Taehyung is nothing if not loving. He has the ability to captivate people with his multitude of charms, from his winning grin and easy going attitude to his optimistic, sweet disposition. But even he has his limitations--yes. He can be elusive, in some aspects, never really revealing his true emotions--having been hurt one too many times has left him feeling just a touch jaded. He’s okay with it, for the most part, having grown up in a small town on a small farm with his grandparents filling him to the brim with acceptance and compassion.
He had the stars watching over him, shining bright above him, protecting him like his own personal army. The sun and the moon and the stars all kept him company; and he was just a boy with golden, glowing skin, in love with absorbing the knowledge of an endless universe. They taught him things, his grandparents did. Things about kindness and vulnerability--things about life and growing and becoming the person you want to be.
So no matter how many times Taehyung was pushed to the ground, punched, broken--no matter how many times he had his glasses smashed, was shoved in his school’s hallways, or humiliated in his classes, ridiculed for being obsessed with space, with the stars, with life. Some people just didn’t get him, and Taehyung always smiled through it.
No matter what.
Except now, when his grandpa is looking at him through glassy eyes, a sad smile gracing his old, wrinkly features as he leans in to give his grandson one final goodbye, Taehyung can’t smile. It’s impossible to when the person who raised him is standing in front of him sending him off to reality. They stand at the end of the platform, listening to the chaos of the train station around them with melancholic faces. Taehyung doesn’t want to go, not really. He wishes he could get his degree here, in his own town, but he can’t. Not when there’s a whole world out there to be explored, to be discovered.
“Don’t forget to call,” his grandpa says, one parting goodbye.
Taehyung shakes his head. “I’ll call you every day, if I’m not drowning in coursework.”
His grandfather chuckles in response. “You’ll be fine. You always have been smart, you know.”
“Let’s hope so,” Taehyung replies with a grimace, watching the train come to a stop before him. He tilts his head, grabbing his luggage. “I’ve gotta go now,” he chokes down the cry threatening to break through his lips, “love you.”
His grandfather nods at him, watching as Taehyung pulls away, onto greater things. Taehyung steps on the train, his steps long and deliberate.
He’s going to be a new person, redefined.
Taehyung doesn’t know what to make of it; he figures it’s better than constantly being bullied in a town where everyone knew his name, where he was unable to escape from the vicious rumors. Unable to escape from the names they’d call him, the things other kids and teenagers would say when they’d throw him to the ground, the muddy bottoms of their soles pressed against his tear-stained cheeks. look at his skin--it’s like, shiny and gold. he’s not human, i swear he’s like--from another planet. he probably is an alien. Taehyung thinks back, his breaths coming in quicker as he tries to push down the memories. maybe we should dissect him. Taehyung gasps, shaking his head. College is definitely better, he decides. Even if it is noticeably much lonelier.
He’s by no means wealthy, but his grandpa had some investments Taehyung isn’t entirely aware of-- a savings account just for Taehyung when he’d finally gone off to college, a little something for you future, his grandfather would say. And with the money saved up over the years, Taehyung was able to live by himself just a few minutes off campus, the bustle of the city keeping him awake through the nights as he hammers away at papers and reports.
It’s not difficult making friends in college, and Taehyung knows he can be likeable. But he’s never really gotten close to people, keeping a broad selection of acquaintances burning in his back pocket if he ever feels too isolated, and a handful of close friends on speed dial. He doesn’t mind it that way, especially now that he’s too busy writing up his senior thesis, spending more hours cooped up in lab kissing his professors’ asses to even think about his social life.
His phone buzzes in his pocket as one of his Physics professors talks to him about gravitational pull, too engrossed in his subject to even notice Taehyung chancing a glance at his phone.
Joon-hyung 3:41 pm
are you coming tonight?
we’ve got the van packed up and ready
Taehyung nearly forgot, he looks up at his professor--still standing with his back turned, writing a long string of numbers on the board that’s definitely going to be a bitch for Taehyung to decipher later--before he’s quickly typing back.
got lab :((((
go on without me i’ll drive up n meet you guys tonight.
He slips his phone away just as his professor turns back to him, smiling at him unknowingly. Taehyung squints his eyes at the numbers on the board, nodding his head like he actually fucking understands what the hell his professor’s been saying the whole time. But even before Namjoon texted him, he’d been kind of lost.
“So.” he’s almost afraid to ask, but he does anyway, because he’s Kim Taehyung and quite frankly, he has no shame. “What’s that equation for again, professor?”
The smile on the professor’s face drops as Taehyung sends him an unabashed shiteating grin.
When he gets home, he quickly packs his things, checking the time on his watch. It’s only seven, not too late, he can definitely drive there and make it in time for the meteor shower, and believe him, he wouldn’t miss that for the world. It’s not that he’s been neglecting his friends, it’s just that he’s found himself completely bombarded.
He’s bad at balancing things, unlike Namjoon who’s working on his third mini album, writing his dissertation and working on his novel all while running his fucking poetry blog. Talent. That’s talent that Taehyung does not have.
He’s not like Jungkook either, who keeps his entire schedule on a to-do list. He’s tried to get Taehyung to adopt his system, but it lasted a good half hour before Taehyung got side tracked.
Yoongi just does things at his own pace, it’s a miracle he’s capable of getting anything done with the amount of hours he spends in the day just lazing around, but he manages perfectly well.
Taehyung likes to think his way of managing things is a mix of Yoongi’s and Jungkook’s: moving at his own pace while haphazardly crossing things off his lists one by one. Except his list of things he has to get done is a mile long, and he can’t halfass his school work when he’s got a scholarship to uphold; which is why he doesn’t feel too guilty that he’s driving up to the camp site to meet with his friends just a few hours late.
The sun slowly sets across the horizon as Taehyung embarks on his journey into the wilderness alone. Minutes pass when he realizes that he’s been too distracted by the same homogenous scenery in the distance, a cacophony of colors lining the sky as the sun dips lower and lower with each passing minute. Half of him wants to stop, capture the moment that he rarely gets to appreciate in his hectic college life, but he remembers he has places to get to and people to see and suddenly he’s feeling a little bit like life might just be going too fast, every moment fleeting, and he just can’t keep up. He reluctantly tears his eyes away from the view and starts up his GPS, listening to the monotone voice from his app direct him for a few hours, eyes trained on the empty road ahead of him. Taehyung feels exhaustion tug at him, but he’s excited; he and his friends (mostly just him and Namjoon) have been looking forward to the meteor shower (again, mostly just him and Namjoon) and he thinks about how nice it’ll be with just him and his closest friends under the stars roasting marshmallows and cooking meat on Jungkook’s portable grill. And right when he realizes that none of them are good at cooking-- his signal cuts out. Fuck, he’d completely forgotten about that. He swears he’s grown too accustomed to having a constant wifi source. Taehyung has taken it for granted and now he’s paying the price.
Taehyung hums to himself, trying not to worry as he recalls where Namjoon said they’d be. He was a few hours into his drive, surely he’ll figure it out eventually. He looks down at his gas tank, gauging how long he can last just driving around and thinks that maybe taking the train would have been a better idea. But he can’t go back now.
He drives in silence, slowing down anytime he sees an exit that could potentially be his. Taehyung feels his eyes droop, the effects of staying up for far too long finally hitting him. He’s exhausted and alone and he has nothing to distract him. He reaches over his console to feel around for his CD case (yes, he still uses CDs). Yoongi had made him a mixtape for situations like these and it’s around his glove compartment somewhere, he swears, but he can’t really find it with his hands on the wheel.
Taehyung looks around on the road. No one’s around. Okayyy, lemme just reach on over-- Taehyung hums to himself, leaning over the console with one hand, eyes darting back and forth between the glove compartment. He pulls the latch open, rummaging through it. And then he looks up to see a scantily clad man walking in the middle of the road, incredibly pale with deep, haunting eyes. Taehyung’s own eyes widen as he lets out a ear-piercing shriek, veering to the left quickly. Everything happens too quickly; his entire body thrusts forward from the impact, his seatbelt locking his chest in place while the airbag discharges. Taehyung’s face collides into it, and for a moment he can barely breathe. His body is sore, his head pounding as he cracks his shut eyes open.
He feels too faint to move, but his engine starts to smoke and he’s still not sure if he killed a man. He shakily unbuckles his seatbelt and pushes himself out of the car with what’s left of his strength. Taehyung rolls out with a groan, his vision is blurry, completely blurry. He squints his eyes, trying to make out any sign of the man in the road, when he sees the silhouette approaching him.
“H-Hello?” Taehyung greets with a nervous stutter. The man crouches down next to him, Taehyung’s heart beats erratically in his chest. Oh my god, am I going to die? As the stranger leans in close to him, and Taehyung finally makes out a face. His features are soft, with plump, round lips that curve into a smile, his shockingly gray eyes crescenting-- he reminds Taehyung a lot of the moon. Taehyung smiles back and then the man reaches out to push the soft pad of his finger against Taehyung’s forehead.
And the last thought Taehyung has before he’s pulled into darkness is the stranger’s eerily beautiful smile.
When he wakes up, he’s back in his bed, his room is immaculate, like he’d just moved in. How’d he get home last night? All he remembers is wrenching his steering wheel to the left, desperately trying not to manslaughter a pedestrian. The drive home would have taken at least five hours. Taehyung blinks sleep away, his throat feeling dry, and then he steps out of his bed. Everything feels so strange. There’s a dull pounding in his head that he can’t shake off. He walks toward his bathroom to find the same situation--everything completely sparklingly new.
Taehyung feels sick to his stomach.
He brushes his teeth and gets ready regardless, then walks over to his phone. He immediately calls Namjoon and waits for the line to ring.
“Hey Taehyung, what’s up?” Namjoon says, his voice coming out even, like he’s not even upset that Taehyung flaked on him yesterday.
Taehyung runs his fingers through his hair, feeling a bump on the side of his head. God, it stings. He winces, before he’s pushing words out of his mouth. “Hi, hyung,” he grimaces, walking back into the bathroom to look at his bruise, “I’m sorry I didn’t show up last night for the meteor shower, I’m really bummed I couldn’t make it.”
“What? Was there another meteor shower we were supposed to go to?”
“No,” Taehyung says slowly. “There was only one… that we planned for months. And I didn’t show up because--”
Namjoon sighs through the line. “Listen, Tae, I’d love to play games with you any other day, but I’m kind of busy.”
“So you are mad that I didn’t show up.”
“Taehyung. You showed up, we watched the meteor shower, and we all left. You even got ice cream on your way back.”
Taehyung freezes completely. He nearly drops his phone, and he feels his entire body begin to shake. He looks down at the date on his phone with eyes as wide as saucers, ignoring Namjoon’s annoyed voice on the other end asking if he’s okay. “Taehyung? Hello? Do you really need me to recount everything that happened to you last week?”
A week has passed since the meteor shower.
An entire week.
And Taehyung doesn’t remember a single thing.
“What do you mean you don’t remember anything?” Yoongi asks him with a sigh. “You literally came over and ate everything in our fridge yesterday.”
Taehyung’s lips wobble, his eyes going wide with fear. “Hyung, I’m being serious, okay? I literally can’t remember anything!” He grips at his hair, unshed tears clouding his vision. “What the fuck happened to me?”
“Well shit,” Yoongi looks on, concerned at how serious the younger is. “What was the last thing you remember doing?”
Taehyung slumps against the wooden chair of the cafe, looking out the window to see the passersby.
“I was driving to meet you guys so we could watch the meteor shower, then I…” he pauses, thinking carefully before he turns back to Yoongi, “I saw a guy standing in the middle of the highway, and he wasn’t moving, he was just watching me drive toward him!” Taehyung exclaims, piecing his memories back together. “So, I turned my wheel super fast so I wouldn’t hit him, and my car crashed into a ditch and everything!”
Then suddenly, something clicks in his head. He feels a rush of cold air pass through him and suddenly can’t speak. He looks at Yoongi with panic clear in his eyes.
His hyung is yelling something at him, but he can’t hear him.
Taehyung feels like he’s being drowned.
He tries to scream for help, but it feels like the weight of the world is being pressed onto him, like he’s about to be flattened. He closes his eyes, and recollects the last moments he remembers after his crash and sees a man’s face. Beautiful. Ethereal. Otherworldly. He opens his eyes, and turns his head to look out the window of the cafe. Taehyung is breathing again, but his heart nearly stops. Across the street, someone is staring back at him, watching him, with gray, gray eyes.
“Taehyung!” Yoongi snaps his attention back, his hands gripping at Taehyung’s wrists. “Are you alright? What just happened?”
Taehyung calms himself down, breathing deeply, then his eyes flit back to the spot the man was standing moments ago.
“I’m...I’m okay.” Taehyung feels his body relax, just a little bit. “I think I just had a panic attack or something... I don’t know.” Taehyung knows that wasn’t a panic attack. And he’s fairly certain it has something to do with that stranger from last week ( last week, he blanches. Jesus, what happened?).
He looks down at his cup of coffee, half of it spilled across the table. Yoongi quickly wipes it up.
“I didn’t even know you had anxiety.”
“It comes in waves,” Taehyung shrugs. “That hasn’t really happened since I was younger,” he admits, unashamed.
Yoongi stares at him assessingly. “Are you sure you’re okay?”
“So, the last thing you remember was crashing, right? What happened to the guy you saw?”
Taehyung shakes his head, his fingers trembling in his lap. “I don’t know.”
He doesn’t think he wants to tell Yoongi what he saw that night.
Taehyung doesn’t really know what to do in this situation, he really doesn’t. He paces around his room, and then he stops, noticing some of the objects on his shelf are reorganized in various ways, but he’s hasn’t touched them since regaining consciousness.
He lets out an annoyed huff. Whoever that man is, he’s really fucking with Taehyung’s mind. He thanks god that none of his professors take attendance, but he’ll definitely have to beg his classmates to send him the notes for a week’s worth of assignments in each of his classes. He decides to focus on getting caught up with his Physics labs first, opening his laptop to look at the assignments on his class’ schedule.
Except something strangely wonderful has happened. But it’s mostly startling, considering the fact that all of his assignments for the next month are done. He checks the rest of his classes, only to find the same phenomenon over again.
Taehyung stares at his screen blankly. Even the things they’ve yet to cover in his seminars are completely finished.
“You’re fucking kidding me,” he says breathlessly.
Then Taehyung feels the cold air breeze through him. He shivers, about to turn around to close his window when he hears a soft voice whispering.
“I thought you would appreciate it.”
Taehyung whips around to look at the man, the same man who’d been plaguing his thoughts all day. “Hello there, human,” he giggles with the small wave of his tiny hand. To be frank, his voice sounds like fucking warmth and fields of flowers blooming and sunshine and Taehyung doesn’t know how to feel about it because this man terrifies him.
“Human?” Taehyung wheezes, eyes twitching in confusion as he lets out a shaky breath. “How are you in my apartment? Why are you in my apartment?”
The man bites down on his lip, and he has the gall to look a little sheepish, before he pops his lips open. His hands tangle together as he contemplates his words.
“Well, that’s a funny story,” he starts with an apprehensive grin. “I completely didn’t mean to, but I’ve kind of... been you for the past week.” His eyes blow wide open as he moves toward Taehyung. Taehyung backs into his desk as the man comes closer, inspecting him. “I’m sorry. You passed out when you almost hit me with your automotive vehicle and I panicked because you wouldn’t wake up?”
The man tries to explain, wincing a little. “I... may or may not have looked into your memories--which is why you might be experiencing pain in the back of your head, sorry-- so I drove us to the meteor shower, where I originally crash landed, so your friends wouldn’t be suspicious. But then, you, uh. You didn’t awaken. So I just...kept pretending to be you,” he says simply, sitting down on Taehyung’s bed with his hands joined together in his lap, like everything he just said made complete sense.
And it’s then that Taehyung’s eyes rake over the man’s body, he notices the man’s skin tone--pale, sickly pale, almost gray-purplish undertones. His hair is silvery-gray as well as his eyes. Taehyung gulps, trying to think of a possible explanation. “When you say...you pretended to be me…?”
He hums. “I shifted, of course.”
“Yes,” he nods his head excitedly. “Is that not what you humans do?”
Taehyung pauses, eyeing Jimin strangely. “Define ‘human.’”
The man actually whips out a device, a holographic screen with lines of indecipherable code written on it. Taehyung stares at the man in shock.
“Ah, okay. Here, I found a definition from a place you’re familiar with, perhaps?” He recites the words as his eyes trace over the foreign language, almost robotically, “‘Human: A member of the species homosapiens; a human being. A member of any of the extinct species of the genus homo, such as homo erectus or homo habilis, that are considered ancestral or closely related to modern humans.’”
“I would laugh about the amount of time you said the word ‘homo’ but I’m too shook to even joke about it,” Taehyung breathes out.
The man squints his eyes, mouthing the word ‘shook’ before he’s typing it onto the holographic screen. Taehyung watches various memes come up in front of the stranger before he’s shaking his head.
“Okay,” he says with finality. “Okay, so you’re obviously not from around here.” He lets out a breathless, nervous chuckle. “So who are you and where are you from and why are you here with me?”
Taehyung is honestly amazed that he could come up with words to say, his body trembling as he stares at the man.
The alien (alien? god, Taehyung can’t believe he’s finally meeting an extraterrestrial being under these circumstances), shuts off his holographic screen with the flick of his wrist. A smile blossoms on his face and his cheeks are tinted a light lavender that Taehyung finds surprisingly pretty.
“My name is Jimin, I’m from Sector AR-1013 of the Andromeda Galaxy!” He says brightly. “We’re neighbors!”
“W-what?” Taehyung sputters.
Jimin stills, confused. “Andromeda? And Via Lactea or the Milky Way? Do you not know that we’re neighboring galaxies…?”
Taehyung makes a noise of understanding. “Yes, I get that, but that doesn’t explain why you’re in my apartment. Or... like on this planet? Do you not understand the gravity of this situation? Even if you are an alien, which, I admit, at this point it’s pretty fucking convincing--”
Taehyung watches Jimin’s mouth twist into a pout, forming the word ‘fucking’ with his thick lips before he’s whipping out his translation device again. Taehyung doesn’t have time to stop him when various pornographic images pop up on his holographic screen, Jimin’s eyes widening with intrigue, his mouth falling open at the suggestive images in front of him. Taehyung flicks Jimin’s hand, earning himself a startled squeak in response.
“Even if you are from Sector... whatever, why? What happened? How did you get here? Why are you so far from home?”
Jimin looks at him, annoyance clear in his expression. He looks a little more guarded now as waves away the screen. “It’s Sector AR-1013,” he corrects, his voice venomous. “and that’s none of your business.”
Taehyung tuts. “Uh, it is my business when you steal my life for a week and shapeshift into some freaky alien version of me.”
“I did all your stupid level one course work, you should be thanking me!” Jimin puts his hands on his hips, rolling his eyes, “Sproutlings on my planet could do that. Stop acting like you neanderthals ever evolved past primates.”
Hey! His planet is shitty and people on Earth can be idiots, but only he gets to talk shit about it.
“Well fuck!” Offended, he yells, “If your planet is so great, why don’t you just go back to it?”
“I can’t!” Jimin shouts back at him.
Taehyung scoffs, “Oh, really? It’s a wonder they didn’t kick you off sooner, with your pretentious attitude.”
Jimin goes stock still, face contorting with genuine hurt. Taehyung doesn’t feel guilty. He doesn’t, but he tries to soften his voice, easing off the frustration.
“Why are you here , Jimin?”
Jimin’s face turns a deep, purplish hue, and it looks a lot like shame was smeared across his skin.
“I was exiled,” his words come out reluctantly.
Taehyung’s body relaxes. “Oh.”
Jimin crosses his arms over his chest, probably in defiance. He looks away from Taehyung.
“I’m sorry for inconveniencing you.” Taehyung thinks he doesn’t sound all too apologetic. “I can return to my ship and take shelter elsewhere.”
When Jimin turns toward his window, walking quickly toward his exit, Taehyung feels a surge of overwhelming guilt pool in his gut. Jimin is halfway through the window--on the sixth floor-- when Taehyung realizes how far of a drop Jimin would be falling.
And before he knows it, his hand is on Jimin’s wrist, like a plea. “What are you doing?” He hisses. “You’ll fall.”
Jimin rips his wrist from Taehyung’s grasp and steps onto nothing. Nothing. Jimin is suspended in the air, tossing Taehyung pointed look, completely unamused.
Taehyung takes a mental step back. Jimin has a reason to be here; maybe he doesn’t necessarily know why Jimin was exiled, but he doesn’t seem dangerous, and Taehyung has always considered himself to be an impeccable judge of character. Jimin looks...Jimin looks just as exhausted as Taehyung does, and Taehyung thinks he should probably have some semblance of sympathy.
His chest sinks a little when he sees the expression on the alien, his grip going slack as he slumps his shoulders.
“That was stupid of me,” Taehyung shakes his head. “My first interaction with another lifeform from space and I’ve already made an ass of myself.” Jimin quirks a brow, before Taehyung laughs bitterly. “I know more than anyone what it’s like to feel isolated and unwanted, so Jimin, I’m sorry, really.” And when he sees the confusion on Jimin’s face morphing into pleasant shock, Taehyung laughs. “I’m Kim Taehyung.”
Jimin mouths his name, instinctively reaching for his translation device before stopping himself, his lips forming a distrustful grimace.
“Sorry, I know I was being mean... just. This is new to me, okay. I didn’t intend to be rude to you, but things were just weird today. I know it's not your fault, you don't really know what's going on either, and it must be difficult being away from your home planet. But, if it’s any consolation, you’re welcome to stay here for the time being. At least until you settle in. Yeah.”
Jimin’s expression turns gentle. “I understand. Sorry for,” he pauses searching his thoughts, “‘freaking you out’? I didn’t realize humans would pass out for so long after I put them to sleep.”
Taehyung shakes his head. “We’re fragile creatures with glass bones and paper skin.”
Jimin’s eyes widen, “Really? I could have sworn it was calcium and carbon amongst other things--”
“That was a joke, Jimin.”
Jimin makes a face of understanding, before he shuffles his feet. “So… you’ll let me stay here? At least until I repair my ship?” His eyes are giant and pleading and Taehyung is weak for cute things-- and Jimin is absolutely the cutest thing he’s ever set his eyes on.
Taehyung pushes those thoughts away. “If you’re staying here, I only have a few conditions,” he sighs. “One-- don’t knock me out like you did the first time I saw you.” He winces, recalling the incident earlier that afternoon, “And two-- don’t do that freaky pressure thing that you did when you saw me at the cafe. I like, I couldn’t move. I really didn’t like that.”
“Pressure?” Jimin looks taken aback, eyebrows scrunching together in contemplation when Taehyung nods in response. Jimin looks at him, panicked, and then his body suddenly flush against Taehyung’s as he pulls him close. “May I feel you?”
Taehyung blushes at the distance between them, or lack thereof. “Well, you kinda already are, so...”
Jimin runs his hands through his hair, stopping at the bump on Taehyung’s head. “This might sting,” he whispers against Taehyung’s ear. Taehyung lets out an involuntary whimper, shivering against Jimin.
His hands instinctively wrap around Jimin’s middle as Jimin tugs at his hair. “It hurts,” Taehyung jerks back, feeling Jimin’s prodding at his injury with deft fingers.
Jimin shushes him, cooing a little as he rubs Taehyung’s back with his free hand. “I just need to detach the tracking device.”
Jimin stays silent, pinching sharply with his fingertips before pulling out the device in one swift motion. It’s a shard-like thing, with lines ringing around its surface. Jimin examines it, before he turns to Taehyung. “The signal is weak, so they’re a few days behind. Do you have any experience with pyrotechnics, Kim Taehyung?”
“No,” Taehyung says slowly (he recalls the times he and Jungkook tried to make sparklers back in one of their chemistry labs while their professor was on a leave of absence, but he’s pretty sure that doesn’t count), “but I have a barbecue lighter.”
Jimin raises a brow. “That should suffice.”
Taehyung maneuvers his way into his kitchen nervously in search of his lighter and Jimin immediately sets the shard aflame, the fire touching his pale skin. He doesn’t flinch, it puts itself out on contact with Jimin.
“Who’s tracking me?” Taehyung asks. Jimin bites his lip, shaking his head.
“It’s...well, you wouldn’t know them.”
“No shit, I wouldn’t know them. You’re from a different planet .”
Jimin sighs. “They’re not tracking you, they’re probably tracking me. And they’re not going to anymore so let’s not talk about it.”
With a sigh, Taehyung figures it must be a bit too much to pry out of Jimin tonight. The alien looks completely exhausted, so Taehyung relents. He gestures for Jimin to follow him and pulls out the blow up mattress from under his bed. “You can take my bed for tonight, just because you look really tired.”
“What do I need the bed for?” Jimin asks, looking at Taehyung with excited eyes.
“To sleep...?” Taehyung asks.
“Oh. Right! Humans have a circadian rhythm, I almost forgot.”
“Not necessarily. We sleep when we want to and only then. But it’s more for pleasure purposes rather than a physical need.”
Taehyung knows a thing or two about physical needs, and this is usually the part where he cracks a crude joke in front of someone cute he just met, but he refrains, almost positive it would be lost on Jimin.
“I thought you were enjoying being knocked out for so long, because I read that typical humans get five to eight hours of sleep a night? I figured you just wanted to take a vacation,” he trails off, looking around Taehyung’s semi-cluttered apartment. “Don’t most humans cohabitate as well? Where is the rest of your human pack? Or--was that offensive?” Jimin asks, a small gasp on his lips as he lifts his fingers up to his mouth. “Do you have... a partner?”
Taehyung raises a brow, his lips curving upward as his eyes trace over Jimin’s worried expression. “It’s not offensive,” Taehyung shakes his head. “Don’t have a partner and most of my family is...well they’ve passed on, I guess. I don’t really know what happened to them, if I’m being honest. I was raised by my grandparents and it’s always been somewhat of a touchy subject for them.”
Jimin nods his head, understandingly. “On my planet, when a sproutling reaches a certain age, they’re forcibly separated from their roots. We tend not to keep in contact, but some do if the emotional bond established with one’s roots is strong enough.”
Taehyung gestures to his bed, before he’s walking to his closet to pick out a few fresh clothes for Jimin. Jimin looks rather immaculate, but there’s something very strange about his garb; completely white, plain clothing draping over him, as if by exiling him to the void of space, his planet was trying to purify him. It rubs Taehyung the wrong way.
“Did you ever, like, try to get in contact with your family--er, roots, again?”
“My roots are different from normal sprouts, you could say.” Jimin sits on Taehyung’s bed, kicking his feet lightly. His eyes seem far away like his gaze is still hundreds of billions of lightyears away back in a different galaxy, his galaxy. “My existence is a little bit... unconventional.”
Taehyung doesn’t press any further, maybe he’ll save it for another time. He nods at Jimin, a small reassuring smile resting on his lips. “I guess we have that in common then.”
“I guess we do,” Jimin replies after a beat, looking up at Taehyung with tired eyes.
Taehyung figures that should be enough. He nods at Jimin before he’s slowly leaving his room. “You know, Taehyung, for a human, you’re awfully golden.”
“Is that a compliment?”
“An observation,” Jimin says thoughtfully. Taehyung raises a brow, before shutting the door closed behind him.
“Hey.” It’s a cloudy whisper in his ears, but he feels the voice everywhere--like it’s engulfing him. “Taehyung,” the voice comes again, this time clearer. “Wake up, the sun is out.”
Taehyung cracks his eyes open, squinting, feeling the soreness of his back against his too-firm couch. “What? What’s going on?” He blinks, seeing Jimin peering at him from over the couch. The sun is barely rising, it’s probably six in the morning, way too early to function.
But Jimin is looking at him excitedly, and he figures he should probably be showing Jimin more positive aspects of life on Earth. He shuts his eyes with a resigned sigh and then he’s sitting up and staring sleepily at his alien acquaintance. “The sun is out, but not all humans wake up when it comes up.”
Jimin deflates a little bit. “Oh. Should I let you rest then?”
Waving his hand dismissively, he lies. “Nah, it’s fine. Should probably make breakfast and show you a little bit of the city before I go to class.”
Perking up, Jimin nods, trailing behind Taehyung eagerly. Taehyung quickly finds out a few things about Jimin:
1) He’s easily fascinated by Taehyung’s daily routine--from brushing his teeth to cooking to changing (that last one is a bit awkward but Taehyung manages to tell Jimin that it’s a little bit weird to stare at people’s naked bodies when they’re not intimate with each other, which brought about an even more awkward conversation when Jimin asks how to become intimate with Taehyung.)
2) He has a weird obsession with caramel macchiatos, courtesy of visiting Namjoon and Yoongi while posing as Taehyung.
3) He sings along with the birds outside Taehyung’s apartment, like he can communicate with the winged creatures.
Of those three facts, Taehyung thinks he likes the third the most. There’s something peculiarly soothing about listening to Jimin sing along with the trill peeps of the birds by Taehyung’s windowsill. It’s like Jimin is straight out of a Disney movie, flawless and elegant and something only Taehyung’s wildest dreams could conjure up.
(“Can you understand them?” Taehyung asks one day, watching as a tiny, fluffy little bluejay lands on the tip of Jimin’s delicate, pale finger.
Jimin looks at Taehyung curiously before he’s smiling a little mischievously. “Of course not. But I think I relate to them, just a little bit.”
Jimin shrugs, letting the bird fly away up into a tree while it chirps happily above them. “It has a feigned sense of freedom, but it knows it’s tied down; its instincts would never allow it to stray from where they should be at any given moment. It’s free, but it still finds itself trapped in its primly constructed fate.” The words sound bitter, rotten, contrasting harshly against the softness of Jimin’s features, his relaxed eyes and small, barely there smile.
“That’s deep,” Taehyung says, just because he has nothing else to offer. He wishes he could help Jimin, he wants to.
“Indeed it is. The fabric of existence is incredibly so, Taehyung. And we’re just a couple of specs on the edge of oblivion.”
“Sounds like a John Green novel.”
They eat breakfast together, mostly with Jimin asking questions around the slightly burnt toast Taehyung procures from his kitchen along with some overdone eggs. Jimin doesn’t seem to mind, however, instead listening eagerly to Taehyung’s words, tacking on comments left and right up until Taehyung’s alarm goes off and he puts their dishes away before getting ready for his lectures.
“Lectures? Like scolding?” Jimin asks, cocking his head as he watches Taehyung fill his backpack with books and loose leaf papers. He’s honestly just stuffing random shit in it, but he can’t bother to look when he’s sure he’s about to be late to Astronomy.
He pauses, before snorting. “No, like a professor or someone ‘highly’ trained teaches students about different topics in large seminars.”
“Ah,” Jimin nods his head, coming to an understanding. “I’ll work on my semantics,” he says quietly.
“You’re picking up our vernacular pretty quickly, though. Do you have the same speech patterns back on your home planet?”
There’s a pregnant pause from Jimin, before he’s nodding. “Yeah, something similar. We have a device encoded in a chip that each member of our society has implanted in our brains. It makes language acquisition easier for us, so it’s normal for me to be learning things about your speech faster than your average human.” Taehyung gapes at him, transfixed. Jimin doesn’t notice how Taehyung’s jaw hangs slack, still contemplating his words. “I like the familiarity in certain human languages though. On my planet that camaraderie is only reserved for people who are really close to you. I haven’t spoken to anyone so uninhibited as I have with you in some years.”
“No way,” Taehyung says, briefly freezing. “Didn’t you have friends back home?”
Jimin hesitates. And his face. His face could haunt Taehyung’s dreams for weeks. “Just a couple.” He looks down at his knees, brokenly, before he says, “I--”
Taehyung walks up to Jimin, placing a hand on his shoulder. “Don’t talk about it if it makes you uncomfortable. You’re not obligated to share with me things that make you sad, Jiminie.”
“Jiminie?” Jimin whispers, mostly to himself, and then cracks a bashful smile. “Thank you.”
Satisfied, Taehyung slips on his shoes and backpack. “I’ll be back in a few hours, will you be alright by yourself?”
Jimin folds his hands in his lap, and Taehyung is so, so endeared. Jimin looks just a tad bit childish with his flushed cheeks and ruffled hair in a pair of Taehyung’s oversized pajamas that Jimin is basically swimming in, and he nods with a dutiful look on his face. “I should be.”
“Okay,” Taehyung says unsurely, before he remembers. He walks over to his kitchen and presses his home phone into Jimin’s hands. “Here’s my number,” he quickly scribbles on the sheet. “If you need anything, just call me.”
Jimin looks down at the phone in his hands with wide apprehensive eyes. “Got it.”
Taehyung gives Jimin’s head a little pat, and it’s only then that he notes that Jimin is just a few noticeable inches shorter than him. Cute, he thinks, before he gives Jimin a two fingered salute and walks out the door.
The University’s campus is a six minute walk from Taehyung’s apartment, and his building is approximately seven minutes away from the main entrance.
And Jimin has called him a total of eight times in the span of thirteen minutes. The first few times were trial runs, of course.
“Hi Taehyung, just testing out the phone. Not sure how it works, but I think I’ll--” he hung up on himself.
The next few times, Taehyung believes they’re buttdials, and the last time consists of Jimin’s screams cutting in and out until Jimin realizes that he has yet again called Taehyung on accident, a rushed out apology spilling from his lips before quickly hanging up. Taehyung was genuinely concerned for Jimin’s safety, wondering whether or not he should go back to his apartment.
How the fuck did Jimin survive unattended for a whole week?
Halfway through his lecture he gets a FaceTime call from Jimin, which he (not-so-quietly) answers, earning himself a few glares from his peers surrounding him. Taehyung winces out an apology at them, before he’s waving at Jimin. “What is it?” he tries to whisper. Taehyung would leave but he’s frantically copying down the notes as the professor writes on the board.
“Hi Taehyung, I think one of your machines is hungry. I took some food out and now it’s making gurgling crunching noises? What should I feed it?”
“Jimin, it’s just the freezer making ice. It does that, don’t panic.” And at that convenient moment, Taehyung’s professor chooses to turn around from the board.
Taehyung’s eyes draw away from Jimin’s grainy face to meet his professor’s eyes. His professor clears her throat, “If you’d like to talk to your boyfriend, Kim Taehyung-ssi, please do it outside instead of disturbing the rest of the class. Thank you.”
(“Who is that, Taehyung? Are you in trouble?”)
Taehyung flushes, ducking his head when people around him let out fits of giggles. Jumping out of his seat to the side exit, Taehyung turns his attention back to Jimin. “Please, only call during absolute emergencies. Like someone breaking into the apartment or if you’re, I don’t know? Bleeding out. Otherwise, my professors will skin me alive.”
Jimin’s jaw goes slack. “Humans are really that cruel, huh?”
“That was a figure of speech.”
“You... really like rearranging things, don’t you?” Taehyung steps into his apartment to find everything from his fridge stacked up on his kitchen counter. His chairs completely aligned on top of one another, balancing on their strangely angled legs, like some contemporary art piece at the MOMA. He watches one chair promptly fall to the floor, Jimin’s mouth forms a small pout.
“It refuses to stay. I’ve tried for hours.” Jimin sighs, “And it’s not like I have anything else to do while you’re away, except use your computer. But messages keep popping up and playing videos I never clicked on--”
“Jimin,” Taehyung says slowly. “what were you searching up on my computer?”
Jimin whistles low, averting Taehyung’s heavy gaze. “Well, I don’t really understand the context in which you use the term ‘fucking’--”
“Jimin. Tell me you didn’t search up ‘fucking’ on my computer. Please,” Taehyung’s eyes twitch.
Jimin bites his lip nervously. “I did.”
“Great. You’ve discovered porn and now my computer has a digital STD. Some kind of role model I am.”
Jimin doesn’t seem to understand Taehyung, but he knows enough to duck his head a little shamefully.
Taehyung shakes his head, before he’s sighing out, “It’s okay, Jimin. You didn’t know.” He makes a mental note to explain proper internet usage to Jimin sometime. “How do you feel about sightseeing? I’ll show you around.”
Jimin’s face practically glows. “Really?”
“Yeah, I don’t have class for the rest of the day.”
They leave Taehyung’s apartment after finding clothes in his closet that actually seem like they fit Jimin (it took a while, Taehyung loves baggy clothes). The two of them walk through the crowded inner city streets, people walking fast paced in all directions, horns blaring in the middle of the road with flashing advertisements and neon signs hanging in storefronts--everything seems entrancing to Jimin, Taehyung can tell as he watches Jimin’s eyes roam all across the street’s expanse.
It’s lunch rush, so the streets are packed, pushing their bodies together. Taehyung loops his arm through Jimin’s so the alien doesn’t fall behind. Despite Jimin’s constant stops to stare at a few buildings and signs, they make it to the cafe Taehyung usually frequents, slipping through the wooden doors. Jimin quirks his head up, looking excitedly around the minimalistic interior--the tables and seats are all wooden with plants in each of the tables’ centers, the cafe mostly quiet, with just a few people dotting around. Taehyung gestures for Jimin to take a seat at his usual spot, tucked into a corner of the cafe that just the baristas can see.
He notes that Jungkook isn’t working, and lets out a breath of relief he didn’t realize he’s been holding in. Because if Jungkook were working, he would never quit pestering Jimin, asking him about him and his intentions with Taehyung, and Taehyung is not ready to explain to one of his best friends why he’s harboring an extraterrestrial fugitive in his apartment, not yet at least.
Jimin looks down at the menu, reading it slowly, mostly looking at the pictures. “Get anything you want.”
In hindsight, he probably should have specified that he meant Jimin should just order one or two things, so when they walk up to the cafe’s counter to order, his wallet fucking sobs when Jimin informs the worker he wants to try nearly half the menu.
“Jimin,” Taehyung pulls him off to the side. “Uh, I’m pretty sure I don’t have enough money on me to be buying their whole stock. Just pick a few things you really want to try.”
Jimin narrows his eyes, jutting his bottom lip out into a pout. “You said ‘get whatever you want.’”
Taehyung stares at Jimin before his resolve crumbles. Then he sniffs, looking around the room. “Fine, I guess you don’t want to eat the ice cream I was planning on buying you afterward.”
“Ice cream?” Jimin asks softly. Something akin to recognition flashes in his eyes before he says resolutely, “I want the ice cream.”
“Pick one thing, then. Just one.”
Jimin orders a caramel macchiato and Taehyung gets a crepe that he says they can split. When their orders come out and Jimin hums a song about coffee, Taehyung wishes he could slam his head against their wooden table because Jimin has a dollop of whipped cream on his nose and Taehyung kind of wants to kiss it off.
When they leave, they head straight to the ice cream shop, this time with Jimin’s hand tightly tugging his wrist as they snake through the crowd of people.
Jimin settles on strawberry and Taehyung gets a flavor called wild ‘n reckless, because that’s how he feels right now when his fingers are intertwining with an alien as they eat their ice cream in the park. He feels strangely warm, like he’s full of something, and he can’t wipe the stupid grin off his face when he looks at Jimin crouched down trying to share his ice cream with a duckling at the edge of the park’s tiny pond. It’s too sweet a sight to behold.
When they walk back to the apartment, hand in hand, Jimin asks why they can’t see stars in the sky.
“Because humans are kind of trash and pollute the planet. But, you can see stars in the countryside. My grandparents bought me a telescope when I was really young. We used to sit out on our strawberry fields in the summer and just stargaze.”
“Can we do that?” Jimin asks softly, once they’re crossing the threshold into Taehyung’s apartment. “Go somewhere and look at the stars together, I mean. I barely got to see the meteor shower the day I shifted into you, I was too…” he casts his gaze upward to look at Taehyung, “...nervous trying to keep up the facade that I was you to notice anything else. I’ve always want to see what the rest of the universe looks like from Earth.”
“I--yeah.” Taehyung smiles. “Maybe sometime next week?” He’s about to pull out his laptop when he remembers that Jimin finished all of his homework. Huh. “Say, Jimin, will you review those chapters of homework you completed for me? I should probably know that material before the exam.”
Jimin’s skin glows, his cheeks heating up just a little as his cheeks tinge purple. He nods his head vigorously, a giant smile on his face. “I can teach you everything I know.”
Taehyung learns much more about astronomy in the past few weeks than he has in his entire college career with Jimin’s help. He’s fascinated by the sheer knowledge of the stars that the alien has. Jimin draws him a few diagrams and even shows him a few star systems just outside of his that he’s visited before, showing him his own culture and things about the universe Taehyung never even fathomed knowing. He helps Taehyung make flashcards, writing down notes for Taehyung to study from while they review for his upcoming tests. They spend hours on end talking about constellations; what the cosmos are really like. (“Stay out of the Crab nebula, the species there are really...crabby.” Jimin laughs to Taehyung, slapping his own knee.
“Did… you just make a pun?”)
Along with the new information regarding space and it’s indefinite probabilities, he learns a few more things about Jimin. He decides maybe jotting down little notes in his phone would help him.
- He loves food, mainly meat and ice cream, but strays away from other junk food (“It’s not good for me. I trained my body for years and I’m not letting it go down the drain in just a few days, Taehyung.”)
- Animals love Jimin, he finds out when birds and dogs and cats flock to him the second they step out the building. Jimin says he finds dogs pleasing, but he loves cats just a smidgen more.
- Jimin hates being alone.
“Please,” Jimin begs, a little breathless with heat rising up his cheekbones. He’s writhing on the bed, limbs flailing everywhere, his clothes hanging off of his body, revealing way too much skin to Taehyung. Taehyung looks at him sternly, pushing down the tempestuous thoughts roaming around his head, but Jimin continues to throw a fit. “I’m cooped up for hours while you’re gone, TaeTae, please take me with you.”
Taehyung shakes his head. “I should have never let you listen in to that call with my grandpa.”
Jimin whines and of course Taehyung relents; it’s Jimin we’re talking about. There’s no way he could say no to those pleading eyes and thick, pouty lips.
“Okay, you can come to class with me, but you can’t make a scene or else people will be suspicious. You gotta stay lowkey, alright?”
“What’s that?” He asks, not bothering to consult his holographic dictionary.
“Low-profile. Don’t draw attention to yourself.”
Jimin grins to himself. “Alright, sounds easy enough.”
It’s fine. It’s good, bringing Jimin along with him to class. Throughout his Biochem lectures, he’s fine. Physics? Totally okay. He mostly sits with Taehyung in the back of the seminar room sipping on a carton of strawberry milk and listening to the professor quietly, nodding his head along, fascinated.
And then they get to Taehyung’s Astronomy lecture.
It’s when his professor begins speaking about space travel, a question that’s been on everyone’s minds since day one of the semester.
“Since the universe is inherently vast and growing, it would take eons to even get to our neighboring galaxy, Andromeda,” his professor explains to the class.
Jimin giggles loud enough to pry attention from a few of Taehyung’s peers. He rolls his eyes, turning to Taehyung conversationally. “Humans are just too dense to figure out how to use intergalactic wormholes. They’re super convenient. I could go grocery shopping in the crab fucking nebula within a day,” Jimin props his elbow on the desk, resting his cheek on his palm. “Bet,” he tacks on cockily. (Taehyung almost regrets teaching Jimin slang, but he also doesn’t. Hearing Jimin curse has him a weak in the knees, the way he says things so passionately is insanely hot, he admits.)
Taehyung stills as everyone turns to look at them, his professor pausing mid-lecture to turn toward them, narrowing his eyes. “Yes, wormholes are indeed a probability of traveling through space, but the precision and science you need to carry out a task such as planting wormholes in certain parts of our universe is inconceivable in any of our lifetimes.”
Jimin rubs his temples, staring down at the desk in front of him. “They’re already made by each galaxy’s sector in the known universe,” he mutters exasperatedly. “You just have to pry your heads out of your asses and learn to use them.”
“Jimin,” Taehyung hisses, low enough only for the alien to hear. “Shut up.”
“What? He’s the one who’s wrong!” Jimin crosses his arms over his chest in annoyance.
Taehyung sinks into his seat, dodging everyone’s strange looks at the two of them.
When class ends, Taehyung drags Jimin out of the seminar room, trudging to the juice bar just across the street. “Listen, you may be right, but you can’t just say that kind of stuff! People study their entire lives to know a fourth of what you know. And what’d I say about being lowkey?”
Jimin tuts. “It’s not my fault your planet is filled with incompetent people.”
“Is that what you think of me too?”
Jimin whips his head to look at Taehyung with apologetic eyes. “Of course not,” he says softly.
Taehyung tries not to let that get to his head, but he does blush. “Regardless, keep your knowledge about space limited when we’re outside of the apartment. We never know who could try to snatch you up and keep you for questioning.”
“Okay.” Jimin’s lips snap shut.
Taehyung accepts that response, momentarily. He walks up to the cashier, about to ramble off his order, when he feels it. That unbearable pressure crushing down on him, like something giant is pushing itself into Taehyung’s head. He falls to the floor, clutching at his temples. Jimin is next to him in a second, his hands on Taehyung’s shoulders as he tries to pull Taehyung out of... whatever this is.
He opens his mouth to speak but nothing comes out. Jimin is talking to him, trying to speak gently, looking around for help. Taehyung closes his eyes, and instead of seeing Jimin’s beautiful face like the first time this happened, he sees two unfamiliar figures in the recesses of his mind, walking toward him. He gasps, searching for air, his eyes thrown open. Jimin looks at him, scared and concerned.
Taehyung gulps, reaching toward the counter to pull himself up. There are a few people crowded around him, the barista asking him if he’s alright. He smiles and nods, waving them off.
“What happened? What did you see?” His voice isn’t frantic, but there’s still an edge to it that Taehyung can’t place.
Taehyung looks around the juice bar, once. “I saw two people coming toward me.”
“Two people?” Jimin narrows his eyes. “Who?”
“I don’t know. They were both kind of... bright. I couldn’t see their faces too well.”
Jimin mumbles something incomprehensible under his breath. He sighs, then bites his lip. He looks at Taehyung, and Taehyung has never seen him look so serious in the few weeks Taehyung has known him.
“Can you tell me what the fuck just happened?” Taehyung asks, fear settling in as his voice quakes with nerves. “What was that?”
Jimin shakes his head, “I can’t tell you now, but I will when we get to a safe place.” He takes Taehyung’s hand and they storm out the door, dodging people’s curious glances. “Do you have a place we can stay for a few hours? Preferably with people you trust?”
Taehyung stares at Jimin’s face. “Yeah, but,” he pauses, wincing. “Staying with them won’t be pleasant.”
“Oh my god,” Jungkook guffaws, pointing accusingly at Taehyung. “Is this why you haven’t hung out with us recently?”
Taehyung scowls in response. He gives Jungkook a warning look. “Don’t say it.”
“Hyungs!” Jungkook calls from the doorway, “Taehyung’s been getting his dick wet with his new boyfriend and hasn’t told us!”
Taehyung pushes past Jungkook, fighting down the blush that’s rising up his neck. “Ignore him, he’s hideous,” he says to Jimin.
Jimin giggles, nodding politely at Jungkook when he follows Taehyung into his friends’ living room. “Don’t worry, I spent time with them when I was posing as you, remember? I’ve got this,” he whispers to Taehyung, sending him a wink. Taehyung tries to hide the blush threatening to bleed onto his face.
It’s slightly more impressive than your average college apartment, that’s for sure. The couches are only mildly stained with various peoples’ semen, and their countertop is semi-organized. They have a wide range of cereal boxes, as per Jungkook’s request of eating a different cereal each day of the week and Namjoon’s request for strictly non-GMO, organic products.
Their TV is pretty nice, but it’s only because they waited outside a store for a few days on Black Friday last year, but they like to pretend it’s because they’re loaded and not living off of Top Ramen every other meal.
Namjoon is already sitting on one of the couches, eyeing Taehyung and Jimin curiously. “Sit down,” he says, gesturing toward the adjacent couch with the wave of his hand. “So this is the reason you’ve been dodging our texts?”
He sounds a little bit butthurt, not that Taehyung could blame him. He has been taking care of an alien fugitive, which meant giving Jimin his constant, undivided attention--listen, he has to educate Jimin on human culture, which means binge watching sitcoms and Disney movies and taking Jimin to theme parks and fairs and various shops around the city, okay? There’s really no other way for the alien to absorb life on Earth, there just isn’t.
“Sorry, things have been a little bit busy on my end. Y’know, school and stuff,” Taehyung says quickly, then he’s looking at Jimin shyly. “Namjoon-hyung, this is Jimin.”
“Hi,” Jimin waves shyly at Namjoon, coming out from behind Taehyung to greet Namjoon.
“Jimin?” Namjoon asks. “Just Jimin?”
“Park Jimin,” he answers. Taehyung gives him a look, cocking a brow. Jimin does love the park. “Same year as Taehyung at our university.”
Jungkook plops down on the couch right next to Namjoon. Jungkook asks Jimin, curiously, “What’s your major, Jimin-hyung?”
Jimin looks at Taehyung, panicked. “Uh, astronomy and dance…?”
Taehyung inhales sharply, trying not to wince at Jimin’s mistake.
Jungkook stares at the two of them, hard. “Why haven’t I seen you around campus before, hyung? I’m a dance major too, and I know everyone in the department.”
“See, this is why Taehyung didn’t talk to us. He knew the two of you assholes would interrogate the shit out of his boyfriend and scare him away. Fucking virgo antics, I swear.” (“Hyung, you don’t even know what that means!”) Yoongi slips into their conversation, sitting down in between Namjoon and Jungkook, before he’s leaning in toward Jimin, who almost shrinks back. “They’re both huge nerds, but if you leave them unattended for too long they’ll stare at each other passively like they both want to jump each other’s bones.” Namjoon and Jungkook have the decency to blush, but neither of them deny it.
Jimin nods like he knows what Yoongi is talking about, an uncomfortable smile on his face. “I understand,” he tries to relate. “Taehyung and I are exactly like that.”
Taehyung sputters, looking at Jimin with wide eyes, “No, Jimin, we are not.” Taehyung turns to his trio of friends, “We’re not, I swear.”
Jimin rolls his eyes. “You’re saying you haven’t looked like you wanted to attack me while we’re sitting at our apartment?” Taehyung admits, he hasn’t had the most innocent thoughts about Jimin, but Jimin is completely misinterpreting Yoongi. When Jimin says it, he means whenever they’re playing Overwatch and Taehyung wants to throttle Jimin because he can’t beat Jimin at the damn game. (And he’s been playing it for months, but Jimin’s mastered it in a matter of days and that’s just not fucking fair.)
“Whoa, did he say our apartment?”
“You two are living together?” Namjoon gasps, his eyes bugging out of his head. “And you haven’t told us?”
“How long has this been going on?” Jungkook gasps in mock offense. “Hyung, you are not a good enough liar to have this facade going on for long, so I call bullshit.”
“Just a few weeks,” Jimin answers with a shrug.
Taehyung feels like he should start digging his grave, like, right now. Yoongi, Jungkook, and Namjoon’s jaws drop to the fucking floor.
“Oh my god,” Namjoon shakes his head. Yoongi bites his bottom lip, hard to keep himself from laughing and Jungkook has his head buried in a couch cushion.
“Let me get this straight,” Namjoon says (he chooses to ignore Jungkook’s “That must be incredibly difficult with how gay you are, hyung”) “You’ve been together for just a few weeks and you’re already living with each other?”
Taehyung opens his mouth to protest, to explain-- but Jimin just says, “yes, exactly” instead.
time to crawl to my demise.
“Taehyung.” Namjoon’s voice comes out stern and disappointed. “Kitchen, now.”
Taehyung stands up, along with Jimin. Taehyung turns to him and whispers, “I think he wants to talk to me alone.”
“He looks like he wants to harm you though, are you sure you want to go by yourself?”
Yoongi and Jungkook pass them confused looks which Taehyung definitely ignores.
“Yeah, I’ll be fine. Just,” he sighs, squeezing Jimin’s hand before looking at him with a fondness in his eyes he never knew existed. “We should probably talk about...well, everything afterward.”
Jimin squeezes his hand back and whispers, “I’ll tell you everything, but you have to promise not to be upset.”
Taehyung nods, “I promise,” then lets go of Jimin’s hand to meet Namjoon in the kitchen.
“Hey, hyung,” he has his signature shit-eating grin on, the one that’s gotten him out of so many sticky situations in the past--
“That dumb grin isn’t going to get you out of this one this time, Kim Taehyung.”
So, this grin will not be getting him out of this one this time.
Namjoon is looking at him judgmentally, like he’s debating what Taehyung’s punishment should be.
“Look, I’m not going to lecture you on who to date or when, but... this is weird. Who is this guy? Where’d he come from and why haven’t you talked to us about him? You wear your heart on your sleeve, but living together and relationships aren’t things you usually take with a grain of salt. Tell me you’ve thought this through, even a little.” His voice is tired by the end of it, because if someone knows how stubborn Taehyung can be, it’s Namjoon. Trust him.
He once watched Taehyung sit outside a supermarket every day for three weeks until the store manager finally agreed to restock their deformed Sonic popsicles (which tasted like shit, by the way).
Taehyung rolls his eyes. “You’re all misunderstanding this. Jimin had no place to go--”
“An even worse idea to move in with someone, Tae! Do you know how taxing that could be on your relationship? You’re paying for your apartment and he’s just leeching off of you like this? It’s not right.”
Taehyung tilts his head back, his frustration could not have been more apparent. “Namjoon. Jimin and I are not dating.”
“I know that, dipshit. But I also know that you like him.” It’s Namjoon’s turn to be annoyed. Taehyung opens his mouth to try and deny the accusation, but Namjoon cuts him off. “Don’t even try to deny it, your heart eyes are ginormous.”
Taehyung’s mouth clanks shut. “Whatever. Anyway, it’s fine. I know what I’m getting into, things have just been busy. And it’s mutually beneficial, he’s tutoring me.” The tutoring technically hasn’t started yet, but Taehyung takes a mental note to make it happen soon, his exams are coming up and he needs to actually read his textbooks or take notes or do something to save his GPA.
“He’s tutoring you? Really?” Namjoon crosses his arms over his chest, disbelief written all over his face.
Namjoon doesn’t look impressed but he waves Taehyung away. “Fine, but be careful. You may think you know someone but people can reveal their true colors in different situations, Tae. Remember that.”
Taehyung wants to laugh because he knows what Jimin’s true colors are.
He’s a little gray with a hint of lavender. He’s seen Jimin blush plenty of times.
They walk back to the living room where Jimin is speaking to Yoongi and Jungkook enthusiastically, using his hands as he speaks with a giant smile on his face. Yoongi turns to Taehyung, “Jimin was telling us about how you two got kicked out of lecture hall. Might wanna figure out how to use AdBlock or something, dude. Or if you’re going to watch porn in class, at least use your headphones.”
“It was all Jimin’s fault, he infected my laptop!” He turns to narrow his eyes at Jimin. “I thought you were with me, not against me, you traitor.”
Jimin shrugs with a knowing grin, looking way too pleased when Taehyung still slides into the spot next to him.
Taehyung watches on fondly as Jimin rattles off tiny things he’s noticed about Taehyung while living with him, his friends laughing on the opposite couch as they all poke fun at Taehyung’s antics. Taehyung can’t find it in himself to even be the least bit annoyed. He’s too busy being endeared by the way Jimin’s mouth curves upward as he speaks. He lights up the entire room with his presence.
They decide to watch the ‘pinnacle of broadcast television’ (Jungkook’s words), Ghost Adventures.
(“I don’t really understand,” Jimin whispers to Taehyung halfway through an episode. “This... isn’t real, right?”
Jungkook lets out a gasp from his seat. “Of course it is! How could you ever doubt Zak Bagan’s authenticity?”
“Everything about this show is so obviously fake, Jungkook,” Namjoon remarks lazily, continuing to run his fingers through Jungkook’s hair. “Do you actually think it’s all real?”
Jungkook averts everyone’s looks. “No…” he says unconvincingly.)
When Taehyung begins to nod off, his head lolling onto Jimin’s shoulder, Jimin nudges his side. “I think we can leave now, if you’d like.”
Taehyung nuzzles further into him. “Yeah. Sounds good.”
When they head out, Yoongi walks them to the door. “Come over whenever you want, our door is always open.” He smiles at both of them, albeit a little tiredly, before shutting the door after them.
“That wasn’t as bad as you made it seem like it would be,” Jimin laughs as they walk toward the building’s exit. “You said they’d be awful.”
With a groan, Taehyung threads his fingers through his hair, pushing his bangs out of his eyes. “They are awful. They’re like---they’re like health insurance companies. They’ll rope you into a false sense of security before they call you one day and tell you that they suddenly can’t cover your medical expenses.”
“Okay. So they’re like shifters? Like me?” Jimin nods his head, more confused than ever. “Or do they have different personas for different situations?”
“You mean being two faced?” Taehyung hums contemplatively. “I mean, they’re not geminis, but sure.”
“Humans are so interesting.” Jimin perks up a little bit after that, finally understanding. “My friends are a little odd as well.”
Jimin hums, nodding. “They were definitely unconventional, that’s for sure.”
Taehyung eyes Jimin curiously. It’s the first bit of personal information Jimin has revealed to him since moving in with Taehyung. He doesn’t want to pry any further, not when they’re satiated with a successful meeting with Taehyung’s friends.
With the happy aura of the night settling in Taehyung’s veins, long after Jimin decides he’ll partake in a night’s rest, Taehyung lays in bed. Jimin never explained to him what’s been happening in his head.
He can’t sleep. Or at least not when two blinding figures are all he can see when he shuts his eyes.
“Did you notice anything off about Jimin?” Namjoon asks the second their visitors leave. He looks at Yoongi apprehensively.
“He’s, like, glowy. What highlighter does he use and how do I get a hold of it? Maybe it’s the same kind Taehyung uses...” Yoongi raises a brow.
Namjoon furrows his brows, “No, not that… It’s just. He looks almost, too perfect.”
Jungkook whips his head to look at Namjoon with a burning question in his eyes. “H-He was alright. I mean, he was cute, but perfect?” Jungkook makes a noise of disbelief and looks to Namjoon for a sign of agreement.
Ignoring Jungkook’s comment, Namjoon shakes his head. “And the way he was speaking. Did you notice him asking Taehyung a bunch of questions about what we were saying?”
Jungkook recoils, jerking his body away from Namjoon. “Whoa, hyung. Maybe he just learns things differently. Or maybe he’s not from here?”
Namjoon sighs, “Taehyung said Jimin tutors him. It doesn’t add up.”
“What are you trying to say, Joon-ah.” Yoongi narrows his eyes.
“What?” Namjoon hisses. “Are you really going to make me say it? Did you notice he turned a little bit purple anytime Taehyung even came close to him.”
“Maybe he’s so infatuated with Tae-hyung, he just can’t breathe properly around him,” Jungkook coos.
“Jungkook, that’s a health hazard. We should probably tell Tae to take him to the hospital.”
Yoongi slumps into the couch, his body sinking into the warmth that Taehyung and Jimin left. He lets his head loll back onto its cushion, in deep thought. He stares at the ceiling. “I know what you mean, but we’re not going to pry into Taehyung’s life. We won’t. He seems happy, let’s let him have this.” Yoongi shuts his eyes. “He deserves someone who can make him light up like Jimin does. We should make an effort to get to know Jimin, even if he’s a little... strange.”
“I know, I know. I’m just worried,” Namjoon sighs, obviously resigned. “We should all kind of just, be on guard.”
“Should I corner and interrogate him, hyung?” Jungkook straightens his posture, assuming a ‘threatening’ pose, contrasting harshly with his round baby face and wide eyes. He flexes his arms, revealing toned muscles, gauging Namjoon’s face for a reaction. He grunts, dropping his voice a little lower in the most blatant display of peacocking Namjoon has ever witnessed. “Maybe I can rough him up a bit? Tell him not to mess with Tae-hyung?”
“Lets hold off on that for now, Jungkook.” Namjoon bites back a laugh.
Yoongi gags in the background.
So, they decide they’re going to befriend Jimin whether Taehyung likes it or not.
Days pass by in a blur; The two of them find themselves roaming around the city on more nights than Taehyung would like to admit. Jimin shamelessly drags him out of bed at any hour of the day, a grin on his face and eyes filled with more mysteries than the universe would ever dare to hold. “Take me on an adventure,” he says. And Taehyung, always agrees, albeit reluctantly . He can’t refuse Jimin. He swears, at one point, that Jimin is probably using some sort of alien mind trick on him to coerce him into doing outrageous things at odd hours of the night.
(“Jimin, we can’t sneak into the zoo, are you insane?”
“Those animals don’t belong in there, Taehyung. We have to get them out.”
“Okay, your animal activist streaks are cool and all, but I have a lecture at seven am tomorrow.”
“I thought you were my ride or die, my right hand, my go-to…”
“I regret teaching you things.”)
But, not this night. No, this night they take it easy. Taehyung hops onto his bike with Jimin sitting on the handlebars, pedaling slowly because Jimin is antsy and can’t keep his head from turning to look at the scenery. It’s refreshing, being a bit further from the chaos of his apartment; from the loud city streets--out here, everything is still. Taehyung focuses on the dirt pavement they’ve come onto, the wind blowing Jimin’s silver hair off his forehead. He thinks he wouldn’t mind getting used to this. He hopes Jimin feels the same.
They find themselves at a park, one of Jimin’s favorites. The one with the lagoon somewhere near the outskirts of the city, surrounded by a flurry of trees that move with the bristling wind and filled with moon jellies with a tiny wooden dock to walk on. The water in the lagoon is eerily stagnant, the moon reflecting off the water. The world is quiet here, as if the lagoon were waiting for the two of them.
Taehyung shines his phone’s flashlight, guiding Jimin toward the dock. It creaks, just a bit. The wooden boards are aged with constant use, the lifeguard post is unmanned, being so late at night. Taehyung is certain they’re not allowed to be on the dock, but he shrugs.
Jimin takes Taehyung’s hand habitually, following behind Taehyung with his eyes trained on the moon hanging above them. The stars are barely visible in the city. Jimin says he doesn’t mind not being able to see them, he feels protected. Like if he can’t see his galaxy, his galaxy can’t see him. But Taehyung knows that’s not completely true. He sees the way Jimin’s eyes dim when he looks out the bedroom window at night; he sees the way Jimin’s eyebrows furrow and his lip juts out just a bit. It’s frustrating, not knowing how to comfort Jimin, but he does his best.
“Hey, do you wanna sit down?” Taehyung looks over his shoulder. “We can dip our feet in the water if you want?”
Jimin snaps out of his reverie and nods. His eyes are glossy; it’s just as Taehyung figured. Just one of those nights, I guess.
They take off their sandals in silence, sitting at the dock’s edge. Taehyung rolls up his jeans, but Jimin just plunks his toes in, letting the water wet the bottom of his pants. Jimin doesn’t seem to care, his mind is too preoccupied.
“What are you thinking about?”
There’s an art to revealing something so deeply personal about yourself--Taehyung knows it all too well. It doesn’t matter what walk of life you come from; young or old, alien or human, at the end of the day, to Taehyung, at least, everyone is inherently the same when it comes to opening up. Jimin is no exception. Taehyung watches the telltale signs transpire in front of him. Jimin’s face crumples, his hands twitch in his lap nervously. He doesn’t dare meet Taehyung’s eyes. Jimin kicks his feet in the water, only stilling when he sees the fluorescent white of a moon jellyfish pushing itself closer to the surface. His toe grazes it a little and he giggles. It’s a beautiful sound, Jimin’s breathless laugh. But now isn’t the time to admire Jimin. Now is the time for Jimin to face his demons.
“Jimin,” Taehyung coaxes, softly. His fingers dance across Jimin’s forearm, a gesture of understanding. “I don’t want to pressure you into speaking, but I know what this is about.”
Jimin’s mouth immediately tightens into a frown. “I know. I’m... I’m almost ready. Let’s just enjoy this for a few more minutes, okay?”
“Yeah, that’s, uh. That’s fine.” Taehyung nods his head quickly. “You know you can talk to me though, right?”
Jimin turns to him with a lopsided smile. “Yeah, Tae, I know.”
It should be weird how easy the words transpire between them. It should be weird how the two of them have grown so attached, so trusting of each other in such a short span of time. But Taehyung doesn’t dwell on that fact too much, not when Jimin lets out a small sigh that makes Taehyung’s heart feel just a little heavy. He’s noticed his own mood dampens when Jimin’s does, like their emotions are intertwined; like in some infinitesimal way, the two of them are connected.
“Being with your friends recently has... it has me thinking about my home planet.” Jimin runs his tongue over his lips. His gaze is cast downward, the water being a new subject for him to study, Taehyung supposes. “I listen to you speak to your grandfather, your friends and I’m envious,” he admits. His words sound hollow to Taehyung, like Jimin’s sickened for even thinking the thoughts. “I guess it’s time for me to come clean about… well, about why I’m here.”
“Okay.” Taehyung leans closer to Jimin, nodding for him to continue.
“When I was a sproutling, it was determined that I would serve in the High Council’s militia--” he pauses as Taehyung raises a hand.
“What’s that? I need some background information, Jimin.” His eyes are wide and eager and Jimin just shakes his head in response. He sounds exasperated but the fond smile on his face tells Taehyung a different tale.
“The High Council is basically a court comprising of different Arc members-- people from all across our planet who are bred to be leaders. They decide laws and punishments, they’re our governing powers.”
Taehyung’s mouth falls open in understanding. Jimin continues, “I didn’t have many qualms about, believe me. Most sproutlings are taken from their roots, but I was a bit different. I was recruited prematurely after one of the High Arcs of our planet’s council had a premonition about me.” Jimin’s throat bobs, he looks at Taehyung unsurely. “I was to be married off to a person I didn’t know, someone meant for me predetermined by fate.” He searches his thoughts. “I don’t know if there’s a word for it, for humans.”
Soulmates, Taehyung supplies absentmindedly.
He looks at Taehyung unsurely, like he’s about to pop up his holographic dictionary before Taehyung nods at him, gesturing for him to keep going. Jimin’s frown deepens. “I was bred to be accustomed to life of the upper class, to be more suited for royalty, because I was informed that my bond was shared with the heir to the council’s head throne. But at the time, there was news of an assassination attempt on the prince, my soulmate. He was sent away before I had the chance to meet him, but somewhere en route to his place of hiding he was attacked. He’s presumed dead, which is... what I assumed I would be when I found news of this.”
Jimin looks down at his lap bitterly. “Because what good is a bond with a future heir if there’s no heir to bond with? I thought I was just a tool, but my bond’s father, Head High Arc, treated me like I was his own son... It was a blessing.” He smiles at the thoughts flooding through his head. Jimin looks at Taehyung. There’s a shocking seriousness in his expression that sends a wave of dread throughout Taehyung. “I was being trained to be a military advisor for the High Council, but then... then the Head High Arc.”
Jimin’s voice breaks. “He--he was killed. And I know who killed him--I saw it,” Jimin blanches. “I knew I would be blamed for killing him. Me, someone who could never hold a chair on the high council unless bonded to a member themselves. I knew how bad the situation would look to the public eye. So I ran. But running can only get you so far for so long. I would be sent on trial and they’d give me an unjust death for treason. But the killer, the new High Arc, he caught me. He gave me an option: to be beheaded in front of the capital--or exiled from the galaxy. I chose exile, obviously.”
“I want to go home, but I’m afraid-- I’m afraid of what I’ll have to do when I get back and I’m afraid of being punished--of being a disappointment for cowardly fleeing from the High Council instead of fighting and exposing the New Arc.”
He spits out his shame and it tastes like blood in his mouth.
Taehyung wonders if he’s told anyone, if any of the people he left back home know where he is. But who would he go to when he’s a fugitive?
“What would they think?” Jimin asks softly. “My friends who I grew up with--who I trained and protected? And what about the roots I never got the chance to know? I’ve brought shame to them… I… can never go back.” he comes to the conclusion. His eyes are wide and filled with tears. Taehyung watches them fall down Jimin’s soft, pale cheeks.
“Oh, Jiminie,” Taehyung says softly. He pulls Jimin by the shoulders and into his chest. Jimin’s body is rigid against his, but he pays it no mind. “You did what you could, and you did the right thing. What happened to your friends, your family… that’s beyond your control. People who care about you want you to be safe. You can’t help them if you don’t help yourself first.”
The quiet patter of fish in the distance and the rustling of the trees is all the two of them hear for a moment. Taehyung feels Jimin’s body relax as he lets out a deep sigh. It strikes something warm in Taehyung’s chest. He runs his fingers over Jimin’s back, before he’s whispering, “I know it must be difficult, but don’t put that kind of pressure on yourself.”
Jimin tuts, shaking his head against Taehyung’s chest. “It’s fine, now that I’m here on Earth. It’s just sad that I’ll never be in contact with one of my own people. I see you and your friends... your grandfather-- I can’t help but wish I had something like that.”
Taehyung runs his fingers through thick silky, silvery hair. Jimin leans into him; Taehyung’s touch has become something natural to him, something he finds himself yearning for with each passing minute. Jimin wonders when they started putting their trust in each other. He wonders if he’s even capable of doubting Taehyung.
“You said you had friends back home, right? What happened to them?”
Jimin stills and the thoughts come tumbling back like an avalanche of unwanted memories fall over his mind. “They tried to help me escape.” His brows furrow and his lips go pale. It takes him a while to speak, but he finds his voice and it sounds like hearts breaking. “Before the death of the High Arc, there were rumors of assassination attempts. They knew I’d be in danger, they tried to help me out of the capital but they were caught. They were taken into questioning, but that was years ago. I haven’t seen them since Orion knows when. I miss them, but they’re gone.” Jimin swallows thickly. “I have no one.”
Taehyung inhales deeply. “I’m glad you had them, but who knows. They were with you, right? In the militia?”
Jimin nods his head. “Yes. We trained together, the three of us. They were both brilliant.”
“I’m glad you had them, then. Who knows. They might’ve escaped as well.”
Jimin makes a face. “I’ll never know.”
They ruminate in silence for a beat longer, wading their feet in the water before Taehyung pulls his out. He looks down at his wrinkly toes, wiggling them in front of Jimin. It takes a while, but he eventually draws a laugh out of the alien.
Walking back to their apartment hand in hand, Taehyung looks at Jimin. “If it’s any consolation, Jimin, you’re not alone.”
Jimin tilts his head to give Taehyung a curious stare.
“You have me.”
“I only have you.” Jimin laughs, shaking his head.
That night, when they finally clamber up the stairs and into the apartment, Jimin climbs into bed. Just as Taehyung’s about to go back to the couch, Jimin takes his hand. “Can’t we just share the bed?” He asks in a whisper. Taehyung thinks that maybe Jimin doesn’t want to be alone. Not after everything he just told him. Taehyung nods, sliding into bed next to him. They face each other, eyes wide open, sleep suddenly nonexistent. Especially not when Jimin is looking at Taehyung so intensely, like he’s expecting something of him.
Feeling a little self-conscious, Taehyung shuffles. “Hey, uh. Jimin. I know it’s fascinating, but please don’t watch me sleep. It’s kinda...”
Taehyung waits a moment before he hears Jimin’s embarrassed, “Right. Got it.”
He feels like he’s floating between the realms of day and night, but sleep inevitably digs its claws into him. Before he slips into unconsciousness, he hears the softest voice.
“Say, Taehyung-ah,” Jimin says, just before he lets his eyes shut. “Let’s keep going for a long time.”
And Taehyung smiles into Jimin’s hair, trying not to think of his universe without Jimin in it.