Jimin often wonders how exactly a life should be measured, weighed, plotted out. Jimin often wonders if there are enough numbers and scales by which to measure a person--grams and inches, words and imprints made by hands or lips or maybe dreams dreamt too deep not to leave their own scars. Jimin often wonders, but he can never quite get to an answer.
"What are you thinking about?" Taehyung asks.
The room is quiet; Namjoon is snoring through the wall and Hoseok is probably passed out in Yoongi's bed.
"Why aren't you asleep?" Jimin asks, but really, it's just words to fill the silence, words to occupy the density of the space between them because Taehyung always knows when Jimin is restless, and Jimin always knows when Taehyung is, and well, he supposes that there's the answer.
"Cause you're thinking too loudly."
Jimin laughs, turning onto his side. Taehyung has top bunk but Jimin can see his arm dangling over the side and has half a mind to reach out and grab it, lace their fingers like they do when they're watching movies that are a bit too scary for Jimin, or when they're sitting next to each other on the car and they're tired of the world, but never of each other.
"Well, sorry," Jimin says with no sincerity at all.
Taehyung giggles and the next minute, the bunk bed shakes as Taehyung rolls to the side and slips down the ladder. The next minute, Jimin feels Taehyung nudging him with a leg and has to move over so Taehyung can squish into the space that isn't there for two people but they make it work anyways. Jimin ends up with his back against the wall, one arm pinned under Taehyung's torso but it's not uncomfortable. Taehyung's eyes are bright in the dark, but his smile is indefinitely brighter.
"Tell me," Taehyung says.
Jimin rolls his eyes and leans forward to bury his nose in Taehyung's chest; Taehyung's fingers settle in Jimin's hair as he swings a leg over Jimin's hip and they lie there, tangled and pressed, breathing, breathing, breath.
"Just wondering how people are measured," Jimin says finally, his voice dimmed by the material of Taehyung's very abused and torn up nightshirt. Taehyung makes his thinking-noise, and it rumbles from his chest to Jimin's lips. If he could taste it, Jimin would say it tastes like knowledge.
"Maybe in their ideas? A lot of people measure themselves in accomplishments."
Jimin crinkles his nose and Taehyung giggles--tickles; oops, sorry.
"Nah, that's no good. Next."
Taehyung huffs and nuzzles a little too hard into the top of Jimin's head, "I'm not a vending machine for these things you know."
Jimin laughs and links his arms around Taehyung's waist, pulling him in for a squashing kind of hug and Taehyung makes a melodramatic choking noise.
"I know. But you're better at these things than I am."
"Don't sell yourself short," Taehyung says, then he snickers and adds, "but I guess that's the only thing you can sell yourself as cause you sure ain't tall."
Jimin makes to push Taehyung off the bed but stops last minute as Taehyung yelps. It turns into laughter when Jimin pulls him back to bury his face in Taehyung's chest again with a well-placed you literally suck ass.
Taehyung shrugs, "Can't help it, baby, I was born this way."
"No cause I was thinking like... is there a way to measure people fairly? Like... I dunno, cause, there are always people that other people don't understand and they tend to... y'know, do the thing, where they brush them off?"
Taehyung leans back a fraction of an inch to blink at Jimin. Jimin raises his head and blinks back and for that moment, they are both measuring each other in points of contact, Taehyung's ankle against the back of Jimin's calf, Jimin's palms against Taehyung's spine, Taehyung's fingers now stationary at the nape of Jimin's neck.
"If this is about the whole alien thing, I've gotten over it--" Taehyung starts but Jimin rolls his eyes.
"I know you have, but like I was just thinking--and if you say that's rare I'm kicking you out onto the sofa--" he pins Taehyung with a look before continuing, "I wonder if there could be like... a universal way of measuring people. Or of like... I dunno... measuring their lives or something. It was just a thought, I'm probably being dumb," Jimin shakes his head but Taehyung presses his lips to Jimin's forehead and Jimin stills.
"You're not," Taehyung assures him in a breath that is kiss-sweetened and soft, soft, soft.
"I like to measure people in kisses," Taehyung says after a while, after Jimin has relaxed and curled back into Taehyung's chest.
"The more the better?" Jimin asks.
Taehyung hums. "Not necessarily. The more sincere the better, I guess. Means you have a lot of love to give."
"Hm, too bad I haven't been counting." Jimin sighs and closes his eyes, his fingers making shapes along Taehyung's back.
"What are you drawing?" Taehyung asks after a while. Jimin traces lines and lines, life and lives.
"Guess," Jimin says, fingers skimming over the thin material of Taehyung's nightshirt.
"A star," Taehyung says, "that was easy."
Jimin grins, raising his head to press a kiss right into Taehyung's jaw, "Yep, cause you're my little star."
Taehyung laughs, one of his proper, warm, fuzzy, laughs that fill the room no matter how big it is and their room really isn't all that big. "You're gross and cheesy."
"It's late and I'm sleepy," Jimin says, nosing into Taehyung's collar. He smells like summer nights and winter lights, like what it feels to know this is right, right, right.
"You made that rhyme," Taehyung says.
Jimin grins into Taehyung's skin, and then, "I think I'd measure people in stars."
"Yeah, like I dunno... just stars."
"Kisses and stars, hm?" Taehyung says, letting his own fingers trail down Jimin's back, and after a moment, he says, "Guess."
Jimin is dozing off, but he frowns and says, "You're just drawing a circle."
Taehyung scoffs, fingers still working, "Use your imagination."
"Uh... the moon?"
Taehyung taps twice, "Nope! But you're close."
Taehyung laughs, "And we have a winner!"
Jimin smiles and laces his fingers around Taehyung's middle, the pair of the koala-ed around each other.
"Because," Taehyung says, voice dipping thick and low and sweet, "you're my only star."
"Ewww," Jimin says, and makes to shove Taehyung off the bed again but Taehyung pushes back and they end up wrestling in a tangle of limbs and laughter, kisses and stars. They end up nose to nose, chest to chest, smile for smile for darling, daring, smile.
"Can I give you a kiss? Like a real one?" Jimin asks, suddenly, in a breath that wasn't quite done with breathing.
Taehyung blinks, then grins, "Only if I get to give you one back."
And so they do, lips meeting halfway, a little bit awkward, a little bit eager, and a whole lot of perfect, perfect, and perfect. Jimin pulls back, breathless, and Taehyung is smiling like he is in love with smiling and it's true, he might be. He really might be (and who to make him smile but Jimin).
"Should we keep count?" Jimin asks.
Taehyung rolls his eyes, "Do you think we'll be able to?"
Jimin thinks for a second that is really a lot less than a second, "Nope."
Jimin grins and leans in to steal another one, and then another, and god, he'd never get tired of Taehyung's lips, "Guess you can't really count stars either, hm?"
Taehyung catches Jimin mid-kiss with a smile that tastes like falling in love, "So you finally get it."
Jimin blinks, and blinks, but then it clicks and it's all he can do to keep from smiling too wide. He peppers Taehyung's face in kisses till Taehyung is laughing too hard and pushing him away.
"You're a jerk for making it that hard to figure out."
"You're just slow."
"I'm sleepy," Jimin says and Taehyung nods, curling back around Jimin.
"Sleep?" Jimin asks with one last kiss.
"Sleep," Taehyung agrees with one more last kiss. And then of course, they have to share one most last kiss before they settle into each other and close their eyes.
So sometimes Jimin still wonders about the scales of maps that stretch the entirety of a person’s life, but now, he knows that they're painted in stars and paved in kisses. Innumerable, uncountable, sometimes inexplicable. And that's just how it goes, so Taehyung says, and so that's just how it goes, so Jimin believes.
And dreams. And sees. And sings.
Notes and laughter in kisses and stars.