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the waiting game

Chapter Text

Jungkook never knocks.

He comes in, dressed in his office clothes, hair pushed back from his forehead and eyes tired. He just comes in, shoving the door open and slamming it shut behind him. Like this, it feels like they’re in their own world. Jimin can almost imagine that they’re home; that he’d simply been waiting for Jungkook to come back from work after a long day.

Jungkook doesn’t look at him, not until he’s gotten his suit jacket hung up all proper and his tie with it. When he does, Jimin’s lying on his bed, already fucked out but waiting, always waiting. Jungkook undoes the cuffs of his sleeves, rolling them up to his elbows. Everything he does is measured; practiced, unnatural. He’s always trying his best to be perfect — always does everything like it’s a task, rather than an action.

Jimin doesn’t want perfect. He just wants Jungkook.

He shivers against the sheets, cold from his state of undress, but Jungkook’s already on him, arms caging him in and lips pressed against his open-mouthed and raw and heated. Jimin wonders if Jungkook can taste the others on his tongue; can feel the ghosts of fingertips across Jimin’s skin.

Jimin knows that it doesn’t mean anything. That Jungkook could have anyone in this brothel; that it’s simply a convenience that Jimin knows exactly how he likes it, exactly where to press his mouth and exactly how to twist his wrist to have Jungkook wrecked and moaning after all these nights. But every time Jungkook presses into him, he links their fingers together like they’re lovers, and every time he comes undone, it’s Jimin’s name on his lips.

It’s too easy to pretend they’re more.

Needless to say, Jimin gets attached. He has other regulars, besides Jungkook. There’s Taehyung, whose big hands and sweet smiles makes him feel warm and safe. Yoongi, who’s rougher, doesn’t let Jimin get away with anything he doesn’t like, but Yoongi who kisses him like they’re the only ones in the world and strokes his tears away with his thumbs. And there’s Hoseok, who knows exactly what Jimin likes, and knows exactly how to make Jimin smile even through the bruises on his body, the blood between his legs.

Jimin doesn’t know what makes Jungkook different. Jungkook doesn’t sugarcoat his words; doesn’t tell Jimin that he’ll stay even when he won’t — can’t — and doesn’t tell Jimin that he loves him.

Jimin likes to think that he doesn’t know what makes Jungkook different from the rest.

But he does.

Jungkook is a perfectionist, who can’t look at a crooked painting on the wall without his hands twitching to fix it, but he looks at Jimin like he’s as close as it gets. Jungkook smokes too much, Jimin always hears the telltale box of nicotine tucked away in Jungkook’s back pocket when his trousers fall to the floor in a clatter but he always tastes like mint when he licks his way past Jimin’s lips. Jungkook doesn’t smile a lot, laughs even less, but when he does, his eyes crinkle up at the sides and it makes Jimin feel like maybe the world isn’t such a terrible place, if someone like Jungkook exists.

And there are the other times, when Jungkook comes in, without knocking like usual, strides in like he owns the place — owns Jimin like he knows he does — but stops in his steps when he sees the state of him.

Jungkook doesn’t touch him those nights. The nights when Jimin’s broken up, used and terrible and hollow, he doesn’t touch him, even though Jimin begs him to through the tears that he can’t hold back for the life of him, aching for Jungkook to break him with his own hands so he can forget all the others.

Jungkook is stubborn.

Those days, Jungkook just slides into bed next to him, fully clothed and untouchable, and lights up a cigarette. Jimin would lie next to him, naked and numb, watching the smoke curl up into the air and dissipate, and by the time Jungkook snuffs out the stub in the ash tray, Jimin would have already fallen asleep, curled into himself like a child.

But sometimes, he doesn’t. He doesn’t fall asleep, just squeezes his eyes shut tight and evens his breathing, because whenever he pretends, Jungkook would reach out, take his hand in his own and press his thumb into Jimin’s wrist like he’s trying to keep him there; trying to keep him from floating away.

And god, does Jimin want to leave.

But he can’t. He can’t leave, ever. This bed will likely be his grave — those in his profession don’t have long lifespans after all — and he’s made peace with that years ago, when his father had dragged him here by this very wrist, held fast to him like Jimin were his life-line, but then let him go like he’d been nothing.

And it’s been a long time since he’s felt otherwise. That he could be more than just nothing, if at least to one person.

“What’re you thinkin’ about?” Jungkook asks, exhaling a cloud of smoke.

Jimin curls closer into his side, the chill of the air only half an excuse. “Nothing,” he answers, smiling. “What would someone like me have to think about?”

Jungkook casts his gaze down to look at him. “I wouldn’t know, Jimin. That’s why I’m asking.”

“Hyung,” Jimin corrects lightheartedly, but the smile falls. He works it back onto his lips and changes the subject. “You look like you’re out of breath already. Maybe you should stop smoking so much.”

But Jungkook just eyes him like he knows. How does he always know? Jimin hates it — hates it so much, the way Jungkook can read him like the back of his hand but when it comes to Jungkook, Jimin’s always at a loss.

“You’re stinking up my room,” he adds, despite how pathetic the complaint sounds even to his own ears.

“Go to sleep, Jimin,” Jungkook says finally. He drops his head back against the headboard, eyes on the swirling mass of bumps and crevices on the old surface of the ceiling.

Jimin can’t take his eyes off of him. “No.”

Jungkook flicks ash into the tray at the bedside. “You should sleep while you can.”

If I fell asleep now, would you still be here when I woke up?

Out loud, he says, “I can’t sleep with you here.”

It’s the wrong thing to say. Jimin’s always saying the wrong thing. Being with Jungkook makes him stumble over his words; his mind feel like a labyrinth. He always says the wrong thing with Jungkook.

“If I left, they’d just bring someone else in,” Jungkook snaps. “I won’t do anything. Just sleep.”

“That’s not what I meant,” Jimin whispers. “That’s not what I meant at all.”

Jungkook presses the cigarette into the tray, gaze trained on the dimming embers. “Then what, Jimin?”

Jimin almost tells him. God, he wants to. The words, please stay with me, trembles at his lips; take me with you, get me out of here, lies dead and unspoken at his throat. He can’t tell him. Jungkook doesn’t need that from him. He didn’t come here for added stress and burden. Hell, he’s paying for Jimin to relieve him of his own.

Jungkook is just a customer. And no matter how often he makes Jimin feel otherwise, Jimin is nothing to him — will always be nothing.

Jimin can’t take the look on his face. It feels like torture, it hurts and it’s inescapable, but Jimin just locks a hand behind Jungkook’s neck, pulling him down into a bruising kiss. When their tongues meet, Jimin pretends that he’s said what he wanted to — that Jungkook knows, and that he wants Jimin too.

They break apart, and Jimin, desperate for anything that Jungkook can give him, even if it isn’t what he really means to say, brings Jungkook’s hands to his body, lets his palms rest against his hips like they were meant to be there.

“I can’t sleep,” Jimin tells him. “Not with you here. Because I keep thinking of everything else we could be doing instead.”

“Jimin,” Jungkook groans into his throat, teeth grazing the tender skin at Jimin’s neck when Jimin palms his dick, curling his fingers around the base before stroking upwards, quick and efficient.

Jungkook barely holds back from biting down, pulling back at the last second before he can leave a mark, leaving kisses in his wake instead. Jimin arches in his hold, digging his fingers into Jungkook’s shoulders instead because even though Jungkook can’t, Jimin wants to leave marks on Jungkook’s skin, so that he’ll see them every day he isn’t here and he’ll think of Jimin and come back.

Jungkook mouths at his jaw, trailing back up to his lips and capturing them again, grinding his cock against Jimin’s ass, harsh friction against soft skin. Jimin, so lost in his touches — the feeling of being wanted, of being enough — covering him up in a warm enough haze that he can chalk the tears budding at his eyes for happiness, that he almost bites his own lip hard enough to bleed when Jungkook leans back so that their breaths mingle, just a hairsbreadth away from brushing, and murmurs, “You’re such a goddamn liar, Jimin.”

Jimin’s blood freezes, chest hitching in fear when Jungkook pulls back from him, settling against the headboard like he hadn’t just been seconds from fucking him into the mattress if the hardness of his cock is anything to go by.

He sits up, dazed. “W-What?”

“If you really wanted it, why aren’t you even hard by now?”

Jimin glances down, and, honestly, he hadn’t even noticed that his body hadn’t been interested. Whether or not it is has never mattered to anyone else. Everyone is always convinced that they can force it out of him, hold him tight enough, stroke him fierce enough that eventually he’ll feel it too. Even if he doesn’t, it has little to do with how it feels on the other end.

“What the — Jimin, holy shit — ” and Jungkook’s hands are on him again, pulling him over to Jungkook’s side of the bed, and he goes with it in a daze, numb and confused. He doesn’t even know when he’d started crying until Jungkook has grabbed him harshly by the cheeks, caging them in his palms and asked, “Why are you crying, stupid? If you didn’t want it, don’t fucking ask for it.”

But now that he’s started, Jimin can’t seem to stop. Like a dam being broken, sobs bubble out of his chest and tears spill out of his eyes until the world is a blur and Jungkook’s concerned face is indistinguishable to him from the lamp just behind his head. It’s stupid, he’s stupid, but he can’t fucking stop and Jungkook is letting him go, turning away and Jimin can only cry harder.

“Jimin, hyung, seriously,” Jungkook sighs, turning back, letting Jimin cling to his chest with shaking fingers. “I was just going to get you some napkins or something.”

But he doesn’t go; just lets Jimin shake and cry in his arms until he quiets, sobs dwindling down to the occasional whimper, tear tracks dried on his cheeks and the taste of salt on his tongue.

“I’m sorry,” Jungkook mutters.

At this, Jimin lifts his head, shocked.

“Hey, don’t look at me like that, I know how to apologize.” Jungkook snorts, looking away uncomfortably. “Just… Let me say this, okay? I’m sorry, that I knew you didn’t want it but I did that anyway. I just wanted to… God, I don’t even know. I guess I just wanted to prove…” He shakes his head, raking a hand through his hair and Jimin stares at the curve of inky black strands sweeping over one eye. Jungkook's never been great with words. “Never mind. I wasn’t going to do it, okay? I wasn’t trying to scare you, either. I’m sorry.”

Before Jimin can muster up a reply, the tears come back, twice fold. He buries his face into Jungkook’s throat, relishing in the feeling of having arms come up around his shoulders and the rise and fall of Jungkook’s chest under his, because he knows it won’t last. Nothing ever lasts.

That’s when ice fills his veins, twisting around his heart and crawling up his spine. Nothing ever lasts.

Because no matter how much he seems to care, how well he takes care of Jimin, Jungkook isn’t going to save him. He will wake up in the morning to an empty bed if he’s lucky, and he’ll change his sheets, maybe throw out the old ones if he’d gotten blood on them the night before. He’ll live through another hellish week, fucked until he can’t even recognize himself when he looks in the mirror, and then he’ll curl up in bed at night, cold and alone only for it to start all over again tomorrow.

But still, he’ll wait, day after day, for Jungkook to come back, just like always. For that single night of warmth; that stupid, delusional little fantasy world he’d made just for them.

Nothing lasts. This isn’t a fairy tale, and Jimin isn’t the hero of anyone’s story. He won’t find his happy ending, and Jungkook sure as hell won’t find his with him.

Jimin pulls himself together and draws back from Jungkook’s hold. “I’m…” he stops, clearing the harshness from his throat, tightened from crying before starting again. “I’m the one who should be sorry.”

Jungkook arches a brow. Jimin keeps his gaze locked on the thin red scratches down Jungkook’s biceps to avoid having to look at him.

He’s made enough of a mess of himself today. He’s scared to see how Jungkook is seeing him, now.

“I’m not really feeling myself and I’ve been terrible company.” Jimin exhales a shaky breath, trying for a smile. “So, I’m sorry. Can we pretend this never happened?”

“Jimin,” Jungkook says after a while. Lights up new cigarette with one hand. “You’re really a shit liar.” And Jimin can hear his own goddamn heart break at his hands, each word feeling like a pin-prick deep in his chest. “But fine. We can pretend it never happened. If that’s what you want.”

And with that, the distance is back. Jungkook feels miles away, so out of reach. He’d probably never gotten closer in the first place.

“It’s what I want.”

“Fine,” Jungkook says simply. He blows out a cloud of smoke. They watch each other for a few moments, and Jimin feels so raw and tired, and already he can feel the loneliness when Jungkook will inevitably leave — the cold chill of the sheets no matter how high he turns up the thermostat.

He burns the sight of Jungkook there into the back of his eyelids. This should be enough. He can’t have anymore than this. It’s enough.

Jungkook pulls him over by the arm, always firm and unrelenting when it comes to what he wants. Jimin gives in, crumples into his side.

“Sleep it off, Jimin,” Jungkook says.

Jimin sighs. “Wake me before you go.”

“... We'll see.”

Jimin wants to scream at him, because he isn’t the only shit liar here — Jungkook can’t even keep the waver from his voice — and because Jungkook never does wake him when he leaves, not once. He’s always gone by the time it’s morning, leaving nothing behind but the smell of his favourite brand of cigarettes that lingers for days, long enough to drive Jimin crazy.

They both know this.

Jimin wishes he could hate Jungkook for it, even if he knows it’s probably kinder of him to spare them any awkward goodbyes. But he can’t — he can’t hate Jungkook, and he can’t even not-love him and it’s hellish and inescapable, just like this goddamn place and his goddamn life.

He’s so fucking tired.

“Goodnight, Jimin-hyung,” Jungkook murmurs something of an eternity later, quiet enough that Jimin can hold the words close and pretend they’re his.

Jimin doesn’t answer. He presses his cheek to Jungkook’s chest, skimming his lips against warm skin. He falls asleep to Jungkook’s heartbeat and the feeling of fingers sliding between his.

 


 

Jimin wakes up.

And the waiting game begins again.

Chapter Text

Seasons come and go. Before long, it’s been another year, and Jimin is that much older — has waited that much longer.

Jungkook comes and goes just like the seasons.

Jimin shouldn’t encourage it. He knows it; that he’s only holding him back from whatever magnificent things he could be doing — whatever love he could be falling into — elsewhere; somewhere less of a wasteland. He could be so much more, and yet, he keeps coming back. He keeps coming back to Jimin, and Jimin can’t do anything but welcome him with open arms each time and meet his lips with the eagerness of a starved man.

He’s selfish. Too selfish to let this go. It’s the only thing he has.

When Jungkook slips into his room today, he’s dressed more casually than Jimin has ever seen him. His hair falls into his eyes, and he looks young.

Too young for Jimin.

Too good.

Despite all that, Jungkook falls onto the bed next to him, eyes fluttering shut like he’s comfortable here. Jimin stares at the slope of his jaw, fighting the urge to reach out first. He’s not supposed to reach out first. He’s not even technically allowed to touch.

But Jungkook has never stopped him before.

“Hey,” Jimin says belatedly.

“Hey yourself,” Jungkook returns through a yawn.

“Back again so soon?” Jimin turns onto his side, hesitating just a moment’s breath before shifting over to lean his head against Jungkook’s shoulder, tucking up against his side. Jungkook slides his arm behind Jimin’s neck to pillow it.

“Missed you,” Jungkook answers easily. Jimin hides the hitch of his breath into Jungkook’s t-shirt. Everything comes so easily to them. Nothing about this should be easy. They’re everything but easy.

Jimin leans up to look down at the weary shadows under Jungkook’s eyes; squints at the yawn Jungkook barely manages to catch behind a palm. “You look terrible,” Jimin says, voice laced with worry.

“I was going for ‘sexy and disheveled’,” Jungkook drawls. “But ‘terrible’ works fine too, I guess.”

Jimin huffs. “You know what I mean. Is it work?”

“Work’s fine,” Jungkook answers, laying his free arm across his eyes. “I’ve just been thinking about some things.”

“That’s never a good sign.”

Jungkook cracks open one eyelid to stare at him. “You’re awfully snarky today, hyung.”

“Sorry,” Jimin says quickly, anxious he’s overstepped a boundary. Jungkook is a customer, get that into your damn head, Park Jimin —

“No, you idiot, it’s fine,” Jungkook says, leaning up on an elbow to grin; leering, despite his obvious exhaustion. “I like it when you’re mouthy.”

Jimin doesn’t bother hiding the catch of his breath this time. Embarrassed, he shoves at Jungkook’s shoulder, pushing him onto his back again. He settles back against the younger, breathing in the familiar scent of cigarettes clinging to the soft skin at his throat. “What were you thinking about that’s got the great Jeon Jungkook all in knots, anyway?”

“Just… things,” Jungkook says evasively. Jimin almost opens his mouth to push for more, but clamps it shut again when he remembers his place. When Jimin thinks that’s all he’d get out of Jungkook tonight, he continues. “I might tell you. If you return the favour.”

Jimin stills; worries at his bottom lip with his teeth. Then he sits up in one swift motion to sling his leg over Jungkook’s middle until he’s got the young boy straddled beneath his thighs. He slides his hands down Jungkook’s chest, feeling the stutter as it rises and falls when Jimin stops at his navel. “I’m good at returning favours,” Jimin purrs, hooding his eyes the way he knows gets the customers worked up every time.

But Jungkook’s brows furrow. He catches Jimin’s wrists in his hands. “I wasn’t talking about this kind of favour.”

Jimin sits back a little on his haunches, perplexed. Why on earth is Jeon Jungkook so goddamn unpredictable? The only types of favours Jimin’s ever been asked of had always been of the sexual nature. It’s the only thing he’s good at — the only thing he’s good for. How is he meant to make Jungkook tell him anything when this is the only thing he can give him?

“What… What kind of favour do you mean?” Jimin asks slowly.

Jungkook sighs, and Jimin feels it in the movement of his chest under his palms still held flat against it. “Information for information. I ask you something, you answer. And I’ll tell you one thing you want to know, too.” At Jimin’s dubious look, Jungkook sits up so that they’re face to face, keeping Jimin’s wrists trapped in his hands. “C’mon. It’ll be fun.”

It’s hard to look him in the eyes and tell him no. Jimin wants to play — he does — but he doesn’t have anything worth telling. This brothel is his life. There’s nothing about him worth mentioning. And this game is dangerous — it’s selfish and stupid — it’ll get them caught deeper in this interwoven web and Jimin is afraid of falling further.

Jungkook’s eyes are dark and mesmerizing and Jimin feels himself falling anyway. He doesn’t even know if he has any further to fall.

“C’mon, Jimin,” Jungkook says, lowering his voice. They’re so close right now. Jimin can feel their breaths mingling.

Jimin tries to pry his arms free but Jungkook’s grip is relentless. He always is. “Can’t I just suck you off?” Jimin protests weakly.

Jungkook’s eyes darken imperceptibly. “That can come later.” Jimin looks down at some spot on the sheets, a stubborn set to his jaw that he’s sure Jungkook sees. “Jimin. Hyung. I just want to know more about you. You never tell me anything.”

“There’s not much to tell.”

When he looks up, Jungkook’s raised one brow in challenge. “When’s your birthday?”

Jimin blinks. “I’m sorry?”

“Your birthday. When is it?”

Jimin presses his lips together, but he knows he can give Jungkook this much. “What’s the date today?”

“Seriously? It’s October 14th, hyung,” Jungkook says, incredulous. “Do they not let you keep a calendar around here?”

“I don’t care much for dates,” Jimin replies. And it’s true. He doesn’t, not when all the days blend together into one; when all of them become indiscernible. Jimin only separates the days into two categories, anyway — days Jungkook comes, and the days he doesn’t. He can’t tell Jungkook that.

“Okay, hyung,” Jungkook says, in the sort of patronizing tone he uses when he knows Jimin’s being purposely difficult. “So when is it?”

Jimin mumbles out an answer.

“What? Speak up.”

Jimin looks up at him through his bangs. “Yesterday. It was yesterday. Okay?”

“What the fuck?” Jungkook hisses. “See, this is what I mean! I’ve been coming back here for how long now? And I still don’t know a thing about you.” His grip tightens almost painfully around Jimin’s wrists. It’s almost like a reality check; a reminder of how shackled he is — that he can’t ever escape the chains that are Jeon Jungkook, and the hell that’s his life.

“It doesn’t matter, anyway… I — It’s just a birthday. It doesn’t matter — ”

“When’s my birthday?” Jungkook demands.

“September 1st,” Jimin answers immediately. Then, he clamps his lips together, mentally berating himself as Jungkook’s eyes flash dangerously.

“It doesn’t matter,” Jungkook taunts. But at Jimin’s flinch, he lets up, eyes softening as he swallows audibly. “You know too much about me, Park Jimin.”

“I don’t know enough,” Jimin responds, the honesty slipping out before he can stop it. He’ll never know enough — he can’t get enough of Jungkook but he’ll die before he admits this aloud.

He'd known this game would be dangerous.

Jungkook stares at him for a moment, calculative and heavy. Jimin tries not to squirm. Then he shifts Jimin’s weight so that he’s sitting between Jungkook’s legs, his legs on either side of Jungkook’s hips. Reaching up, he rakes his fingers through the short hairs at Jimin’s nape. Jimin shudders at the intimacy of the sensation, feeling small and vulnerable.

“I’m only a day late. Let me make it up to you.”

Jimin’s eyes widen. Jungkook is a customer. “What? No, y — you don’t have to do anything, it doesn’t matter — ”

His words are choked off as Jungkook leans forward, yanking Jimin toward him as he mashes their mouths together. His tongue sears its way past Jimin’s lips, harsh nips against his skin until Jimin’s tasting blood and their teeth clash and it’s rough but Jimin likes it. He likes it, when Jungkook shoves him onto his back, hovering over him, pulling back just long enough to really look at Jimin — look at him like he’s everything he could ever want, and Jimin has to choke back a sob; muffle it in another searing kiss filled with words unsaid.

“It matters,” Jungkook growls, breathless and cheeks flushed. He kisses down again, and again, until Jimin can’t do anything but kiss back — until he’s forgotten how to even breathe. Then he pulls back long enough to add, “You matter.”

Jimin almost cries right then and there. He hates this feeling; this vulnerability; this absolute devotion and affection that threatens to burst right out of his chest and rip his way past his lips. He doesn’t want Jungkook to see any of it, because Jungkook deserves so much better than him and he doesn’t matter. He’s never mattered.

But it does feel so, so good to pretend.

Jungkook feels good.

And it feels even better when Jungkook strips them so they’re skin to skin, flush against each other in a way that isn’t at all unfamiliar. They fit together like pieces of a puzzle, and Jimin lets their tongues meet, like it is the first time, wet and hot, and he’s needy and loud as Jungkook works him open with his fingers, curling and red hot like a fire.

Jungkook is a fire, and Jimin is more than happy to burn for him.

“Jimin,” Jungkook grunts, taking hold of Jimin’s cock, moving away from Jimin’s mouth; moves down to press his lips to the tip. “Jimin. Eyes on me.”

Jimin can’t disobey. No one’s ever — no one has ever taken care of him the way Jungkook does, no one, and Jungkook is swallowing him down, tongue curling around his length, even as his fingers press into Jimin’s prostate. Jimin almost arches off the bed, if it weren’t for the hand holding his hips down.

“Jung… Jungkook,” Jimin manages out. “Fuck. Jungkook — I’m… I’m.” He doesn’t know. He doesn’t know how it had come to this; doesn’t remember anything at the moment, not even his own name. He only knows Jungkook.

“Eyes,” Jungkook reminds him, deep-throating Jimin with another harsh suck that has Jimin’s head spinning and his fingers curling into the mattress because — even now, he’s scared to touch Jungkook.

Too soon, Jungkook releases him, fingers slipping out of Jimin’s ass as he comes back up for a kiss, and Jimin scrabbles to hold onto Jungkook’s shoulders, clinging to them like a lifeline.

“Happy birthday, Jiminnie-hyung,” Jungkook murmurs.

His hair is mussed, standing up at the back, and there are shadows beneath his sparkling eyes, and Jimin thinks he’s never seen a more beautiful sight than Jeon Jungkook, and Jimin knows with every fibre of his being that he wants him.

So, so bad.

He wants this.

And maybe for a night, he can let himself have it.

He runs his hands down Jungkook’s biceps, down his chest so he can push against it to get the other off of him. Jungkook watches him, face expressionless, but Jimin doesn’t wait to see it change into something like disappointment. He shoves Jungkook back against the headboard and clambers onto his lap, looping his arms behind Jungkook’s neck and kissing him with everything he’s got.

“Ji — Fuck, Jimin — ” Jungkook gasps as Jimin takes his half-hard cock in his own hand. He likes the weight of it. Jimin’s held a lot of cocks in his lifetime and he thinks Jungkook’s is the best.

“Happy birthday to me,” Jimin hums. He gives his member a squeeze, presses his thumb against the head just to hear Jungkook hiss.

“This… was supposed — to be about you,” Jungkook grits out.

“It still is,” Jimin says, a little soft — a lot fond. Then, a little mischievous. “I want to ride you.”

Jungkook grabs his hand, stilling it. When Jimin meets his gaze, Jimin wonders if he’s imagining the hidden question. “Is that what you want?”

Jimin opens his mouth to say, yes, I can't think of anything I'd rather be doing, yes, but Jungkook beats him to it.

“Anything. Anything you want, I’ll give it to you. For your birthday.” Jungkook curls a hand around Jimin’s hip. Jimin is burning. “What do you want, Jimin?”

Jimin’s mouth clicks shut.

What do I want?

What does he want?

Jimin doesn’t even have to think about it. Not when it’s the only thing on his mind all hours of the day — even buried in the recesses of his dreams.

You. I want you, you goddamn asshole.

Just you.

I want to love you.

I want to be allowed to.

It’s the one thing Jungkook can’t give him.

But Jimin wants to be selfish, just for today.

“Well?” Jungkook prompts, eyes intense in their scrutiny. Jimin’s scared he can see what Jimin hasn’t had the bravery to say.

“A kiss,” Jimin says finally.

Jungkook looks up at him, unreadable. “A kiss. You haven’t gotten enough of those already?”

Jimin swallows, tears brimming his eyes because he knows. He’s filthy, and he knows, and doesn’t need the reminder. “A real kiss. Kiss me like you mean it.”

“How do you know I haven’t been meaning it?” Jungkook asks slowly.

Jimin shakes his eyes; smiles rueful and small. He’s so selfish. “That’s not it. I mean... I mean, kiss me like you’re in love with me.”

Jungkook lets out a harsh breath; looks at Jimin like he’s got the naivety of a child and the density of one. Like he’s the one who’s missing the point. Then he says, “How do you know I’m not?” and just like that — just in a single instant, Jimin’s fragile shithole of a world falls to pieces at his feet.

Jimin tries not to whimper. “… What?”

“You seriously had no idea,” Jungkook says flatly.

“Had no idea about what,” Jimin whispers in terror.

“I’m in love with you, idiot. Have been. For a while now.”

Jimin squeezes his eyes shut. He's crying now. He does that a lot, especially around Jungkook, but he’s not sure if this feeling in his chest is exactly sadness. He’s always been selfish. “… What?”

“Seriously, Jimin? I’ve been coming back here for almost two years now. I’ve blown thousands of dollars just to see you. I only ever see you, and you thought — what — that you were just that good of a lay?”

“I’m convenient,” Jimin whispers, voice cracking on the word. “You’re not… You’re not supposed to — ”

“To what, hyung?” Jungkook leans his head back against the headboard. It’s safe to say neither of them are hard anymore. “Stop… Stop crying already. Is it that bad of a thing for me to love you?”

Just hearing the words sends Jimin’s heart thudding in overdrive. “You weren’t supposed to love me back,” he cries; hits him twice on the chest for good measure. “You’re the idiot! Why would you — You deserve so much better — I’m just — I’m a whore and you — you — ”

“Jimin,” Jungkook interjects. “Shut the fuck up.”

“Wha — ” Jimin sputters through his tears. “Did you just — ”

“I hate when you do that. I hate it when you talk about yourself like you’re nothing.”

I am nothing. And you should hate me for ruining you.

I hate myself for it.

Jimin muffles a sob behind his hand. “You weren’t supposed to love me back.”

“Well, too bad. I have. So what are you going to do about it?” Jungkook snaps.

Jimin looks down at their hands, entwined together. Feels the way his fingers fits between the grooves of Jungkook’s like they were made to be held this way.

He’s so fucking selfish.

“What can I do about it?” Jimin can’t look at him. “This is all it’s going to be. Being in love with me. You should have left and never come back.”

“Why do you keep lying when you’re shit at it?” Jungkook asks. “You can never look me in the eye when you lie. It’s so obvious.”

“… What do you want from me?” Jimin doesn’t know anything but pain and sex. He doesn’t know what Jungkook could possibly see in him.

“Tell me the truth for once,” Jungkook bites out harshly. “Just once. What do you want, Jimin?”

Oh god. You. More than anything.

You.

Jimin is head over heels in love with Jeon Jungkook and he is a coward.

Jungkook deserves better.

“It doesn’t matter,” Jimin says. His eyes betray him as always, looking to the side against his better judgement.

Jungkook sneers like he’d known Jimin would evade. “What are you so scared of?”

This. His life.

Jungkook.

Always, Jungkook.

“Just for once, hyung. Tell me the truth.” Jungkook pauses. “And if you tell me it’s what you really want, I’ll never come back. I’ll leave, and I’ll never make you wait for me again.”

“I…” It’s what I want. Jimin can’t say it, not today, because he’s selfish and he’s a coward and he can’t imagine a life in this hellhole without Jungkook to make it better — without Jungkook to kiss the bad things away and fuck him until he can’t remember the bruises on his skin left by people he couldn't care less about.

“Jimin.”

“I…” Jimin blinks back his tears. Then he crashes his lips down against Jungkook’s — presses into them like it were his dying breath and Jungkook is still at first — immobile like stone beneath him — but then his arms come up, folding themselves around Jimin’s waist and Jimin melts against him as Jungkook tilts his head to the side. It feels like something molten and slow; it’s different from before, and Jimin’s arms tighten around Jungkook’s shoulders, thighs trembling to hold himself up.

It’s different.

Jimin’s never been kissed this way before. Never felt it everywhere inside him; it’s terrible and new and dangerous — and Jimin wants it all.

They pull apart to catch their breaths an eternity later. Jungkook is smiling Jimin’s favourite smile and maybe he can have this.

“That was… different,” Jimin says haltingly.

Jungkook smile grows into a grin. “Was that an okay birthday present?”

“H... huh?”

“Kiss me like you’re in love with me,” Jungkook mocks in a high-pitched tone, laughing as Jimin punches him weakly on the shoulder.

“It… It did feel like it.” It had. It still does.

Jungkook skims his hand down Jimin’s back, tracing the knobs of his spine. “Is this your answer?”

“My answer?” Jimin echoes.

Jungkook’s grin falls a little. “To my question.”

“My answer…” Jimin fidgets. “It’s better if I don’t tell you.”

“… Why?” Jungkook demands, an edge to his tone that yet again belies how young Jungkook really is, behind the hard lines of his body and the confidence in his movements.

“Because it’s not worth it. Because at the end of the day, you’ll still have to leave and I’ll still be — be here and it’ll just hurt us both. It’s not worth it.”

“Jimin,” Jungkook sighs. “You know you don’t belong here, right?”

Jimin’s lips wobble at the threat of fresh tears. “I don’t belong anywhere else.”

“Damn it, Jimin!” Jungkook snarls. “Cut that shit out! You don’t fucking belong here and I’ve been waiting a whole fucking year for you to just ask me. Why won’t you fucking ask me?”

“I belong here,” Jimin says blankly. It’s a rehearsed line, and he doesn’t know who he’s trying to convince — but, he does, doesn’t he? It’s what his father had always told him. The kids in his high school had always told him the same. He can’t remember what it was like not to think this way — he doesn’t want to remember, because this is the only thing that keeps him sane when he’s being fucked raw and painful for hours on end until the sobs that rack his body grow silent, his throat scraped dry and tears staining his pillow.

Jungkook grabs him by the chin; forces him to look him in the eye. “You never asked me to get you out of here. I could, you know. I would. If you’d just ask.”

When Jimin remains silent for too many heartbeats, Jungkook reels him in, tucking Jimin’s head beneath his chin and Jimin has never felt smaller, shame welling up inside him. He doesn’t deserve this.

He doesn’t deserve Jeon Jungkook.

“I’ll ask once more. What do you want, Jimin?” Jungkook asks, and this close, Jimin can feel the vibrations of his throat pressed against his cheek.

Jimin closes his eyes. The stench of cigarettes is all around him, and he should hate it, and he does in a way, because it drives him crazy when Jungkook is away, but right now, when the real thing is right next to him, it feels like heaven.

Jimin is tired.

Every word his father’s ever beaten into him. The taunting bullies at school. The clients who hold him down by the throat and call him a slut. The thought of leaving it all behind excites him as much as it terrifies him.

He’d tried to run away, once. But they’d caught him. Their John had fucked him in front of the other workers, pressed him down and hissed into his ear, that no matter how far he tried to run, no matter what he did, no matter where he went — however many years down the line it’ll be — that he’ll always end up, right back here. He'd made Jimin an example for the others.

Jimin never thought to run again after that.

“I’d be a burden,” Jimin says finally.

Jungkook had reached over him; grabbed a cigarette from the packet lying next to the ashtray at the bedside table. He'd lighted it with his other hand, slipping it between his lips as he runs his fingers through Jimin’s hair. The smoke curls around them, dissipating before it makes it very far. Jimin knows the smoke will cling to his skin for days.

“That’s not an answer,” Jungkook says.

It isn’t. Jimin reaches for Jungkook’s hand again, and marvels at the way he doesn’t pull back, just slips Jimin’s hand into his like it’s something precious. It makes him want to be brave for once in his life.

Jimin has his answer.

“Ask me again,” he whispers.

Jungkook obliges. “What do you want, Jimin?”

Jimin snatches the cigarette from Jungkook’s lips, reaches back to stub it out clumsily in the tray. He pulls Jungkook down, curling his fingers around the sharp line of his jaw; notes the tiny hint of a scar on his right cheek — the one he’d gotten from a bike accident when he’d been six. He knows he has another one, right next to his knee. Another, at the crease of his elbow. He wonders if Jungkook has catalogued Jimin's scars the way Jimin had done for him. 

Jimin has a lot of them. But they have time. 

They have time.

“I want to get out of here,” he breathes, right against Jungkook’s lips.

And Jungkook grins, all white teeth and crinkles around his eyes — and it tastes like ashes and smoke but it’s perfect. Jungkook is perfect, and he’s kissing Jimin, and Jimin falls back against the sheets. Jungkook fits against him, inside him, around him, caging him in, and Jimin thinks that he can probably have this.

When Jungkook bites a mark deep and painful against the skin of his throat, Jimin starts to think that something this good can’t possibly be wrong.

And when Jungkook presses into him like he’s in love with him, laces their fingers together like they’re lovers, Jimin thinks that maybe he’s already had this since the beginning.

 


 

Jungkook never knocks.

“Jimin,” he says in lieu of a hello, throwing the door open like he owns Jimin like he knows he does.

“Hyung,” Jimin corrects. He gets up to greet him at the door, hands stuffed in the pockets of his sweater. Jungkook bends down to kiss him, and Jimin leans up to his toes, smiles against his lips, and nips at him in playful reprimand.

Jungkook pulls back first, and his eyes are sparkling.

“Did I keep you waiting?”

 

fin.