One final pushpin, and he was done. Taehyung stepped back and looked over the bulletin board, hoping his flyer stood out among the rest. It was pretty crowded—he spotted some leaflets and a poster that were dated from last semester, but his flyer had clip art on it, which he supposed would make it more visible amidst the plain black-and-white. He’d paid money to have these printed in color. That was how important it was to him.
He’d lost track of how many of these flyers he’d hung up all around school—in the dining hall, near the library, outside of the registrar’s office. It was still the beginning of the semester—someone was bound to want to model for him, right?
If there was one thing Taehyung hated, it was relying on someone else for the success of an assignment. The reason he had always hated group projects, no matter which subject it was in, was that he had long since stopped trusting anyone else to have his back when it came to school. He was the only one he could count on—so having to put up a flyer, looking for a model, was the last thing he wanted to do. It just so happened that all of his so-called “friends” refused to step foot in front of a camera.
He took a step back from the bulletin board, sighing heavily. He had a week to complete the assignment, which was to take a portrait of someone. “Simple,” his professor had said, which Taehyung took to understand that the assignment wasn’t simple at all. It would need to be perfect.
And Taehyung had no one to model for him. If he didn’t nail this, he didn’t think he would ever forgive himself.
With one final glance at the sheet of paper he’d tacked up, the anthropomorphized camera on it smiling down at him, he closed his eyes, turning away.
He was so fucked.
Four days had passed and he was beginning to lose hope.
“Find anyone yet?” his roommate, Jungkook, asked, peeking around the canvas that he’d just set up two days prior. It was already almost a finished painting, thick and thin brushstrokes, comprised of colors that Jungkook had mixed himself—sometimes Taehyung really envied him and how quickly he was able to make art, how well he channeled his creativity. Taehyung didn’t even think that painting was for a class—it was just something Jungkook was doing in between assignments.
“No,” Tae answered, checking his email for the third time in half an hour. No one had contacted him about modeling yet, and if he was being honest, he found that completely improbable. The school was full of students who were full of themselves. How hard could it be to find one goddamn person to stand still long enough for him to take their picture?
“What are you going to do?” Jungkook asked, back behind his canvas. All Taehyung could see of him was his legs.
“Drop out of school?” Taehyung suggested, and to his credit, Jungkook did actually seem to pause in his movements before he replied.
“Don’t be an idiot,” was all he said, though, and Taehyung rolled his eyes so hard he thought they might fall out of his head.
“I’m being completely ser-” he began, but his phone chimed and vibrated in his hand. He glanced down at the screen—it was an unknown number. His heart leapt—he answered the call.
“Hello?” he said, almost too enthusiastically, too excited about the prospect of it being someone who could help him out of the grave he’d dug for himself just by choosing a major that he actually liked.
“Hi,” the voice on the other end of the line said. It was breathy and a little high-pitched, and Taehyung bit his lip, waiting for it to continue. “Taehyung, right? Are you still looking for a model?”
“Yes!” Taehyung nearly shouted, too quickly, almost cutting off the guy on the phone as he asked the question. “Yes, I am, are you interested?”
Potential-model giggled, and Taehyung wasn’t sure if it was derisive or not. “Yeah. That’s why I called.”
“What’s your name?” Taehyung asked, waving away Jungkook’s inquisitive look from around his painting.
“Jimin,” said the voice. “When can you meet? I’ll be in the music wing until around 8 tonight, if you want to meet up after that? There’ll be lots of empty classrooms we could use.”
“Uh,” Taehyung said, a little dumbfounded. Why did this Jimin guy, presumably a music major if that was where he hung around, want to call the shots for a photography student?
“Sorry,” Jimin said, laughing a little so he didn’t sound entirely apologetic. “A lot of you guys need models, so you’re not the first person I’ll be helping out. Are you a freshman?”
“Yeah,” Taehyung replied. “Are you not?”
“Sophomore,” Jimin replied absently, like he was finished with the conversation. “So, is tonight good for you?”
“Yeah,” Taehyung said. “Yes, yeah, that’s perfect, I—I’ll see you then. Music wing, right?”
“You got it,” Jimin said. “Later.”
“Bye,” Taehyung said, ending the call. He dropped the phone to his lap and leaned against the back of the couch, lifting both fists to the ceiling in triumph.
“That was impeccable timing,” Jungkook said, stepping out from behind his easel. Taehyung noticed that he had a bright blue streak of paint across his nose and cheek, but didn’t say anything about it.
“Just lucky, I guess,” Taehyung said, glancing at the time on his phone—it was nearly 5, which meant he had plenty of time to troll Facebook and look up Jimins who were music majors before he had to leave.
“So, who is it?”
“Huh?” Taehyung asked, already back on his phone, searching away on Facebook.
“Your model. Who is it?” Jungkook asked, leaving his painting behind, officially, and coming over to the futon, already so stained with charcoal and paint that it didn’t matter if Jungkook got more on it.
“Some guy named Jimin,” Taehyung said, narrowing his eyes as he scrolled through every Jimin he could find, though none of them were music majors (the ones that were, were all girls).
“Mm,” Jungkook said, humming quietly. “I haven’t met any Jimins yet.”
“He’s a sophomore,” Taehyung replied.
“What are you doing?” Jungkook asked, leaning over to look at the phone in Taehyung’s hands.
“Trying to find him,” Taehyung said, though the Jimins he was looking at now were no longer students at their school.
“You’ll find him soon enough,” Jungkook said, pushing himself up off the couch to go wash up before dinner.
“Stop trying to be so deep,” Taehyung called after him. “You’re not a real artist yet!”
“Am too!” Jungkook called back, any response of Taehyung’s drowned out by the running water in the bathroom sink.
Taehyung wished he’d asked Jimin to text a photo of himself before they had ended their call earlier. It would have made things a lot easier for him, in the long run. He’d gotten to the music wing of the main building on campus just fine, but there were a lot of people milling about, too many for Taehyung to sort-of-not-really eavesdrop and try to pick out the voice he’d heard on the phone earlier.
He hiked his camera bag up a little further onto his shoulder, looking out for someone who maybe looked like they were expecting him, since at the very least, Jimin knew he would have a camera with him.
It was when he reached the end of the hall that he figured he had a problem. No one had approached him, which meant he would have to start asking around. Facing the wall, he closed his eyes and took a deep breath, then turned to the nearest person—which was actually two people, having a conversation about the budget for the drama department this year, and how it was lower than they’d hoped for based on last year’s turnout to the production.
“Excuse me,” he said, bowing his head a little in apology. “Do you know a Jimin? I’m supposed to meet him here.”
“Like...Park Jimin?” one of them, a girl in an oversized green sweater asked. Taehyung shrugged—he didn’t know Jimin’s last name. “He’s in there.” She pointed to a classroom with one of its double doors open.
“Thanks,” Taehyung said as he stepped away, peeking into the room. There was a small crowd of about seven people, sitting in a semicircle. Four of them were boys, so Taehyung couldn’t be sure which one was Jimin.
“Hi,” he said, and the conversation stopped abruptly, each of them looking over at him like he was an intruder on a private moment—that is, until one of them grinned widely and stood up. He was on the small side, not short but...petite, was the word Taehyung would use to describe him. He had an oval-shaped face with heavy-lidded eyes and thick, full lips, a slender neck, and a perfect nose, at least from the front. His blonde hair was beautifully in contrast with his golden skin, not washing him out but really just enhancing his features. Taehyung hoped and fucking prayed that this was Jimin.
“Taehyung?” he asked. Taehyung nodded, and Jimin crossed the room toward him.
Taehyung took in how he moved—lithely, like he had complete and utter control over every single atom in each of his limbs, like no one had ever been more comfortable in their body—and by the time he looked up from Jimin’s graceful legs, he was standing right in front of him.
“I’m Jimin,” he said, holding out a hand for Taehyung to shake. He hiked his camera bag up on his shoulder again, then reached out to take Jimin’s hand. His skin was soft and cool, and Taehyung vaguely wondered if Jimin was, like, some kind of professional model moonlighting as a student, because everything he did seemed to be perfect.
“Taehyung,” he squeaked out, and Jimin laughed (as did the group behind him).
“Yeah, I knew that,” he said. “So, I’m your model. What exactly did you need from me?”
“Um,” Taehyung said, fully aware of the six other sets of eyes on him. “Just a portrait.”
“Quick and easy,” Jimin said, straightening his back and lowering his chin. Taehyung could tell he’d been truthful when he said he had done this many times before. “So where do you want me?”
“Um,” Taehyung said again, hating himself for it. Why was he so nervous? This wasn’t the first time he’d had to speak in front of a group of people—and it wasn’t even an actual public speaking situation. He was just here getting a favor from another student.
“Well I—I don’t really like the lights in here, they’re kind of...harsh,” Taehyung said. Jimin nodded.
“The lights in the hall are softer,” one of the guys in Jimin’s little social club threw in. “That might work.”
Taehyung glanced out into the hall—he was right. But there were a lot of people out there, and they’d interfere with taking a decent shot.
“What if we just turned off half the lights in this room,” one of the others, a girl this time, said. Without waiting for a response from Taehyung who, quite frankly, felt he should be the one in charge, she stood up and walked to the light switches, switching one off. Half of the room was doused in darkness, but where they were standing, it lit Jimin’s face softly. If Taehyung turned him sideways, had him stand in front of the blackboard—that could actually work, especially since the lights on one side of him would throw shadows, and his prominent features would—
“Ooh, Jimin, come stand over here!” another of the girls said, waving him over. “It’s all shadowy over here. How cool would that look?”
Taehyung opened his mouth to ask Jimin not to move, but by the time Jimin had arrived where she had indicated, someone else had spoken.
“No, man, come here. It’s brighter,” he called, standing directly underneath the lights that were still on, that Taehyung had already deemed unfit. Taehyung sighed.
“Would you guys mind leaving while I take a few shots?” Taehyung asked, as nicely as he could manage. Which, judging by the looks they gave him, was in the negatives on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being nice as pie and 1 being “total prick.”
“Uh, why?” one of them asked, and Taehyung didn’t even think he could pick out which one it was, given the way there were seven faces all staring him down.
“I just...I would feel less, um, distracted? If it was just me and Jimin. If that’s ok.” Taehyung tried to smile, but didn’t think he quite managed the appeasing look he was going for.
“I mean, I don’t think—” the same one said, and Taehyung was able to zero in on which one it was (one of the guys, with what appeared to be an attempt at growing a goatee on his face). Before he could get the rest of his sentence out, though, Jimin interrupted.
“It’s ok, guys,” he said, and they all turned to look at him, clearly willing to obey now that Jimin was saying it. “I’ll catch up with you later at the café. This won’t take long.”
One by one, they streamed out of the room, mumbling amongst themselves, shooting the occasional glance at Taehyung, who watched as Jimin strode over and slammed the door shut behind them.
Taehyung exhaled. If he’d known it was going to be this much trouble, he’d have just forced Jungkook to sit still for thirty seconds so he could snap a picture and hope it was good enough to turn in to his professor.
“Sorry,” Jimin said, ambling back over toward Taehyung. Now that they were alone, Taehyung had a chance to really focus on Jimin. He was wearing all black, his sweater baggy enough that Taehyung couldn’t actually see anything of his body, except for where the sweater ended and his legs began. “I’m kind of their...mother hen, maybe is the best phrase for it? They don’t know what to do without me.”
“Oh,” was the brilliance that left Taehyung’s lips, but Jimin smiled, so that was fine. Taehyung noticed, just at a glance, the way the corner of his eyes crinkled up and how one of his front teeth was crooked, but in his opinion, that just made Jimin all the more charming. He nearly sighed wistfully, just from the perspective of someone who liked photographing people, but thankfully stopped himself. No need to make this weirder than it already was.
“So,” Jimin said, breaking what was probably an awkward silence, lifting his arms into a dramatic pose that Taehyung would have wanted to shoot, probably, if Jimin’s entire upper body wasn’t shrouded in a gauzy black sweater. “Pose me.”
“Come here,” Taehyung said, gesturing vaguely to where he’d been considering placing Jimin before. Jimin moved to where Taehyung indicated, stopping directly in front of him, facing him. The blackboard behind him wasn’t one solid color but instead had chalk dust on it, turning it a patchy grey that contrasted with both Jimin’s dark clothing and his complexion, not to mention the white-blonde hair atop his head.
Taehyung nodded, mostly to himself, then crossed the room to place his camera bag on a chair. He took it out and removed the lens cap, then returned to his former spot, facing Jimin.
They each held the other’s gaze for a long moment until Taehyung lifted the camera to his eye, watching Jimin through the lens, making small adjustments to the focus before pressing down the shutter, taking the first picture of what he hoped would be many.
“Dude, I wasn’t even ready,” Jimin said, quirking one eyebrow, pursing his lips.
“It’s fine,” Taehyung said. “Turn a little to your left.”
Jimin’s expression hardened, like he didn’t want to have to take more than a couple of pictures and had just realized that this would take longer than he’d thought, but he did what he was asked. The lights to Jimin’s right did exactly as Taehyung had hoped: they cast shadows of Jimin’s nose and lips onto the unlit side of his face, and he snapped a few pictures, catching the small movements of Jimin’s expression from annoyance to acceptance to, quite possibly, smugness at being the center of attention.
“Are you a music major?” Taehyung asked, lowering the camera and fiddling the strap a little.
“Acting,” Jimin said, cocking his head to the side, like he couldn’t understand why Taehyung was asking. “And dance.”
Taehyung could have sworn his heart skipped a beat when Jimin said he was a dancer—that was great news for him. He’d always admired photographers who were able to capture the human form that way, and had longed for the chance to get close to someone who could give him that opportunity. He should have known, he realized, because he’d clocked the way Jimin moved right away. He should have immediately seen that he was a dancer.
“Oh,” he said, wishing he could keep his wits about him in front of Jimin. He had no reason to be so nervous other than he could already see himself using Jimin as a model repeatedly, which was getting incredibly ahead of himself. Jimin barely even seemed to want to be doing this photoshoot, much less others.
“Hello?” Jimin called, snapping Taehyung back to the present. “Earth to Taehyung?”
“What?” Taehyung asked, blinking.
“I asked if you’re a photography major or just taking it as an elective,” Jimin said, eyeing the camera in his hands.
“Oh,” Taehyung said again, and he could have kicked himself. “Yeah, I am. I mean—not an elective. It’s my major.” He lifted the camera again, then lowered it. “Ok, so, you don’t have to look at me straight on every time. You can, you know…” He swirled one hand around in front of his face, trying to explain what he meant through the motion. “Do stuff.”
“Do stuff. With my face,” Jimin repeated, his tone clearly mocking. “I mean, wow, you’re just so great at giving direction.”
Taehyung frowned, but Jimin laughed a little, allowing himself the moment of mirth before collecting himself again, his lips coming together in a perfect pout.
“How about some serious ones first?” Jimin asked, angling his face down, lips still curved but parted just slightly. Taehyung took a breath, readying the camera again, needing it in front of his face so he would have an excuse to stare. Jimin looked, and acted, like he was made to be in front of a camera. Taehyung had never seen anyone so photogenic before. He wanted to capture Jimin from every single angle.
“Go ahead,” Taehyung breathed, and Jimin lifted only his eyes to look at Taehyung through the lens, his expression intense, so much so that Taehyung thought he could actually feel what Jimin was trying to convey with just a look. He was a fucking natural.
Jimin changed his expression when he deemed fit—which Taehyung didn’t really like, since he was the one holding the camera, but it wasn’t like he could say anything anyway, because Jimin’s smile actually made his breath catch in his throat. He was the cutest thing Taehyung had ever seen, his eyes nearly closed as he mugged for the camera, resting his chin in his hand, his fingers angling elegantly against his cheek.
Taehyung snapped his way through the entire roll of film, 36 pictures of Jimin that he was absolutely sure would all be flawless. He lowered the camera, finally, and looked down at it, then up at Jimin, who was looking at him curiously.
“Are we done?” he asked, stepping forward a little, his black sneakers scuffing against the tile floor.
“Um, yeah,” Taehyung said, shuffling back over to put his camera away, zipping the bag closed and slinging it over his shoulder again. He had a few days to develop them, to figure out which one he wanted to turn in. “Thank you again.”
“So. Payment?” Jimin asked. Taehyung froze.
“Payment?”” he repeated, turning to look at Jimin.
Jimin blinked, then smirked. “Yeah. You know, payment. Like, compensation for my time? I don’t do this stuff for free.”
“My...um, my flyer didn’t say anything about...time...compensation,” Taehyung said, his voice low and quiet.
“Yeah. I mean, I noticed that, but I figured we’d figure it out now.” Jimin paused. “Shit. You weren’t going to pay me at all, were you?”
“I didn’t—” Taehyung started, but Jimin cut him off.
“Well, you can just make it up to me some other way,” he said, and Taehyung held his breath, his eyes locked on Jimin’s—until he licked his plump lower lip, and then Taehyung’s eyes flicked downward toward his mouth—and then even moreso, lowering to his neck, bobbing a little as he swallowed; his collarbone, peeking out from beneath the loose neck of his sweater; down over the large expanse of the black fabric, obscuring his whole torso, until he dared drop his gaze down to—well, to where he would totally be eyeing Jimin’s package if he were wearing a normal-sized shirt. “How about you buy me coffee for a month?”
“What?” Taehyung squeaked, his eyes snapping up to meet Jimin’s again, who was looking at him knowingly. What the fuck had just happened? What the f—Jimin had to have done that very much on purpose.
“Coffee, for a month. It’s cheaper if you buy from the café near the dining hall with your student ID, so...I mean, it’d probably equate to what a real photographer would pay a model anyway. So we’ll be even. How does that sound?”
“Wait,” Taehyung tried to halt the conversation, still attempting to fathom how the fuck Jimin had gotten Taehyung so flustered with just a lick of his (full, kissable—stop it) lower lip.
“So, that’s settled,” Jimin said, and that fucking eye smile made another appearance. “I’ll text you my class schedule. I like a coffee before my first one every morning.” He pulled open the door to the room, flashing Taehyung a grin, lifting one hand as he winked, his fingers in a V.
Taehyung opened his mouth to say something, but by the time he thought of what to say—something along the lines of “Uh, fuck no”—Jimin was gone, the door swinging open the rest of the way, just making Jimin’s absence even more obvious.
“Well, what the fuck,” Taehyung said, scoffing at the empty room, then crossing to the door himself, flicking the lightswitch off and heading back to his dorm.
“And then,” Taehyung said, glancing over to make sure the other occupants of the room were still listening, “he just leaves!”
“I mean, you said he was an actor right? They do like drama, I guess.” Taehyung glared at who had spoken—it was Seokjin, one of Jungkook’s older friends he’d met in one of his painting classes.
“Hilarious,” Taehyung said, kicking his leg out at nothing from where he was sitting on the futon. “That was so funny I honestly forgot to laugh.”
“Aish,” Jungkook said, rolling his eyes and stretching, rubbing his belly a little (Jin had come over and cooked for them, which honestly had vastly improved Taehyung’s mood, even though he was still fixed on being bitter about his new daily expense of coffee for some snooty, yet very hot, actor/dancer/model hybrid triple threat. Thinking this way was really, really not helping him).
“What?” Taehyung snapped, looking over.
“You don’t have to be mean to Jin hyung just because you forgot you’d need to pay the guy,” Jungkook said, laughing a little at the look Taehyung shot him.
“I thought it would just be like, him doing me a favor!” Taehyung protested, a bit too much, because looking back, it was clear Jimin would have expected payment for modeling. Like, that was just the obvious outcome. And now he’d been wrangled into buying him a coffee every day that Jimin had class—and Taehyung still didn’t know how often that was. Jimin was taking his sweet time texting that information over.
“If someone had put up a flyer asking for a photographer to take some pictures for them, would you consider that a favor?” Jungkook asked, while Jin chuckled to himself on the lopsided ottoman they’d rescued from the trash room on move-in day. It was fine, mostly, but one of the legs was missing.
“Ok, thank you, O Wise One, I get it,” Taehyung said, biting, sliding down to slump on the futon, dejected.
Jungkook either took pity on him or had grown bored of their conversation, because he turned back to Jin, asking if he wanted to see the most recent painting he’d completed. Taehyung was glad—he wanted to stew in his bitter mood alone, even though Jungkook’s easel was in the corner, and they wouldn’t be leaving the room. He sank even lower on the couch, until he yelped in surprise, his phone buzzing in his pocket, indicating that he’d gotten a couple text messages in a row.
Jungkook and Jin both peeked around either side of the easel, but neither said anything, disappearing back behind it quickly enough.
Taehyung knew what to expect, he knew who had probably texted him, but he still managed to get even more irritated when he saw that all Jimin had sent him was his first class for every weekday, along with the coffee emoji and the winky face. No greeting. No words. Just a screenshot of his class schedule.
“Tch,” Taehyung scoffed, not bothering to reply, instead pocketing his phone again and standing up.
“I’m going to bed,” he announced, and this time, when Jin and Jungkook looked out from behind the easel, one of them spoke.
“Goodnight,” Jungkook said, smirking a little. Jin, to his credit, looked a bit more concerned, but that was probably because he was still an acquaintance—he wanted to be nice. Jungkook didn’t have the same preoccupations when it came to Taehyung.
“Night,” he mumbled, moving into their shared bedroom and collapsing facefirst onto his pillow—though he did check what time Jimin would be expecting his coffee the next morning, and, unfortunately, set his alarm to accommodate him.
“You made it,” Jimin said, eyeing Taehyung. He was clearly dragging himself forward step by step, probably still half asleep if his facial expression was any indication.
“Yeah, well,” Taehyung said, not really feeling like answering with anything more substantial.
“I just like it light and sweet,” Jimin said, and it took a moment for Taehyung to realize that Jimin was alone, which—given how he’d found him last night, and everything he’d said about his group of friends—seemed out of character.
“Ok,” Taehyung replied, though, turning to head up to the counter. He’d almost expected Jimin to ask for something extravagant, that would cost him a stupid amount of money, but a plain coffee with milk and sugar would only cost him a couple of dollars. So maybe this wouldn’t be so bad, in the long run. And, maybe Taehyung’s willingness to go along with the coffee-buying would warm Jimin up to him, making him more likely to want to model for him again. Taehyung smiled to himself.
Taehyung blinked, focusing on the girl in front of him, wearing an apron and a visor and a pinched expression.
“Are you ready to order?” she asked, and Taehyung cleared his throat, nervous—why was his mouth not working? How could he already have forgotten—
“Medium coffee, light and sweet,” Jimin said from behind him, and Taehyung shook his head when the barista looked at him expectantly, not ordering anything for himself. She tapped at the register in front of her, then took the money that Taehyung proffered, making him change as Jimin ambled over to the other end of the counter, waiting for his order.
Taehyung followed him, shoving the change and his wallet into his pocket. “So, um,” he started, but trailed off as he took in Jimin’s profile. His nose was flat, but had a slight bump just beneath the bridge, and his lips stuck out, like he was puckering them even though Taehyung knew that he wasn’t.
“What?” Jimin asked, looking over, absolutely catching Taehyung staring at him.
“Nothing,” he said, looking away. Jimin was shorter than him, but he made Taehyung feel miniscule. He was too powerful. This was the beginning of a dangerous relationship.
“You keep staring at me,” Jimin said, like he was both amused and used to it.
“Oh,” Taehyung said, adjusting the strap of the two bags slung across his shoulder—one for his books, one for his camera.. He’d looked away, but when he looked back, Jimin was still looking, waiting for a response. “I just—you were just a really good model.” Jimin blinked, so Taehyung continued. “I really...would like to take more photos of you. You’re very...good-looking.” Was he hitting on him, or asking him to pose for another shoot? Taehyung didn’t even know anymore.
“Do you have another assignment to do?” Jimin asked, nodding to the barista that handed him his coffee, finally.
“No,” Taehyung said.
“So you just want to take pictures of me?” was Jimin’s next question, and the word “yes” was halfway from Taehyung’s brain to his mouth before he realized that was exceptionally creepy. They hardly knew each other. No—scratch that. They did not know each other.
“It’s not like that,” Taehyung said, fingers tapping on the canvas of his camera bag, as he and Jimin stepped away from the counter. “I mean, I—how can I put this a way you’ll understand…” Jimin quirked an eyebrow, ready to be offended. “Do you ever just...read a role, or something, in a play, and you just know you need to play it?”
Jimin sipped his coffee slowly, content in making Taehyung wait for an answer. Didn’t he have to get to class?
“Sure,” Jimin replied.
“Right, ok—so you know what I mean. That’s how I feel—I mean, as a photographer, I—”
“You’re trying to say I’m your muse,” Jimin said, and this time, Taehyung could hear the snicker in his voice. “That’s cute.”
“It’s not funny,” Taehyung said, huffing a sigh, crossing his arms.
“I’m not laughing,” Jimin said. “It’s flattering, I guess. If not a little weird. Since we met less than twelve hours ago.”
“I can’t explain it, ok?” Taehyung said, feeling himself getting annoyed, his tone getting snippy. “I just—do you think we could get together for another shoot?”
Jimin sipped his coffee again, lowering the cup but swirling it around in his mouth before swallowing, either thinking about it or wanting Taehyung to think he was. “Sure,” he said, finally. “I hope you don’t think this will be free either.”
“Coffee for another month, then,” Taehyung said, ready to bargain, He needed Jimin to agree to this. He had so much confidence in the thought that he would be able to get so much out of a photoshoot with Jimin that he’d gladly spring for his coffee.
“Coffee for the whole semester,” Jimin countered.
“Coffee whenever you want, “ Taehyung said, his final offer, “and I get photoshoots whenever I want.”
“Deal,” Jimin said, smirking, transferring his coffee to his left hand and holding his right out to shake on it.
Taehyung took it, trying to ignore how pleasantly warm his skin was from holding the coffee cup. They shook, and then Jimin smirked at him, pulling his hand away and heading back toward the hallway, where he could head to class.
“Oh,” he called back to Taehyung, who, embarrassingly, rushed forward a couple of steps to hear him clearly. “And I want a print of any picture I like enough.”
He was gone before Taehyung could even agree or disagree, though he knew—it wasn’t up for debate, even with himself. Of course he would make Jimin prints if he wanted them. It was the least he could do for him, considering.
If Taehyung had any worries about the photos he'd taken of Jimin, every single one of them was alleviated in the school's darkroom. Jimin's face was hung all around him, each photograph showing a different expression, his lips slightly different, his eyes more closed in one than another, but every single picture—even the first one he'd taken without warning—was stunning.
Taehyung knew that he might have been somewhat biased. He was attracted to Jimin—but he also knew that part of that was just the way a photographer would be drawn to an interesting subject. It was purely artistic.
The other part—well. Jimin was...ethereal. Now that he'd met him, Taehyung had seen him around campus throughout the day, and he was always surrounded by people, always the focus, the center of attention. Jimin drew people to him. He was just that type of person.
Looking at each of the portraits that he'd taken, Taehyung wasn't sure which one he wanted to turn in. They were all great, in their own way—the soft lighting, the two-tone colors, the contrast of light and shadow. He took his time, studying each one, until he made his final decision. There was one that stuck out to him the most: Jimin was smiling in it, but it had been before he lifted his hand to his face, which Taehyung had honestly thought was an enthralling and quirky choice at the time, but now disliked. It pulled the eye from where it should be looking, off to the side. Taehyung had nixed those shots right away, which was a shame because it was nearly half the roll.
Jimin's smile was infectious—just looking at a picture of it, Taehyung smiled a little himself. His eyes were closed, crinkled at the corners, and he was smiling—it almost looked like he was laughing. Taehyung wondered fleetingly if he'd said or done something that made Jimin laugh, but he couldn't remember. Whatever it was—whether it was a reaction to something or just Jimin being an uncannily good model—Taehyung liked it. Aside from his expression, of course. The cuteness level of his model wasn't what he'd be graded on. He looked at the photo again, trying to be purely objective this time. It was still good.
But Jimin's face definitely helped.
Taehyung had met and photographed Jimin for the first time on a Thursday, bought him coffee and developed his first photos on a Friday, and on Saturday, was trying to think of a way to see him again. In a totally casual way.
He'd taken the developed pictures back to his dorm in a manila envelope, hoping that Jungkook wouldn't ask to see them, or worse, find them on his own. Even though he knew Taehyung was into dudes, and he knew that Jimin had agreed to model for him, Taehyung wouldn't put it past Jungkook to turn the folder of photos into something more sinister, like the result of a hard day's stalking of a poor, unsuspecting drama student.
"What are you doing?" Jungkook asked out of nowhere, startling Taehyung. He'd been standing in the middle of their bedroom, trying to decide where to stash the folder of pictures, when his roommate had come out of nowhere to scare the hell out of him.
"Nothing," Taehyung said, overly innocent and clearly lying. He hurried to hide the envelope behind his back.
"What are you hiding?" Jungkook pressed, stepping closer.
"Nothing," Taehyung repeated, wondering if Jungkook would just let it go, but of course he wouldn't. There was no way that would happen.
"Let me see," Jungkook said.
"It's nothing," Taehyung sighed, but he knew Jungkook would never give it up, not when he'd caught Taehyung in the act. "Here,” he said, giving up.
Jungkook took the folder and opened it, bending back the metal fastener that held it closed, sliding the glossy prints out. "Oh, shit," he said, and Taehyung stepped backwards, sitting down on the edge of the bottom bunk, not really minding that it was technically Jungkook's bed.
There was a few moments of silence, during which Jungkook thumbed through them, his head leaning to one side as he looked. On a few of them, he paused longer than others, and when he reached the last photograph, he nodded to himself, then put them all back in the envelope. Taehyung remained silent, waiting for the ridiculing to come, but it never did.
"These are really good," Jungkook said, holding the envelope in both hands for a moment before he handed it back to Tae. "Like, he looks good, but I like how you lit him. It works with the background. Was that a chalkboard?"
Taehyung's mouth opened of its own accord, but he snapped it shut. He knew Jungkook was an artist too, but he, for some reason, didn't expect a painter to appreciate the subtleties of a photograph. The mediums were so different but—the longer he thought on it—he realized maybe they weren't. He looked up at Jungkook from where he sat on the bed.
"Really?" he asked, and Jungkook nodded vehemently. "Yeah, it was the chalkboard in one of the music rooms."
"I like it a lot," Jungkook said. "A plain black background wouldn't have worked as well. It was like you took the lightness of his hair and skin and the darkness of his clothes and made the background the happy medium between them. Really good, really cool." He bit his lip, looking up at the ceiling for a moment. "I might try to do something like that with paint..."
And he was gone. Taehyung smiled up at Jungkook a little, but he was still off in his own world, probably imagining how he'd need to mix his paints to come up with a grey, splotchy color like the chalkboard behind Jimin had been.
It felt nice, though, to get enthusiastic feedback from another artist. Taehyung held the envelope to his chest—this was proof that he wasn't just some weirdo who thought Jimin was his muse—they obviously connected as a photographer and model. Whatever they did together in their future shoots would be next level—Taehyung couldn't wait. He would have to start a coffee fund to stay on Jimin's good side.
Taehyung broke down on Sunday afternoon, texting Jimin even though they were going to see each other the next morning before class, and he certainly could have asked him then. It was just—the prospect of their deal, of Taehyung getting a photoshoot whenever he wanted—it was too promising.
are you free any nights this week? Taehyung tapped out, a full three times. He'd backspaced it the first two—he'd had thoughts that first, had told him to wait and second, had posited that maybe Jimin wouldn't have even saved his number, would have no idea who was texting him. In the end, he sent it, and figured he would deal with whatever Jimin said.
He didn't have to wait long for a response, which was unexpected. Jimin replied within a few minutes.
Yeah, I'm open on Tuesday and Thursday. Should I expect a coffee?
Taehyung grinned to himself, his smile wide and boxy, as he sent a response. yeah, how about we meet in the photo wing this time? on tuesday night at around 8 again. we can set up something cool
Again, Jimin's reply came quickly—but it wasn't words. It was just the "ok" emoji, a hand with its thumb and forefinger together. It was both a curse and a blessing—with text, Taehyung would have tried to decipher the tone, try to uncover how Jimin really felt about coming to meet him. The meaning of the emoji itself was that Jimin was fine with it—but why had he sent just the emoji?
Taking a breath, Taehyung put his phone down. He didn't need that kind of stress, not when he had to figure out what kind of shoot he wanted to do with Jimin. Something simple, for their first one, would probably be best. He'd make sure to get there early and set up. Exactly what he wanted to set up, he'd have to figure the fuck out.
Monday morning came both too quickly and not quickly enough—Taehyung hated waking up early, but getting to see Jimin, even in this way, was still worth it.
Jimin was waiting for him at the café, wearing a pair of black jeans and an oversized, navy blue hoodie with the school's mascot emblazoned on the front in black and white. Jimin very clearly had a particular style and color pallet that he stuck to, and Taehyung both respected it and disliked it. He wanted to see Jimin's body, wanted to see how he moved, the lines and planes of his muscles. He wanted to capture every single part of Jimin on film and show him to the world, the way he deserved.
Shit, Taehyung thought to himself, knowing he was getting way too hard up for this guy, way too ahead of himself. He might have been taking the idea that Jimin was his muse a bit too far, but it seemed the most likely explanation. It felt like more than a simple crush. It had to be something bigger than that.
"Hey," Jimin said, looking up from his phone when Taehyung approached. He waved a hand to smile, until he realized that Jimin may not have been speaking to him—he was looking past Taehyung, at someone behind him.
One of the girls from the night of their first photoshoot sidled up beside Tae, giving him a look before speaking directly—and only—to Jimin. "How are you feeling about your monologue?" she asked. Taehyung felt spectacularly out of place, but he didn't move.
"Perfect," Jimin replied to the girl, who was wearing a beret—she was actually wearing a beret, and Taehyung would have rolled his eyes except for the fact that Jimin was looking right at him now.
"Medium coffee, light and sweet," he said, and Taehyung felt his stomach drop. Right. He was only here to provide Jimin with his caffeine fix, not to meet up with him as his friend. They were keeping this strictly professional. That was fine. Taehyung should have expected that—he was paying Jimin, after all—he wasn't doing Tae a favor.
"Yes. Ok," Taehyung said, stepping away as both Jimin and the girl watched him head to the waiting barista. He ordered the coffee and stood at the end of the counter, waiting for the steaming cup to be handed to him, all the while keeping an eye on Jimin, who had not turned to look again. It was fine. Fine.
"Here you go," another barista said, sliding the cup across the counter to Taehyung, who thanked him and picked up the cup, returning to Jimin's side, holding it out.
"Thanks," Jimin said absently, still engrossed in his conversation about monologues and how likely it was the other students in the class would fuck theirs up. "See you tomorrow," he added, almost like an afterthought, before he walked away with his classmate
He was stunning, even from behind, his hair falling softly over his ears, the nape of his neck broadening into his shoulders—Taehyung could tell there wasn't a harsh angle on him, anywhere—which he would hopefully find out for sure the next time he got his camera on Jimin.
Don't need a coffee this morning Jimin had texted Taehyung, bright and early on Tuesday. Just bring me an iced vanilla latte tonight
He wished Jimin had sent that the night before, or—maybe—had told him that on Monday, when they had been with each other. Then Taehyung wouldn't have had to set his alarm for the ungodly hour of 6:30AM, the time he needed to wake to be able to meet Jimin before his 7:15 class. Taehyung hadn't even known the school offered courses that early. He hoped it was an elective that Jimin had opted to take and wasn't actually a course that he himself would have to attend at some point, because—waking up this early. It was truly fucking dire.
His classes helped the day pass by quickly, though his anxiousness at being alone with Jimin didn't help any. Every time he tried to focus in class—either on the short story he was supposed to have read (but didn't) or on whatever war they were discussing in History—he thought about the way Jimin angled his head just so to make each subsequent photograph different than the prior one. He was something else.
Instead of heading back to his dorm after his last class of the day, Taehyung grabbed a quick dinner in the dining hall and then made his way to the photography wing. Like the music hallway, there were many empty classrooms—it was late enough in the day that most classes were over—and Taehyung continued down to the end of the corridor, entering the classroom where he had his photography class. One side of it was filled with a few rows of computers—on the other was the entrance to the darkroom, along with a large, empty space that Taehyung figured could be used as a makeshift studio. He wished he'd had the foresight to bring along something to hang as a backdrop, but with the right lighting he assumed the background behind Jimin would be indiscernible.
He went about setting up lights, trying to find the best spot to stick Jimin when he heard a knock on the door behind him.
Taehyung turned to look at the same time that Jimin stepped further into the room. He immediately realized two things: One, he had forgotten Jimin's latte; and two, he was wearing the absolute best outfit that Taehyung could have asked for.
Instead of something loose on his upper half, which Taehyung had assumed was Jimin's go-to fashion choice, he had on his customary black jeans (which seemed to be the one constant, thus far) and a form-fitting button-down shirt. It had short sleeves and was patterned with small red and pink roses—it was black, of course, but then Taehyung wouldn't have expected anything else.
He couldn't stop his eyes from moving down Jimin's body, roving over his form like he couldn't get enough of him. He was slight—Taehyung had been right about that from the beginning—but he wasn't too thin, or really thin at all. He had thick thighs, which had heretofore been hidden beneath his oversized clothes, and the smallest tummy that Tae only noticed because of how well-fit the shirt was. His body would be incredible to photograph, especially considering Jimin was a dancer. Taehyung had really lucked out.
"Hey," Jimin said, stopping once Taehyung's eyes were on him—Tae saw him do a sweep of the immediate vicinity for a coffee cup.
"Hey," Taehyung replied, stepping closer to Jimin, his hands clasped together in front of him. "Um, so, I forgot to grab your coffee, so I'll be right back," he continued, slipping past Jimin, who turned to face him. In the light from the hallway, Taehyung loved this look even more—his arms were faintly muscular, and he could see just how strong his legs were, too. He forced himself to lift his gaze to Jimin's face.
"Get a large, would you?" Jimin said, turning and leaving Taehyung in the hallway, disappearing into the dark photography classroom.
The café was crowded when Taehyung arrived. He let out a heavy sigh, getting on line and waiting until it was his turn. Jimin would surely lose patience by the time Taehyung got back to the classroom. His tongue tripped over itself in his rush to order, but in less time than he had expected, he was on his way back to Jimin, an ice-cold vanilla latte in his hand.
Taehyung expected the classroom to be empty when he rushed into it—but it wasn't. Jimin was still there (and still breathtaking), apparently not as impatient as Taehyung had chalked him up to be. There was just one little problem—
"Is that my camera?" Taehyung asked. He felt his grip on the coffee cup tighten, his fingers digging divots into the plastic of the cup, making the ice inside crunch together.
Jimin was seated at the professor's desk, feet kicked up onto the edge, aiming the lens at himself, clicking away at the shutter, taking selfies that were, without a doubt, horribly focused and completely unlit.
"Yeah," Jimin said, absently, his fingers in a V right beside his cheek, his tongue sticking out and one eye closed in a wink. "I want prints of these, ok?"
"They're not going to look like anything," Taehyung said, crossing to the desk and putting down the coffee a bit harder than he meant to—the contents of the cup sloshed around again. "It's too dark. All you're doing is wasting film." He reached across the desk to take the camera from Jimin's hand, inspecting as best he could in the dimness of the room, like he could have damaged it.
"Ok, geez," Jimin said, scoffing a little, rolling his eyes like Taehyung was overreacting. "Why is it so dark in here anyway?" he asked, reaching for the coffee, taking a long sip through the straw.
"Because we're going to use those lights," Taehyung said, pointing, to where he'd set two of the school’s umbrella lights up, craning above their heads.
"Oh," Jimin said, and Taehyung was surprised—he didn't seem to have his attitude anymore. He almost sounded impressed, like Taehyung was taking this a lot more seriously than he was.
"Yeah," Tae said, wanting to move on, before Jimin could comment on anything of the sort. "So, whenever you're ready."
"Are we just doing more headshots?" Jimin asked, leaning a bit further back in the teacher's chair, still sipping his iced coffee.
"Portraits," Taehyung corrected him—that sounded more professional, in his mind. "And no. I was thinking maybe we could do...you know, a little bit of everything? We don't have a backdrop, so...you know, everything behind you will be visible, but I was thinking this could be more of a figure study, or...the start of one."
"A what?" Jimin asked. Taehyung met his eyes—he was serious. Maybe he'd modeled before, but it was just as likely that no one had ever gone this far with him, in terms of taking his picture. No one else had seen all the potential Jimin had, or maybe they just hadn't wanted to pursue it. They were missing out—Taehyung wasn't going to let this chance go.
"A figure study," Taehyung repeated, and Jimin nodded, the straw between his lips as he sipped his latte. "For right now, at least, it would just be me seeing how your body moves, how it looks from certain angles. Ideally, I would like to...you know, develop something more with you, maybe something while you were dancing, or, you know, just focused on how your body can move and pose and..." he trailed off.
Jimin was staring up at him, the straw still between his lips, but his mouth was slightly open, like he was trying to take in all of this information without interrupting with questions.
"Ok. To keep it as simple as possible, I want to just take pictures of you now to see how I'd like to work with you in the future. To see what kind of shoots we can do in the long run," Taehyung said. "Is that ok?"
"Yeah," Jimin nodded, and Taehyung really wished he would lower that fucking coffee, because the straw was still between his lips and if Jimin wasn't careful, Taehyung would want to focus solely on them, and then that would teach him to let Taehyung stare at his mouth for so long.
"Good." Taehyung nodded, stepping away from the desk and moving over to the lights. He turned them on, sucking the inside of his cheek as he considered them. He didn't think they would be too bright on Jimin—he could always move them if they were.
"Should I get in there?" Jimin asked from directly behind him, and Taehyung jumped, startled. He hadn't even heard Jimin get up from the desk.
"Yeah," he said, waving his hand at the lit area, turning his back on Jimin for a moment as he strode back over to the classroom door, shutting it behind him. Not that anyone in the photography wing would really bother someone who was clearly involved in a shoot—but he'd rather be certain.
When he turned back, Jimin was standing in the lights, his form perfectly lit, blonde hair practically glowing. Taehyung just looked at him for a moment—he wasn't looking at Tae, but he did appear to be completely in his element. He was used to being in the spotlight, as an actor and dancer, and Taehyung was glad that he'd finally found someone who wasn't reluctant to stand in front of a camera, to pose for him however he asked. Jimin wasn't just used to it—he probably liked it. Taehyung was beyond lucky—even if working with Jimin ended up being its own ordeal, just due to his circle of friends and his attitude.
Taehyung grasped his camera with both hands as he moved back toward Jimin, who looked up at him as he did. His skin looked golden, his pink lips parted just slightly, shining under the lights, and he wondered vaguely if Jimin was wearing makeup before he decided he just needed to push forward and take these pictures, because otherwise he would get lost in Jimin and his presence.
"So what should I do?" Jimin asked, as Taehyung lifted the camera, making the adjustments he needed, fiddling with each knob, and then the lens, until Jimin was perfectly in focus.
"Stretch, or just pose yourself, or—however you feel like moving. I just want to get a feel for your body," he said, ignoring the way Jimin snickered at his phrasing. "How it looks on film. It'll help give me some direction for what I want to do with you next time."
Jimin lifted his eyebrows for a fraction of a second, smirking obviously, then looked straight into the camera. He lifted his arms and leaned his head back, his muscles flexing, his skin tightening over them. Taehyung stepped closer, snapping pictures indiscriminately, his lips parting as he did, trying to concentrate on Jimin with each movement of his body.
It was like nothing he had ever seen before. Taehyung had photographed many people, many models, many of whom had enjoyed being in front of the camera just as much as Jimin—but he didn't think he'd ever found anyone like him, wasn't sure he ever would again.
The way Jimin moved was full of grace and balance; his body was strong and it was clear each time he adjusted the placement of his arm, or stepped to the side, his thighs filling out his jeans perfectly. There were a few shots where Jimin's shirt had ridden up enough to expose a line of skin between it and the waistband of his jeans—Taehyung had shamelessly photographed it, wanting to document every inch of Jimin's skin, knowing that he would have to get him to agree to do a nude shoot at some point. He shouldn't be wearing clothes—that was how gorgeous his body had to be beneath them. He was built like a dream that Taehyung had remembered having until he saw it in front of his eyes, and now it was all he could think of during his waking hours. Jimin—this dancer, this model, whose last name Taehyung barely remembered—was something he would have searched a lifetime for as a photographer, and who, by chance, had fallen right into his hands.
They stopped once, then twice, so Taehyung could change the rolls of film in his camera. By the end of the night, he'd taken two and a half rolls of Jimin, the other half being the shots he'd wasted trying to take selfies with a manual film camera in the dark. They'd paused after each roll to discuss what Taehyung wanted from him next, and contrary to what he'd initially intended, he took quite a few close-ups of Jimin's face, just to finish the roll of film.
"I'll get these developed as soon as I can," Taehyung said, knowing that when he had such a staggering amount of photos to develop, he tended to put it off for as long as possible. "But I think I'll have some good ideas for next time. I really would...like to shoot you while you dance."
Jimin looked over at him as he crossed to the desk, the ice in his coffee nearly completely melted, though he picked it up anyway, the ring of condensation glinting on the desk from the lights across the room. "Yeah?" he asked, sipping the drink, swallowing and making a disgusted face at the watered-down latte.
"I know you'll laugh at me, but I'll just say it. Your body moves in ways that I—that I would love to catch on film. It's just really..." Taehyung trailed off, ignoring the smirk on Jimin's lips, the haughty way he was leaning his head back a little, his chest puffed up. "It's really beautiful."
His smug expression faltered, and he dropped the cup in the garbage pail beside the desk, wiping his hand, wet with condensation, on his jeans. "Thank you," he said, and Taehyung found that it really sounded like he meant it. "I'll see you tomorrow, right? Before class."
Taehyung clutched his camera to his chest, watching as Jimin just walked to the door and opened it, light from the hall flooding the room. He was just going to leave? He was so strange, could be so rude, but Taehyung found that it made part of him—the unprofessional, regular college student with a dick, part of him—more interested in Jimin.
"Yeah," Tae squeaked out, and Jimin exited the classroom. He disappeared from view—and then his head poked back around the doorframe.
"I had fun tonight," he said, throwing Taehyung a grin with an eye smile to match, before he was gone again.
Taehyung could have said he had fun, too—and he did, for the most part—but he knew that Jimin wasn't just his muse, despite being a reluctant one. He was going to fall for Jimin, hard, unless he kept himself in check.
As he packed up his camera and returned the photo equipment to its proper place, though, Taehyung found that he was pretty sure that he didn't really want to.
Their morning meetings all tended to go the same after that second photoshoot. Jimin would be waiting for Taehyung outside of the café, sometimes alone but most of the time not. Occasionally they would share pleasantries, but it became pretty clear to Taehyung that Jimin preferred the company of his acting friends than some photographer who may or may not be obsessed with him.
They’d gotten their meetings down to a science. Taehyung would greet Jimin, and then the entire rest of their time together would be dependent on if he was alone or not. If he wasn’t alone, Jimin would wait outside with whoever he was with that day (usually beret girl, but sometimes, there were others), thanking Taehyung with a smile and a wave as he left. That was nice, and a new development, since Jimin had pretty much ignored Taehyung the first day he’d shown up with a friend in tow.
If Jimin was alone, though, he tended to stick to Taehyung like glue. Taehyung wondered if Jimin just liked to be around people that much, liked to have someone paying attention to him, that he didn’t really care who it was—but as time went on, it really seemed as though Jimin was beginning to think of him as more than just an acquaintance.
A few weeks after their photoshoot—Taehyung was only finished making prints of two of the three rolls they’d taken that night, still needing to look at the remaining negatives before he did anything else—Jimin had actually come over to Taehyung as he approached, closing the distance between them quicker.
“Hey,” Tae had said, a little startled, when Jimin met him halfway down the hall, instead of waiting in his spot beside the café doors.
“Hi,” Jimin said, immediately rushing past the greeting and veering the conversation off in another direction. “So. Let me ask you something.”
“Ok,” Taehyung said, looking over at Jimin, who was scrolling through his phone. They entered the café together and stood at the end of the line, Tae still eyeing Jimin, who had neither asked anything nor actually spoken again. “So…”
Jimin scoffed, clicking his phone screen off and pocketing the device, then looked up at Tae. “Sorry. I just—I’m so frustrated right now. I have this monologue that I’ve been preparing for pretty much forever—I wrote it myself, so it’s been in the works for a long time, and now I’m being told that I can’t use it for evaluation in one of my classes. And like—I can’t really understand why. I mean, wouldn’t I know how to act it? I wrote it. Obviously I know how to perform it. I know what needs to go into it, right?”
“Uh,” Taehyung said, trying to follow, but not really understanding the problem. “Right?”
“Right,” Jimin continued, stepping up the the counter, Taehyung moving after him. “Medium coffee, light and sweet,” Jimin said to the barista, not missing a beat—they both looked pointedly at Taehyung, who hurried to get his wallet—and continued on. “He’s just being a real dick about it, is all I’m saying. Like, why can’t I use my monologue?”
Together, they shuffled down the counter, waiting for Jimin’s coffee to be handed to him.
“Well,” Taehyung said, and Jimin’s eyes snapped to his, like he hadn’t really expected an answer to his questions and had just wanted to vent. But Taehyung kept going. “I mean...if it’s for a class, then your teacher will need to know how to, um, evaluate your acting, right? If you use something you wrote yourself he won’t be familiar with it. So...um, maybe you know what it needs but he doesn’t.”
Jimin’s eyes narrowed, one cheek hollowed as he sucked it. The barista placed the coffee on the counter, and Taehyung grabbed it, since Jimin still appeared to be contemplating what he had said. He offered the coffee to Jimin, who took it but didn’t move.
Finally, he nodded. “Ok,” he said. “Ok. I get that point. Makes sense. But why the fuck wouldn’t he explain it to me like that? Asshole.” He sipped his coffee, scowling.
Taehyung just shrugged, ready for Jimin to leave without saying anything, but this time, he didn’t. He sipped his coffee one more time, then leveled his gaze with Taehyung’s.
“Hey,” he said.
“Hi,” was Taehyung’s immediate reaction. He shifted the straps of his bags on his shoulder, because why did he always have to give the dumbest responses ever when Jimin was talking to him?
“You wanted to take pictures of me while I was dancing, right?”
Taehyung nodded immediately, his hand pressing flat against the top of his camera bag like Jimin was going to dance right here and now, outside of the coffee shop, with a paper cup in his hand.
“I’m teaching a contemporary dance workshop this weekend,” he said, twisting the cardboard holder around his coffee cup. “If you wanted to stop by.”
“Yes,” Tae said, stepping closer to Jimin even though they were standing pretty close together already. “That would be great.”
“Ok,” Jimin said, giving him a small smile. “It’s in the theater on Saturday. So, get there around 9.”
“Perfect,” Taehyung said, his voice tight, excited.
“See you tomorrow,” Jimin said, lifting his coffee to Taehyung in thanks before he turned and walked back down the hall.
Taehyung stared after him, mesmerized just by the way Jimin walked. He probably wouldn’t make it past Saturday night at this rate, but—worth it.
Taehyung’s interactions with Jimin were limited for the rest of the week. He must have chosen another monologue than the one he’d written himself, because every morning, Jimin was with his friends, poring over a piece of paper, reciting lines and asking their opinion on inflection or volume, making notes with a pencil in the margins. Taehyung didn’t even approach him first—he looked beyond stressed, and Taehyung didn’t want to interrupt him except to give him his coffee.
“Thank you,” Jimin would breathe out every time, looking more grateful every day—and on Friday, something unthinkable happened. He actually grabbed Taehyung’s wrist.
“You’re coming tomorrow, right?” he asked, holding Taehyung there as his friend meandered to the end of the hall, turning and waiting for him to catch up.
“Yeah,” Taehyung said, a little breathless—he wasn’t sure why Jimin was holding onto his arm. It wasn’t like he had anywhere to go.
“Good,” Jimin said, releasing him. “My monologue is today so I’m just...looking forward to doing something fun.” He smiled, stepping backward and lifting his coffee cup to Tae again, grinning at him. “See you.” He smirked then, just a little, winking at Tae before he turned away, rushing to meet his friend (it was beret girl, back in her beret, and Taehyung smiled a little to himself as they rounded the corner).
Something that Taehyung hadn’t bothered to tell Jimin, something he’d figured wouldn’t be of any interest to him, was that he actually had no classes as early as Jimin’s on Friday. Taehyung could have slept as late as he damn well pleased, but he didn’t—all to keep Jimin happy and willing to pose for his photos. The things he did for art, honestly.
Instead of trudging back to his dorm, he headed to the photography wing, hoping to finally have the time to get that last batch of prints done before the first class of the day walked in. The roll he had yet to work on was the one with Jimin's disaster selfies, the ones he wasn't looking forward to at all other than the second part of the roll, the part with actual photographs.
The door was unlocked, and Tae made his way to the empty darkroom. He’d developed the roll of film but hadn’t bothered to look at the shots yet—the thought of the wasted film put him on edge—so he’d just put the negatives into sleeves and held onto them until he thought he could stomach taking a close look. He tugged the binder he’d kept them in out of his messenger bag and laid it on the countertop, taking a deep breath. He could get this done and head back to the dorm well before his first class, hide these photos away with the others (which he was much more reluctant to let Jungkook see), and then head back out, letting the rest of his Friday pass as normal.
The selfies were, of course, worthless, and Taehyung frowned a little more as he viewed each one, like they were mocking him. The only thing that was worse was how much he liked the other pictures, the ones he himself had taken. If Jimin hadn't wasted a fourth of the roll, he could have had so many more.
Jimin's lithe body, the easy way he moved—every single pose seemed natural, without pretense, and Taehyung needed Saturday night to come as quickly as possible. Being able to photograph Jimin in his element, on a stage, dancing, was going to blow every single other photo Tae had taken of him away. Taehyung sighed, leaning against the countertop behind him. He should step out for a moment, to check and see what time it was—the last thing he wanted was to walk out of the darkroom while a class was going on, but at the same time, he wanted to try and make some prints while he was still in the mood to get work done. It was substantially less than he'd normally have to make—
Biting the inside of his cheek, he huffed a sigh. Fuck it—he'd just make them and leave as quickly as possible. Part of him wanted to show Jungkook, at least the ones that he deemed presentable enough, as well as Jimin. He deserved to see what Taehyung was going for, in the long run.
Nodding to himself in the near darkness of the room, he decided to just buckle down and finish what he'd gone into the darkroom to do.
He excused himself vehemently, later on, when he opened the darkroom door onto a full class and a surprised professor, clutching the binder that held his prints, making a break for it into the hall.
Saturday mornings, usually, were peaceful times. When he lived at home, Taehyung was used to sleeping in, waking up in the late morning or early afternoon, if he was lucky.
Living with Jungkook did not allow him the same luxury. Every Saturday began at the crack of dawn, when Jungkook's alarm clock would blare to life, scaring the living shit out of Taehyung without fail. Taehyung would lie there in the top bunk, staring at the ceiling, as he listened to Jungkook shuffle around their bedroom, then head into the bathroom to shower.
He said waking up so early did wonders for his inspiration. He would watch the sunrise and then paint.
Taehyung didn't share the same sentiments. Although, he realized, as he studied the pinholes in the ceiling above him, wondering what posters had been hung there in years before, he wasn’t sure if he had felt truly inspired before he saw Jimin and had a chance to photograph him. If he did, he couldn't remember it now—which for an artist probably didn't bode well. It was just...Jimin. He was something Taehyung hadn't expected to find, didn’t know that he could find in another person.
He listened to Jungkook finish in the shower, vaguely registering that he was humming quietly as he re-entered their bedroom, shoving the clothes he'd slept in into his laundry bag, and then exiting again without a glance up at Taehyung. He'd probably assumed that Tae had gone back to sleep, as he normally did when Jungkook went about his Saturday morning routine, but he hadn't. All he could do now was think of Jimin and how he would be meeting him in just a bit more than 12 hours, how he would be able to photograph him, for real, in the theater. He would be dancing, his muscles flexed and his face so, so expressive—
He rolled over and buried his face in his pillow, sighing heavily, cheeks warming from it. Jungkook was still humming in the next room.
It was only after Taehyung had taken several deep breaths, squeezing his eyes shut, that he felt himself begin to drift off again, Jungkook's humming helping to lull him back to sleep. He'd worry about Jimin later.
The rest of his day passed slowly. He had woken up around noon to Jungkook and Jin laughing about something or other in the next room, and when he emerged, hair stuck up at all angles and mouth still fuzzy with sleep, he saw that they were both painting, easels set up facing each other, with an actual bowl of fruit set up on a stool between them.
"What are you doing," Taehyung said, the phrase definitely a question, though he was too tired to give it an upward inflection. He regretted asking immediately, as their peals of laughter filled the room again.
"Trying to outdo each other," Jin said. From where he stood, Taehyung could see his canvas. The painting, so far, looked incredible, rich colors and highlights, giving everything there a lifelike appearance.
"Come be the judge, Tae," Jungkook said, grinning at him. Taehyung immediately regretted speaking to them.
"I...have to go," he said, turning around and padding straight into the bathroom, closing the door behind him.
"I'm winning, and he knows it," he heard Jin say, followed by Jungkook's indignant "Uh, no way, bro. You’re speaking to a prodigy here."
The water in the shower drowned the two of them out, so Taehyung stayed in the bathroom as long as he could, brushing his teeth and washing himself, the whole time thinking about what to wear to a contemporary dance class that would both impress Jimin and not make him look foolish.
After he finished his shower, he snuck out of the bathroom, steam pouring forth from the open door, and managed to make it to the bedroom before either Jungkook or Jin could ask him to come judge their paintings again. He closed the door, leaning back against it for a moment, holding his towel around his waist. Jungkook would be good at picking out clothes for something like this—he'd probably even let Taehyung raid his closet—but there was no way he was going out there to deal with the two of them and their stupid competition. He had much more important things to worry about.
Pushing himself off the door, Taehyung crossed to his closet, which housed the school-provided chest of drawers. He opened a few of them, surveying the contents, pushing his clothes around until he'd managed to cobble together something that he figured would fit in: a pair of black jeans (that he might have purchased because of how good Jimin looked in his) and a black polo shirt (which he did steal from Jungkook's dresser, but he could just deal with that). Jimin would appreciate the all-black look, and wearing dark clothes might end up working out for him—if he was going to be photographing Jimin while he was teaching, Taehyung could move in the shadows, not drawing attention to himself as he captured Jimin on film over and over.
Once he was dressed, he settled into his desk chair, still not wanting to be bothered when he was already nervous about this photoshoot, which he had neither suggested nor planned. He had such high expectations for it that anything less than perfection would put a damper on everything—which wasn't good, Taehyung knew, but it was true. He needed to get his mind off of what he would be doing that evening—he decided to get some of the homework he'd been putting off out of the way.
It was only when Jungkook came in, letting him know that Jin had left and asking if he wanted to get something for dinner, did Taehyung realize how much time had really passed. He had been so engrossed in an assignment for his biology class that he hadn't noticed his dark the room had gotten outside of the glow of his laptop, or how hungry he was after not having eaten all day.
They ordered takeout, and Jungkook forced Taehyung to look at his fruit bowl painting while waiting for it to arrive.
"I'm not going to critique a bowl of fruit," Taehyung said, whining—his stomach was growling and the last thing he wanted to do was look at food that he couldn't eat.
"Yes you are," Jungkook said, scoffing as he checked his phone; the delivery guy was supposed to text when he was outside. "Considering I'm letting you wear my shirt for your date tonight."
"It's not a date," Taehyung said, trying to ignore the way his heart was thrumming a little bit at the very idea. It was not a date. It was a photoshoot. Jimin barely acted friendly to him on a regular day, so as far as Taehyung was concerned, keeping their relationship strictly professional was for the best. He'd already weirded Jimin out by trying to tell him that he was his muse. If he even alluded to anything more, he'd probably tell Tae that their photography agreement was over (while probably still expecting his daily coffee).
"If you say so," Jungkook said, his phone buzzing in his hand. He glanced down at the screen, then crossed to the door, shrugging on the way. "I just call 'em like I see 'em," he said, snatching his keys from the hook by the door (that Taehyung would never dare to use, because he knew he'd forget his keys every time) and leaving the room to go grab their food delivery.
They ate quickly and silently, and Jungkook agreed to clean up to let Taehyung get his camera and film ready, so he could leave with plenty of time to make it to the theater at the appointed 9'o'clock meeting time.
The campus was always empty around this time, with only a few stragglers making their way back to their dorms after night classes, or club meetings that were scheduled late to allow attendance. Taehyung made his way to the main building that housed the theater; on his way in, he passed a group of students leaving, huddled together. A few of them had duffel bags slung over their shoulders, and Jungkook recognized them as the kind of bags that some of the dance students used.
Taehyung stopped dead in his tracks. Had he missed the dance class? Jimin had specifically told him to show up at 9. He frowned to himself, but when someone cleared their throat at him, he looked up.
A slight girl in an oversized hoodie and leggings was holding the door for him, and he hadn't even noticed.
"Sorry, thank you," he said, rushing forward, nodding to her as he took hold of the door, allowing her to continue on before he entered the building. He straightened his camera bag on his shoulder, his mouth cutting a downward angle into his face, frowning again. Had he misheard? Had Jimin messed with him on purpose? He pursed his lips, then strode forward, wanting to at least make sure for himself what exactly was going on. If he'd been blown off, he needed to know.
The theater was dark when he opened the door, except for the stage, which was lit completely. A lone figure was on it, but he wasn't stationary—he was dancing. There was no music playing that Taehyung could hear, but the dancer on stage—his body was moving fluidly, so skillful and easy that Taehyung couldn't help but watch: he let go of the door and stared openly.
The dancer didn't look up when the closing door echoed, so Taehyung chanced walking forward, making his way down the aisle toward the stage, his eyes not leaving the dancer. He didn't even want to blink, afraid he would miss something.
He'd known from the second he saw him, given the smooth movements, the sure footing, the facial expression that made Taehyung feel exactly what each gesture was supposed to make him feel, that the dancer on the stage was Jimin, but once he was close enough, he got all the confirmation he needed.
His blonde hair was fluorescent under the stage lights, and Taehyung had been right that he would be wearing dark clothes—he had on what looked from the distance to be black leggings, and that same black sweater he'd been wearing the first night they'd met—flimsy, loose-fitting. He was barefoot. Taehyung stopped a few steps short of the edge of the stage, staring up at Jimin. His eyes were closed, and from how close he'd gotten, he could see that Jimin was wearing headphones, meaning he was dancing to music that only he could hear. Not that it mattered. Taehyung felt like he could hear every single note just based on the way Jimin handled his body, each sweeping movement, each miniscule gesture—Taehyung could feel every single one.
Fumbling for his camera, Taehyung didn't realize he'd been holding his breath, not wanting to disturb any part of the atmosphere, not wanting to do anything that could cause Jimin to lose his concentration. He wasn't sure how long had passed as he tried to ease the zipper of the bag open as silently as possible, but Jimin slowed to a stop, his wrists delicately bent, hands poised as if they could move again at any moment, but wouldn't, legs slightly bent, holding him in a pose that Taehyung would never have dreamed up himself.
The song must have ended. Jimin opened his eyes.
"How long have you been standing there?" he asked, cocking his head to the side as he stood up straight, plucking the headphones from his ears. If he was surprised to see Taehyung, he didn't show it.
"Um," Tae said, tongue flitting over his upper lip, like he'd been caught somewhere he wasn't supposed to be, even though he knew that he was in the exact right place at the right time. "Like, a minute." With the qualifier, it was mostly true.
Jimin lifted the hem of his sweater, plucking his phone out of the waistband of his leggings and presumably paused his music—the movement was so quick, Taehyung barely registered it until Jimin had dropped his shirt back down. He wound the cord of the headphones around his hand, watching Taehyung, waiting for him to speak.
"I thought you said to meet you at nine," Taehyung said, finally, looking up at Jimin, his fingers still holding the zipper pull on his camera bag.
"I did," Jimin said, walking over to Tae and crouching down a little in front of him, the sweater draping itself around him, thankfully, because otherwise Taehyung knew he'd have an eyeful of Jimin’s crotch and he didn't think he could handle that.
"Everyone left," Tae said, watching as Jimin balanced himself on his toes, the muscles in his legs flexed and strong, keeping him perfectly still.
"Well, that was kind of the point," Jimin said, smiling, his mouth open like he was about to laugh, but he didn't, instead looking up and over Taehyung's head. "I just wanted it to be me and you."
Taehyung narrowed his eyes just a little, opening his mouth to speak, but Jimin continued.
"The class was from seven to nine. I'm actually a little surprised that you didn't see the flyers or anything..." Jimin said, focusing his gaze back on Taehyung. He was still half smiling, like he wasn’t telling Taehyung everything. "I just thought it'd be better for you to get pictures if it was just me here."
"Oh," Taehyung replied, nodding. He gripped the strap of his camera bag. "So should I stay down here, or can I come up on stage with you?"
Jimin smiled again, tucking his chin to his chest for a moment before looking back at Taehyung, then shrugged one shoulder. "Whatever you want. Either works for me."
"Ok," Taehyung said, lifting his bag from his shoulder and placing it on the stage, finally unzipping it. "Before that, though...I have some stuff to show you."
"Oh yeah?" Jimin asked, quirking one eyebrow and rolling back on the balls of his feet, letting himself sit on the stage, folding his legs in front of him, tucking each foot under the opposite knee. "What?"
"Some photos from our last shoot," he said, pulling a folder out of the bag's inner pocket, handing it to Jimin. "I liked how you posed in these—I wanted to try and recreate them, if you felt comfortable. I mean—if you can incorporate them into a dance, or—however you'd, um, do that."
Jimin didn't respond right away, instead flipping through the prints that Taehyung had handed to him. He didn't know exactly how many were in the folder, but each of them was striking—Jimin wondered vaguely if it was strange to think that about himself, but the fact remained that it was true, he thought. Taehyung had captured him from angles that he'd never considered—his side profile, for one, nearly behind him for another. Taehyung saw Jimin differently than he'd ever seen himself, and he couldn't believe how these pictures—pictures that he'd taken with next to no equipment in a dark classroom—had turned out.
"What do you think?" Taehyung asked, as Jimin flipped the folder closed, lifting his face to look at Tae.
"They're great," Jimin said, his eyes crinkling at the corners in what Taehyung assumed was genuine happiness at the photographs. "Can I keep these?"
Taehyung blanched, his mouth open, until it clicked that he needed to respond. "Well—I mean, I'd rather make you prints of ones from tonight, they'll be better—they'll look, you know. Better," he finished weakly.
"I like these," Jimin said, opening the folder again, picking through the photographs and stopping at a specific one. Taehyung's heart skipped a beat. "But ok, fine. Can I just have this one?"
He held it up to show Taehyung which one he meant: it was Jimin nearly completely from behind, his back mostly turned toward the camera, his face in profile. One arm was lifted above his head, fingers extended in a soft gesture, while the other arm was extended out to the side. Taehyung remembered taking it—Jimin had been in the process of deciding how he wanted to stand next, turning himself every which way, and something about the line of his jaw and the way his lips looked puckered, like he was getting ready to speak or blow a kiss, caught Taehyung's eye. It was when Jimin had glanced back at him, looking straight into the camera, that he'd snapped it, wanting to hold onto the way his model was looking at him, even if it was fleeting. It was a shot he didn't expect Jimin to look twice at—and yet it was the one that he wanted to keep.
"Well?" Jimin asked, and Taehyung just nodded in response, grinning up at him.
"Yeah," Tae said. "I liked that one too. You look nice from that angle."
"Thanks," he said, looking at the photograph again. Taehyung watched his eyes rove over it, feeling his chest swell with pride. If Jimin felt that way about it, he could just imagine how other people would feel when they saw the photos Taehyung would take of him.
"Ok, so," Jimin said, laying the photo down gently near the edge of the stage so it wouldn't get damaged, handing the folder containing the rest back to Tae. "You gonna hop up here?"
"Ah," Taehyung said, chewing his lower lip a little as he tried to decide. "I'll stay down here for a little."
Jimin nodded in response, then pushed himself up, rising onto his feet again. "I'm just gonna go get some music set up, and we can go."
"Sure," Taehyung said absently, noting only that Jimin was walking away from him—he was unpacking his camera, checking how many rolls of film he'd shoved into the bag, and walking back and forth across the front of the stage, attempting to see where the best place to start shooting was, though he wouldn't really know that until Jimin was back up there.
There was a few, long moments of silence, but then Taehyung heard music filling the theater, slow but with a good beat; he turned to look around for Jimin, spotting him coming out of the darkness, jogging down the aisle.
"Sorry," he said, once he was close enough, hopping up the stairs to the side of the stage. "I forgot how the sound system works." He laughed, eyes closed, and Taehyung smiled back.
"That's ok," Taehyung said, shifting his camera from hand to hand. Jimin walked to the center of the stage, but Taehyung needed to catch him before he started. "Wait—"
"Hm?" Jimin hummed, already looking like he was poised to begin dancing.
"That—Your shirt," he said, and Jimin looked down at his body. "I just—the point is to see how your body moves, right? So I just...would you take it off?"
Jimin didn't move, didn't speak, and Taehyung regretted even asking, until Jimin reached for the hem of his sweater, tugging it up, over his head. He was wearing a black undershirt, tight-fitting to his body, and Taehyung looked down at his camera to avoid staring.
"Better?" Jimin asked, but Tae still wasn't looking. He felt the breeze from Jimin's sweater, which he'd balled up and tossed to the edge of the stage, against his fingers.
"Yep," Taehyung said, lifting the camera to his eye. The song had to be half over by now, but that didn't matter—he was sure Jimin had put on a playlist, so they could stay here for as long as they wanted, hopefully.
He was glad that he had the shield of the camera in front of his face when he got his first look at Jimin—because without the sweater draped over his frame, covering his body, Taehyung could see every bit of him in extreme detail—the tight button-down shirt and jeans had absolutely positively fucking nothing on the tank top and leggings Jimin wore. Every single muscle in his legs was visible, thrown into relief from the lights overhead, and Taehyung wanted to do more than take photos of him—but he closed his eyes for just a moment, reminding himself of the need to keep this professional. He was paying Jimin for these photoshoots, after all—in coffee, yes, but it was still an exchange of goods for services. He couldn't take advantage of that by letting his attraction to Jimin—whatever the true nature of it was—get in the way.
When he opened his eyes again, Jimin was no longer standing still. He was moving with the music that was sweeping around both of them, his eyes closed again, and Taehyung sucked his lower lip into his mouth as he started shooting photos. He sidestepped as Jimin moved across the stage, taking picture after picture of him, focusing sometimes on his face, other times on his body—but mostly, he tried to capture as much of Jimin in the frame as he could. His body moved like water, smooth and flowing.
Taehyung had set himself up near his camera bag, elbows resting on the stage as Jimin rolled his body, using probably every single muscle he had. The song ended, one final, haunting note, and Jimin stopped, fixing his body into another pose that made Taehyung want—his body was curled up on itself, arms crossed at the wrist, hands contorted with his fingers at odd angles—it was eerie, just like the song had been, and Taehyung took a photo, then stepped to the side and took another.
The next song started, something more upbeat, but Taehyung had to change the roll of film in his camera.
“Shit,” he mumbled, looking down at it while Jimin rose onto his toes, stretching his legs a bit.
“Should I wait?” Jimin asked, leaning his head to the side, hands on his hips, as he watched Taehyung fumble with the new roll of film, trying to load the camera as quickly as he could.
“No, just—do whatever,” he said, snapping the back of the camera closed. He readied it for more photos, and when he looked up at Jimin, he was dancing again. It looked to be just one part of a larger choreography, maybe for a group or at least a duo, given the long pauses where he would stand still, presumably when others would be moving. Taehyung didn’t mind—it gave him a chance to photograph Jimin while he was mostly still, just his chest heaving from exertion, this dance a bit more strenuous than the previous one.
It was easier to photograph Jimin while he was still, unmoving, but the shots weren’t nearly as dynamic. He couldn’t catch Jimin as well while he was moving, his hair flying around his head, lips parted, the muscles in his arms and legs clenching—Taehyung didn’t know where to focus, but he wanted to get closer. He needed to—he would move onstage for the next song.
Once the song seemed to be winding down, Taehyung turned away from Jimin, heading toward the staircase that he’d climbed earlier. Jimin watched him, the lull between the songs just as loud as the music itself. Now that Taehyung was on the same level as Jimin, he could already tell that these photos would be ten times better. The next song started, a low, heady beat pumping out of the speakers; Taehyung lifted his camera.
This dance seemed choreographed too, Jimin’s body moving far too easily with the music, his limbs seeming to have minds of their own as the beat moved through him, as if it was controlling him. Taehyung moved just as much as Jimin did during this song, wanting to take a picture of him from every single angle, wanting to capture him from the front and back and sides, his thick legs propelling each movement. His face was just as emotive, almost like that was the part of him that should have been focused on the most, though Taehyung knew that it wouldn’t be so clear to anyone not standing this close to him.
If the first song had been melancholy, Jimin’s expression reflecting that, and the second song had been fun, powerful—this third song was lustful. Taehyung was in front of Jimin for most of it, and each time he happened to catch Jimin looking into the camera, his eyes were half-lidded, begging Taehyung to come closer, his lips full and parted, inviting. The camera in front of his face kept his eyes from wandering where he so desperately wanted them to, and by the time this song ended, Taehyung had to change the roll of film again.
He went through another few rolls, Jimin dancing to another few songs, until Taehyung decided they were good. Jimin was drenched with sweat—his playlist had picked up, only one other slow song for two or three more fast ones—and he was breathing heavily as Taehyung knelt at the edge of the stage, packing his camera up.
“How d’you think they came out?” Jimin asked, a little breathless. Taehyung zipped his camera back up and looked back at Jimin over his shoulder before he stood up again, crossing the stage to stand by him. It was hot under the lights—he felt overly warm too, and all he’d done was move around Jimin as he danced. Jimin was beyond impressive—he was possibly the best thing Taehyung had ever come across, and he was grateful for it.
“Great,” Taehyung said, still confident in his work that evening. He would need to get these developed right away—he wanted to show them to Jimin as soon as he could.
Jimin only smirked in response, holding Taehyung’s gaze for a moment before he reached down, peeling the skintight shirt from his body, balling it up and wiping the sweat from his face before he tossed it to the floor as well—it might not have been the most cleanly or refined thing to do, but Taehyung found that he could rationalize the action now that he was staring at Jimin, shirtless.
He had a small bit of pudge around his middle—the cutest belly that Taehyung thought he’d ever seen—but he really couldn’t stop himself from letting his eyes wander over Jimin’s body now. His leggings were clinging to him like a second skin, and he’d noticed while Jimin was dancing that they left next to nothing to the imagination. He quickly lifted his eyes to Jimin’s face and found him watching as Taehyung gave him the up and the down.
“Sorry,” Taehyung apologized immediately, but Jimin just shrugged one shoulder.
“It’s fine,” he said, stepping closer. Taehyung felt as though the lights intensified tenfold, blinding him. Or maybe that was just Jimin, he couldn’t tell. “Can I ask you something?”
“Yeah?” Taehyung said, prompting whatever the question might be, his face angling a bit further down as Jimin entered his personal space.
Jimin’s eyes drifted down to settle on Tae’s lips. He held his breath.
“Could being your muse include something like this?” Jimin asked, looking up at Taehyung through his eyelashes, his bangs.
“What—?” Taehyung started, but before he could get anything else out, Jimin’s lips were on his, kissing him gently, more gently than Taehyung would have expected given everything he knew about Jimin at all.
Jimin’s eyes had slipped closed, which Taehyung only knew because his eyes were wide open in disbelief, shocked that Jimin was kissing him—he allowed himself to ignore the jolt of surprise that Jimin was kissing him—
And then he was kissing Jimin back, his eyes fluttering shut, their mouths moving together. Jimin’s lips were soft, pillowy, everything that Taehyung had allowed himself to imagine and then some. He parted his lips as Jimin did the same, deepening the kiss; Taehyung moved his hands to Jimin’s bare waist, finding that his skin was just as soft, if not a little bit clammy from sweat. Taehyung didn’t mind—he froze entirely when Jimin’s hands moved up to rest on his upper arms, squeezing them a little as his tongue moved against Tae’s. He made a soft, sweet noise when he pulled away, and Taehyung stared down at him like he was the only person he’d ever seen.
“So?” Jimin asked, and Taehyung had almost forgotten that Jimin had actually asked him something before that kiss. “Muse perk?”
“Oh,” Tae said, his eyes sweeping over Jimin’s face, settling on his lips for a moment before moving right back up to his eyes. “I think so, yeah.”
Jimin smiled, showing his teeth, and Taehyung couldn’t help but smile right back.
“You will never guess,” Taehyung said, throwing open the door to his dorm, not caring that it banged into the wall. Jungkook was curled up on the futon, clinging to a large stuffed rabbit, settled in his lap as he watched what Taehyung assumed was a horror movie.
Jungkook looked over his shoulder at Tae, almost eerily calm, pausing the movie just as the killer appeared on screen. He turned the plushie to look at Taehyung too. "What?"
"He kissed me," Taehyung said. Jungkook furrowed his brow.
"Jimin did?" he asked.
"Jimin did," Taehyung said, closing the door behind him and rounding the futon, sitting down beside Jungkook.
Jungkook nodded, reaching for the controller for their Xbox—then stopped, looking at Tae again. "Why?
"Shut up," Taehyung said, reaching over to hit Jungkook on the arm, but he lifted his plushie to block the hit.
"No, but I really mean, why? You said he didn't talk to you that much and he basically coerced you into buying him coffee so you could take his picture," Jungkook said.
"Um, ok, first of all, I said that weeks ago," Taehyung said. "He's gotten better." It was, for the most part, true. When Jimin was alone with Taehyung, he was a regular chatterbox—it was only when he was with friends that they tended not to speak. At first, it had been because he, presumably, didn't really consider Taehyung much of anything, but recently, he'd just been busy with his schoolwork—the monologue, specifically. "And also," Taehyung continued, before Jungkook could say anything else to contradict him, "he's the one who asked me to come tonight. He asked me to go."
Jungkook shrugged, settling the stuffed bunny back onto his lap, picking up the XBox controller this time. "Ok, ok, if you say so."
"I do," Tae said. He crossed his arms, slumping down on the futon. Who was Jungkook to make him question Jimin's intentions? Total dick move. "Play the movie," Taehyung said, tucking his feet up underneath himself.
Without another word, Jungkook started the movie again, the shrill music shrieking to life. Taehyung closed his eyes and leaned his head back on the futon—he wished he'd just kept his mouth shut. Jungkook, completely unmaliciously, had planted a seed of doubt, and now Taehyung was going to overthink it until he could talk to Jimin again.
Since they'd walked out of the theater together, both smiling to themselves, Jimin clinging to the print Taehyung had given him—he had no real idea where they stood. It had seemed like a good place, but now? He wasn't sure.
“Hey,” Jimin greeted Taehyung when he spotted him on Monday, bright and early, outside of the campus coffee shop. He was alone, which Taehyung was glad for, but his mood didn’t improve. Jungkook, intentionally or not, had put a damper on how Taehyung felt about the whole situation.
“Hey,” Taehyung replied, monotone, reaching up to rub one eye, suppressing a yawn.
“How was the rest of your weekend?” Jimin asked, and Taehyung stopped walking, looking at Jimin with his head tilted slightly to the side.
“My weekend?” Taehyung repeated.
Jimin snickered a little, apparently chalking it up to the time. “Yeah, your weekend. You know, the time you get off from school?”
“It was fine,” Taehyung said, acquiescing. It was when Jimin turned away, to walk into the café, that Taehyung realized he probably should have asked in return. He hadn’t been lying to Jungkook—Jimin had been acting more friendly toward him, especially recently, even before Saturday night. He needed to calm himself down and act like a normal human.
“Do you want anything?” Jimin asked, when Taehyung finally caught up to him on the line.
“No,” Taehyung said, lifting his hand to rub at the opposite eye this time, as Jimin stepped forward to order.
“What can I getcha?” the girl at the counter asked, fingers poised over the register to input their order.
“Medium coffee, light and sweet,” Jimin chirped, and Taehyung wondered if he really even needed the coffee when he already seemed so awake and vibrant.
Taehyung reached for his wallet at the same time as Jimin, who was a bit quicker—he handed a few bills over, then pocketed his change, ushering Taehyung over to the other end of the counter.
“I thought the deal was me buying you coffee,” Taehyung said, half indignant, half worried that their agreement was over for some reason.
“Well, I—I mean, I made you buy me a lot of coffee. And I just thought, since, you know, Saturday night was a thing that happened—”
“Ok,” Taehyung said, interrupting Jimin, who blinked at him; in his surprise, barely acknowledging the barista who slid his cup across the counter to him. “Is it better if we just keep this professional then?
Jimin’s face was proof enough that he had no idea what Taehyung was getting at, was confused even at the suggestion. “What?”
“I don’t want to complicate anything with us,” Taehyung said, Jimin’s steaming coffee still sitting on the counter, waiting for him to pick it up.
“Ok,” Jimin said, slowly, turning away for a moment to pick up his drink. “Can I just ask where that’s coming from?”
“I just…” Taehyung said, watching as Jimin walked past him, leading him out of the coffee shop, out into the corridor in front of it, where there were less students milling about. “Just, maybe we shouldn’t get...involved? More than just, you know...photographer and model. Keep it...professional.”
“Professional,” Jimin repeated, frowning, one eyebrow quirking up again. He held his coffee cup with both hands.
“Yeah,” Tae said. He’d spent his entire Sunday ruminating on what Jungkook had said. He didn’t buy it totally—but Tae thought he did have a point. They hadn’t been anything close to friends until just recently—and now Jimin wanted to kiss him?
“Why?” Jimin said, sipping his coffee. Taehyung thought he looked a little smug, like he could disprove anything Taehyung was about to say.
“I mean...I’m paying you. Maybe we shouldn’t—”
“You paid me in coffee,” Jimin interrupted him. “It’s fine. And besides, that’s over now.”
“I mean, I just...don’t you think it’s...weird? It started out as, like, a business...transaction,” Taehyung said, already faltering, not quite believing what he was saying anymore—he’d maybe possibly spoken too soon. Jimin might be a self-satisfied jerk sometimes, but he’d never lied to Taehyung. If Jimin wanted to kiss him, he must have just wanted to kiss him.
But Jimin was ready with an answer, no hesitation on his part. “What’s weird?” he asked. “You like me, and I…” he paused, fidgeting with the lid of his cup. “You’re growing on me,” he said, finally, not meeting Tae’s eyes. “Kind of a lot, actually.” Taehyung opened his mouth. “But if I was wrong, then just say the word—”
“No,” Taehyung said, cutting Jimin off this time. He sipped his coffee, and Taehyung thought maybe he was hiding a smirk, which he absolutely needed to call him on. “You knew the whole time?”
Jimin lowered his coffee, swallowing and then shrugging, smirking a little bit and licking his upper lip. “Maybe. It’s not too hard to tell someone likes you when they literally say you’re their muse—”
“Oh my god,” Taehyung said, reaching out to push at Jimin’s shoulder a little, smiling when Jimin had to take a step back, chuckling to himself and trying to keep his coffee from sloshing out of the cup. “And you like me?” he asked, before he lost the nerve.
Jimin left him in momentary agony, sipping his coffee again, slowly, before replying. “Maybe.”
Taehyung reached out to gently push Jimin again, who dodged his hand and laughed, eyes closing as he did, batting his hand away.
“Ok, yeah, maybe I do,” Jimin said, looking down as he spoke, just to look up at Taehyung after he was finished. “I said you grew on me, right. I meant it.”
This was something else that Taehyung would normally overthink, something that he could easily see himself spending way too long trying to analyze the tone and inflection and exact word choice—but right now all he wanted to do was strangle Jungkook for making him question this in the first place.
"Tae?" Jimin asked, eyes wide, like he still hadn't gotten used to Taehyung retreating into his thoughts every now and then.
"So," Taehyung said, starting right off like he hadn't just zoned out on Jimin, "we'll just see how this goes?"
Jimin laughed, shaking his head. "No need to label it right away, yeah?" he asked, smirking as Tae shook his head. "Then yeah. Yeah. It'll be good."
"And we can do photoshoots for free?" Tae asked.
"Don't get crazy," Jimin said, holding up his coffee and grinning before looking up at Taehyung through his lashes. "I have to get to class. I'll text you later."
Taehyung watched him go, kept his eyes on Jimin's back until he rounded the corner—and then immediately, he pulled his phone from his pocket, shooting a text to Jungkook before he went to kill some time somewhere: you're dead
After standing aimlessly in the hall for a few moments, Taehyung had decided to spend time in the library until his next class began. It was quiet as usual, but especially so considering the early hour. Most students were either still asleep or, if they had the displeasure of being awake, were in class, not sitting in the library playing Snake on an outdated machine, tensing each time a librarian or aide walked by (or maybe that was just Taehyung).
It was nearly time for his first class of the day when his phone vibrated where he'd placed it facedown on the computer desk. Expecting it to be Jungkook, he picked it up right away, surprised to see a message from Jimin.
So did you develop the pictures from Saturday yet?
Taehyung read and reread the text, but he couldn't pick up any hidden meanings, so he replied. yeah they're developed. why
I wanted to see how you do it came Jimin's reply.
oh Taehyung sent, immediately rolling his eyes at himself. He hurried to write something else. i mean to be honest that's not really something i can SHOW you but yeah sorry those rolls are done. but you can come and see the other stuff
Other stuff? Jimin asked, almost immediately. Taehyung bit his lip.
yeah i'll show you dw
Taehyung glanced at his computer screen, his snake long since dead, having run into its own tail. later? my photo class finishes at like 4, you can meet me there then. the same room we had the second shoot
There was a short delay before Jimin's next reply, but Taehyung kept his eyes glued on the screen, waiting for the little bubble to pop up, indicating that Jimin was typing.
See you at 4.
Taehyung exhaled, finally, then navigated to his texts with Jungkook, who still hadn't replied, and sent him another message: he likes me bitch you're a fuckin dead man
Waving to his professor, Taehyung scuffed the sole of his shoe against the carpet of the classroom, as everyone left, save for himself. Jimin would probably be on his way down to meet him soon. Taehyung glanced at the darkroom, wondering if he should go in and start setting up, before Jimin got there. Part of him wasn't sure how curious Jimin really was about the process—but it was cute that he was acting interested, at the very least.
He'd just opened the door to the darkroom when he heard Jimin's voice.
"Hey, Tae," he said; Taehyung pulled the door open but turned toward Jimin, nodding for him to join him.
"Hey," Taehyung greeted him in return, taking a step into the room, holding the door for Jimin to pass through first. He closed the door behind them and took his bags off his shoulder, handing them to Jimin. "Just hang onto these while I set up."
To his credit, Jimin did wait patiently, watching with his head tilted to one side as Taehyung explained what he was doing—though, he didn't actually listen to most of it. He was focused mainly on the sound of Taehyung's voice, at how excited and passionate he sounded even though Jimin had no idea what he was talking about, and how deftly his hands worked, placing the prints into a tray filled with one chemical, and then another, then a third—he had called them all something specific, but Jimin could barely remember which one was the developer and the fixer and whatever the hell else he'd said.
Each time, Taehyung had stepped out of the darkroom to look at what he'd just developed, while Jimin studied him from behind, wondering if he could ever have as good an eye as Taehyung did, wondering if a camera in his hands could ever be used as skillfully.
"So, hey," Jimin said, as Taehyung moved what was approximately the one millionth print from the second tray to the third.
"Hm?" Taehyung asked, stepping back from the countertop before turning to face Jimin.
"As fun as this is," Jimin said, but then stopped, and Taehyung managed to get half of a question out of his mouth before Jimin's hands were on his hips, pulling him closer. The query changed to a soft noise of assent, and then Jimin's lips were on his, kissing him gently, leaning his body against his own.
Taehyung briefly thanked whatever higher power there might be that Jimin had chosen to pull this shit when he'd just moved a print into the tray containing fixer—it wouldn't fuck anything up if he left it in there for some extra time. He kissed Jimin back right away, his hands coming to rest on his sides, sliding around him to splay out on his back, their lips moving together as Jimin parted his, deepening the kiss, moving his hands to Taehyung's ass.
What would have been a small squeak sounded in Taehyung's throat, muffled by Jimin's mouth on his own, their tongues moving together. He lifted one hand to run through Jimin's hair, soft to the touch and a deep red in the lights of the darkroom, as Jimin took things a step further: he pressed his hips forward, into Taehyung's, causing him to moan, just a bit, making him even more thankful that Jimin hadn't pulled away from the kiss yet, otherwise that could have been a signal for just what exactly was going on in the darkroom.
"Tae," Jimin sighed, his voice high and breathy, squeezing his ass through his jeans.
"Ok—wait," Taehyung said, giving Jimin one final kiss on the mouth, tongue swiping his lower lip, before pulling away. "Not—not that I don't want to, I just—maybe not here."
"Where's your sense of adventure?" Jimin asked, lifting a hand to straighten his hair where Tae had likely mussed it.
"Funny," Taehyung said, turning away from Jimin to finally move the photograph into the spare tray he was using to look at it in the normal light. "I'd rather not get kicked out of school."
"They're not gonna kick you out of school for making out in the darkroom," Jimin argued, but rolled his eyes behind Tae's back anyway, knowing full well that what he'd started was officially over now. "Are you almost done?" he asked, as Taehyung stepped back into the room.
"Yeah," he said. "Only a few more after this."
"Do you have to check them outside every time?" Jimin asked.
"Yes," Taehyung said, "sorry." Jimin could tell he wasn’t really sorry.
He stepped over, standing on his tiptoes so he was able to rest his chin on Tae's shoulder; he turned and ducked his head, trying to give Jimin one more kiss to appease him. It seemed to work—he remained silent for the next two photos, until Taehyung spoke again, his back still to Jimin.
"So, hey," he said. Jimin hummed to show he was listening. "Remember how I mentioned wanting to do a figure study with you?"
"Yeah," Jimin replied.
"Well these...are really great, and they came out, you know, um...great," Taehyung said, like he'd forgotten that other adjectives existed. "So I thought maybe we could try something else."
"Like what?" Jimin asked. Taehyung heard his footfalls as he took a few steps away, though he couldn't tell what direction Jimin was moving in.
"Like a nude shoot," Taehyung said, and the footfalls stopped. He rested the heels of his hands on the edge of the counter, ready to be rebuffed, ready for Jimin to leave the darkroom.
"Ok," Jimin said, finally, and Taehyung looked over his shoulder at him. He was grinning, or maybe it was a smirk—Tae couldn't tell in the red light.
"Um, ok," Taehyung said, looking over at Jimin—he'd really intended to do it when he had asked, but what he hadn't counted on was Jimin saying yes so easily. "Well, we can figure that out...later."
"Yeah," Jimin said. "Later." He smirked widely as Taehyung turned back to the counter, ready to move the photo he was currently working on into the next tray—which he nearly spilled the entirety of when, at the same moment, Jimin's hands landed on his hips and his lips began mouthing at the crook where Taehyung's neck met his shoulder.
Jimin laughed at Taehyung's shriek—and, maybe fortunately, that was what was heard outside of the darkroom instead of some of the other noises they were making. Taehyung's professor was back for his evening class—and he wasn't about to let Tae disrupt another lesson. He kicked the pair of them out without a second thought.
“Hey, so,” Taehyung asked, looking over at Jungkook from where he sat at the small folding table they’d gotten, just to have somewhere to eat that wasn’t over a paper plate on the futon.
“Yeah?” Jungkook asked. He was holding a sketchpad, charcoal pencil pinched between his fingers, tapping the unsharpened end against his lower lip. Taehyung couldn’t see what he was drawing, but Jin wasn’t around so he assumed it wasn’t something asinine.
“Are there gonna be any nights you’re going out any time soon?” Taehyung asked, trying hard to sound as innocent as possible.
Jungkook lowered his sketchpad to rest flat on his lip, the pencil resting against his lip. “Excuse me?” he asked, knowingly.
“I’m just wondering,” Taehyung said, shifting uncomfortably in his seat. He’d never been able to keep a straight face around Jungkook, even though they’d just met a few months prior at the start of the semester.
Jungkook smirked, lowering the pencil as he did. “You want the room all to yourself, huh?”
“No,” Taehyung tried, but Jungkook spoke over him.
“Wanna bring Jimin back here and—” he cut himself off, but rolled his hips on the couch, not breaking eye contact with Taehyung the whole time.
“So what if I do?” Taehyung said, looking up at the ceiling to avoid having to see Jungkook’s awkward body rolls.
“I could clear out for a little,” Jungkook said, lifting his legs to dig his heels into the couch cushion, folding them in front of him, leaning the sketchbook vertically on his thighs. “But who knows when I might come back? Maybe you two would give me a whole new kind of art to draw.”
“It’s not even—” Taehyung said, then sighed, just deciding to drop it. “We’ll do it somewhere else.”
Jungkook was back at work on his drawing, the tip of the charcoal scratching over the paper. “If you really need me gone, just let me know,” he said, and while Taehyung appreciated it, he wasn’t entirely sure he could trust Jungkook not to burst in with Jin and a bowl of fruit or something in the middle of the most important photoshoot of his entire life.
my room’s no good. my roommate is being a dick about leaving Taehyung tapped out the text to Jimin, making sure that Jungkook was distracted by his drawing again. He’d passed behind the futon earlier, heading into the bathroom, and saw that he was drawing the form of a woman, seemingly from memory, and from what Taehyung could tell it looked pretty good.
No problem. I’ll have the room to myself next weekend. Want to do it then? Jimin replied, almost right away. Taehyung felt his heart flutter with both excitement and nervousness.
yeah Tae replied, smiling at his phone, not bothering to hide it from Jungkook. just let me know when’s good for you
I will Jimin sent after a minute, along with a selfie, because of course he had—Taehyung noticed, though, he was shirtless in it, the muscles in his arm and shoulder visible. Taehyung wasn’t sure if he should acknowledge it, if he should say anything about it, but then he saw Jimin was typing again. That’s just a preview ;)
“You ok?” Jungkook asked, and Taehyung nearly dropped his phone—he’d forgotten his roommate was still there.
“I’m fine,” Tae squeaked, glancing at the time at the top of his phone screen. “I’m gonna go do some homework,” he said, continuing to sit at the table for another moment before standing up and awkwardly shuffling to their bedroom.
“Bye,” Jungkook said, smirking to himself, but not wanting to stop the shading he was working on to continue to torment Taehyung.
“So, I’ll show you what I set up,” Jimin said, holding the door to his dorm open. The room was much warmer than his own, but that likely had something to do with the decorating that Jimin and his roommate had done—there were old, artsy movie posters in French covering nearly every inch of the common area, and Tae had barely any time to take in what most of them were for before Jimin had pulled him to the bedroom. The layout was generally the same as his room with Jungkook, though their beds weren’t bunked. Jimin, without any instruction from Tae, had pinned up a blanket, draping it down over his bed, presumably to be used as a backdrop.
It was baby blue in color, soft and velvety looking, and Taehyung appreciated the gesture—it wouldn’t end up in the final photos, but it was nice to look at—the color contrasted with Jimin’s natural skin tone and his blonde hair, the roots of which were just starting to grow in. He could tell Jimin didn’t like them from how he kept tilting his head back, like he could hide the crown of his head from Taehyung, who was taller and could see it no matter what.
“It looks great,” Taehyung said, setting down the softbox he’d borrowed from his photography classroom, lifting his camera bag off his shoulder and putting that down beside it as well. “I’m just going to get this set up and then we can, um. Get started.”
Jimin nodded, hopping up onto the edge of his bed and watching as Taehyung set up the lighting and checked his camera, making sure there was a roll of film in it. He looked back up at Jimin, who was watching him pointedly, clearly waiting to be involved. Taehyung switched the softbox on, its glow illuminating Jimin where he sat, then turned away, crossing the room to flick the switch and turn off the harsh overhead light.
He turned, looking at Jimin, who was practically fucking glowing in the light from the softbox, and stopped moving, just taking him in for a moment. His skin looked flawless, his dark eyes like black coals from where Taehyung was standing, though he knew once he got closer, he would be able to see how soft they were. His hair looked flaxen, like spun gold, and he found himself actually wanting for breath before he remembered to fucking inhale.
“You’re beautiful,” he said, exhaling the words softly, and he wondered for a moment if Jimin even heard him before he just slid off of his bed, alighting noiselessly. He held Taehyung’s gaze for a long moment before a smile quirked the corners of his lips upward, then he began to undress. First, he tugged his sweatshirt off, tossing it off to the side, his hair slightly mussed from where the collar of the shirt brushed against it.
Taehyung watched him closely, not only wanting to because of his attraction to Jimin, but because of the way the light was striking him, soft but strong, throwing shadows as he moved. Taehyung wished he had a video camera to catch just...everything.
Jimin’s hands were at his waist, fiddling with the drawstring of his pants, before he worked them down and over his hips. They were made of some kind of slinky black fabric, and they pooled around his feet, falling right off of him, leaving him in only a pair of boxer briefs. Taehyung’s thoughts flashed back to the leggings in the theater, and for some unknown reason he actually averted his eyes, not wanting to stare even though in another few, short moments, that’s literally all he would be doing.
“Still good with this?” Jimin asked, and Taehyung’s eyes snapped up to his face, half of it lit, the other half in a gradient of shadow.
“Yeah,” Tae said, deciding to make things easier on himself and just look down at his camera, pretending to fiddle with it.
“Where do you want me?” Jimin asked, and Taehyung had at least five different answers pop into his head before he even looked up, and when he did that, probably about thirty more joined them.
“Um,” was all he managed, because Jimin was standing in front of him, completely naked, his body the most stunning thing Taehyung had ever laid eyes on. His small stomach, his muscular legs, his strong arms—and, um. The rest of him too.
“Here is good, then?” Jimin asked, actually looking somewhat amused at Taehyung’s inability to stay cool whatsoever. He turned slightly to the side, and Taehyung’s eyes immediately slid over Jimin’s whole body, taking in the curve of his waist to his hip to what he could see of his ass.
“Yeah,” Taehyung finally answered, gripping his camera tighter before lifting it to his eye. “That’s perfect.”
Jimin didn’t move other than to turn his head back toward Taehyung, looking directly into the camera. Taehyung snapped a photo; below the camera, Jimin could see his tongue flit over his lower lip. He took a breath, then shifted his body just a little, changing his pose so Taehyung could photograph whatever he wanted, however he wanted.
They went on as such, Taehyung asking Jimin to move in certain ways, to stand like this or that, lift his chin, close his eyes, shift his weight—Jimin obeyed every single order, but he could also hear the quaver in Taehyung’s voice during his longer instructions, could tell how flustered he really was, how desperately he was trying to keep it together.
Taehyung had stopped shooting him, putting in a new roll of film, and Jimin studied him before turning to face him completely, leaning back against the edge of his bed. By the time Taehyung had looked back up at him, the idea had fully formed in his head.
“That looks great,” Taehyung said, his eyes sweeping over Jimin’s body; he stepped a little closer, bending a little to shoot Jimin from a slightly lower angle—and then Jimin did it.
Slowly, so Taehyung might not realize what he was doing until it was already happening, he moved his hand from where it had been (hovering somewhere over his head) down to his stomach. Taehyung hummed in approval, capturing the way his shadows of his fingers cut across his abdomen, the harsh angles contrasting with the softness of his skin and the complete lack of hard edges on Jimin’s front anywhere above his hipbones.
Another couple clicks of the shutter found Jimin’s fingertips resting against the base of his cock, and Taehyung still hadn’t noticed. So, Jimin made him notice.
In one movement, he slid his hand around his cock and stroked it from base to tip.
Taehyung froze, staring. He lowered the camera, his mouth open, though he closed it after a moment to swallow thickly as Jimin stroked himself again.
“Jimin,” Taehyung whispered, glancing around the room like they were back in the darkroom, like they could be caught.
“Tae,” Jimin breathed, and it wasn’t entirely without meaning—Taehyung could tell just by the tone, by the depth of his voice, that he was touching himself for Tae, because of Tae. “Keep going,” Jimin continued, and Taehyung almost choked.
“What?” he said, though he hadn’t misheard in the least.
Jimin’s hand didn’t stop moving; Taehyung watched him tease the slit in the head with his thumb. He felt his cheeks warm—but he lifted the camera, and he could see Jimin smirking as he looked through it.
Taehyung paused, waiting, as Jimin’s thumb moved away, the head of his cock what he focused on—part of him couldn’t believe he was actually doing this, with an actual decent camera and school-owned equipment, but he snapped the picture anyway, Jimin’s forefinger in focus too, each finger less so the further they were from the lens.
“Jesus, Jimin,” Taehyung said out loud but to no one. He’d taken exactly one picture and his heart was pounding. Jimin didn’t stop touching himself—he actually lifted himself to sit on the edge of his bed, spreading his legs. Taehyung felt his own weaken.
“No good?” Jimin asked, his voice high and breathy. “You like it, though, right?”
“Jimin,” Taehyung tried again, but he would have been lying if he said he didn’t. Jimin’s free hand was resting on his thigh, squeezing it a little, the softbox lighting it, the shadows rounding out above where his fingers pressed into the flesh. He lifted the camera again, just as Jimin’s hand sped up a little. Taehyung thought it might blur in the final image—though he couldn’t really be bothered with that at the given moment.
“You said I was beautiful, right Taetae?” Jimin asked, and Taehyung almost groaned at the feeling of his cock confined in his jeans, chubbing up with interest just watching Jimin play with himself, knowing that he wanted to be photographed while he did it. He didn’t even wait for Taehyung to answer before continuing, like he had planned the way this was going to go. “I want to see through your eyes,” he said. Taehyung’s hands felt weak, like Jimin was going to be the death of him, but he took another picture, this time of Jimin’s head tilting back, the sharp angles of his jaw looking even more severe thanks to the light beside him.
“You are. I’ll show you,” Taehyung said, voice low, and it might have just been for himself. He tried to keep the photos from being as pornographic as possible, but given the way Jimin was utterly shameless, it was near impossible.
“Should I do more?” Jimin asked, suddenly, looking straight at Taehyung; he lowered the camera.
“More?” Taehyung asked, shifting his weight a little from foot to foot.
“I’ll finger myself for you if you want,” Jimin said, and Taehyung felt absolutely certain that his heart was going to stop. He opened his mouth, but Jimin wasn’t finished. “Just don’t get caught developing those in the darkroom,” he went on, “or we’ll both get kicked out of school.” He giggled cutely, a sharp contrast to the filthy suggestion that had just come out of his mouth.
Taehyung put the camera down on the nearest available surface—it might have been Jimin’s desk, or his roommate’s, he didn’t know and he didn’t care—because the next thing he did was close the distance between himself and Jimin, his hand still on his cock, and take his face in his hands. Taehyung kissed him, hard, lips pressing together before he pulled away momentarily, gasping for breath before they were kissing again, Jimin’s arms wrapped around Taehyung this time, pulling him close, closer, until Jimin was flat on his back, legs bent on either side of Tae, who was nearly completely on top of him, his mouth on Jimin’s neck.
“Tae,” Jimin gasped. Taehyung was nipping at his neck, teeth and tongue on his skin, and Jimin wasted no time in trying to tug Taehyung’s shirt up over his back. Taehyung straightened himself up, pulling the shirt off and dropping it to the floor, reaching down to unbutton his jeans, pushing them down too, the thought that this was literally the most impulsive, college-student thing he could be doing briefly crossing his mind, but Jimin was naked on a bed in front of him, the blue blanket beneath him, in combination with the soft light still shining on him, and Taehyung forgot any of his inhibitions, focusing only on the way Jimin looked below him. He stepped out of his jeans, kicking them aside and leaning over Jimin again, sliding him back over the soft blanket, mouthing at his soft belly this time, kissing him all over his front.
Jimin’s hands moved down his front as well, one hand threading through Tae’s hair, the other pressing into his thigh again as he arched his back up, guiding Taehyung’s mouth lower. He went willingly, lips trailing over Jimin’s silken skin, warm and smooth, until he reached the front of his hip, his cheek brushing over the back of Jimin’s fingers. He glanced up, lips tracing over his knuckles before he leaned back, just a little. Jimin’s hand slipped from his hair and took hold of his stiffening cock again, meeting Taehyung’s eyes and holding his gaze before he flicked his own eyes down at his dick, making it clear what he wanted from Tae, who smirked down at him.
“Typical,” he said, and Jimin didn’t even try to deny it, just cocking his head to the side expectantly. Taehyung rolled his eyes, but couldn’t help smirking up at Jimin, who flashed a grin back at him as Taehyung leaned down, lips parting around the head of Jimin’s cock. Taehyung took more of him, sucking the head as he flicked the tip of his tongue over the slit, a burst of precome leaking out against him.
Jimin whined above him, letting himself lay back against the bed, back arching, lifting his hips into Taehyung’s mouth, his cock slipping further in as he did. Taehyung moaned a little around Jimin’s dick, his hands moving to Jimin’s thighs, pushing them a little further open, taking him in as deep as he could, until his lips touched Jimin’s fingers, still holding his cock steady for Taehyung.
Tongue laving against the underside of Jimin’s dick, Taehyung bobbed his head on him, up and down, over and over, slicking his skin up with saliva, wetting his fingers with it too; Jimin rolled his hips into Tae’s face, Taehyung moving with him, letting Jimin feed him his dick. He swallowed around the head and Jimin whimpered at the feeling—Taehyung could see his hand squeeze down on his own thigh, gripping it tight as his hips flexed, pushing his dick further into Tae’s mouth.
“Fuck,” Jimin whined, his back arching up off the bed again, his head pressing flat back against it as he squirmed on the bed beneath Tae, unable to keep himself still—it was cute, Tae thought: normally composed Jimin losing himself like this. He pulled off of him most of the way, his lips cradling the head, tongue flicking against the tip, tasting Jimin as more precome dripped from him. “I’m—don’t stop, Tae, please—” Jimin gasped.
Taehyung hummed quietly, closing his lips around Jimin’s length again, sliding down on him, cheeks hollowing as he swallowed, licking at him from inside his own mouth. Jimin’s thighs were trembling a little—Taehyung could feel it against his palms, and it just made him double his efforts to get Jimin off, sucking him, tongue working over him, wanting to feel him snap, wanting to watch him not be able to hold himself back anymore.
Jimin’s hand left his thigh and tangled in Tae’s hair again, not guiding him as much as wanting to touch some part of him; he practically pet him, his fingers brushing Tae’s bangs off his forehead, craning his neck to look down his own body at Tae, eyes roving over him, watching as Tae’s eyes slipped closed as he sucked Jimin off—and then, finally, when Taehyung loosed a soft moan around him, Jimin’s hips snapped upward. It was warning enough—he looked up to meet Jimin’s eyes, which were begging Taehyung without words to let him finish in his mouth, come deep into his throat, and Taehyung blinked, letting the pad of his thumb drag over Jimin’s thigh, humming a pleasant tone to express as much as he could that he wanted Jimin to do it.
Jimin’s hips bucked up again, into Tae’s face, and then he was coming, filling Taehyung’s mouth with semen—he swallowed as much as he could before he needed to pull off, taking a deep breath as the final bit of Jimin’s come drooled out of the slit, rolling down the side of his length. Taehyung licked his lip, then leaned down again and licked Jimin’s cock clean, collecting the rest of his come on his tongue and swallowing that, too. Jimin watched him, eyes wide and cheeks flushed, staring as Taehyung wiped his mouth with the back of his wrist.
“Come here,” Jimin said, leaning up and reaching for Taehyung’s shoulders, pulling him back down, Tae’s hard dick slotting against his softening one. Jimin kissed him, mouths open and lips moving together; he moaned softly, tasting himself on Tae’s tongue.
“Jimin,” Taehyung mumbled against his mouth as he ground his hips downward, one frustrating layer of fabric separating them.
“What is it, Taetae?” Jimin asked, carding his fingers through Taehyung’s hair again, knowing full well what Taehyung wanted. “Want me to suck you off, too?” Taehyung nodded. “Want me to hold you down and fuck you?” Taehyung whined as Jimin leaned up, mouthing at the underside of his jaw. “Lie down.”
Taehyung straightened himself up, stripping off his underwear, kicking them to the side too, and took his place on Jimin’s bed. He settled himself back, watching as Jimin slipped off of the bed, crossing to the desk where Taehyung had placed his camera.
The softbox was still on, still pointed at Taehyung, but even impeccable lighting couldn’t save him from the embarrassment he felt when Jimin lifted his camera and pointed it right at him. He reached up, messing with the lens, while Taehyung reached down to cover himself, but—
“Uh-uh,” Jimin said, lowering the camera and shaking his index finger at Taehyung to stop him from hiding himself. “Let someone else take the pictures for once.” Jimin climbed back onto his bed, settling himself in between Tae’s legs. He stood on his knees, looking down at Taehyung, taking a few photos of him, his lanky body, muscles visible just because it looked like there was hardly an ounce of fat on him. Jimin lowered the camera, looking at Tae’s bare body with his own eyes, not wanting a lens separating them for the time being. “In the drawer right next to you,” Jimin said, pointing as he put the camera down beside him on the bed, “grab my lube and a condom.”
Taehyung looked to his left, arching and twisting to the side as he tugged it open, rummaging around until he felt what he was looking for and withdrew his hand, clutching both items. He proffered them to Jimin, but he only took the lube.
“Gonna fuck you nice and slow,” Jimin said, “and take some pictures of your pretty face while I do.” Taehyung made a small noise in his throat, watching as Jimin scooched himself closer, reaching down to lift Taehyung’s thighs, letting them rest on his own spread knees. “You can teach me how to develop these. I’ll pay attention if they’re pictures of something I really want to see.”
This time, the whine was full and loud, as Jimin had opened the lube and was letting it drip from the bottle straight onto Taehyung’s perineum. It was cold and Tae clenched up from the temperature, but Jimin’s thumb was pressing against him after just a moment, slicking the lube over his skin, down over his hole, rubbing small circles there.
“Jimin,” Taehyung whimpered, laying back on the bed but looking up at where he knelt above him.
“Feels good, right, Taetae?” Jimin asked, pressing softly against Tae’s asshole with his thumb, working him open gradually, feeling him loosen under the gentle pressure. “Nice and wet, gonna take me so well.” Jimin squeezed even more lube from the bottle, watching as it cascaded down over his balls to his hole. “Aren’t you?”
“Yeah,” Taehyung said, but he probably would have agreed to anything Jimin said at that point, just wanting more, wanting anything from him. “Jimin, please—”
Jimin finally dropped the lube bottle, angling his thumb to slide inside of Taehyung, fingering him with it shallowly while he rubbed his other fingers against Tae’s perineum, gathering up the lube that he’d poured there, trying to slick his fingers up as best he could to finger Taehyung open for real in just a moment.
Taehyung’s eyes were closed, his throat bobbing as he swallowed thickly, cock spurting precome all over his front, and Jimin wished he could have taken a picture of Taehyung just like that—it was a sight he would want to look at for as long as he could—but instead of lingering on how gorgeous Taehyung looked, how eager and wanting, Jimin let his thumb slip fully out of Taehyung’s hole, replacing it with his middle finger, fucking into him slowly, lube still coating his digits and Taehyung’s skin—he’d used a lot, but he liked it that way.
His middle finger reached deeper than his thumb, and Taehyung hissed at the intrusion, but almost immediately was asking for more, wanting another of Jimin’s fingers—two more, three more—
“In a minute,” Jimin said, concentrating on not moving too fast, on fucking Taehyung slowly enough to stretch him easily, not wanting to hurt him but wanting to get this done so they could move on.
Taehyung was pliant below him, moving with Jimin, spreading his legs, his hands gripping the blanket beneath him, arching up into Jimin’s hands, angling his hips to take his finger as deep as he could—Jimin added a second slick finger beside the first, and Taehyung sighed, nodding, asking for more all over again.
Jimin refrained from answering this time, just working his fingers a little faster, scissoring them, just a little at first, before parting them more and more with each thrust inward, until Taehyung reached down and grabbed Jimin’s wrist.
“Jimin,” he said, breathless, still rolling his hips up, fucking himself on Jimin’s fingers. “More—please—I can take it.”
Jimin licked his lip, then nodded, letting his free hand move to Taehyung’s cock, the base wet with lube; he stroked him slowly as he fucked a third finger into him, already feeling himself starting to get stiff again just from the way Taehyung seemed to suck his fingers in, clearly wanting something bigger inside of himself, wanting Jimin to fuck him.
Taehyung was gasping quietly by the time Jimin pulled his fingers out, reaching down to pick up the condom and bottle of lube, pouring more of it onto Taehyung again—he whimpered but said nothing, knowing that he was finally about to get what he wanted. Jimin tore open the condom, rolled it on, and lined up the head of his cock with Tae’s hole, pressing in slowly—and once he was inside of him, he stopped. His hands were both slippery with lube, but he reached down, wiping them off as best he could on the blanket before he pushed his hips further forward. Taehyung wrapped his legs around Jimin, bucking up into him, fucking himself on Jimin’s cock this time as he tried to pull him closer using just his legs.
Jimin’s breath caught in his throat as Taehyung’s hands moved to his chest, one hand pressing flat against himself, sliding down his stomach, the other pinching his nipple, tugging on it—Jimin fumbled to pick up the camera quickly, raising it to his face and focusing it as best he could while in a hurry—he tried to catch Taehyung pinching his nipple but it was harder than he expected—Taehyung had clenched down on his cock and Jimin was pretty sure he’d ended up with a photograph of half of Taehyung’s face and mostly the blanket behind him.
“Fuck,” Jimin said, groaning in response to Taehyung rolling his hips up into him, but also at the wasted shot. Taehyung had had steady hands, even when Jimin had been jerking off before—
“Fuck,” Taehyung echoed, “fuck me, Jimin.” Both hands were on his chest now, fingers working over his nipples, and Jimin nearly dropped the camera. He leaned forward, his cock sliding further into Taehyung until his front was resting against Tae’s ass. He readied the camera again, making sure to aim at what he wanted to capture, finger poised above the shutter—and then he pulled out, just a little, snapping his hips forward, pressing down on the shutter as he did. He’d captured Taehyung’s fingers, pinching both of the hardened nubs on his chest, his mouth open in a low moan, eyes squeezed closed, the softbox turning Tae’s features into mountains of shadows on himself. He bit his lip, fucking into Taehyung slow but hard, trying to keep his balance on his knees as he thrust his hips forward then pulled them back—the camera still pointed at Tae, waiting for something worth catching on film to happen.
Taehyung was writhing on the bed, one hand still at his chest, flat, rubbing across both of his nipples, the other snaking its way down his body to take hold of his leaking dick. It was red at the tip, Jimin noticed, and he paused in fucking Tae to snap another photo; this time, his eyes were half-open but heavy-lidded and his lower lip was caught between his teeth. His hand had been in the middle of moving from one side of his chest to the other, and his arm was stretched down his front.
“Please,” Taehyung gasped, “put it down. Touch me.” He would beg if he had to—he wanted Jimin’s hands on him.
“Say that again,” Jimin said, stopping moving entirely, his front flush with Taehyung’s ass, cock filling him. This would be the last picture—he wanted desperately to capture Taehyung coming on film, but—well, he had plenty of time to try for that. His roommate wouldn’t be home for the entire weekend.
“Jimin,” Taehyung said, whiny, his head rolling back against the mattress. “Want you to touch me.” His tongue flicked out over his upper lip, and that was when Jimin took the photo. Taehyung arched up when he heard the click of the shutter, whining his pleas to be touched at Jimin, who finally just put the goddamn camera down already. He leaned over Taehyung, letting his hands slide up his sides, marveling at how he felt—he hadn’t touched him much, which he regretted now. Taehyung was soft and small, smaller than his size actually let him be, and Jimin leaned over him more, fucking into him again with short thrusts, licking into his mouth and kissing him deeply.
Taehyung’s hands moved to Jimin’s back, holding him close as he lifted his legs, thighs bracketing Jimin’s hips, knees squeezing his sides as Jimin fucked him for real, gasping into each other’s mouths, lips barely grazing, tongues licking each other’s lips until they just happened to meet in a real kiss, and when it happened, Taehyung melted up into Jimin, hands splayed out on his back, his cock trapped between their fronts, the friction working him up enough that he was starting to feel like he was close—he moaned into Jimin’s mouth, and Jimin bit his lower lip in response, sucking it into his mouth.
“I’m close,” Taehyung whispered once Jimin released him, fingernails digging into his back, scratching him just a little; Jimin groaned at the pinching pain, fucking into Tae harder now, harder and faster and with purpose—to come, to make Tae come on his cock.
“You’re close, Taetae?” Jimin asked, and Taehyung nodded, lips parted, a constant whine falling from his lips as Jimin snapped his hips forward; Taehyung lifted his hips into Jimin, wanting more pressure on his cock, wanting the friction to push him over the edge.
“Yeah,” he answered, as Jimin fucked him, pulling out and then thrusting back in; each time, Taehyung would roll his hips up, his cock hot and heavy between them—and then his whole body tensed, as Jimin kissed him again, their noses brushing together for a moment as he ground his hips into Taehyung, not pulling out of him but just trying to move deeper, as deep as he could, his cock trapped between them as he came from the pressure both on his dick and on his prostate, Jimin’s cock curved perfectly against it.
Both of their fronts were stained with come, but Taehyung didn’t even notice—he was too busy moaning Jimin’s name, begging Jimin to come too, wanting to feel him—
Jimin tugged on Tae’s lower lip with his teeth, rolling himself against Taehyung, his front sticky with come, the tight heat of Tae around him as he rode out his own orgasm enough to pull Jimin over the edge right after him. The groan was punched from his chest as he came, deep inside of Taehyung, both of them breathless and electric, nerves on fire, bodies joined together.
Jimin didn’t wait long to pull out, feeling Taehyung fluttering around him as he did; Tae whimpered softly as Jimin’s length left him, feeling empty, but he smiled as Jimin rolled onto his side next to him, tying off the condom and leaning over Tae to toss it into the wastebin next to his desk.
“My camera,” Tae said, and Jimin groaned but sat up, picking up the camera and reaching over Taehyung again, setting it on the desk so it wouldn’t be broken while they laid on the bed, recovering.
Jimin wrapped himself around Tae, arm draped over his come-stained chest, not caring—they could shower soon, later, whenever. He nuzzled Taehyung’s cheek until Tae turned to look at him, kissing him softly, almost chaste compared to how they’d kissed minutes before.
“Muse perk?” Jimin asked, pulling away, his nose still against Taehyung’s cheek.
Taehyung laughed a little, his chest still heaving, but when turned his head, taking in how the softbox lit Jimin, his features even softer in the light, eyes wide and warm, blonde hair glowing, he just nodded, agreeing, leaning in to kiss the corner of Jimin’s lips. “Muse perk.”