ah,” Yoongi says coarsely, a crease forming between his brows. “Why don’t we take time to think about it?”
Jimin blinks up at him. “Huh?”
“Just…I’d hate to jump into this when I know we’re both overwhelmed, yeah?” Yoongi takes Jimin’s wrists and lowers them to his lap. “After what we just found out today, too. Let’s try to relax and calm down, enjoy the trip like we’re supposed to.”
He leans in to press a soft kiss to Jimin’s forehead. “Then we’ll come back to this.”
And there it is—hope, light as petals, warm as midsummer, flaring in Jimin’s heart. Because Yoongi sees him, and always seems to have a knack for knowing what to say when Jimin needs it most.
“You know I’m not rejecting anything, right?” Jimin mumbles. “Or anyone.”
Yoongi raises an eyebrow. “I sure was hoping not.”
Despite himself, an amused snort escapes Jimin.
“Think about everything you want to ask and say to me,” Yoongi suggests. “And I’ll do the same.”
“Are we in love?” Jimin asks bluntly.
“That, for one, makes a good first question.” Yoongi carefully extricates his arms from around Jimin and opens his side of the car door. He looks back over at Jimin and winks. “Why don’t you figure out and tell me?”
Jimin cracks a smile.
/I want to love you/, he thinks, following Yoongi out of the car with their hands still interlocked. /The way you deserve to be./
While Yoongi shuts the door, Jimin takes the chance to shuffle closer, so that when his hyung turns again, Jimin’s lips land a peck to his cheek.
Yoongi makes a surprised sound, narrows his eyes and taps Jimin by the nose. “Sneaky.”
Jimin returns the gesture with a slow-blooming smile, and squeezes his hand. “Thank you.”
“That wasn’t a compliment.”
“If you say so, fuckboy red flag.”
“…I did this.”
They join the others at the supermarket, and Jimin is relieved to put his mind to working on actual tangible goals. He always get psyched out when left idle for too long.
Yoongi releases his hand as they browse the condiments aisle, but lingers close, always looking over him.
“…I’m just saying, if tomato is a fruit, then shouldn’t ketchup be a smoothie?” Jungkook’s voice floats from the next aisle over.
“Yes, but no.” Namjoon hums, then adds, “I mean, we can’t rule that out, but the boundaries are blurry.”
“Because of tomato juice.”
“Do you think we can make a tomato if we freeze ketchup?” Taehyung’s voice blurts.
“Dude,” says Jungkook. “Reverse-engineering!”
“I wouldn’t recommend it,” Namjoon interjects.
Yoongi & Jimin swap pointed looks.
“Those your friends?” asks Yoongi. Jimin aims a kick at his shin.
Yoongi grins and dodges it. Jimin rolls his eyes, then turns to grab barbecue sauce from the aisle. Once they’ve completed hunting down the ingredients required, they turn & cruise another aisle.
“Ah, Hallabong!” Jimin points to the organic tangerine jam. “You like this, hyung.”
Yoongi shrugs, then pauses to regard him. “How do you know?”
“Just a hunch.” Jimin smiles, picking up the jam jar. “When I crashed your place in Daegu, you were wolfing down the tangerines. A master peeler.” That was the first time Yoongi fed Jimin a tangerine piece.
“Ah. That night.” Yoongi side-eyes him.
“You have no idea how much you scared me shitless, calling me and running away from your place like that. You were such a kid.”
Jimin scoffs. “I rushed to you because I was scared I wouldn’t get to see you if we moved. Jerk.”
“I always knew you had a thing for me even before you knew it,” Yoongi says offhandedly. Jimin jabs him in the side, making him snort.
“Please. You liked me first,” Jimin says confidently. “When was it? Was it when I sent you that first emo letter in high school?”
Yoongi side-eyes him again, then shrugs. Before he can make any form of sassy comeback, Taehyung’s voice floats over from the next aisle again.
“…but what if we put caesar salad dressing and ketchup on soba noodles!”
“Your diet worries me,” Seokjin states dispassionately.
“Your hairline worries me,” Taehyung retorts, eliciting a scandalized gasp from Jungkook.
“Your lack of game worries me,” Seokjin spits back.
“Rizz. The word you’re looking for is ‘rizz’,” Taehyung corrects. “Update your vocabulary, hyung, your age is showing.”
Yoongi and Jimin turn the corner just in time to find the gang clustered together while Hoseok is asking, “What’s ‘rizz’?”
“Google it,” Yoongi says, snatching a Honey Butter Chip bag from the snack aisle. He turns to Jimin. “You used to write passages about your love for this.”
Jimin lets out a shrill coo. “My childhood snack! Aww, you remember.”
Yoongi shrugs. “You have a knack for doing shit I can’t forget.”
Jimin beams. Jungkook makes a gagging sound.
“Congrats on getting together!” Taehyung cries, clapping.
“No!” Yoongi and Jimin cry in unison.
“We’re not together,” Jimin says.
“It’s complicated,” adds Yoongi.
Their friends gape at them. Time freezes. The wind stops blowing. Birds cease chirping.
Outside, from the next town over, a car radio plays too loudly.
“Uh. Hmm.” Namjoon strokes his non-existent beard.
They look so confused it sends Jimin into a fit of giggles. There’s something settling in his gut, certain and above the ambiguity. What does the world get to have a say in what he and Yoongi share? Jimin makes a grab for Yoongi’s hand and burrows into his side.
“Like he said,” mumbles Jimin, “complicated.”
“Complicated things are made simpler when you TALK,” Seokjin says while calmly inspecting a can of corned beef. He shrugs. “But oh well, who am I to talk? Let’s go, guys, chop chop. There’s a shit ton to prepare if you want BBQ.”
The drive back to their AirBnb is pleasant, if not quiet, because there is never a dull moment whenever the seven of them are together. When Jungkook farts, Taehyung seems to find it a challenge & forces out an even louder fart.
Seokjin yells threats to dump them on the road.
Jimin turns his head to muffle his laugh into a napping Yoongi’s sleeve, his insides tingling with the newness of his reality—he can do this now, freely and without holding back, just leaning and reaching for Yoongi without second-guessing himself!
/Comfy/, Jimin thinks.
Later, after parking, the rest of their friends would file out of the car only to find Jimin and Yoongi knocked out, their heads slumped cozily against each other.
“Quick, take a picture,” urges Seokjin, and Hoseok would be snickering to himself while Jungkook snaps a polaroid.
“I still don’t understand,” says Taehyung. “Why can’t they just date already?”
“‘Cause they’re idiots,” mutters Seokjin. “These 2 have been in love since high school. Oh, boy. I’ve been enduring their lovesick asses for years.”
“They’ll get there,” Namjoon supposes. “Someday.”
“Jiminie.” A shaking motion jolts Jimin from his slumber. Groggy, he lifts his head and peers into Yoongi’s soft, amused eyes.
“Hmm?” Jimin muffles yawn, casting his gaze around. The van doors are open, and it’s just him and Yoongi sitting now.
Right, today was supposed to be their barbecue by the beach day, as per Jungkook and Taehyung’s request as soon as Seokjin and Yoongi arrived. He frowns. “Should’ve woken me earlier. The others will need our help setting up.”
Yoongi shrugs. “I just woke up too.”
Jimin unbuckles his seatbelt, grumbling under his breath. “I’m gonna crack their knuckles and whoop their throats for leaving us knocked out with the doors /open/.”
Yoongi ruffles his hair. “You have a foul mouth when you’re sleepy.”
“Hah, my mouth is capable of sinful things.”
A warbled sound punches out of Yoongi, who sends him a pointed sidelong glance, one eyebrow arched. “Such as?”
Jimin’s pulse jumps. To mask it, he narrows his eyes, then pushes Yoongi’s face playfully, before wriggling out of his seat. “Can’t tell. Spoils the surprise. C’mon.”
“What surprise?” Yoongi makes a grab for his sleeve, but Jimin shrugs him off, grinning. “Yah, what surprise?”
But Jimin just hops off the van and scuttles towards the direction of the shoreline, giggling to Yoongi’s muttered grumblings of “brat” and “what did I sign up for”.
The scenario they come to is a stone’s throw away from disaster, to put it tactfully.
There is Namjoon, newly ousted by Jungkook & Taehyung from setting up the tents. Stalking away, he sulks until Hoseok brightly calls him over to start the fire for the grill. Namjoon lights up.
His efforts are… less than desirable, because 2 minutes later Seokjin returns to their little camp from fetching the ingredients and finds Hoseok having a meltdown because the grill is /charred/ and Namjoon is hanging his head sheepishly. Seokjin, in turn, bans him from cooking.
“Hoseok, you go help with the tents, the kids are having trouble figuring it out. Namjoon, you,” Seokjin inhales deeply, then glimpses a baby potato. He grabs it and presses it into the panicking gentle giant’s hands. “Here. Take the potato peeler and sit there.”
“Now, is there /anyone/ here who can actually cook— oh, Yoongi-yah, how nice of you to finally join us.”
Jimin gives Yoongi a little push. “Go. I’ll check in on the tents.”
He jogs over to help the younger guys set up 2 large tents, because apparently they’re staying the night.
“…I can survive in the wild on my own,” Taehyung is saying while pulling the tent material taut while Jungkook inserts the “bones” that keep them upright. “I was a Boy Scout.”
“I wanted to be a Boy Scout,” says Jungkook. “Or an astronaut.”
“But I chose graphic design.”
Jimin smiles to himself as, wordlessly, he picks up some tent pieces and waits for instructions from Hoseok, who’s the only one actually reading the manual.
Every now and then he glances at his friends, fond. Taehyung, who always encouraged him to step out of his comfort zone.
Jungkook, ever the listening ear to Jimin’s bursts of impassioned rambling, patient even at his most clueless. Jimin used to wipe chocolate ice cream from his mouth; nowadays it’s Jungkook who encourages him to wipe his tears & try again.
And Hoseok—sunshine, comfort, a brother.
Someday when Jimin is the person he wants to be, he’ll repay them for all their unconditional grace and kindness.
“I love you guys,” he lets slip, a second too late before cringing at himself. The other three freeze in place.
Then Taehyung leaps at him, arms out, grinning wide.
“What’s gotten into you, bestie~” He smooshes his cheek against Jimin’s and prsctically squeezes the breath out of his lungs. Jimin squirms until he’s released. He catches Jungkook “hehehehe-ing” to himself, before sending him a thumbs up.
“Love you, bro! Let’s go boxing soon.”
“Since when was boxing your thing?” asks Jimin as he resumes putting together the tent parts.
“Since this month.”
“I never saw you…”
“That’s ‘cause you were busy making googly eyes at your Yoongi-hyung,” replies Jungkook matter-of-factly, “who’s your counselor, and soulmate.”
“He’s not- we’re not…” Jimin flushes, trailing off while his fingers fumble for the steel pendant around his neck. He and Yoongi still have a long way to go.
“Yet,” says Taehyung, humming to himself. “It’s okay. You don’t need to be a thing already just ‘cause you’re in love.”
At this, Jimin casts a glance at Hoseok, but his cousin is too busy stealing his own glances at Taehyung, eyes alight with an emotion Jimin can only describe as amused curiosity.
“Right, hyung?” Taehyung winks.
Hoseok clears his throat and flicks his gaze back to the manual.
Jimin hums in thought. Taehyung isn’t wrong—in fact, Jimin himself wants to go as slow as he can when it comes to Yoongi, because he matters too much, and Jimin doesn’t want to entertain the possibility of having to lose him because of a fuckup. “How do you know if he’s the one?”
Jungkook taps his chin, then smiles to himself. Twisting a bolt, he gives a simple answer. “When being with him is easier than being without.”
Something in Jimin calms, like a wave coming to a standstill, and the long sigh he lets out is one of relieved acceptance, because /oh/.
Those three years in Australia had made him feel so… old, weary, heavy with a weight he couldn’t shake off. Being without Yoongi, even just as a friend, had been torturous. Leaving Korea was tough /because/ Yoongi was home.
Jimin comes to understand this with a honey-melt swoop in his tummy, goosebumps like light from a new sunrise slowly crawling from the top of his head to the tips of his toes, coaxing him to wakefulness. He turns to look at Yoongi, is warmed when he finds /he’s already looking/.
Yoongi tosses him a quick nod with the slightest quirk of his lips. Jimin smiles bashfully and trains his gaze back to the tent flap that he’s working on. “I’m just… Yoongi-hyung is so, so important. If something goes wrong and we break up, I’ll never forgive myself, shit.”
“If something goes wonky, then fix it,” Jungkook says in an almost scolding tone. He points a tent pole at Jimin. “Don’t be lazy.”
“Not everyone leaves at the first sign of trouble,” Hoseok supplies mildly.
“Yea. Not everyone is like you,” quips Jungkook.
Jimin shoots Jungkook his best pout, but Jungkook just swats his forearm lightly, which for some reason motivates Taehyung to swat him back. In retaliation, Jungkook spins and pokes Taehyung, and before long a pseudo-fencing match ensues between the two.
“En garde. Pret. Allez!”
Hoseok shakes his head. It takes another scolding and a gentle sequestering of potential-tent-parts-as-weaponry before the two tents actually begin to take shape. Not long after, the four of them stand back, proudly surveying their handiwork.
“Teamwork makes the dream work.”
While the other hyungs wrap up with the meal preparation, Taehyung suggests taking a dip in the shallow waters. Before long they’re stripped down to their swimming trunks, splashing and racing each other across the shore while Hoseok keeps watch.
/It’s been a while/, Jimin thinks, but his wandering thoughts are cast aside when Jungkook grabs his ankle and tugs him underwater. Jimin resurfaces and growls, sloshing through the water to chase his friend.
Jungkook squeals and hides behind Taehyung, who then pushes him down.
/It’s been a while/, Jimin thinks again, watching the people he loves trying to outdo each other, /since I’ve laughed this freely./
That these are the people he ended up with is nothing short of miraculous. And half of them wouldn’t be here with him if not for Yoongi.
Jimin whips his head around to look at the hyung in question, expecting Yoongi’s eyes to be on him again. But this time round he catches Yoongi in deep conversation with Namjoon on the beach chairs. There’s a somber expression on Yoongi’s face.
Jimin raises his arm and waves.
Yoongi looks so pale and delicate like this, sitting shaded from the sun.
When his movements catch Yoongi’s eye, Jimin is surprised that Yoongi doesn’t return the wave. Instead his hyung seems to say a couple of more stuff to Namjoon, eyebrows dipping to deepen his frown.
“Jimin-sshi!” Jungkook cries from where he’s now kneeling into the sand, building a tail over Taehyung’s legs. “Come over, Taehyung wants to be a merman.”
At the sight of his friends’ silly antics, a slow grin forms on Jimin’s face. He pads over to Taehyung side, joining in.
As the afternoon gradually wanes to dusk, soju is whipped out to accompany the barbecued skewers being passed around, the scent of alcohol and grilled meat mouthwatering. At some point Seokjin brings out a ukulele and bursts into a drunken, off-key rendition of BTZ’s ‘Walk BTZ’.
Jimin drinks enough to get buzzed, and he retires to one of the tents to keep from getting too smashed, lest he gets a horrible headache come morning. After splashing his face with some water and gargling some mouthwash, he collapses into a nest of pillows and cushions, sighing.
Vaguely, he’s aware of a new presence stepping in when the tent flap opens and a silhouette falls across the far wall.
Smiling sleepily, Jimin rolls around to his side, peering up at his first love. Even under the dim light, Yoongi’s rosy face glows. “Hey yourself.”
“Not feeling up to party?” Yoongi lowers himself to a cross-legged position next to Jimin, who wrinkles his nose.
“Kinda queasy after all that meat.”
Yoongi chortles, eyes steady on his. “Protein is good for you.”
“Does it turn you off that I was Sprout?”
It’s a thought that’s been building up in Jimin’s head for the whole afternoon now ever since the whole identity reveal—would Yoongi find him too pathetic, now that he knows how dreary Jimin has gotten over years?
“What makes you think that?” Yoongi asks, voice muted and hoarse.
Here’s the thing—the Jimin that Yoongi knows, and probably recalls fondly from their earlier years—was a lot more sunny and bubbly. The person he is NOW, though…
Jimin gnaws on his lower lip. “I’m not the Jimin you first met. I’m not sunshine anymore, y’know? Not the same.”
He has to make sure that Yoongi knows what he’s getting into, if they ever decide to become anything more intimate than friends. “I just think you should know.”
“I know.” To Jimin’s surprise, hands with calloused fingers are working their way into his hair, carressing softly.
“One thing remains the same, though.” Yoongi’s timbre takes on a strong, confident timbre, albeit the words are still murmured. His hands slide down to Jimin’s nape as he leans down with a gentle smile. “You’re still warm.”
/I want someone warm./ Same words he’d said back then.
“I know you’ve been saying you like warm people,” Jimin blubbers brokenly, almost beside himself, “But hyung! What if I’m /hot & spicy?!/” He buries his face in his hands, blind to the way Yoongi is muffling a snort behind his own hand. “Then I don’t meet your criteria anymore!”
Yoongi flicks his forehead.
“That’s what you get for being an idiot.” And then the cushions next to Jimin are rustling as Yoongi crawls into the space beside his, hands cradling Jimin’s head under his chin. “Hot and spicy is good for the winter, so I can’t complain.”
“You’re SUCH an idiot, it’s summer now.”
“You’re an idiot for not getting that I want you still,” Yoongi’s words send a tremor quaking through Jimin’s chest. “Summer, winter, fall, whatever season, Park Jimin. If it’s not you then I’d rather stick this one out alone. Fuck.”
Jimin’s mouth falls shut. No thoughts, head empty. He blinks, eyelashes fanning against the collar of Yoongi’s tee with how close they are.
“That was a mic drop moment,” he quips through his hummingbird heartbeat.
“Better be. Get that through that thick skull of yours.”
Jimin swallows thickly, and the next time he speaks his voice is cracks with emotion. Clutching the hem of Yoongi’s tee, he mumbles, “Thank you.”
Yoongi hums, curling an arm around Jimin’s shoulders. “Now enough negative talk. Tell me something good, marigold.”
Jimin racks his brain for some cool piece of trivia that he can possibly impart, but his mind comes up blank. With a sigh, he closes his eyes and settles against Yoongi’s chest. “This. This is good.”
He feels rather than sees Yoongi’s Adam’s apple bob up and down.
“Yeah?” Yoongi whispers hoarsely, his throat vibrating against Jimin’s forehead.
Jimin hums. There are words trying to climb out of him, each confession lodged deep in the walls of his chest, but there they seem to stay—smothered by his tipsiness. “Tell me something good, too.”
Yoongi falls quiet for a long moment, the silence a sweet breath petering out between them, before speaking quietly. “Every letter from you. Since the first one.”
Jimin tilts his chin up in an attempt to catch Yoongi’s eye. “Really?”
Yoongi nods. “Your spelling improved a lot.”
Jimin lightly smacks his chest with a disgruntled snort. “Be serious.”
“I am, hey—isn’t improvement a good thing?”
“I hate you.”
Yoongi chuckles lowly. “The feeling is not mutual.”
At this, Jimin squeaks. He scoots closer to squish his face into Yoongi’s shirt, cheeks warm.
But then stray thought hits him— “Wait. If you liked every letter I sent, does that mean you enjoyed Sprout’s letters, too? Even when you didn’t know it was me?”
“Are you seriously being jealous of yourself right now?”
“Hyung, for real though. Did you have a crush on Sprout?”
Yoongi pulls back, one skeptical eyebrow raised at him. “Do you think I would have rejected your offer to try and date as a rebound?” His demeanor cracks with a small smile. “Considering you were trying to get over… me…”
Jimin groans and covers his face. “Forget I asked.”
Yoongi grabs his wrist, the smile on his face now showing his gums. “Nah, nah. You’re not gonna live that down.”
Jimin cringes, the heat in his cheeks creeping to his ears, but at the same time he bursts into a sheepish giggle. “That was a loser move.”
“Dunno, it was cute.”
It’s not a teasing tone this time. Jimin glances at Yoongi’s face, surprised to find that Yoongi’s amused expression has softened.
Yet another reason why Yoongi’s presence is so irreplaceably comforting—he never laughs AT Jimin when he’s being self-deprecating, only /with/ him.
Jimin’s fingers reach up to brush gently against Yoongi’s jaw. “This is a good thing, too.”
“What, that I declined rebound status?”
“Thank you, I try.”
With an eyeroll, Jimin huffs. “That you don’t laugh /at/ me. It makes me feel allowed to just…I dunno, go stupid.”
Yoongi blinks, then brings his gaze down, settling on the pendant hanging around Jimin’s neck. “Honestly, from me to you, same.”
A pause. Jimin patiently waits, suppressing a yawn of exhaustion. “Mm?”
“When I’m- when I’m with you, I feel like I’m doing something right.”
Jimin curls in closer, draping one arm over the dip in Yoongi’s waist. Blames it on the soju-induced drowsiness for making tongue looser now that he’s comfortable. “When I’m with you the chaos in my head goes quiet. And then I’m safe.”
Yoongi lets out a shallow exhale. “Me too.”
“The first night I arrived in Seoul,” Jimin murmurs, his words slightly slurring together as he closes his eyes, “Ifeltsonervous. But my uncle picked me up. Aunt Miseon gave me soup.” His mind replays Hoseok’s smile. “I remember—it was so warm. It was February, but it was warm.”
Yoongi’s arms tighten around him.
“In Perth,” Jimin continues, half-adrift in slumber, “I just microwaved whatever canned soup was on the discount aisle. And our eomma wasn’t eomma anymore.” He yawns again. “Just, not mine or Jihyun’s. Someone else’s mother. I wanted her back.”
“I have a half-sister, you know.” Jimin tucks his face into Yoongi’s shirt again. “I wonder if she knows my name. I wonder why I care.” Maybe tomorrow he’ll have the courage to find answers, to ask questions. “Appa sold the house.”
He yawns one last time, then succumbs to sleep.
He’s unaware of the tears forming at the corners of Yoongi’s eyes, of the way Yoongi presses trembling lips to his forehead. “It’s okay, Mimi. You have family here. Right here.”
He sighs, dims the tent’s lightbulb, and fades into the night’s hour with Jimin in his firm embrace.
tbc, i’m sorry for the short updates, December is especially hectic
if you’d like to kindly support me, h-here’s my kofi. Your generosity will not be taken for granted.
Jimin is running. The road ahead is limned in shadows, but there’s a trickle of bright light from a distance. He runs for it, but with each footfall his legs feel heavier, and when he looks down he finally realizes that he isn’t running, but actually sloshing waist-deep in water.
Water rises continually until it ripples against his chest, and eventually closes in on his throat. His lungs heave in panic. His arms thrash about, his mouth pitching open in a desperate scream.
Then, from behind, a wooden raft boat drifts by. Inside sits a man with a paddle.
Jimin cries for rescue, stretching out both arms. The sailor peers over the side of his boat—it’s Yoongi-hyung!
Yoongi blinks & grasps his hands. Jimin’s chest loosens with relief. He asks to be hoisted over, but to his surprise Yoongi pauses.
And then Jimin’s grip is slipping.
“Hurry!” he pleads, attempting to give himself a boost, but the freezing water beneath him is bottomless, sucking him like a vacuum. Yoongi tilts his head, a funny expression on his face. While he doesn’t withdraw his hand, he doesn’t exactly tighten his hold either.
Jimin grows frantic. He kicks with his legs and clamors for purchase, but his hands are wet with a storm of his own gathering, making it hard to hold onto Yoongi. Making him afraid to bring the storm onto Yoongi’s boat.
Lips trembling, Jimin falls still, hands slipping further.
His eyes bulge open to a darkened campung tent, his forehead drenched in sweat.
Jimin blinks repeatedly, letting the rapid rise and fall of his chest ground the erratic visions clouding his mind’s eye.
A nightmare. He hasn’t had one of those in a while. Why now?
His right hand pats the space beside him, frowning to find it empty. Warm, but empty.
With a muffled groan, Jimin sits up, rubbing his eyes. The tent flap is partially unzipped, revealing the beginnings of an indigo dawn.
Jimin crawls out, carefully picking his way over the intertwined sleeping forms of Hoseok and Taehyung. As soon as he steps out, he stretches and yawns, scanning the shoreline. It’s different from last night—quieter, calmer and somehow more—
Sitting by the rocks.
Yoongi’s pale skin stands out against the charcoal-rocky waters, his dark hair mussed by the sea breeze, falling over his eyes. Jimin’s entire being aches with undisputed longing at the sight of him.
He stands there for a long stolen moment, simply admiring his person.
Ridiculous how he once believed he could ever settle for loving a non-Yoongi.
“Penny for your thoughts,” he greets quietly, hoisting himself over the rocks to sit beside Yoongi.
Yoongi’s faraway gaze softens when it lands on Jimin’s face. “Morning.”
“Whatcha lookin’ at?”
A shrug. “Just admiring the therapeutic scenery.”
Water. Like in his nightmare.
Jimin shifts uncomfortably, but forces himself to take in even breaths, eyes settling on a far-off island across the deep blue while the sky’s hue gradually lightens.
“What’s the matter?” Yoongi asks. Jimin turns to face him, eyebrows rising. “You seem bothered.”
Jimin gives a wry laugh. “You take one look at my just-woke-up face and decides there’s a problem? Sheesh, hyung. And here I thought I was cute sleepy.”
Yoongi rolls his eyes, then folds his hand over Jimin’s resting one on the rocky space between them. “You are. So tell hyung.”
A fuzzy warmth flares in Jimin’s gut, and he curls in closer against Yoongi’s side. “Bad dream, that’s all.”
Jimin blinks down at their linked hands, taking in the very real warmth of Yoongi’s palm. He sighs, chest tightening. “About having all this, only to lose you.”
“You told me to think about everything I want to say and ask you, before jumping into anything.” Jimin shifts his gaze from their hands to Yoongi’s keen eyes.
“So I’ve been thinking all day yesterday. And… hyung.” Jimin pulls their hands to his lap.
For the first time in a long time, Jimin speaks his heart.
“You’re my best friend. You’re my first love. That makes you doubly terrifying to start something with, because then if things go south, I lose double. But that also—“ Jimin gulps, “that makes you twice as precious.”
Against the gleam of an approaching dawn, Yoongi’s eyes glisten.
“And I don’t want to ruin this.” Jimin squeezes his hand. “Because I don’t just— I’m not just in love with you.”
/I am in the condition of loving. Always have, even amidst hate./
“So,” Jimin says. “Bear with me.”
Yoongi hums, nodding while keeping his eyes trained on their hands. He wiggles his hand and proceeds to play with Jimin’s fingers. “Jimin-ah.”
“I’ve been bearing with you this whole time, though.”
Jimin scoffs, rolls his eyes, and smacks Yoongi’s arm. “Romance killer.”
Irked, he loosens his grip and attempts to snatch his hand back. A chuckle winds out of Yoongi as he squeezes Jimin’s hand and tugs it back to his lap this time. “Noted. Thank you, marigold.” He turns around to face Jimin betterm. “Can I ask you something?”
Jimin’s brows crinkle together. “Yeah?”
“What makes you feel loved?”
It’s a disarming thing to ask. Yoongi has never struck him as the type of person to bother with details so seemingly sentimental, yet here he is—dark eyes earnest, face turned to Jimin, the sea behind him.
/What indeed?/ Jimin racks his brain for a straightforward answer, mouth curving down.
“Cause I- I don’t wanna ruin this, too,” Yoongi adds, following Jimin’s awed silence. He clears his throat. “So, I was wondering. If there was something I could do on my part- I mean—“
Yoongi pauses mid-sentence, eyes alight with his answer, but then he scoffs & pinches Jimin’s side, making him squirm. “I’m talking specifics. Like, okay, we learn this in psych. Do you know your love language?”
“I asked you first.” Yoongi studies him intently.
Jimin tilts his head. “I’m not sure. But I guess I feel safest when you- when you’re around, listening to me, letting me speak my mind:” He glances down at their intertwined hands. “And I feel grounded when I’m connected to you. I don’t like feeling shut out. Or radio silence.”
Because those years spent without any correspondence whatsoever with Yoongi were some of Jimin’s most miserable. Without Yoongi’s calm, steadying presence, Jimin was an anchorless boat, cast adrift with no land in sight. He curls in closer against Yoongi’s side. “Ah, and food.”
Jimin nods. “Kimchi jjigae.”
Yoongi’s face smooths out with repressed amusement. He nicks Jimin’s nose. “You just like it when I cook so you wouldn’t have to.”
“This is me /complimenting/ you.” Jimin makes a face. “Make me food.”
“Only when you’re sick.”
Jimin clucks his tongue, folding his arms. “What if I never fall sick again? Then I’ll never get to eat your stuff.”
Yoongi tugs their hands into his lap again, tracing invisible patterns on the back of Jimin’s hand. There’s a small smile playing on his lips.
Jimin gapes at him, eyes narrowing. “Quit mimicking me.”
Yoongi winks, then looks out over the lightening horizon, framed in half by the rippling sea. “Wanna know something?”
“I’ve felt off centre my entire life,” says Yoongi. “Not a main character of my own story.”
Jimin’s play-annoyance simmers away as he leans in, ears perked. “That’s not—“
“People with anxiety like me,” Yoongi continues, patting Jimin’s hand to let him finish first, “sorry, I’m on a roll— we tend to live in the sidelines. Yeah? So imagine you coming in, guns blazing.”
Jimin cringes, sheepish.
“Not a bad thing,” Yoongi is quick to reassure with a light nudge. “But ever since we were kids, you’ve always been curious. Like you wanted to know me. And /see/ me. How should I put this… you make me aware I’m neither small nor obscure. I’m alive.”
He murmurs the words gingerly, as though afraid that if he dare say them too loud, the winds might hear his secret or whisk Jimin away. Jimin’s eyes sting, and he squeezes Yoongi’s hand. “I never did much, hyung. It’s always you who does more.”
“You were there when it counted.”
Jimin’s heart is somersaulting, Jimin’s wants to launch itself out to the sea. Jimin’s heart is here, a dark-haired mirage with a mind of steel.
“So just be here,” Yoongi adds. “You won’t ruin things. Just be here, I’ll handle the rest.”
Jimin lets out a soft exhale. “Damn.”
He’s more than inclined to lean in as a cue to request for a kiss, but Yoongi doesn’t seem to be done yet. He’s fumbling for something in his pockets, muttering under his breath, then pulls out a chain that gleams silver in the rising sun—a necklace achingly similar to Jimin’s.
Yoongi nods, his close-lipped, bracket smile showing. “Our harabeoji’s half. The one around your neck was the one he gifted halmeoni.”
Jimin’s mouth hangs open as his fingers reach out carefully, touching the suspended pendant. This one is carved in a darker color.
“It’s gorgeous,” Jimin says. “Why don’t you wear it?”
Yoongi ducks his head, and a silence falls like a curtain between them. Jimin nudges his shoulder. “I wore it under my clothes… while you were gone. But then you returned but stopped wearing yours, so. I took it off, too.”
Jimin groans and knocks his fist against his own head. “That was a dumb move, I’m so sorry, hyung, holy shit. I didn’t think you cared anymore—“
Yoongi glares at him.
Jimin’s words taper off into squeaky chuckles, and he cradles the back of Yoongi’s head with gentle fondness.
“Here,” says Jimin, coaxing the necklace out of Yoongi’s fingers. “Let me.”
With extra care, he lifts the chain over Yoongi’s ducked head, then lets pendant settle against Yoongi’s collarbone. “There we go. Back where it belongs.” Jimin grins, hands reaching for his own pendant.
A memory sparks in his mind—headlights approaching, an autumn night, Yoongi’s puffs of breath misting the air. It feels like a different lifetime. “That time at the bus stop—it was my first, you know.”
Yoongi’s eyes go round. “Really?”
“Yep.” Jimin’s cheeks flame.
“No way,” breathes Jimin, shifting back to look at Yoongi more fully.
But he’s avoiding his gaze, picking at his nails, 2 splotches of rose pinking his cheeks.
Okay, this is cool. A giddy warmth floods Jimin, and he chortles to himself, fiddling with his chain. Very cool.
“But didn’t you have a girlfriend in middle school or something,” Jimin supplies, raising his eyebrows in what he hopes is an expression of interrogative nonchalance. “Sooha?”
Yoongi shrugs. “And?”
“You never kissed?”
“I don’t just kiss anyone, dude.”
“Bro.” Jimin grins.
Yoongi shakes his head, gums showing, then ruffles his own hair. He sighs and looks out into the shore. “At least I get to flex that I got your first kiss, not Taemin.”
“What—“ Jimin bursts into guffaws, doubling over. Is Yoongi implying what he thinks he is? “What do you mean?”
“You know damn well what I mean, marigold.”
“No, ‘cause…” Jimin lets his words trail off, smiling as he regards Yoongi’s scarlet face. “What other ‘firsts’ do you think Taemin got from me, hyung?”
Yoongi burrows his head into his arms. “Ah, I don’t know. It’s cool, whatever.”
Jimin glances down at his hand cradling his necklace. “If you must know, we never did.”
Yoongi’s head has never snapped up faster. “What?”
“I couldn’t- I just—“ Jimin sighs and shrugs. “Heck, I couldn’t even take this necklace off wherever I went in Australia.”
He licks his lower lip, heartbeat quickening. Jimin clears his throat. “You were always at the back of my mind, hyung. Like a song I can’t erase.” He rubs the back of his neck, bashful. “What was I supposed to say—‘the guitar pick necklace stays on during sex’?”
Jimin cocks his head to one side, re-evaluating his words. “Well I mean, technically it’s not that you CAN’T have sex with other stuff on, like clothes, but what I’m tryna say here is that it was significant enough to not—“
Yoongi’s fingers wrap around Jimin’s pendant and pulls.
Jimin has only a split second to eke out a yelp before Yoongi’s lips are crashing against his, hungry and possessive, one hand clutching Jimin’s pendant while the other snakes around the dip in his waist.
Jimin relaxes, draping his arms around Yoongi’s neck.
And though they’ve kissed plenty of times before, it’s as if Jimin’s chest was a hollow, soundless chamber all along, and Yoongi’s kiss is a familiar echo, reverberating at first contact. Jimin decides he doesn’t want to count their kisses anymore.
He doesn’t have to.
He realizes this at the same time he feels Yoongi smiling into their kiss. Jimin hums, half-dazed and dizzy with delirium, one hand curling into Yoongi’s soft hair while the other squeezes into a tight fist.
Yoongi pulls back a fraction to whisper against his lips. “I love you.”
Jimin’s eyes water. He squeezes his eyelids shut, the skin between his brows creasing, and pulls Yoongi close enough to feel the duet of their breaths—rise, fall. Rise, fall. He keeps one hand resting on the nape of Yoongi’s neck, fingers scratching lightly at baby hairs there.
/Alive/, Jimin thinks, feeling lit from within. /I’m alive./
So this is what Yoongi means.
“So let’s take our time,” Yoongi says softly, giving Jimin’s waist a squeeze. “You’re my best friend, too. I want to learn how to- to love you, in a way you understand. And vice versa.”
Jimin is only vaguely aware of the waves making a din amidst rising tides. Seagulls prance about the sand—a brave one lands on the rocky outcropping near them. None of these can steal his attention from Yoongi’s earnest gaze.
He nods. Yoongi wipes a thumb against his cheek.
“Teach me how to love you in a way you understand,” Jimin echoes. “You have no idea how affirming it is to hear that.
They don’t have to rush. There is peace in knowing that a yearned-for ‘someday’ is in the cards for them.
Yoongi smiles and presses his lips to Jimin’s temple.
/Snap/. A film camera shutter goes off nearby. Both Jimin and Yoongi’s heads turn to find a certain Kim Taehyung grinning cheekily, camera slung on a leather strap around his neck.
“That one’s for the books,” Taehyung shows a thumbs up. “Congrats on getting your shit together!”
Yoongi curses under his breath. “Little fucking shit, give me that—“
Taehyung gasps, already backing away. “Swearing so early in the morning, hyung? Very un-slay of you. Don’t worry, y’all cute.”
Jimin muffles his giggle with a hand.
“Anyway, I come bearing a message.”
“What is it?” Jimin is all-too-aware of Yoongi’s hand resting on his knee.
Taehyung takes a deep breath, and belts out in his best Seokjin impersonatiom voice, “‘YAH, I understand couples being sappy as shit and congrats on that, but maybe a quick hand with the stove, Yoongi?’”
Yoongi snorts, but slides off the rock. He holds out a hand to steady Jimin, who follows suit. “What’s he planning for breakfast, anyway?”
Taehyung shrugs. “I want Pokemon bread.”
“We have convenience stores for that.”
“Yeah. Gonna raid some with Namjoon-hyung and Kook later!”
“Me too!” Jimin says, grinning. “While the hyungs make food!”
Yoongi grumbles, “I knew you only wanted me for what I can bring to the table.”
Jimin laughs. As soon as Taehyung plods ahead, he kisses Yoongi’s cheek, before running back to the family they’ve chosen, hand in hand.
[ONE WEEK LATER]
One fine Saturday, Yoongi uploads a photo on his Instagram, and his band (and their small but loyal legion of supporters) go berserk. Mostly his bandmates, though.
introduce him to us pls
Which is why he’s smiling like a doofus as he enters the Cacao Crushers that afternoon, and that’s how Jimin spots him as soon as the entrance bell chimes.
“What’re you so happy about?” he asks as soon as Yoongi approaches the counter. He’s been coming in almost daily.
When Yoongi’s eyes flicker from his phone screen to Jimin’s curious face, the mirth in them softens with a warmth he only reserves for Jimin. “Hi.”
Jimin smiles, leaning his forearms on the counter, and Yoongi subtly brushes their fingers together before showing his phone.
Jimin’s eyes widen when he sees the latest upload. “Isn’t that the mirror selfie we took in your room yesterday?“
“Isn’t it cute? The boys are curious about you now, asking who the other person in the picture is, not knowing they’ve already met you.” Yoongi smiles to himself.
“Would they be okay with it? And, hyung— that’s your public Instagram.” Jimin gulps and tugs at his collar. “Is that okay?”
Yoongi gives him a pointed look. “You say I’m a rational and calculated person.”
“And you’re making a calculated risk.”
“Not a risk, just my reality.”
Jimin’s stomach swoops. How Yoongi always manages to say things that sends butterflies sprawling all throughout his tummy, he’ll never figure out.
“Unless… you’re uncomfy with it?” Yoongi peers at him worriedly.
“What? No, I was worried if that’d make /you/ uncomfortable.”
Yoongi shakes his head, eyes going round. “I don’t do things I’m not cool with.”
He’s the coolest person Jimin’s ever had the privilege of loving. With a small chuckle, Jimin leans his chin over one palm and just smiles up at Yoongi dopily.
Then someone clears their throat.
It’s from a stranger behind Yoongi, and only then does Jimin realize they’ve held up enough to create a line for ordering. Jimin straightens up and adjust his apron, putting on his best professional voice. “So will it be decaf for today?”
Yoongi nods, eyes on Jimin. “The usual.”
Jimin keys in his order. While handing the receipt over, Yoongi lets his touch linger over Jimin’s knuckles.
“Thanks,” he murmurs, dark eyes seeming to pull Jimin in. “Cute earrings, marigold.”
Heat creeps up Jimin’s neck and he fiddles with his chrysanthemum-shaped studs.
He joins Yoongi at Table 7 after his shift ends. It’s quickly becoming a new routine Jimin is happy to settle into—Yoongi comes into the café and waits for him to finish before either heading out for a meal or staying in to do work in companionate silence. Today, it’s the latter.
Jimin spends a solid ten minutes complaining about a rude customer from that morning. In return, Yoongi shares that Jihyun passed the audition, and has been offered to train as a drummer and producer under many different seniors, including Yoongi.
“Your brother is talented.”
“He better be,” Jimin replies after taking a sip of his frappe. “After that runaway stint he pulled. He’s really banking on music as a career.”
Yoongi glances up at him, then tugs out paper napkin to wipe cream from Jimin’s mouth. “I swear, you’re a baby.”
Jimin grins impishly.
Yoongi rolls his eyes at his expression, then returns his attention to his laptop. He’s got his little portable beatmaker on the table, so Jimin can only assume he’s working on new music. He pats Yoongi’s knuckles in silent encouragement while he busies himself across him.
They only leave well after the sun has set, bidding goodbye to Hoseok and Kangwoo on closing shift before stepping out into the night. A cooling drizzle greets them; Jimin takes out his umbrella right away.
“Can’t let your equipment get wet,” he says, linking arms with Yoongi.
Yoongi snorts, but curls into his touch. “Told you. My backpack’s waterproof.”
“You’re not, though.”
Yoongi glances skeptically at him as they slowly march over the slippery pavement. “You’re not either. Look, your shoulder’s already damp, Jimin-ah.”
“I’m literally glued to your side, hyung.”
Yoongi says nothing. A few seconds later, Jimin feels the weight of his arm slowly draping over his shoulder—the side exposed to the weather.
“No getting sick.”
Jimin muffles a laugh. “Why not?”
“‘Cause then you’d whine for my soup.”
“Isn’t that great? I’m giving you an opportunity to impress me with your cooking skills,” Jimin claps back.
“I have better skills than that.”
Jimin squints at him. “Like?”
“Wouldn’t you like to know.” Yoongi keeps his expression stoic. “But I’m keeping it PG.”
To distract himself from the heat gathering at his cheeks, he smacks Yoongi’s chest lightly. “I’m gonna strangle you.”
“If you’re into that.”
“Hyung!” Jimin muffles a loud short by burying his face into Yoongi’s arm. “I swear.”
It’s only been a week, after all.
Yoongi ruffles his hair and turns slightly to press a chaste peck against Jimin’s cheek. “Come on. I’m walking you home.”
“You say that like you’re doing me a huge favor when it’s literally just the next street over.”
“How about you shut up and let me be a good boyfriend?”
Jimin’s chest tightens blissfully at the word, but he clears his throat. “Make me.”
They haven’t really made things official, as far as he knows—ever since their Jeju trip, they’ve only agreed to ‘take it slow’. Technically, they have no label. Yet.
As they pick their way over small puddles and turn the corner into the Jung residence’s street, Jimin decides to bring up something he’s been planning for a while now. “I’m going to Busan tomorrow, by the way.”
Yoongi stops in his tracks. The rain patters on. Jimin looks back.
“What?” he prompts, backtracking to keep his hyung under shelter.
“What for?” asks Yoongi cautiously.
Jimin hums sheepishly. “Been on my mind for a while, actually. I heard appa sold the house and turned it into a café so, I don’t know. I might visit.”
“You didn’t tell me.”
“Oh.” Jimin blinks. “Well, now I’m telling you.”
They start pacing towards the Jung residence again, but the newfound silence from Yoongi is unsettling.
“Say something?” Jimin nudges him with a tinge of worry.
Yoongi licks his bottom lip. “Why didn’t you mention it earlier?”
Jimin makes a sour, bewildered face. “I mean, did I have to? Why do you— are you mad or something?”
Yoongi blinks, then casts his eyes to the wet street. “Are you going alone?”
“Do you want to come?”
“I-“ Yoongi blows air through clenched teeth. “I’ve got stuff on tomorrow.”
“You’re being weird.” Jimin backs away a step, regarding him suspiciously. “I can’t put a finger to it, but you sound upset.”
“I’m just”—Yoongi runs a hand through his hair and sighs—“perplexed.”
“Did it not occur to you to let me accompany you?”
“You don’t have to—“
“But I’d want to.” Yoongi shakes his head. “You don’t always have to do things on your own, Park Jimin. I’m here. I keep telling you—“
“It didn’t occur to me,” Jimin says, feeling hot with the implied accusation, “because I know you’re busy and we’re not anything official, so.”
If there’s anything scarier than a stormy-eyed Yoongi, it’s his expressionless, unreadable face. He stares at Jimin for a long, unbearably wordless moment.
Jimin glances down at his shoes stubbornly. “You’re not /obligated/ to be with me everywhere, you know.”
Contrary to their bubbling, lighthearted atmosphere earlier, now the air feels stretched thin between them. Jimin clenches his jaw, not really understanding how the mood took such a dark turn.
Yoongi shakes his head. “Just go home, Park Jimin.”
He’s calling him by full name.
“Yeah, you’re mad,” Jimin concludes. “I don’t want—“
Yoongi holds up one finger, the other hand massaging the bridge of his nose. “Just head inside. It’ll rain harder soon.”
“I don’t get—“
“Jimin-ah. If you don’t go right now, I might say something I’ll regret, so please.”
Jimin bites his lower lip to keep from snapping back, and nods mutely. He blinks back the burning sensation building up behind his eyes, head beginning to spin with a sudden avalanche of confusion, hurt and irritation. “Whatever.”
“Yeah. Whatever. ‘Cause that’s what we are.”
It’s so unlike Yoongi’s usually kind words that Jimin finds his eyes spilling over with hot tears, which he quickly wipes away. He looks down and turns around with a huff. Before he can storm off, though, a hand shoots out to close around his wrists.
Jimin tries shaking it away.
Yoongi lets go after a moment, but not before he follows up with a clipped, “Sorry. Didn’t mean that.”
Beyond annoyed, Jimin stomps back to him & beats a loose fist against his chest (lightly). “That was mean,” he sniffles.
“Ow, yeah, I know.” Yoongi groans, rubbing his torso.
/Take it back/, Jimin wants to demand, but he doesn’t have the heart to, not when Yoongi’s isn’t even wrong. They haven’t made anything between them official, so… they can be ‘whatever’, whatever that means. He settles for glowering at Yoongi with his best icy bitch look.
Yoongi grumbles profanities under his breath, bending down to pick up the discarded umbrella that Jimin had cast aside when he stormed off. He clicks his tongue and holds it over Jimin’s head, nevermind that he himself is getting wet. “Just go inside first, I’m serious.”
“I’m upset,” Jimin manages to say.
“So am I, but go be upset indoors.” Yoongi gently turns Jimin by the shoulders and gives him a slight push through the Jung residence’s front gate.
“I’m not done being upset!” Jimin squirms in his grasp.
“Yes, neither am I. Talk later. OK?”
Jimin glares at him, but complies as he steps under shelter. “Text me when you’re home,” he sneers.
“Text me when you’re down to call,” Yoongi grits out.
Jimin folds his arms. “Take the umbrella.”
“It’s yours, though.”
“I’ll be extra upset.”
“Fine, then. Fuck. Bye.”
If Aunt Miseon and Uncle Sejin noticed a funky dark cloud hanging over Jimin’s head as he fumes his way around the house, they make no mention of it.
Luckily for Jimin, the shower is a magical place. A negativity vacuum. He exits the steamy shower feeling refreshed and lighter.
When he checks his phone, there’s a message waiting for him.
Jimin sighs. Now that his head is clear, it’s honestly tougher to try & pinpoint the cause of his anger. Did he simply get swayed by Yoongi’s dark mood?
Unlike the usual, Jimin lets his phone ring five times before picking up in the name of pettiness. “So.”
“So.” Yoongi’s husky voice on the phone never fails to raise goosebumps along the back of Jimin’s neck. “About just now.”
“Where d’you want to start?”
“What pissed me off.”
Jimin nods. “The fact that I was going to Busan alone?”
“It’s not that, Jiminie.” Yoongi’s voice goes strained. He sounds… pained. “It’s just—I would’ve wanted to know, because if I’d known earlier maybe I could go with you. It’s the fact that you think asking me /obliges/ me.”
Jimin blinks, going speechless for once.
“I know it must be tough adjusting to it, especially when you’ve been independent for so long,” Yoongi continues. “It’s ingrained in you not to want to trouble others. I know. I know that, but being with you isn’t trouble to me, baby.”
And just like that, in so few words, every resentful, dark and negative emotion lingering in Jimin just vanishes with a molten-sweet understanding.
“You can lean on me,” says Yoongi.
He sniffles and clears his throat. “I’m sorry. For my words, and for making you feel that way.”
“I’m sorry, too,” Yoongi says. “That ‘whatever’ jab was unnecessary.”
“I mean, you’re not exactly wrong,” Jimin mutters under his breath. “Doesn’t make it feel any less shitty, though.”
“You already said that.”
Silence. Jimin racks his brain.
“For the record,” he adds quietly as he settles under the sheets, “I’d have loved to visit my hometown with you.”
“And go to that café where we first met, maybe,” Yoongi adds with a wry chuckle.
“That wasn’t the first time,” Jimin corrects, heart feeling infinitely lighter.
There’s a pause on the line, followed by Yoongi’s muffled snort. “Right. That time at Everland when you broke up with your girlfriend.”
Jimin hums, smiling at the memory. “Feels like another life, really. Another me.”
“Well, we’ve both changed a lot. Grown a lot.”
“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about leaving for Busan earlier.” There’s a thought that Jimin had delayed entertaining in the heat of their little spat earlier. Could it be that sudden departures—especially concerning Jimin—trigger fear in Yoongi? “I’ll be more mindful.”
He doesn’t even have to ask, because the next moment, Yoongi admits in a coarse voice, “Just now, when you said you were going away again, I panicked.”
Jimin snags his upper lip between his teeth. “Hmm?”
“You have this penchance for- for vanishing acts, Jiminie.”
“Yeah. You stopped writing me when we were kids. And then you moved to Perth and disappeared again,” explains Yoongi.
“I’m here now though.“
“I know. Things are different, but every now and then I get this irrational fear that you’ll vanish to someplace I can’t reach again.”
Jimin holds the phone tighter in his hand.
He never knew that was how Yoongi’s side of the story came across to him. All this time, Jimin had been way too absorbed in his own truth that he’d failed to consider Yoongi’s reality, too. “I’m— wow. Crap, hyung, I didn’t know.”
“To be fair, it’s the first time I’m saying it, so.”
“Still.” Jimin pouts, utterly ashamed of himself. “Thank you for trusting me enough to tell me.”
Yoongi makes a noise that’s half a grunt ans half a puff of air. “Jimin-ah.”
“Don’t disappear from me again?”
His voice goes quiet, like he’s trying his best not to be heard, and that’s how Jimin knows those are actually the words Yoongi wants to scream aloud.
“No more running away, hyung. I promise. Pinky swear.”
Jimin hugs a pillow to his chest. “And hyung?”
“You and I… this. Us. We’re not just whatever.”
“I know.” Yoongi sighs. “You’ve never been whatever to me.”
“What am I, then?” Jimin asks cheekily.
It’s the sappiest shit Yoongi’s ever pulled. Jimin bites back a screech and kicks at the covers silently. “Simp.”
“What, what, you don’t see forever with me?” Yoongi asks with a chuckle.
Jimin’s heart does one last somersault, before he exhales long enough to calm down. “Forever’s kinda hard to think about, no?”
He thinks of their promised ‘someday’, and how they’ve barely begun.
“Not that I’m saying it’s unrealistic,” Jimin is quick to catch himself. “Just— I want to keep it close, real, here. If I get to have tomorrow with you, then isn’t that closer to someday, like we talked about? I can’t bank on forever yet. How about ‘tomorrow’?”
“That may or may not be singlehandedly the most poetic and arguably intelligent thing that’s ever come out of your mouth,” deadpans Yoongi.
“I loathe you.”
That earns him a rumbling laugh. Yoongi falls quiet fot several heartbeats. “I don’t mind sharing many tomorrows, then.”
Jimin smiles to himself, tugging at a loose thread on his pillowcase. “I like the sound of that.”
“Speaking of tomorrow,” Yoongi says, resuming his no-nonsense voice. “What time is your train leaving?”
“Wanna grab breakfast? I’ll send you off.”
“Where’s your car?” Jimin asks as soon as he answers the doorbell. “Where’s the fancy, glorious Audi?”
Yoongi glances behind, hands in his pockets. “Just me today. Hyung took it out for maintenance.”
“Very un-slay move.”
“You’re hanging out too much with Tae.”
“Allow me to mourn the absence of a magnificent thing in peace,” Jimin retorts, stepping out with his backpack and planting a kiss on Yoongi’s cheek as he passes by. “You’re significantly less daddy now.”
Yoongi muffles a snort behind his hand and nicks Jimin’s chin. “Brat.”
They pick a locally-owned restaurant just a few lanes over. For breakfast they share scrambled eggs and gimbap over coffee, all the while playing an intense round of footsie under the table.
(Jimin wins. Mostly because he suspects Yoongi lets him.)
“You don’t have to send me all the way to Seoul Station,” Jimin says as they duck out of the restaurant hand in hand. “I’ve got a bus. I know today’s busy for you.”
Yoongi looks like he’s about to complain, but seems to think the better of it. He sighs and follows Jimin, sullen.
There are people waiting at the designated bus stop where Jimin can board one with a route to Seoul Station. As they approach, Jimin tilts his head, hit with a sense of deja vu.
“How long are you staying in Busan?” asks Yoongi.
Jimin swings their hands together. “Overnight.”
Yoongi nods, gaze downcast. “If you see your appa there… what would you do?”
Jimin shrugs. It’s not like he’d never considered he might run into his father. “I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. Mostly I wanna see my friends and other relatives, so.”
“Send a postcard or two.”
Jimin side-eyes Yoongi. “It’s literally a weekend away.”
“That’s a long time in dog years.”
“Aren’t you glad we’re people, then?” Out of the corner of Jimin’s periphery, he spots the movement of a bus turning into the neighborhood lane. His bus!
He turns to Yoongi and offers a mock salute. “This is me. Clocking off duty now, seeya.”
He’s expecting a sarcastic remark about souvenirs, but the look in Yoongi’s eyes makes him falter.
His pupils are dilated, like he’s trying to take in as much of Jimin as possible.
The bus chugs to a half. Yoongi gives him a gentle push on the hip, avoiding Jimin’s gaze.
“Go. Text when you arrive.” Is it just Jimin’s imagination, or is Yoongi /sulking/?
With a soft smile, Jimin waits until other passengers have boarded the bus, before rising on tiptoes.
Three years ago, a younger and naive Park Jimin had pulled his first love in by the hoodie strings for a brash kiss that turned out to be the first for both of them. He’d been petrified, afraid of facing himself.
Today, he tugs Yoongi by their matching pendants for a soft kiss.
“I’ll be back before you know it,” Jimin whispers adoringly when they pull apart. He shoulders his backpack and steps back, making a beeline for the steps up i to the bus. He picks a seat next to the window and waves at Yoongi outside, who’s left standing alone at the bus stop.
It’s a sight that has Jimin’s heart twisting unexpectedly. Although the circumstances are heaps different now, Yoongi looks just like he did back then—slightly forlorn and a little lost. Fighting back a sigh, Jimin sinks back against his bus seat and puts on his earphones.
Slowly, the bus shifts gears to move on—
/Bam bam bam./
Jimin blinks at the abrupt banging noises coming from one side of the bus.
/Bam bam bam./
Jimin frowns. That’s Yoongi’s voice. He glances out the window and gasps to find Yoongi running alongside the bus.
/What the fuck?/
Jimin raises a hand to yank the window open and bark for Yoongi to stop running. But amazingly, the bus driver seems to either be reallt benevolent or is a paid actor, because then the bus slows down and grins to a halt, a few meters away from its assigned stop.
Then the bus doors are sliding open, and passengers’ heads turn at the sudden commotion. Jimin gapes at the sight of Yoongi hopping aboard, reaching out to clutch a handle grip with a muttered thanks to the bus driver.
“Hyung…?” Jimin gawks hard at Yoongi’s hurried approach.
Yoongi’s hair is tousled by the wind from sprinting after the bus. His cheeks are flushed, the rise and fall of his chest erratic. Other passengers murmur around them, but Jimin can only hear Yoongi’s words as he sits next to him—
“Should’ve done this back then. That night.”
Three years ago, Jimin had clambered aboard a bus on a chilly autumn night, his heart frostbitten by the emptiness of the seats around him.
It’s a later summer morning now. Yoongi’s arm presses against him, real & solid. Jimin’s face softens, liquid warmth coursing through him.
Without a word, Jimin lays his hand flat on his own thigh, palm facing up. An invitation.
Yoongi bites back a smile and folds his own, much larger hand over his. A reply.
The bus engine revs along noisily with the rest of the world—and two people homeward bound to the other.
dear Hyung Who Cooks,
We had to write an essay on love today. I dunno why they’d ask high school students this. Now, I admit I’m smart, but I don’t really think much about romance. What’s love to you?
bored out of his mind,
Jimin of the Park
“dearest Pabo Jiminie,
Love is peace, I think.
your hyung who is not just a good cook,
p.s Are you at peace?
—to everyone who’s kept up with this story: from the bottom of my heart and soul, thank you.
DMF started on 26 Jan & ended 26 Dec.
Sounds perfectly apt to me!
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