Jimin thinks it's a sign of maturity that he didn't have a nervous breakdown.
He has no idea why he ever thought this was an excellent next step in his life; this whole moving to a bigger city to start my own business, don’t worry mom, don’t worry dad, I probably won’t die deal, because he basically lost it at least seventeen times during the move.
First, the space for his new flower shop was a ruin when he arrived – not even remotely similar to the pics of the place he saw online - and he spent a significant amount of money, time and effort to redo it. To repaint the walls (in an off-white, to accenutate all the colorful flowers he'd have on display); to convince the owner to replace the grimy windows, since nothing but dynamite would help clean them at that point; to slave for two days on his hands and knees trying to scrub the floor tiles back to their original color, and then finally giving up and settling for the dull gray hue.
Then he got lost at least half a dozen times in the new city, running from one store to the next trying to find just the right counter for his cash register, just the right shelves for his flower pots, the right stand for the front of the flower shop, the stickers for the door and the window glass...
He had a checklist; of course he brought a checklist with him, which he'd compiled meticulously over the past two months, in preparation for this move.
But the checklist was, somehow, misplaced on his fourth day in the city. (Jimin's not above admiting that he cried himself to sleep that night.)
To make things more difficult, the owner of the flower shop space and the owner of the apartment directly above it – which Jimin also rented, because what's more convenient than living in the same building where your business is – were a divorced couple, and any and all communication with them involved listening to their very long, very exhausting relationship history, assuring them that he wasn't sent by the other to spy, and smiling so forcefully that his cheeks turned numb by the time they said their goodbyes.
It was when the moving van didn't show up for two days after the arranged time, and when the moving company seemed to have no idea where Jimin's modest, well-worn furniture went, that Jimin considered just calling his mom and coming back home.
She probably would've been thrilled - after all, his parents had warned him about this; about moving to the capital, about opening his own flower shop, about... the dangers in the city, for someone like him.
But then the moving van arrived not an hour later, and Jimin nearly cried again - tears of joy this time - and barely refrained from hugging the men who unloaded his furniture and brought them up to his new apartment.
So that's it. All that's left now is for the plants to arrive – and if something happens to them, Jimin will do much more and much worse than just call his mom – and he'll be ready to open.
Without much to do until the flowers get there, Jimin decides to explore his new neighborhood, in the hopes of reassuring himself that at least he picked a good spot to settle in.
The street where his shop and apartment are is more of an alley; a charming, narrow passage right off a bustling boulevard, tucked away from the rumble and honk of traffic. It's bathed in sunlight every day until early afternoon, regularly visited by customers wandering in and out of the shops.
Cozy, Jimin thinks.
There’s a bakery on the corner, and, unable to resist the apple-cinnamon smell wafting from the entrance, Jimin goes inside and discovers that the elderly couple who owns it makes easily the best muffins he’s ever had.
Apart from the bakery, there's also a bookstore - of the dusty, quaint variety - a repair shop that seems to specialize in various kinds of electronics, a tattoo parlor, and an antique shop with a lavishly carved desk and a broken grandfather clock in the window.
Jimin wonders if he’ll get the chance to meet and bond with his new neighbors; if that’s a thing that happens, in a big city like this.
In his hometown everyone knew him, or of him, and most were polite and friendly with him, though never getting so close as to become actual friends.
Which is why now Jimin also wonders if his new neighbors will notice that he’s… different. If they’ll mind.
(He hopes not. So very much.)
The plants arrive on another moving van exactly when they're supposed to, thankfully, and Jimin spends the second weekend of his new life doing what he loves most – being surrounded by earth, nature and greenery, repotting the flowers in their new, fancily patterned pots for the store, and telling them all about the shit he went through during the move.
He also plays music on his small phone speaker – all their favorites – and hums along to help them relax and adjust to their new surroundings.
On Sunday the flowers bloom big and vibrantly colored, and fill the small shop with golden, gentle warmth that Jimin knows too well.
Once the shop is open for business, it’s easy enough to develop a routine.
Jimin gets up early every morning and makes tea for himself - coffee is not a concept he’d ever understand - and stretches and listens to quiet music.
He showers and brushes his teeth and wrangles his blond hair into something vaguely presentable, taking too long to decide whether forehead or no forehead.
The flower shop opens at 8:00 a.m. sharp, with yellow sunshine filtering in through the window. The plants love it, of course, and Jimin carries the most eye-catching ones from inside to the stand out front, and arranges them usually by color gradient. Sometimes by height. Sometimes trying to put complementary colors together.
Sometimes a plant doesn’t want to be on the top shelf or the bottom shelf, and he has to switch them up. (The gerbera in particular is quite picky.)
Customers are infrequent in the beginning; after all, Jimin still hasn’t decorated the shop window or put up a sign. But the colorful, cheerful flowers in the front do attract some passersby, and he makes sure to greet each one with his brightest smile. (They all leave satisfied with their bouquets, and that’s enough for him.)
Every lunch break Jimin goes to the bakery on the corner. In his second week the elderly lady, Mrs. Kim, starts recognizing him as a regular who always orders a ham and cheese sandwich and two muffins of whatever flavor is on the menu that day. She learns his name, that he just moved there, and when Jimin helps her arthritic husband carry in a heavy sack of flour, she adds a free rice cake to his paper bag. (Jimin makes sure they know to call him if there’s anything too physically strenuous to be done in the future.)
He eats his lunch and watches the life outside his shop, and listens to his plants.
The bookstore is open every day of the week - even Sunday - and so far he’s seen only one person who looks like they work there; a young man, not much older than Jimin. Tall and maybe a touch intimidating, serious, but the dutch lily says it’s seen him smile once and that he has cute dimples.
The repair shop across from the bookstore works at irregular hours - sometimes it’s still open when Jimin goes out to buy a late night snack at the grocery store, sometimes it’s open the entire day, and once it was closed for three days straight, even though it wasn’t a weekend or a holiday. A boy works there, also tall and kind of adorable. His ears are pierced in many places, he wears ripped jeans and thick-soled boots even in summer, but his bangs and round face and almond eyes remind Jimin of that bunny from Bambi.
The antique shop is owned by a middle-aged man who comes down from the apartment above the shop almost at the same time as Jimin opens his own. The man walks with effort, with a pronounced limp, but his face is pleasant and he smiles and returns the bow Jimin gives him every time they see each other.
The only place which seems to be closed all the time is the tattoo parlor directly across from Jimin’s flower shop. For two weeks now he hasn’t seen anyone go in or come out, worker, owner or customer. The interior is dark, tinted windows making it hard to see inside, and the neon sign above the door hasn’t been turned on once since Jimin moved in.
SOPE, the sign reads. Whatever that means.
The following weekend Jimin finally has time to unpack decorative stickers which arrived from the printer, and to carefully tape them to the door and the window glass of the flower shop.
He uses a tape measure to not stick the characters on crookedly, and once in a while he steps out to check his progress, to make sure it all looks good from the outside.
He’s taping the last character of the shop’s name, Pink Petal, when he realizes there are other sounds over the low music from his phone. Jimin looks through the glass in front of him and sees the repair shop boy, the Bunny, cursing and grunting as he’s trying to push a - is that a fridge?
Jimin is outside before he even stops to think.
“Hey!” he calls to the boy. “Need any help?”
“Fuuuuuck,” the Bunny exhales. He slumps where he stands, supporting his weight on the stainless steel fridge he’d been pushing down the alley, in the direction of his repair shop. “It’s too hot,” he pants, sweat dripping down the sides of his face. “This is too heavy, I haven’t slept all night and Tae would probably kill me if he found out.”
“Um,” Jimin says, not sure how to respond to any of that.
The Bunny shuts his eyes and presses his forehead to the fridge, like he’s somehow disappointed in himself that he can’t get the massive thing all the way to his shop. Jimin isn’t sure how he managed to get it this far, anyway. Not without a car. Or a cart of some sort. Was he pushing it the whole time? Or maybe even… carrying it?
“Yes, I could use some help, if that’s okay,” the Bunny grits out, then opens his eyes and smiles at Jimin. Which makes him look even more like a bunny. A happy bunny, with multiple piercings along his ears. “You wanna take the other end? I’ll take this one and we can carry it in.”
“Sure!” Jimin nods with a smile of his own, and comes closer to the front of the fridge.
“I’m Jeon Jungkook, by the way,” the Bunny says as they carefully tip the appliance so that it’s horizontal.
It takes effort, but Jimin gets a good grip on the top part, and Jungkook lifts the bottom part as though it weighs nothing at all – as though he hadn't just been lugging the thing for who-knows-how-long - and they carefully start towards the repair shop, Jimin walking backwards and Jungkook following after.
“Nice to meet you,” Jungkook says and then blows some of his bangs away from his eyes. “You just moved in?”
“Yeah, a few weeks ago. Came to the city to open my own flower shop.”
“Cool.” Jungkook nods. “I’ve seen your flowers out front. They’re nice.”
“Never heard of anyone keeping them in pots, though,” Jungkook says, adjusting his handle on the fridge, his muscles straining under the short sleeves of his white tee. “Don’t florists usually get them stemmed?”
“Uh. Yeah.” Jimin smiles widely to appear convincing; to distract from the vague answer. “I just… I guess I have my own way of doing things?” He should learn not to sound so hesitant and squeaky when covering something up.
Jimin doesn’t have time to analyse if Jungkook believed him or not, because they’re already at the entrance to the repair shop. One small step - very slow so that Jimin doesn’t trip and break his neck - and they’re squeezing through the narrow hallway from the door to the main space of the shop.
Computers, TVs, gutted radios and speakers, wires, cables are absolutely everywhere, in some spots even stacked up to the ceiling. There’s a rusty stove in a back corner which looks like it hasn’t been used this century, and a skeleton of a desk buried underneath various bits of computer hardware; one lit screen on the desk – with Iron Man desktop wallpaper - indicates that there is at least one working PC somewhere in there.
“I’m gonna put it down now,” Jungkook says once they’ve reached a modicum of clear space in the middle. With a huff he lowers his side of the fridge, and Jimin helps him push it upright again. “Sorry about the mess,” Jungkook says. He takes in his workspace and rubs the back of his head. “I get carried away and I don’t- I forget about cleaning up.”
“That’s okay!” Jimin hurries to reassure, smiling. “I don’t mind. It’s… It looks like you work a lot.”
“Hah, depends on what you mean by a lot.” Jungkook goes over to the rusty stove and Jimin realizes there’s a mini fridge next to it, not in any better shape than the cooking appliance. “I don’t exactly have fixed work hours, so I easily lose track of time.” Jungkook chuckles as he fishes out two cans of cola. “Same when I play video games. Tae actually has to blackmail me into logging off when we do dungeons together.”
It's the second time Jimin's heard the name, and he has to ask, “Tae?”
Jungkook hands Jimin a soda, and then somehow pulls out two cushions from god-knows-where, dusts them off and throws them to the floor by the fridge, so they can sit down.
“Yeah,” he says, crossing his legs. “Kim Taehyung. His father owns the antique shop across the street?”
Jimin nods, popping his can open and taking a refreshing gulp of the cold drink.
“He lives with his grandmother though, across town,” Jungkook continues, sipping on his own soda. “Helping her out and such.”
“Are they related to the Kims from the bakery?” Though Jimin knows it doesn’t have to be the case, what with it being one of the most common family names and all.
“No, no, Kims from the bakery and Kims from the antique shop are unrelated. Same with the Kims, or the one Kim, from the bookstore.”
Jimin raises an eyebrow. “The tall guy with the silver-ish hair?”
“Mhm. That’s Kim Namjoon. He owns the bookstore. Pretty cool guy. Smart as fuck.”
“Huh.” Jimin does a mental count of all the neighbors and stores in the alley. “What about the tattoo shop? I haven’t seen anyone in there since I got here.”
“Yeah, that’s been closed…” Jungkook drinks more, contemplating, licking soda taste off his lips. “For almost a year now, I think.” Then he looks at Jimin and smiles again. “So, where are you from?”
It turns out to be very easy to talk to Jungkook.
He's from the same neck of the woods as Jimin, though he'd moved into this alley and opened his own repair shop about two years ago, despite being two years younger than Jimin.
Jungkook has always been into technology and electronics, and started working almost right out of high school; first fixing up computers and mobile phones for his peers, then branching out to practically everything else – TVs, sound systems, stoves, fridges, air conditioning units, or, as Jungkook himself says, “If it runs on electricity, I can fix it.” Jimin laughs at that, because Jungkook's confidence (and dilligence) is endearing.
When he has time to spare, Jungkook hauls in old, run-down appliances from people looking to get rid of them, fixes them up and sells them for extra cash; which is where the fridge comes from.
He mentions his friend Taehyung a lot, and even texts him in the middle of their conversation, letting him know he's met the new florist and that he'll introduce them when Taehyung comes to see his father next, apparently soon.
It's only when Jimin realizes – with a jump to his feet and a FUCK! on his lips – that he's left his flower shop unlocked, that they have to part ways. They've drank two sodas each while they talked about everything and nothing, and Jimin returns to decorating the windows of his shop not even trying to hide his wide grin.
It's lame, and maybe a touch sad, but he honestly can't remember the last time he's had such a casual, carefree conversation with a person outside of his family; with someone close to his age, who wasn't rude or nosy, reserved or threatening; who was just...
This is normal; meeting people, getting to know them, enjoying each other's company – all normal. Easy.
As he tapes pink petals around the name of his shop, Jimin hopes, that, maybe, Jungkook would like to see him again. To hang out with him.
Drink more soda. Maybe teach Jimin how to play some of those video games he talked about.
Two days later, Jimin is sitting at his small, plastic dining table in the kitchen, absorbed in his phone and his search for a good dance studio in the city.
At home he'd spent a lot of his free time dancing; first as a kid in a ballet studio for toddlers, then as part of an amateur dance company in high school, and later he'd even dabbled into hip hop, though still keeping up with his contemporary dance.
He stopped going to classes with all the chaos with the move and opening a shop and all, but he's missed it; missed challenging himself with new choreographies, breaking a sweat to great music, missed the rush of a well-practiced, synchronized routine with a group.
He has dozens of tabs open in his mini brower and is slowly going through them one by one, when a voice filters in through the wide open kitchen window.
Jimin turns and peeks out into the alley. The day is coming to a close, the sky above darkening, but he still recognizes the bookstore owner – Namjoon, if Jimin remembers correctly - standing in front of his store, carrying an opened laptop.
All the stores are closed at this hour – or most of them – and the throng of people usually walking up and down their street has long ago thinned out; it's easy to hear Jungkook's voice from the direction of his repair shop, though Jimin doesn't see him until he comes closer to Namjoon and stops a few steps away.
“I, uh...” Namjoon looks at the screen of his laptop, then at Jungkook, and winces like he's guilty about something. “I was in the middle of skyping when I... dropped... it.” It seems to pain him to admit it, and when Jungkook laughs he adds, “Not from very high up, though! Look, the screen is fine, the keyboard is – okay, it has a little dent here-” Jungkook's laughter grows louder. “-but it's fine! Except that now the wifi isn't working for some reason. Could you...?”
Jungkook is already reaching for the computer and tilting it towards him, squinting in the light of the screen. He doesn't even bother with the keyboard or the touchpad; he just narrows his eyes, like he's concentrating really hard – like he can get the computer itself to just announce the problem on its screen or something - and then says, “You dislocated your internal wifi antenna. I'll be right back.”
Jimin's not sure how Jungkook figured that out from doing nothing, but he seems very confident in his diagnosis when he returns a few moments later, with a screwdriver in hand. He has Namjoon hold the laptop upside down as he unscrews a small lid from the bottom, moves some bits and pieces around in there, and then fastens it back on.
“There,” he says, with a couple of final taps on the keyboard.
Almost immediately the screen comes to life with an incoming Skype call. Namjoon reaches to click on the green phone icon but the call is answered before he does; both him and Jungkook are still holding the laptop, but neither has his fingers anywhere close to the buttons.
Jimin frowns, barely registering that he's gotten up from his seat and is now leaning on his elbows, not even remotely subtly staring out the open window. How in the world...?
“Hey, Jin-hyung!” Jungkook waves to the person on the other side of the call, and Jimin hears a tinny, slightly amused,
“He dropped the computer, didn't he?”
“I was holding four things at once, okay,” Namjoon tries to defend himself, but both Jungkook and the unknown caller – Jin-hyung? - laugh.
“How are you, Jungkook-ah?” Jin then asks over Namjoon's groan. “Missing your favorite hyung? Wishing I was there? Spending night after sleepless night thinking-”
“- about how you are now so old you must've started dyeing your hair to hide the greying parts?” Jungkook interrupts with a smirk. “Crossed my mind a couple of times.”
A gasp echoes through the laptop speakers, but any following words are drowned out by Namjoon and Jungkook laughing, now both heading into Namjoon's bookstore to continue their conversation inside.
Jimin stares after them for a while longer, feeling strangely confused, and curious; and also somewhat soft at seeing his neighbors be so comfortable and teasing with each other. (Rather, mostly Jungkook teasing the older ones, which must mean they're very close).
He wonders if he'll ever get an opportunity to be like that with anyone. With them, maybe, somewhere down the line.
It's early on Friday when Jimin's having breakfast, leaned sideways on his kitchen counter. He's still in his oversized sleep clothes, a bowl of oatmeal in his hands as he blearily looks out into the alley, gearing up for his day.
Mentally, he goes through his morning checklist – shower, brushing teeth, combing hair, picking out clothes; opening the shop downstairs, carrying out the best plants to stand in the front, seeing if they need anything - watering, minerals, company-
He's barely halfway down his bullet points when he notices Mr. Kim – the antique shop owner – coming down earlier than usual; Jimin's phone shows that it's barely 7 a.m. and yet the man is already slowly limping over to the entrance of his shop.
He steps inside and Jimin is just about to chalk up the early opening hour to an incoming delivery or something, when a figure zooms down the alley from the direction of the boulevard.
Jimin swallows a spoonful of his breakfast and leans forward, watching how the figure – a young man with flaming red hair – bursts into the antique shop, shouts a greeting – entirely too loud and too cheery for this hour - drops a bag he was holding by the door, and shouts something more as he darts back outside.
“KOOK!” he then calls, hands cupped around his mouth, rough voice reverberating even through Jimin's closed windows.
He's practically sprinting towards the repair shop, and that's when it dawns on Jimin that this must be Mr. Kim's son; Jungkook's friend, Taehyung.
“KOOOOOK!” he spells out once again, and Jimin is sure he's woken up the whole alley by now.
But then the door of the repair shop yanks open and Jungkook is there; his dark t-shirt crumpled, his ripped jeans stained in some places, but despite his obvious sleep deprivation, he's wearing the biggest grin Jimin's seen on his face yet.
He breaks into a run too, and meets Taehyung in the middle of the empty street - Jimin nearly drops his spoon when Taehyung launches himself at Jungkook, leaping right into his arms. Jungkook welcomes him easily, letting Taehyung wrap his legs around his waist, his arms around his neck and-
-crush their lips together without a moment of hesitation.
Not just friends, then.
Jimin's own mouth quirks up as he watches the two laugh and kiss and excitedly talk about something, with Jungkook holding Taehyung up all the while - without any problems it seems - and Taehyung's hands cradling Jungkook's face, messing up his hair.
They look so in love. So happy to see each other again.
Then Taehyung slides back down to his feet, grabs Jungkook's hand and pulls him over to his father's antique shop, where they go in together.
Jimin finishes up his breakfast still smiling, slowly getting more and more convinced that he couldn't have picked a better place to move to.
Later that same day, Jimin hangs a handwritten sign on his shop's door that he's on his lunch break and will be back in 10 minutes, and steps out into the bright midday sun.
“Oh,” he hears behind him. “Hi.”
Jimin turns and sees Taehyung standing there, halfway between Jungkook's and his father's shops. His hair is really, really red from this close up, but it also kind of fits with his big eyes and handsome features, and especially with his loose shirt sporting some kind of red, purple and yellow pattern.
“Hi,” Jimin says, and smiles.
“You're new,” Taehyung says, looking at Jimin with undisgused wonder, just as Jungkook walks out of his own shop and closes the door behind him. “He's new,” Taehyung then says to Jungkook over his shoulder. Again to Jimin, “You're new.”
Jungkook laughs, coming over to stand next to his boyfriend. “Yes, he's new. His name is Park Jimin, he's the florist I told you about. Jimin-ssi.” Jungkook nods to him, and gestures to Taehyung. “This is Kim Taehyung, my... boyfriend.” The blush that colors his cheeks at the last word makes him a Shy Adorable Bunny, prompts Taehyung to exclaim, "Cuuuuuute!" and Jungkook to sock him in the arm out of embarrassment.
Jimin laughs. “Nice to meet you, Kim Taehyung-ssi,” he says with a bow.
“You, too.” Taehyung returns the bow, and then, with a wide, earnest smile, “You're very pretty.”
“Uh.” Jimin falters. "I-"
“Purely from an aesthetical point of view, of course,” Taehyung adds, casually wrapping an arm around Jungkook's waist, and pulling him into his side. “With those full lips and gorgeous eyes, and the blond hair... Very pleasing to look at, wouldn't you say, Kook?”
Jungkook snorts. “Yes, he's very pretty, Tae. You'll have to excuse him,” he tells Jimin, draping an arm around Taehyung's shoulders and giving him a little shake. “Tae is a professional photographer, he gets distracted by beautiful things all around him."
Jimin opens his mouth to reply, but a voice from behind interrupts, “That, and his mind works in quite mysterious ways. I daresay you're the only one who speaks Taehyung, Jungkook-ah.”
The three turn to see Namjoon walking over; his silver hair is rougishly swept up, the sides buzzed off, and Jimin has to admit he looks really badass with sunglasses on and his hands buried in the pockets of his jeans. Like a rockstar, or an idol, that Jimin wouldn't dare try to talk to in a million years.
He stops on Taehyung's other side, and the two exchange a fist bump, at first the epithome of coolness, before Namjoon laughs and ruffles Taehyung's hair.
“Jimin-ssi!” Namjoon then looks at him, smiling with those dimples Jimin heard about from his plants. Friendly, Jimin thinks; confident, but somehow comforting at the same time. “It's nice to finally meet you. I'm Kim Namjoon.” He bows. “I own the bookstore in the back.”
“Kim Namjoon-ssi.” Jimin bows as well. "It's nice to meet you, too."
"When are you getting off work?" Taehyung interrupts then, before Jimin can say anything else. He looks excited, his grin bright and rectangular. "Jungkook and I thought about checking out this new barbeque place close by, and you should totally come with!"
"I... Really?" Jimin asks, failing not to sound too hopeful. Hanging out with interesting new people. Eating together. Socializing. "I, uh, lock up at six. That would be... really nice." He can't hold back his own wide smile.
"Yeah, it'll be great!" Taehyung is positive. "You should come witness how Kookie eats his way through my entire last paycheck. So much fun." He laughs when Jungkook lets out an indignant, "Hey!", but Jimin thinks there's nothing he'd like to do more on a Friday night.
"What about you, Joon-hyung?" Jungkook turns to Namjoon. "What do you say? Taehyung's treat!"
But Namjoon laughs and shakes his head. "No, sorry, I already have..." He hesitates. "Something planned."
"Oooooooooh," Taehyung lets out, seemingly already knowing what's planned. "Could it be... a date? A Skype date? With Jin-hyung, who you still haven't told that-"
"Have fun without me, kids!" Namjoon exclaimes over him with a smile, backing away. "Try not to bankrupt Taehyungie until I see you next time!"
"HAH, kids!" Taehyung calls, relentless. "Like you're not only one year older than me! Like you're not drinking coffee from a sippy cup because you spill it every time-"
"Can't hear you!" Namjoon shouts through a laugh, already disappearing round the corner.
"So," Jungkook says, squeezing Taehyung tight and grinning at Jimin. "Seven sound good?"
It's in Jimin's nature to worry. He worries about a lot of things - practically everything - and that pushes him to do more, to prepare in advance, to work harder to make sure he doesn't somehow embarrass himself.
Which is why he spends an absurd amount of time choosing what to wear to his... what? Not a date, since it's not romantic in nature, and it involves three people rather than two. Not a meeting, since it's not of the business kind... He'll have to work on the terminology.
Either way, Jimin's small bedroom is a mess of clothes, his mind buzzing with outfit combinations until he finally settles on dark jeans and a light blue t-shirt, and some bracelets and rings he's always liked wearing.
He also worries about other stuff - like what if the conversation lags, what if they realize he's a freak, what if they're all lovey-dovey with each other and Jimin ends up being the third wheel, what if-
But all of that dissolves when seven o'clock comes around and Jimin hears Taehyung's deep voice under his window,
"Yo, Jimin-ssi! We're starving! Get your cute butt down here and let's go put ourselves in a food coma!"
Jimin laughs and shakes his head as he collects his wallet and phone, not getting what Taehyung has against intercoms.
They walk to the barbeque place, enjoying the pleasant evening breeze, the waning daylight, and an effortless, fun conversation. Taehyung takes the lead, with Jungkook steering him back onto his original topics when he goes on a tangent, and by the time they enter the restaurant and are seated, Jimin is laughing and talking without restraint, all of his worries completely forgotten.
Taehyung and Jungkook sit close, sometimes feeding each other bites of food, but never making Jimin feel left out, or otherwise ignoring him. In fact, they're so cute together that Jimin just has to take a pic of them when Taehyung accidentally gets sauce on his face, and Jungkook uses his thumb to wipe it away.
Taehyung and Jimin realize with delight that they're the same age, and they all talk about their work and education, about why Taehyung majored in photography, why Jungkook practically worships Tony Stark, and about Jimin's plans to continue with his dancing-
Jungkook gets a bit quiet at the mention of families and siblings, but the conversation quickly moves into another direction – courtesy of Taehyung – that Jimin barely registers the shift in his mood.
They eat and eat and eat, until Jimin thinks he's going to burst, finally sliding down in his seat and debating whether or not it would be too inapropriate to pop open the first button of his jeans.
Taehyung doesn't allow him to pay, assuring him that he'll be the one to pick up the tab next time; Jimin's so elated at the prospect of next time that he allows it.
They walk back to their alley, and say their goodbyes in front of Pink Petal, with Taehyung and Jungkook continuing on towards Jungkook's apartment above his repair shop.
Jimin watches them disappear into the building with what feels like a permanent smile plastered on his face.
He's full, and happy and friends - he's making friends.
Instead of going for the entrance that leads up to his apartment, Jimin takes out the keys to his flower shop, having a sudden, exhilirating urge to let his plants know how the outing went. To tell them all about the great time he had, and how this move was maybe the best decision of his life.
He's barely opened the door when his concsciousness catches up with him; when he realizes there's something different in the alley tonight. Something he's only glanced over as he waved goodbye to Taehyung and Jungkook, but that now makes him stop and turn around-
On the other side of the alley, right across from him, the lights are on in the tattoo shop.
Jimin's not sure why he's curious. Why he's staring. It must have to do with the week he's had, meeting the people living and working around him, becoming closer with some of them, knowing the names of others... Of everyone, really, except for this person, whoever it is, that works (worked?) in the tattoo parlor.
So Jimin stands in the shadow of the flower shop doorway, and waits for any sign of life beyond the tattoo shop windows.
It's hard to tell what's going on, with the windows darker than normal; the SOPE sign is still off, so obviously the place isn't open. (It's too late for it to be open, anyway. Unless the person works like Jungkook.) Jimin thinks he makes out dozens, if not hundreds of photos and tattoo designs all over the walls, but he's too far away to actually see what they look like.
His gaze sweeps over the poorly-lit interior and then he finally spots it – movement, in the far left corner. Someone twirling a pencil between their fingers.
The figure is outfited completely in black, but Jimin thinks they might be male. He's not sure, because the face is covered with a black surgical mask, and the person is wearing a black snapback; they're sitting on a stool, bent over some book, or a notebook in their lap, and twirling the pencil, absorbed in whatever is written before them.
Well. Not as interesting as Jimin had first thought it would be.
He opens the door to his shop a bit more, and suddenly gets a soft brush of warmth from inside, from one of his plants – the snapdragons.
He does it instinctively, not even thinking about it – translating the breath of warm energy into coherent thoughts, like a language he's fluent in; the person from the tattoo shop visits a lot in the night, Jimin finds out. They unlock the tattoo shop and just sit in there, writing, doodling or whatever it is they're doing in the notebook; sometimes even for hours.
They always look sad, snapdragons think. More warmth lingers in the air, soft, glowing – the other flowers agree.
Jimin hesites on the threshold, and throws one last glance at the person in the tattoo shop.
Yes, sad; something about the curve of their back, the hunch of their shoulders... The way they forcefully scratch off something in the notebook and reach up to rub their eyes, shielded by the hat.
Sad, Jimin thinks, and maybe lonely, too.