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when you're in love all the lines get blurred

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i.

The first time Jimin comes out to his mom, he’s fourteen, and she laughs.

ii.

The second time Jimin comes out to his mom, he’s sixteen, and she pats his shoulder affectionately, smiles as though he’s just told her a great joke, and says, “Of course you are, sweetie.”

He’s never heard anything more condescending.

iii.

The third time Jimin comes out to his mom, he’s recently eighteen, and he swears he can see her roll her eyes when he says it.

“Why won’t you take me seriously?” If Jimin wasn’t so annoyed, he might recognize the whine in his voice as the culprit.

“I just think you’re too young, and you don’t have enough experience, especially with dating. How could you possibly know you’re gay? Maybe you’re just - ”

“I have a boyfriend,” Jimin blurts, interrupting. His mother looks equal parts shocked and suspicious. Jimin is as surprised as she is.

“Oh?” she starts, narrowing her eyes at Jimin, watching his hands to see his fingers start twitching the way they always do when he lies. Jimin clenches his hands into tight fist and smiles weakly. “When do I get to meet him?”

“Next week,” Jimin answers quickly, too quickly, acting entirely on impulse, “I’ll bring him for dinner.”

His mother looks pleased. The only problem is, Jimin doesn’t actually have a boyfriend.

iv.

“What am I gonna do?” Jimin groans, lying face first on the, hopefully clean, floor of his best friend’s bedroom, “I told my mom I have a boyfriend. I told her I’d bring him for dinner. In a week.”

You got a boyfriend? What the fuck? You didn’t tell me?” Jihoon rolls over in his bed to give Jimin a dirty look.

No, that’s the whole problem!” Jimin cries, “What am I supposed to do?”

Fake a breakup?” Jihoon suggests, propping his face up in his hands while Jimin rolls onto his back so he can scowl at his best friend.

“That’s too suspicious,” Jimin replies, shooting down the idea.

“Get a boyfriend?”

“In a week?”

Jihoon tilts his head, squinting at Jimin’s face. He stares at him for longer than comfortable and then drags his gaze from Jimin’s eyes, down to this feet and back up, “You’re cute.”

“I’ve been gay for eighteen years and cute has done nothing for me yet, I don’t think that’s going to suddenly turn around in a week,” Jimin argues, splaying his hands flat across his abdomen, glancing towards his feet while he pushes lightly at his stomach as if that will magically make him hot instead of cute.

“Get a fake boyfriend!” Jihoon jumps up, shifting positions so he’s crouched on all fours, watching Jimin intently from over the edge of his bed, alight with excitement.

“Who?” Jimin monotones, none of Jihoon’s enthusiasm reaching him.

“I don’t know.”

“You could do it?” Jimin tries, pushing himself up by his forearms, holding up his torso with his elbows still resting on the ground, hands sliding towards his hips.

“No way. It’d be too obvious, and, you wouldn’t be allowed to stay over anymore,” Jihoon rejects the idea, placing his chin back his hand, tapping his lower lip with his finger as he tries to think.

“You’re right,” Jimin groans again, falling back so he’s laid out flat. His eyes fall shut as he expels a long sigh, resigning himself to telling his mom the truth and having her believe he’s straight until the day he comes home with a husband and probably, like, four adopted kids, or something.

“Hey, I know!” Jihoon exclaims, and Jimin can hear the squeaking of springs from Jihoon jumping excitedly on his bed.

“What?”

“My brother’s gay!”

Jimin opens one eye in surprise, looking to see if Jihoon is messing with him. He looks serious.

“Really?” Jimin doesn’t mean to sound so wary, but he’s been over almost every day for as long as he can remember and he’s never seen Jihoon’s brother with anyone, let alone a boyfriend, and Jihoon has been upset about the strained sibling relationship he’s had with his brother since it started when they were ten.

“Yeah, I caught him kissing boys behind the house, like, four times when he was in high school!”

Jimin sits all the way up this time, shock written on his face. His surprise has two origins, the idea of Jihoon’s brother making out with boys in the backyard, and what Jihoon is trying to suggest, “You want me to date your brother?”

“Gross,” Jihoon sticks his tongue out, making several disgusted (and disgusting) sounds before he explains, “I want you to fake date him.”

Jimin snorts, “You really think he’s going to do that? For anyone? Especially me?”

“It’s not like he has anything else better to do.”

“He doesn’t even like me,” Jimin points out.

“You never know unless you try,” Jihoon sings, flopping backwards onto his bed.

“Yeah, I guess.”

v.

Jimin knocks lightly on the door, panic rolling through his stomach so thunderously it makes his voice shake, “Hey, can I come in?”

A groggy voice comes from the other side of the door, thick with sleep and almost too low to hear through the wood, “What do you want, Jimin?”

Jimin forgets his purpose long enough to be offended, and briefly, wonder how he knew who it was, “That’s a mean way to greet someone.”

“You only talk to me when you need something,” the voice calls back, a little stronger, “what is it?”

Jimin shifts uncomfortably, glancing down either end of the hall as if one of Jihoon’s parents will jump out to catch him requesting something strange and gay from their eldest son, pleading as softly as he can while still being audible, “uh, can I please just come in?”

Jimin waits for two minutes, almost positive he can hear vague grumbling coming from inside the room and maybe a little bit of stomping. Eventually, the swings open violently, revealing Yoongi, wearing nothing but a pair of boxers and wild bed head. His eyes squint against the harsh daylight filtering through the windows into the hall, the room behind him pitch black.

“Were you sleeping?” Jimin asks, gaze dropping from Yoongi’s face only to quickly shoot back up to stare at the strands of hair standing perfectly straight at the back of his head.

“I was trying,” Yoongi mutters.

“It’s four in the afternoon,” Jimin points out, incredulous, half gesturing to the bright sunlight shining behind him as if Yoongi might not know without it.

“Didn’t you want something?” Yoongi’s voice sounds a little whiny and Jimin reminds himself that he came for a reason, not to make fun of Jihoon’s brother, but, he really wants to, “Or did you just come here to judge me?”

“No, no, sorry, I have a question.”

Yoongi watches Jimin while he tries to find the right words. He’s never even asked someone to be his real boyfriend before, he doesn’t know how to ask someone to fake it with him. Yoongi, apparently, gets tired of Jimin standing in the doorway, chewing on his lower lip, because three minutes into the silence, he demands, “Just spit it out, Jimin.”

“Will you be my fake boyfriend?” The question wakes Yoongi up immediately, expression shifting rapidly from one of sleepy disinterest to bewilderment. His mouth is open a little, as he gapes at Jimin, and he doesn’t say anything. The longer the quiet drags on, the more regret Jimin feels.

“Why?” Yoongi asks, hesitantly.

Jimin explains in a rush, “Okay, well, there, I’ve been trying to come out to my mom and she never believes me, and it’s so annoying, and apparently, it’s because I haven’t dated anyone and she doesn’t think I can know, but I do know, and I didn’t know how to explain that, or, well, okay, I probably could have? Now that I think about it, but I didn’t do that, I just told her that I had a boyfriend and that I’d bring him to dinner so now I have to find one.” Yoongi looks more and more shocked as Jimin goes through his explanation.

“I meant why me?” Yoongi corrects.

“Jihoon said you’re gay.”

“Oh my god,” Yoongi moans, exasperated, “oh my god.”

“What?”

“I’m not gay.”

“But,” Jimin argues, confused, “Jihoon said you were kissing boys.”

“Doesn’t make me gay,” Yoongi says, and Jimin thinks the look Yoongi gives him might be pity, but his expression returns to annoyed too fast to be sure, “Even if I was, why would that automatically mean I’d be your fake boyfriend? You’re a kid, and you thought just because my brother told you I kissed a boy once in high school that you should wake me up at 4 pm and -”

“It was four times,” Jimin interrupts quietly, ignoring the embarrassment that’s filling his stomach with butterflies and heating his cheeks a bright red.

“Oh my god,” Yoongi mutters again, “this is unbelievable.”

“Okay, this was a terrible idea? I don’t know why I asked you. Forget I asked you, please, I’m just, I’m going back to Jihoon’s room and I’m never talking to you again, I’m sorry,” Jimin swings his body around on his heel and starts speed walking back down the hall, planning to put as much distance between him and Yoongi as possible in the shortest amount of time.

“Hey,” Yoongi calls from behind him, just before he can turn the corner back to Jihoon’s room and probably punch him a few time for suggesting such a stupid idea, “I didn’t say I wouldn’t do it.”

vi.

“We’ll have to come up with a story,” Jimin decides, later, while he and Yoongi are, now, both inside Yoongi’s room, seated as far apart as possible. Yoongi is back in bed, still unclothed, and Jimin thinks he’s awake. Jimin is in the opposite corner, seated in Yoongi’s desk chair, the single item in the room he has permission to touch. Yoongi hadwanted to have their discussion downstairs, on the couch, but when Jimin whined a little about Jihoon hearing them, despite Yoongi pointing out that it had been Jihoon’s dumb idea that got them here, and it wore down Yoongi enough that he manhandled Jimin into the bedroom, pushed him towards the chair and told him to keep his hands to himself.

Jimin goes to prop his feet up on the desk, but before the soles of his shoes even touch the wood, Yoongi mumbles, eyes still closed, “Don’t you fucking dare.”

“So rude,” Jimin mutters, sitting up straight with his feet flat on the floor.

“What do we need a story for?” Yoongi asks, not giving Jimin a chance to answer and instead, continuing to talk, “Your mom knows me.  It’s obvious how we got together. You’re here all the time.”

“Okay, but, what changed? If we just got together recently, what changed after the years I’ve already known you? How long ago did things change? When did you start to like me, when we started dating, who asked who, where our first date was, if we’ve kissed yet, what our plans for the future are –“

“You think all this is going to come up? The first time I meet your mom? Am I coming for dinner or a god damn interrogation?” Yoongi snorts at his own joke. Jimin barely refrains from calling him disgusting.

“I don’t know, I don’t know what parents talk to their kids’ boyfriends about. I’ve never dated anyone, I don’t know how this works,” Jimin admits, starting at the scuffs on his shoes instead of looking at Yoongi, who’s probably going to laugh at him.

When he does eventually look up again, Jimin doesn’t find Yoongi laughing, or even still pretending to be asleep. He’s just watching Jimin with wide, surprised eyes.

“We started dating three weeks ago. That way, the relationship is new enough it won’t be strange that you hadn’t mentioned it yet,” Yoongi starts, subdued. All the usual quick harshness is missing, his tone one Jimin hasn’t heard in six years, since Yoongi met him after school when Jihoon was sick and couldn’t walk home with him, telling Jimin softly that the bully in his class would grow tired of making his haircut soon. It’s a memory Jimin hasn’t thought of in years, but it drags up an appreciation for Yoongi he’d forgotten he once had and makes him feel oddly nostalgic. Yoongi continues, finally turning his head towards his ceiling so he’s no longer gawking at Jimin, “Neither of us know exactly what changed, or when. There’d been a little more tension, recently. Things left unsaid, physical affection that seemed out of place for friends, or lasted too long. One day, we were joking around, and then we looked at each other, really saw each other, and you kissed me.”

“Why did I kiss you?” Jimin isn’t complaining, he’s ecstatic that Yoongi is taking his role seriously and being helpful. He just hates lying, and wants to keep the story as realistic as possible, and Yoongi is gross and Jimin saw him eat mud once back when Yoongi was nine and never spoke to him, not even to make fun of him like he does now, and just kind of hung around while Jimin and Jihoon played, before he grew up and started to think their games were dumb and started being mean every time he opened his mouth. Jimin can’t imagine kissing a boy who eats mud.

“If I kissed you, it might seem like you’re following my lead. If you kiss me, it was your choice. Your mom will be more likely to believe you,” Yoongi explains, and Jimin can’t help his surprise.

“That’s so smart!” Jimin exclaims, in awe.

Yoongi scowls at him, snapping back into his usual demeanor faster than Jimin can blink, “Why do you sound so amazed, asshole? I’m smart.”

“I-I-I just,” Jimin stutters, trying to cover up his bewilderment before Yoongi punches him or, worse, decides putting up with Jimin isn’t worth helping him. Jimin isn’t exactly sure why he agreed in the first place. He doesn’t want to change Yoongi’s mind thirty minutes in, “I just, was, surprised, you… cared? Enough? To put in the thought?”

“If I’m going to do this,” Yoongi grumbles, almost too quietly for Jimin to understand, still glaring at him, “I’m going to do it right.”

“Okay, okay, you’re doing great,” Jimin praises, miming a few bows as well as he can without standing up, prompting, “So, I kissed you?”

“You kissed me,” Yoongi starts again, “and while you were freaking out about how bad of an idea you thought it was to kiss me, I asked you on a date.  Things went naturally from there.

“Okay,” Jimin agrees, surprised they ironed out a back story in so little time. He pulls his knees into his chest, tucking them into his body and circling his arms around his shins, heels resting on the edge of the seat, “so, what about now?”

Yoongi sighs loudly, rolling onto his side so he faces Jimin, watching him with sleepy eyes, “What do you mean? Isn’t that enough?”

“Well, you know, you gotta… know things about me, like, stuff that people in a relationship know about each other,” Jimin can see Yoongi roll his eyes even though he turns his head away to do it, mumbling something too low to be heard, “Like, when my birthday is, and – “

Yoongi snorts, “I know when your birthday is.”

“Really? How?” Jimin can’t think of a year when Yoongi wished him a happy birthday, even the years he spent celebrating with Jihoon at their house.

“Of course I know when your fucking birthday is; I’ve known you for twenty years,” Yoongi peeks at Jimin over the corner of his pillow. Jimin can only see one eye and the corner of Yoongi’s mouth but he can still recognize the dirty look Yoongi is giving him, “Are you sure you know when mine is?”

Jimin makes a noise of surprise, one that maybe sounds a little offended too, “I gave you a present this year!”

“You gave it to me on the wrong day,” Yoongi points out.

“Because you were out with your family on the ninth!” Jimin counters, crossing his arms over his chest while his lips fall into a pout, “That isn’t the point. So what we know each other’s birthdays, what about the other stuff? Shouldn’t you know how I take my coffee or something?”

“You don’t drink coffee,” Yoongi replies, “Where are you getting this wild idea of what a relationship should be?” Jimin doesn’t answer, because the answer is movies, and he doesn’t feel like listening to Yoongi laugh at him and call him an idiot. Yoongi waits, but when it’s clear Jimin isn’t going to say anything, he keeps talking, “Your birthday is October 13th, and you don’t drink coffee, I like mine with two sugars,” Jimin would’ve assumed he liked it black, “But I don’t drink it that often, I usually have energy drinks. Your life’s passion is dancing. You’ll eat anything as long as it’s healthy. You work out an obnoxious number of hours a week and think Jihoon – and me, for the sake of the story – are lazy assholes for never going with you. Jihoon is actually your only friend,” Jimin makes an annoyed noise and tries to argue, but he’s ignored, “but you talk to some kids at school. None of them are significant enough for me to have met, and Jihoon is my brother, of course I know him. Anything your mom wants to know about you, she does. She’s your mom. Anything your mom wants to know about me, she’ll ask me, all you have to do is not look surprised at the answers. It’s not as cute as you seem to think to tell your mom everything about me, she wants to meet me for a reason. Everything’s going to be fine, I promise.”

Jimin is too speechless to ask how Yoongi knows so much, and suspects the answer will just be his usual complaint of, ‘you’re always fucking here, Jimin, don’t you have your own house?’. He nods slowly, his mind agreeing that, yes, everything will be just fine.

vii.

Jimin barges in, half knocking as he sort-of smacks the door a couple times before pushing in. The room is dark, and when Jimin flips on the light switch next to the doorway, he sees a heavy black sheet pinned over the window and Yoongi in nothing but a pair of khaki shorts stretched out in bed. He groans when the lights come on, pulling a thick pillow over his face while groaning lowly.

“What the fuck?” it’s muffled, but Yoongi says it loud enough that Jimin can still hear him through the barrier. Yoongi nudges the pillow up so only his mouth is visible, and tells Jimin, “Just because we’re fake boyfriends doesn’t mean you have free reign!”

Jimin ignores Yoongi. He hasn’t let the older boy push him around in years – not that Yoongi has ever really actually tried to push him around, Jimin realizes, as he thinks about it – but he’s not going to let him start now. “Were you sleeping?” He asks, sliding onto the end of Yoongi’s bed until his back hits the wall. Yoongi tries to kick at him a few times, but he’s not quite tall enough, his heel grazing Jimin’s thigh only once before he gives up.

“What does it fucking look like I was doing?” Yoongi grumbles from under the pillow, lifting it enough to peer at Jimin with one half-open eye.

“It’s six,” Jimin informs him, and Yoongi shoves against his headboard so his body moves down, feet nearly knocking Jimin’s legs back off the edge of the bed.

“I work nights, asshole.”

“Oh, I didn’t know you had a job,” Jimin says, genuinely surprised, watching as Yoongi, muttering about how annoying Jimin is the whole time, comes out from under his pillow to sit up. He crosses his legs, resting his elbows on his knees and cupping his hands around his jaw to hold up his head, watching Jimin.

“What did you think I do all day?” Yoongi sounds offended.

“I don’t know,” Jimin admits, “nothing?”

“Ridiculous,” Yoongi breathes out, exasperated, “What are you even doing here?”

“I thought we should practice!”

“Practice what? It’s not that hard. I meet your mom. I say I’m your boyfriend. She believes you’re gay. Then, we break up in a month, just like you want,” Yoongi mumbles falling back against the pile of pillows at the head of his bed with a soft sigh once he finishes speaking.

“Yeah, but, we gotta be realistic, we should, like, practice holding hands, or something,” Jimin suggests.

“What?” Yoongi props his head up so Jimin can see the incredulous expression he’s wearing. He snorts, “Who practicesholding hands?”

“People who are trying to pull off a heist,” that makes Yoongi actually laugh, instead of that obnoxious, sarcastic little snort Jimin always hears from him.

“It’s not a goddamn heist. We’re just pretending to date. Holding hands is not that complicated. It doesn’t need practice,” Yoongi tells him.

“Yeah, but, I’ve never done it, what if I mess up?” Jimin doesn’t mean to sound so nervous. He doesn’t want Yoongi to know how worried he really is about this; his weird anxiety surrounding his first relationship. It’s a fake relationship, but it’s still the closest Jimin has ever gotten. He doesn’t want to mess anything up, even with a boy he doesn’t like.

“You’re not gonna mess up,” Yoongi promises, soft and kind, the way he gets whenever Jimin seems stressed. He sits back up and crawls the few feet from his end of the bed to Jimin’s, settling back down with his back to the wall next to Jimin, their shoulders pressing together. Yoongi grabs Jimin’s wrist, dragging his hand out of his lap, bringing it to rest along where their thighs are touching. He slips his hand down, sliding his palm gently across Jimin’s until his is covered by Yoongi’s, locking their fingers together. Jimin pointedly doesn’t think about the way Yoongi’s fingers slot perfectly into place between his, or the pleasant pressure of Yoongi’s thumb swiping across his knuckles, “See? Easy.”

viii.

Jimin’s mom keeps shooting him curious glances as he bounces through the hall separating the kitchen from their dining area, resetting the table six times in the span of seventeen minutes as he waits for Yoongi to arrive. He texted Yoongi nine times that day, reminding him the exact time he wanted him to be there. He told him twenty minutes earlier than Yoongi needed to be for dinner, just because Jimin didn’t expect his fake boyfriend to arrive on time, so he wanted to give him a window of lateness. Yoongi could arrive late to Jimin’s time and offend only Jimin, but if he didn’t show up in time for dinner, Jimin would never hear the end of it from his mom about the ‘lack of respect for time of youth today’.

There’s still fifteen minutes before the time Jimin told Yoongi he had to be there, and over half an hour until he has to be there, but Jimin has been fretting around the house nervously all day, and his nerves have only increased as the time ticked closer and closer to six.

His mom will only watch him dust off the couch cushion so many times, and eight minutes before Yoongi is supposed to arrive, she finally calls out from where she’s cooking to ask Jimin what he’s freaking out about.

Jimin doesn’t get the chance to answer, jumping half a foot in the air when a heavy knock sounds from the doorway. Jimin’s mom smirks at him from across the hall and he’s pretty sure nothing has ever caused him more anxiety than the sly look on her face. She starts walking towards the door, a couple more knocks coming as whoever is waiting on the other side becomes impatient, but Jimin goes scrambling towards it to beat her. He trips over himself at the last step, yanking the door open as he catches himself on it, a little out of breath and eyes wild. His mom follows behind him, ignoring his breathy, “I got it.”

“Yoongi!” Jimin’s mom calls happily, waving from over Jimin’s shoulder as Yoongi stands on Jimin’s doorstep with a bag hanging off his wrist and a semi-uncomfortable but polite smile.

Simultaneously, Jimin is holding the door open wide and his mouth even wider, gasping out a shocked, “Hyung!” at the sight of his fake boyfriend, over half an hour earlier than expected. Yoongi turns his smile to Jimin and it brightens, and Yoongi gives him a little wave, and it’s so cute and nice and Jimin never thought Yoongi would be this good at acting.

“Where’s Jihoon?” Jimin’s mom asks. Jimin doesn’t realize she’s coming closer until her arm drops around his shoulders. Yoongi bows his head in greeting as she comes all the way to the door.

“Was I supposed to bring Jihoon?” Yoongi asks, cutting his eyes back to Jimin with a perplexed expression, hand twitching towards the pocket where his phone is tucked, thinking maybe Jimin had messaged him with a change in plans since he’d last checked his phone.

“I didn’t know you were planning on coming over, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen you here without him,” Jimin shifts uncomfortably as his mom glances back towards the kitchen, “I don’t know if I’ll have enough food, but, I think I can fix something for you – if you’re planning on staying.”

“Ah, well,” Yoongi gives Jimin a dirty look, not quite as nasty as Jimin is used to receiving, but still clearly annoyed, “I was… invited.”

Jimin yelps when his mother suddenly tugs on his ear, bumping her hip against his, “Jimin, you should’ve told me if you were inviting more people over.”

“No, no, he’s… uh, he’s the… one. He’s the only one coming,” a look of realization dawns on his mother’s face, but Jimin finishes his explanation anyways, “he’s the boyfriend, uh, my boyfriend.”

“Oh, oh! Well, come in!” Jimin is jostled out of the way by his mom, so Yoongi can step in. He bows his head again, when he hands his mom the bag, offering it for desert. She thanks him profusely, a little baffled. When she goes to take it into the kitchen, Yoongi elbows Jimin hard in the side, mumbling, “you little shit.”

“What?” Jimin whines lowly, rubbing at his ribcage. Yoongi starts to respond, but his little scowl abruptly flips into a soft grin. He drapes his arm around Jimin’s shoulder and starts to pull him into a side hug. Jimin nearly flinches, sure Yoongi is going to do something strange and nefarious like punch him again or ruffle up his hair, but he realizes just in time that Yoongi is simply acting as he’s supposed to.

When Yoongi kisses his temple gently, Jimin swears to himself the embarrassed heat that flushes his cheeks red is justbecause he saw his mom watching them out of the corner of his eye.

“Why don’t you boys go sit in the other room?” Jimin’s mom calls, startling Jimin. He has to tense his muscles not to jump awkwardly away from Yoongi, snaking his arm weakly around Yoongi’s waist instead, “Yoongi is so early - dinner won’t be done for another twenty minutes, at least.”

“Twenty minutes?” Yoongi mutters in Jimin’s ear as Jimin starts to lead him towards the couch.

“I may have… told you the wrong time,” Jimin admits, quietly, “To be sure you’d get here on time.”

“So, you thought I was going to be late?” Yoongi guesses. He glances behind the two of them, back towards the kitchen, and when he sees that Jimin’s mom is turned back towards the counter, he drops his arm from around Jimin and half-pushes him down onto the couch. Yoongi follows, dropping down next to Jimin, their thighs touching. He bends his head towards Jimin, leaning it back against the top of the couch, right next to Jimin’s shoulder.

“I was… preparing for the possibility… of you being late,” Jimin explains, watching Yoongi’s eyes flutter shut through his peripherals, though it’s hard to see with how close their faces are, “what are you doing?”

“You should trust me,” Yoongi tells Jimin, eyes still closed, and Jimin isn’t sure which part he’s responding to at first, “and if we sit this close, it’ll look like we’re talking.”

“We could just actually talk,” Jimin suggests as Yoongi stifles a yawn against his shirt sleeve.

Jimin thinks he hears Yoongi mumble something about not wanting to talk to Jimin more than he has too, but, after another yawn he eventually says, “How was your day?”

“I don’t think you’ve ever asked me that before,” Jimin claims, actually not hearing Yoongi’s soft, 'I have,’ as he starts to give a real answer, “I was really nervous and just cleaned everything a lot and annoyed my mom wandering around the house.”

“Why are you so nervous? Do you think I’m going to do badly?” Yoongi half-teases, flicking the same spot he elbowed minutes earlier.

“I think I’m going to do badly,” Jimin admits, not realizing it was his biggest fear all along until after the words are out. He looks away, back towards the kitchen, where he can just barely see his mom dancing a little as she stirs something, sure Yoongi is going to laugh at him.

He only looks back when he feels a hand patting his knee, to see Yoongi not laughing, but looking at him seriously.

“Everything’s going to be fine,” Yoongi promises, and with the way he says it, and the warm comfort and his hand on Jimin’s leg, Jimin can’t help but believe It.

Yoongi turns out to be right, too. About everything. His mom talks to Yoongi far more than she talks to Jimin, and the one time Jimin quietly interrupts to answer that Yoongi does have a job, his mother cuts him with a look and scolds, “I was talking to Yoongi.”

She doesn’t even ask about their relationship, not while Yoongi is there, at least. Later, after Jimin and his mother have praised and thanked Yoongi for the desert he brought and a quiet argument between Yoongi and Jimin at the door about whether or not they needed a goodnight kiss (Jimin thought it was necessary, Yoongi refused to kiss him) that ended with Yoongi swooping in abruptly to kiss Jimin’s cheek, uncomfortably close to the corner of Jimin’s mouth, before turning to leave with a loud promise to hang out the next day, if Jimin wasn’t busy, she brings it up.

Jimin’s slumped on the couch, eyes closed as relief flushes through him, when his mom suddenly flies into his side, shocking him into looking at her.

“So,” his mom starts, nudging him three times in the side with a sly smile on her face, “Yoongi?”

“What about him?” Jimin asks, wary.

“I’m just… surprised,” she says, “I thought you only spent time with Jihoon, you didn’t talk about him much.”

Jimin shrugs, head falling back against the back of the couch as he stares up at the ceiling, “I’ve just known him for so long,” Jimin begins to explain, and he’s not sure how much is his own feelings and how much is him repeating the story Yoongi provided, but the blurriness of the line makes him uncomfortable, “I’ve known him forever and we’ve been getting closer and closer lately and talking more and he’s, just… he’s good. Something changed a few weeks ago and, I don’t know. I kissed him and he asked me on a date and… here we are.”

“I like him,” his mom announces after six beats of silence.

Jimin doesn’t say it, but a tiny voice in the back of his mind agrees, “me too.”

ix.

Jimin would’ve been content to spend their month of fake dating hanging out with Jihoon only to come home and tell his mom that he spent the afternoon with Yoongi, an easy half-truth that allows him to continue the ruse without totally lying to his mother, but, after a few days of Jimin spending all his time away, his mom sat him down and promised him that she accepted him and loved him all the same and didn’t mind if he and Yoongi wanted to spend time there, as well, that Jimin didn’t have to hide from her anymore.

Jimin absolutely doesn’t get annoyed that her not believing in him the first time was the only reason he ended up having to pretend to hang out with Yoongi at least three times a week, (“For the sake of believability, hyung, what kind of boyfriend am I if I don’t want to spend any time with you?”), and instead just invites Yoongi over after work.

Which, is how Jimin ends up lying sideways across his bed, head hanging down over the side with Yoongi sitting on the floor, leaning against the side of the mattress. He’s just close enough, and at the perfect height, that if Jimin turns his head and blows gently, he can hit Yoongi’s ear, making the older boy flinch and grumble. He’s done it four times since noticing their proximity.

“I’m going to break up with you right now and go downstairs and tell your mom that you’re an asshole,” Yoongi mutters after the fifth time, swatting weakly at Jimin’s mouth.

“Fake break up,” Jimin corrects, jerking back to avoid Yoongi’s hand. Yoongi scowls at him, and Jimin tries not to laugh at how funny the expression looks from upside down.

“Right,” Yoongi agrees, looking towards the door, away from Jimin, “Fake. Whatever. If you’re just going to try to annoy me, I’m leaving.”

Yoongi gets up and reaches over Jimin for his book bag, hanging off Jimin’s headboard. Jimin reaches up and catches his wrist, “Wait.”

“I do actually have to go,” Yoongi tells him. Jimin refrains from insinuating that Yoongi probably has nothing better to do; he’s learned it’s a bad idea.

“That’s fine,” Jimin shrugs as well as he can in his awkward position. He doesn’t let go of Yoongi’s arm, “I just have to ask you something first.”

“Why didn’t you ask me when I got here an hour ago? Or while you sat humming in my ear for twenty minutes?” Yoongi yanks out of Jimin’s grasp, snatching up his belongings before Jimin can try to stop him again.

“I just forgot,” Jimin claims, defensively. Placing his hands on the edge of the mattress, he carefully drags himself back up until his head is fully supported again. Sitting up, Jimin crosses his legs and leans back against his headboard.

“So?” Yoongi watches him impatiently, folding his arms over his chest after he gets his backpack settled on his shoulders, “What is it?”

“There’s, well, it’s like, a dance competition? Sort of? The night after tomorrow, at around eight,” Jimin starts to explain, suddenly shy, “It’s just a showcase, with the studio I go to, and we’ve been practicing for a long time and there’s gonna be some people there so if I do well it could mean a lot for my future and I wanted to know if you could come?”

Yoongi seems surprised and maybe a little touched at the request, for a brief second, before his features settle back into their usual look of vague disinterest. He glances down at his phone, flicks the screen a few times, and then tells Jimin that he doesn’t think he’ll be able to make It.

“Are you sure there’s nothing you can do?” Jimin is only pleading a little, really, and he’s definitely not begging. He doesn’t know why he’s trying so hard. His mother would understand if he said Yoongi had to work, whether or not that’s why Yoongi rejects him.

“I might,” Yoongi decides after a pause, “Do you really want me there?”

“My mom will think it’s weird if you’re not there,” Jimin informs him, shaking his hands too frantically, like it might erase the idea that Yoongi’s presence at the show is that important to him, even though part of him just wants Yoongi to witness, for himself, how well Jimin’s natural talent and hard work have come together to make him one of the studio’s best dancers.

“Of course,” Yoongi snorts a little, and Jimin doesn’t understand why, “Your mom.”

“It’s not a big deal, okay, I’ll just tell her you have to work,” Jimin offers.

“I do have to work. It’s what a job entails. I can’t just drop shit whenever some kid wants some dumb bullshit from me, so, unless you’re paying me for it, I can’t miss work just so your mom thinks I’m a good boyfriend,” Yoongi sounds harsher than Jimin thinks is necessary, for the situation, but he doesn’t get a chance to say it, Yoongi ducking out with a not-that-apologetic, “sorry, kid.”

x.

Jimin thinks he catches Yoongi scowling in the audience as he’s bouncing nervously around backstage, glancing through the curtain separating him from the dancers on stage. His mom has told him exactly where she was sitting so he could look to her for support, if necessary.  As he searches for her, he’s pretty sure he can see Yoongi sitting petulantly next to someone who looks like his mother. It’s hard to tell, confidently, if it is them or not, the lights bright shining in Jimin’s eyes and the seats at such a distance away from the stage, but it still sends an even bigger burst of butterflies fluttering through Jimin’s stomach. He was the one who invited Yoongi, he knows, but the idea of Yoongi actually seeinghim dancing makes Jimin feel embarrassed.

He’s worried it’s going to distract him, but his nerves turn out to be unfounded. When it’s his turn – the last group to go – Jimin steps on stage and everything falls away. Forgetting about Yoongi, his mom, the audience entirely, Jimin starts to move. The music fills him up in a wonderful, indescribable way, and his body relaxes, moving fluidly, following the moves he’s practiced thousands of times.  

Yoongi leaves his mind altogether until Jimin’s done and has calmly exited to the stage, only to start screaming and hugging one of the younger boys in his group, Jungkook. He takes compliment after compliment and doles out dozens of his own, getting slapped on the back and high fiving every other dancer he passes as they all buzz excitedly about the amazing performance they’ve done.

He doesn’t think about Yoongi again until someone taps him on the back, and he whirls around to see Yoongi smiling unusually brightly at him.

“Hyung! You made it!” Jimin all but shouts, still riding an adrenaline high that feels like it may never leave.

“Yeah,” Yoongi says before he leans in, close to Jimin’s ear, “hey, your mom is right behind me, is it okay if I kiss you?”

Jimin doesn’t even finish getting out the words, “Sure, go ahead,” when Yoongi’s mouth slips away from his ear and presses against Jimin’s lips instead. It’s awkward for only a second, both boys stiff, mouths just touching before Jimin’s hands curl into the fabric at the hem of Yoongi’s shirt and he leans forward to apply a comfortable pressure. Yoongi’s moves against him in reaction, his arm bracing Jimin’s neck, body moving in until Jimin can feel their stomachs touching.

Yoongi pulls back, just three centimeters, and when Jimin opens his eyes to see why, he only finds Yoongi staring oddly at him.

They kiss again, and only break apart again when, sometime later, when Jimin’s mom starts to screech excitedly about how amazing her baby boy is.

Jimin’s a little dazed when she pulls him away from Yoongi to pull him into a hug, his first kiss, his first kiss with Yoongi,Jihoon’s gross older brother who Jimin has barely ever gotten along with, leaving him disoriented.

(Yoongi hadn’t known Mrs. Park was actually following behind him. He had just never seen anything so beautiful.)

xi.

Jimin’s phone beeps with a text at two thirty in the morning and he’s just awake enough to open it. It’s hours after the show and he’d gone out for a big celebratory dinner with his mother and Yoongi, and once the adrenaline and excitement wore off, once he was back home, he was nothing but exhausted. He glances at the door like his mom might burst in and see that he still has Yoongi’s number saved under, “dumb jerk”. Quickly, Jimin goes into the contact and edits it to, “babe”. After looking at it for a few seconds, he blanches, and changes it a second time to “boyfriend” before opening the message.

2:31AM was that your first kiss?

                      You could tell??? >.< 2:32AM

2:35AM yeah.
2:35AM you were so awkward.
2:35AM very stiff.
2:35AM pinched my side really hard.
2:36AM spit on my chin a little.

                  HYUNG!!! I GET IT!!! x.x 2:36AM

2:39AM maybe you need a little practice.

                                     with you??? 2:47AM

2:48AM don’t have any other options, do you?

                                                  >:( 2:50AM

2:54AM i’m just teasing
2:58AM you were fine

                                           really?? 2:58AM

2:59AM yeah

                     well, you were terrible 3:00AM

3:02AM brat

                                                    :P 3:02AM

Jimin grins at his phone and asks Yoongi if he’s at work. When he gets a response in the affirmative, he sends another text asking how it’s going, but, he falls asleep smiling before he ever gets a chance to see Yoongi’s reply.

xii.

Jimin glances up, over the back of the couch, just in time to see his mom, laughing, bumping her hip into Yoongi’s as they stand at the counter together, cutting vegetables. She’d invited Yoongi over for dinner again, without consulting Jimin, and he’d arrived home from the dance studio to find them cooking together.

It’s just a few days shy of what, should be, their second month together. Technically, they’ve only been faking for about a month, and it’s the exact day they should probably be breaking up, but, Yoongi is cooking with his mom and Jimin can hear Yoongi laughing, sounding happier than Jimin thinks he’s ever heard from Yoongi before. Sometimes Jimin can make Yoongi laugh like that, but most of the time, it’s at his expense.

The laughter dies out, but the two of them are talking. Jimin can’t quite hear what’s being said, even when he leans really far over the edge of the couch to try. He can see Yoongi blushing and smiling shyly at his mom, though, and he watches his mom laugh excitedly and ruffle Yoongi’s hair. He’s surprised when Yoongi doesn’t seem bothered by her actions.

Eventually, when his mother and fake boyfriend stop playing around and go back to preparing dinner, and Jimin still can’t hear, Jimin sinks back into the couch and stretches out, a pleasant feeling in his chest and the thought that maybe he and Yoongi don’t need to break up so quickly.

xiii.

“Maybe we should post pone the break up,” to Yoongi, the decision comes abruptly, but Jimin has been worrying about how he’s going to approach the topic for an entire week.

He’s prepared for Yoongi to give him what he expected, a hard no, and he’d been ready for Yoongi to shrug and agree, but, for some reason, Jimin had not anticipated Yoongi giving him a strange, part confused, part hopeful look and asking, “Why?”

Scrambling for an answer, Jimin waves his hands a little wildly and stammers, “Oh, w… well, it’s just, it’s going well, isn’t it? And my mom really likes you and everything will get so awkward and weird if we just break up now and… you know… it’s not, like, hurting anyone, so, why do we need to break up right away anyways? If we quick break up, what if my mom just assumes it’s a phase? Plus, our plan wasn’t that great? We need more time to think,” Jimin keeps throwing out new reasons, watching Yoongi’s face and waiting for one to catch.

Yoongi tilts his head, staring at Jimin from where he’s sitting at his desk, Jimin standing awkwardly in the doorway, “so, your mom likes me, and you want to just keep dating?” Yoongi clarifies.

Fake dating,” Jimin stresses, bouncing nervously. He’s not really sure why he asked if they can wait to break up. It’s been the plan the entire month, and none of his excuses to keep up the ruse are particularly reasonable. It doesn’t make much sense to keep it going. The goal was to convince Jimin’s mom that Jimin was gay, and he’s done so successfully. There’s no point is pretending any longer, but there’s still a bright hope in his chest that Yoongi accepts.

“Right,” Yoongi agrees, the same way he always does, accepting Jimin’s correction, “Fake dating.”

“What’s the harm?” Jimin tries, and some of that hope slips into his tone. Yoongi squints at him, searching for something.

Maybe he finds what he was looking for, maybe he doesn’t, but Jimin doesn’t really care because at the end of his scrutiny, Yoongi shrugs, swivels back to look at his computer screen, and says, “Sure, whatever.”

xiv.  

It’s late, too late, and Jimin is exhausted after hours of dancing. Since his wild success at the showcase, he’s been getting larger solo pieces. He has to learn more complicated choreography that goes on for far longer than his less talented counterparts, and while he enjoys the recognition, it’s two am and he’s just now dragging himself, half awake, down the road back towards his house.

Jihoon’s house is closer, and he tries to decide if they’d be mad if he just showed up, and wonders if maybe Yoongi would be awake, getting ready for work. Briefly, the thought of curling up in the space between Yoongi and his wall and maybe slipping his cold hands up under Yoongi’s t-shirt just to feel his warm skin passes through Jimin’s mind and surprises him, but, he chalks it up to fatigue and stumbles into the nearest convenience store for a pick me up.

He’s wandering for a full three minutes, staring blankly at the freezers filled with energy drinks and cooled coffees when he hears a familiar, “oh my god,” from the counter.

Whipping around – or at least spinning as quickly as possible after a long day of intense physical exertion – Jimin can’t believe his eyes when Yoongi is scowling at him from across the shop. He literally can’t believe it, and rubs at his sleepy eyes almost painfully hard, like maybe Yoongi is just a dream or hallucination he’ll knock away if he can just wake up a little more. When Jimin blinks his eyes back open, he’s still there, still cranky.

“Don’t you have a bedtime?” Yoongi calls, and that confirms it. That’s definitely Yoongi.

“Hyung,” Jimin says, and he wants to think that if he wasn’t so tired, the word would have come out less like a whine, “I’m an adult.”

Yoongi snorts and mutters, “Barely.”

Jimin sticks his tongue out in response. It doesn’t help his case, but, it does make Yoongi smile. Yoongi’s presence startled Jimin awake just enough for him to focus on the drinks, and he quickly chooses a can boasting high energy boosts. On his way to the cashier – Yoongi – he grabs a snack, at random, off a shelf he passes.

“So… you gonna give me a discount?” Jimin tries, sliding his items slowly across the counter towards Yoongi’s hands. Yoongi snorts again.

“I don’t even get a discount,” he claims, but Jimin is still pretty sure the total Yoongi gives him is at least half what it should be. When Yoongi passes his drink back, Jimin cracks it open and begins to drink.

“What are you doing?” Yoongi asks.

“Drinking,” Jimin waves the can a little, adding a quiet ‘duh’ to his reply.

“Why are you drinking right here?” Yoongi amends.

Jimin leans against the counter after several big gulps of his energy drink, ripping open his small bag of mixed crackers. He offers the bag to Yoongi, who just gives him a dirty look and doesn’t try to take any, “I’m keeping you company,” Jimin tells him. He can see Yoongi about to point out that he doesn’t want Jimin’s company, and adds, “Plus, if I leave right now, I’m probably going to fall asleep in the street, and then, I’m going to get mugged, or killed, or something, and it’d be your fault, because you kicked me out before my energy drink could kick in, and then everyone will hate you and you’ll never make any friends, and you don’t want that, do you?”

“You’re ridiculous,” Yoongi decides, “None of that would happen.” He doesn’t tell Jimin to leave, though.

They’re silent, for a while, Yoongi tapping on his phone, Jimin eating between long drinks. No one comes in the entire time Jimin is inside the store. Yoongi interrupts the quiet once, to tell Jimin he better keep his ass off the counter when Jimin’s getting ready to jump onto the surface.

He doesn’t speak again until Jimin is almost done, suddenly looking up with narrowed eyes, “why do you think I have no friends?”

“You’re cranky, and awful,” Jimin did not know Yoongi’s arms were long enough to punch him over the counter, but, his aching shoulder is proof.

“I have friends,” Yoongi mumbles, “I don’t understand why you and Jihoon think I just sit around, alone, doing nothing, all the time.”

“You’ve never said otherwise,” Jimin offers, to which, Yoongi points out that Jihoon and Jimin never talk to him, and Jimin doesn’t have anything more to argue.

“Hey,” Yoongi starts again, when Jimin is leaning over the counter to drop his garbage into the can near Yoongi’s feet, “speaking of Jihoon, don’t tell him you saw me here.”

“Why not?”

“Just don’t,” Yoongi pinches the skin over Jimin’s collarbone, making Jimin yelp and slide back off the counter to stand on the ground in front of him again.

“He doesn’t know you work here?”

“No, of course not. It’s embarrassing.”

“Do you really care that much? It’s just Jihoon. You don’t even talk to him.”

“So? That doesn’t mean I don’t care about him. He’s the most important person to me.”

Yoongi is staring towards his feet, face red in embarrassment. Jimin tries to downplay his shock at the statement, shrugging carelessly and agreeing not to tell as he makes his way towards the door. He can’t tell, the bell that rings at his exit sounding at the same time, but he thinks Yoongi says “Thank you.”

Later, Jimin is still thinking about the exchange as he crawls into bed. Yoongi and Jihoon haven’t been close in as long as Jimin can remember, everything changing suddenly from Yoongi occasionally playing with the two of them to pretending they didn’t exist. Jihoon’s mom had told them it was just Yoongi growing up too fast for them, but, even when they caught up, Yoongi was never interested in the younger boys. Jimin had assumed, just as Jihoon did, that Yoongi simply didn’t care about his little brother.

The fact that they were wrong makes Jimin wonder if Yoongi has secretly liked him all these years too.

xv.

It’s after roughly thirteen jokes about Yoongi having no friends and everyone hating him and two muttered ‘are they imaginary’s to his indignant “I have friends!” that Yoongi snaps.

“Fucking christ, Jimin, why don’t I just introduce you to them? Will that make you shut up?”

Jimin’s curious and he doesn’t take that much pleasure out of annoying Yoongi, so he nods solemnly and promises his jokes will cease as soon as he sees the proof.

(Yoongi nearly punches Jimin on their way to the cafe three days later when Jimin wonders aloud if Yoongi makes enough to pay actors to play friends for him.)

Jimin holds his tongue once they actually get into the coffee shop, Yoongi pointing out a small group of boys, one of which is doing something weird with his arm that is making the boy across from him laugh loudly. They’re making noise the entire time Jimin and Yoongi are waiting in line for their drinks. Jimin would have never guessed they were Yoongi’s friends if the older boy hadn’t pointed them out as soon as they entered the shop. He can’t imagine Yoongi putting up with such a rowdy group of boys, let alone getting along with them.

Jimin finds out that Yoongi didn’t warn his friends that he was bringing someone when the boys notice them a couple minutes after they enter, and start to yell Yoongi’s name, annoying the other patrons. One of the calls out to ask who Jimin is, when they catch him peeking at them over Yoongi’s shoulder.

“You didn’t tell them I was coming?” Jimin asks.

“You didn’t tell your mom I was your boyfriend,” Yoongi retorts, and Jimin doesn’t have time to quietly correct to 'fake boyfriend’ or argue that it’s a totally different situation because Yoongi is telling him to grab both the drinks when they’re done and meet him at the table, quickly abandoning Jimin to wait in line alone.

Their drinks are done at about the same time, and Yoongi is standing at the edge of the table, talking to the boy with the loud laugh, none of them noticing Jimin wandering up behind. He catches the tail end of a conversation, and he doesn’t know how it starts, but it finishes with the boy saying, “So, that’s the kid you’ve been in love with forever?” And Yoongi grumbling something Jimin can’t catch before punching the other boy’s shoulder.

When Jimin makes it to the table, Yoongi is blushing and hurries to sit in the booth, shoving two of the boys closer together to make room for him and Jimin.

Jimin, at no point, understands where Yoongi found such happy and lively people, or how he convinced them to hang out with him, but he likes them. The boy with the loud laugh is called Hoseok and Jimin loves him. He’s excited and funny, and he’s a dancer too. Jimin ends up talking to him the majority of the time, Yoongi occasionally interrupting the two of them and his conversation with one of the other boys, the one with the weird arm movement, Namjoon, to make fun of Hoseok. The third boy, Jin, is a lot calmer than the first two and, apparently the oldest. He ducks out early to work, but, before he goes, he calls Jimin cute and ruffles his hair. Jimin’s surprised by how little it bothers him.

Yoongi has to work too, and as much as Jimin likes Hoseok and Namjoon, he doesn’t want to stay if Yoongi is leaving. They leave together, and as they reach the door, Hoseok calls, “Have fun with your boyfriend!”

Jimin’s confused, especially when Yoongi scowls and gives a rude hand gesture to Hoseok over his shoulder.

“They’re nice,” Jimin says, a few steps away from the coffee shop.

“They’re assholes,” Yoongi replies, but he sounds more fond than grumpy.

“You didn’t have to tell them we were fake dating, though,” Jimin mentions a couple feet later, hoping to prompt Yoongi into telling him why.

That was just Hoseok being a dick, don’t worry about it,” Yoongi shrugs it off, not looking at Jimin.

“Well, earlier, though, Hoseok said something about you being in love with me,” Yoongi looks startled, and it confuses Jimin further. He assumed that Yoongi had just said something about their fake relationship, or maybe just said that they were dating without explaining the back story, “wasn’t that because of the fake relationship thing?”

“Ah, oh, yeah, t-that,” Yoongi is flustered. Jimin doesn’t think he’s ever heard Yoongi stumble in all the years that he’s known him, “That was just, in case, you know, uh, in case we ran into them with your mom or something. Just so everyone’s… on the same page… that’s all.”

Jimin thinks the situation is unlikely, but he appreciates Yoongi’s dedication, so he doesn’t argue.

xvi.

It becomes somewhat routine, at least for nights where Jimin’s practice coincides with Yoongi’s work schedule and he’s in desperate need of some artificial energy to brave the walk from the studio to his house.

Yoongi, after the sixth time Jimin shows up to hang out with him, stops pretending he doesn’t get an employee discount and starts giving Jimin his drinks for free. He also stops pretending like he doesn’t like Jimin’s company, and talks to Jimin instead of ignoring him to stare at his phone screen.

It took Jimin a while to figure out, but, anytime he brought up music, Yoongi would come alive. His entire demenour would change, his eyes would brighten with an excitement Jimin had never seen before, and he’d talk to the point of almostrambling, something Jimin never expected Yoongi could do. When he got tired of talking, or of Yoongi mumbling a few words to answer any question as concisely as possible, he’d just mention the beat of a new song he was dancing to or rack his brain from a recent hip hop album and listen to Yoongi launch into long winded rants about production value and impressive rapping.

It was easier to figure out topics Yoongi didn’t like, which, though he wasn’t interested in most things, were mostly limited to their fake relationship and his job.

Even though Jimin knew Yoongi didn’t like it, he had no filter, so he’d ask anyways.

“So, are you just gonna work here forever?”

“Are you serious?” Yoongi gives Jimin a familiar dirty look and Jimin shrugs.

“Yeah. You’re already in your twenties and you don’t go to school. Is this it?”

“Do you ever think before you talk?”

“No,” Yoongi laughs and mumbles something about appreciating the honesty, and Jimin continues, “If you’re not gonna do this, what are you gonna do, then?”

And, as fascinating as it is to listen to Yoongi critique other people’s music, Jimin’s never enjoyed a conversation more than he did hearing Yoongi talk about all the equipment he’s saving up to buy and the programs he’s already gotten that he uses to produce beats and how he and Namjoon and sometimes Hoseok write raps together and how they’re actually not that bad and they’ve done a few underground shows on Yoongi’s nights off and people liked them a lot and once Yoongi saves up enough and can start making tracks they’re only going to get better.

xvii.

Jimin hasn’t been visiting the convenience store as often, or, really, hanging out with Yoongi at all. He’s not sure if it’s him or Yoongi, but, he doesn’t ask to see Yoongi as much anymore and Yoongi doesn’t answer as often when he does, so he thinks it’s a mix.

He’s not really sure why Yoongi is avoiding him, he thought that they had gotten closer, especially after the night Yoongi told Jimin all about his dreams for the future. There was a moment, towards the end, where Yoongi was talking about where he saw himself, like, ten years later and Jimin casually made a comment assuming he would also be in Yoongi’s life. Yoongi got quieter, but didn’t disagree. Jimin hadn’t thought much of it at the time, but, as he walked home, he wondered when Yoongi had become important enough to Jimin that he hoped, and he did, he could feel in deep in his chest, when it came up, that he would get to be there, right there, to see Yoongi’s inevitable rise to fame. It scared him, a little, the idea that he was starting to care so much about Yoongi when it was all supposed to be fake, and he couldn’t help but wonder if his assumption that they were friends now was what made Yoongi never reply to his texts.

He’s thinking maybe they should just, finally, a month late, go through with their fake break up. Especially when his mom sees him slumped on the couch with the television off after an early practice and comments that she hasn’t seen Yoongi in a while and Jimin seems sulky about it.

He also resents the idea that he’s sulking over Yoongi, because he’s not. Yoongi is not worth it. Claiming he’s just bored because Jihoon is busy studying for entrance exams (he also resents that Yoongi said Jihoon was Jimin’s only friend, but he was kind of right) his mom suggests he just go have some fun on his own, which, somehow leads Jimin to standing in a messy music store, browsing CDs of genres he’s never been interested in before. It seems like the kind of place Yoongi would love and Jimin briefly thinks about texting him to ask if he’d like to meet, but doesn’t want to disturb the older boy.

Jimin finds a CD in a stack that he can’t quite figure out the organization of, but sounds familiar. It takes him a while to place its title in his memory. After a few minutes of staring at the cover, he suddenly remembers a conversation he and Yoongi had maybe a month and a half earlier, where Yoongi mentioned the group as one he was interested in hearing more from.

On impulse, Jimin buys the CD and leaves the shop, taking a right towards Yoongi’s house instead of heading straight back towards his.

He’s oddly nervous as he walks, wondering if Yoongi will like it, or think it’s weird, or, maybe he already has it. By the time Jimin thinks maybe he should just turn around and go home, he’s already at the edge of Yoongi’s driveway. He steels himself, reminds himself that it’s just Yoongi, who he’s known forever, and it’s just a CD, it doesn’t matter. With a newfound determination, Jimin walks up to the door and knocks.

“Ah, hyung!” Jimin startles when Yoongi opens the door not two seconds later, “You’re awake?!”

“Yeah, I’m going to meet Hoseok and Namjoon in a few minutes,” Yoongi says, and Jimin notices that he’s fully dressed and already wearing his shoes with a bag slung across his chest, “Jihoon isn’t here right now. Don’t you usually text him before coming?”

“Oh, right, yeah, I, well,” Jimin stammers, holding the CD half behind his back, “I was just, out, and I saw something, I’m actually, I came to see you, I just realized I probably should’ve texted, I thought you might be asleep, sorry, but, you’re not, so it’s okay I guess, uh, just…”

“Hey,” Yoongi starts, unusually kind. Normally he seems more annoyed when Jimin can’t get his thoughts out right, “It’s okay. I’m here. What did you need?”

Jimin smiles gratefully and brings out the CD, waving it towards Yoongi, “I just was out at this cool music store, and I found this, and it made me think of you, and something you’d talked about before? So I got it for you.”

Yoongi takes the CD, slowly, looking oddly suspicious for someone who has just received a gift. He flips it over a few times, reading the front and back, and then opens it to see the CD and the leaflet inside, his expression shifting to one of happy surprise.

“Thanks,” Yoongi says, eventually, and if Jimin had to name his tone, he might call it touched, “I’ve actually wanted this for a while.”

Yoongi gives Jimin a happy little grin and it kind of feels like Jimin just won the lottery. He slides the CD into his bag and the two of them stand there, smiling at each other, neither of them saying anything. After a minute passes, Yoongi glances at his shoes, and the over Jimin’s shoulder, and a little awkwardly, asks, “Do you want to come?”

“Come?”

“To see Hoseok and Namjoon with me,” Yoongi clarifies.

Jimin’s grin widens and he has to stop himself from physically bouncing as his mood skyrockets, “I’d love to.”

Yoongi looks at him, still wearing that little smile, and says, “Cool.”

xviii.

Jimin is stretched out on his bed, legs resting across Yoongi’s lap. Yoongi’s laptop is resting on Jimin’s shins while he works. They’ve been sitting in silence for a while, Yoongi quiet as he replies to a shocking number of emails, Jimin staring at the ceiling and listening to the sounds of Yoongi’s fingers on the keys.

He’s not really in the mood for anything, especially talking, especially to Yoongi, but his mom had invited Yoongi over for lunch and Yoongi decided to stick around until he had to leave to work on something with Namjoon. Jimin had fucked up a move he should’ve known and gotten reamed by some of the older dancers for not practicing enough, and then, later, he heard a couple of his peers talking about how obnoxious he was, and it immediately shut down something inside of him.

“Why are you being so weird?” Yoongi asks, hands still dancing rapidly across his keyboard, his eyes on the screen.

“I’m not,” Jimin mutters. The sound of typing ceases for a second so Yoongi can pinch his ankle, and he’s lucky Jimin isn’t in a bad enough mood to kick his laptop right off the bed in revenge.

“You’re not talking,” Yoongi points out.

“Yeah, you’re working, it’s called being polite.”

“You’re never polite. You talk when I’m busy all the time,” Yoongi continues to call Jimin out. He stops what he’s doing to look over at Jimin and his scowl, “What’s going on?”

“I just had a bad day,” Jimin finally admits.

“You want to talk about it?” Yoongi offers and Jimin laughs, a foreign, humourless sound.

“Do you even care?”

He’s surprised when Yoongi looks at him, seriously, and says, “Yes.”

“Just… some stuff happened at the studio,” Jimin loses almost all of his hostility, sighing heavily, “It doesn’t matter.”

Yoongi says “okay”, and goes back to working while Jimin goes back to staring at the ceiling. He catches Yoongi glancing over, worried, at him several times.

“Do you think I’m annoying?” Jimin asks, sometime later, once Yoongi has finished his work and is just playing a computer game.

“Do you care what I think?” Yoongi replies.

“Yeah,” Jimin says, and he doesn’t realize it’s true until he’s said it.

“Because I’m your fake boyfriend?”

“Because you’re my friend,” Jimin corrects.

Yoongi looks at him for a long time, and Jimin can’t read his expression. Eventually, he decides, “No.”

“You say it a lot,” Jimin claims.

“I’m just teasing.”

“Really?”

“Of course. I’m here, aren’t I?” It’s not a lot, but it means everything to Jimin. Things have moved from Yoongi sitting around, cranky, a few times a week to appease Jimin and his mom to Yoongi showing up to hang out with or without the prompt of making their fake relationship believable and inviting Jimin out with him and his friends whenever Jimin was free.

Jimin doesn’t magically feel better about his terrible day, but he does perk up enough to talk about the cool game he and Jihoon beat the day before, and, after a bit, he even manages to explain his new dance routine without mentally berating himself for not practicing more.

Later, as Yoongi is leaving, he stops at the door and asks, “You want me to fight whoever made you feel bad?”

The offer makes butterflies tumble through Jimin’s stomach and he doesn’t understand why.

“You’d lose,” Jimin decides.

“I can fight!” Yoongi claims.

“He’s, like, twice as big as you. Like, 195 centimeters,” Jimin teases.

“Are you calling me short?”

“That’s exactly what I’m saying,” Jimin confirms. Yoongi grumbles at him, calling him a disrespectful kid, but he’s laughing a little as he steps out and starts to walk away.

Jimin is just about to pull the door shut and, probably, go practice until his legs burn when Yoongi stops again and turns around.

'Hey, Jimin?“

"Yeah?”

“Don’t listen to anyone, alright? There’s nothing wrong with you.”

xix.

Jimin texts Yoongi at ten and invites him over for lunch, by his mom’s request. Yoongi doesn’t tell him that he just got off work and was only going to get, like, an hour of sleep until after he’s already agreed and showed up at the door, half dead.

Yoongi always shows up at least half an hour early, even though Jimin always tells him the right time.

He’s got bags under his eyes and he’s hunched a little, slumping into Jimin as soon as Jimin slings an arm around his waist.

“Are you okay?” Jimin asks, nervously, as he leads Yoongi towards the couch.

“I’m so fucking exhausted, I didn’t get to sleep yesterday and I just worked until nine,” Yoongi explains, and Jimin punches him, lightly, in the shoulder as they fall into the couch together.

“You should’ve just said no, I would’ve understood!” Jimin admonishes.

Yoongi shakes his head weakly, and mumbles, “No, no, it’s fine, I’m awake.”

'I’m awake’ is apparently code for 'not at all’ because it’s not three minutes before Yoongi is curled on his side with his head pillowed on Jimin’s thigh, fast asleep and Jimin, without thinking about it, petting his hair.

His mom returns from the store with their lunch half an hour later, peeking around the couch and looking worried as soon as she sees what’s waiting for her.

“Is he okay?”

“Yeah,” Jimin promises, looking down at Yoongi, “he just worked late.” He looks younger somehow. Not that he looks old, other times, but, carefree. There’s no worry, no irritation, his mouth slack and hanging open a little instead of set in a thin line, his eyes shut gently, his hair sticking up a little at the back where it was pressed against Jimin’s jeans before he shifted and turned his face closer to Jimin’s knee. He looks soft.

He’s cute when he’s sleeping,” his mom says. She’s already gone before Jimin thinks that, as a boyfriend, he should probably think Yoongi is cute.

When he softly agrees, “Yeah,” unnecessarily aloud, it’s not because it’s his duty, but just because he means it.

xx.

Jimin isn’t sure what time it is when he wakes up, but, it’s dark, there’s something still playing on the TV, he’s on the floor, and someone is touching him.

He immediately snaps his eyes shut and pretends to still be asleep, worried there’s an intruder, or something, checking his pockets for a wallet. Jimin holds his breath as something heavy and soft lands across his body. Moments later, he feels a pair of lips touch his skin.

His eyes pop open when they kiss his cheek, and he sees, thankfully, that it was just Yoongi, and he’s been covered with the really soft comforter that Yoongi keeps on his bed even when it’s hot.

A foreign feeling seizes Jimin’s chest and makes it hard to breathe for a second. He peeks over the edge of the blanket Yoongi pulled up, snug and warm around his shoulders, the feeling of the gentle kiss Yoongi pressed against his cheek bone lingering. Luckily, Yoongi has his back to Jimin, so he doesn’t know he’s been caught.

Jimim watches Yoongi give the same treatment to Jihoon, tucking the blanket Jihoon had kicked around so much it tangled around his ankles up and around his body, before Yoongi gives his brother a short kiss on the forehead.

Yoongi walks carefully to flick off the tv still quietly playing the sounds of a movie menu screen, and Jimin opens his eyes all the way to see that it’s three in the morning. His gaze follows Yoongi to see him pull on his shoes and shut the door so gently, Jimin wouldn’t have known he was leaving if he wasn’t watching the older boy drag the door shut at a painfully slow speed.

The strange feeling returns full force, and the pleasant heat that floods through his chest and stomach is far warmer than any blanket Yoongi could’ve covered him with.

Jimin faces the ceiling after several minutes of staring at the door that Yoongi had just exited through, wondering what any of it means. He doesn’t even realize morning has come until Jihoon kicks at his side at nine and asks how long he’s been awake.

xxi.

Jimin doesn’t know when touching Yoongi became so familiar, so natural, that he does it without thinking about it, but they’ve hit that point.

When Yoongi arrives at his empty house, Jimin greets him at the door to hug him tight around the waist and kiss him on the cheek. Yoongi doesn’t say anything about it being weird, so Jimin doesn’t realize it was unnecessary until far later in the day, when his mom and dad return and Yoongi is already long gone and she asks if he had fun on his date.

It wasn’t even supposed to be a date, Jimin thinks to himself as he tells her, honestly, that it was a great day. Yoongi and him were, really, just hanging out. As he remembers it, he starts to think maybe it was a date, or at least too close to one for comfort.

Yoongi brought snacks and his favorite movie that he really wanted Jimin to see for some reason and they’d laughed and talked so much through the first hour, Yoongi made him restart it three different times to see scenes they had missed. Even though they were alone, for some reason, the two boys still cuddled together on the middle seat on the couch for the entire film. Yoongi had his arm across Jimin’s shoulders the entire time, keeping him pulled in close while Jimin kept his and Yoongi’s legs crossed at the thigh, one of his legs hanging between Yoongi’s. At one point, Jimin recalls, they were even holding hands.

It wasn’t a date, really, and Jimin’s parents had been gone the entire time, and Jimin hadn’t expected them home. He isn’t sure how he and Yoongi just fell into snuggling without realizing it, but Jimin’s sure Yoongi didn’t notice what they were doing either. He doesn’t think Yoongi would want to touch him, friendly or not, without being forced.

Jimin finds himself smiling, as he remembers watching the end of the movie, his head against Yoongi’s chest as he watched, Yoongi’s head resting on his as he napped, nearly every part of their bodies touching - innocently - and making a pleasant warmth heat Jimin’s skin and stomach and heart.

He has the off-hand thought that Yoongi makes his heart feel like it’s smiling, and then, immediately after, the thought that maybe things have gone too far, and maybe they need to stop before it can go any further.

xxii.

A boy (that isn’t Yoongi) asks Jimin on a date (a real one).

He says yes.

It goes pretty well.

xxiii.

The second date goes pretty well too, and then the third.

The fourth and fifth are alright, but something inside Jimin recoils when he lets his date kiss him after the sixth. He ignores that feeling, reminds himself that he has to do something so he and Yoongi can give up their charade, and goes on a seventh.

He sees Hoseok, alone, when he’s out on the eighth, and he can’t explain why, but he drags his date by the hand into an alley way until he’s sure Hoseok won’t see him too.

On the ninth, his date shyly asks if Jimin would like to be his boyfriend, officially, monogamously. There’s a strange feeling in his chest, intuition telling him that he’s making a mistake, but Jimin puts it out of his mind, puts on a smile, and says yes.

The excitement hits him, later, that he’s got a boyfriend, a real boyfriend, and they’re going to go on dates and make out and probably sleep together eventually and it’s all going to be real and someone is going to love him because they do, not because he told them to pretend to, and, it means that he can stop that odd, bright feeling that he gets when he thinks about Yoongi and just demote him permanently to a friend instead.

xxiv.

Jimin forgets his phone at home, so he can’t text Yoongi the good news, but he bounds in, filled with adrenaline, ready to tell Yoongi that they can break up now, that he’s finally free of Jimin’s stupid plan.

He’s surprised to see Yoongi’s bag and coat already sitting on the table in the kitchen. Yoongi comes over, sometimes, without warning, but normally he’ll ask Jimin first or Jimin’s mom will mention that she’s invited Yoongi over for something.

Jimin checks his room first, and then glances at the open door of the bathroom, and when Yoongi is in neither, he wanders back down stairs to see if he’s outside, or something.

He isn’t, but as Jimin’s just about to shout his name, he hears familiar voices coming through the cracked door of his mother’s room.

“It’s nothing weird,” Jimin can hear Yoongi, barely, as he slinks up next to the door, peeking in to see Yoongi helping his mom fold a basket of laundry into neat piles across her bed. He leans his ear towards the crack so Yoongi’s voice becomes clearer, “I still thought he was nothing but an obnoxious kid. He and Jihoon were so annoying, once they hit twelve. I never wanted to, or tried, to do anything to him. Not back then, not when we were kids, there was just… always a feeling. I could never really explain it. When I was ten - Jimin was around eight - I’d fallen on the sidewalk. I was supposed to be watching Jimin and Jihoon while my parents were cooking. They went running off and I was trying to keep them in view. I saw them going inside and tried to slow down, but fell. I went in the backyard to cry. I didn’t want anyone to see, especially not Jihoon. Jimin came in the back, eventually, said he was looking for me. I told him to go away, but he’s stubborn as hell. Instead, he looked all over my arms and legs, kissed my bruises, wiped my cheeks, kissed those too and said, 'now everything will be okay, hyung’,” Jimin remembers the moment, perfectly, hearing Yoongi relay it, but he hasn’t recalled it on his own in years. He’s forgotten that Yoongi used to play with them. Once he turned, like, thirteen, he started to be mean to Jimin and never tried to talk to him or Jihoon anymore, and Jihoon thought that he hated him, and Jimin decided to hate Yoongi for making Jihoon so sad, and each year they just grew further and further apart until Jimin forgot they were ever close at all, “There were other times, over the years, but it was always that same feeling. It never went away. I didn’t know what it was until recently.”

“Love?” Jimin’s mother suggests, and Jimin nearly laughs at the idea of Yoongi loving him.

“Love,” Yoongi agrees softly, and the word does something strange but not bad to Jimin’s chest, those wild butterflies that have recently taken residence in his stomach all bursting to life at once.

“Sometimes it sneaks up on you,” his mom says, nodding as if Yoongi’s story makes perfect sense, “you don’t even notice and then, one day, it all just makes sense,” Yoongi makes a quiet noise of agreement. The two are silent, and Jimin thinks about going in to talk to them, but his mom starts speaking again just before he goes to push open the door, “I knew you were Jihoon’s brother, but I didn’t know you played with the boys back then. Jimin’s mostly just called you, 'that annoying hyung’ and complained about how mean you are.”

Yoongi laughs while Jimin is flooded with embarrassment, “I didn’t play with them much, after a while. I heard them calling me boring one day when I was younger and didn’t want to spoil their fun, but, I was always around. I don’t think they noticed me much unless I started to tease them, but I was usually watching out for them,” Yoongi explains, and suddenly a lot of Jimin’s memories make far more sense.

“How things change,” Jimin’s mother half-jokes.

Yoongi laughs again, but it’s a different sound. It’s not happy, or humored, but uncomfortable, a little self-deprecating, and maybe even wistful as he mutters, “yeah, they really change.”

Jimin isn’t sure what he’s feeling, but it’s too much. He turns away from the door, pressing his back against the wall and wonders why he feels so nervous and why Yoongi’s acting seems so much like it’s not  acting and why he kind of wants to kiss Yoongi all the time and what if that weird feeling he’s had is just like they’re describing, what if he’s in love with Yoongi. He doesn’t have a lot of time to freak out over his almost-epiphany, someone exiting and startling Jimin out of his thoughts.

“Oh, oh, ah, hyung!” Jimin exlaims, waving nervously with both hands as Yoongi stares at him with wide eyes.

“You’re home?” He asks, glancing between the room and Jimin so rapidly Jimin thinks he might get whiplash.

“Yeah, just, uh, just got home,” Jimin half-lies, gesturing a little too wildly, his hand movements irrelevant to his words, “what, uh, are you? You’re here?”

“I was… I am here,” Yoongi nods frantically, “I am here but I was just leaving. I have to go right now.”

Yoongi starts towards the door immediately, and Jimin is too dumbstruck at first to stop him. Just as Yoongi is pulling his second shoe on, laces still untied, Jimin remembers and calls, “wait, I have to tell you something!”

“Sorry,” Yoongi yells back, throwing his bag over his shoulder and pushing through the door with his shoes still not fully on, “I just really have to go, right now, there’s an emergency, bye!”

            Did you really just come over to
            help my mom fold laundry??? 11:34PM

11:53PM no. i was waiting for you. 
               she put me to work.

                    What did you need??? :o 11:54PM

12:09AM nothing. 
12:11AM it was dumb.
12:15AM it doesn’t matter.

                                   you sure..?? :/ 12:15AM

12:20AM yeah. 
12:21AM don’t worry.
12:23AM it was nothing bad.

              okay!! that was some really 
              good back story earlier!!! :D 12:27AM

Jimin watches the little symbol and the words “Boyfriend is typing…” appear and disappear six times in a row and stays awake for a full thirty minutes waiting for Yoongi to text back (he doesn’t) before he starts to wonder if maybe it wasn’tjust back story.

xxv.

A week later, Yoongi still hasn’t replied to Jimin’s text about back story, or any of the ten texts he’s sent in the days since. Jimin plays with his phone nervously non-stop, checking it every few seconds every time he tries to send another ‘hello’ or ‘how are you doing’ or ‘are you busy right now’. Yoongi even ignores him at three am when Jimin knows he’s at work and Jimin should be asleep but is up worrying that he’s ruined their budding friendship and about how much he misses Yoongi after like, six days.

The first response he gets is a simple “ok” to his message practically begging Yoongi to come over because they need to talk.

After nine days of radio silence, Jimin is surprised when Yoongi knocks on his door not twenty minutes later.

“Hey,” Yoongi greets him with a shy smile when Jimin swings the door open, and Jimin doesn’t understand what it does to his heart.

He means to reply with a friendly hello, how are you, but when he opens his mouth, what comes out is, “It’s time for you to break up with me.”

Yoongi is startled, eyes going wide as Jimin drops his request without even saying hi, “What? Right now?”

“Yeah, right now,” Jimin confirms. He isn’t sure why he needs Yoongi to do it, needs him to say the phrase, but he tried to tell his mom they broke up and the words just wouldn’t come out. He needs it to be true. He needs something to be official.

“What the fuck, Jimin?” Yoongi spits.

Jimin didn’t expect him to be mad, “It was the plan all along, wasn’t it?”

“It was the plan four fucking months ago!” Yoongi nearly shouts, throwing his hand behind him as if to exemplify all the time that’s passed, “Then, you told me we should hold off. Now we’ve been dating half a goddamn year!”

Fake dating,” Jimin stresses nervously, but that only seems to make Yoongi angrier.

“God,” Yoongi won’t look at Jimin, but it’s easy to tell how pissed he is. He bites sharply down into his lower lip. When he opens his mouth to start speaking, Jimin thinks it looks like it’s bleeding, “Why did you call me over here for this? Couldn’t you just text me? Tell your mom I dumped you and get it all over with? Tell her yourself that you’re an asshole? Or is she here, now? Were you hoping to stage an entire goddamn fight so she’d believe it was all real? Did you give her so little reason to fucking trust you that you have to do all this bullshit?” Yoongi tears into Jimin and he won’t cry but he can feel the heat of tears prickling at the edges of his eyes.

“No! She’s not even here! It just felt weird to do over the phone!” Jimin tries to explain, but Yoongi is shaking his head, and Jimin doesn’t think he’s even really listening.

“You’re the one that keeps bringing up that it was all fucking fake! What’s it even matter how we break up?” Yoongi asks, but Jimin has no answer.

“Why are you so mad?” Jimin asks, and he hates the sound of his own voice, he hates that he can hear himself getting choked up over a stupid fake relationship with Jihoon’s stupid annoying brother, “Why are you being so mean? We were both waiting for this!”

“Why were we waiting six fucking months? Why now?”

“I have a real boyfriend now!” Jimin bursts, shouting over Yoongi so he’ll finally just listen.

Yoongi snorts and Jimin hates the way the sound makes him feel. He hates seeing Yoongi’s demenor change. He watches the older boy shift from fired up, from angrier than Jimin’s ever seen him to nothing but vulnerable. Yoongi looks soft and insecure and a little fearful and somehow the mix of it just makes him look small.

He still sounds harsh, but his voice doesn’t match his expression, “So you were just keeping me around until something better came along?”

“No! Not something better! Something real! You were my fake boyfriend!” Jimin is the one who’s shouting now. He resents Yoongi’s implication that Jimin was stringing him along, or using him, which, technically, he was, but Yoongi agreed to it.

Yoongi looks up at Jimin, finally, head still tilted towards the ground. He stares at Jimin through his lashes, and quietly, he asks, “Did I mean anything to you?”

Jimin doesn’t understand the question (or his own feelings) and he won’t until much later, when he’s calm and it might be too late, and he replies, “No, of course not.”

Yoongi nods, dejected, as though it’s the answer he expected, “Okay, Jimin. Alright. It’s fucking over.”

Yoongi turns to leave and Jimin doesn’t stop him. He isn’t sure why Yoongi’s retreating figure hurts him so bad. He got everything he wanted, didn’t he?

xxvi.

Jimin is lying on top of his covers an hour after the fight, staring at the ceiling when his phone suddenly rings, startling him out of his thoughts. He answers it without looking, hoping it’s Yoongi.

“Hel-“

“What the fuck did you do to my brother?” A voice that definitely isn’t Yoongi’s interrupts Jimin’s greeting.

“Jihoon?” Jimin asks, surprised.

“Who else? How many boys did you make cry today?”

“He’s crying?” Jimin’s heart breaks on the spot. He really fucked it up, “Wait, he told you I made him cry?”

“No, it’s Yoongi, of course he didn’t. I saw him coming in and I asked what happened and he told me to never look at him again and locked himself in his room, but, I’m not fucking dumb. He left here, fine, to see you, and came back like this. So what did you do?” Jihoon explains.

“We just… broke up,” Jimin replies, weakly, no longer sure that’s all that happened.

“I thought you were fake dating?”

“Yeah,” Jimin agrees, “me too.”

“Damn,” Jihoon breathes. The two boys go silent, and Jimin kind of wants to ask what Jihoon’s thinking. Before he gets the chance, Jihoon says, “Maybe you shouldn’t come around for a while.”

Panic stream rolls through Jimin. He’s already lost one best friend, he doesn’t want to lose Jihoon too.

“Just,” Jihoon clarifies, “just for a while, okay, for Yoongi’s sake? We’re… okay, but, I don’t wanna upset him.”

“Okay,” Jimin agrees softly, “I’ll stay away from him.”

“Thanks.”

xxvii.

Jimin’s mom finds him in the same spot later that night.

“You okay?” She asks eventually, after standing in Jimin’s doorway, watching him for several minutes.

“We broke up,” Jimin replies. His mom makes soft, sympathetic noises as she comes into to sit next to him on his bed and pet his hair.

“Oh, sweetie… what happened?” Jimin narrows his eyes at the ceiling. He knows what actually happened, that he dragged Yoongi into a fake relationship and kept him in it for too long and got a boyfriend as an excuse to end it because he was too scared of the feelings that were entering what was supposed to be a one month plot to convince Jimin’s mom he was gay that only ended with him hurting someone important to him. He knows what he was supposed to say, that he and Yoongi wanted different things and led different lives and felt they were better off as friends, they knew too much about each other to continue their relationship comfortably, some weird thing like that.

What he says is, “I think I cheated on him?”

“You think?” His mom asks, and Jimin isn’t that surprised that she sounds a little angry. He can already hear the ‘Yoongi is a nice boy and I raised you better than that’ lecture she’s probably going to give him.

“It’s… really complicated,” Jimin decides.

“Do you wanna talk?” His mom asks, instead of telling him off, and Jimin has never loved her more.

“No, not really.”

And Jimin really does have the best mom, because, all she does is give him a short kiss on the forehead, pat his knee, and tell him he’ll feel better with time and that she’ll buy his favorite for dinner.

xxviii.

Jimin nearly throws his phone when a notification from “Boyfriend” shows up, three weeks post break-up. He didn’t notice that he hadn’t changed the name, yet, and edits the contact to ‘Yoongi hyung’ before opening it.

1:23PM you don’t have to stop coming over because of me

                                                    I didn’t. 1:23PM
                   Well, I did, but, it was Jihoon. 1:25PM
         Jihoon told me not to come around. 1:29PM

Yoongi drops his phone onto his bed when he sees the message and jogs out of his room and down the stairs to where he can hear Jihoon playing video games. Jihoon doesn’t get mad when he stands in front of the tv, just pauses his game and stares back at Yoongi.

“Hey, hyung, you need something?”

“Did you tell Jimin not to come over?” Yoongi asks, jumping right to the point.

“Yeah,” Jihoon confirms it, but Yoongi can’t believe Jihoon did it for him.

“Did you guys get into a fight? Are you mad at him?” Yoongi questions, sure there’s some other reason that Jihoon would tell Jimin to stay away. There’s no way Jihoon did it because he knew Jimin had hurt Yoongi.

“Well, yeah,” Yoongi isn’t surprised, but a part of him had wished it was for him, “I don’t know what happened, but, he didsomething to you, and I’m not cool with that, and I didn’t know if you’d be upset if you saw him again, so I told him not to come over for a while.”

Yoongi’s hit with a rush of love for his brother, that pleasant feeling you get when someone who cares about you does something for you, and it’s stupid but he loves his brother and he never thought Jihoon cared about him enough to watch out for him like that and they’re probably too old for it but he goes over to the couch to hug Jihoon anyways.

Jihoon hugs him back just as tightly.

“What really happened?” Jihoon asks, softly, with his head tucked over Yoongi’s shoulder.

“I’ve liked Jimin for a really long time,” Yoongi admits, for the first time, and he can feel Jihoon stiffen in surprise.

“Oh, shit, hyung, if I had known, I never would’ve suggested it,” Jihoon rambles, muttering into Yoongi’s shoulder about how he’s not that shitty, he wouldn’t have tried to fuck with Yoongi like that. Yoongi just squeezes him tighter, for a second, and murmurs that it’s all okay before letting go.

“I’m okay, now, though. Jimin can come back over if he wants,” Yoongi tells Jihoon.

Jihoon looks unsure, but nods weakly, “uh, does… does this mean we’re okay now?”

“What do you mean?” Yoongi’s shocked by the question. He doesn’t know a time when he and Jihoon haven’t been okay. He’s loved his little brother more than anyone since he was three and Jihoon was born.

“Like, I don’t know, just, can we like, hang out? Again? Now?” Jihoon seems unusually shy. Yoongi isn’t sure why it didn’t occur to him, at twenty one, that he maybe should base his life off overheard words from eleven year old boys, but he chooses not to explain himself.

Instead, he just smiles, ruffles Jihoon’s hair and says, “Of course.”

Later, when Yoongi eventually makes it back to his phone, there’s a message from Jimin sent hours earlier that just says, ‘I miss you’.

He stares at the small screen for a long time. Eventually, he types out, ‘you don’t even like me’. Finger hovering over the send button, he blanches and drops it to the backspace, erasing the entire message.

Typing out another, he looks at the small letters reading ‘i miss you too’ for just as long. He shakes his head, groans softly, throws his phone into his laundry basket so he won’t say anything dumb and throws himself onto his bed so he can sleep and forget all about Park Jimin and his stupid smile and adorable laugh and his ridiculous talent and how fucking good he used to make Yoongi feel.

xxix.

Jimin’s slumped on the couch when his mom says it. The dance studio is temporarily closed, he’s practiced so much he can barely feel his legs anyways, Jihoon is busy, he can’t talk to Yoongi anymore, his dad is at work, none of his friends from the studio are free either. His mom is a viable option for hanging out, but she’s also cleaning, so if Jimin says anything about being bored, she’s probably going to make him tackle the bathroom with or without her.

“It’s okay, sweetie,” his mom comforts as she passes, ruffling his hair with a gloved hand, “I know how much you loved him, but, you’ll feel better soon.”

“Who says I loved him?” Jimin grumbles, swatting her dirty glove away from his head. His mom laughs at him and flicks his cheek instead, leaning over the back of the couch.

“It seemed obvious to me,” she says, “maybe I was wrong. Maybe you’ve been sulking around all month for no reason.”

Jimin just huffs and crosses his arms back over his chest, staring at the wall. She laughs at him again and begins to hum, leaving him alone.

She passes back through twenty minutes later, and Jimin asks, “What if it was all pretend?”

“What?”

“Me being in love with Yoongi.”

His mom laughs at him for a third time, “You’re not that good of an actor.”

Jimin thinks she might be right.

xxx.

Jimin knows that Yoongi gave Jihoon the okay to invite him back over, but he still feels awkward and nervous as he steps up to the door. He’s not sure what it’s going to be like to see Yoongi, or how he should act, and, oh my god, what if he opens the door? Jimin doesn’t know what he’s going to do. He actually sighs in relief when Jihoon is the one that lets him in, smiling excitedly and giving him a friendly punch on the shoulder right before pulling him into a quick hug.

“Finally! I haven’t seen you in forever!”

“You were over four days ago,” Jimin points out as he follows Jihoon inside.

“Yeah, but, your room doesn’t have air conditioning and it’s disgusting,” Jihoon replies, looking away from Jimin as he climbs the stairs.

Jimin stops at the bottom step for a moment, getting distracted by the sight of Yoongi asleep on the couch. While he knew that Yoongi did, in fact, live with Jihoon, he hadn’t anticipated seeing him so quickly. Normally, Yoongi is out or locked up in his room. Other than at family dinners, Jimin rarely saw him around the house, even when they were fake dating and close friends. There was a specific division of Jihoon and Jimin and Yoongi and Jimin and when Jimin was with Jihoon, Yoongi was, most often, off on his own.

Yoongi looks beautiful when he’s asleep, as Jimin had long since realized, but seeing it now brings back a rush of feelings that Jimin thought were gone. It’s strange. He’s experienced them all, at different times in varying intensities, but it’s the first time he understands, and fuck-

“Hey,” Jihoon calls from the landing, “are you coming?”

Jimin looks up at Jihoon in surprise and nods. He spares one last glance at Yoongi before jogging up the stairs and into Jihoon’s room.

They’re in there for only a few minutes before Jimin bursts, “I think I’m in love with your brother.”

Jihoon doesn’t seem shocked or bothered by the statement, just keeps toying with the game in his hands, “Maybe you should tell him that, instead of me.”

That idea had not occurred to Jimin.

“Really? I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

“He didn’t come home crying after your fake break up for nothing,” Jihoon doesn’t call Jimin an idiot, but his eyes are saying it loud and clear.

“Yeah, and he probably hates me,” Jimin says, and the thought makes his stomach clench painfully.

“I’m pretty sure he doesn’t hate you,” Jihoon claims.

“What if he says no?” Jimin stalls.

Jihoon gives Jimin that same tired, you’re-an-idiot-and-i-don’t-know-why-i-put-up-with-it look that both he and Yoongi have perfected, “He didn’t the first time.”

“What if-“

“Jimin!” Jihoon drops his game entirely to focus exclusively on Jimin, “You always just dive head first into whatever shit sounds good to you! You never think about consequences or how hard it might be, you just go for shit, and that’s what makes you so amazing! So, just, go downstairs, and tell my dumb brother that you love him, and if he says he hates you, you can come up here, and cry about it, and we’ll put his mattress in the backyard once he leaves for work and hang out at your house for another month!”

Jimin nods in reply, determined. When he stops, again, at the door, Jihoon sighs heavily behind him and all but shouts, “Go!”

So, Jimin goes.

He goes down the stairs far slower than he moved up them, peeking around the banister like maybe Yoongi will have gotten up and left in the few minutes he was talking to Jihoon.

Maybe, a little bit, hoping that Yoongi will have left.

He’s both pleased and nervous to see that Yoongi is still asleep on the couch, and, even though he’s going to have to wake the older boy up eventually, he moves from the landing to stand in front the couch as quietly as possible.

“I wasn’t worried about my mom,” Jimin says softly, watching Yoongi’s face to see if his words will wake him up, “I just didn’t want to let you go.”

Yoongi doesn’t jump awake or anything, but, when Jimin follows up his honesty with a slightly louder ‘hey’, Yoongi slowly opens his eyes and lets out a low groan. It’s more of a groggy what-the-fuck-is-going-on groan than a why-is-fucking-jimin-here-again groan.

“You always wake me up,” Yoongi murmurs, throwing his arm over his eyes to shield them from the bright afternoon light, peeking at Jimin through one eye from behind his wrist.

“Sorry,” Jimin mumbles.

“You gonna ask me any stupid questions this time?” Yoongi half-teases, and Jimin’s surprised at how light he’s being after the last time they talked.

“Well,” Jimin starts, wringing his hands nervously, “I hope you don’t think it’s dumb.”

Yoongi pulls his arm up enough to look at Jimin fully, and gestures for him to go on.

“I, just… I wasn’t… I know… I’m sorry,” Jimin finally says, taking a deep breath while he tries to get his thoughts in order, “I wasn’t trying to keep you around until I found something better, or just to appease my mom, or whatever, not after that first month. I didn’t… I liked you, and I didn’t want to lose you, and then we were friends, like, you were my best friend, other than Jihoon, and I liked spending time with you and I liked holding your hand, I really like holding your hand, you have very soft hands, and I didn’t…  that guy? The real boyfriend? I don’t know I felt like I needed an excuse to break up with you? And so I just went out with the first guy that asked and I didn’t, I don’t know, I didn’t really like him and we broke up right after you and I broke up,” it’s the first time Jimin doesn’t make sure to explicitly specify that their relationship was fake and he thinks Yoongi notices because his blank expression is broken by a soft smile, “And I’d felt like I was just setting you, like, free or something, and I never thought that either of us would get hurt, I didn’t think you liked me at all, and I never understood why you agreed anyways, so I thought you’d want to get away as quickly as possible but then you were upset and it hurt so bad and I realized that I’m kind of in real, very real, love with you,” Jimin’s long winded explanation is met with silence. Yoongi is watching him, and Jimin forces himself to maintain eye contact, even though he’s incredibly embarrassed, so that Yoongi will know he’s serious.

After a long silence, Yoongi says, “I agreed to it because I’ve loved you for a long time and I just wanted to see what it would be like.”

Adrenaline floods Jimin and it feels like his heart is soaring, and he can’t stop the wide grin that spreads when he hears that Yoongi loves him, “Was it worth it?”

“Yes,” Yoongi says, confidently.

“Then, do you want to try for real?” Jimin’s butterflies dive bomb in his belly while Yoongi is quiet, thinking about his question.

“Just to be clear, you, Park Jimin, are asking me, Min Yoongi, to be your real boyfriend, for the foreseabble future, no games, no break up date, not because of your mom, or anyone else, just because you want to, just me an you together, for real?”

Yes.”

“Okay.”

Jimin’s as happy as he is nervous. He’s not sure what comes next, or if things will be weird and awkward after a month of distance, and he worries that they won’t be able to fall back into the easy affection they built over months but when he murmurs, “what now?” Yoongi gives him the happiest smile Jimin has ever seen the older boy wear.

“We could practice,” Yoongi teases, reaching for Jimin’s hand.

Jimin laughs and locks his fingers with Yoongi’s, everything feeling right, “Don’t make fun of me.”

“No, really,” Yoongi continues, tugging on Jimin’s hand until Jimin falls onto the couch. With the limited space, Jimin has no choice but to curl into Yoongi to stay on, their entwined hands resting on Yoongi’s chest, Jimin’s head on his shoulder, their legs half tangled together, “Cuddling is very complicated. We need to get good at it.”

Jimin realizes, quickly, pressed against the warmth of Yoongi’s body, that he had nothing to be worried about. He doesn’t really want to move, but, he still argues quietly, “What about Jihoon?”

Yoongi just presses his cheek against the top of Jimin’s head, yawns, and says, “He’ll just have to get used to this, won’t he?”