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Crash and Learn (Retrograde)

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His name is Jungkook.

He’s tall—taller than most. Maybe that’s one of the reasons Jimin was so afraid of him at first. Maybe it’s why his parents still are and why everyone Jungkook approaches assumes he’s going to take their money on their life. He may come off as threatening, but he wouldn’t have it any other way. And neither would Jimin. He loves the way Jungkook’s dark leather and combat boots reflect beautifully against the shiny platinum of his bike as they zip down silent roads hearing nothing but the wind and a powerful engine.

But Jimin absolutely hates the pink bike. He’s not the only one. It’s the reason people are afraid to look Jungkook in the eye—here, motorcyclists only exist in Hollywood violence and gangs. Which doesn’t make sense at all to Jimin, and the only mystery bigger than how Jungkook managed to acquire a motorcycle in this shade of pink is the fact that people can associate anything of the color fuchsia with violence. So maybe the reason they avoid him is that they are afraid of being sucked in by an unknown force, like his dark irises are a black hole, and the only light able to escape is the glistin of his silver gauges on either ear.

The motorcycle growls beneath them as they accelerate uphill, away from the sirens growing closer with every sharp turn, making Jimin nearly regret recent choices. Jimin feels like he’s losing part of his hearing from the noise, and he guesses Jungkook must have lost most of his from these late night rides when the wind was almost as loud as the engine. It’s the loudest thing he’s heard since an outsider construction company decided to tear down their old town hall for a newer, better, shinier palace-like building. It still looks out of place against the background of their city—a shiny dime among rusty pennies.

As they pass the exact building, down the only major road within miles, Jungkook doesn’t care or slow down even though the noise is enough to wake up an entire block. He ignores it just like he ignores old Reverend Choi when he asks Jungkook politely not to grind his longboard on the chapel rails and he does anyways. Just like he ignores Principal Lee when he has to remind him that not only is pot illegal to smoke in a middle school parking lot, but it’s also unequivocally illegal. But he’s never called the cops on Jungkook before because he knows the Chief wouldn’t have it in her to put the “young heathen ruining the town” behind bars. And that’s because Chief Park’s eldest son is, depending on the amount of eyeliner Jungkook is wearing that day, absolutely, undeniably, doubtlessly in love with Jungkook.

His name is Jimin.

He’s far from the tallest, even though he was the first in his Sunday school class to have a growth spurt. Maybe that’s why he’s still playfully teased for his sweater sleeves reaching past his fingers. They keep his fingers warm on these night-rides, keep away the numbness from the cold whipping through his jacket sleeves when they have to ride faster to keep the distance between themselves and the sirens. His oversized sleeves also make it hard to keep the fabric out of the dirt he spends his days tending to at his part time job at the flower shop. And maybe his work is why he always smells sweeter than roses; it was the reason Jungkook picked him out of the crowd gathered around his bike when he first showed up in their otherwise boring home. He parked it in front of the cemetery to “light up”—a term Jimin had never heard before—behind a large gravestone, and when he came back, there was a swarm gathered around it. But Jimin’s flowery innocence definitely isn’t the only thing that made Jungkook fall absolutely, undeniably, doubtlessly in love with the pastel apron-clad 175-centimeter-tall son of the police chief.

Maybe it happened when Jimin was so quick to step in when Chief Park reprimanded Jungkook’s father for Jungkook’s contemptuous habits. The innocent words, “He just needs someone like me in his life,” rolled off Jimin’s tongue in such a pleasant way that Jungkook nearly dropped the six-pack of beer he had tried to slip off the shelf and into his bag as the store was closing. No one had a sweeter voice and prettier eyes but could also completely shut down the chief of police.

Jimin hates Jungkook, like everyone here, and rightly so. He’s the type they were raised to avoid. But it wasn’t the constant, unfamiliar smell that had everyone curious (before they discovered that’s what pot smells like), and it wasn’t the way Jungkook flirted with anything with two legs, ten fingers, and the power to slap him on the cheek hard enough to bruise, that made him hate Jungkook so much. What really made Jimin hate Jungkook was the first time Jungkook was allowed back into the public pool after being kicked out for “indecent exposure.” Jimin let it slip past him that a nice boy like himself shouldn’t stare at another man’s back muscles for so long from the lifeguard’s chair.

Park Jimin absolutely, undeniably, doubtlessly hates Jeon Jungkook just as much as he loves him.

And this is why he can’t bring himself to care about the sirens growing closer as he clings to Jungkook from the back of his bike, doubling the residential speed limit and almost crashing into the perfectly trimmed bushes in front of Jimin’s house as they zip past, ignoring Jimin’s curfew. They know nothing consequential would happen to them because Jimin would bat his eyes at Officer Jin, and Jungkook would rev his bike and book it when he wasn’t looking. Jimin is sure of this because due to unfortunate events—a rabbit darting in front of the bike that made Jungkook brake hard—the sirens caught up, and it’s happening again. Right now. It’s freezing outside, but the cop car has heated leather seats. Tax money well spent.

“You’re such a good kid, Jimin,” the officer sighs, shutting the passenger door on Jimin’s view of his boyfriend disappearing into the night with no headlights.

He got away again. Jimin would almost be happy for him is he himself wasn’t the one who was reprimanded instead.

Jimin has grown used to this seat in the last five months. He even has a stash of Skittles hidden under it for all the times he’s forced to take a slower ride home, going on six times now, but the stash is gone when he reaches under the seat to claim them. Jimin decides Jungkook owes him at least four to seven more packs, depending on how long he has to sit through his mother lecturing him about the danger Jungkook is putting him in daily. She never refers to Jungkook as her son’s boyfriend, and maybe it’s because she’s too afraid to admit her son is already not only breaking the law but his own personal morals. Or maybe it’s because she, like the rest of this Hollywood-small town, takes Jimin’s “I love you”s and Jungkook’s “Let’s get married”s platonically.  

“I’m only, like, three years younger than you, so I’m not much of a kid anymore, Mr. Kim. I’m twenty-one.” Jimin huffs like the kid he isn’t, refusing to look anywhere but out the window when the officer pulls back onto the road. The spinning red and white lights reflecting off every window are because of Jimin, and it’s a sight he’s grown used to in the last few months, no matter how much he hates it and promises it will never happen again. “I’m old enough to make my own decisions about how late I stay out,” he mumbles more to himself than to Jin, his least favorite officer. Kim Seokjin goes by Jin, just Jin. He makes Jimin share his Skittles or threatens to throw them away when he gets back to the station. Too bad Jin doesn’t know he, a cop, is eating stolen candy.

“This isn’t about curfew, Mr. Park ,” he says, mocking Jimin’s tone. “It’s about breaking the law on multiple occasions and about waking up my dog with that damn engine. Do you know hard it is to get him to stop yapping after you two drive by?”

“I’m sorry,” Jimin says quietly. In all honesty, he is sorry—he really is. Yet time after time, he lets Jungkook take him out at night when he knows children have school the next day and he has to wake up early to volunteer on the weekdays at the puppy daycare. That’s usually where he’ll see Jungkook next, waiting outside the building, assuming he decides not to sneak into Jimin’s room that night and risk setting off the alarms in their backyard—the ones his parents had installed because of Jungkook in the first place.

“If breaking the law was a more regular occurrence, you wouldn’t get away with a ride back to your house and an IOU,” Jin continues. “Speeding isn’t the worst. I mean it when I say you’re a good kid. But your friend needs to work on developing decent habits that he’s not learning at home.”

“You still think it’s because he doesn’t have a mom, don’t you?” Jimin asks. This topic almost always comes up around authority when Jungkook is involved. Jimin was asked to tame Jungkook when they first started making their “platonic” relationship public. He was supposed to be the good example that he never had. Sometimes when people come into his shop to pick up their flower arrangements, they ask him questions about Jungkook that they would usually ask a mother, like “Is he staying in school?” (No, because Jungkook graduated already) or “Did you buy the eyeliner for him?” (No, because he can’t tell them that Jungkook probably steals the makeup from the store where they work.)

“I’ve said that in the past...” Jin doesn’t finish. He knows Jimin already knows his answer. Jin isn’t a bad guy. He’s nice, despite stealing the stolen candy. But he, like the rest of this Whoville knockoff of a town, has a hard time stomaching that there are three men living under one roof, and two of them are called “Dad.”

Jimin doesn’t like the fact that he can relate to Jungkook’s crappy pop-punk music so much, but he really does hate this town.

The rest of the drive is silent save for Jimin’s humming and a static from Jin’s receiver. It’s an unremitting noise that Jimin uses to phase down the feeling of how nervous he really is. It’s not normal for Jimin to be a rule breaker, and everyone in the 5,000 population town would agree that Jimin just needs to go to church and get his priorities as straight as his sexuality. To Jimin, this technically means he’s right where he needs to be, though there are 4,996 residents in this town who see it differently. 4,997 if you count Jin’s yapping devil. He’s the only dog who bites Jimin when he’s at the daycare, and he makes it his furry little job to do so first thing when Jimin walks in. It sort of pisses off his boyfriend.

“No, Jungkook,” Jimin would have to repeat every Monday through Friday on his volunteer shifts, “You can’t maim a creature of God just because he likes to nip where he shouldn’t.”

“Where’s your source?”

“If that were the case, I’d have maimed you a while ago.”

And Jungkook would shut up.  

Jimin knows he can expect that to be similar to their next conversation, again assuming Jungkook doesn’t sneak past the ADT and force Jimin’s window open from the roof. Jimin sighs and silently hopes he won’t do that again tonight, but he knows it will happen anyway. So he’s not the slightest bit surprised when he sees a glint of silver parked in the bushes in front of his porch when the headlights pass over it.

By the time Jin pulls up to his house, Jimin can already see his mother standing next to his father and brother by the window, looking torn and defeated because her eldest, yet again, had broken a law and has to ask Reverend Choi for redemption tomorrow.

Jin gives him the same look. “You know the drill.”

“Yessir,” Jimin says. His head drops in “shame,” but a shifty smile tugs at his lips. He can see that Jungkook is already on the roof, breaking into his bedroom window above the backyard right now. And Jimin knows this talk will be roughly a million times more unbearable with the knowledge that Jungkook is waiting for him.

Jimin skips through the grass in his yard, and Jin follows him silently to the door. He rings the doorbell, even though he knows they have been waiting and watching him since Jin opened the car door for him. His parents must be teeming with disappointment after seeing the poor example Jimin is setting for his teenage brother.

“Thanks, Kim,” Jimin’s mother says upon opening the door. “I owe you again.”

Jin waves her off and smiles. “If he was a real problem I’d have taken him back to the station. Have a good night, Chief.”

His mother nods back as Jin takes his leave. Inside it’s much warmer. Jimin hadn’t realized how cold it really was outside before stepping into his cozy, well lit and living room and kicking off his shoes overtop of the rest of the neatly stacked pairs. Upstairs, Jimin’s window slides open. It’s just barely loud enough to be heard from outside before the door closes behind him. Jimin’s heart skips and tumbles and cartwheels and everything else it’s supposed to do when you know you’re doing about twenty-five things you’re not supposed to be doing.

“Jimin—”

“I know, Mom.”

“Does he , though?”

“It’s not Jungkook’s fault.”

His mother sighs and drops her head to her hand, contemplating life and death and the meaning of her existence or the economy or whatever she’s going to try to lecture Jimin on this time, despite him being a full-time adult with a job, a high school diploma, a plan, and a partner. Though, it’s probably best that subject four doesn’t come up at family dinners. His father excuses himself to bed, and Jihyun follows without a word.

Jihyun hardly talks to Jimin anymore, not since he started spending more time making out with Jungkook than playing video games with his brother, but Jihyun is the only one who knows that and knows Jimin is ready to fight him if he opens his mouth about it. Others have their skepticism but refuse to delve into the matter, only seeing what they want to see, only hearing what they want to hear, and only accepting the sexualities they’re taught to accept.

In other words, everyone knows, but they pretend not to. Maybe it helps them sleep at night. If that’s really the case, though, Them is just a bunch of dickholes who need to broaden their horizons. Then again, it’s probably better for Jimin if he can live each day knowing that nobody knows what goes on behind closed doors, under dimmed lights, on top of feather comforters. Jungkook is just a friend to Jimin to the people around him. He’s someone Jimin looks after and sets a good example for. Some call this being two-faced. No, Jimin is not two-faced. He isn’t fake, either. He has one face, and one side is the sunkissed, delightful, angelic boy who volunteers at puppy daycares and teaches Sunday school classes while the other side is, in a more literal sense of the word, just plain kissed—and marked and hugged and bruised and loved through the night.

Jimin takes a deep breath and holds it, waiting for his mother’s guilt trip about how sorry she is for failing him as a parent, for not teaching him sooner, and for staying up late into the next morning (it’s only midnight) to make sure Jimin lived to see tomorrow. But the trip doesn’t come.

“Mom?”

“What is so fun about committing a felony?” Jimin’s mother looks at him from under worn, creased brows, greying hair, and thin-rimmed glasses that don't do much for her worsening eyesight.

“We were just speeding…”

“‘Just speeding’? We have laws against that for a reason! Why do you need to tear up asphalt on your way home?”

They were going to Jungkook’s house, actually.  

“It’s faster.”

His mother groans. Jimin knew she would. When she’s too tired to take the guilt trip, she’s too tired to deal with Jimin’s excuses.

“It’s only happened, like, six times.”

His mother doesn’t look at him.

“And… I’ve never been in any other sort of trouble with him before. I could be smoking marijuana or, I don’t know, getting someone pregnant—”

Jimin—”

“—But all I’m doing is going a little fast.”

“Officer Jin deserves half my paycheck for the trouble you’ve been putting him through.”

He’d probably spend it all on Skittles. “I’ll tell Jungkook to keep it slow next time.”

“Next time?”

“Next time.”

“Jimin…”

“Mom...”

“Why do you let that kid stick around?”

“You know why.”

She turns and incoherently mumbles something about “your generation” but Jimin doesn’t feel like paying complete attention. Jimin keeps his feet planted, his head lowered, and his hands balled tightly on the railing of the stairs to keep himself from sprinting up to see Jungkook. He’s trying to decide whether to hit him for ditching him again or kiss him goodnight before he leaves.

Even at twenty-one, Jimin is still living with his parents and therefore has to abide by their rules, no matter how obnoxious, time consuming, and biased they might be. They think Jimin’s “ignorant fondness” of Jungkook is a trend. They see it as a phase or something you grow out of like Heelys and bubblegum tape. They hope that Jimin will grow out of Jungkook or Jungkook will leave their precious sanctuary of a town one day and find his home somewhere in the mountains with some nice monks who can teach him about morals. Jimin also wishes he would, because he really does hate him as much as he loves him. He’s like a cursed blessing, or a sweet misfortune. Put simply, a fuckup.

“I’m sorry. It won’t happen again. If it does, I’ll make sure Jungkook is caught, not me,” Jimin half-jokes. His mother takes his words into consideration, nodding. Maybe she didn’t catch on that Jimin wasn’t being serious; he wouldn’t actually let them get caught again. But throwing Jungkook under the metaphorical cop car, that’s something he’d revel in. One more mishap on Jungkook’s account could get them into actual trouble or raise suspicion that they have higher motives, like that Jungkook is converting Jimin to satanism or they’re planning underground black market mafia renegades for the gay agenda.

“You’ve probably had a rough night,” Mrs. Park says quietly. “You can go to bed now, if you’d—” Jimin is halfway up the stairs “—like.”

Goodnight sorry I love you it won’t happen again tell dad I love him too !” says the twenty-one year old man with a curfew and a kind-of-track record with the police department. Jimin’s door slams on his last word.

His room is untouched, his bed is made, and his slippers sit right where he took them off last. The window is closed, locked, bolted, and the bar has been put back in place. His lamp is on, highlighting his untouched—and unloved by everyone else in the house—SNSD poster. (Jimin doesn’t even feel bad for them if they missed such an early “I’m not a heterosexual” warning sign.) The door to his conjoined bathroom is ajar and the light is on. The toilet flushes. Jimin braces himself against the bed, getting lightheaded from the notion of Jungkook being in his house, in his room, against all morals and rules and a couple laws. It’s not the first time, but each night Jungkook breaks the rules to compensate for Jimin’s lack of rebellion, Jimin’s heart does that fluttering thing. Like when he rode a motorcycle for the first time and almost hit a tree. It’s the adrenaline of knowing he’s being a dumbass that could get caught, but it doesn’t matter. And even though Jimin has yet to see Jungkook again, the same feeling hits his gut.

The sink runs, the light is flicked off, the door opens, and suddenly Jimin is up in the air, holding a hand over his mouth so he doesn’t scream at sudden light pinches on his waist and hips, his most ticklish spots.

“Jung —hey !” Jimin whisper-screams. “Stop, Jungkook— mph !”

“What’s up?” Jungkook says. He keeps Jimin’s torso pinned to his shoulder with a hand wrapped around his waist.

“A-Asshole,” Jimin grinds out. His useless prying gets him nowhere but a more awkward position further over Jungkook’s back where he has to brace himself to keep from falling.

Jungkook gasps. “Naughty word, Minni. Do you even know what it means?”

“Shut up, you ass! Put me down!”

“Two in one night? I think I’m rubbing off on you.”

Down .”

“God, Jimin. You’re so fucking heavy. What do they feed you here, rocks?”

“Why? Is your head missing some?”

“Words hurt, you know.” Jungkook’s deep voice masked by such an innocent tone should be as illegal as breaking and entering into Jimin’s room. The faint smell of cigarette smoke wafts from his clothes, also a juxtaposition to his counterfeit halo.

“So does having a shoulder in your stomach,” Jimin whisper-shouts.

Jungkook laughs. “Did you miss me?” He shouldn’t be the one laughing—he’s not being tickle-tortured in the air. But Jimin can’t be mad. The feeling of Jungkook being in his house after running from the cops, ditching him in the process, and probably carrying at least three types of illegal substances on him overwhelms him. It’s the adrenaline that comes with Jungkook in everyday life that stuck Jimin on him before he could say, “Yes, I have standards.”

“No. I just saw you, like, ten minutes ago, driving away on your dumb bike, leaving me alone with the police.” The torture stops, but Jungkook keeps Jimin suspended over his back.

“She’s not dumb. You’re dumb.”

Jimin huffs. “Date your bike, then.”

As Jungkook silently contemplates this, two doors down, Jimin hears the sound of his brother’s door opening. The light in the hallway flashes on, and Jimin freezes completely. He holds his breath too, which proves to be most uncomfortable with his lung already crushed from Jungkook’s manhandling. The steps fade, and the wooden stairs creak under Juhyun’s weight. Jimin is safe. He’s still in Jungkook’s vice grip, but he’s safe from exposure, at least. He hadn’t even realized how loud Jungkook was breathing until his brother disappeared. Self-acclaimed Bad Boy is afraid of being caught too, it seems. Not that Jihyun has any reason to be in Jimin’s room this late at night, but there is a slim chance karma would choose today to bite him in the butt.

“Maybe I should go say hi to your brother.”

Or, maybe Jungkook isn’t afraid of being caught.

“The hell you should!”

Jungkook gasps again, this one more fake than the obviously fake previous one. “This is the most I’ve heard you curse in one night. Are you feeling okay, Jimin?” Jungkook sets Jimin on the bed, quick to pin Jimin in place with his arms and knee, caging in Jimin at another awkward angle with his feet still on the floor and his back bent uncomfortably. “The first day we met you told me to never use words like that around you. I never heard you curse until you asked me to ‘cut the shit’ and ask you out.”

“Did I? I don’t remember,” Jimin lies.

“Actually, I can recall one night you dirtied your tongue a little more…”

Jimin tries to scoot away where the shadows hide his blush, but the wall that is Jeon Jungkook has him boxed in, and the only way he’s going to get out of this position without kicking—tempting, deadly—is through flattery. Which, obviously, isn’t an option, because Jimin hates Jungkook too much to find anything likable about him aside from everything he loves about him, which is most things that he doesn’t hate. So he’s stuck with his back bent and his breathing uneven, with a smirking, leather-clad douche hovering a mile too close to his face.

In just the light of his lamp, only half of Jungkook’s face is highlighted, and it’s a damn good half to be able to stare at this close. For someone who is apparently just a friend to Jimin, as per town vote, Jimin shouldn’t find just fifty-percent of his face one hundred percent attractive. It’s probably the piercings that make this side of him so nice too look at, so different from what he’s used to. Jungkook has almost more metal than actual ear. If his gauges moved up a size, Jimin could probably fit a padlock in one—something he would threaten to do if Jungkook tickled him again—but it’s more fun to run his fingers over them and contemplate what it would be like to have his own. Jungkook likes when Jimin plays with his piercings almost as much as Jimin loves making fun of him for them.

“Wanna move?” Jimin pushes Jungkook’s chest. “I can’t breathe.”

“Do you remember that day?”

“I hardly remember what oxygen tastes like.”

“I remember it really well,” Jungkook whispers. “I was looking forward to that again tonight.”

“I only said what I was thinking,” Jimin says. He often tries to forget the day he made Jungkook ask him to be his boyfriend. It’s embarrassing, and Jungkook loves to bring up how much of a baby Jimin was right after. “You said some pretty out-of-character things, too.”

Too keep and to cherish. That’s what Jungkook promised him. He had taken the “keep” part a little too literally and somehow replaced the “cherish” bit with “manhandle.” To own and to manhandle. That’s what Jungkook promised him that day. That, and a party-sized bag of Skittles like the one he bought him today.

Today’s date was the only one he can remember that Jungkook had semi-respected personal space and boundaries. The two of them had spent all afternoon together just walking around the tiny excuse of a downtown area. Jungkook used every viable excuse he could formulate to hold Jimin’s hand, and Jimin used his full strength to pry Jungkook’s fingers away, as much as he also wanted to hold his hand. He wanted to follow Jungkook’s example and shout a big “fuck you” to the people who stared or looked away too fast when they saw two men holding hands for a purpose other than a firm business handshake. He was even tempted to kiss him at one point when Jungkook was being stupid-adorable by following and imitating a duckling behind a group of them crossing the street.

Jimin abruptly stops thinking about their date before he grins and Jungkook asks him,

“What are you thinking about, babe?”

“Nothing.”

“Don’t lie,” Jungkook says as he pinches Jimin’s side, making him yelp. “Shh,” he teases.

“You shush .”

“Did you just shush me ?”

“You were being loud.”

“We wouldn’t have to be quiet if we were at my house.”

Jimin groans, turning his head to the side, hopelessly trying to avoid Jungkook’s eyes. “We were going there, but you decided to speed and get us caught .”

Jungkook allows Jimin the space he needs to scoot himself onto the bed fully and sit upright. Now that he’s at eye-level with Jimin, Jungkook is less intimidating. The lamp light that hits his face is softer but doesn’t make Jimin feel any less frightened by his own boyfriend. Sometimes he wonders if it’s normal to be scared for his life when staring into his partner’s eyes, not knowing if the next move he makes will melt his heart or break it. With the way Jungkook stands out in this town like the devil himself sitting among church pews, Jimin would assume it’s just him. He could have found a nice brunette girl with morals and a good human heart, but no, he had to fall on his face for a bike-riding, beer-stealing, weed-smoking, duck-imitating butthead who has Jimin double-knotted around his finger at the drop of his Blink-182 hat. (Jimin hated that beanie, especially when he wore it in the summer.)

Jihyun comes back up the stairs, turns off the hall light, and shuts his door, once again reminding Jimin that they aren’t alone in the house. He wants to turn off the lamp and go to bed, but there’s still the problem of the person Jimin hates the most, sitting on the edge of his bed staring at Jimin like he owes him something. Which reminds Jimin about Jungkook’s debt to him...

“You owe me Skittles.”

“Do I?”

“Why do you second guess everything I tell you?”

“Why do you give me false information all the time?”

“What? When?”

Jungkook’s gaze on it’s own is enough to push Jimin against his headboard, even though Jungkook hasn’t moved at all. It terrifies Jimin that Jungkook has the power to make him feel small like this and that he’s not afraid to use that power. But there are times when Jungkook makes him feel like a god, like someone who deserves the immense amount of praise Jungkook is more than willing to give him. He works hard to make sure life is as easy for Jimin as it can be. Jungkook picks up Jimin from his volunteer shift at the shelter with his heart-eyes and compliments. Jungkook would tell him how ugly he made the other puppies look when he was around them, and Jimin would try to convince Jungkook that he wasn’t a puppy. It never works. The scariest part to this side of Jungkook is that it works just as well when it comes to bending Jimin to his will.

Thinking about the compliments makes Jimin’s heart do that fluttery thing again. It’s hard to comprehend how the same person who brings him ice cream at work with a handwritten note and butterfly kisses can also drag him into a state of semi-terror.

“How about when you told me you’d skip work today to spend more time with me?”

“I changed my mind.”

“I haven’t changed mine. You owe me .”

“I don’t! I hardly want to be around you anymore.” A half-truth. Jimin wanted the cute, preferably brunette girl who would sing him to sleep at night and hold his hand in public without being glared at. They would have had an amazing time raising cute kids together, and she never would have thrown him on the back on a motorcycle without a helmet. Because of this, he absolutely hates the boy leaning in to kiss him.

“I’ll always want you, my precious mini boyfriend.” Jungkook’s arms enveloping him in a sense of security that contradicts the unease he was inflicting on him earlier.

“I’m not that small.”

“You’re small enough to fit on my lap when we ride my bike.”

“We were going, like, four miles an hour!” Jimin catches himself before yelling too loud, then sighs. “It’s late, and Dad is going to want me to go to the church tomorrow to confess because of you. You should leave.”

“Why do you let them treat you like you’re in middle school?”

“As much of a point you have, please leave.”

Jungkook lifts his head. Jimin can feel how rosey his cheeks are, how heavy his eyes must appear, and how in love he looks when he’s looking at Jungkook, and Jungkook is looking back at him. Why is it so hard for everyone else to see? They aren’t trying to hide their relationship, so why is it so hard to comprehend that Jimin and Jungkook are in love? Why can’t anyone see that they don’t care whether or not anyone else thinks it’s a phase or a false sense of obsession mistaken for infatuation? Why does everyone resort to thinking that Jimin is trying to be the mother figure Jungkook never had? Jimin is quick to tell anyone that he hates Jungkook too much to care about setting a good example, but it only took Jimin about a month to realize his love for Jungkook equated his hate—the hate that’s brought back in moments like this, when Jimin is trying to reminisce, and all Jungkook wants to do is wrap himself around Jimin.

“No,” Jimin says, pushing Jungkook’s arms from his waist. He cups Jungkook’s cheeks and looks him dead in the eye. “No,” he says again. “Bad.” It’s a tactic they use on the dogs at the daycare when they bite, and Jungkook is no different from them sometimes. He pouts, whines, and is in constant need of attention. He steals Jimin’s food and is too loud sometimes, always follows Jimin around, and growls when people get too close to Jimin.

Jimin has a dog, not a boyfriend. It all makes sense now.

“Why are you laughing?” Jungkook says when Jimin slaps a hand over his mouth to keep in his totally-not-squeaky laughter. “What the hell? Stop.”

“You’re so cute,” Jimin says through staggered breaths.

“Hey.” Jungkook forcibly takes Jimin’s hand away from his face, then the other, both by the wrist before holding them out in front of him, glaring at Jimin. “How am I supposed to look tough if you think I’m only cute?”

“Shh! You’re being loud again.”

“Like I said,” Jungkook says, hardly quieter than before, “We wouldn’t have to be so quiet if we went back to my house. You told me you wanted to.”

“That was before we got pulled over.”

“That’s why I was speeding in the first place.”

“Goodnight, Jungkook.”

For a precious, beautiful, blissful second, Jungkook retreats, and Jimin immediately feels his ability to take in a substantial amount of oxygen return. But a second isn’t a long time, and all too soon Jungkook is curling up beside Jimin.

“I said—”

“Hush.”

Wrapping his arms around Jimin’s waist, Jungkook collapses back onto the bed, possessive with a strong right arm scooping Jimin’s back against his chest. Jimin panics, but unfortunately what Jungkook said about him being small—and in relation, weaker—stands true in this moment.

“Goodnight, Mini Minni.”

“Goodnight meant go home .”

Jungkook laughs at Jimin struggling to make use of his trapped arms, and Jimin finds himself absolutely, undeniably, doubtlessly stuck because of Jungkook in every way.

“If you don’t leave someone will find your bike in the morning.”

“So let them,” Jungkook says through a deep sigh. He buries his nose in Jimin’s sweater that Jimin doesn’t want to be wearing. It’s too hot. His jeans also start to feel constricting under the blankets, but those are absolutely, undeniably, doubtlessly not coming off.

The same strength used to hold up both of their bodies at that time is applied to Jimin’s waist as he’s constricted into Jungkook’s grasp. Jimin will never tell him, because he’s not one for giving away valuable information that can be used to humiliate him in public, but he’s almost as in love with Jungkook’s strength as he hates him. It makes him feel secure, like he’s being protected from bad people, held back from poor choices, which is about as ironic as Jimin screaming “ God ” as his cum hit the holy white tiles of aforementioned holy restroom. Jungkook’s strength also makes him feel trapped, energy depleted, spacey, and lacking control in the same way as being held against the corresponding holy wall.

“Want this off, too?” Jungkook lifts up the bottom of Jimin’s sweater, slowly, teasingly, like he was actually going to listen to Jimin’s answer. And thus, Park Jimin ends up nearly naked in bed with his boyfriend, two rooms away from his sleeping parents and one hallway across from his precious little brother. For the same reason he couldn’t make Jungkook wait until they got home before tarnishing a holy space, Jimin can’t turn over to double check if he locked the door. Part of him wishes that they’ll be caught because he really does hate Jungkook, and the only way he’s going to get rid of him is if someone else does it for him. He doesn’t have the strength to push Jungkook away himself.

He loves him too much.



It’s approximately two , early in the morning. Too early in the morning. The sun isn’t even awake, but for some better-be-good reason, Jimin is. He has Jungkook to thank for that. Or not thank. Probably not. He has Jungkook to hit for making him wake up before dawn for some undeniably dumb reason that will end up giving Jimin anxiety or a nice bruise on his eye where Jimin will (be too nice to actually) hit him. It’ll nicely compliment the bags under his eyes from waking up so early that make him look like he picked a fight and lost. In a way, he has: if the battle was between sleep and forced consciousness.

The cold hits Jimin the second he rolls over to glare at Jungkook, but he’s not where he fell asleep last night. He’s not on the bed at all, and Jimin would be the one lying if he said it didn’t bother him that he didn’t get to wake up to Jungkook right behind him. He hears the revving of a bike, followed by the vibration of his phone.

After being blinded by all the light that exists in the world coming out of his phone screen, Jimin blinks away tiredness he shouldn’t have this early in the morning in the first place and reads the text from the regretfully named Gay Bee , which is still a step up from Jungkook’s suggestion of Hung Kook , which was quickly rejected. Their text conversations are something on a completely different plane, but Jimin never has it in him to delete them, and it’s embarrassing considering his brother knows his password and uses his phone quite frequently—something about better camera quality and Jimin doesn’t question it.

Wake up bb, followed by, You sleep like a fucking rock.

And Jimin replies, Makes sense since you are what you eat, right? He waits for it to send, then, Also, I’m locking you out. And Jimin means it. Jungkook is like a annoying cat sometimes—as cute as they are, they’re more of a hassle than anything.

I’ve already got my helmet on. Let’s go.

Jimin groans. There is no way Jungkook expects him to leave the comfort of his bed while he’s still wearing yesterday's clothes, climb out the window after Jungkook, and go on an early morning ride just because . He’d be crazy to assume Jimin would just drop his phone, search for his hoodie on the floor next to his sweater, put on some fuzzy socks, a beanie, and tennis shoes, then make his bed again. And he’d be insane to think that Jimin would bother to brush his teeth, too, to make sure he doesn’t scare away his boyfriend with pre-morning breath, then quietly dangle his legs over the windowsill and push off, bending his knees to lessen the impact when he hitting the ground. Jungkook is as unstable as he is cocky and hot and dangerous to be around.

Once in his backyard, Jimin pulls the strings of his hoodie to protect himself against the cold. His breath comes out in puffs in front of him, spelling out why the fuck are you doing this before dissolving into crisp winter air. The fact that the air can be described as crisp should be enough of a sign to stay away . One day, Jimin is going to have to decide between Jungkook and his standard human morals, and unfortunately, he’s prepared to give up either. It’s as scary as it is true, and even scarier that Jimin doesn’t mind.

Despite the way his feet sink into the muddy grass with each step and how he can hardly see ten steps in front of him from fog and the lack of light, added to a fuzzy consciousness of still being half-asleep, it’s a miracle he's able to focus hard enough to unlock and open the back gate soundlessly enough that his parents won’t notice their adult son sneaking out of the house to ride on the back of a motorcycle. Jungkook, as promised, is waiting for Jimin, holding his extra helmet out. His own is pushed up to his forehead, revealing an unnecessary lip bite. It’s not hot, Jimin swears. Added onto the leather jacket, combat boots, and pre-ripped jeans—that Jungkook swears was actually from a longboarding accident over a fiery ravine of crocodiles—Jungkook reminds Jimin that he’s everything he hates. Trouble is literally his middle name. He had it legally changed when he was adopted, or so Jimin is told.

“You look cold.”

Climbing onto the back of the bike, Jimin pretends he can’t hear him over the motor. He takes the helmet from Jungkook’s hand, replacing his hood with the headgear. When Jimin researched proper motorcycle attire after his first time riding, he found that to say safe you either have to wear all leather or an entire suit of armor. When he found that chainmail was out of his budget, Jimin settled for borrowing Jihyun’s leather jacket. Unfortunately, he needed it back if Jimin wasn’t going to pay him for it. A hoodie and thrift store jeans shouldn’t be enough for Jimin to decide that he feels safe enough for this, but he ignores reason because he can’t hear it over the unnecessary revving and thumping in his chest.

Here they go again, the two oddballs of the town breaking the rules, disregarding the norm in place of being good citizens, and wreaking havoc for fun. Or something like that.

When Jimin has his arms secured tightly around Jungkook’s waist in what Jungkook calls the Girlfriend Position, they begin to move. One would assume that after each time riding on the back of a bike, the feeling of wind cutting through your clothes and the sensation of slicing directly through air would grow on you, maybe even become old and anticipated rather than exhilarating, but that would be wrong. And assuming that the feeling of being free and flying with no one to stop you (besides cops and the law but that’s whatever) sticks with you every time you accelerate, and that each ride is a new adventure to be had, well, that’s also wrong. Far off. Farther off than the former. Neither apply unless you’re someone like Jungkook or have no regards for your own mortality. The truth is that it’s freaking scary as balls. With every ninety degree turn or dangerously close to forty-degree lean, Jimin feels his soul exceed several planes beyond his mortal body and slap him in the face for his dumb trust in Jungkook. He never did confirm that Jungkook had a license to drive this death-on-wheels, or insurance, or proper training. He probably didn’t even read the instructions manual. Do motorcycles come with those? Does it come with a step-by-step assembly guide?

In record time Jungkook is already blowing stop signs and taking sharp turns faster than safe. They’re going too fast for Jimin to judge by feel where they’re going, and opening his eyes is a poor choice because he’d rather not puke in Jungkook’s only extra helmet. The amount of trust he’s putting in Jungkook daily really isn’t fair compared to the amount of stupid stuff Jungkook does without Jimin’s permission, but day after strenuous day, Jimin comes back. Jimin has never fallen from the bike or been poisoned from secondhand smoke or broken a bone from late-night window-jumps, so he trusts it won’t happen as long as Jungkook is around to save him. Not to jinx it or anything.

If it wasn’t too late to change his mind, Jimin would be on the next ride back to his warm bed to sleep and dream about the easier life he lived before Jungkook, and before he realized he had a fear of going over 60 miles an hour on back roads. He never thought he’d need someone to help him realize this fear. He shouldn’t have to. He shouldn’t be clinging so tight to someone’s waist that he can feel his own arms losing circulation. Jungkook loves it, he’s sure. He’s going to make fun of Jimin for how clingy he is and how he wants him to do it more often and tell him how cute he looks wearing his helmet.

Thankfully, against all logic, the world stops zipping by at impossible speeds, and Jimin is able to catch his breath. Under his vice grip, he feels the tension leave Jungkook’s muscles as they slow to a humane speed, and Jimin can finally tell where they stopped. From the amount of turns they seemed to take  and the speed they were going, Jimin would imagine they’d be at the border or something. Time goes by a lot slower when you’re scared witless, apparently, because they aren’t more than a couple streets away from the chapel where Jimin gave away his innocence to Jungkook. Part of it, anyways.

Everything bad that’s happened to Jimin because of Jungkook has started or ended here. His first kiss with Jungkook happened behind a large oak tree growing over their church’s sign. Jimin had just skipped down the steps after the service and was ready to go home and take a nap, spend time with his little brother, eat lunch, you know, normal things twenty-going-on-twenty-one-year-olds do on a Sunday afternoon when they aren’t watching school children or attending a brunch.

And Jungkook, well, he was doing everything wrong.

No one had told him that you’re not supposed to wear skulls or logos or provoking symbols of any kind on a church property. And he had no way of knowing how strong the smell of weed is to people who have never been exposed to any substance stronger than incense. Most people ignored it and were able to walk away and reminisce on the sermon given, not be forcefully yanked to the side out of a crowd of people, dragged away from family, and shoved against the stone banner boasting the name of their church.

Scream is what Jimin’s conscience told him. Run is what his gut screamed at him. Let it happen ran through his mind.

No one said anything. Maybe his family didn’t notice, or maybe they didn’t care. Jimin kept his eyes closed through cars starting and pulling out of the lot and people chatting about what they were going to do when they got home, something Jimin wished he had the luxury of at the time. Instead of following Jihyun and his parents, Jimin was stuck with a hand over his mouth and the new kid who he’d been mutually crushing on for three weeks since the pool incident back in June was too close. It was mid-July now, and both of them decided that it was time to stop pining and start putting feelings into words and words into actions. The action part had been Jungkook’s to initiate from the second he cupped Jimin’s face and brought it to meet his in the middle.

There, under the shade of the oldest and holiest building in their town, Jimin gave his first kiss to a boy who drinks and smokes and has had premarital sex and hadn’t lived in the area for more than a month or two but still knew Jimin more than anyone he’d grown up with.

Thinking about how warm the kiss felt in the summer, how soft Jungkook’s lips felt pressed against his for what had to have been at least three hours, it seemed, makes Jimin feel even colder now in his hoodie and jeans and lack of proper winter-wear.

Jungkook is tackling that problem in a second, wrapping Jimin in his arms from behind and breathing on his cheek. Jimin melts, dropping his helmet on the spot and turning to face Jungkook. In the dull light provided by an array of stars and the moon—but mostly street lamps that haven’t been blotted by pollution and man-made fumes—Jimin is reminded why he ever let Jungkook into his life to begin with, why he let him kiss him in front of the church that day where no one could see, even if they had only been dating for three days at the time, and why he gave in when Jungkook woke him up at two in the morning to go on a random ride. There isn’t one absolute reason that Jimin can point out, and maybe that’s the beauty of his attraction. Beauty, setback, ignorance, any of those, really.

“Now what?” Jimin asks. It comes through chattering teeth, and Jungkook laughs at him, tightening his grip like it will do some good instead of suffocate Jimin.

“I don’t know,” Jungkook sighs. Oh. Okay, so, Jungkook is just wasting Jimin’s time. Surprise.

“The man with no plan,” Jimin mumbles into Jungkook’s shirt. “This is who I’m gonna marry someday.”

Jungkook pulls away. “Marry?”

“Is… Is that not something you’ve seriously thought about?”

Jungkook is quick to shake his head and push Jimin’s face back into his chest. “It is! It really is. That’s just, uh…”

“Too gay for you to think about?” Jimin jokes.

“I don’t think I could ever marry someone so tiny.”

“I’m not—”

Proving Jimin doubtlessly wrong, Jungkook has Jimin up in the air, his strong arms leaving Jimin suspended a few feet off the ground. He wraps his legs around Jungkook’s torso to hold himself steady, and at the same time, Jungkook is stealing his breath away with a kiss that weakens Jimin to the point of going limp in Jungkook’s arms. Suddenly the freezing weather doesn’t affect Jimin anymore as it’s overtaken by his own heart warming him from the inside out. Jimin sees sparks behind his eyelids. The good kind. Not the kind you see after staring at a bright light for too long. The kind that you see when a kiss makes you giddy and want to laugh and cry at the same time because the emotions you feel for the person in front of you are so overwhelming.

If it had been in daylight, Jimin would already be pushing Jungkook away, scolding him on how potentially dangerous it could be if someone saw them. It’s early in the morning, though, dark, and no one is awake besides the two of them. Nothing could make Jimin want to push him away. He’s too wrapped in Jungkook’s warmth—so much so that he hardly realizes the shift in positions, and how suddenly he’s sitting on Jungkook’s lap in the wet grass.

“Marry me, Park Jimin,” Jungkook says between butterfly kisses to his cheeks, nose, and chin.

Now, Jimin has never been drunk in his life, and he never plans on it, but Jungkook’s words have a way of making him feel like he could be drunk on love and on Jungkook and on the night and on the kiss and on these foreign emotions that he’d be lying if he said didn’t scare him as much as they elated him.

“Let’s do that,” Jimin breathes.

“Wait, really?”

“Eventually. Once we’ve moved out of this crappy place and settled.”

Jungkook scrunches his nose. “I never want to settle in one place.”

“We can keep moving. We can be like your dads.”

“Okay.”

Jimin buries his face in Jungkook’s shoulder. It takes everything in Jimin to throw away thoughts of being caught and scolded. He tries not to focus on his mother and father somehow finding out that he snuck out again. He already put his dad through enough worry to turn his hair grey when he first had Jungkook over to their house. And the first time he accidentally caught one of their goodnight kisses before Jungkook left for the night, Jimin could see him lose about fifteen to twenty years of his life just from the disappointment in his eyes. It didn’t stop Jimin from keeping Jungkook around, though. The idea sinks to the back of his mind and is replaced with thoughts of how good it feels to be able to be with Jungkook like this without the constant worry of being seen.

Jimin swears he is going to get whiplash from all the sudden position changes and hypothermia from the wetness of the grass now soaking into his back. Jungkook lays down next to him. He shines brighter than all of the stars above them combined. Jimin immediately feels how cold it is when a gust of wind blows over them, and he clings to Jungkook to steal his warmth. Jungkook welcomes Jimin onto his lap, curled in a ball and breathing into his chest. Maybe it’s from the cold, or maybe Jungkook is affected in the same way as Jimin after kissing, but for some reason, the beat of his boyfriend’s heart is more audible than it’s ever been.

“Where do you want to move first?”

Jimin can feel the vibration with every word.

“Away. Somewhere warm, I think.”

“Are you just saying that because you’re cold?” Jungkook laughs, constricting Jimin until his face is pressed against the cotton of his shirt. How is he able to keep his jacket open like this? Like a crazy person? Jimin is dating a crazy person. “You said the opposite last summer.”

“I’m sure,” Jimin hums as he nuzzles into Jungkook’s chest. Being held like this is one of Jimin’s favorite things about Jungkook and one of the few things about him that he doesn’t hate. He loves when Jungkook treats him the way he’d treat a wilting flower in the shop—baby it, give it water and warmth and talk to it on occasion or pick it up and without a second thought, discard it and make it feel inferior. Plants have just as many feelings as Jimin does, and he’s sure that sometimes they can feel neglected and unable to do anything about it because they’re so small and so much weaker than the one handling them. An inkling in the back of Jimin’s mind always causes him to wonder why Jungkook chose to call him Minni instead of his flower or something. Jimin would never voice this to Jungkook because he isn’t a crazy person. Jungkook is the crazy one. He wears unzipped jackets and broken jeans in the winter.

“How about Fiji? It’s warm there.”

Jimin shakes his head, messing up his own hair where it presses against Jungkook. “I’m afraid of sharks. What if there are sharks in Fiji?”

More vibrations rumble through Jungkook’s body as he throws his head back in laughter.

“Don’t make fun of me!”

“I didn’t say anything!”

“You were thinking mean things. I hate you.”

“Mhm. I love you.” Jungkook wraps his arm around Jimin tighter and kisses the top of Jimin’s head.

“I love you, too.”

“You can’t love me and hate me. You have to choose.”

“Okay. I hate you.”

“You’re cute.”

“No, you.”

“My cute, mini Minni.”

“Oh my gosh, Jungkook. That nickname is going to get old. It did a while ago.”

“Give me a better one, then.”

And Jimin drops it, because he knows he could only make it worse. He’s too tired to think of a new name, anyways. But maybe it’s time Jimin gave Jungkook a nickname. An embarrassing one. Something that makes him look soft and delicate. But the only one he can think of is so painfully obvious….

“Kookie…”

“Excuse me?”

“My soft,” Jimin traces a heart with his finger over Jungkook’s chest, “Soft, delicate, sweet Kookie.” He can’t see well enough to know if he’s even tracing it over his heart but he doesn’t care because Jungkook doesn’t correct him.

“You think these biceps of fucking steel are soft?”

Jimin giggles. He assumed Jungkook would at the very least get a little heated, but he doesn’t expect Jungkook to suffocate him against his body, leaving Jimin literally breathless from the hug supposed to prove his point. But Jimin still uses what little air he has left in his lungs to laugh at his arrogant boyfriend.

“I will throw you across the pond.”

Jimin peeks his head up to gauge the distance of the pond across the street from the church. To be honest, Jungkook totally could if he tried.

“How would you do it? Discus style or like pitching a baseball?”

“I’d probably just punt you.”

“I’m leaving you.”

“Are you really, though?”

“I—” Jimin immediately regrets opening his mouth. An unstoppable yawn takes him by surprise. He’s barely been keeping his head up, trying his darndest not to yawn because Jungkook will pinch his cheeks and call him cute and spam him with pictures of yawning puppies for the next three hours straight saying, “this is you.” It was a big mistake Jimin made in the past, and accompanied by cursed sweater sleeves extending past his fingertips, Jimin made himself an easy target for an entire week of nothing but teasing. He couldn’t even hold a conversation without Jungkook bringing it up again.

Jungkook says nothing, but Jimin knows what’s coming later anyways.

“I know it’s not smart to be in love with someone like you. It’s irresponsible, and I hate you for that,” he finishes when the yawn passes.

Jungkook, who was still swooning over said yawn, pushes Jimin to the edge of his criss-crossed legs. With his hands on Jimin’s waist keeping him still, he looks Jimin dead in the eye. It’s a look he’s only seen several times in his short time with Jungkook, and it has had the same effect every time, causing Jimin’s heart to pick up and his thoughts to process in slow motion and his head to spin as his body does just the opposite. Jungkook stared at him this way when he first picked out Jimin from the crowd around his bike, and he continued to stare that way until finally asking Jimin out on a date and stole Jimin’s first kiss with a boy. It’s odd that there is such a specific gleam that Jimin can recognize.

“I hate you, too,” Jungkook whispers. “I hate the way you make me feel like boxing in my own interests to accommodate yours. I hate how exposed and you make me feel in my own skin. I hate that my heart chose you when common sense was telling me not to bother the perfect world you lived in before I fucked all hell up and shit on your reputation as the resident sunshine—”

“Jungkook, stop—”

“I’m not done.”

“Yes, you are.”

“I’m not—”

It’s not that deep .”

Jungkook is about to protest but he closes his mouth immediately. Jimin takes Jungkook’s hand in his own. It’s warm, warmer than his. The contrast has Jimin in a temporary shock. It’s not fair that he gets to be warm while Jimin, the so called “sunshine,” can feel hypothermia spreading up his legs.

Jungkook looks at his hand on Jimin’s lap, then back to his tired eyes. Jimin’s eyelids are magnets to his cheekbones, and it’s getting harder each second to keep them from falling. To keep himself awake, he kisses Jungkook, something he very much enjoys doing. But he would never tell him that, or Jungkook want to make out all the time and it would make moments like these less special. Jimin pulls him close and Jungkook kisses him back at Jimin’s own pace. His breath quickens when Jungkook lets out one of those noises he holds back most of the time.

“I was kidding about earlier,” Jungkook says suddenly, pulling away. “No one as small as you could have that much of an impact on me.”

“I know,” Jimin says. “I wasn’t kidding, though. I hate you. Now that it’s settled that we both doubtlessly hate each other, let’s go to bed. I’m tired.”

Jimin tries to stand up. He doesn’t know why he tried. It’s not unexpected that Jungkook pulls him back down, trapping his body and soul to his chest. His heart beats loudly again, and Jimin starts to wonder if Jungkook really has one, or if the bass from his music sunk into his body and replaced his entire being with amplifiers and pop-punk tropes like the one they’re living.

“No going anywhere without another kiss,” Jungkook pouts. It’s not cute.

Jimin obeys. With one hand on Jungkook’s cheek and the other still sucking the warmth from Jungkook’s hand, Jimin kisses Jungkook. He melts under Jungkook’s touch. He gets the same feeling every time he kisses Jungkook. It lets him know who he’s dealing with. It reminds him of their contrast, and how even the two of them having any sort of physical contact is a juxtaposition that would be better for everyone had it not existed. In the midst of the heat, Jimin almost forgets what it feels like to breath. He’s trapped to Jungkook, but he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Let’s get you home,” Jungkook says as he breaks the kiss. “Tomorrow we can talk about just how much we hate each other, okay?”

Jimin nods and lets his head fall to Jungkook’s shoulder. “You’re strong. Carry me.”

Jungkook actually listens, hoisting Jimin into the air at the same time he stands up himself. Jimin would be in awe of his leg and core strength had he been fully conscious, but instead he’s half asleep. No one can blame him. Jungkook woke him up seven hours earlier than he should have. He owes it to Jimin to carry him at least to the bike. And then into his house. And then up to his room and then tuck him in and give him a goodnight kiss he’ll pretend to be asleep for even though it makes him giddy all over.

Jungkook sets Jimin’s helmet on over Jimin’s drooping eyes that aren’t cute, regardless of what he’s whispering to Jimin right now, and pats him twice on the head before lifting him onto the seat. The motor starting is barely enough to snap Jimin back to reality and realize Jungkook can’t go anywhere until he’s holding onto his waist.

“Are you going to be able to hold on?” Jungkook asks.

Jimin nods and locks his arms around Jungkook, but it’s obvious why he isn’t convinced. Jimin is fighting as hard as his tired mind will let him just to keep his fingers locked around his forearms.

“I don’t want you falling off….”

“I’ll be fine,” Jimin hums. “Just go slow, okay?”

Slow doesn’t exist in Jungkook’s vocabulary, but he shows promise when he kicks off the ground, and they start driving in the direction of Jimin’s house. Jimin finds it easy to stay awake enough to keep his grip firm, even on sharp turns, and at the times Jungkook forgets that he has a semi-loose boyfriend tied to his back. But they make it back to the main road okay. Occasionally, Jimin will feel the bike slow almost to a stop, and Jungkook’s hand will come down to grip Jimin’s and confirm that he’s still awake.

Jimin grows more confident with every turn, every hook, every curve that Jungkook is taking a little too fast. He lets his arms relax and puts complete trust in Jungkook to get him home safely. It would probably be easier for the two of them if one or both died here. Jungkook wouldn’t have to worry about Jimin nagging him to “stay safe” and “go the speed limit” and “use blinkers” and “turn on headlights” and all those things he “forgets.” He would never wear a helmet if Jimin didn’t make him. And if Jimin was gone, he wouldn’t have to figure out a way to sneak back into his bedroom without waking up anyone in the house, without setting off alarms, and without thinking how much easier it would be if he just moved out and got an apartment with Jungkook where they could live together without rules or limits. Besides the helmet rule. Jungkook would run out of excuses not to wear one, and hopefully it would become a habit so Jimin didn’t have to remind him every time he left. He’d probably be leaving for work at a dealership or something. Jimin will have to remember to nag him to find an interest so he can stop living off his parents and get a job when they move out together. Jimin would watch him leave from their balcony where he grows every sort of flower. Yeah, every single flower. He’ll grow it.

Jimin can’t pinpoint the exact time at which his fantasy became a dream, but he can pinpoint the exact moment everything around him stopped feeling real. He’s floated in dreams before; this isn’t like that, though. This sort of floating feels…different. It feels wrong. It feels cold, and then suddenly hot. Then he feels cold again, and the world turns to ice around him. He’s laughing uncontrollably. He’s laughing so hard he cries. Jimin feels himself starting to cry so hard his head hurts. Suddenly his face feels hot on one side, but freezing on the other. The world spins. Then it, like Jimin’s legs, freeze, too.  

Upon opening his eyes after he didn’t remember closing them, Jimin can see that Jungkook is still in front of him. But he’s facing him. And Jimin is no longer hanging onto his waist. He’s no longer hanging onto anything. He can’t feel his arms to tighten his grip—he can’t even feel his arms, move his fingers, reach out to Jungkook to see if he’s okay. Something covers his left eye from above, and suddenly, he can’t see out of it, so he keeps his right eye extra-open. He’s on grass. They are no longer moving.

Jungkook is talking to him, yelling at him, but his words are delayed and he sounds like he’s speaking to Jimin from underwater. Maybe that’s why he felt like he was floating? Maybe that’s why he feels the left side of his head is all wet, like it’s covered in… sticky water.

Jimin blinks, and when he opens his eyes again, Jungkook is crouching in front of him. He’s crying too, but he’s trying to wipe away Jimin’s tears away at the same time. When Jimin blinks again, Jungkook is standing as he yells into a phone, but the words are muffled still. Is he mad at Jimin? Where is his Ducati? He should ask.

“Hey, Jungkook?”

Jungkook drops the phone and falls in front of Jimin, looking so panicked. What happened? Maybe he should ask that instead? It hurts to move his mouth. His throat feels dry and takes more strength than he’d anticipated to get out a word.

“Are you okay?” Jimin asks, reaching up to wipe away his boyfriend’s tear.

“Yes, you’re okay,” Jungkook says, nodding. He moves faster than light and catches Jimin’s hand in his own before he makes it halfway. “You’re okay. It’s okay.”

Maybe he didn’t hear him correctly? Jimin tries again. “Jungkook, what happened?” His mouth tastes sour, but when he tries to swallow away the nasty feeling, he feels it caught in his throat. Jimin can still breath properly, even though it hurts, and he’ll use every breath to make sure Jungkook is okay.

“Yes!” Jungkook nods desperately. His tears drop faster. “Yes, it’s me, Jungkook. You’ll be okay. Just don’t try to move until the ambulance gets here, alright?”

Ambulance?

“Who got hurt?”

“I know it—” he hiccups, covering his mouth with his hand. “I know it hurts. Jesus— fuck! You’re losing so much blood,” he whispers, eyes quickly darting all over Jimin’s face. Why isn’t he answering Jimin’s questions?

Jungkook wipes away some of the hot, sappy water clogging Jimin’s vision. Or blood, apparently.

Jimin blinks again. His head hurts like hell now, but he can still hear Jungkook’s heart, louder and closer than ever. It’s almost like it’s in his head, not Jungkook’s chest. And Jungkook shines brighter than any star above him—when did he get above Jimin? He’s…literally shining. Jungkook is shining and the light grows larger around him at a constant rate until all he can see of his boyfriend is a blurry outline.

He blinks again. There are more people around him. Two of them he recognizes, but he can’t think of specific names, and even if he could, his throat hurts too much to call out to them. Suddenly Jimin feels scared. And hurt. He reaches for Jungkook’s hand, but his arms are made of lead. His eyelids start to feel the same.

“I love you, Jungkook,” Jimin says as he starts floating again. He doesn’t know why. It just felt like the right thing to say. Why does Jungkook look sadder?

A high-pitched ringing starts to blare louder than the beating in his head. Jungkook is getting further away. Jimin can only hope Jungkook says it back before he fades into nothing. Everything dissolves around Jimin. His head hurts. His heart hurts. He hopes Jungkook doesn't hurt as much as he does, but he, too, was crying. Jimin has never seen him cry before. Whatever happened must have been pretty bad if Jungkook is crying that hard.

A dark, seriously scary feeling rushes over Jimin. This is the last time he’ll ever see Jungkook. He’ll never get to see his stupid piercings again. He’ll never run a hand through his messy hair and get his fingers caught in the knots again. He’ll never get to smell that disgusting cigarette smoke or fan away the smell of beer or wipe off eyeliner that starts to smudge in too much heat. He won’t get to kiss those dry, unkempt lips. Jungkook will never hug Jimin from behind as he falls asleep. This might be the last time Jimin falls asleep at all, to the staggering beat of his own heart and the constant beep so heavily flooding his mind. He can’t think about anything but the rhythmic beat that loses its rhythm and becomes a constant monotone. He wonders when he’ll wake up from this dream.

And when I do, is Jungkook going to be there with me?