“Go, go,” Taehyung hurried, taking Jimin’s apron to let him slip out from behind the counter more quickly. Jimin decided he could get the grounds out from under his nails at home.
‘Oh I’m so sorry,’ was he all he had legally been allowed to say at the time, while his mind had far more colorful ideas.
“You wanna grab dinner later?”
“I can’t, remem—?
Jimin’s disappointment vanished as Taehyung suddenly smiled to himself.
“That’d be creepy!” Taehyung cried, voice soft. “Taking pictures of cute customers...”
“Cute customers that ask you on /dates/...”
Jimin grinned as Taehyung got so flustered he started giggling.
“I’ll take a selfie with him...” Taehyung promised softly, flushed in the cheeks, and Jimin nodded, zipping up his coat and heading toward the door.
“Good. Have fun with Mr. Machiatto~”
“His name is Yoongi!!”
Jimined sighed, the small ache in his chest returning.
Wait, what street was he at?
The worn, crinkled poster stapled to the electric pole that read “MISSING CAT” in bold red letters rustled in the cold winter wind as he passed.
But it had been two months without Chubs
And Jimin knew that that time would only grow.
His job would be unbearable if it weren’t for Tae.
Yes, the joy being alive, personified as being surrounded by bratty cousins, people he barely knew, and more often than not having it treated as another excuse to flaunt a large party to investors.
Hire a mariachi band, for all he cared.
Hypothetically, he could think of PLENTY of acts he’d like for his birthday entertainment, but he knew absolutely none of them would ever be ‘Okay’d by his father.
No cousins. Warmth. A simple marble cake. His mixtapes given back...
It was music that got him through the years of schooling, the pre-planned curriculum he’d vocally opposed.
Hoseok hoped Dawon was happy, wherever the hell she’d run off to. She never wrote. Never called. Thanks to her, Hoseok had the full burden of being The Good Child placed upon him.
Thanks a whole ton.
What would happen if he just told his father that he didn’t WANT a party? To just nix the whole thing? Hoseok could, he should!
...but his mother would be heartbroken.
Hoseok took his phone, scrolling through news notifications with full intent on taking a nap in the living room.
Both were gorgeous. Carefree.
Hoseok barely wanted to be alive himself.
He thought about his birthday. The snow. Babies. His mixtapes. Actors. Singers. Taemin.
“Shit, /shit/,” he cursed, darting to pick it back up and unlock it, for the first time in his life frantic to message his father.
He hadn’t forgotten about Park Jimin. How could he, really? But the man had exited and entered his thoughts as time passed.
Come on. Just this one thing. Just this one day.
It wasn’t definite, but it was possible. Hope was all he had, but if it came through, oh God.
...but then what? Hoseok didn’t know what exactly he’d do once Jimin was here...in his den. Singing...
Come to think of it, he probably couldn’t, right? He was probably working. Stealing more hearts from a stage that belonged to him, moving like grace personified.
His heart sank. Hope was all he had, but was it enough?
His phone rang.
...his stage manager? But the show had closed after Christmas.
He sat up and hit ‘Answer.’
“This is still Jimin, right?”
“Okay good. Look, I don’t know what’s goin’ on, but some guy called the theatre lookin’ for you, so then they called me, and now I’m calling you, and now I’m supposed to transfer you to the first guy—“
“Wait, wait, I don’t—what??”
“Am I speaking to Park Jimin?” came a pleasant female voice, and Jimin straightened up.
What the fuck?
“May I ask who’s calling?”
...what the fuck??
“According to what I’ve been told, my manager and his son attended an opera on a night you performed in place of Lee Taemin? His son wants the performer from the night he attended, which is you.”
Jimin was stunned but quickly composed himself.
“You would be expected to perform two one-hour long sets of songs, one as the guests are arriving and one during dinner at 5. You would be providing your own sheet music, we’ll have a pianist ready to assist. Attire is business casual.”
Sunday was the shop’s busiest day, and Jimin was pulling a double. He couldn’t just bail. They needed him!
“Oh, I nearly forgot your compensation.”
“I’m available all day,” he answered with zero hesitation, though his hands shook.
“Perfect. I’ll send you the address and additional information. Thank you for your participation!”
And a new notif popped down, one with a location and a PDF file.
‘We look forward to seeing you.’
Then his phone buzzed.
Two hours worth of music. He could do that easy. He had books for show tunes, he knew classical pieces. He could throw in a few contemporary pop songs. This was easy. He was prepared.
Jimin was five minutes away from the Jungs’.
Focus. It’s just another performance. And if it went well, it could lead to more. That’s how rich people worked, right? Right.
‘You are hot and hireable,’ Jimin has told himself in front of his mirror, and he was god damn right.
They were coming up on a house. A LARGE house. Jesus, how big was this family?
...oh...come on! He was fine! He’d performed in front of hundreds of people in a national OPERA. And that performance EARNED him this job. Jimin had made an impact.
Before Jimin could turn to face the house, the front door opened, and he saw a woman.
“I am, hello.”
“Hello! I’m Soo-Hee, I manage the Jungs’ home. Please, follow me. You can hang your coat in the foyer.”
...okay this was actually really happening now. The knot in Jimin’s stomach tightened.
He couldn’t stop staring. If someone hadn’t taken his coat, Jimin would have dropped it.
It was all extremely clean and expensive.
Jimin relaxed, smiled. Right. He’d earned his place here.
“It does, doesn’t it? The young master will be so thrilled.”
“He’s upstairs preparing. Really, Hoseok-nim has seemed so light since you confirmed, just like the week or so after he returned from your show.”
“I‘d that’s true for everyone.”
“You’re very right,” she replied quietly. “But initially he was so against seeing the opera. Thought it was a punishment.”
Jimin pictured a child pouting, kicking the back of a car seat.
Jimin nodded, the child in his mind now in the theatre, angry and upset, only to be...blown away. And happy. And inspired.
Jimin had done that.
“You sound so mature. How old are you?”
“I’ll be 23 in October, ma’am.”
“Oh! You’re around the young master’s age.”
“Oh, that’s—wait, wh—?“
“I’ll tell him you’ve arrived.”
Wait a second.
The son was an /adult/?
Well...okay! That was fine! Still totally valid! Although apparently...’Hoseok,’ was it? Apparently, Hoseok was moody and hated opera.
Hated opera but loved Jimin.
He found the den, stepping in with intrepidation.
Another gorgeous room.
“You the singer?”
“Let’s do a soundcheck, I wanna know what I’m working with.”
“Oh, uh–yes, sounds good.”
How very sudden. Jimin handed the pianist his books and quickly stepped to the stage. Well, it was more like a raised platform, really.
“This I can do. Good picks, kid. Let’s do Birdland.”
Jimin nodded quickly. He actually really loved Lullaby of Birdland. Okay. Warming up was good.
He’d only just realized the night before exactly what it was he’d done, which was invite someone into his home... knowing absolutely /nothing/ about them.
Park Jimin wasn’t a celebrity. Nowhere in the public eye.
He was a person.
Hoseok fixed his tie for the third time, listening to the piano music drifting through the house. Everyone should be arriving soon.
He should be arriving soon...
He made for his door but faltered as there was suddenly a knock. Puzzled, he opened it, smiling as he saw his maid.
“Nearly, sir. I just came up to tell you that—“
“Wait, wait, do you—?“
Hoseok stopped her, perking up as he heard a sound. The piano was playing a new song.
“Excuse me,” Hoseok nearly choked, squeezing past his now laughing maid.
Hoseok was quick down the stairs.
Park Jimin was a person. A beautiful dancer. A amazing singer. A person.
A person Hoseok wanted to know.
He rounded the corner of the foyer. Be calm.
His steps quickened, echoing, the voice he followed growing.
He reached the den.
He really knows how to cry.
That’s how I’ll cry in my pillow
If you should tell me farewell ad goodbye
Lullaby of Birdland, whisper low.
Kiss me sweet, and we’ll go
Fly high in Birdland, high in the sky up above.
We’re in love.”
He opened, lowering his tone, a soft finish.
“We’re in lo—“
He froze, voice catching as he realized that they were no longer alone.
The man stared at Jimin on the stage, awed.
It was like time had slowed.
As the man stepped into the large room, the pianist started speaking, but Jimin couldn’t hear him. Couldn’t hear anything but the fire. The footsteps.
He said his name, and another burst of warmth went though Jimin, who made to step down from the platform, nodding.
God he was /gorgeous/.
He was taller than Jimin, with high cheeks and a slender nose. Black hair.
“It’s an honor to meet you,” Jimin hurried, bowing and speaking formally to hide his nerves. But then Hoseok grinned, and Jimin already knew his life was over now. Utterly ruined, God, what the hell? Why couldn’t he have been some spoiled kid!?
Jimin smiled, liking the way his name sounded from Hoseok.
“And how you shall I address you while I’m here?”
“Hyung is fine,” Hoseok answered quickly, surprising Jimin but...if that’s what he wanted...
“Alright then, Hoseok-hyung.”
“Ah, I was telling your housekeeper, I—wanted to thank you for this opportunity. I mean—oh gosh, I haven’t even—happy birthday, hyung.”
“You can relax, you know. It’s party.”
“Well yes, but I mean I /am/ working,” Jimin said with a nervous laugh.
“I’m happy you’re here,” Hoseok said suddenly, and Jimin swore his stomach flipped.
“Oh I know. Hey. Promise me you’ll come talk to me after your first set. Sound good?”
“...sure,” Jimin said slowly, smiling softly. He looked to Hoseok for a just a bit too long before excusing himself back the stage.
Jesus CHRIST, Tae was gonna die when he heard THIS.
He leaned toward the pianist, requested another song, and sang with gusto.
Hoseok was listening.
Jimin...was a person.
The most beautiful, adorable person Hoseok had ever seen.
God, /chill/. Jimin was a person. He was here to do a job.
His thoughts stopped as Jimin started a new song, and Hoseok smiled a wobbly smile.
Oh...this was bad...
What Hoseok /was/ doing was sitting on the sofa, back straight, eyes focused on Jimin, smiling as if every song were meant for him alone.
And the way he swayed.
But he didn’t seem to mind.
At least, that’s what Hoseok thought when their eyes met.
Hoseok would smile up to him, and Jimin would look away, smiling in a way that made those brown eyes almost vanish.
But he always returned Jimin. Glances shared across the room, as if it were their own secret world.
Their own private indulgence.
A voice snapped him out of his head, a tug to his arm pulling him away, what—!?
Oh. His father.
“You’re hardly socializing.”
“Am I not in the room?”
“Your aunt told me you barely spoke two words to her.”
“I didn’t have anything to say!”
“Hoseok, sooner or later you need to—“
His father’s voice faded...
Hoseok was just nodding at this point, processing none of the scolding he was receiving
“I’ll be better,” he rushed vaguely, patting his father’s arm and more or less darting away. Ignoring the stern call of his name behind him.
Hoseok made for the refreshments.
/He/ was stooped, smiling and bowing to Hoseok’s near-drunken aunt, who must have praised his singing.
Hoseok poured a shot of Soju and downed it as if he actually liked it.
He didn’t, but he needed it.
Of meeting someone new.
For the second time today, Hoseok felt as if he would vomit, but...it wasn’t an unpleasant anxiety.
Hoseok laughed lightly, nerves rising as he started pouring another shot.
“Thank you,” he murmured, taking the shot in his hand gingerly before hesitating.
“Is this–? I mean, I’m working–“
“It’s my party. Go ahead.”
He smiled at Hoseok, who smiled back.
...and they just stayed like that for a good moment before Jimin tilted his head, eyes teasing.
“You wanted to talk to me, hyung..?”
And then Jimin laughed, and Hoseok decided if he died right now, he wouldn’t care in the slightest.
“Well. I’m here,” Jimin all but whispered.
Their heads whipped to the side, and there was Hoseok’s father, still a ways away but coming for them.
Hoseok guided him down hall after hall, further and further from the party until they were alone in a large, clean, silvery kitchen.
“We should be good here,” Hoseok said to himself, looking back to Jimin with smile.
If anything, escaping like that had felt thrilling.
Jimin lightly squeezed Hoseok’s hand...because they were still holding hands.
How could such a good-looking guy be this cute?
Jimin set his cup down, walking around the space.
“Soo-Hee does good work.”
Jimin’s attention turned to the cake towering above them.
“Oh no, that was ordered. My mother’s friend runs a patisserie.”
Hoseok was /very/ cute. He also seemed very nervous. Lucky for him, Jimin was feeling rather confident today.
He rounded the counter, taking a firm grip on its edge as he pushed himself up to sit beside Hoseok, who looked surprised.
“So. You hate operas?”
“Soo-Hee was telling me about you,” Jimin confessed with a knowing grin, but that’s all he’d say. He didn’t want to embarrass Hoseok, just loosen him up a little.
“Ah, no, I don’t—I mean...i-it just wouldn’t have been my first choice.”
“Eh. I don’t blame you.”
“You’re not offended?”
“Why would I be offended!?” Jimin laughed. “Everyone has their tastes. I can admit opera’s a little stuffy. Not to mention the divas you deal with backstage...”
“When did you start dancing?”
“Mm. Late start, right?”
“Oh, I didn’t mean to—“
“It’s fine, hyubg,” Jimin laughed, patting his back. “You’re fine.”
Jimin paused, thoughts brimming before he finished simply with a shrug.
“They were right. It was hard.”
“Eh...honestly I can’t say much.”
Jimin suddenly wished he had another shot to shoot.
“Even talent and hard work doesn’t open a lot of doors these days. I got lucky.”
“Your dancing is incredible,” Hoseok stopped him, and again, Jimin just smiled.
“You’re too nice, Hyung.”
“I’m being honest!”
That’s when Jimin’s smile fell, because Hoseok was looking at him seriously.
“Thank you,” he murmured at first, then he spoke clearly, “What does your family do?”
“Oh, really? He seemed...well—”
“He’s pissed. Trust me, it’s nothing new,” Hoseok finished, and Jimin almost snorted.
“And he’s why you were at the opera.”
“Yeah,” Hoseok confirmed. “A punishment he said wasn’t a punishment.”
“Still not my taste in music, but as far as dancers go—“
“What /is/ your music taste?” Jimin cut him off. He couldn’t take more praise.
“Come over here.”
Oh. Well this certainly wasn’t opera. Or pop, or rock, or funk. Maybe R&B? No. Hip-hop? It had a good intro, a beat that made Jimin nod his head in time.
“Who is this?”
Hoseok turned the phone around.
“Kim Namjoon,” Hoseok added, a tinge of pride in his voice. “This guy is incredible ”
“So you like hip hop?”
“Well I mean he’s not /just/ hip-hop, he’s everything. But yeah.”
Jimin grinned, returning the headphones.
“So a hip-hop fan gets dragged to a stuffy opera...”
For the both of them.
“Hoseokie-hyung’s a rebel who doesn’t go by the system,” Jimin teased.
“That’s certainly what my father thinks.”
“When I told my parents I wanted to pursue dance you’d have thought I’d said I wanted to go study clownery,” he confided. “But I made them understand. I moved out. I audition as often I can.”
“Don’t worry, it’s nothing you did. It’s always been like this...so...what do you do when you’re not auditioning?
“You’re looking at the second best barista in Seoul.”
“Really? Wait, second best?”
“The best goes to my friend Taehyung. Seriously, he’s amazing. We could get slammed and he’s got it.”
“Actually, I was supposed to work /today/, but—some things take precedent.”
“It’s easier to beg forgiveness than ask permission,” Hoseok replied, and Jimin nodded.
“I figured I could either work the double shift or...I could come here and sing for you.”
“I would,” Jimin replied softly. No hesitation.
Not that Jimin cared for them.
But then there were footsteps.
Hoseok was holding Jimin’s hand again, and this time Jimin wouldn’t say /shit/ about it.
The boys ducked to the other side of the counter.
He laughed so hard he lost his balance, Hoseok catching him quickly.
Jimin was inexplicable, and yet Hoseok wanted to give him everything and anything.
What had Hoseok done to deserve this exact moment where the cutest guy in Korea was giggling into his chest?
He’d wanted to kiss him for the ten minutes they were hiding from his drunk aunts.
When Jimin had said that he was just lucky.
When he‘d listened to Namjoon.
He was relieved that Jimin was quick to wrap his arms around his shoulders, pulling him closer as Hoseok took him by the waist.
Every now and then Jimin would make a little sound, these little hums that made Hoseok’s stomach twist and turn.
The two broke apart, both a little breathless, a little flushed, a little shy.
“.../wow/,” Jimin whispered, smiling, voice shaky from excitement. Hoseok felt his fingers curling into his hair. “Do you do this with all your special guests?”
Giggle and kiss him again.
Hoseok pulled Jimin flush to his body, feeling lightheaded when Jimin licked at his lips, opened his mouth for him.
Hoseok hadn’t realized what a great decision he’d made until he felt Jimin’s legs wrap around his body.
“I really like you,” he confessed in a breath. As if it weren’t obvious.
Hoseok wished he could really feel Jimin, but his shirt was tucked in, plus he had another set soon. They couldn’t do anything /too/ crazy.
Would Jimin perform his final set and go home? Would Hoseok ever see him again after that?
Would Jimin /want/ to see him again after this?
The future didn’t matter. Not here in the now.
“Aah, /hyung/,” Jimin whined, arms tightening around him. “You’ll leave a mark...”
Ugh, he was right. Hoseok kept the mantra going, Jimin has a set, Jimin has a set...
“...want you to touch me...”
What was Hoseok going to do? Say no?
“Whoah, are you okay?? I–I‘m so sorry, I thought you were—I didn’t mean to—“
“Hoseok...” came a new voice.
She looked as shaken as Jimin, totally frozen, pale as a ghost, looking between the two, mouth ope, but silent.
“‘/Mom/?’” Jimin parroted hoarsely behind him.
“Your father is looking for you,” she interrupted, voice forced. She looked to Jimin for a moment before looking back to her son.
“...don’t make him come looking for you.”
“Mom, /wait, Mom, please, I can—“
Hoseok was already running after her but stopped short, whirling around to look at Jimin again.
Jimin stared, breathing “Go” as struggled to collect himself.
He’d fucked up.
He’d fucked up.
Jimin stood, legs wobbly. He needed to find a bathroom. Someplace with a lock, someplace to calm down.
He pulled out his phone.
Forty-five minutes until his set.
Homophobia does not exist in this au.
The reaction of recent events is based solely on the fact Jimin is of lower social status, the hired entertainment, and the whole thing was just plain shocking and awkward to walk in on.]
He’d been willing to let Jung Hoseok do much more with him in that kitchen. Or perhaps elsewhere in the home.
This, despite not knowing anything about Jung Hoseok.
Hoseok was...kind. He was kind, cute when he was nervous. Considerate. His laugh made Jimin so delighted it almost invoked him to laugh.
...what /was/ this...?
This wasn’t a date. It didn’t /feel/ like some fling, at least not to Jimin. It was inexplicable.
Jimin knew this was different.
There was a pure inexplicable magnetism between him and Hoseok, and it scared him almost as badly as the thought of facing the party again after what they’d done.
What the hell was he going to do?
Jimin stood, legs sore from the lack of movement, and he looked at himself in the mirror. Fixed his hair. Smoothed his shirt.
The only regret he had was getting caught.
He left the washroom, every step he took feeling like one closer to his certain doom.
He didn’t know what terrified him more, the thought of everyone at the party knowing what they’d done, or the thought of Hoseok regretting it, maybe pretending as if he didn’t know Jimin.
...no. Hoseok wasn’t like that.
...paid him absolutely no mind.
The first thing he did was pour himself another shot at the refreshments table...fuck it, two, and an older woman grinned at him.
“Hello everyone, glad to be back. How’s everyone liking the party?”
Polite golf claps.
He’d had this speech planned before meeting Hoseok. Before knowing what his lips felt like on his throat.
And there he was.
Looking right at Jimin, who almost forgot he needed to keep speaking.
“—let’s all take a moment to wish our Hoseok-nim a very happy birthday. One, two—“
The room erupted into the birthday song.
He could only blow out the candles on the lowest tier of the cake, the rest fanned out by servers.
His smile seemed so forced that it made Jimin’s heart ache.
The heartache turned into a lurch.
But Jimin had a job to do.
All he could do was watch and sing.
Only his mother knew.
It had been her suggestion that no one else know.
‘Its best to keep these things to ourselves, Hoseok.’
So...he was safe. He and Jimin were safe.
So why did he feel so shameful? So dirty?
It wasn’t because of Jimin. How could it be?
Hoseok couldn’t do a damn thing about it.
He wanted to take Jimin away and kiss him again and again and again.
He wanted to dance with him, laugh with him, talk with him, share life with him. /Enjoy/ life with him.
Hoseok had never truly envisioned a happy future for himself until today.
The issue with his mother was somewhat patched, but it still wasn’t sitting right with Hoseok; she hadn’t let him get in a word, just kept brushing it off, ‘I’m not angry. It’s best to keep these things to ourselves. Your father doesn’t need to know.’
Jimin hadn’t felt like that. Jimin /meant/ something.
He was far more than a private school bathroom fling.
...but it was better than any other alternative.
He found the back door and gasped at the thin, blistering cold.
He heard the door open behind him, followed by “Hoseok!”
“Hoseok, come back inside before you catch something.”
“I-I’ll be f-f-fine—“
“Jung Hoseok, I’m not going inside until you do.”
“I m-mean it!”
Hoseok hesitated before moving past her, back towards the door and holding it open for her as she hustled back into the house. It slammed, shuttering the cold out
“Honestly, you’re as impulsive as your father–“
“I just needed to be alone for a–”
“You couldn’t be alone in a warm room? Inside the house?”
“It was too warm in the house, I’m sorry, I just–!”
Neither said a word. Hoseok knew if he kept speaking he would cry, and his mother...
In the end, she moved to him and hugged him, a gesture he returned slowly.
It was as if Hoseok were struck by a tidal wave, drowning him slowly.
Hoseok was 20,000 leagues under, pressure crushing him, dying, all light gone.
But then she spoke again.
”Were you happy today, Hoseok? Did—...did he make you happy?”
Jimin made him feel like there was more to go after in life, like life was more than just a ticking clock.
Jimin made him feel inspired, even if Hoseok felt it was too late to chase his passion.
Jimin had moved him from the moment Hoseok had seen him.
His mother was unreadable, looking like she might cry.
He hadn’t wanted this.
He’d never wanted this.
He needed to apologize, he’d vow never do anything like this again, never see Jimin again, even if it killed him, just so she would never think—
It was worrying, how quickly she’d managed to compose herself.
“Don’t take too long coming back to the party. It’s yours, after all.”
And then she was gone, the click of her heels fading.
Jimin still sang. He still swayed. Still seemed totally in control, unbothered...he really was a good performer.
Hoseok briefly panicked, thinking Jimin had gone home, left the house altogether.
Hoseok wondered if it was only out of obligation to the job, if in that time he’d come to realize he’d made a mistake. That maybe he regretted what had happened.
...no, Jimin wasn’t like that. Hoseok knew whatever /this/ was...it was mutual.
His attention was pulled away by the sound of clapping; one his aunts whooped and was clapping to beat, something that others around followed suit, until Hoseok was clapping, too.
And that was enough for Hoseok to feel the weight lift from his soul.
She was clapping, too, eyes fixed on Jimin. Studying him silently. Listening to his song.
Hoseok was startled when she turned to look at him, freezing.
After a moment, she looked back to Jimin, a small smile on her face.
Song after song after song, the party loose with alcohol and in Hoseok’s little cousins’ cases, sugar.
He didn’t know if he’d be able to explain everything before Jimin left.
No...that couldn’t be the end of it. Of this.
A laugher rippled through the crowd, and Hoseok chuckled, writing feverishly on a napkin.
Jimin stepped down, grunting when he received a hard slap on the back from the pianist.
“Now /that/ was some /music/.”
“You as well” Jimin laughed quietly. Several of Hoseok’s relatives came up, praising him, and Jimin felt pride. Happiness.
He’d really done it.
“That was excellent work, Jimin-ah.”
Confusion set in. Jimin wasn’t sure what he’d expected, but it wasn’t this. Hoseok looked so...casual. Unaffected.
“Thank you again for the opportunity, sir,” Jimin replied.
Jimin‘s body went cold.
“In any case, good work,” Hoseok’s father sighed. “I’ve already arranged for someone to take you home, they should be arriving shortly.”
He extended his hand and Jimin took it gently, “Thank you, sir.”
...this wasn’t right. It couldn’t end like this. Not with forced smiles and polite handshakes. Not without answers. Not without...something.
“Thank you, Hoseok-nim,” Jimin murmured, taking Hoseok’s hand for the third time that day.
“Thank /you/, Jimin-ah. You really are something else.”
“Ah, I’ll see you out,” Hoseok offered quickly, and Jimin nodded.
“Have a safe trip home,” Hoseok’s father stated automatically before returning to the den.
“I can’t follow you,” he murmured by his ear, and Jimin understood.
“Until next time.”
Jimin smiled, bowing and speaking softly.
“I look forward to it, hyung.”
He took a moment as the car drove away, just to breathe. To think.
He finally opened his fist, finding a crumpled napkin. He dug for his phone, needing light.
He wondered when he would wake up. When the dream would end.
But the new contact in his phone was real. And Jimin was awake.
Then his phone buzzed, startling him to curse.
Jimin was so pretty...
Wait, he should send one back. Which one...it had to be perfect.
Hoseok suddenly felt very self-conscious, how he didn’t know. It had seemed like they were past appearances. The picture was silly, wasn’t it? He’d thought he looked cute, but what if—
Hoseok suddenly felt very silly, flustered as he lied back on his bed, face half buried in his pillow.
Hoseok hit send and tossed his phone to the foot of his bed like it was a live grenade.
He’d been feeling this guy up only hours ago, and here he was /terrified/ of saying he was cute. What the hell was wrong with him!?
Hoseok squeaked as his phone started to ring. /Fuck/.
He hit answer.
“Hey,” he said, feigning calm.
“Hi,” came Jimin’s soft voice, and Hoseok swore he could hear his smile. Hoseok laid himself down again.
“Yeah, well,” Hoseok laughed, taking a little pride, “I couldn’t just let you go.”
“I didn’t want to go...”
There was a beat, and then finally the question of the hour came in one word.
“Mom and I talked about it. She’s—I mean, she wasn’t even mad. Right now she seems pretty okay with it.”
“The whole thing” Hoseok answered.
“Okay...I feel better...I’m sorry.”
It was as if Jimin had heard Hoseok’s heart sinking, because Jimin started backtracking.
“I mean, not that I didn’t enjoy it! I-I...actually /really/ enjoyed it.“
“Yeah?” Hoseok pushed, heart pounding.
“I’m sorry things got awkward.”
“I kept wondering when you would. I wondered if you wanted to.”
“Oh I wanted to.”
Hoseok felt the words come easily.
Hoseok couldn’t believe himself, the things he was saying. It was like something out of those sappy dramas his mother watched. But he meant it, especially when Jimin sounded so cute.
...Jimin didn’t sound so cute anymore.
Hoseok remembered exactly where they’d left off in the kitchen and a chill shot up his spine.
“Oh? Like what?”
“Hm...I can’t seem to remember.”
“Well, I can send you the address to my shop if you’d like to see me, or if you just want some coffee.”
“I’d like both.”
“And you can meet Tae.”
“I’d like that, too.”
“Maybe you can be a new regular~”
“Oh, it’s this one here, yeah,” he heard Jimin say, voice faint, away from the receiver, then fully, “Made jt home.”
“Nice. Was I good company?”
“Should...I let you go?”
“Mm...I haven’t gotten to my room yet, so—“
“Oh yeah, of course.”
“Ah...it’s 20 stories, I’m on the 14th. My upstairs neighbor has kids that run around a lot and my downstairs neighbor is a total recluse.”
Hoseok heard an elevator ding.
“I’ve only seen the guy once.”
A person needed people.
“He sounds interesting,” was all he could really say. Jimin hummed in agreement.
Hoseok didn’t know why that made him feel sad, but it did.
“It was my pleasure, Jiminie.”
“Ah...that sounds as nice as I thought it would...”
“You like it?”
“You know,” Hoseok added, “you told me about your neighbors. What’s /your/ room like?”
“...oh,” Hoseok answered stupidly, and Jimin giggled.
God, he really /was/ ruined.
“I’m gonna go to bed. Good night, hyung.“
“Good night, Jiminie.”
“I’m glad you invited me.”
“I’m glad you came.”
He was cool. He was collected. He was—
His phone went off.
What had today even /been/!?
What the absolute hell had his life /become/!?
His hands flew back to his phone. Oh Taehyung. /Kim Taehyung/. You’d better not be out with that Yoongi. If he didn’t pick up, Jimin might implode.
“Heeey, there you are.
God, work was /awful/, you owe me. How‘d it go?”
“Tae you need to come over.”
“Oh no...Jimin, what happened? Was the kid a total brat?”
“Wasn’t a kid. It was a guy. Little older than us.”
“And I made out with him in his kitchen.”
“YOU DID WHAT, OH MY GOD, I—“
He heard Taehyung pause.
“...I need to come over,” he said quickly. “Oh my god, I’m staying the fucking /night/, Park Jimin, you can’t just—!”
“I’ll see you soon.”
“Should I bring drinks?”
“Oh my god please. And snacks, too, I’m starving.”
“Got it. See you soon.”
Jimin hung up and fell back on his sofa, eyes on the ceiling.
He closed his eyes, going over today in his head, enjoying the warmth in his apartment, his chest. Enjoying the silence before it would undoubtedly be the wildest storytime /ever/.
Diing. “/AH/—oh come on!”
“They can’t all be him, Tae,” Jimin chuckled, fighting his own disappointment.
Jimin hadn’t expected Hoseok to come right at opening or anything, but Jimin /had/ told him his schedule. Nothing had been set in stone, but still...
Jimin whipped from his station, Taehyung’s startled sound and what it meant making his heart skip.
But then it fell, but only just a little. In fact, he was actually a little excited.
“Hiii, Hyuuung,” Tae drawled as Min Yoongi came up to the counter.
This guy was short, /pale/ as the damn /moon/, and was dressed in black from head to, from his ballcap to his face mask to his leather jacket to his boots.
“You’re too good to me, hyung~”
Taehyung giggled and leaned across the counter, poking the mask.
“I’m gonna go put this away. Hyung, Jimin. Jimin, Hyung.”
“...so...I’m the friend.”
“He talks a lot about you.”
“He talks about you, too...you make music?”
“What kinda music?”
“Ah...little of everything.”
“Do you listen to—?”
What an odd pair. But Jimin couldn’t deny the guy was hot, and he seemed sweet. No wonder Tae was head over heels.
He was happy for them.
“I told him your darkest secrets,” Jimin answered without missing a beat.
“He told me everything, babe,” Yoongi deadpanned, perfectly playing along.
Oh, Jimin /loved/ this guy already.
“What!? Oh—/stop/! I don’t need you two ganging up on me!” Taehyung whined.
“I’ll save our table.”
“Do you want your usual?” Taehyung said, the words cute with his annoyance, and Jimin saw Yoongi’s eyes shine.
“Fine...only because you said please.”
“He is /whipped/ for you.”
“I know,” Taehyung said, pout disintegrating into a devilish smile as he turned around. “He’s so cute. You should see him when we go out.”
“We’re going out after my shift. He said he wants to take me to his studio~”
“Mhm. I’m putting my phone on silent tonight,” Taehyung murmured, “just so you know...”
Jimin only nodded. Good luck, Tae.
The sound of someone clearing their throat caught his attention.
There he was. Here he is.
Looking as good as he had two days ago, only more casual.
“Cute apron,” he said with a grin.
Jimin’s shock turned to simmering happiness, smile growing.
“Hyung,” he breathed.
“Yeah,” Jimin said in another breath, too surprised and too happy. Hoseok laughed.
“You must be Taehyung-ah.”
“I am! And you’re—you’re—!”
He pointed to Jimin furiously.
“I am. And I’m glad to see him.”
“I’m glad to see you, too,” Jimin replied.
God it’d only been two days, yet it’d felt so much longer.
“Can we get you anything?”
“Well, I /did/ want something to drink, buuut I was also wondering when you got off.”
“About another hour,” Jimin answered quickly.
“Now what to drink...“
And suddenly Taehyung was leaning close, staring him down.
“Ssh, he’s working,” Jimin explained with a grin, and Hoseok piped down, standing stiffly as Taehyung’s eyes bore into him.
“Best barista in Seoul,” Jimin stated as Taehyung started foaming milk.
“Thank you,” Hoseok laughed nervously, hesitantly taking his first sip, and Jimin fought off a grin.
“...holy shit, that’s /amazing/.”
“You like Jiminie, so I figured you must like sweet things.”
“Sound logic,” Hoseok confessed before taking another sip. “How much is this?”
“It’s on me,” Jimin hurried before Taehyung could tease more.
“I’ll hang until you clock out.”
And Taehyung looked /excited/.
“/He’s here/,” he whispered properly. Jimin nodded quickly.
“/We both have dates today/!”
They would have to go back to his place.
“Ah, I’ll be back,” he squealed softly, finishing Yoongi’s usual right on time. Jimin watched Taehyung whip off his apron, duck into the back to grab his lunch, and pop out the door on the other side.
He noticed Hoseok was watching them, too, inquisitive before he seemed to shrug something off.
Jimin smiled, moving to refill someone’s tea.
He really had some great people in his life, didn’t he?
As Jimin hung up his apron, Hoseok begin to stand.
‘I won’t call you,’ Taehyung mouthed silently, sweetly.
‘I won’t call /you/,’ Jimin responded the very same.
“Ready?” asked Hoseok.
“Have fun, Jiminie.”
And he and Hoseok left, huddling close in the cold.
“You know I meant it when I said cute apron, right?” Hoseok teased. Jimin laughed, bumping him playfully.
“Well I’m cuter in a sweater.”
“Hyung? What’s wrong?”
“Can we step here for a second?”
Hoseok tilted his head toward a small, clean alley beside them, and though confused, Jimin nodded.
“I wanted to kiss you at the counter, but I wasn’t sure if that would’ve made you uncomfortable.”
They held each other close, bodies warm as people passed by.
Hoseok broke away first, then kissed Jimin’s forehead, and he hummed. Jimin didn’t move.
“...okay. I feel better now.”
“Were you running on empty?”
“Actually, I think yeah?”
Hoseok took Jimin’s hand and the two left the alley, assimilating back into society as if they hadn’t just made and left their own little world a block back.
“Phew,” Hoseok breathed dramatically. “I’m saved.”
“In fact, I’m gonna go ahead and say you can kiss me most places.”
Jimin squeezed his hand and got a squeeze back in return.
“You think I lived up to the legend?”
“Trust me, you’d know if Tae didn’t like you.”
“I know,” Jimin teased, voice grave, seriousness. “No drink will ever measure up after today.”
“I know you’re joking, but like...”
“Lured into an addiction by a beautiful barista...was thst your plan all along?” Hoseok bumped Jimin, who only shrugged, smiling mischievously.
“The hikikomori!” Jimin whispered, shaking Hoseok’s hand in excitement. Hoseok perked up.
“That’s the guy!?”
“Yeah! God, I can’t believe you actually saw him, /no one/ sees him.”
“Dude can run for someone that doesn’t get out much...”
The doors slid closed.
Jimin quickly pointed to the camera in the right corner of the ceiling and giggled when Hoseok slumped.
Read him like a book.
“Are there cameras in your apartment?”
“None that I’m aware of.”
Jimin’s stomach did a small loop when Hoseok squeezed his hand and said “Good.”
Key in hand, he unlocked the door.
Jimin’s apartment was small, but it was cozy. Clearly a lot of love had gone into decorating and color-coordinating. There was a beat-up blue sofa and a white coffee table, a white dresser behind that sofa.
Pretty white curtains were over a closed widow that didn’t have much of a view, just another building.
And a hallway with two doors.
“It’s cute,” Hoseok said thoughtfully. “It suits you.”
He smiled when Jimin smiled, and then he was kissed, Hoseok’s eyes fluttering closed.
“I’ll be right back. Make yourself comfortable.”
He took a look around, not wanting to snoop but obviously curious about the man he was falling harder for by the day.
Hoseok sat on the sofa and instinctively sighed in content. It was perfectly worn, soft but not broken, stiff but not hard. He may never get up again.
Hoseok looked around, not seeing or hearing any animal, and in such a finite space, unless it was in Jimin’s room, that meant there was no animal.
“Hey, do you ha—?”
Jimin /was/ cuter in a sweater.
A black sweater, specifically, cut low to where Hoseok could see his collar bone, the sleeves just a little too long. And navy blue jeans.
Jimin sauntered over to him, running his fingers through Hoseok’s hair. Looked down at him from behing the sofa.
“Good~” Jimin answered. Hoseok followed him as he retrieved his coat and scarf from their place by the door, and soon they were back out in the hall.
Quick to take each other’s hands again.
“Aah, little of both,” Hoseok replied, squeezing Jimin’s hand. A ripple of warmth went through him as Jimin moved to intertwine their fingers.
“I thought we could do some shopping.”
“Oh...that sounds fun.”
“/Does/ it sound fun? We can do something else—“
“No no, it’s fine! I love shopping,” Jimin hurried. “I just probably won’t get anything. But just looking around is fun, too.”
“I put most of what I got from performing at your party into my rent for the year. Takes a load off my parents, I can take it a little easy for awhile, put my paychecks toward getting around to auditions...it was a good cushion.”
“You still gotta have a little fun, though...”
“Don’t you know the best things in life are free, Hyung?”
They enjoyed the silence, the elevator opening and closing every few floors until they and a few others exited into the lobby. He and Jimin moved closer to each other once they were outside, shoulders touching.
He hadn’t come to see Jimin with any.../expectations/, but, if Jimin was up for anything after dinner, Hoseok wouldn’t be opposed.
Jimin called himself lucky, but if Jimin was lucky, Hoseok was a lottery winner.
“Do you have a cat? I didn’t see it,” Hoseok asked, rubbing his fingers until the pieces floated off with the wind.
“I—...yeah, I had a cat.”
“I’m...I’m so sorry, I didn’t—“
“No, no, it’s fine, you’re fine, hyung,” Jimin murmured with a sad laugh.
Jimin let go of Hoseok’s hand to reach for his phone. Hoseok waited, feeling awful but letting Jimin speak.
“That’s my girl,” Jimin said fondly, quietly, turning the screen.
Jimin looked at the phone for a moment longer before pocketing it and taking Hoseok’s hand tightly.
“I called her Chubs ‘cause she was the biggest kitty at the shelter, then she got even fatter ‘cause Mom would feed her anytime she begged.”
“...she jumped out my window.”
“Mm...I never found her, though.”
Hoseok turned, confused.
“No joke. She just—just /vanished/, like I saw her jump, I saw her fall, I ran down the stairs cause I wasn’t thinking, and when I got down to the ground—“
Jimin shook his head.
Jimin laughed, and Hoseok’s confusion grew.
“That was the night I covered for Taemin.”
“Nope. Got the call when I was out looking.”
“Are—you’re telling me you performed the way you did hours after...that?”
“I had to,” Jimin answered softly. “They needed me. ‘The show must go on.’”
“...you’re seriously amazing, Jiminie.”
Hoseok’s heart burst when Jimin looked to him, his eyes glassy.
Jimin silenced him with a soft kiss, and they stopped walking, just for a moment.
Jimin started squirming, so Hoseok let him go.
Hoseok made a mental note to avoid passing any pet stores.
“Got anywhere in mind?”
They stepped in, greeted by a woman speaking in full customer service tone.
...Hoseok didn’t like that very much.
Hoseok turned back to Jimin, going to him and looking into the case. Silver shaped earrings glittered under white lights.
“The hearts are cute.”
He laughed as Jimin pinched his earlobes and pouted, murmuring, “Really cute.”
Then Jimin stopped and gasped.
“What’d we find?”
“It’s so /pretty/...”
Jimin was totally enraptured.
“Excuse me,” he called, beckoning the woman. “How much is this?”
“You’re better off not knowing.”
“I’m sorry? Jimin responded, smile wiped.
“I find that most people who have to /ask/ how much something is usually can’t afford it anyway. I’m saving you time.”
It was like a storm cloud had formed over the shop.
“Isn’t your job to sell jewelry? Isn’t that what you’re paid to do?”
“Yes, sir, but our store caters to more—”
Hoseok couldn’t remember ever being this pissed. His tone was even, cold. How /dare/—
The backroom door opened and out stepped an older woman.
“My friend had a question about this bracelet here, and not /only/ did she refuse to help, we were insulted.”
Jimin stood, totally dumbfounded as Hoseok stood his ground.
“If this is the sort of customer service we get by shopping here, we can take our business elsewhere.”
The associate glared at Hoseok and Jimin before storming to the backroom.
“I do apologize, sir. I assure you that we strive for excellent customer service. She won’t be working here anymore...”
Jimin nodded slowly.
“I asked how much it was...”
“Aah, this one is gorgeous, isn’t it? The charms are perfect accents. Let me pull it up in the system.”
A few keyboard clicks later and she announced the total.
“We’ll take it,” Hoseok said instantly.
“Wonderful! Will you need gift wrap?”
“He’ll wear it out,” Hoseok continued. Jimin’s whole face went beet red as he tugged his arm.
“/Hyung/,” he hissed.
“What are you doing!?”
“...you wanted the bracelet?”
“Oh, did you want the earrings?”
“/No/, I meant—/yes/ I want them, but—“
“So the earrings, not the bracelet?”
“/Neither/, I want /nothing/!” Jimin hissed.
Jesus, was Hoseok actually about to drop /that/ kind of money like it was nothing? For someone other than himself?
“But you want it. Let me get it for you. It’s nothing, really.”
“Hyung, I really—I don’t—/need/ it...“
Jimin looked up. All the tension from earlier was gone, but Hoseok still looked serious.
“You deserve pretty things, Jiminie.”
The bracelet was gorgeous. Jimin would have bought it in a heartbeat. Worn it on special nights out, kept it safe in a box in his dresser drawer. In another life, a better life.
...but...maybe Jimin was already in the better life.
“Alriiiight, we’re taking the bracelet. This is gonna look great on you,” he said, pulling out his wallet and bank card.
...but damn it, Jimin had been working his ass off. He hadn’t even thought to get a nice lunch with his pay from performing at the Jungs. Let alone...
He was pulled out of his thoughts when he heard Hoseok murmuring to the manager.
“You are /not/ getting me both,” Jimin interjected, coming up to the counter and then looking to the manager, who looked highly amused. “Don’t sell him those. Just the bracelet.”
“Aaah fine...” Hoseok whined, swiping his card.
Jimin pulled up his sweater sleeve and hesitantly held up his wrist, watching as the manager fastened the bracelet securely. It was cold against his skin, and Jimin exhaled.
“Perfect fit. It looks wonderful, sir!”
Jimin smiled slowly.
“It does look nice...” Jimin said slowly, turning his wrist to see it from all angles. The crescent moon and sun glittered when he moved.
Hoseok kissed his cheek.
“We hope to see you again, sirs, thank you for your business.”
Jimin couldn’t stop staring at the pretty band even as they walked out...it was his.
“Thank you, Hyung.”
“It’s nothing, really,” Hoseok replied happily as he put a hand around Jimin’s waist.
“Consider it a thank you.”
“Who was she to act like that? All she had to do was answer a question—seriously—!“
“Hyung, relax, it’s over,” Jimin giggled, kissing his cheek again.
/You deserve pretty things./
Jimin smiled to himself. He let go of Hoseok’s hand and instead looped his arms around Hoseok’s and rested his head on his shoulder.
“Everything okay?” Jimin asked softly. Hoseok just nodded.
“News notif, nothing important.”
“Mm. I turned those off when I upgraded.”
Taking a small break for dinner~ 💜]
Was it really Hoseok’s fault Jimin was so damn cute? How had someone not spoiled him until now!? Honestly, that was a criminal act. An absolute crime.
At one point while they were walking, Jimin started teasing him.
“I don’t know,” Hoseok grumbled honestly, “I’ve never spoiled someone before...is it really so bad?”
He knew how childish he sounded but come /on/.
Jimin laughed a little louder and squeezed his arm.
Hoseok just wanted to squeeze him.
“Giving’s one thing, accepting is another...”
Well, until now.
“So...what if it’s little things? Then can I?”
“What’s your definition of ‘little?’” Jimin asked.
Hoseok pondered. Jimin was absolutely right about that. Okay.
“Like, dinner. Pretty clothes...a car...anything you want.”
“Those aren’t little, hyung...”
Jimin hummed in thought.
“Dinner is fine, but it would depend where we ate. Clothes and jewelry are fine if they’re cheap—“
“That /was/ cheap!”
“God, don’t say that.”
“God, me too. I feel like burgers...”
“Burgers it is.”
Jimin let go of him to run toward a large column with a digital layout of the mall. Hoseok watched him for a moment before pulling out his phone.
“There’s a burger place in the East wing,” came Jimin, who jogged back to him. “We can—whoah, you okay? You‘re all blotchy.”
“I think they /did/ turn up the heat down here,” he mumbled, shrugging of his coat with a small sigh of relief.
Hoseok had almost forgotten how low that sweater dipped.
The plan had always been for Hoseok take Jimin out for a fun day, drop him off at his door, and whatever happened after that would be entirely up to Jimin. Hoseok was fine with anything and nothing.
But now he was really imagining anything...
/There’s a bit more I thought of doing with you./
That had sounded so /nice/. He wondered what else Jimin could ask him to do. Hoseok found it hard to think of anything he’d ever deny him...unless...Jimin was into that sort of thing...
“Are you sure you’re feeling alright? You can take me home, if you need to. I won’t be upset.“
“No, I’m fine! I promise!”
“...right. Well, if you throw up on me, you gotta buy me a whole new outfit.”
“Is that a promise?”
“It better not be,” Jimin laughed, and it seemed like he believed Hoseok really wasn’t sick.
He liked burgers, and a liked ramen but this was...interesting.
“What can I get you two?” came a gruff, friendly voice from behind the counter, a portly chef.
“...uh...the same. But water.”
“And I’m paying,” Jimin rushed, ignoring Hoseok’s /appalled/ expression.
“Two originals, comin’ up.”
“Park /Jimin/,” Hoseok started, teasing in his voice, and Jimin smiled as he opened his first bottle. “You said I could pay for dinner.”
He took a long swig before speaking again, this time with a twinkle in his eye.
“Consider it...a /thank you/.”
“See, though? Treating cute boys is fun.”
“Are you calling yourself a cute boy, hyung?” Jimin giggled, leaning on the counter.
“I /know/ I’m a cute boy,” Hoseok answered confidently, and Jimin giggled harder.
“You’re gonna give me a heart attack, you gotta stop doing that!”
“It worked out pretty well the last time you caught me, right?”
“...you make a fair point...”
Okay well Hoseok could definitely blame the heat in his face from the all the hot kitchen equipment. Yep.
Definitely not from. remembering the way Jimin’s strong, firm thighs felt nestled around his waist, how he could never seem to get close enough to Hoseok.
Hoseok sipped his water bottle and saw Jimin staring at him out of the corner of his eye. Smiling. Head propped up in his hand. First bottle half empty.
“Nothing...I’m just glad you came to see me today, Hyung,” he murmured. Hoseok’s libidinous thoughts calmed at such a pure answer.
“I’m glad, too.”
Then Jimin puffed out his lips a tiny bit, and...fuck, it was cute. Too cute. Hoseok had to kiss him.
“Ooh, that’ll never get old,” he sighed happily, kicking his feet.
...and then he stopped, and suddenly, he looked troubled. It was such a drastic change Hoseok worried he’d done something.
“Can I ask you something, Hyung?”
Jimin’s voice was soft, anxiety at its edges. Hoseok nodded automatically, his own nerves heightening.
He took a breath, staring off for a second before looking straight at Hoseok.
“What exactly do you want us to be?”
“He better be good...”
“He is, trust me, I saw him with my brother last week. The shit he says is /real/.”
Hoseok didn’t interact with the pair, just followed along.
Apparently they were seeing someone perform. Some guy that went by Rap Monster.
He tuned out the inane rambling, it was just them repeating each other at this point. The building around them looked a little rough. They’d been walking awhile, far from school.
The boys had found an empty spot near a countertop. Hoseok couldn’t get there fast enough.
There was a small stage, a single mic, and Hoseok was suddenly much more curious than he’d been before. There must have been at least 100 people here. For what? Who? This Monster guy?
Someone stepped out on the stage, and Hoseok...scoffed. He looked absolutely ridiculous. Dark sunglasses, gold chains, baggy clothes. And his /hair/. Really? Was this guy a foreigner?
But the crowd kept losing it.
“...ugh, it’s just a stupid love song!” the dismissive boy shouted, and Hoseok noticed the other boy looked noticeably confused.
The beat dropped, and Rap Monster was suddenly going /in/.
Hoseok’s confusion turned to shock.
This wasn’t a love song. It was about unmatched love, unequal love. It was about anger. Frustration. Loneliness.
His jaw hung open, and the crowd roared.
Clutching a cassette tape he’d been handed at the door, Hoseok was silent.
Hoseok looked at the cassette, managing to make out the English words scrawled in Sharpie at the top.
Jimin’s heart raced. It was the first question he’d asked where he wasn’t sure what he wanted the answer to be, but it’d been on his mind. He’d tried pushing it off, but...everything seemed so fast, didn’t it?
Hoseok looked surprised, and Jimin panicked.
“No, no, I completely understand,” Hoseok replied quietly. He was looking at the menu but not /at/ the menu, lost in thought.
“It’s weird, isn’t it?”
“It is...that’s why I asked...”
Jimin saw a lot go through Hoseok’s face.
“But it feels weird to say that. I know how I feel, it’s just...I don’t know. It feels weird to think of you like a ‘boyfriend,’ but...“
“Same, but I mean this feels... /right/, right? I feel /right/ when I’m with you.”
“Me, too,” Hoseok murmured. “I really like spending time with you, Jimin...”
“What I want from this...us...” he finally started, and Jimin held his breath.
Jimin laughed softly at how Hoseok flustered himself.
Jimin knew there were supposed to be rules to relationships, dates, flirting, and he knew he and Hoseok had broken about all of them, jumped to a few steps before the end of the book.
But he knew how he felt. It was scary, but in the way a roller coaster was.
Rules be damned.
“I feel the same way.”
He felt like a teenager. There was so much honest, no jaded cynicism. He truly just.../liked/ Hoseok.
Hoseok saw Jimin on quite possibly the only night such an event could have ever taken place. Their universes collided and merged in a single moment, he and Hoseok had had an unseen impact on each other.
They were happy.
“...I know I said it would feel weird to call you a boyfriend, but I’ll still treat you like one...”
“So I’m your friend with benefits, Hyung?”
“What!? N-no, that’s not—!”
Jimin laughed, Hoseok had gotten worried so fast. He laughed harder when Hoseok pouted, shoved him lightly.
“Jimiiin, that’s not funny!”
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry!”
“/Stop/,” Jimin giggled, grabbing Hoseok’s hand to stop the playful assault. “I’m sorry.”
“How do you feel?” he asked softly.
Jimin was excited.
He’d never seen something like this, let alone eaten it. It looked greasy, totally unhealthy, and most importantly, fucking delicious.
“Thank yoouu,” Jimin said as their plates were placed in front of them, and Hoseok gave their chef a small bow.
Planning future dates with Jimin...it made him feel warm. Happy.
“Is there anything else you want to do?” Hoseok asked, and Jimin shook his head.
Hoseok now knew Jimin /really/ liked soju. He’d downed the rest of his first bottle and then the second in nothing flat. Now he was warm, giggly, and impossibly, insanely, /overwhelmingly/ adorable.
Hoseok was doomed.
“I couldn’t stay away for long,” he cooed back, kissing the top of his head and melting him into a fit of giggles.
“Oh Jimiiin, /Jimiiiiin/~”
It got dark as they made their way back to Jimin’s building, both of them calming down as they entered the lobby and then the elevator.
Jimin sighed and closed his eyes.
Their ascent went uninterrupted. The 14th floor came and they made their way down the hall, Jimin a little more slowly.
Jimin moved to face Hoseok, holding his hands. Still saying nothing but smiling like he hadn’t a single care in the world.
...neither of them moved.
They didn’t want to say goodbye, but the implication of staying, staying /here/, Hoseok entering Jimin’s space...
The rollercoaster was stuck at the top.
Now it seemed like they couldn’t get away fast enough...
They shared small, nervous smiles with each other as Jimin stepped in, closed the door, and...
...that was it. Hoseok stared at the door for a moment before exhaling, coming down from an adrenaline rush he hadn’t known had ever started.
Well. Date one down.
Hoseok nodded at the door, feeling satisfied as he turned on a heel and made his way back toward the elevator.
It was ice cream. He’d invited Hoseok back for ice cream. Just ice cream, and maybe to watch a movie, to talk...
Three quick knocks made him gasp. He actually came back...
“Who is it?”
“Aah, okay. Never mind. Sleep well!”
Jimin’s eyes shot open, and he fumbled with opening the door as he heard Hoseok walking away. Was he serious!?
Jimin fought the grin that threatened to creep onto his face at the sight of Hoseok stepping in place, each one softer than the last. He wanted to be annoyed that he’d been tricked. That Hoseok looked so damn /pleased/ with himself.
But he wasn’t, and he couldn’t be.
The sound of the door sealing seemed much heavier than it ever had.
Jimin gestured Hoseok to the sofa as he went to fetch bowls.
“/Do/ you like injeolmi?”
Well not /stay/...
He hurried to his freezer, suddenly needing some cold air on his face.
Jimin /did/ want to eat ice cream with him. But at the same time, that text might as well have read ‘I don’t want you to go.’
Since Hoseok had come back so quickly, the feeling must be mutual...
...they’d spent almost the entire day together. It’d been a fun day, maybe one of the best days Jimin had had.
What /was/ this?
Their conversation in the restaurant had cleared up so much. Jimin wasn’t a fling. Though he’d never felt he was, hearing it spoken aloud was a concrete comfort.
What a beginning.
What a /middle/.
He’d had sex before. There were always jitters, but Jimin KNEW he was physically attracted to Hoseok. Yet, he was utterly nerve-wracked, not wanting to rush.
“Is your taste in movies as good as your taste in men?”
Hoseok swallowed, grinning.
“It’s my favorite, don’t judge me,” Jimin murmured.
He was cozy like this, curled up like a ball on the sofa, curled into Hoseok, ice cream on his lap...peaceful.
Jimin hummed around his spoon.
“Do you like scary movies?”
“.../Hyung/,” Jimin was suddenly excited, “do you scare easy?”
“No! Just—most aren’t scary enough for me...”
“You see ‘Train to Busan?’”
“Of course,” Hoseok answered way too quickly.
“Wasn’t it great?”
“The best, so scary!”
“That part where the giant octopus threw the train off the bridge was crazy, right?”
“Totally, I was like ‘Whooah’—!“
“/There was no giant octopus/!”
“I caught you in a /lie/, Hoseok-hyung!”
“/Fine/, I don’t like scary movies!” he whined. “Have you seem them?? They’re awful! Who wants to be scared anyway...?”
Jimin giggled and fell back to his resting position.
“Mm,” Hoseok pouted, though Jimin had definitely felt him tense up the moment he’d touched him...
He kissed his cheek and stood up.
Jimin closed his bedroom door behind him and immediately slid to the floor, mind a flurry.
As Jimin undressed and redressed, this time in a huge baby-blue sweatshirt that went down to about the middle of his thigh and grey sweats, he breathed.
He needed to let things happen naturally.
Nope. None of that. No. Not today.
“I found the scariest movie of all,” Hoseok said in a low voice.
“Ooh, what’s it called?”
A tree frog filled the screen. A nature documentary?
And after seeing a seal get ripped in half by an orca, it was clear no one was safe.
It all felt so /normal/.
Loved that, actually...
Despite the crabs and the seagulls, the beating sun, most of the sea turtles safely made it to their new home. Jimin and Hoseok sighed in pure relief.
He didn’t react until Jimin suddenly looked up at him, his cheeks a little flushed.
“Sorry, is this okay..?”
“Y-Yeah, you’re good!”
...he wanted to pet him.
Hoseok wanted to pet Jimin’s hair and had entered a frozen panic about just how /badly/ he wanted to do it.
He was right there. His hair was pretty, so soft and dark.
...fuck it, he had to. If Hoseok died tomorrow, this would be his only regret.
“If you don’t like it—!“
“No, keep going,” Jimin answered quietly without looking at him, but he did curl his legs a little closer. God.
Hoseok took to petting him gently, and Jimin melted.
Jimin let out a content little hum.
“Feels nice, Hyung,” he murmured, sounding distant. Hoseok leaned forward to see his eyes were closed.
Was...was he falling asleep?
Jimin hummed dismissively, a low soft noise straight from his throat.
“Just resting my eyes.”
Maybe Hoseok /had/ died, this was clearly heaven.
Hoseok had the reaction to Jimin falling asleep on him that another person would have to, say, a kitten doing the same thing; awe. Joy. Gratitude toward a God that clearly existed. An overwhelming amount of affection flooding through his body.
He wished he could kiss him.
He looked for a blanket, but in the end had to improvise by covering Jimin with his coat.
If Hoseok could have this every day he’d consider himself the happiest man in Asia. It was hard to imagine someone else being more content, because no one else had Jimin.
He leaned back, eyes closing as he continued petting. He had total peace.
His eyes opened.
Hoseok looked down at the sleeping man lying on him, cold realization slamming into him like a city bus.
No no no, this wasn’t heaven. This was hell and God was laughing. He was /trapped/. Trapped unless he woke Jimin.
But waking up Jimin would be a crime, and Hoseok was no criminal...
He cautiously reached into his pocket with two fingers to retrieve his phone.
So he’d be vague.
Hoseok was touched that his mother was being so supportive of him and Jimin, not to mention doing him an eternal solid by covering for him, but this was /really hard for him right now/.
Regardless, he cringed and set his phone down for...the night.
Hoseok was staying the night.
Hoseok froze as Jimin stirred, but all that was happened was that Jimin was turning over, facing Hoseok’s stomach and sluggishly wrapping his arms around his torso, a soft smile on his face.
It was better.
And then Jimin became a statue when he realized that the weight on his head was a hand.
Hoseok was still here, even though Jimin saw daylight streaming through his window.
He’d fallen asleep on Hoseok, trapped him, and he’d...allowed it. He hadn’t woken Jimin, or moved him, or snuck out. He’d just stayed put.
Jimin felt like he was burning.
He looked up, and to be perfectly honest...Hoseok wasn’t a pretty sleeper.
God. All that and he still /really/ wanted to kiss him.
Jimin was so fucked.
He made a small sound as something lightly tapped his face, bringing his hand away to—
Oh. The charms. Jimin forgot to take off his bracelet last night. He smiled, holding it up to a sunbeam.
He brought his arm down and smiled to Hoseok, who’d righted his head, closed his mouth.
“You fell asleep so /fast/,” Hoseok slurred.
“You coulda moved me,” Jimin giggled.
“You’re too sweet, Hyung.”
“...can I get up real quick?”
Jimin watched Hoseok fly up and wobble, his legs probably sore, and shuffle to his bathroom.
He sat up on the sofa, phone in hand as he got back to Taehyung.
Jimin only grew more flustered as Hoseok chuckled. He still sounded so sleepy, still looked so sleepy, so he made space for him as he came back to sit on the sofa.
“Sounds like he had a good time,” he said with a grin.
“It sounds like he did, but he won’t tell me anything. Brat.”
“Did you tell him about our date?
“I gave him cliffnotes...”
Jimin leaned forward and acted on his first desire of the morning, kissing Hoseok.
“We can talk about it tomorrow.”
“You don’t work today?”
Jimin shook his head and smiled, kissing Hoseok with more energy, energy he could feel given back as Hoseok’s hands caressed his face.
“You’re really cute when you’re sleeping,” he murmured.
“You‘re not,” Jimin teased.
“What was that? Hm? What’d you say?”
“/I’m kidding, you’re cute/!” Jimin bubbled, “You’re cute, you’re cute—“
Hoseok released him and kissed him again.
“That’s what I thought you said,” he spoke matter-of-factly.
“You’re /very/ cute, Hoseokie-hyung,” he said slowly, voice still in that weird state between whisper and gravel.
Jimin rolled his hips and moaned softly into Hoseok, pressure building.
And it hit him again that he was off work today.
What a great last day he could have.
Jimin ground his hips down and felt clearly how affected Hoseok was already and moaned. He was excited.
“I wanna finish what we started,” Jimin whispered. “Touch me, Hyung.”
The hands on Jimin’s waist slid under his shirt, craving to touch his warm, smooth skin.
‘Wasn’t this how last night should have gone?’ he wondered as his hands roamed Jimin’s sides, as Jimin’s knee pressed between Hoseok’s legs.
It hit him just how alone they were, how they could do however much they pleased, as loudly as they pleased...noise complaint willing.
Jimin /whined/, hips jutting up for more.
He decided to focus on his present life and stroked him, praising him more.
“/Hyung/—“ Jimin keened. Hoseok was rolling over his tip, and fuck was Jimin sensitive. He squirmed, pulling Hoseok into a kiss to stifle himself, but Hoseok wouldn’t have it.
Jimin wasn’t wearing anything else underneath.
Definitely a demon.
“Easier for you,” Jimin whimpered, fucking whimpered under him, but Hoseok could hear the smile on his face, the smile he had to lean up to see for himself.
And it /was/ easier for Hoseok to tug Jimin’s sweats down and take his hard cock in his hand.
Cute cute /cute/.
“Jimin, can you talk to me? Can you tell me how you feel?”
“What else can Hyung do for yoy?”
Hoseok slowed, softening his voice.
“Be specific, Jiminie...”
“Baby, you have to tell me...”
Baby. He’d never called anyone baby. It’d just sort of slipped out, /all/ of this was just sort of slipping out.
“I want it faster, /please/” he sobbed. “Please, please, Hyung—/ha/—!”
Anything he wanted. Everything he wanted. Hoseok quickened, and Jimin was wrecked.
“You like it like this, Jiminie?”
“Don’t stop,” was his breathless, pitchy reply. An answer that would do.
“Are you close, Jimin?” he murmured, moments before Jimin shuddered and came.
Hoseok came untouched.
For now, he tucked Jimin’s length back into his sweats.
Just as Hoseok finished, Jimin sat up with a burst of energy and kissed him, hands on his shoulders, sliding down his arms, taking his hands, moving to the clasp of his pants.
“Y-You don’t have to...“
Jimin stopped immediately, looking concerned.
“Are you okay?”
Hoseok caressed his cheek, embarrassed but needing him understand. Jimin looked so /crestfallen/, he didn’t think it was his fault, did he? Well, it /was/ his fault, but not in the way he thought!
“I was, but you were so—I just—...you don’t have to...now....”
Hoseok silently pleaded for him to understand.
“I—you didn’t even need to lay a finger on me...” he confessed, and Jimin’s already scarlet-tinted cheeks darkened.
“I turned you on that much, Hyung?”
Definitely an angel.
Jimin’s grin was like a ray of sunshine, and he kissed Hoseok again. He seemed so pleased with himself...well, he should be.
“I’ll find something for you to wear.”
“Thanks...actually, can I get a shower?”
It /happened/! It happened and /fuck/ Hoseok had been so good to him...
Hoseok’s ‘baby’ was affectionate and sweet, and it had turned Jimin’s insides to jelly.
He needed to busy himself.
He left his bedroom and stood in front of his own bathroom, knocking on it for the very first time before opening it.
“These are on the sink,” he called over the water as he sat down the clean clothes.
As if the guy in his shower hadn’t just had his hands down his pants, hadn’t called him ‘Baby,’ hadn’t licked Jimin’s come from his own fingers.
His phone buzzed.
He and Taehyung were happy. Hoseok was happy. For once, life just seemed...full. Even if his auditions kept coming up short, even if his part-time job wasn’t the most stimulating, life, overall, was good.
He went back to the living to move the coffee table aside, but stopped short with a sound of annoyance.
The water running from the sink masked the sound of the bathroom door opening.
He had no idea...
Jimin relaxed, leaning back in Hoseok’s embrace.
“Mhm. I like your shampoo.”
“It’s good, right?”
“Everything fit okay?”
“Pants are a little snug, but it can’t be helped.”
“Aah, I was worried about that...”
“It’s no big deal. Thank you.”
And Hoseok kissed his cheek, and Jimin grinned.
“Do you dance in here?”
“Ah...warm-ups, yes,” Jimin explained, “dance, no. I’d bother /him/.”
Jimin pointed a wet spoon to the floor and received an “Ah” of understanding
“Do me a favor and get the bowl of rice out of the fridge? Top shelf, to the left.”
Hoseok whined, clearly opposed to letting Jimin go, but he did as he was told, taking a moment before setting a large blue bowl by the stove.
“Stretches, shower, omurice. Sound good?”
“Oh my god, you cook, too?” Hoseok pretended to cry. “You /are/ perfect.”
This had turned into quite the morning, and they’d barely been awake an hour.
To be honest his head was still spinning, and the heat from the shower hadn’t helped, but so far so good.
But here he was.
And there was Jimin, pushing the coffee table aside.
Hoseok watched, genuinely intrigued. This was a part of Jimin’s his daily routine. He felt a little odd, almost as if he were intruding.
But Jimin had warmly /invited/ Hoseok into his life.
This was actually the first time he’d seen Jimin’s bare arms.
He already knew Jimin was flexible, he’d seen it himself on stage, but seeing him bend to the side to touch his toes was a still a surprise.
Jimin brought his legs together and laid himself flat before he raised his body up until only his upper half was on the floor, his legs pedaling in the air.
“Wanna join me?”
“I—I’ll just get in the way,” Hoseok laughed, a little intimidated. Somehow, Jimin shrugged, still pedaling.
“Suit yourself...wanna see something cool?”
Hoseok nodded, of course, totally entranced.
He had every ounce of Hoseok’s attention.
Jimin was silent, taking a moment to judge the space. Finally, he seemed satisfied as he faced away from Hoseok.
Jimin put a finger up, silencing Hoseok instantly. He finally met eyes with him.
And as he locked eyes with Hoseok, finger up, telling him ‘Wait’...Jimin slid into a perfect split.
And Hoseok lost his /mind/.
Hoseok was clapping, /clapping/. Jimin lost his serious composure, bursting into laughter as he toppled into a huddled giggly puddle on the ground.
“/Jimiiin/, that was amazing!!”
“H-Hyung, calm down!” Jimin wheezed.
“Aaah, what the hell, that was—oh my god...“
And no one was /hyping/ him? Well except Taehyung, of course.
He’d made a promise to appreciate him with all he had. Not just for his beauty or his talent, but because of him right now. This person recovering from a giggle fit.
“I’m glad you like my dancing, Hyung.”
“Everyone will, someday,” Hoseok murmured, taking his hand and kissing it. It was the truth. It would be the truth. He knew this.
“I’ll keep trying until then,” he murmured, kissing him one more time before heading towards the bathroom. He turned and nodded towards the kitchen.
“If you can cut some vegetables for me, that’d get us breakfast faster.”
“You got it,” he said with a confident smile. A smile that said ‘Oh, yeah, I’ve totally chopped vegetables before. I know exactly how to do that, and have done it many times before. Yep! Me!’
“You’re the best,” he said quietly. He finally left Hoseok and his melted heart alone, and after a moment the sound of running water could be heard.
Hoseok had around ten minutes to figure out the proper way to chop vegetables.
Big knife. Let’s find a big knife.
He opened the fridge to find a bag of carrots, amongst other vegetables. A carrot seemed a good place to start.
God, what if he cut his hand?
Hoseok was gonna chop this fucking carrot, and he and Jimin were gonna have a nice breakfast together, and then Hoseok would subtly ensure something like this never happened again.
He set the carrot on the counter, holding it steady.
Doing his new choreo for Hoseok had exhilarated him; he hadn’t even shown Tae yet. He still felt a little shaky on the come-up from the roll, but that was the best he’d done so far.
He really was a good person.
It was hard to stay confident.
But he was still trying. He needed to keep trying, and Hoseok made him want to try harder.
He wondered what exactly he’d done to be here now.
Hoseok thought he was amazing. Incredible.
...was it just because he didn’t know? What if the show had gone normally?
Everything had gone the way it was supposed to do.
It didn’t matter what Hoseok would have done and thought if he’d seen Taemin, because he’d seen Jimin.
Jimin wasn’t sure exactly /what/ Hoseok had seen in him that night, but he’d take it.
He’d take this.
“Hyung?” he called over the shower.
“I’M GOOD,” Jimin heard back faintly.
Jimin rinsed scrubbed up and rinsed quickly before turning off the water, brow furrowed as he dried just enough to get dressed and leave the bathroom.
Hoseok spun in place, eyes wide and nodding. He was holding his own hand.
“Oh yeah, no, I’m good, so good.”
“Hyung, what happened.” Jimin asked again, stepping closer.
“Oh, Hyung...” Jimin soothed as he saw blood. Hoseok must’ve nicked his finger. He looked to the counter and saw half of a whole carrot, the other half in odd chunks.
“You didn’t have to donjt,” Jimin said softly, pulling him over to the sink and gesturing for him to wash the cut. “I’ll get a band-aid.”
“Why?” Jimin called, finding a small box of bandages.
“Because you asked me to...”
Jimin smiled and came back to Hoseok.
“Hold out your hand.”
“You don’t have to do things because I ask, Hyung.”
“Have you /met/ you?” Hoseok asked softly but incredulously, making Jimin blush. After a moment, he kissed the bandage.
“There we go.”
He’d fix the other half that Hoseok had chopped, but not when he was looking.
“Can you crack eggs?”
“/Yes/. /That/ I can do.”
Hoseok would watch Jimin do something simple and be in awe. It was actually /really/ funny; it was just omurice...
“Aah...I’ve never had to...”
“I see,” Jimin said with a grin. He folded the first omelette over perfectly and giggled when he heard a soft, impressed “Whoah..” from over his shoulder.
“What /do/ you do? Aside from get forced to operas and spoil boys?”
“I see, I see.”
“Mm,” Hoseok continued, looking up in thought. “Music? I love music. Dance videos. Take walks, shop...”
He left the room and fiddled with his phone for a bit, and soon Jimin heard a familiar connection sound.
“/Really?/“ Jimin asked, interested. “That’s old-school.”
“Some of the best stuff’s from the old school,” Hoseok responded, and Jimin didn’t need to see him to know he was grinning.
“Okay, whaaaat do weeee—ah, yeah—“
“Got us that Agust D,” Hoseok called before laughing, and Jimin looked confused.
“Oh, uh, Taehyung-ah. His joke? He likes this?”
“OH, is this Yoongi-hyung??” Jimin asked, eyes wide as he waved to the speaker to his spatula. “Oh /yeah/, I can totally hear it now. You know him?”
“‘Yoongi-hyung’...?” Hoseok laughed, looking puzzled. “Are you a fan?”
“Well I like that he’s good to Tae.”
Hoseok looked so lost, but Jimin didn’t notice, sliding the second omelette on a plate.
“I’m surprised you know him, too. Small world.”
“It’s—not really a surprise, he’s one of the best rappers of this generation...”
“Really? Huh. Well, like I said, I haven’t heard him yet, but I like him. This song is good, I like this.”
“I’m confused,” Hoseok blurted.
“Okay, you...like Agust D.”
“Yeah, Yoongi-hyung. He’s nice. A little awkward, but he’s sweet to Tae.”
“Well what else am I supposed to call Tae’s boyfriend?” Jimin asked, a little frustrated.
“Oooh I get it.”
Hoseok pushed Jimin’s shoulder.
“The joke, I get it.”
“That Taehyung-ah’s dating Agust D.”
Now Jimin /was/ frustrated, setting his utensils on the counter as he turned to face Hoseok.
“Jimin, that was /not/ Agust D. I know what he looks like. /I/ listen to him. That guy just /looked/ like him.”
Jimin was silent, irritated as he took out his phone.
He turned the screen to Hoseok, brows knitted in annoyance.
“Is this not Min Yoo—?“
“WHAT THE /FUCK/!?”
Hoseok snatched Jimin’s phone, eyes blown. Jimin huffed.
“See? I told you! Now say sorry,” Jimin grumbled.
Hoseok’s voice went flat, eyes locked on Jimin shaking his head as if trying to convince himself.
“Hyung. I’m /not joking/.”
“Taehyung told me before I met him the guy makes music. I didn’t know he was popular!”
“...he’s dating Agust D,” he uttered.
“Yes. Finally. Thank you—“
“GOD I /KNEW/ THAT WAS HIM!” Hoseok screamed, hands flying to his head. “I /KNEW/ THAT WAS HIM IN THE SHOP!”
“You said ‘he just looks like him!?”
Jimin stared, concerned as Hoseok went dead silent, looking into space.
“...I’m sorry for not believing you,” he said softly, handing Jimin’s phone to him.
“He comes in very often. Just so you know.”
“What’s his favorite drink?” Hoseok asked quietly.
“Tae always makes him a caramel machiatto.”
“God, it /is/ him...”
“I’m always a cute fanboy...” Hoseok murmured, sitting down in a bit of a daze.
How was Jimin this calm!? Did he really just not /know/? Maybe that was for the best. If /Hoseok/ didn’t know that Min Yoongi was dating someone, then no one knew.
He looked at the puffy yellow omelette, mouth watering as Jimin drizzled red ketchup over it.
Jimin laughed, looking shy.
“To be honest, it’s pretty much the only thing I can make...”
“That’s one more thing than I can make, though.”
They laughed and dug in. Totally delicious. Hoseok hummed in content, his cheeks full.
“Mm?” he hummed, looking up. He swallowed his food, almost choking to do it quickly. “What?”
“Why do you collect cassettes?”
Hoseok grinned, scooping up more omelette and some stray grains of rice.
“Like I said, some of the best stuff‘s old school.”
“You saw RM before he was famous?” Jimin asked, amazed, and Hoseok grinned wider.
He tapped his plate with his fork twice and pointed it towards Jimin.
“/That’s/ where it started.”
“For the most part,” Hoseok answered. “I got /real/ lucky with a g.o.d. album that some kid at school’s older sister didn’t want anymore. Case and everything. Other stuff is eBay. Sometimes you just get the tape, and that’s fine, but the case, hoo...”
“It doesn’t sound silly,” Jimin commented, eating for a moment before speaking again. “...it sounds kinda like you’re a treasure-hunter.”
“That’s what it felt like, for sure,”
“It’s—you probably won’t believe me when I say it, but it’s always been hard for me to do the things I want. Let’s just say my dad watches my mail like a hawk now.”
“Oh,” Jimin said softly, understanding. “He didn’t approve?”
He looked to Jimin with a stressed smile.
“Gone, probably locked up in his office, or maybe he sold them, or maybe he burned them, /who knows/, and now it’s been two months.”
He smiled sadly.
“They’re why I met you.”
“/That’s/ what your maid meant! Before we met, she said something about the opera being...God, what did she say? Some creepy—‘a corrective measure!’ That!”
“Oh /God/,” Hoseok groaned, leaning back in his chair.
“Oh /yeah/,” he replied, eating the last of his breakfast. “100% corrected. Cassettes? What cassettes?”
“I’m just glad you were punished on /my/ night,” Jimin laughed nervously, and Hoseok laughed along until he though about for a moment and laughed hsrder, shaking his head.
“If it wasn’t you, I’d just still be mad.”
“I mean I liked the opera because I liked /you/. I thought you were amazing. If it were Taemin, I’d still be mad about the whole thing.”
Hoseok scraped up some rice that had gotten away.
“Now I’m still mad but /also/ have you,” he joked.
“What was it...why me?”
“What—what was it that I did that made you—I was off that night.”
“What? No you weren’t.”
“The last note, my voice broke.”
“Did it? I didn’t hear.”
“Okay, but I didn’t hear it...” Hoseok said firmly. Jimin said nothing, and Hoseok frowned.
He thumbed circles on Jimin’s palm.
Jimin wasn’t saying anything, just sort of looked down at their hands. Hoseok continued his soothing, feeling a little quiet himself. He’d been honest. More honest than he felt he’d ever been with anyone. Jimin was amazing.
Jimin needed to believe that, too.
Jimin’s head snapped up, looking at Hoseok with confusion before it melted into a grin, before he laughed and pushed Hoseok’s hand away, “Stop that!”
Hoseok cackled, happy his plan worked.
“—so cute I wanna squeeze you—!“
But Jimin was gone, nearly collapsed on the table.
He didn’t know if he could feel soft, but if he could, this must be what it felt like. Warm. Floaty, like bubbling champagne. Jimin’s laugh made Hoseok genuinely feel /better/.
He ruffled his still damp hair, teasing done.
Hoseok figured he might as well make his hand useful, petting Jimin gently.
“/Don’t/, that’s seriously too good.”
“I wash, you dry?”
Hoseok followed him toward the sink, taking the small towel Jimin handed him.
Hoseok’s music still played, something from The Weeknd. Jimin washed their plates, handed them to Hoseok to wipe and pat dry before finding their place in the cabinet.
It was a short something, but Hoseok had liked it.
Breakfast was done. Showers were done. Jimin’s stretches were done.
In theory, there was nothing else left to do.
The two looked at other for moment before Jimin quietly announced, “I’m gonna brush my teeth,” and hurried out.
The tension was back...
After what they’d done on the sofa, Hoseok could tell they’d been much more affectionate with each other...
“No, I—just planned on going home.”
The sound of spitting, rinsing, spitting again. Silence.
Jimin appeared, leaning on the doorframe.
Jimin was beautiful, brilliant. Jimin knew exactly what he’d done. Hoseok could kiss him for it.
Hell, he would.
Hoseok crossed the room, meeting him for a minty kiss, grateful for the extension.
He knew they were only prolonging the inevitable, but he’d take a few more hours. He’d take anything.
“Not at all.”
“Thought so. Good, ‘cause I didn’t have enough to throw in until now.”
Jimin left him for his room, and Hoseok couldn’t help but peek.
He averted his gaze when Jimin came back into view, a half-full laundry basket on his hip.
When he returned, he lifted a few pieces of Jimin’s laundry and put his own under, hiding them from view.
“There we go,” he mumbled.
“You know people have to wash their sheets around here, too,” he said quietly as he moved past, teasing in his voice that made Hoseok’s cheeks flare up. “You’re fine, Hyung.”
“It’s just a habit,” Hoseok laughed, unable to look Jimin in the eye.
“/Not that/, I’m not—I can—...”
“.../aah/, knock it off, don’t make me say it!”
Hoseok pushed at his shoulder as Jimin giggled into oblivion.
“Oooh, that does make sense...”
“Yeah, she shouldn’t have to touch.../that/.”
“Yes /that/, /stop/,” Hoseok pushed at him again as they reached the elevator.
“God...you’re lucky you’re cute,” Hoseok joked, pushing him again. Jimin bit his lip, quieting himself to just short breath laughs from his nose. “You’re lucky I like you...”
Jimin spoke quietly, looking to Hoseok and nowhere else. Certainly not to the security camera, Hoseok thought.
Just as he leaned forward, the elevator slowed for the 13th floor, and Hoseok lurched back. Jimin giggled beside him.
“I guess a lot,” he murmured.
It was like a vacuum to space; the air was totally sucked out of the room.
Three people stared wide-eyed, surprised, Jimin and Hoseok in the elevator...and the man who’d taken a step toward them before freezing in place.
A man in a black hoodie and sweats.
He had dark circles under his eyes, like he hadn’t slept in days.
No one said a word. No one moved.
And then the doors slid shut.
“That was /him/, right!?”
“That was /totally/ him, oh my GOD.”
Jimin was whispering as if he was afraid of being heard. Hoseok wrinkled his nose.
“You /smelled/ that, right...?”
Jimin nodded confidently.
“100%. Jeez...oh man I didn’t even think of that, he’s probably got like eight cats. That was a bedset, yeah?”
Jimin shuddered and Hoseok swallowed, a bit shaken.
“Do you—do you think we’ll run into him down there?”
But Jimin shook his head.
“No way. We probably wrecked his whole day, he didn’t wanna be in here with us.”
“When does he normally do laundry?”
“God if I know...”
Jimin looked to Hoseok, who’s eyes grew wide.
“Are you a weirdo good-luck charm?”
“What, no! I mean—“
Hoseok was quick to think.
“—well I found /you/, so maybe—“
Of course it was only the machine furthest from the elevator that was empty. He pinched Jimin’s shirt, as if touching him would ensure their safety.
Jimin smiled gently.
“Is this not a reasonable reaction?” Hoseok pouted, pulling at Jimin’s shirt. “First that guy, now this place—“
“He’s harmless,” Jimin chuckled. “It’s not like he’s a serial killer.”
“Would a serial killer let you know he’s a serial killer!?”
“/Relax/!” Jimin laughed as he loaded the washer. “It’s probably just Tae.”
Just as Hoseok settled back down, the elevator dinged, and he turned to stare at the doors, heart gripped with fear.
And when they opened...
“Aah, stay close, don’t be wild...”
Jimin and Hoseok did the same. Jimin waved to the boy and laughed softly as he hid behind his mothers skirt.
As they turned for the elevator Jimin waved goodbye to the boy, who shyly waved back.
Hoseok waited as Jimin turned the screen so he could see for himself.
“He says Yoongi-hyung had to work today, so no lunch date today,” Jimin said as it seemed like another message came in.
“I’m happy for them.”
It was a still a little hard to believe, but Kim Taehyung, the best barista in Seoul, really was dating rap legend Agust D. Min Yoongi.
“It’s nice when you find out your idols are also good people.”
“Oh yeah, what was that like?” Hoseok asked as leaned against the back wall.
“He’s got a really good work ethic, great control. And friendly. He was really amazing as the King...I almost feel bad you didn’t get to see him.”
He slipped his hand into Jimin’s.
“I don’t feel bad at all.”
Squeezed it tightly.
“I got to see the show the /one/ night it was different, and that makes it the most special night, right? I saw something special.”
He raised Jimin’s hand to his lips and kissed it gently, seeing him flush out of the corner of his eye...but he was smiling again. That was the most important thing.
Hoseok swung their hands and shrugged comically.
“So yeah. I don’t feel bad at all.”
“Why can’t you be a casting director?” he half-laughed-half-whined, voice muffled, and Hoseok immediately took to stroking his hair in comfort.
“I’d put you in everything.”
“I’d keep you so busy you wouldn’t know what to do with yourself,” he sighed, rubbing his hand up and down Jimin’s side.
Jimin mumbled something.
The doors opened. Jimin took Hoseok by the hand and led him out, Hoseok realizing through his mind going into total blue-screen shutdown that Jimin could literally lead him to the gates of hell and he’d follow willingly, /happily/.
The air felt thicker, was it warmer? Had someone turned up the heat on Jimin’s floor?
Then he turned to face Hoseok, staying by the door, looking at him with his pretty eyes. He looked stiff, as if he were holding his breath. As if he were waiting.
He grinned and gasped as Hoseok crossed the floor and kissed him /hard/. The door clattered as Jimin’s back made contact, and he arched just enough to let Hoseok grab him as he threw his arms around his shoulders.
He was seriously too cute.
So Jimin rewarded him with his tongue, moaning softly into him as Hoseok found a better grip.
Jimin egged him on and let out a small cry, followed by a giddy laugh as Hoseok scooped him up. He was quick to put his legs around the taller’s torso, quick to meet his lips again.
“Room,” he instructed between breaths.
“Are you okay?” he chuckled as Hoseok sat them at the foot of his messy bed. Jimin knew he should have made it earlier. Oh well.
“I think your counter took a chunk outta my hip...”
They were back to kissing, though not quite as urgently as before, Jimin lying on Hoseok, pulling his hand back to his so-called “cute” butt.
When Hoseok said it, it wasn’t demeaning or dismissive. It wasn’t ‘That’s cute’ when he told someone about his aspirations. It wasn’t ‘You’re so cute’ when he was genuinely frustrated.
Hoseok’s ‘cute’ came from adoration.
Hoseok’s hand slipped under the elastic of his sweats, but then he stopped.
“You’re wearing underwear?” he murmured, smiling, a bit breathless.
“What happened to making it easier for me?” he breathed shakily.
He shifted back off of Hoseok—
“—than lying back—“
—to lie on his stomach, his head between Hoseok’s legs—
—stroking his thighs.
“—and letting me thank you for earlier?”
A shuddered “/Oh/ my God,” was what he got in response, and hips twitching up into his open palm.
“/Yes/, it’s a yes, yes, I—/ah/, shit—“
Jimin had taken a hold of his length through his pants, more than satisfied by his enthusiasm, and was now stroking him slowly. He leaned down to give it a kiss, just a peck, and Hoseok groaned.
Like him, Hoseok was wearing boxers, and the outline of his cock was prominent. Jimin felt another rush as it twitched beneath the thin fabric.
Jimin peeled back his boxers enough for Hoseok’s cock to spring free, resting hard against his stomach, and he actually let out a tiny gasp.
He’d thought about this, and now, here it was.
“Can I blow you?”
Hoseok’s eyes went wide. More tellingly, a bit of precum was now running down his cock onto Jimin’s hand.
“Sorry, thought you were joking,” Hoseok panted, “Yes, please, /of course/, you don’t have to ask.”
Jimin smiled, tongue darting out to wet his lips.
“I /like/ asking,” he whispered, taking Hoseok’s tip in his mouth and running his tongue in a circle around it.
He moaned and took him a little deeper, pushed further when Hoseok whined.
Hoseok’s hand, trembling, came to stroke his hair.
“Fuck, you’re beautiful...”
He knew this was supposed to be a thank you, just for Hoseok, but Jimin was desperate.
“Tell me I’m pretty.”
“Fuck, /fuck/, Jimin, you’re pretty, you’re so pretty—“ Hoseok half-babbled-half-sobbed.
“You’re so good, feels so good, you’re so pretty, oh my /God/—“
His fingers clutched into Jimin’s hair, and he winced but found the sting pleasant.
“Gonna—“ Hoseok started before choking on a gasp. Jimin stroked him faster, twisting his hand on the up stroke.
“Hyung, are you close?”
“Do you wanna come?”
Jimin kissed his tip, making him quiver into near convulsions.
“Do you wanna do it in my mouth?”
His stomach flexed and his legs shook around Jimin, who was absolutely drunk off this, getting Hoseok off.
Jimin faltered only for a second as come filled his mouth, but he kept going, and to be honest it only turned him on more.
And once he was done, Jimin sat up and swallowed hard, breathed hard.
Jimin, however, was still painfully hard, and Hoseok was too spent to do anything.
Hoseok sat up, eyes tired but wide.
“Hyung,” he sobbed, never losing eye contact with Hoseok for a moment.
“...keep going, baby.”
Hoseok came closer and met his lips but didn’t touch him.
“You can do it, Jimin.”
Hoseok laid himself down beside him and immediately pulled him into his arms.
Jimin closed his eyes, thinking he could fall asleep right there in Hoseok’s arms.
That’s actually exactly what happened.
Jimin woke up still in delicious warmth, a comfortable fog as his body felt looser and lighter than any stretch could ever do.
“Hey, there you are~”
Hoseok was still beside him, holding him, voice soft. Jimin instinctively curled closer.
“You give me the best blowjob I’ve ever had in my life and you’re saying ‘Sorry?’” Hoseok laughed, the whole while smoothing his hair, and Jimin grinned.
“I meant for falling asleep.”
“Aah, you’re fine. You definitely tired yourself out.”
Hoseok poked his side and grinned. Jimin squealed, delighted but a little embarrassed as he hid his face.
“You really liked that, huh~?“ he said with another poke.
“Stooop,” Jimin whined, laughing and kicking him lightly.
“I didn’t think I was /that/ type of person,” Jimin confessed as he recovered.
“Me either,” Hoseok nodded.
“No, /me/...I—really liked watching you—and you’re cute when you’re bossy...“
“‘Bossy,’” Jimin repeated with a laugh. What a way to put it.
He leaned back so he could take in Hoseok, shy, but serious.
“...so...I did good?”
“/Yes/, Jimin, you did /good/. You did /great/, are you kidding me? Asking something like that, aah—you know the answer!”
“Just wanted to be sure,” Jimin said into his neck, pleased as could be.
“How am I dangerous!?”
“Because you’re tiny and adorable but you’re strong and demanding and /God/, Jimin...”
Hoseok batted his eyelashes and Jimin lost it, laughing and trying to squirm away.
“‘Hyungie, did I do good?’”
“/I didn’t say ‘Hyungie/!’”
Hoseok wasn’t letting go, laughing as he held Jimin steady.
“You’re gonna fall off the bed if I do, I know it!”
Jimin turned around in his embrace, facing Hoseok with a smile as warm as the room.
“I won’t. Let go.”
His eyes fluttered shut as he found a new embrace, gentler, one that held Jimin close to him but didn’t trap him, his hands rubbing his back.
His phone rang.
The answer was no.
“Hey,” he saud softly.
“Where are you?”
His stomach dropped as his father’s voice came through, completely blindsiding him. Jimin sat up, concerned as he saw Hoseok’s whole demeanor shift.
“I’m using your mother’s phone since you seem insistent on ignoring my messages. Where are you?”
His whole body went cold. Messages. Had he looked through him and his mother’s messages? No, he couldn’t have. Why would he be asking where he was then?
“I’m with a friend.”
“Hoseok, this needs to stop. I can’t have you running around making a fool of yourself, spending money frivolously, do you know how that /looks/? How that makes our family look? Do you even /care/?”
It was nothing Hoseok hadn’t heard before.
Seeing him look like that set something off in Hoseok.
“Is it really so bad that I do /one/ thing for myself?” he spat.
Jimin shifted, the sheets crumpling.
“What you do for yourself puts this family at risk of becoming a laughingstock.”
“I’m not a /child/, Dad.”
“But you’re twenty-four years old acting like one! You /refuse/ to grow up and accept responsibility!”
Hoseok was silent, seething, upset. Jimin wasn’t looking at him anymore.
“I’ve had enough.”
“Don’t disappointment me more than you already have.”
The line went dead.
The room was icy, silent until Jimin whispered.
“You should go.”
“You—You need to go.”
The building was coming down, every story above Jimin’s apartment crumbling on Hoseok, crushing him.
“I don’t want—!“
“/I know you don’t want to/, but you have to.”
Jimin still wasn’t looking at him, voice strained.
Hoseok saw the way Jimin’s hands were trembling. The redness in his eyes.
He couldn’t leave. Not like this. He couldn’t leave Jimin like /this/.
“I’ll keep them safe.”
“I’ll be okay,” Jimin lied.
None of this was good enough.
Hoseok wrapped his arms around Jimin, holding him tight. Jimin was slow to return the embrace.
“...I’m so sorry,” Hoseok said, voice breaking.
“You didn’t do anything, Hyung.”
Jimin’s voice was soft, comforting.
“...I’ll figure it out, okay?”
He’d leaned back, holding Jimin’s face in his hands. He ran his thumbs along his cheekbones.
Jimin looked resigned, tired. Hoseok kissed his forehead.
“I’ll come back to you. I–I’ll figure it out. I promise, Jimin.”
Hoseok kissed him once, twice, trying to keep it together, trying not to let what he was feeling overflow into the exterior.
He didn’t know what to say. He didn’t know what he /wanted/ to say. It hurt. This hurt so much.
Hoseok kissed him and made it count, because he needed to go. He kissed Jimin slow, cupping his cheeks. Jimin tilted his head, kissing him back, and for a moment, Hoseok could pretend like his heart wasn’t shattering little pieces.
But only for a moment.
And he only looked up at Hoseok when he came back to the bedroom door.
Then he smiled gently.
Hoseok turned and walked to the door, knowing if he stayed for a moment longer he’d never leave. He didn’t look back as he opened the apartment door, heard it slam behind him as he walked down the hall, his stride long and focused.
He needed to stay focused.
Hoseok flinched when he saw there were two people in there already, but shaped up and joined them, his jaw set. No eye contact.
They got off at the tenth floor, paying Hoseok no mind.
By the seventh floor, he sniffled.
By the fifth, his hands started shaking in his coat pockets.
And when Hoseok reached the lobby, he was fighting the coming breakdown by frantically contacting someone to come pick him up, his eyes and lungs burning.
Hoseok took a deep, shaky breath as he stepped outside, the cold air hitting him like a brick as he opened his messages.
But he didn’t.
Because he needed to go.
He shouldn’t, but he did, stifling his sobs as it felt like his chest was about to collapse.
“You are /not a problem/.”
Hoseok’s voice sounded firm.
“Jimin. Do you hear me?” he asked, louder, and Jimin could hear the slightest tremble.
“I heard you,” he sobbed.
There was a moment of silence, aside from Jimin sniffling, trying to calm himself.
“You did nothing wrong,” Hoseok said gently. Jimin wished he believed that.
“You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me, Jimin.”
His voice cracked in his ear, and Jimin fell silent.
“I mean that. I meant everything I said.”
“I’ll figure it out.”
“...I trust you, Hyung.”
He heard Hoseok sigh, sounding just an inkling less stressed.
Hoseok started to speak again but stopped short, and Jimin’s breath caught in his throat.
“...I—...I want you to be okay.”
“I’ll be okay. I promise.”
“If you need /anything/—“
“I know, I know,” he said with a small laugh.
Jimin heard a short honk.
“That’s my car.”
“I’ll see you again soon.”
“I look forward to it, Hyung.”
Hoseok chuckled, sounding off.
He lied there for a long while, just like that. Still. Silent. The tear stains on his cheeks grew cold, so he wiped them away.
The duvet was heavy as he pulled it over himself.
Jimin wanted to sleep. But he couldn’t.
He didn’t bother to hang up his coat, heading straight for the stairs, skipping the third, fourth and seventh steps. No squeaking.
He changed into a green hoodie and jeans.
Red, tired eyes. He’d cried in the back of that car. He’d cried, wondering if Jimin really was okay. He’d cried, wondering about why it had to be like this. He’d cried, terrified that he was feeling so much.
He needed to find his mother.
He descended the stairs just as carefully, his bare feet lightly smacking on the hardwood floor. She could be anywhere, but he’d try the den first.
There she was.
His mother was resting on the sofa, sound asleep, her phone and a half-empty glass of wine sitting on a small coffee table.
Pieces of the puzzle of how earlier happened fell into place.
Another tree. She’d been painting trees for months now, all kinds.
For the first time, at least that Hoseok could remember, his mother had also painted a bright blue sky, smears of white shaped as clouds.
A voice spoken at full volume made Hoseok jump and whirl, relaxing when he saw it was his father.
Tensing again when he saw it was his father.
“Did you have fun, Hoseok?” he stepped into the den. “Did you get everything out of your system?”
“You worried her,” his father continued. “She was incessant last night. Asking me if I knew where you were. I said if she didn’t know, how should I?”
“Hoseok,” she yawned, sitting up with a smile, “when did you get you in?”
“I was asking our son if he understood how worried we were last night.”
Suddenly it was ‘we.’
Her smile vanished as she looked between him and her husband.
“That’s still clearly not good enough,” his father spat. “Not one question answered—“
“I /told/ you I was with a friend.”
Hoseok’s mother stood.
“/A/ friend, does it matter?”
“Darling, aren’t young men entitled to some privacy?”
“Privacy is /earned/,” his father interjected. “What did you buy yesterday? If you tell me it’s another pair of shoes, so help me—“
“I bought a bracelet.”
“A bracelet? Where is it?”
“I don’t have it.”
“You don’t /have/ it.”
“/That’s what I said/, I don’t have it!”
“You spend /15 million won/, /my/ money that I give you in allowance, for /what/, I’m beginning to question...and you don’t have it.”
“I lost it.”
Hoseok had never been a good liar, but somehow the story flowed out. Crashing in an Internet cafe meant no payment to check on, and it made it easier to sell the idea of someone stealing ‘his’ bracelet.
“I’m sorry your bracelet was stolen, dear...” his mother said softly.
“Would you quit /coddling/ him?”
He turned to face her, gesturing to Hoseok and speaking as if he wasn’t there.
“I’m just glad he’s safe.”
She spoke coldly.
“I don’t want to hear anymore of this. It’s done. Hoseok is home. That’s what’s most important.”
At that his mother fell silent, her lips pursed.
Hoseok bit his tongue.
“Its a shame you had such a bad evening. Was your little escapade worth all this trouble, Hoseok?”
/All this trouble and more./
And Hoseok knew there’d be more...
Just say what he wants to hear and it’ll end.
“I’m glad you understand that, at least. Think twice before doing it again.”
And it ended.
Hoseok’s father sighed and left the den, and in his wake he left his wife, who was concerned beyond all scale, and his son, frozen.
His voice was hoarse, and she rushed to him, hugging him.
“Hoseok, sweetie, tell me what happened.”
“/I’m so sorry/—”
“Ssh, it’s alright, you’re alright—“
Jimin stared at the two now-annoyed girls from behind the counter as four iced lattes sat between them, all made with whole milk.
“...were they?” he asked quietly.
“Yeah, so could you—?“
“It’s just that you never /said/ that.“
“It’s so funny, these were apparently /supposed/ to be soy, but...I didn’t know! /Huh/. It’s almost like if you /want/ soy, you should /ask/ for soy! Right? That makes sense!”
Jimin turned as Taehyung rushed over.
“Go to the freezer,” he murmured to Jimin, and Jimin didn’t need to be told twice. His apron was off before he was out of sight of customers, storming through the door to the kitchen.
He entered the freezer and sat in the unofficial “hiding” place, a small spot behind the chocolate muffin boxes where thwy could go to breathe, maybe cry.
Jimin wasn’t crying.
He took out his phone, the glow lighting up his face.
He put it away, considering he had no messages. He hadn’t for awhile.
...he needed to get over this.
The sooner the better.
The first week hadn’t been so bad. The second, the messages got further and further between, or plain unanswered. Now...
The light came back on as the door creaked.
“Same thing. Milk. It’s /always/ milk, it’s always /some/—“
He sighed, realizing he was getting loud, and he didn’t want to make Tae uncomfortable. He didn’t deserve that.
He hated being in his own home now. It was just a constant reminder of how lonely he was. How he’d lost everything good he’d ever had. Except Tae, but Jimin couldn’t keep relying on him for every crisis.
And of course, this fucking job.
“...he still hasn’t...?”
“Nope,” Jimin said flatly, softly, starting to stand.
“I don’t even know what I’d say to him...I don’t even know if I really knew him.”
“Jimin, don’t say things like that.”
Taehyung sounded serious all of a sudden, enough to startle Jimin.
Taehyung nodded to Jimin’s hand.
“There’s also that. That’d be a lot for just some fling...”
He knew Taehyung was absolutely right.
Something had happened. Whatever it was, he still trusted Hoseok, even if it hurt.
“I was gonna—“
“No you’re not. You’re seeing Yoon-Yoon’s show with me.”
“What? Tae, I can’t—“
“Yes you can, because he gave me /two/ tickets. Because I /asked/ him for two tickets. Please? It’ll be fun. You need to have fun, Jimin.”
“It’ll be great, I promise. He has this new song he’s been working on, /aah/, this one part~ It’s seriously too good.”
“Shouldn’t he be here soon?”
“/Shit/, you’re right, come on. I’m a Taecicle.”
Diing. “Ah, Hyung~!”
Min Yoongi, here again, same time, same paper bag, same all black getup. Jimin smiled at how happy Taehyung was, how cute and giddy he still got after almost a month of dating.
“Babe, you’re /freezing/...”
“He’s been dead the whole time,” Jimin deadpanned.
“I was gonna tell you soon, honest,” Tae said with mock apology.
“Aah...oh well, I can deal with it,” Yoongi sighed with a shrug.
They’d been taking walks after lunch and making goo-goo eyes with each other so they could make goo-goo eyes /outside/, too.
Jimin figured they were also going somewhere to make out, but Taehyung hadn’t said that.
“Eh. Same old.”
“You comin’ to the show tonight?”
“Tae just told me. Yeah, I am.”
“Nice. Thank you. It actually means a lot.”
“It sounds like fun, Hyung.”
“I wanna ask you something.”
Jimin leaned on the counter and beckoned Yoongi a little closer.
“...what is it? About Tae, I mean.”
“...is this a best friend test?”
“No, I’m just curious.”
Yoongi looked down at the floor for a long time, tapping his foot.
“I saw him as...someone who still treated me like a cute guy in a coffee shop, even after they found who ‘I’ was.”
“Tae’s real. That’s why I love him.”
Jimin’s eyes widened, jaw hanging as Yoongi’s moon-pale face suddenly turned to Mars.
“/Shutup/,” Yoongi hissed, tugging at his mask. Jimin only grinned wider, and then the door swung open. Out came Tae, coat in hand.
“Here I am~, what’d I miss?”
“/Nothing/,” Jimin and Yoongi replied unison.
“Why are you two always planning something?” he said with a pout, slowly taking Yoongi’s hand. His smile came back as he swung them. “Hyung, I wanna walk first today.”
“Okay. Jimin-ah, could you—?”
“It’s safe with me,” Jimin said, taking the paper bag.
Yoongi /loved/ Taehyung.
He wondered if he’d told him yet. Probably not, with how flustered he’d gotten.
Yoongi was honestly hysterical, what a weird guy. Weird but good.
/That/ kind of guy also got caramel machiattos. Got all blushy saying he loved his boyfriend.
Someone loved his best friend, and he couldn’t be more happy for them.
Hoseok looked up from his laptop, expression blank. Several papers were scattered about.
“Yes, sir?” the maid said as she dusted the mantle.
“If I ask you to kill me, you’d have to do it, right?”
“I’m afraid assisted-suicide isn’t in my contract, sir,” she laughed.
Soo-Hee laughed again.
“The blood stains would be too much.”
“Blood!? Soo-Hee I don’t want you to /stab/ me!”
“Ooh, I see.”
“...you have a dark mind...”
He was sick of spreadsheets.
He was sick of not having his phone.
But this was his “job” now, managing fake assets.
Hoseok was to organize various assets, in this case, automotive parts and equipment, and “ship” them to distributors.
Hoseok hoped those general managers’ offices had sturdy windows. He’d only been at this a few weeks and he was already willing to take a pencil in the eye instead.
‘You don’t get to make mistakes in the real world.’
It was wonderful. The /best/. The absolute—
He didn’t /care/.
He’d never cared about any of this, and if that made him a failure, a poor son, a disappointment, whatever the hell else /he/ could call Hoseok, then so be it.
/You have completed 27 of 50 daily assignments. Score: D/
Man, those four hours really just /flew/ by. Hoseok hurriedly logged out and closed the program. Thank God.
‘Privacy is earned.’
His stomach twisted as he entered the kitchen, though it had nothing to do with hunger.
Had he thought Hoseok had abandoned him?
That last one kept him up at night for days.
Life had felt like some drama for awhile, but now, it was back to reality.
For now, his father was appeased. It was the best Hoseok could ask for at the moment. There was still work to be done.
He turned, deciding the den was better before he heard “Oh, Hoseok are you done already? Come here,” from his mother.
He sighed silently, taking a seat at the end of the table
She smiled between the both of them, but stopped when her husband only hummed disapprovingly.
“I don’t feel like going into the city again today.”
“A man only has so much precious free time. I’d prefer spending it doing something I enjoy.”
This was nothing unusual.
She huffed, turning to face her son.
“Well, /fine/. Hoseok, /you/ won’t let your mother go all by herself, will you?”
Now why’d she have to go and put it like that...? Honestly, he’d rather not. Art galleries weren’t Hoseok’s thing. But the thought of his mother wandering around all by her lonesome...
“Yeah, I’ll go.”
“Good. It’ll be good for you. Won’t it, dear?”
“We will” she said, happy, but just a bit spiteful.
...an art gallery. Joy.
Hoseok tried his best not to let his disinterest show, for his mother’s sake.
“Hoseok will need his phone, if he’s going,” she continued.
“Well he might not be /with/ me, it’s a large exhibition. It’s thaf gallery? When we saw that photographer? I know Hoseok doesn’t want to be attached to my hip all night, do you, dear? You’ll want to wander around won’t you?”
“...aah—yes, that makes sense.”
“Of course it does.”
She smiled, never looking to Hoseok, who couldn’t look /anywhere/ but her.
How did she do that!?
If it /was/ something, his mother was the best liar he’d ever seen.
He’d have his phone back in a few short hours. He’d back in the city in a few short hours.
“Wear whatever you feel best in, dear.”
Hoseok nodded, leaving the room and immediately sprinting up to his bedroom once he was out of earshot, his heart racing.
Oh God, please. /Please/.
Jimin didn’t really have any reason to do so, but he did for his own sake.
He’d styled his hair up, only a little stiff from gel. The sweater he wore was for special occasions only, a black one with all sorts of colorful writing on the front.
Jimin was always hot, but he knew he was at an 11 now.
He sighed, grabbing his phone and his keys before leaving his empty apartment.
He and Taehyung were meeting in the front of the shop before heading out to the venue.
‘It’s a /secret/ show,’ Tae had told him excitedly. ‘He’s gonna come out and everyone’s gonna be like AAA!’
For someone as big as Agust D, and Jimin had certainly realized Yoongi was /someone/, this was going to be a /very/ big deal.
He /loved/ Taehyung.
Well, that was all well and good, Min Yoongi, but what will you plan to /do/ about it? Hm?
They really were cute. He’d never seen Taehyung so happy, so...blissful. Jimin wanted the very best for them, and he was getting it.
He hated that he felt that familiar jealousy again, the notes of envy he’d harbored seeing them together. But it couldnt be helped.
Jimin continued down the sidewalk, hands in his pockets.
He was going to have fun tonight.
He deserved to have fun.
“What time will you be back?”
“Well we might get dinner afterward, so 10:30? 11? You won’t have to wait up for us.”
“I hadn’t planned to, I was only curious.”
The air was cold but the car was warm, and soon they were off.
“Spring can’t get here soon enough...”
“...there /is/ an exhibit, right?” Hoseok blurted. He couldn’t take it.
But his mother just laughed.
“Of /course/ there’s an exhibit, Hoseok. Where else would we be going?”
“Yeah, no, I—sorry, I just...I wasn’t thinking...”
“It’s alright, dear.“
And with the tracking, God only knew if his messages were being watched now, too.
But Hoseok realized all too soon that staying calm would be far too easy.
There /was/ an exhibit.
The only time he hadn’t been bored to tears was when he’d found himself alone in a hall of tasteful nudes.
He didn’t know why he’d really expected anything different. That was a bit selfish of him, wasn’t it? This was a night for his mother, he’d come here fo make /her/ happy...
He checked his messages.
/I don’t wanna bother you./
/He/ was sorry, Jimin.
He was so, so sorry.
Hoseok was so close, and yet Jimin might as well have been a continent away.
Hoseok swallowed the lump in his throat as he put his phone away.
He couldn’t be upset.
He’d signed up for this, and he wasn’t about to ruin his mother’s evening with his own problems.
“A selfie, I want a selfie,” she urged, waving her hand.
He bent his knees to make himself a little shorter so they could both fit in frame, and he smiled faintly.
Did all mothers love text to speech?
“Oh goodness, there’s ‘Woman With a Parasol!’”
Hoseok walker over to the painting, a little stiff, unable to remember the last time he’d felt so hollow.
“A little to the left...one more—perfect! Smiiiiile—“
“Perfect!” she said, laughing at the screen. “Come see.”
He looked like a miserable person trying their best not to have a breakdown, so it was more like looking into a mirror than any future fond memory...
“Looks great,” he lied.
“I think so, too. Alright, let me see your phone.”
He’d just gotten it back! Not that he even really trusted it, but—
His mother had her hand out expectantly, and...he couldn’t think. He wasn’t thinking. He only hesitated for a moment before fishing it out of his jeans and handing it over.
Then...she just turned around and started walking away, her clicking heels adding to the sound of other excited gallery goers.
“Mom!?” he called, chasing after her.
“What‘s wrong, dear?”
“I—what was that for?”
“My phone, I...“
“Oh, /shoot/, you’re right, one moment, let me see that.”
She took her phone back from Hoseok’s hand and dug his back out from her purse.
What the hell?
“There you go,” she said, handing her phone back to him.
“You know when I was your age, we memorized phone numbers. I can /still/ say your grandmother’s phone number like kts—“
“Mom, what is this?” he murmured, eyes stuck on the screen.
“This is the part where you escape.”
“/Mom, oh my GOD/—“
“I wanted to tell you in the car, but I needed these pictures to look convincing,” she laughed, petting the back of his head. “I hope you can forgive me.”
This was actually happening.
“Thank you,” Hoseok said, his voice hitching.
“Ooh, don’t cry, don’t cry, you look so handsome. You don’t want to look puffy when you see him.”
Hoseok nodded quickly, calming down in deep breaths.
“...what if Dad calls?”
She rattled her purse.
Holy shit, she’d thought of everything.
“I’ll do what you do!”
Which meant she would ignore it completely.
“A man only has so much precious free time, Hoseok.”
She gave him a kiss to the forehead and stepped back with a kind smile.
“He should spend it doing something he enjoys.”
“I love you, Mom. Thank you so much.”
“I love you, too, sweetheart. Please have fun tonight. As much as you can.”
She let him go and then pointed to the phone.
“Meet me back here at 9:50. The driver will be here at 10.”
His hands shook hitting “Call.”
Please. Even if he was working, just seeing him. Just hearing his voice. Please, /please/, keep staying on his side, Universe.
Taehyung bounced on his heels, getting his last messages and posts out before their phones were taken at the door.
Jimin guessed it was maybe another twenty people to go.
“You’re almost there, Tae,” Jimin laughed, stopping as he felt his pocket buzzing. A call?
He plucked out his phone, squinting at the screen.
“Dunno,” Jimin said, hitting ‘Decline.’ He kept his phone out, considering he’d just be taking it out again here in a bit. “Did he say when he’d be here?”
“Third song,” was all Taehyung said, grinning.
Jimin puffed his cheeks and let it out slowly. It wasn’t as cold as it had been lately, but it was still pretty damn cold. The sweater was helping, but he’d definitely chosen fashion over function when it came to the jeans
“Do you think—?”
His phone rang again.
“Wrong number, pal,” he muttered, declining it again.
“What were you gonna say?” Taehyung asked, hugging Jimin from behind.
“Aah—I don’t remember. It wasn’t important.”
A large group went in.
Jimin’s lock screen lit up.
Jimin looked up having been herded forward and not realizing he was at the front of the line.
“Sorry, I—can I just—?“
He moved out of the line, leaving Taehyung calling “Jimin? You okay?” behind him.
“I—I don’t know,” he called back.
“Who is this?” he asked the moment he heard connection.
“Oh my God, oh my /God/, thank you for picking up, oh my God—“
“Hyung?” he whispered, his hand starting to shake. Taehyung went from worried to shocked.
“Jimin, I’m in Seoul, I can come see you, I want to see you—“
“Where have you /been/?” Jimin asked, fighting emotion.
God he’d imagined this for weeks, days.
“...I’m seeing a show with Tae—“
“NO HE’S NOT,” yelled Taehyung. “COME GET HIM, WE’RE AT—“
Taehyung screamed the address, Jimin too baffled to react.
Was this actually happening?
And then there was just stomping sounds.
...was he running!?
What the /fuck/ was going on!?
“Where are /you/!?” Jimin shouted, taking a few steps,
“The Monet exhibition!” Taehyung gasped.
All Jimin could hear through the phone was breathing and wind and running.
Jimin whirled, seeing Taehyung wide-eyed and exasperated.
Jimin fucking /went/.
This couldn’t be happening.
He was dreaming again.
He’d wake up soon. He’d wipe his tears again, get dressed for work again.
Any second now.
Neon lights and shop signs, the street lamps all lit up in the waning light.
Jimmy pushed himself harder, lungs heaving.
He wouldn’t reach him. He never did.
Any second now.
It echoed down the street and crackled through the phone, and Jimin realized he was getting much closer than he ever had in his other dreams.
There was an intersection, the crosswalk counter counting down seconds until there would be cars again.
Any second now.
Jimin could see him under the lamplight, in the fading sunset.
Oh God, he was awake.
Hoseok, looking nowhere but him.
Hoseok, sprinting towards him. Jimin, doing just the same.
Hoseok, opening his arms and Jimin, dashing into them, both nearly knocking each other down in the middle of the street.
“I missed you,” Hoseok whispered, choking. “I missed you so much.”
Hoseok grabbed Jimin’s hand and pulled him to the safety of the sidewalk.
They stopped, out of the way of other people, just under the street lamp, and just—took each other in.
Hoseok held him close, swayed with him, kissed the top of his head.
Jimin’s shoulders shook.
“What happened?” he asked, voice small.
“He took my phone. I’m sorry.”
“How did you—?”
“My mom did this...she had this whole thing planned out. It was crazy.”
He rubbed small circles in Jimin’s back.
“I thought about you every day. I’m so sorry I couldn’t get back to you. I’m so sorry I—“
“Hyung. Stop apologizing.”
He kissed Hoseok, and everything suddenly felt right with the world again.
Hoseok grinned while kissing him back, cupping Jimin’s face, and Jimin squealed when he picked him up, spun him around, Hoseok cackling all the while.
“God, there’s so much to say...I don’t have much time.”
“You don’t?” Jimin said, his fingers curling into Hoseok’s shoulder.
“I have to be back at 9:45.”
So...a little under four hours.
“You look good...”
“I know,” Jimin giggled, grinning now. Hoseok cleared his throat, composing himself.
“It’d be a shame to let it go to waste...”
“I’ve thought about this so much you’d think I would have had a plan by now...”
His voice was so quiet, so honest, Jimin’s heart melted.
He couldn’t believe he’d ever doubted Hoseok, even for a second.
“I could, too, but I don’t /want/ to...it’s cold as hell,” Jimin laughed.
Jimin placed his hand on Hoseok’s chest, his other squeezing his hand.
“Do you wanna dance?”
“There’s a club a few blocks from here. I wanna dance with you.”
How could he ever say no to Jimin?
Even if Hoseok made an ass out of himself, it would be worth it times ten, times a hundred, because Jimin would be there.
He kissed Jimin and sealed the deal with a smile.
“Then we’re dancing.”
Jimin looked /good/.
Jimin looped his arms around Hoseok’s.
“...can I meet your mom tonight? I wanna thank her.”
The air felt different.
Honestly, everything felt different.
But it was good.
Hoseok couldn’t remember the last time he’d felt so fulfilled.
...actually, yes he could.
He kissed Jimin’s hair.
“Me, too,” Hoseok said without hesitation.
He still didn’t know how this has even really happened. Not tonight, but them. The stars and planets had aligned perfectly.
But even a dim light can make the most broken crystal a prism.
And Jimin was the most beautiful bright light in Hoseok’s life.
Jimin gave him hope that Hoseok could still find and chase his passion even if he felt he was too late.
Hoseok never wanted to be away from him. That was his goal.
“We’re here, lets go!”
He quickened his pace, taking Hoseok’s hand and pulling him toward the short line near the door.
As he pulled, Hoseok saw something glint under Jimin’s sweater sleeve.
Hoseok pushed up Jimin’s sleeve and had his breath stolen by the sight of the bracelet.
“You’re still wearing it,” he said, hushed.
“I never took it off,” Jimin confessed.
Hoseok stopped doubting himself.
A best friend.
Would he feel the same? Would he wait for Hoseok, wait for him to figure out his family? They couldn’t keep meeting in secret, he didn’t want that. Jimin deserved better that that.
He was stuck. He was scared.
Hoseok hadn’t even entertained the thought /seriously/ and his father was already tracking his every move.
Jimin deserved an easy life.
“Sorry, I’m just—I’m glad. It looks good on you.”
“I get complimented on it all the time,” Jimin said happily, shimmying his shoulders, and Hoseok beamed.
Jimin looked up with a smile.
“I’ll pay the cover.”
“Do you have cash on you?”
Hoseok fell silent.
Jimin sighed dramatically as Hoseok fought a smile.
“Guess I /have/ to pay.”
It was early, but there were still a good amount of bodies on the dance floor.
Jimin was leading them to an empty booth.
“Do you want anything?” Hoseok called over the music.
“Just you,” Jimin answered. “I don’t wanna get drunk tonight.”
Jimin casually ordered two waters, and Hoseok was grateful that he was the only out of his element here.
The girl left, and Hoseok smiled sheepishly.
Jimin gave him a coy grin, biting his lip.
“Is it that you don’t drink, Hyung?”
“Oh God—is is /that/ obvious?” Hoseok laughed, and Jimin laughed with him.
God, he’d missed that sound.
“I saw you at your party, you know. Before we talked?”
“I was coming to talk to you and you just—/threw back/ soju, two shots—“
“You saw that—?”
“I /saw/ that, and the /face/ you made after, I almost said something!”
“/I was nervous/, I needed to loosen up!”
“I know, you were really cute,” Jimin grinned.
He took one of Hoseok’s hands from his warm face and held it on the table.
“Are you nervous now?”
“Not at all.”
He leaned across the table and kissed Hoseok softly, staying close so he wouldn’t have to shout.
“I want us to remember everything.”
Jimin was already out of his seat, hand in hand with Hoseok as they left the booth. They passed their waitress, who only smiled; Hoseok looked back to see her put two bottles of water at their table.
“I just wanna let you know I really haven’t danced...at all.”
Jimin turned, walking backward and taking Hoseok’s hand in both his own, and he smiled sweetly. Too sweetly for where they were, for this /song/, for the sort of moves Hoseok saw other clubbers doing.
“Just follow the beat and follow me.”
It was a little intimidating.
It was /extremely/ hot.
Hoseok kept good rhythm, standing close enough to him that he could feel the heat without touching him.
Okay, Hoseok was warming up to dancing pretty quickly.
“There you go...just like that.”
Hoseok’s hands roved down Jimin’s sides, gripped his hips.
‘Take it easy,’ he thought, eyes drifting down and back up Jimin’s body as the song slowly changed.
Their tension dissipated as he looked up at Hoseok, the twinkle in his eyes catching Hoseok by surprise.
The song was different, a different mood but still high energy, still something that made Hoseok smile as Jimin got into it.
Well. There were certain things Hoseok shouldn’t do if Jimin wanted to meet his mother. And that was perfectly fine.
There wasn’t anyone on the floor moving like him. There wasn’t anyone like Jimin. No one in Seoul, in Korea, on Earth.
No one shined like Jimin.
Even if he blamed himself for things out of control. Even if he didn’t believe in himself. Even if someday he realized Hoseok wasn’t enough, Hoseok knew as he looked at the man laughing in sheer delight across from him that this was it.
It had to be Jimin.
“S–Sorry, I’m—“ Hoseok rushed, “I’m just—out of my element here.”
“You were doing great earlier! Just move, do what feels right! No one’s watching!”
And no one here was more important than Hoseok right now.
He still couldn’t believe this was happening, how his day had totally one-eighty’d. His life.
Jimin pulled back to spin Hoseok and bring him back close to his chest. Hoseok looked surprised but delighted. Jimin grinned.
“/Perfect/,” he praised, their lips dangerously close until Hoseok closed the distance in a quick peck, and Jimin buckled in laughter.
It was perfect.
Hoseok was a little awkward, but surprisingly a fast learner. Nothing extravagant, but Jimin thought maybe in another life, where he could have learned younger, more extensively, he could be somewhere similar to Jimin right now, maybe even beyond.
Hoseok looked worn out, sipping slowly, limbs loose.
Hoseok grinned, cocking his head in a sort of ‘Huh’ gesture before taking another quick chug.
“You don’t gotta flatter me.”
“I’m not kidding! I wouldn’t lie to you, Hyung.”
“I could teach you more. Not just club stuff...I know you said you think it’s too late, but I thought that way, too...”
Jimin was worried, thinking maybe he’d overstepped, that he’d offended Hoseok, or made him feel less than what he was, which was wonderful. Impossibly wonderful.
But then Hoseok smiled warmly.
Jimin grinned, elated, and they found themselves in a slow kiss as if that was their way of mutually agreeing.
He didn’t know how they could do it, how it would work, but it was a promise. Promises meant something to look forward to.
Part of him ached, but another wanted to fight harder for this, for Hoseok.
And yet as he kissed Hoseok, things like ‘time’ didn’t matter. Jimin knew him. Jimin cared for him.
It made no sense.
But Jimin was happy. He and Hoseok not only understood each other, but listened to each other. Supported each other.
Hoseok was real.
Hoseok was real.
“Mm?” he responded, shaking himself out of his head.
“And you said /I’m/ staring,” Hoseok teased.
“I think I’m getting a headache, can we get outta here?”
“Yeah, no problem.”
“God, my ears are ringing...”
“I’m surprised,” Jimin teased. “I figured you with your loud, /degenerate/ music...”
“/Look/, by proxy, I know Agust D now, and he collabed with RM once, /so if you think about—/“
“Something can’t come back if it never left, Jimin.”
Jimin was gone now, sides hurting with laughter by Hoseok’s seriousness. He honestly couldn’t tell if it were a joke or not.
Jimin shoved him, playfully scandalized as Hoseok grinned.
“I can’t /believe/—!“
“I need that album, Jimin.”
“If I could save you /both/ I’d still let you go just to make /sure/ I could save RM.”
Jimin couldn’t even speak, couldn’t get out the boldfaced lie of ‘You’re the worst!,’ he was laughing so hard.
Jimin kissed him on the sidewalk and felt like he could just float away to somewhere bright and warm.