jimin is an avid enjoyer of a youtube channel where a chef only shows his hands and voice while doing overly complicated recipes. when jimin recognizes those hands and voice, he thinks he has met his favorite youtuber, and he’s willing to give dating another chance.
• this is a commission for a chef yoongi au.
• many mentions and detailed descriptions of food, and while this is mainly a cute and fluffy get-together story, there will be a focus on unhealthy relationships with food, body image issues, and eventual self-acceptance.
In a small but modern studio apartment with a tiny bed, living room, and kitchen only a step away, Jimin puts together something quick for his weekend lunch. He’s still wearing pajamas, constantly sipping water from a glass to fight his hangover, and juggling with a pan.
He turns off the stove, and with delicacy, Jimin plates his lunch, moving the fried skinless and boneless chicken thigh to a dish. Then, in a bigger bowl, he adds a dressing to his salad and finishes it with a small side dish of rice and a refill for his large glass of water.
He sits on a small folding table for two, pushed against the wall to occupy the least space possible.
Before eating, Jimin moves to the most crucial weekend ritual, even more, important than cooking: finding the perfect video to watch on his phone while he has lunch.
There’s not much browsing to do today, though. Jimin has a to-go-to creator on Youtube and a video posted three days ago waiting for him. A mid-sized channel called Chef Min.
It’s not a regular cooking channel. This chef doesn’t show his face, only his hands.
It features high-end gourmet dishes with expensive ingredients and complicated skills that no amateur possesses. But, at the same time, it’s some ASMR hybrid where the chef’s voiceovers can be too distracting at times, or maybe Jimin finds the man’s explanations soothing.
The chef posts once a week, and Jimin religiously watches his videos during his weekend lunchtime. But, it’s not like Jimin watches it for the recipes or passion for the cooking art. He can’t cook anything the Chef makes; Jimin’s abilities in the kitchen are subpar at best.
His chicken salad looks lifeless next to the grilled octopus laid over quinoa puree, served with an olive sauce and fresh edible flowers that appear on his phone’s screen as the video starts. But Jimin finds that watching cooking videos while eating helps him feel satiated.
And yet, that’s not all the charm behind Chef Min’s videos. Jimin is a simple twenty-seven-year-old gay man who is a little too into the chef’s voice and hands. His right hand's long and veiny fingers grip a grill pan’s handle while explaining how to cook octopus.
The man on the screen passes the handle to his left hand in a swift movement before turning off the stove and gesturing at a liquid in the pan with his pointer finger, saying something about a reduction. Jimin has yet to learn what he means but gets easily distracted.
That same pair of hands that Jimin watches on his phone rub against each other off-screen under running tap water, cleaning any food remnant of them.
Yoongi turns off the tap, dries his hands with a cloth, and turns to watch Jungkook, who sits by his kitchen's marble countertop.
He’s swallowing, slurping even, the butternut squash mousse Yoongi just finished preparing.
“Holy fuck. This shit’s good!” Jungkook sounds upset, frowning before moving on to the lobster tartare next. Yoongi crosses his arms over his chest as Jungkook moans around a spoon.
But he returns to the mousse, inhaling the naturally-colored squashed powder Yoongi prepared to decorate the dish. “Take your time enjoying the flavors,” Yoongi pleads.
“Can I drink the wine?”
“Of course. I just said in the video that it’s the best companion to the meal.”
Jungkook’s large gulp from the expensive wine makes Yoongi flinch, but he controls his expression.
“Today’s shots are great, hyung,” he says, debating whether to return to the mousse or the tartare. His camera and microphones are already uninstalled and inside their bags.
“I’ll edit them during the week and have the video ready on the weekend. Then, I’ll send it to you so you can review it.” Yoongi nods, grabbing a spoon and trying his mousse. “We’re only three weeks ahead with our posting schedule. When can you film more than one video?”
“Not during these weeks. I have a lot of work.”
Jungkook points at Yoongi with his spoon before picking a piece of lobster. “Our Youtube channel is a real job too.”
“The job that lets me buy expensive ingredients for our channel, brat.”
“The catering service?”
“There’s a lot of events this week at the Hotel, and we’re understaffed. So I’ll have to serve at some live cooking buffets.”
“Nice. You’ll have to interact with humans and put on that customer service charm.” Yoongi hates interacting with diners, and Jungkook knows it.
“Can I finish that glass?” Jungkook points at the wine.
Even though it’s expensive, Yoongi offers Jungkook a fond nod. Then, he finishes eating the food they just recorded, and Yoongi is proud of the taste. He’s pleased, too, knowing he still enjoys cooking in his free time.
It’s late at night when a taxi parks outside a fancy Hotel. Jimin walks outside, wearing a gray suit and white shirt but no tie, hoping to look elegant but relaxed. At the Hotel’s reception, his friend and coworker Hoseok waits for him, fitting in just right with the place.
He also ditched a tie, but his suit is white— Jimin wouldn’t dare to wear such a light color, but Hoseok’s body frame makes it work. A heart-shaped smile grows on his face when he sees Jimin. “There you are.”
“Am I late?” Jimin stops by his side, fixing his sleeves.
“No, but I didn’t want to go upstairs without you. I’d be forced to socialize.”
“I’m here now,” Jimin says, bringing a hand to the small of Hoseok’s back to guide him to the elevator. They nod at the man pressing the buttons and fall quiet when more people enter.
“Isn’t this place a bit too fancy for our company?”
“Twentieth anniversary is a big deal. We should enjoy the free food and booze.”
The elevator stops, and they enter another reception only to head toward a large room. If the first floor was fancy, this one shuts the pair up.
Glass walls look down on the city; a photographer hangs around, and a DJ and a live cooking buffet are the last touches. “Wow, they went all out,” Hoseok says.
“They did.” Jimin glances around. “All our clients are here.”
“It’s a party for them. I’m surprised they invited us.”
A waiter approaches them with glasses of champagne, and they both hold onto the flutes. “We need to eat something if we want to drink,” Hoseok says after a long gulp.
Eating late always gives Jimin trouble sleeping, but he knows that Hoseok’s advice is correct.
Jimin glances at the live cooking buffet where four cooks are doing different activities in each section, but Jimin’s eyes fall on the cook stir-frying something. “It doesn’t need to be a full meal, just some bread to fight the alcohol— or are you hungry, Jimin?”
“You’re staring at the meat station,” Hoseok says.
“Not the station. The cook.”
“Mmh?” Hoseok follows Jimin’s gaze, discreetly watching a man around Jimin’s height but much broader, with a sharp jawline and cat-like eyes work a pan with practiced ease.
“He’s hot,” Jimin says.
He is, with the folded sleeves of a tight black shirt and a matching cooking hat - not the classic tall ones, but a smaller one. “Is he, or does this have to do with your obsession with that faceless Youtuber?” Hoseok asks.
“What? I can’t find random men hot anymore?”
“Why would it have to do with him?” Hoseok sips from his champagne, side-eyeing Jimin, and Jimin gives up. “Fine. Being a cook like that Youtuber makes him kinda hotter, yes.”
Hoseok snorts. “Go up to him and say hi! You haven’t liked someone in a while.”
“Don’t think I will anytime soon.”
It looks like Hoseok wants to ask about it, but he knows well that this isn’t the right moment. Hoseok also knows that Jimin won’t try his shoot with a stranger, not even if his friend encourages it. But still, Jimin looks at the buffet again.
And this time, he meets the cook’s eyes as if he noticed someone staring. Jimin looks away in a second, drowning the remaining liquid from his glass, neck burning. The man is absurdly handsome.
But Jimin doesn’t approach him; co-workers come up to him, and Jimin gets distracted.
Hoseok and Jimin get lost in polite conversations with co-workers. Jimin doesn’t glance at the buffet table again, but after a couple more glasses of champagne and once a familiar drunken warmth spreads through his chest, Jimin recognizes that it’s time to go for food.
The buffet table is long, with many stations and choices. Jimin, probably impulsed by alcohol, skips the bread and entree table, as well as the vegetarian option and fresh fish station. He’s craving meat.
There’s someone already at the meat station, and Jimin has to wait.
The handsome cook doesn’t notice Jimin’s presence, focusing on his task and talking to the person in front of him while frying thin strips of meat.
Jimin finds himself drawn to his hands, gripping the pan’s handle tightly while making fire come up from somewhere—
Jimin is always confused about this part of cooking, he knows there’s maybe a strong liquor or some other alcohol, and he’s sure it’s called flambé. Chef Min calls it that way in his videos. He moves the pan with his right hand and changes hands before turning off the stove.
That’s how Chef Min does it. Many cooks must have that habit.
Jimin looks up, focusing on the cook’s voice as he explains why he’d accompany that meat with sautéed vegetables instead of fresh. And Jimin recognizes that voice. How could he not?
He’s the man from the videos.
When Jimin finally reaches his station, he does not doubt that it’s him. His face matches his hands and voice so well. The man politely smiles at Jimin. “Hello, what can I get for you?”
“Scallops.” It’s something Jimin remembers he’s seen a lot in Chef’s Min videos.
The man nods and searches for a different pan. “Good choice, sir.” The cook uses a spoonful of butter, and without glancing at Jimin, he says, “I saw you’ve been drinking only champagne, so seafood is a much better match than red meat.”
He was watching Jimin during the night.
That comment and the alcohol in his body forces Jimin to take a tiny step forward. Cooking scallops is quick, and Jimin will need more time than that if he wants to talk to the handsome man. “You always recommend scallops,” he blurts.
The cook looks up while jostling the pan.
His intense gaze makes Jimin speak lower. “On your videos.”
If he’s not the chef from the videos, Jimin will make a fool of himself. But if his feeling is correct, then this means he’ll meet his favorite creator. “You are— Chef Min from Youtube, right?”
“Oh wow,” the man says. Jimin looks up, their eyes meet, and embarrassment spreads through Jimin’s body. “Do you watch that?”
It’s not some obscure channel, but Jimin still blushes. “You have a reasonable amount of followers!”
The cook chuckles dryly, and it’s so attractive.
“Yes, I guess we do, but I’ve never met one of my subscribers.” Jimin blinks, slowly processing that this really is Chef Min from Youtube. “How did you recognize me? I don’t show my face at all. Is it the voice?”
Jimin is ashamed, but he’s already here, so he goes for it.
“The hands and the voice. All the frames in your videos are the same, and I’ve seen most of them, so I remember your hands. And you talk a lot in the video, so the voiceovers….”
Before Jimin can combust into nothing, the cook breaks into a broad smile. “That makes sense.”
A slight pause where the sounds of scallops cooking are the only background between them; everything else from the party is lost, chatter and music. “I suppose you like my videos,” the man says.
Jimin perks up. “So much! I always watch them.”
“Do you like cooking?”
Jimin can’t control his grimace, making the chef chuckle like he never does in the video. “You don’t? You like food, then?”
“I like watching you prepare food,” it’s what Jimin settles for.
The chef doesn’t stop smiling. “Thank you. Well, you’re getting the in-person show now.”
“I hope it’s as enjoyable as the videos.”
“It is,” Jimin says earnestly, but he’s not looking at the chef’s hands.
Both break their staring contest once Yoongi has to turn off the stove. “Thank you for watching my silly side-project. Here are your scallops, by the way.”
“I hope you like them.”
“I’m sure I will! Thank you.” Jimin watches the scallops in his dish. It’s something Chef Min has prepared, and Jimin can’t wait to try it; it’s almost a fantasy come true to try what he has always seen on the screen. But he also doesn’t want to leave.
They stare at each other again, and before neither can say a word, there’s someone already approaching the station. “It was nice meeting you. I’ll most definitely enjoy this and get going,” Jimin squeaks.
“Ah, okay,” the cook sounds disappointed. “Enjoy your food!”
Yoongi watches the man return to his coworker, more than smitten by him only after a small interaction. He’s gorgeous. Easily the most beautiful person Yoongi has seen. But Yoongi has to focus on work, and he’s already bowing to someone else and picking up a different pan.
While working, though, his thoughts keep drifting to the man. Yoongi had noticed him earlier; hard not to with that pretty face. But it turned out he watched Yoongi’s videos and was nervous about meeting Yoongi. It’s a crazy coincidence and not an opportunity Yoongi should pass.
At Yoongi’s big age, third base, opportunities like this are ones he has to seize. But he doesn’t know how to approach the guy again. He doesn’t even know his name or if he’s dating the handsome guy by his side. And he doesn’t seem interested in returning to the buffet table.
He finishes his scallops and gives the empty dish to a waiter without glancing at Yoongi, and Yoongi feels the same dread he experienced only in culinary school and his first job interviews. Yoongi wants to leave his station and ask if he liked the food, but he can't.
He’s dying to know if the pretty man liked the scallops. It’s not like Yoongi did much, but the opinion of a faithful subscriber matters to him. But he never finds out.
In the end, the man leaves with his handsome co-worker, and Yoongi stays working at his station.
But he perks up when he sees one of the girls chatting with the pretty guy earlier, making a line in the buffet. The guy might not be single, but Yoongi doesn’t lose anything if he asks. He dared tell Yoongi that he watched his videos, and Yoongi can dare to ask around too.
It’s almost time to leave the office, and Jimin keeps glancing at the hour while typing on his laptop. Even if he’s at the office, his mind is somewhere else. He can’t stop thinking about the scallops waiting in his freezer and the excellent dinner he’ll have tonight.
He can’t forget the taste of the ones he had on the weekend, the ones Chef Min prepared. Jimin watched a video where he cooked them, but he got too distracted by his voice and imagining the handsome face he now knows goes with it, and he had to look for another recipe video.
He can do a simple one and prepare it tonight, so he can’t wait to leave the office. He takes a coffee break when he finishes sending an e-mail to the investors of Jimin’s current project. A coffee break with no coffee since it’s bad for his health. Tea is much better.
He sips his tea when one of his co-workers enters the office’s tiny kitchen. She beams when she sees Jimin, and he hopes she doesn’t ask him to help him with something. He wants to get home soon. “Hey,” he bows when she stops by his side.
“Jimin ah, I was looking for you!”
“Did something happen?” Jimin moves to clean his empty mug.
“Do you remember the chef from the company party?”
Of course, Jimin does. “Yes,” he says while washing his hands, without looking at her.
“Well, he asked me about you.” And Jimin wasn’t expecting that at all.
“Yeah. He didn’t ask me first. He asked a few people before me, and then one of them told me the cook was asking for this guy in the company's state branch. And so I went up and told him we worked together, and he asked if you were interested in men and single.”
“No! He gave me his number so I could give him yours. Or you can have his number too. He wants to talk to you. Here, I’ll show you.” She searches for her phone’s messaging app and shows Jimin a chat with a man named Min Yoongi. Min. He really is the Youtuber.
The texts are simple; the latest one is an exchange from the chef reminding her to talk to Jimin and a reply from Jimin’s co-worker saying she’ll ask today. “Oh, God,” Jimin covers his mouth.
“Is that a yes?”
“I don’t know!”
“He’s handsome, isn’t he? Or you didn’t like him?”
A pause. “He thought you didn’t like him because you left, but he still wanted to get your number.”
“He thought I didn’t like him? It’s not like that; I just don’t— do dates and stuff. At all. And I was so nervous around him when we talked.” Because Jimin acted like a fan.
“But he went out of his way to ask about you and get your information! Isn’t that romantic?”
Most times, Jimin wouldn’t care if a person did something romantic for him, but it’s Chef Min. “Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”
“I wanted to see your face. You’re all red.”
Jimin rolls his eyes, but he knows he’s blushing bright red. “You can give him my number.”
“Wow, you still want him to text you first, making him work hard for it, Jimin ah.”
Jimin hasn’t dated in so long; he doesn’t know what to do. “What am I supposed to say?”
“I don’t know. Something like, hi, it’s Jimin from the event. I heard you were asking about me.”
“I would never start a conversation like that!”
His coworker laughs, amused. “I didn’t know you were so shy around guys! You’re so confident and bossy all the time.”
“It’s because I’m not shy. So what happens is that I don’t date and don’t know how to.”
“But you want me to give him your number.”
It’s Chef Min. Of course, he wants it. “Yes. Please.”
“I’ll give him your number, then,” she winks.
“Thanks,” Jimin’s heart is beating fast.
Yoongi -Chef Min's supposed name- didn’t text Jimin that night. Jimin cooks the scallops for dinner and pairs them with a large salad bowl and tea. He doesn’t even care that they don’t taste like the ones Yoongi prepared; he’s too excited about talking to him again.
Early in the morning, Jimin walks out of the shower after working out, and while still shirtless, he checks his phone and finds a message from an unknown number.
“Is this Jimin? I’m Min Yoongi. The guy from the videos.”
Jimin tries to hide his gasp, even if he’s home alone.
“Hi,” he types while bouncing his leg after taking a seat.
The response comes quickly. “Your co-worker told me your name.”
“Yes, it’s Park Jimin.”
“Did you like the scallops I made for you, Park Jimin?”
Jimin stares at the screen as a fluttering feeling settles on his chest.
“I did! They were so good. I should have told you that night, but I was embarrassed about approaching you again.” To get his point across, Jimin sends a photo from his dinner. “I cooked them yesterday because I’m still craving them, but it wasn’t half as good as yours.”
Yoongi sees the photo but doesn’t reply, and Jimin panics quickly.
“Oh God, I shouldn’t have sent that. Your plates are always so pretty, and mine looks terrible.”
“Please, I’m flattered you cooked it. But if it didn’t taste the same, I could teach you how to make them.”
“You have a video where you explain how to prepare them, but it was hard to follow.” Jimin fights the urge to send a crying emoji. It would be too forward, too flirty, but all his worries disappear with Yoongi’s following text.
“I meant private lessons.”
Jimin locks his phone.
Chef Min, from the videos he likes watching, with the perfect hands and sexy voice, is flirting with Jimin. When he looks down at his screen, a new message notification has arrived. “Am I too straightforward?”
“No, you’re not.”
“Is it too straightforward to ask you on a date?”
Jimin locks his phone again. He can’t do this, he hasn’t in so long, but at the same time, he wants to. He doesn’t date anymore, but Chef Min is so dreamy that Jimin finds himself typing before thinking twice. “It’s not. You can ask.”
Jimin closes his eyes.
When he opens them again, he finds a text waiting for him. “Can I take you out for dinner sometime this week?”
“I’d like that,” Jimin answers.
“Good. I can’t wait to see you again.”
And just like that, Jimin has a date with his favorite chef. How did that happen?
Later that day, Yoongi asks Jimin if he eats fish. Jimin says yes, and then he asks if Jimin likes Japanese food; Jimin again says yes. The next day, Yoongi sends a place and asks if Jimin likes it. Jimin finds it in himself to ask how long Yoongi took to find the right place.
“Cheeky,” Yoongi replies. Jimin hides his smile in his tea mug. “It took me much more than I’m proud to admit.”
"I like the place," Jimin types before he has to lock his phone and get back to work. But they text again to set a day and hour when they can make it.
It’s been a while since Jimin did any of this, and while he’s nervous because dating never ends well for him, he’s also excited.
Jimin cannot see any of Yoongi’s videos during the wait; just hearing his voice talking about a cooking technique has him growing shy all over again.
On a Tuesday night, Jimin arrives at the Japanese restaurant. Yoongi works on the weekends, so they settled for this day, even if it meant ending the date earlier because of Jimin's work.
Yoongi is already waiting outside, sans cook uniform, but still wearing black clothes.
Focusing on his clothes is hard when all Jimin can see is long soft black hair. “Hey,” Yoongi smiles when he notices Jimin's presence.
“You have long hair,” is Jimin's eloquent greeting.
As if remembering he has, Yoongi brings a hand to his fringe. “Ah, yes.”
“I didn’t know.”
“I don’t show it in the videos and put it in a bun during work.” A pause, and then Yoongi smirks. “Do you like it?” Jimin nods shyly. “You look good. That shade of green suits you.”
Jimin pulls at the sleeves of his oversized sweater. It’s one of his favorites. “Thank you.”
“Let’s go inside.”
Yoongi hovers his hand over Jimin’s lower back but doesn’t touch him when guiding him inside the restaurant. Jimin appreciates that. It’s a pretty place, not too elegant, but still fancier than a place one would come to with friends. It’s perfect for a date.
They sit at the table and browse the menu in a slightly awkward silence.
From behind the menu, Jimin peeks at Yoongi, wearing a concentrated frown, forcing Jimin to put his menu down. “Why don’t you choose something for me? You know more about food.”
Yoongi’s smile is sweet.
“I’ll ask for something we can share. How does that sound?”
Jimin is into anything Yoongi suggests. Yoongi asks for a bottle of white wine and a set of various dishes, even requesting the order in which they should bring them. It shouldn’t be as attractive as Jimin finds it.
Once the waiter walks away, Yoongi focuses on Jimin and sighs. “I’m rusty, if I’m honest. I haven’t had a date in a long time.”
“Me neither!” Jimin admits, relaxing a bit. “It’s been a while for me too. I made it obvious, I think. With how nervous I was during everything.”
“But you seem rather confident and calm!”
“‘cus I’m trying hard. I didn’t want to lose my shot once you said you watched my videos. You’re— you must hear it all the time, but you’re beautiful.”
Jimin bites his lower lip, controlling his grimace, but Yoongi still notices it.
“Sorry. First dates are hard,” he chuckles. “Maybe sincere compliments aren’t the best conversation starters. So what are we supposed to talk about when getting to know each other?”
Jimin hums before leaning closer. “It’s not what to talk about but what we shouldn’t talk about.”
Yoongi also leans in. “I like that idea. I’d say let’s not talk about food, except if we want to praise or complain about our order.”
“Oh. But doesn’t that exclude a lot of you? I mean, your work is food related. And we met through food. At the buffet and watching your channel.”
“It’s a challenge to broaden our conversation and get to know me as something more than the Chef with recognizable hands and voice.”
Jimin tries to hide his embarrassment at how quick he recognized Yoongi. “Fine. What about exes?”
“That’s the topic you want to avoid?”
“Good. No food. No exes.” Yoongi gives a curt nod before growing serious. “How was your day at work?”
Jimin starts telling Yoongi about his work; surprisingly enough, conversations flow easily. They sip from the wine and pick on their food as Jimin rants about his office.
“But social programs is what you wanted to do, right? Your passion.”
Jimin offers an unsure nod. “I guess so. I wanted to do more in-person work, you know, with kids and communities directly, but now I organize programs for companies or the state, which isn’t exactly the same.”
Yoongi finds everything Jimin says interesting. “How did you know you wanted to do that?”
And the smile on Jimin’s face is addicting. “I used to volunteer at a nursing home and teach dance classes to the elderly, which was great, and I wanted to do it at a bigger scale.”
“Do you like dancing?”
The end of his smile quivers. “Yeah. But I haven’t done that in a while, either.”
“We could go dancing sometime,” Yoongi says while picking a fish cut and dipping it in the sauce. “I’m not that fond of clubs, but with the right music, I can get into it.”
“That sounded a bit pretentious. What’s the ‘right’ music?”
Yoongi defends his choice of words and explains there’s no ‘bad’ music but music that is ‘right’ for you, and he rants about it. Jimin listens attentively until he supports his face on his palm.
“We could go singing.”
Yoongi is smitten. He thinks Jimin is too, and the date is going great, but while Yoongi said not to talk about food, it doesn’t mean he overlooks food. The fish is delicious, cold, and fresh, but Yoongi can’t focus much on it once he notices that Jimin never finishes his share.
The waiter keeps bringing dishes with four or six pieces to share. But Jimin only has one or two when it’s obvious he liked it and lets Yoongi have the rest. Yoongi doesn’t ask about it, but he wonders why. Maybe he had too much to eat at lunch and is still full.
Or maybe he’s pretending to like the food to please Yoongi and not ruin their date, but Yoongi has seen him hum around the food a lot. Perhaps he’s as nervous as Yoongi, but instead of Yoongi, who rambles to fight anxiety, Jimin has trouble eating. Nervousness does that.
Maybe he wants to bottom tonight and isn’t eating much because of that. Yoongi stops that thought as soon as it forms; he needs to get it together— how is he thinking of sex so soon? He hasn’t gotten laid in too long, and it’s showing.
He’s not even going to get a kiss tonight.
It’s too soon for that.
There’s only one goal for the end of the night, and it’s when Jimin reminds him he has work tomorrow morning, and they step outside to walk toward the bus station. Yoongi stops in his tracks, scratching his neck. “Hey Jimin, can I ask you out again?”
Jimin stops a few steps away. At night, the restaurant’s light makes a side of his face glow, and he opens his mouth. He doesn’t look that excited, and Yoongi worries for a long second but then a smile forms on his lips, and he nods. “Yeah. Yeah, I’d like that a lot, hyung.”
Jimin waits for Yoongi to catch up to him. “Dancing or singing? The date’s on me this time.”
“If we chose dancing, I’d need to have alcohol in my body and prefer to keep my drunken self hidden until some dates later.”
Yoongi thinks of Jimin’s giggles even after he gets home.
True to Jimin’s offer, they meet at a norebang in a week. Same day and hour.
The private room is small, only for two people, so their thighs brush when they sit. Jimin curls away from the touch, dropping his hand to his knees, and Yoongi worries. “Is everything okay?”
Jimin’s smile is enough for his doubt to dissipate. “Yes, hyung. Everything is alright.”
Yoongi decides to believe and not press on it, grabbing the paper with the discounts written on it. “Do you want something to eat? Drink?”
“Do you eat cheap, greasy food, hyung?”
“It’s just the second date. Are we moving on to the forbidden topics already? During the week, we haven’t mentioned them at all.”
They’ve been texting, very tame and polite but still texting. Jimin rolls his eyes. “We’ll see each other sing tonight; we’re moving forward.”
“I think we can slightly touch on the forbidden topics.”
Yoongi laughs to himself. “Well, I can do cheap and greasy food. I don’t hate it.”
“I always thought chefs would be the type to reject and criticize fast food.”
“Just the ones I know I can prepare better.”
They shift closer as they talk, but Jimin pulls away while raising an eyebrow. “Like chicken wings or hamburgers,” Yoongi explains. “I won’t pay for something I do better, but I can’t say no to greasy fried chicken. Oh, and also street food! It's holy, and I don’t mess with it.”
“You don’t like street food?”
“I love it! It’s delicious and requires technique I’ll never own. I respect it.”
“Oh, okay. I was going to judge you,” Jimin admits without looking guilty.
“That’s perfectly fine, Jimin ah.” The younger giggles. “What kind of food do you like?”
“You didn’t seem into Japanese food last time.”
Jimin looks caught as if he didn’t expect Yoongi to notice that he hadn’t finished any of the dishes. “I was! I liked it a lot… but—”
“Will you despise me if I say I prefer fast food over refined food?”
Yoongi leans in once more, and finally, Jimin doesn’t pull away. “Then why do you watch my gourmet recipes?”
Even under the blue lights of the norebang, Yoongi can see Jimin blushing. “You know why!”
“I don’t! You should tell me.”
“You know!" They stare for a long second.
And then, in a whisper, “because of your hands and voice.”
The silence between them breaks when Yoongi laughs, flattered but also enjoying making Jimin flustered. “That sounds dirty. What kind of content were you looking for in a cooking channel?”
“It’s not dirty!”
“It’s calming and distracts me, like any other ASMR channel.” Their eyes meet, and after a scoff, Jimin closes his tiny hands in fists. “Don’t tease me!” The warning comes with a light smack against Yoongi’s arm.
It doesn’t hurt, Yoongi laughs. “Fine, fine! I won’t tease.”
"It's better that you're here for my hands and voice, not my cooking skills. A foodie dating a chef is a bad combination."
"All the foodies I've dated had me cooking meals all time as if they were running a restaurant."
"And who says I won't do that?" Jimin teases.
“You’re so pretty, I don’t think I’d mind.” This time, before he gets another smack, Yoongi forces himself to look away from cute pink cheeks and stare at the paper in his hands. “If you like fast food, we can order anything from here. Something greasy.”
And once the small table in front of them is filled with dishes and glasses, Yoongi and Jimin don't talk about food again.
There are far more exciting things happening, like how Jimin is a great singer. He leaves Yoongi speechless, which throws Jimin into a fit of giggles.
He claps after Yoongi does his best to mimic a balladist, but they can't meet each other eyes while singing romantic lyrics at the top of their lungs. They fail at too many duets and decide they'll have to search for a song that matches them for their next date here.
The place is stuffy, and Yoongi ditches his hoodie after an hour, staying in a loose white tee. Meanwhile, Jimin doesn't remove his oversized jumper but keeps fanning himself with his hand. When Yoongi asks him if he's feeling hot under the clothes, Jimin says he's okay.
He says he'll drink water to cool a bit, and Yoongi doesn't argue with him; he probably forgot to wear a shirt under it. Not only does Jimin drink water, but he also devours his portion of the chicken, which leaves Yoongi strangely pleased even if he didn't prepare them.
And when Jimin plops on his seat after an intense rendition of a trot song, Yoongi squirms closer. “Hey, since we’re already on the forbidden topic date, will we talk about exes now, or is that reserved for the third date?”
“I don’t think there’s anything relevant to say.”
“You already know I haven’t dated in years, so this is all new." Yoongi waits for him to elaborate, and Jimin sighs. "What happened is that I wasn't actively trying to date. Well, I was avoiding it, but I wasn't going to say no to you.”
“Why have you been avoiding dating?”
There's a pause where Jimin won’t meet his eyes, and Yoongi cringes. “Sorry, it’s okay if you don’t want to talk about it yet. That was a bit intrusive.”
“You're curious; it's fine!" Jimin assures him, but he doesn't say a word about it. "On some other date, I'll tell you.”
But on their next date, which happens in the same week because they can’t wait longer, Jimin has different plans.
It’s a Sunday morning, and they’re walking in the park closet to Yoongi's work, drinking coffee, and heading to the Hotel. It's a short date, but worth it.
Yoongi learned Jimin doesn't like coffee and prefers tea with no sugar. He sips from Yoongi's order and grimaces at the taste, but Yoongi finds his expression cute. He's all bundled in a scarf and a coat, and his gloved hand keeps brushing Yoongi's as they walk.
“Hyung, before you go, will you tell me about your channel?” Jimin asks. “You never mention it, and I’ve been dying to know more, but I don’t want to sound like a fan.”
“You are a fan.”
Jimin purses his lips angrily, and Yoongi laughs. “Well, I still have some minutes.”
“It's not a cool story. My friend Jungkook came up with it. He had to create digital content for a class, he was studying something related to communication, and I had just left my previous work, so I agreed. And the channel did better than we expected, so we kept doing it.”
“You weren’t working at the Hotel’s buffet before?”
“No, this is a relatively new job.”
“Was it something very different from it?”
“Yeah, I worked at a very high-end restaurant. You know those where you can’t choose what you eat, and there are only ten tables.”
“There are restaurants like that?”
Yoongi chuckles, envying the ignorance regarding the cooking scene. “A lot. I worked at quite an acclaimed restaurant. Michelin’s stars and everything.”
“Oh,” Jimin nudges at his side. “Have no idea what that is, but it sounds important.”
“Since everyone eats the same nine dishes, we have stations for each. I was there for years and only worked on one dish each night.”
Jimin’s smile falls. “Oh.”
“And I had the revelation while talking to high school friends. I started asking myself why am I doing all this?”
“Why do I have to keep climbing the ladder if I don’t even want to open an inaccessible and unaffordable restaurant? I don’t want to do all that culinary science which I respect, but-”
Jimin stops walking and tilts his head. “What do you want to do, then?”
Yoongi sighs. “It was difficult coming to terms with it after investing so much time in studying and working, but I’m pretty sure that by now, I just want to settle down and cook for my children.”
On cue, some children yell while playing in the park. “Wow,” is all Jimin says.
“Yup, that’s the goal for me.”
And after a moment of hesitation, Jimin walks again, sipping from his tea before beaming at Yoongi. “I like that a lot, hyung. It’s sweet and noble.”
This time Yoongi is the one who stops walking and has to catch up to Jimin, hands brushing again.
Jimin says that now all the weird dishes Yoongi prepares on his channel make sense, and while talking, he lets Yoongi intertwine their fingers together.
When Jimin drops him off at work, Yoongi feels much more confident leaning in and kissing Jimin’s cheek before saying goodbye.
As Yoongi leaves for work, Jimin stays on the street, gripping his tea and blushing from head to toe, giddy like he hasn’t felt in years. The giddiness follows him through the week. When Yoongi sends text messages and when he daydreams about Yoongi’s gummy smile and rough voice.
The giddiness remains when he sees Yoongi waiting for him at a gallery’s entrance for their next date on Tuesday night. Jimin feels like he hasn’t in long— but his usual nervousness regarding dating returns at the end of the date.
“Hey, what about coming over to mine next time?”
Even if Jimin really likes Yoongi, he doesn’t want them to be alone. In his place. Almost as if reading his mind, Yoongi adds. “I don’t want to do anything weird! Just cook for you. Private lessons for the scallions, remember?”
Jimin blinks at his wide sincere eyes.
Yoongi is a serious and careful guy; he has solemn goals with dating; Jimin is sure he’s not lying. And Jimin likes him so much, not just his hands and voice. So he relaxes and plays with the sleeves of his coat. “I thought hyung didn’t like cooking for people he dates.”
“Yeah, I don’t want to be a personal chef, but that doesn't stop cooking from being my love language.”
“In that case, hyung must cook for me.”
“So you’re coming over after work? On my free day?” Yoongi sounds as giddy as Jimin feels, making it easier for Jimin to nod.
On Thursday night, Jimin shows up at Yoongi’s apartment with a blue hoodie and a smile. “Hey, hyung.” His usual shyness stays outside the apartment once Jimin gasps at the entrance. “Your kitchen is huge.” And then, as he removes his sneakers, Jimin’s eyes fall on the counter.
“This is where you record!” He points at the marble, knowing it too well.
“You’re such a fan.”
Jimin won’t pretend he isn’t. “Is it?”
“It is. And you’re right; it’s a big kitchen. The biggest of the building.” Jimin looks around, getting familiar with the fancy apartment.
“When I bought this place, I asked the builders to remove the laundry room to make the kitchen bigger.”
“Really?” Jimin glances at the living room, noticing it’s not as big. He ignores his curiosity about the bedroom.
“Yeah. It’s also the nicest room in the apartment.”
“I remodeled it a while ago,” Yoongi explains, walking to the kitchen table. Jimin follows, eyeing all the elegant details. “I like interior design.”
“Where did they put the laundry room?”
Yoongi’s grimace is adorable. “They crammed it in the bathroom.”
“You’re so silly!”
Jimin giggles, and once he stops next to Yoongi, the man’s intense gaze falls on Jimin, and he answers. “But you like me that way.”
And Jimin can’t lie. “Yes.”
Yoongi leans closer, and Jimin thinks they’re going to kiss, but they don’t; Yoongi only touches Jimin’s cheek.
He caresses it with his thumb before saying. “Go wash your hands; I’ll cook something for you.”
The bathroom is also sleek -not as much as the kitchen- Yoongi’s interest in interior design is apparent. Jimin doesn’t look at himself in the mirror; he knows his blush is bright.
When he returns, Jimin sits on a high stool by the counter, dangling his legs and listening to Yoongi talk as he puts together some extravagant dish for Jimin. His long black hair is in a bun, and his silky black shirt is tight yet loose, making him more handsome than usual.
For the first time, Jimin can see what happens beyond the frame of his favorite channel. Of course, it feels different from the close-up shot of hands under a camera. But the product is as high quality as it always is.
The dish is different from anything Jimin has seen before.
“Is this what you made at your old job each night?” Jimin blinks innocently, only for Yoongi to squeeze his nape.
“You’re a brat. Do you know that?”
Unable to argue, Jimin beams. “Thank you for the meal, hyung!” But before he can dig into it, Yoongi pushes the dish away.
“Is that how you say thank you?” Yoongi supports himself on the counter, tipping close one more time, and by now, Jimin should be used to how straightforward he is, but still, Jimin’s eyes widen. His expression pulls a dry chuckle out of Yoongi. “Sorry. You look scared.”
But Jimin doesn’t let him finish that thought, leaning in and pressing his lips against Yoongi’s in the softest peck. “Thank you for the meal, hyung,” he whispers while their lips still brush together. And he escapes without watching Yoongi react, taking a bite of the food.
Jimin’s heart beats fast, and his lips are tingly, but the taste distracts him. Jimin doesn’t know what ingredient makes the dish so delicious; maybe it’s the memory of Yoongi’s lips or how the elder presses his forehead to Jimin’s shoulder in a weak attempt at hiding his blush.
Lucky for Jimin, the portion is small, and he can eat without feeling guilty. After kissing the top of Jimin’s head, Yoongi digs into it, explaining each ingredient. They share another peck and a quick hug before Jimin has to go, and he goes to bed, unable to fight his smile.
From then on, their dates move to Yoongi’s apartment. Twice or even thrice a week, Yoongi slides a nicer dish on the countertop for Jimin. Vegetables are arranged in strange ways, with lots of leaves that Jimin believes to be inedible, and everything is tastier than the previous.
Jimin says thank you the same way every time until Yoongi stops blushing. He tries to hold Jimin longer when saying goodbye, hugging his middle, but Jimin manages to squirm away, reminding him he has work in the morning.
Jimin thinks Yoongi doesn’t find anything wrong with it.
They keep seeing each other and texting and saying, ‘I like you’ and ‘I miss you,’ and Jimin feels like he can do this again. He likes doing this with Yoongi and feeling so warm in his chest. Eventually, it’ll get complicated like dating always does, but Jimin enjoys it now.
But soon, their kissing becomes more often, and Yoongi always tries to deepen it. He’s respectful, though, and doesn’t say anything when Jimin giggles out of it. His hands also wander to Jimin’s waist, and as long as they don’t move, Jimin appreciates how nice they feel.
And then, Yoongi stops sliding the dishes over the marble counter and instead puts them on the coffee table. The dates continue, and the pair move from the kitchen into the living room to eat while watching a movie on the TV or just to be more comfortable or closer to each other.
By the end of the night, paired with too many bottles of soju, Jimin is curled up against Yoongi, and Yoongi keeps drifting closer. Jimin is conflicted in a way he hasn’t felt before, a faint reminder of why he stopped dating and how nervous moments like this can get for him.
While he wants to hold Yoongi close, he doesn’t wish for Yoongi to feel him up. “Hey,” Yoongi murmurs while Jimin focuses on the TV.
And then, the dreaded question comes. “Why don’t you ever want to kiss me?”
Jimin stares at him, at his beautiful, sincere eyes.
“We kiss,” he murmurs.
Yoongi nods slowly. “Yes, pecks. But I want to kiss you.” A pause where Yoongi scratches his neck. “You don’t like kissing?”
“I do!” Jimin does. “It’s just been a while.”
“You need more time? You know you can tell me if you don’t like kissing.”
“I think it’s something we should talk about if we want our—”
Jimin interrupts him by pressing their lips together. He can kiss Yoongi. He likes kissing Yoongi, likes when he touches Jimin’s face, and the way he takes the lead. And even if surprised, Yoongi kisses him back.
Jimin tumbles on top of Yoongi, and to keep him in place, Yoongi holds his middle. Immediately, Jimin tenses, not because he doesn’t like his touch but because he doesn’t want him to feel his body. Thankfully, he doesn’t repeat the action, settling on his hips instead.
His grip is tight, and when he’s not touching his middle, Jimin gets lost in the slide of their lips.
It’s Jimin who pulls away, breathing close to Yoongi’s face. “I like kissing,” he assures him. Yoongi nods, staring at Jimin’s lips before lowering his hands and squeezing.
And that’s not bad at all. The sound that leaves Jimin’s mouth can’t be helped, but it's muffled by Yoongi’s lips against his one more time. It’s just a peck, then another on Jimin’s jaw and another under his ear before whispering, “and more than kissing?”
“It’s been a while.”
Jimin feels Yoongi’s smile. “We don’t need to do anything right now. I just want to know if this is going to happen eventually.”
Their eyes meet, and Yoongi looks so open, so understanding, and in the weeks they’ve been going out, Jimin knows he’s patient and kind.
And maybe that’s why he speaks. “It’s not like I don’t want to do anything ever.”
Jimin looks away, focusing on Yoongi’s sweater. “We could do other things.”
“Like what? What would make you feel good?” Yoongi’s hands have settled on Jimin’s hips again.
Jimin gives it a long thought before whispering against Yoongi’s ear. “I could put hyung in my mouth.”
“Would that make you feel good?” Yoongi wonders.
Jimin nods quickly. But for some reason, Yoongi can’t bring himself to make a move.
“Does hyung want to?” Jimin presses.
“I want to talk.”
Jimin blinks, surprised at having read the room wrong. “Talk?”
“Yeah.” Yoongi lowers the volume of the series playing on the TV. “What other things do you like? I don’t want to do something you don’t like.”
“We’re talking about that right now?”
Jimin awkwardly laughs, but Yoongi is serious. “We’ve been dating for a while, right? I know your thoughts on politics, social stuff, work, and dunno, your music taste, but we haven’t talked about this yet.” They’re quiet, and then Yoongi laughs. “So, what do you like in bed?”
Conversations like this are embarrassing but necessary, and Jimin’s loud sigh means he understands. “I like— I like being in control.”
“You do?” Yoongi raises an eyebrow, having a hard time believing that.
Jimin looks away. “Well, that’s how I had sex with my exes.”
“Was it good sex?”
“Yes,” Jimin frowns. “I like pleasuring my partner.”
“I also like that,” Yoongi admits, and silence settles between them. “But I think we’re talking about different ways of pleasuring someone.”
Jimin hides behind his hands, not shyly but in frustration.
“This is why I stopped dating.”
“Intimacy is always weird.” He seems upset and tired, in a way Yoongi hasn’t seen before, even when Jimin complained about work or was angry at a lazy co-worker. “I really like you and want to keep seeing you—”
Here comes the ‘but.’
“But I don’t like when other people touch me. Not because I don’t like sex; I like having sex. I have a stupidly high sex drive and touch myself a lot.” Yoongi nods, flustered at the quick rant. “But I don’t want others touching me, so I always take the lead with other people.”
“But since I was always in control, my partners expected me to be more dominant? You know, call them names or spank them or be always the one with the initiative. And I understand because whenever they’d take the initiative, I’d put too many restrictions on the touching.”
“And I don’t know. I didn’t like that dominant role! I couldn’t do it! So nothing works for me!”
Seeing him so agitated worries Yoongi, and he needs to have a solution for Jimin immediately, something to put him at ease. “So you don’t actually like being in control.”
Jimin falls quiet for a moment before admitting, “I really like pleasuring my partner, but it’s exhausting always taking the lead, and it’s not enjoyable. But I can’t also let the other person take the lead.”
“I can’t! I don’t like being that vulnerable.”
“Being naked and splayed under someone and letting them see and touch anything they want.”
“Isn’t vulnerability and trust part of being intimate with someone?”
Jimin looks weary, gesturing around, trying to come up with the right words. “I’m not attractive enough for that.”