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The first time it happens, Jimin is predictably — and quite understandably — confused. 

He’d been lounging on his couch, flipping through the channels with a bowl of cereal in his hands as per his Sunday morning ritual, when he heard the strangest scratching sort of noise at his door. Like — like something was trying to claw its way in to his house. Now, contrary to popular belief, Jimin isn’t a total scaredy-cat — at least not in broad daylight, where demons and monsters alike weren’t likely to be creeping in the shadows, just waiting for some poor soul to come by for the taking. He has some common sense; he knows nobody’s going to come by, knock on his door at ten in the morning, and greet him with a steak knife to the gut like all the scary movies. He’s not an idiot.

But that sudden, insistent, loud scratching? It was creepy. 

That’s why Jimin didn’t feel as insane as he probably looked, tip-toeing to his door with the frying pan Yoongi gifted to him last Christmas in hand. It was a sensible decision, in that moment. A mode of self-defense. Honestly, he’s not even that terrible of a fighter — he’d decked the shit out of some jackass who’d been bugging Taehyung in high school, once — but he’d just rather have the reassurance. Also, he’s always wondered how it’d feel to actually clip someone in the head with a frying pan. 

He lets out a cautious, “Who’s there?” as he approaches the door. The scratching instantly stops. Strangely enough, the absence of the sound makes Jimin twice as nervous as before.

Silently mouthing a prayer under his breath, he squints through the peephole — and finds nothing on the other side. All he can see is what he usually does; a warped version of his concrete steps, the bed of tulips Taehyung insisted on planting for him beside them, his tiny walkway, and more distantly, his mailbox. Nothing out of the ordinary.

And then the scratching starts up again.

Jimin swears at least half of his soul leaves his body as he jerks back from the door, a rather unmanly shriek ripping from his throat, his beloved frying pan poised above his head and ready to bash right through the door. (He’s not going to do that, of course. He wants his security deposit back.)

Willing himself to get his shit together, he sidles back up to the door, fingers hovering just above the lock. He has to be quick. He doesn’t have the element of surprise anymore (didn’t have it at all, really), but he can be faster than whoever’s — or whatever, for that matter — in front of his door. He’s notorious for being the clumsiest among his friends, but he’s nimble when he has to be. Years upon years of dance training made sure of that.

Steeling himself, he quickly flicks open the lock and rips open the door, pan raised and ready to strike. “Who in the fuck—?”

It’s a dog. A fucking dog.

Not just any dog, either. Jimin knows this dog — this adorable, fluffy, perfectly-groomed poodle named Miri that occasionally escapes underneath his neighbor’s fence to beg some food off of Jimin. The very same poodle that he’d given leftover scraps of chicken to three nights ago. Who belongs to his very modest, very hot neighbor Jungkook.

“Holy shit,” Jimin breathes out, setting aside his frying pan as Miri scrambles inside, nails clacking and scratching noisily against his hardwood floors. He lays a hand against his chest, willing his heart to calm down as he pops his head out to look over at Jungkook’s house; his car isn’t parked out front. He must be out.

Miri jumps around his feet as he closes the door, resigning himself to his fate of dog-breath kisses and tuffs of white fur scattered around his house for him to vacuum later. “Alright, alright — calm down, Miri,” he sighs, bending down to pet her properly. Predictably, he gets a face-full of tongue. “Oh, okay, easy — you got lonely again, huh?”

She yips at him, scampering away towards his kitchen like she owns the place. Jimin really has to stop spoiling her. She isn’t even his dog. “Never mind,” he sulks to the air, following her dejectedly. “I forgot your heart lives in your stomach.”

He expects to see her sitting right in front of his fridge, maybe even his pantry, wagging her tail impatiently for treats — but she isn’t. Instead, Miri’s scratching at his sliding door that leads out to his tiny backyard.

Puzzled, Jimin walks up behind her and pulls aside the curtains, peering outside; once again, nothing’s out of the ordinary. His little table set looks a little wet from the rain he’d heard late last night, but otherwise fine. Still, Miri continues to scratch furiously at the glass, seemingly eager to get out even though he’d just let her in.

“What’s got you all riled up?” he asks, leaning down to scratch under her pink collar. Miri pays him no heed and yips again, even jumping up for the handle. “Okay, okay! I’ll let you go, jeez. Didn’t know I was such bad company.”

He yanks open the door, and Miri immediately jets off and slips her fluffy body through the hole she’s burrowed underneath the fence separating his and Jungkook’s backyards. He watches, bewildered, as she runs a few circles around the perimeter of Jungkook’s yard before slowing down to sniff around her little doghouse. There’s frayed, destroyed toys and stuffed animals scattered around the thing like discarded spoils of war. If he squints, he thinks he can make out a minion laying just inside with both of its eyes chewed off. Yikes. 

“It’s always the cute ones,” Jimin mutters to himself. 

He moves to turn away, intent on going back to his (now woefully soggy) cereal — but then Miri apparently finds what she’s looking for, because all he can see is a literal blur of white zoom back underneath the fence into his yard. He swears he barely blinked at all, and yet he still doesn’t know how Miri appeared in front of his door that quickly without teleporting or some shit. Truly the eighth wonder of this world, this dog.

Wordlessly, he lets her back in, frowning at the sopping toy stuck in her mouth. “Oh, no,” he says, waggling his finger at her. “You’re not putting that nasty thing on my clean floors. No.” 

He’s mildly aware that he sounds like a fifty-year-old mother of three, but he doesn’t care. He’d just mopped yesterday, for fuck’s sake.

Miri, however, is a dog and doesn’t care about mopping. Conceptually, she has no idea what a mop even is. She just stares up at him, eyes all big and cute and innocent and it’s all an act. He’s only had her visit a handful of times, but he knows that look. It’s the naughty look. “No, Miri. Do you hear me? No —”

Predictably, she doesn’t listen and trots right up to his feet, cries a little, and then proceeds to drop her disgusting toy right on top of his toes.

Fantastic.

“Oh my god—” Jimin flings the offending sop of fuzz away from him immediately, cringing at the very wet sound it makes when it smacks against one of his cupboards. If were possible for dogs to look betrayed, Miri would the poster puppy for it. “Don’t give me that look! You just — I appreciate the gift, I really do, but I told you not to do that!”

Miri whines, sinking down to rest her chin on the floor, licking pathetically at his feet.

Jimin’s frustration crumbles like a house of cards. Who could resist that little face? “Alright, it’s okay. I’m sorry, okay? I didn’t mean to —”

He’s cut off by his doorbell ringing, over and over and over. Miri quickly perks up and runs off for the door, completely abandoning her pitiful act while Jimin belatedly realizes he’d just been conned. Again. By a dog. He really is too easy.

“No more chicken for her,” Jimin grumbles, running a hand through his hair, irritated at the incessant ringing of his doorbell. He gently pulls Miri behind him and swings open the door without thought. “Please stop ringing the — Jungkook?”

“Hyung,” Jungkook pants out, all sweaty and breathless and seemingly unaware of the fact that he’s shirtless. On Jimin’s doorstep. On Jimin’s very public doorstep. It takes all of his willpower not to let his eyes drift down to Jungkook’s beautiful, well-defined, sun-kissed freakin’ eight-pack. “Have you seen Miri? I know she comes over to your yard sometimes — which, by the way, I’m really sorry about — but she’s not at my house. I checked everywhere.”

Jimin blinks, and clears his very, very dry throat. “Uh, she — she’s here, actually.”

He steps aside and Miri comes tumbling out from behind him, jumping right into Jungkook’s (veiny, super goddamn veiny) arms. “Oh, thank god,” Jungkook breathes out, laughing in relief as Miri cries loudly and licks at his face. “I was so worried about you, baby. Stop running off like that, okay?”

“If I’d known you were home, I would’ve just sent her back over,” Jimin says, leaning against the doorframe. “Your car’s not out front, so I just assumed…”

“Huh? Oh, right.” He lets out an embarrassed sort of laugh, red coloring his cheeks. “I, um, actually got a boot on my car last night. In the city. My friend had to drive me back home.”

“Forget to pay your meter?”

“Parked like, two inches in front of a fire hydrant. A very expensive two inches.”

“Sucks,” Jimin says, shaking his head. He reaches out to pet Miri’s head, receiving a lick on his palm in return, and smiles. “She, uh, actually came over to give me a little present.”

Jungkook raises a brow. “Present?”

“One of her victims from the doghouse,” Jimin clarifies.

“Oh. Oh,” Jungkook whispers, realization passing over his features. A sheepish smile tugs at his lips. “Sorry about that. I mean, it’s kinda gross, but it just means she really likes you. She used to bring me dead rats all the time when she was a puppy.”

Jimin pales. “Dead rats?” 

Jungkook nods, completely unbothered, like dead rats are common stocking stuffer gifts and not, y'know, dead rats. “Like they were candy.” He nuzzles lightly at Miri’s fur. “My thoughtful girl.”

“I’m not sure that’s —” Jimin starts, but thinks better of it. Probably best not to snark at his hot neighbor while he’s shirtless and available right in front of him. “Okay, yeah. Thoughtful.” He pauses, finally allowing his eyes to stray to Jungkook’s bare chest for a second. One amazing, infinitesimal second. “Um, not that I really mind, but… can I ask why you’re half-naked on my doorstep?”

Jungkook blankly stares back at him for a long, long moment.

Jimin watches, amused, as Jungkook’s face slowly turns completely beet-red. He didn’t think that level of pigment was capable for humans, and yet here Jungkook was, defying the odds. His mouth opens and closes like a fish out of water, and a small, inhuman noise skitters out of the back of his throat as he slowly looks down at himself, like he needs visual confirmation that yes, he is indeed half-naked on Jimin’s doorstep. His neighbor that he greets every morning when they get the mail at the same time. Who occasionally buys extra bags of ddeok for him as a gesture of good will.

Who may or may not be outright ogling him at the moment.

“I-I, um,” Jungkook sputters, clutching Miri closer to his chest, as if her small body will help cover him. Jimin, despite himself, has to bite his mouth shut to prevent the giggles rising up his chest from tumbling out. “I was j-just — um, running? Like, exercise, y’know? It’s — it’s good for you! And it’s, you know, hot. Humid. Um, I don’t — I sweat a lot.” Jimin can’t help himself; a snicker escapes, and if possible, Jungkook turns even redder. “N-Not that you needed to know that! But I just — I’m really sensitive to heat, but I swear I wear deodorant, I’m not a heathen. I smell great. And I practice proper hygiene. Just — just so you don’t get the wrong idea.”

“Don’t worry, Jungkookie,” Jimin manages to get out, feeling a little warm himself from the effort of holding back his laughter. God, he was just too cute. “I don’t think that’s possible.”

“O-Okay. Good.” Jungkook nods stiffly, awkward smile looking more like a grimace more than anything, and — oh god, he fucking salutes Jimin while he backs away. “We’re just gonna — it’s her feeding time and I — yeah. Bye.”

He darts off to his own house, Miri bouncing in his arms like a bobblehead toy. Jimin just watches them go, and when Jungkook glances back over his shoulder, he gives them a little wave. Jungkook whips his head back around and slams his door shut behind him.

Jimin laughs quietly to himself.

Cute.

 

x

 

It’s a Friday night when Miri comes back, this time bearing a mangled bag of treats between her teeth.

She nearly makes Taehyung shit his pants when she suddenly scratches at the sliding door, narrowing avoiding toppling his margarita over from where they’re drinking in Jimin’s kitchen. He does, however, end up choking profusely on the chicken wing he’d just stuffed down his throat.

Yoongi, who’d been in the middle of a long-suffering story about the difficult co-producer he’s been working with, thumps him on the back half-heartedly while Jimin goes to open the door for Miri. She bolts inside, yipping and jumping all around Jimin’s feet, and plops the bag of treats down in front of him.

“You didn’t tell us you got a dog,” Yoongi says, passing Taehyung a bottle of water once he’s officially not dying of a half-chewed chicken wing stuck in his throat. He turns in his stool and eyes Miri with interest. “A poodle, too, of all things? With — is that a bedazzled collar?”

“She’s not mine,” Jimin huffs, swiping up the treats from the floor. He grimaces at the sheen of dog saliva glistening along the teeth marks at the top of the packaging. “She belongs to my neighbor, Jungkook. She just comes over sometimes.”

Ooh,” Taehyung croons, rather hoarsely, and waggles his eyebrows. “I see, now. Jungkook is the hot neighbor, isn’t he?”

“The one you want to fuck?” Yoongi adds.

“I hate you both,” Jimin sighs. He shakes out a few treats and offers them to Miri, who happily gobbles them all up within nanoseconds. “He’s just my neighbor, okay? We barely know each other.”

“Doesn’t mean you can’t fuck,” Taehyung argues, reaching for his glass. He juts out a thumb in Yoongi’s face. “I only knew Yoongi’s name the first time we fucked, and look at us now!”

Yoongi smirks. “True,” he says, and high-fives Taehyung.

“You guys are like, the one friends with benefits success story that I know of,” Jimin mutters. “And I don’t fuck before the first date, so nuts to that.”

“Nuts, you say?” Taehyung echoes, grin turning chesire-sharp.

Jimin rolls his eyes. “Fuck off.”

“Still,” Yoongi says, crinkling his nose when Miri sniffs at his legs, her wet nose brushing against his bare skin. “If you’re co-parenting a dog with the guy, I think you should at least invite him over for drinks or some shit.” He looks back up to Jimin. “As in, right now. I meant right now.”

“Hyung, no. Are you kidding me? There’s absolutely no way I’m going to have him over while you two are here.”

“What? Why? We’re a laugh a minute!” Taehyung whines.

“No, you’re embarrassing is what you are,” Jimin scoffs, bending down to pick Miri up. She instantly licks at his neck, fluffy body wiggling around like a wet noodle. “The last time I brought someone to meet you two, you guys interrogated him like a weird mixture of over-protective parents and partners from the KGB.”

“In our defense, there was a lot we pulled out of him that wasn’t in his dating profile,” Taehyung retorts, taking a dainty sip of his margarita. He even sticks his pinky out and everything. “Like the fact that he was still living with his mother, and he wore freakin' driving gloves. For his tiny Fiat. Also, he used the word ‘hashtag’ in a verbal conversation unironically.”

“He was also a self-righteous cocky bitch, but you know,” Yoongi shrugs, slinging an arm around Taehyung’s shoulders. “What do we know? We’ve just been your best friends for many, many years—”

“Alright, I get it,” Jimin cuts in. “You guys are awesome, and I have horrible taste in men. I’m still not inviting Jungkook— hey, wait, where are you going?”

Yoongi doesn’t look up from where he’s pulling on his sandals. “To get your boo, duh. I’ll be right back.”

What?” Jimin sputters, almost dropping Miri flat on her adorable face when his body jerks in surprise. “No! I just told you—”

“It’s just drinks,” Taehyung interrupts, latching onto Jimin’s arms before he can go after Yoongi. He smiles, kind and reassuring, when Jimin looks down at him with panic. “I promise we’ll be on our best behavior. I won’t even mention the sparkly leotards this time.”

“That was one recital when I was like, six!” he snarls, ripping his arm out of Taehyung’s grip and jostling Miri in the process. She cries a bit in his ear, and he rubs a hand over her back in apology. “You wanna play that game? ‘Cause I still have pictures from when you had to sub in as Juliet in high school—”

“Okay, okay, I give!” Taehyung shouts, eyes boggling out of his head as he waves his hands frantically. “That’s not fair, Jiminie. You said you deleted those!”

“And lose my perfect blackmail material? Please."

“You’re evil.

“No, I’m smart.”

“That’s debatable,” Yoongi cuts in loudly, front door opening with an obnoxious creak. Jimin doesn’t even want to look at the taller, darker figure trailing closely behind him. He’s about ninety-percent sure that this is all going to end terribly, with some sort of embarrassing secret of Jimin’s coming out despite Taehyung’s (poor) reassurances. He is also, unfortunately, not nearly drunk enough for this.

With that thought in mind, Jimin cracks open a beer with his one free hand and takes a large swig from it, a satisfied sigh leaving his lips as it slides down his throat. Taehyung only raises an amused brow at him.

“I’ve brought the sacrifice,” Yoongi says dryly as he walks back into the kitchen, plopping his ass back in his stool beside Taehyung.

Jungkook appears soon after, and despite his bewildered face at Yoongi’s comment, Jimin would be hard-pressed to deny that the boy looks like an absolute snack. He’s not wearing anything spectacular — ripped jeans, dark gray t-shirt hanging off his shoulders, mussed hair like he’d just woken up from a nap — but Jimin’s already infatuated with him, so Jungkook pretty much looks like a god to him right now.

“Hey,” he manages to croak out, voice cracking like he’s some pubescent teenager and not a twenty-five year old grown ass adult.

Jungkook, bless him, doesn’t comment on it. “Hey, hyung.” He sighs and reaches out for Miri, who thrashes so hard in Jimin’s arms to get to him that her nails cut into his bicep. Shallowly, but it’s still painful. “Oh, shit — are you alright? Miri, baby, calm down!”

“I’m okay,” Jimin says as he hands her over, lips pressing together when he wipes some of the blood away. Yoongi wordlessly hands him a napkin. “It’s nothing. I’ll survive.”

“Alright. Sorry,” Jungkook mumbles, though a smile breaks out on his lips as Miri attacks his face with her tongue. “I swear I only fell asleep for like, twenty minutes and she’s already made herself at home here. Maybe I should get rid of the door flap.”

Jimin waves off his concerns, trying his best to keep a straight face while he’s screaming internally at the fact that he can see Jungkook’s fucking pecs through his shirt. “It’s really no problem, Jungkookie. I like having her over. Keeps things interesting around here.”

“If you say so,” Jungkook says, settling Miri back on the floor. His eyes trail to the two other men in the room, who’ve been silently watching them interact with rapt interest. He flushes a bit, shifting awkwardly on his feet. “Um, I’ve met Yoongi-hyung, but…”

Taehyung wipes the dopey look off his face long enough to offer his hand. “Oh, yes! I’m Taehyung, Jiminie’s best friend for life and platonic soulmate.”

Jungkook hesitantly takes it, confusion overtaking his pretty features. “Platonic soulmate…?”

“Yep!” Taehyung nods enthusiastically. “Oh, don’t take it the wrong way, though. You’ve got no competition. Yoongi’s my romantic soulmate, so we’re all good."

“Well, there was that one time in high school,” Yoongi interjects with a shit-eating grin.

Jimin reddens and smacks him on the shoulder. “Shut up, hyung. That was just — we were just —”

“We made out a couple times,” Taehyung clarifies, patting a puzzled Jungkook’s hand. “Experimenting, you know. It was weird. Not ‘cause Jiminie’s a boy, obviously, but it was like kissing my brother. Super weird.”

“Can we get off memory lane, please?” Jimin almost shrieks, face burning. He tries his best for an apologetic smile as he turns to Jungkook. “I’m so sorry about them, Jungkook. They’re… an acquired taste.”

“Don’t talk about me like I’m caviar,” Taehyung mutters.

“Well, it is a delicacy,” Yoongi muses.

“Babe, you’re not helping.” 

“Want anything to drink?” Jimin practically shouts over them, gesturing to the handful of mixers and alcohols taking up most of his counter. “I can make you anything, pretty much. I used to bartend, so I know my stuff.”

Jungkook blinks, shuffling onto a stool a safe distance away from Yoongi and Taehyung. Miri immediately takes the opportunity to jump into his lap, and Jungkook instinctively snuggles her to his chest. It’s cute. “You were a bartender?” 

“All throughout college,” Jimin answers at the same Taehyung says, “The best around!”

Jungkook’s eyes dart between them, like he can’t quite decide who to focus on. “That’s… cool,” he says, scratching behind Miri’s ears. “Um, I guess I’ll have a moscow mule? If that’s okay.”

“Good choice,” Jimin smirks, reaching for the vodka. “Don’t have any copper mugs, though. Sorry.”

Jungkook gasps, startling all three of them. “You don’t?” He clicks his tongue, shaking his head disapprovingly. “That’s a real shame. Guess Miri and I will just have to leave, then.”

A beat of silence passes over them, and then simultaneously, they all realize that Jungkook’s just made a joke. Jimin and Taehyung burst out into surprised giggles, and Yoongi smiles good-naturedly. Jungkook, for his part, looks pleased.

They exchange more small talk while Jimin busies himself with making Jungkook’s drink. After three months of living next door to him, Jimin finally learns what Jungkook does for a living — he’s a 3D graphic designer for a small entertainment company that develops indie games, primarily. It suits him, somehow. When he tells Jungkook as much, he just blushes and says he just wanted a job that would allow him to be home enough to get a dog.

“I work at home pretty often,” Jungkook says, sipping from his moscow mule. He’s loosened up a lot more since he’d first come in, and it relieves Jimin. “It’s nice, but there’s no one to remind me to take breaks every now and then, so I just end up working until it’s like, 4 AM.” He laughs. “That, and I’m afraid I’m developing a hunchback from bending over my tablet so much.”

“What a coincidence,” Taehyung grins, chin hooked over Yoongi’s shoulder. “Jimin happens to be the best at giving massages. He could help you out with that.”

Jungkook looks to Jimin curiously, who flushes at the attention. “Um, it’s nothing to write home about,” he mutters, scratching at his neck. “It’s just kind of skill you pick up when you dance for most of your life.”

Yoongi snorts unattractively.

“I see,” Jungkook hums. “Well, actually, I’d totally take you up on it. There’s a knot in my shoulder that I’ve been trying to get rid of for months.

Taehyung perks up at that. “Should we leave, then?” he asks, much too eagerly.

“No!” Jimin yelps, making Jungkook jump a bit. Sheepishly, he attempts to dial it back, “I mean — Taehyung, this is our Friday night drinking ritual! You can’t just leave. C’mon, we haven’t even bitched about your boss yet.”

Taehyung snickers. “It’s alright, she was out sick this week. I don’t have much bitching material.” He turns to Yoongi, licking his lips as he looks his boyfriend up and down, hungrily. Yoongi just raises a brow. “Besides, we’ve got that thing to do at home. Right, babe?”

Yoongi smirks and makes an exaggerated noise of realization. “Ah, that’s right. Totally. Can’t believe I forgot about that.”

Taehyung giggles and plants a wet kiss on Yoongi’s cheek before he stands up, shooting Jimin a barely-apologetic look. “Sorry, Jiminie. I’ll treat you to bingsoo next week.”

Jimin just watches, helpless, as his two traitorous best friends quickly exit his house in a flurry of flirty laughter and not-so-inconspicuous touches — leaving him completely, utterly alone with Jungkook. And Miri, but he’s not sure she’ll be much of an effective buffer, given how she’s dead asleep in Jungkook’s lap.

For a moment, they just look at each other, an awkward silence hanging over their heads.

Jungkook speaks first. “Did they just — sex-scape?” he asks, frowning at his word choice. “Is that even a legitimate portmanteau? Like, the opposite of sexile.”

Jimin blinks. “I — I don’t know.” He tilts his head. “It’s a pretty good one, though. Urban dictionary would be scandalized.”

Jungkook laughs quietly. “That’d be a nice addition to my resume. Jeon Jungkook, 3D graphic designer, certifiably more clever than urban dictionary’s admins.”

Jimin giggles and Jungkook grins, and just like that, all the nerves and awkwardness he’d been feeling dispels, floating away into nothing. Maybe Taehyung and Yoongi were right, just this once. It’d be nice to be friends with Jungkook; Jimin doesn’t know anyone else in their complex, and although it’s nice to live alone, it gets lonely sometimes. These days, he finds himself longing for the days when he and Taehyung shacked up together in college, and they’d have all their friends over so often that their apartment was known as an unofficial frat house. It was chaotic, but it was fun. He genuinely misses it, and although Taehyung and Yoongi don’t live far, it just isn’t the same.

“I can give you that massage, if you want,” Jimin says, after a moment. “I’ll even give you a neighbor discount.”

Jungkook smiles, ducking his head slightly. “That would be nice. Thanks, hyung.”

“Don’t sweat it, Jungkookie,” Jimin says, rounding the counter to stand behind Jungkook. His hands hover just above his shoulders; he can faintly feel Jungkook’s body heat radiating off his skin. “Um, where did you say the knot was?”

“Oh, somewhere over here.” Jungkook reaches behind and gestures to an area just above his shoulder blade. “I’ve tried everything — heating pads, those weird back massager sticks… everything except going to an actual masseuse.”

Jimin hums in response, tentatively placing his hands on Jungkook’s shoulders. “Let me know when I’ve found it,” he says, and starts to press his thumbs into his skin.

It takes a bit of searching, but when Jungkook suddenly jumps in his seat, a quiet hiss leaving his mouth, Jimin knows he’s got it. He can feel it, too — it’s huge, tight, and deep to boot. “Fuck — right there!”

Jimin carefully digs his thumbs into the knot, smiling when Jungkook’s head droops forward in relief. “Jesus, Jungkook, this knot is no joke. You really should get yourself checked out more often.”

“Well, now that I — ah, shit — know you’ve got magical hands, I will,” Jungkook says though a sigh. A long, unholy-sounding moan lifts from his throat as Jimin feels the knot finally unravel beneath his fingertips. It makes Jimin’s cheeks burn something fierce, and it’s really fucking hard not to imagine Jungkook making those sounds in other contexts. “Oh, fuck — hyung, that’s so good…”

“Not in front of the baby,” Jimin jokes, trying to keep his voice even. 

Jungkook huffs out a laugh. “She sleeps like a rock, s'okay,” he mumbles sleepily, slumping forward so much his forehead almost makes contact with the counter. “Mm, hyung, you should consider a career change.”

“Tempting,” Jimin drawls, rolling his eyes. “But nah. I love dancing too much to give it up.”

“Wha’ made you start?”

“Honestly? Don’t laugh at me, or I swear, I’ll never give you another massage for the rest of your natural-born life.”

“I won’t,” Jungkook quickly promises.

Jimin halts his ministrations for a moment. “I watched Dirty Dancing like, fifteen times as a kid and thought Patrick Swayze was the coolest guy on the planet. Like, totally untouchable. I even tried the lift with my cousin a few times, but I had twigs for arms and dropped her every time.” He smiles to himself. “I told myself I’d do anything to be like him, when I grew up. I mean, I ended up going the contemporary route instead, but yeah. My origin story boils down to Patrick Swayze and his big arms, basically.”

It’s silent for a moment, and then — Jungkook’s shoulders start to shake under Jimin’s hands, and he can see the curl of Jungkook’s smile from where he’s trying to hide it against the countertop. “Hey! I said no laughing!” Jimin pouts, smacking him lightly.

“I’m —” Jungkook starts, but then he’s shaking his head and has to clamp a hand over his mouth to suppress his laughter. Jimin huffs and crosses his arms, cheeks burning. “I’m sorry, hyung, really! But it’s just — that is so cute,” he finishes, smiling so hard that the corners of his eyes crinkle. 

Butterflies erupt in Jimin’s stomach at the sight. “Whatever,” he mumbles.

“Ah, hyung, c’mon,” Jungkook says, sitting up properly to reach out and touch Jimin’s arm in a placating gesture. “I’m not making fun of you, I promise. It’s a cute story. Just let it be cute.”

Jimin feels his skin tingle under Jungkook’s touch. “Fine, fine. You still broke your promise, though.” He sighs dramatically. “I guess you’ll have to shell out for a real masseuse from now on, huh?”

Jungkook’s eyes widen comically. “No! Please, hyung. I really am sorry—”

“You know, I might’ve believed you if you hadn’t just proved yourself to be a liar.”

Please, I’ll do anything.”

Jimin’s eyes sparkle. “Anything?”

Jungkook gulps. “Um, well, now I’m not so sure —”

“An eye for an eye,” Jimin smirks, leaning his elbows on the counter. He tries not to think about how their faces are just a handful of inches apart, now. “An embarrassing story of yours for one of mine.”

Jungkook visibly deflates. “That’s not fair.”

“Oh, I think it is.”

“Okay, fine.” His large, doe-like eyes trail to the ceiling in thought, lower lip jutting out a bit in an irresistible pout and it’s all so very unfair. How can someone be this charming without even being aware of it? “Um, well, you see this scar on my cheek?”

He taps the scar in question — a small, barely-there indentation resting just above the apple of his left cheek. Jimin has to squint to see it, but it’s there. “Yeah, I do. What about it?”

Jungkook shifts a bit in his seat, careful not to wake Miri. “I got it when I was like, seven years old after a fight with my brother. My mom used to have a rule that each of us could have the computer for a few hours each day, and my brother’s older, so he always got it first. But then one day, he was hogging it for a good hour after his time was up, and I was so mad that we got in a huge fight and his nail sliced my cheek open.” He flushes, scratching at the back of his neck. “I had to get three stitches. All over a stupid game of Minecraft.”

Jimin smiles wide enough to make his cheeks hurt. “That is… really cute.”

“Really stupid,” Jungkook mumbles.

“Well, you were a kid. Kids do stupid things.”

“Gee, that makes me feel so much better.”

“That’s what I’m here for.”

“Stupid,” Jungkook teases, but he’s got on a smile that mirrors Jimin’s own.

They just stare at each other quietly, after that. Jimin’s not entirely sure how long they stay like that — all he knows is that Jungkook’s face is close enough for him count all of his moles (which are adorably numerous) on his skin, to marvel at the length of his eyelashes, to see his pupils dilate underneath the warm glow of the lights. He doesn’t even realize he’s inching closer and closer, not until Jungkook’s eyes start to close, and he feels the tip of Jungkook’s nose brush against his —

And that’s the moment Miri chooses to wake up.

She stirs with a garbled whine, deafeningly loud in the silence of the kitchen. Jimin jumps back and Jungkook looks down, entire face resembling a tomato as he watches Miri stretch out on his lap and paw at his stomach. Her tag wags lazily as she yawns, and Jungkook gathers her up in his arms again and stands.

“Uh, well —” Jungkook starts at the same time Jimin says, “It was nice —"

They both cut themselves off with a laugh. “You first,” Jungkook says.

Jimin smiles shyly, tucking his hands into his pockets. “Uh, I was just gonna say it was nice having you over, tonight. Sorry again about Taehyung and Yoongi, they’re just… the meddling kind, you know?”

“I liked them,” Jungkook shrugs. “But I get it. My friends can get like that, too. They’re convinced I’m a recluse just because I’m home a lot, so they’re constantly trying to get me out of the house.”

“Well, if you ever want a change of scenery, my door’s always figuratively open.” Jimin reaches out to pet Miri’s ears. “This little one already knows that.”

Jungkook smiles softly, and presses a kiss to Miri’s head. Jimin never thought he’d ever live to see the day where he’s jealous of a dog, but, well. “Thanks, Jiminie-hyung. For the drinks, for looking after Miri, and for your company — I really did have a good time. I… was hoping we could do it again, sometime?”

Jimin can’t fight the grin that tugs at his lips. “Yeah. Yeah, of course. I’d like that.”

“Awesome,” Jungkook says, biting down a shy smile. He juts a thumb over his shoulder towards the door while he steps backwards. “Um, so, I guess we’ll get going.”

Jimin nods and walks them to the door, leaning his hip against the wooden railing of his staircase as he watches Jungkook slide his sneakers back on. He doesn’t know why, but strangely enough, he feels like he’s bidding Jungkook goodnight at the end of a date. Which is ridiculous, all things considered, but — it’s there. The feeling. 

He wonders, briefly, if Jungkook feels it too. “I’d say get home safe, but considering you only have to walk ten feet to get there…”

Jungkook chuckles and steps out of the door Jimin holds open. “I think we’ll be okay. Goodnight, hyung.” He lifts a sleepy Miri’s paw in a little wave, and Jimin swears his heart grows ten times in size at the sight. “Say goodnight, little bug.”

“Sweet dreams, Miri,” Jimin says, and with one final wave to Jungkook, closes the door. He immediately sinks to the floor, resting the back of his head against the door as his eyes flit around his now-empty house. He feels nice, warm, if a bit restless — like he isn’t quite ready for the night to end, for fear that it was all a very pleasant dream.

But when he wakes up the next morning and sees the small cut on his arm that Miri accidentally gave him in the mirror, healing and scabbed over, he knows it wasn’t. It was real.

He smiles to himself, and reaches for his toothbrush.

 

x

 

Miri still comes over often, still brings Jimin various gifts he’s not sure what to do with — a squeaky plush toy, a very chewed-up sandal, even an apple with a chunk bitten out of it — but more often than not, Jungkook is right beside her with ‘gifts’ of his own, now. It’s usually food; bags of takeout, some leftover pastries he’d brought home from work, or surprisingly, some kind of baked good he’d made himself. Turns out Jungkook is a pretty decent baker — not that Jimin’s complaining, given how he could probably eat a whole pan of brownies by himself if he really tried, but he just wonders what else he doesn't know about Jungkook. What his hobbies are, what his favorite movie is, or any other kind of hidden talents he's hiding away.

He wants — god, he wants so much. He wants to take Jungkook's hand in his, wants to find out where he's most ticklish and where he likes being kissed, wants to learn things about his childhood and all the little quirks and insignificant things that make Jungkook who he is. He just wants... something more.

He attempts to bring it up one morning, while they’re out for a jog with Miri at the local park. He’d just about died when he saw Miri’s neon-pink leash clutched in Jungkook’s hand, cooing over how much a doting dog-parent he is until steam was practically coming out of Jungkook’s ears.

“Hidden talents?” Jungkook says between breaths, furrowing his brow. He hadn’t been kidding when he said he was sensitive to heat; he’s almost dripping with sweat thirty minutes in, and Jimin can’t quite stop himself from shamelessly staring at the way his skin glistens with it in the morning sunlight. “I don’t think I really have any.”

Jimin scoffs. “Baking, for one,” he says, holding up a finger. “That cherry cheesecake you made last week? Fucking mind-blowing.”

“Aish, it wasn’t that good,” Jungkook mumbles, but he’s smiling. 

“It was, and you know it. I gave some to Taehyung, and he said he’d totally hire you for his and Yoongi’s wedding.”

Jungkook almost trips on a stray branch, eyes boggling out of his head. “They’re — they’re engaged?

“Huh? Oh, no,” Jimin says, shaking his head with a sheepish chuckle. “Not yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it happened soon. They’ve been together since me and Taehyungie were third-years in high school, so it’s been —” he counts on his fingers, “Seven years? Yeah.”

“Wow,” Jungkook breathes, slowing down to a walk when Miri begins to lag a bit behind them. “That’s… a long time.”

Jimin nods as he takes a huge gulp from his water bottle. “There were a couple hiccups here and there, but Taehyung wasn’t kidding when he said he and Yoongi are soulmates, or something.” He wipes his mouth and offers it to Jungkook, who averts his eyes and shakes his head. “No matter what, they always came back to each other like some real-life rendition of The Notebook. It’s sickening, really.”

Jungkook snickers. He stops walking as Miri sniffs around some bushes, Jimin following suit. “That’s nice, though. That they have something like that.” He scrapes the sole of his shoe against the dirt while Miri does her business. “Can’t say I ever have.”

Jimin raises a brow as he brushes his hair away from his forehead. “No?”

Jungkook shrugs half-heartedly. “Not really. My love life has always been pretty dry,” he mumbles, falling into step beside Jimin again when Miri’s finished. “It might sound kind of pretentious, but I’m fine by myself? Like, I’ve never really felt the need to date. I’ve always sorta gone by the, ‘if it happens, it happens’ motto.”

“Not pretentious. Blasé, maybe,” Jimin muses. He kicks a stray pebble once they reach the asphalt of the parking lot. “I guess I can understand, though. I’ve been so focused on my career ever since I graduated college that dating never really crossed my mind.”

“Nothing at all?” Jungkook asks, looking over at him curiously. 

Jimin flushes, and it’s definitely not from the early summer heat. “Well, I’ve been… involved, here and there, but nothing ever came out of it.”

Jungkook hums, stopping to pop his trunk when they reach his car. He pulls out a bowl for Miri and sets it on the ground, pouring in chilled water that’d been sitting in a small cooler for her. He doesn’t look up from where he’s watching her lap it all up as he asks, “Not recently, though?”

Jimin blinks. “Uh, no.” He coughs into his hand. “You?”

“Nope,” Jungkook says, popping the ‘p’ sound. He looks up then, a teasing smile on his lips. “I’m the neighborhood’s unofficial recluse, remember?”

Jimin snorts, “Okay, Boo Radley.”

“My friend Seokjin actually has me saved as that in his phone. Ghost emoji and everything.”

“The meddling friend?”

“One of them, yeah,” Jungkook mutters, dripping some of the water on Miri’s fur to cool her down. “Namjoon-hyung is a little more subtle about it, but between the two of them, I feel like I’ve got an extra set of parents hovering around me, sometimes.” He sighs. “They mean well, but it’s just…”

“A lot?” Jimin offers. Jungkook nods. “Yeah. Taehyung and Yoongi used to scare off my exes all the time. I mean, in hindsight, I guess I can see why they did. Didn’t make it any less annoying, though.”

Jungkook tilts his head to the side. It vaguely reminds Jimin of Miri when she doesn’t quite understand a command. Cute. “Bad break-up?”

“Something like that,” Jimin sighs, turning to sit on the edge of Jungkook’s trunk. “I was in this weird, on-and-off relationship with this guy for most of college. You know, the ‘say one thing, do another’ type.” He picks at a loose thread on the hem of his shorts. “I really wanted a long-term thing with him, but he didn’t want to commit. Taehyung and Yoongi got front-row seats to a lot of emotional breakdowns.”

Jungkook reaches out to lay his hand on Jimin’s knee. “I’m sorry, hyung,” he murmurs.

Jimin smiles at him, and places his hand on top of Jungkook’s. “It’s in the past. I’ve been over it for years.”

“Still, though. Full offense — that guy’s a fucking idiot.”

Jimin lets out a small laugh. “He wasn’t all bad. I wouldn’t have stayed with him for so long if he was.” He tilts his head up to the sky, watching the large, puffy clouds drift lazily by — a silent promise for rain later on. “I think he was just scared. He was young like that, despite being older than me. We just wanted different things.”

Jungkook’s silent for a moment, absently rubbing his thumb across Jimin’s kneecap, spreading goosebumps all over his skin — and then he says, “You’re way too nice, hyung.”

“Maybe,” Jimin shrugs. He looks back down at Jungkook, who really shouldn’t look this attractive after sweating his ass off on a Sunday morning — his wet bangs are hanging in his eyes, his muscle tee is damp and frankly a little nasty, and yet something in Jimin’s stomach swells with pure, unadulterated attraction and it’s maddening. “I don’t think it’s really a bad thing, though. A lot of people aren’t, these days.”

Something flashes in Jungkook’s eyes, then. It’s subtle, could be easily dismissed as a trick of the light — but Jimin catches it, even though he can’t quite decipher it. Something within him coils at the sight — how much he wants to brush Jungkooks' hair away, to run the tips of his fingers along the slope of his jaw. How much he wishes Jungkook would sit next to him, their arms pressed flush against each other, Jungkook's warmth seeping into Jimin's bare skin.

Jungkook, however, does none of these things. He just sits there on the concrete, fiddling with the strap of Miri's leash, looping and un-looping it around his fingers over and over again. Normally, the silence between them is comfortable, easy; just enjoying the other's presence without having to fill it. But right now, it feels loaded. Charged with possibility. Jimin isn't sure what the catalyst was, but he's growing impatient for a reaction.

Before he can even think to do anything about it, the tension is broken by Miri nuzzling her cold nose into Jimin’s calf, making him jump in surprise. Jungkook instinctively removes his hand, and despite the heated air around them, its absence makes Jimin feel a bit colder.

“She can’t get enough of you,” Jungkook says, giggling when Miri noses her way under the leg of Jimin’s shorts. “I’m starting to get worried she might abandon me for you.”

Jimin pulls her away from his clothes when she starts to nudge her way into more compromising areas — namely, his crotch. “Oh, please. She loves you. I’m like the side chick she makes late-night booty calls to.”

Jungkook positively cackles, hunching over himself with the force of his laughter. True to Jimin’s word, Miri immediately leaves him and pounces on Jungkook to lick frantically at his face, sweat and all. 

“Aw, baby,” Jungkook coos once he’s calmed down, cuddling her to his chest, “Are you a two-timer? Hm?”

“She is and I want a divorce,” Jimin deadpans.

“You can’t be married to a dog!” Jungkook shoots back, incredulous. “Isn’t that bestiality? Also, you just said you’re the side chick.”

“Oh, fuck,” Jimin groans, dropping his head into his hands. “I just accidentally revealed my bestiality kink, fuck. Guess I’ll just die now.”

Jungkook just laughs again, high-pitched and beautiful, and Jimin’s heart sings.

 

x

 

Jimin isn’t sure how to feel when Jungkook invites him over for dinner one night, a couple of weeks after that morning in the park.

It’s weird, for one, because there’s been an unspoken agreement between the two of them that Jimin’s house was the designated Hangout Spot for the past couple months. Taehyung thinks it’s questionable that Jungkook hadn’t expressed any interest in having him over after all this time — he’s probably hiding something weird, Jiminie. No one flirts as much as you two do without inviting you over to at least have a meal or something, he’d said, and although Jimin doesn’t particularly mind that they’re always at his house, he’s kind of inclined to agree with Taehyung. It’s odd, isn’t it? They’re neighbors. They live less than ten feet away from each other, and yet he hasn’t seen more than half-second glimpses into Jungkook’s home when he leaves the door open to get the mail.

Not that he thinks Jungkook’s a secret serial killer or anything. It’s just… odd.

That, and there’s a simmering feeling of anticipation in Jimin’s stomach that he can’t quite seem to shake off, no matter how much aromatherapy bath-salts he throws into the tub in an attempt to relax before he heads over. Logically, he knows it’s not officially a date. Jungkook had literally just texted him two hours before, all casual: hey hyung, wanna come over later? my mom gave me so much kimchi today and i make a mean kimchi stew. Absolutely no indication that Jungkook was trying to imply that this was more than just another friendly hang-out, a Bro’s Night In if you will, but still.

He spends way too much time messing with his hair, pushing and pulling at the dark strands so much it’s a wonder he doesn’t rip a handful off and give himself an early receding hairline. He also texts Yoongi for outfit help, and receives an unhelpful reply of: just wear those leather pants that make ur ass pop more than taetae’s ever will. good luck kiddo. also, don't tell him i said that or ur dead.

He doesn’t know why he even asked, really.

Eventually, he just settles on a soft, striped tee and shorts. Can’t look like he’s expecting anything, but also not too casual that he looks like a wet towel someone just picked off the street.

Turns out he’s made the right decision, because Jungkook is dressed similarly casual when he opens the door with a bright smile. He looks adorably ruffled and a bit flushed, like he’s just spent the last hour running around getting things ready (and likely did). “Hyung! Just in time. The stew’s almost ready.”

Jimin almost melts right there on his welcome mat, but then he gets a huge whiff of the aforementioned stew, which smells so fucking delicious he forgets all about his internal crises and follows Jungkook inside. “Were you, like, secretly trained in culinary arts or something? Christ, it smells fucking amazing.”

Jungkook laughs as he walks back to the kitchen. “No, I just helped my mom cook a lot when I was a kid. Guess I just picked up on her skills.”

Jimin perks up at this little tidbit of information. “Oh, really? Are you a mama’s boy, then?” he teases.

“Maybe,” Jungkook mumbles, almost inaudibly. “Don’t make fun of me. My brother does that enough already.”

“Alright, alright,” Jimin relents, neatly setting his shoes aside. He takes a good look around him — for such a small space, Jungkook’s decorated it quite nicely. Simple and homey; plaid blankets thrown over a comfy-looking couch, an assortment of green plants and cacti placed on his windowsill, family photographs framed on the walls and dog toys scattered around a tiny bed lying in front of the love-seat. Certainly nothing serial killer-like.

“Where’s Miri?” Jimin asks, shifting closer to look at one of the framed photos, tracing his fingers over the glass with quiet wonder. A much younger Jungkook’s mouth is spread in a toothy grin, one of his front teeth missing, his dark eyes shaded by the red cap he’s wearing. In his left hand is a battered-looking bat, and in his right, a trophy. An older-looking boy stands next to him, tanned hand resting on Jungkook’s shoulder and smiling — he must be Jungkook’s brother. Their eyes are nearly the same.

“She’s at my mom’s for the weekend,” Jungkook calls back, stirring the stew in a large pot. “She likes to take her off my hands from time to time.”

“Can’t resist her cute charms?”

“Yeah, I guess,” Jungkook says. He shrugs and reaches into his cupboards, pulling out two bowls. “I think she just gets lonely, sometimes. I keep telling her that she should adopt one of her own, but she says Miri’s visits are enough for her.”

Jimin frowns as he steps into the kitchen. “What, your dad isn’t around much for her?”

He watches as the muscles along Jungkook’s back tense through his shirt. “Uh, no. My dad hasn’t been around for a long time.”

“Oh,” Jimin breathes out, quietly. Regret seizes him almost immediately, and he wonders if he shouldn’t have said anything at all. “Sorry.”

Jungkook doesn’t say anything in response — just continues to stir, eyes trained carefully on the stew. He gestures blindly to the bowls beside him. “Can you scoop out the rice for me? The paddle and everything is in the drawer next to the fridge.”

Jimin nods numbly. “Yeah.”

They go about preparing for dinner in silence, the only sound coming from some re-run of a variety show playing quietly on the TV. Jimin feels awkward, mechanically setting the table like he’s on autopilot. Jungkook isn’t an off-the-walls talkative person like Taehyung is, but still, this kind of quiet from him is unsettling. There’s no stupid jokes, no smiles, no flirting — just quiet, and Jimin feels like he’s pried open old wounds, like he's intruded on something Jungkook clearly wasn’t ready to share with him.

Good fucking job, Jimin, he chastises in his head.

Dinner is a little less tense, with Jimin sharing a few anecdotes of his and Taehyung’s drunken escapades in college involving 1) very poor decision-making, 2) several monetary bets, and 3) stripping down to their birthday suits and streaking across the main lawn at 3 AM. Theoretically. The local police never did find out, and while it’s been a couple years since it happened, Jimin would like to keep it that way. (Yoongi still has photographic evidence, the bastard).

It manages to draw a smile out of Jungkook, though, so Jimin considers the embarrassment worth it. The air lightens between them, and they finish eating without incident.

Eventually, though, they have to address the elephant in the room. Jimin knows it, and Jungkook knows it. There’s only so much deflecting Jimin can do before he runs out of stories.

“I’m sorry,” Jimin decides to say, breaking the ice first. He runs a hand through his hair — a nervous habit he’s never been able to break. “About earlier. I shouldn’t have said anything.”

Jungkook sighs, fiddling with his napkin. “No, it’s okay. You didn’t know.”

“Still, I —”

“Hyung, really. It’s okay.” He looks up at Jimin then, a tiny smile pulling at his lips. “It just caught me off guard, that’s all. I didn’t mean to make things weird, but I just… didn’t want tonight to be the Sob Story night, you know?”

Jimin bites his lips. “Jungkook, seriously, you don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to.”

“I want to tell you, though,” Jungkook murmurs. He pulls his knees up his chest, drawing into himself a bit. “It’s not much of a story, anyways. My parents used to fight all the time, when I was a kid. I don't really remember why. My brother told me it's because my mom worked a ton and my dad had trust issues, but I guess it doesn't really matter, now.”  He takes a deep breath. “My dad, he just… left, one day. Packed all his things and flew across the country without so much as a goodbye. Just like that. Like it was so easy, to leave us like we never meant anything to him at all.”

Jimin reaches out to take his hand and squeezes it, gently. Jungkook gives him a sad smile, and says, “I don’t really know what happened to him. I don’t know if I want to know, either. I just — my mom, she had to give up so much for us when he left. She did everything she could to make sure we could have a happy childhood without him, and we did. We’re a family, just the three of us. I don’t need anything else but them.”

Jimin just looks at him for a while, unmoving. Just breathing, really.

Jungkook lets out a quiet chuckle and rubs at his neck with his free hand, shaking his head. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to unload my tragic backstory on you like that.”

Sirens go off in Jimin’s head, eyes widening. “No, no — I’m just not sure what to say. If there is anything to say,” he explains, rather pathetically. “Just… thank you, Jungkook. For sharing that with me. I’m sure it wasn’t easy.”

Jungkook gives him a lopsided smile, and flips his hand over to hold Jimin’s properly. His palm is warm in Jimin’s, fingers threading together like they were meant to. “Well, I’d consider you a level five friend. It was time.”

A surprised laugh bubbles out of Jimin’s throat. “Oh my god, you’re such a dork.”

Jungkook grins at him, and this time, it feels genuine. Jimin can’t help but return it, cheeks bunching up and curving his eyes.

They stay like that for awhile, just smiling at each other — and although the heavy tension from before is long gone, there’s still something there, something that makes Jimin’s skin prickle with anticipation, makes his heart pound deafeningly loud in his ears. Vaguely, Jimin is reminded of that very first night in his own kitchen, when they’d almost kissed before Miri, unfortunately, cockblocked the hell out of both of them. That same gentle flush on Jungkook’s cheeks is there, the softness of his eyes, inviting and warm and just beautiful.

“Hyung,” Jungkook says, barely above a whisper, like he’s afraid of breaking the moment. His eyes flit between Jimin’s, searching. “Kiss me.”

Jimin’s heart leaps into his throat. “What?” he murmurs, breathless.

“Kiss me,” Jungkook echoes, looking down at Jimin’s lips, tongue flicking out to lick his own. “Please.”

Every nerve, every muscle, every bone in Jimin’s body is screaming at him to just do it, that he’s been waiting for this very moment for months — but he can’t. “Jungkook, if you’re saying this just because — because —”

“I’ve been wanting this for a while,” Jungkook interrupts, unfolding his legs to lean closer. His breath skates across Jimin’s lips, and the feeling sends a thrill down Jimin’s spine. “I like you, Jimin. A lot. I’m not asking for any other reason.”

Jimin draws closer, leaning their foreheads together. His voice is hopelessly hoarse as he whispers, “You’re sure?”

Jungkook nods slightly against him, hands coming up to cup his face. “Kiss me,” he says, for the third time.

Jimin doesn’t need to be told a fourth.

He kisses Jungkook like he’s the only cup of water out in the desert. Jungkook's lips feel just as soft as they look, and taste faintly of the cherry ice cream they'd had for dessert; it makes him smile as his hands grip Jungkook’s wrists, pressing closer, teeth nipping lightly at his bottom lip. Jungkook sighs into his mouth, parting his lips when Jimin swipes his tongue across them, and makes a soft sound in the back of his throat as he slips his hands into Jimin’s hair, pulling to get him closer, closer, closer.

“Is this okay?” Jimin asks between kisses, breathless, eyes glazing over with lust as Jungkook climbs into his lap to straddle him properly. Jungkook rolls his hips lazily, and Jimin breaks away to lean his head back in a muted gasp, hands wandering underneath Jungkook’s shirt and tracing patterns into his warm skin. Jungkook trails light kisses along Jimin’s jawline, tongue flicking out to play with his cross earring, sucking lightly on the lobe.

“More than okay,” Jungkook breathes against his ear, pulling back just to kiss him again, harder this time, rougher and more insistent. Jimin’s eyes nearly roll into the back of his head when Jungkook rolls his hips again, and his hands snake down to dig into the dimples of Jungkook’s lower back, massaging him there for a few moments before he delves even lower, teasing at the waistband of his shorts.

Jimin’s mind is hazy with lust, but he still finds the sense to mumble against Jungkook’s mouth, “This isn’t too fast?”

Jungkook breaks away just enough to look Jimin in the eye. He looks wrecked already — cheeks flushed prettily, dark hair mussed, thin lips swollen and shining with saliva. He’s beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. “Have you seen yourself? No, this isn’t too fast,” he huffs, a bit impatiently. “Bedroom’s right behind me. Are you gonna join me, or do I have to do this myself?”

Jimin, despite himself, laughs and pats Jungkook’s thigh. “Get off, then. I know I’ve got muscles, but I’m not strong enough to carry you there.”

It’s almost comical how fast Jungkook scrambles off his lap, and they stumble into Jungkook’s bedroom in a mess of eager hands and giddy laughter — and when they’re laying beside each other in the aftermath, sweaty and breathless and grinning at each other like fools, Jimin thinks he might be falling in love.

 

x

 

The next morning, Jimin wakes to the sight of Jungkook drooling, half of his face smushed into the pillow, hair sticking up in odd directions with an arm thrown across Jimin’s chest. He should look ridiculous, funny even, but Jimin’s so smitten he doesn’t see this version of Jungkook as anything less than perfect. He’s perfect, every nuance and shape of him, and Jimin wants to imprint this moment into his mind forever.

Taehyung and Yoongi are going to have a conniption when they find out.

He stirs when Jimin runs his hand through his hair in an attempt to tame it, eyes fluttering open against the morning sunlight filtering in through the curtains. He looks confused for a moment, eyes unfocused as he blinks a few times, but then his expression relaxes once he realizes himself. He licks his lips and mumbles out a sleepy, “Mornin’.”

“Morning,” Jimin murmurs, pressing a chaste kiss to his lips. Jungkook smiles and crinkles his nose when Jimin drops a kiss there, too. “How are you feeling?”

“Sore,” Jungkook hums, rubbing at his eyes. He stretches his body out lazily like a cat, wincing a bit as he does. Jimin doesn’t feel even the slightest bit apologetic about it. “S’okay, though. Last night was fun.”

“Funny, I just was thinking the same thing,” Jimin grins, soothing his fingertips up and down Jungkook’s bare back. “You’re really loud, y’know. Wonder if your other neighbors heard.”

Jungkook flushes a deep red and buries his face in his hands. “Stop it, oh my god. I hate you.”

“No you don’t,” Jimin singsongs, prying Jungkook’s hands away from his face. “You like me. Not so blasé anymore, huh?”

Jungkook huffs, but he’s unabashedly honest as he says, “Not for you.”

“Wow. That was really cheesy.”

“You know what? I take it back.”

“No take-backs, Jungkookie. C’mon, this is elementary playground basics.”

Jungkook rolls his eyes, but he’s smiling. “You didn’t say it, you know.”

Jimin blinks. “Say what?”

“That you like me, too,” Jungkook says, eyes unwavering. And then, more softly: “I want to hear you say it.”

Jimin grins and leans in, trailing featherlight kisses across Jungkook’s cheek to his ear. He pauses there, just breathing, and almost laughs when he feels Jungkook shiver against him. “I like you, Jungkook. I really, really like you.”

He pulls back to find Jungkook looking back at him with the goofiest smile on his face. “Thank you,” he murmurs, and pulls Jimin in for more kisses.

They lay like that for a while, lazily kissing in the quiet, and Jimin feels so light he could fly. Jungkook is absolutely intoxicating, all of his smiles and laughter and sleepy satoori, and Jimin would gladly get drunk on it every day for the rest of his life. He wonders what that might look like — waking up under one roof instead of two, making up silly dances while they cook breakfast together, playing with Miri until she’s too tuckered out to move. It’s probably way too early to even think about this, but love doesn’t care about sensibility. Jimin’s been sensible for three years, and really, it’s an overrated concept.

Jungkook’s breathy voice pulls him out of his thoughts, sounding a bit hesitant: “So, what happens now?”

“Like, existentially? Or relationship-wise?”

“Funny,” Jungkook snorts. “You know what I mean.”

“Well, traditionally, this would be the part where I ask you on a date.”

“Feels like we've been on tons of dates already.”

“That’s why I said traditionally,” Jimin says, moving to sit up properly, pulling Jungkook with him by the hand. He turns it over to trace his fingers along the lines of his palms, long and deep. “We can skip to the part where I ask you to be my boyfriend, if you want.”

Jungkook bites down a giddy sort of grin. “Yeah?”

Jimin squeezes his hand. “Yeah.”

“Okay. Ask me, then.”

“Jeon Jungkook,” Jimin begins, voice deepened and overly dramatic. Jungkook huffs out an exasperated laugh. “Will you do me the honor of being my one and only talented, brilliant, incredible, amazing, show-stopping, spectacular, never the same —”

“Please stop quoting Lady Gaga to me.”

“— totally unique boyfriend?” Jimin finishes, shit-eating grin and all.

Jungkook looks thoroughly unimpressed. “You’re really lame.”

“Just answer the question, brat.”

“Yes,” he says, flatly. Jimin beams at him. “Don’t make me regret saying that.”

“I'd never,” Jimin giggles, and leans in for another kiss.