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I'll Lead (and you have no choice)

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Jimin’s left hand is wrapped in red, red, red.

He’s tangled up his string again, winding and winding it through his fingers until there’s barely a bit of skin left to be seen. His fingers feel stiff, but they're still movable.

The soulmate string is different, he’s learned. Had spent one of his classes, when he was much, much younger, tying up an actual red string - around his right hand to mirror his left - and playing with it.

He hadn't unwrapped it until his teacher had called him aside as everyone went out to lunch, fascinated by the way that his fingers were turning blue and that he could actually no longer bend them.

His teacher had crouched down, taking his hand in hers.

“What did you do this for, Jimin?” She had tutted, gently beginning to unwind the string. He watched, intrigued by the way that this was a string that others, not only himself and his soulmate, could see and interact with.

He didn't really have an answer. He had just wanted to see the differences, the similarities. Between his soulmate string and a real piece of string. It just seemed a lot more fascinating to him than the math written on the board.

“You shouldn't do this,” she scolded, “People may think you haven't got a string if you do.”

“But I do have a string,” he frowned, glancing at his left hand, where the soulmate string was tied on his pinky, the end of it fading into the distance.

“I know,” she reassured, as she had finally finished unwrapping the string. “But if you make up a fake one, people may think you don't have a real one.”

He considered this, humming. “How will I know my soulmate just hasn't got a fake string on, then?”

She laughed, her hands fiddling with the air. “Have you ever tugged on the string, Jimin?”

His eyebrows furrowed and he shook his head. “Why would I?”

“Just try it,” she encouraged, standing up from her crouch. “But you need to tug on it with your other hand, like you're trying to find the end.”

“I thought only fate could bring them together,” he replies, remembering his mother’s stories. As much as you may want it, or not want it, fate is the only one who controls when you meet.

His teacher smiles at him. “Yes, but fate deserves a helping hand sometimes.”

Still confused, he had wrapped his fingers around the string - real and tangible to only him, for now - and had tugged it gently. Are you there?

He turned to the teacher, ready to question his own actions, before he felt it. His string being tugged back. A light pressure on his pinky, the first time he had ever felt the weight of it.

Not quite like a real string being tugged if it was tied to his finger, but it was definitely a strange sensation. Like pins and needles had suddenly wrapped around a tiny part of his finger and faintly pulled at him, beckoning him to go somewhere.

He gasped in surprise, and his teacher smiled at him.

"Say hello to your soulmate, Jimin.”

On that day, he had learned a couple of things. First, that his soulmate string is completely different to normal string. He can move it, play with it, but it doesn't feel as real, as solid. It won't turn his fingers blue if he winds it around them.

And second, if he tugs hard enough, sometimes his soulmate will tug back.

He's trying that now, many years later, with his hand completely wrapped in his own seemingly endless string, attempting to get that familiar pull.

Nerves are flittering through his system, making him fidgety. His final exam is just minutes away, and looking around he can see the nerves aren't just affecting him. Others have their fingers moving constantly, twirling and winding up their string.

And Jimin’s just looking for a bit of comfort, perhaps, in the idea that no matter how he does in this exam, he still has his soulmate. That no matter what, at the other end of his string is where his soulmate is.

Who will love him no matter the results of this damn exam.

He enters the exam room feeling sick, his hand still wrapped in red. He unties it with shaking hands, trying to even out his breathing. His soulmate could be sleeping or something, he reasons with himself. Nothing to worry about. Nothing to disturb them over.

Just as he picks up a pen, just as the exam starts, he feels a solid tug on the pinky of his left hand.

After that, his hands are no longer shaking.

 


 

All in all, truthfully, Jimin and his soulmate don’t interact too much.

Their distance is measurable in just how faint the sensation of the string is, after all. If they were close, the sensations would be more than just a slight pins and needles sensation. Currently too faint, too far, to even think about running into each other.

Besides, their last interaction had consisted of his soulmate tugging the string incredibly hard after Jimin had been subconsciously playing and tugging with it all day, nervous about packing up all his things to move for college. A harsh warning, Jimin was sure, that his soulmate did not exactly appreciate Jimin’s constant playing.

Later that day, his soulmate had tugged very gently at it - an apology, Jimin imagines - and Jimin had tugged back, forgiving, but that had been a few days ago now.

Jungkook is sitting on his bed in Jimin’s dorm, having helped to move him in. He’s got a box in his lap and is unhelpfully going through the items, pulling them out and making a mess. Jimin isn’t bothered to scold him for it.

“Do you know who your roommate is?” Jungkook asks, putting down the item he currently has in his hands in favour of scanning the room.

“Uh, I think his name was Min Yoongi,” Jimin replies, distracted by his activity of folding clothes into his drawer.

“Jimin,” Jungkook says, suddenly serious.

“What?” he asks, looking away from his drawer for a moment, focusing on Jungkook.

“As in Min Yoongi as in Agust D?”

Jimin takes a second before it sinks in. “Oh my god,” is all he has right now, because he knew the name was familiar. He doesn’t listen to the artist as much as Jungkook, but it’s still a mind-blowing realisation.

"Hyung,” Jungkook says, and that’s when Jimin knows he’s in trouble. “You better not do anything embarrassing.”

Jimin laughs, nervously running a hand through his hair. He was wary of somehow doing something embarrassing in front of a normal roommate, but now he’s realised he’s rooming with Min Yoongi. The fear has definitely suddenly grown.

Jungkook hums, patting his shoulder in either sympathy or as a threat, then moves to actually help him unpack before he has to go home. It calms Jimin down a bit, at least, making him focus on the task.

“Don’t miss me too much,” Jimin says to him, as the other goes to leave, ruffling his hair affectionately. Jungkook grins at him, genuine and fond, before -

“Don’t shrink too much!” Jungkook farewells, and Jimin whacks him on the head. The bastard just laughs, but Jimin immediately forgives him when he gives Jimin one last hug before he leaves.

Later in the day, Jimin meets his roommate. Like he hasn’t been freaking out about it all day.

“Min Yoongi,” the other introduces himself as, a shy and polite smile on his face, but his eyes wary and alert.

Jimin does his best to ease the look. “Park Jimin, I am looking forward to rooming with you.”

“No one should enjoy rooming,” Yoongi mumbles out, but shakes Jimin’s hand nonetheless.

And Yoongi’s great, as far as roommates go. Keeps his space tidy, is quiet for the most part, and just does a lot of work on his laptop. And also joins in on Jimin’s solo dance party after only a couple of days of knowing him, having walked into the room without Jimin realising it.

He also lets Jimin hear ones of his composed tracks when Jimin lets it slip that he’s a fan, and Yoongi is great as a roommate, but even better as a friend.

So Jimin’s feeling pretty alright about the whole experience. Good roommate and friend in one, and classes starting up soon. And the first few days with the whole arrangement are going fine, are going well, and his hand isn’t wrapped in red unless he’s incredibly bored.

And then, after those days are over, right before classes start, the string pulls.

It’s different now, Jimin can tell even without a week of the sensation. The pins and needles have intensified, enough to make him break off his sentence in shock when he’s talking to Yoongi. It’s not the same sensation as the time his soulmate had tugged at it that one time they were annoyed - now, Jimin can tell it was meant to be a gentle tug.

Something that, a week ago, would have barely been felt. The slightest tingling. But now, it’s intense, his fingers clenching into a fist in an attempt to shake the unfamiliar sensation.

“You alright?” Yoongi asks, curiously and worriedly looking at Jimin.

Jimin takes a moment. Flexes his fingers, stares at the string for a moment, his eyes following as it leads off to a place he can’t see.

A place that has now, apparently, gotten much, much closer.

Jimin diverts the question, but doesn’t leave the whole topic. “Have you met your soulmate yet, Yoongi?”

Yoongi, confused at the apparent change in conversation, doesn’t answer for a second. Then, shakes his head.

“Not yet. But after moving here, they’re definitely closer,” Yoongi answers, his fingers playing with his string. “Why?”

“I think mine just relocated somewhere extremely close as well,” Jimin responds, his fingers gently playing with his own. But he hasn’t pulled at it yet. His soulmate doesn’t know their situation right now.

Yoongi nods. “Makes sense, plenty of people meet their soulmate in college.”

Jimin wonders if he’ll be one of them, and then tugs gently at the string.

 


 

Classes start up, and Jimin regrets ever signing up for any early morning classes. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much every goddamn day, because that’s just how his stupid unit is set out.

He’s considerably more awake than Yoongi, though, who’s slumped over the counter and is groaning into his own arm. Jimin pats him on the shoulder, resigning himself to somehow become Yoongi’s caffeine supplier.

He’ll buy a coffee machine, maybe. His allowance might actually cry at that though - while teaching classes down at the local dance club does bring in money, it’s probably not enough to afford such a luxury.

Yoongi follows Jimin out the door, stumbling and yawning constantly and rubbing his own eyes, before they part ways. Jimin can only hope Yoongi manages to make it to his class before he falls asleep on the sidewalk or something.

So it’s to his surprise when he gets back after a full day of classes, ready to fall asleep, that he walks in to Yoongi sitting with another person on his bed.

"Hello,” Jimin greets, politely, as the guest smiles at him. Despite it being a cloudy day, Jimin’s now pretty sure he’s seen the actual sun trapped in his guest’s smile.

“Ah, Jimin,” Yoongi says, and Jimin looks over curiously at Yoongi’s bright tone. He notices the cup of coffee sitting on the table and puts it to that. Few things make Yoongi light up like now, which includes his dog, coffee, and making music.

The guest moves to stand up, holding out his hand to shake. Jimin realises they look vaguely familiar, but Jimin’s pretty sure he's never interacted with the other before.

“Jung Hoseok,” he says, and Jimin has been feeling pretty overwhelmed from his first day, but everything else seems pale in comparison all of a sudden. Because here’s Jung Hoseok, someone who he and Jungkook have been admiring and desperately trying to get a place in his dance workshops for months, standing in his goddamn room.

“No way,” he breathes, reflectively taking his hand to shake. Great, now there’s two people with a small celebrity status in front of him. Wonderful. He’s not feeling overwhelmed at all.

Hoseok laughs, smoothly removing his hand from Jimin’s after he forgets to let go.

“Sorry!” Jimin immediately says, flustered, trying to make sense of the world. ‘ What the hell’ is all that his mind is giving him at the moment, which isn’t helping in the slightest.

“It’s all good, I hope you don’t mind me being over,” Hoseok replies, gesturing back at Yoongi. “We kind of bumped into each other, literally. Early morning classes do nothing for one’s sense of where they’re walking, I suppose.”

“Old friends?” Jimin asks, looking over at Yoongi. Who suddenly gives him a shy smile. What the hell.

“Ah, not quite,” Hoseok says, awkwardly laughing. “Soulmates, it turns out.”

That’s it, Jimin’s done.

“Are you kidding me.” Jimin is in disbelief, because here’s Min Yoongi’s soulmate, having met each other on the first day, and turns out it’s the guy that Jimin’s been admiring for months.

And then he smiles as his disbelief is replaced with overwhelming excitement, and he can feel himself rocking back and forth slightly on his feet. “That’s awesome, congrats Hyung!” 

Yoongi smiles again, and then Jimin sees the way he tugs at the string. Hoseok looks surprised for a second, but then shakes it off just as quick as it had appeared.

“Sorry,” Hoseok says to him, voice quiet. “Turns out it gets a lot more intense when you meet.”

He waves his hand about, and Jimin can imagine the string that’s connected to him and Yoongi. Cute, is what he thinks when Hoseok starts blushing a little. A stark contrast to the videos he’s seen of him, his dance moves nothing but precise and sharp, and yet he seems so soft and cuddly right now.

Hoseok becomes a constant visitor in the following weeks. Jimin doesn’t mind, because he brings coffee for all three of them whenever he comes by in the mornings, and Jimin is pretty sure he’s an actual angel or something.

He also requests that Jimin comes down to his workshop and forcibly makes him join the dance club after spotting Jimin practicing in the dorm, so there’s that. He even asks for Jungkook to come down after hearing about him. An angel, really. Jimin’s pretty sure he’s died and somehow ascended to heaven.

“You should do the showcase,” Hoseok proposes one day, when both of them are using the dance studio, breathing hard and wiping the sweat off their faces.

“Haven’t you already been practicing for it for a few weeks?” Jimin asks, idly scrolling through his playlist as he tries to find another song to listen to. 

“Yeah, but it’s not for a few weeks. You could easily learn the group dances, and I’d really love for you to have a solo.”

“My hip-hop really isn’t good enough for a solo,” Jimin protests, barely sparing Hoseok a glance. He doesn’t need to look to know Hoseok is giving him his puppy eyes. They make Yoongi weak, and Jimin’s definitely not above them either.

“That’s a lie, but sure, whatever you think. Besides, it doesn’t have to be hip-hop, I’ve seen your contemporary,” Hoseok counters.

Jimin frowns, his finger now sliding up and down the screen, going nowhere. “I’m not sure, hyung. I have lots of assignments coming up and -”

“Jiminie, come on, please? I promise I’ll drag Yoongi onto the stage,” Hoseok pleads, and Jimin sighs. He’s been trying to get Yoongi to perform live for a while, and after hearing that Hoseok could also rap he’s been pressuring them both for a collaboration for a couple of weeks.

“I’ll even bring in Namjoon,” Hoseok continues, and Jimin shoots him a look.

“Now you’re just cheating,” he grumbles. He’s met the other once before, a similar star-struck experience as to meeting Hoseok, having known him for his rapping. Jungkook is going to strangle him once Jimin gets around to telling him they’ve met.

“Is that a yes?” Hoseok pressures, and Jimin lets out a heavy sigh.

“It’s an ‘I’ll think about it’,” Jimin relents, and Hoseok whoops in excitement, getting up to hug Jimin and pressing their sweaty bodies together because he knows it’s a yes anyway.

 


 

The showcase comes up stupidly quickly.

There’s only a couple of hours until he’s on stage, by himself, dancing to something he’s only been practicing for a few weeks. His stomach is twisting uncomfortably, and he works the energy into twisting at the recent addition of the rings on his fingers.

He hasn’t interacted much with his soulmate in the past couple weeks. All in all, he’s not sure he would be able to handle it, if he ran into his soulmate on campus. He’s already become friends with so many people he had once affiliated as role-models or idols, and he’s still feeling like the whole experience isn’t real.

It’s mutual, at least. His soulmate doesn’t interact much, except for the soft tugs Jimin can sometimes feel as he drifts off to sleep in the early hours, if he ever stays up that late studying or practicing. He’s too sleepy to return them immediately most times, but always tugs softly when he wakes up.  

The rings he now wears keep his fingers entertained, slowly getting rid of his habit of wrapping the string around his fingers. It makes sure he doesn’t restrict the feeling in his fingers, as he has a tendency to wrap the string so tightly without even noticing it.

He’s not in the opening act, as he had missed auditions for it after signing up so late. He doesn’t mind in the slightest, still in disbelief he has a solo stage, and is happy to stand at the side and watch.

There’s a few dances before his group one, and then very little time between that to his solo. He paces backstage nervously, rehearsing the moves by himself, hoping to calm some of the nerves. He loves the stage, he does, but the showcase is still a little intimidating to him.

It’s only when he goes to check his phone after receiving a message from Jungkook, who’s sitting in the crowd, that he notices his hand is wrapped in red.

He’s still trying to unwind it as he moves to get ready to be on next, one of the other dancers staring at him curiously. Jimin smiles disarmingly at them, trying to work quicker to completely unwind the string.

He manages to do so right as he runs onto stage, getting into the start position, and refuses to think about it anymore. As soon as the music starts, he focuses, and he dances.

Not much thought is spared after the group dance, in which Jimin isn’t quite satisfied with his performance, but he’s already being swept up in the excitement from the rest of the group. He can’t celebrate with them for long though, already moving to get changed.

His solo performance goes better than he expected, at least. He didn’t have high expectations for it, constantly worrying about his form and his timing, but the surge from the crowd gives him a sense of relief once he’s done.

And then he feels it, right as he moves to run off stage. The pull on his finger is so intense he gasps, stumbling on his own feet. Hoseok is on the other side, ready to catch him, an amused look in his eye.

Jimin rights himself, flustered, and Hoseok takes the opportunity to wrap his arms around Jimin, ruffling his hair, temporarily distracting Jimin from the sensation he just felt.

“What did I tell you, Park Jimin? You were incredible,” Hoseok praises, and Jimin feels his cheeks warm.

“Aren't you meant to be getting ready for the cypher stage?” Jimin asks, trying to unwrap Hoseok’s arms from around his neck, and Hoseok fondly just ruffles his hair again before Yoongi approaches.

“Namjoon just tripped over something,” he says as a greeting, and Jimin is about to ask what that even means before he sees Hoseok pale, scrambling off Jimin.

“Don't let him break anything else,” Hoseok says, running right past both of them. Yoongi sighs heavily, then looks back at Jimin.

“Well done,” he says, and Jimin is pretty sure his face is about to combust if his cheeks get any warmer.

"Thank you Hyung,” he fumbles out, and Yoongi just smiles at him before following after Hoseok.

He's still got the post-performance thrill running through him, making him jittery. The showcase ends with the cypher stage, and Jimin stands off to the side clapping wildly as the show finishes. The crowd is just as crazy, and Jimin couldn't be prouder.

Hoseok and Yoongi both drag him out for the final bow, and as his body lowers he feels the intense tug again on his hand, thankfully not stumbling in the other’s grips.

He tries to scan the crowd, the only thought running through his head being please, please -

And he's not sure if he means please be here or please not be here, because he can't tell if the rapid pounding in his heart is fear or excitement. He's too wrapped up with the atmosphere of the performance, still, and it's hard to try and focus on the crowd.

The lights are too bright, and the crowd is too dark, and his mission doesn't succeed before the curtain falls. He isn't sure if relief or disappointment wash over him when he eventually gets off the stage.

“Someone out there?” Hoseok questions, draping himself over both Yoongi and Jimin. Yoongi pulls a face, but Jimin doesn't miss the way he's lightly playing with the string with a smile on his face.

“Hm?” Is all Jimin manages to say, distracted, and Hoseok doesn't get to elaborate. Namjoon walks up, grinning at the three of them.

Jimin goes to bow, but Hoseok unbalances and Jimin has to quickly pull himself back upright. He shoots Namjoon an apologetic smile, but the other laughs it off.

“Good job tonight, I heard Hobi dragged you in with not a lot of notice,” Namjoon says, and Hoseok just pats Jimin’s head.

“It's alright, I had fun. Your stage was amazing though,” Jimin replies, and Namjoon goes to reply, but his phone goes off. He smiles apologetically, answering the call.

“Taehyung?” He asks, and Jimin feels Hoseok perk up. Namjoon sighs before hanging up, putting his phone in his pocket.

“They won't let them backstage so we need to come personally and let them through,” Namjoon explains, already turning to the direction of where the backstage area meets the main entrance.

The others follow him, and Jimin lingers behind with Yoongi.

“Who’s them?” Jimin asks, recalling the description Namjoon had used.

“I assume Taehyung, his roommate, and Seokjin, Namjoon’s soulmate,” Yoongi explains, and Jimin feels himself deflate a little.

“So you've all got your soulmates here?”

Yoongi nods. “Turns out we have mutual friends. Hobi and I both knew Namjoon before, and Hobi previously knew Jin as well. Only a matter of time before we all met, I suppose.”

Jimin hums, all of them pausing at the door as Namjoon explains to security who the other two are. From the angle Jimin’s standing at, he can only see one of them. Judging by the way his eyes light up looking at Namjoon, and the way he smiles, Jimin assumes he’s Jin.

“He's tall,” Jimin whines, despite himself. After Jungkook shot past him, Jimin’s started to become aware of his predicament.

“Everyone is taller than you, Jiminie,” Yoongi reminds him, and Jimin elbows him.

“You're barely,” Jimin counters, but Yoongi just smiles at him mockingly.

Before the bickering can continue, they step back as Namjoon guides the other two people in. Jin walks in, hand in hand with Namjoon, both of them bantering comfortably.

Behind him walks in the other - Taehyung, Jimin reminds himself - and Jimin is pretty sure his heart has just gone and broken down on him. The backstage area they're in is dark, but Jimin can see enough. Because while Jin was undeniably attractive, extremely good-looking, there's something beautiful about Taehyung that has Jimin suddenly forgetting how to breathe properly.

Hoseok quickly wraps Taehyung in a hug, and Jimin can't help but disappointedly notice the lack of a string on his fingers. He reprimands himself for the thought, scolding himself for thinking so shallowly.

Taehyung takes notice of Yoongi, and Jimin melts at the wide smile he's giving the other.

“Yoongi-Hyung!” Taehyung beams, throwing himself at Yoongi. Yoongi looks disgruntled, but Jimin’s picked up enough from the other to know when he's actually truly uncomfortable - and he is anything but, right now.

“Taehyung, why,"  Yoongi deadpans, but still brings up his arms to hug the other. Jimin realises he’s now become the awkward third-wheeler, and uncomfortably shifts on his feet.

Yoongi drops his arms but Taehyung still clings on, and it takes Yoongi physically prying his arms off to get Taehyung to step away. Jimin can see the moment Taehyung takes notice of him, eyes widening for a second before smiling.

And it’s still stupidly dark, but at least it means that Taehyung can’t see his stupid blush. He bows in greeting, as does Taehyung, and it’s only when Jimin is starting to straighten up does he notice it.

It catches faintly on the light as Taehyung also straightens up, and Jimin feels himself stiffen as he tries to place exactly what it is.

Around the other’s neck is a red piece of string.

“I- Is that - ” He starts to say, his voice breaking off and too quiet for Taehyung to hear anyway. He sees Taehyung tilt his head curiously, but before he can ask Jimin to repeat, Jimin is reaching out with his left hand.

Taehyung doesn’t see it, at first. Jimin’s got a jacket on, and the light isn’t good enough for one to properly notice what the string actually is. Especially if they don’t expect it.

Jimin gestures weakly to Taehyung’s neck, and there’s a moment of confusion on Taehyung’s face before he seems to take notice of what is coming out of Jimin’s jacket. What Jimin’s gesturing at.

Taehyung’s eyes widen, his jaw going slack. Jimin sees his fingers flex, then curl up. Taehyung’s words seem to be working as well as Jimin’s - which is to say, not at all.

Yoongi is the one who gets the world moving again, forcefully poking the bubble the two of them had seemingly created around each other.

“Right, Park Jimin, meet Kim Taehyung. We’ll be leaving in ten minutes to go get dinner, and we will leave without you,” he says, effectively snapping both of them back into reality.

Taehyung seems to get his words back first. “Alright,” is all he manages though, but it’s better than Jimin who just manages a nod.

“I was wondering if you’d be in the crowd, considering how many came tonight,” Taehyung admits after a long wait of silence.

Jimin feels his fingers playing gently with his string, remembering the tug. “You didn’t see it on stage?”

Taehyung shakes his head. “I was sitting too far back, I thought you just had a loose piece of thread,” he admits, sheepish. His hand runs through his hair, and Jimin suddenly wants to do the same. He fights down the urge.

And Jimin is about to ask, about the string around Taehyung’s neck, but his words dry up in his throat. He’s startled out of his attempt to speak again by his phone vibrating in his back pocket.

He remembers who else was in the crowd tonight, and his fingers fumble to quickly pull out the phone.

“Sorry, I had someone here,” he says to Taehyung, who just waves off the apology and gestures for him to take the call.

Jimin’s fingers hesitate on answering the call, but he takes a deep breath and does so.

“Where am I meeting you?” Jungkook asks, his voice hard to hear over all the others in the background. Still must be struggling to get out of the hall.

“We’re-” Jimin cuts off, looking at Taehyung. “Are we going with them to dinner?” He asks, slightly dropping the phone away from his mouth.

“It’s kind of tradition,” Taehyung replies, and Jimin just nods.

“Just meet us out the front, we’re going out to dinner,” Jimin relays to Jungkook, who gives his affirmation before hanging up.

“We should also meet up with Yoongi-hyung before he actually does leave us behind,” Taehyung tells him, smiling warmly before turning and leading Jimin out of the backstage area.

They have to push through the crowds, and Jimin tells himself that Taehyung reaches back and grabs his wrist because otherwise they would’ve been separated with all the people. Taehyung’s grip loosens as they break out from the crowds, and Jimin restrains himself from reaching out again.

The others are already standing in a group, Jungkook also having found them. He’s giving Jimin the biggest, most unamused look, and Jimin is only confused until Jungkook signals discreetly to Namjoon.

“Are you kidding, you met all of these people?” Jungkook whispers at him when he’s close enough, pulling him slightly aside, and Jimin can only shrug. He glances at Taehyung, who’s easily moved into the conversation with the others, then feels himself smiling stupidly.

“I did, and you won’t believe who else I just met.”

“Please don’t tell me he’s some other famous artist,” Jungkook begs, but is now looking at Taehyung curiously.

“Well, I’m not actually sure,” Jimin realises, and Jungkook is back to giving Jimin an unimpressed look.

“But,” Jimin continues, “he is my soulmate.”

Jungkook’s reaction is worth everything - even the way he hits Jimin in the shoulder.

 


 

Jimin and Taehyung fall back slightly from the group as they walk to the restaurant.

It’s a natural progression, feels comfortable, even if Jimin’s heart is racing and his palms are sweating despite the cooler weather.

“I think Yoongi-hyung told Hoseok-hyung,” Taehyung mutters to him, glancing quickly. Jimin catches his eye, then feels his cheeks warm and his gaze averts forward again.

Jimin looks at Hoseok, who has his hand in Yoongi’s. He tries to subtly glance back at the two of them, then catches Jimin’s eye and sends him an exaggerated wink.

"I think you’re right,” Jimin replies, rolling his eyes at Hoseok.

“Namjoon-hyung probably figured it out. We should tell Jin-hyung as well, in case he doesn’t know, because then he’ll probably treat us for dinner,” Taehyung says, grinning at Jimin, who returns the smile.

By the time they reach the restaurant, Jimin knows the basics of Taehyung. Born in Daegu, 1995, majoring in music. A saxophonist, didn’t perform in the showcase because he didn’t have any pieces ready, and instead just worked in helping others prepare.

Taehyung knows the basics of Jimin as well, listening intently with a big smile on his face as Jimin stammered through his unsure words. The others kept glancing back at them, serving as a constant reminder to Jimin that he was walking right next to his soulmate, right at this moment.

“Ah, I really need to tell my parents we met,” Taehyung says as they walk through the doors of the restaurant. Jimin’s brain manages to get stuck on thoughts of wondering what Taehyung’s parents are like - who Taehyung gets his features from, his personality, his smile from.

“Same,” Jimin replies, then stopping as they reach the table. Suddenly unsure of where he should be sitting - next to Jungkook? Taehyung? Or should he sit from across Taehyung -

Taehyung grabs his wrist again, tugging him forward. Jimin ends up at the end of the table with Taehyung next to him, Jungkook moving to stand across from him. Seokjin walks up next to Jungkook promptly, and Jimin’s pretty sure Jungkook has now been adopted by the other.

Jin and Jimin greet each other, Seokjin extending his hand after bowing at each other. “Jimin, right? I’m Seokjin, or Jin.”

Jimin shakes his hand. “Nice to meet you,” he says, and they both move to sit down. Namjoon sits next to Seokjin, Yoongi and Hoseok moving to sit next to Taehyung.

Jimin scans the table, realises all the soulmates are next to each other, and Jungkook is in front of him. He worries, suddenly, but settles when he realises Seokjin has taken to looking after him. They’re easily bantering before the food is even ordered.

“Jin-hyung acts like a ten year old,” Taehyung exaggeratedly whispers to Jimin, loud enough for everyone else to hear. Yoongi turns to look at Taehyung and then laughs, but says nothing.

“We just get a whole bunch of everything and share, is that alright?” Namjoon asks, and they all agree.

"Jin-hyung will eat it all if you’re not fast enough,” Taehyung warns Jimin and Jungkook, getting a whack from Jin for his efforts.

The conversation flows easily, all of them talking in a group. Taehyung will mutter things to him about the others, but otherwise they don’t really keep their conversations private. Jimin figures it’s really not the environment to ask about the string, even if he’s getting more and more curious by the minute.

Jimin learns a bit more about Taehyung - learns that when he zones out a bit, his facial expression goes blank. Yoongi nudges him back into reality, and Jimin’s left feeling winded when Taehyung just blindingly smiles at him when Jimin shoots him a concerned look.

Learns that Taehyung has a childish enough presence that rivals Seokjin’s, and that he is endearingly innocent in that regard. Jimin gets wrapped up in his antics a couple of times throughout the night, including taking a stupid amount of selcas with ridiculous filters, and a game where Taehyung mouths or acts out lyrics for the others to guess.

His presence is incredibly vibrant, bright, and Jimin is drawn in like a moth to a flame. He feels overwhelmed by the time they all stand up, ready to leave, with the Hyung’s shouting the meals for the youngest three.

“I could’ve paid,” Jungkook argues, and the rest just laugh.

“You’re too cute to pay,” Jimin explains, knowing now that Jungkook has definitely been sucked into their group whether he wants to be or not.

Jungkook tries to argue again, but Hoseok has appeared out of nowhere and has slung himself over Jungkook’s shoulders.

“You’re coming to the workshop next week right?” Hoseok asks, also looking back at Jimin, who nods his confirmation.

Jungkook smiles so widely that Jimin has to laugh. While Jungkook seems to have moved on from his star-struckness for the most part, he’s still a big sucker for the other in his classes. Jimin doesn’t blame him.

Namjoon announces that they’re all welcome back to his place for a movie, but Jungkook guiltily reveals he’s got to head home. Jimin makes the decision to walk him to the train station. Besides, he figures, the walk will be good for his head. Let him sort out his thoughts, try and place where his head’s at involving Taehyung.

Taehyung, though, surprisingly volunteers to walk with them. Jungkook just gives Jimin a smug smile, like he knew exactly what Jimin was considering.

“Are you sure? You can go watch the movie,” Jimin assures him, but Taehyung just grins and slings his arms over Jungkook and Jimin.

“But I can’t let you walk back on your own,” Taehyung says, Jungkook humming his agreement.

“Hyung, there’s some strange people walking around at this time,” Jungkook pipes up, his tone teasing. Jimin can’t get to him, with Taehyung between them, but he glares at the other.

“Like you,” Jimin sulks back, poking out his tongue. Damn Jungkook for knowing exactly what he’s gotten Jimin into. A private walk back with Taehyung, the idea of it sending Jimin’s thoughts whirling and his heart pounding so hard he’s pretty sure Taehyung can feel it.

“Jungkook, where are you from?” Taehyung asks as they begin their walk, and Jungkook seems to fluster a bit at the attention.

“Busan,” he answers, flashing a quick glance to Jimin.

“Ah, same as Jimin then!” Taehyung seems excited by this, and then his facial expression shifts and Jimin has enough of a mind to think oh no, because it was the same look he had on his face before he divulged to Jimin about Namjoon being the one to break Yoongi’s speakers. The ones the other had complained about for days on end before eventually getting them to work. But it left Yoongi in such a state that even Hoseok barely managed to cheer him up.

Jimin shudders at the reminder, because after Hoseok had been unable to cheer up Yoongi, he seemed incredibly down. Ironically, that’s what had snapped Yoongi out of his state. But the info of who was the source of the whole drama was new and dangerous information, and it’s with the same smirk that Taehyung is now talking to Jungkook with.

“So, I assume you have some good stories?” Taehyung asks, innocently enough, but he knows exactly what he’s doing. Jungkook doesn’t miss the opportunity to embarrass Jimin, who loudly complains, but finds he doesn’t mind it so much when Taehyung still has his arm over Jimin’s shoulders, his head rubbing against the top of Jimin’s hair whenever he laughs.

Jungkook, thankfully, at least knows only to divulge the stories that Jimin can at least now laugh about, the perspective from the future making those situations more amusing than what they were at the time. Taehyung’s laugh twists Jimin’s stomach, a warmth spreading in his chest that counters the chilly air.

There’s enough stories to keep them entertained all the way to the train station, and Taehyung still hasn’t moved his arm. Which is fine, except for the way that Jimin might spontaneously combust or something. But, you know, fine.

Taehyung’s arm eventually moves when he goes to hug Jungkook goodbye, and Jimin just gives him a slap upside the head for telling Taehyung all the stories before hugging him.

“Message me when you’re home,” Jimin yells after him as he leaves.

“Jin-hyung made me promise already,” Jungkook yells back, and Jimin sighs before waving him off.

“Good kid,” Taehyung comments as they go to walk back.

“He’s a brat, but yeah, he really is,” Jimin agrees. The realisation that it’s just the two of them now settles over Jimin, who begins to nervously rub at his thighs in an attempt to conceal the way he’s sweating despite the cooler weather.

Jimin’s overthinking the silence, because while it’s actually not all that uncomfortable, Jimin still feels like he needs to occupy the quiet. One glance at Taehyung reassures him that the other seems just as unsure, his adam’s apple bobbing as he swallows nervously.

But Jimin realises it’s really not all that different - they’ve always had a space, a silence for a while, a comfortable distance. Not much interaction with the strings between them. It’s more familiar ground to both of them, really.

He glances at his left hand, seeing it wrapped in red. His string had gotten tangled without him even realising he was playing with it.

Taehyung glances down as well, his eyes catching the swinging string between them, connecting Jimin’s pinky to Taehyung’s neck, now dangling. Jimin doesn’t want to ask, but Taehyung doesn’t need the prompt.

“When I was really little, I once tied a piece of red string around my fingers. My fingers turned blue, and my teacher asked me why I did it,” Taehyung starts, and Jimin suddenly is reminded of his own attempt at doing the same thing.

Before Jimin can say it, Taehyung continues. “I told her that something got my string confused, and that it ended up on my neck. I just wanted to see what it was like around the fingers, I told her. I didn’t mind it, I don’t, because I believe it just makes our bond a lot more special, don’t you think?”

Taehyung is looking at Jimin, smiling, and Jimin feels himself nodding. “Y- Yeah, I think so.”

Taehyung’s smile widens and Jimin has to duck his head and look away, suddenly feeling overwhelmed again.

“I did that as well,” he mutters, before Taehyung can call him out on looking away.

“What?” Taehyung asks, confused.

“I tied a piece of string around my other hand one day in school. Wanted to see what the difference was with a real piece of string, and all I really found out was that it turns your fingers blue. But that day I also found out that if you tug, you can get a response.”

Taehyung hums, and that’s when it really sinks in for Jimin. His steps falter, nearly tripping himself up on the sidewalk. Taehyung steadies him, and all Jimin can think is that this is all too much, all too quickly, and he really needs to just go and sit down or something. Sleep for a few months, maybe. Life owes him that much, surely.

They stand there, Taehyung’s arms now on Jimin’s shoulders, staring at him curiously.

“Everytime I tugged…” Jimin trails off, words soft, his fingers playing with the string around his fingers that he’s slowly been unwinding. He glances up, looking at Taehyung, then down to Taehyung’s neck. Where the string sits, wrapped around his throat.

Taehyung is silent, and Jimin notices it’s the first time that Taehyung won’t look properly at him. His gaze has shifted off to the side, and he takes a moment before taking a deep breath, then looks back at Jimin.

“Yeah,” he answers Jimin’s unspoken question, and Jimin feels himself deflate slightly.

“Uh, there was that time, around when I was moving, where you kept playing with it. I guess you were also moving, so that explains it. But, ah, sorry for tugging it that hard when I did,” Taehyung rushes to say, his fingers now playing around with the string on his neck.

“You have nothing to apologise for,” Jimin tells him honestly, knowing he had been relentlessly playing with it that day. Now he knows he had been playing with a string tied around Taehyung’s neck.

“I do, because we didn’t really interact after that. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the looser sensation was nice, but I think I missed this a bit more,” Taehyung says, carefully watching Jimin. Trying to watch for a reaction. Jimin does his best to smile, assuring.

Taehyung’s fingers wrap around the string, the string that connects them, and Jimin watches as his hands gently tug. Feels the sensation tingle on his own pinky, hands automatically flexing in surprise, string completely unwinding. Taehyung’s gaze shifts down as well, staring at Jimin’s hand.

Taehyung slowly moves his hand down the string, following it to Jimin’s finger. Gently entangles his own hand with Jimin’s, fingers interlocking.

Jimin’s not sure he’s breathing. He’s not sure he cares.

“You can imagine my surprise when I realised we were so close,” Taehyung laughs, and Jimin feels his own smile forming.

“I sure can,” Jimin says, squeezing Taehyung’s hand. Reassuring himself that this is real. That Taehyung is real, and beautiful, and everything Jimin had ever allowed himself to imagine. That Taehyung is also incredibly special, and Jimin looks at the string around neck again. Incredibly strong, he thinks, but incredibly breakable as well.

“You have small hands,” Taehyung points out, laughing as Jimin stares at him,
surprised.

Taehyung just laughs again before squeezing Jimin’s hand once more, slowly releasing his fingers.

“I think they're cute, just for the record,” Taehyung says, glancing at Jimin before facing forward.

“Way to ruin the moment,” Jimin mutters, but he doesn't mind at all. Taehyung’s a little strange, and Jimin’s probably just a little bit too drawn to him.

They begin walking again, Jimin now unsure of what to do with his hands. He wants to slide his hand into Taehyung’s, but he’s not sure if it’s a welcomed gesture, so he keeps them awkwardly at his sides. He begins to question if his arm swing looks normal, like he’s not having a miniature crisis about holding hands with his soulmate. Soulmate.

Taehyung fills the silence, effectively drawing Jimin’s thoughts out of his crisis. “So, were you nervous tonight?”

“For the showcase, you mean?” Jimin asks, because he’s been nervous all goddamn night. Taehyung nods.

“Definitely, I didn’t feel prepared,” he answers, and Taehyung hums.

“Well, you looked pretty prepared,” Taehyung compliments, and Jimin refuses to believe his cheeks have gotten warmer.

Taehyung seems to be thinking deeply about something, hyping himself up to say something. He opens his mouth a few times, then closes it, and Jimin patiently waits.

Eventually, Taehyung gets there. “I just thought maybe you weren’t, is all. Because people play with their strings when nervous, and you seem to do the same. But I didn’t feel anything tonight, before the showcase.”

Jimin glances down at his hands, thinking. He knows what’s missing, though. The rings he usually wears, having taken them off before eating and then not bothering to put them back on.

“I use rings. I know just playing with it shouldn’t do much for your end, but I have a habit of pulling at it, which I know affects your end. So I just twist the rings off and on my fingers instead,” Jimin answers, and Taehyung’s steps falter for a moment.

“I assume you got them after I got annoyed,” Taehyung mutters, and Jimin’s now the one to falter.

He doesn’t reply, can’t think of what to say, but Taehyung just takes a deep breath before smiling wholeheartedly at him. Jimin’s heart, damn it to hell, has done the stupid thing where it feels like it’s stopped.

“Thank you for thinking about me, Jiminie,” Taehyung earnestly says, and Jimin’s throat is suddenly dry. Jiminie.

It’s cute, he thinks, coming from Taehyung. He’s always been fond of nicknames, but this feels a lot more heavier in meaning.


Jimin looks down at his hand, flexing his fingers. They look strange, without the rings, and he feels their weight sit in the pocket of his jacket.

Without them, he can already feel his nervous fingers ready to play with something. To pull, tug, at something. He glances at Taehyung, who’s now confidently walking beside him again, and focuses on the string.

There’s guilt churning inside of him, thinking about all the times he’s caught himself tugging absent-mindedly at the string. Tugging at Taehyung’s neck. Who had no choice in how his string ended up, who ended up with Jimin on the other end, who plays with the string too much. How unfair it is on Taehyung’s end.

He knows Taehyung doesn't blame him, knows he shouldn't blame himself, but the silence between them leaves space for Jimin’s negative thoughts.

He's feeling overwhelmed once again. Taehyung, his soulmate, who’s right goddamn next to him, is tied to Jimin like -

Like a dog on a leash.

The thought leaves a heavy stone in his stomach, twisting it uncomfortably. There’s a clear imbalance, here, and Jimin’s got the upper hand.

By the time they've reached the campus again, Jimin’s quietly slid all of his rings back on. Taehyung had done his best to fill the silence with stories of the others, Jimin only half-listening as his thoughts continued to overwhelm him.

“So, shall we walk back to Namjoon-hyung’s?” Taehyung asks, his tone casual.

But Jimin feels so tired and overwhelmed, the realisation of his upper-hand weighing him down, and he awkwardly shuffles his feet.

“I, ah, think I’ll go sleep now. Sorry, I’m usually pretty tired after dancing, and I haven’t been sleeping properly because of the nerves, I promise I want to go it’s just-” He’s rambling, but he can’t stop his damn mouth from going. Not until Taehyung places a hand on his shoulder, the weight stopping his thoughts.

“Jiminie, don't worry,” Taehyung reassures, then nervously asks, “Can I walk you back to yours, at least?”

Taehyung’s already calmed him down, quietened his thoughts, and Jimin feels himself smiling cheekily. “Of course, strange people around at night, after all.”

Taehyung’s humming as they walk, Jimin smiling to himself as he watches the other.

“What's Yoongi-hyung like as a roommate?” Taehyung asks, and Jimin is thankful for the topic. Distracting himself from the lingering doubt that's creepy further into his chest again.

“Like a cat,” Jimin describes. “He naps and loves affection from Hoseok-hyung. He works super hard though, and is a pretty good roommate. Except for when he leaves the rubbish from his ramen everywhere.”

Taehyung laughs. “At least he doesn't break everything.”

Jimin laughs as well, both of them snickering about their roommates until they reach Jimin’s dorm floor.

“This is me,” he says, gesturing down the hallway.

Taehyung seems surprised, but then nods. “Right, I didn't even notice we had walked in here to be honest.”

There's a pause, both of them unsure of how to part ways.

“Ah, can I have your phone number?” Taehyung asks, and Jimin is not blushing. Nope.

Jimin doesn't trust himself to not stammer out something stupid, so he just gets his phone out of his pocket and passes it to Taehyung to swap their details.

“I mean, we’ll see each other around, considering our friends, but,” Taehyung says, “I'll talk to you later?”

“I'd like that,” Jimin answers, and Taehyung smiles again at him before passing back Jimin’s phone.

“Then I'll talk to you later, Park Jimin,” Taehyung farewells, and Jimin is able to at least wave at him before walking into his room, dazed.

It's empty and dark, Yoongi having gone over to Namjoon’s. Ridiculously quiet as well, but Jimin’s thoughts seem loud enough to fill the entire space. He takes off his shoes, sighing heavily as he walks straight to his bed and flops right onto it.

He knows he needs to shower and wash his face, knows he needs to get rid of the sweat and the makeup from the showcase. But all he does is turn his head, looking at his left hand.

The rings glisten in the light coming from the window, and he knows he also needs to take them off before he sleeps. But then he glances at the string and his stomach twists.

He's still in disbelief that he's met his soulmate, that his soulmate is here on campus, that he's so close. That it's Taehyung.

Taehyung, with a smile that's contagious, with a laugh that does stupid things to Jimin’s chest.

Taehyung, with his soulmate string wrapped around his neck.

Jimin clenches his fingers, tightening them into a fist. He needs to take off his rings, shower and wipe off the makeup, needs to sort his thoughts out more, and he really needs to call his parents.

But the darkness feels heavy, and he's too tired to fight against it, and soon enough he's asleep.

 


 

 

Jimin wakes up late.

It's unusual for him, as he's a pretty good morning person. But the showcase has evidently taken it out on him, as well as everything else, and he wakes extremely disorientated.

It’s past midday, and he’s just thankful he has no classes. It takes a while for him to even move out of bed, his limbs heavy and the temptation to just go right back to sleep is almost too strong.

Eventually, though, he stumbles into the bathroom and washes up a little, wiping off the smudged makeup, but is intent on stopping the immediate growling of his stomach before he showers.

Yoongi and Hoseok are sitting on Yoongi’s bed, Jimin eventually notices, thankfully fully clothed. They’re watching him with amusement, waiting for him to finally realise their presence, and when he does so Hoseok immediately bounds over to Jimin, wide smile on his face. Yoongi is still sprawled comfortably on the bed, but he's got his full attention on Jimin.

“How was it?” Hoseok asks, not bothering to hide his curiosity or excitement. He ruffles Jimin’s hair, dragging him back over to the bed. It’s not big enough for the three of them, especially when Yoongi refuses to actually move up, but they make it work somehow.

He's squished between the two of them, and so much for having a quiet morning.

“Nice, it was nice,” Jimin stammers out, and Yoongi exasperatedly sighs.

“You go for a walk alone with Taehyung, neither of you come to the movie, and it was nice?” Hoseok questions, incredulous.

“Well, yeah, he’s a nice guy-”

“He meant to ask if you two did anything interesting,” Yoongi elaborates, and Jimin laughs despite himself.

“We, uh, held hands? For a little. It was more of a string thing though,” Jimin answers, all of them glancing down at his left hand despite only Jimin being able to see the string. He wonders if they know about Taehyung’s.

“Cute,” Hoseok coos, going to pinch Jimin’s cheeks. Jimin bats him away.

“Wait,” Jimin says, Hoseok’s words catching up to him. “Taehyung didn’t go back?” Considering that’s what Jimin expected him to do, considering the movie night was at his own dorm.

Hoseok and Yoongi hesitate. “No, we thought he was out with you for a while?”

“I mean, we walked back from the station, and then he walked me here,” Jimin answers, and he sees them both frown.

“I’ll text Namjoon,” Hoseok says as casually as he can, and that reminds Jimin that he really needs to check his own phone. He gets up to grab it from his bed, scrolling through his notifications.

There’s one from Taehyung, a little past midnight. Jimin had crashed just minutes before it. He relaxes in slight relief, sending his own text back and waiting anxiously for the response.

Taehyung^^ 12:17am
Hi Jiminie! I’ll be out for a little, don’t worry if anyone texts you~ I’ll be fine, sleep well! ^^

Jiminie~ 1:03pm
Sorry, I fell asleep :( Did you get back alright?

Jimin gets a text back at the same time as Hoseok does from Namjoon.

Taehyung^^ 1:05pm
All good, no scary people got to me~

Jiminie~ 1:06pm
Glad to hear it :)

“He got back way early in the morning, according to Namjoon,” Hoseok says aloud, and Jimin hums.

The early morning is enough of a worry - what was he doing outside for so many hours? But Taehyung hadn’t pushed Jimin when it was clear he needed a bit of space, and Jimin knows it’s his turn to respect Taehyung’s space.

When it’s finally settled that Taehyung’s fine, Hoseok and Yoongi turn back on Jimin. They pester him for more details, but there’s not much he can tell them really.

They eventually let him relax, Hoseok moving to make them a late lunch. They don’t really have anything except ramen, but it’s enough to satisfy Jimin’s stomach.

He pulls the rings on and off again experimentally as he waits for his ramen to soften, and Yoongi suddenly starts watching the action closely.

“I like them,” Jimin says, defensive, and Yoongi’s stare doesn’t break from the rings.

“Usually not this much,” Yoongi says eventually, giving Jimin a questioning stare. Usually Jimin doesn’t sleep with them, doesn’t eat with them.

Things change when you learn the string is basically a collar, he thinks, but keeps it quiet. He’s still not sure if Hoseok or Yoongi know, isn’t sure if Taehyung wants them to. It’s not Jimin’s place to reveal it if Taehyung hasn’t.

“Is it about the string?” Hoseok asks, apparently now joining in on the questioning. Jimin just laughs nervously, twisting the rings.

“Is something up?” Yoongi pushes, and Jimin huffs.

“It's just that I probably shouldn't right now, is all. It's fine, hyungs,” Jimin replies, but it's clear they both sense that something is off.

“Park Jimin,” Hoseok says sternly after a brief silence, “if you somehow got it into your head that it’s annoying for Taehyung or something, I’m going to burn your ramen,” Hoseok threatens, and Jimin gasps dramatically, reaching for his ramen.

For now, Jimin will have to assume neither of them know. Besides, who would encourage someone pulling at a collar?

Yoongi is faster, snatching his ramen, and Jimin pouts.

“Hyung,” Jimin whines, in the way he does when he wants something, and Yoongi just raises a very unimpressed eyebrow.

Jimin,” Yoongi says, stern, and Jimin just pouts more. He doesn’t know what to say.

“I just don’t want to distract him right now,” is all Jimin can think of, and Hoseok sighs before passing back the ramen before Jimin can make another swipe for them out of Yoongi’s hands.

“I think you’ll be distracting him the same amount, string pulling or not,” Yoongi points out, but Jimin just shrugs. Keeps the rings on as he eats.

The conversation changes, thankfully, and Hoseok and Yoongi get entangled in talking about aspects of the showcase they might work on for the next one.

It gives Jimin a chance to check his phone, and his thumbs hover over the keypad as he wonders what message to send to Taehyung.

Do the others know about the string?

He eventually is able to hit send, and watches as Taehyung’s speech bubbles appear, disappear, reappear.

Taehyung^^ 1:40PM
Namjoon does, so Jin probably does as well. I think Yoongi’s figured it out, but he hasn’t said anything.

Jiminie~ 1:42PM
Ah, I see, thank you. I haven’t told Yoongi or Hoseok, if you’re worried.

Taehyung^^ 1:42PM
Thanks :)

Jimin’s not sure if he should take that as Taehyung being worried about them finding out or not, but he won’t push at it. He goes back into his messages, sees his mum’s contact sitting a couple of names down. She had wished him luck for the showcase, and something inside of him twists guiltily.

He presses on her contact without much more thought, gesturing at Yoongi and Hoseok to quiet down. He knows he should do this privately, but having the other two beside him is comforting.

His mum is quick to pick up.

“Jimin! How did the showcase go?” She asks, and Jimin can’t help but smile at how excited she sounds. He really does need to call his parents more.

“It went great, but I’m uh, not calling to speak about that,” he says, and the silence that follows makes his throat feel tight. Yoongi and Hoseok are sitting forward, motioning for him to go on.

“What is it sweetheart?” His mum asks, gentle and caring and Jimin hates the fact that he didn’t call her earlier.

“Last night I kind of um, met my soulmate?” He spills out, and the silence returns.

Then she’s laughing, overjoyous, and is rushing out words too fast for Jimin to catch.

“Mom,” he tries, but she’s an unstoppable force at this point.

“I need to call your dad, you need to call your dad-”

“Mom!” He tries again, and his mum immediately stops and then laughs again.

“Sorry, sorry! Jimin, you must send a photo of them. What are they like? Name? What are they doing? When can we meet them?”

Jimin laughs now, because he’s not even sure when he’s meeting Taehyung next, much less his parents.

“His name is Taehyung, um, he’s cute? Kind of strange but it’s really endearing. I don’t really know about the other two,” Jimin replies, and his mother sighs playfully.

“My child, just what good are you if you’re not going to introduce us?” She teases, “I’m joking, don’t worry about us just yet. Have fun, get to know him, but please send photos or something.”

“Thanks mum, I’ll try and call you more,” he tells her, honestly, and she laughs again at him.

“When you’ve just met your soulmate, I don’t expect that to be truthful. Have fun, I love you, I’ll tell your dad,” she farewells, hanging up on him.

He’s perplexed, staring at the hang-up screen, and Yoongi and Hoseok both laugh at him. He’s getting laughed at a lot today, damnit.

“Sounds like she’s excited,” Hoseok says, and Jimin smiles before tucking his phone away.

“Yeah, I think she’s probably more excited about this whole thing than me,” Jimin replies, and both of the others hum in consideration.

“By the way, my parents want to meet you,” Hoseok says to Yoongi, who suddenly looks more panicked than Jimin has ever seen him.

“Oh,” is all Yoongi says to that. Hoseok just laughs, somewhat nervously, and resettles himself to be resting on top of Yoongi, head on his chest and his fingers drawing patterns onto Yoongi’s arms. It’s grossly domestic, and Jimin huffs playfully before moving off the bed.

The rest of the day is quiet and peaceful, even if Jimin’s thoughts linger constantly at the back of his mind, threatening to upset the calm.

It’s like that for the rest of the week as well. Jimin and Taehyung have each other on Snapchat, already have a streak, and Jimin is currently trying not to burst out laughing as he opens up Taehyung’s.

He’s pulling a dumb face and has, pretty badly, drawn a scribbly flower around his face. Jimin’s about to send back his own masterpiece, bored with his lecture, but the notification that Taehyung is typing comes up.

Jimin isn’t sure if he should swipe and sit and wait patiently for the message to send, lurking there creepily. He decides to just wait until Taehyung actually sends the message before opening the chat.

Joon’s got Jin over and he always cooks a feast. Want to come over?

Damn Jimin’s stupid heart for suddenly going into overdrive.

Tonight? is Jimin’s response, deciding to keep the chat open as Taehyung types.

Yeah, can be our movie-night catchup? Jin will appreciate someone else eating his food, seriously.  

And, well, Jimin’s a college student, so who is he to pass up free food?

Sure, let me know when and where :)

He has to put the phone down because his lecturer has finally moved on from talking about an irrelevant story from his own life and onto actually important content. By the time he checks his phone again, Taehyung has messaged him the address.

 


 

Yoongi and Hoseok sigh together as Jimin changes his shirt again.

“Jimin,” Hoseok tries, patiently, but Jimin’s already halfway through taking it off.

“He looked so good the other night, while I was all sweaty and gross,” Jimin complains, because thinking back on what his appearance was like has him hanging his head in shame.

“You’re also only going over to his dorm, and I honestly question if Taehyung will even be wearing pants,” Yoongi points out, but Jimin groans.

“Please don’t put that thought in my head.” Jimin’s voice is muffled by the next shirt he’s throwing over his head.

“Jiminie, he’ll adore whatever you wear. Yes, that shirt is fine, put it with this jacket, you’re good to go.” Hoseok is holding out a jacket and Jimin takes it, flustered.

“I don’t even really know Namjoon or Seokjin,” Jimin realises as he’s putting on his shoes. Hoseok and Yoongi sigh again, not prepared to deal with another dilemma.

“They’re fine, except for Jin’s jokes,” Yoongi says, and then is moving to push Jimin out the door.

“Remember, don’t be back before 9!” Yoongi says, all too smug. Hoseok is just laughing behind him, and Jimin’s all too sure Yoongi is smiling as well.

“Stay off my bed!” Jimin threatens before the door is shut behind him.

Jimin’s glad for the warmth in the jacket Hoseok had picked out, as the chill of the evening air settles around him, but thankfully the walk isn’t too far. Taehyung keeps sending him snapchats of Jin cooking, of Namjoon being shooed out the second he moves to touch anything, and Jimin laughs at all of them.

He’s nervous, of course, and he’s playing with his rings again. He’s not worried about talking to Taehyung, about having to spend an evening with him, but he’s worried about how he’s going to fit in with the three of them.

Turns out, he doesn’t have to worry.

Seokjin is a mother and a child all at once, and Jimin can’t help but laugh at his jokes. Taehyung cracks as soon as Jimin does, and Namjoon laughs about both of them laughing, as well as at how delighted Seokjin is with getting Jimin to laugh.

The topics they talk about are safe, nothing that has Jimin worryingly twisting his rings for. The other two, despite knowing of the string, don’t mention it, and Jimin’s grateful. He’s still trying to wrap his mind around his soulmate, around Taehyung.

Taehyung smiles widely at him, and during the night won’t stop joking around until he’s apparently satisfied with how far Jimin has thrown his body with laughter.

“Amazing,” Taehyung says, awed, as Jimin tries to straighten out his spine after another round of laughing.

He’s about to ask Taehyung what he means, but Seokjin finally places the food in front of them.

Now, Jimin knows he has low standards. He lives off ramen and an occasional splurge on some overpriced cafe food. But Seokjin’s cooking is a godsend, honestly, and he removes himself from the conversation because he’s just eating so much.

Namjoon declares he’s welcome now for every meal. Seokjin and Taehyung agree immediately.

Taehyung, Jimin learns over the night, is touchy. Which is fine, it’s more than fine, and Jimin’s never felt so happy in his life. Taehyung bumps knees with him, won’t hesitate to drape himself over Jimin, constantly has some sort of contact with him. Jimin feels comfortable enough to do the same.

Jimin also learns a lot more about Taehyung - that he adores Namjoon and Seokjin, that he takes notice of what food Jimin really likes and will give him some from his own plate, and what Jimin may be reluctant towards will end up on Taehyung’s plate. That he loves his family, has a family dog, wants to own his own dog.

But Jimin’s eyes will always catch on the string, wrapped around his neck, and - and it’s hard, suddenly, to think about the contact that Taehyung is giving him, to think about what being his soulmate means.

It feels like a daze, honestly, and Jimin doesn’t even realise that it’s hit 9:30PM until Namjoon yawns.

“Ah hyung, so old,” Taehyung teases, and Namjoon reaches over to hit him over the head.

“I should probably walk back before it gets too late,” Jimin says, realising the time. He hasn’t checked his phone, he’s probably got messages from Yoongi letting him know if it’s clear to come back.

“Go walk Jimin home with your young legs then,” Namjoon instructs, and Taehyung grins before standing up, holding his hand out to Jimin and pulling him to his feet. Not before Seokjin shoves a takeaway container with food in his hands first, though.

“Come on Jiminie, let’s leave the two old hyungs to their old-man vanilla sex,” Taehyung stage whispers, and expertly moves to dodge the shoe that Namjoon throws at him. Jimin feels his cheeks warming in embarrassment, because now there’s that image in his head.

“Oh my god,” he mutters, as soon as they’ve stepped out of the apartment.

“Don’t mind that, they’ll probably just clean dishes or something. I’m hoping, at least,” Taehyung says, and Jimin hides his face in his hands, hoping it’ll kill some of the redness.

“Thank you for inviting me,” Jimin eventually says, once they’ve started walking. “The dinner was really good.” Taehyung turns to look at him, smiling genuinely.

“Of course, I think you’ve been adopted by them now though. Jin appreciates anyone who appreciates his cooking. Also, I think Namjoon likes you a lot, so there’s that,” Taehyung tells him, and Jimin does his best to just nod casually and not hide his face again.

And Jimin’s careful, as he moves his takeaway to his left hand, to reach out with his right to try and bump against Taehyung. To slowly, cautiously, intertwine their fingers.

Taehyung is smiling, squeezes Jimin’s hand once before swinging their arms a little. Jimin laughs, and they keep swinging higher and higher until Jimin’s pretty sure he can’t swing anymore.

“Are Yoongi and Hoseok at yours?” Taehyung asks, and then stops suddenly, Jimin looking back to see a panicked expression on Taehyung’s face. “I meant that as a chill question, not like I don’t want them there because I want to be alone, well I mean alone would be cool but I didn’t mean it in like a ‘Netflix and chill’ way, oh my god-”

Jimin grins, turning around so he’s in front of Taehyung. Taehyung still looks scandalised with himself, and Jimin just squeezes his hand.

“It’s fine, I got it. But yes, they are, because Hoseok’s roommate never leaves, so Hoseok just comes over a lot to get some space. They’re disgustingly cute, I’m warning you,” Jimin tells him, and Taehyung sags in relief before smiling again.

“I knew Yoongi would be,” Taehyung declares, and Jimin steps back and faces forward again. They keep their hands intertwined.

“You’re really not ready for how cute it is, though, seriously,” Jimin warns.

They walk back to Jimin’s comfortably, still holding hands, but when they reach the door, they both pause uncertainly.

“Do you want to come in? I mean, Hoseok and Yoongi are there, but it’s fine,” Jimin asks, and Taehyung smiles before shaking his head.

“I have class early, so I should walk back now. Raincheck, though, especially considering you haven’t seen some of the greatest masterpieces,” Taehyung replies, and Jimin winces. He’d let it slip that he was behind, or hadn’t even really seen, some of the latest releases in anime. Taehyung was appalled.

When Taehyung steps away from him, Jimin realises it’s suddenly a lot colder. He realises Taehyung isn’t wearing a jacket. He quickly shrugs out of his, throwing it to Taehyung.

“It’s uh, slightly too big on me so hopefully will only be slightly too small on you,” Jimin stutters out, and Taehyung smiles again, sliding on the jacket. Jimin thinks it looks better on Taehyung anyway.

“Definitely rainchecking now,” Taehyung says, and Jimin nods before he remembers something.

“Ah, wait! Do you mind taking a selca with me? My mum really wants one,” Jimin admits, feeling his cheeks warm again. Taehyung enthusiastically nods, then presses himself up against Jimin as he fumbles for the camera.

Jimin counts down, Taehyung comfortably slinging his arm over Jimin’s and giving the peace sign. Jimin just shyly smiles.

“Wait, take another,” Taehyung says, and Jimin frowns a little because Taehyung had looked damn good in the photo he just took, and if he changes his pose to look even better Jimin’s pretty sure he’ll implode.

“Hang on, let me hold it.” Jimin passes it over, Taehyung immediately reaching up to take the photo.

When Jimin counts down again, when he gets to the one, Taehyung quickly presses his lips to Jimin’s cheeks. Takes the photo. Takes another as Jimin ducks his head, laughing because if he doesn’t laugh he’ll probably make some other noise that sounds like a dying toad from the surprise.

Taehyung takes another cheeky couple of photos, takes photos when Jimin tries to snatch back the camera, but eventually relents and hands it over. Smiles once more at Jimin before walking off.

When Jimin’s inside back inside his dorm, scrolling through the photos with Hoseok cooing over his shoulder, he decides to send the first photo he took to his mum. And then saves the one where Taehyung kissed his cheek as his homescreen.

Yoongi pretends to gag as he sees the photos where Jimin is trying to snatch back the camera, where it’s clear he’s really not focused on the camera at all. Where his gaze is looking right at Taehyung.

Jimin doesn’t blame him, it is disgustingly cute.

 


 

Jimin is in class again when Taehyung sends him a snapchat.

He’s in the library, the blurry shot of his surroundings still familiar to Jimin. The caption reads I have your jacket here, come and collect it?

And Jimin’s been to the library often enough, usually spends his days there whenever Hoseok comes over and he actually needs to focus, but suddenly the thought of going there makes his heart race.

It does that a lot whenever he thinks about Taehyung, though.

He sends one quickly back, saying he won’t be out of class for another hour. Taehyung sends back a smiley face, and Jimin realises this next hour is going to go all too slow and all too fast at the same time.

It’s interesting, he muses, now effectively distracted from his lecturer. They used to barely interact with the string, and Jimin had perhaps expected the same sort of level of interaction when they had met, but now they won’t stop talking to each other through their SNS accounts.

They’ve stopped pulling at the string entirely now, but sometimes Jimin can feel when Taehyung is playing with it, most likely absentmindedly. Jimin, on the other hand, keeps his rings on his fingers at all times.

He’s nervous as he watches the time change, moving closer and closer until the end of class. He hasn’t seen Taehyung since they walked back to Jimin’s, and while they’ve talked comfortably through their social media, Jimin doesn’t really know what to expect when he actually sees Taehyung again.

Finally the class finishes, and Jimin finds himself packing up faster than he ever has before. The girl next to him gives him a strange look, but he’s out of the class before she can comment on it. The library isn’t a far walk, just enough for Jimin to ask where he can find Taehyung in the library.

Taehyung’s in a secluded study area, the still and quiet air a stark contrast to his racing thoughts, to his pounding heart. Taehyung grins and waves when he spots Jimin, who shuffles over nervously.

“Here,” Taehyung whispers, getting Jimin’s jacket out of his bag and passing it over. Jimin’s standing next to Taehyung, about to sit down, and, well, he’s suddenly lost all his words and he’s not thinking clearly, obviously, because otherwise he wouldn’t have kissed Taehyung’s cheek right before he sat down.

“Oh,” Taehyung says, just as surprised as Jimin. His voice is a bit too loud, and Jimin winces a little as the silent atmosphere is broken.

“Um, call it my own return,”Jimin stammers out, sitting down on the chair quickly. Taehyung stares at him, blank for a moment, before grinning.

“How was the assignment?” Jimin asks, his voice low. Taehyung’s smile fades and he groans, collapsing forward. The same assignment that has kept Taehyung occupied for the past week, the one that didn’t allow for Jimin to come across Taehyung whenever he saw the others.

Jimin laughs as Taehyung grumbles into the desk, then remembers where he is and tries to mask his laughter with his hand.

“Do you have any plans today?” Taehyung eventually asks, once both of them have settled back into a more calm state.

“Nope, what’s up?”

“Good, because I’m now dragging you back to mine and forcing you to catch up on all the legendary episodes you’ve missed,” Taehyung declares, and Jimin can’t help but smile.

“What if I actually came here to be productive?” Jimin teases. Taehyung looks up from his packing, raising an amused eyebrow.

“Then feel free to stay here while I go and watch the episodes while eating a whole plate of Jin’s cookies myself.”

Jimin is already standing, ready to go. He can’t help it, he’s only human, only a poor college student, and he really can’t resist Jin’s cooking. Not to mention, he can’t really find it in him to say no to Taehyung either.

Taehyung smugly grins, finishing up his packing before gesturing for Jimin to lead the way. Jimin does, but stops the second he’s outside the library.

It’s not like he’s forgotten where Taehyung’s dorm is, exactly, it’s just that he has no idea how to get there from the library at the moment. Taehyung laughs when he notices Jimin’s hesitation, then moves to intertwine their hands and pulls him along.

“Namjoon and Jin went out for a bit, so we’re free to watch with the speakers on loud,” Taehyung says, and Jimin laughs.

He doesn’t get anything else out of his mouth, because he doesn’t trust it right now. He’s still in awe that he’s holding Taehyung’s hand, and if anything comes out of his mouth it’ll probably be embarrassing.

They reach the dorm without Jimin making any stupid noises, thankfully, and they talk casually about their upcoming assignments. Jimin’s got a breather for a bit, his next one not for another couple of weeks. Taehyung’s is sooner, but for tonight, they’re both free of any guilt from procrastination.

“Alright, so, you said you were only episode nine?” Taehyung asks, unfortunately letting go of Jimin’s hands so he can unlock his door.

“I think so?” Jimin replies, and Taehyung nods his head determinedly, taking his shoes off the second he’s inside and moving to his laptop.

Jimin stands awkwardly for a moment before carefully taking off his shoes, padding over to where Taehyung now sits on the bed, laptop resting on his legs. Jimin moves to sit next to Taehyung, trying to relax as best he can.

“Wait!” Taehyung suddenly says, right before he goes to play the episode, “We need snacks! Yoongi would kill me if I didn’t offer snacks.”

And Jimin laughs, very aware of Yoongi’s habit of attending meetings that he had nothing to do with just for the free food.

Taehyung moves to stand up, shooting Jimin a sheepish smile before going to get the snacks. Jimin’s left to stare around, not sure if he’s more or less nervous about being in the dorm this time around. He doesn’t have Namjoon or Seokjin to worry about, but being alone with Taehyung is possibly more nerve-wracking.

Jimin smiles as Taehyung comes back with a bowl of chips and other random candies it seems he's acquired from the vending machines around campus.

"Alright, time to start the best night of your life, Park Jimin," Taehyung declares, and well, Jimin can't help it. He snorts a little, but there's definitely a pounding in his chest and a red tint to his cheeks now.

"What? I'm serious," Taehyung pouts, poking Jimin in the side.

"I know, I know, but it sounded so..." Jimin waves a hair around in the air, "You know, um."

Taehyung takes a moment before he catches on, his facial expressions quickly flickering between realisation to mortification to something almost cheeky.

"I mean, I'm not easy on the first date you know," Taehyung teases, moving to play the episode.

"This is a date?" Jimin asks, because he kind of didn't really think about it, but now he realises exactly what it looks like. They're alone, watching a movie, sharing a bowl of popcorn. A movie date, broke college student style.

Taehyung hums. "I mean, it wasn't meant to be. I can probably go for something more charming, and we can count that as our date. This is just a bro-date."

Jimin laughs, vaguely paying attention to the opening of the show. "I'm happy for it to be date," he says, because he is. He's all for romantic gestures and cute things, but a little movie date inside Taehyung's room also sounds like a pretty good idea to him.

Taehyung just nods, and they're both grinning like idiots, and Jimin's not really sure if either of them are actually paying attention to the screen. His heart is kind of going a bit crazy, is all, as is his head.

And he thinks about it, through that first episode.

This (kind of probably) is a date, and Taehyung is his soulmate, but where does that actually put them? It uneases Jimin, suddenly, when he thinks about the fact that he's unsure of where their footing is together. Soulmates, sure, on a date, but are they actually dating? Are they immediately classified as boyfriends? Engaged, married? No one ever told him what soulmates were ever classified as when they met.

It's a bit much, Jimin thinks. It's distracting him from the show, and Taehyung picks up on it.

"What's up?" Taehyung asks, quickly pausing the screen. Jimin flushes the second he realises Taehyung has his full attention on him, licking off some of the salt that had remained on his fingers.

"It's just - ah, it's a bit serious," Jimin admits, running a hand through his hair. Taehyung's mouth quips up a little, apparently amused by the action.

But then he's serious, looking at Jimin earnestly. "I can do serious, you know. I'm all here for it. I mean, usually I save it for after a marathon, but I'm sure it's something I can work with."

Jimin’s eyes drift from Taehyung, drift to his own hands. The rings, the string.

Soulmates.

“Um, kind of a stupid question, but what are we?” Jimin asks, glancing up at Taehyung, who meets his eyes steadily.

“Soulmates, Jimin, in case you didn’t realise,” Taehyung says, totally serious, then breaks out into a smile. Jimin cracks, laughing, but slaps him lightly.

“Of course, it didn’t escape my notice. But are we like, immediately dating? Boyfriends? It’s kind of confusing, is all,” Jimin says, and Taehyung softens, hands reaching out for Jimin’s.

“We aren’t, I don’t think, but I’d at least say we’re exclusive or something? But if you don’t want to be boyfriends or dating just yet, that’s fine. I understand,” Taehyung reassures, and Jimin lets out a sigh of relief. He’s not relieved that Taehyung has apparently thought Jimin doesn’t want to date him yet, but he’s relieved that Taehyung is at least in the same boat.

“What do you want to be?” He asks Taehyung, who glances down at their intertwined hands before looking back at Jimin.

“I’m happy with soulmates for now. I think we have plenty of time to be whatever we want to be.”

“So, not dating?” Jimin asks, unsure. Which is fine, he tells himself, he gets that. And Taehyung is right - they don’t need to be anything beyond soulmates right now, really.

“Not until we go out somewhere fancy and we look so good together that we put everyone else to shame,” Taehyung promises, and Jimin laughs.

“You know, we could act like we’re meeting for the first time and get free dessert on the house,” Jimin plots, and Taehyung lights up.

“Park Jimin, you are a sly little genius,” is what Taehyung says, of course he does, because he’s a college student who doesn’t get to indulge in anything beyond maybe some good ramen. Jimin knows the lifestyle.

Jimin feels settled, calm, and eases back into watching the show. He finds himself watching Taehyung half the time, but that’s fine, he’s still got a basic idea of what’s happening.

A couple of episodes in, Taehyung gets up to get them some drinks. Jimin’s phone goes off, the ringtone startlingly loud, but Taehyung is immediately back in his vision, doing a strange little dance to it.

It’s hilarious to Jimin, and Taehyung is encouraged to walk over and pull him up, the both of them standing. Taehyung tries to encourage Jimin to dance to the ringtone, but Jimin is laughing a bit too much at Taehyung to really properly function any of his limbs.

They end up close, Taehyung having bent over to check that Jimin was alright, and now Jimin realises he’s got a very close view of Taehyung’s face. The ringtone has stopped now, and Jimin figures whoever it is can wait anyway.

“You good?” Taehyung asks, still grinning widely. Jimin in enamoured.

“Yeah,” Jimin breathes, kind of out of breath from laughing so much.

“Park Jimin, Jiminie, Jimin-ah,” Taehyung says, softly, and Jimin knows hesitation when he sees it. He forces himself to meet Taehyung’s eyes, to smile reassuringly.

"Would it be still, uh, good, if I kissed you right now?” Taehyung stammers out, and Jimin’s pretty sure his heart has never beaten this fast before.

“Yeah, that would be - that would be good, yep,” Jimin manages, and Taehyung grins - but there’s something softer, more reserved in his wide smile now.

Taehyung gently places a hand on his cheek, Jimin moving to straighten up. They take a second, looking at each other, and Taehyung seems frozen.

So Jimin gently, carefully, places his own hands on Taehyung’s cheeks and pulls him in.

The kiss is soft, gentle, and Jimin is practically buzzing with warmth. Taehyung’s hands move, one coming around Jimin’s neck. They’re still careful, still hesitant, but Jimin has never felt such an intense and overwhelming feeling of - it’s not love, not yet, but it’s something. Affection, desire, Jimin’s not sure.

And just as soon as Jimin starts to remember their hand size difference, thinking about how smoothly Taehyung’s hands are sliding from his neck to his hair, starts to think beyond soft and gentle, the door is rudely opened.

“Oh my god,” Jimin hears Namjoon saying, the door quickly shutting again.

They break apart, sharing a panicked look for a moment before dissolving into giggles. Taehyung still has one hand on the back of Jimin’s skull, fingers gently pressing as he leans forward and laughs. Jimin’s hands are awkwardly lingering around his jaw, thumb absent-mindedly running back and forth.

“Not like I haven’t walked in on more before,” Taehyung suddenly shouts, directed at the door, and Jimin hears Namjoon groan.

“Oh, God,” Jimin says, still laughing in disbelief. He kissed Taehyung, and it was amazing, and now Namjoon is a witness to it all.

“I’ll give you two minutes,” Namjoon says, and Taehyung grins cheekily at Jimin.

“Want to sound like we’re breaking furniture?” Taehyung stage whispers, and Jimin is kind of nervous because, well, of Taehyung’s implication, but Jimin is quickly learning that he is ridiculously weak for Taehyung.

And it’s fun, really, as they grin at and try to hold back their laughter as they rock the dresser back and forth in a certain rhythm. Namjoon is just groaning, knocking weakly on the door.

Eventually the door opens again, and Namjoon is looking right down at the ground. Jimin’s torn between cringing and laughing.

“You two are going to be troublesome,” Namjoon finally declares, having safely reached his laptop without meeting either of their eyes.

“What can I say, he is my soulmate,” Taehyung replies, swinging a casual arm around Jimin. His hand, naturally, comes up to play with Taehyung’s fingers.

“Stay off my bed,” Namjoon warns, as he goes to leave again, and Taehyung just shoots him a finger heart.

“I said the same thing to Yoongi and Hoseok,” Jimin realises, realising he’s now in the position of Hoseok.

Taehyung laughs, fingers playing with Jimin’s own. “I wouldn’t go in his bed anyway, there’s books like, everywhere. They feel like they’re inside the mattress at this point.”

Jimin frowns, “Surely that’s uncomfortable?”

“Surely, but osmosis or whatever I guess,” Taehyung shrugs. His hands have settled, clasping around Jimin’s own for a moment before moving to intertwine them.

“Park Jimin, do you want to be exclusive with me?” Taehyung asks suddenly, and Jimin feels his eyebrows furrow.

“Doesn’t that just mean dating?”

“I’m telling you, we’re not dating until I actually take you on a good date,” Taehyung pouts, making Jimin laugh.

“Alright then, exclusive soulmates it is,” Jimin agrees, Taehyung’s pout morphing into a smile.

“Come on, there’s more episodes awaiting,” Taehyung says, tugging him back to the laptop.

And Jimin’s probably not paying as much attention as he really should be, considering all he can think of is that he’s now kissed Taehyung and they’re holding hands and it’s stupidly cute and really kind of stupidly amazing.

 


 

They’re both broke college students, and it doesn’t allow for a date like Taehyung wants for a while.

Which is fine, they’re both prepared to wait - they have the rest of their lives, at this point. And Jimin’s happy, and Taehyung is happy, and there’s not much else that they can ask for.

Except for an actual conversation about the string.

It’s starting to twist at Jimin again, as he sits with Taehyung in the library. They’re half studying, half miming the music that comes through the earphones they’re sharing. It’s hard to ignore it, today, as Taehyung has taken off his jacket, showing off the shirt he’s wearing. The shirt with the lower collar, showing off the red string.

Jimin finds himself distracted, constantly glancing at it. Jimin’s thankful for the rings he’s wearing, because he can feel himself twisting them anxiously.

Taehyung ends up distracted as well, finally moving to catch Jimin’s eyes. He pauses the music, taking out his earphone and stretching his arms upwards.

“I mean, there probably is something on my face, but I feel like you would’ve said something earlier,” Taehyung whispers once Jimin has taken out his earphone.

Jimin can only lick his lips nervously. “Just thinking,” is all he’s able to explain, and Taehyung nods.

“About my face?” he asks, something cheeky in his tone, and Jimin twists his rings nervously again.

Have to mention it sometime, and it’s already long overdue, he thinks to himself, trying to gain confidence in his words.

“About the string, actually,” Jimin admits, and Taehyung’s face blanks for a second before he nods slowly.

“Ah,” he says, and Jimin just nods as well.

“Yeah, we really should talk about it,” Jimin mutters, fingers twisting again.

“There’s nothing to talk about, Jiminie. It’s the same as everyone else’s, just placed a little differently,” Taehyung defends, and Jimin frowns. He’s recently learned that Taehyung can get moody when he’s studying, and curses himself for bringing this up now.

“You’re right,” Jimin concedes, “Nevermind.”

Taehyung takes a moment before sighing. “I’m sorry, just… Let’s talk about it later, alright? My brain is frazzled right now.”

Jimin nods, smiling to reassure Taehyung he’s not annoyed. “Yeah, no problem. But speaking of, should I get some snacks for recharge?”

“Sounds good, just remember to get them from second floor, the machines are faulty and might give you a free extra.”

Jimin nods, standing up and ruffling Taehyung’s hair before walking away, the string still in his mind.

 


 

Later doesn’t come for a while.

Not for a couple of weeks, not until they finally manage to get around to another marathon at Jimin’s dorm. Yoongi and Hoseok have gone out for the night, leaving it just up to the two of them.

Jimin wants to bring it up, it’s been at the forefront of his mind for the entire time, but it’s so nice and relaxed right now. They’re lying on the bed, laptop at their feet, and Taehyung’s resting his head on Jimin’s chest.

He complains at first, because he can’t really see over Taehyung’s head, but Taehyung just mumbles sleepily at him, and Jimin is too soft to push it.

Taehyung ends up distracted soon enough, his head moving to look back at Jimin. He moves up, his face now right up close to Jimin’s.

“What are you doing?” Jimin asks, still soft in tone, trying to make sure his voice doesn’t tremble like his heart is.

“Something,” is Taehyung’s intelligent response, and Jimin huffs playfully, but is cut off by Taehyung leaning down and kissing him.

“That’s what I’m doing,” Taehyung whispers.

“Oh,” Jimin says, feeling his chest tighten. “Okay.”

“Can I do it again?” Taehyung asks, and when Jimin nods, Taehyung gives him a giant smile before doing so.

They kiss, soft and slow for a while. The show continues on in the background, but they’re both no longer paying it any mind. Jimin’s got his hands resting on Taehyung’s jaw, fingers absently running over his cheeks. Taehyung has one hand on the bed, next to Jimin, to brace himself, the other running his fingers through Jimin’s hair.

Eventually, Taehyung trails down, leaving kisses on the corner of Jimin’s mouth, his cheeks, jaw, down to his neck. Taehyung lowers himself, head resting near Jimin’s shoulder, one arm draped across his chest, and continues to lazily kiss his neck.

Jimin’s caught up in a haze, feeling his breathing get heavier as Taehyung continues.

“Jiminie, I want you to trust yourself with this, alright?” Taehyung mutters, his words almost disappearing into Jimin’s neck. Taehyung kisses the spot, softly, and Jimin feels a weight much heavier than Taehyung settle inside.

Taehyung’s hands glide down Jimin’s arm, slowly entangling with his fingers. Taehyung squeezes once, then slowly lets go of his grip. His fingers find their way around Jimin’s rings, tugging slowly at one of them on his ring finger.

Panic suddenly grips Jimin.

“What - Tae, what are you doing?”

“Trust yourself for a moment, please?” Taehyung pleads, words still soft against Jimin’s neck. He lifts his head, looking into Jimin’s eyes. “I really want you to.”

Jimin licks his lips, his mind whirring. No, I can’t.

Taehyung, at Jimin’s silence, looks down at Jimin’s hand and begins to slowly pull the ring again.

“Taetae, stop,” Jimin finds his words, but they’re shaky and quiet. He clenches his fist, hoping the action comes across stronger.

Taehyung looks at him again. “ I know you have these on because you don’t want to touch the string, but why won’t you trust yourself? I promise you, it’s alright. It’s like I said, just like everyone else’s.”

And Jimin can’t explain it, can’t get the words past his dry, constricted throat. Can’t get the weight off his chest.

“It’s not,” is all Jimin can say, and Taehyung huffs a little in frustration, brows furrowing. Jimin’s other hand moves its way up to Taehyung’s head, fingers slowly massaging as he tries to relieve some of his nerves.

“Then trust me?” Taehyung begs, his fingers absently rubbing against Jimin’s knuckles, bumping on the rings.

"I do,” Jimin answers honestly, because he does. He trusts Taehyung with a lot of things already. Just - just not this. Not yet. He still can’t trust himself enough, and he doesn’t want his trust to ever hurt Taehyung.

“But… Just… We need to talk about this before we do anything,” Jimin continues, because he doesn’t feel ready yet. Not ready to trust himself with just the string on his fingers.

“Okay,” is all Taehyung says, resting his head back down on Jimin’s chest, and that’s all that’s said for a while.


 

Eventually, they talk about it.

Kind of.

It’s like this: they’re sitting on one of the benches outside a cafe, Jimin bringing out their drinks. They sip at it slowly, both caught up in their thoughts to really speak much.

“Alright, so, talk time,” Jimin eventually says, and he sees Taehyung nod.

“We should start with the obvious. Your string is around your neck,” Jimin continues, and Taehyung nods again. His hands clench the coffee cup a little tighter.

“And while it’s the same kind of deal with everyone else, we do have to accept ours is different and work with that.” Jimin’s hands feel cold despite the warmth of the cup. He’s nervous, trying to remember how he planned this conversation out.

“You avoid it entirely,” Taehyung mutters, Jimin barely catching it as a loud group walks by. He sighs.

“Right, because we haven’t talked about it. Which we’re doing now to clear this up, hey?” He answers, trying to be reassuring.

Jimin’s never been good at this. He doesn’t talk about his worries with others, and he’s still not sure how to properly convey his words to Taehyung.

I’m worried I’ll hurt you. I don’t trust myself not to.

But Taehyung has been pushing, trying to get Jimin to remove his rings. And Jimin knows he can’t shake his habit of playing with them, knows he won’t be able to stop himself from tugging at the string absentmindedly without them.

“I… What does it feel like? When it tugs?” Jimin asks, turning his full attention to Taehyung, who looks up from staring at his coffee cup.

Taehyung blanks, thinking.

“It’s fine, honestly,” he replies, and Jimin remains silent.

“It’s not like, choking me or anything,” Taehyung continues.

“Not right now?” Jimin asks.

“Not just right now. At all times.”

“Even when I tug it?”

There’s a brief second, just a moment, where Taehyung hesitates. “It’s fine,” he says, and Jimin just does his best not to sigh.

“It’s not. I can’t… Pull at it, or play at it, when it’s like that,” Jimin explains, and Taehyung frowns at him.

“Jiminie, it’s fine. Really. I want you to trust yourself, I want you to trust me. It’s alright, I promise.”

Jimin just shakes his head. “Taehyung, it’s not a gentle tug when we’re this close. I wouldn’t want to pull at it even if it was at your fingers.”

“Yes, you would. You just don’t want to because it’s here,” he says, gesturing harshly to his neck. “I don’t want this treated any differently. I don’t want us to pretend our string doesn’t exist. I don’t want to be treated like I’m fragile, like you feel like I’m a dog on a leash.”

Jimin falters, and Taehyung’s eyes suddenly narrow.

“You already feel like it’s that,” he accuses.

Jimin’s tired, and it’s worn down his defence. “Of course I do, Jesus Christ Tae, what else can I think? You’re clearly at a disadvantage here.”

“Isn’t that the thing about soulmates though, we’re equals? Don’t treat me like I’m at a disadvantage when I’m not. Don’t call it a disadvantage, Park Jimin, when I’m your soulmate. That’s not fair, not to me.”

Jimin runs a hand through his hair, trying to give himself some time before he speaks.

“You’re right, I’m sorry. I - just, take a second from my perspective. I’m the one here who holds the other end, and any move from me could hurt you.”

“You’re hurting me right now by treating me like this, like I’m fragile and that our string just doesn’t exist. And it hurts because you won’t trust yourself when I obviously have all my trust in you.”

Taehyung moves, placing his hands around Jimin’s. “It doesn’t matter if it’s around my fingers or my neck, because my string belongs to you, and you need to trust yourself with this, because I trust you completely.”

Jimin feels himself choke a little before he can speak, and he ducks his head.

“I’ll do my best,” Jimin gives in. “But slowly.”

“That’s all I can ask,” Taehyung assures, squeezing his hands before intertwining them. “Trust yourself a little, Park Jimin.”

 


 

Jimin does his best, really.

But it’s hard, when all he can think about is the fact that if he intentionally, or unintentionally, pulls on that string, it’s going to pull at Taehyung’s neck.

He could be in the middle of speaking. Of eating. He could choke or something.

It’s stressing him out, on top of the upcoming exams.

Usually, he’s at the library, or outside, but he can feel the beginning of a cold creep in and he’s not sure if he wants to risk the outside. Besides, he’s comfortable with a blanket draped over his legs, one over his shoulders, as he studies at his bed.

Yoongi is hovering around as well, which helps to keep Jimin on track with studying. If he stares off for too long, Yoongi will hover around, like he wants to point it out. He never does, though, because Jimin always gets back on track.

He does, however, approach Jimin with a glass of water a few times, when Jimin is in his head again. Thinking about Taehyung, not about the stupid amount of words that haven’t sunken in at all in front of him.

When Yoongi brings Jimin something, he’s usually pretty quick to leave, to act like he didn’t even do it. This time, though, he lingers.

“Hyung?” Jimin asks, efficiently distracted from everything now, with Yoongi hovering at the edges.

Yoongi hums, acting like he’s not the one wanting to talk.

“Everything alright?” Jimin asks, because while Yoongi will sometimes stay up with Jimin and talk to him, anything could’ve happened during the day. He immediately worries about Yoongi, then Hoseok, fingers fidgeting with his papers as he waits for Yoongi to respond.

Yoongi makes himself comfortable on Jimin’s bed first, sitting down and resting his head on his fist.

“Taehyung’s is around his neck, isn’t it?” Yoongi asks, suddenly, and Jimin can feel himself recoil a little. He remembers Taehyung saying he suspected Yoongi knew, but he's never brought it up to either of them. The recoil is the only confirmation Yoongi needs.

“I haven’t asked him about it, and he hasn’t mentioned it, but I noticed. Even Hoseok noticed,” Yoongi says, and Jimin can feel his eyebrows furrow as he runs a hand through his hair, suddenly a lot more tense.

“How?” is all Jimin can think to ask.

“When he spaces out, he plays with it sometimes. But then you and those rings were a dead giveaway,” Yoongi explains, and Jimin looks at his hand.

“How could they give it away? I like rings, hyung,” Jimin defends, and Yoongi sighs.

“You didn’t really when we first met, but as soon as you met Taehyung you did. At first I just thought you were wearing them to impress him, but then you kept wearing them, even when you were sleeping.”

“Ah, come on hyung, I just like the rings,” Jimin laughs it off, but Yoongi’s not easily deterred.

“You also play with them a lot when you’re stressed. And whenever Hoseok is around, by the way, and considering you two get along fine, I’m pretty sure it’s because of the whole soulmate thing,” Yoongi continues, and Jimin huffs.

“Okay, you’re right,” Jimin admits, throwing his hands up in surrender.

Yoongi catches the unspoken words. What’s your point here?

“Does Taehyung want you to wear the rings?” Yoongi asks, and Jimin knows he can tell Yoongi right now to stop prying, that it’s none of his business, that it’s between him and Taehyung.

But Jimin is feeling like he’s just trapping himself in even more of a corner if he does that, and realises Yoongi - and Hoseok - assume that Taehyung wants Jimin wearing rings. Probably assume he doesn’t trust Jimin.

“It’s not that,” Jimin says, trying to clear it up. Doesn’t want them thinking badly of Taehyung.

“Then what is it?” Yoongi prys, sounding disbelieving, and Jimin should stop this, stop Yoongi, but it’s the first time someone’s actually asking him about it aside from Taehyung.

“It’s the opposite, actually. He doesn’t want me to wear them,” Jimin explains, and the only hint that Yoongi shows that he’s surprised is the way his eyebrows raise slightly, eyes widening for a second. He relaxes his features quickly though, hiding it.

“Then why do you?” the other asks, and Jimin feels his chest tighten.

He knows why. He doesn’t want to say it, though, because he knows what it will be met with. That’s stupid, trust yourself, it’s fine.

Min Yoongi, however, likes to take him by surprise.

When Jimin says “I don’t trust myself”, it doesn’t take any more questioning for Yoongi to understand. He gets it immediately.

Yoongi nods, leaning back. “That’s fair,” he says.

It’s silent for a bit, neither of them sure how to proceed.

“You know, I never used to pull at the string. When I was growing up, that is. Hoseok did, all the time, and I didn’t mind it. But I didn’t want to feel like a burden, like I was bothering the person on the other end just because I was looking for a bit of attention,” Yoongi recalls, and Jimin remains quiet. Neither Yoongi or Hoseok really speak about their bond, but both of them enjoy pulling on the string for each other. So it’s surprising, for Jimin, to hear this.

“Hoseok hit me, when we first met. Said he wasn’t even sure I existed for a while there, because I just never interacted. I worried him when I didn’t. Turns out I comforted him when I did, despite what I thought,” Yoongi continues. Jimin can feel himself playing with the rings again.

“So, I know you and Taehyung have it a bit differently, but I think you need to realise Taehyung is the one on the other side, and he knows exactly what that entails. And if he trusts you, if he wants you to use the string, then I think you need to put a little more faith in him.”

Jimin hums, thinking.

“I just don’t want him to try and act like he’s comfortable with something he’s not, just to try and stop me from worrying,” Jimin mutters. “And if I pull at it, it’s not like a cute little over here, follow me, like leading when you’re holding someone’s hand. I’m basically holding a leash around his neck saying you have to follow me.”

“Isn’t that what soulmates do though? Follow each other?”

Equally, yes, they should. Not have one with all the power over the other.”

“You’re not giving Taehyung enough credit,” Yoongi warns, and Jimin sighs. “You’re not equals because you’re the one thinking he’s weaker because of this.”

Jimin opens his mouth, but Yoongi holds up his hand.

“You’re also not giving yourself enough credit in regards to trusting yourself,” Yoongi barrels on, “ he thinks you can handle it. He doesn’t think he’s any weaker because of it. In fact, with the way you’re acting, he’s the one with all the strength. Sure, if this was any other person in the world, this would probably suck. But, Jimin, you’re too good to do anything that Taehyung can’t deal with, anything out of his control. Give him some credit, give yourself some credit, and sort this out.”

Jimin twists the rings around, unsure of what to say.

“He really hates them, by the way,” Yoongi says, laughing a little, gesturing to the rings. “He’s only ever looked at them the same way he looked at Namjoon when he broke his laptop charger and stopped him from playing on a double XP weekend for his game.”

“Oh,” Jimin says.

“Now stop moping about it, go figure it out, and make me some ramen,” Yoongi demands, and Jimin laughs.

He does it anyway.

 


 

Jimin's researched, of course, about the string. Or, as much as he could find, anyway. Which admittedly, really isn't a lot.

It takes a lot of searches before something actually comes up. A hidden little forum, in a small corner of the internet. It's in another language, and he has to use Google Translator to get through most of it, but it's enough to assure him that at least they're not alone.

The original post mentions that their soulmate string is around their wrist, which, while not as drastic as compared to Taehyung, is still not traditionally around their finger like it should be.

There's a few responses that recommend the person getting checked out, seeing a specialist, and then there's one person questioning if the soulmate connection even counts. Jimin does his best to ignore that one.

There's two responses where people mention they have a similar issue, not going into specifics, but it reassures Jimin. Their connection is just as real, just as genuine, as anyone else's. Just different, unique, special. Something that brings them closer.

He wonders if Taehyung knows that they're not alone in this, that's there's others - and probably more, in other languages, in other parts of the world. People too afraid to post it, people who don't care.

After Yoongi's talk, though, he researches again. Tries to go back, this time, to try and find the origins of strings. Why they exist, why they're there. He doesn't pull up much, just that the strings have always been there, are as questionable and explainable as humans themselves.

There's people though without strings, some with multiple, and it reassures him. That he is probably overthinking this whole thing, that he needs to trust Taehyung, trust himself. That he shouldn't be scared by his own soulmate string.

He plays with his rings again, experimentally pulling them off and on. Takes them completely off, flexes his fingers, and finds that he kind of enjoys having just the string there.

He doesn't pull at it, doesn't dare play with it, just stares at it while his rings lay spread out beside his hand. Wonders, hopes, he'll be able to do this in front of Taehyung.

 


 

They go to the park, one afternoon.

It's a bit of a trek, a couple bus rides away, but it's worth it. Taehyung introduces it as one of his favourite spots, where there's children and dogs running around freely. Families, joggers, people feeding the birds, all surround them.

Taehyung takes his hand and pulls him over to a spot under the tree, sitting under it.

Jimin finds watching the people interesting, watching them play and walk around, enjoying the atmosphere. But he soon finds himself watching Taehyung, who's more interesting to him than anything else in the world.

Taehyung turns his head, having also been watching the people, to meet Jimin's gaze.

"What are you looking at, Park Jimin?" Taehyung asks, teasing.

They haven't let go of their hands, Jimin realises suddenly. But it's natural, it's nice, and Jimin's content to hold Taehyung's hand for the rest of his life.

"Mhm, not you," Jimin replies, sticking his tongue out. Taehyung mocks the look of being offended.

"Am I not good looking enough?" Taehyung asks dramatically, and Jimin struggles to keep a straight face.

"Absolutely not, you see that old guy with the brimmed hat? Now that's handsome," Jimin teases, eyes looking at a point beyond Taehyung. Looking at a man that isn't there (but Taehyung doesn't need to know that.)

Taehyung whips his head around, trying to find the man that Jimin described. Jimin eventually bursts, laughing, throwing himself into Taehyung, accidentally bumping their heads.

"I’m kidding, you’re the best thing to look at,” Jimin mutters, mostly to himself, as Taehyung starts to laugh, rubbing his head.

“What was that?” Taehyung asks, hand stopping in its actions.

“Nothing, shut up,” Jimin replies, cheeks burning.

Taehyung just grins knowingly, and Jimin just hopes his cheeks aren’t too red.

They get up and walk around after a while, and Jimin’s warm and happy. They’re swinging their arms, hands linked together, as they walk back to the bus, sharing a stick of fairy floss.

“My hands are sticky,” Jimin complains, as Taehyung goes to take his hands after they finish the stick, and Taehyung shrugs.

“We can just stick our hands together, glued together for life,” Taehyung declares, “You’re never getting rid of me now. I’m sorry, it’s the rules of the melted sticky sugar.”

“Hm, I guess I have to abide by them,” Jimin laughs, taking Taehyung’s hands.

And they’re on the bus, Taehyung on the window side, hands connected between them.

And Jimin’s staring at the string, staring at his rings, that Taehyung has his own fingers interlinked with.

He’s not sure what he’s doing, really, but it feels alright, now. He’s warm and Taehyung is warm and beautiful and - he figures if he’s going to do it, it should be now.

Taehyung is looking out the window, not really moving as Jimin moves his other hand. His fingers, thankfully, have ended up on top, and he’s able to pull gently at the rings.

Taehyung doesn’t move, and Jimin’s thankful. Feels like he’s holding his breath as he tugs off his rings, slowly, one by one, holding all of them now in the palm of his right hand.

Slowly, Taehyung’s gaze moves from the window, looking down at their hands. He takes a moment, staring, and Jimin watches as a small, gentle smile spreads.

Taehyung doesn’t say anything, just squeezes his hand, kisses his cheek, and then moves his gaze back to the window. His smile is still in place, and Jimin realises that while he’s nervous, and scared, he’s happy. Taehyung is happy, and he is too.

 


 

Things, unfortunately, don’t remain that way.

Jimin still has his days where he keeps his rings on, but Taehyung is patient and willing to wait for the days where Jimin will slowly pull them off. Will take Jimin’s hand in his and won’t let go.

But there’s a week, where Jimin is worn thin and tired, and Taehyung is sick and tired, and it goes well for neither of them.

The week starts out pretty badly, honestly, because Jimin sleeps past his alarm and gets to his lecture half way through it. Taehyung snaps him, a blurry photo of a mask, with the caption ‘sick :(‘.

Jimin sends him back a ‘get well soon <3’, but he leaves it at that. He doesn’t have time to visit Taehyung really, between assignments and his dance practices that have begun to pick up again.

He would, any other day, drop everything - but it’s stacked up on him, and he’s mad at himself for sleeping in, for not finishing some of his projects and his deadlines are creeping closer and closer and he feels ridiculously unprepared for them.

By the time he gets home again, he has just enough energy to have a quick shower, and then falls right into bed without even checking his phone.

In the morning, he’s greeted by ten snapchats from Taehyung. He opens them - which is always a bad idea, first thing in the morning, because Jimin always forgets immediately what anyone sent. However, it’s kind of hard to miss the message that Taehyung isn’t happy there’s a timer on their streak.

Jimin, for just a moment, feels something bitter twist in his stomach. He’s alarmed immediately, doing his best to calm it - yes, he’s tired, yes, he’d like to not be harassed about streaks when he’s got a lot of other things on - but it’s not fair to Taehyung at all, he realises.

He sends back a quick snap, watching the timer disappear, and then gets up and ready to face the day. Which is really no different from the previous, and by the time he gets into bed again, Yoongi is for once asleep before him.

He checks his phone, Taehyung having sent through a trickle. He moves from Snapchat to his messenger, smiling softly when he realises Taehyung had sent through a silly, short little video with a cute filter on.

“Hobi-hyung says you have a lot going on, so I hope everything goes well! Rest up~” Reads the caption, and Jimin suddenly feels a lot better about everything. He sends back the deepest gratitude he can muster, then falls asleep.

By the time it gets to the end of the week, Jimin feels ready to hibernate for a few weeks. His body his tired, his mind is tired, and everything aches with weariness.

He also thinks he’s getting sick, which is the cherry on top for his week. Assignment after assignment, due dates, and a dance workshop that while he’s grateful for it, he’s not grateful for the way his whole body is aching.

Which is, of course, when Taehyung comes over.

Jimin blearily remembers that last night they had quickly talked, as much as they could before Jimin fell asleep while still holding his phone. Remembers Taehyung saying he’s feeling better, and that they should celebrate all of Jimin’s accomplishments with ice cream and movies.

And of course, Jimin doesn’t actually remember this until Taehyung is literally at his door.

Yoongi’s at least out for the night with Hoseok, leaving Jimin to stumble to the door, trying to pull on some pants.

“Hello,” he says to the person at the door, expecting it to be someone asking to borrow something, then it takes a second before he realises who it is. And remembers.

“Oh God,” he says, suddenly hit by it. Taehyung raises an eyebrow, and Jimin quickly moves to open the door properly.

“Sorry, sorry, I just-”

“Forgot, I realised,” Taehyung finishes, but at least doesn’t sound annoyed. “I get it, don’t worry, it’s fine.”

Jimin groans, embarrassed. “I swear I remember now, it’s just been a long day, I’m sorry.”

Taehyung hits him lightly. “I said it’s fine, you can relax. You haven’t at all this week.”

Jimin sighs, flopping himself down on the bed. Taehyung sits, a bit more collected, reaching into the bag he brought and pulling out a packet of chips.

“By the way, your pants are on backwards,” Taehyung points out, and Jimin groans downwardly into the sheets.

Taehyung gently taps him on the ass, motivating Jimin to turn over.

“I can look away if you need to change,” Taehyung offers, and Jimin just sighs again, too tired.

“It’s fine, nothing you haven’t seen before,” Jimin says, moving to slide them off. They haven’t gone all the way yet, have gotten pretty far though, but right now Jimin’s too tired to think of any of that.

Taehyung still stares appreciatively though, and Jimin finds himself still pretty bashful under his gaze. But he focuses on setting up his laptop soon enough, Jimin resting back against the wall.

“Do you mind what I put on?” Taehyung asks, and Jimin shakes his head.

“No, I’ll warn you I’ll probably fall asleep within minutes,” Jimin replies, and Taehyung pouts slightly before nodding, smiling warmly at Jimin.

There’s something unsettled in Jimin’s stomach, though, preventing him from actually dozing off. Taehyung seems nervous, moving his gaze around the room, fidgeting with whatever he can reach.

Eventually Taehyung slides down from the wall, lying down properly on the bed. He tugs on Jimin’s shirt, urging him down as well, who goes down easily.

“Now I’ll definitely fall asleep,” Jimin mumbles, feeling his eyelids get heavy the second his head hits the pillow. Taehyung laughs, Jimin smiling at the low tone as he closes his eyes.

Taehyung readjusts to lay a bit further down, his head on Jimin’s chest, neither of them really paying attention to the laptop which is now balanced precariously close to the edge of the bed.

Jimin’s just about to fall asleep, can feel himself drifting in and out, when he feels Taehyung’s fingers trail down his arm.

Jimin opens his eyes, tiredly watching as Taehyung moves to run his fingers over the string, trailing it down towards Jimin’s fingers.

Trepidation suddenly settles within Jimin, rising as Taehyung slowly moves his fingers to ghost over the rings.

He knows it’s fine, it will be fine, Taehyung is in control. Taehyung wouldn’t do this if he didn’t trust Jimin, wouldn’t do this if he thought Jimin could hurt him.

But Jimin is tired, and it’s easier for his anxieties to flood over his logic, to make something in his mind say no -

He snatches his hand back without properly thinking about it, just out of Taehyung’s reach.

Jimin is watching his own hand, but his gaze quickly moves to Taehyung’s, whose hand has frozen, then watches as his fingers clench up.

Feels, before he sees, Taehyung shift. Feels Taehyung’s chest rise suddenly, then feels his body jolt.

Jimin realises, with quickly ascending horror, that he’s tugged right at the string, that he’s pulled too quickly and rashly and it’s pulled right at Taehyung.

Taehyung is pulled forward, jolted, and there’s a second, a pause where Jimin realises what’s happened, what he’s done.

Taehyung coughs, once, twice - and Jimin sees that the hand that had automatically flung to his neck during the jolt is slowly moving to cover his mouth as he coughs.

“Tae-” Jimin chokes out, his heart pounding but his chest feeling like ice has encompassed it, feeling like he can’t breathe.

Taehyung takes an unsteady breath, clears his throat, then looks up at Jimin. Looks like he’s about to say something, but stops, studying Jimin carefully - who can’t do anything, couldn’t move if he tried.

Taehyung smiles - shakily, Jimin notices - but still smiles, and Jimin doesn’t know what to do.

Taehyung slowly moves up, still resting on top of Jimin. His face is so close, and Jimin can’t do anything but just stare, helpless, feeling like the absolute worst, feeling like he could throw up -

Thumbs brush at his cheeks, and Jimin belatedly realises that a couple of tears have run down his face. Taehyung leans in, kisses his cheeks gently once he’s wiped the tears, and then kisses Jimin softly, warmly, all the things Jimin doesn’t deserve.

He’s hurt him, he’s hurt Taehyung, who is so soft and kind and wonderful and beautiful on top of him, so forgiving, and Jimin still can’t breathe properly. He hurt him.

“Jiminie,” Taehyung whispers, mouth gently touching Jimin’s own as he says it.

“Sh, it’s okay, it’s okay, I shouldn’t have pushed at you, I’m sorry,” Taehyung continues, and Jimin feels himself slowly returning, slowly getting back with it properly.

“What are you sorry for, you idiot?” Jimin asks, his voice raspy, like he’s the one that’s just had his soulmate string around his neck tugged.

“You weren’t ready, I’m sorry, and I only coughed because I’ve been sick. It’s fine, I’m fine,” Taehyung reassures, and Jimin feels his hands move finally, coming up to grip Taehyung - one resting on his arm, the other on his hip.

“I’m so, so sorry Taehyung,” Jimin is only able to whisper now, feeling like if he speaks too loud he’ll just cause more damage. “I’m sorry.”

Taehyung kisses him softly again, then falls back down and rests his head on Jimin’s chest.

“It’s fine, Jiminie, you can make it up to me by being my pillow,” he says, something teasing in his tone, and Jimin can only think he doesn’t deserve this at all, doesn’t deserve Taehyung.

“Okay,” is the only thing Jimin can force himself to say, and that’s the last words between them before they both fall asleep, both too tired to try and stay awake. Jimin, right before he falls asleep, feels Taehyung slide their fingers together.

 


 

Jimin wakes up when Taehyung does, because Taehyung has a stupidly loud alarm blaring.

“Oh my god,” he groans, moving to try and escape the noise, but there’s one Kim Taehyung laid over him, just barely moving to turn off the alarm.

And it hits Jimin, all of a sudden, as he catches the glimpse of the red string around Taehyung’s neck. Hits him what he’s done, that he’s gone and stupidly hurt Taehyung because he panicked.

Taehyung finally manages to turn off the alarm, groaning as he shifts, trying to move closer to Jimin instead.

And Jimin knows Taehyung has class, has to get up and go, but he can’t get his voice to work now. Taehyung, though, seems to sense the change in his attitude, and shifts to look up at Jimin.

“You better not be blaming yourself right now,” Taehyung warns, and Jimin can only nervously swallow.

“Stop,” Taehyung demands. “It won’t help, alright? I don’t blame you, so don’t blame yourself.” Taehyung moves to get off Jimin, collecting his phone and laptop and all his snacks.

He hesitates, though, even with everything in his hands.

Jimin’s about to ask, but before he does, Taehyung leans down and kisses him.

“Promise me you won’t blame yourself, or beat yourself up for this,” Taehyung says, and Jimin can only weakly smile.

“I’ll try,” is all that he can manage, because it’s really all that he can - he knows he can’t promise it, knows he’ll break it the second he does.

Taehyung grumbles unhappily, but it’s all he can do before he’s rushing out the door, already behind if he wants to get back to his own room and make it to class on time.

Jimin is free for most of the day, his only break day that’s been long awaited. Unfortunately, lying in bed provides him the perfect opportunity to wallow, to let the guilt fester up and let the worries plague him.

Yoongi walks in about midday, as Jimin has been off-and-on dozing.

“Have you eaten?” is the first thing Yoongi asks, and Jimin hums before shaking his head.

“Do you want to go out for lunch?” Yoongi suggests, and Jimin takes a moment. He doesn’t want to, he just wants to lay in bed and not face the world, to try and deal with the fact that he messed up, but he knows that won’t help him.

“Okay, let me get ready,” Jimin says, forcing himself off the bed.

By the time they’re walking to one of the local cafes, Jimin’s feeling still pretty terrible. Better, now that he feels kind of human again, but not much can get his mind off his actions from the night.

“What’s up with you?” Yoongi finally asks, once they’re sitting down, and Jimin’s zoned out while reading the menu again.

“Nothing! I’m fine, hyung, thank you,” Jimin answers immediately, and Yoongi just leans back in his chair, folding his arms.

Jimin’s more intimidated than Min Yoongi has any right to be, honestly.

“Did Taehyung come over?” Yoongi asks, and Jimin feels himself shutting down. Nope.

“No, no, nothing happened,” Jimin presses, and Yoongi sighs.

“Right, because his favourite snacks are just conveniently trailed on your bed. Of course,” Yoongi argues. Jimin just shakes his head.

“It’s fine, nothing happened,” Jimin continues, but he knows he can’t beat Yoongi on the waiting game.

“Did you two argue?”

"No! No, not - no, we didn’t,” Jimin replies hurriedly, and Yoongi huffs.

Then his eyes trail down to the tight grip Jimin has on his menu, and his eyes light up with something.

“Okay,” is all Yoongi says about it, despite Jimin knowing he wants to say something. But Jimin isn’t going to press it, and their conversation gets sidetracked enough that Jimin ends up distracted, for the most part.

It’s sitting on the edge of his mind, of course, constantly trying to get his attention. It’s tied around his finger, for God’s sake, constantly in his goddamn vision. Reminding him of what he’s done.

Yoongi obviously knows something’s up, but Jimin’s grateful that the other doesn’t push at it.

Or so he thinks.

Yoongi asks where he’s off to, and Jimin responds the library, because he’s not sure if his mind is going to be able to just sit on the bed any longer, just staring at the string, drowning in his thoughts.

So he heads to the library - intent on studying, but if he finds a distraction somewhere else, he’ll take it. He’s sitting at one of the tables in the non-silent part of the library for a while, all to himself, before someone sits across from him.

He glances up and smiles before he realises he recognises who it is.

“Namjoon-hyung,” Jimin greets, Namjoon returning the greeting.

“Taehyung isn’t with me,” Jimin says, because while he counts himself as friends with Namjoon, he’s not quite sure why the other is seeking him out.

“I know, I uh, wanted to talk to you, actually. About him, if you don’t mind,” Namjoon replies, hands shifting somewhat nervously on the table.

Jimin feels the wave of guilt wash over him again, tightening his chest, making it hard to breathe.

“Is he alright?” Jimin asks immediately, and Namjoon’s eyes widen slightly in surprise before he nods.

“Yeah, he’s probably fine. I mean, I haven’t seen him since yesterday, but he was in the dorm when I was out,” is the response, and Jimin feels himself nod.

“Okay, that’s good,” is, unfortunately, all Jimin can think to say. He sounds flat even to himself.

“Is there a reason he shouldn’t be?” Namjoon prods, and Jimin realises Namjoon probably knows, Taehyung probably told him.

Jimin stays quiet, unsure of how to respond. He doesn’t want to lie, but he’s not sure how to go about it.

“Yoongi messaged me,” Namjoon suddenly says. “Explained what he thinks has happened. Do you want to know what he said?”

“Yeah,” Jimin replies, fiddling with the corner of his phone case. Nervous, scared, unsure of just what Yoongi’s thinking.

“Well he firstly called you an idiot, so there’s that,” Namjoon laughs a little. “Secondly, he says something’s … spooked you, with the soulmate string.”

Namjoon trails off, clears his throat, then continues. “I was kind of under the impression you have always been kind of spooked by it, which is completely understandable. But uh, I can only assume something happened which hasn’t helped that.”

Jimin smiles a little self-deprecatingly. “Yeah.”

“Right, well. When I figured out Taehyung’s string situation, I worried. And yeah, soulmates are meant to be perfect for each other, but… there’s stories.”

Jimin knows - he’s read them. Soulmates who destroy, rather than complete, each other. Who abuse and demean over each other.

And Jimin knows he could never do it. But, there’s been something sitting in the far back of his mind, wondering if he’s really the right person to be holding Taehyung’s string. So easy to break, to destroy.

“But then I met you, and Hoseok intuition on other’s is pretty accurate. So I trusted his description of you before I even knew you were Taehyung’s soulmate, and when I met you, in those couple of minutes before it was figured you were soulmates, I honestly hoped that Taehyung would have someone like you for him,” Namjoon admits, no longer nervously twisting his hands. Confident, honest, truthful.

“Oh,” is all Jimin can say, really.

“I know I shouldn’t get involved, and I know you two can sort it out, but I think you need to believe in yourself a bit more first. Everyone else does, including Taehyung, so maybe it’s time to repay them,” Namjoon suggests, and Jimin feels himself nod, trying to take it all in.

He feels like he’s trapped in that state for the rest of the day, mind reeling with Namjoon’s words. Doesn’t snap out of it until Taehyung sends him a message, right as he’s about to fall asleep.

Hey, let’s meet up tomorrow.

 


 

Jimin’s nervous.

He approaches the outside seating area of the cafe they had agreed to meet at, palms sweating and fingers nervously drumming against his leg. Taehyung, sitting alone, stares blankly at the table.

Jimin hesitates before sitting down, and Taehyung snaps out of it, giving Jimin a small smile.

“I already ordered us some food,” Taehyung says in greeting, and Jimin’s stomach takes the opportunity to growl.

Taehyung smirks, and Jimin does his best not to blush. “Thanks,” he says instead, and Taehyung nods.

“So,” Taehyung starts, “how’s the whole blaming yourself thing going?”

Jimin’s first reaction is to hit him in the arm. Better than it should be, Jimin wants to answer, but wisely keeps his mouth shut.

Taehyung knows what the silence means, of course.

“Namjoon said he talked to you,” Taehyung says, then glances at Jimin’s hand. The one with the string, the rings. “Guess he didn’t get through as much as he wanted to.”

“Maybe I just like wearing rings,” Jimin points out, and Taehyung gives him a very flat, disbelieving look.

Yeah, nothing to do with the fact that you accidentally pulled on the string when I pushed you a bit too far, and I ended up with an unfortunately timed coughing fit. No, of course, nothing to do with that,” Taehyung’s tone is as flat as his face.

“Unfortunately timed coughing fit sounds a bit wrong,” Jimin argues. “Pretty sure it happened because of the pulling.”

“I was sick, remember? You didn’t tug that hard, really, I was fine. I’m fine, still here, head attached and all.” Taehyung accompanies the statement with jazz hands.

Jimin hits him again. “Stop thinking it’s a joke,” Jimin grumbles. “It’s not.”

“The real joke is the fact that you keep wearing those damn rings,” Taehyung fires back, and Jimin just clenches his fist. There’s a rising tension between them, both of them throwing up walls, but the moment is fizzled out by the arrival of the food.

Taehyung decides that the conversation can’t really wait, and talks around his food.

“Look, we have to accept that this is what our string is. Mine is around my neck. You’re in a position that can take advantage of that, and yet you don’t. I trust you, and I need you to trust yourself, Park Jimin, because it’s just going to hurt both of us if you keep avoiding the string.”

Jimin chews his food very, very slowly.

“I can’t - I can’t take the rings off straight away,” Jimin finally says, because he hopes that encompasses what he wants to say. He needs time, needs to be able to take small, small steps before he can think about taking off the rings again.

Taehyung nods. “Okay,” he replies, “that’s fine. I’m able to wait.”

“And… you need to hold my hand if they’re off,” Jimin mumbles, slightly embarrassed by the request. But if Taehyung has the control, then Jimin knows he’ll feel better, more reassured.

“You really think I’d pass on an opportunity to hold your hand?” Taehyung teases, and Jimin just replies by shoving more food in his mouth.

“I have my own request, actually,” Taehyung says, after a few moments of silence between them. He’s got his chin resting on his palm, head tilted slightly.

“Mhm,” is Jimin’s response, trying to swallow the mouthful.

“Considering you’re making me wait for this, are you alright with not making me wait to be my boyfriend?”

Jimin’s glad he just swallowed his food, because otherwise he probably would’ve choked.

“That’s fine,” Jimin finally manages, voice a little more steady than he feels at least.

Taehyung beams, and Jimin feels something around his chest relax, feels himself loosen up. When his smile lowers a bit, Taehyung stares at him for a moment, contemplating, before he leans across the table and kisses Jimin.

“First boyfriend kiss,” Taehyung proudly declares, and Jimin resists hitting him again.

“Oh!” Taehyung then states, surprised, “quick, we need to get a picture for our mums!”

 


 

A few months later, Jimin is in the practice room, practicing for the next showcase.

Taehyung sits in the corner, near the music, head leaning back on the mirrors as he watches Jimin. A few run-throughs ago, there was a soft smile on his lips, but now there’s just a slight scrunch between his eyebrows.

“Jiminie,” he whines, once the music has stopped, “you said you were going to finish two run-throughs ago.”

Jimin laughs a little, slightly out of breath, “Sorry, just one more, alright?”

"Jiminie,” Taehyung now demands, and Jimin watches as his fingers move from dangling around the string around his neck to the part of the string connecting him to Jimin.

He tugs, and Jimin feels himself sigh as he’s pulled forward, Taehyung grinning as he pulls Jimin closer by reeling him in.

“You asshole, you know I won’t pull back,” Jimin complains, but there’s a smile he can’t hide as he finally crouches down in front of Taehyung.

“Not outside the bedroom you won’t,” Taehyung points out, teasing, and Jimin huffs.

“Listen, there is more to this than just a kink, Taetae.”

Taehyung grins, then moves his fingers to interlace with Jimin’s, staring at Jimin’s left hand, now entirely free of his rings.

He lets go of Jimin’s right hand, then picks up the slack bit of string between them. Moves their connected hands so their knuckles are facing down.

He slowly winds the slack bit of string around their connected hands, and Jimin lets him, even though it means Taehyung has basically taken his hand hostage.

“No more run-throughs,” Taehyung says, softly, and Jimin laughs.

“Okay, but if I suddenly mess up in the showcase, it’s all on you,” Jimin teases, and Taehyung just bumps their heads together.

“Shut up, you’re going to be amazing,” Taehyung mutters, and Jimin kisses his forehead before he goes to stand up, tugging Taehyung up with him.

They close up the studio, and just before Jimin switches off the lights, he glances back at the mirrors.

Sees that their hands, together, are wrapped in red, red, red.