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this time, i mean it

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• • •

The first time this happens, it's in their school library.

Taehyung and Jimin have been friends – best friends – for no one knows how long but they're close as fuck. Well, close is actually an understatement. They could be soulmates.

Jimin certainly doesn't have a crush on his best friend.

They're just hanging out while it's break time in their library. They're sitting on a couch and Jimin is busy solving a Rubik's Cube while Taehyung is beside him.

"Hey, teach me how to solve that?" Taehyung says.

"It's actually pretty easy, if you also like memorizing algorithms and stuff."

"Algo—what? Nevermind."

Jimin chuckles at that.

"You're just doing the same thing over and over again." Taehyung speaks again.

"Well..." Jimin didn't know how to explain it in words. "It's life. Repeating the same thing until you make it right. I don't know."

Jimin is very concentrated in solving the cube.

One more move 'til he solves the cube.

Just one more move.

And—

"I like you."

Jimin's hand suddenly stops moving. Stops breathing.

One more move 'til he solves the damn cube.

He continues as if nothing happened. He finished the cube.

"Hey, it's not April Fools, bro." Jimin laughs.

"Maybe you're right or maybe not. Maybe I'm not joking." Taehyung winked at him and Jimin just hoped he didn't just see that.

A sigh of relief.

• • •

The second time, it's when Jimin is fixing his stuff in his locker.

He puts all of his stuff there.

"Ya!"

"Hey Kim Taehyung! You scared me. Fuck you for that."

"Fuck you too, but with love, Jiminie~" Taehyung appears out of nowhere. His eyes go to the back of the door of Jimin's locker. "Aw, you put our photo there."

It's a polaroid of Jimin and Taehyung, taken by their good friend Jungkook. Taehyung has his right arm around Jimin's neck and his left hand is squeezing Jimin's cheek. Jimin is smiling from ear to ear.

Taehyung feels warm inside and he remembers this exact moment. Jimin's ears are already red.

Jimin closes his locker and Taehyung is already beside him.

"Well, I also have a picture with Yoongi-hyung and Kookie there. Actually, all of my best friends have a spot in there."

"I know, I also saw it, but ours is special 'cause it's in the middle and there's a little heart doodle on the side."

"Yeah."

Silence.

Taehyung is looking – uhm, staring? – at Jimin.

"I like you, Jimin-ah." Taehyung says in a serious voice.

Jimin wonders why he can feel his heart jumping out of his chest.

"Stop joking around, silly." And again, Jimin just laughs it off and Taehyung laughs along with him.

"You always get me, aish."

• • •

Third time, over the phone.

"So yeah, I'm pretty sure Hoseok-hyung has a crush on Yoongi-hyung. He's pretty obvious, Well, for me, I guess." Jimin likes listening to Taehyung's deep voice.

It's 10 PM and it's a weekend. Jimin just wants to finish reading a book and then Taehyung calls him.

And yes, he answers the call, and doesn't even spare a glance at the book he was just wanting to read.

"Obvious—Namjoon-hyung and Seokjin-hyung obvious?"

"Namjoon-hyung and Seokjin-hyung are more obvious, though."

Jimin just laughs at that.

"Hey, Jimin."

"Yeah?"

"I like you."

Jimin suddenly stops breathing. He closes his eyes and hopes Taehyung doesn't see him. He's kinda thankful.

"And that's a joke, right?"

"No, I'm serious."

Jimin doesn't know how to respond. He just makes a lame joke.

"Oh, hey 'serious'." Jimin is nervous. He doesn't know why.

"Stop it, will you, Jimin?" Taehyung bursts out, laughing. "You get me every time, bro."

Jimin is not disappointed, really.

• • •

It's the weekend and Taehyung is at Jimin's. They both lie down on the grass. They enjoy star gazing together.

"It's a very starry night tonight." Jimin states.

"Yeah."

"They're so beautiful." Jimin doesn't hear a reply. "Right, Taehyungie?"

There's a pause.

"Yep. It's so beautiful."

Jimin looks at Taehyung but Taehyung is already looking at him.

"You're not even looking at the sky." Jimin frowns.

"But I'm looking at something so beautiful."

Jimin's heart flutters.

"Jimin," Taehyung calls. "I like you."

But then again, this is a—

"Joke, right?"

A moment of silence. Jimin wants to laugh but Taehyung's face is serious.

All Jimin does is blink.

"I mean it this time."