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The Boy in the Music Box

Chapter Text

 

 

The attic is riddled with dust and cobwebs, the little spider kingdoms hanging just about everywhere, from the corners, the tiny round window, between the shelves, from the non-functioning, dingy chandelier. There's barely any room to walk, what with all the boxes and shelves and cabinets filling the space from the walls in. There's even a grand antique writing desk shoved up against the farthest wall, a thing that has probably been very beautiful at some point and could possibly be worth a lot to an antiquities dealer.

 

That is, Yoongi muses with a sigh, if they actually manage to dig it out from underneath all the random stuff perched on top of it and evict any possible arachnids living there. “Seriously, halmeoni,” he says, “how haven’t you cleaned this shit up before now?”

 

He fakes a frown when his grandmother smacks him on the arm. “Language, boy,” she snaps, though without missing a beat, she adds, “and I’m an old lady now, too old to clean up my own shit, so spare me the sass, Yoonyoon, and get to work!”

 

There’s a muffled snort from the bottom of the stairs and Yoongi exchanges a quick glance with Taehyung and Namjoon, who had offered to help Yoongi on his quest to clean up his grandmother’s attic. “Yeah, Yoonyoon, spare us the sass,” Taehyung says smugly, quickly stepping in behind Yoongi's grandmother when Yoongi raises his hand as if to throw his flashlight at the kid. “Wow, so aggressive!”

 

“Yah, just because I treat you like a little brother doesn't mean I won't kick your skinny ass,” Yoongi scoffs, frowning for real when his grandmother hits him on the arm again. “Halmeoni!”

 

“What?” she shoots back, sounding ridiculously amused. “You gonna kick my skinny ass too?”

 

Taehyung is almost bent in half from poorly suppressed laughter, and while Namjoon is more successful in keeping his composure, his telltale dimples are on full display as he presses his lips together in an attempt to not smile. Bastards. “Of course not, ma'am,” Yoongi huffs and turns his back on them all in favor of taking another look at the attic again. “This is gonna take all day. Namjoon, can you start bringing up the boxes that’ll go to charity? And Taehyung-ah, bring a couple of those trash bags on your way up.”

 

“Yes, sir!” Taehyung says and brings his hand to his forehead in a military salute, which makes Yoongi snort and his grandmother smile fondly.

 

“Halmeoni, you think you can make it up these stairs?” Yoongi asks of her, gesturing at the steep staircase. “It’d be easier to have you up here to tell us what should and shouldn’t be saved, but--”

 

“Yah, boy, don’t underestimate me just because I’m old,” she says with a scoff, waving her hand in a shooing motion to get him to climb the rest of the way up and make room for her. “I’ll come up there and perch my ass on a chair and watch you young boys do my work for me. I’ll enjoy that a hell of a lot more than being bored in the study.”

 

Min Seongi is definitely not a soft-spoken woman, blunt in her words and straightforward in her actions, and Yoongi loves her to death.

 

“Yes, ma’am,” he says again, smiling as he climbs up onto the dust-ridden floor of the attic. It’s not too dark, with the sun shining in from the small window, so Yoongi pushes his flashlight into the back pocket of his jeans and looks around for anything his grandmother could, as she so delicately put it, perch her ass on. He finds a questionable chair in the far back and dusts it off before testing it himself, making sure its dingy structure can handle any sort of weight at all. Content, he drags it to the center of the attic and motions for his grandmother to take a seat.

 

“Man, I love your grandmother,” Namjoon tells him with a dimpled grin when he joins them upstairs, balancing a stack of empty plastic boxes in his arms. “We should come to Daegu more often.”

 

“Sure,” Yoongi snorts, “as soon as you convince our professors to stop working us to death every single week.” Both he and Namjoon are in the music production department at a university in Seoul, both in the third year, and it’s absolute hell, with projects and assignments and exams that force them to stay late at the studios at least four times a week. “Taehyung’s the only one out of us who could visit more often, and I don’t want him alone with my grandmother.”

 

He earns a poke in the side from that and turns to bat Taehyung’s hand away. “Why not?” the boy asks, lips forming a pout. “We get along really well.”

 

Too well,” Yoongi says with a huff. “I swear, you’re either going to turn her into an anime-loving ray of sunshine, or she’s gonna teach you every single curse word in existence and you’ll end up like me. None of which I want to happen.”

 

There’s a short bark of laughter from behind the three of them. “Listen to this child trying to be a cool big brother,” Yoongi’s grandmother croons with a fond smile, quirking a thin brow at Taehyung. “But he’s right, Taehyung-ah, as much as I do love you, I swear I’m going to strap a goddamn muzzle on you if I have to listen to you talk about that ninja cartoon one more time. I’m too old for that shit.”

 

“No one’s too old for Naruto, halmeoni,” Taehyung argues cheerfully, boxy grin in full force when she only scoffs in return.

 

“Alright, let’s get to work or we’ll still be here tomorrow,” Yoongi says, nudging the closest dusty box with his toes. “Our train leaves in seven hours, so let’s finish up as much as we can before we leave.”

 

“You’re gonna leave this half-finished?” his grandmother asks briskly, a definite tut to her voice. “I thought I raised you better, Yoonyoon.”

 

“I’m not the one who’s going on a trip at ass o’clock tomorrow morning, halmeoni,” Yoongi says airily, too used to his grandmother’s complaining to take it seriously. “I’m pretty sure you don’t want three university students alone in your house after you leave.” He looks up to send her a pointed smirk. “Who knows what kind of stupid shit we’d get up to if left alone.”

 

She grins toothily at that and emits a smug giggle. “You know me so well, Yoonyoon,” she croons before raising a hand to motion for them to start working. “Youngsters these days aren’t as pure as they were in my time. And mind your language!”

 

The task ends up going smoother than Yoongi had expected. With his grandmother present to yay or nay everything they pick out of a container or a shelf, they quickly fill up the boxes of donatable things, and stuff the rest in the big garbage bags. Yoongi’s grandmother doesn’t want to save almost any of the things they find, stating that if she hasn’t missed it in all the years it’s been up here gathering dust, she’s not going to miss it when it’s out of her house. She does decide to keep a few old photographs, such as one from her and her late husband’s honeymoon, a black-and-white picture of them sharing an ice-cream cone on a beach.

 

Taehyung asks if she’s a hundred years old for the picture to be so old it lacks color, and she smacks him up the head with a dusty old rag for his cheekiness.

 

It’s not until Yoongi gets started on clearing away things from the writing desk that his grandmother looks up with interest, her lips curling into a fond smile when she sees Yoongi pick up a beautifully painted wooden box, swirls of faded red and yellow decorating the exterior. “Oh, I’m definitely keeping that one,” she says and stands up, shuffling past a stack of charity boxes to walk up next to Yoongi. “There’s too many good memories in that box.”

 

“What is it?” Yoongi asks, carefully tracing his fingers along the faded paint.

 

“Remember the stories I used to tell you about when I did fortune telling at some local carnivals?” his grandmother croons and bats Yoongi’s hand away so she can open the small crate. “These are all the things I used in my acts.”

 

The container is full with what looks like packs of tarot cards, dice, colorful fabrics, cloth pouches, hell, there’s even an honest to god crystal ball. “Wow,” Taehyung exclaims in awe, having walked up behind the two to get a good look, and his grin is radiating childlike glee at the sight of the box’s content. “You were like a legit magician, halmeoni!”

 

“I absolutely was,” she says, sounding mighty satisfied with the boy’s reaction. “And I was good, too. I did palm-readings, I foresaw things in the crystal ball, I read tarot cards and made charms for all kinds of things, such as luck and love and protection.” She emits a cheery giggle and picks up a purple pouch, squeezing it slightly to test its contents. “I even did spells,” she tells Taehyung in an over-exaggeratedly mysterious voice, her grin running from ear to ear when the boy’s eyes widen in amazement. “I was a hit amongst young lovers. They wanted me to bless their relationship, you know, make it last forever or some stupid shit like that.”

 

Yoongi emits a bark of laughter at his grandmother’s choice of words, the sound mellowing out into a chuckle when Taehyung starts loudly dictating something about how magic is not stupid and totally real and how Yoongi’s grandmother shouldn’t just dismiss it like that. She seems happy enough listening to his ranting, her smile full with adoration, so Yoongi gets back to the task at hand, carefully shifting the box aside on the desk so he can continue cleaning.

 

He doesn’t make it very far until something else catches his eye. Hiding in the shadow of the crate full of magic tricks is another box, circular and small enough to fit in the palm of Yoongi’s hand. It’s ornate and beautifully made, the wooden exterior a deep blue color with decorative threads of what looks like real gold encasing it, twisting and swirling into patterns that resemble clouds, stars, a sun and a moon.

 

The lid is open, and in the middle of the box stands a little ballerina - or ballerino , based on the lack of a dress - with its arms raised above its head and its back arched, like it’s reaching for something above. Almost the entire figure is painted black with a few traces of white, and at first, Yoongi wonders if the other colors have merely faded, but when he picks up the box to better inspect it, he realizes the ballerina’s hair is a silver grey, its skin a pale peach.

 

“Oh, yes.” He looks up at his grandmother, whose eyes are focused on the box in his hands, a warm smile on her lips. “The music box,” she says softly. “It’s been a while since I’ve seen it.” Yoongi registers something odd in her gaze as she looks at the box, but she blinks and looks away before he can ask. “You want it, Yoonyoon?”

 

Surprised, Yoongi looks back down at the music box. “Uh,” he starts, turning it over in his hands to look at it from all angles before carefully closing the lid. “I don’t know? I mean, not really. Wouldn’t have much use for it.”

 

His grandmother emits a scoff at that and smacks his arm for the umpteenth time today, reproach knitting her brows into a frown. “You could use it to brighten up your boring-ass apartment, that’s what,” she tells him dryly, holding up a hand when he parts his lips to protest. “Don’t you try arguing with me, Min Yoongi, I know you have as much of a sense for interior design as a dog, all black and white and boring, so take it and put it on a shelf somewhere.

 

“Alright, alright, damn, I’ll take it,” Yoongi says loudly, making a show of putting the music box on top of his hoodie, which he’d taken off and tossed onto the floor halfway through their cleaning. “There, you happy?”

 

“Very,” his grandmother snorts ironically, though she really does look content. “I’m going back to my seat now. Namjoon-ah, bring the magic box to my study and make sure Taehyung doesn’t take anything out of it. And don’t drop it, I’ve already seen you almost break an old set of whiskey tumblers.”

 

“Yes, ma’am,” Namjoon says in a much too accurate imitation of Yoongi’s default response, smirking at Yoongi before shooing Taehyung away from the colorful box and closing it. He rolls his eyes at the boy’s dissatisfied pout and moves towards the stairs, taking great care with every step down the steep ladder, and both Yoongi and his grandmother sigh in relief when they hear him reach the floor without a crash.

 

Much to Yoongi’s surprise, they finish cleaning up the attic with a whole hour to spare before they even have to start getting ready to leave. He’s sweaty from carrying boxes and trash bags down to the front yard, across a total of three flights of stairs, but he’s satisfied with their work, nodding to himself with a huff when he sets down the last box. He claps his hands to dust them off and to regain the sensation in his fingers - that last box was heavy - and he takes a moment to catch his breath before going back inside the house, following the scent of his grandmother’s cooking.

 

“What are you gonna do with the furniture that’s still up there?” Namjoon is asking when Yoongi steps into the kitchen. “You’ve got two cabinets, a writing desk, a few rolled-up carpets and two chairs. Will you keep them or should we drive them somewhere to be sold off?”

 

“It’ll probably be the latter,” the old lady says absentmindedly, her focus on the bubbling pot of kkotgetang. “But we can leave that for when I’m back from my trip. As long as you boys take away the trash when you leave, I’ll be satisfied.” She looks up when Yoongi plops into his seat next to Taehyung. “Did you pack the music box?”

 

He resists the urge to roll his eyes; at this point, he’s almost surprised his grandmother hasn’t ordered him to send her pictures of the music box once he gets back home to Seoul. “Yes, halmeoni,” he says and reaches for his glass of water. “Wrapped my scarf around it and put it in my backpack. It’s perfectly safe.”

 

“Good,” she says promptly and nods in approval before turning back to her cooking, stirring the pot a few times before going over to the refrigerator to grab a few tupperware boxes full of side dishes and handing them to Namjoon. “Pass these around.” They finish setting the table just in time for the main course, and Yoongi can feel his stomach growling when he’s handed his bowl of stew. “Enjoy, boys,” his grandmother says with a warm grin. “You’ll be back to your shitty cup noodles by tonight, so take your time and eat slowly.”

 

They do end up eating slowly, but that’s mostly because Taehyung can’t stop interrupting them all with his endless supply of stories to tell about what his first months of university have been like, how exciting it is, how interesting studying art is, how one of his professors is a complete dick but his course is the best and so on and so forth. It ends with Yoongi’s grandmother having to bring up what she’d said about a muzzle earlier, and Namjoon laughs so hard he knocks over his half-full glass of water.

 

After dinner, they borrow Yoongi’s grandmother’s truck to take away the trash and bring the plastic boxes to a nearby charity foundation, where the owners will sell what they’ve brought and donate the profits to a children’s hospital. Yoongi calls a taxi on their way back, and the car is already waiting to take them to the train station when they return to his grandmother’s house.

 

“You boys have everything with you?” she asks while ushering them into the taxi, hugging them each in turn and pushing a small box of homemade rice cakes into their hands. “Have a safe trip home.” She leans forward when Yoongi rolls down his window to say a final goodbye. “Let me know when you’re home, Yoonyoon,” she says, reaching into the car to pinch his cheek when he nods. “Good. Do you have the music box?”

 

Yoongi really does roll his eyes this time. “Unless it’s grown legs of its own and crawled out of my bag,” he snorts, his brows knitting into a small frown. “Seriously, halmeoni, are you sure you’re okay with me taking it? You seem really attached to it.”

 

His grandmother smiles at that and hums as she pats his arm, gently. “Of course,” she hums, and there’s something so incredibly soft about her voice that it makes Yoongi’s eyes widen in surprise. “I’ll miss it, but I feel like you should have it. Plus,” she adds, the dryness back to her tone as she straightens up, “you’re a night-owl, so he’ll be much happier with you than with me.”

 

Yoongi’s frown only deepens at that, but before he can do more than repeat, “He?” in bewilderment, the taxi driver turns on the engines and they take off, and all Yoongi can do is wave at his grandmother before they disappear around the corner and out of sight. He leans back in his seat, unable to shake this weird feeling that he really shouldn’t have taken the music box away from his grandmother.

 

Then Taehyung kicks the back of his seat and loudly declares he wants to eat rice cakes, and all thoughts about the music box flies out of his head as he turns around to try and land a smack on the boy’s leg to get him to shut up.

 

They don’t get back to Seoul until half past 9PM. They share a cab from the train station to the university campus site, where Yoongi says goodnight to Taehyung and Namjoon; while they live at the dorms, Yoongi’s got an apartment just on the outskirts of it. It’s a small two-room flat that he can barely afford, but anything’s better than having to share an apartment with another human being. Yoongi enjoys his peace and quiet, thank you very much.

 

It doesn’t hit him how tired he is until he walks into his bedroom and slumps down on his bed, groaning into the sheets. He’s never been one for physical activities, so spending five and a half straight hours lifting things, moving more things, and cleaning even more things has left him completely drained. He considers for a moment to just close his eyes and fall asleep right on the spot, but then he remembers how sweaty he got carrying all those boxes and pushes himself up from the bed to go take a shower.

 

It’s past 10PM when he’s done freshening himself up. Yoongi hasn’t been tired this early in ages, so he just stands in his bedroom for a moment, wondering if he should go to sleep or remain true to his night-owl status, as his grandmother had said. “Ah, speaking of,” he mumbles to himself and goes to fetch his backpack, snorting when he unwraps the little music box from his scarf. “Alright, where do I put you…”

 

He settles for placing it on top of the small dresser standing opposite of his bed, and when he backs away a bit, his brows arch in pleasant surprise; the light from his nightstand lamp reflects nicely in the gold ornaments, making the stars glimmer against the dark blue background. Okay, so maybe his grandmother was right and the music box is a nice addition to his room, which, he realizes as he looks around, could probably use more color.

 

Yoongi snaps a quick picture of it and sends it to his grandmother along with a quick message of ‘took your precious baby home safely’ before tossing his phone onto the bed. He goes to fetch his laptop, figuring he can drift off to some random series on Netflix, but he pauses just as he’s about to sit down, his eyes going to the music box. “A music box,” he says quietly and steps up to his dresser, inclining his head as he opens the lid and searches for a way to get it to play something.

 

He finds a small winding key at the very back of it and carefully twists it a few times, pausing when the little ballerina trembles slightly where it stands. Yoongi spends ten whole seconds making sure the movement was just from the little dancer being wound up and not breakage, and then he turns the key a few more times before releasing it and taking a step back.

 

The melody starts slowly, an endearingly soft tune rising from the depths of the music box, and Yoongi somehow can’t fight the smile that graces his lips as he watches the ballerina start spinning slowly, its arms moving every few seconds, falling to its sides before going up again, then lowering one arm while keeping the other raised, then mirroring the movement before starting all over again.

 

By the time the melody fades away and the ballerina stops dancing, Yoongi’s so tired he moves his laptop onto the floor and slips in under his duvet, sighing contentedly as he curls up and closes his eyes, falling asleep not three minutes later.

 

-

 

When Yoongi sits down for lunch the next day, he realizes he’s never been so grateful for a full night’s sleep in all his life.

 

One of his professors had called him at 10AM and asked him to stop by his office before lunch, which in and of itself is already a form of blasphemy, seeing as Yoongi has taken great care to arrange his lectures in a way that ensures he never has to show up at school until after lunchtime. Then his professor had proceeded onto asking him to take part of a project to produce a list of tracks for one of the university’s affiliating music companies, which is a big fucking deal and a great opportunity, and of course Yoongi accepted it on the spot.

 

And so it's only when he sits down for lunch that he realizes he won’t be getting a wink of sleep for the month remaining until the deadline.

 

It’s not that the project is so urgent that Yoongi won’t have time to sleep. No, the problem lies with Yoongi himself; when he gets inspired, motivated, or simply caught up in his work, he chooses to put aside less important things, such as fresh air, sunlight, food, and sleep. He can already imagine how his upcoming weeks are going to look like, and so, as he shoves a spoonful of rice into his mouth, he sends a silent thanks to the music box on his dresser, without which he would’ve stayed up watching Netflix and missed the chance to sleep a full ten hours.

 

“Yoongi-hyung!” He startles at the loud voice right behind him and looks up from his food to frown at Namjoon, who almost tips over his bowl of kimchi jjigae in his hurry to sit down. “You’ll never guess what Professor Kim just asked me,” he says, dimpled grin out in full force and practically radiating excitement.

 

Yoongi lowers his spoon, his eyes widening; there can only be one reason for his best friend to be this worked up. “No shit,” he says slowly, feeling a wide grin take over his face. “You were asked to be on the music project too? For AOMG?”

 

“You too, hyung?” Namjoon’s smile looks like it’s threatening to split his face in half. “I should’ve known, Professor Kim would’ve been crazy not to include you,” he beams, so excited he can barely sit still. “You got any idea what kind of music they’re expecting?”


“No, Kim said we’re gonna get an email about the concept sometime today,” Yoongi says, tapping his phone, which he’s laid face up on the table so he can pick it up the very instant he gets an email notification. “But holy fuck, Namjoon, you have any idea what this is gonna do for us if we do a good job?”

 

Namjoon doesn’t get the chance to answer before someone plops down in the seat next to him and pokes at his arm. “Elbows off the table, Joonie,” Seokjin tells him firmly before leaning over and pecking him on the cheek. “If you ask me to have lunch with you, you’d better show me your best table manners.”

 

“Sorry, darling,” Namjoon says and sits up straight, turning his excited smile to his boyfriend instead. “I’m so happy you could come.”

 

“Can you two be any more married?” Yoongi turns to exchange an amused look with Hoseok, who’s taken the seat next to him. “Seriously, the lunch lady asked me to congratulate you two on your engagement last week,” he says with an over-exaggeratedly dramatic roll of his eyes. “I told her Jin was pregnant, and she actually believed me and asked me if it was a boy or a girl.”

 

Wha- oh my god, is that why she asked me how I’m gonna balance work and home just now?” Seokjin asks with an indignant look while Yoongi laughs into his hand, almost choking on his food. “What the hell, Hoseok? We're not engaged, and I’m a man, how would that even work?”

 

“Genders become obsolete when you’re as grossly in love as you two,” Hoseok sing-songs, scooting his chair out of range just in time to dodge the punch Jin aims at his arm. “You gonna take time off from the restaurant when the baby comes, hyung?”

 

“Oh yeah, for long enough to break a stove up your ass, you bastard,” Seokjin says snappishly before turning away with his nose in the air, aiming a quick glare at the still grinning Yoongi before addressing Namjoon. “You said you had something big to tell me. What’s up?”

 

The two music students share a look of barely contained excitement before Namjoon says, “Yoongi and I were asked to help produce a few tracks for AOMG, you know, the record label.”

 

Both Seokjin and Hosek stumble over their words in their hurry to congratulate them, their loud voices earning them several disapproving looks from their fellow students, but Yoongi really couldn’t care less at the moment. He’s smiling so wide it’s hurting his cheeks, laughing as he watches Jin smother Namjoon in hugs and kisses, and he doesn’t even protest when Hoseok hugs him and shakes him so hard he’s worried his head is gonna fall off.

 

“This is huge, you guys,” Seokjin coos when he’s managed to calm himself a little, though he’s still speaking quite loudly. “If you do a good job and they like what you give them, this could set you up for a job at that company!”

 

“Yeah, it could,” Namjoon says, nodding enthusiastically. “We still don’t know what kind of music they want us to produce, but I know AOMG focuses heavily on hip-hop, so it should be right up our area.” He has his phone in his hand, most likely refreshing his email app every five seconds just in case their instructions would’ve arrived. He doesn’t look up until Seokjin puts a hand on his shoulder and tell him to eat his food before it goes cold. “Where’s Taehyung, by the way?” he asks around a mouthful of stew.

 

“He’s having lunch with Jeongguk at his school,” Yoongi says, still unable to stop grinning. “Apparently, being away from that kid for 24 hours is too much to bear, so Taehyung-ah jumped on a bus the very second he got out of class.” He reaches for his phone, automatically checking his email before opening Kakao Talk. “I’ll let him know the good news.”

 

Barely two minutes pass before Yoongi’s phone goes off like crazy, a bombardment of messages flashing on his screen, ranging from heavy caps-lock congratulations to blurry selcas; Taehyung is apparently too excited to hold his phone still. Yoongi snorts as he flicks through the many pictures, a rapidfire series of peace-signs, fistpumps and just general spazzing out, and next to the hyperactive mess that is Taehyung, Yoongi can see a slightly alarmed-looking Jeongguk.

 

He holds up his phone and shows it to Namjoon. “I think Taehyung’s more excited than both of us combined,” he says and laughs along with the rest.

 

Half an hour later, Yoongi and Namjoon receive a lengthy email from their professor, listing the instructions and criteria of the tracks they are to produce, as well as a chunk of text about the project’s purposes. The two of them promptly forget all about Seokjin and Hoseok and fall into a deep discussion about how they should go about their task, from which they don’t resurface until lunch is over and they’ve missed the first half hour of their 1 o’clock lectures. With identical sheepish grins, they decide to take the rest of the day off from their studies and get to work on their project, and so they head to the studios with the unspoken intent of staying until security forces them to leave.

 

-

 

If there’s one thing everyone knows about Min Yoongi, it’s that he’s not an easy man to surprise. He has nerves of steel that repel sudden scares, a cool and calculating mind whose first reaction is always to assess rather than respond with shock. He’s quick to analyze, which, sure, means that his friends gave up on trying to plan surprise birthday parties for him many years ago, but it also means that if ever there’s a situation, any kind of situation, everyone knows that Min Yoongi is the best man to have around.

 

But when Yoongi steps through his front door at 2AM and finds a complete stranger perched in his favorite armchair with one of his favorite books in his lap, wearing his favorite hoodie, with a cup - his favorite cup - of tea steaming peacefully on the coffee table, well, suddenly all that calm logic and those nerves of steel go flying out the window, and Yoongi just stares.

 

The man - boy is more like it, what with his young face - looks perfectly at peace where he sits, his feet propped up on the very edge of the armchair, the book perched against his knees. He has one elbow braced against the armrest, his head resting comfortably in his small, open hand. Yoongi vaguely registers that the boy’s face is quite beautiful, with round cheeks and full lips and innocent eyes that are almost hidden under a heavy fringe of silvery blonde hair. For all the softness of his face, however, his jaw is strong and well-defined, and somehow, if it’s even possible, the many piercings in his ears give him an almost regal look.

 

Yoongi has never seen this boy in his entire life. He’s not a relative. He’s not a neighbor, either, nor is he a student, or at least Yoongi doesn’t think so; he’s fairly certain he’d remember someone as ethereally pretty as this intruder. He can’t be a friend of a friend, because no one within his circle of friends would be stupid enough to let someone into Min Yoongi’s apartment and then just leave him there without so much as a text message to Yoongi himself.

 

Yoongi’s beaten the living shit out of people for less, and everyone knows it.

 

His confusion takes an even deeper plunge when the stranger notices his presence and looks up, a bright smile gracing his lips as he says, “Hello,” in a cheerful tone before going back to reading his book. Yoongi’s book.

 

What.

 

It takes Yoongi’s brain a good while to catch up with what has got to be one of the most bizarre things that has ever happened to him in his life, and when it does, it's accompanied by anger and heavy, heavy irritation. “What the fuck?” he demands loudly, snapping the boy’s attention right back up. “Who are you? What are you doing in my apartment? Did you break in? Why are you wearing my clothes? And that’s my book.”

 

The boy blinks at him for a few seconds, looking genuinely surprised by Yoongi’s reaction, as if he hadn’t expected this kind of response for breaking and entering into someone else’s home. “I’m Park Jimin,” he says simply, his tone incredibly casual, as if he thinks that’s enough of an answer for all of Yoongi’s questions. When all he gets from Yoongi is an incredulous stare, he heaves a light sigh and adds, “You know, from the music box.”

 

“From the- huh?” Yoongi is so confused, so fucking confused. He has no idea what’s going on or who this Park Jimin is or why he’s in his apartment, and as he feels a headache creeping up on him, he kinda wants to lie down on the floor and pretend like he’s all alone and just sleep.

 

But no, he’s not allowed to do that, because the boy has the nerve to snort at him, the sound laced with bright amusement as he gestures towards Yoongi’s bedroom. “You left the lid open,” he says, once again spouting the most random shit he possibly can in a tone that suggests Yoongi should be able to understand him loud and clear. “But you weren’t here when I came out, so I just made myself at home.”

 

Yoongi reaches up and pinches the bridge of his nose in frustration, and he has to take a deep breath before he can trust himself to be able to speak at least somewhat calmly. “Look, listen, kid,” he says, his voice strained. “Park Jimin, was it?” He wants to throw something against the wall when the boy offers him another cheerful smile and nods, because no, this isn’t how one acts after committing a crime. “Right, Park Jimin. I don’t know who you are or where the fuck you came from or how you even got in here, and honestly, I’m too tired to give a shit, so-”

 

“You brought me here.”

 

For the second time in less than two minutes, Yoongi finds himself so confused he just wants to pretend none of this is happening and just pass out. The boy - Jimin - is blinking owlishly up at him, reciprocating none of Yoongi’s exhausted irritation; on the contrary, he seems downright perky, which is wrong for at least two reasons, one of them being that it’s 2 o'clock at night. The other might have something to do with the fact that oh yes, he’s committed a crime and really shouldn’t look so happy about it.

 

“I brought you here,” Yoongi echoes, at a complete and utter loss. “When the flying fuck did I do that?”

 

“You curse a lot,” Jimin points out without a trace of distaste in his voice. A simple statement. “You brought me here yesterday. Or, well,” he throws a glance at the small clock on Yoongi’s wall, which is showing a few minutes past 2AM, “the day before yesterday. You don’t remember?”

 

“I really fucking don’t, and I think I’d remember bringing a human being into my house,” Yoongi snaps, unable to keep his nerves under control. He has a headache pounding behind one eye now, he’s tired, he’s confused out of his mind, and this, this intruder with his sunny smile really isn’t helping. “Look, I’m too tired for this shit. If it was daytime, I’d call the police on you, or I’d kick your ass and then call the police, but I’ve been working for the past fourteen hours and I want to sleep and pretend this never happened, so can you just get the fuck out of my house and let me do that?”

 

Jimin takes ten whole seconds to answer, ten excruciatingly long seconds during which he does nothing but look at Yoongi, without even the slightest hint of fear or intimidation anywhere in his gaze. He looks at Yoongi with a softness to his eyes that partly makes Yoongi want to throw him out the window, while the other part wants to cower, to hide itself from that piercing look. What the fuck, Yoongi thinks, fighting the shudder that creeps up his spine. What the actual flying fuck is-

 

“No.” The feeling is gone as quickly as it came, leaving Yoongi to blink dumbly at the boy’s response, spoken in such a calm manner. “I can’t leave,” Jimin adds when he notices Yoongi’s reaction, as if that would clarify a single thing.

 

Yoongi contemplates punching himself in the face, just to have something to punch in the face. “And why the fuck not?” he asks through teeth gritted so hard the bones of his jaw creaks.

 

And Park fucking Jimin has the audacity to sigh, a smidgen of impatience finally finding its way into his chipper personality. “Alright,” he huffs and rises to his feet, carefully putting the book down onto the table before walking towards Yoongi’s bedroom as if he owns the place, as if he actually lives here. “I’ll show you.”

 

Yoongi is so utterly baffled, he doesn’t even protest when Jimin takes his hand and pulls him towards the bedroom.

 

Jimin stops in front of Yoongi’s dresser and raises a hand to point at the music box, and Yoongi’s eyes widen when he notices the little ballerina is gone. “What the fuck?” he asks, feeling a rush of panic rise in his chest; his grandmother is going to kill him if she finds out he’s broken the music box. “Where did- did you break it?”

 

The intruder’s cheerful expression morphs into one of shock, as if he’s never heard anything as terrible in all his life. “No,” he says loudly and fervently shakes his head. “Why would you think that?”

 

“Because the dancer thing is gone,” Yoongi retorts, his voice equally loud as he turns around to scan his room. “Fuck, where is it? Did it fall behind the dresser or-”

 

“Um.” Jimin releases his grip on Yoongi’s wrist and brings his hand up to place it against his shoulder instead to get his attention, and when Yoongi looks at him, he smiles that annoyingly bright smile of his. “I’m right here.”

 

Yoongi squints at him in frustrated bewilderment and barks out, “What?”

 

“I’m here,” Jimin repeats patiently, pointing from the music box to himself. “That little dancer? That’s me.”

 

What.

 

The fuck?

 

The first thought that passes through Yoongi’s head is a general wondering about what the punishment for manslaughter is these days. The second is that he should probably call the nearest mental hospital and ask if they’re missing a patient. The third and final one is the same he’s had twice in the past ten minutes, something about just wanting to go to sleep and pretend none of this is actually happening.

 

“What the actual fuck?” are the first words that find their way past his lips, and he must’ve spoken them in such a confused voice, because Park fucking Jimin’s smile turns sympathetic. “Don’t bullshit me, brat,” Yoongi says and detaches himself from the intruder’s grip. “I meant it when I said I’m too tired for this shit, so either you tell me what you’ve done to the dancer or I’ll make you tell me.”

 

Jimin looks utterly unaffected by the threat. On the contrary, he seems almost amused; he heaves a light sigh and shakes his head, smiling as if he thinks Yoongi is being adorable. He probably doesn’t mean to come across as patronizing, but Yoongi’s too worked up to care about any possible alternatives. Before he can raise his voice again, however, the boy grabs the hem of the hoodie he’s wearing - Yoongi’s hoodie - and pulls it up over his head.

 

Yoongi’s lips part to demand what the hell he’s doing, but his words catch in his throat, because his initial thoughts about Jimin being regally pretty resurface now, with more strength than before. The boy is wearing all black, a loose, billowing shirt that accents his narrow shoulders and falls over his chest in a way that shows he’s definitely not as delicate as one would believe upon first glance. His legs are covered by black, skin-tight leggings, a fact Yoongi definitely didn’t notice up until now. They fit snugly around his bottom and thighs and stretch all the way to the tips of his toes, cut open at the heel and toes to give his feet breathing room.

 

“Wind it up.”

 

The boy’s voice snaps Yoongi’s attention back up and he blinks dumbly for a few seconds, and as he watches Jimin roll his head to stretch his neck, he has to forcibly remind himself that he’s supposed to be quite pissed off at the moment. “What,” he begins, stopping to clear his throat and resummon his previous irritation, but when he parts his lips again, the only word he can think of is the one he already spoke. “What?”

 

The smile on Jimin’s lips is almost smug. Almost. “The music box,” he says slowly. “Wind the box up. Play the music.”

 

“What the-” There’s a smidgen of a teasing tone to the boy’s voice, so very small yet more than enough to pluck at the frail line that is Yoongi’s state of mind. “Why the fuck would I do that?” he snaps, feeling his headache steadily becoming more and more painful.

 

Jimin giggles, he actually giggles, bringing up a hand to muffle the sound before offering a stunned Yoongi an apologetic look. “Just do it,” he says brightly, “so I can prove to you who I am.”

 

“For fuck’s sake… fine.” Yoongi pretends like he can’t see the almost radiant smile on the intruder’s lips and reaches for the music box, taking a second or two to calm himself down a bit so he won’t accidentally put too much strength into his hands and break the ornament. He twists the winding key five times and holds the box up, glaring at Jimin when the soft music starts playing. “There, you happy?”

 

He regrets the question when Jimin nods, because dammit, he does look very happy. He lets his eyes flutter close and takes a deep breath, and as his chest expands from the inhale, he rises onto the tips of his toes and lifts his arms up over his head, his spine arching slightly. The atmosphere in the room changes instantly, and Yoongi’s eyes widen as he takes in the familiar posture. Like he’s reaching for something, he remembers himself thinking when first seeing the little ballerina in his grandmother’s attic.

 

“You remember the dance, right?” Jimin’s voice is soft and focused, and he doesn’t wait for Yoongi to answer before he moves, gracefully lowering his arms to his sides as if to embrace whatever it is he sees behind his closed eyes. He holds that pose for three beats of the music box’s melody before bringing his arms up again, then lowering only his left arm and holding, again for three beats, then raising his arm and repeating the process with his right.

 

Yoongi doesn’t quite know what to do other than just look, his full attention on the way the boy moves. He recognizes the dance, his movements an exact copy of the little ballerina’s, the short dance that had made Yoongi smile last night, and when his eyes trail over Jimin’s front, he realizes he recognizes a few other things as well. Silvery grey hair contrasting against the black of his clothes, so light it had made Yoongi wonder if the colors had faded with time, and skin a pale peach.

 

Jimin repeats the short routine one more time before cracking his eyes open and looking at Yoongi, flashing him a toothy smile before rocking back down onto his heels, lowering his arms and clasping his hands behind his back. “Well?” he muses, leaning forward a bit to get a better look at Yoongi’s shocked expression. “You believe me now?”

 

“What the hell,” Yoongi breathes, staring at the boy with what’s probably a comically confused expression, eyes wide, brows knitted and lips parted in silent shock. It’s absolutely ridiculous, the idea that this intruder is the little ballerina from the music box Yoongi’s currently clutching onto quite hard, his fingers gripping the ornament tightly. It’s ridiculous, it’s impossible, actually. It’s so fucking ridiculous that Yoongi wants to laugh.

 

But for some reason, he doesn’t laugh. He doesn’t, and no matter how much he wants to deny it, no matter how much he wants to believe that it can’t be true, there’s a part of him that has already accepted it. It’s the same part that watched the boy’s short dance with rapt attention, the part that instantly connected his ethereal beauty to that of the music box ballerina’s. The part that thinks the boy’s smile could light up the night sky.

 

Before Yoongi can recover from the groundbreaking shock of this information, Jimin clears his throat and pins him under another one of his chipper smiles. “Right, so,” he says promptly, emitting another one of his little giggles when Yoongi just blinks at him. “From the top; my name is Park Jimin. I was born in Busan in the late 1930s, though back then it was known as Fusan, you know, when Korea was still ruled by the Japanese.”

 

All Yoongi does is stare, but the boy doesn’t seem to mind his complete lack of responses or reactions at all. “I got myself trapped in that music box when I was twenty-two years old,” he says and points at the ornament in Yoongi’s hand. “I was looking for something, I still am, and I had a friend of mine bind me to the box so I wouldn’t age and die until I’ve found it. It’s not a big deal, really, could happen to anyone.” He giggles at his own words. “I come to life every day at midnight, provided that the music box’s lid is left open, and I can move around however I want until the sun comes up. Then it’s back to the box for me.”

 

Slowly, the gears in Yoongi’s head start turning again, doing their best to process the information he’s being fed by this boy who’s actually not a boy at all, but around eighty years old, almost as old as his grandmother. An eighty year-old man with the face and body of a twenty year-old boy. Okay. A boy born before Korea was even Korea, magically and apparently eternally bound to a music box. Right. A boy who can only materialize in the middle of the night. Sure.

 

… Actually, no.

 

“Yeah, okay, no, what the fuck?” Yoongi demands when he finally snaps out of his daze, his voice louder than intended. He shoves the music box back onto the dresser and rounds on Jimin, who’s got that goddamn look of mild curiosity on his face. “Okay, what the fuck is this? You’re telling me you got yourself bound to a music box, that you’re a tiny little wooden toy by day and an actual human being by night? You- I found that music box in my grandmother’s attic! Does she know you exist?!”

 

“I think you should calm down a little,” Jimin says carefully, raising his hands as if in surrender, but Yoongi shakes his head and jabs a finger at the boy.

 

“No, I don’t fucking think so!” he almost shouts, too freaked out to be able to maintain whatever poor control he’d had on his emotions. “This is fucked up! This is really fucking fucked up, how can you be so calm about this? What, you think it’s normal for shit like this to happen? Jesus fuck, I come home from the studio and a kid who’s actually like a hundred years old tells me I brought him here in a music box and that he only comes alive at night, what the hell?!”

 

“Why are you so upset?” Jimin asks, and his tone is so genuinely curious that Yoongi almost forgets to be upset. Almost. He’s so close to letting it go, but then the boy continues speaking and says, “You didn’t seem to mind me being here last night.”

 

Yoongi blinks once, twice, and then a third time. “Last… what?” he croaks, his voice suddenly void of all its previous strength.

 

“Yeah, I mean, I told you you left the lid open,” Jimin says slowly, raising a hand to rub at the back of his neck, suddenly looking a bit concerned, and Yoongi absentmindedly wonders if it’s because he’s worried about Yoongi, or worried about whether or not he should actually be saying these words. “I was out last night. I even waved at you when you went to the bathroom sometime around 4AM, but I guess you were too tired to notice.”

 

He rolls his shoulders in a shrug, completely impervious to Yoongi’s shellshocked stare. “Anyway,” Jimin huffs, “I was here and you didn’t seem to care, so what’s the big deal now?”

 

The silence that follows is definitely the longest one yet, during which not a single coherent thought passes Yoongi’s head. All he can do is stare at the boy, and when he finally catches up with what he’s just heard, he closes his eyes, raises a hand and pinches the bridge of nose, hissing as he feels the dull throb of his headache against his temple. “What the fuck,” he mutters under his breath, so utterly done with everything that’s happened since the very second he stepped through his front door.

 

Jimin doesn’t make an attempt to break the silence this time. He rocks back and forth on the balls of his feet, quietly humming the tune of the music box, and again, Yoongi has to put actual effort into keeping his anger alive. He could very easily let it go, he realizes, but it wouldn’t be right, since he’s 100% justified in being frustrated, irritated, exasperated, every single adjective in the book that has to do with anger. And he's freaked the fuck out, because apparently this boy had been in his apartment when he was having the best night’s sleep he’d had in years.

 

Almost two whole minutes have passed when Yoongi comes to a decision. He lowers his hand from his face and fixates Jimin with a cold glare and clenches his jaw when the boy meets his eyes with innocent curiosity. “Alright, look,” Yoongi says, impressed with himself for speaking so calmly. “I want you out of here.”

 

“Huh?”

 

The first hint of fear appears in Jimin’s eyes, so miniscule Yoongi barely catches it. He does catch it, but he pretends not to, gritting his teeth and swallowing before raising his voice again. “You heard me,” he snaps, folding his arms over his chest. “Take that music box with you and get out. This is too fucking weird for me. I don’t want anything to do with this shit.”

 

Jimin parts his lips and closes them again, his eyes flickering from Yoongi to the music box and back, and Yoongi can see his jaw clench as if he’s chewing on his words. He suddenly looks a lot smaller than before, the lack of his previous cheerfulness making Yoongi’s heart clench uncomfortably. “I-I can’t,” Jimin says quietly. “I can’t touch it.”

 

Yoongi’s frown deepens. “You what?”

 

“I can’t touch the music box,” the boy clarifies, now looking so nervous it takes quite a lot of conscious effort for Yoongi to not just tell him he can stay, simply for the sake of seeing the brightness return to Jimin’s features. “Not when I’m outside of it.”

 

“That doesn’t explain anything,” Yoongi presses out, his teeth gritted to keep himself from saying or doing something stupid. “The fuck do you mean, you can’t touch it?”

 

Jimin just looks at him for a few seconds, his teeth worrying his lower lip as he seems to think about how to best phrase his words. He seems to decide against explaining it, however, because all he says is a quick, “This,” before reaching out to the music box.

 

The very second his fingers touch the ornament, there’s a sharp sound like a crack of lightning, accompanied by a bright flash of light, causing Yoongi to flinch in shock, almost stumbling over his own feet in his hurry to take a step back. Jimin recoils quickly, withdrawing his hand and clutching his wrist with his other, a hiss finding its way past his gritted teeth.

 

“Fucking shit, what-” Yoongi’s eyes widen when he recovers from his shock and notices the boy’s state, and he reaches out before he can stop himself, his fingers closing around Jimin’s wrist, trapping the boy’s hand under his own. “Holy shit,” he exclaims, taking in the sight of the slightly blackened fingertips. “Are you okay?”

 

Jimin emits a strained sound, something between a groan and a chuckle. “Ah, I forgot how much that hurts,” he says quietly, wincing as he straightens his fingers, but the smile is back on his lips when he looks up at Yoongi. “I’m fine, this’ll go away in a little bi- whoa!”

 

Without waiting for him to finish his sentence, Yoongi tightens his grip on his hand and drags him out of the bedroom and towards the kitchen, ignoring the boy’s startled protests. He opens the tap and adjusts the water to a proper cool temperature before bringing Jimin’s hand under the stream, simultaneously tugging the boy almost flush against his chest. “Why the fuck did you touch it if you knew that was gonna happen?” Yoongi demands loudly, glaring at his reddening skin.

 

“Y-you kept asking,” Jimin squeaks, a slight stutter in his voice as he stares at Yoongi with wide eyes.

 

“So then explain, for fuck’s sake,” Yoongi barks, tearing his eyes off Jimin’s hand to glare at the boy himself, too caught up in his sudden worry to notice their proximity. “Don’t purposely hurt yourself, you absolute dumbass!”

 

Jimin looks as shellshocked as Yoongi felt not two minutes ago, blinking at him, his lips parting and closing as if he has no idea what he should do or say. “O-okay,” he manages at last, his voice thin. “I’m sorry.”

 

Yoongi scoffs at his apology and turns back to look at his hand, moving his own to press a thumb against the palm of Jimin’s hand to coax him to open it more and let the current of water hit the irritated skin directly. His scowl smoothens out a bit when he hears Jimin’s sharp intake of air. “Why can’t you touch it?” Yoongi asks after a few seconds of silence, his voice lacking almost all of its previous irritation.

 

“You just saw-”

 

“Park fucking Jimin.”

 

“Alright, alright.” The boy giggles, and Yoongi finds himself feeling an unfamiliar sense of content when he glances at Jimin and sees the bright smile has returned to his lips. “You’re so serious,” he croons, shaking his head when Yoongi’s eyes narrow in warning. “Okay. It’s a safety measure. For myself.”

 

Yoongi grimaces at that. “How the hell is that a safety measure?” he asks dryly.

 

“In case I’d decide to kill myself.”

 

The answer is spoken so incredibly casually, it takes Yoongi a moment to even realize what he’d just heard. When he does, his eyes widen and he turns his head to face Jimin so quickly, the muscles of his neck twinge in protest. “What the fuck?” is the most intelligent reaction he can come up with.

 

Jimin emits another bright. “Shocking, isn’t it?” he asks, sounding way too chipper for someone who just uttered such severe words. “I looked like that when I first heard it, too.” His smile softens and he lowers his eyes. “It’s a reasonable thing, though. I mean, I’m sort of immortal, right, and I will be until I find what I’m looking for. But the lady who bound me to the box figured I was gonna lose hope somewhere down the road and get so sad I’d just want to end it all.”

 

There’s a brief silence, only two seconds long, but in those two seconds, Yoongi catches himself wanting to comfort the boy somehow; it’s not that he sounds particularly sad, but he speaks the words as if he acknowledges the frightening truth behind them. As if he agrees that it could’ve been a possibility.

 

“This was her way of making sure it can’t happen,” Jimin continues, heaving a light sigh as he looks at his hand, flexing it in Yoongi’s grip. “I can only die if the music box is destroyed, so just in case, she made it so that I can’t touch it.”

 

For several seconds, all Yoongi can do is look at him. There are several things he wants to ask of the boy, everything from why he’s trapped in a music box to begin with to why on earth he would trust Yoongi with such a crucial piece of information about his alleged immortality and how to break it. He has no idea what he should feel, how he should react, and in the end, all he says is, “That’s kinda fucked up, Park Jimin.”

 

Jimin bursts out laughing, a bright, breathy sound, and Yoongi’s chest fills with a buzzing sensation, his eyes widening a fraction as he watches the boy’s eyes crinkle into little crescents in his glee. “That’s exactly what I told her!” Jimin says when he sobers up enough to speak. “And she smacked me up the head and told me to mind my language.”

 

Yoongi hears himself chuckle and quickly covers the sound up by clearing his throat, quickly turning away from Jimin to look at his hand. He realizes the black marks have faded and figures the boy should be good to stop rinsing his hand now, but Yoongi doesn’t immediately let him go. He’s a human being, he thinks, the ghost of a frown marring his brow as he traces his thumb along the palm of Jimin’s hand. But only for a few hours every day.

 

If Jimin finds the contact weird, he doesn’t say anything. They stand in silence for a moment, the only sound the running of the water, and Yoongi has no idea how long has passed before he finally catches himself rubbing small circles into the boy’s hand. He quickly lets go and closes the tap, avoiding Jimin’s gaze in favor of looking for a towel he can use to dry off his hand. “Does it feel better?” he asks quietly and tosses the small kitchen towel at the boy before shuffling out of the kitchen.

 

“Yeah, I feel fine,” Jimin chirps, dabbing at his hand before stretching his fingers and smiling. “Thank you. You’re really kind.”

 

Yoongi almost does a double take at that, snorting before he can stop himself; it’s like the boy has forgotten that Yoongi was almost screaming profanities at him up until five minutes ago. “Right,” he says, unable to keep the dry amusement out of his voice. “Sure.” He walks halfway to his bedroom before stopping dead in his tracks, wondering what exactly he should do now. “Uh-”

 

“Do you want me to leave?”


The question makes him turn around, eyebrows raised in surprise, and the words tumble easily from his mouth. “What, no, of course not,” he says, and only when Jimin’s face lights up with the most radiant smile so far does Yoongi realize that his mood has done a complete 180 degree turn. His previous anger is long gone, his irritation has dissipated, and he can’t even remember why he’d decided to throw the boy out in the first place.

 

Even his headache is almost gone.

 

“Holy shit, thank god!” Jimin exclaims and surges forward, throwing his arms around Yoongi’s neck and pulling him into a bone-crushing hug, completely ignoring his shocked protests. “I was really freaked out when I woke up in a strange apartment last night and I saw you and you didn’t seem like a bad person so I just rolled with it, but then you told me to leave and I thought you were serious, and-”

 

“Yah, c-can you calm down for a second?” Yoongi interrupts and squirms his way out of Jimin’s embrace, fighting off a shudder; he’s never been one for physical contact, even amongst friends, but the goosebumps that break out across are definitely not from discomfort this time. Fuck. “There are a bunch of things we need to talk about here,” he says stiffly. “Like, a fuckton of things, starting with, uh, well,” his voice trails off and he awkwardly raises his right hand towards Jimin. “I’m Min Yoongi.”

 

The boy’s smile is almost endearing, and he giggles softly as he takes Yoongi’s hand, his small hand fitting comfortably in Yoongi’s. “I know,” he says, grinning when Yoongi frowns, and he turns to gesture at the coffee table by the armchair, where a small pile of the past week’s newspapers are stacked neatly. “I wanted to catch up with the world a little, and all the papers were addressed to a Min Yoongi, so, you know, I figured.”

 

“Right, okay.” Yoongi nods to himself and looks from the papers to Jimin, and only when the boy inclines his head in a curious manner does he realize they’re still holding hands. “Right,” he says again and quickly lets go, bringing his hand up to rub at his neck. “Uh, so… so how does this work, really? You just… come to life every day at midnight?”

 

Jimin nods. “As long as the lid’s open.”

 

“What if it’s not?” Yoongi asks, quirking a brow.

 

The boy purses his lips and adapts an expression of thoughtfulness. “Then I’m trapped in the box until someone opens it,” he says, offering Yoongi a lopsided smile. “Doesn’t sound too great, does it? I mean, I’m not conscious at all when I’m in the box, I have no idea what’s going on around me, so someone could close the lid and let years go past and I wouldn’t notice until I’m let out again.”

 

Yoongi’s face must’ve taken on a quite disturbed expression, because Jimin quickly raises his hands and waves them frantically as if to shoo away Yoongi’s concerns. “Don’t worry, that has never happened,” he tells him firmly, his smile reassuring. “I mean, on some occasions, it’s been unavoidable for me to be stuck for a couple of days, like if the box had to be carried in a bag or packed away for moving or something. But never longer!”

 

“Right,” Yoongi says for the third time in two minutes, his brain too ridiculously confused by the situation to provide him with any other ways to respond. “Uh, well… this is weird. Since you’re staying here, we’re basically gonna be living together.”

 

“Well yeah, but just barely,” Jimin hums, rocking back and forth where he stands for a few seconds before turning on the heel and walking over to the armchair and plopping down into the seat, smiling as he motions for Yoongi to sit down on the couch. As if he owns the place. “You’ll probably be sleeping whenever I’m awake,” he curls his fingers in quotation marks, “so I shouldn’t get in your way much. I could really use a key, though. I’ll be going out a lot, since I am looking for something.”

 

Yoongi just stands there for a moment, contemplating whether or not he should yell at the kid for acting so at home, but in the end, he really is too tired for that shit, so he just moves over to the couch and sits down. “You mentioned that before,” he says slowly. “What is it you’re looking for?”

 

Dimly, Yoongi wonders how a person’s smile can have so many different tones. The small curl of Jimin’s lips is patient, kind, and apologetic all at once, and it really shouldn’t be possible. “I can’t tell you that,” the boy says casually and rolls his shoulders in a shrug.

 

Yoongi nods, not at all irritated by Jimin’s words; it’s a pretty personal question to ask, he figures, seeing as the boy had actually gotten himself bound to a music box to find whatever it is he’s looking for. “Okay,” he says and is about to ask something entirely else when Jimin leans forward, an innocent look on his face.

 

“It’s not that I don’t want to tell you, Yoongi-hyung,” he says kindly, “but I literally can’t. It’s part of the whole,” he gestures vaguely towards himself, “bound-to-a-music-box thing. I have no idea how it works. I’m thinking about the answer right now, I’ve got the words in my head, but I can’t say it.” He heaves a light sigh and leans back into the chair, taking a moment to drag his teeth across his bottom lip. “It’s probably to stop others from helping me find it,” he mumbles.

 

His explanation makes Yoongi scoff, a wry smirk tugging at the corner of his lips. “The fuck kind of shady-ass magic did you get yourself into if you can’t even talk properly?” he asks, grinning when Jimin puffs out his cheeks in an expression of feigned offense.

 

“Hey, I can too talk properly!” the boy protests. “And it wasn’t shady, the lady who did it was very nice and supportive.”

 

“Right, before putting you on some kind of suicide watch and tongue-twisting you for all eternity.”

 

“Well, yeah, if you phrase it like that…”

 

Yoongi emits a bark of laughter before he can stop himself, which in turn prompts Jimin to do the same, and so they just sit there, in Yoongi’s living room at half past 2AM, laughing at something as bizarre as the thought of being magically bound to a music box. Yoongi’s surprised with himself, surprised that he’s in such a non-angry mood, considering he’d been ready to throw the intruder out his window not that long ago.

 

He simply looks at Jimin for a few seconds, wondering what on earth it is about him that makes Yoongi feel comfortable, or at least comfortable enough to even consider actually letting him stay. Yoongi would compare him to a stray cat if the boy wasn’t so utterly defenseless in his mannerisms, so open and straightforward while simultaneously portraying an immense amount of fearlessness. And he’s so happy, like damn, Yoongi has never seen a human being so overwhelmingly bright, like an embodiment of sunlight, and that’s saying a lot, considering Taehyung and Hoseok are two of Yoongi’s closest friends.

 

The two of them end up talking through the night, with Yoongi firing question after question at the boy, who's more than happy to reply to every single one of them. Yoongi learns that Jimin was a dancer already before ending up in the music box, having had a passion for it ever since he saw a ballet performance when he was four years old. He learns that Jimin’s parents died before he got himself stuck in the music box, and that he was an only child, so he hasn’t lost any siblings during his extended lifespan. He learns that Jimin’s favorite food is fried chicken, but that he doesn’t eat it very often. In fact, Jimin doesn’t eat very often at all, he tells Yoongi, because he doesn’t need to; his hunger resets every time he goes back to the music box, so he doesn’t need to eat or drink. Jimin tells him about how the first movie he ever saw was one of the very first screenings of the Wizard of Oz, and that it’s still his favorite movie, even though he likes the Avengers a lot, too.

 

Yoongi learns that despite his circumstances, Jimin is as normal as normal can be.


They talk until Yoongi falls asleep, sprawled out on the couch, and when he wakes up to the blearing of his alarm, Jimin is gone and the little ballerina is back in the music box.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

“Dude, you look like you haven’t slept at all.”

 

Yoongi blinks up at Namjoon, squinting slightly at the sunlight that floods in through the open studio door. “Yeah,” he mutters, his voice raspy from disuse; apart from ordering coffee at the university cafeteria two hours ago, Yoongi hadn’t said a word to anyone all day. “Yeah, no, I didn’t get much sleep.”

 

“Did the project keep you up?” Namjoon asks as he sheds his jacket and tosses it over the chair next to Yoongi’s.

 

For a moment, Yoongi considers telling his best friend about what happened during the night. About Jimin. About what he’d seen, what he’d heard, what he’d learned from the dancer. Yoongi kinda wants to talk about it, which is a weird fact in and of itself, since Yoongi barely ever wants to talk about anything personal, but at the same time, he really doesn’t. There’s a part of him that thinks everything that happened last night was a dream, a really bizarre dream caused by his several hours of overwork at the studio, and so he settles for the latter and nods his head, though he doesn’t quite meet Namjoon’s curious gaze. “Project,” he huffs and rubs at his face. “Right. Uh, kept going in circles about what concept the lyrics should focus on.”

 

“Ah, yeah, I got stuck on that, too,” Namjoon says and leans back in his chair, carefully balancing on the hind legs. “Lyrics are fairly easy when they draw on your own life experience and emotions, but I don’t know if that’s what they want.” He takes a moment to think, staring up into the ceiling. “I mean, yeah, there are several themes we could follow, something about the societal pressure youth has to deal with nowadays, how we’re all pushed to live a certain way, but do you think that’d be considered, I don’t know, taboo?”

 

Yoongi hums in response, only half listening as he stares at his screen without really seeing what’s written in the several documents he’s got running. Instead, his thoughts drift to the music box on his dresser and the little ballerina and the little ballerina’s not so little human counterpart. He’s been battling with himself all afternoon, trying to come to a conclusion about whether or not it was a dream, or if it really happened.

 

The uncertainty makes him feel restless, his heel tapping against the floor in quick succession, his fingers fiddling with a pencil as he stares at nothing. He wants to go home, he wants to check, but if the night’s events were real and everything Jimin had told him is true, then Yoongi wouldn’t be able to clarify anything by returning to his apartment, seeing as how the dancer won't come to life until midnight.

 

He’s jarred out of his thoughts when Namjoon suddenly snaps his fingers right in front of Yoongi’s eyes, causing him to emit a startled sound and recoil in his seat. “What the fuck?” he demands, turning to glare at his friend.

 

“That’s my line,” Namjoon snorts, brows knitted in what Yoongi can only interpret as concern. “I asked you a question like two minutes ago and you still haven’t responded.” He inclines his head slightly, the worry becoming more obvious. “Are you okay, Yoongi?”

 

“Yeah, I just…” Yoongi heaves a deep sigh and takes a moment to try and rearrange his thoughts, to make any sort of sense of them. “I guess I’m a bit caught off guard by this,” he mumbles after a few seconds of silence. “It’s a lot to take in.”

 

He purposely phrases his words vaguely, mostly because he doesn’t want to lie to Namjoon; they’ve been best friends for years, so while he doesn’t want to tell him about Jimin, he doesn’t want to lie to his face either. Thus he settles for explaining his current state of mind in a way that could just as well be in reference to their project, and Namjoon accepts it with an understanding nod.

 

“I’m with you on that one,” he says and leans back in his chair, chuckling when he pulls out his laptop. “Jin almost choked me with a mouthful of bibimbap when I wouldn’t stop talking about our ideas for long enough to actually eat my food.”

 

Yoongi chuckles at that, shaking his head at his friend’s hopelessness. Not that he’s any better himself; while Namjoon had gone home at a reasonable time yesterday, sometime around 10PM, Yoongi had stayed behind until half past one in the morning, going over concepts and ideas and researching AOMG’s past projects and albums.

 

And then he’d gone home and gotten mindfucked by a magical music box ballerina.

 

With a frustrated groan, Yoongi pushes himself out of his chair and stretches his arms over his head, grimacing at the slight crackle in his joints. “I’ve got class in ten minutes,” he huffs and starts gathering his things. He has half a mind to skip the three-hour lecture, but he already did that yesterday and he doesn’t want his attendance to be affected simply because he’s distracted by the thought of ballerinas and cheerful little smiles. “Will you be here after five?”

 

“Yes, sir,” Namjoon says absentmindedly, already lost in concentration as he fiddles with his laptop. “Jin’s stopping by to drag me out of here around eight, but up until then, I’m not moving from this chair.”

 

Yoongi leaves him like that and leaves the studios to walk the short distance to the faculty where he’s supposed to endure a boring-ass lecture about music technology. The subject itself is extremely interesting and educational as hell, but the professor in charge of teaching it has an almost otherworldly gift at making it sound as dull as humanly possible, droning on in a monotonous voice that never fails to make Yoongi’s eyelids grow heavy. He might’ve been more successful in staying awake if Namjoon had sat through the lectures with him, but unlike Yoongi, Namjoon doesn’t have any trouble getting out of bed before noon, which means he gets to enjoy the lecture with another professor, a much better professor, at 9AM on Mondays and Tuesdays.

 

There are still a few minutes before Yoongi has to take a seat in the classroom, and he uses that opportunity to fish up his phone from his pocket and dial his grandmother’s number for the fourth time today. He knows she’s already left for her trip and that she probably didn’t even take her phone with her, but Yoongi needs to ask her how much she knows, if she can explain the music box from an outsider’s perspective.

 

He sighs when the call goes to voicemail and shoves his phone back into his pocket, glaring at the wall in front of him and causing two younger students to quickly scurry past him on their way to another classroom, throwing worried glances at him as if they believe he’s scowling at them. He pays them no heed and just keeps staring at the wall as if it holds all the answers to the countless questions still racing through his mind, though when his professor arrives and he has to take a seat and listen, every single one of those questions go unanswered, leaving him even more on edge than before.

 

The rest of the day passes in something of a blur, with Yoongi forcing himself to concentrate on his work and stopping himself short whenever he catches himself thinking about the music box. He has more important things to worry about, he tells himself, which is actually true, considering the impact the AOMG project can have on his future, but it’s difficult to keep that in mind when he’s been exposed to a literal form of magic barely twelve hours ago.

 

He and Namjoon succeed in getting some work done at the studio, narrowing down their choices of theme from nine to four and marking one of them as a definite choice. They argue a bit over lyrics and instruments, but settle on pushing that topic out of the way until it actually becomes relevant, when they actually have something to present to each other.

 

Just like Namjoon had said, Seokjin shows up a bit before 8PM, barging into the studio and announcing that, “Joonie will be leaving now, unless he wants to go the next two months without his boyfriend’s delicious food,” and Namjoon is quick to comply. Yoongi snorts and shakes his head at the two, though he does offer Jin one of his rare smiles when the chef pulls out a tupperware box and hands it to Yoongi with a strict, “Remember to eat, Yoongi, or I’ll have Namjoon force feed you tomorrow.”

 

He waves them off and turns back to his screen once their loud voices have disappeared behind the heavy door, chuckling to himself as he pops open the box and finds a colorful assortment of kimbap. “Thanks, hyung,” he says quietly and sets it aside, sporadically reaching for one of them as he goes about his work.

 

He manages to hold his concentration for three more hours, but when the clock on the wall hits quarter past 11PM, he catches himself typing i wonder how he becomes human on his computer rather than anything actually related to the project. With a scoff, he erases the words and saves the document before powering down the computers and collecting his things, making a mental note to wash Seokjin’s box and return it to Namjoon tomorrow. He turns off the lights and locks up behind himself, and he walks a bit faster than usual as he makes his way out of the university.

 

He’s slightly out of breath by the time he reaches his apartment, not because it’s a long walk from the studio to his building, but because he was half-running the entire way here. He’s not quite sure why, either; it’s only twenty to midnight, he would’ve had all the time in the world to walk at a normal pace.

 

Yoongi hesitates slightly when he reaches the door to his apartment, hovering the keys just shy of the lock. He feels nervous all of a sudden, his heart beating faster than normal, and he can’t quite pinpoint the source of it. Perhaps he’s nervous to find out whether or not Jimin actually is real or if it had all been a weird dream. Perhaps he’s nervous to see the dancer again, to see if he’s still the same or if he’s changed somehow. Perhaps he’s anxious to see the boy’s sunshine smiles again.

 

Perhaps it’s all of those reasons or none of them. Yoongi doesn’t know, so all he can do is take a deep breath and open his door.

 

His apartment is dark and silent, showing no signs of life whatsoever. 11:42PM, Yoongi’s phone reads when he steps into his living room, having discarded his shoes and jacket in the hallway, not quite bothering to put them away properly. He stares at his bedroom door, flipping his phone around in his hand while he tries to think of something, anything he could do to pass the time. His mind is drawing a complete blank, however, and so he ends up just standing there for three whole minutes, during which not a single coherent thought pops into his head.

 

When he snaps himself out of his daze, he curses quietly under his breath before turning away from his bedroom and going to his kitchen to pour himself a glass of water. Calm down, he tells himself, pressing a hand down over his chest and grimacing at the speed of his heartbeat. Calm the fuck down, Min Yoongi, this isn’t the fucking end of the world.

 

In the end, he can’t think of anything to do. Absolutely nothing at all. So he ends up sitting on the edge of his bed directly in front of his dresser and the music box, and he just stares at it. He’s vaguely aware of his own breathing and his eyes hurt when he goes too long without blinking, and he starts counting down seconds when there’s still five whole minutes to go.

 

Every tick of his nightstand clock seems to be slower than the last, and Yoongi wants to turn around and glare at the clock and make sure it’s not actually broken, but that would mean taking his eyes off the music box and there’s no way in hell he’s going to do that. It doesn’t matter if there’s still three minutes left to midnight, he’s not going to risk missing the transformation. Or lack thereof, his brain unhelpfully supplies.

 

His palms are sweaty and he rubs them against his jeans. Two more minutes.

 

He leans forward and props his elbows up on his knees, entwining his fingers and pressing them against his chin. Fifty-eight seconds.

 

Yoongi wonders if he should scoot back on the bed. He has no idea how much space the dancer will need, what kind of transformation it’ll be, if he’ll fall forward or keep his balance, if there will be a flash of light or a pulse or whatever kind of bullshit CGI you always see in movies.

 

Ten seconds.

 

He holds his breath without even realizing it, unblinking even though it makes his eyes sting, and he loses count somewhere amongst the final seconds, the whole world going completely silent in his ears.

 

There is no flash of light or magical sparks or impressive effects. As the clock strikes midnight, the little ballerina quivers slightly and begins to simply disappear, the outlines of its body becoming blurry and then nonexistent, and as it fades, Jimin materializes right in front of Yoongi, appearing out of thin air like a ghost, his transparent body holding the same pose as the ballerina, his arms raised over his head and his spine arched beautifully.

 

Like he’s reaching for something, Yoongi catches himself thinking amidst his shellshocked awe.

 

It takes a few seconds before the little dancer disappears completely and Jimin’s body becomes compact. Human. His eyes are closed and he stands perfectly still until the very last of his cells materializes, and then he takes a breath, the little gasp echoing in the quiet room. His eyes flutter open and he lowers his hands, and when he looks at Yoongi, the smile that graces his lips is nothing short of angelic.

 

“Hi, hyung,” he says brightly, and Yoongi can finally breathe again. “Were you waiting for me?”

 

It takes Yoongi several seconds before he finds his voice, simply staring at the dancer with eyes the size of saucers. He parts his lips and closes them again, looking like a fish out of water until Jimin inclines his head curiously, leaning forward to lower himself to Yoongi’s eye level. When Yoongi still can’t form a single word, the boy grins and blows a puff of air directly into Yoongi’s face, causing him to recoil with a startled, indignant yelp.

 

“What the fuck, Park Jimin?” he barks, rubbing at his nose and glaring daggers at the laughing dancer. “That’s not funny!”

 

“Oh, trust me, it was,” Jimin manages in between fits of laughter. “You were frozen solid, I don’t even think you were breathing!” He’s doubled over from laughing so hard, clutching his sides, and Yoongi feels his irritation slip away easily, vanishing to make room for a mix of other emotions, such as awe, relief, contentedness and, undoubtedly, joy. “Ahh, you should’ve seen your face, Yoongi-hyung.”

 

“Yeah, well,” he scoffs and stands up from his bed, crossing his arms over his chest. “It’s not everyday I get to see actual magic happening before my eyes.”

 

When Jimin finally straightens up again, his cheeks are dusted with a pretty pink color from laughing so hard, and his voice is breathless when he speaks. “Fair enough,” he says, using the sleeve of his shirt to dab at the corners of his eyes. “Seriously though, that was probably the best awakening I’ve ever had.”

 

He beams at Yoongi, who simply nods his head in return, his neck stiff from awkwardness; now that Jimin is here again, Yoongi has absolutely no idea what to do. He didn’t quite think this far; being so preoccupied with wondering whether or not the dancer was actually real hadn’t left much room to consider what they would do next.

 

Jimin had mentioned yesterday how Yoongi wouldn’t really even notice he was there, something about the dancer spending most of his time outside, looking for whatever it was he was looking for. He had also mentioned needing a key so he could come and go during the night, and so Yoongi figures he should probably lead with that and then leave the boy to go do his searching.

 

His mouth doesn’t quite want to cooperate with his thoughts, however, and so when Yoongi parts his lips to speak, what he ends up asking is, “You wanna go get something to eat?”

 

Wait.

 

That is definitely not what Yoongi had intended to say, not in the slightest, yet the words fell easily from his lips before he could stop to think. The question seems to surprise Jimin as much as it does himself, the dancer’s eyes widening, and when his smile falters slightly, Yoongi feels a rush of panic in his chest and he parts his lips to immediately take back what he said, to excuse himself somehow, but before he has the chance, Jimin reaches out and takes his hand, the smile returning in full force.

 

Yes, I’d love to!” he says brightly and promptly tugs along with him out of the bedroom and towards the hallway. “Where should we go? I haven’t really eaten for a few weeks, I think, so I’m up for pretty much anything. What places are open after midnight? Is that even a thing, are there-”

 

“Yah, slow down, Park Jimin,” Yoongi says loudly to interrupt him, snorting in amusement when the dancer sends him an impatient look. “We’re going, but it’s the middle of the night in October, you’re gonna need to wear something warmer than just that.” He gestures at Jimin’s thin, flowy shirt, making a conscious decision to not look at the boy’s legs. “Just wait here for a second.”

 

He goes back to his bedroom and pulls a pair of sweatpants from his closet, hesitating momentarily before grabbing his favorite hoodie - the one Jimin had already worn once - from the chair in the corner of his room. The fuck am I even doing, he asks himself repeatedly as he moves through his room, grabbing whatever he deems could be necessary. I should just go to sleep, there’s no reason for me to be doing this.

 

Despite his thoughts, he returns to the hallway and shoves the clothes into Jimin’s arms. “Wear these,” he says and shuffles past the boy to pick out a pair of shoes, his lips curling into an involuntary smile when Jimin emits a delighted little giggle. “There are several places that stay open this late. We might not find an actual restaurant, but some corner shop deli or something should be just fine.”

 

“That sounds great,” the dancer chirps, looking like he can barely contain himself, wriggling his body in an attempt to pull the hoodie into place faster. “I haven’t been to a restaurant or a deli in years, I think.”

 

How anyone can look so excited about the thought of going to a deli is beyond what Yoongi can comprehend, but he’s not complaining; the way Jimin smiles at him when he hands the dancer a pair of shoes fills his chest with warmth, and he has no intentions of making that feeling go away just yet.

 

They’re already out the door when Jimin suddenly comes to a stop, turning to look at Yoongi with a concerned expression. “Is this really okay?” he asks almost shyly, fidgeting with the hem of the jacket Yoongi had practically forced him to wear. “I mean, it’s past midnight, are you sure you’re not too tired?”

 

Yoongi blinks at him, taken aback by his sudden hesitant tone. “Oh,” he says and shrugs before raising a hand to poke the dancer between his eyebrows. “Don’t worry about that. I’ve never slept much at night, so this isn’t anything out of the ordinary.” He walks past Jimin and heads towards the elevator, his lips curling into a little smirk when he hears the boy scurry after him. “So what are you in the mood for?”

 

“I don’t know, really,” Jimin hums, pursing his lips as he racks his brain for an answer. “I’m pretty flexible when it comes to food, not too picky. Though I’m not a fan of fast food. I once tried McDonald’s back in the sixties and I could basically feel my fat cells expand and multiply.”

 

Yoongi chuckles at that, half because of the actual joke, and half because the dancer had said in the sixties, which served to remind Yoongi just how bizarre this all is all over again. “Right, so no fast food,” he muses and steps into the elevator. “Well, we can just walk around for a bit and see if anything catches your eye.”

 

They do just that, choosing a random direction from the building’s exit and settling into a comfortable pace, enjoying the night’s silence and the brisk air. Jimin stays at Yoongi’s side, holding onto Yoongi’s arm while he twists his head in every direction, eagerly taking in every bit of their surroundings. He chatters endlessly about how architecture and technology has developed during the time he’s been alive, how interesting it’s been to follow the progress leading up to the 21st century.

 

They’ve been walking for about fifteen minutes when Jimin suddenly stops, tugging at Yoongi’s sleeve to get his attention. “Wait a second,” the dancer says, the ghost of a frown marring his brow as he looks around. “What city is this?”

 

“Huh?” Yoongi squints at the odd question. “Seoul,” he says slowly. “What, you didn’t know what city you’re in?”

 

Jimin bobs his head a few times in an absentminded nod as he lets his eyes trace the skyline, and then he shakes his head and resumes walking, the smile returning to his lips. “Well, I mean, how would I know?” he muses, drawing an invisible circle in the air with his free hand. “I’m not aware of my surroundings during daytime, and I haven’t left your apartment since you brought me here, so I had no reason to believe we weren’t in Daegu anymore.”

 

Yoongi parts his lips to comment on the ridiculousness of the dancer’s statement, but closes them again when he realizes the truth behind it. “I suppose that’s true,” he mumbles instead. “Are you from Daegu? Originally, I mean?”

 

“Nope,” Jimin chimes, playfully popping the p. “I told you yesterday, I’m a Busan boy. Though I did live abroad for seven years, so most of my childhood memories are of Russia.”

 

“Russia?” Yoongi echoes, blinking in surprise.

 

The boy nods. “Remember how I told you I was a dancer already before my, uh,” his voice trails off and he waves his hand in an awkward gesture, “my part-time job as a music box ballerina?” He emits a bright giggle at his own choice of words, and Yoongi can’t help but smile. “Yeah, my mom wanted me to one day join the Russian Ballet, so she took me there to train at a proper school.”

 

That prompts a low whistle from Yoongi. “I’m impressed, Park Jimin,” he says, and all Jimin does is smile that radiant smile of his and squeeze Yoongi’s arm a bit tighter.

 

They find a little late-night samgyeopsal shack after a few more minutes of walking, run by an old lady who scolds them for being out so late in the middle of the week, but brings them extra kimchi and pinches Jimin’s cheek, saying something about cute boys needing to eat a lot. Yoongi chuckles at that, not because of the woman’s words, but because Jimin looks so over the moon happy, smiling so wide it looks almost painful.

 

They eat until Jimin leans back in his chair and slides down a bit, declaring that he’s eaten enough to last an entire decade, an attitude that changes completely when the old lady asks if they want some ice cream for dessert. The dancer sits up straight and looks at Yoongi with the biggest case of puppy eyes he’s ever seen, and so there’s really else nothing Yoongi can do than to nod and order a bowl of ice cream.

 

Jimin chatters amiably with the old lady while Yoongi pays for their food, absentmindedly wondering how the dancer has gotten by up until now, since he’s fairly certain the boy doesn’t even own a wallet. Then again, Jimin did say he doesn’t really need to eat.

 

They spend another two hours outside, walking along the streets of downtown Seoul and talking about everything and nothing. At some point, Yoongi realizes he’s the one doing most of the talking while Jimin asks him questions about his life, and strangely, he doesn’t mind it one bit. The dancer listens to him talk about his studies in music, asks him questions about his lectures and professors, and almost jumps out in front of a car in his excitement when he hears about Yoongi’s ongoing project.

 

It’s already past 3AM when Jimin says he wants to go back to Yoongi’s apartment - home, he says, which makes Yoongi’s heart twist oddly - to just relax. Since he doesn’t know the city yet, he figures he’d rather spend one of his nights looking up places to visit in advance so that he could plan a full seven hours worth of exploring for another nights.

 

It takes them a while to get back home, and when they do, they take a seat on Yoongi’s couch and make a long list of places to go and things to do. They put together a little makeshift calendar for when they can do what, and the smile never once fades from Jimin’s lips. Yoongi pops into the kitchen every now and then to refill his cup of coffee, brushing off Jimin’s suggestions that he should sleep with a short shrug before resuming their work.

 

Sometime around five in the morning, Jimin lets himself fall back along the couch, throwing his feet up on Yoongi’s lap and declaring he’s bored, that he wants something to do, that they’ve done enough business for one night, so Yoongi opens Netflix on his laptop and puts on The Wizard of Oz, which earns him an almost tearful smile from the dancer.

 

It’s not until the end of the movie that Yoongi actually remembers what’s supposed to happen at sunrise. He just happens to glance over at Jimin and almost chokes on his sip of coffee when he notices the outline of the dancer’s body has started to fade, small blotches of his body disappearing into thin air.

 

“It’s okay, hyung,” Jimin says softly when he notices Yoongi’s panic, scooting closer on the couch and taking Yoongi’s hand in his own. “It looks weird, but I don’t feel anything. It doesn’t hurt.”

 

Yoongi just nods, momentarily rendered speechless, and it takes a great amount of self-discipline to force himself to recover before the dancer can disappear completely. “I’ll wait for you, Jimin,” he says with an unfamiliar sense of urgency, turning his hand so he can return the boy’s grip. “Okay? I’ll see you tomorrow.”

 

Jimin emits a bright giggle, sounding somehow distant, but his smile is just as wide as ever as he nods. “I’ll see you tomorrow, Yoongi,” he agrees, and with a final squeeze of his hand, the dancer disappears.

 

Yoongi sits still for several seconds after he’s gone, needing a moment to recover from what had just happened. His heart is stuttering in his chest, his neck is littered with goosebumps, and his hand, the hand Jimin had held onto, twitches slightly, as if trying to find the dancer’s hand where it had just been.

 

“Fucking hell,” he breathes out when he finally feels like he can move again, reaching out to turn off the movie before bringing his hands to his face and rubbing his cheeks a few times, hard. He sits like that for a moment, backtracking the night’s events in his mind, and not until he reaches the memory of how Jimin had materialized before him does he finally manage to calm down a little.

 

He rises to his feet and heads towards his bedroom, throwing a quick glance at his clock as he passes it. 6:48AM. He makes a mental note to remember that exact time so he won’t be as caught off guard tomorrow.

 

Yoongi goes straight for his dresser when he steps into his bedroom, leaning forward to make sure the little ballerina looks okay. Not that he’d be able to tell if it wasn’t okay, seeing as it’s an inanimate object for now, but even so, he doesn’t straighten back up until he’s certain there’s nothing wrong with it. “Good,” he huffs before turning on the heel and shuffling over to his bed, his tiredness resurfacing the very second he slumps against the mattress.

 

As he closes his eyes to drift off to sleep, he briefly wonders if he’ll get used to seeing the dancer disappear before his eyes like that.

 

-

 

Over the following days - nights is more like it - Yoongi learns a whole lot more about Jimin. He learns that the dancer loves going outside on little adventures, dragging Yoongi along to parks, playgrounds, monuments, interesting buildings, and as many tourist spots as he possibly can. He learns that Jimin is almost immune to the autumn cold, often refusing to wear a jacket or a scarf, stating that he doesn’t like to feel so trapped in clothing. Yoongi chooses to not point out how ridiculous his words seem when he’s wearing a pair of the tightest leggings Yoongi has ever seen.

 

Yoongi also learns that the boy is a crybaby when it comes to sad movies, or sad moments in any movie. Or just sadness in general. He also learns that Jimin is a grade A cuddler and enjoys physical contact more than anything, and while Yoongi has never been comfortable being very touchy-feely, he never fails to let the boy curl up against his side when they watch a movie or the news or anything on the TV.

 

Yoongi doesn’t complain. On the contrary, he’s developed a habit of playing with Jimin’s hair whenever they end up on the couch.

 

He’s known Jimin for five nights when he realizes how much his daily life has changed since he first met the dancer, even if it hasn’t even been a whole week yet. He’s fallen into a steady routine of being awake throughout the night, going to bed sometime around 7AM, after Jimin has returned to the music box, and waking up four hours later to get ready for his classes. He eats lunch with his friends before attending lectures, after which he spends the entire evening with Namjoon in the studios, hard at work on their project. He returns home a few minutes before midnight and is always there when Jimin materializes in front of his dresser.

 

Four hours of sleep against twenty hours of being awake is not exactly a good thing, but Yoongi’s suffered through worse periods and gotten less out of the time he spends awake.

 

Staying awake with Jimin is easy. The dancer is full of energy and life, barely even giving Yoongi the opportunity to get tired on their many little adventures. There’s never a boring moment, not when they visit the 24/7 library and Jimin takes an hour picking out books to read, not even when he actually reads those books while Yoongi sits next to him, working on his homework.

 

It’s almost six o’clock in the morning on Saturday and they’re curled up the couch when a sudden thought pops into Yoongi’s head and he nudges Jimin’s side to drag his attention away from an exceptionally mundane scene in their current episode of Game of Thrones. “I just realized something,” he says when the dancer cranes his head to look up at him. “Why do you keep calling me hyung?”

 

“Huh?” Jimin blinks owlishly at him for a few seconds before resuming his previous position, resting his head against Yoongi’s shoulder. “Because you’re older than me, maybe?”

 

Yoongi snorts at that, an amused smirk gracing his lips. “I doubt that very much,” he says, rolling his eyes when he feels the dancer shrug his shoulders. They fall silent for a few seconds, and then Yoongi realizes he’s actually never asked one very specific question. “Actually, how old are you?”

 

“I’m twenty-two,” Jimin hums absentmindedly, his eyes on the TV.

 

“No, I mean, how old are you actually?”

 

“I’m twenty-two years old, Yoongi-hyung.”

 

Yoongi’s brows knit into a frown and he pauses his fiddling with the boy’s hair. “You’re trying to be difficult on purpose again, aren’t you, Park Jimin?” he huffs, clicking his tongue when Jimin doesn’t say anything. “Oh, come on, you’ve been alive for almost as long as my grandmother, so-”

 

No, Yoongi, I haven’t.” The dancer’s tone is flat and Yoongi arches his eyebrows in surprise. He watches Jimin’s shoulders slump before the boy rearranges himself against Yoongi so the back of his head is resting on Yoongi’s stomach, the faintest of frowns marring Jimin’s brow as he looks up at him. “My days are barely seven hours long,” he says quietly. “I live for seven hours at a time. A few hours longer in winter, a few hours shorter in summer.”

 

This is the most serious Yoongi has ever seen the dancer, so he sits perfectly still, holding Jimin’s piercingly soft gaze. “The thought of me may have existed for eighty years, but when counting the hours I’ve actually been conscious, I’m a lot younger,” the boy continues slowly, his voice barely above a whisper. “My body can’t age, physically, and over the years, my mind has barely had time to grow at all.”

 

The small smile that curls Jimin’s lips makes Yoongi’s heart clench almost painfully; the boy’s valiant effort to hide his sadness sparks a frighteningly strong urge in Yoongi to help him, to do something, anything, to break Jimin free from his imprisoned life. He wants Jimin to be able to walk amongst the sunlight, he wants to be able to take Jimin to all the places they visit when they’re not shrouded in cold darkness, to have friends outside the boring night-owl that is Yoongi.

 

Jimin should have all of these things and more, Yoongi thinks, because the dancer deserves the sun more than anyone in this world.

 

But Yoongi doesn’t say any of these things out loud. Instead, he clears his throat and reaches out to poke Jimin’s cheek, forcing himself to smirk down at the boy. “Right, so by that logic,” he says in a teasing tone, “I should not be calling you ahjussi, then?”

 

The dancer stares at him in surprise for a few seconds before he emits a bubbling giggle, and it’s almost scary how much the sound soothes the turmoil in Yoongi’s chest. “Well, would you look at that,” Jimin says brightly and reaches up to muss up Yoongi’s hair. “The actual ahjussi got something right for once!”

 

“Yah, the nerve of this brat…” Yoongi leans forward to trap the dancer beneath him and proceeds onto digging his fingers into Jimin’s sides, mercilessly tickling him. “Looks like I need to teach you to respect your elders.”

 

Jimin laughs until he’s out of breath, kicking his feet and yelling at Yoongi to stop, his small hands trying and failing to pry away Yoongi’s arms. “S-stop it, hyung, I su-surrender,” he squeals, his voice strained and high-pitched. “I s-swear, oh my god, I swear I won’t disrespect you ever again!”

 

“‘S more like it,” Yoongi chuckles and lets go, huffing as he pushes himself upright and slumps back against the couch. He grins down at Jimin, whose chest is heaving from laughter, and when the dancer squirms against him, resuming his previous position with his head resting on Yoongi’s stomach, Yoongi slides his fingers back into Jimin’s hair.

 

They sit like that for a moment, neither of them really watching the TV anymore, and Yoongi has no idea how many minutes have passed when he raises his voice again. “Hey, Park Jimin,” he says quietly, waiting for the dancer to hum in response before continuing. “Are you okay?”

 

There’s a brief silence during which Jimin undoubtedly processes the full meaning behind the question, and when he turns around to look up at Yoongi, the smile on his lips portray nothing of his previous sadness. “Yeah, I’m okay, Yoongi-hyung,” he murmurs softly, nodding as best he can where he lies. “I lose hope sometimes, but I always manage to find it again. I’m stubborn, you know?” He giggles when Yoongi snorts at his words. “I’m not gonna give up until I find what I’m looking for.”

 

And all Yoongi can do is nod silently and wonder how any human being can be so strong, so fearless.

 

So brave.

 

When they finish the episode of Game of Thrones, there’s barely ten minutes left until the sun starts rising, so they don’t bother putting on another one. Instead, they remain peacefully on the couch and talk about what they could do tomorrow, where they could go; it’ll be a Sunday, so not as many night-time restaurants and shops will be open.

 

It’s when Jimin mentions a cinema that Yoongi’s hit with an idea. “We could host a movie night,” he says, quirking a brow when the dancer blinks up at him. “You know, marathon movies like Star Wars or Lord of the Rings or something. I could invite my friends over and you’d get the chance to meet new people.”

 

Jimin lights up like the sun, jarring himself up into a sitting position and reaching out to grab Yoongi’s hand in the way he always does when he’s excited. “That sounds like so much fun!” he exclaims, smiling so wide his eyes crinkle up into little crescents. “Is it really okay? Do you think they’ll want to come? Do you think we’ll get along? What should I-”

 

“You’re rambling again, Jimin,” Yoongi snorts, grinning when the dancer presses a hand over his mouth to cut himself off. “Don’t worry about them, they like everyone. We’ll have to figure out how to make it seem like you’re just another guest or something, not, you know, magically bound to the music box in my bedroom.” He chuckles at Jimin’s sheepish expression. “But I’ll think of something.”

 

The boy nods enthusiastically and parts his lips to say something, but pauses when he looks at his hands and notices he’s already beginning to fade. “Ah, time’s up for today,” he sighs, shaking his head before beaming at Yoongi. “Thank you, hyung. It’ll be so much fun.”

 

“Yeah,” Yoongi says and nods, trying his best to keep the tension away from his voice; no matter how many times he watches Jimin fade like this, his heart always clenches almost painfully. “You go to sleep. I’ll see you at midnight.”

 

And then the dancer is gone and Yoongi sags back against the couch, closing his eyes and granting himself a good two minutes to, in lack of a better word, recover. He breathes slowly, taking in the silence and reminding himself that Jimin isn’t really gone, not really; without a doubt, he’ll see the dancer again in less than twenty-four hours.

 

When he feels relatively calm again, Yoongi reaches for his phone and opens KakaoTalk, pressing on the group chat he runs with his circle of friends.

 

Min Genius

[06:53AM]:

yo

Star Wars ep 4-6 at my place tonight @ 11PM

bring shit to eat

 

Like always, as soon as Jimin has vanished, the tiredness that’s constantly brewing under the surface wells up through Yoongi’s body and he yawns loudly while he types, sending the short messages before tossing his phone back onto the couch before staggering over to his bedroom. He pulls his shirt over his head and doesn’t really bother with his jeans, only crawls in under his duvet and closing his eyes, and not a minute later, he’s asleep.

 

-

 

When Yoongi wakes up at quarter past three in the afternoon, it’s to the sound of his phone ringing, the annoying ringtone blearing loud enough to rouse him from his sleep all the way from the living room. “What the fuck,” he rasps, his voice thick and hoarse from sleep. He squints against the light seeping in through his closed curtains, the sun shining strongly enough to penetrate the black drapes.

 

Somehow, it reminds him of Jimin.

 

He groans as he pushes himself up into a sitting position on his bed, blinking away his grogginess and looking at the music box, where the little ballerina stands tall and proud, the ornament’s golden decorations glimmering in the faint light. Yoongi parts his lips and almost says good morning, but stops himself before he can speak, because no, it’s not Jimin. Not right now.

 

He snaps out of his daze when his phone stops ringing, the missed call drawing his attention back to the living room. He stands up and makes his way out of his bedroom, pulling a hoodie over his head on his way out, and when he grabs his phone, his eyes widen when he sees he has three missed calls from Namjoon, four from Taehyung and one from Hoseok, along with seventy unread messages in their KakaoTalk chat.

 

“The fuck,” he mutters and opens the chat.

 

HOPE

[07:35AM]:

what is this

WHAT IS THIS

HOW IS YOONGI AWAKE

THOSE MESSAGES WERE SENT BEFORE 7AM

WHAT STAR WARS??????

IS STAR WARS CODE FOR HELP????

 

Pink Jinnie

[07:50AM]:

OH MY GOD SOMEONE’S STOLEN YOONGI’S PHONE

wait why star wars though?

and why so late at night???

wait

is this

IS THIS A MOVIE NIGHT I SMELL

 

HOPE

[07:51AM]:

THAT’S NOT THE POINT

YOONGI

HYUNG

ARE YOU OKAY

DO WE NEED TO CALL 911

I’M SO CONFUSED

 

Taeflower

[08:05AM]:

YAY MOVIE NIGHT

Gukkie and I will be there hyung!

it’ll be so much fun!!! 

(๑> ₃ <) chu~

 

 

HOPE

[08:09AM]:

AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO’S CONCERNED ABOUT THIS

 

At some point, Namjoon had joined the chaos and started out equally freaked out as Hoseok, and the first missed call from him had been sometime before eight in the morning. When Yoongi, blissfully asleep at the time, hadn’t answered, their panic had escalated until Seokjin had managed to calm them down somewhat, saying that Yoongi had probably woken up with the idea of a movie night and then fallen asleep again after sending his messages.

 

That certainly hadn’t stopped his friends from going over conspiracy theories in their chat, ranging from the government creating a clone of Yoongi but forgetting to input the I hate everyone function, to something about Yoongi being kidnapped and tortured and forced to do something that goes against every fiber of his being.

 

Yoongi scoffs as he reads through the messages, shaking his head at his friends’ over-exaggeratedly panicky messages, and instead of returning any of his missed calls, he types out a quick ‘you assholes coming or not?’ before shuffling over to the bathroom to take a shower.

 

When he returns, he huffs contentedly at the five different versions of ‘Of course we’re coming’ and completely ignores the adjoined questions about whether or not this is really Yoongi typing and not a robot version of him.

 

He spends the following hours making a half-hearted effort to clean up around his apartment, clearing away the many notes and papers he and Jimin have left spread out over the coffee table. He stows them safely into his desk drawer and washes Jimin’s teacup before stepping outside to grab dinner and stop by the grocery store to buy some snacks for later, and when he comes back home, he sets his laptop to download the original three Star Wars movies before begrudgingly picking up two of his university assignments and sits down to complete them.

 

He’s almost surprised at how much work he’s gotten done during the day when the doorbell goes off at a few minutes to 11PM; after finishing his assignments and preparing for his Monday lectures, he’d managed to jot down some half-decent lyrics for the music project, after which he’d taken a seat in his armchair and started reading one of Jimin’s books just for the heck of it.

 

It’s the sappiest love story Yoongi’s ever read, but he finds himself unable to stop smiling; he can so easily picture the dancer bawling his eyes out at every other scene.

 

He tosses the book onto his coffee table when the doorbell sounds and goes to let his friends in, taking a precautionary step aside before opening, and a good thing too, because Hoseok lunges forward the very second he has enough room, clearly intent on tackling Yoongi to the floor. “Nice try, asshole,” Yoongi scoffs and shakes his head at Hoseok’s disappointed expression before turning to greet the rest. “Yo.”

 

“Yo yourself,” Namjoon says and hands over a lidded bowl of what looks like butter-fried octopus, most likely courtesy of Seokjin, who’s got two more identical containers in his hands. “So, movie night, huh?”

 

Yoongi rolls his shoulders in a shrug and moves into his apartment to give them all room to take off their jackets. “Just felt like rewatching Star Wars,” he says and almost impresses himself with how nonchalant he sounds. “Where’s Taehyung-ah and Jeongguk?”

 

“Stopping by the store to get us something to drink,” Hoseok says and props his backpack up on Yoongi’s dinner table to pull a big bag of chips out of it. His eyes narrow as he hands it over to Yoongi, as if scanning him from head to toe, and he doesn’t stop until Yoongi smacks his arm. “Ow, hyung, what did I do to deserve that?”

 

“You’re still thinking some stupid shit about clones and robots,” Yoongi snaps, rolling his eyes when Hoseok grins widely at him. “Seriously, can’t a man want to watch movies with his friends without being judged for it?”

 

“Not if that man is you, grandpa,” Seokjin sing-songs on his way to the kitchen. Yoongi is about to point out that Jin is older than him, but his train of thought is interrupted when the doorbell goes off like crazy, signaling the arrival of the ever-hyperactive Taehyung. “That’d be the door.”

 

“Yeah, no shit.”

 

It takes them a good half hour to settle around the TV, what with Taehyung refusing to let them start the movie until he’s conveyed every single one of his emotions regarding this movie night. He throws his arms around Yoongi’s neck and almost smothers him to death, and all the while, Jeongguk watches with a shit-eating grin, raising his hands innocently when Yoongi aims a murderous glare in his direction.

 

“Uh, hyung, what’s this?”

 

Yoongi looks up from the prison that is Taehyung’s arms, and his heart sinks when he sees Hoseok hold up the book he’d put on the coffee table earlier. “Pride and Prejudice,” Hoseok reads, his voice deliberately loud and slow, and the most smug smile Yoongi has ever seen spreads his lips. “Could it be that our Yoongi-hyung picked up a romance novel and got sentimental and that’s why we’re all gathered here today?”

 

“No, you absolute dick,” Yoongi says snappishly and tries to reach for the book, but Namjoon is faster, snatching it from Hoseok and riffled through the pages until he found the part where Jimin had folded down the corner to mark the spot he’d left off at. “Namjoon, I swear-”

 

There is a stubbornness about me that can never bear to be frightened at the will of others,” his soon to be ex-best friend reads out loud in a chiming voice. “My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.” He snaps the book shut in a theatrical manner, his dimples on full display as he grins at Yoongi. “I’m impressed, hyung. I never imagined you to be so… literarily invested.”

 

“Fuck off, dickweed,” Yoongi scoffs and wriggles free from Taehyung’s arms to swipe the book from Namjoon’s hands. “I’m holding this for a friend of mine, he forgot to take it with him.”

 

Hoseok gasps dramatically at that. “You have other friends?” he demands in a shocked whisper, and Yoongi almost chucks the book at his head.

 

When the movie finally starts, they have a small feast set up on the coffee table. Two big bowls of chips, several bottles of both Coca-Cola and soju, Seokjin’s homemade butter-fried octopus, and a variety of candy. Jeongguk and Taehyung have taken up the armchair, with the latter perched happily in Jeongguk’s lap, while Hoseok and Yoongi sit on the couch, and Seokjin and Namjoon on the floor, comfortable amidst a mess consisting of every single pillow in Yoongi’s apartment.

 

Yoongi flicks on his phone when the opening credits start rolling across the screen, chuckling at Taehyung’s hushed reading of, “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away,” before checking the time, reading 11:43PM. He nods to himself, worrying his bottom lip as he goes over his game plan in his head for the twentieth time today, having to really concentrate to not restlessly tap his foot against the floor in his nervousness.

 

While everyone else loudly marvels over Darth Vader’s attack on Leia’s ship, Yoongi’s eyes keep flickering to his phone, trying to be as discreet as possible in checking the time every other minute. No one seems to notice, which is good, because that probably means they won’t notice when Jimin sneaks out of the bedroom and to the hallway so that Yoongi can pretend to let him in.

 

When it’s three minutes before midnight, Yoongi deliberately turns on his alarm and raises his phone, feigning surprise as he looks at his screen. “Who’s calling you at this time?” Seokjin asks, reluctantly prying his eyes away from the TV.


“Uh,” is the best answer Yoongi can come up with, and he clears his throat to buy himself some thinking time as he stands up. “It’s a, uh… it’s somebody I know.” He resists the urge to tear at his own hair, so incredibly disappointed in his inability to lie in a time of need. “Sorry, I’ll be right back,” he mumbles and scurries over to his bedroom, lifting his phone to his ear to better sell the act of receiving a phone call before closing the door behind himself. “Fucking good job, Min Yoongi…”

 

He paces back and forth in his room while waiting for Jimin to materialize, and when he does, Yoongi instantly reaches up and presses a hand over the dancer’s mouth, bringing his free hand up to press a finger to his own lips in a silent request for Jimin to be quiet. The boy blinks in surprise but nods, and Yoongi pretends he can’t feel it against his palm when Jimin presses his lips together.

 

“Everyone’s already here,” he says quietly when he lowers his hand, taking a step back to go dig something for the dancer to wear out of his closet. “You’ll have to sneak out to the hallway and I’ll pretend to come open the door.” He pulls out a pair of black jeans and an equally black sweater and passes them to Jimin. “The lights are out and they’re so focused on the TV, they shouldn’t notice if you sneak behind them.”

 

The dancer giggles silently into his hand before slipping into the trousers. “I feel like a secret agent,” he whispers, glancing over his shoulder and at the door when a muffled explosion sounds from the living room. “Yeah, I can be quieter than that.”

 

“Yeah,” Yoongi mumbles and moves over to the door. “Wait in here for five minutes or so before you go.” He pauses with a hand on the door handle and looks at the boy. “Will you be okay if I turn off the lights?” Jimin’s smile is borderline excited, and he nods enthusiastically and flashes Yoongi two thumbs up. “Okay, see you in a bit.”

 

He flicks the light switch on his way out and leaves his door slightly ajar before moving to the couch. “Everything okay?” Namjoon asks when he plops back into his seat.

 

“Yeah,” Yoongi says and nods, flipping his phone over in his hands a few times. “Uh, an old friend of mine from Daegu is in town and his plans just fell through, so I told him he could join us here tonight.” He keeps his expression as neutral as possible, his eyes glued to the TV-screen as if he doesn’t notice Namjoon’s obvious surprise. “He’ll be here in five minutes or so.”

 

“Okay,” his best friend says and leans back against his and Seokjin’s pillow fort. “Do I know him?”

 

Yoongi shifts awkwardly in his seat before shaking his head. “Nah, I knew him before I moved to Seoul,” he mumbles, frowning when Taehyung shushes him without taking his eyes off the screen. “Haven’t seen him in years, but I figured, you know, since he has nothing else to do…”

 

Namjoon nods, seemingly content with that, and turns back to the movie, leaving Yoongi to struggle with the sudden thought of if and how he will ever tell his friends the truth about Jimin. How he’ll tell them that he’s spending six and a half hours every day with the world’s most cheerful human being, a boy who happens to be trapped and out of the reach of time itself, a boy who will never age a day until he finds what he’s looking for. A boy whose existence seems to make Yoongi’s heart hum and hurt all at once.

 

He jerks out of his thoughts at the sound of the doorbell, shooting to his feet and throwing a glance at the clock on his wall. Fuck, he curses internally, realizing he’d drifted off for at least seven minutes. “A-ah,” he says awkwardly and shuffles towards the hallway. “That’ll be him.”

 

He has no idea how Jimin managed to actually open his door and slip outside without anyone hearing, but he’s definitely not complaining. On the contrary, he’s impressed, and apparently Jimin is as well, judging by his expression when Yoongi pushes the door open. “I was so sneaky, hyung,” the dancer whispers enthusiastically, his sunshine smile in full effect as he scurries inside and kicks off Yoongi’s shoes. “No one noticed, right?”

 

“Nope,” Yoongi says with an amused huff and ruffles the boy’s hair before trudging back to the living room. “Namjoon, pause the movie for a second.” He turns on the ceiling light and rolls his eyes at the chorus of complaints before motioning for Jimin to walk up next to him. “Everyone, this is Park Jimin,” he says, fighting the urge to smile when the dancer bows low in greeting. “I knew him when I was a kid in Daegu. He needed something to do for the night, so I told him he could hang out with you assholes.”

 

“Wow, what a nice way to introduce your best friends in the entire world,” Hoseok huffs, pointing an accusatory finger at Yoongi before turning to Jimin and offering him a wide smile. “Nice to meet you, Jimin. I’m Hoseo-”

 

He’s knocked to the side before he can finish his sentence, and before either Yoongi or Jimin can do more than blink, Taehyung’s standing in front of the dancer, holding his right hand and looking him over with the excitement of a puppy. “Wah, you’re so cute, Jiminie,” Taehyung chirps, his lips stretched into his wide, rectangular smile. “My name’s Taehyung, but you can call me Tae. Or Taetae, most of my friends call me Taetae. I’m twenty-two years old, born in December, which makes me a capricorn, and I study design at the same university as Yoongi-hyung. I only just started a few months ago, but it’s really interesting!”

 

Yoongi presses his lips together in an attempt to not grin too widely at Jimin’s expression of wide-eyed awe, blinking in confusion at Taehyung’s rapidfire of information. He shoots a quick glance at Yoongi, who simply quirks a brow in amusement, and before the dancer can do anything else, Taehyung tugs him towards the coffee table. Startled, Jimin emits a little yelp and reaches out on instinct, grabbing hold of Yoongi’s shirt and pulling him along after them.

 

“I’ll introduce you to everyone,” Taehyung declares loudly and raises his free hand to point at them all in turn. “That’s Jin-hyung and Namjoon-hyung, our proud parents, the best mom and dad in the world.” Namjoon snorts at his words and Seokjin rolls his eyes but smiles warmly at Jimin, who bows his head in greeting to both of them. “That’s Hoseok, he… why are you on the floor, hyung?”

 

“Oh, I don’t know,” Hoseok retorts, his voice laced in sarcasm. “It’s not like some over-enthusiastic brat ran me over like a freight train.” He heaves a dramatic sigh at Taehyung’s apparent cluelessness and shakes his head before nodding at Jimin, the smile returning to his lips. “I’m Hoseok,” he says and plops back down into his seat. “The eternal hope of this little group.”

 

“Right, he’s our hope,” Taehyung agrees before turning to look at Jeongguk, who stands up from his seat and politely bows his head. “This overgrown bunny boy is Jeongukkie, my boyfriend. He might look a little scary at first, but don’t worry, he’s the biggest sweetheart in the world.”

 

“Nice to meet you all,” Jimin says brightly, leaning forward in one last bow, and Yoongi notices he looks like he’s on the verge of tears when he straightens back up again, smiling so wide his cheeks must be hurting. “I’m Park Jimin. Thanks for letting me join your movie night.”

 

He’s still holding onto Yoongi’s sleeve, his fingers brushing against his wrist, but no one seems to notice, too busy watching Taehyung practically drape himself over the dancer, his arms around Jimin’s neck and his chin propped up on his shoulder. “So how did you get to know Yoongi-hyung?” Hoseok asks with a pointed look at Yoongi. “You seem like a fairly innocent kid, so there’s gotta be an interesting story about how you ended up in his bad company.”

 

While Yoongi sends his friend a murderous glare, Jimin emits a cheery giggle, finally detaching himself from Yoongi’s arm in favor of reaching up to muffle his laughter. “Hyung’s not that bad,” he says brightly, smiling when he turns to look at Yoongi. “We were sort of neighbors back in Daegu. We didn’t really live that close, but we ran into one another every now and then and got to know each other like that.”

 

Yoongi nods, content with this kind of backstory; it paves the way perfectly, making it believable that Yoongi hasn’t mentioned before but would still invite him over to watch movies if he has nothing else to do.

 

Seokjin parts his lips to ask something, but Taehyung cuts him off before he has the chance to utter even a single word. “Come on, let’s get back to the movie,” he says and practically wrestles Jimin down into the couch, seating him closest to the armchair before plopping down onto the floor in front of him, grinning as he makes himself comfortable between Jimin’s legs. “We’re about to see Luke Skywalker for the first time!”

 

The dancer giggles at Taehyung’s behavior and makes himself comfortable at the end of the couch, and Yoongi really has to concentrate to not smile too widely at how happy the dancer looks. He goes to turn off the lights before taking his seat between Jimin and Hoseok just as Namjoon presses play and the movie resumes playing. When everyone else refocuses on the TV, the dancer leans closer to Yoongi and whispers a soft, “Thank you, Yoongi-hyung.”

 

Yoongi isn’t quite as successful in fighting off his smile that time.

 

Halfway through the movie, Yoongi realizes how perfectly Jimin fits into his group of friends. He plays along with their antics, laughs until he’s almost crying when Hoseok recites something akin to a fangirl’s inner monologue about how handsome Han Solo is, and when he actually cries after Darth Vader kills Obi Wan Kenobi, both Taehyung and Seokjin shove Yoongi out of the way to hug the everliving hell out of the dancer.

 

Jimin and Taehyung seem to click especially well, sharing a similar sense of humor and need for cuddling; Taehyung stays seated on the floor in front of Jimin, and the dancer leans forward and props his chin up on Taehyung’s head, his arms falling over the student’s shoulders. Jimin never fails to respond to every single one of Taehyung’s random whims, and the image the two present makes Yoongi’s heart swell.

 

After the first movie ends, Taehyung scrambles to his feet only to take a seat in Jeongguk’s lap instead and peck him on the nose, smiling brightly at the younger boy’s soft murmur of, “I missed you, Tae,” and the sight is almost too cute to bear.

 

Not for Jimin, apparently, who leans forward with an almost adoring expression. “How’d you two meet?” he asks, completely ignoring the simultaneous groans coming from the rest of them.

 

“In primary school,” Taehyung sing-songs, chuckling when Jeongguk wraps his arms around his waist and hugs him closer. “I was in third grade when Gukkie started school, and he was so small and so shy, you wouldn’t believe it. He was so cute.” He kisses the boy on the nose again, his boxy grin in full force. “It was like three months into the school year and I was trading Pokémon cards with a few classmates when Jeongguk walked over and held up a super rare Mew card. He didn’t even say anything, he was so shy, he just held up the card and stared at the ground, and I had no idea what to do. I thought he wanted to show it to me, but the very second I grabbed the card to look at it, he let it go and ran away.”

 

“Oh god, I was so lame,” Jeongguk whines and buries his face in the crook of Taehyung’s neck.

 

Was?” Yoongi repeats dryly, chuckling when Jimin blindly reaches over to shush him, the dancer’s eyes practically sparkling as he listens to the story.

 

“Right, so I go search for Jeongguk to give him back his card,” Taehyung says, “but I didn’t find him until the very end of the day, and when I caught up to him, he just shook his head and told me to keep it. I swear, he was blushing so hard, it was adorable.”

 

“Taeeee,” Jeongguk groans, but Taehyung only laughs brightly and runs a hand through the younger boy’s hair before continuing.

 

“I didn’t leave him alone after that,” he hums, his gaze turning unfocused, as if he was looking into his own memories. “Trailed after him at every recess until he opened up to me, and we were inseparable after that. We went to the same secondary school as well, and when he was about to start high school, Gukkie asked me to be his boyfriend.”

 

Jimin coos at the two of them, the sound turning into a giggle when Jeongguk emits another embarrassed whine. “So you’re two years younger than Taetae?” the dancer asks, making a sound of awe when Jeongguk nods. “Isn’t it difficult to not go to the same school as your boyfriend?”

 

Jeongguk looks up at that, an expression of determination replacing his shyness. “I’ll be going to same school next year,” he says without a shred of hesitation. “I skipped a grade in high school, after we started dating, because I wanna catch up to him so we can be together properly, and I’m gonna work my ass off to make that happen as soon as possible.”


“Oh my god, you guys are so disgustingly cute,” Hoseok complains, making a show of falling over the armrest of the couch while Taehyung and Jimin both squeal at Jeongguk’s words. “Seriously, I could go to Starbucks and order a white chocolate mocha with extra caramel and whipped cream and you two would still be more diabetes-inducing. You’re even worse than the old married couple over there, and one of them is pregnant.”

 

“Yah!”

 

“Play the movie before Jin starts waving around a spatula again,” Yoongi says with a grin and frantically motions at Namjoon to speed up the process of getting the movie started. He sighs in mock relief when the intro credits appear on the screen and the others go silent to pay attention to the movie, and he smiles despite himself when he feels Jimin curl up comfortably against his side, having lost Taehyung to Jeongguk for now. Yoongi looks down, and his smile falters when he notices the dancer’s eyes look glossy, as if he’s fighting back tears. “Hey,” he mumbles into the crown of Jimin’s hair. “Are you okay?”

 

The dancer nods against his shoulder, a soft smile on his lips as he looks at the couple in the armchair. “Yeah, I’m good,” he murmurs, his voice thick with something Yoongi can’t quite pinpoint. “It’s just, it’s so heartwarming to see how much they love each other.”

 

There’s a fraction of a second where Yoongi wants to pull Jimin into an embrace and press his lips against the top of his head to stop him from shedding his tears. He almost does it, too, shifting slightly in his seat before he catches himself and comes to his senses, his eyes widening in shock at what he was about to do.

 

What the hell?

 

Slowly, very slowly, he leans back in his seat, his brain working on overdrive to process what just happened while his heart thunders so hard against his ribs, he’s certain Jimin can hear it. Calm down, Min Yoongi, he tells himself, over and over, staring at the TV-screen intense focus without actually registering anything that’s going on in the movie. You just don’t like seeing him sad, that’s it. You just want him to have a good time, so you don’t like seeing him upset.

 

It takes him nearly half an hour to calm down again, half an hour until he feels like he can run his fingers through Jimin’s hair without feeling weird about it, even though he’s done it so many times before. He pretends to not notice the way his heart jumps when the dancer emits a soft sigh and snuggles up closer, one of his small hands coming to rest on Yoongi’s stomach. He pretends to not notice the long look Namjoon sends the two of them, focusing on the TV instead of the constant buzzing in his chest.

 

By the time they reach the end of the third movie, Yoongi and Jimin are the only ones still awake. It’s a bit past 6AM, which means that everyone with a normal circadian rhythm is completely and utterly tuckered out, curled up on the couch, on the floor, in the armchair, anywhere that has a semi-soft surface to relax against. The sight leaves Yoongi to chuckle softly while Jimin muffles his giggles into his hands, and they end up just sitting there, whispering amongst each other and doing their best to not wake the others.

 

Jimin doesn’t untangle himself from Yoongi until he absolutely has to, when the clock on the wall shows 06:46, only a few minutes before sunrise. “Come on,” Yoongi mumbles and leads him towards the hallway, making a show of opening the door as if to let the dancer leave the normal way. “So. Did you have fun?”

 

“Yeah, I did,” Jimin says and nods enthusiastically. “Your friends are so much fun. I really like Taehyung, I feel like we could be really good friends if…” His voice trails off and he looks almost lost for a moment, but he shakes his head before Yoongi can ask. “Ah, that’s right,” the dancer says and pulls the sweater over his head, handing it to Yoongi before making quick work of his jeans. “Can’t take these with me to the music box.”

 

Yoongi snorts at that and turns around to throw his clothes into the small coat closet, and when he moves to turn back to Jimin, his eyes widen when he feels a small hand ghost against his jaw. He blinks at the dancer and vaguely registers how close they’re suddenly standing before Jimin leans in and presses a soft kiss to his cheek, his lips brushing against Yoongi’s skin and freezing him to the spot.

 

The moment seems to last an entire lifetime. Yoongi’s heart slows down to beat only once per minute, his lungs stop needing air, and all he can feel is Jimin, Jimin’s chest against his, Jimin’s hand cupping his jaw, Jimin’s lips against his cheek. He can’t move, his entire body rigid from shock and the countless other emotions that well up inside him, and he tries to think, he really does, tries to think of something to do, something he should do, but his mind refuses to focus on anything else than Park Jimin.

 

When the dancer finally leans away, he lingers inside Yoongi’s personal space to whisper a soft, “Thank you,” against his skin before taking a step back, and all Yoongi can do is stare, stare as Jimin smiles tearfully at him, stare as the outlines of the dancer’s body begins to fade, as he raises his hand in a small gesture of goodbye.

 

All he does is stare as Jimin turns around to cross over the threshold and out of his apartment, the dancer fading into nothingness halfway through his step and leaving Yoongi alone in the hallway, feeling like it was his heart that had just walked out the door.

 

Chapter Text

 

 

That day, Yoongi doesn’t sleep.

 

After Jimin disappears on his doorstep, Yoongi just stands there for several minutes, staring at nothing, barely even aware of the cool autumn air chilling his bones. He feels numb, his thoughts incoherent and slow, and even after he finds the sense to close his front door, he remains standing in the hallway, blinking in confusion. It’s like his brain is trying and failing to play catch-up, retracing the night’s events step by step, but when it reaches the part where Jimin’s fingers had brushed against his jaw and leaned in closer, his heart forces his mind to do a reboot and he starts from the beginning all over again.

 

He has no idea how much time has passed when he gathers himself enough to turn around and walk back into his living room. He pauses for a moment and looks at his friends, all of them peacefully asleep, and takes a seat on the couch, pushing Hoseok’s leg out of the way. For several more seconds, he just stares blankly at the TV, watching the credits roll across the screen without really seeing anything.

 

He was just happy, is the first coherent thought that manifests in Yoongi’s head. He hasn’t met anyone else since he came here, so he was just really happy to get to hang out with so many people. He got carried away. He nods his head slowly along with every new excuse, every thought that can explain why Jimin had kissed him. He’s from a different time. From a different world, really. Things work differently for him. He didn’t mean anything by it.

 

Yoongi isn’t quite sure what it is he’s trying to convince himself of; he has no idea what he wants the truth to be. What he does know, however, is that there is a crippling sensation in his chest, exhilarated and painful all at once, and he wants it to stop. “Fuck,” he breathes out and leans forward to bury his face in his hands, squeezing his eyes shut and taking a deep breath. “Fuck…”

 

“Are you okay, hyung?”

 

He jolts upright in shock at the voice. “Jesus, Jeongguk,” he hisses, pressing a hand over his heart as he glares at the younger boy in the armchair. “I thought you were asleep.”

 

“I was,” the kid mumbles and nods, shifting carefully in his seat to not wake up Taehyung, who’s clinging to his chest like a koala. “Heard you close the door and woke up. Did Jimin leave?”

 

Yoongi presses his lips together and nods, hoping Jeongguk can’t see the tightness in his jaw. “Yeah, he… he had to get to work,” he says and tries not to think about how much the lie bothers him. Or perhaps it’s not the lie so much as the fact that Jimin had to go. “He, uh… he said he had a really good time and that he was really happy to meet all of you.”

 

Jeongguk nods at that and looks down at Taehyung, carefully cradling his boyfriend’s upper body as he sits up straight in the armchair. “I think Taetae really likes him,” the kid says with a little smile that shows off his front teeth. “Jimin seems like someone who can keep up with him, you know, someone who appreciates Taehyung the way he is.”

 

All Yoongi can do is nod and ignore the thick sensation in his throat as he watches Taehyung sleep, mumbling something into Jeongguk’s neck. Yoongi haven’t known him for that long, not really, but somehow, he’d ended up caring about Taehyung like a younger brother, always there to support him when he was feeling down, always up for listening to his antics, always ready to congratulate him on his achievements. Always ready to do whatever it takes to keep the boy smiling in that endearingly rectangular way.

 

Seeing Jimin and Taehyung get along so well had made him smile, had filled his chest with a buzzing warmth. A warmth that had completely disappeared and is now an ominous, nervous sensation that makes him feel like clawing at his own skin.

 

His thoughts must’ve shown on his face, because Jeongguk leans forward a bit, a concerned frown marring his brow. “Are you sure you’re okay, hyung?” he asks, pursing his lips when Yoongi only shakes his head. “Okay. But you know you can talk to us if you’re not, right? Any of us.”

 

And for a fraction of a second, Yoongi considers it. He considers telling Jeongguk about Jimin, about who Jimin really is and where he comes from, about the way Yoongi feels so comfortable in the dancer’s presence, how he’s talked more with Jimin than with anyone else in the past five years. He considers telling him about how Jimin had kissed his cheek and smiled at him on the verge of tears, and about the unsettling feeling in his chest that he can’t identify and that won’t go away.

 

But he doesn’t. Of course he doesn’t.

 

Instead, he nods his head and manages a small smile that is just reassuring enough for Jeongguk to believe him. “I know, kid,” he mumbles and stands up, looking around for his phone. “Should I call you two a cab? You should probably get Taehyung-ah to bed before he drools all over your shirt.”

 

He calls an uber and helps Jeongguk get Taehyung settled into the car, and he waits outside in the street until the car has disappeared around the corner. When he walks back upstairs, he heaves a light sigh and turns off the TV before grabbing a pen and a piece of paper and writing, 'wow I can’t believe not a single one of you managed to stay awake. I’m disappointed. Anyway, I’m gonna sleep, let yourselves out when you feel like it.’

 

He flicks the note onto the coffee table and walks to his bedroom, pausing momentarily in the doorway to take a deep breath. It’s not Jimin, he tells himself and closes his eyes; somehow, the thought of seeing the little ballerina almost frightens him. It’s not him. Calm down, Min Yoongi, it’s not Jimin. He exhales slowly and nods to himself, and with a firm grip on the door handle, he steps into his room and closes the door behind him.

 

The music box looks the same as always. The little ballerina is balancing on its toes, its arms raised above its head, and the golden stars are glimmering in the sunrise that seeps through his curtains. Yoongi stares at it for what feel like several minutes before the tension fades from his shoulders and he sighs deeply, reaching up to pinch the bridge of his nose. “I’m fucking losin’ my shit over here,” he mutters before shaking his head roughly a few times and blinking away his daze. “Right.”

 

He walks into his room, grabs his headphones from his desk and plugs them into his phone, turning up the volume to near-deafening decibels before letting himself fall back onto his bed, staring up into the ceiling for a few seconds before screwing his eyes shut.

 

Yoongi doesn’t sleep.

 

He lies still as a corpse in his bed until he’s listened through his phone’s entire music library, refusing to crack his eyes open or even shift into a more comfortable position. He tries to relax, he really does, but he keeps catching himself clenching his jaw once every other minute, gritting his teeth as if he’s chewing on the thoughts that fly across his mind. Then there’s the ever-present brewing in his chest, like his emotions are simmering just below the surface, almost enough to boil over but not quite.

 

When the first song in his playlist comes on again, Yoongi groans in frustration and sits up, tearing the headphones off his ears and flinging them against his mattress before standing up and looking around, glaring at the clock on his nightstand. 09:37AM, it reads, which means he’s been chasing sleep for almost three hours. “What the actual fuck,” he mutters, his voice thick from disuse. He glances at himself in the mirror on his wall and notices the dark circles under his eyes, which are puffy from exhaustion. “Fucking great…”

 

He rubs at his face and takes a moment to consider whether or not he should go to the pharmacy that’s 10 minutes down the street and get some melatonin, but decides against it; he’s not sure if his friends have left or not, and he’s really not in the mood to answer Namjoon’s questions about him and Jimin. He remembers the way his best friend had looked at the two of them during the night, his curious gaze promising a heavy interrogation.

 

So instead, Yoongi takes a seat at the desk in the corner of his room and flicks open the notebooks he uses to write lyrics. He picks up a pen and flicks it around in his hand a few times before placing the tip against the paper, and after a few seconds of hesitation, he starts writing.

 

He has no idea how much time has passed when his phone snaps him out of his concentration, the sudden noise startling him and making his pen slip against the notebook, completely messing up the last letters. Yoongi huffs in annoyance and lets the pen drop to the table before turning around in his seat and reaching for his phone, sucking in a deep breath when he’s greeted by a picture of a very widely grinning Taehyung. “Should’ve seen this coming,” he huffs before accepting the call. “What’s up, Taehyung-ah?”

 

Hyung!” Yoongi grimaces at the sheer volume of the boy’s voice, jerking his phone away from his ear. “Hyung, thank you for the movie night!” Taehyung says loudly, his voice accompanied by the static of heavy winds, indicating he’s running around somewhere outside. “It was so much fun, Gukkie said so as well! And hey! I wanted to ask you, can you give me Jiminie’s number?

 

There it is.

 

Shit.

 

I was asleep when he left so I didn’t get the chance to ask,” Taehyung chatters happily, completely oblivious to Yoongi’s desperate attempts at coming up with an excuse, any excuse. “He was so nice and so much fun, I wanted to ask him if we could chat or hang out again, you know?”

 

“Y-yeah, uh,” is all Yoongi manages to say at first, gaping at the music box for a moment before turning his back on it and refocusing. “Yeah, about that, um-”

 

Come on, hyung, I’m not gonna bother him or anything.”

 

The slight pout in his tone sends an intense rush of guilt up Yoongi’s spine and he quickly shakes his head as if Taehyung could see him. “Of course you’re not, Taehyung-ah, I know that,” he says as calmly as he can. “Jimin’s just… okay, look, he’s at work right now, but I’ll ask him if it’s okay for me to give you his number, alright? But Tae,” he adds quickly when he senses the boy is about to burst into excited laughter, “uh, Jimin’s working really late, so, uh, he might not get back to you until, you know… late.”

 

A brief silence follows his words and Yoongi almost wonders if Taehyung dropped his phone or something, but just as he’s about to ask, the boy’s cheerful voice pipes up again. “That’s fine, I slept so late today, I’ll be up wayyyy past what’s healthy,” he dawdles, chuckling as if he can hear it when Yoongi rolls his eyes. “Okay, I gotta run now, but thank you, hyung!”

 

“Sure,” Yoongi says and waits for the call to cut off before he slowly lowers his phone, a slightly nauseous feeling settling in his gut, because why the fuck did he promise Taehyung Jimin’s number, Jimin doesn’t even own a phone, hell, Yoongi doesn’t even know if the dancer knows how to use one. Taehyung had just sounded so disappointed, and lord knows Yoongi can’t bear it when his beloved little brother is sad. “Shiiiiiiit,” he groans and runs a hand through his hair, tugging sharply before turning around to glare at the music box ballerina. “This is all your fault.”

 

The little dancer just stands there, offering no solutions for his problem.

 

And so Yoongi finds himself in an electronics’ store at four o’clock on a Sunday afternoon, staring at a selection of cheap phones while barely listening to the clerk drone on about which one is better for what use. They’re all the same, really, save for the differences in color and design; he only needs it to be able to download KakaoTalk and maybe have a semi-decent camera in case Taehyung insists on facetiming.

 

What am I doing with my life, he asks himself dimly for the ninth time that day.

 

“Yeah, okay,” Yoongi says instead of answering that question, cutting off the store clerk’s monologue about the difference between two of the phones’ screen resolution. “I’ll take that one,” he points at what’s probably the oldest version of a Samsung phone they have in stock, “in silver, if you have it. And a prepaid sim card with enough data to last, uh…” He pauses for a second and considers the fact that he’s buying a device that’ll be used to communicate with Taehyung. “To last a month,” he finishes, knowing full well that data will be running out within a few days.

 

The clerk nods and excuses himself to go fetch the requested items, leaving Yoongi to seriously question his life choices as he prepares to pay close to 100,000 won for his mistake.

 

He takes a detour on his way back home, stopping by the store to buy a few packets of noodles and some canned kimchi, and he snorts when he remembers his grandmother saying something about shitty cup noodles after he’d helped her clean the attic. “Speaking of,” he mumbles and fishes his phone out of his pocket. He types in her number and holds his phone to his ear, his hope diminishing for every dial tone that passes, and when she doesn’t answer, Yoongi huffs a quiet curse and moves over to the register to pay for his groceries.

 

He somehow manages to go through the rest of the day without being as much of an emotional wreck as he was earlier. He installs the sim card into the phone - Jimin’s phone - when he gets back home and downloads KakaoTalk and Snapchat and whatever other chat apps he can think of. He downloads Snow as well, with the bizarre logic that Jimin’s selcas would be so stunningly pretty, it’d be a crime not to give him the opportunity to take some.

 

After downing a packet of noodles with kimchi, Yoongi sits back down in front of his desk and flicks through what he’d written earlier. The pages of his notebook are littered with text, crammed into every free inch of paper until it’s an almost unreadable mess, something he realizes is a good thing; the sentences are incoherent, the words ridiculous and make little sense, yet he’s managed to fill almost half of his notebook with text.

 

From an outsider’s perspective, the text would probably be a cause for worry, the graphic descriptions of the feeling in Yoongi’s chest making even him arch his brows in mild concern. He’d done his best to put his exact feelings to word, to pour his heart onto paper, and while almost none of what he reads can be interpreted as positive or happy, reading the words now somehow calms him down. The overload of emotions he’d experienced earlier has simmered down a bit after being organized in the most unorganized manner in his notebook, and he is able to breathe a bit easier when he sits down to continue his work on the project.

 

The nervousness starts creeping back up his spine the later it gets. He makes a conscious effort to not turn around in his seat and look at the clock on his nightstand, nor to look at his phone, the latter of which turns into a real challenge when Taehyung sends him messages every half hour, asking if he’s talked to Jimin yet. Yoongi tries his best to not look at the time when he answers, but when Taehyung types an impatient, ‘it’s almost midnight already!’ well, that sets off Yoongi’s heart like a wind-up toy.

 

Calm down, he tries to tell himself, closing his eyes and leaning back in his seat. Calm down, everything’s the same as before, just calm the fuck down and don’t be so fucking tense.

 

Unsurprisingly, he’s unsuccessful.

 

When the last minute before midnight starts ticking down, Yoongi feels almost as nervous as he had the first time he waited for Jimin to appear. This time, however, the tension in his chest is completely different, something frighteningly close to yearning , as if his body has resigned itself to not calm down until he gets to see the dancer again, to see his smile and hear his little giggles, to feel the softness of Jimin’s hair against his fingers.

 

Yoongi grips the silver phone tightly in his hand as he counts down the final seconds, whispering them almost like a prayer, and when the dancer begins to materialize in front of him, his heart swells so much it almost hurts.

 

When Jimin breaks from his pose, there’s a moment where he just looks at Yoongi. His gaze is the same as it had been when they first met, that look that had left Yoongi feeling like he wants to hide, to cower and shield himself, but this time, it triggers an almost overwhelming urge in him to reach out and pull the dancer into his arms and never let him go again.

 

Then Jimin blinks and his bright smile graces his lips, and Yoongi feels like all wrongs in the world have been righted.

 

“Hey, Yoongi-hyung,” the dancer chirps, his cheeriness lasting only for a few seconds before his smile falters slightly and he leans forward and inclines his head, a hint of concern marring his brow as he looks at Yoongi’s face. “Are you okay? You look really tired.”

Yoongi parts his lips and closes them again before offering Jimin a small smile, and he’s surprised how easy it is, how eager he is to ease the dancer’s worry. “Yeah, uh, I got a bit caught up in my project,” he says and rolls his shoulders in a supposedly carefree way. “Ended up not sleeping enough.”

 

Jimin looks like he wants to say something, probably something stupid about how Yoongi should go to sleep instead of spending time with him, so Yoongi holds up the phone he’d bought and taps the edge of it against the dancer’s forehead to cut him off before he can even get started on his protesting. “I got you something.”

 

Jimin squeaks at the light hit before blinking up at the phone, his hands coming up to grab it, and Yoongi tries to not think about the way their fingers touch. The dancer stares at the phone, his eyes wide and unblinking for so long Yoongi’s sure they must be stinging. “Um,” Yoongi starts, the silence making him increasingly tense, “Taehyung-ah wanted to talk to you more and asked for your number, and I sort of panicked and told him I’d let you know, and then I sort of had to- whoa!”

 

The dancer leaps right at him halfway through his rambling excuses, emitting a delighted laughter as he hugs Yoongi so hard he feels like his head is going to fall off. “Holy shit, Yoongi, thank you!” Jimin exclaims against his ear, his voice deafening for a multitude of reasons, and he lets go again before Yoongi can even begin to return the hug, the dancer lets him go and focuses his attention on the phone, plopping down on the edge of the bed and staring at it. “What kind of model is this? What apps does it have? Does it have a camera? What’s Taetae’s number? Do you think it’s too late to message him?”

 

Yoongi snorts, grinning at Jimin’s excitement as he sits down next to him on the bed and flicks the phone’s screen to wake it up. “I already downloaded the same apps Taehyung uses,” he says and opens KakaoTalk. “You need to create a profile before you can chat with him, here…”

 

They go through the account creation pages, with Jimin typing Chimchim as his ID and stating that it’s cute, but Yoongi’s more than convinced he picked it because it was Taehyung who’d given him that nickname. When they get to choosing a profile picture, Yoongi offers to take a picture of him, but the dancer shakes his head with a smile on his lips. “That’s okay,” he says casually and taps on the screen. “I can just use the picture from my Facebook.”

 

“Yeah, that works too, just… wait, what?” Jimin spoke the words so naturally, Yoongi almost misses the surprising piece of information. “You’re on Facebook?” he asks and looks up in time to see the dancer roll his eyes with an amused expression.

 

“It’s the 21st century, Yoongi-hyung,” he croons, “of course I’m on Facebook.” When Yoongi’s incredulous look only intensifies, Jimin emits a cheerful giggle and pokes Yoongi between his eyebrows, much in the same way Yoongi had made a habit out of doing to him. “I might’ve been born in the thirties, but I still know how to work a computer and get around on social media.”

 

Yoongi blinks at him for a few seconds before nodding, accidentally leaning into the dancer’s touch. “Yeah, okay,” he mumbles and quickly averts his gaze, turning to look down at the phone instead. “Makes sense.” They spend another minute finishing up Jimin’s profile, and when they’re done, Yoongi takes the phone to save Taehyung’s number, as well as his KakaoID. “There,” he says when he passes it back to the dancer. “Send him a message or something, I’m pretty sure he’s holding his breath in waiting.”

 

Jimin nods and thinks for a moment, his teeth worrying his bottom lip, and then he giggles to himself and types something, his fingers moving slowly from inexperience in using a phone. He sends the message and looks up at Yoongi with barely contained excitement, and he almost drops the phone when the chat notification sound chimes not ten seconds later. “Oh my god, he types fast,” Jimin says happily, his expression growing more and more overjoyed as he’s hit by a tidal wave of messages, each of them arriving within two seconds of the previous. “I think he’s more excited than me.”

 

“That tends to be the case, yeah,” Yoongi chuckles, a contentedness settling in his chest as he watches the dancer lean back so he’s lying down on Yoongi’s bed, hovering the phone above his face and smiling so wide his eyes crinkle up in that adorable way. “It’ll take some time to get used to chatting with Taehyung, since he tends to send ten messages at once and every single one of them are about different things. Just pick a random message and answer that.”

 

Jimin nods without taking his eyes off the screen, though he does nudge Yoongi in the side with his foot and murmurs another, “Thank you, Yoongi-hyung,” which has Yoongi’s breath catching in his throat. He ends up just grunting something in return, glad that the dancer is too busy staring at his phone to notice, and he sits there, on the edge of the bed, for a few seconds before standing up and making his way back to his desk, perfectly content with continuing his work while listening to the dancer’s joyful hums and occasional giggles.

 

Half an hour into their… whatever it is that this night is turning out to be, Yoongi leans back in his chair and stares up into the ceiling, wondering when the fuck he became so extremely domestic. Yoongi has always been known to be prickly when it comes to strangers and he’s barely known Jimin for one whole week, yet here he sits, feeling ridiculously peaceful with the dancer rolling around on his bed and sporadically citing some of Taehyung’s crazier messages.

 

Yoongi feels like he should be more upset about this sudden personality change, but, as he listens to Jimin muffle a giggle against his duvet, he finds it very hard to actually care.

 

Two more hours pass before Jimin finally sits up on the bed, emitting a little groan as he stretches his arms over his head and carefully puts his phone on the nightstand table. “Taetae had to go to sleep,” he hums, sounding so ridiculously cheerful, it coaxes a smile out of Yoongi. “Said Namjoon-hyung was threatening to confiscate his phone.”

 

Yoongi snorts at that. “Yeah, Namjoon kinda ends up having to babysit Taehyung a lot,” he says with a thoughtful nod. “I told Namjoon as much when he said Taehyung could move into his dorm room, but he didn’t take me seriously at the time.” He grins. “Now he’s either being kept up late by Taehyung’s texting, or he’s getting sexiled whenever Jeongguk comes over.”

 

There’s a sputtering sound from somewhere behind Yoongi and he turns around, arching a curious eyebrow at Jimin, who’s gone quite red in the face, his lips pressed together and his eyes wide as he stares at the floor with enough intensity to burn a hole in the carpet. “What’s wrong?” Yoongi asks with a tinge of what might be concern, but when the dancer shakes his head and mumbles something in a very high-pitched voice, Yoongi can’t help the slow grin that spreads his lips. “What, was it something I said? Let’s see, I said that thing about texting, and then also about se-”

 

It takes Jimin roughly two seconds to fling himself across Yoongi’s bed, roll over it like a damn action hero, come up perfectly on the other side and smack his hand down over Yoongi’s mouth, his cheeks practically flaming. “Y-y-you don’t have to say it,” he stutters meekly, refusing to meet Yoongi’s eyes. “J-just… just, you don’t have to say it again, okay?”

 

Yoongi shrugs his shoulders and nods, and it takes more effort than he’d like to admit to not press his lips more firmly against the palm of Jimin’s hand. “I swear, Park Jimin,” he says when the dancer finally frees him, “you have to be one of the most innocent eighty year olds I’ve ever met in my life.”

 

He emits a bark of laughter when Jimin purses his lips into a pout, which somehow intensifies the startlingly red color that dusts his cheeks. “Sh-shut up, hyung,” the dancer mutters and reaches up to hide his cheeks behind his hands.

 

Yoongi shakes his head when he sobers up, and he looks at Jimin for a moment, resisting the urge to coo at the dancer when he still won’t meet Yoongi’s eyes, seemingly too embarrassed. “Alright, I’m sorry,” Yoongi says after a few seconds of silence. “Come on, let’s go for a walk. I’ll treat you to a drink so you’ll stop sulking, okay?”

 

The pout melts right off Jimin’s face and his lips form that radiant smile that has Yoongi’s heart stuttering in his chest. “Okay,” the dancer says brightly and turns on the heel, motioning for Yoongi to hurry up as he skips his way out of the bedroom and towards the hall, and all Yoongi can do is heave a deep sigh and follow, but not before rubbing a hand against his chest in a feeble attempt to get rid of the constant buzzing sensation.

 

It takes them several minutes to actually get out of the door, with Jimin protesting against wearing anything more than one of Yoongi’s leather jackets. “I won’t be cold,” he promises, throwing the door open and skittering outside as soon as he’s slipped his feet into the shoes Yoongi has let him use over the past week, quickly putting a safe distance between himself and Yoongi, who’s holding up a sweater. “Come on, my phone’s weather app said it’s not even that cold.”

 

“You’re wearing leggings and a shirt that’s so thin it’s almost see-through, Jimin,” Yoongi deadpans, rolling his eyes when all the dancer does is shove his hands into the leather jacket’s pockets, grinning as he rocks back and forth on the soles of his feet. “You’re gonna catch a cold like that.”

 

“Won’t matter in four hours,” Jimin sing-songs, his words unintentionally triggering a pang in Yoongi’s heart. “If you’re that worried, you can just buy me something warm to drink and I’ll be fine.”

 

“That’s not how- alright, fine,” Yoongi sighs, trying his best to keep the frown on his face when the dancer emits a delighted giggle. “But don’t start complaining if, no, when you get cold. It’ll be all your own fault, and you’ll just have to suffer until we get back here.”

 

“Of course, Yoongi-hyung.”

 

They step outside and choose a direction at random and start walking, with Yoongi frowning or pursing his lips or rolling his eyes every other minute, every time his eyes fall on the dancer and he’s reminded of his appearance. Jimin doesn’t seem to mind at all, looking mighty satisfied as he walks, showing absolutely no signs whatsoever of being even a little bit cold, which is ridiculous, because Yoongi can feel the chill even through his jacket, sweater, scarf and beanie. Every time Yoongi emits a sound of disbelief, the dancer sends a cheeky glance at him and muffles a giggle.

 

They walk until they arrive at a small plaza, at which point Jimin tugs at Yoongi’s sleeve to get him to stop. The dancer’s eyes are wide as he stares at the center of the plaza, where a wide fountain floor is installed, thin jets of water rising from the ground in even intervals, first straight up, then sideways to cross paths with the stream next to it, then up again, only in shorter bursts. The strong light from the surrounding buildings reflect beautifully in the water, first bright like gold, then red, then blue, constantly shifting in the light of the city’s LED signs.

 

“It’s so beautiful,” Jimin murmurs, the hand on Yoongi’s arm tightening. “Makes me wanna run through it.”

 

“You really, really shouldn’t do that,” Yoongi says, but his voice is quiet and low, careful to not snap the dancer out of his state of awe. “But yeah, it’s pretty.”

 

He observes the fountain floor for a few seconds longer before turning his eyes to Jimin, his heart twisting in his chest when he sees the adoring expression on the dancer’s face. Jimin seems completely enraptured by the sight of the water’s playful dance, the smile on his lips so small yet holding so much emotion. His eyes are glossy and Yoongi almost raises his hand on instinct to cup the boy’s cheek and brush away his tears before they can even fall.

 

Yoongi clenches his hands inside his pockets to suppress the urge and instead softly clears his throat. “There’s a cafe open a block down,” he mumbles. “You wanna stay here while I go get us something to drink?” Jimin nods wordlessly, his lips moving as if he wants to say something but can’t, and he seems reluctant to release his grip on Yoongi’s arm. “I’ll be back in a few minutes. Don’t walk into the fountain.”

 

The dancer just nods again, and Yoongi chuckles before turning and walking towards the coffee shop.

 

Unsurprisingly, the 24/7 Starbucks is almost completely empty, save for a few customers who look like students, their heads buried in books with an air of desperation hanging over them, one Yoongi knows all too well. He’d spent his fair share of hours in late-night coffee shops when studying for exams, staring at pages that make very little sense to his sleep-deprived brain until the sun goes up outside the shop’s windows.

 

“One americano,” he tells the girl behind the register. “And a vanilla latte. To go.” He pays for the drinks and gives his name before moving to the counter, drumming his fingers against the surface while he waits. It doesn’t take long, what with him being the only waiting customer, and he mumbles a quick thanks when he gets his drinks. He slips a cardboard sleeve around the mugs and grabs a few napkins on his way out, shuddering slightly as he steps back out into the autumn cold.

 

Yoongi trots back towards the plaza, walking briskly, and when he rounds the corner and the fountain floor comes into view, his entire body goes cold, and it has nothing to do with the chill of the weather.

 

Some guy is standing in front of Jimin, holding him by his arms and growling something in a deep, slurred voice while trying to drag him off somewhere. The dancer is struggling against his grip, his heels scraping against the ground, shaking his head furiously and half shouting, half pleading for the stranger to let him go, and Yoongi can hear the tears in his voice, accompanied by fear and panic.

 

He drops the cups of coffee without a second thought and breaks off into a run. “Hey!”

 

Both Jimin and the man turn to look at him, and the dancer’s chokes out a relieved sob, a sound that sets the blood in Yoongi’s veins on fire. “You get the fuck away from him, you piece of shit!” Yoongi all but snarls when he reaches the two of them, his hand shooting up to curl his fingers around the man’s wrist in a vice grip. “You don’t get to touch him, you don’t get to fucking talk to him, so back the fuck off and let him go!”

 

The man is at least a head taller than him and broader in every other sense, but Yoongi doesn’t care, not when Jimin is crying, not when he emits another sob that cracks around Yoongi’s name. Yoongi feels like his chest is burning, absolutely seething as he glares up at the stranger, who’s clearly surprised by his appearance, shock obvious on his face as he blinks down at Yoongi.

 

He doesn’t wait for the man to comply and instead takes it upon himself to pry his fingers off Jimin’s arm, taking very little care to not accidentally bend the man’s digits too far. “Ow, fuck, what the fuck?” the stranger barks, finally snapping out of his stupor and tearing his arm free from Yoongi’s grip. “The fuck’s your problem, I was here first, so go find yourself another wh-”

 

Yoongi knows what he’s going to say, and the mere thought of letting Jimin hear that word knocks the sense right out of him. He reaches up and slams his hand down over the man’s mouth, digging his fingers into his cheeks and jaw to form a painful muzzle, cutting off his sentence and causing him to emit a startled noise. He fully releases Jimin in favor of reaching up to claw at Yoongi’s hand, but Yoongi doesn’t relent, not even when he feels the dancer clutch onto his back, his arms shaking as they come around Yoongi’s chest to hold him tight.

 

“You’d better shut your fucking mouth unless you want me to tear it straight off your face,” Yoongi growls, his voice low and full of venom as he tightens his grip, watching the man’s face contort in pain. “I suggest you get your worthless ass the fuck away from here, and don’t you so much as look at him again or I swear, I’ll gouge your eyes out and shove them up your ass!”

 

With that, he roughly shoves the man backwards, releasing his face to let him stumble back, and Yoongi doesn’t move until the man retreats, hissing something akin to, “Crazy fucker,” as he stalks off.

 

Only when he’s out of sight does Yoongi breathe, a shaky exhale ghosting past his lips before he moves to turn around, only to find himself locked in place by Jimin’s arms. “Hey,” he mumbles, his voice gone from furious to gentle in the blink of an eye, and the dancer’s hands tighten their grip on his sweater. “It’s okay, Jiminie, it’s okay, he’s gone, you’re okay.”

 

Slowly, oh so slowly, Yoongi manages to coax Jimin into letting him turn around, murmuring soothing words against the dancer’s temple as he repositions them so he can put his arms around Jimin, hugging him tightly. Jimin buries his face in the crook of Yoongi’s neck, his shoulders shaking from crying, his hands coming up to fist the front of Yoongi’s jacket.

 

Yoongi’s anger is still there, still burning a hole in his chest and he wants to chase the man down and beat the living shit out of him for doing what he did, but he can’t, not when every cell of his mind is screaming at him to make it better, to help Jimin, to make him stop crying. “It’s okay,” he says again, repeating the words like a mantra as he buries one hand in the dancer’s hair. “That asshole had no right touching you, but he’s gone now, he’s never coming near you again, I promise.”

 

He can feel Jimin nod against his collarbones, though he doesn’t stop crying. Yoongi just holds him, shushing gently whenever the dancer’s breath hitches, whenever he chokes on a sob, soothingly stroking his hair. “You’re okay, sunshine,” he murmurs, and this time, he doesn’t stop himself from pressing his lips against the top of Jimin’s head. “You’re okay, I’m here, you’re gonna be okay.”

 

Yoongi has no idea how long they’ve been standing there when the dancer finally begins to calm down, his sobs fading into little sniffles, and he slowly slides his hands from Yoongi’s chest to around his waist, returning the embrace as if he never wants to let go. Yoongi closes his eyes and just breathes, trying to not think of the way his heart clenches, continuing to run his fingers through Jimin’s hair.

 

Eventually, the dancer begins to straighten up, slowly raising his head from the crook of Yoongi’s neck. His eyes are swollen from crying, his cheeks wet with tears, and all Yoongi can do is bring his hands to cup Jimin’s face and wipe away his tears, gently running his thumbs over his cheeks. The dancer manages a soft smile and leans into the touch, closing his eyes and breathing deeply, his hands coming up to loosely curl his fingers around Yoongi’s wrists.

 

Neither one of them say a word. Not when Yoongi leans in to press another kiss against the crown of Jimin’s head, not when Jimin’s hands slide up to rest on top of Yoongi’s, not when they just look at each other, barely a hairsbreadth of space between them.

 

They stand like that for what might as well be an eternity before Jimin lowers his eyes, the smile on his lips widening to resemble his usual one as he gives Yoongi’s hands a quick squeeze before gently lifting them off his face. “Gimme a second,” he mumbles, his voice thick from crying, and all Yoongi can do is blink at him when he shrugs out of the leather jacket. He passes it to Yoongi, who barely has enough sense to take it, confusion seeping into the numbness in his chest as he watches Jimin unlace his shoes and step out of them, barefoot onto the ground. “I need to do something.”

 

Without another word, he turns around and walks out towards the fountain floor, narrowly dodging the jets of water until he finds a spot where he can stand without the risk of being soaked. Yoongi has half a mind to tell him to come back, to not be so stupid to get himself drenched in water in the middle of the night in late October, but the words don’t quite find their way past his lips as he watches the dancer take a few deep breaths before raising his arms to the side, and he sends Yoongi a soft smile before he lets his eyes flutter close.

 

Then he starts dancing, and Yoongi’s world comes to a stuttering halt.

 

The boy’s movements are smooth, fluid like the pillars of water that rise from the ground, his entire body following the rhythm he sets for himself. His eyes remain closed and his face is serene as he lets himself be claimed by a silent song, his arms forming beautiful arcs and his spine bending to match before he moves to the side, his steps featherlight as he chases something invisible. He turns effortlessly, spinning twice before arching his back and throwing his arms out to the sides, baring his front, willingly allowing himself to be vulnerable for the night sky to see.

 

He doesn’t even seem to notice when he’s hit by a stream of water, soaking his clothes and his hair. He keeps dancing without missing a beat, his skin glistening in the distant lights of the city, making him look almost radiant, as if little sparks of magic are born at the tips of his fingers, flickering and disappearing into the night. Jimin seems absolutely immersed, lost in his own movements, as if nothing else in the world matters right now, nothing apart from the way he dances to a song only he can hear.

 

Yoongi is afraid to blink, afraid that if he closes his eyes for even a second, Jimin will stop dancing and this moment will be over. He has never seen anything so beautiful in all his life, he has never felt what he feels right now, the very strings of his heart resonating as he looks at Jimin.

 

The dancer curls in on himself and brings his hands to his face, staggering two steps backwards before throwing his head back, thrusting his hands towards the night sky and sending several droplets of water flying, and then he’s smiling, his lips curling up around a soundless laughter. He breaks away from his spot and spins around on the tips of his toes once before walking a few steps to the side, each step gaining speed, and then he jumps, flipping over in midair and landing on his feet, immediately launching back into his dance as if it was the most effortless thing in the world.

 

I love him, Yoongi realizes suddenly, his heart clenching in his chest as he watches the boy’s flawless movements. I love him, I love him so much. His eyes are stinging and he hasn’t cried in almost a decade, but for some reason, his tears are threatening to fall now. I love him so much it hurts. He feels it throughout his entire body, the emotions stirring him down to his very soul, and he wants to reach out, he wants to touch Jimin, he wants to hold him and never let him go, but he doesn’t. He doesn’t do any of those things, because then Jimin would stop dancing, and the mere thought terrifies Yoongi more than anything.

 

I love you.

 

It’s almost as if the dancer had heard him; just as the words cross his mind, Jimin’s eyes open and he looks at Yoongi, and the smile that graces his lips is nothing short of angelic. He doesn’t stop dancing, but he lets his steps carry him towards Yoongi and when he’s close enough, he reaches out and takes his hand, a beautiful laughter spilling from his lips as he pulls Yoongi out onto the fountain floor. “Dance with me,” Jimin says brightly, and Yoongi follows without protest, letting himself be soaked by the jets of water, if only for the sake of hiding the tears that finally spill down his cheeks.

 

He doesn’t do much else than just stand there, holding out his hands to take Jimin’s as the boy dances around him, needing something to hold onto every now and then, when one of his steps requires too much momentum to balance out alone. Every touch of the dancer’s hand feels like a jolt of electricity, and Yoongi tries to breathe but fails, racked by a sob that he barely manages to stifle. All he can do is turn his head to follow Jimin wherever he goes, and when Jimin giggles and steps away from him, taking longer strides in his dance to give himself more room, Yoongi almost chases, the soles of his shoes scraping against the ground.

 

Don’t go.

 

Again, it’s like Jimin can hear his thoughts. He spins twice before coming to a halt seven meters away, turning to face Yoongi, and for a moment, they both stand still, simply looking at each other, one out of breath, one trying his best not to cry. Then the dancer parts his lips and calls out, “Catch me, Yoongi,” before he surges forward, running as if he can’t wait to cross the space between them, as if the distance hurts him as much as it hurts Yoongi.

 

Maybe Jimin was going to perform some sort of grand finale, some impressive jump that could rival those who dance in the Russian Ballet, but he doesn’t. When Yoongi raises his arms, blindly trusting that he will be able to do whatever it is the boy he loves expects from him, another bright laughter falls from Jimin’s lips and he just keeps running until he crashes into Yoongi’s embrace.

 

They almost fall, but Yoongi keeps them standing, his arms closing tight around the dancer’s waist. Without thinking, he buries his face in the crook of Jimin’s neck and bites back another sob, his mind screaming, I love you, Park Jimin, I love you so much, over and over, but he shuts his lips tight and says nothing, instead listening to the dancer’s laughter, clinging to the sound like a lifeline.

 

“Ahh, I haven’t danced like that in so long,” Jimin says breathlessly, his voice brimming with joy as he hugs Yoongi’s neck, feeding his laughter almost directly into his ear. “Look at me, I’m so out of shape, I’m out of breath from that little dance alone.” He giggles and shakes his head at his own state, and if he realizes that Yoongi is crying, he doesn’t say anything, only stands there, returning the embrace and humming happily to himself.

 

It takes Yoongi several minutes before he finally dares to stand up straight, awkwardly clearing his throat as he lets the dancer go, reluctantly withdrawing his hands from around him. Jimin follows his lead, taking his arms away from around Yoongi’s neck, and then they just stand there for a moment without exchanging a single word about what just happened. There are so many things Yoongi wants to tell the boy, such as how well he dances, how beautiful he is, how much Yoongi loves him, but all those things go unsaid, and all he can do is curse himself for his cowardice.

 

He loves someone who stands beyond the reach of time itself, and the thought makes him feel like his heart has stopped beating.

 

In the end, it’s Jimin who breaks the heavy silence, a soft smile on his lips as he reaches out a hand towards Yoongi. “Let’s go back home, hyung,” he murmurs, and Yoongi just nods, too emotionally exhausted to protest. He lets Jimin takes his hand, he lets himself be coaxed into walking, and he lets the dancer take him home in silence, all the while wondering what on earth he should do now.

 

That night, Yoongi falls asleep before the sun goes up. He falls asleep and leaves Jimin alone, and when he jolts awake a few hours after noon, he’s instantly hit by a heavy wave of guilt, creeping up his spine and making him feel almost sick. He scrambles to get up from the couch where they’d been sitting, cursing as he stubs his toe on the way to his bedroom, where the music box is standing peacefully on his drawers.

 

“I’m sorry, Jimin,” Yoongi says urgently, as if the little ballerina can hear him. “Shit, I’m sorry, I was just so tired, I…” He takes a deep breath before deflating, staggering back and taking a seat on the edge of his bed. “I’m sorry I left you alone, sunshine.” He buries his hands in his hair and tugs sharply, gritting his teeth at the sting. “I’m so sorry.”

 

He sits there for several minutes, unable to even look at the little dancer, guilt and shame forcing him to keep his head down and making him feel like he doesn’t have the right to do anything other than apologize, over and over. The ache in his heart is overwhelming, and for the second time today, he feels tears burning behind his eyes.

 

He almost falls off his bed in pure shock when his phone goes off in his pocket, damn near giving him a heart attack. He curses under his breath as he fishes it up from his pocket, and he answers it without even looking at the screen. “What?” he snaps, his free hand rubbing at his eyes.

 

Yoonyoon?

 

Yoongi’s eyes widen at the sound of his grandmother’s voice, his breath catching in his throat. “What kind of a greeting is that, boy,” she chides, huffing when he doesn’t say anything. “Anyway, I just got home and the first thing I see is that you’ve called me a shitload of times over the past wee-

 

“Halmeoni!” Yoongi jumps to his feet and turns around, grabbing everything he might need on his way out of the bedroom. “Halmeoni, I’m coming over right now.”

 

You- what?

 

“I’m coming over!” Yoongi repeats loudly, wasting no time in changing his clothes before grabbing his phone charger and wallet. “I’m coming to Daegu. I need to see you, I-I need to talk to you, it’s really fucking urgent.”

 

Yah, boy, what have I told you about-”

 

Yoongi hangs up without letting her finish. He pulls on his shoes and jacket and grabs his keys, pausing only for a second in the doorway to throw a glance towards his bedroom before he’s out, slamming the door shut behind him.

 

-

 

The trip to Daegu passes in a blur. Yoongi is barely aware of what he’s doing, and every time he stops to take in his situation, he can’t quite remember how he got there, not when he reaches the train station, when he’s on the train, not even when he finds himself sitting in a taxi on his way to his grandmother’s house. He’s vaguely aware of how restless he is, his foot tapping against the cab’s floor in rapidfire succession, and he can’t stop checking the time on his phone, somehow feeling as if he’s moving against some kind of deadline.

 

He barely remembers to pay the cab driver before he runs up the small pathway to his grandmother’s house, barely stopping in time to keep himself from running straight into her front door. “Halmeoni!” he yells and slams down the doorbell over and over, his heart beating in his throat. “Fuck’s sake, hal-”

 

The door flies open halfway through his shouting to reveal his grandmother, looking utterly shellshocked by his behavior. “Yoongi,” she says slowly, the proper use of his name a telltale sign of her worry. “Yoongi, what the hell is-”

 

“Did you know?” he interrupts, unable to keep his voice steady. He takes a step towards her and settles his hands on her shoulders, having to really concentrate to not grip her too hard. “Halmeoni, did you know?”

 

Slowly, the shock dissipates from her face and she heaves a deep sigh, taking a step back and guiding Yoongi into the hallway so she can close the door behind him. “Did I know,” she repeats with a sound that’s almost a snort, as if she thinks it’s an absolutely ridiculous question, and she shakes her head before reaching up and taking both of Yoongi’s hands in hers. “Of course I knew, Yoonyoon. I’m the one who bound him to that box.”

 

For several seconds, all Yoongi can do is stare, his eyes wide as saucers as he processes her words. He just gapes at her, caught in a state of complete and utter disbelief, and it’s not until she’s led him to the living room and sat him down in a chair that he recovers just enough to squeak out a thin, “What?”

 

Min Seongi takes a seat in the armchair opposite of him, a displeased frown knitting her brow. “Yah, I told you so many stories about my dabbling with magic when you were younger,” she scoffs and sigh again, crossing her arms over her chest. “Didn’t you believe a single one of them?”

 

Again, Yoongi just stares at her, his brain unable to grasp the meaning behind her words. “Y-you,” is the first thing he manages to say, stuttering out the word. “You. You bound…” Without blinking, he reaches up and runs a hand through his hair, closing his lips and parting them again without knowing what to say. “You bound Jimin.”

 

“I bound Jimin,” she echoes with a firm nod. “He just showed up one day and asked me to do it, and I did. It took some persuasion, but I did.” She calmly holds his absolutely incredulous gaze, waiting for him to ask something, to say something, but when all he does is stare, she sighs for the third time and shakes her head. “I’ve told you what I used to do in my youth, haven’t I?”

 

Yoongi nods slowly, remembering all the stories his grandmother had told him whenever she babysat him, whenever she tucked him in for the night. Stories of what it was like to work at a carnival, stories about the spells she used to bless the people who came to her booth, even about what she saw in the crystal ball when someone asked her for their fortune. All the stories that had made a young Yoongi’s imagination run wild with ideas of magic and fantastical powers. All the stories he had dismissed when turning old enough to realize that that’s all they were. Stories.

 

“Right. I wasn’t a magician, as Taehyung-ah put it,” his grandmother says with an amused chuckle, “but I was a scryer. I had enough magical powers to grant people blessings, to peer into their past and future, and make the tarot cards reveal the truth about their lives. It didn’t require much effort to charm the crowds at those carnivals, those gullible idiots who believed any twist of the truths I fed them.”

 

She pauses for a moment, pursing her lips in thought, and when she looks at Yoongi again, her expression softens. “And then Park Jimin came along,” she says, and Yoongi’s heart twists in his chest at the mere mention of his name. He subconsciously moves closer in his seat until he’s sitting at the very edge of the chair, clinging to every single word his grandmother utters. “Did he ever manage to tell you what it is he’s looking for?”

 

His lips move without producing any sound at first, and he has to clear his throat to find his voice. “No,” he manages, hoarsely. “No, he… he said he physically couldn’t tell me.”

 

She nods at that, a hint of hesitation showing on her face. “This isn’t really my story to tell,” she says slowly, as if testing the words. “But if you’re desperate enough to come running all the way from Seoul like this, there has to be a reason for it, so…” She closes her eyes momentarily, her jaw moving as if she’s chewing on whatever it is she’s about to say, and when she finally looks at Yoongi again, he’s suddenly afraid to hear the answer. “That boy is looking for love, Yoongi.”

 

His eyes widen and he blinks at her, the words slowly taking form in his mind and sinking deep into his chest, where they etch themselves almost painfully. “You’d never believe it by looking at him, but Jimin was never a happy child,” his grandmother says solemnly. “He wasn’t allowed to be. His parents were never in love, so to them, Jimin was a mistake, a product of one single moment of passion.” She purses her lips into a sour expression. “Abortions were not a thing back then,” she says. “It was punishable by law, so while his father took off without looking back, his mother begrudgingly gave birth and kept him, but she never saw him as a son.”

 

Yoongi doesn’t realize he’s clenching his jaw so hard his bones creak, his fingers digging into his knees as he listens. “To his mother, Jimin was something she could use,” his grandmother continues, scorn dripping from her voice. “That bitch figured that since she’d given birth to him, the least he could do was make himself useful for her, to become an asset. He was pushed to do whatever she told him to, whatever whim came to her head, but it was never enough for her. Jimin was never good enough.”

 

“J-Jimin told me…” The words burn in his throat. “He told me his mom wanted him to join the Russian Ballet,” he croaks, remembering how the dancer hadn’t replied when Yoongi had told him how impressed he was, only smiled and squeezed his arm.

 

His grandmother nods. “He found his light in dancing when he was quite young,” she says. “A way for him to express all the pain she put him through behind her back, but eventually, she found out. She, as well as anyone who ever saw him dance, recognized that he had a fierce talent for it, and so she decided to take that light away from him as well and turned it into something painful.” There’s a venom to her voice, the same venom Yoongi can feel coursing in his veins. “She pushed him until he wasn’t able to walk, had him train more than any human could stand, and he did it all with a smile on his face, because maybe, he thought, maybe she would love him if he did.”

 

She takes a moment to look out the window, leaving Yoongi alone to struggle with the sudden, painful urge to scream. Jimin, he thinks, repeating the dancer’s name in his head over and over, a chant to keep him from going crazy from what he was hearing. Jimin, the sweetest, happiest, kindest human being Yoongi has ever met in his life. Jimin, who had cried in his arms and held Yoongi when his tears wouldn’t stop. Jimin, whose smile made Yoongi feel like the world was a more beautiful place.

 

Jimin, whom he loves so much he doesn’t know what to do with himself.

 

“When he came to me,” his grandmother continues, startling Yoongi out of his thoughts, “he was in the prime of his youth. He had escaped from his mother’s suffocating hold and come back to Korea with one wish, one single goal. To find the love of his life.” She chuckles softly and shakes her head, her eyes suddenly glossier than before. “I didn’t take him seriously,” she says softly. "I mean, what a cliché thing to tell a fortune teller, that they’re looking for the true love of children’s stories.”

 

Yoongi feels a crack in his heart when a few tears silently fall from her eyes. “He asked for my help and I refused,” she says thickly, reaching up to swipe away her tears in an almost angry manner, “but he was persistent. He kept coming back, over and over, his determination never waning for even a second, and slowly, I began to learn the truth behind his request, about how he’d never known love and how much he yearned for it. To love, and to be loved.”

 

There’s a faint taste of iron on Yoongi’s tongue, and he vaguely realizes he’s chewed his bottom lip so hard it has split. A whole new feeling has risen in his chest and he swallows thickly, a sense of dread creeping up his spine and turning his blood cold. True love, he thinks numbly, suddenly feeling like he can’t breathe. The love of his life.

 

“Finally, I couldn’t say no anymore,” his grandmother continues, seemingly oblivious to his internal struggle. “He was so determined, so set on sacrificing everything for this. He wanted to search for his true love, but he was terrified of growing old without ever finding it, and so I agreed to bind him and freeze his passage of time.”

 

She takes a deep, shuddering breath to steady herself, and she looks almost pleading when she carries on. “Nothing in this world comes for free, Yoongi,” she tells him. “Through dozens of spells, I was able to bind Jimin to that box, but in return, he had to give up a whole lot. You’ve met him, you know how he is, he’s like a living ray of sunlight, but in return for his binding, he had to let go of the actual sun. It was part of the price he had to pay, and I think he agreed without realizing what kind of life it would leave him with.”

 

“That’s why,” Yoongi rasps, staring into his hands, “that’s why you made it so he can’t touch the music box.”

 

“Yes,” she says and nods. “I grew fond of him over his countless visits, and I couldn’t bear the thought of him losing that fierce determination of his one day. It was all he had at the time, his hope and belief that one day, he will find the one he’s meant to be with, so I… in case he ever…” She stops for a moment and just breathes for a few seconds. “In case he ever lost that hope,” she whispers when she finds her strength. “I couldn’t stand the thought of even the possibility of him ending his life because of what I did to him. Yes, he had asked for it himself and yes, I had refused enough times to not be responsible for what happened to him, but…”

 

Her voice trails off and a heavy silence settles in the room, a silence so deafening Yoongi has to reach up and flatten his hands over his ears for a moment. His head is spinning with everything he’s heard, he feels like his heart has stopped beating in his chest, and the coldness in his blood makes him despise himself, because the last thing he should be thinking about right now is his own feelings.

 

“Why,” he starts, taking a second to formulate his question. “Why did you give me the music box?” His voice is monotonous, and he grits his teeth and clears his throat before trying again. “What… I mean, what could I do to help him? He just… he was moved to a new place all of a sudden, a new city, how… how was he supposed to be able to search for, for his…” He can’t say it. He can’t, the words hurt too much.

 

“He knew I was giving the box to you.”

 

His head snaps up at that and he stares at his grandmother. “He did?” he asks, his voice barely above a whisper.

 

She scoffs at him, as if she can’t believe he would ever doubt her words. “Of course he did,” she snaps, pursing her lips in dissatisfaction. “Do you think I’d just pass him along without telling him?” She shakes her head. “I’m not that heartless, Yoonyoon, the boy would’ve been scared shitless.”

 

Yoongi is silent for a moment, processing her words. Suddenly, it makes sense how calm Jimin had been when Yoongi had first met him, how he hadn’t seemed even a little bit scared of Yoongi’s prickly attitude until he had actually threatened to throw the dancer out. “But why?” Yoongi asks again, his throat constricting. “Why’d you give me the music box? Did you think I’d be able to help him? Or was it because we’re the same age? Tha-that maybe someone I knew could be...”

 

He reaches up and tugs at his hair, shaking his head and emitting a hollow chuckle before his grandmother can say anything. “I’ve been up with him every night,” he croaks, his voice trembling with the urge to scream. “We’ve been talking and doing random shit, taking walks, I... we’ve probably walked around all of Seoul by now. I even arranged thing so he could meet my friends, he gets along so well with Taehyung-ah.”

 

When his grandmother speaks, he can hear the caution in her voice, the concern that tells him she’s noticed his state of mind. “You did all that?” she asks softly, humming when Yoongi gives a jerky nod. “You didn’t have to, Yoonyoon. You could’ve just left him to his own bearings, you know? He would’ve continued his search even without you.”

 

Her words take Yoongi by surprise, and he realizes she’s right. He remembers thinking something similar the very first time he’d seen Jimin materialize out of thin air, something about handing the dancer a key so he could go about his searching without having to worry. But no, instead he had offered to take Jimin out to eat, and they’d spent every single night after that together. “Oh god,” he breathes, clasping his hands in front of his lips to muffle his words. “I fell long before I even realized it.”

 

He’s in love with someone who’s searching for the love of their life, someone who will be eternally bound to a music box until they find the true love they’ve always wanted.

 

Yoongi feels like he could cry.

 

“Yoonyoon.” Suddenly, he can feel his grandmother’s hand on his shoulder, rubbing soothing circles into his skin, and he leans forward and squeezes his eyes shut, wishing his chest would stop aching. “Yoongi, talk to me,” she urges, but he shakes his head. He can’t. It’s too painful. “I need to know what happened. I need you to tell me what’s wrong.”

 

“No.” He shakes his head again before shrugging off her hand and standing up, blinking hard against the burn behind his eyes. “I-I need to go,” he says, his voice austere from restraint. “I-I learned everything I need to know, so I’m just gonna… I’m gonna go.”

 

“Yoongi-”

 

“I’m sorry, halmeoni,” he presses out, already halfway to the door. “I need to go, I… I’ll call you tomorrow. Or in a few days, I just… I need to go.”

 

And he does, pulling the door shut behind himself before she can protest. He breaks off the porch immediately, taking long strides down the street and away from his grandmother’s house, his head feeling like it’s about to burst. “Fuck,” he hisses, his hands clenching into fists. The feeling in his chest is escalating, it’s boiling over and it hurts so much, and he doesn’t know what to do. “Fuck, fuck, fuck..!”

 

He stops in the middle of the street and sinks into a crouch, bracing a hand flat against the ground as he struggles to just breathe, but even something as simple as that hurts. He can feel his phone vibrating in his pocket and he knows it’s his grandmother, but he can’t talk to her, he can’t let her know that after she entrusted him with the music box, when she entrusted Yoongi with helping Jimin find what he’s looking for, all Yoongi has done is kept him from it, distracted him, been so fucking selfish as to fall in love with him.

 

I have to let him go, he realizes, and for the second time that day, Yoongi cries.

 

-

 

Just like with his trip to Daegu, Yoongi remembers very little of his trip back to Seoul. He has a vague memory of walking around aimlessly in his hometown before finding his way to the train station, where he’d sat for a few hours, watching two of the trains he was supposed to board arrive and depart from the platform. Once he’d actually boarded a train, the trip seemed to have passed in the blink of an eye, and suddenly, he finds himself standing in central Seoul in the middle of the night, feeling like it’s the first time he’s ever set foot in the city.

 

Yoongi makes a conscious effort to not look at any of the timetables or the grand digital clocks on his way out of the station, knowing full well it’s already past midnight. He knows he should go home, he knows he needs to go home, that nothing good is going to come out of postponing the inevitable conversation he needs to have with Jimin, but as Yoongi steps outside into the cool autumn air, he finds himself walking left instead of right, away from his apartment rather than towards it.

 

You’re a coward, he tells himself as he walks, every step feeling heavier than the last. You’re a goddam fucking coward, Min Yoongi! He doesn’t deserve this, and you know it! He does know it, he knows it too well, but having to let Jimin go his own way to find the love of his life is scarier than anything he’s ever had to do. The thought alone brings back tears to his eyes, which in turn makes him so fucking angry with himself, because he has no right to be this selfish, none whatsoever, and yet there he is, choosing to walk away from giving Jimin what he deserves.

 

He has no idea for how long he keeps walking. He doesn’t have a set direction and the buildings and streets and neighborhoods seem completely foreign to him, as if he hasn’t spent the entire last week wandering through every single one of them, laughing together with the dancer. It seems like an eternity ago, and he can’t quite remember what made him be so happy.

 

No, he tells himself, gritting his teeth, that’s a lie. He remembers it well, too well. How could he not? He had heard Jimin’s laughter not twenty-four hours ago, had seen his radiant smile and heard his bright voice. He had seen Jimin cry, he had seen Jimin dance, two images he’ll never be able to get out of his head, not for the rest of his life.

 

Yoongi remembers all of it, everything. Everything he’ll have to let go of.

 

He stops in the middle of a step and closes his eyes, taking a few deep breaths in an attempt to calm himself. His emotions are shot to shit and he realizes he has absolutely zero control over himself, which is why every time the dancer pops into his head, he feels like he could just drop to his knees and cry until he physically can’t anymore, until he runs out of tears. Get ahold of yourself, he tells himself sternly, swallowing down what would’ve most likely been a sob. You’re only making it worse.

 

Yoongi knows this as well, and he curses under his breath when he feels a wetness on his cheeks. “Fucking hell,” he says shakily and shoves his hands into his pockets, looking for anything he could use to wipe his face. All he comes up with, however, is his keys, wallet, and phone.

 

He almost drops all of the items when he realizes his phone is ringing, the screen blinking through the silent mode he’d set it to sometime when he was still in Daegu, to block out his grandmother’s calls.

 

Now, however, it’s Taehyung’s image that flashes over the screen, and Yoongi answers without hesitation, his worry for the boy blocking out the one other obvious reason for Taehyung to call him this late. Or early, judging by the glimpse he gets of his phone’s clock, the first number being a definite 6. “Taehyu-”

 

What the actual fuck are you doing?!”

 

Yoongi almost drops his phone again, shocked by the absolutely livid voice that sounds from the device. “Where the fuck have you been, hyung?!” Taehyung shouts from the other end of the call, probably loud enough to wake the entire neighborhood. “Do you have any idea how worried I’ve been?!

 

“I-I’m fine, why-” is all Yoongi manages to say before Taehyung, sweet and adorable Taehyung who barely ever gets upset with anyone for any reason, launches into the most outraged rant Yoongi’s ever heard in his entire life.

 

Oh, you’re fine, well that’s fucking great, isn’t it? Yeah, sure, you’re fine, that’s perfect, so why the absolute fuck has Jiminie called me fifty times during the night?!” Yoongi’s heart sinks like a stone. “I had my phone on silent so I didn’t hear him until I woke up an hour ago, and when I called him, he was crying his eyes out, asking me if I knew where you are, if I’d seen you! So you wanna tell me where the fuck you are, you asshole?!

 

Yoongi parts his lips to answer, but Taehyung isn’t done, not by a longshot. “He’s been running around in a city he doesn’t know for four hours, looking for you! And when I spoke with him just now, he said there’s less than an hour left and he sounded so fucking scared, so you’d better get your fucking ass back to your place and talk to him!

 

“Y-yeah,” Yoongi croaks, already moving. “Yeah, fuck, okay, I-I’m on my way.”

 

Good!” Taehyung barks, sounding no less angry than before. “I swear to god, hyung, I don’t care if you’re like a brother to me, if you don’t make it back in time before Jiminie has to go, I’ll beat the living shit out of you!

 

A part of him registers that Taehyung might actually be aware of Jimin’s situation, what with the way he phrased his threat, but Yoongi doesn’t spend a second dwelling on it. Instead, he closes the call and speeds up until he’s running, his legs carrying him home as fast as they possibly can. “Hold on,” he presses out through gritted teeth, not daring to look at the time for fear of realizing he might not make it. “Fuck, hold on..!”

 

Yoongi has no idea from where he pulls the stamina to run all the way to his apartment complex, but he doesn’t slow down until the building comes into view. His throat is burning and his lungs are on fire, and his legs feel like jelly, threatening to fold under his weight as he hurries up the stairs, foregoing the elevator to save whatever precious seconds he has remaining.

 

He doesn’t stop until he reaches his floor, where he finds Jimin sitting outside his apartment, his thighs pulled up against his chest and his face buried against his knees. He’s wearing Yoongi’s leather jacket and the shoes he’s been borrowing, and his leggings are ripped around the knees, the fabric stretched tight around his skin.

 

Yoongi has lost count already, but once again, he feels like crying.

 

“Jimin,” he rasps, his throat so dry he can barely speak. The dancer’s name leaves his lips as nothing more than a hoarse whisper, but Jimin seems to hear it as clearly as if Yoongi had shouted, his head snapping up and turning in Yoongi’s direction, his eyes widening.

 

“Y-Yoongi,” the dancer breathes and scrambles to his feet, and Yoongi has never hated himself more than when he sees the scrapes on Jimin’s knees, surrounded by dried, smeared blood. The dancer’s face is swollen from crying, the tracks of his tears still visible, but upon seeing Yoongi, his lips spread into a smile, relief apparent on his face, and Yoongi wants to punch himself.

 

“Thank god you’re okay,” Jimin chokes out and steps towards him, and before Yoongi can do more than straighten up, the dancer throws his arms around his neck and pulls him into a hug he definitely doesn’t deserve. “I was so worried, shit, I-I woke up and you weren’t there, and I figured you were just working late, but then you didn’t come back for two hours, a-and I-I went to your university to check the studios and you weren’t there, either, s-so I started going to all the places we visited, a-and I never saved your number so I called Taehyung…”

 

Yoongi listens to his rambling without interrupting him, too caught up in a violent internal battle, where half of him wants to hug Jimin and promise to never leave him alone ever again, while the other knows he can’t do that and he has to let the dancer go. You have to tell him, he screams at himself inwardly, closing his eyes and swallowing down a wave of nausea. This is about his life, not yours, so you have to fucking tell him.

 

“J-Jimin,” he croaks, slowly reaching up to untangle himself from the dancer’s arms. “Let’s… let’s go inside.”

 

“Yeah,” Jimin says and nods, using the sleeve of Yoongi’s jacket to wipe the fresh tears away from his eyes. “S-sorry, I sort of locked myself out when I went looking for you.”

 

Please don’t apologize, Yoongi wants to say, because it’s not Jimin who’s done something wrong, it’s not Jimin who has acted like the world’s most selfish bastard. Please. “Don’t worry about it,” is what he ends up saying, and now he really wants to punch himself. “C-come on, let’s…”

 

His voice trails off and he can’t finish the sentence, so instead he just goes to open the door, his hands trembling as he unlocks it and moves aside to let Jimin enter first. He holds his breath when the dancer steps past him, as if afraid of breathing the same air as him, as if afraid his scent would make Yoongi’s resolve crumble.

 

He follows Jimin inside and closes the door behind himself, his hand gripping the handle until his knuckles turn white before he lets go, and then he just stands there, watching the dancer slip out of his shoes and his leather jacket. All he can do is look, as if his brain’s primary function has become to memorize everything he can about Jimin, from the way he moves to the way he looks, everything.

 

Yoongi closes his eyes for a moment, trying his best to take a steadying breath to prepare himself for what’s to come. You have to do it, he tells himself, over and over. There’s no other way, you have to-

 

“Yoongi?” Jimin’s soft voice is like a knife through his heart, and it’s all he can do to not succumb to the pain and break. “Are you oka-”

 

“You,” Yoongi interrupts him, his voice so obviously strained, and it takes more effort than he could’ve imagined to open his eyes and look at the dancer. “You… you should go.”

 

Whatever relief had flooded the Jimin’s face upon Yoongi’s arrival vanishes in the blink of an eye, and Yoongi wishes he wasn’t looking at him, because the uncertain fright that spreads over his face means so much more now than it had the first time they met. Yoongi wants to take it back, he wants to take his words back and tell Jimin he can stay with him forever, and he has to grit his teeth so hard his bones hurt to keep the words from spilling from his lips.

 

“What do you mean?” the dancer asks slowly, his voice thin. “Go… go where?”

 

Yoongi takes a shuddering breath and forces himself to hold Jimin’s gaze, refusing to let himself be that big of a coward. “I… I think you should…” The words are heavy and stack in his throat, doing all they can to not be spoken out loud. “I think you should stay with Taehyung from now on.”

 

Jimin’s eyes widen a fraction and Yoongi can see the tension in his shoulders. “What?” the dancer says, and his voice is stiffer than Yoongi has ever heard it.

 

“He, he knows about, about you, right? More or less,” he presses out, feeling like he’s shrinking under the intensity of Jimin’s eyes. “When I spoke with him, he… I… it’d be better for you if you… if you stayed with him.”

 

“Why?”

 

The dancer doesn’t blink, and Yoongi finally can’t take the weight of his gaze anymore; he lowers his eyes to the floor and forces his voice to be as calm as possible. “Y-you can’t stay here anymore, Jimin,” he manages to say.

 

“Why?”

 

“Because I-” He cuts himself off, on the verge of saying something he’d regret, something so unfair; he can’t use his feelings to make the dancer stay, he can’t make Jimin stay out of guilt or pity. He can’t. “You just, you can’t,” Yoongi croaks, wishing he couldn’t feel the way the dancer’s gaze burns against his face. “I- you’re looking for something, and… and you won’t be able to… I can’t… fuck..!”

 

He presses the heels of his hands against his eyes and inhales sharply, fighting back against his own emotions with everything he’s got, but he has no chance, no chance whatsoever when Jimin takes a step towards him and raises his voice to once again ask, “Why?”

 

Yoongi’s restraint breaks like a dam. “Because I know!” he shouts, his voice cracking almost painfully. “I know what you’re looking for, okay? I know what it is, and I- you can’t stay here, Jimin, you can’t, I can’t help you find them, I- fuck!” He lowers his hands and looks at the dancer and almost recoils at the look in his eyes, that calm, unintimidated look that has Yoongi’s heart crying out in pain. “Y-you’ve been here for a week,” he says, every word trembling, “and I-I’ve just kept you from it, haven’t I? We’ve gone out almost every night, and I had no idea what you were searching for, but I thought I was helping, I thought I was helping you look for… for your…”

 

Even now, he can’t say it. It hurts too much.

 

“We went to all those places,” he croaks, shaking his head in his distress. “All over Seoul, together, and at some point I stopped thinking about why we were going out like that, I forgot to think about what it all meant for you, and I… then I… god fucking dammit!”

 

He chokes out the curse, his voice steadily escalating again, and he doesn’t want to shout at Jimin, he never wants to shout at him, but he can’t help it. “You don’t deserve this!” he almost screams, reaching up to tear at his own hair. “You, out of all people, should be able to walk in the sun, you should be able to live, to really live, and I distracted you because I fucking fell in love with you even though I had no right, no fucking right to keep you from searching for who you need to find to make that happen!” He’s crying now, but he's too far gone to notice. “You need to go, Jimin, you need to get the fuck away from me so you can-”

 

He doesn’t realize the dancer has moved until his palm connects with Yoongi’s cheek in a slap so hard it snaps his head to the side. Pain flares up the side of his face and his ears ring, and he only has time to widen his eyes in shock before Jimin fists the collar of his jacket and tugs him back up straight.

 

“Why the hell do you get to decide that?” the dancer asks loudly, his eyes brimming with tears as he glares at Yoongi, looking angrier than Yoongi would’ve thought possible. “Tell me, why do you get to decide what this past week has been for me? Why is it your choice?! You answer that, Min Yoongi!” Jimin shakes him roughly as tears spill from his eyes. “What distraction?! I could’ve told you I had to go alone, I could’ve told you I had to take some time to search, but did I? No, and it wasn’t because I was distracted!”

 

“Jimi-”

 

“No, you shut up!” The dancer’s voice cracks on his scream, and whatever it was Yoongi was going to say, it fades from his mind in the blink of an eye. “Ever since I met you, I never went out alone!” Jimin shouts, furiously shaking his head. “I've been searching for sixty years, but after I met you, I never went anywhere to look for, f-for it, because I didn’t need to, and shit, I can’t even say it, but you know!”

 

He raises his head and his eyes lock with Yoongi’s, and the intensity of the contact is enough to knock the air straight out of Yoongi’s lungs. “You know what I’m looking for, Yoongi,” Jimin says, and suddenly, his voice is firm and steady, without a single trace of doubt. “You know, and don’t you dare try telling me it can’t be you!”

 

His words echo through the empty hallway, no, they echo through Yoongi himself, replaying in his mind over and over while he just stares at Jimin, his eyes wide and unblinking. The dancer is out of breath, panting heavily as if he’d been running, but he never looks away, never breaks their contact, and Yoongi doesn’t know what to do. He feels weak, exposed, as if Jimin had cracked open his chest and plunged his hands straight into the chaos that is his emotions, reaching until he’s pulled out all but one.

 

All but the strongest one.

 

When Jimin lets go of his jacket, Yoongi almost falls, his legs barely managing to keep him upright. The dancer takes a few steps back and Yoongi feels his blood turn cold in his veins, a crippling rush of dread flaring up his spine when he sees the outlines of Jimin’s body begin to fade, bits and pieces blurring before going transparent. “No,” Yoongi breathes, panic lodging in his throat and choking the life out of him. “No, no, Jimin, no, please-”

 

“Yoongi.” The dancer’s voice is calm, and Yoongi clings to it like a lifeline. “Yoongi,” Jimin says again, looking so utterly unafraid. “Tell me you love me.”

 

Yoongi has never been more ready to say anything in all his life. “I love you,” he croaks, the words falling from his lips as if he couldn’t have kept them in a second longer. “I love you, Jimin, I love you. I’m so fucking in love with you, I don’t even know what to do with myself.”

 

And Jimin smiles, and it’s the most beautiful thing Yoongi has ever seen in his life, tearful and adoring, pure joy dancing across his face as a fresh wave of tears fall from his eyes. “Good,” he says softly and raises his arms even as they’re about to vanish into thin air, beckoning Yoongi into an embrace. “Because I love you too, Yoongi.”

 

Yoongi’s moving before the dancer even says it, stumbling forward the very instant his arms move, and he crashes into Jimin’s embrace, his arms locking around his chest, his firm chest, and he feels Jimin’s arms around his neck, warm and strong and real. “Oh my god,” Yoongi chokes out, burying his face in the crook of Jimin’s neck. “Oh my god, J-Jimin, fuck, you..!”

 

The first rays of the morning sun seep in through Yoongi’s living room window, and Jimin is still there.

 

It’s too much, he’s feeling too much and he can’t say it, he can only hold on tighter, hugging the dancer until he’s sure he’s crushing his ribs, but Jimin only laughs, the sound thick and wet with tears, and Yoongi thinks he’s laughing too, though he might just as well be crying. At this point, he can’t tell the difference anymore. “I love you,” he whispers against Jimin’s neck before pressing a kiss against his skin. “I love you, Jesus Christ, I love you so much.”

 

The dancer giggles as Yoongi kisses his way up to his face, but before he reaches his lips, Jimin leans back and he slides his hands to cup Yoongi’s face, and tears are streaming down his face even as he smiles that radiant smile of his. “You’re a fucking idiot, Min Yoongi,” he says, his voice cracking, before leaning back in and pressing their lips together.

 

They kiss until they can’t breathe, which doesn’t take long, considering the fact that they’re both crying almost hysterically. It’s messy and it’s ridiculous and they’re laughing way too much, but it’s so perfect. “Yeah, I’m a fucking idiot,” Yoongi agrees in between kisses, his heart feeling like it’s flying. “But it’s because I’m so ridiculously in love with you.” Another kiss. “I’m not thinking straight.”

 

Jimin giggles against his lips, and Yoongi never wants this moment to end. “Don’t blame your idiocy on love,” the dancer says breathlessly, his hands sliding into Yoongi’s hair for purchase. “I love you like crazy, but I’m not an idi-” Yoongi cuts him off by slotting their lips together once more, firmer this time, and tightens his hold on Jimin when he sighs into the kiss.

 

They don’t break apart until Jimin’s phone beeps and Yoongi doesn’t hesitate to let him go answer it, because he knows Taehyung’s the only one who has Jimin’s number, and Yoongi’s quite keen on not giving the boy another reason to get as angry as he was before. The dancer hurries over to where he’d left Yoongi’s leather jacket and fishes his phone out of its pocket and quickly answers the call, a bright giggle bubbling past his lips as Taehyung’s loud voice erupts from the speakers.

 

“Yeah, I’m fine, Taetae, really,” Jimin says, smiling so widely as he walks back to Yoongi and leans into him, burying his face against his shoulder. “Yeah, I promise. I’m with Yoongi. Yeah, he did.” His free hand comes up to grip at the front of Yoongi’s shirt. “Everything’s good, Taetae. Everything’s absolutely perfect.”

 

And as Yoongi wraps his arms around Jimin and presses a kiss to his temple, he couldn’t possibly agree more.

 

Everything is absolutely perfect.


A few hours later, Jimin falls asleep in Yoongi's arms, curled up against his chest on the bed, his soft breath gusting evenly against Yoongi's collarbones. Yoongi can feel his own eyes stinging with exhaustion and he dimly realizes he hasn't slept a wink in the past two days, but he doesn't let himself drift off, not at first. Instead, he combs his fingers through Jimin's hair and traces the spots of sunlight on his waist, each of them assuring him that the dancer would be there when he wakes up, and so Yoongi slowly allows himself to fall asleep, though not before pressing his lips against Jimin's hair and whispering, "I love you so much, sunshine."

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

 Yoongi remembers the first time he saw something so beautiful it seemed like time itself had stopped.

 

He had been four years old at the time, a little runt of a child, barely old enough to tie his own shoelaces. His mother had taken him along to run some errands in the city, and while Yoongi remembers very little of all the stores and shops and buildings they’d visited, the park is as vividly etched into his memory as if he had been there only yesterday. The light spring breeze, the freshly bloomed leaves of the trees, bright green and smelling like life, the sound of dogs barking and children laughing, he remembers it all.

 

Especially the piano.

 

Back then, the park had been a place for small-time local musicians to perform; tucked into the southern corner of the park was a little stage, barely big enough for five people to stand on. On the day Yoongi and his mom had visited, the stage had been empty save for an old piano, a beaten-up, old, faded instrument, looking like it was at least a hundred years old. His mom had told him the piano had always stood there, welcoming anyone who wanted to try their hand at music, anyone who wanted to experience what it was like to create a song using only the tips of their fingers.

 

Yoongi hadn’t dared to play, too shy in a park full of strangers, but he’d still wanted to hear it, so his mom had sat him down in the grass in front of the stage and kissed his cheek before walking over to the piano. She’d taken a seat on the bench and flashed him a quick thumbs-up before resting her fingers against the keys, closing her eyes for a moment before pressing down softly, coaxing a chiming sound from the old instrument.

 

It was then and there that time seemed to freeze for little four-year-old Min Yoongi, and even to this day, he doesn’t know if it was the music, the gentle rustle of the leaves in spring, or the image of his mom playing that overwhelmed him to the point he felt he couldn’t breathe. Probably all of them at once. His mother had smiled softly as she played a song Yoongi had heard several times; she was going to play it on the day of her wedding, five months into the future, but in that moment, in the middle of a noisy, crowded park, blooming on the threshold of spring, Yoongi witnessed something he knew he would never be able to describe.

 

From that moment on until now, almost twenty years later, that image has remained as Yoongi’s primary definition of beauty, with nothing ever coming close enough to even compare. Not his mom on the actual day of her wedding, not the sea of colorful flowers Namjoon had paraded in front of Seokjin’s apartment on the day he asked the culinary student to be his boyfriend, not the stunning sunsets he and his friends had seen during their road trip across Japan a few years back. Not even the sight of Taehyung crying his eyes out in Jeongguk’s arms after winning an award for one of his paintings last year, the large canvas framing the two of them to make it look like they were part of the artwork.

 

That last one had come pretty close.

 

That’s not to say all those moments and images hadn’t been beautiful, no; they’ve all been extremely beautiful, and so emotionally moving it had been impossible for Yoongi to stop smiling. They have all been perfect moments, ones he wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. But no matter how perfect they’d been, none of them could compare to that day back when he was four years old. Nothing in the past twenty years of his life has been beautiful enough to rewrite Yoongi’s very definition of the word, and he has long since settled for believing he’ll never experience anything so beautiful again.

 

Until the day he sees Park Jimin standing under the warm rays of the sun for the first time.

 

There’s nothing spectacular about it, really, not in the same way it had been with the piano. There’s no perfect canvas of spring colors, no flower buds, no one to play a pretty piece of music, nothing to bind it all together to form such an unforgettable image. There’s just the dancer, scrambling out onto the street with his torn leggings and scraped knees, his puffy eyes and tear-streaked face, and a smile so wide it might as well contain all the world’s happiness.

 

Yoongi doesn’t even realize straight away; Jimin had suddenly broken away from his tight embrace, interrupting their string of whispered I love you’s, cutting off their laughter and their tears, pausing their many kisses in favor of turning on the heel and running right out the front door, shouting something about wanting to see the sunrise. Yoongi had stood rooted to the spot for a moment, his brain playing catch-up with what’d just happened, his heart beating deliriously in his chest, and then he’d laughed again and hurried after the dancer, feeling like he was drunk on his own emotions.

 

Jimin is already outside the apartment complex when he reaches the ground floor. Through the glass doors, Yoongi can see the dancer run across the short walkway leading from the building and out onto the street, completely lacking the sense to actually check for incoming cars as he skids to a halt, sucking in deep lungfuls of air as he stares into the sky. Yoongi follows him outside, and he almost parts his lips to yell at Jimin to be careful, but then the boy turns around to look at him, and for the first time in twenty years, Yoongi feels like time itself has stopped.

 

All Jimin does is stand there. He just stands there, in the middle of a street made out of dull asphalt and boring colors, surrounded by nothing but the cool morning air and the distant sounds of traffic. All he does is stand there, but when he looks at Yoongi, his skin glistening in the light, his messy, silvery grey hair shining like a halo, with a smile on his lips that carries all the warmth in this world, Yoongi knows that nothing will ever be able to compare to the beauty of the dancer who had just been given back the sun.

 

“It’s so warm, Yoongi,” Jimin whispers when he walks up next to him, and the dancer’s eyes are brimming with fresh tears as he raises his arms towards the sky as if wanting to embrace the rays of the morning sun, trying his best not to squint against its blinding light. “I-it feels so warm.” His voice is trembling as much as his hands, so overwhelmed he can barely speak. “It’s the sun, Yoongi.”

 

And Yoongi has already cried a lifetime’s worth of tears in the past twelve hours, but he can’t stop himself from doing it all over again, choking on a wet chuckle as he reaches out and takes one of Jimin’s hands, lacing their fingers together and squeezing. “Yeah,” he croaks thickly, his eyes seeing nothing but Jimin. “Yeah, it is.”

 

The dancer laughs and it’s like a dam has burst, tears spilling from his eyes as if he hasn’t just spent the entire night crying. He clutches onto Yoongi’s hand, looking like it’s all he can do to not fall to his knees in the middle of the street, and Yoongi holds him, sliding an arm around his waist to not let him fall.

 

They stand there until a car drives up and starts honking at them to get out of the way, and Yoongi has half a mind to kick in their windshield and tell them to fuck the fuck off, but Jimin just laughs harder and pulls him up to the pavement, where he grabs Yoongi’s cheeks and kisses him. “Thank you,” the dancer murmurs against his lips. “Thank you for loving me.”

 

Yoongi’s heart swells so much it almost hurts, and he’s quick to slot their lips together again, tasting the salt of both Jimin’s tears and his own. “I should be the one thanking you, sunshine,” he breathes and sniffles, chuckling when the dancer emits a bubbly giggle at the sound, “for finding me after all those years you spent searching.”

 

They stay outside for twenty more minutes before Yoongi drags Jimin back upstairs, complaining about his lack of proper clothing and ignoring the dancer’s protests - “You’re not even wearing shoes, dumbass!” - and instead of letting Jimin get dressed and go back outside, he pulls him to the bedroom and pushes him down onto the bed. “You need to sleep,” he tells the dancer and crawls up next to him, one hand pressed firmly against the boy’s chest to keep him from getting back up. “I need to sleep. You’ve been running around all night, and my stupid self haven’t been able to relax since you kissed me on the cheek.”

 

Jimin looks like he wants to protest, but when Yoongi settles in next to him and pulls him towards his chest, all he does is sigh softly and bring up his hands to curl his fingers into the front of Yoongi’s shirt. “I haven’t slept in three decades,” he mumbles, his voice already betraying his drowsiness, shuffling as close as he can and burying his face against Yoongi’s collarbones, though not before pressing a kiss against his chin. “Not since 1982.”

 

Yoongi chuckles at that. “Then you must be really fucking tired,” he says and smiles into the dancer’s hair when he emits a tired giggle. “Sleep. We can do whatever we want when we wake up.”

 

Jimin nods against his neck, and it doesn’t take long until he drifts off, his breathing evening out, gusting softly against Yoongi’s skin. Yoongi fights off his own exhaustion for a while longer, wanting to just look at the dancer for some time, to memorize every inch of him, every millimeter, every single part of his new definition of the word beautiful.

 

When sleep eventually becomes too difficult to fight off, Yoongi closes his eyes and hugs the dancer closer, murmuring a soft, “I love you, sunshine,” into his hair before finally letting himself rest.

 

-

 

Yoongi has no idea for how long they've been sleeping when he's pulled back to consciousness by the persistent vibrating of his phone in his pocket. For a moment, he feels like hell, groggy and dizzy and out of it, and he wants nothing more than to throw his phone out the window and be dead to the world for at least four more days. At least. But his phone won't let him, so he cracks an eye open and finds his vision obscured by a mess of silvery grey hair, and he's hit by a wave of affection so strong, his tiredness vanishes and he finds himself smiling so wide his cheeks hurt.

 

Jimin is fast asleep next to him, curled up tightly in Yoongi's arms and still clutching onto his shirt. They're pressed flush against each other, their legs entangled, and Yoongi, in his sleep-drunk state, can't quite tell where he ends and the dancer begins.

 

Carefully, so as to not disturb Jimin's sleep, he shifts his arm to fish his phone out of his pocket, squinting against the strong sunlight. He groans when he reads his grandmother's ID and takes a moment to prepare himself before answering, knowing he's in for an earful. “Hey, hal-”

 

“Where the fuck have you been, Min Yoongi?!”

 

Yoongi grimaces and presses his phone against his chest in an attempt to mute his grandmother’s booming voice so as to not wake the dancer. Jimin stirs slightly, mumbling something incoherent in his sleep, and Yoongi momentarily considers hanging up or telling his grandmother to shut the hell up , but decides against both options; he’d be dead within the week.

 

“- taking off without warning and then not answering your damn phone,” she’s yelling when he dares to raise his phone to his ear. “And I had to call Taehyung-ah and have him tell me that everything is OK and that I should just have you explain it, so that’s what you’re gonna do right the fuck now!”

 

“Halmeoni,” Yoongi says quietly, his voice raspy from sleep, and he’s almost surprised when she grunts in response, half expecting her to not hear him. “‘M sorry about yesterday, okay? I… I had a lot to think about after our talk. A lot to figure out, but it’s good now.” He cards his fingers through Jimin’s soft hair. “Everything’s okay. More than okay.”

 

His grandmother is silent for a few seconds and Yoongi wonders if he accidentally made her more worried; he’s not known for apologizing so readily, being too defensive for his own good. Not to mention that it’s probably well into the afternoon and he sounds like he’s been asleep for half a decade. “I’m not convinced,” she says finally, and Yoongi rolls his eyes and groans. “You’re coming back here tomorrow, you hear me? I expect you on my doorstep in time for dinner!”

 

“I’ve got class, halm-”

 

“Tough shit, boy! Tomorrow, dinnertime, no excuses!”

 

With that, she hangs up, leaving no chance for further protesting. Yoongi heaves a tired sigh, but in the end, he can’t quite bring himself to be even a little bit annoyed; after taking off from Daegu in such a manner, he’s almost surprised his grandmother hadn’t come bursting into his apartment, flashlight shining and guns blazing. “Great,” he mumbles and tosses his phone to the foot of the bed before curling his arm around Jimin’s shoulders and burying his nose in the dancer’s hair. “Ahh, this is gonna be so-”

 

“Yoongi?”

 

He promptly shuts up, internally cursing himself for speaking loud enough to disturb Jimin’s sleep. “Sorry, sunshine,” he says quietly, his voice muffled in the dancer’s hair. “Didn’t mean to wake you.”

 

Jimin squirms in his arms, shuffling into a more comfortable position before sighing against Yoongi’s collarbones, blissfully content. “You didn’t,” he says, his voice thick with drowsiness. “I could hear your grandma yelling all the way from Daegu.”

 

Yoongi chuckles at that. “She invited us for dinner tomorrow.”

 

He can feel Jimin smile against his chest. “‘S not really what it sounded like,” the dancer says, and Yoongi snorts at the irony in his tone. “She sounded worried enough to kill you, the way she was shouting.”

 

“Yeah, that’s my own fault,” he huffs with a sheepish grin, “I might’ve panicked a bit after she told me about your quest for true love, and, uh, I might’ve ran straight outta her place and ignored her calls for, I think, the past 24 hours?”

 

He feels Jimin’s shoulders tense as the dancer tries to suppress a giggle and emits a half-indignant sound when Jimin raises his head to lightly headbutt Yoongi’s chin. “Now see, this is why I told you you’re an idiot,” the dancer mumbles and cracks an eye open to look up at Yoongi, a softness to his gaze that makes Yoongi’s heart hum. “A gigantic idiot.”

 

“And this is why I didn’t argue with you about it,” Yoongi says before shifting so he can press his lips against Jimin’s forehead, then his nose, and he’s unable in fighting off his smile when the dancer emits a little giggle, his cheeks dusting a pretty pink. Jimin reaches up and cups his jaw, and Yoongi dips down to kiss his lips, twice chastely and then more firmly, feeling like he’s soaring way above cloud nine when the dancer sighs contentedly against his lips, responding with equal eagerness.

 

“You know,” Jimin says shyly when they part, a smile on his lips even though he doesn’t quite seem to dare look Yoongi in the eyes, “I think I could kinda get used to waking up like this.”

 

Yoongi has half a mind to roll out of bed and straight onto the floor and squeak, too overwhelmed by his own happiness to know what to do. Thankfully, he decides against making an absolute fool out of himself and instead presses one final kiss to the dancer’s lips before hugging him close again, smiling when Jimin buries his nose in the crook of his neck. “You know, I think I could, too,” Yoongi muses. “So when I go see my grandmother, can you come along and be my human shield? I think halmeoni is less likely to kill me if you’re there. You know, with the shock factor of your freedom and all.”

 

Jimin giggles at that, shaking his head as best he can in Yoongi’s embrace. “Min Seongi is a scary woman, I'll give you that,” he croons. “I suppose I can be your knight in shining armor just this once. When are we going?”

 

“Not until tomorrow,” Yoongi says and reluctantly rolls onto his side to check the actual time from the clock on his nightstand. 03:47PM. “I've still got plenty of time to prepare for my impending doom. What do you wanna do today?” When he turns back to Jimin, he chuckles when he's greeted by an excited smile, the dancer’s previous tiredness nowhere to be seen. “Figured you didn't wanna spend your first day back in bed.”

 

“I wanna come with you to your university,” Jimin says and sits up straight, ignoring Yoongi's dissatisfied groan at the loss of the dancer’s warmth in his arms. “I wanna see what it’s like during daytime. And I wanna see Taetae. He goes there as well, right?”

 

“He does,” Yoongi says and nods against his pillow. “You wanna go now? If he’s still got lectures today, it should end in a bit over an hour.” He grins when Jimin practically bounces off the bed, his answer crystal clear. “Alright, alright.” With a huff, Yoongi sits up and stretches his arms above his head before quirking a brow at the dancer. “You’re gonna go like that?” he asks with a pointed nod at Jimin’s torn leggings and rumpled shirt. “Come on, take those off. You wanna shower? I’ll bring you something to wear.”

 

“No, that’s fine, I can shower later,” the dancer says, though he doesn’t move, even when Yoongi stands up and walks over to his dresser to pull out the jeans Jimin had worn up until now. He waits silently until Yoongi passes him a change of clothes, and only when Yoongi inclines his head in question does the dancer snap out of whatever daze he was trapped in, parting his lips and closing them again a few times, a faint red hue spreading across his cheeks as he hugs the clothes to his chest. “U-um, where… where can I… where can I change?” he asks, so quietly Yoongi almost misses it.

 

For a second or two, Yoongi just stares at him in mild confusion, wondering what exactly he means, and then it hits him, the extent of the dancer’s innocence; while he was fearless in almost every aspect of his life, Jimin is still very shy and very inexperienced when it comes to romance. Hell, he’d even freaked out when Yoongi had used the word sexile a few nights ago, and so now, he’s simply being too nervous to even take off his shirt in front of Yoongi.

 

Somehow, the realization fills him with an urge to squish the dancer’s blushing cheeks and make cooing sounds at him, but he figures that kind of reaction wouldn’t be very well received. Instead, he grins and leans forward to press a kiss against the corner of Jimin’s lips before walking past him, ruffling his hair on the way. “You change here, I’ll grab a few things while I wait,” he says, though he stops in the doorway, unable to stop himself. “Though, you know, I changed several times in front of your music box, so technically, you’ve seen me naked like at least seven times.”

 

He ducks out of the room and pulls the door shut behind him to spare himself from being hit in the face with a pillow, chuckling to himself at the dancer’s indignant sputtering.

 

Five minutes later finds the two of them walking towards Yoongi’s university’s Creative Arts building, where they’ll meet up with Namjoon at the studio and wait there for Taehyung to finish his lectures. Jimin is glued to Yoongi’s side as they walk, eyes the size of saucers as he takes in the lively university grounds, as if he’s never seen so many people gathered all at once. He seems positively entranced, turning his head in every direction to not miss a single student, a single detail of the grand buildings, bathed in the afternoon sun.

 

Somewhere in the back of Yoongi’s mind, he remembers that one song from Aladdin; seeing Jimin so full of joy makes Yoongi want to show him everything in this world, the world he’s been missing during the decades he had to spend without the sun.

 

Yoongi has never really thought about it, how little of the world you actually see during the night. He’s always been somewhat of a night-owl, preferring the quiet darkness rather than the bustle of mornings and daytime, but the life of daytime has still always been there, an inescapable presence for anyone doing anything at all. During the dead of night, however, all you ever get to see is a shell of what the world is supposed to be, shrouded in cold darkness, and for so many years, that has been Jimin’s reality; incapable of existing outside the night’s silence, outside its crushing loneliness.

 

Yoongi vaguely wonders if he’s somehow lost every last semblance of control over his own emotions when he feels a by now familiar sting behind his eyes at the thought of the dancer spending countless nights over the past six decades all alone, forever searching for someone.

 

Searching for me.

 

“You okay, Yoongi?”

 

He blinks, having not realized he was staring at the dancer instead of focusing on where they were going. Jimin is looking at him, taking a hand from around Yoongi’s arm to raise it to cup his face, his thumb brushing over Yoongi’s cheek. “You were spacing out,” the dancer says softly, brows knitting in concern. “You probably still haven’t gotten enough sleep. You wanna go back?”

 

“No.” Yoongi lets his eyes flutter close and leans into Jimin’s touch, allowing it to calm him down. “I just got lost in thought for a second,” he mumbles, a small smile tugging at the corners of his lips. “Thinking about how much I love you.” He doesn’t have to open his eyes to know the dancer is blushing, his fingers quivering slightly against Yoongi’s cheek. “Seriously, it’s crazy how much I do. I had no idea it could be this intense.”

 

When he does open his eyes again, Jimin is looking at him with an adoring expression, eyes wide in awe and glistening, and he’s not even smiling, but he looks just as overwhelmingly happy as Yoongi feels. “Namjoon’s never gonna let me live this down,” Yoongi tells the dancer with a lopsided grin before reaching up and taking the hand that’s cupping his cheek, lacing their fingers together and tugging Jimin with him towards the front doors. “All those times I joked around about how gross he was with Jin, and now I’m way worse than them.”

 

The dancer pulls him to a halt just before they reach the doors and leans in to chastely peck Yoongi’s lips, smiling cheekily when he pulls away from a rather surprised Yoongi. “Then we should lay it on real thick,” he says with a giggle before attaching himself to Yoongi’s arm once more. “Your pride might as well go out with a bang, so let’s be super disgustingly in love.”

 

The task turns out to be way easier done than said. Already the fact that they’re holding hands when they walk into the studio has Namjoon’s eyes widening almost comically. And Yoongi reintroduces Jimin as his boyfriend, only to realize immediately after that he hasn’t actually talked it through with the dancer, and that triggers an incoherent wave of, “No, uh, I mean, we, I, uh,” that doesn’t end until Jimin emits a bright little giggle and sushes Yoongi by squeezing his hand and stating that yes, he is indeed Yoongi’s boyfriend.

 

That has Yoongi grinning like a bloody fool, trying and failing to hide it in the collar of his jacket, and Namjoon looks a little too pleased about it. To Namjoon’s credit, he doesn’t say anything teasing, though he does make the request to be present when they tell Hoseok.

 

“I kinda figured,” he says thoughtfully and nods to himself. “You two were all over each other during the Star Wars marathon. I’ve only ever seen Yoongi let Taehyungie cuddle him like that, and even then, he doesn’t play with Taehyung’s hair.” He offers Yoongi a lopsided smirk, pretending as if he doesn’t notice the murderous glare he gets in return. “I was actually gonna ask yesterday, but you didn’t come to your classes. Nor today, for that matter.”

 

“Yeah, I went to Daegu yesterday,” Yoongi huffs and leads Jimin to his chair, letting him sit in front of his computer. “Had to talk to halmeoni. And today… well, I’m assuming you noticed Taehyung-ah was a bit, uh, upset with me?”

 

Namjoon scoffs at that, crossing his arms over his chest. “If by upset you mean he called you and screamed at you at six o’clock in the morning, then yes,” he says dryly, a frown replacing his smile. “I woke up thinking someone had died.” Yoongi grimaces at that, which serves to deepen his friend’s concerned expression. “The hell actually happened between you two?”

 

“That’s, uh…” Yoongi glances down at the dancer, who smiles back up at him and nods almost encouragingly, as if to say go ahead and tell him everything. Yoongi doesn’t, however, knowing he’ll be repeating it all in less than an hour, when Taehyung comes barging in here to either throttle him or hug the life out of Jimin. Or both. Probably both. “I’ll explain everything when Taehyung-ah shows up,” he says and goes to fetch a guest chair for himself. “The whole thing’s too fucking weird to go through twice.”

 

That certainly doesn’t dim Namjoon’s curiosity, his brows rising towards his hairline, but he agrees to let it be for now. Instead, he and Yoongi do some work on their project, going through their written lyrics and testing the flow, discussing background instrumentals while Jimin listens curiously, curled up in Yoongi’s chair and blinking owlishly at them. He nods his head along to the rhythm whenever Yoongi or Namjoon tests out the lyrics, and he looks so damn proud whenever Yoongi looks at him, it has him grinning like an idiot all over again.

 

He can almost hear how amused Namjoon is, but he pretends he doesn’t notice.

 

Yoongi loses track of time quickly enough, but he’s sorely reminded when the sound of fast, heavy footsteps echo from the hallway outside, giving him a two-second warning of Taehyung’s arrival. He barely has enough time to rise from his seat before the studio door is thrown open with enough force to slam against the opposite wall, the hinges rattling, and Yoongi sends a silent prayer to whatever gods are listening that he won’t have to pay for any damages the boy may cause. “Taehyu-”

 

Chimchim!”

 

Taehyung barrels his way past Yoongi without sparing him as much as a glance, throwing his bag somewhere over his shoulder before practically tackling the dancer, throwing his arms around Jimin’s shoulders and pulling him into a bone-crushing hug. “You’re here, Jiminie!” Taehyung cries cheerfully, laughing when the dancer emits a garbled sound from having his ribcage squeezed within an inch of its capacity. “I can’t believe it, I’m so happy for you! And you, you gotta be so excited to be out!”

 

Jimin’s cheeks look like they’re on the verge of bursting from his wide smile, and he giggles brightly when Taehyung finally releases him, only to grab his hands instead. “Hey, Taetae,” he says, returning the boy’s grip with equal enthusiasm. “Yeah, it’s really amazing, it still feels so unreal! I was walking here with Yoongi and there’s so many people, way more than I could’ve imagined, and-”

 

“Wait, wait a second,” Yoongi interrupts and raises a hand to point at Taehyung, whose eyes narrow slightly when they land on him. “You did know, didn’t you? About Jimin?”

 

The boy sticks his tongue out at Yoongi before answering. “Of course I did,” he says flatly and nods. “And so did Namjoon-hyung.”

 

What?” Yoongi spins around and stares at Namjoon, who looks like a deer caught in headlights, brows knitted and lips parted in confusion. “You knew?”

 

“I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about,” he says slowly, looking from Yoongi to Taehyung, and then to Jimin before returning to Yoongi. “Knew what, exactly?”

 

“About Jimin.”


“What about Jimin?”

 

“Oh come on, hyung,” Taehyung says impatiently, his voice akin to a whine as he drapes himself over Jimin’s shoulders, as if standing up straight takes too much effort. “You were there when Yoongi’s grandma told me about Jimin.” Yoongi has never seen his friend look so bewildered in all the years they’ve known each other. “Yoongi-hyung was carrying boxes down to the car and halmeoni told us that she was giving him the music box because she felt like Jimin would probably be happier with someone his own age. And because Yoongi-hyung barely sleeps at night.”

 

For a moment, Namjoon looks like a fish out of water, gaping at Taehyung with the same confused expression. “Wait, wait, wait,” he says after a few seconds of silence. “You mean that story she told us about the dancer in the music box who was actually a human boy?”

 

“Yup, that one,” Taehyung says and nods enthusiastically. “That boy’s Chimchim here.” He smiles his rectangular smile, completely unaware of Namjoon’s dubious expression. “He was freed from the music box only a few hours ago.” He turns his blinding grin on the dancer. “There’s gotta be so much you wanna do! We should make a bucket list and spend all week going everywhere!”

 

He and Jimin drift off into a lively discussion about places to go and things to do, and Yoongi smiles warmly at the two of them, feeling an immense wave of fondness rise in his chest. Then he turns to look at Namjoon, and the smile morphs into an amused snort at his best friend’s obvious confusion. “Alright, look,” he says, snapping Namjoon’s attention to him. “Halmeoni probably told you a story about a boy on a quest for,” he clears his throat, “for true love, who ends up magically bound to a music box and stays young for the next six decades while searching. Sound about right?”

 

“Yeah..?” Namjoon says slowly, his voice lilting up into a question.

 

“Right.” Yoongi nods thoughtfully, taking a moment before dropping the bomb. “Yeah,” he says, unable to fight off an amused grin, “that was all true.”

 

There’s a moment where Namjoon just looks at him, lips still parted as his brain attempts to process this information. Then he snorts in dry amusement and shakes his head. “Uh, no,” he says, though there’s a smidgen of hesitation in his smile. “No, it wasn’t.”

 

“It was,” Yoongi counters casually.

 

“... No.”

 

“Yes.”

 

There’s an almost warning look in Namjoon’s eyes, as if daring Yoongi to keep messing with him like this, and his voice is completely monotone as he repeats, “No, it wasn’t.”

 

It takes true effort to not laugh, let alone grin, at his expression. “Yes, Namjoon, it was,” Yoongi says slowly. “All of it.”

 

Yoongi has time to count twelve full beast of silence before Namjoon finally processes his words and the seriousness in his tone, and when it clicks, he puts a hand on the armrest of his chair and rises halfway, only to sit back down again, so shellshocked his legs won’t carry his weight. “What the...” he breathes out, blinking repeatedly as he stares at Jimin, who’s still chatting amiably with Taehyung. “What the fuck?”

 

Yoongi can’t help it anymore; he emits a bark of laughter, reaching up to run a hand through his hair as he glances at the dancer. “That was my reaction too,” he muses, “when I came home last Tuesday at two in the morning and found Jimin sitting in my living room, looking so fucking comfortable in my armchair.” He grins down at Namjoon. “You’ve been telling me I look like shit over the last week, right? That I look like I haven’t slept at all since we got the AOMG project?” Namjoon nods slowly. “Well, that was because I didn’t sleep,” Yoongi says with a casual shrug of his shoulders. “Since one week ago I spent every night, from midnight to 7AM, with Jimin. He only took human form during those hours.”

 

“What the fuck,” his friend mumbles again, leaning forward in his seat to bury his face in his hands. “So everything your grandmother said about what she used to do at the festivals…”

 

“Is apparently all true,” Yoongi says. “Trust me, I didn’t believe it either, but I saw Jimin materialize out of thin air right before my eyes. And I watched him disappear, too, every time the sun started rising.” The mere memory makes his skin crawl, goosebumps breaking out across his neck. “Kinda hard to be skeptical after that.”

 

“Right,” Namjoon says, his voice muffled by his hands. He’s tapping his foot restlessly, his eyes darting from Jimin to Yoongi and back, as if he’s trying to picture it, to imagine what it’s like to see the dancer just fade into nothingness. “Right, okay, so he was bound to the music box. And… and Taehyung knew. And apparently I did as well.” His gaze settles on Yoongi. “I take it you didn’t?”

 

“Nope,” Yoongi says, popping the p. “I had no fucking idea, so you can imagine my reaction when I came home in the middle of the night and Jimin told me he was a magical ballerina and that he was bound to the box until he’d find what he was looking for.”

 

Namjoon sits up straight at that, his shock momentarily taking on a completely different tone, a smugness that sends a twinge of premonition up Yoongi’s spine. “That’s right, I remember that part,” Namjoon says dawdles, his lips slowly stretching into a wide grin. “Your grandmother said the dancer was looking for something.”

 

“Namjoon,” Yoongi says warningly, though it comes out more like a whine, warmth spreading to his cheeks.

 

“Wasn’t it true love he was looking for?” his friend continues mercilessly, looking so utterly pleased with this piece of information, and Yoongi has half a mind to kick him in the face when he leans forward and props his chin up on his knuckles, arching a teasing brow. “Does this mean you guys are in love, Yoongi?”

 

Yoongi raises a hand to his face and pinches the bridge of his nose, taking a deep, steadying breath, and when he opens his eyes again, he stares down at the floor, pretending he doesn’t feel the way his cheeks are burning. “First of all, fuck you,” he mutters, clicking his tongue when he hears Namjoon snort. “Secondly, yeah. Yeah, I love him. A lot. Like an actual fuckton. It’s insane.”

 

A soft giggle pulls his attention back up, and he finds Jimin beaming at him, his cheeks dusted that beautiful pink, the color of his shyness. “You’re so romantic, Yoongi,” the dancer muses and wiggles free from Taehyung’s arms to walk over to Yoongi and lean against him, resting his head on Yoongi’s shoulder. “I love you too, even though your vocabulary sucks.”

 

For a split second, Yoongi forgets about Taehyung and Namjoon - the dancer seems to have that effect on him, to push everything else out of his mind and leave nothing but Jimin behind - and he smiles and reaches up to card his fingers through the dancer’s hair. “Well, I only really need three specific words to make you smile,” he murmurs and presses his lips against Jimin’s temple. “So seems to me my vocabulary’s just fine.”

 

Yes, for a split second, Yoongi forgets about the others in the room, but as soon as those words leave his lips, he gets a reminder in the form of Namjoon choking on his own breath and descending into a fit of coughing, and Taehyung emitting something in between a squeal and a delighted coo. Yoongi almost jumps out of his skin, his cheeks positively burning by now, and no amount of sputtering excuses or curses manage to make the two back down from their merciless teasing.

 

“Holy shit,” Namjoon wheezes and slumps over in his chair, closing his eyes and pressing a hand to his heart, adapting an expression as if he’s experiencing some form of cardiac arrest. “I can’t believe Min Yoongi just said that.” He exaggerates a shudder and turns to look at Taehyung. “Please tell me you recorded that shit.”

 

Yoongi’s heart drops like a stone as he watches Taehyung wave around with his phone, rectangular grin out in full force. “Yessir!” the boy almost sings as he starts fiddling with the device, his fingers flying over the screen. “Sending it to the rest of the guys riiiiiii-”


“Taehyung, don’t you dare-”

 

“-iiiiight now!” Yoongi hears Namjoon’s phone go off at the same time as his own, the cheery notification sound of KakaoTalk chirping in their pockets, and he knows his fate has been sealed. “Too late, Yoongi-hyung,” Taehyung cackles, looking so goddamn pleased with himself as he saunters over to Namjoon and high-fives him. “Your soft side has just been royally exposed!”

 

Yoongi emits a long, outdrawn groan and buries his face in Jimin’s hair, wishing he could just turn into a goddamn flea and live as a pest for the rest of his life. “My life is over,” he mutters, pretending he can’t feel the way the dancer’s shoulders are shaking from suppressed laughter. “Oh my god, I’ll have to live under a rock for all eternity, where no one can make fun of me for being so fucking cheesy.” He heaves a deep sigh. “What did you do to me, Park Jimin? This is all your fault, you sunshine bastard.”

 

“Sunshine bastard,” Namjoon repeats monotonously. “This day just keeps getting better and better.”

 

Yoongi would’ve thrown something at him if not for the subtle feeling of Jimin’s soft lips against his shoulder. “I’ll happily take all the blame,” the dancer says and giggles before taking a step back, his smile half shy, half smug. “Told you your pride was gonna go out with a bang.”

 

Before Yoongi can do more than roll his eyes, his phone launches into a rapidfire of dings, joined by Taehyung and Namjoon’s, the chorus signaling the arrival of his social image’s doom. “Fuck,” he grouches and unlocks his phone, barely resisting the urge to throw his phone at Taehyung when he takes in the stream of messages. “Goddammit.”

 

Pink Jinnie

[05:18PM]:

WAS THAT YOONGI???!?!??!?

WAS

THAT

YOONGI

?!?!?!??!?!?!?!??!?!?!??!?!

 

HOPE

[05:18PM]:

no

no that’s impossible

hahahahahahahaha

Yoongi-hyung would never say something like that

hahahahahha

no way was that Yoongi

lmao don’t be ridiculous

 

Pink Jinnie

[05:19PM]:

THAT WAS SO YOONGI

“I only need three specific words to make you smile”

IS YOONGI IN LOVE?!??!

MY HEART

IS

SOARING

 

Kookiemonster

[05:19PM]:

Is he talking to Jimin?

 

HOPE

[05:19PM]:

WAIT, IS HE?!?!

HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT, JEONGGUK?!?!?!

 

Kookiemonster

[05:20PM]:

uh

I dunno

they seemed to really like each other??

Also Taetae said something about true love or something

 

Pink Jinnie

[05:20PM]:

true love

and Min Yoongi

oh my GOD WHAT IS THIS

BEST DAY EVER

 

HOPE

[05:21PM]:

YOONGI’S GETTING MARRIED

WE’RE CELEBRATING TONIGHT

DRINKS ALL AROUND

FOOD A’PLENTY

NAMJOON CAN OFFICIATE

 

Pink Jinnie

[05:21PM]:

I’LL BE THE CATERER

does Jiminie have any allergies?

would he prefer fish or beef???

also I know a guy who makes wedding cakes

 

Min Genius

[05:22PM]:

You can all go fuck yourselves.

With a cactus.

A really thorny one.

 

HOPE

[05:23PM]:

CAN I BE YOUR BEST MAN, HYUNG??

More importantly

WILL YOU DANCE AT THE WEDDING????

THE WORLD NEEDS TO SEE MIN YOONGI DANCE

 

Min Genius

[05:23PM]:

I think I still have my castration tools somewhere.

Should break out the set again.

Since I have a bunch of willing candidates to experiment on.

Also Jimin says hi.

With a smiley face, but we all know that’s not happening.

 

Pink Jinnie

[05:24PM]:

oh my god

 

Min Genius

[05:24PM]:

Oh for the love of...

( ⸝⸝•ᴗ•⸝⸝ )੭⁾⁾

There.

 

Kookiemonster

[05:24PM]:

wow.

 

Pink Jinnie

[05:24PM]:

OH MY GOD

 

Taeflower

[05:24PM]:

hyung’s bluuuuuusshhiiiiiinngggggg

 

HOPE

[05:24PM]:

IS THIS A WHIPPED YOONGI I THINK SO

HOW DO YOU EVEN KNOW HOW TO MAKE THAT SMILEY

THE WEDDING IS SO HAPPENING

 

Min Genius

[05:25PM]:

I hate you all.

 

Taehyung is doubled over with laughter at this point and Jimin is holding his phone, giggling brightly into the palm of his hand as he reads the stream of messages, and Yoongi won’t admit it, but he’s having an incredibly hard time staying angry with the sound of the dancer’s high-pitched laughter ringing in his ears.

 

“Put that away,” he snaps at Namjoon, who was just about to start typing away at his own phone. “I’ll break your laptop up your ass if you ever say anything about me calling Jimin a sunshine bastard.” He holds up a hand when his friend’s grin only widens, clearly not intimidated. “Alright then, if you wanna play dirty, go ahead. Write it, but if you do, I suppose I can tell Jin-hyung about that time you said the university cafeteria’s japchae was better than his.”

 

Namjoon’s smile vanishes quicker than a candle being blown out, a look of sheer horror replacing it. “That was one time,” he protests loudly, heaving a sigh of defeat when Yoongi merely crosses his arms over his chest and pins him under a challenging glare. “Alright, fine. I won’t tell them you called your boyfriend sunshine bastard. Or that you said you love him a fuckton. Christ, Jimin-ah, are you sure you know what you’re getting into with this one?”

 

The dancer’s smile could light up the dead of night. “I’ve spent the past six decades living under the same roof as Min Seongi,” he sing-songs with a little shrug. “I once watched her outcurse a military officer in front of half his squad after he catcalled her on the street. So far, Yoongi’s been pretty mellow in comparison.”

 

“Six decades,” Namjoon echoes weakly, taking a moment to properly process that fact before turning to look at Yoongi once more, holding up his phone. “Can I tell the others you’re dating a sixty-year-old? Please, it’d be so damn hilarious.”

 

“Just as hilarious as your funeral after Jin puts you through his kitchen grinder,” Yoongi bites back, glaring daggers at Namjoon until he begrudgingly slides his phone back into his pocket. “Thought so.” He scoffs at his friend’s dissatisfied expression and turns his eyes back to his own phone, only to heave a frustrated sigh at the realization that Seokjin, Hoseok and Jeongguk are all on their way to the university to take him and Jimin out to dinner to, quote unquote, celebrate the happy couple. “Alright, Jimin, if we leave now, we can still escape before they get here.”

 

The dancer is only given enough time to part his lips before Taehyung’s arms clamp down over his chest, trapping his arms to his body and enclosing him in a tight prison. “You’re not going anywhere, Chimchim,” the boy croons with a smug smile aimed at Yoongi. “And neither are you, hyung, not as long as I’ve got your sunshine as my hostage.”

 

“Let him go, Kim Taehyung,” Yoongi says loudly and takes a step forward, but Taehyung only ducks his head behind Jimin’s, sounding like he’s having the time of his life using the dancer as a human shield. Jimin doesn’t seem to mind, really, smiling that cheerful smile and making absolutely no effort to get out of Taehyung’s bone-crushing hug. “Come on, why are you guys doing this to me? What have I ever done to deserve this unfairness?”

 

“Do I really have to remind you of all the times you made fun of me and Jin?” Namjoon asks dryly, smiling so wide his dimples look like they’ll be forever etched onto his face.

 

“That was Hoseok!”

 

“Yeah, well, you didn’t stop him.”

 

“You… that makes no sense!”

 

“Tough shit, hyung.”

 

And so, half an hour later, Yoongi finds himself slumped over a table in the restaurant where Jin works, his forehead pressed against the surface and his eyes closed in exhaustion as his so-called friends go on and on about how fantastic it is that Min Yoongi has finally shown his true colors, his ultimate soft side. They praise Jimin to high heaven for managing to conquer the beast and bring out Yoongi’s nice side, that it’ll be such a delight having the two of them around now that it’s obvious Yoongi is about as intimidating as a teddy bear.

 

“I know where you live, Jung Hoseok, and I know you’ve got a phobia of snakes,” Yoongi snaps, lifting his head from the table for long enough to aim a murderous glare at the man. “Do I have to remind you I know a guy who works in the reptilian section of the zoo?”

 

Hoseok’s teasing mellows out considerably after that.

 

They don’t get onto the topic of how Jimin and Yoongi actually met until they’re halfway through dinner, at which point Yoongi motions for the dancer to relay the story, too annoyed with his friends to want to put any effort into convincing them. Jimin seems happy enough to do it, giggling into his hand before stating that, “This might be a bit hard to believe.”

 

It takes him the entire rest of the dinner to convince Hoseok and Seokjin he’s being completely serious about having been magically bound to a music box for the past sixty years, but after Jimin describes the events following the initiation of the Second Republic of South Korea in 1960 in extreme detail, well, that certainly does the trick to erase any and all remaining doubts, leaving the two gaping at him and Yoongi like they’ve never seen actual human beings before. Meanwhile, Jeongguk simply shrugs and says, “Yeah, Taetae said something similar,” and smiles at Jimin without a shred of dubiousness. “It’s gotta be great to be back to normal after so long.”

 

“If it was anyone else telling me this, I wouldn’t have believed it,” Namjoon tells his stunned boyfriend, chuckling as he watches Jimin lean down to kiss Yoongi’s cheek. “But Yoongi himself told me this shit’s all true. Yoongi. If Min Yoongi tells you magic is real, then magic is fucking real.”

 

Hoseok is the first one to recover, and Yoongi has half a mind to make good on his threat about snakes when he, just like Namjoon, brings up the topic of true love, his grin threatening to split his face in half.

 

They stay in the restaurant until Jin’s boss walks up to their table and tells them it’s twenty minutes past closing time. They begrudgingly agree to leave, having been interrupted in the middle of Jimin’s stories about living in Russia while the Korean War was raging in the early 1950s. They’ve asked him every thinkable question about his past, both before and after he got himself bound to the music box, and while Yoongi has already heard most of these stories during their many walks over the past week, he listens intently to every single word, finding something so ridiculously comforting in the dancer’s voice.

 

He doesn’t even curse at Jin when he points out that Yoongi’s looking at Jimin like he’s the only thing in the world that matters. Yoongi only shushes him before turning back to the dancer and motioning for him to continue.

 

It’s already dark outside when they finally leave the restaurant, with the time nearing half past nine in the evening. It’s still early enough for the streets to be busy, however, and Jimin pauses on the threshold, his eyes widening as he takes in another version of the awake world, the darkness filled with people, the bustle almost as present as during daytime.

 

Yoongi smiles against the inside of his scarf and reaches out to take the dancer’s hand. “You wanna go for a walk?” he asks, chuckling when Jimin nods fervently. “Let’s go walk around in Gangnam, there’s a shitload of people there.”

 

“Can we come, too?” Hoseok asks teasingly, fully aware of what the answer will be. “A romantic, late-night walk sounds really nice, doesn’t it, guys?”

 

“Unless you’re a dancer born in the late 1930s, you’re not invited,” Yoongi says flatly, making a shooing motion with his free hand. “You may be a dancer, Hoseok, but you’re not on the guest list this time.”

 

“I think you’re dodging a bullet here, Hoseokkie,” Seokjin says with a warm smile, waggling his eyebrows at Yoongi and Jimin as he leans into Namjoon’s side. “They’re being ridiculously cute right now, I think your single ass would be hit with a serious case of diabetes.”

 

“Yah, I’m single by choice, you pregnant old lady,” Hoseok says in mock indignance, laughing when Seokjin throws a glove at him. “But I see your point. I’ll let the lovebirds walk in peace.” He raises two fingers to his forehead in a salute before turning to Jimin one last time. “Like I said earlier, hit me up about dancing at my studio. I wouldn’t say no to someone who was due a spot in the Russian Ballet.”

 

Jimin tears his eyes away from their surroundings for long enough to offer Hoseok a blinding smile. “I never even auditioned, hyung,” he muses. “But I’ll definitely come try out for your team.”

 

Hoseok gives him two thumbs up before turning on the heel and sauntering off, a swing in his step as he hums some tune to himself. “We’re going home, too,” Namjoon says, his arms around Seokjin’s waist. “Let me know when you’re back from Daegu, alright? There’s a lot of things to go over with the project.”

 

Yoongi nods and parts his lips to tell his friend he’ll be back to normal in two days, but Taehyung throws himself at both him and Jimin before he can speak, pulling the two of them into a fierce embrace. “I’m really happy for both of you,” the boy says with a breathy chuckle. “I was really mad at you, hyung, but you two look so happy together, it’s impossible to not be happy, too.” He releases the dancer to put a hand on their intertwined ones. “Make sure you love him a lot, Jiminie,” he whispers and gives Yoongi’s shoulders a squeeze. “If you’re his sunshine, you make him your moonlight. Or something. I dunno. Just love him, okay?”

 

“Okay,” the dancer says softly, his fingers tightening around Yoonig’s, and when Yoongi looks at him, Jimin’s eyes are glistening in the flashing lights of the city, a tremulous smile on his lips. “I promise.”

 

“Come on, Taetae,” Jeongguk says and gently pries Taehyung away from Yoongi, grinning when Taehyung instantly turns around and hugs him instead. “Good luck in Daegu tomorrow, you two. Let us know if you make it out alive.”

 

“Yeah,” Yoongi snorts, his voice surprisingly thick. “Thank you, Taehyung-ah. For… you know.”

 

The boy grins and raises a hand in farewell. “Anytime, Yoongi-hyung,” he sing-songs. “Chimchim’s got me on speed dial now, so if you mess up again, I’ll be there to yell at you all over.”

 

With that, they take off, following after Namjoon and Seokjin to the nearest taxi station, and as soon as they’re out of earshot, Yoongi heaves an outdrawn sigh and rests his chin on Jimin’s shoulder. “I can’t believe I’m still alive after that,” he groans, though he smiles when the dancer giggles and places a kiss on his forehead. “I swear Jin was only half joking about his plans for our wedding menu.”

 

“Glad to know they’re supportive,” Jimin says brightly, only to blush heavily at the indication of his words. He quickly clears his throat and looks away, and Yoongi watches him part his lips and close them again three whole times before he finds his voice again. “W-where should we walk? You said Gangnam, how do we get to Gangnam? And what should we do there? Is there anywhere in specific we should-”

 

Yoongi leans in and cuts of his rambling by catching the dancer’s lips in a kiss, a short peck that he breaks involuntarily when Jimin emits a little squeak that has him chuckling. “Let’s take a bus,” he says and starts walking, tugging the dancer into the sea of people. “We shouldn’t stay out too late. We both need to get back to a normal circadian rhythm so we can spend as much time as possible in the sun.”

 

That earns him a hug so fierce he almost falls forward, and Jimin doesn’t seem to give a single shit about their surroundings, about the fact that there are hundreds of people around; he pulls Yoongi in by his scarf and kisses him, hard, like he’s drowning and Yoongi is his only supply of air. “I love you,” the dancer breathes when they part, giggling at Yoongi’s completely winded expression. “Now show me a Gangnam I’ve never seen before.”

 

Contrary to his words, it’s Jimin who leads the way, with Yoongi barely staying on his feet as he stumbles after the dancer, his brain trying and failing to produce any coherent thought that doesn’t have anything to do with Jimin. “Goddamn,” he mumbles to himself, smiling so wide his cheeks hurt. “What an unfair sneak attack, sunshine.”

 

They end up sitting on a bench outside Gangnam station, buying crepes with chocolate and strawberries and just enjoying the evening, observing the countless people walking by. Jimin sits on the edge of his seat the whole time, turning his head left and right, and Yoongi absentmindedly wonders what the people passing by are thinking, being targets of such concentrated attention.

 

It’s a few minutes past midnight when they return to Yoongi’s apartment and they go straight to bed, Jimin curling up in Yoongi’s arms with the music box in his hands, carefully twisting the winding key and smiling at the familiar melody. The little ballerina is gone, but the song is the same, and Jimin gingerly trails his fingers along the exterior of the box, half expecting for it to reject his touch in the same way it had before.

 

When he falls asleep, Yoongi carefully puts the music box down on his nightstand, winding it up again to let the little tune soothe him, and just like last time, he fights off sleep for as long as he can, wanting to not miss even one second he has with the dancer. He snorts quietly at himself, wondering how long it’ll take to shake the habit he’d picked up during the one week he’d been forced to watch Jimin disappear over and over. The habit to not want to waste a single, precious second of their time together, even though that time has now been extended to possibly forever.

 

“The guys were right,” he sighs when he closes his eyes and shifts comfortably against the dancer. “I’m a fuckin’ teddy bear when it comes to you, Park Jimin.” As he drifts off, he realizes he’s perfectly okay with it.

 

-

 

“How do you think she’s gonna react?” Jimin asks, his teeth worrying his bottom lip as he looks out the window of the taxi, clearly turning more and more nervous for every block they drive past. “I still think we should’ve given her some kind of warning. She’s eighty-seven years old, Yoongi, what if she has a heart attack? That’d be terrible and then it’d be my fault-”

 

“You’re rambling again, sunshine,” Yoongi says with an amused snort. “And relax, she’s gonna be ecstatic. She’s gonna lose her filter and curse more than me, but she’s gonna be happy to see you.”

 

“Yeah, but what if-” Jimin cuts himself off when the taxi pulls up in front of Yoongi’s grandmother’s house. “Oh crap,” he squeaks, turning to smack Yoonig’s arm when he chuckles at how tense the dancer is. “Shut up, this is serious! Min Seongi is a scary woman, you know that!”

 

“The hell are you imagining she’ll do to you?” Yoongi asks and shakes his head before reaching over to pay the driver. “I’m the one who should be worried here, having run off like an idiot and dodged her calls for twenty-four hours. She’ll be too busy beating me with an umbrella to even notice you’re there.” He gets out of the car and sighs when Jimin fidgets nervously with his seatbelt, looking like he wants to tell the driver to take him back to the train station. “Come on,” Yoongi says and goes around to open the door for the dancer. “You promised to be my human shield, didn’t you?”

 

“Yeah, okay,” Jimin mutters and slides out of the taxi, chewing on his lower lip and looking like he wants to chase after the car when it drives off. “My palms are sweating.”

 

Yoongi scoffs and takes his hand. “No, they’re not,” he says and tugs the dancer along up the driveway. “Stop squirming, halmeoni’s neighbors will think I’ve kidnapped you.” He pushes in the doorbell and rolls his eyes when Jimin emits a little squeak, though his own tension does spike when he catches the sound of thundering footsteps approaching the door. “Uh, okay, so maybe she’s in a worse mood than I thought.”

 

The dancer almost whimpers and clutches tighter onto Yoongi’s hand. “Oh god, we’re both gonna di-”

 

The door flies open before he can finish voicing his dread, kicked open so hard Yoongi fears for its hinges. “Min Yoongi!” Just like Yoongi had suspected, his grandmother is waving around an umbrella, holding it like one would hold a sword. “You careless, irresponsible little brat,” she barks and shoves the tip of the umbrella against Yoonig’s chest, hard. “I should tie you to the fucking flagpole in my yard and smack you with a wet towel until you gain some semblance of common sense! And here you come, dragging some friend with you to hide behind,” she sends a brief, angry glare at Jimin, “thinking I wouldn’t beat the shit out of you if… if you…”

 

Slowly, very slowly, she turns back to Jimin, her eyes widening to the size of saucers, her eyebrows rising to her hairline and her mouth dropping open. She freezes in an almost comical pose, umbrella still pointed at Yoongi, her back hunched, looking like she’s wholly prepared to impale whomever dares irritate her.

 

“Um,” the dancer starts, glancing at Yoongi before lowering his eyes to the ground, his lips slowly spreading into a smile, and not until Yoongi encouragingly squeezes his hand does he look up at her face. “Hey, Seongi-noona.”

 

Yoongi chokes on his breath, thrown completely off guard by the fact that Jimin just called his grandmother noona. He coughs into his hand and stares between the dancer and his grandmother, one of them a boy in his early twenties, the other a woman who should definitely start considering walking with a stick, but then it hits him that when the two first met, Jimin was probably only a few years younger than her.

 

His grandmother looks like she’s been struck by lightning. “J-Jimin-ah,” she all but squeaks, her anger completely doused to make her sound just as tense as the dancer had been not thirty seconds ago. “You… it’s you. You’re here, but, but it’s… it’s daytime.”

 

Yoongi isn’t sure if it’s for courage or just to prove his point, but Jimin leans into his side and raises the hand that’s holding Yoongi’s. “Yeah, it’s daytime,” he says softly and brushes his lips over Yoongi’s knuckles, giggling against the back of his hand before offering the old lady a bright smile. “I found him, noona. I found the love of my life.”

 

Just like Yoongi, everyone knows that Min Seongi isn’t an easy woman to surprise, known to be even more stubbornly level-headed and calculating than Yoongi, but upon hearing this, she looks so utterly stricken, so completely flabbergasted, shellshocked to the point Yoongi almost wonders if she’s stopped breathing. “Please don’t have a heart attack, halmeoni,” he mumbles, and while he snorted at the possibility when Jimin suggested it, now he’s only half joking. “That would be a shit welcome for Jimin.”

 

That certainly jerks her back to reality, if only to send an affronted glare at Yoongi. “Don’t flatter yourself, boy!” she barks, but barely a second later, she drops her umbrella, letting it clatter to the ground in favor of pulling the two of them into a fierce embrace, and her voice is thick with emotion when she launches into a string of colorful curses. “Oh, I can’t fucking believe this shit, you’re actually out of the box and it’s because of this idiot, fuckin’ hell, this is unbelievable, god fucking dammit!”

 

Jimin emits a chiming laughter and reaches up to pat her back in a playfully comforting manner. “I can’t tell if you’re happy or sad, noona,” he hums.

 

Seongi smacks the back of his head as best she can from her position. “I’m fucking ecstatic, you brat!” she says loudly before tightening her grip on both of them. “Like I could be anything else, you absolute dumbass, you’re finally free from that ridiculous music box!”

 

“Told you,” Yoongi snorts, the sound turning into a weak cough when his grandmother intentionally jams her shoulder up against his throat to shut him up. “A-alright, alright, ‘scuse me, ma’am. Can you let us go now?”

 

“I can’t believe you, Yoonyoon,” she says but does as asked, using the sleeve of her shirt to dab at the corners of her eyes as she looks Jimin up and down. “You still look exactly the same as the day I bound you. Except the clothes.” She scrunches her nose in disdain. “I see Yoonyoon hasn’t taken you shopping and instead put you in his boring rags.”

 

“My clothes aren’t-”

 

“Come in, come in, Jimin-ah, let’s go sit on the veranda out back,” Seongi says and motions for the dancer to follow her, completely ignoring Yoongi’s meek protest to the attack on his wardrobe. “Go make yourself comfortable, I’ll prepare some tea.”

 

“That went better than expected,” Jimin whispers with a hushed giggle as soon as she’s out of earshot.

 

“Easy for you to say,” Yoongi mutters, frowning as he massages the center of his chest. “I think she cracked one of my ribs with that umbrella.” He smiles despite himself when the dancer beams at him before stepping through the doorway and into the house that had been his home for the past six decades.

 

The veranda is bathed in light, the sun shining almost directly above the small backyard, and for a moment, Yoongi wonders for how long his grandmother has waited for this moment, to be able to invite Jimin to sit here with her. No matter how intimidatingly blunt she is, she’s always had a keen sense for decorating, and the beautiful pastel flowers and patio furniture with croche set a stunning background for the dancer as he takes a seat in their midst, dressed all in black, with his silvery hair shining like a crown.

 

“Quit your gawking, boy, we all know he’s pretty.” Yoongi almost jumps out of his skin at his grandmother’s voice, having been so caught up in looking at Jimin to hear her approaching. “Take a seat,” she tells him before handing the dancer a cup of tea, her expression softening marginally when she sits down and takes her time looking at Jimin. “You look healthy. How are you feeling?”

 

“The same,” the dancer says and thoughtfully purses his lips. “Apart from the fact that I’m in love and that I’m not pulled back into the music box every morning, nothing’s changed, really.”

 

She nods at that, either missing Yoongi’s stupid smile at the words in love or then choosing to ignore it. “That’s good,” she says firmly. “The binding shouldn’t have had any downsides or lingering side-effects upon release, but you can never be too sure about these things.” She pauses to think for a moment. “Have you slept properly?”

 

“Yeah,” Jimin says with a warm smile. “Twice in the past thirty hours.”

 

“And you’ve eaten?”

 

“Four times since I was freed.”

 

“And your bodily functions are working?”

 

“That’s a really weird question, noona.”

 

“Answer the question, boy!”

 

“Yes. Yes, I, uh, I’ve been going to the bathroom. Uh, just the same as always.”

 

“Anything abnormal about-”

 

No.”

 

“What about your energy, are you more tired than usually?”

 

This continues for another twenty minutes, with Jimin turning more and more anxious for every question, the sight making Yoongi imagine a hamster cornered by a cat. He can’t stop himself from smiling at the sight, shrugging every time the dancer sends a pleading look his way, though that smile is quickly wiped off his face when his grandmother leans back in her chair and turns her eyes on him instead.

 

“So,” she says in a tone that has Yoongi fearing the worst. “What are you going to do now?” She tilts her head to the side in a curious manner. “You getting married?”

 

Yoongi almost drops his cup of tea, and next to him, Jimin chokes on his drink. “What the- why does everyone keep saying that?” Yoongi demands loudly, quickly setting down his cup just in case. “Seriously, halmeoni, what the f-”

 

Language,” she barks and snaps her fingers right before his face, causing him to recoil and effectively cutting him off. “Seriously, how many times do I have to tell you before you learn?” She emits a frustrated sound before tutting in distaste. “It’s a perfectly appropriate question, Yoonyoon. Last time Jimin-ah was able to walk around during daytime, it was normal to get married and start a family in your early twenties.”

 

Jimin’s head snaps up at that and he quickly raises his hands in some kind of gesture of denial, his cheeks positively burning. “T-th-these are different times, noona, I’m perfectly aware of that,” he stresses, his voice thin and squeaky. “We’re not getting married. We’ve known each other for a week!”

 

All that gets him is a dry scoff. “Details,” Seongi says with a flick of her wrist. “Alright, so you’re not getting hitched. Then what? Are you gonna live together in that shoebox of yours, Yoonyoon?”

 

Yoongi parts his lips and closes them again, at a complete loss of words, and he has to clear his throat and exchange a quick glance with the dancer before he can form any sort of answer. “We, we haven’t really… we haven’t really had time to talk about it,” he ventures carefully, almost wincing at his grandmother’s unimpressed look. “Oh, come on, halmeoni, Jimin broke free from the music box yesterday, we haven’t had time to work everything out yet.”

 

That was definitely the wrong thing to say, or perhaps the wrong way to phrase it; Seongi quirks a curious brow at him before turning to Jimin, a sly smirk gracing her lips. “Oh, I see now,” she dawdles, her voice laced in amusement. “Good for you, Jimin-ah. I was beginning to worry I’d have time to die before you lost your virginity.”

 

While the dancer emits an incoherent, high-pitched sound and jumps to his feet while Yoongi is just about ready to die in his seat, his face buried in his hands, and his grandmother just laughs, cackling like a hyena as Jimin high-tails back into the house, a string of indignant rambling spilling from his lips as he disappears into the hallway and out of sight.

 

“You, sit down,” Seongi says breathlessly when Yoongi moves to follow the dancer. “He’s fine, he’ll just be sulking in the attic for a while. He always did that whenever I teased him.” She chuckles for a few seconds longer before heaving a deep sigh, looking so utterly content. “So,” she muses again, looking at Yoongi with a softness to her gaze. “He found his true love in you.”

 

He lowers his gaze to his hands and nods, lips curling into the smallest of smiles. “Yeah, he did,” he mumbles, and just thinking about that fact is enough to make his heart hum in his chest.

 

“And you found yours in him.”

 

“I did, and it’s insane, seriously.” Yoongi doesn’t hesitate for even a second to tell her, the words rising to his lips as if they’ve been dying to be spoken. “This shit is intense as fuck, halmeoni,” he says and pats his chest repeatedly, “and no, I won’t mind my language, because fuck, every time I look at him it’s like I can’t believe he’s even real. I don’t know what to do, I just…” He runs a hand through his hair, smiling impossibly wide. “I just feel so much every time I see him, every time I talk to him, and when he smiles, fucking hell… I’m surprised I’m even still alive.”

 

His grandmother snorts at his words, but the sound is affectionate. “I haven’t stopped grinning like an idiot since yesterday,” Yoongi continues. “I managed to freak the fuck out of Namjoon when I took Jimin to the university. And I can’t stop feeling like crying. I don’t cry, but here I am, constantly on the verge of tears because I’m just feeling so much.” He shakes his head at his own hopelessness, the smile still etched on his lips. “I don’t know how to get it out of my system and I feel like I’m on the verge of spontaneous combustion all the time, but you know, halmeoni, I don’t want this feeling to ever go away. I love him so fucking much.”

 

There’s a moment of silence following his words, during which his grandmother does nothing but look at him, her smile just as wide as his, and for a split second, she looks like she might actually cry, her eyes glistening with emotion.

 

Then she parts her lips and reminds him that Min Seongi is way worse than his friends when it comes to teasing him. “Good lord, you’ve got it so bad, Yoonyoon,” she states loudly, guffawing when he slumps back in his chair with a groan. “Jesus, I’ve been alive during the creation of our time’s greatest love songs, but none of ‘em have ever come close to that.” There’s a definite, genuine warmth to her smugness, but Yoongi purses his lips into an annoyed pout either way. “Back off, Whitney Houston and Elton John, we’ve got a new sovereign of sappy, poetic love songs right here.”

 

“Gee, thanks,” Yoongi deadpans, which only serves to increase his grandmother’s cackling. “Can I go bring my traumatized boyfriend down from the attic now?”

 

“Go right ahead, Yoonyoon,” she croons, dismissing him with a wave of her hand. “Try to untwist his panties, we still need to talk about a couple of things.”

 

He’s quick to flee into the house, pausing on the other side of the glass doors to heave an exhausted sigh. “Fuck’s sake,” he grouches, not quite sure if he got off easy or not. “Ahh, we should just move to Japan and get away from all these assholes…” He snorts, vaguely aware of the fact that he’s still smiling despite his words. “Shit, is this gonna be a permanent thing?”

 

He massages his cheeks in a meek attempt to get rid of his ridiculous grin as he makes his way to the stairs leading up to the attic. “Jimin?” he calls, getting only an absentminded hum in response, so he makes his way up, scaling the narrow steps and climbing up to the attic, taking a moment to appreciate how much nicer it looks after he and his friends cleaned it up a bit over a week ago. “Sunshine?”

 

Jimin is seated atop the grand writing desk, hugging his knees to his chest and looking out the small, round window, his gaze trained on the sky. He looks so small like that, and even though he’s smiling softly, there’s something heart-wrenching about the image the dancer creates, a sense of distant longing surrounding his frame. “I used to sit here a lot,” he says quietly without tearing his eyes off the sky outside. “On the days when I’d lost hope and felt like there was no point in going outside.”

 

Something in Yoongi’s heart urges him to reach out, to walk over to the dancer and hug him and make him forget all about such a time, but at the same time, he can feel Jimin’s need to say what’s on his mind. So he waits, standing at the top of the stairs and listening, his hands clenched behind his back.

 

“I would look at the stars for hours and hours and pretend they were all the people I couldn’t see during daytime,” the dancer hums, raising a hand and touching the dim glass of the window. “I told myself they were all still awake and here with me. That I wasn’t so alone.” He brings his hand back and rubs at his eyes, a wet giggle bubbling past his lips. “It gave me strength. It pushed away the horrible thoughts I would have, the sense of hopelessness, the dread of being forever bound to the night, away from everything that makes life worth living. It saved me, thinking that one of those stars was the one I was looking for, and that I would find them in the end, as long as I just kept searching.”

 

He finally looks at Yoongi, and the tearful smile on his lips beckons Yoongi like a moth to a flame; the beautiful light of Jimin’s smile, the brightness that could light up even the darkest, coldest nights calls to him and he starts forward, crossing over to the writing desk to take the dancer’s hand before he even has time to raise it. “And I did,” Jimin breathes, his voice cracking slightly. “I found you, Yoongi, and I love you so much. I can’t put it into words, I really can’t, how much I love you.”

 

He closes his eyes and sniffles, and Yoongi shushes him softly, reaching up to brush the tears away from his cheek. “Y-yesterday,” the dancer manages, “Taehyung said that thing about you being my moonlight, a-and it reminded me of those days I spent looking at the stars, and I realized that maybe the reason I always managed to find hope again was because you were my moonlight.” He holds tightly onto Yoongi’s hand and leans forward to press his forehead against his knuckles. “Thank you, Yoongi, f-for giving me strength a-and, and for, god, for everything.”

 

Slowly, Yoongi reaches around the dancer and pulls him against his chest, wrapping his arms around Jimin’s shoulders and holding him close, bringing his right hand up to soothingly stroke the dancer’s hair. “Sunshine,” he murmurs against Jimin’s temple, his heart yearning to make it all better, to ease the dancer’s sadness, to make it go away. “You listen to me, sunshine, okay? All the things you’ve missed during the time you were asleep, all the places you wanted to go to but couldn’t, everything you wanted to do, I’ll take you there and we’ll do it all. Everything. I’ll show you everything in this world, the world you should’ve been allowed to live in during all these years. I promise.”

 

He gently coaxes the dancer to raise his head until he can look him in the eyes. “I love you, Jimin,” he says, his voice gentle yet firm. “You’ll never have to be alone again, ever. I’ll make sure of it.”

 

That has Jimin crying all over again, and in between near-hysterical sobs, he manages to ask Yoongi if he knows how much a human being can cry in the span of two days before it becomes dangerous to their health. They both laugh at that, and slowly, the dancer manages to calm down, his tears dissolving into breathless giggles as Yoongi kisses his cheeks over and over.

 

When they make their way back downstairs, Seongi is in the kitchen, having gotten started on preparing dinner. “Finally,” she says with a scoff. “I was beginning to wonder if you’d both gotten trapped in my old wardrobe or something.” She motions for the two of them to take a seat at the dinner table, taking a few seconds to fiddle around with the food before turning around to face the two of them. “Alright, so,” she says, “whatever you decide to do now, the first thing we have to take care of is Jimin-ah’s identification and citizenship. Without those, he can’t do much around here.”

 

Yoongi presses his lips together; he hadn’t even considered that. “How the hell do we make that happen?” he asks, brows knitting into a concerned frown. “Considering that Jimin technically hasn’t existed for the past sixty years…”

 

“Oh, that’s easy enough,” his grandmother says casually. “I’ll adopt him.”

 

Both Yoongi and Jimin blink up at her. “You’ll what?”

 

She waves a ladle around impatiently and turns back to the stove. “There aren’t many ways to create an identity, Yoonyoon,” she states matter-of-factly. “Yes, Jimin-ah was born in Korea, but like you said, he’s been off the radar for too many years. You don’t walk into the embassy and tell them you need identifications for a man who was born in the thirties and has only just now been released from the immortality of a magical music box.” She emits a bark of laughter at her own words. “The easiest way for Jimin-ah to be granted identification and be allowed to live here, properly, is for me to adopt him. It’ll take a year before he can get proper citizenship, but at least he’ll be able to live here.”

 

“You…” Jimin stares at her with eyes the size of the moon, looking like he’s on the verge of tears again. “You’d do that, Seongi-noona?” he asks slowly. “For me?”

 

She turns to look at him with a surprised expression, as if shocked he’d ask that. “Of course I would,” she says and nods. “Hell, I’ve had this planned since before I agreed to bind you. I wanted you to be able to live a normal life once you were freed. And I still do, so I’ll take care of it.” Her fond smile takes on a sly undertone. “I might have to feed them some excuse about why you don’t have any prior form of identification, but…” She rolls her shoulders in a casual shrug. “Maybe I could tell them you’ve defected from North Korea.”

 

“What the fuck?” Yoongi chokes out.

 

“You’ll have to come in for questioning for that one, I think,” Min Seongi adds as an afterthought, completely ignoring Yoongi.

 

“Oh, I think that should be okay,” Jimin says, pursing his lips thoughtfully, completely unaffected by the ridiculousness of the idea. “I can read up on NK and combine what I learn with what I experienced in the aftermath of the Korean War. The two should add up pretty well.”

 

“Are you two actually serious right now?” Yoongi asks loudly, wondering how the fuck the two of them could look at him like he’s the one acting out. “You’re just gonna walk into the Ministry of Justice and tell them Jimin defected from North Korea, have him lie to them, and then adopt him?”

 

“Do you have a better idea, then?” his grandmother shoots back, scoffing when he doesn’t answer. “Didn’t think so.” She goes back to preparing dinner, humming as she works. “After you get your ID, you can start looking for things to do with your life, Jimin-ah. Find a job, apply to university, dance. Make more friends, fall even more grossly in love with my grandson, get married and so on and so forth.”

 

“Goddamn it, halmeoni.”

 

She shoots a grin at the two from over her shoulder, emitting another cackle at the sight of their embarrassed expressions. “You two make it so easy, I swear,” she muses before shaking her head. “In all seriousness, Jimin-ah, this is where the rest of your life starts, so don’t go holding back anymore.”

 

Smiling, Yoongi reaches out across the table to take Jimin’s hand, his heart practically soaring at the sheer joy lighting up the dancer’s face. “You leave the legal details to me,” Seongi says firmly. “You’ve waited almost an entire lifetime for this, and now that you’ll finally be able to do all those things you spent your nights dreaming about, you shouldn’t have to worry about the little things. Do whatever you want to do with your life, but do come visit every now and then.”

 

“Of course,” the dancer says and nods. “I’ll drag Yoongi with me here at least every other weekend. And Taetae too, he told me he’s making you watch anime.” He giggles brightly when both Yoongi and his grandmother groan. “But seriously, I’ll come back here. All the time, I… I have so much to thank you for, Seongi-noona.” His hold on Yoonig’s hand tightens. “I’ll come running every time I manage to do one of the things I used to talk to you about, I’ll call you whenever I learn something new about this world, my world.”

 

He beams up at her, the smile that easily outshines the sun. “You’re so, so important to me,” the dancer tells her. “My closest and oldest friend.”

 

“You’re doing this on purpose, boy,” she snaps at him, her voice thick and hoarse, and when all he does is giggle, she threateningly waves her ladle in front of his face. “I might be an old lady by now, but I’ll still beat your ass with this ladle.”

 

So she says, but when Jimin stands up to hug her, she fiercely returns the embrace, tears falling from her eyes as she holds him tight. “I’m so happy for you, Jimin-ah,” she manages in between sobs. “I’m so happy you get to start living your life. Even if it is with that idiot,” she glances at Yoongi, who’s blinking rapidly to not start crying again, again. “I hope you’ll be happy together.”

 

“We will be,” Yoongi promises, smiling widely when Jimin turns to look at him. “I’ll make sure of it. I don’t care what happens, I’ll spend the rest of my life making sure we’re happy.”


And they are.

 

When Yoongi and Namjoon’s project for AOMG turns into a great success, they’re happy. When Jimin performs alongside Hoseok and Jeongguk for the first time, they’re happy. When Jimin is accepted into one of Seoul’s top universities on a dance scholarship, they’re happy. When Yoongi graduates with a promising job waiting at the record label, they’re happy. When they move out of Yoongi’s tiny apartment into one that’s actually meant for two people, they’re so ridiculously happy.

 

And when they do get married, two years later, in a small church in Daegu, with only their best friends and closest relatives present, with Seokjin in charge of catering, with Namjoon as the officiant, with Hoseok and Jeongguk as Yoongi’s best men and Taehyung as Jimin’s, with Yoongi’s grandmother bawling like a baby in the front row, they’re happy.

 

They’re so over the moon, so absolutely fucking delirious with happiness that neither one of them quite know what to do with themselves and end up sitting on the pristine floor by the altar, Jimin sobbing uncontrollably while Yoongi has to take deep breaths to not pass out right then and there, repeatedly asking Namjoon if it’s possible to faint from too much joy.

 

They’re both ridiculous and they know it, but never once does their love waver. Yoongi never shakes the habit of waiting for the love of his life to fall asleep first, and Jimin never stops thanking the love of his life for existing, for being his moonlight. They never stop loving each other, not through their hardships, not through their fights. They stay by each other’s sides through thick and thin, their hands clasped, fingers entwined in a grasp that can never break.

 

Truly, their bond is made of a force stronger than the magic that can bind someone to a music box.

 

- THE END -