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Kim Taehyung, sometimes referred to by his peers as the Robin Hood of the internet, was unquestionably one of the most handsome and interesting men of his generationHis best friend and confidant was aelderly gay man named-"  

"TAE, I am not elderly,"  Jin huffs in exasperation over his shoulder.  "Delete that right now."  

"P.O.S.," Taehyung whispers as he types, frame hunched protectively around his screen as he feels Jin's presence behind him. "What? I'm not doing anything."  

"I know what 'parent over shoulder' means, and I don't know how many times I can tell you that I am not your motherfucking mom."  

"Maybe I'll believe that when you stop wiping food off of my mouth with a spitty napkin in public," Taehyung shoots back, moodily mashing the backspace button on his keyboard.  

"Whatever," Jin sighs, resigned now, "Just stop writing about me on your blog."  

"I'm not! You know I deleted my blog after I got all that hate for the Teletubbies post,” Taehyung reminds him, nose in the air. “It's for my autobiography.”   

“Why are you writing your autobiography in third person?” He pauses. “Wait, why are you writing an autobiography?”   

“Well, I've been doing a lot of thinking," Taehyung says as he shuts his laptop with a sigh. "I'm 25, single, I work from home, and I haven't spoken to anyone except you in four days. The only things I have going for me are my face and my beanie baby collection. I am slightly concerned about my legacy."  

"Why would anybody want to read an autobiography about you? You lead a completely unremarkable life."  

"Exactly!" Taehyung agrees wholeheartedly, turning around in his chair to look at Jin, who is standing in front of his sink and preparing to wash the dishes. "That's why I have to write it. I can shape the way I tell my own story. And I think that through sheer will and determination, anyone can become a beloved historical figure. I want them to write a hit rap musical about me." 

“Do whatever the hell you want. Just leave me out of it. History does not look favorably upon gay men." 

"Fair." Taehyung slumps dramatically in his chair, chin pushed up unattractively against his chest. “But what else am I supposed to write about? You're the only person I talk to and so by default you're the most interesting thing I have going on. That’s right, YOU, who only just started wearing open-toed shoes after a prolonged internal moral struggle. There is nothing happening in my life."  

“Then, I dunno. Make things happen. Venture somewhere besides my house and the day-old bread store. I mean, you can come to the club with me and Yoongi tonight, if you want."   

Taehyung's ears perk up. "Who's Yoongi?"   

"He's... this guy I met," Jin says vaguely, waving a casually dismissive hand.  

"Met how?" Taehyung prompts him, pushing himself out of his chair and to his feet, interest fixated completely on Jin now.  "Like met in a sexy way? Because I do not want to be a third wheel with some guy you're doing." He’s bluffing. He’s bored as hell and would love nothing more.   

Jin tucks his head, but Taehyung can still see the tips of his pink ears. "We're not doing. We... did. Past tense. One time. And it wasn't even like a thing. We weren't even the only people present at the time."   

Taehyung fixes Jin with a shocked look. "You know, you're getting a lot less uptight in your old age. First open-toed shoes, now group sex."   

Jin chucks a dish towel at his face. "Okay, you're officially uninvited."   

"Nooo," Taehyung whines, pouting. "I don't want to be alone. Please, I'll be good. I want to meet this guy. How long have you known him?”  

“A few months?” Jin says with a vague, dismissive hand motion.   

“Months??” Taehyung gapes. “I'm at your place all the time! How have I not met him?”  

“Through very careful coordination and planning on my part. Why do you think I kept sending you to pick up various pet supplies at the last moment when you said you were coming over? I knew it'd take you at least 2 hours to get out of there because you'd have to play with the puppies. I don't even have a dog. Tae."  

"I know that," Taehyung claims indignantly. "I'm not an idiot, I just thought you were into some very authentic pet play."  

"Some what??"  

"Nothing," Taehyung says hastily. "Anyway, this guy. Is it serious?”   

“I told you, it's not like that between us,” Jin insists, cheeks a dull red and mouth pouty as he says it. "We're just friends."

“Right, and you were hiding him from me because things are totally normal between you,” Taehyung replies, unconvinced.   

“Officially re-uninvited.”  

“No! Jin pleaaase, I haven't left my house in days except to come here. I'm going feral without human contact. I growled at the mail man yesterday.“  

Jin considers him for a few moments, chewing his lip. "Fine. But don't say anything dumb to Yoongi, okay?"   

"What would I even possibly say?"   

 
 

 



 

 
 

"So you two totally boinked, huh?" Taehyung asks by way of greeting as he shakes Yoongi's hand for the first time. He can't help himself.    

"That is dumb in at least two ways," Jin informs him, slapping Taehyung's hand away from Yoongi. "Stop saying that gross fucking word. You're 25."   

Taehyung stares blankly at Jin. "We used 'boink' in my household long into my adulthood."  

"First of all, I know that to be an absolute fucking lie, your mother is a kind and graceful woman who would never use that horrible word."   

"Stop trying to stifle my inner child."   

"Tell your inner child to stop saying gross, age-inappropriate shit," Jin spits back.   

"Whatever," Taehyung rolls his eyes. "So hey where are we going anyway?" he wonders aloud as they trudge down the downtown street, bracing themselves against the relentless wind. When someone doesn't answer in the millisecond pause that he takes, he continues intrepidly. "Is it weird that I'm here? Am I totally cockblocking? I don't want to be a cockblock so if you guys want to do it, just like go ahead and do it in front of me if you need to. But just like as a heads up, I know I'm straight, but I might still get a boner and that's not something I can control."   

"If you don't stop him, does he just keep going and going?" Yoongi asks mildly.    

"He's a Chaotic Good straight boy. Well, supposedly straight. This is him trying." Jin nods before turning back to Taehyung. "Tae, we're going to a gay bar, your presence here was not weird until you made it weird, and sorry to be a boner killer, but there will be no doing of 'it' between me and Yoongi. You can get your kicks elsewhere."  

Taehyung groans, dragging his feet heavily for a few steps as he tips his head back in despair. "How the hell am I supposed to get laid at a gay bar?"   

"Are you kidding?" Yoongi scoffs. "There will probably be as many straight girls there as there are queer guys."   

"Really?" Taehyung asks quizzically. "Nice.”   

"Yeah, thank god for the invasion of queer spaces," Yoongi deadpans.   

They arrive in front of loud, cheap-looking building with iced glass blocks lining the front, a lurid green light shining through, slightly diluted. A couple of masterfully painted drag queens lean against the barricade out front, smoking and chatting, and Taehyung can't help but stare, slack-jawed at the artistry. He hears Yoongi snicker next to him. The bouncer seems to know Yoongi and lets them through without checking their IDs. Yoongi leads them through the crowd as an obnoxious trap mix thumps through the densely packed club, making it pulse.    

When they squeeze their way up to the bar, Yoongi yells over his shoulder, "What do you guys want?"   

"Vodka soda," Jin shouts back, eyes busy scanning the place.    

"Uh," Taehyung hesitates tentatively. "Beer? If they have it?"   

Yoongi rolls his eyes. "Of course they have beer. It's a bar. Gay people drink beer, too."   

Taehyung's eyes widen minutely in response. "Right. Duh. Sorry. That's not what I... Yeah, beer please."   

Taehyung settles in closely beside Jin as they wait for their drinks, and he takes the time to survey the place carefully. There are a couple of currently unoccupied cages in the center of the room, and Taehyung tries to mentally calculate how many shots of tequila it would take to get Yoongi and Jin in one of those.    

"Here," Yoongi mutters a minute later as he shoves a bottle of beer into Taehyung's hand.   

"Thanks!"   

"Yoongi?" A faint voice calls from somewhere in the crowd, and Taehyung almost thinks he's imagined it, until he sees Yoongi's expression tighten as he fixes his eyes on something over Taehyung's shoulder.  

Taehyung swivels his head to get a better view, and he briefly feels like he's been knocked on the head, because making her way towards them through the crowd, seemingly in slow motion as she descends from heaven on a graceful celestial breeze, is a real live angel. Her sculpted black hair fans out in perfect old-school retro waves behind her as she approaches, lips cherry red, lined eyes sharp, brows delicately arched. He’s honestly not even sure how such a goddess exists on the mortal plane, much less how Yoongi apparently knows her. 

"Oh. Minnie. Hey," Yoongi greets her stiffly.    

Jin shifts to allow her by, and she leans in to give Yoongi a firm hug. "I thought I saw you come in, you asshole. Where have you been?" Her voice is lovely, rough but sweet, low and comforting.    

Yoongi shrugs. "Uh, you know. Around. What are you doing here? Why aren't you at The Queen?"   

"Joon still won’t let me do sexy stuff so I had to book an extra show here. Already performed, so I dressed down a little."  

Minnie gives a little spin to illustrate, and Taehyung can't see how in the world this is considered dressing down.  Straining, lavender patent leather hugs every curve, neckline plunging almost to her bellybutton, and shining velvet knife-sharp stilettos adorn small, dainty feet. Then mid-turn, Taehyung's knees actually wobble, because he doesn't know if he's ever seen an ass like that in real life. On Instagram fitness blogs, maybe, but never in real life. Maybe Yoongi knows her insta. Mental note to check.  

"Are you by yourself?" Minnie asks, eyeing Jin briefly before turning her gaze on Taehyung. She smirks. 

"Uh, no. I'm with friends," Yoongi answers, gesturing to Jin and Taehyung. Jimin's gaze follows his hand to appraise the two of them carefully.  “Guys, this is Minnie.”  

"Friends, huh?" Minnie asks, arching an expertly shaped eyebrow. Taehyung doesn't realize his mouth is hanging slack until he feels drool on the side of his mouth.  

"Just friends," Yoongi confirms, shooting her a warning glance.  "This is Jin and Taehyung."  

Taehyung panics then, wanting to make sure she knows that he's 100% available. "I'm not gay!" he shouts, slightly overestimating the noise level and effectively screaming in her face.    

"As he feels the need to keep reminding everyone," Jin mumbles.    

Taehyung holds his breath as she steps forward, very much into his space, and smirks delicately, taking his hand and shaking it gently. "It's so nice to meet you, Not Gay," she purrs with a charming smile. "Are you of any relation to the Fairfax County Not Gays? Lovely people. Wildly repressed. Absolute animals in bed." Taehyung laughs nervously and stares at her with a quizzical look, but even he can tell how fucking smitten he must look right now.    

"Be gentle with him," Yoongi mutters, taking a long swig of beer. "He's fragilely heterosexual."   

"Oh I'd never be anything but gentle, sweetheart," Minnie smirks, gently elbowing Taehyung, who flushes red. "Not unless you ask very, very nicely."   

Taehyung's ensuing chuckle is tight and forced, but his face is very genuinely red. "Why- ha- why would I. Ha."   

"Jesus fuck, he's about to jizz his pants, Jimin. Chill," Yoongi insists, rolling his eyes.    

She giggles delightedly and grasps onto Taehyung's upper arm for support. Her grip is surprisingly strong, and Taehyung's already weak knees wobble with the force of it. "Anyway since I'm done for the night, I'm about to grab a table. Do you guy want to join?"   

"Yes," Taehyung answers before Yoongi can even open his mouth.    

Minnie lets out a delightful tinkling laugh and leans forward into his space again, trailing a finger down Taehyung's chest. "Alright, hot stuff. I'll be right back."   

"I'll be here," Taehyung assures her eagerly, and even he recognizes how whipped he sounds. Minnie laughs a tinkling little giggle before disappearing into the crowd.  "Fuck, you guys were right, the girls here are hot."   

Yoongi abruptly chokes on his beer, and it almost comes spraying out of his mouth. Jin pats him comfortingly on the back, trying to contain his own smile.    

"What did you say her name was?" Taehyung asks, undeterred. "Minnie? Kinda sexy. Like... a sexy little Minnie Mouse. I like it."   

Jin's upper lip curls in disgust. "Can I just say that Minnie Mouse is a mouse, and I will not be quiet about the fact that you find her sexy," Jin replies, eyes going wide as he seems to realize something.  "Is this that fursona shit I read about on the internet?"  

"Fuck off, I never said the actual mouse was sexy," Taehyung retorts, looking displeased. "I like human boobs. Like hers," he gestures in Minnie's general direction, and Yoongi snorts around his mouthful of beer again. Taehyung huffs. "What? What is it now?"   

"If you're looking for boobs, you might want to look elsewhere," Yoongi informs him solemnly.    

"Huh?"   

"Tae," Jin starts, resting a comforting hand on Taehyung's shoulder. "I believe that Minnie is a very beautiful drag queen."   

Taehyung's eyes go comically wide. "What?"   

"If it helps, he's also weird hot out of drag, just a generally hot person," Yoongi provides helpfully. "But yeah I seen that dick with my own eyes." He pauses in consideration before adding, “Big dick, too. He's very proud of it. That's why his drag name is Minnie Magnum.”  

Taehyung rises up on his tiptoes, head craning desperately above the crowd to try and get a glimpse of Minnie. "I... okay."  

"Okay?" Jin asks, leaning down to peer into Taehyung's eyes. "You sure buddy?"  

"Yeah, I'm good, just... processing. Trying to unlearn heteronormativity. The usual," Taehyung tells him eyes blankly staring. "So... pronouns... would be..."  

"Oh, Jimin prefers 'he,' even in drag. Say he likes to remind people how pretty boys can be," Yoongi tells him with a smug smile tugging at the corner of his mouth, obviously enjoying the spiral that's happening right in front of his eyes. "But it's good to ask. It varies from queen to queen, person to person."  

"So Minnie's... a-"   

"A homosexual cisgender man. Park Jimin."   

"And... The boobs? The... the beautiful ass... It's all fake?"   

"The tits are all contour and padding, but my ass is 100% Grade-A Me, sweetie," Jimin stage whispers into Taehyung's ears, and Taehyung startles so hard that he sloshes beer on his pants. "I've got the table. Y'all ready?"   

"Right behind you. Come on, Tae." Jin pulls gently on the arm of an immobile Taehyung to try and spur him into movement. It takes a few increasingly violent tugs, but Taehyung eventually budges, trailing along obediently behind them.    

Jimin leads them to a table at the front of the club near the stage and reaches out to pluck away the 'reserved' sign from the tabletop. It's a small, round table, and Taehyung ends up with his shoulder pressed directly to Jimin's. Both of Jimin's hands are wrapped around his cup on the table, and Taehyung is having a really hard time not staring at them. They're tiny and pretty and his own hands would dwarf them, completely swallow them up if they held hands.    

And now that he has a chance to look more closely, Taehyung can also see the outline of an Adam's Apple and the barest hint of a 5 o'clock shadow. His brain is still catching up, still mildly confused, but one thing he does know is that he is undoubtedly, utterly enthralled.  

"How you doing, Tae?" Jin asks from across the table.    

"I'm okay," Taehyung says, eyes unwavering, and his tone is too intense to be conversational. He realizes this, but there's nothing he can do about it.   

"He doesn't seem okay," Jimin notes, several long gracefully curling strands falling forward as he cranes his head in front of Taehyung's face to get a better look.    

"He's fine. He's just a little shaken by your dick," Jin tells him without an ounce of shame, and Taehyung has the presence of mind to cut his eyes sharply in his direction.   

"Ahhhh," Jimin hums appreciatively, turning back to Taehyung and fluttering his long lashes. "Well that's okay, honey. Lots of people are shaken by my dick. Granted, it's usually inside of them at the time."   

Taehyung chokes on his sip of beer, hand flying to his mouth as he stifles the spray.  

"Jesus, Jimin," Yoongi mumbles, clapping Taehyung hard on the back. "I told you he's fragile." 

"I'm not, I'm not, I'm fine," Taehyung insists, wiping his mouth with his sleeve, meeting Jimin's eyes sheepishly. "And I'm really sorry. I didn't mean to be an asshole. I just... I wasn't even thinking. "   

"It's perfectly okay, sweetie. I'm in drag. Lady is what I'm going for, so I am the furthest thing from offended," Jimin reassures him as he reaches out to gently pinch a cheek, and Taehyung's head reels at the contact. "You actually handled it pretty well for a surprised straight boy. That can go real offensive real fast, believe me. But hey, we're all winners here tonight. You learn a valuable lesson about gender, I meet a couple of new friends, and I get to see my good bud Yoongi after what seems to be an indefinite self-imposed exile from his friend group." He turns to Yoongi now with a sickly sweet smile, drumming his long lavender nails on the table.  

"Can we not right now?" Yoongi rolls his eyes and takes a large swig of beer. Jin looks pointedly away, but it's clear he's still listening.    

"'Kay Yoongz. If not now, then you name the time and place for this discussion."   

"How about never."   

"Are you serious?"   

"Yes. Drop it."   

"God you're irritating," Jimin remarks, reaching up to pat his wig to make sure it's still in place. "At least say something in the group chat every now and then to let us know you're alive, asshole. When they found the body of that guy who got drunk and fell asleep in a garbage truck, we legitimately thought you might be dead." Yoongi opens his mouth as if to disagree, but Jimin stops him. "And before you even say one goddamn word, do not pretend that is not a very plausible way for you to die."   

Yoongi considers for a moment, then shrugs in tacit acknowledgement.   

Jimin turns to the other two, smiling sweetly now. "So how did you two meet Yoongi? He hasn't made new friends in about ten years, so what is it? Does he owe you money? Is he on that zombie drug?”   

Jin and Yoongi exchange a heavy, meaningful glance as they clearly try to communicate with their eyes. The hesitation seems to be answer enough.   

"Oh god, Yoongi, which one of them did you fuck?"   

“I’m… not gay,” Taehyung reminds them once again.   

“Oh my God Tae, we KNOW, you don't like COCK, you've never taken it up the BUTT, we GET it,” Jin groans.   

"Excuse you!” Yoongi bristles at Jimin, ignoring them both. “Why do you assume that’s the only way I ever meet people? Jin and I met in a group setting."   

Taehyung can't control his snort of laughter, and Jimin's head jerks in his direction before he's lolling it back in frustration, hiding his face in his dainty hands. "Jesus, Yoongi. Group fuck? Seriously?" Yoongi can't deny it, so he just buries his stare in his own lap. "Like... nice pull obviously," he says gesturing at Jin, who looks momentarily pleased, "But really?" Jimin sighs and turns to Taehyung then. "Guessing you weren't invited to that particular gathering hon."   

Taehyung shakes his head. "Nope." He pauses then. "Actually, yeah, what the fuck, guys? No invite?"   

Yoongi huffs. "You, someone who does not like dick, are seriously mad that you didn’t get an invitation to what essentially amounted to a dick party? A gathering and celebration of dicks?"   

"Well, yeah..." Taehyung pouts, "Would have been nice to at least be asked."   

"Yeah, you guys should have at least asked. Rude," Jimin agrees, voice honey sweet as he strokes Taehyungs hair. "I'm sorry, honey, I'll invite you to the next dick party I go to. You're first on my list," Jimin assures him.   

"Thank you," Taehyung huffs, glaring at Yoongi as he leans into Jimin's hand. Jin and Yoongi are looking at them like they can't believe their eyes.  

"My absolute pleasure," Jimin purrs, giving him a once-over. The weight of his gaze has Taehyung squirming in his seat. "So... you're like 100 percent straight, buttercup?" Jimin asks him, and Taehyung gulps and laughs nervously.   

Yoongi rolls his eyes. "Not again, Jimin."   

"Shut the fuck up," Jimin says, smile not dimming one watt as he continues to look at Taehyung.   

"I mean... maybe like... 99?" Taehyung responds uncertainly, feeling less and less certain by the second. Jimin smirks slightly at that, tongue darting out to moisten his lips. It seems like a habit, but Taehyung can't help his audible exhale. "98. Possibly." Jimin bites his lip in an effort not to laugh, and fuck he's got plump lips. Taehyung's mind goes all white noise, no thoughts to be found. "I... touched a dick at bible camp once."   

Jimin laughs delightedly. "God he's adorable," he says to Jin and Yoongi before turning back to Taehyung. "You know, if you ever get tired of the straight and narrow, I'm perfectly plump and remarkably bendy."   

Taehyung leans unconsciously forward, and Jimin straightens up with another giggle.   

"Jimin..." Yoongi warns sternly, and Jimin pointedly turns his back on him.  

"Anyway," Jimin continues like he hasn't heard, "You guys should drop by our shop sometime. It's called the Queen Bean, on 12th Ave. Business is booming, gayer than ever before. We've got a new Open Mic Night on Thursdays. Joon's got this new piece that that's like a sensual twist on Judith Butler? I dunno, it's ridiculous for my tastes, but all kinds of snobby academic types are coming out to see him. And Hope's got something new, too..." His voice is full of implication as he shoots Yoongi a significant look over his shoulder.  

"Mmm," Yoongi hums appeasingly, clenching his teeth.    

"Aren't you going to ask about it?"   

"Nope," Yoongi says, swirling his beer around in the bottle.    

Jimin stares at him for a moment before sighing heavily. Jin seems to sense the tension, because he suddenly jumps into the conversation. "The Queen sounds great," he adds politely.    

"It’s a pretty cool place," Jimin confirms. "Coffee shop by day, wine bar by evening. Providing a safe and nonsexualized atmosphere for the queer community since 2013." His gaze shifts to Yoongi again, and Taehyung's got to give him credit, he really must have balls. "Yoongi used to come in to sketch and help us and other aspiring queens with costumes and shit, but as you know he hasn't been by in a while.”   

Yoongi finally snaps, sliding his beer abruptly away and pushing his chair back so that he can stand. "When are you going to get off my dick?"   

Jimin bristles, brows knit and shadows crossing his impeccably made-up face. "Maybe when you start at least pretending to give a semblance of a fuck about your friends again."   

Yoongi inhales a deep, steadying breath, turning away briefly before facing Jimin once again. "Look, I didn't just up and leave for no reason. I don't expect you to understand-" 

“Oh please. The whole world knew about your Hope drama. You two were so much less subtle than you seemed to think,” Jimin fires back, and Yoongi blanches very slightly. “Don’t you feel even a little bit bad?”   

Yoongi’s back goes rigid, his fists clenched, and Taehyung fights the urge to step in front of Jimin. “Seriously?" Yoongi laughs bitterly and incredulously, and Taehyung isn't sure if he's imagining it, but his eyes look a little shiny. "I feel awful."  

“Then maybe you should fucking act like it.”   

Yoongi slams his fists on the table so hard that they're glasses vibrate warningly. "Fuck off Jimin, I'm getting enough of this from Namjoon. I don't need it from you, too." Yoongi kicks aside his chair which clatters to the floor with a bang, drawing the attention of those around them.   

Then he's heading towards the exit without a look backwards. Jin curses and follows him.  "Yoongi, wait!"  

Taehyung and Jimin sit there staring after them for a few moments, until they disappear from view completely.  

"Shit. I'm sorry," Jimin mutters, looking mildly ashamed now. "Didn't mean to ruin your night."   

Taehyung shrugs. "My expectations for this night were already pretty much zero.”  

"Still, I feel bad. Should we follow them?”  

“Nah, Jin's got this," Taehyung assures him quickly, relishing the one-on-one opportunity he has been given.  

"Are they like... together now?" Jimin asks, taking a small sip of his drink. 

"I'm pretty sure that regardless of what they say, they're like an actual thing. Or at least they're going to be.”  

“How do you know?”   

“Can just tell,” Taehyung shrugs, nervously stirring his drink.  

Jimin bites his bright red lower lip, nodding slightly. “I guess sometimes you can just tell.”  

The way he says it has Taehyung’s eyes seeking out his face, searching it as his own face warms under Jimin’s heavy gaze.  

“Yeah.” He clears his throat, breaking the spell. “Anyway tonight was always gonna be a bust. Third wheel and all. The most I could hope for was that I'd get a quarter chub if they got a little handsy with each other."   

"I'm gonna go out on a limb and say 98% is a little high for you, baby." Jimin’s eyes brighten then, and he leans forward excitedly. “Hey, you wanna cup my butt?"   

"Um. What?" Taehyung asks, head cocked, clearly believing that he has misheard.   

“I've deprived you of your night’s entertainment, and earlier you seemed pretty interested in my butt. Wanna give it a good squeeze? I've been told my ass has a cheering effect on p-"   

"Yes," Taehyung says so fast that he shocks himself. Apparently, he shocks Jimin, too.   

"Wow, were you like... waiting for me to offer?"   

"No. I've just turned down too many free samples at grocery stores by automatically declining before I could even actually consider. Missed out on too many opportunities. Now I say yes first, ask questions later.  So yes, please, I would like to cup your butt."  

Jimin considers him for a moment. "I like you." He claps his hands and springs lightly to his feet. "Now hop up and grope me before your friend gets back. I have a feeling he would never let you live it down."   

"Good thinking," Taehyung says, pushing himself to his feet and wiping his sweaty hands on his jeans.  "How do you wanna- OH okay," Taehyung squeaks, because Jimin is suddenly in front of him, face-to-face, and Taehyung feels a pair of tiny hands grasping at his own, dragging them behind Jimin and settling them firmly on his ass. Jimin's eyeline is just about level with his lips, and when he takes a step forward to give Taehyung better access, he can feel Jimin's breath on his neck. He suppresses a shiver.    

Taehyung loves cupping butts, even just casually. There's something very comforting about it, he thinks, something easy, like holding a warm snuggly puppy. But not this time. Not if the stirring in Taehyung's lower body is any indication. He gives it a little squeeze, and he hears Jimin sigh and rest his head on Taehyung's shoulder.    

"You have nice hands," Jimin says contentedly. "Most people's hands aren't big enough to really properly hold it. But yours are perfect."   

"Thanks..." Taehyung responds uncertainly, trying to pretend like he isn't currently having a religious experience. That his dick isn't currently jumping up to praise the Lord. "Your... your butt is pretty great, too."   

"Thanks," Jimin mumbles into his neck, "We should do this again sometime. And maybe other things that involve my butt."   

Taehyung gets a little dizzy then, maybe because there is blood rushing to so many parts of his body that are not his brain, but he is saved from the feat of trying to formulate a response when he hears Jin's voice sigh, "What the fuck are you guys doing?"   

Taehyung jumps back so hard he trips over his own heels, but luckily his momentum carries him directly into his chair, where he plops gracelessly. He keeps his face straight, crossing his legs. To give off an air of composure. And also, for other reasons.    

"Hello Seokjin," Taehyung greets him, face radiating heat at this point. "You must be wondering what the fuck we were doing."   

“Yes, Tae, I literally just said that.”   

“And it’s a great question,” Taehyung chuckles a forced chuckle and then arranges his face into what he hopes is an innocent expression.   

Jin regards him strangely for a few moments, clearly waiting for him to explain, but Taehyung blinks up at him blankly, hoping that he'll just forget.   

"You... didn’t answer the question," Jin says, brows furrowed. Damn. Foiled.   

"I just said it was a great question," Taehyung explains carefully. "I did not say I was going to answer it."   

"You..." Jin mumbles with a look of mild disgust. He does not finish the thought.  

"He was curious about my drag," Jimin answers for him. "He was convinced all of this," he grasps his own rear, and Taehyung suppresses a wave of arousal, "was padding, so I had to defend my ass's honor. Strictly business."   

Jin rolls his eyes. "Okay well Mr. Definitely Not Gay, if you're done groping men for the night, Yoongi's gone. I'm not really feeling it anymore. Wanna go home?" Jin asks him, checking his phone, dropping it briefly to his side, then checking it again.   

"I do not necessarily want to go home, but I do think I need to go home. Like, right now," Taehyung confirms, checking his pants situation. Not good.    

"Or you could just say yes," Jin mumbles. "Well, it was great meeting you, Jimin. I have a feeling we'll be seeing you around. Come on, Tae."   

Taehyung chances another glance at his dick, then back up at Jin. "Carry me?"   

"What the fuck? Why?”   

"Look, I'll... I'll buy you an entire Costco rotisserie chicken tomorrow, just... fucking carry me and don't ask questions," Taehyung pleads, eyes large as he subtly nods to his own crotch.   

Jin sighs and walks over to Taehyung's chair, squatting down in front of him and offering his back.    

"Bridal style," Taehyung clarifies, and just as Jin is about to complain, Taehyung hastily adds, "Believe me. It's better for us both this way."   

Jimin swallows a snorting laugh.    

"Fine," Jin groans, turning around and sweeping Taehyung into his arms. "See you, Jimin."   

"Bye, Jin," Jimin replies, then flourishes his fingers in a coy wave directed at Taehyung, voice dropping an octave. "Bye, dollface."  

As Jin retreats, struggling slightly under Taehyung's weight, Taehyung turns to shout over Jin's shoulder, spotting a flawless giggling Minnie in the crowd. "Bye! It was really nice- OUCH JIN YOU DID THAT ON PURPOSE, THAT WALL DID NOT JUST LEAP OUT OF – FUCKING OUCH, YOU MOTHERF-”   

 
 

 


 

 
 

By the time they get home and Jin has tossed him carelessly onto the couch (Taehyung had resolutely refused to let Jin put him down, even well after his boner had subsided), Taehyung has talked himself down to 90% straight.  

“How exactly are you calculating your straightness?" Jin asks incredulously as he rubs tenderly at his own back. "Like, what are the factors? What is the formula?”   

Taehyung lounges back on the couch, ignoring him completely.  “I mean… it's not that I don't want to be gay. Like… It's just. I've just never really properly considered it until now." 

“I don't know if you realize this, but everything in your entire life has been leading up to this moment. Some could argue that you have lived a gayer life than me, and I don't know if you know this, but I'm extremely gay. Your lifestyle during college was straight out of an Oscar Wilde novel."  

"I mean, sure, have I had some sexual thoughts about men? Yeah. Of course. Who hasn't. I just assumed I was straight because I never thought I'd want to actually date, woo, and marry one. I mean, I definitely like girls..." Taehyung ponders, gently tapping his chin with one finger. "But I also want to buy a 4-bedroom ranch-style home in the suburbs with Jimin and start a beautiful family together."  

Jin rolls his eyes. "You hung out with him for 20 minutes." 

"Don't be a grouch. Sometimes you just know." Taehyung pauses as he drags a throw pillow under his head. "I think I'm kinda gay." 

Jin sighs, plopping down on the couch beside him. 'You know there are more options than just ‘gay’ right?”   

“I know.  Sexuality is fluid, blah blah blah. I think... I just need to do some research," Taehyung decides. "On butt stuff, too. I'm definitely still scared of butt stuff. I kinda wish you and me had boinked that one time.” Jin cringes, and Taehyung pauses. “Sorry. I forgot. I wish we had fucked,” he corrects himself with a deadly serious expression.  

“Totally the part I was cringing at. Good read.”   

Taehyung sighs. “I'll probably never see him again anyway." He is silent for a moment, then, "Hey Jin?”   

“Yeah?”   

"Will you do something for me?"  

Jin's expression morphs into one of mild suspicion. "Maybe..."  

“I thought about his butt and got a boner again.”   

Jin look instantly scandalized, scrambling back on the couch. “Well I'm not jerking you off if that's what you're-”   

“Ew! No. I was just gonna ask you to leave me to my throbbing shame stick.”   

Jin looks vaguely disgusted but not surprised. “We're done speaking for the night."   

“But if you're offering… You know... to-”   

"Very fucking done."

Chapter Text

"Hey Yoongi?" Taehyung starts carefully, lying on his stomach on Jin's living room floor, kicking his legs gently back and forth and putting on his most innocent eyes. "Would you-"  

"No."  

"You don't even know what I was going to say."  

"You were going to ask me to hook you up with Jimin." 

Taehyung's eyes widen incrementally before he manages to control his expression. "No."  

"You put ‘ask Yoongi for the hook-up' on your Google calendar, which I DO NOT know why you shared with me, by the way," he replies evenly. "And my answer is no."  

"What?? Why??" Taehyung whines, pushing himself to his knees and dragging himself across the carpet to where Yoongi is seated. He grabs a hold of his legs.   

Yoongi makes a displeased noise and tries to pry Taehyung's desperate, clinging fingers from the fabric of his pants. "Ew, what is this orange shit on your hands, did you like bathe in Cheetos?"  

"Cheese balls are my stress food, Yoongi, literally doctor's orders. Which is why you need to work with me on this. I'm dying over here. Come on, I'll do anything, pleaaaase?"

"No."

"Look I am recently 85% straight, meaning that I would probably let you suck my toe as you jerk off or something, in exchange for his Instagram handle.”  

"Jin, come collect him!" Yoongi shouts, straining to get away, reaching with all his might for something on the side table, grunting in effort. Taehyung grabs his reaching hand with pleading eyes. 

"No! Shh, I'm sorry, I'm sorry.  No need to bring Jin into this. I'm chill." 

"You are the opposite of chill. And get off of me, you are seriously covered in cheese dust." 

Taehyung's eyes brighten suddenly, and he drags his disgusting cheese-covered hands up to press them against Yoongi's face. Yoongi flails making a disgusted noise as Taehyung rubs his grimy orange fingers all over his skin. "Just his Instagram, Yoongi. Just his Instagram and this can all be over." 

"Never!" Yoongi struggles, arms reaching again towards the end table. 

"Yoooooongiiiiiii!”

He only shuts up when he feels a jarring, cold wetness hit his face, screwing his eyes up to protect them and releasing Yoongi's pants so that he can shield himself. When peeks his eyelids open after a moment of silence, he sees Yoongi holding one of Jin's spray bottles that he uses for cleaning, looking uncharacteristically uncertain, still leaning away, gauging Taehyung's reaction.

"Did you just spray me in the face like a fucking dog? With a potentially dangerous chemical?” 

Yoongi shrugs. "It worked."  

Taehyung gawks at him before lunging again. He is stopped mid-lunge with another icy blast of liquid, and he goes tumbling dramatically back onto the floor. "MOTHERFUCK- wait is that vodka."  

 


 

 

"It's a natural disinfectant," Jin huffs snootily as they walk to the club. "Excuse me if I don't want to be surrounded by harsh chemicals in my home. And you're welcome by the way, otherwise you would have gotten a face full of poison." 

"Yeah, because of YOUR boyfriend," Taehyung protests. 

"He's not my boyfriend," Jin sighs. "And he thought the bottle was filled with water."

"I call bullshit on both accounts. He's got it in for me. And Jin, you cook dinner for him literally every night." 

"Because I'm a menu consultant, dumbass. I've gotta try my recipes out on someone. I mean, if you think about it, he's actually doing me a favor, trying out my new dishes." 

Taehyung actually stops walking so that he can direct all of his energy into the scathing glare that he shoots at Jin. "Oh yeah, is your dad's chicken soup on the menu? Conveniently the exact week ickle Yoongkins caught the flu?" 

"I just want you to know that if I had the spray bottle now, you'd have a face full of vodka." 

"Is this why you like cleaning so much?" Taehyung asks, jogging slightly to keep up with Jin's pace. "One spritz for the table, one for you? How functional-alcoholic-in-the-burbs of you. Where did you even learn about it?”  

Jin shows amazing restraint as always, utterly unfazed. "Your mother, actually. Explains how she got through your childhood. And you know what, I wish I'd taken a few more hits before I left the house. I don't even know why we're here."  

"I dunno," Taehyung pretends, scuffing his shoes against the sidewalk as they make their way down the street. "I was just in the mood to go out."  

"Oh yeah? And there's no particular reason why we're at this specific bar?" They come to a stop outside of the same bar from last week, with its dull green backlit glass.  

"They had some really great beer."  

"You had a Bud Light. Which you could also purchase at even the most back-woods run-down Alabama gas station from a man whose mother is also his cousin."  

"Okay, fuck off, you know why we're here."  

"I do," Jin confirms. "I just don't know why I'm indulging you."  

"I just, I need to see him again. Just. Come on," he grumbles, tugging Jin towards the entrance.   

"Taaaaae," Jin whines as he reluctantly allows himself to be dragged. "We honestly don't even know if he's going to be here. Yoongi said he didn't tell you a thing." 

"I, uh. We do know, actually,” Taehyung says lightly and with a suspiciously casual tone, but the overwhelming guilt still permeates. "That he's going to be here. He's performing tonight."

"Tae..."  

"Look the less you know about it, the better. You spend too much time with Yoongi, and you're a terrible liar."  

"Tae..."  

Taehyung clicks his tongue in annoyance. "You know, you really need to stop trying to make me Lawful Good, Jin, I am not Lawful Good. NOW," Taehyung says over his shoulder, voice rising as they step into the pulsing club. "We're already here so let's just make the best of it. Keep your eyes peeled."  

"You're going to get me in trouble."  

"Stop talking like he's your nagging husband. In fact, you've known me longer and have seen my dick more recently. If anything, I'm your husband.”  

Jin cringes at an apparent memory. "You have to start wearing pants to sleep."  

"That's a personal decision."  

"Not when you're crashing on my couch, it's not."  

It's a little less densely packed than it was last week, and the space between bodies makes Taehyung feel more exposed, especially as he takes in some of the looks that he and Jin are drawing from his fellow bar goers. They arrived earlier than they did last time, too, which might have something to do with the sparser crowd, but Taehyung wanted to make absolute sure that he didn't miss the show.  

Yoongi's group chat had said that Jimin would be one of several queens performing at 11.    

Taehyung bounces anxiously, pressed right up against the stage. Jin rejoins him, drinks in hand, and joins him at the stage's edge. "So are you about to blow all of your cash on this?" Jin asks him casually.   

"What? Cash? Why?" Taehyung asks, an edge of panic to his voice.   

"Yeah cash... to like... tip the queens? I figured you were probably about to blow your whole paycheck trying to impress Jimin."  

Taehyung swears that he is being sucked headfirst into a black hole as the blood drains from his face at an alarming rate. He clutches onto Jin. "Fuck. Oh fuck," he despairs, fumbling to dig frantically through his wallet. "I didn't even know. I... shit... do you think he takes... Visa?"  

"Yeah, I'll bet he's got a card reader right in his asscrack," Jin deadpans.  

"I know you're fucking with me right now, but I'm your friend and I am telling you very honestly that you should patent that idea. This is a paperless age," Taehyung tells him very seriously before returning to his frantic wallet search. "Fuuuck, he's going to think I'm a cheap bastard."  

"You are a cheap bastard."  

"Yeah, but I don't need him to know that yet!" Taehyung whines, shutting his wallet despondently. "I need to him to fall for me before I slowly and inevitably disappoint him!"  

Jin groans slightly before pulling out a wad of cash from his pocket and halving it, shoving the bills into Taehyung's hand. "Here."  

"Jin, what would I do without you?" Taehyung asks, counting the money, then reaching over to pluck the remaining bills from Jin's hand as well. Jin makes an annoyed sound but doesn't move to snatch the money back. 

"Not much, probably. You would have died naked and dangling from your own half-collapsed ceiling back in 2012."  

Taehyung blinks at him blankly. "You always have to bring that up."  

Jin looks a little smug as he turns back to the stage where the lights have just come up, and the crowd around them erupts into a low cheer.  Taehyung's grip tightens around the bills in his hand as he gazes up at the stage.   

In any other situation, Taehyung would be enjoying the show immensely. The visuals are stunning, the music is fantastic, and the crowd is responsive and electric. But he's nervous. He watches with rapt attention, watching for the shine of dark hair or the very specific curve of a rear. But each time it's not Jimin, he tunes out immediately, utterly wrapped up in his own ludicrous hypotheticals.   

But no matter how much he tries to prepare himself, he is completely unprepared when the M.C. clears her throat and says in a loud, clear voice, "Now are you all ready for the littlest big thing this side of the Mississippi?" The crowd responds the loudest it's been yet, and it's clear that they all know exactly what's coming. "You already know who it is. Give it up for, Minnie Magnum!" The M.C. yells as she retreats from the stage.   

Taehyung would take a moment to marvel at the sheer feat of engineering that is Jimin's outfit if his jaw was not currently hanging slack and his mind could construct an honest-to-god thought. But as it is, he's left gaping dumbly at the improbably tight baby-pink latex and mesh clinging to almost every inch of Jimin's body. Almost every inch, because, as Taehyung learns as Jimin does a spin, the leg portion of the catsuit is connected to the upper part by only one thin vertical strap on the front, a pink plastic buckle, leaving a thick strip of pretty, exposed skin that runs from the bottom of Jimin's asscheeks several inches down along his thigh. 

"Did you just whimper?" Jin asks, elbowing him hard.  

"Did I?" Taehyung asks distractedly, but it snaps him out of his daze enough that he has the presence of mind to start worrying again. 

The crowd is rapt as Britney Spears' Toxic begins to blare from the speakers, and Taehyung is abruptly parched, his tongue dry and thick in his mouth, his heartbeat clumsy and clunking in his ears. It's a remix of the song clearly, slower, hotter, definitely deadlier, and when Jimin suddenly slut drops to the ground, the ensuing sultry glance that he throws over his shoulder feels like it actually burns. 

 "Um, hey, Jin," Taehyung whispers, very close to panicking as he grips the bills in his suddenly very sweaty hand. He hasn't been paying attention like he should have this entire show. "How do I give him the money? Like where do I put it?"  

"Uh, wherever he lets you, I guess."  

"Wherever he-" Taehyung balks. "JIN I'M NOT READY."  

"Well you'd better get ready," he says, prying Taehyung's now-clinging hands off of his arm, and sure enough, Taehyung can see bills being waved from the crowd already.  

He tries to formulate a plan of attack, he really does, but when his eyes find the stage again, he is immediately distracted. The way Jimin moves is deadly hot, powerful but fluid, giving the impression of both immaculate control and absolute unrestrained sensuality. Taehyung doesn't even realize he's leaning so far forward until he almost literally falls. It snaps him briefly out of his trance, and he looks around him to see several other guys looking a hell of a lot like he feels. Desperate hands reach out, begging him to take their money, but Jimin acts like he hasn't seen them, forcing them to toss the bills onto the stage at his feet. They seem to feed off of the cold treatment, becoming more and more desperate, throwing more and more cash.  

And so Taehyung is both thrilled and terrified when Jimin's eyes pass over him and then do a double-take, lingering just a moment longer than they have on anybody else so far tonight, a small smirk on his lips as he continues. And suddenly there's a smug confidence to his grin, like he knows something that nobody else does.   

The lights stutter, and the song grinds to an abrupt halt, and Jimin flings his body almost violently to the floor. And when the music cranks back up again, it's half-time, the blasting bass shivering through the room, throbbing and thick and sensual. Jimin is lost in the music, writhing gorgeously against the floor then flipping over to his stomach so that he can crawl, literally crawl across the stage, back arched, ass up, eyes directly fixed on Taehyung.   

It's the hottest, most terrifying moment of his life, as Jimin prowls towards him, coming to a stop a mere few feet away. Jimin flips his long, black hair, head rotating in a slow circle, long neck exposed as he runs his hand up his own body, coming to a rest around the column of his throat.   

The music slows, the intensity gradually fading, and Jimin pivots smoothly on his knees, turns his back to Taehyung and then bends his upper body back and back and back, his head lying flat against the floor and looking up at Taehyung through his eyelashes, chest heaving, sculpted black hair sprawled out over edge of the stage.   

There's about one second of silence between the end of the song and the absolute roar of the crowd, and Taehyung is jarred by the sudden din. Jimin, however, just smiles coyly and like a string is pulling his body up, slowly lifts himself into a kneeling position and to his feet.  

And then the world stops as Jimin pauses at the front of the stage, his back to the crowd. He cocks a hip. He leans forward, and he pushes his ass back, running a finger under the bodysuit to lift the fabric right where it settles above the curve of his asscheek.  

He looks at Taehyung expectantly.  

Who stares blankly at the heavenly ass in front of him for a solid 5 seconds before Jin elbows him harshly and grabs Taehyung's cash-bearing fist to push it towards Jimin. His hand hovers there for another moment before he catches on and tucks the bills snugly underneath the fabric. His fingers brush warm skin on the return, and he feels his face flush with an incredible heat. 

Jimin smiles delightedly before straightening up and sauntering off stage, and Taehyung is left staring and numb.  

"Are you okay?" Jin asks, amusement evident in his voice. 

"I..." He starts, but he doesn't bother to finish. Words wouldn't help anyway. Words don't mean anything anymore.

He doesn't even realize that time has passed until the next performer, the last of the night, is already being announced, and he's a little jarred once more as the cheers rival even Jimin's.  

"Please welcome to the stage, Sunny Dee Lite!” 

"Holy shit," Jin mutters beside Taehyung, eyes trained on the stage as he turns the rest of his body so that he can elbow him once more. "Hey asshole, did you spend all my cash?" 

"Huh?" Taehyung grunts, snapping his head up to look at Jin. "Uh, no. I just... gave him everything." 

"THAT WAS $150," Jin exclaims, shoving him slightly. Luckily, he is soon distracted again by the figure on stage. "Fuck, dude. Look at her." 

Taehyung swivels his head up to the stage now, taking in the slim, elegant lines and graceful stance of the queen in question. Where Jimin is curved, Sunny is sharp. She's all delicate angles and willowy limbs and sharp, piercing eyes. And from here, with the stage lights beaming down on her, she glows, all luminous golden skin and light. Silvery ash blonde hair cascades gently over one shoulder, and tiny clustered pieces of gold glitter reflect the light ethereally around her eyes. Her floor-length dress is the palest blue and completely sheer, and delicate pastel petals of various shades placed strategically to cover enough to make the sheerness decent. Stunning, Taehyung will admit, staggering even, but he's a little too shaken to appreciate it fully. 

"Uh, yeah. She's... yeah," Taehyung vaguely agrees, then quickly follows up with, "Hey, I'll be at the bar." 

He turns without waiting for a response, weaving carefully through the crowd until he makes it to the bar and orders himself a beer. He plops down onto a stool and takes a grateful sip when the bartender slides it his way, then he runs his hands through his hair with a thoughtful exhale.  

Jimin is hot. Confirmed. 

Jimin is a dude. Confirmed. 

Jimin has a dick. Also confirmed.  

Taehyung is aroused by the idea of Jimin's hot dude dick. Super confirmed.  

“Hey hot stuff," a sweet raspy voice says into his ear, and Taehyung startles so hard that he spills a good quarter of his beer. Jimin appears on the bar stool beside him, still fully done up, shining pink latex still straining at the seams.

“Fuck,” Taehyung breathes, trying to recover as he clutches his chest as he averts his eyes.  

“Sorry," Jimin says delightedly, not sounding remotely sorry. “How did you like the show?”  

Taehyung takes a deep breath, raising his eyebrows as his mind flashes back to a flushed, writhing Jimin. “It was… good.” 

“Good?” Jimin asks with obvious offense. 

“Um, really good?” Taehyung amends quickly, “Like so good I think forgot every adjective except for ‘good.’” 

Jimin looks mollified as he smoothes his outfit, the fabric straining even more dangerously across his thighs as he crosses his legs. “Good. I'm glad you liked it. That last little bit was improvised, you know. The floorwork.” 

His ears perk up at that. “Oh?” 

“Yeah. Sometimes you've just got to read your audience and adjust. Felt like that move would be a real crowd pleaser,” Jimin says, leaning forward into Taehyung’s space and grabbing his gaze with a sultry look. “What do you think? Was the crowd pleased?" 

“Absofucking-” Taehyung starts to assure him a hair too quickly. He realizes this, clears his throat, shakes his bangs out of his face, and finishes coolly, “-probably.” 

Jimin laughs delightedly, throwing back his head. Taehyung can only smile goofily in response as he scratches the back of his head. 

“So did Jin and Yoongi drag you along again?” Jimin asks, motioning to the bartender to bring him a drink. The guys behind him are whispering excitedly to each other as they nod in Jimin's direction.  

“Uh. No. Not really. Just… you know, good beer,” he claims for the second time that night, shifting his hand to try and cover up the label of his Bud Light. Jimin’s lips are pursed in an amused little line, eyes still sparkling. 

“Right… right. I hear they let the Bud Light sit in the hot sun for a few hours as soon as it gets off the truck. Gives it that certain something special." 

"Yeah I heard about that, like... secondary fermentation," Taehyung speculates wildly as he takes another swig. He cringes as the beer hits his tongue, because he's sure he can actually taste it now. 

"House specialty," Jimin agrees too sweetly. "One of a kind. Guess you'll have to come back whenever you're craving it.  

Taehyung smiles sheepishly. "Guess I will." 

"If you want to come back next time I have a show, maybe I'll buy you one. I usually announce when I'm performing on Instagram." 

Taehyung swallows a yelp of victory as he whips out his phone without consideration for an appropriate pause. "Oh cool, what's your Instagram?"  

"It's just minnie_magnum. Branding and all, you know." 

His fingers fly, searching for a moment before he locates the page. “Got it. I'll uh… I'll check it out sometime. 

Jimin beams. “Great! You should definitely come back. And not just because you tip obscenely.” 

Taehyung burns at the memory. “Right.” He weighs another thought in his mind then adds, “Thanks, by the way. For… that.” 

Jimin stares at him blankly, obviously trying to figure out what Taehyung is thanking him for. Taehyung can tell when it clicks, though, when Minnie breaks out into a blinding grin, and he wants to crawl under the bar and die. “You are very welcome. For allowing you to give me money.”  He looks at Taehyung fondly for a moment before hopping of the stool. “Well I've got to go wash this shit off, but I just wanted to say hi. Hopefully I see you again soon?” 

“Definitely,” Taehyung confirms emphatically, phone slipping slightly in his now-sweaty grip. “Soon.” 

With a delicate little wave, Jimin turns and retreats into the crowd, and Taehyung has clicked the 'follow' button before the back of his head has even disappeared. 

 


 

 

“Why are you at my house?”  

“Because social media stalking seems less creepy when you're not doing it alone. Seems more like... casual perusal, you know? Group googling. Which, come to think of it, sounds like something nasty that you and Yoongi would do."  

“Speaking of Yoongi, he's coming over in half an hour,” Jin tells him with a disapproving look at his computer. 

"I can leave when he gets here. You know… if you two want some privacy.” He waggles his eyebrows, forcing a casually suggestive tone.  

“I told you, we're just friends.” But Jin is pink-cheeked again, his head tucked as he nervously straightens the magazines on the coffee table.  

“Yeah I very much look forward to watching you two slowly come to the realization that literally everyone else around you has already had,” Taehyung says, eyes trained on his screen. “Wait, who the hell is this asshole?” Taehyung asks, pointing to a figure in one of the pictures on Jimin’s Instagram. “He's in a ton of Jimin’s pictures. Do you think they're dating?”  

“Fuck if I know.”  

“I hate him. He's hot. Is he hotter than me?” He turns the screen to face Jin and points out the fit silver haired guy in several of the photos.   

“I’d say you're both hard nines.”  

“Fuck you, I'm a ten.”  

“No, I'm a ten," Jin clarifies. "You're a nine, but like in a different way than that guy is. Different vibes, both hot." He purses his lips and adds, "But definitely not as hot as me."  

Taehyung huffs and continues to scroll. “Whatever. Dude, Jimin has a ton of followers. Like, a ton. I think he's like insta-famous.”  

“I mean his drag is pretty impeccable. He's got an aesthetic for sure, like.... cotton candy dominatrix. And charisma out the ass. Did you see how many people were waiting for him offstage last night?”  

Taehyung considers for a moment as he continues to scroll through Jimin's photos. “Do you think Jimin is too hot and famous for me?”  

Jin raises his eyebrows in consideration. “Maybe.”  

“You are the worst! You’re supposed to say no.”  

Jin just shrugs. “Maybe he's not as hot out of drag,” Jin offers in half-assed consolation. 

"Yoongi said he's extremely hot out of drag, remember?" He groans, zooming in so far on a picture of Jimin's butt that it's unrecognizable as a butt. "I'm doomed." 

Jin considers him for a moment. “So is this like one of your passing infatuations or are you actually serious about this?”  

Taehyung chews his lip. “I dunno. He's pretty and nice and funny. We clicked. I've never clicked like that before. I'm just... exploring my options.” 

Jin nods slowly. “Okay.”  

"Hey, I can try and look up that other queen, if you want," Taehyung says with fresh determination. "The really pretty one? What was her name, Sunny or something?" 

Jin shifts uncomfortably at that. "No that's okay. I already asked Yoongi. They know each other." 

"And?" Taehyung prompts him, "You gonna smash that?" 

"She's actually his ex. Well, not ex really, but... you know," Jin reveals as he folds his hands primly in front of him, an obvious sign of his discomfort.  

"Whaaaat," Taehyung gapes, fingers freezing above the keyboard. "Are you serious bro? The one Jimin was talking about?" 

"Uh, yeah. Strictly off limits. Which totally sucks because she's just... wow. Yoongi actually made that amazing dress, you know. Apparently, he used to help with her costumes." 

"Sucks, man," Taehyung confirms. "I think she's in some of these pics, actually. If you change your mind, I could probably give you the hook-up once me and Jimin are married." 

"Gee, thanks," Jin says flatly. "But I don't want to make things weird with Yoongi." 

"Whatev," Taehyung says, turning back to the screen and clicking on another photo of Jimin. “Dude this boob contour is amazing. Do you think mine would look like this if I did it?”  

“Not even a little.”  

“Fuck you, I'm gonna try it,” Taehyung ignores him. “Do you have makeup?”  

Jin looks a little offended, turning up his nose. "Why the hell would I have makeup? Look at this face."

Taehyung hums and taps his chin thoughtfully. "What about cocoa powder and cornstarch? You've got to have that, right?" 

Jin eyes him fearfully. "Why?" 

 


 

 

“I told you I wanted double d's,” Taehyung whines.  

“I'm working with what I've got,” Jin huffs as he smudges at the cocoa powder mix on Taehyung chest. “It's not my fucking fault that you have the pecs of an adolescent chimp. Which, by the way, is one of the many reasons you're a fucking nine! Wow you smell so good though.” 

“Do you like, get aroused by the scent of food?” 

“So what if I do?” 

“Are you gonna try and boink me in the kitchen aga- OW, careful with the nips, jackoff!” 

When the front door clicks shut to his left, Taehyung cranes his head painfully to watch as Yoongi snaps a picture with a resigned sigh. "And, sent." 

The blood drains from Taehyung's face as he slaps Jin's hands away from his chest. "To... whom." 

"My group chat." 

Taehyung gapes at him, his stomach dropping several miles below sea level. "Why???

Yoongi swaggers up to him, clapping him on the shoulder and causing a fine dust of baking products rises in a small cloud from his body. "What, I though you wanted to be a part of the group chat? Why else would you have hacked into my fucking phone?" 

"Why would I what?" Taehyung laughs uneasily, covering his nipples, which seem to have hardened from fear.  

Yoongi scrolls through his phone for a moment before clearing his throat and reading from the small screen, "'Wow, Jimin, isn't that Kim Taehyung guy so hot?' 'Jimin I know we're good friends and all but this is so weird, I forgot, do you have a boyfriend?' 'Hey Jimin what moisturizer do you use and what does your face smell like?' Really?" 

"Oh, Tae, you did not," Jin groans as he dusts his hands off on his apron, and Taehyung relaxes his arms and folds his hands in his lap in mild shame.  

"He did," Yoongi assures him, passing Jin his phone. "Which is how I assume you found out about his drag show. But thanks to that picture, we're getting on our way to being even. Ah," he says, looking pleased and taking his phone back from Jin as it vibrates. He looks at the incoming message, then quickly snaps another picture of Taehyung, this time from straight-on.  

"What the fuck!" Taehyung exclaims, hands flying up to cover his chest again. 

"Jimin wanted a front view." After a moment, Yoongi's phone vibrates again, and he cringes as he reads the message. "Ew, I give up." 

"What did he say?" Taehyung asks curiously.  

Yoongi scoffs. "If you think I'm telling you, then you are seriously-" 

Jin cranes around his shoulder to peek at the screen, cutting him off. "He said you have cute nipples." 

 


 

 

“Is this going to become a regular thing now? Me tagging along on your dates?” Taehyung groans as he traipses behind Yoongi and Jin. “Am I the only thing keeping you two from like ravishing each other behind that dumpster right now?”  

“The only reason that I have not forcefully crammed this bagel in his mouth is because he's your friend,” Yoongi growls to Jin, glaring back at him.  

“I’ve been on a no carb thing for the last week, fyi,” Taehyung adds, eyeing the bagel hungrily. “You don’t wanna get close to my face with a bread product unless you want to risk losing your entire hand.”  

“This is not a date,” Jin tells him, somehow managing to keep from rolling his eyes. "And I'm bringing you along as a favor to you."

“Really? Where are we going?”  

“We’re going to The Queen,” Jin says with a wink. Yoongi hunches his shoulders, tucking his hands into his pockets and bracing himself against some nonexistent wind. He looks clearly displeased.  

Taehyung is abruptly several feet behind them as they continue to walk and he doesn’t. “What? Why didn’t you tell me?”  

“Why didn’t you ask where we were fucking going?” Yoongi asks skeptically. “Do you just agree to do things without any clue what you’re doing?”  

“Generally, yes!” Taehyung despairs. “I trust my friends!”  

“I thought you wanted to see Jimin again,” Jin says, eyebrows furrowed.   

“I did! I do! I just like… I bought a special sweater for the occasion, but instead now he’s gonna see me in my dad's sweats and my trashcan sandals!”  

“You bought a sweater?” Jin asks incredulously.  

“You have trashcan sandals?” Yoongi adds with a disgusted curl of his lip, glancing down at Taehyung's feet. 

“I saved these kickass sandals from a tragically premature end, you consumer whores. And the sweater seemed suitably gay.”  

“Sweaters cannot be inherently gay.”  

Taehyung chuckles knowingly. “Tell me that again when you see this sweater.”  

“You know you don't have to try so hard, right? You know the gay part is your actual attraction to a man?” Jin offers soullessly, as if he is aware that his words are going to make very little impact.   

“Oh that reminds me," Taehyung continues, tripping lightly over his sandals. "Can I come to brunch now?”  

“You were never not invited to brunch because you were straight,” Jin replies, sounding tired.  

“Allegedly straight,” Taehyung corrects him. "And what the fuck, then why was I not invited?"

"So many other reasons. Remember when you got drunk and tried that stripper trick with byob champagne in the middle of all-you-can eat pancakes?”  

"Is that why I'm banned from IHOP?"  

"Yes. Wait I thought you didn't remember any of that.”  

"I saw the security footage."

"How you doing percentage-wise anyway?” Jin inquires.  

“After browsing his Instagram I’m down to a solid 75%. I mean, I saw actual bulge and it did absolutely nothing to quell my raging boner. In fact it did the opposite."  

"I really should have known you’d find his Instagram with or without me,” Yoongi seethes quietly, before craning his head to look at the buildings. “And will you at least try not to pop a raging boner in front of my friends?” Yoongi pleads as they come to a stop in front of a cheerful looking coffee shop. The sign out front reads Queen Bean: Haus of Coffee. “This is gonna be hard enough without adding your dick to the equation.”  

“No promises. She's been very hard to control lately.” He pats his crotch fondly. 

"Stop touching your dick, my friends are looking," Yoongi hisses at him, and sure enough, there is a small crowd gathered inside the coffee shop peering out the window. Taehyung retracts his hand from his dick immediately, but it becomes clear after a second that nobody inside the shop is staring at him. Yoongi shifts under their collective gaze, and Jin shoves him forward gently.   

"You got this," Jin murmurs reassuringly into Yoongi's ear. "Remember they love you and want you back." 

The crowd disperses subtly as they approach, and by the time they step foot in the shop, everyone has managed to look very casual.   

A tall drag queen with a black asymmetrical bob rises from her chair at the bar to greet them, wearing a white crop top, metallic platform oxfords, and what looks to be a black utilikilt. 

"Hey asswipe," the queen greets Yoongi slightly and with a shy wave.  

"Hey dickwad," Yoongi returns with uncharacteristic shyness.  

“Is uh… is everything okay?”  

“Yeah, everything’s fine, Joon...  I just… you know… missed… coffee.”  

Watching Yoongi struggle to express his feelings is strangely gratifying.  Namjoon exhales an amused chuckle. “Coffee missed you too, Yoongi.”  

Yoongi rolls his eyes, his cheeks coloring traitorously. “Wow fuck off. Joon, this is Jin and Taehyung." 

"Ah," Namjoon says smugly, "Of course. Yoongi's new husband, and his husband's husband, Sweetnips." 

"I object to literally every part of that sentence," Jin says with a grimace. 

"Come on," Yoongi grunts as he ignores Namjoon and steers them over to a table in the corner, where a young guy sits, sucking on a lollipop, staring blankly at his tablet, which is pulled up to the google search page. He's obviously trying very hard to not look up at Yoongi.  

"Get out of my spot, runt," Yoongi says without an ounce of edge to his voice. The guy finally smiles up at him, lips curling around his lollipop.   

"No way, you snooze you lose. I'm the resident brooder now."  

"Kook if you don't get your flat little ass up I'm telling Joon-"  

"Telling me what?" Namjoon shouts from across the shop.  

"Nothing!" The kid scrambles immediately out of the seat, panic in his eyes as he glares at Yoongi. "You're lucky that I both love you and am terrified of you." 

"And Machiavelli said you couldn't have both." Yoongi reaches up to ruffle his hair before sliding into the booth. Jin follows, immediately leaning in to whisper to Yoongi, who shakes his head and looks down at the table.  

Taehyung, however, remains standing, his eyes scanning the room for a glimpse of shining black hair, ears straining for a whisper of a tinkling giggle. Looking back at Yoongi and Jin and finding them already in deep, hushed conversation, he turns to stroll over to the bar instead, where a small beanie-clad figure is in the process of frothing some milk.   

"Hey, excuse me," Taehyung calls just as soon as the guy is finished. He looks up at Taehyung inquisitively, then his eyes crinkle up in amusement. He sets down the cup in his hand and swaggers over to the bar. He looks familiar, and his stomach turns in displeasure.  Or something. 

It's the hot guy from Jimin’s Instagram.  

"Well hello there." The guy is leaning forward on the bar with an assured kind of confidence, very much in Taehyung's space. Taehyung licks his lips nervously, leaning away slightly. How dare this guy talk to him like he knows him.  

"Uh. Hi. Do you know if there's someone here named Jimin? Or, Minnie, I guess?"  

The guy's face cracks into a stunning smile, and Taehyung can't help but smile with him. Damn him. "I dunno. Describe them to me."  

Taehyung scratches his chin. "Uh, well. I guess he would be about your height? Long black hair. Tiny, pretty hands. An ass that would have at least like 200,000 followers on Instagram. And he's like… really beautiful. Like too beautiful. Like if aliens came down to earth in human disguise and they based that disguise on the composite combination of all ideal human features but they got it too perfect, like totally unrealistic… that kind of beautiful.”  

The guy throws his head back in delighted laughter, and hey, that rings a vague bell.   

"Well? Anything?" Taehyung prompts him impatiently. 

"It's me."  

"What's you?"  

"I'm Jimin."  

Taehyung considers him seriously for a second. "Sounds fake."  

"I'm dead serious," he insists, looking extremely amused. 

Taehyung chews his lip, his eyes running up and down the guy's small form. "Prove it."  

“How? You want my goddamn I.D.?"  

Taehyung pauses to consider. "Just... turn around?"  

The guy sighs and hikes up his shirt in the back, turning around to reveal one magnificently plump ass, and everything clicks.  

"Jimin!" Taehyung shouts joyfully. "It really is you."  

"It really is," Jimin confirms, turning back around and smoothing his shirt.   

"Wow! I literally hated you because I thought you were dating you, but it was really just you all along. Wild, dude, fuckin' wild.”  

Jimin is still smiling but his expression is blank. “Huh?”  

“Nothing. Anyway, sorry I didn't recognize you.”  

"Don't worry, you're not the first person to not recognize me out of drag."  

"Yeah, I don't mean this in a bad way because like... you're still extremely hot, but you look way different. Jin says a hard nine, like me.”  

“Fuck him, we're tens.”  

“Right?” Taehyung agrees enthusiastically. “But wow, how do you manage to be a hot guy and a hot girl?" 

"Well first of all, my hotness transcends silly mortal concepts like gender. But also, the magic of makeup," Jimin says with sparkling eyes. "And I happen to be a master magician. You should let me paint you sometime."  

"Really?" Taehyung asks, stomach turning in vague excitement at the prospect.    

"Oh yeah," Jimin says, voice gone a little growly as he reaches forward to grasp Taehyung's chin gently, turning his head to view every angle. "You'd be a goddamn work of art."  

"Wow, Jimin seducing a straight boy, imagine that," a loud voice comes from his left as someone emerges from the back room, and Taehyung instantly recognizes the pretty queen from the other night. 

“Fuck off,” Jimin spits, straightening up and glaring at the newcomer.  

Taehyung’s eyes, however, are on Yoongi, who is rigid and red faced in the corner. "Hope."  

She's obviously only partially finished getting ready, wearing casual sweatpants and a headband pushing back her long hair, but her makeup is already perfectly applied. She seems to register the voice then, her name, and those sharp eyes find the corner where Yoongi is sitting. Her shoulders tighten. 

"Yoongi," she breathes, voice raspy and low and half laughing in disbelief as she adjusts her headband.  

“Hi.”  

“I'm uh… I'm going to refill the keg for tonight. Give me a hand, Kook?” Namjoon asks stiffly. Jungkook nods eagerly and trails speedily after him.   

Jin looks at Yoongi like they’re communicating through their gaze, and Yoongi gives him a little nod. “I've got… to make a call,” Jin excuses himself quietly, slipping past an anxious looking Hoseok.  

Jimin shifts awkwardly behind the counter before turning to Taehyung. "I'm going to go get ready for tonight. You wanna join, hot stuff?"  

"Yes, please," Taehyung confirms quickly, glad for an escape from the abruptly smothering tension.   

Jimin emerges from behind the counter and leads Taehyung into the back room of the shop. Behind them they hear a faint, forced laugh and then, “You fucker."   

Taehyung walks faster, following Jimin down a dimly lit hall and step through a door on the right. It looks to be a small dressing room, and there is makeup scattered haphazardly on one of the vanities.   

"Hope never cleans up her shit," Jimin pouts, settling down in front of the empty vanity and pulling out his own makeup kit.  

"Is Hope 'she' out of drag, too?" Taehyung asks, settling down 

"Sometimes," Jimins says with a more tender look then. "She started doing drag, and then drag became day drag, then day drag became everyday wear. Sometimes he dresses down though, does this whole hot fratboy thing, and let me tell you he's just as hot." He looks back down at the vanity. "Still a fucking slob though. But you can use whatever pronouns you feel like using. Clothing's usually a good indicator, but Hope's super chill about it." 

"Cool. That's cool," Taehyung says, filing away that information. "Do you have like, a show or something tonight?" he asks then, settling himself down on a small couch.   

 "Nah, I'm just working the bar. We start serving wine and beer at 5, and I make significantly better tips in drag." He slides a headband back over his bangs and looks at Taehyung through the mirror. "You don't have to stay or anything, I just wanted to give you an out." 

Taehyung rests his chin on the arm of the couch, looking attentively at Jimin as he starts to lay out all of his tools. "I want to stay. If that's okay.”  

Jimin pauses mid-movement and glances over at him. "You really want to?"  

Taehyung nods shyly.   

"It takes a long time," Jimin warns as he pulls out a massive black makeup kit. 

"I've got no place to be."  

"Okay."  

It's a bit like watching art happen. Taehyung isn't always sure he understands exactly what it is that Jimin's trying to accomplish- when he takes a gluestick to his eyebrows for instance- but he finds it fascinating to watch things take shape, to watch Jimin's face transform into the one he met in that bar.   

When it comes time for Jimin to masterfully line his eyes, Taehyung can't help but get a closer look. He rises from the couch and leans close to Jimin, who concentrates very carefully on the mirror in front of him.   

"Honey, you're cute, but if you bump me and fuck up this perfect wing tip, I will honest to God cut off your balls," Jimin says evenly, barely moving his mouth as he focuses intently.   

"Sorry," Taehyung says, taking half a step back. "You're just kind of amazing at this."  

Jimin laughs a little. "I should be. It's my job. Well, kind of."  

"Makeup?"  

"Yeah, used to be for skinny white girls on runways and at shoots, but I've been doing my own thing lately, which is cool. Like tutorial videos." 

"What, like on youtube?" Taeyung asks curiously,  instantly more alert as his creep mode kicks in. Another mental note to check. 

"I dabble," Jimin says dismissively. "But sometimes I do miss working on shows and shit. That's how I met Yoongi," Jimin continues. "He's an assistant designer for one of the fashion houses I was doing makeup for at a show. We got into it because he said my girl looked like a mall goth. Almost clocked him. We've been friends ever since." 

"I think he hates me," Taehyung confesses, a small shiver running up his spine as he remembers the steel in Yoongi’s gaze.  

"He's just... defensive. Especially of his friends. And honestly, it's been worse since this whole Hope thing happened. I think he's feeling some massive guilt."

Taehyung hesitates, because he knows it's not his business. "What happened with them?"  

Jimin shrugs, carefully picking up a false eyelash with a pair of tweezers. "They're best friends. Hope was madly in love with him. Yoongi knew. They fucked anyway. Yoongi freaked out and just stopped coming by. We didn't see him for months." 

“That’s rough. How’s Hope doing?”  

"She was actually pretty okay with the whole hookup thing. I think she's always convinced herself that they would only ever be friends, I mean Yoongi’s never really been into the whole romance thing. I don't think I've ever seen him in a relationship or even heard him talk about one. So I think Hope had planned to just go back to how things were before. But then Yoongi left, and... Well it sucked for all of us, but Hope felt responsible, you know? Even though she didn't do shit."  

"That sucks."  

"Yeah."  

They're silent for a little while as Jimin applies his other false eyelash and then blends them into his own lashes with mascara.   

"I hope they can work it out," Taehyung says quietly.   

"Those dumb bastards love each other too much not to," Jimin says with a gentle smile.   

Taehyung fiddles with one of Jimin's makeup brushes. “Anyway if Yoongi doesn’t start hanging out with you guys again, how am I supposed to find an excuse to just casually be here all the time?  

Jimin shoots him a warm smile, his eyes crinkling perfectly, and Taehyung feels warm sunshine erupt in his chest. “You could just come by without him.”  

“Can I?” he asks uncertainly.  

“Of course,” Jimin confirms sweetly, cocking his head as he stares at Taehyung. “Give me your phone. I'll give you my number.”  

Taehyung is still for a moment before he’s scrambling to dig his phone out of his back pocket. He unlocks it and hands it to Jimin without a second thought.   

Jimin takes a look at the screen and stifles a laugh. Taehyung peeks over and sees the last thing he had pulled up on his phone, a cute selfie where he's wearing The Sweater.  

“That sweater is super gay, sweetie,” Jimin chuckles, closing out of the picture and switching over to his contacts.   

Taehyung slaps his knee in righteous validation. “I know!”   

Jimin quickly enters his information and hands back the phone. “Anyway I'm almost finished,” he says, appraising his face on the mirror. “You might want to leave for the next part.”  

Taehyung cocks his head. “Why?”  

“Because I need to tuck.”  

Taehyung scoffs. “I think I can handle that.”  

Jimin's eyes narrow in suspicion. “No offense, but I don't think you're ready."  

“What's the big deal? It's like what, two inches of skin max?’ 

"What do you MEAN two inches?" Jimin demands in mild outrage. "Is that supposed to be a size jab?"  

"What does size have to do with anything?" Taehyung asks, throwing up his hands in frustration.   

Jimin bites his lip, considering Taehyung carefully. “What the fuck do you think we are talking about right now?”  

Taehyung squints at him, turning up his chin. “What do YOU think we’re talking about?”  

“You first. What exactly do you think I'm tucking?”  

“I…” Taehyung suddenly feels very certain that his answer is completely wrong. “Your… shirt?”  

Jimin’s relaxes instantly into laughter. He bends forward, physically moved by the force of his own guffawing. Taehyung crosses his arms and huffs.   

“What were you talking about?” he pouts as Jimin continues to laugh.   

“My dick,” he manages to squeak out before he is silenced briefly by another powerful wave of chuckles. “I have to tuck my dick.”  

Taehyung's eyebrows disappear beneath his fringe. "Oh. Shit. Oh fuck, right," he scrambles out of his seat, tripping over his bag and steadying himself on the arm of the couch. "Duh. Of course. You have to... tuck your dick, which is definitely something I should leave for, since you'll be you know... Tucking your dick... into... Actually, hey, where do you- NOPE not my business, never mind, your dick is not my business and I am not thinking about your dick." He backs away, stumbling over his feet again. Jimin is laughing so hard that it looks painful. "Good luck with your.... thing. And I do just want to confirm that I am not thinking about your dick. Except now I'm thinking about the fact that I'm not thinking about it, which is making me think about it a little bit, WOW I'm sorry, I'm just going to leave you to it, okay? Let me know if you need any h- Nope bye." He spins around abruptly, walking straight into the doorframe with a resounding thud. He laughs once, forced and painful. "I deserved that. Bye."  

His instinct is to flee the building, to just grab Jin and run, but he's not sure if the Very Serious Conversation that was taking place- he checks his phone- one hour and forty-five minutes ago is still taking place. He tiptoes down the hall and peeks around the corner, only to see Jin, Yoongi, and Hope all laughing cheerfully together in the corner. Taehyung straightens up, stepping out from behind the doorframe and cautiously making his way over to them.   

There's a bottle of wine on the table, which Hope gently grabs to refill Jin's glass. The world outside is more saturated than it was when they had arrived, the sun throwing its final rays onto the top of a building across the street.   

"Hey," he says, trying to look less flustered than his insides feel. "Everything uh.... Everything good?"  

Hope laughs lightly at that, throwing his arms around both Jin and Yoongi. "Never better."

"Oh," Taehyung says lightly, but he can't cover the surprise in his voice. "That was... fast."  

"Life is far too short and Yoongi is far too cute to hold grudges," Hope trills happily, pinching Yoongi's cheek. And rather than smack him away, Yoongi just smiles shyly and looks down.  

"Weird," Taehyung says aloud before he can even consider shutting up.  

"Speaking of weird," Hope says conversationally, taking another swig of wine from her glass and pushing herself to her feet, taking a few swaggering steps towards him. The contrast between her delicately made-up face and her plain clothes is striking. "Jin tells me you're straight."  

"Oh. Uh. Kinda. I mean, recently some outside factors have caused me to reconsider. There's a percentage system."  

"Percentage?" Hope questions, quirking a brow. "How does that even work?"   

"Percentages work with everything," Taehyung insists. "For instance, Jin's rocking a 30% chub because Yoongi's touching his arm," Taehyung adds with a satisfied smile. Yoongi's eyes widen as he jerks his arm away from Jin, hiding it under the table. 

Hope's eyes follow the movement, and then she's jerking her gaze back to Taehyung. "Jimin's right. You're cute."  

Either Taehyung's heart has just exploded inside of his chest or he's having some very sudden, very intense gas pains. "He... said that? And not just about my nipples?"  

"Hope, do not encourage this," Yoongi groans, slumping back into his seat a little.   

Hope turns around and pouts out her bottom lip. "What? I like him."  

"Now, when he said 'cute,'" Taehyung continues undeterred, "Did he seem like he meant it in like, 'wow what a cute kitty' kind of way or like a 'wow I wanna fuck him' kind of way?"  

She considers for a moment. "Both?” 

"Oh." Taehyung's eyebrows furrow in confusion. "Okay, so he's like... into cats?"  

"I knew it," Jin says distastefully, pushing away his wine glass like it repulses him. "I knew you were a fucking furry. I'm telling your mom. I'm texting her right now. Expect a call shortly." 

 

Chapter Text

Jin freezes, keys still dangling in the doorknob as he stands staring through the entrance to his own home. 

"What are you doing?" 

"Go away, I'm on a date," Taehyung says moodily from Jin's dining room table, his face thrown into disconcerting shadows from the candlelight of the single burning candle on the table.  

"No," Jin corrects him, sounding concerned now. "You are eating a hot pocket, pantless in my dining room and apparently having a conversation with your computer." 

"I found Jimin's YouTube channel," Taehyung says simply. "After I shat my pants at how many subscribers he has, I binged for 13 hours and finally decided to take a food break. Now I'm having dinner with bae." 

"Should I be concerned right now?" Jin asks, tentatively stepping into the room and shutting the door behind him.  

"No," Taehyung clicks his tongue in annoyance, reaching across the table to pause Jimin's tutorial video. "I do not actually think I'm on a date, Jin. I'm just practicing for when it inevitably happens. Easing myself into it. He's a lot to handle. And also I like looking at his face when I eat. Aids my digestion." 

"That is not true." 

"Literally doctor's orders." 

"You know, you say that a lot, but there is no way in hell an actual doctor is telling you these things," Jin says skeptically, slinging his bag down on the ground.

"It's one of those telephone doctors my company provides for us as part of our benefit package. When I got that allergic reaction to peanut butter on my nuts, I just texted him a photo of the rash, and I got a prescription for medical marijuana. It was awesome." He takes another bite of his hot pocket and turns back to the screen. "Now if you'll excuse me, I was just about to watch Jimin's video on tucking." He glances back at Jin with a proud look. "Which I have recently discovered is not about shirts." 

"Fine, whatever. I'll leave you to your... date," Jin sighs, shuffling over to the kitchen to start making dinner. "Any chance you're going to see real Jimin any time soon?" 

Taehyung shifts in his seat. "Um. Probably. I have his number." 

"And you haven't texted him yet?" Jin asks in disbelief.  

He shifts uncomfortably, his upper thigh un-sticking painfully from the chair. "I'm... no." 

"Text him, then!" 

"Right now?" Taehyung asks, the panic evident in his voice. 

"Yes, right now! You don't want to leave a hottie like that hanging. Not when they're that far out of your league. Believe me, I know from experience." 

"When did you leave somebody hanging?" 

Jin tilts his head to one side like he can't believe what he's hearing. "I am obviously the hottie in this scenario, you bitch. How could you say something like that to me?" 

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry," Taehyung pouts, sliding his phone towards him on the table. "Fuck, you really think I should text him?" 

"Yes, like asap. You know how many people are probably pursuing him as we speak?" 

"Fine." Taehyung picks up his phone and opens his messaging app, typing a simple 'Hello' into the text box, finger hovering over the 'send' button. He stares at the screen, unblinking, for a solid 30 seconds before he is groaning in frustration. "I can't do this, Jin!" 

"Yes you can. Just close your eyes and press send," Jin assures him kindly.

Taehyung takes a deep breath, then mashes his fingers down on the screen where he estimates the 'send' button must be. Then he presses down once more, for good measure, just to make sure it went through. He peeks his eyes open to look at Jin again. "I did it!" 

"Good job," Jin praises him flatly as he chops vegetables.  

"Yeah," he says, exhaling in relief, shoulders relaxing as his eyes find the screen once more. "Yeah I did. You know it was JIN I SENT HIM A PICTURE OF MY NUT RASH." 

 

 


 

 

After he has purchased a new phone and changed his number, he tries again. 

 

 Me // 9:55pm: hi this is kim taehyung 

 

Minnie // 10:05pm: lolll 

Minnie // 10:05pm: hello this is park jimin 

 

Me // 10:06pm: wow did you give me your actual number??? 

 

Minnie // 10:11pm: of course? 

 

Me // 10:13pm: oh don't act surprised, I bet you have a go-to fake number to give to losers 

 

Minnie // 10:20pm: I mean it is a real number... it's just not MY real number 

Minnie // 10:21pm: can you blame me though some people are creeps 

Minnie // 10:21pm: yesterday some random pervert texted me a picture of his rashy nuts

 

Me // 10:40pm: wow. just wow. some people have no sense of decency.  

Me // 10:42pm: so who would i actually have been calling if you'd decided to give me the fake #?

 

Minnie // 10:50pm:  disney world

 

Me // 10:51pm: ...why 

 

Minnie // 10:59pm: because my name is minnie. it's like calling the zoo and asking for 'mr. lyons.' a classic.

 

Me // 11:04pm: okay, respect 

Me // 11:04pm: and thanks for not doing that to me. I have a rep to uphold at disney world

 

Minnie // 11:05pm: what does that even mean 

Minnie // 11:06pm: and not that i would want to anyway, but we have mutual friends so I can't pull that shit with you without getting caught 

 

Me // 11:09pm: you know I still don't know if I believe that this is really you... 

 

Minnie // 11:10pm: what, are you going to make me show you my butt again? 

 

Me // 11:11pm: yes please 

 

Minnie // 11:13pm: lol no way 

 

Me // 11:14pm: pleaseeee 

 

Minnie // 11:19pm: $20  

 

Me // 11:21pm: u serious? 

 

Minnie // 11:30pm: … are you? 

 

Me // 11:35pm: u got venmo? 

 

 


 

 

The Queen Bean (Haus of Coffee) opens at 7:00am, and Taehyung has the restraint to wait until 7:05am to tentatively enter. It's empty, except for one small, huddled figure leaning face-down on the countertop, silver hair splayed across the surface.  

"Ahem," Taehyung says by way of announcing his presence, and Jimin startles, squeaking slightly before he spots Taehyung.   

"FUCK," he groans, settling his hand over his heart. "You scared me."  

"Sorry. Jin says I do that. I have an unnaturally light step and I don't breathe as much as most living people."  

Jimin waves off his apology, still clutching his chest. "It's fine, it's fine.” His eyes give Taehyung a once-over, and Taehyung smoothes his clothes nervously. “Hi." 

"Hey," Taehyung responds a little breathlessly as he takes a couple of tentative baby steps forward towards the counter. "Uh, I can leave if you want me to. I know it's early,” Taehyung gestures towards the door. "You just... said to come by, so..."  

Jimin's eyebrows shoot up, and he looks a little panicked. "No, no way. This is good. Nothing wakes my sorry ass up like a pretty face. Not even Jungkook's deadly Quadruple Espresso Condensed Caffeine NutShot." 

"That drink sounds illegal," Taehyung says, trying to bluff his way through the blush he feels spreading over his face. 

"I mean it literally has cocaine in it, so yeah." 

Taehyung just laughs stiffly, no clue if Jimin's joking or not. "Um, I brought my laptop if that's okay. Figured I'd work here a little today."  

"Yeah, of course."  

"Cool." Taehyung walks over and takes a seat at the bar, pulling his laptop out of the bag and setting it up. "What's the wifi password?"  

"696969."  

"High-brow," He nods appreciatively as he hangs his bag on the back of his chair. 

Jimin shrugs, pouting his lip in a smug, self-satisfied pout. "I like to scare straight people by gazing into their eyes and saying 696969." He pauses for a moment then adds, "No offense."  

"Oh it's fine. And anyway I'm like, only 75% straight."  

Jimin's eyebrows shoot up, and the corners of his mouth turn down in a restrained smile. "Thought it was like 98% last time we checked? That first night?" 

Taehyung stares hard at his computer screen as he answers. "I have recently been re-evaluating."  

"Is that so?" Jimin looks wickedly gleeful when Taehyung's eyes dart briefly over to him then dart away. "So how does this work, this percentage thing?"  

Taehyung considers. "I think… at like 60% I would touch a dick." 

"Well," Jimin says, straightening up with a satisfied smile. "Let me know if I can be of any help with this whole like… journey of self discovery. I'd be happy to lend a hand. Or any other body part you may require." Taehyung snorts in laughter then, mostly because he cannot formulate a suitable response.  

"Hey so, you're not in drag today," Taehyung notes, appraising his crisp collared shirt and immaculately-fitted black pants. There's meant to be a compliment somewhere in there, but Taehyung can't seem to find his way there. 

"Ha," Jimin says wryly. "The only reason my brows would ever be glued down at 7am is if I was stumbling still drunk into my home after a show." He runs his hand self-consciously through his silver hair, and even though his tone is light and confident like usual, a little worry line appears between his eyebrows. "I usually only drag-up for afternoon shifts. Sorry." 

"No, no, I meant you look nice." Taehyung says quickly, panicking a little. "You, uh. You look awesome, actually." 

Jimin smiles with uncharacteristic shyness at that, and the little line in his forehead vanishes. "Thanks. So what are you working on?" Jimin asks gesturing to his computer.   

"Oh just some like normal job shit. I work remotely, usually from home." 

"What do you do?" 

He thinks for a moment, trying to find a way to make his job sound more exciting. “I guess I'm kind of like... a professional hacker."  

"Ooh, sounds illegal. I'm aroused," Jimin says, leaning forward on his elbows and resting his chin on his hands. Taehyung steals a glance, and he's a little struck by how soft and pretty Jimin looks up close, out of drag. Fresh.   

"...Totally illegal," Taehyung bluffs, eyebrows disappearing underneath his bangs. "I'm like... on an FBI watchlist.  So illegal.  Some real dark web shit."  

"It's not illegal, is it?" Jimin asks suspiciously, eyes narrowing. 

"Well. No. But I could do very illegal things if I wanted to.  I just choose to use my powers for good. Like as a security consultant. I guess you could say... I'm kind of a hero."  

"Ahh, bad boy with a heart of gold." He reaches up to boop Taehyung's nose. "Like a sexy little internet cowboy."  

"That's me," Taehyung sighs dreamily, gaze darting to Jimin's thick, slightly parted lips. They're such an attractive pink that he's got to be wearing tinted balm at the very least. 

"Well, I'll leave you to it," Jimin says, straightening up now and smoothing down his shirt. "What do you want to drink?"  

"Could you make something with like... Code Red Mountain Dew and a Four Loko?"  

Jimin's lip curls in disgust. "You just re-gained 5 Straight Boy points."  

"But I-"  

"Nope, sorry. Back to 80%"  

"But I'm tired! I was up late!"  

"Doing what?"  

"Doing... research," Taehyung replies elusively, pretending to be busy but actually just typing gibberish into the google search bar.   

"Research?" Jimin presses.  

"Like... gay research..." Taehyung mumbles, tucking his head.  

"Yeah, now you're just talking shit so I give you your points back, nice try," Jimin dismisses him, smacking his bar towel in Taehyungs direction. He pauses then, eyes suspicious, because Taehyung's face is beet red, and he won't look Jimin in the eye. Jimin cocks his head, eyes bugging suddenly. "Wait... Did you watch gay porn?"  

Taehyung gasps in indignant outrage. "I have never watched porn in my LIFE."  

Jimin fixes him with a look.  

"I have never watched gay porn in my LIFE," Taehyung amends with a sheepish, boxy grin. 

Jimin crosses his tiny arms, eyes looking adorably dead.   

"I have never watched gay porn… at any time in my life… that was not... last night..." Taehyung confesses slowly, cringing, and Jimin’s face contorts in glee. "But FUCK I have so many questions, like, how does an asshole DO that? Why are those guys so smooth and hairless? Even their assholes? Is the big one always on top?"  

Jimin stares at him silently for a few moments before breaking out into unstoppable giggles.   

"Don't laugh at me!"  

"You said 'butt fuck,'" Jimin hisses out between giggles.  

"I did not!" 

"You did, you said 'butt fuck I have so many questions,'" Jimin recounts, face red with laughter. 

"Wow, that’s worth three giggles max. Stop laughing!"  

Jimin stops laughing long enough to look at Taehyung's face, which is contorted comically in outrage, and he is instantly overcome by another fit of giggles.   

"I'm leaving," Taehyung bluffs, pouting, and Jimin sobers immediately.   

"Fuck, I'm sorry. I'm sorry," Jimin says, wiping tears from his eyes, reaching for Taehyung's hand to ensure that he stays. His hand is jarringly soft and warm on top of Taehyung's. "I just... I was not prepared to have this conversation today."  

"Well I don't know who else to have this conversation with!" Taehyung huffs, ducking his head. "Jin won't talk to me about butt stuff anymore. I've tried."  

"Um. Okay," Jimin says, folding his small hands together in front of his face. "I can do this. We can do this. It's fine.” 

“Yeah, it's fine,” Taehyung agrees, though his instinct is flight, because a very beautiful man who may or may not be his soulmate is about to give him the equivalent of a gay birds-and-bees talk. 

“Right,” Jimin pushes on bravely. “So as to your first question, 'How does an asshole do that?' I assume you mean, how does it... accommodate... so much? Well. Lots of prep and lots of lube. Lots of fingers in asses, lots of waiting, sometimes with flaccid dicks."  

"Sounds terrible, go on," Taehyung urges him, eyebrows knit seriously.   

"Uh, also they definitely wax and shave in pornos, and most assholes are not that naturally hairless. It's fine. It's a part of life. Assholes are still great."  

"Assholes still sound pretty mediocre to me, but go on."  

"Right. So. The big one is not always on top, and in fact, I think most couples switch at some point. Power dynamics do not necessarily correlate with body size. Nor do power dynamics necessarily correlate with position. There are a lot of different factors at play."  

"Okay well this all sounds very complicated and scary, and I am very done with this conversation.” 

Jimin gawks at him. “Excuse me, you started this! Do you think I wanted to have this conversation with you?"  

"No, but thank you for having it anyway!" Taehyung spits back at him, eyes raised indignantly.   

"You are very fucking welcome!" Jimin returns, his tone challenging but his words sincere.   

They stare at each other for a few moments before Taehyung breaks the silence. "Why does it feel like we just had a fight?"  

"I don't know, I think we are naturally kind of combative. That was actually a very productive conversation."  

Taehyung shrugs and is silent for several more moments before he mumbles, "Can I have my gay points back?"  

Jimin reaches out to pinch at his cheek, and Taehyung scowls a little, on instinct.  "Aw, honey you can have 10 gay points."  

"Thank you," Taehyung says grumpily, then his face softens. "And also... really thank you. Porn was very misleading. I was scared."  

"Really?"  

"Yes! Scared that my asshole wasn't hairless enough and that if I did it with a dude I would have to make a lifelong decision to give or receive! Generally fucking scared!”  

Jimin fixes him with an affectionate smile. "Look... People are people. Sex is sex. It's all about communication, man. Like... okay, remember how nervous you were about sex before you had it?"  

Taehyung does recall, with wide eyes. "Yes. I almost barfed on her." 

"I mean... It's kinda like that. I think that it's mostly just the unknown that's scary. If you're with the right person, with somebody you trust, it'll just happen as it happens."

Taehyung chews the inside of his cheek and considers. "That makes sense."  

Jimin shoots him a fond smile. "Now can I make you a real beverage? One that does not consist of straight man ball sweat or whatever the fuck it was you asked for?"  

“Who’s drinking ball sweat at 7:30am?” a deep, cracking voice mumbles as a tall figure emerges from the back of the shop. Namjoon is bare-faced, a ballcap covering his short, black hair. He's wearing a pink t-shirt and and jeans that Taehyung’s mom probably rocked in 1994. 

“Taehyung,” Jimin says lightly, moving towards the espresso machine to presumably make Taehyung a coffee. "I'm either going to make him a Café au Gay or a Crémed Pants." 

Namjoon groans, looking up at the chalk board, where Jimin has written the names of the drinks under 'Drinks of the Day.' 

"Jimin, what have I said to you about gross drink names?" 

"A hell of a lot more than you've said to Jungkook," Jimin mumbles moodily, grabbing a wet rag from the countertop as he drags his feet to wipe the board clean. "You know he has way grosser ones than I do." 

"I call him out on it, too!" Namjoon insists, though his embarrassment is evident.  

"'Hey Jungkookie'" Jimin says softly, imitating Namjoon with a lovestruck look, "'You know I love and adore your creativity... but maybe you could channel it into something more productive? You're such a good, smart, beautiful, wonderful-" 

"Fuck off," Namjoon grumbles, grabbing the rag for himself and moodily wiping down the board.  

“Speaking of Kook, where is that little devil?” 

Namjoon shrugs, tossing down the rag and plopping down on a stool near Taehyung. “How should I know? He doesn’t work today.” 

Jimin shoots a skeptical look over his shoulder. “Like that ever stops him from coming in whenever you're the manager on duty.” 

Namjoon scoffs loudly, but he tucks his head to stare at the bar. “He’s just in here to study a lot, and I just happen to be here.” 

“Joon, not to be that asshole, but he's in love with you and you know it.” 

“He's… not,” Namjoon denies, neck flushed a gentle pink. In combination with his shirt, the illusion is overwhelmingly soft and rosy. "He never told you that." 

“He didn't have to, because it's obvious that he absolutely is, and if his ass isn’t in the stool next to you in the next 15 minutes, I will lick the used coffee grounds out of this filter,” Jimin promises, holding up the crimped paper filter. 

“Fine, deal. And if he's not, I'll let you do my drag makeup one night.” 

“Oooh,” Jimin says, rubbing his hands together in glee as he turns to Taehyung. “You don't know what an opportunity this is. His drag is usually like… butch soccer mom meets unremarkable middle sister from a 90's sitcom. I've been itching to get my hands on him.” 

“There are many ways to express femininity!” Namjoon insists grumpily. 

“Okay well-“ 

They are interrupted by the jangling of the bell above the door, and Jungkook steps over the threshold, eyes going wide when he feels everyone's attention on him. 

“Uh. Hi?” Jungkook ventures tentatively as Jimin collapses into a fit of laughter on the bar. “What the hell is up with him?”  

“It’s nothing,” Namjoon assures him, being sure not to make eye contact as he sighs heavily. “Jimin’s going to do my makeup and apparently he's just really fucking thrilled about it.” 

“Seriously?” Jungkook sounds excited. “Jimin's gonna do it his way? You’re going to be so pretty!” 

“Yeah Joon, so pretty,” Jimin teases, reaching forward to pinch his cheek.  

“Shut the fuck up,” Namjoon pouts, and Jungkook seems to think he's bristling at him. 

“Ah,” Junkook starts, eyes looking a little panicked. “I uh, I didn't mean you weren’t… already… you know,” he struggles,  “Because you… are. You like… super are. And I totally get your concept, I just meant…” 

“Hey Kook, could you grab me a new box of beans from the back?” Jimin says mercifully, and Jungkook nods enthusiastically, tripping on a stool in his haste to leave.  

“Don’t. Say a word,” Namjoon says through gritted teeth once Jungkook has disappeared.  

“So you do know,” Jimin says, leaning forward to rest his head on his folded hands.  

Namjoon exhales hard through his nose. “Of course I know. How could I not know?” 

“Well then what's the problem? Kid's a hell of a catch.” 

“I know he is,” Namjoon groans, letting his head fall forward onto the counter with a dull thunk. “He's sweet and funny and talented and hot and also very, very not ace.” 

“Oh come on, lots of ace people date non-ace people,” Jimin argues. “You dated that one guy." 

"Yes. Exactly. Look how that turned out. He thought I would change my mind about wanting sex.” 

“Okay, fair. But that guy was an ass, and you barely knew each other. Kook, on the other hand, has been in love with you for years and knows you inside and out. That kid would do anything for you. And I also happen to know you’re super sex-positive, so it's not all black and white."

"Jimin..." Namjoon sighs, rubbing his face with his hand, and Jimin reaches out to lay a reassuring hand on his shoulder.

"Sex isn’t everything, Joon.” 

“Yeah well, it's still a lot, to a lot of people, and I know for a fact it's something that he wants. A lot. Kid popped a boner at the grocery store when we walked past the bananas.” Namjoon groans, then straightens up, folding his hands on the counter and staring hard at them. "He should have everything he wants." 

“Oh," Jimin says suddenly, eyes going wide. “Oh shit. Do you love him back? Do you love that little fucker back?” 

“I’m not talking about this here,” Namjoon huffs, grabbing his newspaper and pushing himself to his feet. “And don't you dare encourage him.”  

He stalks back down the hallway toward the managers' office and passes a bewildered looking Jungkook who emerges clutching a giant box of beans in one arm like it's nothing. Jungkook looks worried as he sets the box down on the bar.  

“Did I do something?” he asks fearfully, unloading the individual bags of coffee beneath the bar. “He seems mad.” 

“You didn't do anything. He's mad at me because I'm an asshole,” Jimin assures him with a gentle pat on the arm.  

"Oh." Jungkook looks barely reassured. “Do you think he… Never mind.” 

"No, baby, I'm sure he has no idea about any super secret things that you may or may not be trying desperately to hide from him," Jimin says kindly and with a pitying smile as Jungkook's eyes go wide and suspicious.

"I'm... gonna go get more boxes," Jungkook says carefully as he backs away from Jimin. "I think I can do like four at a time now if I balance them right. Total time-saver. Unless, you know, I trip over a wig and spill them all over the shop again."

“Hey Kook,” Jimin calls softly after him.

“Yeah?” Jungkook freezes at the door 

Jimin gives him a cautious little smile. “Don't give up." 

Jungkook tilts his head quizzically, pointing his thumb back towards the storage room. "Thanks? But I think I've got it handled? I'm mad jacked?" 

Jimin groans, slumping down onto the counter. "Yes, exactly, thank you Kook. I was definitely talking about the fucking boxes and not the pining hopeless-romantic asexual drag queen in the back room. Good call." 

Jungkook looks like he's been shot.

 

 


 

 

Taehyung, who has in fact been hanging out at the Queen several times a week for the past several weeks and who is currently mere steps from the entrance, receives a text from Jin inviting him for a drink at the very place he was just about to enter, just as he has extended his hand towards the door handle.

He freezes, withdraws his hand, and checks to make sure that no one has seen him before he retreats and walks one loop around the block to pretend like he wasn't already in fact there fully intending on hanging out with Jimin. Without Jin. 

"Hey!" Jin greets him brightly when he steps inside. He's seated at a table with Yoongi, and Hope is standing next to them, done up beautfully in casual drag. "That was so fast. How did you get here so fast?" 

"I was in the neighborhood, you know," he lies, ignoring Yoongi's sharp glare. He glances around the place, which is humming quietly with activity, but he doesn't see Jimin. "Uh, where's Jimin?" 

"I switched shifts with him today," Hope says with a smile, her ash blonde hair tied up into two adorable buns on each side of her head. Sharp collarbones peek out from her loose white off-the-shoulder crop top, one big, draping ruffle on her small frame. A long, flowing blush pink skirt with a thigh-high slit swirls around her, and a tiny, delicate chain drapes and sparkles across the golden skin of her chest and shoulders. "Sorry I'm not the pretty face you wanted to see. Something about driving his mom to the doctor." 

"Oh. Right," Taehyung says, swallowing his disappointment. "Is she okay?" 

"Ms. Park?" Hope scoffs. "Of course. Strong as an ox. She just sprained her wrist lifting a box at work and he's having to drag her bodily to the doctor. If he didn't, she'd never go. She's about as headstrong as Jimin." 

"Really?" 

"Yeah, you should meet her somet-" 

 Yoongi clicks his tongue in annoyance and abruptly cuts him off. “Hey Hope, do you want to take Jin to go pick out another bottle from the back?"  

"Oh, we could just get one from behind the bar."  

"I don't want this swill you're selling to customers for 6 dollars a glass, I want the good shit. Please?" Yoongi asks, and holy shit, is he pouting? Taehyung is at a loss until he sees Hope’s reaction.   

"Aww, fine," she says, pinching Yoongi's cheek, then reaching down to grab Jin's arm to tug him back to the storage room. "You want a Cabernet?"  

"Of course," Yoongi confirms with a tiny wave and a gummy smile as they disappear into the back. The moment they've rounded the corner, the smile slides off his face so fast that Taehyung literally blinks and it's gone. "You. Sit," Yoongi orders, crossing his arms.  

Taehyung eyes him warily, hesitation. "My instincts are telling me... no..."  

"Well I guess you'd better decide which is more likely to kick you ass, me or your instin-" Taehyung scrambles into the seat and folds his hands politely in his lap. "Good boy." Yoongi stares at him for a few seconds, letting him squirm, reminding him very much of his mother when she is waiting for him to fess up.   

“What's… what's this about?” Taehyung asks with faux obliviousness.  

“Jimin.”  

Taehyung's eyes widen, but he does not tear his gaze from the table in front of him. "Who's... Jimin."  

"Jesus, you can't be serious for one second, can you?" Yoongi scoffs, downing the last sip of his wine, and Taehyung feels a vague wave of shame wash over him. "Look I'm gonna say something, and I need you to be serious for a minute."  

Taehyung swallows hard, licking his lips nervously as he tends to do when he's put on the spot. "Okay."  

"This Jimin thing needs to stop."  

"Uh. What?" Taehyung gapes a little, but he understands pretty abruptly what this is about.  

"Stop trying to make whatever you're trying to make happen with Jimin happen," Yoongi clarifies, like it's the most obvious thing in the world. "He's had enough confused straight boys fuck him over for one lifetime."  

"I'm not..." Taehyung starts to deny, feeling a lick of anger in his gut.

"Look, I don’t fucking care what you are. Experiment, do whatever the hell you need to do, figure it out on your own time. But keep him the fuck out of it. I'm not standing by and watching this happen again."  

"Watching... what happen?"  

"Watching Jimin fall for some guy who is attracted to him but who is hopelessly conflicted about his sexuality and who ends up breaking Jimin's fuckin' heart when he ultimately decides that sex isn't worth it anymore. I'm done. Not happening."  

"I would never..." Taehyung starts, and Yoongi raises his eyebrows. "It's not like that."  

"You would never? Really? It's not like that? What was it that first drew you to Jimin?" Yoongi asks, leaning forward now. "His kindness, his charm, his creativity? And don't lie, I was there."  

"That's not fair."  

"I don’t care if it's fucking fair, life isn't fucking fair. If life was fair, we wouldn't have to have this conversation in the first place. And stop thinking you're so different from the rest of them. You could so easily turn into every other asshole who's screwed him in the past."  

"I would never want to hurt him," Taehyung growls through his teeth.  

"Just because you don't want to hurt him doesn't mean that you won't," Yoongi says with a slightly gentler look. "You said you're a numbers guy, right? Percentages?" 

Taehyung nods almost imperceptibly because he knows this is about to backfire on him.   

"So can you tell me with 100% certainty that you're not gonna go straight-boy panic on him? That you're not going to get in just deep enough for it to hurt before you decide that it's too much?"  

"I..." Taehyung considers that, and it hurts, because he can't. "I don't know. I'm… figuring it out.” 

"Exactly. And that's... fine," Yoongi assures him, softer now that he feels Taehyung start to give a little. "That's great. Figure it out. Just don't use Jimin to do it."

"Are you telling me to leave?" Taehyung asks, low and deadly serious.

Yoongi shrugs. "That's one option. Just cut it off, end it, stop hanging around. Save yourself the trouble and him the pain. But you could also just stay. As a friend." Yoongi actually looks a little pained at this, a little emotional, and it's this more than anything that makes Taehyung keep listening despite his natural defensiveness. “He could use that a hell of a lot more than a bad lay and another heartbreak."  

“And what if I don’t stop?” Taehyung asks with a spike of anger edged with fear.  

Yoongi looks at him with an expression of mild disbelief. “What, you want me to threaten you or something?”  

Taehyung’s chin tilts up defiantly. “I don't know how you’re going to make me otherwise.”  

Yoongi scoffs and is about to continue when they hear a loud giggle echo from down the hall, and Hoseok and Jin re-emerge just a moment later. Yoongi visibly forces himself to relax, grabbing his glass of wine and settling back into his seat as the pair approaches the table, bottles in hand.

“You okay, Tae?” Jin asks, a residual grin still on his face as he settles back down into a chair. Taehyung watches Hoseok's hand slide from Jin's hip as they separate.   

“I’m feeling sick,” Taehyung says simply, gathering his things and standing abruptly.   

“O...kay?” Jin says as Taehyung blows past towards the door. “Do you need anything?”   

Taehyung just waves vaguely behind him as he flings open the door and breathes in a settling lungful of nighttime air.   

He’s fuming as he walks towards the subway station, hands shoved in his pockets and head tucked against the wind that’s being funneled between the buildings on the narrow street.  

His first instinct is anger. It’s none of Yoongi’s fucking business what he does or does not do with Jimin.   

But by the time he descends the stairs into the subway station, he's not so sure, and he’s not so angry, not at Yoongi anyway. He’s angry at himself for not being absolutely positive. 

 

Jimin // 9:05pm: are you ok? Jin said you’re sick.  

 

He stares at his phone as a train whooshes by, ruffling his hair. And he’s not ready to stop just yet, not to do anything tonight.  

 

Me // 9:07pm: i'm ok! take care of your mom 

 

Then after another moment of deliberation, he determinedly punches in his next text and shoves his phone in his bag.  

 

Me // 9:08pm: see you tomorrow. 

 

 


 

 

 

A lot of his work, Taehyung can do and do well in the casual, public setting of a coffee shop. A lot of what he does is emails and logistical things and reports, things he can actually accomplish with the small distractions that go hand-in-hand with shared spaces.

But some of it requires the Bunker.  

It's been many years since anyone besides Taehyung or Jin set foot in the Bunker, in his apartment. It's always dark, usually the only light emitting from one or several screens, and Taehyung has a habit of going nest-mode when he's in a marathon hack. It's cluttered and grim and perfect for concentrating, but it's also one of the reasons that Taehyung spends so much time at Jin's apartment when he's not working. 

And so it's properly jarring, especially after having stared at a screen in silence for several hours without moving, when there is a frantic, pounding series of knocks on his door around midnight.  

Taehyung jumps so hard his elbow knocks over his energy drink, which adds one more stain to the fine abstract mosaic on his once-white shirt. He blinks his strained eyes, adjusting his glasses and staring hard in the direction of his door, trying to determine whether or not the sound was imagined.  

"KIM TAEHYUNG IF YOU DO NOT OPEN THIS DOOR IN THE NEXT 15 SECONDS I AM CALLING THE POLICE." 

He's scrambling over piles of laundry and empty soda bottles within seconds, pausing to check his reflection in the shiny plastic of the microwave door. He cringes. Even in the warped plastic he can tell he's a mess. He looks around for a clean shirt.  

"FIVE SECONDS." 

No time for a new shirt. Instead, he just sheds the old one, because it is really and truly disgusting, then he haphazardly runs a hand through his tangled hair as he lunges for the door.  

"Jimin," he says casually, trying not to breathe hard. "Fancy seeing you h-OW!" 

Jimin retracts his hand after his vicious flick, and his small, rectangular eyebrows are knit in anger. "I thought you were dead, you fuckwad! Why haven't you been answering your phone?" 

"I'm in the middle of a really important project," Taehyung grunts defensively. "I texted you back this morning." 

Jimin looks at him incredulously. "This morning?" He pushes past Taehyung, who makes a noise of minor protest, then reaches for one of his black-out curtains, wrenching it back viciously. Sunlight abruptly fills the room, and Taehyung collapses, screaming to the floor. "It's been two days!" 

"Why is the sun out at midnight??" Taehyung groans from the floor, or rather from a pile of dirty clothes that are covering his floor. 

“It’s 3pm," Jimin says matter-of-factly, taking a look around the place. Now that the sunlight has illuminated his little nest, Taehyung thinks that the ensuing look of disgust is perhaps warranted.  

"Oh." 

Jimin heaves a calming sigh, hand fluttering up to his chest. "Jesus you freaked me out. You always respond to my texts in like two minutes, tops. But then I don't hear from you for two days and Jin says he hasn't, either?" 

"Sorry," Taehyung says, properly shamed, because Jimin looks really and truly relieved to see him. His stomach flips in mingled guilt and pleasure. 

Jimin chews his lip, moving to open up more of the curtains so that the room can be properly lit. "It's fine, it's fine. I was just worried. Where's your phone, anyway?" 

"Uh..." Taehyung scratches the back of his head then gestures behind him, to the mess. "Somewhere in there?" 

"Okay," Jimin says, rolling up his sleeves and taking a deep breath. "So, number one. We'll find your fucking phone. Number two. Have you eaten real food in two days?" Jimin asks as he heads over to the refrigerator and tugs open the door. It's completely empty except for half a packet of hotdogs and a case of Code Red Mountain Dew. 

"I ate a cold hotdog dipped in ranch at some point." 

"So grocery shopping and dinner, then," Jimin adds to his mental list, shutting the door in dismay. "Do you want to come with me, or do you want to work on your project while I go?" 

"I uh. I don't have anything clean to wear in public," Taehyung admits, crossing his arms in front of his bare chest.  

Jimin's eyes quickly scan Taehyung's naked upper half, and his expression becomes unreadable before he focuses again. "Number 3, laundry." 

"You really don't have to-" 

"Tae," he stops him, and Taehyung's heart bursts with affection. He thinks it might be the first time he's called him anything other than 'hotstuff' or 'honey' or 'Kim Taehyung,' and that's got to be a good sign. "Look, I'm glad you're okay, but I kinda want to keep you that way. Okay? Let me help." 

Taehyung nods bashfully, and his insides glow warmly with fondness and contentment. 

"Work on your stuff. I'll be back," Jimin says gently, fishing his keys out of his pocket and heading for the door. "And hey, take a shower while I'm gone," he says lightly and with a caring smile. "You fuckin stink." 

 

 


 

 

Jimin returns within the hour, arms laden with bags, batting away Taehyung's money with an offended expression.  

"Here- let me-" Taehyung says, lunging for his wallet and digging around for some cash.  

"Just consider it repayment for the grossly large tip you gave me the first time you saw my show," he says, unloading several green leafy objects into Taehyung's refrigerator. "I'll cook dinner in a second, but for now-" he tosses Taehyung a pre-packaged salad and a bottle of gummy vitamins. "Have those so I can be sure you make it until then." 

Taehyung makes a face at the salad but obeys, peeling back the plastic lining and grabbing a fork. "Please know that there are very few people on this planet for whom I would eat a salad." 

Jimin scoffs. "I’m real honored.” 

Taehyung freezes, detecting the lingering bitterness in his voice. “Are you mad at me?” 

Jimin doesn’t say anything as he continues to organize the refrigerator, but the stiffness in his shoulders is affirmation enough. 

“You are! Whyy?" Taehyung whines mid-bite, a huge piece of lettuce sticking out of his mouth. He forces it inside and crunches it distastefully.  

"Because I thought you'd at least text me back," Jimin pouts, keeping his back purposefully turned to Taehyung as he takes his time arranging the food inside the refrigerator. Taehyung stops chewing, mouth still very much full as he regards Jimin, who still won't look at him. "You always text me back." 

Taehyung swallows, rather painfully, his half-chewed bite as he approaches Jimin from behind, winding his arms around his waist in a tight hug and pressing his face to the top of his shoulder. He inhales deeply, drowning happily in Jimin's clean, sweet scent. "You know I didn't text you back because I literally lost track of time, space, and social propriety for 2 days and not because I don't care about you, right?"  

Jimin's shoulders relax a little at that, melting into Taehyung's embrace, hands stilling in front of him as they stand like that. "I know." 

"Good. I'm still sorry." For a first hug, it's on the edge of too intimate, with the entirety of Taehyung's front pressed up against the entirety of Jimin's back, Taehyung's breath ghosting his neck as his arms tighten around him. Taehyung belatedly realizes he's still not wearing a shirt and almost startles, withdrawing his arms and taking a few steps back. "Really."

Jimin's face softens into a sweet smile. "I'm just happy that you're not dead. Though you do look like you're well on your way to being buried alive by chip bags and soda bottles. You know I didn't believe Jin when he said you were actually a lame cave-dwelling tech guy who lived in darkness. But you are actually like, living this lifestyle."

"Yep," Taehyung says, nudging a pair of dirty underwear under the kitchen table with his big toe. "The lair of a brilliant criminal mastermind."

"I'm glad I got to see it, actually," Jimin says with a little smile. "I think I was actually a little intimidated because I thought you had your shit too together."

Taehyung scoffs so hard he chokes on his spit. "Me??"

"Yes, you!" Jimin insists. "You have a great job, a great face, and a kickass Beanie Baby Collection."

"Yeah, well, you have all of those things, minus the Beanie Baby Collection, plus a magical butt! But me? Jimin the last time I took a shower I had to use my bedspread as a towel because I haven't done my laundry in so long. I just rolled around on it like a dog until I was dry."

"I know how weird that should be, but it just sounds kind of cute."

"Well, I guess it's settled," Taehyung decides, crossing his arms over his chest. "We are both successful, adorable, and complete weirdos, so there's nothing to be intimidated about."

Jimin's smile is crooked and fond. "I guess it's settled."

The simmer in the moment for a second before Taehyung realizes. "Oh, shit, aren't you supposed to be at work or something?" 

"Kook is covering for me," Jimin says, moving again to close the refrigerator. When he turns back to Taehyung, his ears are tipped pink. "No big. Now drag your laundry in here so I can get started while you finish. How much longer do you have on your thing?" 

"A few hours, maybe?" 

"Well, go," Jimin shoos him, kicking him gently in the butt as he does.  

 

 


 

 

 Jimin works quietly around him as Taehyung plugs away behind his computer screen. He hears the vague sounds of laundry, of straightening, of cooking, and after a couple of hours, he catches a whiff of something delicious cooking in the kitchen.  

Taehyung hammers out his summary report in record time, pressing 'send' with so much force that the keyboard groans with the impact.  

He emerges, stretching his arms over his head and groaning, just as Jimin starts to plate up dinner. Jimin glances over his shoulder, then double-takes subtly before muttering, "Put a shirt on before we eat, you animal." He gestures to a pile of fresh, folded laundry on the table.  

"Smells good," Taehyung grunts, sounding very much like a caveman as he slips a fresh t-shirt over his head.  

"Thanks. Do you want to put your clothes away first to free up the table?" 

Taehyung shrugs. "Nah, I'm beat. Let's just eat in the living room." 

"Okay. Go on and sit. I'll bring the food in a sec," Jimin insists, bumping him away with his hip when Taehyung moves to try and help.  

Taehyung nods and shuffles to the living room, which is noticeably cleaner than it was earlier today, and plops down on the couch. Jimin enters a few moments later, balancing two plates and two glasses of wine expertly in his hands. He sets them down and flips the television on, turning it to Jeopardy and settling down next to Taehyung.  

It's so sweetly domestic and so vividly familiar, the picture that Taehyung sees when he looks at Jimin, tucking into his beautiful home-cooked meal, eyes trained vaguely on the television where the category is "World History." For some reason, it makes his eyes prickle, thinking about it. At first he thinks maybe it's the lack of sleep, maybe it's the eye strain. But then he realizes that it's familiar because it's the exact scene from his grandparents' own living room, from every weeknight for as long as he knew them. And so he's a little sniffly as he tucks into his delicious roasted pork, Jimin's thigh gently pressed up against his on the cramped couch.  

"You okay?" Jimin asks, looking over concernedly as he pauses mid-bite.  

"Yeah, fine," Taehyung assures him with a watery smile. "Just tired." 

Jimin's gaze lingers, but he nods, turning back to the television before shouting "BABYLON" at the top of his lungs.  

Fuck Min Yoongi, Taehyung thinks as he determinedly wipes his nose on his sleeve. Fuck him to hell

 

Chapter Text

 

 

Jin // 11:50am: Where are you?  

 

Me // 11:50am: grabbing a coffee! 

 

Jin // 11:53am:  you're never at my place anymore. not that I'm complaining. 

Jin // 11:53am: which shop? bring me one?  

 

Me // 11:56am: sry... they're out :/ 

 

Jin // 11:56am: Out... of coffee.   

 

Me // 11:57am: ya, sucks ://///////

  

Jin // 11:58am: If you don’t want to buy me one you can just say so...  

 

Me // 11:58am: I do not want to buy you one 

 

Jin // 11:59am: Fucker. Where are you? I'll come and meet you and get it myself.  

 

Me // 12:10pm: Just left sry 

 

Jin // 12:10pm: Choke on your biscotti, bitch  

 

Me // 12:11pm: so sry!  

Me // 12:11pm: wait… how do you know I'm eating biscotti  

 

“How do you fuckin’ think?” Jin’s voice comes from behind him, and he startles violently.  

“'Kay well that felt like entrapment.”  

“Why are you here?” Jin asks, settling down in the bar stool beside him. "And why did you fuckin' lie to me?"

“Here you go, Tae,” Jimin says with a sugary smile, sliding a beautiful latte carefully towards him.  "One Hazel-Nut-Hugger." 

“Ah,” Jin hums in understanding.   

“I'm always here. Why are you here?” Taehyung shoots back.  

“What's taking so long? Is Jimin flirting instead of making drinks?” Yoongi grumbles as he plops down in the stool next to Jin.  

“Ahhh,” Taehyung says with an obnoxiously conspicuous eyebrow waggle.   

"I told you I'd make your damn coffees," Hope says brightly, appearing between Jin and Yoongi. "You just insisted on bothering Tae." 

"Ahhhhhhhhhhhh," Taehyung says even louder and with an even more obnoxious eyebrow waggle. 

“Oh shut up," Jin spits, neck tinged pink as Hope claps a pretty hand on his shoulder. 

“You shut up.”  

“You two are like really fucking annoying siblings together, you know that, right?” Yoongi tells them, leaning forward to peek around Jin.   

“We are,” Jin growls, shooting Taehyung an agitated look. 

“Are what? Fucking? Annoying?"  

"Siblings," Jin answers solemnly, avoiding all eye contact with everyone.  

In a moment of abrupt hushed silence, even the clinking of spoons against mugs ceases as Taehyung feels every eye in the vicinity swivel to them.  

“Step siblings,” Taehyung clarifies. "Kind of." 

“O. Kay. Well. That explains a lot," Yoongi says, brows raised and frozen in place on his forehead. "Does not explain why nobody fucking knew that until now, but it explains a lot." 

“I mean our parents got married when we were already adults, and we kind of got drunk at the first combined Thanksgiving when they were still dating and almost did it on the kitchen counter, but yep. Bros.”  

“That… sounds like a story that needs to be told,” Jimin says, catching the last bit of the conversation and leaning forward on the bar.   

“It really doesn’t,” Jin groans.   

Taehyung pays him no mind. "There was some tension over turkey carving rights at our first combined family Thanksgiving and when our parents went into the living room to watch football, it was suggested by SOMEONE who will remain anonymous-" 

"Jin," Yoongi provides simply, looking quietly elated. 

"-that we fuck it out in the kitchen before halftime," Taehyung reveals without qualms, taking a small sip of his coffee. "It was kind of hot." 

“75% straight my beautiful ass,” Jimin scoffs. “You were showing signs early on.”  

“Oh, you didn’t know?” Jin asks, looking wicked. “He was down to 60% as of last weekend."' 

“Oh reallllllly?” Jimin smirks, leaning very much into his space again. “Interesting,” Jimin breathes, reaching forward to adjust the collar of Taehyung's shirt, and Taehyung is pretty shit with percentages lately but he is 100% sure he is about to explode.  

"I uh," he coughs nervously, "I actually recently decided to... you know. Give up on this whole percentage thing." Then with a significant glance at Yoongi, "I realized that maybe numbers aren't an accurate way to measure everything."  

Yoongi rolls his eyes and silently crosses his arms.  

"Well, no, but it sure was cute to watch," Jimin says with an eye-crinkling smile. "Kind of a shame though."  

"What is?" Taehyung questions, perplexed.   

"I was excited for 60%."  

Yoongi groans. “Ew, I know what he said about 60% and I would like to personally cancel my coffee order and also all future interactions with the both of you."  

"Well too fucking bad for you," Jimin says with a huff, "Because Pride is Saturday and we're all going. They're closing off the street in front of the queen for the parade, so we're going to run a little coffee and refreshment stand out front. Plus, I have a show afterwards and I fully expect you to be there."  

"Is the show here at least?" Yoongi asks hopefully. "At the Queen?" 

"No way. You know Joon has his panties in a bunch and won't let me do anything remotely sexy here."  

"WE ARE PROVIDING-" Namjoon swoops in from nowhere.  

"Oh boy," Jimin mumbles into his hand.   

"A SAFE AND NONSEXUALIZED SPACE FOR OUR COMMUNITY. Which believe it or not is more important than you going to fourth base with the floor on stage."  

"How do you get to fourth base with a floor?" Taehyung asks, cocking his head to the side.  "Wait, what is fourth base?" 

Jimin huffs. "That was one time, and I blame it on a shoddy drunken tuck job."  

"You almost got arrested for indecent exposure," Namjoon reminds him, voice deadpan. 

"I'm in," Taehyung responds, much too fast, and he can almost feel the sharpness of Yoongi's pointed glare. "Wait, what are we doing again?"  

Jimin giggles delightedly and boops Taehyung on the nose. "Pride. This weekend." His smile fades a little then, just a shade uncertain. "You don't have to come, obviously. I know you're not really... I mean I know that this is all kind of new to you." 

"No! I'm... I'm there," Taehyung insists too quickly, relaxing at Jimin's relieved exhale. "Definitely there." 

"Yeah?" Jimin asks, smile bright as he leans forward on the counter. 

"Super there," he confirms, returning his smile with enthusiasm. 

"Meet here at 8, then?" And it's hard not to fall forward, drawn by Jimin's brilliant grin. 

"With bagels and my gayest sweater." 

He hears rather than sees Jin's exasperation as he groans, "A piece of clothing cannot be fucking gay, Tae!" 

 


 

 “Okay fuck you, fine, that sweater is fucking gay,” Jin allows with what sounds like painful reluctance as they make their way through the colorful crowd towards the Queen, where they are meeting the rest of their group. 

“I told you!” Taehyung says triumphantly, spreading his arms so that the entirety of his rainbow striped sweater is on display. “I literally googled 'gay sweater' and bought the first thing I saw. I wanted to be 100% prepared for wooing Jimin. I'm not a complete idiot." 

“Says the guy wearing a sweater in 85 degree weather.” 

“Yeah, well, I need to advertise the fact that I'm interested and available. Jimin told me that I dress like a straight boy who thinks that knowing his correct clothing size would be gay. I need to make it very clear that I'm super not straight, especially when it comes to him." 

Jin eyes him skeptically. “For the last few months, you have been updating everyone on the evolution of your sexuality through a very careful but mysterious percentage system that you insist on posting on your Google calendar which you have, for some reason, shared with the entire group,” Jin says, squishing close to Taehyung to allow a rowdy group of scantily-clad men pass. “I think he knows.” 

“You know what, you have no room to criticize. At least I am actively pursuing the person that I want to be with. I know that's a foreign concept to you.” 

Jin cuts his eyes at him but keeps walking. “Excuse you, don't get snarky with me. I don't even want to be with anybody right now." 

"Why are you such a huge liar? Yoongi basically lives with you. I know this because basically live with you." 

"Yoongi doesn't date," Jin replies simply. "It's not something he wants." 

"Doesn't mean it's not something you want. And don't even get me started on-" 

"Hope!" Jin calls with a wave, smiling suddenly as he looks ahead, ignoring Taehyung completely as he hurries towards the entrance of the coffee shop, where there's a series of tables and drink stations set up.  

Taehyung can see Hope's bright smile from here as she waves enthusiastically and opens her arms wide to catch Jin as he swoops in for a hug. When she pulls back, she leaves a smear of rainbow glitter on his shoulder, but Jin doesn't remotely notice.  

Hope is almost more glitter than clothes, Taehyung notices immediately. From collarbone to belly, her bare torso is a beautiful swirl of delicate, intricately applied pastel rainbow glitter, and a shimmer mid-length pleated skirt, each of the vertical panels a different color of a muted rainbow, hangs delicately on her waist. 

“Hey Tae, Jimin is back in the back getting cups and napkins,” Hope says as she brushes gently at some of the glitter clinging to Jin's shoulder.  

Taehyung nods and steps into the mostly empty shop, making his way back into the stock room.  

He doesn’t see Jimin immediately, but then there's a a glimpse of black hair bobbing behind a massive stack of boxes.  

“Jimin?” 

A surprised face pops up into view as Jimin springs out of his crouching position, but he grins immediately when he sees who it is. His hair and makeup are already done, but he's wearing a blush pink silk robe.  

“Hey!” he says, dusting of his hands from where they had been resting on the floor. “You're early.” 

“I'm excited,” Taehyung explains shyly.  

“And you’re wearing the sweater.” 

“Thought it was appropriate.” 

“Oh! That reminds me. I got something for you,” Jimin says, digging into his robe pocket for something. His eyes brighten when he locates it, and he pulls from his pocket a small flag pin, pink purple and blue. He steps closer so that Taehyung can get a better view. “Joon was giving us all a lecture on bisexual erasure yesterday, and I thought maybe you would want something a little more specific to your experience to wear for Pride.” 

Taehyung reaches out to gingerly take the pin, and he looks at it with appraising eyes. “This is the bi flag?” 

“Yeah, I mean, you don’t have to wear it, obviously you don’t have to label yourself yet. Or like, ever. I just figured since you’re not doing your percentage system anymore, maybe bi just kind of... covers your bases, you know?”  

“Yeah it's…” There’s a painful lump in Taehyung’s throat for some reason. “I think it’s good.” 

“Good,” Jimin says with a soft smile. “Here, let me put it on for you.” 

He takes the pin back from Taehyung, stepping close so that he can gently tug Taehyung’s hand sweater forward and reach underneath, soft hand skimming the skin of his stomach, so that he can fasten the backing to the pin.  

“There you go,” he says softly, hand lingering as it drags down the skin of Taehyung’s torso. He doesn’t step away but raises his chin so that he can look up into Taehyung’s face. “How’s that?” 

“Perfect,” Taehyung breathes, mind otherwise blank from the proximity.  

It would be easy to lean down and press a kiss to Jimin’s lovely, parted lips. He’s almost certain he'd meet no resistance.  

But his throat is still a little tight and his eyes are prickling at the corners, and all he wants to do is give Jimin the biggest warmest hug he can manage. So he does. Jimin sighs into his shoulder as Taehyung’s arms hold him close, and Taehyung feels small hands wind slowly around his own waist.  

“Thanks,” Taehyung breathes into his hair after swallowing hard.  

“It's no big,” Jimin insists, sounding embarrassed now. “Just... You know. Whatever you're feeling is valid, you know?” 

Taehyung’s grasp on him tightens. “Yeah.” 

“Jimin did you get the- Oh.” Jungkook freezes at the door as Taehyung takes a hurried step back from Jimin. “Don't mind me!” he says with a gigantic goofy grin, waving his arms as if to convince them that his presence was nothing more than an illusion. “I was never here.” 

“Guess we should go help?” Taehyung says, pulling away with a shy look.  

“Ah yeah I was just gonna grab these boxes,” Jimin says, pointing to two of them on the ground.  

“Oh, let me!” Taehyung insists, stopping to grab one of the boxes. It doesn't budge from the ground. "I uh... I can't get a good grip," he claims as he shoots an embarrassed look over his shoulder. He clears his throat and leans down to try again, lifting with all his might, back straining as he grunts a little with the effort.  

Nothing.  

“Uh…” 

“Move aside, noodle arms,” Jimin sighs fondly as he leans over to lift one box, then both boxes, without the slightest issue, balancing all the while on precarious glittering platform heels. 

“Wow. You just lifted a whole entire me basically,” Taehyung breathes reverently as Jimin cocks a hip and shoots him a sassy smile.  

“We can test that out later, if you want," Jimin says with a wink as he leaves the room. 

Taehyung trips over his feet in his haste to follow. 

On their way out, they run into Namjoon, hurriedly gathering supplies into a box behind the countertop. And Taehyung, who is used to seeing Namjoon in platform shoes, pastels, bright colors, strange hats, or light kinkwear, is stunned to see that he's wearing khakis and a buttondown. 

Jimin stops abruptly when he sees him. “Excuse me when are you changing?” 

“I'm not," Namjoon says, stepping out from behind the counter to reveal his footwear. 

“Oh fuck no, you are not wearing Crocs to pride.” 

Joon looks down at his clothes, then back up at Jimin. “Look, I've been so crazy busy. Things are really picking up at the non-profit and shit's been so crazy here. I slept at the office last night, these are my emergency clothes. You know I haven’t had time to put together an outfit for Pride." 

“Oh,” Jimin says sounding devious now, slinging the boxes down onto a table and moving forward to start circling Namjoon like a lion circling its prey. “Oh I can help with that.” 

“Jimin, no…” 

“Joon, yes. You owe me, remember? You lost that bet.” 

“We don't have time for this, okay? We can do it a different day." Namjoon insists, looking harried as he shifts the box to his other hip. 

“I'm a fuckin pro, Joon. I'll have you out there in 45 minutes. Scouts honor. And I have the perfect outfit! Yoongi brought some new samples over. It was my backup for tonight but I didn’t have time to get it tailored." 

"Oh no. No way. Something you were going to wear? I am not wearing some candy-colored buttfloss or some shit." 

"Hold on," Jimin scoffs incredulously. "Are you like... Concerned about your aesthetic right now? Because you literally do not have a cohesive aesthetic. Like at all. One day you're a working mom from an 80's film, one day you're just wearing an outfit made entirely of dildos. You are all over the map." 

"My drag name is Lady Dada and if you knew anything about 20th century cultural movements, you would understand WHY," Namjoon huffs, looking very much like he's explained the exact same thing many times before. "But no, I just... don't want my ass hanging out." 

"Okay, look, it's long and black and totally goth." 

Namjoon hesitates, like he's actually thinking about it. “I don't know…"

“Pride is special, Joon! Plus, you might actually get physically attacked out there wearing those things." Jimin points an accusatory finger at the Crocs. 

"Would not," Namjoon pouts, staring down fondly at his shoes.  

"Look," Jimin says, sighing through his nose. "Kook was reallllllly looking forward to seeing you all dressed up. Remember his excited little face when he heard I was going to do your drag?" 

Namjoon purses his lips before slumping his shoulders in defeat. “Fine. But you have 45 minutes and then I'm out no matter what.” 

“Thank God,” he says, bending to slide the pink Crocs from Namjoon's feet. He tosses them to Taehyung. “Burn these." 

 


 

Rather than marching in the parade, the employees and friends of The Queen have set up shop outside of their storefront, providing coffees and waters to parade-goers free of charge. Namjoon has set up donation tins on both sides of their booth, both of which are overflowing within the first hour.  

"Damn!" Taehyung remarks, pushing down the overflowing bills in one of the tins so that he can make room for new ones. "What are y'all going to use all of this cash for, anyway?" 

"Lots of stuff," Hope tells him as she re-loads one of the coffee dispensers. "Some of it we keep for costs and for a couple of the local events that we put on, and the rest of it we donate to local LGBTQA non-profits and programs, like the one Joon helps run." She grunts as she forcefully tries to force the lid onto the large dispenser, hampered by her long nails, each a color in a pastel rainbow. "Hey, where the fuck is Jimin? He was supposed to be out here helping like an hour ago." 

"He's actually helping Joon get ready," Taehyung tells her, gently pushing her aside so he can affix the top. "Here, let me. You'll break a nail," he says kindly.  

Hope coos at him before reaching out to pinch his cheek tenderly. "If only all straight boys could be more like you." 

"Oh," Taehyung says, before proudly pointing to his flag pin. "But I'm bi." 

"Exactly."  

It's still early, but the crowd is already gearing up, colors and sounds and smells all vibrant and almost a little overwhelming. Taehyung stays behind their both, helps when he is able, gets out of the way when he is not.  

Hope, however, is already receiving a steady stream of admirers stopping by to ask for pictures and just wanting to chat. She is clearly a local favorite, absolutely beloved and revered within the community, and Taehyung knows that her instagram following is nothing to sneeze at. But as many people stop by, she is nothing but bright and enthusiastic for each and every person, always ready with a hug and a smile and more than willing to pose for pictures, no matter how long the line gets. 

Jin and Yoongi sit further back towards the shop, watching her with matching gazes of admiration, not speaking, just watching. Their thighs press together on the bench, but their eyes never leave Hope. 

“Um hey, so Jin's your brother right?” Jungkook asks quietly so that the other three can't hear.  

“Wow, it sounds so gross when you say it. But yeah, like… my adult step brother who I almost banged once before we were technically stepbrothers.” 

“Cool. So, what’s up with those two?” He asks nodding in Jin's direction.  

“Uh… with. Jin and Yoongi? Or Jin and Hope.” He pauses. “Or... Yoongi and Hope?” 

Jungkook’s brow crinkles, regarding them all carefully. “Wait. I don't know anymore." 

“I don't think they know either,” Taehyung says as he watches Hope, finally able to take a break, sling herself into Jin's lap, arms winding around his neck as she leans forward to wipe a bit of latte foam from Yoongi’s mouth with her finger.  

“Interesting…” Jungkook says as he tilts his head to look at them even more intently. “Jesus, why is everyone in our friend group completely in love with each other?” After a moment, he jerks his head towards Taehyung, eyes huge. “Except for me and Joon. Obviously.” 

He chances a look at Taehyung, who doesn't have time to paste an expression of casual acknowledgement over his underlying skepticism at the statement.  

“Um hey so I'm reallllly not good at pretending I don't know things that I already know,” Taehyung tells him gently and with a sympathetic look. “So you can just talk about it if you want to.” 

Jungkook's neck is beet red as his eyes widen almost impossibly. "What? How the fuck do you know?" 

Taehyung shrugs. "Heard from Jimin maybe possibly mentioning that it might be a thing?" 

Jungkook's mouth snaps shut as he hurriedly turns away and tucks his head. “Oh.” he's quiet. “Fuckin loudmouth." He chews on his bottom lip for a few seconds before he continues. "I mean there’s not really anything to talk about. Joon doesn’t like me like that, so I'm cool with how we are. At least I get to hang around him, you know?” 

“Uh…” Taehyung hesitates, his instincts telling him to blab. “Yeaaah?” His voice cracks, and Jungkook's head jerks towards him once more. 

He quirks an eyebrow. "Why did you say that so weird?” 

“I dunno? I didn't?” Taehyung tries, but the words come out strangely accented and stiff. 

“What the fuck, you sound like Mario. What is happening right now?” 

“I hate this," Taehyung curses, heaving a sigh. "Sometimes when I try to lie, I think I get nervous and subconsciously imitate a fictional character? Maybe to like try and add another intricate layer to the deception or something? I dunno, I can't help it. When I had to tell my dad how I got the scratch on his car, I gave the entire speech 15-minute speech as Donald Duck." 

“Well I obviously know you're lying now, so tell me before I run inside and tell Jimin about the time you got a boner when he was clipping his fingernails." 

Taehyung's blood runs cold. “Joon really likes you but he knows you're not ace and he's worried you wouldn't be happy so he's keeping his distance,” he blurts out before slapping his hands of his own mouth. “I told you I can't pretend not to know.” 

“He… “ Jungkook’s eyes are large and far away. “Okay.” 

“Um are you alright?” 

“Nope," Jungkook replies slowly, popping the 'p,' gaze still unfocused and unmoving.  

“Okay, so I probably shouldn't have done this in public when he's like... right inside. Hey look when Jimin's done doing Joon's makeup, you’ve gotta-“ 

“Jimin's doing Joon’s makeup?” jungkook demands abruptly, looking terrified.  

“Uh.. yeah. He said he had a dress for him too. Yoongi brought some samples from work and-“ 

“I have to get out of here," Jungkook says, clambering over a chair and barely catching his footing as his eyes go wild. 

“What? Why? Don't you want to see-" 

“Look, I'm already fucking overwhelmed! If I see him like that I’m just gonna blurt out-“ 

“Excuse you all! The Queen has arrived!” Jimin calls from the shop exit, still clutching his own silk robe around him as he holds open the door for a tall, dark figure. 

Taehyung hears a soft whimper beside him. 

Namjoon had always been a striking figure, long and tall and lean, but now he towers over the rest of them on platform boots, like the warrior goddess of death and beauty.  

Taehyung has only ever seen Namjoon in minimal makeup or graphic stylized makeup, never in between. But Jimin has truly outdone himself, transforming the usually handsome features into a soft, striking beauty, all smooth golden skin, intense black-lined eyes, and burgundy lips.  

The black fabric of the fitted bodice clings to his narrow waist and continues down his torso into a high-cut body suit, and the floor-length skirt of the dress is completely sheer except for a few opaque, vertical seams, between which are visible two long, shapely legs underneath. Atop his shoulders sits what looks like a stunning and delicate piece of shining golden armor, carved like two small wings draping over his upper arms.  

“Wow,” Taehyung gawks, eyes wide. He chances a glance at Jungkook who looks like he’s about to vomit. 

"Jesus Christ! Joon?" Hope asks, launching herself out of Jin's lap to get a closer look. "Is that really you?" 

Namjoon looks like he's about to respond, but before he can, his ankles wobble in the 6-inch black booties and he loses his balance. Jimin catches him under the armpits and prevents him from crumpling completely.  

"Yup. Still Joon," Yoongi confirms. "Damn dude that sample looks better on you than it did on the model." 

"You look like a sexy movie villain," Taehyung chimes in, then turns towards Jungkook. "Jungkook, doesn't-" 

He's talking to air.  

Taehyung turns back to the group, and they're all looking at him inquisitively as if they're expecting an explanation for Jungkook's sudden disappearance, as if he would know anything about it. 

"He uh. He had diarrhea," Taehyung tells them, gesturing somewhere vaguely behind him.  

"Oh," Namjoon says, glancing concernedly around as if to try and spot him. "Is he okay? I should go find him." 

"No!" Taehyung answers too quickly. "Nope, he is... he's fine. Don’t worry," he says standing up and backing away. "I'll go get him." 

"Hold on Tae, don't go by yourself. You're fuckin' fresh meat," Jimin starts, gracefully shedding his robe. "Let me come with you." And Taehyung's frenzied exit comes to an abrupt halt, because he now understands what Namjoon had meant about 'candy-colored butt floss.' 

"Um," is all that Taehyung can manage, and suddenly he feels the heat of the sun boiling up underneath the collar of his sweater.  

'Harness' is probably the best word for what Jimin's wearing, but Taehyung's not as concerned with terminology as he is with trying to prevent himself from exploding into a million tiny pieces where he stands. Strappy strands in various colors of a muted rainbow criss-cross Jimin's smooth, tan skin, barely covering enough to be publicly decent.  

Taehyung realizes it's probably rude to stare, so he opens his mouth to say words. Nothing comes out.  

"Jesus Jimin is it even legal to wear that?" Hope asks, peeking around to take a look at Jimin's ass which is, apparently, mostly bare. 

"Perfectly legal," Jimin huffs haughtily. "Technically." 

"Jesus," Hope just shakes her head with a chuckle and turns towards Taehyung to address him again. "Good luck with-" 

She's talking to air.  

 


 

There is color in even the sounds and smells of Pride, a cohesive brightness about the place, and everywhere Taehyung looks, happy people cling to each other in glee, shout happily across the street, or wave banners and flags in delight. Smiling people hand him things as he passes, a small rainbow flag from the woman with beautiful long braids, a packet of colorfully-wrapped condoms from the booth of a local organization, a rainbow flower crown from an older man and his partner. It's almost enough to make Taehyung forget that he wants to be swallowed by a black hole.  

To his credit, neither the almost overstimulating environment nor the creeping persistent shame distract him from actually looking for Jungkook. The heat, though, is truly distracting, and he finds himself stripping off the admittedly ill-advised sweater after just a few minutes of strolling in the sweltering heat, encouraged by the amount of skin that some of the other Pride-goers are showing. He gets a couple of wolf-whistles as he does so, and waves vaguely in the direction of the sound with a shy chuckle.  

Half an hour in, his search is beginning to feel futile. He slings his sweater over his shoulder and exhales in frustration, looking around kind of wildly.  

"You okay there?" A voice calls from behind him, and he turns to see a group of vibrantly-dressed parade-goers who have set up chairs and tables in a little grassy space behind the barricade-lined sidewalk. 

"Oh, yeah! I'm fine, just looking for a friend," Taehyung assures them, and it looks like the guy who talked to them is a grinning middle-aged man holding a paintbrush, which is poised in front of a half-finished rainbow on another man's cheek.  "Actually, maybe you've seen him. Young guy?  Skinny but swole? Emo flap? About five-foot-ten? Expression like he's just walked in on his parents having sex?" 

The guy laughs. "Sorry man, that sounds like a lot of people I've seen today. But you're welcome to hang here and we can keep an eye out for him." He waves the paintbrush. "Paint that pretty face while you wait." 

Taehyung looks down at his jeans and bare chest, feeling woefully bland without his sweater.  

"You know what? Go crazy." 

 


 

 "And then he told me-" Taehyung pauses his story as a drink is pressed into his hand, "-oh thank you. And then he told me that I have cute nipples, which... like how do you take that. Is that a desirable trait? I don't know. I'm pretty sure he thinks I'm a furry, though, so maybe that's why he hasn't-" 

"Kim Taehyung!" 

His mouth clicks shut with astonishing speed, and even though he can't turn his body to look lest he ruin the intricate paintjob that is currently in progress, he knows who it is by voice alone.  

Suddenly Jimin is in front of him, looking thoroughly irritated as he yanks the drink out of Taehyung's hand.  

"Jimin! Hey!" 

"What do you think you're doing?" Jimin asks through gritted teeth, handing the drink back to the guy who originally handed it to Taehyung. 

"I'm just getting festive," Taehyung replies, pointing down at his torso. "See, there's the rainbow," then he points at his right nipple, "And here's the sunshine," he point at his left nipple, "And here's a hot air balloon with two stick figures hugging each other upside-down in the basket." 

"They're 69-ing." 

Taehyung gapes, craning his head down towards his own chest to get a better look. "You can do that standing up?" 

Jimin sighs, resting a hand on his hip, and Taehyung flushes a little as he is reminded of what Jimin is wearing. "We found Jungkook like an hour ago." 

"You did? How?" 

"We fucking texted him, Tae. We texted you, too." 

"Oh. Sorry," Taehyung mumbles, tugging his phone out of his pocket and looking guiltily at the screen. 

"Hey, aren't you that drag queen from youtube?" One of the younger guys in the group pipes up from behind Jimin. "The one with the makeup tutorials?" 

Jimin turns then, and Taehyung watches him visibly try to wipe his face of any lingering hits of annoyance. "Uh, yeah." 

"Wow, you're like, even hotter in person," he notes, standing up now to approach Jimin. "Do you want to stay for a drink?" 

"Sorry, we really have to get back," Jimin says graciously if stiffly. "Thank you, though." 

"Yeah, thanks guys!" Taehyung pipes up. "It was fun hanging out though!" 

"We should hang out again sometime," the middle-aged guy tells him, gesturing to Taehyung's phone with a little smirk.  

Jimin steps between them. "Sorry, he's taken." He reaches back to grab Taehyung's hand and tug him away. "Come on, Tae." 

Taehyung is too bewildered by the action to do anything but wave vaguely over his shoulder as he trails along behind Jimin trying with all his might to keep his eyes fixed on the sky. They wander once or twice in the first few seconds.  

“Uh... why-" 

"Didn't anyone ever tell you not to taking drink from fucking strangers?" Jimin asks, and he still sounds a little irritated as he pulls Taehyung through the crowd. 

"Uh, no. Why?" 

"Jesus. I forget they don't teach straight boys this shit." Jimin slows down now so that they're walking side by side. "Because people can put things into your drink." 

"Seriously?" Taehyung asks, feeling foolish now. "Even at like... Pride?" 

"Just because people are gay doesn't automatically mean they have good intentions, Tae," Jimin tells him, much softer now. "Most are great people, amazing people, but some are not so good. They're humans with human flaws and sometimes human ugliness. So just... be careful." 

Taehyung nods silently, and Jimin squeezes his hand. 

"Is this okay?" Jimin asks then, gesturing to their clasped hands. "It's just... easier. I get bothered less." 

"Minnie!" Someone to their left screams, as if to prove the point. Jimin turns and blows a kiss, then raise his and Taehyung's hands as if to say he's occupied. 

"Yeah," Taehyung says, eyes following their hands as Jimin lowers them once more to hang between them. "No problem." 

"Thanks." Jimin's shy smile might just be Taehyung's favorite.  

"Is Jungkook okay?" Taehyung remembers then as they continue to weave through the crowd. 

"Oh he's fine," Jimin assures him. "I think he punched his feelings out on a giant bag of beans in the back of the shop. He's good as new. And surprisingly diarrhea free." Jimin adds with a smirk. 

Taehyung groans, remembering. "He's going to kill me." 

"Absolutely he will. Joonie had fucking Pepto waiting for him and everything."

 


 

Night has fallen by the time Taehyung smoothes sweater nervously and steps into the line for the club. After the parade, he'd run back to Jin's place for a quick shower, and now he's donned his sweater once more for part two of the night, Jimin's show. He shifts his weight to his other foot as he approaches the very large bouncer at the door and hands him his ID, his other hand clutching several rumbled bills for cover.  

The bouncer eyes him appraisingly for a moment, eyebrows creased, and Taehyung doesn't know what rule he's breaking, but it's got to be a big one with the way this guy is looking at him. Finally, he hands back Taehyung's ID and murmurs in a surprisingly soft voice. "Nice sweater," before nodding him through and waving away his money-bearing hand.  

He finds his group, minus Jimin, pressed right up against the stage, chattering excitedly to each other.   

Yoongi just grunts at him as he approaches, and when Taehyung follows his line of sight, he sees a very drunk and giggling Hope throwing herself forward onto Jin's chest in unbridled laughter.  

"Hello to you, too," Taehyung greets him in response to the grunt, then he looks back over at Hope and Jin. "They sure are getting along, aren't they?" 

Yoongi cuts a steely look at him from the corner of his eye. "Yeah, well, there's a lot of that going around. Lots of getting along within our friend group. Still. After explicit instructions to fucking stop." 

Taehyung raises his hands in a show of innocence. "Don't take it out on me just because your ex-boinks may or may not want to boink each other now." 

“They can do whatever they want. I don’t care,” Yoongi says unconvincingly. 

“Yeah right, you’re basically married to them both. Hope's your hot first wife, and Jin's your hot second wife and they're both about to leave you for each other. You'd have a major boner about it if you weren't so secretly heartbroken." 

“Don't be weird,” Yoongi cringes. “We’re friends. We're all just friends.” But his eyes are fixed unmovingly on the pair in front of them, not daring to blink as Jin leans in close to whisper something in Hope's ear. He bites the inside of his cheek in worry before visibly snapping himself out of it. “Hey, stop trying to derail the conversation. I'm serious about Jimin. You have no clue what it's been like for him." 

"Dude, I really don't see what you're seeing. Jimin is perfectly fine. Super confident and well-adjusted." 

Yoongi scoffs so hard that Taehyung feels a light spray of spittle on his arm. "I'm sorry but casually flirting with him for 3 months does not making you the fucking expert. Just because he hasn't told you about it doesn't mean it doesn't bother him." 

"He's never said a word about it to me," Taehyung trills, tip-toeing to try and see the stage above Namjoon's gigantic head.  

"Yeah because he's secretly afraid that you could be the next straight boy to fuck him over," Yoongi spits, his upper lip quirking slightly in disgust. "Why do you think he hasn't fucked you yet?" 

Taehyung's confidence falters tellingly at that, because he can't deny that he's been wondering the same thing. "Maybe because he really likes me." He sounds so much less certain than he would prefer.  

"Right," Yoongi says smugly, looking pleased to have drawn blood.  

Taehyung pointedly ignores him and screams along with the rest of the crowd when the lights go down and the M.C. steps out onto the stage. 

He feels more prepared than last time, for Jimin on stage, but he's still very much in awe. Jimin is soft, glamorous and decadent in skin-tight baby pink bodice covered in glitter, the long petaled skirt, similarly sparkling, open slightly in the front to reveal that it's actually covering a high-cut body suit. Each layer of petaled fabric is a different color, transitioning from pink through the rainbow to an eventual lavender, muted and soft. His hair falls in black, retro waves over one of his shoulders, his eyes lined heavily in kohl. It's a different routine this week, something slow and sexy that Taehyung doesn't know, but he can hardly be bothered to wonder as he watches Jimin bend and twist magnificently, the lines of his face set in a soft, faux pleasure as he mouths along to the music.  

A sharp elbow to his side snaps him out of his reverie, and for a moment he thinks that it's Yoongi trying to drop him a painful hint. But when his head snaps to the side, his glare fades almost immediately, because it's not Yoongi. The stranger glares down at him and steps directly in front of them, dragging another man along up the front with him. The guys are big and giving off some sour vibes, so Taehyung just steps back a little and shifts to try and get a better look.  

Taehyung misses most of the rest of the song, catches peeks here and there over the guy's shoulder. But he still claps and screams harder than ever, apparently much to the annoyance of the man in front of him, who shoots Taehyung a glare before he gently elbows his friend and motions to the bar with his head.  

"Hey, guys. I have to open tomorrow, so I'm heading out," Namjoon says after a few minutes after the show is over.  

"Can I catch a ride?" Jungkook asks eagerly, his eyes large and hopeful as Namjoon sighs and smiles.  

"Sure. 'Night, guys," Namjoon waves as Jungkook skips excitedly to his side, tugging him towards the door.  

"Night fuckwads!" Jungkook shouts over his shoulder, entwining his arm with Namjoon's, and Taehyung is impressed with the 180 degree change in demeanor from this morning. 

"Let's dance," Hope yells over the noise, grabbing Jin and Yoongi's hands, but Yoongi moodily yanks his hands away.  

"Nah. I'm out too," Yoongi says with a short wave, and Hope looks momentarily hurt. 

"Okay," she says sweetly. "Be safe. Text me when you're home?" 

Yoongi nods curtly and turns on heel, his small frame quickly being obscured by the crowd. 

Hope steps closer to Taehyung as her eyes stare after Yoongi. “Hey, I saw you and Yoongi talking earlier. Is everything okay with him?” 

“As okay as it usually is. But it's not like he's gonna spill his guts to me," Taehyung tells her. "Why?” 

“I dunno. I'm probably just being paranoid.” Hope says shaking her head. “Just seems like he's acting weird." 

"Weird?" Taehyung asks. 

"Yeah. Just... distant. Kind of like he did last time before... you know." 

Taehyung just shrugs as he looks pointedly away from Jin, who is now gently nuzzling Hope's neck.  

“Let's dance,” Jin says then, changing the subject abruptly. 

"You want to dance, Tae?" Hope asks politely, but he can see Jin's arm tighten intimately around her waist.  

"I'm just gonna wait for Jimin," Taehyung says with a smile.  

"Okay!" Hope shouts, brightening once more as he pulls Jin out of sight and presumably out onto the dance floor. 

Taehyung figures he has a good 10 minute minimum until Jimin has wrapped everything up, so he squeezes, shoves, and dodges his way through the crowd and finally ends up in the bathroom. 

He's halfway through a very satisfying piss when something on the floor catches his eye. A small plastic baggie, the bottom quarter-inch lined with a fine white powder. His eyes go buggy when he realizes what it is, and as soon as he is finished, he subtly nudges the little baggie towards the trashcan with his toe, wedging it underneath so that it's no longer in sight. He may not be able to make people's decisions for them, but at least he can make those decisions a little less convenient.  

When Taehyung steps out of the bathroom and back into the blasting, vibrating noise of the club, his heart jumps a little when he sees a glimpse of silver. He had been expecting Jimin to emerge fully in drag, still in character, ready to politely wave off his fans, but he slips out from the door looking very scrubbed and clean and somehow very small.  

Taehyung makes his way to the bar nearest to him as Jimin scans the room for a couple of seconds, eyes eventually land on Taehyung. He beams and waves enthusiastically, and Taehyung practically skips over, slinging himself onto the stool next to Jimin.

"Wait, are you by yourself?" Jimin asks, smile fading slightly as he looks around. 

"Yes, but I have not accepted a single drink from a stranger," Taehyung says proudly.  

Jimin's eyes are happy, scrunched crescents when he laughs. "You fighting off the men left and right?" 

"Not fighting them off, but kind of almost like physically fighting. There was this one asshole in the crowd during your show, and I swear I would have- oh shit, he's like right behind you." Jimin turns conspicuously to get a quick peek out of the corner of his eye. 

“Fuck,” Jimin mutters, tucking his head and turning towards Taehyung. He subtly jerks his head back. “I know that guy." 

“Oh. Well if you know him why don't you say hi?”  

“I know him know him Tae. As in my dick knows the inside of his ass.”  

“Oh.” Taehyung repeats as he swallows a bitter wave of jealousy. “Why doesn’t he recognize you? He's right fucking there.”  

“He probably doesn’t recognize me out of drag,” Jimin mumbles. “We never…” He trails off, chewing his lip. "I thought he said he didn't come here anymore because he got a fucking girlfriend.” 

“Uh, do you wanna leave?” Taehyung asks before Jimin is forced to finish his thought.   

“I…”  

“Hey have you seen Minnie?” comes a loud, slurring voice from behind Jimin. It's the guy, and he's asking the bartender. Jimin’s shoulders stiffen perceptibly and he's staring very hard at the surface of the bar. The bartender briefly glances at Jimin, before shrugging noncommittally. Taehyung wonders how many people come asking after Jimin after seeing him perform. A lot, probably, judging by the bartender's hesitance. “Asshole,” the guy mutters when he gets no response, turning back to his friend. “He's got to be around here somewhere. Maybe he's still backstage."  

His friend rolls his eyes. “You haven't even talked to the guy in months. You totally ditched him for Mari, who you are definitely still dating, and you really think he's gonna-“ 

The first guy scoffs, offended. “I'll just tell him I missed him or some shit. And he doesn't have to know about Mari. Believe me, Minnie's easy as pie." 

Taehyung’s hands ball up involuntarily, but Jimin rests a gentle hand on his arm to calm him. “Do. Not.”  

His friend scans the bar, eyes passing right over Jimin, whose eyes are cold, glinting steel as he primly purses his lips. "Yeah right. Look I'm not gay, dude, but he's obviously hot. I still kinda doubt he even fucked you." 

"I was the one doing the fucking, thanks," the guy bristles. "And I'm not gay, either, you shithead." 

"Which totally explains why we're here at a gay bar. During Gay Pride. Trying to fuck a drag queen that you used to regularly fuck.” 

"His instagram said he'd be here," the guy growls, but he looks embarrassed. "And look, a good lay is a good lay. Here, see for yourself. Look," the guy says with a repulsive sneer as he whips out his phone then holds it out to show his friend something on the screen.  

Taehyung is pretty sure he has a good idea what it is, and he's shaking now, the movement of his arm shaking Jimin’s hand, or maybe Jimin is shaking too. He hopes that his glare will burn a hole straight through that asshole's head.   

"Shit, dude," the guy's friend says, covering his ugly smirking lips with his hand as he leans closer to the screen. "Who the fuck can bend like that?" 

"See? Hottest piece of ass I ever got," the guy brags, looking smug now as he swipes presumably through a series of photos on his phone. “It's a shame he got clingy and I had to drop him.” 

"I'm not gonna lie, I'd probably tap that. Like, once. If nobody ever found out." 

"You probably could," the first guy chuckles haughtily. "I told you, he'll fuck any straight boy who asks, it's sad. Oh wait, you've got to see this video from last time."

There is an ugly, thorny, roaring dragon in Taehyung's chest, and he's sure that if he has to listen to one more second of this shit, he's going to burn up from inside.  Taehyung makes to stand up, and Jimin's nails dig into his arm like claws.  

"Tae. Fucking don't,” Jimin hisses, and Taehyung wrenches his arm away. "I don’t need a goddamn hero.” 

“I know you don't, but I can't just sit here while he-“ 

“You can and you will," Jimin insists, gaze hard. "Listen I'll talk to him like an adult when he's done spewing shit.” 

“So you’re just gonna let him...?” Taehyung trails off, not knowing how to end that sentence. 

“Yes,” Jimin says, detuned determined even as his cheeks burn red. 

Taehyung scoffs. “Fine do whatever you want. But I'm not just going to sit here.” 

“Tae, sit the fuck down," Jimin warns him, grabbing his arm again, nails sharp on his skin. "He'll kick your ass." 

"I'm not going to fight him," Taehyung informs him coolly. "I just have to pee." 

Jimin hesitates for a second, trying to get a read on Taehyung's expression, but eventually he nods curtly. "Hurry back." 

Taehyung moves quickly through the crowd this time, now that he has purpose, slipping in and out of the bathroom in just moments. The plastic feels sweaty clutched tight in his palm. 

He panics a bit when he re-emerges and he doesn't immediately see Jimin where he'd left him, but then he spots him staring defiantly up into the face of the guy they'd overheard. His blood runs cold, watching as Jimin calmly talks to him, but Taehyung can see the way that his fist is clenched so hard that his knuckles are white and his nails must be digging into his palm. The guy scoffs visibly, then tucks his phone into his back pocket, crossing his arms and glaring down at Jimin. 

Undeterred from his original plan, Taehyung takes a deep breath and strides purposefully forward, bracing for impact several seconds before he actually runs directly into the asshole, hands moving nimbly and successfully before he bounces off his shoulder and lands ass-first on the floor. He feigns an expression of apologetic fear.  

"Shit, I'm so sorry!" he says as the guy glares down at him. He scrambles to his feet and tucks his head in pretended deference.  

"Watch where you're going, idiot," the guy spits, shoving Taehyung away, sending him flying a few steps away.  

Taehyung regains his footing, learning down to whisper into Jimin's ear, "Are you okay?" 

"I'm fine," Jimin says evenly, loud enough for the guy to hear. "I'm just having a conversation. Getting back something that doesn't belong to him." 

The guy laughs viciously. "Look, I don't know what Minnie told you, but-" 

"I am Minnie, you fucking asswipe," Jimin fumes, and Taehyung sees his fist shaking at his side now. He gently grabs Jimin's wrist in what he hopes is a reassuring way. "And I want those photos back." 

The cocky look slides off the man's face like a pat of butter on a hot pan. He still manages a skeptical scoff. "What? No way. You're not-" 

"What, you want me to prove it?" Minnie asks, raising a challenging eyebrow. "You called me daddy and asked me to piss in you at the Mariott. Ring a bell?" 

"What the FUCK dude?" The guy asks, charging forward to grab a fistful of Jimin's shirt in his meaty hand. "That’s... That's a lie." He looks back at his friend, who stands back from the conversation with his eyebrows raised. "That's a lie." 

"Okay," Jimin shrugs. "Just delete the fucking-" 

"Jimin, come on," Taehyung urges him, tugging him away by the arm. "Let's go." 

Jimin tries to shake him off. "What? No. I want him to delete those fucking photos." He turns back to the guy. "You know, you're lucky I'm a decent human being and deleted the photos you sent me. Because those were far more fucking embarrassing. Remember?" 

"You-" the guy tightens his grip in Jimin's shirt, and Taehyung reaches up to step between them and gently pry it away. 

"Jimin. Trust me. Let's go," Taehyung says with a significant look. Jimin looks into his eyes for a few moments before he sighs.  

"Fine," he grunts, turning back to the guy, who is red-faced, sweaty, and shaken. "You know what? Lie to yourself all you want, but stop telling lies about me to your friends, you piece of shit." 

He turns then and stalks away without waiting for Taehyung, who with one last scathing look at the guy, turns to follow.

On his way out, just as he reaches the door, Taehyung hurriedly pulls the bouncer aside, whispering into his ear and nodding behind him.  

"You sure?" The bouncer asks with raised eyebrows. 

Taehyung nods emphatically. "Positive." 

The bouncer pats him on the shoulder, and Taehyung shoots him a quick smile before jogging lightly out the door, keeping his eyes peeled for Jimin.  

He finds him outside, looking very small as he leans against the wall, hunched over his phone. 

Taehyung jogs over to him, breathing heavier than normal as he says, "Hey. Uh. You okay?" 

"I'm calling an Uber," Jimin says shortly, scrolling through his phone before abruptly looking up and fixing Taehyung with an outraged look. "Why the FUCK were you dragging me away like that? I had the situation under control, maybe I could have gotten him to delete-" 

"Jimin, we need to go." 

Jimin groans, rolling his eyes. "Why, Tae? I'm fine, I'm not fucking fragile. I can take care of myself." 

"I know, I just-" 

They are interrupted by a commotion as the man and his friend stumble out of the door on unstable legs. At first, Taehyung thinks they're just drunk, but then he sees the bouncer behind them, arms extended like he's just given them a good shove. 

"Shit, not again," Jimin says, sounding truly tired. But the guy is clearly otherwise occupied, yelling and gesturing wildly at the bouncer, who looks on unamused. "Wait, they're getting kicked out? Why the fuck are they getting kicked out?"  

"Oh. Uh," Taehyung hesitates. "I dunno. Maybe someone like... planted cocaine on him and ratted him out to the bouncers?"  

Jimin's head swivels in his direction, eyes bulging like he can't believe his own thought process. "What... are you saying?”  

"I'm saying I planted cocaine on him and ratted him out to the bouncers."  

"WHAT?" Jimin whisperscreams, eyes bugging further as he adjusts the bag on his shoulder and tugs Taehyung several steps further from the bar.   

"Shhh," Taehyung urges him as the bouncer continues to try and calm the guy down. “Look I worked in a bar in college. He's not gonna get arrested, they're just going to ban him from the bar so he can't come back and bother you." 

"I am currently more worried about YOU getting arrested you fucking dipshit, and also where the fuck did you get cocaine? And how you...??"  

"I found it in the bathroom earlier, then when I bumped into him, I slipped it into his pocket. Which is why I was trying to get us the fuck OUT." The guy whips his head around wildly, and his eyes stop on Taehyung, a look of slow realization in his eyes. "And it looks like he's just figured that out so we should probably hightail it the fuck out of here if we want to avoid a scene."  

"WHAT?" Jimin demands again, eyes bulging slightly, and he's clearly still very much in shock.   

"Come on," Taehyung urges him, tugging him towards the parking lot, just as the guy dodges the bouncer and comes lunging straight at them. "Fuck, run!"  

That part Jimin understands.  

They bump into the sides of a few cars in their haste to get the fuck out, the adrenaline in their blood telling them that the mild pain isn't their most pressing concern, not when they can hear that jerk literally growling in rage behind them. Taehyung chances a glance behind them, and yep, that bouncer has been effectively left in the dust, and there are at least 160 pounds of pure asshole barreling towards them at an alarming rate.  

He feels Jimin's small hand clutching at the material of his shirt as they book it through the parking lot, and Taehyung takes a brief moment to be grateful that Jimin changed out of drag tonight. Otherwise, he would be sprinting in heels, or more likely, eating pavement in heels.  

"COME BACK HERE YOU LITTLE FUCKERS," Taehyung hears behind them as they tear through the night, feet slapping against the pavement almost in tandem.  

Jimin is just slightly in front of him now, and damn he’s fast. Taehyung’s lungs are burning already, his hours and days and weeks of nothing but sedentary screentime finally catching up to him. They book it down the street, past the still-celebrating crowds, past the nearby strip of bars, and down to a more deserted part of downtown.  

Taehyung chances a glance behind him, and surprisingly there is no one there. The guy must have gotten lost in the crowd, or maybe he’d just given up.   

“Jimin!” he calls as his feet stutter to a stop on the hard ground. “Jimin, we lost him.”  

Jimin gradually slows, checking behind him as he circles back around towards the place where Taehyung had stopped.  

“You sure?”  

“No sign of him since that big crowd,” Taehyung confirms, checking again.  

Jimin just nods, chest heaving, hands resting on the top of his head as he paces back and forth. Weirdly, he breaks out into a smile, then a couple of chuckles, and then he is lost in hysterical laughter.   

“Uh, Jimin?”  

“I'm… I'm sorry,” he gasps between gales of laughter. “It's just so funny. I just... I... What the fuck?” And he defends into his fit of laughter once more. He sinks into a squat, unable to keep himself upright, his shoulders shaking with the force of his laughter. It's wild, unbridled, unfiltered, bordering on hysterical.  

Taehyung laughs too, then, because he feels like he should. But he does so uncertainly, because something about it doesn’t feel remotely funny. “Yeah, that was-" Taehyung gulps around a hard, labored inhale, clutching his side,"-that was crazy. Hey, are you okay?”  

Jimin ignores his question, face flushed, eyes glazed over, and mouth stretched into a painful looking grin. “What the fuck?” he repeats, burying his face in his hands, and his voice cracks, his shoulders still shaking. But then his voice sounds different, just as hysterical but in a very different way. And shit, he's crying. “What...” he starts again quietly, unable to finish, his voice now thick with restrained tears.  

“Shit,” Taehyung mutters to himself, heart falling as he sinks to the ground to wrap his arm around Jimin's narrow, trembling shoulders. He pulls him as close as he can in their awkward squatting position. “I'm sorry Jimin. I'm really sorry.”  

Jimin doesn't say anything, but he’s making the saddest little squeaking sounds as he cries, and Taehyung has never felt so guilty in his life. Taehyung wants to apologize more, but that's a selfish impulse, probably not what Jimin needs right now. So he just quietly rubs his back as Jimin sobs into his chest.  Jimin's hands grasp firmly onto his shirt, like he would collapse without the support, and Taehyung feels tears welling up in his own eyes just from seeing Jimin hurt. When he feels a cool wetness soaking through his shirt, he only pulls him closer, afraid that Jimin will think he's being a bother.  

After a few minutes, the sobs change tenor again, and Jimin is giggling once more. “Cocaine you crazy motherfucker. Cocaine.” Taehyung just averts his eyes in shame, relaxing his grip on Jimin slightly so that he can pull away. “Remind me-" he takes a deep shuddering breath, "-not to get on your bad side,” Jimin says lightly, though he hiccups tellingly not a second later.   

“I just... wanted him banned from the place. Didn't want him or his shithead friend anywhere near you ever again. But I'm sorry I did it without asking first. Sometimes I do shit without thinking, I'm really-"

“It's fine, it's fine. That's not why I'm crying, you big dummy," Jimin says wiping the snot from his face as he still manages to look irrationally, delicately beautiful, if a little blotchy and worse for wear. “I’m just so mad! The thing that made me maddest was that he fucking lied. That guy is in huge denial. Would only agree to see me when I was in drag, like somehow that made up for me having a dick. He said I was pretty, for a boy.” 

Taehyung's heart clenches, in an extremely painful way. “You know you’re like... literally the most beautiful person on the face of this shit planet, right? Boy or otherwise?” 

Jimin smiles weakly at that, then scoffs. “Whatever. Fuck him.”  

“Fuck him,” Taehyung confirms, pausing to think. “Oh!" He remembers suddenly, digging into his pocket and pulling out a phone.  

Jimin's eyes go wide. "What the hell is that?" 

"Uh, I also stole his phone." 

"Were you a fucking videogame pickpocket in a former life, what the fuck?" Jimin demands, gaping dumbly at him. 

"I got my lunch money stolen a lot in middle school so I learned to steal it back," Taehyung shrugs, handing Jimin the phone. "Here... Uh. You can. You know. Delete." 

Jimin cringes as he grabs the phone. "I was dumb for letting him take them in the first place. He was waving every red flag in the book. One time we saw his friends in public and he made me hide in the bathroom for 40 minutes while he talked to them. Then he fucking ditched me.” 

"None of this is your fault. You know that, right?" Taehyung says emphatically, squeezing his hand. Jimin just shrugs.  

"I keep fucking idiot fetishizing straight boys who are ashamed to be seen with me in public, so yeah, I feel like part of this is my fault," Jimin says, swiping the correct pattern on the screen on only his second try. It makes Taehyung a little jealous to think how often they must have hung out.  

"Why do you... uh..." Taehyung starts, then thinks better of it.  

Jimin, however, scoffs and finishes his though. "Keep fucking idiot fetishizing straight boys?" Taehyung nods sheepishly. "I dunno. At first it feels good. Feels good to be like... the exception to their straightness. Makes me feel special. And I mean… it's not like they don't have feelings for me. I think they do, they just… They're not ready. And I keep hoping they’ll be ready.” 

Taehyung just hums lowly and nods his head, carefully averting his eyes from the phone in Jimin's hands. "Hey delete the stuff from his Cloud too, okay?” 

"Oh shit. Thanks," Jimin says, as he goes back to scrolling. 

“I'll return the phone to the bar so he can find it when he checks.” 

Jimin looks at him, the light from the street lamp reflecting in the wetness on his cheeks and in his eyes. “Okay.”  

Taehyung chews on his lip for a few minutes as they sit in silence, the din of a still-rowdy crowd echoing distantly in the background. "Hey, really, though. Are you... good?"  

Jimin chuckles wryly before shutting off the phone and pocketing it. "I'm fine. I know he's just insecure and stupid and generally shitty and that I have no reason to feel bad. It just... I did kinda like him. At one point. So it still hurts a little." He bites down on his lip as it starts to tremble.  

Taehyung really can't stand this, Jimin, who is usually so confident and badass, looking so intensely vulnerable. "Look, hear me out, I know this guy who does adult circumcisions, USUALLY voluntary but-"  

Jimin collapses into gleeful laughter then, his ass plopping onto the pavement as his squat finally becomes unsustainable. "Fucking hell, Tae."  

"Sorry. I just. I'm so mad! And I don’t know how to make this better." 

Jimin is smiling at him affectionately, and he doesn't know why, but it's making his entire body flush hot, his temperature rising perceptibly. "You just being here makes it better. I promise."  

The timing, he thinks, couldn't be worse. Because Jimin is looking at him with soft eyes that are telling him everything he's wanted to hear for the last several months, eyes that are giving him every green light he could have ever asked for.  

And all the while, Taehyung is silently vowing to himself that he is never, ever going to hurt Park Jimin like he has just been hurt. All the while, Taehyung's inner conscience is starting to sound a hell of a lot like Yoongi. And just like that, just as Jimin's eyes dart down to follow the motion of his lips as he nervously licks them, he's decided.  

Stay.

Be his friend. 

"Thanks for sticking with me." Jimin mutters in a sweet, quiet voice as he tucks his head into Taehyung's shoulder. 

Like none of them did. 

The lump in his throat is thick and bitter, but he manages to swallow around it as he plasters a lopsided, reassuring smile on his face.  

"Always."  

Chapter Text

Staying itself is easy enough. Taehyung wants nothing more than to stay. And going to the Queen is so integrated into his everyday routine that finds himself making his way there on autopilot the next day before he can even consider giving Jimin space. Or, giving himself space. 

It's the 'friend' part that Taehyung is finding increasingly difficult, especially as Jimin becomes clearer about what exactly it is that he wants. And what he wants very obviously transcends the bounds of friendship. 

He's always been touchy, but lately it seems like Jimin's hands are everywhere, subtly stroking his knee under the table when they go out for drinks, arm slung around his shoulders as they stroll down the sidewalk to meet the guys for brunch, playing with his hair as they sit on the couch at the Queen after Jimin’s shift is over. It's frustratingly easy to forget that he's supposed to be setting boundaries, pulling back, creating distance, especially since he still has to be around him to give this whole ‘friends’ business a go, especially since it feels so good to just let it happen. 

But even more than the physical touches or the pointed, suggestive looks, it's the smile that's killing him the most. He's been blessed to be able to bask in the light of Jimin’s stunning smile from the first day they met, but it's different now. Jimin smiles at him like they share a happy secret, like they know something remarkable that the rest of the world doesn't. It's a smile just for Taehyung, but every time he sees it, an ugly nauseous feeling bubbles in his gut, because it reminds him how badly he's doing at diffusing this situation and how much he simply does not want to.  

So his visits to The Queen become less frequent. And when he does decide to go, he's taken to lurking outside of the building or maybe a couple of blocks away, pacing anxiously as he internally debates the merits of option one (leave) vs. option two (stay). 

It's in the course of this pacing a few weeks after the incident that he accidentally collides with a body much smaller and less solid than his own, and he looks up just in time to see a box tumbling from a woman’s arms. It hits the ground with a loud clunk but luckily the contents don't spill.  

“Shit!” the woman curses, eyes darting up to Taehyung’s face. She’s a young middle-aged woman, maybe 40, tiny and stylish and absolutely beautiful. “I'm sorry! The box was blocking my view, I’m so, so sorry!” 

Taehyung waves off her apology, leaning down to pick up the box. “I’m pretty sure I was in my own world and it was 100% my fault.” He heaves the box up on his hip and tucks it under his arm, then he notices the wrap on her wrist, like it's been recently hurt. “Can I help you carry that somewhere?” 

Her small, graceful hand flies up to her chest. “Oh that’s sweet, honey! But my son should be here any second now to help me unload the car. Rotten little bastard's probably off with his friends." 

Taehyung fakes outrage as he steadfastly holds onto the box. “What kind of a son would leave his mom to fend for herself? Especially one so young and delicate?” 

“Oh, you're very good,” she says coyly, gently slapping his arm.  

“Come on, I insist, let me help," Taehyung says smoothly, and her ensuing smile is brilliant. He's always been a mom charmer. “Lead the way.” 

“What a sweet boy,” she coos, starting slowly down the street. “You’d never leave your mom hanging like that, would you?” 

Taehyung exaggerates his expression of mild offense. “I would never. My mom is my best friend. We get monthly pedicures.” 

She stops to consider. “I wonder if I could talk him into monthly pedicures.” 

“If not, you’re always welcome to join ours,” Taehyung tells her with a sly smile. “And hey I can talk some sense into that little punk when I see him if you-“ 

“Mom?”  

Taehyung's first thought is that this lady's son is really fucking hot, and much older than he had expected of a woman so young. 

Taehyung's second and much more obvious thought is that this lady's son is Park Jimin. 

"Oh, hey baby!" She says happily, lunging forward to envelop him in a hug. Then she steps back and flicks him hard on the forehead. "Little bastard, why didn't you text me back?" 

Jimin pouts, rubbing the sore spot on his head. "My phone was on silent." 

"Well lucky for you, I met the loveliest man on my way in," she says smugly, reaching back blindly for Taehyung, who steps forward obligingly. "This is... Actually, I'm sorry sweetie, I don't know your name." 

"It's Taehyung," Jimin bashfully answers for him, eyes not quite meeting his mother's.  

Her eyes widen as she tilts her head. "Taehyung? As in..." 

"Taehyung," Jimin repeats significantly, a pretty blush covering his cheeks as his eyes shoot warning a warning glance her direction. His mother's mouth falls into a prim little 'o.' 

"Well sweetheart, why didn't you just say so?" Ms. Park says, turning to Taehyung, eyes now crinkled into a very familiar smile. His insides twist in pleasure and guilt. "If I had known-" 

"Mom, why don't you let Tae take that box inside?" Jimin says pointedly. "It's heavy." 

"Oh of course, dear," she says, waving Taehyung along. "You go right ahead. Park Jimin, follow me. And don't you give me that face, what did I do?" 

Taehyung readjusts the box, watching the two figures become gradually smaller as they retreat down the street towards Ms. Park's car. When they turn the corner, he hoists the box up once more and makes his way a little further down the street, to the Queen.  

A more flurried level of activity than usual greets him when he steps inside. The tables are arranged into a more classroom-type setting, and there are medium-sized mirrors perched every three feet or so on the wood.  

"Hey Tae!" a cheery and attractive man in a snapback greets him, and it takes Taehyung a second to realize that it's Hope, unusually bare-faced. "What's wrong?" he asks, looking momentarily concerned at the momentary lack of response. 

"Nothing!" Taehyung assures him quickly, panicking slightly. 

Hope looks down at himself, and laughs. "Oh shit you've never seen me on a masc day, have you?" 

"Uh no, but you look super hot. Not that you don't usually look hot, but. You know." 

"Thanks." He gently grabs the box from Taehyung's arms. "Where did you get this?" 

"I uh, I met Ms. Park on the way in. But what the fuck is happening?" He asks, looking around disconcertedly.  

"It's the annual Paint Shop. Didn't Jimin tell you about it?" Hope asks as he sets the box down near the bar and starts unpacking it, pulling out dozens of sample-sized containers of make-up.  

"No, but I mean, I haven't been around as much lately, so. I guess I missed it," Taehyung admits, shifting his weight guiltily. "What is it?" 

"It's this yearly workshop we hold for aspiring queens, trans girls, nonbinary stunners, and other lgbtq makeup enthusiasts to learn some makeup tips from the city's finest. It's kind of Jimin's baby." 

"Oh." Taehyung's insides are prickling with affectionate warmth, and it's almost making him nauseous. "That sounds... awesome." 

"It's pretty amazing. Jimin started it a few years ago, and it's definitely grown since then," Hope tells him. "And since Jimin's mom works at a makeup counter, she can get us these samples to give out for everybody to keep." 

Taehyung just nods, and Hope leaves him with a blinding grin, hustling off to set up the samples in front of each mirror.  He takes a look around, at Hope carefully positioning the little bottles and compacts, at Namjoon setting up a beverage station nearby, at Jin ferrying drinks from the bar to the few attendees who have already showed up, at Yoongi queuing up a playlist on the sound system, and at Jungkook rushing to the door to grab the boxes from both Jimin and his mom with ridiculous ease, and Taehyung is undeniably, overwhelmingly fond.  

His eyes find Jimin then, who is a little sweaty from unloading boxes, a little pinched in the face as he listens to his mother, a little beautiful in his bare-faced glory, and he feels the strangest swell of emotion in his chest. 

"Hey, Tae!" Jimin shouts from across the room, motioning him over. Taehyung jogs over lightly, eager for something to do. "Are you free today?" 

"Yeah," Taehyung says, immediately whipping out his phone to text the Dentist's office that no, he cannot confirm his appointment today. "Nothing on the calendar. Why?" 

"Do you think you could help film the workshop? So that I can put it up online for everybody who can’t make it in person?" Jimin asks, dabbing gently at his shining forehead.  

"Of course," he responds without hesitation. 

"Great!" Jimin says brightly, handing him the camera. "Uh, we already have a camera set up on just me to capture the actual makeup stuff, so if you could just get some wide shots and some footage of everyone else. Don't worry, they've consented." 

"O... kay," Taehyung agree in slight wonder, not missing the look that Ms. Park gives him as Jimin claps his shoulder with a fond smile and hustles away to Yoongi, who is flagging him down.  

Taehyung looks down at the camera, fumbling with it slightly before locating the 'record' button. Ms. Park sidles up next to him, sighing fondly as she takes in the bustling scene before her eyes.  

"Sometimes I wonder how I raised such a good kid," she says, entwining her arm with Taehyung's. "I don't know where he got it from, but it definitely wasn't me." 

Taehyung gives a little hiss of disagreement as he raises the camera shoulder-height and tries to set up his shot. "Something tells me that's not true." 

"Flatterer," Ms. Park elbows him playfully. "Is it okay if I hang here with you? I want to stick around to watch, but I don't want to be in the way." 

"Of course," Taehyung says, both honored and terrified. If he had known this was Jimin's mom from the get-go, he'd have been a fuck of a lot more nervous momflirting with her. "Honestly, I feel like I'm in the way, too," he says sheepishly. "Everybody else here knows what they're doing but I'm kind of new here. Kind of new to... all of it" 

"Oh sweetie, that's okay," she assures him, and Taehyung can truly recognize Jimin in her at that moment. Can recognize Minnie in her. "I know my son, and whether you came here 10 years ago or yesterday, you're here now, and you're so, so welcome." She reaches down and squeezes his hand then, and Taehyung has to swallow the lump in his throat.  

"I definitely see where he gets it from." 

Ms. Park shoots him a shy smile, which he returns, clasping her hand a little tighter as he turns his attention back to the camera. The rest of the room has slowly but surely filled, and Namjoon and Jungkook are passing out waters and coffees to the newcomers. 

"Welcome everybody!" Jimin calls from the front, where his own makeup station is set up, and he looks so genuinely thrilled to see everyone and to be doing what he is doing. Taehyung steadies the camera in his hands, brows furrowing in concentration. 

He's so charming.  

Taehyung has always known that Jimin is charming and had himself nearly been charmed out of his pants the very first night they met. But as he watches him kindly and patiently lead the room of clearly adoring participants, many of whom appear to never have done a full face of makeup before, through a simple but transformative makeup routine, Taehyung's heart gives the most affectionate squeeze.  

Ms. Park elbows him gently, peeking over his shoulder. "I think we have enough footage of his lips for now, sweetie," she whispers smugly, and Taehyung startles, quickly adjusting the camera so that it captures the rest of the room.  

 


 

When the workshop is over and the crowd huddled around Jimin has dwindled then eventually cleared, his friends and Ms. Park start breaking down the temporary setup of the chairs and tables.  

Taehyung rushes forward to grab a chair from Ms. Park's arms, clicking his tongue in disapproval. "Why is your rotten son letting you lift things again?" he asks, gesturing at her bandaged wrist. 

"You know, he could learn a thing or two from you," Ms. Park sighs, allowing Taehyung to lift the chair from her grip. "I'm glad you're here to be a good influence on him." 

"He's pretty good all on his own," Taehyung tells her, gesturing to the jumbled interior of the shop behind them.  

"I know he is. I just like to give him a rough time," she says with a gentle smile that is so strikingly like Jimin's. "But I'm still glad you're around. I think it's good for him.” 

Jimin jogs up them then, looking nervously between them. "Uh, thanks again mom. Can I help you carry anything to the car?" He asks significantly.  

"Okay, okay, I can take a hint," she says, rolling her eyes. "I'll leave the rest of the samples here, but I'll get out of your hair." She gives Jimin a firm hug, then pulls back and after a moment of deliberation, leans forward to pull Taehyung into her arms too. "You've got my number, right?" 

"Yep!" Taehyung says brightly, waving his phone lightly in the air. "I'll call you next month for pedicures!" 

"Bye, mom," Jimin hints again, jogging forward again to open the door for her.  

She rolls her eyes but mouths something silently to Jimin, something that looks a lot like 'He's a keeper.' 

"BYE, MOM," Jimin says more forcefully this time.  

Jimin kind of slumps against the door once she's gone, breathing a relieved breath.  

"You good?" Taehyung asks over the clatter of moving chairs and tables.  

"Yeah," Jimin confirms, but he sounds tired. "I love her to death, but Lord does she exhaust me."  

"Hey, Jimin," Namjoon calls as he slides a bottle of beer down the smooth wood of the bar. "Take a load off. You did awesome shit today." After a moment, a second can follows the first. "You too, Tae." 

Jimin stumbles forward towards the bar and pops the cap of the beer with little delay. After his first bracing sip, he looks over his shoulder at Taehyung and jerks his head towards the second beer. "You heard the man. Good work." 

Taehyung steps forward and wraps his hands around the cold bottle. "I didn't do shit. You were amazing, though." The silence settles between them as the rest of the guys continue to clean. "Why didn't you tell me about the workshop?" 

Jimin shrugs, leaning forward against the bar as his shoe scuffs the ground behind him. "I dunno. Felt like bragging." Then after a second, he adds, "And, you know. You haven't been around as much." 

"Yeah... Sorry," Taehyung struggles, feeling caught. "Work got busy." 

"That's okay. You're here now," Jimin says, clinking his beer can with Taehyung's. "Hey, do you wanna go somewhere?" he asks suddenly, shifting his beer to one hand. He doesn't wait for an answer before he's grabbing Taehyung's free hand and dragging him across the room. He nabs a six-pack on the way out. 

"Wait, where?" 

"You'll see," Jimin says as they make their way down the back hall, further than Taehyung's ever been, to the door at the end. Jimin pushes it open, and they step outside into a small alley behind the shop. The air is stagnant and heavy in the closed space between buildings, and Jimin's hand feels warmer than ever in his own.  

"Um..." Taehyung says uncertainly, looking around the cramped, dirty alleyway. "Yeah. This is... This is great." 

"Not here, dummy," Jimin says, dropping his hand and walking towards a nearby fence and pointing at the roof. "Up there." Then he's shoving the six-pack and his open beer into Taehyung's hands. "Here, hold these." 

Taehyung doesn't have a moment to refuse before the beers are clattering in his arms and Jimin is turning around to clamber up the chainlink fence. Once he makes it far enough up, he grabs hold of the side of the roof to steady himself, then plants his feet on top of the fence then pulls his body up onto the roof.  

A moment later, his head peeks over the side. "Pass me the beer then get your ass up!" 

He's not nearly as graceful as Jimin, but eventually he clambers his way up. Luckily, the surface is surprisingly flat, the slight slope of the shingles not really steep enough to be challenging as he settles down next to Jimin, who is is already laid out across the roof.  

"Do you usually drink in high, dangerous places?" Taehyung asks, settling down on the rough shingles beside him and accepting his own beer, which Jimin offers him.  

"I gravitate towards roofs," Jimin says simply. "They feel like youth and rebellion. Can't tell you how many times mom yelled at me for climbing up on our roof at night." 

"Your mom seems cool," Taehyung says lightly, taking a swig of beer. "And like, mad hot." 

"Ew!" Jimin says, shooting him a disgusted look. "You sound like my straight friends from high school.” 

"Excuse me, I have settled firmly on bisexual," Taehyung asserts vehemently.  

"I wouldn't mind settling firmly on a bisexual," Jimin says, cheekily sticking his tongue out of the side of his mouth. "But if by 'hot' you mean 'young' then yeah, mom is young. She had me when she was 17." 

"Wow, my mom could technically be your mom's mom," Taehyung marvels, staring up at the sky and taking another swig of beer. "I could be your uncle."  

"I sure hope you're not my uncle," Jimin says vaguely but suggestively, and Taehyung fidgets beside him.  

"I think I'd like being in your family though. You guys seem pretty cool." 

"It's just me and her, really," Jimin tells him, picking at the label of his beer. "I mean, I know there's a dad out there somewhere, but I prefer it the way it is. Just us." 

"Really?" Taehyung asks curiously, glancing at Jimin out of the corner of his eye.  

“Yeah, I mean she’s like, the definition of a supportive parent. Who knows how my dad would have been under the same circumstances. Nah, I'd take my chances with just her any day." 

"Hobi said she works at a makeup counter. Is that where you got so good at makeup?" 

Jimin shrugs. "It definitely didn't hurt. I used to sneak into her bathroom and play around with her makeup." He gives an incredulous laugh then. "Fuck, I was so bad the first time. Orange eyeshadow all over my lids, the foundation was way too light, and god that color pink was awful on my lips. And of course I left everything a complete mess. I mean, I was a 13 year old boy, a complete disaster. There was no way she didn't know. And I knew she must know, especially when she caught a spare bit of leftover smudged mascara under my eye at dinner that night. But you know what she did?" 

"What?" Taehyung asks softly.  

"I came back the next week to snoop in her makeup again, and there was a second makeup bag there next to the first. There was a darker foundation, a more neutral eye palette, and a brand new set of brushes. She didn't force the conversation on me, didn't just stand by and watch me struggle. She let me discover myself in my own way and come to her when I was ready. By the end of high school, we were doing our makeup together in the mornings." The sound of cars and distant horns linger in the air as Jimin readjusts slightly on the scratchy roof. "Not everybody has somebody like that." 

Taehyung turns on his side then to look at Jimin, and it's uncomfortable as the roughness of the shingles scratches his arms, but it's more than worth it when he sees the gentle yellowing light from the streetlamps illuminating Jimin's profile, softening it and making him almost glow. "Is that why you do the workshop?" 

Jimin shrugs. "It's not much, but it's something." 

"It's definitely something," Taehyung agrees wholeheartedly, pushing himself up onto one elbow so that he's almost hovering over Jimin, who turns to look at him then. "It's... "  

He trails off then, mind snared by the way Jimin's eyes are reflecting starlight.  

It's a moment, and not their first, where it would be very easy for them to close the space between them and put an end to the uncertainty. Taehyung thinks that he sees Jimin's eyes flit down to his mouth, then back up to his eyes, and the silence tells him that the wheels in Jimin's mind are turning, too. But something tells him that Jimin's waiting for him to make the move, for him to be completely sure, and after a few moments of tense staring, Jimin sighs as he turns away and gazes up at the sky once more. 

"Thanks, Tae," he says quietly, bringing the bottle to his lips again.  

And Taehyung is so tempted to say more, or to lean down close and kiss him like he so badly wants to do, but he remembers. Be his friend. He leans back down onto the roof and takes a large swig of his own beer, arm pressed against Jimin's and face turned up towards the stars. 

 


 

 As far as Taehyung's employers know, he does not regularly conduct his daily work in a coffee shop run by drag queens, and he certainly doesn't take a break from his work every 5 minutes to make ridiculous heart eyes at one. He's not sure how they would react if they did know, but he almost finds out one day when he forgets about a scheduled skype meeting until about five minutes before it actually happens.   

"I'm dead. I'm actually dead," Taehyung despairs, banging his head against the countertop. "I am fired and dead. This is really the last straw, I'm sure of it. This is not the first incident, Jimin! There was this whole lube fiasco at this conference and-" 

"Don't panic. We can make this work." Jimin braces his hands on the bar. He's in full glorious drag today, and his precisely drawn brows are crinkled in thought. After a moment, he snaps his fingers. "Got it. Come here. Bring your laptop."  

He leads him to the back room and yanks open the door to the closet of costumes, flinging clothes over his shoulder left and right.   

"Hey, uh... I appreciate you trying to help and everything, but I don't think going drag is going to help me in this particular situation."  

"No shit," Jimin says with a light-hearted glare. "Namjoon went through an Annie Hall phase, this like, man dressing as a woman dressing in menswear kind of thing, and I think he still has... Aha!"  

He pulls out a suit, thrusting it triumphantly over his head, and Taehyung could cry.   

"Here, hurry!" Jimin says, striding over to him and tugging at his clothes. Taehyung bats his hands away, scandalized, before realizing that he has zero time to refuse. He wills himself not to get a boner as Jimins tiny hands deftly de-clothe his upper half and sling a dress shirt around his shoulders.   

His entire body stiffens under the foreign hand on his waistband.  

"WHY MY PANTS? It's a fucking skype meeting! I only have to be professional from the waist up!"  

Jimin rolls his eyes and tugs insistently at the elastic. "You're wearing your dad sweats and trashcan sandals! What if you have to stand up, or the computer falls or something?"  

He swallows thickly, trying to suppress his arousal as Jimin kneels between his legs and attempts to de-pant him. "I would rather face that hell than this one."  

"What hell? Stop being a baby! We have time!"  

"Time is not my concern! HEY WATCH THE GOODS. Jesus, will you stop? I'm trying to test my webcam!"  

Jimin has managed to work Taehyung's pants all the way down around his knees when Yoongi walks in.   

Everybody stops mid-movement, Yoongi’s hand still on the doorknob, one of Jimin's hands still bunched in the fabric of Taehyung's sweats, Taehyung's hands hovering over his keyboard.   

Yoongi blinks once, twice, three times, then Taehyung watches as his eyes narrow and harden, can feel the accusation in his glare.  

“Oh, hey Yoongi!” Taehyung says stiffly, belatedly realizing that his hand is on Jimin’s, which is on his upper thigh. He yanks it away, flushing. “Really funny story. This is so not what it looks like.”  

Jimin scoffs furiously. “Or maybe it's exactly what it looks like. Either way, none of his damn business,” he says evenly before tugging down Taehyung’s pants again. When Yoongi doesn’t make to move, Jimin huffs, “How about some privacy?”  

“Jimin…” Yoongi starts, but Jimin cuts him off.   

“Later, Yoongi. We’re kind of crunched for time." 

With a last glare at Taehyung, Yoongi reluctantly retreats, the door clicking shut behind him.   

“God he's nosy,” Jimin mutters. “Like he's my fuckin’ dad or something.”  

“He’s going to kill me,” Taehyung despairs, “I'm dead. Between my boss and Yoongi I am a dead man.”  

Jimin's forehead creases in confusion. “Yoongi? Why Yoongi?”  

Taehyung is saved from responding when a Skype request pops up on his screen and his computer starts chiming.  

“Go, go!” he hisses at Jimin, who crawls hastily towards the door. Taehyung hurriedly pulls up his sweatpants, figuring it’s the better alternative to doing the meeting pantless. Jimin cracks open the door quietly and does a graceful somersault out of the room, before sticking his head back in and blowing an impish kiss to Taehyung, who grins goofily and momentarily forgets the insistent ringing of his computer.   

He realizes a few seconds later and hastily clicks the accept button.   

“Hello ma'am! Yes of course I remembered. Huh? What wig?" A quick glance over his shoulder. “Oh that wig. It's my mother's. Hmm? Oh, she has alopecia. Uh, yes, she's doing very well, and it's... it's definitely not fatal. Yes, that is also her spandex body suit… That's right, it is great that she is still living a full and active life. I’ll certainly tell her. Thank you.” 

 


 

Taehyung is in the process of googling 'how to break up with a beautiful man you might be in love with but aren't actually dating' when the alert for the group chat buzzes to life on his phone. 

 

 

The Queen's Men

 

Kook: Guys don't forget Thursday 

Kook: we’re going to beat the shit out of some bears 

 

Me: um...... 

Me: the fuck do u have against bears they're basically giant forest dogs 

Me: it would be an honor and a privilege to be eaten by a bear

 

Min Yoongi: fuuuuck. not the bowling league 

 

Me: wait wht 

Kook: YES the bowling league! it's the championship! 

Kook: all you have to do is show up, get drunk, and watch me destroy the South Side Bears 

 

Me:  shut up are you telling me they fucking trained bears to bowl

Me: just when you think god isn't listening

 

Kook:  the players are the bears dipshit.  We're the Downtown Twinks 

 

Hobihobi: i'm there! Jin says he's there too. 

 

Min Yoongi: wait, Jin is with you? 

 

Hobihobi: yeah i'm trying his new menu 

Hobihobi: he says he asked you if you wanted to come and you said no and you were busy. 

 

Kook: wow can you three get your own fucking chat or like, a hotel room or something? 

 

Min Yoongi: speaking of throwing your friends under the bus, Joon are you going to see Jungkookie bowl? 

 

Kook: bitch 

 

Joon: of course.  

Joon: I ordered us t-shirts to show kook our support 

Joon: didn’t you guys see the info on the Facebook event I created? I invited all of you. 

 

Hobihobi: I only check Facebook every few months to make sure no extended family members have died without my knowledge. 

Hobihobi: Jin says he doesn’t have a Facebook and you probably found the catfish who uses his photos instead 

 

Min Yoongi: I'm sorry did Jin lose his fingers in a freak kitchen accident and therefore lose the ability to text? 

 

Joon: I was wondering why Jin solicited nudes when I asked for his RSVP via Facebook. 

 

Hobihobi: jin says maybe if you texted him back he wouldn't have to resort to speaking to you through me in the group chat Yoongi. 

 

Kook: ooooooooooooooooooooh 

Kook: but seriously guys we're starting a group chat without you bye 

 

 

New and Improved Group Chat, Exclusive as Fuck 

 

Joon: thanks kook we all needed that 

 

Kook:  ^_^ 

Kook: did you really get shirts made?? 

 

Joon: Heh. Yeah.  

 

Kook: uwu  

Kook: you're kind of the best

 

Joon: me??? Naahhhhhhhhhh 

 

Kook: are too 

 

Joon: are not 

 

Kook: are too 

 

Jimin: wow you guys are just as bad we're starting our own chat 

 

 

Best Group Chat, 95z Only 

 

Jimin: why is everybody around us disgusting 

Jimin: Tae?? 

Jimin: are you in the middle of a marathon coding session again? 

Jimin: don't forget to eat 

Jimin: you want me to bring food?  

Jimin: hey take care of yourself dumbass.  

Jimin: Night. 

 


 

 Taehyung changes his mind 4 times before he ultimately decides to go. About an hour before he leaves, he types a quick, “Sorry, phone died while I was wrapped up in a project, see you tonight!” 

Once he steps into the bowling alley, it not hard to find where he's supposed to be. A huge crowd has gathered on the two lanes closest to the back, and he's pretty sure he can spot Jimin’s ass from here.   

Jimin is Minnie tonight. His hair is a shiny black, pulled back in a ponytail, and he's wearing high waisted black skinnies with an adorable bowling shirt knotted up in front. His lips are a dewy pink, and his eyes are glittering and carefully lined. Taehyung feels struck all over again.    

“Hey.”   

Jimin turns around, his face brightening instantly when he sees Taehyung.   

“Hey asshole, wasn’t sure you’d show. Thought you might stay buried under your mountain of code red bottles and chip bags.” 

“Needed to get out. Probably won't stay long.” 

“Oh. Okay,” Jimin says agreeably, though his face falls slightly. “Well hey do you want a drink?” 

“I dunno if that's…” 

Jimin groans, ignoring his impending refusal completely and tugging him towards the bar. “Come ON, loosen up, you've been so tense lately.” 

Taehyung consciously relaxes his shoulders and allows himself to be led. “Sorry, just… work, you know? I guess I can have one.” 

When they're back from the bar, drinks in hands, Jimin motions to the empty seat beside him on the bench. Taehyung sits down tentatively, leaving a purposeful gap between their thighs. Jimin quickly closes it, turning to Taehyung and clinking their bottles together as the announcer starts to go over the lineup.    

“This is pretty legit,” Taehyung remarks as the players step forward in acknowledgement when their names are called. The size difference between the two teams is remarkable.   

“It's definitely a thing,” Jimin confirms. “Kook looks forward to it all year. Might get a little nuts.” 

Things are already a little nuts by Taehyung’s standards. The sizable crowd is both really into the game and really stinking drunk. Lady Gaga blares over the speakers in between announcements and there is almost as much dancing as there is cheering.  

Taehyung tries to pay attention to the game. He really does. But Jimin’s thigh is pressed up against his, and there is a very definite, very distracting transfer of body heat happening. And every once in a while, when Jimin laughs, he throws his entire body into Taehyung’s lap, clutching him for support. Jimin smells soft and clean and vaguely floral, and Taehyung is utterly entranced.  

It's only a flurry of movement that jerks him out of his reverie. Over on the bowling platform, Jungkook is puffed up, spine rigid as he stands almost forehead to forehead with a gigantic, bushy-bearded man. Namjoon is gently tugging at his arm, leaning forward to whisper presumably calming words into his ear. Jungkook shows no sign of backing down. 

Jimin rolls his eyes. “God there he goes. I honestly can't watch him when he gets this competitive. Do you wanna go bowl a couple of games on one of the free lanes?"    

"What?" Taehyung asks, snapping at once out of his trance.   

Jimin giggles, slumping forward onto Taehyung again, and Taehyung can't help but chuckle, too. "We're gonna play. Come on."   

Taehyung allows himself to be tugged away, away from the screaming crowd and over to the shoe rental stand where a mustached man blinks thrice when Jimin orders his shoes in a men's size.    

"What do you say we make this interesting?" Jimin suggests innocently as he laces up his shoes once they've set themselves up on a lane clear on the other side of the building. His bangs fall into his eyes, but they do nothing to obscure the mischief glimmering there.   

"How?" Taehyung asks skeptically, carefully.    

"Well, every time one of us gets a spare, the other one has to either drink their entire drink or honestly answer an embarrassing question."   

Taehyung chews his lip. "And if we get a strike?"   

"One non-negotiable dare."   

A current of excitement thrums in Taehyung's stomach, because this is exactly the kind of thing that people do when they want something to happen. It's a terrible idea.   

“That sounds like a terrible idea." 

Jimin rolls his eyes. "Come on. What happened to the Tae who vowed never again to miss out on an opportunity?" 

"He probably wised up and quit before he woke up in a bathtub of ice with one kidney," Taehyung mutters, glancing purposefully away from Jimin, who is currently staring at him with eyes the size of saucers. His gaze flickers back up, and he has to stifle a laugh. "That's not even cute, stop trying to be cute. You look fucking creepy." 

"So?" Jimin does not waiver, his eyes and nostrils flaring simultaneously. It's disgusting and adorable. 

"So... fucking stop it," Taehyung pouts, trying not to look at him and utterly failing.  

"Say yes and I'll stop," he promises, leaning in closer to Taehyung, and it's the proximity rather than the over-the-top attempt at cuteness that does it.  

"OH my god. Fine just... go away." 

"Yes!" Jimin hisses cheerfully then gestures to himself as he moves towards the ball rack. "I'll go first. Beauty before age." 

"Um, you're older," Taehyung says, then catching Jimin's ensuing glare he adds, "And... decidedly more beautiful." 

Jimin gives a satisfied little huff as he grabs a mid-sized ball from the rack and shuffles up to the lane, wiggling his rear adorably. He turns then, looking over his shoulder and winking coyly at Taeyhung before he lines up his shot, swings his arm back, and releases.    

9 pins go clattering to the back of the lane.  

Taehyung balks. "The... fuck?"   

"What's wrong, sweetie? Wanna go back on our deal?" he asks innocuously.    

"Did you... hustle me?"   

Jimin giggles and takes a few steps towards him, cupping Taehyung's cheek tenderly. "Aw. Babe." His thumb brushes over the skin just briefly, and it's a little too intimate to match the tone of his voice. It also sets Taehyung's insides ablaze. "Your face is just begging to be hustled. Now watch me knock out this spare."   

Jimin's hand is gone in just a moment, and Taehyung doesn't realize he was leaning into the touch until he stumbles forward slightly. Jimin grabs another ball without hesitation and lines up his shot.    

The last pin goes flying, hitting the side of the lane and making a loud thunk. Jimin points back at him, smirking. "Drink, bitch."   

Taehyung gropes blindly for his drink, not tearing his gaze away from Jimin, who is flipping his long hair triumphantly. "I think I love you."   

"Huh?" Jimin asks distractedly, wiping his hands on his tight jeans, and thank god.  

"Nothing, I... burped."    

Taehyung spitefully chugs his beer before slamming down the plastic cup, swaggering up to the ball return and grabbing a child's size ball, which ends up three lanes over, having been inches from taking out the fluorescent ceiling light.   

It goes like that for a while, Jimin racking up spares, somehow never strikes, Taehyung gulping beer until his stomach feels like it's about to burst.  

On his 4th full cup of beer in 30 minutes, he pauses.    

"You're the fucking worst, you know that?" Taehyung slurs, sloshing beer down his front.   

"Tae, you're going to have to try telling me that again when you can tear your eyes away from my butt for more than a few seconds at a time."   

"Huh?" Taehyung asks, tearing his eyes away from Jimin's butt, eye darting upward and face burning like he's been caught. "Just... switch to questions please," he begs, holding in a belch. "No more beer. I'll tell you anything."   

"Aw," Jimin coos, running a hand over Taehyung's hair. "If you insist." He appraises Taehyung for a moment before snapping his fingers. "What search terms did you use when you were browsing gay porn?" 

Taehyung taps his chin, straining to remember through his beer haze. "I think I started with 'gay butt stuff' and by the end of the night ended up somewhere way deep.” He pauses. "Actually, I think 'Somewhere Way Deep" was the name of one of the pornos I watched." 

Jimin chuckles delightedly, clapping his hands. "What kind of shit did you end up watching?" 

"Excuse you. That sounds like another question to me." 

"Twinky rectal fisting," Jimin tries, undeterred. "Cum guzzling bears. Muscly jock fucks himself on toy as wrinkled hottie jizzes on face." 

"First of all, ew. Second of all, can you please write those down for me for no particular reason." 

It's Taehyung's turn to bowl now, and 4 beers in, he's not so much aiming as he is praying. Jimin is comfortable by now, lulled into security by Taehyung's consistent gutter balls. 

And so it takes them both by surprise when Taehyung swings the ball wildly back, sends it speeding down the alley, and knocks down all 10 pins in one go. The sound of the strike reverberates through the place, and Taehyung slings around to gape at Jimin in disbelief at his own luck. 

"What."   

"What."   

They stare for a moment. 

"OH HOW THE TURNTABLES HAVE… wait. That's not right." 

"I demand a re-do," Jimin pouts. "You didn't even do it on purpose. That was an act of god."   

"His will be done," Taehyung says solemnly, bowing his head and stumbling forward several feet. "Jimin, Jimin, Jimin...... what shall I do with you...."   

"Yeah, yeah," Jimin huffs, crossing his arms. 

"My friend, payback's a bitch... and so are you." He furrows his eyebrows. "Wait. That's not right, either." 

"Okay, just hurry up," Jimin grunts.    

"I'm drunk and it's your fault so leave me alone." 

"Look, don't drag this out, just fucking do it. It can be anything."   

"Anything in the whole world," Taehyung agrees, sounding concerned now, the reality of the situation settling over him.

"Yes," Jimin says, eyes wide to emphasize just how obvious it is. "Anything. So hurry." 

"I know, that's the problem!" Taehyung exclaims. "A massive realm of possibilities, and I have to pick one. It's a lot of fucking pressure, okay? I never expected to get this far."   

Jimin sighs hard through his nose and then saunters up to Taehyung, sticking a finger through his belt loop and pulling him forward slightly, tipping his face up to look Taehyung in the eye. He licks his lips. "I said... it can be anything," he reiterates, and Taehyung inhales so fast that he chokes on his own spit.    

It's about 20 seconds before he can stop coughing, and by that time, Jimin has stepped away, shielding himself from flying spittle. 

"So?" Jimin asks when it's silent again.   

He scrambles desperately to direct this situation back into safe territory. "Um. I dare you to. Lick Yoongi." 

Jimi blinks blanky at him. "That's it?"   

"Yes?" Taehyung says uncertainly.   "On the forehead." 

"That's how you choose to use your dare?" Jimin demands, looking slightly perturbed. "You know I've already licked Yoongi of my own accord, right?" 

"I... yes." His brow crinkles in thought. "Wait, no. I did not know that. How did you.... Never mind." Taehyung takes a deep breath. "But yes, it is how I choose to use my dare." 

Jimin shrugs, looking unabashedly disappointed. "Fine."   

He turns to walk briskly towards the tournament, head whipping back and forth as he tries to locate Yoongi. He disappears into the crowd, and a few moments later, Taehyung hears a strangled yelp. Jimin appears again a second later, booking it away from the crowd and back to Taehyung.    

"Done." He points at Taehyung, striding past him to grab a ball again. "My turn. Last ball of the game," Jimin says solemnly, stepping up to bowl his last frame. "This one feels good. Feels right."   

And he's not wrong.    

"Strike!!" he yelps, pumping his fist in victory, and Taehyung buries his head in his hands. “Finally. I was starting to think I was cursed.”  

"Be gentle with me," he pleads. "Dares are scary. And nothing with feet please. Or mayonnaise." 

Jimin swaggers up to him, looking mischievous and deadly, and pulls Taehyung abruptly to his feet. Taehyung falls forward lightly against him, face aflame.

"Kiss me," he says without hesitation.   

Taehyung's mouth pops open as his gaze automatically darts to Jimin's lips. A great electric ball of panic blooms rapidly in his gut as Jimin's perfectly lined eyes flit over his face. "I... what?"   

"I'm tired of waiting. So kiss me," Jimin repeats, pulling him lightly closer so that their bodies are flush.   

Taehyung is rooted in place, watching in slow motion as Jimin lowers his gaze and slightly parts his lips. His heart pounds in his ears, and it's all he can hear until his own conscience pipes up. 

“Uh." Taehyung stumbles half a step back and pushes Jimin away ever so slightly, and it almost physically hurts to do it. “I... No?"   

"Oh." Jimin looks instantly hurt, and a little bit afraid. He steps away from Taehyung so fast it's like he's on fire. “Okay." 

"I'm sorry," is all Taehyung can think to say.  

Jimin's delicately arching eyebrows crumple on his forehead as he looks down and takes another step back. "No, no, I'm sorry. Sorry if I misread like... all of this. I thought you...”   

“No, I-... You didn't misread anything,” Taehyung assures him, searching for an explanation and ultimately failing. “I just… can't.”   

Jimin smiles a little bitterly. "Can't." 

“Yeah… can't,” Taehyung confirms, and the words shred his heart as he says then.  

Jimin nods slowly, chewing on his lower lip now. “Well, thanks for having your straight boy crisis before we fucked, I guess. It's usually the other way around.”   

“No it's not…” Taehyung starts, but he guesses that excuse is as good as any. “I just really like you as a person and I want to... you know...  be here for you as a friend.”   

“Uh thanks? I guess?” Jimin laughs a little, and the sound is thick, like he might cry. Taehyung's instincts are screaming at him to tell the truth, but a small voice, Yoongi’s voice, is telling him that this is the right thing to do.   

“I'm sorry.”   

“You don't have to be sorry about not…” He pauses, biting his lip again, and Taehyung thinks that if he starts crying, there's nothing he can do, he’ll take it all back in a second. He’ll deny everything he just said. “Hey, thank you really. That’s not sarcastic. You’re a good friend and I appreciate you being honest.” He rocks back and forth on his heels a little, and the silence is awkward. It's a first. “Game's over,” he says, gesturing at the scoreboard. “Guess I win? I'm gonna go get a drink and try to catch their last game.”   

“Okay,” Taehyung says softly, and he sounds pathetic. 

Jimin gives him a soft, forced smile before retreating to the large group of people on the other side of the room, and Taehyung stares after him, swallowing down every loud, painful objection that threatens to come spilling from his lips.

 


 

 Taehyung flings open the front door to Jin's apartment, slamming it behind him as he launches himself onto the soft couch. A few throw pillows go flying upon impact.

"WHY are you always at my house?" Jin demands from the kitchen, where he is currently washing dishes.    

"Why is Yoongi always at your house?" Taehyung shoots back, throwing a glare at Yoongi who is seated on one of the bar stools at the island.    

"Because I'm sucking his dick," Yoongi says without a hint of shame, not even bothering to look up from his phone.    

"Oh so we're not just like hiding that like a shameful family secret anymore?" Taehyung asks, unamused.    

Yoongi's eyes crinkle into a forced, fake laugh. "Funny."   

"Seriously though," Jin continues, setting a clean dish into the dish rack. "Why are you here? You okay?"   

Taehyung buries the lower part of his face in a pillow and pouts against the fabric. "No."   

Jin tosses the dish towel onto the counter and takes a step closer to the living room. "Why? What's up?"   

Taehyung shoots a quick glare at Yoongi, who sighs heavily and grunts, "I can leave if you want."   

"No, it's fine," Taehyung assures him cooly, "I'm sure you'll be happy to hear that I just straight out rejected my actual soulmate."   

"Don't be dramatic," Yoongi groans.    

"Did Jimin say something to you?" Jin insists, ignoring Yoongi.  "When? Just now at the tournament?"   

"At the bowling alley," Taehyung mumbles into the pillow. "He asked me to kiss him, and I told him I couldn't. He thinks I'm having a straight boy crisis."   

"Are you... Are you having a straight boy crisis?" Jin asks as kindly as he is able, hands moving to his hips.    

"No," Taehyung says, and his throat feels tight. "Not even a little. I super want to gay kiss and gay marry him." 

"Then why?' Jin asks genuinely, and Taehyung's eyes dark to Yoongi once more, who looks guilty. It strikes him that Jin probably doesn't know. "What happened?"   

"Nothing happened," Taehyung despairing as he drags his eyes away from Yoongi, the sound of his words still muffled by the pillow. "That's the goddamn point."   

Jin raises his eyebrows, his chin retracting into his neck as he reaches for his cup of tea on the counter. "Um excuse you, don't fucking sass me, Kim Taehyung." 

"You're not my real dad!" Taehyung shoots back at him, but he instantly deflates when Jin shoots him a Look. "Sorry. You sounded like your dad when you said that. Reflex. But I really don't want to talk about it."   

Jin sighs heavily. "Fine. Whatever. We’re going to bed."   

Taehyung makes a disgusted face. "Oh, we."   

"Shut up," Jin scolds him. "And if you're going to sleep on my couch, at least keep your pants on."   

"No promises," Taehyung mumbles grumpily.

"I'm actually going to need you to promise. Like, right now before I leave this room."   

"Prude. Whatever happened to open-toed shoes and group sex?" Taehyung grunts into his pillow, grabbing a throw blanket from the top of the couch and shaking it out to settle around his legs.    

"Believe it or not, my desire to see your dick has no correlation with my willingness to expose my toes," Jin says deadpan. Surprisingly though, he doesn't go straight back to his room but instead heads towards the couch, where he holds Taehyung's head in place and places a gentle kiss to it.    

"What are you doing?" Taehyung demands as he furiously rubs at the place on his head where Jin's lips had touched.    

"I'm being affectionate, dipshit," Jin snaps at him, tossing a throw pillow at his face as he disappears down the hall.    

"Love you," Taehyung whispers into the pillow, far too quietly for Jin to hear.    

"Love you, too," Jin whispers back, despite that.   

Taehyung bundles the blanket up around his neck as he is prone to do, and he falls into a fitful sleep thinking about what a fucking idiot he is.    

After what seems like a moment but was probably much longer, his eyes flutter open and he is yanked from sleep at the sound of a bang. He realizes after a few moments of careful deduction that it's Jin's door, and not a second later, he feels the breeze from Yoongi whooshing past him, out the front door.    

That wakes him up, because the air that Yoongi leaves behind him is staticky and tense, causing the hairs on his arms to stand on end. He's groggy as he rubs the sleep from his eyes, dragging his blanket over his shoulders as he first checks the front door then heads back to Jin's room, where the door is still standing open, the room within quiet.  

Taehyung tiptoes inside and sees Jin sprawled on his back, staring at the ceiling, half clothed. 

"Hey Tae," Jin greets him as Taeyhyung moves to take a seat on his bed.    

"You okay?" Taehyung asks softly.    

"Fine," Jin says evenly. "Is Yoongi gone?"   

"Uh, yeah," Taehyung confirms. "He left a second ago."   

"Ah."   

"What happened?" Taehyung asks lightly, laying down beside Jin.    

"We had sex," Jin answers simply.   

"O..kay. And?"   

"And I think the Hope thing happened again."   

"Huh?"   

"He realized I was in love with him," Jin mutters to the ceiling more than to Taehyung. "So he left."   

Taehyung just gapes at his handsome profile for a moment. "Oh."   

"After... When he got weird, we fought about you, too," Jin reveals quietly. "You and Jimin."   

"I'm sorry," Taehyung says, snuggling into his side.    

"It's not your fault," Jin assures him, tilting his head to look at Taehyung then. "Hey why didn't you tell me what he said to you about Jimin? I would have kicked his fucking ass."   

"I didn't want you to kick his ass," Taehyung responds quietly. "He was just looking out for Jimin."

"Still," Jin persists, "Woulda done it."   

"Thanks I guess," Taehyung sighs contentedly into Jin's shoulder.    

They are quiet for several minutes, just breathing and staring at the ceiling.    

"He's in love with Hope," Jin says quietly after a while.  "I know... he said he doesn't do the romance thing but... I think he is. In his way." 

Taehyung doesn't deny it, just snuggles closer to Jin's side. "In all fairness, I think he kinda loves you, too."

"No, I was the rebound. He and Hope are good together," Jin says, staring at the ceiling once more. "I see why he loves her. I think it'd be really easy to love her."   

"Are you sure you're not all just... kinda in love with each other?" Taehyung says cautiously, trying to get a read on Jin's blank face.    

Jin clicks his tongue. "What kind of a dumb fucking question is that?"   

Taehyung instantly raises his hands in surrender. "It's a valid fucking question, especially considering the way you and Yoongi met."   

"Oh come on," Jin rolls his eyes. "A threesome is totally different than... whatever it is you're talking about."   

Taehyung shrugs. "I guess."    

Jin exhales hard, his hands coming up to massage his closed eyelids. "I guess our family just isn't meant to be happy in romance."   

"Don't say that," Taehyung mumbles, and they're silent for a second. "Hey, you know what we should do? If we both turn 40... and neither of us has found someone, we should just marry each-"   

He is silenced by a pillow pressing down on his face, and he can feel Jin leaning his full weight on top of it.   

"I WHAZ GIDDINKK," he yelps against the fabric.

Chapter Text

 

“Jiiiiiin, pleaaase,” Taehyung hears as he steps into the Queen with his laptop case tucked under his arm. He's a little sweaty from standing out in the sun for the past 20 minutes, which he'd spent talking himself into entering the coffee shop.  

("It'll be weirder if you don't go," Jin had told him the night prior.) 

“Look, Jimin," Jin sighs, setting down his mug on the countertop. "As an independent consultant, I'm the face of my own brand. Personally? I love drag. But some of the owners of the restaurants I work with are uberconservative assholes who would take their business elsewhere if they saw it.” 

Jimin pouts, clearing away Jin's empty cup, and moving to stand back behind the counter. As he moves, his eyes catch Taehyung’s, and his brows twitch upwards almost imperceptibly. Jin follows his gaze and gestures to Taehyung. “Do it with Taehyung!”   

There is a beat of silence where Taehyung and Jimin just look at each other. “Uh, do what?” Taehyung asks as lightly as he can.   

“Jimin needs a new face to paint on his YouTube channel.”   

"You do?" Taehyung asks curiously, thinking back to some of the videos he'd seen.  

Jimin shrugs nonchalantly and very clearly tried to busy himself with work. “I just uh, wanted to do another drag transformation video. They're really popular, and I've done them for everyone else already.”   

“I mean... I'll do it. If you want me to,” Taehyung tells him gently.    

“Oh, you don't have to,” Jimin dismisses him quickly, looking extremely embarrassed. “I don't want to like pressure you into anything."   

The way he says it makes it feel like he's talking about a little bit more than just the video.   

Taehyung sighs, because this is not how he wants it to be between them. “Okay let me rephrase. Would it be helpful to you if I did it?”   

“I mean… yeah,” Jimin allows reluctantly.   

“Then I wanna do it,” Taehyung insists with a smile. “I want to help. Hey, maybe it'll even be better. I mean some people even argue that I'm hotter than Jin, so-“   

“Nobody argues that,” Jin interrupts.   

“You can never once just let me have that, can you?” Taehyung asks, and Jin just shrugs as he takes a delicate sip of coffee.

“You sure, Tae?”   

“Positive,” Taehyung confirms aggressively. He's going to make this fucking work. “What are friends for?”   

 


 

 Taehyung has been over to Jimin's place several times before, but somehow this time he feels like an intruder when he steps through the door. Jimin greets him with a tight ‘hey,’ which Taehyung returns quietly.   

“Uh. Thanks again for doing this,” Jimin says as he leads him into his main room, which is currently set up as a very legitimate looking studio setup. There is a prescribed distance between them and an uncertainty in the air that has never been there before, not even when they were practically strangers. "These are my most popular videos, by far. I'm truly blessed to be surrounded by pretty boys. Yoongi's video broke 2 million.”   

“Really??”   

“He's got kind of a following now. Weirdly, lots of schoolgirl fanart. Probably because of the wig."   

"Hot."   

They catch each other’s eyes for a quick moment, and an ensuing awkwardness follows as they both just kind of stand there, scrambling for their next move.  

"Here, hop up,” Jimin says, gesturing to a stool surrounded by makeup in the middle of the room. “Do you need to pee? Eat? Drink? Anything other than breathe for the next few hours?”   

“I have no immediate plans for any of those things, but I also have no means of predicting my body's needs and demands.”   

“Fair. Here, wipe down your face with one of these, then we can go ahead and start recording.” Jimin pulls a cleansing wipe from a pretty packet and hands it to him, then heads over to tinker with the camera while Taehyung cleans his face. “Ready?”   

"Super ready. Just tell me when we're about to record so I can fart real quick before we start."   

Jimin glances back at him with an amused smile tugging at the corner of his mouth. "My finger pressed record as soon as I said 'ready.'"   

"What is wrong with you?? That's like knocking as you walk into a room," Taehyung despairs, whining. "You'll edit that part out, right?"   

"I don’t edit my videos. Kook does," Jimin says lightly as he moves back towards Taehyung. "But you could probably bribe him with a jar of protein powder or a candid shot of Joon's left dimple." He shoots an impish look at the camera and does the 'watching you' gesture with a weird smirk.    

“How is that working out, by the way? Those two?” Taehyung inquires.  

Jimin scoffs. “How do you think that's working out? Have you met our friend group? Everybody is totally in love with each other and absolutely ridiculously dumb about it.” He seems to realize who he's talking to approximately two seconds after he's already said it, and his ears burn in response. “Anyway. Just, follow my lead, okay?”  

“Yep,” Taehyung says quietly, wiggling on the stool as he adjusts his posture and shakes his hair back.  

Jimin moves to stand beside him and faces the camera, plastering an almost-convincing smile on his face as he addresses the camera. “Hey everybody, it's Minnie here, and I'm back with another drag transformation for you," Jimin says, still managing to beam at the camera even as he speaks, and Taehyung wonders exactly how many of his viewers are in love with him. "Today I have my friend Tae with us, and I've been dying to paint him since I first met him, because, well, look at his face." Taehyung flushes hot, and Jimin catches his eye before glancing away shyly. "Questions or concerns before we start?"   

Taehyung's spine straightens slightly. "Yes. Why did you ask Jin to do this before you asked me? Do you think he's hotter than me?" Taehyung demands, playing it up a little for the camera.    

Jimin tap his chin gently with a makeup brush. "Objectively speaking.... yes. But subjectively speaking..... yes."   

Taehyung gently shoves him as Jimin collapses into giggles. "I hate you!"   

"I'm just kidding. You know I think you're hotter than Jin." Jimin maintains his light, casual laughter, but his ears remain tinged the loveliest red as he turns back to the camera. "So, have you ever worn makeup before?" Jimin asks him as he turns to his makeup kit and grabs a gluestick.    

"Uh, well, yes. I used to wear a lot of eyeliner, but I did not wear it well. It was an ill-advised scene phase.”  

Jimin must have been ready, waiting to pounce. "Actually, anticipating that statement, Jin has actually provided me with some pictures that Kook will be editing into the video right... here," Jimin points to his left, where there is currently nothing but dead space.    

"What?? Let me see!" Taehyung demands, peeking around Jimin.   

"They're going to be superimposed onto the screen, dummy."   

"I'm suing for... libel."   

"It’s not libel, you big baby, it's your actual fucking face. You can't sue me for showing your actual fucking face."   

Taehyung's lip curls in a pout, and Jimin laughs delightedly. "Can we just get started now?"   

"Fine, fine. So first I have to glue down your brows. Is that okay?" Jimin asks, sliding Taehyungs hair up into a hairband, and Taehyung really does try his best not to lean into the feeling of small, gentle fingers in his hair. 

"Whatever you need to do, boss," Taehyung assures him.   

"It's almost a shame. God these brows are something else. Why don't you wear your hair off your forehead more often?"    

"Don't want to stir up the crowds into a frenzy. It's fine though, do whatever you need to them," he says, closing his eyes docilely.     

When his lids flutter open several seconds later he is just barely able to swallow the startled squeak threatening to erupt from his chest, because Jimin is mere inches from his face, glue stick poised in his hand.  For a split second, Taehyung's eyes dart down to his lips on instinct, but then he is closing his eyes again in his panic.   

"You don't have to close your eyes for this part, you know," Jimin teases him, pressing the glue stick to his left eyebrow and resting his other hand on the side of Taehyung's face. "You can open them if you want."   

"I'm... sleepy," Taehyung lies, ignoring how soft Jimin's hands feel on his skin. Opening his eyes would definitely not be a good idea right now, especially as he feels Jimin's proximity through the gentle puffs of breath on his face.    

"Don't you dare fall asleep on me and make me skewer your eyeball with an eyeliner pencil," Jimin admonishes him softly, still dabbing his brows with the sticky glue.  

“Yes sir,” Taehyung smiles, though his eyes remain firmly closed.  

“What kind of drag look are we going for, by the way?"   

"Hmm, well. I was thinking something like... hot indie pop queen frequenting a sex dungeon.”  

Jimin's hands pause on his face for a moment, and Taehyung peeks an eyelid open. "It's so specific but somehow I can visualize it with striking clarity. I'll let you choose your outfit and wig when I'm done, okay?"   

"Okay!" Taehyung agrees, and he can't pretend he's not excited.    

"So Tae, tell the viewers a little about yourself. Or about me. Mostly about me. Tell them how we met."   

"Uh, it was like... 4 months ago?" Taehyung struggles to remember, eyes still glued shut. "I thought you were a hot girl and I came onto you."   

Jimin gives a self-satisfied little huff, turning to the camera. "Eat your heart out Violet Chachki, there's a new... fish in... the..... sea- nope I mixed idioms, cut that part, Kook." He continues to dab the gluestick gently around Taehyung's browbone. “Your skin is flawless, you ass,” Jimin mumbles fondly as he sets the little stick on the countertop with a small clunk.  "And what kills me is your skin routine consists of you falling asleep with your face in a bag of flaming hot cheetos every night." 

Taehyung cracks an eye open in indignation. "That was one time and you didn't have to put it on your snap story! And I also wash my face, thank you very much. With real soap." 

"What kind of soap?" 

"I dunno, it's blue and it had a cute little baby seal on the bottle." 

Jimin's hands still on his face. "Kim Taehyung, you do not wash your face with fucking Dawn Dish Soap." 

Taehyung goes into a weird headspace for much of the process. He is simultaneously hyperaware of Jimin's hands on his skin and also weirdly removed from the situation, dwelling in a safe part of his brain that's not allowing him to experience time as it is actually happening.    

All he knows about what's happening, he learns from what he hears and feels. Because he adamantly refuses to open his eyes.   

Primer, Taehyung supposes, serves a very real function, but all he knows it's that Jimin’s small fingers are so soft and gentle on his skin, that they linger slightly on his cheek when he had finished rubbing the cream into his face.   

It's less gentle when Jimin breaks out the contour, blending it into specific areas of his skin, but Taehyung can't be bothered to mind when Jimin is gripping his chin with firm fingers, tilting his head this way and that as he checks his own work.   

And Jimin's doing something to his eyebrows, but Taehyung can only register the way that he rests his hand on Taehyung's knee for balance, the way Jimin's warm fingers sprawl around his thigh when he shifts his hand up to lean closer for a better look. Taehyung swallows thickly and resists the urge to peek out from between his eyelids.    

When it comes time to do his eyes, though… eyes are a different story.   

“You have to open your eyes, Tae. I have to see how it looks,” Jimin prods him gently.  

Taehyung tries to gulp as quietly as it is possible to gulp, hoping to Jesus that Jimin can’t hear the noise as he slowly, slowly pries his eyes open. And of course Jimin's right there, smiling an eye-crinkling smile as Taehyung rejoins the works of the seeing.  

“Thank you.”  

Jimin grabs a tiny brush and small black pot from the table and leans in close, closer than Taehyung has ever been. This close, he can see every eyelash, can appreciate the way that Jimin’s lovely eyes are perfectly asymmetrical. Within seconds, however, his gaze has meandered down and down, resting heavily on his lips, which are plump and pink and look wonderfully well-moisturized. Taehyung gulps again then looks away, only to find his eyes drawn back almost immediately.   

“Up, Tae, look up,” Jimin commands softly, dragging the tiny brush up from the outside corner of his eye. Taehyung startles a little, feeling caught, and he forces his eyes upward, rolling them up to look at the ceiling. Jimin tuts his tongue. “Not that much just like… look straight ahead.”  

This is easier said than done, because Jimin’s eyes are essentially level with his, maybe a foot from his face. Taehyung drags his eyes slowly down and, terrifyingly, locks eyes directly with Jimin. And he can tell from the weight of the space between them that Jimin isn't just looking at his makeup.   

After a moment of tense staring, Jimin tears his eyes away to focus on the careful line of Taehyung’s eye. His hand slips and he withdraws abruptly, grabbing a makeup removing wipe and cursing quietly. “You fucked it up.”  

Taehyung scoffs with false bravado. “You fucked it up.”  

“Shut up.”  

It’s another 15 minutes and a couple of rounds of setting spray later until Jimin sets down his tools and takes a step back to get the full picture.   

“Holy... wow,” Jimin breathes, gaze sliding over Taehyung’s face and jaw hanging slightly open.  

“Is it good?”   

Jimin’s face colors slightly as he turns to clean up his tools. “It's... fine. Now go choose a wig and outfit from my closet. Shoes you might have to squeeze." He snaps his fingers in realization. "Actually I think I might have a couple of pairs that are too big." 

Jimin's closet is less of a closet than it is a room, filled to the brim with neatly hung, brightly colored clothes, as well as an entire wall of wigs.   

"Where did you GET all of this shit?" Taehyung marvels loudly, and he hears Jimin chuckle from the other room.   

"Subscribers, mostly. They send all kinds of stuff to my P.O. Box."  

Taehyung runs his fingers lightly along the hung garments. "You have the closet of an Upper East Side sugar baby."  

Jimin just chuckles delightedly again, the sound muffled through the walls.  

Taehyung browses and browses, tries things on, tosses them on the floor when they don't work out.   

"Oh hey," Jimin calls from the other room after a few minutes.  "Do you need me to help you tuck?"  

"NO!" Taehyung actually screams, his voice catching and cracking on the word.  

 


 

 It takes a few tries and one very painful slip-up with duct tape, but Taehyung makes it through the tuck. It doesn't make the process any easier that he has to watch Jimin's how-to video and gets half hard in the process.  

But once he's tucked, primped, and polished, he wobbles slightly in his chunky, strappy heels as he cautiously peeks out into the hallway before stepping out, tugging down the short mini-pleated skirt of his metallic dress as he scans the room. Jimin sits cross-legged on the couch, carefully reviewing the footage and completely absorbed in the task.   

"Uh," Taehyung says quietly to make his presence known. Jimin's head jerks up. "Done?"  

Jimin says nothing, sucking his bottom lip into his mouth as he raises his eyebrows, appraising Taehyung carefully. He takes a deep, bracing breath. "Okay."  

"How do I look?" He fishes, batting his very heavy, very fake eyelashes as he gives a clunky twirl.   

Jimin takes another deep breath through his nose. "Okay."  

Taehyung viciously scoffs. "'Okay'? Seriously?" He leans around Jimin to check himself out in the reflection of the mirror. It's easy to see himself, hip popped sassily out to the side, now that darkness has fallen outside. His long lavender hair falls in waves onto his brown faux fur coat, which slips gracefully from one of his shoulders to reveal the plunging neckline of a metallic silvery dress underneath. "I am possibly the hottest person I have ever seen! Besides, well..." He successfully swallows the word 'you.' "Besides everyone else in our friend group." 

"Just... Come here and stand in front of the camera, jackoff."  

Taehyung wobbles over to him, and Jimin can't help but stifle a chuckle at that. Taehyung just flips his pastel lavender hair confidently and continues his wobble, reaching out for the stool long before it's within his grasp.   

Jimin balks slightly when he gets a closer view. “Where did you get that?” he asks, pointing at Taehyung's neck.   

“Oh this?” Taehyung asks, tugging a bit at the strap hanging from his neck. “In that black box tucked away in the very top shelf. Cute choker right?”  

“Taehyung… that is a leash,” Jimin says carefully.  

“Oh. I didn't know you had a dog.”  

“I do not have a dog.”  

“Oh,” Taehyung repeats, delicately drawn eyebrows arching in surprise. “So this is a…”  

“Sex leash, yeah,” Jimin finishes for him.  

“Great. Good." He nods politely then reconsiders, tilting his head. "Can I still…?”  

“You still want to?” Jimin can't keep the smirk out of his voice.   

“It looks pretty.” Taehyung says defensively.  

“Um…. Yeah… I guess?” Jimin decides, looking extremely conflicted, the he double-takes at the camera, which is still apparently filming. "Shut your fucking mouth and cut that, Kook." The shift in tone as he addresses the invisible youtube audience once more is striking. "Anyway so here's the finished product!" Jimin says to the camera, gesturing to Taehyung, who strikes a pose. "We should think of a drag name for yo-"  

"Becky."  

Jimin screws his face up in disgust before asking "What??"  

"My drag name is Becky," Taehyung clarifies, checking himself out in the screen, and it's a very strange experience, because he is attracted to the girl he sees there.  

"Your drag name cannot be Becky," Jimin insists with a disgusted snarl. "It absolutely cannot."  

"Well that's funny, because it is," Taehyung says lightly, primly tugging down the hem of his skirt. "My drag persona is a hot, rich, white barsexual girl named Becky who sells bedazzled sex toys on her Etsy shop, and there's nothing you can fucking do about it."  

"Fuck," Jimin struggles, hand resting lightly at his mouth as he appraises Taehyung cautiously. "I think I like it." Then he seems to shake himself out of his reverie and finds the camera once more. "So here we have... Becky. You guys let me know what you think in the comments down below, and don't forget to subscribe!"  

"Wow you sound just like one of those youtube people," Taehyung wonders, staring at Jimin in minor awe.   

"I am one of those youtube people," Jimin sighs. "And cut, Kook. Cut it here," he says to the camera, but he does not move to turn it off. "Anyway, how do you like it? Your drag?"  

"I think I love it," Taehyung replies, leaning to check himself out again.   

Jimin scoffs. "Stop looking at yourself. You're not that hot."  

"Yes I am," Taehyung says simply.

Jimin heaves a great sigh. "Yeah you are." They're quiet for a few moments before Jimin perks up, his eyes going adorably buggy. "Hey, do you wanna go out tonight?”  

Taehyung's stomach swoops a little. "Out as in... Out to a club? Like this?"  

"Yeah! Your drag debut.  It'd be kind of a shame to let all this flawless makeup go to waste."  

"Yeah you're right, it would be a shame to let this flawless natural beauty go to waste," Taehyung challenges him, sounding stunningly bratty as he pulls his phone out from his cleavage just like he's always secretly wanted to do. "Let me just message the guys to let them-"  

Jimin gently extends his hand to block him from using his phone. "Let's just go without them. They're probably busy, anyway."  

Taehyung swallows nervously, moving to unlock his phone again. "I think Jin might be free and m-"  

"Just..." Jimin gently pushes his hand down again. "It could just be the two of us. Please?"  

Taehyung feels his ears flush hot and glances away nervously. "I don't think that's a good idea."  

"Nothing like that, " Jimin insists softly. "I just. I miss you a little”  

Taehyung’s heart gives an odd little lurch. He fidgets with his skirt. “I’m like… I’m still here. You know that right?”   

Jimin hesitates, eyes flicking away nervously. “I mean, kinda. It’s just… not like before. You know?”  

Taehyung sighs lightly. “I. I can't-”  

“I know, I know,” Jimin says hastily, waving his hands to keep Taehyung from finishing his sentence. “You can't. Consider me warned. I just… really miss you.” He's quiet for a few moments before he drags his gaze up to rest on Taehyung’s face. “Just tonight? Please?" And there's no way that Taehyung can resist that face, Jimin's eyes large and asymmetrical and beautiful, delicate hands clasped together anxiously.  

“Okay.”  

 


 

They don't go to the Queen. They don't talk about why they don't go to the Queen, but Taehyung thinks that it's probably just understood that the others don't really need to know. Instead they end up in front of the dingy, green-lit barfront, where they always seem to end up when someone is looking to make a questionable decision.   

But walking through the door this time, it feels like the first time Taehyung has ever been here. Everything’s different. And sure, he's seeing the place from 5 inches higher than he usually does, tottering unsteadily on his platform shoes. He thinks maybe that's why it feels so strange at first. But after a few minutes he realizes that it has to do more with the fact that everyone is fucking staring at him in a way that makes him feel very much like a lamb awaiting inevitable slaughter. When he hears a wolf-whistle, his head jerks towards the sound, eyes large.   

Jimin chuckles lowly behind him but places a reassuring hand on his lower back. "Don't worry about them. Femme or Female, assholes are gonna be assholes. Believe me. Come on, let's get some shots."  

Of course it's tequila. Taehyung cringes as he knocks it back, startled slightly by the garish red mark his lips leave on the shot glass. It's only after a few panicked seconds during which he thinks he's bleeding from the mouth that he remembers that he's wearing lipstick. He self-consciously moves to wipe at his lips, worried that he's smeared, but Jimin's deftly beat him to it. He slowly drags the pad of his finger below the very bottom of Taehyung's lip, staring intently as he does. Delicate tendrils of arousal curl sweetly in his gut as Jimin's eyes find his.   

"Don't worry," Jimin assures him, finger lingering on Taehyung's chin as the other hand curls around the hanging end of the leash and pulls slightly. Taehyung's gut gives another lurch. "Still perfect."  

And it's at this moment, at least in his recollection of events to Jin the next day, he will claim that everything went blurry. That he was helplessly awash with alcohol when he let himself be tugged out, leash first, onto the dance floor, that it was all a tequila-induced fog when he openly groped Jimin under the flimsy guise of dancing and was groped in return, when he let Jimin drag his nose up the side of Taehyung's neck, lips ghosting feather-light behind. He figures he'll omit completely the part about how they were both hard, sweaty, heaving, rutting filthily against each other in a thoroughly indecent way, very much facilitated by Taehyung's short skirt. And he'll be damned if he says a word about the wetness of Jimin's mouth on his neck, the delicious suction, the teeth.  

He's stone cold sober. He's stone cold sober but absolutely gone, soaking up every detail of Jimin in a way that he couldn't if he was impaired. 

Jimin, however, is not stone cold sober. Taehyung pretended he didn't notice when Jimin started sneaking shots between shots, but he is apparently dead-set against being any kind of sober. He’s sloppy and uninhibited and utterly irresistible. His hands are purposeful as they skim across the surface of Taehyung’s body, coming to a rest on his ass. He groans and squeezes the flesh there, tugging Taehyung’s hips forward, as if getting closer was even possible. 

“Uh,” Taehyung’s voice cracks, willing some of the blood back into his brain so that he can think about what I bad idea this is. “Everyone's watching.” 

“That's because we're fucking hot,” Jimin tells him, voice raspy. “You’re so fucking hot.” He drags his nose asking the column of Taehyung’s neck again, and Taehyung grits his teeth in the concerted effort it takes not to groan.  

He forces a chuckle instead. “Didn’t think boys in drag were your type.” 

“They’re not,” Jimin confirms, gently nipping the skin underneath Taehyung’s jaw. Jimin omits the obvious 'but you are,' though it's implied.  

Even Taehyung’s blood-deprived brain sets off warning bells at that. He gently pushes Jimin back, trying to get a proper look at his face. His eyes are glassy, lips swollen, hair damp and mussed. Very not sober. 

“Hey, I think we need some air,” Taehyung decides, gently pushing Jimin’s hands off of him.  

“Fuck air,” Jimin whines, eyes completely glazed over, trying to tug Taehyung back as he makes to leave the dance floor. "I want you," he adds weakly. 

“I’ll be right beside you. Come on,” Taehyung assures him, entwining their fingers to pull Jimin along behind him. Jimin stares down at where their hands are clasped and reluctantly allows himself to be led. Taehyung stops by the bar for a cup of water on his way out, pressing it into Jimin’s hands once he's sure he won't drop it. 

The street in front of the bar is mostly deserted, but Taehyung still gets a lewd catcall as they take a seat on the street curb. Taehyung falters a little in his towering heels. 

“Drink that,” Taehyung instructs him, pointing at the cup in Jimin's hand and he releases the other one. Jimin looks disappointed, pouting into his cup as he raises it to take a sip. 

“You have a hickey,” Jimin grumbles, eyelids fluttering and heavy as he hiccups into his cup of water. 

Taehyung absently moves to rub at the spot on his neck where Jimin's mouth had been busy. “Wonder whose fault that is.” 

Jimin shrugs. “Had to do something with my mouth. Otherwise would'a kissed you probably.” The statement hangs in the air between them, right alongside their puffs of condensed breath. “Fuck I'm drunk.” 

“Are you okay?” Taehyung asks, and Jimin nods. “Why did you drink so much?” 

Jimin exhales a bitter laugh. “So I could pretend that shit wasn’t fucking weird with us now.” He sets down the cup and smacks his lips lightly. “It's still fucking weird.” 

Taehyung’s heart hurts as he says it, because he knows it's true. He fidgets with the tips of his long lavender wig. “I know. I don't know how to fix it.” 

Jimin's eyes go more lucid than they've been as he pulls his mouth into a smirk. “Sweetie, there might not be any fixing it,” and he sounds like Minnie again as he says it. A layer of separation, detachment. “Just… take me home?” 

“Yeah, I'll drop you-“ 

“Your home,” Jimin clarifies, blinking the darkness from his eyes as he innocuously adds, “It's closer.” 

Taehyung is confused and skeptical and nervous, but he nods affirmatively, because who is he to deny Park Jimin a thing? 

They stumble into his entryway 20 minutes later, Taehyung supporting most of Jimin's weight as they trip over the massive pile of shoes at the door. Taehyung guides him gently back to his bed, watching Jimin flop back onto the comforter and shut his eyes, then sighs, half affection, half frustration, as he watches him roll cutely onto his side. 

Taehyung nearly scrubs his face raw trying to get all of the makeup off, shedding the dress and wig carefully as he pulls on some sweats. By the time he steps back into his bedroom to switch off the light, Jimin is curled up in a tiny dozing ball. Taehyung kneels by the bed to carefully remove his shoes, and Jimin stirs and groans.  

“Do you wanna sleep with your pants on?” Taehyung asks as he straightens Jimin's shoes at the foot of the bed.  

“’m not wearing underwear,” Jimin helpfully provides for him, rubbing his eyes. 

“So yes then,” Taehyung gulps, straightening up to leave. A small hand catches his wrist.  

“Where are you going?”  

“Couch,” Taehyung grunts with a very forced gruffness, looking away purposefully. Jimin look so soft and sleepy sprawled out on his bed, lips swollen and clothing slightly askew. 

Before he can turn to leave, those fingers are tightening around his wrist, and before he can register what's happening, he's being yanked forcefully down onto the bed, collapsing very much on top of Jimin, who is staring at him with heavy, glazed eyes. "I changed my mind." 

Taehyung swallows hard, trying to pull himself away, but Jimin's arms lock in an iron grip around his waist.  "About... pants?" 

"Well now that you mention it..."  Jimin says, easing his knee up so that it’s pressing between Taehyung's legs.  

Taehyung draws as far back as he's able. "Jimin..." 

Jimin pouts before continuing. "Back at the bowling alley. I told you I was glad you didn't fuck me before you straight boy panicked. I changed my mind.” 

Taehyung doesn't realize he's stopped breathing until his lungs scream for air. "That's.... Um. That sounds like a conversation that I should have with Sober Jimin." 

Jimin moves with speed and power, flipping them in a matter of seconds so that he's on top, straddling Taehyung's waist. "Sober Jimin isn't here right now," he mumbles, leaning down to re-trace the mark he'd left on Taehyung's neck with his lips. "But I'll be happy to tell him you said hi." 

Jimins slyly reaches for his waistband, but Taehyung's hands gently grab his. Instead of pushing him away, Taehyung entwines their fingers and rests them on his chest instead. "I'll tell him myself. In the morning." 

“Just tonight,” Jimin pleads softly, tilting his head and leaning closer. Taehyung turns his head away before their lips meet, and Jimin stiffens in his arms. Taehyung strokes Jimin's hand as he slowly turns back to look at him.  

“No, Jimin.” 

"Why?" 

"Just... no." 

Jimin regards him with glassy eyes, which start to shine brighter as they gradually fill with tears. He bites down hard on his lip, like he's willing himself not to cry. “Fuck." 

"Hey it's okay," Taehyung quickly calms him, stroking his hand with his thumb. 

"It's not." 

“It is,” Taehyung assures him quietly. 

A couple of stray tears slip down the side of Jimin's small, sharp nose."It was already fucked, but I just fucked it worse." 

Taehyung squeezes his hands. "No. Hey, we’re still us. Still friends.” 

Jimin sniffs a little. “I don’t think we can just be friends, Tae.” 

Taehyung feels his own eyes prickle and his throat tighten. “Don’t say that.” 

Jimin shrugs as his lower lip trembles. “I fucked it up.” 

“Stop… stop saying that. You didn't do anything wrong. Everything’s fine,” Taehyung insists, shaking him lightly as if to reinforce his point.  

Jimin laughs, a bitter, wet sound as he sniffs quietly. "Okay," he says appealingly, and it's clear that he doesn't believe a damn word. They're quiet for a few moments, then Jimin mumbles, “Will you stay at least? For now?” 

Taehyung nods and pulls him close so that his Jimin's head is resting on his chest. After a couple of seconds, he can feel tiny little wet rivulets dripping down his chest. It reminds him of the last time he held a crying Jimin, the last time someone had hurt him so badly, and he forces himself to swallow down the sour, bubbling guilt at the thought that he's done exactly the same thing. 

 


 

 The bed rustles and jars him out of his blackness, his eyes stinging with the sudden influx of sunlight. A figure moves at the foot of his bed, hunched over, and Jimin slowly comes into focus. Taehyung sits up, rubbing at his eyes and tugging on his bunched-up sweatshirt. Jimin seems to hear him, spinning around with a hard look. 

Taehyung gulps, throat dry from sleep. “Hey.” 

“I was trying not to wake you,” Jimin replies flatly. 

“Why?” Taehyung panics, trying to sound as normal as possible. “It's fine. How are you feeling?" 

Jimin scoffs lightly at that. "Peachy." 

"Hey, we could like, get breakfast or something. If you want to.” 

Jimin shoots him a wry smile over his shoulder as he bends over to tie his shoes. “Tae, just… stop.” 

He doesn't clarify further, just refocuses his attention on his shoelaces.  

“I…” Taehyung starts quietly. “Stop what?” 

Jimin exhales meaningfully, bracing his hands on his thighs as he pushes himself to his feet. “Look, obviously you can still come to the Queen, like, they’re your friends too now, but I just need a little space.” 

“Oh,” Taehyung says, tasting the painful sting of it. “Yeah. Sure. I'll... space, yeah. You got it." 

"And uh, sorry about last night," Jimin cringes, raising his hand to scratch gingerly at his forehead. "That won't happen again." 

Taehyung swallows the lump in his throat and shakes his head. "No big." 

Jimin nods tersely and gives him a tense but valiant attempt at a smile. "Right. Well, I'm gonna head into work. See you." 

Taehyung's hands are balled into fists under the sheets, but he arranges his facial expression into one of casual sleepiness. "Yeah. See you." 

He watches Jimin go, then hears the front door click open, then closed. As soon as he's gone, Taehyung allows himself to plop back onto the bed with the saddest sigh he can heave from his body. He gropes for his phone, which he finds between the sheets towards the bottom of the bed and dials Jin's number.  

"Hey. Jerkoff. Bring a family sized tub of cheese balls, your Golden Girls box set, and your cuddling pants." 

 


 

 He wallows.   

Oh how he wallows.   

The only breaks he takes from his Golden Girls binge session are to watch Jimin's tutorial videos between episodes.  

He watches Yoongi's drag video, then Hoseok’s, then Namjoon and Jungkook’s, and it almost feels like hanging out at the Queen with his friends, despite the fact that he's 4 blankets deep on the couch and hasn’t spoken to anyone except Jin and his mom for 3 days.  

“What’s he doing now?” Jin asks, plopping down into the couch next to him and staring at the television, where one of Jimin’s makeup tutorials is pulled up. 

“Baking,” Taehyung says morosely as he stretches out so that his feet are in Jin's lap. “Not the food kind. He looks silly and adorable.” 

 Screen-Jimin's face is covered in loose white powder, and he makes no effort to shake off the excess.  

“Kind of reminds me of that time I planted cocaine on his ex,” Taehyung sniffs as a wave of strange nostalgia crashes over him. 

“Please tell me that's an out-of-context statement that doesn't sound nearly as illegal when it's told as part of a story.” 

“Why doesn’t he wipe it off?” Taehyung asks, ignoring Jin completely.  

“That's the whole point of baking. You let the powder sit on your face so that your body heat can like meld things together and make it stay longer.” 

Sure enough, the video is fast-forwarding now as Jimin applies the rest of his makeup, letting the powder sit on his face all the while.  

“So now when I go and brush it off,” Jimin says when the video goes back to normal speed and he finally moves to brush off the excess powder, “I've got a really beautiful finish that's going to last me all day. I know it's a lot of effort, but you get out of something what you put into it. So take the time to do things right!” 

Taehyung doesn’t know why his throat is suddenly constructing painfully or why his eyes are prickling, but he feels Jin's have squeezing his blanket-covered shin gently which means he must not be reacting as subtly as he had thought. 

“You okay?” 

“Yeah,” Taehyung sniffs. “Just. Doesn't seem right, the way it turned out with us.” 

“I know,” Jin says quietly, patting his leg now. “Hey, why don't we watch the next episode of the Girls instead? It's a good one.” 

To his credit, Jin is wonderful. He's kind and understanding no matter how ridiculous Taehyung gets.  

But even he finally snaps, a week and a half later, when Taehyung, who is ¾ of the way deep in his gigantic container of cheeseballs, throws a handful of the little orange suckers at the television as he screams at Stan to "LEAVE DOROTHY THE FUCK ALONE YOU SLIMEBALL."  

"YOU NEVER EVEN DATED HIM," Jin groans in loud exasperation, trying to tug the giant tub of cheeseballs from Taehyung's iron grip. He is unsuccessful.   

"YEAH WELL," Taehyung shouts back, bits of processed cheese dust flying everywhere, "That's what makes it so bad! It's better to have boinked and lost than never to have boinked at all. And I never boinked at all! That's not just me being dramatic, Jin, that's a little something called Shakespeare."  

"It's a gross misquoting of Tennyson, you cretin," Jin corrects him with a disgusted snarl.   

Taehyung sniffs defiantly. "Stop hanging out with Joon. You're much more fun when you're not well-read."  

“I actually haven't been at The Queen much lately either,” Jin admits, grabbing a handful of cheese balls resignedly. “Shit’s still weird with Yoongi.”  

“That sucks.”  

“Yeah,” Jin agrees then continues in a tone that's much too casual. “I've been hanging out with Hope though…”  

Taehyung accidentally bites the inside of his cheek min-chomp. “What?? Like… hanging hanging?”  

Jin dusts the orange crumbs from his fingers. “I mean, we haven't, you know…”  

“Boinked,” Taehyung provides helpfully.  

“Yeah, no… boinking yet. But it's definitely more than just friendship. We kind of bonded over Yoongi and then… it just happened. I guess we're kind of doing things the opposite way of how we did with him? Slow and steady? I don't fucking know,” Jin sighs. “I really like Hope. But…”  

“But you also still like Yoongi.”  

Jin shoots him a guilty look. “In my defense, I'm pretty sure Hope does too.”  

“Yeah she definitely does. You guys are a mess.”  

“Says you.”  

Taehyung smiles but swallows hard around the near-constant lump in his throat. "Says me."  

"No, wait, don't cry again!" Jin pleads, grasping a handful of Taehyung's blanket. "I'm sorry. I know you really like him."  

Taehyung waits until the lump in his throat subsides enough for him to say, “I miss him. I hate not seeing him every day.”  

“Then go to the Queen!” Jin insists like it's the most obvious thing. “He said you could still come by.”  

“Maybe… It's just gonna be weird. Especially with how we left things.”  

“Do you want to go together tomorrow?” Jin asks lightly.   

“Fuck no!" Taehyung says, hugging the gigantic plastic container to his chest and sinking even further into the couch. "You'd have to pry my cold dead body from this couch to get me within 100 feet of the Queen."

 


 

 “Hey where are we going anyway? This area looks so familiar.” Taehyung says the next day, craning his head to up at the buildings around them.  

“You really do just agree to go places without knowing where, don't you?” Jin asks, amused. “We’re literally 100 feet from The Queen.”  

Taehyung's mouth falls open in shock. “You betrayed me!” he utters in disbelief. “Well lucky for me, I still have time to-“  

"Taehyungie!” Hope shouts, leaning out the door and waving vigorously, her honey-blonde hair tousled gracefully by the wind. Then she's out the door and barreling towards them, wrapping her arms around Taehyung as soon as he's within distance. “Where have you been????" 

Taehyung hugs her back, shooting Jin a conspicuous glare. "Things got a little busy." 

"Well don't just drop off the face of the planet like that again," she says, arms locked around him as she not-so-subtly pulls him towards the entrance of the shop. Taehyung knows better than to fight it. "When they found that guy who drowned in the aquarium after he tried to night swim with the dolphins, we thought maybe you died.” Taehyung opens his mouth to protest, and Hope cuts him off. “Don’t even pretend, bitch.”  

His face is sheepish as Hope herds him through the door, and once he's inside, he manages to catch Jimin's eyes almost immediately. He drops his gaze and stumbles forward as Hope releases him, straightening his rumpled clothes and looking anywhere but behind the bar.  

“You look like you need a coffee, Tae,” Jin says gently, nudging him lightly towards the counter, towards Jimin. 

“You know actually I'm on kind of a tea kick right now…” Taehyung tries, backing away.   

“We have a great new boba tea drink called Balls In Your Mouth,” Jungkook tells him as he approaches from the back room.   

“It’s not called that!” Namjoon shouts from somewhere, his voice cracking around the words. "And that one's not even clever!" 

“Go on,” Jin urges him, and Taehyung heaves a great breath add he takes a few tentative steps forward. Jimin is very determinedly wiping down some glasses, not looking up until Taehyung is at the bar, clearing his throat.   

“Hey!” Taehyung says cheerfully, as he looks anywhere but Jimin.  

Jimin raises one rectangular eyebrow and loudly sets down a glass with a jarring clink. “Hey.”  

Taehyung's eyes scan the chalk-scrawled menu, and he sees several new items that weren't there last time he was in. It reminds him how long it's been. “Uh can I have one… Rainbow Roast Latte?”  

Jungkook appears at his elbow within moments. “Good choice! Just got it in yesterday. It's the gayest thing you'll put in your mouth all day unless you suck a-“  

“JUNGKOOK,” Namjoon bellows from the back room.   

“Fuck why is he on my case lately? He never used to care,” Jungkook pouts. “Hey Tae, come sit with me when you're done. I have something to show you.”  

“Uh yeah. Sure thing,” Taehyung agrees, turning back to Jimin.  

“One Rainbow Roast coming up,” Jimin tells him with a tight smile. “I'll bring it to your table if you want.”  

“Oh.” He usually just stays up here and chats with Jimin while he waits for his drink. “Yeah okay. Thanks.”  

He follows Jungkook to a table in the corner, where a laptop sits open and the contents of a bag are sprawled across the shiny wood.  

“So have you seen it yet?” Jungkook asks, settling down in front of his laptop.   

“Seen what?” Taehyung says cluelessly, leaning over to see the screen.  

“Your video with Jimin,” Jungkook tells him with an exasperated sigh. “What else? That shit went huge. 200k in the first few days alone and increasing rapidly.”  

“Fuck. I forgot all about that,” Taehyung says blankly, suppressing a strange wave of fear. “Can I…”  

“Go right ahead,” Jungkook urges, handing him an earbud and tilting the screen his way.   

And anybody with eyes can see it. The tension in their shoulders, the weight of their glances, the fondness in their expressions when they think the other isn't looking. Taehyung can stomach about a minute of it before he can't handle any more. He yanks the earbud out and scoots the computer back towards Jungkook.  

“I can't watch,” he tells him very seriously, crossing his arms.

“Yeah gross right? Just imagine being someone besides you two and having to watch that shit,” Jungkook responds. “Anyway check out these comments,” he continues, tilting the screen towards him again.   

 

+253 Wow are they dating? Talk about heart eyes 

||+25 no way that is unresolved sexual tension, they have definitely not fucked  

|||| +9 their banter is so cute 

 

+298 I want so much more of these two 

 

+150 Is his friend gay?? Most of his friends are gay right? 

|| +58 Idk if he's gay but he's definitely into him. 

|||| +12 in all fairness everybody’s into Minnie 

|||||| +25 yeah but when had Minnie ever looked at anyone like THAT 

||||||||| +70 I KNEW he looked familiar that's fuckin cheeto boy from Minnie's story. they're definitely fuckin. 

 

+175 dude I've never seen Minnie like this before?? did you see the way he looked him when the dude closed his eyes? 

|| +78 what's up with them why aren’t they together 

|||| + 15 maybe the guy’s not gay? 

|||||| +7 whatever he is, he's definitely into him. he can't look away from his mouth watch at 5:34 he's so thirsty 

||||||| +60 he's not thirsty jackoff he's in love 

||||||||| +109 guys… he's thirsty AND in love 

|||||||||||| +20 I saw both of them at Pride a few months ago and they're DEFINITELY together

 

+267  they are literally the two hottest queens ever and if Jimin doesn't date him I will 

|| +383 yeah right look at them they’re soulmates. Nobody else stands a chance 

 

Taehyung is a little nauseous and extremely red in the face. “Oh.” 

Jungkook rolls his eyes. “Yeah. Oh. The whole entire world knows that you’re in love with each other. Literal strangers know.” 

“We're not… they don't…” Taehyung struggles. “They don't know the whole story. Look, this is going to be better for everybody in the long run.” 

Jungkook's jaw muscles tighten, and he sits up straighter in his seat, looking much more intimidating than he did a second ago. “You know… you and that asshole over there are two peas in a pod of dumb.”  

“Who? Me and Namjoon?”  

“Yeah you and Namjoon. You’re these like super smart guys who also possess the ability to be incredibly fucking obtuse. Think you know what’s best for everyone and you think it’s your fucking job to enforce it. It’s really insulting actually.”  

“What??” Taehyung demands, leaning forward now. “Insulting?”  

“Yes, like. Extremely,” Jungkook confirms with an exaggerated nod. "You both act like me and Jimin are poor little misguided lambs who can’t make our own decisions. Kim Namjoon thinks that he’s doing me a favor by keeping me at arm’s length because he thinks I won't be happy if we're together. But what he's conveniently ignoring is that he's all I want.  And even though he thinks he's looking out for me, what he's actually doing is making me miserable.” He gives Taehyung a significant look. “Sound familiar?”  

Taehyung mulls it over, staring blankly at the wall as he processes the information. “Shit.”  

“Yeah. Shit. Tae, he really likes you. This has been different for him from the beginning. Why do you think he took so long to make a move? If he’d wanted to, he probably could have had you that first night. He was just giving it time, letting you adjust, letting it happen as it happened so that it would work."  

Taehyung stares at him in wonder, tears springing unannounced to his eyes. "He was baking. He was baking us."  

Jungkook stares blankly at him. "What?"  

"Never mind,” Taehyung says quickly, pursing his lips. 

Jungkook eyes him strangely for a moment. "No, not never mind. This is not a homosexual Lifetime movie, junior. You cannot say shit like that." 

"I'm sorry," Taehyung says, swiping roughly at his eyes. "I've just been having a really hard time and like... watching a lot of his videos to cope." 

"Is that all you've been doing the entire time you've been MIA? Just like, binge-watching his tutorial videos while crying and stuffing your face with junk food?" 

"No," Taehyung claims with false bravado, before withering under Jungkook's skeptical look and hunching his shoulders in defeat. "I also masturbated to them."  

"Well, same," Jungkook agrees, "But look it's one thing to be considerate of his feelings, like there’s nothing wrong with that. But it's another to be an ass about it. He’s an adult and he’s free to make his own decisions and mistakes. You don't know better than him what he wants.”  

“Shit,” Taehyung repeats, startling when Jimin steps out from behind the counter and starts walking towards their table. A few seconds later, he's standing in front of them, gently setting down the coffee cup on the table with a clink.  

“What are you guys talking about?” Jimin asks suspiciously, wiping his hands on his lacy apron.  

“The economy,” Jungkook lies smoothly, just as Taehyung blurts out “The female orgasm.”  

Jungkook fixes him with a dead expression. “Really? You went with that? With this crowd?”  

“I panicked,” Taehyung mumbles, reaching forward to scoot his cup closer.  

Jimin continues to eye them skeptically. “I don't like this. I don't like you two hanging out.”  

Jungkook shrugs and busies himself with his computer. “Fine we were talking about Joon okay? Can you chill before he notices?”  

“Oh,” Jimin utters, his face relaxing. “Sorry. Yeah. As you were.” He backs away, shooting an anxious look at Namjoon over shoulder.   

“Thanks for that,” Taehyung sighs, slumping down into his chair. “So what are you gonna do about the Joon situation?”  

Jungkook looks at Taehyung for a moment, huffing through his nose as he closes his laptop determinedly. “I'm gonna tell that bastard what's what.”  

Taehyung’s eyes go wide. “What. When?”  

“Right fucking now,” he growls, fixing his eyes on Namjoon, who is currently helping a sweet old lady down from one of the bar stools. She smiles kindly up at him as he slowly starts to escort her towards the door. “And you're gonna watch me and be inspired and then you’re gonna do the exact same thing. Pinky swear."  

“Wha-“ Taehyung starts as his hand is forcibly grabbed and pinky forcibly mashed with Jungkook's. “Stop, I'm not agreeing to this right now. Don't-"  

“Hey you!” Jungkook shouts then, pointing aggressively at Namjoon, jumping to his feet. “Stop right there.”  

Namjoon freezes, eyes huge, the old lady’s hand still in his. She looks at him too.   

Jungkook deflates sheepishly, rubbing the back of his neck. “Um sorry. Actually just… like… finish what you were doing but then after that, Stop right there!”  

Of course, it takes a comically long time for him to help her to the door, their pace glacial as she shuffles quietly across the floor. When Namjoon opens the door for her, she sweetly cups his cheek before hobbling outside and down the street.   

“Okay, so say I changed my mind about this whole thing," Jungkook whispers fiercely to Taehyung.   

“I think it's too late for that,” Taehyung hisses back, because Namjoon is walking towards them now, brows creased in concern. The shop is empty now except for their group.  

“What's up, Kook?” he asks, hands in his pockets.   

Jungkook puffs out his chest and takes a deep breath. “I’m… I'm gonna tell you what I want, and for once you're gonna listen, instead of telling me all the ways you think I'm wrong.”  

“Jungkook…”  

“Nope, just listen." He breathes a bracing breath. "I want to be with you.”  

Namjoon sighs, burying his head in his hands. “Jungkook you don't want-“  

“No! Stop telling me what I don't want and listen to what I do want. I wanna… go on dates and hold your hand and talk to you about everything, things you don't talk about with other people. Maybe kiss your forehead and big spoon your big snoring dad-ass to sleep and wake up with your arms around me. I want you to come home from work and complain to me about your day and let me hold you when you need to be held. I want you to hold me too. I just want to fucking love you. What's so wrong with that?”  

Namjoon grits his teeth. “There's nothing wrong with it, it's just that… There are things you want..." 

“What? Sex?” Jungkook says loudly, and Taehyung is so glad that no one else is here besides him and Jimin. “You think I haven't taken that into consideration? After that asshole you dated? Is that really what you think of me? That I'm going to be like him?”  

“No, of course not,” Namjoon sighs. “Don't... Don't twist my words.”  

“Then why? Why can't we try?” Jungkook has worked himself up and sounds on the verge of tears, and Namjoon can't help but step forward and take the boy into his arms. Taehyung has stopped breathing, worried that he’ll interrupt the moment.  

Namjoon exhales into Jungkook’s shoulder and murmurs, “I'm just worried that it's not going to be enough.”  

Jungkook pulls back abruptly to glare harshly at him. “Fuck you. You’re more than enough.”  

Namjoon laughs at Jungkook’s intensity, but his eyes are shining and tight. “Jesus, Kook.”  

"I like you so much. I don't think you understand how much I like you." 

"I'm not doubting you, I never doubted you, Kook," Namjoon insists, rubbing his forehead in frsutration. "I just... I don't know. I don't fucking know." 

The determined gleam in Jungkook's eyes is a fearsome thing to behold. “Okay well, since you don't know, let me clarify. I like you a lot, I understand where you stand on the sex thing based on the many multiple open and honest, in-depth conversations that we've had about it, and I just really want to be with you." Jungkook struggles then, biting down on his lower lip. "You mean more to me than sex ever will. So just… stop worrying about me, and tell me what you want,” Jungkook says, brows still knit and intense. “What do you want?”  

Namjoon mulls it over, scrunching up his lips as the wheels turn in his head. Then he pulls Jungkook back into a tight embrace and smiles into his jacket. “I... I want you, too.”  

Jungkook goes a little stiff in his arms as Namjoon holds him tight, and after a second he pulls away. “Wait. What?”  

“What do you mean what?” Namjoon asks, still beaming a misty grin. “I said I want you, too.”  

Jungkook tilts his head like a confused puppy, obviously trying to process the information. “You mean… you… we…" The determined tilt of his eyebrows softens. "We can be together?”  

Namjoon shakes his shoulders gently. “Yeah, dummy. We can be together.”  

Jungkook continues to stare for a few moments before he abruptly lets out a wail so loud and unrestrained that it borders on inhuman. He sinks his knees, then collapses into all fours in the middle of the shop, openly sobbing. Namjoon's face falls comically fast as he reaches vaguely towards Jungkook, totally unsure how to proceed.   

“Wh-what the fuck?” he stutters, looking utterly lost, “Kook, what's wrong? What the fuck?”  

Jungkook wipes a stream of snot from his face and looks up at Namjoon, who crouches beside him. “I'm just… so happy,” he manages before he dissolves into another tearful wail. Jimin clicks his tongue and emerges from behind the counter, moving to kneel beside Jungkook too.   

“Shh shhh, it's okay Kook,” Jimin says kindly, but he's very obviously restraining a laugh. “It’s been a long few years buddy, hasn't it?”  

Jungkook just nods, sniffling, and launches himself into Jimin's arms. Namjoon just smiles affectionately and lets them hug, eyes finding Taehyung in the corner. He gives a sheepish shrug as if to say ‘What can I do?’   

"Is he really.... is he-" Jungkook asks vaguely, huge shining eyes looking up at Jimin desperately.  

"Yes, baby, he really is. Finally coming to his senses after all this time," Jimin consoles him softly, glaring subtly up at Namjoon.  

"I don't... I don't know what to do here," Namjoon says, hovering awkwardly.  

"Come get your goddamn boyfriend," Jimin scoffs, motioning him down to the floor, and Namjoon's knees hit the surface within seconds. He pulls Jungkook into his arms, and Jimin looks at them affectionately for a moment before pushing himself to his feet. Taehyung swallows a lump in his throat as he observes them fondly.  

Jimin, however, is looking determinedly anywhere but Taehyung, who suddenly feels like an intruder.   

“Uh, I'll let you guys…” Taehyung starts, standing up and gesturing to them vaguely rather than finishing the sentence. “See ya.”  

“Wait!” Jungkook yells, his voice still thick with tears as he extends a hand towards Taehyung. There is still a disconcerting amount of snot on his face, and his eyes are huge and sparkling. “We have to celebrate!”  

Jimin rolls his eyes. “Why don't you and Joon celebrate not being total dumbasses anymore in private?”  

“I want to celebrate with my friends,” Jungkook insists, then with a significant look at Taehyung, “All my friends.”  

Taehyung shakes his head almost imperceptibly, but Jimin obviously catches the movement, looking away and smiling bitterly. 

“I insist,” Jungkook says with steely determination, and Taehyung knows there's no fighting it, not now that he's made up his mind.  

 


 

It's a testament to how much they all love Jungkook and Namjoon that the group even assembles, much less agrees to several hours in a bar with each other. There's an obvious and uncomfortable tension draped thickly over their every interaction, except of course for Jungkook and Namjoon who keep looking at each other with sickeningly sweet smiles.  

Jimin wanders off almost as soon as they enter, heading in the general direction of the bar but disappearing into the dense crowd, and Taehyung is instantly grumpy, throwing back whatever drink or shot he's handed with careless abandon. 

Yoongi manages to hold out at least slightly longer than Jimin, peeling away from the group with a hard expression when Hope sloshes her drink on Jin's pants and spends and unnecessary amount of time dabbing it clean, the two of them giggling sweetly as she does. 

Jin, who has been very convincingly pretending that Yoongi doesn't exist throughout the night, glances up at his retreating figure, betraying just the barest sliver of vulnerability in his gaze before he turns back to Hope. 

Taehyung rolls his eyes. 

“Hey,” Jungkook elbows him sharply as he plops down on the couch next to Taehyung. “I didn't bring you here so you could get lonely drunk. Go do something about Jimin.”  

“It's too late. He hates me,” Taehyung pouts, bringing his cup up to his lips again before he remembers that it's empty. He sighs dramatically.   

“Bullshit. You hurt his feelings, but he doesn’t hate you. Now go tell him before it really is too late. Hope said he's over by the back bar." 

If the heavy, comforting blanket of alcohol wasn’t smothering his anxiety, he’d probably be panicking. Instead, however, he takes a deep, bracing breath and grunts, “Fine."  

He makes his way to the back bar, pumping himself up, running over his lines, smoothing his shirt, but he's stopped dead in his tracks when he sees a large, grasping hand on a narrow shoulder.   

And it hits him then, when he sees them there, that it might really be too late.  

They're just standing, standing and laughing and touching and leaning, but the message is clear. And unfortunately Taehyung is much too close to pretend he hasn't seen them, Jimin and the guy he's currently draped over.

"Oh. Hey, Tae," Jimin says with a cautious smile when he catches Taehyung’s eyes. "Where is everybody?"   

Taehyung tries not to scowl, he really does, but he can feel the tension between his brows, knows they're probably knit in displeasure. "Right where you left them. Like an hour ago."   

Jimin's expression tightens. "Right."   

The guy next to him has the nerve to clear his throat and extend his hand. "I'm Brad."   

"Nice to meet you Chad," Taehyung says loudly, taking the guy's hand and squeezing it obnoxiously hard. "How do you two know each other?"   

"Oh, uh, we met just now," Chad says with an affectionate glance at Jimin. "It's my first time here."   

"Of course it is, Keith," Taehyung mutters, his careful smile never slipping, and Jimin's spine goes rigid, his eyes stone.    

"How do you two know each other?" Keith asks, not deterred in the slightest.    

"We're friends," Jimin answers evenly, maintaining eye contact with Taehyung, as if to make a point.   

The poor guy must sense the weirdness in the air, because his gaze bounces back and forth between them several times like he's trying to feel out the situation. "That's... great… Friends are good," he says uncertainly.    

"Oh fuck off, Todd," Taehyung spits, and Jimin's expression goes from controlled to pissed in a second.    

"What the hell is your problem?" Jimin demands, squaring up as he step towards Taehyung.    

"My problem?" Taehyung scoffs.   

"Yes! Your fucking problem! You're being a dick. Why are you being a dick?"   

"I'm just looking out for you. Since you won't do it for yourself."   

Jimin's brows crease in skeptical anger. "Oh really? And you're sure you're not looking out for you?"   

Taehyung's heart twists fearfully at that. "What is that supposed to mean?” 

Jimin rolls his eyes. "It means you have no right. No right at all," he simmers, either unable or unwilling to flesh the thought out fully. "You turned ME down. You don't get a fucking say in what I do."   

“You think that's what this is about?” Taehyung scoffs viciously, but it feels like he's taken a physical blow. 

“Goddamn right I do!” Jimin spits back, hands curled into small fists at his side.  

“And why's that?” Taehyung growls, a dare in his voice as he steps forward towards Jimin, who doesn’t back down.  

In fact, he takes a step closer, maintaining searing eye contact with Taehyung as he says dangerously, “You were too much of a coward to actually be with me, but now that I’m moving on you’re acting like a jealous little bitch. You either take me or you don’t, sweetheart, none of this wishy washy will they won’t they nonsense. I’m done with assholes like you who don’t know what they fuckin want. So. Fucking. Done.” 

Taehyung's stomach is churning with alcohol and anger. "Fine. You know what? Stay with Chad. Keep doing what you're doing. Maybe if you fuck enough shitty straight boys, one of them will love you someday."   

Taehyung feels instant regret. Jimin's face remains stony, but Taehyung can see the hurt in his eyes. "Go to hell."   

"Already here," Taehyung grumbles, kicking a nearby stool out of his way and abandoning his mission to get drinks entirely. He turns on heel and stalks through the crowd of dancing people, unapologetically bumping shoulders with several of them.  

"Um. Are you okay?" Hope asks, leaning away slightly when he approaches their group once more. "You're radiating some very rageful shit right now."   

"I'm fine," Taehyung seethes. "I need to leave. Where's Jin?” 

"Yeah, you're clearly not fine, so let me rephrase. Why are you not okay?" Hoseok says in exasperation, then follows Taehyung's eyeline to the bar, where Jimin is recovering with astonishing speed, giggling and throwing himself onto Keith as his eyes dart over to where Taehyung and Hoseok now stand. "Oh. God does he have a type."   

Taehyung knows exactly what's going to happen, and it's a vague and horrifying realization as it actually happens. Jimin leans in, laughing again though stiffly this time, and the guy grabs him. Pulls him close. Tilts his head. Leans down. Closes the space.   

He feels like he's going to be sick.   

He doesn't know exactly where he's going, only that he's getting away, knocking shoulders with strangers as he blindly seeks escape. He finds it in the brisk outside air, in an alleyway between the club and the neighboring building, in the night.   

As far as reactions go, it's a bit of an overreaction to slide down the wall into a defeated squat, to bury his hands in his hair, to swallow down the weird sobs that are trying to rip from his chest. It's a bit of an overreaction, but that doesn't mean he's not having it. He's drunk and he's tired and he's hurting, and all he wants to do is cry for a few moments in peace.    

"Uh. Whoa."   

Taehyung jerks his head up, swiping violently at the snot that he feels hanging from his face. Fucking Yoongi. Taehyung's eyes narrow as he sniffs pathetically.    

"Are you... okay?"   

"Why are you here?" Taehyung asks thickly, ignoring the question.   

Yoongi holds up a small white box. "Just having a smoke. Why are you here?"   

He suddenly remembers the reason and is hit with a fresh wave of tears, face crumpling as he looks down at his lap. "It's.... just... a.... beautiful...." -he hiccups- "night..."   

"It's... raining."   

Taehyung looks up. "Oh."  

And now that his lie is exposed, there's nothing to stop him from curling up into a tiny ball on the disgusting ground and ugly-sobbing into his hands.  

"Jesus... fuck," Yoongi mutters, looking around to make sure no one's watching them as he tries to pull Taehyung up, "Seriously dude, what's wrong?"   

"What do you care?" Taehyung spits, wrenching his arm away from Yoongi.    

"Come on, man..."   

"I'm fine! I'm just... a huge, massive, undeniable asshole. I... I can't believe I said that to him. You were right about me, I am just like the other guys. No, I'm worse.” His lower lip trembles. "But it's fine. He can kiss whoever he wants. I should be there for him, I should support him, because I care about him. I-… I love him." His eyes widen then as his tears subside abruptly. He hiccups again. "I love him. I really love him." He descends violently into a new fit of tears, hands bracing him on the dirty, wet ground.    

"Shit," Yoongi curses, whipping out his phone. "I'm calling Jin."   

"N-no! I'm fine."   

Yoongi ignores him, and a moment later he is mumbling into the phone, "Your brother is drunk and sobbing in the alleyway outside the club. Yep, the one by the laundromat. Okay."   

Yoongi turns back to Taehyung but seems at a complete loss as to how to console him. "Uh, hey. It's going to be okay."   

"It's not! It felt like I was dying. Like I was watching somebody rip out my insides and step on them. It hurts so much. I love him so much."   

Yoongi is looking exceptionally guilty as he pats Taehyung's shoulder with a stiff, uncertain hand. "You... Shit. Hey it's... It'll really be okay. Just... stop crying."   

Taehyung just shrugs and cries a little bit more.   

"For fuck's sake," he hears Jin say, and he looks up, teary-eyed to find him walking over to squat beside him. Despite his words, his face looks extremely concerned.    

"He uh... " Yoongi starts, obviously not wanting to say something to upset him further, "He's upset about-"   

"I know what he's upset about," Jin snaps with a sharp glare at Yoongi. "You'd have to be a fucking idiot not to know." He gently strokes Taehyung's hair and then leans in to wrap his arms around him. "Come on, Tae. Let's go home."   

Taehyung sniffs and looks up at him with gigantic, sparkling eyes. "Carry me?"   

Jin smiles indulgently, standing up and extending his arms towards Taehyung. It's raining in earnest now, and Jin is absolutely drenched. Taehyung's heart contracts. "Hop up."   

 


 

Taehyung doesn't realize quite how drenched he is until the air conditioning from Jin's apartment hits him like an arctic blast. Jin herds him gently towards the shower, sitting outside the door and talking to him to make sure he doesn't bleed out if he drunkenly slips and busts his face open on a sharp tile corner. 

When he's cuddled into Jin's bed, Jin sits down and makes sure he's tucked in properly.    

"So... do you want to talk about this now or later?" Jin asks delicately.    

"Never," Taehyung says moodily as he yanks the covers over his head.    

He hears Jin's sigh, the sound muffled as it passes through his thick covers. "Okay. Get some sleep. There's a bottle of water right here."   

In the time that it takes him to settle himself into bed, to let his hiccups die down, he hears hushed voices whispering outside in his main room and wonders who else is here with Jin. He finds out when there is a tentative knock at his door and Yoongi peeks his head in.  

“Uh. Hi,” he says quietly, shifting his gaze away from Taehyung who sits up slightly in his bed.  

“What are you doing here?”  

“Jin said I should… I wanted to apologize. Can I come in?”  

Taehyung nods thickly, sitting all the way up in bed and scooting over so that there is room for Yoongi, who hesitantly sits.   

“So. I feel like a small fraction of this situation may be my fault," Yoongi begins, folding his hands in his lap.  

"No," Taehyung sniffs. Yoongi seems to relax a bit at that, but then Taehyung continues. "Like 60% of thing is your fucking fault. At least. We were doing fine before you butted in.”  

Yoongi sighs. "I know. I'm sorry that I didn't give you a chance. Just... from an outsider's perspective, it seemed like every other fucking time, and I was just so tired of watching him get hurt. Looks like that kind of backfired." 

"Yeah," Taehyung manages to say through the tightness in his throat. In his mind he sees a flash of the pain he'd seen on Jimin's face in response to his own words, and he holds back another small surge of tears. 

"I know it's a little late now but… I really don't think you're like the other guys.”  

“I am, though,” Taehyung admits, hanging his head. “I couldn't just be his friend. The second he tried to move on, I was terrible to him. I was awful. I said…” He has to stop when his throat constricts painfully.  

Yoongi lets the silence steep for a moment before he mumbles, “Do you really love him?”  

Taehyung’s throat tightens again before he takes a deep breath to relax it. “So much. I love him so much and it hurts so fucking bad.”  

Yoongi nods quietly. "I'm sorry." 

They ruminate in the silence for a few moments, because Taehyung isn't quite ready to say 'that's okay' or 'I forgive you,' but the atmosphere is cordial.  

"I'm... I've gotta go," Yoongi says suddenly. "But are you... okay?"  

Taehyung considers. "Okay as in emotionally well? No. But okay as in will my body remain here in fit physical condition until someone comes to pry me out of bed? Maybe. Unless heartache can corrode internal organs.”  

“Good enough,” Yoongi decides, pushing himself to his feet. “And Tae, I really am sorry.”  

Taehyung just smiles weakly and pulls the blanket back above his head.  

 


 

He never sleeps well when he's drunk. He's gets sleepy of course, and he usually ends up passing out the second his back hits the bed, but it's a restless, uncomfortable sleep, shallow and unsatisfying.  

So when he hears the door creak open at some point in the night, he is quickly conscious, listening with his eyes closed. It doesn't sound like Jin, whose step is heavy and shuffling. It's lighter, tentative. He's unsure who it could be, but he's still a little drunk, and his eyes feel like they're glued shut, so he can't really be bothered to check.    

It's only when he feels the bed dip behind him, feels small soft hands on his arm, smells the sweet, clean shampoo as it wafts in the air around him, that he knows.    

Jimin settles in behind him, wrapping his arms around Taehyung's waist, pulling him closer, burying his nose in the nape of Taehyung's neck.    

"Taetae?" He whispers, and it tickles slightly, making him shiver. "Are you awake?"   

Taehyung doesn't even turn his head to confirm, just nods into his pillow, relaxing into Jimin's arms, pulling his blanket up around his mouth as he fights back tears. "I'm sorry."   

Jimin scoffs against his neck. "You'd better be."   

"I'm so sorry. I hate myself. You can hate me too."   

"I'd rather not."   

“I'm so sorry for what I said.”   

There's a tinge of bitterness. “It was pretty shitty.”   

“I’ll never forgive myself. I was just hurting so bad and I wanted you to hurt too and I'm so sorry.” Taehyung insists as the pillow becomes progressively wetter underneath his skin.   

“Mission accomplished. It hurt like fuck. But I forgive you.”   

“I don't deserve it,” Taehyung laments.   

“Well you don't get to decide. Why do all you assholes think you get a say in my decisions and feelings?”  

"I'm sorry I was rude to Brad," he mumbles into his blankets.    

"Don't worry about Kevin," Jimin assures him, exhaling a laugh into Taehyung's hair.    

Taehyung doesn't know why, but he feels the tears coming on again. He sniffs valiantly in an attempt to contain them. "I'm sorry for other things, too."   

"So am I."   

Taehyung sighs and drags his hands up to rest on Jimin's, which are circling his waist. He has no shame. He'll take all the pity cuddles he can get.    

"I'm sorry I wouldn't kiss you. You know, that time at the bowling alley."   

Jimin sighs behind him.  "Not wanting to kiss me is not something you ever have to be sorry about."   

"No but... I wanted to. I wanted to so bad. I just need you to know why I didn't do it," and Taehyung is working himself up again, the tears prickling at his eyes. He's glad that Jimin can't see his face. It's definitely easier talk to the darkness.   

Jimin shushes him gently, pulling him close. "It's okay. Yoongi told me just now. He came back to the bar to tell me. That's why I'm here. That dick."   

"He... oh." Taehyung lets that sink in for a moment. "He was just looking out for you."   

"I know. I'm still mad at him, though."   

"You're kind of surrounded by dicks."   

"If you'd told me with no context when I was 15 that I would one day be surrounded by dicks, I would have been a much less pessimistic kid."   

Taehyung laughs weakly before the dread settles in his stomach again. "What did Yoongi tell you?"   

"Said he basically pulled the 'dad with a shotgun' card on you. That he told you my history and he was worried it was happening again. That things changed between us after that."   

"I'm sorry."   

"Stop apologizing. Just listen. He also said that he gave you two options. To leave, or to be my friend."   

"Yeah, and I fuc-"   

"You stayed," Jimin cuts him off, his arms tightening around him. "Guys don't usually stay when..."   

He trails off, but Taehyung hums in understanding, gently stroking the soft skin of Jimin's hand. "I still fucked it up. I wanted to do better."   

Jimin sighs and locks his arms tighter around Taehyung’s waist. ‘Let's just... go back to how it was before other people got involved. We were doing okay on our own." 

"Okay," Taehyung grins into the soft blanket gathered up by his mouth.    

They're quiet for a few moments, and Taehyung can hear the rain pounding against the building, the sound of it echoing around his room.   

"I can hear you thinking. What are you thinking about?" Jimin whispers.   

Taehyung hesitates, chewing the inside of his cheek. "I think I'm actually glad I didn't kiss you. When we were bowling," he ponders quietly.   

"Oh?" Jimin says evenly, breath ghosting lightly across his neck.    

"I don't ever want you to think I'm just another like... some poor confused straight boy who needs to be goaded into kissing you with a dare." Taehyung can't feel Jimin's breath on his neck anymore, and he wonders if he's waiting for him to continue. "If I kiss you, I want you to know that I'm doing it because I like you. Because I think you're wonderful and kind and funny, and I really fucking like you. Okay?"   

Jimin holds him even closer, and Taehyung thinks he feels the lightest brush of lips on the back of his neck. "Okay."   

He hums contentedly, snuggling into Jimin. He pauses for a moment, considering shyly. "Hey... Do you think I could..."   

"Shh. I got you," Jimin sighs happily and gently grabs Taehyung's hand, guiding it behind them so that it's within cupping distance of Jimin's butt. "All yours."  

He sleeps like a baby.   

 

Chapter Text

Taehyung flings himself bolt-upright in bed, gasping for air as he is yanked unceremoniously into overbright consciousness. As his brain adjusts to his surroundings, he realizes that something is definitely off. He glances around blearily, trying to filter out some of the harsh light with his fingers. 

He's alone, and he's in Jin's bed, and neither of those things seem right.  

Jimin.  

Memories tinged with that special brand of paranoid post-drunk regret wash unsympathetically over him. He's alone right now, and he wasn't alone when he fell asleep. So where the fuck is Jimin.  

Taehyung grasps blindly for his phone, which he finds buried deep under the sheets at the foot of his bed, and swiping the screen, his shoulders sag in relief.  

 
 

Jimin // 9:00am: Had work- didn’t want to wake you 

Jimin // 9:03am: okay that’s actuslky a lie I tried really hard to wake you 

Jimin // 9:03am: you were so out that I balanced every Harry Potter book on your face then felt bad and destroyed my masterpiece 

Jimin // 9:03am: it probably should have crushed your skull 

Jimin // 9:04am: Come see me? ;)  

 
 

Taehyung collapses back onto the bed with a disbelieving smile plastered on his face. He kicks out wildly in celebration, burying his face in the pillow as he swallows a squeal.  

It's 10 minutes or so before he can muster the will to roll himself out of bed, running a hand haphazardly though his hair as he plods heavily down Jin's hallway and into the main room. 

Yoongi look up from the couch, a waffle hanging out of his mouth.  

"Oh. Hey," Yoongi says, snatching the waffle out of his mouth so that he can speak.  

"Hey," Taehyung grunts, his voice low and rough from sleep. “Did you stay here?" 

"Yeah. Couch. Found a pair of your underwear behind a cushion," Yoongi tells him, throwing a distasteful glance at the cushion beside him. “Uh. Do you want some waffles?” 

“Sure,” Taehyung says as Yoongi pushes himself to his feet to shuffle towards the kitchen. "Where did Jin sleep?" 

Yoongi looks extremely embarrassed as he plates up the waffles. "At Hope's I think. I was waiting for him but he stayed over I guess.” 

Taehyung nods. “Who made waffles then?” 

“I did,” he says, awkwardly rubbing the beach of his neck, and now Taehyung noticed the floury fingerprints on Yoongi’s black tee.  

“Oh,” Taehyung says, taken aback as he accepts to the plate. “Thanks.” 

“No big.” He can tell how painful this whole experience must be for Yoongi based on the rigid set of his shoulders. “So. Uh. How did things go with Jimin?”  

“Pretty good, I guess. I think we're just gonna… go back to how things were. Before. You know.” Before you got involved, he doesn’t say. “Before I was an ass. I can't really ask for more than that. I mean after last night I swore he was never going to forgive me, but he was just... He's so fucking good, Yoongi. Too good." Taehyung swallows thickly. "He’s too good for me.” 

He swears he sees Yoongi's eyebrow twitch. After a second, Yoongi seems to notice his crestfallen expression. “Don’t look at me like that! I did not say I agreed!” 

“But you do…” 

“No, I just.” Yoongi sighs. “Look, I’m coming around, okay? He just means a lot to me and it’s hard to accept the fact that someone might deserve him. I think… I think you guys could be really good together.” 

“Really?” Taehyung demands, abandoning his waffles.  

Yoongi flushes slightly. "If you don't fuck it up." 

"I mean... fair." 

Yoongi chews absently on a waffle for a few moments, and it seems like he’s hesitating. “Hey can I ask you something? And I'm not asking because I doubt you or anything, I’m just… actually curious. And also I can't ask anyone else." 

"Sure," Taehyung answers, heart rate picking up slightly at the seriousness of Yoongi's tone.  

"How do you know? That you love him like that and not just as a friend?”  

Taehyung hums in consideration for a moment as he slices off a bite of waffle. “It's a lot like the way I love my other friends, I guess but it's just, I dunno. Something different. Like… the way my chest feels like it's gonna explode when I get a text from him. Or how I want to kiss him even after he's fallen asleep eating garlic chicken and he has the worst morning breath you could fathom."

"Is that it?" Yoongi asks, looking unimpressed. "Morning breath?"

"No," Taehyung shakes his head mildly. "I guess... I guess what it really is, is when I think about like all the big life things haven't to me happened yet… all the scary and awesome and massive shit that's going to happen, I really can't imagine him not being there for any of it. Like, the idea terrifies me. All the things I want to do, I want to do with him, and not just as a friend. I want to be with him in every way. I want him to be my person, you know?" 

"Ah," Yoongi says shortly, scratching absently at his hands now. Taehyung regards him carefully, glancing down at Yoongi's hands, where red marks are forming from the repeated drag of his nails.   

"Why do you ask?" Taehyung presses softly.  

Yoongi's nails dig harshly into his skin before he forces his fingers to relax, flexing them gingerly. "I dunno."  

Taehyung nervously licks his lips, contemplating shutting his fat mouth for only a moment before he says, "Do you... maybe feel something like that? About someone?”  

Yoongi jerks his head up to meet Taehyung's gaze, searching for any signs of teasing or judgment. "I don't know." He hesitates for a moment. "I don’t know what it's supposed to feel like."  

Taehyung frowns. "I don't know if it's supposed to feel like anything. It's probably different for everyone."  

"Then how is anyone supposed to fucking know?" Yoongi demands, but his tone is less harsh than he probably intended. 

"I don't know. Like... how do you feel when you think about him? Do you want to be with him? How do you want to be with him? How is it when you two are together? Is it different than when you're with other people?"  

"I..." Yoongi groans and flops back on the bed. "Yeah. It's fucking different. It's not what I expected but it's fucking different.” 

"And?" 

"And I think I might be a massive idiot."  

“Like, obviously," Taehyung agrees easily. "But explain why you think you are."  

"I've just... I've never wanted anything romantic, and I was fine with that, really, I was great with it. And I think I figured if it ever did happen for me... it'd be something like a lightning bolt hitting me and telling me I was in love, like in movies and books and shit, like how they tell you you're supposed to feel it. But I don’t think that’s what it is for me. I think it's been happening for a while and I just fucking ignored it like an idiot because it's not what I expected." 

"But you... you want to be together?" 

Yoongi buries his face in his hands and groans. "Yes." 

"Then tell him," Taehyung urges, nudging him with his elbow.   

"Them," Yoongi mumbles, covering his eyes with his hands. "Tell them."  

Taehyung's heart leaps in his chest, because he knew it. "Them, then. Tell them."  

Yoongi's chest inflates with the force of his scoff. "Yeah sure. 'Hey I know I have independently rejected both of you after having sex with you but would it be okay with you if you just forgot about that and also let me date you both at the same fucking time?'"  

Taehyung sucks in a hissing breath between his teeth, face a grimace. "Yeah maybe don't say it like that."  

Yoongi laughs a little, and it's a watery sound. Taehyung looks up to see him swipe at his eyes. "Yeah." 

"But Yoongi," Taehyung says, reaching over to pat him on the shoulder, and Yoongi whose presence is usually so big seems so pitifully small in that moment. "Say something." 

 


 

And so, in light of that recent revelation, it’s probably the actual worst-case scenario when he and Yoongi walk into the Queen several hours later, both determined to make things happen, and they are greeted with the sight of Jin and Hope leisurely making out against the back wall. Jin’s hands settle lightly on Hope’s hips, and she pulls back only to giggle when he nips at her bottom lip. 

Yoongi is stock-still beside him.  

“Uhhh,” Taehyung says dumbly, and Jin's eyes find him then as he breaks away from Hope. Then Jin's eyes find Yoongi. 

“Shit,” Jin breathes, hands falling instantly from Hope's hips as she also turns to look at them. 

“Yoongi,” she says with a tentative smile, stepping away from Jin and smoothing her dress. “We-“ 

But Yoongi is gone, turning on heel to reach for the door they had just entered, and Jin is cursing again and running after him. Yoongi only makes it a few steps outside before Jin reaches him, tugging gently on his jacket to stop him. Hope follows, the little bell above the door tinkling as she does. 

Yoongi wheels around, face hard, yanking the arm of his jacket out of Jin's grip.  

Taehyung hears clicking footsteps behind him then, and Jimin rushes out from the back looking extremely concerned, a bag of chips in one hand and a half-eaten sandwich in the other. 

“The fuck? Are we getting robbed?” Jimin asks, looking wildly around. "I take one break, and there's a fucking stampede." 

“No, uh. I think they’re finally having their dramatic get-together scene,” Taehyung tells him, taking a seat in a window-facing booth and gazing out the window. The way the scene is framed around the three figures outside, it actually looks a bit like a movie.

“Finally,” Jimin sighs, plopping down in the booth beside him. “Idiots.” 

Outside, Yoongi makes to leave again, but Hope hurries forward as he does, wrapping her arms around his waist and burying her head in the back of his neck. They watch as Yoongi stiffens in her grip, and then she's saying something in his ear, something that makes Yoongi stiffen even further. Jin takes the opportunity to step squarely in front of Yoongi, seems to be talking to him, maybe even yelling, and Yoongi is yelling right back as Hope clings to him. 

“5 bucks Yoongi’s gonna cry.” Taehyung says, absentmindedly reaching over to grab some of the chips out of the bag in Jimin's hand.  

“No way, he’d never-“ 

Yoongi’s shoulders start to shake then, and hope just presses herself closer nuzzling his neck and muttering what seem to be reassuring words.  

“Shit,” Jimin curses, digging into his serving apron and slapping a $5 bill into his hand. 

 “He was a mess this morning already," Taehyung tells him, pocketing the money. "God they're all a mess." 

“Says us.” Jimin elbows him playfully, and Taehyung flushes deep, abruptly remembering that this is the first contact they’ve had since the disaster of the previous night.   

“Says us,” Taehyung agrees sheepishly. 

The two of them are quiet for a moment as they continue to observe the scene outside. Hope is still clutching onto Yoongi’s back, apparently rubbing comforting little circles into his arms as he and Jin continue to argue. 

“How are you feeling?” Jimin asks.  

“Hungover. Slightly mortified.” He swallows his nerves. “Scared.” 

Jimin looks at him affectionately, one rectangular eyebrow quirked in milk amusement and concern. “Scared about us?” Taehyung nods. “Nothing to be scared of. Whatever happens happens. No one’s forcing anything.” 

Taehyung sighs fondly, fondness bubbling up in his chest, light and swoopy, as he catches Jimins gaze and gives a sweet smile. Their hands rest just an inch apart on the booth. 

Outside, Jin is closer now, stepping forward to take Yoongi’s hand. He dips his head, pauses with a ghost of a smile to Hope, and presses a tentative kiss to Yoongi’s lips as she continues to hold him around the waist and nuzzles into his neck. 

"Okay?" Jimin asks, turning to look slightly at him before turning his attention back to the scene in front of them. Hope has shifted to stand in front of Yoongi now, pecking him tenderly as she intertwines her hand with Jin's. 

Taehyung nods, shifting his hand slightly to the right so that their pinkies are touching, and Jimin can't help but smile at that. "Okay." 

 
 


 

 
 

Me // 7:35pm: hey what are you doing thursday?    

 

Jimin // 7:41pm: you mean on my birthday?   ;-*

Jimin // 7:41pm: what'd you get me 

 

Me // 7:41pm: Messege send failure7:41pm    

 

Jimin // 7:42pm: did you just chicken out and send me a text that said messege send failure 7:41pm    

Jimin // 7:43pm: you literally misspelled 'message'  

Jimin // 7:44pm: and I'm working all day    

Jimin // 7:44pm: shooting a new video in the morning, work in the afternoon, and then a show later that night.     

 

Me // 7:45pm: oh.     

Me // 7:46pm: cool.    

 

Jimin // 7:47pm: we're having a banger at the queen afterwards though, after we close    

Jimin // 7:48pm: if you wanna come    

 

Me // 7:56pm: guess I could move some things around    

 

Jimin // 7:57pm: you linked me to your google calendar I know you have nothing planned    

 

Me // 7:59pm: I didn't put the thing on the calendar    

 

Jimin // 8:03 pm: you put everything on the calendar    

Jimin // 8:03pm:  you put your fap sessions on the calendar    

Jimin //8:04pm:  speaking of which 8:00pm    

Jimin // 8:04pm: are you texting while jerking off    

 

Me // 8:05pm: nKope im nutt    

Me // 8:05pm: keeep talking   

 

Jimin // 8:06pm:  you're so gross and hot    

 

Me // 8:06pm: thkank uyo    

 


 

 

"It's a fucking trap, Jin." 

Jin eyes Taehyung skeptically. "His birthday... is a trap." 

"Absolutely it is. A birthday provides me every opportunity to fuck up the tentative balance that we have struck. Like no matter what I do, too much or too little, it's going to tip things one way or the other. And if my track record is anything to go on, I'm about to catapult us into a steaming pile of shit." 

"Just get him something nice from his wishlist." 

Taehyung scoffs viciously. "The one that his subscribers use? No fucking thank you." 

"You are a subscriber," Jin informs him. "Arguably his most obnoxious. You comment "FIRST SUCKAS" on all his fucking videos even when you are clearly not. Sometimes it's been months, Tae." 

"Yes, fine, but I am not just any subscriber. I am also trying to snag the man of my dreams, and unlike all those other losers, against all odds, I actually have a chance." 

"Okay fine. Well. Cook him a meal." 

"I would prefer that he survive the night, Jin." 

"Personalized coupon book?" 

"Given the chance I would enthusiastically eat his ass every day of the week. When we are together I will treat him like royalty daily. Coupons are pointless with us. Next." 

Jin heaves a heavy sigh. "Why do you ask for my help if you're just going to shoot down every suggestion?" 

"Well I didn't know going into this that your suggestions would be horse shit, Jin. You somehow managed to snag not one but TWO hotties, so I figured you must at least have some game." Taehyung realizes the implication of what he's said after just a fraction of a second. "Don't ever tell Yoongi I think he's hot." 

"I would never burden him with that knowledge." 

Taehyung flops onto the couch. "Hey do you think I could get a decent mariachi band at such short notice? You really have to book months in advance for quality sometimes. Or, OH how much do you think it would cost to rent one of those little planes that skywrites?" 

"Tae, just... Stop. Think for a second. What you want to say with this gift?" 

Taehyung pouts his lip slightly as he considers. "I want to say... I love you, you're special to me, please let me eat your ass." 

"Okaaay, then hear me out. Maybe don't do something wild. Maybe just do something like... thoughtful or sweet. Something chill and personal or just like- hey- flowers. Flowers are nice." 

"How is he supposed to know I love him if I don't do everything that it is humanly possible to do?" 

"Just... trust me, Tae. Like you said, I snagged two hotties." 

Taehyung groans, kicking his feet uselessly up in the air before flopping against the couch. "Ugggh. Fine. Maybe" He pauses. "Unrelated question, how much are diamonds?" 

 


 

 

By the time Thursday evening rolls around, Taehyung is functioning within a state of mild panic, because he tried for thoughtful and sweet, he really did, and somehow it ended up being a little much anyway. 

"I cannot believe I am letting you put all this shit in my car," Jin sighs in exasperation as Taehyung returns from yet another trip to his apartment. "And what part of chill did you not understand?" 

"I was just following your shitty advice!" Taehyung says indignantly. "This was literally your idea!" 

"This was not what I meant, and you fucking know it," Jin cringes as Taehyung shoves everything inside to make it fit, making a huge mess in the process. 

'Whatever, you know you need to be very specific in your instructions to me," Taehyung deflects, shifting his laptop bag on his shoulder. "Now can we go? I want to have time to set everything up." 

"Why didn't you just stick with the first idea?" Jin groans as he flings himself into the driver's seat.  

"I'm still doing the website thing," Taehyung tells him, gesturing to the case on his shoulder. "But it's so unsexy. I don't want him to just think of me as his IT guy. He's the hottest, kindest person in the world, Jin. He needs to be swept off his fucking feet." 

Jin rolls his eyes as he looks back into his rear-view mirror. "I can't believe you're doing this." 

 


 

"I'm not doing this," Taehyung decides, forehead glistening with nervous sweat as they sit in the parking lot of the Queen. After an anxious glance to the back of the car, he fumbles with his seatbelt, tumbling out of the car as soon as he pushes the door open. "He said to just let it happen, and this is... not that. This is cancelled." 

"Are you fucking kidding me?" Jin seethes, following him quickly. "I hope you know you're cleaning all of this up!"    

A swell of amiable greetings meets them as they step through the door, the atmosphere warm and jovial, the shop draped with streamers and balloons 

Namjoon and Jungkook are cuddled up on a big squishy armchair in the back of the room, while Hope is draped over Yoongi on a couch. A quick scan of the room determines that Jimin is behind the bar, like he usually is at The Queen, but instead of coffee, he is clutching a giant bottle of tequila. The smile that he receives when they catch each other's eyes staggers him a little, and Taehyung stumbles forward far too eagerly when Jimin waves him over.     

"Hi," Jimin greets him, and he looks damn good. His silver hair is swept off of his face, and he's wearing a striped black and white shirt that is just slightly, deliciously askew.    

"Hi," Taehyung replies dumbly. "Happy Birthday." 

"Thanks! I'm uh. Already a little schnockered." Sure enough, his cheeks are adorably flushed. "People were buying me drinks at the show and I felt too bad to turn them down." 

"Don’t worry. I'll catch up. I didn't know what kind of party this would be so I brought wine, but I have Everclear in the car, just in case."    

"Always trust your instincts," Jimin says seriously with a cute nod as he pushes a shot glass full of tequila towards Taehyung. "But let's work our way up."    

Taehyung watches Jimin grab his own shot glass and down it, wincing just slightly before biting a lime. He follows suit, welcoming the burn of the alcohol. When he sets his shot glass down, Jimin's there, eyes boring into him, holding a lime wedge in front of his lips. Taehyung opens his lips tentatively, and Jimin reaches forward to press it between his teeth. His fingers catch lightly on Taehyung's lips, and Taehyung sees his jaw drop open just a centimeter or so.     

"Oh fuck, they're already at it. Boooooo," Jin heckles from a couch in the corner of the shop.     

"It's cute," Namjoon says mildly, as Jungkook feeds him a bugle from the tip of his finger.     

"It's hot," Hoseok adds, leaning his head on his hands and staring at them intently.     

"Cute and hot," Jungkook confirms, loading up his fingertips with more bugles and offering them to Namjoon. "Would watch both the porno and the lifetime special starring Tori Spelling."    

"Which one of them's Tori?" Hoseok asks.     

"Jimin, obviously."    

"Obviously."    

"Do they talk about us like we're not here because they think we can't hear them, or do they not care?" Taehyung asks, eyeing them peculiarly.     

"We don't care," Yoongi confirms.     

Jimin rolls his eyes and turns back to Taehyung. "Ignore them. Let's talk about more important things. Like what you got me!" 

"Wow you are absolutely shameless aren't you?" Taehyung asks pulls his laptop out of his case and sets it on the countertop.  

"I like presents. Oooh, is it porn?" Jimin asks, squinting at the image on the screen.  

"Nope," Taehyung answers as he pulls up the website, angling the screen towards Jimin. "I made you a website. For your merch and your bookings and stuff." 

Jimin stares at it in awe, reaching over to the touchpad so that he can scroll properly. "This is mine?" 

"Uh yeah. Unless you don't like it. I just... you mentioned maybe wanting a website since all of your stuff was getting a little hard to manage and stuff. But like don't worry, it's not live yet or anything so I can just take it down if you want."

"Tae, it's perfect," Jimin assures him quietly, reaching over to twine their fingers together. "Thank you. Really." 

"Yeah?" Taehyung asks with what he know must be a huge, goofy smile.  

"Perfect," Jimin repeats, eyes sparkling a little as he browses the screen in front of him. "It's so weird though, Jin had warned me that you were going to do something kind of crazy, but. This is great. It's so professional and cool and-" 

He breaks off. 

"Tae, the homepage is just my butt." 

"It's called marketing, Jimin." 

The night gradually surrenders to a gentle kind of debauchery where everyone is cheerful and drunk and playful, and as Taehyung sticks close by the side of an almost constantly giggling Jimin, he can't help but breathe a sigh of relief that he didn't do The Thing. 

"Hey, Tae, go grab your Everclear from the car," Jin instructs him, slurring and jangling his keys and lounging back on one of the couches. "This child has thrown down the gauntlet." He points vaguely in Jungkook's direction.     

"Ughhhh I just sat down."    

"I'll go get it," Jimin says amiably. "I'm already up."    

"No no that's fi-" Taehyung tries to tell him, but Jimin is already moving towards Jin.     

"Already gone!" Jimin responds with a Cheshire smile, snagging the keys from Jin's hand and making his way to the door.     

"It's the white Suburu," Jin shouts behind him. Taehyung just sighs dreamily and watches him go, almost falling off of the stool as he cranes to get a last look.    

"Isn't he just the dreamiest little- FUCK," Taehyung startles as he seems to register the fact that Jimin is going to their car, the car he arrived in, the car in which he left much more than just the Everclear.     

He stumbles off of his stool and sprints for the door, barreling into it head-first. He hits with a resounding thud as the word "Pull" stares rudely back at him.     

"You have to pull," Jungkook says dully from Namjoon's lap.  

"No shit," Taehyung growls from the floor, hopping back to his feet and wrenching the door open violently.     

It's far too late, of course. Jimin is already standing, open-mouthed, staring into the wide-open hatchback of Jin's car.     

"Uh," Taehyung says dumbly. "I. You weren't supposed to. Fuck."    

Jimin tears his eyes away from the inside of the car as he seeks out Taehyung's face. "What's this?"    

Taehyung sighs and joins him at the back of the car, and wow it really does look like a lot. 

Bushels and bunches of flowers of every color and shape line the back of Jin's car, looking like a tiny, condensed fairy meadow, covering the wheel hubs, blanketing the floor, tucked into the spaces between seats, stacked on top of each other and utterly filling the spacious back of the car. And overwhelming floral scent wafts from the car and into the crisp air around him.

"It's... nothing," Taehyung lies, trying to shut the hatchback, but Jimin's hand stops his.     

"It looks like... hundreds and hundreds of dollars worth of flowers," Jimin observes. "Very much not nothing."

"This is really embarrassing, please don't make me do this."    

"Obviously I have to know now."    

“You said…” Taehyung starts uncertainly, subconsciously moving his body to block a bit of the car. “You said that we should just let it happen… That’s why I changed my mind and decided not to do it.” 

“Tae,” Jimin laughs with a glittering smile. “It’s happening. Right now. This is it happening.”   

 Taehyung’s cheeks bake hot in the cold fall air. “Oh.” 

“Are you okay?” Jimin ask, the concern and insecurity both evident in his expression. “If you’re not sure, we can-“ 

“I’m sure,” Taehyung interjects before he can finish the thought. “I'm very fucking sure.” 

Jimin looks overwhelmingly pleased. “Then tell me.” 

Taehyung groans. “ Okay, I had already been working on that website for you ever since you mentioned it a month or so ago honestly, but I thought you know, maybe your birthday would be a good opportunity to make things happen with us and a website didn't seem sexy or romantic enough to me, so I asked Jin, and he said hey do something normal like flowers, so I went to the flower shop and bought those-" he points to some white lilies on the wheel hub "-but then Jin told me that those meant death and I was like FUCK because since when do flowers mean things? So obviously I had to go back and buy more, like I wasn’t gonna give you fucking death flowers, and then I got really concerned with the whole meaning thing, like wanting to send the right message. So I … shit, I got really swept up and I bought one of everything." 

Jimin peeks past him and into the car again, biting his lip in an effort not to laugh. "Is that a Ficus?"

"The shop lady was very persuasive." 

Jimin laughs delightedly at the thought. "You know I'd be yours with a tacky pink carnation, right?" 

"But if flowers send messages I wanted to send the right one, and..." Taehyung hesitates, his face burning as his heart hammers away at a rapid pace. "Like okay, see that one there is friendship. Which, we're still friends no matter what, right? And that one is excitement and anticipation. The chrysanthemum back there is fidelity and loyal love, and the one beside it's for new beginnings. That one's admiration, gratitude, remorse, that one's passionate love, that one's for pleasure and bliss, and this one's for a pure and stable love. I just... I feel everything with you. All of it. And I've fucked this up so bad already that I got really hung up on wanting to send the right message, but Jin was probably right and now I'm coming off as a fucking creep and-" 

"Tae?" Jimin asks, and he looks seconds away from laughing, his eyes fond sparkling crescents. He gently grabs Taehyung's hand and takes a small step closer.     

"Yeah?"    

Taehyung knows he's stopped breathing, is very conscious of his rapid heartbeat whooshing in his ears, because Jimin's face has gone a little serious, and he's much closer than he was a moment ago.     

"Message received." He tangles a small hand in Taehyung's coat and moves so that their chests are flush and he's craning his head up, lips slightly parted and eyes searching.    

And with that assurance, it's Taehyung who dips his head to close the last few inches of space between them, who tenderly threads his fingers through Jimin's soft hair and leans in to press their lips gently together. Jimin's lips are cooler than he expected, courtesy of the October chill, but they're unbelievably soft, slightly slick with what tastes like vanilla lip balm. It's chaste and careful and so singularly sweet that Taehyung can't help but snake his other arm around Jimin's waist, just needing to have him closer.  

Jimin pulls back slightly then and exhales against Taehyung's lips as he rests their foreheads together, his breath condensing into tiny effervescent clouds in the night air. Taehyung keeps that distance, the stillness, trying to imprint in his mind exactly how he feels, exactly how it happened. And they stay like that, just breathing for a few moments, Jimin's hands now curled into Taehyung's shirt, Taehyung's hand still gently grasping his hair.     

When Jimin leans back in and capture's Taehyung's lips again, everything is a little warmer. Their lips part instinctively, sliding together, slick now, the insides of their mouths hot, as Taehyung feels the warmth of Jimin's body heat seep through their clothes and into his skin. It's much less careful, and as Taehyung feels the tip of Jimin's tongue swipe at the seam of his lips, he can't help but groan into his mouth, months of want finally giving way. Jimin gives a satisfied little grunt in response, tilting his head so that he can deepen the kiss, his tongue dragging along Taehyung's, so hot compared to the air around them. He can hear Jimin breathing heavily through his nose, can sense the growing sense of desperation, but it's only when Taehyung's back hits the side of the car that he realizes just how close Jimin is, their legs slotted together, hands tangled in clothes and in hair. He groans again then, because Jimin's hands have slipped underneath his shirt, cool fingertips ghosting across the sensitive skin above his hip bones. He suppresses a shiver, suddenly somehow hot, his hips canting forward, desperate for pressure, friction. Jimin's fingertips slip just slightly below his waistband, and Taehyung's mind reels.     

"Okay," Taehyung pants against Jimin's still eager mouth. "We should like... stop."    

Jimin whines, fingers dipping lower, mouth pressing kisses down Taehyung's jaw before latching onto a tender spot on his neck just below. "Don't wanna."    

Taehyung gulps and subconsciously leans his head to allow Jimin better access. "But they're like... inside waiting for us. And I'm like 75% hard."    

"We’re winners so why don't we shoot for 100," Jimin growls against his neck, removing his fingers from beneath Taehyung's waistband only to find his zipper.     

"Oh jesus hell," Taehung laments, head tilting back and knocking on the roof of the car. "Jimin in just about any other situation, I would do nothing to discourage you from touching my dick-"    

"Mmm," Jimin hums into his skin, rolling his hips forward as he yanks down Taehyung's zipper.    

"-but it's like 40 degrees out here and also Jungkook is watching us."    

Jimin wheels his head around to look behind him, and sure enough, there is Jungkook, face pressed to the glass of the window, hands cupped conspicuously around his eyes to keep out the inside light.    

"That's kinda hot,” Jimin mumbles, leaning back in for another kiss and reaching inside Taehyung’s pants. Taehyung swallows his moan as Jimin’s fingers brush over the fabric covering his cock.    

“Okay,” Taehyung allows, the sound muffled by Jimin’s lips. "Sure, that's definitely something to explore, but not when I am at risk of getting frostbite on my dick.”    

“Don't be dramatic. I’ll keep it warm,” Jimin whines against his lips as he wiggles his entire hand into Taehyung’s jeans and cups him fully. “Fuck you’re packing,” he curses, rolling his hips and dragging his own half-hard cock against Taehyung’s thigh. “Cannot wait to get my mouth on that.”    

Taehyung groans throatily, deep and rumbling, and he is almost swayed until he hears-    

“Would you two stop humping each other's legs like horny Chihuahuas and bring me the goddamn liquor?” Jin shouts from the cracked door of the entrance.    

Jimin crinkles his nose, taking half a step back from Taehyung. “This is abruptly less hot."

"Yes it is," Taehyung agrees, glancing over to where Jin has thrown his arms up in exasperation and retreated back into the building.

"You wanna go back in?”     

Taehyung takes a deep, steadying breath through his nose. “Give me a sec to try and get the blood back into my brain,” he says, gesturing at his obvious erection.     

Jimin leans into the back of the car and grabs the bottle of Everclear, nestled among the flowers.     

“Can I… take…” he starts, gesturing at the flowers.     

“Oh! Yeah. Of course. I mean, I bought them for you."

"What were you gonna do with them?" Jimin asks as he fishes through the various bouquets.

"I was gonna set up the roof space with candles and champagne and all of the flowers and like, confess to you under the stars or something. But somehow this seems more us.”

"Somehow it does." Jimin smiles and reaches for the white lilies.

“Um. I think those are the death flowers."

“Seems appropriate. Celebrating the illustrious life and inevitable passing of Not Gay Tae,” Jimin says fondly. “I guess it's official.”    

“Oh yeah," Taehyung realizes with a grin. "That was my first dude kiss.”    

“What was it like?”    

“I mean, girls have lips… so I guess mostly it was like… kissing a human person."    

“Hmph,” Jimin pouts, and it's obvious he was expecting a different answer.     

Taehyung rolls his eyes. “It was weird hot, if that's what you're fishing for. It just... wasn't mechanically much different than kissing a girl." 

Jimin sighs. “I'll take it.”    

“Fuck, I'm still horny,” Taehyung laments, glancing down at his crotch again. “Let's go, before Jin shits himself.”    

Jimin nods and slams the car door shut, pausing when he sees Taehyung's hand extended towards him. He smiles shyly before grasping it, folding their fingers together, and Taehyung was right the very first time they met, his hand does swamp Jimin’s. It feels perfect.    

"Hey," Jimin says, stopping in his tracks and tugging Taehyung back to him so that their bodies press close together, reinforcing the mutual warmth amid the cold air. "One more." 

He snakes his hand into the tangled locks of Taehyung's hair and drags his head down to meet his lips. Warm skin meets warm skin as Jimin tilts his head to slot their lips together, the slide slow and sexy as Jimin's mouth parts against his. Taehyung eagerly kisses him back, fingers climbing up to gingerly cup Jimin's soft cheek, stepping almost impossibly closer so that he can feel the heat of Jimin's body against his own.  

Jimin pulls back reluctantly after only a few moments, but his eyes remain closed as he licks unconsciously at his lips. "Okay." 

"Okay," Taehyung agrees, but he doesn't remove his hands, one on Jimin's cheek and one on Jimin's waist. And when Jimin makes to move, Taehyung holds firm, stopping him with a gentle, "Wait." Jimin looks at him quizzically, but Taehyung just leans in to press one more smoldering, tender kiss to his lips. He pulls back with a light smacking sound and a contented sigh. "Okay, good." 

When they re-enter The Queen, it's to a series of hearty cheers and good-natured booing, and when Jimin goes to shyly drop his hand, Taehyung just holds on even tighter. 

 


 

 

"You, sit," Jin says dully, shoving Taehyung down onto a couch in the corner of The Queen. Taehyung watches as he does the same to Jimin, "You, sit." He tosses a stack of papers down on the table and crosses his arms. "Now. Due to the fact that you two cannot keep your tongues to yourself long enough to have a fucking conversation, you will be doing this in a public place where your tongues cannot physically reach each other." 

"Hey, don’t underestimate him," Taehyung says with an appreciative look at Jimin, leaning back and crossing his arms with a smug smile. "Have you seen his tongue?" 

Jin abruptly pulls something out of his bag, and Taehyung feels an icy wet blast on his face, tasting vodka. "Bad." 

"Stop- Fucking-" Taehyung splutters, then his face relaxes. "Actually, you know what? Hit me with another spritz. I could use a drink for this conversation." He opens his mouth expectantly, like a baby bird waiting to be fed.  Jin sighs and raises the bottle like he's going to comply, then aims one careful shot directly at his forehead. "FFu-" 

"That goes against the whole damn point. Look, Tae," Jin starts, tucking the bottle back into his bag. "You need to talk this out before you do anything. And if I catch you guys with your hands down each other's pants in the walk-in cooler, or in the back of my car, or in my motherfucking bathroom ONE more time, I don't know what I'm going to do."  

It had been an uncharacteristically busy few days, both at the Queen and at Taehyung's work, meaning all that they'd managed in the time since Jimin's birthday were a few hasty, semi-public make-outs, much to everyone's dismay including their own. 

"Sorry," Taehyung says ashamedly.  

Jin sighs, his expression softening. "Look I know you think this is dumb, but as a gay kid who had a less than ideal first same-sex sexual experience, it's really important to me that you talk this out, okay?" 

Taehyung's indignant reply dies on his tongue. "Yeah, okay." 

Jin gives his hair an affectionate ruffle, perhaps a touch rougher than necessary, "So now, your test results are on the table, and there are a couple of suggested outlines for the conversation, as well as some checklists." 

"Checklists?" Taehyung asks trying to get a peek at the papers on the table. 

"So you can like, check off things that you are and aren't comfortable with. They're just... potential resources. If conversation stalls. I'll be over there if you need anything." Jin pauses. "Also we'll be doing a hand check every 5 minutes to make sure there's no funny business happening. 'Kay guys have fun," he says, backing away, then with a serious expression he adds, "Not too much fun!" 

"Soooooo," Taehyung starts awkwardly, reaching into his backpack and grabbing a stack of his own papers that he brought from home, blank papers, and tossing them on the table for effect. "I would like to start the negotiation... with a request." 

"Would you?" Jimin asks, raising his eyebrows and reaching forward to pick up the cup of coffee that had been set out for him. "Does it have anything to do with the fact that you're wearing that goddamn sex leash to our kink negotiations?" 

Taehyung chuckles in mild, pleased embarrassment, adjusting the leather around his neck as he clears his throat. "Hah. Uh. No. I was going to ask if we could please make Jin sign off on these kink checklists, just to ensure that he is uncomfortably familiar with our sexual preferences and possibly forced to think about us in these situations whenever he looks at our faces?" 

"Definitely," Jimin confirms, hunching over to scribble something on the checklist in front of him. "He also seems really disturbed by furries, so I'm putting that down, too." 

"God I like you so much." 

"Okay, so what's first? STI results?"  

"You can open mine," Taehyung tells him easily, leaning back. "I know for 100% certain that there's nothing exciting." 

"I thought you hadn't been tested since 2015," Jimin says suspiciously, sliding the envelope towards himself on the table.  

"I have also not been laid since 2015." 

Jimin's face contorts in disbelief. "You are way too hot to have not been laid for two years." 

"Yeah, well, when hot people do not leave their dark little caves except to get food, they don't have all that many opportunities. Although one time I did have a pretty hot and heavy flirtation going on with this Russian hacker, like you have NEVER seen shit that dirty in binary code. Sometimes I still get a little hot under the collar whenever I see 01101100 01101001 01100011 01101011-" 

"Tae. Focus." 

"Sorry." 

Jimin tears cleanly into both of the envelopes, one after the other, briefly scanning the contents. "Wow, look at that, both clean as a whistle." 

"And that was really the only important thing so what do you say we just check some random boxes and get the fuck out of here?" Taehyung asks suggestively, batting his eyelashes as he leans his body forward over the arm of the couch towards Jimin.  

"Look, I'm as raring to go as you are, I mean, all these months of unresolved tension have had me in a near-chronically erect state. But Jin's right. We do need to talk some shit out." 

Taehyung feigns a look of ignorance, tilting his head. "Such as?" 

"Such as, six months ago, you seemed terrified of gay sex." 

"Okay, in my defense, I was raised as a straight boy, and that was a very straight boy reaction. It's hard to just like... discard every hetero notion with which you've been indoctrinated, all at once." 

"Sure," Jimin allows, "And that's totally fine. But like, definitely still something to check in on." 

"Well, Point A: I have watched a LOT of gay porn since then, which has made me both desensitized and also a new kind of terrified, and Point B: I have recently been dabbling." 

"In?" Jimin prompts.  

"Solo assplay."  

Jimin's coffee comes dribbling out of his mouth as he stares blankly at Taehyung, and it is a long few seconds before he realizes and hastily wipes it away. "Oh." 

"Yeah, it's not as bad as I thought it would be but it's also not like... earth-shattering. But at some point, I was like, wow, suck it up you bastard, you wanted to do this to a girl, but you're not willing to do it yourself?" 

"Okay," Jimin raises his eyebrows and looks back down at his sheet.  "Great. Awesome. That's… Great. Hey let's...hurry." His eyes are a little wild as he gestures to the form, hunches over, and starts scribbling wildly.  

The form itself is pretty extensive. And Taehyung's not sure if it's just because he's imagining all of this stuff in the context of Jimin, with whom everything seems sexy, but there are a hell of a lot more boxes checked than unchecked when he reaches the bottom of the page. 

"What are you guys doing?" Hope asks abruptly from over Taehyung's shoulder, her hair actually tickling Taehyung's neck as she snatches the piece of paper from his hands, completely ignoring his squeak of indignation. "Ohh kinks! Jin made me do one of these. Let me see yours, Jimin," she insists, and Jimin just shrugs before handing it over. She takes a careful look at the two pages for a grand total of ten seconds before he quietly hands them back to their respective owners. "You two are suitably gross for each other." 

"Wow if someone had informed me that there would be kink shaming at this very open, healthy, and honest sex talk, I would have just done it in the presence of my 9th grade bully, who told the entire school that I obviously enjoyed balloons in a sexual way. And you KNOW how emphatic I am about my platonic love for balloons," Taehyung tells them both, folding his hands in his lap.  

"Some kinks deserve to be shamed," Hope says with an unapologetically judgmental look, floating off to the bar without any additional words of parting. 

"Wow I hope they have very boring and vanilla three-way sex," Taehyung huffs at his back, glaring where Hope, Jin, and Yoongi are huddled near one of the registers. 

"If anyone could make that a reality, they could," Jimin agrees.  

"Here," Taehyung says easily, sliding his paper across the table to Jimin. "All done." 

Jimin snags it from the table and pours over it moment, his own paper still clutched in his hand, and then he raises his eyebrows at Taehyung. 

"I will admit," Jimin says, pouting his bottom lip in approval. "We are both a little gross." 

"Hey, no fair. Give me yours," Taehyung insists, reaching out a grabby hand.  

Jimin's eyes twinkle impishly. "I don't know... It's says on here that you like brats so-" 

"Jimin..." Taehyung warns, voice dangerous and low. 

"Why don't you come and get it." 

"You are going to get me in trouble with Jin, so just give it to me," Taehyung grunts, getting to his feet and diving towards Jimin, fishing for the paper which Jimin is now hiding behind his back. Jimin giggles gleefully as they struggle.  

"Make me." 

"Jimin, give it-" 

"HAND CHECK," Jin's voice booms across the shop. Taehyung freezes, jumping backwards and raising his arms in surrender. Jimin actually cackles, clapping his hands in delight and making his rings clink together. 

"Wow, Park Jimin, you are really asking for it," Taehyung says warningly, making his face go deadly serious.  

"Maybe I am. I'm good at asking for it,” Jimin taunts impishly, his own paper still out of reach. He bites his bottom lip purposefully and looks up at Taehyung with bedroom eyes. “I’m even better at giving it.” 

Taehyung goes still for a few moments, staring with his mouth agape before swallows hard and plops down onto the couch behind him, still looking at Jimin. "Ah." 

"Do you have a preference?" Jimin continues when Taehyung doesn't respond. Taehyung just stares blankly until Jimin quirks a meaningful eyebrow, and then his face floods with heat abruptly. 

"Uh, no. Not yet, at least." Taehyung's entire body is on fire, but he determinedly shifts his gaze to meet Jimin's eyes. "I want to try everything with you at some point.” 

“Yeah?” Jimin asks with a smug smile, leaning forward now. 

“Yeah,” Taehyung continues as his heart beats hard in his throat. He is already embarrassed before he’s even said another word. “But I guess…” he trails off, chewing on the inside of his cheek. 

“What?” Jimin urges him, attention rapt. 

“But I’ve only been with girls so I've always done the... fucking. And I like it, I mean I really, really want to fuck you. But…” 

“But?” Jimin urges again, and his expression is dark and serious now. 

Taehyung takes a deep breath and looks him right in the eye. “But right now, I am grossly aroused by the idea of you pounding my ass into a fucking mattress.” 

Jimin’s eyebrow quirks in interest over black intense eyes. “Yeah?” 

“Grossly aroused,” Taehyung confirms, suppressing a wave of arousal at the very thought. 

“Well, that can definitely be arr-“ 

"Hey guys!" Jungkook says seemingly out of no where, making them both startle violently. He collapses onto the couch on the opposite side of the table from Taehyung. "Whew, long day. I'm glad we're closing earl-" He freezes, looking back and forth between them. "Whoa what's up. What's with this atmosphere. What's weird," he says, his face suddenly serious. 

"I mean you just walked in on the middle of their kink negotiation, but no big deal," Hope says, taking a seat on the couch next to him. "Where's your mom?" 

"Please stop referring to me as his mom," Namjoon says, plopping down on the other side of Jungkook. "We are romantically involved." 

"Maybe if you stopped dressing like his mom, I wouldn't call you his mom," Hope shoots back, flipping her hair out of her face. "Shoulder pads have been illegal since 1994." 

"Shoulder pads are coming back, thank you, because everyone deserves to rock a power shoulder,” Namjoon huffs, flinging a long arm around Jungkook. 

"For the record, I am against shoulder pads for that very reason," Jin says huffily, appearing behind Jimin, who immediately jumps up to offer him the single chair. With a significant look, he urges Taehyung to scoot over and takes seat right next to him. Jin collapses willingly into the chair.  "They lessen the impact of my naturally superior shoulders." 

"Yeah, god forbid anyone else dare to approach your level of natural hotness," Yoongi scoffs incredulously, moving to stand between him in the chair and Hope on the couch.  

"I uh... I'll be right back," Taehyung tells them, scooting off towards the bathroom, ignoring the look that Jimin shoots him as he scuttles away. He bursts through the door to the bathroom, thoroughly startling a man at the urinal as he blows past and locks himself in a stall.  

He emerges again 15 minutes later, casually strolling back to his friend group and acting as casually as it is possible for him to look in his current state. Jimin's eyes find him first. He tilts his head with a dark, amused expression, and something thick and sweet curls in Taehyung's gut.

Namjoon and Jin still seem to be somehow engaged in a spirited debate about shoulder pads, so no one pays Taehyung much mind as he shuffles over to Jimin, arms crossed in front of his lap.

Jimin reaches out and tugs Taehyung down so that he falls lightly on the couch between his legs. Yoongi is the only one who seems to notice, and he just gives them a look before rolling his eyes and turning his body pointedly away. 

"Are you good?" Jimin asks softly from behind him so that the others can't hear. 

Taehyung nods, flushed and bothered, settling back into Jimin's chest. Yoongi shoots them an annoyed look as they cuddle into the corner of the couch. "Good." 

"So," Jimin murmurs into his ear as the others prattle on, and his arms tighten around Taehyung's waist. "What was that about wanting me to fuck your ass into a mattress?" 

Jimin pulls him back then, so that the base of his spine meets Jimin's semi-hard dick, and Taehyung doesn't dare to breathe, even as he hears Jimin's soft breaths so close to his ear. He just holds stiff as Jimin's fingers find the inch or so of skin exposed where his shirt has ridden up just slightly.  

So when he finally does exhale, maybe it's more of a whine than an exhale. Jimin's nails dig harshly into the skin near his hip, but luckily the others don't seem to notice. Taehyung presses his weight lightly forward against the sharp nails, holding back another whine as he does so.  

"Shit, Tae," Jimin breathes so that only he can hear. "Are you gonna get hard right here in front of everyone?" 

Taehyung debates that, glancing nervously at his friends' faces before settling back into Jimin's arms. "Maybe." 

Jimin's exhaling laugh brushes softly against his ear, and his arms tighten around his waist, pulling him back to meet his crotch. "Be careful, baby," Jimin warns hotly against his skin. "Big cock like that, somebody’s going to notice." 

Taehyung just hums in vague agreement, pushing back slightly against Jimin's own firm bulge. 

"You know," Jimin continues, whispering in his ear. "There's nothing I love better than a hung bottom. There's something unbearably hot about a giant cock slapping against their belly as they get fucked.” 

Hope's shrieking laugh at one of Jin's dumb dad jokes is perfectly timed to cover Taehyung's ensuing groan.  

"You want that?" Jimin asks so quietly, and his voice is a strange mix of Minnie's southern charm and something definitively darker.  

Taehyung nods recklessly against his shoulder, eyes fluttering closed and rolling back a little as Jimin's grip tightens on his skin. Then, the warmth of one of his hands disappears, and two fingers slide between the collar and the back of his neck and tug his head backwards so that it's resting on his shoulder. "Do you know what it does to me whenever you wear this fucking thing?" 

There is a delicious tightening of the leather around Taehyung's neck, and his voice is strained as he whispers, "Why don't you tell me about it?" 

Jimin's eyes burn dark as they take in Taehyung's words and expression, his slightly parted lips. His gaze flits away to the rest of the group, who are for the most part absorbed in conversation. 

“You're really loving this, aren't you?" Jimin asks then, sounding almost too pleased with himself. Taehyung opens his mouth to respond, but Jimin tugs a little tighter on the collar, making speech difficult. "You don't have to answer that, I know you are. I did just read your kink list. Nasty, nasty, nasty." 

Taehyung wiggles in place squeezing his legs together as his jeans cut uncomfortably into his erection, and Jimin's fingers slide out from underneath the leather around his neck to allow the movement.  

Taehyung's head clears enough for him to formulate a few words. "Pot and kettle and something or other," Taehyung mumbles vaguely as Jimin drags his teeth subtly against the shell of his ear, clicking slightly against the piercings there.  

Jimin's fingers tighten underneath the collar again, the pressure building slightly in Taehyung's head. "We could make some progress on that list right here, couldn't we?"  

Taehyung nods subtly against his shoulder, and the hand that had been clutching at the skin underneath his shirt slowly moves down and down so that it's clutching his thigh, inches from his straining hard cock. Jimin's grip on the collar tightens even further, and Taehyung's mouth drops open slightly in a silent moan. 

"Tap me twice if it's too much, yeah?" Jimin tells him, gradually releasing the collar, the incredible pressure leaving him once more, and Taehyung nods. He subtly presses his hips forward then, against Taehyung's ass. "Fuck, you're so hot. Look at you," Jimin continues, peeking down over Taehyung's shoulder. "I'm surprised no one can tell yet. Look how fucking hard you are." Jimin's thumb wanders then, brushing ever so slightly against his erection. Taehyung bites down on his lip so hard that he tastes blood, squirming again, towards the touch. "You want me to get you off right here, baby? In front all of our friends?" 

Taehyung lets out a soft huffing laugh. “Kind of." 

“Look who's already enjoying your show," Jimin whispers wickedly, nodding subtly across the table.  

Jungkook's eyes are wider than usual as he stares at them, cheeks pink and breathing hard. Namjoon is talking animatedly beside him, hand on his shoulder as Jin laughs goofily at something he's said.  Taehyung meets Jungkook's eyes, smirking for a moment before Jimin tugs hard on the collar, momentarily impeding the flow of blood and air and wiping the smugness from his face. 

"You think he can see how big your pretty cock is all the way from there?" 

Taehyung throbs hard in his pants and subtly tries to rotate his hips towards Jimin's hand again.  

"I bet he'd love to see you come in your pants in front of everybody while I choke you like this. Don't you think?" Jimin asks, pulling harder on the collar than he previously has, and Taehyung almost comes right there, with nothing but the friction of his pants, the leather on his neck, and Jimin's voice in his ear. "But I’m not gonna let you do that." 

Taehyung finds Jungkook's eyes again and watches as he shifts a throw pillow over his lap. He swallows back a moan as Jimin spreads his hand again, his thumb stroking feather-light along the side of his hard cock again. "Please," he begs in a whisper, breaking eye contact with Jungkook to turn his head to the side, press his cheek to Jimin's shoulder.  

“You want me to?” Jimin asks smugly, teasing his grip on Taehyung’s thigh even closer to his crotch. 

Taehyung just nods emphatically, and Jimin's chuckle is abruptly light, a complete tone shift from the last 5 minutes. 

"Let's go home, Tae," Jimin says, patting his thigh with a finality with which Taehyung knows better than to argue. 

"Fuckin' tease," Taehyung pouts under his breath, shifting so that he's less obviously seated in Jimin's lap.  

He takes a look at the pillow that Jungkook is still clutching atop his lap and decides that he should probably follow suit, sulkily grabbing one from the couch and hugging it tight.  

"What? I want you all to myself the first time. We have all the time in the world to tease poor Kook. We can leave as soon as that massive boner has died down," Jimin leans forward to whisper, withdrawing his legs so that he can sit normally on the couch.  

"Are you okay, Jungkook?" Jin asks concernedly then. "You look flushed. Are you getting sick?" 

"Nope. A-okay," Jungkook confirm blankly, readjusting the pillow on his lap. Jin just shrugs and continues his conversation with Yoongi, but Namjoon gives him a strange look, then leans over to whisper something in his ear.  

Taehyung didn't know if it was possible for Jungkook's face to turn even redder, but it certainly does just that at whatever Namjoon says to him. Jungkook nods slightly, whispers back in his ear, and Taehyung swears he sees him gesture just barely with his head in their direction.  

Namjoon laughs a little at that, dragging his arm around Jungkook and continuing to whisper in his ear, Jungkook looking more and more flustered by the moment. Jungkook's eyes almost bug out of his head, then he's nodding eagerly as Namjoon squeezes his shoulder and chuckles to himself again. 

"What is going on?" Yoongi asks suddenly, eyes darting back and forth suspiciously between the two couples on the couches. "What is happening right now?" 

Taehyung and Jungkook cling a little bit tighter to their pillows, but Jimin just crosses his legs and casually asks, "What do you mean?" 

"Something weird is happening. I can tell," Yoongi says warily, eyeing them hard.  

"Well, yeah," Jimin scoffs dismissively. "Your boyfriend just made us have the sex talk and fill out our kink preferences in public not 15 minutes ago. I would say that is pretty fucking weird." 

Yoongi eyes him for a few seconds more before turning his attention to Jin. "Yeah, that was pretty weird, Jin." 

Jin looks outraged. "I just wanted them to talk! And I knew they weren't going to if left to their own devices." 

"Well, we're done now, so can we please go?" Jimin asks with a roll of his eyes.  

"Did you talk about everything you needed to talk about?" Jin ask skeptically.  

"See for yourself," Jimin says, nudging the papers towards him on the table. 

"Oh that's really not necessary," Jin tries to refuse, pushing the papers back. 

"I insist," Jimin says smugly, pushing them right back. "I want you to know we did it right." 

Jin sighs, picking up the papers and taking a brief look, ears going a little red as he clears his throat. "Jesus," he mumbles under his breath, then his eyebrows shoot up when he comes across one specific item, "I fucking knew it!"  

"Hmm?" Jimin asks pointedly, eyebrow arched, and Taehyung’s pretty sure he knows what he’s reading. 

"Nothing," Jin insists quickly, clearing his throat again as he sets the papers back down on the table. "Yep, everything looks to be in order. Please get out of my sight." 

"Gladly," Jimin says, grabbing Taehyung's hand and pulling him off of the couch. Taehyung's still half-hard but he angles his body so that hopefully nobody sees. Jimin pauses only to give Jungkook a sly wink as he tugs Taehyung out the front of the store. 

They both collapse into disbelieving giggles as the spill out onto the street.  

"Holy shit, I cannot believe we just did that," Taehyung marvels as Jimin tugs him down for a quick kiss.  

"Yeah, yeah, amazing," Jimin agrees distractedly, openly groping his ass. "Now chop chop, let's go."

"Your place or mine?" 

"Tae, no offense, but I don't want our first time to be on a bed of Cheeto bags and Fourloko cans." 

"So maybe your place, then." 

"Maybe my place." 

 



 

The atmosphere is tense, heavy, and hushed in Jimin's apartment when the door clicks shut behind them, a striking contrast to their sexy, playful banter back at the Queen. 

A solid silence steeps the air as Taehyung lingers in the entryway to Jimin's apartment, and he realizes that he's uncertain, uncertain in a way that he hasn't been at any point in the night. Jimin sets his keys down on the living room table and turns around to look at him, leaning on the back of the couch.  

"Come here," Jimin says then, reaching out his hand, and Taehyung finds Jimin's eyes, small reflective glints of light in the otherwise dim grayness of Jimin's mostly unlit apartment. He stumbles forward slightly in his haste to move, reaching out tentatively to take Jimin's hand, taking his place between Jimin's spread legs, feeling uncharacteristically shy. Jimin laces their fingers together, tugging Taehyung closer so that their faces are just a few inches apart. "You good?" 

"Good," Taehyung confirms for the second time that night, and he means it, even if his hand trembles in Jimin's and his heart is pounding wildly in his chest. "Very good." 

"Tae," Jimin breathes against his lips, freeing one of his hands so that he can tenderly cup one of Taehyung's cheeks, tilting his head so that they can he can press his lips, feather light and silky soft, against Taehyung's. He pulls back after just a brief peck, eyes fluttering open so that he can take in Taehyung's face. His thumb strokes affectionately at the skin of his cheek. "Fuck, I'm..." 

He trails off, sighing as his small, warm hand cups Taehyung’s cheek. 

"What?" Taehyung asks breathlessly when he doesn't continue, eyes darting to his lips, then back up to his eyes when he feels Jimin looking intently at him. 

Jimin hesitates, searching his gaze for something. "I'm just really in love with you." 

Taehyung's chest fills with a tingling, pleasant warmth, his breath hitching as an unbridled smile blooms on his face. He swallows down the tightness in his throat. "Really?" 

"Yeah," Jimin confirms, dragging his hand back so that it can tangle through Taehyung's hair now.  

Taehyung swears his heart is beating in his throat, his stomach, his head, all over his body as he takes a miniscule, almost impossible step closer and says, "Me too." 

"Yeah?" Jimin asks, his pretty, rectangular eyebrows tilting up in the middle as his lips quirk to one side. 

Taehyung just nods as he inhales a deep, shaky breath, resting his forehead against Jimin's and shutting his eyes. "It's just..." A pause. "It's us. You know? It's different." 

"Yeah, I know." 

Jimin exhales contentedly, his grip on Taehyung's hair tightening as they stand there for a few moments, just breathing. The air between them, surrounding them, seems to tingle with a comfortable warmth, an anticipation, and Taehyung feels utterly immersed in it, his body responsive to every hint of a touch.  

Jimin tilts his face up as he drags Taehyung's head down, and their lips meet somewhere in the middle. They meld together like they were meant to. 

The slide of their mouths is hot and wet and perfect as their lips part, as the kiss deepens, hotter, wetter. Jimin draws him forward now so that their bodies are entirely flush, and the hardness of Jimin’s frame against his is as foreign as it is intoxicating. Hard muscles and hard lines press hard against him as Jimin's hands meander down to grope at his ass, to cant his hips even further forward. Taehyung groans, a deep resonating sound, as fingers dig harshly into his flesh. Jimin exhales raggedly at the sound, pulling back for just a moment to regard Taehyung with a heated gaze.  

And then he's kissing him again, kissing him fiercely and pushing Taehyung back and back so that he stumbles and slams into the wall behind him. The air whooshes out of Taehyung’s lungs at the impact, cock twitching at the abrupt roughness. 

“Fuck, Tae,” Jimin breathes between kisses, his voice growling and deadly and rough. His hands grope at the hem of Taehyung’s shirt, pulling back only long enough to tug it over his head. The shirt crumples in a pile on the floor as Jimin heatedly reaches back up to grab the back of Taehyung’s head to drag him back down for a rough kiss. His other hand wanders down the tan skin of Taehyung’s chest, fingers splayed like he wants to touch as much skin as possible. Taehyung groans and shudders as Jimin's fingers ghost over the sensitive skin right above his hip.  

Taehyung reaches out, wanting to touch too, fingers scrambling underneath the fabric of Jimin’s shirt. He sighs happily into Jimin’s mouth when his fingers find hot skin, and it’s not long until Jimin's shirt is a rumpled pile on the floor beside his own.  

“Come here,” Jimin growls against his mouth as he hoists Taehyung up from underneath his thighs with surprising strength, lifting his legs off the ground and pressing his back even harder into the wall, feet dangling. Taehyung's grunt of surprise is followed shortly by a groan as their hard cocks grind against each other, impeded only by fabric. He wraps his legs around Jimin’s waist to pull him even closer, leaning his body back against the wall and watching Jimin’s face as Taehyung rolls hips up against him. Jimin hisses hard at the contact, fingers digging into Taehyung’s thighs and meeting him with a challenging gaze.  Something about the eye contact is thrilling, prompting Taehyung to give another small, needy drag of his clothed cock against Jimin’s. 

“How do you wanna do this?” Jimin asks an octave lower than he normally would, chest rising and falling rapidly, hand running reverently over the leash which hangs against Taehyung’s bare chest. 

Taehyung tries to catch his own breath, closing his mouth and opening it again, then closing it again. "How long have you wanted to fuck me?" 

"What?" Jimin asks, slightly derailed by the change in subject as his hands impatiently slide up to grope at Taehyung's ass. 

"I said," Taehyung repeats, sex drive alone fueling his newfound audacity, "How long have you wanted to fuck me?" 

Jimin laughs darkly. "Since I met you, you ass, since the very first goddamn night." He leans forward to drag his nose up Taehyung's neck, breathing in his scent as he adds, "It's been hell." 

“Then fuck me like that,” Taehyung tells him, grasping at his forearms now, just to touch him. He drags his hand down the smooth skin of Jimin's torso, down the surprising layers of muscle, down to the bulge in his pants, to the obvious outline of his cock in his tight jeans. He runs his hand down the impressive length. "Like you need it.” 

Jimin stares at him incredulously, eyes lovely and asymmetrical, and Taehyung is worried for only just the briefest moment before Jimin hauls him roughly into his arms, wrenching him away from the wall. Taehyung collapses weakly against him as Jimin maneuvers them down the hall, through the door of his room, and tosses Taehyung onto the bed like he's a rag doll.  

As soon as his back hits the mattress, Jimin grabs his wrists and pins them above his head, breath puffing hot against Taehyung's face as he does. 

"Come on," Taehyung urges him through gritted teeth, struggling impatiently against his grip. “Green for go, red for stop, I know the drill." 

"Everything you said on that sheet?" Jimin asks then, looking conflicted as he tugs again at the long leather strap attached to Taehyung's collar. "You're good for it?" 

“Yeah,” Taehyung breathes, shuddering and pushing hard against Jimin's grip on his wrists to see if it gives. It doesn't. “Good.” 

Jimin releases Taehyung’s wrists and trails the one hand gently down his cheek over his neck. It comes to rest on the leash. “Leave this on. Take everything else off.” 

Taehyung nods eagerly, reaching down to unbutton his jeans, pulling down his boxer-briefs as well as he wiggles out of the clinging fabric. He tosses them off to the side, laying back and looking back up at Jimin, who is kneeling on the bed beside him and gazing down at him with rapt, smoldering eyes.  

Taehyung relishes the feeling of Jimin's gaze on his skin, can’t help but arch his back prettily off the bed in the way he knows he’ll look best, splayed out, the beads of sweat on his golden-skin catching the light, naked and shameless. He runs a hand lightly over his own throbbing cock, partially for effect and partially because his desperation is teetering on the edge of unbearable.  

“Please take your pants off,” Taehyung whines, palming himself a little more substantively, hips fucking up against his own hand. 

Jimin chuckles darkly, getting to his feet as his hands work quickly at his belt, and Taehyung’s mouth actually waters when he finally steps out of his jeans. His hard cock bobs gently against his stomach, leaving a shiny mark of precum where it touched. It’s thick and long and flushed dark against his skin. 

Taehyung realizes he’s staring, but Jimin doesn’t seem to mind. If anything, he looks a little proud. 

“So the good news is, I definitely like dick,” Taehyung confirms steadily, not blinking.  

“Is there bad news?” Jimin asks smugly, kneeling back on the bed and slinging one leg on the other side of Taehyung’s hips, just hovering. 

“Yeah, the bad news is I didn’t realize I liked dick sooner,” Taehyung marvels, licking his lips as Jimin's heavy cock bobs in front of his face. “Can I…” he motions vaguely in front of him. 

“Yeah,” Jimin rasps, watching intently as Taehyung pushes himself onto his elbows and reaches a tentative hand out to touch. 

Jimin's cock is hot and firm in his hand, and Taehyung's own cock twitches impatiently as he swipes his thumb over the tip, swirling and spreading the thick precum all over the head. Jimin's exhale is definitely is more of a groan as his hand comes to rest on Taehyung's hair, fingers threading through the strands.  

It's more of a gentle suggestion than anything, not even a tug, the hand in his hair. But Taehyung gets the hint, pausing only for a moment before he pushes himself into a more upright position so that his mouth is mere inches from Jimin's leaking cock.  

Taehyung breathes a deep, steadying breath, pushing himself into a seated position in front of a kneeling Jimin, and before he can talk himself out of it, he's leaning forward to boldly lick the precum from his tip. 

The fingers tighten in his hair as Jimin moans shamelessly above him, and oh he definitely likes this. The skin of Jimin's cock is soft against his tongue, slick and so warm, and Taehyung can’t get enough of it. He pulls back so that he can rub the slick head against his barely parted lips, reveling in the sensation and in the little gasp that it elicits from Jimin.  

“Fuck you’re nasty aren’t you?” Jimin asks, sounding satisfied. 

Taehyung just nods before leaning down and taking the wet tip into his mouth, moaning at the feeling of his mouth being filled. He sucks gently on the tip for a few moments, swirling his tongue to lap up the newest dribble of precum before he pulls off with a satisfied smile. 

“You really love it," Jimin mumbles as he rubs the tip of his cock on Taehyung's slick lips. 

"Mmm," Taehyung hums in agreement as licks the precum from his mouth. He feels a bubble of defiance bloom in his gut. “I wonder if I like all dick this much."

“What?” Jimin stares down at him in mild disbelief.

Taehyung shrugs, and he hopes it's not obvious that is a bluff. “Oh me? I was just talking about other people's dicks. You know who has a really nice dick? Jin-“ 

Jimin stares down at him in mild disbelief, and then Taehyung is being shoved roughly and abruptly back onto the bed. Taehyung hits the comforter with a little ‘oof,’ and his cock gives another throb at the intense set of Jimin's eyes as he pumps his own cock a few times and leans down to cage in Taehyung’s body.  

“Is this you trying to rile me up?” Jimin breathes, threading his fingers through Taehyung’s hair to yank his head so that he’s looking up at him. 

“Why would I do something like that?” Taehyung taunts, biting his lip so he doesn't moan at the tug in his hair.

“You…” Jimin cocks his head like he's just figured something out. “You meant you. On the form. You don't like brats. You are the fucking brat.” 

Taehyung flushes hot but doesn’t look away. “Shut up.” 

“Interesting.” Jimins eyes are amused as he considers Taehyung. “Don’t worry, I'll give you every bit of trouble you’re asking for.” 

“Sometime this year would be great,” Taehyung mutters. He is startles when the collar around his neck pulls taught, and he sees the leash curled in Jimin’s fist.  

“Excuse me?" 

“I said,” Taehyung spits back at him though his voice is strained from the collar, and he’s hoping that Jimin ignores the needy drag of his cock against Jimin's skin as he does so, “That sometime this year would be great. You just gonna keep talking about fucking me or are you actually gonna do it?” 

Taehyung’s stomach jolts in excitement at the snarl that graces Jimin's usually adorable face, the darkness to his eyes, before he descends into a rough, bruising kiss. Taehyung arches up against him, whimpering in the back of his throat as the tip of his cock slides against Jimin’s hip. There’s an exquisite jolt of pain as Jimin's teeth sink into his bottom lip, and Taehyung gasps into his mouth, raking his nails hard down Jimin's back, digging deep, and wrapping his legs around his slim waist. As Jimin hisses against his mouth, Taehyung tastes just the slightest tinge of blood, and it makes him giddy. 

Jimin yanks the leash again, pulling Taehyung away from his face, back flat against the pillow. Taehyung splutters and fucks his hips forward, finding only air as Jimin pulls away.  

“You said you’ve done this a couple of times before, right?” Jimin asks as he leans over to his bedside table to rummage through the drawer. “Fucked yourself open?” 

“Yeah,” Taehyung confirms, excitement thrumming through him as Jimin pops the bottle of lube open, grabbing Taehyung by the hips and tugging him roughly down the bed for better access. Taehyung’s legs fall open easily, and Jimin reaches down to gently circle his rim with a finger.  

Jimin freezes.  

“Did you…” he starts, sliding his finger an inch or so into Taehyung, whose back arches. The slide is easy. “Did you touch yourself at home right before you came to The Queen?” 

“No,” Taehyung denies smugly, and Jimin looks confused, sliding his finger inside of Taehyung to the knuckle. Taehyung gasps before continuing. “I fucked myself open in the bathroom at the Queen, thinking about your cock.” 

Jimin just nods silently, biting his already swollen bottom lip as he considers Taehyung carefully. 

“I had some of little lube packets from pride and fuck it was so good I almost came all over the side of the stall,” Taehyung continues, trying to push himself down on Jimin's finger. “Why do you think I was so worked up already when Kook came over?” 

Jimin just continues to stare, but Taehyung notices suddenly that the pressure on his neck is more intense, that Jimin must have been slowly increasing the tension on the leash as he spoke. 

“You’re really something else, you know that?” Jimin asks in a low, even growl, gaze dark as he watches Taehyung wiggle and writhe against his finger.  

“I-“ he starts to respond but the pressure against his throat is too much to allow for words. The buzz of the world fades into the background as Jimin hovers above him, hand curled in the leash, two fingers now up his ass.  

“What's that?” Jimin asks smugly before releasing the leash, and the world comes rushing back. Jimin scissors him open for a moment before reaching over to grab more lube. 

“ I… forgot,” Taehyung rasps out, hang dropping to his own cock again as Jimin slicks up his fingers. He wraps his fingers around himself, jerking himself off as Jimin watches, tossing the lube bottle back on the bed when he has enough.  

Jimin just hums in acknowledgement and leans forward to slap Taehyung’s hand away from himself, replacing it with his own. He circles his fingers around his length and then pauses like he's waiting.  

“Come on,” Taehyung urges him, grabbing weakly at his hand as if to make him move it. “Touch me.” 

“I am touching you.” 

“Not like…” Taehyung struggles, squirming again. “Not like I want.” 

“Hmm.” Jimin hums again, just tightening his grip on Taehyung’s cock, not moving otherwise. 

“Please.” 

“Then fuck my hand,” Jimin says simply and casually, leaning down to take one of Taehyung’s nipples into his mouth. Taehyung arches against him, his cock sliding forward in Jimin's slick hand, and fuck that does feel good. 

“No,” he chokes out.  

“Why not?” 

“Because I'm not about to hump your hand like a horny teenaged boy." Taehyung tells him through gritted teeth. "It's embarrassing.” 

“Is it as embarrassing as fingerfucking yourself in a public bathroom?” Jimin asks, deceptively mild as he runs a finger over Taehyung’s now slick nipple. “Or popping a boner from getting choked front of your friends?” 

Taehyung’s stomach clenches in excitement at the memory, and his hips roll forward involuntarily. 

“Fuck my hand,” Jimin repeats. "I wanna see you." 

“Fuck off,” Taehyung growls through his teeth but he doesn’t pull away.  

There’s a flash of steel in Jimin's eyes and then he’s reaching down to harshly pinch a nipple. Taehyung gasps in pain and he feels himself throb in Jimin's hand. His hips give just the tiniest roll forward and Taehyung’s throat squeaks with a repressed moan. 

“That’s right. It feels good doesn’t it?” Jimin says in a voice that is simultaneously doting and taunting, tightening his fingers around Taehyung’s cock. “Come on.” 

Taehyung's face burns with embarrassment as he nods, throbbing in Jimin's hand. He chances a glance down, and he swallows another moan when he sees how massive his cock looks in Jimin's delicate hand. Groaning, he fucks his hips forward, watching as the length of his cock slides through Jimin's gripped fingers.  

And once he’s started, there’s no way he's going to stop, rolling his hips up so that he slides slickly through the delicious slippery pressure from Jimin's hand, stomach clenching tight as the pleasure builds in his gut. 

“Pretty,” Jimin mumbles, reaching down with his other hand to work his fingers back into Taehyung’s ass. “How many fingers did you get up your ass in the bathroom?” 

“Th-three,” Taehyung manages as he contorts his body, both trying to fuck down against Jimin's fingers and up into his hand. 

“Mmm,” Jimin hums, twisting the fingers inside Taehyung rhythmically, and whatever he's doing feels really fucking good, so much better than when Taehyung does this to himself. “You think you’re ready for my cock?” 

Taehyung takes an almost fearful look down at Jimin’s thick, flushed cock, slowing his hips as he does. “Yeah. Please.” 

“Come here,” Jimin says, removing his hands from Taehyung completely and wiping off the excess lube on the sheets. He grabs a condom from the bedspread and tears it open, rolling it onto himself. Taehyung watches for a second, and then his head spins a little as he pushes himself into a seated position, scrambling over to climb onto Jimin's lap. Jimin grabs his own cock, holding it steady as Taehyung lines it up with his hole so that the tip has barely breached him. “Tell me if it’s too much.” 

Taehyung scoffs. “Yeah oka-" 

A throaty groan from his own throat interrupts his thought as Jimin suddenly starts to pull him down slowly but meaningfully, inch by inch, and Taehyung briefly loses the ability to formulate words. Part of it is the sensation, not a sharp pang of pleasure but a slow, delicious stretch, the drag of Jimin's cock against him. It's a million times better than fingers or silicone could ever be, warm and substantial and so filling. 

Part of it, though, is the idea of it. The idea of Jimin tugging him down on his cock, watching so carefully as Taehyung swallows him up, biting his lip in restraint at the tight heat.  

And then Taehyung is fully seated, his ass resting on Jimin's thighs, and fuck it’s good. 

“Okay?” Jimin asks, leaning forward to press a gentle kiss to Taehyung’s nose. 

Taehyung just nods, feeling his jaw slack and his eyes tearing up of their own accord. He lifts his hips slowly, just an inch or two, before sinking back down. “Really... Ah. yeah.” 

“Tell me when you’re ready,” Jimin says, voice tight, obviously holding back. 

Taehyung circles his hips, bracing his arms on Jimin's shoulders as he works himself open a little more substantially on his cock so that the slide is better, so that the movement is easier. Jimin leans forward to kiss his neck as he does, plush and moist on his neck, then there's suction, then the gentle scrape of teeth. Combined with the stretch, it’s a little overwhelming, and after a few minutes of small, careful movements on Jimin’s cock, he nods eagerly, worked up.  

“Good.” Taehyung breathes, settling all the way down once more. He rolls his hips forward and up with a groan. “Now come on. Hard. Wanna feel how bad you want me.” 

“You sure?” Jimin asks, gently threading his hands through Taehyung’s soft hair before gripping abruptly and yanking his head to the side.  

“Yeah.” 

His back hits the bed before he can even realize what’s happening, Jimin is caging in his body, leaning down to bite harshly at his neck as he starts to fuck relentlessly into Taehyung’s ass. Taehyung yelps in surprise and pain and satisfaction, bending his legs and hauling them up to provide even better access, to let Jimin fuck him harder.  

And it’s so many different sensations, the scrape of teeth and the press of leather on his neck, the scratch of nails digging into the skin of his thighs and the stretch of the muscle there as his legs are hauled back, the slickness of Jimin's cock as it pistons in and out of him, and then something else when Jimin yanks his hips up to fuck him at a new angle. A new sensation, a new kind of pleasure, and Taehyung feels his eyes roll back, going slightly limp against the bed as he revels in the feeling of it. 

"Fuck, you feel so good," Jimin mutters as he rakes his nails roughly down Taehyung's thighs to grab at his ass, pulling his cheeks apart so that he can watch his cock disappear into Taehyung. "Look so good."

Taehyung cracks his eyes open then, head turned to the side, and his stomach gives a pleased lurch as he catches a glimpse of the two of them the reflection of Jimin's mirror. Jimin's got his legs pressed back, fucking him with rough unforgiving strokes, face dark and hungry as he watches his cock pound in and out of Taehyung, and fuck Taehyung looks wrecked. His lips are swollen, bitten to hell, hair tousled from rough fingers, eyes glazed and brows drawn. He groans as Jimin gives him a particularly harsh thrust, his body shifts back with the force of it, and the visual is probably the hottest thing he’s ever seen. 

He watches them like that for a few seconds, thoroughly enjoying the view, before he feels the weight of a gaze heavy on it. He looks up to find a pair of eyes in the mirror. 

Jimin's hips slow.  

“Are you watching yourself get fucked right now?” Jimin asks in disbelief, pumping his hips into Taehyung a few more times experimentally as he watches in the mirror now, mouth falling open in a silent moan.  

“Please keep going,” Taehyung begs, pushing himself down on Jimin's cock as Jimin admires their reflection. “Please.” 

Jimin leans over him, pressing all the way in and almost folding Taehyung in half in the process. He dips down to nip lightly at his jaw and whispers, “You wanna see yourself, huh?” 

And before he knows it, Jimin is sliding out of him, hauling him up into a kneeling position so that he's facing the mirror. It’s just a moment before Taehyung catches on, before he feels Jimin behind him, cock at his entrance as Taehyung melts backward into his chest, head lolling to the side. 

“Nuh uh.” Jimin says, shoving his head forward roughly with an iron grip in his hair. “Watch.” 

A broiling wave of heat rolls up his spine, flushing his face, as he looks at himself in the mirror on his knees, torso stretched taught, cock so dark and hard against his stomach. Jimin is almost obscured behind him until he yanks hard on Taehyung’s leash and pulls him back so that his chest bows out, head leaning against Jimin's shoulder as the leather cuts into his neck and Jimin pushes inside him again. 

When Jimin starts to move his hips again, Taehyung watches in the mirror as his own jaw goes slack, the room filled with the lewd sounds of lube and grunts and the skin of Jimin's hips smacking against the skin of Taehyung’s ass. And when he looks down, there’s his own cock bouncing heavily with the force of Jimin's thrusts, and it’s embarrassing and obscene and he absolutely loves it. 

"Fuck," Jimin growls into his ear with a particularly unforgiving thrust, reaching forward to grip harshly at Taehyung’s hip as he drags his eyes over Taehyung’s body in the mirror. “Look at you.” 

Taehyung basks in the attention, loving the weight of Jimin's gaze on him as his cock continues to slap against his stomach, leaving a shiny smear of precum. 

"Come on,” Taehyung insists, moving his hips back now in time to Jimin's rhythm. “More.” 

Behind him, he feels Jimin briefly reposition himself, tightening his grip on Taehyung’s hip in one hand and the leash in the other hand, using both to viciously pull Taehyung back on his cock.  

“Ah!” Taehyung yelps as he’s jostled forward with the force of Jimins hips.  

“You want more?” Jimin hisses, a droplet of sweat from his forehead dripping onto Taehyung's shoulder. Taehyung nods desperately, fucking himself back harder on Jimin's cock, the feeling of everything both overwhelming and insufficient. And it’s exactly what he needs when the collar pulls taught around his throat, pinning him back against Jimin, the room gradually going very quiet and far away, Jimin's whispered words fading to vague noise. And Taehyung’s hips have stopped now and he’s gone completely still against Jimin, who continues to fuck him mercilessly, fingernails digging hard into his hip.  

Then the hand on his hip is gone, and it’s on his cock instead, jerking him off roughly, and Taehyung can’t even tell if he’s making sounds at this point, his vision blurring slightly from both the tears and the lack of blood in his head. The exquisite pressure builds abruptly, emanating out from his gut and flooding his limbs, and nothing else exists, just this. After what seems like a moment of perfect silence, his orgasm comes crashing down on him, cock spurting hot cum all over his belly, hole convulsing around Jimin, head floating a million miles above earth. It's seconds or years, and he's slumping down onto the bed, blood rushing back to where it needs to be, a secondary tingling wave washing over him as he twitches through the aftershocks. 

Through the ringing in his ears, he hears, “Open your mouth," and Jimin is hovering above him, jerking himself off, eyes all over Taehyung, who has the presence of mind to weakly part his lips, sticking out his tongue slightly. Jimin groans throatily, and Taehyung feels the warm liquid hit his tongue, his lips, a little on his cheek. It’s salty and bitter but not unpleasant, and in the context, extremely fucking hot.  

The world starts to trickle back to him as Jimin plops down on the bed beside him with a sated groan, flinging his arm over Taehyung midsection  

For a few minutes, there’s nothing but their ragged breathing, then Jimin's pushing himself to his elbows and reaching over to grab a couple of tissues from the box on the nightstand. He leans over to hover over Taehyung, pressing a sweet kiss to his lips before wiping gently at the cum on his cheek.  

“You good?” he asks, leaning down to press another featherlight kiss to Taehyung’s collarbone this time.  

Taehyung can only manage a weak grunt in response, pinching his fingers in a grabby gesture towards Jimin, who seems to get the hint, snuggling forward on his side so that he can wrap his arms around Taehyung and pull him close so that their foreheads touch. Taehyung winds his arms around Jimin’s waist then drags them down, sighing in satisfaction when he grasps the firm, supple flesh of Jimin’s ass.  

“Good,” Taehyung confirms, eyes fluttering shut briefly as he snuggles even closer to Jimin. The darkness behind his eyes gets momentarily darker, then he feels a pair of warm soft lips pressing against his.  

"Just good?" 

When Jimin pulls back, Taehyung’s eyes flutter open groggily. “I... forgot adjectives again.” He is momentarily struck by Jimin's lovely, tinkling laugh. “How about you? Worth the wait?” 

Jimin groans and buries his head in Taehyung’s chest, nipping lightly at the skin there. “So. Fucking. Worth it. I mean fuck that was hot.” 

“We’re gonna have so much hot sex,” Taehyung says blankly, the realization dawning on him. “We’re gonna have so much hot sex all the time.” 

Jimin giggles and leans in to kiss him again, slower this time, and deeper, his tongue sliding along the seam of Taehyung’s mouth with a little groan. They part with a pair of matching grins and snuggle closer together so that their chests are flush.  

“Hey Tae?” Jimin asks softly into his shoulder.  

“Yeah?” 

“Promise me that we're not gonna fuck this up.” 

“How do you mean?” 

“Like we're not going to have a dumb angsty misunderstanding or let other people get involved in our shit or have any more unnecessary drama that could fuck us up. Like... this is too good for us to fuck it up with some stupid shit you know?” 

Taehyung sighs happily into his hair. “Yeah I know.” 

“We’re gonna be good, right?” 

“The best.”  

“I love you,” Jimin mumbles, the sound muffled by Taehyung’s skin. 

“I love you.” 

They lay there for a few minutes, wrapped around each other in warm, comfortable.  

“Taetae?”  

“Yeah?” 

“Are you hard again? After that very touching and sincere moment?"

Taehyung takes a brief peek down at his cock. “Oh uh. I think it’s all these emotions.  A heart boner. A heart-on."

Jimin snorts. “It has nothing to do with the fact that you're groping my naked ass?" 

"Nuh-uh," Taehyung says, rolling his hips forward conspicuously.  

“Okay," Jimin agrees easily enough. "Well I guess I’ll just, you know, love and respect your boner to completion." 

"Wait no." 

"I'll just shower it with fondness and emotional support." 

“Please put your mouth on my penis.” 

Chapter Text

"I'm thinking pink," Taehyung says, wiggling his toes as he contemplates. "What do you think about pink?" 

Ms. Park considers for a moment in the chair beside him, peeking down at his bare feet. "I think pink would be nice." 

The other chairs in the nail salon are sparsely populated this time of day, and the receptionist at the front leans dully over a magazine.  

"Everything has to be perfect tonight," Taehyung says, pointing out a baby-pink color to the nail technician. "I need Jimin to see what a consistently stylish and totally not embarrassing partner I am." 

Jin scoffs and takes a sip of his sparkling water. "Don't worry. Even if you chose a normal color for once, I have every faith that you will find a multitude of other ways to embarrass him." 

Taehyung flicks a cucumber at him, and it lands on Jin's arm with a dull splat. "I am a fashion risk taker, thank you." 

"And Jimin loves that about you, dear," Ms. Park assures him with a gently pat to his arm. "Just... maybe not Pea Green again. It looked like a fungal infection." 

"Oh, that's lovely," Taehyung's mom pipes up from his other side, peeking down at his toes, one of which is now pink. "I'll do pink, too." 

Taehyung startles a bit when a familiar snippet of "Take You Down" rings out through the otherwise quiet salon.  

Jin groans. "You still use that for your Jimin ringtone?" 

Taehyung shoots him a superior look as he digs in his pocket for his phone. "The magic never dies, baby."  He taps the accept button on the screen.  "Hey." A pause. "Yeah. Jin's here." He tilts the phone away from his mouth and says loudly to Jin, "Yoongi told Jimin to tell me to tell you you're a butt and that he thought you were dead." 

"Why would he think I was dead?" 

"He woke up and you were gone, then they found the body of some guy who choked on a whole hotdog. Oh and Yoongi told Jimin to tell me to tell you don't even pretend that's not how you would die."

Jin rolls his eyes. "Tell Jimin to tell him I left them a note on the fucking fridge detailing my exact schedule for the next three hours as well as a task list for him for tonight. Also tell Jimin to tell Yoongi to tell Hope that the they need to pick up those things by 5." 

"Jin says there's a note on the fridge and he said some other stuff too." 

"Tell my scoundrel of a son to text me back!" Ms. Park insists, wiggling her toes as they soak in the tub at her feet.  

"Your beautiful, neglected mother humbly requests that you text her back." Taehyung relays to Jimin, shooting Ms. Park a cheesy grin. "Oh and baby can you pick up some Dawn on the way home?" A pause. "No not for me, for the dish- Babe. Babe I just like the seal on the bott- no babe I promise not to use it for my fa-… Yes, yes I pinky swear on My Princess Di Beanie Baby...... Okay. Yep. Love you. Bye." 

"What was that all about?" Taehyung's mom asks him curiously.  

Taehyung sighs. "He won't let us have Dawn in the house ever since he caught me washing my face with it again. Makes us use fucking Ponds to wash our dishes." 

"Don't sound so bitter," Jin says, settling back into his seat and tilting his head back on the headrest. "You look approximately 60% more humanlike since you two started dating." 

"Your place looks better too," Taehyung's mom adds.  

"But I moved out of my place. My place is Jimin's place now." 

"Exactly." 

"You know, he has gotten a lot of great things out of dating me, too!" Taehyung retorts, glaring at his mother and Jin. "Did you know his computer was still running on Windows 98 when he first met me? That should not have been possible. He also had like 3 dead bugs that had been trapped under cups for months. Guess who took care of that for him. Not to mention that DAILY I eat his a-…." He freezes mid word when remembers his audience. "-…....aaaaaass. Shit, I'm really sorry. I couldn't think of anything else that started with 'A.'" 

"Apple. Artichoke. Aioli. Anchovy. Almond," Jin lists calmly as Ms. Park stifles a laugh into her hand. "Agave. Arugula,-" 

"Anus," Taehyung provides helpfully.  

Jin purses his lips and turns to Taehyung's mother who is mid-eye roll. "How did you do it? For 18 years?" 

"The vodka, darling," Taehyung's mom says, reaching into her bag and pulling out a small metal flask. She uncaps it and pours a little into Jin's sparkling water. 

"Ah yes." 

"Anyway Jimin and I are the perfect couple, and I will prove it tonight by orchestrating the perfect date, on our momentous two-year assiversary." 

Jin eyes him strangely. "Are you drunk right now? Your anniversary was a week ago," Jin reminds him, cringing at the sharp taste of the vodka as he lowers his glass from his lips. "You forced us to throw you a surprise anniversary party and everything."

Taehyung eyes him strangely. "That was totally unrelated. This is celebrating the most important day of my life. I have this day marked on my calendar every year for the next 200 years just in case, as I fully expect, Jimin and I live to be the first couple to live forever." 

"Then what the fuck was last week?" Jin demands, looking frazzled. “You made Jungkook dress like Cupid and follow Jimin around pegging him with a nerf gun all day." 

"Shh shh, sweetie, you've got to pick your battles," Taehyung's mom hushes Jin, tipping the glass back towards his mouth. "Just drink up. I already scheduled us an Uber." 

As the nail technician works away, Taehyung can't help but check his phone every few seconds, a small wave of anxiety washing over him each time he does. There are a lot of things that have to come together tonight and a lot of places for everything to go terribly wrong. It's torturous to just sit still for half an hour more when there's so much to be done. 

"Jin, you and your better halves will be there for setup at 6pm, right?" Taehyung asks, as he finally takes a look at his finished toes, swinging his legs to the side of the chair to place them on the ground. 

"Yep," Jin says, closing his eyes. His eyelids flutter open after just a moment. "Wait. Two halves equals 100%." 

Taehyung considers the math for a moment. "Yes." 

"Are you saying that I am a 0% contributor to my own relationship?" 

Taehyung bites his lip in careful thought. "I'll give you 15% for waffles. So that leaves....  79% for the other two. 39.5 % each." 

"Wow you nailed that division but you really think that 100 minus 15 is 79?" 

"Shut up, I've always been bad at reverse math." 

"You mean subtraction." 

"Stop cyber-bullying me," Taehyung huffs as he pulls back on his shoes. "Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go prepare to sweep my boyfriend off his fucking feet. I'm already behind schedule." 

"What schedule? Yoongi and Hope and I are setting everything up. You don't have to do shit." 

"Excuse the hell out of you. Not only do we have the pre-date portion of the date, but I also have to ready my body for a magnificent night of f-" His eyes widen as he remembers his audience once more. " …....ffffffffffffffucking. Shit. Sorry." 

"Frolicking. French toast. Frog catching. Fencing. Flower picking," Jin recites resignedly, counting the words off on his fingers. 

"It's okay, sweetie," Ms. Park assures Taehyung, reaching for the flask in Taehyung's mom's outstretched hand, "It just means your love manifests in physical ways. A beautiful thing." 

"Thank you," Taehyung says smugly as he shoots Jin a smug look. He yanks the laces on his shoes tight and stands up to peck Ms. Park's cheek briefly before swooping down to peck his own mother's cheek.  

When he straightens up, Jin clears his throat and tilts his cheek up towards Taehyung expectantly. Taehyung rolls his eyes before pressing a reluctant kiss to Jin's cheek.  

"Hey so are you good?" Jin asks quietly with a significant look.  

"Perfect," Taehyung assures him, though he's been in a near-constant state of nausea all day. He lowers his voice so that his mom and Ms. Park can't hear. "Joon, Kookie, and Ms. Park still have no clue, right? The more people who know the more likely Jimin is to find out." 

"Nobody except me, Hope, and Yoongi. Are you sure you've got everything you need?" 

"Yes, of course. I've been planning this since the night we met." 

As he goes to leave, Jin grabs his arm. "Everything?" 

"Yes, mother number 3! I've got the flowers, I've got the champagne, I've got the mariachi band, I've got the two-person sweater, I've got the jasmine-scented candles, I've got the chinchilla-" 

"The ring, Tae. Do you have the ring?" Jin hisses.  

"The! Hah. The- …" A visceral wave of panic smacks him in the face as his knees go weak. "The ring." 

"Kim Taehyung, what is that look?" 

"No look. I definitely... thought about the ring. Definitely did not focus on the other aspects of the proposal so much that I forgot about the ring. Arguably the most important part of the proposal process. Hah! Who on this whole entire planet would forget about the ring?" 

"You're already breaking out into stress hives, you clearly forgot the ring," Jin says. 

"Jin I did not forget the ring," Taehyung chuckles, scratching almost violently at his neck. "I clearly didn't forget the ring. And I most certainly didn't forget the ring." 

"Repeatedly saying that you didn't forget the ring will not magically make it true." 

"That is true, because God is dead. God is dead and I forgot the ring and I'm passing out Jin, please catch me." 

 


 

"Wha..... what happened?" Taehyung mumbles blearily as he blinks his eyes open, shielding his face from the blinding light.  

"You pretended to pass out and faked unconsciousness for 32 minutes," Jin says unamusedly as he crouches above him.

"Why didn't you call 9-11?" Taehyung asks in mock outrage. "I could have been dead!" 

“I told them to leave you," Taehyung's mom says peeking over Jin's shoulder. "You used to do this all the time as a child, whenever you had a problem you didn't want to deal with. Waiting you out was the only way I could get you to stop. You once laid on the floor of a Toys-R-Us so long that they closed the store with you inside.” 

"Ughhhhh," Taehyung groans, pushing himself to his feet. "Where's Ms. Park?" 

"We told her to head on home. She had some things to take care of for Jimin. Now come on," his mom says, resting a hand on his shoulder. "Tell me what's wrong." 

"I already heard Jin tell you the whole story when I was pretending to be dead," Taehyung pouts. "I fucked up. I'm not destined to marry the most wonderful man in the whole world." 

"Tae. Honey," his mom says, pulling him close and holding him tight. "What was the first thing you told me about Park Jimin?" 

"That he had the most angelic and pure butt that I had ever seen?" 

"That's still... a very confusing statement, sweetie. But no, the other first thing." 

"That he had tiny, delicate, beautiful hands?" 

His mom smiles knowingly at him, reaching into her purse and pulling out a tiny box. "That he had tiny, delicate, beautiful hands." She opens the box. "Maybe a ring size 7?" 

Taehyung's throat constricts abruptly and painfully as he looks down at the small, brilliant diamond. "Is that grandma's ring?" 

"She would want you to have it." 

Taehyung swallows hard and swipes at his eyes. "I don't think... I don't think Jimin's who she expected to wear that ring, mom. Maybe you should save this for one of the cousins."  

"Baby. You were always her favorite. Nobody loved her like you did," his mom assures him, rubbing soothing circles on his back. "And she would have adored Jimin." 

Taehyung sniffs and tentatively takes the box. "He is the perfect human being."  

His mom leans over and gives him a kiss. "He's pretty great. And you're going to be pretty great together. I don’t think I’ve seen two people more in love since grandma and grandpa themselves." 

"Thanks, mom." He twists around to hug her properly, squeezing her tight. He tilts his head then, pulling back abruptly to look her square in the eye. "Wait how did you just happen to have this with you? Were you and Jin anticipating my fuck-up?" 

His mother fixes him with a pitying stare. "You were fake unconscious for half an hour, sweetie. I Ubered home, grabbed her ring, stopped by the dry-cleaner, and made it back in time to see Jin slap you the hell awake." 

 


 

"HEY BABE!" Taehyung shouts as he strolls through their front door. "Are you ready to commence pre-date phase one? You'll never believe what I got at the store! Bacon flavored lube! Now I can literally eat your ass for lunch- and you're recording a video, hello millions of people." 

"Don't worry it's not live," Jimin assures him turning his partially made-up face to greet Taehyung. "Unlike last time. If you're lucky and if Kook is feeling kind, he'll edit that out." 

"I'll bribe him with one of our blurry sex tapes." 

"The one from the carwash?" Jimin asks casually. 

"I was actually thinking that live newscast during the tropical storm." 

"Okay, that one was an accident, and I can't believe they still aired it."  

"How much longer do you have until you're finished?" Taehyung asks, slinging his bag onto the couch.  

Jimin grimaces guiltily. "Probably a while. Sorry, I was having camera issues and I lost track of time. We might have to cut down on pre-date a little bit." 

"That's fine, baby, make that money," Taehyung says, strolling over and bending down to where Jimin is seated so that their faces are inches apart. "Can I kiss you on the mouth or will I fuck something up?" 

"You may kiss me on the mouth," Jimin replies with an eye-crinkling grin, "And thank you for asking." 

With a brief smile, Taehyung leans forward and presses his lips to Jimin's in a sweet peck, sighing contentedly as he does. He goes to pull away after just a moment, but Jimin threads his fingers through Taehyung's hair, locking him in place and licking into his mouth hotly. Taehyung stumbles forward a bit, bent at an awkward angle but eager to continue. He brings his hand up to cup Jimin's cheek, but Jimin slaps him away abruptly.  

"Sweetie, I love you but this fucking contour took me 20 minutes," Jimin mumbles against his lips. "Unless you want to spend 20 minutes on your knees making it up to me, you'd better keep that grubby little hand to yourself." 

Taehyung stares at him, contemplating for a few moments.  

"I see you thinking about it, you brat," Jimin says with a laugh, shoving him away. "Go... do some work or something." 

Taehyung groans. "But I just wanna do you. My beautiful boyfriend." He perks up when he remembers something. "OH! Tell your viewers about the 'boyfriend does my makeup' video that we did! When are you posting that one?" 

Taehyung sees Jimin's eyes widen in the camera's digital screen. "Oh um. It's the strangest thing. That video got deleted somehow." 

"What?? We worked so hard on that!" 

"Yeah. Jeeze. I dunno, Jungkook must have fucked up." 

"What???" Taehyung repeats, unable to hide the outrage in his face. "Well shit. I guess we'll just have to … do it again." 

Jimin blanches. "No! Uh... I mean... Nahh, we don't have to. Wouldn't want to waste your time." 

"What are you talking about. It was totally fun. Remember how I accidentally glued your eyelids open with lash glue? Life Hack. Instant facelift. Accidental genius. You looked amazing. We can do it again tomorrow." 

Jimin breathes a deep and bracing breath. "Kay babe." There are a few seconds during which Jimin seems to be typing frantically on his computer. "OH shit look, I found the video! Right here on my desktop, silly me." 

"Phew. Thank god. I used up all your blue eyeshadow last time. I don't know if I could recreate that look. I did pretty great." 

"You did amazing, sweetie," Jimin assures him, turning back to the camera with a stiff grin. 

“Thanks,” Taehyung grins proudly. “You still good with drinks at The Queen at 7?” 

“Of course,” Jimin assures him. “No better place to spend our big day.” 

“Can you believe it’s already been two years since the day you took my ass virginity?” Taehyung sighs fondly.  

Jimin shakes his head with what seems to be a nervous laugh. “I really can’t.” 

“Our assiversary.” 

“Babe that’s very lame.” 

Taehyung pouts. “Jungkook liked it. Jin was very confused,” he explains as he grabs an apple from the bowl in the kitchen. “2 hours!” he shouts then retreats to his office where he pretends that he's going to work, but what he really ends up doing is staring in awe at the beautiful diamond ring and agonizing over his impending monologue for the better part of two hours.  

He's about halfway through the ode to Jimin's ass when he hears a muffled "Taetae?" from the next room. 

Taehyung almost tumbles off the bed in shock, guilty like's a kid who's been caught doing something naughty. He snaps the ring box shut with a sharp snap and tries to physically calm himself, tucking the box into his jacket pocket.  

"Yes?" He calls as he wrenches open the door and steps into their main room.  

“I'm all done. Will you come take some pictures for my Instagram real quick?” Jimin asks, primping in the camera screen.  

“Yeah of course,” Taehyung says, grabbing the camera from a side table. “Where do you want them?” 

“On the couch?” Jimin suggests, turning around to face him, and Taehyung's mouth feels abruptly dry.  

Two years have done remarkably little to lessen he effect that Park Jimin has on him. Especially when Park Jimin is wearing a luxe peach corset, deadly-looking white heels, and nothing else. 

“The video was pastel pin-up,” he says with a twirl. “What do you think?” 

“Wh… why aren't you wearing pants?” 

Jimin shrugs. “They'll only see me from the waist up in the video.” 

“And the photos?” he asks, dreading the answer.  

“Strategic leg placement.” Jimin replies with a smirk, pushing Taehyung back on the couch and swinging up one leg to pin him there with a white, daggered heel to his chest. “See?” he asks, twisting his body so that all that can be seen in the bare outside of his raised, which obscures the more scandalous bits. Jimin's heel digs in hard to the flesh of his chest, and Taehyung's cock twitches in interest. “Be sure to get the shoes, baby. They’re Louboutins."

Taehyung snaps his mouth closed long enough to snap a tilted, out-of focus photo of Jimin's leg. "We're gonna be late." 

"Not if you do this right," Jimin teases, looking inordinately pleased. "You might even get a treat after." 

Taehyung licks his dry lips and nods wordlessly, bringing the camera back up to his face as Jimin's heel presses a bit more pointedly into his chest. He swallows a groan, but he does manage to pull himself together long enough to get a couple of admittedly great pictures. The angle does wonders for Jimin's smooth, toned leg, and the side-ass? Unprecedented in the human world. 

"Do you like this?" Jimin asks coquettishly, pressing the heel just slightly harder into Taehyung's chest. 

"Huh?" Taehyung asks blankly as he breaths come deep but irregular, the pointed heel digging into his chest when his lungs expand on every inhale. 

"The look." 

Taehyung gulps, feeling his gut stir. "You look unreal." He smiles fondly then. "You always do." 

Jimin looks a little embarrassed, and his only acknowledgement is a sheepish but pleased look. "Get a few more photos for safety?" 

Taehyung nods and looks back into the viewfinder, which is now centered on Jimin's face. It's a strange feeling, seeing him through the lens like that, seeing him how everyone else sees him. It reminds him of the first time Taehyung saw him, years ago. How he, too, had been knocked on his ass.  

And it dawns on him then, really for the first time despite how much they've talked about it, that he's going to be marrying this man. This man who still manages to give him butterflies, who still stays up talking to him about nothing and everything late into the night, who still looks at him like it's the first time, even after all this time. And the gravity of it hits him that, god-willing, this will be his every day for the rest of forever.  

"Tae?" Jimin's expression suddenly morphs into one of worry through the viewfinder. Taehyung realizes then that his eyes feel a little wet and that he's biting his lip in an attempt to keep it together. Jimin withdraws his foot immediately and falls to his knees next to the couch. "Shit, did I actually hurt you?" 

Taehyung gives a watery little laugh as Jimin tugs up his shirt to inspect the heel mark there. "You didn't hurt me." 

Jimin rolls his eyes as his hands smooth frantically over the indent in Taehyung's skin. "You're fucking crying! What have I said about this? You have to tell me when something is actually hurting you." 

"Jimin, chill. I'm not crying because I'm hurt," Taehyung smiles, gently grabbing Jimin's hands in his own to rest them on his chest. "I'm just really happy to have you. That's all."

"You..." Jimin starts, hands going limp in Taehyung's. "Fucking dork. Going all tender in the middle of what was supposed to be the start of some very kinky sex."

Taehyung laughs again, releasing Jimin's hands only to reach up and reverantly drag his fingers across Jimin's silky cheek, just barely skimming the surface so as not to ruin his makeup. 

“You’re so lovely,” Taehyung tells him fondly, swiping his thumb lightly over Jimin's cheekbone.  

Jimin smiles, slyly climbing up on the couch so that he’s fully on top of Taehyung, their bodies pressed together. “Is that the only reason you love me? I’m lovely?” 

Taehyung shakes his head with a hint of a fond smile as he looks up at him. “It’s just a perk.” 

Jimin's makeup covers most of his blush, but the tips of his ears glow bright pink. “I love you.” 

He leans down then to press a sweet kiss to Taehyung’s lips, and Taehyung stiffens, pulling away as much as he is able when he’s reclined in the couch. “Shit, you're gonna ruin your lipstick!” 

Jimin just slots their legs together as he laughs, and tinkling bells ring somewhere in heaven. He grabs Taehyung’s hand and guides it to his face so that his thumb presses against Jimin's cherry-red bottom lip, and he drags it down so that Jimin's skin smears with bright red.  “Then ruin it.” 

There’s something in ruining a perfect thing, in taking the meticulous coat of red and smudging it messily onto a methodically made up face and making it flawed. But he’s always liked Jimin best imperfect, has always loved the asymmetry of his eyes, the slightly crooked front tooth, the brattish pout of his lip when he feels like people aren’t listening to him. It reminds him that Jimin's real, and he’s here, and he’s Taehyung’s.  

He watches in wonder as the garish red bleeds into the honeyed tan of Jimin's and becomes pink, watches Jimin's bottom lip hang open only just, watches his hooded eyes become hooded and Taehyung more firmly grips his chin. 

Then he's pulling him forward and pressing their lips together, feeling the slide of the lipstick and the warmth of Jimin's mouth on his, and he can’t imagine the mess they’re making but he honestly can’t be bothered to care. 

It happens from time to time, the two of them getting so absolutely wrapped up in each other that time, space, and social obligations cease to exist, and Taehyung loves nothing more than the feeling of just disappearing into them. He'll never tire of swallowing down Jimin's moans as their lips slide together, never tire of the feeling of his small hands pressed up against Taehyung’s chest, never tire of the way that Jimin always smells slightly sweeter when he’s in drag, when he’s made up and sprayed and primped but he can still detect that essential scent that is Jimin lingering beneath. 

It's one of those times when Jimin is very warm and very pliant, when he dissolves into Taehyung a little more with every kiss and whines very softly when Taehyung so much as hints at pulling away. When they're eager and fond and sloppy, when they just want to touch and hold and feel and they don't much care how they do it.  

It's how they end up desperately jerking each other off, Jimin straddling Taehyung's lap and bracing his forehead against Taehyung's shoulder as he whimpers between rough breaths. He looks wrecked, mouth stained a blurred red, the harsh lines of his eyeliner smudged soft with sweat, and as he sinks his teeth into Taehyung's shoulder to muffle a broken cry as he cums hard over his fist.

His own hand stills on Taehyung’s still-hard cock momentarily as he recovers, looking fucked out and a little disoriented, but then he’s sliding off the couch to his knees, grabbing Taehyung's legs to pivot them so that Jimin can kneel between his legs. Without hesitation, he leans forward and sinks his mouth down on Taehyung’s cock, taking as much as he can, mouth so full that it stretches the corners of his lips taut. 

Taehyung threads his fingers through Jimin's hair, comforting, not demanding, and sits very still as Jimin works over Taehyung’s cock with his mouth and his hands.  

"Fuck," Taehyung moans when Jimin does something remarkable with his tongue. "C-coming." 

Jimin pulls off, opening his red-stained mouth as he continues to jerk Taehyung off with his soft hands. It’s an utterly debauched image, and Taehyung cums hard, some of his release landing on Jimin’s tongue and the rest of it painting his face and adding to the mess.

Taehyung's chest heaves as he drags Jimin back up onto the couch, pulling him into his side so that their sweaty limbs tangle together.  

They lay there for a few minutes, until Taehyung leans down to kiss his face. Jimin turns his face away even as he wriggles even closer into the side of Taehyung's body. "Don't look at me, I'm a mess."

Taehyung looks at him fondly, swiping a bit of cum on his cheek and wiping it on his own shirt. “Still fucking lovely.” 

“Sap," Jimin teases him, pecking his lips. "Shit, I bet we're really late,” he laments, wiping a bit more cum off us face as he moves to get up, but Taehyung pulls him on top of him and wraps his limbs around him like a monkey.  

“We have so much time.” 

“It’s 6:53pm,” Jimin informs him, looking at the wall clock.  

“Shit!” Taehyung says, releasing his death grip and pushing Jimin off of him. “We’re really late!” 

"Go get the shower started," Jimin tells him, patting Taehyung's chest and getting to his feet. "I just need to send the video footage to Kook." 

"Aye Aye Cap'n," Taehyung agrees, reluctantly sitting up.  

"Oops," Jimin says as he sits down in front of his computer setup. He looks back impishly at Taehyung. "I left the camera recording." 

Taehyung pauses, looking over his shoulder and quirking an eyebrow. "Something tells me you're going to send it anyway." 

Jimin dramatically clicks the mouse. "Correct." A loud buzzing from the corner table catches their attention then. "Jesus, will you pick up your phone? It's been buzzing off the hook for the last 20 minutes." 

Taehyung's stomach drops as he lunges for his phone. 

23 missed calls.  

"Holy mother fucker, Jin's gonna kill me," he groans. 

Jimin blanches as his own phone starts buzzing, and he picks it up with a look of mild dread. "You think you're dead? Jeon Jungkook is going to have my ass for dinner." 

"First of all, why? Second of all, that sounds like a delicious meal." 

"Pick up your damn phone, Tae!" 

"Right." He taps accept with a mild sense of dread. "Heyyyy brother." 

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry," Jimin apologizes immediately into his phone upon answering.  

"Why the fuck haven't you been answering your goddamn phone?" Jin demands, and he sounds harried.  

"I'm sorry, I know we're late, but I am currently as we speak, tucking my dick back into my pants." He slides on his jacket, making sure that the ring box is still in position. 

"It's not that." Jin says, and he hears shouting and music in the background. “We have company." 

"Um. What?" Taehyung asks, glancing at Jimin, whose brows are similarly furrowed as he murmurs into the phone.  

"Namjoon and Jungkook, Tae. Namjoon and Jungkook are here." 

"Who?" Jimin hisses into the phone, turning his body away from Taehyung. 

Taehyung swallows hard. "They're... what?" 

"Here. At The Queen. On the roof. With a mariachi band and every flower known to man." 

Taehyung laughs skeptically. "You mean the things we brought to The Queen." 

"No, Tae." Jin says significantly. "They brought their own." 

"What do you mean they aren't ours?" Jimin asks, plopping down weakly onto the couch.  

"Kim Taehyung, I need you to tell me that you and Park Jimin did not plan to propose to each other in the exact same way on the exact same day," Jin pleads into the phone. 

"I..." Taehyung starts, eyes settling on Jimin, who is running his fingers through his hair in the way that he does when he's nervous. 

"Much LESS," Jin continues, "On the day that Jungkook is referring to as your assiversary which I had legitimately hoped and prayed was a drunken slur on your part." There's a pause. "Shit, Tae, are you with him?? Jungkook is on the phone with him like right now."  

Taehyung doesn't realize his eyes are watering until he looks up at Jimin and feels the damp coolness at his eyes.  

"He's..." Jimin mumbles numbly, eyes finding Taehyung's across the room, and the connection thrums through him like a gentle electric current. 

"Um," Taehyung utters, throat tight for the second time today. 

“Oh,” Jimin says, small rectangular eyebrows raised in shock. 

“I have to go," Taehyung tells Jin carefully, his tongue feeling very heavy and dry in his mouth. 

"No, Tae! What do we do with two fucking mariachi bands? Tae? Tae!" 

The call disconnects with a quiet beep, Taehyung's hand falling limply to his side as he tries to blink away the wetness in his eyes. Taehyung shifts his weight, subtly reaching into his jacket pocket, fingers fumbling around the velvet box. 

Jimin's mouth is still parted in mild shock as he continues to listen to Jungkook, but his eyes never leave Taehyung's.

"Ok,” Jimin mutters into the phone, and Taehyung can hear several people shouting on the other side. Jimin doesn’t blink as he lowers the phone from his ear and hangs up on Jungkook. He sniffs gently as he fidgets with it.  

Silence is an uncommon state in their home. For two years, the rooms have echoed with the sound of chatting or music or cooking or shouting or typing. And there's never been an occasion when they don’t have something to say. They bicker, they tease, they chat, they love, that’s just the way they are. And so Taehyung doesn’t really know what to do with silence, not when Jimin is staring at him with an unreadable expression, letting the room steep in a thick, tangible quiet. And there’s so much to say, everything to say, but there doesn’t seem to be a way to say it, doesn't seem to be a place to even start. 

Taehyung nearly startles when Jimin finally looks down, breaking their eye contact as he slowly reaches into the end-table drawer and pulls out a small box. He clears his throat before pushing himself to his feet and taking several steps towards Taehyung, fingers visibly trembling around the box in his grasp. 

When Jimin's eyes flit upwards and lock with his again, they’re sparkling and swimming with a thousand unsaid things, all of those questions and answers that are buried in the opaque silence, and the world dangles on a gossamer thread.  

He smiles.