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i have stories. i have scars.

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on jimin's chest there is a big gaping hole
it's been there ever since he can remember and it gets bigger the more he breaks
no one knows about it, no one sees it, and jimin never tells
on jimin's chest is a big gaping hole
and no one ever can kiss it better

 

it's hard to breathe again, jimin notes, and maybe he should be used to it by now, should be used to the suffocating feeling after waking up sweaty and dirty, but it still takes him aback every time. he pushes the blanket on him aside and leaves the bed, ignoring the stranger next to him, still deep asleep, and blindly walks towards the bathroom.

jimin squints his eyes when he turns on the lights, slowly adjusting to the sudden brightness, and he avoids himself in the mirror as he cleans his face with handfuls of cold water, slowly trying to catch his breath. the water runs down his arms and even his chest, and jimin flinches at the cold.

every time it's the same.

every time he wakes up from a bad dream he can't even remember. he only recalls one things; someone pressing and pushing onto his chest until it gives in and he wakes up in panic, unable to breathe in or out. he knows it's another person. he knows it's a male, someone he knows, that’s trying to press his chest in.

the cold water slowly drips off jimin's face as he leans over the sink and he slowly looks up into the mirror. he’s sweaty and looks pale under the bathroom light, and his hair is an absolute mess. and of course, there it is, that ugly thing, unmistakable and tearing through his skin. jimin looks away.

he considers getting into the shower, but is too lazy, still too tired, and also still a little too breathless, so he just walks out to the kitchen, making some coffee, and hoping he can get out before his nighttime company wakes up. he never stays for them to wake up. he doesn't do post-sex small talk or breakfast or just meeting them in daylight at all. he just drinks his coffee, takes a shower after all, and then gets dressed without waking them up. He leaves them with a note, thanking for the good time, and apologizing for not staying.

 

 

it’s still early in the morning, so early it’s still the same night for others, and jimin maneuvers through them, his work attire hidden under his coat, blending in as the groups of people wasting the night away pass him. It’s nothing new to him, his morning shifts start at four am, and seoul never sleeps anyway.

the hotel lobby is empty and quiet, and it’s warm and cozy when jimin steps inside, his glasses fogging up at the sudden warmth, and he gives Hoseok who’s almost falling asleep at the reception a bright smile.

“good morning!”

“nothing is good about this morning,” hoseok replies and yawns without covering his mouth. “i’m glad you’re here. i can’t wait to go home and sleep for a whole week.”

“you have to work tomorrow,” jimin retorts and he starts walking around the desk and towards the backroom. “c’mon, you can leave early. i’m already here anyway.”

jimin opens the door and he gets out of his layers of coat and scarf and the like, and turns to the mirror to fix his hair.

“you sure? you still have time until your shift starts,” hoseok says, now standing in the doorway and leaning his head against the frame. he looks like he could fall asleep any second.

jimin frowns. “you didn’t sleep enough before coming in, right? let me call you a cab home.”

“that’s okay—“

“no, i’ll be worried if you go home on your own. and take my scarf, it’s really cold outside.”

hoseok tries to protest, but there is no winning against jimin. within seconds he has hoseok dressed and wrapped up and he’s already dialing to call a taxi while sitting hoseok down and making a tea for him.

“no one is at the reception,” hoseok notes and jimin just shrugs and hands hoseok the steaming cup.

“as if someone actually comes to the desk at this time.”

“okay, mom.”

jimin smiles and leans down to give hoseok a peck on his cheek before leaving the back room to go the reception. “’i’ll call you when your cab is here. drink your tea.”

the lobby is still empty and silent aside from the quiet instrumental music that comes from the speakers, and jimin takes his seat and looks through their e-mails and the upcoming reservations. someone has booked their biggest suite for an entire month and jimin looks into the booking because he’s sure this reservation wasn’t there when he was at work two days ago.

working in a five-star hotel meant meeting rich people all the time, but he has never met anyone who would be able to afford that. this was their most expensive room, and to book it for an entire month? it seems crazy. jimin looks at the name and he wonders who kim taehyung is and how he makes this much money. he shrugs and closes the booking. he’ll see him later anyway.

 

hoseok leaves twenty minutes later and before the morning rush starts. jimin quickly starts preparing everything they’d need for the day. he organizes the upcoming check-in and outs, prints and scans receipts, and itineraries, and makes sure to make coffee for his co-workers that start later. the maids stop by to get their schedule and room lists, and jimin uses the little time he has with them to chat and catch up until jeongguk arrives and they scatter away.

“good morning, guk! here’s your coffee.”

jeongguk, as always still looks half asleep, and welcomes the coffee with grabby hands and a grateful expression. “you’re really the best, hyung. what would i do without you?”

“fall asleep at work due to the extensive lack of caffeine.”

jeongguk nods in agreement, taking a sip and looking over everything jimin already prepared.

“the maids are still running away from you,” jimin teases and jeongguk’s ears turn red.

“that’s okay. if they didn’t run, then i would. they’re scary.”

“they’re actually quite lovely.”

“no hyung,” jeongguk says and looks up at jimin with a serious face. “women are a force to be reckoned with.”

jimin rolls his eyes and jeongguk starts laughing and they easily fall into their usual morning rhythm. the first breakfast crowd arrives and jeongguk and jimin bow and greet every single person passing them, even those who don’t return the gesture, but that’s part of their job. jeongguk says he always wishes them a bad coffee in return for being rude, but they both know that won’t happen. their coffee is amazing. it gets busy during check-out time, and they only catch little breathers in between and jimin’s legs are truly killing him by the time it’s almost time for him to go.

“i’m just gonna check and hand out the schedules for the concierges and then i’ll stamp out, alright?” jimin says, leaving the desk and straightening his uniform.

jeongguk can only nod because just as jimin is leaving, to new guests walk inside (likely to check-in) and jimin leaves him to work and walks to the elevators. he likely won’t finish this in time, but jimin always stays longer at work anyway. he politely greets the guests he meets as he gets off on every floor to meet the concierges and he breathes in relief when he presses the button on the last floor and waits for the elevator to arrive.

another day over. it’s not late into the day at all, merely early afternoon, but Jimin already has nine hours of work behind him, and the night before hasn’t been very restful at all. as he waits for the elevator, the door to the master’s suit opens and a man steps out and approaches the elevator, stopping next to jimin. jimin automatically turns to him and bows in greeting and he forces himself not to stare at him, as he takes in his form.

apart from being dressed in expensive clothes from head to toe, jimin immediately notices his handsome face and the nice cologne, but it’s not the reason why jimin tries not to stare. the sleeves of his dress shirt are pushed up to his elbows and the man’s arm are covered in scars and bruises. the man greets him back and smiles brightly at him, and jimin is still stunned by his entire appearance and behavior. people of this caliber usually don’t greet jimin in such a friendly manner. and usually, they also don’t look like they jumped in a pool of glass shards.

jimin turns his head and stares at the elevator doors and he wishes it would hurry up already. he can’t really pinpoint why the man next to him makes him feel so tense. he, after all, is paying jimin no mind, instead is scrolling down his phone, which is clad in a gucci phone case, and humming under his breath. he has a nice voice, from what jimin can hear. deep and soothing.

the elevator bings and the doors finally open and they both step inside. the man (likely kim taehyung, the person who booked the suit for an entire month) is still browsing on his phone as they descend, and jimin still wants nothing more than to get out of here. it’s weird, something is off, and it makes jimin’s chest itch.

the elevator stops halfway on the tenth floor, the floor with the congress and meeting rooms, and suddenly a big group of people join them. jimin instinctively steps back until his back hits the back of the elevator. right away, he feels the air leaving the elevator and jimin tries to control his breaths and stay calm, not thinking about how many people are filling the small space right now. there are so many of them. so, so many, and they’re pushing closer to him.

don’t touch my chest, jimin begs in his head. please don’t touch my chest, please don’t touch it.

he lowers his face and closes his eyes, crossing his arm over his chest even if it may look weird, but he can’t find a single care. all he wants is for the elevator to move again so they can reach the first floor and get off and away from here. he tries to breathe, but he can’t because everything is so close.

there is a shadow falling on him suddenly, and someone stepping in front of him, but not crowding him or pressing against him, but rather caging him to shield of the other people in the elevator. jimin looks up in surprise and facing him is the man from the suite, kim taehyung, one scar-filled arm on the wall next to jimin’s head. he isn’t looking at him, instead he’s obviously trying to maintain a space just for jimin.

“we’re almost there,” he whispers in the deep voice jimin heard humming before, and jimin’s head feels hot from the embarrassment.

the elevator moves down and finally reaches the ground floor and when the door opens, the chatting businessmen scatter out, none paying them any attention.

kim taehyung lowers his arm and steps away. “you okay?”

jimin clears his throat and his face still feels too warm. “yes, i—i’m so sorry—“

“no need to apologize! they really could have split up and not squeezed themselves into one elevator.”

kim taehyung is still smiling, just as brightly as on the top floor, and the tense mood from before shifts and instead jimin feels comfortable in his presence.

“still—thank you.” jimin bows to him and as straightens up and attempts to exit the elevator, he brushes taehyung’s arm. “oh, i’m sorry, i didn’t mean to touch them--” jimin stops awkwardly, his hand first hovering over taehyung’s arm before he pulls his back and glues it to his side. jimin feels like a mess. kim taehyung is a total stranger, and yet he managed to make an utter fool of himself in front of him several times. now he even addressed taehyung’s scars which is as rude as it gets.

taehyung’s eyes widens and he reaches out and grabs jimin’s wrist, stopping him from leaving the elevator and the doors close and it starts to move.

“you can see them?” taehyung asks in shock and for a moment jimin is confused because, of course he can see them, but then it clicks in his head and his heart drops and his knees feel like giving in. jimin’s chest is pounding and burning and yet again, it’s hard to breathe.

“you can see them, right? my scars?” taehyung asks again and slowly, jimin nods because he can’t possibly produce any coherent sentence now.

taehyung’s entire face lights up and he lets out a loud giggle. “i can’ believe it! you can see them! you can see my scars, you—you’re it. that’s so cool, who would have thought we would meet like this!” the elevator stops and the doors open, and a couple step inside. taehyung, who is still holding onto jimin’s wrist, leads them out and jimin just lets him, still too shocked to comprehend what’s actually happening.

“i’m sorry. i really wanna talk, but i have to go and meet someone. will you still be here in an hour?”

jimin should say no, should say that his shift is over, should run away. instead he nods.

“can you—only if you can, i don’t want to keep you from work—can you come to the suite upstairs in an hour? then we can talk.”

jimin should say no. make up a lie. he should run. he only nods again.

taehyung smiles and he lets go of jimin and presses the elevator button. “i can’t wait! i’m taehyung, by the way. kim taehyung.”

i know, jimin wants to say. “i’m—i’m park jimin.”

“park jimin. it’s so wonderful to finally meet you. i see you later, alright?”

the elevator doors open and taehyung jumps inside, waving jimin goodbye until the doors close and jimin is left alone.

his chest is hurting.

 

 

jimin feels the weight of the world on his shoulders when he arrives at the door of the master’s suite one hour later. he can’t bring himself to knock yet. the last hour he has been agonizing about this moment over and over in his head. running various scenarios in his head and none of them end well. he’s still in his uniform because he doesn’t have a change of clean clothes here at work and even though his shift long ended, he busied himself here and there to pass the time. he didn’t tell jeongguk about this, just said that he still has some paper work to finish which isn’t unheard of to happen. jimin is the supervisor after all and he does stay longer on many days so no one questions him.

before, the elevator ride had been too slow, when he had been stuck in there with taehyung and a dozen of businessmen. now jimin reached the last floor almost comically fast and here is now. standing in front of the door and trying to gather enough courage to knock.

you should have said no. you should have lied, jimin tells himself.

it’s too late now.

jimin raises his hand to knock against the solid wooden door, when it suddenly opens on his own and jimin almost knocks his hand against someone’s head. it’s not taehyung, but someone around his age, and a bit taller than jimin and they both look at each other in surprise.

“oh, sorry!” the man says, apparently embarrassed even though he actually didn’t even do anything wrong.

“no, i apologize,” jimin says and bows, still in work mode and he supposes he has to be, since he is still wearing his uniform and is thus representing the hotel.

“i’ll get out of your way,” the man says and he turns his head back inside. “tae, someone from the hotel staff is here.”

there is loud clattering coming from inside and a muffled curse and within seconds taehyung appears by the entrance, a bit out of breath and a stain on his shirt.

both jimin and the other man look at taehyung in surprise, who in return just clears his throat and tries to straighten himself. “thanks, namjoon. i’ll see you later?”

namjoon nods and wishes them a quick goodbye before leaving and jimin looks after him before turning back to taehyung who seems nothing short of shitting-his-pants-nervous. it’s comforting jimin isn’t the only one then.

“come in! sorry, i’m a bit nervous. never met my soulmate before.”

it’s the first time the name is dropped and jimin tries not to flinch, and just enters the suite and waits for taehyung to take the lead for now. taehyung closes the door behind them and walks into the big living room and jimin has seen it before, multiple times already, but it still feels strange to be here. like he doesn’t belong.

“sit down! do you want some tea or coffee? are you still working? are you on your break? oh god, i hope i’m not taking away your break!”

jimin sits on one of the couches and hastily shakes his head. “no, i’m not on break, my shift is over now. don’t worry.”

instead of calming down, however, taehyung looks even more troubled than before. “oh god, you’re probably super tired and i’m keeping you here! i’m so sorry!”

jimin shakes his head again and taehyung really does seem nervous. he’s nothing like before, inside the elevator, not calm but excited anymore, but a bit scattered instead. taehyung sits on the couch across from jimin, shoving his hands under his legs and pressing them together. jimin waits for him to say anything, but taehyung doesn’t seem like he’s going to take the first step this time.

“so, uh, i can see your scars.”

“yes you can. you’re my soulmate.”

jimin swallows down the bile rising up in his throat. “sure. yes, i guess i am.”

“what do you think of them?” taehyung asks and jimin frowns in confusion.

“about what?”

“my scars? what do you think of them?” taehyung extends his arm, his sleeve still pulled up to his elbow, and shows off the many marks on his skin.

jimin is still confused. “i don’t think i understand.”

“they’re cool, tight? i have so many, all over my body. i think the only place where i don’t have any scars is my face.”

“don’t they—don’t they hurt?”

taehyung shakes his head. “not at all! they’re all healed and stuff. pretty cool, huh? i get a new scar whenever i take another important step in my life. whenever i meet new people, whenever something good or even bad happens. they’re like a summary! of my life.”

jimin doesn’t know what to say, rendered speechless about taehyung’s enthusiasm about his scars. jimin never met anyone who likes them. or at least he hasn’t heard about anyone who does. everyone waits to meet their soulmate so they can erase their scars. everyone wants to be fixed.

“i never heard anyone say that. about their scars, i mean,” jimin admits and he tries not to touch his own chest (which is burning up again, more than usual.)

“i guess? i don’t know, but everyone in my family thinks like this? and it makes sense, i think.”

jimin waits for more elaboration. taehyung is odd, not what he expected. all of this isn’t what jimin expected. they glorify meeting your soulmate. ever movie, song, and even texts and history books in school. it’s described like as a magical moment when all is suddenly supposed to make sense. they describe instant connection and huge romantic scenes. jimin doesn’t feel anything of the like. he doesn’t feel a connection, doesn’t suddenly have feelings for taehyung. it’s actually awkward and instead of making him feel better, jimin’s scar just hurts more.

“don’t you think it makes sense?” taehyung asks. his fingers are brushing over the scars on his arm and he looks at them fondly. “they tell my story. i even remember when i got many of them. like this one.”

taehyung turns his arm and points at a long, healed scar. “i got that when my first love broke up with me.”

jimin stares at the scar and then up in taehyung. “but is that a good thing to remember?”

“obviously! i mean, of course i was devastated at the time, but i don’t regret any of it. it’s part of me and it was a good relationship.”

jimin is still confused, still frowning because it makes no sense. jimin hates his scar. it’s ugly and always there to remind him of all his failures and all the time life and people left him because he wasn’t enough. but taehyung, he wears his scars like trophies. jimin looks at his arms and he can’t relate to it, but he somehow understands. kim taehyung is covered in scars, but he is beautiful. not pitiful, not pained, or marked, and most definitely not ugly. not like jimin. who looks like someone ripped out a part of him. and it doesn’t just look like that. it feels like that too. piece by piece and jimin just waits for the day he will disappear because he gave the last of himself away.

they say meeting your soulmate is magical and make everything better, but all that jimin feels is shame. because taehyung is beautiful, and jimin is not. jimin feels pain and he knows his scar just got bigger.

uglier. less.

“do you,” jimin begins, his voice controlled because it never betrays him, because jimin knows how to hide. “do you want to try it? for me to kiss one goodbye?”

taehyung looks down to his hand, his finger brushing over a mark on his wrist. he nods.

“you can try this one.”

taehyung stands up to sit next to jimin and holds out his wrist for jimin.

carefully, jimin reaches out and takes taehyung’s hand and pulls it closer to him. his eyes wander over the other marks again, the freckles and moles spread on his skin too, and now it reminds jimin of a map, or the sky, something with constellations. jimin leans down and presses his lips to the scar, kissing taehyung’s wrist. taehyung lets out a little gasp and when jimin pulls away, a bare spot is left on taehyung’s skin.

for a second there is a heavy feeling in jimin’s stomach, but it passes after only a few seconds. he is still holding taehyung’s wrist who hasn’t said anything and is just looking down to where his scar once was.

“how did that feel?” jimin asks.

“it—it was,” taehyung begins, struggling with his words, apparently trying to string them together. “it was nice. i felt a bit lighter for a moment. i think because you took a burden from me.”

“a burden? what scar was that?”

taehyung turns his hand and instead of pulling out of jimin’s hold, he takes jimin’s hand in his and jimin lets him, because it doesn’t feel too bad.

“it was when i left my family to move abroad for the first time. that was rough for me. i think you took a bit of it away.”

jimin thinks of the heavy feeling in his stomach. “yeah, i felt something pull me down for a moment, but it went away pretty fast.”

“i didn’t even know that was a thing. that you also take the emotions of a scar away.”

“were you still sad about it?”

taehyung thinks for a moment. “not sad, not really. i still remember how hard it was for me. and how much i missed them, but i’m not sad anymore. not at all. it’s like the echo of what i felt is gone now.”

taehyung seems happy, almost excited, but sudden dread fills jimin as he thinks about it. his soulmate takes the emotion of a scar and jimin’s ugly hole is the manifestation of all pain jimin ever felt.

he can’t do that to taehyung. not only because it’s ugly, not only because it’s pathetic, but also because it would hurt taehyung. so much pain, all at once.

“can i ask? i mean it’s pretty personal, but well—this is our thing now, i guess. where are your scars?”

ugly. less.

“i—“ ugly. pathetic. pain. less.

pitiful.

pain.

ugly.

less.

“i don’t have one.”

 

 

“hey mom, i’m home!”

jimin huffs out when he steps into his mother’s warm apartment, putting down the bags of groceries, and rubbing his hand back into life. “i got your groceries!”

he lifts the bags again and walks into the kitchen to put everything away and then goes to his mother’s room. he finds her in bed, a show running on the old laptop on her lap and a cup of tea in her hands. “hey sunshine!” she greets him and jimin puts on his widest smile as he goes over to her and kisses the top of her head.

“how are you feeling today?” he asks and sits down on the edge of her bed.

“better than yesterday, but i also didn’t take the shot yet. i was hoping you could help me.”

“of course! but let’s eat first okay? i’ll make us something.”

jimin gives her another kiss and gets up, walking back to the kitchen and he starts preparing lunch, while humming to himself. he is tired, but it won’t be for another four hours until he’ll get home. he has to do some cleaning around here, take care of the bills, and make sure his mother takes all her medication before he can leave again. what happened today still weights heavy on his mind, and the cooking is not able to distract him enough from it.

he didn’t stay much longer with taehyung, but he promised to meet him tomorrow. he lied to him, saying he doesn’t have any scar at all and taehyung didn’t look as surprised as jimin would have expected. jimin came up with more excuses on the spot, said that he always believed he doesn’t have a soulmate since he has no scar and things like that and taehyung took it all in a stride.

after that jimin left.

he still doesn’t really know anything about taehyung. all jimin knows is that taehyung must be sinfully rich. he does live in the biggest suite of one of seoul’s best hotels after all. also, his clothes were all brands and likely worth more than jimin’s salary. jimin tried not to think about it. about any of it. he finishes cooking and carries the trays to his mother and jimin puts on his award-winning smile again. it’s okay. it’s fine.

“how was work, sunshine?” his mother asks and jimin tells her about trivial things, even the smallest detail he can think of. (anything but taehyung, of course.) he tells her about the maids’ gossip since she enjoys that the most and they finish their food. jimin jumps up to clean the dishes and then sits down again to work through the bills.

with every envelope he opens, his heart sinks more, but he doesn’t show it. he works through them, calculates how much his pay checks and saving can get them through this months and it should be okay. maybe they just have to delay paying one bill. maybe jimin can talk to them. he has to prioritize. electricity is important, but his mother’s medicine is too.

jimin gets up. “okay, mom, let’s give you that shot and then we can watch an episode of something before i leave.”

jimin goes into the kitchen to get the interferon out of the fridge and when he is back his mother already sat up for him. jimin learned how to inject interferon when he was thirteen years old. always once a week, on shot and then a lot of ibuprofen, really high dosages. jimin hates leaving her after giving her the shot, because sometimes she’d get a fever or bad dreams, but she always insisted she’d be fine. it still doesn’t feel good to leave. he gives her the shot, ignoring the bruises on her thigh she already has from all of them. he wishes he could find another way, maybe all of it in pill-form, but they’re lucky they can even afford this much.

“when is your appointment with your neurologist?” jimin asks while he puts away the kit and makes sure to carefully expose the syringe.

“next monday.”

jimin nods, making sure to remember to pick her up and bring her there before work. he hopes they can be done at the doctor before his shifts starts, or he’ll have to come in later and that’s going to cost him money. every hour less at work, means less on his paycheck.

the two of then settle in the bed together and jimin starts an episode on the laptop and his mother puts her head on his chest. jimin starts to idly play with her head as she slowly starts to doze off on top of him. when she’s deep asleep, jimin slowly gets up and tucks her in. he leans down and kisses her forehead before leaving, and he wishes he didn’t have to, but his shift at the seven-eleven starts in a few hours, and he needs to get back home and change and maybe even get an hour or two of sleep.

on the bus home his mind strays, and he thinks back to taehyung and his many scars and jimin’s chest burns again and he can feel it.

can feel his scar getting bigger.

 

 

 

jimin is tired when he goes back to the hotel to meet taehyung. taehyung had texted him and asked to have lunch together and jimin had reluctantly agreed, but he hopes they won’t be having lunch at the hotel because jimin can’t afford that.

the elevator ride up takes a little too long, as many guests get on and stop in between and jimin bows and greets them every time out of habit, but then he remembers that he isn’t wearing his uniform and he isn’t here to work. when he finally arrives on the last floor, taehyung is already leaning by the door, his eyes fixed on his phone and he only looks up when the elevator bings.

a big smile spreads on his face when he sees jimin and jimin smiles back and it’s not even hard to do so. maybe that’s just the effect taehyung has. he’s pretty charming after all. just like last time, taehyung is dressed impeccably, a flowery dress shirt, an expensive clock, and shoes that are likely so expensive, jimin couldn’t even guess the price.

“hi! how’re doing on this beautiful day?” taehyung asks and jimin raises and eyebrow and looks out of the window in the hallway.

“it’s cloudly and foggy outside. also, really cold.”

“doesn’t mean it isn’t beautiful.”

jimin snorts, but lets it be and taehyung seems content.

“so, where are we going to eat?” jimin asks and taehyung immediately lights up even more.

“oh, there’s this little place my friend yoongi owns! i thought about going there! i always get free food.”

free food sounds good to jimin, so he nods and taehyung pushes himself off the wall and they walk back to the elevator together. jimin presses the button and waits, and taehyung next to him begins humming again. jimin feels a bit awkward. he doesn’t really know how to behave around him, what the soulmate-first-date-etiquette is, and he also doesn’t know what taehyung is expecting of this.

“you’re nervous,” taehyung suddenly states, looking over to jimin with a grin.

“a bit.”

“tell me why, so i can make you less nervous.”

“i don’t know if you’re really able to do that.”

taehyung crosses his arms and acts offended. the elevator doors open and they step inside. “i will have you know, i am excellent at unnerving—no wait, uh, un-nervousing people. and animals. pretty sure plants too. i am great with living beings.”

jimin raises one eyebrow. “is that so?”

“that is so. like, back in elementary school i befriended all the frogs at the nearby pond.”

“frogs?”

“i was the frog whisperer.”

jimin snorts and they reach the level floor and get off together and jimin notices that he is, in fact, already less nervous.

“why did you even befriend the frogs?”

“i am so glad you asked.”

they leave the hotel and jimin just follows taehyung as he recites the entire story of him and his frog army and jimin, at some point, has to stop walking from laughing because the way taehyung tells his stories are just ridiculous. they’ve probably already walked several blocks, but the time passed just like that, thanks to taehyung’s tales from his childhood. they aren’t particularly wild, but still unlike anything jimin has heard before. they’re odd, but entertaining, and taehyung obviously enjoys telling them.

they stop in front of a small restaurant eventually. it’s actually really tiny, build into a wall and lowered by some stairs and taehyung even has to lower his head to get through the door.

“hyung, we’re hungry!” taehyung yells as soon as he steps inside. the other guests only glance at him, as if this was normal behavior and jimin blushes and hides a bit behind taehyung. (which isn’t hard. there isn’t really a lot of space in here.)

“stop screaming, assface,” comes a voice from behind the counter. the man, probably around their age, is frowning at taehyung, but taehyung seems unbothered.

“i come with company. please sir, give us the best table in your fine establishment.”

the man just rolls his eyes and turns around, leaving to a backroom which is likely the kitchen and taehyung just steps to the left and sits down at the nearest table, signing for jimin to follow him. jimin slowly sits down and still looks around the little restaurant and they don’t really speak until the man from before comes out, holding a tray with several little bowls on it.

“will i ever be able to get rid of you and your smooching ass? you’re gonna eat all my profit away,” he says to taehyung and starts placing various side dishes in front of them.

“you love me, hyung,” taehyung says in a dramatic voice, hand pressed to his chest.

the man looks over to jimin. “run as long as you can.”

jimin doesn’t really know what to do or to say, he just stares at the waiter (is he even a waiter?) and feels a little lost.

“this is yoongi. he owns the place, and he loves me so much, you won’t even believe it. so much that he will give us two big portions of black bean noodles, right?”

yoongi glares at taehyung, but turns his eyes back to jimin, eyeing him from head to toe. “nice to meet you. sorry you had to meet him, though. how did that happen?”

jimin opens his mouth to answer, at least introduce himself, but taehyung’s mouth his faster than his. “this is jimin! i met him at the hotel i’m staying in right now. he works there!”

yoongi nods and he pulls a chair from another table to sit with them. “he coerced you into hanging out with him, right?”

jimin grins. “kind of, yeah.”

taehyung gasps and slaps his hand onto the table. “this is outrageous. there was none of that. i am a charming person and people love to spend time with me, okay?”

 

yoongi hangs around for a few more minutes and he continues to drag taehyung in any way possible and jimin finds himself laughing so hard by the end of it, he almost falls out of his chair. yoongi soon excuses himself and goes back to the kitchen and after that leaves them alone, though he does pull at taehyung’s hair whenever he passes their table.

“you two seem really close,” jimin notes, taking a sip from the drink yoongi brought them.

taehyung lights up again. “we grew up together! we’re both from daegu and our families now each other. he lived next door and was just always around. when i graduated from high school we moved here together.”

jimin frowns. “wait, you live here in seoul?”

“yeah, why?”

“i mean, you booked the suite at the hotel for a month. it thought you’re only here for business or something.”

“oh!” taehyung sits up straight in his chair and he leans forward towards jimin, likely just a habit. jimin noticed that taehyung likes close proximity and he doesn’t really care about personal space whatsoever. “it’s kind of for work? i’m a writer. a screen writer and the script i’m writing right now is set in a hotel. so i moved into one.”

“that’s,” jimin tries to collect his thoughts, how to properly word what he’s thinking right now. “that’s ridiculous, you could just interview people, right?”

it comes out ruder than jimin intended to, but taehyung doesn’t seem offended. “that’s not enough for me. i can’t write about things i don’t understand. and i learn the best through experience. also, the production studio pays everything anyway.”

so taehyung doesn’t pay for the room, but it’s obvious he is still plenty wealthy. “what channel do you work for? mbc? sbs?”

“huh? oh, right now i’m hired by sony pictures.”

jimin almost chokes on his drink. “wh-what?”

“sony pictures! you know, the—“

“i know sony, taehyung.”

taehyung shrugs. “so yeah, i told them the script would work out best if i lived in a hotel and they said okay.”

“i didn’t know any production team would ever do that for one of their screen writers. i’ve never heard of that before.”

taehyung grins and reaches for his own glass to take a sip of his coke. “i told you, right? i am very charming and people love me.”

 

the food arrives shortly after and jimin is floored by how good it is. they steer away from the topic of taehyung’s job and instead, he tries to learn more about jimin. jimin, however, does not feel like actually revealing anything yet.

yes, taehyung is fun. he is pleasant, funny, interesting, and this ‘date’ is one of the best ones jimin ever had. despite being obviously rich, taehyung isn’t arrogant in the least. he doesn’t flaunt his wealth, doesn’t comment on jimin’s job in a negative light even once, and instead seems just so—so normal. it’s a little scary, jimin thinks. taehyung is very interested in his job, actually. this may be due to his work and the research he is doing right now, but no matter what jimin tells him about work, taehyung seems genuinely interested. time passes just like that, hours actually, the sun already set, and jimin’s stomach hurts from laughing too much.

“we should head out, i think. hyung is giving me meaningful side glances,” taehyung says and he slowly stands up and reaches for his jacket on the back of his chair. jimin joins him, his mood still too good to actually leave and end this date and they both say goodbye and jimin feels weird for not paying, but taehyung insists it’s fine and so does yoongi when jimin tries to.

they leave the tiny restaurant and walk down the cold but busy street and their feet carries them back to the hotel. they don’t talk for a change, but it’s not uncomfortable. taehyung is humming again, his eyes looking around aimlessly and sometimes his eyes get caught by things he sees in the windows of the shops they pass. it’s like taehyung gets amazed by the smallest things and it’s kind of cute.

“do you live close by?” taehyung asks suddenly and jimin realized he has been staring at taehyung. jimin quickly turns his face and he is glad his cheeks are already flushed from the cold.

“it’s not too far. i’ll take the bus over there.”

“let me bring you home then,” taehyung answers and starts taking bigger steps, walking faster towards the hotel.

“you don’t have to—“

“i know! but i want to. c’mon, my car is in the hotel’s park house.”

there doesn’t seem to be any room for discussion and jimin has the feeling that taehyung is stubborn, so much that he won’t change his mind anyway. they walk into the park house next to the hotel and it’s dark and eerie in there, like some cliché horror movie. it would have spooked jimin, but then taehyung starts humming again and it’s not that bad anymore.

“what are you always humming? is it a specific song?”

taehyung stops humming and he looks at jimin in surprise, as if he didn’t even realize that he was doing anything in the first place.

“oh, yeah. it’s a song hyung wrote for me. not yoongi hyung, but my brother namjoon. he makes music.”

they reach a black, expensive maserati (of cours he owns a maserati) and taehyung opens the car and opens the door for jimin before getting in himself.

“that’s really nice. is he a performer?”

taehyung starts the car and shakes his head. “not really. i does little gigs here and there, but he mainly produces music. he wrote that song for me when i got my first writing job for a drama.”

they start driving and taehyung tells jimin to guide him the way.

“can i listen to something he wrote?” jimin asks and taehyung brightens up and he unlocks his phone and throws it on jimin’s lap.

“open my music and look for ‘rm’. those are the ones he sang himself. well, not really sang. he raps.”

jimin looks down at taehyung’s phone and he tries not to look at the wallpaper for too long which is a photo of taehyung, yoongi, and the man jimin ran into when he first went to see taehyung, all pushed together in a selfie at what looks like a beach. he opens the music library instead and does what he is told. “which song?”

“hm, play ‘life’ please. it’s my favorite.”

apparently, taehyung’s phone is connected to his car via bluetooth because as soon as he chooses the song, the music plays loud and clear through the car. it’s a slow song and a deep voice starts speaking over the gentle beat and the quiet piano playing as a melody. jimin leans back and closes his eyes, taking in the words which are sadder than he imagined.

“it’s not very uplifting,” taehyung says and stops at a red light. “but i still like it a lot.”

“it’s beautiful,” jimin mumbles.

taehyung starts driving again and jimin notices too late that they took the wrong turn, but he isn’t very upset about it.

“should have gone left,” he says and taehyung whips his head over at him.

“seriously! you should have said something!”

“i forgo—“

taehyung suddenly makes a sudden u-turn in the middle of the street and jimin grabs his seat. “what the fuck are you doing?!”

“you said we have to go a different way!”

“you can’t just turn like that? where did you get your license? a bingo prize?”

“well, i did fail once—“

“what?”

“the theory part! calm down, i’m an excellent driver.”

jimin huffs and leans back in his seat again as they drive in the right direction now. jimin’s apartment really isn’t far from the hotel so they get there fairly quickly and jimin lingers a bit on his seat. the atmosphere now is awkward for the first time in a while.

“did you have fun?” taehyung asks and he turns down the music until it’s just a muffled sound in the background.

“yeah, i did. thank you.”

“no, no thank you! for giving me a bit of your time!” taehyung smiles so brightly at jimin, something melts inside of him and for just a short second, jimin’s chest doesn’t hurt that much.

taehyung bites on his lip, apparently mulling over what to say next. “can we do it again? meet up? you could choose what to do next—i mean! if you want to meet again, then you can choose. you can also say no, that’s cool. or maybe you’re busy, i don’t know, i don’t wanna be—“

“yes!” jimin interrupts him before taehyung talks himself against a wall. “i would love to.”

taehyung smiles again and jimin takes a little bit of that warmth with him when he says goodbye and gets out of the car.

he presses his hand against his chest and for a moment he can pretend. pretend that the pain is not as bad as before.

 

 

the next time they meet isn’t for their date.

it’s when jimin is at work and taehyung passes by the lobby.

it’s quite early in the morning and jeongguk is daydreaming next him, when taehyung catches jimin’s eye and approaches the desk.

immediately, jeongguk sits up and bows to taehyung who jumps a bit in surprise, like he hasn’t even noticed jeongguk before. “good morning, sir! how can we be of assistance to you?”

jimin hides his grin and he looks at taehyung over jeongguk’s shoulder and winks. he hopes taehyung gets it.

jimin wants to prank jeongguk.

jimin told taehyung about their newest staff member. incredibly ambitious and talented jeongguk, who just sometimes is a little dorky and awkward. and jimin loves to tease him.

taehyung nods towards jimin and some cheesy part inside of him says that this is the whole soulmate deal, because taehyung seems to be down to play. jimin ignores that voice.

“good morning! i’m staying in the master suite upstairs and i just have a quick question.”

jeongguk nods, and jimin can see how he just barely hides his surprise at taehyung being the guest in their most expensive room.

taehyung continues. “i’m mainly here on business, you see, but i had a quiet night with some free time last night and i used some of your video on demand services. of course, i will have to pay those myself, my company won’t do it. i just want to know how much it is and if i could pay right now.”

“of course, sir! that’s no issue at all. which movies would that be?”

jimin has a bad feeling, but taehyung’s face is so dead serious, jimin is almost convinced by his story.

taehyung doesn’t even lean forwards or lowers his voice, and jeongguk looks at him with the upmost attention. “four movies in total: assablanca, ass ventura: crack detective, sex trek: the next penetration, and goth girl wants to cum more than she wants to die.”

jeongguk just stares at taehyung for a moment, frozen, and likely not sure what to do or to say.

jimin stays behind him and presses his hand to his mouth, trying not to laugh out loud,

"i, uh, th-the, i mean--"

"okay, taehyung, that's enough," jimin finally gives and snorts out loud, and taehyung's serious expression breaks too.

the two of them laugh together while jengguk just looks between them in utter confusion. "huh?"

jimin doubles over and holds himself up by the desk and taehyung's giggles just make him laugh even harder. "i'm sorry jeongguk. he was just messing with you."

"yeah, sorry. i didn't watch any of that on demand. not even sure if they exist. probably do, though."

jeongguk still looks lost and jimin takes pity on him.

"we know each other, don't worry," jimin explains and now steps up to the counter and leans forward, smiling up to taehyung. "hey there."

"hey right back at you," taehyung replies, also leaning both his arms on the reception desk.

"what the fuck," can be heard from jeongguk in the background, but neither spend him any mind.

"how are you doing?" taehyung asks and jimin shrugs, maybe playing a little coy and he realizes that he's flirting while at work. he usually would never do that. ever.

but something about taehyung’s smile and his warm voice is so inviting and jimin kind of missed him. which is weird, since they hardly even know each other. maybe it’s the whole soulmate thing. maybe it's just taehyung.

"i'm good. working. the usual." actually, jimin is tired and only got two hours of sleep between jobs and after his shift he's going to go his mother's again. his feet are killing him, and so is his head. and of course, his chest. always his chest. but that's nothing new.

but right now, jimin thinks as he looks at taehyung's wide smile, it's not all that bad. right now, he feels okay. "how are you?"

taehyung's grin widens, if that's even possible. "i'm good, now that i'm seeing you."

jimin snorts and pushes taehyung's shoulder. jeongguk makes some kind of gagging noise.

"that's gross."

"usually, people call it charm."

"well, i call it gross."

jimin laughs and leans back. they're lucky that the lobby is empty, otherwise they couldn't talk like this and it would be a waste, because it's so much fun.

"i wanted to ask you something actually," taehyung says, standing up again. "i actually came down here a few times, but you were never here. but now you are, so i have to use this golden opportunity."

"and that would be what?"

"our second date of course! i wanted to know when you're free! this time you can pick what to-- i mean, that is, if you want a second date. it's okay if you don't want to, i don't wanna make it seem like we have to, what i'm trying to say here is-"

"yes, i want to go on another date. i already told you, right? and you babbled like this back then too."

taehyung huffs. "well, words are hard."

"you are literally a writer."

"spoken words! anyway, when are you free?"

jimin glances over to jeongguk who's purposely ignoring them and he looks disgusted enough by their banter so jimin decides to cut it short. he does have to go back to work, after all.

"i'm free tomorrow afternoon." it's actually his only free day in a while. he originally wanted to rest or maybe do some stuff at his apartment, but spending his time with taehyung should be fine too.

"perfect! me too! write me all the details. i'm gonna leave you guys alone now, go back and watch my porn on demand."

jimin rolls his eyes and wishes taehyung goodbye. taehyung turns to jeongguk, waving his hand at him too before turning and leaving the lobby again.

 

as soon as taehyung steps into the elevator, jeongguk whips around to stare at jimin. "explain."

jimin blushes. "not much to explain.”

“oh really.” jeongguk crosses his arms. “so, you’re just suddenly going out with the dude who stays in the most expensive room in this already expensive hotel? yeah, old news.”

“we should get back to work,” jimin deflects and tries to navigate around jeongguk to get away from the desk, but of course jeongguk won’t let him.

“oh no, you’re not getting away that easily.” jeongguk grins.

jimin huffs because jeongguk’s physique just isn’t fair. he’s literally towering over jimin right now (because he is actually standing on his tip-toes too, jimin notices. jeongguk is so weird.)

jimin sighs and gives up. “i just happened to meet him. he asked me out and i said yes and it went well.”

jimin feels a little bad. he isn’t sure why he won’t tell anyone about taehyung being his soulmate. jimin hasn’t even told his mother and he usually tells her everything.

but something about all of this is still holding him back. making him feel reluctant about the whole situation.

it isn’t taehyung. taehyung is perfect, he is wonderful.

or maybe it is taehyung. maybe it is because he is so perfect and so wonderful that jimin can’t believe it. that he can’t trust the entire situation because it’s just too surreal. a soulmate just popping up out of nowhere? someone who could actually take jimin’s pain away? it can’t be real.

good things don’t happen to him.

it doesn’t really matter now, though. because jimin lied. he lied and now he will likely have to life with it. but that’s not new. that’s how it is.

it doesn’t matter.

“it doesn’t matter,” jimin says and he does manage to push jeongguk away a little. “it’s nothing huge or anything. just seeing where it goes, i guess.”

jeongguk lets jimin leave and he does nod, but jimin knows he isn’t buying it. “if you say so.”

“yup! and now, we actually have to get to work!” jimin claps his hands once and throws a big smile jeongguk’s way.

 

 

 

tomorrow afternoon arrives too fast, jimin thinks.

after his shift at the hotel, jimin went to see his mother again, doing his usual routine, staying there as long as he could allow himself before he had to leave again.

jimin noticed how his mother’s hands were twitching and a little slow. he didn’t say anything and neither did his mother, but jimin knew. he knew and it gave him a headache, because another treatment would be expensive. they would have to go and see the neurologist every day for at least two or three weeks.

jimin would have to take her every day and he was trying to come up with ways to do that with his jobs. maybe he could skip breaks to leave early. maybe he could shift it around. maybe he could ask for a different schedule.

he can’t miss work because that means losing money. jimin’s head’s in overdrive all the way back home. going through several scenarios again and again, and trying to come up with ways on how to make it work.

even if he can find the time to bring his mother to the treatment every day, how would they even pay for it? they’re still in debt from the times before. they still have other bills. jimin still doesn’t earn enough. maybe another job. maybe something else.

it’s the next day now. it’s tomorrow afternoon, and jimin is still thinking about it as he drives to the hotel to meet taehyung.

maybe he could donate blood for money. maybe enter some medical studies. maybe he could sell some stuff or do some odd jobs around.

jimin walks into the hotel and get to the elevator, and he’s already mentally composing the ads he could write, offering his services.

the elevator arrives and takes jimin to the last floor, and jimin calculates how much money he still has saved up and how much they’d need to survive the next month. (it’s not enough.)

jimin arrives on the last floor and he walks up to taehyung’s room and knocks on the door, and the numbers in jimin’s head are making him dizzy and his chest hurts.

it hurts so much. it hurts a lot.

taehyung opens the door, and jimin.

jimin’s mind is empty. he looks up at taehyung, smile so wide and expression obviously so excited, just because jimin is there. the numbers are gone. the plans, the dizziness, everything just evaporates because taehyung whispers jimin’s name, followed by a louder “hi.”

jimin smiles. “hey there.”

and suddenly it’s okay. at least for a little while. at least just for now.

taehyung steps aside to let jimin in and by now jimin wonders if taehyung’s smile is tattooed on his face. it’s impossible to be this happy all the time.

“what’s that big grin for?” jimin asks, teasing a bit as he walks further into the suit.

“you’re here, what’s there not to smile about?”

jimin rolls his eyes, but he feels warm. it feels nice. “you’re honestly too much.”

taehyung giggles. “no, i’m just right.”

jimin doesn’t join him on the couch. instead he looks around the suit again before walking over to the kitchen and looks around. just as he thought; it’s fully equipped.

taehyung joins him shortly after, not asking what jimin is doing, but he is obviously curious.

“you said i get to decide what we do, right?” jimin says and taehyung nods.

“well then. get your coat. we’re getting groceries. i’m cooking for us.”

immediately, taehyung’s face lights up and he kind of looks like an excited puppy, wagging his tail.

“you’re going to cook? for me?”

“for us.” jimin walks towards the exit and he’s ready to leave since he never took of his coat nor his shoes.

taehyung hastily walks into the bedroom and some rummaging can be heard before he rushes back out and to jimin, coat half on and still only wearing one sock. but apparently, he doesn’t care, he still slips into his shoes.

“don’t you want to—”

“fuck the system.”

jimin snorts and opens the door, reminding taehyung to get his keycard before leaving, and go on their way.

they will have to walk for a while because the supermarkets in the area are a little too expensive for jimin and what he has in mind and he has a limited budget. actually, he shouldn’t be spending anything at all, but he is on a date. and jimin didn’t pay for anything the first time they went out either.

taehyung next to him is in a stellar mood, yet again humming to himself and swinging his arms as he’s walking and he looks quite adorable. he often does.

“what are you gonna make?” taehyung asks when they reach the supermarket and jimin gets them a shopping cart.

“a stew. since it’s really cold. it can warm us up.”

“i love stew! what’s in it?”

“what do you want in it?”

“meat! lots of meat. and mushrooms! but no leek. oh, can we get dessert too? can we have cake for dessert?”

jimin bites the inside of his cheek. meat is expensive, cake is expensive. he does the math in his head, but before he can even try to come up with a compromise, taehyung walks over to get some pork from the freezers. jimin’s words die in his words.

he tries not to think about it. he can make it work somehow. it will be fine.

they continue to shop for groceries and it becomes pretty clear to jimin how taehyung has no worries about money. maybe never had. he doesn’t check prices, doesn’t calculate how much in total they already have in the cart, and indulges in many things.

jimin was never able to live like this, it’s quite disorienting watching taehyung.

after twenty minutes, they conclude that they got everything and move towards checkout, and the numbers are swimming in jimin’s head.

they go to the self-check-out and as they scan every item, jimin feels sicker watching the total amount.

it’s so much. he never wanted to spend this much.

jimin moves to get his wallet, but freezes when taehyung already inserts his credit card.

“what are you doing?”

taehyung looks over to him in surprise. “i’m paying?”

“why are you paying?”

taehyung still looks confused. “well, you’re cooking so of course i’m paying. also, like 80% of the stuff is for myself. why would you pay?”

jimin feels hot and cold at the same time. fight him, his brain says. it’s polite, it’s proper, you should.

“but—”

“well, too late, i already did it. c’mon let’s bag everything and get back.”

jimin tries to argue, but he can’t get a single word out and he feels horrible. he feels horrible because he is relieved that taehyung paid all of it.

his chest is burning in shame. jimin breathes in and out and swallows it down. ignores the pain. instead he smiles and helps taehyung with the bags.

taehyung doesn’t seem to notice that anything is off and that’s good. that’s what jimin wants. instead he keeps chatting away about how excited he is to eat jimin’s homemade food, how long it’s been since he had some nice stew, and he totally derails and starts telling jimin about the time he spent on his grandparents’ farm every summer and what kind of things they grew there.

taehyung could likely talk for hours on end. sometimes he wants to say several things at the same time and his chain of thoughts are mashed together. sometimes he gets stuck in the middle of the sentence and jimin needs a moment to figure out what taehyung is trying to say.

but it’s charming. it’s funny, and so endearing. the more taehyung talks, the less jimin thinks about his chest. it still hurts, but he is distracted.

 

they get back to the hotel and jimin greets the rest of the hotel staff as they walk past the lobby.

hoseok starts wiggling his eyebrows at him and jimin almost shows him the finger, but doesn’t because he was raised better than that. (mainly, he didn’t do it because he does work here and he doesn’t want to get caught doing obscene gestures.)

jimin gets right to it when they’re back in the suit.

taehyung, right off the bat, admits that he is pretty much useless in the kitchen. but he still lingers around and he looks like he wants to help, so jimin waves him over.

“you can chop the peppers and mushrooms. i’ll do the onions. here cut them like this.”

jimin shows taehyung how he wants the veggies and taehyung watches like his life depends on it before carefully taking over the knife.

he cuts the mushroom slower than jimin has ever seen before and he tries not to laugh because taehyung is obviously trying his best here.

instead, jimin turns to the onions, puts a spoon horizontally into his mouth, and starts cutting.

taehyung next to him stops and looks over to him. he keeps staring until jimin finds it suspicious enough to check. he quickly glances over the two mushrooms taehyung managed to chop, but they seem fine.

jimin takes the spoon out of his mouth. “what?”

“why are you putting a spoon into your mouth?”

jimin blinks. “oh, so i won’t tear up.”

taehyung frowns and he stares down at the spoon and then back up at jimin like he lost his mind. “bullshit.”

“no, it works.”

“no, it just looks ridiculous. that can never ever work.”

jimin huffs and puts the spoon down. “you said you’re never doing anything in the kitchen, so how would you even know?”

“i’m not an idiot.”

“well, apparently you are!”

taehyung gasps. “are you always serving your food with an extra portion of slander?”

“you started this! i was peacefully cutting my onions—”

“you shoved big spoon into your mouth—”

“shut up, and cut your mushrooms, taehyung.” jimin shoves the spoon back into his mouth and turns to the onion and there is a second of silence before taehyung bursts out laughing and soon after, jimin joins him.

“you’re ridiculous,” jimin says around the spoon and it’s hardly comprehendible.

“i’m not the odd one here.”

jimin laughs it off, but taehyung isn’t wrong. he isn’t the odd one. jimin is—

jimin stops his train of thoughts. not now. they’re having fun. they’re on a date. they’re laughing and there is no place for such ugly thoughts in jimin’s head.

he continues to chop the onions until he’s done and taehyung continues his slow work of chopping the vegetables.

jimin gets rid of the spoon and instead prepares a pot and gets the meat. “you keep doing that until i give you the next instructions, alright?”

taehyung nods absentmindedly, still very much immersed in his current task and it’s kind of adorable.

and they continue like that. jimin cooks and in between he gives taehyung little instructions and taehyung hurries around the place to get jimin whatever he would need.

“you’re like a puppy,” jimin says with a wide grin.

taehyung grins back, leaning into jimin. “so, my soulmate really is a furry.”

jimin pushes his back with his hips, his hands busy stirring the pot. “your soulmate has full control over whether you get dinner or not.”

“no! you can’t do that. i helped so much and it looks so good!”

they laugh again and they play around a little more, staying in the kitchen area even when the pot is just slowly cooking by itself, and the mood is good.

jimin feels good. it’s so nice to be with taehyung, unlike anyone jimin has met before.

at one point, taehyung takes jimin’s hand and jimin lets him and doesn’t pull away. instead he carefully brushes over taehyung’s hand with his thumb, feeling the scars under his touch.

jimin pulls taehyung’s hand up and looks at them.

“they don’t hurt?” he asks, voice a bit more somber than before when they were still joking around.

jimin stares at taehyung’s hand and subconsciously starts counting the scars on it. they’re many. many, many cuts and bruises and imperfections.

“not really,” taehyung answers and he takes a step forward, stepping right into jimin’s space. he uses his other hand to point at his scars. “this one i got when i failed my first exam in college and i thought that i have to drop off completely and would never be a writer.” he is pointing at a pale scare on his index finger.

“and this one is from when my sister got mad at me for moving away for school. she was still young and didn’t really get it. it was hard to see her cry.” it a bruise, close to his thumb.

“this one i got from this dude i totally had a crush on, but he just used me because he wanted to see what’s it like to fuck a guy. we even went on dates and all and i really liked him. maybe even loved him, i don’t know. but he never did. he just wanted to fuck.”

jimin’s eyes snap up to taehyung at that, and he expects taehyung to look upset, but his face is neutral, neither happy nor sad, jimin can’t understand.

“that’s horrible.”

“yeah, it really hurt. yoongi almost castrated him,” taehyung chuckles.

jimin looks back at that particular scar and frowns. “can—i mean, can i kiss it away?”

taehyung doesn’t answer right away, just looking at the scar with the same look as before. “why? i don’t mind it.”

“but i do,” jimin retorts. “someone like that has no place on your body. i don’t want him to have a part of you.” jimin should be surprised at the way he’s acting. he’s being way too possessive considering he doesn’t know taehyung for a very long time yet.

but jimin can’t help it. can’t help being angry at that faceless guy who dared to use taehyung like that. taehyung who is so effortlessly kind, so funny, so sweet.

taehyung, who is his soulmate.

“alright,” taehyung answers eventually and this time jimin hesitates.

he stares at the scar, as if to say goodbye to it, or maybe let taehyung say goodbye, and then slowly leans down and presses his lips to taehyung’s hand.

it’s a short kiss, just a peck, and jimin feels a knot forming in his throat, making it hard to breathe for just a second, but it fades away just as quickly as it appeared. just like that heavy feeling he had when he kissed taehyung’s other scar goodbye.

taehyung sighs and jimin’s lips linger a little too long on taehyung’s hand.

“how do you feel?” jimin mumbles, his lips grazing taehyung’s skin.

“good. i feel good. i haven’t thought about him for such a long time, but i really hated what he did to me.”

jimin raises his head. “yeah, i hate it too.”

they both look at each other, faces still close and still holding hands.

taehyung visibly gulps and his eyes briefly glance down to jimin’s lips. “if you, hypothetically, had a scar on your lips—”

“shut up.”

jimin moves up and closes the distance between them to press their lips together and taehyung actually lets out an embarrassing loud moan which makes jimin grin against him. but he doesn’t break off the kiss, instead angles his head and starts moving his mouth.

taehyung pulls away his hand and instead reaches around jimin to pull him closer and taehyung is a loud kisser, making many sounds and even laughing into the kiss which is, frankly, the cutest thing ever.

jimin never had a kiss like this before. a kiss filled with little moans and laughs and gentle hands holding him close by his hips.

it feels right.

jimin pulls back and grins up at taehyung who looks a bit dazed.

“i think food should be ready now.”

taehyung stares at him, likely trying to process jimin’s words, and jimin gives him one more peck on the cheek before stepping away and towards the stove.

“i can’t believe you’re thinking about stew now,” taehyung says, but right there and then his stomach announces its opinion on that topic and jimin snorts when taehyung presses his hand over his tummy, his cheeks flushed in embarrassment. “don’t listen to him!”

jimin turns off the stove. “c’mon i’m hungry. let’s eat and then we can kiss a lot on the couch.”

taehyung actually moves in the speed of light to get them plates and they decide to eat in the kitchen too because it’s quite comfortable and spacious anyway and there is a nice countertop they can sit at.

they spread the food on the table and jimin carefully places the hot stew between them, still bubbling hot and ready to be eaten.

“you’re a wizard, jiminie,” taehyung says, eyes sparkling as he takes in all the food in front of him.

“let’s eat, weirdo.”

and they do. jimin didn’t even notice how hungry he actually was, but taehyung has no qualms about holding back.

actually, jimin thinks that’s taehyung’s entire life philosophy. he is loud and enthusiastic with everything he does.

“this was so good, jiminie!” taehyung says after he’s done, leaning back in his chair. “you’re so good at cooking! you’re good at everything!”

jimin slowly the last bite of hid food and it feels like swallowing a stone. jimin smiles anyway. “yeah, i’m not. it was just stew,” he says and he stands up and starts collecting the dishes.

“no, it was amazing! it really warmed me up. you’re so impressive! so cool!”

jimin turns his head and he starts cleaning the plates. he usually wouldn’t do the dishes right away, especially not on a date, but needs for his hands to be busy.

“no, really. i’m not. it’s just some stew. every idiot can do that. there’s really nothing special about me.”

taehyung doesn’t say anything to that, of course because it’s the truth, and jimin continues to rub the plate even though it’s already clean.

“you know, maybe your scars are on the inside.”

“what?” jimin halts in his movements, his hands gripping the plate tightly in his hands. “what do you mean?”

taehyung’s statement comes out of nowhere, and his tone is so different from what jimin knows.

why is he even talking about these stupid scars again, jimin thinks, i hate them. shut up.

they were just talking about stew. about cooking. they were just eating together.

“i was thinking about it, ever since i first met you. yoongi is like that. he met his soulmate, but all his scars are on the inside. his soulmate can’t kiss them away.”

jimin doesn’t know what to say, but his chest is burning and he can feel his own scar getting bigger. “so what? i am unrepairable? broken goods?”

“no,” taehyung simply answers and jimin waits for more, but when he’s met with silence, he finally leaves the dishes be and turns around. he sees taehyung staring at him, apparently deep in thought.

“but?”

“no but. i’m trying to find the right words. i told you, talking is hard.”

so jimin waits, and his chest still burns.

“what i mean is– the whole deal with soulmates is based on the believe that we need another person to fix us. that we’re unable to tend to our own wounds. that we need to be fixed or whatever. but we don’t.”

taehyung takes another break, likely to collect his thoughts again. “they always say we need our soulmate to kiss our scars away, but scars don’t have to be a bad thing. i love all my scars. and my friend, yoongi, he has spotless skin, but he’s wounded on the inside and he met his soulmate, my brother namjoon, who can’t kiss them away. but he can be there for yoongi. can be there when yoongi heals himself.”

jimin’s chest is burning.

“so, yoongi isn’t broken, he’s very strong and fixes himself and namjoon is there to support him and i think that’s what it should be like. none of us need to be fixed. we’re perfect and complete the way we are, with or without scars.”

“so,” jimin begins and his voice is stable, doesn’t betray how taehyung’s words have pierced through him. “you don’t want me to kiss your scars away?”

taehyung looks down at his hands, at his skin that’s covered in cuts and at that little bare spot where once a scar was, just hours ago. “i don’t really mind. i rather hope we can make new scars together.”

“you want me to hurt you?”

taehyung smiles at jimin and shakes his head. “my scars are the steps in my life.”

jimin bites his lip and he stops his hand from holding onto his chest.

“they’re what made me, me.”

jimin averts his eyes.

tell him, a voice in his head rings. this is your chance. just tell him. he will understand.

jimin shakes his head.

  1. no, because it’s ugly. no, because it’s pitiful. no, because it’s proof that jimin really is incomplete.

scars on the inside? yeah, maybe he has those too. why not. why not everything. maybe some time it can finally rip him apart and just end this.

don’t think that, he tries to tell himself, but that voice is so weak, so small, jimin can barely hear it.

jimin is pulled out of the depth of his thoughts when there are to arms holding him tightly and suddenly his face is shoved into taehyung’s neck.

“i’m sorry,” taehyung whispers into jimin’s hair. “i shouldn’t have said anything. i’m so sorry. i’m so sorry, jiminie. please, forgive me, please stop crying.”

crying? jimin didn’t even notice.

he looks up to taehyung. “tae? tae, can you kiss me again?”

on my chest, on my chest.

“on the lips? just kissing, like we planned? on the couch?”

kiss me, kiss me on my chest.

taehyung nods, of course, and he takes jimin’s hands and walks them to the living room and to one of the big couches in this huge suite. they both fall down and jimin leans into taehyung, who looks at him with wide worried eyes.

“i’m sorry, jiminie,” taehyung says again.

jimin shakes his head. “don’t apologize. you didn’t say anything wrong.”

taehyung obviously doesn’t believe jimin, even though he really means it. taehyung didn’t do anything wrong at all. he actually said just the right words, but it hurts.

“kiss me,” jimin asks again.

 

on my chest.

 

“kiss me for a long time.”

 

‘til the pain stops.

 

taehyung leans down and does.

 

 

(the pain doesn’t stop. it never does.)

 

 

when jimin wakes up the next morning, awoken again by his usual nightmare, he wants to go back to sleep right away.

he knows he can move and get up, he actually should do it, but there is not a single bit of motivation in him to do so. and his chest hurts, as it always does.

jimin can still hear what taehyung said yesterday. he has been replaying it over and over again until the words started mashing up and jimin’s own mind changes them, because he can’t help it.

 

but scars don’t have to be a bad thing but scars don’t have to be a bad thing but scars don’t have to be a bad thing but scars have to be a bad thing but scars have to be a bad thing

 but scars have to be a bad thing

so, yoongi isn’t broken, he’s very strong and fixes himself

broken, strong, fixes

isn’t broken, he’s very strong, he fixes himself

is broken, isn’t very stong

fixes—broken. not strong. no fixing.

broken.

jimin can’t move and he starts calculating how much money he would lose if he just calls in sick for work today. how much would he earn today? he has both shifts, both hotel and then later the seven-eleven. he doesn’t need to see his mother today. he promised to go tomorrow. eight hours at the hotel and four hours at the convenience store. twelve hours of work. it’s so much money. such a waste.

jimin pushes himself up, even though he doesn’t want to and as he stands up, he starts crying. he just cries, all the way to the bathroom, while he showers and then gets dressed. he still cries as he forces himself to drink a coffee. and he still cries when he presses his hand onto his chest, hoping that this ugly scar will finally fuck off.

after then he stops. maybe because he ran out of tears, or maybe because he is even too tired to cry at this point.

he washes his face and puts concealer under his eye. he looks at himself and practices his fake smile.

it looks good. convincing.

jimin leaves for his first shift of the day and when he is at the hotel, he pushes away every thought that is unrelate to work.

he jokes with jeongguk, teases him when he hides from the maids again. he goes and talks to seokjin in the kitchen, he makes his rounds, he helps during check-out.

he changes in the backroom and wishes jeongguk goodbye.

he didn’t see tae today, and it just worsened jimin’s mood, but he doesn’t have time to think about it. instead he pushes even more and he arrives at his second job, late at night at this empty convenience store.

at least he can use the quiet to work though the bills, to calculate how much they have or need. everything that keeps his mind occupied. hardly anyone comes in anyway.

it’s six in the morning when jimin falls back into his bed and he has to get up in another six hours until he has to get up again and see his mother and then afterwards go back to work at the hotel.

jimin cries only for an hour before he passes out.

usually he would lather, rinse, and repeat.

wake up from the same nightmare, push through the days, ready to smile for his coworkers, and friend, and mother. ready to watch a show with her before she falls asleep. ready to greet every guest with a big smile, and ready to sit down and have a chat with the others at the hotel.

pushing through. through everything.

sometimes jimin would use one of his rare days off and go to a club. he would flirt his way to free drinks and then hook up with some stranger before leaving them the next morning.

strangers are safe, after all. they can’t see that ugly thing on his chest. they wouldn’t fuck him, if they could, jimin knows.

 

usually it was like that.

but now there is taehyung.

so when jimin gets into work after visiting his mother, and sees taehyung waiting for him in the lobby, everything seems lighter right away.

he only needs to see taehyung smile, and suddenly it’s easier to breathe.

“you’re lucky you live here, or i’d think i had stalker,” jimin says with a grin that comes easily.

“well, seems like i am indeed lucky.” taehyung grins at him and walks alongside jimin up until the reception desk. jeongguk is there and this time he won’t be fooled anymore.

“can i help you somehow?” jimin asks, acting innocent and biting his lip when taehyung gets that look again. jimin knows he’s about to start babbling.

“you know, i was just wondering, only if you want to of course, like if you’re free after work, i mean today, and—only if you want to! – i was just wondering if you want—”

“i get off at nine,” jimin interrupts him, and usually he would get impatient at people stuttering around that much, but all he feels is fondness. taehyung is so endearing.

“cool! that’s good! cool, cool, cool. yes. so. you know where to find me!”

jimin snorts and rolls his eyes, just nodding and waving, signaling to taehyung that he has to get to work.

taehyung quickly nods and says goodbye, speeding off to the elevator and now jimin can’t wait for his shift to be over.

 

jimin doesn’t even pretend he isn’t rushing upstairs to see taehyung.

jeongguk tells him to just leave already and that he can clean up on his own and for once, jimin listens and gets into the elevator and rides it to the last floor.

he is still in his uniform when he knocks on taehyung’s door and it’s opened right away, as if taehyung waited on the other side for jimin to show up.

“hi,” taehyung says, with his brilliant and beautiful smile and jimin falls into him and the pain stops for a little bit.

a new part in his routine. jimin’s haven, the only time when he can rest.

jimin doesn’t go home that night, instead falls asleep next to taehyung, holding his hand.

 

 

 

“mom, i want to tell you something.”

jimin’s mother hums absentmindedly, her eyes still focused on the show on the screen and jimin pulls at her sleeve so she would look at him.

“mom, it’s something big.”

she turns her head to him, now fully listening and for a moment she looks worried and jimin quickly reaches out to squeeze her hands. “it’s nothing bad! it’s good news!”

she sighs in relief. “you could have said that right away, you know?”

jimin grins. “sorry.”

“so? what is it?”

“i, well, i actually met my soulmate.”

jimin’s mother freezes for a moment, staring at jimin with wide eyes, before they slowly tear up and she leans forward to tightly hug her son. “oh jimin! jimin, i’m so happy, that’s so wonderful!”

jimin laughs into his mother’s shoulder and agrees.

“tell me about them!”

they part, but she is still holding jimin’s hands, with no intention of letting go, actually squeezing them a little too much.

“well, he’s my age. and he is a writer. he writes movie scripts. really good ones. i met him because he’s staying at the hotel.”

jimin tells her all about it. tells him about taehyung’s bright smile. his dorkiness and the way he sometimes just babbles. the way he sometimes stops in the middle of a sentence and starts a new thought. the way he always hums under his breath, just because he likes to.

how he cannot cook to save his life. how eager he is in everything he does. how he approaches everything with so much enthusiasm. how loud he is.

he leaves out many things. he leaves out his lie. he leaves out his self-doubts. he leaves out the hate.

he leaves out what taehyung said about inner scars.

he leaves out the way jimin broke down in front of him and taehyung had to kiss him until he stopped crying.

he only tells her the good because she looks so happy, so alive. her smile is so wide, and her cheeks so red. she looks so healthy.

jimin wants her to be always happy. so he only tells her the good because that’s what she deserves.

 

“i want to meet him, okay? bring him over next time!”

jimin promises to do so, even though he isn’t sure he will actually do it.

jimin already waited a long time before telling anyone about taehyung. his mother is the first person. his coworkers think he is just dating taehyung, but they don’t know that he is actually his soulmate.

he wants to tell people, but he is still scared.

he still can’t believe it’s real, after all, it’s just too good to be true.

he says goodbye to his mother and instead of going home, jimin drives to the hotel. he doesn’t even text taehyung to tell him he’s coming. he’s just going and taehyung opens the door for him with arms wide open and jimin easily falls into him again.

by now jimin already knows the suite well.

he has slept here several nights already, something he never imagined himself doing.

at first, he was intimidated by the size of it, but by now it doesn’t matter. as long as taehyung is there, everything is fine.

“i told my mother about,” jimin admits eventually, after they’ve cuddled on the couch for a while, watching an episode of some drama.

taehyung turns his head so fast, jimin fears he hurt his neck. “seriously?! you—are we—what did she—i don’t even know where to begin!”

taehyung’s entire face has lighten up like the sun, and he suddenly rushes forward and plants a big and kind of wet kiss on jimin.

“tae, i can’t answer if you’re smooching me.”

“but i love smooching you!”

“either smooching or talking.”

taehyung groans. “torture.”

jimin giggles and he reaches up to brush through taehyung’s hair, slowly massaging his scalp, and enjoying the feeling of the soft hair between his fingers.

“i told her i met my soulmate. i told her how amazing he is. i told her that i like him very much. and she would love to meet you.”

taehyung bites into his bottom lip and his hands find jimin’s waist. “you like me a lot?”

jimin nods. “of course.”

“really?”

“yes, really.”

taehyung leans forward again to kiss jimin again. “i like you too. really. so much. i want to tell everyone, i wanted to right away, but i knew you didn’t want to. so i waited.”

jimin sighs. “sorry for making you wait.”

“don’t apologize. i would have waited for you, no matter how long it would have taken. i don’t care.”

jimin’s hand wanders down to the side of taehyung’s face. “why? for me?”

“if not for you, then for whom?”

“but—i’m only me.”

taehyung’s eyes harden for a moment, but it quickly turns into a smile, like always. “yes, you. beautiful you.”

jimin’s chest pulses and he leans forward to kiss taehyung, this time lingering and deepening the kiss.

jimin pushes his tongue between taehyung’s lisps, licking into his mouth, sucking in his tongue and enjoying every sound that leaves taehyung.

jimin slowly raises himself, still not pulling away from the kiss, and moving to straddle taehyung hips.

jimin isn’t sure what he’s feeling. he is somewhere between happy and sad. he is shaking from the overwhelming feeling of affection for taehyung, but he also feels like he is about to snap any second, about to fall apart and he doesn’t know why.

everything was going so well, so why is he feeling this way? why can’t he just function everyone else would? why can’t he feel like a normal person.

he’s kissing his soulmate, the person he likes, the person he is falling in love with, the person he wants to introduce to his mother. he should be happy, should be head over heels. taehyung called him beautiful, confessed how much he likes jimin.

taehyung, not once, has done anything wrong, while jimin hasn’t done even one thing right.

maybe that’s why. why he is so, so sad.

he doesn’t deserve any of this, but he still wants it. taehyung is his haven and he doesn’t want him to know about his scar, but he is so tired of being sad.

he hates being sad.

“fuck the sad out of me,” jimin whispers against taehyung’s mouth, and taehyung halts.

he leans back to look at jimin. “what?”

“i said fuck me.”

“no, you said—”

“fuck me or leave it, taehyung. what’s it gonna be?”

taehyung now fully pulls away, looking up at jimin with a frown. “jiminie—”

“so, you don’t wanna? i thought you think i’m beautiful? am i not good enough to fuck?”

“stop talking like this,” taehyung hisses and reaches out to grab jimin by his wrist to pull him closer to him again. “what has gotten into you?”

jimin smirks, even though he doesn’t feel like it. he actually feels like crying. “well, certainly no cock.”

taehyung sighs and he lets go of jimin’s wrist and instead cups his face. “you’re talking more shit than i do,” he whispers between them and jimin starts to pull away, but taehyung chases after him and presses their lips together. only for a second or two.

“you’re beautiful, but right now you’re making me mad. you’re suddenly like this. jimin you do know--”

good, jimin thinks. be mad at me, hate me.

“that i love you, jiminie,” taehyung says instead and the hole in jimin’s chest throbs.

jimin bursts into tears and falls into taehyung who catches him without any hesitation.

“i love you so much, jimin,” taehyung repeats.

“taetae,” jimin sobs. “please fuck the sad out of me.”

taehyung wraps his arms around jimin. “why are you so sad? please explain it to me, because i can tell, but i don’t know why.”

jimin shakes his head.

“just kiss me, tae.”

on my chest.

taehyung doesn’t, not right away. instead he just watches jimin and it’s the first time jimin has seen him sad and immediately his heart falls and his chest feels like it’s on fire.

he made him sad, he made taehyung sad. because jimin did everything wrong. because he can’t do anything right.

“please jimin, tell me. why are you so sad?”

jimin made taehyung sad. he tried so hard, to hide it. he tried so hard to be strong, as always. he never wants anyone to be feel bad. he feels enough pain alone, so others shouldn’t feel it. jimin wants them to be happy.

it’s all he wants. it’s why he gets up every morning, it’s why he always smiles.

 if he’s sad and hurting, then that’s okay, because that’s how it’s supposed to be. but not the others. they can’t.

not because of him.

but he failed, because taehyung isn’t happy and it’s all because of him.

“i lied to you.”

taehyung’s face falls even more. “what?”

“you loved me and were honest and good to me and i lied since the second i met you.”

“jimin, what are you talking ab–“

“i have a scar. a big ugly scar on my chest and it gets bigger every day. it runs so deep i’m sure it destroyed my heart. it’s so ugly, it’s not like your scars. your scars tell stories, mine is just a hollow hole.”

jimin’s hand is pressed on his chest and he’s grasping at his shirt, his fingers pulling at the fabric until it feels like giving in under them. “and it hurts,” jimin adds and his voice breaks.

taehyung doesn’t speak right away. he looks down at jimin’s chest and slowly reaches out to put his hand on jimin’s hand, making him flinch at the touch.

“you’re hurting. you’re always in pain.” it’s not a question, but jimin still answers with a nod. “it’s amazing.”

jimin’s heart sinks. “what?”

“it’s amazing how strong you are. you smile every day. you help others every day. you wake up, go to work, do a good job, you breathe, you live, every single day. you survive every single day. and you love, you love, and care so much. it’s amazing how strong my soulmate is.”

jimin’s hand falls away and now it’s just taehyung’s hand on his chest and it’s the first time he lets anyone touch him there.

“what an honor it is to be in love with you, park jimin. what an honor to have a special place in a heart so wonderful as yours.”

jimin lays his head down on taehyung’s shoulder and just stays there and cries.

his heart feels so heavy, so full, and staying in taehyung’s arms makes him feel safe. he doesn’t want to move away, don’t want to lose this feeling.

taehyung hugs him close, and starts humming a new melody under his breath, eventually even starts singing quietly. it’s a song about staying up until dawn with someone in a park and taehyung’s deep voice lulls jimin into sleep.

 

 

when jimin wakes up the next morning, early at dawn, he is still in taehyung’s arms. he is surprised that he didn’t wake up from his usual nightmare, but from his hip feeling numb.

taehyung layed them down on the couch on their sides, and both arms are still holding jimin close.

his chest doesn’t burn as much. yet.

jimin tries not to move too much, but taehyung still stirs next to him and his eyes slowly blink open, looking around the living room in disorientation until they fall onto jimin.

taehyung looks at him with a blank expression, until his face lights up in a bright smile and he leans down to kiss jimin’s forehead.

“good morning, sunshine,” he mumbles, his voice even deeper than usual.

taehyung stretches and then squeezes jimin closer to him, yawning next to his face.

he always looks the cutest in the morning. with his bloated face, his sleepy eyes and slight pout.

“good morning,” jimin whispers back.

he thought he would feel nervous or embarrassed after what happened last night, but jimin is strangely calm.

“tae,” jimin quietly calls out and taehyung hums back, his eyes closed again. “i want to tell you everything.”

taehyung’s eyes slowly open and he looks at jimin, nodding to show that he’s ready to listen.

and so, jimin talks. and he tells taehyung everything.

he tells him again about his scar on his chest. he tells him about his sick mom, that needs medication and constant check-ups for her multiple sclerosis. he tells him about his two jobs and all the financial troubles he has. he tells him how hard it is to get up in the morning sometimes, and how he just cries for hours.

taehyung listens until jimin’s mouth feels dries and he finishes his last confession.

he doesn’t ask to see jimin’s scar and jimin is glad, because he isn’t ready for that yet.

he does however comment about the money problems.

“i know you’re going to say no, but i have to offer it. i just have to. i can lend you any amount you need and you can even pay me back if you need to.”

jimin shakes his head. “i can’t do that.”

“but you can’t keep on working two jobs. you’re going to burn out eventually.”

“there is no other way. my mother can’t work anymore and i have to support us.”

“jimin—”

“please don’t, tae. i didn’t tell you because i want money from you.”

taehyung closes his mouth and quiets down, accepting jimin’s words for now although jimin is sure this won’t be the last time for them to talk about this.

but he doesn’t press it now, instead they just stay in each other’s arms, while taehyung starts humming again; a new melody and it lulls jimin back into sleep. he doesn’t sleep tightly or for long, just dozing off for a bit, but it’s nice to just be here, not thinking about anything at all.

taehyung stops humming. “do you have free time today?” he asks.

jimin nods. “a bit. i only have my shift at the seven-eleven in the evening.”

“let’s go on a date.”

 

they get up and ready, taking their sweet time, and it’s like they’re still in a bubble. a pristine and shiny bubble that engulfs them in this space that seems so safe and free of all the worries that usually plague jimin’s mind.

taehyung takes jimin’s hand and leads them down the street and jimin doesn’t know where they’re going, but he doesn’t really care. as long as it’s with taehyung, jimin doesn’t mind.

they end up at a dog café and jimin isn't that surprised.

taehyung make no secret of his love for dogs and it's quite endearing to see taehyung smiling so widely, almost buried under a dozen puppies.

jimin smiles and watches them, a pug sleeping on his lap.

"all i see is puppies. many small ones and one big one in the middle," jimin teases and taehyung grins up at him.

"you should join us down here. it's nice."

jimin considers it and he drinks the last of his americano, before carefully lifting the pug of his lap und sitting down next to taehyung.

immediately, the dogs swarm him and jimin giggles as he is drowning under a wave of fluff.

under all that taehyung puts his hand on jimin's, but continues to play with the dogs, his cheeks red.

"you're so cute, taetae," jimin tells him and usually he would sneak a little kiss on his flushed cheeks, but they're in public, so he restrains himself.

"so i've heard," taehyung replies, glancing over to wink at jimin.

they continue their date like that. lingering a bit at the café, before leaving and just trolling down a park nearby.

they stop by a convenience store to get some ramen and huddle next to each other in the cold on a park bench to eat.

"you know," jimin begins, blowing on his noodles as if the cold winter wind couldn't do that for him, "i never thought you'd be the dog café and ramen from the convenience store date kind of guy when i first met you."

taehyung laughs, "and why is that?"

"well, first of all, you live in one of the most expensive hotel suites in all of seoul. for an entire month. and you are decked in gucci from head to toe. i'm not even exaggerating, even your socks are from gucci."

"well, i like gucci."

"and shrimp cup noodles, apparently."

"well, usually i go for soba, but they didn't have those."

jimin snorts. "you're just really... interesting. and i actually don't even know you that well yet, but i already-- you know, i already care so much about you. how do you do it?"

taehyung chews his noodles, plucking in his wooden chopsticks a few times as he thinks. by now jimin knows he's just collecting his words, and not stalling an answer.

"maybe we just fit," is his answer and doesn't elaborate more. he doesn't mention the fact that they're soulmates and that's maybe why they fit so well, and jimin is sure taehyung isn't even talking about that.

"maybe we do," jimin wonders out loud. he looks ahead, his eyes wandering over the mostly empty park in front of him, the sounds of cars just barely filtering in from a distance, and taehyung net to him on his park bench, slurping his ramen.

jimin sighs and leans to his side to put his head on taehyung's shoulder.

taehyung freezes for just an instance before picking up on eating again.

"taetae," jimin whispers between them. "taetae, will you stay with me until i'm better?"

taehyung puts his cup aside and he reaches out to take jimin's hand. "no, i wanna stay even longer."

jimin smiles.

 

 

 

"calm down, she will love you," jimin tells taehyung whose leg can't stop shaking, as they sit on the bus to meet jimin's mother.

"this is such a huge deal, jiminie! it's your mom! this is life or death."

jimin rolls his eyes at taehyung's dramatics, but he should be used to that by now.

two weeks ago, taehyung moved out of the hotel and back into his own apartment and jimin was kind of sad to see him leave.

it's not like he is actually gone of course. they still see each other as much as they can, but having taehyung in the hotel made it easier to see him. and it felt nice, knowing taehyung is so close most of the time.

but it had to happen eventually, and taehyung's apartment isn't that far away either.

taehyung mostly works from home so he can adjust his free time to jimin's and he is always there to pick jimin up from and to work with his car.

taehyung insisted on that, to make jimin's days a little easier, since jimin still insisted on working both jobs.

both of them are stubborn and this was the best compromise they could come up with.

 

today is jimin's day off though, and he decided it's time for taehyung to meet his mother.

in the last two weeks, taehyung made it his mission to get to know everything about jimin and vice versa.

they spent most of their nights together, with jimin staying over in the suite and after one week, jimin invited taehyung back home.

taehyung didn't mention its size and how it's just a hole compared to what taehyung is likely used to, instead he was just genuinely excited.

he demanded a full tour and jimin cooked for them again. it was just a simple stir fry which was done pretty fast, so the two of them spent most of their time fooling around in and out of the kitchen.

taehyung has been careful on where to touch jimin. he knows that jimin doesn't like it when anyone touches his chest, but at the same time, jimin wants to let taehyung in more.

so usually, jimin carefully takes taehyung's hand and places it on his chest himself.

taehyung never initiates it, he always waits for jimin to take the first step.

"it's okay, you know," jimin whispers between their heated kisses once, "it's okay for you to touch. just-- warn me or do it gently and it's okay."

taehyung looked hesitant back then and he still does now, but jimin assures him every time that it's okay and maybe those words of assurance are more for himself than for taehyung.

 

they haven't done anything more than kissing, though. jimin isn't ready to take off his shirt yet, and taehyung of course doesn't push it.

jimin wonders when he will be ready because it's not like he doesn't want to sleep with taehyung.

he really does, but so many things are still holding him back.

sex used to mean nothing to jimin, just something he did to blow off steam, but it's different with taehyung. jimin likes taehyung, cares about him. taehyung isn't a quick fuck.

taehyung can see his scar, will see it's in its entirety and that thought is terrifying.

 

"is that our stop?"

taehyung's voice pulls jimin out of his thoughts and he looks around, a little disoriented. and yes, they indeed have to get off the bus.

taehyung immediately reaches for jimin's hand when they get off and he hums under his breath as always.

"i hope your mother likes these flower," taehyung mumbles, looking at the little bouquet he got earlier.

"she will. she is mainly excited to meet you."

taehyung doesn't say anything and his hand in jimin's is a little sweaty.

"i really want her to like me."

"she will," jimin assures him again and leads them towards the entrance of an apartment complex.

jimin fishes out his keys and opens the door without letting go of taehyung's hand and lets them both inside.

the first door is already his mother's apartment and jimin can't even put the key in the lock when the door is already opened and jimin's mother sits there in her wheelchair with a huge smile on her face.

"welcome guys! i was already waiting for you!"

jimin swallows down a snort. "you don't say."

"come in, come in!" she wheels back a bit to make space for them and they both enter, closing the door behind them.

jimin wants to introduce them to each other when taehyung suddenly moves down in a clean bow before holding out the flowers. "it's so nice to meet you, i really looked forward to it! my name is kim taehyung!"

jimin's mother giggles, a lot like jimins own laugh, and she reaches out to take the flowers. "thank you so much, taehyung! it's so nice to meet you. i also really looked forward to it and urged jimin to bring you early, but he kept hiding you from me!"

"a crime! jiminie is so greedy!"

they both laugh and jimin frowns. "hey, i'm right here."

taehyung looks over to him and grins, but gives no excuse.

 

they take off their shoes and go further into the small apartment until they reach the living room.

jimin helps his mother onto the couch and then hurries to the kitchen to prepare snacks and tea for all of them.

as he works in the kitchen, he can hear taehyung and his mother already in a lively conversation and it's no surprise to him that the two of them get along.

he isn't surprised, but he’s still relieved. his mother is the most important woman in his life, so this meeting is very important to jimin. he never introduced anyone to his mother before, because no one was ever really worth it before.

he comes back with a tray and find taehyung sitting next to his mother now and they’re looking at something on taehyung's phone.

"what are you guys doing?"

his mother looks up. "oh, taehyungie is showing me pictures of the two of you! they're so sweet."

jimin blushes. "jesus christ, you guys just met, can we maybe not get the embarrassing photos out right away?"

his mother's eyes light up. "oh, what a good idea! jimin, get the photo albums."

"mom!" -- "yes!" both jimin and taehyung exclaim at the same time.

as much as jimin wants to protest and complain, his mother gets her will in the end and they end up eating snacks and looking at old photos.

jimin's mother has a story for each and every page, telling taehyung all about jimin's first day in kindergarten, his first day at school, hell, even the first time he wet his bed. it's torture.

but at the same time, it's not really that bad.

his mother is so happy, smiling the entire time as she tells all these stories and taehyung listens attentively, even throwing in his own stories.

they both get along so well and it's a good day. today nothing hurts and jimin just feels warm and content as they spend most of the day with his mother.

 

soon his mother gets tired.

it's a side effect from the meds and jimin has to inject her another doses of interferon before they leave.

taehyung stays in the living room and leaves them be, as jimin gets his mom into her bed and everything ready for the evening.

he makes sure that everything she could need is close by and he starts setting up the syringe.

"i like him," his mother says, as jimin busies himself.

jimin smiles. "me too."

"i know."

jimin gives her the shot and gets her pills, putting enough water and some food next to her bed, and getting her laptop and e-reader.

"call me if something comes up," he says and leans over to kiss her forehead.

"i'm gonna be fine, jimin. you go and enjoy the rest of the evening."

jimin nods and leans forward to give his mother one last on the cheek.

"let yourself enjoy this, jimin. this is all yours. your moment alone. you deserve this," his mother suddenly says and jimin is speechless for a moment.

for just an instance, he could feel himself tearing up, but he manages to brush off that feeling. he just nods and get up, leaving the bedroom.

he takes a deep breath and leaves to get taehyung.

 

 

"can we go to your place?" jimin asks as they sit on the bus again. "i don't wanna go home yet."

they get off at a different stop then and taehyung calls a taxi because it's just too cold to walk or take a train, and they reach taehyung's expensive apartment in the center of seoul within minutes.

the mood is good, but quiet as they enter the elevator.

just like in the hotel, taehyung lives on the top floor, and jimin leans into taehyung as it rides up, pushing his face into taehyung's neck.

"are you tired?" taehyung asks and jimin shakes his head. he isn't tired, he just wants to be close to taehyung.

they leave the elevator and walk to taehyung's door, jimin still ticking close and it's nice and warm when they step inside.

taehyung takes their coats and he doesn't even get to say anything because jimin turns him by his shoulders and kisses him.

taehyung reciprocate right away, holding jimin by his waist to pull him closer and they stay in the entrance of taehyung's place for a while, lazily kissing.

taehyung very carefully reaches up and stroke his hand over jimin's chest until his hand lays lies on jimin's scar and jimin whimpers.

he pulls away a bit and looks up at taehyung.

his eyes are still closed and his lips are swollen from their kiss. taehyung slowly opens his eyes and looks down at jimin, his eyes so warm and beautiful.

"i want you," jimin breathes into the little space between them.

taehyung gulps. "but?"

jimin hesitates, his hands grasping onto taehyung's shirt by his shoulder blades. "i'm scared."

taehyung eyes him for a while, before stepping away and taking his hand.

he leads them further down into his apartment and into his bedroom, only turning on the fairy lights around his bed.

he sits down and pulls jimin with him.

jimin looks at him in anticipation because he still hasn't said anything.

"tell me about everything you're scared of and then we can see if we can take it away," taehyung says, slowly leaning back against the headboard.

jimin worries his lip and thinks about it. there aren't too many things he fears actually. he isn't scared to take this step with taehyung, he wants to.

he isn't scared of taehyung hurting him because he would never. not intentionally at least and not in this kind of situation.

he isn't scared of intimacy or commitment either.

he is just scared of a single thing.

"it's my scar."

taehyung nods, but stays quiet so jimin can continue.

"i, uh, i know you won't mind it. i rationally know you wouldn't think any less of me, but i can't think rationally about this. my mind just doesn't work like that."

because i'm a little fucked up, jimin thinks.

"my mind keeps reminding me that it's ugly and makes me-- ma-makes me worth-- it just makes it all harder."

taehyung nods again, and carefully reaches out to take jimin's hand. "i don't know if this helps, tell me if it does the opposite, but i just want to say: to me, you are the most beautiful man in this universe. to me, you are perfect. maybe not flawless, but i'm not flawless either. but you are perfect for me."

jimin flushes, not out of embarrassment, but because of the way taehyung's words make him feel so safe and warm. jimin stays quiet, but squeezes his hand.

"you're so beautiful jimin, i love you."

jimin smiles. "i love you too," he whispers back.

 

jimin lets go of taehyung's hand and moves so he can lie in taehyung's arms.

taehyung embraces him, and pulls him close and they start kissing again.

jimin pushes himself more and more against taehyung, whose hands move down to grab jimin by his waist.

jimin lets out a moan and separates them, sitting up to adjust himself and properly straddle taehyung, sitting down on his lap and moving back in to kiss him.

jimin whines into taehyung's mouth when taehyung carefully thrusts up, and he starts grinding down in return, earning a deep groan from taehyung.

taehyung interrupts their kiss to breathe. "is this okay?" he asks, a little breathless.

jimin nods and leans down to kiss along taehyung's jaw and down his neck. his hands pull at the hem of taehyung's shirt, asking for permission which taehyung promptly grants, even helping to remove his shirt.

they pull off the piece of clothing and jimin looks at taehyung in the dim light if the fairy lights.

taehyung's torso is covered in scares and bruises and his fingertips carefully run along them, as if tracing a map.

"i can't kiss you anywhere, they would all disappear," jimin mumbles.

taehyung shakes his head. "i don't care. i told you, i want to make new scars with you."

jimin smiles and he leans down and kisses a scar on taehyung's shoulder. then another, and another.

jimin pushes himself further down, sliding down more and more until his mouth reaches taehyung's chest, leaving a path of now spotless skin behind.

jimin sucks on taehyung’s nipple, making him arch up in surprise, and jimin smiles around it.

he leans back and blows on it, practically watching it harden.

taehyung lets out a shuddering breath.

"are you sensitive?" jimin asks, unable to hide a little smirk.

taehyung looks down to him, his head bright red. "apparently."

jimin grins and leans down again, his mouth on one nipple, while is fingers pinch the other and taehyung starts squirming under him.

jimin can feel taehyung getting hard under him, can feel him starting to press against him and jimin rolls his body to grind down into it.

"jimin, stop teasing," taehyung whines and jimin laughs, pulling away.

this is easy, jimin isn't scared of this at all.

he rather is excited and it gets even better when he sits up and presses his hand to taehyung's crotch, slowly rubbing his hard cock in his pants.

taehyung closes his eyes and rolls his head back. "jiminie," he breaths, his hips moving up to meet jimin's hand. "jiminie, i want to touch you too."

jimin gulps and the little fear is there to nag at him, but he shakes it off as best as he can.

"okay," he agrees instead, letting go of taehyung to lie down next to him.

taehyung looks over to him, his eyes wandering over his form before he moves to straddle jimin’s hips.

“we’ll go slow,” taehyung assures him as his hands slowly dip under jimin’s shirt, pushing it up slights and touching jimin’s warm skin.

jimin takes a deep breath and he thinks he’s ready, but his hands move on his own to catch taehyung’s which had been in the process of moving up even further. taehyung stops moving immediately.

“let me do it,” jimin says and taehyung eyes him and nods, leaning back and letting go of jimin.

jimin takes another breath and he is glad that the room is barely illuminated by the fairy lights, but maybe taehyung did that on purpose.

jimin only shortly sits up to pull off his shirt and he does it quickly, like ripping off a bandage, throwing his shirt to the side and falling onto his back.

and there he is, topless and his big, gaping scar right there for taehyung to see and his fear and anxiety sets in at full force. he has been fine until now, but now it’s bad. it’s so so bad.

immediately, jimin’s hands move to cover up his chest and he tries to curl into himself, but he can’t, because taehyung is still sitting on him.

jimin closes his eyes and tries to breathe, but it’s hard, and he hasn’t felt this bad in a very long time.

jimin feels two arms embracing him and he is pulled up and against taehyung’s chest, his arm still in between them to cover the scars.

“it’s okay, jimin. breathe with me, okay? just count my breaths and try to match them with mine.”

jimin nods, hiding his face in taehyung’s neck and paying attention to his breaths, slowly but eventually matching them. his chest throbs.

“better?” taehyung asks and jimin nods again.

he slowly pulls away, arms still covering his chest. “sorry, i freaked out. i must be annoying.”

taehyung shakes his head and smiles at him, his hand reaching up and cupping jimin’s face. “not at all. take your time.”

jimin feels a little calmer, and he wants to move his arms. it’s silly, he shouldn’t hide. but it’s hard when he is used of doing it for all his life. it’s hard to open up to a person like this for the first time.

his arms fall away and he sits there, uncovered in front of taehyung.

taehyung is still smiling and he leans forward to kiss jimin. “i’m so proud of you,” whispers and hearing that makes feel jimin so warm.

jimin slowly leans back again until he is lying down and spread on taehyung’s bed.

taehyung looks down at him and his eyes hover over his scar, making jimin flinch.

“what do you think?” jimin asks and taehyung asked him the same thing when they first met. asked his opinion on his scars.

“i think, i’m so lucky to have The park jimin here in my bed. i must have been very good in my past life.”

jimin rolls his eyes, pretending to find it too cheesy, even though he loves it when taehyung talks like that.

“i mean about it? my scar.”

taehyung sobers up a bit, smile not all gone though, and he leans down to kiss the other side of jimin’s chest. “do you want me to kiss it? i’d do it if you want to. it’s your choice.”

there it is.

it’s basically the moment jimin waited for his entire life.

in just seconds, this ugly thing could be gone. his pain could be gone. everything just gone.

it sounds so easy. it sounds impossible.

he thinks about it, really thinks about. what this scar means.

the scar is every minute of work he pushes through. his scar is every visit to the doctor with his mother. his scar is the number he ends up with when he calculates their budget. his scar is the cold nights spent in the seven-eleven. the scar is the especially hard days at the hotel.

the scar is the meaningless sex. is the shitty coffee in the morning, the way to the hotel too early in the morning. it’s is the red carpet in the lobby, the little pastry seokjin makes for him sometimes. it’s jeongguk hiding from the maids, it’s hoseok making a dumb joke.

the scar is watching a movie with his mother until she falls asleep. is eating dinner together while making fun of the characters of a show. is talking about a book they both red.

the scar is taehyung and his beautiful soul.

the scar is all of jimin.

jimin puts his hand on it and remembers taehyung’s words from a long time ago.

“maybe your scars are on the inside.”

jimin is sure they are, even this one. he is sure it started on the inside and just clawed its way out and jimin let it. it likely started from his heart that has been broken over and over again.

by his father that left them. by the illness of his mother. by the people that never cared enough to stick around. by all the stress and the problems jimin was unable to stop. his heart burst and bruised until the scar split his chest open and just grew and grew.

a hole in his chest. a scar on his heart.

but it’s his scar, it’s his pain, it’s all him.

and just because taehyung would kiss away the wound on his chest, it wouldn’t take away the scar on his heart. it wouldn’t help with his pain.

that’s not how it works. taehyung can’t magically appear and kiss everything better. falling in love doesn’t heal years of pain.

jimin’s hand falls away.

“no,” he finally answers and he doesn’t regret it. “i’m gonna make it go away myself.”

taehyung smiles. “okay.”

they smile at each other and in that moment, everything is perfect. everything is just right and jimin can feel the scar getting a little bit smaller.

“i will kiss your chest, when the scar is gone then,” taehyung says.

jimin pulls taehyung down into a kiss and their naked chests touch, jimin’s scar pressed to the many cuts and bruises of taehyung.

 

taehyung buries his hands into jimin’s hair, running through his strands and pulling at them until jimin opens his mouth in a gasp and taehyung can push into his mouth with his tongue.

the kiss gets more heated and taehyung starts grinding down his hips, seeking for friction that jimin wants nothing more himself.

jimin’s hand searches for taehyung’s pants, opening the button with skilled fingers and pushing it down as much as he can.

taehyung unwillingly pulls away to help, pushing down his own pants first, before moving onto jimin.

they soon found themselves naked and falling into each other again.

they tangle their legs, their cocks rubbing against each other, and for a while their hands just wander over each other’s bodies, exploring anything they can find.

their lips kiss along the lines of their bodies, until taehyung’s mouth finds jimin’s cock.

his tongue circles around the head before he sinks down on it, swallowing him down as much as he can and making jimin sob.

jimin reaches out to grab taehyung’s hair as he sucks him off, the room filled with plain dirty and wet noises, along with jimin’s moans.

“taetae, please,” jimin begs, for what he isn’t sure.

taehyung pulls away, his lips a red mess, the spit running down his chin.

“i wanna fuck you, jimin. can i?”

jimin nods, his legs spreading even further in anticipation.

taehyung doesn’t go for it right away. instead he lingers down there to kiss along jimin’s thighs, leaving little marks and bites here and there, and giggling whenever jimin squirms under him.

it’s driving jimin insane.

“for the love of god—”

“don’t be so impatient, baby,” taehyung teases and kisses jimin’s hipbone. “i wanna enjoy all of you.”

“you’re teasing too much,” jimin pouts and taehyung giggles again, pushing himself up to kiss away jimin’s pout.

“i’m enjoying you.”

“well, do it faster, my asshole isn’t getting any younger.”

taehyung snorts loudly, pushing his face into jimin’s neck to laugh and jimin joins him, wrapping his arms around him.

“c’mon, fuck me, taehyung. i need you.”

and taehyung does.

taehyung spreads jimin’s legs to sit between them, putting a pillow under jimin’s hips and warming the lube on his fingers that he got from the nightstand next to his bed.

he teases a little more by running his fingers around jimin’s rim before pushing into him, making jimin arch up and cry for more, for faster, for all of taehyung.

taehyung stops the teasing eventually, too impatient himself, and is hands are a little too shaky when he puts on a condom and positions himself, one hand holding himself up, while the other lines up his cock.

he slowly pushes into jimin and jimin swears he blacks out for a moment.

he wraps his arms and legs around taehyung, desperately squeezing him closer and urging taehyung to move.

taehyung starts thrusting into jimin, his mouth glued to the underside of jimin’s jaw, and slowly moving up to his ear, to chant jimin’s name like a sinful prayer.

“taehyung please,” jimin calls out, a little incoherent.

taehyung grunts and suddenly turns them so jimin is on stop, and jimin leans down, grabbing into taehyung’s chest so he has something to hold onto.

his hips start rolling and he rides him, while one of taehyung’s hands start jerking jimin off. jimin’s thighs start shaking at the extra stimulation and all of it is a little overwhelming.

jimin falls forward onto taehyung and taehyung takes over and thrusts into him.

“i love you, jimin,” taehyung whispers just before his movements get uncontrolled and messy and he comes into the condom.

jimin whines on top of him, as he clenches around taehyung and feels him pulsing inside of him.

taehyung moves them to the side, his cock slipping out of jimin and his hand wraps around jimin’s length again, jerking him off until jimin’s nails claw themselves into taehyung’s skin and he comes with a loud whine.

they slump into each other and taehyung seeks out jimin’s lips, kissing him senseless.

“i love you, i love you, i love you.”

jimin smiles against taehyung. “i love you too.”

 

 

 

 

 

taehyung wakes up first from the sun shining into his face and almost blinding him when he wakes up.

he looks over and finds jimin still peacefully sleeping next to him and he smiles.

there is a little pout on his lips and he makes little sounds as he dreams.

taehyung’s eyes travel down his beautiful naked form and land on jimin’s chest.

taehyung move forward and presses his lips to jimin’s spotless skin.

jimin stirs then, stretching and moaning as he wakes up and when their eyes meet, jimin smiles down at him.

taehyung grins back. “good morning, sunshine.”